Associated Press | A prolonged heat wave in the central U.S. has fostered the growth of a dangerous form of algae in lakes and ponds, threatening swimmers and livestock and scaring away tourists during the busy summer season.
Blue-green algae are actually bacteria that produce toxins harmful to humans and livestock. It flourishes in warm, stagnant, sunlit water, and this year's heat wave combined with Oklahoma's worst drought since the Dust Bowl have created what one water official called a "perfect storm" for its growth.
Officials have issued a series of warnings, telling boaters and swimmers at lakes in northeast Oklahoma, southern Kansas and Nebraska to avoid contact with the toxic gunk. The issue attracted national attention earlier this month when Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe blamed a respiratory illness on a swim in Grand Lake in Ketchum Hollow.
New York Times | Rural America, already struggling to recover from the recession and the flight of its young people, is about to take another blow: the loss of its airline service.
That was underscored last week when Delta Air Lines announced that it “can no longer afford” to continue service at 24 small airports. The carrier says it is losing a total of $14 million a year on flights from places like Thief River Falls, a city of 8,600 in northwest Minnesota that fills only 12 percent of the seats, or Pierre, the capital of South Dakota, where Delta’s two daily flights are on average less than half full.
Nationally, all major airlines have been reducing and sometimes eliminating flights altogether in small cities, as the industry concentrates much of its service in 29 major hubs, which now account for 70 percent of all passenger traffic, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Because so many big media outlets are based in New York and Los Angeles, the rest of the world gets to hear the minutiae of our local news (Blackouts! Blizzards! Brushfires!) as though it’s their own. Thus, this weekend’s closing of the 405 freeway in Los Angeles—dubbed Carmageddon—is internationally known, if only locally dreaded.
A few Southern California hotels have offers for those Angelenos hoping to bypass the panic of Carmageddon with a weekend escape.
CNNMoney | If you think New York is expensive, try Luanda, Angola where you'd pay $28 for a CD and about $20 for a club sandwich and a soda, according to an annual survey on the cost of living around the globe by consulting firm Mercer.
Costs are so high in Luanda for Americans that Mercer deemed it the most expensive city in the world for the second year in a row.
The biggest trend to emerge in this year's survey—which compares the cost of housing, coffee, food, clothing and transportation for expatriates in 214 cities across five continents—was that American and European cities slipped in the rankings, while African and Asian cities climbed.
eTurbo News | The Qantas Group and Japan Airlines are believed to be in advanced talks about starting a low-cost domestic carrier in Japan.
A decision is expected this year, although both sides say the proposal has yet to be finalised. JAL says its investigations have been wider than a tie-up with Qantas subsidiary Jetstar.
The talks were put under the spotlight yesterday after the Japanese business paper Nikkei said the venture would be capitalised at between Y=10 billion ($116 million) and Y=20bn and would start next year.
JAL and Jetstar would each hold a 30 per cent stake.
eTurbo News | A help-wanted ad in the Mexican Pacific state of Guerrero is drawing rebuke from some women's rights groups.
In effect, the ad says: Wanted: Women ages 18-26, who are at least 5-foot-5 and whose weight is proportional to that height. Must have good physical and mental health. Knowledge of English is a plus.
The job? A new, all-female tourist police force proposed for Guerrero's most popular visitor destinations, including Acapulco.
"The idea is to have a police force comprised of only women, preferably beautiful ones," said Ramon Almonte Borja, head of the state's public security secretariat.
TechCrunch | Google just announced that it is teaming up with Virgin America to allow passengers to “test-fly” the search giant’s new Chromebook computers for free. Virgin passengers will be able to use the computers onboard their flight and at select airport gates from July 1 through September 30, 2011.
As an incentive, flyers who check out a Chromebook will receive a free WiFi session onboard Virgin America.
Virgin says that at airport gates in San Francisco, Chicago O’Hare, Boston and in Dallas-Fort Worth will include Google “Chrome Zone” lounges starting this week, where passengers can learn more about the Chromebook and check one out for their flight. Google is also partnering with the Ace Hotel in New York to offer Chromebooks in hotel guests’ rooms.
View more videos at: http://nbcnewyork.com.
NBC New York | Travelers were delayed at John F. Kennedy Airport Wednesday morning after about 150 turtles ambled onto a runway and blocked air traffic from moving.
JetBlue first tweeted news of the slowdown, with the hashtag #cantmakethisup.
The Port Authority later confirmed that workers had to clear the notoriously slow reptiles out of the area. The migration is a familiar occurrence at the airport, which is located near Jamaica Bay. The turtles typically head out of the bay to nest on the beach each summer.
The turtles were mostly gathered on runway 4L, plus nearby taxiways, starting at about 6:45 a.m., the Port Authority said.READ MORE
The Dutch government yesterday began circulating a commemorative coin that features a scannable QR code on one side and a 3D portrait of Queen Beatrix on the other. Scanning the QR code, one of those black-and-white squares that resemble Space Invaders, brings you to the website of the Royal Dutch Mint for a helter-skelter video tour of the building. The coins, available in silver-tone €5 and gold-tone €10 denominations, were minted in a limited run to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Mint building.
BOSTON (CBS) | There’s a battle rolling onto Boston’s sidewalks pitting pedestrians against tourists on futuristic wheels.
Residents in the North End have been complaining about an onslaught of Segway riders invading their neighborhood.
“They’re a pain in the butt, especially on like Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays,” said John Gargano. “It creates a nuisance. It creates a hazard.” That’s why the Boston City Council members voted unanimously to ban Segways from city sidewalks.