Friday, April 07, 2006

International Conflict I Care Least About

Florida Hates London, London Smacks Back

(note, this apparently has been resolved, but still...)

FORT MYERS, Florida (AP) -- School officials in southwest Florida said terrorism concerns led them to keep a high school band from marching in a London parade, but now angry British officials are telling travelers that Fort Myers is no safe haven, either.

Local tourism officials fear the dispute could cost Lee County millions in tourism dollars, and even Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has commented, saying, "Perhaps the superintendent is being overly cautious in this regard."

Bush said Superintendent James Browder probably should have looked at the U.S. Department of State's travel advisory before declaring London unsafe for Fort Myers High School's band to march in London's 2007 New Year's Day parade.

District administrators nixed the trip in early March, citing the threat of terrorism in Europe -- especially the 2005 terrorist bombing of London's city buses and subway system, which killed 52 people.

On Friday, London parade officials released a statement to the News-Press of Fort Myers, warning British travelers about the city's crime and homicide rates, Lee County's record number of traffic deaths in 2005 and that the "entire area is prone to catastrophic hurricanes."

British media were expected to publish the statement Monday.

Browder said he's not changing his mind and the band should stay within the United States.


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