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Rick Steves' summer travel tips: How to handle crowds, heat:

January 1st, 1970

Travel expert Rick Steves, the guidebook writer, public radio and TV show host, offered tips for getting the most out of summer trips in an interview taped for an Associated Press podcast. [...] reserve tickets ahead online. Or buy a combination ticket to several sites at the least popular spot covered by the ticket, where a long line is less likely.


AP PHOTOS: A peek at The Peak in Hong Kong:

January 1st, 1970

Today as Hong Kong approaches the 20th anniversary of its return to China, the waterfront remains a bustling commercial and financial center as well as the location of the city legislature and other main government offices. [...] along the streets that angle sharply up to Victoria Peak above, a more relaxed pace of life endures, with bars, restaurants, boutiques and more traditional shops lining the narrow lanes.


The Latest: Derailment caused by 'improperly secured' rail:

January 1st, 1970

New York City transit officials say a preliminary investigation indicates a subway train derailment was caused by "an improperly secured piece of replacement rail" that was stored on the tracks. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said in a statement late Tuesday that the cause appears to be human error and not a track defect. In its statement, the MTA says crews are inspecting "every inch of rail" to ensure that replacement parts are properly stored and secured. Fire officials say 34 people suffered non-life-threatening injuries when the subway train derailed Tuesday morning, frightening passengers and causing system-wide delays. 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.


The Latest: Geologists lower threat level for Alaska volcano:

January 1st, 1970

The Alaska Volcano Observatory says seismic activity at an Aleutians Island volcano has diminished. The observatory says no further ash emissions have occurred and seismicity remains low at Bogoslof. The observatory lowered the aviation alert code from "warning" to "watch" late Tuesday afternoon. The observatory raised the aviation alert code to "warning" level, the highest level.


Grease fire blamed for blaze along San Antonio River Walk:

January 1st, 1970

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.


New Trump rules on Cuba travel leaves winners and losers:

January 1st, 1970

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.


Subway train derails, scaring passengers and injuring dozens:

January 1st, 1970

NEW YORK (AP) — A subway train derailed Tuesday as it entered a station, tossing people to the floor, forcing hundreds of shaken-up passengers to evacuate through darkened tunnels and delivering another jolt to a transit system plagued by aging equipment and reliability problems. Sparks from the skidding train briefly ignited garbage on the track, but there was no serious fire and the train stayed upright, said Joe Lhota, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The derailment came after a winter and spring marked by mechanical failures, power outages and several episodes in which passengers were trapped on stuck trains for an hour or more. Some state lawmakers demanded that the Legislature take up emergency funding for the system in a special session scheduled for Wednesday. The derailment spoiled what should've been a bright day for the system, coming roughly two hours before the reopening of a subway station at the southern tip of Manhattan that had been closed since it was flooded by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. Lhota, who was appointed as the MTA's chairman last week with a mandate to get the system back on track, had to skip a planned media tour of the refurbished station to deal with the derailment.


Q&A: Nevada to launch latest legal vice for tourists: Pot:

January 1st, 1970

Lines are expected Saturday outside some medical marijuana dispensaries in Las Vegas and other Nevada cities that will begin selling pot for recreational use for the first time since voters approved it in November. Anyone who is 21 with a valid ID can buy up to an ounce of pot, one-eighth of an ounce of edibles or concentrates. State regulators have notified at least 17 retail outlets that they have been approved for recreational sales and as many as 40 could be licensed by Saturday. Some outlets plan grand opening events at 12:01 a.m., and one in Las Vegas is having a barbecue with raffle drawings. Industry experts predict Nevada's market will be the nation's biggest, at least until California plans to begin recreational sales in January. People have been allowed to use marijuana in private homes since Jan. 1, but there has been nowhere to legally buy it without a medical card. Legislation to establish marijuana clubs and other places to smoke pot failed this spring but will be revisited by lawmakers in 2019. There's also a "Cannabus" tour that offers riders a peek inside dispensaries, a grow facility and a swag bag filled with rolling papers and other gifts. The ballot measure passed by voters says liquor wholesalers have the exclusive right to transport marijuana from growers to retailers, the only legal pot state with such an arrangement.


Kinderdijk windmills a must-see on any trip to Holland:

January 1st, 1970

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. Kinderdijk has plans to build a new visitor's center and to refurbish the pumping station with an exhibition about the future of water management with climate change. 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.


NYC subway station reopens after Superstorm Sandy flooding:

January 1st, 1970

Metropolitan Transportation Authority employees and contractors in hard hats cheered as the first train rolled into the pristine new station at the southern tip of Manhattan. The station was just 3-years-old when Sandy struck in October 2012, destroying electrical and mechanical systems and with a mix of seawater, sewage and debris. MTA officials say measures to protect the station from future storms include retractable flood doors at the entrances and reinforcement of other entry points for water including vents, manholes, hatches and air ducts.


Alaska salutes black soldiers' work on highway during WWII:

January 1st, 1970

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.


Int'l arrivals to US declined slightly in October 2016:

January 1st, 1970

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.


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