Archive by Category "Coffee Conversation"

Romania Facts & Figures

Surface: 238,391 km2 roughly the same size as the United Kingdom.
The Palace of Parliament, located in Bucharest, is the world’s largest and most expensive civil administration building in the world. It also ranks as the biggest office building in Europe (3.9 million square feet) and 2nd largest in the world, after the U.S. Pentagon. More than a million tons of marble, steel, crystal and wood have been used to build this palace!
Carpathian Mountains: home to one of the largest undisturbed forests in Europe = 400 unique species of mammals, including the Carpathian chamois, where 60% of European brown bear live.

1,350 floral species e.g. yellow poppy, Transylvanian columbine, saxifrage and edelweiss.

Turda Salt Mines (Salina Turda) located in Transylvania, stands the world’s largest salt mine museum, (400 feet into the Earth).
The Danube River flows 1,788 miles from its springs in Germany’s Black Forest to the Black Sea, where it forms the Danube Delta – 2nd largest and best preserved in Europe formed over a period of more than 10,000 years – 2,200 miles2 of rivers, canals, marshes, tree-fringed lakes and reed islands,. Home to the world’s largest reed bed; hosts rare species of plants & animals e.g. endangered sturgeon, otters, wildcats & European mink.
The 2nd largest underground glacier in Europe (in terms of volume) is found in Transylvania = 3500-year old Scarisoara Glacier, 75,000 cubic meters, located in the Bihor Mountains… 154-foot deep entrance shaft leads to some impressive ice structures, ice stalagmites & Scarisoara ice-cave.
Peles Castle was the 1st European castle entirely lit by electrical current produced by its own plant.

Castle’s central heating & vacuuming systems, built in 1883, are still in use today.

The world’s first industrial oil refinery opened at Ploieşti (southern Romania) in 1857. Oil was exploited commercially in Romania since 1857, two years before oil was discovered in Pennsylvania.
The earliest reliably dated European modern human fossils, up to now, were discovered in 2002 in southwestern Romania (at Pestera cu Oase – translated as the “Cave With Bones”). The fossil’s age is estimated at 37,800 to 42,000 years old.
The real Dracula (Vlad Draculea) nicknamed Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) was a Romanian prince and military leader who fought bravely against the invading Turkish army in the mid 1400’s. Count Dracula – the Vampire – was created by Irish writer, Bram Stoker in 1897.

The most famous novels written are “The Castle in the Carpathians” by Jules Verne, and “Dracula” by Bram Stoker.

Voronet Monastery, northeastern Romania, is known as the ‘Sistine Chapel of the East’. The monastery built in 1488 is known worldwide for frescoes & intense shade of blue known as ‘Voronet blue.’
Tallest wooden church in the world, 2nd tallest wooden structure in Europe, is in Sapanta Peri = Maramures.
Romania Today is the #9 wine producer in the world!

11 “indigenous” varieties of grapes cannot be found anywhere else in the world are produced here.

The movie Cold Mountain was filmed in Romania. Hollywood celebrities Jude Law, Renee Zellweger and Nicole Kidman relaxed in Poiana Brasov after shooting the film Cold Mountain on location in nearby fields and farms.
The Pastrami – a popular sandwich ingredient in America – has its origins in Romania. Little Romania…
The Black Church has the largest organ in Europe with 4000 tubes (built by Buchholz, Berlin’s famous organ builder, in 1836) as well as the largest bell in Romania, weighting 6.3 tons – Brasov (Transylvania).
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Aerophobia – Fear of Flying & 10 Expert Strategies

If you or someone you know struggles with fear of flying, these 10 expert strategies will help ensure a comfortable, panic-free flight.

Does the idea of flying cause you to break out in a cold sweat? You aren’t alone. More than 25 million Americans suffer from some form of flight anxiety, making aerophobia (fear of flying) the second biggest fear in the US after public speaking. If you do fall in this category, you’ve probably had friends and family remind you numerous times that flying is the safest mode of transportation. While that’s very true – your chances of dying in a plane crash are about one in 10 million compared with a one-in-272 chance of dying in a car crash – that’s not always enough to quell the jitters. And advice like showing up early at the airport to eliminate unnecessary stress is practical as well, but for the most nervous nellies among us, it takes a little bit more to get us up in the air.

We turned to the experts – Todd Farchione, Ph.D., of Boston University’s Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders, Martin N. Seif, Ph.D., ABPP, of the Anxiety & Phobia Treatment Center, and Captain Steve Allright of British Airways’ Flying With Confidence program – to find out exactly what to do to help alleviate flight anxiety. Thanks to their advice, we put together a 10-step guide to help you conquer your fear – because nothing should stand between you and the vacation you deserve.

    1. Name your phobia
    2. Familiarize yourself with airplane noises
    3. Check the turbulence forecast
    4. Bring a photo of your destination
    5. Skip coffee and wine
    6. Distract yourself
    7. Tell the flight attendants
    8. Embrace safety information
    9. Use this breathing technique
    10. Have relaxation remedies handy



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Dubai: Renewable Energy, Virtual Skydiving, Start-up Funds, Water Taxis

Live in a renewable energy-powered home
For a climate of year-round sunshine Dubai has been relatively slow to embrace the possibilities of solar energy. But the Emirate is making up for lost time with plans to install solar panels on 10 per cent of Emirati homes, and the first solar powered apartments now on the market. With a colossal $13.6bn solar park in development, capable of powering 1.3 million homes, the possibilities are set to expand while the prices shrink.

Virtual thrills
Dubai is on the frontline of virtual reality innovation and offers a broad sweep of goggle-enabled thrills. Visitors can try their hand at simulated skydiving at the iFly Skydiving simulator, pilot a virtual jet with the Emirates A380 Experience, play at being a racing driver at Dubai Autodrome, or star in blockbuster action movies, like The Void: Ghostbusters Dimension, at Hub Zero.

Receive state funding for your start-up
As part of Dubai’s strategy to become a leading global player in business and technology, the Emirate has established several well-funded accelerator programs to support entrepreneurs developing innovative business ideas. These have largely focused on Emirati-owned companies, but in recent years some of the largest programs have been opened to foreign nationals — including the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund worth 2bn dirhams ($544 million).

Infrastructure: Get around underground… and on the water
The Dubai Metro opened in 2009 and has provided a mass-transit system suitable for a modern metropolis. Public transport has also expanded into the waterways with the advent of water taxis and water buses along the coastline.

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Cruise Lines Halt Travel to Cuba following US New Travel Policies

June 5th: Just one day after the U.S. government announced it would no longer allow Americans to travel to Cuba via ship, cruise lines are changing their itineraries and cancelling planned stops to the island.
Royal Caribbean was the first to announce itinerary changes, according to Seatrade Cruise News; its June 5 and June 6 sailings will no longer stop in Havana as originally planned, the company announced in a statement late Tuesday evening.
Perhaps the biggest announcement, however, came from Virgin Voyages—a hotly anticipated new cruise line launching next year that said its maiden voyage would sail to Cuba.


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Revamping Alitalia & Beyond

A group of Alitalia pilot and cabin crew unions said they would strike June 24, delaying a planned walk out until after the latest deadline for a formal bid for the bankrupt carrier.

Defining a plan to rescue and relaunch Alitalia, which declared bankruptcy two years ago, has been fraught with complications. In the latest twist, the Italian government announced May 3 that railway company Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) had until June 15 to present a plan for the relaunch, extending a previous April 30 deadline.

That was the latest delay to the process that has been slowed down by the Italian government’s wish to keep at least part of the airline in Italian hands. It wants to use a revamped “new” Alitalia as part of a multi-modal transport strategy that will boost the country’s tourism.

The FNTA—which brings together the ANPAC, ANPAV and ANP unions as well as the Confael Trasporti Assovolo association—said May 14 they had met to work out a common policy and a series of actions to support the relaunch of the new Alitalia.

They had been planning to stage a 24-hour strike May 21, but following the latest delay decided that striking on that day would be “untimely and inopportune” so they pushed back the planned action to June 24, after the latest deadline. Flight controllers belonging to the FAST CONFSAL union will also join in that strike, they said.


FS is set to lead the relaunch in which the Italian state and US carrier Delta Air Lines are also taking part but Italian deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio, who is also economic development minister, said April 30 that new offers from investors to join the relaunch plan were still coming in.

Transport minister Danilo Toninelli said May 10 that the government was working toward the new June 15 deadline and giving the “complicated” Alitalia dossier “the attention it deserves.”

Helen Massy-Beresford,


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China_US Trade War

In other trade news, the game of brinkmanship between the US and China keeps escalating, and it looks like China may be ready to play the ace up its sleeve: Rare earth metals. China’s top economic planning agency indicated the country may be poised to curb exports of rare earths. Chinese state media also published this dire notice to Washington: “Don’t say we didn’t warn you.” Rare earth metals are key to manufacturing technology like smartphones, speakers and tablets, as well as items vital to weapons systems, like lasers, radar, sonar, night vision systems and jet engines. They aren’t actually rare, but they are difficult to mine safely, and China basically has the market cornered. About a third of the world’s rare earth deposits are found there, but the country controls more than 90% of production. And restricting their trade could be a serious game changer.



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Beijing Daxing International Airport, the World’s Largest Airport

Beijing now has 2 civilian airports: Beijing Capital International Airport (3 terminals, the 2nd busiest airport in the world, 2nd only to Atlanta Airport) and Beijing Nanyuan Airport (1 terminal).

The new Beijing Daxing International Airport is expected to be the world’s largest airport upon completion. Covering 1.4 million square meters, the terminal will be about the size of 200 standard football fields.

The first-phase construction will complete on June 30, 2019 and the new airport is due to open on September 30, 2019.
The new airport is expected to serve an initial 45 million passengers a year with an eventual capacity of 100 million.
The new airport will feature:
1. Minimal walking distances – The distance between the transport hub and airport terminal center is less than 600 meters or 8 minutes’ walk.
2. A ground transportation center where passengers can be transferred to Beijing in about 30 minutes by such transportation methods as high-speed rail, metro, expressways, Beijing Airport Bus routes and local buses.
3. Fast baggage delivery – The aim is for the first luggage item to appear on the carousel within 13 minutes of landing.
Beijing Daxing International Airport will be the world’s first airport to have two floors each for departures and arrivals. Foreign airlines such as American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have planned to operate in the new airport and open flights to the United States.

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Paris: the 72 Million Euro plan to create the largest garden

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who’s declared a war on the city’s pollution, this week announced plans to transform the bridgeway linking the historic Trocadéro square with the Eiffel Tower into a “green corridor” reserved for pedestrians by 2024.

Hidalgo, whose mission to “pedestrianise” the historic centre of the French capital has already led to the banning of cars along large parts of the banks lining the Seine river, said that: “We’re really aiming for a high pedestrian target (…) We’re going to have a splendid garden where we can hear the birds sing,” she said when she announced the €72 million project on Tuesday. Work is set to start at the end of 2020 or the start of 2021.



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What you need to know if you own a Huawei phone

Google has severed business ties with Huawei, in a stunning move that could threaten the smartphone maker’s global ambitions.

The U.S. tech giant has decided to stop licensing its Android operating system to the Chinese telecommunications firm, in order to comply with a U.S. trade blacklist.

It can however continue to use an open-source version of Android, but won’t be able to integrate key Google services like the Play app store.

CNBC runs through what that means if you own a Huawei phone right now, or are looking to buy one in the future.


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