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US tourist fears he was hit in Cuba, years before diplomats:

January 1st, 1970

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Chris Allen's phone started buzzing as word broke that invisible attacks in Cuba had hit a U.S. government worker at Havana's Hotel Capri. Allen's friends and family had heard an eerily similar story from him before. The tourist from South Carolina had cut short his trip to Cuba two years earlier after numbness spread through all four of his limbs within minutes of climbing into bed at the same hotel where American government workers were later targeted. Those weren't the only parallels. Convinced the incidents must be related, Allen joined a growing list of private U.S.


Tourist killed by falling masonry in famous Florence church:

January 1st, 1970

MILAN (AP) — A 52-year-old tourist from Spain was killed Thursday by falling masonry in one of Florence's most famous churches, the Basilica of Santa Croce. The church, a top tourist attraction, is where Italian luminaries Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei and Niccolo Machiavelli are buried. The fatal accident raised questions about the state of Italy's considerable cultural heritage, which includes numerous aging and fragile monuments. Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, speaking from New York, said prosecutors would conduct an investigation to determine the cause and if faulty maintenance was to blame.


2-story 'Star Wars' replica in yard for Halloween is big hit:

January 1st, 1970

PARMA, Ohio (AP) — A two-story, "Star Wars"-inspired Halloween yard display in Ohio is enticing kids to get toy lightsabers and attracting hundreds of visitors from across the state. Elevator mechanic Nick Meyer, 39, spent about $1,500 and 10 hours a weekend for half a year to build a replica of the four-legged All Terrain Armored Transport, or AT-AT walker. He built it with his carpenter friend Anthony Paroda, and it's been such a success that spectators are donating money for them to build another display next year. At 19 feet, the replica is nearly as tall as Meyer's home in Parma, a Cleveland suburb.


New Yves Saint Laurent museum opens in Marrakech:

January 1st, 1970

MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) — The Yves Saint Laurent museum opened its doors to the public Thursday in Marrakech, the sunny, bustling, gritty Moroccan city beloved by the late French designer. The highly-anticipated opening comes less than three weeks since the inauguration of a museum dedicated to the fashion pioneer in his home city of Paris. The Marrakech museum, designed by the French architectural firm Studio KO, sprawls across 4,000 square meters (43,000 sq. feet) near the Majorelle Garden, which Yves Saint Laurent and his late partner Pierre Berge bought in 1980.


The Latest: Officials report progress in stopping blazes:

January 1st, 1970

PETALUMA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local): 1:50 p.m. California fire officials have reported significant progress on containing wildfires that have ravaged parts of Northern California. CalFire Deputy Chief Bret Gouvea told a news conference that firefighters were getting "good containment" around the blazes and have "stopped the forward progress and movement of all these fires." The fires that swept through parts of seven counties starting Oct. 8 were the deadliest and most destructive series of blazes in California history. At least 42 people died, 6,000 homes were lost, and at the height of the blazes about 100,000 people were evacuated. About 22,000 people remain under evacuation orders.


Monument of love, the Taj Mahal, at heart of political storm:

January 1st, 1970

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — India's famed monument of love, the white marble Taj Mahal, is finding itself at the heart of a political storm, with some members of the country's ruling Hindu right-wing party claiming that the mausoleum built by a Muslim emperor does not reflect Indian culture. The most recent attack came this week when Sangeet Som, a lawmaker from the Bharatiya Janata Party, called the 17th century monument "a blot on Indian culture" that was built by "traitors." But Som wasn't the first to attack the mausoleum that Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built in the northern city of Agra in memory of his favorite wife.


Wildfires worsen housing crunch in famously costly Bay Area:

January 1st, 1970

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — Even before fire wiped out the home she rented for 17 years, Suzanne Finzell had thought about leaving this city on the edge of the San Francisco Bay Area because of rising prices. A spike in housing and other living costs had driven her friends to Nevada and Oregon. Now, Finzell wonders if that will be her fate too, as the wildfires that charred California wine country send thousands of people who lost their homes scrambling for new places to live in one of the nation's tightest and most expensive housing markets. Before the fires, the rental vacancy rate was a mere 1 percent in Santa Rosa and 3 percent in surrounding Sonoma County. Then the city lost an estimated 5 percent of its housing stock to the flames.


Q-and-A: A look at most recent travel ban rulings:

January 1st, 1970

SEATTLE (AP) — So far, the third time isn't the charm for President Donald Trump's travel ban. As with his previous two attempts to bar travelers from certain predominantly Muslim nations from entering the United States, his Travel Ban 3.0 has run into an immediate buzz saw in the courts. Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked it in rulings Tuesday and Wednesday, just before it was due to take effect. The judges found that Trump's third travel ban appears impermissibly discriminatory, does not appear to have a legitimate national security purpose and violates U.S. immigration law. And once again, the judges also found that Trump's own public statements, on Twitter and elsewhere, have only hurt his case.


The quest to visit all 50 states: How many have you seen?:

January 1st, 1970

NEW YORK (AP) — I recently reached a goal that I've been working on for most of my life: I visited all 50 states. And I've been surprised by how many others I know who have been on the very same quest. "We're seeing more and more people with this goal," said Alicia Rovey, founder of the All Fifty States Club, in an interview for AP Travel's "Get Outta Here!" podcast. "It seems like any room you go in, there's at least one person that is trying to get to all 50." What's behind the trend? Gas is cheap. The 50-state bucket list appeals to all age groups, from millennials who love to travel, to folks who travel a lot for work, to empty nesters and retirees with time for road trips. For Americans, traveling around the U.S.


Provocative sculpture rejected by Louvre finds new home:

January 1st, 1970

PARIS (AP) — A huge sculpture deemed too obscene for the regal gardens of the Louvre Museum has found a new home at Paris' edgier Pompidou Center. The art work was unveiled Tuesday in front of the Pompidou modern art museum. The piece, made of cubical containers, suggests an abstract pair having sex. Artist Joep Van Lieshout told The Associated Press his sculpture, titled "Domestikator," is meant to represent the domestication of the Earth by humans and the evolution of robotics and big data. The work was meant to be displayed during a contemporary art festival in the Tuileries Gardens, adjacent to the Louvre.


Portuguese minister resigns over 106 wildfire deaths:

January 1st, 1970

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — The Portuguese minister in charge of emergency services resigned Wednesday after 106 people were killed in unprecedented wildfires this year in the Iberian nation. The European Union's Emergency Management Service, meanwhile, says the area burned by wildfires this year in Portugal is the largest on record for the nation, more than six times the annual average for the last eight years. Interior Minister Constanca Urbano de Sousa tendered her resignation and Prime Minister Antonio Costa accepted it, the government announced. In a resignation letter published on the government website, Urbano de Sousa said she wanted to quit after 64 people were killed in a June wildfire, but Costa asked her to stay.


Virginia Creeper Trail invites bikers to take it easy:

January 1st, 1970

DAMASCUS, Virginia (AP) — It was an invitation even teenagers who had hoped to be watching college football or playing video games couldn't resist: a mountain bike ride — all downhill. Visitors to the Virginia Creeper Trail will find a remarkably family-friendly ride, adaptable to any skill level, and with scenery to hold anyone's attention. With its broad paths and wide curves, the Creeper encourages riders to take it at any comfortable pace, with plenty of opportunities for breaks along the way. The trail runs about 34 miles (55 km) from Whitetop Station in Whitetop, Virginia (about a mile or 1.6 km shy of the North Carolina border) into Abingdon, Virginia.


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Nomadic Gatherings - Travels in Asia and Australia
Nomadic Gatherings

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