ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
Bermuda (Security threat level – 1): As of 0800 local time (1200 UTC) on 8 September 2021, Hurricane Larry was located approximately 905 km (560 mi) southeast of Bermuda and was moving northwest at 17 kph (10 mph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Larry was generating maximum sustained winds of 185 kph, with higher gusts. On its current forecast path, the storm is expected to continue moving northwest through 8 September before passing east of Bermuda, increasing forward speed and shifting north-northwest and north. Although Larry is projected to weaken slightly, it is expected to remain a hurricane for several days. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the island of Bermuda. Swells causing life-threatening surf and rip current conditions are expected to affect the Leeward Islands, several areas of the Greater Antilles and the Bahamas through midweek, as well as Bermuda beginning on 9 September. Swells are also forecast to affect the eastern coasts of the U.S. and Canada from 8 September until the end of the week. Entities with interests along the southeastern Canadian Newfoundland coast should closely monitor Hurricane Larry’s progress and adhere to any warnings issued by authorities.
Brazil (Security threat level – 3): On 7 September 2021, large protests in support of President Jair Bolsonaro occurred across Brazilian cities, including in the capital Brasília and the cities of Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The rallies were mostly peaceful, with only minor incidents or clashes reported. In Brasília, a group of protesters broke though police barricades near the congressional building, while police officers deployed pepper spray at demonstrators to prevent a group from approaching the country’s Supreme Court building. A smaller group of protesters remained in the Esplanade of Ministries in Brasília as of the morning of 8 September, with reports indicating that security forces continue to repel a group of pro-Bolsonaro supporters seeking to occupy the Ministry of Health. In São Paulo, city security officials stated that more than 140,000 people gathered across the city, including both pro- and anti-Bolsonaro demonstrators. Bolsonaro delivered speeches in both Brasília and São Paulo repeating unfounded allegations that the current electronic voting system is prone to fraud — ahead of the presidential poll slated to occur in October 2022 — and his opposition to the country’s Supreme Court. Some supporters held banners calling for military intervention and the dismissal of the Supreme Court. Many leftist leaders urged their followers to avoid potential confrontations by skipping counterdemonstrations on 7 September in favor of anti-Bolsonaro protests planned for 12 September.
Mexico (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 2045 local time on 7 September 2021 (0145 UTC on 8 September), a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck nearly 21 km northeast of the resort town of Acapulco, located in the southwestern state of Guerrero, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The quake had an estimated depth of 20 km. Moderate shaking was felt as far away as the capital Mexico City, which is located nearly 380 km from the epicenter, and weak shaking was felt in the city of Veracruz, located about 660 km from the epicenter. The governor of Guerrero announced that one person was killed by a falling post in the town of Coyuca de Benitez, located approximately 50 km northwest of Acapulco. The earthquake shattered windows of at least two shopping malls and one hotel in Acapulco. According to the mayor of Acapulco, there have been reports of collapsed walls, gas leaks and landslides on the nearby Scenic Highway and other roads leading into Acapulco. Mobile phone and power outages have also been reported in the Acapulco area. Acapulco International Airport (MMAA/ACA) remains closed after the control tower sustained shaking-related damage. The Federal Electricity Commission stated that the earthquake caused power outages, affecting 1.6 million customers in Mexico City and the states of Guerrero, Morelos, and Oaxaca. Mexico’s National Civil Defense is conducting surveys in at least 10 states but has no reports of significant damage or serious injuries related to the tremor.
Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 7 September 2021, heavy rainfall caused flooding and significant damage in the town of Tula in Hidalgo state, located approximately 100 km (60 mi) northwest of the capital Mexico City. Severe flooding inundated a hospital and left 17 patients dead, possibly due to a loss of oxygen support after the power went out, according to the national Social Security Institute. At least 40 other patients were evacuated from the facility. The flooding also damaged several shops in the downtown market area. In all, more than 3,000 people in the state were affected by the flooding.
Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): On 7 September 2021, the Taliban announced a transitional government. Haibatullah Akhundzada will be the supreme leader, with ultimate authority over the country. Mullah Mohamed Hassan Akhund — who served as deputy prime minister in the previous Taliban government (1996-2001) — will be prime minister and Sirajuddin Haqqani, leader of the Haqqani Network, will be acting interior minister. Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the founders of the Taliban, will be deputy prime minister. Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob — the son of deceased Taliban founder Mullah Omar — will be acting defense minister. Amir Khan Muttaqi will be acting foreign minister. The Taliban will also reinstitute the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which existed under its previous rule. Despite promises of greater inclusivity, the Taliban Cabinet includes no women or politicians from the previous Afghan government.
The transitional government is largely made up of longstanding members of the Taliban who are known for their strict interpretations of Islamic law. Several members of the Cabinet are wanted by foreign governments or have spent time at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. For example, four senior ministers who are not named above were Guantanamo detainees. Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund is on a U.N. Security Council sanctions list for his activities relating to the Taliban. Sirajuddin Haqqani is on the U.S. FBI’s most wanted list for his involvement in a Kabul hotel bombing in 2008. There is a 10 million U.S. dollar bounty for information that leads directly to the arrest of Haqqani, and the U.S. government has designated the Haqqani network as a terrorist organization.
Philippines (Security threat level – 4): As of 1700 local time (0900 UTC) on 8 September 2021, Tropical Storm Conson – locally known as Jolina – was located approximately 60 km (37 mi) south-southwest of the capital Manila and was moving northwest at 13 kph (8 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Conson was generating maximum sustained winds of 102 kph, with gusts of up to 130 kph. On its current forecast path, the storm is expected to continue moving northwest and enter the South China Sea during the early hours of 9 September. Conson is then likely to re-strengthen as it moves toward China’s Hainan Island and northern Vietnam.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has warned that potentially damaging winds are likely throughout Metro Manila, as well as in the provinces of Bataan, Cavite, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales, through 9 September. PAGASA likewise warned of strong winds throughout central Luzon Island, including Batangas, Bulacan, Laguna, Quezon and Rizal provinces, as well as in the northern areas of Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro provinces. To date, at least nine people have suffered injuries due to the storm, while one person remains missing in Eastern Samar province.
Guinea (Security threat level – 4): As of 8 September 2021, the situation in Guinea remains calm following the 5 September military takeover. West African leaders in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc are scheduled to hold a virtual summit on 8 September, during which they are expected to impose sanctions on Guinea in response to the coup. The military junta — self-dubbed the National Committee for Rally and Development (CNRD) — released at least 80 political prisoners detained under ousted President Alpha Condé on 7 September. Coup leader Col. Mamadi Doumbouya met with the leaders of Guinea’s military branches on 7 September and has vowed to form a transitional government of national unity, without providing further details.
Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 7 September 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued a Security Alert regarding an upcoming demonstration in Port-au-Prince, which reads in part as follows: “Civil society groups organized a demonstration for Wednesday, September 8 to begin at 10:00 am at Carrefour Aeroport, and proceed along the following route: Nazon, Avenue Martin Luther King, Bois-Verna, and Avenue Charles Sumner (in front of the Ministry of Justice), ending at Place Constitution in Champs-de-Mars. Please avoid unnecessary travel in the aforementioned areas and remain vigilant as large gatherings of this sort, while largely peaceful, can become unpredictable.”
Myanmar (Security threat level – 4): On 7 September 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Yangon issued a Message to U.S. citizens, which reads in part as follows: “The Embassy advises all Americans that recent developments, including the National Unity Government’s announcement of a ‘people’s defensive war against the military,’ could result in heightened tensions in Yangon and in outlying areas. While the Embassy has no knowledge of specific threats, recent explosions and attacks in Yangon, coupled with military responses to these events, present a serious threat to American citizens and may increase in frequency and intensity. Roadblocks and military operations could become more prevalent in Yangon and throughout the country. The Embassy advises Americans to avoid public gatherings and limit their outside activities. Review your personal security plans and keep a low profile. Always keep some form of communication with you and monitor local events. Maintain an adequate stock of medicine, food and water should you need to shelter in place. Please note that there are now some reports of panic buying.
“Please have a plan in the event telecommunications become limited or unavailable. Advise family and associates of this possibility in advance. Updates from the Embassy may not be readily accessible due to a telecommunications outage during a crisis.
“The current Level 4 Travel Advisory is the highest level issued by the Department of State and advises U.S. citizens not to travel to Burma or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so due to the greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. As a result of these conditions, if you experience an emergency, the U.S. Embassy has a very limited ability to provide assistance.”