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Barricade replaced by flower pots in Kosovo, criminals too busy watching World Cup to go out and steal in Kenya and ‘living goddess’ still has to do her homework

By Travel News   19 June 2014 1:05pm Europe/London

Get the best travel news here curated by Lonely Planet Destination Editors, who use their expertise to bring you the stories that matter from all over the world. In today’s edition:  The barricade in the Kosovan town of Mitrovica has been replaced with flower pots and fir trees, Kenyan police say World Cup TV viewing is responsible for a sharp drop in crimes, Nepal’s ‘living goddess’ still has to do her homework and Sweden claims oldest cat title.

Europe
Asia & the Pacific
The Americas
Middle East & Africa
Weird, odd & just plain fun

YOUR WORLD TODAY

19 June is …

Laguna Day, Surigao del Norte Day, Surigao del Sur Day and José Rizal’s Birthday, the Philippines

Juneteenth, celebrating the abolition of slavery in Texas, USA

World Sauntering Day, particularly in Michigan, USA

EUROPE

Stories curated by Lonely Planet’s Europe Destination Editors: Jo CookeJames SmartBrana VladisavljevicKate MorganAnna Tyler and Gemma Graham.

Museum of Fine Arts. Image by Costel Slincu / CC BY 2.0

Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest. Image by Costel Slincu / CC BY 2.0

Budapest celebrates Night of Museums
On June 21 Budapest will celebrate the Night of Museums. More than 100 museums and galleries will participate in the annual event by staying open until 2.30am. More than 1000 programs can be accessed with a single ticket which includes bus transport between the main venues. Read more: visitbudapest.travel

Barricade replaced with flower pots in divided Kosovo town
The long-standing barricade in Kosovo’s divided town of Mitrovica was removed on Wednesday and replaced with flower pots and small fir trees. The barricade was blocking the main bridge over the Ibar river for the past three years, separating the northern Serbian part of town from the southern Albanian half. According to the mayor of the Serbian section, the plan is to turn the bridge into a pedestrian-only ‘peace park’. Read more: news.yahoo.com

Fun for foodies as Najedzeni Fest returns to Kraków
After a hugely successful inaugural year last year, Kraków’s Najedzeni Fest food festival returns this Sunday to the city. Poland has around two million farmers, and the festival – the first of its kind in  Krakow – gives visitors the chance to meet local producers and to sample foods from around 90 exhibitors, as well as attend workshops, foodie film screenings and cooking demonstrations. Read more: krakowpost.com

Nero's Palace, Rome. Image by Sudharsan.Narayanan / CC BY 2.0

Nero’s Palace, Rome. Image by Sudharsan.Narayanan / CC BY 2.0

€31 million donation sought to renovate Nero’s palace in Rome
Italian authorities are hoping for a €31 million donation from a private company to help pay for restoration work to Roman Emperor Nero’s Domus Aurea palace that will hopefully allow it to be reopened to the public in four years time. Restoration work will involve removing and replanting a garden situated on top of the palace, which is currently causing damage to the roof and frescos. Read more: ansa.it

Royal Highland Show comes to Edinburgh
One hundred and fifty thousand spectators and twenty different cattle breeds are expected at the Royal Highland Show, which runs June 19–22 at Ingliston, just outside Edinburgh. The event also features over 100 food exhibitors, show-jumping, falconry and an international sheep-shearing competition. Read more: bbc.co.uk

ASIA & THE PACIFIC

Stories curated by Lonely Planet’s Asia & the Pacific Destination Editors: Megan EavesSarah ReidJoe BindlossLaura Crawford and Tasmin Waby.

The Kumari at the Festival of Nepal, Paris 2014. Image by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / CC By 2.0

The Kumari at the Festival of Nepal, Paris 2014. Image by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / CC BY 2.0

She’s a ‘living goddess’ but still has to do her homework
Ancient traditions linger in Nepal, where young women are selected for worship according to auspicious signs and reverred by both Hindus and Buddhists as kumaris, or living goddesses. The BBC has spoken to former kumaris and the family of the current kumari of Patan for insights into this fascinating custom. Read more: bbc.co.uk

Australian domestic airlines hidden fees challenged
Australia’s consumer watchdog, the ACCC is taking legal action against domestic airlines Jetstar and Virgin for the extra charges added to advertised flight costs as travellers progress through their bookings online. ‘These fees applied to the substantial majority of online bookings and should have been disclosed upfront and prominently with or within headline prices,’ an ACCC spokesman said.Read more: smh.com.au

Cook Islands resident wants Kiwis travellers souvenir back
A man is searching for the New Zealanders who stole his personalised number plate ‘DABOSS’ from his Cook Islands car and posted photos of themselves with it on Facebook. Read more: 3news.bo.nz

Visitors to Sri Lanka up by 20%
The number of visitors to Sri Lanka is up by 20% for the month of May, compared to last year. While Europeans make up the largest group of travellers to Sri Lanka, the biggest increases were seen in visitors from China and Russia, matching a trend seen across the Indian Ocean. Political stability following the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war is a key factor luring travellers back to the island. Read more: srilanka.travel

Tiger Airways shuts down Indonesia arm
Embattled budget airline carrier Tiger Airways will cease operations via its Indonesian subsidiary, Tiger Mandala, from July, with affected passengers to be provided alternative flights or refunds. Tigerair Singapore, however, will continue to service the region. Read more: travelmediadaily.com

THE AMERICAS

Stories curated by Lonely Planet’s Americas Destination Editors: Clifton WilkinsonDora WhitakerAlex Howard and MaSovaida Morgan

Cow Hollow, San Francisco. Image by Bernt Rostad / CC BY 2.0

Cow Hollow, San Francisco. Image by Bernt Rostad / CC BY 2.0

House price boom returns to San Francisco
If proof were needed that the property market in San Francisco is in a more-than-robust state, then a house that was recently sold in the Cow Hollow neighbourhood indicates that all is well in that sector. Bought for $3 million in 2010 and totally renovated since, its four floors, 6.5 bathrooms, and roof terrace with views of the Golden Gate Bridge are now up for sale with an asking price of $13 million. Read more and see pics: sfgate.com

Yosemite expansion blocked by Tea Party
Proposals to extend one of the US’s most popular national parks are under threat because of opposition from a Tea Party Republican in Congress. Yosemite officials would like to add a western extension to the park and the landowners there are holding off selling privately in the hope a deal can be arranged. However, congressman Tom McClintock says he doesn’t trust the National Park Service and his stance could undermine the whole project. Read more: mercurynews.com

No more street booze at Fremont Street Experience
Starting Sunday, drinking alcohol within the five-block area of Fremont Street Experience, an activity that has been allowed for years, will no longer be legal. The Las Vegas City Council passed a measure to fine anyone caught consuming alcohol up to $500. In years past, it was legal to carry drinks bought at downtown casinos around Fremont Street Experience. Read more: lasvegassun.com

Toronto Public Library redecorates for WorldPride
The Toronto Public Library’s Yorkville branch has wrapped its columns in rainbow facades in honor of WorldPride 2014, the city’s LGBT pride festival, which runs from June 20-29. A group of volunteers carried out the makeover, and the facades will remain throughout the month of June. Read more: torontoist.com

Chilean mountain top blasted off to make way for massive telescope
At 2 p.m. Thursday, the silence of the Atacama desert in Chile was deafeningly broken by a dynamite blast that sent mountain rock flying to make way for the European Extremely Large Telescope, or E-ELT. The telescope will serve astronomers and cosmologists for generations to come, and with a primary mirror measuring 130 feet wide, it will enable the faintest light from the earliest stars to be seen and will pick up signs of life on planets stretching beyond our solar system. Read more: theguardian.com

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

Stories curated by Lonely Planet’s Middle East & Africa Destination Editors: Helen Elfer and Matt Phillips.

Lake Turkana at sunset. Image by Filiberto Strazzari / CC BY 2.0

Lake Turkana at sunset. Image by Filiberto Strazzari / CC BY 2.0

Turkana county to build new eco-lodges
The remote northern county of Turkana in Kenya – famous for the Jade Sea (Lake Turkana) – has set aside KSh60 million (US$700,000) to build eco-lodges in 2015. It has reached a memorandum of understanding with the Kenya Wildlife Service to run the lodges once completed. The governor said he hopes the move will foster tourism and encourage real estate development. Read more: allafrica.com

New bus tour of Amman to launch in Ramadan
The old neighbourhoods of Jordan’s capital Amman will be shown off in a new bus tour, which will be launched in time for Ramadan this year. The three-hour sightseeing tour will take in Amman Citadel in the Jabal Qalaa neighbourhood, the Jordan Museum in Ras Al Ain and downtown Amman. It will be free for the first two weeks of Ramadan, which is expected to start on or around June 29 this year. Read more: jordantimes.com

Arab superfoods rival acai berries and quinoa
Traditional Middle Eastern  ingredients don’t often make it onto trendy super-food lists. But regional staples including high-fibre grain freekeh, antioxidant herb mix Za’atar and immune system-boosting black seeds are being cited as having enough nutrients to rival more well-known superfoods such as acai berries and quinoa. Read more: english.alarabiya.net

Police credit drop in crime to World Cup viewing
Police in the western city of Kisumu in Kenya have claimed that World Cup is behind the recent sharp drop in serious crime. They believe criminals are too busy watching games on TV to head out and steal. Patrols are continuing, however, and police hope the downward crime trend continues after the tournament concludes. Read more: news24.com

WEIRD, ODD & JUST PLAIN FUN

Cathay Pacific airbus

Cathay Pacific airbus. Image by Aero Icarus. CC BY-SA 2.0

Passenger gets finger stuck in plane toilet’s rubbish bin
A passenger on a Cathay Pacific flight between Newark and Hong Kong was trapped in the plane’s toilet when his finger got caught in the rubbish bin. The passenger was discarding some rubbish when his hand got caught and he was trapped in the lavatory for more than an hour, including during landing. Read more: thestandard.com.hk

Malaysia tops list of babies named for countries
More than 600 US parents named their baby girls ‘Malaysia’ last year, which proved more popular than names including Kenya, America, India, Ireland and Holland. The list, however, did not include names such as Jordan, Israel, and Georgia, which were considered not to be in direct reference to the countries. Read more: thestar.com.my
Sarah Reid

Sweden lays claim to world’s oldest cat
Following the sad departure last week of Poppy, the world’s oldest cat, a woman in Sweden is set to claim the title for her own moggy. Prince Columbus, a 25 year-old house cat, was born in November 1988 (making him 121 in human years). His owner, Astrid Bengtsson Gustavsson, claims he last visited the vet 20 years ago – to be castrated. Read more: thelocal.se
Gemma Graham

Giraffe 1 – Delta Air Lines 0
The US-based airline Delta has been forced to apologise after it was accused of ‘poor taste’ following a tweet from its account. The post congratulated the US football team on its win over Ghana, and featured the scoreline with the Statue of Liberty and a giraffe representing the nations involved. The initial tweet was roundly criticised, with Twitter users quickly pointing out that there are no giraffes in Ghana. Read more: telegraph.co.uk
Matt Phillips