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US issues travel advisory ahead of Trump’s new ban

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US issues travel advisory ahead of Trump’s new ban

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]India among countries to be wary of, says a private mailer sent to citizens

By APN Bureau

US embassies across the world have sent out heightened security warnings privately to their citizens who are travelling. American citizens have been warned to stay away from several countries—not just statutory areas such as North Korea and Afghanistan—and terror situations have been pointed out across the globe (including India) from where American citizens might be kidnapped.

While the advisory about India is regarding extremist activity, there is no elaboration.

While the language of the sudden advisory may be almost standard, it did talk about a “Worldwide Caution”, as well as “information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions, political violence, and criminal activity against US citizens.”

Its timing was also critical, coming just ahead of the deadline when US President Donald Trump was to announce his new executive order on travel ban.

APN accessed the mailer sent out by the US embassy in New Delhi and we reproduce some critical portions of the long e-mail.

Worldwide caution updated

The beginning was a giveaway of the seriousness with which the state department was treating this situation. It says: “As part of the Department of State’s continuous efforts to provide U.S. citizens traveling abroad with information about safety and security events, we are updating the Worldwide Caution with information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions, political violence, and criminal activity against US citizens and interests abroad.  This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated September 9, 2016.

“As terrorist attacks, political upheaval, and violence often take place without any warning, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness when traveling,” the mailer said.

To be in constant touch with its citizens placed and travelling abroad, the mailer insists: “Travelers are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. The Department uses these security messages to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc.  In an emergency, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate or call the following numbers: 1-888-407-4747(toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.”

Except for the introduction all sounds pretty standard, though the number of countries mentioned as  risky for an American traveller seems rather large. The general perception given in the mailer is that any other venue other than home may be dangerous. Travellers have been urged to “to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest US embassy or consulate.”

As usual, terror outfits such as “ISIS, al-Qa’ida, their associates, and those inspired by such organizations,” have to be kept at arm’s length and there is a security concern placed for areas in a country visited. It says: “Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack to more effectively target crowds, including the use of edged weapons, pistols, and vehicles as weapons.  Extremists increasingly aim to assault “soft” targets, such as:

  • high-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • hotels, clubs, and restaurants
  • places of worship
  • schools
  • parks
  • shopping malls and markets
  • tourism infrastructure
  • public transportation systems
  • airports

“In multiple regions, terrorists, guerrilla groups, and criminals seek to kidnap U.S. citizens to finance their operations or for political purposes.  In the wake of well-publicized attacks against commercial aircraft in Egypt by ISIS and Somalia by al-Shabaab, the Department remains concerned that terrorists could again seek to down aircraft using concealed explosives or hijack commercial flights.”

Warning for Americans too

Before it goes on to say which countries would be risky for the traveling American, it also warns its  own citizens of associating themselves with any terror outfit. It says: “Private U.S. citizens should not travel to any country to participate in armed conflict. U.S. citizens are reminded that fighting on behalf of or providing other forms of support to designated terrorist organizations can constitute the provision of material support for terrorism, which is a serious crime that can result in penalties, including prison time and large fines.”

Then it goes into country specifics.

In the continent of Africa, the mailer talks about risks in Sub-Saharan Africa, with Somalia in particular. The continent in general has also been marked as outposts for terror organisations.

In East Asia and the Pacific region special emphasis has been put “in the coastal areas and outlying islands of the eastern part of the Malaysian state of Sabah, and the southern Philippines. Indonesia has witnessed an increase in terrorist-related arrests and foiled plots…  Periodic acts of violence in Thailand remain a concern.  U.S. citizens are urged to avoid all travel to North Korea/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) due to the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement.”

For Europe the advisory remains standard in nature, informing that terror groups might want to hit at “major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers, places of worship, and the transportation sector…”.

For the Middle East and North Africa it says: “The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests in the region.  Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya are considered violent and unpredictable war zones, and there is no official U.S. diplomatic presence in the latter three countries. U.S. citizens should avoid these areas…”

About South and Central Asia, the mailer points out that hot areas would include Afghanistan and Pakistan, where US citizens may not be safe.

Then comes the further warning, which says: “Extremist elements are also active in India, as outlined in a recent emergency message.” There is no elaboration.

Bangladesh, of course, also remains on the watch-list.

Moving to the Western Hemisphere, it warns of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada. US citizens are particularly vulnerable to kidnap-for-ransom attempts and violent crimes of opportunity while visiting a variety of countries.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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46 dead, 147 wounded in suicide bombing at Peshawar mosque

A suicide bombing at a mosque in Pakistan’s Peshawar city on Monday left at least 28 people dead and left another150 wounded, reports said.

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suicide bombing at a mosque in Pakistan

A suicide bombing at a mosque in Pakistan’s Peshawar city on Monday left at least 46 people dead and left another 147 wounded, reports said.

As per reports, the attack took place when worshippers gathered inside were offering afternoon prayers in the mosque in the northwestern city, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, bordered by Afghanistan.

Police officials said a suicide bomber walked into the mosque where over 260 people were offering afternoon prayers and detonated his explosive vest causing a massive explosion. They said the roof of the mosque collapsed due to the blast and caved in burying many people underneath the debris.

Eyewitnesses said they saw blood-soaked survivors limping away from the blast site.

Reports quoted a police officer, Meena Gul, who survived the blast, as saying that he was inside the mosque when the blast occurred but could not provide details on the number of injured and dead in the attack.

Read Also: Devotees brawl inside Ajmer Sharif shrine, video viral | WATCH

Gul said he was disoriented and all he could hear was cries and screams after the bombing.

Officials said the wounded are being rushed to local medical facilities where many are stated to be in critical condition, raising fears that the death toll may rise.

No terrorist group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack; however, officials suspect this has all the markings of being the handiwork of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a close ally of the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in neighboring Afghanistan in August 2021 as U.S. and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war.

In March 2022, an Islamic State suicide bombing left 64 people dead at a minority Shiite mosque in Peshawar, the country’s deadliest terror attack since 2018.

Uttar Pradesh: Video of men flaunting weapon in moving car goes viral, internet users demand strict action | WATCH

Devotees brawl inside Ajmer Sharif shrine, video viral | WATCH

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Bangladesh teen sleeps while playing hide and seek, found in different country 7 days later

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Bangladesh teen sleeps while playing hide and seek, found in different country 6 days later

During the game of hide and seek, a 15-year-old boy reached another country 3,700 kilometers away. To people’s surprise he was found after 6 days. During this, the family members of the child kept searching for him. The case is of Chittagong, Bangladesh, and from there the missing boy was found in Malaysia after 7 days.

According to reports, 15-year-old Faheem was playing hide and seek with his friends in Chittagong port. Meanwhile, he locked himself inside a shipping container and slept there. By the time he woke up, the container had reached Malaysia. Neither his family members nor the people working there got a clue about this.

But when the container was opened at the port of Malaysia, the people of the authority were shocked. A boy came out of it. During interrogation, it was found that he is from Bangladesh. After which the authorities informed the employees of Chittagong port.

Teen transported from bangladesh to malaysia

Faheem, who went missing on January 11, was found in the port of Malaysia on January 17. According to the Malaysian news agency, Bernama, Malaysia’s Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasyushan Ismail has given a statement regarding this incident. He said that it is believed that the boy had entered the container, then slept there and reached here.

It was told that Faheem remained hungry and thirsty for a whole week in the container. Due to this he had become very weak and he also had fever. After being taken out, he was taken to the nearest hospital for examination.

The police initially suspected that it could be a case of human trafficking, but after contacting the Bangladeshi authority, the truth came to the fore. However, this is not the first case. In October last year, Malaysian police recovered the body of a 15-year-old boy from the container.

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Brazil man fakes death to see who gathers at his funeral, family and friends enraged

The man identified as Balthazal Lemos, earlier this month, had shared the false news of his Facebook by sharing a status that read that Balthazar Lemos had parted from the world.

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An amusing story has come to light from Brazil where a man faked his own death in order to see who will turn up at his funeral. According to reports, the man had spread the fake news about his death to his relatives and friends with the intention to find out who will come.

The incident according to reports started earlier this month but concluded on 18 January after his funeral.

According to reports, the 60 year old man had shared the news of his death on his social media after which even his last rites were conducted. The Brazilian man single-handedly concocted the plan. The man had been conducting last rites ceremony in his career which was the reason why he could solely depend on himself to carry out the plan.

The man identified as Balthazal Lemos, earlier this month, had shared the false news of his Facebook by sharing a status that read that Balthazar Lemos had parted from the world. After Lemos’s post, his family were taken aback by shocking learnings.

After learning about the death of Lemos, his nephews rushed to the hospital to find out what happened that led to his death. However, the situation took an awry turn as the hospital staff denied recollection of Lemos being admitted to the hospital.

The friends of the Brazilian man also chimed in and shared the news and asked for the cause of death, however, no explanation was given out. Instead of telling about the cause of death, the location and time of the funeral was shared, directing the people to attend the funeral ceremony.

At the funeral procession, which was organised in a small chapel at Lemos’ hometown, the friends and family of the man showed up to offer their condolences and bid their last good-byes to the man. However, Lemos’ voice startled the guest as he announced himself to the people which led to many people shedding tears.

Lemos rose up from his coffin bed after opening the gate and stood tall in front of all the guests. The Brazilian man after rising up told the people why he did what he did after which many were agitated by his somewhat harmless joke and accused him of hurting their sentiments.

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