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Obama to Nominate Ex-Army General to Head TSA

Washington (CNN) |  President Obama has tapped a former Army general to lead the Transportation Security Administration, sources have told CNN.

Obama plans to nominate Robert A. Harding, a retired major general with 33 years in the Army, to become the TSA administrator, sources said. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will announce the nomination Monday with Harding by her side, according to one administration official.

"The TSA administrator is the most important unfilled post in the Obama administration," one administration official said. "Mr. Harding has the experience and perspective to make a real difference in carrying out the mission of the agency."

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New Family Travel Auction Site Launches

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FamilyGetaway.com, a new website for value-seeking families, just launched and is offering travel packages at up to 65 percent off retail prices at places like the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa in Koloa, Hawaii, Highmark Steamboat Springs in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa.

Owned by the same company as LuxuryLink.com, FamilyGetaway.com operates in a similar manner as the popular luxury travel website by offering two purchase options:

-Auction: Those with flexible travel dates can submit bids on the package of their choice, assuring the website’s best values.

-Buy Now: For those with less flexibility, there is the Buy Now option that still offers steep discounts (often up to 50 percent off!).

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Santiago Sidelines: 80-hours Post-Quake

Read correspondent Connie McCabe's first Chile dispatch here.

Monster earthquake notwithstanding, this is a big year for Chile, nothing less than her 200th birthday. But no one is talking much about that anymore.

Michele Bachelet’s Bicentennial Advisory Committee had been mapping out a host of celebrations, initiatives and projects to benchmark the big year. New cultural centers were rising up. A satellite was to be ejected into space. Plazas were to be renovated; parks improved; poetry contests held.

Yesterday, thanks to catastrophe-hungry media, the only things the world saw being held were rifles and iron bars as angry Chileans cleaned out a mini-market just outside Santiago. And the world saw this again and again. That and images of tanks rumbling through debris-strewn streets of Concepcion and smoke billowing ominously out of supermarkets. There’s also the scene of the weary fishermen and their families—what is left of them—combing through the shattered remains of what was, just days before, a coastline of idyllic beach destinations. And people fighting tear gas and each other for a few canisters of powdered milk and scooping up water from blown-up baby swimming pools.

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Look into My Sole: TSA Shoe Scanners in the Works

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I don’t know about you, but I curse Richard Reid, the goofy-looking “shoe bomber,” every time I have to go through airport security—especially this time of year, when my slip-on, slip-off shoes are deep in storage. Amid talk of high-tech body scanners and some eight years after Reid's failed attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound American Airlines flight by igniting explosives hidden in his footwear, shoe security still proves elusive.

Which brings me to an email I got today from the Transportation Security Administration (if you’re a frequent traveler and don’t subscribe to the agency’s email news list, you should). Its subject line: What Ever Happened To The Shoe Scanner Idea? What ever happened indeed.

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Just KIDding! Child Directs Air Traffic at JFK

NBC - New York |  The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating why a child was allowed to direct air traffic at John F. Kennedy airport, one of the busiest airports in the country.

The FAA says a controller brought the child to work on February 17th and allowed him to talk to pilots.

"Pending the outcome of our investigation, the employees involved in this incident are not controlling air traffic," the FAA said in a statement. "This behavior is not acceptable and does not demonstrate the kind of professionalism expected from all FAA employees." The agency declined to comment beyond the statement.


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DISPATCH: T+L Correspondent Shares First-Hand Account of Chile's Earthquake

Three minutes. Such a short time in the big scheme of things, but such a long time when the ground is shifting under one’s feet. Everything changed in Chile in those three minutes. Even for those of with mere superficial damages. Like me.

I live in Santiago, and I don’t remember if I was sleeping or not when it started. I just remember hearing a low rumble, almost like thunder. I knew what it was; as the whole world knows, Chile gets more than its fair share of earthquakes. I thought I would just wait it out. But then the rumble got louder, the headboard started slamming against wall; the windows rattling, and the closet doors inching open and thumping closed. Not so gracefully, I nudged my husband. He had been sleeping, but before I could ask what he thought we should do, he was sprinting down the hall.

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Major JFK Runway Closes for Repairs


The Consumerist |  Today marks the beginning of what could be an ugly four months at JFK International Airport, as the NYC-area travel hub loses its busiest runway for renovation work. This move has forced the airport to reduce the number of flights going in and out by 20% during this time.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates all three major airports in the NYC area, has reduced the total number of arrivals and departures at JFK from around 1,300 to 1,050.

The redo on Runway 13-31 isn't just a simple repaving job. The $376 million effort will widen the runway by 50 feet and add taxiways, all with the goal of reducing flight delays by around 10,500 hours each year.

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Hackers Expose Security Flaws with 'Elvis Presley' Passport

201002-b-elvisjpgLondon, England (CNN) | In the name of improved security a hacker showed how a biometric passport issued in the name of long-dead rock 'n' roll king Elvis Presley could be cleared through an automated passport scanning system being tested at an international airport.

Using a doctored passport at a self-serve passport machine, the hacker was cleared for travel after just a few seconds and a picture of the King himself appeared on the monitor's display.

Adam Laurie and Jeroen Van Beek, who call themselves "ethical hackers," say the exercise exposed how easy it is to fool a passport scanner with a fraudulent biometric chip.

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Continental Launches Mobile Boarding Passes at Heathrow

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Travel Daily News | Continental Airlines announced the expansion of its mobile boarding pass service to London’s Heathrow Airport, becoming the first carrier to offer paperless boarding passes on nonstop flights from the United Kingdom to the U.S.

The service allows customers to receive boarding passes electronically on their mobile phones or personal digital assistants (PDAs) and eliminates the need for paper boarding passes.

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Vietnam Builds Coastal Road Link to Cambodia and Thailand

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eTurbo News
|  According to Vietnamese media sources, construction will begin next month on
a 220-km long coastal road in the Mekong Delta as part of an international
 highway linking the country with Cambodia and Thailand, the project's
management board recently announced.

Running through the provinces of Ca Mau and Kien Giang, the US$440 million
road will be built in cooperation with the governments of South Korea and
Australia, as well as the Asian Development Bank with its seat in Manila,
Philippines.

Once it is completed, the road will be part of a nearly 1,000-kilometer link
known as the Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam Southern Coastal Road Economic
Corridor, starting at Bangkok and ending at Ca Mau Province's Nam Can
District.

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