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Published: Monday, November 27, 2017 @ 4:50 PM
— In the mood for a new adventure or looking for a change of scenery? The holiday season is the perfect time to explore a new destination, see new things and learn about different cultures.
1. Tromso, Norway
If you like the night life, Tromso is the place for you. Daylight during the holiday season is just a couple of hours long.
But the darkness is lit up by incredible views of the northern lights (look for them between 6 p.m. and midnight) and a chance to say you’ve been to the North Pole -- well, the Arctic Circle, anyway -- for Christmas.
2. Prague, Czech Republic
Seeing “The Nutcracker” is a great experience. Seeing it in Prague, one of the homes of ballet, is an even more noteworthy experience.
After leaving the Czech ballet, enjoy historic Nerudova Street in Mala Strana, which is filled with Gothic and Baroque architecture. Don’t miss the holiday markets in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square.
3. Lapland, Finland
Want to walk in a real winter wonderland? Urho Kekkonen National Park, a 90-minute flight from Helsinki, is the real thing. Cross the frosty landscape via a reindeer-pulled sled or go cross-country skiing on the Saariselkä trails.
If you want to watch the northern lights warmly, some of the igloos at Hotel Kakslauttanen are made of thermal glass.
4. Zurich, Switzerland
One of the most beautiful cities in Europe believes in lighting up the holidays. A display of 12,000 crystal lights are turned on to mark the season starting in late November.
On the eve of Dec. 19, children set candles afloat on the Limmat River near City Hall. And don’t miss the Conelli Christmas Circus.
5. Charleston, South Carolina
If you’re not in the mood for Europe, Charleston has its own spin on the holidays. Pecans roasting instead of chestnuts, eggnog spiked with bourbon, and choirs singing spirituals at Drayton Hall plantation are among the signs of the season.
The city has an extensive list of events at ChristmasInCharleston.com.
6. Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland has been a hot vacation spot for the last several years, and the center of that is Reykjavik, the capital city. It’s another northern location where daylight is a four-hour affair and the aurora borealis is the biggest holiday light of them all. Statues of the 12 Yule Lads -- the Icelandic version of Santa Claus -- peek around every corner and from every window.
7. Santa Barbara, California
So you’d rather be warm for Christmas -- who wouldn’t? Hotels in the Santa Barbara area can give you the New England winter lodge feeling just steps from the beach.
If you are there on a Sunday, check out the Sunday Arts & Crafts Show for last-minute shopping.
If you want New England’s Old World ambience with snow, Boston is the place to go.
Enjoy Beacon Hill’s cobblestone streets dusted with snow, and celebrate the ghosts of Christmases past with the Christmas Revels at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre. Get some skating in on Boston Common.
9. Edinburgh, Scotland
Fireworks lighting up over Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse? Yes, please. Add in bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace” around the Sir Walter Scott monument, and the sounds of the season are fully engaged here.
10. Taos, New Mexico
For a unique holiday season, light a farolito (little lantern) in Taos. The Native American and Hispanic influences are prevalent, bringing a multicultural twist to the holiday season with activities like the lighting of Ledoux Street with the tiny lanterns.
Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 12:00 AM
After watching lawmakers agree to two bills this week dealing with guns and school safety in the aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Democrats say the gun violence marches around the nation on Saturday have the chance to change the political dynamic on gun control in the Congress.
“Their hope gives me hope,” Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) said of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and others who have joined in calling for action on gun violence.
“Their determination gives me determination,” Nelson said at a U.S. Capitol news conference, even as he and other Democrats again acknowledged that they are far from having the votes to press ahead with gun control plans.
Among the plans that Democrats have focused on in recent weeks include:
+ The Manchin-Toomey ‘universal background checks’ bill, which would require checks for almost all private gun sales.
+ A federal law raising the minimum age to purchase a weapon to 21, mirrored on a law just passed by the state of Florida.
+ A ban on the sale of weapons like the AR-15.
+ Limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines.
“We have an important role to play in insuring that no students should ever be afraid to walk down the hallway of their school,” said Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), whose district includes Parkland, Florida.
“It is our job, and everyone working in that building behind us, to pass laws, to keep our communities safe,” Deutch said at a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol.
But the last five weeks were also a reminder of the difficulty of acting on any gun-related legislation – no matter how minor it might be.
The “Fix NICS” bill approved this week as part of a giant spending bill was bipartisan, yet it also had some sharp opposition from Republicans in the House.
And that makes the idea of the ‘Buy 21’ bill, or any ban on assault weapons, difficult to see getting through the Congress, unless there is major change in the makeup of the U.S. House and Senate.
“You know the politics, but you got to start somewhere,” said Nelson. “This is the first step at the federal level.”
Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 9:24 PM
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Police say a mother intentionally crashed her SUV into a pole to prove to her two small children that God is real.
Investigators say Bakari Warren, 25, told officers after the crash that she did it on purpose to show her kids that if they believe, God would protect them.
The crash and the 5- and 7-year-old kids’ explanation were all caught on camera.
Police say Warren was driving northbound on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard when she crossed into the southbound lanes and drove head on into a concrete pole.
Sitting in a police car, her children explained what happened before the crash.
“You think she did it on purpose?” the officer asked.
“Yeah because she turned. Her eyes was closed and she was saying, blah, blah, blah, ‘I love God,’” one daughter said. “She didn’t want us to just have a car accident. She wanted us to know that God is real."
Police said Warren told her children to buckle up their seat belts just before she accelerated into the pole. Warren was frisked and handcuffed right after she got out of the SUV.
“When the officers asked the driver of the vehicle what had happened her first statement was to check her Facebook, and it would explain what happened,” Norcross police Sgt. Eric Butynski said.
Nothing was found directly referencing the incident on what appeared to be her Facebook page, but police say she later gave the same reasons as her kids -- to prove that God will protect them.
No one was hurt in the accident, but officers say it could have been much worse.
“It could have been a lot worse. It could have been heavier traffic at the time, she could have hit the pole at such an angle that she did more damage to the car,” Butynski said.
Warren remains in jail on $22,000 bond. She is charged with two counts of child cruelty.
The children are now with their grandparents.
Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 10:25 PM
WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice announced a proposal Friday to ban bump stocks, device that essentially convert semiautomatic weapons into machine guns. The announcement came just a day ahead of the “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington.
Thousands of young people are expected to converge on the nation’s capital to demand gun control following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month that left 17 people dead.
President Donald Trump announced the new proposal on Twitter. “We will BAN all devices that turn legal weapons into illegal machine guns,” the president tweeted.
Obama Administration legalized bump stocks. BAD IDEA. As I promised, today the Department of Justice will issue the rule banning BUMP STOCKS with a mandated comment period. We will BAN all devices that turn legal weapons into illegal machine guns.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement on the proposed ban, referring to the Las Vegas massacre in October that left 58 people dead. The shooter used bump stocks on a number of weapons to increase their firepower.
“After the senseless attack in Las Vegas, this proposed rule is a critical step in our effort to reduce the threat of gun violence,” Sessions said.
Attorney General Sessions Announces Regulation Effectively Banning Bump Stocks https://t.co/WFdxNSLmyq— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) March 23, 2018
On Feb. 20, Trump issued a memorandum instructing Session to ban bump stocks. The proposal announced on Friday is a response to that memorandum.
Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 9:58 PM
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Rick Scott is signing off on a measure that would let Florida stay on daylight saving time all year long.
Scott on Friday signed 74 bills into law, including the "Sunshine Protection Act." The measure won't take effect unless Congress also changes federal law.
But if Congress were to go along, Floridians would no longer set back their clock an hour each November.
That would translate into later sunrises and sunsets from November to March.
Scott in a statement said he supported the move because it would help the state's tourism industry. He said it would allow residents and visitors to "enjoy everything our beautiful state has to offer later in the day."