News and Deals: January 4, 2013 – Sri Lanka criticised over ‘war tourism’, Only 1 of Spain’s luxury Parador hotels to close instead of 7, Two airlines get fines for long tarmac delays and Japanese Man Vacations on Syrian Front Lines

Calle del Arenal, Madrid, Spain

Sri Lanka criticised over ‘war tourism’

The lagoon of Nanthi Kadal, on the island’s north coast, was, in 2009, the scene of atrocities in the Sri Lankan army’s final push against the Tamil Tigers. Now the location, where the UN estimates tens of thousands of civilians were killed, is the setting for army-run holiday homes. One teak villa was opened by the president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, and his brother, the defence secretary.

“Enjoy a soothing holiday and the cool breeze of Nanthi Kadal lagoon,” is how the three-bedroom property, Lagoon’s Edge, is promoted on the resort’s Facebook page. On its walls hang memorials to the civil war. A Sinhala language newspaper report describes it as where “thousands of war heroes, terrorists and others died”.

“War tourism is all about presentation,” said Fred Carver of Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice. “In Cambodia, for instance, the killing fields are presented by the victims. When done properly it can have a healing role but in this case it’s all from the perspective of the victors, the Sri Lankan army.

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Only 1 of Spain’s luxury Parador hotels to close instead of 7
Washington Post

Only one of Spain’s luxury Parador hotels will close, instead of seven, as earlier planned, following negotiations between the parent company and labor unions.

The hotels, located in historic buildings in some of Spain’s most beautiful locations, are a symbol of the country’s key tourism industry.

The General Workers Union’s said in a statement Friday that the closure will result in 350 layoffs. Some 25 other Parador hotels will close temporarily and some will cease to have restaurants.

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Two airlines get fines for long tarmac delays

The U.S Department of Transportation has fined two airlines for violating federal rules prohibiting long tarmac delays.

The department fined Copa Airlines of Panama $150,000 and Virgin America $55,000.

Airlines are required to let passengers off a plane if they have been waiting on a tarmac for more than three hours on domestic flights and four hours on international flights. Exceptions are made only if the delay involves safety, security or air traffic control-related reasons.

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Japanese Man Vacations on Syrian Front Lines
New York Times

Toshifumi Fujimoto’s vacation pictures, posted on his Facebook page, show him in poses familiar to any tourist. He lines up with interesting people, tries local activities and shows the sights. Except in the case of Mr. Fujimoto, a Japanese tourist, that means images of what appear to be Syrian rebel fighters engaged in battle, of himself firing an assault rifle and of the corpses of some of the 60,000 people the United Nations has said have died in Syria since a civil war began there early last year.

Mr. Fujimoto, 45, is, according to an interview he gave the news agency Agence France-Presse in Aleppo, Syria, usually a trucker hauling loads between Osaka and Tokyo or Nagasaki. For the last week and on a previous trip, he has been a tourist snapping pictures with his Canon D-SLR cameras and a compact video camera in Aleppo — the very heart of the Syrian conflict.

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

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