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NEWS, TIPS & BARGAINS | TRAVEL LOG

Toronto back on SARS list

June 01, 2003|Jane Engle;Times staff and wires

Toronto, which had been removed from the World Health Organization's list of places affected by severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, returned to the list last week after dozens of possible new cases developed.

WHO did not warn against travel there. Earlier, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reinstated its travel alert for Toronto -- a step short of advising against nonessential travel.

As of the Travel section's deadline Tuesday, the two agencies were issuing somewhat different advisories for other areas. WHO continued to advise against travel to Taiwan, Beijing and several other parts of China, but it lifted advisories against China's Guangdong province and Hong Kong.

The CDC continued to advise against travel to Taiwan, mainland China and -- unlike WHO -- to Hong Kong.

For updates, visit www.cdc.gov and www.who.int.

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88% of tour

packages to

China canceled

As SARS warnings continue for China, tourist traffic from the U.S. has slowed to a trickle, said Yan Wang, director of the China National Tourist Office in Los Angeles.

Eighty-eight percent of tour packages from the U.S. to China for April, May and June have been canceled, she said last week. Such packages are typically worth more than $1,000 each.

Up to 90% of port calls by cruise ships have been canceled, as have most Yangtze River cruises, she said.

"We hope it's only a temporary disease," Wang said of SARS. Tourism officials are working on discounts to lure back Americans but do not plan to advertise them until health advisories are lifted, she said.

There are already many travel deals to regions of Asia that are not the subject of SARS advisories. For instance, Asian Affair Holidays, (888) 742-3445, www.asianaffairholidays.com, an arm of Singapore Air, has been offering three-night air-hotel packages to Bangkok via Singapore from $760 per person, double occupancy, from Los Angeles for travel until June 30. (There may be long phone waits.) Travelers at the Singapore airport will be subject to screening for SARS, an airline spokesman said.

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Norwegian line cancels 3 sailings

after fatal blast

Miami

Norwegian Cruise Line canceled Eastern Caribbean cruises of the Norway scheduled to depart May 25, today and June 8 from Miami after a shipboard boiler exploded, killing five crew members and injuring 20 others.

None of the 2,135 passengers was hurt, and terrorism was not suspected. Passengers on the canceled cruises are being offered refunds and credits on future cruises, the company said.

Federal authorities last week were investigating the blast. Coast Guard and police officials said it appeared that it was sparked by a steam leak.

It was not the first problem for the Norway, which entered service in the 1960s. Two years ago, Coast Guard inspectors discovered about 100 "soft patches" covering holes in fire sprinkler lines that authorities said could have failed under intense heat.

Times staff and wires

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Black American

life and history

through the lens

A groundbreaking survey of hundreds of African American photos from the 1840s to the present is to open June 7 at three Oakland museums.

"Reflections in Black: Smithsonian African American Photography" was shown in its entirety earlier this year in Nashville; parts have appeared elsewhere, including Los Angeles. But Oakland is the only place in the western U.S. that is showing all three parts.

The subjects include daily life, the civil rights struggle and the Harlem Renaissance.

"The First Years, 1842-1942" will be at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland, (510) 637-0200, www.oaklandlibrary.org/AAMLO, through Aug. 31. "Art and Activism," focusing on the 1950s and 1960s and beyond, will be at the Oakland Museum of California, (510) 238-2200, www.museumca.org, through Aug. 31. "A History Deconstructed," with work from the last two decades, will be at Mills College Art Museum, (510) 430-2164, www.mills.edu/MCAM, until Aug. 10.

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DEAL OF THE WEEK

$1 companion

fare to Europe

Trafalgar Tours' "Europe for a Buck" deal gives your companion round-trip airfare to Europe for $1 when you both buy certain tours. The tours must be booked by Friday and are subject to availability. Be prepared to be flexible on the dates. Travel must be completed by Oct. 31, depending on the tour.

Among the tours is a seven-night "Best of Switzerland," with airfare, starting at $1,835 from Los Angeles for the first person and $1,000 for the second traveler. You must book through a travel agent. Visit www.trafalgar.com for the name of an agent (click on "Find a Trafalgar Agent") or for more information.

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FREE FOR THE ASKING

Book-length look

at Maryland

The comprehensive, 200-page "Destination Maryland" guide includes essays on sports, dining and other topics; seven suggested itineraries with themes such as the Civil War and farming; regional overviews; and a card good for discounts at restaurants, lodging and attractions. (800) 719-5900, www.mdwelcome.org.

-- Compiled by

Jane Engle

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