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Gotthard Base Tunnel: Switzerland completes the construction of the world’s largest tunnel in 17 Years

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Swiss Federal President Johann Schneider-Ammann, right, speaks with French President Francois Hollande, left, on the opening day of the Gotthard rail tunnel, the longest tunnel in the world, at the fairground Rynaecht at the northern portal in Erstfeld, S. Image source: Reuters
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  • It took 17 years for the Swiss tunnelers to complete World’s largest tunnel
  • It is called Gotthard Base Tunnel, officially opened on June 1, 2016
  • Celebrations started on Wednesday June 1, 2016
  • The rail will be open for travelers this year, in December 2016

In this day and age everyone wants fast. Faster internet connection, faster customer service, faster results. In 1947 Swiss engineer Carl Eduard Gruner was dreaming about faster transportation. Switzerland’s Gotthard base tunnel is a staggering 35.4 miles long, and a mile and a half under the Gotthard mountain range. This tunnel stretches from Erstfeld and Bodio. The tunnel cuts commute time from Zurich to Milan by 45 minutes; that is fast.

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Before opening the tunnel as a means of public transportation, the Swiss wanted to take the time to commemorate and celebrate such an amazing feat. The tunnel’s website says that the tunnel presents to the world, “Swiss values such as innovation, precision and reliability.” The celebration was far from just being a combination of Swiss values. Modern dances accompanied the opening of the tunnel, and drew much of the attention.

Swiss police officers stand beside of mock gates of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel inside the event hall for the upcoming opening ceremony near the town of Erstfeld, Switzerland May 31, 2016. Image source: REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Swiss police officers stand beside of mock gates of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel inside the event hall for the upcoming opening ceremony near the town of Erstfeld, Switzerland May 31, 2016. Image source: REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

One dance number featured dancers who wore orange construction suits an boots. They danced on and near a flatcar. Another dance featured an angelic like creatures. The dancers danced in what appeared to be white briefs. One dancer suck out wearing wings and an oversized head. One other dance number spectators watched the dancers move about the tunnel wearing suits that were said to be, “a cross between a pom-pom and a hay bale.” These dance numbers all pay tribute to the Gotthard mountain range, and the significance it holds in Swiss society.

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Dancers and spectators were the majority of people who attended the opening of the tunnel. The inauguration of this milestone also drew attention from the leaders of the EU; German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. The opening also featured the traditional playing of alphorns. With this, the tunnel was blessed and the tunnel’s theme song was played.

The festivities do not stop there. This weekend a festival is planned to occur on both sides of the tunnel. There will also be a train commuting people through the tunnel from one end to the other.

This $12 billion monstrosity of a tunnel was completed on time, and Gruner’s dream came true. After 17 years of construction, 9 deaths, and $1,300 of taxes added to each person, this marvel of a tunnel has been opened. In December, the rail will be open for travelers.

Abigail Andrea is an intern at NewsGram. Twitter handle: @abby_kono

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  • Shivang Goel

    Amazing to read and know when India was coming above racial race;Independence, Swedish were thinking far too much; but the way India has progressed in recent years is marvelous according to international standards; this is a huge feat and should be celebrated for days and weeks;
    Indias pir panjal tunnel is hardly 12 kms while this is extremely amazing a 57km stretch

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Facebook introduces new privacy updates for EU users

The EU GDPR has been designed to harmonise data privacy laws across Europe -- to protect and empower all EU citizens' data

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The Facebook's image.
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Continuing with its efforts to protect users’ privacy after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook on Wednesday introduced new privacy updates for its users in Europe as part of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that will be effective from May 25.

Apart from seeking inputs from regulators and government officials, privacy experts and designers, Facebook brought together hundreds of employees across product, engineering, legal, policy, design and research teams to finalise new updates.

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Facebook was accused of leaking data to Cambridge Analytica earlier this year.

When it comes to ads based on data from partners, like websites and apps that use business tools such as Like button, Facebook will now ask people to review information about this type of advertising and to choose whether or not they want us to use data from partners to show them ads.

“If you’ve chosen to share political, religious and relationship information on your profile, we’ll ask you to choose whether to continue sharing and letting us use this information,” Erin Egan, Vice President and Chief Privacy Officer, Policy at Facebook said in a blog post. “Including this information on your profile is completely optional. We’re making it easier for people to delete it if they no longer want to share it,” added Ashlie Beringer, VP and Deputy General Counsel. Regarding the face recognition technology, Facebook is now giving people in the EU and Canada the choice to turn on face recognition.

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“Using face recognition is entirely optional for anyone on Facebook,” the post added. “While the substance of our data policy is the same globally, people in the EU will see specific details relevant only to people who live there, like how to contact our Data Protection Officer under GDPR,” Faceboom said.

“As part of our phased approach, people in the rest of the world will be asked to make their choices on a slightly later schedule,” the company added. The EU has asked businesses and service providers globally to comply with GDPR that comes into force from May 25 this year.

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Facebook’s CEO also vowed to fight fake news. Pixabay

The EU GDPR has been designed to harmonise data privacy laws across Europe — to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy and to reshape the way organisations across the region approach data privacy. After four years of debate, the GDPR was finally approved by the EU Parliament on April 14, 2016. Organisations that fail to comply with the new regulation will face hefty fines. IANS