China to build $242bn high-speed Beijing-Moscow rail link

China Railway High-speed

China and Russia’s multi-billion dollar high-speed rail network project

International Business Times:

China is to build a 7,000-kilometre high-speed railway connecting its capital Beijing to Moscow which will reduce the journey time between the two cities to two days from five.

The $242bn (£160bn, €210bn) project was confirmed in a Weibo post published by Beijing’s municipal government. The rail link will go through Kazakhstan and make travel between Asia and Europe easier, according to the post.

China and Russia had signed a memorandum of understanding on the ambitious project in October 2014. The construction of the project is expected to take eight to 10 years.

The huge investment would mostly be made by China, as Russia’s economy has been hurt by the recent oil price plunge and Western sanctions, according to critics of the project.

However, the high-speed rail line can provide many other long-term benefits that could make up for the cost of the investment, according to an earlier post on Sina’s military blog.

The new high-speed rail line can be used to increase the transfer of energy resources and food items, which are scarce in China, according to the blog.

It noted that the rail network can be used to import some of Russia’s fertile soil to China to improve the quality of its overdeveloped land. Further, the rail line could be used by Chinese farmers to migrate to Russia and set up small agricultural villages.

The relationship between China and Russia has been strengthened as the latter is engaged in a political row with the US and Europe over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

The countries earlier signed a $400bn deal for Russian gas giant Gazprom to build a pipeline and start gas supplies to China. The 30-year contract will enable the company to supply 38 billion cubic metres of gas to China per year.

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“Bruce Lee Making Breakfast” by photographer VSE OK

Bored Panda:

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Russian miniature figure enthusiast Artem has come up with a unique form of storytelling that lets him create surreal and playful narratives using miniature versions of heroes (and villains) from classic action movies.

In Artem’s miniature world, which he shares with us as VSE OK on Tumblr, each miniaturized larger-than-life movie star gets posed in own personalized and often tongue-in-cheek story… Bruce Lee uses his lightning-fast punches, vicious karate chops and thundering kicks to serve up a healthy breakfast.

The artist’s sense of humor is delightfully dark. It’s well worth checking out the rest of his work, which is hilarious, but be warned – some of it is NSFW. He’s not afraid to depict racy subject material or “recreational substances.”

Source: Tumblr

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“Bruce Lee Making Breakfast” by photographer VSE OK

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Russian climbers break into and scale the world’s second tallest building, Shanghai Tower

RocketNews 24:

 

Vadim Makhorov and Vitaliy Raskalov, a pair of Russian and Ukrainian climbers, have made a name for themselves around the world after a video of them scaling the 632m (2,073ft)-tall Shanghai Tower went viral and attracted over 21 million views in a week.

In the video we see the pair sneak into and make their way from the foundation to the top, drawing comments from viewers such as I almost s**t the bed just watching this,” and“[those] guys have some balls.” Indeed this video might be disturbing for those suffering from acrophobia or vertigo.

First we see the pair walking along the streets to the tower. Yup, just a couple of Russian guys walking down a Shanghai street in ski masks in the middle of the night – nothing weird or suspicious about that.

Once they entered the building they start taking the stairs, at which point the viewer may think they’re being suckered into some hot stair-climbing action.

Then suddenly the stairs go away. In an impressive feat of equilibrium-strength these two venture out onto a narrow ledge and take some pictures of the city’s taller buildings emerging from the mist.

By daylight they come out near the top of the building. But aren’t done yet. Makhorov and Raskalov start to climb the construction crane on top of the building; a network of thin piping and thin steel grates all eerily reminiscent of my recurring nightmare.

Then they reach the tip of the crane–taking them to a total height of 650m (2,133ft) according to the title of the video. The two then sit back and take in the surreal view of Shanghai and I vomit a little inside my mouth.

Of course by scaling the second-largest building in the world you can bet these guys aren’t novices at this kind of thing. In fact they got into some hot water a while back for climbing the pyramids in Egypt and taking gorgeous pictures.

Image: Vitaly Raskalov

This time, having illegally entered private property, they have run the risk of ticking off the Chinese government. They chose the Chinese New Year vacation to make the climb as construction would be halted and fewer people would be around.

Luckily, from everything I’ve heard about them, China’s authorities seem like an easygoing bunch so the climbers should be fine. No, wait. I’m thinking of the guys who run the video rental shop up the street. The building company and Shanghai authorities are quite upset and concerned over the risk of copycat climbers releasing a statement which read “The act that these two people have committed is a violation of the laws of our country. Public Safety has already launched an investigation.”

Best of luck, guys…

Source: YouTube – raskalovitShanghai Tower (Chinese)
For much more climbing photography you can see Vitaliy Raskalov’s blog on Livejournal (Russian / English)
Original article by Meg Sawai

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Russian climbers break into and scale the world’s second tallest building, Shanghai Tower

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Why a Korean speed skating star changed his name and started racing for Russia

RocketNews 24:

 

Twelve years ago, South Korea’s Ahn Hyun-soo crashed into Apolo Ohno a few feet from the finish line in the men’s short track 1000m at the Olympics.

It sparked an intense rivalry between the two skaters that peaked at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, where Hyun-soo won three gold medals to Ohno’s one.

On Saturday night in Sochi, the Hyun-soo won gold again. But now his name is Viktor Ahn, and he skates for Russia.

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Ahn’s story is an example of how nationality is often secondary to the financial demands of being a professional athlete in an Olympic sport.

In 2011 Ahn fell out of favor with the South Korean short track federation. Injuries kept him out of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and at age 26 he was getting old for a short track skater.

With the deepest, most talented short track team in the world, they didn’t need him.

▼ Ahn in 2006

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South Korean journalist Yoo Jee-ho told the New York Times that the public thought Ahn was mistreated by the short track federation:

He is seen as a sympathetic figure. Here is a guy who’d done so much for the country at the Olympics and the world championships, but injuries and some politics outside his control kept him from returning to his glory days.

To keep his career alive, he looked for any country that would have him, and that’s how Ahn Hyun-soo became Viktor Ahn.

The U.S. tried to recruit him, but ultimately Ahn picked Russia because they paid well and he was virtually assured a spot in the Olympics considering the dearth of world-class Russian skaters.

He had to renounce his Korean citizenship to become a naturalized Russian citizen. He changed his name, giving this fantastic explanation for why he picked Viktor:

“First of all, the name Viktor is associated with the word ‘victory’. It’s symbolic, as I want this name to bring me luck. Secondly, I know of another Korean named Viktor, who is very popular in Russia and is well-known in Korea — Viktor Tsoy. I want to be as famous in Russia as he was. And third, I was told that Viktor is a name, which is easy to remember for Russian-speakers.”

Now that he has returned to his 2006 form, the Koreans are wondering how they let him go.

President Park Geun-hye has ordered an investigation into why Ahn was kicked to the curb by the skating federation in 2011.

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Why a Korean speed skating star changed his name and started racing for Russia

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Japanese amateur wrestling champion finds fame online for his taste in nerdy hobbies

RocketNews 24:

The man pictured above is Tomoyuki Oka basking in the glow of winning the All-Japan Sambo Championships. Having excelled in the Russian grappling sport, he exhibits all the features of supreme manliness: a square hair-lined jaw, steely and dominant glare, burly muscles that dwarf his first place trophy (the Putin Cup), and a half-hearted effort at those “V” fingers that Japanese people usually pose with in pictures.

But wait a minute… What’s that under his sambovka?

Why, those appear to be the characters from the popular manga, anime, and game seriesLove Live! School Idol Project. In fact, in the accompanying message to his Tweeted photo, Oka acknowledges his fandom of the animated idol group.

“I won the All-Japan Sambo Championships!
Now, I’m not so angry I had to blow off Love Live! at SSA.
And of course the T-shirt I’m wearing, it’s Love Live!!”

Um… right! Well, Oka has good reason to be a little regretful, live Love Live! performances such as the ones on February 8 and 9 featuring the voice actors from the series are few and far between. The ones held at Saitama Super Arena (SSA) were sure to be a smash.

Good thing the gals were there with him in spirit through his T-shirt. Love Live! follows a group of schoolgirls who form an idol group. Viewers are able to vote online for their favorite characters which influences how they’re arranged and styled.

Luckily, after going back a little on Oka’s Twitter feed we learned that he was able to attend the Sphere concert only a few days earlier.

Sphere is another idol ensemble made up of voice actresses.

Oka is also a part of Bushiroad, a training ground for soon-to-be members of New Japan Pro-Wrestling. NJPW was purchased by Bushiroad a couple years ago. Bushiroad also puts out several trading cards games and video games such as Love Live! School Idol Festival. It’s unclear whether Oka’s love of Love Live! and other anime came before or after his relationship with Bushiroad.

Oka’s bittersweet victory earned him the love of netizens who retweeted his message about 4,000 times as of this writing. One commenter wrote, “I would have felt strange bumping into that guy at SSA [during a Love Live! event].” Others simply laughed.

I’m not sure why. Schoolgirl idol themed anime is the epitome of masculinity. And if you disagree, go talk to Tomoyuki Oka… because I’m too scared to.

Source: Twitter via Hachima Kiko (Japanese)

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Japanese amateur wrestling champion finds fame online for his taste in nerdy hobbies

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South Koreans Consume Twice as Much Liquor as Russians

 

Foodbeast:

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On a report by EuromonitorSouth Koreans seem to be the biggest hard alcohol drinkers in the world.

As noted in the report, South Koreans drink 13.7 shots of liquor per week on average, which is more than double the amount that Russians consume. The countries that follow after are the Philippines, Thailand, and Japan. The U.S. is ranked at #10 on the chart.

According to Quartz:

South Korea’s unparalleled liquor consumption is almost entirely due to the country’s love for a certain fermented rice spirit called Soju. The South Korean liquor accounts for 97% of the country’s spirits market.

Donning the hard alcohol crown can be problematic at times. South Korea’s alarming alcohol consumption has led to outbreaks of drunken violence and prompted its ministry of health and welfare to launch a marketing campaign in 2011 in hopes of steering its citizens clear of heavy drinking. “A problem with the way South Koreans drink is that they drink fast to get drunk fast,” an official at the Korean Alcohol Research Foundation told the New York Times back in 2012.

Looks like we Americans need to step up our game:

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South Koreans Consume Twice as Much Liquor as Russians