Wednesday, February 26, 2014

US Government Looking at High Tech Solutions for Faster Airport Screening

The US Department of Homeland Security is pushing for private contractors to create a screening machine with "screen and walk" capability for use at the nation's 160 international airports and thousands of federal facilities. The agency recently requested information from high-tech companies and other private firms about any new technology that can help speed up the security checkpoints managed by the TSA and the Federal Protective Services. 

The DHS asked for technology that can screen a minimum of 250 people per hour, which is slightly faster than the current pace of about 200 per hour for the full-body scanners. The new technology would not replace but would add to the screening technology now used at airports. "The system will detect an explosive or assembled IED (improvised explosive device) with and without divestiture of outer garments, shoes and through clutter depending on the deployment," according to the government request. "In addition, detection should occur through a minimum of 2 layers of clothing concealment where those layers are composed of cotton, cotton-polyester, wool, silk and leather materials among others."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Caribbeans Newest Cruise Port

The Banana Coast, the western Caribbean's newest cruise port, welcomed its first cruise ship to Trujillo, Honduras earlier this week. Travel Dynamics International's 130-passenger Yorktown made the inaugural visit and is scheduled to return next Monday. After tendering ashore Yorktown passengers were greeted by performances by Garifuna musicians, browsed locally made crafts and set out on tours to the nearby rain forest or relaxed on the beach. Banana Coast was included in Yorktown's 'Tropical Islands, Rain Forests & Ancient Sites of Central America' itinerary. Banana Coast has shopping, a newly built tender dock, reception center and transportation hub as well as 10 acres of beachfront in the town of Trujillo, which was established in 1525.

Diverse shore excursions feature the region's Spanish colonial heritage and lush tropical setting with cultural, historical, soft adventure and eco-tour offerings. Five cruise lines have scheduled 20 calls on eight ships at Honduras' first mainland cruise destination. Holland America Line was the first major cruise operator to commit to a series of calls beginning in November 2014 through March 2015. Silversea Cruises has calls in December 2014 and March 2015. P&O Cruises and Oceania Cruises are booked in the first quarter of 2015.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to book your next cruise vacation!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

FAA Bans Pilots Texting in Flight

The FAA has issued final regulations banning commercial airline pilots from using Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) while in the cockpit operating aircraft. The rule will take effect in 60 days and provides mandates for prohibitions that the FAA and lawmakers have been looking to finalize in recent years. Within the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, lawmakers included a provision for the agency to develop a rule that prohibits airline flight crews from using personal wireless communications devices for personal reasons during all phases of flight. "This rule will ensure that certain non-essential activities do not contribute to the challenge of task management on the flight deck and do not contribute to a loss of situational awareness due to attention to non-essential activities, as highlighted by these incidents," the agency said in its issuance of the new rule.  

Thursday, February 06, 2014

New Pyramid Discovered in Egypt

Archaeologists working near the ancient settlement of Edfu, in southern Egypt, have uncovered a step pyramid that dates back about 4,600 years, predating the Great Pyramid of Giza by at least a few decades. The step pyramid, which once stood as high as 43 feet, is one of seven so-called "provincial" pyramids built by either the pharaoh Huni (reign ca. 2635-2610 B.C.) or Snefru (reign ca. 2610-2590 B.C.). Over time, the step pyramid's stone blocks were pillaged, and the monument was exposed to weathering, so today, it's only about 16 feet tall. These provincial step pyramids are scattered throughout central and southern Egypt. They have no internal chambers and were not intended for burial. Six of the seven pyramids have almost identical dimensions, including the newly uncovered one at Edfu, which is about 60 x 61 feet. It has hieroglyphic graffiti incised on the outer faces of the pyramid. The inscriptions are located beside the remains of babies and children who were buried at the foot of the pyramid.