Items of Interest

The United States Government in filing in the Supreme Court its brief asking for the complete separation of the Reading Company, the Philadelphia & Reading Railways Company, the Philadelphia & Reading Coal and Iron Company, and others, declares that the "Reading Commission" is the backbone of an alleged anthracite monopoly, that it controls about two thirds of the anthracite deposits, and that its supply will outlast by many years that of any other producer. Violation of the anti-truse law is charged. The combination was established, the Government contends, through acquisition of the Schuylkill Canal, wholesale purchase of anthracite coal lands, purchases of the output of independent producers, excessive freight rates, preferences and rebates granted to the Reading Coal Company, and other ways. It is further contended that the Reading combination acquired control of the Central Railroad of New Jersey, a competing coal carrier, and of the Lehigh & WilkesBare Coal Company, a competing anthracite producer, "thereby further restraining and monopolizing production, transportation, and sale of anthracite coal."

In the July number of the Russian Official Gazette the policy of the Imperial Government in regard to railroad construction is dealt with in some detail. The total railroad mileage in the empire Jan. 1, 1915, is stated to have been 36,700 miles in European Russia and 7300 miles in Asiatic Russia, of which 29,600 miles are owned by the state and 14,400 miles by private companies. In the present year a commission was appointed by the ministry of ways and communications. It has drawn up a program for the next five years, and says that taking into consideration that the goods traffic of the various railroad systems should increase annually by nearly 70 per cent, it will be necessary to construct 3300 miles of railway yearly in order to keep pace with this development. The commission therefore decided to recommend the construction, partly by the Government and partly by private enterprise, of 4000 miles annually in order to provide an adequate margin.

On Aug. 10, 1916, was completed the junction of the two great water tunnels, the Catalances and the Roque-Negro, which the municipality of Santa Cruz de Teneriffe, Canary Islands, has had under construction since 1898. These tunnels have been cut 5578 feet through solid basalt rock at a cost of approximately two hundred thousand dollars. The joining of these two tunnels has completed the irrigation scheme of the city by which the municipality will have available 10,000 cubic meters of water every twenty-four hours. In addition to the two tunnels joined, an open cut of 38,840 feet has been constructed, and $600,000 has been expended in the creation of irrigation canals, which will distribute the newly acquired water, and in the erection of a large dam. The city engineers calculate that this will add nearly five thousand acres of banana-bearing lands to this section of the island. The land has hitherto been sterile through lack of water, while irrigated soil near by has sold as high as $5000 the acre.

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Evidence and Argument
October 14, 1916

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