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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.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tips to maintain your health and fitness

While flying:

* keep important medication with you in case your luggage goes missing.
* continue taking your prescribed medication.
* factor the effects of jet lag into your itinerary.
* if you have been scuba diving, don't travel in an aircraft for at least 24 hours after your final dive.

to help avoid deep vein thrombosis (DVT):

* drink plenty of fluids (but avoid alcohol and caffeine)
* while seated stretch your feet and lower legs
* walk around the cabin at regular intervals.

While travelling:

* don't over exercise - especially in hot climates
* where local tap water is not safe, drink plenty of bottled water (also use this to brush your teeth) and always check the seal on the bottle
* avoid ice in cool drinks - freezing preserves germs, it does not kill them
* beware of uncooked food including salads and fruit that you cannot peel
* include 'rest time' in your travel itinerary
* wear comfortable shoes, a hat and sunscreen for sightseeing
* dress and behave conservatively, in accordance with local customs and sensitivities
* wear a pair of thongs when showering
* practise safe sex - HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted disease are widespread in many countries.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


America's highways, byways, and backroads provide excellent opportunities for exploring our public recreational lands. Maps highlighting points of interest and scenic vistas for road trips are available for and at these sites. For detailed information on a particular site, please contact that site directly. Drive Safely.

What do we mean by Autotouring?

RecML, the recreation standard that is being developed, describes autotouring as: jeep driving, scenic driving, ATV, motorcycle touring, driving touring, road trips, scenic back roads, by-ways, motorcoach touring, bus touring, and trolley touring.

Managing Partner:

Practice Good Stewardship of our Highways and Byways:

You can help to take good care of our scenic highways and byways so that others may enjoy these scenic drives for years to come by practicing some of the following actions:

Don't Litter... take along a trash bag or other receptacle for collecting your trash so that you can deposit it in the proper trash receptacle.

Make sure that you have the correct tires on your vehicle for the type of terrain/byway you will be driving on. In other words, take your snowchains off when the are no longer needed to prevent road damage.

Don't drive an areas where vehicles are not permitted. These areas have been declared "off limits" to vehicles to protect wildlife, vegetation, or for your safety.

Safety While AutoTouring:

* Obey the posted speedlimits
* Wear your seatbelt
* Do not drive on unauthorized trails
* Bring along extra safety items such as water, flashlights, maps, and a cellphone or radio.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Travel Tips

TIPS Before you reach the airport

* Please allow yourself and your family extra time to get through security - especially when traveling with younger children.
* Call your airline or travel agent for their recommended check-in times for your departure airport.
* Talk to your children before you come to the airport and let them know that it's against the law to make threats such as, "I have a bomb in my bag." Threats made jokingly (even by a child) can delay the entire family and could result in fines.

TIPS At the airport

* Speak to your children again about the screening process so that they will not be frightened or surprised. Remind them not to joke about threats such as bombs or explosives.
* Tell your children that their bags (backpack, dolls, etc.) will be put in the X-ray machine and will come out at the other end and be returned to them.
* Let your children know that a Security Officer may ask to see their shoes, but that they will get these back as well.
* You may want to consider asking for a private screening if you are traveling with more than one child.

Friday, May 2, 2008


Welcome to the Visa section of an official source of information about United States (U.S.) visa policy and procedures. We hope you’ll use this site to learn about different types of U.S. visas, the application process, and to better understand the requirements you need to meet in order to receive your visa.

Millions of foreign visitors travel to the U.S. each year. Others come to live here permanently. International visitors and immigrants add greatly to our nation's cultural, education and economic life. We welcome them. At the same time, we need to do everything we can to keep everyone here, safe. We believe in secure borders and open doors.

A citizen of a foreign country, wishing to enter the U.S., generally must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. The type of visa you must have is defined by immigration law, and relates to the purpose of your travel.