On Wednesday, January 2, travelers in Panama City should plan journeys avoiding a demonstration organized by pensioners’ unions. Participants will gather outside the National Assembly in protest of the failure to match pensions to the rising cost of living. The event is likely to be peaceful but may result in local disruption.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Today, travelers in Congo (DRC) should anticipate disruption to mobile internet services, as reports indicate that authorities have slowed or completely shut down connections. The development comes amid claims by both main contenders in yesterday’s Presidential Election, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary of the ruling People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) and Martin Fayulu of the Lamuka opposition coalition, that they have won the ballot. It remains unclear when normal mobile internet services will resume.
A health worker was evacuated to the US after “possible exposure” to the Ebola virus. Ebola is spread by contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of infected or dead people. Healthcare workers, household members, and people participating in traditional funeral practices are at high risk. Non-essential travel to areas affected by the Ebola outbreak should be deferred. Travelers should prevent infection by paying strict attention to hygiene and avoiding contact with blood and body fluids. Travelers are advised not to participate in traditional funerals or go to health facilities where Ebola patients are being treated.
Today, travelers in Khartoum are advised to stand fast in a secure location following reports that security forces are using live fire to disperse protesters in the Al Souq Al Arabi area of the city.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Khartoum should minimize movement and defer all in-bound travel due to planned anti-government demonstrations. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) called for a demonstration at 1:00 PM local time today; participants will gather at Al-Qandool Square before attempting to march towards the Presidential Palace. Protests throughout the city are possible, and the SPA has urged people to demonstrate through tomorrow morning. There is a credible risk of unrest, as security forces are liable to use force, including live ammunition, to disperse crowds.
Travelers in areas of the Western and Northern regions bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) should exercise caution and anticipate a heightened security force presence following elections held in the neighboring country yesterday. Precedent suggests that any post-election violence in the Congo (DRC) could prompt an influx of refugees into Uganda, and authorities are on high alert for such a possibility. The potential for violence in the Congo (DRC) will be highest from Tuesday, January 1 to Monday, January 7. Travelers should closely monitor events and adopt enhanced security precautions for any travel to border areas.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Today, the Bangladesh Election Commission announced that the ruling Awami League (AL) party had won 287 of 298 seats in yesterday’s General Elections. While the final seat tally is expected to be announced later today, the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led coalition has rejected the results claiming electoral fraud. Protests and low-level violence over the results can be expected. Non-essential travel to the country should be deferred as a precaution, while those in country should minimize non-essential movement today and tomorrow.
Through Wednesday, January 2, travelers in Fiji should plan journeys accounting for potential disruption during the passage of a tropical disturbance. According to the Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS), the weather system is likely to intensify into a Tropical Depression and may further strengthen into a Tropical Cyclone today or tomorrow. A Tropical Cyclone Alert is in place for Rotuma Island, Yasawa Group, Vanua Levu Island, Taveuni and nearby smaller islands, Northern Viti Levu Island, and the Northern Lau and Lomaiviti group. The FMS has said that heavy rainfall, flooding, and gale force winds may affect the aforementioned areas today and tomorrow.
Today, travelers in Islamabad should exercise caution and avoid the vicinity of Sector I-8 following a shooting at approximately 4:00 PM local time. Assailants on motorcycle reportedly targeted a police patrol, injuring one officer and killing another. Police have cordoned off the area as they conduct their investigation and search for the assailants.
Today, travelers in Cotabato City should continue to avoid the vicinity of the South Seas Mall following an explosion, which occurred at around 1:59 PM local time today. Authorities have cordoned off the area. At least two people were killed, and 27 others injured in the explosion, which is believed to have been caused by a bomb. A second undetonated explosive device was also found inside the mall. While no group has claimed responsibility for the incident, some officials have referred to it as a terrorist attack.
Travelers in the southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala, as well as southern districts of Songkha province, are reminded to exercise caution due to the risks posed by an ongoing separatist insurgency. Most recently, four people were injured when suspected insurgents carried out attacks in eight locations in Chanae, Rangae, Si Sakhon and Tak Bai districts on Friday, December 28. Previously, an explosion and shooting on Monday, December 24 killed one police officer and injured five others at a police station in Bacho district.
Travelers in Tirana and other urban centers should expect and avoid further protests over students’ rights and tuition fees, among other issues. In Tirana, associated protests have continued for 14 consecutive days, with demonstrators occasionally blocking the Prime Minister’s office, the Education Ministry building, and the Parliament building, as well as several key streets. Students have pledged to continue their protests until their demands are fulfilled and have also threatened to stage a hunger strike.
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Travelers in Banja Luka should anticipate and avoid further “Justice for David” protests despite the release of protest leader Davor Dragicevic on Wednesday, December 26. Yesterday, thousands of people marched to the Republika Srpska Palace and the Government building. On the same day, police dispersed a small protest at Krajina Square. Solidarity protests are possible in other cities, including Sarajevo and Mostar.
Today, travelers in Paris should expect heightened security and associated disruption during New Year’s Eve celebrations. Authorities will set up a “protection perimeter zone” around Place de I’Etoile and the entire Avenue des Champs-Elysees; this zone includes the Champs-Elysees Roundabout, Place Clemenceau, and nearby roads. Those accessing these areas will be subject to stringent security checks. Areas closed to traffic from 4:00 PM local time today through 3:00 AM local time tomorrow include Place de la Concorde, Place de l’Alma, Place du Canada, Rue Royale, Rue de Presbourg, Rue de Tilsitt, and Avenue de Friedland.
Today, travelers in Paris and other urban centers should continue to exercise caution and avoid all protests by supporters of the “Yellow Vests” movement. Related demonstrations will take place at 3:00 PM local time today on Avenue des ChampElysees.
Travelers in urban centers should avoid further demonstrations over living costs and other socio-economic grievances. Such events have been inspired by the “Yellow Vests” protest movement in France. In Weert, a protest is planned for Saturday, January 12 between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM local time. On Sunday, January 13, another group dubbed “Red Vests” has called for an anti-government protest in Utrecht. Further details of these gatherings are not available. On Saturday, December 29, eight people were arrested following an unruly “Yellow Vests” protest near government offices in The Hague.
Today, travelers in Porto should anticipate disruption to metro services during a 24-hour work stoppage by staff over working hours. The strike will affect all lines, including Line E linking the city center to Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport (OPO).
Through Thursday, January 3, travelers in Moscow should expect disruption from New Year’s road closures. Tverskaya, Mokhovaya, and surrounding streets were closed on Saturday, December 29, with closures on Ilinka and Varvarka streets following on Sunday, December 30. Additional checkpoints will be in place on all routes leading to Red Square, and security will be heightened across the city center for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Travelers are reminded to carry identity documents for use at checkpoints or during spot-checks. Road restrictions will be lifted between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM local time on Thursday, January 3.
On Saturday, January 5 and Wednesday, January 16, travelers in Belgrade should avoid planned anti-government demonstrations as a precaution; further details of the events are not available. The gathering on Wednesday, January 16 is being held to commemorate the first anniversary of the killing of Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic in Mitrovica. Potential protest venues include the Parliament building and the offices of public broadcaster RTS. Protests have been held every Saturday since December 8 to demand an end to political violence, accountability by authorities, and greater media freedom. Previous rallies have been well attended and have remained peaceful.
Today, South Western Railway employees affiliated with the RMT transportation union will observe a 24-hour strike. Separately, RMT-affiliated workers of Northern Rail will hold a 24-hour strike every Saturday through the end of January. The industrial action is linked to staffing and safety issues. Travelers should expect disruption and plan journeys accordingly.
New Year’s Eve
Argentina: Bridge Public Holiday
Azerbaijan: World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day
Switzerland: Restoration Day
Japan: December 31 Bank Holiday
Kazakhstan: New Year (Extra Holiday)
Russia: Extra Holiday in lieu of
New Year’s Day
Cameroon: Independence Day
Cuba: Liberation Day
Czech Republic: Restoration of the
Czech Independence Day
Egypt: January 1 Bank Holiday
Pakistan: January 1 Bank Holiday
Sudan: Independence Day
Slovakia: Republic Day
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan,Bosnia & Herzegovina,Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova,Montenegro, Mauritius: New Year (Day 2)
Botswana: Public Holiday (January)
Canada: Day After New Year’s Day
Switzerland, Liechtenstein:Berchtold Day
China: New Year’s Weekend
Cuba: New Year Day
Haiti: Heroes’ Day/Ancestors’ Day
Japan: January 2 Bank Holiday
Saint Kitts & Nevis: Carnival Day
New Zealand, Romania, Samoa:Day after New Year’s Day
Serbia, Kosovo: Second Day of New Year’s Day
Russia: New Year Holiday Week
Slovenia: New Year
United Kingdom: 2nd January
Armenia: New Year’s Day (Day 3)
Japan: January 3 Bank Holiday
Russia: New Year Holiday Week
Armenia: New Year’s Day (Day 4)
Congo (DRC): Martyrs of Independence Day
Myanmar: Independence Day
Russia: New Year Holiday Week
Sao Tome & Principe: Day of King Amador
Armenia: Armenian Christmas Eve
Vietnam: Working day for Dec. 31, 2018
Andorra, Austria, Australia,
Canada, Switzerland, Cuba,
Cyprus, Germany, Dominican
Republic, Spain, Finland, Greece,
Greenland, Croatia, Italy,
Liechtenstein, Poland, Puerto Rico,
Sweden, Slovakia, San Marino,
United Kingdom, United States,
Holy See (Vatican City): Epiphany
Armenia: Armenian Christmas Day
Bosnia & Herzegovina: Orthodox Christmas Eve
Bolivia, Honduras, Peru, Uruguay,
Venezuela: The Three Wise Men Day
Bhutan: Traditional Day of Offerings
Iraq: Army Day
Montenegro, Macedonia: Christmas Eve (Orthodox)
US Virgin Islands: Three Kings Day
Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Belarus, Canada, Eritrea, Ethiopia,
Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan,
Macedonia, Republic of, Serbia,
Russia, Ukraine, United Kingdom,
United States: Orthodox Christmas Day
Egypt: Coptic Christmas Day
Spain: Epiphany (Observed)
Ghana: Constitution Day
Cambodia: Victory Over Genocide Day
Liberia: Pioneers Day
Panama: Day Off for Martyrs Day
Kosovo: Christmas Day