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HOT SPOTS FOR TRAVELLERS

Hot Spots Report

AMERICAS

Colombia (Security threat level - 4): On 30 July 2014, officials in the city of Buenaventura temporarily banned the sale of alcohol and the carrying of arms due to concerns over criminal activity by gangs. Suspected rebels destroyed an electricity pylon late on 28 July, leaving more than 450,000 residents without power, and local officials are concerned that the city’s gangs could take advantage of the lack of electricity to carry out crimes. The military has been deployed to secure the area in order to allow workers to re-establish the power lines, but the work is expected to take up to three days. Public officials have blamed the attack on the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group. A few days prior to the 28 July incident, FARC rebels allegedly blew up an aqueduct in the eastern Meta province, leaving 16,000 people without water. The recent spate of violence has prompted President Manuel Santos to warn the rebels that persistent attacks targeting civilians could bring an end to the ongoing peace negotiations. The president is due to arrive in Buenaventura later on 30 July to attend a security summit.

ASIA

China (Security threat level - 2): On 28 July 2014, dozens of men armed with knives and axes launched an attack against a police station and other government offices in Shache county, which is located in the Kashgar region of Xinjiang province, very near the border with Tajikistan. The incident occurred during the early morning hours of 28 July, but was only acknowledged in the official Chinese press on 29 July. According to reports from state-run media, police officers killed at least 20 of the attackers, but not before the attackers killed dozens of civilians, both Uighurs and Han Chinese. Uighur groups claim that police officers killed several Uighurs who did not participate in the attack and arrested approximately 50 others.

Uighurs are a minority ethnic group in China and mostly practice Islam. They have historically lived in Xinjiang province, and in the last 10 years tension over economic and cultural disenfranchisement brought on by Han Chinese migrants has led to violent attacks by militant groups within the Uighur community. The Kashgar region is exceptionally remote and tends to be a center for Uighur agitation.
India (Security threat level - 3): Activist groups have called for a bandh (general strike) in Bengaluru (Bangalore) on 31 July 2014 to protest the increasing crime rate, especially crimes against women and children. Organizers intend to stage a march from the City Hall to the chief minister’s residence. Local officials will deploy approximately 17,000 police officers to maintain security. The level of adherence to the strike is still uncertain. A local official stated that all government institutions will function as normal; however, the Karnataka Government Employees’ Association has expressed its support for the strike. The private sector is monitoring the situation and, as of 30 July, has not indicated whether it will observe the bandh. Public transportation officials also have yet to determine whether buses will operate. Individuals who plan to be in Bengaluru on 31 July should be prepared for the possibility of disruptions in day-to-day activities and should avoid gatherings as a precautionary measure.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

South Africa (Security threat level - 3): On 30 July 2014, thousands of students marched in the Johannesburg central business district and reportedly looted businesses and vendors in the area. The students began their action around midday local time. As of the most recent reports at 1400 local time, the crowd was located near an education department building at Albertina Sisulu and Eloff streets. Authorities are advising motorists to use Marshall Street as an alternative to avoid the affected area. The exact motivation for the unrest is unclear at this time. Thus far there have been no reports of injuries, although reports indicate that some of the students are armed. Many businesses have shut down as a precaution.

SIGNIFICANT DATES

30 July

Morocco: Throne Day/National Day

1 August

Angola: Armed Forces Day
Barbados: Emancipation Day
Benin: Independence Day
Democratic Republic Of The Congo: Parents' Day
Jamaica: Emancipation Day (Public holiday)
Lesser Antilles / St. Lucia: Emancipation Day
Lesser Antilles / St. Vincent & the Grenadines: Emancipation Day
Nicaragua: Festival of Santo Domingo
Switzerland: National Day (Celebrated in major cities. All government offices and most businesses close. Some locations have celebrations the preceding night.)
Trinidad & Tobago: Emancipation Day

2 August

Costa Rica: Virgin of Los Angeles, Feast of Patroness of Costa Rica
France: Air France strike
Guyana: Freedom Day (Emancipation Day)
Macedonia: Republic Day
Russia: Paratroopers Day (Not a public holiday, but disruptions and sporadic clashes may occur as former paratroopers gather on streets and in parks.)

3 August

El Salvador: Fiesta de San Salvador
Equatorial Guinea: Armed Forces Day
Guinea-Bissau: Anniversary of the Killing of Pidjiguoiti
Niger: Independence Day

4 August

Bahamas: Emancipation Day
Barbados: Kadooment Day
Burkina Faso: Revolution Day
Iceland: Commerce Day
United Kingdom: Summer Bank Holiday (Scotland only)
United States: PGA Championship - Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky
Zambia: Farmers' Day

5 August

Burkina Faso: Independence Day
Canada: August Civic or Provincial Holiday
Colombia: Bogota Carnival
Croatia: Homeland Thanksgiving Day
United States: PGA Championship - Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky

6 August

Bolivia: Independence Day
Colombia: Bogota Carnival
El Salvador: Fiestas Patronales
Jamaica: Independence Day (Public holiday)
Lesser Antilles / St. Kitts & Nevis: Emancipation Day
Lesser Antilles / Turks & Caicos Islands: Emancipation Day Holiday
United Arab Emirates: Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan's Accession Day
United States: PGA Championship - Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky

7 August

Colombia: Battle of Boyaca
United States: PGA Championship - Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky

8 August

Anguilla / Lesser Antilles: Constitution Day
Iraq: Ceasefire Day
Switzerland: Zurich Street Parade techno festival
Tanzania: Farmer's Day
United States: PGA Championship - Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky

9 August

Sierra Leone: National Day
Singapore: National Day (Public holiday)
South Africa: National Women's Day
United States: PGA Championship - Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky

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