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TRAVEL NEWS AND BRIEFS

Visa Needs Reduced by French Authorities

June 25, 1989

New visa requirements for U.S. travelers heading for France and French travelers coming to the United States will go into effect on Saturday. As of that date, visas no longer will be required for either nation for visits of three months or less. However, visas still are required for students, researchers, journalists and those planning to work or remain for more than 90 days.

Baghdad will soon be getting a new landmark that seems sure to become an attraction for visitors with time on their hands.

A 167-foot clock tower is rising in the city's Harithiya district, overlooking the highway connecting downtown Baghdad with the airport.

The tower will house a $45-million clock, featuring gold-plated hands and a 141-foot pendulum, according to the Iraqi News Agency.

At the base of the tower will be a museum, shopping mall, restaurants and conference halls. The ground floor of the building will be reserved for statues depicting major events in the life of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Surrounding the building will be 23 water fountains, lawns and rose gardens.

Delta Air Lines will begin nonstop service between Los Angeles and San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 1. The flights, which originate in San Francisco, will leave Los Angeles at 8:30 p.m. on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Also on July 1, Delta will begin service between Long Beach and Salt Lake City, with flights leaving Long Beach at 8:40 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily. Return flights depart Salt Lake City at 2:56 and 8:56 p.m.

Visitors to Rome are likely to be seeing a little more of the works in the Sistine Chapel, which has been under restoration since 1980.

Vatican art restorers want to strip the loincloths from many figures in Michelangelo's "The Last Judgment."

"Many of the veils that cover the nudity . . . will probably be removed," Fabrizio Mancinelli, director of Vatican restoration work, recently told the Roman Catholic magazine 30 Days.

Michelangelo painted the main altar wall containing "The Last Judgment" between 1536 and 1541. Scandalized by the nudes, Pope Pius IV two decades later ordered artist Daniele da Volterra to paint loincloths on some of the figures.

Mancinelli said da Volterra's paintings would be too difficult to remove because they are frescoes, and only the additional loincloths added in the late 17th and 18th centuries will be erased, the magazine said.

A detailed guide on what to do and where to stay and eat in Las Vegas, the "Las Vegas Advisor Recommendations," is available.

The four-page publication, updated monthly, includes weather information, toll-free casino telephone numbers and a price list for shows.

Sample copies can be ordered for $2; an annual subscription is $20. Write to Huntington Press, P.O. Box 28041, Las Vegas, Nev. 89126.

Vacationers risk spending more time waiting at airports than in the air this summer as Europe's air traffic congestion worsens, the Assn. of European Airlines (AEA) said. The association groups 21 scheduled airlines.

The report said 23.7% of short- and medium-distance flight departures were delayed for more than 15 minutes in April, the worst rate ever.

"The rate at which delays have been increasing in Europe is a clear warning that the crisis in our congested skies is constantly deepening," the AEA said.

The AEA blames the delays largely on lack of coordination between national air traffic control systems. It is campaigning for the creation of a common system across Europe.

For the first time, Michelin road maps of Europe are available in one full-color volume, titled the "Michelin Road Atlas of Europe."

The atlas includes such features as a summary of driving regulations for 34 countries, distance tables for 72 cities, popular itineraries, detailed plans of 70 urban centers and an index of 30,000 names and places.

The 9 1/4-by-12-inch, heavy-duty, soft-cover atlas sells for $19.95.

El Al, the Israeli airline, has moved its corporate offices to 120 West 45th St., 18th Floor, New York 10036. The phone is (212) 852-0600.

The Durango & Silverton narrow-gauge railroad in Colorado is running as scheduled through Oct. 29, despite a February fire that destroyed its roundhouse, which housed six steam locomotives and a machine shop.

The railroad, a National Historic Landmark, travels through remote wilderness areas of San Juan National Forest, following the Animas River to Silverton. The area is only accessible by rail, horseback or on foot.

Make reservations through the ticket office in Durango: (303) 247-2733.

Air New Zealand is offering "Magic Fares" of $798 round trip from the West Coast to Auckland, and $898 from the West Coast to Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne, Australia. The fares, which involve some restrictions, are good through Aug. 31.

The airline also is offering a $99 round-trip fare from Los Angeles to Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch to children 15 and under accompanied by a relative or legal guardian. The fare is good through Aug. 31 and restrictions apply. For more information, call toll-free (800) 262-1218.

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