Travelers transiting the US-Mexico border should continue to reconfirm the status of crossings before setting out. Delays and disruption are possible following the arrival of a US-bound “migrant caravan” from Central America and enhanced security on the US side of the border. Passage through border crossings in San Diego, CA has been intermittently restricted and was shut down completely for several hours on November 25. Other crossings into the US have experienced longer wait times. Across the border, there is a heightened security presence as US troops assist with security; they are expected to stay in the area through January 31, 2019.
Due to inclement weather, there are traffic management programs in effect for flights arriving to the following airports:
- Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)- arriving flights are delayed an average of 1 hour and 40 minutes.
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)- arriving flights are delayed an average of 1 hour and 55 minutes.
- LaGuardia Airport (LGA)- arriving flights are delayed an average of 1 hour and 16 minutes.
Travelers are advised to reconfirm flights and allow additional travel time.
Today, travelers should avoid all demonstrations related to an ongoing port workers’ strike due to the risk of unrest. Demonstrations are anticipated in Santiago at 6:30 PM local time today at Plaza de Armas. A related protest is planned in Concepcion at 6:30 PM local time at Plaza Tribunales de Justicia. Previous related protests have involved roadblocks and associated clashes between demonstrators and security forces; similar incidents would cause disruption and pose incidental risks to bystanders.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Travelers in the Middle East and North Africa should exercise enhanced caution and avoid all public gatherings during the Christmas and New Year holiday period. While the nature of observance and associated threats differ from country to country, there will likely be a heightened security force presence in countries with significant Christian populations, such as Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. In Egypt and Iraq, there is a heightened threat of militant attacks against Christian interests. In Turkey, authorities have previously placed restrictions on public gatherings on New Year’s Eve and increased security around key sites.
Non-essential travel to Congo (DRC) should be deferred through Sunday, January 6, 2019 due to the risk of socio-political unrest around the much-delayed Presidential Election, which has now been postponed to Sunday, December 30. All travel to the country should be avoided from Saturday, December 29 through Monday, December 31 as political tensions will be particularly heightened around voting. Those in the country during the electoral period should continue to exercise caution, avoid all rallies, and minimize movement from Saturday, December 29 through Monday , December 31
Yesterday, at least eight suspected militants were killed, and four others arrested, during security operations in Giza and El-Salam City. According to authorities, the militants were members of the banned Hasm movement and were planning to carry out attacks over the Christmas period. Security forces said they seized bombs, ammunition, and bomb-making equipment during the operations.
A measles outbreak in Israel is ongoing. Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus that spreads from person-to-person via infected droplets. Outbreaks occur frequently in under-vaccinated populations. Common symptoms include fever, cough, and a characteristic rash. Measles can result in serious complications, particularly when very young children, the elderly or pregnant women are infected. All travelers should ensure that they are fully immunized against measles.
Travelers in the West Bank should expect heightened security following a series of attacks. Yesterday, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) fired shots at a vehicle that attempted to run through a barrier at the Beit El checkpoint, near the northern entrance to the city of Al-Bireh, killing one occupant and injuring another. Travelers should exercise caution due to the heightened risk of clashes between IDF forces and Palestinians.
Today, travelers in Dakar should avoid the vicinity of the Supreme Court building, where a protest by the opposition National Resistance Front (FRN) coalition is due to take place. The demonstration has been called to demand transparency in the February 2019 Presidential Election and to show support for the city’s former Mayor, Khalifa Sall, who appealed to the Supreme Court against his five-year prison term for fraud yesterday. The FRN has said that protests will continue ahead of the election.
Travelers in urban centers should anticipate and avoid further protests related to socio-economic issues. Local protests have occurred in Khartoum and other cities since Wednesday, December 19. Authorities have imposed a State of Emergency, which includes a nightly curfew from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM local time in the cities of el-Gadarif, Dongola, Atbara, al-Damir, and Berber.
Travelers in urban centers should monitor developments and avoid all protests related to yesterday’s Legislative Election due to the potential for unrest. The polls passed off without major incident and provisional results are expected to be released by Wednesday, December 26. The C14 opposition coalition had boycotted the election and has called for further demonstrations. Authorities have banned all demonstrations, including in Lome.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
On Sunday, December 23, travelers in Rangpur should avoid rallies organized by the ruling Awami League (AL) party. An event scheduled at Taraganj College will start at 10:00 AM local time, and another at Pirganj High School will take place at 2:00 PM local time. The probable attendance of Prime Minister and AL party leader Sheikh Hasina is likely to ensure large crowds at both events. Security will be increased, and disruption should be expected around the rally venues.
Today and Monday, December 24, travelers in Dhaka should avoid election campaign rallies by the ruling Awami League (AL) in the Gulshan and Kamrangirchar areas. The timing and location of the rallies has not been confirmed, though they are likely to draw large crowds due to the expected attendance of Prime Minister and AL President, Sheikh Hasina. An increased security presence should be expected at both rallies, with security forces liable to forcibly disperse any unruly crowds, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Female travelers are reminded to take precautions after yesterday’s arrest of a man suspected of raping and robbing a British woman near Palolem Beach in Canacona, a popular tourist destination. The woman was attacked on Wednesday, December 19 while walking alone. Female travelers and expatriates should remain vigilant to their surroundings and adopt precautions to mitigate the risk of sexual assault.
Today, travelers in Jakarta should avoid the vicinity of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China due to a planned demonstration by Islamist groups in support of the Uighur community in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. The gathering is scheduled to start at 1:00 PM local time after Friday prayers. A related rally on Tuesday, December 18 in the same location passed off peacefully, though traffic was disrupted.
Today, travelers in Kuala Lumpur should plan journeys bypassing a protest outside the Australian High Commission. The diplomatic mission will be closed to the public at 12:00 PM local time. Although the exact timing of the demonstration is not available, it is most likely to be held after Friday midday prayers. The protest is being held against Australia’s recent recognition of West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Papua New Guinea
There have been no immediate reports of significant damage or casualties following a magnitude 5.9 earthquake, which occurred at 4:33 PM local time today. The temblor struck around 80 miles southwest of Kokopo, at a depth of six miles. At least two aftershocks of varying magnitudes were recorded following the earthquake. Travelers in affected areas should continue to follow all official directives.
High levels of air pollution have been recorded in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region. Polluted air can cause symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and irritation of the eyes and nose. Young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with underlying heart or lung disease are particularly vulnerable. To lessen the risk of potential health problems, travelers are advised to reduce exposure by decreasing physical activity and time spent outdoors.
On November 26, authorities lifted a State of Emergency (SoE) that had been in place since July 27 on Ambae Island. The SoE had been imposed following increased activity at the Manaro Voui Volcano. Despite the lifting of the SoE, the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) maintains a Level Two Alert (on a six-point scale) for the volcano, indicating it is in a major state of unrest, with considerable possibility of eruption. Travelers should continue to defer nonessential travel to the island.
Today, two people were injured by gunshots in the Lugeck area of Vienna’s First District at 1:30 PM local time. A police operation is currently underway. Travelers are advised to avoid the area as a precaution and to follow all directives from local authorities.
Travelers in Paris should plan journeys bypassing separate protests organized by the CGT union confederation and students. Today, civil servants will rally at Place Saint-Gervais at 12:00 PM local time. In addition, students have been occupying Paris Nanterre and Pantheon-Sorbonne universities, and plan to continue their protest today.
Today, travelers in Budapest should expect and avoid further protests against a disputed labor law and judicial reform. A related gathering is planned at Kossuth Square at 8:00 PM local time. The Two-tailed Dog Party (MKKP) is organizing a separate opposition march at the same location starting at 6:00 PM local time. Protests may intensify after the President signed the labor law yesterday.
Today, travelers in Rome should plan journeys avoiding a protest by tourist bus drivers at Piazza Montecitorio. The demonstration is being held to denounce a new municipal regulation that would restrict tourist bus movement in the city’s Old Town area beginning in January 2019. During a related protest yesterday, drivers parked their buses around Piazza Venezia, causing significant disruption on nearby roads from approximately 5:00 AM until 12:00 PM local time.
Today, travelers in Portugal should anticipate disruption and avoid planned gatherings by the “Vamos Parar Portugal” (VPP) movement, which is inspired by the “Yellow Vests” protests in France. Demonstrators in Lisbon plan to gather on the 25 de Abril Bridge and on the Marques de Pombal Roundabout. Related protests are also due to take place in the Francos area of Porto and in other urban centers, while the VPP reportedly hopes to “paralyze” the A8 Motorway, which runs north from Lisbon.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Bucharest should plan journeys avoiding anti-government protests as a precaution. Today, protesters will gather at Piata Universitatii at 6:00 PM local time. Tomorrow, a march will take place at 4:00 PM local time from Piata Victoriei to Piata Revolutiei.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) has lifted an earlier Tsunami Warning issued for coasts located within a 185- mile radius of a magnitude 7.4 earthquake near Nikolskoye, which had occurred at 5:01 AM local time today. The temblor struck at a depth of six miles, 50 miles west of the city. There have been no reports of significant damage or casualties. Travelers in affected areas should continue to follow all directives issued by authorities.
Today, rail travelers should plan itineraries accounting for disruption during a strike by CGT union railway workers. The industrial action is linked to disputes over job creation and working conditions. Other unions had planned to join the strike but have pulled out after reaching an agreement with rail operator Renfe and infrastructure management company ADIF.
Today, travelers in Catalonia should exercise caution and avoid all protests during an ongoing meeting of the central government’s Council of Ministers in Barcelona. Several groups, including the Comites de Defensa de la Republica (CDR) and Black Flag organizations have called for protests and the blocking of key roads across the region through 10:00 PM local time. All related events should be avoided due to the credible risk of unrest. Travelers should reconfirm the status of routes before setting out.
Macau: Macau S.A.R. Establishment Day
Reunion: Abolition of Slavery
Macedonia: Turkish Language Day
Sri Lanka: Unduvap Full Moon Poya Day
Nigeria: Sambisa Memorial Day
Ukraine: Special Working Day
Zimbabwe: Unity Day
Germany, Norway, Sweden: Fourth Advent Sunday
Japan: Emperor’s Birthday
Argentina: Bridge Public Holiday
Micronesia: Yap Constitution Day
Japan: Emperor’s Birthday (Observed)
North Korea: Birth Date of Kim Jong Suk
Libya: Independence Day
Philippines: Additional Special Non-Working Day
Ukraine: Catholic Christmas Holiday
United States: Washington’s Birthday
Pakistan: Quaid-e-Azam Day
Taiwan: Constitution Day
Solomon Islands: National Day of Thanksgiving
Slovenia: Independence and Unity Day
South Africa: Day of Goodwill
North Korea: Constitution Day
South Sudan: Republic Day
eSwatini: Incwala Day
Kazakhstan: Special Working Day
Mongolia: Independence Day
Ukraine: Special Working Day
Spain: Feast of the Holy Family
Philippines: Rizal Day
New Year’s Eve
Argentina: Bridge Public Holiday
Azerbaijan: World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day
Switzerland: Restoration Day
Japan: December 31 Bank Holiday
Kazakhstan: New Year (Extra Holiday)
Russia: Extra Holiday in lieu of
New Year’s Day
Cameroon: Independence Day
Cuba: Liberation Day
Czech Republic: Restoration of the
Czech Independence Day
Egypt: January 1 Bank Holiday
Pakistan: January 1 Bank Holiday
Sudan: Independence Day
Slovakia: Republic Day
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan,Bosnia & Herzegovina,Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova,Montenegro, Mauritius: New Year (Day 2)
Botswana: Public Holiday (January)
Canada: Day After New Year’s Day
Switzerland, Liechtenstein:Berchtold Day
China: New Year’s Weekend
Cuba: New Year Day
Haiti: Heroes’ Day/Ancestors’ Day
Japan: January 2 Bank Holiday
Saint Kitts & Nevis: Carnival Day
New Zealand, Romania, Samoa:Day after New Year’s Day
Serbia, Kosovo: Second Day of New Year’s Day
Russia: New Year Holiday Week
Slovenia: New Year
United Kingdom: 2nd January