In brief: A round-up of today's news
FCO loosens warning against travel to Tokyo, people still bringing guns to US airports, a man and his bear stopped by Russian customs and more. Here are the stories that travellers are buzzing about:
FCO changes travel advice in Japan
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) revised its travel advisory regarding Japan Wednesday, as the country continues its slow recovery from the disasters in March. Last week, the US, Denmark, Sweden and Finland also eased bans that prevented all travel to Japan. The FCO is no longer advising against non-essential travel to Tokyo, but continues to urge British citizens to avoid any areas within 80km of the Fukushima nuclear facility, which began injecting nitrogen into one of the reactors Wednesday in an attempt to prevent more radiation-releasing hydrogen explosions, the Telegraph reports.
According to the Financial Times, engineers also plugged a leak of highly radioactive water with liquid glass, stopping it from continuing to pour into the Pacific Ocean. For now, water with lower radiation levels continues to flow into the sea.
Three guns found in two days at US airports
Memo to plane passengers: you're still not allowed to carry a gun on a plane.
Police arrested a man at Boston Logan International Airport yesterday after he tried to carry two unloaded antique pistols through security, the Concord Monitor reported. Meanwhile, a man at Orlando International Airport was arrested when he tried to carry a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol through security Monday, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Of course, if you happen to be a federal agent, you may be allowed to carry a gun onto a plane. Just make sure not to leave it in the bathroom once you get past security, as one federal agent did Monday. A woman found the gun and turned it into authorities at the El Paso, Texas International Airport, CNN reported yesterday. The investigation is still ongoing.
Man caught smuggling a circus bear into Ukraine
When Russian customs agents searched a Ukrainian man's van this morning, they found a rather large surprise waiting for them. The man, said to be a circus performer, was hiding a Syrian brown bear - an endangered species - under a blanket in an attempt to smuggle it back to the Ukraine, the BBC reports.
He reportedly told customs he has performed with the bear all over the world, and considered her a member of the family. Still, the performer had no documents for his furry friend, and customs is still deciding what to do with her.
Comedian on tricycle beats bus in race
Between taxis, buses and the subway, New York City has plenty of public transportation options. But visitors to New York might want to think twice before taking the bus. Comedian, writer and filmmaker Mark Malkoff decided to test just how slow New York buses really are by competing with one in a mile-long race - while riding a big wheel tricycle.
Malkoff beat the bus by almost two minutes, and caught the entire thing on video. And yes, watching a comedian race a bus on a child's toy is just as funny as you might expect.
The mega retweet
We scour Twitter and publish a standout travel tweet.
The billionaire chairman of Virgin Group joined media and VIPs on a Virgin America flight for the grand re-opening of San Francisco International Airport's mod Terminal 2 Wednesday. Branson tweeted a (sideways) photo taken from the plane as it flew alongside his three Virgin Galactic spacecraft. Well played, sir.
"I'm thinking now of the smiles I saw around Iwate, of the many old people and children in the prefecture who shoved food into my hands and told me to keep going. I think these qualities are social, not genetic, built up over generations, and possibly stronger in the northeast where life has traditionally been harsher. But whatever the reason, it works. And I'm staying."
In an article for CNNGo.com, Freelance journalist David McNeill discusses why he loves Japan even more since the Earthquake.