New security measures introduced on some US-bound flights, Russia ends daylight saving and East Asia braced for super typhoon

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 US introduces tighter security controls on some inbound flights, the Russian Duma votes to end daylight saving measures, East Asia set for first super typhoon of the year and thousands of Spaniards seek Game of Thrones roles.

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



7 July is …

Nimalung Tsechu and Kurjey Tsechu festivals, Bhutan

Independence Day, the Solomon Islands

Tanabata festival, Japan


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

Spasskaya Tower clock, Moscow, Russia. Image by Michael Bridgen / CC BY-SA 2.0.
Spasskaya Tower clock, Moscow, Russia. Image by Michael Bridgen / CC BY-SA 2.0

Russia introduces new time zone and permanent winter time
The Russian Duma has voted to end permanent daylight savings time, introduced in 2011, and to return to permanent winter time from October. Another time zone will also be created. The change means that Moscow and St Petersburg time will now be +3 GMT year-round. Read more:

Avignon festival forced to cancel opening events due to strikes
France’s famed Avignon festival was forced to cancel two of its opening productions on Friday due to strikes by festival staff. This came despite an earlier vote by 80% of workers not to strike during the opening of the festival. Staff have said they will not walk out completely on the festival, but a possible strike by a group of performers still threatens the rest of the festival events. Read more:

Iceland’s puffins in trouble
An Icelandic biologist has claimed that the nation’s puffins are under threat. The population has declined dramatically in recent years, from around eight million in 2003 to about five million today. Warmer weather, caused by both natural fluctuations and global warming, is blamed as it reduces the numbers of the small eels and fish that puffins feed on. Read more:

Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village revealed
The Athletes’ Village for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow has been revealed. The site, on the banks of the River Clyde, is the size of 54 football pitches and has 704 homes. Its inventory includes 20,000 toilet rolls, 26,000 bed sheets and 1,400 litres of liquid soap. The games feature 71 nations and begin on July 23. Read more:

HBO to build studios and theme park in Dubrovnik
US television network HBO is planning to build a large film studios, as well as a tourist theme park in Dubrovnik  in southern Croatia, according to the city’s mayor. The company has been filming scenes for its hit show Game of Thrones in and around Dubrovnik over the past three years. Read more:

Courtyard exhibition at the Benaki Museum, Athens. Image by Tilemahos Efthimiadis / CC BY 2.0.
Courtyard exhibition at the Benaki Museum, Athens. Image by Tilemahos Efthimiadis / CC BY 2.0

‘El Greco Year’ exhibitions launched in Greece
Greece is marking the 400th anniversary since the death of famous Renaissance painter El Greco (born as Domenicos Theotokopoulos in Crete) with a year of exhibitions. The first exhibition, focusing on El Greco’s Italian period, has opened at the Historical Museum in Iraklio and will run until October 25. It will move to the Benaki Museum in Athens from November 21 to March 1 2015.  Athens’ Byzantine & Christian Museum will also host an exhibition exploring the influence of Crete on El Greco from November 19 to March 31 2015. Read more:

Online auctions of historic properties in Italy not going to plan
Italy’s plan to raise €6 billion over the next three years by selling off historic properties including castles and islands may have to be rethought. Some properties have had to be withdrawn from sale after failing to attract any suitable bids, whilst others have sold for much less than expected. Read more:

Roskilde Festival closes with record attendance
Denmark’s week-long Roskilde Festival drew to a close on Sunday, following a record attendance, with more than 100,000 tickets sold. Organisers of the not-for-profit music festival explained this means they can expect to donate around €2.5 million to charity and cultural causes. Read more:

Town Hall Square renamed in Copenhagen
Copenhagen’s Town Hall Square has been renamed in honour of the LGBT community. Now known as Regnbueplasen (Rainbow Square), the square’s new signs were quietly erected last week, following a successful vote by the city’s council in February. Read more:


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

The coast of Okinawa, Japan. Image by Fabien / CC BY-SA 2.0.
The coast of Okinawa, Japan. Image by Fabien / CC BY-SA 2.0

East Asia braces for first super typhoon of the year
Countries in the Pacific and East China Sea are preparing as Typhoon Neoguri approaches the southern Japanese island of Okinawa. The first super typhoon of the year, Category 4 Neoguri has expected wind speeds of 250km per hour. Parts of southern Japan have been evacuated, while eastern Taiwan and coastal China are also expected to be affected by high winds and flooding. Read more:

Tourist visas relaxed for Mongolia and Kazakhstan
Authorities in Mongolia and Kazakhstan have relaxed visa requirements for foreign tourists. From June 25, travellers from 42 countries, including much of Europe, can visit Mongolia visa-free for 30 days. Likewise, Kazakhstan will allow travellers from the USA, Korea, Japan and several European countries visa-free entry for 15 days starting on July 14. Read more:

Maldives islands threatened by erosion
The islands of Kurendhoo and Fulidhoo in the Maldives are facing a growing threat from sand erosion, thanks to unusually strong waves created by the southwest monsoon. Fulidhoo has seen its cultural centre consumed by the waves, which are now threatening the island’s telecommunications tower, while the main graveyard on Kurendhoo is just 15 feet away from being claimed by the sea. Read more:

India’s vanishing border
The border between India and Nepal risks being redrawn by the loss of thousands of marker pillars that trace out the physical boundary between the two countries. In recent years, some 2700 of the markers have been stolen or destroyed, leaving the border authorities with no landmarks to use for patrols and border disputes. Read more:

Indonesia election violence hotspots revealed
East Java, Yogyakarta, Central Java and Jakarta will be most prone to violence during the nation’s presidential election on Wednesday, Indonesia Police Watch (IPW) has warned. In the nation’s far east, Papua’s security level has been raised to full alert following threats from an armed civilian group. Read more: the


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

Barred window, Old Newgate Prison. Image by Heather Katsoulis / CC BY-SA 2.0.
Barred window, Old Newgate Prison. Image by Heather Katsoulis / CC BY-SA 2.0

Archived reports from New York prisons to be available online
Archived prison records from some of New York’s most historic penitentiaries are to be digitised and made available to view on by the end of the month. The files from Newgate, Clinton and Sing Sing prisons were previously only available at the state archives in Albany and include reports on some of the city’s most notorious criminals of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Read more:

Shark attack off Los Angeles beach
A man swimming off Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles was bitten by a shark on Saturday. Steven Robles, who swims there every weekend, was attacked by the young shark when it turned on him after freeing itself from a fisherman’s hook. The man was treated in hospital and released on Sunday. The beach remained open. Read more:

Earthquake shakes southern Mexico
Chiapas, in southern Mexico, was woken up by an earthquake this morning. Registering 6.9 in magnitude, the quake’s epicentre was near the town of Puerto Madero, although tremors could be felt as far north as the Mexican capital. Reports from across the border in Honduras say that two people died there when a house collapsed as a result of the quake. Read more:

Waikiki Aquarium holds sea dragon exhibit
The Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu has opened a new exhibit dedicated to the sea dragon, a relative of the sea horse that looks like floating seaweed. Sea dragons can grow up to 10 inches long and are rarely seen in the wild. Generally only found in Australia, sea dragons are difficult to breed in captivity and only a few aquariums have managed to have them in exhibits. Read more:

Uncharged phones and laptops banned on flights to the US
Passengers boarding flights to the US from some overseas airports will be asked to prove their mobile phones, laptops and tablets can be switched on. If the devices are not charged, they will need to be left at the airport. The new measure has been put in place following fears that al Qaeda operatives working out of Yemen and Syria are developing bombs that can be smuggled onto flights. Read more:


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

Dubai skyline. Image by ADTeasdale / CC BY 2.0.
Dubai skyline. Image by ADTeasdale / CC BY 2.0

Dubai announces plans for world’s first temperature controlled city
Dubai  has released plans to construct a temperature-controlled city called Mall of the World. It will hold the largest mall in the world and the largest theme park in the world. The site will be 48 million square feet and include a Celebration Walk, inspired by Ramblas Street in Barcelona, to connect the city’s cultural district to the rest of the mall. Read more:

FCO advises travellers to avoid West Bank after dark
Following a series of riots and violent clashes in East Jerusalem and a heightening of political tensions across Israel and the Palestinian Territories, the FCO has updated its advice to travellers. Movement in the West Bank is not recommended after dark and extra care should be taken after Friday prayers and near settlements. Read more:  Read more:

Tourist shot dead in Mombasa
A Russian woman was shot dead in the old town of Mombasa where she had been visiting Fort Jesus with two friends and her tour guides. Police claim the three attackers opened fire after the woman failed to hand over her bag outside the Shia Sheri Mosque. Eyewitnesses dispute this claim, saying there was not an attempted robbery. Read more:

Dozens killed during attack on police and military barracks in Uganda
Seventeen police and civilians were killed when militants attacked police and military barracks in western Uganda near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Forty-one of the gunmen died in the attack, and a further 17 were arrested. The army blamed the attack on rival ethnic groups, though some people fear it could be a resurgence of the Ugandan rebel movement that is based in the eastern DRC. Read more:


Thousands of Spaniards apply for Game of Thrones
More than 10,000 Spaniards have applied to be extras in the next series of Game of Thrones, which will be shot in Andalucía later this year. Producers received more than 10,000 emails in less than 24 hours and are expecting to finalise casting by September. Read more:
Jo Cooke