News Watch

On Feb. 8 in the northern-India state of Uttarakhand, a large section of a Himalayan glacier broke off into the Dhauliganga River in a narrow canyon. This resulted in a buildup of water that then broke through. The massive surge of water breached a dam and flooded a valley, killing at least 58 people. Another 146 are missing and presumed dead.

The flood additionally destroyed bridges, isolated some small communities and did serious damage to a power plant downriver.

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 101 million cases and, resulting from those, more than 2.2 million deaths. The country with the most confirmed cases was the US, with 25.8 million. It was followed by India (10.7 million), Brazil (9.0 million) and Russia (3.8 million). At least 19 countries had recorded more than 1 million cases at press time.

Multiple vaccines were made available around the world starting in...


Two suicide bombers targeted an outdoor market in Baghdad, Iraq, on Jan. 21, killing at least 32 people and injuring more than 100. It was the first major terrorist attack in Baghdad in three years. The previous terrorist attack, in January 2018, occurred in the same market and killed 27.

Islamist militant group Daesh (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the bombing. Daesh, considered a terrorist group by the US and EU, controlled much of Iraq as well as parts of Syria. By 2017, it had...


Militants attacked the town of Mozogo in northern Cameroon, near the border with Nigeria, on Jan. 8, culminating in a suicide bomber’s killing at least 15 people. According to witnesses, the militants fired their guns into the air and herded locals into a park, where the suicide bomber, a young girl, then detonated her bomb.

The group responsible was identified as Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group based in Nigeria. The group has been known to attack locations in neighboring...


A Sriwijaya Air flight to Borneo crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia, on Jan. 9, killing all 50 passengers and 12 crew. No distress calls were issued by the pilot or copilot before the plane disappeared from radar.

At press time, investigators suspected that the crash was caused by an issue with the autothrottle, which had been reported to be malfunctioning days before the crash. The plane’s black boxes were recovered and investigations were...


A magnitude-6.2 earthquake occurred on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Jan. 15, killing at least 90 people and injuring hundreds of others. Many thousands of people were displaced, particularly in the city of Mamuju, which suffered serious damage, including the partial collapse of a hospital.

A second powerful earthquake, measuring 7.1, occurred in the ocean between Sulawesi and Mindanao, Philippines, on Jan. 21, though no damage or tsunamis were reported.

Heavy rains and flooding caused two landslides to occur in Cihanjuang, West Java, Indonesia, on Jan. 10. As rescuers were attempting to save victims from the first landslide, the second occurred, burying them. At least 40 people were killed and 25 injured, with many more still missing at press time.