US Embassy Kenya Restricts USG Personnel Travel, New Travel Warning

— Domani Spero

The State Department issued a new Travel Warning for Kenya on May 15 warning of the risks of travel to Kenya, of potential terrorist threats aimed at U.S., Western, and Kenyan interests, and the restriction of U.S. Government personnel travel in country.

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Kenya.  U.S. citizens in Kenya, and those considering travel to Kenya, should evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorism and the high rate of violent crime in some areas.  The levels of risk vary throughout the country. This replaces the Travel Warning of April 4, 2014, to update information about the current security situation.

The U.S. government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at U.S., Western, and Kenyan interests in Kenya, including the Nairobi area and the coastal cities of Mombasa and Diani.  Terrorist acts can include suicide operations, bombings – to include car bombings – kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels in or near Kenyan ports.  Although the pursuit of those responsible for previous terrorist activities continues, many of those involved remain at large and still operate in the region.  Travelers should consult the Worldwide Caution for further information and details.
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Kenyan law enforcement has disrupted several terrorist plots throughout the country.  On March 17, 2014, police discovered a large and sophisticated car bomb in the Mombasa area, as reported in the local media.  The intended target remains unclear. 
[…]
On April 23, 2014, gunmen ambushed a convoy vehicle and attempted to kidnap an international humanitarian staff member at the Dadaab refugee complex.  While the kidnapping attempt was unsuccessful, one national staff member was injured in the attack.
[…]
As a result of these recent events and threats, the U.S. Embassy has restricted travel for U.S. government personnel to the Nairobi neighborhood of Eastleigh and to the coastal areas of Mombasa and Diani. Travel for personnel is limited to only mission-essential trips and must be pre-approved by appropriate Embassy offices. U.S. Embassy personnel are also prohibited from traveling to northeastern Kenya, including the cities of El Wak, Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, and Liboi. U.S. Embassy personnel are also restricted from traveling to the coastal area north of Pate Island, including Kiwavu and north to Kiunga on the Kenya-Somalia border. The Embassy has also instituted a policy of restricting U.S. government-sponsored regional conferences and trainings in Nairobi and reviewing the numbers of TDY personnel coming to the country for official purposes.

Although these restrictions do not apply to travelers not associated with the U.S. government, U.S. citizens in Kenya should take these restrictions into account when planning travel. The Embassy regularly reviews the security of these areas for possible modification.

There are no restrictions on U.S. embassy employee travel to Kenya’s most popular tourist destinations such as Masai Mara, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru, Tsavo, Lamu Island, Hell’s Gate, Samburu, Mount Kenya, and Malindi. However, as with the prohibited travel destinations listed above, the Embassy regularly reviews the security of these unrestricted areas for possible modification.

Read in full here.

Via UKFCO

Via UKFCO

On Friday, May 16, there have been reported explosions at Gikomba Market on the edges of the Eastleigh district in Nairobi. Casualties have been reported. On the same day the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all but essential travel to the following areas:

  • areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border
  • Kiwayu and coastal areas north of Pate Island
  • Garissa District
  • the Eastleigh area of Nairobi
  • low income areas of Nairobi, including all township or slum areas
  • Mombasa island and within 5km of the coast from Mtwapa creek in the north down to and including Tiwi in the south (this area does not include Diani or Moi international airport)

If currently in an area to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel, travelers are also advised to “consider whether you have an essential reason to remain.”

Media reports that hundreds of British tourists are being evacuated on chartered flights from Kenya’s coast after the Foreign Office warning.

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You’ve Been Waiting For This — Madam Secretary, CBS This Fall!

— Domani Spero

 

Via CBS:

Tea Leoni stars as the Secretary of State, one of the most powerful people in the nation. After years away from the CIA, she is pulled back into the political arena where she gets things done, even if it means not always playing by the rules. She’s tough, fair and smart driving international diplomacy and wrangling office politics. But when she goes home for dinner with her husband and teenage children, politics takes on a whole new meaning.

@MadamSecretary is already on Twitter. Let’s see what she’ll do with the hashtags.

 

 

The actress told E! News, “There was something—I adored her. I adored her by page two, there’s no sarcasm to her. Sarcasm is too slow….”I want to wake up and be her every day.”

Next season, Madam Secretary will be in excellent company on Sundays. 60 Minutes kicks off the night at 7 pm, Madam Secretary at 8 pm and the number #1 in viewers on Sunday, The Good Wife at 9 pm.

We’re cautiously optimistic  as we anticipate the first season.  The last State Department related drama series dates back to 2002, with the short-lived The American Embassy at Fox.  The series aired in March-April 2002, and was canceled before the sixth episode where JO Emma Brody was sent from London to Paris to authenticate the ownership of a painting. See the problem in that one?  The series was executive produced by Danny DeVito.

Below are some names/credits from the Madam Secretary team that may make your Sunday this fall with the fictional Seventh Floor interesting. Or not. We shall see!

Producer/Writer: Barbara Hall (Homeland, Joan of Arcadia)
Executive Producer: Morgan Freeman (Producer: Invictus, 10 Items or Less)
Executive Producer: Lori McCreary (Invictus, Curiosity)
Executive Producer: Tracy Mercer (Through the Wormhole, Curiosity)
Executive Producer/Director: David Semel (Intelligence, Person of Interest)

Another show, Stanistan, a Dramedy with @StateDept and Spooks is also coming up next season with a host of other new shows like Selfie and iZombie.

 

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US Embassy Yemen: Consular Services Will Remain Closed Through May 22, 2014

— Domani Spero

On May 15, the US Embassy in Sana’a released an updated Security Message to amcits in Yemen notifying them that consular services will remain closed through May 22, 2014:

Due to recent attacks against Western interests in Yemen, the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa will remain closed for consular services through May 22, 2014. The Department has been apprised of information that, out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting the Embassy, indicates we should institute these precautionary steps. It is possible we may have additional days of closings as well, depending on our analysis. 

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest. The Department urges U.S. citizens not to travel to Yemen. U.S. citizens currently in Yemen should depart. The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa remains a restricted staffing post. As staff levels at the Embassy are restricted, our ability to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency and provide routine consular services remains limited. U.S. government employees are restricted in their movements and cannot travel outside of Sanaa. In addition, movements within Sanaa are severely restricted by and may be further constrained by the fluid security situation.

U.S. citizens in Yemen remain vulnerable to kidnappings and terrorist attacks, especially when in transit to and from residences or workplaces. U.S. citizens should exercise caution and take prudent security measures in all areas, especially those areas frequented by Westerners.

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