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Luxury on the rails in train-mad Japan

Toukyo - Japan's latest super-deluxe train left the station Saturday with a select group of passengers who paid thousands of dollars for a leisurely trip harking back to an era of Art Deco opulence and a slower pace of life.

Dismembered bodies, shootout rock Mexican resort Cancun

Canc - Three dismembered bodies stuffed in suitcases were found Friday in Cancun, hours after the Mexican resort town was rocked by a shootout and police chase that left one gunman dead.

Dismembered bodies, shootout rock Mexican resort Cancun

Canc - Three dismembered bodies stuffed in suitcases were found Friday in Cancun, hours after the Mexican resort town was rocked by a shootout and police chase that left one gunman dead.

Philippines fires top ad firm in 'plagiarism' row

Manila - The Philippines has fired one of the world's top advertising firms in a row over alleged plagiarism, adding more misery to its tourism industry already reeling from a war with Islamist militants and a deadly crackdown on drugs.

Mont Blanc cable car to reopen 9 months after dramatic rescue

Grenoble - A cable car whose dramatic breakdown last September forced 33 tourists to spend the night stranded -- suspended high over the French Alps -- is to reopen on Thursday, local officials announced.

Chinese skinny-dippers defy public morals on nudity

Fangshan - The water might be chilly but dozens of naked men happily relax in an outdoor pool in a Beijing suburb making the most of the sunshine."This is a paradise for Chinese nudists," says 18-year-old Zhen, displaying a tiger tattoo on his chest.

US asks visa applicants for social media handles

Washington - The United States has begun asking some would-be visitors applying for visas to provide their identities on social media, among other more vigorous screening methods.

US asks visa applicants for social media handles

Washington - The United States has begun asking some would-be visitors applying for visas to provide their identities on social media, among other more vigorous screening methods.

Gambia tackles sleazy image to diversify tourism

Serrekunda - For decades, The Gambia has built a reputation as a haven for tourists willing to pay for sun, sand, sea... and sex.

Golf: Adidas sells TaylorMade equipment to US fund

Berlin - German sports giant Adidas said Wednesday it had agreed to sell its golfing brands TaylorMade, Adams Golf and Ashworth to US fund KPS Capital Partners for $425 million (390 million euros).

Iceland drills 4.7 km down into volcano to tap clean energy

Reykjav - It's named after a Nordic god and drills deep into the heart of a volcano: "Thor" is a rig that symbolises Iceland's leading-edge efforts to produce powerful clean energy.

US visa exemption rules in Republican crosshairs

Washington - Congressional Republicans sounded an alarm Wednesday over rules allowing millions of Europeans to travel to the United States without a visa, warning that jihadists could exploit weak links in the program.

'Love locks' on the block in Paris charity auction

Paris - Amorous couples, here's your chance to own a piece of the world's most romantic city: Paris is selling off the "love locks" that lovebirds attached to the city's bridges before officials cracked down on the practice.

Snow business: empty slopes at N.Korea's ski resort

On the ski fields of Mount Taehwa, groomed pistes snake down wooded hillsides to a luxurious hotel and a giant screen showing a North Korean army choir. But the runs are empty.

Israelis hold mass protest pot smoke by parliament

Jerusalem - Hundreds of Israelis gathered on a grassy hill overlooking parliament on Thursday to smoke marijuana in an act of communal defiance of current laws.

Desert X exhibition reflects earth, sky, state of world

Los Angeles - A house clad in mirrors pops out of the California desert. It blends into the landscape, reflecting a kaleidoscope of the urban grid and arid valley of Palm Springs -- to the delight of photographers and selfie-seekers.

N. Korea's art of brinkmanship

Seoul - Pyongyang's travel ban on Malaysians leaving North Korea sharply escalated the already-high tensions with Kuala Lumpur -- but is only the latest episode of the isolated country's diplomatic brinkmanship.

Hole is where the heart is for Chinese cave dwellers

Bejing - High in the misty hills of southwestern China, an hour's hike from any road, the lowing of livestock echoes through Zhongdong village, where a group of 18 families live inside an enormous natural cave.

Paris tourism hit again by Louvre attack

Paris - The thwarted attack near the Louvre museum on Friday will likely further tarnish the reputation of Paris, still reeling from a series of terror attacks, as a tourist destination.

European roaming charges to end in June as EU inks deal

Brussels - European travellers will no longer have to pay roaming charges for using their mobile phones within the EU after the bloc reached a deal Wednesday that will take effect in June.

Red faces in Athens over Ferris wheel that won't turn

Atenas - A senior Athens city official has resigned in an unprecedented fiasco over a Ferris wheel that was erected for Christmas but then dismantled over safety concerns before ever operating.

Airbnb imposes limit on London home rentals

London - Airbnb will impose a 90-day limit on the sharing of private homes in London, the home rentals website has revealed amid fears over the British capital's housing market.

Beaches, skiing and tai chi: Club Med, Chinese style

Sanya - Tai chi, mahjong and karaoke are on the menu alongside more traditional offerings such as sailing at Club Med's new resort on the Chinese island of Hainan, as the French holiday group -- now Chinese-owned -- adapts its European formula for the market.

South Africa murder rate jumps to 51 a day

Johanesburg - South Africa's murder rate increased by 4.9 percent in the last year, official statistics showed Friday, with the police minister admitting the country was struggling with "a prevalent culture of violence".

Concrete beach lures Chinese to world's largest building

Chengdu - Claiming to be the world's largest building by floor space, the 1,760,000 square metres of the New Century Global Center are a monument to growing Chinese consumer power, packed with shoppers -- and beach bathers a thousand kilometres from the coast.

French mayor bans burqinis on Cannes beaches

Cannes - The mayor of Cannes has banned the wearing of burqinis -- full-body swimsuits -- on the beaches of the French Riviera resort famous for its annual film festival, officials said Thursday.

Marseille 'Burqini pool party' nixed in secular France

Marseille - A Marseille waterpark has cancelled plans to host a private event for Muslim women wearing burqinis -- full-body swimsuits -- after they sparked outrage in secular France, authorities and the park said Tuesday.

Britain's new i360 tower a 'pier in the sky'

Brighton - The world's tallest moving observation tower, the i360, opens to the public on Thursday, a futuristic landmark that has transformed the historic seafront in the English tourist resort of Brighton.

Cyprus sets another tourism record

Nicosia - Bailed-out Cyprus, seen as a safe destination in a region dogged by terror attacks, set a record for the number of tourist arrivals during the month of June, officials said Monday.

Turkey visitors down over 30% in April as tourism slumps

Istanbul - The number of foreigners visiting Turkey crashed by almost 30 percent in April as tourists stayed away due to security fears following a wave of attacks and tensions with Russia, statistics showed Friday.
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