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Spanish beach shut in shark alert, militants attack Kabul airport, DC decriminalises possession of marijuana, Bahrain bans alcohol in three star hotels

By Travel News   17 July 2014 1:06pm Europe/London

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 beaches have been shut after shark sightings in the area, militants attack Kabul airport, possession of marijuana is decriminalised in Washington DC and Bahrain has banned alcohol in three star hotels.

Europe
Asia & the Pacific
The Americas
Middle East & Africa

YOUR WORLD TODAY

17 July is…

Constitution Day, South Korea

The King’s Birthday, Lesotho

Independence Day, Slovakia

EUROPE

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

Sharks in Spain - a sight now not exclusive to the Barcelona Aquarium. Image by fhwrdh / CC BY 2.0

Sharks in Spain – a sight now not exclusive to the Barcelona Aquarium. Image by fhwrdh / CC BY 2.0

Barcelona beaches shut after sharks spotted
Barcelona’s beaches were shut for a second day yesterday after sharks were spotted swimming close to shore. On Tuesday a lifeguard spotted a five-foot blue shark off Barcelona and further sharks were then discovered nearby. Read more: nbcnews.com

New London board game cafe continues trend for niche venues
It already has a cat cafe and a pay-as-you-go cafe and now London is getting a specialist board games cafe. Draughts, which is due to open in Hackney in September, will offer 500 different games as well as a range of food and drink. The board games range from Monopoly and Scrabble to more niche titles like Hanabi, Power Grid and Chicken Cha Cha Cha. Read more: timeout.com

Dublin goes country after Brooks fiasco
Dublin aims to satisfy frustrated Garth Brooks fans with a ‘City & Western’ weekend. The country megastar was to play to 400,000 fans over five nights in Croke Park, but the concerts were cancelled after Dublin City Council only granted licenses for three shows, costing the city an estimated €50 million euro. July 25-27 will see country and roots gigs, an ‘OK Corral’ busking trail, square dancing lessons and plenty of hay and gingham. Read more: Irish Times

Sixty photos to honour Angela Merkel’s birthday
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has turned 60 and to celebrate, a museum in Berlin is to display 60 photos captured during her time in politics. All of the images were taken by Bild photographer Daniel Biskup who described the leader as ‘very photogenic’. The exhibition will be on display at Museum The Kennedys until August 17. Read more: thelocal.de

Authorities cracking down on makeshift 'public Jacuzzi'. Image by Andy Rogers / CC BY-SA 2.0

Authorities crack down on makeshift ‘public Jacuzzi’. Image by Andy Rogers / CC BY-SA 2.0

Authorities burst the bubble of dishwashing liquid jacuzzis
For years locals and tourists alike have been creating a public jacuzzi by pouring dishwashing liquid into the Nævra waterfall in Sør-Trøndelag, Norway. But authorities are now clamping down on the practice – which is already illegal – as it’s threatening local salmon populations. Fish and ‘bottom-dwellers’ alike are harmed by the chemicals found in soap and the municipality’s environmental advisor said, ‘We will do everything necessary to stop this.’ Read more: newsinenglish.no

France introduces new law to help improve the restaurant scene
Restaurants throughout France will now have to state on their menus whether their food is homemade after a new ‘fait maison’ law came into effect this week. The aim of the law is to improve the mid-range restaurant scene which has come under criticism for using factory-made shortcuts in the kitchen. However some chefs argue this is a ‘catch-all’ law and hard to define what constitutes homemade. Read more: theguardian.com

Protaras resort, Cyprus. Image by George M. Groutas / CC BY 2.0

Protaras resort, Cyprus. Image by George M. Groutas / CC BY 2.0

Tourist outrage over puppy crushed to death at a hotel in Cyprus
A puppy was killed in in the resort of Protaras, Cyprus after being disposed of by Anastasia Beach Hotel staff in a recycling bin fitted with a crushing mechanism. Tourists found the puppy still alive but with extreme injuries and it died within days. Tourists called for a boycott of the hotel and started a petition for Cyprus to enforce animal cruelty laws. Travel operator Thomas Cook and the Tsokkos Hotels Group have condemned the incident stating that the responsible staff members were dismissed. The president of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, called the incident a disgrace for the country. Read more: dailymail.co.uk 

Mysterious giant crater discovered in Siberia
A dark-coloured, 80m-wide crater has recently been discovered by helicopters flying over the Yamal peninsula in western Siberia. It is located near a forest approximately 30km from Yamal’s largest gas field. A team of Russian scientists is on its way to investigate and it’s yet to be determined what caused the appearance of the crater, but theories include global warming or a meteorite striking earth. It’s also believed that the crater was formed two years ago. Read more: siberiantimes.com

ASIA & THE PACIFIC

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

Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan. Image by Carl Montgomery / CC BY 2.0

Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan. Image by Carl Montgomery / CC BY 2.0

Militants attack Kabul airport
Four militants staged an attack on Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan on Thursday. The attackers used small arms and rocket-propelled grenades to take over an under-construction building at the airport before they were killed by police. Flights were diverted to other cities in Afghanistan and operations were back to normal by Thursday evening. Read more: washingtonpost.com

Endangered species on shopping list for Karachi zoo
Government officials in Karachi are seeking to obtain endangered brown bears and Balochistan black bears for the city zoo according to a report from Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper. The zoo’s shopping list for new animals, which has been put out to public tender, includes several endangered species which cannot legally be traded. Fewer than 50 Balochistan black bears are thought to survive in the wild in Pakistan. Read more: dawn.com

Malaysia’s largest lifestyle hub to open in Kuala Lumpur
A giant lifestyle and entertainment complex to rival Hong Kong’s Lan Kwai Fong and Singapore’s Clarke Quay is currently being developed in Malaysia’s capital. Known as TREC (Taste, Relish, Experience, Celebrate), the centre is expected to open its doors in about six months time. Read more: thestar.com.my

Adelaide property developers uncover ancient burial site
The skull and ancient human remains found at a building site in Adelaide are believed to be historic Aboriginal remains. The bones were dug up on Tuesday by workers for a new development north of the city at Parafield Gardens. Kaurna Elders wept over the disturbance to their ancestors. Where the remains will be repatriated is yet to be determined. Read more: sbs.com.au

THE AMERICAS

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

Navy Pier, Chicago. Image by Kevin Galens / CC BY 2.0

Navy Pier, Chicago. Image by Kevin Galens / CC BY 2.0

Navy Pier sells naming rights for $20 million
To help fund its huge renovation project, the Navy Pier in Chicago has sold the naming rights of its front entrance for $20 million. The rights have been bought by the Polk Bros. Foundation, a charitable organisation which was formed out of the Polk Brothers home appliance retailer. It is thought the Gateway Park area of the pier will be renamed Polk Park. The Navy Pier is the most-visited tourist attraction in the Chicago area. Read more: politics.suntimes.com

Possession of marijuana decriminalised in Washington DC
A new law comes into effect in Washington DC on Thursday which decriminalises minor marijuana offenses. Now, if someone is found in possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, the police will only confiscate the drug and issue a $25 fine. Smoking marijuana in public is still a crime in the city. Read more: usatoday.com

Elevated bacteria levels found in popular Alaskan river
Alaskan environmental officials have warned of high levels of bacteria in the Kenai River, a site popular for fishing near Anchorage. Samples collected earlier in July showed elevated levels of enterococci and fecal coliform bacteria which can cause stomach aches, diarrhea and skin, eye and ear infections. The levels of bacteria found in the Kenai River are double the state standards. Read more: adn.com

Los Angeles skyscraper to open as tourist attraction
The tallest building in the USA west of Chicago is set to become a tourist attraction under plans outlined in a major renovation scheme. The U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles will have observation decks and a restaurant added at the top of the structure with the aim of pulling in around half a million visitors a year. Read more: skift.com

Vegas set for blistering summer. Image by Robert S. Donovan / CC BY 2.0

Uber still absent in Las Vegas. Image by Robert S. Donovan / CC BY 2.0

Industry uniqueness cited for Uber’s absence in Las Vegas market
In spite of launching its ridesharing service in more than 70 cities in the US, Uber remains unavailable in Las Vegas. According to the Las Vegas Sun, Uber typically enters a new market and works out regulation issues later with lobbyists. But the officials that regulate the taxi industry in Las Vegas are appointed and are insulated from direct lobbying. Uber has also seen most success in markets where cabs are hailed or dispatched but most Las Vegas taxi rides originate from the airport or a hotel. Read more: lasvegassun.com

United Airlines cites health and safety reasons for bird kill at Houston airport
United Airlines has defended the poisoning of birds at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, TX saying the birds can get sucked into jet engines. The company has also said that it can’t control how how its contractor handles the bird cull. The AP reports that the contractor used corn kernels that were laced with a type of poison that causes birds to show distress, which then scares other birds away. According to the poison manufacturer, death usually occurs within an hour. Read more: nytimes.com

Mexican train driver videoed playing Farmville
A shocked commuter filmed a Mexico City Metro driver playing on his ipad whilst operating the train. The driver has now been suspended after the passenger sent the footage of the driver enjoying popular game Farmville to the media. Read more: telegraph.co.uk

Politicians push to rename Santiago airport after poet Pablo Neruda
A cross-party group of parliamentarians put forth a bill on Tuesday to rename Chile’s international airport after Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda. Officials say the transversal bill seeks to recognize the famous Chilean national not for his leftist politics but for his poetry. The Santiago airport is currently named after Arturo Merino Benítez, the founder of Chile’s air force and LAN, its national airline. Read more: santiagotimes.cl

Argentine government confirms cases of H1N1 in Misiones
Government officials in Argentina are closely monitoring twenty cases of the H1N1 virus in the Misiones province. The influenza cases were detected over the past two months in Posadas, the capital of the province. The federal government has delivered nine million doses of influenza vaccine as part of a prevention campaign, although none of the patients under treatment have received the vaccine. Read more: buenosairesherald.com

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

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

Booze ban for Bahrain's 3 star hotels. Image by Edwin Land / CC BY 2.0

Booze ban for Bahrain’s three star hotels. Image by Edwin Land / CC BY 2.0

Bahrain bans alcohol in three star hotels
Bahrain’s Culture Ministry has said it will try to improve tourism in the country by banning alcohol and art shows in all its three-star hotels. Alcohol is already forbidden in one- and two-star accommodation, but allowed in the top-end hotels. The ban comes amid accusations of ‘immoral activities’ taking place at some venues, such as prostitution and hotels being run primarily for entertainment rather than accommodation. Read more: arabianbusiness.com

Severe turbulence injures 20 on SAA flight
Twenty people were injured, two of them critically, when a South African Airways flight encountered severe turbulence between Johannesburg and Hong Kong. The airline said 165 passengers were on the Airbus 340-300 when the incident occurred over Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital. The South China Morning Post reported that many passengers had been thrown into the cabin ceiling causing head and neck injuries. Read more: dailymail.co.uk

Explosion kills four in Ouagadougou
Four people were killed and dozens wounded when an explosion occurred in Burkina Faso’s capital city of Ouagadougou. The country’s top security official said the blast was due to an illegal cache of mining explosives blowing up accidentally, although the location of the incident near the home of a traditional leader has sparked rumours it was not an accident. Read more: news24.com