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New Dutch Coins Include Digital Codes

coins with qr codes

The Dutch government yesterday began circulating a commemorative coin that features a scannable QR code on one side and a 3D portrait of Queen Beatrix on the other.  Scanning the QR code, one of those black-and-white squares that resemble Space Invaders, brings you to the website of the Royal Dutch Mint for a helter-skelter video tour of the building.  The coins, available in silver-tone €5 and gold-tone €10 denominations, were minted in a limited run to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Mint building.

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Boston Residents vs. Tourists On Segways

BOSTON (CBS) |  There’s a battle rolling onto Boston’s sidewalks pitting pedestrians against tourists on futuristic wheels.

Residents in the North End have been complaining about an onslaught of Segway riders invading their neighborhood.

“They’re a pain in the butt, especially on like Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays,” said John Gargano. “It creates a nuisance. It creates a hazard.” That’s why the Boston City Council members voted unanimously to ban Segways from city sidewalks.

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The Airplane of the Future Will Melt Your Mind

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I have seen the future of air travel, and it will be (to use scientific jargon) freakin' awesome. Aircraft manufacturer Airbus today released its report on what air travel may be like in 2050. And all I can say is hold on to your hat, Cap'n Sully, because it is going to be one way cool ride.

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America Voted "Funniest Nation," Germany "Least Funny"

eTurbo News |  The Americans have been voted the world's "funniest nationality" - the one "best at making people laugh" - in a global poll, which also names the Germans the "least funny" nationality and the British "not as funny as they think."

30,000 people across 15 countries were asked to name both the "funniest" and "least funny" nationality in a poll conducted by Badoo.com, the world's largest social network for meeting new people, with 119m users worldwide.

The Americans were voted the funniest nationality, ahead of the Spanish - the funniest Europeans - in second, Italians in third and British in seventh.

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Singapore 'to Overtake Vegas' as Gambling Hub

Breitbart |  Singapore is set to overtake Las Vegas as the world's second-largest gambling hub this year, a US gaming industry head said Tuesday, as Asia cements its place as a major betting market.

Singapore has emerged as Asia's hottest new gambling destination with a revamped cityscape and billions of dollars pouring into the economy, after the opening of two resort casinos in 2010.

The strong growth came after Macau—the world's biggest gaming hub—leapfrogged Las Vegas in gaming revenue and continues to post record-breaking growth, thanks to burgeoning numbers of wealthy Asians.

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TODAY Show: Don't Get Hit With Hidden Travel Fees

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Travel + Leisure's features director, Nilou Motamed, breaks down taxes, fees, and surcharges some airlines are burying in the cost of plane tickets purchased through rewards programs.

2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season Will Be Active, Have More US Landfalls

The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season begins today, June 1, and ends November 30:

201106-b-hurricane-istockjpgAccuWeather.com Hurricane Center meteorologists, led by Meteorologist and Hurricane Forecaster Paul Pastelok, are predicting an active season for 2011 with more impact on the U.S. coastline than last year.

The team is forecasting a total of 15 named tropical storms, eight of which will attain hurricane status and four of which will attain major hurricane status (Category 3 or higher).

In a normal year, there are 10 tropical storms, six of which become hurricanes and two of which become major hurricanes, or attain winds that exceed 110 mph.

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Top Paris Hotels Left Off "Palace" List

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A jury composed by the Ministry of Tourism has awarded the new 'Palace' label to eight Paris hotels—Le Bristol, Le Meurice, the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme and Le Shangri-La among them. But to the confusion of many in the industry, the Four Seasons George V and Hôtel Ritz, Paris did not make the grade.

Only five-star hotels could apply for the Palace distinction, but the fact that two illustrious addresses were not recognized has caused dismay. As a result, a new call for candidates was issued and certain criteria have been relaxed: The Royal Monceau, for example, is too recent to have participated in the firstround, but it will be considered in the next one. The call closes in June.

Tina Isaac is Travel + Leisure's Paris correspondent.

Photo courtesy of The Ritz, Paris

Where are America's Worst Drivers?

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You clicked on this headline because you already knew which city has the worst drivers, right?  Go on, share your opinion. (Even though we know you’re going to say Boston, you should tell us anyhow.) Our annual America’s Favorite Cities poll is officially open and now’s the time for you to speak up about the cities with the worst drivers, the most rabid sports fans, the most outlandish people-watching, and more.

Thirty-five U.S. cities are just waiting to be rated on their food scene, their weather, how expensive and clean and safe they are—all those characteristics that can really make or break a visit. 

Last year, in a surprise upset, Charleston snatched Miami’s long-standing first place prize for most attractive people, but Philadelphia gratefully allowed Memphis to take last place.  NYC came in dead last as a destination for peace and quiet (Yeah? So what?), while both visitors and residents ranked Santa Fe number one for its blissed-out atmosphere.

Whether peace and quiet or attractive locals or great coffee or pet-friendliness is important to you in a place, at the very least you know what you like.  Head over to the survey and rate the cities you love (and loathe).   When you finish, enter for a chance to win a $25,000 Dream of a Lifetime trip.

Ann Shields is Online Senior Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Delta, SkyTeam Announce Deep Capacity Cuts

USA Today |  The busy summer travel season is not even upon us yet and Delta Air Lines and its major SkyTeam partners—Air France, KLM and Alitalia—announced trans-Atlantic capacity cuts today for this fall.

Capacity will decline by 7% to 9% over the same time period in 2010, according to these airlines, which operate with antitrust immunity in the trans-Atlantic market, allowing them to legally coordinate schedules and collude on prices.

The airlines say that the capacity cuts are due to "fluctuations in seasonal demand," but it is also likely that the airline industry is bracing for a decline in international travel after the usually busy summer vacation season due to the inflated price of oil, which has been hovering in the $100 per barrel range for some time.

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