Departures: Dangerous places

The Foreign Office is issuing warnings about numerous tourist destinations.

Following the massacre in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, the FO says 'there have been no direct attacks on foreigners', but recommends visitors to Israel follow events closely and contact the British Embassy in Tel Aviv if they need advice. In Africa, visitors to Zambia are liable to armed attack, especially if travelling in four-wheel-drive vehicles. In Zimbabwe, 'muggings and pickpockets are increasing in the city centres, particularly near the main hotels'. As passport theft there is frequent, and visitors are required to carry identification at all times, the FO suggests you use a photocopy. In The Gambia, a 2am-5am curfew is in force.

In Sri Lanka, there is a risk of terrorist attacks in public places, especially in the lead-up to the presidential election on 9 November.

Nepal's general election takes place on 15 November, and visitors should be prepared for disruptions in travel arrangements.

Reading the FO's warnings, it seems surprising that anyone ever visits Central America. 'Violent crime is prevalent . . . and muggers are often well-armed,' is its line on Guatemala. Visitors should register with the British embassy on arrival in Guatemala City. Along in Panama City, travellers are warned about teams of pickpockets and muggers operating on Avenida Central. There is a risk of contracting dengue fever, a mosquito-borne hazard, in and around the Panamanian capital.

Dengue fever is also a threat in Brazil, though it has not spread to Rio.

Here, however, muggers are a menace. Travellers are warned against taking buses or trams, and to be acquiescent. 'Muggers are often armed, and it can be dangerous to offer resistance.'

Up-to-date advice is available from 071-270 4129, or on BBC 2 Ceefax page 564 on.

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