GLOBAL

Towns of Dull, Boring team up for tourism

Based on their mundane names, the rural communities of Dull, Scotland, and Boring, Ore., formed a partnership last year to build cultural and commercial connections.

Now Oregon lawmakers have taken that a step further with a House vote to make Aug. 9 Boring and Dull Day in the state, putting the name of the U.S. town of 8,000 residents first despite mild objections from their European counterparts.

The plan, which heads to the state Senate, is intended to boost tourism.

Stephen Bates, the unofficial mayor of Boring, said the idea to pair the communities came from a Scottish biker who cycled through the sleepy Oregon town last year. Excited by her Boring discovery, she brought news of the town's existence across the pond to Dull, prompting talks between the two.

Bates and a handful of Boring residents plan to visit the Scottish village, which has a population of 84, in October. Dull is located off a dead-end highway in a spot so precarious that the visit hinges on whether the tour bus will be able to safely turn around.

-- Associated Press

AIRLINES

Satellite Wi-Fi coming to United's fleet


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United Airlines, one of the last major airlines to offer onboard wireless Internet, has become the first U.S.-based international carrier to offer satellite-based Wi-Fi for passengers traveling on long-haul overseas flights.

Plans aim to expand the service to more than 300 planes, or about 43 percent of the fleet, by the end of the year.

Satellite-based Wi-Fi is typically as fast as ground-based Wi-Fi, experts say, but the advantage is that it can give passengers Internet access when flying over areas where cellular towers don't exist -- such as the Pacific or Atlantic oceans.

United is charging $3.99 to $14.99 for standard speed, depending on the flight duration, and $5.99 to $19.99 for faster speeds.

Southwest Airlines, the nation's largest domestic carrier, also offers satellite-based Wi-Fi.

-- Los Angeles Times

THEME PARKS

Sweden's Liseberg plans megacoaster for 2014

Ride enthusiasts are already drooling over a multi-launch roller coaster coming to a Swedish amusement park that promises six inversions and a series of near-miss encounters with other rides dotting a wooded hillside terrain.

Dubbed Projekt Helix, the $30 million coaster is set to debut in spring 2014 at the Liseberg amusement park located outside Gothenburg, about equidistant between Oslo, Norway, and Copenhagen, Denmark, along Sweden's west coast.

The new ride won't break any records, but Liseberg boasts that Projekt Helix will be among the best coasters in the world.

"You're only the longest or tallest or fastest for a short while," said Liseberg CEO and President Andreas Andersen. "What we wanted to build was a new classic."

-- Los Angeles Times

DreamWorks partners on Russian theme parks

DreamWorks Animation is licensing its characters from "Shrek," "Madagascar," "Kung Fu Panda" and other movies to a developer of theme parks in Russia.

The Regions Group of Companies plans to open parks in St. Petersburg, Moscow and the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg in 2015.

DreamWorks said the parks will be Europe's largest year-round indoor entertainment zones. The zones will be part of larger entertainment complexes, each featuring a mixed-use movie and concert hall, a movie theater, a hotel and a retail center.

-- Associated Press