World Travel Watch: Flesh Fines in France, Medical Tourism Risks in South Asia and More
World Travel Watch: Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news
08.18.10 | 12:22 PM ET
World Travel Watch is a weekly report designed to help you make informed judgments about travel. Conditions can change overnight, so always make your own inquiries before you leave home. The U.S. State Department and embassies or consulates are good places to start.
France: Going Shirtless Can Cost $49
The “no shirt, no service” creed so familiar in the U.S. has cropped up in France, with inland communities beginning to follow the lead of famous beach resort towns by banning shirtlessness or other excessive displays of flesh. Towns such as Cannes and St. Tropez have long had rules against bikini and swimsuit attire away from the beaches, and now Perpignan in Pyrénées-Orientales and Cavaillon in Provence have laws in place to protect “human dignity” and “decency.” Violators can be fined up to 38 euros ($49). Paris has long had a law on the books that requires “decency of dress and behavior,” but enforcement there comes without a fine.
Northern Ireland: Belfast Thugs Attack “Peace” Bus
Three German teenagers were injured when thugs attacked their bus on a cross-community project to bridge the divide between east and west Belfast. The youths were among a group of 40 out for a night of fun and cultural understanding when their bus’ windows were smashed by a gang hurling bricks and bottles. They were cut by broken glass and two were treated for shock. The attack took place near Tullycarnet estate in east Belfast.
South Asia: Medical Tourists Bring Home Antibiotic-Resistant Bacterial Infections
Twenty-nine U.K. medical tourists to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have returned from their surgeries with a bacterial infection resistant to all but one or two antibiotics, including the “last resort” antibiotics commonly used against resistant strains. These infections involved common bacteria that had acquired a gene that gave them resistance to current drugs. These strains are now widespread in South Asia but have also been found in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Sweden and the Netherlands. While the number of infections is small, medical authorities are concerned that the resistant strains will spread quickly throughout the world via medical tourism.
Spain: Jellyfish Swarm Costa Blanca
The Costa Blanca was hit by a swarm of jellyfish that prompted authorities to close several beaches after some 700 people were stung by the “mauve stinger.” The creatures are almost impossible to see in the water and their stings are very painful.
Turkey: Istanbul, Other Cities Unprepared for Major Earthquakes
A study conducted by three universities showed that Istanbul is woefully unprepared for a major earthquake 11 years after the 7.6 magnitude Marmara earthquake killed nearly 17 000 people and caused billions of dollars in damage. According to the report, an earthquake measuring at least 7.0 would destroy 20 000 buildings, damage another 200 000 and kill 200-300 000 people. Buildings constructed before 1999 need to be retrofitted to strengthen them against earthquakes, and newer construction is also suspect because of corruption and lax enforcement of building standards. The problem is not confined to Istanbul; similar risks exist in many Turkish cities.