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China Daily | Updated: 2010-12-05 08:44

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Departure Gate

Vampires on ice at Ischgl

The Silvretta Arena in the Tyrollean resort of Ischgl, Austria, will be transformed into an open-air gallery from January when gigantic objets d'art decorate the pistes. From Jan 10 to 14, art fans and snow-lovers can observe the artists at work and watch them carve out huge sculptures of vampires and Count Dracula. The masterpieces can be admired until the start of summer since in Ischgl the snow is guaranteed from the end of September to the beginning of May. (

"Dumpling safari"

The picturesque Gsieser valley in the Dolomite mountains of south Tyrol invites sporting gourmets to enjoy a "dumpling safari" along 40 kilometers of long-distance ski trails from Pichl to St Magdalena this winter. Restaurants and other hostelries along the way will be presenting a variety of traditional sweet and spicy dumplings, and visitors can sample them during a hike or ski trip. Buses run to the locations for those who prefer to sample the specialities with less physical effort. (

Medieval ice rink expanded

A Swiss man-made ice rink which dates back to the Middle Ages is due to be enlarged this winter. The rink is located in an amphitheater in Avenches, known as Aventicum in its heyday as the Roman capital of Helvetica. The surface area of the rink is being boosted from 450 to 600 square meters, announced tourist board officials in the town southeast of Neuchatel. When renovation is complete, visitors will be able to change into their skating gear and also warm up between sessions in a new, high-tech heated igloo. (

Departure Gate

Guns allowed on Amtrak trains

Passengers will soon be allowed to carry guns aboard some Amtrak trains.

The Sacramento Bee says gun rights advocates pushed for an order by Congress to reverse a near decade-long gun ban on the government-owned rail corporation.

Beginning Dec 15, guns can be carried aboard trains that have checked baggage service.

Gun owners must inform Amtrak officials 24 hours ahead of departure, and unloaded firearms must be packed in hard-sided containers for storage in train lockers.

Rail cars are being retrofitted with weapons storage lockers.

New-look Chopo Museum

Mexico City has a new attraction with the reopening of the Chopo Museum, a unique cathedral-like building that has undergone a dramatic modernist makeover by Mexican architect Enrique Norton.

Airline news and deals

US-bound airlines to get "watch" info: All 197 airlines that fly to the United States are now collecting names, genders and birth dates of passengers so the US government can check them against terror watch lists before they fly, the Obama administration announced on Tuesday.

Previously, airlines have been responsible for checking the passenger lists against terror watch lists. But the airlines did not have any information other than a name. Now the screening is done by the Transportation Security Administration. The more information available about a passenger, the less likely a passenger will be mistaken for someone on a watch list. When someone makes a flight reservation, that information goes to the Secure Flight database within seconds.

Discounts offered by Hainan Airlines: Hainan Airlines is offering discounts on some flights to Europe, North America and Africa.

Round-trip tickets of flights from Beijing to Brussels, Budapest and Berlin, and from Shanghai to Brussels from Dec 1 to March 31 will sell for as low as 3,380 yuan if booked 14 days ahead. Round-trip tickets of flights from Beijing to Moscow between Nov 1 and Dec 31 start at 2,600 yuan.

Until March 31, passengers flying from Beijing to a number of US cities such as Chicago and Los Angeles can buy round-trip tickets in economy class for as little as 3,500 yuan.

And a direct route between Beijing and Toronto was launched on Friday, with fares as low as 4,800 yuan. Another new route between Beijing and Cairo will offer fares of 3,200 yuan for one-way and 3,800 yuan for round trip.

China Daily - Associated Press - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

(China Daily 12/05/2010 page16)

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