This week in travel

Wanderlust's select guide to the top travel-related news stories from around the globe.

Published December 4, 1998 8:00PM (EST)

- - - - - - + From the South China Morning Post
The third earthquake to hit Yunnan Province, China, within the last two weeks left 20,000 more people homeless and 8,000 buildings toppled. Although no deaths were reported and only a few people were injured, the latest quake dramatically compounded ongoing relief efforts to deal with the 4,000 injured and 25,000 left homeless from the two previous temblors. "What we are mostly worried about is the weather, because once it starts snowing, the road will be blocked and the people will have nothing," said a relief worker.

- - - - - - + From the Times of London
In Israel, merely building a road unearths ancient remains. And when that happens, most of the time, a "salvage" dig has to take place. Until this week, building contractors were responsible for bearing the costs of these digs, but a new ruling has shifted the costs to the government. And that has created a new problem: The government says it doesn't have the money to carry out the digs. The ruling affects about 300 of the 350 excavations throughout the country, including sites in Jerusalem, Acre and Beit Shean.

- - - - - - + From ABC News
Hurt on a plane? You can sue for damages. That's according to a federal court ruling that allows passengers to file suit when they have been injured by "employee carelessness." A 1978 federal law prohibited lawsuits against carriers (under state law) for negligence or breach of contract relating to "service." But in the new opinion, Judge Barry Silverman of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that "service" pertains to the scheduling of flights, not to "the pushing of beverage carts, keeping the aisles clear of stumbling blocks, the safe handling and storage of luggage, assistance to passengers in need, or like functions."

- - - - - - + From the Washington Post
French rail workers, protesting a government plan to cut back their work week from 39 hours to 35, have been on strike since last Friday. The workers say they are already understaffed and the cut will pose safety problems. The strike has disrupted service in 20 out of 23 regions throughout France.

- - - - - - + From CNN
In an effort to make the skies safer, the Federal Aviation Administration is encouraging airlines to turn over the data on their flight recorders on a regular basis. Several airlines have been doing this for three years, and the information from the recorders has helped improve approaches at airports across the globe. The agency stresses that it will not penalize airlines for small infractions found on the tapes, only "egregious" ones.

- - - - - - + From MSNBC
While admission prices were raised at national parks across the country over the past two years, the number of park visitors was unchanged, according to a government study. Visitors apparently were willing to pay more -- even at places like Yosemite, where entrance fees soared to $20 -- to help maintain and protect the grounds. The additional revenue was much needed as the federal land management agencies tried to deal with a backlog in park improvement requests.

- - - - - - + From
A controversial French rap group's singer, Didier Morvic -- known on stage as Joey Starr -- was charged with assault after a flight attendant claimed he broke her nose. The alleged incident occurred in a hotel just before the attendant was to return to the airport to work on a flight. The woman, who is unidentified, had to stay off work for 12 days. The airline pilots' association condemned the incident and has pledged to ask its members to not allow Starr on a plane again in France. The group, NTM, is an acronym for "Nic Ta Mere," which means Fuck Your Mother.

By Susanna Stromberg

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Aftershock Air Travel Earthquakes Natural Disasters Travel