UNESCO

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Finally, Pizza Officially Recognized as Art Form

It's part of the 'intangible cultural heritage of humanity'

(Newser) - The city of Naples, often in headlines because of its garbage woes and mafia violence, is celebrating international recognition of its tastier side, the AP reports. UNESCO on Thursday added the art of the Neapolitan pizza maker, or "pizzaiuolo," to its list of "intangible cultural heritage of... More »

Why the US Is Withdrawing From UNESCO

State Department sees anti-Israel bias, also wants to keep back-dues bill from mounting

(Newser) - The US has long had dicey relations with the UN cultural organization UNESCO, and those relations have just taken another sour turn. The State Department announced Thursday that the US is pulling out of the organization at the end of next year, citing what it sees as an anti-Israel bias,... More »

UNESCO List Gets New Sites, Cries of Anti-Semitism Follow

Statement follows decision recognizing Palestinian site

(Newser) - The West Bank city of Hebron's Old Town, as well a religious site it houses, were added to the UNESCO list of world heritage in danger in a 12-3 decision in Poland on Friday, drawing praise from Palestinians and outrage from Israelis. Israel, which claims Hebron as the birthplace... More »

Humans Taking a Toll on 100 World Heritage Sites

New study raises alarm on degradation

(Newser) - Almost half of all natural world heritage sites are slowly being degraded, and experts have a clear suspect: humans. A study based on the Human Footprint Index—which evaluates agriculture, infrastructure, population density, and other factors—identifies more than 100 of 229 sites that are suffering from human activities, reports... More »

Retired American May Be World's Busiest Traveler

Checking off destinations has become a full-time hobby for Don Parrish

(Newser) - When a man in Illinois retired from Bell Labs just over 10 years ago, he decided it was time to see the world. Only Don Parrish really meant that—he wanted to "see everything," and he's since flown some 5 million miles, visited all 193 UN member... More »

Iraq's 'Garden of Eden' Added to Prestigious List

Wetlands of southern Iraq are one of 12 new UNESCO world heritage sites

(Newser) - Fed by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, vast and remote wetlands along the border with Iran in southern Iraq that are considered to be the biblical "Garden of Eden" have just been named a UNESCO world heritage site, the United Nations reports. Among the 12 new sites added to... More »

An Ancient Mud City Is in Danger

UNESCO adds World Heritage site to list

(Newser) - The West African country of Mali claims four UNESCO World Heritage Sites , and as of Wednesday, three of them were on the List of World Heritage in Danger —which runs only 54 items long. The Old Towns of Djenné and its 2,000 mud houses, which have been inhabited... More »

UN Axes Australia's Plan to Log Ancient Rainforest

World Heritage site not the place for logging: UNESCO

(Newser) - Australia's plan to log "one of the last expanses of temperate rainforest in the world" has fizzled to the acclaim of conservationists the world over. Two years after requesting that logging be allowed in parts of the Tasmanian Wilderness to boost the local economy, the country received a... More »

Archaeologists Uncover 'Buddha Post Hole' in Nepal

The site could be hundreds of years older than once thought

(Newser) - In the first major archaeological dig of the area since 1962, researchers say they think they've found a post hole from a wooden structure from which Buddha gave his first sermon in Nepal after attaining enlightenment. In the 1960s, Indian archaeologist Debala Mitra concluded that the ruins at Nigrodharam... More »

Where Was Jesus Baptized? UNESCO Weighs In

Debate continues as UN group picks Jordan side over West Bank locale

(Newser) - Addressing a long-simmering debate about whether Jesus Christ was baptized on the eastern or western side of the Jordan River, UNESCO has made its final decision, and the winner is … Jordan, not the West Bank in Israel, the AP reports. Despite a lack of strong archaeological evidence, the UN... More »

UN Horns In on Explorer's Captain Kidd Claim

UNESCO also dismissed Barry Clifford's claim he found Columbus' Santa Maria

(Newser) - The United Nations is sending experts to Madagascar to assess a claim by underwater explorers that they had found treasure and a shipwreck belonging to the pirate Captain Kidd . Ulrike Guerin, a specialist in underwater heritage for UNESCO, said today that experts will examine artifacts at the site where American... More »

UN: Wreck Isn't Columbus Flagship

UNESCO wants to continue search for Santa Maria

(Newser) - The United Nations' cultural body is on the trail of Christopher Columbus' flagship—and it says the wreck that an expedition identified as the Santa Maria earlier this year is a different, much younger ship. As predicted by authorities in Haiti , UNESCO experts say there is "indisputable proof" that... More »

Mysterious Stone Spheres to Be Protected

They join more than 1K sites now on UN list of World Heritage sites

(Newser) - The planet now has more than 1,000 UNESCO World Heritage Sites : places "of outstanding value to humanity" that UNESCO helps to safeguard and preserve. The World Heritage Committee wrapped up its 38th session on Wednesday by adding 26 sites to its list and expanding four more; that list... More »

6 Countries Seek Protection for Remarkable Road

Qhapaq Nan among 12 sites to be reviewed this week by World Heritage Committee

(Newser) - A 3,000-year-old road that runs from Colombia to Chile and winds through four other countries along the way is officially seeking protection. The South American countries (Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, and Bolivia are also among them) have banded together to ask that 435 miles of the Qhapaq Ñan or... More »

UN Cultural Agency Halts US Voting Rights

Israel's voting rights also suspended over failure to pay dues

(Newser) - The US failure to pay its dues has cost Washington its voting rights with the UN's Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. The US and Israel stopped paying in 2011, after Palestine was allowed to join the agency; any country that stops paying for two years loses its right to... More »

UN to Australia: You Have Year to Protect Barrier Reef

Will be listed as 'in danger' if government doesn't curb development, pollution

(Newser) - Australia's Great Barrier Reef may lose its world heritage status if the country doesn't clean up its act. UNESCO has postponed a decision to put the 133,000-square-mile coral reef system on its " World Heritage in Danger " list, giving the Australian and Queensland governments a year... More »

Syria Fighting Destroys 12th-Century Minaret

Both sides trade blame over shelling of mosque in Aleppo

(Newser) - An ancient minaret at a mosque in Syria has been reduced to a pile of rubble, reports AP . Insurgents are blaming the government, and the government is blaming insurgents, but either way the minaret of the 12-century Umayyad Mosque is history. The mosque is located in Aleppo's Old City,... More »

Ax-Wielding Islamists Attack Timbuktu's Holy Sites

They destroy mausoleums of saints in UNESCO-listed city

(Newser) - UNESCO moved Timbuktu to its list of heritage sites in danger just days ago; the Malian city now more likely belongs on a list of heritage sites in peril. Reuters reports that al-Qaeda-linked Islamists today began attacking local saints' mausoleums, which they consider idolatrous. Armed with Kalashnikovs and using pick-axes... More »

Mali's 'Very Existence' Threatened by Coup

Fears of food, gas shortages as refugees flee

(Newser) - Since we last checked in, the situation in Mali following a soldiers' coup has spiraled, with rising concerns over food and gas shortages, violence, and indeed the country's "very existence," according to Le Monde . An update:
  • The coup has driven more than 200,000 people from their
... More »

John Oliver Visits Africa for 'Epic' UNESCO Segment

He ridicules US decision to cut off funds

(Newser) - The Daily Show made the rare decision to forego a guest last night in favor of a John Oliver piece that, according to Jon Stewart, was "so epic that it could not be contained." Oliver looked into the US move to cut off funding to UNESCO , the UN'... More »

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