China: The Yellow River is at its lowest level in 50 years and millions in northern China face water shortages this summer. Chinese officials reported that more than half the watersheds of the country's seven major rivers are contaminated, with pollution levels in the Yellow River at or beyond China's worst measurement. Only a quarter of China's household sewage is treated, and virtually all of that is in cities, so rural water pollution is endemic and serious. Officials acknowledge that the air, too, is polluted in two-thirds of China's cities.
The Gambia: The government imposed an indefinite 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew throughout the country on June 8 to stem anti-Senegalese violence brought on by a soccer rivalry with the Gambia's nearest neighbor. A June 7 African Nations Cup match between the Gambia and Senegal in Dakar ended in victory for Senegal. Senegalese hooligans later attacked the Gambian players and supporters, beating many and smashing car windows. Word of the beatings brought rioters out on June 8 in Banjul, Serekunda, and Farafenni who vandalized and looted Senegalese shops, set up roadblocks to find Senegalese nationals and beat them when discovered, and ransacked Senegalese businesses in the markets of the big towns. Some observers feel that the anti-Gambian violence in Dakar may have roots in alleged Gambian support for separatists in the Senegalese region of Casamance.
India: The monsoon finally arrived to bring relief to a scorched subcontinent, where a three-week heat wave kept temperatures as high as 120 degrees and more than 1,200 people died. The welcome rains were a week late in the south and are spreading throughout the country. Most of the deaths were in Andhra Pradesh state among the poor and homeless, but one Australian tourist suffered heat stroke on a crowded train to Varanasi. Clean water is critically short in large parts of India because of recent droughts. Lakes and rivers have dried up and the water table has dropped, causing countless wells to run dry.
Serbia: Serbia opened its borders June 6 for visa-free entry to citizens from 40 countries, including the United States and European Union, as well as Croatia and Slovenia. Croatia reciprocated June 10 to allow visa-free entry for Serbs.
Tibet: The border with Nepal, which Chinese authorities had closed April 27 as part of an effort to prevent SARS from reaching Tibet, is set to reopen July 1. Flights between Katmandu and Lhasa had been canceled at the same time but will be allowed to resume in July. Road traffic from China into the Tibetan Autonomous Region had been virtually shut down for up to two weeks, but the roads are now open. Authorities will permit tourism to resume as well on July 1.
Editor's Note: Because conditions can change overnight, always make your own inquiries before you leave home. From the United States, contact the State Department via phone (888-407-4747; 317-472-2328; 202-647-5225), fax (202-647-3000), or website (http://travel.state.gov); abroad, check in with the nearest US embassy or consulate.