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New Hong Kong to Shenzhen high speed train launches today

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New Hong Kong to Shenzhen high speed train launches today | The Thaiger

It’s the first day of the new HK to Shenzhen high speed train service. At 7am the first hundreds of passengers departed the former British colony for mainland China at speeds up to 200 kph.

The project, costing US$11 billion, is seen by some as a new, convenient and speedy track into mainland China and beyond. Others see it as another erosion of the former colony’s independence and amalgamation into full Chinese rule.

Still, no one is denying the efficiency of the link between Hong Kong’s business hub and the region’s manufacturing hub, Shenzhen. 20 minutes, and you’re there.

The project is part of a broader effort by the Chinese government to to integrate Hong Kong into the world’s largest urban hub – the Pearl River Delta, which the Chinese call the Greater Bay Area. The area has a population of 68 million people and has a combined GDP of $US1.5 trillion.

Many Hong Kongers were worried that their social media services wouldn’t work in Shenzhen but reported that, for now, they were still in communication with Hong Kong and had somehow escaped the Great Firewall of China which bans western social media services.

Once at the Shenzhen station the traveller have direct access to China’s massive 25,000 kilometre national high-speed rail network. Authorities on both sides of the border are hailing the initiative as a breakthrough that will bring economic benefits, including increased tourism.

The world’s longest bridge in the world, the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge opening next month, is 39 kilometres long and will link another of the Delta’s manufacturing hubs and tourist-magnet Macau, directly with Hong Kong. China took back control of the former British colony in 1997 and have promised a degree of independence until at least 2047 although the past decade has seen a slow erosion of control by the Hong Kong governments.

New Hong Kong to Shenzhen high speed train launches today | News by The Thaiger

New Hong Kong to Shenzhen high speed train launches today | News by The Thaiger



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Southeast Asia

LATEST: Sri Lanka bombings

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LATEST: Sri Lanka bombings | The Thaiger

A wave of explosions rocked Sri Lanka up-scale hotels and churches on Easter Sunday around the capital Colombo. This is what we know…

• At least 215 people have been confirmed dead with up to 450 more injured in a series of bombings targeting churches holding Easter services and hotels in Sri Lanka. The toll is likely to rise during today or at least become more precise as officials tally information from emergency responders.

• Most of the dead are said to be Sri Lankans, but officials say up to 40 foreigners have lost their lives.

• Three UK nationals and two US-UK dual nationals were among the dead. One Dutch, one Chinese, one Portuguese and two Turkish nationals have been killed, their respective foreign ministries have confirmed.

• There were six initial blasts, at three hotels and three churches, before two more explosions some time later, at a guest house and housing scheme, with two people reported to have been killed at the former. A government minister says the last two blasts appeared to have been carried out by the culprits as they fled from police.

• No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks but Sri Lanka’s defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene claims the culprits have been identified and were religious extremists. He said suicide bombers were responsible for the majority of the morning’s bombings and that the wave of attacks was the work of a single group.

• Eight people are reported to have been arrested so far.

• The Sri Lankan government has issued a curfew and shut down social media and messaging services to prevent the spread of disinformation.

• Sri Lanka’s PM, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has condemned the “cowardly” attacks and urged people to remain “united and strong”.

• The archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, called it “a very sad day” and is urging the government to identify the attackers and “punish them mercilessly because only animals can behave like that”.

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Southeast Asia

Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet

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Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Japan Times

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ new 88-passenger Mitsubishi Regional Jet is testing the skies just as rivals Embraer and Bombardier are moving to sell off their manufacturing operations for jets with up to 160 seats to Boeing and Airbus.

At stake, particularly in the market for jets with fewer seats, is US$135 billion in sales in the two decades through 2037, according to industry group Japan Aircraft Development.

More cities in Asia and Europe are seeking to link up with each other and the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, the first airliner built in Japan since the 1960s, began certification flights last month in Moses Lake, Washington.

With fewer seats and smaller fuselages, regional jets are a different class of aircraft from larger narrow-body planes such as Boeing’s 737 or Airbus’s A320. The MRJ has a range of about 3,220 kilometres. The seating is 2+2 instead of 3+3 in a small Airbus or Boeing single-aisle jet.

After spending at least US$2 billion over more than a decade, the manufacturer is looking to get its jet certified and start deliveries to launch partner ANA Holdings.

Mitsubishi initially planned test flights in 2012 but blew past that deadline because of production difficulties. Now, the company, which makes ships, nuclear power plants and aerospace components, expects to have the plane ready for customers next year, a timetable that will test the company, said Mitsubishi Aircraft president Hisakazu Mizutani.

Mitsubishi Heavy is not the only Asian manufacturer betting that it can build aircraft cheaper and more efficiently. Commercial Aircraft of China (Comac) has a new regional jet in service, while Korea Aerospace Industries is studying whether to develop a 100-passenger aircraft.

“The aviation market in Asia is expected to grow further in the coming years and there will be demand for these aircraft,” said analyst Lee Dong-heon at Daishin Securities in Seoul.

“The shift in the regional aviation segment we have seen over the last year or so has opened opportunities.”

“The MRJ is fully capable of competing in the market.”

Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet | News by The Thaiger

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North East

Opening of a rail service between Thailand and Cambodia in Sa Kaew

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Opening of a rail service between Thailand and Cambodia in Sa Kaew | The Thaiger

The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is leading a delegation to officiate at the opening of a new rail service between Thailand and Cambodia at Klong Luek railway station in Sa Kaew province. The Thai government funded the maintenance and restoration of the two kilometre rail track between Klong Luek station and Poipet station in Cambodia.

Rail services between Thailand and Cambodia were suspended for decades due to strained relationships between the two countries since the Cold War era. Although the relationship is much better these days there was little interest in the restoration of the rail link as people in both countries tended to prefer travel by road.

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