Eurostar power failure leads to cancellations, Kazakhstan’s railway stations to be upgraded for disabled travellers and multi-billion Nicaragua canal project gets the go-ahead

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: Eurostar passengers face delays after power failure, Kazakhstan’s railway stations to get wheelchair facilities upgrade, US citizen tested for ebola virus in Ghana and major Nicaragua canal project approved.

Asia & the Pacific
The Americas
Middle East & Africa


8 July is…

20th anniversary of the death of North Korean leader Kim Il-sung

Homecoming of Lord Jagannath, Raipur, India

Anniversary of the Roswell Incident, New Mexico


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

The Greek island of Astypalea. Image by Gerald Fimberger / CC BY-SA 2.0.
The Greek island of Astypalea. Image by Gerald Fimberger / CC BY-SA 2.0

Prehistoric erotic graffiti found on Greek island
Some of the world’s oldest erotic graffiti have been discovered on the Greek island of Astypalea in the Dodecanese. The inscriptions and phalluses are carved into rocks at Vathy and date back to the fifth and sixth centuries BC. According to the archaeologist Dr Andreas Vlachopoulos, the racy inscriptions are very explicit and provide valuable insight into the private lives and high literacy of ancient Greeks. Read more:

Tourist arrivals in Crimea down by 35%
Tourist arrivals in Crimea dropped 35% in the first half of 2014, while the total number of passengers to and from Crimea is 30% lower than last year, according to the Crimean Deputy Resorts and Tourism Ministry. After Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March, the modes of transport to the peninsula have shifted, with air travel up by 60%, train travel down by more than 50%, and ferry travel three times higher than in 2013. Read more:

Foreigners to be charged for using German roads
The German Transport Minister has announced that foreign motorists are to be charged to use the country’s roads, including the famous Autobahn. Under the new rules, visitors will have to pay for permits costing between €10 for 10 days and around €100 for an annual pass. The rules will come into force from 2016, but some critics claim that the plans are discriminatory. Read more:

Crowds gather to take part in the Pamplona bull run. Image by Abir Anwar / CC BY 2.0.
Crowds gather to take part in the Pamplona bull run. Image by Abir Anwar / CC BY 2.0

Four people hospitalised after Pamplona bull run
The first of the week’s bull runs through Pamplona in Spain left four people in hospital, one with a gored thigh, the others with fractures. The San Fermin festival draws tourists from around the world to witness and take part in the runs which take place in the city’s narrow streets every July. Read more: 

Airbnb fined €30,000 by Catalonia
The Catalonia region of Spain has fined home rental service Airbnb €30,000 for illegally advertising accommodation that is not listed on the Catalan Tourism Register.The Catalan government may prevent online access to the site within Catalonia should the company fail to remove their ads. Airbnb has faced legal action in other cities, including New York, but Catalonia is the first European region to fine the company. Read more:

Great Yorkshire Show begins
The Great Yorkshire Show, England’s largest agricultural show, has opened. The event, which began in 1838, features numerous food stalls, livestock shows, sculptures, butchery competitions and a 20-tonne steam engine. It runs until Thursday. Read more:

Tour de France is a success despite camera worries
Britain’s hosting of the Tour de France’s early stages has seen massive crowds and three successful days. Not everything has gone smoothly, though, with one spectator who had ventured onto the road being knocked to the ground after coming into contact with a tour rider. The incident comes as several riders have criticized the trend for ‘selfies’ that has seen camera-toting spectators come perilously close to the cyclists. Read more:

Brad and Angelina to film in Gozo
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are due to shoot their second film together this August on the Maltese island of Gozo. According to Jolie the movie will be an ‘experimental, independent-type’ romance, and filming will take place in Mgarr ix-Xini bay, which is a narrow, cliff-bound inlet with a tiny beach ideal for swimming. Read more:

Unesco recognises Italian-French cross-border reserve
The Monviso nature reserve on the border between Italy’s Piedmont region and France’s Haute-Alpes has been recognised by Unesco’s Man and the Biosphere program. The alpine reserva area is a patchwork of valuable ecosystems, running along the Po river and rising to a maximum elevation of 3,841 metres above sea level. Read more:

Eurostar cancels more trains due to power cable failure
Damage to a power cable in the Channel Tunnel caused a train to break down yesterday and the situation is still being resolved. Eurostar passengers should expect more disruptions today. Some trains from London to Paris and London to Brussels have been cancelled this morning, in both directions, and further delays are expected. Read more:

Spanish Riding School, Vienna. Image by Jesús León / CC BY 2.0.
Spanish Riding School, Vienna. Image by Jesús León / CC BY 2.0

Vienna’s famed Lipizzaner horses to roam the city park
Vienna’s world-famous Spanish Riding School, the oldest in the world, is letting its star Lipizzaner mares and foals roam its city central Burgatten park. People will be able to see the mothers and babies grazing in the park for one hour every day, except Sunday and Monday, until August 2. Read more: 


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

Kazakhstan's rail stations to be wheelchair accessible. Image by Taber Andrew Bain / CC BY 2.0.
Kazakhstan’s rail stations to be wheelchair accessible. Image by Taber Andrew Bain / CC BY 2.0

Kazakhstan’s rail stations to be made accessible for wheelchair users
All 302 railway stations and terminals in Kazakhstan will be upgraded to accommodate disabled travellers, according to the Minister of Transport and Communications. At present, less than half of the country’s stations have specialised ticket windows or wheelchair capacity. The upgrade works are expected to be complete by 2018. Read more:

Singapore suffers spike in dengue cases
Singapore is at the peak of dengue fever season, with 898 cases reported in the last week alone. In light of National Environment Agency (NEA) surveillance indicating that the adult Aedes aegypti mosquito population has doubled since May last year, the agency has called on the government to address the problem urgently. Read more:

Dramatic overhaul for Indian railways
Free wifi and high-speed bullet trains are just two of the proposals in the new rail budget approved by the government of India. The new projects will be funded by government spending and a controversial 14.2% increase in fares, announced in June. Read more:

India chips in for temple renovation in Nepal
India has announced that it will contribute 21.76 million Nepali rupees for the renovation of the historic Budhanilkantha temple  in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. The temple was founded in the 7th century around a monumental statue of Vishnu reclining on the multi-headed serpent Ananta Sesa. Read more:

Australia’s designer drug report card
The United Nations World Drug Report says the happy-go-lucky people of Australia now consume more ecstasy than any other country.  Aussies also rank fourth in the world for cocaine consumption and seventh for cannabis use. Meanwhile demand for prescription drugs such as codeine and morphine is second only to the US. Read more: MixMag

New music festival added to summer line-up in Australia
A new music festival has been added to the summer festival scene in Australia. To be held over the new year period on Phillip Island, just outside Melbourne, ‘glamping’ is one of the key selling points of the festival. Very little information has been released as yet — from the local and international line-up of bands and DJs to the ticket prices, but music lovers in Australia are watching this space. Read more: beyondthevalley


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

Sunset over Lake Nicaragua. Image by eric molina / CC BY 2.0.
Sunset over Lake Nicaragua. Image by eric molina / CC BY 2.0

Nicaragua canal route approved
Nicaragua’s answer to the Panama Canal will cut through Lake Nicaragua, the nation’s most important fresh water source. Works on the multi-billion dollar project linking the mouth of the Brito river on the Pacific side of Nicaragua to the Punto Gorda river on the Caribbean are expected to begin in December. Read more:

Crumbs cupcake store closes all 48 branches
It’s official: the cupcake craze is officially over in the US. On Monday, the Crumbs Bake Shop, which was once the world’s largest gourmet cupcake chain, closed all 48 of its stores for good. The chain opened in 2003 in New York, borne out of the Sex and the City trend for cupcakes, and has since expanded to ten states. The chain announced it had been losing sales for a number of years. Read more:

Zip line through Fort Adams to open this summer
A zip line stretching 430m through the Fort Adams State Park in Rhode Island will open this summer. Fort Adams is America’s largest coastal fortification and the aim of the zip line is to give visitors an active way of learning about US military history. The tandem line will be launched from the top of the fort walls. Read more:

Ninja ride leaves passengers hanging
Some visitors to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California got more excitement than they’d bargained for when their ride derailed yesterday. A tree branch hit and dislodged the first carriage, slightly injuring four passengers and leaving others stranded in the air for almost three hours. Read more:

Humpty Dumpty has a great fall
A Humpty Dumpty statue fell off his perch at the Enchanted Forest in Salem, Oregon. Humpty’s fall occurred when two men tried to get up on the wall with Humpty, according to KOIN 6 News. Officials for the theme park posted on Facebook, ‘A sad day at EF! Hopefully we can put him together again! (Thankfully, no one was hurt, except Humpty).’ Read more:

Virgin Galactic picks hotel for space tourists
Virgin’s spaceflight company has picked the Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces in New Mexico as their official preferred hotel. Space tourists who fork over $250,000 for a two-hour ride into suborbital flight are expected to stay at the 203-room, Spanish Colonial-style hotel. Read more:

Toronto Caribbean Carnival kicks off
The Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto starts on Tuesday and will run for five weeks. The festival highlights Caribbean culture, food and music in the heart of downtown Toronto. Tuesday’s official launch is a free event beginning 12pm at Nathan Phillips Square. Read more:

Stolen Matisse painting returns to Venezuela
A painting by French artist Henri Matisse, which was stolen over 10 years ago in Caracas, has been handed back to Venezuela by US authorities. The painting, Odalisque in Red Pants, was on display in a museum and replaced by a fake, but the switch was not discovered for several years. An American and a Mexican citizen have been arrested and convicted of its theft. Read more:

Gang loots 40,000 phones and computers from Brazil factory
A Samsung electronics factory in Campinas has been raided by thieves, who stole 40,000 finished products after hijacking a bus carrying eight employees on their way to work the factory’s night shift. The heavily armed men stole the workers’ ID tags and took two as hostages before overpowering security guards, and spent more than three hours trucking out the goods. The stolen products are valued at US$6.3m. Read more:


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

Ghana's capital city Accra where the US citizen is being held. Image by Michael Sean Gallagher / CC BY-SA 2.0.
US citizen undergoes ebola tests at Accra, Ghana. Image by Michael Sean Gallagher / CC BY-SA 2.0

US citizen tested for Ebola in Ghana
An American man, who is believed to have recently visited Guinea and Sierra Leone, is being quarantined while awaiting the results of the Ebola test. The outbreak, which has now killed 467 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, is the world’s most deadly outbreak of the virus. There have been no confirmed cases to date in Ghana. The country’s health ministry said the strict testing and quarantining of the patient and clinic staff were ‘precautionary measures’ and that people should stay calm. Read more:

Controversial Iranian version of ‘Modern Family’ a big hit
An Iranian family TV show ‘Haft Sang’ has caused a storm of controversy. The programme is an almost frame-for-frame reproduction of US TV hit ‘Modern Family’ although with a straight couple replacing the gay characters. Hardliners have criticized the show for being ‘too shallow’ to be aired during Ramadan, and for being based on a programme that they say ‘promotes homosexuality.’ Iranicized versions of 50 First Dates, Prison Break and Lost have all proved popular in Iran previously. Read more: