Travel

Visiting North Korea? Draft a will and make funeral plans, State Department says

Americans can travel to North Korea, if they wish — but it may just be a death wish, the U.S. State Department cautioned. The State Department last week issued a stark warning to people setting out for the Hermit Kingdom, cautioning that anyone heading to the dangerous dictatorship should prepare for the possibility of not returning. “The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in North Korea as it does not have diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea,” the State Department published Wednesday on its website. Those who wish to travel to North Korea must be approved for a special validation, which are handed out on “very limited circumstances.” U.S. travelers given the approval to experience Kim Jong Un’s regime should then prepare for the worst — including drafting a will and making funeral and property arrangements with family and friends. “Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney; discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.,” according to the recommendations. The agency also urged people to have a “contingency plan for emergency situations,” be updated on the State Department’s social media platform and alert systems. President Trump announced in November the U.S. designation of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, adding the country to a short list including Iran, Sudan and Syria. North Korea had been removed from the list by the Bush administration in 2008. Trump cited Kim’s “murderous” rogue regime and the death of American college student Otto Warmbier, who was imprisoned in North Korea for more than a year and died days after he returned to the U.S. in a coma, as reasons for the return to the list. “North Korea has repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism including assassinations on foreign soil,” the president said. “This designation will impose further sanctions and penalties on North Korea and related persons.” The State Department’s recent warning comes just weeks after Kim, while calling for improved relations with South Korea, threatened to strike the U.S. with nuclear warheads, claiming he had a button to fire nuclear weapons on his desk. “The entire area of the U.S. mainland is within our nuclear strike range,” he said. “…The United States can never start a war against me and our country.”

Most livable: America’s 50 best cities to live in

As the land of opportunity, the United States has attracted people from around the world for centuries. Yet not all parts of the country are equally desirable, and some cities are far more livable than others. On an individual level, subjective measures often override other, more objective, considerations. Sometimes, we live in a place simply because it is where we grew up — it is familiar and where we feel at ease. Still, a range of factors can help compare U.S. cities objectively. Low crime, a healthy economy and affordability are just a few examples of universally desirable attributes in any community. 24/7 Wall St. created an index of over three dozen socioeconomic measures to identify the 50 best American cities to live in. The most livable cities span the country — from the Deep South to New England and from the Mid-Atlantic to the Pacific Northwest. Click here to see the list.

Here at The Daily Buzz, we’re based out of southeast Aurora, Colorado.  So, we’re pretty excited about #2!     🙂

Best and worst airports in US according to new J.D. Power survey

Airports often bring out the worst in people, between the crowds, delays and general stress of traveling — but according to a new survey, customer satisfaction is at an all-time high when flying through U.S. airports, according to J.D. Power’s 2017 North America Airport Satisfaction Study. Traveler satisfaction scored a 749 out of 1,000 points, an 18-point increase from last year’s survey, despite increasingly packed terminals. The improved score comes primarily from higher satisfaction with security checks, check-in/baggage check, and food, beverage, and retail, the survey reports. “Capacity has become a huge challenge for North American airports, with many reporting 100% of available parking spots being filled and large airports, such as Orlando International, setting passenger volume records each month for more than three years straight,” said Michael Taylor, Travel Practice Lead at J.D. Power. But, he says despite these difficulties, airports are responding with both new technology and personal skills to win over travelers. “These range from smartphone apps that tell travelers where to find a parking spot to therapy dogs—and in one case, a therapy pig—mingling with travelers to relieve stress and improve the overall airport experience.” The survey ranked airports across the U.S. based on several key factors: accessibility, check-in and baggage check process, security screening, shopping, terminal facilities and baggage claim. Airports were broken down into three categories based on size. “Mega” airports were defined as those handling more than 32.5 million annual passengers. The “large” category included airports with 10 million to 32.4 million passengers and “medium” airports are those with between 3 million and 9.9 million passengers. So which airports topped the list? Orlando International Airport won the first-place spot for “Mega” airports, John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., won the “Large” category and Sacramento International Airport was ranked number one for “Medium” airports. Orlando International Airport received a score of 778 out of 1,000, beating out the runner up, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, which received a 767 score. Earning a much less coveted spot, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey received the lowest ranking among “Mega” airports, earning a score of 686. LaGuardia Airport, in New York City, ranked worst among “Large” airports, with a score of 654, and Bradley International Airport in Hartford County, Conn. for “Medium” airports, earning a 742 score.

7 vacation destinations you probably want to avoid

We’re just going to say it — certain popular vacation destinations need to be retired. When the world has so many incredible places to visit, why would you spend your time and money at overpriced, overhyped, soul-sucking tourist traps? Unless you want to waste your hard-earned vacation days, we recommend striking these places from your travel bucket list. So, click here to see our list.

State Department issues travel warning for Mexico

The U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning Tuesday for Americans traveling to certain parts of Mexico. The advisory cautions citizens to avoid traveling to certain locations due to increased criminal activity. Areas such as Baja California Sur, where the popular tourist destination Cabo San Lucas is, and Quintana Roo, where Cancun and Riviera Maya are located, have seen a spike in homicide rates this year. “U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes, including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery in various Mexican states,” the travel advisory states. The advisory notes that resort areas and tourist destinations in the country don’t typically have the same level of drug-related violence and crime seen in other parts of the country. The notice adds that “gun battles between rival criminal organizations or with Mexican authorities have taken place on streets and in public places during broad daylight,” but that there’s no evidence to show criminal groups in Mexico have targeted Americans based on their nationality. U.S. citizens traveling may come across government checkpoints, operated by military personnel or law enforcement officials, but in some areas, criminal organizations have created their own “unauthorized checkpoints” and have killed or abducted those who haven’t stopped at them. The warning states that Americans “should cooperate at all checkpoints.” The advisory follows a March warning that cautioned U.S. college students from traveling to Mexico during spring break.

Given these developments, that sounds smart..

Ancient mug workshop found near site of Jesus wine miracle

Israeli archeologists on Thursday unveiled a 2,000-year-old workshop for making stone vessels similar to those Jesus is believed to have used to miraculously turn water into wine. Located near the Galilee village of Reineh in northern Israel, the site is walking distance from Cana, the site of a wedding where the Gospel of John says Jesus performed the miracle, his first. The workshop and an adjoining quarry were discovered by chance during the construction of an access road for a new sports centre, excavation director Yonatan Adler said. Since the discovery two months ago, Adler and his team have uncovered fragments of chalkstone mugs and bowls along with thousands of cylindrical chalk cores discarded in the process of hollowing out the vessels with a lathe. They are typical of a period from the second half of the first century BC to the middle of the first century AD. Jews of the period used stoneware for reasons of religious observance, Adler said. “According to ancient Jewish ritual law, vessels made of pottery are easily made impure and must be broken. Stone, on the other hand, was thought to be a material which can never become ritually impure,” he said. That practice was noted in John’s New Testament account of the Cana wedding, which described larger vessels: “There were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews.” “So far at this site we haven’t found production of these large jars,” Adler said. “But presumably the stone jars that would have been used at Cana would have been produced at a site like this, probably in the area.” He said that prior to the Reineh excavation two similar sites had been excavated, both near Jerusalem. “What’s exciting here is that for the first time we have physical evidence of production of stone vessels here in Galilee,” he said. “There has always been a question amongst scholars regarding the nature of Judaism in Galilee,” something particularly important when studying early Christianity, he said. “The question is, who are these people that are living in Galilee?”

Fascinating!!   🙂

Archaeological find in Jerusalem ‘proves Bible passage is historically true’

Archaeologists excavating in Jerusalem have found burned artifacts dating from 2,600 years ago – which prove that a passage in the Bible is true. Researchers uncovered charred wood, grape seeds, fish scales, bones and pottery while digging in the City of David in Jerusalem. The find provides evidence that the Babylonians ‘burned all the houses of Jerusalem’, described in the book of Jeremiah. Researchers from the Israel Antiquities Authority found the artifacts beneath layers of rock in the City of David – along with jars with seals which enabled the researchers to date the artifacts. ‘These seals are characteristic of the end of the First Temple Period,’ said Dr Joe Uziel of the Israel Antiquities Authority, ‘Used for the administrative system that developed towards the end of the Judean dynasty.’ The fire damage can be dated to 2,600 years ago – which ties with events described in the Bible. The book of Jeremiah says, ‘Now on the seventh day of the fifth month, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the house of the Lord, the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every great house he burned with fire.’

Fascinating!!  To see the video, click on the text above.   🙂