News Watch

As ITN went to press, the State Department had travel warnings on 28 destinations: Yemen, Georgia, Sudan, Central African Republic, Colombia, Madagascar, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Pakistan, Eritrea, Syria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Philippines, Israel/West Bank/Gaza, Burundi, Sri Lanka, Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Nepal, Somalia, Chad, Kenya, Iran, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Iraq. 

Travelers to Italy need to be smart to avoid needless lines and expenses while enjoying its ever-popular treasures. Major sights in Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan have these changes for 2009.

• Rome, the Eternal City, can be eternally exhausting to sightseers with old information. The Vatican Museum, with the Sistine Chapel, is now open longer hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. most days), so its notoriously long lines should be a little more merciful. And now you can book tickets...


On Feb. 25-26 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, members of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), a paramilitary organization responsible for border security, mutineed, temporarily seizing control at headquarters.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, in power since December, attempted to negotiate, offering to address the rebels’ grievances and provide amnesty, but the rebels refused to surrender. Tanks were sent in, and when the siege was over, more than 70 people had been killed, mostly army officers but also...


After experiencing escalating political demonstrations in Madagascar since early January, with more than 100 people killed and residences and businesses looted and burned, on March 16 the army stormed the presidential palace in the capital, Antananarivo, while President Ravalomanana was in a palace outside of the city.

The president stood down the next day, and power was handed to 34-year-old opposition leader Andry Rajoelina. Rajoelina dissolved Parliament and the Cabinet and...


The Department of State warns that the security threat level remains high in Yemen due to terrorist activities.

On March 15, four South Korean tourists were killed in a suicide bomb attack in the city of Shibam in southern Hadramout province. On March 18, a South Korean motorcade investigating the attack was targeted but unhurt by a suicide bomber near the Sana’a airport.


The Department of State recommends avoiding overland travel in Algeria. Terrorist attacks, including bombings, false roadblocks, kidnappings, ambushes and assassinations, occur regularly, particularly in the Kabylie region of the country. Since early 2007, the use of suicide bomb attacks, mostly vehicle-borne attacks, has emerged as a terrorist tactic, including in the capital.

Visitors to Algeria are advised to stay only in hotels where security is provided, to avoid predictable...


On March 4, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir for war crimes committed in Darfur. The government of Sudan then began expelling aid groups from the country, publicly calling humanitarian aid workers “spies.”

The Department of State recommends deferring all travel to Sudan due to uncertain security conditions following the expulsion of the NGOs as well as harassment of humanitarian aid workers and Westerners in general.

Due to the continued presence of terrorist groups, there is an ongoing security threat in Saudi Arabia, according to the State Department.

Travelers are urged to avoid staying in hotels or housing compounds that do not apply stringent security measures and to be aware of their surroundings when visiting establishments frequented by Westerners. Americans are advised to keep a low profile; vary times and routes of travel; exercise caution while driving, entering or exiting vehicles, and...