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by Chen Jiabao

BANGKOK Jeff Heuerman Jersey , Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- The China-Thailand high-speed railway will upgrade Thailand's transport system and unleash economic potentials of region along the route, said a Thai expert.

Thailand will enjoy more economic benefits once the high-speed railway connects the country's capital Bangkok with China and other countries, which will help attract more foreign tourists and narrow regional economic disparity of Thailand, Huang Bin Justin Simmons Jersey , China Research Institute director of Kasikorn Research Center in Thailand told Xinhua.

The construction of the first section of the railway line officially began on Thursday with a ground-breaking ceremony in the northeastern Thai province of Nakhon Ratchasima.

The 253-km first phase of the railway links Bangkok with Nakhon Ratchasima province. China is responsible for design of the railway, supervision of construction and manufacturing of trains and signal systems, among others.

Once completed, the railway with a maximum speed of 250 km per hour will be the first high-speed railway of Thailand.

The second phase of the project will link Nakhon Ratchasima with Nong Khai on the border with Laos Adam Gotsis Jersey , which connects with the China-Laos railway in an artery railway linking Thailand, Laos and China.

Huang, an expert who has been paying close attention to the project, looks forward to the operation of the railway. He envisions the boom of Thailand's economy in its northeastern part under the project.

Northeastern Thailand Jake Butt Jersey , a region with one-third of Thailand's land area that contains about one-third of the country's population, contributes only one 10th of the Kingdom's GDP, said Huang, adding that the poor transportation results in its sluggish development.

According to Huang Garett Bolles Jersey , there are about 4,507 km of meter gauge lines in Thailand, of which 90 percent is still single track. There are also problems with old equipment, poor management and maintenance Courtland Sutton Jersey , and low speed.

As a result, the annual volume of railway freight is less than a 10th of the total transport volume. It is estimated that the cost of land transport is six times that of rail. Since rail does not offer an alternative, the logistics costs in Thailand are higher than those in other countries.

The China-Thailand high-speed railway project will help upgrade Thailand's railway system. It is foreseeable that the railway will bring wide-reaching connectivity in the country while reducing logistic costs, and thus make Thailand ASEAN's (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) trade and investment center Demaryius Thomas Salute to Service Jersey , as well as a transport and logistics hub.

The China-Thailand railway will be finally connected with the China-Lao railway, thus using Chinese technology, which has been widely recognized across the world, will make it more accessible in the connectivity plan Phillip Lindsay Salute to Service Jersey , said the expert.

The project is a genuine joint contribution of the two countries, which is also an achievement in bilateral cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, said Huang.

The project is part of China's Belt and Road infrastructure drive, which aims to build a modern-day "Silk Road" connecting China with economies in Southeast and Central Asia Royce Freeman Salute to Service Jersey , Middle East and Europe by land and by sea.

KUNDUZ, Afghanistan, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Taliban shadow governor for Khanabad district of Kunduz province, Mawlawi Dost Mohammad was killed in a mine blast on Thursday Bradley Chubb Salute to Service Jersey , army spokesman in the province Abdul Khalil said.

GAZA, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip has for long been a masculine community, however a 27-year-old kindergarten teacher Heba Fayez decided to open a cafe for females only, to enable conservative women to have a good time and maintain their privacy.

Men are not allowed in the cafe, where most customers are housewives and even the waitresses are also young women serving soft, cold and hot drinks.

Before the female only cafe was opened it was a billiard hall for men which was cleared several weeks ago.

"The idea of having a special women-only cafe in a conservative society like Gaza came to me several months ago, and when my two other close friends Doa'a and Yasmin shared the dream with me we then had the courage to open the first ever female only cafe in Gaza just two weeks ago," Fayez told Xinhua.

The male percentage in the Gaza Strip's 2 million population is 51 percent, and the female percentage is 49.

In Gaza city, there are so several mixed fancy, middle class and popular cafes.

However, there are conservative husbands and parents who won't let their female relatives frequent them.

"I believe the idea is very good and has helped many women in Gaza who can't enjoy themselves in a mixed cafe to instead come here where they meet their friends, chat and enjoy cold or hot drinks," said Fayez, adding "Shisha, or hukka is not allowed, but we have a billiard table for women to enjoy."

Since the Islamic Hamas's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007, following weeks of internal fighting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's security forces, the movement has imposed its strict Islamic code on the populations particularly the female population.

Gazan rights groups had previously stated in different rights reports published in the past few years, that Hamas's Islamic regime in Gaza imposed the Hijab, or the headscarf on schoolgirls and lawyers, prohibited women from smoking hukka alone in public cafes or receive driving lessons without a close family member accompanying them.

The prices in the all- women al-Jalla cafe are quite reasonable, and considerate of the customers' low incomes, Samar al-Rayyes, a 45-year-old woman, a regular cafe customer told Xinhua, adding that "a cup of coffee or tea is 3 Israeli Shekels or less than one U.S. dollar."

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