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GO NZ: An interesting alternative to popular attractions in New Zealand | Instant News

Stonehenge Aotearoa is a full-scale adaptation of Stonehenge – and a stargazer’s paradise. Photo / Stonehenge Aotearoa.

While previously redundant tourist destinations are becoming more attractive and accessible to the average Kiwi with international borders closed, that doesn’t mean we won’t be competing for space in the busy summer months. Everyone has the same agenda, which means it’s also time to consider alternatives. Of course, there are some experiences – like traversing the volcanic landscape of Tongariro Crossing, or having a cool drink at Hobbiton’s Green Dragon Inn – that just can’t be duplicated.

But others can. If you do a little research, you’ll find that many of New Zealand’s popular attractions have lesser-known partners and are often cheaper. Here are six close siblings of some must-do activities in the country.

Explore shallow hot pools on the fine black volcanic sand at Kawhia hot springs.  Photo / Sally Jackson.
Explore shallow hot pools on the fine black volcanic sand at Kawhia hot springs. Photo / Sally Jackson.

Dig your private spa in the sand

An hour south of Raglan, Kawhia is a quiet seaside village with a harbor full of peas, oysters and mussels. It’s also where you’ll find one of the lesser known hot spring beaches. (Yes, there is more than one.)

The drill is exactly the same as in the Coromandel. At low tide, drive to the end of Ocean Beach Rd, where you’ll find a black, soulless beach above. You have to bring your own shovel. Watch for signs of steam rising from the sand and start digging. Once you reach the hot springs of Te Puia Springs, soak in the knowledge that somewhere across the island, lots of people are screaming for the same thing.

Try one of the world’s best burgers

Oh, Fergburger. Even if you’ve never seen the queues for this Queenstown institution, you’ve probably read blog posts or articles all about the burgers: how juicy the meat is, how tender the bread is and how amazing it is. it’s open for almost 21 hours a day.

What they don’t get romantic about, however, is how long you have to wait in line. If you are too hungry to wait in line, all you need to do is head over to the Devil Burger. Offering a similar product, at the same price, that is what the locals are for.

Seeing kiwis anywhere is special, but conditions on Kapiti Island increase your chances.  Photo / Provided.
Seeing kiwis anywhere is special, but conditions on Kapiti Island increase your chances. Photo / Provided.

Find kiwi in the wild

Thanks to its remote location and difficult sea crossings to get there, Rakiura (Stewart Island) remains relatively flawless compared to other popular tourist destinations. However, it is still struggling under the load of attractive visitors; pre-pandemic, about 44,000 people were visited per year. That’s about 111 tourists for each resident.

The island’s main attraction is the rare opportunity to see kiwis in the wild. It’s home to around 13,000 of New Zealand’s 68,000 kiwi, and the subspecies that live here can sometimes even be seen during the day for insects by the beach.

The catch? If seeing kiwi is your only goal, travel long distances without the guarantee you’ll see it.

Alternatively, there are a number of fenced predator-free shelters on the North Island and South Island that offer nighttime kiwi tours, including Wellington’s Zealandia and Waikato’s Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari. But the two hour tour presents a very limited window of time for viewing elusive birds, which is why it is so worthwhile to spend a night on Kāpiti Island.

This predator-free island is home to around 1,400 tiny looking kiwis, presenting one of the most reliable opportunities to spot them. Starting at $ 395 per adult ($ 230 per child), Kāpiti Island Nature Tours kiwi-sightseeing packages include transportation, accommodation in a glamping tent or cabin, and guided night tours.

Mount Aspiring National Park offers some of the most impressive walks in the country.  Photo / Provided
Mount Aspiring National Park offers some of the most impressive walks in the country. Photo / Provided

Hike one of New Zealand’s iconic walks

When Lonely Planet released its Ultimate Travel List earlier this month, 13 Kiwi destinations qualified, with Fiordland National Park topping the 29th position.Most visitors opt to take a boat tour through Milford Sound, but that area came first. undeniably the Milford Track. One of New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks, dubbed “the world’s best walk,” takes hikers through valleys carved by glaciers, past ancient rainforests and cascading waterfalls.

However, its reputation means it’s expensive (the hut costs $ 70 per person per night alone) and very difficult to book. Earlier this year, spots on track for the 2020-2021 season were almost sold out within 10 minutes of opening the booking system.

However, even though there are only 10 “Great Streets” in New Zealand, there are dozens of “great roads.”

The closest connection to the Milford Track is the Gillespie Pass Circuit, a 58 km loop best suited for experienced hikers with river crossing skills. Located near Mount Aspiring National Park, it also takes four days, reaches an altitude of 1,600 meters, and has serviced lodges along the way. And on publication, reservations are still available for the hut (only $ 20) during the holiday period.

On a Lake District Adventures nighttime kayaking tour, you'll paddle along the shores of Lake Karapiro to see glowworms.  Photo / Provided.
On a Lake District Adventures nighttime kayaking tour, you’ll paddle along the shores of Lake Karapiro to see glowworms. Photo / Provided.

Experience the magic of collecting glowworms

Waitomo is not the only place where large numbers of glowworms gather. For a cheap and fun version of the same, you can head to the DOC-run Waipū Caves in Northland, which are completely free to access.

If you don’t want to stray far from Waitomo and be in it for glowworms (not caves) sign up for the Lake District Adventures night kayaking tour ($ 109). On a four hour sunset excursion, you will paddle along the shores of Lake Karapiro. As dark falls, you’ll drift silently on the Pokaiwhenua Stream, your path only lighted by glow worms. The effect is very subtle, and with fewer people, your oar hitting the water is the only sound you’ll hear.

Stargazing in the Dark Sky Nature Reserve

Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve is an area known for its low levels of light pollution and many nights with bright stars. Currently, it may be the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere – but it won’t last long. Wairarapa is currently preparing to become the world’s largest Dark Sky Reserve, a designation which is expected to come later this year.

This is where you can experience some of the most unique and personalized astronomy tours in the country. For example, Becky Bateman of the local Under the Stars will bring her telescope straight to your accommodation. Then there’s Stonehenge Aotearoa, a full-scale adaptation of Stonehenge. If you show up on Friday or Saturday at 8:30 p.m., you’ll have the opportunity to look through the telescope and learn how the structure works. General admission is $ 15.

For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, visit newzealand.com


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Pakistan considers ban on TikTok for ‘vulgar content’ | Instant News

ISLAMABAD – While the US has threatened to ban Chinese video-sharing app TikTok and India has shut it down, Pakistan – ostensibly China’s all-weather friend – can cancel it. But not for reasons of privacy and data security, but because of “immoral content”.

Pakistan’s Information Minister Shibli Faraz recently told the media that Prime Minister Imran Khan believes that social media apps, especially TikTok, should be banned as they undermine social values.

The remarks came two days after the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, the government regulator, said it approached TikTok, owned by Beijing technology giant ByteDance, to remove “vulgar, indented, immoral and nude content” for viewing domestically and warned that the action will be performed. taken the opposite.

The PTA issued a final warning to TikTok on July 21 over concerns about “immoral” content, while Bigo Live – a less popular Singaporean app – was temporarily blocked for the same reason.

TikTok has become a worldwide sensation with video clips of 15 to 60 seconds in length. In Pakistan, it has become the third most downloaded app after WhatsApp and Facebook, generating 4.6 million downloads this year, according to market research firm Sensor Tower.

Good friends, but different values ​​?: Prime Minister Khan shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping in April 2019 in Beijing. © Getty Images

However, the PTA is under pressure after receiving more than 500 complaints, mostly obscenity based. In July, a Punjab provincial lawmaker submitted a resolution in the legislature to ban TikTok nationwide while several residents asked for the same provincial court.

“The regulators have not finalized any decisions regarding the ban and TikTok has blocked more than 93,000 accounts in Pakistan for having offensive content,” a PTA official told Nikkei Asia, who requested anonymity due to the government’s ban on speaking to the media.

But analysts believe that complaints of obscenity are primarily directed at women who use the platform to express beliefs that deeply patriarchal societies dislike. Islamabad banned Tinder, Grindr and three other dating apps on September 2 for spreading “immoral content.”

The Khan-led government has recently come under strong criticism for the alleged gang rape of a mother traveling with her children on a highway in Punjab province earlier last month. Additionally, a girl in the eastern city of Lahore was allegedly gang-raped in July by three men, including a “friend” she met on TikTok.

The dating app Tinder – along with Grindr and three other similar apps – has been banned by Islamabad for spreading “immoral content.” © Reuters

Usama Khilji, director of Bolo Bhi, a digital rights group based in Islamabad, said banning TikTok for being “vulgar” distracted public attention from the government’s own failure to protect women from sexual violence.

“On the one hand, the government is promoting the digital face of Pakistan, but how will this work under the threat of a ban?” Khilji asks Nikkei. “Banning TikTok will not only hinder the development of Pakistan’s digital economy, but also reduce freedom of expression, increase censorship and reduce digital rights.”

TikTok and other similar apps have faced strong backlash in Pakistan and other conservative Islamic countries such as Bangladesh, mainly because of “blasphemous” content, analysts say.

Blasphemy is a very sensitive and inflammatory issue in Pakistan compared to other Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, said Muhammed Israr Madani, head of the International Research Council for Religious Affairs, an Islamabad-based think tank.

Pakistan previously banned Facebook for hosting allegedly blasphemous content for two weeks in 2010, while YouTube was unavailable from 2012 to 2016 due to an amateur film about the Prophet Muhammad causing global unrest. “In Pakistan, individuals are often accused of blasphemy because of content posted on social media and therefore technology companies need to be more careful about free speech and the country’s anti-blasphemy laws,” Madani told Nikkei.

However, not all Muslim-majority countries feel the same way as Islamabad.

In Indonesia, Tiktok and other similar apps are subject to anti-pornography laws. The communications ministry said it blocked 591 TikTok posts in 2018, mostly for “vulgar clothing.” However Jakarta does not plan to ban the app due to privacy or questionable content.

“Indonesia continues to follow policies taken by other countries regarding the TikTok ban for security reasons. But Indonesia will not take similar steps just because other countries are doing it,” Grata Werdaningtyas, director of international security and disarmament at the foreign ministry, told reporters. last month. “In general, as long as there is no evidence of violation of the law in Indonesia, social media applications can continue to operate in Indonesia.”

For Pakistan, China’s close ally and core partner of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, proposing a TikTok ban is more surprising, especially when India and the US have targeted the app, experts say.

TikTok US headquarters in California: The company may be forced to shut down its American operations if Trump wants to. © Reuters

Days after border clashes between India and China that killed at least 20 Indian soldiers, New Delhi banned TikTok in July among other Chinese apps due to data security concerns.

Citing India’s move, US President Donald Trump issued an order in August that would effectively ban TikTok and WeChat, another Chinese app, from the American market due to national security concerns. A federal judge in Washington, however, temporarily suspended the ban on September 28, just hours before the ban was put into effect.

Meanwhile, Beijing has banned Twitter, YouTube, Google and Facebook, and restricted access in China to foreign news and information.

“Pakistan will not interfere with China by banning TikTok at a time when Beijing has tense relations with Washington and New Delhi,” Raees Ahmed, a Karachi-based academic who focuses on Sino-Pakistan relations, told Nikkei.

Instead, Pakistan has been pressuring TikTok to remove inappropriate content – especially those related to blasphemy – which has caused security problems in the country, Ahmed said.

“Proposing a TikTok ban will not harm Sino-Pakistani relations as Islamabad is taking cues from Beijing to control the free flow of information,” Bolo Bhi’s Khilji also added.

Additional reporting by Erwida Maulia in Jakarta.


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Durbin Discusses Withdrawal of Troops from Germany, Covid-19 Testing with the Minister of Defense | Instant News

Durbin Discusses Withdrawal of Troops from Germany, Testing Covid-19 with the Minister of Defense | RiverBender.com


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Japan Should Consider Relaxing COVID-19 Travel Ban | Instant News

Dr. Nancy Snow is Pax Mundi Professor (World Peace) of Public Diplomacy at the University of Foreign Studies in Kyoto. As heat rises in July in Japan, international impatience will also heat up above the national border of Japan. From the outside, there does not seem to be a rational plan to ease the travel ban. On July 1, Japan added 18 more countries to its ban, which now totals 129. It was first implemented on April 3, and in the past three months, the ban has placed foreign nationals holding a Japanese work visa in a COVID-19 waiting game, able to leave but unable to return. Basically, Japan’s travel ban model makes sense to prevent the arrival of new case. But the international grunts against the travel ban in Japan are not surprising, especially on the American side of the Pacific. The powerful lobby of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan has appealed to Japan to emulate its allies from the Group of Seven and ease travel restrictions, without adding more countries to its blacklist. It is too expensive to close. Even if foreign tourists to Japan are the lowest priority under the travel ban, they will ultimately be welcomed. In 2019, foreign tourists spent a record 4.8 trillion yen ($ 45 billion) in Japan. Japan has tentatively announced easing restrictions for business travelers such as executives and engineers, but only in a few other Asian countries deemed safe. What is the reason why the Japanese government prioritizes foreign businessmen over foreign students? Are people in the corporate category less likely to be infected? It sends the wrong message to the world that Japan will offer white glove treatment to those who are most likely to be successful in recharging the Japanese economy. Those who don’t promote global trade, like mass tourists or international exchange students, must feel like passengers under the bridge, but they contribute to the economy if not more, with their enthusiasm for all of Japan . Their role as intercultural citizen ambassadors should not be taken lightly: the same day that Japan extended its travel ban from 18 countries, the EU lifted travel restrictions in 15 countries before the traditional holiday season summer. The Louvre, the world’s most visited museum, emerged from a four-month lockdown with a capacity of one-fifth on July 6. Visitors need masks and floor markers to keep everyone at a safe distance. The world is slowly welcoming foreign visitors. Louvre reopens after a four-month lockdown on July 6: Visitors need masks and markers on the ground to keep everyone at bay. © Sipa / APJapan should not consider the global community as a threat, only the coronavirus. The government of Japan needs to work with the scientific and public health sectors to develop a safety-focused plan that includes PCR testing, a 14-day auto-quarantine, and mandatory contact tracking apps for its movements. for a country to ask incoming visitors to sign a commitment to meet pandemic cultural norms and requirements within the country – masks and avoiding handshakes are among them. This is what respectful customers do when they are at someone else’s home. The reality for Japan is that it cannot afford to be closed for business, education or tourism for too long. Every country in the world knows this. The novel coronavirus is that uninvited guest who shows up and doesn’t leave when asked. Life goes on and the coronavirus goes hand in hand with varying rates of infection and mortality Since March 11, 2020, when the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus epidemic a pandemic, we have been living with what seems to be a global nightmare. It is reasonable that Japan is a model of slowing down with the reopening of its borders. But he also needs to keep his eyes on the prize – beating the virus, not the person. With proper guidance, personal accountability, and cluster tracing, he can reopen not only for business class, but also for leisure and leisure. ‘education. .

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