Photo taken on Aug. 13, 2015 shows visitors taking photos on the exhibition of 

China high-speed trains in Jakarta, Indonesia. Senior officials of Chinese and 

Indonesian consortiums signed an agreement in Jakarta on Oct. 16, 2015 to launch 

a joint venture for a high-speed railway linking Jakarta with West Java provincial 

capital of Bandung. [Photo: Xinhua]

2016-01-29 Web Editor: Guan Chao

China has denied rumors claiming that a high-speed railway project linking Jakarta and Bandung in Indonesia undertaken by China has been halted since its permissions were not approved.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying made the remarks at a press briefing in Beijing.

"The rumors saying the Jakarta-Bandung high speed railway project has been forced to suspend are not true, and it's been clarified by China Railway Corporation. The commencement ceremony for the project's construction has already been held. Both Chinese and Indonesian governments attach great importance to it, and are closely cooperating together. Both sides will promote the smooth implementation of the project's construction work, and hope it'll benefit Indonesian people, and also strengthen the bilateral pragmatic cooperation and deepen mutual benefit and win-win result."

The Indonesian Embassy in Beijing also dismissed the rumor, saying the high-speed railway project remains a priority for the Indonesian government.

Bai Ming, from Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under China's Ministry of Commerce, suggested that plans should be in place in responding to unexpected obstacles.

"We went through a variety of hardships before successfully signing the contract of the Jakarta-Bandung high speed railway project. This means the implementation of the project may not be all smooth sailing as well. We may have to overcome more difficulties. In this way, it's necessary for the enterprises to prepare plans coping with issues such as how to communicate and cooperate with our governmental departments, and how our authorities will pass on their demands and concerns to their foreign counterparts."

The 150-kilometer-long Jakarta-Bandung high speed railway is expected to be completed in 3 years. 

It will cut the journey between the two cities to less than 40 minutes from over 3 hours.


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World's 50 most dangerous cities revealed

Research looked at cities which were not at war and were populated by more than 300,000 people 

Members of the Barrio 18 gang are rounded up in San Salvador in May. An estimated 10,000 gang members are in the country’s jails AFP/Getty

Will Worley @willrworley Thursday 28 January 2016

Venezuelan capital Caracas has been revealed as the most violent city in the world - with 119.87 homicides for every 100,000 residents in 2015.

Published by the Mexico Citizens Council for Public Security, new research listed the 50 cities across the globe that suffer the most violence.

With 41 cities on the list, Latin America is home to the most on the planet, while Brazil alone has 21. 

The highest increase in violence since 2014 was in San Salvador, El Salvador. The murder rate there increased by 81% in just one year, from 61.21 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014 to 111.03 in 2015.  The Central American country of just six million people has seen gang-related violence push death tolls to similar levels as seen during the country’s civil war in the 1980s.  

While the majority of cities are in developing or semi-developed countries, four cities were in the United States: Detroit, Baltimore, St Louis and New Orleans.  

However, some improvements were noted in Juarez, Mexico and Colombia's Medellin, where murder rates have fallen dramatically since the 1990s.

The list did not take into account of war zones or places with fewer than 300,000 residents.

The full list is as follows:

50. Obregón, Mexico had 28.29 homicides per 100,000 residents.

49. Maracaibo, Venezuela had 28.85 homicides per 100,000 residents.

48. Macapá, Brazil had 30.25 homicides per 100,000 residents.

47. Johannesburg, South Africa had 30.31 homicides per 100,000 residents.

46. Victoria, Mexico had 30.50 homicides per 100,000 residents.

45. Pereira, Colombia had 32.58 homicides per 100,000 residents.

44. Curitiba, Brazil had 34.71 homicides per 100,000 residents.

43. Porto Alegre, Brazil had 34.73 homicides per 100,000 residents.

42. Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa had 35.85 homicides per 100,000 residents.

41. Durban, South Africa had 35.93 homicides per 100,000 residents.

40. Campina Grande, Brazil had 36.04 homicides per 100,000 residents.

39. Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil had 36.16 homicides per 100,000 residents.

38. Aracaju, Brazil had 37.7 homicides per 100,000 residents.

37. Recife, Brazil had 38.12 homicides per 100,000 residents.

36. Vitória da Conquista, Brazil had 38.46 homicides per 100,000 residents.

35. Tijuana, Mexico had 39.09 homicides per 100,000 residents.

34. Gran Barcelona, Venezuela had 40.08 homicides per 100,000 residents.

33. Kingston, Jamaica had 41.14 homicides per 100,000 residents.

32. New Orleans, Louisiana, United States had 41.44 homicides per 100,000 residents.

31. Vitoria, Brazil had 41.99 homicides per 100,000 residents.

30. Teresina, Brazil had 42.64 homicides per 100,000 residents.

29. Goiânia y Aparecida de Goiânia, Brazil has 43.38 homicides per 100,000 residents.

28. Detroit, Michigan, United States had 43.89 homicides per 100,000 residents.

27. Feira de Santana, Brazil had 45.5 homicides per 100,000 residents.

26. Belém, Brazil had 45.83 homicides per 100,000 residents.

25. Guatemala City, Guatemala had 47.17 homicides per 100,000 residents.

24. Cumaná, Venezuela had 47.77 homicides per 100,000 residents.

23. Manaus, Brazil had 47.87 homicides per 100,000 residents.

22. Cuiabá, Brazil had 48.52 homicides per 100,000 residents.

21. São Luís, Brazil had 53.05 homicides per 100,000 residents.

20. Barquisimeto, Venezuela had 54.96 homicides per 100,000 residents.

19. Baltimore, Maryland, United States had 54.98 homicides per 100,000 residents.

18. Maceio, Brazil had 55.63 homicides per 100,000 residents.

17. Culiacan, Mexico had 56.09 homicides per 100,000 residents.

16. João Pessoa, Brazil had 58.40 homicides per 100,000 residents.

15. St. Louis, Missouri, United States had 59.23 homicides per 100,000 residents.

14. Salvador, Brazil had 60.63 homicides per 100,000 residents.

13. Natal, Brazil had 60.66 homicides per 100,000 residents.

12. Fortaleza, Brazil had 60.77 homicides per 100,000 residents.

11. Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela had 62.33 homicides per 100,000 residents.

10. Cali, Colombia had 64.27 homicides per 100,000 residents.

9. Cape Town, South Africa had 65.53 homicides per 100,000 residents.

8. Palmira, Colombia had 70.88 homicides per 100,000 residents.

7. Valencia, Venezuela had 72.31 homicides per 100,000 residents.

6. Distrito Central, Honduras had 73.51 homicides per 100,000 residents.

5. Maturin, Venezuela had 86.45 homicides per 100,000 residents.

4. Acapulco, Mexico had 104.73 homicides per 100,000 residents.

3. San Salvador, El Salvador had 108.54 homicides per 100,000 residents.

2. San Pedro Sula, Honduras had 111.03 homicides per 100,000 residents.

1. Caracas, Venezuela had 119.87 homicides per 100,000 residents.


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Daikin Industries, Ltd., the leading global manufacturer in heating, cooling and refrigerant products, is expanding its Goodman operations in the United States by constructing a new state-of-the-art business campus outside of Houston, Texas. The new $417-million campus, designed by Powers Brown Architecture (architect) and LJB Inc. (engineer), is currently projected to be operational mid-2016 and will feature an over 4-million-square-foot tilt-up concrete building, the world’s largest according to the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA).

“We track project accomplishments or records in a variety of categories to demonstrate the broad variety of application and overall achievement of tilt-up professionals,” said James Baty, technical director for the Tilt-Up Concrete Association. “This includes statistics like largest buildings (footprint and total floor area), tallest panels, heaviest panels, widest panels, largest wall area and more.” The current record holders in the largest building categories are Target’s Import Warehouse in Savannah, Ga. at 2,029,554 square feet (footprint) and the Gateway Theatre of Shopping in Umhlunga Rocks, South Africa at 3,420,000 square feet (floor area). “At 4,130,698 square feet, this new project breaks multiple records,” said Baty.

“The owner requested that all functions be housed in the same structure,” said A.J. Breneman, senior designer for Powers Brown Architecture. “The building will incorporate a 1.8-million-square-foot distribution center, 1.7 million square feet of manufacturing space (plus 196,500 square feet of mezzanine), 231,598 square feet of lab space and a 202,600-square-foot office.” The massive 497-acre site will also feature parking for approximately 5,000 vehicles.

“Tilt-up has consistently shown that it is the most economical method of construction for ‘big box’ applications,” said Jeff Griffin, principal of LJB Inc. “On a project of this size, being able to use load-bearing tilt-up panels and eliminate perimeter steel magnifies those cost savings. In a mature tilt-up market like Houston, the speed at which tilt-up can be achieved amplifies these material savings.” The project incorporates more than 2 miles of panel length, with approximately 370 wall panels.

According to David Brown, senior project manager at D.E. Harvey Builders (general contractor), the project will utilize approximately 360,000 cubic yards of concrete and 29,000 tons of steel.

“The new business campus will provide many outstanding benefits to our customers,” stated Mr. Takeshi Ebisu, president and CEO of Goodman Manufacturing Company, L.P. “The operational efficiencies we achieve will be reflected in the superb quality of our high-efficiency, energy-saving heating and cooling systems. As a leading global manufacturer, Daikin is expressing a strong, long-term commitment to its customers in North America by constructing this new business campus.”

The new facility, when finished, will include one of the largest and most technologically advanced HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) manufacturing facilities in the country.


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China Planning To Build Floating Nuclear Power Plant

World | Agence France-Presse | 


The CNNC plant is expected to start operation in 2019 and CGN's the following year, according to their statements.

BEIJING:  China is planning to build a floating nuclear power station as it seeks to double its atomic capacity by 2020, a senior official said today.

Authorities are making plans for a "marine floating power station", which will go through "strict and scientific demonstration", said Xu Dazhe, chairman of China Atomic Energy Authority.

"China is devoted to building itself into a maritime power and so we will definitely make full use of ocean resources," he told a press conference.

The use of nuclear power at sea is not unknown -- aircraft carriers and missile submarines are often nuclear-powered -- but doing so for civilian purposes appears to be unprecedented, although a Russian project is reportedly already under construction.

Beijing included the development of two marine nuclear power plants, to be built by China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) respectively, in its 13th five-year plan for 2016-2020, the two companies announced earlier this month.

The CNNC plant is expected to start operation in 2019 and CGN's the following year, according to their statements.

They could provide power for offshore oil and gas drilling platforms, island development and remote areas, both firms said.

Beijing is at loggerheads with neighbours including Japan and the Philippines over territorial rows in the East and South China Seas, and has alarmed rivals with its massive reclamation and construction of facilities on disputed reefs.

China currently has 30 nuclear reactors in operation, with a capacity of 28.3 gigawatts, Xu said. Another 24 reactors capable of generating 26.7 gigawatts are under construction, Xu added.

Beijing has said it aims to increase its installed atomic power capacity to 58 gigawatts by 2020, when another 30 gigawatts are scheduled to be under construction.

China suspended approvals of new plants following the disaster at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant after a tsunami struck in March 2011.

But it resumed approvals in 2012, despite a warning the same year from the environmental ministry that the country's nuclear safety situation was "not optimistic".

Xu said authorities last year gave eight new reactors the green light and that the country was "on course" to achieve its 2020 target. Story First Published: January 27, 2016 11:50 IST


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India, France to build 6 nuclear reactor units at Jaitapur

January 25, 2016 22:41 IST

In a significant boost to their civil nuclear cooperation, India and France have encouraged their industrial companies to conclude techno-commercial negotiations by the end of the year for the construction of six, instead of two, nuclear power reactor units at Jaitapur.

During the talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, French President Francois Hollande reassured reliable, uninterrupted and continued access to nuclear fuel supply throughout the entire lifetime of the plants while acknowledging India's need for the same.

"The two leaders agreed on a roadmap of cooperation to speed up discussions on the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project in 2016. Their shared aim is to start the implementation of the project in early 2017," a joint statement after the talks between the two leaders said.

They also favoured conclusion of techno-commercial negotiations by the end of 2016 for construction of six nuclear power reactor units at Jaitapur while giving due consideration to its cost and transfer of technology, besides cost-effective localisation of manufacturing key components in India.

France also reaffirmed its strong support for India's candidacy to international export control regimes and in particular to the NSG.

France was the first country with which India established a strategic partnership in 1998 after New Delhi had conducted nuclear tests. France is also the first country with which India entered into civil nuclear energy cooperation in 2008 after obtaining the NSG waiver.

"France is among those few first countries with which India has signed agreements in the field of civil nuclear cooperation," Modi said at a joint press event.

"In pursuance of the 2008 Agreement on the Development of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy between India and France, the two leaders encouraged their industrial companies to conclude techno-commercial negotiations by the end of 2016 for the construction of six nuclear power reactor units at Jaitapur."

The joint statement also emphasised on cost-effective localisation of manufacturing in India for large and critical components in accordance with Modi government's "Make-in-India" initiative.

During talks, Modi and Hollande expressed satisfaction over ongoing time-bound implementation of cooperation between AREVA of France and L&T of India under the MoU signed in April 2015 for localisation of components for nuclear power project at Jaitapur as well as the progress in pre-engineering studies for the project being carried out by AREVA in collaboration with NPCIL.

They also welcomed initiating of revised MoU between EDF and NPCIL for the construction of six EPR units at Jaitapur.

The developments also assume significance as the nuclear cooperation deal between India and France was signed in 2008 but the 9,900 MW Jaitapur project -- one of the biggest nuclear parks to come up in the country -- but was stuck.

Apart from facing a stiff local resistance, the project was stuck as both the parties could not reach negotiations on the cost factor.

Both the countries also reaffirmed their commitment to responsible and sustainable development of civil nuclear energy with highest consideration to safety, security, non-proliferation and environmental protection.

The two countries underscored the contribution of nuclear energy to their energy security and to the fight against climate change.

France also greeted the decision by the government of India to ratify the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage.

The two leaders appreciated the regular engagement between their atomic energy organisations and their growing collaboration in mutually beneficial scientific and R&D sectors related to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

They also appreciated the long-standing relations between their nuclear regulatory authorities -- India's AERB and France's ASN -- which has facilitated sharing of valuable experiences, best practices and developments related to nuclear safety and regulatory issues.


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Visitors at the new 360-degree panoramic installation at the Angkor Panorama Museum. Credit Luc Forsyth for The New York Times Advertisement

Angkor Panorama Museum

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See Inside North Korea's Gigantic $24 Million Art Museum in Cambodia

An Art Powerhouse From North Korea

By AMY QINJAN. 25, 2016 

SIEM REAP, Cambodia — The giant mural in the foyer depicting a smiling stone face offers a mere taste of the grandiosity within the new Angkor Panorama Museum here. Inside, a 360-degree painted vista covers an area the size of nearly four basketball courts. Over 45,000 figures populate this cyclorama, a depiction of 12th-century Angkorian history.

The museum, which opened in December, is a sweeping homage to what historians call one of the greatest cities in the world between the ninth and 15th centuries and the capital of the Khmer empire. But almost everything that went into this building — the money, the concept, the design and the artists — came not from Cambodia but from North Korea, namely, Mansudae, the largest art studio in that country.

At a time when much of the world’s focus is on North Korea’s mercurial leadership and nuclear capabilities, this studio’s work is quietly making its way beyond the borders of that hermit kingdom. In recent years, monuments and sculptures made by Mansudae artists, modern-day masters of Socialist Realism, have popped up in Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and even Germany.

A detail from the panorama, which depicts 12th-century Angkorian history. Credit Luc Forsyth for The New York Times 

The Angkor Panorama Museum is the studio’s most ambitious foreign project. It took 63 artists, flown in from North Korea, four months to paint the cyclorama.

“Mansudae has great talent and a good reputation in artwork, painting and construction,” said Yit Chandaroat, acting director of museums for Apsara, the government agency responsible for managing the Angkor complex, explaining why Cambodia chose its partner.

The work includes over 45,000 figures. Credit Luc Forsyth for The New York Times 

Mansudae Art Studio in Pyongyang, founded in 1959, is one of the world’s biggest art factories. It employs about 4,000 people, including 800 to 900 of North Korea’s most talented artists, according to Pier Luigi Cecioni, its representative in the United States and Europe.

The studio produces a variety of works, including most of the propaganda art and sculptures that dot North Korea. Its artists are said to be the only ones permitted to portray that country’s ruling family, the Kims. In 1972, it built a 66-foot-high statue of Kim Il-sung, North Korea’s founding leader and the grandfather of the current leader, on a hill in Pyongyang, the capital. A second, similarly sized likeness of Kim Jong-il, Kim Il-sung’s son and successor, was added beside the original in 2012 after Kim Jong-il’s death.

The African Renaissance Monument in Dakar, Senegal. Credit Nichole Sobecki for The New York Times 

Starting in the 1990s, Mansudae also began taking on outside projects. Governments in Southeast Asia and Africa have commissioned its artists for large-scale projects at low costs, among them the African Renaissance Monument in Dakar, Senegal, and the Fairy Tale Fountain in Frankfurt. The studio also maintains a gallery in the 798 Art District in Beijing, opposite the Pace Gallery and the Faurschou Foundation.

Mansudae’s overseas division first approached the Council for the Development of Cambodia, the government’s investment board, with a proposal to build a museum in Siem Reap several years ago, Mr. Yit said.

Cambodia and North Korea have historically maintained strong ties, based largely on the personal relationship between Kim Il-sung and King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia, who died in 2012.

In the 1970s, that North Korean leader gave King Sihanouk, who once referred to Mr. Kim as “more than a friend, more than a brother,” a palace outside Pyongyang. During his many years in exile, the Cambodian monarch spent several months annually in North Korea and even wrote and directed a series of films starring North Korean actors.

The museum’s foyer. Credit Luc Forsyth for The New York Times 

Today, North Korea operates several restaurants in Cambodia, part of a growing overseas restaurant franchise that experts say is an important revenue generator for the financially struggling government in Pyongyang.

Unlike the restaurants, however, experts say that Mansudae, though state-run, enjoys relative autonomy from the government, including on decisions involving foreign outreach.

“I don’t see this museum as an attempt to project soft power,” said Nicholas Bonner, founder of the Beijing gallery Koryo Studio, who has worked with Mansudae for more than 20 years. “Mansudae is a massive studio, and they need to keep working to bring revenue in from inside and outside of the country.”

The Angkor museum differs from past Mansudae projects in one significant way. According to museum officials and experts, it is the first in which Mansudae, which usually works on a commission basis, has invested a large amount of money.

A worker in the museum’s gift shop. Credit Luc Forsyth for The New York Times 

“It doesn’t seem to fit into the profit-making aspect that we usually hear about Mansudae,” said Adam Cathcart, a lecturer at the University of Leeds in England. “But then again, there’s always something going on behind the scenes when it comes to North Korea.”

Neither Mansudae nor the North Korean Embassy in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, responded to requests for comment relayed by email, telephone and Cambodian museum officials.

Construction of the Angkor Panorama Museum began in 2011. Mansudae designed the structure and the cyclorama in consultation with a committee made up of Cambodian government officials, Mr. Yit said.

Proceeds from the museum are scheduled to be disbursed in three stages. Initially, revenue will go to Mansudae. After 10 years (or less, if costs are recovered before then), both sides will share revenue. And in the third and final stage, the museum — both the property and the management — will be transferred to Apsara.

Long Kosal, a spokesman for Apsara, said the museum was part of a long-term plan to diversify attractions at the Angkor complex and minimize the impact of growing numbers of tourists at the temples. More than 2.5 million foreigners visited the complex last year, up from about 400,000 in 2000, Mr. Long said. He said he expected an influx of tourists to the museum soon, after the central ticket booth for the complex is moved to a new building next to the museum, which is not formally part of the complex. The entrance fee for the cyclorama section is $15 for foreign tourists.

In the meantime, museum officials say they are averaging only about 20 visitors a day. On a recent afternoon, there were almost none to be seen. As one of the few approached the main hall, a worker rushed to turn on the lights, explaining that the staff had been instructed to keep the lights and air-conditioning at a minimum to save money.

“It’s very hot and humid here, not cool like back home,” a young North Korean woman working in the museum cafe said in fluent English. “It’s been difficult to adjust.”


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Africa is already waking up to the possibilities that renewable energy provides, the African Union has pledged a $20 billion investment over the next decade. In East Africa, pay-as-you-go solar energy services are already proving a mainstream success. In West Africa, things are still at an early experimental stage. One such experiment is a solar-powered football pitch which also uses kinetic energy generated by footballers playing.

Located at a teacher’s college in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial center, the innovative soccer pitch was launched last year in a three-way collaboration between energy giant Shell; music star Akon, who has been championing solar energy on the continent; and Pavegen, a UK-based start-up which has a target of providing low-cost renewable energy solutions to Africa’s electricity problems.

Perhaps the most interesting technological feature of the solar-powered pitch—only the second ever launched across the world (the first was launched in Brazil in 2014)—is that it combines both kinetic and solar energy to produce electricity.

Kemball-Cook and Akon at the launch of the solar powered soccer pitch in Lagos, Nigeria.((Courtesy Edelman PR))
Pavegen technology makes use of pitch ‘tiles’ which generate electricity by capturing kinetic energy from footfall. The harnessed energy can power low voltage systems, like streetlights, or store electricity for later use.

One hundred of these tiles are laid underneath the playing surface of the soccer pitch, thus harnessing energy from the multiple movements of the players. The kinetic energy, combined with power generated from solar panels can power streetlights in the community for up to 24 hours.

Typically, as the amount of electricity generated is dependent on the volume of footfall, Pavegen’s technology is best suited for high foot traffic areas. As such, schools, sports centers, markets are practical targets. Laurence Kemball-Cook, founder of Pavegen, says the solar-powered pitch is a symbol of possibilities. “The project shows how the energy mix of the future will combine kinetic and solar power to improve communities.”

The focus for Kemball-Cook and Pavegen is deploying the tile technology across the continent in a bid to ease the electricity problems. To do this however, Pavegen must find a balance between large scale production and pricing as it seeks to continually bring down cost of its tile technology.


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The new terminal will boost Bahrain International Airport's capacity to 13 million passengers a year


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Bahrain's Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications announced it will carry out an extension programme at the Kingdom's international airport. 

Contracts have been signed to carry out the Airport Modernisation Programme at Bahrain International Airport, Kamal Bin Ahmed Mohammed, the country's transport minister, and Mohammed Al Binfalah, CEO of Bahrain Airport Company, said. 

This includes the appointment of a main contractor for the $1.1bn (BHD414.1m) construction of a new terminal building, the main services building, and aircraft bay, to a joint venture between the UAE's Arabtec and Turkey's TAV Construction. 

The announcement was made on the sidelines of the Bahrain International Airshow (BIAS) 2016. 

Five agreements were announced during the conference, besides the Arabtec-TAV deal. 

These included a contract with China's CIMC for the construction of passenger airbridges; a contract for the baggage handling system with Vanderlande from the Netherlands; a deal with L3 Communications from the USA for security screening equipment; and, a contract with Kone from Finland for horizontal and vertical transfer systems.

In addition, a contract was also signed on the sidelines of BIAS with SETEC from France for the design of an MRO facility.

Mohammed Al Binfalah, CEO of Bahrain Airport Company, said: "The signings completed at BIAS 2016 are a historical milestone in the progress of the Airport Modernisation Programme and signify an important step in maintaining Bahrain’s strong position in the civil aviation sector.

"The [programme] is the largest infrastructure project for the Bahrain International Airport in over 30 years and is being executed in line with the highest standards of safety, security, technology and environmental standards.

"We are expecting to complete the project in 2019, and expect to see a three-fold increase in direct flights and numbers of airline using the new passenger terminal building as a result," Al Binfalah added. 



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Hitachi today announced the incorporation of a new UK company - Hitachi Nuclear Energy Europe - as part of its strategy to enhance its UK presence for the engineering, procurement and construction of Horizon Nuclear Power's new nuclear power plant development at Wylfa Newydd.

Horizon Nuclear Power, a 100% subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, plans to deploy the UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) at two sites - Wylfa Newydd, which is on the Isle of Anglesey, and Oldbury-on-Severn, in South Gloucestershire.

Hitachi Nuclear Energy Europe will lead Tokyo-headquartered Hitachi's work in a proposed joint venture with potential partners Bechtel Management Company and JGC Corporation.

Speaking at UK Trade & Investment's (UKTI's) annual nuclear showcase, Hitachi Europe's Shunsuke Utena described formation of Hitachi Nuclear Energy Europe as "a key pillar of our increasing UK capability". UKTI is a UK government department.

Utena said that progress with potential partners include a memorandum of understand "showing clear intent amongst the parties". He added: "Whilst the details of our agreement remain to be finalised, I am absolutely delighted that we are close to bringing together a team of such proven capability. Bechtel and JGC are world-leading in their fields, and together we are primed to help make this project a real success."

Meanwhile, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy - which has held a front-end engineering and design contract with Horizon Nuclear Power for three years - will continue to provide the UK ABWR nuclear plant design, and will operate under contract to the joint venture team, once fully established.

Horizon Nuclear Power is working to achieve the necessary permissions, consents and commercial arrangements in order to begin construction of the plant in 2019 with first commercial operation in the first half of the 2020s. Two UK ABWRs will be developed on the Wylfa Newydd site, generating around 2.7GWe of energy between them.

Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy in November last year reached a regulatory milestone in its progress towards deployment of the UK ABWR, following confirmation that British regulators will move to the final step of the Generic Design Assessment (GDA). The GDA process for the UK ABWR is on schedule for completion by the end of 2017.

GDA is the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency's process for assessing new nuclear power plant designs proposed for construction in the UK. Completion of GDA alone does not enable a reactor design to be constructed on a site within Great Britain, but must be viewed along with nuclear site licensing and eventual regulation of the construction phase.

JGC Corporation, formerly Japan Gasoline Co, is a global engineering company headquartered in Yokohama, Japan. Bechtel Corporation is a US construction and civil engineering company with its headquarters in the South of Market, San Francisco.

Researched and written

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