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Grease fire blamed for blaze along San Antonio River Walk

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 20:42:25 UT

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Authorities say hundreds of shoppers and hotel guests were safely evacuated after a grease fire at a mall along the San Antonio River Walk poured thick smoke into the tourist area. Fire department spokesman Joe Arrington says it appears a grease fire got into some duct work in the restaurants area.

Alaska salutes black soldiers' work on highway during WWII

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:31:07 UT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Leonard Larkins and nearly 4,000 other segregated black soldiers helped build a highway across Alaska and Canada during World War II, a contribution largely ignored for decades but drawing attention as the 75th anniversary approaches. The project to build a supply route between Alaska and Canada used 11,000 troops from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers divided by race, working under a backdrop of segregation and discrimination. The Japanese attack on Hawaii's Pearl Harbor sparked an urgency to build the link out of concern that the U.S. territory and West Coast shipping lanes also were vulnerable. The Army's Alaska commander at the time, Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr., a Confederate general's son, wrote that he feared the soldiers would settle in the state and have children with "Indians and Eskimos," according to a letter cited by historians. Before the project, black soldiers were considered incapable of front-line duty or sensitive deployments and were largely relegated to housekeeping and clerk duties, said historian and author Lael Morgan, who researched the project for its 50th anniversary. [...] a shortage of men prompted the deployment of black soldiers to help carve out the initial route, said Morgan, who is largely credited with introducing their story to modern audiences. Several people testified in favor of honoring all who worked on the highway — a stance adopted by Republican state Rep. David Eastman of Wasilla, who cast the only no vote.

NYC subway train derails, scaring passengers and injuring 34

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:41:21 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — A subway train derailed near a station in Harlem on Tuesday, frightening passengers and resulting in minor injuries as hundreds of people were evacuated from trains along the subway line. Two of the eight cars on the train derailed just before 10 a.m. Sparks from the skidding train briefly ignited garbage on the track, but there was no serious fire, said Joe Lhota, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Fire officials said 34 people suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Pictures and video posted on social media showed passengers evacuating through darkened subway tunnels. Julian Robinson said he was stuck on one stopped train for 45 minutes to an hour before rescuers arrived to escort passengers along the tracks into the station. In recent months, several high-profile incidents have occurred, including subway trains stuck in tunnels for an hour or more.

Int'l arrivals to US declined slightly in October 2016

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:06:10 UT

Experts have said that a strong U.S. dollar and lackluster economies elsewhere have made it more expensive for travelers to vacation here, leading some to choose destinations elsewhere. Some sectors of the travel industry have warned that anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies from the Trump administration could exacerbate the downward trend that began last year.

The Latest: Downtown station reopens amid derailment probe

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:23:25 UT

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is celebrating the reopening of a long-closed subway station at the southern tip of Manhattan at the same time it is investigating a derailment in Harlem. Fire officials say 34 people have suffered non-life-threatening-injuries from a Harlem subway derailment that frightened passengers and resulted in system-wide delays. The chairman of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority says transit officials are investigating why the train's emergency brakes went on before the derailment approaching the station at 125th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. The chairman of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority says transit officials are investigating why a subway train's emergency brakes went on before a minor Harlem derailment that frightened passengers and resulted in systemwide delays. A New York City subway train has derailed near a station in Harlem, frightening passengers and causing a power outage that led to evacuations along the subway line. Pictures and video posted on social media showed passengers evacuating through darkened subway tunnels.

New Trump rules on Cuba travel leaves winners and losers

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 16:13:01 UT

Group tour operators hope to sell more trips, but bed-and-breakfast owners in Cuba say they're losing business. Many tour operators say that's no problem because they already use privately owned villas, casas and eateries, and engage with local guides, entrepreneurs and artists. [...] if tour groups forced out of military-controlled hotels start booking private homes, prices could stay high. [...] private entrepreneurs worry the government may not allow U.S. tour groups to simply shift their business from state-run hotels to the private sector, at least not without hefty commissions. In the decade since President Raul Castro began allowing more private-sector activity, the government has viewed entrepreneurs as both vital sources of economic growth and as dangerous competitors for sluggish state-run businesses. Because tour groups are required to use government buses and guides, the government controls their movements and requires many private businesses that receive tour groups to sign contracts that include commissions for the government. ViaHero CEO Greg Buzulencia thinks ViaHero trips will qualify under the "support for the Cuban people" category of travel permitted by the U.S. because ViaHero's itineraries "start conversations and promote independent businesses and activity" in Cuba outside of government-run spheres. Chad Olin, president of Cuba Candela , says his company's people-to-people tours qualify under the new rules because all lodging, drivers, restaurants and cultural activities are from Cuba's private sector.

Alaska volcano sends up ash cloud from Aleutian Islands

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:48:45 UT

The observatory raised the aviation alert code to "warning" level, the highest level. The observatory says the cloud was not expected to drop ash on Aleutian communities or the mainland.

Sightseeing on a 500-mile-a-day road trip? You can do it!

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 14:11:18 UT

BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Utah (AP) — I drove across the country for the first time in 1984, alone in a car without air conditioning and a radio that stopped working as I crossed into Texas. Most businesses in this high-end resort (including a couple of mink coat stores) were closed because it was after ski season and before Memorial Day. [...] we found a creekside patio table and meal at Sweet Basil before turning in at the luxurious Tivoli Lodge (offseason rates via made it affordable). If we had, we might have needed the container of oxygen in our hotel room ($19.99) to offset the effects of the altitude. The drive into the park winds down into the canyon, past spectacular, soaring, red-hued sandstone walls, through a mile-long tunnel to a visitor's center. Shuttle buses take visitors through the park. After a couple hours at the pool, with drinks and appetizers, we went by cab to The Venetian to gawk at the pricey stores. At the Bellagio we saw the colorful Dale Chihuly glass sculptures and grabbed dessert at Jean Philippe's patisserie, then took Uber back to our hotel.

Kinderdijk windmills a must-see on any trip to Holland

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:52:38 UT

The Dutch embraced the visitors and the Kinderdijk windmills have since become one of the country's most popular tourist destinations while continuing to help manage the Netherlands' ongoing fight to stay above water. The lowlands have been prone to flooding through the ages despite the building of canals and dikes, including the 1421 Saint Elisabeth's flood that killed thousands after the dikes broke in several places. For tourists, walkways lead from the visitor center to the mills and boat tours are offered along the canals. Two mills serve as museums, filled with vintage millers' items and photos with ladders to climb through and see the inner works. Most people visit April to September, but winter — if you can handle the cold — offers a chance to ice skate past the windmills on frozen canals.

Q&A: Murkiness follows Supreme Court's action on travel ban

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 00:25:33 UT

The high court said the president's 90-day ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can be enforced pending arguments scheduled for October as long as those visitors lack a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." After the lower courts found the travel ban unconstitutionally biased against Muslims and contrary to federal immigration law, Trump hailed the Supreme Court's decision as a "clear victory for our national security." [...] the justices said, refugees can travel to the U.S. if they demonstrate those connections — contrary to the part of Trump's executive order suspending the nation's refugee program. Immigrant rights advocates welcomed the ruling for showing that the president's authority on immigration is not absolute and ensuring people with connections in the U.S. will be allowed to enter. "[...] a nonprofit group devoted to immigration issues may not contact foreign nationals from the designated countries, add them to client lists, and then secure their entry by claiming injury from their exclusion," the court wrote. "Today's compromise will burden executive officials with the task of deciding — on peril of contempt — whether individuals from the six affected nations who wish to enter the United States have a sufficient connection to a person or entity in this country," Thomas wrote. Trump's initial travel ban, issued without warning on a Friday in January, brought chaos and protests to airports nationwide as travelers from seven targeted countries were barred even if they had prior permission to come to the U.S. The State Department canceled up to 60,000 visas but later reversed that decision. Airports may be less likely to see the same sorts of demonstrations given the advance warning, that those with prior permission to enter are not affected and the months people have had to reach the U.S. since the first ban was

Airline vet to lead Amtrak in a summer of repairs, reckoning

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 00:09:23 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — A decade after setting Delta Air Lines on a post-bankruptcy resurgence, the airline's former chairman and chief executive officer is taking on another transportation challenge: The railroad on Monday named Richard Anderson as its top executive, putting a leader known for innovation and customer service in charge of a government operation struggling to keep up with congestion and crumbling infrastructure. Anderson, a former Texas prosecutor, gained a reputation among Delta's rivals as brash and unrelenting, but he won employees' hearts with policies that encouraged them to speak up and challenge leadership's mistakes.

Police: Girl's actions caused her to fall from NY park ride

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 21:07:56 UT

QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (AP) — A teenage girl's actions, not mechanical malfunctions, caused her to slip under a restraining bar on an amusement park gondola ride before falling into the arms of bystanders below, police said Monday. Warren County sheriff's Lt. Steven Stockdale told The Post-Star of Glens Falls ( ) that "human error" on the part of the 14-year-old Delaware girl caused her to slip out of the two-person gondola while riding with her younger brother Saturday at Six Flags Great Escape. State inspectors cleared the Sky Ride for resuming operation, but officials at the park 55 miles (88 kilometers) north of Albany said the gondolas would remain idle for at least a second day Monday, pending an internal review. Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Park Services, a Cincinnati-based industry consultant, said he was familiar with the Sky Ride from previous visits to the park.