European cats and dogs certified to be rabies-free can travel to and from Britain without worry of quarantine. Expected to be introduced by April, the program grants pets traveling from rabies-free countries exemption from quarantine (which now lasts six months) as long as they have the proper documents noting their vaccination as well as microchips inserted under their skin that contain identification and veterinary information.

Cats and dogs must have blood tests one month after vaccination to check and see if the rabies shot worked. If so, they get their very own pet passport signed and stamped by their vet.

Heathrow Airport and some English Channel ports will welcome pets. Ferry companies and other carriers will be responsible for checking passports.

A new Titanic sails in 2002

It's been a movie, an Orlando attraction and an underwater diving site, and now the Titanic will be, well, a cruise ship. Nearly 100 years after the Titanic sank in icy North Atlantic waters, plans have been announced to build a replica ship to set sail in 2002.

The Titanic Development Corp. of Las Vegas and the Swiss development company White Star Line Ltd. propose that the $500 million namesake follow the same path the original Titanic was scheduled to sail from Southampton to New York. Prices are expected to range from $10,000 to $100,000.

The inaugural cruise would take place April 15, 2002, the 90th anniversary of the tragedy, and would pause at the sight where 1,500 passengers died when the luxury liner sank. The new Titanic will serve as a cruise ship and is fully equipped with iceberg detectors. Skeptics say the ship will never see completion, but, if it does, it's sure to make headlines.

Walking Washington

Sundays are great for leisurely drives, or walks if you prefer. Walking tours to see the many Gilded Age mansions in the Dupont Circle area are now being held Sundays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. At the Swann House, circa 1883, tea will be served. Also, 90-minute walking tours of Georgetown are given on Thursdays and Saturdays throughout September. ssGuide Mary Kay Ricks leads the tours, which cost $15 for Dupont Circle and $12 for Georgetown. Call 301-588-8999.

Just the facts, please

From the Virgin Atlantic airlines and Virgin megastores folks come "Virgin New York," "Virgin London" and "Virgin Dublin" -- the first three titles in a guidebook series. Simplicity is the key here. No essays -- just facts and opinions on shops, restaurants, pubs and museums and a two-sided map -- one for daytime activities and one for night. Virgin promises to update the guides with every reprinting. They are available at area bookstores for $16.95.

Cooperstown - beyond baseball

Canine agility demonstrations, phrenology readings and antique appraisals are all part of the 21st annual Harvest Festival being held in Cooperstown, N.Y., Sept. 18-19. More traditional festival activities include wagon rides, craft stands, food vendors and entertainment.

The Harvest Festival is being held at the Farmers' Museum, one mile north of the village of Cooperstown on Lake Road.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Admission: $9 adults, $4 children 7 to 12, free for children 6 and under. Call 888-547-1450 or visit

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