Chris Hill/Tourism Ireland
Inis Mór is the largest of Galway's Aran Islands, off Ireland's west coast.

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Irish island homes

New opportunities are afoot for those dreaming of fixing up a rural idyll far from the chaos of modern life. Ireland has just announced a scheme to revitalize more than 20 of the idyllic islands that lie off its western seaboard, including Inis Mór, whose breathtaking landscape you might recognize from the Hollywood hit “The Banshees of Inisherin,” as well as 10 Irish-speaking Gaeltacht islands.

Increased grants of up to €84,000 (nearly $92,000) will soon be offered to people willing to refurbish vacant or derelict homes and then live in them, with Vacant Home Officers now on the case to identify eligible properties. Would-be islanders should be aware that while there are no restrictions on who can buy property in Ireland, owning a place doesn’t guarantee you the right to live there. The government website has the latest deets on the Our Living Islands policy and the existing refurbishment scheme.

Airplane seats

Plus-size travelers are hitting out at “discriminatory” and inconsistent airline policies that often mean they are forced to buy additional seats. Travel influencer Jae’lynn Chaney is calling for more standardization, telling CNN Travel, “At the bare minimum, we need every airline to have a policy that tells people of size how to navigate their airline.”

And in China, Hainan Airlines has faced a backlash after imposing weight restrictions on flight attendants.

Australian airline Qantas has revealed what economy seats will look like on its upcoming record-breaking 19-hour flights between New York and Sydney. The airline promises that its specially designed Airbus A350s will offer passengers more legroom and space to move around the cabin compared with standard flights.

And if the very thought of that is making you a bit crampy, check out our video with five tips on avoiding pain during a long flight.

Our animal friends

A young bear was spotted enjoying a swim alongside beachgoers in Florida on June 11, before hitting the shore and taking off. Woodlands are of course a bear’s usual habitat, and the National Park Service has these safety tips if you encounter one, including not pushing “a slower friend down.”

City leaders in Paris are trying to find out if there’s a way for humans and rats to live peaceably alongside each other. No news as yet on whether that includes rodents living under chefs’ hats à la “Ratatouille.”

If cohabitation with birds is more your thing, our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have put together a beginner’s guide to bird-watching. Here’s what you need to know.

How well do you know American food?

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Put your culinary knowledge to the test by matching 50 regional dishes with the US states that love them in our 50 states, 50 plates game! Click here to play.

Law and order

Not a week goes by without fresh antics. A man was arrested after jumping into an alligator enclosure in Florida, comedian Marlon Wayans was cited for “disturbing the peace” at Denver’s airport, and Bali is considering banning mountain climbing after a rise in tourist misbehavior, such as semi-nude selfies and other goings-on.

The Republic of Slowjamastan

Republic of Slowjamastan Ministry of Communications
Welcome to Slowjamastan: Out in the California desert, a plot of barren land has been turned into a new "country" -- a self-declared micronation.
Republic of Slowjamastan Ministry of Communications
The sultan: Randy "R Dub!" Williams, a late-night "slow jams" DJ from San Diego, has appointed himself as "the Sultan of Slowjamastan" after creating the country.
Republic of Slowjamastan Ministry of Communications
Papers, please: Slowjamastan issues its own passports to people who have signed up to become citizens. Williams says he's had his Slowjamastan passport stamped by 16 different countries on his recent travels, including South Africa, New Zealand, Vanuatu and the United States.
Republic of Slowjamastan Ministry of Communications
Stamp of approval: The Republic of Slowjamastan even claims over 500 registered citizens, while 4,500 more are said to have been conditionally approved or are waiting in the citizenship "queue."
Republic of Slowjamastan Ministry of Communications
The nation's capital: A sign welcome's visitors to Dublândia, the capital of Slowjamastan, where Williams has his open-air government office.
Republic of Slowjamastan Ministry of Communications
Tourist attraction: Citizens and visitors to Slowjamastan must be mindful of bizarre prohibitions to avoid banishment. These include: include "Crocs," "mumble rap" and "people who put their feet on the dashboard."
Republic of Slowjamastan Ministry of Communications
California dreaming: Officially named The United Territories of The Sovereign Nation of The People's Republic of Slowjamastan, Williams' self-declared "country" is located off California State Route 78, a two-and-a-half-hour drive northwest of San Diego.
Republic of Slowjamastan Ministry of Communications
Seeing duble: Slowjamastan prints its own currency -- the duble.
Republic of Slowjamastan Ministry of Communications
Animal magic: Local pastimes include searching for the elusive Slowjamastan raccoon, the national animal.
Republic of Slowjamastan Ministry of Communications
Dub dictatorship: "We're a dictatorship most of the time," Williams says. "On occasion, we'll hold special voting ceremonies and referendums. Recently, I allowed citizens to vote on what should be our national fruit, sport, and even what our national animal should be named."
Republic of Slowjamastan Ministry of Communications
Border patrol: Williams hires "border guards" and surrounds himself with "security" when he hosts events in the Republic of Slowjamastan.

San Diego late-night DJ Randy “R Dub!” Williams has spent his life attempting to visit every country in the world. And when he was nearly done, he went one further by creating his own: the Slowjamastan micronation in the Californian desert.

In case you missed it

Off the coast of France, a 1,000-year-old citadel rises out of the Atlantic Ocean. 

The stunning creation has played a crucial role in the country’s history.

The heavily armed DMZ separating North Korea and South Korea has become a haven for wildlife. 

Life finds a way. 

Europe is already facing a crazy, blockbuster season of tourism. 

And the madness is about to get a lot worse.

Air travel is toxic for the planet. 

But some airlines are better than others.