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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
  • Ethiopia Travel Alert - The State Department alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Ethiopia of the upcoming elections scheduled for May 24, 2015.

    U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation throughout the electoral period. This Travel Alert expires on June 30, 2015.

    The State Department recommends U.S. citizens maintain a high level of security awareness during the electoral period and avoid political rallies, polling centers, demonstrations, and crowds of any kind as instances of unrest can occur. Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Although there have been no specific incidents of violence targeting U.S. citizens, U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution and stay current with media coverage of local events. Election results are scheduled to be announced June 22, 2015.

    During previous elections, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) required all diplomats and international organization staff living in Addis Ababa to receive an official pass from the MFA if they planned to travel outside of Addis Ababa during the election season. While not in effect this election, the U.S. Embassy continues to urge U.S. citizens to be aware of election sensitivities. We especially recommend avoiding public polling stations on the day of the election, including schools and other public buildings. In Addis Ababa alone there will be nearly 1,600 polling stations – roughly one polling station for every kilometer.

    We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Ethiopia enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at travel.state.gov. 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, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to enroll directly.

    Regularly monitor the State Department's website, where you can find current Travel WarningsTravel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Ethiopia. For additional information, refer to the "Traveler's Checklist" on the State Department's website.

    The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is located at Entoto Street, P.O. Box 1014. The Consular Section of the Embassy may be reached by telephone: +251-111-306000 or e-mail at consacs@state.gov, and is open Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. For after-hours emergencies, U.S. citizens should call +251-111-306911 or 011-130-6000 and ask to speak with the duty officer.

  • Burundi Travel Alert - The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the risks of traveling to Burundi and urges caution during its election season which could extend from May through September 2015.

      Political protests and demonstrations related to these elections have resulted in several incidents of violence.  Tensions and incidents are likely to increase further in the run-up to, during, or immediately after the May 26 legislative and the June 26 presidential elections. Though previous national elections also witnessed episodes of political violence, this election period is likely to generate violence in excess of 2010 elections.  U.S. citizens are, therefore, urged to exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation throughout the electoral period. This Travel Alert expires on September 30, 2015.

    U.S. citizens should maintain a high level of security awareness during the electoral period and avoid political rallies, demonstrations, polling stations, and crowds of any kind in the weeks before and after the elections. Even peaceful gatherings and demonstrations can suddenly turn violent or confrontational. There is presently no reason to believe U.S. citizens would be specifically targeted in the event of election-related violence. We urge U.S. citizens to monitor local news stations for updates. Instances of civic unrest through the election period are possible.

    U.S. citizens should maintain adequate supplies of food, water, essential medicines, and other supplies to shelter in place for at least 72 hours should this become necessary. Additional recommendations on emergency preparedness are available on the Travel.State.gov web page “Emergencies Abroad.”

    For further information:

    • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Burundi.
    • 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 Bujumbura, located on the corner of Avenue des Etats-Unis and Avenue du Cinquantenaire, at +257-22-20-7000, 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +257-22-20-7318, or +257-79-93-88-41.
    • 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).
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