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A new freight train connects Russia with China

A freight train connecting Russia with China arrived in Ganzhou an inland city in Jiangxi province, carrying goods from Moscow. The freight train travelled more than 7,000 km, before reaching Ganzhou in eastern China.

Significance for China

Jiangxi province is the former revolutionary heartland of the Communist Party. This freight train connecting Russia and China is expected to bring resources from Europe and boost local development. Ganzhou is an inland area with a complex landscape and was a hot bed of revolutionary activities owing to its remote mountain ranges. However, its complex landscape has become a stumbling block in development. Even though, the Chinese government tried to push regional development in the past few decades, Ganzhou could not fetch any major projects due to its geography, making many people to live in poverty.

Rail freight is cheap and costs only half that of air freight and half the time of sea freight. In order to boost its export revenues, China is already operating train services to several cities in Europe. In January 2017, it inaugurated a new train service to London traversing over 12,000 kilometres across 18 days. China is set to gain heavily from opening the ancient trade routes and strengthen connectivity with Europe. It would also enhance regional cooperation in countries that lie along the Silk Road.

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India signs up to Europe-led clampdown on tax evasion and corruption

India has joined a group of nearly 40 countries that have signed a Europe-led clampdown on tax evasion and corruption.

Under this group countries are committed to automatically exchange information on beneficial ownership between law enforcement agencies and tax authorities of partner countries.

This initiative aims to develop a global standard for the automatic exchange of beneficial ownership data

Most European countries except Switzerland have signed this automatic exchange mechanism. Besides India, some of the other countries outside Europe include Nigeria, Afghanistan, Mexico and UAE.

India’s this move is seen step in the direction of NDA Government’s election pledge in 2014 to recover billions of dollars sent to tax havens abroad to avoid income tax.

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Gotthard Base Tunnel: World’s longest and deepest rail tunnel inaugurated

The world’s longest and deepest railway tunnel Gotthard Base Tunnel was inaugurated in Switzerland. The full service of twin-bore tunnel will begin in December 2016.

The Gotthard Base Tunnel is 57-kilometer long and connects northern and southern Europe and also shortens travel time for many rail routes.

It has overtaken Japan’s Seikan tunnel, which measures 53.9 kilometers, as the longest rail tunnel in the world.

Key Facts

  • The twin-bore Gotthard Base Tunnel is the first flat low-level route through the Alps Mountain and is situated 2.3 km deep under the Alps.
  • It was built in 17 years by 2,400 workers, at a cost of over 12 billion dollars as a part of the AlpTransit project, also known as New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA).
  • The project consists of two single-track tunnels connecting Erstfeld (Uri) with Bodio (Ticino) and passing below Sedrun (Graubünden).
  • The construction of the tunnel began in 1996 after 64% of Swiss voters in a 1992 referendum had accepted the AlpTransit project.
  • The drilling operations in the eastern tunnel were completed in October 2010.
  • Main purpose of the Gotthard Base Tunnel: (i) Increase total transport capacity across the Alps, especially for freight. (ii) Shift freight volumes from road to rail to reduce fatal crashes and environmental damage caused by ever-increasing numbers of heavy lorries. (iii) Provide a faster connection between northern and southern Europe, cutting journey time for passenger trains by about an hour.

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