World Travel Watch: Turmoil in Kashmir, Criminal Gangs in El Salvador and More
World Travel Watch: Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news
09.16.10 | 10:46 AM 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.
El Salvador: Crime Gangs Shut Down National Transport
Criminal gangs protesting a new law that will make gang membership a crime shut down the public transport system throughout the country for several days by telling drivers and business owners to heed the closure or “face the consequences.” Thousands of troops were deployed to protect those who did try to move about the cities but roughly 80 percent of all transport was suspended. Tensions are unlikely to diminish as the government presses its case against the gangs.
Greece: More Strikes Over Austerity Measures
In what seems a ceaseless string of strikes all summer protesting government austerity measures, Greek truckers shut down major highways Sept. 13 and railway unions again walked off the job Sept. 14. Motorists clogged the streets to get gas ahead of the truckers’ strike fearing a repeat of a week-long strike in July when gas pumps ran dry all over the country. The government took control of all fuel trucks to break that deadlock and still control them, so fuel is unlikely to run out, but travel around Greece could be disrupted by such strikes at any time.
India: Kashmir Erupts Over U.S. Quran Threat, Anti-India Anger
The troubled state of Kashmir is experiencing its worst unrest in a summer of large anti-India demonstrations. Police patrolled the streets of Srinagar with orders to shoot on sight anyone breaking the round-the-clock curfew a day after 19 people were killed in riots in part fomented by word of Quran desecration in the U.S., marking a rare anti-U.S. demonstration here. Protests and clashes with police and paramilitary soldiers have occurred almost daily since June and show no sign of abating.
New Zealand: Officials Ask Tourists to Return to Christchurch
Tourism officials in Christchurch urged tourists not to cancel plans to visit the city that was hit by a major earthquake Sept. 4, saying that most of the prime tourist attractions in the area suffered little damage and 98 percent of all tour operators are back up and running. The area still has a lot of rebuilding to do, but local businesses that count on tourist spending hope that cancellations will be few so they can get back on their feet.
Philippines: Snake Knocks Out Power to Bohol Island
In some rural areas the power supply may be unreliable at best, but the island of Bohol, a popular tourist area, lost power recently in a most unusual way. A snake slithered onto a transmission line, was electrocuted, blew out a transformer and with it all electricity on the island for half a day. Power returned when engineers installed a new transformer.