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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.

Massive crowd sees off world's largest cruise ship in France

Saint-nazaire - Tens of thousands of people turned out Sunday in France to see off the world's biggest-ever cruise ship, the 120,000-tonne Harmony of the Seas, as it set sail for the first time.

Myanmar's 'long-necked' women hope to turn tourism into homecoming

- Wearing a stack of bronze neck coils -- a sign of beauty for her Kayan tribe -- Mu Par dreams of a time when all "long-necked" women can return to Myanmar from Thailand where they are a tourist attraction.

Poor man's game: Myanmar's grassroots golfers lead the way

Yangon - As a hard-up 10-year-old, Aung Win scrabbled for pocket money collecting balls on a parched Myanmar golf course.

In France, world's biggest cruise ship tests the waters

Saint-nazaire - Harmony of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship, set off Thursday on its first sea trial from Saint-Nazaire, western France, with just two months to go to delivery.The city's STX France shipyards began building the one-billion-euro ($1.

Colouring craze poses headache for crayon makers

Nuremberg - Colouring books for grown-ups may be the new lifestyle craze, promising ways to combat stress, unleash our creative spirit and generally take time out from our increasingly tech-frazzled, gadget-obsessed lives.

Gaza women turn heads with bike rides

Gaza - Four Palestinian women have turned heads in the Islamist-run Gaza Strip by doing what would pass unnoticed in many other places in the world: riding their bicycles.

Tourist dead in knife attack on Rio's Copacabana beach

Rio De Janeiro - An Argentine woman was killed Wednesday in a knife attack on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach, a city landmark that will be at the heart of the Olympic Games later this year."An Argentine tourist was wounded by assailants.

No mountains? Unique French ski resort runs on old slag heap

Noeux-les-mines - France's busy little ski resort of Noeux-les-Mines is also its most unusual. It has no mountains, no snow, runs all year round and is built on a decades-old slag heap.

'India's cleanest village' clings on to its serenity

- In the tiny hamlet of Mawlynnong in India's far north east, plastic is banned and spotless paths are lined with flowers -- but its reputation as Asia's cleanest village has proved a mixed blessing.

Paris New Year hotel reservations slump

Paris - Paris hotels, usually crammed with New Year revellers, have seen New Year reservations plunge 30 percent in the wake of the November 13 attacks, the head of the regional hotel union said Thursday.

Tourism chief tells Russians they do not need beach holidays

Moscow - Russia's tourism chief prompted a wave of anger on Monday by claiming there is no need for people to go abroad on beach holidays, after Moscow barred travel to Turkey and Egypt.

'Come, spend in Paris', French PM urges tourists

Paris - France's premier Tuesday urged tourists to come to Paris, spend money and enjoy the capital's cultural attractions to help boost the city in the wake of deadly jihadist attacks.

Russian tourists run out of sunny options as Turkey tensions rise

Moscow - Tensions following Turkey's downing of a Russian fighter jet have shrunk the horizon for Russian tourists in search for sunnier climes -- and for battered tour operators.

Lavrov warns citizens off travel to Turkey as cancels visit

Moscow - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday recommended against Russians travelling to Turkey and cancelled his own planned visit after Ankara shot down a Russian fighter jet.

Eiffel Tower closed for hours after intruder spotted

Paris - Paris's Eiffel Tower was closed for several hours on Sunday after an intruder with a backpack was spotted inside the iconic monument before its daily opening hours, officials said.

France evacuates 10,000 campers as Provence burns

Paris - French officials evacuated 10,000 people from three different campsites Monday as hot winds fanned fires in drought-hit Provence in the middle of the summer holiday season, officials said.

433 hot air balloons soar into the record books

Chambley-bussi - Four hundred and thirty-three hot air balloons lifted off from an air base in eastern France on Sunday and soared straight into the record books.

US team beats Iranians in Robocup football final

Bejing - A team of American humanoid robots defeated foes from Iran on Wednesday in the final of an annual football tournament for intelligent sporting machines held in China.

Hotel installs bedside switch to liberate you from the Internet

The Internet has added a whole new dimension to our lives, but many feel in the process, it has intruded into areas, physical and mental, where it does not belong — a luxury hotel is trying to restore the balance.

World's largest cruise ship takes to the water in France

Saint-nazaire - The hulking shell of the world's largest cruise ship slid into the waters off western France on Friday, with workers aiming to have it ready for a 2016 inaugural trip.

Four injured in rollercoaster ride crash in Britain

London - Four people were seriously injured when two carriages on a rollercoaster ride collided at the Alton Towers theme park in Britain on Tuesday, a spokeswoman said.

Eiffel Tower reopens after staff walk out over pickpockets

Paris - Paris's iconic Eiffel Tower was shut to tourists for several hours on Friday as staff walked off the job to protest a surge in gangs of pickpockets roaming around the monument.
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