Browsing Tag: documentary

    A Night at A Railway Station in Bangladesh
    Articles, Blog

    A Night at A Railway Station in Bangladesh

    December 1, 2019


    I’m Now at Joydebpur Railway Station for a Cup of Tea …&… Masum forced me to come Now the Time is Exact 3:10 AM (Midnight) What’s Your name? What your name is? ASIF ASIF? Shop is open for all night long? in Day Time? In Day Time too. Another person come in Day Time 24 Hours Open! What’s your name? Mohammad SHAMIM You live here? Where’s your home? Mymensingh Mymensingh!!! Where in Mymensingh? ** Local Place Name ** What?! ** Local Place Name ** Which area? ** Saying Home Address ** & District is NETRAKONA oh! Netrakona! This is not Mymensingh… Our Food is Ready Food Just Arrived Now we will eat We are very hungry We come from a good distance What do you do here? I work in the shop You only work at night time? Both Day & Night. It’s not fixed. How much they give you? $3 per month sorry $3 per day Daily $3? This is not that bad… His salary is $0.6 per day really?!?! ha ha ha! No No No Then How much? Its $1.3 per day Its $1.3 per day Does Mohammad SHAMIM really get $3 per day? Was that true? He get $2.5 not $3 $2.5? No, $3 Owner will not give him $3 He just asked for $3, nothing else… Owner will not pay him that amount. oh! I see…. Shop owner is a Penny Pincher Joydebpur (Written in Bengali) Presented by Labib Ittihadul

    Prostitutes of God (Documentary)
    Articles, Blog

    Prostitutes of God (Documentary)

    November 30, 2019


    [MUSIC PLAYING] SARAH HARRIS: The first thing
    that strikes you when you come to India is a sense of
    extreme contrasts. While some people are still
    shitting off the side of railway lines and eating from
    banana leaves, other people are drinking Frappuccinos and
    wearing Gucci sunglasses. Along with this feeling of
    progress and moving forward, there’s still this undercurrent
    of tradition and religion and superstition and an
    even more deeply ingrained caste system. I didn’t realize quite how sharp
    these contrasts between new and old India were until
    I came here last year to research an article about
    sex trafficking. And on my very first day here,
    I met a group of temple prostitutes who told me about
    this ancient Hindu system where prepubescent girls are
    dedicated to a goddess, and for the rest of their lives,
    they will become sex slaves of the temple. The name of that system
    is devadasi. This train’s a little bit like
    The Darjeeling Limited, except we have cockroaches sleeping
    under our beds. And there’s no one serving
    sweet lime. Hello. So in the beginning, being a
    devadasi had nothing to do with prostitution. In medieval India, they were
    glamorous temple dancers and held high social status. They performed sacred religious
    rituals and danced for loyalty in the name of a
    goddess called Yellamma. Over the centuries, the link
    between the devadasis and their temples gradually
    diminished, along with their social status. They became the paid mistresses
    of priests, then kings, and later,
    rich landowners. In the 19th century, Western
    missionaries tried to abolish the tradition, calling it
    grotesque and immoral, driving the devadasis underground. Today, devadasis are no
    different to common street hookers, servicing drunk truck
    drivers and bored businessmen. Even though the practice has
    been illegal for over 20 years, up to 3,000 girls are
    still being secretly dedicated every year. We traveled to the border town
    of Sangli, which straddles the two southern Indian states of
    Karnataka and Maharastra. Its red light district is home
    to hundreds of devadasi sex workers, and that afternoon,
    we were invited there by Anitha, one of its most
    successful brothel owners. She’s a member of an NGO called
    SANGRAM, which fights to empower locals sex workers. Communication was pretty
    painful, as our interpreter Somashekar was having some
    trouble with his English. Everybody in the houses
    next door– this whole street– is also sex workers
    like Anitha? Yes. SARAH HARRIS: So all
    the neighborhood. And they’re all friends
    who live around here? Everybody is friends? SARAH HARRIS: So when the
    customer comes inside, the door closes. And this– SARAH HARRIS: She’s
    not a customer? She is also a sex worker? SOMASHEKAR: A sex worker. SARAH HARRIS: And she
    uses this room? SOMASHEKAR: [SPEAKING MARATHI] [SARAH LAUGHING] SOMASHEKAR: That’s another one
    of Anitha’s friends who’s lying in there. Hello. SARAH HARRIS: This is
    what she’s saying? SOMASHEKAR: I am. SARAH HARRIS: You. SARAH HARRIS: Tell me again. So are you talking as you? Are you telling me– Somashekar. SOMASHEKAR: Huh? SARAH HARRIS: So you
    are a sex worker. SOMASHEKAR: I am a sex worker. SARAH HARRIS: You are
    a sex worker. And you came to Anitha’s
    room, and– SARAH HARRIS: Yeah. SARAH HARRIS: You work in
    this room, and Anitha works in this room. SOMASHEKAR: This room. SARAH HARRIS: So you
    all work together. OK. [SPEAKING MARATHI] SARAH HARRIS: The whole place
    is completely difference to what I thought it would be. I kind of imagined these
    really seedy, anonymous hotel-looking brothels. And actually, there’s kids
    running around everywhere. There’s women doing their
    laundry, making lunch. And it kind of feels
    like quite a tight-knit little community. The ladies of Sangli wouldn’t
    let me leave without showing me the temple around
    the corner. It seemed like wherever there
    were brothels, the goddess Yellamma was never far away. For Anitha and her friends,
    being a devadasi was nothing to be ashamed of. Sex work was their choice. They had condoms, power in
    numbers, and SANGRAM looking after them. But these were just
    the lucky few. For the vast majority
    of devadasis, prostitution isn’t a choice. It’s forced upon them, and most
    often by their parents. Like most Hindu legends, the
    story of the goddess Yellamma is long, convoluted,
    and surreal. However many times we
    heard it, it still didn’t make much sense. But it seems to go something
    like this. The whole ordeal begins when her
    son is ordered to chop her head off by her husband after
    he catches her spying on two people getting frisky
    by a lake. After a complex process of
    death, reincarnation, and a load of fat Hindu gods with blue
    skin and gold bikinis, the goddess Yellamma was born. She fled to the villages of
    Karnataka and became a symbol of worship for the lowest
    Hindu castes. So after a really sweaty 10-hour
    train journey, we’ve finally arrived in this
    town called Mudhol up in Northern Karnataka. And it’s in the villages around
    here that we’ve been told has the highest
    concentration of devadasi women in India. An estimated 23,000 women in
    this part of India have been dedicated to the goddess. And roughly half of those will
    have resorted to sex work in order to feed their families. SARAH HARRIS: We traveled to
    the outskirts of this dusty transit town to meet two
    teenage devadasi girls. [SPEAKING KANNADA] SARAH HARRIS: Madigas are
    considered filthy and polluting and are only permitted
    to work in the lowliest positions, as street
    cleaners, sewage collectors, and of course, prostitutes. When we took the girls out
    shopping, they seemed terrified of the higher castes
    recognizing them as devadasis, which they did. [SPEAKING KANNADA] SARAH HARRIS: It was surreal to
    see the reaction they got. The shopkeepers wouldn’t even
    look them in the eye. [SPEAKING KANNADA] SARAH HARRIS: So now it seems
    this religious ritual is just a justification for
    poor families to pimp out their daughters. [SPEAKING KANNADA] SARAH HARRIS: It was strange
    sitting with Belavva’s family on the floor of their one room
    hut, knowing it’s also the place where she has sex with
    customers while her brothers and sisters wait outside. BALAVVA: [SPEAKING KANNADA] [SPEAKING KANNADA] SARAH HARRIS: Karnataka is one
    of India’s largest producers of sugar cane. Hundreds of trucks pass
    through towns like this every day. The roadside can be
    a scary place. Horny drivers and bored
    agricultural workers gather here, looking for ways
    to spend their wages. They are one of the main
    transmitters of HIV throughout India, spreading the virus
    through the country’s extensive road network, putting
    girls like Mala and Belavva at risk of this
    deadly disease. SARAH HARRIS: Back in Sangli,
    we were invited to meet another devadasi called Pandu. We were told she was different,
    but we weren’t prepared for just
    how different. [MALE SPEAKING MARATHI] SARAH HARRIS: Every morning, he
    spent two hours polishing brass Yellamma statues and
    blessing his beloved shrine. [SPEAKING MARATHI] SARAH HARRIS: Can you ask him
    to show me how to make chai? Tea powder. Wow, that’s a lot of sugar. Fucking hell. [SARAH LAUGHING] SARAH HARRIS: Still? Going, going, going,
    going, going. SARAH HARRIS: Can we watch
    him dance today? We have to persuade him,
    sweet talk him. Ah, wow. Wow, Pandu. Who’s this guy? You put a sari over his head. [PANDU SPEAKING MARATHI] SARAH HARRIS: He’s got money
    between his teeth. Your best friend, Sudir. Oh, wow, that’s a nice photo. Wow, thank you. [SPEAKING MARATHI] SARAH HARRIS: Later that day, at
    our hotel, Pandu showed us his favorite Bollywood
    videos and the famous Sangli condom trick. SARAH HARRIS: You’re about to
    witness a demonstration of the classic Sangli condom trick that
    Pandu has just taught me when his male customers don’t
    want to use a condom. [SPEAKING MARATHI] SARAH HARRIS: I think I lost. Pandu may want a better life for
    his daughter, but for many other devadasis, there’s a lot
    of money to be made in recruiting the next
    generation. Now, we’re on our way to another
    village, about five kilometers outside of Mudhol. And most of women who live
    there are from the madiga caste, and so most of them are vulnerable to becoming devadasis. One of the interesting things
    about this village is that we’re going to be able to go
    to the house of a devadasi woman who’s made a real career
    out of prostitution. And she’s built this enormous
    house in the middle of the village as a kind of symbol
    of the her success. So she can become a role model
    to the other girls living in the village that becoming
    a devadasi is a good way of life. The legendary owner, Champa,
    doesn’t even live here. She’s too busy turning
    tricks in Bombay. Inside, shiny display cabinets
    of unused crockery line the walls as testaments
    to her success. There were groups of village
    children roaming around the house to gawp at her flickering
    color TV sets and shelves of broken electrical
    equipment. The message is clear– prostitution is a lucrative
    business. So this is the necklace, the
    muthu, that the devadasi women wear when they get dedicated. And hers is just hanging on
    the wall of her mud hut. She’s an old lady called
    Shavvavva, and she’s one of the oldest devadasi women
    in the village. And I’ve just been told that
    she brought the very first radio to this village. No one had ever seen a radio
    before she brought it here. Walking through the village, we
    notice Yellamma’s presence everywhere. The locals told us that all
    devadasis in the area were preparing themselves for the
    full moon festival, which is apparently the most
    important event in the Yellamma calendar. After hearing so much about the
    famous full moon festival in Saundatti, we drove four
    hours out of town to catch the first day of this month-long
    celebration of Yellamma. Just up there in the center of
    that big arch is the face of the goddess Yellamma. That’s the entrance to her
    temple here in Saundatti. Over the course of the 28 days,
    more than half a million people will pass through
    the temple doors. A heaving shantytown springs
    up around the famous Yellamma shrine. The place is filled with garish
    Hindu icons, Bollywood music, sticky sweets, and the
    symbolic red and yellow colors of the goddess Yellamma. Hello. Nice to meet you. We’re not allowed– we’re not
    gonna take the camera inside. No. SARAH HARRIS: This is the
    Yellamma temple, which is like the main attraction
    of Saundatti. It’s here that for hundreds and
    hundreds of years, all the devadasi girls have come for
    their dedication ceremonies, which are now illegal. And we’re not allowed in, so
    we just have to shoot from outside, but you can see
    hundreds of people walking around, praying to
    the goddess. Everything around the temple
    is really, really colorful, and you’ve got all these red
    and yellow dyes, which the women put on their foreheads. And this is to kind of represent the goddess Yellamma. And the green bangles are in
    rows all along the side of the road here, and they’re the
    bangles that they put on the girls during their devadasi
    dedication ceremonies. And tonight is the moon
    celebration, and they’ll smash their bracelets as a symbol
    of widowhood. This is also one of the places
    where the women traffickers come and pick up potential
    prostitutes. The brothel madams will travel
    from big cities like Bombay and Pune and come to Saundatti
    to these festivals to pick up young girls to traffic. Amidst all the religious fervor,
    there was a distinct feeling of secrets going
    on behind closed doors. Families are offered a generous
    fee in return for their young daughters,
    often under the pretense of a better future. But it’s here that the next
    generation of young devadasi prostitution are found. What we really wanted to do was
    watch a real dedication ceremony, but that didn’t look
    like it was going to happen. And as a bunch of pasty
    Westerners with cameras, we weren’t exactly inconspicuous. Luckily, we met an ex-devadasi
    and social activist called Sitavva. She agreed to stage a mock
    dedication ceremony to give us an idea of what really goes
    on behind the scenes. SITAVVA: [SPEAKING KANNADA] SARAH HARRIS: Leaving Saundatti,
    we felt disturbed by everything we’d seen. The bright colors and energy
    of the festival were overshadowed by the seedy
    reality of a religious ceremony that condones
    child prostitution. Our last stop before we headed
    home was in the small village of Sarol, where we’d arranged
    to meet three generations of devadasi women, all from
    the same family. When we arrived, we were told
    that the daughter had recently died of HIV. [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] SARAH HARRIS: India is a land
    of extremes, polarized by extravagant new wealth
    and ancient poverty. Everywhere you look, there’s a
    battle being waged between the traditional forces of religion,
    castes, and superstition and the inevitable
    force of Western capitalism. Nowhere are these clashes more
    evident than in the plight of the devadasis, where religious
    devotion has been exploited for commercial gain. The devadasi tradition is
    destroying families and communities, generation
    after generation. And with the advent of AIDS and
    HIV, the practice now has a deadly price tag. And today, any remnants of the
    devadasis’ cultural origins have all but disappeared. All that’s left is a system
    that turns children into prostitutes and their
    parents into pimps.

    Transport in Australia: Railways At Work
    Articles, Blog

    Transport in Australia: Railways At Work

    November 29, 2019


    Whether we live in a big city or in the
    country most Australians depend in some way on the railways. In this land of vast distances, trains
    carry not only passengers but mail and parcels and agricultural products like wool, wheat and livestock and manufactured goods and raw materials of all kinds. Since Australia’s first train of 1854, farmers, graziers and businessmen have found it cheap and convenient to use trains. for carrying heavy loads over long
    distances. Until motor cars and then aeroplanes came
    into general use less than 50 years ago, trains
    were also the fastest means of carrying goods and people anywhere. In the early days as the Australian settlers moved inland
    growing wheat, wool and other products, the railways
    were built to bring them the food and supplies they
    needed and to take their farm produce to the city markets and seaports There is now a network of 26,000 miles
    of rail line spread throughout the Australian states, enough to travel once around the earth’s
    equator, but in such a big country as ours there
    are still areas where no lines have yet been built. Many men are employed on the railways.
    There are signalman who look after the signal boxes, making sure
    the lines are clear before another train comes through. There are gangers who repair rail tracks and make sure they’re kept in good
    condition. There are yard men, who couple up the carriages and others who examine the wheels and under carriages. to see that the trains are safe to
    travel in. There are engine drivers who drive the
    powerful locomotives. The station master is responsible for
    all the trains that pass through his station. He controls the men who load
    the trains and the porters who check the
    passenger’s tickets. Thousands of skilled tradesmen are
    employed in railway workshops where the trains are kept in good running
    condition and in factories where the railway carriages and
    locomotives are built. The diesel engines fitted to the
    locomotives give them power to haul loads weighing thousands of tons at high speeds. Many types of locomotives, trucks and
    passenger carriages are built to serve the needs of the
    railways. No type of country is too difficult for
    the men who build the railways. Soon a new line will be built through
    this valley. First, surveyors go out to plan the best
    route for the new rail tracks. The steel tracks themselves are often joined into long lengths and
    sent to the construction site on flat top trucks. The long length of line gives smoother and
    quieter travel. The tracks are laid on heavy hardwood
    sleepers and fastened with iron spikes. Heavy blue metal is packed around the
    rails and sleepers to keep them in position. The stone is dropped and spread along the newly laid line. Trains can travel over almost any type of
    country. Bridges are built to carry the tracks over steep gorges and wide rivers. In ragged mountain country, cuttings are
    made through smaller hills and tunnels are built through steep hills to avoid taking a long route around them. Rail tracks carry the train through
    the jungle and tropical fruit country, over the golden wheat lands of Western
    Australia, through coastal farm lands and across the great flat stretches of the Nullarbor Plain. As the trains race across country the passengers relax in comfort. Modern trains are fitted with sleepers and with dining cars. They are air conditioned so that the
    passengers may travel in comfort under all weather conditions. Just as important as passenger trains are the work trains that
    carry great loads of produce raw materials and manufactured goods
    from one end of the country to the other. Whatever the load may be the railways
    have the equipment and the rolling stock to carry it. The goods trains are assembled in marshaling yards by a system known as shunting. The shunters arrange the loaded trucks in
    the right order on the trains so that they can be uncoupled at their
    destinations as the trains travel from town to town. Each track carries a label showing its starting point and its
    destination. A shunter releases the brakes, allowing the truck
    to move slowly down hill to the next man who switches the points so that the truck goes onto the right line. Railway lines in most countries are a standard gauge or width of 4 feet,
    8 and a half inches, but in Australia many of the states have
    different gauges. Now a standard gauge line is being built connecting all the mainland capitals.
    This will permit freight to be carried from one end to the continent to the other without unloading and reloading. Already a standard gauge line runs from Brisbane to Melbourne. Although mixed loads are common, there are many trains with trucks designed to carry one class of goods only. From far inland, sheep or cattle are loaded onto stock trains. which carry them up to 1,000 miles to market. In Queensland, special trains carry
    sugar from the sugar mills to the seaports. In the Derwent Valley in Tasmania the logging special takes great loads of
    eucalyptus logs to the paper mills at Boyer. Coal is the most important single item of freight on the railway. At Leigh Creek in South Australia coal from the open-cut mine is taken to
    power stations. The five and a half thousand ton train is the heaviest in Australia. From the big open-cut mines at Yallourn and Morwell in Victoria, coal trains carry millions of tons of brown coal and briquettes each year, providing fuel, gas and power for homes and industry. The railways have many special services. Between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie there is a partnership between road and
    rail transport known as the pickaback rail service. Road tracks are driven onto the
    railway tracks and carried eleven hundred miles across the
    Nullarbor Plain. The drivers are able to sleep during
    the trip saving themselves and their engines a long hard drive across the Nullarbor. The Nullarbor Plain has another famous
    train known as the ‘Tea and Sugar’. It carries bread, meat and groceries on a weekly run across the flat plains. The Tea and Sugar train is village
    store, bank and pay office for the railway workers
    and their families who live in settlements along the rail
    track and who work to keep lines in good repair. It is a special train service for the
    people who live in this lonely stretch of country. In the Western District of New South
    Wales a special health clinic train makes
    regular visits to isolated towns. The clinic’s Sister lives on board the
    train and conducts a baby health centre for the mothers. At one time all locomotives were
    powered by steam. Steam which is made in the engine boiler
    turns the driving wheels. Although the steam locomotive is being
    replaced by diesel locomotives and electric trains, it still finds regular
    work in many places. In Port Pirie in South Australia a steam
    locomotive is used to shunt the freight between the goods yard and the steelworks. Some express trains are still drawn by
    steam locomotives but the diesel locomotive is gradually
    taking over for both passenger and freight services. because it is fast and strong and
    economical to run and maintain. For lighter loads there are diesel rail cars, a passenger car with its own diesel engine. It provides fast travel between towns where there are not many passengers to be carried. In some states, diesels are used on
    suburban passenger services like this one in South Australia known
    as the Red Hen. In Melbourne and in Sydney, electric trains carry
    suburban passengers. Sydney has the only underground rail
    service in Australia. In peak hours a train runs every two
    minutes along the four-mile loop that links the
    inner city stations. In New South Wales and Victoria, electric
    trains travel 90 miles out from Sydney and Melbourne. One of these is an express train serving the
    Blue Mountains area some sixty miles west of Sydney. Australia’s railways are developing. Keeping pace with the growth of our
    population and the expansion of our towns, cities and industries. No matter where we live, most of us depend in some way on the
    railways, which carry passengers, mail and parcels, and the products of our farms and factories throughout Australia.

    French Railway Guns – Physical Requirements For WW1 Pilots I OUT OF THE ETHER
    Articles, Blog

    French Railway Guns – Physical Requirements For WW1 Pilots I OUT OF THE ETHER

    November 26, 2019


    I’m Indy Neidell. Welcome to another exciting episode of ‘Out of the Ether’, where I sit here in the Chair of Wisdom, and read your best, most interesting, or most controversial comments about the First World War. ♪ ‘The Great War’ intro theme ♪ Souroy writes: “While the bombardment of the two 400mm 1915 guns nicknamed ‘Lorraine’ and ‘Alsace’ “was decisive in the re-capture of Douaumont
    and Vaux a week later (this is at Verdun), “both Mangin and the Colonel Martial[?], who planned the whole artillery bombardment, “never gave credit to these guns,
    and their crews and even dissed them. “An example came from the 21st of October. “During the day, ‘Alsace’ and ‘Lorraine’ shot a total of 48 shots at nearly maximum elevation, due to strong winds. “These winds provoked the smoke of the impacts
    to fall back towards the French lines, giving the impression that the rounds fell short. “Mangin, followed by Martial, threw a tantrum
    about the failure of the gunners, “and that the ‘most serious sanctions’
    should be taken against the ones in charge. “It took General Frangiat[?], head of the
    Second Army Artillery, and who directly observed
    the shots from the Fort du Regret, “to calm Mangin and to ensure him that
    the 400mms were directly hitting the fort, “an affirmation which was proven
    from aerial photographs, as well as
    the testimony of the recce pilots. “On the 21st of October, out of 48 rounds fired, “34 could be perfectly observed by planes.
    28 of them directly hit the fort. “One of them completely destroyed
    an observation casemate. “On the 22nd, the ‘Alsace’ was moved to a new position from which it could fire on Fort Vaux, “leaving the ‘Lorraine’ alone to treat Douaumont. “The most important damages came on the 23rd of October. That day, the ‘Lorraine’ shot 45 rounds. “38 were well-observed, with 31direct hits on the fort, some of which caused important damages. 12:30pm: a tunnel used by
    the Germans as an infirmary is hit 50 dead among the wounded and medics. “On the 24th, despite the heavy fog,
    the ‘Lorraine’ shot another 15 rounds,
    without observation because of the fog. “Meanwhile, the ‘Alsace’ attacked the Fort Vaux
    with 24 rounds, 11 on the 24th, 13 the next day. “At least nine hit the fort without heavy damage, but following additional bombings from other heavy guns, “the German troops decided to
    evacuate the fort the 2nd of November. “In the end—and despite the results—
    Mangin completely forgot the two 400mm guns “from the post-battle rewards, and he never asked for their support for the remainder of the war. “Hopefully, other generals saw the value of these guns and used them to great effect, “for example, the destruction of the
    Mont Cornillet tunnels in May 1917, “or even as incentive weapons, with the guns firing right in front of attacking troops to motivate them. H. Lind Keith writes:
    “Kurt Wintgens, Leutnant Luftstreitkräfte, “19 kills, awarded Pour le Mérite, wore glasses. “Often, men who were considered unfit for
    infantry or cavalry service were accepted
    into their country’s Air Service. “Mental breakdowns were
    common among combat pilots. “V.P. Cronyn was one of the seven pilots of the
    56th Squadron who fought Werner Voss
    on the day Voss was killed. “He suffered a breakdown immediately after that fight, and never flew combat again. “He was posted to the Home Establishment,
    and then to training squadrons. “A.G. Lee, 46th Squadron, had
    nightmares that woke him screaming. “He was grounded the 1st of January, 1918,
    and posted to the Home Establishment. “Roy Brown, the 209th Squadron, the Canadian credited with killing Manfred von Richtofen, “went to hospital nine days after Richtofen’s death, where he remained until June. “He was then posted to a training squadron. According to reports, at the time of Richtofen’s death, “Brown lived on a diet of whiskey and soda,
    and nothing else. “Brown himself wrote that when he was transferred to the unemployed list, he was a nervous wreck. “The British tended to rotate shattered pilots to the Home Establishment or to training squadrons. “The French Aéronautique Militaire did not recognize combat fatigue as a debilitating condition, “and flew men until they were killed.
    It is likely that cost them several of their aces. “The Germans kept pilots flying
    when they should not be flying. “Voss was not rested the day of his last flight.
    He was hurried back to combat too soon. “Manfred von Richtofen, the “Red Baron”, needed more rest after he was shot down the 6th of July, 1917. “He too was hurried back to combat
    too soon, in August 1917. “The Luftstreitkräfte were always outnumbered,
    and the need for pilots was overwhelming. If you’d like to see our bio special about the Red Baron, you can click right here for that. Do not forget to like us on Facebook and
    follow us on Twitter. See you next time!

    The Far Right French Revolution | BETWEEN 2 WARS I 1934 Part 4 of 4
    Articles, Blog

    The Far Right French Revolution | BETWEEN 2 WARS I 1934 Part 4 of 4

    November 24, 2019


    fascism corruption economic hardship
    ideological rivalry anti-semitism these words can describe pretty much every
    European country in the interwar years France is no exception and in 1934 on
    the night of February 6th this all comes together to trigger the worst political
    violence the country has seen for generations
    once the dust settles the battle lines within France will be more stark than
    ever bullshit justly indy neidell and this is
    unclear dude guerre a chronological summary of the interwar years covering
    all facets of life the uncertainty hedonism and euphoria and ultimately
    humanity’s descent into the darkness of the Second World War
    if in the aftermath of the Great War Germany is facing a national humiliation
    and if Italy is facing a frustration and victory then we may say that France is
    facing a lost peace France emerged victorious from the war sure but at a
    cost of close to 5% of its population nearly nine million men were mobilized
    to fight for France and around 73 percent of them were either killed or
    wounded those who survived are still often a visible scar on the streets of
    France and the staggering loss of young men heightens fears over declining birth
    rates the country is also in financial ruin it has gone from a creditor nation
    to a debtor nation vital industries in the northeast were were utterly
    obliterated during the war and the franc has plummeted in value and such trauma
    inevitably leads to political division the brutalizing experience of the
    trenches and the military patriotism of the war years have created a whole
    generation of radicalized veterans ultra-nationalism such as this has
    always been hostile to the political left but the Bolshevik Revolution in
    Russia has intensified hatred of the Red Menace and any groups associated with it
    have become targets this really comes to a head in 1924 after the election of the
    so called cartel de Guiche and electoral alliance between the center-left radical
    party and other more left-wing groups in response several new leagues are formed
    or grow in strength groups such as the Jeunesse pay Clio and the fish hill
    begin to develop a far-right agenda the latter group is more overtly fascist
    than the former indeed the fascio are the first real fascist party to emerge
    outside of Italy but both groups like many others formed in this time see
    veterans as the men who will rejuvenate France
    save her from Republican leftism and preserve her conservative traditions
    both groups also have paramilitary units with their own uniforms and with big
    parades alongside these newer groups is the axial fan state founded during the
    Dreyfus Affair in 1899 the group promotes the principle of integral
    nationalism a counter revolutionary and royalist doctrine incorporating anti
    parliamentarianism authoritarianism Catholicism anti-semitism and
    ultra-nationalism though already a significant movement the rise of the
    cartel has given it a golden opportunity for publicity other less radical but
    still right when groups are also emerging the largest being de fédération
    nationale Catholic led by general de castle now it has mobilized math
    Catholics support against the government in 1926 its membership will rise to 1.8
    million however that same year the cartel government collapses and is
    replaced by a more right-wing one under veteran conservative Lyman Poincare a
    general election in 1928 further secures the political position of conservative
    parties so the cries against the degenerate leftists have kind of lost
    their potency however the ground is still fertile for
    the far right to sow their seeds the memories of war remain vivid especially
    as France finds itself increasingly isolated from Britain and the United
    States the national sacrifice at Verdun is compared bitterly by many to the
    corrupt liberalism declining birth rates and the new woman of the 1920s despite
    the new Conservative government passing effective legislation the political
    class is becoming discredited you see they’re borrowing a fair amount from the
    radical program this might win over the typical voter sure might create a sense
    of consensus but it angers the nationalist right they are joined by an
    increasing number of young intellectuals frustrated at the lack of prospects in
    the Republic though varied they share a suspicion of
    mechanism and materialism with an accompanying veneration of French
    traditionalism okay it is worth mentioning that not every veteran or
    young person has become a fluent nationalist in fact pacifism has
    actually been on the rise in France this is expressed by both dominant socialist
    parties and many veterans organizations pledging themselves to peace
    nevertheless as France enters the 1930s shadowy forces on the horizon grow
    clearer she has actually escaped the worst parts of the worldwide depression
    so far in fact French financial markets are looking strong and the government
    budget is in surplus but economic technicalities do little to calm the
    pessimism among the populace conservative governments remain in power
    until April 1932 when they are defeated by another cartel de gauche
    however the cartel fails to transform its electoral alliance into a
    governmental one and now like Germany some years earlier French politics is
    going through I guess what you’d call a cascade of cabinets these socialists who
    worked with the Radical Party are pretty suspicious of bourgeois governments and
    offer only conditional parliamentary support this means that governments are
    continually facing instability and insecurity political deadlocks happen
    again and again and successive cabinets collapse fueling this political
    turbulence is a growing public unrest over a host of different grievances see
    now a couple years later the depression is hitting France harder and harder
    there are mass protests against war debts against pension cuts against
    rising taxes against tumbling agricultural prices and against slashed
    wages it really does look like France has lost the peace indeed marshal
    Philippe Pathan himself known as the Lion of Verdun amplifies this narrative
    in a 1932 speech commemorating that famous battle he expresses dismay that
    the patriotism of the war has now given way to bitter division and to top it all
    off the ascendance of Hitler in Germany in 1933 creates
    hiding across much of France in terms of both population and industrial capacity
    Germany has basically double the size of France and Hitler’s withdrawal from a
    rearmament conference heightens fears that France is now in danger from both
    internal and external enemies so like most of inter warrior France is sitting
    on a bonfire of political social and economic problems that seems to be just
    waiting for a match to set it all ablaze for the Third Republic this will be the
    political scandal known as the stavisky affair
    Serge Alexandre stavisky was born in 1886 to a Jewish family in what was then
    the Russian Empire the family soon moved to France and as he grew up Serge became
    increasingly involved with fraudulent enterprises from his teenage years he
    has behind him a string of fake companies bad checks stolen securities
    now he’s arrested in 1926 but 317 months later on medical grounds and he
    continues his shady career now status key is nothing more than a petty crook
    but he is also a real charmer and a true socialite of his day he somehow bagged
    himself a Chanel model for a wife and has a knack for making friends in high
    places but by the end of 1933 the law is catching up with him on Christmas Day he
    flees Paris after a lucrative scheme of his begins to unravel it basically
    involves local politicians and their assistance in securing bad bonds faker
    stolen jewelry and pawn shops once the right-wing press gets wind of this
    tangled web they declared a new republic and scandal thing is only getting more
    scandalous On January 8th when police finds the Biscay dying from a gunshot
    wound in a remote Alpine chalet it is officially a suicide but speculation is
    rife that the police murdered him as part of a government cover-up now
    scandals like this are not exactly new in French politics and they have been
    the ammunition of choice for anyone looking to discredit
    organisms as far back as the French Revolution monarchist philosopher Joseph
    de Maistre said listening to these so-called
    Republicans talk of liberty and virtue is like watching some faded courtesan
    feigning the modest blushes of a virgin other more recent scandals though have
    also fueled public mistrust of the French Republic so there’s nothing
    particularly unique about the stavisky affair only six politicians are directly
    implicated and none of them are exceptionally high ranking but the fact
    that stavisky is Jewish and that several of the ruling center-left politicians
    are implicated and that France is in the grip of depression make it a tailor-made
    opportunity for the radical right calls for action grow louder the minister of
    qualities is forced to resign once it becomes clear that he provided
    assistance to stavisky but the right-wing press does not stop
    there and street demonstrations are on the rise newspaper headlines screamed
    down with the robbers down with the assassins they now also call for Prime
    Minister Camille Shelton to resign he is already a hated figure for his
    Masonic connections and right-wing groups hold daily demonstrations against
    him and the entire Republican establishment protesters barricade the
    streets with cars they even tear down trees show Tom eventually is forced to
    resign and is replaced by Edouard Daladier on January 30th da-da-da is
    conscious of the rising threat I mean it’d be hard to miss it he knows he
    needs to build a stronger alliance with other left-wing groups to show that his
    radical party is serious about this he dismisses Paris police prefect and
    far-right sympathizer Jean XI up from his post but this only aggravates the
    enemies of the Republic further who accused da lady am attempting to
    establish a left-wing dictatorship they come together loosely that is to hold a
    massive demonstration against the Third Republic now I say loosely because there
    isn’t really any central aim or coordination instead a variety of
    leagues decide that on the night of February 6 they will stage action
    against the Republic and that’s pretty much all they agree on some want an
    outright coup others are less clear about what they want at all one of the
    main groups is the good-old axial and France A’s
    there are some suggestions they want to overthrow the government but their
    actions seem to prove otherwise tonight they are primarily represented
    by their youth wing with few of the major leaders present in fact the
    league’s leader Sean Morris has chosen to spend the night writing poems rather
    than go out in the cold winter night and overthrow the system now as you might be
    thinking that’s not really the tactics of a group staging a full-blown
    revolution the Jonas pop will have a slightly more precise position they do
    not wish to overthrow the Republic itself but do very much want to replace
    the current government with a more authoritarian one also president of the
    quad ever formed in 1927 and led by Colonel Locke it is another League made
    up of veterans around a hundred thousand of them to be exact now about 61 percent
    of this membership live in Paris and many of them show up tonight but it’s
    tough to work out what they hope to achieve indeed there are suggestions
    that larocque had to be pressured from the other leagues to join in the first
    place there are also smaller fascist or far-right oriented groups present such
    as yes solidarity Frances and movement Franck east even between their members
    there is no consensus many want to complete coop others just want to
    demonstrate their anger right so to make this heady mix just a little bit more
    confusing communist groups have also got themselves involved despite being
    opposed to these far-right groups and often coming to blows with them they
    also have a desire to overthrow the liberal democratic system it is
    important to note that the Communist Party has also called on its members to
    fight fascists tonight as well as government forces but
    despite the complex disunity these groups are a severe threat to French
    damar krisi the ever sensationalist paris
    press has published detailed descriptions of the league plans and the
    league manifestos and such publicity leads to large crowds gathering at
    points throughout the city in the evening they start to march on the + de
    la Concorde as night comes things start to get violent police block the Concorde
    bridge and the mob begins hurling debris and rocks in response cavalry are sent
    in as reinforcements and charge at the demonstrators but the mob have brought
    with them sticks with razor blades attached if they succeed in cutting down
    a horse they leap upon the Fallen rider and beat him savagely the first shots
    are soon fired now no one knows from where or from whom but they heighten the
    panic the fighting intensifies communist demonstrators now also break away and
    pillage the Rue Royale and buildings government or otherwise in the area are
    set ablaze rocks are thrown at firefighters battling the flames
    meanwhile an equal amount of chaos has taken place in the Chamber of Deputies
    itself since 3 p.m. de la da has consistently been prevented from reading
    his ministerial declaration conservatives keep breaking into
    choruses of the Marseillaise and communists keep belting out the
    International knowledge this fights occur between rival deputies the
    speaker’s been forced to suspend the session several times and just when
    things settled down the deputies hear the first shots ring out and many flees
    hurrying past the injured police treated by doctors in the corridors by the time
    things are finally adjourned at around 8:30 p.m. there were only about 5 non
    cabinet member Deputies left in the chamber back outside much of the mob has
    turned towards the presidential palace and the Ministry of the Interior
    after some bloody fighting they are beaten back and retreat to the Concorde
    once again then at about 10:30 rioters unaware that the deputies have
    left begin a full assault on the bridge in front of the Assembly Building
    11:30 they seemed to be breaking through the last police barricade the guards
    panic and shoot indiscriminately without warning at the charging mob halting it
    in its tracks as midnight comes around demonstrators are finally beaten back
    fires are now being taken care of and police take control of the situation by
    2:30 in the morning the riots seem to be over for now but the following week sees
    further chaos and further violence admit day the next day anyhow de la dia is
    forced to resign after the cartel falls once again and the police and judiciary
    challenged his authority in his place now is former president Gaston doumergue
    and a new right-wing cabinet street fights demonstrations and strikes will
    take place throughout the next few days adding to the worst civil bloodshed
    France has seen since the days of the Paris Commune it is widely believed by
    the left that this has all been a fascist coup again that the press do
    little to calm these fears later in the week socialist and communist groups come
    together to protest against the fascist threat now obviously I just detailed how
    Communist rioters fought alongside fascist ones but this seems to be the
    result more of organizational confusion and mob mentality rather than any
    ideological cause in fact Moscow has been pressuring the communist parties to
    adopt a more conciliatory stance towards left-wing and moderate groups they are
    advised now to form popular fronts against the ultimate enemy Nazi Germany
    anti-fascism is the priority of international communism now and in the
    coming years it will join forces with even the radicals to form a bulwark
    against the radical right speaking of the radical right February 6 has in many
    ways been a success for them they have successfully forced a center-left
    cabinet out of government a first in the Third Republic tens of thousands of new
    members are now also swelling the ranks of the league’s like the quad therefore
    many of the parliamentary right-wing have now also been radicalized adding to
    the political stratification we could of course look at this and see
    France as a nation full of people just waiting for either a new war or a
    dictatorship but it’s important to remember that leaving aside the
    extremist forces of the time much of public opinion leans towards pacifist
    democracy and pacifist groups most literally millions of members at the
    same time however the battle lines have been well and truly drawn the political
    turbulence of the 1920s and 1930s has shown that many of the men in charge of
    running and defending the Third Republic despise it the formation of a Popular
    Front may be desirable for the ordinary citizen who has no wish to see a fascist
    third but two conservative generals of the army it reeks of entry-level
    communism this is also mirrored in the massive growth of the far-right leagues
    after February 6 and their work to undermine the Third Republic continues
    and who knows if a united Popular Front will be able to survive and fight off
    the fascist threats any help by this point pretty much every communist party
    in Europe defers to Moscow and if Stalin’s position of Nazi Germany
    changes so will everyone else’s the unity of Verdun is now but a distant
    memory things have fallen apart will the centre be able to hold if you’d like to
    learn more about the global rise of fascism and understand what it actually
    is a little bit better and have a look at our video on the rise of evil you can
    click on it right here should be any minute now
    our patron of the week is Yorick Crone or crow net thanks to people like Yorick
    good name York we can now enjoy the financial stability that 1930s Europe
    never did so do the right thing and subscribe to us at patreon calm or
    Tango’s TV and now viva la revolución sleepy you

    Articles

    Pakistan Railway Journey Sargodha to Shorkot via Jhang

    November 20, 2019


    230 Km South West from Islamabad Sargodha was Established by British as Canal Colony in 1903. Although it was a small town in Beginning. Now Sargodha is the the 11th Largest City of Pakistan With a Population of 1.5 Million. It is also An Administrative Center of Sargodha Division in Punjab. Divisional Headquateres of District Sargodha, Khushab, Mianwali and Bakhar. One of the fastest Growing City in Pakistan. The city has a climate of Extreme heat in the Summer and moderate Cold in the winters. The maximum Temperature reach 50 Degree celsius in the Summer, While the minimum Temperature Recorded is as low as freezing point in the Winter. Today 45 C It is connected to the rest of the country by road and Rail. Sargodha Junction Railway Station is on Shorkot Lalamusa Branch Railway Line. Today Journey on Pakistan Railways Passenger Train Sandal Express. from Sargodha to Shorkot. on Lala Musa Shorkot Branch Line. It train route is alomost 200 Km. Sandal Express Run between Sargodha and Multan. Sargodha District is world top citrus producer.

    Pakistan Railways Malkwal to P D Khan  Victoria Bridge Train Route Journey 2018
    Articles, Blog

    Pakistan Railways Malkwal to P D Khan Victoria Bridge Train Route Journey 2018

    November 20, 2019


    In this video You will watch Pakistan Railway Victoria bridge Malkwal branch line and kids first-time journey on local train It branch line begins from Malkwal Junction station and ends at Khushab Junction station The total length of this railway line is 92 km 14 railway stations from Malkwal Junction to khushab Junction At present rail traffic on this line is suspended since 1999 but two trains are running from Malkwal to Pind Dadan Khan almost 19 kilometers PDK shuttle 1 is the local pakistani shuttle train run between Lala Musa – Pind Dadan Khan Via Malkwal My journey is on this train today This Train takes approximately 30 minutes to complete its journey of 19 kilometers Train has only second class in it The Malkwal-Khushab branch line was built as part of the Sindh-Sagar Railway between 1884 and 1939 in May 1887 the Victoria Bridge was completed over the Jhelum River Between Malkwal and Chak Nizam and railway line was constructed from Malkwal to Khushab. The line was conceived to haul Freight from the mining rich region and Served two important smaller railways The Gharibwal Cement works railway, and Dandot light railways serving the kewra salt mine in 1939 the Victoria bridge had to be completely Regarded on the old pyres when the bridge proved to be incapable of taking increased rail traffic These guys want to see the train in real life They are happy to be on Railway stations and now they are inspecting the railway line Waiting is always not good Finally the train arrived First time Johnny on train and they are happy now The Gharibwal Cement works railway opened in May 1886 as it 27 kilometers 5 ft 6 inch broad gauge railway from Haranpur Junction to Gharibwal. It was built to serve the Gharibwal query it is suspended nowadays The Dandot light railway opened in 1908 ten kilometer two-foot narrow gauge railway from the note railway station to Chalisa Junction railway station It was built to serve the Khewra salt mines now rail services suspended

    Articles

    Top 10 Future U.S. MEGAPROJECTS

    November 19, 2019


    These are ten megaprojects the U.S. desperately
    needs to complete in the near future. They each represent many other projects awaiting
    approval and funding in cities and towns across America. A bullet train in Texas would help ease traffic
    in Houston and Dallas that will only get worse as the lonestar state continues to grow. A road trip from one city to the other will
    take up to 6.5 hours in the next twenty years. Modelled after Japan’s Shinkansen train,
    the Texas Central High-Speed Rail will cut that journey to just over three hours thanks
    to max speeds of 250 miles per hour. Heavy rains in 2015 breached more than 50
    dams in South Carolina, causing flooding throughout the state. It’s an emergency that will keep happening
    if the more than 600 dams rated as high-hazard aren’t modernized. Dams are aging nationwide and need more than
    $20 billion in repairs and upgrades. The Washington DC area has some of the worst
    traffic in the country. Extending the existing metro system to the
    suburbs by adding another metro line with 21 new stations will make everyone’s commute
    shorter, and will take an estimated 17,000 cars off the road. Denver has an ambitious plan to take back
    land from the interstate by plunging part of the I-70 East underground to create a large
    park with sports fields and performance spaces. The project will also modernize and widen
    the 60-plus-year-old road to ensure its structural integrity and ease congestion within the sprawling
    Denver area. Miami is already dealing with the effects
    of climate change with the installation of 80 pumping stations. But when sea levels rise just 5 more feet,
    96% of the city will be underwater, making it America’s most vulnerable urban area
    to a changing climate. To survive, it will need to significantly
    expand its levee system and build a multi-billion dollar seawall. The highly populated northeast corridor of
    the U.S. desperately needs to expand its high speed rail network to keep pace with the best
    cities in the world. Right now, the fastest train is the Acela,
    whose top speed is just 125 miles per hour. A maglev train connecting New York to DC could
    hit 300 mph and cut the commute from four hours to one. Old sewer lines aren’t properly functioning,
    resulting in raw sewage streaming into Lake Erie from Cleveland during storms. Project clean lake is a 25-year renewal plan
    that uses a variety of green methods, including the construction of seven tunnels, to solve
    the problem. To allow for more people and goods to pass
    through the Detroit-Windsor, Canada section of the border, the Gordie Howe International
    Bridge will provide uninterrupted traffic flow. When complete, the project will increase daily
    vehicle crossings by 30%. Phase 1 of California’s high speed rail
    project should open by 2030. It aims to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco
    in just three hours, compared to the nearly six hours it now takes to drive the route. It will be the first high speed rail project
    on the U.S. west coast and will eventually extend to San Diego and Sacramento, the state’s
    capitol. 200,000 daily passenger trips are made through
    the only rail tunnel connecting Manhattan and New Jersey. 100 years old and severely damaged by Hurricane
    Sandy, it badly needs an upgrade. The proposed Hudson River Rail Tunnel
    megaproject would modernize the existing tunnel and add a second one in order to ease congestion
    and wait time for commuters. This episode was sponsored by Dollar Shave
    Club. They have a brand new deal you’ve got to
    check out. Dollar Shave Club saves you time and money
    by delivering high quality razors right to your door. And, if you go to www.dollarshaveclub.com/TDC,
    link in the description, you get a one month trial of any razor for a buck. They’ve also got shampoo and shave butter
    that I used this morning that has me smelling good and feeling smooth. So what are you waiting for? Go to www.dolarshaveclub.com/TDC, link in
    the description, and get their best for a buck! For TDC, I’m Bryce Plank. Until tomorrow, thanks for watching.

    Why did we sell off the railways? | FT Feature
    Articles, Blog

    Why did we sell off the railways? | FT Feature

    November 17, 2019


    [BIRDS CHIRPING] [TRAIN ON TRACKS] People are feeling romantic
    about nationalisation because they don’t
    remember how awful it was. The railway is a
    natural monopoly. You don’t get to choose
    which train you travel on, which company you choose. It doesn’t make sense
    to introduce a market into the railway. There are two big problems with
    the railways at the moment, the fares are too
    high, and they’ve been going up relentlessly. And the second problem
    I can put in two words. Southern Rail. If you look at some of the
    trains they’ve invested in, they’re pretty unpleasant. No tables. Nowhere to put your drinks down. It looks like the
    sort of place they want to hose down after the
    passengers have been in there. I think privatisation has
    brought many advances. Certainly one of
    the advances brought is an enormous increase in the
    number of people using trains. Jeremy Corbyn is a
    great trainspotter. So he and I see completely
    eye to eye on the railways. And I’d love to be
    his thin controller. [LAUGHTER] We didn’t feel it
    appropriate to say that the Chancellor and
    the Transport Secretary were locked in mortal combat. But that is more or
    less what it was. [MUSIC PLAYING] Britain is the birthplace
    of the modern railway. But the network is now at the
    centre of a political battle. 25 years ago every train,
    every piece of track, and every station in the UK was
    sold off to private companies. Now, with calls for
    re-nationalisation growing louder, we’re here to ask, why
    did we privatise the railways? And was it worth it? One man who was
    there in the engine room of the great
    Conservative sell off, stoking the fires
    of privatisation, is now better known as a
    connoisseur of the railways. Trains were old. They were very often dirty. And the most famous symbol
    was the curly British Rail sandwich, because the standard
    of catering was so poor. So it was universally
    acknowledged that the nationalised
    industries were giving an extremely poor
    standard of service, because they had no
    accountability to the customer. The private railway companies
    were taken into public ownership in 1948, when Clement
    Attlee’s Labour government decided to nationalise
    swathes of British industry. By the time John Major became
    prime minister in 1990, the service was seen as a
    neglected part of the transport system. Ministers thought British
    Rail’s management was asleep at the wheel, and looked at ways
    to bring in the private sector. So why did the
    rail privatisation come quite so late? I think it’s partly
    because it was complex. And partly because I don’t think
    Margaret Thatcher particularly wanted to do it. I mean, it’s odd,
    because privatisation is much associated with Margaret
    Thatcher, and rightly so. Although she moved into
    it a little reluctantly. She was quite slow to do
    the first privatisations. And railways and the
    post office, for example, were way down her list. So it only got going
    in the Major years. And even then, it
    took a very long time. When I was first working on
    privatisation, the plans we had were not at all the plans
    that turned out to be. Quite honestly, the
    principal motivation was that we had an
    industry that we thought was in terminal decline. And something, almost anything,
    had to be done about it. And this is really what I would
    ask you to judge privatisation against. I know there have been
    many other changes. But not many people
    gave railways a hope, even of survival
    in the late 1980s. The railways more than survived. But the journey has
    not been smooth. Awarding contracts at
    the lowest possible cost has depressed the quality
    of train services. The companies complain of
    squeezed profit margins. But passengers still seem
    to blame the operators, as the government piles more of
    the costs onto the travelling public. As passenger fares have
    risen, so has public anger. And the remedy that
    these angry commuters seem to be reaching for is
    to take the whole system back into public ownership. One commuter decided
    he’d had enough. David Boyle challenged
    Southern Rail’s poor service by organising a protest
    at Brighton Station with his fellow passengers. They were irate at the delays
    and cancellations resulting from an ongoing dispute
    between the train operating company and the trade unions. They refused to
    show their tickets and had a tea party instead. Well, the reason I got so
    cross was during the strike, when no one was taking
    responsibility for it, was it felt like you were
    going into a restaurant. They won’t give you
    your meal properly. They’re late in delivering it. And they still
    expect you to pay. And what’s more, they
    check your ticket. They have the nerve
    to check your ticket. So it seemed to me,
    what would Gandhi do in those circumstances? He would refuse to
    show his ticket. It’s a ripoff for both
    passengers and the public. And it has failed. That’s why we need
    public ownership. Cat Hobbs speaks for We
    Own It, a pressure group campaigning for public
    services to be brought back into government hands. 76% of us believe the railways
    should be in public ownership. And that’s across
    all age groups. We know that people really
    believe the railways should be publicly owned. And we can achieve
    that very easily by bringing rail
    franchises in house as they come up for renewal. When you see the ridiculous
    chaos in Southern Railways, and the huge inconvenience
    to the travelling public, going back several
    months, well, of course, the public are entitled not just
    to be annoyed, but to be very, very angry. If I used Southern
    Railway, I’d be livid at the nonsense
    that’s gone on there. Another angry protester? Actually, this is Malcolm
    Rifkind, former transport secretary, and one of the
    architects of Britain’s privatised railways. I basically reversed
    what was perceived to be a conservative policy
    of the previous 12 years, and said, I am unashamedly
    part of a government that is committed to an
    expansion of the rail network. And I had John Major’s
    full support in doing that. When you were secretary
    of state for transport, you were not in agreement
    with the Treasury on how it should be done. Yes. Although I had no problem with
    the principle of privatisation, where I did depart from
    the view of the Chancellor of the Exchequer
    and of the Treasury was as to the separation
    of responsibility for the infrastructure,
    for the railway track, from the operating of the
    railways that use that track. To divorce from the person
    who’s running the railway the ability to manage
    the track as well in the most economic
    and sensible way was irrational, bad economics,
    and bad business sense. Instead of pushing British
    Rail into the private sector as a single company,
    it was broken into three components,
    track, rolling stock, and train operators. The real competition
    on the railways was not from other railways. It was from whether people
    decided to use the rail, or to use air or
    road in order to get to where they wished to go. And that meant that by the time
    of the 1992 general election, when the manifesto
    was being drawn up, we had not yet reached
    a position on this. This set out in here
    is the sort of Britain I am going to see, and
    lead this country to in the next few months. In 1992, a secret
    memo was circulated among senior
    conservatives discussing how to privatise the railways. The preferred option was
    to approach privatisation on the basis of line of route. Why? Because this was
    easy to explain, and was appealing to
    local regional pride, and a sense of identity. The memo acknowledges
    that this method would not be the most
    pro-competitive solution. Opinion polls showed
    that privatising BR was popular with the public. It would be important to
    bring about privatisation in a way that captured
    the political trick. If it meant you were
    adopting a system that, in all other respects,
    was an inferior one, then that would be a very
    bad thing to do. If you devise a policy
    which not only appears to be the best way of
    running the country, but happens in addition
    to be quite popular, yes, we plead guilty
    as politicians to being attracted to that as
    a way of resolving whatever the problem might be. But now it seems that the
    pendulum of public support has swung completely in the
    other direction and favours the Labour solution. I think the public mood is
    there, absolutely there, saying bring our railways back
    into public ownership. Clearly, in your view,
    it would be a mistake to follow the Jeremy Corbyn,
    John McDonnell prescription. I think it would be one of the
    silliest, most foolish things they could do. Apart from anything
    else, it would cost billions of public expenditure. There would be massive
    disruption for a number of years, until you got back. And where would you
    be going back to? You’d be going back
    to a state system of running the railways,
    which during the period that had operated in this country saw
    a constant decline in railway usage and a constant increase
    in public dissatisfaction right up till the 1990s
    when we privatised. So that’s what you call dumb. There’s no question
    that passenger numbers have gone up since the
    railways were privatised. The number of journeys has
    increased from 761 million in 1995 to 1.7 billion in 2016. But most of this is
    concentrated around London. Not everyone thinks
    this is fair. I’m Lilian Greenwood. I’m the Labour MP
    for Nottingham South. And I chair the Commons
    Transport Select Committee. We’re here on this
    train, speeding north to your constituency
    in Nottingham. And clearly, there’s an
    enormous amount of investment that has gone into
    the railway system. I mean, you could
    almost say, the railways have never had it so good. There’s a lot more
    public money going in now than there was at
    the time when we had British Rail as a
    nationalised rail industry. I think that’s one
    of the things that perhaps is a concern about
    franchising on its own terms. It was meant to lead to
    cheaper fares, a more efficient railway, requiring
    less taxpayer subsidy. And actually, those things
    haven’t been delivered. So how much money
    does the UK government spend subsidising each
    of the train companies? Well, it depends. Between 2016 and
    2017 all of them received more funds than they
    contributed to the government, with two notable exceptions,
    Virgin Trains East Coast and South West Trains. South West Trains
    lost its franchise. And Virgin Trains East Coast
    has been flirting with collapse. We ended up taking a
    system and throwing it into the air with
    the infrastructure pushed off into Railtrack
    a privatised infrastructure company, losing lots of the
    engineering and expertise. We have the train operations put
    into 25 different franchises, many more than there are now. And, of course,
    the rolling stock sold off to the rolling
    stock operators. So it basically broke
    our rail industry up. I think essentially Railtrack
    failed to properly maintain the railway. So routine maintenance
    wasn’t being done, which led to a
    succession of fatal crashes. And it was the failure
    of a privatised operator to keep the network
    properly maintained and to keep people safe that
    was an absolute disaster. I mean, now we have the
    safest railway in Europe. That’s something to be proud of. But they had to come back into
    the public sector for that to happen. Some veterans of the Labour
    government in the 2000s who re-nationalised Rail Track to
    create Network Rail now believe that creating more state backed
    bodies could be the answer. There should be
    competition for franchises between public and
    private companies. After all, we have state
    companies in France, Germany, the Netherlands,
    and other countries who can compete
    for contracts here. What we don’t have is domestic
    state companies, or not for profit companies
    that can compete. There’s a lot of
    nonsense spoken. Since all of the track and
    most of the investment that goes into the network
    is public investment, we don’t have a fully
    privatised railway in any event. Over the last decade,
    the private sector has invested hundreds
    of millions of pounds into the railways each year. But the amounts
    invested by government can be measured in
    billions yearly. It’s not true capitalism, is it? It’s not a true market,
    or true competition. It is, to some extent,
    pretend capitalism, because the railway
    operators are always going to receive subsidy. So is the supplier of the
    track and the infrastructure. But that isn’t the
    end of the story. Because you can have
    different franchise seekers competing with each
    other to see whether they can offer a good standard of
    service for a lesser subsidy. It’s a kind of negative
    auction, in other words. They are bidding for
    the lowest subsidy. Sometimes it goes wrong. But on the whole, it
    has not gone wrong. And those who underperform
    can be replaced. Will be replaced. Have been replaced at the
    end of the franchises. The reason why there’s such
    support for nationalisation is because a lot of private
    companies are doing very badly. They’re either not running the
    trains, like Southern Rail, or they’re having to be bailed
    out at taxpayer expense. Like the East Coast. You cannot justify privatisation
    unless the private sector does a good job. I mean, I suppose people
    do have short memories. I suppose I’m in a
    privileged position, because I was in a
    privileged position to remember how bad things were. Maybe it’s the case
    that we have to go through the whole wretched cycle
    again and learn the lesson once more. This nostalgia for
    nationalised industries is absolutely misplaced. Perhaps people ought to go
    and dig out their old Super 8 movies and try to recall
    for themselves what life was really like. I’m doing nothing but wasting
    my time the whole of the time I’ve been on the train. Two hours this morning. I never get home till after
    half past seven at night. It didn’t arrive down here
    until three quarters of an hour late, which means
    we miss our buses, and we don’t arrive home until
    about an hour and a quarter later than we normally do. Whatever the
    solution, there have been some punch ups between
    commuters and railway staff. Tempers have flared
    on both sides. And one loco man was
    attacked with an umbrella. There used to be political
    energy around the idea of privatisation. We conservatives are
    returning power to the people. In the Thatcher and
    then the Major era, privatisation was meant to give
    power back to the consumer. But now, perhaps, it means
    returning to state control. Let the next Labour government
    transform Britain by genuinely putting power in the
    hands of the people. Power to the people. Power in the hands
    of the people. [MUSIC PLAYING]

    World’s Future MEGAPROJECTS
    Articles, Blog

    World’s Future MEGAPROJECTS

    November 12, 2019


    Welcome to TDC. This is our mini-documentary
    on the most ambitious, fascinating infrastructure Megaprojects of the near future. The rulers of the United Arab Emirates have
    insane amounts of money to spend. Thanks to everyone’s thirst for oil, they’ve been
    on a construction spree unlike any the world has ever seen for such a small country, investing
    in one ambitious infrastructure project after another. At one point, 24 percent of all the
    world’s construction cranes we in Dubai. Unfortunately, that was before the 2008-2009
    global financial meltdown, which led to much of the investment in the city drying up faster
    than the water on somebody who just got out of the pool at the Burj Khalifa. But the government
    insists that many of these projects have simply been delayed, and are putting their money
    where their mouth is with the recent approval of a $32 billion expansion of Dubai’s Al
    Maktoum International Airport that will break ground by the end of 2014. When complete,
    it’ll suddenly have the capacity to become the busiest airport in the world in both total
    passengers – at 220 million a year – and total cargo of 12 million annual tonnes of goods
    that can move through it–that’s almost 3 times more than what takes off from the
    runways of the world’s current leader, Hong Kong’s International Airport. It’s terminals
    will able to hold 100 of the massive new Airbus A380’s that are over 2/3ds of a football
    field long and cost $300 million a pop. The UAE’s Emirates airline already owns more
    of those planes than anyone else in the world. It’s the largest airline in the Middle East
    and will eventually move into the Al Maktoum airport to help jump start activity. The government’s
    plan is for the airfield to be the heartbeat of a city within the larger city of Dubai
    called World Central, which the UAE thinks will be home to 900,000 residents in the near
    future. The airport also hopes to be the central hub for the emerging Middle East, North African,
    and South Asian economic bloc known as MENASA. But time will tell whether the Shaikh’s
    vision for Dubai actually becomes a reality, or fades like some vicious mirage. This is Songdo International Business District,
    the world’s most futuristic urban area. It’s being built 40 miles southwest of the
    second-most populated city in the world, Seoul, South Korea. The $40 billion project is along
    the waterfront in the city of Incheon and is embracing two key concepts that urban planners
    are in love with: The first is Aerotropolis, which means the airport is integrated into
    the urban center instead of banishing it far outside of the city. This allows for shorter
    trips to and from the place that’s going to get you out of town–this’ll be an emerging
    pattern in 21st century planning as air travel continues to become accessible to more and
    more people in our increasingly interconnected world. Songdo is brilliantly directly connected
    to the airport via the 7-mile long Incheon bridge so you’ve just got a straight shot
    that gets you there in like 10 minutes that’s also got these incredible views and is the
    first thing visitors see coming into the city. The other key theme is Ubiquitous City, which
    is a uniquely Korean concept where every device, component, service is linked to an informational
    network through wireless computing technology, allowing for greater coordination and a more
    efficient and synchronized city than has ever been possible before. An example of this is
    Songdo’s trash system, which won’t rely on garbage trucks, because a network of tubes
    will suck in the garbage straight from the can and through a system of pipes, transport
    it efficiently to treatment facilities. Songdo’s so dedicated to being a model for sustainability
    that it has set aside 40% of its land area to be outdoor spaces like parks and it’ll
    become the first city in the world outside of the United States to achieve LEED certification,
    which is the highest energy consumption and waste standards possible with currently available
    technology. As a tip-of-the-hat to other great cities, Songdo will also incorporate replicas
    of New York’s Central Park and Venice’s historic canals. Overall, construction is
    currently half done. It already has 67,000 people living there studying and working at
    its many schools, including the foreign campuses of four American universities, but it’s
    struggled to attract Korean businesses as the government is refusing to give tax incentives
    for relocation, because that would create an unfair playing field favoring Songdo over
    other cities in the country. Still, if it stays squarely focused on the future, Songdo’s
    a long-term investment that’s likely to pay off. Nicaragua is about to embark on what may be
    the boldest and riskiest Megaproject in the history of the world. One that will change
    it forever. It’s going to build the biggest canal in the world . The $50 billion Nicaragua
    Grand Canal will cut the country in half to connect the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific,
    running through the biggest lake in Central America. At 173-miles-long, it’ll dwarf
    the 120 mile-long Suez Canal in Egypt and directly compete with the Panama Canal 250
    miles to the south, through which more than 15,000 ships already pass each year. But in
    the coming years, many more ships full of goods and raw materials are going to try and
    pass back and forth from the Pacific to the Atlantic to connect Europe, Brazil and the
    Eastern Coast of the United States, with China and the rest of Asia. The story of how little six-million-man Nicaragua,
    the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is able to afford such an expensive
    project is a fascinating case study of globalization, and how capitalism is increasingly driving
    geopolitical decision-making. In June of last year, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s
    Sandanista party also controlled parliament and – without any real debate – gave a 50-year,
    no-bid contract to Chinese telecommunications magnate Wang Jing to build and manage the
    proposed canal. And, it just so happens that, also last year, according to a report in the
    LA Times, Wang hosted a number of Nicaraguan officials and businessmen on a trip to China,
    where the powerful and connected Wang supposedly flaunted his extreme wealth and was accompanied
    at all times by Chinese military officers and other high-ranking governmental officials.
    So, it’s tough to believe him when he insists that the Chinese government is not financially
    backing the project, especially when we already know that China is using state financed companies
    to buy more and more assets in the West. The opportunity to own the world’s most valuable
    shipping lane seems too tempting for the Chinese government to pass up. The supposedly democratic government of Nicaragua
    is using a page out of China’s playbook, by refusing to release any of the studies
    about the impacts of the canal until December 2014, the same month construction will begin.
    That’s because there is a loooong list of environmental and humanitarian concerns. The
    project will tear through countless ecosystems and communities, and rip into the source of
    much of the country’s fresh water, Lake Nicaragua. The residents whose land is on
    the canal route have received no word on what the government plans to do for them in terms
    of compensation and relocation. But, as easy as it is to criticize the way
    the project is being handled, it’s also fairly hypocritical of me, as an American,
    to mount a very convincing argument against the plan. Afterall, about a hundred years
    ago, US President Theodore Roosevelt basically took control of Panama and pushed through
    the canal there, a project that’s benefitted America time and time again, and has made
    Panama economically better off in the long run. But we’re not living in 1914… Now is the time of social media-fueled revolution,
    where images and video fly around the world instantly, empowering even the poorest locals
    to use the power of the global community to rally support for their cause and exert political
    pressure in unpredictable ways. So, what I’m saying is that it may have been easy for President
    Ortega see all that money flying around and secretly, singlehandedly approve a massively
    disruptive project like this, but when those bulldozers start tearing apart the countryside
    – and people’s homes – there’s probably going to be hell to pay for not consulting
    the voters at all. This could be shaping up to be another one of those important moments
    of struggle in world history between the powerful have’s and the have nots. On the one hand, you have the limitless funding
    of the Chinese who want that flag-in-the-dirt, statement-making moment for their country
    of staking a claim in the Americas. We know the canal would benefit corporations in the
    west through the shipping and trade benefits I outlined earlier. And with construction
    set to begin in Nicaragua next month – there doesn’t seem to be any stopping it from
    starting. But on the other hand, this thing is going
    to take six years at a minimum to finish, and if we’ve learned anything from recent
    history, it’s that a lot can happen in six weeks or six months, let alone six years. On a person-to-person basis, the United Arab
    Emirates has the biggest Ecological Footprint in the world thanks to its prolific oil production
    and the massive construction boom that’s been going on there for the last decade. So
    it’s surprising to learn that the UAE is home to Masdar–the world’s first zero-carbon,
    zero-waste city. To meet this ambitious goal, it’s powered only by renewable energy, like
    a 54-acre 88,000 panel solar farm beyond the cities’ walls. That’s right, I said walls.
    The designers studied ancient cities to learn the most effective planning methods to reduce
    energy consumption. One of the key things are walls that helps to keep the high, hot
    desert winds away from its inhabitants. They also raised the entire foundation of the site
    a few feet above the surrounding land to keep Masdar cooler and spaced the buildings much
    closer together to keep the streets and walkways narrow, and mostly in the shade. These techniques
    – combined with 130-foot wind towers that suck air from above and convert it into a
    cool breeze blowing on the street – mean Masdar is a comfortable 70 degrees fahrenheit when
    just a few meters away, the thermostat rises well above 100. Plus, there’s no driving
    in the city and any car that enters is parked at the outskirts. A system of driverless electric
    vehicles then ferry people from place to place underground, and a light rail system is also
    available above ground, which means there’s no need for streets. And in a move that cuts
    both water and electricity consumption more than half, there are no light switches or
    water taps–everything is controlled by movement sensors. This unprecedented level of environmental
    consciousness has won it hard-earned endorsements from environmental conservation groups like
    Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund. The German engineering giant Siemens has located
    its Middle East headquarters there, as has the International Renewable Energy Agency.
    The Masdar Institute for Science and Technology – a small postgraduate university that was
    founded through a collaboration with MIT – occupies one of Masdar’s first completed buildings
    and is already producing great work and first-class researchers. So the city undeniably has a
    solid foundation, but it’s got a lot to do still if it’s going to meet its ambitious
    goal of housing 50,000 residents and hosting offices for 60,000 more commuters. The city’s
    co-founder admits that Masdar is “a fraction of what it was supposed to be back in 2006
    when we announced it. At the beginning of the project, nobody really anticipated how
    difficult it is to build a city.” This underscores the point many urban planners around the world
    have made: that we should be focused on making our existing cities more sustainable instead
    of building brand new ones. But even if Masdar only teaches us one or two major things about
    what’s possible when it comes to sustainable urban design – and it does seem like it’s
    already done that – then it’ll have been worth it, even if it takes much longer to
    achieve its overall vision, or if it ultimately fails. Because let’s be honest, the UAE
    was going to spend that $20 billion in oil revenue on something, so it’s better for
    everyone that its going to an important experiment like Masdar rather than another row of gold
    and marble crusted hotel skyscrapers or an electricity-sucking indoor snow park. This is the future–maglev trains. Japan’s
    all aboard. They’re spending a staggering $85 billion over the next 30 years to connect
    the island’s three largest cities: Tokyo to Nagoya to Osaka. That’s over three hundred
    miles that you’ll be able to cover in about 67 minutes by racing through the countryside
    at over 300 miles per hour. Maglev technology uses powerful magnetic charges to move rail
    cars that float several inches above a concrete guideway, rather than riding on steel wheels.
    This frictionless system allows for a smoother ride at significantly higher speeds than traditional
    high speed rail. In contrast, California’s planned high speed rail system that’ll eventually
    connect San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, will only be able to travel at top
    speeds of 220 mph, but its estimated overall cost is ten billion dollars less than the
    Japanese system and will cover a distance two and a half times as long. The Chinese
    city of Shanghai has had a short maglev line in operation since 2004, but the Japanese
    line is the world’s first intercity link to gain public approval. The project’s called
    Chuo Shinkansen – or as the Japanese refer to it, Rinia Mota Ka – and is a culmination
    of 40 years of Japanese maglev development that began with an unlikely partnership between
    Japan Airlines and Japanese National Railways. What’s really impressive about this project
    is that JR Central – the company that’s building the line – will finance the project
    without public money, thanks largely to the success of the bullet train it’s run from
    Tokyo to Osaka since the mid 1960’s. The company’s also pushing hard to construct
    a maglev line between the American capital city of Washington DC and New York, which
    would showcase the technology to the American market and the rest of the western world.
    The Japanese government has even offered to fully finance the 40 mile first leg of the
    US project from Baltimore to DC, a proposal Prime Minister Shinzo Abe directly pitched
    to President Barack Obama during a meeting last year. But critics of Maglev say the costs
    outweigh the benefits. Opponents have raised questions about the sheer monetary cost of
    the project, its environmental impact, and whether it is really needed. Tunnels will
    be blasted through some of Japan’s highest mountains to build the Chuo Shinkansen line.
    But regardless of what the critics say, something had to change. When the Maglev system is done
    it will help alleviate the overcrowding on Japan’s existing rail system and make it
    feasible for commuters into Tokyo to live further outside of the city than they can
    now. Many of the projects that we’ve profiled
    in our Megaprojects series have a real purpose for advancing society, or at least meeting
    the needs of a growing world economy. Then there’s Azerbaijan’s ridiculous Khazar
    Islands, a project that – despite all the progress in the world – is the perfect example
    of everything that’s still wrong with its power structure, but more on that in a moment.
    The creatively named Azerbaijan Tower will be the world’s tallest building, about 800
    feet taller than the current leader, the Burj Khalifa, and, insanely, twice as tall as the
    tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, New York’s One World Trade Center. The Freudian
    showpiece of the $100 billion project, Azerbaijan Tower will rise above the capital city, Baku,
    and will be surrounded by 55 artificial islands built in the Caspian Sea with land gathered
    by completely destroying a nearby mountain. There will also be at least eight hotels,
    a Formula One racetrack, a yacht club, and an airport. So basically, we’re talking
    about Donald Trump’s fantasy. Now, it’s one thing to build an over-the-top city like
    Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which is one of the most-developed places in the world,
    and a completely different thing for it to rise in Azerbaijan, which has a per capita
    GDP that’s not even ⅕ as much as the UAE. This madness is the brainchild of the billionaire
    developer Ibrahim Ibrahimov, who has extremely cozy ties with the corrupt government of the
    newly oil rich nation of Azerbaijan. Just how corrupt is Azerbaijan? In a 2012 report
    by watchdog group Transparency International that declared 2/3rds of the world’s countries
    “highly corrupt,” Azerbaijan’s Prez Ilham Aliyev stood out from the pack as the
    report’s infamous, “person of the year,” with untold amounts of money stashed in various
    locations around the world. But back to President Aliyev’s good buddy, Ibrahimov, who lazily
    came up with the tacky idea for the megaproject that’s basically a copy of Dubai’s island
    development and mega-tower while on a flight home from, you guessed it, Dubai. He argues
    that Khazer Islands will be home to 800,000 people, but doesn’t explain how those people
    will afford its expensive apartments. Instead of investing in the future by maybe funding
    a network of world class universities – which Azerbaijan isn’t even close to having – in
    a country that borders no ocean and produces no product that the rest of the world wants,
    besides oil, the government thinks its a good idea to build this. I doubt many of the nine
    million people of Azerbaijan think it’s a very good idea. In fact, in a possible sign
    of things to come, last year, Azerbaijanis in a city across the country, got so fed up
    with the corrupt regime, they rioted for two entire days. But look, the capital is doing
    some things right, Baku made Lonely Planet’s top ten ranking of the best nightlife spots
    in the world. I just wonder how much they paid to get on the list. No list of Megaprojects would be complete
    without including the largest-ever science project. The International Thermonuclear Experimental
    Reactor (or, ITER) is a collaboration between China, the European Union, India, Japan, Russia,
    South Korea, and the United States that is under construction in Southern France where
    researchers will attempt to see if they can, essentially, recreate the power of the Sun
    and harness it in a steel bottle. Gas will be heated to over 150 million degrees in a
    massive steel frame using giant magnets that will force some atoms together. In this experimental
    reactor, the hope is to produce 10 times more energy than what is used to initiate the reaction,
    or the equivalent of 500 megawatts of power for 1,000 seconds. Although electricity won’t
    be generated at the ITER facility, a fusion power plant would use the heat generated to
    drive turbines and produce power. Unlike nuclear fission, which are what all nuclear power
    plants are today, fusion reactors should be completely safe, with no risk of a producing
    a runaway chain reaction and no dangerous long-living radioactive waste. The fact that
    nations who are competing in nearly every area of geopolitics and economics are coming
    together to collaborate on a $50 billion project is a sign that the science is incredibly promising
    and the potential benefits to humanity are profoundly game-changing. That’s why countries
    that represent half of the world’s population and account for 2/3ds of the global economy
    are participating: because solving fusion would mean prosperity for all, the closest
    thing to limitless energy we can fathom. This month, after the completion of the ground
    support structure which took four years to finish, the second phase of construction began:
    the walls of the seven-story building where the experiment will take place. But we’re
    still several years away from turning the thing on. The complex will make its first
    attempt to produce plasma in a fusion reaction in 2020, with regular operations beginning
    in 2027, 11 years behind schedule and over 40 years after the program was first initiated
    in 1985. But no matter how long, or how many tries it takes to get it right, the prospect,
    the hope of living in a world powered by this type of energy that we wouldn’t need to
    fight over, or pump out of the ground, that we wouldn’t need to burn, that wouldn’t
    harm our precious planet, that’s probably one of the most optimistic, hopeful ideas
    I’ve ever heard, and it’s definitely one worth waiting for. China is about halfway done building the largest
    expressway system in the world, and it’s done so at a feverish pace over the last 25
    years to keep up with the rise of the automobile as the country – and the world – has shifted
    away from a rail-based transportation system. The first expressway within the National Trunk
    Highway System, as it’s called, opened in 1988 and today, just 26 years later, the system
    is over 65,000 miles long. In the ten years since 2004, the network has tripled in length.
    Each year, China’s now building new expressways equivalent in length to the distance of going
    coast-to-coast and back in the United States. The Chinese system exceeded the total length
    of the US interstate highway system back in 2011. This crazy expansion has happened because
    the Chinese have embraced the car at a staggering pace. This next mind-blowing fact pretty much
    sums up this entire video: as the country’s middle class boomed and tens of millions of
    people suddenly could afford to buy cars, in the 20 years from 1985 to 2005, the number
    of passenger vehicles in China increased from 19,000 to 62 million cars on the road, that’s
    a mind-blowing increase of 323,000%. And that 62 million number is more than tripling to
    200 million by 2020. That’s why we’ve seen those stories that I thought were a joke
    the first time I read them, of traffic jams around Beijing stretching over 60 miles and
    lasting for 11 days. So this project is sorely needed simply for the country to function.
    When it’s finished, it will have cut total travel times between cities throughout the
    country, by half, on average. Overall the total cost of building the entire system is
    $240 billion dollars, that’s easily the biggest infrastructure project in human history,
    with $12 billion a year being invested through 2020. It’s been able to afford to do this
    without adding a national fuel tax because 95% of the system are toll roads owned by
    private, for-profit companies. This is a problem, as tolls are expensive at over 10 cents per
    mile…which is more than the cost of fuel itself. But regardless of how the roads are
    paid for, or whether, you drive on them in your gas or electric car, or ride in a self-driving
    car. The Chinese economy and quality of life of its people will be significantly better
    thanks to this ambitious project. It seems the whole country is embracing the Chinese
    saying, “Lutong Caiton,” wealth follows the extension of motorways. India faces one of the most challenging situations
    in the world. It has 1.2 billion people spread over a vast country. More than 350 million
    of whom will move into cities in the coming decade, which means some 500 new urban centers
    will need to be built from scratch. And even though India’s sheer size means that its
    economy ranks third in the world in purchasing power, overall, it’s relatively poor and
    underdeveloped. It’s also young. The average Indian is just 27 years old, compared to the
    average American, who’s a decade older. This means that most of the population is
    about to hit their prime working years—these are all people who need jobs to be created
    now. That’s why the government is embarking on the largest infrastructure project in Indian
    history: the $90 billion Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor, whose backbone will be a 920 mile
    long dedicated freight corridor, basically a set of multiple rail lines that will exist
    solely to move goods from the factories where they are produced to the sea and airports
    where they can be exported to market. It’s designed to cut the logistical costs of manufacturing
    goods to make India the cheapest place in the world for a company to build its stuff
    and – in turn – triple the amount of merchandise it exports from 2010 levels by 2017. Japan
    is the major partner behind the project because the Japanese economy is based on a technology
    industry that needs to build its products at the most competitive rates in the world.
    The overall effort will include a 4,000 MW power plant, and at least three brand new
    seaports and six airports. And all along the route, 24 new cities will spring up with each
    aiming to be superior to any existing Indian city in terms of the quality of infrastructure,
    planning, management, and services offered. With natural resources scarce – and climate
    change a concern of any good urban planner – the use of technology has been stressed
    to make sure this boom will be as clean and sustainable as possible. Roads are also a
    major part of the plan with thousands of miles of expressways planned to ease congestion.
    The project is a priority of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who entered office in 2014
    after leading his BJP party to a dominating win in the 2014 election, giving him a mandate
    to enact his vision for making India a global manufacturing superpower. It seems the Indians
    are attempting to follow a similar blueprint for success the Chinese put into action over
    the last 40 years. With a population nearly as big, Indians are rightly asking, why not
    us? If you were playing Sim City, you’d want
    to go about building your metropolis the same way the Saudi’s have with King Abdullah
    Economic City. And just like other great leaders of men, you’d probably name it after yourself
    too, which is exactly what King Abdullah did. You’d also focus on job-creating infrastructure
    and a dream university to attract the best and brightest. Saudi Arabia is the world’s
    dominant oil producer, and is a country that knows how to play the game. While its flashier
    neighbors like Abu Dhabi and Dubai get all the publicity for their megaprojects, the
    Kingdom is embarking on a far more ambitious project that’s focused squarely on creating
    the most cohesive, well-planned city in the Arab world. The $100 billion enterprise on
    the coast of the Red Sea is about an hour’s drive north of Jeddah, the second-largest
    city in Saudi Arabia, and plans to expand into an area about the size of Washington
    DC. That location is no coincidence, says Fahd Al Rasheed, the man who’s in charge
    of growing King Abdullah Economic City – which we’re going to shorten to just its initials,
    KAEC – “you’re talking about 24 percent of global trade going through the Red Sea,
    and this is a trend that’s never been addressed by a Red Sea port.” That’s why KAEC’s
    port is going to be massive, with an annual capacity of over ten million shipping containers,
    which would make it one of the busiest ports in the world. So cargo is KAEC’s first major
    transportation hub. The second is Haramain station, one of four stops on Saudi Arabia’s
    planned high speed rail network that will connect the new megacity to Jeddah, Makkah,
    and Madinah. This will bring thousands of visitors to KAEC right from it’s inception,
    with officials hoping that some will naturally take jobs and stay there, fueling its expansion.
    At first, the whole plan struggled to gain much traction with investors, “but,” says
    Al Rasheed, “then we reoriented ourselves towards building that demand, creating that
    support and it’s completely shifted. Now we have captive demand — all our apartments
    are full and we have waiting lists for hundreds of people, literally.”
    Part of that shift focused on KAEC’s Industrial Valley which is centered on a large petrochemical
    plant and has more than 70 companies lining up to set up bases there.
    And then there’s the cornerstone of any thriving city: a great university. Enter,
    King Abdullah University of Science and Technology – which began instruction in 2009 with a staggering
    $20 billion endowment, making it the third best-funded university in the world behind
    Harvard and Yale. This capital injection has allowed it to lift off like a rocket in its
    first five years. It’s recruited some of the best talent from over 60 countries around
    the world–scientists who’ve carried the school to an eye-opening 99.9% research record
    score. The research teams at King Tech are advancing many important fields like solar
    cell technology and cancer therapy. It teaches in English and is the first mixed-gender university
    in the Kingdom. Plus, with just 1200 postgraduates on an 8,900 acre campus, there’s plenty
    of room to expand in every direction. With forty percent of Saudi Arabia’s citizens
    under 15 years old, the plan is for the megacity – by itself – to create upwards of a million
    jobs for all of those young people to grow into.
    In the end, it may be true that Saudi Arabia would be a bone-dry desert wasteland without
    it’s exploitation of the vast fields of black gold underneath it, but at least – in
    the twilight of his life – King Abdullah is doing all he can to set his people – and the
    rest of the world – on a slightly better path than the one they were on when he took over
    just nine years ago in 2005. And if that’s his legacy, he deserves to have a city named
    after him. Thanks for watching. I hope you enjoyed this
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