News Watch

The Department of State reminds travelers that any large-scale public event, such as the upcoming Olympic Games in China, may present an attractive target for terrorists. Consequently, there is a heightened risk that extremist groups will conduct terrorist acts within China in the near future.

Visitors are advised to be alert to their surroundings at all times and to avoid areas of demonstrations.

In Jaipur, India, 80 people were killed and 200 wounded on May 13 when eight bombs detonated within minutes of each other near crowded markets, bazaars and a Hindu temple in the Old City. A ninth bomb found on a bicycle was defused.

A little-known Muslim terrorist organization claimed responsibility and threatened more bombings in tourist areas as retaliation for years of persecution by Indians.

No foreigners were admitted to the hospital after the blast, and a curfew was...


Nepal lawmakers formally voted on May 28, 2008, to end the 239-year-old Hindu monarchy and begin the process of forming a republic. The unpopular King Gyanendra was given 15 days to vacate the palace and move to his private residence. The interim government is led by former Maoist rebels.

The end of the monarchy was welcomed with general rejoicing by the population, but the governing assembly still has to establish a constitution and elect a president and prime minister.

Nepal continues to experience sporadic incidents of terrorism and politically motivated violence in major urban areas. In the runup to Constituent Assembly elections on April 10, bombings occurred in various locations around the country, including four in Kathmandu on April 4 in which no one was injured.

Travelers should avoid taking public transportation, including microbuses, and be cautious of unattended baggage in public places. Travel via road in areas outside of the Kathmandu...


In South Africa, angry mobs took to the streets in early May targeting refugees and immigrants from other African nations whom they felt were taking jobs from locals. Fifty people were killed and thousands injured during the violence that started in the Johannesburg township of Alexandra, then spread to other low-income neighborhoods and informal settlements and on to every one of the country’s provinces.

30,000 foreign Africans were driven from their homes, with stores and entire...


The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Somalia, including the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland. Kidnapping, murder, illegal roadblocks, banditry and other violent incidents can occur in many regions.

Unpredictable armed conflict among rival militias is prevalent in southern Somalia, particularly in and around Mogadishu, which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Somali nationals and the displacement of nearly one million people. Regions in eastern...


In central and southern Chile, five months worth of rain fell in eight hours on May 22-23, causing floods that killed five people and displaced 15,000. There were mudslides, trees fell and at least seven rivers burst their banks. A bridge on the Pan American Highway, the main north-south route, was washed away, and trains were unable to travel south due to a collapsed bridge.

The 3,000-foot Chaiten Volcano, 760 miles south of Santiago, Chile, and considered dormant, began erupting for the first time in 9,000 years on May 2, covering Patagonia with ash. There were no reports of deaths or serious damage, but 7,000 people were evacuated, many to Puerto Montt.

The government has extended a monthly stipend to families hit by the disaster, closed schools and warned against drinking tap water that could be contaminated by ash.