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World Watch Wire

  • Argentina: Carnivorous Fish Attck Tourists - Tourists enjoying a sunny Christmas holiday on the Parana River near Rosario experienced a horrible surprise when a swarm of carnivorous fish attacked 70 swimmers, including a young child who had part of her finger amputated. The palometas fish, a relative of the piranha, sometimes bites swimmers but an event of this magnitude is extremely [...]
  • Honduras: State Department Issues Travel Warning - The U.S. State Department reissued a travel warning for Honduras Dec. 24, citing high levels of crime and violence as grounds for added precautions. The country has had the highest murder rate in the world since 2010, with roughly 81 murders per 100,000 people for January through November 2013. Though U.S. citizens are not specifically [...]
  • Indonesia: Series of Volcanic Eruptions at Mt. Sinabung - Nearly 20,000 people fled their homes in Sumatra as the island’s Mt. Sinabung volcano erupted at least nine times Dec. 30. The volcano shot lava and gas 23,000 feet into the air and a three-mile danger zone has been enforced around the crater. The volcano was dormant for 400 years before erupting in 2010, [...]
  • Russia:More Violence in Volgograd - A fresh surge in violence rocked the nation just a month shy of the winter Olympic games. Two bombings claimed the lives of more than 30 people at a train station and on a trolley bus in the southern city of Volgograd. The December 29 and 30 blasts injured another 60, and 5,000 police were [...]
  • UK: New Law For Medical Visits - In an attempt to discourage abuse of the medical system, the British government has announced plans to require migrants and international tourists to pay for any medical attention received in the country. The new law includes emergency medical services and minor surgeries performed in physicians’ offices. The plan, which will be formally announced in March, [...]
  • China: Xiamen-Shenzhen High Speed Railway launches Dec. 28 - The Xiamen-Shenzhen High Speed Railway launches Dec. 28, giving travelers easier access to lesser-known tourist spots along China’s southern coast, including Shantou and Haifeng. The railway covers just over 300 miles and travels at a speed of nearly 125 miles per hour. The coastal city of Xiamen is expected to see a spike in visitors [...]
  • Egypt: The U.S. Department of State Reissues Travel Alert - The U.S. Department of State issued an updated travel alert for Egypt Dec. 18, just days before a car bomb killed 14 people at a police compound in Mansoura, 80 miles north of Cairo. The Dec. 24 bombing appears to have targeted police, but reports indicated that several civilians were also killed or injured in [...]
  • Russia: CDC Recommends Precautions for Winter Games - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reminding those who plan to attend the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi to be current with vaccines and is recommending the Hepatitis A vaccine for most travelers. Visitors should also be aware that proof of medical insurance that covers treatment in Russia is required to obtain a [...]
  • Thailand: Protestors Continue to Fill Streets in Bangkok - Protests continue in Bangkok, most recently with thousands of demonstrators attempting to block political candidates from registering at a sports stadium. Tens of thousands also marched in the streets Dec. 22 and protests are expected to continue while political candidates register over the next two weeks, moving toward the country’s February 2014 election date. The [...]
  • Turkey: Fresh Protests in Istanbul’s Kadikoy Square - Police fired water cannons, smoke grenades and teargas to break-up crowds of protestors at Istanbul’s Kadikoy Square Dec. 22. What was meant to be an action against the government’s construction and development plans in the city’s threatened green spaces quickly turned into protests over recent corruption and bribery scandals involving government officials and at least [...]

  • US Dept of State Wire
  • Uganda Travel Alert - The State Department alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Uganda to the upcoming general elections scheduled for February 18, and local elections scheduled between February 24 and March 10.

     U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation throughout the electoral period.  This Travel Alert expires on March 31, 2016. 

    The State Department recommends U.S. citizens maintain a high level of security awareness leading up to, during, and following the election period.  U.S. citizens should avoid political rallies, polling centers, demonstrations, and crowds of any kind as gatherings intended to be peaceful can become confrontational and turn violent.  Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.  Although there is no indication that U.S. citizens may be targets of violence, you are urged to exercise caution and stay current with media coverage of local events.

    Monitor local media for any changes in the election schedule.  General election results are expected to be announced within a week of the election.  For more information about security conditions in Uganda, please see the Country Specific Information page for Uganda.

    For further information:

    • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Uganda.
    • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
    • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Uganda, located at Plot 1577 Ggaba Road, Kamapala, at :+(256)(0) 414-306-001 and +(256)(0)312-306-001 or e-mail at KampalaUScitizen@state.gov.  The Embassy is open Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Friday 7:30 – 12:30 a.m.  For after-hours emergencies, U.S. citizens should call +(256)(0) 414-306-001 and ask to speak with the Embassy duty officer.
    • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
    • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Haiti Travel Alert - The State Department alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Haiti to exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation throughout the current electoral period.

    The Haitian government has rescheduled the final round of elections, which were originally scheduled for December 27, 2015.  The new date is January 24, 2016.  This Travel Alert supersedes the Alert dated August 7, 2015, and reflects the announcement of the final round of elections.  This Travel Alert expires on April 7, 2016

    Tensions remain high and we strongly urge U.S. citizens to exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation as the electoral process progresses to a resolution.  Particular possible flashpoints would be the period leading up to and immediately following the date of the election, the date results are announced, and the inauguration of a new President – constitutionally set for February 7, 2016. 

    There may be restrictions on traffic circulation, either imposed by the authorities or caused by ad hoc political rallies. The Embassy Security Office has advised Embassy employees not involved in election monitoring to avoid unnecessary movement outside of their residences on the day of elections.  Because of this, and as a general matter of emergency preparedness, you should maintain adequate supplies of food, water, essential medicines, and other supplies that will allow you to shelter in place for at least 72 hours.

    Monitor local media for any changes in the election schedule. The U.S. Embassy may update this Travel Alert as the schedule or circumstances change. For more information about security conditions in Haiti, please see the Country Specific Information page for Haiti or the Haiti Travel Warning.

    The U.S. Embassy is located in Port-au-Prince at Boulevard du 15 Octobre, Tabarre 41, Tabarre, Haiti, telephone: (509) 2229-8000, facsimile: (509) 2229-8027, email:  acspap@state.gov American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit office hours are 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  The Consular Section is closed on U.S. and local holidays.  After hours, on weekends and on holidays, please call (509) 2229-8000 and an automated attendant will connect you with the Embassy duty officer.  U.S. citizens can also stay informed about conditions in Haiti by following the Embassy and ACS on Twitter and Facebook.

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