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US Wants Wildlife Refuge in Georgia Swamp on UNESCO List

Only 25 places in the country are World Heritage sites

(Newser) - A US agency said Friday it will nominate the vast, federally protected wildlife refuge in the Okefenokee Swamp for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The National Park Service filed a notice in Washington that it will seek the designation for the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, which sprawls across...

Ancient Mounds in Ohio Join Ranks of World Gems

UNESCO recognizes earthworks by Native Americans as a World Heritage Site

(Newser) - A network of ancient Native American ceremonial and burial mounds in Ohio described as "part cathedral, part cemetery, and part astronomical observatory" was added Tuesday to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Preservationists, led by the Ohio History Connection, and Indigenous tribes, many with ancestral ties to the state,...

2 Accused of Using Excavator to Make Shortcut at Great Wall of China

The 2 construction workers have been detained

(Newser) - An excavator reportedly carved out a gap in the Great Wall of China on August 24, and two people were detained in the country over what officials say is "irreversible" damage. A 38-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman are accused of creating the breach because they wanted a shortcut...

Venice May Soon Be Labeled 'Endangered'

City isn't doing enough to counter risk of damage from tourists, climate change, UNESCO says

(Newser) - Venice isn't doing enough to protect its cultural heritage, according to experts at UNESCO, who are recommending that the Italian city and its lagoon be added to a list of endangered World Heritage sites. Mass tourism, overdevelopment, and rising sea levels linked to climate change put the site at...

Plans for Controversial Stonehenge Tunnel Approved

Though one expert says no work is likely to start any time soon

(Newser) - Plans for a contentious and long-delayed road tunnel near Stonehenge were approved Friday. The UK transport secretary gave the OK to the $2.2 billion plan to widen roads around the ancient site and build a 2-mile tunnel aimed at reducing traffic on England's A303 road, the Guardian and...

US, UNESCO Get Back Together
US Is Officially
Back in UNESCO

US Is Officially Back in UNESCO

US rejoins UN's education, science and culture agency

(Newser) - After leaving UNESCO in 2019 due to what it saw as anti-Israel bias and other issues, the US has now officially rejoined the United Nation's education, science and culture agency. After the Trump administration withdrew membership, the Biden administration proposed a plan to rejoin, and in June, UNESCO's...

Wednesday Was a Big Day for the French Baguette

Bread received UNESCO heritage status

(Newser) - The announcement was celebrated in the most appropriate way, per Axios : with baguettes waved in the air. (See photo evidence here .) UNESCO on Wednesday voted to add the baguette to its "intangible cultural heritage" list, which now numbers 600 items. Reuters notes that some 16 million baguettes are...

Australia to UN: Don't Label Great Barrier Reef 'Endangered'

Nation's environment chief says new government is doing much better on climate change

(Newser) - Australia's environment minister said Tuesday her government will lobby against UNESCO adding the Great Barrier Reef to a list of endangered World Heritage sites, arguing that criticisms of government inaction on climate change were outdated. Officials from the UN cultural agency and the International Union for Conservation of Nature...

UNESCO Counts Cultural Sites Damaged in Ukraine

UN agency has reminded Russia of its obligation to avoid harming protected places

(Newser) - While the fighting rages in Ukraine, UNESCO is assessing the damage being inflicted on the nation's cultural sites. The agency announced that it's confirmed damage during the Russian invasion to at least 53 sites through Saturday, NPR reports, mostly in the north or east of Ukraine. "This...

Plane Crash Kills 7 in Peru
7 Die in Peru Plane Crash

7 Die in Peru Plane Crash

Group was heading to famous Nazca lines, officials say

(Newser) - Seven people from three countries died Friday in a plane crash over the famous Nazca Lines in Peru, according to Reuters . The plane carried three Dutch tourists, two Chilean tourists, a Peruvian pilot, and a Peruvian co-pilot, the Guardian reports. The Cessna 207 plane was owned by a tourism company...

Saga of Looted Gilgamesh Tablet Comes to an End

3,500-year-old tablet bearing portion of Epic of Gilgamesh now in Baghdad

(Newser) - A small clay tablet dating back 3,500 years and bearing a portion of the Epic of Gilgamesh that was looted from an Iraqi museum 30 years ago was formally returned to Iraq on Tuesday, following a September repatriation ceremony in Washington, DC. The AP reports the $1.7 million...

For Only the 3rd Time, a Site Loses World Heritage Status

UNESCO blames developments in Liverpool city center, England

(Newser) - Civic leaders in Liverpool expressed outrage Wednesday after the English port city was stripped of its World Heritage status by the United Nations' culture organization, per the AP . It is now only the third site to lose its World Heritage status since the list began in 1978, per the BBC...

After UNESCO Warning, a Big Move in Venice

Cruise ships, other large vessels will no longer be permitted to sail into city's lagoon

(Newser) - Giant cruise ships filled with tourists will no longer float past St. Mark's Square, or Piazza San Marco, in Venice after Italy put the kibosh on the longtime practice to protect the lagoon in which the city sits. Starting Aug. 1, cruise liners or other large ships, including yachts,...

UNESCO's Plan to Rebuild From ISIS Doesn't Go Over Well

Critics of Mosul landmark getting rebuilt after ISIS destruction say plan ignores Iraq's heritage

(Newser) - A UNESCO competition to rebuild devastated landmarks in one of the world's oldest cities isn't going over well. The UN agency launched its "Revive the Spirit of Mosul" project after the Islamic State occupied the Iraqi city from 2014 to 2017, wreaking havoc on its heritage sites,...

Australia Is Not Happy With UN Warning on Barrier Reef
UN Warning on
Great Barrier Reef
Stuns Australia

UN Warning on Great Barrier Reef Stuns Australia

Government to fight placement of World Heritage Site on UNESCO's 'in danger' list

(Newser) - The UN's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization wants the Great Barrier Reef added to a list of World Heritage Sites that are "in danger," while calling on Australia to address climate change with "accelerated action at all possible levels." Australia's government says it's...

Ukraine Suggests Chernobyl Should Land on List of Wonders

UNESCO designation could bring in tourists and spread a message of hope

(Newser) - The Great Barrier Reef. The Grand Canyon. The Great Wall of China. The Galapagos Islands. Chernobyl. One of these things is not like the others, but the gap could close if Ukraine gets its way. Monday is the 35th anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster the world has seen: The...

In Italy, an 'Act of War' Over Espresso

A bid for UN acknowledgement is foiled by a feud between north and south

(Newser) - Coffee is serious business in Italy, and espresso in particular. Drinking it "is a way of life," per a post at euronews . No big surprise, then, that the nation is seeking to have its espresso tradition enshrined as a unique cultural treasure by a UN agency. But as...

New Ukraine-Russia Battle Is Over Borscht

Ukraine wants UNESCO to recognize dish as 'intangible cultural heritage'

(Newser) - While it may not rival the intractable hummus conflicts of the Middle East or the battles over baklava from Greece to Iran, a borscht dispute is simmering between Ukraine and Russia. Kyiv chef Yevhen Klopotenko has spearheaded an effort to have the beloved beet soup recognized as Ukraine's "...

'Extensive' Attack Carried Out Against 70 Museum Treasures

Berlin's Museum Island targeted on anniversary of German reunification

(Newser) - At least 70 artifacts and artworks were targeted almost three weeks ago in what German newspaper Die Zeit describes as "one of the most extensive attacks on works of art and antiquities in the history of post-war Germany," per Deutsche Welle . The attack on Berlin's Museum Island,...

Jubilation, Dismay at Status Change of Turkish Landmark

Muslims thrilled Hagia Sophia to be reconverted to a mosque; Orthodox Christians, not so much

(Newser) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday reconverted Istanbul’s sixth-century Hagia Sophia into a mosque and declared it open to Muslim worship, hours after a court annulled a 1934 decision that had turned it into a museum. The decision to reconvert Hagia Sophia—a former cathedral that was turned...

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