Submitted by: Stephen Willis

With an important position on the edge of Europe, Holland is an outward looking country with a strong economy. The freight forwarding infrastructure in Holland has seen substantially investment over recent years so as to help boost its overseas trade and its role at the heart of European international freight.

Holland’s location gives it easy access to markets in the UK and Germany, with the port of Rotterdam being the largest port in Europe. Rotterdam is a vital hub for freight transport.

Rotterdam is well geared up to handling the considerable volume of imports and exports that go through the port every day. There is an ongoing programme of improvement which keeps it at the leading edge of freight services, including the construction of Maaslakte 2, which is now under way.

The port has estimated that freight transport throughput will double to 22M Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) by 2020. This may seem optimistic given the current subdued trading conditions worldwide, but last year’s record of just under 11M TEU was double the figure just three years ago.

To help facilitate the anticipated increase in freight transport, the Port of Rotterdam is turning attention to the problems of absorbing the extra container traffic generated in its hinterland and how best to influence the modal split and increase the use of rail and barge for freight forwarding in preference to freight transport by road. This is driven both by needs to increase efficiency and also environmental concerns. The current inter modal split is around 13% rail, 30% barge and 57% road. It is targeted that this changes to 20% rail, 45% barge and no more than 35% road in the medium term.

At present, there can be intense traffic congestion, which is a problem for freight companies and shipping companies, as activities are constrained by the Maas at the Northern border and the Hartland Canal at the south. This means that road traffic cannot filter south along the coast and can only cross to the Northern side through the Maas Tunnel.

Major roadworks are scheduled between 2010 and 2015 which will result in a reduction in this problem and an improvement in freight transport once they are completed, although there will inevitably be additional disruption created to freight services in the meantime.

There are also improvements under way to the rail infrastructure, so that more freight forwarding can make use of rail, but the German authorities do not intend to complete their section of the planned new freight line until 2015, and even then capacity will only be 10 trains an hour in each direction, shared between container trains and coal and iron ore trains for the German steel mills and power plants.

So although it will take time for the various developments to be established and impact on the modal split as is planned, Holland is well under way addressing the issues related to investing in the future of the Port of Rotterdam. This will help ensure a bright future for every shipping company and freight company that is involved in international freight through Rotterdam.

This is important as Holland is one of Europe’s most vibrant centres of trade and industry and one of the most open and internationally oriented economies in the world. It is a very competitive, growing market with opportunities for trade in all sectors.Holland’s strategic location gives it a crucial role as a key transportation hub, at the very centre of international freight and freight services in Europe, and the development work under way at Rotterdam will help it stay at the leading edge.

About the Author: Stephen Willis is Managing Director of

RW Freight Services

a UK based freight transport company, established in 1971 and operating worldwide freight forwarding services including specialist freight services to and from



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Concrete supplier indicted in Boston ‘Big Dig’ scandal

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Boston’s Central Artery and Third Harbor Tunnel Project (CA/T), unofficially known as the Big Dig, plagued by cost overruns and reports of shoddy workmanship, has been hit with yet another scandal as six employees of its primary concrete supplier have been indicted for falsifying records regarding allegedly inferior concrete supplied to the massive highway construction project.

Federal prosecutors alleged in a 135 count indictment that of the 135,000 truckloads of concrete, a “web” of falsified documents were used to cover up a conspiracy where at least 5,000 truckloads — 1.2 percent of the concrete used — did not meet specifications. The company, Aggregate Industries NE Inc. was paid US$105 million for the concrete.

Aggregate said in a statement Thursday that it would cooperate with authorities.

“As a result of extensive testing by industry experts, Aggregate Industries is satisfied that all of the concrete it has supplied on the Big Dig and throughout the commonwealth is structurally sound,” the statement said.

Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly said “We have no evidence whatsoever that the structural integrity and safety of the tunnel has been compromised.”

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said in a prepared statement, “No one in Massachusetts should be surprised to learn that a project so badly mismanaged, over budget, and grossly delayed is now also facing allegations of criminal misbehavior.” Romney and Lt. Governor Kerry Healey have also announced that they have decided to return campaign contributions from workers of Aggregate Industries.

Indicted were: former general manager Robert Prosperi, 63, of Lynnfield, Massachusetts; Marc Blais, 36, of Lynn, Massachusetts, a dispatch manager; John Farrar, 42, of Canterbury, Connecticut, a dispatch manager; Gerard McNally, 53, of Rockland, Massachusetts, a quality control manager; Gregory Stevenson, 53, of Furlong, Pennsylvania, district operations manager; and Keith Thomas, 50, of Billerica, Massachusetts, a dispatch manager. Stevenson and Farrar are no longer with the company. Aggregate says it has suspended the others.

According to the indictments,

  • the six Aggregate employees recycled concrete that had been rejected because it had not been used within 90 minutes of being mixed
  • in some cases double-billing for the loads
  • the workers gave falsified documentation to project inspectors to show the concrete was fresh
  • the faulty concrete was used in walls and roof slabs in the Interstate 93 tunnel, parts of the Interstate 90 tunnel and the sea walls of the Fort Point Channel, among other places.

At the arrest hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Wyshack said, “The taxpayers of this community and this country will be paying for years to come.”

Lawyers for the employees say the men believed their conduct was legal, that the concrete supplied by Aggregate Industries met all the strength requirements of the project, and that Big Dig managers sometimes waived the 90-minute rule when trucks of concrete were lined up to meet heavy demand. Stephen Delinsky, an attorney for one of the defendants, said they delivered quality concrete, but prosecutors probing the troubled project are looking to place blame. “It’s always easy to blame the lowest level, which is the concrete manufacturers. Each defendant believed that they acted in good faith. They believed at all times their conduct was legal and believed the concrete delivered to the Big Dig was appropriate.”

A spokesman for project manager Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff declined comment.

On August 11, 2005, it was announced that the Massachusetts State Police searched Aggregate’s offices in June and found evidence of faked records that hid the poor quality of concrete delivered for highway project. On March 19, 2006, the International Herald Tribune reported that Massachusetts “Attorney General Tom Reilly plans to sue Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff and other companies if the two sides do not reach an agreement over 200 complaints of poor work in the construction of a highway system under the center of Boston, the Boston Globe reported Saturday. Reilly was said to be seeking $67 million from Bechtel and $41 million from other companies.”

The purpose of the project was to remove the more than 50-year-old aboveground Interstate 93 freeway running through downtown Boston by burying it, and connecting the Massachusetts Turnpike with Logan Airport by running a third tunnel below Boston Harbor. The project was completed this year after serious delays and cost overruns reached US$14.6 billion, a more than 500% increase over the original estimate of US$2.6 billion. More than ten years of detours to traffic ended when the last major section opened in January.

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2009 was worst year for airlines, says International Air Transport Association

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Wednesday that 2009 was the “worst year” that the airline industry has ever seen since 1945.

“In terms of demand, 2009 goes into the history books as the worst year the industry has ever seen,” said IATA boss Giovanni Bisignani. “We have permanently lost 2.5 years of growth in passenger markets and 3.5 years of growth in the freight business.”

According to the group, passenger traffic was down by 3.5% compared to a year earlier, and freight by 10.1%. The group estimated that the airline industry lost a total of US$11 billion in 2009 last year, and will lose another $5.6 billion in 2010.

Airlines in Africa had the biggest passenger demand drop, at 6.8%; North American airlines and Asian carriers had demand go down 5.8%. European airlines saw a drop of 5%. Middle Eastern and Latin American carriers, however, had rises in demand, with gains of 11.3% and 0.3%, respectively. According to the Agence France-Presse news agency, part of the reason Middle Eastern carriers performed better is because of their position between Asia, Africa, and Europe, resulting in more connecting flights through hubs.

“While both North American and European carriers saw demand improvements in the first half of the year, the second half was basically flat,” said IATA.

IATA represents 230 airlines, accounting for 90% of scheduled air traffic, although some budget carriers are not included.

The IATA boss said that, although the worst appeared to be over due to the global economic recovery airlines would have to keep their costs low. “Revenue improvements will be at a much slower pace than the demand growth that we are starting to see,” he noted.

“Profitability will be even slower to recover and airlines will lose an expected 5.6 billion dollars in 2010. The industry starts 2010 with some enormous challenges. The worst is behind us, but it’s not time to celebrate. Adjusting to 2.5 to 3.5 years of lost growth means that airlines face another spartan year, focused on matching capacity carefully to demand and controlling costs,” Bisignani continued.

Costs for security were also an issue. Bisignani said: “Governments and industry are aligned in the priority that we place on security. But the cost of security is also an issue. Globally, airlines spend US$5.9 billion a year on what are essentially measures concerned with national security. This is the responsibility of governments, and they should be picking up the bill.”

Analysts, however, say that cost cutting measures, intended to attract more customers, would also harm airline profits. Saj Ahmad, an independent airline analyst, commented: “Continued fare wars between airlines mean that yields and profitability will be low. Airlines are struggling to fill their airplanes and discounted ticketing has done little to alleviate the pressures on their costs,” as quoted by the BBC.

“Capacity has come out of the global airline system, but until a few airlines perhaps exit the industry through bankruptcy or mergers, there is still a very long road until we see serious stability, let alone growth,” Ahmad added.

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Egyptian passenger ferry sinks in Red Sea

Saturday, February 4, 2006

An investigation has been commenced by Egypt into the Friday sinking of one of El Salam’s passenger ferries in the Red Sea. M/V al-Salam Boccaccio 98 was carrying 1408, including many Egyptians returning from work in Saudi Arabia. The ship left from the port of Dubah in Saudi Arabia enroute to the port of Safaga in Egypt. On the west coast of Saudi Arabia during the night a sandstorm occurred due to high winds.

David Osler of Lloyd’s List has said of the ship that “It’s a roll-on, roll-off ferry, and there is big question mark over the stability of this kind of ship,” he continued and said that “It would only take a bit of water to get on board this ship and it would be all over. … The percentage of this type of ferry involved in this type of disaster is huge.”

Mamdouh Ismail, head of Al-Salaam Maritime Transport Company, stated that another one of El Salam’s ferries, Saint Catherine received a distress call from one of the lifeboats of the Boccaccio when it arrived in Dubah from Safaga. The Saint Catherine notified its company headquarters, and El Salam reported it to Egyptian authorities.

According to a statement given to the Associated Press by Ismail, the ferry was carrying 96 crew members, 1,200 Egyptians, and 112 other passengers. A Transport Ministry spokesman has stated that 314 people have been rescued. More than 185 bodies have been recovered from the sea according to an Egyptian police official who has requested anonymity.

Four rescue ships from Egypt arrived Friday afternoon, approximately ten hours after the sinking of the 35-year-old ferry in the night near the Egyptian port of Hurghada. Aid from Britain and the United States was initially refused. Later, both the British HMS Bulwark and the US P3-Orion maritime naval patrol aircraft were recalled, but due to its distance at the later time, the request for the return of the Bulwark was called off by Egypt.

Koh Samui The Healing Asylum Of Autism Children}

Koh Samui- The healing asylum of autism children


Suchi Thomson

Is your little angel suffering from autism? It is a childhood psychiatric disorder that blocks the road of your kid for effective communication and social interaction. Along with it, the disease might lead to preoccupation with fantasy, language impairment, and abnormal behaviour and intellectual impairment. If your baby is suffering from autism, you can become a reason for his/her smile by visiting Koh Samui, the tropical island of Thailand. How? Koh Samui is not an ideal holidaying destination only. Rather it is growing as a healing asylum of children suffering from autism.

Special needs program specifically designed for autism kids has started in Koh Samui from March this year. Along with the required therapy, your kid will also be given the formal education like normal one for three hours a day. Here they will have the scope to socialise with other normal children that helps in fostering their personality, communication skills and eradicating the fear of social gatherings. These special needs programs are being organised by non-profit organisations in close association with local government and efficient doctors.

Your kid can stay at the healing centres while you can book a holiday villa or holiday resort for yourself. The holiday villas at Koh Samui are well furnished and you can find all the modern facilities here. The only problem is that the occupancy rate is terribly high. Hence book your holiday villa in well advance to avoid any last minute embarrassment. Hence, pack you baggage early to Koh Samui have a better life for your kid and a welcoming change for yourself.

Suchi is a freelance writer for travel magazines and websites on the topics like favorite tourist destinations, resorts, luxury

Koh Samui villas

, Koh Samui bungalows that gives a natural look of this tropical island of Thailand. Enjoy your tour to Thailand with

luxury holiday villas

at Koh Samui.

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Koh Samui- The healing asylum of autism children


Airliner crashes in China, 42 killed

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Airliner crashes in China, 42 killed
Author: 7d5xMW

19 Jan

Friday, August 27, 2010

42 people have died in the crash of an airplane that was flying to Yichun in the province of Heilongjiang, north-eastern China, on Tuesday. 54 people, including the captain, survived the crash. Chinese government news agency Xinhua reported that the Embraer 190 jet missed the runway during landing, was damaged and caught fire. The aircraft had taken off in Harbin.

The reason for the crash is not yet clear. However, at the time of the accident, reports indicate that the Yichun Lindu Airport was engulfed in thick fog, though the local weather bureau contradicts this. A surviving passenger reported that the aircraft began to burn well before it came to rest. Many people then rushed to the front, instead of taking the emergency exits. The heavy smoke generated by the fire made breathing difficult. Xinhua reported that government investigators recovered two ‘black box’ flight recorders on Wednesday.

There were 91 passengers and five crew members aboard the jetliner. According to a Xinhua report yesterday, at least five of the survivors, including three children, remained in a critical condition, and several more are seriously injured.

This is the first major civil aviation crash in China since the crash of a China Eastern Airlines CRJ-200 in 2004. 55 people were killed in that crash.

Australian Capital Territory legalises same-sex marriage

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Australian Capital Territory legalises same-sex marriage
Author: 7d5xMW

19 Jan

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) yesterday legalised same-sex marriage, the first time a jurisdiction in Australia has done so.

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The ACT Legislative Assembly passed the legalising bill 8–7, with seven Australian Labor Party members being joined by the ACT Greens’ Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), Shane Rattenbury. It was opposed by six Liberal Party of Australia members. Two of the Assembly’s seventeen members, one Liberal and one Labor, were absent.

ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell made a series of last-minute amendments to ensure that the bill would survive a possible court challenge. The legislation allows same-sex couples from all over Australia to marry in the ACT.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said the government would strive toward treating everyone equally and fairly under the law depite the threat of legal challenge. Gay Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr spoke with feeling about the impact the legislation would have on same-sex couples.

Local Federal Member of Parliament Andrew Leigh, a strong supporter of rights for same-sex couples, applauded the bill, but Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott has indicated his government will challenge the bill in the High Court of Australia. Abbot’s sister Christine Forster, a Liberal Party Sydney City Councillor, who is gay, called for Liberals at the federal level to be allowed a conscience vote.

The ACT previously passed a bill providing for civil unions in 2006, which was disallowed by the Governor General of Australia on the advice of then-Prime Minister John Howard. The bill was passed again after Howard lost office in 2007, but marriage-like provisions were removed from the act under threat of being disallowed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Rudd now supports same-sex marriage.

This avenue for disallowing ACT legislation was closed in 2011, when Greens Senator Bob Brown initiated a reform bill taking away the Governor General’s ability to disallow territory bills. At present, Tony Abbott does not command a majority in the Senate, so a High Court challenge is an easier option than legislation. The Constitution of Australia, Section 51(xxi), gives the Commonwealth government — federal government — power to make laws with respect to marriage. The Howard government amended the Commonwealth Marriage Act in 2004 to exclude gay marriages.

 This story has updates See High Court strikes down Australian Capital Territory same-sex marriage law, December 14, 2013 

Canada’s Trinity—Spadina (Ward 19) city council candidates speak

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Canada’s Trinity—Spadina (Ward 19) city council candidates speak
Author: 7d5xMW

19 Jan

Saturday, November 4, 2006

On November 13, Torontoians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Trinity—Spadina (Ward 19). One candidate responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Nick Boragina, Joe Pantalone (incumbent), George Sawision, and Hïmy Syed.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

The Life Of A Laptop}

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The Life Of A Laptop



I remember in the olden days when there was not any laptops. You had your desktop at work, so when you left work, what you didn’t finish was done the next day.

Then there was the diskette where you could transfer your data from your work desktop to the home desktop. This way work could still get done. The internet came along and now the laptop where we can transfer that undone work between our computers. As you all know, the diskette is gone and the USB drive took its place.

The huge advantage of a laptop is you have no wires to get in your way. You put the laptop in a briefcase and off you go. The extras such as the external hard drives and USB sticks can stay in the briefcase until needed. For my usage, I have a wireless mouse to help me out where I can use it, otherwise I use the built in mouse pad.

The laptops usually contain a Wi-Fi interface that is built in. Just turn the laptop on and it will seach for a wireless hotspot. You will get a list of hotspots to jump onto. Some are free, some you have to pay for. It is best to have your own account so that you can hop onto a hotspot whenever you get a chance. Some hotspot providers will provide you with a USB card.

Desktops were to be the more powerful computer and the laptop was to just carry the minimum to do light processing. As it turned out, some of the laptops have more memory and hard drive space than your mid-size desktop. This is how technology evolved to make the hardware more compact. Desktops are still bulky and they need electricity to run. A laptop can run on batteries, thus eliminating the electric power. The batteries in the laptop usually last for 2 hours before needing to be recharged.

Since the laptops use both battery and electric, modifications were made to the power grid so that the components (hard drive, memory, fan, etc) would run off a 12 volt system. They also built into the power grid a management system where this would provide for a lower power consumption.

Today there is a hard choice to make when buying computers. Do you want a laptop or a desktop. Price wise they are pretty close. It would come down to what your needs are. Desktops have the larger and heavier components. Desktops have a separate display and speaker system. Laptops have all this built in to include the mouse. Actually a laptop sound card is just as good as a desktop’s sound card. You can get almost the same storage space and ram in a laptop as in a desktop.

One problem with the laptop is the damage factor. Laptops can be dropped easier and knocked around, where desktops are out of the way. Replacement parts are more costly for the laptop than for the desktop. Now that the cost of the laptop is way down, there are more in use than there are desktops.

It is handy to carry laptops with you on a vacation or trip. Maps can be downloaded to the laptop to show the way. My wife and I like to hold concerts, so we carry our music with, in case we can do a non-scheduled performance. Laptops are not bad for gaming. Usually the video card is built into the chipset, so you can’t upgrade to a better video card like you can with a desktop. I fly my flight simulator on the laptop and when comparing to the desktop which has a video card, it is hard to see any difference in the graphics.

I have been using both the laptop and desktop for a number of years. I do find advantages with both computer types. I do favor my laptop because if I have to go away on a trip, the laptop is all ready to go. Most of my files are in sync with each other so what is on the laptop is also on the desktop.

Our goal is to provide inexpensive solutions for the Small Business Owner. Whether we are programming Online Databases, Article and Affiliate Marketing, or providing a Help Desk, there is a solution on the internet that can fit your needs. Visit our


to view more information about laptops.

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Intel ends partnership with One Laptop Per Child program

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Intel ends partnership with One Laptop Per Child program
Author: 7d5xMW

15 Jan

Friday, January 4, 2008

Microprocessor company Intel Corporation has quit the board of directors for the One Laptop Per Child association (OLPC), a non-profit organization that aims to provide children in developing countries with inexpensive laptops. An Intel spokesman cited a “philosophical impasse” as the reason for the split.

Intel joined the OLPC board in July 2007, agreeing to give financial and technological support to the project. Development began on a new laptop using an Intel processor rather than the current processor made by Advanced Micro Devices, a rival of Intel. A prototype of this machine was expected to be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Les Vegas, Nevada, which begins in a few days.

According to Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy, OLPC had repeatedly asked Intel to abandon its support for the Classmate PC, a similar laptop designed for children in developing countries, and focus entirely on the OLPC program. “At the end of the day, we decided we couldn’t accommodate that request,” Mulloy said.

OLPC President Walter Bender said in an interview that Intel’s resignation will have “no impact” on the program. “We never really got much going with Intel to have an impact,” Bender said. He criticized Intel for a “seemingly half-hearted effort” in developing the new laptops and for using the agreement to make “marketing statements”.