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Foreign briefing: Warning issued on travel to Turkey

The State Department updated the travel warning for troubled Turkey late last month, just before an attack by suicide bombers at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul.

The updated announcement “warns U.S. citizens of increased threats from terrorist groups through Turkey and to avoid travel to southeastern Turkey.” The update replaces a March 29 warning.

Istanbul is in northwestern Turkey. The warning about southeastern Turkey is a reference to problems at the Syrian border. Turkey has more than 3 million refugees, the BBC has reported, most of them from Syria, which has been in a civil war for more than five years.

More than three dozen people were killed in the Istanbul airport attack, which was carried out by three men carrying bombs and assault rifles, who also died in the attack. A connection to Islamic State is suspected.


Laos violence prompts alert

 A new travel alert on Laos notes continuing violence in some areas of the landlocked country. 

A March alert detailed shootings on the road between Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng. The new alert notes that U.S. citizens “should take precautions, remain vigilant about their personal security and be alert to local security developments.”


Nicaragua alert timed to elections 

A June 29 alert on Nicaragua reminds visitors that elections scheduled for Nov. 6 have increased “sensitivity by Nicaraguan officials to certain subjects” that might include the political landscape and volunteer visits.

It notes that foreigners have been detained in or kicked out of the country because of articles and/or photos that Nicaraguan officials consider critical of the government.

The warning also notes that “Nicaraguan authorities now require advance coordination of any volunteer group, charitable or medical brigade or any other assistance visit organized by NGOs, religious groups, schools or any other group doing this type of work in Nicaragua,” even if those groups have been there before.


Kenya warning updated

The travel warning on Kenya was also updated last month, recommending that tourists not travel to northeastern Kenya and visit Old Town Mombasa only during the day.


That goat’s a real beauty

Here’s something you may want to put on your calendar for next spring, even though we’re talking about a beauty pageant, which may seem a remnant of an earlier time. But in this case, the Lithuanian competition gets a pass because the beauties on parade are… goats.

In the village of Ramygala last month, 16-month-old Demyte, or Little Spot, was crowned the winner among half a dozen finalists in the annual pageant, Reuters reported.

The winner’s owners received sweets, books and a “coupons for a haircut,” although it was unclear whether that last prize was for the goat or the humans.

Indian couple accused of faking Everest photos

If you’re going to claim you climbed Mt. Everest, you best make sure your proof is rock solid, so to speak.

An Indian couple presented photos of themselves at the summit, at more than 29,000 feet,  Associated Press reported, and the government of Nepal presented them with certificates. Now other climbers say they faked the photos.

If the couple’s story is a fabrication, they may be barred from climbing in Nepal, AP reported.The wire service could not reach them for comment.

Sources: U.S. Department of State, Reuters, Associated Press, BBC

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