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Expect a lot more of a hassle on European trains

Chicago Tribune

Europe: The thwarted Aug. 21 attack by a gunman on a train from Amsterdam to Paris has prompted authorities to tighten security on trains across the continent. Among the new security measures will be increased numbers of ID and luggage checks in stations and on trains. Rail passengers will see an increase in random baggage checks and an increase in the number of armed patrols on high-speed trains. Officials also are considering printing passengers' names on tickets and conducting routine background checks of travelers.

Caribbean: Roads, bridges, homes and businesses on Dominica remain severely damaged throughout the island, and the Douglas-Charles Airport has been closed until further notice due to Tropical Storm Erika, which plowed through the region Aug. 26. Twenty people were killed. Haiti, Cuba and Puerto Rico also were affected, though no major damage to infrastructure was reported. Tourists should follow news updates before making travel arrangements for Dominica.

Madagascar: At least seven people have died from a suspected pneumonic plague outbreak in the eastern city of Moramanga, just 60 miles from the capital of Antananarivo. Plague is endemic in the island nation, with the height of diagnoses often happening between September and March. Pneumonic plague is the most serious form of the plague and can be spread from person to person. Symptoms include fever and headache, and the disease can cause sudden death.

Serbia: The start of the national soccer season brings with it the potential for violence before, during and after matches, particularly when games are between the Partizan and Red Star teams in Belgrade. Police presence is increased around soccer stadiums, and clashes with soccer fans have occurred in the past. Tourists should use caution while near or at these events.

Sweden: As of Sept. 1, tourists traveling in and out of Swedish airports will undergo additional security measures, authorities said. Passengers' luggage will be checked at random, using new technology to detect toxic or dangerous substances, such as explosives. Officials simply swipe an outside area of a bag with a cloth and use a machine to look for chemicals. Passengers should be prepared for delays as airport security agents begin the new checks.

Compiled from news services and travel sources. For updates, check with the State Department at 888-407-4747,

Larry Habegger and Dani Burlison are freelance reporters.

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