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HOT SPOTS FOR TRAVELLERS

Hot Spots Report

EUROPE

United Kingdom (Security threat level - 2): Referendum results on 19 September 2014 show that Scottish voters chose to remain part of the United Kingdom. The opponents of independence won 55 percent of the vote while separatists won 45 percent. The vote had an unprecedented 85 percent turnout, with an estimated 3.6 million people taking to the polls. Scotland’s first minister called for unity and urged the unionist parties to deliver on their promise to grant the Scottish Parliament extra powers on fiscal policies. Preliminary reports indicate that draft laws granting Scotland new powers will be negotiated by November 2014 and published by January 2015.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Yemen (Security threat level - 5): At approximately 0030 local time (2130 UTC) on 19 September 2014, Yemen's aviation authority announced that flights to Sanaa International Airport (OYSN/SAH) would be suspended for 24 hours due to the deteriorating security situation in the capital. The ongoing crisis between Houthi dissidents and the Yemeni government escalated on 18 September when thousands of armed Houthi protesters began to enter the capital after living in protest camps on the outskirts of Sanaa for weeks. More than 40 people were killed in the day's clashes, doubling the death toll to more than 80 people killed over the past three days of fighting. Recent reports indicate that the Houthis fired artillery rounds on the state television headquarters overnight on 18-19 September, engaged in clashes with the Yemeni army near the airport road and seized control of several checkpoints in the city's northwest.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Guinea (Security threat level - 4): On 18 September 2014, government officials stated that eight members of an Ebola education team were found dead after they fled from angry locals in the southeastern village of Wome, located in the Nzerekore region, on 16 September. The bodies of the victims were discovered in a septic tank of a primary school in the town. Reports indicate that the team of health care workers and journalists fled after local residents attacked them with rocks; the residents blamed the group for spreading the virus. Locals in the area have been hostile to Ebola teams in the past out of distrust of the government and foreigners. In August, riots erupted in the same area where the health care personnel were working.
Kenya (Security threat level - 4): On 19 September 2014, hundreds of University of Nairobi students protested in the capital over the delay in the release of student loans. The students blocked several main roads around the university, which is located just outside the Central Business District, disrupting traffic in the area. The main roads affected by the protest were University Way and Waiyaki Way. The protesters threw rocks at police officers deployed to the area, who in turn used tear gas to disperse the protesters. No injuries were reported.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bahrain (Security threat level - 1): On 19 September 2014, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice, which reads in part as follows: "An authorised march is planned on the Budaiya Highway, starting at the Country Mall roundabout at 4:30pm and ending at the Diraz roundabout."

Lesotho (Security threat level - 3): On 18 September 2014, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated Travel Warning for Lesotho, which reads in part as follows: "The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer travel to Lesotho at this time due to continued concerns regarding the security situation. On September 3, the Department of State ordered the departure of non-working eligible family members of the U.S. Embassy in Maseru. The U.S. Peace Corps has also taken steps to ensure the safety of its staff and volunteers. This replaces the Travel Warning issued on September 3, 2014 to reflect the current security situation.

"Following a violent confrontation between police and the army on Saturday August 30, the Lesotho police have returned to normal duties, but command and control of the army remains unresolved.

"The U.S. Embassy in Maseru, Lesotho is open for normal services. U.S. citizens should be aware that, depending on the security situation, the U.S. Embassy may suspend operations without advance notice. The international airport in Maseru is operating as usual, however, flights may be suspended if the security situation deteriorates. Land borders are also open at this time, but may close without warning. U.S. citizens who remain in Lesotho despite this Travel Warning are urged to monitor media reports closely, and to follow all official instructions. For U.S. citizens who choose to remain in Lesotho and are based in Maseru City, travel outside of Maseru City is not recommended. If you must travel outside of Maseru City, the U.S. Embassy strongly advises that you travel only during daylight hours and return to Maseru City prior to nightfall. While no specific areas of Lesotho are off-limits, it is recommended that all travelers consult local media sources and follow all official instructions prior to travel outside of Maseru. We further encourage U.S. citizens to exercise caution, be alert to their surroundings, and avoid crowds, demonstrations, or any other form of public gathering.

"U.S. citizens should carry their travel documents (i.e., U.S. passport, birth certificate, picture IDs, etc.) with them at all times or secure them in a safe, waterproof location. Additionally, all U.S. citizens in the area are reminded to stay in contact with friends and family in the United States to keep them apprised of their whereabouts."
Mozambique (Security threat level - 3): On 18 September 2014, the U.S. Department of State issued a Travel Alert for Mozambique, which reads in part as follows: "The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Mozambique that general elections will take place on Wednesday, October 15, 2014. Official campaigning began on August 31. As with all elections, the U.S. Embassy in Maputo urges U.S. citizens to exercise caution during the election period, review recent Security Messages on the Embassy’s website, and carefully consider whether travel is necessary during this period, namely in the week prior to the elections and the days following. This Travel Alert will expire on October 31.

"Although widespread violence is not anticipated, electoral periods typically result in localized demonstrations that can turn violent, the possible use of force by security services to handle demonstrations or incidents of public disorder, and disruption of transportation services. Depending on election results, unrest and the potential for violence may increase immediately following the election.

"We remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. U.S. citizens in Mozambique are strongly urged to avoid voter polling places, demonstrations, political rallies, or large crowds of any kind during the election period.

"The U.S. Embassy is closely monitoring election activity throughout Mozambique, and will provide updates as the situation warrants on the Embassy website and via Facebook and Twitter. U.S. citizens should regularly monitor these sites and local media outlets for updates. U.S. citizens should also be aware of their surroundings and exercise good judgment in the coming weeks. General information on preparing for emergencies is available on U.S. Embassy Maputo’s website.

"As a general reminder, U.S. citizens are further advised to review personal security plans; remain aware of surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions from local authorities."

Tanzania (Security threat level - 3): On 19 September 2014, the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice, which reads in part as follows: “Opposition party Chadema have announced they intend to hold a demonstration in Arusha on Saturday 20 September. Demonstrations were held in Dar es Salaam on 18 September in which some protestors and journalists were injured. Chadema leaders have called for countrywide demonstrations so others could occur elsewhere around the country. You should avoid areas where large crowds gather.”


SIGNIFICANT DATES

19 September

Chile: Armed Forces Day
Chile: Fiestas Patrias - Millions of Chileans generally travel over the weekend, leading to a higher volume of traffic and traffic-related incidents.
Italy: Feast of St. Gennaro, patron saint of Naples (Public celebrations in the city)
Lesser Antilles / St. Kitts & Nevis: Independence Day

20 September

Australia: G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting
Chile: Fiestas Patrias - Millions of Chileans generally travel over the weekend, leading to a higher volume of traffic and traffic-related incidents.
Germany: Oktoberfest in Munich
Switzerland: Day after the Federal Fast (celebrated in Bern, Neuchâtel and Vaud only)

21 September

Argentina: Students' Day
Armenia: Independence Day
Australia: G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting
Belize: Independence Day
Germany: Oktoberfest in Munich
Kenya: Anniversary of Westgate Mall attack
Malta: Independence Day

22 September

Bulgaria: Independence Day (Public holiday)
Germany: Oktoberfest in Munich
Mali: Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic

23 September

Germany: Oktoberfest in Munich
Japan: Autumnal Equinox (Observed)
Saudi Arabia: Unification of the Kingdom
United States: United Nations Climate Summit 2014
World: Autumnal Equinox

24 September

Dominican Republic: Our Lady of Mercies Day (Some schools and businesses close.)
Germany: Oktoberfest in Munich
Guinea-Bissau: National Day
Judaism: Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year)
South Africa: Heritage Day
Trinidad & Tobago: Republic Day

25 September

Bhutan: Dashin
Germany: Oktoberfest in Munich
Judaism: Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year)
Mozambique: Armed Forces Day
Rwanda: Kamarampaka Day

26 September

Argentina: Day of the Commercial Employee
Cambodia: Pchum Ben (Ancestors' Day) -- Public holiday. Government offices, restaurants and stores closed during the days of the holiday and possibly for a few days before and after.
Germany: Oktoberfest in Munich
Judaism: Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year)
Yemen: Revolution Day

27 September

Belgium: French Community Holiday
Cambodia: Pchum Ben (Ancestors' Day) -- Public holiday. Government offices, restaurants and stores closed during the days of the holiday and possibly for a few days before and after.
Ethiopia: Festival of the True Cross
Germany: Oktoberfest in Munich
Madagascar: St. Vincent De Paul Day

28 September

Cambodia: Pchum Ben (Ancestors' Day) -- Public holiday. Government offices, restaurants and stores closed during the days of the holiday and possibly for a few days before and after.
Czech Republic: St. Wenceslas Day/Statehood Day
Germany: Oktoberfest in Munich
Guinea: Referendum Day

29 September

Australia: Queen's Birthday (Most government offices and businesses close. Western Australia only.)
Germany: Oktoberfest in Munich
Paraguay: Battle of Boqueron (Public holiday)

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