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HOT SPOTS FOR TRAVELLERS

Hot Spots Report

ASIA

Afghanistan (Security threat level - 5): On 30 June 2015, at 1320 local time (0850 UTC), a suicide car bombing targeted a foreign military convoy on Kabul’s Airport Road. The bombing occurred at 3rd Macroryan market near Qazi Plaza. The location is approximately 200 m (220 yd) from the Supreme Court building and 0.5 mi/1 km from the U.S. Embassy; there were no casualties or damage at either of those facilities, but nearby stores and vehicles sustained damage. The bombing killed at least one civilian and injured more than 20 others. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing, confirming that it targeted foreign troops. This was the third bombing to take place in Kabul on 30 June. At approximately 1030 local time an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in the Kart-e-Now area; it appeared to have caused no casualties. Approximately one hour later, an IED that had been planted on a military vehicle exploded, injuring two civilians.
Indonesia (Security threat level - 4): At approximately 1300 local time (0600 UTC) on 30 June 2015, an Indonesian military transport aircraft crashed into a residential area in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province. The C-130 Hercules aircraft crashed a few minutes after take-off from an air force base in Medan. According to Indonesia’s air force chief, the aircraft was carrying 113 people, and there were no survivors. It is not clear whether there were any casualties on the ground. Several vehicles and buildings in the area sustained heavy damage. Reportedly, the aircraft’s pilot conveyed technical problems and requested to return to base prior to the crash. No further details are available regarding the nature of the malfunction.

EUROPE

Greece (Security threat level - 2): As of the morning of 30 June 2015, Greece and its international creditors had not reached a deal regarding the bailout package. As 30 June is also the deadline for Greece to pay a lump sum to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the absence of a deal means that Greece will be unable to make the payment. This situation has inspired daily protests in recent weeks, and further rallies are planned for 30 June. Two protests organized respectively by pro- and anti-EU groups are expected to converge at Syntagma (Constitution) Square at approximately 1930 local time. The anti-EU group will begin its protest at Athens University at 1800 local time and then march to Syntagma Square just as the pro-EU group begins its protest. Additionally, anarchists are planning a protest in the Chalandri area, located northeast of central Athens, more than 7 mi/11 km away from Syntagma Square. Elsewhere in Greece, anarchists are planning to protest at the Arch of Galerius, known locally as the Kamara, located in central Thessaloniki, which has also experienced increased protests in past days.

Analyst Comment: The convergence of pro- and anti-EU demonstrations at the same location increases the potential for violence, as does the presence of anarchist elements, especially if the latter decide to join the rallies at Syntagma Square. Travelers and expatriates should avoid all gatherings as a precaution and should plan for likely transportation disruptions in central Athens. Tensions will remain elevated and the potential for further rallies after 30 June is high.
United Kingdom / France (Security threat levels - 2 / 2): On 30 June 2015, French ferry workers blocked the Eurostar train tracks in the Port of Calais, which serves as the main channel connection between France and the United Kingdom. Approximately 100 workers stormed the tracks and built a fire to block all traffic. Eurostar’s website stated that the tunnel is currently closed and that travelers should expect further delays. Ferry services have also been disrupted. Traffic is reportedly very heavy on both sides of the channel, near the ports of Calais and Dover, respectively. This protest comes one week after a similar labor action by the ferry workers that led to approximately 36 hours of suspended services. Workers are protesting Eurostar’s decision to sell some of its ferries to the rival Danish operator DFDS; the workers believe that this move will lead to job cuts.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Yemen (Security threat level - 5): On 29 June 2015, a car bomb exploded behind a military hospital in the Shaoub district of Yemen’s capital city of Sanaa. Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack, which reportedly killed at least 28 people. IS-linked car bombs have become increasingly common in the Yemeni conflict, particularly since the triple car bombing that took place in Sanaa on 17 June.

Meanwhile, Houthi rebels claimed to have launched a Scud missile late on 29 June at the Saudi missile base al-Sulayyil, located approximately 280 mi/450 km southwest of Saudi Arabia’s capital city of Riyadh and 280 mi/450 km north of the Yemeni border. Saudi sources deny the claim.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Liberia (Security threat level - 4): On 30 June 2015, health officials confirmed a new case of Ebola in the town of Nedowein, located approximately 30 mi/50 km south of the capital city of Monrovia. The patient passed away on 24 June. It is unknown how the victim contracted the virus. Authorities have quarantined those who had come in contact with the individual. The World Health Organization had declared Liberia Ebola-free on 9 May.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bahrain (Security threat level - 3): On 30 June 2015, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice regarding terrorism in Bahrain. The update reads in part as follows: “Following the recent terrorist attacks on mosques in the neighbouring Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and in Kuwait, you should be particularly vigilant and report anything suspicious to the local authorities.”

Oman (Security threat level - 2): On 30 June 2015, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issued updated travel advice for Oman. The update reads in part as follows: “This advice has been reviewed and updated. We have raised the level of the advice for regions bordering Yemen. We now advise Australians to reconsider their need to travel to this area. The level of the advice for all other parts of Oman has not changed. We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Oman overall.”

SIGNIFICANT DATES

30 June

Central African Republic: National Day of Prayer
Chile: Copa America 2015 - Major South American soccer tournament
Democratic Republic Of The Congo: Independence Day
Guatemala: Army Day (Public gatherings expected)
Islam: Ramadan
Seychelles: Independence Day

1 July

Botswana: Sir Seretse Khama Day
British Virgin Islands: Territory Day
Burundi: Independence Day
Canada: Canada Day
Chile: Copa America 2015 - Major South American soccer tournament
China: CPC Founding Day (Public holiday)
China: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day (large demonstrations often organized)
Ghana: Republic Day
Islam: Ramadan
Myanmar: Waso Full Moon (beginning of the Buddhist Lent)
Rwanda: Independence Day
Somalia: Independence from Italy, unification of Somali Republic
Suriname: "Keti Koti" or Emancipation Day

2 July

Cayman Islands: Constitution Day
Chile: Copa America 2015 - Major South American soccer tournament
Islam: Ramadan
Lesser Antilles / St. Vincent & the Grenadines: CARICOM Day

3 July

Belarus: Independence Day
Chile: Copa America 2015 - Major South American soccer tournament
Islam: Ramadan
U.S. Virgin Islands: V.I. Emancipation Day
United States: Independence Day observed (Public holiday; government offices and businesses closed.)

4 July

Chile: Copa America 2015 - Major South American soccer tournament
France: Tour de France
Islam: Ramadan
Papua New Guinea: The Pacific Games 2015
Rwanda: Liberation Day
United States: Independence Day

5 July

Algeria: Independence Day
Armenia: Constitution Day
Cape Verde: Independence Day (Independence from Portugal in 1975; public holiday)
Czech Republic: Den slovanskych verozvestu Cyrila a Metodeje - St. Cyril and St. Methodius
France: Tour de France
Islam: Ramadan
Papua New Guinea: The Pacific Games 2015
Slovakia: St. Cyril and St. Methodius Holiday
Venezuela: Independence Day

6 July

Czech Republic: Mistr Jan Hus - Jan Hus Day
France: Tour de France
Islam: Ramadan
Kazakhstan: Day of the Capital (non-working state holiday)
Lithuania: Statehood Day (Public holiday)
Malawi: Independence Day
Papua New Guinea: The Pacific Games 2015
Spain: San Fermín Festival in Pamplona
Zambia: Heroes' Day

7 July

Côte d’Ivoire: Independence Day
France: Tour de France
Islam: Ramadan
Papua New Guinea: The Pacific Games 2015
Spain: San Fermín Festival in Pamplona
Tanzania: Saba Saba Day
Zambia: Unity Day

8 July

France: Tour de France
Iran / Iraq: Martyrdom of Imam Ali: Large rallies expected in Iran and Shiite majority areas of Iraq
Islam: Ramadan
Papua New Guinea: The Pacific Games 2015
Spain: San Fermín Festival in Pamplona

9 July

Argentina: Independence Day
Brazil: Constitutionalist Revolution (Public holiday in the state of Sao Paulo only)
France: Tour de France
Iran / Iraq: Martyrdom of Imam Ali: Large rallies expected in Iran and Shiite majority areas of Iraq
Islam: Ramadan
Papua New Guinea: The Pacific Games 2015
Spain: San Fermín Festival in Pamplona

10 July

Bahamas: Independence Day
Bhutan: Birthday of Guru Rinpoche
France: Tour de France
Islam: Ramadan
Mauritania: Armed Forces Day
Papua New Guinea: The Pacific Games 2015
Spain: San Fermín Festival in Pamplona

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