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Sunlight to be beamed onto Norwegian town square

Wednesday July 17th, 2013 in International, News | 1 Comment »

Rjukan (Norway), July 16 (IANS) Residents in Rjukan, a Norwegian industrial town nestled in a narrow valley in central Norway, will get some sunlight on the town square from this September, breaking a history of over 100 years of having no sunlight in winter.

If everything goes as planned, sunlight will be beamed onto the square in front of the town hall from the three mirrors erected 450 meters high on the mountainside, reported Xinhua.

The installation of the mirrors, which began July 1, 2013, has already been completed.

On Monday, workers and technicians were giving the five-million-kroner project a final touch.

For decades, residents of Rjukan, which is part of the Tinn municipality, the Telemark county, have being using the nearby cable car Krossobanen to get to the mountain top for sunshine in wintertime.

Karin Roe, chief of the Rjukan tourist office, said that people in the town will continue to use cable cars in winter although activities on the square are expected to increase.

The idea of building a huge mirror to reflect sunlight onto the town was almost as old as the town.

When he started to build the town in 1907, Sam Eyde, a co-founder of the Norwegian industrial giant Norsk Hydro, took to his heart the idea so that workers could have some sunlight in wintertime, saidRune Loedoeen, chief of the town.

“But at that time, we did not have the technology. So instead a cable car was built for the purpose,” said Loedoeen.

After five years of debate, the town council finally came up with a decision this year to invest 5 million Norwegian kroner ($823,000) to build the mirrors.

Source: Yahoo! News


Flying abroad? Not declaring goods may land you in trouble

MUMBAI: After angadias emerged from anonymity following a recent raid on trucks filled with cash, gold and diamonds, people have been asking if a person carrying a lot of money and valuables can be pulled up for doing so, especially if one is flying. Can a flyer be refused security clearance for carrying cash and valuables above a limit? The rules are different for international and domestic travel.

As per customs rules, for carrying gold and expensive items from India to other countries, one needs to procure a certificate from the precious cargo complex a day in advance.

For travelling abroad, one needs to be careful about one’s baggage. It is usual for one to carry jewellery, cash and expensive gadgets, but unless one declares the goods and their value before leaving, one can fall into customs’ net upon return. As per customs rules, for carrying gold and expensive items from India to other countries, one needs to procure a certificate from the precious cargo complex a day in advance. Upon return, the certificate can be shown to customs to claim duty exemption. “The traveler can thus leave the airport without any hassle,” said an officer from the Air Intelligence Unit.

What about bringing home goods bought abroad? “One needs to pay duty if one brings into the country things that cost more than a certain limit,” said a customs official. The duty is 36% for goods worth more than Rs 35,000. For gold, the duty regime is more liberal for women, the allowance being amounts costing up to Rs 20,000. For men, the limit is Rs 10,000. Amounts of gold above these limits attract a duty of 36%. As for cash, one is allowed to bring into the country $5 000 and an equal amount in traveler’s cheques (above what one declared at the time of leaving India).

Customs officials say travelers should never knowingly hide valuables to escape duty. “If discovered, they need to pay a fine apart from duty. It could also lead to an arrest and a court case,” said an official. “In 20-30% of the cases, the intention is not smuggling, but the cases are classified as such.”

What about domestic travel? Well, there is no rule on carrying cash, gold, jewels or gadgets, which means one can carry whatever one feels like and in any quantity. “We do not set limits on such items as they do not pose a haz ard to aircraft security,” said an official of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security.

But then the income tax department comes into the picture. “If the department receives a tipoff that someone is carrying a huge quantity of cash, its officials can stop and interrogate the flyer,” said an officer. “If one can produce a receipt or otherwise show the origin of the cash, there is no problem.”

Source: The Times of India


Flying Skywhale tale grows by at least $100,000

ACT taxpayers are paying at least $100,000 more than the territory government had indicated for the Skywhale hot-air balloon.

Official documents reveal the balloon is costing at least $334,000, not the $170,000 figure quoted by ACT government officials.

The official line on the cost to taxpayers of the balloon had been $170,000, with some extra costs for piloting and educational materials.

Jeremy Lasek, executive director of culture for the ACT Chief Minister’s directorate, gave Fairfax Media the figure on Thursday morning.

‘‘The balloon itself was in the vicinity of $170,000. We’ve also created a website, educational kits, piloting, a bunch of other things that were on top of it. So, I don’t have the total number, but the balloon design and construction and the testing was around $170,000,’’ he said.

But Chief Minister Katy Gallagher told an Assembly committee on Friday afternoon the cost to ACT taxpayers was $300,000, with one of her top officials saying the price would be capped at that level.

Philanthropic funding of $50,000, provided by the Aranday Foundation, would make up the rest of the cost.

On Friday afternoon, Mr Lasek confirmed the Skywhale, although paid for with ACT taxpayer funds, belonged to Melbourne company Global Ballooning.

The Skywhale would be good for about 100 flights, although there was no guaranteed minimum number of flights in the capital.

The giant artwork, which was revealed on Thursday morning, has divided opinion on its aesthetic qualities and reignited the sometimes acrimonious debate on taxpayer-funded government art.

Ms Gallagher said when she first saw diagrams of the balloon her eyes ‘‘nearly fell out of her head’’, but she had since become quite fond of it.

‘‘It shows us as a cosmopolitan city. Too often we are talked about as a boring place where nothing happens … it challenges those beliefs about Canberra,’’ she said.

Speaking on 2CC Friday morning, Centenary of Canberra creative director Robyn Archer also defended the cost of the hot-air balloon.

‘‘This is the cheapest piece of public art. Almost every piece of public art in Canberra cost more,’’ she said.’’

Aranday Foundation chairman Rupert Myer AM said he was excited by the work of Canberra-raised artist Patricia Piccinini.

‘‘In a glance, her works spirit us away to another type of universe where life exists differently. Without judgment,’’ Mr Myer said.

‘‘She makes us think deeply about how we respond to the unfamiliar and unknowable. And she does it with wit and candour.

‘‘It is a privilege to have supported the commission.’’

Piccinini’s Skywhale is nearly 23 metres high and took 1880 hours of work to make.

It used more than 3500 metres of fabric and weighs 500 kilograms with fuel, a pilot and two passengers on board.

The Skywhale will be revealed to the Canberra public on Saturday morning at 8.20am outside the National Gallery of Australia and will  shortly thereafter make its first flight, weather permitting, at 9.20am. The first official flight was originally scheduled for Monday morning, and a flight then will still go ahead if the weather remains favourable.

Source: Canberra Times


Emirates to introduce shisha lounges onboard A380 fleet

DUBAI: Emirates has announced that it plans to trial new shisha lounges aboard its A380 fleet. In a statement released this morning, the Dubai-based airline revealed that the lounges would be available to business and first class passengers on several of its long-haul routes flown using Airbus’ superjumbo, starting from next month.

Premium passengers will be able to order a shisha from their seat, before retiring to the Signature Shisha Room where it will be prepared by an expert. Pictures: Emirates

 

“Alongside unique offerings such as our Signature Spa and Onboard Lounges, with our new Signature Shisha Rooms premium customers will be now be able to relax amid luxurious surroundings with a traditional waterpipe,” the airline said in a press release.

“This new service will provide our Middle Eastern passengers with the sort of home comforts they’ve come to expect on our award-winning airline, while presenting those flying to the Middle East for the first time with the opportunity to sample one of the true tastes of Arabia before they’ve even landed.”

According to the statement, passengers will be able to pre-order a shisha from the onboard menu while at their seat and retire to the lounge after the main meal.

Emirates added that, should the trials run smoothly, it hopes to have the shisha service operational across its entire fleet of A380s by the year end.

Source: The Pan-Arabia Enquirer