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China-made trains enter service in Istanbul’s new metro line

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ISTANBUL, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) — A new metro line connecting central Istanbul and the city’s new international airport officially opened to the public on Sunday, featuring China-made automated driverless trains that could run up to 120 kilometers per hour.

“This 800,000 daily capacity metro line will allow travel from Kagithane Station to the Istanbul Airport in 24 minutes,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the opening ceremony.

The fully-automated, driverless trains were built by Chinese company CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co., Ltd. (CRRC ZELC), which signed a purchase and commissioning contract with Türkiye’s Directorate-General of Infrastructure Investments back in January 2020.

The 34-kilometer metro line between the Kagithane Station in central Istanbul and the city’s new international airport boasts Türkiye’s fastest trains, and the vehicles running the line are China’s first 120km/h automated driverless metro project for the overseas market, according to CRRC ZELC.

The contract was for 176 subway cars and required a 60 percent localization rate in Türkiye.

Haluk Oguz, a management specialist at CRRC ZELC’s subsidiary in Türkiye, told Xinhua that they have delivered 40 vehicles. “Work on the other 136 is ongoing,” he said, adding “they will be manufactured at our factory in Ankara.”

Faruk Bostanci, administrative affairs chief at CRRC Türkiye, said that “new additions (to the line), which will be made as manufacturing continues, will increase the train frequency and provide a faster, more convenient transportation network for Istanbul residents.”

After trying out the train, Istanbul resident Emirhan Ersoy praised the new vehicles. “Both the heating system and the visual screens are very nice, and the sound system works very well,” he said, adding that the high capacity of the cabins was another point of distinction.

The vehicles operate in a 4-car formation with a maximum capacity of 1,100 passengers. The exterior of the trains is decorated with Turkish cultural elements such as tulip motifs.

Yalcin Eyigun, general manager of the Directorate-General of Infrastructure Investments at Turkish Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry, praised the Chinese partner for overcoming all kinds of difficulties during the project despite the COVID-19 pandemic-related setbacks.

Over the past decade, CRRC ZELC has supplied more than 400 metro vehicles to Türkiye, which are now operating in its three largest cities, namely Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir.

Zhou Qinghe, chairman of the board of the CRRC ZELC, said that his company is willing to strengthen cooperation with Türkiye and write new chapters of “shared growth through discussion and collaboration.”

Source(s): sun.mv

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Brazilian deported after found carrying drugs worth MVR 6.5M

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ABrazilian traveler has been deported after Maldives Customs officials found 2.6 kilos of cocaine in her luggage.

According to Customs, the traveler, identified as a 23-year-old Brazilian woman, had arrived in Maldives via Doha on Monday, February 6.

Customs officials flagged the traveler for suspicious behavior, and conducted a search of her luggage, during which they found a suspicious substance – which tested positive for cocaine.

The cocaine seized in the operation weighed 2.6 kilos.

The street value of the drugs is estimated to be MVR 6.5 million.

According to Customs, the drugs seized in the operation has been handed over to the police, while the traveler was deported following discussions with law enforcement agencies.

Customs reserves the right to bar entry to people based on intel they use or may use Maldives as a transit point to traffic drugs.

Source(s): sun.mv

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U.S. long-arm jurisdiction harms int’l order, rule of law

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BEIJING, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) — The United States has a longstanding practice of exerting frequent long-arm jurisdiction over other countries, which severely harms the international political and economic order and the rule of law.

In essence, long-arm jurisdiction is an arbitrary judicial practice wielded by the U.S. government on the strength of the U.S. hegemony to enforce extraterritorial jurisdiction over entities and individuals of other countries on the ground of its domestic law.

In line with international law, the exercise of a country’s jurisdiction over an extraterritorial person or entity generally requires that the person or entity or its conduct has a real and sufficient connection to that country. Yet the United States exercises long-arm jurisdiction on the basis of the “minimum contacts” rule, constantly lowering the threshold for application.

Meanwhile, to exercise long-arm jurisdiction, the U.S. government has further developed the “effects doctrine,” meaning that jurisdiction may be exercised whenever an act occurring abroad produces “effects” in the United States, regardless of whether the actor has U.S. citizenship or residency, and regardless of whether the act complies with the law of the place where it occurred.

Long-arm jurisdiction has become a means by which the United States abuses unilateral sanctions, especially secondary sanctions. According to the Treasury 2021 Sanctions Review, by fiscal year 2021, the number of active U.S. sanctions designations had increased to more than 9,400.

U.S. sanctions have strained relations between countries and undermined the international order. So far, the “long arm” of U.S. jurisdiction has reached China, Russia, Iran, Syria, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba, France, Britain, Germany, Japan, among others.

Long-arm jurisdiction has become a tool for the U.S. authorities to interfere with normal international commercial exchanges and competition.

In 2013, in order to beat Alstom in their business competition, the United States applied the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to arrest and detain then Alstom’s senior manager Frederic Pierucci on charges of bribing foreign officials. He was further induced to sign a plea deal and provide more evidence and information against his company, leaving Alstom no choice but to accept General Electric’s acquisition, vanishing ever since from the Fortune 500 list.

In an article published in Foreign Affairs magazine, Professor Daniel Drezner of Tufts University criticized successive U.S. administrations for abusing economic coercion and economic violence, and using sanctions as the preferred solution to diplomatic problems, which have been causing humanitarian disasters.

When COVID-19 was raging across the world, the U.S. government did not relent in imposing unilateral sanctions on Iran, Syria and other countries, making it difficult for these countries to obtain the much-needed medical supplies to fight the virus. As a result of the sanctions, Iran has been cut off access to essential medicines and medical equipment, putting the health of millions of Iranians in jeopardy.

Long-arm jurisdiction not only undermines the principle of sovereign equality, violates international law, and erodes the multilateral order with the United Nations at its core, but also creates and intensifies tensions and conflicts among major countries, and poses a threat to the international security system established after World War II. It also interferes with and distorts normal international commercial exchanges and trade order, disrupts the supply chain of global trade, damages the interests of enterprises and raises their operating costs.

The United States should renounce its illegal unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction measures, and truly take up its international responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Source(s): Xinhua

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Small unknown asteroid accidentally detected by Webb telescope

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European astronomers using the James Webb Space Telescope have detected a previously unknown asteroid about the size of Rome’s Colosseum in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The asteroid measuring between 100 and 200 meters in length is suspected to be the smallest object observed to date using the telescope, the U.S. space agency NASA said Monday.

The European astronomers “serendipitously detected” the asteroid, NASA said in a statement, adding that more observations would be needed to better characterize its nature and properties.

“We – completely unexpectedly – detected a small asteroid,” said Thomas Muller, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany.

It was detected during calibration of the telescope’s Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), which operates in mid-infrared wavelengths.

“Webb’s incredible sensitivity made it possible to see this roughly 100-meter object at a distance of more than 100 million kilometers,” Muller said.

Webb, which has been operational since July, is mainly built to study the life cycle of stars. Another main research focus is on exoplanets, planets outside Earth’s solar system.

Webb was not designed to look for small objects such as the newly discovered asteroid, but Muller said its discovery “suggests that many new objects will be detected with this instrument.”

Source(s): AFP & CGTN

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