AMERICAS Argentina / Jamaica / Panama (Security threat levels –...
China (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 0040 local time on 28 November 2018 (1640 UTC on 27 November), a series of explosions occurred near a chemical factory in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province — a city located approximately 155 km (85 mi) northwest of Beijing. A delivery truck carrying acetylene exploded and caused a chain reaction with several other vehicles in the area. Reports indicate that 23 people were killed and at least 22 others were injured, while at least 50 vehicles were destroyed. The resulting fire was extinguished and officials are investigating the cause of the initial explosion.
Australia (Security threat level – 2): As of 28 November 2018, nearly 140 bushfires are burning in Queensland state, with the most concerning fire located near the town of Gracemere, situated approximately 520 km (325 mi) north-northwest of Brisbane. Authorities have ordered Gracemere’s approximately 8,000 residents to evacuate, many to nearby Rockhampton. Other significantly affected locations have included Ambrose, Deepwater, Baffle Creek, Rules Beach and Oyster Creek. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a “catastrophic” fire danger warning — the highest tier on a six-level system — for the districts of Capricornia, where Gracemere is located, as well as Central Highlands and Coalfields, on 28 November. This is the first time the “catastrophic” warning level has been implemented in Queensland; however, information published on Australian government websites indicates that the “catastrophic” danger level will no longer be in effect on 29 November. Nevertheless, officials have warned that high temperatures and strong winds could fuel more fires, and advised residents to be prepared to evacuate quickly.
Australia (Security threat level – 2): On 28 November 2018, heavy rainfall in Sydney caused flooding and transportation disruptions. Meteorologists expected levels of rainfall between 50 and 100 mm (2 and 4 in) in some areas. Some roads experienced flash flooding and Sydney Airport (YSSY/SYD) closed all but one runway as a result of the weather, which caused delays and cancellations. The airport reopened a second runway at approximately 1630 local time (0530 UTC) after weather conditions began to improve. However, some delays persisted, and airport authorities continued urging travelers to check with their airlines to determine the status of flights before traveling to the airport. The poor weather conditions also caused power outages across Sydney and the Central Coast area.
Greece (Security threat level – 3): As expected, workers under the aegis of the private General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) umbrella union launched a 24-hour general nationwide strike on 28 November 2018. The labor action is significantly disrupting public transportation, including in the capital Athens, and passenger ferries remain docked across the country. Strike participants were also expected to stage at least one rally in Athens to further press for their demands, which include increases to wages and pensions, as well as tax cuts. Thus far, there have been no reports of violence during the demonstrations, although security was increased due to concerns over this possibility.
Russia (Security threat level – 3): On 28 November 2018, officials in Moscow received several anonymous bomb threats, triggering the evacuation of thousands of people from a railway station and 12 shopping malls. Affected locations included the Tsvetnoi, Atrium, Megapolis, Gorbushkin Dvor and Kapitoly malls, as well as the Kievsky train station. According to the Russian Emergency Services, the bomb threats were phoned in from numbers registered in Ukraine. Authorities are continuing to investigate, but they have yet to locate devices at any of the locations, suggesting that the threats are false. A spate of similar bomb threats that affected 170 cities across Russia in September-October 2017 were all determined to be hoaxes.
Australia (Security threat level – 2): On 28 November 2018, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Australia, which reads in part as follows: “A significant fire risk exists in central Queensland with some locations, including the town of Gracemere, currently being evacuated. If you’re in or near an affected area, stay safe and follow the advice of the Queensland Fire & Emergency Services. You can also monitor developments on their Twitter feed. In the event of emergency, always dial Triple Zero (000).”
Canada (Security threat level – 2): On 27 November 2018, the U.S. Consulate General in Montreal issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:
“Location: Please be aware that on Wednesday, November 28th a protest is scheduled to take place in downtown Montreal from 8:30a.m. to 10:30 a.m.”
“Demonstrators will be gathering at 1255 Robert Bourassa Boulevard and then heading to different locations.”
Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 27 November 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:
Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): On 27 November 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:
Nicaragua (Security threat level – 4): On 27 November 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Managua issued a Demonstration Alert that reads in part as follows:
Security threat levels range from 1 (Very Low) to 5 (Very High) and are determined using a comprehensive system that utilizes both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The primary factors used to determine a location’s security threat level are Armed Conflict, Crime, Demonstrations/Strikes, Ethnic/Sectarian Tensions, Graft/Corruption, Kidnapping, Political Instability, Government Restriction and Terrorism.