Big in Japan: country’s tallest skyscraper opens in Tokyo

Japan’s new tallest building opened in Tokyo on Friday, taking the title from an Osaka skyscraper. The 330-metre-high Azabudai Hills Mori JP Tower is not Japan’s highest structure, which is still the Tokyo Skytree, a broadcasting and observation tower in the capital’s east, which stands at 634 metres. But it does have a 30-metre advantage over the Abeno Harukas building in Osaka, previously Japan’s tallest building. The JP Tower and its surrounding facilities have an […]

Venice to launch tourist tickets in 2024

Venice announced on Thursday that it would introduce a fee for day tourists to enter the city’s overcrowded historic centre on 29 days next year as it seeks to come to grips with overtourism. Day visitors will need to pay five euros ($5.45) to enter the city centre between 8:30 am to 4:00 pm during the peak tourist season from April 25 to May 5. The fee will also apply for the rest of the […]

120 incubator babies at risk after Israel cuts Gaza fuel: UN

By Rosie Scammell The lives of at least 120 newborn babies on incubators in war-torn Gaza’s hospitals are at risk as fuel runs out in the besieged enclave, the UN children’s agency warned Sunday. More than 1,750 children have already been killed by Israeli strikes launched against the Gaza Strip in retaliation for the October 7 Hamas attacks, according to the Palestinian territory’s health ministry. Hospitals face a dire lack of medicines, fuel and water […]

How a Bronze Age rock became a ‘treasure map’ for researchers

By Antoine AGASSE LEUHAN, France, Oct 17, 2023 (AFP) – A piece of rock with mysterious markings that lay largely unstudied for 4,000 years is now being hailed as a “treasure map” for archaeologists, who are using it to hunt for ancient sites around north-western France. The so-called Saint-Belec slab was claimed as Europe’s oldest map by researchers in 2021 and they have been working ever since to understand its etchings — both to help […]

Japan’s Mount Fuji ‘screaming’ from too many tourists

By Mathias CENA With its millions of visitors every year and the buses, supply trucks, noodle shops and fridge magnets, Japan’s Mount Fuji is no longer the peaceful pilgrimage site it once was. Now authorities have had enough, saying the number of hikers trekking up the world-famous volcano — night and day — is dangerous and an ecological embarrassment. “Mount Fuji is screaming,” the governor of the local region said last week. Hailing its religious […]

Australia cites ‘invasive’ searches in Qatar Airways rejection

Australia’s government Thursday cited Qatar’s “invasive” searches of women air passengers three years ago as a factor in its decision to block extra flights by the nation’s airline. Women passengers on a series of Qatar Airways flights from Doha — including one bound for Sydney — were subjected to gynaecological examinations in October 2020 as the authorities searched for the mother of a newborn baby found in an airport bathroom. The women had been escorted […]

Musk says cage fight with Zuckerberg will be in Italy

WASHINGTON, Aug 12, 2023 (AFP) – Elon Musk said Friday that his much-hyped cage fight with Mark Zuckerberg would take place in Italy, as authorities there confirmed talks about hosting a “great charity event.” While any showdown between the two tech titans has yet to be officially confirmed, Musk said on his X social media platform — formerly known as Twitter — that arrangements were advancing. “I spoke to the PM of Italy and Minister […]

Archaeologists uncover Europe’s oldest stilt village

By Briseida MEMA LIN, Albania, Aug 11, 2023 (AFP) – Beneath the turquoise waters of Lake Ohrid, the “Pearl of the Balkans”, scientists have uncovered what may be one of Europe’s earliest sedentary communities, and are trying to solve the mystery of why it sheltered behind a fortress of defensive spikes. A stretch of the Albanian shore of the lake once hosted a settlement of stilt houses some 8,000 years ago, archaeologists believe, making it […]

Belgium canal city of Bruges hits ‘red line’ with tourist crowds

BRUGES, Belgium, Aug 5, 2023 (AFP) – Inhabitants of Belgium’s cobblestone-and-canal city of Bruges are clear: summertime tourism has hit capacity. “It’s really reached a red line now,” says one, 55-year-old architect Arnout Goegebuer, as he sits inside a cafe, peering out a window across a packed outside terrace. “We don’t need more tourists anymore, it’s enough — maybe a little bit less” is needed, he says. It’s a sentiment reiterated by other residents of […]

Ancient Egypt artists altered their work, study shows

By Juliette COLLEN PARIS, July 12, 2023 (AFP) – From subtly shifting the position of Ramses II’s sceptre, to touch-ups on a necklace or headdress, ancient Egyptian artists were more creative than previously thought, according to a study published Wednesday. Using new portable imaging and chemical analysis techniques, an international team of scientists took a fresh look at paintings in the Valley of the Kings — a royal burial ground for pharaohs and other ancient […]

Pakistani mountaineer races rivals, hunts funds to chase summit record

By Deva LEE Pictures by Amna Yaseen, Video by Faisal Satti LAHORE, Pakistan, July 10, 2023 (AFP) – Pakistani mountaineer Shehroze Kashif faces sub-zero temperatures and biting winds in his race to scale the world’s highest peaks, but his biggest challenge is finding the money. Kashif, 21, aims this year to become the youngest person to climb every peak above 8,000 metres (26,247 feet), all of which are in Asia, with five in Pakistan. Summiting […]

UNESCO condemns bombing of ‘historic building’ in Lviv

PARIS, July 6, 2023 (AFP) – UNESCO on Thursday condemned the bombing of a historic building in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv and expressed “its sincere condolences” to the families of five victims. “This attack, the first to take place in an area protected by the World Heritage Convention since the outbreak of the war on 24 February 2022, is a violation of this Convention,” the UN cultural agency said. UNESCO added that the […]