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COVID-19 Rejuvenates Europe’s Sleeper Trains

A few months ago, overnight train services in Europe were nothing to write home about, their promise of adventure and romance notwithstanding.

But this seems to have changed overnight.

And of all the reasons to thank for this resurgence in business, COVID-19 is responsible.

Six years ago, German rail operator Deutsche Bahn terminated the Paris-Berlin service owing to expensive running costs and travelers preferring low-budget airlines.

This led to a closure of train routes across Europe, including nearly their entire network in France.

Recently, there are signs that these services are on the rise and that twin bunks and couchettes are regaining their popularity.

ÖBB has reintroduced half of the night-time trains linking Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Munich, and Berlin to Italy, Switzerland, and Austria.

A new summer night service connecting 5 European countries – Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Slovenia – has been upgraded to daily runs due to high level of demand.

Other services being resurrected include an overnight train between Nice and Paris, and two new routes linking the Swedish cities of Malmö and Stockholm, and Brussels and Hamburg.

Do you think that the desire to keep away from airport security queues and departure lounges is behind this comeback? 

The White House: Congress Might Have to Pass Limited Relief Bill

There is a real risk of millions of Americans missing out on unemployment benefits.

The temporary benefits will expire at the end of this week, meaning that time is of the essence.

The White House has been pushing an extension of the unemployment benefits program, albeit with a considerably reduced amount, but many are against this idea.

On that note, Mark Meadows, the White House Chief of Staff and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary have hinted at ‘a narrow piece of legislation this week to ensure enhanced unemployment benefits don’t expire for millions of Americans.’

However, they both stated that the narrowed-down legislation should incorporate sweeping lawsuit protections requested by businesses, which Democrats have been opposing for weeks.

Don’t you think that this battle of wills between Democrats and Republicans will only end up with Americans missing out on much-needed cash?

Ryanair: Blame Our First Quarter Loss on COVID-19

Ireland’s no-frills carrier plunged into the red during the first quarter of 2020 as COVID-19 devastated air travel and grounded entire fleets globally.

According to a Monday group report, Ryanair suffered an after-tax loss of $216 million (€185 million) in the first quarter of the financial year or the three months ending June.

The Dublin-based Ryanair dismal performance is a far cry from the €243 million net profit last year, same time.

Still, this year’s loss has surpassed investors’ forecast of a €200 million loss.

With over 99% of its fleet on the tarmac and passenger numbers falling 99% to 500,000 people in this year’s first quarter as compared to 42 million people in 2019, things are gloomy.

According to the airline, it plans to carry 60 million travelers in the 2020/2021 fiscal year ending in March.

But do you think that their plan will succeed if a second deadly wave of COVID-19 hits?

Europes Economy Not Yet Out of the COVID-19 Woods

The Euro Zone economy is not out of the woods yet according to a member of the European Central Bank (ECB) board.

Fabio Panetta, an Italian economist, is on record saying that the coronavirus-related financial crisis is not over and there’s no need to make any changes to the institution’s significant asset purchase programme.

While dealing with the most massive financial collapse in living history, the bank has been purchasing debt via a $1.58 trillion (€1.35 trillion) Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP).

The ECB then pays banks to lend out the money as a safeguard for the Euro block against COVID-19 fallout.

There has been a slight resurgence in retail sales and industrial production, but Panetta says that, ‘they don’t give us sufficient grounds for satisfaction’ and that ‘it’s too soon to declare victory.’

Do you agree with Panetta?

Hang Seng TECH Index’s Rough First Day

As tensions between China and the United States rise, the Hang Seng TECH Index got off on a rough start on its first day of trading.

Famously known as the ‘Nasdaq of the East’, the index keeps track of the thirty largest tech companies that trade in Hong Kong, including Alibaba.

After a short-lived jump of 2.2% early in the trade, and staying as a top performer at one point, it suddenly changed course and was last down 0.8%.,

This debut comes a week after it was announced by index compiler Hang Seng Indexes (HSI).

HSI acknowledged that the tech industry has become crucial in Hong Kong as firms such as NetEase (NTES), JD.com (JD), and Alibaba (BABA), (which trade in New York) hold secondary listings in the Asian city.

Do you think Hong Kong will succeed in its quest to cement its name as a center for Chinese tech?

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