Security checks to be introduced on Thalys international rail service

TRAIN travellers using the Thalys international service are set to have to pass through security gates at Paris and Lille stations.

Gates would be installed in Paris and Lille before December 20, and similar measures were planned in Brussels and Amsterdam, French Energy and Environment Minister Segolene Royal, who is also in charge of transport, said.

A spokeswoman for Thalys told FRANCE 24 that the company would not comment on exactly what form the security checks would take, saying it was “a matter entirely for the authorities in the countries which want to put in the gates, it is their responsibility”.

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British Airways to offer Bergerac to London City link next summer

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A NEW service between Bergerac Airport and London City Airport will be operated next summer by British Airways.

The airline will operate the four-times a week route from May until September, 2016.

The outbound service will depart London City Airport on Mondays at 11:15, returning at 13:50; on Fridays at 09:30, returning at 12:15; and on Sundays at 17:10, returning at 19:45.

From June 23 until September 1, there will be an additional flight on Thursdays, heading out of London at 11:15, returning at 13:50.

It has also been announced that new links to Amsterdam, operated by Transavia, and Nice, by IG Avion, will also be on offer.

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Better checks of airline crew recommended after Germanwings crash

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Airline crew need to face tougher monitoring, the European aviation safety watchdog has recommended in a report to the EU.

The report, assessing air safety and security rules, follows the apparently deliberate crashing of Germanwings flight 4U 9525 in March.

It endorses the "rule of two", where there should never be fewer than two people in the cockpit.

And it proposes improved medical and psychological checks on crews.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (Easa) has delivered six recommendations for action to the European Commission:

  • The principle of 'two persons in the cockpit at all time' should be maintained.
  • Pilots should undergo a psychological evaluation before entering airline service.
  • Airlines should run a random drugs and alcohol programme.
  • Robust programme for oversight of aeromedical examiners should be established.
  • A European aeromedical data repository should be created.
  • Pilot support systems should be implemented within airlines.

The European Commission will review the recommendations, taking into account advice received from other sources such as the independent accident investigation led by the French Civil Aviation Safety Investigation Authority (Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses (BEA)).

Where legislative action is to be taken, EASA will be requested to develop concrete proposals, which will then be included in EU aviation safety regulations.

EASA will also be asked to produce non-legislative deliverables such as guidance material and practical tools for information sharing, and to monitor actions taken by Member States and industry.

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French ferry workers vandalise MyFerryLink ships

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French ferry workers occupying two ships in protest against job losses are said to have run amok - drinking the bar dry and causing criminal damage.

The Rodin and Berlioz, which operated under the MyFerryLink brand, have been occupied since the beginning of the month at Calais.

Strikers are angry with the proposed lease of the vessels to Danish operator DFDS.

A picture taken by British Scandinavian chief executive Paul Woodbury shows they have deployed evacuation slides and daubed graffiti on the side of the boats.

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Driving licence check code extended from 72 hours to 21 days

Photocard_and_counterpartON 8 June 2015 the paper counterpart to the British driving licence was abolished making way for an online system changing the way motorists share their details with employers and car hire companies.

To share their details motorists must generate a code, which can then be redeemed just once by a third party.

From 10 July 2015 the check code generated for motorists to share their driving licence details is valid for 21 days.

Previously the code was valid for 72 hours.

You can view and share your driving record at View your driving licence information. You’ll be able to see your information electronically and generate a check code which you can then share with people who need to see your details (such as an employer or car hire company).

If you want to, you can also download and print a summary.

Related: DVLA driving licence paperless change could mean car chaos this summer

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French ferry protest on hold at Calais port

The port at Calais in northern France was due to partially re-open from 1800 GMT Wednesday, a union leader said, as ferry workers suspended protests that have blocked access for three consecutive days.

Ahead of a meeting with Transport Minister Alain Vidalies on Thursday morning, the workers "will maintain pressure on the ships, but will let boats from the company P&O enter one by one... until the end of the negotiations," said Eric Vercoutre, secretary general of the Maritime Nord union.

The workers from French company MyFerryLink are protesting plans to sell off some of their ferries to rival Danish firm DFDS, a move expected to result in hundreds of job losses.

The Port of Calais remains affected by an ongoing period of industrial action in France commencing at 1420 BST on 29th June.

Whilst services to and from the Port of Dover continue to be affected, the Port of Calais has started to allow one sailing at a time to enter the port starting @1800 BST on 1 July.

P&O has therefore commenced a limited service between Calais and Dover. DFDS Seaways continues to run to Dunkerque, with an additional ship diverted to the route to help accommodate heavy traffic.



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Air traffic control staff in France lift strike threat

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AIR traffic control staff in France have lifted threatened strike action for Thursday and Friday, the 2 and 3 July, 2015.

The SNCTA union, which represents the workers, said that following discussions the planned protests would not take place.

No further detail was available on what agreement has been reached, but the protests were called after a breakdown in discussions on changes to retirement rules.

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Head of Road Haulage Association calls for military to break Calais strike

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Road hauliers have called for troops to be sent in to break the ferry workers’ strike at Calais as concerns mount about the safety of lorry drivers stuck in huge queues in sweltering temperatures.

The port of Calais is expected to remain closed until Thursday, forcing all freight heading to Dover to be held at the side of the M20 motorway under Operation Stack – the emergency measure aimed at avoiding gridlock on Kent’s roads.

The chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, Richard Burnett, said lorry drivers’ lives were at risk, as the UK Coastguard joined police in delivering bottled water to stranded drivers along the M20.

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Major delays at Port of Calais and on Eurotunnel

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TRAVELLERS are facing major delays on cross-Channel services between the UK and France as striking workers block the Port of Calais and set fires on the Eurotunnel tracks.

Workers from MyFerryFrance have continued their strike action as they fear the loss of around 600 jobs with the sale of their ships to competitor DFDS.

Their protests have already caused major delays on ferry services between Dover and Calais, but their anger has spread to the Eurotunnel service which has announced the closure of services.

The video below captures protesting workers setting rubbish alight on the Eurotunnel rail tracks.

People are being advised to contact their ferry company, or rail service, to find out what options for travel are available.

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Port of Calais brought to a stop as MyFerryLink workers stage blockade

THE Port of Calais is closed this afternoon after MyFerryLink workers blocked the port following the suspension of its own cross Channel service.

P&O Ferries is advising all non-essential travel be rebooked for a later date and has made available a telephone number for more information 01304 448877.

DFDS Seaways has also announced the suspension of its Dover to Calais services, asking people to proceed to Calais before being transferred to Dunkirk.

The Port of Dover has said that its own operations will be affected and is advising travellers to contact their ferry operator, and even when Calais reopens it expects crossings to take some time to be back to normal.

The protests come on the same day that MyFerryLink said it had suspended all services and could transfer to a Eurotunnel crossing, or receive a refund.

Similar strikes last week brought cross-Channel services to a halt as both ferries and the Eurotunnel service were stopped as MyFerryLink workers burnt tyres and blocked roads in protests.

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