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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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Adventurers and travelers: Add Western Australia’s Kimberley to your list

MD Staff

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Let your soul experience one of the most stunning and pristine places on earth, Western Australia’s Kimberley. Its coastline is so unspoiled, dinosaur footprints still smatter the rocks. Its oceans are so untouched, whales nurse their young in its warm waters. Its indigenous culture is so ancient, no other can match it. The Kimberley is more than a remarkable region in Western Australia; it’s one of the most fascinating and least explored places in the world. As world travelers seek unexplored destinations, The Kimberley has been added to their bucket list of dream vacations. This is a place that commands explorers to indulge in its many wonders.

A last true wilderness

Both magical and rugged, Western Australia’s Kimberley is one of the few last wilderness areas, like Alaska, Galapagos, Antarctica and the Amazon, where you feel the rawness of the earth and the wonder of nature with an ancient story. Immediately, there is a deep intangible presence in the Kimberley that is at once powerful yet calming. Night-blooming flowers from the giant Boab trees make the air fragrant while the night sky glitters with millions of stars.

The gateway to the Kimberley is the small pearling town of Broome, home to some of the largest and most prized pearls, where camel rides on Cable Beach is part of everyday life and where nine sets of dinosaur footprints cast as massive fossils. The influence of the pearling industry, with its melting pot of cultures and cuisines, has helped to create the distinctive character and charm of Broome, which offers select beach resorts, a unique calendar of events and exquisite dining options, including locally caught fresh seafood.

Modern means of exploration

The best way to experience the Kimberley is through expedition cruising. A unique collection of companies operate boats that take passengers to the region’s most pristine beaches and reefs, to towering waterfalls so close you can feel the fresh mist on your face, through ancient gorges, and to 350-million-year-old rock formations. Through expedition cruising, you will likely place your footstep where no one before you has ever been.

In this remote setting, visitors can encounter the true icons in Western Australia’s North West, including the natural phenomenon of the Horizontal Falls, the majestic 260-foot-tall King George Falls, and the Rowley Shoals featuring coral atolls home to 700 tropical fish species and considered among the best dive spots in the world, where not more than 500 people visit in a year.

Adventure need not be rugged

Just because you’re exploring one of the last untouched wildernesses on the planet doesn’t mean you can’t indulge.

Both adventurous and luxurious, Kimberley cruises bring the savvy traveler to places few humans have seen while offering them the comforts of a delicious meal showcasing local flavors (or your own catch of the day), soft beds, and services that connect travelers with the people and the land.

Every cruise is different. Many have on-board naturalists and experts that guide excursions and open the wonders of the region to curious passengers. Some high-end cruises have a helicopter to take you to the top of the cliffs and give you an unrivaled view of this unforgettable world.

Before heading to the Kimberley, explore Western Australia’s capital city Perth, home to many extraordinary experiences, including one of the world’s largest inner city parks, stunning metro beaches, a lively food and wine scene, marine encounters, and the State’s oldest wine region. Perth is the fastest-growing (and sunniest!) city in Australia.

To find the cruise that’s right for you, check out the Kimberley Expedition Cruise Guide, an invaluable resource that showcases a number of companies offering world-class excursions throughout this stunning region, or visit Down Under Answers, Qantas Vacations and Southern World.

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Top 5 reasons to visit El Salvador in 2018

MD Staff

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El Salvador, Central America’s smallest country, attracts a wide array of intrepid travelers who come to experience its vibrant culture and diverse outdoor activities. From its rich Maya history, to its volcanic beauty and generations-old artisan heritage, El Salvador provides plenty for travelers to explore.

El Salvador is incredibly easy to reach from the U.S. and offers everything from ecotourism to culinary adventures at a fraction of the price of more well-known Central American destinations. There are regular direct flights to El Salvador from major U.S. cities, including New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, and there is no need to exchange money upon arrival, as the U.S. dollar is the national currency.

Here are five ways to make the most of a trip to El Salvador.

  1. Kick back at the beach

There is no shortage of world-class beaches in El Salvador, with warm Pacific waters lapping on nearly 200 miles of coastline. Surfers flock to La Libertad for its renowned waves and international competitions. Those interested in learning to surf can find lessons for as low as $10. Along black sand beaches, travelers will find amazing seafood to enjoy while taking in magnificent ocean views.

  1. Hike volcanoes and waterfalls

El Salvador is known as the “Land of Volcanoes” with 25 volcanoes visible to the naked eye. Many travelers combine a city tour of San Salvador with an easy volcano hike in El Boquerón National Park, just a short drive from the city. Local guides can navigate visitors up steeper volcanoes for half- and full-day trips. The country’s tallest volcano is Santa Ana Volcano in Cerro Verde National Park northwest of San Salvador where hikers will find moderate to difficult trails with a stunning turquoise crater lake at the top.

  1. Get caffeinated on a coffee tour

El Salvador’s high altitude and tropical climate create the ideal conditions for growing coffee beans, and the country is known as one of the world’s top regions for specialty coffee production. Chances are that you have enjoyed java that originated in the mountainous region of El Salvador. A tour of El Carmen Coffee Estate gives visitors a closer look at the coffee-making process and provides the chance to taste some of the best coffee on earth straight from the source.

  1. Get crafty with an artisanal immersion

Several of El Salvador’s small colonial towns are known for signature artisanal crafts that travelers can learn during their stay. Those that travel north from San Salvador to the quaint town of Suchitoto can make their way to the Arte Añil workshop and gallery to learn how to dye cloth with indigo as the Maya once did. Further north, the town of La Palma draws inspiration from the Maya to create the Arte Naíf drawing style. Visitors learn to paint with spontaneity without adhering to perfect proportions, creating bright and contrasting colored designs on locally harvested copinol seeds for a truly exotic souvenir.

  1. Dig into the past with an archaeological site visit

Known as the “Pompeii of the Americas,” the UNESCO World Heritage Site Joya de Ceren provides a fascinating look at an ancient farming community that was buried in ash from a nearby volcano. A visit to the site and the nearby pyramids at San Andrés educates travelers on the lives of Central America’s original inhabitants who lived there as many as 1,000 years before Europeans arrived.

With easy flight options, low prices for world-class experiences, and the ability to hike a volcano in the morning and surf in the afternoon, it’s not hard to see why El Salvador has become a hot destination for 2018.

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Entrepreneurs in unexpected places: How one Midwest city promotes diverse local innovation

MD Staff

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In September of 2017, thousands of people from around the world congregated in an unlikely place: Wausau, Wisconsin.

This diverse crowd was gathered for the first International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival. While many may be surprised that such an event would be held in the middle of Wisconsin’s rolling hills and scenic lakes, it is locally a $50 million industry with a long history. In the mid-1970s Hmong immigrants, primarily from Vietnam, brought their entrepreneurial skills and revitalized the local ginseng industry. Welcomed by a friendly community that continues to foster an entrepreneurial spirit, Hsu’s Ginseng, now under the leadership of the original founder’s son Will Hsu, has grown to be the largest integrated ginseng growing and retailing operation in the U.S. Wausau’s industrious self-starters and newcomers grew a multimillion-dollar industry, and the region continues to incubate entrepreneurs across a diverse array of business sectors.

Local innovation

Wausau, ranked recently by ZipRecruiter as a Top 10 Job Market for 2018, has a track record of successful public-private development partnerships and hosts a thriving incubator — the Wausau Entrepreneurial and Education Center — to help local entrepreneurs get started and help established businesses grow. For instance, Wausau-based Resilient Technologies, now a business of Bridgestone Americas, was approached by the U.S. government to develop puncture-resistant tires. In an effort to make military vehicles more safe, they used strong local manufacturing ties to develop a first-of-its-kind non-pneumatic tire in Wausau’s incubator. Bridgestone is now looking for ways to apply the technology to its consumer and commercial portfolio, and develop next-generation tires that offer extended mobility.

“A lot of people don’t know these types of projects are happening here, but the city of Wausau is a great partner and the city provides our team with a wonderful place to call home,” says Louis Stark, operations manager, Resilient Technologies, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations.

The availability of an experienced workforce that can develop these specialized tires for the U.S. military is the same workforce that has made an impact on other areas of Wausau’s economy.

Entrepreneurial workforce

Sometimes entrepreneurial opportunities spring from unusual skills. Some residents in Wausau have deep connections to artistic traditions, including sewing. Bob Jacquart, chief executive officer of Stormy Kromer, makers of iconic hats and rugged outerwear, says he now relies on the sewing skills of Wausau’s residents to create one of the Midwest’s most storied brands.

Stormy Kromer’s operations in Wausau have been successful, outpacing production in the company’s headquarters in Ironwood, Michigan.

“I could not have felt more welcome and city leaders could not have been more accommodating in helping Stormy Kromer find a suitable space as well as skilled workers in Wausau,” says Jacquart. “Our business found exactly what it needed and the support from leaders was exceptional.”

Incubating community

The local economic conditions and support environment that allowed these Wausau-based companies to thrive are the very conditions that led Time Magazine to label Wausau a “middle-class paradise” last year.

A combination of affordability, welcoming atmosphere and economic diversity is attracting young people, new industries and incubating unlikely entrepreneurs. Aiming to make the most out of these trends, the city is responding in kind. New growth and development hit record levels in 2017 across diverse sectors of growing businesses in Wausau. The city’s warm attitude toward entrepreneurs and diversity further complement its traditional economic base in metals manufacturing, building materials, insurance, informational technology and health care.

To learn more about how the city of Wausau is attracting entrepreneurs and gaining an international reputation, visit www.wausome.com.

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