About Us: The Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University
Israeli Airstrikes on Syria

IFSA-Butler is closely monitoring a reported Israeli airstrike on Syria. Despite the airstrikes, Ulpan courses are proceeding normally at Hebrew University.

According to U.S. intelligence sources, Israel carried out an airstrike Wednesday night on the Lebanese/Syrian border against an arms convoy on the Syrian side of the border. The convoy was reportedly carrying Russian-made SA-17 missiles that Syria was trying to transfer to Hezbollah.

For several hours after the attack, Syria and Lebanon insisted nothing had happened along their mutual border, and Israel has neither confirmed nor denied that it is responsible for the attack. Though some media outlets are reporting that Syria is threatening a military response, most analysts seem to agree that the Syrian government is neither interested nor able to respond militarily to last night's attack.

Our staff in Israel report that the general public in Israel remains relatively unconcerned at this time. In addition, there has been no change in the U.S. Department of State's Travel Warning for Israel.

IFSA-Butler has sent a notice to students in Israel reminding them to avoid travel to the Golan Heights, to maintain a low profile and to avoid potential conflict areas. Our staff in Israel are also following the safety procedures and advice of Hebrew University and local Israeli authorities.

 
State of Emergency Delcared in Three Egyptian Cities

Monday, January 28, 2013

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has declared a state of emergency and curfew in the cities of Suez, Ismailia and Port Said. Protests in the three cities began as a second anniversary commemoration of the 2011 revolution that ultimately ousted longtime president Hosni Mubarek, but the anniversary demonstrations turned into anti-Morsi protests in some places.

All three cities are several hours from our program sites in Cairo and Alexandria, so our students should not be affected by the state of emergency or curfew. IFSA-Butler will update our audiences on this situation as necessary.

For more information:

Link to Egypt map

BBC

CNN

New York Times

 
Egypt Demonstrations-January 25

Friday, January 25, 2013

Today in Egypt, citizens are gathering in numerous locations throughout the country to demonstrate for the 2nd anniversary of the 2011 revolution. Large numbers of Egyptians have turned out in both central Cairo and Alexandria, where IFSA-Butler programs are located. Demonstrations are expected to continue through tomorrow, January 26, in anticipation of the court verdict for the critical incident at the Port Said soccer match last year.

The IFSA-Butler resident director in Egypt has confirmed that all students are accounted for and doing well. Since today is Friday, there are no classes at the university. Therefore, students have been instructed to remain in their apartments the entire day. IFSA-Butler will continue to monitor events happening around Egypt and provide updates as necessary. For more information, please see the following online media sources:

 
Protests in Northern Ireland

Protests have developed in Northern Ireland following a decision by the Belfast City Council to fly the British flag on certain days only, ending the century-old practice of flying the flag of Great Britain all year round. Most of the protests were peaceful, but some turned violent as demonstrators threw bricks, fireworks and homemade bombs at police.

The British flag has long been a political flashpoint in Northern Ireland's struggles between pro-British loyalists and nationalists who want Northern Ireland to join the Republic of Ireland. Violence between the two groups fell sharply following the peace process in the 1990s, but clashes continue to erupt occasionally.

IFSA-Butler currently has no students in Northern Ireland. Our spring semester students will arrive later in January and will receive detailed safety information at the IFSA-Butler orientation.

For more information, we recommend the following news sites:

CNN

BBC

Belfast Telegraph

 
Australia Battling Wildfires

Wildfires began in Australia over the weekend and are raging across many parts of the country. Officials have evacuated numerous residential areas and are sifting through burned buildings to ensure that there are no deaths.

Though wildfires are common during the Australian summer, record high temperatures and high winds are making the fires devastating this year. In addition, officials believe that arsonists are responsible for at least some of the blazes. Firefighters hope that the cooler weather predicted for the next few days will help ease conditions. Monday was the hottest day on record for Australia, with the average temperature across the continent reaching 104.6 degrees.

IFSA-Butler's spring semester in Australia will not begin until February, so our students are not currently affected by this situation.

For more information, we recommend the following news sources:

Sydney Morning Herald

News.com.au

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

 
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