CanadaIn a time-honored scam, a group of well-dressed thieves in Vancouver is using ketchup and mustard to rob unsuspecting tourists. The thief surreptitiously slops some of the condiments on the victim's jacket, alerts him or her to the mess and offers to help clean it off. In the process of taking off the jacket and tidying up, the thief picks wallets from pockets or purses, then quickly departs.
CroatiaThe Croatian government sharply protested a BBC warning from the British Foreign Office for travelers to be aware of an underlying threat from organized crime. The advisory added, however, that Croatia "has a low crime rate, and violent crime is rare." The U.S. State Department has no similar warning for Croatia. The British warning followed two high-profile killings last year and a recent crackdown on corruption as Croatia vies for EU membership. It became a member of NATO on April 1.
JamaicaAuthorities are investigating how airport security was breached by a young gunman who took control of a Canadian charter aircraft at Montego Bay's Sangster International Airport April 19. He held six crew members hostage for almost eight hours before being disarmed and arrested without injury. Jamaica's prime minister was at the airport for most of the ordeal. Tourism is a mainstay of the island's economy, and a safe, speedy resolution of the hijacking was necessary to avert damage to the industry.
KuwaitThe U.S. Embassy in Kuwait City reported that political rallies soon will begin for parliamentary elections to be held May 16. The gatherings generally occur in the evening and usually are peaceful, but vehicle and pedestrian traffic will be dense in areas where rallies occur. Police likely will increase the number of traffic checkpoints around the city. Visitors should carry passports with visa sheets at all times.
ThailandThe collapse of "red shirt" political protests and arrests of most of the group's leaders April 14 brought a semblance of normalcy to Bangkok, but uncertainties remain. One of the red shirt leaders left the country and vowed to continue the struggle to bring down the government but no longer through conventional protests. The state of emergency remained in effect in Bangkok.