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HOT SPOTS FOR TRAVELLERS

Hot Spots Report

AMERICAS

Brazil (Security threat level - 3): Late on 22 April 2014 residents of the Pavao-Pavaozinho favela, located near Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beachfront district, staged a violent demonstration to protest against the death of a 26-year-old man. The protesters accused police officers of beating the victim to death after mistaking him for a drug dealer. The protesters attacked the local police station, torched cars, and blocked roads with burning tires and other debris in the favela. The protesters blocked Avenida Nossa Senhora in Copacabana, forcing shops in the area to close. The protesters also blocked the Sá Freire Alvim tunnel and General Osorio station. Some reports also indicate that shopkeepers in the nearby Ipanema beach area shut their doors after there were reports of a group of people robbing a private hospital in the area. Gunbattles between drug traffickers and police officers were also reported in the favela. At least one man was shot and killed and another was injured in the violence. During the unrest, the U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro advised staff members to avoid the Copacabana area and to stay indoors if already there. U.S. citizens were also advised to monitor media reports and postpone travel to Copacabana until the security conditions calmed.

ASIA

Philippines (Security threat level - 4): On 23 April 2014 approximately 500 people took part in a protest against the U.S. military’s growing presence in the Philippines and an impending visit by U.S. President Barack Obama, who is expected to arrive on 28 April. The demonstration took place outside the U.S. Embassy on Roxas Avenue. The crowd arrived suddenly, and the protesters immediately attempted to force their way into the embassy compound. Police officers and security guards used water cannon to disperse the protesters; nevertheless, a handful of demonstrators were able to pass through the embassy’s outer gate. The U.S. has for years had a relationship with the Philippine military, mostly focused on counter-terror operations in the southern islands. In the last year, the Philippine government began talks with the U.S. to discuss hosting vessels of the U.S. Navy, which angered some Filipinos.

EUROPE

Ukraine (Security threat level - 4): On 22 April 2014 acting President Oleksandr Turchynov ordered the resumption of "anti-terrorist" operations in the eastern region of Donetsk, although as of 23 April it does not appear that any actions to remove pro-Russian activists from occupied buildings are underway. The announcement included information that two bodies had been discovered near Slovyansk in the Donetsk region; authorities allege that the individuals showed signs of torture and that one of them may have been a kidnapped official from the town of Horlivka, also in the Donetsk region. In a separate development the same day, unidentified individuals opened fire on a Ukrainian military surveillance aircraft as it was flying over Slovyansk, prompting the aircraft to make an emergency landing. Reports also indicate that activists in Slovyansk took a U.S. journalist hostage on 22 April, indicating that he is "suspected of bad activities." Several other foreign and domestic journalists have been abducted in the area in recent days. Military observers sent by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) also arrived in the Donetsk region on 22 April; OSCE mediators met with protesters occupying the regional administration building in Donetsk, who agreed to vacate part of the building.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Kenya (Security threat level - 4): Gunmen carjacked a U.N. vehicle on 23 April 2014 at the Hagadera refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya, near the Somali border. One U.N. staff member was shot and seriously injured in the hijacking. Police officers later recovered the vehicle.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Sri Lanka (Security threat level - 3): On 23 April 2014 the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office updated its travel advice for Sri Lanka after police officers there arrested a British national on 21 April for having a visible tattoo depicting Buddha. The advice reads as follows: "The mistreatment of Buddhist images and artefacts is a serious offence and tourists have been convicted for this. British nationals have been refused entry to Sri Lanka or faced deportation for having visible tattoos of Buddha. Don’t pose for photographs by standing in front of a statue of Buddha. ..."


SIGNIFICANT DATES

23 April

Brazil: Sao Jorge (Rio de Janeiro only)
Bulgaria: Lazarouvane
Taiwan: Anti-nuclear sit-in Taipei, Taiwan
Turkey: National Sovereignty and Children's Day

24 April

Armenia: Genocide Memorial Day (Public holiday; commemorations held in Armenia and worldwide)
Niger: National Concord Day
Taiwan: Anti-nuclear sit-in Taipei, Taiwan
Togo: Day of Victory

25 April

Australia / New Zealand: Anzac Day
Egypt: Sinai Liberation Day
Iceland: First Day of Summer
Italy: Liberation Day (Commemorates the retaking of Rome from German forces. Public holiday. Offices and businesses close.)
Italy: Saint Mark's Day (Patron saint of Venice; festivities held in the main square in Venice)
North Korea: Military Foundation Day (Public holiday)
Portugal: Liberty Day
Swaziland: National Flag Day
Taiwan: Anti-nuclear sit-in Taipei, Taiwan
United States: Annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Indianapolis (Traffic disruptions likely in the vicinity of the venue - TBA - due to the large number of attendees)

26 April

Tanzania: Union Day
United States: Annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Indianapolis (Traffic disruptions likely in the vicinity of the venue - TBA - due to the large number of attendees)

27 April

Finland: National War Veteran's Day
Sierra Leone: Independence Day
Slovenia: Day of Uprising
South Africa: Freedom Day
Togo: Independence Day
Turkmenistan: Turkmen Racing Horse Festival (not a public holiday but festivities held)
United States: Annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Indianapolis (Traffic disruptions likely in the vicinity of the venue - TBA - due to the large number of attendees)
Yemen: Anniversary of 1994 civil war

28 April

Afghanistan: Mujahideen Victory Day (militant attacks possible)
Barbados: National Heroes Day
Israel: Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day; begins at sundown on 27 April. Many entertainment establishments closed)

29 April

Belarus: Radonitsa (Commemoration Day)
Japan: Showa Day (Public holiday)

30 April

Finland: May Day Eve (Some businesses close early)
Iraq: Election for Council of Representatives
Netherlands: Queen's Day
Vietnam: Liberation/Reunification Day (Public holiday)

1 May

Haiti: Labor and Agriculture Day
Kazakhstan: Kazakhstan People's Unity Day (Public holiday)
Slovenia: Reformation Day
Worldwide: May Day / International Labor Day

2 May

Bhutan: Birthday of 3rd Druk Gyalpo
Georgia: Kutaisi City Day (Public celebrations held in Kutaisi)
Spain: Day of the Autonomous Community (Madrid Province and city only)

3 May

Japan: Constitution Memorial Day (Public holiday)
Poland: Constitution Day
United States: Kentucky Derby in Louisville

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