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Contents

This is Wikitravel's Travel news section, about issues affecting travelers, both positively and negatively. For more general news, see Wikinews.

Please feel free to edit or add to news items below. For instructions on how to use the Newsitem template or how to add news items to the Main Page, please see Wikitravel:How to add travel news.

April

Ukraine clash ends in deaths

Ukraine clash ends in deaths

17 Apr

A clash outside a military base ended with the first deaths so far in a Ukraine anti-militant operation as Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted in a radio interview that Russian soldiers did secretly invade Crimea to help pro-Russian Ukrainians take over the province by force. Three pro-Russian militants were killed in a skirmish outside a Ukrainian National Guard base in the Black Sea port of Mariupol in an attack Ukraine's interior ministry called the bloodiest to date by militants who want the entire East Ukraine to go the way of Crimea. [1]

Brazil troops guard strike-hit Bahia

Brazil troops guard strike-hit Bahia

17 Apr

Brazil has sent thousands of federal troops to maintain order in the north-eastern state of Bahia after police there went on strike over pay. Shops and supermarkets in the state capital, Salvador, have been looted and public transport was severely reduced following attacks on some buses. The Brazilian city is due to host six matches during this year's football World Cup, which begins in June. Another strike in 2012 led to a spike in murders and other violent crimes. Back then, more than 130 people were killed and 12 officers were arrested, including the leader of the current labour dispute, Marco Prisco. The 2012 strike lasted 12 days, and troops were also sent to the streets of Salvador, Brazil's third most populous city. [2]

Nicaragua on high alert after quakes

Nicaragua on high alert after quakes

17 Apr

The authorities in Nicaragua have put the entire country on an "extreme red alert", the highest possible, after the country was hit by a series of tremors. Nicaraguans were asked to sleep outdoors as seismologists warned of the possibility of a powerful earthquake rocking the Central American country. Officials said the recent tremors had reactivated a fault which caused a devastating earthquake in 1972. Between 5,000 and 10,000 people were killed in the disaster. Soldiers have been erecting field hospitals and the Red Cross urged people to donate blood to replenish the country's blood banks. Some people considered to be at high risk either because of their age or because they live in houses at risk of crumbling have been moved to shelters. In the past week, Nicaragua was hit by three quakes of magnitudes ranging between 5.1 and 6.7, as well as dozens of aftershocks. Two people have died and dozens been injured. [3]

Fresh Syria gas attack alleged

Fresh Syria gas attack alleged

17 Apr

Activists in Syria have published what they say is evidence of a chlorine gas attack by government forces. Footage posted online, which cannot be verified, shows medics trying to revive four young men suffering what appear to be symptoms of poisoning. A voice off-screen says the location is Harasta, just outside the capital Damascus. Use of chlorine as a weapon of war is banned and Syria committed to declaring and giving up its stocks last year. Four days ago, activists said the Syrian government carried out another alleged chlorine attack north of the city of Hama. The Syrian government blamed the opposition. [4]

Pakistan Taliban end ceasefire

Pakistan Taliban end ceasefire

17 Apr

The Pakistani Taliban have announced that they will not extend the ceasefire they began in March, effectively ending their truce with the government. A Pakistani Taliban (TTP) spokesman said the move was due to the government ignoring their demands, but that they remained committed to peace talks. Negotiations between the Pakistani government and the Taliban continued for some time but lately reports of a deadlock had emerged. Despite the recent ceasefire, Pakistan has continued to be hit by attacks in the past month, including a bomb attack in an Islamabad market that killed at least 20. [5]

Ferry sinks off South Korea's coast

Ferry sinks off South Korea's coast

16 Apr

Divers fighting strong currents have searched three compartments of a submerged South Korean ferry, but found no sign of 284 people — most of them high school students — still missing after the vessel sank off South Korea's southern coast. At least four of the 459 people aboard are confirmed dead and 55 are injured. More than 100 navy, coast guard and other vessels and aircraft are engaged in the search for survivors in a broad swath of water 12 miles off the island of Byeongpoong where the ferry went down. [6]

Powerful cyclone hits Australia

Powerful cyclone hits Australia

11 Apr

Tens of thousands of people hunkered down as warnings of severe gales, flash flooding and storm tides continued through the night."Destructive winds with gusts to 140 kilometres per hour are possible between Cape Melville and Cape Tribulation for a period this morning," the Bureau of Meteorology said. The storm was moving at nine kilometres per hour and was "expected to continue moving south-southwest" and weaken through the early morning. Nonetheless, winds gusting in excess of 110 kilometres per hour were expected to hit Port Douglas and Cairns later Saturday morning, and as far south as Cardwell, which is some 1,500 kilometres from Brisbane. [7]

Clashes as squatters evicted in Rio

Clashes as squatters evicted in Rio

11 Apr

A huge police operation to evict hundreds of families from abandoned buildings in Rio de Janeiro has ended with violent clashes and some injuries. More than 1,500 police officers had arrived at dawn to evict nearly 5,000 people from the site, belonging to a telecommunication company. Some families left peacefully, but clashes began when others resisted. Groups of squatters threw rocks at police who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. Hundreds of children were among the crowds. Vehicles were set on fire and supermarkets were looted. [8]

General strike grips Argentina

General strike grips Argentina

11 Apr

Public transport in Argentina has been severely disrupted by a huge nationwide strike against the economic policies of the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Most buses, commuter trains and metro lines across Argentina did not operate. The 24-hour strike was called by unions amid public discontent over high inflation, taxes and wages. The government said the stoppage was "anti-democratic" because it affected those who wanted to go to work. Airlines were forced to cancel flights and ports came to a near standstill. Many shops also closed because commuters could not get to work. [9]

Donetsk 'people's republic' declared

Donetsk 'people's republic' declared

7 Apr

Pro-Russian protesters who seized the regional government building in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk are reported to have declared a "people's republic". The rebels have called for a referendum on secession from Luhansk and Kharkiv after pro-Russia groups occupied government buildings. Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov called the unrest an attempt by Russia to "dismember" Ukraine. In an address on national TV, he said it was "the second wave" of a Russian operation to destabilise Ukraine, overthrow the government and disrupt planned elections. Russia's foreign ministry accused Kiev of "blaming" Moscow for all its troubles. [10]

Ecuador volcano spews huge plume

Ecuador volcano spews huge plume

7 Apr

A volcano just south of Ecuador's capital Quito has erupted, creating a spectacular plume of ash, 10km (six miles) high. The volcano has been erupting since 1999, but has been particularly active in the last two months. Tungurahua is one of eight active volcanoes in Ecuador, which lies in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire. [11]

Kenya Travel Warning

Kenya Travel Warning

7 Apr

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Kenya. U.S. citizens in Kenya, and those considering travel to Kenya, should evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorism and the high rate of violent crime in some areas. The U.S. government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at U.S., Western, and Kenyan interests in Kenya, including in the Diani. Terrorist acts can include suicide operations, bombings – to include car bombings - kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels in or near Kenyan ports. Although the pursuit of those responsible for previous terrorist activities continues, many of those involved remain at large and still operate in the region. [12]

Powerful earthquake strikes off Chile

Powerful earthquake strikes off Chile

1 Apr

n 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Chile, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The quake was centered some 50 miles west-northwest of Iquique at a depth of 6.2 miles. A tsunami warning was in effect for Chile, Peru and Ecuador. A tsunami watch was issued for Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.[13]

Ebola outbreak in Guinea 'limited'

Ebola outbreak in Guinea 'limited'

1 Apr

The deadly Ebola outbreak in Guinea, West Africa, remains in a "limited geographic area", the World Health Organization has said. Guinea says 80 people have so far been killed by Ebola, which is spread by close contact and kills between 25% and 90% of its victims. It has now spread to neighboring Liberia, as well as Guinea's capital, Conakry, which has a population of two million people. Liberia has recorded a total of seven suspected and confirmed cases, including four deaths. Outbreaks of Ebola occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests, the WHO says. [14]

Fresh street battles in Venezuela

Fresh street battles in Venezuela

1 Apr

Clashes erupted once again in the Venezuelan capital, as hooded activists erected barricades on the streets of Caracas, causing massive disruption. Protesters smashed shop windows and set fire to cars before the riot police arrived and dispersed them using tear gas and water cannons. Elsewhere in the west of Venezuela violence was reported in the cities of Maracaibo and San Cristobal, killing two people and bringing the total death toll in Venezuela to 39. Protests have been held throughout Venezuela for the past month and a half, with the population frustrated over inflation, mass power cuts and a lack of basic goods. The Venezuelan government claims that the largely peaceful protest movement has been hijacked by extremist, right-wing, political elements backed by the US, whose aim is to ouster President Nicolas Maduro.[15]

Brazil secures Rio slum in mass raid

Brazil secures Rio slum in mass raid

1 Apr

Brazilian security forces have moved into a slum near Rio airport, as part of efforts to drive out drugs gangs before this year's football World Cup. The vast Mare favela is considered to be one of the most dangerous drug-trafficking areas in the city. Authorities have been carrying out a slum "pacification" programme aimed at making the city - which also hosts the 2016 Olympics - safer. [16]

Kenya in mass arrests after blasts

Kenya in mass arrests after blasts

1 Apr

At least 627 people have been arrested in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, following explosions that killed six people, the police chief has said. David Kimaiyo said about 200 of them were thought to be sympathisers of the militant Islamist group al-Shabab. The rest of those arrested were still being screened, he added. The arrests took place in the mainly Somali neighbourhood of Eastleigh.[17]

Koreas trade fire across sea border

Koreas trade fire across sea border

1 Apr

North and South Korea have exchanged fire into the sea across the disputed western sea border, South Korea says. North Korea announced early on Monday that it would hold live-fire drills in seven parts of the border area. South Korea says it returned fire after North Korean shells landed in its territorial waters. The area has been a flashpoint between the two Koreas. The UN drew the western border after the Korean War, but North Korea has never recognised it. In late 2010, four South Koreans were killed on a border island by North Korean artillery fire. Border fire was also briefly exchanged in August 2011. [18]

Lufthansa pilots' strike

Lufthansa pilots' strike

1 Apr

German airline Lufthansa says will cancel 3,800 flights this week because of a strike by pilots over pay and working conditions. The airline said 425,000 passengers would be affected by the stoppages, due to take place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Lufthansa added it would inform passengers via text message or email about the flight changes. Its freight carrier, Lufthansa Cargo, will also be affected. Lufthansa said the impact on profits would be "in the range of tens of millions of euros". "The announcement alone has already caused significant damages since passengers have already rebooked flights and logistic customers have made arrangements with other cargo airlines to secure the transport of their goods," it said in a statement. [19]

March

Deadly ebola outbreak in Guinea

Deadly ebola outbreak in Guinea

26 Mar

Health officials in Guinea are working to contain an outbreak of Ebola that has killed at least 60 people and sickened dozens more, according to the World Health Organization.The outbreak is spreading through forests in the West African country’s southeast, and may have crossed borders into Liberia and Sierra Leone, WHO said. “Multidisciplinary teams have been deployed to the field to strengthen surveillance, sensitize and educate the public, manage case and implement appropriate infection prevention and control measures in health facilities and communities affected,” WHO said in a statement. ABC News

Nigeria conflict 'affects millions'

Nigeria conflict 'affects millions'

26 Mar

More than three million people are facing a humanitarian crisis in three northern Nigerian states hit by an Islamist-led insurgency, the government's relief agency has said. The conflict has displaced about 250,000 people since January, it added. President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in the three states last year to crush the insurgency. However, the militant Islamist group Boko Haram has stepped up attacks in recent months. The group operates mostly in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, where the state of emergency is in force. In a statement, the Nigerian government's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said the "needs of the affected population are increasing by the day and the support of all is urgently required". Borno was worst affected, with about 1.3 million people - most of them women, children and the elderly - in need of aid, NEMA said. In Adamawa, the number stood at around one million and in Yobe at more than 770,000, it said. About 250,000 people were living in camps or with relatives and friends after being forced out of their homes, NEMA added. Nigerian Red Cross Society representative Soji Adeniyi said what has happening in the north-east was unprecedented. BBC

US mudslide death toll rises to 16

US mudslide death toll rises to 16

26 Mar

Authorities say they have recovered the bodies of two more people killed in a massive mudslide in the US state of Washington, bringing the total to 16. The officials said they thought they had located eight more bodies under the mud but were unable to retrieve them. As many as 176 people remain unaccounted for. A 177ft (54m) wall of mud buried the town of Oso, north of Seattle, on 22 Mar. The sudden, catastrophic mudslide destroyed about 30 houses, temporarily damming a river and leaving a square-mile field of muck and debris in its wake. BBC

Pakistan holds Taliban peace talks

Pakistan holds Taliban peace talks

26 Mar

A first day of peace talks between the Pakistani government and the Pakistani Taliban has concluded in the tribal region of North Waziristan. Local media reported that a ceasefire has been extended, but there was no official confirmation from either side. It was the first direct contact between the two sides since peace moves began last month. Militants from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been waging an insurgency in Pakistan since 2007. Since that time thousands have been killed and many more injured in Pakistan's militant violence. BBC

Clashes in Lebanon

Clashes in Lebanon

26 Mar

At least three people were killed in fighting between rival religious sects in Lebanon's second city, Tripoli , medical and security sources said, as violence from Syria spills over into the small Mediterranean country. The long-running rivalry between Tripoli's Sunni Muslims and members of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, has been worsened by Syria's three-year-old conflict. The civil war has become increasingly sectarian as mostly Sunni rebels - who represent the majority in Syria - battle President Bashar al-Assad, an Alawite. That has in turn exacerbated tensions in Lebanon, which is home to Sunnis, Shi'ites, Christians and a number of smaller sects, and is still recovering from its own 1975-90 civil war. At least 27 people have been killed in fighting in Tripoli over roughly the last two weeks, including one Lebanese soldier. Reuters

Ukraine proposes demilitarized zone in Crimea

Ukraine proposes demilitarized zone in Crimea

20 Mar

Ukraine has proposed that Crimea, scene of a Russian-backed armed takeover, be declared a demilitarised zone by the United Nations with a pull-out by both Russian and Ukrainian forces. "The Ukrainian government will immediately appeal to the United Nations to recognise Crimea as a demilitarised zone and take necessary measures for Russian forces to leave Crimea and prepare conditions for redeployment of Ukrainian forces," security chief Andriy Parubiy said on 18 Mar. Referring to his demilitarisation proposal, Parubiy, secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, said he hoped the UN would support the idea. Al Jazeera

Somali militants attack army hotel

Somali militants attack army hotel

20 Mar

A car bomb exploded by the hotel in Bulo-burde where African Union (AU) and Somali officers were staying and gunfire continued for another five hours, witnesses said. Six soldiers were killed, including a top Somali army commander, the AU said. The al-Shabab Islamist group said it was behind the attack and that 30 AU and army officers had been killed. A spokesman for the 22,000-strong AU force in Somalia (Amisom), Col Ali Adan Humad, said all the al-Shabab fighters involved in the raid had been killed, without specifying numbers. Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, has waged an eight-year insurgency to overthrow the weak UN-backed government and create an Islamic state in Somalia. BBC

Crimea votes to leave Ukraine for Russia

Crimea votes to leave Ukraine for Russia

17 Mar

Voters in the Crimea region of Ukraine voted overwhelmingly on 16 Mar to secede from their country and join Russia, in a major victory for Moscow that followed days of international condemnation that the referendum itself was illegitimate. The results of the vote in the predominantly ethnic Russian peninsula were not unexpected, coming several weeks after Kremlin-led forces took control of the region. But the crucial step toward official annexation by Russia will further raise tensions with Ukraine, as well as with the U.S. and Europe, which have promised an escalation of sanctions. An election official said 95% of voters supported joining Russia, with about half of ballots counted, the Associated Press reports. The military threat Russia poses was palpable during the vote in Crimea, with Russian warships circling Crimea and Moscow-directed troops blockading Ukrainian troops in their bases. Russia said at the time of its initial intervention that it was protecting the majority ethnic Russian population against the new Ukrainian government in Kiev after the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.Time magazine

Earthquake hits LA area

Earthquake hits LA area

17 Mar

A 4.4-magnitude earthquake shook the Los Angeles area on Monday morning, jolting some people awake just before sunrise but bringing no immediate reports of serious damage. The quake, centered about 6 miles north-northwest of Westwood and about 15 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, happened at 6:25 a.m., the U.S. Geological Survey said. At least six aftershocks followed the quake, the strongest of which was a magnitude 2.7, said Egill Hauksson, a California Institute of Technology seismologist. CNN

Deadly bomb blast at Libyan barracks

Deadly bomb blast at Libyan barracks

17 Mar

A car bomb at a barracks has left at least five soldiers dead in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, medical sources say. The attack is said to have targeted people leaving a graduation ceremony for officers. Benghazi is often the scene of attacks blamed on hard-line Islamist groups.It is the largest city in eastern Libya, where some groups want more autonomy and a greater share of the region's oil wealth. BBC

Mauritania Travel Warning

Mauritania Travel Warning

17 Mar

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Mauritania, and urges those who travel to Mauritania to exercise extreme caution because of activities by terrorist groups in the region, including al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). AQIM continues to demonstrate its intent and ability to conduct attacks against foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens. U.S. State Department

Protests rage in Venezuela

Protests rage in Venezuela

14 Mar

It's been a month since violent clashes between opposition demonstrators and government forces in Venezuela first grabbed global attention. Protests rage on, and demonstrators show no sign of backing down. A government tally released 11 Mar said at least 23 people had been killed nationwide and more than 200 others have been injured since protests started. The tally did not specify whether the casualties occurred among demonstrators or government forces, or both. Venezuela celebrates Chavez anniversary. Violence surged this week in Tachira state, which borders Colombia. CNN

Nigeria attack

Nigeria attack

14 Mar

Suspected Islamist militants from Boko Haram have attacked an army barracks in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri. The army said it had repelled the attack, inflicting heavy casualties. Eyewitnesses said there were deaths on both sides. The assault on the barracks was an attempt by the attackers to free colleagues held there, a military spokesman said. Militants suspected to be from Boko Haram have killed 500 people this year. Residents said there was a heavy exchange of fire and explosions near Giwa barracks, as the military battled the insurgents. BBC

NYC blast site rescue continues

NYC blast site rescue continues

14 Mar

Rescue operations are continuing two days after a gas leak blast demolished two buildings in East Harlem, New York City, killing eight people. With one person still unaccounted for, authorities are searching the rubble for survivors at the scene. Telescopic cameras and sound devices have been deployed to search small spaces in the wreckage. Less than 50% of debris has been removed from the site after the incident on 12 Mar, which injured more than 60. Bulldozers are removing debris from the scene in the Park Avenue and 116th Street area, with authorities aiming to reach the first floor by 15 Mar and then on to the basement to search for victims. City officials and utility company Con Edison continue to search for the source of a gas leak believed to have caused the explosion. BBC

Clashes in Turkey

Clashes in Turkey

11 Mar

Clashes have erupted at a hospital in Istanbul where a boy has died nine months after he was struck on the head by a tear gas canister fired by police. In Ankara, police fired tear gas to disperse some 2,000 protesters. Further protests were reported in the coastal cities of Antalya and Izmir. BBC

Another storm to hit Midwest

Another storm to hit Midwest

11 Mar

The relentless winter of 2013-14 has another trick up its sleeve: A potent snowstorm is forecast to blast portions of the Midwest and Northeast tonight, Wednesday and Thursday with as much as 2 feet of snow. If enough snow falls, the storm could break Detroit's seasonal snowfall record and give Chicago its second snowiest winter. It also could bring the heaviest snowfall of the year to Burlington, Vt., where 12-16 inches are forecast. "The corridor from northern Illinois to northern New England has the greatest potential of being targeted by the substantial snow," according to AccuWeather meteorologist. USA Today

Flooding in central Montana

Flooding in central Montana

11 Mar

Floods that washed out rural roads in central Montana left hundreds of people stranded and forced the evacuation of 30 homes in one small town, as forecasts predicted more rain and snow that could worsen conditions in the region. The flooding, which saw water begin streaming over rural roadways near the ranching community of Roundup during the weekend, came as warmer-than-usual temperatures rapidly melted deep snows amid recent storms that brought abundant rains, weather forecasters said. Floods also threatened to inundate three towns in north-central Wyoming where vast ice formations blocked the flow of the Bighorn River and caused it to spill from its banks. Reuters

Crimea military base stand-off over

Crimea military base stand-off over

7 Mar

A stand-off involving pro-Russian soldiers at a Ukrainian military base outside the Crimean city of Sevastopol has reportedly ended without incident. Troops wearing Russian uniform without insignia have blockaded bases since taking control of Crimea last week. The incident came hours after Russian parliamentarians promised to support Crimea if it wanted to become part of Russia. Crimea's parliament announced it would hold a referendum on 16 March on whether to join Russia or remain part of Ukraine. BBC

Rio rubbish collectors strike

Rio rubbish collectors strike

7 Mar

Rubbish is still piling up in Rio de Janeiro as the Brazilian city's street cleaners continue a strike, despite an announced agreement with the union. Hundreds of refuse workers protested at the mayor's office demanding better pay and working conditions. Tonnes of rubbish left after many street parties and by samba schools and beach goers were left piling up in the city for days.BBC

Flooding in Charlotte

Flooding in Charlotte

7 Mar

Meteorologists say utility crews and North Carolina residents will get several days of spring-like weather to help them clear away the mess left by the most damaging winter storm in more than a decade. While the powerful low pressure system was mostly an inconvenience in the immediate Charlotte area, it left flooded roads in Cabarrus and Union counties and much bigger problems to the north, where more than 460,000 customers were without electricity. Forecasters say much nicer conditions are ahead this weekend and into early next week. High temperatures are predicted to reach the mid and upper 60s Saturday and Sunday and then the lower 70s early in the week. Charlotte Observer

Protests in Kashmir

Protests in Kashmir

7 Mar

Hundreds of students in Kashmir protested today against the treatment of 67 Kashmiri students studying in India who were suspended and faced sedition charges after they cheered for the Pakistan cricket team in a televised match against India. Although the sedition charges were withdrawn last night, the issue has snowballed into a larger controversy, exposing what critics say is a shrinking space for freedom of expression within the Indian democracy and the deep fault lines that run between India and Kashmir. Christian Science Monitor.

Malaria 'spreading to new altitudes'

Malaria 'spreading to new altitudes'

7 Mar

Researchers have found that people living in the highlands of Africa and South America are at an increased risk of catching the mosquito-borne disease during hotter years. They believe that temperature rises in the future could result in millions of additional cases in some areas. The research is published in the journal Science. To investigate, scientists looked at densely populated areas in the highlands of Colombia and Ethiopia, where there are detailed records of both temperature and malaria cases from the 1990s to 2005. They found that in warmer years, malaria shifted higher into the mountains, while in cooler years it was limited to lower elevations. BBC

February

Big storm headed to California

Big storm headed to California

26 Feb

California is bracing for two storms which are expected to dump the most significant rainfall in almost three years, promising a brief respite to the state’s drought. Moderate to heavy showers on Feb 26 were due to be followed on Feb 28 by heavier torrents, a blessing for farmers and water management authorities but unwelcome news for motorists and organisers of the Oscars. The deluge is expected to dump between one and three inches of rain in coastal and valleys areas and five to seven inches in hills and mountains – a dramatic event by California’s desiccated standards. [20]

Barricades go up in Venezuela

Barricades go up in Venezuela

25 Feb

As Venezuelan opposition leaders push for demonstrators to stay in the streets, "he who tires, loses" is their mantra. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles called for demonstrators to keep demanding change from the South American country's government and described President Nicolas Maduro as "an error in the history of the country." Outrage at soaring crime and a tanking economy triggered protests earlier this month.Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz said that 13 people have died and at least 147 people have been injured in clashes since protests began. [21]

Pollution hides Beijing skyline

Pollution hides Beijing skyline

25 Feb

Beijing remained cloaked in hazardous white pollution hiding much of its skyline, despite the announced closures or production cuts at 147 of the city's industrial plants. PM2.5, a key measure of pollution, reached 444 micrograms per cubic meter in central Beijing, according to the National Meteorological Center. The World Health Organization considers 25 micrograms a safe level. The meteorological center said moderate or severe pollution had persisted in northern China, and that it was particularly serious in Beijing and its surrounding area. It forecast that the pollution would continue in parts of eastern, northern and central China, when precipitation and wind should help to disperse it. [22]

Kashmir villagers clash with Indian troops

Kashmir villagers clash with Indian troops

25 Feb

Hundreds of angry villagers have clashed with police in Pakistn to demand security forces hand over the bodies for identification and for burial, an unnamed officer said. "Police fired tear gas and warning shots in the air to disperse the angry crowd who were hurling rocks at them," the officer said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to media. [23]

Mass arrest of protesters in Russia

Mass arrest of protesters in Russia

25 Feb

Russian police have made nearly 500 arrests at opposition rallies in the country's two main cities, including several well-known protest figures. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was among those picked up in Moscow, as he attended an unapproved rally near the Kremlin. While the rallies in Moscow and St Petersburg were called to protest at the Bolotnaya sentences, some demonstrators also made shows of solidarity with the protesters in Ukraine, who brought down President Viktor Yanukovych last week.

Clash erupts on Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Clash erupts on Temple Mount in Jerusalem

25 Feb

Israeli police have clashed with Palestinian protesters on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. A police spokesman said about 20 youths threw stones and fireworks at officers from the holy site, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary). Police then entered the compound and arrested three people, he added. The unrest came as the Israeli parliament prepared to debate a motion calling on Israel to "realise its sovereignty over the Temple Mount". [24]

Ukraine truce crumbles amid gunfire

Ukraine truce crumbles amid gunfire

20 Feb

A short-lived truce crumbled as gunfire erupted at Independence Square, the center of anti-government protests and an increasingly violent crisis that threatens catastrophe for this divided nation. As protesters fortified barricades and some tried to dodge apparent sniper bullets, Western leaders denounced the violence. Russia's United Nations ambassador accused the opposition of trying to stage a coup. The head of the protesters' medical service said 100 people died and 500 were injured in clashes on Feb 20, just hours after the government declared a truce in fighting that had shocked world leaders with the deaths of 28 people two days before. The violence inflames a crisis that started in November, when President Viktor Yanukovych reversed a decision to sign a trade deal with the European Union and instead turned toward Russia. Ukraine has long been divided between historic loyalties to Europe and its eastern neighbor. [25]

Violence escalates in divided Venezuela

Violence escalates in divided Venezuela

20 Feb

Venezuelan security forces and demonstrators faced off in streets blocked by burning barricades in several cities in an escalation of protests against President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government, witnesses said. At least five people have died since the unrest turned violent last week, with scores of injuries and arrests. The demonstrators, mainly students, blame the government for violent crime, high inflation, product shortages and alleged repression of opponents. In affluent east Caracas overnight, security forces fired teargas and bullets, chasing youths who threw Molotov cocktails and blocked streets with burning trash, witnesses said. Tensions have escalated since opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, a 42-year-old Harvard-educated economist, turned himself in to troops this week. He is being held in Caracas' Ramo Verde jail and faces charges of fomenting the violence. [26]

Snowstorm sweeps into New York

Snowstorm sweeps into New York

13 Feb

A powerful storm system that left thousands of commuters stranded in the South and caused power failures along the East Coast swept into New York, blanketing the city yet again in a cover of white. Local and state officials in more than a dozen states scrambled to handle the blast of winter weather, the latest in a series of storms that have left many communities short on critical supplies – especially salt — needed to mitigate the effects of snow and ice. “It is a storm that has brought wide-ranging effects, from heavy snow and ice to severe weather, including strong winds and hail, down south,” said Joey Picca, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. Related Coverage. In New York City, the storm gathered in intensity just as people were heading to work, producing near white-out conditions in some areas. The visibility in Central Park was less than a quarter mile, according to the National Weather Service, and snow fell at a pace of nearly two inches per hour.[27]

Anti-government protests in Venezuela

Anti-government protests in Venezuela

13 Feb

Armed vigilantes on motorcycles attacked anti-government demonstrators, setting off a stampede by firing into crowds after the biggest protest to date against President Nicolas Maduro’s year-old administration. Two people were killed. Chaos erupted in downtown Caracas when the gang roared up and began shooting at more than 100 protesters who had been sparring with security forces at the tail end of heated but otherwise peaceful protests organized by hard-line members of the opposition. Most participants in the demonstrations had already gone home. [28]

Floods hit homes in England

Floods hit homes in England

13 Feb

Exceptionally strong winds in western England and Wales may add to people's woes. The Met Office, the UK's national weather service, issued a "red" warning, its most serious, saying winds were expected to gust at 80 mph across a wide area and might reach 100 mph in the most exposed parts of west and northwest Wales. After the wettest January in England since 1766, even if the heavy rain stops, ground water levels are so high that it could be weeks before life returns to normal. Streets have turned into rivers, cars are submerged up to their windshields, and homes have been abandoned. And Britain is not the only place facing wild weather. Huge waves are crashing onto the Portuguese coast, causing extensive damage, and there are high wind alerts in parts of Ireland, which faces the worst storm yet of the winter. [29]

Bomb explosions in Somalia

Bomb explosions in Somalia

13 Feb

At least six people have died after a car bomb exploded close to the gate of the international airport in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, police say. Most of those who died were passers-by and several UN body guards were wounded in the explosion, the witnesses said. The al-Shabab Islamist group has said it was behind the explosion in one of the most heavily fortified areas in the city - where many embassies are based. Residents also report an increase in sustained night-time attacks, with mortar and gunfire, on the northern outskirts of the city. [30]

Flood Emergency Declared, Bolivia

Flood Emergency Declared, Bolivia

4 Feb

Officials in Bolivia say the number of people who have died due to torrential rain since the beginning of the year has risen to 29. More than 35,000 families have been affected by the rains and the flooding, the ministry of defense said. The worst affected province is Beni, in north-eastern Bolivia, where 10 people have died, followed by La Paz in the north-west and central Cochabamba. The rainy season in Bolivia usually lasts until March. [31]

Ecuador Tungurahua volcano spews ash

Ecuador Tungurahua volcano spews ash

4 Feb

The Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador has been spewing lava and ash, covering villages hundreds of kilometres away with a white dusting. The ash travelled as far as Loja province, on the border with Peru. The volcano, which became active again in 1999 after a long period of dormancy, lies 135km (85 miles) south-east of the capital, Quito. The latest series of eruptions began on 1 Feb with two moderate explosions followed by a third of greater size. The blasts launched an 8km-high column of ash above the volcano. The lava reached the Acupashal mountain pass, blocking the route to the town of Banos, local authorities said, The authorities have declared an orange alert, the second highest, but the president of the Emergency Operations Committee, Hermuy Calle, said the activity was "simply a release of pressure", and that the volcanic activity was not expected to increase further in the coming hours. [32]

Heavy snow cuts power to Iran homes

Heavy snow cuts power to Iran homes

4 Feb

Heavy snow in northern Iran has left around 480,000 homes without power and some towns and villages cut off. An official in Mazandaran province, on the Caspian Sea, said the winter storms were the worst in 50 years, with two metres of snow falling in some areas since the weekend. The head of Iran's Red Crescent said around 11,000 people had been rescued after getting stuck in heavy snow. "Some 3,800 people have also been settled in emergency shelters," Pir Hossein Kolivand was quoted as saying by the official Irna news agency. Irna reported that 79 people had been taken to hospital as a result of the bad weather. [33]

January 2014

Bangkok state of emergency

Bangkok state of emergency

21 Jan

The Thai government has declared a state of emergency in the capital Bangkok and surrounding areas to cope with protests aimed at forcing the prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, from power. Chalerm Yubumrung, Thailand's labour minister, announced that the restrictions would last 60 days. "We need it because the protesters have closed government buildings, banks and escalated the situation, which has caused injuries and deaths. The government sees the need to announce the emergency decree to keep the situation under control," the minister said. The decree will allow security agencies to impose curfews, detain suspects without charge, censor media, ban political gatherings of more than five people and declare areas off-limits. Yingluck said police, not the military, would mainly be used and her government had no intention of confronting the protesters. [34]

East Coast Snowstorm, NYC

East Coast Snowstorm, NYC

21 Jan

The storm, which threatened to dump more than a foot of snow on New York City, already grounded thousands of flights in the region, and the evening commute promised to be treacherous for millions of workers. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority urged customers using Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road to leave work early, warning that snow drifts as tall as two feet could cause significant delays. In Washington, the government was shut down. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who canceled his inaugural ball on Ellis Island because of the storm, declared a state of emergency. [35]

Clashes in Ukraine

Clashes in Ukraine

21 Jan

Violent clashes between anti-government protesters and police continued in the center of Ukraine's capital, Kiev. Demonstrators have been rallying since the weekend in defiance of new laws that limit the right to protest. The Interior Ministry said Tuesday that more than 30 protesters had been detained and 119 police officers injured since Jan 19, when the clashes began. The city health care department reported 122 injured and 50 hospitalized. The number injured is probably higher, as many people reportedly turn to medical volunteers for help rather than official services for fear of consequences. Protest organizers said those treated in hospitals are questioned by police and registered as participants of mass protests, which may lead to arrest and criminal charges. The controversial new protest laws go into effect on Jan 22, raising concerns they could be used to put down demonstrations. [36]

Thousands displaced by Jakarta deadly floods

Thousands displaced by Jakarta deadly floods

21 Jan

Several Indonesians have been killed and thousands displaced by deadly floods in Indonesia's capital. More than 10,000 Indonesians have fled their homes in the capital due to flooding that has left five dead, an official said, with people using rubber dinghies and wading through waist-deep water to reach safer ground. "So far 10,530 people in Jakarta have been displaced by floods caused by heavy rains," disaster agency official Tri Budiarto said. Buildings in some parts of the capital, which has a population of 10 million and is regularly afflicted by floods during the six-month rainy season, were half submerged, with roads blocked in many areas. [37]

Shangrila destroyed by heater blaze

Shangrila destroyed by heater blaze

21 Jan

Chinese authorities have arrested a guesthouse owner whose heater allegedly sparked a fire that burned for nearly 10 hours and destroyed an ancient Tibetan town. More than 2,000 firefighters, soldiers, police, local officials and volunteers responded to the early morning blaze , which destroyed 343 houses and many historic artifacts in Dukezong, Shangri La county's old neighbourhood. Once called Gyaitang Zong, the county surrounding Dukezong renamed itself Shangri La in 2001, hoping to draw tourists by referencing the mythical Himalayan land described in James Hilton's 1933 novel. [38]

Military airstrikes in northwestern Pakistan kill dozens

Military airstrikes in northwestern Pakistan kill dozens

21 Jan

At least 40 people were killed and scores were wounded in overnight airstrikes by the Pakistani military on areas in the country's northwest where militants are based. The airstrikes in the northwest came after recent militant bombings that struck military targets. The strikes by fighter jets and helicopter gunships targeted areas in North Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold bordering Afghanistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. It was unclear whether there were any civilian casualties in the attacks. The military official said the dead and wounded were militants. [39]

Australia heat wave sparks wildfires

Australia heat wave sparks wildfires

16 Jan

Temperatures soared to more than 46 degrees Celsius (115 degrees Fahrenheit) in southeastern Australia as a heat wave strained electricity supplies and sparked wildfires. Extreme heat across the states of Victoria and South Australia is causing high demand for electricity and as many as 100,000 homes and businesses may be affected by power outages and reduced supply. Bushfire warnings were in place across the two states and New South Wales, with high winds forecast to increase the danger, emergency authorities said. [40]

13 dead, 40,000 displaced in Indonesia floods

13 dead, 40,000 displaced in Indonesia floods

16 Jan

Landslides and rising waters have cut off several villages in one district of the province of North Sulawesi province, leaving about 1,000 residents stranded, the Indonesian National Disaster Mitigation Agency (NDMA) said. Heavy rains started drenching the region and have resulted in about 40,000 people leaving their homes to seek temporary shelter, according to the NDMA. Power is down in most parts of the region and communication lines are disrupted. There are four main rivers in Manado, the provincial capital, that are overflowing, the NDMA said.This year's floods are far worse than previous ones, NDMA spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said. Heavy rains have also caused deadly landslides and flooding this week on the southern Philippines island of Mindanao -- roughly 500 kilometers (320 miles) north of North Sulawesi. [41]

Thailand crisis

Thailand crisis

13 Jan

Protesters are blocking roads in parts of the Thai capital, Bangkok, in a bid to oust the government before snap elections on 2 February. The protesters have built barricades and occupied key road junctions, and want to replace the government with an unelected "People's Council". The government has deployed 18,000 security personnel to maintain order. Thousands are reported to have turned out for demonstrations. Protesters say they intend to achieve what they are calling a shutdown of the capital. [42]

Tonga damaged by powerful cyclone

Tonga damaged by powerful cyclone

13 Jan

Homes have been flattened and trees uprooted in the South Pacific kingdom of Tonga after it was hit by one of the most powerful storms on record. Cyclone Ian battered the central Ha'apai islands, home to 8,000 people, over the weekend, packing gusts of up to 287km/h (178mph). It was a "miracle" only one woman lost her life, said emergencies director Leveni Aho. Rebuilding could take years, said aid agency Oxfam. "It's not only the people's houses that need to be rebuilt, it's also the infrastructure like the ferry terminal, the port, the roads. It's really badly damaged," Oxfam New Zealand executive director told Radio New Zealand. [43]

Tibetan town fire system shut off

Tibetan town fire system shut off

13 Jan

The fire-fighting system in an ancient Tibetan town in Shangri-La county which was destroyed by a blaze was shut off at the time, Chinese officials say. The equipment was closed down to prevent pipes from bursting in below-freezing temperatures, the local fire brigade said. Nearly 300 mostly wooden houses were destroyed in the blaze in Dukezong in Yunnan province on 11 Jan. The town, which dates back 1,300 years, is popular with tourists. Officials said that more than 2,600 people have lost their homes in the blaze, which raged for nearly 10 hours before it was put out by 2,000 firefighters, police and volunteers. No fatalities were reported. A store owner surnamed Pan told AP on Monday that they would likely be rebuilding what they had lost. "Travel is really the only industry here," he said. [44]

Puerto Rico Earthquake

Puerto Rico Earthquake

13 Jan

Puerto Rico was hit with a large earthquake on 12 Jan. A 6.4 magnitude quake hit about 35 miles north of Hatillo. The tremors were felt by several villages along the northern coast. The National Weather Service's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was a small possibility of a local tsunami following the earthquake off the coast. However experts don't think there is a widespread, destructive tsunami impending. It was later determined that no tsunami formed, the Associated Press reports. [45]

Eruption of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra

Eruption of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra

04 Jan

The emergency response to the eruption of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra has been extended until January 4, 2014 as the volcano still shows signs of increased activity.[46]

Blizzard to reach from NYC to Boston Thursday night

Blizzard to reach from NYC to Boston Thursday night

02 Jan

During Thursday and Thursday night, the storm will affect 20 states with more than 120 million people in the Midwest (United States of America) and the Northeast combined and could have a major negative impact on travel for people returning from holiday destinations, heading back to school or resuming business activities.[47]

Heatwave hits inland Australia

Heatwave hits inland Australia

01 Jan

Heatwave: temperatures climb towards 50C in parts of Australia. Weatherzone says intense air mass is centred over northern NSW and western Queensland, but it's cooler in the capital cities.[48]

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