Soldiers shoot attacker in #Brussels ‘terrorist’ blast

Belgian soldiers shot a terror suspect after an explosion rocked the central train station in Brussels on Tuesday in the latest attack to hit Europe.

Witnesses said the suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) before causing the blast, with local media saying the individual had activated an explosive belt.

Authorities reported no casualties, apart from the attacker who was was killed in the confrontation.

Crying passengers were evacuated from the station as the city that hosts the EU’s headquarters was struck by a new attack just over a year after suicide bombers hit the city’s airport and metro system.

“This is considered as a terrorist attack,” federal prosecutor’s office spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt told a news conference outside Brussels Gare Centrale station.

The blast in Belgium comes a day after a man mowed down Muslims near a mosque in London, and a radical Islamist on a terror watchlist rammed a car laden with weapons into a police vehicle in Paris.

Brussels has been on high alert since suicide bombers struck the city’s airport and metro in March 2016, killing 32 people and injuring hundreds more.

The Islamic State group claimed the attacks, which were carried out by the same Brussels-based cell behind the November 2016 Paris attacks that killed 130 people.

Van Der Sypt said that at about 1830 GMT there has was a “small explosion at Central Station here in Brussels.”

“The suspect has been neutralized by the military that were present at the scene immediately after the explosion,” the spokesman said. “He is dead.”

There were no other casualties, Van Der Sypt said.

The incident happened well after rush hour, but hundreds of passengers were still evacuated from one of Belgium’s busiest stations. The nearby Grand Place, a major tourist destination, was also evacuated.

“There were people crying, there were people shouting,” said Elisa Roux, a spokeswoman for the Belgian rail company SNCB.

READ CONTINUE

The Smurfs are now the tourism ambassadors of Brussels

The campaign was launched simultaneously in cities across Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Britain, with the assistance of the Brussels-born blue inhabitants who were dispatched to promote their city.

The Brussels tourism office is dispatching a special delegation of Smurfs as part of a major tourism campaign aimed at bringing back tourists following last year’s terrorist attack.

Dubbed “Where will Brussels take you” the tourism offensive is meant to boost lagging visitor numbers following the terror attacks which killed 32 people at the Brussels airport and metro station last spring.

“Numerous actions were undertaken immediately after the attacks and have yielded positive results,” said Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President in a statement.

“We have witnessed a very clear recovery of tourism in Brussels at the beginning of the year.

The campaign ‘Where will Brussels take you’ represents an additional effort and aims at revealing our region’s hidden secrets – the best and most remarkable of what Brussels has to offer.”

FOR THE BEST GLOBAL HOTEL & FLIGHT BOOKINGS

The campaign was launched simultaneously in cities across Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Britain, with the assistance of the Brussels-born blue inhabitants who were dispatched to promote their city.

An online platform called ­takemeto.­brussels has also been launched to help visitors personalise their trip.

The site offers recommendations on the best restaurants, Instagram-worthy sites, museums for kids, best coffee and wine bars.

As part of the promotional campaign, the tourism office is also giving away a city break to Brussels every week, which includes accommodation and transportation within Europe.

The campaign ends Oct 31.

Read also: It’s time to visit Smurf village

Source – TheJakartaPost

#Ukraine – Kiev puts finishing touches to Eurovision as song contest gets political.

With the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest set to kick off in a few days, host city Kiev puts final touches on preparations.

With the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest set to kick off in just a few days, host city Kiev is rushing to complete the final touches on preparations for the international competition.

Kiev has started welcoming Eurovision fans and set up food stalls, performance stages and big screens in the centre of the town which will broadcast the semi-finals and final next week. But as Ukraine prepares to host the final stages of the Eurovision competition next week, a dispute remains over its decision to bar Russia’s entrant to the contest – because she had performed in Crimea after it was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Russia has vowed to boycott the competition, saying Ukraine’s move had tarnished the event. Ukraine hit back by saying that Moscow had deliberately tried to provoke Ukraine.

FOR THE BEST GLOBAL HOTEL & FLIGHT BOOKINGS

Relations between Ukraine and Russia soured following the annexation and the outbreak of a war between Kiev and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 10,000 people. Hostilities spilled over into the glitzy Eurovision show after Ukrainian contestant Jamala unexpectedly won the contest last year with an entry that Russia called politicized.

Russia’s proposed entry, Yulia Samoylova, is due to perform in the Crimean city of Sevastopol on Tuesday, May 9, coinciding with the first semi-final of Eurovision.

Ukraine expects about 12,000-14,000 spectators to attend the competition next week with millions more watching on television. It will be the second time that Kiev hosts the event.

Source

Enchanting Europe

With the southern hemisphere countries already saturated in sunshine, Booking.com introduces interesting seven destinations to provide the ultimate retreat during the summer months.

Surrounded by volcanoes and geysers, Iceland’s capital Reykjavík attracts tourists with its scenic Hallgrímskirkja Church said to have been designed to resemble the rocks, mountains and glaciers of Iceland’s landscape, as well as Nautholsvík Beach where bathers can plunge into the geothermal water.

In Italy, Naples is edgy thanks to effusive locals, scooters zooming past and a tangle of tumbledown streets. The birthplace of pizza, it has plenty of attractions to visit from Castel dell’Ovo to the Archaeological Museum.

There’s an extra something to life in the Spanish capital Madrid. Start your day in the leafy Retiro Park on your way to a morning at the Prado then have a late lunch and afternoon siesta, before rising late to join the locals for dinner.

Budapest in Hungary bewitches every visitor. Houdini’s hometown is full of unfading beauty that holds you captive. A gentle soul emanates from within this city built on imperial strength, and people engage in a high-stakes hustle to claim their own piece of happiness.

Standing behind towering city walls, Dubrovnik beach town in Croatia has stunning, panoramic views over the emerald Adriatic Sea. Promoting itself as the world’s design powerhouse, Sweden’s capital Stockholm is a serious contender for Scandinavia’s friendliest citizens. You’ll be welcomed with open arms to this urbane city, where medieval alleys, majestic parks and an awe-inspiring Royal Palace will leave you eager to explore.

Porto in Portugal is home to the sleepy Douro River, where boats have dropped anchor for centuries as travellers tumbled forth into Porto’s lattice of sun-drenched streets. Today, cellars stocked with sweet wine vie for attention among studios, cafes, and baroque buildings strung with colourful washing lines.

Find out more at Booking.com

FOR THE BEST GLOBAL HOTEL & FLIGHT BOOKINGS

Source – TheNation

Berlin’s airport debacle: Five years late and counting

You think you have a travel story from hell? Try this one: The inaugural flight from Berlin’s new international airport is almost five years late, and no one can say when it might take off.

The airport’s planned launch in June 2012 was scrapped a month before its unveiling because of fire safety issues, and it’s since been pushed back three times. With costs piling up at €13 million ($14 million) a month, the operating company in March saw the departure of its third chief in four years. The black eye for Germany’s exalted engineering prowess threatens to undermine a tourism boom in Berlin, and there’s talk of scrapping a plan to shutter Tegel, one of the city’s existing airports. “This airport should have been a world-class showpiece for Germany,” says Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, which has long sought to introduce service to Berlin. “It’s an embarrassment.”

The bill for Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt—most people call it BER—has more than doubled, to some €5 billion, since construction began in 2006. And the delayed opening has wounded local restaurants as well as airlines Air Berlin Plc and Deutsche Lufthansa AG, which had expected to expand routes from the capital. Instead, Germany’s biggest city has fewer overseas flights than Düsseldorf (with less than a quarter of Berlin’s population).

The list of construction defects reads like a bad joke: Automatic doors lacked electricity, escalators were too short, and a smoke-extraction system was so complex, yet ineffective, it was dubbed “the Monster,” according to daily tabloid Bild. To keep the air flowing and limit mold growth, empty trains run to an empty station in the basement of BER’s glass-clad terminal. Upstairs there’s everything an airport needs—except passengers.

Once BER opens, it may already be too small. It was designed to accommodate 27 million passengers annually—ample for the 18 million arrivals in Berlin in 2006. But last year, Tegel and the city’s other functioning airport, Schönefeld, handled 33 million passengers. And BER will have 118 check-in counters, about 80 fewer than the combined number at Tegel and Schönefeld. “Resolving the capacity problem of BER will take another several years,” says Simon Morris, vice president at aviation adviser ICF International.

READ CONTINUE

FOR THE BEST GLOBAL HOTEL & FLIGHT BOOKINGS

London attack: five dead including offender

A suspected Islamist terrorist has been shot dead after killing four people and injuring 40 more in a car and knife attack on London’s Westminster Bridge and inside the grounds of the Houses of Parliament.

The attack started at about 2:40pm (local time) when a speeding car ran down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, before crashing into the railings surrounding the Parliament.

The knife-wielding driver then entered the Parliament grounds and fatally stabbed a police officer, identified as a 48-year-old father with 14 years’ service, before himself being shot dead.

Indonesians in London asked to remain vigilant following attack

The Indonesian Embassy in London has asked Indonesians in the capital to remain vigilant following a terrorist attack around London’s Westminster area on Wednesday afternoon local time.

Through its social media channels, the embassy also asked Indonesians to obey the London Metropolitan Police’s call on people to avoid Westminster and surrounding areas, including Parliament Square, Whitehall, Lambeth Bridge, Victoria Street up to Broadway and Victoria Embankment.

“Indonesian citizens who happen to be in London are asked to maintain communications with fellow Indonesians and avoid traveling through those areas,” the embassy stated.

Indonesians who are in trouble or with knowledge of other Indonesians who are in trouble following the incident are urged to immediately inform the Indonesian Embassy in London through the hotline +44 (0) 7881221235.

(Read also: At least 2 dead in car rampage, knife attack in London)

At least five were killed and 20 were injured during the attack.

A vehicle mowed down pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge, killing at least one woman and leaving others with injuries described as catastrophic. Around the same time on Wednesday, a knife-wielding attacker stabbed a police officer and was shot on the grounds outside Britain’s parliament, sending the compound into lockdown, the Associated Press reported.

“The Indonesian Embassy in London is safe. Consular services at the embassy’s new office at 30 Great Peter Street SW1P 2BU are normal,” the embassy states.

There were around 10,000 Indonesians currently residing in the United Kingdom, of which more than 2,000 were students, according to the embassy’s data in 2015. (bbs)

On Facebook

How to spot Switzerland’s truly rich

Hanging out in Switzerland before you check out watches at Baselworld and overwhelmed by all the affluence and shiny timepieces? Here’s a way to separate the wheat from the chaff: forget the bling and have a look at the license plate.

Switzerland doesn’t allow vanity plates, so special or lucky numbers have an added value and sell for thousands of francs. While Swiss auctions of license plate numbers can’t quite compete with those in the United Arab Emirates — where the wealthy pay millions of dollars — they are not far behind.

Read also: Longines launches high-tech quartz wristwatch

Just last week, industrialist Otto Ruppen forked out 160,100 francs ($160,400) for VS 1, with the letters standing for the Canton of Valais in western Switzerland. Even more common three or four-digit numbers are in high demand.

“It’s a question of prestige,” said Stefan Cardinale, who works at a dealership that sells Ferraris and Maseratis in Zug, a canton known for its wealth and low taxes. “People who invest in flashy wheels want the world to see how awesome they are.”

Buyers of luxury vehicles regularly inquire about low-digit numbers and are willing to pay a lot for them, Cardinale said. His boss Pierre Sudan owns Zug’s No. 1 plate.

Read also: Bentley’s first-ever, electric concept car is a luxury fever dream

The Swiss system of the two letters indicating the canton followed by a number has been in place since 1933 and unlike most other European countries, it’s not the car that is assigned a plate, but a person. As every new car registering to roam Swiss roads just gets the next highest number in line, the ability to pass on license plates to your children has made low-digit numbers synonymous with old money.

“This might add to some people’s attachment to their license plate,” said Peter Kyburz, head of the Zurich traffic office. “It’s also connected to prestige, as the lower the number, the longer a person or his or her family has been able to drive a car.”

St. Gallen raised almost 1.7 million francs in 2014 by auctioning special numbers that were previously attached to fire trucks, police cars and ambulance vehicles. Kyburz says that Zurich’s auctioning of license plates earns the canton an annual revenue stream of 2.5 million francs to 3 million francs. Just before Christmas, ZH 888 888 yielded a price of 50,280 francs.

Read also: DJ performances in Jakarta to look out for in April

‘Family Heritage’

Zug is the only canton that lets its citizens trade their plates privately without paying a fee to the authorities. Some smaller cantons with fewer registered cars have fixed prices for attractive numbers whereas most of the country’s 26 cantonal traffic offices host websites regularly auctioning new numbers. In Zurich, the country’s most populous region, the bidding for a four-digit plate starts at 2,000 francs.

“After the two license plates LU 100 were stolen from my son’s car — despite being more securely bolted-on than required — we attached our own LU 40 plate even more elaborately,” says Vreni Haeberli, who lives in Aesch in the canton of Lucerne. “We would never sell them, they’re now part of our family heritage.”

Not to forget the publicity factor in the country that hosts one of the world’s biggest watch fairs in Basel March 23-30.

“Having the number 1 on our car is mainly a marketing tool,” says Marcel Kunz, whose taxi company Nova Taxi got lucky when the canton of Bern re-issued the number over 50 years ago. It’s now gracing one of the company’s Tesla X cars and people regularly photograph it. “The long-term publicity effect far exceeds the monetary gains from selling it. Who else can say that not only are they number one, but also own the number 1?”

Source – The JakartaPost

FOR THE BEST GLOBAL HOTEL & FLIGHT BOOKINGS

Currency EUR / THB break records today

The Euro reached today the lowest point since years.
The lowest rate was today 36.76 that means that break the record of 36.83 from years ago.
We know the economy in both continents has problems.
Europe is in big problem with the fake EU in Brussels. (Elite criminals)

But in Thailand become many older fralangs (foreigners) problem to survive.
Also the tourism show us fake figures.

We all hope this is a break point and all go up.

World famous Oxford University proposed move to Paris because of Brexit

The world famous Oxford University is considering due partly to move the approaching Brexit to continental Europe. Oxford University is in talks with representatives of the city of Paris to open a branch. The idea is that after the Brexit to continue to claim European subsidies, and to have the same exchanges with European universities.

Oxford University is considering opening its first foreign campus in direct response to the UK leaving the European Union.

The former director of the French ministry for education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, confirmed French authorities and institutions were working to bring the UK’s most revered universities to France and said officials had also spoken to representatives from the University of Warwick.

 According to The Daily Telegraph, Oxford University has been informed that such a campus would automatically obtain French legal status and would therefore continue to receive EU funding after Brexit.

If the plans between Oxford and what The Daily Telegraph describes as “leading institutions” in France come to fruition, then construction of a new Oxford University campus in the French capital could begin as early as 2018.

A decision has yet to be reached, but a spokesman for Oxford said:  “Oxford has been an international university throughout its history and it is determined to remain open to the world whatever the future political landscape looks like.”

The possibility that Brexit could lead to European research funding being withdrawn from UK universities has been described as a “disaster”, by academics.

In addition, universities fear that lack of access to Europe will make them less attractive to potential students and staff members.

Last month, Oxford University’s head of Brexit strategy Professor Alastair Buchan said being in Europe meant the university could “play in the top league”.

Read continue:

Asia’s first vertical forest to be built in China

One of Stefano Boeri’s vertical forest projects in Milan, Italy.

Italian architect Stefano Boeri has revolutionized green architecture through his design of two vegetation-filled towers, known as Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest), in Milan, Italy.

Such a structure will be built in the Pukou district of Nanjing, China, and consist of “1100 trees from 23 local species, as well as 2500 cascading plants and shrubs that will cover a 6000-square-meter area” according to Lonely Planet

More than just an aesthetic marvel, the construction will serve as a means to curb air pollution, which is highly prevalent in the area, while reinjecting biodiversity into the environment. The greenery enveloping the towers will both absorb surrounding carbon dioxide and provide oxygen.

It has been predicted that the two buildings will convert 25 tons of CO2 annually and produce 60 kilograms of oxygen a day. 

The taller tower will carry a green lantern at its tip and shelter a museum, a rooftop bar, as well as an architecture school. The smaller tower will serve as accommodation for Hyatt hotel, housing around 247 rooms.

Unique to the Asian region, the towers will be inaugurated some time in 2018 and will even aim to open in other Chinese cities, such as Shijiazhuang, Liuzhou, Guizhou, Shanghai and Chongqing. (nik/kes)

Source: TheJakartaPost