World Travel Watch: Violence in Guadalajara, Dengue Fever in Puerto Rico and More
World Travel Watch: Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news
07.07.10 | 11:48 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.
France: Rent That Paris Vacation Apartment While You Can
It may soon become harder to find a short-term apartment rental in Paris now that the government is enforcing a law passed in 2005 that prohibits renting residential properties for less than a year. By turning their apartments into vacation homes, 0wners can make up to three times the value of an annual lease even if their apartments are vacant a quarter of the year, but French officials say the practice has created a scarcity of residential apartments, especially in the center of Paris. This makes owning a French apartment more complicated for foreigners, including many Italians, British and Americans who use them for their own vacations and rent them to visitors the rest of the year.
India: Unrest, Curfew in Kashmir
The army was called in and an indefinite curfew imposed in Kashmir following violent demonstrations in Srinagar against Indian rule in the region. Protesters accused government forces of killing 15 people during demonstrations in recent weeks, and the current unrest boiled over when paramilitary police fired live ammunition, killing three people after failing to quell the protests with tear gas. A protest leader vowed to keep up the demonstrations until India withdrew its military and paramilitary soldiers from all populated areas.
Mexico: Security Situation Deteriorating in Guadalajara
The U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara sent a notice June 29 that the security environment in Guadalajara continues to deteriorate because of rising drug cartel violence. A confrontation between police and cartel gunmen occurred June 24 on the road between Guadalajara and the nearby tourist destination of Mazamitla, and many battles with heavy weapons between rival cartels and police have occurred close to the city.
Puerto Rico: Dengue Fever on the Rise
Hemorrhagic dengue fever claimed its third victim this year, prompting the health secretary to issue a warning that the island could face its worst outbreak ever if people didn’t destroy mosquito breeding areas. Puerto Rico experienced unusually heavy rainfall in May and June, which could be contributing to an increase in standing water that is ideal for mosquitoes. Authorities are spraying a mosquito-killing mist in some neighborhoods while urging Puerto Ricans to drain all standing water on their properties. Dengue fever has no vaccine and symptoms include extreme joint and muscle pain.
Thailand: Government Extends State of Emergency
The government extended a state of emergency for three months in 19 provinces, including Bangkok, stating that political groups were still trying to eliminate the government and terrorist threats exist in many areas. Critics called the move politically motivated and a crackdown on dissent. Tourism industry leaders had hoped to see the emergency law rescinded to help rejuvenate tourism now that the crisis of the past months is over and the situation around the country has calmed. The U.S. State Department canceled its travel warning June 3, and most foreign governments have also lifted their travel warnings. Among other restrictions, the emergency law prohibits gatherings of more than five people, allows the government to shut down or seize media or publications deemed a threat to security or public order, and to restrict access to buildings.