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American Airlines Files for Bankruptcy

REUTERS |  American Airlines and its parent company AMR Corp filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday to cut costs and combat soaring fuel prices and dampened travel demand.

American Airlines was once the largest U.S. carrier, but is now third behind United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. It had been the only major U.S. airline to avoid a bankruptcy filing in the last decade and consequently has the industry's highest labor costs.

The airline hopes bankruptcy will cut labor costs after it failed to reach a deal with pilots and other work groups after years of fruitless negotiations. Analysts question, however, whether restructuring under Chapter 11 of U.S. Bankruptcy Code will address operational shortcomings and bolster revenue.

The filing also leaves AMR vulnerable to unsolicited takeover bids by rival airlines in the rapidly shrinking airline industry.

"It completes the cycle," said Helane Becker, an analyst with Dahlman Rose & Co. "Every major airline in the united States has filed for Chapter 11."

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Virtual Fire to Rage in the Colosseum for Art

Reuters Life | Raging fire will appear to consume Rome's ancient Colosseum in a dramatic art spectacle over the next few nights aimed at igniting debate on the fragility of Europe's cultural heritage sites.

For artists Thyra Hilden and Pio Diaz, engulfing the vast Roman amphitheatre in virtual flames will be the culmination of a long-running project using video projections of wild fires to make landmark buildings appear to be burning.

"We wanted something to symbolize destruction and creation at once. We wanted to question whether something should exist or not and what the heritage means to us," said Diaz.

"What would happen if you destroyed a museum or building, is the culture gone? Do we need to build it again or do we have the same culture as we had before?" he asked, as images of flames were projected from the Colosseum's entrance arches, making it appear to burn from within.

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Capri, Geneva, NY Most Expensive for Hotels as Prices Rise

201009-b-capri-3jpgReutersCapri, Geneva and New York top the list for the most expensive hotel rooms, according to a global survey that showed hotel rates rising for the first time in three years as the global economy picks up.

Hotel provider Hotels.com's bi-annual hotel price index, released on Tuesday, found that although average hotel room rates are at low levels seen six years ago, there are hints of a recovery. (...)

Overall, prices rose about 2 percent in the second quarter of 2010 from a year ago, the first increase since the end of 2007, as business travelers and tourists started packing their bags again and heading out. (Photo courtesy of Capri Tourism)

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Ritz-Carlton to Close Lake Las Vegas

Reuters |  The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co will close its five-diamond property in Las Vegas this May, after the hotel struggled with a slide in demand and revenue.

"It's nothing the hotel did. It's a simple lack of business and a decline in the tourism industry," said Ritz-Carlton spokeswoman Vivian Deuschl.

The owners of the 348-room property, Village Hospitality LLC, an arm of Deutsche Bank, will stop funding the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas day-to-day operations on May 2.

"That was the owner's decision and we reluctantly agreed to go along with it," Deuschl said.

Luxury properties have been hit hard in the past year and a half. Corporate travel and business from associations accounts for the bulk revenue of these hotels, but companies and groups have cut back on travel spending in the past year.

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