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Justin Trudeau to refugees: 'Canadians will welcome you'

In the wake of a controversial travel ban ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his country will welcome refugees.

“To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength. #WelcomeToCanada," he wrote, along with a 2015 photo of himself with a Syrian child.

>> See the post here

To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength. #WelcomeToCanadaPosted by Justin Trudeau on Saturday, January 28, 2017

Trudeau hopes to visit the White House soon, The Associated Press reports.

“The prime minister is looking forward to discussing the successes of Canada’s immigration and refugee policy with the president when they next speak,” spokeswoman Kate Purchase told the AP.

Trump signed an executive order Friday that institutes a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, as well as a 120-day suspension of the refugee program. The order also blocks Syrian refugees from coming to the United States indefinitely.

>> Read more trending stories

Late Saturday, New York U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly issued an emergency order banning the U.S. from deporting valid visa holders or people with approved refugee applications who have been detained in connection with the ban. In a statement early Sunday, the Department of Homeland Security said, "Prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety."

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Hillary Clinton reacts to Trump travel ban: 'This is not who we are'

As protests against President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban erupted Saturday at airports across the country, former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke out on Twitter.

"I stand with the people gathered across the country tonight defending our values & our Constitution," she tweeted Saturday night. "This is not who we are."

>> See the tweet here

I stand with the people gathered across the country tonight defending our values & our Constitution. This is not who we are.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 29, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Trump signed an executive order Friday that institutes a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, as well as a 120-day suspension of the refugee program. The order also blocks Syrian refugees from coming to the United States indefinitely.

>> Read more trending stories

Late Saturday, New York U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly issued an emergency order banning the U.S. from deporting valid visa holders or people with approved refugee applications who have been detained in connection with the ban. 

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Man attacks Muslim airline employee, says Trump 'will get rid of all of you,' prosecutors say

A Massachusetts man is facing hate crime charges, accused of attacking a Muslim woman Wednesday night while she worked at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. Prosecutors said the man invoked President Donald Trump's name as he threatened the woman and mocked her religion.

>> Read more trending stories

Authorities arrested 57-year-old Robin Rhodes, of Worcester, Massachusetts, on charges including assault, unlawful imprisonment and menacing, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Thursday.

When met by police, prosecutors quoted Rhodes as having said, "I guess I am going to jail for disorderly conduct. I couldn't tell if it was a man or woman, because their back was to me and they had something covering their head."

Police arrested Rhodes on suspicion of attacking and threatening Delta Air Lines employee Rabeeya Khan.

Khan wears a hijab and had one on as she sat in her office in the Delta Sky Lounge on Wednesday night. Rhodes, who had arrived from Aruba and was waiting for a connecting flight to Massachusetts, approached her door as he waited for his flight.

"Are you (expletive) sleeping? Are you praying? What are you doing?" Rhodes asked, according to prosecutors. Authorities said he punched the door to her office. The door hit the back of Khan's chair and she asked what she had done to him, prosecutors said.

"You did nothing, but I am going to kick your (expletive) (expletive)," Rhodes allegedly responded.

Prosecutors said Rhodes punctuated his claim with a kick to Khan's leg and blocked her doorway with his body. He moved when another employee came to Khan's aid, but followed when Khan ran past him to the lounge's front desk.

Rhodes allegedly followed Khan, got down on his knees and "began to bow down in imitation of a Muslim praying," Brown said.

"(Expletive) Islam, (expletive) ISIS," Rhodes yelled, authorities said. "Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you. You can ask Germany, Belgium and France about these kind of people. You will see what happens."

Khan's right leg was injured in the confrontation. Police charged Rhodes with assault, unlawful imprisonment, menacing and harassment as hate crimes. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison.

Chinese food in America gets a thrilling makeover

As the Year of the Rooster dawns in China, chefs in North American offer a fresh, exciting spin on Chinese cuisine.

No matter where you live in the United States, chances are you’re no further than a short drive from a spot where you can get wonton soup, scallion pancakes, and General Tso’s chicken. Chinese restaurants, it seems, are as ubiquitous as pizza parlors and Irish pubs.

While Peking duck will never fall out of fashion, a new crop of chefs are offering some pretty inventive, if not radical, twists on familiar dishes. You could make the case that David Chang started it all. The New York chef’s name remains synonymous with his first venue, Momofuku Noodle Bar, a lively, funky joint he opened the East Village in 2004 that famously offered modern versions of his favorite dishes from Chinatown’s gritty old-school noodle houses. Later came Momofuku KO, offering more polished selections, including Asian morsels enhanced with foie gras, truffles, and other global morsels. Now he’s gone on to open a veritable empire of clever Asian eateries—throughout New York but also in Sydney, Toronto, and, most recently, Las Vegas.

These days, though, Chang hardly has a monopoly on intriguing Chinese fare in Manhattan. A few years after Momofuku opened came RedFarm, a project by Joe Ng and Ed Schoenfeld, both notable figures in the New York dining scene. Today there are three outposts in the city. Billing itself as “Innovative, Inspired Chinese Cuisine with Greenmarket Sensibility,” the menu runs the gamut from dumplings that are a far cry from classic, what with they’re being shaped like Pac Man and those ghosts, to a full papaya/ginger/soy-sauce-marinated rib steak and the most New York-y eggroll you’ve ever seen: stuffed with Katz’s pastrami and served with honey-mustard and kaffir-lime sauce.

Chefs elsewhere around the country add their own regional accents, like Ryan Bernhardt, who opened TKO in Nashville in the fall of 2016. He brings a strong southern influence to his recipes, making creative use of pickles, porridge, buttermilk and other classic flavors. To wit: the kale salad, cruciferous veggie du jour, appears here adorned in shallots, cashews, crispy pork and chili vinegar. A buttermilk-dressing-slathered medley of broccoli, raisins, spicy peanuts and lemon. A cocktail list that leans heavy on rum- and rye-based drinks seals the deal.  

In Atlanta, Chef Wendy Chang offers something not often associated with the deep south: soy beef and soy chicken. Herban Fix is her airy and modern vegan restaurant, where she fuses traditional Asian tastes with all the wholesome elements frequently found in cafés in San Francisco and Burlington, Vermont. There’s Pan seared soy fish w. organic kale simmered in spicy curry noodle soup as well as a mushroom/quinoa/cherry tomato/kale. All the classic preparations are along for the ride, too—in vegan form, of course—like scallion pancakes and sweet and sour tofu.  

Regional obsessions play into the style at HRD, a longstanding coffee-shop-style restaurant that bills itself as serving “global fusion” cuisine, but regardless of what you call it, it’s uniquely San Franciscan, as beyond the rice bowls, curry plates, and salads, the menu offers a wide range of burritos and tacos with inventive fillings, like spicy pork, organic tofu, and panko-crusted pork, each with kimchi and a few other eastern-leaning flavors. While we’re on the west coast, Portland, Oregon can always be counted on to throw some creative culinary mojo into the ring. We were particularly taken by Expatriate, a hip, dimly lit cocktail lounge with inventive craft drinks alongside a menu of inspired bites that fuse all sorts of global tastes and traditions. China meets the American South the Chinese sausage corn dog, a heat-fiend’s fantasy with hot mustard and “xxx death sauce.” Consider yourself warned. A tremendous nachos platter dubbed the Expatriot Nacho with a wink is a tremendous pile of fried wonton chips, thai chili cheese sauce, spicy lemongrass beef, crema, kaffir lime, and tomato salsa, and herbs. A feast for the eyes and the body. 

Moving north, Joanne Chang broke the mold in Boston in 2007 when she opened Meyers + Chang (pictured), an eatery that blends American diner kitsch with a down-home Chinese style in terms of both food and décor. You can also spot Thai, Korean, and Vietnamese touches on the menu, which, in addition to a roster of noodles and familiar dishes, includes options like fish tacos with kimchee sesame salsa and fried chicken with ginger waffles, an elevated spin on the country classic.

Chang told us she recommends Bao Bei, a self-styled “Chinese Brasserie,” in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown. The small shabby-chic spot puts a premium on local, seasonal, organic ingredients and the thoughtfully designed menu blends Shanghainese, Taiwanese and Vietnamese traditions, with a little French flare tossed in for good measure, so you get dishes like spicy noodles flat wheat noodles swimming in chili lamb mince, pork fat, sesame sauce, cucumber, and preserved yellow bean. Steelhead trout is adorned with crispy squash and cumin gnocchi, rapini, and velvety shiso butter clam sauce. A far cry from beef noodle soup, to be sure. And certainly only a hint of what's to come from this new generation of chefs.  

See More From Budget Travel:Why Canada tops our 2017 travel listBest Foodie Cities in AmericaThe Ultimate Obsessive Foodie's Guide to the Caribbean

Why Canada tops our 2017 travel list

Go north, eh? Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2017 in a big way. Which is utterly appropriate for a nation that boasts some of the biggest or oldest or most unusual travel sites on the planet.

For an untold number of years, Americans have had rather narrow view, to say the least, of Canada. All too often, say "Canada" to an American and people think Montreal, a Francophile’s accessible fantasy; Niagara Falls, ice hockey, poutine, and the Toronto Blue Jays (because, well--baseball.) Chalk it up to Justin Bieber’s endless stream of chart-toppers, Ryan Reynolds’ show-stopping performance in “La La Land” and, of course, just about everything that Justin Trudeau, dreamboat-in-chief and humanitarian extraordinaire, says and does, but these days Canada is on everyone’s minds. And travel bucket lists. 

It’s Canada’s moment, and not least because 2017 marks the nation’s 150th birthday. As a tribute to our 3,855,103-square-mile northern neighbor and its greatness, we did some exploring, in case you’re thinking of paying a visit this year. Not only did we find some astonishing and unique sights and destinations, we found that many of them are the best—the biggest, the tallest, the oldest, the most uncommon—in their class. In other words, Canada is not just great in a lot of ways. It’s unrivaled. Here are just a few of the reasons why.

NATURAL WONDERS

As we did our research, we ended up asking ourselves over and over again: will wonders never cease? Of course, Niagara Falls is the belle of Canada’s natural ball, but over the vast landscape, plenty of other spectacles are worth seeing. Geographically speaking, Newfoundland and Labrador is home to Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America and home to an iconic lighthouse, where the dawn breaks first.

The Charlevoix region, an hour east of Quebec City, draws adrenaline junkies because of Le Massif de Charlevoix, a mountain looming above the St. Lawrence River with the highest vertical drop east of the Rockies. Within its boundaries you’ll also find the 11th biggest crater on earth, the still-breathtaking effect of a 15-billion-ton meteorite that crashed down between land and a river 400 million years ago, resulting in the province’s hilliest region and one of North America’s most panoramic road. In the Quebec Maritime region, the Manicouagan impact crater, which fell to earth 215.5 million years ago, is 62 miles in diameter, making it the fifth largest in the world and can be seen from space.

The largest tree, a Sitka spruce casually referred to “Heaven Tree” grows in British Columbia. It’s in Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park and it has an 11.5-foot-diameter is estimated to be 800 years old. The “Hanging Garden Tree,” a vision to behold on Meares Island, near Tofino, is one of the oldest known western red cedars, estimated to be anywhere between 1,500 and 2,000 years old.

Provincial Park is home to one pretty mighty tree, but Kitlope Heritage Conservancy Protected Area on BC’s central coast is location of lots and lots of trees that make up the world’s largest intact coastal temperate rainforest is over 793,208 acres, located within the traditional territory of the Haisla First Nation, is home to bald eagles, grizzlies and plenty more wild animals. It’s best reached by boat and July and August are prime time to visit.

And as for water, when we talk about rivers, lakes, and oceans, we talk about depth, distance, and what lives beneath. We don’t, however, talk about speed. Unless we’re in Skookumchuck Narrows on BC’s Sunshine Coast. The water rushes along at more than 16 knots, one of the fastest flowing tidal currents on the planet. But what’s a mere breakneck tidal current in the face of a whirlpool? New Brunswick lays claim to the brutally powerful Fundy’s Old Sow Whirlpool, which, with a width of 75 meters, is the largest in the Western Hemisphere and second largest in the world. (The largest is the the Maelstrom Whirlpool of Norway.) Its sheer force is evident at the Bay of Fundy, known for having the highest tides on Earth. 

ON THE MOVE

Kelowna, a small city in the south of British Columbia, is arguably the most attractive to active, sporty types. The highest skating rink in North America sits 5,570 feet above sea level at Big White Ski Resort. It’s Olympic size, free to use, and offers awe-inspiring mountain views. Pretty though it may be, Kelowna’s rink is practically quaint compared to the Rideau Canal Skateway, the planet’s largest naturally frozen ice skating rink, as declared by the Guinness Book of World Records. Every winter, the Rideau Canal, Ontario’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, freezes into this playscape, which stretches for 4.8 miles through downtown Ottawa and has a surface area equal to 90 Olympic sized rinks. 

Attention adrenaline junkies: Peachland’s ZipZone is Canada’s highest freestyle zipline, a 381-foot thrill ride. Winsport, a sprawling athletic center in Calgary, has Canada’s fastest zipline, which cruises at 87 mph.

This one comes from the department things you never realized were measured but are: publicly owned waterparks. Kelowna’s H2O Adventure and Fitness Centre is Canada’s largest, with waterslides and plenty of other water runs. Add in Canada’s most extensive cycle network, a 211-mile expanse, and it’s little surprise to learn, then, that Kelowna is Canada’s fittest city.

The annual HOPE Volleyball SummerFest, which takes place at Mooney’s Bay on the Rideau River near downtown Ottawa, is the largest one-day beach volleyball tournament in the world. (And it raises thousands of dollars for deserving local charities.)

CULTURE

There’s an old joke that goes: What’s the difference between Canada and yogurt? Yogurt has an active culture. (*rimshot*) Well, turns out Canada gets the last laugh in the culture department, what with an assortment of longstanding theaters and museums and brand new institutions. In Winnepeg, for instance, Winnipeg Art Gallery is the oldest civic museum in Canada and the world’s largest collections of contemporary Inuit art. The city, Manitoba’s capital, is also home to Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the country’s oldest ballet company and the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America. Speaking of enduring, Winnipeg's Le Cercle Moliere is Canada’s oldest continuously running theatre company while Rainbow Stage in Kildonan Park is Canada’s largest and longest-running outdoor theatre.

But there are plenty of new establishments of note, too, like the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which opened in September 2014 and is Canada’s first national museum to be built outside the capital region. It's also the only museum exclusively focused on the history and future of human rights. Saskatoon is on track to open the Remai Modern this year 2017. The museum, which comes with a $80.2 million price tag, houses the world’s largest collection of Picasso linocuts.

And for all the trivia nuts out there, here’s a fun fact: St. Boniface Museum in Manitoba, which houses artifacts related to Western Canada’s French-Canadian and Métis heritage, is located in a former Grey Nuns’ convent house, which was built around 1850 and happens to be the city’s oldest remaining structure and the largest oak log building in North America. The title for the nation’s oldest, continuously operating museum, however, goes to New Brunswick Museum, established 1842.  This family-friendly institution spotlight’s the region’s art, cultural heritage and scientific history.

Look at the municipal schedule of any Canadian city and you’ll easily be convinced that Canada holds more festivals than any other nation. We don’t have the international data to confirm that, but while we compile a comprehensive listing of festivals throughout the year, we can offer a few teasers: The Ottawa International Animation Festival is North America’s largest animation festival. The annual Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival (AKA: Chamberfest) is the world’s largest chamber music festival. Not to be outdone, Winnepeg: Folklorama is the world’s largest and longest-running multicultural festival, allowing visitors to travel the globe in one city at 40-plus pavilions featuring traditional food, drink, cultural displays and live entertainment from countries around the world. Meantime, Western Canada's largest winter festival is Festival du Voyageur, where Voyageur, Métis, and First Nations histories are brought back to life with music and performances, food, and lots more.  

CULINARY

Some of Canada’s restaurants have rather eccentric claims to fame. BC Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, near Golden in the Kootenay Rockies, is home to the country’s highest restaurant, the Eagle’s Eye. It’s 2,350 metres/7,710 feet high on the summit of the Golden Eagle Express gondola.

Over in Winnepeg, RAW: almond is the world’s only pop-up restaurant located on a frozen river, and Mon Amis Louis is North America’s only restaurant on a bridge. The eatery, which specializes in French-inspired cuisine, is closed for the winter, but the inspiring views of the Red River are the stuff spring dreams are made of.

A bit less esoteric and a whole lot more wholesome, Florenceville-Bristol in New Brunswick is the “French Fry Capital,” supplying one third of all fries around the world. Native sons built the first McCain Foods Limited French fry plant in town in 1957. The town is now home to the Potato World Museum.  

Canada’s whiskies have been making waves and winning awards in the past few years, but one tipple that’s uniquely Canadian is Omerto, an aperitif tomato wine made by a boutique operation called Domaine de la Vallée du Bras in Charlevoix. The nation also does its part to keep up with the global craft beer scene. There’s been such a proliferation of interesting breweries operating in BC that the BC Craft Brewers Guild recently established the BC Ale Trail, an online guide that organized notable breweries into seven suggested road trips. Self-guided tours cover areas as diverse as the rugged Kootenay Rockies, the pastoral Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, and suburban Port Moody, with options for walking, biking, or bringing the car. Links to accommodations and local attractions round things out, as well as tips on signature pours for each brewery, plus beer-themed events.    

AND EVERYTHING ELSE

Alberta deserves a section of its own, not least because the tourism bureau has plotted out a road trip of some of the most distinctive and whimsical attractions that are the largest—if not only—in their respective class. To wit: it’s home to the largest mallard duck, which has a wingspan of 23 feet, and the world’s most massive working oil lamp which is 42 feet high and looks like something out of a Mother Goose tale. It’s on display at what is arguably the region’s oddest museum: the Donalda & District Museum, which houses more than 900 kerosene lamps dating from the 1600s and the 1960s.

Alberta doesn’t have a full monopoly on Canada’s quirky attractions. The Calgary Stampede is known as the richest rodeo event in North America and Heritage Park in Calgary, an interactive and nostalgic museum with displays that stretch back to Canadian life in the 1860s, is Canada’s largest living historical village. The Town of Shediac in New Brunswick, the lobster capital of the world, lays claim to the world’s largest lobster, a sculpture that’s 35 feet long and 16 feet high. Question is, though, where’s the world’s biggest bowl of melted butter?

See More From Budget Travel:Trending 2017 trips to book nowThree-Day Weekend: Quebec City

How not to be a jerk on a plane

With high-profile incidents of "air rage" going viral these days, an etiquette expert weighs in on the do's and don'ts of air travel.

It seems like hardly a week goes by without us hearing about another incident of bad behavior on an airplane. Most recently, on January 3, a San-Francisco-bound flight from Australia had to turn around and make an emergency stop in New Zealand because a man in a middle seat became irrepressibly enraged—swatting at the beverage cart, delivering a loud tirade to the other passengers, speaking offensively to a flight attendant. News reports say he was in the middle seat and was upset because people on either side were having a conversation over him.

Every study and report that travel companies release indicates that air travel is on the rise. An increase in the number of aircrafts and routes and the boom in budget airlines make travel more accessible to everyone. That means flights are dependably more crowded, meaning jostling for overhead bin space, and with all the air traffic, waits on tarmacs can be epic. People are anxious about missing their connections and some are just anxious because, well, flying does that to people. Tensions are high for those reasons and others, and it doesn’t take much to make a person snap. And anger and distress begets anger and distress.

According to the International Air Transport Association, a trade organization, the number of violent in-flight confrontations is on the rise. A recent report says that the number of air rage incidents last year totaled 10,854, up 14 percent from 2014. Flight crews categorize air rage in one of several types: belligerent behavior, emotional outburst, noncompliant behavior, and incidents involving drugs, alcohol, smoking or sex. According to a report published in May 2016 by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, belligerent behavior and intoxication were more common in first class, whereas emotional outbursts, such as a panic attack, were more common among economy passengers. What’s more, an outburst by an economy class passenger is almost four times as likely to have an air rage incident if they’re on a plane with a first-class section. Interestingly, though, according to the study passengers are about two-times as likely to have an outburst if they boarded through first class (vs. boarding in the middle of the plane).

But there are ways to keep calm at 36,000 feet and ensure that others around you do the same so that everyone arrives safe in mind and body. We checked in with Lizzie Post, president of The Emily Post Institute, and host of the “Awesome Etiquette” podcast, and great-great-granddaughter of the legendary etiquette doyenne Emily Post. Here are her tips.

DO

* If someone beside you is noticeably anxious because, for instance, of fear of flying, wait a minute to see if it passes, then ask the person if conversation helps or if he’d rather be left alone to breathe and relax.

* If you feel endangered for any reason by a fellow passenger, quietly and patiently get up and speak to a flight attendant. Tell him or her the person next to you is agitated and you’re uncomfortable. Ask if there’s anything they can do to help your seatmate or, if it’s really bad, can you change seats. She notes: “Be careful what level responsibility put on them. They’re there to help. Let them know situation, but speak I a calm and gentle way while seeking sympathy and support rather than get angry at them.”

* When it comes to the nagging issue of reclining seats in the cramped surrounds of economy class, if the seat in front of you is reclined and it’s really interfering, instead of asking the passenger simply to put the seat up, immediately establish that you’re not being too self-centered and demanding and ask if, for instance, they can put the seat up for a little while, like, for instance, when the drinks are served. Heard from so many that grateful to pay 20 more and get extra leg room.

Remember, Post says, “it’ll all be over in a few hours and don’t forget that you can get up and move around to counteract how much time you spend with the person’s head in your face.”

DON’T

* Whatever you do, do not address an irate stranger on your own. “Safety trumps etiquette,” Post insists. So rather than telling someone who’s upset that she needs to sit and be quiet, seek out help from a flight attendant. 

* To avoid rustling the feathers of a potential whiner in the seat behind you, don’t recline, if you can help it. You might call the the martyr's approach to a pleasant flight. 

* While you can always make a polite request if a person in front of you has the seat down, do not, under any circumstance, get ticked off if your request doesn’t work. “Every person purchased a seat and they’re allowed to use all its functions,” Post reminds.

See More From Budget Travel:Air travel booking secrets for 2017These are the destinations and travel trends everybody was searching on Google this year10 Coolest Small Towns in America 2016'Hacker Fares': An Easy Way to Save BigPsst! 10 Flight Attendant Secrets

Airline offers $69 fares from US to Europe

An Icelandic airline is offering American globetrotters tickets from the West Coast to any of four European cities for less than $70 starting Tuesday.

>> Read more trending stories

WOW air announced Tuesday that travelers can get one-way tickets from the Los Angeles or San Francisco international airports to Stockholm, Copenhagen, Bristol or Edinburgh for $69.99. The sale applies to trips between Jan. 15 and April 5.

The airline billed the fares as the "lowest airline prices yet" from the "ultra-low cost transatlantic airline" in a news release Tuesday.

WOW air is also offering tickets from Miami and Boston to Iceland for $99. Tickets to fly on to Paris, London, Amsterdam, Berlin or Frankfurt are also available for $149 for travelers flying from Miami and $129 for tickets from Boston.

The sale prices are available for a limited time, the airline said, although the company hinted that similar offerings could be forthcoming.

"WOW air's goal is to enable everybody to fly by offering the lowest fares on the market," airline founder and CEO Skuli Mogensen said. "I am very proud that by offering $69.99 fares, we are enabling thousands of people to travel that otherwise could not afford it."

The announced fares are the latest salvo in an ongoing transatlantic fare war.

Norwegian Air Shuttle announced transatlantic flights last year for as little as half of what its competitors charged, Reuters reported. The move was possible because of low labor costs and exceptionally fuel-efficient planes, the airline said.

Trending 2017 trips to book now

These are going to be the coolest destinations for 2017, from the tried-and-true to emerging hot spots.

There’s always a renewed sense of excitement, anticipation, and inspiration at the beginning of the year. Resolutions are fresh and change feels within reach. Most importantly (for us, at least) there travel dreams and fantasies that beg to become realities. And my, those dreams are bountiful. Planning travel is an exercise in discipline and decision-making. And the hardest decision is the first: where to go.

CANADA CALLING

Not surprisingly, Dubai, London, Tokyo, Sydney, Washington DC, Machu Picchu, and Bangkok remain on experts’ lists for destinations that continuously attract increasing numbers of visitors. But for the most part, hot spots on everyone’s must-see list change. Sometimes a city is an attraction because planning anniversary events, either for itself and its own founding or of an iconic historic celebrity, the way Salzburg and Vienna did in 2006 on to celebrate 250 years since Mozart’s birth. Montreal (pictured above) is a hot ticket this year because it’s commemorating the 375th anniversary of its establishment. All of Canada, in fact, will be a source of attention because the country is celebrating its 150th anniversary. That’s a great thing for Americans at the moment, what with a strong dollar against the Canadian dollar. Only problem is that hidden gems may no longer be hidden.

Canada made a very select list of top destinations that Orbitz put together. Montreal and Toronto in particular are sure to be on everyone’s radars, with the anniversary festivals and celebrations building on the 10% increase in visitors the city saw last year. Meantime, according to the Conference Board of Canada, Toronto is one of the country’s fastest growing metropolitan economies. A slate of cultural happenings, like an expanded location of the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Bentway Project, a mile-long recreational space beneath the Gardiner Expressway, chances are slim that the boom will slow in 2017. Another North American destination that’s sure to grow is Paso Robles, a central California region that’s home to more than 200 wineries. In addition to the many tasting rooms to visit, there’s a booming restaurant scene that’s getting hipper by the minute.  

NORDIC TRACKS

As far as the tried and true go, though, Iceland is not losing any interest, what with its natural wonders on full display and the quintessentially Scandinavian vibe in Reykjavik, where hip artists, musicians and chefs dictate the tone of the city. Plus an increase in budget airlines offering minimal flight prices from the US is added incentive for wallet-watchers. You may want to hang tight on planning, though. According to its data, Skyskanner says the most strategic time to book is week 43.

And for the been-there-done-that folks, Helsinki is having its moment, according to the travel experts at Bloomberg. It’s the nation’s 100th anniversary and parties abound, like choral concert in national parks starting end of August. Plus an Arctic Treehouse Hotel and Northern Lights Village, a glass-domed architectural feat, are just a few of the new attractions in Finnish Lapland that might make adventure seeker get up and go.

THE CARIBBEAN IS STILL HOT

And for those who prefer lounging around on the beach, Caribbean destinations that are getting a lot of buzz are Saint Barthélemy is showing off the fruits of its years-long hotel-building boom, largely in the luxury realm. Just take note that almost everything is shuttered in September for hurricane season. Turks and Caicos is another luxurious splurge. Among the spate of new luxury accommodations, there are cabin accommodations that make for a feasible stay for families and groups.  Nature lovers will love the three nature reserves and the third-largest coral reefs. On the budget side, Isabela, a surf town in northwest Puerto Rico, is welcoming a spate of hip new resturants, cocktail bars, and surf shops, thanks to entrepreneuring Americans. 

See More From Budget Travel:Where to Go in 2016Where to Go in 2015!10 Best Budget Destinations for 201410 Best Budget Destinations for 2013

US Virgin Islands to give $300 in vouchers to travelers this year

A deal being offered by the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism is offering travelers $300 in vouchers to visit the group of islands in 2017.

>> Read more trending stories 

The discounts can be applied to "spending credits for historical (and) cultural tours and activities" at more than 25 participating hotels, according to the tourism department. According to Thrillist, that includes activities that feature "eco-tours, museums, food tours and kayaking adventures."

The islands, which have an average temperature of about 80 degrees year-round, are offering the deal this year as a way to celebrate the islands being sold by Denmark to the U.S. 100 years ago.

Travelers must spend at least three consecutive nights on St. John, St. Croix and/or St. Thomas to earn the travel credit. They must book the Caribbean stay on the official website by Oct. 1 and can book dates through Dec. 31. 

Those who visit the tropical location in March, the month in which Denmark sold the islands, will also receive a "commemorative centennial souvenir."

See a list of participating hotels here.

7 American Airlines flight attendants go to hospital after flight, official says

After a flight touched down at Florida's Orlando International Airport early Tuesday, seven flight attendants asked to be taken to the hospital with complaints of headaches, officials said.

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The crew arrived on an American Airlines flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, just after midnight, an American Airlines official said.

No information was immediately available on how long the plane had been on the ground when the crew members reported feeling ill.

There were no issues, mechanical or otherwise, on the flight and none of the passengers complained of any ailments, the American Airlines official told WFTV.

No information was available on the status of the crew members who complained of headaches.

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