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Around the globe
Tue 12 June 2012
Tue 12 June 2012
TAIWAN authorities have issued an Immediate ‘Stop Work and Class’ alert for Taipei City after torrential rain over the past few days caused flash floods across many parts of the territory. Operations at Taoyuan International Airport are running normally, however, passengers may face delays in travel to and from the airport due to flooding and traffic congestions around the Taoyuan area. Customers are advised to plan adequate time for their travels, and to confirm flight departure and arrival times.
ACA announces program to drive tourism
THE Atlantic City Alliance (ACA) announces a new five-year program designed as part of the Atlantic City Master Plan to drive tourism through interactive public art displays. Moment Factory and international curator Lance Fung have teamed up with the ACA to create a new generation of Atlantic City spectaculars. Art is a proven draw and both the Moment Factory show and the Lance Fung installations will expand the experience a visitor has in Atlantic City. Each free public display will temporarily transform spaces around the Boardwalk into accessible works of art and play. The effort is part of the ACA's larger marketing campaign, "Do Anything, Do Everything," which aims to increase visits to Atlantic City. The projects will improve the overall physical landscape, animate empty lots, engage locals and provide visitors with a new, free and interactive experience as envisioned in the Master Plan published by the CRDA on February 1, 2012. The master plan calls for activation of the Boardwalk and key areas -particularly Pacific and Atlantic Avenues and the feeder streets to and from the Boardwalk as a way to create walk-ability throughout the Tourism District.
EUROTUNNEL to take over SeaFrance vessels
ACCORDING to the Financial Times, the company that operates the Channel tunnel between England and France will take over some cross-channel ferries for the first time after a French court approved Groupe Eurotunnel’s bid for three of a collapsed rival’s vessels. The Paris Commercial Court on Monday accepted Eurotunnel’s €65m bid for the three ferries belonging to SeaFrance, the ferry operator that collapsed into administration last November. Eurotunnel said it would buy the three ferries – the Berlioz, the Rodin and the Nord-Pas-de-Calais – via a new special purpose vehicle known as Eurotransmanche. It said it intended to lease the vessels to an operating company.
Eurotunnel has previously suggested the operator might be a co-operative of SeaFrance’s former employees. However, P&O Ferries, which carries more passengers and vehicles across the Dover Straits than other ferry operators, warned that Eurotunnel’s success raised “profound issues” for the whole cross-Channel market. P&O Ferries said it still awaited full details of the court judgement, but it has previously said it would report any purchase of the SeaFrance vessels by Eurotunnel to the European Commission. The SeaFrance ships are likely to re-enter service on the Dover to Calais route, which is served only by P&O and a joint venture between Denmark’s DFDS and France’s LD Lines. DFDS also operates between Dover and Dunkirk, near Calais.
CALIFORNIA monument remains closed because of debris
DEVILS Postpile National Monument and Reds Meadow Valley have been closed indefinitely since a storm last fall felled tens of thousands of trees across a large swath of California's eastern Sierra, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The powerful wind storm on November 30 caused tree falls from Tioga Pass to Whitney Portal, damage that crews are still trying to clean up as the back country prepares to open for summer recreation, the Forest Service said in a statement. The Inyo National Forest area near Mammoth Lakes, Calif., reports the storm damaged roads, picnic tables, campgrounds, bear boxes and toilets in the valley near Mammoth Lakes, Calif. The Pacific Crest Trail and the John Muir Trail were blocked by trees; other trails in the Mammoth Lakes Basin are affected as well. Usually Devils Postpile visitors drive the steep road or buy a ticket for a shuttle that runs from the Mammoth Mountain ski resort to the trail head. From there, trails lead to the spectacular 60-foot-high rock formation and Rainbow Falls. Campgrounds at Reds Meadow, Devils Postpile, Minaret Falls, Pumice Flat, Soda Springs, Agnew are shut. Reservations are suspended this month, but are being accepted for July and beyond. For updates on conditions, call the Mammoth Welcome Center at (760) 924-5500, the Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office at (760) 873-2483 or visit the forest's Wind Storm of November 2011 Web page.
METRO hours extended
LEONEL Carrasco, operational director for the Santo Domingo Metro, has announced that operating hours will be extended. The metro will now start operating at 06h00 (previously at 06h30) and will end operations at 23h00 (previously at 22h30). A second line is expected to begin operation by the end of this year.
MOSCOW poised for huge rally
THOUSANDS of anti-government protesters are expected to march through Moscow, demanding fresh elections and a new president, the BBC reports. The march comes a day after police raided the homes of several prominent activists. Last week, President Vladimir Putin signed a new law increasing fines for those who hold unsanctioned protests. Putin won a third presidential term in March despite protests over alleged fraud in December's parliamentary vote.
It will be the first so-called “March of Millions” demonstration since mass protests on May 6 were marred by violence and hundreds of arrests. The protest is set to kick off at 12h00 Moscow time and will finish at 18h00 with demonstrators set to gather at Strastnoy Boulevard in the city centre and march to Sakharov Prospect. The Moscow government has authorized the attendance of 50,000 people at the rally. Moscow authorities are stepping up security in the city in preparation for the demonstrations, with over 12,000 police to be deployed. Police have also warned that some roads will be closed in the centre of Moscow to allow for the free passage of demonstrators.
MORE rain increases UK flood fears
THERE are warnings of possible floods in southern England and Wales with heavy rain forecast to continue. The Environment Agency is monitoring its flood alerts, with 51 areas under watch - 40 in south-east England. Seven flood warnings are in place; six for the south-east, including parts of the River Mole on the Surrey/Sussex border, and one in the Anglia region. Heavy rain is forecast for parts of Wales and the south-west, east and south-east of England. The Met Office said this could lead to localised surface water flooding, particularly in west Wales, where the ground has been saturated by recent heavy rain. There are no severe flood warnings - the highest alert. Environment Agency Wales earlier said it did not expect further flooding but that heavy rain could disrupt the clean-up operation from weekend flooding.
NEW EMT rail strike dates set
NEW dates have been set for two one-day strikes by drivers on East Midlands Trains (EMT) in England. The drivers' union, Aslef, has confirmed its members will take industrial action on July 23 and 25. The union has already held six one-day strikes in a dispute over the company reducing both its own and staff contributions to its pension fund. EMT said it had not been officially informed of the action but described further strikes as "pointless".
The company has claimed that reduction in contributions would leave train drivers £500 a year better off and would not affect pension benefits. But the union said the move was reckless in a time of economic uncertainty. It added that consideration was still being given to dates for action in August.
TUBE staff vote for strike
TUBE staff have voted for industrial action over a plan to move control centre employees from Piccadilly to Hammersmith. The RMT union claimed its staff have voted overwhelmingly for a strike and action short of a strike, citing disagreements over jobs and conditions. Among their disputes are staffing cuts for Service Control on the Jubilee Line and a disagreement on pay. TfL pointed out that changes were not due until 2015.
But RMT General Secretary, Bob Crow said: "This group of workers are absolutely key to delivering the service on the Piccadilly Line and the way they have been treated by the management at a time when the system is under intense pressure is nothing short of shocking.”
Nigel Holness, London Underground's operations director, said: "Less than 30% of RMT members balloted were in favour of industrial action.”