‘The worst is behind us’: Airlines see signs of continued recovery.

The worst appears to be over for airlines. Now, it’s just a matter of waiting for the summer travel frenzy to begin.

American Airlines and Southwest Airlines on Thursday were the last two major U.S. airlines to report financial results for the first three months of the year. American lost nearly $1.3 billion, while Southwest earned $116 million, a welcome profit after weathering its first annual loss in half a century last year.

“While the pandemic is not over, we believe the worst is behind us, in terms of the severity of the negative impact on travel demand,” Gary Kelly, Southwest’s chairman, said in a statement. “Vaccinations are on the rise, and Covid-19 hospitalizations in the United States are down significantly from their peak in January 2021. As a result, we are experiencing steady weekly improvements in domestic leisure bookings, which began in mid-February 2021.”

That sentiment is shared across the industry.

“With the momentum underway from the first quarter, we see signs of continued recovery in demand,” Doug Parker, American’s chief executive, said in a statement on Thursday. His counterpart at United Airlines issued a similarly hopeful statement this week, despite posting a loss of $1.4 billion. Last week, Delta Air Lines reported a $1.2 billion loss.

The industry has been buoyed by federal support, receiving $54 billion in grants to pay workers over the past year and another $25 billion in loans. Mr. Kelly of Southwest credited that support for the airline’s slight profit, saying that the airline would have lost $1 billion in the first quarter without it.

Southwest was also buoyed by its limited exposure to corporate and international travel, which have been slow to rebound and are lucrative parts of the business for American, Delta and United. Leisure travel within the United States, which all of the airlines serve, is almost fully recovered.

Air travel started to recover meaningfully in early March, with Transportation Security Administration data showing a steady rise in the number of people screened at airport security checkpoints relative to the same period in 2019. That surge has subsided somewhat since earlier this month, with screenings down about 42 percent over the past week compared with 2019.

Southwest said demand for travel continues to improve with summer fast approaching and customers once again feeling comfortable making travel plans further out. The airline estimates that it has about 35 percent of expected bookings in place for June and 20 percent for July.

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India Sets Covid-19 Daily Case Record

Marking a grave new milestone in the coronavirus pandemic, India recorded 312,731 new infections in a 24-hour period, the Indian health ministry said on Thursday. It is the highest daily case count in a single country since the virus surfaced in China more than a year ago.

India’s total eclipsed the previous single-day high of 300,669 cases, set in the United States on Jan. 8, according to a New York Times database.

Over the past two months, the outbreak in India has exploded, with reports of superspreader gatherings, oxygen shortages and ambulances lined up outside hospitals because there are no ventilators for new patients.

As cases worldwide reach new weekly records, 40 percent of the infections are coming from India, a sobering reminder that the pandemic is far from over, even as infections decline and vaccinations speed ahead in the United States and other wealthy parts of the world. India has surpassed 15.6 million total infections, second most after the United States.

at least 22 people died in an accident in the central city of Nashik when a leak in a hospital’s main oxygen tank cut the flow of oxygen to Covid-19 patients.

The picture is staggeringly different from early February, when India was recording an average of just 11,000 cases a day, and domestic drug companies were pumping out millions of vaccine doses. More than 132 million Indians have received at least one dose, but supplies are running low and experts warn that the country is unlikely to meet its goal of inoculating 300 million people by the summer.

Critics say Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who imposed a harsh nationwide lockdown in March 2020 in the early stages of the pandemic, failed to prepare for a second wave or to warn Indians to remain vigilant against the virus, especially as more infectious variants began to spread.

Mr. Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has also allowed a massive Hindu festival to take place, drawing millions of pilgrims to the banks of the Ganges River, and his party has held jam-packed political rallies in several states.

wrote in The New York Times on Tuesday.

The hardest hit region is Maharashtra, a populous western state that includes the financial hub of Mumbai. On Wednesday, the state’s top leader ordered government offices to operate at 15 percent capacity and imposed new restrictions on weddings and private transportation to slow the spread of the virus.

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Traveling this summer? Finding a rental car may be a challenge.

The pandemic has wreaked havoc in the rental car industry as companies responded to the plunge in travelers by selling off significant portions of their fleets. With travel rebounding over spring break, many travelers found themselves frustrated, stranded or price-gouged.

The shortage of rental cars is expected to continue this summer, meaning that travelers will need to strategize well in advance. That may mean reserving a vehicle before booking a flight, and searching for car rental locations beyond the airport.

There are, of course, transit alternatives to renting a car, including ride share services, bike share systems and public transportation.

Zach Whitehead, a software engineer in Cleveland, was recently on spring break with family in Fort Lauderdale and briefly considered a U-Haul when he couldn’t find a standard rental car.

“I said to my sister, ‘I’m assuming you don’t want to ride in the back of a box truck,’ and she agreed,” said Mr. Whitehead, who stuck to Uber for the week.

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How to Deal With the Rental Car Crunch

“These extra steps are annoying,” but essential, he said, especially in Hawaii, where the state’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs told a local television station that it is launching an investigation into the high cost of rentals that have been listed for as much as $600 a day.

In lieu of hunting yourself, you can use AutoSlash, which uses rental car company coupons and discount codes to sort through search results that it says would take consumers considerable time. The free service also uses things like wholesale store and airline frequent flier program memberships and affiliations with organizations like the American Automobile Association and AARP to find deals.

The service then tracks the rental to ensure it remains the best value, emailing travelers to rebook in the event of a price drop.

There are, of course, transit alternatives to renting a car, including ride share services, bike share systems and public transportation.

For those seeking the privacy and control of an auto, Turo acts like Airbnb for cars, allowing individuals to list their vehicles for rent on the platform, where choices range from $20-a-day older subcompacts to luxury cars like a Lamborghini in Miami for more than $1,000 a day. Vehicle owners set the terms for things like daily mileage limits.

“In summer, when we started seeing people getting anxious to get out of their homes, we saw a boom in local travel and local destinations,” said Andre Haddad, the chief executive of Turo. “The local travel boom was advantageous to our hosts because people needed cars to get to these destinations and less so planes.”

For Justin Villa and Meagan Malcolm-Peck, Turo is a side gig through which they rent five Jeeps in the Denver area, which cost between $73 and $98 a day (they also have a heavy-duty pick-up truck for $184). After an initial three-month crash at the start of the pandemic, business has been steady with drivers and rental periods have extended beyond weekends. They encourage guests to rent about a month in advance.

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Police Investigate Fatal Tesla Crash Near Houston

Federal safety officials and the Texas police are investigating a fatal crash of a Tesla vehicle that had no one behind the wheel, the authorities said Tuesday, as the company comes under heightened scrutiny over its automatic steering and braking system.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent two investigators to Texas on Monday to focus on the vehicle’s operation and a fire that followed the crash on Saturday, said Keith Holloway, a spokesman. The police in Precinct 4 of Harris County, Texas, are also investigating, according to Constable Mark Herman.

Constable investigators were working with the N.T.S.B., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Tesla, which was “helping with our investigation,” Constable Herman said in a statement. “At this time, we will refrain from making any additional statements as the investigation continues to progress,” he said.

On Monday, Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, wrote on Twitter that recovered data logs showed the vehicle had not enabled Autopilot.

are calling that claim into question as they investigate Saturday’s crash and more than 20 other recent accidents in which drivers were, or may have been, using the system. Tesla vehicles are not self-driving — they require “active driver supervision,” the company says on its website — but Autopilot can steer, accelerate and brake automatically within a lane.

In the crash on Saturday night, which occurred north of Houston, physical evidence from the scene and interviews with witnesses led officials to believe that neither of the men were driving, according to Constable Herman.

The vehicle, a 2019 Model S, was moving at a “high rate of speed” around a curve when it veered off the road and hit a tree, Constable Herman said. He also said that it had taken the authorities four hours to put out the fire. The N.T.S.B. said last year in a report that batteries used in electric vehicles can pose safety risks to emergency responders.

Two men, 59 and 69 years old, were killed in the crash. One was in the front passenger seat and one in the rear seat, officials said. “It is very early in the investigation,” said Mr. Holloway, the N.T.S.B. spokesman.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also looking into a February crash near Houston in which a Tesla ran into a stopped police vehicle on a highway. It was not clear whether the driver was using Autopilot. In another incident in February in Detroit, a Tesla drove beneath a tractor-trailer that was crossing the road, seriously injuring the driver and a passenger. Officials have not said whether the driver had turned on Autopilot.

highlighted a safety report from the company, writing on Twitter that “Tesla with Autopilot engaged now approaching 10 times lower chance of accident than average vehicle.”

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

Bryan Pietsch contributed reporting.

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Canadian Rivals in Bidding War for U.S. Railroad: Live Updates

put forward last month by a rival railroad operator, Canadian Pacific.

The competing offers underline the riches expected to come from trade flows after the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement was passed into law last year. A merger with either suitor would create a railroad line that stretches from Canada to Mexico. In the already consolidated railroad industry, few lines are left to bid on — let alone deals that will be approved by regulators.

Canadian National said in a letter to Kansas City board that the company had spent “considerable time and resources analyzing a potential combination of our two companies.” It argues its offer represents “an unparalleled opportunity to create a premier railway for the 21st century.”

The offer gives Kansas City Southern a valuation 21 percent higher than Canadian Pacific’s bid, which had been agreed on by the companies’ boards.

For Canadian National, the proposal would be a chance to stop its smaller domestic competitor from gaining significant scale. Unlike Canadian Pacific, Canadian National already has track agreements extending to the Gulf of Mexico.

The rival bid is one further challenge to Canadian Pacific’s offer, which was already facing regulatory scrutiny. The U.S. Department of Justice has urged the Surface Transportation Board — which must approve the offer — to examine the deal under tough industry guidelines put in place in 2001 and expressed concern over its use of a voting trust that would it allow it close the deal even before getting regulatory approval.

Canadian Pacific has argued that there should be no regulatory trouble, given the two railroads have no overlap and in some cases create new markets. It said its smaller size compared with other major North American railroads should exempt it from the guidelines.

A Louis Vuitton store in Paris. The retailer’s parent company helped set up a digital ledger that provides a history of luxury goods bought by consumers.
Credit…Charles Platiau/Reuters

Three rival names in the European luxury sector have established a new blockchain consortium that will allow shoppers to track the provenance of their purchases and authenticate goods.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which first unveiled plans for a global blockchain-based system in 2019, will be joined by Prada Group and Compagnie Financière Richemont in the Aura Blockchain Consortium, a nonprofit group that will promote the use of a single blockchain solution open to all luxury brands worldwide.

Many sectors are looking at the possibility of using blockchain, the distributed ledger system that underpins Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Because blockchains are unchangeable and decentralized, the data stored on them is trustworthy and secure.

In this case, each product will be given a unique digital code during the manufacturing process that will be recorded on the Aura ledger. When customers make a purchase, they will be given login details to a platform that will provide the history of the product, including its origin, components, environmental and ethical information, proof of ownership, a warranty and care instructions.

Bulgari, Cartier, Hublot, Louis Vuitton and Prada are already using the system, with “advanced conversations” being held with a number of other luxury brands, according to a statement released Tuesday. Participating luxury brands pay an annual licensing fee and a volume fee. Aura, based in Geneva, was developed in partnership with Microsoft and ConsenSys, a blockchain software technology company in New York.

“The Aura Consortium represents an unprecedented cooperation in the luxury industry,” said Cartier’s chief executive, Cyrille Vigneron, adding that he invited “the entire profession” to join the consortium.

“The luxury industry creates timeless pieces and must ensure that these rigorous standards will endure and remain in trustworthy hands,” he said.

“Businesses are reimagining the office to foster collaboration, culture and focused work, while supporting a growing remote employee base,” Andi Owen, chief executive of Herman Miller.
Credit…Emily Rose Bennett for The New York Times

Just as workers across the country begin to return to the office, two of the largest furniture design companies will merge.

Herman Miller agreed to acquire its rival Knoll in a cash and stock deal valued at $1.8 billion.

The merger combines two furniture giants that share a modern design element. Herman Miller, best known for its Eames chair and ottoman, and Knoll for its Barcelona chair, together hope to capture an even bigger share of the renovations occurring at home and in offices as many companies and employees look to a future of splitting their time between the two in the post-pandemic world.

“As distributed working models become the new normal for companies, businesses are reimagining the office to foster collaboration, culture and focused work, while supporting a growing remote employee base,” Andi Owen, president and chief executive of Herman Miller, said in a statement Monday. “At the same time, consumers are making significant investments in their homes.”

Based in Zeeland, Mich., Herman Miller traces its roots to 1905 when it began selling bedroom suites. During the depression, when the company was struggling to survive, its then-chief executive, Dirk Jan De Pree, met the designer Gilbert Rohde, who persuaded him to move away from traditional design and toward more modern design and the office furniture market. In 1942, Herman Miller introduced the Executive Office Group, designed by Mr. Rohde, that featured modular pieces that could be configured in different ways.

After Mr. Rohde died in 1944, Mr. De Pree worked with a range of designers, including Charles Nelson, Charles and Ray Eames and Isamu Noguchi. The Eames Executive Chair, a plush, padded, leather chair that was released in 1961 and commissioned for the ultramodern lobby of the Time Life building in New York, can be purchased today for $4,895.

Likewise, Knoll’s history in furniture dates back more than 80 years when the husband-and-wife founders, Hans and Florence Knoll, embraced the creativity of the Bauhaus School in Weimar, Germany, and later, the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., teaming up with a variety of architects, sculptors and designers.

After the expected close of the transaction later this year, Ms. Owen will become the president and chief executive of the combined company. Andrew Cogan, Knoll’s chairman and chief executive, will depart after 30 years with the company.

Journalists watch a screen showing China's president, Xi Jinping, delivering a speech during the opening of the Boao Forum on Tuesday.
Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, called for cooperation and openness to an audience of business and financial leaders on Tuesday. He also had some warnings, presumably for the United States.

Speaking electronically to a largely virtual audience at China’s annual Boao Forum, Mr. Xi warned that the world should not allow “unilateralism pursued by certain countries to set the pace for the whole world.”

The audience included American business leaders including Tim Cook of Apple and Elon Musk of Tesla, as well as two Wall Street financiers, Ray Dalio and Stephen Schwarzman. Long a platform for China to show off its economic prowess and leadership, the Boao Forum is held annually on the southern Chinese island of Hainan. (Last year’s was canceled amid the pandemic.)

In recent years, Mr. Xi has used the forum to portray himself as an advocate of free trade and globalization, calling for openness even as many in the global business community have become increasingly vocal about growing restrictions in China’s own domestic market.

On Tuesday, he also reiterated his earlier message opposing efforts by countries to weaken their economic interdependence with China.

“Attempts to ‘erect walls’ or ‘decouple’” would “hurt others’ interests without benefiting oneself,” Mr. Xi said, in what appeared to be a reference to the United States and the Biden administration’s plans to support domestic high-tech manufacturing in the United States.

The White House held a meeting with business executives last week to discuss a global chip shortage and plan for semiconductor “supply chain resilience.” Speaking to executives from Google, Intel and Samsung, Mr. Biden said “China and the rest of the world is not waiting, and there’s no reason why Americans should wait.”

China is pursuing its own program for self-sufficiency in chip manufacturing.

Mr. Xi also pledged to continue to open the Chinese economy for foreign businesses, a promise that big Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have clung to even as foreign executives complain that the broader business landscape has become more challenging.

The display at a crytocurrency ATM in Zurich, Switzerland. Prices of cryptocurrencies and related stocks slipped lower on Tuesday.
Credit…Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency started as a joke, now has a market value that can’t be laughed at: more than $50 billion. On Tuesday, traders of Dogecoin were trying to push up the price to coincide with 4/20, or April 20, a date associated with smoking cannabis.

On Twitter, the hashtags #DogeDay and #Doge420 were trending. Dogecoin’s price, which has surged lately, fluctuated between gains and losses on Tuesday, trading at about 40 cents, according to Coindesk. A month ago, it was about 5 cents.

The ripple effects of the boom in crypto markets are being felt far and wide. Coinbase, the cryptocurrencies exchange that went public last week and is helping the industry move into the mainstream, has a market value of $66 billion. Central banks have ramped up plans to explore digital currencies to offer people a secure alternative to cryptocurrencies, which are out of their control. On Monday, the Bank of England was the latest to announce it was looking into a central bank digital currency.

On Tuesday morning, prices of cryptocurrencies and related stocks slipped. Bitcoin fell 1 percent, trading just above $55,000. Shares in Coinbase and Riot Blockchain were slightly lower in premarket trading.

Exxon wants to capture carbon from industrial plants along the Houston Ship Channel and pipe it offshore.
Credit…Bronte Wittpenn for The New York Times

HOUSTON — Under growing pressure from investors to address climate change, Exxon Mobil on Monday proposed a $100 billion project to capture the carbon emissions of big industrial plants in the Houston area and bury them deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico.

Exxon, the largest U.S. oil company, wants to create a profit-making business out of the capture of carbon emitted by petrochemical plants and other industries. But its plan would require significant government support and intervention, including the introduction of a price or tax on carbon dioxide emissions, an idea that has failed to attract enough support in Congress in the past.

The company already captures carbon, which it injects into older fields to produce more oil. Exxon now wants to use its expertise to store the carbon dioxide generated by other industries. But without a price on emitting carbon, many businesses would have little financial incentive to pay Exxon to capture and store their carbon.

The Obama administration failed to enact a cap-and-trade system, which raises costs for polluting companies by forcing them to buy tradable permits to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. California, the European Union and 11 states in the Northeast use versions of cap-and-trade. Other governments, including British Columbia and Britain, have imposed a per-ton tax on emissions.

Exxon wants to capture carbon from industrial plants along the Houston Ship Channel and pipe it offshore where it would stored up to 6,000 feet below the Gulf of Mexico. The effort would be paid for by industry and the government, and would eventually store 100 million tons of carbon annually — equivalent to the emissions of 20 million cars, according to Exxon.

The company has discussed its idea with national and Texas policymakers and Republicans and Democrats in Congress, Exxon’s chief executive, Darren Woods, said in an interview. “They see the opportunity and appeal of this idea,” he said. “The question is, how do you translate the concept into practice?”

Exxon said its proposal complements President Biden’s climate efforts, but it would require the administration to embrace a price on carbon, something it has not done.

“The concept of a price on carbon is critical,” Mr. Woods said. “There has to be a way to incentivize the investment.”

Offshore storage has already gained traction in Europe, where governments have put carbon prices in place and lawmakers are more willing to spend taxpayer money to address climate change.

Mr. Woods said that, given the right policies, carbon capture projects could be a major business for Exxon around the world. “The potential for these markets is very, very large to the extent that demand continues to increase to decarbonize society,” he said.

A used-car dealership in Naperville, Ill. The average price paid for a used car is well above $20,000.
Credit…Nick Carey/Reuters

Last year’s pandemic-induced production delays, combined with a continued shortage of computer chips and other automotive components, have tightened the supply of new models — especially popular sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks.

That means it may be challenging to find a new ride with the colors and features you want at a price you can afford, Ann Carrns reports for The New York Times. “It’s harder to get exactly what you want,” said Ivan Drury, senior manager of insights at Edmunds. “Don’t expect heavy discounts.”

So if new cars are too expensive, you can just buy a used car, right?

Yes, but deals may be elusive there as well. Fewer people bought new cars last year, so fewer used cars were traded in. And the short supply of new cars is pushing more buyers to consider used cars, raising those prices, analysts say. The average price paid for a used car is well above $20,000, Edmunds says.

On the plus side, if you have a car to trade in, its value is probably higher, especially if it’s a popular model. The average value for trade-ins, including leased cars turned in early, was about $17,000 in March, up from about $14,000 a year earlier, according to Edmunds. The average age of trade-ins was five and a half years.

Various online services, like Kelly Blue Book, TrueCar and Carvana, will supply a trade-in estimate based on your location and your car’s age, mileage and general condition, and offer more tailored appraisals if you provide details like the vehicle identification number. Some even offer to buy your car outright.

Noting the power of digital platforms, Margrethe Vestager, a European Commission official, said in a recent speech that “we need something more to keep that power in check.”
Credit…Pool photo by Olivier Hoslet

Around the world, governments are moving simultaneously to limit the power of tech companies with an urgency and breadth that no single industry had experienced before.

Their motivation varies. In the United States and Europe, it is concern that tech companies are stifling competition, spreading misinformation and eroding privacy; in Russia and elsewhere, it is to silence protest movements and tighten political control; in China, it is some of both.

Nations and tech firms have jockeyed for primacy for years, but the latest actions have pushed the industry to a tipping point that could reshape how the global internet works and change the flows of digital data, Paul Mozur, Cecilia Kang, Adam Satariano and David McCabe report for The New York Times.

“It is unprecedented to see this kind of parallel struggle globally,” said Daniel Crane, a law professor at the University of Michigan and an antitrust expert. Now, Mr. Crane said, “the same fundamental question is being asked globally: Are we comfortable with companies like Google having this much power?”

Underlying all of the disputes is a common thread: power. The 10 largest tech firms, which have become gatekeepers in commerce, finance, entertainment and communications, now have a combined market capitalization of more than $10 trillion. In gross domestic product terms, that would rank them as the world’s third-largest economy.

Governments agree that tech clout has grown too expansive, but there has been little coordination on solutions. Competing policies have led to geopolitical friction. Last month, the Biden administration said it could put tariffs on countries that imposed new taxes on American tech companies.

Tech companies are fighting back. Amazon and Facebook have created their own entities to adjudicate conflicts over speech and to police their sites. In the United States and in the European Union, the companies have spent heavily on lobbying.

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CreditCredit…By Simoul Alva

In today’s On Tech newsletter, Shira Ovide looks at a health technology nonprofit organization that is turning the approach to vaccination credentials on its head.

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Canadian National Railway Outbids Rival for Kansas City Southern

The railroad barons are at it again.

Canadian National Railway on Tuesday offered to buy Kansas City Southern for $33.7 billion, topping a $29 billion bid put forward last month by a rival railroad operator, Canadian Pacific.

The competing offers underline the riches expected to come from trade flows after the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement was passed into law last year. A merger with either suitor would create a railroad line that stretches from Canada to Mexico. In the already consolidated railroad industry, few lines are left to bid on — let alone deals that will be approved by regulators.

Canadian National said in a letter to Kansas City board that the company had spent “considerable time and resources analyzing a potential combination of our two companies.” It argues its offer represents “an unparalleled opportunity to create a premier railway for the 21st century.”

The offer gives Kansas City Southern a valuation 21 percent higher than Canadian Pacific’s bid, which had been agreed on by the companies’ boards.

track agreements extending to the Gulf of Mexico.

The rival bid is one further challenge to Canadian Pacific’s offer, which was already facing regulatory scrutiny. The U.S. Department of Justice has urged the Surface Transportation Board — which must approve the offer — to examine the deal under tough industry guidelines put in place in 2001 and expressed concern over its use of a voting trust that would it allow it close the deal even before getting regulatory approval.

Canadian Pacific has argued that there should be no regulatory trouble, given the two railroads have no overlap and in some cases create new markets. It said its smaller size compared with other major North American railroads should exempt it from the guidelines.

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Train Crash in Egypt Kills at Least 11

A passenger train derailed Sunday north of Cairo, killing at least 11 people and injuring scores more, the Egyptian authorities said. It was the latest of several deadly rail accidents to hit the country in recent years.

At least 60 ambulances rushed to find survivors and help those who were hurt when four train cars ran off the rails just outside Cairo, the railway authority said. At least 98 people were injured, mostly with broken bones, cuts and bruises, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Videos on social media showed train cars overturned at the city of Banha in Qalyubia Province and passengers escaping along the tracks. The train was bound for the Nile Delta city of Mansura from Cairo, the capital, the rail authority said in a statement.

Salvage teams could be seen searching for survivors and removing the derailed train cars. It was not immediately clear what caused the derailment, and prosecutors said they were investigating.

killing at least 18 people and injuring 200 others. Prosecutors said gross negligence by railway employees was behind that crash on March 25, which caused public outcry across the country.

Train wrecks are common in Egypt, where the railway system has a history of badly maintained equipment and mismanagement. The government says it has begun a broad effort to renovate and modernize the system. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said three years ago that the government needed about 250 billion Egyptian pounds, or $14.1 billion, to overhaul the country’s rundown trains.

locomotive slammed into a barrier in Cairo’s main railway station, causing a huge explosion and a fire that killed at least 25 people. That crash prompted the transportation minister at the time to resign.

In August 2017, two passenger trains collided just outside the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, killing 43 people. In 2016, at least 51 people were killed when two commuter trains collided near Cairo.

Egypt’s deadliest train crash was in 2002, when more than 300 people were killed after a fire broke out in an overnight train traveling from Cairo to southern Egypt.

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Taiwan Prosecutors Charge Man With Causing Deadly Train Crash

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwanese prosecutors on Friday formally charged the operator of a crane truck that slid down an embankment into the path of an oncoming express train, resulting in the island’s deadliest rail disaster in decades.

The operator of the truck, Lee Yi-hsiang, has been in detention in Hualien, a city in eastern Taiwan, since shortly after the April 2 crash. He had previously apologized and taken responsibility for causing the collision, which forced the eight-car Taroko Express to fly off the rails and slam into the walls of a tunnel, killing 49 people and injuring more than 200 others.

“This case has already caused the innocent deaths of 49 victims, and the enduring pain of their families,” Chou Fang-yi, the Hualien District prosecutor, told reporters at a briefing on Friday.

It also caused millions of dollars in economic losses and damaged Taiwan’s reputation as a destination for tourism, she said.

many families who were on their way to scenic eastern Taiwan for the Tomb Sweeping holiday weekend, emerged from a nearby tunnel and collided with the vehicle. The train had been traveling at about 80 miles an hour, investigators have said.

The prosecutors said they were bringing multiple charges against Mr. Lee, including negligent homicide, leaving the crash scene and falsifying his credentials to apply for the project.

If convicted on all counts, Mr. Lee could face up to twelve years in prison, Ms. Chou said in an interview.

Mr. Hua and two other project supervisors who were not at the crash site that day have also been charged with negligent homicide, a crime which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The police department had previously said that Mr. Hua was a migrant worker from Vietnam.

The revelation that the crane truck had been associated with a government-commissioned project has triggered an increasingly heated public discussion in recent days about the Taiwan Railways Administration, which runs the Taroko Express and was also the agency behind the slope safety scheme.

train derailed in northeastern Taiwan’s Yilan County.

Just days after the crash in Hualien this month, President Tsai Ing-wen vowed to overhaul the railway agency, which has long been dogged by complaints about its bureaucratic culture and weak safety consciousness.

“When it comes to the TRA, my view is much the same,” Ms. Tsai said. “People everywhere in Taiwan deserve to have a safe path home. Reforming the agency is our unshirkable responsibility.”

The train crash in Hualien has been one of the worst disasters that Ms. Tsai has faced since she took office in 2016. Her transportation minister, Lin Chia-lung, has already offered to resign and will leave office next week.

An official with the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board, a government agency that is responsible for investigating major transportation accidents, said recently that the agency’s investigation into the crash was continuing. It expected to release the results next year.

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