News Watch

Cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh on Nov. 15 with 155-mph winds and tidal surges of 12 feet. It left about 3,500 people dead, more than 30,000 injured and more than two million displaced. Massive humanitarian and international aid was rushed to the area.

Bangladesh was still recovering from the extensive flooding brought by rains earlier in the year.


Floods in central Viet Nam throughout October and early November killed hundreds of people and caused property and crop damage. Health officials were concerned about the spread of disease. In Hoi An, about 150 historic houses were submerged.


Indonesia experienced an increase in earthquakes, tremors and volcanic activity late in 2007.

At press time, four volcanoes were under warnings for possible eruptions: Anak Krakatau (“Child of Krakatau”), in the Sunda Strait between Sumatra and Java; the Mount Kelud volcano in eastern Java; Mount Soputan in north Sulawesi, and Mount Karangetan off Sulawesi island. 

Meanwhile, a mud volcano continues to ooze in Sidoarjo, eastern Java, having spewed an estimated one billion cubic...


As ITN went to press, the State Department had travel warnings on 28 destinations: Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Lebanon, Indonesia, Yemen, Nepal, Pakistan, Syria, Algeria, Timor-Leste, Sudan, Haiti, Burundi, Central African Republic, Iraq, Israel/West Bank/Gaza, Saudi Arabia, Chad, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Iran, Philippines, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Afghanistan.  

For details, call the State Department at 202/647-5225 or visit http:// travel....


Charles Treadgold’s letter about taking maps to Peru’s Taquile Island (Nov. ’05, pg. 44) got me thinking about other things that would be most appreciated by the people there. I visited in 1992, but from what I have read about the place it seems not to have changed much.

First of all, fruit would be very well received. The people can coax a couple of dozen varieties of potatoes out of their unbelievably rocky soil, and I did see some kiwi vines here and there, but citrus fruits just...


We were looking for a hotel that would be close to the train station in Madrid, SPAIN, with easy access to downtown and also reasonably close to the airport. We eventually found a hotel on the Internet which seemed to come pretty close to our criteria.

Hotel Husa Chamartin (Agustin de Foxá s/n, 28036 Madrid, Spain; phone +34 91 1334 49 00 or visit, located right on the premises of the Chamartin train station, where our train from Lisbon arrived, is over a metro...


by Jim Simpson, Wilmington, DE

She was there waiting for us when we landed at Panama’s Tocumen International Airport. Maria was no longer the 22-year-old newly minted schoolteacher who visited us 35 years before as part of an exchange program; she was now a 57-year-old woman with a husband and three grown children.

In 1970, Maria stayed in our home in Delaware for six weeks. She didn’t know a single word of English then. We kept in touch over the years, and in April 2005 we...


STEVE, what have you found to be the best way to minimize the effects of jet lag? — Henry Ebbets, Prescott, AZ


DEAR HENRY, I plan a full day’s worth of activities in advance for my first day. Also, I sleep on the plane, eat little, avoid booze and drink lots of water. When I get there, I keep busy all day, not allowing myself to nap. That night I sleep like a baby, and I am completely adjusted by the next day. If I allow myself to sleep that first day, it takes me at least...