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China’s new 565 metre high bridge to beat nation’s existing world-record

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Beipanjiang Bridge in China’s Guizhou province is built 565 metres above a river. It is expected to become the world’s highest bridge in terms of distance from the ground; The Bridge is 1,341 metres long and will open to traffic at the end of 2016.

Asia’s super power China is set to break its own record of the world’s highest bridge with the completion of a structure that stands 565 metres above the valley floor. Chinese engineers have completed the structure of the world’s highest bridge – the Beipanjiang Bridge, in mountainous southwestern China, 565 metres above a river. As such it overtakes the Si Du River Bridge in the central province of Hubei to become the world’s highest bridge. The final section of the main span of the Beipanjiang Bridge, connecting Yunnan province and Guizhou province, was put in place on 2016 September 09 Saturday. The entire 1,341-metre span is expected to open to traffic at the end of this year and will cut road trips from Liupanshui in Guizhou to Xuanwei in neighbouring Yunnan province from around five hours to less than two, state broadcaster China Central Television reported.

The announcement comes a week after authorities closed the world’s longest glass-bottomed bridge, also in China, after deciding it needed urgent maintenance. The bridge was opened to great fanfare 13 days earlier.

China News Service reported that the deck of the road bridge over a valley in southwestern China is 24 metres higher than the top of the rebuilt One World Trade Centre in New York City. The two ends of the bridge were linked on September 09. It will become the highest bridge – when measuring the vertical distance from the deck to the ground or water below – beating the Sidu River Bridge, in Hubei province, the current record holder completed in 2009, by just five metres.

The new bridge is part of a highway linking the eastern city of Hangzhou to Yunnan province. No precise date has been set for its completion later this year. China has been investing heavily in its infrastructure projects to support the slowing economy. Beijing unveiled a 4.7 trillion yuan (HK$5.5 trillion) plan in May to improve the country’s transport infrastructure over the next three years, which covers 303 projects including railways, highways and urban rail. Construction of the new 1,341-metre-long bridge is costing about 1 billion yuan (HK$1.2 billion).The mountainous Guizhou province is home to seven of the 10 highest bridges in China, Xinhua reported.

Several of the world’s highest bridges are in China, although the world’s tallest bridge — measured in terms of the height of its own structure, rather than the distance to the ground — remains France’s Millau viaduct at 343 metres tall.

Earlier, on 22 August 2016 the world’s highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge has opened in China’s spectacular Zhangjiajie Mountains – the inspiration for American blockbuster Avatar. Measuring 430m (1,400ft) long and suspended 300m above the ground, the bridge spans the canyon between two mountain cliffs in Zhangjiajie park in China’s central Hunan province. Six metres wide and made of 99 panels of clear glass, the bridge can carry up to 800 people at the same time, an official in Zhangjiajie – a popular tourist destination – told the Xinhua news agency.

Tourists in China visiting what is claimed to be the world’s longest and highest glass bridge have been invited to smash it with sledgehammers to prove it is safe. The bridge, 430 metres long, six metres wide and 300 metres above the bottom of the valley, can hold 800 people walking on it at one time. A BBC reporter Dan Simmons did a similar test on the walkway with a sledgehammer earlier this month, but some were not convinced according to media reports as he struck a separate piece of glass rather than the structure of the bridge itself. About 30 visitors were invited to try to smash the glass floor of the bridge at the Grand Canyon in Zhangjiajie in Hunan province on Saturday. The tourists wielding 5.5 kg hammers did succeed in cracking the glass, but a two tones vehicle then drove over the bridge in safety. “Even if the glass cracks, it will not break into pieces. Pedestrians can still walk on it,” Chen Zhidong, an official at the park, was quoted as saying.

Tourists can walk across the bridge, designed by Israeli architect Haim Dotan, and the more adventurous will be able to bungee jump or ride a zip line. “I wanted to feel awe-inspired by this bridge. But I’m not afraid – it seems safe!” Wang Min, who was visiting the new structure with her husband and children, said. Following an alarming glass bridge cracking incident at the Yuntai Mountain in northern Henan in 2015, authorities in Zhangjiajie were eager to demonstrate the safety of the structure. Only 8,000 people each day will be allowed to cross the bridge, Xinhua said, and tourists will have to book their tickets a day in advance, at a cost of 138 yuan ($20). People wearing stilettos will be banned. Local authorities have said that one of the summits in Zhangjiajie Park inspired the floating mountain which appears in the American blockbuster Avatar.

A word

Many cities and town in countries like India remains congested and traffic jammed owning mainly to the lack of knowledge about bridge technology. Although India has made inroads in building tall rail bridges even with ‘records” , Indian planners have ideas about ending traffic jams by building tall bridges that bypass the several streets and even entire town.

Hopefully, China’s rich experience and strides in bridge building technology would be of use for third world countries like India, constantly struggling with heavy traffic disorders-.both genuine and artificially created by vested interests.

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Take a pre-cruise vacation and ‘live like a local’ on Florida’s Space Coast

MD Staff

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There’s something magical about taking a cruise. Is it the open ocean? The indescribable feeling of warm sea air blowing through your hair? The endless access to world-class food, drinks and entertainment? Whatever the reason, each year millions of people around the world set their sights on the fun, adventure and luxury that cruise ships have become known to deliver.

Located on Florida’s Space Coast, bustling Port Canaveral is one of the largest and busiest cruise ports in the U.S. As the home port to some of the most-innovative players in the cruise world, there’s a good chance that your next cruise might depart from this vibrant east coast venue.

With so much to see and do on the Space Coast, many cruise passengers extend their vacation by a day or two in this fun-filled port city, so they can settle in before their departure and bypass any last-minute travel challenges. It’s called taking a “pre-cruise,” and it’s a perfect way to immerse yourself into the rhythm of your vacation and ensure you’re well-rested and prepared for your cruise adventure. To truly experience and get an intimate feel for the special way of life on the Space Coast during your pre-cruise, you’ll need to explore the area like a local, starting with these five must-do activities:

Treetop Trek Located at the Brevard Zoo, the Treetop Trek allows visitors to climb, crab walk and zipline through different animal habitats and have an up-close experience with wildlife. With three different aerial obstacle courses, this heart-racing activity provides something fun for everyone.

Duran Golf Club What would a trip to Florida be without a few rounds of golf? And we’re not just talking about any old kind of golf. No, we’re talking a world-class course that attracts pros, beginners and everyone in between. A favorite among locals and nationally recognized players, Duran has been voted “Best Public Course” and ranked as one of the top 50 courses in the country for practice ranges.

Riverfront Park — Once you experience Riverfront Park in historic Cocoa Village, you’ll quickly understand why this is a favorite place for locals to hang out. With public access to nearly 10 acres of prime riverfront land, you’ll see plenty of people jogging, playing, relaxing and loving the sun, as good Floridians do. The park includes a playground, amphitheater, boardwalk, spacious covered pavilions and areas for fishing.

Ossorio Bakery & Cafe We could write pages about how delicious the food here is, but this handful of words usually will suffice: hand-rolled pastries and homemade ice cream. Caught your interest yet? Located in historic downtown Cocoa Village, Ossorio has been providing locals with unforgettable meals and treats in a relaxed and friendly setting for the past 15 years.

Superb FishingYou know how they say there are plenty of fish in the sea? Here, that’s literally true. Along the Space Coast, there are something like 500 different species of fish inhabiting the local waters. From deep-sea fishing to surf casting to quietly angling along a peaceful river or lagoon, there are numerous guides and outfitters who can take you on a fishing adventure like no other.

You’ve spent months, maybe even years, planning your dream cruise vacation. Take an extra day or two and make it even more special by exploring the Space Coast. You deserve it.

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A journey from Heydarabad to Alinjagala Fortress

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Vasif Talibov, the leader of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (Azerbaijan), has shown to the world a deep commitment towards strengthening his country’s response to the threat of climate change, enhanced urban development, revamped sustainable tourism industry and promoted reforestation projects throughout the regions of Nakhchivan. The architects of the Paris Agreement and international community in general ought to pay a greater attention to the remarkable accomplishments that were proudly implemented by Chairman Vasif Talibov, who has made Nakhchivan, the westernmost province of Azerbaijan, become as developed as any western European country.  Over the last decade, Chairman Talibov has radically transformed the renewable energy production matrix of Nakhchivan, a region that has the world’s highest number of hydroelectric power plants per square kilometer, making this territory of Azerbaijan home of seven hydroelectric dams, one solar power plant and one gas turbine. Furthermore, the city of Heydarabad, only a few meters away from the border with Armenia and a hundred yards away from a desolate precarious Armenian village, is testimony to a perfect urban setting with paved roads, where a brand new middle school, health care center and a city hall make it an attractive tourist destination.

Vasif Talibov

Additionally, foreign visitors will appreciate a prosperous city with all amenities on the Azerbaijani side and on the Armenian side there is a terribly poor community with houses built out of adobe or mud bricks; indeed it appears to be an abandoned village that is artificially implanted by Yerevan’s fascist regime.

On November 23rd, 2017, as I was traveling from Nakhchivan city to Shahrur region, it is remarkable to observe the overwhelming reforestation campaigns organized by the Government of Nakhchivan on both sides of a widely paved highway, a project that had involved civil society leaders, Nakhchivan State University students and faculty and members of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.

Chairman Talibov’s vision and dynamic leadership has encompassed another sector that is very important to Azerbaijan’s national economy, tourism infrastructure and restoration of historical, archaeological sites have proved to be vital in the promotion of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan across the world. The Alinja – Gala Fortress is an emblematic monument that has attracted thousands of tourists and rushed forward as a symbol of Chairman Vasif Talibov’s pragmatic leadership in restoring historical monuments and bolstering the tourism industry at a time when Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan has been selected as the world’s capital city of Islamic culture.

Merely located one hour away from Nakhchivan city, Alinja – Gala fortress, a masterpiece of Chairman Vasif Talibov’s vision, is a genuine tourist destination and a cultural monument that is equally a brilliant engineering innovation established at the top of a rock on the VI century.  The fortifications crowning its defense system are at an altitude of 1,800 meters.  Indeed, in Azerbaijan there are other fortresses built at a greater height but they cannot be compared to Alinja – Gala fortress. The combination of natural obstacles and the art of fortification, make this structure impossible to conquer by force.

Up to fifty buildings have been located at the top: barracks, warehouses, and a prison for highly dangerous criminals, a bathhouse, stables, bakeries, a mint house, an extensive arsenal, the treasury and the ruler’s palace.  Many leaders have deposited their treasures in this fortress; including the great Atabeys of Azerbaijan, the Ildenizids, the Khulaguids and the Jelairids.  At that time it was hard to find a safer place than Alinja – Gala, the quantity of treasures deposited in Alinja-Gala can be ascertained from the fact that when a ruler from the Chobanid dynasty, Malik Ashraf, wanted to retrieve them out of the fortress, he needed 1,000 camels and 400 mules to transport his wealth.

The Eagle’s nest, in the fatherland of Mammad Araz Ibrahimov – a Nakhchivani poet – has only two mountain paths leading to the fortress.  On the eastern slope its narrow path, on which only two people could climb, was blocked by three walls and on the western side – by eight walls.  Each had a height of up to nine meters and was made not of brittle bricks, but of large stones.  There was no point in trying to destroy this structure with a ram or medieval cannons.  Moreover, watchtowers, and signal stations where built on the roads leading to the citadel, and on the slopes, there were small shelters for two to three arches at a distance of 20-25 feet from one another.  In general, in Alinja – Gala, every inch of land could be taken only at the cost of the invaders’ lives.

It is imperative to note that Alinja – Gala fortress is located at the helm of a steep mountain that would immediately bring to a total exhaustion every warrior equipped with an armored uniform, therefore becoming an easy target to the arrows of over 600 defenders of the fortress.

Such a historical monument epitomizes the best that Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan has to offer to international history buffs and to an audience that is eager to appreciate early medieval cultural monuments that are meticulously restored and easily accessible. Alinja – Gala Fortress is a signature piece of restoration led by Chairman Vasif Talibov, a transparent, effective elected official that has made Nakhchivan one of the top destinations in Europe.

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UNESCO and CHANEL empowering women in Madagascar through sustainable tourism

MD Staff

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© UNESCO

A new programme aims to help women in Madagascar who have missed out on the economic benefits of growing tourism.

Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world with the almost 80% of the population living on less than $1.90 a day. Tourism has grown significantly in recent years but the industry has often failed to translate into economic prospects for local communities, and, in particular, women.

UNESCO’s CapED Programme has been active in Madagascar since 2011 supporting the country’s vocational education and training, with particular emphasis on agriculture, being the largest sector. In January 2018, CapED formed a partnership with Fondation CHANEL  to further vocational education and training in the area of sustainable tourism, with a particular focus on women. The programme will benefit communities surrounding the Tsingy Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on the western coast of Madagascar. While this site attracts a high level of tourism, the local population does not benefit from this opportunity.

The innovative partnership brings together expertise from UNESCO’s Culture and Education Sectors. It works to provide women with access to training and opportunities in the sustainable tourism sector to improve their livelihoods and help them become financially independent.

Two vocational training programmes encourage sustainable tourism and support local produce. Six hundred women will be trained to grow vegetables to sell in local hotels and markets or to produce marketable handicrafts, supported by a designer while preserving local traditions. These products will be awarded a Sustainable Tourism Label. The women will also benefit from literacy and accounting lessons. The second programme provides vocational training opportunities to local youth in sustainable tourism trades such as hotel or restaurant management and is offered through training centres already supported by the CapED programme.

The programme is co-financed by the Government of Madagascar, Fondation CHANEL and UNESCO’s CapED Programme, with in kind support from the US Embassy and National Geographic.

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