News Watch

Just north of Hong Kong, a large, man-made hilltop mound of earth and debris became unstable and collapsed into the city of Shenzhen on Dec. 21, completely covering 33 buildings and over 380,000 square miles of land. As of press time, 76 people remained missing and were presumed dead, with one person confirmed dead. One man was rescued alive after being trapped for 67 hours. More than 900 people were evacuated from the area.

The cause of the collapse was the instability of the mound, which had been built up of leftover material from construction projects for at least two years....


The US Department of State continues to warn against traveling to Crimea and the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine. 

Russia-backed separatists still control areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, where an ongoing civil war has left at least 9,000 people dead since February 2014. A cease-fire agreement in February 2015 established a de facto dividing line between Ukrainian government-controlled and separatist-held areas of Ukraine, with numerous checkpoints controlled by government and separatist forces. Individuals, including US citizens, have been threatened,...


Because of North Korea’s inconsistent application of its criminal laws, the US Department of State continues to strongly recommend that people not travel there. Without charges, visitors have been subject to arrest and long-term detention for actions that would not be cause for arrest in the US or other countries, including involvement in unsanctioned religious and/or political activities or unauthorized interaction with the local population.

As ITN went to press, the State Department had travel warnings on 38 destinations: Afghanistan, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, El Salvador, Eritrea, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Israel/West Bank/Gaza, Kenya, North Korea, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Republic of South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela and Yemen. 

For details, call the State Department at 202/647-5225 or visit


Coordinated attacks by terrorists in Paris, France, on the evening of Nov. 13 left 130 people dead and hundreds more injured. The Islamist militant group ISIL, or Daesh, took credit for the attacks.

In the deadliest incident of the night, three men in suicide vests and armed with assault rifles took hundreds of people hostage in the venue Bataclan, where a concert was taking place. During the hostage situation and subsequent police action, 89 people were killed. Two of the men detonated their bombs as police tried to free the hostages, while the third was killed by police. 



A commercial flight from Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, to Moscow, Russia, operated by Russian airline Metrojet crashed in the Sinai Peninsula on Oct. 31 killing all 224 people on board, mostly Russians.

Investigations indicated that the crash was due to an explosive device that had been placed on the plane before takeoff. Islamist militant group ISIL claimed responsibility, sharing an image of the bomb they reportedly used. Egyptian authorities arrested two employees of the Sharm el-Sheikh airport on suspicion of assisting with the bombing. 

After the bombing, Russia suspended...


Bombings executed by Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group based in Nigeria but also active in Cameroon, Niger and Chad, killed at least 60 people in northeastern Nigeria in November. On Nov. 17, a bomb in a market in the eastern city of Yola killed 32 people and injured at least 80 others. On Nov. 18, two female suicide bombers in Kano, in north-central Nigeria, killed at least 12 people, and on Nov. 27 at least 21 people in Kano were killed by a suicide bomber during a Shia Muslim procession.

A study, released on Nov. 18 by the Institute of Economics & Peace (an independent...


A bomb attached to a motorcyle killed six people on Nov. 5 in the town of Arsal, Lebanon, near the border with Syria. The bomb targeted a meeting of Sunni clerics who had been negotiating the release of prisoners with Shia Islamists across the border.

On Nov. 12, two suicide bombers in the capital, Beirut, killed 43 people and injured 239 on a busy street in a southern neighborhood that included shops and a mosque. The Islamist militant group ISIL, a Sunni group, claimed credit for these bombings. The area targeted is a Shia suburb that supports the Islamist militant and political...