News Watch

The Department of State continues to warn against all travel to Somalia, including to the self-proclaimed “independent Republic of Somali­land.”

Interclan and interfactional fighting can flare up with little warning. Armed conflicts among rival militias have occurred in southern Somalia, particularly in and around Mogadishu. Extremist elements continue to maintain a presence in southern Somalia and have launched attacks against officials and Ethiopian forces. Kidnapping, murder and...


The Government of the State of Eritrea (GSE) continues to restrict the travel of all foreign nationals. To travel outside Asmara city limits, all visitors and residents must apply with the GSE 10 days in advance for permission.

Those considering travel within Eritrea should be aware of the large presence of Eritrean and Ethiopian military forces along the undemarcated Eritrean-Ethiopian border plus rising political tensions between the two countries.


The Department of State continues to warn of the possible dangers of travel to Nigeria.

Violent crime committed by ordinary criminals as well as persons in police and military uniforms can occur throughout the country. Visitors and resident Americans have experienced armed muggings, assaults, burglary, kidnappings and extortion, often involving violence. Carjackings, roadblock robberies and armed break-ins are common in many parts of Nigeria.

After armed clashes between heavily...


Cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh on Nov. 15 with 155-mph winds and tidal surges of 12 feet. It left about 3,500 people dead, more than 30,000 injured and more than two million displaced. Massive humanitarian and international aid was rushed to the area.

Bangladesh was still recovering from the extensive flooding brought by rains earlier in the year.


Floods in central Viet Nam throughout October and early November killed hundreds of people and caused property and crop damage. Health officials were concerned about the spread of disease. In Hoi An, about 150 historic houses were submerged.


Indonesia experienced an increase in earthquakes, tremors and volcanic activity late in 2007.

At press time, four volcanoes were under warnings for possible eruptions: Anak Krakatau (“Child of Krakatau”), in the Sunda Strait between Sumatra and Java; the Mount Kelud volcano in eastern Java; Mount Soputan in north Sulawesi, and Mount Karangetan off Sulawesi island. 

Meanwhile, a mud volcano continues to ooze in Sidoarjo, eastern Java, having spewed an estimated one billion cubic...


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

For details, call the State Department at 202/647-5225 or visit http:// travel....


Charles Treadgold’s letter about taking maps to Peru’s Taquile Island (Nov. ’05, pg. 44) got me thinking about other things that would be most appreciated by the people there. I visited in 1992, but from what I have read about the place it seems not to have changed much.

First of all, fruit would be very well received. The people can coax a couple of dozen varieties of potatoes out of their unbelievably rocky soil, and I did see some kiwi vines here and there, but citrus fruits just...