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Gas prices have hit a 12-year low for July according to AAA.

It's vacation season. Your suitcase is packed and you've got your tickets in hand. And if you're heading overseas, you may want to check to see if the State Department has issued a travel alert or warning for your destination. Hardly a week goes by that some warning isn't issued, about everything from natural disasters to terrorist threats. These warnings can have a sharp impact on travelers — and diplomatic relations.

The Bahamas is advising its young male citizens traveling to the U.S. to "exercise extreme caution" in their interactions with police, following two recent high-profile police shootings of black men.

Lauren Wellicome, Creative Commons

Airbnb, the home rental site, is the latest e-commerce company to succumb to Connecticut's campaign to bring its tax structure into the 21st century.

Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that construction will begin this week on LaGuardia Airport’s $4 billion redevelopment plan.

She sails by the memory of the stars.

Her bones are lashed together with 6 miles of rope. Her twin wooden masts are lowered and outstretched only by the power of muscled arms. And once fully extended, the red, V-shaped sails announce who she is.

She is the Hokule'a, Hawaii's famous voyaging canoe, built in the double-hulled style used by Polynesian navigators thousands of years ago to cross the Pacific.

The head of the beleaguered Transportation Security Administration told lawmakers on Capitol Hill Wednesday the long passenger lines at screening checkpoints at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport this month should have been avoided. He also said it was a "failure" on the part of the agency to get some things done.

Travel forecasters are predicting busy highways this Memorial Day weekend. AAA expects more than 38 million people to travel over the holiday, the highest volume in a decade.

Updated at 7 a.m. Tuesday

The head of security for the Transportation Security Administration, Kelly Hoggan, has been removed from his position after a hearing about the agency's management, the House Oversight Committee says.

On Tuesday, Secretary for Homeland Security Jeh Johnson confirmed on NPR's Morning Edition that Hoggan is being removed from his post.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says he's "acutely aware" of longer wait times at airports, and now he's boosting staffing at checkpoints, hoping to avoid even longer wait times that had been projected for this summer.

The move comes after officials predicted "long waits in epic lines," as NPR's Marilyn Geewax reported in March.

Acid Pix / Creative Commons

It’s the time of year when many schools offer student trips that involve international travel. With the terror attacks in Brussels and Paris, and concerns about student safety, some school leaders in Connecticut have had to make hard choices about whether to move forward with their travel plans.

The parent company of Alaska Airlines has struck a deal to buy Virgin America, creating a West Coast-focused airline. If approved by regulators and Virgin America's shareholders, the combined airline will be the fifth-largest U.S. carrier, according to Alaska Air Group.

"By bringing them together, we're creating the premier airline for people who live anywhere on the West Coast," Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden said in a statement.

A Beijing-based banking and insurance company has lost the fight for Starwood Hotels, leaving Marriott as the prospective new owner of the company that operates the Sheraton and Westin hotel chains.

Announcing its exit from takeover talks Thursday, the Anbang Insurance Group cited "various market considerations." The withdrawal came days after Starwood said there was a good chance the Chinese firm would make a "superior proposal" to Marriott's.

Starwood

The drama involving Stamford’s Starwood Hotels and Resorts continues. It now looks as if the company will go with its original merger partner after all. 

Bad weather is seen as a possible cause for the crash of a small passenger plane in Nepal that was navigating between mountains in an area that's popular for treks and sightseeing. The plane, with a crew of three and 20 passengers, reportedly flew into the side of a mountain.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

For his latest book, Michael Robinson journeyed to the mountains of East Africa with a particular mission in mind: to search for explorer Henry Morton Stanley's so-called "white tribe." This hour, Robinson talks about his experience, and how it helped inform The Lost White Tribe: Explorers, Scientists, and the Theory that Changed a Continent

Horia Varlan / Flickr Creative Commons

Here's a riddle for you: What's green and yellow, but most often red?

Give up? It's a traffic light -- you know, those things you hit on your way into the office each morning. But how do they work? And why don't they ever seem to be synced up? 

Anne / Creative Commons

Connecticut will miss the brunt of the winter storm affecting the mid-Atlantic region, but not all parts of the state will be untouched. The worst will be along the shoreline with the possibility of six to ten inches in some parts. Meanwhile, northern Connecticut may see no accumulation at all.

An hours-long attack by militants on a luxury hotel in Burkina Faso's capital has left approximately 20 victims dead. An early-morning assault by security forces killed four attackers and freed 126 hostages, officials say.

Among the victims killed was an American, identified by the U.S. State Department as Michael James Riddering, according to Reuters.

Owen Byrne flickr.com/photos/ojbyrne / Creative Commons

Airlines are shifting the timing of thousands of flights, even adding dozens of redeyes, as they try to avoid delays while hauling millions of passengers from now through the Christmas weekend.

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Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Mohegan Sun is showing off progress on its new hotel development in Uncasville, a project that tribal chairman Kevin Brown said proves its commitment to its roots. 

Eric Westervelt of the NPR Ed team is guest-hosting for the next few weeks on Here & Now, the midday news program from NPR and WBUR.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The effort to revive the neighborhood around downtown Hartford’s new minor league baseball stadium is gaining some big name support -- and a new hotel.

Hard Rock Hotel Hartford will open near the Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the new home of the Hartford Yard Goats, the developers said. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Metro-North riders may notice an increase in security during their commute this month as New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut beef up law enforcement presence at stations in response to the attacks in San Bernardino and Paris. 

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