Pulse: Volcanic Ash, Rio Mudslides, and Paris’ Best Baguette


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Ashes to Ashes: Hundreds of flights throughout Britain, Ireland, and Scandinavia (mostly between Northern European destinations) were cancelled today due to skies filled with floating ash released by an Icelandic volcano that began erupting yesterday. The ash – which can hinder visibility and get sucked into engines (particles range in size from 0.001 to 2mm and can be as hard as metal) – hampered many travelers plans, including those of Norway’s King Harald V and Queen Sonja, who were set to fly to Copenhagen for the Danish queen’s 70th birthday.

Rio’s Corcovado Closed: Last week’s historic rainfall in Rio de Janeiro, wreaked havoc on the Cidade Maravilhosa with flooding and mudslides leading to the death of over 60 people (and 250 in the surrounding state). Another casualty was the city’s symbol and top tourist attraction: the 31-meter statue of Christ the Redeemer that, perched atop Corcovado mountain, commands a view of the entire city. Due to mudslides in the surrounding Tijuca National Park, access has been obstructed; making the site safe for tourists could take several months.

Carry-On Wars Continue: Apparently, Spirit, CEO Ben Baldanza’s attempt to placate critics of his airline’s decision to charge $45 per carry-on has backfired. Despite stuffing himself in an overhead bin to enumerate the fees’ many benefits to passengers, two Democratic senators – Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana – were not buying his arguments. In fact, the two have created the Cardin-Landrieu Free of Fees for Carry-On Act, a bill, which if passed, will prohibit airlines, once and for all, from charging for carry-on baggage.

And the Prize for Best Baguette Goes to… Djibril Bodian, a Senegalese-born baker was awarded the Grand Prix de la Baguette in an annual contest organized by the city of Paris. Bodian beat out 160 rivals in categories that rated the taste, texture, look, and smell of the crusty bread stick that is an edible symbol of France. Aside from 4,000 euros, he also earns the privilege of baking bread for the President of France in the Elysée Palace. The masses too can sample Bodian’s baguettes at his Montmartre bakery (38 rue des Abbesses) – although be aware that bread lines have doubled.

Israel Bans iPads:It turns out that not everybody is so enthusiastic about Apple’s much-hyped new iPad. Israel, for example, has denied the shiny gadget entrance into the country until its wireless technology “is acceptable with Israeli standards.” As a result, customs officials at Tel Aviv’s, international airport are seizing iPads and placing them in storage. Owners are reunited with their gadgets upon departure – but not before paying a per diem fee.

About the Author: Bobby Heard

Bobby Heard is the Director of Inbound Marketing for FlightNetwork.com.

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