Government scraps ‘weed pass’ plan
The incoming Dutch government has ditched plans for a national “weed pass” that would have been available only to residents and that would have effectively banned tourists from Amsterdam’s marijuana cafes.
But under a provisional pact unveiled last week, cities can bar foreigners from weed shops if they choose.
The pact says that it wants only Dutch residents to have access to marijuana cafes, but leaves enforcement up to cities. Amsterdam opposes a ban, which would hurt tourism.
Some cafe owners said Tuesday that they are satisfied Dutch weed policy will remain unchanged, while others criticized the lack of clarity.
Marijuana trafficking is illegal in the Netherlands, but people can’t be prosecuted for possession of small amounts and the drug is sold openly in designated “coffee shops.”
World’s longest flights cancelled
The world’s longest commercial flight — Singapore to Newark, N.J. — is being cancelled. The Singapore Airlines flight is of about 9,500 miles. A slightly shorter route between Singapore and Los Angeles also will end. The two routes were flown on gas-guzzling Airbus A340-500s.
The flight from Newark to Singapore takes about 18 hours. The trip from Los Angeles is about 1,500 miles shorter but takes 18 hours and 30 minutes. Headwinds over the Pacific slow the L.A. flight while the Newark flight goes over the North Pole and can fly faster. The Newark flight is the longest distance flight in the world and the L.A. flight holds the record for duration.
The new titles for longest flights will go to a Qantas route between Sydney and Dallas — which at about 8,500 miles is the longest route — and a Delta flight between Johannesburg and Atlanta, which at 17 hours will hold the title of longest duration.
MIA opens 3 new
Miami International Airport has three new art installations.
Air Chair is a construction of a discarded wheelchair, steel and wood materials that floats above passengers. New York artist Paul Villinski was inspired by the wheel-chair bound men he saw during his frequent jogs near two Veteran Affairs hospitals on Roosevelt Island. Roberto Juarez’s MIA Flower Fence is a painted mural that juxtaposes botanical-style renderings of Florida’s wildflowers with the geometric patchwork designs of Florida’s Miccosukee Tribe of Indians. Hortensia is two kaleidoscopic mixed-media murals by local artist Aramis O’Reilly.
Snake on a plane!
Scottish airport staff got a slithery surprise when they stumbled on a Mexican serpent stowaway under a seat.
The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says quick-thinking workers at Glasgow Airport remained “remarkably calm” when they discovered the 18-inch snake last month hiding in the passenger cabin of a flight from Cancun. The young snake was taken to its Glasgow animal center, and has been named Furtivo, Spanish for “sneak.”
Furtivo, a member of the Dryadophis family of snakes, was described as non-venomous but “feisty.” The snake may have snuck onto the plane before take-off, or hitched a ride in a passenger’s hand luggage.
The society says Furtivo will remain in its care until a proper home can be found.
Two more ships for Carnival Corp.
Two new cruises ships are on the horizon with Carnival Corp.’s announcement of orders for vessels for its Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise brands.
The parent company of the two lines as well as eight others is contracting with longtime partner Fincantieri shipyards in Monfalcone, Italy to build the two ships, a 2,660-passenger, 99,000-ton ship for Holland America to be delivered in fall 2015 and a 4,000-passenger, 135,000-ton ship for Carnival to be delivered in winter 2016.
Bridge renamed to honor Poitier
The Bahamas’ largest bridge spanning the channel between Nassau and Paradise Island is being renamed to honor film star Sidney Poitier, who spent part of his childhood in the islands. The Paradise Island Bridge will be rechristened as part of this month’s 40th anniversary celebration of Bahamian independence.
The 88-year-old Oscar winner was born in the United States but spent much of his childhood on Cat Island