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HOT SPOTS FOR TRAVELLERS

Hot Spots Report

ASIA

China (Security threat level - 2): On 20 October 2014, the High Court of Hong Kong issued an injunction calling for the immediate end of protests in the Admiralty and Mong Kok areas, where gatherings have taken place on an almost daily basis for nearly a month. Lawyers representing public transportation workers filed the injunctions, claiming that the protests had negatively affected their businesses and are a public nuisance. A few hundred protesters in the Mong Kong area -- located in Kowloon -- continued to occupy areas near Nathan Road and Argyle Road, despite efforts by riot police officers to completely clear those areas on 17 October. Intermittent clashes between protesters and police officers occurred in the Mong Kok area throughout the 18-19 October weekend, and police officers warned on 20 October about the potential for rioting to take place in that area if the situation does not calm down.

EUROPE

Germany (Security threat level - 2): Lufthansa pilots launched a strike on 20 October 2014 to protest a dispute with airline management regarding retirement benefits. The strike will last from 1300 local time (1100 UTC) on 20 October to 2359 local time (2159 UTC) on 21 October. Thus far, Lufthansa has canceled approximately 1,450 flights scheduled to operate on 20-21 October. The walk-off is expected to primarily disrupt short- and medium-distance flights. Lufthansa subsidiaries Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, German Wings, Swissair and Air Dolomiti will reportedly not experience any disruptions.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Madagascar (Security threat level - 3): Supporters of former President Marc Ravalomanana staged a protest in the capital city of Antananarivo on 18 October 2014. Reports indicate that approximately 300 people participated in the unauthorized gathering. The protesters set fire to cardboard boxes and threw rocks at police officers, who responded by firing tear gas to disperse the crowd. The demonstration was the first to be staged since Ravalomanana unexpectedly returned to Madagascar on 13 October after spending five years in exile; he was detained shortly after arrival and is currently being held at a military base in the north of the country.
Nigeria (Security threat level - 5): On 17 October 2014, the Nigerian government announced that it had reached a ceasefire agreement with the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. As part of the accord, Boko Haram also agreed to release more than 200 schoolgirls it abducted six months ago. Reports indicate the ceasefire deal came after a three-day security meeting between Nigeria and Cameroon.

Details regarding the agreement are still unclear, and it is not known what concessions the Nigerian government made to the group. Furthermore, the credibility of the ceasefire has come into question, as attacks have been reported in northeastern Nigeria since the agreement was announced. Additionally, Boko Haram has not confirmed or commented on the alleged ceasefire thus far, and it is not certain whether the negotiator who participated in the talks had the mandate to speak for the entire group or just a faction of the group. Of further concern, previous agreements have not come to fruition, and the government frequently issues statements that later prove to be false. It is also possible that the government made the announcement with a view toward improving the chances of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 2015 presidential election. Even if the agreement proves to be observed by only a fraction of the group and violence continues to occur, the announcement will still likely boost the PDP’s image ahead of the elections.
Senegal / Nigeria (Security threat levels - 3 / 5): On 17 and 20 October 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the Ebola virus outbreak in Senegal and Nigeria was officially over after 42 days passed without an additional case. Senegal’s only reported case occurred after a student from neighboring Guinea crossed the border before it was closed on 21 August. The student recovered and returned to Guinea shortly thereafter. The outbreak in Nigeria, which was contained to the coastal cities of Lagos and Port Harcourt, consisted of 20 confirmed cases that resulted in eight deaths. The virus was transmitted to Nigeria by a Liberian diplomat.
Uganda (Security threat level - 4): Students at Makerere University in Kampala staged a demonstration on 20 October 2014 to protest an increase in graduation fees. The action began at 0900 local time, and unrest broke out approximately 30 minutes later. Anti-riot police officers reportedly fired live bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowd, injuring as many as several people. Makerere University students have staged several demonstrations in 2014 to protest rising costs.

SIGNIFICANT DATES

20 October

Guatemala: Revolution Day
Jamaica: National Heroes Day (Public holiday)
Kenya: Mashujaa Day
Mozambique: Anniversary of President Samora Machel's death in 1986

21 October

British Virgin Islands: St. Ursula's Day
Burundi: President Ndadaye Day
Honduras: Army Day

23 October

Hinduism: Diwali (Hindu Festival of Light)
Hungary: Republic Day. Anniversary of 1956 revolution
Libya: Liberation day (Gadhafi death)

24 October

Botswana: General election
Egypt: Suez Liberation Day
Haiti: United Nations Day
Islam: Islamic New Year (aka Al-Hijrah or Awal Muharram)
Italy: Planned strike in transportation sector
Maldives: Victory Day
Zambia: Independence Day

25 October

Islam: Islamic New Year (aka Al-Hijrah or Awal Muharram)
Seychelles: Festival Kreol parade and street party in Victoria. Traffic restrictions will likely be in place.

26 October

Austria: National Day (Public holiday; government and business offices closed.)
Benin: Armed Forces Day
Seychelles: Festival Kreol parade and street party in Victoria. Traffic restrictions will likely be in place.
Tunisia: Parliamentary Election

27 October

Lesser Antilles / St. Vincent & the Grenadines: Independence Day
New Zealand: Labour Day
New Zealand: Labour Day (Public holiday)
Seychelles: Festival Kreol parade and street party in Victoria. Traffic restrictions will likely be in place.
Turkmenistan: Independence Day (Public holiday)

28 October

Cyprus: Okhi Day
Czech Republic: Independence Day
Greece: Okhi Day
Seychelles: Festival Kreol parade and street party in Victoria. Traffic restrictions will likely be in place.

29 October

Liberia: National Youth Day
Seychelles: Festival Kreol parade and street party in Victoria. Traffic restrictions will likely be in place.
Turkey: Turkish Independence Day

30 October

Seychelles: Festival Kreol parade and street party in Victoria. Traffic restrictions will likely be in place.

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