Nazi-themed cafe reopens in Indonesia, unofficial democracy referendum in Hong Kong, deadly virus spreads to Cuba and women banned from volleyball in Iran

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: Nazi-themed cafe reopens in Indonesia amid international uproar, air traffic controller strike planned in France, unofficial democracy referendum in Hong Kong extended due to high demand, deadly mosquito-born virus spreads to Cuba and women are banned from attending or playing volleyball matches in Iran.

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


23 June is …

The official Birthday of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Golowan (Feast of St John), Cornwall, UK
Victory Day, Estonia


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

Museum replica of a painting found in the Chauvet Cave.
Museum replica of painting found in Chauvet Cave. Image by EOL Learning and Education Group / CC BY 2.0.

Prehistoric cave in France gets Unesco World Heritage status
Grotte Chauvet in the Ardeche region in southern France has been granted Unesco World Heritage status. The cave was discovered in 1994 and contains over 1000 figurative drawings which are the earliest and best preserved examples known to man. Read more:

France air strikes set to cause chaos this week
A six-day strike by air traffic controllers is expected to begin on Tuesday in France. If it goes ahead it will cause major disruption for travellers. Easyjet have warned that flights will be severely impacted, while Air France have said that their long-haul flights will run as normal, but they are unable to give information about short and medium-haul flights just yet. Read more:

Ravello Festival kicks off on Italy’s Amalfi Coast
Saturday marked the start of Italy’s Ravello Festival of music and culture that runs until mid-September. Many of the events take place at the beautiful cascading gardens at Villa Rufolo in Ravello, which has a purpose-built stage with spectacular views over the coastline. Read more:

Explore Rome’s museums online
Artworks from 15 of Rome’s civic museums, including the Capitoline Museums, Trajan’s Market and the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, are now part of Google’s Art Project which means that high-definition images of their artworks can be viewed online. Alongside the 800 images, are street-view panoramas which allow you to virtually enter and explore 12 of the museums. Read more:

Ancient ampitheatre revealed in İzmir
A Roman-era ampitheatre has been revealed in İzmir, Turkey following the demolition of 175 shanty houses in the Kadifekale district of the city. The theatre is thought to have once held up to 16,000 people and there are plans to renovate the site for concerts and other perfomances. Read more:

Giant warrior lands in Ireland
A giant warrior visible from the air has been created in Brú na Bóinne in County Meath. The ‘High Man’, who draws on legends of Orion, is 150m tall and 90m wide, and stands out in white against the green fields. One arm holds the sun in line with the summer solstice sunrise which took place on Saturday. Brú na Bóinne’s standing stones, tombs and grassy domes form one of Europe’s most impressive prehistoric sites. Read more:

Circus season begins in Iceland
Iceland’s only professional circus has set up in Reykjavík. Shows at Sirkus Íslands’ 400-capacity tent begin on Wednesday in Kalmbratúni Park. On July 13, the circus will begin its summer tour, heading to Ísafjörður, Akureyri, Selfoss and Keflavík. Read more:


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

Hong Kong. Image by eGuide Travel / CC BY 2.0.
Hong Kong. Image by eGuide Travel / CC BY 2.0.

700,000 Hong Kongers turn out for unofficial democracy referendum
An estimated 700,000 Hong Kong residents turned out to vote in an unofficial referendum on democracy over the weekend. The poll, held by civil campaigners Occupy Central, asked voters to select from three future voting options, including a popular democratic vote. Authorities in Beijing, who currently select Hong Kong’s officials, say the vote is illegal. The referendum has been extended until June 29. Read more:

Nazi-themed cafe reopens in Indonesia amid international uproar
A cafe in the West Java capital of Bandung, decorated with Nazi insignia, has reopened for business after it was shut down by authorities last year. The owner of SoldatenKaffee claims the premises is now legal on the grounds that it now also features some allied memorabilia. Read more:

Tasmania’s old-growth forests remain protected from logging
The Australian government’s application to remove 74,000 hectares of Tasmania’s wilderness, currently a World Heritage Area, was rejected by Unesco. The federal government argued the 74,000 hectares has already been degraded by previous logging and should be ‘unlocked’ for the timber industry. Read more:

First attempt at circumnavigating New Zealand by foot
Twenty year old Kiwi, Brando Yelavich, is attempting a world-record by being the first person to walk around the entire New Zealand coastline which is more than 7000kms. He’s carrying a pack of 38 kilos and is living off the land while raising money for charities, including one that supports children with ADHD. Read more:

Sherpas abandon mountaineering in Nepal
The collapse of the 2014 mountaineering season in Nepal following the deadly avalanche on Sagarmatha (Everest) in April, has led to many Sherpas abandoning the industry in favour of more stable occupations. Increasing numbers of Sherpas are using the income earned from previous seasons to leave the mountains for jobs in the foothills, or to leave Nepal completely to find work overseas. Read more:

Artificial reefs offer hope for the Maldives in El Niño year
With a super El Niño weather pattern predicted for 2014/2015, some of the largest beach resorts in the Maldives are investing in coral propagation to help replenish their reefs in the event of a mass coral die-off, as happened after the El Niño event in 1998. The Banyan Tree resort group pioneered the use of coral propagation in the Maldives, transplanting small pieces of coral into artificial concrete reefs, which eventually become encased in new coral. Read more: 

Robot olympics hopes for Japan
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has reportedly declared he’d like Japan to stage a ‘robot olympics’ to coincide with the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The proposed event would see the world’s robots compete to determine which has the superior technical abilities. Read more:


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

Cuba, the latest place to be infected by the chikungunya virus. Image by Mary Newcombe / CC BY 2.0.
Cuba, the latest place to be infected by the chikungunya virus. Image by Mary Newcombe / CC BY 2.0.

Deadly chikungunya virus spreads to Cuba
Six cases of the mosquito-borne virus spreading through the Caribbean have been confirmed in Cuba. There is currently no vaccine or treatment for the virus which resembles dengue fever and can cause high fever, skin rash and joint pain. Read more:

British beer arrives in the Valley
The San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles has just seen the arrival of its first craft brewery, specialising in British beers. The MacLeod Ale Brewing Company in Van Nuys sells Scottish ales and English bitters served in full-pint glasses (slightly bigger than the US equivalent), with food trucks outside for non-liquid sustenance. Read more:

MGM Resorts begins dismantling faulty tower
In Las Vegas, workers have begun dismantling the half-finished Harmon casino tower that was determined to be unsound after inspectors discovered a structural flaw in the building’s steel reinforcements. Decommissioning the faulty tower has been held up in a legal battle between CityCenter, the complex of hotels and shops where the Harmon was located, and the building’s construction firm. According to attorneys for CityCenter, the building could collapse in a strong earthquake, which has a 50 percent chance of happening in the next 30 years. Read more:

A bighorn sheep, Zion National Park. Image by Bud / CC BY 2.0.
A bighorn sheep, Zion National Park. Image by Bud / CC BY 2.0.

National Park Service to ban drones from US national parks
The US National Parks Service says that the drones flying around its parks annoy visitors, harass wildlife and threaten safety. The service is now looking to ban the unmanned aircraft from all of its 401 parks. Zion national park in Utah has already banned the devices after a drone was seen disturbing a flock of bighorn sheep. The regulations will still allow model aircraft hobbyists to fly their planes. Read more:

Honolulu cracks down on homeless
New efforts to remove the homeless population have begun in Honolulu. Spurred by fears that the homeless are scaring off tourists, city officials have begun debating legislation that would allow police to remove people found sleeping in public and impose higher fines for public urination. The city council also authorized a program to create low-cost housing. Read more:

Zoo keepers aim to save wild bird population
A team of zoo keepers from Honolulu are hoping to help a dwindling bird population in the Northern Mariana Islands. Alerted by recent reports of decreased numbers of the rufous fantail, golden white-eye and Mariana fruit dove, the zoo keepers began relocating birds from areas where they were found in high numbers to areas where they were lacking. The zoo keepers report that the first rounds of relocations have been a success. Read more:

Louisiana’s ancient earthworks granted UNESCO world heritage status
The ancient monumental earthworks known as Poverty Point in the Lower Mississippi Valley of Louisiana have been designated a UNESCO world heritage site. The site comprises five mounds, as well as ridges of concentric rings and depressions that were used for dwellings and ceremonial purposes by Native American hunter-gatherers around 3700 and 3100 BC. The earthworks become the 22nd UNESCO site in the US. Read more:

Andean roads granted Unesco World Heritage status
The Qhapaq Nan road system that links six South American countries has been granted World Heritage status by Unesco, the United Nations cultural agency. Spanning diverse terrains, the road system was developed over hundreds of years and links communities in the Andes mountains to rainforests, deserts and valleys. The roads cover 18,600 miles from Colombia in the North to Argentina and Chile in the South and pass through Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Read more:


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

Tehran. Image by David Stanley / CC BY 2.0.
Tehran. Image by David Stanley / CC BY 2.0.

Women banned from watching volleyball in Iran
All females, including fans and journalists, have been barred from attending World League volleyball matches in Tehran. Women were turned away from the Azadi Stadium on Friday and have been banned from attending the next three matches. No reason has yet been given for the decision and protesters were taken into custody. Read more: 

Historical bronze statues returned to Nigeria
Two statues, both part of the “Benin Bronzes” collection, which were ‘looted’ by British troops in an 1897 raid have been returned to Nigeria. They were handed over by Mark Walker, the grandson of a soldier involved in the raid, to Oba (King) of Benin, Uku Akpolokpolo Erediauwa I, at a ceremony in Benin City attended by royals and dignitaries. Read more:


Nepal, new hot-spot for 'herbal Viagra'. Image by Marina & Enrique / CC BY 2.0.
Nepal, new hot-spot for ‘herbal Viagra’. Image by Marina & Enrique / CC BY 2.0.

‘Herbal Viagra’ in the hills of Nepal
The soaring price of yarsagumba, a libido-enhancing fungus harvested in the hills of Nepal, is drawing thousands of collectors to the high-altitude meadows of Rukum and Dolpa. A species of cordyceps, the fungus infects a living insect host before producing a fruiting body that releases thousands of infectious spores. The unappetising-sounding fungus has been used as an aphrodisiac for centuries in traditional Tibetan medicine. Read more: