China’s government reported that air pollution increased to unhealthy levels in over 62 cities for 15 days during December. Affected areas included Hebei Province (surrounding Beijing), the Yangtze River delta, the Pearl River delta, Nanjing, Huai’an (in Jiangsu province) and Shanghai.
As ITN went to press, the State Department had travel warnings on 34 destinations: Afghanistan, Algeria, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Eritrea, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Israel/West Ban
A political struggle between South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and a fired deputy minister, Riek Machar, erupted into violence between their supporters in mid-December. Fighting spread from the country’s capital, Juba, to Bor and Torit, capitals of eastern states.
In Sanaa, Yemen, at least 52 people were killed and 160 injured on Dec. 5 when suicide bombers in cars attacked the gates of the Defense Ministry headquarters compound, followed by armed gunmen trying to take over the buildings.
In Kiev, Ukraine, street protests began in late November over the president’s decision to pull back from an agreement with the European Union and turn to Russia for financial assistance. In December, the numbers of demonstrators grew to hundreds of thousands.
A scandal over government intervention into anticorruption investigations involving Turkey’s current Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and his political party has resulted in a round of protests in Istanbul by both supporters of Erdoğan and those opposing his regime.
In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Nov. 15 and 20, gangs of young thieves swarmed the Ipanema and Arpoador beaches with clubs and grabbed jewelry, cell phones, beach bags and other items from sunbathing Brazilians and tourists.