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.

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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.

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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)

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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

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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”.

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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

Top 10 most profitable Dutch export products

In 2015, the total export value of machinery and machine parts was almost 13 billion euros, equivalent to around 2 percent of GDP. These include chip manufacturing equipment and machines for the food industry. Data are based on a preliminary survey on top export products as reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Domestically produced natural gas is the second most successful export product. As reported earlier by CBS, agricultural products also have significant value for Dutch exports. Horticulture (flowers, plants, tree nursery products and flower bulbs) ranks third in the top 10 of largest export products. Other top 10 products in terms of highest value added include meat, dairy products, food preparation products such as baby milk powder, vegetables and potatoes.

The ten most profitable export products combined account for 48 percent of total export earnings from goods made in the Netherlands. In 2015, total earnings through exports (in value added) of the top 10 products amounted to 53.3 bn euros or 7.9 percent of GDP.

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Paris – Glass wall proposed to replace Eiffel Tower metal fencing

Paris authorities say they want to replace the metal security fencing around the Eiffel Tower with a more visually appealing glass wall.

A statement from Paris City Hall issued Thursdays said see-through panels could replace the existing fences at the north and south of the famed monument that were installed for the Euro 2016 soccer event.

The proposal will be examined by the city’s sites commission and then needs approval from the environment ministry.

City tourism chief Jean-Francois Martins says the glass is an aesthetic substitute for the metal fencing, which was “useful in security matters” but “spoils the view.”

The proposal is part of a 300 million euro ($3.2 million) project announced in January to modernize the 128-year-old tower.

No timetable has been set for the possible work.

Source: TheJakartaPost

More Asians are traveling around the world

The number of international tourists rose by 4% worldwide to 1.2 billion last year as Asians traveled more, but security fears hit visitor arrivals in Europe, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) said.

The number of people living in Asia and discovering both their own region and the rest of the world rose 8% compared to 2015, the Madrid-based body said.

The Asia-Pacific area, meanwhile, proved a popular destination – the second most visited region after Europe.

But the UN body cautioned that while Europe was still blessed with 620 million tourists last year, the growth in the number of visitors had slowed due to security concerns.

WTO chief Taleb Rifai told reporters the results in Europe varied widely from one country to the next. He refused to give a much-anticipated ranking of the most visited countries, saying this would be unveiled later.

In 2015, France ranked number one, followed by the United States and Spain.

Source: TheNation