One Belt and One Road Initiative, the new Silk Road

31 July 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

President of China Xi Jinping © The Russian Presidential Press and Information Office

President of China Xi Jinping © The Russian Presidential Press and Information Office

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries and international organizations in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa. “Belt” refers to the overland routes for road and rail transportation, called “the Silk Road Economic Belt“; whereas “road” refers to the sea routes, or the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It was known as the One Belt One Road (OBOR) and the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road until 2016 when the Chinese government considered the emphasis on the word “one” was prone to misinterpretation. The Chinese government calls the initiative “a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future”. Some observers see it as a push for Chinese dominance in global affairs with a China-centered trading network. The project has a targeted completion date of 2049, which coincides with the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.   read more…

Gumball 3000 Rally

29 July 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, London, Sport

© Frankie Fouganthin/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Frankie Fouganthin/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Gumball 3000 is a collection of companies that includes an apparel brand, a registered charity and is best known for an annual 3,000-mile (4,800 km) international celebrity motor rally, which takes place on public roads. The name comes from the 1976 movie The Gumball Rally. It was established in 1999 by Maximillion Cooper, with his vision to combine cars, music, fashion and entertainment.   read more…

Smart City

22 April 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, Design & Products, Energy, Environment, Building Automation, Green Buildings, Green Technologies, Intelligent Buildings, Living, Working, Building, Sustainability

© flickr.com - Wilgengebroed/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Wilgengebroed/cc-by-2.0

A smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic data collection sensors to supply information which is used to manage assets and resources efficiently. This includes data collected from citizens, devices, and assets that is processed and analyzed to monitor and manage traffic and transportation systems, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals, and other community services. The smart city concept integrates information and communication technology (ICT), and various physical devices connected to the network (the Internet of things or IoT) to optimize the efficiency of city operations and services and connect to citizens. Smart city technology allows city officials to interact directly with both community and city infrastructure and to monitor what is happening in the city and how the city is evolving.   read more…

The Great Journeys of New Zealand

3 April 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

The Great Journeys of New Zealand © KiwiRail/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Great Journeys of New Zealand © KiwiRail/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Great Journeys of New Zealand is the tourism division of KiwiRail that brings together its three Scenic train services (TranzAlpine, Northern Explorer and Coastal Pacific) with its passenger ferries business, Interislander. The new division was launched in May 2017 and replaced the former tourism brand, KiwiRail Scenic Journeys.   read more…

Theme Week Taiwan – Taichung

23 January 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Night Market © AngMoKio/cc-by-sa-3.0

Night Market © AngMoKio/cc-by-sa-3.0

Taichung, officially known as Taichung City, is a special municipality located in central Taiwan. Taichung has a population of approximately 2.8 million people and is Taiwan’s second most populous city since July 2017. It serves as the core of the Taichung–Changhua metropolitan area, which is the second largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. The current city was formed when Taichung County merged with the original provincial Taichung City to form the special municipality on 25 December 2010. Located in the Taichung Basin, the name of the city was created under Japanese rule, and became a major economic and cultural hub. Originally composed of several scattered hamlets, the city of Taichung was planned and developed by the Japanese. It was called “the Kyoto of Formosa” in Japanese era because of its calm and beauty. The city is home to many cultural sites, including the historic Taichung Park, the Lin Family Gardens, and many temples.   read more…

70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

10 December 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a historic document that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at its third session on 10 December 1948 as Resolution 217 at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France. Of the then 58 members of the United Nations, 48 voted in favor, none against, eight abstained, and two did not vote.   read more…

Theme Week Kazakhstan – Almaty

24 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Nurly Tau business center in Almaty from the City Hall Park © flickr.com - Alexandru Panoiu/cc-by-2.0

Nurly Tau business center in Almaty from the City Hall Park © flickr.com – Alexandru Panoiu/cc-by-2.0

Almaty (“City of Apples/Apple Trees”), formerly known as Alma-Ata and Verny, is the largest city in Kazakhstan, with a population of 1.8 million people, about 8% of the country’s total population. It served as capital of the Kazakh state in its various forms from 1929 to 1997, under the influence of the then Soviet Union and its appointees. Alma-Ata was the host city for a 1978 international conference on Primary Health Care where the Alma Ata Declaration was adopted, marking a paradigm shift in global public health. In 1997, the government relocated the capital to Astana in the north of the country, which is about 12 hours away by train.   read more…

Theme Week Kazakhstan – Baikonur

23 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Baikonur Cosmodrome Museum © flickr.com - Ninara/cc-by-2.0

Baikonur Cosmodrome Museum © flickr.com – Ninara/cc-by-2.0

Baikonur, formerly known as Leninsk (see Tyuratam), is a city of republic significance on the Northern bank of the Syr Darya river, rented and administered by the Russian Federation. It was constructed to service the Baikonur Cosmodrome and was officially renamed Baikonur by Russian president Boris Yeltsin on December 20, 1995. During the Soviet period, it was sometimes referred to as Zvezdograd (Star City). The rented area is an ellipse measuring 90 kilometres (56 mi) east to west by 85 km (53 mi) north to south, with the cosmodrome situated at the area’s centre.   read more…

Theme Week Kazakhstan – Atyrau

22 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Ural River in Atyrau © Ds02006

Ural River in Atyrau © Ds02006

Atyrau, known as Guryev until 1991, is the capital of Atyrau Region. It is located at the mouth of the Ural River on the Caspian Sea, 2,700 kilometres (1,700 miles) west of Almaty and 351 kilometres (218 miles) east of the Russian city of Astrakhan. Modern Atyrau is famous for its oil and fish industries. It has 154,100 inhabitants (2007), up from 142,500 (1999 census), 90% ethnic Kazakhs (up from 80%), the rest being mostly Russians and other ethnic groups such as Tatars and Ukrainians.   read more…

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