Critical global developments with particular regard to terrorist threats, political strife, strikes, criminal activity, aviation incidents and health outbreaks

ASIA

  • Afghanistan
  • China
  • Indonesia
  • Pakistan
  • South Korea

AUSTRALASIA

  • New Zealand

EUROPE

  • Germany (2)
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • Sweden

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

  • Iraq

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

  • Nigeria

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

  • Afghanistan
  • Malaysia

Security Threat Level Explanation

Security threat levels range from 1 (Very Low) to 5 (Very High) and are determined using a comprehensive system that utilizes both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The primary factors used to determine a location’s security threat level are Armed Conflict, Crime, Demonstrations/Strikes, Ethnic/Sectarian Tensions, Graft/Corruption, Kidnapping, Political Instability, Government Restriction and Terrorism.

HOT SPOTS REPORTS

ASIA

Afghanistan (Security threat level - 5): Just after 0530 local time (0100 UTC) on 12 November 2016, an explosion occurred on the U.S. military base at Bagram Airfield, located in Parwan province, approximately 35 mi/55 km north of Kabul. The explosion killed four U.S. nationals -- two U.S. servicemen and two civilian contractors -- according to the U.S. defense secretary. The blast injured 16 other U.S. soldiers and a member of the Polish military. The perpetrator of the attack was a suicide bomber who entered the base among a group of workers. Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack.
China (Security threat level - 2): On 13 November 2016, tens of thousands of pro-Beijing demonstrators marched in Hong Kong against calls for the region's independence from Chinese rule. While the organizers claimed that approximately 40,000 people participated in the rally, police officers estimated that 28,500 people were present at the demonstration. The protesters -- who gathered in front of Hong Kong's legislature building -- were waving Chinese flags and chanting pro-China slogans. The demonstration ended peacefully.
Indonesia (Security threat level - 4): On 14 November 2016, police officers arrested five suspects linked to a 13 November church attack in Samarinda, the capital of East Kalimantan. One of the suspects rode by on a motorbike and hurled a low-grade Molotov cocktail or a home-made bomb at the church parking lot, killing one person and injuring four others. Police officers identified the main suspect as a West Java man who was previously convicted for a 2011 terror attack. Police officers are investigating if the suspects have connections to the Islamic State (IS).
Pakistan (Security threat level - 5): In the evening hours of 12 November 2016, a bombing occurred on the premises of the Shah Norani shrine, located in the remote Hub region of Khuzdar district, in the southwestern province of Balochistan. The attack occurred as up to 1,000 pilgrims were observing a daily Sufi ritual known as dhamaal. The bombing killed at least 52 people and injured 102 others. Due to the absence of medical facilities in the vicinity, approximately 50 ambulance vehicles were dispatched from Karachi, which is located approximately 110 mi/180 km from the shrine. The emergency responders were facing difficulties in reaching the location due to the rugged terrain and poor infrastructure. The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack.
South Korea (Security threat level - 2): On 12 November 2016, hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding the resignation of President Park Geun-Hye demonstrated in Seoul. Protesters gathered at Seoul's city hall for a candlelight rally at 1600 local time (0700 UTC) and planned to march along four routes toward the Blue House, the president's official residence. Protest organizers claimed that approximately 1 million people participated in the rally, but police officers estimated the turnout at 260,000 participants.

In preparation for the rally, authorities deployed approximately 25,000 police officers, including a large number of officers dressed in riot gear, and blocked all roads around the Blue House. A court ordered the removal of a limited number of roadblocks around the Blue House but instructed protesters to stay at least 1 km (a little more than 0.5 mi) away from the building.


AUSTRALASIA

New Zealand (Security threat level - 1): According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), at approximately 0000 local time on 14 November 2016 (1100 UTC on 13 November), a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck 58 mi/93 km north-northeast of Christchurch, New Zealand. The quake registered at an estimated depth of 14 mi/23 km. The USGS reported multiple powerful aftershocks following the initial earthquake.

Thousands of residents from the low-lying areas of Eastern Coast of South Island were evacuated in view of a tsunami warning that officials issued after the initial earthquake. Reports indicate that the town of Kaikoura appears to be worst hit by the earthquake. The town is cut off by road, and approximately 1,200 travelers are believed to be trapped. The government has deployed emergency responders to the town, and is exploring ways to evacuate the stranded travelers. At least two people were killed due to the quake, and more than 20 others were injured. Christchurch International Airport (NZCH/CHS) remained unaffected. While Wellington International Airport (NZWN/WLG) stated that operations were normal after runway inspection following the quake, some flight delays were reported. All train services on the Wellington network were suspended, and other transportation services, including buses and ferries, were intermittent. Several buildings in the Wellington central business district sustained damage, and the area largely remain closed on 14 November; however, daily activities are expected to largely normalize on 15 November.


EUROPE

Germany (Security threat level - 2): Reports from 14 November 2016 highlighted some of the increased security measures that will be in place in Berlin from 14-18 November, ahead of and during U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to the city. Throughout the week, a security zone will remain in place around Berlin's Wilhelmstraße area, which is the main government district, and the Brandenburg gate. Authorities will allow no unattended vehicles, bicycles or large containers in the specified area. Between 16-18 November, all building windows in the area must remain closed. Throughout the city, all travelers and residents are required to carry personal identification at all times. A flight restriction will also be in place, with a radius of 35 mi/55 km and extending to an altitude of 9,800 ft/3,000 m. A ban will affect aircraft operating under visual flight rules, as well as gliders and drones.

City officials are not detailing all security measures that will be in place but have warned that any areas of the city which Obama visits will be completely cordoned off. Travelers in Berlin during his stay, extending from 16-18 November, should be prepared for unexpected closures and delays.

Germany (Security threat level - 2): On 12 November 2016, between 20,000 and 25,000 protesters staged a rally against the Turkish government in the western German city of Cologne. Pro-Kurdish demonstrators and members of the Alevi religious minority joined the march, which was held at an industrial area along the Rhine River. A group of 200-300 youths who were wearing masks and displaying banners of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) separated from the main demonstration and hurled stones and bottles at police officers, according to authorities. At least one police officer suffered minor injuries and several people were arrested. The demonstration occurred in reaction to the Turkish government's arrests of the leaders of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) on 4 November.
Greece (Security threat level - 3): Strict security measures will be in place from 15-16 November 2016 in Athens during a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama. Roads in central Athens will reportedly remain closed to all vehicles during the visit, and pedestrian zones will also be restricted. Public gatherings are banned in the central area of the city, and at least 3,000 additional police officers will be deployed to reinforce security. Several anarchist and leftist groups are nevertheless planning protests, and the armed anarchist Conspiracy Cells of Fire group is openly calling for violence and "sabotage." Travelers in Athens between 15 and 16 Novembershould prepare for unexpected delays and should avoid any demonstrations to keep from being collaterally affected by possible violence.
Spain (Security threat level - 3): On 13 November 2016, approximately 80,000 Catalan independence supporters marched in Barcelona. The demonstration was a show of support for leaders of the Catalan independence movement, including the former regional president Artur Mas and current regional parliament speaker Carme Forcadell, who are facing legal challenges for holding a symbolic referendum for independence in 2014; officials from more than 250 local towns also face prosecution. Organizers of the demonstration stated that they will continue promoting acts of civil disobedience and protests for the foreseeable future. The current regional president, Carles Puigdemont, has called for another independence referendum no later than September 2017.
Sweden (Security threat level - 2): On 12 November 2016, the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR) staged its largest ever demonstration; approximately 600 people marched from Stockholm’s Kungsträdgården park to the square in front of the parliament building, called Mynttorget. The event was held in response to the recent U.S. presidential election, as the group claims that the election of Donald Trump marked the beginning of a "word revolution." Thousands of anti-fascists staged a counter-demonstration, heavily outnumbering the NMR rally. Police officers clashed with the counter-protesters when they attempted to break the security perimeter around the neo-Nazi rally. Reports indicate that a police officer and another individual were injured during the incident, and at least 20 people were detained. The demonstrations severely disrupted traffic in central Stockholm for most of the afternoon and evening of 12 November.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Iraq (Security threat level - 5): On 14 November 2016, six suicide bombers launched an attack in al-Jihad district of the town of Ain al-Tamer, located south of Baghdad in northern Karbala province. Security forces clashed with the assailants, killing five men before they were able to detonate their explosives. At least one man, however, successfully detonated his device, killing at least eight people and wounding six others. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Analyst Comment: The population of Karbala province is over 99 percent Shiite Muslim, making the province an important symbolic target for IS militants. The city of Karbala contains Shiite Islam's most important shrine, and attacks in Karbala have the potential to incite sectarian violence.


SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Nigeria (Security threat level - 5): On the morning of 14 November 2016, police officers and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) clashed on the outskirts of Kano city. Police officers fired tear gas and reportedly opened fire on members of the IMN who were participating in the annual Arbaaen Trek to Zaria, Kaduna state. Security forces claim that worshippers attacked security forces. At least one person was killed and an unspecified number of others were injured. According to local media, prior to the procession authorities deployed heavily armed police officers, blocked the Kano-Zaria highway and confiscated the luggage of IMN members. Security forces in Yobe state reportedly set up a checkpoint at the outskirts of Potiskum, allegedly to prevent members of the IMN from performing another religious procession.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Afghanistan (Security threat level - 5): On 12 November 2016, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a Security Message that reads in part as follows: “In light of the November 12 attack on Bagram Airfield and the November 10 attack on the German Consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul will be closed for routine services on Sunday, November 13 as a temporary precautionary measure. The consular section will only provide emergency consular services for U.S. citizens.

"The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens of the serious threat of violence, kidnapping, and hostage taking in Afghanistan. Additionally, the U.S. Embassy continues to receive reports of militants planning unspecified attacks in Kabul City and elsewhere in Afghanistan against locations and individuals with potential American connections, including Afghan and U.S. government facilities, foreign embassies, foreign guest houses, restaurants, hotels, airports, civilian institutes, and educational centers. The U.S. Embassy takes these threats seriously and advises U.S. citizens to take appropriate security precautions and to avoid predictable travel patterns within Afghanistan.”

 
Malaysia (Security threat level - 3): On 14 November 2016, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Malaysia to include the following: “A large rally is planned for 19 November 2016 in central Kuala Lumpur from Jalan Bangsar and Masjid Negara to Dataran Merdeka / Independence Square; you should avoid large crowds and monitor local media for updates.”

SIGNIFICANT DATES

14 November

Egypt: Cairo Film Festival
Guinea-Bissau: Anniversary of the Movement of Readjustment
India: Guru Nanak's Birthday. Observed as a public holiday in several Indian states
Jordan: Remembrance Day

15 November

Belgium: German-speaking Community Holiday
Brazil: Proclamation of the Republic (public holiday)
Côte d’Ivoire: National Peace Day
Egypt: Cairo Film Festival
Ethiopia: African Development Forum
Palestinian Territories: Independence Day

16 November

Egypt: Cairo Film Festival
Ethiopia: African Development Forum
Tajikistan: President's Day

17 November

Azerbaijan: National Revival Day
Czech Republic: Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day
Egypt: Cairo Film Festival
Ethiopia: African Development Forum
Greece: Anniversary of Student Uprising (1973)
Slovakia: Revolution Day

18 November

Bolivia: Beni Local Festival
Egypt: Cairo Film Festival
Haiti: Battle of Vertieres Day
Latvia: Proclamation Day
Morocco: Independence Day
Oman: Birthday of Sultan Qaboos & National Day

19 November

Belize: Garifuna Settlement Day
Egypt: Cairo Film Festival
Mali: Liberation Day
Puerto Rico: Discovery of Puerto Rico (Public holiday)
Senegal: Magal de Touba

20 November

Brazil: Consciencia Negra (Black Awareness Day)
Brazil: Zumbi dos Palmares Day (Rio de Janeiro only)
Mali: Municipal elections
Mexico: Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution Day

21 November

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Dayton Peace Agreement Day
Mexico: Mexican Revolution Day

22 November

Lebanon: Liberation and Resistance Day
Macedonia: Albanian Alphabet Day

23 November

Georgia: St. George's Day

24 November

Puerto Rico: Thanksgiving (Public holiday)
Sikh faith: Guru Teg Bahadur Martyrdom Day
United States: Thanksgiving
United States: Day after Thanksgiving (most businesses closed)