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LEGEND TRAVEL NEWS ALERT 21 MAR 2019 MARCH 21, 2019

Date 21 Mar 2019 | Posted by admin

AMERICAS

United States

Today through Saturday, March 23, travelers in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and New England should expect disruption as a low-pressure system moves through the area. Winter Storm Watches have been posted from far northeast Pennsylvania into central and upstate New York and parts of Vermont due to the possibility of hazardous conditions tomorrow and Saturday, March 23.

Rain along the I-95 corridor could cause commuting delays from Washington DC to the New York City tri-state area. The possibility of wet snow will be confined to higher-terrain areas in upstate New York and northern New England. Low-end coastal flooding could also develop on the southern New England coast today and tomorrow.

Today, travelers in Midwestern states should continue to plan journeys accounting for disruption caused by heavy rain and flooding. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued Flood Warnings for counties in several states, while States of Emergency remain in effect in Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. Road closures, as well as some disruption to rail services, have been reported throughout the region. The NWS has forecast flooding to continue into next week.

Argentina

Today, travelers in urban centers should avoid protests over the impeachment of a judge involved in corruption investigations. In Buenos Aires, activists will gather at 7:00 PM local time at Plaza Tribunales. The government has called for the removal of the judge, who is investigating allegations of corruption and espionage during the administration of former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST

Algeria

Travelers in Algeria should continue to exercise caution and avoid anti-government demonstrations, which are expected to continue after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika confirmed that he would remain in power until a new constitution had been adopted. Following weeks of protests, the president announced his withdrawal from the April 18 Presidential Elections, prompting their indefinite postponement. Activists are calling on Bouteflika to step down when his mandate ends on April 28, and protests can be expected to continue ahead of that date. Fresh gatherings have been called for tomorrow.

Angola

Travelers should exercise caution following the extension of a countrywide security operation beginning March 25. Yesterday, authorities said “Operation Transparency,” which started in September 2018 to combat illegal smuggling, will expand to the coastal borders to address illegal trafficking of persons and property. The security operation may entail increased police patrols, particularly in border areas; a heightened security presence in public areas; and sporadic raids and crackdowns on immigrants and illegal vendors. Travelers should exercise caution, comply with all security force directives, and anticipate related unrest.

Travelers in Luanda, as well as Benguela province should plan journeys accounting for disruption caused by recent heavy rain and flooding. At least three people were killed in weather-related incidents since heavy rainfall began on March 18; another 16 fatalities were reported in the municipalities of Lobito and Catumbela. The local meteorological department is forecasting further rain for Luanda through March 25.

Guinea-Bissau

Travelers in Bissau and other urban centers should continue to exercise caution and avoid all political gatherings after the Supreme Court verified the results of Legislative Elections yesterday. On March 13, the National Electoral Commission announced the provisional results indicating that the ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) had emerged as the largest party, securing 47 of the 102 seats in the National Popular Assembly. Voting passed off peacefully, and no political party has challenged the outcome.

Iraq

Today, travelers in the Kurdistan Region (KR) and areas of federal Iraq with a significant Kurdish population should anticipate disruption to business activity during Newroz. A heightened security force presence, including pre-emptive security operations, is likely, as well as the deployment of additional personnel during the celebrations. Due to the increased number of people on the roads, travelers should exercise enhanced caution while driving. There is an increased risk of militancy and unrest. All gatherings should be avoided.

Lebanon

Today, travelers should expect and avoid a protest outside the US Embassy in the Aaoukar area, 12 miles northwest of Beirut, at 5:00 PM local time. The gathering is expected to be organized by the Communist Party to denounce the scheduled visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Lebanon, as well US foreign policy in the Middle East. Although the rally will likely pass off peacefully, travelers should avoid the event as a precaution and to minimize local disruption.

Malawi

All non-essential travel to Chikwawa, Machinga, Mangochi, Nsanje, and Phalombe districts should be deferred through March 26. This follows the passage of former Tropical Cyclone Idai, which has exacerbated recent flooding in these areas and significantly damaged transportation infrastructure. Chikwawa and Nsanje districts remain inaccessible by road; the Makhanga area within Nsanje has also been badly impacted. Meteorologists have warned of further heavy rain, particularly in Chikwawa, Machinga and Mangochi, which may prompt flash flooding. Damage to two hydroelectric power plants along the Shire River has also interrupted electricity supplies.

South Africa

Today, travelers in Vereeniging should avoid a planned Human Rights Day rally at 9:00 AM local time at George Thabe Stadium. President Cyril Ramaphosa will be in attendance. Striking taxi drivers have announced plans to disrupt the event. Yesterday, drivers blocked routes to the city center; several people were arrested. Drivers are demanding the completion of a taxi rank and an improvement in road conditions. Travelers should anticipate disruption and reconfirm the status of routes before setting out.

Sudan

Today, travelers in Khartoum, Khartoum North, and Omdurman should avoid planned protests due to the risk of unrest. The events are being organized by Sudanese Professional Association; participants will gather at 1:00 PM local time at various locations. Spontaneous demonstrations and marches may occur elsewhere in Khartoum state as well as other urban centers across the country.

Tunisia

Tomorrow, travelers in Tunis should avoid a planned protest by members of the Algerian diaspora against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s recent decision to postpone the Presidential Election in Algeria. Protesters plan to gather in front of the Algerian Embassy at 2:00 PM local time. A previous unauthorized gathering on March 1 in Tunis was dispersed by police.

Uganda

Today, travelers in Kampala should avoid an ongoing protest by traders on Nakivubo Road against rent increases in the area. Security forces are on the scene and have used tear gas in an attempt to disperse protesters near the Qualicel Bus Terminal. A related protest took place yesterday in the same area. Travelers should avoid further gatherings as a precaution.

Zimbabwe

Non-essential travel to Chimanimani, Chipinge, Mutare, and Nyanga districts should be deferred through March 26 following the passage of former Tropical Cyclone Idai. Authorities have declared a State of Disaster in these districts after more than 100 people were killed, and 200 injured in storm-related incidents. Transportation infrastructure, communications networks, and electricity supplies were also severely damaged or disrupted. Sporadic rain and thunderstorms will continue across these districts through tomorrow.

ASIA & THE PACIFIC

Afghanistan

Today, at least six people were killed, and 23 injured following three explosions in the Kart-e Sakhi Shrine area of Kabul. The incident occurred at 9:30 AM local time near the site of a planned celebratory gathering for Nowruz. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. Heightened security can be expected today and tomorrow during Nowruz and Farmers’ Day events. Travelers should plan routes bypassing restricted or closed areas.

Australia

Travelers in Northern Territory’s Gulf Region should defer travel to areas along the path of Tropical Cyclone Trevor from Groote Eylandt to Borroloola. Authorities have declared a State of Emergency in these areas. Trevor, currently a Category 1 Cyclone (lowest on a five-tier scale), is gaining strength as it moves over the eastern Gulf of Carpentaria and is forecast to make landfall near Borroloola on Saturday, March 23 as a Category 4 (fourth-highest) Severe Tropical Cyclone. Travelers in the far north of Queensland state should expect residual disruption from Trevor’s first landfall near Lockhart River on March 19.

Today through March 25, travelers in coastal areas of Pilbara should plan journeys accounting for disruption during the passage of Severe Tropical Cyclone Veronica. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the weather system is currently a Category 4 Cyclone (fourth-highest level on a five-tier scale). Veronica is expected to move southwest and intensify into a Category 5 (highest level) storm as it approaches the Pilbara coast today. On its current trajectory, the cyclone may make landfall early on March 24 between Karratha and Port Hedland.

India

Today and tomorrow, travelers in the Kashmir Valley should avoid all protests related to the death of a school teacher allegedly in police custody. The events have been called by the separatist Joint Resistance Leadership group. Tomorrow’s gatherings are likely to be held after Friday midday prayers. There is a potential for violence during separatist gatherings, while a bandh (shutdown strike) is likely to cause disruption to transportation and commercial activities.

Kazakhstan

Travelers in Astana should anticipate and avoid further protests against the city’s renaming. At least 20 people were arrested today during an unauthorized demonstration outside City Hall. Following the resignation of longstanding President Nursultan Nazarbayev, a constitutional amendment was passed yesterday renaming the capital from Astana to Nursultan to commemorate the former leader. Protesters are angry that the decision was made without public consultation. Travelers should closely monitor developments and avoid all gatherings as a precaution.

Tomorrow, travelers in Astana should avoid a demonstration called by the banned opposition Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) party. Participants will gather at 11:00 AM local time in front of TD Shapagat. The rally is related to the resignation of former longstanding President Nursultan Nazarbayev on March 19 and the inauguration of Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as the acting President yesterday. A heightened security presence can be expected around the protest. Police are liable to forcibly disperse unauthorized gatherings, posing incidental risks to bystanders.

Pakistan

Today, travelers in Karachi should plan journeys avoiding the Noor Trade Center due to an ongoing fire in the building. Traffic on University Road from Hassan Square towards N.I.P.A Chowrangi has been disrupted as emergency services areresponding to the incident.

Thailand

An outbreak of chikungunya has been reported in Thailand. Chikungunya can cause a severe illness, particularly in newborn babies, older adults, and people with underlying health issues. There is no specific treatment and no vaccine. Travelers should prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.

Turkey

Travelers in Turkey should exercise caution and avoid all gatherings related to the March 31 Local Elections. On Election Day, travelers should minimize movement as a precaution and to avoid inconvenience; there will likely be a heightened security force presence at major entry and exit points, as well as in high-profile public spaces and polling stations. Although the election will likely pass off peacefully, there is a heightened potential for unrest and militant attack.

EUROPE

Regional

Business and travel disruption should be anticipated around Nowruz across Central Asia and in parts of eastern Europe. The spring festival, which is celebrated by Turkic and Persian communities across the region, will begin today and last several days. Nowruz is a national holiday in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Disruption to business activity is likely, as well as a heightened security force presence and possible traffic restrictions around celebratory events. Travelers should reconfirm appointments during this period, as many businesses, banks and government offices will be closed.

Albania

Today, travelers in Tirana should avoid an opposition protest in front of Parliament at 9:30 AM local time due to the risk of local unrest. The gathering is part of a campaign of protests that have taken place over several weeks demanding the resignation of Prime Minster Edi Rama over corruption allegations. There are suggestions that the protesters will attempt to enter the building. During a previous protest on March 16, clashes occurred between protesters and police.

Belgium

Today, passengers transiting Belgian airports should reconfirm flights due to a strike by air traffic controllers. Bulgaria Today, travelers in Sofia should anticipate disruption and avoid a demonstration by taxi drivers along Boulevard Tsarigradsko Shose. Taxi drivers will rally at 2:00 PM local time in protest of app-based ride-share service Maxim and its policies. Organizers expect around 5,000 taxi drivers to attend the demonstration.

Denmark

Today, travelers in Copenhagen should avoid the vicinity of Parliament, where two separate demonstrations are planned, due to the risk of local unrest. Supporters of the Islamist political group Hizb-ut-Tahrir will gather to hold a prayer at 12:30 PM local time to commemorate the victims of the March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch. The Danish far-right political party, Stram Kurs, has called for a counter-demonstration at the same time in the area. There is a risk of clashes between rival participants or between police and demonstrators.

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS

March 21
Afghanistan: Naw Roz
Australia, Canada, Israel, United
Kingdom, United States: Purim
Australia: Harmony Day
Azerbaijan: Nowruz/Spring

Holiday
Bangladesh, Indonesia, India,
Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius,
Malaysia, Pakistan, United
Kingdom, United States, South
Africa: Holi
Bangladesh: Doljatra
Georgia: Nowruz
India: Dolyatra
India: Hazarat Ali’s Birthday
Iraq: Nowruz
Japan: Spring Equinox
Kyrgyzstan: National Holiday
“Nooruz”
Kazakhstan: Nauryz
Lebanon: Mother’s Day
Mexico: Benito Juárez’s Birthday
Memorial
Namibia: Independence Day
Pakistan: Dulhandi
Suriname: Holi Phagwa
Syria: Mothers’ Day
Uzbekistan: Nowruz
South Africa: Human Rights Day

March 22
Albania: Nevruz Day
Azerbaijan: Nowruz/Spring

Holiday
Israel: Shushan Purim (Jerusalem)
Kazakhstan: Nauryz (Day 2)
Puerto Rico: Emancipation Day

March 23
Angola: Southern Africa Liberation
Day
Azerbaijan: Nowruz/Spring

Holiday
Bolivia: Day of the Sea
Kazakhstan: Nauryz (Day 3)
Malaysia: Birthday of the Sultan
of Johor
Pakistan: Pakistan Day
March 24
Argentina: Memorial Day
Azerbaijan: Nowruz/Spring

Holiday
Northern Mariana Islands:
Commonwealth Covenant Day

March 25
Azerbaijan: Nowruz/Spring

Holiday
Colombia: Saint Joseph’s Day
Cyprus: Greek Independence Day
Greece: 25th of March
Greece, Lebanon: Annunciation of
the Lord
Kazakhstan: Nauryz (Day 3)
Observed
New Zealand: Otago Anniversary
Day
United States: Seward’s Day

March 26
Azerbaijan: Nowruz/Spring

Holiday
Bangladesh: Independence Day
Mali: Martyrs’ Day
El Salvador: National Day of Life,
Peace and Justice
United States: Prince Jonah Kuhio
Kalanianaole Day

March 27
Myanmar: Armed Forces’ Day

March 28
Cayman Islands: Royal Visit

Holiday

March 29
Central Africa Republic:
Commemoration of Boganda
Madagascar: Martyrs’ Day
Taiwan: Youth Day

March 30
Trinidad & Tobago: Spiritual
Baptist Liberation Day

March 31
Micronesia: Micronesia Culture
Day (Chuuk & Pohnpei)
Malta: Freedom Day
United States: César Chávez Day
US Virgin Islands: Transfer Day

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