U.S. visa-free travel comes with strings

Are you getting ready to welcome friends or relatives from overseas for the holidays? Or perhaps you are one of those visitors. This might be a good time to check the latest U.S. entry requirements, especially if you or your guests are traveling without a visa.

Most citizens of the 34 countries participating in the so-called visa-waiver program think that all they need to board a plane to the United States is a passport and an airline ticket. For the most part, they are right. But what kind of passport and ticket? If your passport was issued before Oct. 26, 2005, it must be machine-readable, with a strip at the bottom of the title page that can be read by a computer when swiped…

Out of the studio, on to the stump

Every time he’s done something for money, David Foster has failed. It’s an indication, he hopes, that he might succeed in his new undertaking.

For, after more than 30 years in the music business, Foster, a 14-time Grammy award-winning songwriter and record producer who has worked with such pop icons as Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Celine Dion, plans to run for premier of his native Canadian province of British Columbia.

“I want to do it for the purest of reasons,” he says, “not for money — I’d do the job for a dollar. I have an extraordinary love for my home province. And what better way to help your country?” It almost hurts him, he says, “to see people so unhappy with their government, the high taxes”, while neighbouring Alberta is “flourishing, with no provincial tax”.