Thursday, January 30, 2014

Canada and U.S. to Share Information from Border Crossings

Records of Canadians' trips across the border into the United States could soon be shared with a number of federal departments, including the RCMP and CSIS. Under an expanded data-exchange program between the two countries set to take effect on June 30, a traveler’s entry into one country will be used to create an exit record from the other country. 

The data has the potential to help Canadian authorities track people who may be travelling abroad to engage in terrorism and identify people who are out of the country but still receiving social assistance benefits. Information collected under the program will consist of "routine biographic information," such as first name, last name, middle name, date of birth, nationality, gender, document type, document number and document country of issuance, as well as time and place of entry into or exit from Canada. The $117-million data-sharing program is part of Canada's Beyond the Border Action Plan, designed to improve border security and the flow of goods between the two countries.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Carnival Cruises to Offer Big Name Musical Acts

Starting in April, Carnival Cruise Line will launch an experience branded "Carnival LIVE" featuring live performances by artists including Jennifer Hudson, LeAnn Rimes, Olivia Newton- John, Lady Antebellum, Trace Adkins and other stars. The artists will join ships at home ports in Cozumel, Nassau and Catalina Island, playing the last night of one cruise and the first night of the next. The performers will be in the main show lounge, and will not be sailing.

These shows are not included in the cruise fare. Tickets will cost $20 to $40, and can be purchased in advance through the line's web-based shore excursion system, or on board at the shore excursion desk, if available. VIP tickets, selling for $100 to $150 each, will include a meet-and-greet with photo opportunities, a laminated concert pass and seating in the first three rows.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Aircraft Security Now Part of TSA

The TSA is again expanding its responsibilities by taking over the inspection of aircraft repair stations in an attempt to lower the risk of theft and other terrorism-related activity. The move will cover about 4,100 domestic repair stations and 700 foreign ones, as the agency attempts to satisfy a Congressional order passed about a decade ago. According to the Associated Press, Congress first mandated the TSA to inspect airport repair stations over concern that they made easy targets for terrorists wishing to steal a plane or plant a bomb onboard one. The FAA is responsible for repair stations but their job is to ensure the conditions of work quality meet US standards. With the TSA now preparing to inspect shops for security, the FAA will be able to continue authorizing new stations, a process that had been halted previously. The new rules apply only to stations operating at or near airports, since the agency found other locations "represent a minimal risk to aviation security." No examinations will be performed without the cooperation of that nation's government.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

New York's Tallest Hotel Opens

Marriott International, Inc and G Holdings announced the opening of a combined 378-room Courtyard hotel and 261-suite Residence Inn hotel in Midtown Manhattan. The $320 million tallest single-use hotel in North America is located at 1717 Broadway. It was built and is owned by G Holdings and managed by Interstate Hotels & Resorts. The 68-story building is just steps from Central Park and Times Square. The hotels offer guests convenient access to Carnegie Hall, the Broadway Theater District, Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall. The hotels offer valet parking and share 6,000 square feet of meeting space, a fitness center located on the 35th floor with floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor sundeck for stretching, relaxing or seasonal sunning. Some guest rooms also feature floor-to-ceiling windows offering spectacular views of Central Park, Times Square and the Hudson River.