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October 2010

  
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29 October 2010 - Forget chips and chocolate

Posted by: Alan

Commuters in China are being offered a tasty snack in the form of vending machines containing live crabs in three different sizes.

Dispensers have reportedly been installed at several subway stations in Nanjing, offering Dazha Hairy Crabs priced from about $3 to $8 each.

The crustaceans are stored in special plastic boxes and chilled to about 4°C - cold enough to make them very sleepy but also keep them alive.

The Guangzhou Daily says that anyone who is unlucky enough to get a dead one is offered three free crabs as compensation.

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28 October 2010 - New High Speed Chinese Train Service

Posted by: Alan

China launched a high-speed rail service on Tuesday which can carry passengers between the cities of Shanghai and Hangzhou at a world-record speed of 420kmh.

Trains will cover the 200km in 45 minutes - about the same time it takes a Sydney suburban train to travel 20km (with stops).

At Tuesday’s launch, Chinese officials boasted openly that the technology involved in producing the new CRH380s is "China’s own".

Railway ministry spokesman Wang Yongping said: "Now other countries are wanting to co-operate with us. They all want our technology".

China is working to have 16,000km of high-speed rail in operation by 2012.

A new 1300km line linking Beijing and Shanghai, due open in two years, will see high-speed trains linking the two cities in just five hours.

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27 October 2010 - An unusual round the world journey

Posted by: Alan

A Canadian man has spent the last 10 years travelling around the world, after deciding to go for a nice long walk on his 45th birthday in 2000.

Jean Beliveau from Montreal said he started the stroll in order to address feelings of a “mid-life crisis” - and he just kept walking.

Since then he has walked more than 68,000 kilometres and visited 64 countries, raising money for charity along the way. Believe it or not, he’s married, with his wife joining him for a month each year during his global odyssey.

He’s now getting closer to home, having arrived in what he says is his final country, New Zealand, last week.

Beliveau will return to Canada before the end of the year, and then the couple plan to publish a book about the adventure.

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25 October 2010 - Virgin Galactic’s Space Tourism

Posted by: Alan

Virgin Galactic’s Sir Richard Branson and prospective astronauts have gathered in the southern New Mexico desert to celebrate completion of the runway at the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport.

Spaceport America is the world’s first facility designed to launch commercial spacecraft.

Completion of the runway, stretching 3km, comes two weeks after the first solo flight of Virgin Galactic’s space tourism rocket ship.

Sir Richard called it an emotional and historic day, and said he expects flights for space tourists to begin in nine to 18 months - and he will be among the first passengers.

Stretching across a flat dusty plain 45 miles north of Las Cruces, the runway is designed to support almost every aircraft in the world.

Virgin Galactic is the anchor tenant of the taxpayer-funded facility.

The company’s bullet-shaped spacecraft - SpaceShipTwo - made an appearance, carried high over the barren landscape by its special jet-powered mothership, White Knight Two.

Tickets for sub-orbital space rides aboard SpaceShipTwo, costing about $200,000, will include about five minutes of weightlessness.

Some 380 customers have already made deposits totalling more than $50 million.

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21 October 2010 - Nuts on Air Canada

Posted by: Alan

Canadian aviation authorities want Air Canada to provide nut-free buffer zones on aircraft for passengers with nut allergies.

Cabin crew would serve only nut-free food within the zones and passengers in that part of the plane would be told they can eat only nut-free food.

The move comes after a study sparked by a complaint to authorities from a couple who said Air Canada had failed to satisfactorily accommodate their daughter and the mother, both of whom have nut allergies, US trade mag Travel Weekly reports.

The family want nuts banned completely, saying that nut dust can be circulated through a plane.

But the Canadian Transportation Agency said this is not practicable.

Air Canada has been given 30 days to agree to provide buffer zones, or file a case against such a move.

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19 October 2010 - Visitors to Venice may soon have to pay an entry fee

Posted by: Alan

The Italian government is reportedly looking at introducing an entrance tax in a bid to raise money for much-needed maintenance of crumbling palaces, churches and monuments.

More than 20m people flock into the lagoon city every year, but many are day-trippers who bring their own food and drink and don’t stay overnight.

Reports say the government has a draft plan which would see people arriving by air, train or cruise ship paying a fee of around one euro.

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15 October 2010 - Airport Transfer in a Hummer

Posted by: Alan

Now this is the way to travel on an airport transfer !

Aussie limousine company Get Hummered has announced the imminent arrival of a new 12.5m long eight-wheeler 'Super Stretch' Hummer.

The 25-seat vehicle features eight TVs, a smoke machine, a massive sound system, lasers and electric exit steps, and will be in Qld during Oct and Nov before heading south to Sydney.

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14 October 2010 - Green Hertz

Posted by: Alan

Hertz is going greener in New Zealand, adding hybrid-powered Toyota Camry sedans to fleets in key corporate locations in Auckland and Wellington from 25 October.

The vehicle is alternately powered by a 2.4 litre, four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor which is activated when the vehicle decelerates or is stationary, reducing fuel burn and exhaust emissions.

Typical fuel consumption is estimated in the six-litre range for every 100kms - about 30% less than similar-size vehicles powered by conventional engines.

Also, Hertz says, the hybrid Camry complies with the strict Euro 4 emission standard, while Land Transport New Zealand has rated the car highly for fuel economy.

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13 October 2010 - Eiffel Tower Online

Posted by: Alan

As part of ongoing modernization, the Eiffel Tower has launched a new system of online ticket sales with secure payment for individual visitors.

This new service is a major advance in the quality of service offered to the seven million visitors each year.

After the payment has been processed, you can print out your entrance ticket or download the bar code of your e-ticket onto your mobile phone, or choose to receive your electronic ticket by post to your home address.

The tower was constructed in 1889 for the Paris Exposition.
It was so different from the other historic buildings in Paris that it stuck out on the skyline.

Parisians were polarized about its future. Many Parisians felt it was an eyesore and out of place with the great classical buildings of the city and should be torn down, others saw it as an icon.

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12 October 2010 - A Queenzy ?

Posted by: Alan

Canada's Ice Hotel in Quebec has added a freezing new activity for guests this winter.

As well as being able to sleep overnight on ice (protected from the cold by "thick pelts"), drink in the ice bar and get married in the spectacular ice chapel, in 2011 guests will be able to build a "typical Quebecois type of igloo called a Queenzy".

The Quebec Ice Hotel, located just seven minutes drive from Quebec City, will be built from 15,000 tonnes of snow and ice and is accepting reservations for stays from 07 Jan-27 Mar 2011.

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11 October 2010 - New Queen Elizabeth arrives in Southampton

Posted by: Alan

Cunard's new cruise ship, the Queen Elizabeth, has arrived at its home port of Southampton.

The ship, built in Italy, will be officially named by the Queen on Monday 11 October 2010 and will leave on its maiden voyage to the Canary Islands on Tuesday.

Hundreds of onlookers turned out to catch a glimpse of the vessel as she sailed up the Solent earlier.

The vessel will join the other "Queens" in the Cunard fleet - the Queen Mary 2 (QM2) and the Queen Victoria.

Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) made its last transatlantic crossing in 2008.

The new Queen Elizabeth docked at the city's Ocean Terminal just before 0900 British Standard Time.

About 500 people lined the length of Southampton's Town Quay and Mayflower Park taking pictures as its horn echoed along the Solent.

It is the third Cunard ship to be named Queen Elizabeth.

The first was launched on the Clyde in Scotland in 1938 by the then Queen Elizabeth - who later became the Queen Mother - with the present Queen, aged 12, looking on.

The Queen launched the second Queen Elizabeth, the QE2, on the Clyde in 1967. She also named the QM2 at Southampton in 2004.

The new vessel will join the other Cunard "Queens" - Queen Mary 2 (QM2) and Queen Victoria The new QE is one foot longer and one foot wider than the QE2 - which was sold to Dubai-based property developers Nakheel after being retired - but with 16 decks, it is much taller.

The ship looks like its sister, Queen Victoria, but is more than a third smaller than Cunard's largest liner, the QM2.

The maiden voyage sold out in 29 minutes and 14 seconds when tickets went on sale on 1 April 2009.

Source: BBC

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08 October 2010 - Beer Bike

Posted by: Alan

The days of tourists pedalling around German cities while downing beer may be numbered.

A beer bike makes its way through Manhattan during a tourism promotion tour of the US.

The city of Dusseldorf, one of 34 across Germany where so-called beer bikes feature, has had enough.

It’s going to ban their use, with authorities calling them dangerous and a nuisance to other road users.

The bizarre contraptions, also known as pedal pubs, originate in Holland.

They allow up to 16 drinkers to sit around a sort of table on wheels, helping themselves to on-tap beer and listening to music as they pedal around a city.

Steering is handled by a non-drinker employed by the company renting out the bikes.

They’re particularly popular with backpacker-type tourists, and operator BierBike says it has processed 150,000 rentals this year.

It’s going to fight the latest ruling, claiming it would destroy "a pure success story".

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06 October 2010 - Guest House in Space

Posted by: Alan

Russian company Orbital Technologies has announced plans for a new four-room “guest house in space” which could be offering orbital accommodation by 2016.

A cosy fit, the first module will measure just 20 cubic metres and have four cabins, designed for up to seven passengers, who would go into orbit using the Soyuz shuttle.

Guests staying at the luxury space accommodation will be able to enjoy space meals pre-prepared by celebrity chefs.

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05 October 2010 - A Solar Convergence - Do they mean a mirror?

Posted by: Alan

A shiny new tower in Las Vegas is reportedly causing potential grief for sunbathers as it generates a concentrated beam of sunlight across the property’s pool deck.

The reflection is from the windows of the glossy high-rise Vdara hotel, which was opened by MGM Resorts in Dec. Local media are referring to the beam as the “death ray,” but MGM describes it as a “solar convergence phenomenon”.

According to some guests the concentrated sunlight is at times hot enough to melt plastic. MGM has reportedly installed solar film over 3000 windows on the hotel in an attempt to mitigate the problem.

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04 October 2010 - Junk Food

Posted by: Alan

THOSE Kiwis just love their junk food, don’t they.

There’s been major traffic chaos in the North Island town of New Plymouth this week, after the reopening of a KFC eatery.

Residents and visiting tourists have had to get their 11 secret herbs and spices elsewhere since Jul when the outlet was closed for a NZ$1.5m renovation.

The reopening caused long drive-through queues, with KFC lovers waiting up to 40 minutes for their tasty treats.

And a number of school students even played truant to get some of the junk food, according to the Taranaki News.

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