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Traffic & Safety

World’s ‘steepest funicular line’ set to open in Switzerland

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The new railway, which cost 44.6 million euros, will be officially opened by the country’s president, Doris Leuthard. It has unusual barrel-shaped carriages that adjust their floors so passengers can still stand upright even as they go up at steep inclines. Gradients up to the Alpine resort of Stoos can reach up to 110 percent. The train, which will go into public service on Sunday, will climb 743 metres over a span of 1,738 metres, at speeds of up 10 metres per second. "After 14 years of planning and building, everyone is very proud of this... Read More »

The world’s greenest cruise ship will have sails

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Peace Boat, a Japanese non-governmental organization which runs educational cruises, is working on an ambitious project to build the most sustainable vessel in the booming industry. Now in the last stages of planning, the "Ecoship" will be built by Finland's Arctech. It will cost about $500 million, financed in part by impact investors -- funds, rich families and individualswho want to use their cash to improve the world as well as make a profit. "Ecoship was a dream for me," said Peace Boat founder Yoshioka Tatsuya. "Using a conventional... Read More »

Ryanair pilots to strike before Christmas

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In Ireland, 79 pilots based in Dublin will strike for one day on 20 December. The airline, which does not recognise unions, said they represented about 28% of its Dublin-based captains. Meanwhile, Ryanair pilots and cabin crew in Italy plan to strike for four hours on 15 December. The airline said last week it would "ignore" the Italian move, claiming staff rarely heeded calls to walk out. Pilots based in Portugal and Germany also plan industrial action. Cockpit, the German pilots' union, said its Ryanair members would strike for better pay ... Read More »

Airbnb drops controversial payment card in France

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The French government had asked tax authorities to look into the system, suspected of facilitating tax avoidance, after it was revealed that Airbnb was allowing its hosts to use the prepaid Payoneer card. The card allows homeowners to receive payments for their rentals without money transiting through bank accounts. The decision comes as Airbnb, similar to its taxi-hailing peer Uber, is facing a growing crackdown from legislators worldwide - triggered in part by lobbying from the hotel industry, which sees the rental service as providing unf... Read More »

Heavy snow disrupts road, air travel in northern Europe

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Hundreds of air passengers were stranded in Frankfurt, Germany's financial capital, as well as Britain, and many took to Twitter to complain. Some 330 flights were cancelled by 5:00 pm (1600 GMT) after heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures struck the region around Frankfurt, a spokesman for airport operator Fraport told AFP.  The airport - Germany's largest air hub and the home base for major carrier Lufthansa - had been scheduled to handle a total of 1,260 flights over the day. Elsewhere in the country, Duesseldorf airport was forced to close f... Read More »

Uber’s top dealmaker in Europe steps down

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Fraser Robinson, who led Uber’s $3.5bn investment deal with Saudi Arabia last year, will step down this month from his role as head of business development in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He will continue working with Uber as an adviser, according to a company-wide email obtained by the Financial Times. There have been several high-profile departures from Uber’s European executive team recently, including European policy head Christopher Burghardt, and UK head Jo Bertram, who both left in October. The exit of Mr Robinson marks a chang... Read More »

Wake Up and Smell the Traffic? London Tries Coffee to Power Buses

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While the worst smogs, or “pea soupers,” have long dispersed, London still chokes on heavy pollution. Seeking to curb toxic diesel fumes, transport officials and companies are hunting for new sources of energy for the buses. The latest idea? Coffee grounds. On Monday, in a much-hyped debut, a company called Bio-bean, in partnership with the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, introduced relatively small amounts of oil produced from coffee grounds into the mix of diesel and biofuels mandated by the city authorities. The first batch of 6,000 liters, ... Read More »

Firms team up on hybrid electric plane technology

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The E-Fan X programme will first put an electric engine with three jet engines on a BAe 146 aircraft. The firms want to fly a demonstrator version of the plane by 2020, with a commercial application by 2025. Firms are racing to develop electric engines for planes after pressure from the EU to cut aviation pollution. Each of the partners in the programme will be investing tens of millions of pounds, they said on a press call. The firms are developing hybrid technology because fully electric commercial flights are currently out of rea... Read More »

Bali volcano: Mt Agung ash shuts airport for second day

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Massive plumes of dark ash were seen reaching as high as 3km (2 miles) above the summit of the rumbling volcano, which began erupting last week. Officials raised the alert to the highest level on Monday, fearing an imminent major eruption. Up to 100,000 people have been ordered to evacuate the vicinity. Volcanic ash can damage aeroplane engines or even cause them to fail, and also clogs fuel and cooling systems. Pilot visibility can also be hampered. The Transportation Ministry initially closed the Ngurah Rai (Denpasar) airport on M... Read More »

New Lexus LS 500 F SPORT to Make Global Debut in New York

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The all-new LS  is based on an extended version of the brand’s premium global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA–L) platform – the stiffest that Lexus has ever developed – which offers enhanced handling, ride smoothness and cabin quietness. F SPORT models will capitalize on the platform’s responsiveness and agility to present the most engaging LS driving experience yet, and will be available on the LS 500 and LS 500h.The 2018 LS 500 F SPORT will be on display starting April 12th at the Lexus booth in the Javits Convention Center for the 2017 ... Read More »

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