14 finalists vying to be seven natural wonders of the world
The Dead Sea, Vietnam's Halong Bay and Australia's Great Barrier Reef emerged on Friday among 14 finalists for a place as the world's new seven wonders of nature.
About three hours ahead of the 1907 GMT announcement of the final seven wonders, organisers of a world wide poll that closed earlier Friday said that the list of finalists has been halved from 28 earlier to 14.
Besides the three abovementioned sites, others in the top 14 are the river Amazon, the islands of Bu Tinah in the United Arab Emirates, Jeju in South Korea and Komodo in Indonesia, Iguazu Falls in Argentina, Lebanon's Jeita Grotto, Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro, Poland's Masurian Lake District, the Philippines' Puerto Princesa Underground River, the Sundurban mangrove forests of Bangladesh and India, and South Africa's Table Mountain.
It also means sites including the Galapagos Islands, the US' Grand Canyon and Italy's Mount Vesusius have failed to make the cut.
The poll organised by Swiss foundation New7Wonders has attracted great interest, mobilising celebrities including Argentinian football star Lionel Messi calling on fans to pick his home country's Iguazu Falls.
The results come after a long consultation process lasting from December 2007 to July 2009, when world citizens were asked to put forward sites which they deemed were natural wonders.
More than a million votes were cast to trim the list of more than 440 contenders in over 220 countries down to a shortlist of 77.
The group was then further cut to the 28 finalists by a panel of experts.
Anyone in the world was then able to vote for the final seven via telephone, text messages or Internet social networks.
Founded in 2001 by documentary maker Bernard Weber in Zurich, the foundation New7Wonders is based on the same principle on which the seven ancient wonders of the world were established by Philon de Byzance in ancient Greece.
It aims to create a global memory by garnering participation worldwide.
But even as the natural wonders poll came to a close, the New7Wonders foundation has set its eyes on a new survey -- the top seven cities of the world. Participating cities will be announced on January 1, 2012.
© 2011 AFP