UNITED STATES

Feds to crack down on unsafe tour buses

Responding to recent deadly tour bus accidents, teams of federal inspectors will target bus companies with a history of problems as part of a national crackdown aimed at weeding out unsafe operators.

Over the next two months, inspectors will examine companies with a history of accidents or whose buses have been pulled off the highway by police and inspectors for safety violations, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced.

Inspectors will also physically inspect buses, rather than rely only on company maintenance records, as has been past practice, officials said.

The European Union’s antitrust authority has blocked Ryanair’s renewed bid to take over rival Irish carrier Aer Lingus, ruling that it would
The European Union's antitrust authority has blocked Ryanair's renewed bid to take over rival Irish carrier Aer Lingus, ruling that it would undermine competition and drive up ticket prices. (AP Photo/John Cogill, File)

No reopening date yet for Statue, Ellis Island

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar says the security screening process for visitors to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island must be decided upon before a timeline for reopening the popular attractions can be determined.

Both Liberty Island and Ellis Island have been closed since suffering major damage in October's powerful storm Sandy. The Statue of Liberty itself was unharmed.

AIRLINES

EU blocks Ryanair's bid to buy Aer Lingus

The European Union's antitrust authority has blocked Ryanair's renewed bid to take over rival Irish carrier Aer Lingus, ruling that it would undermine competition and drive up ticket prices.

The merger of the two Dublin-based airlines would have harmed consumers by creating a monopoly or a dominant position on almost 50 routes where Aer Lingus and Ryanair currently compete, said the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm.

"This would have reduced choice and, most likely, would have led to price increases for consumers traveling on these routes," it said.

Ryanair, Europe's biggest budget airline and already the biggest shareholder in Aer Lingus, vowed to appeal what it called a "political decision" designed to meet the interests of the Irish government.

AIRPORTS

TSA sorry for screening that upset 3-year-old

The Transportation Security Administration is apologizing after agents at Lambert Airport in St. Louis sought to screen a 3-year-old girl in a wheelchair.

The mother of the child shot video that caused a stir in social media after it was posted online.

The incident happened Feb. 8. The girl and her family were about to fly to Disney World in Orlando, Fla. A TSA agent asked to pat down the 3-year-old and screen her wheelchair. The agent initially told the girl's mother, Annie Schulte, it was illegal to tape the activity.

On the video, the little girl, Lucy, who has spina bifida, is seen crying.

Agents eventually decided against a pat-down.

The TSA says it regrets the incident and will address concerns with its workers.

MIDDLE EAST

Dubai adds tallest hotel to its superlative list

Superlative-hungry Dubai is adding another to its list: a 72-story hotel billed as the world's tallest.

The JW Marriott's Marquis Dubai has formally opened after gaining the title of tallest hotel from Guinness World Records.

At 1,099 feet, the hotel would tower over skylines in most cities. But in Dubai, it sits in the shadow of its more than twice-as-high neighbor, the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper at 2,717 feet.

Compiled from Associated Press reports.