Travelers should confirm routes if crossing land borders between Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico due to heightened security and protests around the journey of a Mexico-bound “migrant caravan,” which began departing from Honduran cities, including San Pedro Sula, yesterday. Some estimate that this latest “migrant caravan” may be around 15,000-people strong. Organizers say they will not be going to the Mexico-US border, where thousands of Central American migrants are staying in temporary camps; however, some participants are reportedly aiming for the Mexican cities of Chiapas and Oaxaca, a plan to which some local residents object.
Due to inclement weather, there is a traffic management program in effect for flights arriving to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). This is causing some arriving flights to be delayed an average of 1 hour and 51 minutes. Travelers are advised to reconfirm flights and allow additional travel time.
Travelers in Ceara state, including the Fortaleza metropolitan area, should continue to exercise caution amid an ongoing security force operation against a campaign of violence by organized gangs. More than 200 related incidents, mostly arson attacks, but also shootings and bombings, have been reported since January 2. Most recently, on Sunday, January 13, a bridge in Fortaleza was targeted in an explosion; no one was injured. Authorities said that security would be reinforced along highways, while the federal government had earlier deployed additional officers to the state and established checkpoints.
Today, travelers in Guatemala City should avoid a planned anti government demonstration by the National Coordinator of Peasant Organizations (CNOC). Participants will gather at 8:00 AM local time at the Municipality of Guatemala building and march towards Central Park at 2:00 PM local time. The group is denouncing recent actions by President Jimmy Morales against the International Commission
Against Impunity (CICIG).
Today, travelers in Panama City should plan routes bypassing protests linked to a disagreement over the validity of signatures collected by independent Presidential Election pre-candidates. Demonstrators are due to gather at Plaza de la Democracia and the Electoral Tribunal at 10:00 AM local time. Independent nominees must collect at least 18,542 signatures to become pre-candidates, and the three with the greatest number of signatures will contest the May 5 Presidential Election.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in San Juan should avoid the vicinity of the United States District Court of Puerto Rico as a precaution due to planned demonstrations against the ratification of a controversial fiscal agreement. Retired teachers will gather at 4:00 PM local time today in front of the court house, while supporters of the Puerto Rican Independence Party will gather to protest at the same location at 7:00 AM local time tomorrow. Both events are expected to pass off peacefully but may cause local disruption.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Tomorrow, travelers in Algiers should avoid a planned rally demanding the release of journalist Adlene Mellah, due to the risk of local unrest. Participants are due to gather at 11:00 AM local time outside Press House Tahar Djaout. Mellah was sentenced to a year in prison after participating in a solidarity rally for an imprisoned entertainer in December 2018. His appeal against the sentence will be heard on January 23. Mellah’s supporters accuse the government of repressing
Additional cases of Lassa fever have been reported in Benin. Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic illness. Transmission to humans mostly occurs through ingestion or inhalation of excretions from infected rodents, especially rats. The disease can also spread through direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person. Travelers should prevent infection through observing strict hygiene and avoiding contact with sick people.
Essential movement in Congo (DRC) can proceed with caution, amid ongoing heightened tension over the provisional results of the December 30, 2018 elections. Provisional results of the Presidential Election were announced on Thursday, January 10, naming Felix Tshisekedi of the opposition CACH coalition as the winner; however, opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, of the Lamuka coalition, claims that he in fact won with 61% of the vote. While the overall security situation remains relatively calm, incidents have occurred in several cities. Local protests are likely today, when the official results are due to be released.
Today, former President Laurent Gbagbo was acquitted of crimes against humanity by judges at the
International Criminal Court in the Hague. Travelers in Abidjan should exercise caution, as protests are likely over the verdict. The charges related to the violence following Gbagbo’s defeat in the 2010 Presidential Election to incumbent Alassane Ouattara. Demonstrations are most likely in the Plateau business district and the Yopougon area, among others.
Beginning today, travelers in Amman and other urban centers should anticipate disruption during an indefinite strike by unionized yellow taxi drivers. The industrial action, organized by the Syndicate of Jordanian Taxi Owners, will include approximately 6,000 taxi drivers across Amman, Balqa, Irbid, and Zarqa governorates. Protesters are calling for a ban on all app-based ride-sharing services. Although specific timings and locations for protests have not yet been announced, travelers should avoid all related gatherings as a standard precaution.
Today, travelers in Nairobi should avoid the Westlands area following an explosion and shooting on
Riverside Drive. The target of the attack is reported to be the DusitD2 Hotel. Those in the area should minimize movement.
Travelers in Lebanon should expect disruption from Storm Miriam. The Civil Aviation Authority’s Meteorology Department is forecasting the storm will reach its peak today, with wind speeds of up to 60mph. Snow squalls may continue tomorrow. In Mount Lebanon governorate, authorities closed several roads to cars without snow chains, including Zahle Tarshish, Dahr al-Baidar, and the pass leading to the Mzaar Ski Resort in Faraya. Several areas in Akkar and Southern governorates may face flooding.
Today, travelers in Abuja should anticipate disruption and reconfirm the status of routes in the city center during celebrations to mark Armed Forces Remembrance Day. A military parade is being held at 9:00 AM local time. Authorities have blocked access to various routes in the city center, including sections of Shehu Shagari Way, Ahmadu Bello Way, and Independence Avenue.
Travelers in Dakar should anticipate and avoid protests over a controversial Constitutional Council decision. Yesterday, the Constitutional Council barred opposition leaders Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade from running in the February 24 Presidential Election. Following the ruling, Sall’s supporters erected roadblocks and clashed with security forces near the Liberte VI area. Sall and Wade have until tomorrow to appeal the decision. Demonstrations are particularly likely around the release of the final candidate list on January 21.
Travelers in urban centers should continue to exercise caution and avoid further anti-government protests. Today, the Sudanese Youth Coalition has called for a protest at 5:00 PM local time at Sooq al-Laffa in the al-Kalakla area, southwest of Khartoum. Tomorrow, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) will hold a rally at 1:00 PM local time in Kassala. Additional nationwide demonstrations are planned for Thursday, January 17.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Today, at least one person was killed following an explosion, which occurred at around 8:30 AM local time near Abdul Haq Square in Kabul. The explosion was caused by a magnetic improvised explosive device which was attached to a vehicle. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Canadian government updated its travel advice for China yesterday, recommending Canadian travelers exercise a high degree of caution because of the “risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws.” The update comes after a Canadian citizen was sentenced to death on drug trafficking charges by a Chinese court in Liaoning province. The Canadian government’s advisory level for travel to China remains at “exercise a high degree of caution” (the second-lowest on a four-tier scale).
On Thursday, January 3, 2019, the US Department of State issued an “updated” Travel Advisory for China. The US Department of State still lists China under its Level 2 Advisory (US citizens should “exercise enhanced caution” when traveling). The updated Travel Advisory released on Thursday, January 3 goes into greater detail in listing the potential risks for dual US/Chinese citizens. US Citizens traveling to China or Tibet are advised to carry a valid US Passport and Chinese Visa at all times while in country and to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) prior to departing the United States.
Travelers in major urban centers, including Delhi, should expect heightened security and associated disruption surrounding Republic Day celebrations on January 26. Stringent security measures will be imposed around the main parade along Rajpath in Delhi, which will take place from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM local time. Heightened security should also be anticipated around related events in other urban centers, including Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai.
Today, passengers transiting Chennai International Airport (MAA) should anticipate disruption to flights and reconfirm schedules amid poor visibility. Smog from celebratory bonfires marking the Pongal Festival have reduced visibility. Several domestic and international flights were delayed or canceled yesterday.
Beginning today, travelers should expect significant disruption and heightened security in and around Prayagraj city during the Hindu pilgrimage of Kumbh Mela. Authorities expect around 100 million people to visit the city during the event, which will conclude on March 4. Key dates for Kumbh Mela are today and January 21, as well as February 4, 10 and 19, and March 4. An increased demand for and shortage of transportation and accommodation options can be expected during this period. Travelers should book these well in advance and reconfirm existing reservations.
Yesterday, the National Security Committee (NSC) said that six suspected militants had been arrested during a raid on January 10 in the city of Almaty. Security forces seized weapons, ammunition, and explosive materials during the raid. The NSC said that the group was planning to carry out attacks in Almaty. While the operation underscores the capabilities of security forces, it also serves as a reminder of the latent terrorism threat in the country.
An outbreak of dengue fever is underway in Palau. The disease is spread by mosquitoes and is present in both rural urban areas. Dengue can cause a range of symptoms and has no treatment. Some people, especially those who have been and infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. Although a vaccine is available in several locations, it is only recommended for people who have been infected with dengue in the past and are living or traveling in areas with high levels of dengue transmission. Travelers should prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
High levels of air pollution caused by fine dust particles are affecting most parts of the country. Polluted air can cause symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and irritation of the eyes and nose. Young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with underlying heart or lung disease are particularly vulnerable. To lessen the risk of potential health problems, travelers are advised to reduce exposure by decreasing time and physical activity outdoors.
Today, travelers in Istanbul should avoid a planned protest at 1:00 PM local time outside the US Consulate General. The demonstration is apparently being held to denounce a recent statement by US President Donald Trump, threatening economic sanctions against Turkey if it targets Kurdish forces in Syria.
On Saturday, January 19, travelers in urban centers should avoid all gatherings commemorating the 12th anniversary of the killing of Turkish-Armenian journalist, Hrant Dink. In Istanbul, demonstrators will gather at 3:00 PM local time in front of the Agos newspaper office in Sisli, where Dink was killed.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia should plan journeys accounting for disruption due to ongoing heavy snowfall, which has resulted in more than 20 fatalities across Europe. The severe weather has disrupted power supplies and road travel, particularly in mountainous areas of the region. Although major airports in the region are operating normally, the adverse conditions may result in short-notice closures. In Serbia, the worst-affected municipalities include Ivanjica, Nova Varos, Novi Pazar, Prijepolje, Sjenica, and Tutin.
Today, airport security staff are due to observe a strike between 2:00 AM and 8:00 PM local time, and passengers transiting affected airports should anticipate delays and cancellations. The action will affect the country’s busiest hub, Frankfurt Airport (FRA), as well as Hamburg (HAM), Bremen (BRE), Dresden International (DRS), Erfurt-Weimar (ERF), Hannover (HAJ), Leipzig/Halle (LEJ), and Munich (MUC) airports. Staff at other German airports may also join the strike, which has been organized by the Ver.di union following failed wage negotiations.
Tomorrow, travelers in Belgrade should avoid an anti-government demonstration marking the anniversary of the unsolved murder of prominent Kosovo Serb leader Oliver Ivanovic in Mitrovica. Demonstrators will gather at 6:00 PM local time at the Faculty of Philosophy; marches are also likely around the office of public broadcaster RTS, the Presidential Palace, and the Parliament building. Related anti-government protests are also expected on Friday, January 18 in Novi Sad, Nis, and Cacak.
Today, travelers in Seville should avoid a demonstration planned by feminist groups at 10:00 AM local time in front of the Andalusian Parliament. The rally is part of the “Not a Step Back” movement, condemning the far-right Vox party and its attempts to get a gender violence law repealed. The demonstration is expected to be well attended.
On January 22-25, travelers in Davos should anticipate heightened security measures and related disruption during the annual World Economic Forum (WEF). More than 2,500 people, including heads of state, will participate in the event. Security zones will be established in the town, including around the main Kongresszentrum. Access to these zones will not be permitted without authorization. In addition, travelers should anticipate and avoid protests related to the summit as a routine precaution.