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U.S Expats Rocked By Mexico Drug War

For many years, Canadian and American expats have come to the shores of Lake Chapala for its year round spring-like weather at Mexico’s largest lake. Even D.H. Lawrence the famous English author came to the area to find inspiration. All that calm amidst the lakeside retreats was broken last month when hitmen from a suspected drug cartel kidnapped Mexican locals and then dumped the bodies of 18 decapitated people in two abandoned vehicles only miles from the tourist center of Ajijic. The escalating violence followed a number of months of increasing... 
 

Winslet and Branagh Head Honors List on Queen’s Birthday

Today, the Queen’s birthday is celebrated throughout the British Isles and the British Empire Medal is making a comeback after more than 20 years. The medal honors those who perform hands-on service in their local communities. Topping the list of honorees are Kate Winslet and Kenneth Branagh, two actors who will receive knighthood. Following them will be 293 British Empire Medal recipients. Prime Minister David Cameron revived the award to reward those who volunteer. The award extends the reach of the system in honoring individuals who help their... 
 

California to Decide on GMO Labeling

The voters in California’s November election will decide whether a special label is needed on genetically engineered foods, announced the Secretary of State for California as part of the Right to Know initiative. The new historic initiative would become the first in the United States to become law that requires the labelling of a wide variety of foods that are genetically engineered. The supporters for the initiative feel it is the right of the people to know what they are eating to make better informed choices about the food their families consume.... 
 

Saudi Princess Walks from Hotel Bill of $7 million

Princess Maha al-Sudairi tried to walk away from a Paris hotel without paying her bill. The Princess and her entourage were found trying to sneak out in the middle of the night and leave a bill totalling $7.4 million unpaid. Her entourage of over 60 people was seen by hotel employees who called police. The hotel called the Saudi Arabian embassy about the incident. The princess is the former wife of the man who is second in line to the country’s throne and she had been at the hotel taking up an entire floor since December of 2011. The princess... 
 

Happy Days Headed to Court

A judge last week refused to throw out the case filed by cast members of the 1970s hit television series Happy Days. Four of the cast members sued to try to recover money from sales of merchandise they were never received. The Superior Court judge in Los Angeles denied CBS’s motion for summary judgment that would have brought to an end the lawsuit. The network is the owner of the show. The issue that is remaining is whether the show’s actors are entitled to payments from DVDs of the Happy Days series. The judge ruled the initial burden of proving... 
 

J.R. Returns with Dallas

Dallas had returned to television after nearly 20 years away. This month the Ewing family makes its return and will include some of its original cast from the hit show that aired between 1978 and 1991. Leading the return to the small screen is Larry Hagman as the always scheming and ruthless J.R. Ewing. The series followed the trial and tribulations of the Ewing family an ultra-rich family in Dallas thanks to oil. The new series will premiers in a two-hour special June 13, 2012. During the peak years, the show was number one in the ratings and was... 
 

Bus Operators Closed Over Safety Concerns

Federal Transportation authorities have shuttered 26 bus operators along the Northeast corridor following an investigation of over a year that found the companies were posing an imminent hazard to the safety of the public. The Transportation Department, which was in charge of the investigation, calls the orders for shutdown the largest individual safety crackdown in the history of the DOT. The action that took place applies to nine bus companies that are currently active, 13 that had previously been ordered to remain out of service, but had continued... 
 

Tourism on Gulf Coast Rebounds

Two years after the BP oil spill, the Gulf Coast is hot again, and not just because of the beautiful hot sun. Tourists are flocking to the white sand beaches in the region following two years of nearly no tourism. Helping bring tourists back is over $150 million in promotions the oil company is spending. New Orleans is about 150 miles north of where the oil well blew up in April of 2010 and over 4 million barrels of crude were sent gushing into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Part of the close to $15 million first sent to the state of Louisiana... 
 

The Avengers Drops to Second

Memorial Day weekend will be remembered by Sony as the weekend Men in Black 3 took the box office title away from Disney’s The Avengers. The sequel starring Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith and Josh Brolin took over first place in the box office with a three-day $55 million haul. Early predictions say the movie will earn another $15 million on Memorial Day bringing its four-day haul to $70 million, but that is lower than many had estimated. The $230 million sequel was a huge budget to overcome but many thought it has its own built in audience from... 
 

Now Even Flying Together Costs More

This year’s summer air travel will cost travelers even more. Airlines are charging more for both window and aisle seats, with some airlines charging as much as $25 for each way. It is not as simple as just buying your ticket, reserving your seat, checking in and flying. Airlines now want passengers to not only pay for checked baggage but also extra to sit next to companions, including a child or spouse. That will cause a lot of unhappy flyers during the soon to be high summer season. Now many passengers are already carrying their own suitcases... 
 

Former Housekeeper Sues Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone was sued on Wednesday by her housekeeper. The former live in housekeeper and nanny, has claimed a number of things in her documents that were filed in court yesterday. The harassment lawsuit was filed by Erlinda Elemen and claims that she was insulted by Stone due to her Filipino accent. She said that Stone had told her not to talk in front of her kids, so they would not end up speaking like her. The suit also says that Elemen was not allowed to read the Bible while in the home of the actress. Elemen also said she was fired by Stone... 
 

Tourism Returns to the Riviera Maya

The Riviera Maya is located along a stretch of 80 miles of Mexican coastline that borders the Eastern Caribbean. Just south of Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula, the area is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and the multi-hued waters of the Caribbean. In 2011, the region set new tourism records with over 3.6 million visitors. The increase in visitors to the region was 7% from the prior year and an increase of over 200% compared to 2000. Over 10.2 million tourists visited Mexico in 2011 and more than 28% of them visited the area of the Riviera... 
 

Three lose their lives on Mount Everest

While descending the summit of Mount Everest, three climbers died over the weekend. Eberhard Schaaf, a German climber who was 61, was climbing with an expedition known as Eco Everest, which was there to remove old garbage that has been on Everest for over two decades. Authorities said Schaaf died along the Southeast Ridge Route on Saturday at an altitude of over 29,000 feet. Song Won-Bin, a Korean and 32-year old Shriya Shah a woman from Nepal living in Canada both died while descending from the summit on the weekend. How or where they died was... 
 

The Avengers Continues Its Incredible Run

The Marvel Studios blockbuster The Avengers is like the Eveready Bunny, it just keeps on going and going and going. Three new movies hit the box office over the weekend and all three failed to get close to the $55.1 million the superhero movie took in during its third weekend. The Avengers dropped by 47% in box office receipts, but has held on admirably for a movie with such high sales figures. At the end of Sunday, the receipts for the movie in North America will be over $457 million. That will set the mark for surpassing the $450 million level... 
 

Raven-Symone says her Sexual Orientation is her own

Actress Raven-Symone has never been one to talk much about her private life and said she will not be doing so anytime in the near future. The National Enquirer claims the actress is living currently in New York in a condominium with her girlfriend AzMarie Livingston, who is one of the contestants vying to win America’s Next Top Model. Symone did not comment directly on the latest National Enquirer report, but she did address rumors about her sexual orientation on Tweeter. She tweeted, “I live my personal life in the way that makes me the happiest.... 
 

Travelers Might Skimp During Summer Vacations

The Memorial Day holiday is just a few weeks away and AAA said there should be an increase in the number of people who travel this year for the holiday as opposed to last year. However, that rate is not expected to be too much higher. The Memorial Day weekend is usually a good indicator as to how the summer travel season will be. An estimated 35 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home during the upcoming three-day weekend. That is an increase of about half a million travelers over last year. Close to 88% of the travelers... 
 

Ex-Crew Member of Cruise Line Sentenced For Sex Offenses

A former crewmember of Cunard Cruise line was sentenced on Friday in Swindon Crown Court to four years behind bars for sexually assaulting children who were in his care, while he was employed by Cunard.   Paul Trotter of West Yorkshire was given the four-year sentence, with another four years of probation when released. He will have to be listed on the sex offenders registry for his lifetime and once released will be banned from working anywhere he may interact with children. The charges Trotter received stemmed from incidents 13 boys who were... 
 

Desperate Housewives’ Finale Ends Eight-Year Run

The hit series Desperate Housewives ended its eight-season run on ABC with an affectionate, tidy ending. The ending was not characteristic of the racy, rocky, macabre series. Everyone on the show is destined to live a happy life after the finale, except for Karen McCluskey, played by Kathryn Joosten. The loveable senior who tends to be cranky was trying to tackle cancer, but she dies at her home, the way she asked to, with a song sung by Johnny Mathias serenading her. Bree Van de Kamp had been saved by that time. She had been on trial accused of... 
 

Goober Pyle from The Andy Griffith Show Dies

The grinning gas station attendant from The Andy Griffith Show know to all those who watched as Goober Pyle, has died. George Lindsey, 83, was also for his role on the long running Hee Haw. Lindsey died, said a Nashville funeral home, from a brief illness. Lindsey became famous for his role of Goober the gas station attendant who always wore a beanie on The Andy Griffith Show between 1964 and 1968 and the successor to the show Mayberry RFD between 1968 and 1971. On Hee Haw from the 1971 season through its last year of production in 1992, Lindsey... 
 

Difficult for Travelers to Maintain tabs on Tablets

Travelers are finding they are leaving their electronic tablets and other personal electronic devices on board airplanes, in hotels and even near the pool while on vacation. One industry expert said that many people have two or three different devices they carry with them and may use one and then stuff it into the seatback pocket and forget it was there and leave the plane without it. However, it is not only airplanes where people are leaving their iPads, Kindles and PlayBooks. A survey was recently taken at five airports in the U.S. and found that... 
 

Zoe Saldana on Children and Plastic Surgery

Since her late teens, Zoe Saldana felt a maternal urge, however her career has led her down another path. The star of Avatar, revealed she wanted to have kids with Keith Britton, her ex-finance, early into the 11-year relationship the two enjoyed. However, at that time, Britton was not ready. She said, “I am Latin, Latinas start early, at 22 I had an urge to hold onto something, I wanted a little one.” She said she respected Britton’s decision to not have kids for years in their relationship. Then when Keith was ready, she said she did not... 
 

Visas and Unfriendly Security Hurting U.S. Tourism

Increasing the number of foreign tourists visiting the United States would help to improve the economic outlook of the country. However, a costly process to obtain visas and a generally unwelcoming immigration and airport security continue to hurt the number of visitors arriving from away. Business and travel experts say that because of the new international campaign by the private and public sector, designed at attracting foreign visitors to the U.S., something needs to be done. Experts cannot believe how difficult it is for foreign tourists to... 
 

U.S. Launches Campaign to Promote Tourism

On Tuesday, the U.S. launched its first marketing campaign to boost tourism. Residents of Canada, the UK and Japan got a taste of the new marketing campaign. The campaign consists of web, video and print advertising and was created by a partnership of private companies and government agencies called Brand USA. The group was designed to act like other countries tourism ministries such as in Italy, Israel and Ireland. This is the first time the U.S. has decided to market itself to people living in other countries, as a tourist destination. Tourism... 
 

United Nations Fighting Human Trafficking and Exploitation in Tourism

Two United Nations heads have taken a firm stand against the problem of human trafficking, most importantly child trafficking in tourism. The two UN heads have pledged to eradicate this hidden scourge using joint efforts. The UN Director on Drugs and Crime Yury Fedotov and the Secretary General for the UN World Tourism Organization, Taleb Rifai, called for the global effort at every level of society. Both entities signed a formal memorandum to step up the cooperation against this type of exploitation. Over one billion tourists or about 1 out of... 
 

Motel Uses Nudity to Survive

One motel in Cocoa Beach, Florida has had a problem filling rooms and lounge chairs. In order to attract more guests, the Fawlty Towers Motel has had to resort to attracting guests that has raised the eyebrows of many local residents. Starting May 1, the Motel will become a nudist resort. The motel’s owner said he decided to convert to a nudist resort since there is no competition for over 100 miles and it is a niche he thinks will do well in the market. He said it is his last recourse to save the business. The older people who come to the area... 
 

Airport Security Needs Help

The former Transportation Security Administration administrator Kip Hawley said the agency’s approach to today’s airport security is broken. Hawley was the TSA head between 2005 and 2009. He was the face the public saw of an agency that millions of American travelers despised. Today, he says it is understandable to him why the agency is hated. He says the approach the agency uses toward airport security is not working. He said, the TSA needs to worry less about standardized procedures and prohibited items and focus more on mitigating risk and... 
 

More Smartphone Users Accessing Travel Information

As smartphones become more and more popular, more and more users are accessing travel information from them. A recent study in the U.S. said that over half of all smartphone users accessed some form of travel information over the past 90 days. Nearly 20% of those users reserved a hotel or airline ticket using their handset device. The most popular activity related to travel that users performed was checking prices of airlines. Over 26% of all users said, they had checked the prices of airfares a minimum of one time in the last 90 days. Flight status,... 
 

Volcano Alert Increased in Mexico

Because of the rumbling taking place at the Popocatepetl volcano south of Mexico City, government officials increased the alert level. The level is at the fifth level of seven in the warning scale. Inside the volcanoes crater, a lava dome has formed and is growing said the National Disaster Prevention Center. The volcano is 17, 886 feet in height. It has been spewing incandescent rock along with ash and water vapor. The center released a statement that said, “Significant explosions that increase in intensity could take place inside the volcano... 
 

Hollywood Likes China’s Recent Openness

Hollywood is taking advantage of a new breach in the great cultural wall of China, albeit cautiously. On Monday, Disney announced that it would produce Iron Man 3 together with a company in China. This is just the latest sign that Hollywood is warming up to China’s recent openness. China, for decades, has put limits on the number of films from other countries that are allowed in the country. The limit until recently was 20 however, Chinese officials in February, announced that quota would increase to 34. Government officials also announced they... 
 

When to Purchase Airline Tickets

Travelers always face the problem of when is the best time to purchase an airline ticket. Prices of tickets can fluctuate all the way up to the day of departure. A recent study conducted by the Airlines Reporting Corporation challenges the idea that earlier purchases save money. This past January the ARC, which processes all transactions for tickets for travel agencies and airlines reported that for the last 48 months passengers paid lower prices for flights within the United States when the ticket was purchased six weeks before the departure date. A... 
 

New Travel Clothing To Keep You Safe

With more and more people travelling to foreign countries and unknown areas, clothing to keep travellers and their valuables safe has become big business. Recently, new clothing has been launched that has been given great reviews by travel experts. A pair of pickpocket-proof pants has hidden pockets and gives the traveller somewhere to stash cash plus other valuables like passports and or jewellery. CEO Mike Kelly of On Call International, a company that provides travellers with assistance and emergency services said his company receives a number... 
 

Baldwin Dined With Stalker in 2010

On Monday, the Canadian woman accused by authorities of harassing and aggravated stalking of Alec Baldwin, Genevieve Sabourin, was arraigned in a New York City court. Baldwin, spoke about the incident on Tuesday. He said, “Isn’t it odd that while in handcuffs and being led away by the police, the accused stalker smiles for cameras.” From March 31 until Sunday, the day of her arrest, Sabourin, aged 40, tried on at least three occasions to contact the actor in person. She attempted to do so at his homes in Greenwich Village and the Hamptons... 
 

Captain America to return in 2014

Captain America will be redeployed. Marvel Studios and its parent Disney announced the sequel would be scheduled for release in April of 2014. Captain America originated in the 1940s as a scrawny weakling who is chemically enhanced to become a super-soldier. He helped to save the world by helping the Allies during WWII. Marvel said in their announcement that the new sequel will start from where the upcoming May 4 The Avengers ends. What the means is that Captain America will in fact survive his ordeals in The Avengers. Samuel L. Jackson is scheduled... 
 

New Film About Jobs To Feature Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher will now become a wealthy techie on the big screen. Currently Kutcher plays the role of a very rich techie on the television series Two and a Half Men. In the not so distant future that experience will come in handy as he will play one of the world’s most famous techies in a soon to be produced movie. Kutcher will play the part of the late co-founder of Apple Steve Jobs in Jobs, an indie film. The movie will portray the life of the Apple co-founder through his hippie days to his running of one of the world’s most successful tech... 
 

Brazil Wants to Eliminate Sex Tourism

The tourism ministry in Brazil had indentified over 2,000 sites on the internet that promote sex tourism in Brazil, back in 2011. Many of those sites were hosted in the United States. The ministry said it found 2,169 sites that contained photos of women in provocative clothing and poses. The sites also included invitations for sexual liaisons with minors. Since the ministry found these sites in 2011, they said over half of them have eliminated all of their content that was sex-oriented. The ministry said they continue to try to get the remaining... 
 

Price of Gasoline to Hurt Summer Travel

The rise in gas prices will likely cut summer travel for many vacationers as well as business travelers. A recent survey by the U.S. Travel Association of 2,500 U.S. households found that over 44% said higher prices of gas would curb the number of vacations they take during the upcoming summer. Thirty-seven percent said their trips would be shorter, while some said they would shorten their trips and have fewer. Just 19% said their business trips would be fewer because of the gas prices. However, a large percentage of business travelers said they... 
 

Low Cost Airline Venture Being Explored By Quantas Airways (PINK: QUBSF)

Qantas Airways announced the formation of a partnership with China Eastern Airlines to create a low-cost airline based in Hong Kong.  Many airline ventures have sprung up in Asia lately as carriers jockey for position in anticipation of a major increase in air travel.  Customers who expect a complete range of services generally choose full-service carriers like Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines, which dominate the market in large parts of Asia. The companies will be investing around $198 million in the joint venture.  The new carrier, Jetstar... 
 

Jimmy Kimmel Will Host Emmys

The 64th annual Primetime Emmys will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. The show will air on ABC on September 23. It will be his first time hosting the Emmys. It is surprising since he has hosted for a number of awards shows such as the ESPN Espy Awards and the American Music Awards. Don Mischer will be the show’s executive producer for the 12th time, a record. He said via a statement that he loves television and looks forward to the ABC show and working with the Academy. He promised a fast-paced show full of humor, which will be unpredictable and celebratory... 
 

Unruly Air Travelers May Get Sued

New York air travelers that use one of the three main airports in the area may soon be paying for the cost of delaying flights for their unruly behavior. A spokesperson for the Port Authority of New York said that a number of planes have had to return to the gate because of passengers being disruptive. The spokesperson said they were looking into cutting down the amount of incidents that need police response and reduce the money airlines lose due to the incidents. The Port Authority plans to use posted signs, social media and other methods to remind... 
 

Hunger Games Wins BIG

Hunger Games took a huge bite of the box office worldwide in its debut weekend. The film took in an incredible $214 million worldwide. In the U.S. alone, the movie earned over $155 million. That take by the movie was even higher than the lofty estimates set by Hollywood analysts. The movie became the third-highest domestic opening movie of all time. Internationally the movie took in nearly $60 million from another 67 markets. Only last year’s Harry Potter finale and The Dark Knight, the Batman movie of 2008 took in more. This is the first franchise... 
 

Tingo Offers Rebooks

Tingo, like Hotels.com and Expedia.com offers online hotel bookings. Where Tingo is different is it will rebook the reservation of a traveler if the room rate drops on their reservation. Travelers can set a minimum rate of savings, which usually starts at a low of $1. If the hotel room rate drops by that set amount, Tingo will make a change to the reservation and notify the traveler by email. The rate change can be made up to 24 hours prior to the traveler’s check-in. Tingo’s program of Money Back, does not include room rates that are non-refundable. In... 
 

Gay Cruise Sees Two Arrested

On the Caribbean island of Dominica, police entered a cruise ship and arrested two men from the U.S. The two men were from California and were passengers on the gay cruise. Local police said they boarded the ship because of reports of indecent exposure. Sex between two males is not legal in Dominica. The police announced that the two men had been arrested for buggery, as well. That term is the equivalent to sodomy in Dominica said authorities. The two men were identified as Dennis Mayer and John Hart. Police said that someone on the dock had seen... 
 

Room Rates Increase At Hotels Across North America

Statistics show that the average rate for hotel rooms in North America increased by 5% during 2011. The HPI is an annual survey of hotel room rates in major destinations around the world. It is based on bookings through hotels.com. The prices reported in the survey are the actual ones customers paid, not the advertised rates posted on the internet or in publications. Globally the prices of hotel room rates increased by 4% in 2011 on average. However, in North America those prices increased by over 5%. This shows a steady recovery taking place since... 
 

Altitude Sickness Helped By Taking Ibuprofen

Researchers from Stanford University have found that an easily accessible over the counter medication may aid with AMS – acute mountain sickness or altitude sickness. The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Grant Lipman says that a sufferer of mountain sickness feels like they have a bad hangover combined with fatigue, a headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting and a poor appetite. The recent study was aimed at finding how to improve the problems that sufferers go through. Ibuprofen is a very common over the country medication that helps with inflammation... 
 

Judge Asked To Rule On Gabor Case

A judge who currently is overseeing the conservatorship of Britney Spears’ has been asked to appoint a conservator for Zsa Zsa Gabor’s medical care and finances. A hearing was scheduled for May 2 by Judge Reva Goetz of the Los Angeles Superior Court to hear a request filed by Gabor’s daughter, Francesca Hilton. Gabor, born in Hungary, at one time was one of the most glamorous women in Hollywood. However, health problems over the last two years, including a leg amputation and broken hip have left her bedridden. Her daughter contends that her... 
 

Disney To Lose Millions On John Carter

Disney has announced it will lose millions of dollars on the Martian adventure movie John Carter. The film cost Disney nearly $350 million to produce and the company believes it could lose up to $200 million. When the movie was being produced, company executives hoped the movie would have a number of sequels. If Disney executives are correct with their predictions, then the movie could be one of the industry’s biggest busts’ of all time. Over its first two full weekends, the international income for the movie was only $184 million. That number... 
 
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