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Wherever England plays, the fists may start to fly

Email|Print| Text size + By and James O'Reilly
Globe Correspondents / June 20, 2004

England: Soccer violence is a concern even if England is playing outside the country. Riots broke out in several cities when France defeated England June 13 in the Euro 2004 championships, and could happen again if England doesn't fare well. Violence was reported in Croydon, south London, Hertfordshire, Cambridge, Essex, Birmingham, Wakefield in West Yorkshire, and Boston in Lincolnshire. England's next match is tomorrow, and if the team advances to the final rounds games could be played from June 24 to July 4. Follow the team's progress to be aware of potential trouble.

Germany: A nail bomb exploded in a Turkish district of Cologne June 9, injuring 22 people. Authorities have no evidence to suggest a terrorist attack or a racial motive, and believe the incident was criminal in intent. Germany had a similar attack four years ago in Dusseldorf, but has had no significant campaign of terrorist violence since the 1970s.

India: A pro-Pakistan insurgent group attacked a group of Indian tourists in Pahalgam, Kashmir, June 12, killing five and wounding 23, then warned all tourists to stay away from Kashmir. A record 100,000 tourists have visited the valley this year, perhaps prompting militants to try to scare them away. After the attack, authorities placed heavy security around guesthouses, hotels, and houseboats at Dal Lake, Kashmir's most popular tourist spot. Few Americans have ventured to Kashmir since separatist attacks began in 1989, but in the past year, the political thaw between India and Pakistan has raised hopes that soon the valley's troubles may be over.

Americans have been barred from entering two mosques in Lucknow that are replicas of the Shia shrines in Najaf and Karbala in Iraq. The mosques are the large and small Imambaras, and the ban is because of what administrators consider desecration of the shrines in Iraq by US forces.

Because conditions can change overnight, always make your own inquiries before you leave home. In the United States, contact the State Department by 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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