Difference between revisions of "Travel news"
Revision as of 23:43, 11 April 2009
This is Wikitravel's Travel news section, about issues affecting travelers, both positively and negatively. For more general news, see Wikinews.
The news items in this section refer to future events and have not been displayed on the Main Page yet. They should be copied there when the date approaches and then shifted to the monthly archives below.
Continental changes alliances
25 Oct 2009
Houston-based Continental Airlines, the United States' fourth largest airline, changes alliances today, leaving the SkyTeam Alliance and joining Star Alliance.
IOC Convenes Today to Select Host of 2016 Summer Olympics
2 October 2009
The International Olympic Committee will meet today in Copenhagen, Denmark to select the host city of the 2016 Summer Olympics and Summer Paralympics. Candidate cities, in order of evaluation score, are Tokyo, Madrid, Chicago, & Rio de Janeiro.
New Rapid Transit Line connects Vancouver, Airport
7 Sept 2009
Just months before the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics, the 19km-long Canada Line rapid transit line opens today, establishing a fast and efficient method of traveling between Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, BC. 
Madonna in Saint Petersburg
2 August 2009
World Outgames 2009
25 July 2009
The quadrennial LGBT pendant to the Olympics, takes place in Copenhagen, Denmark this year. With queers of all varieties competing in 38 sports disciplines, including a stiletto race, and 37 other more serious sporting competitions for gays, lesbians, bi's and transsexuals athletics. The event is also coupled with several conferences highlighting gay rights around the world.
Wikitravel is 6 years old
24 July 2009
Roskilde Festival 2009
2 July 2009
The oldest and most traditional of the Big four annual music festivals in Europe, takes place between Thursday, July 2nd - Sunday July 5th, in Roskilde, Denmark. With more than 80,000 guests, 180 performing bands, 20,000 volunteers, and 300 artists, the stage is set for another seriously huge party.
Southwest bites into the Big Apple
28 June 2009
Southwest Airlines will begin service today to New York City's LaGuardia Airport from Baltimore and Chicago Midway.
We know why you fly to Santa Fe
11 June 2009
American Airlines will begin service today to Santa Fe, New Mexico, from Dallas/Fort Worth.
Mauritania to Hold First Post-Coup Elections Today
6 June 2009
Travelers are encouraged to avoid Mauritania today, as citizens head to the polls for the first time since an August 2008 military coup. Post-coup leader, General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, resigned on April 22 promising that these elections would not be postponed. The former PM has already labeled these elections 'a farce'. 
Delta Air Lines Expands US-Africa Service
1 June 2009
This month Delta, the only US carrier with service to Africa, will begin/replace the following routes: Atlanta-Johannesburg (June 1, now nonstop), Atlanta-Cape Town via Dakar (June 1, replaces NYC-CT service), Atlanta-Nairobi via Dakar (June 2), Atlanta-Sal (June 8), Atlanta-Monrovia via Sal (June 8), New York-Lagos (June 9), Atlanta-Abuja via Sal (June 10), Atlanta-Luanda via Sal (June 14), & Atlanta-Malabo via Sal (June 16). Delta is also expanding international service this month from several smaller US airports, such as: Pittsburgh-Paris(CDG), Raleigh/Durham-Paris(CDG), Salt Lake City-Tokyo(Narita), Detroit-Shanghai, Atlanta-Sydney (via LA), & Detroit-Rome.
AeroMexico announces new flight between Mexico City and Medellín, Colombia
1 June 2009
Sayonara, Mickey Mouse Revue
25 May 2009
The Mickey Mouse Revue, one of Disney's longest running theme park shows, which ran at Walt Disney World from 1971-1980 and has been exclusive to Tokyo Disneyland since 1983, will close today permanently. In 2011, it will be replaced by the 3-D show Mickey's PhilharMagic.
Scotland Regains Direct Ferry Connection From Continental Europe
18 May 2009
Norfolk Line's  thrice-weekly service from Zeebrugge, Belgium to Rosyth, in Fife will embark on its inaugural journey today, taking around 20 hours to cover the distance. Scotland has been without a direct connection to continental Europe since September 2008, when the previous carrier ceased operations. The new service will enable travellers wishing to bring their own vehicles to avoid a lengthy drive on England's often clogged motorway network.
LAX welcomes Allegiant Air
1 May 2009
Allegiant Air , an ultra-low cost carrier, will establish a focus city operation at Los Angeles International Airport this month. Allegiant Air will serve 12 destinations from LAX: Bellingham, WA; Billings, MT; Des Moines, IA; Fargo, ND; Grand Junction, CO; McAllen, TX; Medford, OR; Missoula, MT; Monterey, CA; Sioux Falls, SD; Springfield, MO; and Wichita, KS.
Walt Disney World's Space Mountain closes
19 Apr 2009
Space Mountain, one of the most popular attractions at Walt Disney World in Florida, will close today for an extensive refurbishment that will last until the end of the year.
More Metro for Brussels
9 April 2009
On April 4th the final leg of a ring metro line around Brussels city centre was finally completed, consequently the entire network of line has been reorganised. Lines 2 & 6 now circles the new ring - with line 6 continuing on the old northbound line. Line 1 terminates at the west station and covers the eastern branch, while line 5 covers the two branches in the southern part of the city.
Thai PM Declares National Holiday Friday As Massive Protests Expected
9 April 2009
The Prime Minister of Thailand has declared Friday (April 10) a national holiday to help security forces and ease the strain on transport as the capital, Bangkok, and Pattaya , where 16 Asian leaders are gathered for the ASEAN summit, brace for large protests. Protests on Thursday paralyzed Bangkok as taxis, busses, and commuters were stopped or in some places surrounded by protestors and unable to navigate the city. Protestors, supporters of ousted former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, accuse the current PM, Abhisit Vejjajiva, of being an illegitimate puppet of the military and hope to make their disapproval of him evident to the visiting Asian leaders. 
Strike Closes Eiffel Tower for Second Straight Day
9 April 2009
A strike by employees at the Eiffel Tower caused its closure on Wednesday and Thursday. The protestors, demanding better pay and job security, were to meet with the Paris landmark's management Thursday evening. If an agreement is not reached, the tower could be closed again on Friday (the 10th). 
Protests in Georgian Capital May Continue for Days
9 April 2009
Opposition leaders plan to continue protests in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, have promised to 'demonstrate daily' outside parliament until president Saakashvilli, re-elected just last year, resigns. Thursday's protests drew over 60,000 to the capital and remained calm and without incident. Many planned to stay throughout the night, but opposition leader have declared that the protests will restart at 15:00 local time, the deadline they have given the president to resign. The government claims police will keep a low profile, but also have evidence to claim that the opposition has numerous varieties of illegal weapons. Thursday's protest came on a noteworthy day—20 years to the day that Soviet police & military surrounded then beat and clubbed pro-independence protestors in Tbilisi.  
Indonesians, Algerians Head to the Polls Today
9 April 2009
Persons traveling in Indonesia or Algeria are advised that today is election day and that persons are likely to be livid about their political opinions in those countries today. This will be the first election since Algeria's removal of presidential term limits, a move many opposition candidates believe makes Bouteflika president-for-life. Opposition is officially boycotting the elections, believed to be corrupt, and there is a small potential for unrest. Indonesians are voting for the first time for candidates (previously they voted for parties which then appointed politicians), so expect confusion and large crowds/queues near polling stations. In Jayapura, Papua, a region home to many separatists, a police station was overrun by a mob; at least six were killed in political violence around the Papua region. Elsewhere, however, there is only a low risk of violence.  
Protests Today in Moldova, Thailand Capitals
8 April 2009
Pro-West protestors in Moldova's capital Chişinău turned violent and stormed the Parliament building, which was later reclaimed by riot police. More protests against the ruling Communist Party's win in last week's elections are expected on Wednesday (Apr 8). Meanwhile, 'tens of thousands' of protestors have hit the streets of Bangkok in a new bid to oust the current PM and allow former PM Thaksin Shinawatra to return from exile (since a 2006 coup) without the prospect of jail time. The protests haven't become violent, but a similar protest in December saw mild violence and the closure of both of the city's airports for almost a week.  
South-Central Africa Sees Worst Flooding in 50 Years
7 April 2009
Heavy rains in the DRC and northern Zambia have flown into the Zambezi River resulting in the worst flooding in 50 years, which has affected over half a million people from Namibia's Caprivi Strip east through northern Botswana, southern Zambia, & northern Zimbabwe. As the flooding moves down the river basin, tens of thousand will be forced to flee flooding in central Mozambique and parts of extreme southern Malawi. 
Powerful Earthquake Shakes Central Italy
6 April 2009
Seville opens metro line
3 April 2009
Seville, Spain inaugurated it's spanking new metro line on April 2nd, 2009. The new 18 kilometre, which has taken 6 years to complete, follows reverse U from the south-west to the south-east through the southern end of the city centre where it stops at Plaza de Cuna, Prado and San Bernado. Much of the route runs in tunnels constructed in the 1980's as part of a previous, failed attempt, to construct a metro in the city.
Cambodian Troops Fire at Thais Near Historic Palace
2 April 2009
Cambodian soldiers fired at Thai troops for purportedly entering Cambodian territory at Preah Vihear, a historic palace surrounded by disputed territory. While the palace was awarded to Cambodia by an international court in 1962, but is surrounded by land claimed also by Thailand. Two Cambodian soldiers were killed here in October, gunfire was shared a month ago, and a Thai soldier was injured by an old landmine on Thursday. 
US May End Cuba Travel Restrictions
31 March 2009
The United States has had travel restrictions on visiting Cuba for over four decades, but new legislation introduced calls for the end to such restrictions. Unlike previous attempts at ending such restrictions, the current legislature and president support such a bill. Earlier this year, limits on money sent to Cubans by US relatives were redacted.
Dutch Tourists Kidnapped in Yemen
31 March 2009
A Dutch couple was kidnapped by armed tribesmen in the Yemeni capital Sana'a. Fortunately, most Western tourists kidnapped in this poorest of Gulf countries are released soon afterwards unharmed. Unlike the practice of killing hostages as a form of terrorism, as in many Middle Eastern countries, Yemeni abductions are usually for bargaining chips in disputes regarding tribesmen and the government. In this case, captors are demanding the release of two relatives, .
Eiffel Tower Turns 120; Gets Fresh Paint, Renovated Restaurant
31 March 2009
The Eiffel Tower celebrated its 120th birthday on Tuesday. It also marked the beginning of painting—its 18th such cosmetic upgrade—which will take nearly one year to complete. In addition, the first-floor restaurant, to be renamed '58 Tour Eiffel, will also be reopened following an extensive renovation, .
United Airlines Begins New Daily Service to Moscow, Sydney, & Melbourne
29 March 2009
United Airlines is beginning a new, daily service from Washington-Dulles and Moscow-Domodedovo on the 29th, followed by new Los Angeles-Sydney & Los Angeles-Melbourne services on the 31st. Introductory one-way fares (based on round-trip, exclusive of taxes/fees) are as low as $119 to Moscow and $299 to Australia!!
Mayotte Votes to Become France's 101st 'Departement' in 2011
29 March 2009
Mayotte voted overwhelmingly (95.2%) today to become a 'departement' of the Republic of France, which will be effective in 2011. The vote will change numerous facets of Mayotte's Muslim-inspired society, such as banning polygamy, giving equal rights to women, and replacing the island's Islamic-based law with French common law. 
Air India's Star Alliance membership
29 Mar 2009
Air India, India's flag carrier, was to become a Star Alliance on March 2009, but entry has been delayed to sometime in 2010.
Formula One World Championship Begins
29 Mar 2009
The 60th FIA Formula One World Championship will begin in Melbourne, Australia.
Referendum Being Held in Mayotte
29 Mar 2009
Voters in Mayotte, a "Collective" in the Indian Ocean governed by France, go to the polls today to decide whether or not to become a "Department" of the Republic of France. French Departments are more integrated into French legal, institutional, and social structures than Collectives. Although Mayotte is currently administered by France, the Union of the Comoros also claims Mayotte. Comoran public opinion strongly favors the return of Mayotte to Comoros. The potential reaction of Comorans is uncertain, but demonstrations are likely. Demonstrations on emotionally-charged issues have turned violent in the past. Visitors to the Comoros should consider avoiding all large public gatherings before, during, and after the March 29 vote in Mayotte.
Alaskan Volcano Erupts
24 March 2009
Alaska's Mount Redoubt has erupted six times between early Sunday and Monday morning. The volcano, 100 miles (160km) southwest of Anchorage, spewed plenty of ash, which was fortunately blown north of the state's largest city...towards the vicinity of Mt. McKinley.
First Iraq Tourists Since 2003
22 March 2009
Eight Britons and Americans were the first officially-sanctioned tourists in Iraq, outside of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, since the coalition invasion in March 2003. Many Westerners have tried to visit the country as tourists and were denied visas or detained by military personnel. While tourist infrastructure is nearly non-existant and many museums are closed, those on the trip, organized by the UK's Hinterland Travel, felt relatively safe and enjoyed the sights. 
Soap Nation Tour kicks off with LA–Mexico cruise
20 March 2009
Fans of ABC's daytime soap operas need not mourn the loss of Super Soap Weekend. It has been replaced with the Soap Nation Tour, a collection of nationwide events designed to interact with fans on a year-round basis, offering greater access to stars in more cities, more often. The 2009 tour kicks off with a three day cruise from Los Angeles to Ensenada, Mexico. Learn more at http://www.rockthesoap.com/.
Undersea Volcano Erupts, Powerful Quake Strike off Tonga
19 March 2009
An underwater volcano, which had been sending gasses into the sky for four days, erupted violently on Wednesday just six miles off Tonga's main island—Tongatapu—providing a spectacular view for gathered journalists and scientists. On Thursday, a powerful 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck 130 miles south-southeast of the Tongan capital Nuku'alofa at the shallow depth of 6.2 miles, triggering a tsunami alert for nearby islands, but only resulting in a small flux in sea level.  
France Sees Nationwide Strikes, Again
19 March 2009
Labor unions across France went on strike today, similar to those in January, in a move which three-fourths of French people support. Initial estimates indicate more participants than the January strikes, which saw over 2.5 million people take to the streets in protests and transportation severely disrupted. While today's strike didn't severely affect transportation, over 218 towns and cities saw protests demanding higher salaries, higher taxes on the wealthy, and an end to public sector lay-offs. 
Washington, D.C. Has Higher HIV Rate than Many African Nations
17 March 2009
The HIV infection rate in America's capital could be as high as 5%—or on par with most African nations! Even the official statistic of 3% places the city on par with countries like Uganda & Brazil. The prevalence is highest amongst homosexual males(~25%), those aged 40-49 (7.2%), black males (6.5%), & those 50-59 (5.2%). If some local lovin' in D.C. is on your agenda, you may want to bring some condoms.
Coup in Madagascar Claims Presidency
16 March 2009
Violence broke out in Madagascar's capital Antananarivo as rebels stormed the presidential palace. While the president was away from the capital and neither captured or killed, the rebels have claimed the presidency, the central bank, and most of the army. Tourists to Madagascar should be leery of violence; there has been some anti-French sentiment.  
Tourists Killed in Yemen Explosion
15 March 2009
Two South Korean tourists and two Yemeni guides were killed near the historic city of Shibam. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, often referred to as the Manhattan of the desert due to the height of its towers, is a popular tourist attraction in this foreboding country. While the cause of the attack is unclear, Yemen has seen numerous anti-Western attacks, the most recent being a September car bombing beside the US Embassy which killed 16. 
US Landmark to Get New Name
12 March 2009
Chicago's iconic Sears Tower, unarguably the tallest building in the world (with spire, sans antenna) from 1973 until the 1998 completion of the Petronas Towers, after which much controversy arose regarding measurement of the "tallest building", and from a 2000 antenna addition until surpassed in 2007 by Burj Dubai for "pinnacle height." Sears' naming rights to the tower expired in 2003. and, effective June 2009, the building will be renamed "Willis Tower" for London insurer Willis Group, a move many Chicagoans are not very pleased about. Today, the building is the "tallest building" in the Americas (pinnacle height) & the fourth-tallest "freestanding structure" in the world.  
Southwest Airlines lands in Minneapolis
8 Mar 2009
Visitors to the Mall of America will be headed for lower fares today as Southwest Airlines begins service to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport from Chicago Midway Airport.
Changes to Saint Petersburg subway map
7 Mar 2009
A new subway station was opened in Saint Petersburg, "Spasskaya". At the same time, the fourth and fifth lines were rerouted. The fourth line's section from "Staraya Derevnya" to "Sadovaya" became part of the fifth line, and trains from "Sadovaya" arrive at "Zvenigorodskaya". Trains of the fourth line from "Dostoyevskaya" station arrive at the "Spasskaya" terminal.
Laos gets a train line
6 Mar 2009
2009 World Baseball Classic Begins
5 Mar 2009
The 2nd World Baseball Classic begins today. Sixteen teams including China, Chinese Taipei, Australia, South Africa, Mexico, Venezuela, Japan, South Korea, Cuba, Canada, Italy, the Dominican Republic, the Neatherlands, Panama, Puerto Rico, and the United States will start competition in four venues Tokyo, Mexico City, Puerto Rico, and Toronto. Semifinals will be held in Miami and San Diego and the final match will be held in Los Angeles on March 23.
Mexican Drug Cartels May Have 100,000 Soldiers
3 March 2009
The US believes Mexican drug cartels to have over 100,000 soldiers, rivaling the size of the Mexican Army. Over 7,000 persons have been killed in the last 12 months in Mexico, including many beheaded or dumped in acid. The US Department of Defense now believes Mexico to be a greater security threat than Iraq or Afghanistan. . Travel in Mexico is not recommended aside from the Yucatan Peninsula.
Spirit Airlines to offer direct flights between Medellín and Florida
1 Mar 2009
Bangladesh Faces Violence in Face of Spreading Mutiny
26 Feb 2009
Border Guards began a mutiny Thursday in Bangladesh. Disconcerted with pay and living conditions, the mutiny in the capital, Dhaka, began by taking 100 hostages in a military barracks. A clash soon erupted between rebellious Border Guards and the Army, catching many civilians in the crowded capital in the crossfire, with 50 confirmed deaths. The mutiny has now begun to spread to other regions of the country, with unconfirmed reports of gunfire in Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Khulna, Sylhet, & Feni. 
Blast Kills 1, Injures 17 in Cairo Bazaar
22 Feb 2009
A French woman was killed after a bomb exploded in a crowded Cairo bazaar, Khan el-Khalili, which is often filled with tourists. A second bomb was later discovered unexploded nearby. A bomb exploded in the same bazaar in 2005 killing 2 French and an American. Egypt fought a long war with extremists in the 1990s which has largely left the country safe for tourists, aside from the Sinai Peninsula.
French Caribbean travel alert
21 Feb 2009
US State Department have issued a travel warning for the French Caribbean territories of Guadeloupe and Martinique, relating to an ongoing labour strike. Gas stations, stores, the port, and banks remain closed, and critical supplies are dwindling. In Guadeloupe there are reports of armed gang blocking major roads. French police and armed forces have been dispatched to the area. 
FIFA World Cup South Africa Tickets Sales/Lottery Begins
20 February 2009
From now until 31 March, people can purchase World Cup 2010 tickets online. On 15 April, a lottery will be held for all overticketed games.
Mexico, Mexico City 'Kidnapping Capitals of the World'
20 Feb 2009
The country of Mexico has overtaken Colombia as the country with the most kidnappings, while Mexico City topped the list of cities with the most kidnappings. Violence in Mexico has increased dramatically over the past two years as drug gangs battle for influence and control over each other and authorities, particularly near the US border in cities such as Tijuana, Nogales, Monterrey, and Ciudad Juarez, where the police chief resigned Friday after gangs had killed 3 police officers and a jail guard in fulfilling their promise to "kill 1 police officer every 48 hours until the chief resigned". Despite claims by US officials that the violence had not crossed the border, Phoenix, Arizona ranked second on the city list—where 370 people were kidnapped last year.  
2009 Winter Universiade Begins
18 Feb 2009
The 2009 Winter Universiade (the XXIV Winter Universiade) begins today in Harbin, China and lasts through the 28th. Universities from around the world will be sending their best athletes to compete for gold in twelve ice and snow sports.
Several US-Mexico Border Crossings Blocked By Protesters
17 Feb 2009
In a protest to the deployment of the Mexican Army to areas near the US border, thousands of Mexicans protested today by blocking several key border crossings. The Army has been policing in some areas due to high levels of corruption and desertion, due to killings and threats, by police officers in border regions. Drug traffickers have kidnapped hundreds in the border regions in the last few years and, in 2008 alone, killed 5000.
Lithuania Celebrates a Milestone
14 Feb 2009
Plane Crashes Near Buffalo, 50 Dead
13 Feb 2009
Late in the evening of 12 February, Continental Connection Flight 3407, from Newark to Buffalo, crashed into a house in Clarence, five miles east of the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport. All 44 passengers and four crew members were killed, along with an off-duty pilot and one person in the destroyed house.
Volcano Spews Ash Over Tokyo
2 Feb 2009
As Alaska is still waiting the imminent eruption of Mount Redoubt , residents of some Tokyo suburbs awoke to layer of ash from Mount Asama, 90 miles away. While the eruption was small and did not cause major damage to nearby villages, it did spread ash over parts of east-central Japan and interrupt some aircraft routes through the region, .
Heavy Snow Disrupts England, Wales Travel
1 Feb 2009
Heavy snow was expected Sunday night into Monday over much of England and Wales in the largest snow event the region has seen in six years. Kent, London, Surrey, & Hampshire could see up to 15cm (6 in) of the white stuff, which has clogged or closed regional motorways, closed Gatwick Airport for 2 hours, and caused delays for travelers through London City and Heathrow airports. The snow, expected to last for several more days, was also accompanied by subzero temperatures, .
US Dollar Now Legal, de facto Currency in Zimbabwe
30 January 2009
Zimbabwe on Thursday announced that it will be legal to accept and use foreign currencies in the nation. Prior to the announcement, only select, licensed businesses could accept currencies besides the Zimbabwe dollar, which has suffered from the most severe hyperinflation the world has ever seen (currently at 1024%) over the past few years. While many businesses had already begun, illegally, accepting other currencies, following the announcement most shops immediately began refusing the Zimbabwe dollar, of which a $100 trillion note was recently released. 
Alaskan Volcano Near Eruption
30 Jan 2009
The US Geological Survey claims Mount Redout—100 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska—is within days of eruption (as of 29 january). It would be its first eruption in 20 years and has the potential of spreading ash over much of Southcentral Alaska, interrupting flights to the region as well as US-Asia flights, most of which pass through the region.
Colombia welcomes JetBlue
29 Jan 2009
JetBlue Airways will begin service to Bogota, Colombia, from Orlando today.
Tampa to host Super Bowl XLIII
25 Jan 2009
Tampa, Florida will host the pinnacle of American football this Sunday, February 1, between the (Philadelphia Eagles or Arizona Cardinals) and (Pittsburgh Steelers or Baltimore Ravens). The Super Bowl draws large crowds of devoted fans to the host city, which usually puts on numerous festivities including the NFL Experience, Hall of Fame dinner, Gasparilla, and a week-long party atmosphere. It will be broadcast in the United States on NBC; in the UK on BBC One and Sky Sports; Foxtel and Austar in Australia; and Rai Due in Italy. 
Washington DC packed for inauguration of Obama
20 Jan 2009
Washington, D.C. welcomes spectators today for the inauguration of Barack Obama as the president of the United States of America. The inauguration will choke much of the city, with people crowding the city's streets and placing a burden on local airports, roads, and mass transit.
Queensland Tourism Offers 'Best Job in the World'
15 Jan 2009
Tourism officials in Queensland, Australia is looking to draw tourists through advertising the 'best job in the world' which consists of spending six months on Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef while writing a blog to promote the island...oh, you are also paid AU$150,000. With the Feb. 22 deadline still over a month away, officials have begun sifting through over 2,000 video applications. 
Colombia to have longest cable cart system in the world
25 Jan 2009
The impressive structure is located in the Santander department and took 14 months to complete. The official opening is scheduled for January 24th, with president Uribe set to attend. 
Continental US Faces Deep Freeze
15 Jan 2009
Arctic temperatures dove into the central & eastern US Thursday as a massive arctic high brought temps as low as -30ºF(-35ºC) and wind chills below -50ºF(-45ºC). Most Midwesern & northern Plains cities are also expecting subzero (ºF,-18ºC) highs. The cold, expected to last through the weekend, brought such temps/windcills (ºC in parentheses) as: Minneapolis -21/-45(-29/-43), Chicago -10/-26(-24/-32), Bismarck -38/-48(-39/-44), & Des Moines -18/-40(-28/-40). Gathered temps here.
Heathrow's Controversial Third Runway Approved
15 Jan 2009
Transport officials in the UK have approved the construction of a highly controversial third runway at London's Heathrow Airport, much to the dismay of environmentalists, nearby residents, and MPs (after Parliament learned it would not be able to vote on the project).
New Requirements for US visa-free travel
12 Jan 2009
Beginning today, all persons entering the US under the Visa Waiver Program must file an online I-94 form (which replaces the ones filled out on the plane) at least 72 hours before arrival, or risk delays or even deportation. Don't worry; most applications are approved within 4 seconds and remain valid for all trips for 2 years after approval. 
Global Warming? Alaskans Disagree With 2 Weeks Near -50ºC
12 Jan 2009
Central Alaska has been dealing with a large area of high pressure which has held temperatures well below normal for nearly two weeks. While the region is used to a few cold snaps with such temperatures every year, this has been unusual in that the high has remained, blocking other weather patterns from entering. Much of the state has remained well below zero as areas near Fairbanks have frequently been down to near -60ºF(-50ºC). AP
Colombo Explosion as Sri Lankan Army Captures Rebel Stronghold
2 Jan 2009
An explosion occurred near the Sri Lankan Air Force headquarters in Colombo, killing 2. This occurred just a couple of hours after the capture of the unofficial capital of the Tamil Tiger resistance, Kilinochchi. The capture of this town, held by the rebels for over a decade, was followed by repeated calls from Sri Lanka for the Tamil Tigers to lay down their arms.
Disney Debuts American Idol Attraction
1 Jan 2009
The American Idol Experience opens this month at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. This interactive live stage show will feature performances by park guests, who will compete for the grand prize of auditioning for the actual American Idol TV show.
Transport Fares in Saint Petersburg Raised
1 Jan 2009
Beginning January 1, all fares on Saint Petersburg transport have been increased for the first time since April 2008. One metro trip now costs 20 rubles (up from 17 rubles). The trip on tram, trolleybus and municipal bus has risen in price from 16 to 18 rubles. Fares have also risen on marshrutkas (taxi bus) and local railway lines.
1 Jan 2009
Slovakia starts the year by adopting the euro, at the rate of 30.1260 koruna to the euro. Turkey will introduce the second series of New Turkish Lira banknotes.