The Luziyao pickled fish express is about to depart
The mainland's state-controlled railways are becoming increasingly commercial these days and are now selling naming rights for their high-speed trains. An interesting range of entities have opted to fork out the not inconsiderable annual fee of up to 12 million yuan (HK$15 million), AFP reports, citing the Oriental Morning Post. China Unicom, Bank of China, and a food company, Luziyao - whose products include nuts and pickled fish - have trains named after them. A city outside Beijing extolled its natural beauty by naming a train "Grand Rivers and Mountains Zhangjiakou".
The move to offer naming rights was prompted by the need to generate revenue, since the railway operators are now responsible for their own profits and losses.
Cathay Pacific wasn't the only Hong Kong airline to emerge from the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards with a "World Best" accolade. Hong Kong Airlines was acclaimed as the World's Most Improved Airline.
We are tempted to say it may not have been hard to achieve that distinction since it started from, shall we say, a somewhat low base. Indeed two years ago it was shocking, with a litany of complaints being directed to Lai See about poor service, such as putting the wrong departure time on tickets, forcing disgruntled passengers to go to the small claims court, and arbitrarily cancelling flights.
It had outstanding bills with the Airport Authority at one stage and was barred from using air bridges which meant it had to bus passengers to the terminal, and it was refused permission by the Civil Aviation Department from increasing flights.
We recall one airline executive describing these issues as "teething problems", though at the time they seemed more like death throes. So we are both delighted and astonished that the airline has survived and significantly improved.
We wonder if this award will appear in its prospectus when the airline goes ahead with its IPO, which is expected to occur at the end of this year.
Tales from Sai Kung
We hear of a cautionary tale from Sai Kung involving an attempted burglary.
A woman alone in her house off Clear Water Bay Road one Sunday evening at around 7.45pm heard a scraping sound and went to investigate. She turned on the garden lights and the internal house lights but the noise continued. She then noticed a man wearing a balaclava trying to force open a window. He only moved when she reached for her phone. The man had been standing on an accomplice's shoulders since the window was some 10 feet off the ground, while a third lurked in the garden.
Next day the family contacted the security company which installed the alarm system, and to which they pay a monthly fee, and asked it for a map showing the placement of the alarm sensors. The map showed the window which the burglars had tried to force open as being the only window in the house which was not alarmed.
Believing this to be more than coincidence they informed the police who showed no surprise saying: "The crooks pay people in the alarm companies to get information on systems all the time." The police said there had been a spate of robberies in the area recently, with the occupants occasionally being roughed up by the thieves.
Sunday evenings around 7.45 is a popular time for burglaries as people are frequently out and the helper is either off or cooking in the kitchen.
Return of the typewriter
German politicians are considering returning to manual typewriters for sensitive documents in the wake of Edward Snowden's revelations about US surveillance.
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