Two days after the attacks in France, the U.S. State Department updated its worldwide caution, replacing the one issued in October.
Because of U.S. strikes against Islamic State, the State Department says "there is an increased likelihood of reprisal attacks against U.S., Western and coalition partner interests throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and Asia."
Islamic State, Al Qaeda "and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. and Western interests in Europe," the caution notes. "Additionally, there is a continuing threat in Europe from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis."
Besides the travel.state.gov website, travelers can call (888) 407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or (202) 501-4444, which can be called outside the U.S.
On Dec. 24, the agency also updated its October warning on Mexico. Eighty-five U.S. citizens were slain in Mexico in 2014, an increase of four from the previous year. Americans are urged to avoid displays of wealth and to consider the danger of "casinos, sports books, or other gambling establishments and adult entertainment establishments." It notes that "U.S. government personnel are specifically prohibited from patronizing these establishments in the states of Coahuila, Durango, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosí, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Jalisco, Colima and Nayarit."
It also updated its August warning on Ukraine. "Despite the signing of a cease-fire agreement in September 2014, violent clashes between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces continue in parts of the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, resulting in thousands of injuries and deaths." Americans should not travel to those places if they do not have to.
It's busy in London
Did you feel as though you had a lot of company when you flew into London's Heathrow last year? You did. The airport recorded 73.4 million passengers in 2014, according to Bloomberg. Gatwick had 38.1 million. Both airports are asking for approval for another runway. The Airports Commission is slated to issue recommendations in May.
Protest in Germany
Seventeen North African refugees, housed in an unused gymnasium, were recently the subject of protests in the German state of Saxony. About 18,000 people opposed to the refugees marched through Dresden, the capital of Saxony. This raised concerns about xenophobia, the Associated Press reported, noting that the attacks in France may stoke anti-Muslim sentiments. Counter-demonstrations also have occurred.
Want fast Internet?
Want fast Internet when you're traveling abroad? Go to Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea. Those were the top places for Internet speed in the third quarter of 2014, according to a report released by Akamai Technologies, according to Xconomy.com. The U.S. ranks 17th, well behind such countries as Latvia and Uruguay.
Sources: U.S. State Department, Bloomberg, Associated Press, Xconomy.com