Vi­o­lent spots in Philip­pines

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The U.S. State De­part­ment has is­sued a new warn­ing on travel to the Philip­pines, fo­cus­ing on parts of Min­danao, on the Sulu Ar­chi­pel­ago and ar­eas in the south­ern Sulu Sea.

The Sulu Sea is to the west of Min­danao, the sec­ond largest of the more than 7,000 is­lands that make up the Philip­pines.

In its warn­ing, the State De­part­ment says U.S. cit­i­zens should de­fer nonessen­tial travel to that area be­cause of the “high threat of kid­nap­ping of in­ter­na­tional trav­el­ers and vi­o­lence linked to in­sur­gency and ter­ror­ism there.”

“U.S. cit­i­zens should also con­tinue to ex­er­cise ex­treme cau­tion if trav­el­ing to cer­tain re­gions and cities of the is­land of Min­danao,” the warn­ing, is­sued May 20, says. “Sep­a­ratist and ter­ror­ist groups con­tinue to con­duct bomb­ings, kid­nap­pings and at­tacks against civil­ians, po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, and Philip­pine se­cu­rity forces.”

Min­danao is home to a large pop­u­la­tion of Mus­lims in the Philip­pines, which is about 82% Ro­man Catholic, ac­cord­ing to the World Fact­book fromthe CIA.

More trou­ble spots

Other State De­part­ment warn­ings:

Le­banon. Be­cause of on­go­ing safety con­cerns, the State De­part­ment urges avoid­ing all travel to this coun­try, where two Amer­i­cans have died in bomb­ings and two have been kid­napped. Is­sued May 29.

Kenya. The State De­part­ment stops short of say­ing trav­el­ers should not visit but says that U.S. cit­i­zens should be aware of the prob­lems with vi­o­lent crime and ter­ror­ism. Is­sued May 13.

Some­thing’s rot­ten

Brazil­ian stu­dents cre­ated some un­usual art­work, but it’s un­likely you’ll want to be a col­lec­tor.

They gath­ered plas­tic gro­cery bags, tires and old CDs, among other garbage, from Brazil’s heav­ily trashed Gua­n­abara Bay. The Rio de Janeiro Fed­eral Univer­sity stu­dents used these items and more to cre­ate sculp­tures of ocean an­i­mals, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ported.

Their ex­hi­bi­tion, “The Sea’s Not Fit for Fish,” on dis­play un­til Thurs­day, was de­signed to draw at­ten­tion to the plight of the bay, where someof the 2016 Olympic sail­ing events are to be staged.

The Brazil­ian govern­ment had promised to clean up the bay, but that seems un­likely to hap­pen. Some ath­letes have ob­jected to the state of the bay, fear­ing they might col­lide with trash or suf­fer ill­ness as a re­sult of ex­po­sure to wa­ter that con­tains raw sewage and huge amounts of de­bris.

LGBT tourists

Ire­land’s vot­ers last month ap­proved gay mar­riage, and now the coun­try is pro­mot­ing it­self as a des­ti­na­tion for LGBT wed­dings with an ad cam­paign called “Ire­land Says ‘I Do.’” The Out­ing, an LGBT match­mak­ing fes­ti­val ( www.the­out­, is sched­uled Oct. 2-4 in Lis­doon­va­rna.

Lis­doon­va­rna, in County Clare, has held a match­mak­ing fes­ti­val for more than 150 years. The LGBT fes­ti­val started in 2013.

AFP / Getty Im­ages

PHILIP­PINE SOL­DIERS in Min­danao dis­play im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vices seized last month.

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