News Watch

Australia experienced its hottest December on record in 2018, with temperatures reaching more than 120ºF (49°C) in some areas. Temperatures in the capital, Canberra, rose to a record-breaking 102ºF (39°C), while Sydney experienced highs of around 104º. Authorities recommended that people remain inside during the hottest period of the day and drink plenty of water.

The heat wave continued into January, when five of the 10 hottest days ever on record in Australia...


A tornado ripped through Havana, Cuba, on Jan. 27, killing at least three people and injuring 172. As trees littered the streets and power lines were ripped down, electricity was cut off to large swathes of the city. The tornado, with winds over 60 miles per hour, was the first tornado to hit Havana in decades.

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 Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, Japan, a man drove a van into a crowd of people celebrating New Year's shortly after midnight, Jan. 1, injuring nine, one seriously. A can of kerosene was discovered in the van, and it is believed the attacker had planned to set the vehicle on fire.

The attacker was arrested nearby and initially claimed to have committed an act of terrorism before changing his story and saying that it was in protest of executions, though it was not known at press time if he...


A tsunami caused by the eruption and collapse into the sea of the volcano Anak Krakatau hit sites on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java on Dec. 22, killing at least 430 people and injuring more than 1,500 others. At press time, more than 159 people were still missing. Because the tsunami was not caused by an earthquake, it occurred without warning.

It was recommended that anyone in the region avoid coastal areas during the duration of the eruption, which was ongoing at press...


At least 126 people were killed when Typhoon Usman hit the Bicol Region in southern Philippines on Dec. 29. Officials had underestimated the storm, as it had low winds for a tropical storm, and did not classify it as a typhoon. However, the storm had heavier rains than expected, causing flooding and landslides, and people were unprepared due to the lesser classification. Across the country, the storm displaced more than 40,000 people.

A car bomb was detonated outside of a government building in Kabul, Afghanistan on Dec. 24, and it was followed by an attack on the building by militants, who took civilians in the building hostage during the attack. A 7-hour siege by Afghan security forces ended the attack, during which 43 people were killed, including at least one police officer and three attackers, with 25 people wounded.

At press time, no group had taken responsibility for the attack, but officials believe the...


A tour bus carrying a group of Vietnamese travelers was struck by a roadside bomb near the Giza pyramid complex on Dec. 28. Three people were killed and 11 were injured. Reportedly, the bus had deviated from its assigned route without security forces having been notified.

At press time, no group had claimed responsibility for the bomb. After the attack, Egyptian security forces killed at least 40 militants in Sinai in military raids.