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Trump and EU boss Juncker try to calm fears of trade war

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It was essentially a deal to make a deal, announced in celebratory fashion during an previously unannounced appearance in the White House Rose Garden.Trump declared it a "very big day for free and fair trade" with Juncker by his side.It was a cheery end to talks Trump himself suggested this week would be acrimonious. The US and the EU have been lobbing new tariffs on products since Trump announced earlier this year tough new levies on steel and aluminum exports.Recently, Trump has threatened a 25% tariff on European autos, a warning that seems to have been staved off."We agreed today, first of all, to work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods," Trump said.Trump indicated both sides agreed to halt for now tariffs that threatened to devolve into a trade war as negotiations proceed, and said the EU agreed to import more US soybeans and liquid natural gas."We will not go against the spirit of this agreement unless either party terminates the negotiation," he said. "So, we're starting the negotiation right now but we know very much where it's going."Juncker said both sides agreed to "hold off on other tariffs" while talks proceed.

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Europe’s most magical winter city

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(CNN) — Budapest is fast becoming one of Europe's leading travel destinations, especially in winter when Hungary's capital city truly comes to life.

Offering a cozy winter atmosphere with romantic architectural creations, Budapest delivers a scene reminiscent of a classic Christmas movie.

Rich in culture and steeped in tradition, winter here not only feels like a fairytale, it looks like one, too.

An array of seasonal delights draw visitors from around the world to the "Pearl of the Danube," all chasing that magical travel experience.

Its Christmas markets and outdoor ice skating rinks help to create a perfect winter wonderland, while the local spas and thermal baths offer a twist on outdoor bathing.

But the pièce de résistance of the winter season has to be securing tickets for the latest performance at the renowned Hungarian State Opera House.

Here are 10 top things to do in Budapest during the winter:

1. Christmas markets

The Christmas market on St. Stephen's Square has the St. Stephen's Basilica as its backdop.

Courtesy Hungarian National Tourist Office

Central European Christmas markets are what dreams are made of, but Budapest's offerings are a cut above the rest. Mulled wine, Christmas strudel, traditional dishes and arts and crafts line the stalls at both the Vörösmarty Square and St. Stephen's Basilica Christmas markets.

Taking place from November until early January each season, the markets welcome large visitor numbers from right around the world and deliver an authentic Hungarian Christmas experience you'll never forget.

The Vörösmarty Square market is one of the most popular in central Europe as well as one of the oldest in Hungary. Famous for its traditional Hungarian foods, including lángos, chimney cake and local sausages, you'll have a plethora of goodies to choose from at the more than 120 stalls.

Meanwhile, the St. Stephen's Basilica Christmas market sits in front of the spectacular Basilica building, with over 160 stalls full of cakes, sweets, arts and crafts, mulled wine and traditional Christmas gifts. Admission to both markets is free.

2. City Park Ice Rink

Budapest winter activities

City Park Ice Rink is one of many top winter attractions in Budapest.

Courtesy Hungarian National Tourist Office

Budapest's City Park Ice Rink is by far the most famous skating destination in the region, if not Europe. Nestled directly in front of Vajdahunyad Castle on the edge of City Park, skaters flock to the rink each winter between late November and mid February.

First opened in 1870, this ice rink one of the oldest and largest in Europe. It's filled up with water during the summer months and serves as a boating lake for tourists looking to pedal around while basking in the sun.

Just a stone's throw from Heroes' Square and Széchenyi Baths, the City Park Ice Rink is the perfect way to end a day of sightseeing and soaking up the steam in the nearby spas.

Admission fee: 1,000 HUF ($3.50) for children, students and pensioners, 1,500 HUF ($5.25) for adults and 3,500 HUF ($12.30) for families (two adults and one child.)

Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

3. Basilica light show

St. Stephen's Basilica is truly a beautiful piece of architecture, but what makes it even more pleasing to the eye is the spectacular light show that takes place there throughout the year.

The winter season offers the best light show experience, where religious stories and fables are recited with colorful lights and accompanying sound. Dazzling 3D animations are beamed onto the front of the building, often creating the illusion that it's moving or falling down. Breathtaking and groundbreaking, catching the Basilica light show is a must when visiting Budapest.

The light show takes place every half an hour between 4:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. during winter.

4. Spas and thermal baths

Budapest winter activities - Gellért Baths

The Gellért Baths are always worth visiting, whatever the season.

Courtesy Gellért Baths

Budapest is quite rightly nicknamed the "City of Spas," thanks to its 118 natural thermal springs that deliver 70 million liters of therapeutic waters each day to more than a dozen spas. The Turkish baths of here are astonishingly beautiful, renowned the world over for their relaxing and medicinal benefits.

Taking a dip in the famous Széchenyi Baths during winter is an experience like no other. Jumping from one of the 10 indoor pools to the outside bathing area is a memorable — and even pleasurable — jolt to the system.

The more than a dozen thermal baths and spas — including Rudas Baths, Gellért Baths, Lukács Baths, Király Baths, Császár Baths and Palatinus Baths — house saunas, steam chambers and massage rooms, with a number of treatments available upon request.

5. Hungarian State Opera House

Hungarian State Opera House

Hungarian State Opera House hosts stand out shows all year round.

Courtesy Hungarian National Tourist Office

Designed by renowned architect Miklós Ybl, the Hungarian State Opera House, which was completed in 1884, remains exactly the same as when it was constructed more than 130 years ago.

The impressive building is regularly used in blockbuster films and has become an iconic national treasure. Each year thousands of visitors descend upon Budapest to take in the sheer beauty of the opera house, while the lucky ones are able to secure a ticket for a show.

Admirers of both ballet and opera are drawn to this location due to the high quality performances of shows including "The Nutcracker," "La Boheme," "Billy Elliot," "The Magic Flute" and "Tosca."

The Opera House is closed for extensive refurbishments until 2020, but tours of this spectacular building are still available.

6. Christmas light tram

Budapest winter activities

The Christmas trams are a popular city landmark.

Courtesy Hungarian National Tourist Office

Covered with over 39,000 lights, the Budapest Christmas "light tram," or Fényvillamos, is put into operation across the city from 5 p.m. each evening throughout December and early January.

A quirky and novel attraction, it certainly gets visitors into the Christmas spirit while taking in the sights of Budapest during the winter months. The 50-year-old Ganz UV tram mainly circulates on tram line 2, but it does run on other lines in other parts of the city.

Budapest's Christmas trams run on the following lines throughout December and early January: 2, 14M, 19, 41, 42, 47, 49, 50, 56A, 59 and 69 from 5 p.m.

No special tickets are needed to ride the tram, standard tickets are valid for travel. There are no services on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

Tram tickets cost 380 HUF ($1.35)

7. River Danube Cruise

Budapest winter activities - river danube

Winter cruises are an ideal way to see the city during the festive season.

Courtesy Hungarian National Tourist Office

The River Danube stretches through the heart of Europe from Germany to the Black Sea, Budapest being one of the prime locations.

Extremely popular in both the summer and winter months, tourists from all over the world take to the river to catch a sight of landmarks like the Parliament Building, Buda Castle, Liberty Statue and Margaret Island, which can all be seen from the river.

If you're staying in Budapest for just a few days, the best way to experience the city is to take one of the River Danube winter cruises which last a few hours and stretch from one end of Budapest to the other.

Day or night cruises are available and vary in price depending on what package you choose. The most expensive include a three-course lunch or dinner with drinks, while the cheaper options consist of a comprehensive sightseeing tour.

Ticket prices start at around 3,800 HUF ($13.50)

8. Ruin bars

Budapest winter activities

The city's ruins bar often offer discounted drinks in winter.

Courtesy Hungarian National Tourist Office

Budapest's ruin bars deliver interesting and unique locations that are perfect for grabbing a drink and seeing the city at the same time. Various derelict buildings and outdoor spaces have been transformed into bar and restaurant areas serving reasonably priced food and drinks all year round.

Szimpla Kert in the Jewish Quarter was the first ruin bar to be established in the city, while Ankert in the 6th district puts on themed nights throughout the week. There are over a dozen ruin bars dotted about Budapest and special tours are often put on to allow reveler to experience the city while tasting local wines and Unicum, a herbal liquor, at the same time.

The ruin bar winter season is particularly impressive, with discounted drinks and seasonal delights on offer to get the festive season off to a great start.

9. Andrassy Avenue and Fashion Street

Budapest winter activities

Andrassy Avenue shines bright with Christmas lights.

Courtesy Hungarian National Tourist Office

Shopping in Budapest during winter is a magical experience. Not only will you be able to browse the finest boutiques but you'll also soak up the Christmas spirit on the beautifully decorated boulevards.

Andrassy Avenue and Fashion Street are two of its most popular shopping and tourist destinations at any time of year.

Stretching between Heroes' Square and Elizabeth Square, Andrassy Avenue houses Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Rolex to name a few. Covered with thousands of lights, the tree-lined avenue comes to life during the winter months, offering up many Christmas-themed attractions.

Meanwhile on Fashion Street, there's a large selection of boutiques lining the walkway that leads to Vörösmarty Square. The bustling street has become a huge tourist attraction thanks to its displays and installations, which help make the winter season that little bit more special.

The shops here are usually open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the winter months.

10. Buda Castle and Várkert Bazár

Budapest winter activities

The view from the Fisherman's Bastion in the Castle District is even better when the city is covered in snow.

Courtesy Hungarian National Tourist Office

Buda Castle and Várkert Bazár are the jewels in Budapest's crown. The iconic Buda Castle is a powerful, beautiful and imposing building that overlooks the city, while the Castle Garden, or Várkert Bazár, brings together art and nature with a selection of bars and restaurants and a space for outdoor events.

Both venues offer concerts, literary events, theater and ballet productions all year round, but the winter season is a highlight thanks to its Christmas advent calendar. Throughout December, the castle grounds showcase performances by local poets, authors, actors and ballet dancers.

Nathan Kay is a well-traveled freelance journalist with more than 15 years of experience in print and online journalism. His interests lie in tech, news and travel writing.

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7 electric aircraft you could be flying in soon

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(CNN) — Spurred by concerns about climate change, governments and companies worldwide are making plans for a post-oil era.

But, while there have been efforts to limit carbon emissions in the aviation industry by using biofuels, no solution is in sight to replace kerosene-burning commercial aircraft.

And yet, as with the car industry, electrical propulsion looks to be the way forward for air travel. So why have things been going so slowly airside? Mainly, it seems, because innovators face a very large hurdle.

Batteries vs jet fuel

"Electric batteries pack much less energy per unit of weight than jet fuel," says Bjorn Fehrm, an independent industry aviation expert at Leeham News. About 40 times less, even if we consider the best batteries available.

"Electric motors partly compensate this disadvantage by being more efficient in converting energy into power, but a huge gap remains."

The result is that aircraft would need to carry very heavy batteries in order to even approach the performance of current airliners. This option, quite literally, wouldn't fly.

Difficult doesn't mean impossible, though.

Major industry players, research organizations and entrepreneurs are working on several possible paths to make commercial electric flying a reality within a few years. Here are some of the most promising initiatives in the field:

Airbus: Disrupt or be disrupted

Airbus has already had success with its E-Fan light aircraft.

AIRBUS

In Europe, Toulouse-headquartered aircraft manufacturer Airbus has teamed up with German conglomerate Siemens to pursue its electrical aircraft research program.

Its E-Fan light aircraft managed to complete a crossing of the English Channel in 2015 by using only electric propulsion.

Since then, Airbus has ramped up its efforts and come up with some potentially disruptive concepts.

"We realized our earliest electrical aircraft projects were not ambitious enough," says Glenn Llewellyn, General Manager, Electrification at Airbus.

"We have since reoriented our development efforts and come up with some revolutionary concepts such as the Vahana and CityAirbus, that are close to becoming a tangible reality.

"They are going to have an impact in the way we understand urban mobility."

Vahana

A product of A³, Airbus' Silicon Valley arm, Vahana is an unmanned electrical aircraft designed to move a passenger or small cargo within the confines of a city.

Its appearance is straight out of a science-fiction film. The passenger module nestles between two parallel wings, one above and one below, each holding four engines.

Its vertical take-off and landing capabilities make it possible to fly from building to building, which may turn into an alternative to land-based urban transportation. Vahana also incorporates technology that allows it to avoid obstacles and navigate the complexities of the urban environment.

CityAirbus

Another futuristic concept that Airbus is working on is CityAirbus, whose maiden flight is scheduled for 2018.

Just like Vahana, it's self-piloted and will be able to take off and land vertically, making it ideally suited for urban use. The difference is that CityAirbus will be able to carry up to four passengers.

"In addition to zero emissions and low noise levels, we are confident their operating costs will make them competitive with traditional taxis," says Llewellyn.

In parallel to these projects, Airbus continues to work towards its longer-term aim of developing a fully electric airliner. The next major goal will be to develop an aircraft that crosses the megawatt threshold.

Airbus has plans underway for a 2MW (two-megawatt) aircraft. It's still a long way off what would be needed to power an alternative to present-day airliners, but already more than 60 times more powerful than the E-Fan's 30 kilowatts.

Zunum Aero

Aviation behemoth Boeing has invested in Seattle-based startup Zunum Aero.

Aviation behemoth Boeing has invested in Seattle-based startup Zunum Aero.

Zunum Aero

US multinational Boeing has invested, together with Silicon Valley's JetBlue Technology Ventures, in Seattle-based startup Zunum Aero.

Zunum's hybrid-electric aircraft promises something akin to door-to-door air travel, flying quietly and economically to thousands of underused local airfields and bypassing more inefficent and often congested larger airports.

The initial concept will be able to carry 12 passengers up to 700 miles, but it's been designed with scalability in mind. The idea is to develop a family of aircraft of increasingly larger size and longer range.

Although it starts as a hybrid, its design allows for a smooth transition to full electrical propulsion when new battery technology becomes available.

Eviation Aircraft

Eviation Aircraft

Eviation: A nine-passenger all-electric aircraft.

Courtesy Eviation Aircraft

Eviation Aircraft also focuses on the short-range regional market.

This Israeli startup has come up with a sleek nine-passenger, self-piloted, all-electric aircraft to operate primarily in the 100 to 600 mile range (although the aircraft will have a longer maximum range).

"This is a market where the overwhelming majority of the journeys are now made by car, as it is not efficient to fly commercial," says Omer Bar-Yohay, founder and CEO of Eviation. "We are here to change this."

"Almost no one is riding 40-year-old cars and yet most aircraft in our size category derive from designs that are at least four decades old," continues Bar-Yohay, who, prior to starting Eviation Aircraft, worked in the electrical vehicle industry.

By using small local airports, Eviation Aircraft is looking at the same market as Zunum Aero.

"The opportunity is so big […] that there is space for several operators, using different approaches," argues Bar-Yohay.

While Zunum "preferred to start with hybrid technology to get some extra range," Eviation Aircraft's optimistic belief is that "an all-electric aircraft is already able to serve our needs."

NASA X-57 Maxwell

NASA X-57 Maxwell: 14 electrical motors provide distributed propulsion.

NASA X-57 Maxwell: 14 electrical motors provide distributed propulsion.

NASA

NASA's X-57 Maxwell is an example of out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to electrical aircraft design.

This awkward-looking experimental plane uses the distributed propulsion provided by 14 electrical motors, all of them integrated into a specially designed high wing.

This unusual configuration, where the two larger motors at the wingtips reduce drag associated with wingtip vortices, is designed to bring about a 500% efficiency increase when cruising at higher speeds.

The X-57 is expected to fly in early 2018.

Pipistrel Alpha Electro

Pipistel Alpha Electro electric plane

Pipistel Alpha Electro: Yours for $129,800.

From Pipistrel

It may lack the outlandish looks of other electric aircraft designs but, unlike them, the modest Slovenian-made two-seater Pipistrel Alpha Electro, whose first prototype was known as WATTsUP, has already reached production stage and is market-ready.

Powered by a 60-kilowatt electric engine developed by Siemens, the Alpha Electro can stay airborne for about an hour. Not a long time, admittedly, but more than enough for the training sorties it was designed for.

The Alpha Electro, which costs $129,800, and recharges its batteries the same way as a mobile phone, could significantly reduce the costs of initial pilot training, according to its manufacturer.

In addition to supplying some systems for NASA's X-57, Pipistrel is also working with Uber on the development of an electric vertical take-off (VTOL) vehicle for urban mobility.

Wright Electric

Wright Electric electric plane

Wright Electric hopes its all-electric airliner will serve short-haul routes.

From Wright Electric

In September 2017, US startup Wright Electric announced that it had partnered with European low-cost airline EasyJet in order to develop an all-electric airliner.

Wright Electric's truly ambitious project is to create an airliner in the 120-186 seat range capable of flying distances of up to 335 miles.

Although this isn't a particularly long range, it would be enough to cover many busy short-haul routes, such as London to Paris or New York to Boston.

The expectation is for range and capacity to be increased progressively as technology improves and that a whole family of aircraft will eventually be produced.

Small is beautiful

Independent experts in the field of electric propulsion remain cautious about the prospects for electric flight.

"I have crunched the numbers and I think we are still more than a decade away from having all-electric commercial airliners," says Bjorn Fehrm.

"The performance gap you need to bridge, particularly when it comes to the energy density of batteries, is huge."

However, he says smaller-scale projects like Vahana have a real chance of becoming the first commercially feasible electrical aircraft.

"You can scale gradually from there, but you have to start somewhere.

"The first aircraft may not be that competitive, but, as happened with cars, governments may use regulation to support electric aircraft, on the basis that they are quieter and less polluting."

Gradual process

Andreas Klöckner, coordinator for electric flight at DLR, the German Aerospace Center, agrees that the transition to electric flight is likely to be gradual.

"We already have electric aircraft for two to four passengers, like the Pipistrel Alpha Trainer or like the HY4 flying fuel cell testbed.

Next you go for up to 19 passengers, like the Zunum concept. You learn and you keep scaling up until you reach commercial airliner classes."

For longer-range and heavier aircraft, however, he predicts that "as long as batteries are too heavy" hybrid solutions will be required.

Klöckner adds another element to the discussion.

"Research in the field of electric flight has some interesting derivatives. For example, electric motors could be distributed along the wing, such as with NASA's X-57," he says.

"In addition to aerodynamic advantages, this could make heavy vertical tails redundant."

Vertical tails are currently needed to steer during flight, but this is a task that could be taken on by electric motors as they react very quickly to commanded speed changes.

Says Klöckner, "It opens up new ways to think about aircraft design."

"Unlike jet engines, the efficiency of electric motors doesn't benefit from size, so instead of two or more large engines under the wings you can have many smaller motors distributed along the fuselage," explains Jeff Engler, CEO of Wright Electric.

This would lead not only to quieter, cleaner aircraft, but also ones that look radically different to those in the air today.

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The secret drink recipe used to cure royals

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(CNN) — Whether you find yourself in a no-frills kocsma filled with beer-swilling old timers, an elegant cocktail lair or one of Budapest's quirky ruin pubs jammed with tourists, the Hungarian capital's drinking scene has one constant.

Countless times throughout the night, the bartender will reach for the same distinctive, round-bellied bottle.

The inky, amber-tinted liquid inside is called Unicum, and with roots that delve back to the late 18th century, it's one of the most revered national drinks in Hungary.

Like that other boozy Hungarian favorite, the fruit brandy pálinka, Unicum is largely savored as an aperitif or a digestif in shot form.

Produced by Budapest based beverage company Zwack, it's a herbal liqueur comprising a secret blend of more than 40 herbs and spices aged in oak.

Less aggressive than Fernet yet beefier than Jägermeister, thick, bitter Unicum, laced with subtle piney eucalyptus notes, is indeed bracing, a taste that grows delightfully more palatable with each sip according to Unicum brand ambassador Csaba Gulyás.

"It's a bittersweet potion, which isn't easy to enjoy the first time, but then you cross that barrier and it becomes your favorite," says Gulyás.

Royal origins

Unicum was originally created to cure Habsburg ruler Joseph II of a bout of indigestion.

Courtesy of Zwack Unicum

The story behind how Unicum came to be is equal parts fabled and turbulent.

Its distinctive bottle flaunts a gold cross that pops against a red background — the first hint that its roots are medicinal.

It all began in 1790, when Habsburg ruler Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, had a bout of indigestion, and Dr. Zwack, royal physician to the Imperial Court, whipped up a herbal remedy for him.

Upon drinking it, Joseph II purportedly exclaimed, "Dr. Zwack, das ist ein Unikum!"

The "unique" elixir subsequently spread in popularity, and the Zwack company was founded in 1840 by József Zwack, an entrepreneurial descendant of the visionary doctor.

By 1895, Zwack was producing over 200 liqueurs and spirits, exporting them from a distillery that's still in use today.

Different generations of the Zwack family have always presided over the business and two of its most prominent characters are brothers Béla and János, who were at the helm during Zwack's most troubling years.

The 1930s ushered in an era of turmoil, what with the Great Depression and prohibition in the United States, leading to a decrease in demand for Zwack products.

During World War II the factory was destroyed and shortly after, communism forced the company to nationalize. However, the Zwacks hatched a plan, creating a fake recipe for the communists to use.

János found safety in the United States, while Béla stayed put at the distillery until the mid-1950s, when he decamped to Italy and started tinkering with the original Unicum again.

After Communism fell in 1989, the Zwacks bought their company back and the true, heady Unicum recipe was embraced, János's son Péter reviving the name both domestically and abroad.

"Everybody has a personal story with Unicum. It has spiritual content and it's timeless, surviving our history," explains Gulyas.

"I think I would love Unicum even if I didn't know anything of its heritage, but once you get the whole picture, wow," says Dez O'Connell, a bar consultant who oversees all the beverage programs for Budapest's BrodyLand portfolio, including the events hub Brody Studios.

"Unicum is the story of Hungary politically and socially since the Hapsburg Empire to the present day. That of course gives it a special place in most Hungarian hearts and stomachs."

A symbol of unity

Zwack Unicum museum image

The liqueur is now one of Hungary's most revered national drinks.

Courtesy of Zwack Unicum

A fixture on Budapest bar shelves, Unicum is best enjoyed while in the company of friends and family, attesting to the importance Hungarians place on convivial, food-fueled social gatherings.

Ferenc Varsányi, partner at the cozy barber shop turned cocktail den Hotsy Totsy, adds that "it brings families together. Hungarians don't drink Unicum just on special occasions. It's a symbol of unity."

It's most likely to consumed as a room temperature shot, but Varsányi prefers drinking it from a tasting glass, &quRead More – Source

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Britain presses France to halt ‘unacceptable’ migrant crossings

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Britain and France will work "at pace" to finalise a new plan for shutting down a migrant route across the Channel, British immigration minister Chris Philp said on Tuesday.

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Philp said President Emmanuel Macron's government agreed the high numbers making the illegal crossing were unacceptable.

"It's clear more needs to be done," Philp told reporters in Paris after meeting French officials.

"If we can make this route unviable, which we are determined to do, then migrants will have no reason at all to come to France in the first place."

Hundreds of people, including some children, have been caught crossing to southern England from makeshift camps in northern France since Thursday – many navigating one of the world's busiest shipping routes in overloaded rubber dinghies.

Philp said Paris had agreed to mirror London's move of appointing a special commander to oversee the operation.

Today I was in Dover to see how Border Force and other operational partners are tirelessly dealing with the unacceptable number of illegal small boat crossings.

I am absolutely committed to making this incredibly dangerous route unviable. pic.twitter.com/KGzBd3CR0X

— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) August 10, 2020

Asked if Britain was ready to pay France to bolster its policing of the maritime border, the minister said: "We accept this is a shared problem. If a shared plan can be agreed, we would be obviously be prepared to support that … in all the ways necessary to make it a success."

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Accused attacker refuses to answer questions in court

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It was the first public appearance for 28-year-old Salah Abdeslam since his arrest in Belgium in March 2016, according to Reuters news agency. He is on trial for charges related to a gunfight with authorities that preceded his arrest.Abdeslam is accused of attempted murder in a terrorist context and illegal possession of firearms, charges which carry up to 20 years in prison if convicted. The prosecutor is calling for the maximum sentence.His trial is expected to last a week. Abdeslam also is expected to face a trial in France on charges related to the November 13, 2015 terror attack in Paris. That night, men armed with assault rifles and explosives targeted six locations across the French capital, killing at least 130 people and wounding hundreds. The militant group ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. Authorities think Abdeslam, a French national born in Belgium, drove the black Renault Clio that dropped off three suicide bombers near the Stade de France.Abdeslam is the brother of Ibrahim Abdeslam, believed to be the suicide bomber who detonated explosives near a café on the Boulevard Voltaire the night of the November 2015 attack.

'I am not afraid of you'

In court Monday, Abdeslam looked very different than the clean-shaven young man who appeared in his arrest photos. His beard was full and his hair was longer and combed back, according to CNN affiliate BFM TV. Abdeslam had asked to be present at his trial. But he refused to stand or to answer questions, BFM TV reported, and even balked at confirming his identity when asked by the court, telling those assembled that silence was "his defense."But Abdeslam did lecture the court about the treatment of Muslims by the justice system, reported BFM TV. "What I see is that Muslims are judged in the worst way," he said. "My silence does not make me a criminal … I am not afraid of you, nor of your allies. I place my trust in Allah. I have nothing to add."Refusal to answer questions is a tactic Abdeslam has used before. In October 2016, some members of his legal team quit because he would not speak in court.

CNN's Tim Lister and Paul Cruickshank contributed to this report.

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Water gun can cut through concrete

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This water gun can pierce concrete

How do firefighters put out a blaze when they can't reach the flames?

That's the challengefirefighters confronted in 2008, when a B-2 Stealth Bomber crashed on the runway at an American airbase in Guam.

The crew successfully ejected, but the hugely expensive aircraft was completely destroyed by a fire that burned deep within its wreckage.

"The firefighters had difficulty getting through the composite layers of the aircraft skin to fight the fire," U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Scott Knupp told CNNMoney.

The loss of the aircraft prompted the Air Force to search for a solution.

"We were looking for some type of technology out there that would help us penetrate through [to] hard-to-reach spaces to get water onto the fire," said Knupp.

Air Force firefighters now use a system called PyroLance — a firefighting "gun" that can blast through steel, brick or concrete walls, and even bullet-resistant glass.

pyrolance water gun
The PyroLance uses ultra-high pressure technology.

The hand-held device uses a mixture of pressurized water and granite material to pierce a six millimeter-wide hole throughobstacles.

Once the ultra-high pressure spray penetrates the surface, the PyroLance nozzle continues to pump a fine mist of micro droplets into the enclosed space, lowering the temperature from around 1,500 F to 200 F in less than a minute.

Using ultra-high pressure (UHP) technology to put out fires isn't new in itself. The Air Force Research Laboratory at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida began researching and testing UHP in the mid 2000s.

It found that water pumped at higher pressuresproduces millions of micro water droplets. This spray extends across a greater surface area, helping extinguish fires faster while using less water.

But PyroLance president Scott Alexander said his company is the only one that uses the technology to penetrate a barrier and extinguish a fire.

PyroLance began supplying the U.S. Air Force five years ago and the technology has also been adopted by the U.S. Navy, as well as numerous airports and fire services around the world.

The system costs from $15,000 to $80,000, and the company hopes to sell 350 units at home and abroad over the next year.

Alexander said that one of the biggest challenges his company faces is convincing firefighters that it isn't trying to eliminate their jobs or "take the fun out of firefighting."

He said the company wants to reduce firefighters' exposure to intense heat,deadly backdrafts and toxic smoke environments.

"The reality is we're trying to keep them safe,"he said.

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Brexit deal condemned as ’26 pages of waffle’

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May told the UK Parliament that the 26-page draft political declaration — which covers future relations on trade, security relations and other issues — would address concerns of key critics who have threatened to scuttle her Brexit plan.But the opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was "26 pages of waffle," and MPs from all sides lined up to criticize it. Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary who resigned from May's Cabinet over her plans, said it "makes a complete nonsense of Brexit."May said the deal was good for the UK and allowed the government to deliver on the result of the 2016 referendum. "The British people want us to move on, and the deal that will enable us to do this is now within our grasp," she said.The political declaration was finalized after overnight negotiations between the UK and EU. It follows the emergence last week of a 585-page "withdrawal agreement," covering Britain's split from the EU.It is now up to the leaders of the other 27 EU member states to agree to the withdrawal deal, which is legally binding, and the political declaration, which has no legal force, at a summit on Sunday.But some EU nations have expressed last-minute concerns. Madrid has threatened to oppose the deal over the handling of Gibraltar, a small British territory on the southern tip of Spain.May spoke to Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez late Wednesday on the issue but it's not yet clear how it will be resolved. She also met Thursday with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, at Downing Street.The political declaration has been sent to EU capitals for their endorsement, European Council President Donald Tusk said earlier. In the House of Commons, May presented the deal as the product of painstaking negotiations. "The text we have now agreed would create a new free trade area with the EU, with no tariffs, fees, charges or quantitative restrictions. This will be the first such agreement from the EU with any advanced economy in the world," she said.But critics said it was vague and did not satisfy anyone. "This is the blindfold Brexit we all feared — a leap in the dark," Corbyn said. "What on earth has the government been doing for the past two years?"It remains difficult to see how May, who leads a minority government, can get the overall Brexit deal through Parliament without the unanimous support of her own party.

'Ambitious, broad, deep' partnership

The political declaration, published by the European Commission, "establishes the parameters of an ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership."It states that the 21-month Brexit transition period, which begins with the UK's departure from the EU at the end of March 2019 but remains tied to its single market and customs union, could be extended by up to two years.The UK and EU last week hammered out the draft withdrawal agreement on how the UK would leave the EU — a deal that sparked multiple resignations from May's government last week and moves from within her own party to topple her from the leadership.Although the threat of a leadership challenge appears to have receded somewhat, May still faces a struggle to get the Brexit deal through Parliament.First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, who said last week that her Scottish National Party MPs would vote against the Brexit deal, described the draft political agreement as adding up "to a blindfold Brexit," with the difficult issues left unresolved.She added that it appeared that "fishing will be a bargaining chip in wider trade negotiation," contrary to the hopes of UK fishing communities.In the Commons, May insisted there would be no link between fishing and a broader trade deal. "We have firmly rejected a link between access to our waters and access to markets. The fisheries agreement is not something we will be trading off against any other priorities."The document sets out that the future relationship "will be based on a balance of rights and obligations" for each party, the UK and EU, but does not specify how this would happen — a key issue given their contradictory nature."This balance must ensure the autonomy of the Union's decision making and be consistent with the Union's principles, in particular with respect to the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union and the indivisibility of the four freedoms," it says. "It must also ensure the sovereignty of the United Kingdom and the protection of its internal market, while respecting the result of the 2016 referendum including with regard to the development of its independent trade policy and the ending of free movement of people between the Union and the United Kingdom."

CNN's Erin McLaughlin reported from Brussels and Laura Smith-Spark reported and wrote from London. CNN's Sebastian Shukla and Laura Perez Maestro contributed to this report.

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Water gun can cut through concrete

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This water gun can pierce concrete

How do firefighters put out a blaze when they can't reach the flames?

That's the challengefirefighters confronted in 2008, when a B-2 Stealth Bomber crashed on the runway at an American airbase in Guam.

The crew successfully ejected, but the hugely expensive aircraft was completely destroyed by a fire that burned deep within its wreckage.

"The firefighters had difficulty getting through the composite layers of the aircraft skin to fight the fire," U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Scott Knupp told CNNMoney.

The loss of the aircraft prompted the Air Force to search for a solution.

"We were looking for some type of technology out there that would help us penetrate through [to] hard-to-reach spaces to get water onto the fire," said Knupp.

Air Force firefighters now use a system called PyroLance — a firefighting "gun" that can blast through steel, brick or concrete walls, and even bullet-resistant glass.

pyrolance water gun
The PyroLance uses ultra-high pressure technology.

The hand-held device uses a mixture of pressurized water and granite material to pierce a six millimeter-wide hole throughobstacles.

Once the ultra-high pressure spray penetrates the surface, the PyroLance nozzle continues to pump a fine mist of micro droplets into the enclosed space, lowering the temperature from around 1,500 F to 200 F in less than a minute.

Using ultra-high pressure (UHP) technology to put out fires isn't new in itself. The Air Force Research Laboratory at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida began researching and testing UHP in the mid 2000s.

It found that water pumped at higher pressuresproduces millions of micro water droplets. This spray extends across a greater surface area, helping extinguish fires faster while using less water.

But PyroLance president Scott Alexander said his company is the only one that uses the technology to penetrate a barrier and extinguish a fire.

PyroLance began supplying the U.S. Air Force five years ago and the technology has also been adopted by the U.S. Navy, as well as numerous airports and fire services around the world.

The system costs from $15,000 to $80,000, and the company hopes to sell 350 units at home and abroad over the next year.

Alexander said that one of the biggest challenges his company faces is convincing firefighters that it isn't trying to eliminate their jobs or "take the fun out of firefighting."

He said the company wants to reduce firefighters' exposure to intense heat,deadly backdrafts and toxic smoke environments.

"The reality is we're trying to keep them safe,"he said.

Original Article

[contf]
[contfnew]

CNN

[contfnewc]
[contfnewc]

Water gun can cut through concrete

0

This water gun can pierce concrete

How do firefighters put out a blaze when they can't reach the flames?

That's the challengefirefighters confronted in 2008, when a B-2 Stealth Bomber crashed on the runway at an American airbase in Guam.

The crew successfully ejected, but the hugely expensive aircraft was completely destroyed by a fire that burned deep within its wreckage.

"The firefighters had difficulty getting through the composite layers of the aircraft skin to fight the fire," U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Scott Knupp told CNNMoney.

The loss of the aircraft prompted the Air Force to search for a solution.

"We were looking for some type of technology out there that would help us penetrate through [to] hard-to-reach spaces to get water onto the fire," said Knupp.

Air Force firefighters now use a system called PyroLance — a firefighting "gun" that can blast through steel, brick or concrete walls, and even bullet-resistant glass.

pyrolance water gun
The PyroLance uses ultra-high pressure technology.

The hand-held device uses a mixture of pressurized water and granite material to pierce a six millimeter-wide hole throughobstacles.

Once the ultra-high pressure spray penetrates the surface, the PyroLance nozzle continues to pump a fine mist of micro droplets into the enclosed space, lowering the temperature from around 1,500 F to 200 F in less than a minute.

Using ultra-high pressure (UHP) technology to put out fires isn't new in itself. The Air Force Research Laboratory at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida began researching and testing UHP in the mid 2000s.

It found that water pumped at higher pressuresproduces millions of micro water droplets. This spray extends across a greater surface area, helping extinguish fires faster while using less water.

But PyroLance president Scott Alexander said his company is the only one that uses the technology to penetrate a barrier and extinguish a fire.

PyroLance began supplying the U.S. Air Force five years ago and the technology has also been adopted by the U.S. Navy, as well as numerous airports and fire services around the world.

The system costs from $15,000 to $80,000, and the company hopes to sell 350 units at home and abroad over the next year.

Alexander said that one of the biggest challenges his company faces is convincing firefighters that it isn't trying to eliminate their jobs or "take the fun out of firefighting."

He said the company wants to reduce firefighters' exposure to intense heat,deadly backdrafts and toxic smoke environments.

"The reality is we're trying to keep them safe,"he said.

Original Article

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CNN

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