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16 November 2006

Mexico (Oaxaca) State Department Public Announcement

Mexico (Oaxaca) Public Announcement

November 15, 2006

This Public Announcement updates the Public Announcement for Mexico alerting U.S. citizens to the mounting violence and disorder in Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, Mexico to include increased security concerns in light of recent bombings in Mexico City. At this time, U.S. citizens should continue to avoid travel to Oaxaca City due to an increase in violence there and should be alert to the increased security concerns related to protest violence throughout Mexico. This Public Announcement expires on January 18, 2007.

On October 27, 2006, an American citizen was shot and killed in Oaxaca City as a result of the violence and disorder caused by civil unrest in the city during the past several months. Several protest groups have engaged in increasingly violent demonstrations, sometimes resulting in violent reactions from other groups.

The Government of Mexico ordered the mobilization of Federal Preventive Police (PFP) to Oaxaca City to restore order to the area on Saturday, October 28, 2006. There are reports that roads within Oaxaca State, including the main highway and secondary roads linking Oaxaca City to Mexico City, may be closed or barricaded at any time, and flights may be temporarily delayed or cancelled at the Xoxocotalan International Airport. Within the city itself, protesters and the PFP frequently engage in confrontations that may become violent, including random shootings. U.S. citizens should continue to avoid travel to Oaxaca City. Those already in Oaxaca should avoid large groups and active demonstrations, and should remain in their homes or hotels, avoiding the downtown and surrounding areas during active demonstrations or PFP operations.

Recent bombings of commercial institutions and the Election Tribunal in Mexico City reportedly were related to the unrest in Oaxaca City and election protests. In the coming weeks, protesters may use the Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution on November 20 and events surrounding the presidential inauguration on December 1 to initiate additional demonstrations or acts of violence in Oaxaca City, Mexico City, and elsewhere in the country. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. U.S. citizens should exercise caution, monitor local news reports, and avoid areas where demonstrations are slated to occur.

The State Department reminds U.S. citizens to avoid participating in demonstrations and other activities that might be deemed political by Mexican authorities. The Mexican Constitution prohibits political activities by foreigners, and such actions may result in detention and/or deportation.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.

13 November 2006

The Coming War with Syria?

Could this Department of State Travel warning signal a possible skirmish in the works in Syria?

Syria Travel Warning

November 13, 2006

This Travel Warning is being issued to alert U.S. citizens to the fact that non-emergency employees and family members have been authorized to return to the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, but the Department continues to urge U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Syria. This Travel Warning also alerts U.S. citizens to the ongoing safety and security concerns in Syria. It supersedes the Travel Warning issued on September 14, 2006.
On September 12, the U.S. Embassy in Damascus was attacked by assailants using improvised explosives, gunfire, and two vehicles laden with explosives. However, the Embassy perimeter was not breached. This attack underscores the presence of terrorist groups in Syria that have the ability and intent to target American interests. The Embassy is working with the Syrian authorities to address these threats and the security issues raised by the attack on the Embassy.
U.S. citizens who remain in or travel to Syria despite this Travel Warning are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Syria. Americans in Syria should exercise caution and take prudent measures to maintain their security. These measures include being aware of their surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low profile, varying times and routes for all required travel, and ensuring travel documents are current.
U.S. consular personnel remain available to provide emergency information and services to American citizens. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria, is located at 2, Al-Mansour St., Abu Roumaneh. The Embassy telephone number is (963) (11) 333-1342, fax (963) (11) 331-9678, e-mail:

acsdamascus@state.gov. American citizens may register with the Embassy online by visiting

https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs. Additional information may be found on the Embassy website at
Updated information on travel and security in Syria may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States or, from overseas, 1-202-501-4444. Additional details can be found in the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Syria, the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, and the Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement which are available on the Department's Internet website at http://travel.state.gov.



News Brief...

RFID to help keep Hendrix as pure as can be

RFID Ltd says its Authentichip programme has now been launched, using RFID technology to combat the high levels of piracy and counterfeiting that exist in the multi-billion dollar memorabilia industry. Specifically, Jimi Hendrix memorabilia to be authenticated with Authentichips include "The Hendrix guitar strap" (immortalised at the 1969 Newport Pop Festival) and the "Wah-Wah pedal". According to RFID Ltd's president, Nicholas Chavez, "We can apply RFID tags to document historic artefacts, memorabilia and fine art. After embedding an Authentichip, the artefact carries within it the complete history of the item, including historic value and ownership. For example, the Authentichip can be used by the musicians' estates and individual collectors to counter the flood of fake items in the market. According to assistant US Attorney Phillip Halpern, "What matters is that as much as 90% of the memorabilia on the market may be forged... The bottom line is that you need to know the history of the item."