Something To Declare: who wants to be a millionaire?; the heat is on in US; Russia's Far East

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The Independent Travel

Forget Lotto. Becoming a millionaire is easier than you think. All it takes is a wise choice of travel destination.

Bargain of the week: who wants to be a millionaire?

Forget Lotto. Becoming a millionaire is easier than you think. All it takes is a wise choice of travel destination. According to Lee Stanley, the head of retail dealing for the foreign exchange specialist Travelex, the cost of a millionaire lifestyle in Ghana is currently £62; this will buy 1m cedis. On the other side of Africa, a million Somali shillings will set you back just £28. Heading south, £23 will make you a Mozambican millionaire with a wad of meticais.

The second-quickest way to buy a million in Europe is in Romania, where just £16 will make you a lei millionaire; 15 years ago, the currency was worth the same as sterling. But you need to travel to Turkey for instant millions; a mere 39p - the price of a Mars bar - will buy you a million Turkish lira. To impress the neighbours further, take £400 and a camcorder to the bank and film the staff giving you a billion lira.

Rebecca Matthews

Warning of the week: the heat is on in US

This week, temperatures in Phoenix hit 110F. Nine summers ago, more than 700 people died in a freak 17-day heatwave in Chicago. Even in a "normal" summer, warns the US National Weather Service, excess heat kills an average of 500 people, compared with an annual death toll of 136 from floods, 126 from cold, 85 from lightning, 73 from tornadoes and 25 from hurricanes. The most lethal conditions apply when temperatures do not drop at night. To try to cut these deaths, the National Weather Service has launched daily extreme weather forecasts on its website, at www.nws.noaa.gov, where you can see the likely threats to your American vacation - and learn how to respond.

Destination of the week: Russia's Far East

Life for travellers on the Trans-Siberian Railway becomes easier from this weekend. Until now, the eastern terminus of the world's longest train ride, the Russian port of Vladivostok, has been something of a cul-de-sac. Air connections with nearby countries have historically been poor. But today Vladivostok Air (00 74 232 426 296) is due to begin non-stop flights, on Saturdays only, to Tokyo. On Sundays, there will be a direct link to Kansai international airport near Osaka. Fares start at around £300 return. The airline is also starting flights to the Chinese city of Tianjin for only £145 return.

Simon Calder

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