Monday, 23 February 2009

Magazine : 23rd February

" ... The new passengers reflect a revolution in Spanish travel. Domestic airlines have lost a fifth of their passengers in the space of a year. And long-distance trains have gained almost a third.
document. This shift is the consequence of an ambitious programme for high-speed rail. The streamlined AVE trains, with their sleek corridors, work tables and spectacular views, are stealing the show ...
... The opening of the Barcelona-Madrid line a year ago marked the beginning of the end of airlines’ dominance. In its first ten months it carried 2m passengers; in 2008 its share of the total market rose from 28% to 38%. Josep Valls, of the ESADE business school, predicts that trains will carry most long-distance travellers within two years ..."

English is Coming. Charlemagne, The Economist (en)
" ... European efforts to resist the rise of the English language have now reached the same point. The latest Anglo-surge comes from the European press, with a dramatic increase in the number of heavyweight publications launching English-language websites, offering translated news stories and opinion pieces ...
... Editors’ motives are a mix of idealism and commercial ambition. Bosses at Spiegel have a political dream to create a platform where “Europeans can read what other Europeans think about the world,” says Daryl Lindsey, who runs the magazine’s international edition. But an English presence is also a “calling card” when pitching to international advertisers. It has proved helpful to journalists seeking interviews with world leaders. Kees Versteegh of NRC Handelsblad talks of creating a European “demos”, but also admits to frustration at publishing some “very fine pieces” in Dutch that the rest of the world never notices ...
... Thanks to EU enlargement to the east (and poor language skills among British and Irish visitors to Brussels), this is almost always English. That means Britons find it ever harder to justify learning other languages. Even when they do, they have to speak other languages extremely well to avoid inflicting halting French, say, on rooms of fluent English-speakers. And it carries other costs. In Brussels, native English-speakers are notoriously hard for colleagues to understand: they talk too fast, or use obscure idioms. Mr van Parijs has a prediction: Europeans will become bilingual, except for Anglophones, who are becoming monolingual ..."
" ... In the commercial centre of Shrewsbury, on the border between England and Wales, shops are closing one after the other. “All the shops seem to be closing. Even on this street, there’s just Woolworths,” said an alarmed resident in the city's centre. “Extra Personnals is closed down there, and I think there’s a place at the bottom of the hill looking to close" ..."

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