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Monday, December 29, 2008

Tips for Traveling Abroad

Register so the State Department can better assist you in an emergency: Register your travel plans with the State Department through a free online service at This will help us contact you if there is a family emergency in the U.S., or if there is a crisis where you are traveling. In accordance with the Privacy Act, information on your welfare and whereabouts will not be released to others without your express authorization.

Sign passport, and fill in the emergency information: Make sure you have a signed, valid passport, and a visa, if required, and fill in the emergency information page of your passport.

Leave copies of itinerary and passport data page: Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page and visas with family or friends, so you can be contacted in case of an emergency.

Check your overseas medical insurance coverage: Ask your medical insurance company if your policy applies overseas, and if it covers emergency expenses such as medical evacuation. If it does not, consider supplemental insurance.

Familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws: While in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws. The State Department web site at has useful safety and other information about the countries you will visit.

Take precautions to avoid being a target of crime: To avoid being a target of crime, do not wear conspicuous clothing or jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of money. Also, do not leave unattended luggage in public areas and do not accept packages from strangers.

Contact us in an emergency: Consular personnel at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad and in the U.S. are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens. Contact information for U.S. Embassies and Consulates appears on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at Also note that the Office of Overseas Citizen Services in the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs may be reached for assistance with emergencies at 1-888-407-4747, if calling from the U.S. or Canada, or 202-501-4444, if calling from overseas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative


* All persons traveling by air outside of the United States are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States.


All U.S. citizens must show proof of identity and proof of U.S. citizenship when entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the countries of the Caribbean by land or sea.

Acceptable documents include: U.S. Passport Book, U.S. Passport Card, or other document approved by the Department of Homeland Security.

U.S. citizens who do not have a single document verifying identity and citizenship must present both an identification and citizenship document; for example, a driver’s license and a copy of a birth certificate or naturalization certificate.

On June 1, 2009, the U.S. government will implement the full requirements of the land and sea phase of WHTI. The proposed rules require most U.S. citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry to have a passport, passport card, or other travel document approved by the Department of Homeland Security.

o CHILDREN: U.S. citizen children under the age of 16 will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of U.S. citizenship such as a naturalization certificate or citizenship card.

Groups of U.S. citizen children ages 16 through 18, when traveling with a school or religious group, social organization, or sports team, will be able to enter under adult supervision with originals or copies of their birth certificates or other proof of citizenship. See the Department of Homeland Security's for more information on the changing travel requirements.

Monday, December 15, 2008

International Travel Information

What Are Travel Warnings, Country Specific Information & Travel Alerts?

Travel Warnings

Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department decides, based on all relevant information, to recommend that Americans avoid travel to a certain country. Countries where avoidance of travel is recommended will have Travel Warnings as well as Country Specific Information. You may also want to review specific country Background Notes.

Travel Alerts

Travel Alerts are a means to disseminate information about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term and/or trans-national conditions posing significant risks to the security of American travelers. The TAs are made when there is a specific threat that cannot be countered. In the past, Travel Alerts have been issued to deal with short-term coups, violence by terrorists and anniversary dates of specific terrorist events.

Country Specific Information

Country Specific Information are available for every country of the world. They include such information as location of the U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country, unusual immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information, and drug penalties. If an unstable condition exists in a country that is not severe enough to warrant a Travel Warning, a description of the condition(s) may be included under an optional section entitled "Safety/Security."On limited occasions, we also restate in this section any U.S. embassy advice given to official employees. Country Specific Information generally do not include advice, but present information in a factual manner so the traveler can make his or her own decisions concerning travel to a particular country.

Monday, December 8, 2008


The Consular Section can provide updated information on the security situation in a country.

Should you find yourself in legal difficulty, contact a consular officer immediately. Consular officers cannot serve as attorneys, give legal advice, or get you out of jail. . If you are arrested, consular officials will visit you, advise you of your rights under local laws, provide a list of local attorneys who speak English and who may have had experience in representing U.S. citizens, and ensure that you are held under humane conditions and are treated fairly under local law. A consular officer will contact your family or friends if you desire. When necessary, consuls can transfer money from home for you and will try to get relief for you, including food and clothing in countries where this is a problem. If you are detained, remember that under international treaties and customary international law, you have the right to talk to the U.S. consul. If you are denied this right, be politely persistent. Try to have someone get in touch for you.

Monday, December 1, 2008

How to Handle Money Safely

To avoid carrying large amounts of cash, change your travelers checks only as you need currency. Countersign travelers checks only in front of the person who will cash them.
Do not flash large amounts of money when paying a bill. Make sure your credit card is returned to you after each transaction.

Deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money, buy airline tickets or purchase souvenirs. Do not change money on the black market.

After reporting missing items to the police, report the loss or theft of:

* travelers' checks to the nearest agent of the issuing company
* credit cards to the issuing company
* airline tickets to the airline or travel agent
* passport to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate

Monday, November 24, 2008

Safety on Public Transportation

Taxis. Only take taxis clearly identified with official markings. Beware of unmarked cabs.

Trains. Well-organized, systematic robbery of passengers on trains along popular tourists routes is a problem. It is more common at night and especially on overnight trains.

If you see your way being blocked by a stranger and another person is very close to you from behind, move away. This can happen in the corridor of the train or on the platform or station.

buses. The same type of criminal activity found on trains can be found on public buses on popular tourist routes. For example, tourists have been drugged and robbed while sleeping on buses or in bus stations. In some countries, whole busloads of passengers have been held up and robbed by gangs of bandit

Monday, November 17, 2008


When you travel abroad, the odds are in your favor that you will have a safe and incident-free trip. Travelers are, however, sometimes victimized by crime and violence, or experience unexpected difficulties. No one is better able to tell you this than the U.S. consular officers who work in more than 250 U.S. embassies and consulates around the globe. Every day of the year, U.S. embassies and consulates receive calls from American citizens in distress.

Happily, most problems can be solved over the telephone or by a visit to the Consular Section of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. There are other occasions, however, when U.S. consular officers are called upon to help U.S. citizens who are in foreign hospitals or prisons, or to assist the families of U.S. citizens who have passed away overseas

Monday, November 10, 2008

Amistad: Seeking Freedom in Connecticut

The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places in partnership with the communities of Farmington, Hartford, New Haven and New London, Connecticut, the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers invite you to explore Amistad: Seeking Freedom in Connecticut. The plight of the Mende Africans caught the attention of America in the 1840s, and continues to hold our attention today. This travel itinerary highlights 14 historic places listed in the National Register of Historic Places that tell the story of the Amistad and the Mende Africans' legal battle and quest for freedom in Connecticut.

In January 1839, a group of Mende Tribe Africans, were captured by Spanish traders and shipped to Cuba, where the Africans were bought by two plantation owners who intended to take them to their own plantations on another part of the island on the ship La Amistad. During that journey, the Mende revolted against their captors and tried to force the Spanish to sail them back to Africa. The Spaniards sailed north by night unbeknownst to the Africans, and the Amistad reached Long Island Sound on August 27, 1839. In search of food and water, the Mende deboarded on Montauk Point, Long Island, where they were recaptured by the Federal naval brig, Washington and escorted to nearby New London Harbor, Connecticut. The Amistad remained in New London, until it was sold 14 months later and its cargo auctioned at the New London Customhouse. The riveting trial of the Amistad Africans, including their legal defense by former President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, began in Connecticut and led to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Mende remained in Connecticut, as their fate was being debated and decided, for the next two years: in court in Hartford and New Haven (where the Mende were held in jail during much of the trial), and finally to Farmington where they spent three months while funds were raised for their return journey to Sierra Leone--places where important chapters of the Amistad story played out.

Amistad: Seeking Freedom in Connecticut offers several ways to discover the places that tell this story. Each highlighted historic place features a brief description of that place's historic significance, color photographs and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page the visitor will find a navigation bar containing links to five essays that explain more about the Amistad Story, Timeline of Events, Slave Trade, Connecticut Abolitionsists and Connecticut Freedom Trail. These essays provide historic background, or "contexts," for the places included in the itinerary. In the Learn More section, the itinerary links to regional and local web sites that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events, special activities, and lodging and dining possibilities. Visitors may be interested in Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, located in Connecticut. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed out if you plan to visit Connecticut in person.

Amistad: Seeking Freedom in Connecticut is the latest example of a new and exciting cooperative project. As part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to promote public awareness of history and encourage visits to historic places throughout the nation, the National Register of Historic Places cooperates with communities, regions and heritage areas throughout the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places nominated by State, Federal and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan trips by highlighting the amazing diversity of this country's historic places and supplying accessibility information for each featured site. Amistad: Seeking Freedom in Connecticut is the 37th National Register travel itinerary in this series. Additional itineraries will debut online in the future. The National Register of Historic Places hopes you enjoy this virtual travel itinerary of Amistad: Seeking Freedom in Connecticut.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary

From George Washington's precedent-setting refusal to seek a third term to the present day, the presidents of the United States who led the nation, growing it from an infant republic to a global superpower, have all left their mark. This travel itinerary aids visitors in exploring the lives and contributions of the 43 American Presidents. Experience the places they knew during their lifetimes and that honor their memories after their deaths. The American Presidents Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary was produced by the National Park Service's Heritage Education Services in partnership with the National Park Service Office of Tourism, the White House Historical Association, and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Munich, the Cosmopolitan City

Munish, the cosmopolitan city has the largest number of theatres in Germany, thousands of beer halls, a number of museums and beautiful gardens. The Marienplatz is the lively centre of Munich with cafes lining the streets and St. Peter Church whose 300-foot tower that gives excellent views of the city. The Residenz Palace, Alte Pinakothek/Neue Pinakothek (Old & New Art Museums) and Schloss Nymphenburg (the countryside palace of Wittelsbachs that is named after the nymphs frescoed on its main entrance hall) are the pother places of interest in Germany.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

World Tour- Bonn

Bonn is a 2000-year-old city that has a wealth of sites to offer tourists. The Town Hall or the Baroque Alte Rathaus, the Kreuzberg Chapel, two-storied Schwarzrheindorf Church and a large number of other churches are worth a visit. The late 19th-century streets of the old "Südstadt" with their splendid facades, the Alte Friedhof, and the Rheinaue Recreational Park are the other main tourist attractions.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tours Cathedral

The first cathedral of Saint-Maurice was build by Lidoire, évêque de Tours from 337 to 371 preceding Martin. Burnt in 561, it was restored by Grégoire of Tours and dedicated in 590. Its location, at the south-west angle of the castrum, as well as its west orientation makes its access in bayenet from the roadway crossing the city, and originally accessed through the late-antique surrounding wall. Such a configuration is quite rare.The cathedral was then rebuild during the second quarter of the Template:XIIe century and again burnt in 1166 during the conflict engaging Louis VII of France and Henri II of England (also count of Anjou, the neighboring region).

Monday, October 20, 2008

concert tour

A concert tour is a series of concerts by a musician, musical group, or some number of either in different cities or locations. Especially in the popular music world, such tours can become large-scale enterprises that last for several months or even years, are seen by hundreds of thousands or millions of people, and bring in millions of dollars (or the equivalent) in ticket revenues. Different segments of long-lived concert tours are known as "legs". Concert tours are often administered on the local level by concert promoters or by performing arts presenters

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Cannery

The Cannery Casino, Hotel is a locals casino located in North Las Vegas, Nevada on 28 acres. It is a joint venture between Millennium Management Group and Oaktree Capital Management and it is operated by Cannery Casino Resorts. Cannery includes 65,000 ft casino, 200 room hotel, pool, Jacuzzi, 24hour room services with four restaurants and two bars. It discovers variety of shops and galleries that filled with latest in objects and fashions.

The specialty of cannery is that it is a historic building with three levels of walkways, balconies and bridges, wrap around an inviting courtyard. People can relax under 100-year-old olive trees and can enjoy alfresco snack or an elegant meal entertained along by street performers. Here, live entertainment is featured daily.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Red and White Ferry

Red and white ferry located in San Francisco is one of the leading places of attractions in San Francisco. The red and white ferry san Francisco is founded in 1892, the family owned red and white fleet is legendary for its breathtaking san Francisco cruises. it is one of the two primary fleet operators offering tours of san Francisco bay including visits to Alcatraz islands and golden gate bridge.

There are three tours offered in red and white ferry, San Francisco and people can know well about the current prices and various special of the tourist spot. The tourists enjoy the amazing sunsets and appetizers aboard while relaxing the 2-hr in California Sunset Cruise. Most of Red and White Fleet's cruises depart from Pier 43½ in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wave theory

In the 1660s, Robert Hooke published a wave theory of light. Christiaan Huygens worked out his own wave theory of light in 1678, and published it in his Treatise on light in 1690. He proposed that light was emitted in all directions as a series of waves in a medium called the Luminiferous ether. As waves are not affected by gravity, it was assumed that they slowed down upon entering a denser medium.

Thomas Young's sketch of the two-slit experiment showing the diffraction of light. Young's experiments supported the theory that light consists of waves.The wave theory predicted that light waves could interfere with each other like sound waves (as noted around 1800 by Thomas Young), and that light could be polarized. Young showed by means of a diffraction experiment that light behaved as waves. He also proposed that different colors were caused by different wavelengths of light, and explained color vision in terms of three-colored receptors in the eye.

Another supporter of the wave theory was Leonhard Euler. He argued in Nova theoria lucis et colorum (1746) that diffraction could more easily be explained by a wave theory.

Later, Augustin-Jean Fresnel independently worked out his own wave theory of light, and presented it to the Académie des Sciences in 1817. Simeon Denis Poisson added to Fresnel's mathematical work to produce a convincing argument in favour of the wave theory, helping to overturn Newton's corpuscular theory.

The weakness of the wave theory was that light waves, like sound waves, would need a medium for transmission. A hypothetical substance called the luminiferous aether was proposed, but its existence was cast into strong doubt in the late nineteenth century by the Michelson-Morley experiment.

Newton's corpuscular theory implied that light would travel faster in a denser medium, while the wave theory of Huygens and others implied the opposite. At that time, the speed of light could not be measured accurately enough to decide which theory was correct. The first to make a sufficiently accurate measurement was Léon Foucault, in 1850. His result supported the wave theory, and the classical particle theory was finally abandoned.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

San Francisco Attractions - Moscone Center

Moscone center located in San Francisco California is the largest convention and exhibition complex in San Francisco. Moscone center comprises three main halls, the two underground halls underneath yerba Buena gardens referred as moscone north and moscone south and the three level moscone west exhibition hall. The moscone center, San Francisco was built in the year 1981 by an architect hellmuth, obata and kassabaum and it was named after former mayor of San Francisco George moscone.

It is one of the major meeting spots of san Francisco, hardly 17 million visitors enters san Francisco each year and large number of them come to town for business at moscone center, one of the premier convention facilities in US. The location of the complex provides easy access to the downtown San Francisco hotels, restaurants and major transportation systems.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Alcatraz Island, Top San Francisco Attractions

The Alcatraz Island is popularly referred as “Alcatraz” or by its pop culture name “The Rock” is located in the middle of San Francisco bay California, United States.

Alcatraz Island offers a close-up look at the site of the first lighthouse and US fort on the West Coast, the infamous federal penitentiary long off-limits to the public, and the 18 month occupation by Indians of All Tribes which saved the tribes. Rich in history, there is also a natural side to the Rock - gardens, tide pools, bird colonies, and bay views beyond compare.

The Alcatraz Island remains cool, windy, warm, clear, wet, fog or rain during any time of the year. The climate condition change quickly any time a day. The general summer looks to be cool, foggy and winter cool or rainy.

Collections include objects made by notorious inmates, historic photographs and documents, escape materials and inmate artwork; items used by officers including correctional materials when Alcatraz was a federal penitentiary from 1934–1963; military prison period materials from 1859–1934; and the American Indian occupation of 1969–1971. It is established in 1934 and located in San Francisco bay, California United States nearest to San Francisco California which is governed by national park service.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lombard Street San Francisco

Lombard Street, one of the interesting places of attraction in San Francisco attraction list. The San Francisco Lombard Street is located in east West Street and it is famous for its steep, one block section that consists of tight hairpin turns.

Though Lombard Street is billed as the crookedest street in the world, it’s not even the most crooked or steepest street in San Francisco. It is the most photogenic of all and San Francisco tourist, especially in the spring and summer when the flowers are in full bloom.

The San Francisco sightseeing of cars maneuvering down the winding road has become a popular tourist attraction and some tourists even drive down the street themselves, braving the frequent traffic jams and bumper to bumper traffic.

People who are interested to visit San Francisco Lombard Street can Travel to San Francisco with their families for vacations. The street begins at Presidio Boulevard inside The Presidio and runs east through the Cow Hollow neighborhood and starts again at Montgomery Street and finally terminates at The Embarcadero as a collector road.

It is best known for the one way section on Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets, in which the roadway has eight sharp turns (or switchbacks) that have earned the street the distinction of being "the crookedest street in world."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Chinatown San Francisco California

San Francisco Chinatown is the largest and oldest Chinatown in western hemisphere. The Chinatown was established in 1850s featured with popular culture venues like film, music, photography and literature. People who have decided to travel to San Francisco can consult the San Francisco tourist guide to know more about San Francisco Chinatown.

San Francisco shuttle tours are the quickest trip with residential area inclusive of authentic and fantastic/inexpensive restaurants. Excellent meals can be enjoyed in Chinatown restaurants and also imported wares can be purchased. The Chinatown is one of the largest and exciting centers of Chinese activity outside of china. Even during non-seasonal time, it remains to be the major tourist San Francisco attractions attracting more visitors compared to golden gate bridge.

There are wide varieties of shady activities available in Chinatown’s own underground. The park nearby Washington street parking is one of the hot spot for games and gambling for the citizens.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

San Francisco Zoo

San Francisco zoo, one of the top san Francisco attractions with more than 250 animal species located in the southwestern corner of san Francisco California between lake Merced and the pacific ocean along the great highways of san Francisco. The San Francisco zoo’s main entrance located on the north side across the street from defunct doggie diner, one block south of muni metro L taraval line is now to the west on the ocean side of the zoo of great highways.

Excellent san Francisco sightseeing can be enjoyed by the people. The zoo was opened on 1929 in United States with very good growth and tourist attractions. The major exhibits of the zoo are African savanna, gorilla preserve, grizzly gulch and lemur forest. The animals transferred from golden gate park to San Francisco zoo include two zebras, Cape buffalo, five rhesus monkeys, two spider monkeys, three elephants. Hardly, 930 animals and 250 species can found in the San Francisco zoo which established with membership of AZA.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman’s wharf in San Francisco is the popular destination with pier 39 shopping or restaurant mall. There are wide number of reason the fisherman wharf is one of the san Francisco attractions are sea lions, boat tours, fresh street crab, convenient location, breadth of experiences. The historic waterfront serves as working fishing pier, so people expect fresh seafood at area restaurants. The San Francisco attractions pier 39 are the cannery, Ghirardelli square are tourist places.
It is one of the best tourist spot and more number of spend their days in fisherman’s wharf during the leisure time. Different shopping malls and restaurants are available in the San Francisco fisherman’s wharf and people during their travel to san Francisco, they can enjoy in the shopping malls and restaurants. Excellent riding are available in fisherman’s wharf and people always enjoy their rides.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Golden Gate Bridge

The golden gate bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the golden gate by opening the San Francisco bay on the Pacific Ocean. As part of US route 101 and state route 1, it connects the city of San Francisco on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula to Marin County. Among the top 10 San Francisco attractions, golden gate bridge is one of the top of the places of attractions. It has the longest suspension bridge span in the world and it is complete in 1937 and it becomes the international recognized symbol of San Francisco and California.

When people decide to have a San Francisco family vacation, then they are suggested to tour San Francisco to have a pleasurable and memorable sightseeing. In 2007, it was ranked to be fifth on the list of America Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.

Friday, September 5, 2008

San Francisco Top 10 Attractions

San Francisco offers beautiful 10 places of attraction for the tourist who visit San Francisco. When touring San Francisco, people use to have amazing and different sort of experience with attractive sightseeing, fun and memorable moments. The top ten places of attractions in San Francisco are

Golden Gate Bridge
Japanese Tea Garden
Fisherman's Wharf
Cable Cars
North Beach
Alamo Square Red-and-White Ferry

Monday, September 1, 2008

Places of San Francisco Attractions - Cable Cars

Among the places of San Francisco attractions, cable cars are one of the important attractions of San Francisco. When people visit San Francisco, they don’t miss the opportunity of riding the wonderful cars available. The San Francisco cable cars are unique cars that are street railways and they do not operate under their own power.

The cable cars were built by Andrew Hallidie in 1873 and the invention created great way in San Francisco transportation system and it opened doors for building on steep hills. Among the tourist, it created a great way for San Francisco sightseeing and 8 transit companies operate 600 cars on 21 routes covering 50 miles.

In San Francisco shuttle tours, cable cars operate on three routes. In that two routes start from the same place Powell and market. The three routes cable cars operated are Powell – Hyde, Powell – Mason and California Street.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Enchey Monastery

An important seat of the Nyingma order, the Enchey Monastery meaning the Solitary temple, was originally built with the solace that no other construction would be allowed near it is built on the site blessed by Lama Druptob Karpo, a tantric master known for his flying powers. This 200-year-old Monastery has in its premises images of god, goddesses and other religious objects. Every year around January 'Chaam' or religious masked dance is performed with great fanfare for two days. it is situated adjoining the Sinolchu Tourist Lodge, 3 kms from Gangtok Town.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tips for Travelling San Francisco

Tips to travel to San Francisco information are provided, so that careful measure can be taken by the people traveling abroad. Meanwhile, here are some tips to make your travel easier and safer:

People are required to register, so the State Department will help you in the better way incase of emergency. Register your travel plans with the State Department through a free online service and they help your family at the time required or if there is a crisis where you are traveling.

Fill the passport with required information and then sign. Make sure that you have signed valid passport, visa and other pages required to enjoy the San Francisco sightseeing.

Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data and visas with family or friends, so you can be contacted in case of emergency and check your medical insurance coverage.

Familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws, so that precaution measures can be taken during the time of requirement. The State Department web sites are subject to laws and some of the useful, safety information will be provided.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Eat and drink safely

Many people suffer from an upset stomach or diarrhoea because of something they have eaten or drunk while San Francisco Travel.
In San Fran Tours, more seriously, cholera, typhoid and hepatitis can be contracted from contaminated food and water.

Don’t get ill
  • always wash your hands after going to the toilet, before handling food and before eating
  • use bottled water if you have any doubts about the quality of the water.
  • Check the seals are unbroken boil water or filter it using a water 'purifier' – this is more effective than sterilisation tablets
  • eat fresh, thoroughly cooked food that is still piping hot in san Francisco family vacation. avoid food that has been kept warm
You should avoid

  • Try to avoid ice used in drinks and used to keep food cool, unless you’re sure it is made from treated or chlorinated water, when you visit San Francisco
  • uncooked fruit and vegetables, unless you can peel them yourself food exposed to flies ice cream from unreliable sources, such as kiosks or mobile traders
  • milk, cheese and other dairy products unless they are pasteurised and have been properly refrigerated
  • undercooked or raw seafood or shellfish
  • excessive amounts of alcohol

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Expansion of free bus travel in England

Since 1 April 2008, eligible users have been entitled to free off-peak travel on local buses anywhere in England.

Are you eligible?

If you are resident in England and are aged 60 or over or are 'eligible disabled' you are entitled to England-wide concessionary bus travel.

What is 'eligible disabled'?

You are eligible disabled if you:

* are blind or partially sighted
* are profoundly or severely deaf
* are without speech
* have a disability, or have suffered an injury, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to walk
* do not have arms or have long-term loss of the use of both arms
* have a learning disability - a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind which includes significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning, or
* would, if you applied for a licence to drive a motor vehicle under Part III of the Road Traffic Act 1988, have your application refused under section 92 of the Act (physical fitness) on grounds other than persistent misuse of drugs or alcohol.

What does the new pass entitle you to?

Since 2006 you have been entitled to the statutory minimum concession of free local bus travel in your area from 9.30 am to 11.00 pm on Monday to Friday and at any time during weekends and public holidays - and this will continue. Since 1 April 2008 you are also entitled to free local bus travel in all other areas of England during these off-peak times.

Local authorities may offer extra benefits to their residents as part of their concessionary scheme – for example, free or reduced off-peak tram or rail travel, or free bus travel before 9.30 am Monday to Friday.

However, these additional benefits will normally only be available to that region’s own residents. So if you visit an area that offers additional services, you probably won’t be entitled to them – make sure you check first with the relevant authority.

How to get a concessionary travel pass

If you live outside Greater London

If you have not yet applied for an England-wide bus pass, or have only just become eligible, you will need to apply to your local pass provider. As part of the application you’ll need to:

* prove your eligibility
* prove that you’re a permanent resident of your area
* supply a recent passport-style photograph for your new pass

If you have already applied for a new pass, please contact your bus pass provider for further information about your application.

If you live inside Greater London

If you already had a Freedom Pass before April 2008, you will have had a sticker applied to your pass when you renewed it for 1 April 2008. You can now use your stickered pass in London and for off-peak local bus travel across England.

If you are eligible but don't already have a Freedom Pass, you should contact your local London Council for further details of how to apply, or go to the Freedom Pass website.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Walking to work and school

Walking is a great way to discover more about an area, improve your fitness, protect the environment and save money.

Discover the benefits

The benefits of walking include:

* health - regular walking can reduce the risk of many health problems such as coronary heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, anxiety and stress
* quality of life - walking can improve weight control, stamina, energy, confidence and life expectancy
* convenience - you can walk to most places at any time; you can also start slowly and build up gently
* cost - walking is free and you don't need specialist equipment

The Ramblers' website has a section on their Get Walking Keep Walking programme, which includes a 12-week walking plan and information on walking in cities throughout England.

Staying safe

There are a few simple rules for walkers that are worth adhering to. You can find out more from The Highway Code, which contains rules for pedestrians.

You can also find details on crossing roads safely in the Green Cross Code, as well as other useful information on the Arrive Alive website.

Finding the time

If you live in or near the countryside, you may have plenty of opportunities for walking. In a town, such opportunities may be limited, and you may need to make more of an effort to find the time to walk. Wherever you live, try to build walking into your normal everyday routine. For example, you could:

* go for a walk at lunchtime - this can give you an energy boost for the afternoon
* walk to school instead of driving
* get off the train, bus or tube a stop earlier than usual
* walk to the newsagent or post office instead of using the car
* walk up flights of stairs, rather than use a lift

Walking to school

Walking to school improves a child's health and allows them to travel independently - but their safety and security is paramount. For children who do not want, or who are not ready, to walk to school unaccompanied, there are a number of alternatives. The Walking Bus scheme, for example, enables children to walk to school in safe, supervised groups (see below for more information).

If it is too far to walk, your child may be eligible for free transport to school. The Education and learning section of this site has more details of free transport schemes for school children.

Walk to School Campaign

The Walk to School Campaign encourages pupils to walk to school more often. The campaign, which is supported by the Department for Transport, includes the popular Walk on Wednesday (WOW) initiative, which helps to promote regular walking among pupils.

Children, parents, school teachers and community leaders can also take part in Walk to School Week, 19-23 May 2008 (12-16 May in Scotland), and International Walk to School Month, which is October 2008. These are great opportunities to get involved in events that promote the many benefits of walking.

Walking buses

The Walking Bus concept is a new, safe, healthy and environmentally friendly approach to walking large groups of children to and from school.

Each walking bus has an adult 'driver' at the front and an adult 'conductor' at the rear. The children walk to school in a group along a set route picking up additional 'passengers' at specific 'bus stops' along the way. The bus runs in all weather conditions and everyone wears a reflective jacket.

Each walking bus is different, as they are developed to suit the needs of children and their parents. Some schools have a number of walking buses, whereas others only have one. Some walking buses operate only on certain days, while others operate only in the morning or afternoon.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Greener travel: a quick guide

Personal travel accounts for up to a quarter of all the damage individuals do to the environment across Europe, including climate change effects. You can reduce the climate change impact of your travel in a number of ways.

1. Consider travelling less

Can you get what you want nearer to home, or without travelling at all? For example, holidaying in the UK, using local leisure facilities and shops, or sometimes working from home. Reducing your travel will reduce climate change effects and local air pollution.

2. Try different ways to get around

Leaving your car at home and walking, cycling, or taking the bus or train will help reduce the negative impacts of driving. It is also possible to travel longer distances by other modes of transport, not just air.

3. Drive to reduce your fuel consumption

Making some simple changes to the way you drive can reduce fuel consumption and reduce climate change effects. For example, driving smoothly, sticking to the speed limits, and keeping tyres properly inflated.

4. Buy a more efficient car

You don't have to compromise to buy a greener car - just choose a more fuel efficient one. New cars carry a fuel economy label telling you how efficient they are. Choosing a more efficient car can help reduce carbon emissions and local air pollution, and will often save you money on vehicle tax and other charges, as well as on fuel.

5. Maintain your vehicle responsibly

Well maintained vehicles tend to run more efficiently. Waste from car maintenance is often hazardous, like engine oil, other fluids, batteries and tyres. Careless discarding of these items can cause pollution but council waste facilities will be able to accept them for safe disposal.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Congestion is a growing problem, especially around city centres, and car parking spaces are often limited. Many local areas have introduced a range of parking schemes to help.

Who's responsible for parking

Local traffic authorities (usually local councils) together with private companies are responsible for managing parking.

Managing parking involves:

* creating parking spaces
* operating car parks
* creating controlled parking zones - where parking may be reserved for permit holders or restricted to certain times of day.

Who enforces parking regulations?

This depends on where you live. In many areas, including London, local authorities have the power to enforce parking restrictions. In others, parking is a criminal matter, enforced by the police and dealt with through the magistrates' courts.

Parking restrictions

You must pay for parking in most controlled parking zones and car parks. Parking without paying or exceeding the period allowed means you may be issued with a penalty fine.

There are two types of parking controls:

* restrictive parking - for waiting and loading only
* designated parking - identifies where vehicles can be left and under what conditions and includes residential parking zones

There are also areas where parking or waiting is banned:

* double yellow lines - parking is banned, although there may be specific exceptions for loading
* single yellow lines - parking is banned at specified times
* red routes - a single red line usually bans stopping and parking during working hours, while a double red line bans stopping and parking at any time.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sydney Travel Guide

Sydney is probably the most beautiful city in Australia, and is the capital city of New South Wales. Sunny and very visited, most of tourists come to this city to see its major attraction the Sydney Opera House, one of the most famous buildings on the world, and it's also the pride of the city, of course there are other interesting buildings and monuments.

Sydney is a very big city but the main attractions are located in a small area which is also one of the most luxurious areas in the city. The beaches in Sydney are simply amazing, that's why they are crowded of people in summer time, there are more than 20 waiting for you, the most famous between them is Bondi, located seven kilometers away from the city centre, is very visited in summer and through all the year, many tourists come here to spend Christmas time.

Manly Beach is also a very visited tourist destination, it's near the Sydney Harbour National Park, you can take the ferry to get there in thirty minutes or can take the fast Jet Cat catamaran to be there in fifteen minutes. And to come back from a fantastic day on the beach the best time to get into the city is at night, the lights of all the city gives to it a special view, you have to see the lights of the tallest buildings around Circular Quay looks like rainbows over the water of the harbor.

Sydney population is of about five million people, you'll discover this city still has a small-town charm. In 2000 Sydney was the host city of the Olympic Games, all the city was full of visitors, journalists and sportsmen, there was a beautiful time in the city because of this. Sydney is also the dynamic centre for Australian economic activity and one of the most important cities for finance in the Asia-Pacific region.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Air travel hand baggage rules

There are heightened security measures in place at all UK airports, with strict rules on what you can and can't carry in your hand baggage.

It's important to know these rules so you can pack accordingly and avoid delays at airport security.

How many items of hand baggage can you take on board?

At most UK airports you can now take more than one item of hand baggage on board with you - the rules were relaxed slightly in January 2008.

The airports affected are:

* Aberdeen, Benbecula, Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, City of Derry
* Dundee, Edinburgh, Exeter, Farnborough, Filton, Gatwick
* George Best Belfast City Airport, Glasgow, Gloucestershire, Guernesy
* Hawarden, Heathrow, Humberside, Inverness, Islay, Isle of Man
* Kent International, Kirkwall, London City, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich
* Plymouth, Prestwick, Southampton, Southend, Stansted, Stornaway, Sumburgh
* Warton, Wick

However, some airlines have their own restrictions on the number of items of hand baggage that you can take into the aircraft cabin with you. Please check with your airline before flying.

How big can hand baggage be?

The maximum size for an item of hand baggage is 56cm x 45cm x 25cm. But again, some airlines will have their own restrictions, so it's best to check with them first.

Items over the maximum size will not be allowed in the aircraft cabin and must be checked in with your hold baggage, except for the following:

*Pushchairs, walking aids and wheelchairs
*You can take pushchairs, walking aids and wheelchairs on board the plane, but they will need to be security screened.
*Large musical instruments
*Some airlines may let you carry a musical instrument as a second piece of hand baggage, but it will need to be security screened.You may also have to make special arrangements such as buying an extra seat. If you plan to travel with a large musical instrument it's best to confirm the details with the airline at the time of booking.

What can you carry in your hand baggage?


Wherever possible you should pack liquids in your hold baggage. This is is because there are restrictions on the amount of liquid you can take into the aircraft cabin in your hand baggage.

The following are all considered liquids:

* all drinks, including water, soup and syrups
* cosmetics and toiletries, including creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, mascara and lipstick
* sprays, including shaving foam, hairspray and spray deodorant
* pastes, including toothpaste
* gels, including hair and shower gel
* contact lens solution
* any other solutions and items of similar consistency
* lighters

If you need certain liquids during the flight, you can take them into the cabin but only in limited quantities, as follows:

* you can carry small quantities of liquids in containers that can hold no more than 100ml
* containers that can hold more than 100ml are not allowed, even if they are only part full
* the containers must be carried in a single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag, which can hold no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm
* the contents must fit comfortably inside the plastic bag so it can can be sealed
* each passenger can carry only one of these bags


Lighters are considered to be liquids and can be put inside the plastic bag or screened separately, as long as they would fit in the bag. You should not put a lighter inside your hand baggage but keep it on your person throughout the flight. Lighters are not allowed in hold baggage.
Essential medicines, including inhalers

You are allowed to carry essential medicines on board the aircraft.You may be asked to verify your medicine at security. This could mean tasting it or applying it to your skin.

If you need to carry essential medicines in containers of more than 100ml, you will need some supporting documentation from a relevant medical professional (a letter from your doctor, for example) and prior approval from the airline. This applies to all medicines - from cough mixture to insulin.

Remember, just carry what you need for the journey in your hand baggage. Extra supplies and/or larger containers can go in your hold baggage.
Baby food and bottles

You can take liquid baby food or sterilised water onto the aircraft in your hand baggage.You are allowed to take enough for the journey - in some cases this may be over 100ml. The adult carrying the baby food or water may be asked to verify it by tasting.
Goods bought at the airport

You can take anything you buy after passing through security into the aircraft cabin with you. This includes bottled water, wines and spirits, fragrances and cosmetics of any size.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Transportation in Japan


In 1872, passenger service began with a steam locomotive that linked Shimbashi station, in Tokyo, to the nearby city of Yokohama. This set the stage for a nationwide rail network. After 17 years, a railway system was established that linked the main cities along the old Tokaido (Eastern Sea Route) so that a person could travel from Tokyo to Osaka by train. Now, along with the development of automobile and air transportation, important railway services have gradually shifted to long-distance intercity transport, such as the Shinkansen and commuter lines. Commuter lines carry people from their homes in the suburbs back and forth to work.

Of the total 1,142,000 km of roads in Japan, 73% is paved. Construction of expressways (toll roads) began in the 1960's and has faced many challenges: the nature of the terrain, high concentration of factories and housing, high land prices along the routes, and added reinforcement needed to withstand earthquakes. Construction costs are the world's highest and therefore, the tolls are also high.


International and domestic airlines didn't get started in Japan until 1953. This was due to the fact that after World War II, the Japanese weren't allowed to have passenger airlines by order of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP).

Haneda, Tokyo International Airport, was Japan's first commercial airport and it first opened in 1931. Until the opening of the New Tokyo International Airport in 1978, it was both a domestic and international airport. With the opening of the New Tokyo International Airport, Narita Airport, it is about 65 km outside Tokyo. 38 countries, as of 1997, with a total of 50 airlines used the airport. It is Japan's largest airport and handles over 25 million passengers per year and a little over 1.5 million metric tons of air freight. These incredible numbers put it at sixth in the world for passengers and first in the world for freight.

Kansai International Airport, which opened in 1994 handles most of the domestic flights and all of the international flights to the Kansai regions. This airport, which replaced the Osaka International Airport, Itami Airport, is actually on an artificial island and operates 24 hours a day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dump Road Bridge

Historic Name: Dump Road Bridge
Mn/DOT Bridge Number: Bridge No. L-2733
Bridge Type: Pratt through truss
County: Rice
City/Township: Walcott Twp.
Crossing: Twp. Rd. 45 over Straight River
Contractor: A.Y. Bayne and Company, Minneapolis
Year Built: 1904
Overall Length: 134.2 feet
Overall Width: 16.2 feet

Adapted from the National Register of Historic Places nomination form prepared by Fredric Quivik and Dale Martin, Renewable Technologies, Inc. The Dump Road Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.

Summary of Historic Significance

The Dump Road Bridge is historically significant as an excellent example of a pin-connected Pratt through truss resting on a substructure of paired concrete-filled tubular steel piers. The truss and substructure types were common around the turn-of-the-century. The bridge is also significant for its association with bridge builder, A.Y. Bayne, an important Minnesota bridge contractor. Bayne began his long career in Minnesota as an agent for other bridge firms, and in 1903 formed his own enterprise, A.Y. Bayne & Company. This bridge is one of the earliest survivors of Bayne's long career as an independent bridge builder. It is also significance in local history. The bridge is an example of an unexpected effect of railroad construction on a township, in particular its road network, as grading for the rail line altered the channel of the Straight River. Although the abutments may be relatively new, the integrity of the bridge remains good.

As Minnesota's population grew in the second half of the 19th century, a system of transportation evolved which featured railroad lines and a web a local roads leading from rural areas to shipping points along the railroads. These roads needed bridges over rivers and streams to insure year-round travel. The first bridges in Minnesota were constructed of wood, but in the late 1860s and early 1870s, local governments in the state began to build wrought iron bridges because of long-term cost advantages. After early experimentation with a variety of structural configurations, the pin-connected Pratt truss became the most widely used type of wrought iron bridge. By the early 1890s, steel had supplanted wrought iron as the structural material of choice, but the pin-connected Pratt remained the most widely used configuration into the 20th century.

Built in 1904 for Walcott Township by A.Y. Bayne and Company of Minneapolis, the Dump Road Bridge was erected to replace a ford for the township road which had been located about one quarter mile to the south. Shortly after the Burlington Cedar Rapids and Northern Railroad (part of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad system) built its line to Faribault along the Straight River, the township board met with the railroad's engineer asking that the water at the ford be lowered. Construction of the roadbed for the tracks along the river had evidently raised the water level at the ford. Later, the township board claimed damages against the railroad for interference with the ford and in a 1903 settlement, the B.C.R.& N.R.R. paid Walcott Township $2,000. Prior to construction of the bridge, the township board established a new right-of-way for the township road along the east side of the river to reach the bridge location. Next, the voters of Walcott Township approved the sale of bonds worth $1,400 to pay the additional cost of a new bridge, the $2,000 from the railroad would also be applied to construction of the bridge. In March, 1904, the township board approved payment to A.Y. Bayne for construction of the bridge.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Rail - Scotland

Transport Scotland now has responsibility for the majority of rail powers in Scotland, enabling us to plan future services and target investment.

A safe, efficient rail network is good for the economy. Commuter routes are needed to get people to work. Rail links are vital to move freight across the country, such as coal to keep our power stations working. Rail can improve the quality of life for Scotland's communities by connecting people to better access to health, education and employment opportunities.

Scotland’s rail network has around 340 railway stations an d 3,000 kilometres of track; over 62 million passenger journeys are made on the network each year.

What's more, the rail network in the west of Scotland is the most heavily used commuter network in the UK outside London and caters for around 60% of passenger journeys made in Scotland.

Browse this section for information about who's who in the Scottish rail industry, what we do, and what you can expect from us and from Scotland's rail network.

Rail Industry in Scotland

The rail industry in Scotland has faced almost constant change in the ten years since privitisation. The recent transfer of rail responsibilities to Transport Scotland is designed to herald the start of a period of stability, sustained growth and integration.

Britain's rail network was nationalised in 1947 and then privatised in 1994 following the Railways Act 1993, when various private companies became responsible for the railways:

* Railtrack took over the rail infrastructure
* Five freight operating companies (FOCs) and twenty-five train operating companies (TOCs) were awarded franchises
* Three rolling stock companies (ROSCOs) were created to lease rail stock to train operators

The 2000 Transport Act created the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) and in 2001 Railtrack was put into administration. In 2002, Network Rail acquired Railtrack plc in order to run the railway infrastructure on a not-for-profit basis.

In January 2004, Secretary of State for Transport Alistair Darling announced a review of the structure of the rail industry.

This review resulted in the Railways Act 2005, under which the Scottish Executive (now Scottish Government) and the UK Government agreed that Scottish Ministers will take greater responsibility for rail powers in Scotland, including:

* Transfer of the SRA's powers to manage and monitor the performance of ScotRail services
* Sole responsibility for securing future ScotRail franchises
* Power to take long term, strategic decisions about future investment
* Power to fund and specify where resources are targeted by Network Rail on track maintenance and investment in Scotland

Safety and the licensing of railway operators will remain reserved to UK Ministers.

In June 2004 the Scottish Executive published the transport white paper Scotland's Transport Future - the transport white paper setting out the Scottish Executive's vision for an integrated transport system that will successfully meet the challenges of Scotland's transport future.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Local Roads and Bridges - Scotland

The statutory responsibility for the network of local roads and bridges lies with individual local authorities. 94% of Scotland's roads (some 56,000km) are the responsibility of local authorities to manage and maintain. There are over 11,000 bridges owned by local authorities in Scotland.

The trunk road network is the responsibility of Transport Scotland.

Management and Maintenance

In 2002, all 32 local authorities in Scotland agreed to undertake a rolling survey of the condition of the local road network. The Scottish Executive fully supports this work, which is being co-ordinated by the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS).

The survey will operate on a four-year rolling cycle, with all A roads covered annually, while a proportion of B, C and unclassified roads will be surveyed each year, leading to full coverage over the four years.

The results of the survey will provide an overall view of the condition of the network, as well as detailed information to allow local authorities to assess the need for repairs and maintenance, and identify future priorities for investment in improvements.


Funding for local roads, both capital and revenue, is provided through the overall local government finance settlement, under formula arrangements agreed with COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities).

This funding is not "ring-fenced" and it is up to each council to decide the priority of local roads and bridges amongst its other spending plans.

However, Scottish Ministers have acknowledged the need to address a long-standing backlog of repairs and improvements works and have allocated extra funding to local authorities to address this. Revenue funding to local authorities increased by £60 million per annum in 2006-07 and 2007-08 as part of the Spending Review 2004.

Local authorities will be encouraged to engage with the new Regional Transport Partnerships to have regionally important non-trunk roads projects prioritised in their regional transport strategies. The Scottish Executive has made available an additional £35 million for this purpose.

Power of the Local Authorities

Local road authorities have a range of powers, including compulsory purchase of land for road building, restrictions on and the stopping up of roads. These are mostly dealt with at local authority level, but where there are unresolved objections, they may be passed to Scottish Ministers for arbitration.

Local roads authorities are also responsible for the siting and maintenance of all road signs and markings on local roads. Signs and markings that can be used are contained in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002. These Regulations are reserved to the UK Parliament although Scottish Ministers have powers to authorise non-prescribed signs or road markings in exceptional circumstances.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Transport & Works ( Scotland )

Introduction to TAWS

What is TAWS?

TAWS (Transport and Works (Scotland) ) is a new order making process which avoids the need for private Bills for transport related developments such as a new railway, a canal, tram system or any other form of guided transport system in Scotland.

TAWS and the Scottish Government

Applications for TAWS orders are made to the Scottish Ministers by (or on behalf of) the applicants of the scheme.

The Scottish Ministers are seeking proposals to come forward under the TAWS Order process that can demonstrate both a very positive benefit to the economy of Scotland and bring about improvements to the country's infrastructure. Transport is one of Scotland's most vital public services, influencing our economy, our communities, our environment, our health and our quality of life and Ministers attach significant importance to inviting new projects to come forward that will enhance the benefits of living and working in Scotland.

The Scottish Ministers also value greatly the public participation measures contained within the TAWS, which invites those who have an interest in proposals to offer their views, either of support or objection, at the earliest possible opportunity. This might come from people whose property or business is affected, or who may be concerned about the effect on the local environment. The purpose of the procedure is to ensure that Scottish Ministers come to an informed view on whether it is in the public interest to make the TAWS order.

The Scottish Ministers consider each application carefully and without bias. They make decisions only after considering all the comments made, sometimes through a public local inquiry. They can make TAWS orders (with or without amendments), or they can reject them.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Uk Buses and Taxis


The Government sets the national policy framework on buses and provides substantial funding direct to bus operators through the Bus Service Operator Grant. It also provides funds to local transport authorities in support of bus services

Mechanisms include initiatives such as the Public Transport Fund and Bus Route Development Grant and funding under the local government settlement to support socially necessary services.

* Individual Bus Operators

Individual bus operators use their commercial judgement as to the level and frequency of services to be provided. This market approach should encourage innovation and entrepreneurship and provide incentives for operators to provide new services and develop new types of service.

* Local Transport Authorities

Local transport authorities are responsible for ensuring that bus services in their areas meet local needs. Under the Transport Act 1985, they have a duty to intervene in the marketplace to identify and subsidise socially necessary services. Additionally, the Transport (Scotland) Act 2001 added further options, including statutory Quality Partnerships and Quality Contracts.

The aim of these options is to encourage local transport authorities to work in partnership with bus operators to deliver high quality bus services. Further information on partnership working is contained in Quality Partnerships and Quality Contracts: A Review of Current Practices and Future Aspirations. This report was published in May 2004 by the Association of Transport Co-ordinating Officers with the help and co-operation of the Confederation of Passenger Transport.

* Traffic Commissioner for the Scottish Traffic Area

The post of Traffic Commissioner, currently held by Joan Aitken, is a cross border public authority with reserved and devolved responsibilities. The post enforces good practice from bus service operators in particular that services are introduced, varied or cancelled in an orderly fashion.

The Traffic Commissioner's responsibilities include the licensing of bus operators, registration of local bus services and any disciplinary action against drivers of passenger carrying vehicles

Licensing issues are reserved to the Westminster Parliament. Registration of services is devolved and subject to the Public Service Vehicles (Registration of Local Services) (Scotland) Regulations 2001.


The licensing of taxis and private hire cars and their drivers is the responsibility of local authorities under powers set out in the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 and associated Regulations. Within this legislative framework local authorities have discretion to decide the licensing arrangements appropriate for the needs and circumstances of their area.

Taxis and private hire cars play an important role filling gaps in overall transport provision particularly for those without access to a car. They offer a unique and personal service door to door, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, often maintaining a service when other transport services have stopped for the night. Taxis and private hire cars can be particularly important for disabled people and those living in a rural area where bus or train may be not readily accessible.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Transport Scotland

Transport Scotland is the new national transport agency for Scotland. Our purpose is to help deliver the Executive's vision for transport, making a real difference for people and businesses using the national rail and road networks.

Transport Scotland is responsible for helping to deliver the Executive's £3 billion capital investment programme over the next decade, overseeing the safe and efficient running of Scotland's trunk roads and rail networks and establishing and running a national concessionary travel scheme. We will also:

Help to deliver a number of major infrastructure projects

Specify and fund the Scottish rail network on behalf of Scottish Ministers

Help to deliver transport improvements by building a centre of excellence with the right professional skills.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Travel Warning - Pakistan

This Travel Warning updates information on security incidents and reminds U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in Pakistan. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning dated December 5, 2006.

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against non-essential travel to Pakistan in light of the threat of terrorist activity.

The presence of Al-Qaida, Taliban elements, and indigenous sectarian groups poses a potential danger to American citizens, especially along the porous border with Afghanistan. Continuing tensions in the Middle East also increase the possibility of violence against Westerners in Pakistan. Terrorists and their sympathizers have demonstrated their willingness and capability to attack targets where Americans are known to congregate or visit, such as hotels, clubs and restaurants, places of worship, schools, or outdoor recreation events. American fast food restaurants and other companies in Karachi were bombed in late 2005, resulting in several deaths and multiple injuries among Pakistani employees and customers. On March 2, 2006, an American diplomat, his locally employed driver, and three others were killed when a suicide bomber detonated a car packed with explosives in front of the U.S. Consulate in Karachi. Fifty-two others were wounded.

Fatal bomb attacks have occurred in Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Lahore, and other Pakistani cities in 2006 and 2007. Some of the attacks have occurred outside major hotels, market areas and other locations frequented by Americans. Other recent targets have included Pakistani government officials and buildings, and international NGOs.

U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Pakistan despite this Travel Warning are encouraged to register with the Embassy in Islamabad or the Consulates in Karachi, Lahore, or Peshawar. This registration can be completed online through the Department of State’s travel registration website: Alternatively, Americans without Internet access should contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate for information on registering in person. Registration enables citizens to obtain updated information on travel and security within Pakistan via the emergency alert system (warden network). Americans in country should take appropriate individual precautions to ensure their safety and security. These measures include maintaining good situational awareness, avoiding crowds and demonstrations and keeping a low profile. Americans should avoid setting patterns by varying times and routes for all required travel. Americans should ensure that their travel documents and visas are valid at all times.

From time to time, any post in Pakistan may temporarily suspend public services for security reasons. Official Americans may be prohibited from traveling to certain areas of Pakistan due to security concerns. Therefore, they may not be able to render immediate service to American citizens in distress. The websites of the Embassy and Consulates are regularly updated with the latest information on more specific travel restrictions and conditions.

Many areas of Pakistan, such as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the Afghan border and the area adjacent to the Line of Control (LOC) in the disputed territory of Kashmir, are restricted for non-Pakistanis. The infrastructure of this region and some of the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) was devastated as a result of the October 8, 2005 earthquake. Many hospitals were destroyed and traveling even short distances can be very difficult. Travel to any restricted region requires official permission by the Government of Pakistan. Failure to obtain such permission in advance can result in arrest and detention by Pakistani authorities.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How is traveler's diarrhea treated?

Even if you don't treat traveler's diarrhea, it will usually go away in 4 to 5 days. You should drink plenty of clear liquids to replace lost fluids due to the diarrhea. Taking medicine to treat traveler's diarrhea may make you feel better more quickly. It often is treated with antibiotics (medicines that kill bacteria). To get antibiotics, you need a prescription from your doctor.

You also can take a medicine called loperamide (brand name: Imodium). However, if you have bloody diarrhea, you should not take this medicine without also taking an antibiotic.

Children, pregnant women, older adults and other people who get dehydrated easily should drink rehydration solutions. Rehydration solutions help replace the fluid you lose while you are sick. You can buy packets of rehydration salts (to be mixed with safe water) at camping/outdoor stores or drug stores.

When should I contact my doctor?

If your child has a fever higher than 102°F, is dehydrated, has blood in the stool or vomits several times, he or she should see a doctor right away.

If treating your traveler's diarrhea isn't helping you to feel better, talk to your doctor.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Traveler's Diarrhea

What causes traveler's diarrhea?

People get traveler's diarrhea by eating food and drinking water that contain germs. People can get this illness in areas of the world where the drinking water is not clean.

People who live these areas often drink tap water that contains these germs, but they do not get diarrhea. This is because their bodies are used to the germs. In the same way, cooks and food handlers may have the germs that cause traveler's diarrhea on their hands, but they may not get sick themselves. When people travel to a new place, they are more likely to become sick, because they lack protective antibodies (infection-fighting agents in the blood) that attack these germs.

How can I avoid traveler's diarrhea?

When you will be traveling to an area where the water may not be clean, see your doctor 4 to 6 weeks before your trip. Your doctor may want to give you some medicines, such as antibiotics or shots, to protect you from illness while you are away. During your trip, be careful about the following things:

* Do not drink tap water and do not use it to brush your teeth.
* Do not drink bottled water if the seal on the bottle has been broken.
* Do not use ice unless you're sure it's made from purified water.
* Do not drink milk or eat dairy products that have not been pasteurized (heated to a temperature that kills all germs).
* Do not eat raw fruits or vegetables unless they can be peeled and you are the one who peels them.
* Do not eat cut-up fruit salad.
* Do not eat lettuce or other leafy raw vegetables (such as spinach).
* Do not eat raw or rare (slightly cooked) meat or fish.
* Do not eat food from people who sell it on the street.

Boiling water will kill the germs that cause diarrhea, making the water safe to drink. Boil water vigorously for 1 minute and allow it to cool to room temperature (do not add ice). When traveling in high altitudes (6,562 feet or higher), boil water for 3 minutes.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Philadelphia and Denver Tours

The United States Mint offers tours in its Philadelphia and Denver locations. At both facilities, the tours are free. Touring the United States Mint is a fascinating experience for those of all ages and one that will be remembered for a lifetime. Tours cover both the present state of coin manufacturing as well as the history of the Mint. Learn about the craftsmanship required at all stages of the minting process, from the original designs and sculptures to the actual striking of the coins. Click on the photo from either city for details on hours and addresses. Click on the photo from either city for details on how to tour that Mint facility.

Both of the Mint locations welcome school and youth groups (grades kindergarten through 12), and organized military and veteran groups and are wheelchair accessible. Because many of our guests have special needs, special services are provided by the Exhibits and Public Services Office. Office personnel can provide private tours to handicapped or older individuals who request assistance. At the Philadelphia Mint facility, a wheelchair is also available for individuals who need assistance.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Seattle Virtual Tour

Christened "The Emerald City", Seattle is one of the most livable cities in the world. It actually receives less annual rainfall (36 inches) than New York City and Atlanta. Surrounded by lakes, rivers, Puget Sound, and mountains, Seattle is a recreation enthusiast's dream.

The greater Seattle area is home to 2.8 million people. Microsoft, Nordstrom and Starbucks are based here. Seattle is also known as the birthplace of the crazes for grunge rock and espresso coffee. This area is the home of baseball's Edgar Martinez, glass art's Dale Chihuly, musicians Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Queensryche, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart and Kenny G., software giant Bill Gates, maestro Gerard Schwartz, actor Tom Skerritt, writers Ann Rule, Robert Fulghum, and Tom Robbins.

Use the navigation buttons on the left to find out about our General Attractions, Museums and Galleries, Sports, Parks and Gardens, Neighborhoods, and Colleges and Universities. We offer information, history, website links, maps, directions and photo galleries. We hope you enjoy this virtual tour. But remember, nothing beats seeing the real thing on a visit to Seattle!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


You will need to go to the local British embassy’s website for specific info and application forms. In the UK you must apply to the Identity and Passport Service. We can only help if you’re abroad.

Renewing or replacing a passport if you live abroad

You can renew or replace a passport at the nearest embassy or consulate. It usually takes around 4 weeks to issue a passport and you shouldn’t make travel plans during this time. If you are applying for your first British passport allow 6 weeks. You might also be asked to attend an interview at the embassy or consulate.

Lost or stolen passports

Please see the section on victims of crime if your passport has been stolen along with other possessions whilst you are abroad.

You should report the theft of a passport to the local police so you can get a police report. You’ll need the report for insurance purposes and to obtain a replacement travel document from us. You should note that some police authorities will not issue a report for lost passports. In such cases we do not require a police report.

If your passport is lost or stolen you should contact the nearest British embassy or consulate.

You’ll need to complete an LS01 form in order for your passport to be cancelled. Identity theft is a growing crime. To protect your identity please bring or send this form to us as soon as possible. You do not need to wait until you apply for a new passport.

Renewing your passport in the UK if you live abroad

You can renew, amend or replace your passport whilst you’re visiting the UK. You should apply to the Identity and Passport Service.

You’ll need to make an appointment, provide a verifiable residential address, and be able to attend any interviews as required by IPS. You’ll have to be available at this address so you can sign for the passport. Please note that IPS do not accept applications by post or email from abroad.

Replacement and emergency passports

We can issue you with a replacement travel document if you need to travel urgently. But we’ll need some verification of your identity and to be satisfied that you are a British national. You’ll also need to show us a police report and pay a fee.

This document may be an emergency passport valid for a single journey, a temporary one-year passport or a standard passport, depending on embassy facilities and your travel needs. We need to make checks before we can issue a passport and this may mean you have to delay your travel plans.

You’ll have to pay an extra fee if staff need to issue an emergency travel document outside of normal office hours. This starts at £121. You should also consider whether you need to obtain an exit visa from the local immigration authorities. Some countries do not issue such visas outside normal office hours.

Check with the local British embassy or consulate to see what services it offers. Local conditions mean that different passport services are available in different areas.

I’ve found my missing passport

If you reported your passport missing to the embassy or consulate and it later turns up you won’t be able to use it. You must send it to the nearest embassy or consulate, or to the Identity and Passport Service if you are in the UK. If you try to use it for travel or identification purposes you may be detained by the authorities.

Passport fees

Current application fees for renewing and replacing passports:

* 32 page passport £119
* 32 page child (under 16) passport £76
* 48 page ‘jumbo’ passport £144
* Emergency passport £55.50
* Temporary passport £70.50

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad

Each year, over 6,000 Americans die abroad. Most of them are Americans who live overseas, but, each year, a few thousand Americans die while on short visits abroad. One of the most important tasks of U.S. consular officers abroad is to provide assistance to the families of U.S. citizens who die abroad.

When an American citizen dies abroad, consular officers:

* confirm the death, identity and U.S. citizenship of the deceased
* make notification to the next-of-kin if they do not already know about the death, providing information about disposition of the remains and the effects of the deceased, and provides guidance on forwarding funds to cover costs
* serve as provisional conservator of the estate, absent a legal representative in country
* prepare documents for disposition of the remains in accordance with instructions from the next-of-kin or legal representative, and oversee the performance of disposition of the remains and of the effects of the deceased
* send signed copies of the Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad to the next-of-kin or legal representative, for use in settling estate matters in the U.S.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Senior Travelers

Seniors should review the information contained in the section Planning Your Trip: Learn About the Places You Will Visit, consider the following tips, and discuss the trip with a physician:

* Local conditions: Be aware of any effects the local topography or climate may have on you: If you are sensitive to altitude or to humidity, or to other attributes of your destination, consult with your physician.

* Don’t over-program: The additional physical activity undertaken during travel can be quite strenuous, and sudden changes in diet and climate can have serious health consequences for the unprepared traveler.

* Pack wisely: Don’t pack so much that you will end up lugging around heavy suitcases. Dress conservatively—a wardrobe that is flashy may attract the attention of thieves or con artists, while clothing that is very casual may result in being barred from some tourist sites overseas. Include a change of clothing in your carry-on luggage.

Friday, May 9, 2008


Terrorist acts occur unpredictably, making it impossible to protect yourself absolutely. The first and best protection is to avoid travel to areas where there has been a persistent record of terrorist attacks or kidnappings.

Most terrorist attacks are the result of careful planning. Just as a car thief will first be attracted to an unlocked car with the key in the ignition, terrorists are looking for the most accessible targets. The chances that a tourist, traveling with an unpublished program or itinerary, would be the victim of terrorism are slight. In addition, many terrorist groups, seeking publicity for political causes within their own country or region, may not be looking for American targets.

Nevertheless, the following pointers may help you avoid becoming a target of opportunity. These precautions may provide some degree of protection, and can serve as practical and psychological deterrents to would-be terrorists.

* Schedule direct flights if possible, and avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas.
* Be cautious about what you discuss with strangers or what others may overhear.
* Try to minimize the time spent in the public area of an airport, which is a less protected area. Move quickly from the check-in counter to the secured areas. Upon arrival, leave the airport as soon as possible.
* As much as possible, avoid luggage tags, dress and behavior that may draw attention to yourself.
* Keep an eye out for abandoned packages or briefcases, or other suspicious items. Report them to airport authorities and leave the area promptly.
* Avoid obvious terrorist targets, such as places where Westerners are known to congregate.
* Watch for people following you or "loiterers" observing your comings and goings.
* Report any suspicious activity to local police, and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
* Keep a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations, hotels, and hospitals. Formulate a plan of action for what you will do if a bomb explodes or there is gunfire nearby.
* Select your own taxicabs at random. Don't take a vehicle that is not clearly identified as a taxi. Compare the face of the driver with the one on his or her posted license.
* If possible, travel with others.
* Be sure of the identity of visitors before opening the door of your hotel room. Don't meet strangers at your hotel room, or at unknown or remote locations.
* Refuse unexpected packages.
* Check for loose wires or other suspicious activity around your car.
* Be sure your vehicle is in good operating condition.
* Drive with car windows closed in crowded streets. Bombs can be thrown through open windows.
* If you are ever in a situation where somebody starts shooting, drop to the floor or get down as low as possible. Don't move until you are sure the danger has passed. Do not attempt to help rescuers and do not pick up a weapon. If possible, shield yourself behind a solid object. If you must move, crawl on your stomach.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Railway Level Crossing Safety Bulletin

Since 1970 fatalities resulting from accidents between road vehicles and trains at level crossings have reduced by about 70 per cent. However, recently there has been an increasing number of accidents involving heavy road vehicles.

Between April 2006 and December 2007 the ATSB investigated 12 level crossing accidents. Of these 12 accidents, nine have involved heavy road vehicles, four of which have been collisions with long distance passenger trains. In addition, during the same period State authorities have investigated a further three significant accidents between heavy vehicles and passenger trains.

These accidents have cost the lives of 19 people, 13 on board the trains and six occupants of the road vehicles. In addition, over 60 people have been injured and the damage bill is estimated at well over $100 million.

Although fatalities and injuries resulting from accidents at railway level crossings are only a small proportion of the total fatalities and injuries that occur on Australian roads each year, railway level crossing accidents, particularly when they involve heavy road vehicles, have the potential to be catastrophic.

Heavy road vehicles such as road-trains and larger freight trains have become the norm in Australia for the good reason that they are an efficient way to transport goods over long distances between our metropolitan and regional centres. However, with the increased size comes an increased consequence in the event of a level crossing collision. It used to be somewhat rare to hear of a train derailing or of significant casualties on board the train as a result of a collision with a road vehicle. This is not the case today.

Some recent accidents have involved significant loss of life, the worst case being the tragic accident at Kerang when a semi-trailer collided with a Melbourne-bound passenger train on 5 June 2007. Eleven people were killed and 20 injured in this accident.

Another major collision between a B double truck and a freight train occurred at Lismore, Victoria on 25 May 2006. This accident resulted in the death of the truck driver and an estimated damage bill in excess of $30 million.