Late blooms

WASHINGTON - The National Park Service is updating its predicted peak bloom time for the District of Columbia's cherry trees, now saying the peak bloom will come April 3 to 6. Officials had said the city's famous cherry tree blooms would be at their best between March 26 and March 30.

The cherry blossoms draw about 1 million visitors to the nation's capital each spring. This year marks the 101st anniversary of the gift of trees from Japan.

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No tax escape

HONOLULU - Popular travel sites including Orbitz, Priceline, Travelocity, and Expedia are appealing a Hawaii court decision to fine them $70 million for unpaid taxes.

A state tax appeal court ruled this week the companies have been skirting Hawaii's general excise tax for years. The state says the companies have been making billions in revenue but owe $158 million in unpaid taxes and interest.

Safety application

WASHINGTON - The Transportation Department is launching a free app for iPhones and iPods that gives real-time vehicle safety information. Consumers can use the "SaferCar" app to look for crash test ratings for vehicles by make and model, file a vehicle safety complaint, find recall information, subscribe to recall notices and find the nearest car seat installation station.

Vehicle safety information is also available on The agency is developing a version of the app for Android devices.

Met open daily

NEW YORK - Starting July 1, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be open to the public 7 days a week. The museum is now closed on Mondays, except on holidays that fall on a Monday.

Also on July 1, the museum's opening time will be changed to 10 a.m., from the current 9:30 a.m. The changes also apply to The Cloisters, the Met's museum of medieval art and architecture in Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan.

Tracking heritage

DEARBORN, Mich. - The challenges faced by early Syrian immigrants to Michigan and their importance are among the topics of an exhibit coming to the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn.

"From Syria to Michigan: Flint and Highland Park Pioneers in the Arab American Journey" was curated by University of Michigan-Dearborn professor Hani Bawardi and runs through April 20.

Bawardi developed the exhibit from the manuscripts and papers of Ameen Farah, an immigrant from Nazareth who lived from 1888 to 1975. The exhibit explores how and when the Greater Syrian immigrants and their descendants became Arab Americans and what formed their identity.

Adios, Mexico

MEXICO CITY - Mexico may be dropped from the list of the world's top 10 tourist destinations, a spot it has held for years.

Tourism Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu has not said why the drop occurred, but there were declines in 2012 in two areas that have been affected by violence - border tourism and cruise ship stopovers.

The country has shown an overall drop in the number of international tourists arriving. But the World Tourism Organization said it may be due to countries such as Russia, Malaysia and Austria making big gains.

Despite the drop in visitors, he noted that tourism revenues to Mexico have been growing.

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