Russia Is Afraid Its Citizens Will Never Be Allowed To Come Home, Issues Travel Warning

Dmitry Valberg, Flickr

Travel warnings are issued for a variety of reasons, be it social and political unrest, the threat of terrorism or even health. But Russia has now found a new reason to warn people against travel: the fear of their citizens not being allowed to return home.

As reported by the New York Times, the Russian Foreign Ministry bulletin state: “Warning for Russian citizens traveling internationally … Recently, detentions of Russian citizens in various countries, at the request of American law enforcement, have become more frequent — with the goal of extradition and legal prosecution in the United States.”There’s no denying that extradition issues between Russia and the United States have heightened with the Edward Snowden case, but is the threat of detention and inability to return home really a fear for all Russian citizens? Probably not, but the Russian government does feel that its citizens get treated unfairly. From the Foreign Ministry: “Experience shows that the judicial proceedings against those who were in fact kidnapped and taken to the U.S. are of a biased character, based on shaky evidence, and clearly tilted toward conviction.”

The number of Russian tourists traveling around the world is increasing, up almost 25 percent from numbers in 2012. Only time will tell whether such government warnings will have an affect.

France’s burqa ban goes into effect

burqa banToday France has taken a controversial move and instated a burqa ban, aimed at the traditional religious covering worn by conservative Muslim women. The ban will potentially affect up to 2,000 women who wear a full-face veil in public, though it is unclear how the enforcement will work as police cannot remove the veil. Women who refuse to lift the burqa or niqab may be taken to a police station for an identity check, threatened with a 150 euro fine, or forced to attend “re-education” classes. Men who force women to wear the veil will face a 30,000 euro fine and up to a year in jail. So far only a few women have been arrested for protesting the ban near Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral.


Jacques Myard, a Parliament member and supporter of the ban said “The face is a dignity of a person. The face is your passport. So when you refuse me to see you, I am a victim.” France has the highest Muslim population in Europe, estimated between four and six million, though only a few thousand women wear the full-face veil. Belgium has passed a similar law but hasn’t enforced it, and the Netherlands is considering a ban as well.

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Mystery bag gets passenger yanked from Boston flight

Boston passenger pulled from US Airways flightWas Ognjen Milatovic a nutty professor? Only time – and the legal process – will tell. The University of North Florida professor of mathematics and statistics put a carry-on in the overhead bin … and his fellow passengers said it was making strange noises. Then, he wouldn’t get off his phone and take his seat when told to do so by the crew.

So, he was turned over to the Massachusetts State Police.

Milatovic was arrested in Boston and then released on his own recognizance after being pulled from the US Airways flight on Monday. The mystery luggage was inspected, and according to the Associated Press, “no threat was found.”

[photo by purpleslog via Flickr]

Getting drunk: Twenty cities that don’t know how to handle their liquor

California loves to get wasted! San Diego and San Jose are the top two cities that drink stupidly, according to a survey by Insurance.com. They lead the country in alcohol-related driving violations, a dubious distinction to say the least. So, if you step into the crosswalk in these two spots, take an extra second to look both ways.

The reasons for hitting this list vary and include proximity to colleges and nightlife, and the presence of stringent enforcement may play a key role, the survey finds. If you think a lack of enforcement puts a city at the top of the list, remember that slapping the cuffs on a lot of people increases the instances of drunk driving, which actually pushes it up. Insurance.com explains:

San Diego most likely tops the list because its police departments are aggressive in making DUI arrests, and officers there arrest lots of drunk drivers, says Mark McCullough, a San Diego police department spokesperson specializing in DUI issues.

To pull the list of 20 drunk driving metropolitan areas together, according to Insurance Networking News, Insurance.com analyzed “percentage of its car insurance online quote requests for which users reported alcohol-related driving violations.”

So, who made the top 20? Take a look below:

  1. San Diego, CA
  2. San Jose, CA
  3. Charlotte, NC
  4. Phoenix, AZ
  5. Columbus, OH
  6. Indianapolis, IN
  7. Los Angeles, CA
  8. San Francisco, CA
  9. Austin, TX
  10. Jacksonville, FL
  11. San Antonio, TX
  12. Dallas, TX
  13. Houston, TX
  14. Fort Worth, TX
  15. Memphis, TN
  16. Philadelphia, PA
  17. New York, NY
  18. Baltimore, MD
  19. Chicago, IL
  20. Detroit, MI

Boston got lucky on this one. It was excluded because of a lack of data – not because the drivers there are absolutely nuts.

Disclosure: I learned how to drive in Boston.

[Via Insurance Networking News, photo by davidsonscott15 via Flickr]

Get off a cruise and into custody: Passenger wrongly nailed as hooker

What do you do when your mom is arrested for prostitution? Well, you probably claim that she didn’t do it. After all, she’s your mom, and nobody admits to guilt on these things anyway. If you were Paola Londono’s kid, you’d actually be right to proclaim her innocence.

Thanks to a clerical error in the Osceola County Sheriff’s office, Londono, from Orlando, was arrested when she stepped off a cruise ship for allegedly making a living in the world’s oldest profession. She spent more than 36 hours in the Broward County pokey, because she had the same name as the actual suspect, who is seven years younger … five inches taller and 40 pounds lighter. The younger Londono is going to face charge of heroin possession and possession of drug paraphernalia – in addition to prostitution.

[photo by indi.ca via Flickr]