News Watch

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa).

Fighting between armed rebels, Congolese military forces and UN peacekeeping troops continues in the provinces of North and South Kivu, eastern Orientale, northern Katanga and (sporadically in) Bas Congo. Travelers are warned particularly against going to eastern Congo, as fighting there is expected to continue.

Also, the U.S. Embassy has pro­hibited...


Several days after returning to the Netherlands from Uganda in June, a 40-year-old woman came down with Marburg haemorrhagic fever. She had visited the “python cave” in the Maramagambo Forest between Queen Elizabeth Park and Kabale and reportedly had contact with a bat. At press time, she remained in critical condition.

It is recommended that travelers avoid entering caves with bat populations.

As ITN went to press, the State Department had travel warnings on 27 destinations: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Timor-Leste, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Chad, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Eritrea, Côte d’Ivoire, Lebanon, Somalia, Nepal, Haiti, Burundi, Syria, Yemen, Algeria, Central African Republic, Kenya, Israel/West Bank/Gaza, Sudan, Philippines, Afghanistan, Colombia, Iran, Nigeria and Pakistan.

For details, call the State Department at 202/647-5225 or visit


The State Department announced on May 27 that it had “determined that the current security climate in Indonesia no longer warrants a Travel Warning,” this after eight years on the list. This follows the Indonesian government’s arrests and convictions of numerous terrorists, with the last major terrorist incident in 2005.

The Department added, “However, the Embassy will not modify security precautions in light of this development and urges public facilities in Indonesia to also...


The United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime (UNODC) on May 29 released a 126-page report, “Crime and Its Impact on the Balkans and Affected Countries,” stating, “Surprising as it may be, the Balkan region is one of the safest in Europe.”

For the purposes of the report, the Balkans were defined as the nine nations of the Stability Pact: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia.



MV Princess of Stars, a ferry carrying 850 passengers and crew from Manila to Cebu, capsized two miles from Sibuyan Island in the middle of the Philippine Archipelago on June 22 after sailing into the eye of Typhoon Fengshen. Only 57 survivors were found.

Sulpicio Lines, which operates the line, has had three major accidents since its Doña Paz collided with an oil tanker in 1987, killing about 4,300 people.

Those considering travel within Eritrea should be aware of the presence of large numbers of Eritrean and Ethiopian troops along that border plus the acute political tensions between the two countries.

The Department of State recommends avoiding travel near there as well as nonessential travel to the southern Red Sea region, including the port of Assab. There are restrictions on travel outside the capital city of Asmara.

The Department of State continues to advise deferring travel to Chad due to the unstable security situation throughout the country. Armed rebel groups resumed activity in eastern Chad in mid-June and present real dangers. Commercial flights continue to operate from N’Djamena International Airport but are subject to change when rebel activity intensifies.