News Watch

The president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, declared a year-long state of emergency on Feb. 22 after more than 10 weeks of antigovernment protests in the country. Protesters have been calling for al-Bashir, who has been in power for more than 30 years, to step down. Since the declaration, reports indicate that the number of protesters has increased.

Throughout the protests, Sudanese security forces have been accused of using live ammunition against protesters. On Feb. 24 in the capital,...


More than 200,000 pro-independence protesters gathered in Barcelona, Spain, on Feb. 16 in support of 12 separatist leaders who were on trial for attempted secession due to an independence referendum held in the Catalonia region in 2017. The Spanish government deemed that referendum illegal, seizing control of Catalonia's semiautonomous government and arresting the pro-independence leaders.


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.

Protests calling for the resignation of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse and key members of the government have been ongoing in Haiti since Feb. 7. At least four people have been killed, with dozens injured, in clashes between protesters and police.

Protesters accuse the government of corruption, particularly the misappropriation of money loaned by Venezuela in 2008 for improving conditions on the island.

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.