News Watch

Since Jan. 1, 2019, more than 11,000 people, mostly children, have contracted measles in the Philippines, largely in the capital, Manila, and at least 189 people have died from the disease. Officials blame vaccine fears for reducing the number of inoculated children in the country. Officials hope a vaccine drive, focused on Manila, will end the outbreak by April.

Worldwide, cases of measles are increasing. The disease is easily spread via droplets of saliva suspended in the air due to...


The World Health Organization has declared a Lassa fever outbreak in five African countries: Nigeria, Benin, Guinea, Liberia and Togo. At least 213 confirmed cases of the disease have been identified in 2019, with 42 deaths.

Lassa fever is a virus spread via contact with rodents. It causes fever, sore throat, nausea and head, chest and muscle pain. In extreme cases, it can cause bleeding from orifices and death.

A Birman Airlines flight from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, was hijacked by a man wielding a gun (later determined to be a toy). The flight, carrying 148 passengers, was redirected to Chittagong, Bangladesh, where the hijacker was killed by police.

The hijacker, who was later identified as an aspiring actor from Dhaka, had said he was having marital issues and demanded to speak to Bangladesh's prime minister. Security at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport...


In Kenya on Feb. 13, a Cessna carrying four tourists crashed en route from the Maasai Mara National Reserve to the town of Lodwar, killing all the passengers and the pilot. The passengers were identified as three Americans and one Netherlander. According to the International Air Transport Association, Kenya ranks sixth out of 37 African countries surveyed for air safety.

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.


In Changchun, northeastern China, on Jan. 25, one person was killed and another was injured when a number of explosions were set off at a combined shopping center and apartment building. Videos show blasts occurring inside the building, itself, as well as on the street, with at least 15 explosions being recorded. Reports from the scene also indicate that explosives were thrown into crowds of pedestrians.

At press time, Chinese authorities were investigating the incident as a "criminal...


A group of Taliban militants attacked an Afghani National Directorate for Security (NDS) base southwest of Kabul on Jan. 21, killing at least 43 people and injuring more than 50 others. The attack included at least two car bombs and multiple suicide bombers. Most of the fatalities occurred in one building that collapsed due to a car bomb.

According to reports, the base was used for training pro-government militias.

A group of five gunmen, members of the Somalia-based Islamist militant group al-Shabaab, attacked the DusitD2 hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, on Jan. 16, killing at least 21 people, including one American, and injuring 28. During a 19-hour siege, Kenyan security forces killed all five gunmen to stop the attack. Nine people were later arrested in Kenya under suspicion of being involved in the attack.

A statement later released by al-Shabaab said that the attack was in response to President...