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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
  • 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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Visit Switzerland Virtually This Summer Vacation

Switzerland tourism encourages people to stay indoors and helps them discover the Alpine glory

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Lag da Breil, Switzerland. Reservoir with currently low water level. Wikimedia Commons

Under normal circumstances, most of us right now would be diligently planning our summer vacations, but these are trying times.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across major parts of the world, many countries are doing what they can to keep their citizens safe. Restrictions on domestic and global travel are one of them.

Switzerland Tourism, while encouraging travellers across the world to stay home and stay safe, has launched a new campaign – #dreamnowtravellater – to keep hope afloat in travellers across the world giving them something to look forward to when the pandemic is finally behind us.

A short video released by the Switzerland Tourism board shares with the world the message to “Dream Now Travel Later” against a backdrop of its stunning landscapes. It assures the world that the beautiful country will pause time and stay the way it is and be ready to welcome visitors when the world opens up. The video asks people to stay home and stay safe until that time comes.

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Waltensburg/Vuorz, Switzerland – ruins of a castle Munt Sorn Gieri (Burg Jörgenberg)
Summary. Wikimedia Commons

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At a time when the world is burdened with stress and worry, the tourism board encourages people to dream instead of the majestic mountains, fresh alpine air, gorgeous trains, scenic lakes and the wonderful architecture of Switzerland that are all waiting for them. The video aims to spread positivity and hope to inspire people to look forward to good times when this crisis is over.

Authorities in Zermatt have been spreading the spirit of hope and resilience for communities across the world by projecting flags of different countries along with messages of hope and positivity designed by artist Gerry Hofstetter on the majestic Matterhorn peak. Through the display of these images, the village shows its solidarity with people from different nations who are currently suffering and is grateful to those who are helping the world to overcome the crisis. (IANS)

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Fans Can Now Get Membership in Sunburn Family

Now get 10 exclusive memberships for Sunburn Festivals

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Sunburn_Festival_Pyro
Sunburn Festival is offering memberships to fans. Wikimedia Commons

Sunburn fans can now enroll online for a Sunburn Club Card Membership that offers ten exclusive privileges, benefits and rewards.

Kicking off from Season 14, this loyalty programme is launched Percept Live, creators of Sunburn, Asia’s biggest electronic dance music festival.

The ten exclusive of the membership are:

  1. 1 Free GA ticket to any Sunburn Arena of your choice
  2. 20% Discount for Tickets for up to 4 friends at any Sunburn Arena of your choic
  3. 20% additional beverage top up (up to Rs.5,000)
  4. 20% off on official Sunburn Merchandise
  5. 10% Discount on Package Deals to Sunburn Goa
  6. 10% Discount to all Sunburn Arenas
  7. 1 Free Entry to Sunburn Club Nights / Pre Party
  8. A Dedicated Box Office window and separate entry aisle at every Sunburn show
  9. Exclusive Artist Line Up reveal 12 hours before the general announcement to the Public
  10. 2 Lucky Winners get an opportunity to Meet & Greet at every Sunburn arena
Sunburn festival in Goa.
This picture shows Sunburn festival in Goa. Wikimedia Commons

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The card is available at an early bird offer price of Rs 999 per person. This price will last only for up to May 13, 2020, post which Membership for a Sunburn Club Card will cost Rs. 1,999 per person. Fans have to enroll online at Bookmyshow.com to attain the privileged Sunburn Club Card.

Karan Singh, COO, Percept Live states: “The Sunburn Club Card is our endeavour to enhance the value proposition of the Sunburn experience and elevate it’s stature from an aspirational dance music festival to a comprehensive lifestyle program that offers value add throughout the year to our loyal Sunburn fans. Through this Card we aim to address the unique requests and wishes of our loyal fans, especially the discerning urban millennials, whose spend on entertainment has increased over the past decade and are looking for additional privileged benefits to ease and enhance their overall festival attendance experience. We have a great artist line up & many surprises in store this year, and we are sure that our fans are going to love the many unique offerings presented via our all new Sunburn Club Card.” (IANS)

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How is the Coronavirus Crisis Affecting the Construction Industry?

Construction, by and large, is a huge part of the world’s economy

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Coronavirus
The world is still in the early days of the global pandemic and with many countries instituting lockdowns recently, it would be unwise to try and predict the future. Pixabay

Ever since the World Health Organization declared Coronavirus a global pandemic, countries have been scrambling for their next steps.

Countries across Europe have effectively shut down, the United States has closed its borders, and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently ordered a 21-day countrywide shutdown.

The world economy has become a big focus as many businesses either shut their doors voluntarily or are closed as they do not classify as a “non-essential” service. 

Some sectors, like hotels, airlines, and other travel-related industries have taken a beating. Numerous airlines such as American Airlines, Lufthansa, Delta, and British Airways are requesting government assistance in order to survive the overnight loss of flights and passengers.

Other industries, such as online entertainment, grocery stores, and eCommerce are thriving. 

Then, there are industries that seem to be stuck in the middle. Construction is one of those industries as different countries seem to have different responses to what to do with construction.

So what is in store for the construction industry?

Workers Fear for Their Safety

With nearly all countries preaching the importance of social distancing, construction is one such industry that is unable to put social distancing practices into play. With so much collaboration on the construction site, both in close contact and through the exchange of tools, it’s easy to see why construction workers might feel a bit frightened.

It’s not just the fact that workers might be in close proximity to one another at the worksite, but they are also in close proximity with hundreds if not thousands of strangers during their commute. 

coronavirus
It’s not just the fact that workers might be in close proximity to one another at the worksite, but they are also in close proximity with hundreds if not thousands of strangers during their commute.

Many countries have already classified construction workers as non-essential, but others have been a bit vague. The UK, for example, has said that if work can continue in the open air, then it should be allowed.

Projects Delayed

Many countries receive their construction materials from other countries through trade. India is one such country as the second-largest country in the world receives much of its materials from China. 

The main goods received are iron, steel, electronic equipment, plastic goods, and more. When those shipments stopped to do the virus spreading, many firms had but no choice to delay projects. 

This is a phenomenon that is also worldwide, as the United States reports that around 30% of construction projects have been put on hold with contractors saying that almost 20% of the delays were due to equipment issues or lack of products.

Projects that are continuing are making use of all tools available, getting creative with how materials are moved and consistently working towards a quick solution.

A Huge Part of the Economy

Construction, by and large, is a huge part of the world’s economy. In India, construction is responsible for roughly 15% of the working class and over 5% of the country’s GDP. 

In fact, the construction market is expected to be worth $1 trillion within the next five years, according to a report from KPMG in 2016. 

With such a large part of the economy coming to a semi-halt, how is that going to affect the nation’s economy overall?

Construction
Construction, by and large, is a huge part of the world’s economy. In India, construction is responsible for roughly 15% of the working class and over 5% of the country’s GDP.

As of now, it means that a lot of people are losing their jobs. With over 30 million people employed in the construction industry, that’s a lot of the working class that’s being told to stay at home.

The majority of India’s construction workforce are contractors, meaning they do not have the same protections and rights as employees would. Many are expecting to lose their jobs over the next few weeks.

The government is expected to unveil a multi-billion dollar stimulus package in the next coming days which will help, but many will still continue to feel the effects of the lockdown and lack of work.

A Boom in the Future?

What happens when this is all over and people start returning to work?

Unfortunately, no one knows the correct answer to that question. The world is still in the early days of the global pandemic and with many countries instituting lockdowns recently, it would be unwise to try and predict the future.

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Projects would likely start to trickle back in slowly as measures are taken to make sure there isn’t a second wave of the virus. The fight for jobs will be fierce as the market is likely to be flooded with millions looking to work again.

Eventually, though, people will start spending money again which should help the economy start to recover.

[Disclaimer: The pictures used in the article are supplied by the author, NewsGram has no intention of infringing copyrights.]