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British Muslim teacher denied entry to U.S. during school trip

A British Muslim teacher says he was denied entry to the United States last week during a school trip.

According to the BBC, Juhel Miah of Neath Port Talbot, Wales, was in Reykjavik, Iceland, with students and colleagues from Llangatwg Community School on Thursday when the group boarded a flight to New York. 

British Muslim teacher denied entry to US on school trip— Athar Ahmad (@AtharAhmadBBC) February 21, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

But Miah didn't end up making the trip. Authorities stopped him from taking the flight, even though the Neath Port Talbot council said he had a valid visa and British passport, the BBC reported.

“Everyone was looking at me,” Miah told the Guardian. “As I was getting my luggage, the teachers and kids were confused. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I was being escorted out. It made me feel like a criminal. I couldn’t speak; I was lost for words."

>> Read more trending news

In a letter to the U.S. Embassy in London, the Neath Port Talbot council said Miah tried to visit the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik "but was denied access to the building." Miah, who was taken to a hotel, returned to the United Kingdom the following day, the Guardian reported.

The U.S. Embassy in London did not respond to the Guardian's request for a comment.

"No satisfactory reason has been provided for refusing entry to the United States," the council said, adding that Miah "feels belittled and upset at what appears to be an unjustified act of discrimination."

U.S. President Donald Trump issued a controversial travel ban in January halting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, but federal courts suspended the executive order earlier this month.

Read more here or here.

Model's shocking photo shoot from edge of 73-story Dubai tower draws ire

Dubai officials are speaking out after learning of a Russian model's dangerous photo shoot from the edge of a 73-story tower.

According to a Gulf News report last week, police are investigating a viral video and photos of Viktoria Odintcova, 23, hanging off the 1,008-foot Cayan Tower. Odintcova, shown only holding a man's hand for support, didn't appear to use any safety equipment in the shoot.

>> See the controversial video here

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Officials with Cayan Group told Gulf Business that Odintcova did not seek permission for the shoot.

"Although the Cayan Tower has been periodically used for extreme sports events, in all cases there has been safety, security, and emergency services on site," a Cayan spokesman said, adding that "an immediate legal action is running against this condemned incident."

Dubai police Maj. Gen. Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri told Gulf News that risky stunts like these endanger the lives of not only the people participating but also pedestrians on the ground.

>> Read more trending news

"We have previously warned people to not perform such acts," Al Mansouri said. "They don't realize that it could cost them their life if something goes wrong."

He also told The National that police want Odintcova to sign a pledge "not to repeat any dangerous moves that could endanger her life in Dubai."

Odintcova, back in Moscow, apologized for the inconvenience and said she'd sign the papers if police mail them to her.

"I didn't want to hurt the reputation of the city," she told The National in an email. "I hope we can resolve this misunderstanding."

As for Cayan's threat of legal action, Odintcova said, "We deserve a reward for disclosing weaknesses in the security of that building. We were at the rooftop of that building without any evil intentions; however, someone else could have come out there to commit suicide or an act of terrorism."

Read more here.

>> See an image from the shoot here

You didn't believe? Watch the new video link in bio! @a_mavrin  #MAVRIN #MAVRINmodels #vikiodintcova A post shared by Viki Odintcova (@viki_odintcova) on Jan 26, 2017 at 6:55am PST <script async defer src="//"></script>

Safety issues keep Royal Caribbean cruise ship, thousands of passengers at port overnight

Almost 3,000 passengers aboard Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas will wake up Monday morning in the port from which they never disembarked.

Safety issues over life vests held the ship at Florida's Port Canaveral overnight, and passengers had to remain aboard because U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents had gone home for the evening.

The ship was originally scheduled to set sail at 5 p.m. Monday.

An announcement could be heard in cellphone footage shot by a passenger.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we do apologize for the inconvenience in our delayed sailing,” an employee said.

>> Read more trending news

Royal Caribbean hasn’t responded to’s request for comment.

“We passed our previous inspection, but the U.S. Coast Guard would like for us to change the jackets immediately,” the company said on Twitter.

The ship is expected to depart the port Tuesday afternoon.

Passengers were making irate posts on social media Monday night.

“Instead of a Caribbean vacation, I get to spend the night in an industrial shipyard,” passenger John Shingara said. “Thanks, no thanks.”

@Royalcaribbean instead of a Caribbean vacation I get to spend the night in an industrial shipyard. Thanks no ...— John Shingara (@BearsFanLurch) February 14, 2017

Royal Caribbean wrote back to Shingara, apologizing for the situation.

“We’re sorry about the delay, John,” the company posted on Twitter. “We’re working to get going ASAP, and appreciate your patience.”

@Royalcaribbean instead of a Caribbean vacation I get to spend the night in an industrial shipyard. Thanks no ...— John Shingara (@BearsFanLurch) February 14, 2017

Twitter user Jeremy Taylor also posted about the delay on departing from port.

“Come on, man,” he wrote. “First the captain makes an announcement we are leaving early morning, now we are delayed until (2 p.m.).”

@RoyalCaribbean come on man. 1st the Captain makes an announcement we are leaving early morning. Now we are delayed until 1400. #Unsatisfied— Jeremy Taylor (@Jktaylor1) February 14, 2017

After Royal Caribbean responded with an apology, Taylor continued to voice his frustration.

@Jktaylor1 We're sorry about the delay, Jeremy. We're working hard to depart as soon as we can, and appreciate your patience.— Royal Caribbean (@RoyalCaribbean) February 14, 2017

“I understand delays for maintenance, but not preventable safety violations,” he wrote.

@RoyalCaribbean I understand delays for maintenance but not preventable safety violations— Jeremy Taylor (@Jktaylor1) February 14, 2017

United Airlines pilot reportedly removed from flight after rant about Trump, Clinton, divorce

A United Airlines pilot was removed from an Austin, Texas, to San Francisco flight Saturday evening, a spokesman for United Airlines confirmed.

United Airlines spokesman Charlie Hobart confirmed that the pilot was removed from United Airlines Flight 455.

>> Read more trending news

“We hold our employees to the highest standards and we removed that pilot from that flight,” he said. “We brought in a new crew and they operated that flight.”

The pilot boarded the flight dressed in regular clothes, he confirmed.

According to multiple reports on Twitter from passengers, the pilot went on a “rant” about her divorce, President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and also started crying.

Randy Reiss, a passenger on the flight, tweeted about the flight and described the situation as scary. On Twitter, Reiss said the pilot told those on board that she was going through a divorce and began crying during the incident.

So, y'all. I'm shaking right now. I just left my @united flight 455 'cos the captain demonstrated that she was not mentally in a safe space.— Randy Reiss (@undeadsinatra) February 11, 2017

Reiss told the Austin American-Statesman via Twitter that he believed the pilot was not in “the mental space today to take that on.”

A video uploaded to YouTube – then later deleted – appeared to show a portion of what the pilot said to passengers.

In the video, the pilot said: “Don’t worry, I’m going to let my co-pilot fly it (the airplane). He’s a man,” she said.

“If you don’t feel safe, get off the airplane. But otherwise, we can go,” the pilot told passengers over the intercom.

After that comment, a man in the video appeared to get up and request to get off of the airplane.

The pilot then asked passengers if she offended them.

The flight was scheduled to depart Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at 5:02 p.m., according to KVUE News.

The flight’s departure was delayed for about two hours due to the incident, Hobart said.

“We removed her from the flight, (and) we’re going to discuss this matter with her,” he said. “We were looking out for our customers to get them to where they needed to be.”

Disney World on track to raise ticket prices

It's about to get a little more expensive to visit the happiest place on earth.

>> Read more trending stories

Disney has not seen park attendance decline in three of the last four quarters, but that won't stop the theme park giant from raising ticket prices again by the end of the month.

"We have to go back to 1988, the last time Disney did not raise its one-day ticket prices," stock analyst Rick Munarriz said. "So, it's going to happen."

Sales of food and merchandising are up over last year, and even though hotel bookings are down, hotel revenue is up.

Disney will continue to increase single-day ticket prices because, analysts say, the park aims to get the multi-day guest who stays longer and spends more.

"It's still very expensive for most people. Not attainable for most of us," Minarriz said. "But it's something Disney World likes to prides itself on, saying, 'Hey, buy the multi-day pass, stay here longer, and it will be cheaper on a per-day basis.'"

Last February, ticket prices went up 18 percent, and it can cost $124 to get in during peak times. The park also raised annual passes by $90 in October 2015.

Typically, when Disney increases ticket prices, Universal Studios isn't far behind. But the increase also means more people choose one of the big parks for their annual passes, but then supplement the tickets by also visiting smaller parks like SeaWorld, Legoland and Fun Spot.

"It does have a ripple effect to everybody," Minarrix said. "Disney raising prices is bad for consumers, but it's great for area businesses."

Opening date announced for Pandora: The World of Avatar, Star Wars land

The opening date for Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom has just been announced. 

During the Walt Disney Company's Q1 FY17 Earnings Call, Disney CEO Bob Iger shared the news that the new land will debut on May 27, 2017.

Just Announced: Pandora - The World of Avatar will open May 27 at Disney's Animal Kingdom!— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) February 7, 2017

Based on the 2009 sci-fi film, Pandora: The World of Avatar is expected to be the biggest expansion in Animal Kingdom's history.

>> Read more trending news  

In addition to an amazingly detailed setting guests will enjoy 2 new attractions: Avatar Flight of Passage and the Na’vi River Journey which will take you through the jungles and rainforests of Pandora.

There will also be themed restaurants and shopping when the area opens this summer.

During the same event Iger announced new details on the opening of Star Wars lands on both coasts.

Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World will debut their respective Star Wars-themed expansions in 2019. 

The land will take guests to a new and never seen before gateway planet located in the Outer Rim; filled with familiar characters and locations based on stories from a galaxy far, far away.  

Walt Disney World also announced the land's signature attraction: a new ride that allows guests to take control of the Millennium Falcon.   

At 14 acres, the Star Wars-themed land is set to be the largest single-themed expansion in Walt Disney World history.

Qatar Airways sets record for world's longest flight

Qatar Airways has officially hosted the longest flight in history on record.

>> Read more trending stories 

The flight -- from Doha, Qatar, to Auckland, New Zealand -- lasted 17 hours and 30 minutes, according to CNN.

The Boeing 777 plane flew a total 9,031 miles before landing in New Zealand on Sunday.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, who was a passenger on the flight, called the trip "an important milestone."

The previous record was held by Emirates, which completed a 8,823-mile flight from Dubai to Auckland in 17 hours and 15 minutes last year.

More airlines are looking to do nonstop international trips, including Australia-based airline Qantas, which hopes to provide nonstop flights for travelers between Australia and Europe -- a 17-flight -- by March 18, according to CNN.

25 affordable last-minute romantic getaways for Valentine's Day

Sure, we love flowers and heart-shaped boxes as much as you do, but they can’t compare with these hot travel deals for your hot-and-heavy Valentine's Day getaway.

Baby, it’s cold outside, and we’re fantasizing about going on “love leave” this February to the coziest, quietest corners of the world. We tapped our savvy friends in the travel biz and found four amazing deals to some of the most luxurious, romantic (and now totally accessible!) spots. From the cud­dle-worthy New England coast to the white sands and turquoise waters of the Caribbean, we’ve got your back when it comes to impressing your SigOth this Valentine’s Day.


Boston, Massachusetts, is one of America’s best cities for new music, and if music be the food of love, play on! Aloft Boston Seaport presents some of Beantown’s best local talent at its live, intimate performances each Thursday evening in the WXYZ Bar. Ask for a room with a water view. From $169/night. Boston is also one of the most design- and technology-forward cities, and Element Boston Seaport is “green from the ground up,” with water-efficient fixtures, kitchens with Energy Star-rated appliances, in-room recycling, and design details like picture frames fashioned from recycled tires. From $179/night

Cape May, New Jersey, is one of our favorite oceanside destinations, an easy escape from NYC and Philly. Peter Shields Inn will impress even the most jaded travelers with its 20th-century Georgian Revival mansion overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, nine luxe guestrooms, and one of the city's best fine-dining restaurants. Maybe most impressive of all, rooms start at $99/night.

Clayton, New York, feels like a trip back in time, with shop-lined Victorian-era streets along the St. Lawrence riverfront. The 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel will lavish lovebirds with Champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, cheese, and gourmet nuts on arrival, plus rose-petal turndown service and breakfast for two at Seaway Grille. From $189/night.

Edgartown, Massachusetts, combines old-world charm with sleek contemporary fixtures and amenities, and in winter you can experience the beauty of Martha’s Vineyard minus the summer crowds. Harbor View Hotel offers a farm-fresh prix-fixe Valentine’s Day menu at its signature restaurant, Lighthouse Grille (named for the classic Edgartown Lighthouse in the harbor outside the hotel’s windows. Browse Edgartown’s beautiful shops and galleries. Film fans will recognize Edgartown’s old-timey New England storefronts from Jaws, which was filmed on the VIneyard in the 1970s. From $109/night.

Kennebunkport, Maine, wants to be “New England’s Most Romantic Town,” and its “Paint the Town Red” festivities have the whole town decked out in red twinkly lights, with great deals to get you there. Kennebunkport Resort Collection is offering the “Love KPT” lodging package that includes a two-night stay for two people at The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel (starting at $373) or the Kennebunkport Inn (starting at $405), arrival goodies of red wine and chocolate-covered strawberries, a three course dinner for two, and a late check-out at noon. And since romance isn’t limited to Valentine’s Day, the package is available through March 30, 2017.

Lake Placid, New York, is one of the coolest towns in Upstate New York, with great opportunities for cross-country skiing in the Adirondacks, Whiteface Mountain’s 284 skiable acres, and great food and shopping. Hotel North Woods, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, is an indulgent lodging with views of charming Main Street, Mirror Lake (right in town!), and the Adirondacks’ legendary High Peaks. From $99/night.

Mystic, Connecticut, boasts The Whaler’s Inn, a charming New England classic that offers a romantic dinner for two, floral arrangements, assorted local chocolates, and a bottle of sparkling wine for couples. The town of Mystic is home to some of the coolest living history experiences in America, with its Seaport and great aquarium. From $195/night.

Stowe, Vermont, offers a gorgeous setting in the Green Mountains (near one of America’s great ski destinations). Field Guide, a new boutique B&B, provides Instagrammable guestrooms, and indulgent amenities for your romantic escape. From $139/night.

Westport, Connecticut, is one of the Nutmeg State’s coolest towns, with great theater, food, the Connecticut Audubon Society’s guided nature tours, and Sharpe Hill Vineyards award-winning wines. Westport Inn, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, will pamper you in sweet serenity. From $127/night.


New Orleans, Louisiana, is known for its incredible music, food, and party scene, but its charming old-world streets and thriving gardens make it a wonderful place to take a “love leave.” Canal Street Inn is located along the city's most iconic thoroughfare, Canal a 30-minute ride on one of the city’s iconic streetcar lines to the French Quarter, and an easy walk to exceptional restaurants. The inn’s gardens will charm you with live oak, fruit, and pecan trees—a nice break the Big Easy's bustle. From $145/night.

Williamsburg, Virginia, is known for Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, and many more local attractions. The Kingsmill Resort puts couples up in style with its Bed & Breakfast Special, including a cozy guestroom, homemade breakfast, a free shuttle around the resort and the amazing local Williamsburg attractions, plus indoor pool and spa. From $171/night.

Wimberly, Texas, is one of the gems of Texas Hill Country, known for its great wines and proximity to hotspots like Austin and San Antonio. Blair House features an art gallery highlighting the work of local artists, a day spa with a sauna, and even a cooking school. From $160/night.


Chicago, Illinois, may be the ultimate “shockingly affordable” American city, with culture, food, and activities that are second to none. Villa D' Citta offers luxury in a 19th-century Greystone mansion in the city's Lincoln Park neighborhood, including a kitchen fully stocked with Italian meats, imported cheeses and fresh bread that is always open to guests. Insider tip: Ask for a made-to-order pizza cooked in the inn's stone oven and served with a complimentary carafe of house wine (from $129/night). Chicago is also home to the Magnificent Mile’s amazing shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities, and Cambria Hotel & Suites Chicago Magnificent Mile gets you right in the heart of the action, including nearby Michigan Avenue, Navy Pier, legendary Wrigley Field (home of the world champion Chicago Cubs), Millennium Park, and Soldier’s Field (from $105/night).


Golden, Colorado, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, is a historic Old West town nearby some of the best skiing in America. The Golden Hotel, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, looks out over Clear Creek, offers shuttle service within a five-mile radius for taking in the best of Golden’s local history and culture, plus a cozy indoor fireplace perfect for snuggling after a day in the snow. From $169/night.

Grand Canyon, Arizona, is, of course, a jaw-dropping national park, and it also makes for an off-the-beaten-path romantic escape. Ride the scenic railway for 50 percent off for Valentine’s Day, a gorgeous 90-minute ride across high desert plains, arroyos, and ponderosa pine forest from Williams Depot to the Grand Canyon Depot, a short walk from the South Rim. The Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel starts at $120/night.

Taos, New Mexico, with its artsy Historic Plaza, Taos Mountain, and incredible history and culture, will melt stress upon your arrival. Hacienda Del Sol offers 12 large guestrooms among several adobe structures, decorated in Southwest style. You’ll love the private outdoor hot tub. From $160/night.

Whitefish, Montana, is beautiful year-round. In winter, Good Medicine Lodge is your cozy, charming gateway to Whitefish Mountain skiing and Glacier National Park’s winter wonderland. Guestrooms and suites are beautifully appointed, and you can order your breakfast each evening for the next morning. From $130/night.


Anderson, California, is an epicenter of outdoor activities in California’s unparalleled great outdoors. Gaia Hotel & Spa Redding, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, offers a heated pool, complimentary Wolgang Puck coffee and tea, free WiFi, and a fitness center. From $93/night.

Cloverdale, California. This Sonoma County town is smack in the heart of wine country, overlooking the vineyards of Anderson Valley. The Auberge on the Vineyard offers seven rooms in an early 20th-century Queen Anne Victorian with a lovely wrap-around verandah and the remodeled Carriage House. You’ll love the three-course breakfasts, and you’ll even love the bill, from $140/night.

Napa, California, isn’t exactly “under the radar,” but it is one of the most romantic escapes in America. Napa Winery Inn, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, is near the beautiful Napa Wine Trail, several well-known vineyards (including Robert Mondavi Winery), the historic Napa Valley Opera House, and much more. From $185/night.

Seattle, Washington, is one of our favorite affordable cities for its Pike Place Market, stunning views, and design-forward aesthetic. Sleeping Bulldog Bed and Breakfast boasts a central location, freshly baked cookies, and innkeepers who are Seattle natives who are happy to dispense locals-know-best tips. From $141/night.


El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico, is the setting for the stunning El Yunque Rainforest Inn, on five acres that draw birdwatchers, hikers, and horseback riders for its beauty and tranquility (not to mention the inn’s luxurious claw-foot bathtubs and fireplaces). From $165/night.

Nassau, Bahamas, is home to Paradise Island, which is genuinely as awesome as its name suggests. Enjoy all the splendor of the island without breaking the bank at A Stone's Throw Away, with its luxe lounge spaces, wraparound verandah, and welcoming staff. From $180/night.


Tulum, Mexico, is a short flight from the U.S. and an enticingly romantic escape. Casa Jacqueline will spoil you with stunning views (including star-gazing), jacuzzi, pool, and a quick walk to Cenote Manatee and a short drive to Tulum’s iconic Mayan ruins. From $140/night.


Las Catalinas is an innovative seaside town on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. The car-free community is being built as a walkable beach town between the ocean and the mountains on the wildlife-rich Guanacaste peninsula. Studio Casa Indigo offers an intimate hideaway with complimentary sparkling wine and brigadeiros (irresistible Latin American chocolates), from $195/night. (To make reservations or for more details, visit

See More From Budget Travel:25 Romantic Getaways Budget Travel Readers Love10 Most Romantic Islands in the World12 True Stories of Romantic Trips Gone Awry

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