SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Passengers will soon be allowed to carry guns aboard some Amtrak trains.
The Sacramento Bee says gun rights advocates pushed for an order by Congress to reverse a near decade-long gun ban on the government-owned rail corporation.
Beginning Dec. 15, guns can be carried aboard trains that have checked baggage service.
Gun owners must inform Amtrak officials 24 hours ahead of departure, and unloaded firearms must be packed in hard-sided containers for storage in train lockers.
Rail cars are being retrofitted with weapons storage lockers.
Information from: The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com
DENVER – A Colorado attorney has asked a federal judge to order the Transportation Security Administration to abandon its airport screening procedures for United States citizens.
Gary Fielder filed his lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Denver last week, more than a month after he, his two daughters, ages 9 and 15, and a family friend underwent a TSA patdown in San Diego.
Fielder’s lawsuit claimed the patdowns were “disgusting, unconscionable, sexual in nature” and in violation of the Constitution’s protections against unreasonable searches.
He said subjecting U.S. citizens to the new procedures is wrong because no American has been accused of threatening commercial airliners with explosives.
Nationally, at least two other lawsuits have been filed over the TSA’s new procedures.
“I’m not asking for any money. I just want to walk to a plane without being touched,” Fielder said Tuesday. “They’re probably thinking that next time, I’ll just submit to the scanner. No, I won’t go through that. I’m not going to be photographed nude.”
TSA officials last month began phasing in full-body scanners at airports, ahead of the busy holiday travel season. Those who opt out of the scanners, which some travelers oppose over concerns of radiation and graphic images, undergo new patdown procedures that include more of a hand-sliding motion.
In a statement, TSA officials declined to comment on Fielder’s lawsuit, citing pending litigation. The lawsuit named Homeland Security Secretary Janet Naplitano, TSA administrator John Pistole, and the TSA.
“The terrorist’s job is to terrorize the people, to interfere with freedom in such a way that disrupts ordinary life and commerce,” Fielder wrote in his complaint. “With due respect, it is clear that the above referenced governmental agencies are aiding the terrorists’ objective.”
WASHINGTON – All 197 airlines that fly to the U.S. are now collecting names, genders and birth dates of passengers so the government can check them against terror watch lists before they fly, the Obama administration announced Tuesday.
Getting all air carriers that travel to or through the U.S. to provide this information marks a milestone in the government’s counterterrorism efforts and completes one of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations. The program, called Secure Flight, has been delayed for years because of privacy concerns and went through three versions before it was approved. It’s designed to give U.S. authorities more time to identify and remove suspected terrorists from flights and reduce instances when passengers are mistaken for people on terror watch lists.
Misidentification of passengers has been one of the biggest inconveniences in post-Sept. 11 air travel, and widely known for putting thousands of innocent travelers and well-known figures like former Sen. Ted Kennedy, through extensive searching and questioning before they were allowed to fly.
Previously, airlines have been responsible for checking the passenger lists against terror watch lists. But the airlines did not have any information other than a name. Now the screening is done by the Transportation Security Administration. The more information available about a passenger, the less likely a passenger will be mistaken for someone on a watch list. When someone makes a flight reservation, that information goes to the Secure Flight database within seconds, TSA Administrator John Pistole said.
Compliance with the program has been phased in over the past year, and many travelers have already been supplying their gender, birth date and full name as it appears on their government identification when they purchase their tickets. Pistole said it’s too early to tell if there have been fewer instances of mistaken identities now that the new system is in place. “It’s just still too early to say,” he said. “If six months from now we haven’t seen a reduction, then that will concern me.”
DALLAS — Southwest Airlines Co. announced a sale Tuesday, the latest effort to fill seats during the slow winter season, and JetBlue offered deals on expanded service between Southern California and Las Vegas.
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Southwest said it would offer some seats for $59 one-way for trips between Jan. 4 and March 9. The sale runs through Dec. 13.
The cheapest fares would include flights such as Chicago-Nashville, while others such as Boston-Denver would start at $99 each way. Seats are limited.
JetBlue Airways Corp. said it will add two new daily roundtrip flights between Las Vegas and Long Beach, Calif., beginning Feb. 1, up from three currently.
To promote the additional flights, JetBlue said it was selling some seats on the route for $19 each way. Tickets must be bought by Dec. 6 for travel between Dec. 15 and May 16. There’s a $15 fee for tickets bought by phone or at a ticket counter.
For both airlines, the prices don’t include government charges and taxes.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Article source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40437261/ns/travel-travel_deals/
MEXICO CITY – As the glass doors of Hard Candy Fitness, Madonna’s first gym, slid open in Mexico City on Monday, a mural of white, black and violet Warhol-esque images of the Queen of Pop greeted each client.
But it was no disco with exercise machines or Hard Rock Cafe-style temple of Madge memorabilia.
The facilities are not much different from any other high-class gym in Mexico City, and very little screams that this is Madonna’s first fitness venture, apart from the name — the title of her last album — which she says in fitness parlance is the perfect combination of “hard body” and “eye candy.”
“It’s a sexy name that gives you the opportunity to have fun and to build strength as far as the imagination will allow,” the singer, dancer, actress, children’s author and clothing designer said in a QA provided by her handlers.
Still, not every gym opens with a Hollywood red carpet appearance by one of the most powerful women in entertainment, who cut the ribbon Monday night, then taught a dance class for 20 hand-picked members with music by Paul Oakenfold, the DJ who opened her last tour.
The star says she chose Mexico City because it was a stop on last year’s Sticky Sweet tour, which grossed $408 million, second only to the Rolling Stones’ A Bigger Bang Tour. She said she liked the energy of the people.
“Our plan is to use Mexico as a place to fine-tune our brand and then expand it to other countries and, in the long term, develop a global brand that includes the United States,” she said in a statement last week, noting that Mexico is close enough to home for her to be heavily involved.
Madonna said at the opening Monday night that she also chose the country because she loves its culture, food, art and architecture and that she didn’t worry about Mexico’s wave of drug-related violence when deciding where to open the gym.
“A lot of places I go are dangerous, like Tel Aviv or Rio (de Janeiro), but that never stops me from going there and putting on a show. I have good security. I don’t worry about that,” she said surrounded by three burly bodyguards. Dozens of police officers and security guards were outside to keep some 300 screaming fans at bay.
Though Madonna’s own hard body may not be plastered everywhere in the gym, the singer of “Like a Virgin” is omnipresent in the 30,000-square-foot (2,800-square-meter) facility in the city’s upscale Bosques de las Lomas neighborhood, much as she has been in pop culture for nearly three decades.
Her touch is in the mosaic design of the bathroom tile and in the yoga salon’s bamboo floor imported from China.
“She chose the graphics, colors, the machines,” said Chris Dedicik, general director of California-based New Evolution Ventures, Madonna’s partner in creating the gym. “She has weighed in on the choreography of all the classes and given them a twist to make them more dynamic, more special and to better reflect her style.”
Members can do cardiovascular exercises on five types of advanced-technology machines chosen by Madonna, many with individual viewing screens and iPod docks.
The yoga instructors are trained in various styles of the ancient Indian art, inspired by the knowledge the singer has accumulated in her travels. The yoga room will also have a special wall used in Iyengar yoga, one of very few in the world according to Dedicik, with ropes and steps to help people with less physical ability. A balcony outside will feature plants and Zen-style decor, all at the singer’s request.
“If any of you have seen my shows, you know that I don’t skimp on them and the same is true for the gym,” she said. “We spend what it takes to make a globally first-class gym.”
At 52, the Material Girl’s own workout regimen is legendary and her physique has been both admired and chided for being overdone. Her famously pumped biceps have been labeled scary by some.
Membership runs 2,000 pesos a month, about $160, generally in line with what the best gyms charge in Mexico City. The one-time fee for joining is 10,400 pesos, about $830, which includes the first two months of membership. Those who signed up before the opening paid an initiation fee of 8,900 pesos, a little over $700, also including the first two months.
Members who have signed up so far didn’t seem to care about matching Madonna’s workout feats. Those using the gym during a weekend preview said they liked the equipment and features and cited proximity to their home or work as their reason for joining.
Ronen Waiss, businessman and Honorary Consul of Lithuania in Mexico, said his office is two doors away and he registered long before he was told it was a venture by Madonna.
“I think it’s super sexy and motivating of course, but I didn’t know till after I joined,” said Waiss, 32. “But it’s attractive to me because it’s close and has the best computer technology. That’s what caught my attention.”
Clara Ruiz, a 59-year-old housewife, said she, too, chose the gym for location. But she likes the facility and wishes Madonna success in her new venture.
“She has a lot of experience in this,” Ruiz said. “She’s done it all her life. I think she chose what for her is the best.”
RIO DE JANEIRO – Hotel industry officials in Brazil say there won’t be a shortage of rooms in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Olympics.
The president of the Brazilian hotel association says there is a “favorable” trend in the creation of new hotel rooms before the games, thanks mostly to incentives from the city.
Alvaro Brito Bezerra de Mello told the O Globo newspaper Monday that 9,000 new hotel rooms have been announced since Rio was awarded the games last year.
A hotel shortage was one of the concerns of the International Olympic Committee before choosing Rio as the host city.
Mello says there will also be enough rooms in the city for the 2014 World Cup. Rio is expected to host the tournament’s final at Maracana stadium.
ROME – A stretch of garden wall ringing an ancient house in Pompeii gave way Tuesday after days of torrential rain, the latest structure to collapse at the popular archaeological site.
Pompeii officials said an inspection found that a 40-foot (12-meter)-long section of wall forming part of the perimeter of a garden area near the House of the Moralist gave way in several points. They said the extreme sogginess of the soil brought down the wall in an area that hasn’t been excavated near the house.
Italy is struggling to preserve its immense archaeological wealth for future generations.
A few weeks ago, Italy was embarrassed when a frescoed house, the Schola Armaturarum, where gladiators prepared for combat, was reduced to a pile of stones and dust in seconds. Less than a year ago, another building, the House of the Chaste Lovers, collapsed in Pompeii.
The House of the Moralist wasn’t affected by the wall’s demise “and isn’t at risk for collapse,” Pompeii excavations director Antonio Varone said.
The Schola and the House of the Moralist are only a few steps away from each other along one of Pompeii’s main streets, which are usually thronged with some of the 3 million tourists who traipse the paths each year.
The House of the Moralist includes the remains of the homes of two families in the ancient city that was buried by the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. It is one of many structures in Pompeii that are off-limits to tourists, and no one was injured in the wall’s collapse, which was discovered early in the morning before opening hours.
Made of tufa rock, the garden wall was heavily damaged during the U.S. bombing of the Naples area in World War II. It was rebuilt after the war using a mix of the ancient stones and modern material, said Daniela Leone, an official of the state Naples and Pompeii Archaeological Superintendency.
Earlier this year the wall was reinforced, but the reinforcement work was “swept away by the violence” of the storms, the Pompeii archaeology office said in a statement.
Coincidentally, Carabinieri police were in the ruins when the garden wall came down. The officers were inspecting the gladiators house as part of efforts to pinpoint the cause of that collapse and decide if that structure can be reconstructed.
Culture Minister Sandro Bondi instructed ministry officials to keep monitoring Pompeii but warned against “useless alarmism.”
A no-confidence motion against Bondi, proposed by opposition parties after the gladiator house collapsed, had been scheduled to be voted on in Parliament on Monday, but work on legislation caused the vote to be put off until a date to be determined.
Air Fares Starting as Low as $59 One-Way to Select Destinations
DALLAS, Nov. 30, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — There may be a chill in the air, but Southwest Airlines is offering hot travel deals! Southwest Airlines is offering Customers nationwide air fares starting as low as $59 one-way to select destinations for travel any day of the week. Take advantage of these super low fares available only at southwest.com and start planning your winter vacation today! These fares are available with a 14-day advance purchase today through Dec. 13, 2010, and are good for travel between Jan. 4, 2011, and March 9, 2011. To see the list of markets, prices, and to take advantage of these special fares, visit www.southwest.com.
Examples of fares include (see Additional Fare Rules below):
- $59 one-way between Chicago Midway and Nashville
- $89 one-way between Austin and Oakland
- $99 one-way between Boston Logan and Denver
After nearly 40 years of service, Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate itself from other low fare carriers — offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the nation’s largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, now serving 69 cities in 35 states with service to Charleston and Greenville-Spartanburg beginning March 13, 2011, and service to Newark Liberty International Airport beginning March 27, 2011. Southwest also is one of the most honored airlines in the world known for its commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet. To read more about how Southwest Airlines is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit southwest.com/cares to read the Southwest Airlines One Report™. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,100 flights a day and has nearly 35,000 Employees systemwide.
ADDITIONAL FARE RULES
Fares are available only on www.southwest.com. Southwest Airlines fare sales are available with a 14-day advance purchase today through Dec. 13, 2010, 11:59 p.m. PST, and travel must take place between Jan. 4, 2011, and March 9, 2011. Fares do not include a federal segment tax of $3.70 per takeoff and landing. Fares do not include airport-assessed passenger facility charges (PFC) of up to $9.00 and U.S. government-imposed September 11th Security Fee of up to $5.00 one-way. Travel to/from Washington, D.C. (Dulles) and Ft. Myers, Fla. is not included in the sale. Seats are limited. Fares are available for one-way travel. Fares may be combined with other combinable fares. Fares are not combinable with Senior Fares. When combining fares, all rules and restrictions apply. Fares are nonrefundable but may be applied toward future travel on Southwest Airlines. Fares are not available through the Group Desk. Any change in the itinerary may result in an increase in fare. Standby travel requires an upgrade to the Anytime fare. Fares are subject to change until ticketed. Fares are valid on published, scheduled service only.
SOURCE Southwest Airlines
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Looking for some British-type Christmas hype? The Great Dickens Christmas Fair at the Cow Palace in the San Francisco area offers rows and rows of crafts, food and performers in period costumes. Buy tickets online through Saturday and receive up to a 20% discount.
The deal: This holiday replica meant to conjure up Victorian London includes dances at Fezziwig’s Warehouse, carolers at the Father Christmas Stage and the Pipe Bowl Morris dancers at Mad Sal’s Dockside Alehouse. The vibe is giddy and over the top, but isn’t that the point of making merry? Click here to see a map of the streets and some of the fair’s features.
The discount applies to tickets bought online and printed out at home for any admission date. Discounted tickets cost $20 for adults and $10 for children 5 to 11; children younger than 5 go for free. Admission prices at the door are $25 per adult and $12 for children 5 to 11.
When: You must buy the discounted tickets by 11:59 p.m. PST Saturday. The fair is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 19.
Tested: The discount is available online now. Note that there’s a $1-per-ticket service charge for online purchases and that coupons and other discounts can’t be combined with this offer.
Tip: Consider taking public transportation or walking to the Cow Palace to avoid paying $10 for parking.
Contact: The Great Dickens Christmas Fair, (800) 510-1558
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