World Travel Watch: Drug Violence in Acapulco, iPad Ban in Israel and More

World Travel Watch: Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

04.21.10 | 12:40 PM ET

World Travel Watch is a weekly report designed to help you make informed judgments about travel. Conditions can change overnight, so always make your own inquiries before you leave home. The U.S. State Department and embassies or consulates are good places to start.

Ethiopia: Violence Might Accompany May Elections

The U.S. State Department alerted visitors to the risks of travel in Ethiopia before and after parliamentary elections scheduled for May 23. In past elections, violence has erupted in Addis Ababa and other areas throughout the campaign and the election’s aftermath. The State Department advised against all but essential travel during this period, including after the results are announced on June 21. Even peaceful gatherings and demonstrations can turn violent, and authorities will strictly enforce election-related regulations such as prohibitions on photography at polling stations. Traffic congestion, large crowds and lodging shortages are likely to inconvenience visitors, especially in Addis Ababa. The State Department’s advisory expires July 1.

Israel: No iPads Allowed, At Least for Now

Don’t take your Apple iPad if traveling to Israel. The Israeli Communications Ministry has banned them and ordered customs agents to confiscate them from overseas passengers, where the device presumably would be held until departure. The reason is the U.S. version operates at a higher WiFi strength than the Israeli or European standard, and Israeli officials are concerned that iPads could interfere with other wireless devices. The European version of the iPad, due for release May 10, will be permitted in Israel.

Mexico: Acapulco Drug Violence Hits Main Tourist Area

Drug violence is an old story in Mexico, but a recent shootout in Acapulco broke new ground, taking place in broad daylight on Acapulco’s main boulevard in one of the city’s most heavily-traveled and best-known areas. The April 14 attack occurred in heavy traffic on Miguel Aleman Boulevard within sight of Acapulco’s famous beach and prominent high-rise hotels. Several cars were riddled with bullets, three innocent bystanders were killed and five were wounded. A federal police officer and two men who were apparently the targets of the attack also died.

Nepal: Maoists Plan Nationwide Rallies to Dissolve Government

Maoists plan nationwide rallies and sit-ins April 22 and May 1 in an ongoing effort to force the government to resign. Such protests have paralyzed the country in the past and could do so again. The Maoists are hoping to bring down the government or prevent an extension of the current term of parliament beyond May 28, the deadline for a new constitution to be ratified. The likelihood that a new constitution will be in place by then is remote because of a political stalemate since 2008, when the current parliament was elected. Without an extension, which the Maoists oppose, or a new constitution, the government and parliament will dissolve on May 28.

United Kingdom: Unusual Crime Comes to London’s St. John’s Wood

The U.S. Embassy in London reported several recent incidents of young men pursuing individuals on the street in London’s posh St. John’s Wood neighborhood with the apparent intent to rob them. In one incident, a teenager and friend were robbed at knifepoint by young men at mid-afternoon on a busy street. St. John’s Wood is on the edge of Regent’s Park in Westminster and is a popular tourist destination, in part because Abbey Road runs through it, Abbey Road Studios is there, and the iconic photograph of the Beatles crossing the road was taken there. Such crime is unusual in the area.

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