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Q&A: Hawaii reassures tourists after brain parasite cases

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:50:54 UT

HONOLULU (AP) — A California couple on their honeymoon and two people who drank a homemade herbal beverage are among the rising number of victims in Hawaii falling ill with a potentially deadly brain parasite. After the newlyweds' plight with rat lungworm disease recently got attention online, the couple and some experts accused Hawaii of failing to adequately warn tourists and residents of the danger they can face. The reason for the "concerning increase" is not clear, said Dr. Virginia Pressler, director of the state health department. The disease is prevalent in Southeast Asia and tropical Pacific islands and has been seen in Africa, the Caribbean and the U.S. It's rare, and most people completely recover without treatment, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms can range from mild headaches to temporary paralysis, and diagnosis requires a spinal tap, said William L. Gosnell, program director for the graduate certificate in tropical medicine at University of Hawaii's medical school. Two adults on the Big Island got the disease after consuming contaminated homemade elixir, health officials said last week. The tourism agency has been meeting with members and contractors who book travel to explain it and is working on getting messages to tourists that Hawaii is safe, said George Szigeti, president and CEO. The tourism authority said people should not overreact and urged visitors to keep eating at restaurants and enjoying fresh produce. "The key facts that everyone needs to remember about rat lungworm disease is that it is very rare, it is very uncommon for people to get infected, and the disease is easily preventable by properly washing and storing all food, especially produce, before eating," Szigeti said in a statement.

Disabled Amtrak train at Penn Station snarls morning commute

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:43:53 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Transit officials say a disabled Amtrak train at Penn Station snarled the morning rush hour for commuters. On April 3, another Amtrak derailment led to days of delays for New Jersey Transit and Long Island Rail Road riders.

Carcassonne, France, offers castle-on-the-hill getaway

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:18:22 UT

Tourists streaming into the Cite get a taste of the mythology at the gate, where a reproduction bust of the Carcassonne's purported namesake, Lady Carcas, stands. The eighth century figure is said to have ended a years-long siege by hurling a fat pig over the city's walls to convince the invaders that the food-starved city could afford to waste such an animal. Carcassonne's Cite was bedeviled by slums in the 18th century when a historian and architect partnered to save it from demolition. [...] some of the rebuilding of its ancient walls was painstaking in its attention to detail, while other revamping strayed from the textbooks. The result is a mix of hardcore history alongside tourist shops hawking plastic swords. Some highlights include the Gothic Basilica of Saint-Nazaire, which features 700-year-old stained glass that was disassembled and hidden from the Nazis in the surrounding mountains. The most famous of the so-called Cathar Castles, named after a religious sect that was the target of one pope's crusade, is Las Tours. [...] on those multi-course menus are decadent foie gras-based dishes and elaborate chocolate desserts (one such concoction includes a chocolate ball that opens up to reveal a chocolate mousse as melted chocolate is poured over it). A tiny airport used exclusively by budget airline Ryanair is a 10-minute drive from the city center.

Holocaust records project launched at FDR Library and Museum

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 23:41:48 UT

HYDE PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum has launched an effort to find "unique but dispersed" Holocaust documents and other related material included in the institution's vast archives. Officials at the nation's first presidential library, located 70 miles (113 kilometers) north of New York City, said that by building on existing digital resources it will provide better access to the Holocaust-related records in its archives. The FDR Presidential Library is home to more than 400 manuscript collections that document the Roosevelt administration from 1933-45, including records on various refugee groups fleeing Nazi persecution and the Roosevelt administration's responses.

Passengers in viral airline videos have same lawyer

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 23:24:52 UT

DALLAS (AP) — The woman seen sobbing in a viral video after an American Airlines flight attendant took away her stroller now has a lawyer — the same attorney representing a man dragged off a United Express flight earlier this month. The airline says the woman's doublewide stroller was tagged to be checked as cargo at the door to the plane, but instead she took it into the cabin, leading to the confrontation with the flight attendant. The president of the union representing American's flight attendants said the employee deserves credit for staying on the plane after being challenged by a male passenger who sided with the woman. The incident before a flight from San Francisco to Dallas came two weeks after airport police in Chicago dragged a passenger off a plane after he refused to give up his seat to make room for an airline employee.

Artifacts preserve Holocaust stories for future generations

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 23:10:51 UT

A gift for her second birthday, it was the only toy she possessed during the approximately three years she spent hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam, just five blocks from the house where Anne Frank wrote in her diary. The chair is one of thousands of artifacts housed in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's new conservation and research center, which opened Monday on the annual memorial day for the 6 million Jews killed by Nazi Germany during World War II. The David and Fela Shapell Family Collections, Conservation and Research Center, located in the suburbs of the nation's capital, is a state-of-the-art facility with 103,000 square feet (9,570 sq. meters) for documents and artifacts, with room for expansion.

Orlando airport shuttle stops for 3rd time in week

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:06:19 UT

There were no passengers aboard the tram, and the affected gates primarily serve American, United and Spirit airlines, according to the statement, which also included an apology. Buses transported some travelers to their gates, and the airport opened a walkway between the gates and the main terminal building.

The Latest: Lawyer representing woman confronted on flight

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:12:27 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on an attorney who is representing two people who have been involved in high-profile conflicts with airlines that included cellphone video of the incidents (all times local): A lawyer for the Kentucky doctor who was dragged from a United Express flight says he is also representing a woman who got into a verbal confrontation with a flight attendant on American Airlines. Dao was dragged off a flight in Chicago April 9 by airport police after he refused to give up his seat on the full plane to make room for crew members.

The Latest: Orlando airport shuttle stops for 3rd time

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:05:07 UT

Buses transported some travelers to their gates, and the airport opened a walkway between the gates and the main terminal building. For the second time in a week, shuttle problems at Orlando International Airport caused long lines and more than 50 passengers to miss their flights. On Wednesday, shuttle service from the airport's entrance and baggage handling area to dozens of gates was shut down for about three hours. Buses transported some travelers to their gates, and the airport opened a walkway between the gates and the main terminal building.

Miami passport office closed because of water damage

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:34:30 UT

MIAMI (AP) — Travelers seeking a last-minute passport out of South Florida are out of luck. The U.S. State Department posted on its website ( ) Monday that its Miami Passport Agency is temporarily closed to the public. The Miami Herald ( reports that the building where the office is located suffered water damage, ruining electronics and paperwork. The office says it's unable to take appointments or process passports in one of the nation's major hub cities for international travel. ___ Information from: The Miami Herald,

Qatar Airways sees 'manageable' decline in flights to US

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 14:07:28 UT

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The CEO of one of the Middle East's largest carriers said Monday passenger numbers to the United States have dipped slightly over fears by some Muslim passengers that their visas may be rejected upon arrival, but expressed confidence in President Donald Trump as a "very good businessman." Dubai, where Emirates is based, and Doha, Qatar Airways' main hub, were among the 10 cities in Muslim-majority countries affected by a ban on laptops and other personal electronics in carry-on luggage aboard U.S.-bound flights. Al-Baker also expressed hope that Trump would resist pressure from American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines to block aggressive expansion into the U.S. market by Gulf-based carriers.

Gillespie, Monk, Ella celebrated at Chicago Jazz Festival

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 09:49:11 UT

CHICAGO (AP) — The 39th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival will celebrate the 100th birthdays of Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Ella Fitzgerald. The festival will include four stages of free live performances by a large pool of Chicago jazz talent and others from around the world.