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August 10 2019
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Deutschland, Bodensee, Gastwir​tschaft Graf Zeppelin, direkt ​an der B 31, Oberschwaebische ​Barockstrasse 08.23.2014
Germany

Bier There, Done That


Germany’s Gasthöfe—the small, local bars that, like British pubs, serve as social anchors of small-town life—are dying out, victims of depopulation, social media, and Netflix.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, more than a third of the bars have closed across the country. In 2011 there were more than 16,000 country pubs; in 2017 there were fewer than 13,000.

Germany, like most Western countries, is dealing with demographic and social shifts. More and more people are leaving rural areas for cities, where they often spend more time with streaming and social media than with neighbors or friends. In addition, the generation coming of age is drinking less beer.

As Doreen Kinzel, a representative from the German Hotel and Hospitality Association (Dehoga), told The Times of London, “In good pubs, neighbors rub shoulders with local politicians, small businessmen with pensioners. That encourages them to talk to one another and strengthens the cohesion of a society.... With the loss of the pubs, a piece of cultural heritage and a certain quality of life go up in smoke. Customs such as the Frühschoppen or the post-work beer are disappearing.”

new logo
Belgium

Burning Mad


Belgian firefighters are fuming over a proposed new logo. Snuffed out would be the current badge with its traditional fire-department imagery (flames, an axe, a helmet). In its place would be a somewhat stylized flame that looks like … a heart?

Or does it?

“This looks more like a backside than a fire department logo,” one member of a trade union told a local paper, according to The Telegraph. Others complained that the emblem is “too soft” and that people would confuse them for postal workers.

Benito Mussolini's crypt, in Predappio, Italy—his birthplace—in June 2004.
Italy

He Makes the Tourists Run on Time


Eager to boost tourism, the recently elected right-wing mayor of Mussolini’s hometown of Predappio will open the former dictator’s tomb for year-round visitors. Currently, the crypt of the Fascist is accessible only three days a year—those marking his birth, his death, and the date in 1922 when he and other Fascists marched on Rome and heralded the end of democratic government. It’s on this day (October 28) that black-shirt followers wearing fezzes (the hat he favored) now descend on the small town 200 miles north of the capital.

“People planning to visit Predappio currently phone ahead, find out the tomb is shut, and don’t come,” Mayor Roberto Canali told The Times of London. “Local restaurants and shops say they are suffering.

The guest ledger in the crypt is filled with exhortations from visitors begging Mussolini, who was shot by anti-Fascists in the dying days of World War II, to return and save Italy from democratic government.

Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit to 'Mayhew' animal welfare charity, London, UK - 16 Jan 2019 - Meghan Duchess of Sussex meets "Roobarb"
U.K.

She Gives Us Paws


Fresh off her less-than-well-received stint as guest editor for British Vogue, the Duchess of Sussex is eyeing her next move in media: children’s-book author. The Times of London reports that the former Meghan Markle is working on a story inspired by her own dogs. Whether it’s a sunny story such as “Go, Dog. Go!” or something, well, less bright, no one knows. If she’s drawing from her own life, it might be a bit of a downer: when she moved to the U.K., she left her rescue dog Bogart behind.

Meanwhile, Princess Eugenie (10th in line to the throne, for those of you keeping score) appears to be more of a new-media royal. She announced on Instagram that she will host a podcast on modern slavery and human trafficking. (According to the International Labour Organization and the Walk Free Foundation, as of 2016 there were an estimated 40.3 million slaves in the world.) “Now is the time to talk about this, this is on everyone’s mind,” Eugenie said. “And if it isn’t, we will make it on their mind.”

A sprawling queue of climbers line a path up Mount Everest just below Camp 4, in Nepal. Seasoned mountaineers say the Nepal government's failure to limit the number of climbers on Everest has resulted in dangerous overcrowding and a greater number of deaths; May 22, 2019.
Seemingly Everywhere

The Summer of Over-Tourism


You may have seen the photo taken a few months ago—a crush of people on holiday, stuck, like any regular tourists, in what seemed to be an endless crawl of a queue. Except they weren’t waiting to enter the Sistine Chapel. No, these hundreds—hundreds!—of tourists were waiting to summit Mount Everest.

If you’ve been feeling that, more and more, there are fewer and fewer places you can go to get away from it all—and from them all—you are right. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, in 1950 leisure visits from one country to another numbered 25 million. By last year, that figure had risen to 1.4 billion—an increase of 5,500 percent. And in little more than a decade, it is forecast to reach 1.8 billion, with China accounting for nearly 25 percent of that number.

Locals in places that are overrun are wondering about the impact. As The Times of London reported, graffiti has appeared in Barcelona asking, “Why call it tourist season if we can’t shoot them?”

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