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August 18, 2013 | Bob Pool
Forget the Hollywood Walk of Fame refrigerator magnet, the Mickey Mouse ears beanie and the postcards of the Golden Gate Bridge. Tourist Karina Ille will have a much more memorable souvenir of her California visit when she returns Sunday to her native Austria. Last weekend the 21-year-old Ille discovered a rare star-shaped piece of benitoite in San Benito County, where this country's only mining spot for the gem is located. That exclusivity prompted officials to proclaim benitoite as California's state gemstone in 1985.
August 17, 2013 | By Kathleen Hennessey
EDGARTOWN, Mass. - As the White House announced an upcoming presidential bus tour to focus on a middle-class agenda, President Obama was golfing at a private club on Martha's Vineyard. When Obama wanted to show he was engaged on the deepening political crisis in Egypt, he delivered a statement from the driveway of his rented estate - then zipped off for another nine holes. After skipping his summer vacation last year during the scrutiny of the campaign, a reelected Obama embraced his week of leisure with little worry about the inevitable political swipes at a vacationing president or the collision of images Washington calls "optics.
August 9, 2013 | By Tom Kington
GIGLIO, Italy - This summer, tourists on the Tuscan island of Giglio have been heading for the pretty palm-lined beach at the port, soaking up the sun and swimming out to a line of buoys. Beyond is the capsized cruise ship Costa Concordia, sitting in shallow water where passengers were sucked to their deaths by whirlpools created as the giant vessel lurched onto its side. Nineteen months after the 950-foot-long ship slammed into rocks off this Mediterranean island and came to a precarious rest on two granite outcrops, the captain, Francesco Schettino, is on trial on charges of manslaughter in the deaths of 32 people who never made it ashore on the night of Jan. 13, 2012.
August 7, 2013 | By David Ng, This post has been corrected, as indicated below
A 600-year-old statue residing in a museum in Florence, Italy, has one fewer finger on its right hand thanks to an American tourist who came in contact with the artwork and broke off a digit. The tourist, whose name has not been reported, allegedly broke off the right pinky finger of the statue while attempting to measure it. The incident is thought to have been an accident, but officials in Italy questioned the American and are weighing what action to take. Reports have described the tourist as a 55-year-old man from Missouri.  PHOTOS: Hollywood stars on stage The statue, which is thought to depict the Virgin Mary, dates from either the 14th or 15th century.
August 7, 2013 | By Bob Pool
The man in the red coat and top hat strolling along Hollywood Boulevard had a few words of advice for the tourists from Texas. "When you get to Beverly Hills, it's Ro- day -o Drive," Gregg Donovan says. It's not some bull-riding event, so don't pronounce it that way, he tells them. Donovan should know. He spent 11 years as Beverly Hills' official greeter before being laid off as the recession deepened. These days he has traded Rodeo Drive for Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame.
August 6, 2013 | By Robin Abcarian
On Monday evening, the summer crowds were thick on the Venice boardwalk. Up at Dudley Avenue, near the northern end of the bustling oceanfront strip, a crowd gathered for a vigil to honor the victims of Saturday's car rampage that injured 16 people and took the life of Italian newlywed Alice Gruppioni . The vigil would begin with 30 seconds of silence, then the crowd would move a block south to the spot where Gruppioni was hit....
August 3, 2013 | By Jenn Garbee
Bill Okal's opening line is one of the oldest tricks in the close-up magic book: undersell your talent, then dazzle them with your best cards. "I really only do two tricks," the Bakersfield resident says apologetically to the two families standing in front of him on the Santa Monica Pier on a recent Saturday morning. He taps on three brass demi-cups perched upside down on a weathered cabaret table with pom-pom trim. "One is with cups, which I'm sure you've seen before…. The other, if you're ready for this, is the legendary egg trick of Max Malini!"
July 30, 2013 | By Paul Thornton
It isn't just parking that complicates life in Malibu. No, some residents of that beach-side hamlet want everyone to know just how tough it can be living in paradise. Responding to The Times' editorial on that city's novel plan to enlist parking vigilantes to ticket cars deposited in the same spot for too long, a few Malibu residents took issue with the editorial board's view that the program "is just one more way of making Malibu inhospitable to visitors. " The Malibu residents who wrote us didn't appreciate this, and some vouched for their own hospitality -- by pointing out how burdensome visitors are on their town.
July 17, 2013 | By Marisa Gerber, Joel Rubin and Andrew Blankstein
The rallying cries shot out across Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday evening. "Take the riot to Hollywood," one expletive-laden message on Twitter beseeched. "Hollywood. 7:30. " That invitation for trouble and others like it, police believe, were the seeds of a bizarre, chaotic night in the city's entertainment mecca that caught the LAPD off guard and left city officials scrambling to assure tourists and revelers, once again, that Hollywood is a safe place to be. A group of 40 to 50 people, mostly teenagers, heeded the social media calls and went on what police described as a rolling crime wave.
July 16, 2013 | By Julie Makinen
SUZHOU, China -- Being a tourist in China can make one want to scream like a baby. Flight delays are epic: Beijing's airport recently ranked worst in the world for on-time departures, with 82% of planes failing to leave on time. Bad weather can bring disaster: 100 travelers were trapped last week by a landslide in Gansu province.  Fellow sightseers can be uncouth: A dozen Chinese tourists were caught in early July urinating against a wall at Beijing's Summer Palace.
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