Tuesday, 31 May 2016

World's longest and deepest rail tunnel to open in Switzerland

  • 51 minutes ago
  • From the sectionEurope
Media captionImogen Foulkes takes a look inside Switzerland's Gotthard rail tunnel
The world's longest and deepest rail tunnel is to be officially opened in Switzerland, after almost two decades of construction work.
The 57km (35-mile) twin-bore Gotthard tunnel will provide a high-speed rail link under the Swiss Alps between northern and southern Europe.
Switzerland says it will revolutionise European freight transport.
Goods currently carried on the route by a million lorries a year will go by train instead.
The tunnel will overtake Japan's 53.9 km Seikan rail tunnel as the longest in the world and push the 50.5 km Channel Tunnel linking the UK and France into third place.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi are due to attend the grand opening.
"It is just part of the Swiss identity," federal transport office director Peter Fueglistaler told Reuters news agency.
"For us, conquering the Alps is like the Dutch exploring the oceans."
the northern gates of the Gotthard Base Tunnel near ErstfeldImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe Gotthard tunnel runs 2.3 km under the mountain at its deepest point
Tunnel map
The project, which cost more than $12bn to build, was endorsed by Swiss voters in a referendum in 1992. Voters then backed a proposal from environmental groups to move all freight travelling through Switzerland from road to rail two years later.
The completed tunnel travels up to 2.3 km below the surface of the mountains above and through rock that reaches temperatures of 46C.
Engineers had to dig and blast through 73 different kinds of rock, some as hard as granite and others as soft as sugar. More than 28m tonnes of rock was excavated. Nine workers died during the work.
Interior of the Gotthard Base TunnelImage copyrightEPA
Image captionAbout 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains will go through the tunnel every day
Now the completed tunnel - delivered on time and within budget - will create a mainline rail connection between Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Genoa in Italy.
When full services begin in December, the journey time for travellers between Zurich and Milan will be reduced by an hour to two hours and 40 minutes.
Its trajectory will be flat and straight instead of winding up through the mountains like the old rail tunnel and a road tunnel opened in 1980.
About 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains will pass through the tunnel in as little as 17 minutes.
The tunnel is being financed by value-added and fuel taxes, road charges on heavy vehicles and state loans that are due to be repaid within a decade.
Swiss bank Credit Suisse has said is economic benefits will include the easier movement of goods and increased tourism.
Facts graphic

INDIA - 15-year-old girl strangled, hanged on tree after rape

Filed on May 31, 2016

Two men were arrested and "the third accused is on the run", Verma said.

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 Police have arrested two men over the gang-rape of a teenage girl whose body was found hanging from a tree, a senior officer said on Monday, a grim reminder of a similar case in the same state.
The girl, reportedly 15 and from one of India's low social castes, was strangled - allegedly by three men - on Friday night outside her village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
Her body was found the next morning hanging by her scarf from a tree about a kilometre from her home in Bahraich district, said police Superintendent Salik Ram Verma.
Two men were arrested and "the third accused is on the run", Verma said. The girl had left her sleeping family to secretly meet one of the men, only to discover that he had brought along two of his friends who attacked her.
"When the girl resisted their bid, she was raped and later strangled. To make it look like a case of suicide, they hung her body from a tree and left the spot," Verma said.
Four local police constables have also been suspended after an initial lack of action over the incident sparked outrage among villagers. "I have suspended four constables for laxity and have issued stern instructions to the inspector concerned to book the third accused soon," Verma said.
"The medical report has confirmed rape and strangulation," he added. The case comes two years after two girls from a low caste were found hanging in a village in Uttar Pradesh. Their families said they had been gang-raped before being lynched. 

Apartment owner asks tenants to 'like' Facebook page or face action

IANS/New York
Filed on May 31, 2016 | Last updated on May 31, 2016 at 05.29 pm
Picture used for illustrative purposes only
(Alamy Image)

According to tenants of the City Park Apartments, a "Facebook addendum" showed up taped to their doors last weekend, asking them to "like" its Facebook page, an online source reported on Tuesday.

Call it bizarre but the management at an apartment building in Salt Lake City has told tenants living in the complex to "like" its Facebook page or they will be in breach of their lease.
According to tenants of the City Park Apartments, a "Facebook addendum" showed up taped to their doors last weekend, asking them to "like" its Facebook page, an online source reported on Tuesday.
According to the contract, if tenants do not "friend" the City Park Apartments on Facebook within five days, they will be found in breach of the rental agreement.
"I don't want to be forced to be someone's friend and be threatened to break my lease because of that," tenant Jason Ring was quoted as saying.
"It's outrageous as far as I'm concerned," he added
Some of the tenants have already signed a lease agreement months ago.
The contract document also has a release allowing the apartment to post pictures of tenants and their visitors on the Facebook page.
The building currently has a 1.1-star rating on its Facebook page.
The building's managers or Facebook didn't respond to a request for comment, the report added.

China - Man gets his head stuck in washing machine

Web Report/China
Filed on May 31, 2016

The incident took place in China's Fujian province on Sunday.

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Usually fire fighters are called in case of fire. But when a man got his head stuck inside a washing machine he was trying to fix, it was fire fighters who saved his life.
According to the official Weibo social media account of Fuzhou City's Fire Department, the unidentified man accidentally got his head stuck in the drum of the machine he was trying to fix.
The drum was first pulled out from the machine to let the man breath after which the fire fighters broke the drum while his head was still inside. The man was free in half an hour and unhurt.
The incident took place in China's Fujian province on Sunday.

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