Thursday, 31 March 2016

A amazing picture for a Christian?!

Although I have been familiar with Robert Spencer for almost a decade now and respect his opinions – which after all do reflect what I read upon reading the Koran as a teenager – one recent discovery has been quite astonishingly funny and strange to me.

Back in 2007, a few years after his Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) hit the New York Times bestseller list, Robert Spencer did a segment on “Blogging the Qur’an” in which Spencer gave his own interpretation of what the Qur’an says and how it relates to jihad today against Israel and the West.

Most of the material in Spencer’s blog is very familiar to me, but there is one thing in the post on Surat-as-Sajda (“Chapter of the Adoration” or “Chapter of the Prostration”) that belies a lack of understanding of modern secularisation:

It is rather astonishing that someone as learned as Robert Spencer would place a picture – even a mildly satirical one – of AC/DC to head a post about the Qur’an!
As you can see, above the text for Spencer’s interpretation of Surat-as-Sajda, there is a humorised picture of none other than AC/DC! I have no idea what Spencer was intending to do – and in other parts of his “Blogging the Qur’an” series I do often sort of like his pictures and admire their humour – but there are some facts about AC/DC that ought to make anyone who is a Catholic like Spencer not wish to put them on a blog trying to refute or criticise the Qur’an. Also, whereas Spencer’s other pictures in his “Blogging the Qur’an” series, notably the one for Surat-al-Qamar with its joke about what Neil Armstrong’s landing means for the Qur’an, can be arrestingly funny and surreal, it is impossible to see what Spencer wishes to achieve by putting AC/DC on a picture of a chapter called “The Prostration”?

The most important thing is that the rise of AC/DC coincided with the most rapid decline in the influence of Christianity and growth of extramarital sex in the West – a growth dated to around the early 1980s when young people where beginning to listen in millions to Highway to Hell, Back in Black, and For Those About to Rock We Salute You. I have in many previous posts outlined the alarming things condoning violence and forced sex within the AC/DC discography, but it has for some years seemed to me that the loud noise of AC/DC’s music was a uniquely effective tool to turn Westerners away from Christian prayer and the needed quiet therefor, as Rod Dreher, Sara Maitland and many others have noted.

A second thing, particularly notable to my mind, is the similarity in method of composition between the Qur’an and the AC/DC discography – similarities that exceed the support for violence that the two also share in common and distinguish them from the New Testament:
  1. rather than being historical narratives like the Bible, both the Qur’an and the AC/DC discography are collections of sermons where historical material is never told for its own sake, but is used to illuminate various points pertaining to the worldview of Islam or of AC/DC as a whole
  2. both the Qur’an and the AC/DC discography say what they say countless times, and rely strongly upon incantatory effects to overcome their repetitive nature and inculcate a particular and complete worldview into the listener
    • I can testify that such was occurring when a schoolmate who bullied me simultaneously graffitied my ruler “AC/DC” – if he were listening to what AC/DC were saying he would feel he had a right to bully to prove his strength
The Qur’an can hardly be referring to the kinds of sound made throughout the AC/DC discography in its descriptions of Hell! In addition, the extent to which AC/DC’s (implied) views on ethics and politics contradict all the Abrahamic religions is utterly absolute and could not have been comprehended by people living in a harsh, low-productivity desert where moral religions are the rule (of course Angus and Malcolm Young, Bon Scott and Brian Johnson originated from the cool, protein-rich land and seas of Scotland).

If the picture is trying to suggest AC/DC “prostrate” themselves before “rock and roll”, Spencer’s picture remains ludicrous when the whole message of the AC/DC discography is the precise opposite of a message of humility and prostration. Rather, the consistent message of the AC/DC discography is one of absolute personal power and total absence of moral law, whereby good is seen in terms of personal rights to do whatever one wants without the tiniest reference to relationships or even harmony with others. Islam may not emphasise relationships with others as Christianity does – Islam is a “hybrid” vision in emphasising hostility towards unbelievers but strong ties within the community of Muslims – but it is nothing like what AC/DC have been preaching for over four decades.

What the point of a devout Catholic placing a picture of one of the most influential apostles of secularisation on a blog about the Qur’an is remains unknown to me, and is really, really silly – so much so as to create humour!

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Climate change in the “chinook belt”: Fairbanks winters’ extreme temperatures

As an indirect result of reading about the problem of homelessness in Anchorage (which in winter is not the coldest “major” city in North America, being milder than Fargo, Duluth, Winnipeg, Regina and Saskatoon), I have had a look at the winter climate of Fairbanks. Fairbanks is the coldest major city in North America and the third coldest over 100,000 in the world (though a long way behind Yakutsk and Norilsk which are both about 6.5˚C or 11.6˚F colder), but its winter climate is extremely variable due to Fairbanks’ location in the lee of the North American Cordillera.

All along from Interior Alaska to West Texas, this positioning produces a winter climate influenced by “chinooks”, warm adiabatic winds descending from mountains over 4,000 metres high. When chinooks are present, winter temperatures can be extremely warm relative to long-term averages, creating temperature variation over this “chinook belt” that are not rivalled anywhere else in the world. For instance, although the mean January temperature in Fairbanks is -10˚F or -23.3˚C, absolute maxima are as high as 10˚C or 50˚F. In contrast, in East Asia places with similar average January temperatures seldom if ever top freezing. Further south in the “chinook belt”, similar contrasts continue: at Havre, Montana where the mean for January is around -9˚C or 16˚F the record maximum is 68˚F or 20˚C whereas Shěnyàng with a similar average has never exceeded 8.6˚C, and  Rapid City in South Dakota with an average of -3˚C has an absolute maximum of 24˚C – hotter than Melbourne’s absolute midwinter maximum of 22.2˚C.

In fact, in the record-warm February 1954 (actually the third-coolest here in Melbourne since 1895) Rapid City was hotter than Melbourne on one day (before checking I assumed that number to be much greater) but via the graph below one can nonetheless clearly see the contrast between abnormally cool weather here and abnormally warm weather in the central and southern “chinook belt”:
Global temperature anomalies for February 1954 relative to 1880 to 1974 mean, courtesy of Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Comparative daily maximum temperatures for Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and Rapid City, South Dakota, United States in February 1954 (˚C)
Getting back to Fairbanks, I compiled a graph for all winters since complete records began in 1906/1907 of number of mornings that reached to -36˚F or -38˚C. As the daily mean temperature, -38˚C constitutes the Köppen threshold for an extreme subarctic climate (Dfd or Dwd, as found in northeastern Siberia),:
As we can see, there have been a clear decrease in the number of minima under -36˚F or -38˚C (exactly -37.777777...˚C) since man-made greenhouse emissions took firm control of the climate in the middle 1970s. Whereas thirteen winters were more than one virgin standard deviation above the mean number before 1974, not one has been since. Once does see between 1906 and 1974 a seemingly natural quasi-regular cycle of milder and colder winters, with peaks in extreme cold observed between 1932 and 1934, and during a longer period between 1964/1965 (the record with 45 minima below -36˚F) and 1975/1976. This cycle even persists into the post-1974 period with the minimum circa 1987 (only two nights below -36˚F in three winters 1985/1986 to 1987/1988), but the effect of greenhouse emissions from Australian coal power and road transport can be seen already in the 25-year mean, which under preindustrial or even early-industrial CO2 levels would likely have increased substantially during the 2000s – a viewpoint professional studies appear to agree with.

If we have a look at the other (more distinctive) side of the “chinook belt” climate – abnormally warm winter days relative to position – we see a different story:
Unlike with very cold weather, we do not see a systematic increase in very warm weather over the (northern) “chinook belt”. There is a distinct peak in November to February days above 0˚C around 1980 – an era which still contains Fairbanks’ warmest November (1979), February (1980) and January (1981 – with seventeen days topping freezing), but also contains a record cold February 1979 and near-record cold December 1980. I have not yet checked other regions of North America, but it’s possible that the great natural variability of winter weather in the “chinook belt”, as this last graph shows, can overshadow the drastic effect of Australian coal power, land clearing and road transport upon the atmospheric circulation of the Earth.

This perception may also explain the strong Republican leanings of the “chinook belt” compared to the rest of North America away from the low-nutrient and naturally conservative non-“Black Belt” South. Like Australians who are used to extremes of drought and flood, people in the “chinook belt” are used to such changeable winter weather than the effects of their own greenhouse emissions may seem much smaller than to people from regions without potential warming Föhn winds in a very cold climate.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Abebooks’ ‘Bad to the Bone: The Worst Children in Literature’

Today, Abebooks, a very valuable book site for the old books I collect – old Wisdens most especially – have asked its readers to compile a list of the “worst children in literature”. I know about these thoughts of stories more as allegory than reading, but with a little if by no means much of the wider context needed, I will give basic look. The list is divided into a top ten and “dishonorable” mentions, like the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s 50 Worst Books list.

The Top Ten:

  1. Flashman from Tom Brown’s School Days by Thomas Hughes
    • Flashman, the notorious bully of Rugby School is Tom Brown's nemesis. He also got a redressing care of George MacDonald Fraser.
  2. Missie from The Innocents by Nette Hiltons
    • Three words: “psychopathic child killer”.
  3. Pandora and Marmaduke from Who Was Oswald Fish? by A.N. Wilson
    • A pair of nine-year-olds blackmail their elders to the point of causing their suicide.
  4. Mary Tilford from The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
    • She may not murder but is “quite a piece of work”.
  5. Frank from The Boy who Followed Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
    • He murders his father then seeks out career criminal Tom Ripley.
  6. Noboru from The Sailor who Fell from Grace With The Sea by Yukio Mishima
    • The son of Ryuji, who belongs to a savage gang of boys who believe in “objectivity”
  7. Angelo Saint from Wicked Angel by Taylor Caldwell 
    • Cherub-faced youngster with no moral compass or remorse
  8. Josephine Leonides from Crooked House by Agatha Christie
    • Manipulates her family by saying she knows who killed the family patriarch.
  9. The Girls of St. Trinians in Hurrah for St Trinians by Ronald Searle
    • The girls of this boarding school would make Angela Brazil faint in horror.
  10. Cathy Ames from East of Eden by John Steinbeck
    • She ages through the book, but this is a terrible child who becomes a worse adult

Other Children Gone Wrong:

  • Veda from Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain
    • This daughter is the queen of blackmail and deceit.
  • Frank from The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
    • It’s hard to describe Frank and his rituals – he’s very, very twisted.
  • The Baby in Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
    • This infamous child is every parent’s worst nightmare.
  • Rosalind from In the Woods by Tana French
    • As the older sister of a murder victim, Rosalind becomes entwined in the investigation.
  • Vernon Little from Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre
    • While not evil like some on the list, this foul-mouthed reprobate has few virtues.
  • Regan MacNeil from The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
    • It wasn’t Regan’s fault that a demonic spirit possessed her.
  • Rhoda from The Bad Seed by William March
    • It’s nearly impossible for a parent to see that their child was born bad.
  • Pinkie Brown from Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
    • The seventeen-year-old Pinkie is a merciless thug in this classic.
  • Rynn Jacobs from The Little Girl who Lives down the Lane by Laird König
    • Rynn is a mysterious child with an absent poet of a father and a nose for trouble.
  • Christine Hargensen from Carrie by Stephen King
    • “Chris” is the mean-spirited snobbish teenage girl who leads the torment of Carrie.
  • Leading William from ‘All Summer in a Day’ by Ray Bradbury (found in The Stories of Ray Bradbury)
    • He enacts terrible psychological punishment on classmate Margot.
  • Matilda from The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis
    • Samuel Taylor Coleridge said Matilda was “superior in wickedness to the most wicked of men.”
  • One of the “Twins” in The Other by Tom Tryon
    • A boy whose twin brother is intertwined with a series of deaths in a rural community.
  • Ben from The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
    • This grotesque, violent and hateful child is tearing a family apart.
  • Kevin from We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
    • Kevin is a sociopath who murders several classmates in a school massacre.
  • Jack from Lord of the Flies by William Golding
    • He epitomises the worst aspects of human nature in this must-read.
  • Damien from The Omen by David Seltzer
    • This child from hell turns out to be the Antichrist.
  • Regina Afton from Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
    • After terrorising others she is cast out of her clique to become the victim of her own bullying.
  • Gage Creed from Pet Sematary by Stephen King
    • Another example of demonic possession ruining a childhood.
  • Nick from Hate List by Jennifer Brown
    • In order to impress his high school sweetheart, Nick goes off the rails.
  • Jacob from Before and After by Rosellen Brown
    • A family struggles after their teenage son murders his girlfriend.
  • The boys from Boy A by Jonathan Trigell
    • “Boy A” and “Boy B” were both convicted of murdering a young girl.
  • The Children in Let’s Go Play at The Adams by Mendal W. Johnson
    • A group of children are left alone and run amok in ways you would never imagine.
  • Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood from We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
    • She cares for her sister Constance but something is not right with this 18-year-old.
I do know vaguely about The Exorcist – the 1973 movie based upon the book was the source for the title of Pantera’s 1992 breakthrough album Vulgar Display of Power – one seminal album for that generation coming of age in today’s Enriched World. Rosemary’s Baby was during the same period turned into a film of a similar genre, aiming to show to adults of the era the wickedness of children. I do know about several authors here, such as Steinbeck, A.N. Wilson, Highsmith, Christie, Greene, Lessing and Golding, but have never read any books here.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Meat scarcity limits brain growth

Having considerable knowledge of anthropological history, I have long been sceptical of demands for veganism even on grounds of reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Free-market economics unanimously if without the tiniest fanfare says that vegetable protein even if it emits much less greenhouse gases is incomparably more labour- and land-inefficient than animal protein. History backs up this fact, showing that only in Mesoamerica and Andean South America on the best soils available to ancient farmers could humans de facto abandon near completely animal food, and even there it meant major nutritional deficiencies. Today, the best plant proteins come from regions that gained the majority of their protein from the rich seas of East Asia, nourished by rivers with huge sediment loads from the Asian mountains.
It is clear form this map that Australian-made (directly and indirectly) greenhouse pollution is tipping the planet to dangerous climate change. 1.5˚C above the “virgin” temperature mean is known to be the maximum level sustainable before irreversible ecological changes. Note the negative anomalies on the east coasts of the Northern Hemisphere due to continental westerly flow.
Now, as the results of Australia’s dreadful performance in greenhouse emissions and their reduction become even clearer, there will no doubt be major calls to abandon animal-based foods because their production involves an enormous carbon footprint from land clearing in Australia. However, the ideal of eliminating animal foods is one which I have long been sceptical of for nutritional reasons. Documentation – although implicit – of nutrient deficiencies in Eurasia being eliminated by increased affordability of meat after industrialisation is something I have been long aware of, for instance from being lectured about the minimum in human height before the Industrial Revolution.

This month, Nature authors Katherine D. Zink and Daniel E. Lieberman in their ‘Impact of meat and Lower Palaeolithic food processing techniques on chewing in humans’ are providing clear evidence that brain growth to present sizes in humans would be very difficult on anything approaching a vegan diet. They argue that, even after cooking developed, masticatory demands under a strictly vegan diet would be too high for brain growth to anything like present cranial capacities of races native to RoW (the world outside of Australia and Southern Africa). Time in ‘Sorry Vegans: Here’s How Meat-Eating Made Us Human’ shows masticatory energy consumption to be almost fifty percent greater under a vegan diet than under a diet that was one-third meat (smaller than the actual proportion of meat in the diet of almost all documented Enriched World hunter/gatherers).

If we glance Richard Lynn’s studies of race differences in intelligence, it is extremely tempting to believe that, indeed, protein scarcity remains the limiting factor in brain growth. Observed genotypic IQs of Bushmen, Pygmies and Australian Aborigines range from 55 to 65, whereas those of RoW peoples range from 80 to 110. It’s indeed possible that these differences between ASA and RoW peoples are understated because:
  1. with most preindustrial RoW peoples, nutrient deficiencies are likely to affect IQ
    • however, Lynn’s data do suggest diet may have more effect on ASA peoples than RoW because variation between different studies is considerable among Australian Aborigines (52 to 74, which may reflect nutritional effects)
  2. partial desocialisation, or the elimination of cooperative breeding, which is the normal process upon movement of a cooperative species to more nutrient-rich soils (e.g. the family Paridae upon colonising Eurasia from Africa) may influence RoW peoples especially in the Western Hemisphere, and produce less high IQ values
    • Lynn’s data do suggest possibility of partial desocialisation in the extratropical Americas as phenotypic IQs of Native Americans in Canada and the US are no higher than in Latin America
    • With Native Americans in Chile and Argentina, who lived on the richest soils of any subcontinent but were subject to a relentless “hierarchism as a revolt against nature” that made its flora and fauna the most undomesticable in the world and precluded civilised agricultural societies, no IQ data exist.
    • Cranial capacity data suggest higher IQs than other Native Americans, but not so high as Southern Cone Native Americans’ very rich soils, fertile seas and very largely animal-protein-based diets would predict
  3. if what Zink and Lieberman say is true, it’s highly plausible that growth of intelligence was consistently limited or rolled back to the point of a bottleneck upon ancient African soils as humans exhausted the available animal protein. Protein scarcity would select for lower genotypic IQ, but this bottleneck was removed upon movement to richer European or Asian soils
  4. Evidence for higher cranial capacities than even East Asians and Arctic Peoples are found amongst Cro-Magnon Man, who lived in the eutrophic Ice Age European environment with extremely abundant protein
For all its unanswered questions, Time and Nature’s study remains fascinating for what they suggest about the history of human encephalisation.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Is Australia more cautious in its travel warnings? Part III: Sub-Saharan Africa

In two previous posts, I have looked at the comparative travel warnings of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Britain’s Foreign Office (BFO), because whilst on holiday in Japan and Vietnam I was reading (and sometimes laughing in a very silly fashion at) travel warnings and finding that DFAT was more cautious in its warnings than the BFO.

The study so far has demonstrated that, on the whole, DFAT is more cautious (stricter or more rigorous) than the BFO in its travel warnings for all but the most inherently deadly destinations. This principle holds very clearly for:
  1. nine of thirteen destinations in Asia, including Turkey and the Caucasus
  2. eight of eleven destinations in Saharan Africa and the Horn
To finish this survey before drawing conclusions, I will look at sub-Saharan Africa. Apart from the mineral-rich southern regions, sub-Saharan Africa is politically unstable due to
  • extremely poorly-skilled, largely illiterate populations
  • extreme comparative disadvantage in skill-intensive and capital-intensive industries
  • Enriched World farm subsidies that disadvantage their advantageous farming sectors and
  • political corruption
I will do sub-Saharan African destinations in the same way I did those of Asia and Saharan Africa – from east to west:


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisory map for Kenya
With Kenya, if we magnify the Nairobi insert, it is clear that DFAT’s travel warning is yet again more cautious, with more severe warnings than given by the British Foreign Office. If one looks carefully (which will require the reader to expand the map) it is clear that:
  1. the northeastern al-Shabāb hotbed gets the highest “Do Not Travel” warning from DFAT, but only “advice against all but essential travel” from the BFO)
  2. the area with a travel warning in Mandera, Wajir and Garissa Counties not only has a higher level warning from DFAT, but extends further from Somalia than in the BFO map.
  3. the main highway into Ethiopia from Isiolo has a DFAT “Reconsider Your Need to Travel” warning but nothing from the BFO


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisory map for Uganda
Uganda is less inherently dangerous than Kenya, but does suffer severe spillover effects from problems in Ethiopia, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Again we see that DFAT provides a stricter warning than the BFO. The areas on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo – which include many of Uganda’s major tourist attractions like the “Mountains of the Moon” (Rwenzori Mountains) – are listed as “Reconsider Your Need to Travel” by DFAT but are not specially listed by the BFO. Even areas bordering South Sudan, which are given a maximal “Do Not Travel” by DFAT as far as fifty kilometres from the border.

South Sudan:

BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisory map for South Sudan
In South Sudan, African’s forty-sixth and newest nation, the BFO and DFAT advisories (as for Syria, Yemen and Libya) are the same stern “Advise Against All Travel” and its equivalent “Do Not Travel” for the whole nation, including capital Jubba. Thus, there is no difference and a score of “0” for South Sudan.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisory map for Burundi
Detouring southwards quite a bit to position us on a consistent east-to-west trajectory across sub-Saharan Africa, we come to Burundi, a nation long extremely unsafe for tourism owing to political conflicts that are seldom discussed even by African experts and are independent of jihadist violence because Islam never spread this far south and inland. An old Lonely Planet East Africa said:
“travel outside Bujumbura is not recommended”
Again, we see clearly that DFAT’s travel warning for Burundi is stricter than the BFO’s. In neither is Bujumbura separated from the rest of Burundi, but whereas DFAT says “Do Not Travel” even to Bujumbura, the BFO generally says only the second-highest “Advise Against All but Essential Travel” to most of Burundi except for Bubanza and Cibitoke.

Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaïre):

BFO (top) and DFAT (bottom) travel advisory map for the DRC
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as Congo-Kinshasa after the name of its capital – and from 1965 to 1997 under the notorious kleptocrat Mobutu Sese Seko Koko Ngbende wa za Banga known as Zaïre – has since Mobutu’s regime collapsed been consistently very dangerous for travellers. Although there were sections on Zaïre in early Lonely Planet guidebooks, the country has been omitted from every Africa-related guidebook published after Mobutu’s fall.

Poor correlations between ethnic groups and colonially enforced boundaries have made it difficult for subsequent governments to accept people living in remote areas distant from Kinshasa and which, as the old Lonely Planet East Africa pointed out vigorously, “had much more in common with Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda with western Zaïre” (probably not Lonely Planet’s exact words but one still gains an idea).

The Democratic Republic of the Congo constitutes a difficult case for comparing BFO and DFAT travel advisories because unlike any other nation so far, the gradients of warning (lowest to highest; reddest colours) are different. There is, it is true, a very clear pattern of higher levels of warning in the east of the country within the Rift Valley than in the west on the Congo Craton. However, to an extent unseen anywhere else, here, were see major and seemingly incoherent differences between the BFO and DFAT travel warnings for the Democratic Republic of the Congo that are almost completely absent in other nations we have studied:
  1. as it typical, DFAT gives a “Reconsider Your Need to Travel” for most of the DRC, whereas BFO gives “See Our Travel Advice Before Travelling” (no warning) for over half the DRC
  2. however, in southeastern DRC, BFO gives a stern “Advise Against All Travel” for the provinces of Maniema, Tanganyika and Haut-Lomami, whereas DFAT is still at “Reconsider Your Need to Travel”
  3. in the border regions with the crisis-torn Central African Republic, DFAT remains at “Reconsider Your Need to Travel” whereas BFO again gives the stern “Advise Against All Travel”
On the whole, the Democratic Republic of the Congo would have to score a “0”: the sterner general DFAT rating is compensated by higher specific BFO ratings in Maniema, Tanganyika and Haut-Lomami provinces.

Central African Republic:

BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisory map for the Central African Republic
The Central African Republic is the fourth (and final) instance of a nation scoring “0” because both the BFO and DFAT give the highest rating of “Advise Against All Travel” or “Do Not Travel”. The country has been politically problematic for a long time, and if my recollections are correct warnings against travelling to the CAR for any purpose have been in force for a decade or more from Global Affairs Canada – indeed the hazards of travelling here have been severe without interruptions as far back as 1996.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisory map for Chad
Chad, long regarded as the poorest nation on Earth, and affected by drought and loss of reparations from expatriate Chadians, has long been a dangerous place for foreigners as well as among the toughest nations in the world to obtain a visa for. Historically, Chad has not been as unsafe as its southern neighbour, but the spread of radical Islam into the Sahel and Sahara has meant that the whole region is now exceedingly dangerous for non-Muslims.

Again, we see a major difference between the BFO and DFAT travel warnings, with DFAT much more severe. Southern Chad, except for dangerous border regions, is listed as “Advise Against All but Essential Travel” by BFO, as is the oasis city of Faya, but all of Chad is “Do Not Travel” in DFAT except for the capital N‘Djamena.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisory map for Angola
Detouring again southward to be in as strict an east-to-west line as possible, we come to Angola, a country which was exceedingly dangerous for travellers for several decades after the fall of the Estado Novo and a long civil war between MPLA and UNITA.

Today, Angola has quietened, and is relatively safe for travellers.

As we can see, the DFAT travel warning is again stricter than the BFO, if less so than for many other nations. The only difference in angola is that Lunda Sul Province, near the border with the DRC, gets a “Reconsider Your Need to Travel” from DFAT but “See Our Travel Advice before Travelling” from the BFO.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisory map for Cameroon
Cameroon, regarded as relatively safe and prosperous compared to the rest of West and Central Africa, has nonetheless been badly affected by the troubles in most adjacent lands. Central Africa has been the least-visited region of the globe ever since mass tourism began, and not for a quarter of a century has any comprehensive guidebook been written as the troubles there have been general and continuous.

What’s notable about Cameroon is that, although there are three different ratings within the country, the BFO and DFAT ratings are almost exactly the same (which we have seen previously only with blanket “Avoid All Travel”/“Do Not Travel” nations). The sole exception is a small sliver of the North Region which is very hard to see on the BFO map as merely “Advise Against All but Essential Travel”.

The smallness of the differences means Cameroon would need to be scored a “0” because they are just so unimportant – I overlooked them on looking for days!


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisory map for Nigeria
Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa and poised to be the third most populous in the world within half a century, is often cited as a bad case of economic corruption and stagnation after oil prices fell into the basement during the 1980s and 1990s. Today, Nigeria is threatened severely by Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram, which has raised the nation to a higher profile than for some decades.

Nigeria constitutes another familiar case of stricter DFAT travel warnings vis-à-vis those given by BFO. Indeed in most of Plateau State, BFO says “see out travel advice before travelling” yet DFAT says the stern “Do Not Travel”, the only case I have noted so far of so large a difference.

Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta):

BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisory map for Burkina Faso
Although Burkina Faso – which in my childhood was called “Upper Volta” – was safe for travel during the days when I avidly read Lonely Planet guidebooks, the spread of Wahhabism and numerous Muslim terror groups around the Sahara and Sahel has made the country dangerous over the last few years. Al-Qacida has carried out a number of major terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso since 2012, including in the capital Ouagadougou.

Burkina Faso is distinctly rare: the DFAT travel warning is less severe than the BFO. The BFO has the highest “Avoid All Travel” for all of the border with Mali and easternmost border with Niger in Tapoa District, whereas DFAT has “Do Not Travel” only for
“All areas north of a line Tougan-Ouhigouya-Djibo-Dori”
Burkina Faso constitutes the first truly clear “-1” case in our study of comparative BFO and DFAT travel warnings, and it‘s interesting to see the explanation given that one potential cause – delayed DFAT uprating to to slower transmission of reports to Canberra vis-à-vis London – can be rejected.

Cote d‘Ivoire (formerly Ivory Coast):

BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisory map for Cote d‘Ivoire
In the 1970s and 1980s the most prosperous country in West Africa, Cote d‘Ivoire (Ivory Coast) had a major decline during the 1990s and 2000s, but the demand of china for raw materials has created a recovery since the CFA devaluation in 1994.

Being far from centres of Muslim terrorism, Cote d‘Ivoire is relatively safe, but still there is a problem of armed militias in the forested areas near the Liberian border.

As you should see, there is no difference between BFO and DFAT warnings here: the southwestern regions of Dix-Huit Montagnes, Haut-Sassandra, Moyen-Cavally and Bas-Sassandra have the second highest warning of “Reconsider Your Need to Travel” or “Advise Against All but Essential Travel”, the rest is the next lowest “Exercise a High Degree of Caution” or “See Our Travel Advice Before Travelling”.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisory map for Mali
Once an interesting, if extremely poor, destination for travellers in West Africa, Mali is now the centre of the turmoil affecting the Sahara and Sahel. The country has been the centre of several terrorist attacks upon Western interests, notably by al-Qacida upon the Radisson Blu Hotel last November where 170 hostages were sized.

As can be seen, Mali is similar to Burkina Faso in that the BFO warnings are in part at a higher level than those of DFAT. The highest warning of “Advise Against All Travel” extends further south in Kayes and Koulikiro Regions than does the DFAT warning “Do Not Travel”. On the other hand, DFAT has the highest rating for Bamako city, whereas BFO does not.

Mali would, however, unlike Burkina Faso have to score a “0” because of the difference in rating for the capital Bamako.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisory map for Liberia
During the period I avidly read Lonely Planet books, Liberia (plus neighbouring Sierra Leone which is now free of “orange” or “red” areas) was an extremely dangerous destination – though unlike Angola I lack recollections of what the problems were.

Today Liberia has quietened somewhat, but problems still exist in the remote, hilly border areas.

As we can see, Liberia follows the normal pattern of DFAT issuing more restrictive travel advice than the BFO. The BFO has the minimal “see our travel advice before travelling” for all of Liberia, whereas DFAT says “Reconsider Your Need To Travel” for Grand Gedah and River Gee counties in the conflict zone near the border with Cote d‘Ivoire.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisory map for Guinea
Our last country in sub-Saharan Africa, Guinea, shows a familiar pattern – although some of the problem relates to the deadly Ebola virus – of more cautious DFAT warnings vis-à-vis the BFO. In the case of Guinea, this is taken towards an exceptional level: DFAT says “Reconsider Your Need to Travel” to all of Guinea and even “Do Not Travel” for border areas with Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d‘Ivoire where military conflicts continue. The BFO says that the military presence can be dealt with easily as military checkpoints are prevalent everywhere in Guinea.

Conclusions for Sub-Saharan Africa:

With the exception of Burkina Faso, where British Foreign Office travel warnings are stricter than those provided by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, sub-Saharan Africa continues the pattern of Asia and Saharan Africa in that DFAT warnings are consistently stricter than those of the BFO.

Out of fifteen destinations examined in sub-Saharan Africa, DFAT’s travel advice is more cautious (severe or restrictive, higher levels of warning) in eight, viz:
  1. Kenya
  2. Uganda
  3. Burundi
  4. Angola
  5. Chad
  6. Nigeria
  7. Liberia
  8. Guinea
  9. parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mali
but less cautious with Burkina Faso and parts of Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Thus, the DFAT versus BFO score for sub-Saharan Africa is +7 of a possible +15, which is less than the +9 out of +13 for Asia and +7 out of +11 for Saharan Africa and the Horn. This lower value might reflect poorer quality information due to the extreme poverty of tropical Africa, or simply fewer informants to rely upon for data.

Nonetheless, sub-Saharan Africa together with Saharan Africa and Asia adds up to a possible +21 out of +39 – over fifty percent – for higher levels of travel warning by DFAT compared to the BFO (although it is false that most localities have different DFAT and BFO advisory levels).

Is Australia more cautious in its travel warnings? Part II: Saharan Africa and the Horn

In my previous post, I looked at how I had come to study travel warnings for inherently risky destinations during my recent holiday in Japan and Vietnam, and how I discovered that for most potentially risky destinations, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT, pronounced “dee-fat” in a manner I find a little funny given my excessive body fat) is severer in its advice to not travel than is the British Foreign Office (BFO) for inherently risky destinations in Asia.

Having done Asian destinations, I will now turn to Africa. Africa’s poor development has produced a large number of nations that are inherently risky. Consequently, I will split Africa into
  1. “Desert” Africa, including the Saharan nations and the countries of the Horn of Africa – which have much in common with Eurasia in history
  2. “Tropical” Africa, which never acquired Eurasian domesticated animals and which I will do in the next installment
“Desert” African nations will be done in the same order as Asia – from east to west, starting in the Horn of Africa.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Somalia
In Somalia, which has never been safe for travel since Lonely Planet began publishing (so I have no guidebooks) there is very little difference between BFO and DFAT because the country (which now is effectively at least three nations in Somaliland, Puntland and southern Somalia) is still in a constant state of war with terrorist groups like al-Shabāb (“The Boys” or “The Youth”) extending their work into neighbouring nations. The only difference is that the British Foreign Office allows for essential travel to Somaliland’s largest cities of Hargeisa and Berbera, whereas the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says even those cities are too dangerous to even remain in if present as an Australian.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Ethiopia
Ethiopia – before 2010 relatively safe for tourism and possesses much scenery (the Simien Mountains reach over for and a half thousand metres and had extensive ice age glaciers totalling as much as 1,000 km3 of ice) and culture (unique churches and monasteries) to attract visitors – has been severely affected by the conflicts in Somalia and Sudan.

The BFO and DFAT maps of travel advisory are basically similar, with the highest warning of “avoid all travel” or “do not travel” for extensive areas near the borders with Somalia, Eritrea, South Sudan and Sudan. However, with the less dangerous remainder of Ethiopia, we see significant differences:
  1. DFAT says Australians must reconsider their need to visit all of Ethiopia, whereas the BFO gives the equivalent advisory against all bar “essential” travel only to a few fairly small areas west of Addis Ababa and near Sudan
  2. DFAT has a “do not travel” warning for all areas bordering Somaliland, whereas BFO gives no warning at all for these border areas
Thus, Ethiopia is another “+1” country where DFAT gives stricter warnings than does the BFO – the eleventh such nation of fourteen we have seen so far.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Djibouti
Djibouti, a small city state on the floor of the Rift Valley,has been affected by the trouble in Somalia and Eritrea, though not to the same extent as Ethiopia.

Again, we see that Australia’s DFAT warns more severely about travel to Djibouti than does the United Kingdom’s BFO – this being the twelfth of fifteen examined nations where this has been observed. Moreover, the difference is largely the same as with Ethiopia – that border regions with Somaliland are given the highest warning by DFAT but no special warning by the British Foreign Office.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Eritrea
Eritrea, although in the politically very volatile Saharan and Sahelian zone, has been affected more by internal political conflict than by Islamic radicalism. Eritrea has become a case study of authoritarianism and political corruption since its independence from Addis Ababa in 1993. After an election that year elected Isaias Afewerki as President, there has been no subsequent general election in twenty-three years since. Afewerki has imposed severe restrictions upon travel in Eritrea – foreigners must have permits to travel outside Asmara and consular access is often refused to detained foreigners – and unmarked minefields are a major problem in border areas.

Eritrea is unusual in that in one area the DFAT warning is less strict than the British Foreign Office: in Cansera and Gash-Barka Regions there are areas listed as “Advise against All Travel” by the BFO where DFAT says only “Reconsider Your Need to Travel”.

However, Eritrea will have to be scored as a “0” overall because for the majority of the country DFAT lists Eritrea as “Reconsider Your Need to Travel” whereas BFO just says “see our travel advice before travelling”.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Sudan
Sudan has long been unsafe for travel due to civil war (actually a Muslim jihad against the Christian and animist south which has now seceded as South Sudan, which I will not discuss in this part) and the presence of terrorists. Present ratings are actually a lowering of long-time advice to “Avoid All Travel” or “not to travel and if in Sudan depart” (from Global Affairs Canada). Again, DFAT warnings are more restrictive than those of the BFO: in Sinnar, Northern Kordofan and White Nile States DFAT gives a stern “Do Not Travel” but BFO has recently lowered its rating to “See Our Travel Advice before Travelling”. There is an exception for areas of Red Sea State near the Eritrea border where BFO has a specific “Advise Against All Travel” warning seen above, but still Sudan would have to get a “1” given that two counters to this occur.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Egypt
Egypt, the driest country in the world and frequently the centre of news regarding ramsacking of churches and tourist sites, was once a major tourist destination. (In my old Teach Yourself Arabic there is even an article titled ‘The-Tourism in Egypt’ as a text for the seventeenth lesson). However, as can be seen, Egypt today is a dangerous place, especially in those regions near Israel.

Yet again, DFAT provides a more cautious or stricter travel warning than does the BFO. The BFO says it is safe for tourists to visit regions in and east of the Nile Valley, whereas DFAT says that none of Egypt is safe for tourist travel.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Libya
Libya, though long the richest country in Africa by per capita income due to its oil, has been torn apart in recent years due to the death of longtime dictator Colonel Gaddafi, who had long been an enemy of the US due to his support for anti-American militants and supposed orchestration of Pan Am Flight 103’s bombing in 1988 and the bombing of La Bell discothèque in West Berlin two years previously. However, in the 2000s Libya did allow limited foreign tourism and was safe to visit before the 2011 revolution and death of Colonel Gaddafi.

Since 2011, Libya has become a Muslim terrorist stronghold and completely unsafe to visit. Like Syria and Yemen, every part of Libya has the highest warning from both BFO and DFAT, so there is no difference between the two organisations and a score of “0”.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Tunisia
Once a popular tourist destination for northern Europeans seeking beach weather – and even the site of the 1967 Chess Interzonal –Tunisia has fallen off the tourist radar as the “Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria” (actually of course a virtual dictatorship under Boumédiènne and Chadli Bendjedid) succumbed to civil war in the 1990s. Tunisia remains unstable and threatened by terrorism even today.

Yet again we see the highest level of alert extending more widely from DFAT than from BFO. In the DFAT map, the highest warning of “Do Not Travel” covers all of the southernmost Tataouine Governorate and extends well into Kébili and Médenine Governorates to the north. In contrast, the BFO only advises against all travel to the southern half of Tataouine Governorate.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Algeria
Algeria, whose 1990s civil war was a beginning for the modern wave of Muslim terrorism that has severely affected the whole Saharan region, has long been a very dangerous area for the traveller. This is especially true of the remote southern regions where Muslim terrorist groups are dominant.

As can be seen, once more DFAT is more cautious (severe in warning) than is the BFO. DFAT says “reconsider your need to travel” to all of Algeria, whereas BFO says to see advice before travelling outside of the remote Saharan regions.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Niger
Niger – included here because it is almost entirely within the Sahara – faces essentially the same political threats from Muslim terrorism found throughout the Sahara today. In addition, we see a very familiar pattern in the BFO and DFAT travel warnings for Niger: the highest level in the DFAT map extends to all of Niger except for the western “panhandle” south of the capital Niamey, but the BFO allows for “essential” travel to many areas of southeastern Niger.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Mauritania
Mauritania, infamous as one of the few modern nations where slavery is still legally practiced, and more entirely within the Sahara than any other nation, is notable in that for the first time we see a nation where DFAT is less restrictive than the BFO. This is seen in the governorates of Assaba and Hodh el Gharbi where the BFO advises against all travel but DFAT mainly gives a lower “reconsider your need to travel” warning. Although the town of Zouérat does get a higher warning from DFAT, on the whole Mauritania is the first nation we have observed where DFAT provides a less severe warning against travel than the BFO and this has a score of “-1”.

Conclusions for Saharan Africa and the Horn:

With the exception of Mauritania, where in some areas DFAT’s advice is less severe than that of the BFO, all nations in Saharan Africa follow the same pattern we saw for inherently dangerous Asian destinations in the previous blog post. The overall score for Asia was +9 out of a possible +13; for Saharan Africa and the Horn the overall score is +7 out of a possible +11.

This result suggests we have the same result for the Sahara and the Horn of Africa as observed for Asian nations. In both regions, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is more severe (restrictive or cautious) in its travel warnings than is the British Foreign Office.

In the third installment, I will look at sub-Saharan Africa to give a final assessment of inherently dangerous destinations and see if my perception Australia gave higher levels of warning than other “developed” nations is consistently correct – which it seems to be based on evidence so far.

Is Australia more cautious in its travel warnings? Part I: Introduction and Asia

Whilst on tour with my mother and brother in Japan and Hồ Chí Minh City during the latter half of January, I had an attraction to something I had looked at a few years ago in a less serious manner: travel warnings.

Although my mother and brother have no interest in remotely risky destinations, I often do – indeed many I can find very interesting due to the cultural differences and the fact that many have ecological traits either very different (e.g. Afghanistan) or quite similar to Australia itself.

It was very frequent during the holidays that I would – although always quietly – tell my mother and brother about these “Do Not Travel” warnings that I noticed from the Department of Foreign Affairs and trade (abbreviated to DFAT). My mother and brother would say there was little of interest in most “Do Not Travel” destinations, although my knowledge of linguistics and ecology make it tough to agree.

Australia’s DFAT is not the only group who published travel warnings (and advice for less inherently risky destinations). The British Foreign Office, Global Affairs Canada, the U.S. Department of State, and sites in Ireland, Taiwan, Japan and other European nations also produce travel warnings for dangerous regions of the world. Of these, I have studied most extensively Global Affairs Canada and the British Foreign Office – indeed it was those and not DFAT that I based my early studies of the topic upon. Whilst I was travelling in Japan, it occurred to me that DFAT often had “reconsider your need to travel” in areas where the British Foreign Office seemed to be simply giving the normal “See our travel advice before travelling” (the lowest warning). My mother and brother have disputed this, and also disputed my attribution of the difference to Australians’ inherently greater risk aversion from living with an exceptionally variable hydrology compared to the Enriched World.

For this reason, I have decided to compare DFAT’s travel warnings with those of the British Foreign Office on a country-by-country basis. I have chosen the British Foreign Office because, unlike Global Affairs Canada, it has really accurate maps of what regions – not merely what countries – should be avoided.

Since most inherently dangerous destinations are in the hotter parts of the globe, it is possible to do this reasonably systematic country-by-country basis, starting in Australian longitudes and going westward through Asia, Africa and the Americas. I will do Asia in this chapter, and Africana dn teh Americas in subsequent chapters who exact detail I have not yet planned out. We will compare DFAT’s rating with that of the BFO with a score of:
  • +1 if DFAT is more restrictive
  • 0 if DFAT and the BFO are the same
  • -1 if DFAT be less restrictive


BFO (top) and DFAT (bottom) travel advisory for Indonesia
Here, we can see that DFAT is stricter than the BFO in its travel warning. The advice of “reconsider your need to travel” for Papua, West Papua and Central Sulawesi provinces is absent from the BFO warning.

The Philippines:

BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisory for the Philippines
Here, though it’s a little harder to see, we again see that DFAT is more cautious (rigorous) than the BFO. The region of highest warning – “advise against all travel” for BFO and “do not travel” for DFAT – extends further north in the DFAT map on the right than it does in the BFO map on the left. The provinces of Zamboanga del Norte and Misams Occidental are given an advisory against all but essential travel by the BFO, but a highest-level “Do Not Travel” by Canberra’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

India – the next country I would have done – does not unfortunately have a proper BFO map to compare. It’s interesting, though, that some other nations list higher-level “Avoid All Travel” warnings for the state of Manipur in the northeast, which has only the second-highest “Reconsider Your Need to Travel” from DFAT.

Pakistan has similar problems, but here DFAT is much stricter than the BFO. DFAT advises to at least “Reconsider Your Need to Travel” for all of Pakistan, but BFO does not except for the most inherently dangerous regions.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Nepal
In Nepal, a country where a longstanding monarchy (dating back to the eighteenth century, as Nepal was never colonised due to its extreme terrain and absence of natural resources) has been overthrown, travel safety has improved in recent years as political tensions ease. The maps however do show that, as in the Philippines and Indonesia, Australia’s DFAT offers higher (stricter) levels of travel warning than the British Foreign Office for many localities. In the case of Nepal this is the Terai region in the south of the country, which the British give no special warning to but which DFAT lists as “Reconsider Your Need to Travel” due to political protests beginning in summer 2015.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisory map for Afghanistan
Afghanistan, for a long time unsafe to visit (without noting strongly that Taliban hostility to non-Muslims would have excluded tourism even had conflict ceased) is shown above. Again, for the third time out of three maps, we see that DFAT has the severest “Do Not Travel” warning for all of Afghanistan, but the BFO has only the second-highest “Avoid Non-Essential Travel” for most regions north of the Hindukush and the ranges to the west.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Iraq
Iraq is another nation that has long been unsafe to visit – were it safe with its long history and perfect winter climate of 15˚C days it would actually be a quite interesting place to visit, though of course not during the dreadful summers that average over 40˚C even in the north.

Looking at the map above, one sees exactly the same pattern as for Afgahnistan. Australia’s DFAT advises to avoid all travel to the whole of Iraq, whereas Britain’s Foreign Office allows for essential travel to the south and the northeast. The northeast of Iraq is controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the south is far from the danger of ISIS, so authorities in London do not consider it as dangerous.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Turkey
In Turkey, which is considerably affected by the trouble in Syria and Iraq, we see than DFAT is again more restrictive than the BFO – although the difference is less than with Iraq or Afghanistan probably because western and northern Turkey remains safe or relatively so. The provinces of Bingöl, Muş, Van, Bitlis and Batman are listed as “reconsider your need to travel” by DFTA but as “see our travel advice before travelling” by the British Foreign Office.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Georgia
In Georgia, we see only a very slight difference between BFO and DFAT – so slight in fact that one could count the country as a “zero” rather than as a “positive one”. DFAT does suggest a high-risk zone around the Pankisi Gorge due to landmines, but BFO does not.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Syria
In Syria, which Lonely Planet’s old Middle East on a Shoestring said back circa 2000 was “an extremely safe country to visit”, conflicts in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein and struggles with the Bacathist Asad regime have made the country quite off-limits to visitors. As can be seen, there is an absolute warning to avoid all travel to the whole of Syria by not only the Australian and British foreign affairs departments, but also by others.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Lebanon
In Lebanon, a country long affected by all the conflicts found in the Middle East, there has for a long time been a major threat from Muslim terrorism, especially from Hezbollah, sponsored by the Shicite fundamentalist regime in Iran. Yet again, we see DFAT offering severer travel warnings than the BFO: according to DFAT travel to all regions of Lebanon must be reconsidered due to high risk, whereas the BFO lists only the border areas and certain parts of Beirut as high risk.

Saudi Arabia:

BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia, as most will know, has always largely restricted entry of non-Muslims to workers or business travellers (“essential” travel). This should in theory reduce distinctions required within a government travel warning.

However, as we can see, this does not apply. DFAT still places a “reconsider your need to travel” warning upon all of Saudi Arabia, and the BFO also distinguishes between “essential” and “non-essential” (on organised tour or transit visa) travel.

Moreover, with Saudi Arabia the difference between BFO and DFAT is very clear. DFAT says the need for travel to all of Saudi Arabia must be carefully considered, whereas the BFO applies this only to areas close to the Yemeni border. In addition, the area near that border with the strongest warming (“avoid all travel” or “do not travel”) is much wider in the DFAT map, where it extend for thirty kilometres versus only ten in the BFO map.


BFO (left) and DFAT (right) travel advisories for Yemen
The spread of the al-Qacida terrorist group into Yemen – where it now conducts most of its operations – means that the travel warnings for Yemen in most OECD nations are the same: “Avoid All Travel”, “Do Not Travel”, or its equivalent. There is no difference between BFO, DFAT or any other one.


Of the nations we have studied and compared BFO and DFAT travel advisories for, we can see that:
  • Indonesia, the Philippines, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia
  • plus Pakistan which was unable to be mapped
    • all receive tougher travel warnings taken as a whole from DFAT than from the BFO
  • Georgia, Syria and Yemen
  • plus unmapped India (though with local differences)
    • all receive the same level of travel warnings taken as a whole from DFAT as from the BFO
  • this gives an overall score for Asia of +9
  • it certainly suggests Australia is far more severe (stricter or more cautious) in its travel warnings than Britain re Asia
In our next posts we will compare Africa and the Americas to see whether this trend is also apparent there, and then think about how one might account for the observed results.