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This is Wikitravel's Travel news section, about issues affecting travelers, both positively and negatively. For more general news, see Wikinews.

Please feel free to edit or add to news items below. For instructions on how to use the Newsitem template or how to add news items to the Main Page, please see Wikitravel:How to add travel news.


Future

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.

December 2011

Samoa Crosses International Dateline

Samoa Crosses International Dateline

31 December 2011

The nation of Samoa has dropped today, December 31, from its calendar in order to change time zones, which will now align its days with East Asia, Australia and New Zealand instead of being a day behind. The government states that the change will be better for business, because they will be able to do business with their neighbours every weekday, which was not possible when the neighbours were a day ahead. [1]



Current and past

December 2011

Medellin has a brilliant Christmas with 16 million lights

Medellin has a brilliant Christmas with 16 million lights

29 December 2011

Medellín displays this year 16 million Christmas lights in honor of the city's 16 neighborhoods, they will last until January 9, 2012 [2]


South Pole Marks Centenary of Amundsen Expedition

South Pole Marks Centenary of Amundsen Expedition

14 December 2011

Hundreds of people are expected at the South Pole today to celebrate 100 years since the first human reached the pole. The anniversary is set to be marked by numerous expeditions to the pole, including several teams traveling coast to pole, even more doing partial trips, a couple teams trying to retrace the expeditions led by Amundsen & Scott and with similar clothing/supplies (although dogs are now banned in Antarctica), tourists arriving by air at the pole, and officials from the US, Norway (including the PM!), and other countries. [3]


November 2011

Kingfisher Airlines cancels over 80 flights in the last three days

Kingfisher Airlines cancels over 80 flights in the last three days

10 Nov 2011

Kingfisher Airlines continues to cancel flights as rumours swirl around the cash-strapped airline. The Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation has sent a show-cause notice to the airline, and Kingfisher insists the aircraft were withdrawn at short notice to allow reconfiguration of business class seating. [4]



ANA Flies First Boeing 787 Dreamliner

ANA Flies First Boeing 787 Dreamliner

1 Nov 2011

ANA is the first airline to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It's first flight took place this morning, traveling from Tokyo (Haneda) to Okayama. Another flight from Tokyo (Haneda) to Hiroshima took place later in the day. The Haneda-Okayama and Haneda-Hiroshima flights will be its first regular flights however, ANA hopes to eventually also use the planes for international flights. [5]


October 2011

Qantas Airlines Grounds All Flights

Qantas Airlines Grounds All Flights

29 October 2011

Australia's largest and oldest airline has halted all departures effective 0600 GMT on October 29. [6] Not affected will be flights on QantasLink (flight #s QF1400 - 2699), Jetstar flights, & Jetconnect flights to/from New Zealand. The airline been in a bitter and very public dispute for months with several unions over plans to restructure and expand operations in Asia, eliminating 1000 jobs. While Qantas has a strong command of domestic air travel in Australia, its international routes have suffered huge losses for several years and believes expansion in Asia is the only way to fix that. Grounding flights was necessary for the company to begin a lock-out of union employees beginning Monday "as long as it takes to reach a conclusion on this." The move has left thousands of Qantas passengers stranded around the globe. Passengers can receive a full refund or book a later flight. For international passengers, the airline will arrange accommodation, meals, & transfers. Info from Qantas The Australian government may move to end hostilities by both unions and management on Sunday, forcing flights to resume.


Bangkok floods spark travel alert

Bangkok floods spark travel alert

26 October 2011

Tour packages cancelled as flood defences crumbling in Bangkok. Amidst a red alert, travellers are advised to avoid non-essential travel due to a 'significant' threat according to Thailand's PM Yingluck Shinawatra. [7]


Qantas flights cancelled due to strike

Qantas flights cancelled due to strike

18 October 2011

Many cancellations of flights are expected in the following months as aircraft engineers of Qantas threatened to continue strikes until the end of the year. Two Boeing 767 aircraft would be grounded by 24 October, in addition to five aircraft that are already grounded. It is expected a total of 500 Qantas flights will be cancelled in the next month alone. [8]


MassKara Street Dance Competition

MassKara Street Dance Competition

16 October 2011

Bacolod's MassKara Festival's street dance is held today. This mardi-gras destival boasts it as the Festival of Smiles attracting thousands annually to witness the Street dance competition that covers the whole city with smiles of the masks of the dancers today.


Cypress Gardens reopens as Legoland Florida

Cypress Gardens reopens as Legoland Florida

15 October 2011

Florida's oldest amusement park, Cypress Gardens in the city of Winter Haven, reopens today as Legoland Florida after being closed for two years. The new park is the flagship property of the Legoland chain, owned jointly by Lego and the Merlin Entertainment Company.


September 2011

Floods hit Thailand

Floods hit Thailand

17 September 2011

Flash floods have caused casualties and major disruptions in Thailand's central, northern and northeastern regions. A total of 102 people were confirmed dead with two persons missing. The floods affect popular tourist areas, including the provinces of Ayutthaya, Nonthaburi, Lopburi, Khon Kaen, Sukhothai, Phitsanulok, Ubon Ratchathani, and others. [9]


August 2011

Hurricane hits U.S. Northeast

Hurricane hits U.S. Northeast

26 August 2011

Hurricane Irene reaches the U.S. Northeast, causing major travel disruptions from Virginia Beach all the way up to Boston. Areas near the ocean are being evacuated, including parts of New York City, which could potentially see devastating floods. In addition to flooding, falling trees due to high winds, and potential tornadoes in New England, major transportation modes are expected to shut down: airports, trains, and intra-city public transit systems.


July 2011

South Sudan is World's Newest Nation

South Sudan is World's Newest Nation

9 July 2011

Today the nation of South Sudan gains independence from Sudan, which is also the first nation to officially recognize South Sudan. There is a lot of hope that this will help ease tensions in the area and Sudan has offered to help the new nation, which gains its independence as one of the poorest, least-developed and least-educated nations in the world. Travelers wishing to visit the new nation should be cautious and patient as the nation is not well-established, including visa application processing. [10]


Sri Lanka Eases Travel Restrictions

Sri Lanka Eases Travel Restrictions

5 July 2011

For years foreigners have been restricted from Sri Lanka's Northern Province for safety reasons due to civil war. Today, the nation has lifted these restrictions so that foreign tourists may once again travel to the northern region. [11]


June 2011

Worlds Longest Sea Bridge Opens in China

Worlds Longest Sea Bridge Opens in China

30 June 2011

The world's longest sea bridge opens today in China, spanning 26.4 miles from the city of Qingdao to the island of Huangdao. The previous record-holder, Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is just shy of 24 miles in length. The Jiaozhou Bay Bridge took four years to build. The record is not expected to last too long however, as China is also working on a bridge that will connect Guangdong with Hong Kong and Macau which will be 30 miles long when completed. The expected completion date of that bridge is 2016. Although the new bridge is the longest sea bridge, the longest bridge in the world is the Danyang-Kunshan Bridge, also in China, which is over 100 miles long.[12]


Athens Under Civil Unrest

Athens Under Civil Unrest

29 June 2011

Athens, Greece hosts a continuing wave of protests against austerity measures on massive spending cuts and privatizations. Clashes with riot police are often violent. Police exercises indiscriminate use of chemicals (tear gas), flash and smoke grenades, especially in Syntagma Square, even against medical personnel and tourists in taverns and shops.


World Heritage Sites Added from Kenya, Japan, Ethiopia and More

World Heritage Sites Added from Kenya, Japan, Ethiopia and More

29 June 2011

The World Heritage meeting ended today with a total of 25 new sites being added to the list. The historic area of Bridgetown was the first-ever site to be added from Barbados. Japan and Kenya each had two world sites added (Hiraizumi and the Ogasawara Islands for Japan and Fort Jesus and the Great Rift Valley for Kenya). Hiraizumi is located in the Tohoku region, which was affected by the disastrous earthquake/tsunami in March. Japan is hoping that its addition to the list will help revive tourism in the region. The African continent also saw Senegal's Saloum Delta, Sudan's ancient city of Meroe, and the traditional village of Konso in Ethiopia. Each of the nations with the most World Heritage Sites (Italy's Longobards, Spain's Serra de Tramuntana, and China's Hangzhou West Lake area) also had sites added however, at the meeting there was talk about making it more difficult for such nations to get new heritage sites, as there are still many nations with very few or zero sites that they believe should be given greater priority. See the full list of new Sites on UNESCO's website [13]


Macedonia Unveils Controversial Alexander the Great Statue

Macedonia Unveils Controversial Alexander the Great Statue

23 June 2011

A statue of Alexander the Great has been unveiled in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. It is a 47 foot bronze statue, standing on a pedestal in the city's central square. While it is not controversial within Macedonia, neighboring Greece claims that the nation is trying to 'steal' this hero, who was actually born in Greek Macedonia. For Macedonians however, the statue is a point of pride. [14]


Violence Resurges in Northern Ireland

Violence Resurges in Northern Ireland

21 June 2011

Riots have resurged in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland today as the rioters fired Molotov cocktails at police. It began last night when members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (a militant group) began attacking civilian homes in a Catholic part of the city and has since continued. Police have baracaded many streets in hopes of quelling the riots. [15]


Henry Ford Museum Displays America's Emancipation Proclamation

Henry Ford Museum Displays America's Emancipation Proclamation

20-22 June 2011

The original Emancipation Proclamation is on loan by the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan from the National Archives for only 2 days (June 20-22). It is being shown as a part of the museum's larger Civil War artifacts display. The signing of this document by President Lincoln marked end of slavery in the United States. [16]


China Bars Foreign Tourists from Tibet

China Bars Foreign Tourists from Tibet

16 June 2011

Foreigners visiting China need special permission to enter the autonomous region of Tibet, so China has temporarily ceased giving such permission to all foreign tourists. It is speculated that the government is trying to prevent people from attempting to lead uprisings as the nation prepares to celebrate its 90th year of Communism. Many hope that foreigners will be allowed to visit again in late July, but no definitive date has been given for when foreign visitors will be allowed back into Tibet. [17]


Eritrea Volcanoes Cancel Flights

Eritrea Volcanoes Cancel Flights

13 June 2011

Ash clouds from the Dubbi Volcano in Eritrea are being watched closely by airlines, as Lufthansa has cancelled all flights to Eritrea and some flights to Ethiopia. The ash clouds are expected to grow and have considerable affects on flights to/from Saudi Arabia and Israel. [18]


Volcanoes Erupt in Chile

Volcanoes Erupt in Chile

5 June 2011

The Puyehue Volcano chain of volcanoes in Chile began erupting yesterday, spewing ash into the air. Those around the volcanoes have been evacuated. The ash clouds are also reaching Argentina. Argentinians are being encouraged to stay indoors and the airport in Bariloche has been closed. [19]


Attacks Continue in Yemen After Ceasefire Agreement

Attacks Continue in Yemen After Ceasefire Agreement

2 June 2011

Earlier this week the Yemeni president and rebel leaders agreed on a ceasefire however, attacks have continued and the president himself has been injured by rebel attacks in Sana'a. As fighting has been continuous for months and only appear to be worsening, travelers should continue to avoid Yemen as a destination until the situation calms down. [20]


May 2011

Yemen Agrees on Ceasefire

Yemen Agrees on Ceasefire

29 May 2011

After days of fighting in Sana'a, the president of Yemen and the leader of a rebel tribe have agreed to a ceasefire. [21]


Egypt Opens Borders with Gaza

Egypt Opens Borders with Gaza

29 May 2011

Egypt has reopened its borders with Gaza for the first time since 2007. It stated that women, children, and men over 40 will be able to travel freely without a permit from Gaza to Egypt from 9:00-21:00. Trade will still not be permitted. Residents of Gaza are glad to be able to leave however, security concerns have been raised by Israel. [22]


Cote D'Ivoire Returns to Normalcy

Cote D'Ivoire Returns to Normalcy

22 May 2011

With the end of political chaos comes the rise of Ouattara as the official leader of the Cote d'Ivoire and a return to normalcy for citizens. Last month many were killed and injured across the country as UN forces fought with the opposition leader which finally led to his arrest. Markets have been reopened, as well as public buildings, and the people prepare to celebrate their new leader. The nation is now rebuilding and hopes the new leader will help bring peace. Although this appears to be good news, travelers are still advised to be cautious and watch the situation closely. [23]


P-Noy National Games to be held in Bacolod

P-Noy National Games to be held in Bacolod

22 May 2011

From May 22 to 29, the P-Noy National Games will be held in various cities in MetroBacolod; Bacolod, Silay and Talisay. The said event is a preparation for SEA Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.


Las Vegas' Sahara Hotel closes permanently

Las Vegas' Sahara Hotel closes permanently

17 May 2011

The legendary Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas has closed permanently today after being in business for nearly three-fifths of a century. All pending Sahara reservatons will be transfered to Circus Circus.



Protests break out in Spain

Protests break out in Spain

15 May 2011

Upset by political delays and the inability to deal with the ongoing economic crisis in Spain, The country is experiencing widespread demonstrations throughout the country. There are major concerns whether or not the protests will intensify.



Lower Mississippi Floods Worst in U.S. History

Lower Mississippi Floods Worst in U.S. History

12 May 2011

After many days of rain across the country, the Mississippi River began flooding last week. Many towns near the river are flooded, including the city of Memphis, Tennessee. There are major concerns over the floods affects on Baton Rouge and New Orleans which lie at the mouth of the river along the Gulf of Mexico. [24]


Southwest Closes AirTran Acquisition

Southwest Closes AirTran Acquisition

May 3, 2011

Southwest Airlines has closed its acquisition of its chief competitor AirTran Airways. Starting in 2012, all AirTran aircraft will be repainted in Southwest colors. Until then, the two airlines will operate separately until a Single Operating Certificate is received.


April 2011

Ecuador Under Volcano Alert

Ecuador Under Volcano Alert

29 April 2011

The nation of Ecuador is currently under alert of a possible volcanic erruption as Tungurahua Volcano began spewing ashes. Those living around the volcano have already been evacuated. Travelers should pay close attention to any further developments and avoid areas near the volcano. [25]


Violence Resurges Between Thailand and Cambodia

Violence Resurges Between Thailand and Cambodia

29 April 2011

The border between Thailand and Cambodia was never formally defined, and with some very important historic temples in the area, disputes over which nation owns them has occurred for years. This week shots were fired at Ta Krabey and Preah Vihear, a World Heritage Site. Thailand claims that the Cambodians fired on them while the Cambodians warn not to trust the Thais who they say had started the conflict by bombing Cambodian territory. Travelers should avoid the area at this time. [26]


Shinkansen Connecting Tokyo and Sendai Reopens

Shinkansen Connecting Tokyo and Sendai Reopens

25 April 2011

The Shinkansen connecting Tokyo and Sendai begins operation today for the first time since the earthquake struck on March 11. The nation is slowly returning to a relative state of normalcy, although the nuclear plants in Fukushima remain radioactive, so travelers should continue to avoid Fukushima Prefecture. [27]


Tokyo Disneyland Reopens

Tokyo Disneyland Reopens

15 April 2011

Tokyo Disneyland Resort was shut down after the earthquake that struck the northern Tohoku region a month ago on March 11. The resort was completely unaffected by the disaster; however, it was shut down out of respect for those who were killed, missing, and otherwise affected by the disaster for a period of mourning. The resort reopened today, and citizens are quite happy, as many have been looking for a happy distraction to temporarily take their minds off the problems they face. In the north of the country, radiation still poses a threat and transportation is still limited, but much of the nation has returned to a state of normalcy. [28]


Cuba Faces Worst Drought in 50 Years

Cuba Faces Worst Drought in 50 Years

14 April 2011

The nation of Cuba has been relying on water from reservoirs for over 2 years however, that supply has dwindled down to 1/5 of what it once was. Many of the nation's cities can only get water via supply trucks, including parts of the capital, Havana. Reports of nearly 70% of the water pipes supplying the cities with water are leaking have alarmed citizens and are straining the government as it tries to deal with the situation. [29]


March 2011

UN-Backed Forces Take Capital in Cote D'Ivoire

UN-Backed Forces Take Capital in Cote D'Ivoire

30 March 2011

The nation of Cote D'Ivoire has been in a state of civil war since 2002, which pro-Ouattara forces ruling the north and pro-Gbagbo forces ruling the south. Today, pro-Ouattara forces, backed by the United Nations, overtook the nation's capital of Yamoussoukro. They have also taken control of Daloa and Duekoue in west and Bondoukou in the east. All Gbagbo forces have fled the capital; however, they made a statement that it is "part of their strategy". Ouattara's forces are hoping to gain control of San Pedro, an important port city, which would greatly benefit them. Because the south is ruled by Gbagbo's forces, they currently rule the nation's ports, including the largest city, Abidjan. [30]


World's Tallest Hotel Opens in Hong Kong

World's Tallest Hotel Opens in Hong Kong

29 March 2011

The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Hong Kong opens today. It stands at 1600 feet tall, surpassing the Burj Khalifa's Armani Hotel (Dubai). Room rates are said to start at HK$5,000, although there are discount prices available for those staying during the opening month. [31]


US, France, and UK Bomb Libya

US, France, and UK Bomb Libya

20 March 2011

While Libya has been in turmoil for weeks as President Gaddafi has tried to maintain control of the country, on March 19 the US, UK, and France began bombing Gaddafi's forces in the Mediterranean, as well as on land in Tripoli, Benghazi, Sirte, Zuwara, Mitiga and Misrata. Gaddafi hopes to use the bombings as leverage to convince Libyans that it is a form of Western colonialism and as the nation continues its civil war amidst the bombings, travelers should continue to avoid Libya and locations near its borders. [32]


Bahrain Destroys Iconic Pearl Monument

Bahrain Destroys Iconic Pearl Monument

18 March 2011

The Bahraini government sent bulldozers to topple the iconic Pearl Monument in Manama, claiming it represented "a bad memory". [33]


Kyushu Shinkansen Segment Opens in Japan, Despite the Earthquake

Kyushu Shinkansen Segment Opens in Japan, Despite the Earthquake

12 March 2011

Today Japan's popular and reliable "Shinkansen" bullet train network opens a 130 km segment between Fukuoka and Yatsushiro, completing the Kyushu Shinkansen Kagoshima Route and linking it to the rest of the Shinkansen network. Six new bullet train stations will open in Tosu, Kurume, Kumamoto and other cities.

The opening of the new segment will slash one hour from the travel time between Fukuoka and Kagoshima to 1 hour 20 minutes. Through services will also commence, linking the Kyushu Shinkansen with the San'yo Shinkansen: Osaka to Kumamoto will be reduced to three hours, and Osaka to Kagoshima will be reduced to 3 hours 45 minutes. From Tokyo, it will be possible to reach Kagoshima in as little as 7 hours on two trains.

New bullet train lines open to much fanfare in Japan, however these usually-lavish departure and arrival ceremonies have been cancelled in the aftermath of the March 11th earthquake in Tohoku.


Japan Hit By 8.9 Magnitude Earthquake and Tsunamis

Japan Hit By 8.9 Magnitude Earthquake and Tsunamis

11 March 2011

An 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck just east of Japan's Tohoku region, causing a 10 foot tsunami to wreak havoc predominantly in Miyagi Prefecture, including mud floods in the capital of Sendai, although widespread fires and flooding have occurred in Iwate, Fukushima, and Ibaraki. Coastal cities in the region were most affected, but shocks could be felt in Tokyo, where it caused several fires, and even as far as Kyoto. The Asian Pacific Rim is on tsunami alert. This includes Russia, Hawaii, New Zealand, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, and the western coast of South America. There is potential for these regions to be hit with waves 6-10 meters high. [34]


February 2011

Museums Reopen in Egypt

Museums Reopen in Egypt

22 February 2011

Since the protests began in January, many of Egypt's famous museums and attractions were closed. Now, as the nation tries to return to a state of normalcy, its museums and historical attractions have been reopened. They hope to dispell rumors that famous artifacts were stolen and to attract tourists back as the halt of tourism in the nation has cost them $800,000,000. While tourists remain wary of Egypt, Egyptians hope that this will change soon and that perhaps those who support the Egyptian people will show their support by coming to visit Egypt. [35]


Earthquake Devastates Christchurch, New Zealand

Earthquake Devastates Christchurch, New Zealand

22 February 2011

An earthquake, already being called one of the worst natural disasters in New Zealand's history hit Christchurch this afternoon. It was a magnitude 6.3, and it left many roads cracked, buildings collapsed, and at least 65 people are confirmed dead. The steeple of the iconic Christchurch Cathedral collapsed but the rest of the church is still intact. Many other buildings throughout the city are unstable or have collapsed. The city is in a state of emergency. Travelers should avoid it at this time. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/ap_on_re_as/as_new_zealand_earthquake


End of Daylight Saving Time in Brazil

End of Daylight Saving Time in Brazil

20 February 2011

The Brazilian Daylight Saving Time ends at midnight on February 20, 2011. The clocks should be moved back one hour in the states of Brazil where the summer time was in effect: Federal District, Espirito Santo, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and São Paulo


More Protests Erupt in Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, and Yemen

More Protests Erupt in Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, and Yemen

15 February 2011

As predicted, the protests in Tunisia last month have led discontent citizens throughout the Muslim world to rise up in protest. After Egypt successfully ousted Mubarak, citizens in Yemen, Bahrain, and Algeria have launched their own protests, many met with violence by police. Iran saw protests today in Tehran. Travel in these countries should be avoided and those traveling to nearby nations should pay extra attention to news and reports of how likely something similar could occur where they are planning to travel. [36]


January 2011

Shinmoedake Volcano Erupts in Southern Kyushu

Shinmoedake Volcano Erupts in Southern Kyushu

30 January 2011

A few days ago, Shinmoedake Volcano in Kagoshima Prefecture near the border with Miyazaki Prefecture on the Japanese southern island of Kyushu has erupted, causing both flight and train cancellations in the area. Recently ash has been piling in nearby towns. There are currently no reports of injury but travelers should avoid the region until the area is deemed safe. [37]


Protests Rock Egypt

Protests Rock Egypt

28 January 2011

Ongoing political and social unrest in Egypt has led to violent conflicts between protest and local police forces, disrupting road travel and communications. The Government of Egypt has imposed a curfew from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez until further notice. Non-essential travel to Egypt should be avoided at this time, particularly to the cities of Cairo, the tourist centre of Luxor, as well as Alexandria and Suez. [38]


Disney Dream Christened, Begins Maiden Voyage

Disney Dream Christened, Begins Maiden Voyage

26 January 2011

Disney Cruise Line has launched its third ship, the largest of the line, the Disney Dream. It will take three- and four-day cruises in the Caribbean, while the Disney Wonder moves to a new permanent home on the West Coast, taking cruises to Alaska and Mexico.


Riots Break Out Across Tunisia

Riots Break Out Across Tunisia

14 January 2011

Riots have broken out in Tunis, the nation's capital, as well as other cities across the nation over job loss and political discontent among citizens. All airspace around the nation has been closed and British nationals are being evacuated. France, former colonial ruler with the largest number of citizens in Tunisia, has simply cautioned its citizens to be aware and avoid large gatherings. How long the riots will last and the outcome remain uncertain. Travelers in neighboring nations, Algeria and Libya should also be on alert as some believe the Tunisian riots could possibly stir similar discontent throughout the region. [39]


Flooding Continues to Wreak Havoc in Brisbane, Australia

Flooding Continues to Wreak Havoc in Brisbane, Australia

14 January 2011

Australia's third largest city, Brisbane, remains in dire straits after recent flooding has left entire suburbs underwater. In areas where the floodwaters have subsided, layers of sludge and mud remain. [40]


Over 500 Dead in Brazil Mudslide

Over 500 Dead in Brazil Mudslide

14 January 2011

A recent mudslide has devastated areas just outside Rio de Janeiro over the past few days. The death toll has now risen to over 500 and authorities are calling it the worst natural disaster in the nation's history. [41]


Mexico - World Heritage Patrimony - January 4, 2010 | Mexico is the number one country in the Americas and the fifth nation in the world with the most World Heritage sites and traditions protected by Unesco; Mexico counts with 29 cultural and natural world heritage sites and 3 intangible world heritage traditions. [42]

December 2010

Estonia First Ex-Soviet State to Adopt Euro

Estonia First Ex-Soviet State to Adopt Euro

31 December 2010

With the New Year comes a new Euro-user, Estonia, making it the 17th nation to adopt the currency. The nation hopes it will bring investments, although there are also worries that Estonia could face a hefty burden since they will now also be responsible for inevitable bailouts that European nations will face, just as Ireland and Greece did in 2010. [43]


Seoul-Incheon Airport Link Opens

Seoul-Incheon Airport Link Opens

29 December 2010

The second phase of the A'REX [44] link from Incheon International Airport to Seoul Station has opened. Express trains take 43 minutes and charge 13,300 won, while normal ones will take 10 minutes longer for a fare of 5,300 won. Both are faster and cheaper than the current buses, and all trains also stop at Gimpo Airport along the way.


Snow and Ice Causes Traffic Chaos in Europe

Snow and Ice Causes Traffic Chaos in Europe

20 December 2010

Air, rail and road traffic is severely affected by snow and freezing temperatures in Central and Western Europe. People traveling home, to relatives or abroad for Christmas are stuck as the busiest airport, Heathrow, has come to a total standstill while the second largest, Frankfurt canceled over 300 take-offs on Monday. Airlines advise the customers to travel by train while the railway operators ask people to stay at home. In the German state North Rhine-Westphalia there were 200 kilometers (125 miles) of traffic jams on Monday. [45] [46]



Ukraine Announces Chernobyl Power Plant Site Will Be Open for Tours in 2011

Ukraine Announces Chernobyl Power Plant Site Will Be Open for Tours in 2011

14 December 2010

While tours of Chernobyl are already possible, the area around the power plant has always been off-limits. Today, the Ukrainian government announced that the ban will be lifted in 2011 so visitors can see the affects of the world's largest nuclear accident up-close. [47]


Egypt Reopens Sharm el-Sheikh Beaches After Shark Attack Closings

Egypt Reopens Sharm el-Sheikh Beaches After Shark Attack Closings

14 December 2010

After numerous shark attacks including one death in Sharm el-Sheikh, one of the world's most popular beach destinations, Egyptian officials have decided to reopen the beaches. Visitors will only be allowed to swim in designated areas and divers and watch towers have been established to keep a lookout for sharks. Many foreigners remain skeptical about the opening, because the reason for the shark attacks remains unknown and some feel that they are putting profits ahead of safety. [48]


Fast Trains From Helsinki to St. Petersburg

Fast Trains From Helsinki to St. Petersburg

12 December 2010

New fast Allegro trains between Helsinki (Finland) and St Petersburg (Russia) are now running, cutting travel time down from ~6 hours to 3.5 hours. While not "real" (dedicated track) highspeed, the trainsets tilt and travel at a maximum speed of 220 km/h with two services a day in each direction initially, going up to 4 daily in May.


Tohoku Shinkansen extension opens in Japan

Tohoku Shinkansen extension opens in Japan

4 December 2010

Japan's popular and reliable bullet train network known as the Shinkansen gets a little bigger today with the opening of an 81.8 km section between Hachinohe and Shin-Aomori. The new Tohoku Shinkansen extension will reduce travel times to destinations in northern Honshu and Hokkaido. Overall travel times between Tokyo and Aomori will be reduced by about 20 minutes to 3 hours 40 minutes, and journeys from Tokyo to Hakodate in Hokkaido will be cut by about 15 minutes to 5 hours 45 minutes. Travel times will be reduced further in March 2011 when new "Hayabusa" trains enter service.

This is one of two bullet train routes scheduled to open in Japan within the next four months. In March 2011 a 130 km stretch between Fukuoka and Shin-Yatsushiro in Kyushu will be opened, completing the Kyushu Shinkansen Kagoshima Route.


Edinburgh and Gatwick Airport Closed Due to Freezing Conditions

Edinburgh and Gatwick Airport Closed Due to Freezing Conditions

2 December 2010

The Edinburg and London's Gatwick airport closed the 1st December due to snow falls and freezing conditions. They will stay closed at least until the 3rd of December. A lot of delays are observed in train and bus traffic. [49].


November 2010

Tokyo's Haneda Airport Goes International

Tokyo's Haneda Airport Goes International

1 November 2010

After the completion of Narita Airport, Haneda had been left for many years as Tokyo's primary domestic airport, although it remained one of the busiest airports in the world. After the addition of new terminals, Haneda is now open once again for international flights. You can now come and go from a variety of cities in Asia, as well as Paris, Honolulu, and San Francisco. Flights to/from Detroit, New York City, Vancouver, London, and Kuching are scheduled to begin in 2011.


October 2010

Ferrari World Opens in Abu Dhabi

Ferrari World Opens in Abu Dhabi

27 October 2010

Motor sports have always been popular in the United Arab Emirates, so when considering where to construct the theme park, Abu Dhabi seemed like the perfect spot. It is the largest indoor theme park in the world, contains the fastest roller coaster in the world (240kmph in less than 5 seconds), and contains the largest Ferrari logo in the world. The rides are meant to toy with the senses, with a 4-D theater and the V12, which allows riders to experience the G-Force of an actual Ferrari. [50]


Mentawai earthquake and tsunami

Mentawai earthquake and tsunami

25 October 2010

A tsunami that pounded several of the Mentawai Islands in West Sumatra killed at least 108 people left more than 500 people missing, Mentawai Legislative Council Speaker Hendri Dori said Tuesday. At least 80 bodies had been recovered as of 8 p.m. on Tuesday, West Sumatra Disaster Management Agency said. A magnitude-7.2 earthquake triggered the 3-meter wave that washed hundreds of homes into the sea late on Monday. On Tuesday, rescuers were having a hard time reaching the areas closest to the epicenter because of strong winds and rough seas. However, reports of damage and injuries were steadily climbing.

[51]

Roman Colosseum Opens Gladiator 'Dungeons' For the First Time

Roman Colosseum Opens Gladiator 'Dungeons' For the First Time

18 October 2010

This week, for the first time ever, visitors to Rome's famous Colosseum will be able to enter the gladiator tunnels where the gladiators waited and the animals were kept. The area is being opened in hopes of relieving crowding in the other areas, which have fallen into disrepair over the years because of weathering and tourists. There are also hopes that this will draw in even more tourists than the millions it already receives, particularly those who have already visited. [52]


Toxic spill in Hungary threatens Danube and Black Sea

Toxic spill in Hungary threatens Danube and Black Sea

4 October 2010

After an aluminum processing factory's sludge reservoir accidentally bursts in Veszprém county in Western Hungary, highly toxic 'red sludge' containing heavy metals, and which leads to chemical burns on skin, flooded two nearby villages. [53] Spill immediately ended all aquatic life in Marcal River, and efforts are now concentrated on keeping the sludge from entering Danube, one of the key rivers in Europe, which originates in Germany and flows through several Central European and Balkan countries into Black Sea. [54] As of October 8, Hungarian officials say alkaline levels in Danube remains normal so far, although spill claimed its seventh victim. [55]


Bloggers invited to compete for prizes in Thailand’s Medical Tourism Blog Contest

Bloggers invited to compete for prizes in Thailand’s Medical Tourism Blog Contest

1 October 2010

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Medical Tourism Blog Contest kicks off with cash and prizes worth nearly US$20,000 up for grabs, including a seven-day all-inclusive medical tour of Thailand for 12 finalists. Submissions are welcome until October 31, 2010. Check out www.MedBlogContest.com[56]


Bacolod invites everyone to Masskara!

Bacolod invites everyone to Masskara!

1-19 October 2010

The festival which Bacolod is famous for is inviting you this October to celebrate with it its Charter day anniversary as well as the festival of smile in the city of smiles. The 3 week long celebration from sun up to sun down the city never sleeps, the streets of the city are filled with tourists and vendors and it is held through beauty pageants to street dancing to competitions. Visit [57] for more information.


September 2010

Ecuadorean Police Attack President, Chaos in the Streets

Ecuadorean Police Attack President, Chaos in the Streets

30 September 2010

Ecuador's police force doused their nation's president, Rafael Correa, with tear gas and "roughed him up" over a new law that would cut some of their benefits. The president has been hospitalized, nearly dying from asphyxiation. The military was called in to take care of the police siege. The police barracaded roads to Quito. With the police force turned against the state, looting has become rampant in supermarkets, businesses, and even banks in Quito and Guayaquil. Airports have been shut down and both Peru and Colombia have cut off all access to Ecuador until the situation is under control.[58]


World's largest airline cleared for takeoff

World's largest airline cleared for takeoff

18 September 2010

The merger between the United States' third and fourth largest airlines (Chicago's United and Houston's Continental, respectively) to form the world's largest airline has been finalized. Between now and the end of 2011, Continental's ticketing and reservations systems, workforce, airport terminals, and aircraft fleet will be integrated into United's.


A massive earthquake strikes Christchurch

A massive earthquake strikes Christchurch

4 September 2010

Like the Haiti earthquake, it measured 7.1 on the Richter scale and occurred at a shallow depth. Fortunately, nobody was killed due to the time of the quake and New Zealand's strict building codes. Nevertheless, the infrastructure including buildings, roads, water supply and the sewage system have been heavily damaged causing about 4 billion New Zealand dollars worth of damage. The earthquake has also changed some of the surrounding landscape, even changing the course of two rivers. A state of emergency has been declared and hundreds of aftershocks are continuing to rock the region.

 [59]

August 2010

Mount Sinabung Erupts After 400 Years of Dormancy

Mount Sinabung Erupts After 400 Years of Dormancy

30 August 2010

Dormant since 1600, Mount Sinabung erupted in North Sumatra, forcing nearly 20,000 people to evacuate the area and flee to Medan. [60]


Traveler's Checks Now Available in Chinese Yuan

Traveler's Checks Now Available in Chinese Yuan

24 August 2010

As of this week, American Express nows offers travelers checks in Chinese yuan. They are currently only available in 500 yuan and can be cashed at any Bank of China. [61]


Henley On Todd Regatta Takes Off

Henley On Todd Regatta Takes Off

21 August 2010

The Henley on Todd is the Northern Territory of Australia's longest running event. It is based on the famous Henley on Thames, but the major difference is that the Todd River which runs through Alice Springs very rarely has water in it! Its a great spectacle, and well worth it if you plan your trip to be in The Alice when its on!


New Air Travel Information Website "Airlikes" Launches

New Air Travel Information Website "Airlikes" Launches

17 August 2010

airlikes.com is a new air travel information and reviews website. With more than 1,400 airlines and over 4,000 airports in its database, airlikes.com allows its visitors to find information and share their experiences of their flights or experiences at airports. Visitors can easily write their opinions of the airline on which they traveled or the airport from where they took off.


Japan Bus Pass Offers Affordable Distance Travel

Japan Bus Pass Offers Affordable Distance Travel

13 August 2010

Foreigners have taken advantage of the Japan Rail Pass for years however, recently Japan has begun selling the Japan Bus Pass. You can purchase them for 3 or 5 days of travel on highway buses that you can use whenever you wish up to 2 months after purchase. Outsiders as well as Japanese citizens may use the pass, but it must be purchased outside of Japan. The buses are more cost-effective than the Rail Pass and can be used to go as far north as Aomori and Akita, west to Matsue, Hiroshima, and Okayama, as well as Matsuyama in Shikoku and the cities of Fukuoka, Kumamoto, and Kagoshima in Kyushu. You can purchase the pass online. [62]


WHO Declares Swine Flu Alert Over

WHO Declares Swine Flu Alert Over

10 August 2010

While most people stopped worrying about H1N1 months ago (if they even worried at all), the World Health Organization has officially declared an end to the alert, believing that the virus is now in its post-pandemic state. There are still new cases in New Zealand and India however, it is said to be just like any other flu. [63]


Major Mexican Airline Files for Bankruptcy Protection, Cancels Flights

Major Mexican Airline Files for Bankruptcy Protection, Cancels Flights

10 August 2010

Mexican airline Mexicana has cancelled flights from London, Madrid, Montreal, Chicago and South and Central America days after filing for bankruptcy protection. The company does not know how long they will continue to honour tickets already purchased. A list of flights affected can be found on Mexicana's website. [64] BBC report here. [65]


Flooding in Pakistan causes humanitarian crisis

Flooding in Pakistan causes humanitarian crisis

04 August 2010

Flooding in Pakistan has killed 1400 and displaced up to a million people amid fears of a cholera epidemic and a shortage of food, clean water and medicine. Around 1.8 million will be in need of food aid. [66]


21 Sites Added to UNESCO World Heritage List

21 Sites Added to UNESCO World Heritage List

3 August 2010

The 34th session met in Brasilia over the past week to discuss potential World Heritage Sites and adding twenty-one to the list. UNESCO welcomed its first-ever World Heritage Sites from the nations of Tajikistan, Marshall Islands, and Kiribati. Some of the newly added sites include Hawaii's Papahanaumokuakea, France's Albi, the historical bazaar of Tabriz, Iran, India's Jantar Mantar, and the convict sites of Australia. Although the meeting also addressed the need for more consideration of sites outside of Europe, only one South American site and no African sites were added during this session. [67]


July 2010

China is Facing its Worst Flooding in More Than a Decade

China is Facing its Worst Flooding in More Than a Decade

30 July 2010

In Kouqian town in Jilin province, residents were trapped when a reservoir and two rivers overflowed following torrential rain. In Jilin city itself, containers of explosive fluid from a chemical plant were washed into the Songhua river. China is facing its worst flooding in more than a decade. Weeks of heavy rain have swollen rivers and caused damage, landslides and bridge collapses across a swathe of the country. According to state media, 928 people have died because of the seasonal bad weather and another 477 are missing. [68]



Smog and heat over Moscow

Smog and heat over Moscow

28 July 2010

The Russian capital currently experiences the hottest summer ever with temperatures of nearly 40°C. Additionally the dry and hot weather has sparked numerous terrain fires in the areas around the city causing the smog levels to rise to ten times over the safe limits. The locals are advised to wear masks and if possible, to stay indoors. [69] [70]


No survivors as Pakistan plane crash kills 152

No survivors as Pakistan plane crash kills 152

28 July 2010

An Airblue airliner has crashed near Islamabad, killing all 152 on board [71]


2010 Medellin Flower Festival will be best yet

2010 Medellin Flower Festival will be best yet

25 July 2010

This year's Medellín Flower Festival, held in Colombia's "city of eternal spring" from July 30 to August 8, promises to be "memorable and better" than ever [72]



Total Solar Eclipse Today

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.


Luxury cruise ship to sail Colombia's Pacific coast

Luxury cruise ship to sail Colombia's Pacific coast

10 July 2010

Travelers to Colombia will have the opportunity to visit the Latin nation's isolated and largely unexplored Pacific coast when the luxury cruise ship "Sea Voyager" sets out on its maiden voyage from Panama to Buenaventura on August 3. The cruise is perfect for diving enthusiasts and whale watchers [73]


World's Largest Tent Opens, Complete With a Beach For Those -40C Winter Days!

World's Largest Tent Opens, Complete With a Beach For Those -40C Winter Days!

6 July 2010

The world's largest tent—the transparent 150m (490ft) tall Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center—opens today in Astana, Kazakhstan, becoming the city's tallest structure and the latest modern addition to the credit of President Nazarbayev. The $260million structure has two transparent EFTE layers to create a 140 000 square meter respite from the city's -40C winters, with temperatures of 15C in the outer shell and up to 25C in the inter shell! The giant tent houses a shopping and entertainment center, including a waterpark, amusement rides, a tropical atrium, a running track encircling the upper floor, a cinema, theater, and hundreds of shops large and small. The tent even boasts a multi-station monorail! The opening celebration, which coincide with the city's 13th and the president's 70th birthdays, will feature three days of circuses, theater, ballet, concerts, and fireworks at a cost of $10 million and will be attended by eight heads of state, the king of Jordan, & former British PM Tony Blair. [74]


June 2010

Oil Spreads to Florida's Pensacola Beach

Oil Spreads to Florida's Pensacola Beach

23 June 2010

The oil leaking out of the Gulf of Mexico has already devastated coastal areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Today oil was found on Florida's Pensacola Beach spanning nine miles and more is expected as relief efforts remain slow. [75]


Quake Shakes Canada, No Major Damage

Quake Shakes Canada, No Major Damage

23 June 2010

A 5.0 magnitude earthquake shook Ontario near the Quebec border, just above the nation's capital of Ottawa. Tremors were felt as far away as Chicago and Pittsburgh however, the earthquake does not appear to have caused any great damage. [76]


Muggles Enter Wizarding World

Muggles Enter Wizarding World

18 June 2010

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens today at the Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort. [77]



Scores Killed, Thousands Flee as Ethnic Violence Spreads in Kyrgyzstan

Scores Killed, Thousands Flee as Ethnic Violence Spreads in Kyrgyzstan

13 June 2010

Ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan has left at least 100 dead and has led an estimated 75,000 Uzbeks to flee to nearby Uzbekistan. It is unknown who/what instigated the violence, which erupted Thursday, but since Thursday gangs of armed Kyrgyz and Uzbeks have roamed the city of Osh (later spreading to Jalal-Abad and small communities in the region) in what appears to be a wide outbreak of ethnic violence. Uzbeks have been the primary targets, with Uzbek homes and businesses burnt, although many Kyrgyz claim they have been targeted. The weak, transitional government has been unable to establish authority, although there are reports that they are recalling reservists up to age 50 and have given troops "shoot-to-kill" orders to quell the violence. While the northern part of the country remains stable, travelers are highly discouraged from travelling to the southern region of Kyrgyzstan in the next few weeks and should stay abreast of the news and head the advise of their embassies prior to travel to the region in the coming months.


UPDATE: Curfew lifted in Bangkok and 23 provinces, FCO cancels travel warnings put in effect due to unrest

UPDATE: Curfew lifted in Bangkok and 23 provinces, FCO cancels travel warnings put in effect due to unrest

29 May 2010 - 1 June 2010

The curfew on Bangkok, Chiang Mai and 23 Thai provinces has been lifted as Prime Minister Vejjajiva has declared the situation 'under control' [78] The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has adjusted its level of advice [79] and no longer advises against travel to Bangkok or the affected provinces although On 30 May an explosive device was detonated on the ‘walking street’ market in central Chiang Mai; there were no injuries reported. Warnings against travel to Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla and Preah Vihear are still in force, but these are long-standing and are not related to the recent unrest. States of emergency are still in force in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Ayutthaya, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Nakhon Sawan, Nan, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Chaiyaphum, Nakhom Ratchasima, Si Saket, Ubon Ratchathani, Nong Bua Lumphu, Mahasarakham, Roi Et, Sakhon Nakhon, Kalasin, Muk Da Han and Samutprakarn. Travel might be restricted in these areas.


2010 FIFA World Cup Kicks Off in South Africa

2010 FIFA World Cup Kicks Off in South Africa

11 June 2010 - 11 July 2010

The 2010 FIFA World Cup begins today in South Africa featuring South Africa versus Mexico and Uruguay versus France. It is the first World Cup to be held on the African continent with 32 teams competing. It lasts exactly one month, ending on July 11.[80]


May 2010

May 26, 2010 - US Travel Warning issued for Sri Lanka cancelled

May 26, 2010 - US Travel Warning issued for Sri Lanka cancelled

May 26, 2010

Department of State has cancelled the Travel Warning for Sri Lanka due to improvements in safety and security conditions throughout the country. The Government of Sri Lanka declared victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on May 18, 2009. Since the war's declared end, the LTTE has not mounted any attacks in Colombo or elsewhere in Sri Lanka. [81]


UPDATE: Thailand curfew extended to 31st May. FCO eases travel warning for Bangkok

UPDATE: Thailand curfew extended to 31st May. FCO eases travel warning for Bangkok

26 May 2010 - 31 May 2010

The curfew on Bangkok, Chiang Mai and 24 Thai provinces has been extended until Sunday 31 May 2010. It will last from midnight on each day to 04:00 the same morning. The FCO has eased its travel advice and now advises against all but essential travel to Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The FCO also advises against all travel to the Preah Vihar temple area, but this is unrelated to the Bangkok unrest. [82] [83]


UPDATE: Thailand curfew extended to 24 provinces for another two nights. FCO still advises against all travel to Bangkok

UPDATE: Thailand curfew extended to 24 provinces for another two nights. FCO still advises against all travel to Bangkok

23 May 2010 - 25 May 2010

The curfew on Thailand and other Thai provinces has been extended for two more nights for 'security reasons' according to British newspaper The Times. The FCO still advises against all travel to Bangkok and all but essential travel to Chiang Mai. [84] [85]



UPDATE: Curfew in Bangkok and 23 other Thai provinces due to violent political unrest. FCO Advises against all travel to Bangkok

UPDATE: Curfew in Bangkok and 23 other Thai provinces due to violent political unrest. FCO Advises against all travel to Bangkok

19 May 2010 - Ongoing

An ongoing protest by the Red Shirt demonstrators in Bangkok has escalated as more than fifty people have been confirmed dead and large parts of the city centre are destroyed by fire and ordnance, including Bangkok's largest shopping mall. Thai authorities have declared a state of emergency and a curfew between the hours of 8pm and 6am. Police and army personnel have been ordered to shoot to kill in some zones, in what academic Charnvit Kasetsiri has described as the "most widespread and most uncontrollable" political violence Thailand has ever seen'. Although most of Bangkok and almost all of Thailand is safe, care should be taken by visitors not to be caught in the crossfire. UPDATE: The FCO (UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office) [86] now advise against all travel to Bangkok and all but essential travel to Chiang Mai. [87] [88]



Sterling falls in wake of inconclusive general election

Sterling falls in wake of inconclusive general election

7 May 2010

As a result of the inconclusive General Election in the United Kingdom, Sterling has fallen against the US Dollar and Euro by up to two percent in what is now a one-year low. Performance against other currencies has broadly matched this movement. [89]


Riots in Athens

Riots in Athens

4 May 2010

Riots in Athens leave three dead - three private sector workers confirmed dead due to a flame bomb in a bank. All political parties condemned the act. Things have settled down since. Strikes, pickets and demonstrations likely. Visitors are adviced to avoid the Syntagma Square, center of Athens, where the Parlament sits. The rest of the City and Country is considered safe.

[90] [91]


Continental-United merger OK'd

Continental-United merger OK'd

2 May 2010

A merger between Continental Airlines and United Airlines, both members of Star Alliance, has been approved. The combined carrier will be the world's largest and will keep the United name but take the Continental logo.



General Strike in Nepal

General Strike in Nepal

1 May 2010

The Nepal is paralyzed by a indefinite general strike called by the Maoists. The strike shuts down most transport and businesses since the 1st May.


World Expo Begins in Shanghai

World Expo Begins in Shanghai

1 May 2010 - 30 October 2010

The 2010 World Expo begins in Shanghai, China today and runs through October 30. The theme is "Better City, Better Life". It is estimated that 70 million people will visit the Expo. [92]


April 2010

Shroud of Turin on Display

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.


Eyjafjallajökull eruption closes airspace in Northern Europe

Eyjafjallajökull eruption closes airspace in Northern Europe

15 April 2010

The Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupts for the second time in a month. Ash from the volcano has spread east across the Atlantic towards Scandinavia and UK. Flights to and from several airports in Northern Europe has therefore been canceled until further notice. In Iceland the eruption has caused floods and the population near the volcano has been evacuated. [93] [94]


Violent Coup Ousts Kyrgyzstan President

Violent Coup Ousts Kyrgyzstan President

7 April 2010

Dozens are reported to have been killed in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek during a massive, surprise riot which, by the end of the day, overtook the presidential administration building forcing the Prime Minister to resign while President Bakiyev fled the country. Several opposition leaders were arrested in the northwest city of Talas Tuesday, where small riots broke out against the regional government. Violence in both cities Wednesday saw thousands of unorganized protesters pelting riot police with stones, the overtaking of state-owned tv and radio channels, and the overtaking of government buildings in Talas & Bishkek. Protestors are largely angry about rising energy costs and pervasive corruption in the government. [95]


Hands Off Our Tuna! Tokyo's Tsukiji Market Bans Tourists Again

Hands Off Our Tuna! Tokyo's Tsukiji Market Bans Tourists Again

7 April 2010

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has once again banned tourists from attending the tuna auction's observation area at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. Officials have cited an "increasing number of visitors affecting the market's operations" and "foreign visitors' bad manners, such as touching fish" as the reasons for the ban. The restrictions will be in place from April 8, with the observation re-opening to tourists on May 10. Of course the rest of the market will be open to the public as usual.


Something special in the air over the Dakotas

Something special in the air over the Dakotas

6 April 2010

American Airlines is beginning its first ever service to North and South Dakota. Service will begin to Fargo and Sioux Falls today, and to Rapid City on June 10.


Sudan Begins First General Elections Since 1986

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. [96]


American abandoning St. Louis hub

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.


Senegal Inaugurates Massive, Controversial Statue

Senegal Inaugurates Massive, Controversial Statue

3 April 2010

A massive statue was inaugurated today in Dakar, Senegal to mark the 50th anniversary of its independence. Taller than the Statue of Liberty (at 49m/160ft), the Monument of African Renaissance was built by North Korean workers at a cost of $27 million. Several controversies have arisen and thousands took to the streets to protest in the hours prior to the inaugural ceremony. Most notably that the woman in the statue is wearing a loincloth and has exposed legs, a taboo sight in predominantly Muslim Senegal (local immams have issued a fatwa and urged the devout to spend the day praying for forgiveness). Many also feel the cost was too much for this impoverished African nation to spend during a recession and President Wade has been heavily criticized for suggesting he receive 35% of revenue generated by the statue, which he claims was his idea. The inaugural ceremony was attended by 19 African heads of state, North Korean diplomats, and a delegation of African-Americans. [97]


March 2010

Philippine Airlines restarts flights to Riyadh

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.


Volcano erupts in Iceland

Volcano erupts in Iceland

21 March 2010

All flights to and from Iceland were canceled for 6-12 hours for safety. The eruption is harmful only to those who who hike for 5 hours in the wilderness and step into the molten lava.


Medellin's touristic calendar for the South American Games

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. [98]


Fire Destroys Part of Jeddah's Old City

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. [99]


Topeka, KS renamed "Google, KS"

Topeka, KS renamed "Google, KS"

1 March 2010

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.


February 2010

Powerful earthquake hits Chile; causes Pacific tsunami alerts

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

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. [100]


Flooding Wreaks Havoc on Portugal's Madeira Island, Kills 32

Flooding Wreaks 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. [101]


UNESCO World Heritage-Listed Minaret Collapses, Kills 41

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. [102]


Military Coup in Niger

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. [103]


Libya Stops Issuing Visas to Most Europeans

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.[104]


Casino and Universal Studios in Singapore

Casino and Universal Studios in Singapore

14 February 2010

Singapore's first casino and Southeast Asia's first Universal Studios theme park open today on Sentosa Island. Expect crowds!


2010 Winter Olympics Commence in Vancouver

2010 Winter Olympics Commence in Vancouver

12 February 2010

The games of the XXIst Winter Olympics begin today in Vancouver and nearby Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. The games will last until February 28th.


Somali Islamists Prepare to Storm Mogadishu

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

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

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

"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.



January 2010

US Funds Construction of High-Speed Rail

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

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

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 [105]. In a separate report, the city of Medellín said that tourism to the city grew 12% in 2009 [106]. 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

Yemen Stops Issuing Visas at Airport

21 January 2009

Citing the risk from terrorism, including potential terrorist recruits with UK or US passports, Yemen has announced it will no longer issue visas at airports. BBC News


Massive Earthquake Strikes Haiti

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

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. [107]


'Festival in the Desert' Moved Over Security Concerns

'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

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

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). [108]


Nara Celebrates the 1300th Anniversary of Heijo Palace

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. [109]


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