Europeans... still want to come to the US and spend your Euros?
Posted 02 January 2004 - 12:02 AM
More Than 200 Passengers Questioned Over Five Hours by Federal Officials
By Arthur Santana and Jamie Stockwell
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, January 1, 2004; Page B01
More than 240 passengers on a British Airways 747, which departed London yesterday en route to Washington, were detained last night on the tarmac at Dulles International Airport and questioned for about five hours by federal authorities after suspicions arose about some of the passengers, according to law enforcement authorities.
British Airways Flight 223, which landed at 7:06 p.m. at Dulles on its scheduled flight from London Heathrow Airport, stopped several hundred feet from a terminal gate. FBI agents and officials with the Transportation Security Administration then boarded the jet and began questioning passengers, said Tara Hamilton, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
About an hour before the plane landed, several U.S. fighter jets were scrambled to escort the airliner into Dulles, said British Airways spokesman John Lampl.
Passengers, who said they were mostly kept in the dark about what was happening, were not allowed to leave the plane until they had been questioned. About 30 minutes after the turn of the new year, authorities were wrapping up their interviews, said FBI spokeswoman Debbie Weierman.
"Some of the passengers' names were folks that law enforcement officers were interested in speaking with," Weierman said. "And when the flight came in, those folks were interviewed." Weierman said no one was arrested.
Jennifer Marty, a TSA spokeswoman, said there was no specific incident on board that prompted the investigation.
Last week, six Air France flights between Paris and Los Angeles were canceled when U.S. intelligence officials warned French authorities that the passenger lists included suspicious names.
Officials at Dulles were warned before yesterday's flight landed that the FBI and TSA wanted to question people on board, Hamilton said. She said both agencies notified the airport that they wanted to talk to the 247 passengers and that the plane should not approach a gate.
Mark Hatfield, a TSA spokesman, said the aircraft was directed to a remote part of the airport and thoroughly inspected, including a bag-by-bag search of all luggage.
"We were very interested in that particular flight, based on intelligence," Hatfield said.
Michael Panitz, a rabbi from Norfolk who was on the plane, said that shortly after the airliner landed, the captain told passengers over the intercom that the plane had gone to an "inaccessible area" of the airport because of security concerns. Panitz said that everyone on the plane remained calm.
"If there was consternation, it didn't reach the level of rumors or murmurs about what could possibly be happening," Panitz said. He said authorities let passengers off the plane four at a time, but not before their passports were scrutinized.
"There was a certain level of apprehension when you see police cordon off your plane, so we knew something was going on, but nobody could tell us what," Panitz said.
Panitz said authorities asked him and a group he was traveling with to confirm their identities.
Nana Nyunin, 14, who was traveling with her sister Ohemaa, 16, said authorities on board were tight-lipped about what they were doing.
"I was so scared waiting on the plane because I had no idea what was happening," said Nyunin, of Zambia. "We were on the grass, not on the tarmac, and it was all dark," she said. She said that passengers were not notified about the investigation until after they had landed. She added that passengers were told by authorities not to use their cell phones.
On Monday, the U.S. government announced that it will require foreign airlines to place armed air marshals aboard certain international flights entering U.S. airspace when intelligence officials deem it necessary to prevent terrorist hijackings.
U.S. officials raised the nation's threat level to high on Dec. 21 after intelligence reports indicated that terrorists might try to use planes hijacked outside the United States as missiles against targets in this country.
Since the threat level was raised, officials said that several international flights have been similarly screened, including at least one other airliner at Dulles.
Staff writer Sara Kehaulani Goo contributed to this report.
Posted 02 January 2004 - 12:11 AM
Spend it in malaysia....
Malaysian ringgit is still pegged to the US.
At least for the time being...
So the euro is worth 3 times more, here is malaysia....
Just imagine that .
>> Europeans... still want to come to the US and spend your Euros?<<
Posted 02 January 2004 - 12:12 AM
I was in your country in the early 80s, and everything was ghastly expensive.
Norway was terrible for prices. A glass of beer cost $4.00 USD and a pack of cigarettes was $5.00. I noticed a lot of the locals rolled their own... fortunately, I wasn't smoking.
I enjoyed it, regardless. The best food bargain was Brussel sprouts, which were REALLY cheap. I was eating mashed potatoes with onions and Brussel sprouts for about 5 meals per week.
Posted 02 January 2004 - 12:29 AM
When I was there the state liquor monopoly (in Norge) was on strike. In order to get a bottle of scotch I had to take the ferry from Oslo to Copenhagen, stay overnight, and then I could bring back two bottles.
We had a great time in Kobenhavn, so it was worth the trip. I think this was in November, so there wasn't much going on. Tivoli was closed, few people on the streets, but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless. I plan to visit there again someday if at all possible.
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