STAR WARS TOURIST: Even when journalists go on vacation, they can't help themselves. They often come home with stories. And so it was with reporter Nanaho Sawano. She went to Tunisia recently on holiday, and was drawn to the village of Matmata as a "Star Wars" fan. "It was the first 'adult movie' I was allowed to see. I was 7, living in New York City, and I hid my eyes during the scary scenes when Han Solo was fighting the Stormtroopers."
When she saw that a single line in her Tunisia guidebook mentioned this village as the filming location for the Lars Homestead, she "had to go" see where Luke Skywalker grew up. She came back with today's story about how the village has been changed by tourism (page 7).
One encounter there made the commercial impact on village life particularly clear. "This teenager planted himself in front of me and insisted I come see his home. I thought, 'Great! I can get off the tourist path and see how a normal family here lives in a real troglodyte house.' But afterwards, he held out his hand and said, 'That'll be 2 dinars for the house tour, and 2 dinars for the interview, please.' "
CZECH TRAVEL CHECKS: The Czech Republic says it will suspend, as of today, the controversial travel checks with British officials on Czech nationals flying out of Prague to Britain. Czech officials said the checks were discriminatory. The Associated Press reports that the suspension follows a decision by a Czech civil rights watchdog to probe the British authorities, whose vetting of would-be visitors to Britain has prompted several Czech politicians and Roma (gypsy) organizations to accuse them of discrimination.
As reported in the July 25 Monitor, the checks were introduced in mid-July because large numbers of asylum seekers have been arriving in Britain from the Czech Republic. More than 100 people have been refused flights to Britain since the checks began.
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