This is Wikitravel's Travel news section, about issues affecting travelers, both positively and negatively. For more general news, see Wikinews.
The news items in this section refer to future events and have not been displayed on the Main Page yet. They should be copied there when the date approaches and then shifted to the monthly archives below.
Final Space Shuttle Launch Today
16 September 2010
The final launch of a space shuttle by the US will occur in Florida this morning, unless delayed by adverse weather or technical problems. Expect large crowds as space shuttle Discovery takes off for a rendezvous with the International Space Station. The space shuttle has been an icon of the US space program since the first launch in 1979. Following the explosion of the space shuttle Colombia in 2001, the US decided to end the program and design a new vehicle for space travel. The next manned US space flights will not occur until the replacement vehicle is ready around 2014.
Total Solar Eclipse Today
11 July 2010
A total solar eclipse will be visible across the South Pacific Ocean and extreme southern South America. The next total solar eclipse will not occur until 2012.
2010 FIFA World Cup Begins
11 June 2010
The 2010 FIFA World Cup begins today in South Africa and runs through July 11.
World Expo Begins in Shanghai
1 May 2010
Shroud of Turin on Display
10 April - 23 May 2010
The Shroud of Turin is believed by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ and the image of a face and body can be seen on the cloth. While there is much debate over the date of the cloth's origins, its last showing brought over 1 million people to come and see it for themselves. Showings of the shroud are rare and irregular. Anyone may come to view the shroud, but those with reservations will be able to see it more closely.
Something special in the air over the Dakotas
6 April 2010
Sudan Begins First General Elections Since 1986
5 April 2010
The fifth general elections since independence, the first since 1986, will begin today in Sudan and last through the 12th, with results expected later in the month. The elections are a major milestone in the peace process following decades of civil war. Expect security around the country to be tight and Sudanese visas will likely be difficult to acquire for/during the month of April. A second major election, a referendum on the independence of southern Sudan, will be held next year. 
American abandoning St. Louis hub
5 April 2010
American Airlines is abandoning its hub at St. Louis International Airport, which it acquired through its purchase of Trans World Airlines in 2000. Flights from St. Louis to destinations other than American's other hubs (Dallas, Chicago, etc.) will be moved to Chicago O'Hare International Airport.
Philippine Airlines restarts flights to Riyadh
28 March 2010
Philippine Airlines reconnects its hub Manila to Riyadh again after rising demands from the Filipino community, the airline restarts its service after an absence of 4 years in the Middle East region. The flag carrier will fly from Manila to Riyadh, four times a week.
Medellin's touristic calendar for the South American Games
16 March 2010
The city of Medellín will be putting on a variety of sport, cultural, recreational and artistic events between March 19 and 30, during the celebration of the South American games. Of special interest will be the inauguration (a spectacle of acrobatics, dance and pyrotechnics by the Cirque-du-Soleil-trained Dragone) and closing with a grand street parade. 
Current and past
Volcano erupts in Iceland
21 March 2010
All flights to and from Iceland is canceled.
Topeka, KS renamed "Google, KS"
The mayor of Topeka, Kansas, has proclaimed that the city should be referred to during the month of March as "Google, Kansas," in an attempt to get Google to choose the city as a test site for its new broadband Internet services.
Fire Destroys Part of Jeddah's Old City
3 March 2010
Fire burnt down at least seven ancient buildings and destroyed a few more in the historic "old city" in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The mid-afternoon inferno may be the result of poor infrastructure or arson. Authorities have been trying for years to rehabilitate the old city and get it on the UNESCO World Heritage list, but lack of funds and unwillingness of property owners to fix their buildings has kept the old city in very poor shape. 
Powerful earthquake hits Chile; causes Pacific tsunami alerts
27 February 2010
A magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck Southern Chile this morning, destroying tower blocks, bridges and roads in the capital city of Santiago. Large portions of the country are cut off and many coastal towns have been inundated by resulting tsunamis. A Pacific-wide tsunami alert, the first since 1994, has put Pacific islands like Hawaii and Easter Island, as well coastal towns in Australia and New Zealand on red alert.
Thailand Braces for Protests With Thaksin Verdict This Week
21 February 2010
The sentencing of Thaksin Shinawatra, former PM deposed in a 2006 coup, is expected this week. Thaksin, who is living in exile, may have a portion of his $2.2 billion in assets seized. His supporters have vowed to protest, non-violently, any verdict against him, which may result in tens of thousands of red-shirted protesters filling streets in Bangkok and pro-Thaksin regions. 
Flooding Wrecks Havoc on Portugal's Madeira Island, Kills 32
20 February 2010
The worst flooding in decades along with mudslides on the Portuguese island of Madeira have caused 32 deaths and closed the island's airport. The hardest-hit area appears to be around the main city, Funchal, although the Nuns Valley has been isolated and damage there is not apparent. 
UNESCO World Heritage-Listed Minaret Collapses, Kills 41
19 February 2010
A minaret collapsed during Friday prayers killing 41. The minaret was part of a mosque in Meknes which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. King Mohammad has ordered an inquiry to assess the integrity of the hundreds of old mosques in Morocco. 
Military Coup in Niger
18 February 2010
Following a cabinet meeting Thursday, government soldiers launched a coup capturing president Tandja and his cabinet members following a brief exchange of gunfire in the capital Niamey. 
Libya Stops Issuing Visas to Most Europeans
16 February 2010
In a sudden and unexpected move, Libya stopped issuing visas to the European countries in the Shengen area Monday as part of a row with Switzerland. Arriving Europeans who expected to get a visa on arrival in Tripoli were detained and forced to take the next flight home.
Casino and Universal Studios in Singapore
14 February 2010
2010 Winter Olympics Commence in Vancouver
12 February 2010
Somali Islamists Prepare to Storm Mogadishu
11 February 2010
Somalia's Islamist faction, al Shababb, has begun to flood the country's capital Mogadishu with hundreds of fighters along with weapons and artillery for a showdown with the country's UN-backed government, which controls only a small portion of the city. Panic filled the city's population and thousands have evacuated, fearing a massive showdown that would likely result in heavy civilian casualties.
Greek Public Sector Strikes, Leaves Travellers Stranded
10 February 2010
Upset over plans to freeze pay and increase pension eligibility age, public sector workers in Greece went on strike Wednesday, leaving trains stopped, airports closed, and hospitals open for emergencies only. Their is no indication if and for how long this will continue.
Final Night Launch For Space Shuttle
7 February 2010
The Space Shuttle Endeavor will lift off into space February 7 at 4:14 in the morning in the space shuttle program's final night-time launch, following a scrubbed Sunday morning launch. While all shuttle launches are spectacular, night-time launches which light the surrounding cities as if it were day are considered the most spectacular. Launches always draw large crowds, including a wide array of foreign tourists. The shuttle lifts off less than two weeks after the US budget for FY2011 eliminates funding for the shuttle program's replacement—the Constellation program—meaning this could be the final manned flight the US makes for the foreseeable future.
"Snowpocalypse" Hits Washington
5 February 2010
The second major snowstorm this winter in what is now the snowiest winter in D.C.'s recorded history began on Friday around the Washington, D.C.–Baltimore area, and has been followed up by yet another huge storm, blanketing cities from Richmond to New York. Hundreds of flights, trains, buses throughout the Mid-Atlantic, as well as nearly all events and operations of the federal government in D.C., have ground to an icy halt. In Washington, just a couple inches are enough to cause havoc, but the roughly 40 inches accumulated during the past week would be enough cripple even the hardiest of the nation's cities.
US Funds Construction of High-Speed Rail
28 January 2010
The US president announced over $8 billion in funding for several high speed rail projects with the hope that this is only the beginning of a nation-wide network of high-speed trains. Only one of these lines will surpass the 150mph (250km/h) threshold commonly considered for high-speed rail, the others operating between 90-130mph (150-210km/h) which is much faster than most rail lines in the US. California received the biggest amount of funding for the beginning of an 800 mile Sacramento-San Francisco-Los Angeles-San Diego system to be completed by 2026 and reach speeds of 220mph. Florida will begin work on a Tampa-Orlando line capable of reaching 130mph and to be completed by 2014-2015, with a future leg to Miami. Chicago-Saint Louis, Madison-Milwaukee, Seattle-Portland, & Charlotte-Raleigh lines will be upgraded to operate from 90-110mph. The president also promised $5billion a year to be spent on high-speed rail. The problem with building high-speed rail lines in the US is the lack of densely-populated areas and the ease of driving compared with Europe, Japan, or China.
About 2000 Tourists Stranded in Machu Picchu
26 January 2009
Hundreds of tourists got trapped in the historic Peruvian city of Machu Picchu, after three days of heavy rains and mudslides blocked the roads. The government has declared a state of emergency in Machu Picchu and the surrounding areas. An airlift rescue operation has been started, involving 10 helicopters to pick up the stranded people. 60 tourists have already been airlifted to Cusco, with priority given to the elderly, pregnant women and children.
10% more foreigners visited Colombia in 2009
23 January 2009
The Colombian president Alvaro Uribe announced that throughout the whole last year 1.324 million people visited Colombia, 10.4% more than in 2008 . In a separate report, the city of Medellín said that tourism to the city grew 12% in 2009 . This is significant since tourism worldwide had dropped between 4-10 %, according to figures by the UN World Tourism Organization and other sources.
Yemen Stops Issuing Visas at Airport
21 January 2009
Massive Earthquake Strikes Haiti
12 January 2010
A powerful earthquake struck Haiti Tuesday evening just 10 miles from the capital Port-au-Prince and at a very shallow depth. Early reports indicate that the quake, the most powerful in the region since 1751, has caused catastrophic damage to the capital, home to over 3 million people. A long list of government buildings are reported to have collapsed, including parts of the presidential palace, several government ministries, the Supreme Court building, and a major hospital. The UN headquarters in the city are reported to have either collapsed or received extensive damage. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is high on the "failed state" index, and is no stranger to natural disasters, usually in the form of heavy rain causing flooding and landslides. Hurricanes Francis & Jeanne caused roughly 10,000 deaths in 2004 and the death toll from this earthquake is expected to be very high.
Africa Cup of Nations Kicks Off With Excitement and Tragedy
10 January 2010
Today the Africa Cup of Nations began, but much of the excitement was overshadowed by an attack on the Togo team envoy on Friday killing three people. The team was travelling through Cabinda, near the border of Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo when gunmen opened fire. The gunmen have been confirmed to be from FLEC, a group who has been fighting for independence in Cabinda up until a ceasefire was agreed in 2006. Many had questioned Angola's choice to hold some of the games in the region, but the nation had assured safety. The Togolese team officially withdrew from the competition, as their government called for them to return home. They wished good luck to Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Cote D'Ivoire, the other teams in their division who will compete in Cabinda. Many are disappointed, as the cup was meant to show African unity and bring nations closer together. 
'Festival in the Desert' Moved Over Security Concerns
8 January 2010
Mali's world-famous 'Festival in the Desert' is being moved for the first time in its history to the outskirts of Timbuktu. The renowned Tuareg festival which draws music acts from around West Africa has been hosted each January since 2000 in the town of Essekane, about 70km north of Timbuktu. However, the security situation in Mali has deteriorated with several people kidnapped in the past year, including one Briton departing a similar festival in Anderamboukane who was later beheaded. Due to this possibility, officials have moved the festival to the outskirts of Timbuktu to better protect visitors and eliminate their exposure to bandits on the 70km drive across the desert to Essekane.
Record Cold, Heavy Snow Hits US Southeast
6 January 2010
An extended streak of cold weather has affected the US southeast for the past week, with even colder air currently moving in. Hardest hit has been Florida, where dozens of record lows and record low maximums have been set this week in addition to records for duration of the cold. Heavy snow is moving from the Plains into the Southeast Friday and Saturday, with heavy snow down through central Mississippi, Alabama, & Georgia. The normally balmy peninsula of Florida could see the first widespread snowfall since 1977. Long-term forecasts predict colder than average temperatures in the Eastern US for the rest of this winter and winter 2009-2010 may turn out to be the coldest in over two decades.
World's Tallest Skyscraper Open in Dubai
4 January 2010
With financial aid from neighboring Abu Dhabi, the city of Dubai was able to complete the skyscraper, reaching 2717 feet (828 meters). To show their appreciation, they have named the building Burj Khalifa after the current sheik of Abu Dhabi. Prior to the name change, it was going to be called Burj Dubai ("burj" simply means "tower" in Arabic). 
Nara Celebrates the 1300th Anniversary of Heijo Palace
1 January - 31 December 2010
Festivities will be held throughout the year to commemorate 1300 years since the Nara Period, when Nara was the capital of Japan. The Heijo Palace Site is the main area for commemorative events, with the opening of the Former Imperial Audience Hall and special exhibitions in the museums at the site. From mid to late August, illuminations will be lit around the entire park and large parades and festivals will occur during October.