The new rules on Cuba
Last month, long-awaited regulations implementing President Donald Trump’s new policy on Cuba travel and trade went into effect. The new policy has clarified the rules and is helping ease travelers’ doubts about what they can and cannot do. “It’s clear [the Trump administration] doesn’t want to encourage travel to Cuba, but our reading is that ... travel policies are largely consistent with the previous administration,” said Giancarlo Sopo of the CubaOne Foundation. But there are some important changes, including a list of 180 prohibited companies, hotels and stores controlled by the Cuban military. No American citizen or firm is allowed to carry out a direct financial transaction with any entity on the list. “However, there are still many accommodations, restaurants, bars and shops available to U.S. travelers,” said Charel van Darn, chief managing officer of Cuba Travel Network.
Volcanic eruption rocks Bali
The airport on the Indonesian resort island of Bali reopened Wednesday after an erupting volcano forced its closing, but the country’s president said the danger had not passed and urged anyone within Mount Agung’s exclusion zone to get out “for the sake of their safety.” Flights are unlikely to rapidly return to normal levels and a change in the direction of the ash or a new more powerful eruption could force the airport to close again. A worst-case scenario would involve an explosive eruption that causes the mountain’s cone to collapse. “An analogy would be the twin towers collapsing in New York on 9/11,” said Richard Arculus, a volcano expert at Australian National University. “You saw people running away from the debris raining down and columns of dust pursuing people down the street. You will not be able to outrun this thing.”
New York holiday art tour
New York City’s museums and galleries are brimming with megawatt art stars this holiday season. Hands down, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer” is the show of the season. New York Times critic Holland Cotter called it “a monument to a monument.” The Museum of Modern Art has plunged headfirst into fashion with its first exhibition of clothing design since 1944, “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” Meanwhile, “Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is the largest U.S. survey of Chinese-born artists and collectives since 1998. And people have been lining up as early as 6 a.m. for Yayoi Kusama’s “Festival of Life” installation at David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea. Kusama’s “three-ring circus of exhibitions,” the Times’ Roberta Smith said in her review, “argue in favor of greatness.”
New York Times
Harry Potter and the holiday light show
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood is adding a holiday light show that splashes images of falling snow, flying owls and wizards on broomsticks on the 200-foot Hogwarts Castle. Several times a night through Jan. 7, the park will project a seven-minute light show on the castle facade. The show involves projection mapping technology that uses lasers and computer software to create 3-D images on uneven surfaces. “The entire land from Hogsmeade to Hogwarts Castle will transform in the spirit of the holidays,” Karen Irwin, president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios Hollywood, told a crowd at a special preview.
Los Angeles Times