Travelers transiting the US-Mexico border should continue to reconfirm the status of crossings before setting out due to the possibility for delays and disruption. On Tuesday, January 1, US security forces fired tear gas, pepper spray and smoke-dispersing canisters at dozens of migrants, who in turn threw rocks and attempted to forcibly cross into the United States. The San Ysidro crossing remained open throughout the incident. The US reinforced security on their side of the border beginning in October, including deploying soldiers to support border officials through January 31.
Today, travelers in urban centers, including Lima, should avoid planned demonstrations to demand the removal of the country’s Attorney General Pedro Chavarry. The National Coordinator of Human Rights has called for protests to begin at 6:00 PM local time in main plazas nationwide.
The border crossings at Zalambessa-Serha and Rama-Adi-Quala have reportedly been closed to Ethiopian Nationals without a special permit. Several hundred Ethiopian travelers have reportedly been denied entry. The reason for the restrictions remains unconfirmed. This is the first reported disruption to the border crossings which were reopened in September after 20 years of closure. While the restriction is so far only targeting Ethiopian Nationals, all travelers should monitor related developments and reconfirm plans prior to setting out as a precaution.
All travel to Congo (DRC) should be deferred from Sunday, January 6 through Thursday, January 10 and non-essential travel should be deferred through January 18. While in-country staff can resume movement with caution, they should minimize movement from Sunday, January 6 through Thursday, January 10 and from January 15-18; they should be confident in their ability to stand fast if required. Heightened political tensions linked to the December 30 Presidential, Parliamentary and Regional Elections persist amid ongoing disruption to telecommunication services, though calm is expected to prevail until provisional results are released. Results are expected on Sunday, January 6, though a delay is likely.
Travelers in Tehran and Esfahan province should avoid further potential protests over various issues as a precaution. In Tehran, hundreds of retirees gathered outside the Parliament building yesterday to demand pension reforms. In Esfahan, around 2,000 farmers marched to the Khaju Bridge in protest of perceived lack of government response to severe water shortages. Such protests are common and do not pose a direct risk to foreigners, though they may cause local traffic disruption.
The Labor Court has called off an indefinite nationwide strike by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), which had been scheduled to begin yesterday. The group is denouncing the government’s delocalization policy for teachers, as well as the lack of promotions. The court has ordered the KNUT to resume negotiations with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC). Travelers should continue to monitor developments as previous attempts at reaching an agreement have failed.
Today, travelers in Rabat and other urban centers should anticipate and avoid demonstrations during a 24-hour nationwide teachers’ strike. The industrial action has been called after negotiations between the government and teachers’ unions over pay and other grievances broke down. A protest march in Rabat will start outside the Ministry of Civil Service. Associated demonstrations are likely to take place outside Regional Academies of Education and Training buildings in other urban centers.
Fresh attacks by suspected Islamist militants in Cabo Delgado province on December 29 and 30 underline the need to exercise increased vigilance in rural areas. On December 30, several properties were set on fire during an attack on Pequeue village. A day earlier, two people were reportedly decapitated near Monjane village, close to the Tanzanian border. While travel to the province can continue, vigilance is required, particularly in Macomia, Mocimboa da Praia, Muidumbe, Nangade, Palma, and Quissanga districts.
Today, travelers in Dakar should avoid a protest by the C25 opposition coalition outside the Supreme Court building. The demonstration has been called to demand transparency in the February 2019 Presidential Election and to express support for the city’s former Mayor, Khalifa Sall, who is serving a five-year sentence after being convicted of fraud. The gathering coincides with an expected Supreme Court ruling on an appeal by Sall against his conviction. The C25 coalition also plans to hold a march on January 8; further details are not available.
Travelers in Khartoum and other urban centers should exercise caution and avoid protests due to the risk of unrest. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) has called a general strike starting at 12:00 PM local time tomorrow and a march to the Presidential Palace in Khartoum at 1:00 PM local time on Sunday, January 6. An antigovernment protest is planned on Wednesday, January 9 at the National Council building in Omdurman, as well as continued nightly protests across the country. The frequency and intensity of protests has declined in recent days, most likely due to a heavy security force response.
Today, travelers in far north areas of Queensland should anticipate residual disruption following the passage of Tropical Cyclone Penny. A Flood Watch is in place for the Cape York Peninsula catchments. Sections of Peninsula Developmental Road, the main route on Cape York Peninsula, remain closed due to flooding. According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), Penny is currently moving away from the eastern coast of Queensland. The storm may approach the state’s southeastern areas and subsequently weaken. The storm is unlikely to significantly impact Queensland in the short-term, according to the BoM.
Travelers in Bangladesh should continue to exercise heightened caution as protests and political violence remain possible in the wake of the December 30 General Elections. The overwhelming scale of the victory by the incumbent Awami League (AL) has been called “farcical” by the main opposition Jatiya Oikya Front. The front, which is led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), says it will submit a memorandum to the Electoral Commission today calling for fresh elections, on the same day that newly elected MPs will be sworn in. Low-level and local election-related violence may also persist in the days ahead.
There have been no immediate reports of casualties or major damage following a magnitude 5.2 earthquake, which occurred at 8:48 AM local time today. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the temblor struck 41 miles northwest of Yibin city at a depth of six miles. Travelers in affected areas should continue to follow all official directives.
According to the Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS), Tropical Cyclone Mona, which is moving south towards the country’s main islands, is expected to intensify into a Category Two Cyclone (third highest on a five-tier scale). The weather system is forecast to make landfall on Vanua Levu island tomorrow. Travelers in Fiji should plan journeys accounting for potential disruption through Friday, January 5 due to heavy rain, gusts, and flash flooding.
Yesterday, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) identified new cracks on the Anak Krakatau Volcano, which could trigger tsunamis. On December 27, 2018, the alert level for the volcano was raised from Level 2 to 3 (the second-highest level on a four-tier system) following intensified eruptions. The Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) continues to advise the public to stay at least 0.3 miles, and up to 0.6 miles, away from the Sunda Strait coastline. Travelers should follow all official directives due to potential tsunamis triggered by volcanic activity.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), a magnitude 5.0 earthquake occurred at 6:10 PM local time today near Kumamoto. The temblor occurred at a depth of six miles. Further details are still emerging.
Today, the Terrace Tunnel leading to Wellington has been closed in both directions following a two-car collision at around 12:35 PM local time. Travelers should maintain flexible itineraries and plan alternative routes to minimize inconvenience.
Travelers in Port Moresby should expect disruption due to ongoing flooding in low-lying areas. The Papua New Guinea National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Strong Wind Warning for all coastal areas, while Gale Wind Warnings are in place for southern inland and coastal areas. Travelers should reconfirm the status of routes prior to setting out, including the road to Jacksons International Airport (POM).
Today through Saturday, January 5, travelers should plan journeys accounting for disruption due to the passage of Tropical Cyclone Penny south of the country’s main islands. Although the storm is not expected to make landfall in the Solomon Islands, its outer bands are expected to bring heavy rain to the country. A Heavy Rainfall Warning issued by the Solomon Islands Meteorological Services (SIMS) is in place for all provinces. The agency has warned that the storm’s passage could cause flash flooding and landslides in low-lying areas and has urged caution for motorists undertaking road travel.
Today through Sunday, January 6, travelers in southern provinces should plan journeys accounting for disruption due to the passage of Tropical Storm Pabuk. The storm is forecast to make landfall between Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat provinces tomorrow. The Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) has warned of heavy rain across southern Thailand today through Saturday, January 5. Strong winds and heavy rain associated with the storm’s passage may disrupt flight operations and render overland travel difficult.
Travelers should plan journeys accounting for potential disruption caused by adverse weather conditions. The Turkish State Meteorological Service (TSMS) has warned of heavy snowfall in northern, central and eastern provinces, while heavy rainfall is forecast for southern and western coasts. Affected areas are expected to include Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, and Antalya. Travelers should maintain flexible itineraries and reconfirm the status of roads and transportation, including flights, before setting out.
Travelers in Tirana and other urban centers should avoid further protests over students’ rights and tuition fees, among other issues. Related demonstrations are planned for Monday, January 7, though specific details have not been released. Protest flashpoints in Tirana include the Prime Minister’s office, and the Education Ministry and Parliament buildings.
Travelers in Denmark should expect residual disruption following the partial resumption of rail services at 10:00 AM local time today on the Storebaelt Bridge, which links between Zealand and Funen islands. Services were suspended following a fatal train crash on the bridge yesterday. Intercity services between Aalborg, Aarhus and Esbjerg, and between Odense and Aarhus should begin returning to normal. The bridge has also reopened to road traffic, though a speed limit of 30 mph is in place. Drivers of light or unstable vehicles are advised to take other routes.
Travelers in urban centers, including Budapest, should avoid all protests against an amended labor code that came into effect on January 1. At least 14 demonstrations are planned through Monday, January 7 in various urban centers. On Saturday, January 5 in Budapest, a march will be held at 2:00 PM local time from Heroes’ Square to Kossuth Square. Another protest is planned in Budapest at 12:00 PM local time on Monday, January 7 at 5-7 Szinhac Street.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in urban centers should plan itineraries accounting for possible disruption during nationwide protests over pension reforms. The demonstrations have been organized by pensioners’ unions opposed to a new budget law that would establish a pension revaluation mechanism. Most protests will start outside local prefecture buildings around 10:00 AM local time. While the gatherings are expected to pass off peacefully, they will likely cause local traffic disruption.
Travelers should avoid a series of planned protests by the “Vamos Parar Portugal” movement over fuel prices and other socio-economic grievances. Demonstrators plan to gather on Saturday, January 5 at 10:00 AM local time in Lisbon at the Marques de Pombal; related gatherings will take place at the same time on Avenue dos Aliados in Porto, Avenida 5 de Outubro in Faro, and in other urban centers. Further protests are planned on January 12, 19 and 26, though details are not currently available.
Today, travelers in Madrid should plan journeys bypassing a march by private bus companies against regulations barring their drivers from parts of the city center. The participants are planning to “occupy” Gran Via Street from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM local time. Associated protests on December 13 and 27 passed off peacefully but caused local traffic disruption in the city center