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New Rule in Singapore for Visitors to Chew On

February 16, 1992|KIM UPTON

Be careful what you pack on your next trip to Singapore. A new import ban bars travelers from bringing chewing gum into Singapore, even if intended for personal consumption. First-time violators are subject to a fine of up to $6,250 or imprisonment for up to one year or both. Subsequent convictions call for fines of up to $12,500 and/or two years in jail. Although the law does not specify how much gum it would take to send an offender to the slammer, officials have said that, in practice, customs officers at the airport are willing to overlook a few sticks on arriving passengers.

When the measure went into effect Jan. 3, Singapore became the world's first country to outlaw the import, manufacture, sale or advertising of chewing gum. The official reason for the ban: Gum twice gummed up the doors of subway trains last year, causing delays, and had become a nuisance in movie theaters, housing projects and other public places.

Travel Quiz: What are the largest and smallest counties in the United States?

Canada Health Alert for Kids: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and the Quebec and Ontario health ministries have issued a health alert for Eastern Canada because of increased cases of bacterial meningitis in several areas, including the Ottawa-Carleton area, the Laurentides region north of Montreal, the Lanaudiere region, the Outaouais area of West Quebec and Prince Edward Island. This does not include Montreal or Quebec City. Meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, is communicable. Although the risk of American tourists contracting it would be low, U.S. visitors traveling with children may wish to consider vaccinating those between the ages of 2 and 20, especially if they are expected to have extensive contact with Canadian children. The number of cases among school-age children there is substantially above normal. For further information contact the Centers for Disease Control international hot line: (404) 332-4559.

Crater Closes for Camping: On March 31, the Tanzanian government will end tent camping on the floor of Ngorongoro Crater, a conservation area noted for its rich and varied wildlife. Tour companies were notified verbally that the government believes camping on the crater floor is environmentally damaging. The circular floor of the 125-square-mile ancient crater, 2,000 feet below the rim, has been a popular spot for safaris for more than a decade. Camping there offered an opportunity to view the abundant wildlife--including lions, leopards and elephants--that are particularly active at sunrise and sunset. Although camping and stays in any of the three lodges on the rim of the crater will still be options for travelers, such lodging--approximately 45 minutes from the crater floor--will prohibit sunrise and sunset viewing. The crater floor will be closed to tourists at night.

Quick Fact: The Internal Revenue Service has announced that travelers may claim a deduction of 28 cents per mile for business travel on their 1992 federal income tax returns. This is up from the deduction of 27.5 cents for 1991 returns.

Caution Canceled: The U.S. State Department travel caution issued for Venezuela Feb. 4 in the wake of a military coup attempt has been canceled. The State Department advises that Americans may now feel free to travel to Venezuela and need not contact and register with the U.S. Embassy's Consular Section upon arrival.

Star Trekking: A major retrospective exhibition that examines the celebrated "Star Trek" television series of the 1960s will open Feb. 29 at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The exhibition will be on view through Sept. 7 and will examine the historical, political, social and cultural issues and themes of the 1960s that were incorporated into weekly episodes. More than 80 original props, costumes and models used in the creation of the original series will be featured in the exhibition, as well as an array of photographs from individual episodes. Many of the objects are on loan from Paramount Pictures, with others from private collections.

Short Is Sweet: With a new and united Europe to explore and the Persian Gulf War a part of history, Southern California travelers are showing a renewed interest in world travel and short-term cruising, and there is a growing trend in families traveling internationally with young children, according to a report assembled by the Automobile Club of Southern California. Cruises of from two to five days are the fastest-growing segments of the total national cruise market, experiencing a growth rate of more than 300% over the past decade, according to a spokeswoman for the Automobile Club, the largest affiliate of the American Automobile Assn.

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