News Watch

A passenger train traveling in southern Egypt collided with the back end of another passenger train on March 26, killing at least 32 people and injuring more than 100. Authorities said that someone on the forward train had initiated the emergency brake without cause, but, at press time, it was not known who had done it. Investigators were trying to determine whether the act was a deliberate attempt to cause an accident.

The worst sandstorm to hit northern China in more than a decade struck 12 provinces and the capital, Beijing, on March 14, lasting multiple days.

The sandstorm, which originated in Mongolia, caused hundreds of flight cancellations, and authorities ordered children, the elderly and the ill to remain inside until it was over. Combined with industrial pollution, it raised the air pollution levels to 160 times recommended limits in some areas.

In Mongolia, the sandstorms killed at...


Heavy rains caused major flooding in southeastern Australia in late March, including in suburbs of Sydney, killing at least two people. More than 40,000 people were evacuated as some areas experienced nearly 2 feet of rainfall within a 24-hour period, which even created waterfalls at Uluru (Ayers Rock). Floodwaters caused damage to property and infrastructure across the area.

The US Department of State posts up-to-date travel advisories on every country and many territories, ranking each 1 (Exercise normal precautions), 2 (Exercise increased caution), 3 (Reconsider travel) or 4 (Do not travel). Note: A country’s regions are also ranked and may have different rankings than the country as a whole. Visit and click on “Travel Advisories” at the top of the page.


At press time, active COVID-19 infections had been confirmed in 192 countries and territories, with more than 114.3 million cases and, resulting from those, more than 2.5 million deaths. The country with the most confirmed cases was the US, with 28.6 million. It was followed by India (11.1 million), Brazil (10.6 million) and Russia (4.2 million). At least 22 countries had recorded more than 1 million cases, and 13 had reported more than 2 million.

On Feb. 22, the US exceeded 500,000...


The West African country of Guinea declared an outbreak of ebola on Feb. 15 after seven people were confirmed to have contracted the virus, three of whom died from the disease. All of the patients had attended the same funeral before becoming infected.

These were the first new cases of ebola in the country since 2016, when, during the worst outbreak of ebola on record, more than 11,000 people died, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The currently infected patients were...


The Myanmar military arrested leader Aung San Suu Kyi and took control of the country on Feb. 1, citing voting irregularities in a November election. In response, large protests have occurred throughout the country in support of Aung and other arrested government leaders from her party.

In Yangon, despite military warnings that soldiers would respond with force as well as a threat of 20-year prison sentences, tens of thousands of people protested the coup over multiple days,...


In Mogadishu, Somalia, gunfire broke out on Feb. 19 as people defied a ban on public gatherings and protested a delayed presidential election. According to witnesses, soldiers and armed guards protecting protesters fired on each other as protests neared the presidential palace. No deaths were reported as of press time. Flights at Mogadishu’s airport were temporarily suspended after artillery shells landed nearby.