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India to Close Factories Near Polluted Taj Mahal

September 05, 1993|KIM UPTON

India's Supreme Court has ordered the closure of 212 factories near the Taj Mahal in an effort to protect the famous 17th-Century complex in Agra from pollution, which is thought to be dimming its white marble luster. Sulfur fumes from foundries and smoke from private power generators in the industrial belt nearby are likely culprits. The Taj, essentially an elaborate tomb built by a Mogul emperor for his wife, has become the unofficial symbol of India. The court said the industries surrounding the Taj had failed to meet government demands to install pollution control devices. Air samples taken around the Taj, 120 miles south of New Delhi, were found to contain as much as eight times the permissible quantities of suspended particles. The factory closures will throw thousands of people out of work.

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Travel Quiz: In terms of population, what is the largest city in Africa?

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Hungarian Statue Park: On Sept. 15, Budapest will officially open a new outdoor statue park--this one dedicated to socialist art and Communism's fallen heroes. Lenin, Marx and Engles guard the entrance of the park, southwest of town. A total of 42 statues and busts trace Hungary's Communist history within the perimeters of the 1.3-acre park. Military heroes, political leaders and examples of socialist realism, such as statues celebrating factory workers, are housed within the park, which is about a 15-minute taxi ride from the center of town. The park opened several weeks ago, but the finishing touches, including construction of a gift shop, are just being completed.

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New Air Terminal in Honolulu: The new Interisland Terminal has opened at Honolulu International Airport on Oahu. It took six years and $130 million to build the terminal, which is being used by Aloha Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines and the more than 8 million passengers who fly each year between the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, the Big Island of Hawaii, Molokai and Lanai.

The terminal has 300,000 square feet of space on the first two levels for arriving and departing passengers and is decorated with Koa wood paneling in the ticketing lobbies and original art work depicting Hawaiian legends and stories. A food court features a variety of island food. The surrounding area is planted with native flowers and plants. The new terminal also will house the "people mover" system that eventually will link the Interisland Terminal with the airport's Overseas Terminal. In the interim, the two terminals will be linked by bus service.

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South Africa Drops Visa Requirements for U.S. Citizens: Business and leisure travelers from the United States no longer need visas for travel to or through South Africa, according to the South African Tourism Board. The procedure was changed to encourage travel to South Africa, according to a tourism official. The exemption also applies to Canadians and citizens of European Economic Community countries. For more information, contact the South African Embassy in Washington, (202) 966-1650, or the Consulate General in Los Angeles, (310) 657-9200.

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Jewish Sacred Art Exhibit: An important exhibition of Jewish sacred art, seized from Ukrainian synagogues during the 1920s and thought lost until 1990, will be shown for the first time in Western Europe this fall at Vienna's Museum of Fine Arts. The collection covers the period from the middle of the 18th Century to the beginning of the 20th Century, documenting the skill and craftsmanship of Jewish gold- and silversmiths. Most of the mainly silver objects carry a maker's mark and are connected with the Torah scroll used during religious services. The exhibit runs Sept. 14 to Nov. 7 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Maria-Theresien-Platz No. 5.

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Games Airline Passengers Play: Northwest Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and China Airways are completing installation of in-seat entertainment and communications systems, with color monitors, that will enable travelers to play Super Nintendo and other video games, shop duty-free, watch movies on 15 channels and place a meal order at their seats. Monitors are installed in the backs of seats or in arm rests, depending upon the airline and class of service. Northwest already has several planes flying with the system, which is made by Hughes-AVICOM International, and more are being installed each month until all seats of airplanes flying Pacific routes are outfitted. Virgin Atlantic will begin installation this fall, with all seats of its entire fleet completed within a year. China Airlines has just begun installing the system in first- and business-class sections on transpacific flights.

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