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Belgian health minister tells Santa he’s exempt from Covid rules



(CNN) — Tens of millions of persons across Europe are residing under limits as the continent battles a second wave of coronavirus — but in Belgium, authorities have decreed that a person jolly employee is exempt from the guidelines: Santa Claus.
The country’s Wellness Minister, Frank Vandenbroucke, wrote a letter to St. Nicholas on Thursday assuring him he was exempt from quarantine policies that may well interfere with his festive trip.
On December 6 just about every year, Belgian kids wake up and hurry to see if St. Nicholas, or Sinterklaas, as he is identified in Flemish-talking components of the region, has still left offers for them.

In some areas of Belgium, custom has it that St. Nicholas arrives by boat from Spain, and delivers gifts on the night of December 5.

“As you know, expensive St. Nicholas, Spain is in code pink. According to the guidelines, you must for that reason stay a couple of times in quarantine below when you arrive,” Vandenbroucke wrote in a letter revealed in French language newspaper Le Soir.

“However, given that we know that you have no time to drop, and that you will need just about every hour to get ready items for each boy or girl, we have resolved to make an exception,” the minister wrote, noting that the 17-day boat excursion from Spain would rely as “a lot more than adequate of a quarantine” in this case.

Belgium has now recorded a lot more than 50 percent a million situations of Covid-19, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, whilst Spain turned the fourth European country to surpass 40,000 coronavirus fatalities previously this 7 days.

The minister also included that St. Nicholas would be exempt from the country’s curfew, but warned him to keep social distancing and don a mask when needed as he sent offers.

Vandenbroucke also utilised the letter to fork out homage to Belgian kids, who, he mentioned, experienced “been particularly courageous this calendar year.”

“Without a doubt, it is not quick each individual day: at school, every little thing has transformed at the moment, they can no longer see their mates, they can no longer indulge in their preferred hobbies. Really, genuinely, it is not cheerful for them. Not to point out that they are unable to even go and be cuddled by grandpa and grandma to be consoled.

“But nevertheless, they hold on, dear St. Nicholas. Not only to safeguard them selves, but higher than all to shield other folks. All through these two months of getaway, mothers and dads are carrying out their ideal to get care of them even more, but this calendar year they are worthy of your stop by a lot more than at any time. Each and every boy or girl is a hero, and for after, you really don’t need to have to verify in your significant, intelligent notebook,” he wrote.

Santa is just not the only supernatural currently being to receive an exemption from this year’s Covid-19 limitations — in April, New Zealand’s Primary Minister, Jacinda Ardern, additional the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to the country’s listing of crucial employees.

CNN’s Pierre Bairin contributed reporting.



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Lonely Planet ranks ultimate travel destinations in new list


(CNN) — Many of us have been pressured to rethink travel plans in the wake of Covid-19, but if you are relaxing your canceled-holiday vacation-blues by daydreaming about potential adventures, Lonely Planet’s new “Supreme Travel Record” may be just what you will need.

The new checklist, collated by Lonely Planet’s team of professionals, spotlights need to-see and must-do experiences, from spotting wildlife on the Galapagos Islands to admiring the breathtaking Iguazú Falls waterfall that spans Argentina and Brazil, to wandering the geothermal landscapes of Yellowstone Nationwide Park.

The crew scoured past Lonely Earth guidebooks and also reviewed just about every destination’s dedication to sustainability.

“The options to travel are clearly minimal correct now, but the checklist is aimed at inspiring to 2021 and beyond when travel begins recovering,” Tom Hall, Lonely Planet’s vice president of expertise, tells CNN Journey.

“This is intended to be something that seriously drives people’s bucket checklist, not just for now, but for the foreseeable future.”

Read through on for Lonely Planet’s top 10, and to see which spot grabbed the top place.

10. Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

The Annapurna circuit trek is a hike you will never ignore.

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This jaw-dropping trek is a ought to for climbers, hikers and on-foot tourists. Traversing Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit, you will move through rice paddies, yak grasslands and a snowy mountain go named Thorung La.

Parts of the stroll are extremely substantial altitude, like the breathtaking Tilicho Lake, which only provides to the charm for thrill-seekers. In accordance to Lonely World, the Annapurna Circuit is “all the things a good trek really should be.”

9. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Checking out Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the globe, feels like you might be walking as a result of the clouds. Following rainfall, h2o on the lake’s salty surface area generates a shiny, glass-like illusion, turning the lake into a mirror that displays the sky over.

Salar de Uyuni is also really impressive when it truly is arid, and the surface turns into cracked with geometric patterns. In addition, when it can be dry you can stop by the two lake islands, Isla Incahuasi and Isla del Pescado.

8. Temples of Angkor, Cambodia

Buddhist monks enter the Bayon Temple at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Buddhist monks enter the Bayon Temple at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

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The atmospheric surrounds of Angkor, a cluster of wonderful crumbling temples surrounded by jungle, arrives in at number eight on Lonely Planet’s checklist. Cambodia’s top rated tourist attraction, this vast UNESCO World Heritage Web-site is a outstanding spot to go to.

Angkor Wat, the most renowned Angkor temple intricate, was created as a visible illustration of Mount Meru, the home of the Hindu gods, and Lonely Planet phone calls Angkor “a monument to human ingenuity.”

7. Iguazú Falls, Argentina-Brazil

The Río Iguazú Falls is a spectacular cascading waterfall, situated concerning Argentina and Brazil. Observing the h2o cascading over the vertical ledge is an extraordinary practical experience — in component for the reason that of the sheer scale: Iguazú is truly made up of 275 waterfalls and the tallest, the Devil’s Throat, is 80 meters deep.

It’s the drama of Iguazú, as nicely as its splendor, that nabs it a location on this listing: “The thundering vibrations of crashing h2o remind you in no uncertain conditions of the electrical power and splendor of mother nature,” says Lonely Planet.

6. Lake Bled, Slovenia

The stunning Lake Bled is number six on Lonely Planet's list.

The stunning Lake Bled is quantity 6 on Lonely Planet’s checklist.

Justin Foulkes/Lonely World

Picturesque Lake Bled is house to a quaint, white church, sitting down on a verdant island and surrounded by aqua-blue drinking water, silhouetted versus the backdrop of the Julian Alps.

Back in the working day, pilgrims would journey to the church to worship and afterwards it was the family vacation hangout for 19th-century royalty. Currently, vacationers get pleasure from walking and biking about the lake — while those who want to examination the waters can choose for a trip in a pletna boat — a sort of Slovenian gondola.

5. Yellowstone Nationwide Park, United states

Ponng! Bluughh! Poowee! At the time smelled, Yellowstone’s not conveniently neglected, but this US Countrywide Park is also the major geothermal place on earth, dancing to a tune of burps and bubbles.

Browsing the park, residence to additional than 500 active geysers which includes the well known Previous Trustworthy, is a wondrous knowledge. The park’s also property to wildlife including bighorn sheep, elk, grizzly bears and wolves.

Grand Prismatic is another must-see Yellowstone attraction — the most significant very hot spring in the US, it is really a shining rainbow of multicolored h2o.

4. Okavango Delta, Botswana

Each year when the Okavango River floods with water, it transforms into a spectacular wilderness.

Every single yr when the Okavango River floods with drinking water, it transforms into a breathtaking wilderness.

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Every single yr the Okavango River is flooded by h2o from the Angolan highlands, transforming this remarkable wilderness.

The Okavango Delta is also a wildlife hotspot — home to anything from majestic elephants to beautiful reptiles — and one particular of Africa’s biggest and most exclusive safari places.

People to Okavango Delta can journey together its rivers by powerboat and in traditional dugout canoes called mokoro. Lonely Earth reckons it is the perfect excursion for travelers on the lookout to be at a single with mother nature.

3. Uluru-Kata Tjuta Nationwide Park, Australia

Checking out the breathtaking Uluru sandstone monolith — an Australian landmark — is an unforgettable encounter. Brassy bronze in colour and fantastically glowing when the sunlight sets, Uluru is deemed sacred by the initial inhabitants, the Anangu individuals, who consider that the spirits of their ancestors stay on there.

Head to Uluru to wander all around the circumference of the rock, and understand about its historical past and tradition.

2. The Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Wildlife is one of the top attractions of the Galapagos Islands.

Wildlife is one particular of the prime points of interest of the Galapagos Islands.

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A nature lover’s desire and eco-traveler’s paradise, the Galápagos are property to some of the world’s most colourful creatures, which includes wonderful iguanas, historical tortoises, diving penguins and lively seals.

Volcanic rocks, turquoise-blue waters and a stunningly assorted eco-technique are some of the motives why this location is rated next on Lonely Planet’s record.

1. Petra, Jordan

While the historic city of Petra is simply just a renowned archaeological site to most of the planet, for college professor Sami Alhasanat, it’s household

A the moment almost deserted “dropped metropolis,” largely overlooked by Europeans for 1000 years, Petra is the fantastic put for adventurers who want to visit a destination like no other. The Nabataean persons lived in Petra from the fourth century BCE to the 1st century CE, and this sandstone town is now a UNESCO Environment Heritage Web site.

Lonely Planet’s Tom Corridor calls the website a “truly mysterious and evocative location.”



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Lopburi, Thailand, grapples with a surging monkey population


Lopburi, Thailand (CNN) — It can be a Friday afternoon on a Thai public holiday getaway in September, and regional visitors are out in power in the little town of Lopburi.

The attraction? Some 4,500 crab-taking in macaques that roam this ancient capital’s streets, several of which occupy the crumbling Khmer-fashion Phra Prang Sam Yod — aka Monkey Temple — in the city heart.

The primates not already munching on treats hold out for the vacationers to purchase luggage of the fruit, seeds, peanuts and — their favored — sugary drinks from a single of the distributors that line the parking region, coach keep track of and close by roadways.

Endurance is not the macaques’ design and style. Some immediately climb up the tourists’ bodies to get the goodies and operate.

Other folks stealthily rip open up the luggage that cling from visitors’ hands, seeds slipping to the ground as their cohorts hurry in to seize their share of the spoils.

Nearby, a tourist from Bangkok rushes towards a single monkey that has snatched his pair of sun shades, which the animal immediately drops on noticing it isn’t really edible.

A macaque beverages from a plastic container in front of Lopburi’s Prang Sam Yod temple in June.

MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/AFP via Getty Visuals

But the suppliers are applied to their tips, and have strategies of preserving them at bay.

“How do we adapt? We just market our stuff as normal, but when they appear near, seeking to steal things, we will use a slingshot and pretend to fire a shot,” suggests Anekchart, a fruit vendor close to the temple.

“They will just run absent. We you should not even have to place a shot within.”

How did they get there?

Phra Prang Sam Yod was built in the 13th century in a closely forested spot. Originally a Hindu shrine built in the traditional Bayon type of Khmer architecture, it was later on transformed into a Buddhist temple.

As the town grew up all around the site, the monkeys of the forest remained.

And the locals didn’t intellect. The macaques were being thought to be dwelling representatives of the Hindu god Hanuman, so seen as symbols of superior luck.

But handful of are sensation all that privileged these times.

While the monkeys have usually been a portion of area everyday living, putting the metropolis on the world-wide tourism map, continuous population expansion has manufactured their presence more and more demanding.

Narongporn Doodduem, regional director of Thailand’s Division of National Parks and Wildlife, tells CNN Vacation they only started out monitoring the population in 2018.

As of the stop of September 2020, there are now 9,054 crab-ingesting macaques — also recognized as lengthy-tailed macaques — in Lopburi province, with 4,635 in the cash metropolis of the identical identify.

Narongporn says it’s not possible to deny that a inhabitants spike in new several years has “ruined the livelihood of area inhabitants.”

The monkeys are regarded for their daring conduct, invading residences and businesses to steal merchandise, ripping at anything from car or truck windshield wipers to residence window screens, leaving trails of squander powering them.

“Folks cannot even use rain drinking water gathered from their own roofs mainly because of monkey feces, and numerous also can not develop crops as they would be wrecked by monkeys,” suggests Narongporn.

The Covid outcome

The coronavirus pandemic has just exacerbated this longstanding trouble.

With Thailand at this time closed to global holidaymakers, the monkeys in the major tourist centre — once accustomed to everyday feasts — now should make do with what the locals and domestic weekend vacationers feed them.

“There are a few principal teams of monkeys,” explains Manus Wimuktipan, secretary of the Lopburi Monkey Foundation.

“They stay in an abandoned cinema, in the vicinity of the regional Muangthong Hotel and in the tourist-frequented Prang Sam Yod region. Aside from these three principal gangs, there are several smaller groups that are scattered close to city.”

Every single team protects its territory fiercely, he suggests.

This is what transpired in March. According to Manus, “the incident took location since the monkeys from at minimum three gangs all noticed a particular person bringing in bottles of sweetened fermented milk. And each group needed them for the reason that they like this sort of drink pretty much. And that was the get started of the intense fighting.”

Officials say it truly is the usage of these sweet drinks and other junk meals that is a significant portion of the overall challenge. And it is not all getting immediately handed to them either.

“The monkeys have started to wait around at rubbish bins at stores and department stores where by human beings dump all these tasty foods and snacks,” suggests Manus. “They have turn into addicted to human food items mainly because it is delicious.”

A veterinarian sterilizes a monkey in Lopburi on June 21, 2020.

A veterinarian sterilizes a monkey in Lopburi on June 21, 2020.

MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/AFP via Getty Illustrations or photos

In addition to rotting the monkeys’ tooth, these sugary food items and drinks are also causing them to breed extra usually.

“I have tried out to educate vacationers and locals about the great importance of not feeding monkeys meals that is high in carbohydrates and sugar — this has contributed to the progress of the populace in Lopburi significantly,” states Narongporn.

“Normally, the monkeys would be able to give birth when a yr thanks to the limited sum of food items they can come across in character. But town monkeys are consuming food all the time and as a consequence they are equipped to give start 2 times a calendar year.”

In an effort to tame the population, the province lately wrapped up its largest sterilization campaign nevertheless.

“This 12 months we sterilized 1,200 monkeys in Lopburi (916 of those people were being in the metropolis), a new file. Typically we would do close to 400 monkeys a yr,” claims Narongporn.

They’ve been getting grievances for years, he suggests, but it hasn’t been effortless to get absolutely everyone on the exact web site in terms of how to most effective sustainably combat the challenge.

This calendar year, even so, assist has been widespread.

“I made use of to get a good deal of resistance from monkey enthusiasts each time we have tried using to get in to sterilize monkeys,” he says.

“Some needed to transfer these monkeys out of Lopburi city absolutely, but the difficulties are where by do you transfer them? Who will be getting treatment of them? What to do if they die or distribute sickness? It would be just like dumping one’s garbage in another’s house.

“But now it has adjusted. I am acquiring a good deal of cooperation from locals — like these in the tourism industry — to remedy this issue sustainably.”

Monkeys jump onto tourists during the annual "Monkey Buffet" in Lopburi on November 27, 2016.

Monkeys soar onto vacationers all through the yearly “Monkey Buffet” in Lopburi on November 27, 2016.

TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/AFP via Getty Images

However the monkeys could be resulting in difficulties for locals, they are nevertheless celebrated as a regional icon.

Officials have verified to CNN Journey the yearly Monkey Buffet Pageant will get spot at Phra Prang Sam Yod on November 29, as the nation has not reported a regionally transmitted Covid-19 an infection in various months.

As part of the festival, the city puts out a large spread of food stuff and drinks for the monkeys to feast on, an occasion that in standard several years appeals to both of those local and international visitors.

Coexisting with the monkeys

The owners of this Lopburi auto parts shop have learned to coexist with the monkeys.

The owners of this Lopburi vehicle areas shop have discovered to coexist with the monkeys.

Karla Cripps/CNN

Not everybody is locating it challenging to coexist harmoniously with the monkeys.

Staff in a person automobile pieces store across the street from the “Monkey Temple” have figured out to adapt and now welcome the macaques’ existence.

As we enter the shop, various monkeys sit quietly on counters and cabinets. A little macaque sleeps on a crimson fabric on a counter.

Pathitpan Tuntiwong, 63, is the proprietor. He was born and lifted in the town, and says he feels sorry for the animals.

His family members feeds them every day, and permits the more compact, weaker monkeys — “They have been kicked out of their herds,” he suggests — to come into his store through the day, some even hanging onto the shirts of staff’s backs as they go about their operate.

“We have taken their habitat absent, that is why the trouble carries on,” says Pathitpan.

“Their inhabitants has improved promptly. It has risen to the level where by individuals can’t choose this anymore. I have been living in this spot for over 60 yrs. I have progressively set up security to keep them out of my property and continuously adapt.

“They just don’t know the place to locate a source of food stuff. There are no trees about, there are no water sources. Their excellent of residing is terrible. We are serving to as considerably as we can.”

A macaque makes itself at home inside a Lopburi autoparts shop.

A macaque can make by itself at property inside a Lopburi autoparts shop.

Karla Cripps/CNN

Though speaking to us, Pathitpan is interrupted mid-sentence as a chaotic scene breaks out on the road in entrance of his store. A pack of monkeys has jumped into the back of a pickup truck that is idling in site visitors, and rapidly commences rummaging by way of a pile of significant cooking pots and other containers.

The truck occupants get out and swing at the animals, unsuccessfully trying to scare them off.

“They’re clearly not from listed here,” laughs Pathitpan. “Individuals in our community know far better than to travel down this highway with a truck loaded up like that.”



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Half of the coral in the Great Barrier Reef is gone



A new analyze observed that Australia’s Terrific Barrier Reef has not recovered from a torrent of bleaching functions caused by local weather alter.



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Why is Michelin obsessing about star ratings when Covid-19 is killing restaurants?


(CNN) — Wander into practically any fine dining kitchen and the chances are its chefs would say you can find only a person holy grail of accomplishment in their job: to be awarded a Michelin star.

Because 1926 in France, and more lately all around the entire world, these accolades have arrive to symbolize the pinnacle of cuisine and also served increase the profile of French tire huge Michelin.

While not each and every chef seeks to make them for their cafe — some have famously refused and returned them — it is really undeniable that there’s no much more influential mark of achievement.

But these are instances of seismic upheaval for the international hospitality marketplace. Tens of thousands of dining places are closing, hundreds of hundreds of men and women have been set out of do the job. Livelihoods have been wrecked and goals shattered.

And nonetheless, this calendar year, as ever, Michelin is continuing to award or take away stars and publish its exacting testimonials of good eating institutions.

For some in the market, which is a phase way too much for Michelin that will do small to increase the dining guideline in an age when numerous restaurant workers are turning out to be more vocal about what they say are the detrimental pressures of striving to are living up to this sort of demanding benchmarks.

As the pandemic continues, Michelin’s determination to carry on publishing could see the tutorial facial area its own reckoning with the coronavirus.

As usually, it’s a polarizing discussion, with passionate views on both sides.

‘Uphill battle’

London’s Ledbury cafe is amid Michelin-starred institutions to close for excellent in the course of the pandemic.

John Stillwell/PA Photographs/Getty Illustrations or photos

Other prestigious awards have currently manufactured phone calls to suspend action, offered this year’s remarkable situation.

Covid-19 was a single of a quantity of components powering this year’s cancellation of The James Beard Awards, the prestigious American benchmark of culinary success, in their Cafe and Chefs classes.

Clare Reichenbach, the foundation’s CEO, cited the “grave unfavorable consequences of Covid-19” and claimed that doling out prizes would “do very little to further more the market in its recent uphill battle.”

Beyond the virus, that struggle, say some, extends to other big difficulties at the moment tough global culture.

Amid them, David Kinch, chef-owner at California’s Manresa, who had previously announced on Instagram he was withdrawing himself for thing to consider as a James Beard Fantastic Chef nominee.

“The hospitality market is rife with rampant gender and racial inequality and several road blocks impede restaurateurs’ ability to pay residing wages to their teams, concentration on sustainability and foster optimistic operate environments,” he wrote.

So, specified the current parlous state of the restaurant enterprise, why is Michelin however browsing dining places, inspecting and awarding its stars? And in this time of uncertainty and anguish, do the stars it awards proceed to carry the prestige they once did?

The guide’s worldwide director, Gwendal Poullennec, insists that now additional than at any time Michelin’s inspectors have a position to enjoy. He claims their vital gaze is a power for great that can assistance assistance the beleaguered business.

The selections they make for up coming year’s information, he says, will “set a highlight on the industry and dining establishments which in some parts of the entire world are nevertheless struggling with the results of the disaster.”

“It is also a way to invite foodies to go back to eating places.”

Gastronomic pulse

Gwendal Poullennec says Michelin is a vital spotlight on the dining scene at a time of crisis.

Gwendal Poullennec claims Michelin is a crucial spotlight on the eating scene at a time of crisis.

MARTIN BUREAU/AFP through Getty Photographs

Regardless of whether those people foodies will still have an appetite remains to be viewed. Lots of Michelin dining establishments — primarily those people with two or three stars — derive profits from worldwide site visitors now absent due to world journey limitations.

In London, The Ledbury and The Greenhouse, each keeping two Michelin stars, have shut completely. In New York, Michelin-starred eateries Gotham Bar & Grill, Jewel Bako and Nix have also shut for great, as have Trois Mecs and Somni from Chef José Andrés in Los Angeles.

There are, unfortunately, plenty much more examples, notably in the United States exactly where rigid lockdowns in New York, Chicago, Washington D.C. and California all hit regions wherever Michelin awards stars.

Therefore, the launch of the 2021 Michelin Guides in the United States will be delayed. “Official timing will be introduced as the pandemic recovery usually takes form,” the group a short while ago advised Food stuff & Wine magazine.

In the meantime, the dining guidebook has released what it calls an “international barometer” to preserve keep track of of individuals premises continue to in small business.

“Our intent was to consider the pulse of world wide gastronomy in get to inform and establish recognition of our ecosystem,” claims Poullennec. He claims the barometer now registers that, at time of creating, 85% of Michelin-starred dining establishments had been open.

Though that is a unique advancement in comparison to the peak of the crisis — back again in April, only 13% of world-wide eating places keeping Michelin stars have been still running — it will not sign up the extent of terminal closures.

“At the time, the range of places to eat that have closed forever is practically not possible to give as it is a risky one particular,” Poullennec provides. “The scenario is transferring and altering on a daily basis.”

Michelin also details out its exclusive tasks these kinds of as “Le Bon Menu” in France, which utilizes social media to aid chefs helping out individuals in want and emphasize restaurants that have pivoted to takeaway, supply and other business models.

That has not stopped calls from a variety of chefs to get Michelin to do far more to assistance companies in these types of dim days.

Underneath pressure to endure

Shane Osborn: "I don't really think it's a time for Michelin to be judging restaurants."

Shane Osborn: “I don’t definitely think it’s a time for Michelin to be judging eating places.”

Jonathan Wong/South China Morning Write-up by using Getty Visuals

Australian Shane Osborn, from Hong Kong’s one Michelin-starred Arcane, is one particular of the most revered chefs in the city, anyone with a background of Michelin-garlanded success at places to eat such as London’s Pied à Terre.

Provided the bleak eventualities experiencing a lot of in the business, he claims there ought to be a moratorium on reviews.

“It really is a challenging a single but I don’t really feel it can be a time for Michelin to be judging eating places when enterprises are below extraordinary stress to stay afloat,” he claims.

“Operating with restricted employees due to the fact locations have created layoffs, team are stretched, although even the supply chain of substances is afflicted, particularly here in Asia. We typically get two deliveries from Japan a working day — just lately we ended up only finding 3 a week.

“So organizations are underneath immense stress just to endure, but I also have an understanding of that from a chef’s point of check out, most in the sector certainly adore Michelin. It is every little thing they get the job done for and it is really that little bit of good information they search ahead to, it validates all the really hard get the job done and exertion they’ve put into it, doing work 16 several hours a working day.

“But is it genuinely time to celebrate? Judging restaurants the place foods can expense hundreds or thousands of bucks when individuals are losing jobs all about the entire world?”

Other chefs are adamant that recognition is a lot more critical than ever in the recent local climate.

Gal Ben-Moshe, chef-proprietor at Prism in Berlin, claims his restaurant faced a perhaps disastrous decline of bookings as Germany went into lockdown earlier this 12 months.

But, he suggests, Michelin’s determination to award Prism a star swiftly reversed his fortunes.

“When the star was announced, the restaurant just loaded up in a matter of minutes, for the next thirty day period,” he states. “It was ridiculous.”

Nevertheless the influence was arguably better individually and skillfully than financially:

“It gave us the validation and encouragement we required all along, that we had been craving for a long time,” he adds. “On a individual amount, It has also built us feel like this full journey is worthwhile, with all the sacrifices we make in our non-public lives.”

‘Bit of a boost’

Gal Ben-Moshe says the Michelin guide is still a positive influence on the fine dining industry.

Gal Ben-Moshe claims the Michelin tutorial is nonetheless a favourable impact on the fantastic eating industry.

Christoph Soeder/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Illustrations or photos

As to whether Michelin really should be awarding stars this year, Ben-Moshe believes the guidebook is correct to push ahead, insisting it can be a pressure for great and that its food critics are experienced ample to consider into account the improvements dining establishments are earning to cope with the present-day disaster.

“I can explain to you that the outcome it experienced on me as a chef and on the cafe as a organization has been uncanny,” he claims. “I can only visualize that obtaining a star at such mad occasions can seriously help you save a good deal of companies and give the entire marketplace a little bit of a boost and relevance.”

Steve Zagor, an adjunct professor at Columbia Enterprise Faculty who focuses on eating places and meals businesses, suggests that whilst the Michelin guidebook continues to have relevance underneath ordinary conditions, it may perhaps battle ideal now.

“Michelin is a religion, folks subscribe to it,” he claims. “They believe that in it. In the planet nowadays you need credible views and not just Yelp opinions. This is a credible, professional business that offers a source for folks seeking at the place they want to go.

“From that viewpoint, it has benefit. It has heritage and it truly is a significant judge of what’s heading on.”

However, he suggests, 2020’s special situation mean that it is far from the usual atmosphere.

“Right now is a minor bit like reviewing eating places on a ship in a hurricane. It is really just an remarkable situation. I do not think you might be getting a comprehensive validation of what the cafe operator is attempting to do.”

He points out that the dining expertise is now so basically distinct from the regular situation that there are question marks about whether or not Michelin can utilize the exact kind of inspection criteria as previously.

“You cannot look at year-to-year, this is not the same as it was in 2017, 2018. Social distancing signifies menus have improved, preparing, approaches, capacities have adjusted.

“So the ordeals are distinct, there is certainly also a great deal else likely on, most restaurant operators are just striving to remain solvent and do the best they can. So I assume it is cheapening the whole Michelin working experience.”

‘History and culture’

Vicky Lau: "Michelin has an important role now more than ever."

Vicky Lau: “Michelin has an important part now more than at any time.”

May well Tse/South China Morning Article/Getty Photographs

Vicky Lau, chef at Tate Dining Area in Hong Kong, a restaurant that’s held a person star due to the fact 2012 many thanks to her elegant cuisine melding Chinese and French influences and components, suggests Michelin features a beacon of certainty in unsure periods.

“I assume Michelin has an essential purpose, now far more than at any time, to help eating places and maintain tourism — and then improve them when almost everything is back to usual,” she claims.

“It nevertheless has an significant place in chefs’ hearts, to manage a food items language that speaks of background and tradition.”

CNN achieved out to a variety of other higher-profile chefs in nations around the world such as France and the United States to request their opinion on the Michelin discussion, but they declined to response.

No doubt Michelin’s insistence on continuing to critically study the great eating landscape is, in portion, because of to commercial obligations, not least the guides it produces in partnership with tourism boards or personal providers.

Questioned about these, Michelin stressed its intent remained defined by independence and the mission of its nameless inspectors to recommend the ideal encounters to “international foodies.”

“Of program, this calendar year getting been an fantastic a single, our inspectors have experienced to adapt their get the job done and their editorial publication.

“In some areas, they have experienced to hold off the unveiling of their picks in buy to quite and properly end their collection function but in each and every place, they have finished their best to challenge regular and suitable cafe selections.”

Some Michelin guides for this 12 months, these kinds of as Taiwan and Slovenia, have now appeared. When the rest arise, 1 issue is for absolutely sure: They will, as they have because the star scores were introduced back again in 1926, continue on to provoke discussion and discussion.





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Oceanbird — Sweden’s new car carrier is the world’s largest wind-powered vessel 


(CNN) — Oceanbird might look like a ship of the foreseeable future, but it harks back again to ancient maritime heritage — for the reason that it is really run by the wind.

The transatlantic car provider is remaining made by Wallenius Maritime, a Swedish shipbuilder, with guidance from the Swedish government and numerous analysis establishments.

With potential for 7,000 cars, the 650 foot-prolonged vessel is a related sizing to conventional car or truck carriers, but it will appear radically unique. The ship’s hull is topped by 5 telescopic “wing sails,” each and every 260 toes tall. Capable of rotating 360 levels without having touching just about every other, the sails can be retracted to 195 toes in order to apparent bridges or endure tough weather conditions. 

The sails, which will be designed of metal and composite supplies, need to have to be this sizing to deliver sufficient propulsive ability for the 35,000-ton ship.

Even though “the normal ideas of reliable wing sails is not new,” designing the Oceanbird’s sails has been a challenge, claims Mikael Razola, a naval architect and investigate challenge supervisor for Oceanbird at Wallenius Marine.

The telescopic “wing sails” of Oceanbird will be the tallest ever developed.

Wallenius Marine

Which is due to the fact these are the tallest ship sails that have at any time been created. “This ship, at the best of the mast, will be far more than 100 meters (328 ft) higher than the drinking water area,” says Razola. “When you transfer up into the sky that a great deal, wind way and velocity improve pretty a whole lot.”

To superior understand the atmospheric ailments at this peak, Wallenius mounted sensors on prime of its existing vessels, when they had been crossing the Atlantic, and gathered facts on wind velocity and veer (a clockwise alter in wind path), up to 650 ft over sea level. “All of this info has aided us design an economical wing and hull program, that can make the most of the power readily available in the wind,” says Razola.

Cleansing up a soiled market

Very important components in the global automotive trade, oceangoing auto carriers are recognised as RoRo — the title derives from “roll on, roll off.” Fairly than loading cars with cranes, which would be slow and inefficient, cars are rolled along ramps constructed into the ship.

Huge, regular RoRo use an average of 40 tons of gas per day, making 120 tons of CO2 — equal to driving a auto 270,000 miles.
The shipping marketplace is below pressure to lower emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Transport accounted for 2.89% of world wide artifical greenhouse gasoline emissions in 2018, in accordance to the Intercontinental Maritime Business (IMO), the UN system that regulates world transport. In the identical 12 months, the IMO introduced a obligatory 50% reduction of whole once-a-year greenhouse gasoline emissions by 2050 — with the ambition to reach zero emissions “as quickly as feasible in this century.”

Oceanbird is developed to exceed these targets — Wallenius suggests the ship will emit 90% significantly less CO2 than traditional car carriers. It would not be completely emission-absolutely free, nonetheless, since it will still rely on engines for manoeuvring in and out of ports and for emergencies.

Sluggish sailing

With a projected top rated pace of about 10 knots, Oceanbird will be slower than normal motor vehicle carriers, which can journey at 17 knots. It will take all over 12 times, as a substitute of the standard 7, to cross the Atlantic.

This extensive journey will involve some scheduling improvements, claims Razola, as nicely as acceptance from carmakers. “Of system, there will be problems and we would not be capable to do things exactly as we’re executing them currently, but the response so far from suppliers has been pretty favourable,” he says.

An indoor tank at SSPA, another instituion working on Oceanbird, where a model is being tested with artificial wind and waves.

An indoor tank at SSPA, a further instituion working on Oceanbird, the place a product is being analyzed with artificial wind and waves.

Wallenius Marine

Jakob Kuttenkeuler, a professor at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Know-how — just one of the project’s collaborators — is also optimistic. “Persons are environmentally knowledgeable more than enough now that we assume there will be clients inclined to set their autos on a ship that goes approximately fifty percent as quick as today’s ship, if we can make it carbon neutral,” he claims.

Kuttenkeuler and his staff are functioning with Wallenius on functionality and aerodynamics calculations, working with weather information to simulate reasonable sailing conditions. They have created a 7-meter product of Oceanbird which will sail in Stockholm’s archipelago, afterwards this year, to assemble info that will enable finalize the ship’s structure.

Razola states it will take about 3 many years, immediately after that, to start the full-dimension variation. “Our ambition is to see Oceanbird sailing in 2024.”



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I thought ‘flights to nowhere’ were silly. Then I went on one.



Hong Kong (CNN) — I have been on pretty a few flights the place persons clapped when the aircraft landed. But this was the very first time I’d been on a airplane wherever everyone clapped at takeoff.

Hong Kong Convey, a lower-charge carrier dependent — as you could have guessed from the title — in Hong Kong, has develop into the hottest airline to present sightseeing “flights to nowhere,” which entail planes landing in the same location they departed from, with out stopping anywhere else.
So much, these flights have been well-liked. Qantas’ 7-hour sightseeing flights about Australia, which promised scenic aerial views of Uluru and the Good Barrier Reef, marketed out in 10 minutes.

As perfectly as providing airlines a opportunity to recoup some missing income, these flights also afford to pay for aviation geeks the possibility to get back up in the sky, and get pleasure from some tiny extras.

EVA Air’s particular Hi there Kitty aircraft may not have gone anyplace, but travellers acquired confined-edition Good day Kitty swag on board.

Nevertheless the thought of these flights at first seemed type of foolish to me — you have to offer with all the inconvenience of airport stability, and then have nothing to clearly show for it? — when I identified out that a hometown airline was presenting a person, I just couldn’t resist.

The commute

My beloved way to get to the airport is by way of the significant-pace express prepare that departs from Hong Kong Station.

Like almost everywhere else in the city, the educate station is awash with signs reminding folks to continue to keep their masks on. Nonetheless, I felt daring enough to slip mine off for a little bit to drink some h2o. Mask elimination in Hong Kong is at the moment illegal, and I felt a slight trace of danger even though there was no one particular around to see me. (Just after all, it can be not tricky to socially length when you are the only man or woman on the platform.)

While a several other stragglers did board at the train’s other stops in Kowloon and Tsing Yi, I experienced an whole motor vehicle to myself for the half-hour journey. I availed myself of both of those the free cellphone chargers and the free of charge Wi-Fi.

The categorical teach is frequently a pleasurable encounter, but executing it with out baggage was a video game changer. Or at the very least a shoulder changer.

Arriving at the airport

Even with the fact that we weren’t leaving Hong Kong airspace, every person on the flight nevertheless experienced to go through standard airport security procedures. That meant pulling my passport out of storage and putting a pair of socks in my purse in circumstance I experienced to just take my sandals off.

Temperature screenings have now been a existence at Hong Kong Intercontinental Airport given that the days of SARS and avian flu, but heightened protocols intended loads of cost-free bottles of hand sanitizer stationed in the course of the terminal and consistent existence of cleansing crew.

It can be a fantastic factor there was not much of a stability queue, though — at the previous minute, I experienced to pull stuff out of my pockets and clear away my Kindle from its sleeve. It’s formal: I am out of apply. A calendar year ago, I would have grumbled rudely at somebody else for performing the exact matter proper at the stability scanners.

Most of the shops and dining places at the airport were being shut, and there had been a lot more signs inquiring persons to socially distance than there had been individuals to do the social distancing.

The upside: Bathrooms were being sparkling cleanse.

The downside: Not becoming on an global flight meant the obligation-absolutely free shop was off boundaries.

In the sky

In my do the job as a journey author and editor, I used to fly at minimum after a thirty day period. When journey is your occupation, it takes some of the glamor away — every single stale $12 pastry and loud snorer rapidly adds up.

But as the airplane gradually pulled absent from the gate, I found myself oddly psychological. Suddenly, we broke out into spontaneous applause.

A rep from Hong Kong Specific had advised us that just one of the motivations behind their flights to nowhere was to remind persons of the magic of journey. Thirty seconds into the flight, I now felt like I was keeping my breath. I uncovered myself thinking of my late grandmother, who grew up all through the Excellent Depression and did not fly on a airplane for the very first time right up until she was in her thirties.

It truly is uncomplicated to forget that aviation is a wonder.

Generally, I am a stringent aisle-seater. But for the 75-minute loop all-around Hong Kong, it was all about the window.

It was not just the absence of a remaining place that made this flight distinct, although. There was no meals or beverage company — easier to retain masks on that way — and no luggage. Boarding was distribute out, and all middle seats blocked off. Additional than just a enjoyment cruise in the sky, it was a peek at what flying will possibly appear like as it resumes all around the environment.

Disembarking

At present, all people coming into Hong Kong is issue to a 14-working day quarantine either at their property or an approved resort.

To make certain that travellers from the Hong Kong Express flight did not get lumped in to the quarantine group, we have been every provided dazzling purple lanyards to put on on arrival. It was like quarantine was a vampire and our lanyards were being garlic, but the system labored.

Whilst I never have jet lag or a stamp in my passport, my trip to nowhere in the long run felt a small — just a minimal — like a getaway.



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This aviation startup is soaring ahead with hydrogen-powered planes


(CNN) — Previous month, a navy blue, 6-seater aircraft took off at Cranfield Airport in England. Normally, a 15-minute, 20-mile flight wouldn’t be noteworthy — but this was the world’s to start with hydrogen gas-cell-driven flight for a professional-size aircraft.

The plane’s powertrain — the mechanism which drives the aircraft, which include gasoline tanks and engine — was created by ZeroAvia, a US and Uk-based business establishing hydrogen-electric powered engines. Working with liquid hydrogen to feed an electric battery, the know-how eradicates carbon emissions for the duration of the flight.
A typical flight nowadays generates fifty percent the CO2 created by flights in 1990, mainly thanks to an maximize in gas performance. Even so, owing to record website traffic development, driven by raising passenger numbers and trade quantity, the aviation market is developing extra emissions than at any time just before — accounting for 2% of world manmade carbon emissions. This proportion is established to improve says Bobby Sethi, a senior lecturer in aviation at Cranfield University: other industries, like road transport, are “decarbonizing at a quicker charge” he claims, although aviation is lagging at the rear of.
Some organizations are pushing forward with climate-helpful remedies in a bid to catch up. The Electric powered Aviation Group’s 70-seat hybrid-electrical aircraft aims to lower CO2 emissions by 75% and is predicted to enter service in 2028, though Airbus just lately declared that it aims to manufacture 3 hydrogen aircraft, sitting up to 200 travellers, by 2035.

Airbus unveiled its ZEROe zero-emission idea in September 2020, and claims it will be commerically obtainable by 2035.

Airbus

But there is a extended wait till these versions occur to current market and aviation requirements a solution now, claims ZeroAvia founder and CEO Val Miftakhov.

With funding from United kingdom federal government-backed bodies like the Aerospace Technological innovation Institute and Innovate Uk, ZeroAvia needs to plug the gap as aviation technological innovation develops, and give a sustainable alternative for quick and medium haul flights.

Miftakhov, who piloted ZeroAvia’s test flight, states the firm’s technologies is created to be retrofitted into current plane. He statements that ZeroAvia will have hydrogen-powered commercial planes having to the sky in just 3 a long time.

An electricity-dense gasoline

Even though the spotlight has been on electrical aviation for the earlier ten years, the limits of present-day battery technological know-how restricts its growth. Now, lithium ion batteries are all-around 48 periods considerably less strength dense than kerosene, suggests Sethi.

This usually means scaling up is a trouble for electric aviation. The major electrical aircraft flown to date is the 9-seater eCaravan. It has a array of only 100 miles — for which it calls for a battery weighing 2,000 lbs.

Sethi highlights that in larger planes, like a Boeing 747, the battery would considerably exceed the plane’s most get-off excess weight. “It truly is just not feasible except battery know-how enhances significantly, which is why hydrogen is a much more viable solution to gasoline plane in the foreseeable future,” he states.

Acquiring formerly labored with electric motor vehicle batteries, Miftakhov is effectively-versed in their professionals and negatives and that’s why he opted for hydrogen. As opposed to even the “wildest predictions for battery technology,” hydrogen — which is three times a lot more electricity dense than normal jet gasoline — has larger probable, he says.

Setting up with small haul

While lengthy haul flights generate additional carbon emissions for every flight, brief haul flights produce additional CO2 emissions for each particular person, for each kilometer.
Which is why tackling small haul flights is the 1st stage in chopping aviation carbon emissions. In 2019, Norway declared a 2040 intention for emission-no cost domestic air vacation, even though the two Austria and France bailed out their national carriers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with ailments to reduce the variety of domestic flights.

ZeroAvia predicts that by 2023, it will have created engines that can electricity 10 to 20-seat plane flying up to 500 miles — the distance concerning London and Zurich, or Paris and Barcelona. By 2026 they will be flying up to 80 passengers the very same length, claims Miftakhov, enabling airways to maintain brief haul routes even though restricting environmental problems.

The company hopes to develop to medium haul flights by 2030 — flying more than 100 travellers up to 1,000 miles, the length in between London and Rome.

New gas, new infrastructure

ZeroAvia’s capacity to retrofit current aircraft implies it can get its hydrogen-electrical know-how in the air in a small time body, says Miftakhov. Furthermore, pilots will not have to retrain, as the controls and functions will be the identical.

But switching to a new gas will need new infrastructure.

At its base in Cranfield Airport, in collaboration with the European Maritime Strength Centre (EMEC), ZeroAvia has created a product for a self-adequate hydrogen airport. This features an on-website, electrolysis-dependent hydrogen generator, hydrogen storage amenities and refueling vans.

The hydrogen made use of to gasoline the check flight was made applying 50% renewable electricity, but ZeroAvia is operating to earning its hydrogen generation entirely renewable by the stop of the yr. Miftakhov claims he is starting off with airlines and airports that are keen to put in on-web-site hydrogen generation.

Miftakhov steps out of the six-seater plane after the successful 20-mile test flight in September 2020.

Miftakhov measures out of the 6-seater plane soon after the profitable 20-mile examination flight in September 2020.

ZeroAvia

ZeroAvia’s following step is to carry out a for a longer time test flight to showcase its powertrain’s capability, by flying the 6-seater on a 250-mile journey from an airbase in Orkney.

As a pilot and avid traveller, who needs to “cease trashing our setting,” building a way to fly sustainably is equally a private and specialist contacting for Miftakhov. He hopes that ZeroAvia can just take aviation from currently being a harmful marketplace to a “superior thing yet again.”

“You can find some thing about the particular freedom that aviation provides you,” says Miftakhov. “Whether or not it really is own journey, reuniting with your relatives, or using your youngsters to different locations and owning them experience distinctive cultures, it truly is really critical.”



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Japan launches new Shinkansen bullet train


(CNN) — Japan’s newest history-breaking bullet coach would not only operate more quickly and smoother — it truly is also equipped to transportation travellers to safety in the party of an earthquake.
The N700S — the ‘S’ stands for ‘Supreme’ — entered into assistance July 1 and serves the Tokaido Shinkansen line, which links Tokyo Station and Shin-Osaka Station in Osaka.

It can run up to 360 kilometers for every hour, a new report set throughout a test run in 2019, making it a single of the quickest trains in the world. The working velocity, on the other hand, will be capped at 285 kilometers per hour.

A watch of the interior of the new N700S shinkansen bullet educate vehicle, which commenced services on July 1, initially linking Tokyo with Osaka.

Kyodo News/Getty Images

It is really the very first new bullet teach model to be included to the Tokaido Shinkansen line by the Central Japan Railway (JR Central) in 13 yrs, a start that was originally timed to coincide with the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 — now postponed to 2021.

Coincidentally, Japan inaugurated the Tokaido Shinkansen line in 1964, connecting Tokyo and Osaka, just in time for the Summer months Olympics in Tokyo that similar calendar year. It was the world’s to start with large speed railway line.

Chopping-edge technologies

Visual appearance-wise, the N700S does not glance as well unique from the older N700 or N700A products, apart from its sophisticated golden symbol.

But search nearer and you may see the model-new prepare has a more angular nose, chubbier “cheeks” and sleeker headlight style.

On the inside, newly created seats allow for travellers to recline further, presenting additional comfort, especially for lengthy-haul riders. Just about every seat has an particular person electrical power outlet.

Inside lights has been developed to build a softer, additional comforting environment. The overhead baggage racks will be lit up at each stop to remind passengers of their belongings.

A lot more reservation-only storage parts for excess-big luggage have been extra to this design as properly.

The new N700S Shinkansen bullet train commenced commercial service on July 1, linking Tokyo with Osaka.

The new N700S Shinkansen bullet coach commenced commercial provider on July 1, linking Tokyo with Osaka.

Kyodo News/Getty Photographs

The true journey will be a lot quieter and smoother, also, many thanks to a new active suspension technique that will help soak up train movements.

In addition to a target on increased comfort, designers driving the new model put fantastic emphasis on basic safety.

The educate has an upgraded automated regulate and braking process that lets it to halt quicker in scenario of an unexpected emergency.

It truly is also equipped with lithium-ion battery self-propulsion procedure — the initial of its kind in the earth. This method allows the teach to operate for a limited length on its individual during a ability outage and will make it doable for it to move to a safer site at low speed if stranded in a high-chance location — on a bridge or in a tunnel, for instance — throughout an earthquake.

More cameras have also been mounted inside automobile compartments — an boost from two cameras to up to six in each coach vehicle.

The upgraded factors will take up a lot less space underneath the coach floor in contrast to the previous design, creating it possible for a additional versatile configuration, from 4 to 16 automobiles. This also decreases electrical power usage while speeding up output situations, earning it a a lot more pleasing alternative for operators internationally.

“By building the mechanisms beneath the ground of the N700S lighter and additional compact, we established a new conventional,” Masayuki Ueno, deputy head of JR Central’s bullet train company division, advised Japanese broadcaster NHK in an job interview in 2019.

“This new typical will also help when it arrives to increasing our business overseas.”



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‘Flying-V’ airplane makes successful maiden flight



(CNN) — Researchers have performed a thriving maiden flight of the Flying-V, a futuristic and gas productive plane that could 1 day carry passengers in its wings.
The Traveling-V’s exclusive layout sites the passenger cabin, the cargo keep and the fuel tanks in the wings, and authorities hope that the plane’s aerodynamic condition will slice gasoline use by 20% in contrast to present-day aircrafts.

Professionals analyzed a 22.5 kg and 3-meter scale design of the futuristic airplane, developed by scientists at Delft University of Technological innovation in the Netherlands and lover Dutch airline KLM, to just take the extremely expected aircraft together its following developmental actions.

A workforce of researchers and engineers tested the plane at a guarded airbase in Germany, where by they labored with an Airbus group to exam takeoffs, maneuvers and methods, and landing.

“A single of our concerns was that the aircraft may well have some problem lifting-off, given that past calculations experienced proven that ‘rotation’ could be an problem,” Roelof Vos, assistant professor at the aerospace engineering college of Delft’s College of Know-how, who led the project, spelled out in a statement.

“The team optimized the scaled flight design to stop the difficulty but the evidence of the pudding is in the consuming. You will need to fly to know for certain,” he said.

Remotely controlling the plane, scientists managed get off at a pace of 80 kmh, when the aircraft’s flight speeds, angles and thrust were as planned, they observed.

Professionals worked tricky to improve the airplane: in purchase to increase telemetry, the workforce was forced to modify the aircraft’s middle of gravity and alter its antenna.

There is however perform to be completed to refine the aircraft ahead of it could consider to the skies with travellers aboard: scientists claimed that the examination flight confirmed that the aircraft’s existing structure will allow for far too substantially “Dutch roll,” which leads to a rough landing.

Professionals system to use the knowledge gathered from the examination flight for an aerodynamic model of the plane, permitting them to method it in a flight simulator for upcoming checks, and to make improvements to flights. The crew will perform a lot more tests on the model, and hope to offer the Traveling-V with sustainable propulsion, supplied that the style and design lends by itself to carrying liquid hydrogen as a substitute of kerosene.



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