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Poverty in paradise: The dark side of Indonesia's new tourism hope

Indonesia - A tableau of white sandy beaches, colourful coral reefs and turquoise water, the islands of Raja Ampat are set to be Indonesia's next tourism hotspot -- but locals fear the government is failing both them and the environment in its development push.

US ban on North Korea travel comes into force

Seoul - Washington's ban on US citizens travelling to North Korea came into force on Friday, with the two countries at loggerheads over Pyongyang's weapons ambitions.

Nudists get their place in the sun at Paris park

Paris - Parisian nudists will finally have a spot to take it all off -- for the next few weeks at least -- at a secluded zone in the Bois de Vincennes park east of the city.

Naked models become living art at S. Korea festival

Daegu - The bodies of dozens of female models were turned into living canvases at a festival in Seoul this weekend, as delicate brush strokes and flamboyant illustrations covered up their bare skin.

Colombians combat stress with 'Day of Laziness'

Itagui - Colombians in the city of Itagui hauled mattresses and hammocks into the streets Sunday to mark the annual "World Laziness Day," a quirky effort to urge overstressed workers to slow down.

Kasparov-mania sweeps St. Louis, America's chess capital

Saint Louis - Benny Pirogovsky turns a brass king piece around in his hand as he stands by an outdoor chess table shaded by a tree. After hours spent driving through the American Midwest, the teenager is finally about to see his idol.

International travel to US drops for first time since 2009

Washington - The number of international visitors to the United States has dropped for the first time since 2009, as did their spending, the US Department of Commerce said Friday.In 2016, 75.

Shellfish, fire and Party praise: beach breaks, North Korea style

- Take several dozen North Korean clams. Arrange vent-down on concrete slab. Douse liberally with petrol. Ignite. Add fuel until cooked.

Rwanda targets high-end tourist market

- Nicaraguan singer Hernaldo Zuniga brought his entire family to trek through the lush forests and mist-shrouded volcanoes of northwestern Rwanda in search of mountain gorillas.

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.
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