In the News


Recently a Chinese man was fined and arrested when customers officers found 200 live and venomous scorpions in his luggage at Bandaranaike International Airport, Sri Lanka.

The man is suspected of smuggling the scorpions into China so the venom could be extracted, however, he was released and allowed to return home after paying the fine of $550.

Officials stated that an investigation is underway. They were not able to value the scorpions, but stated that live-wildlife trafficking is a lucrative new trade and recently has become an issue all over the world.

Sri Lanka is the home of about 18 different species of venomous scorpions but only one Sri Lankan species is known to be fatal to humans. At this time it is unknown whether the 200 live scorpions are of this deadly species.

This weird case comes right on the heals of another strange smuggling  incident in which a plane passenger at the same airport attempted to smuggle $30,000 worth of gold using his rear end.

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According to a blog post made by Airbnb in early 2020 they will ban all unauthorized parties on Airbnb properties; it will also be updating its guest standards—both in an effort to address growing concerns about safety and trust on the platform.

Airbnb is going to specifically disallow open-invite parties that are not preapproved by the host. This would include parties promoted by the guest on social media. Their new policy will also ban any and all parties in large, multifamily residences. However, single-family residences and event venues would be excluded from this new rule and would allow hosts to set their own rules concerning events like parties.

The new guest standards coming early next year will also address situations such as the following: excessive noise, unauthorized guests, smoking, parking and cleanliness concerns. All of these have become concerns of late with Airbnb guests. While guests have always, in theory, been required to follow a host’s rules the new policy creates a framework in which actionable enforcement can take place when host rules are violated.

To further address concerns Airbnb will be launching hotlines for city officials or neighbors to contact the company with concerns over the use of Airbnb properties.

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Recently the unfinished Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter partially collapsed. This event unfortunately took the lives of three people and injured dozens more. The city has now announced the entire structure which is 18 stories tall will be imploded.

The building owners’ engineers pointed out it will take 9 weeks to demolish the complex and another 3 months to remove and clear debris. This process will have the Hard Rock missing many busy tourist times including Mardi Gras, New Years and the Sugar Bowl.

New Orleans’ Fire Chief commented that the planned controlled demolition is the only safe way to handle the damaged building. The building owners will pay all costs for the demolition, but the city will be in control of the process. Additionally, the city will not allow demolition to interrupt any tourist season activity.

The top floors of the hotel are what unexpectedly collapsed. The cause is still under investigation by multiple city departments including the police and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.

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If you’ve booked a hotel recently you may have noticed the quoted price goes up when it is time to pay the bill. It isn’t just you, many travelers have been having this experience. These are commonly known as resort fees—though hotels call them anything, including: guest service fees; hotel fees; destination fees etc.

The fees often include things customers come to expect for free but these so-called bundles often include “free” WiFi, pool access and sometimes in destination cities things like a free drink or discounted breakfast.

A new bill to address this issue has been proposed in the House of Representatives. It would require by law that hotels and resorts more accurately display the real price of hotel rooms. How, specifically? They would need to include any mandatory fees before taxes in hotel room’s advertised price.

As one can imagine everyone from big name hotel brands to consumer representatives are weight in on the debate.

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A British daredevil has just earned the reputation as the first pilot to travel the globe on a gyrocopter. The 6 month trip came to a harrowing conclusion as he scarcely escaped a lighting strike.

The pilot who outran lightening is James Ketchell. He traveled 24,000 nautical miles on his tiny aircraft. And if you aren’t familiar with gyroscopes you should know the cockpit is exposed to the elements.

After his narrow lightening dodge he landed at an airport in Hampshire, England to a crowd of cheering fans.

Ketchell’s aircraft is only capable of a 700 nautical mile range and its speed is rated at just 70 knots, so his trip had to be completed in several parts. His path took him first to Europe’s mainland and through Russia before he fly through Canada and the United States. He then proceeded to Greenland and Iceland. Ketchell’s final stop as in the Faroe Islands which is just north of Scotland.

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A Delta employee, Quincy Thorpe, was arrested at JFK International Airport after he was spotted taking a bag away from the loading area of the plane. The bag contained a quarter million dollars in cash. Authorities have surveillance video but have not released it to the public.

Eight bags were supposed to be loaded onto the plane headed to Miami—only seven of those bags were scanned and thereby registered to the flight. Thorpe’s identification was tagged to all seven scans.

Flight 1225 arrived in Miami one bag short, the security company handling the bags noticed one was missing at that time.
Thorpe called in sick on the two days after the theft. While being interviewed by the FBI in his home Thorpe admitted he had loaded the bags and that he knew they contained valuables. Delta has acknowledged that one of their employees was being investigated for the crime.

JFK International as seen heists before, most infamous was the Lufthansa heist in 1978 where criminals took one million in jewels and five million in cash by gunpoint from a cargo terminal.

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