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This is Wikitravel's Travel news section, about issues affecting travelers, both positively and negatively. For more general news, see Wikinews (http://en.wikinews.org/).
Caracas airport bridge closure
11 January 2006
Due to signs of impending bridge collapse, the main highway between Venezuelan capital Caracas and its international airport has been closed. Land travel via alternative routes may take up to five hours, although business travellers in a hurry may opt for a helicopter transfer instead. A replacement bridge will not be ready until mid-2007 at the earliest. (more...)
Harbin Ice Festival opens
05 January 2006
Ukrainian gas dispute
04 January 2006
The Ukraine may experience a signuficant decrease in natural gas supplies from the Russian owned Gazprom company. The dispute started as four-fold increase in the price of natural gas from the Ukraine's natural gas suppliers. The Ukraine has protested that rate increase and supplies were cut off. The dispute affected reserves and prices in several West European nations and could affect heating prices and various other prices in the Ukraine. (more...)
New passport policy for U.S. travel
03 December 2006
By 2008, all travelers, including U.S citizens, to and from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico and Central and South America, will be required to have a passport to enter or re-enter the United States. The aim, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (http://www.travel.state.gov/), is to strengthen border security. By December 31, 2006, the requirement will be applied to air and sea travel to or from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. One year later, it will be extended to all land border crossings as well as air and sea travel. (more...)
Nauru and Kiribati inaccessible
22 December 2005
After its last plane was impounded, Air Nauru has been forced to halt services, cutting off all scheduled air traffic to the Pacific island nations of Nauru and Kiribati. Air Pacific, Air Vanuatu and Alliance Airlines will continue some services on an ad-hoc basis, but future arrangements remain unclear. (more...)
Arlanda airport has opened sleeping rooms
19 December 2005
Stockholm Arlanda International Airport opened forty-four sleeping rooms today. The options are a short rest of maximum 4 hours for 1-4 persons at the price of 295 SEK, or a longer period of up to 10 hours starting at 445 SEK for 1 person. The mini-hotel is located very close to the check-in discs at terminal 4. Visit the Homepage (http://www.restandfly.com/_eng/) for further information. (more...)
New nightlife in Singapore
16 December 2005
Singapore's campaign to shake off its staid image continues with Parisian topless revue Crazy Horse (http://www.crazyhorseparis.com.sg/) and London's megaclub Ministry of Sound (http://www.ministryofsound.com.sg/) both opening new outlets in Clarke Quay. Legendary nightclub Zouk (http://www.zoukclub.com.sg/) has also struck back with a S$9 million renovation. (more...)
Pune Airport is now international
12 December 2005
Pune Airport has been upgraded to take international flights. The first flight to Dubai goes out at 3:15 pm on 12 December 2005. This upgrade will take some pressure off the international airport in nearby Bombay (more...)
Swiss Rail Smoking ban
10 December 2005
As of 11 December 2005 a complete smoking ban will take effect on all trains of the Swiss Federal Railway (http://www.rail.ch). The ban will also include interior spaces of all Swiss train stations. The railway expects to save 2.5 million swiss francs per year on cleaning expenses alone. (more...)
Paragon Bangkok opens
9 December 2005
8 October 2005. This Thursday London will see the withdrawal of its iconic double-decker buses from their last remaining route. The aged vehicle will be replaced by more user-friendly buses. 16 Routemasters, however, will be restored to their full 1960s glory and keep running on two heritage routes through the center of the capital. 1 (http://www.timesdaily.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051208/API/512080737&cachetime=5)
Indian Airline changes name to "Indian"
7 December 2005 India's public sector domestic airline "Indian Airlines" has gone in for a rebranding exercise and changed its name to "Indian". It will also get a new logo and will buy new planes for the first time in 15 years 2 (http://www.newindpress.com/Newsitems.asp?ID=IEH20051207104725&Title=Top+Stories&Topic=0).
Cold wave in North India
7 December 2005 The northern states of India are experiencing a cold wave 3 (http://www.ndtv.com/template/template.asp?template=coldwave&slug=Cold+wave+grips+North+India&id=81999&callid=1&category=National). This cold weather is rather unexpected at this time of the month. It usually gets cold towards end-december. It snowed in Srinagar(Kashmir) - 4 ft - last week.
Situation under control in Madras
7 December 2005 The media had exagerated that three fourths of the city is under water. Only the low lying and lake-adjacent areas were flooded. However, the current situation is stable. Rails have started plying and the airport is also back to normalcy. They even played 2 days of the India-SriLanka Cricket match yesterday and the day-before-yesterday.
Flooding in Madras (Chennai)
4 December 2005 Cyclone "Baaz" has affected 4 (http://www.newkerala.com/news.php?action=fullnews&id=60999) Madras badly. Three fourths of the city is under water. 300,000 people have been affected, with 75,000 reportedly evacuated. More rains have been forecast on SUnday night. The water has entered the railway station and the airport. Travel is likely to be disrupted for the next few days.
Some parts of the state of Tamil Nadu are still affected. If you are planning to travel around TamilNadu, it would be advisable to ask local authorities before doing so.
US Air travel rules revised
1 December 2005 The Indianapolis Star (among others) is reporting (http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051201/NEWS06/512010490/1012) the US Transportation Safety administration is making some of the most sweeping changes in travel security since the agency came into existence in late 2001. It appears that nail clippers may once again be allowed on flights.
UK Rail Travel Disruption expected for Christmas
1 December 2005 The Times Online is reporting (http://business.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,9077-1899128,00.html) that rail travel in the South of England will be severely disrupted during work which is to commence 26 December, 2005 and which will continue for several weeks into the new year.
Bombings hit Amman, Jordan hotels
9 November 2005 At least three bombs exploded in the hotel district of Amman, Jordan in an attack that appears to have targeted US-based hotels chains. Currently, 53 deaths and several hundred injuries have been reported. The targeted hotels include Grand Hyatt Hotel, Radisson SAS Hotel, and the Days Inn Hotel. Streets are closed and the city is under a "security lockdown" as of Wednesday night. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
France declares state of emergency
8 November 2005
France declared a 12-day state of emergency in an attempt to calm nightly rioting that began in the suburbs of Paris and has quickly spread to suburban housing projects (estates) in the rest of the country. The United States state department has issued an alert (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_2743.html) but unless you intend to visit large public housing facilities after dark it is unlikely you'll see or hear anything.
Unrest in Indonesia
10 October 2005
In Indonesia, a 126% fuel price on October 1st has caused rapid increases in transportation and goods prices across the archipelago. Violent protest demonstrations have, however, so far been notably absent.
29 September 2005
In Indonesia, a fuel price increase scheduled for October 1st has sparked hoarding, shortages and numerous public demonstrations. Public transportation has also been disrupted.
Fuel shortages currently affect the entire country, including Bali. Strategic points in large cities such as Jakarta and Surabaya have heavy police and security presence. Steer clear of demonstrations, as they have the potential to turn violent and police may also use heavy-handed methods to clear them. However, a repeat of the 1997 mayhem that led to the downfall of Suharno's regime is unlikely, as the Indonesian economy is generally considered to be in better shape.
Hong Kong Disneyland opens
12 September 2005
Hong Kong's Disneyland (http://www.disney.com.hk/hkdisneyland/eng/index.html), the first in China, has opened to the public. Tickets start from HK$295, but have been sold out for the first days. The park is located on the island of Lantau, a 20-minute train ride from the city center or airport.
Spring is in the air
19 July 2005
China's first low-cost carrier, Spring Airlines (http://www.air-spring.com/), has completed its maiden flight between Shanghai and Yantai. Prices start from Y200, a quarter of rivals' fares, and a revolution in Chinese flight pricing seems set to follow. 800-820-6222
Explosions in the London Underground
5 August 2005
Full service is now running on all lines.
18 July 2005
Transport in London is slowly returning to normal after the bombings, but the entire Circle Line and sections of some other lines remain closed. Bus services operate to replace most closed sections. Up-to-date information for line closings and network status is available on the Transport for London (http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tube/travelinfo/realtime/default.asp) site.
7 July 2005
Four nearly simultaneous explosions rocked central London's transport network at the height of the morning commuter rush hour in what appears to have been a well-planned terrorist attack, presumably made to coincide with the G8 Summit at the Gleneagles Resort in Perthshire, Scotland. A group connected to al-Qaida have claimed responsibility for the atrocities.
Thirty-seven people have been killed and hundreds more have been injured, several critically 5 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4661059.stm).
Transportation systems throughout London were shut down or disabled in reponse to the incidents. The Underground is closed for the day, and may remain closed longer. Rail service in and out of London is interrupted, and the bus service is also disabled in the Central Zone 1. By evening, many - though not all - services were beginning to return to relative normality.
British Transport Police have a number for calls from family concerned about victims: +44 20 8358 0101. People outside the UK should contact their local British embassy or consulate.
Currency revaluation in Romania
1 July 2005
Romania has introduced the new leu (RON) at an exchange rate of 10000 old lei to one new leu. Old banknotes and coins remain legal tender until the end of 2006. Further information (http://www.denominare.ro/common/htmls/en.htm|)
Historic Paris department store closed "for reasons of safety"
28 June 2005' The historic Samaritaine (http://www.lasamaritaine.com) department store, occupying the same building in the 1st arrondissement of Paris since 1901 closed today "for reasons of safety" according to an announcement by LVMH Paris, the company which owns the store. The store will be closed for at least 6 year for study and renovation.
Some activists have raised the suspicion that the company plans to replace the store with a hotel; LVMH denies this, and has significantly promised "no layoffs at all" will result from the closing.
Civil unrest in Bolivia
10 June 2005
8 June 2005
The Bolivian capital La Paz has been crippled by protests against the government, including a transport strike, food shortages and a blockade of the road to the international airport. Most flights have been cancelled and travellers are advised to steer clear.
Further information: US State Department travel advisory for Bolivia (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_2538.html)
Cheap flights in India
24 May 2005
Wynn Las Vegas opens
28 April 2005
Wynn Las Vegas (http://wynnlasvegas.com), at $2.7 billion the most expensive resort ever built, has opened in Las Vegas. The casino-resort features a private golf course, an artificial mountain with a 5-story waterfall and a million-gallon water tank for the nightly show. Needless to say, there's also over 100,000 square feet of casino space. Room rates start at $250.
Egypt to re-open tombs of Thutmose III, Merenptah
16 April 2005
Egyptian Minister of Culture Farouq Hosni announced he will today re-open the tombs of Thutmose III and Merneptah in the Valley of the Kings after their 6 month closure for restoration.
Zahi Hawwas, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), said the tombs of Ramesses III and Ramesses VI, meanwhile, will be closed for regular rejuvenation work.
Acela Express suspended
27 April 2005
The service suspension is now expected to continue until "sometime in summer". 6 (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2005/04/20/national/w140932D06.DTL)
15 April 2005
Amtrak (http://www.amtrak.com)'s Acela Express service between Washington, New York and Boston has been suspended until further notice while cracks in brake rotors are investigated. Additional Regional and Metroliner services are running instead. Services are planned to resume on April 23 at the earliest.
Expo 2005 opens
25 March 2005
Aichi Expo 2005, held near Nagoya, Japan, has opened. The $3-billion 121-country extravaganza with the theme "Nature's Wisdom", featuring robots, frozen mammoths and much more, will run until September 25. Tickets cost ¥4500 per day at the door and 15 million visitors are expected.
Chubu International Airport opens
17 February 2005
Chubu International Airport, Japan's third major international gateway, has opened near Nagoya. Also known as Centrair, the 24-hour airport is on an artificial island 30 minutes south from the center of town and opens on time to serve Expo 2005, kicking off in March. The new airport replaces the existing Nagoya airport and also takes over its IATA code NGO.
Tropical cyclone strikes Cook Islands
6 February 2005
Cook Islands emergency center officials expressed relief today that damage from Tropical Cylone Meena, a category 5 storm, was less severe than anticipated after the eye of the storm bypassed the main island of Rarotonga. Over the previous 2 days, as the storm made its way through the island group, flights to and from both Rarotonga and the outlying islands had been suspended, planes put under cover or flown out of the area and tourist resorts evacuated in the face of forecasts of 270 km/h wind gusts and 10 metre storm surges. Although flights resumed only 15 hours after the storm passed to the east, there was significant local flooding caused by 15 m high waves. Iconic store Trader Jacks was inundated by the sea as were other parts of Avarua town and northern Rarotonga coast. Although the cleanup is expected to take several weeks, damage was nowhere near as severe as that caused by Cyclone Heta to Niue in January 2004.
State of emergency declared in Nepal
On Feb 1st 2005, King Gyanendra of Nepal dismissed the government and declared a state of emergency. Kathmandu airport is open and internet and phone lines are operating as usual (after a temporary suspension). There has been no violence in the capital, but the future remains uncertain. Foreign tourists are not a target in this internal dispute, and have continuously been welcomed by all sides. However, the situation could deteriorate, and so it is recommended to check news reports and government travel advisories before traveling to the kingdom. If you do decide to travel in Nepal and wish to avoid possible trouble spots, the Everest (Khumbu) region is no doubt the place least likely to be effected.
Egypt announces price rises for tourist entry to monuments
21 January 2005
Reports from Egypt reveal that the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities has raised all ticket prices for tourist admission to the country's vast array of ancient and medieval monuments. Above-inflation price hikes, effective immediately, range between 40% to 175%, with the average increase standing around 75% - the largest increase was applied to the Valley of the Kings, with tickets allowing entry to three tombs each leaping from LE (Egyptian Pounds) 20 to LE 55 (175%).
The list below (not exhaustive) displays both the previous prices and the increased prices for Egypt's primary monuments and sites, arranged from north to south:
Dendera (12) 20
Esna (8) 15
Edfu (20) 35
Kom Ombo (10) 20
Abu Simbel (30) 50
Turkey introduces new currency
1 January 2005
Turkey has introduced the New Turkish lira code TRY 7 (http://www.ytl.gen.tr/ytl/index_eng.php) as a replacement currency for the old Turkish lira - the new currency is marked YTL (Yeni Türk Lirası) is equivalent to 1 million of the old, allowing quoted prices to be slashed by six zeros "x,000,000" or six decimal places. The hugely inflated figures were the result of escalating inflation in the Turkish economy during the 1980s and 1990s, and were the basis for any number of tourist scams - not least the handing back of short change, owing to tourists' carelessness and / or confusion over the zeros. The old currency will be valid until the end of the year (2005), allowing frequent travellers opportunity to exchange old notes.
Conversion rates on 1 January 2005:
Giza Pyramid of Khafre re-opens to the public
1 January 2005
As of the New Year, the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities has announced that the Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren), the second largest pyramid on the Giza plateau, has now re-opened to the public on a permanent basis after nearly two years of renovation and conservation. Under the system of rotation, the smallest Giza pyramid, that of Menkaure, will now close to the public for a similar program of cleaning and conservation.
Earthquake and tsunami devastates south-east and south Asia
28 December 2004
Travellers are now being warned to revise their travel plans to the affected areas, not merely on account of the devastation and danger of aftershocks, but also on account of threat of disease from contaminated water and unrecovered bodies.
27 December 2004
Although hampered by distance, isolation and poor communications, reports are coming in that tell of potentially hundreds (if not thousands) of tourist deaths in the areas, alongside the horrific toll the waves have taken on local inhabitants.
26 December 2004
An extremely powerful, undersea earthquake of magnitude 9.0 8 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Indian_Ocean_earthquake) off the north coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra created a devastating tsunami (tidal wave) that has wrought devastation along the coasts of countries neighbouring the north Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal - these include Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and the Maldives.