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Emirates Biometric Boarding

Emirates is once again pushing the boundaries of technology, becoming the first airline outside America to receive approval for biometric boarding from the US Customs Border Protection (CBP). Soon, customers flying from Dubai to any of Emirates’ 12 destinations in the US will be able to choose facial recognition technology at the departure gates, reducing the time taken for identity checks to two seconds or less. No pre-registration is required, and customers may also choose not to use the technology. Emirates does not store any biometric records of its customers – all the data is managed securely by CBP.

The technology was piloted at the departure gates of Emirates’ flights from Dubai to New York and Los Angeles through the peak periods in July and August. The airline expects to make biometric boarding available for all its US destinations by year-end, once the equipment is in place.

Dr Abdulla Al Hashimi, Divisional Senior Vice President, Emirates Group Security, said, “Biometric boarding is one more step in streamlining processes at our hub using digital technology, saving our customers time and giving them peace of mind.”

John Wagner, Deputy Executive Assistant Commission, Office of Field Operations, US Customs and Border Protection, said, “By comparing a traveller’s face to their passport or visa photo that was previously provided for the purpose of travel, we have streamlined identity verification that further secures and enhances the customer experience.”

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Google Maps Timeline Feature

Open your Google Maps and click the menu in the top left corner. See the “Your Timeline” link? If you’re anything like the editors in the Traveler office, you’ve probably never used the feature, which keeps a log of everywhere you’ve been with your smartphone in hand, creating a historical path for your day.

Timeline has existed for more than a year now, but last week, Google Maps announced it had updated the feature. It’ll now not only keeping track of all of the places you stopped into during your day, but also divide them in categories like restaurants, hotels, shops, and attractions, to make rediscovering them even easier. From there, you can easily add them to your Google Maps starred lists (which Traveler editors meticulously use to keep track of where we’ve been, and where we want to go) so you can access them at any time. It comes in handy when you’ve strayed from your itinerary for a spontaneous shopping spree, neighborhood exploration, or general wandering, and want to remember the exact places you’ve been.

But the real perk comes in the new sharing feature. Now you’re able to export customized lists from your Timeline, selecting specific places you’ve visited on your tracked route with added notes, for when your friends or family ask for your well-traveled advice. Those very lucky people can then download your list directly to their Google Maps as a layer of starred destinations. The exact scenario a Google spokesperson gave us during a demo? That Timeline could replace that email you forward endlessly when someone asks your recommendations. (We have outboxes full of them over at Traveler.)

Back to the location privacy: to get access to the feature, Google Maps doesn’t have to always track your location. You can turn your location history on and off as needed for vacations, and delete certain date ranges of your location history data from within your app’s settings under “Activity Controls.” (If you turn it off, your existing Timeline places will stick around on your phone.) Location history is only turned on when you opt in, so if you haven’t used your Timeline before, it’s likely turned off. If you’re curious about what location data Google keeps, and what it doesn’t, check out the dedicated location history FAQ page.



Google Maps Timeline
  • Create Timeline. When you turn on Location History, your Timeline will reflect the places you have gone with the devices in which your account is logged-in and which are reporting location. …
  • See your travels. …
  • Turn on or pause Location History. …
  • Edit Timeline.

How to view your location history in Google Maps

  1. Launch Google Maps.
  2. Tap the more button (three horizontal lines) on the top left corner.
  3. Tap your timeline.
  4. Tap the calendar icon to view a particular day.
  5. Swipe left or right to switch months.
  6. Tap a date to view your location history.


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Journees du Patrimoine, SEP. 21-22, FRANCE


European Heritage Days are the occasion to visit Monuments and Castles often for free!
In Paris, discover places usually closed for public. In Ile-de-France, visit the abundant Heritage sites of different eras, from the Renaissance estate to the fortified castles, … Royal Residences.

PARIS Outings to discover:

  1. Elysée Palace opens its doors for European Heritage Days. Visit this high place of power and the prestigious salons of the Hotel d’Evreux.
  2. Palais-Royal and the meeting rooms of the State Council, Ministry of Culture and the Constitutional Council.
  3. French National Assembly, tour Palais Bourbon, Hotel de Lassay.
  4. Ministry of Economy and Finance. Visit Bercy from the inside and enjoy crazy experiences as ziplining.
  5. Ministry of the Interior. Visit Hotel Beauvau, ..lounges, gardens, offices, former jails.
  6. French Court of Appeal.
  7. Grand Palais, created for the 1900 World’s Fair.
  8. Musée de la franc-maçonnerie proposes exclusive tours to discover its values and culture.


  1. Seine-et-Marne Heritage with guided tours, exclusive open houses and family entertainments!
  2. Yvelines castles and museums.
  3. Essonne and its treasures.
  4. Val de Marne
  5. Val d’Oise.
  6. Seine-Saint-Denis.



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Rainbow Trail

(CNN) — An airplane speeds through the clouds, a trail of technicolor contrails following behind, illuminating the sky in dazzling rainbow shades.
This incredible moment was captured on film by Brisbane-based Australian photographer Michael Marston, who posts eye-catching aerospace imagery and video on social media.
Marston began snapping shots of airplanes about three years ago. His partner, Tracy, is a Qantas flight attendant and Marston thought it’d be pretty neat to capture a photograph of a plane she was staffing flying across the moon.
He started experimenting with solar and lunar photography, and soon began observing other aerospace phenomena.
“I noticed that planes look very pretty when they go overhead with the right atmospheric conditions — they produce rainbows behind them, with the vapor,” Marston tells CNN Travel.
When an airplane is flying at high altitude, there’s a decrease in pressure and the temperature of the air drops, explain experts at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the German Aerospace Center. If there’s enough moisture in the air, the vapor forming behind the aircraft freezes, generating ice crystals.
Scientists from NASA say the ice crystals form when cold air condenses around particles from the plane’s exhaust.
The remarkable rainbow effect happens when the crystals are aligned at the right angle with the sun, explains NASA.
On June 2019, Marston shot video footage of this marvel, capturing the moment when a Qatar Airways Boeing 777 flew over Brisbane, with stunning rainbow contrails.
This wasn’t the first time Marston took photographs of rainbow contrails, but it’s the first time he captured it on video.
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Romania Facts & Figures

Surface: 238,391 km2 roughly the same size as the United Kingdom.
The Palace of Parliament, located in Bucharest, is the world’s largest and most expensive civil administration building in the world. It also ranks as the biggest office building in Europe (3.9 million square feet) and 2nd largest in the world, after the U.S. Pentagon. More than a million tons of marble, steel, crystal and wood have been used to build this palace!
Carpathian Mountains: home to one of the largest undisturbed forests in Europe = 400 unique species of mammals, including the Carpathian chamois, where 60% of European brown bear live.

1,350 floral species e.g. yellow poppy, Transylvanian columbine, saxifrage and edelweiss.

Turda Salt Mines (Salina Turda) located in Transylvania, stands the world’s largest salt mine museum, (400 feet into the Earth).
The Danube River flows 1,788 miles from its springs in Germany’s Black Forest to the Black Sea, where it forms the Danube Delta – 2nd largest and best preserved in Europe formed over a period of more than 10,000 years – 2,200 miles2 of rivers, canals, marshes, tree-fringed lakes and reed islands,. Home to the world’s largest reed bed; hosts rare species of plants & animals e.g. endangered sturgeon, otters, wildcats & European mink.
The 2nd largest underground glacier in Europe (in terms of volume) is found in Transylvania = 3500-year old Scarisoara Glacier, 75,000 cubic meters, located in the Bihor Mountains… 154-foot deep entrance shaft leads to some impressive ice structures, ice stalagmites & Scarisoara ice-cave.
Peles Castle was the 1st European castle entirely lit by electrical current produced by its own plant.

Castle’s central heating & vacuuming systems, built in 1883, are still in use today.

The world’s first industrial oil refinery opened at Ploieşti (southern Romania) in 1857. Oil was exploited commercially in Romania since 1857, two years before oil was discovered in Pennsylvania.
The earliest reliably dated European modern human fossils, up to now, were discovered in 2002 in southwestern Romania (at Pestera cu Oase – translated as the “Cave With Bones”). The fossil’s age is estimated at 37,800 to 42,000 years old.
The real Dracula (Vlad Draculea) nicknamed Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) was a Romanian prince and military leader who fought bravely against the invading Turkish army in the mid 1400’s. Count Dracula – the Vampire – was created by Irish writer, Bram Stoker in 1897.

The most famous novels written are “The Castle in the Carpathians” by Jules Verne, and “Dracula” by Bram Stoker.

Voronet Monastery, northeastern Romania, is known as the ‘Sistine Chapel of the East’. The monastery built in 1488 is known worldwide for frescoes & intense shade of blue known as ‘Voronet blue.’
Tallest wooden church in the world, 2nd tallest wooden structure in Europe, is in Sapanta Peri = Maramures.
Romania Today is the #9 wine producer in the world!

11 “indigenous” varieties of grapes cannot be found anywhere else in the world are produced here.

The movie Cold Mountain was filmed in Romania. Hollywood celebrities Jude Law, Renee Zellweger and Nicole Kidman relaxed in Poiana Brasov after shooting the film Cold Mountain on location in nearby fields and farms.
The Pastrami – a popular sandwich ingredient in America – has its origins in Romania. Little Romania…
The Black Church has the largest organ in Europe with 4000 tubes (built by Buchholz, Berlin’s famous organ builder, in 1836) as well as the largest bell in Romania, weighting 6.3 tons – Brasov (Transylvania).
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Aerophobia – Fear of Flying & 10 Expert Strategies

If you or someone you know struggles with fear of flying, these 10 expert strategies will help ensure a comfortable, panic-free flight.

Does the idea of flying cause you to break out in a cold sweat? You aren’t alone. More than 25 million Americans suffer from some form of flight anxiety, making aerophobia (fear of flying) the second biggest fear in the US after public speaking. If you do fall in this category, you’ve probably had friends and family remind you numerous times that flying is the safest mode of transportation. While that’s very true – your chances of dying in a plane crash are about one in 10 million compared with a one-in-272 chance of dying in a car crash – that’s not always enough to quell the jitters. And advice like showing up early at the airport to eliminate unnecessary stress is practical as well, but for the most nervous nellies among us, it takes a little bit more to get us up in the air.

We turned to the experts – Todd Farchione, Ph.D., of Boston University’s Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders, Martin N. Seif, Ph.D., ABPP, of the Anxiety & Phobia Treatment Center, and Captain Steve Allright of British Airways’ Flying With Confidence program – to find out exactly what to do to help alleviate flight anxiety. Thanks to their advice, we put together a 10-step guide to help you conquer your fear – because nothing should stand between you and the vacation you deserve.

    1. Name your phobia
    2. Familiarize yourself with airplane noises
    3. Check the turbulence forecast
    4. Bring a photo of your destination
    5. Skip coffee and wine
    6. Distract yourself
    7. Tell the flight attendants
    8. Embrace safety information
    9. Use this breathing technique
    10. Have relaxation remedies handy



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Dubai: Renewable Energy, Virtual Skydiving, Start-up Funds, Water Taxis

Live in a renewable energy-powered home
For a climate of year-round sunshine Dubai has been relatively slow to embrace the possibilities of solar energy. But the Emirate is making up for lost time with plans to install solar panels on 10 per cent of Emirati homes, and the first solar powered apartments now on the market. With a colossal $13.6bn solar park in development, capable of powering 1.3 million homes, the possibilities are set to expand while the prices shrink.

Virtual thrills
Dubai is on the frontline of virtual reality innovation and offers a broad sweep of goggle-enabled thrills. Visitors can try their hand at simulated skydiving at the iFly Skydiving simulator, pilot a virtual jet with the Emirates A380 Experience, play at being a racing driver at Dubai Autodrome, or star in blockbuster action movies, like The Void: Ghostbusters Dimension, at Hub Zero.

Receive state funding for your start-up
As part of Dubai’s strategy to become a leading global player in business and technology, the Emirate has established several well-funded accelerator programs to support entrepreneurs developing innovative business ideas. These have largely focused on Emirati-owned companies, but in recent years some of the largest programs have been opened to foreign nationals — including the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund worth 2bn dirhams ($544 million).

Infrastructure: Get around underground… and on the water
The Dubai Metro opened in 2009 and has provided a mass-transit system suitable for a modern metropolis. Public transport has also expanded into the waterways with the advent of water taxis and water buses along the coastline.

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Cruise Lines Halt Travel to Cuba following US New Travel Policies

June 5th: Just one day after the U.S. government announced it would no longer allow Americans to travel to Cuba via ship, cruise lines are changing their itineraries and cancelling planned stops to the island.
Royal Caribbean was the first to announce itinerary changes, according to Seatrade Cruise News; its June 5 and June 6 sailings will no longer stop in Havana as originally planned, the company announced in a statement late Tuesday evening.
Perhaps the biggest announcement, however, came from Virgin Voyages—a hotly anticipated new cruise line launching next year that said its maiden voyage would sail to Cuba.


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