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Oil drilling in the Canary Islands, Taiwan celebrates panda’s first birthday, George Lucas museum to open in Chicago, bomb blasts hit Cairo

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: Oil drilling set to go ahead in the Canary Islands, Taiwan to celebrate panda’s first birthday with lantern festival, George Lucas to open narrative arts museum in Chicago, Cairo’s metro system hit by four separate bomb blasts.

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

YOUR WORLD TODAY

25 June is …

Independence Day, Mozambique

Arbour Day, the Philippines

National Catfish Day, USA

EUROPE

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

Oil rig in the Canary Islands. Image by Jose Mesa / CC BY 2.0.

Oil rig in the Canary Islands. Image by Jose Mesa / CC BY 2.0.

Spain approves oil drilling in Canary Islands
The Spanish supreme court has granted permission to energy company Repsol to drill for oil in the Canary Islands, despite objections from environment and tourism groups. Tens of thousands of Canary Islanders marched against the proposals earlier this month, with critics concerned about damage to turtle and whale populations, as well as the fishing industry. Read more: elpais.com

Largest ski area in Switzerland splits up
A disagreement among lift tour operators at Switzerland’s 4-Vallées ski region has resulted in the resort area breaking up. The lifts link five resorts in the canton of Valais but the break up means that next season skiers and snowboarders will no longer be able to use one ticket to get around the area. Read more: thelocal.ch

Valletta sets the scene for this year's Isle of MTV festival. Image by Trish Hartmann / CC BY 2.0.

Valletta sets the scene for this year’s Isle of MTV festival. Image by Trish Hartmann / CC BY 2.0.

Isle of MTV music festival in Valletta, Malta
The huge free Isle of MTV music festival is taking place this evening in Il Fosos square in the Floriana area of Malta’s capital Valletta. A 50,000-strong crowd is expected to watch acts including Hardwell, Kiesza, Dizzee Rascal, Nicole Scherzinger and Enrique Iglesias. Read more: isleofmtv.com

Glastonbury’s gates open
England’s famous Glastonbury Festival has opened its gates. Metallica, Dolly Parton, MIA and Arcade Fire are among hundreds of acts starring at the 44-year-old, 200,000-capacity event. The weather is currently sunny, but it’s due to get wetter towards the weekend, with the big acts performing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Read more: bbc.co.uk

World’s largest underground trampoline opens in Wales
Blaenau Ffestiniog, in north Wales, already boasts a mile-long zip-wire – the world’s largest. Now its caverns are home to the world’s biggest underground trampoline. A train leads to the caves, which are part of an abandoned slate quarry, and have been illuminated by neon lights, with a network of trampolines connected by stairways and slides. 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.

Giant Panda, Taipei City. Image by pang yu liu / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Giant Panda, Taipei City. Image by pang yu liu / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Taiwan to celebrate panda’s birthday with lantern fest
New Taipei City will hold a special lantern festival to celebrate the one year birthday of Yuan Zai, the first giant panda cub to be born in Taiwan. Festivities will be held on July 5 in Pingxi and include the release of one 4.5m sky lantern and 150 smaller lanterns, all panda-shaped. Read more: wantchinatimes.com

Major festival preparations in Papua New Guinea
Participants from the Asia-Pacific region have started arriving in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea for the 5th Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture which kicks off this weekend. The festival runs from Saturday June 29 to Saturday July 5 and has the support of UNESCO which is celebrating the International Year of Small Island Developing States in 2014. Read more: thenational.com

Industrial action means free ferries in Sydney
Ticket sellers in Sydney will not be collecting fares during peak travel times as part of planned industrial action by the ferry workers union, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA). The strike coincides with school holidays making it perhaps good news for any domestic and international visitors planning to visit the city next week. Read more: sbs.com.au

Militants fire on passenger plane in Pakistan
A Pakistan International Airways plane was raked with gunfire as it landed at Peshawar airport in Pakistan on Tuesday, killing one passenger and injuring two air stewards. This is the latest in a series of attacks on civil aviation in Pakistan following the deadly attack on Karachi airport in early June. Flights have now resumed from the airport under increased security. Read more: dawn.com

Malaysia calls on Indonesia to act on haze problem
Malaysia has demanded immediate action by Indonesia to extinguish and prevent further land and forest fires in Central Sumatra, which are responsible for blanketing Malaysia and Singapore in a smoky haze for several months each year. The call comes as more than half a dozen unhealthy air pollution index readings were recorded around the nation on Wednesday morning. Read more: nst.com.my

Price of fruit skyrockets in Southeast Asia
Fuji apples may cost up to 50 per cent more this year as a result of an extended dry spell that has reduced the shelf life of local produce across Southeast Asia. Papaya and coconut stocks have also been affected, with prices being adjusted to account for increased wastage caused by the weather. Read more: straitstimes.com

Maldives launches first island guest house
The government of the Maldives has announced the construction of a new guest house on Thumburi Island in Laamu Atoll, marking a significant policy shift away from the traditional model of large resorts owned by international chains. The government will continue the concept of ‘one resort per island’ and limit development to uninhabited islands, however, in future local businesses may be able to construct smaller guest houses targetting mid-range travellers. Read more: minivannews.com 

Tokyo museum unveils humanoid robots
Three humanoid robots will begin ‘working’ at Tokyo’s National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation, where they will interact and communicate with visitors as part of the ‘Androids – What is Human?’ exhibition. One of the robots will be reading the news each day. Watch the video: japantimes.co.jp

THE AMERICAS

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

Chicago celebrates feats of architecture. Image by Monika Thorpe / CC BY 2.0.

Chicago celebrates feats of architecture. Image by Monika Thorpe / CC BY 2.0.

Chicago plans global architecture biennial for 2015
Billed as North America’s largest exposition of contemporary architecture, a new biennial is coming to Chicago in 2015. The event will be named the Chicago Architecture Biennial in a nod to the prestigious Venice Biennale and will showcase the latest cutting edge architectural ideas from around the world, with displays of scale models, digital renderings and photography. Read more: chicagotribune.com

George Lucas chooses Chicago for his new museum
The force goes to Chicago. After months of deliberation between San Francisco and Chicago, George Lucas has chosen the Windy City as the location for his new museum. The Lucas Museum for Narrative Arts, which is due to open in 2018, will feature the ‘Star Wars’ director’s personal art collection and exhibitions dedicated to digital arts and film. Read more: latimes.com

New book highlights accessibility of the Grand Canyon
Penned by accessible-travel writer Candy Harrington, Barrier-Free Travel: The Grand Canyon for Wheelers and Slow Walkers covers difficult-to-find accessibility information for the Grand Canyon National Park. The book features a list of accessible trails, lodging options and details about transportation routes to and within the park. According to the book’s website the information is geared towards people in wheelchairs and scooters, but parents with strollers can also benefit from the information. Read more: barrierfreegrandcanyon.com

Section of Colorado River designated National Water Trail
The US Interior Secretary has named a 30-mile stretch of the Colorado River as a National Water Trail, a designation aimed at increasing recreation and tourism. The waterway, now known as Black Canyon Water Trail, begins on the downstream side of the Hoover Dam and ends at Eldorado Canyon near Boulder City. It is the first such designation in the Southwest. Read more: reviewjournal.com

Nascent Hawaiian island to get visitors
A group of students and scientists from the University of Hawaii are about to visit the next Hawaiian island. Lying about 1,000 yards below the ocean’s surface off the coast of the Big Island, the Lo’ihi sea mount is expected to become the next part of the archipelago. The researchers hope to map the sea mount and study its chemistry. Read more: kitv.com 

Whole Foods pays out for charging too much
Hugely popular supermarket chain Whole Foods is paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars to its customers in California after it was revealed that it had overcharged them. A year-long investigation into the company’s 74 Californian branches has resulted in the chain agreeing to compensate customers to the tune of almost $800,000. Read more: mercurynews.com

Pilots caused San Francisco plane crash
Last July’s San Francisco Airport crash has been blamed on pilot error. Three people died when the Asiana Airlines flight crashed on landing. The investigation into the disaster has concluded that the pilots relied too heavily on automatic systems. Read more: sfgate.com

Spain to return seized treasure to Colombia
Over 600 pre-Colombian ceramic art objects which were smuggled out of South America to Spain by drug gangs 11 years ago will be returned to Colombia in the next few months. The indigenous ceramic artifacts, which date back to 1400BC, are of huge cultural and archaeological value. The items remain in good condition and could make up a complete museum according to Fernando Carrillo, Colombian ambassador to Madrid. Read more: bbc.com

Hilton Worldwide plans expansion in South America
Virginia-based multinational hospitality company Hilton Worldwide will open a series of new Hampton by Hilton hotels in Chile and Peru as part of a regional expansion plan. Sixty new hotels are planned throughout the region, with the first two expected to open in early 2018 – one in Lima and the other in Santiago. The company currently operates six hotels in Colombia, three in Peru, and one in Chile. Read more: santiagotimes.cl

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

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

Four bomb blasts hit Cairo’s metro
A series of four small explosions were reported in three of Cairo’s metro stations this morning. The blasts went off within minutes of each other and left four people wounded. Another bomb was detonated outside a Heliopolis court injuring one. A police official described the devices as ‘very primary’. Read more: english.alarabiya.net

Hover cars to arrive in Tel Aviv
Public transport is set to get very futuristic in Tel Aviv as the city plans a network of hover cars. These two-person pods will be magnetically suspended from an elevated track, and will be bookable through smartphones, taking passengers directly to their destination. A trial track is expected to be completed by the end of 2015. Read more: bbc.co.uk 

A smoother ride for safaris in the Masai Mara
Kenya’s Deputy President has announced that the government will spend more than US$11.5m to upgrade the Narok-Sekenani Road, which is the major gateway to the Masai Mara Game Reserve. The notoriously bumpy route has led many visitors to book flights for the return leg of their journey. The work on the road should make it more comfortable for those in vehicles and reduce travel times between Nairobi and the reserve from five hours down to three. Read more: tourismupdate.co.za

WEIRD, ODD & JUST PLAIN FUN

Could traffic jams be a thing of the past in Mainland China. Image by Marianna / CC BY 2.0.

Could traffic jams be a thing of the past in Mainland China. Image by Marianna / CC BY 2.0.

China could get flying cars within two years
People in mainland China could be zooming around in their own flying cars by 2016. According to a report by the South China Morning Post, a US-based company is seeking partners in China to fund development of its flying cars, which fly at speeds of up to 160km per hour and transform from ground to flight mode by unfolding a set of wings. Read more: scmp.com
Megan Eaves

Spain to Portugal for €15 – via zipwire
A zipwire has been set up between the neighbouring countries of Spain and Portugal, allowing visitors to whizz from one country to the next for €15. The journey takes just 60 seconds and currently carries more than 30 people an hour across the border from Andalucia  into Alcoutim in Portugal. Read more: euroweeklynews.com
Jo Cooke