Tour de France to start, curfew in Mandalay, Memphis commemorates Elvis, study translates chimp gestures

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: Tour de France to start in England this weekend, overnight curfew imposed in Mandalay following violent clashes, Memphis commemorates Elvis’ first recording and a new study has translated chimpanzee gestures.

Asia & the Pacific
The Americas
Middle East & Africa



4 July is …

Well, the 4th of July – Independence Day, USA

Republic Day, the Philippines

Liberation Day, Rwanda


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

Spectators at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Image by Chris Schaer / CC BY-SA 2.0.
Spectators at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Image by Chris Schaer / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Montreux Jazz festival starts today
The famed international Montreux Jazz festival kicked off on Friday in the pretty lakeside town of Montreux, Switzerland. The festival has been going strong since 1967 and features a mix of jazz and other genres. This years’ line-up includes Herbie Hancock, Pharrell Williams, Massive Attack and Stevie Wonder. As well as the paid events, there are also free open-air concerts, all of which run until July 19. Read more:

Tour de France begins in Yorkshire
Cycling’s most prestigious event, the Tour de France, starts on Saturday in Yorkshire. The race begins in England before heading to France, finishing in Paris on July 27. The British stages are Leeds to Harrogate (Saturday), York to Sheffield (Sunday) and Cambridge to London (Monday). Chris Froome and Alberto Contador are the current favourites to win. Read more:

London’s buses go cash-free
From Sunday cash will no longer be accepted on London’s buses. Oyster cards, contactless debit or credit cards and Travelcards can all be used on the vehicles. Cash fares make up only 1% of journeys, but cost Transport for London £24 million annually. Critics argue that the change will make life harder for visitors to the city. Read more:

Yodellers descend on Davos for the annual yodelling festival
The small community of Davos-Klosters in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland will be transformed this weekend as some 10,000 yodellers, alphorn players and spectators are expected for the annual yodelling competition. Read more:

Wawel Castle under threat. Image by Corinne Cavallo / CC BY 2.0.
Wawel Castle under threat. Image by Corinne Cavallo / CC BY 2.0.

Mass evacuations as bomb threats hit Poland
Hundreds of tourists and staff were evacuated from a number of public institutions across Poland on Thursday following a series of anonymous bomb threats. Six buildings in Kraków, including Wawel Castle, were targeted as well as government offices in Poznań, Łódź and Bydgoszcz. No further details have been announced. Read more:

Tromsø sees Norway’s first Segway rental company
Norway’s first Segway rental company has opened for business,  just days after the Segway ban was lifted in the country. The Tromsø-based outfit offers city and off-road tours, and started taking bookings on July 1; the first of which was made by a team from the Norwegian Army. Read more:

Gallipoli at night. Image by Francesca Special K / CC BY 2.0.
Gallipoli at night. Image by Francesca Special K / CC BY 2.0.

Project to preserve and record WW1 submarine at Gallipoli
The wreck of the Australian WW1 submarine HMAS AE2, currently lying at the bottom of Turkey’s Sea of Marmara off Gallipoli, is to be preserved and its contents recorded in detail, it was announced on Thursday. The joint Australian and Turkish project will bring together archaeologists, scientists, submariners and historians to protect one of the last untouched Gallipoli battle sites. Read more:

‘Pink Night’ festival on Italian Adriatic coast
La Notte Rosa festival begins on Friday night in towns along Italy’s Adriatic coast, including Rimini and Ravenna. The event which is named ‘Pink Night’ to symbolise the Emilia-Romagna coastal region’s hospitality, kindness and warmth, will involve various concerts, performances and fireworks displays. Read more:

Garths Brooks in Dublin stadium battle
Garth Brooks’ record-breaking Dublin shows later this month are in danger of cancellation. The country star was due to start his world tour with five gigs at Croke Park, playing to a total of 400,000 people. But Dublin City Council has only granted a license for three of the nights, and Brooks says he will only perform if all five go ahead. Read more:


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

Buddhist temple in Mandalay. Image by Paul Arps / CC BY 2.0.
Buddhist temple in Mandalay. Image by Paul Arps / CC BY 2.0.

Curfew imposed in riot-hit Mandalay
A 9pm-5am curfew was imposed in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-largest city, on Thursday following a spate of Buddhist-Muslim violence that led to the deaths of two men on Wednesday night. The US Embassy in Yangon has issued a message on its official Twitter feed urging calm. Read more:

New pilgrim train service for Kashmir
Prime minister Modi has waved off the inaugural service of the Shreeshakti Express train from Katra in Jammu & Kashmir to the base camp for the Vaishno Devi shrine, one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in India. The train is one of a series of development projects aimed at lowering tensions in the province. Read more:

New tech for Nepal in the battle against poaching
National park authorities in Nepal have announced plans to use drones and Google glass technology to bring the battle against poaching into the 21st century. The new tech will be employed to track elephants, tigers and rhinos, allowing park officials to monitor the day to day location of their endangered animals. Read more:

Thomas the Tank Engine to steam through Japan
A steam locomotive converted into Thomas the Tank Engine will ‘choo-choo’ through the tea fields of central Japan for three months from July. Known in Japan as “Kikansha Thomas” (Steam Train Thomas), the British children’s show remains a fixture on Japanese television. Read more:


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

Virginia Beach. Image by Jason Pratt / CC BY 2.0.
Virginia Beach. Image by Jason Pratt / CC BY 2.0.

Virginia Beach named USA’s most patriotic city
Virginia Beach, Virginia has topped a list compiled by Amazon of the USA’s most patriotic cities. The list ranks cities of over 400,000 residents according to the number of American-themed flags sold on its site. Second and third places go to Miami and Washington DC, respectively. Read more:

Memphis commemorates 60th anniversary of Elvis’s first recording
Sixty years ago on Saturday the music world changed forever when Elvis Presley walked into Sun Studios, Memphis, and recorded ‘That’s all Right’, his first professional recording. Events to celebrate the anniversary are happening in Memphis and at Graceland this weekend and include a free concert and fireworks display. Sun Studios will open a new ‘60 Years’ exhibition on Saturday. Read more:

US nation celebrates 4th of July
The US was celebrating  its birthday on Friday with massive fireworks displays in pretty much every town and city. In New York, Independence Day is remembered with a hot dog eating contest on Coney Island, plus one of the country’s most impressive fireworks displays which this year returns to the East River. Other favourite spots include St Louis, Philadelphia and Washington DC. Read more:


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

Chimpanzees. Image by foshie / CC BY 2.0.
Chimpanzees. Image by foshie / CC BY 2.0.

Study translates chimp gestures
Chimpanzee researchers believe they have translated the meaning of gestures that the species use to communicate in the wild. The study, published in the journal Current Biology, outlines 19 specific messages as well as a ‘lexicon’ of 66 gestures used by communities of chimps in Uganda. Dr Catherine Hobaiter, the lead researcher, said that this intentional communication was the first to be recorded in the animal kingdom. Read more:

Aviation security warning for Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport
Ugandan security agencies have warned embassies in Kampala about a potential threat to aviation security at the Entebbe International Airport on the evening of Friday July 4. A statement by the US embassy said the threat involved an unknown terrorist group, and that people planning travel through Entebbe may want to review their plans. Read more:

Algeria to donate World Cup prize money to Gaza
The Algerian World Cup football team has pledged to donate their prize money – a total of $9m – to Palestinians in Gaza at a reception in Algeria. During the homecoming parade a Palestinian flag was draped from the team’s bus. Read more:

Bahrain offers visa on arrival for 60 new countries
Bahrain will add more than 60 countries to its visa on arrival list, bringing the total number with this option to almost 100. The visa will be valid for one month, with the ability to renew for another three months. The new policy will come into effect in 2015. Read more: