© 2016 The New York Times
Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate
Plan the year ahead with international events including a pop-up festival in the south african desert and a “star trek”-themed cruise. By Masha Goncharova
WORLDWIDE, Jan. 1:
Sweden, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Bolivia and, in an unusual step, Italy and the Netherlands via a shared seat, will join the United Nations Security Council for 2017-18: Italy will hold the seat in 2017 and the Netherlands in 2018. The council is made up of 15 members, five permanent — the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia — and 10 elected for two-year terms.
BAHAMAS AND MEXICO, Jan. 9-15: Hold onto your spaceships, sci-fi fans. Sailing into the sunset with Captain Kirk will finally become a reality on a Star Trek-themed cruise that celebrates the iconic franchise’s 50th anniversary. Ahoy, captain! William Shatner, the original Kirk, is expected to be on board.
NORWAY: Tech-savvy Norway will become the first country to switch off all of its FM radio stations. Norwegians are probably ex-static about it!
POLAND, Feb. 25: Pope Francis may be a real-life rock star, but the opera world will be cheering for Karol Wojtyla, better known as Pope John Paul II, in “Karol,” a musical about his life. Get out your red shoes and dance.
PALAU, March 7-14:
The waters around this Micronesian archipelago will teem with bodies both warm and cold during Shark Week, held at the peak of gray reef shark mating season. Divers from around the world will get close-up access to famous underwater sites while filmmakers and marine safety officials promote shark conservation.
SOUTH AFRICA, April 24-30: AfrikaBurn is a spiritual experience of music, dance, costumes and art near Tankwa Karoo National Park. Just like its Nevada counterpart Burning Man, AfrikaBurn rejects selling and bartering, so festival revelers must rely on each other for daily needs in this pop-up desert city.
INDIA, May 5-6: Dozens of elephants in “nettipattam” (golden headdresses), bells, ornaments, palm leaves and peacock feathers stroll through the city of Thrissur in southwest India to pay respects to the deity Shiva at the Vadakkunnathan temple. The tradition is more than 200 years old.
MOROCCO, May 12-20: All the world’s religions are invited to the weeklong Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, held in the 1,200-year-old city. Since its founding in 1994, the festival has become a beacon of tolerance and a place for interfaith dialogue.
ITALY, May 13-Nov. 26: The contemporary art world descends upon Venice for the 57th Biennale of Art. Permanent pavilions stand in the park known as the Giardini, each managed by one of 30 different countries, where artists’ works are displayed side by side.
PERU, June 4: Imagine Disney’s “The Jungle Book.” Now replace singing animals with a grueling test of endurance on 230 kilometers of trails that start in a cloud forest and wind 10,500 feet down into the depths of the Amazon rainforest. The Jungle Ultra Marathon’s climate and intensity are guaranteed to keep competitors dripping, in case carrying their own sleeping bags, provisions and medical supplies isn’t enough.
SPAIN, July 29: Had a brush with death this year? Then head to As Neves, a small town in northwestern Spain that hosts the annual procession and celebration known as the Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme. Friends and family members can carry you to the church in an open coffin, and after mass you can celebrate your place among the still-living with fireworks and brass bands.
SRI LANKA: Legend has it that one of Buddha’s teeth was taken from his funeral pyre and smuggled into Sri Lanka 1,700 years ago. The tooth became a sacred symbol, prompting the Esala Perahera festival in the Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic) in the city of Kandy. The British poet and novelist D.H. Lawrence once described the celebration as a “perpetual fire-laughing motion among the slow shuffle of elephants.”
USA, Aug. 21: The unsuspecting Orchard Dale historical farm, just northwest of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, is ideally located to provide one of the best and longest opportunities — 2 minutes and 40.1 seconds, to be precise — to spot the first total solar eclipse visible in the United States in the 21st century.
People in Washington on November 22, 1963, reacted to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy as many around the United States did: with shocked silence. All remaining closed records in the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection will be opened by 2017 — except those the president of the United States has requested to remain closed.
CUBA: Dust off your mambo moves and get ready to relive the Havana high life. An entire festival dedicated to the Cuban musical legend Benny Moré is scheduled to take place in his home city of Santa Isabel de las Lajas, in the Cienfuegos province.
WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 26: The documents amassed by the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 must be disclosed to the public, unless the president of the United States has stipulated otherwise.
JAPAN: Soylent Green isn’t here — yet. But in the fall, Spread, a technology company operating a lettuce factory in Kameoka, will open the “Vegetable Factory,” a large-scale vegetable farm controlled by robots. The company says that the automated cultivation and specialized LED lighting will increase production by 50% while recycling 98% of the water used.
CHINA: In the northern Chinese city of Harbin this winter, the Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero is expected to attempt the first-ever human head transplant in an operation that will last at least 36 hours and cost at least $10 million. Canavero will team up with Xiaoping Ren, an orthopedic surgeon from China’s Harbin Medical University.
UAE, Dec. 28-30: Cars, sand dunes and now, robots. Dubai will host the first-ever World Future Sports Games (online, the trending nickname is “Robot Olympics”). Events during the three-day competition include drone racing, robotic swimming, table tennis and driverless car racing.
MEXICO: Soccer fans no longer have to endure long stretches between big competition: The World Legends Cup has rolled into the gap year between the European and World cups. The two-week tournament will be played for charity in January 2017, and will feature 276 soccer “legends” (12 on each of the 23 teams) from 12 countries. Among the legendary players expected to appear on the pitch are Zinedine Zidane and Michael Ballack.
CHINA: This isn’t your mother’s basement: The world’s largest arena dedicated to video gaming is set to open in China at the end of 2017. Helmed by longtime virtual sports organization Major League Gaming, the 15,000-seat arena off the coast of Macau will be a destination for gamers around the world.
NETHERLANDS: Twenty-five “bicycle mayors” around the world will be appointed to represent their cities at a yearly conference on promoting city cycling, beginning in Amsterdam in 2017. So far, Beijing, São Paulo, Chicago, Cape Town and Warsaw are among the cities who have expressed interest in appointing bicycle mayors.
THE MOON: The Israeli technology nonprofit SpaceIL hopes to launch the world’s first private lunar mission on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, after becoming the first team to produce a verified launch contract in the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. The goal? To land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon.