By Larry Habegger and Laurie Weed, Special to Tribune Newspapers
7:12 PM EDT, June 27, 2013
Brazil: Nearly 100 cities continued to see mass protests in the streets and at airports during the Confederations Cup, which began June 15. Some estimates put the number of demonstrators at more than 1 million, adding to the crowds attending the games. The largest actions took place in the cities of Belem, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, where the main stadiums are located. Visitors should use caution in these areas, particularly in Belo Horizonte, which had the most violence. President Dilma Rousseff met with government officials to discuss plans for defusing the demonstrations while also addressing the issues of government misspending that led to the protests.
Turkey: Protests continued for a fourth week in Ankara and Istanbul, with demonstrations spreading to Izmir, Adana, Mersin and elsewhere in Turkey. At least five people have been killed in clashes with police, and thousands of injuries have been reported. Officials say that 20 people with alleged links to terror groups were arrested June 24, and more demonstrations were held after a police officer who allegedly killed a demonstrator was freed. The U.S. State Department's travel alert for Turkey remains in effect, and the U.S. Embassy in Ankara warned of a continuing risk of terrorist attacks on U.S. diplomatic, consular and military facilities.
Egypt: The Egyptian military warned of pending protests this week with the June 30 anniversary of President Mohamed Morsi's inauguration. Anti-Morsi groups have called for mass demonstrations to drive him from power, and officials fear that the protests will grow too violent to control. Sources say that Egypt's military will step in, but travelers should avoid large crowds.
Pakistan: Expeditions on Pakistan's second-highest peak have been suspended and mountaineers evacuated from Nanga Parbat after 10 foreign climbers and their guide were shot dead by Islamist gunmen at a base camp. No climbs will be permitted this summer, and requests for winter climbs will be subject to security reviews. Officials say that expeditions on other peaks in Pakistan higher than 8,000 meters (about 26,247 feet), including K2, the world's second-highest mountain, will continue because there is an army presence in those areas. A Pakistani branch of the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Malaysia: Officials declared a state of emergency in Malaysia's southern districts after smog from Indonesian forest fires reached dangerous levels in Singapore and elsewhere. The fires occur almost every year on Sumatra's palm oil plantations when workers and farmers start illegal fires to clear land. Firefighters are trying to extinguish the blazes with water-carrying airplanes and helicopters. Officials confirmed the Pollutant Standards Index had exceeded 700, with levels at 300 or higher indicating dangerous air pollution. As a precaution, air-traffic controllers at Singapore's Changi Airport slowed the pace of takeoffs and landings.
Compiled from news services and travel sources. For updates, check with the State Department at 888-407-4747, travel.state.gov.
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