News Watch

Taal, a volcano on the Philippine island of Luzon, erupted on Jan. 13 and continued to erupt over multiple days, sending ash thousands of feet into the air. The eruption, which occurred only 45 miles south of the capital, Manila, forced more than 70,000 people to evacuate the surrounding area and caused flight cancellations at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. No major injuries were reported.

Though small, Taal is the second-most-active volcano in the Philippines. Because...

CONTINUE READING »

A measles epidemic throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo had killed more than 6,000 people as of press time. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared an outbreak in the country in June 2019 and instituted an emergency vaccination program. Despite WHO’s best efforts, more than 300,000 new measles cases were identified in the country from Jan. 1, 2019, to the first week of 2020.

CONTINUE READING »

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 travel.state.gov and click on “Travel Advisories” at the top of the page.

CONTINUE READING »

After a US airstrike killed a high-ranking member of the Iranian military near the Baghdad International Airport in Iraq on Jan. 2, Iran pledged to retaliate against American interests in the Middle East. The US Embassy in Baghdad made a statement within a few hours of the killing recommending that US citizens leave Iraq immediately. US embassies in nearby countries, such as Kuwait, Israel and Lebanon, though not citing any specific threats, also warned that Iran could target Americans in...

CONTINUE READING »

The US Embassy to Iraq, located in Baghdad’s secure “Green Zone,” was stormed on Dec. 31 by people protesting the US’ presence in Iraq. During the attack, the first perimeter wall was breached and a guard post set on fire before the protesters were pushed back by Iraqi special forces. At the time of the attack, senior embassy staff were not on the premises. No deaths were reported.

The attacking protesters were angry about a US airstrike on Dec. 29 that...

CONTINUE READING »

A car bomb was detonated on a busy intersection of Mogadishu, Somalia, on Dec. 28, killing at least 79 people and injuring more than 90 others. It was reported that the bomb was set off near a group of engineers from Turkey who were working on road construction. Two Turkish nationals were confirmed to have been killed.

At press time, no group had taken responsibility for the bombing, but Islamist militant group al-Shabaab was believed to be involved. The group controls large areas of...

CONTINUE READING »

White Island, a volcano off the north coast of New Zealand’s North Island, erupted unexpectedly on Dec. 9 while tourists were exploring it. Nineteen people were killed and more than 15 others were injured. Some of the visitors were cruise passengers taking part in an excursion from Royal Caribbean International’s Ovation of the Seas, which was docked in Tauranga, the city nearest to White Island.

The island is popular with tourists, and visits have been ongoing for years...

CONTINUE READING »

Major flooding and landslides occurred throughout East Africa in late November and early December, killing at least 265 people. The countries that experienced flooding were Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Almost two million people were affected by the floods, either being forced to evacuate or stranded by the rising waters. Crops and livestock also were lost to flooding and landslides.