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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
  • Nepal Travel Alert - The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Nepal and recommends that they defer nonessential travel there following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25.

    The U.S. Department of State also recommends that U.S. citizens in Nepal exercise caution when traveling in or planning departure from the country.  The possibility for aftershocks of significant magnitude persists.  Infrastructure is fragile and access to basic resources, including healthcare, could be limited.  Cell phone and internet service are intermittent. In Kathmandu and elsewhere, some buildings are collapsed and some roads are impassable. Many roads are crowded with people and transportation is difficult.  Kathmandu’s airport has been re-opened since the earthquake, however, it may close temporarily without notice due to aftershocks or inclement weather.  We encourage travelers to contact your airline to confirm flight availability before departing for the airport.  If you are in a safe location, the best option might be to shelter in place.  This Travel Alert expires on August 1, 2015.

    The U.S. Department of State encourages U.S. citizens in Nepal, and their friends and family who might be located elsewhere, to closely monitor the media as well as the Nepal Crisis Page to determine next steps.  In some situations, making evacuation or departure plans might be best.  In some situations, however, it might be safer to shelter in place.

    If you are in Nepal and are safe, please contact your family and friends to let them know your situation.

    The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu is located in the Maharajgunj neighborhood of Kathmandu.  U.S. citizens in Nepal who need assistance can contact the U.S. Embassy by e-mail at ConsKTM@state.gov or by phone at +977 423 4100.  U.S. citizens in Nepal and their family and friends elsewhere should stay up to date on consular information by periodically checking Travel Information and Messages for U.S. citizens in Nepal.  

    U.S. citizens in Nepal should limit nonessential travel within the country, make their own contingency emergency plans, enroll their presence in Nepal through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and provide their current contact information and next-of-kin or emergency contact information. You may inform the Department of State of U.S. citizens located in Nepal by visiting https://tfa.state.gov/ccd, selecting “2015 Nepal Earthquake,” and providing as much information as possible.  You can also contact us at NepalEmergencyUSC@state.gov if you have additional questions or concerns.  You can also contact us at 1-888-407-4747 (from the U.S. & Canada), +1-202-501-4444 (from overseas). 

    For additional information, U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Nepal. Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. 

  • Nigeria Travel Alert - The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Nigeria and urges caution while traveling within Nigeria during the general and gubernatorial elections on March 28 and April 11, 2015, respectively.

    The elections, originally scheduled for February 14 and February 28, were postponed for six weeks due to security concerns related to Boko Haram. This Travel Alert expires on May 25, 2015.

    The upcoming elections are closely contested. Nigeria last held national elections in April 2011 and, although the elections themselves remained largely peaceful, violence temporarily erupted in many northern states after the announcement of results in the presidential race. The 2015 elections again present a possibility of violence. U.S. citizens are encouraged to exercise caution during the election process, particularly in and around polling locations in the weeks before and after the elections. There is presently no reason to believe that U.S. citizens would be specifically targeted in the event of election-related violence.

    We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Nigeria enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you do not have internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

    Regularly monitor the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, including the Travel Warning for Nigeria, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Nigeria. For additional information, refer to the Traveler’s Checklist.

    Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You may also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

    The U.S. Embassy in Abuja, located at Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central District Area, is open Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, located at 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, is open Monday-Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The U.S. Embassy in Abuja can be reached by telephone, including after-hours emergencies, at +234(9) 461-4000, or by email at AbujaACS@state.gov. The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos can be reached by telephone, including after-hours emergencies, at +234(1) 460-3600 or +234 (1) 460-3400, or by email at LagosACS@state.gov. For more information, please visit the U.S. Mission in Nigeria website.

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