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009Dusk falls on San Diego Pier.

Photograph by Richard Cummins, Corbis

Just 17 miles north of the Mexican/U.S. border lies the waterfront city of San Diego. People come from all over the world to visit famous Balboa Park and to enjoy Southern California's world-renowned beaches. Recently rated as the fifth wealthiest city in the U.S. by Forbes magazine, it seems San Diego would leave your wallet empty. However, with all its rich history and excellent weather, San Diego is full of activities that require no cash. Here's a list of free attractions and events to get you started.

Art and Museums

Balboa Park, San Diego's most famous park, is home to both architecturally stunning buildings and landscaped gardens. Entry is free, but most park museums have set admission prices. There are also free guided tours of Balboa Park leaving from the Visitors Center throughout the week. The famous Botanical Building and almost all the gardens require no fee—so stop by to smell the roses.

Outside the park, cross the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge and enter into Coronado, a car-optional, small beach town across the bay from the hustle and bustle of downtown San Diego. Visit the Hotel Del Coronado, which was built in 1888 on the oceanfront. Known as "the Del" to locals, it is where the 1950s classic Some Like it Hot was filmed. Non-hotel guests can stroll around this National Historic Landmark and learn about its history. After, amble around the streets of cozy downtown Coronado or grab your boogie board and head down to Coronado Central Beach, which was named as America's Best Family Beach by the Travel Channel.

See over 4,000 works of art created after 1950 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown San Diego. The museum has expanded to the historic Jacobs Building, which was previously home to the Santa Fe Depot baggage building. Free admission daily for anyone 25 and under. Free for all visitors the third Thursday of every month from 5 to 7 p.m.

A historic 1800s stagecoach greets visitors outside the Wells Fargo Museum. Located within the Colorado House (originally a hotel) in the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. This museum is home to one of 30 original Concord coaches shipped to Wells Fargo in 1867 and also to two authentic telegraph machines. Admission is always free.

Stop by the Seeley Stable Museum, a replica of the Yuma/San Diego stage stop that burned down—along with the rest of Old Town—in the fire of 1872. It has a wide collection of vintage transportation vehicles on display. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; Free admission.

See where the San Diego Union newspaper got its start at the San Diego Union Museum. Visitors can tour the editor’s office and the original print room. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with free admission.

Explore the free San Diego County Sheriff’s Museum in Old Town. Items on display include vintage badges, handcuffs, and uniforms, as well as a patrol car, helicopter, jail cell and courtroom. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Walk through the first public school house in San Diego. At Mason Street School visitors can sit at the desks in the one room schoolhouse, or read about its long history on the plaques that cover the walls. See how many lashes a student would have received in the mid- to late-1800s for telling a lie or for wearing long fingernails. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Visit the First San Diego Courthouse, which was fully rebuilt in 1992 after it burned down in the Old Town fire of 1872.

Prepare to be spooked at Casa de Estudillo a National Historic Landmark, also in the State Historic Park. Built in 1829 by one of San Diego’s earliest families, visitors have claimed to see the ghosts of prior residents still wandering around the building and its grounds. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Attractions

Take a stroll through San Diego's Seaport Village, an outdoor shopping complex with more than 50 shops, galleries, and eateries. Meander along cobblestone paths that pass fountains, gardens, and ponds. There is also a half-mile stretch of bay-front boardwalk with great views. Architecture includes Mexican, Victorian, and New England styles.

Amble along 16 1/2 blocks of posh shops, restaurants, and Victorian buildings in the Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego. The Gaslamp Quarter is located next to the marina across from Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the quarter has 94 historic buildings to investigate, all of which boast different architectural styles and are beautifully detailed with carvings, stained glass windows and vibrant colors. Most of the restaurants and shops are pricey, but there are many festivals and events that take place in the area during the year that make it a fun place to visit.

Known as San Diego's Beverly Hills, downtown La Jolla is a beautiful place to visit, featuring high-end boutiques and palm tree-lined streets. Walk from Scripps Park up winding streets and look at all the stores and cafés. Stop at La Valencia Hotel, located in the heart of La Jolla village. Built in 1926, it is known for its amazing views and pink facade.

Drive to the top of Mount Soledad in La Jolla. The hill, situated between Interstate 5 and the Pacific Ocean, has panoramic views of downtown San Diego and the ocean. At the top is the Mount Soledad Cross, which stands at 29 feet and is a well-known landmark of San Diego.

If you're willing to stray a little from downtown, stop by one of the United States Olympic Training Centers located in Chula Vista. See where Olympians eat meals and practice every day in preparation for the Olympic games. Free tours of the center are available Tuesday through Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Call first for reservations.

Culture

Browse works by area artists and enjoy complimentary hors d'oeuvres at one of Little Italy's Kettner Art Nights. All the galleries and studios in the district participate, which makes for an impressive collection. Open 6-9 p.m. on some Fridays; check the website for exact dates.

Famous for its adobe buildings and haciendas, Old Town San Diego is steeped in history. Take a free guided tour around Old Town’s Historical Park. Along with museums, restaurants, and unique shops, the park also features events every month, from flamenco dancers in colorful Mexican-style costumes to a market on Harney Street every Saturday, featuring live music and contemporary art. Visit www.oldtownsandiegoguide.com for updated event schedules and more information.

Walk along the port at Embarcadero where you can see public art inspired by the ocean, local military history, and San Diego's international ties.

Explore 37 different artist studios and galleries in Balboa Park's outdoor Spanish Village Art Center. See everything from paintings and sculptures to gourd art and basketweaving. Open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Food/Drink

Go to the restaurant voted as having the "Best Pizza in San Diego" by NBC's Golden Local Contest. Samples of Basic's pizzas are served Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m.

Many of San Diego's restaurants offer great deals on food almost every night of the week. Visit www.sandiegoreader.com//food_and_drink/ to pick out the best deals for you, or to get great discount coupons at some of San Diego's best eateries.

Kids

The New Children's Museum, which opened in 2008, is located in San Diego's marina. The goal is to "inspire children to think, play and create," says the director of the museum. "We are a unique hybrid of a children's museum and an art museum." Kids are offered a number of hands-on experiences, from creating their own masterpieces in the art studios, to climbing around on art installations. Admission is free the second Sunday of every month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with special performances and activities.

All aboard! Grab a seat on a fun-filled train ride through Rohr Park. Chula Vista Live Steamers offers the free rides but asks for a donation of 50 cents. The offer continues all summer on certain Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 3 p.m.; call for dates ( 1 619 421 5227).

Take your kids to listen to professional storyteller Harlynne Geisler spin tales directly inspired by Timken Museum's own works of art. Family Storytelling continues through September at 11 a. m. on certain Saturdays; check the website for dates.

Thought visiting the San Diego Zoo was out of your family's price range? Think again—the zoo offers free admission for children ages 3-11 for the whole month of October. The world-famous zoo is home to some of the planet's wildest creatures: everything from armadillos and hippopotamuses to hyenas and Tasmanian devils.

Beaches

Grab your snorkel and fins and go paddling around La Jolla Cove, one of Southern California's most photographed beaches. The water here is calm, and you can see colorful fish and abundant sea life. Surf and boogie boards are not permitted. Get there early for a great spot by the caves that enclose this beach. Above La Jolla Cove lies Scripps Park, a good place to picnic, lounge, or just enjoy the views of the Pacific Ocean.

Boomer Beach in La Jolla is a great place to spot the sea lions that call La Jolla home. Bring a camera along for some beautiful nature and wildlife shots.

Another of La Jolla's famous surfing beaches is Windansea Beach, a haven for surfers since the 1940s. The beach is split into two sections, one section for beach bathers and the other for surfers. The shack located here is also one of San Diego's historical landmarks—built by surfers during World War II.

Observe seals and sea lions in their natural habitat at the Children's Pool. Swimming here is discouraged because of the significant number of animals nearby, but the sight of them basking in the sun is itself worth seeing.

Take your family to La Jolla Shores, a classic beach haven with sidewalks lined in palm trees and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. The Shores consist of a small play area, beach (great for swimming), and lawn (perfect for a picnic lunch and a game of Frisbee). Summer months bring swarms of people, so be sure to get there early to claim a spot or arrive in the late afternoon to watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

Mission Bay Park offers a wide variety of free activities. Take part in a game of horseshoes, beach volleyball, or basketball on one of the numerous courts. Or sit back and watch trick skaters from "Skate This!," a local skating club that performs for free on weekends. Check the website for exact performance locations.

Located just seven miles west of downtown San Diego is a gem of a beach. Ocean Beach, popular to locals for its surfing, is also best known for its Dog Beach, where dog lovers can bring their canines to frolic in the surf. Walk along Newport Avenue in search old treasures in Ocean Beach's Antique District, where hundreds of people sell everything from vintage jewelry to furniture. Ocean Beach also has a view of Sea World across the bay, and the whole town is chock-full of colorful "OB" signs and banners displaying town pride.

Live out the California dream at Pacific Beach with its three main beaches, each one a hot spot for young locals and out-of-towners alike. Bask in the sun and take in the local southern California scene.

Visit a beach that is world-renowned and notorious for its surf break: San Onofre Surf Beach. The San Onofre State Park also consists of the San Mateo Campground and the San Onofre Bluffs, where visitors can park and hike down one of six dirt trails onto beaches below.

Each one of the five Solana beaches has a different vibe. To get to them you descend stairways built into the cliffs. The beautiful beaches have an ambiance that ranges from boisterous to peaceful, depending on which stairway you choose.

Heat things up and reserve your own fire pit for an evening on one of San Diego's beaches. Some beaches charge for the pits, but there are many that are free on a first-come, first-serve basis, including Mission Bay, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, and Silver Strand State Beach.

Outdoors

Farmers markets in San Diego are numerous and, because of the warm temperature, they last all year long. Roam aisles overflowing with bright flowers and fresh produce. Check for days and times.

Positioned between the Municipal Pool and Naval Amphibious Base on Coronado Island is Glorietta Bay Park, a lush two-acre park with a playground and small beach that is less congested than most other beaches in Coronado. Another area of Coronado worth exploring is the Ferry Landing Marketplace. Cast a line off the fishing pier, take a walk in the marketplace, or relax on a small strip of sand.

Take a walk, ride your bike, or check out some of the interesting people who hang out along the three-mile boardwalk stretching between Mission and Pacific Beaches.

Mission Bay Park, a 4,600-acre park located on the bay front in San Diego, is the place to get active. Choose from biking along one of the parks many paths, boating in the bay, or taking a jog. There's a free event almost every month out of the year; check the website for exact dates.

To escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, visit Mission Trails Regional Park. Camping, bird-watching, and hiking are popular in this almost 5,800-acre park.

Thousands of people travel to Torrey Pines State Park every year to catch a glimpse of the massive sandstone cliffs that rise 300 feet above the Pacific Ocean and to see the rare Torrey pine trees. Hiking trails in the park feature unparalleled ocean vistas, spectacular wildflowers, and views of people gliding away from the Torrey Pines Gliderport. One of the park's most famous hikes starts at the visitors center and winds down to the beach below.

Although grueling on the way back to the top, the beach and the views of the cliffs are worth the sore muscles you may experience the next day. Bring your swimsuit (or don't—the beach below, Black's Beach, is one of the U.S.'s only nude beaches) and some sneakers.

Theater/Music/Dance

Take a seat outdoors in Seaport Village and enjoy free live entertainment. There's a performance of some kind almost every day from noon to 4 p.m., from musicians to magicians, so stop by and relax in the shade on a nice California day. Saturday nights feature performances by more recognized artists; check the website for exact dates.

San Diego's list of free music events seems never-ending in the summer months. For a guide to free summer show dates visit www.signonsandiego.com/feature/free-summer-concerts/. Enjoy performances from a range of diverse artists, from the Bayou Brothers to the San Diego Six.

San Diego, California

[readon1 url="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/city-guides/free-san-diego-traveler/"]Source:nationalgeographic.com[/readon1]

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 Bata is the biggest city in continental part of the country  

Dentro de poco se celebrará una reunión de alto nivel entre oficiales turcos y africanos para determinar qué proyectos se llevarán a cabo durante los cinco próximos años dentro del marco de unos acuerdos logrados en la cumbre turco-africana que tuvo lugar el pasado mes de noviembre en Guinea Ecuatorial, contó el Embajador turco en Etiopía Osman Ria Yavuzalp a finales de 2014 en la rueda de prensa organizada en Adís Abeba para hablar de los vínculos entre Turquía y África.

El 19 de noviembre en Malabo, la capital de Guinea Ecuatorial se celebró la segunda cumbre "África-Turquía". A primera vista, el lugar donde se celebró resulta inesperado, ya que la actividad de Turquía en África tradicionalmente transcurre en las regiones pobladas mayoritariamente por musulmanes de la parte norte del continente. Pero esto es sólo a primera vista. Hacia África se abalanzan los países de economías emergentes, lo que a la luz de la creciente competencia por los recursos puede cambiar muy pronto el antiguo mapa del mundo.

Es conocido por todos que China con bastante éxito le viene pisando los talones a los colonizadores del África Central tales como Inglaterra y Francia. Y ahora también Turquía está representada en Guinea Ecuatorial no sólo con numerosos proyectos de negocios, sino además con programas humanitarios.

En Malabo se inauguró la primera escuela turca, y esto es sólo el principio. En el año 2010, durante la gira de la delegación del Ministerio de Economía de Turquía de 4 días por Ghana, Nigeria y Guinea Ecuatorial, la prensa escribió que en África quieren abrir más y más escuelas turcas y que los niños que acuden a estas escuelas hoy, mañana pueden ser ministros y presidentes.

El interés de Turquía en Guinea Ecuatorial es perfectamente comprensible. Este pequeño país es el tercer productor de petróleo en el África subsahariana (después de Nigeria y Angola) y un brillante ejemplo del África emergente, donde muchos desean lograr ocupar un lugar.

Guinea Ecuatorial, que es el único país hispanohablante africano, es un miembro de la Francofonía desde 1989.
En el mes de julio de este año Guinea Ecuatorial se convirtió en miembro con plenos derechos de la Comunidad de Países de Lengua Portuguesa (CPLP), que incluye a Angola (potencia regional y segundo país productor de petróleo en África) y a Brasil (el mayor de los países en desarrollo, ocupa el lugar 16 en el mundo por las reservas comprobadas de petróleo).

En la propia Guinea Ecuatorial sólo las reservas de petróleo comprobadas en la plataforma océanica del país son superiores a los 1.1 millardos de barriles, y de gas natural - son de hasta 200 mil millones de metros cúbicos. El país es miembro con plenos derechos del Foro de Países Exportadores de Gas (Gas Exporting Countries Foro (FPEG).

De ese modo, los recursos de hidrocarburos de los CPLP pueden perfectamente competir con el petróleo de Medio Oriente. Pero tal parece que esto no le resulta conveniente a todo el mundo. Aquellos que no pudieron ocupar un lugar bajo el sol guineano, se muestran claramente ofendidos.

En los últimos diez años, reiteradamente ocurrieron varios intentos de golpes de Estado con la participación de mercenarios armados. Todos estos intentos fracasaron rotundamente, pero los raiders financieros internacionales continuan persistentemente con la política de descrédito hacia Guinea Ecuatorial.

No obstante, la política de difamación contra el país africano también sufre derrotas. Una prueba de ello - que provocó un gran revuelo en los medios de prensa fue la historia acerca del acuerdo extrajudicial, al que llegaron el mes pasado el Departamento de Justicia de Estados Unidos y el segundo vicepresidente de Guinea Ecuatorial Teodoro Obiang Mange, hijo del actual presidente del país Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

El acuerdo fue alcanzado vinculado con tres demandas civiles por la acusación de malversación de fondos, presentada por iniciativa de las organizaciones no gubernamentales financiadas por el famoso multimillonario y especulador financiero George Soros.

En el acuerdo firmado con la justicia estadounidense Teodoro Obiang Mangue no admitió culpabilidad alguna, pero estuvo de acuerdo en vender su villa en California, el vehículo "Ferrari" y seis estatuas de Michael Jackson de cuerpo entero. El Departamento de Justicia de Estados Unidos ha garantizado la inviolabilidad de cualquier otra propiedad, no cubierta por los términos de este acuerdo, en el territorio de los Estados Unidos y se ha comprometido a no brindarle asistencia a terceros países en los intentos de confiscar la propiedad del hijo del presidente de Guinea Ecuatorial en el territorio de los Estados Unidos.

Además, las organizaciones no gubernamentales, que iniciaron el proceso contra el vicepresidente de Guinea Ecuatorial, no recibirán ni un sólo centavo del dinero obtenido por la venta de sus propiedades. A excepción de los fondos asignados para cubrir los considerables gastos del Departamento de Justicia de Estados Unidos para la ejecución del caso, todo será transferido a las organizaciones de caridad que trabajan en Guinea Ecuatorial.

El propio Teodoro Obiang Mangue declaró que aceptó el acuerdo con la justicia estadounidense con el objetivo de lograr un mayor fortalecimiento de las relaciones de Guinea Ecuatorial con los Estados Unidos. No está de más recordar que el embajador estadounidense en el país Mark Asquino, ha denominado a estas relaciones como "grandiosas" - lo cual es comprensible, ya que el desarrollo de la plataforma guineoecuatoriana se lleva a cabo principalmente por empresas estadounidenses de petróleo y gas.

De esta manera, la justicia de Estados Unidos le propinó un golpe no al gobierno de Guinea Ecuatorial sino a la imagen de las organizaciones no gubernamentales. Como escribió el periódico conservador estadounidense online Examiner.com esto resulta aún más evidente, a partir de que los métodos de trabajo del propio Soros han sido, en reiteradas ocasiones objeto de investigaciones judiciales en varios estados. Por ejemplo, en el mes de octubre del 2011, el Tribunal Europeo de Derechos Humanos confirmó y ratificó el veredicto de la corte francesa aprobado en el año 2002, que condenó a Soros por corrupción. El hecho en cuestión fue una compra con el fin de continuar utilizando la información interna privilegiada en las operaciones con valores del banco francés "Société Générale".

Pero, a diferencia de Soros, que finalmente no pudo refutar las pruebas en su contra y llegar a un acuerdo con las autoridades judiciales de Francia, el hijo del presidente de Guinea Ecuatorial fue capaz de negociar con la justicia norteamericana, dejando a los iniciadores de las demandas en una posición muy desventajosa".

En lo que respecta a Turquía, su relación hacia el continente africano nunca ha estado cargada de complejos neocoloniales. Algo que impacta a favor del fortalecimiento de la influencia turca en el África tropical es el hecho de que los países de la región nunca han estado bajo el dominio turco, y no han compartido una experiencia histórica común negativa. Ankará tradicionalmente se mantiene alejada de cualquiera de los escándalos mediáticos relacionados con África, conociendo que la mayoría de éstos tienen su fundamento en las ambiciones neocoloniales.

Esa política resulta beneficiosa para todos. En el año 2009 África sólo contaba con 12 embajadas de Turquía, en el 2013 - tenía ya 35, y muy prontó se inaugurarán otras 4. En Ankará actualmente funcionan 28 misiones diplomáticas de los Estados africanos, mientras que hace cinco años sólo había 10.

En sólo 3 años, el volumen de comercio exterior entre Turquía y África se ha triplicado, alcanzando en el año 2013 la cifra de 23,4 mil millones de dólares (en el año 2010 - fue de unos 750 millones de dólares), de los cuales 7,5 mil millones son de los países del África Subsahariana.

Hasta la fecha, la participación de los países africanos en las actividades de las empresas contratistas turcas fuera del territorio de Turquía, es casi de un 19 por ciento. Basta con decir que el propio Centro de Convenciones en Sipopo (una zona suburbana de Malabo), que sirvió de sede de la cumbre, también fue construido por un proyecto diseñado por la reconocida empresa de Estambul Tabanlıoğlu Architects.

No venimos a África para actuar con una visión colonial, como algunos hicieron”, afirmó el Embajador turco en Etiopía Osman Riza Yavuzalp. “Venimos cómo socios en pie de igualdad.”

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Cathedral in Malabo

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 Parliament of CEMAC

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The Whole country is covered by a network of modern roads laid through the jungle

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Before Sunday Mass. Girl from town of Mongomo

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008London, Jan 10 (Prensa Latina) The Mexican film maker Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu was nominated today to the British awards Bafta in the categories of better director, original script and movie by his acclaimed ''Birdman''.

The British Academy of the Cinematographic Arts and Television (Bafta, by its English initials) nominated also the anglo-Brazilian movie 'Trash' in the category of movie in not English language.

Gonzalez Iñarritu already won a Bafta in 2002 for Amores Perros, the movie that launched the acting career of Gael Garcia Bernal, and that year achieved a big success in multiple international contests.

Among the nominated to considered English Oscars stand out actors: Benedict Cumberbatch for 'The Imitation Game'; Felicity Jones, for 'The Theory of Everything', and Julianne Moore for 'Still Alice'.

Nevertheless, all the the looks are on 'Birdman', the history of an actor whose career fell apart after reaching the glory acting as superhero, tape that aspires also to the Oscar and the golden Balloons.

Michael Keaton gives a magisterial recreation of himself, since at the beginning of 1990 he interpreted Batman in the first two and dark deliveries of the famous saga, directed by Tim Burton.

Other candidates to better movie are 'Boyhood', 'The Imitation Game', 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' and 'The Theory of Everthing', and the winner will be revealed here on February 8, in Royal Opera House.

The Big Hotel Budapest, of West Anderson, leads the nominations to the Awards BAFTA with 11 candidacies, continued by 'Birdman' and 'The Theory of Everything', with 10 per capita.

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[readon1 url="http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content;task=view;id=3431871;Itemid=1"]Source: www.plenglish.com[/readon1]

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Gift lounges during the week leading up to the Golden Globes ceremony brought numerous vendors seeking to get their products into the hands of celebrities. Established brands like Pilot Pens, Pandora and Nautica stood alongside smaller, emerging brands such as Bright Baum and Canada Bliss. All vied for some one-on-one time from TV stars likes Viola Davis and Jeremy Piven and personalities like Amber Rose and Paris Hilton. Needless to say, a good time was had by all, with lots of mingling, picture taking and gift giving. Below is a sampling of what was offered:

Secret Room Events Style Lounge in Honor of the 2015 Golden Globe Awards at the SLS Hotel:

Fashion was big this year at the Secret Room. Designer Stella Carakasi had her collection of tops made with flowy, body hugging, eco-friendly fabrics that create a luxurious, elegant look. There were pull-on jeans by Golden Girls Clothing and fabulous faux-fur porcupine vests from Kathy Fielder. Heat Holders gifted their slipper socks, which keep feet warm longer than any other cotton or thermal sock. Moxie Jean gave out gift cards to its resale website featuring clothes for babies, kids and maternity wear. Visitors also received prepaid postage bags so they could send in their previously worn items for cash.

Skincare products included everything from the natural (Derma e) to the medical grade (Sente) to the customized (Ioma). Trinfinity8 gave out gift certificates for anti-aging facials at their spa, which uses quantum-based technology and algorithmic codes to rejuvenate the skin.

The suite also teamed with family restaurant and play space Giggles N' Hugs on the Bambi Baby Lounge featuring numerous products for the little ones and activities to keep them busy like face painting and animal-balloon making.

Big Slice products had to-go pouches of kettle-cooked apples for the ultimate tasty and nutritious snack. These ready-to-eat cooked apples come in a wide range of flavors including cinnamon French toast, cherry vanilla and peach Bellini.

Proceeds from the gift lounge benefited the Farm Sanctuary, which provides lifelong care for roughly 1,000 farm animals, and Hope for Paws, which rescues animals from desperate situations. The organization also films those missions and posts the heartbreaking and heartwarming videos online.

Celebs left with gift bags that included such goodies as earring and pendant sets from Zipsessory, lingerie from Farr West, handbags by Lola Blue and luxury flip-flops by Uzurii adorned with a variety of crystal gems, chains and other ornaments.

GBK and Pilot Pens Golden Globe Gift Lounge at the W Hollywood Hotel:

Presenting sponsor Pilot Pens gifted its gunmetal-grey Vanishing Point fountain pens with rhodium-plated 18K gold nibs along with leather notebooks and multicolored FriXion Clicker Erasable Gel Ink Pens.

There were women's leather bucket laptop totes and hybrid backpack-briefcase laptop bags by Solo. SHEEX gave out bedsheets and portable "Sleep Saxs" made out of performance athletic fabrics. Unlike regular cotton or silk sheets, SHEEX materials are moisture-wicking and temperature-controlled, with plenty of breathability and stretch.

Heather Marianna was handing out her Beauty Kitchen products such as lavender bath soaks and tropical smoothie skin polishers. Burke Williams day spa offered on-site massages, while gifting guests with day spa passes, products from their skincare and makeup lines, and gift certificates to try the new Advanced Eye Lift Treatment at its spa.

Caribbean Living Magazine gave out five-day stays to Anguilla's CeBlue Villas & Beach Resort. The Puerto Vallarta Beach Club gifted three-night accommodations at its private beachfront enclave on the Mexican Riviera.

Online shopping club Beyond the Rack handed out $200 shopping credit cards to their site. Meanwhile, Canada Bliss had stylish newsboy knit caps, toques and slouchy beanies.

The charities that benefited from the event included Lambda Legal, which fights for the civil rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and HIV-infected people; YES!, an organization that provides resources and support for those affected by advance cancer; and the World Vision Group, which had celebs put together Ebola caregiver kits complete with handwritten notes of support.

Golden Globe HBO Luxury Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills:

Presenting sponsor Pandora had celebs play a round of Plinko that would determine which piece of Pandora jewelry they would "win" from categories that included rings, earring, bracelets and necklaces.

Nautica gifted waterproof rain breakers, and Big Buddha gave out stylish faux-leather handbags. There was fragrance by Gendarme and homeopathic medicine by Boiron. Montez Renault gifted grooming products for men, while DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse showcased their brand-name footwear including suede Nike hightops.

Kari Feinstein's Style Lounge Pre-Golden Globe Awards at the Andaz West Hollywood:

There were silk tops and scarves by VIDA, a San Francisco-based company that works with carefully selected artists from around the world to digitally scan their work and print it on fabric. The result is luxurious, modern pieces in limited designs. VIDA also provides livable wages and literacy programs for its factory workers in Pakistan so they avoid being trapped by the cycle of poverty and get empowered by education.

Bright Baum was giving out artificial LED trees perfect for home décor, landscape accenting or just to keep as very cool nightlights. These realistic-looking trees are handmade, hand-painted and constructed to withstand both indoor and outdoor elements. Bright Baum trees come in a variety of sizes, light colors and tree styles from bonsai and cherry blossoms to willow and maple.

Swish Suits had fitted wetsuits specifically designed for women's bodies. Now they can all look like sexy Bond girls! On top of that, Swish Suits are made from limestone, not fossil-fuel-derived neoprene, so they're eco-friendly as well. For non-scuba or non-surfing celebs, Swish also had colorful lightweight jackets and vests that are perfect for aquatic sports, yoga or working out.

Celebs also received the Alcohoot, a smartphone breathalyzer with police-grade accuracy so that you never have to wonder if you've had too much. The adjoining app helps track a user's long-term alcohol trends and consumption throughout an evening and offers nearby restaurants or taxis to help sober up and get home safely.

Jayneoni Presents the Boom Boom Room's Pre-Golden Globe Luxury Baby and Parenting Products Gifting Lounge at the Loews Hotel Hollywood:

Brilliant Baby Products had a slew of items including toys by German toy maker HABA (stacking cubes, magnetic puzzles), mini backpacks by Lassig and rolls of removable tape by Inroad Toys printed to look like roads or railway tracks for kids who love playing with toy trains and cars. There were also Melody Mates, light-up cushions with built-in plush toys and detachable blankets that play lullabies to help youngsters fall asleep.

Author Ylleya Fields was handing out copies of her award-winning Princess Cupcake Jones children's book series featuring too-rarely-seen African-American characters. Meanwhile, Adri & Sara gifted scarves and canvas bags inspired by author Miroslav Sasek's This Is... book series.

There was suede and leather baby moccasins by Freshly Picked and many unique clothing and accessories for babies, toddlers and moms by cool brands such as Wee Structed, Enjoy Essential and Loved by Hannah and Eli.

Posh Pak gave out samples of their subscription-based monthly gift boxes for young girls in three different age categories. Creator Shayna Hansen-Niksch partners with brands like Kate Spade and Band.do to curate age-appropriate items such as lip gloss, hair accessories and school supplies for tween girls.

The event benefited Los Angeles Foster Care Children

 

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Rapid changes in the use of the Spanish language in the Southwest may lead to the language's extinction in coming decades in the region unless bilingualism is accepted and promoted, a University of Colorado expert said.

Devin Jenkins has found that in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, areas with a large population of Spanish and Mexican descent, the use of Spanish is no longer growing.

In other areas of the United States, however, Spanish is flourishing with the arrival of new immigrants, said Jenkins, who speaks Spanish fluently and has gathered information about the subject for the past 35 years.

"The change of language by the third generation is, simply, the process in which immigrants' grandchildren tend to speak only one language, the one prevalent in their communities, and not the language of their immigrant ancestors," he said.

In some parts of Texas, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico, less than one in three grandchildren of immigrants speak Spanish, compared to major cities in California and South Texas where two out of three young people preserve their grandparents' language.

"Language extinction happens all the time everywhere in the world," said Jenkins, a Spanish teacher and director of the modern languages department at UCD.

"Those languages are the cultural link with the past," Jenkins said. "Losing them is losing a piece of our own culture. That's why all efforts to preserve a language are commendable."

In the Southwest, the efforts include studying why someone speaks in Spanish or ceases to do it, who uses the language and what benefits the children and grandchildren of immigrants derive from being bilingual or from speaking only in English.

Changes in language usage affect family relationships since grandparents may not be able to communicate with their grandchildren, Jenkins said.

"There is little gain here," Jenkins said.

"Those who promote English-only policies say that people who speak only English have better chances to succeed," Jenkins said. "But that's not the case. Knowing only one language reduces a person's abilities, while being bilingual doesn't mean that the person is less proficient in English."

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3.7 Million March In Paris... World Leaders Join Demonstrators In Mourning And Defiance... French PM: 'Today, Paris Is The Capital Of The World'... 'POURQUOI?'... Security On High... Solidarity Seen Wordwide... Demonstrations In NYC, London, Tokyo

People In Cities Around The World Rally To Honor Paris Victims

Tens of thousands of people gathered in cities around the world on Sunday to honor the 17 victims who died during three days of bloodshed in Paris last week, and to support freedom of expression.

The biggest event was in Paris, where over a million people, including more than 40 world leaders, streamed into the heart of the city for a rally of national unity, days after the attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, police officers and a kosher grocery.

A look at the gatherings in other cities across the globe:

BERLIN

About 18,000 people gathered in front of the French embassy next to Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate in an impressive show of solidarity for the victims of the Paris attacks. Many brought flowers or pencils and help up signs saying "Je suis Charlie" or "Je suis Juif" (I am a Jew).

Some protesters also held up cartoons published by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and played French chansons on CD players they had brought along. Many participants at the rally were French citizens, but altogether, the crowd reflected the cosmopolitan flair of Berlin — people could be heard speaking a mélange of German, English, French, Russian and many other European languages.

Marieke Zwarter, a 24-year-old Dutch university student who studies film and lives in Berlin, said she attended the rally to "show that we should not be afraid and will not allow these terrorists to divide our societies."

Her friend, 20-year-old Russian Polina Panfilova, who studies political science in Berlin, was carrying white flowers.

"It's important that we're all here," she said. "We are sending a clear signal that we won't let the terrorists win."

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LONDON

Landmarks including Tower Bridge and the London Eye ferris wheel were lit in the red, white and blue of the French tricolor flag. The French colors were also projected onto the facade of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, where more than 1,000 people gathered Sunday in solidarity with the French people.

Many carried "Je suis Charlie" signs, and some held pens aloft as a tribute to the slain cartoonists.

Mayor Boris Johnson attended the rally and said it had been organized to express with Paris "our feelings of unity in grief and in outrage, and obviously in determination of these two great historic cities of freedom to stand together."

London has been hit by several major terrorist attacks, the most lethal in July 2005, when four al-Qaida-inspired bombers killed 52 people on three subway trains and a bus.

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BOSTON

Hundreds of people took part in a rally on Boston Common to support France and free speech. The gathering was organized by the French Consulate and the city's French community to coincide with the massive anti-terrorism rally in Paris.

The Boston demonstrators held a moment of silence for those killed this week in Paris.

Some held French flags, and banners readingin French, "I am Charlie" and "Boston is France."

There were a few blue-and-yellow "Boston Strong" banners remembering the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people. Jury selection began this week in the federal trial of bombing suspect Dzhohkar Tsarnaev, who faces the death penalty.

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ROME

Thousands of people participated in a silent demonstration Sunday in front of the French Embassy, holding aloft pencils, candles and placards reading: "Je suis Charlie." The demonstration was jointly organized by the French consulate and by Italy's Muslim community.

"We condemn this terrible attack with absolute firmness and we want to express solidarity to the French people and to the French ambassador in the name of all the Muslim communities in Italy," said Foad Aodi, president of Comai, an association of Muslims in Italy.

Elene Bompere, a French citizen living in Rome, said the attacks on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher market "provokes a strong reaction."

A small demonstration was also held in Venice's Campo Manin, drawing many young people. Participants included the president of Venice's Islamic community, Mohamed Amin Al Ahdab, and the head of the lagoon city's Jewish community, Paolo Gnignati.

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BRUSSELS

About 20,000 people marched silently through the center of Brussels, carrying banners reading "Je suis Charlie" and "United Against Hatred."

A bomb threat Sunday afternoon forced the evacuation of the offices of the offices of the Brussels newspaper Le Soir, but several hours later there was no indication of anything serious going on.

In the city of Ghent, in western Belgium, about 3,000 people took part in a silent march.

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VIENNA

With flags at half-staff over Parliament and government buildings, about 12.000 people joined Austrian political and religious leaders in downtown Vienna to pay homage to the victims of the Paris terrorist shootings.

A government statement served notice that official Austria would not be cowed by the attacks. "No one can extinguish our democracy and our freedom," said the statement, read by two well-known Austrian actors. Others read texts by famed German writers focusing on equality and brotherhood

The crowd first formed in front of the French Embassy, then moved to the square separating the palaces serving as the offices of Austrian President Heinz Fischer and Chancellor Werner Faymann. Both were in attendance at the rally, along with government ministers, Roman Catholic Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, and the heads of Austria's Muslim, Jewish, Orthodox Christian and other religious communities.

The crowd, many of them holding white-on-black "Je suis Charlie" signs, held a moment of silence for the attack victims. The Vienna State Opera Choir sang works by Mozart and Verdi.

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MADRID

Hundreds of people gathered in Madrid to express their revulsion at the Paris attacks and support for freedom of speech.

Several hundred Muslims carrying banners saying "Not in our name" rallied at Madrid's Atocha square, next to the train station where in March 2004 bombs on rush-hour trains killed 191 people in Europe's deadliest Islamic terror attack. A small group of Muslim religious leaders then laid a wreath with a ribbon saying "In solidarity with France" outside the French Embassy in Madrid where the ambassador received them.

At nearby Puerta del Sol square, hundreds of mainly French protesters drew cartoons and held aloft signs saying "Je suis Charlie."

Rallies were also held in other Spanish cities, including Barcelona and Valencia.

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MOSCOW

About a hundred people, mostly French citizens, took part in a so-called Silent March in Moscow's Gorky Park to honor the 17 victims of the terror attacks in France and show support for freedom of expression.

"I am a French citizen who wants to tell the terrorists that we will fight against the terror and for freedom," said France's ambassador to Russia, Jean-Maurice Ripert, who was among the marchers.

In the evening, dozens of Muscovites came to the French Embassy to lay flowers and express their solidarity.

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MONTREAL

Thousands of people, repeatedly chanting "Charlie," marched through downtown Montreal to honor the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Laurent Beltritti, a French flight attendant on a Montreal stopover, was among those who participating in the march.

"As I couldn't attend the event in France with my friends and family, I thought it was important to come here to show my solidarity and to protest in favor of freedom and the right to express oneself without being killed by fanatics," Beltritti said.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre also took part in the march, which ended at the French Consulate, and said there needs to be "zero-tolerance against fanaticism."

In Quebec City, Premier Philippe Couillard attended a similar event.

"We have to reaffirm our faith in democracy and freedom," Couillard said. "The worst thing we could do would be to retreat into fear."

Other rallies and vigils were to be held in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver later Sunday.

___

ISTANBUL

Scores of demonstrators gathered in central Istanbul for a small solidarity rally with France.

Minutes after the remembrance got underway, a man, apparently critical of the gesture, tried to cut them off, shouting "Muslim blood is being shed!" The man was detained and carried away by riot police.

The silent march continued despite the interruption. About 120 people holding up pencils, pens and posters reading "We are all Charlie" walked down Istanbul's main Istiklal Avenue toward the French consulate.

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BEIRUT

Around 200 protesters gathered in the Lebanese capital Beirut to condemn the attacks in France, carrying signs that said "We are not afraid," and "Je Suis Ahmed," — referring to the French Muslim police officer, Ahmed Merabet, who was killed as he confronted the gunmen fleeing from the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The demonstration was made more poignant for its location: a reflective pool built to commemorate a prominent Arab writer, Samir Kassir, who was assassinated 10 years ago during a spate of killings that targeted politicians and writers living in Lebanon who were critical of neighboring Syria.

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JERUSALEM

Several hundred people gathered at a memorial ceremony at Jerusalem's City Hall to express solidarity with France and the French Jewish community. The gathering, led by Mayor Nir Barket and the city's chief rabbi, included many French Jewish immigrants to Israel.

Many participants held signs saying "Je Suis Charlie," or "Israel is Charlie," written in Hebrew. The city said it was hoisting 1,500 French flags throughout Jerusalem, and setting up a makeshift memorial downtown where people could post sympathy notes.

Many Israelis have identified with France, both because of Israel's long history battling Islamic militants and because four of the victims in Paris were Jewish.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led a delegation to attend the mass rally in Paris. The Israeli leader called on French Jews to move to Israel amid a rising tide of attacks on their community. He also announced that the four Jewish victims, killed in a hostage standoff at a kosher supermarket, were expected to be buried in Israel.

___

RAMALLAH

About 200 Palestinians and foreign supporters held a solidarity rally in the central Manara Square in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Participants held French and Palestinian flags.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior Palestinian official, said France and the Palestinians share the same values — liberty, equality and "saving the modern civilization against the criminals who are spreading all across the Arab world and they have attacked the heart of France."

___

GAZA CITY

In Gaza, about 20 people held a candlelight vigil outside the French Cultural Center in solidarity with France and to condemn the Paris attacks.

"We are here in this vigil against terrorism," said Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. "The French people are friends of the Palestinian people and support them, so we are supporting them in return."

The French Center has been closed to the public since December when unknown assailants detonated explosives targeting its exterior walls several weeks after a similar attack on the building.

Gaza's Hamas leaders have condemned the attack on the French satirical newspaper, but have pointedly refrained from mentioning the attack on the kosher supermarket in which four Jews were killed.

On Sunday, a Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for trying to make a connection between the Palestinian militants and the Paris attackers.

"Hamas'... resistance is a legitimate one. It is a party that protects our citizens, our lands and our holy places," he said.

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SYDNEY

Hundreds of people rallied in downtown Sydney's Martin Place, a plaza where a shotgun-wielding Islamic State movement supporter took 18 people hostage in a cafe last month. The standoff ended 16 hours later when police stormed the cafe in a barrage of gunfire to free the captives. Two of the hostages and the gunman died.

More than 500 Australians and French nationals stood side by side holding signs bearing the words "Je suis Charlie" — French for "I am Charlie" — and "Freedom" as they marched in condemnation of the Paris attacks.

"We have to stand united," France's ambassador to Australia, Christophe Lecourtier, told the crowd.

Among the French now residing in Sydney who attended the rally was Felix Delhomme, 27.

"People are sending a message that we're all together," he said. "We want to be able to maintain our freedom of speech. We are mostly concerned about the backlash there might be against the Muslim community. They're not more responsible for what happened than I am."

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TOKYO

A couple of hundred people, mostly French residents of Japan, gathered in the courtyard of the French Institute in Tokyo, holding a minute of silence and singing "La Marseillaise," the French national anthem. They then held up pieces of paper that read "Je suis Charlie" in French or the Japanese translation.

The institute, which functions as a language school, was running as normal during the ceremony, with students shuffling in, as the French flag — tied with a black ribbon — hung over the balcony.

"I came here to give support to fellow artists and I believe we should stand so these things don't happen again," said Alexandre Kerbam, 43, a French resident of Japan who works as a body painter and hair stylist.

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NEW YORK

On Saturday, hundreds of mostly French-speaking New Yorkers braved below-freezing temperatures and held pens aloft at a rally in Washington Square Park, where a leather-clad pole dancer gyrated in a provocative display meant to reflect the over-the-top cartoons in Charlie Hebdo.

The dancer's live soundtrack came from a concert grand piano hauled into the Manhattan square for the occasion as she twirled under a sign that read "Je suis Charlie."

Olivier Souchard, a French-born New York resident who brought his family and friends, explained the fierce support for freedom of expression that drove Charlie Hebdo's images of the Prophet Mohammed.

"What we are afraid of is less freedom for more security — it's muzzling," Souchard said. He said he's been in touch with his friend Philippe Lancon, a Charlie Hebdo columnist who is recovering from surgery after being shot in the face in the attack.

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Associated Press journalists Jill Lawless in London, Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin, Annalisa Camilli in Rome, Colleen Barry in Milan, George Jahn in Vienna, Desmond O. Butler in Istanbul, Vladimir Kondrashov in Moscow, Diaa Hadid in Beirut, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Kaori Hitomi in Tokyo, Harold Heckle in Madrid, Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank, Moshe Edri in Jerusalem, and Verena Dobnik in New York contributed to this report.

MORE: Charlie Hebdo Charlie Hebdo World Rallies Charlie Hebdo Global Rallies Charlie Hebdo Rallies London Charlie Hebdo Rallies Germany Charlie Hebdo Rallies Global Charlie Hebdo Rallies Tokyo Charlie Hebdo Rallies United States

Striking Photos From The Massive Unity March In Paris After Charlie Hebdo Attack

The streets of Paris overflowed on Sunday, as more than a million people converged on the capital to take part in a march for national unity. Among the masses gathered around the Place de la Republique square were over a dozen world leaders, as well as members of a swath of France's political parties.

Demonstrators carrying French flags and the ubiquitous "Je Suis Charlie" signs stretched along two separate routes toward the Place de la Nation. The area was closely guarded by hundreds of troops and police. Sunday's government-sponsored rally comes after extremist attacks last week claimed the lives of 17 victims. The crisis began with an assault on the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper offices, which led to a multiday manhunt, and culminated in two deadly hostage situations.

France is still reeling from the events, which newspaper Le Monde equated to a French 9/11, and there has been fear over the effect the attack will have on an already tense society. In the days following the killings, several reports of Muslims being targeted in racist or violent incidents have emerged. France's Jewish population is also on edge, with reports of an increasing number of Jews leaving the country in fear, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu encouraging emigration following the killing of hostages in a kosher supermarket late last week.

At the rally on Sunday, however, the tone of French unity was at the forefront, with Prime Minister Manuel Valls declaring, “We are all Charlie, we are all police, we are all Jews of France."

 

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Americans today are taking less vacation time than at any point in nearly 40 years, according to an October report for the U.S. Travel Association by Oxford Economics. So where and how will we be spending our precious leisure time in 2015?

As a new year begins, industry and research groups are looking into their crystal balls. Turns out, when Americans travel internationally most stick close to home. Michelle Grant, a travel and tourism research manager for Euromonitor International, a market research company, pointed out that nearly half of overseas travelers are from the East Coast, and they make trips within the Western Hemisphere or to Western Europe, to places that are more affordable and easier to reach (with shorter and direct flights) than those farther afield.

The most popular international destination, by a landslide, will be Mexico, according to Euromonitor. Mexico topped the list last year with about 20,916,000 trips, and Euromonitor predicts it will be favored again this year, with some 21,297,000 trips, an increase of 1.8 percent. Ms. Grant noted that California and the border states are huge drivers of the trend. (The group’s forecasts are derived from national statistics and trade sources and are based in part on the number of trips Americans made in 2014.)

Mexico is alluring not only for its sun and sand but also for its cuisine, destination yoga retreats and cultural activities, be it exploring the ruins of ancient Maya civilization at Chichén Itzá, a Unesco World Heritage site near Cancún, or partying in Cabo San Lucas. While some tourists are steering clear of places afflicted with gang and drug-related violence like Acapulco and Sinaloa, places like Cancún and Puerto Vallarta continue to be popular.

Capturing second place is Canada. Americans made about 12,331,000 trips there last year and according to Euromonitor, it will again be the second-most visited international destination with 12,489,000 trips.

For the last few years the Reputation Institute, a global management company that says it takes the pulse of more than 27,000 people in the G8 countries, has ranked Canada among the top countries in the world to visit thanks to its beauty, friendly people, safe environment and “contributions to global culture,” as the Canadian Tourism Commission put it in a news release.

Rounding out the top three is Britain, though it lags far behind Mexico and Canada (there were some 2,516,000 trips to Britain in 2014 and Euromonitor is forecasting about 2,546,000 this year).

Britain, of course, offers a variety of lush landscapes and cultures throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. That said, London — with its historic buildings, parks, gardens, museums and pubs — attracted two-thirds of Americans’ vacation visits to Britain, a 2013 report said, while the rest of England attracted 30 percent, according to VisitBritain, the national tourism agency. Scotland, where travelers are drawn to castles and villages, captured 10 percent of visits, while Wales had 3 percent.

France, Italy, Germany, the Bahamas, Jamaica, China, Spain and Japan (the latter two essentially tied) complete the top 11, in that order. Euromonitor analysts say Japan is likely to experience the biggest bump in American tourists, thanks to decreasing prices as well as the fading effects of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis. (Forecasts for additional international and domestic destinations are at nytimes­.com/travel.)

So far, the estimates appear to be corroborated by other companies. Mexico and London are among the top three international destinations being booked for 2015, according to a survey of 1,226 travel agency owners, managers and agents from the Travel Leaders Group, one of the nation’s largest travel agencies. Travel professionals questioned in November and December were asked to name up to five top destinations that they were already booking for 2015. The No. 1 international trip was a cruise vacation in the Caribbean; however, in a news release, the group said that “Europe is drawing in Americans in the highest numbers we’ve seen this millennium.”

A research team at Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, revealed a similar forecast, with London, Paris and Cancún topping its list of 2015 international destinations.

But what about emerging tourist destinations? According to members of the United States Tour Operators Association, an industry group, Myanmar will be the top emerging destination in 2015. Cuba took second place in a survey for the association conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, though one suspects it will soon nab the top spot now that travel restrictions are easing because of the restoration of diplomatic relations with the United States. Indeed, between Dec. 16 and 18, in the days surrounding President Obama’s announcement about reopening relations with Cuba, travel queries related to the island jumped 809 percent, according to Google. Most searches came from users in Florida, New York and California. On Cuba’s heels were Croatia, Iceland, India, Peru, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia and Panama, according to the survey.

When it comes to domestic tourism, California has been and is likely to continue to be by far the most popular destination, according to Euromonitor. The state is projected to attract some 134,145,000 tourists in 2015, lured by wineries, food, beaches, spas, surf culture, theme parks, the slick artifice of Hollywood and the natural wonders of Yosemite and Big Sur. Little wonder California is the nation’s largest tourism economy, according to Visit California, the state’s marketing and tourism arm.

Texas nabbed second place with an estimated 87,502,000 tourist visits in 2015, followed by Florida (69,463,000 visits) and New York (55,383,000 visits). Florida is likely to be the fastest growing state for tourism, according to Euromonitor, thanks to its sunny skies and initiatives at theme parks like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios. Indeed, agents at Travel Leaders Group listed Orlando as the second-most popular domestic destination in 2015 based on bookings so far. (The No. 1 domestic vacation is an Alaskan cruise.)

How Americans allocate their vacation dollars in 2015 will depend on where they decide to go. Based on national statistics and trade sources, Euromonitor analysts predict that Americans who take international vacations will spend most of their money on accommodations. Food is next on the list, followed by shopping, travel within the country and entertainment. (According to data from the United States Department of Commerce, in 2013 sightseeing and shopping were the most popular activities among leisure travelers overseas.)

The rankings change a bit for domestic vacations. Analysts think Americans will spend most of their money on travel within their own country, followed by lodging, entertainment, food, shopping and excursions.

Given bookings-to-date for 2015 and conversations with clients, almost 97 percent of Travel Leaders Group agents said their clients would spend the same or more on international travel this year compared with last year. Of course, the cost of any trip is determined by a variety of factors: destination, length, class of service, hotel, experiences. Taking that into consideration, analysts at American Express Travel said that based on the average seven-day trip (for international travel), a 2015 vacation is likely to cost from $2,100 to $5,000 or more. (A report from the Commerce Department shows that in 2013 the average trip expenditure per leisure traveler visiting overseas was $2,914. Most flew economy class.) Based on an average of six days for domestic travel, the trip cost could be $1,500 to $3,000 or more, according to American Express.

By and large most Americans will travel by land in 2015, making 870,526,000 trips, according to Euromonitor. Air travel is likely to be a distant second (154,021,000 trips), followed by rail (78,270,000) and, lastly, sea (6,291,000).

Hotels and motels will remain the dominant lodging option, but private rentals are expected to continue to garner popularity. Some 14 percent of travelers booked a private home, condo or apartment rental for at least one of their trips in 2013, up from 8 percent in 2010, according to PhoCusWright, a travel market research company.

Should you make it to one of the most popular places, Britain, you may want to experience a rising trend: the so-called poshtel, a kind of elegant hostel such as Hoax or Safe­stay. Hostels seem to be hotter than ever, and Euromonitor predicts that the sector will experience a record 3 percent growth through 2018.

That’s good news for those striving for a little luxury on a little budget in the new year.

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