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Security and privacy information and advice at home and abroad.

Archive for November 2011

RQ: Locality Pay, Danger Pay, COLA

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This week’s reader question asks,

What are the different kinds of pay you earn overseas?  Do you get a cola?  Do other places besides Iraq and Afghanistan get danger compensation similar to the military’s hazardous duty pay?

There are three main types of overseas compensation: cost of living adjustment (COLA), danger pay, and hardship pay. Read the rest of this entry »

Travel Warning: Burundi

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Burundi yesterday.  It reads as follows:

Burundi

November 25, 2011

The State Department warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Burundi. This notice replaces the Travel Warning for Burundi, dated June 1, 2011, with no substantive changes. Security restrictions on travel for Embassy personnel remain in place.

Because Burundi participates in peacekeeping operations in Somalia, the Somali terrorist organization al-Shabaab has threatened to conduct terror attacks in Burundi. It may also target U.S. interests in Burundi. Read the rest of this entry »

RQ: New Hiring

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A reader asks a question surely on the minds of others,

What’s the current hiring situation?

Since the U.S. government is currently on a continuing resolution, State does not have authority to extend employment offers.  The current C.R. ends today, so hopefully Congress passes another one (or approves a budget…hah!) which will clear up the picture for another few months.

It is somewhat unfair that all this time in limbo (both now and in August) still counts towards timing out on the register.  I don’t see how the system could be changed to make it more equitable than “everyone gets the shaft,” however.

Be sure to check out past Reader Questions in the Archives.

Travel Warning: Kenya

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Kenya on November 3.  It reads as follows:

Kenya

November 04, 2011

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Kenya.  U.S. citizens in Kenya and those considering travel to Kenya should evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorism and the high rate of violent crime in some areas.  The levels of risk vary throughout the country.  This replaces the Travel Warning of December 28, 2010, to update information about the current security situation, and the potential impact of the refugee influx.

The U.S. government continues to receive information regarding potential terrorist threats aimed at U.S., Western, and Kenyan interests in Kenya, particularly after the death of Osama Bin Laden.  Terrorist acts could include suicide operations, bombings, kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels in or near Kenyan ports.  Although there have been recent gains in the pursuit of those responsible for previous terrorist activities, many of those involved remain at large and continue to operate in the region.  Travelers should consult the Worldwide Caution for further information and details. Read the rest of this entry »

Travel Warning: Eritrea

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Eritrea On November 3.  It reads as follows:

Eritrea

November 04, 2011

The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Eritrea and strongly recommends U.S. citizens defer all travel to the country.  This replaces the Travel Warning dated February 27, 2011, updates information on security incidents, including piracy, and reminds U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in Eritrea.

The Eritrean government continues to restrict the travel of all foreign nationals.  These restrictions require all visitors and residents, including U.S. diplomats, to apply 10 days in advance for permission to travel outside Asmara’s city limits.  Permission is rarely granted.  As a result, the U.S. Embassy is extremely limited in its ability to provide emergency consular assistance outside of Asmara.  Read the rest of this entry »

Travel Warning: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for the DPRK (North Korea) On November 3.  It reads as follows:

Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of

November 03, 2011

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens about travel to North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK). The North Korean government will detain, prosecute, and sentence those who enter the DPRK without first having received explicit, official permission and an entry visa from its government. Travel by U.S. citizens to North Korea is not routine, and U.S. citizens crossing into North Korea, even accidently, have been subject to arrest and long-term detention. Since January 2009, four U.S. citizens have been arrested for entering North Korea illegally. In 2010, a fifth U.S. citizen, who had a valid DPRK visa in his U.S. passport, was arrested inside North Korea on unspecified charges.

The Government of North Korea imposes heavy fines and long prison sentences with hard labor on persons who enter the country without a valid passport and a North Korean visa. If you travel unescorted inside North Korea without explicit official authorization, North Korean security personnel may view your actions as espionage.  Read the rest of this entry »

Travel Warning: Guinea

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Guinea today.  It reads as follows:

Guinea

November 04, 2011

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Guinea because the political situation there remains unpredictable. This replaces the Travel Warning of December 03, 2010, to update information on the political situation and accompanying security issues.

Although Guinea has been relatively calm since the democratically elected President took office in December 2010, hotly contested elections to the legislature are scheduled for December 29, 2011. Large crowds of demonstrators representing partisans of various opposition parties are likely to periodically gather at thoroughfares around the capital. If the scheduled election cycle is delayed or postponed, which seems likely, political rhetoric could turn peaceful demonstrations into violent ones. Read the rest of this entry »