News Watch

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.


At press time, active COVID-19 infections had been confirmed in 192 countries and territories, with more than 131.5 million cases and, resulting from those, more than 2.9 million deaths.

On March 29, Mexico revised its count of deaths due to COVID-19, increasing its official number to more than 321,000, 60% higher than the previous estimate. The new number was the second-highest death count in the world, after that of the US.

In late March, even before the numbers were updated...


A suicide bombing outside of a church in Makassar, Sulawesi, Indonesia, wounded 14 people on Palm Sunday, March 28. The bombing occurred after two men attempted to force their way into the church near the end of the service but were prevented by security guards and church officials. The men returned to a motorbike outside the gate, and the explosion occurred.

Indonesia is home to active Islamist terrorist groups, some allied with Daesh (ISIL), who have targeted Christian locations in...


Protests against a military coup in Myanmar have been ongoing since Feb. 1. Though the protests were initially somewhat peaceful, soldiers began firing on protesters with live rounds after a ban on gatherings went unheeded. At press time, more than 300 people had been killed during protests, including multiple children under 10.

The US and EU announced sanctions on leading members of the Myanmar military in March, with the US freezing more than $1 billion being held for Myanmar’...


Protesters in Beirut, Lebanon, blocked roads and burned debris on March 16 after the value of the Lebanese pound reached record lows, losing a third of its value within two weeks and trading at LBP15,000 to US$1.

In addition to the crippling inflation, Lebanon also faces high unemployment as well as a food shortage that was caused when a storage building holding most of the country’s grain stockpile, located in Beirut’s port, exploded in August 2020. That explosion led to...


Supporters of an opposition leader in Senegal protested outside of a courthouse and clashed with police in the capital, Dakar, on March 5, leaving at least one person dead. The leader had been arrested two days before on charges of rape and making threats, accusations he claims were made up to prevent him from running in future elections. Two popular opposition candidates were arrested shortly before a 2019 presidential election as well.

After the protests, the Senegalese government...


A passenger train traveling in southern Egypt collided with the back end of another passenger train on March 26, killing at least 32 people and injuring more than 100. Authorities said that someone on the forward train had initiated the emergency brake without cause, but, at press time, it was not known who had done it. Investigators were trying to determine whether the act was a deliberate attempt to cause an accident.

The worst sandstorm to hit northern China in more than a decade struck 12 provinces and the capital, Beijing, on March 14, lasting multiple days.

The sandstorm, which originated in Mongolia, caused hundreds of flight cancellations, and authorities ordered children, the elderly and the ill to remain inside until it was over. Combined with industrial pollution, it raised the air pollution levels to 160 times recommended limits in some areas.

In Mongolia, the sandstorms killed at...