Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

April 27, 2014

Travel briefs


Kokomo Tribune

---- — Sri Lanka to deport UK tourist with Buddha tattoo

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan authorities will deport a British tourist for having an image of Buddha tattooed on her arm, an official said Wednesday.

Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said Naomi Coleman was detained at Colombo's airport after she arrived from India on Monday when authorities spotted the tattoo of Buddha seated on a lotus flower. She was sent before a magistrate who ordered her deportation.

Rohana said that Coleman has been handed over to immigration authorities, who are taking steps to deport her.

He said Coleman was arrested for "hurting others' religious feelings."

Immigration officials did not answer calls seeking a comment. Coleman could not be reached and it wasn't clear if she was traveling with others.

Buddhism is Sri Lanka's state religion and plays an important part in political and social affairs. About 70 percent of Sri Lanka's 20 million people practice Buddhism.

In 2010, Sri Lanka refused to give a visa to R&B star Akon over a music video in which scantily clad women dance in front of a Buddha statue. Akon expressed regret and said he was not previously aware of the statue in the video.

Atlanta airport launching $2M incentive program

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta City Council has agreed to establish a five year, $2 million incentive program to help boost international air cargo and passenger services at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, officials said Tuesday.

"With this new incentive program, Hartsfield-Jackson will be better positioned to attract additional passenger and cargo carriers to Atlanta," the airport's Interim General Manager Miguel Southwell said in a release.

Southwell added that airport officials are always looking for ways to develop new routes and expand cargo capacity, and he believes the incentive program will boost the city's global competitiveness.

The incentive program aims to link Atlanta with international cities in countries with rapidly growing economies and air cargo traffic, officials said.

The airport will waive a year's worth of landing fees for airlines starting new international routes that aren't already served from Atlanta, and will match up to 50 percent of promotional funding with a cap of $25,000 for new passenger services.

Two-year landing fee waivers will be offered to carriers starting services from Atlanta to Russia, India, China, South Africa and Brazil, airport officials said.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and other city representatives visited Brazil in early April for a trade mission focused on expanding the city's business opportunities in the South American nation.

The incentive program will launch this summer. Airport officials said carriers will qualify for the perks on a first come, first served basis.

Amsterdam may ban pot shops in Red Light district

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Amsterdam has won court permission to ban marijuana cafes in its famous Red Light district, stepping up a crackdown on the city's freewheeling lifestyle.

Marijuana is technically illegal in the Netherlands, but possession of small amounts is not prosecuted and it is sold openly in "coffee shops." Prostitution is legal. But Mayor Eberhard van der Laan argues the district's brothels and coffee shops generate criminality, and he has sought to have many closed.

Coffee shop owners argued that laws were being selectively enforced against them.

In a ruling published Wednesday, the Amsterdam District Court sided with the mayor, saying he "has the freedom to carry out policies he considers desirable to protect public order."

The city has shuttered 192 out of 482 brothels where prostitutes work behind windows in the Red Light district since 2006, or around 40 percent of the total — after winning court support for its argument that the high concentration of brothels made them hard to regulate. The plan for coffees shops is to close 26 out of the 76 now in business.

Park Service celebrates Chaco Canyon

CHACO CULTURAL NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK, N.M. (AP) — The National Park Service is celebrating Chaco Canyon's designation as an International Dark Sky Park.

Officials say the greater Chaco landscape in northwestern New Mexico is one of the last, best places in the U.S. for viewing the night sky.

The celebration starts with a guided walk through Chetro Ketl, one of Chaco's great houses. It covers more than 3 acres and contains several ceremonial structures known as kivas.

There will also be a tour of Pueblo Bonito, the most important site in the canyon, and a discussion about astronomy in the national parks.

The day finishes with telescopes and a star party.

The dark sky designation was made last fall, but the National Park Service had to put off the celebration until now due to the government shutdown.

Diego Rivera's Detroit murals get landmark status

DETROIT (AP) — Diego Rivera's murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts have been designated as one of four new national historic landmarks.

Federal officials announced the designation on Wednesday.

The Detroit Industry murals were conceived by Rivera as a tribute to the city's manufacturing base and labor force of the 1930s. The Mexican artist in 1932 and 1933 completed the murals on walls of a court in the museum and they're considered to be among his greatest works.

The largely symbolic landmark designation comes amid efforts to protect the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts from being sold as part of the city's bankruptcy.

The National Historic Landmarks Program offers technical assistance, recognition and funding for landmarks, but doesn't shield from ownership changes.

Puerto Rico sees jump in cruise ship passengers

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The number of cruise ship passengers who visited the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico has jumped more than 15 percent in nearly one year.

Port Authority Director Victor Suarez says an additional 124,619 people visited the island in the past nine months compared to the same period in the previous year.

Suarez said Wednesday that more than 946,000 passengers visited from July 2013 to March 2014.

He attributed the increase in part to 28 new cruise ship visits during that period for a total of 367 visits.

The announcement comes as Puerto Rico prepares for the first visit of Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas, capable of carrying more than 6,000 passengers. The government is expanding a pier in historic Old San Juan to accommodate ships of that size.

Food Network star Guy Fieri's eatery open in Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Food Network star Guy Fieri's restaurant is now open for business on the Las Vegas Strip.

The restaurant, named Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen & Bar, is located at the Quad Resort & Casino and welcomed its first customers last week.

The 200-seat eatery features casual foods including a wide selection of burgers, wings, tacos and craft beers. Fieri's tattoos appear as design elements on the restaurant's coasters, napkins and dishware.

Fieri is known for several Food Network series, including "Guy's Big Bite," ''Guy Off the Hook" and "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives."

He graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1990, and earned an honorary doctorate from the school in 2012. UNLV memorabilia is incorporated in the restaurant's decor.