Every Friday, we help you navigate the week’s most important and interesting travel news stories.

Stories we're watching closely

Earlier this week, a solar storm -- reported to be the worst in years -- prompted concerns about disruptions to air travel, power grids and communications. But the storm and its subsequent consequences were less severe than expected, National Geographic reports. [MSNBC]

Amazing things that should happen more often

One highly viral item this week was a video of travellers and locals pulling beached dolphins back out to sea, rescuing them from floundering on the shore of a Rio de Janeiro beach. The video was shot by two vacationing Germans. [BBC]

Westminster Abbey cracked the list for Britain’s top-visited sites in 2011. The sacred location, which was the site of Will and Kate’s royal wedding, received a 36% boost in visitors from 2010. [The Telegraph]

Ready for takeoff
All set to go, but too soon to tell what’s ahead

11 March is the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan. An inspiring set of interactive before-and-after photographs has us in awe of the resilience and spirit of the Japanese people who have been rebuilding and recovering. [NPR]

Lawmakers in Costa Rica are passing extensive anti-smoking laws in a country where about 14% of the populace lights up. A bill last week banned smoking in public places, including bus and taxi stops, public buildings, restaurants and bars. [GlobalPost]

The US Department of Homeland Security released a report stating that the X-Ray scanners used in airport security are safe, based on research and interviews with scientists. Last November, however, Europe banned X-Ray scanners, citing concern for citizens’ health.  [Time]

The Federal Aviation Administration predicted the number of airline passengers will hit 1.2 billion by 2032, nearly doubling from 2011. The jump is expected to occur in spite of rising fuel prices and a sluggish economy. [USA Today]

Hold on folks, we’re in for a rocky ride

Eyes are on London for this summer’s Olympics, but preparations for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro also are underway. But the New York Times reports that some of the plans, namely the development of the Olympic park, which is displacing one of the city’s flavelas, are encountering resistance. [The New York Times]

The vision of saving up money and wanderlust to travel during retirement might seem less doable, as travel insurance for people with certain health conditions is set to increase up to 90% annually in many parts of Europe and the US. The change is associated with the rising costs of medical care.  [Telegraph]

It’s a no-go

USA Today reported on a survey from LivingSocial that found Americans to be the worst-behaved travellers. The most interesting fact is that 4,000 of the 5,600 respondents are from the US. Perhaps more vacation days would encourage better travelling practices. [USA Today]

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