In brief: A round-up of today's news
Maternity tourism investigated, an expat in Japan explains his choice to stay, the trailer for Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" debuts and more. Here are the top stories that travellers are buzzing about:
Postcard from Japan
Fear is mounting regarding radiation dangers in Japan, with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan declaring a state of maximum alert earlier today because of the Fukushima nuclear plant. And while most foreigners are catching flights back home, Japan transplant Matt Alt, a New Yorker staff writer, explains why he has remained in the country. He conveys a snapshot of current life in Japan, beyond the headlines, for both expatriates and native Japanese.
Investigating maternity tourism
Earlier this month, officials in California closed a residence in California housing "maternity tourists", women who travel to give birth on US soil, stay for a stint and then return to their home countries with their US citizen newborns. Though immigration experts say it is impossible to pinpoint numbers regarding maternity tourism, companies in countries including China, Mexico and South Korea sell maternity tourism packages for tens of thousands of dollars, the New York Times reported.
Look like Will and Kate, win free flights
European flight operator easyJet announced yesterday a Will and Kate look-a-like contest, for which the ultimate prize for lucky genes is a year of free flights on the carrier. The deadline to submit an entry photo is 10 April, and people of all nationalities are welcome to take part.
Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" trailer debuts
The last European city to receive a cinematographic love letter from famed director Woody Allen was Barcelona, and now it is Paris's turn. Allen wrote and directed the film, which premieres in New York and Los Angeles on 20 May and stars Rachel McAdams and Owen Wilson. (It also includes a cameo from French First Lady Carla Bruni.) The romantic comedy centres on the young, amorous couple, according to EW.com, and the discovery of a late-night haunt with all the charms, seduction and mystery expected of Paris.
We scour Twitter and republish a standout travel tweet.
Rockefeller Plaza is amaz....wait...OMG! Tina Fey totally just walked by me! HUUUUGE FAN! #snakeonthetown
A poisonous Egyptian cobra went missing from the Bronx Zoo on Friday. Yesterday, someone seized the opportunity to make the getaway reptile a Twitter account, tweeting messages about freedom and sightseeing all over New York City, from classic spots like Ray's Pizza to the high-grassed High Line (which included a gratuitous joke about spotting nudity in the neighbouring Standard Hotel).
Eleven hours after the first tweet on the account, the cobra had more than 20,000 followers; even @Bergdorfs was tweeting at the cobra. The escaped snake tauntingly follows only one account: @TheBronxZoo, the zoo's official account.