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Friday, August 22, 2014
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Jen Savedra (Editor)
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STORM WATCH

Tropical disturbance approaching eastern Caribbean
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22 AUG 2014:  Airlines and cruise ship companies are monitoring the progress of a tropical disturbance approaching the Lesser Antilles. Forecasters at the US National Hurricane Center in Miami said Thursday that the system of low pressure has a 50 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression, or possibly a storm within 48 hours. MORE

AMERICAN RAISES UM AGE AND FEE

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22 AUG 2014:  American Airlines says it will extend its fee for unaccompanied minors to charge $150 extra each way for children between 5 and 14. The change starts Sept. 3. MORE

PROFITS UP

On time rate down. Cancellation rate up.
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22 AUG 2014: A US trade group predicts that air travel over the Labor Day weekend will rise two percent from the same holiday last year. If correct, the forecast would be more good news for the airlines. Nine leading US carriers earned $3.8 billion in the first half of this year, allowing them to pay down debt, reward shareholders and order new planes. MORE

PLAYING FAVOURITES

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22 AUG 2014: London has moved into the top three Most Popular International Cities for Canadian travellers, according to Hotels.com’s latest Hotel Price Index. The city climbed one spot from 2013, while Paris also moved two spots up the popularity poll, indicating a rise in European travel which may be caused by the stable and lower rate of the euro. MORE

DEAR GOD

Fuss as hotel pulls in-room bibles
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22 AUG 2014:  UK budget hotel chain Travelodge is under fire for its decision to remove bibles from all its rooms.  Travelodge, has over 500 properties nationwide, and has been gradually removing bibles from guest bedrooms though it will make copies available for guests to borrow from reception. MORE

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Pick and choose
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22 AUG 2014:  In an effort to win back frequent business flyers they lost during the Continental merger, United Airlines is upgrading first class food options and replacing snacks with full meals on some of its shortest flights. MORE

RIU CANCUN REOPENS

Multimillion dollar renovation is complete
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22 AUG 2014: Following a spectacular $30 million renovation, the Riu Cancun reopens this month. Exclusive to Signature Vacations, this centrally located beachfront property boasts completely renovated and upgraded guest rooms, revamped on-site restaurants, and a newly designed facade and lobby. MORE

ENOUGH ALREADY

But who could it be
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22 AUG 2014:  Archaeologists excavating a large burial mound in northern Greece have asked politicians and others seeking guided tours of the site to leave them in peace. The partially uncovered tomb, from the end of Greek warrior-king Alexander the Great's reign, has captivated the public imagination, fuelling wild speculation that it may contain rich treasure and the bones of an ancient celebrity. MORE

ON TO CONTINENTAL EUROPE

By ANN WALLACE
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22 AUG 2014:  “If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium!”  That was a joke that used to be aimed at whistle-stop tours of Europe.  Perhaps it still is. It’s understandable, as it is a small continent full of very small countries. And although our travels can hardly be described as ‘whistle-stop’ (our boat travels at about 7 knots, or 13 kph) we have felt rather like the joke as we’ve crossed unseen borders at sea and unfurled three different courtesy flags within a space of about ten days. MORE
In case you missed yesterday (or last week)... here is a selection of recent stories:

THE RACE FOR CHINA

Cruise lines vie for growing market
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21 AUG 2014:  Royal Caribbean's newest ship Quantum of the Seas has attractions not usually seen on cruise liners, including bumper cars, a skydiving simulator and a glass observation capsule on a mechanical arm that lifts its passengers high into the air. What's also a surprise is the vessel's intended home port - Shanghai. MORE

TOURISTS EVACUATED

Seismic activity continues
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21 AUG 2014: Authorities have evacuated tourists from an area north of Iceland's largest glacier amid increased seismic activity around a volcano in the past few days. Officials said the measure was taken as a safety precaution following thousands of small earthquakes in recent days near Bardarbunga, a subglacial stratovolcano under the glacier. MORE

BANK CLERK AND HUSBAND CHARGED

Stealing from missing MH370 passengers
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21 AUG 2014:  In what must surely be one of the most miserable and mean spirited offences, a Malaysian bank official and her husband have been charged with stealing from the bank accounts of four victims of flight MH370. MORE

SECURITY BREACH

Drunken spree has harsh consequences
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21 AUG 2014:  Birmingham Airport has ordered an overhaul of its safety procedures after a drunken man climbed on a baggage carousel, made his way onto the tarmac and boarded a Lufthansa aircraft. MORE

ACADIAN MUSEUM TO ATTRACT VISITORS

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21 AUG 2014: Nova Scotia’s Acadian House Museum says it will transform an idle historic building into a centre that will showcase local artists and include interpretive exhibits hopefully to generate higher tourist traffic - including more bus tours and visits by cruise ship passengers. MORE

NO WEDDINGS BUT COME OUT AND PLAY

Las Vegas rolls out red carpet for LGBT tourists
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21 AUG 2014:  While gay couples still can't get married in the marriage capital of the world, Las Vegas wants to let them know they - and their money - are more than welcome to the buffet of other activities Sin City has to offer. MORE

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AT YTZ

Will Porter get the runway extension it wants
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21 AUG 2014:  The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) has announced that it is initiating an environmental assessment (EA) to evaluate potential impacts of the Porter Airlines Proposal to introduce next-generation jet aircraft to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and potentially to an extension of the landmass at the end of the main runway by 200 metres on each end. MORE

NO APOLOGY NECESSARY

Almost everybody was wrong
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21 AUG 2014:  A 33-year-old Marine who wasn't allowed into a New Jersey amusement park because he was wearing the shirt pictured above with a red, white and blue assault rifle on it has been given an apology. MORE

TAKE A TIP FROM ME

There is something wrong with the service
By DAVID TAIT
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The origins of the word "tip" (as in gratuity) are much disputed. One popular myth touts it as an acronym for, “To Insure Promptness” (Politeness in some versions). Others would have us believe it’s a truncated form of "stipend". Whatever the truth, I for one think that nowadays a more accurate reading might be, "Totally Inappropriate Payment". MORE
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