Katrina slams Gulf Coast, causing 55 deaths


Katrina slams Gulf Coast, causing 55 deaths — Tropical storm Katrina left at least 55 people dead, more than a million people without power and caused severe flooding in four U.S. states after it slammed into the Gulf Coast yesterday with winds as high as 140 mph. Winds had slowed to 60 mph and the storm was moving toward the north-northeast at about 22 mph (35 kph) on a path that would take it across central Tennessee and Kentucky today. (Bloomberg)

Room guarantees can get lost in a hurricane — As Hurricane Katrina slammed into Louisiana and Mississippi yesterday, airline travelers braced for major disruptions in schedules not just along the East Coast but in large swaths of the country. And stranded travelers bearing room confirmations could discover that in the hurricane’s chaos, their rooms have gone to someone else. (Washington Post)

Chesapeake couple rides out storm while in New Orleans — When the winds began their thundering roll past the Doubletree Hotel on New Orleans’ Canal Street at 8 a.m. Monday, Nancy and Larry Whitaker hunkered down and hoped for the best. With no electricity and nowhere else to go, the Chesapeake couple waited out Hurricane Katrina’s punishing winds in their sixth-floor room, occasionally peeking out of their heavily draped window when they thought it was safe. (Virginian-Pilot)

Brace yourself: gas prices to rise as much as 30 cents per gallon — South Florida consumers, still recovering from the most recent wave of gasoline price increases, could face even higher prices — perhaps as much as 30 cents a gallon — in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. (Sun Sentinel)

Hotels binge on surcharges — Steve Lundin, the owner of a public relations firm in Chicago, assumed that by reserving a room on Priceline.com, he could avoid all the surcharges that are cropping up on hotel bills these days. He thought everything would be included in the room rate. He was mistaken. (The New York Times)

San Francisco airport to drop private screeners — San Francisco International Airport plans to stop using a private company to handle checkpoint security, a decision likely to deal a blow to efforts to privatize screening at the nation’s airports. (USA Today)

Banned airlines list published — France and Belgium have published separate blacklists of airlines banned from their territory on safety grounds. The lists were posted on the websites of the French civil aviation authority (DGAC) and Belgium’s Transport Ministry on Monday. (BBC News)

FBI appeals to passengers, crew in cruise disappearance — Federal agents investigating the disappearance of a U.S. citizen from his Mediterranean honeymoon cruise have sent a letter to passengers and crew members seeking any information they may have. (AP)

Back in the swing: how to snap out of vacation mode — Unless you are cleaning swimming pools or working in the travel industry, things are bound to slow down a bit during the summer, especially in August. About 82 percent of workers take some time off during the summer, according to a recent survey by Rasmussen Reports, an independent polling organization. Here are some pointers from on-the-job experts that will help you snap back to work. (Star-Ledger)

Katrina disrupts air travel — Air travelers across the nation can expect to feel the effects of Hurricane Katrina, according to a report published Tuesday. Gulf Coast airports, including Louis Armstrong New Orleans International and Jackson International in Mississippi, were both closed, and Continental Airlines canceled 111 flights in and out of the region, the Wall Street Journal reported. (CNN)

Deadly bug in airline meals — Traces of potentially fatal E.coli bacteria were found in meals intended for British Airways passengers, documents obtained by The Times reveal.Gate Gourmet, the airline food company at the centre of a bitter industrial dispute, tested several of its suppliers’ products last year, according to the papers. (The Times)

Airline terminates strikers’ insurance — Striking Northwest Airlines’ mechanics and aircraft cleaners entering the 11th day of picketing face a one-two punch this week with the carrier canceling their medical insurance and issuing their last paycheck — half the normal amount. The 4,430 members of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association will face the choice of paying 100 percent of the Northwest insurance premium, finding their own insurance or going without it. (The Detroit News)

Stranded motorists hunger for gas — “At Dan’s Diner, a restaurant that sells gasoline on U.S. 49, people started lining up to buy gas shortly after sunrise. That didn’t do much good – the service station was only pumping fuel for emergency vehicles, at least until electricity was restored. (Hattiesburg American)

Clooney gambles on Vegas resort — Actor George Clooney has invested an undisclosed amount in a proposed $3 billion resort in Las Vegas. Named Las Ramblas, the new pleasure dome is slated for some 25 acres just east of the Strip’s center. (Forbes.com)

Some medical scissors allowed on planes — A type of medical scissors will be allowed on planes, the government announced Tuesday as it continues reviewing whether to roll back security initiatives put in place after the Sept. 11 attacks. (AP)

Skip Bowman, Carrie Charney, Leslie Friedman, John Frenaye, Charles Leocha, Marge Purnell, Valerie Schneider, Mary Staley, Stephanus Surjaputra, Richard Wong.