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World Travel Watch | World Travel Watch

Cautions spread; India, Pakistan futures brighten

Email|Print| Text size + By Larry Habegger and James O'Reilly
Globe Correspondents / December 28, 2003

Worldwide security: The State Department has reissued its worldwide caution warning of possible terrorist attacks around the world, including in the United States, noting in particular the Homeland Security threat level shift from yellow (elevated) to orange (high). US government facilities worldwide remain on heightened alert.

India and Pakistan: Relations continue to warm between these two long-hostile countries. Train service will be resumed Jan. 15 when the Samjhauta Express begins its twice- weekly runs between the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore and the Indian border town of Attari. Train service has been suspended for two years. Air links between the two countries are set to resume Jan. 1. And in a further effort to solve the dispute over Kashmir, President Pervez Musharraf offered to drop Pakistan's 50-year-old demand that the United Nations implement resolutions calling for a plebiscite to determine whether the disputed territory would remain part of India or shift to Pakistan. These are beginning steps, but hopes are rising that peace in Kashmir is possible.

Mexico: Police in Mexico City began using Breathalyzers to test for drunk drivers in September and have stepped up checkpoints during the holiday season. But New Year's Eve they will put their analyzers away, leaving the roads open to everyone, inebriated or not. Their reasoning is that both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve are family celebrations, and many celebrants spend the night with their hosts, but this logic may well suggest that visitors should stay off the streets on New Year's Eve, or travel as little as possible during their celebrations.

Turkey: In view of the State Department's worldwide caution, the US Embassy in Ankara has reminded Americans that the travel warning for Turkey remains in effect, and that a potential for violence or terrorism exists.

United Kingdom: The "traffic and environment zone" around London's financial district has been extended to include the western part of the district. The zone limits the number of entry and exit points for traffic coming into the area known as "the City" and enables police to provide tight security, which has been high here since a string of IRA attacks in the 1980s. Security was increased after 9/11 and this current extension reflects a continuing concern over possible terrorist attacks.

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.

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