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Last update: Sun, 07 Feb 2016 03pm

Travel

Arts & Leisure - Travel

LONDON: British police said Saturday they had recovered Chinese treasures stolen in a carefully-plotted raid on a museum. Two Qing Dynasty artefacts worth more than £2 million ($3.2 million, 2.4 million euros) in total were stolen from the Oriental Museum of Durham University in northeast England on the night of April 5. The raiders carefully chiselled through a wall, taking more than 30 minutes, then were in and out of the museum in as little as 60 seconds. Using torches, they made straight for two separate cabinets containing an 18th-century jade bowl and a Dehua porcelain figurine. The bowl dates from 1769 and has a Chinese poem written inside, while the figurine is of seven fairies in a boat and stands about 12 inches (30 centimetres) high. Despite arresting five people from the Birmingham area in the English West Midlands, police could not initially find the artefacts and alerted the ports. But a police spokeswoman said ...

Arts & Leisure - Travel

New York pay phones to get touchy feely makeover  NEW YORK: A handful of grimy New York pay phones will be reincarnated as touch-screen pads with online access to neighborhood information, the mayor's office said Monday. A pilot program starts next month that will see 250 phone booths converted to house 32-inch (81 cm) screens, instead of phones, across the city. The gadgets will be operable in several languages and aimed at tourists and residents seeking information on local restaurants, sales, or entertainmentattractions, Nicholas Sbordone, a ...

Arts & Leisure - Travel

MARSEILLE: Plans to place giant statues of the cartoon character Sponge Bob in the sea off one of France's top natural sites have been scrapped in the face of stiff local opposition. Nickelodeon, the US children's television network, wanted to place several four-metre (13-foot) statues under water off the Calanques -- deep narrow inlets noted for their biodiversity -- near the southern city of Marseille. The idea was that children would be able to see them when ...

Arts & Leisure - Travel

NATADOLA: Fiji on Sunday urged international airlines to temporarily stop flying tourists into the flood-hit South Pacific nation, as heavy rain and high winds continued to pound the country. Officials said they could not guarantee visitors' safety in the wake of flash floods that have killed at least two people and forced more than 5,000 to take shelter in evacuation centres. With roads to the international airport in Nadi cut off and extreme weather expected to continue ...

Arts & Leisure - Travel

TAIPEI: Taiwan will double its quota of independent Chinese tourists to allow up to 1,000 visitors a day, the government announced Sunday less than a year after lifting a ban on solo travel from the mainland. The move, effective from April 28, will help promote friendship and tourism, the Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council said in a statement, adding that it "to some extent, will also help stabilise and facilitate ties between the two sides of the ...