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HOT SPOTS FOR TRAVELLERS

Hot Spots Report

ASIA

Taiwan (Security threat level - 2): Between 31 March and 1 April 2015, protesters gathered outside the Presidential Office Building over Taiwan's request to join a mainland China-led bank. On 31 March approximately 30 members of the Black Island Youth Front attempted to force their way into the office to protest Taiwan's interest in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Security forces stopped the attempted entry and removed approximately 2,300 protesters overnight. As of 1 April, protesters are continuing their sit-in outside of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) on Jinan Road, located northeast of the Presidential Office Building.

AUSTRALASIA

Philippines / South Pacific Islands (Security threat levels - 4 / 1): On 1 April 2015, Super Typhoon Maysak continued its path across the Pacific on course to make landfall in the Philippines later this week. As of 0900 UTC, Maysak was located approximately 160 mi/255 km northwest of Yap Island, Micronesia, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph/130 kt and gusts of up to 185 mph/160 kt. According to meteorologists at Wilkens Weather Technologies, Super Typhoon Maysak is expected to weaken as it approaches the Philippines due to unfavorable weather conditions in the area. After making landfall in the Philippines, Maysak will enter the South China Sea.

In Micronesia, a state of emergency was declared for Chuuk state on 1 April. The state governor requested international aid to help the region avoid a humanitarian disaster. Maysak damaged health care facilities, public utilities and crops, and contaminated water supplies. While the fatality toll from Maysak stands at five people, more deaths are expected if aid does not arrive.

EUROPE

Austria / Germany / Switzerland (Security threat levels - 2 / 2 / 2): On 31 March 2015, Storm Niklas, with winds of up to 120 mph/105 kt, hit parts of Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Throughout Austria, several buildings were damaged, roads were blocked and power lines were downed. In Germany, more than 200 flights at Frankfurt Airport (EDDF/FRA) and Hamburg Airport (EDDH/HAM) were either canceled or delayed. While the storm has passed, snow and rain is still expected for 1 April. Rail transportation between Munich and Salzburg, and Bremen and Hanover are expecting continued delays, as are flights in the affected areas.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Nigeria (Security threat level - 5): On 31 March 2015, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) party candidate Muhammadu Buhari the winner of Nigeria's presidential election. Buhari won 54.55 percent of the votes, compared to incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan’s 45.45 percent. Buhari will be inaugurated on 29 May.

The APC is the first party to unseat the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) since the return of multi-party politics and civilian rule in 1999. Shortly before the official announcement of results, Jonathan contacted Buhari to concede defeat and encouraged his supporters to not resort to violence to oppose the outcome. Jonathan’s statements have generated optimism that Nigeria will not experience a repeat of the violence that occurred after the 2011 presidential election, and thus far no significant violence has occurred. Nevertheless, gubernatorial and state assembly elections will be held on 11 April; therefore, travelers and expatriates in Nigeria should continue to remain vigilant and monitor developments until the election period concludes.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Malaysia (Security threat level - 3): On 1 April 2015, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued updated travel advice for Malaysia. The updated section reads in part as follows, "There are regular political demonstrations in central Kuala Lumpur on Saturday afternoons. Popular gathering points are Masjid Jamek, Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) and KLCC. Other rallies may be called at short notice. Monitor local media, be vigilant and avoid all large political gatherings."
Myanmar (Security threat level - 4): On 31 March 2015, the U.S. Embassy in Yangon issued a Security Message, which reads in part as follows: "The U.S. Embassy in Rangoon alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Burma that the Water Festival in Burma, also known as Thingyan, will take place the week of April 12. Revelers have been known to consume large amounts of alcohol, resulting in dramatic increases in incidents of drunk driving and occasional criminal behavior. In the past, festive gatherings during Thingyan have led to unexpected violence. A bomb attack in 2010 at one of the water spraying platforms, known as ‘pandals,’ killed 10 people and wounded more than 170.

"While there are no known specific threats against U.S. citizens, the Embassy advises U.S. citizens to take normal precautions to ensure your safety and security. When in public areas, stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you see something suspicious, report it to the authorities, if possible, and leave the area."

SIGNIFICANT DATES

1 April

Benin: Youth Day (Public holiday)
Cyprus: Greek Cypriot National Day (Observed as a public holiday; offices and businesses close.)
Iran: Islamic Republic Day (Public holiday; possible rallies.)

2 April

Argentina: Veterans Day / Sovereignty Day (Malvinas Day) (Public holiday)
Christianity: Maundy Thursday
India: Mahavir Jayanthi (Birth of Mahavira. Jainist holiday. Observed as public holiday in parts of India)

3 April

Christianity: Good Friday (End of Lent)
Guinea: Anniversary of the Second Republic (National holiday)
Judaism: Passover (Pessah)

4 April

Angola: Peace and Reconciliation Day
Christianity: Holy Saturday
Judaism: Passover (Pessah)
Nepal: Ghode Jatra (Festival of Horses)
Senegal: Independence Day

5 April

China: Qingming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day)
Christianity: Easter
Judaism: Passover (Pessah)
South Korea: Arbor Day (Shik Mok Il)

6 April

Burundi: President Ntaryamira Day
Christianity: Easter Monday
Judaism: Passover (Pessah)
Thailand: Chakri Memorial Day (Public holiday)

7 April

Judaism: Passover (Pessah)
Mozambique: Mozambique Women's Day
Rwanda: Genocide Memorial / National Mourning Day
Tanzania: Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume Day

8 April

Judaism: Passover (Pessah)

9 April

Georgia: Day of National Unity (Public holiday)
Iraq: Baghdad Liberation Day
Judaism: Passover (Pessah)
Kosovo: Constitution Day (Public holiday)
Liberia: National Fast and Prayer Day
Philippines: Day of Valor (Public holiday)
Tunisia: Martyrs' Day

10 April

Christianity: Orthodox Good Friday
Judaism: Passover (Pessah)
Poland: Anniversary of aircraft crash that killed Poland's president in 2010 (Commemoration ceremonies expected, as well as possible protests at Russian Embassy)

11 April

Christianity: Orthodox Holy Saturday
Costa Rica: Anniversary of the Battle of Rivas (aka Juan Santamaria. Public holiday; all businesses except banks close.)
Judaism: Passover (Pessah)
Nigeria: Gubernational and state legislative elections
Venezuela: Anniversary of coup that temporarily ousted President Hugo Chavez (Rallies likely)

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