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food / travel

Ferrari Railroad? Italians Unveil Europe's First Private High-Speed Train Line

Dubbed 'Italo,' the new train is not only fast and red, it's being launched by Ferrari chief Luca Cordero di Montezemolo. Europe’s first privately operated high-speed train service will begin rolling in March. And yes, the train

NTV's Italo, Italy’s first private high-speed train (NTV)
NTV's Italo, Italy’s first private high-speed train (NTV)

This shiny new set of Italian wheels is red, super-fast and luxurious. No wonder some have come to calling Italo the Ferrari of high-speed trains. Indeed, it has been launched by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, the longtime chairman of Ferrari, who now doubles as president of Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV), Europe's first privately operated high-speed train line.

Italo is due to be in service in March 2012 and will travel at a top speed of 360 kilometers-per-hour (224 m.p.h). It could turn out to be a serious competitor for Trenitalia, Italy's state-owned train operator. "There was a lot of resistance, and various problems, but we believe in this project," says Montezemolo. "We see this as the start of a period where citizens will have choice, competition, and the will to succeed."

"Finally we will travel well by train," said another shareholder of NTV, Diego Della Valle, owner of the luxury goods company Tod's.

In the most luxurious "Club" class, which has only 19 seats, there will be two private lounges, individual television screens, and meals served by the up-market Italian food company Eataly. Just behind is "First" class, where the seats are large and arranged three across. Personalized menus are available. In a "Relax" carriage, cell phones are banned. The second class has been renamed "Smart" class, for travellers who prefer to spend a bit less. They will have access to a small cinema.

Its founders also point to the new train line's environmental cred: including relatively low carbon emissions and noise levels, and use of recyclable materials. Ticket prices have not been announced, and will depend on the time and day of the week.

"Italy is the first country in Europe with a totally private operator of high speed train," Montezemolo declared. "Everyone says that it's time to believe in Italy. We are showing that we believe in the country in a very concrete way."

Read more from La Stampa

Photo - NTV

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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