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Barcelona’s bullring may become a mosque, Hong Kong gearing up for protest, free wifi for NYC’s airports and Ramadan rush hour warning in Abu Dhabi

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: Barcelona’s famous bullring could become Europe’s largest mosque, Hong Kong preparing for large public protest, free wifi for airports in NYC and drivers in Abu Dhabi warned to drive carefully during Ramadan.

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.

The famous bullring in Barcelona. Image by Matthew Black / CC BY-SA 2.0.

The famous bullring in Barcelona. Image by Matthew Black / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Barcelona bullring could become mosque
Barcelona’s century-old bullring could become Europe’s largest mosque following the announcement that a financial backer has been found. Bullfighting is banned in Catalonia and the bullring has been subject to a number of development proposals, including apartments and a shopping complex, but until now no backer had been found. Read more: theguardian.com 

Air traffic controller strike ends early in France
The planned six-day air traffic controller strike that caused severe disruption for travellers ended in France on Wednesday evening following lengthy talks between trade union officials and the government. Read more: france24.com

Seeing double: Paris now has two Eiffel Towers
Furniture designer Fermob have created a replica Eiffel Tower made from 324 red bistro chairs standing 15m high to celebrate the chair’s 125th birthday. The replica stands near the actual Eiffel Tower at Champ de Mars and will be on display until July 7. Read more: fermob.com

King's Cross Station. Image by Gary Bembridge / CC BY 2.0.

King’s Cross Station. Image by Gary Bembridge / CC BY 2.0.

King’s Cross is London’s most pickpocketed station
King’s Cross has more reported thefts than any other London Underground station, with tourists and Eurostar passengers particularly at threat. There were 283 cases reported at the station in 2013 – Victoria came second with 268, while the Piccadilly Line reported more stolen items than any other line. However, overall crime on the Tube has dropped by 15% since 2012. Read more: timeout.com

Italian state museums to change opening hours and admission fees
Italy’s state-run museums, monuments and archaeological sites, including major attractions such as the Colosseum and Ufizzi Gallery, will soon change their opening times to bring them into line with similar institutions across Europe. Changes include late opening (until 10pm) on Fridays, free entry on the first Sunday of each month and free entry for those aged under 18. Read more: italymagazine.com

ASIA & THE PACIFIC

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

Lahore Museum, home to the famous fasting Buddha statue. Image by Guilhem Vellut / CC BY 2.0.

Lahore Museum, home to the famous fasting Buddha statue. Image by Guilhem Vellut / CC BY 2.0.

Fasting Buddha statue damaged by DIY restoration
The famous fasting Buddha statue in Lahore Museum in Pakistan has been damaged by crude repairs with household glue according to an investigation by the Dawn newspaper. The statue is regarded as one of the finest works produced by the Gandharan civilisation which was the main culture in central Pakistan before the arrival of Islam. Read more: dawn.com

Hong Kong gearing up for largest protest since British handover
Hong Kong is preparing for a large-scale march on July 1, it’s annual protest day. More than 500,000 protesters are predicted to rally, which would mark the largest July protest since the 1997 British handover, when half a million people took to the streets over a proposed security bill. Read more: straitstimes.com

Jomson airport, Nepal. Image by Hans Speijer / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Jomson airport, Nepal. Image by Hans Speijer / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Nepal ranked 37th in Asia for air safety
Air safety in Nepal is once again in the spotlight after a new report from the International Civil Aviation Authority ranked Nepal 37th out of 46 nations in Asia for the implementation of modern safety systems. Nepal has seen seven fatal accidents since 2010, and pilot error is cited as the most common cause of these accidents. Read more: ekantipur.com

Singapore to host ASEAN Para Games
The eighth biennial ASEAN Para Games (APG) is expected to host more than 2,000 athletes and officials and will wrap up Singapore’s 50th birthday celebrations next year. Scheduled for December 3-9 2015, the event will include between 12 and 15 sports. Read more: channelnewsasia.com

Northern Territory tour company embarrassing photos
A King’s Canyon tour company has removed photos from its Facebook marketing page that depicted the company’s tour guides clowning around on a clifftop. A British tourist recently fell to her death from the same path. Read more: smh.com.au

THE AMERICAS

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

New York Airports soon to have free wi-fi. Image by miniyo73 / CC BY-SA 2.0.

New York Airports soon to have free wi-fi. Image by miniyo73 / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Free wi-fi coming to New York airports
Travellers at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports in New York will soon be given 30 minutes of free wi-fi if a new deal is approved by the Port Authority. The agreement will mean that after 30 minutes internet users will be charged a daily rate of $7.95 instead of the current hourly rate. Read more: nydailynews.com

Snakebites increase as drought gets worse
Police and hospitals in parts of Southern California are dealing with more cases of snakes and snakebites than usual and think the ongoing drought could be the cause. Around one hundred locals have already been treated with anti-venom this year. Officials believe snakes are travelling further into more populated areas because food and water are becoming scarce as a result of the dry conditions. Read more: dailynews.com

Marconi beach, Cape Cod. Image by |vv@ldzen| / CC BY 2.0.

Marconi beach, Cape Cod. Image by |vv@ldzen| / CC BY 2.0.

Smoking banned at Cape Cod beaches
Smoking is no longer allowed at Cape Cod’s most populated beaches. The ban, which came into effect last week, applies to six of the most used areas of the National Seashore and aims to curb the effects of second-hand smoke on beachgoers and life guards. Smokers will need to move away from the designated areas to light up. Read more: travelandleisure.com

Newspaper gives Toronto library a century worth of photographs
The Toronto Star has donated over one million photographs to the Toronto Public Library, representing the newspaper’s entire archive for the years 1900-1999. The vintage images are believed to be the only complete collection of Canadian news photographs covering the entire 20th century. The photographs will be available for public viewing from July 7 in the Special Collections Centre on the fifth floor of the Toronto Reference Library. The library also plans to digitize the images. Read more: torontoist.com

New store creates controversy in famous Mexican town
A dispute has hit the popular Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende over a furniture store being built in the historic centre. Voted “the most beautiful city” in the world in 2013, the town is also a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its colonial architecture, cobbled streets and regular festivals. Local conservationists are protesting the construction. Read more: the news.com

Late drug lord’s hippos take over the Colombian countryside
A herd of hippopotamuses that once belonged to late Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar is taking over the countryside surrounding his former ranch. When Escobar struck it rich in the early 1980s he built himself a zoo and smuggled four hippos into the country, along with elephants, giraffes and other exotic animals. Escobar’s property was seized a decade later and the menagerie was dispersed to zoos across the country – except for the hippos. They were left to roam their 8 square mile park where they thrived and multiplied over the last two decades – authorities estimate there are now between 50 and 60 in the herd. Read more: bbc.com

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

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

Traffic in Abu Dhabi. Image by Vladimir Yaitskiy / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Traffic in Abu Dhabi. Image by Vladimir Yaitskiy / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Ramadan rush hour warning issued in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi police have launched a road safety campaign to combat the annual problem of traffic accidents caused by motorists rushing to break their fast during Ramadan. Accidents increase substantially during this month as tired and hungry drivers hurry to be in time for iftar meals at sunset. Information leaflets will be distributed reminding people to be careful on the roads. Ramadan is expected to start this Sunday June 29. Read more: thenational.ae

New women-only park to be built in Tehran
Work has begun on a new females-only park in Tehran, which is expected to open in 2015. The park, in the northeast of Tehran, is surrounded by green walls designed for women to be able to walk, jog, and take part in sports without having to cover their heads. It will be the Iranian capital’s fifth women-only park. Read more: tehrantimes.com

Abuja, looking over to Aso Rock. Image by Bryn Pinzgauer / CC BY 2.0.

Abuja, looking over to Aso Rock. Image by Bryn Pinzgauer / CC BY 2.0.

Bomb blast in Abuja kills 21
A busy shopping district in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, has been rocked by a bomb. At least 21 people were killed and another 52 injured near the popular Banex plaza shopping complex in the Wuse district. The blast could be heard from miles away. Police have reportedly arrested a suspect, but no group has yet claimed responsibility. Read more: bbc.co.uk

Opposition politician arrested for deadly attacks in Kenya
Police in Kenya have arrested the governor of Lamu county in connection with the recent gun attacks in the Mpeketoni area which killed 65 people. Somalia’s al-Shabaab Islamist group had claimed responsibility, but President Uhuru Kenyatta has dismissed their claims as only members of a single ethnic group were targeted. Kenyatta has instead accused local politicians and political networks of being behind the attacks. Read more: uk.reuters.com

WEIRD, ODD & JUST PLAIN FUN

The 'hipster' flat white. Image by Yvonne / CC BY-SA 2.0.

The ‘hipster’ flat white. Image by Yvonne / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Australian coffee favourite labelled: hipster
It’s the coffee of choice in inner city Australia but the flat white (an espresso with 180ml of heated, but not frothed, milk) has been labelled ‘hipster’ by the UK’s Sunday Observer. The derision has caused outrage in the Antipodes where the coffee style is favoured by many. It has been claimed as an Australia-New Zealand co-production and is considered vastly superior in taste and mouthfeel to the milkier cafe latte. Read more: theguardian.com
Tasmin Waby

North Korea treats new Seth Rogan film as ‘act of war’
A new film that pokes fun at Kim Jong-un has drawn ire from the North Korean regime. The movie stars Seth Rogan and James Franco as two celebrity journalists recruited to assassinate the dictator after scoring an interview with him. North Korea has pledged to ‘retaliate’ if the film is released. Read more: english.chosun.com Watch the trailer: youtube.com
Megan Eaves

Couple sues British Airways over vowel mixup
A US-based couple are suing British Airways after the airline allegedly sent them to the Caribbean island of Grenada, rather than Granada in Spain. The couple had planned to visit the Alhambra in the Spanish city before heading to a conference in Portugal, and didn’t realise anything was wrong until their plane started heading west from London rather than east. Read more: theguardian.com
Jo Cooke