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TRAVEL
December 1, 2013 | Times staff and wire reports
A U.S. State Department travel warning on Venezuela, issued Nov. 22, says "violent crime in Venezuela is pervasive, both in the capital, Caracas, and in the interior. " In a country of about 28.5 million, 21,629 people were slain, one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Kidnappings, the State Department notes, "are also a serious concern…. In 2013, 583 kidnappings were reported," adding that 80% of kidnappings aren't reported. The department warning adds that "all U.S. direct-hire personnel and their family members who are assigned to U.S. Embassy Caracas are required to take an armored vehicle when traveling to/from Maiquetía Airport.
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WORLD
February 28, 2014 | Daniel Rothman
With a Syrian chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,000 civilians, violent crackdowns against protesters in Turkey and Ukraine and a string of anti-gay laws from Russia to Uganda, human rights abuses last year ranked among the worst in years, the State Department concluded Thursday in its annual review of more than 200 countries and territories. "The year 2013 may well be known for some of the most egregious atrocities in recent memory," Uzra Zeya, acting assistant secretary of State for democracy, human rights and labor, said during a briefing Thursday.
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TRAVEL
August 11, 2013
A worldwide travel alert issued Aug. 2 by the U.S. State Department warns Americans to be alert to "the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, and possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula. " On July 25, the State Department issued a travel warning for Saudi Arabia, telling Americans "to fully consider the risks of traveling" to that country, citing security threats because of terrorist groups, "some affiliated with Al Qaeda, who may target Western interests.
SPORTS
February 25, 2014 | By Kevin Baxter
The U.S. national soccer team announced Tuesday that it has relocated next week's international friendly with Ukraine from the former Soviet republic to Cyprus. The move comes after weeks of consultation with the U.S. State Department and the Ukrainian soccer federation over the deteriorating political situation in Kiev, the Ukraninian capital, which has been the scene of deadly violence between the regime of ousted President Viktor Yanukovich and anti-government protesters. The match was scheduled to be played in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, about 300 miles east of Kiev.
WORLD
February 28, 2014 | Daniel Rothman
With a Syrian chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,000 civilians, violent crackdowns against protesters in Turkey and Ukraine and a string of anti-gay laws from Russia to Uganda, human rights abuses last year ranked among the worst in years, the State Department concluded Thursday in its annual review of more than 200 countries and territories. "The year 2013 may well be known for some of the most egregious atrocities in recent memory," Uzra Zeya, acting assistant secretary of State for democracy, human rights and labor, said during a briefing Thursday.
WORLD
November 26, 2013 | By Richard Fausset and Cecilia Sanchez
MEXICO CITY - He admitted being a salaried killer for a drug cartel, the kind of assassin who preferred slashing his victims' throats. On Tuesday, after serving three years behind bars, he was released from a Mexican detention center and was on his way to the United States - where he would soon live as a free man. Or, rather, a free boy. The killer, Edgar Jimenez Lugo, known to Mexican crime reporters as "El Ponchis," is 17 years old. He...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 24, 2013 | By Jason Song
At first glance, the Facebook photo doesn't look like a USC alumni gathering: No cardinal and gold in sight, not a single Tommy Trojan to be found. But, on closer inspection, it's apparent that half of the smiling men are flashing the Trojan "victory" sign. "At USC, you quickly develop a sense of pride being a top university," said Bahjat Zayed, the past president of the 120-member USC Alumni Club of Arabia, one of the university's fastest growing graduate groups. The club is one sign of the rapid rise of Saudi Arabians studying in the United States.
NEWS
December 19, 1985
By a 10-1 vote, the San Jose City Council has turned down a U.S. State Department request that the city's Police Department help train Third World police in counter-terrorism techniques. Most council members opposing the proposal, which was supported by Police Chief Joseph McNamara, said they fear that it would tie the city to repressive political regimes in Latin America. State Department spokesman Michael Kraft said San Jose was the first city to reject the 2-year-old training program.
NEWS
December 13, 1985
A visiting Chinese scholar will not be charged with resisting arrest by University of California, Berkeley, police who mistook him for a Peeping Tom, Alameda County officials said. Dismissal of the misdemeanor charges against Li Xizhi, 43, followed a strong protest by China and an apology by the U.S. State Department. Li was taken into custody Nov. 18 because officers thought he looked like a man who had been peeking into campus restrooms. Another suspect was later captured.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 22, 2014 | By Martha Groves
For Chasten Bowen, news that France is negotiating with the U.S. to pay reparations to Holocaust survivors who were transported on French rail cars to Nazi concentration camps during World War II comes too late. “I'm just about ready to leave this world,” said the 89-year-old Anaheim resident. “If there's money available, there are others who need it worse than I do.” Stuart Eizenstat, a Washington lawyer who advises the State Department on Holocaust issues, said Friday that the French government entered into formal talks with the U.S. State Department on Feb. 6 regarding reparations and hopes to wrap up an agreement by the end of the year.
WORLD
February 22, 2014 | By Richard Fausset and Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY -- From his naming on the Forbes magazine list of the world's richest billionaires, to his frequent supposed sightings and magical escapes, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been a larger-than-life drug lord who reached mythical proportions in Mexican “narco” folklore. He rose from a simple low-level trafficker from Sinaloa, the cradle of Mexico's opium and marijuana trade, to become the nation's most powerful and elusive fugitive. For Mexicans, the capture of Guzman, reported Saturday to have occurred in a joint operation by Mexican marines and U.S. federal agents in the Sinaloan coastal city of Mazatlan, is somewhat akin to Colombia's killing of Pablo Escobar -- or even the U.S. elimination of Osama bin Laden.
WORLD
January 31, 2014 | By David Zucchino
KABUL, Afghanistan - Before serving as an interpreter for the U.S. military, Shafiq Nazari passed exhaustive background checks by U.S. military and intelligence agencies. The military trusted him enough to issue him an automatic rifle. He has fired it during several firefights with insurgents, fighting shoulder to shoulder with U.S. soldiers and Marines on about 200 combat missions in Afghanistan. Nazari, 38, a compact man with short-cropped hair and a trim black beard, has been issued a badge that gives him free run of a high-security U.S. base in downtown Kabul, where he translates for U.S. military advisors.
NEWS
January 21, 2014 | By Catharine M. Hamm, Los Angeles Times Travel editor
The U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert for Thailand, warning visitors about demonstrations sparked, in part, by elections next month. "The situation is unpredictable and ongoing demonstration activity, primarily in the greater Bangkok area and occasionally elsewhere in Thailand, is expected to continue," the alert on the State Department's website says.   “U.S. citizens are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations and large gatherings. Some protest sites are ... near tourist attractions and popular shopping malls, which at times have closed or shortened hours unexpectedly.” Thailand on Tuesday declared a state of emergency . The demonstrations have become increasingly violent in recent days.
SPORTS
January 11, 2014 | By David Wharton
The Russian government has released new details about a proposed protest zone at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. President Vladimir Putin recently promised to create such a zone. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said Friday that it would be located in the village of Khosta, about seven miles from the nearest Olympic venues. Demonstrations must be unrelated to the Winter Games and organizers must receive permission from regional authorities, according to a U.S. State Department release.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 4, 2014 | By Joseph Serna
San Francisco police said Thursday they will patrol China's consulate around the clock after Chinese officials called for better protection of its diplomats following an apparent arson attack New Year's Day. The FBI is leading the investigation into the attack, which occurred about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday when an unidentified person emerged from a mini-van with two gas canisters, emptied them on the consulate's front doors in downtown San Francisco and...
NEWS
September 14, 1989
Widespread beatings, water torture and killings of students and others who oppose the military government of Myanmar, formerly Burma, were described in a U.S. State Department briefing. "We now have credible firsthand reports that instances of torture, beatings and mistreatment are commonplace and that deaths have resulted," spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler said. Two other State Department officials amplified those remarks in testimony before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee.
NEWS
December 30, 2013 | By Christopher Reynolds
The U.S. and Iran may have miles to go in their negotiations over curtailing Iran's nuclear ambitions, but the ease in hostility has already produced a boomlet in American travel to Iran. Three U.S.-based tour operators say they've seen a surge of bookings and questions about Iran in recent months. They've also heard encouragement from Iranian government officials, who met in New York with several U.S. tour operators during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's visit to the city in September.
TRAVEL
December 1, 2013 | Times staff and wire reports
A U.S. State Department travel warning on Venezuela, issued Nov. 22, says "violent crime in Venezuela is pervasive, both in the capital, Caracas, and in the interior. " In a country of about 28.5 million, 21,629 people were slain, one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Kidnappings, the State Department notes, "are also a serious concern…. In 2013, 583 kidnappings were reported," adding that 80% of kidnappings aren't reported. The department warning adds that "all U.S. direct-hire personnel and their family members who are assigned to U.S. Embassy Caracas are required to take an armored vehicle when traveling to/from Maiquetía Airport.
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