- - Thursday, December 29, 2011

PENNSYLVANIA

Bus line shut down because of safety violations

PHILADELPHIA | Concerns about vehicle and driver safety led federal regulators to shut down a bus company that took passengers from several cities to New York City’s Chinatown.

U.S. transportation officials have ordered Double Happyness Travel Inc. to immediately cease operations, deeming the company’s bus service “an imminent hazard.” Investigators said they found numerous violations of rules on vehicle maintenance and driver safety, including drug and alcohol testing and records on how long drivers were working.

Double Happyness runs buses from Albany, N.Y., Baltimore and Wilmington, Del., to midtown and Chinatown in New York City. Authorities did not cite any accidents involving the company in its news release.

The company did not return a message Thursday at its corporate office in Huntingdon Valley, Pa., near Philadelphia.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said it has doubled inspections and safety reviews of the nation’s 4,000 bus lines in the past five years.

MINNESOTA

Money-transfer shops stop taking Somali cash

MINNEAPOLIS | Money-transfer businesses that cater to Somali immigrants in Minnesota stopped accepting money bound for the famine-stricken East African country Thursday, a day before a key bank was due to stop processing the transactions.

Hinda Ali, a spokeswoman for the Somali-American Money Services Association in Minneapolis, said 15 money-transfer businesses stopped taking the money because they would no longer be able to execute transactions through Sunrise Community Banks. Minnesota has the nation’s largest Somali population.

“They don’t have a bank account as of tomorrow,” she said of the businesses, which are sometimes known as hawalas.

Sunrise Community Banks previously announced it would stop processing the transactions Dec. 30 because it risked violating government rules intended to fight the financing of terror groups.

On Thursday, the bank released a statement saying it wouldn’t process the transactions without a governmental waiver or similar arrangement. It said it would continue to seek one.

ALASKA

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