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NEWS AND BRIEFS

London Closes Streets to Thwart IRA Attacks

July 11, 1993|KIM UPTON

Most streets leading into the City of London--a roughly one-square-mile area containing one of the world's great financial districts, as well as the Tower of London--have been closed off to vehicular traffic and will remain so for perhaps up to a year in an attempt to foil terrorist bombings. The few street entrances that remain open to cars, trucks and buses are being controlled by around-the-clock police checkpoints. The measures, instituted a week ago, are intended to thwart the Irish Republican Army's increasingly aggressive bombing campaign against economic targets in the heart of the city. In April, 1992, an IRA bomb devastated the Baltic Exchange, killing three people, injuring nearly 100 and causing nearly $600 million in property damage and lost revenues for firms forced to suspend business. In April of this year, the IRA parked a truck loaded with explosives on a street in the area and detonated it, killing one man, injuring more than 30 and causing damage at least as costly as in the earlier blast. Under the plan announced by City of London police, 18 streets have been sealed off to vehicular traffic by stationary roadblocks, but remain open to pedestrians. Eight streets remain open to cars and trucks, but with video cameras recording incoming traffic and police searching vehicles considered suspicious. As of Tuesday, traffic was running smoothly, according to the British Tourist Authority in London.

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Travel Quiz: What body of water divides Africa from the Arabian Peninsula?

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Is Our Water Logged?: High levels of bacteria from human and animal waste were the primary cause of the more than 2,600 ocean and beach closings and advisories posted in 1992, according to the nonprofit environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council in its third annual report on U.S. seashores. The report, which examined state and county data on closings in all 22 coastal states, said poisonous runoff from farms and cities was the primary cause of the pollution but that it is difficult to gauge the severity of the problem since many beach areas do not monitor their waters. It criticized coastal states in the Southeast, along the Gulf Coast and in the Northwest for performing little or no monitoring to protect swimmers' safety. For example, Texas posted only one beach advisory last year, a reflection of the state's lax water-quality testing program, the group said. However, New York state reported 799 beach closings or advisory postings last year, and Delaware was hailed as a model for water pollution enforcement.

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Ban on Maui Car Rentals Lifted: The ban by three major rental car agencies on driving rental cars up to Haleakala Crater, the dormant volcano on the east side of Maui, has been lifted. Last fall, Avis, Alamo and National banned customers from driving up to the summit at Haleakala National Park for fear of accidents and brake failure during the steep descent. The three companies lifted the ban because of improvements implemented by the park service, including posted warnings urging drivers to use low gear, not their brakes, during descent.

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Olympic Tickets Still Available: Tickets for 1994 Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, and the figure skating events, are now in short supply, according to Cartan Tours, the exclusive American ticket agent for the games. But tickets to other events are in relatively good supply and range in price from $20 for a seat at a preliminary hockey game to $165 for those "best seats" still available at the figure skating contests. A ticket order form is available from Manhattan Beach-based Cartan, which has put together several tour packages to towns near Lillehammer, Norway, where the games are being held. A six-night stay in a Norwegian home in Hamar (with the family in residence) is $2,699 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Los Angeles, daily breakfast, a ticket to opening or closing ceremonies, a pass on the Olympic transportation system and airport transfers. For information: (800) 841-1994.

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Quick Fact: Latest closing date ever for skiing at Mammoth Mountain: July 28, 1983.

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Florida's Foreign Ad Blitz: Florida has begun a $1.5-million advertising blitz in foreign television and newspapers, painting a peaceful picture of the Sunshine State for potential visitors who may be nervous about crime there. The TV commercials and newspaper ads make no reference to crime or to this winter's robbery deaths of six foreign tourists in Florida. However, they do tout brochures with safety tips, which will be distributed to travel agents. The ads began airing this spring in Toronto, Montreal and London, and started last week in Berlin and other German cities.

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