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Cablegate: Bangladesh Grants Country Clearance to Usgs


DE RUEHKA #5377/01 2351009
R 231009Z AUG 06





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Embassy Dhaka welcomes and grants country clearance for
John Whitney, Research Geologist, USGS for his September 19
to 29 visit. Local contact is Sarah Duffy, Economic Officer,
880-2-885-5500, extension 2180, duffysa@state.gov.

2. Per reftel, post will make arrangements for a travel
expeditor. The Mission,s workweek is Sunday-Thursday from
0800 to 1630 hours. There are no mission holidays during your

3. No other embassy services have been requested.

4. Please note the following:

A) IMPORTANT. Personnel entering Bangladesh are required
to possess a valid passport, with a minimum validity of six
months. A valid visa is also required prior to arrival.

B) Departure: All personnel (including holders of
diplomatic and official passports) are urged to use the
services of the U.S. Mission,s travel agent for
reconfirming onward travel and to verify if the departure
tax of 300 taka 300 (approximately USD 5) and the travel
tax (approximately 2500 taka) have been included in the
cost of the ticket. If not included, travelers must pay in
taka at the airport.

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C) Currency: The local use of U.S. dollars is prohibited
by law, except for the payment of a hotel bill.
Accommodation exchange for incidental local expenses is
available at the Chancery. Reverse accommodation exchange
is available only at the original place of exchange with
original documents and receipts as proof. Automatic Teller
Machines (ATMs) are very limited, not readily accessible,
and dispense taka only. Traveler checks cannot be used in
most establishments except international hotels. Most
major credit cards are accepted at international hotels.

D) American Recreation Association (Embassy club)
facilities are available to U.S. citizen official visitors
for a temporary membership fee of USD 10.00 per week. In
addition to the membership fee, you will be required to
purchase a cash card. A copy of your passport data page or
a passport-sized photograph is necessary to obtain a cash
card. This card will enable you to have meals and use club
facilities (which include tennis court, squash court,
swimming pool, exercise room, and restaurant/bar.)

E) The U.S. Commissary facility is available to U.S.
citizen official visitors who are USG employees. However,
payment is permitted only by USD personal check or traveler

F) Health: All travelers must have health insurance to
cover medical evacuations by air ambulance, and should
carry with them the 24/7 contact information for their
insurer. Medical care in Bangladesh is very basic.

Intestinal problems are common in Dhaka. Visitors must
exercise care in what they eat and drink. Presume that all
tap water is contaminated, even in hotels. Travelers are
advised to drink bottled/boiled water and eat only fruits
and vegetables that have been cooked and peeled.
Undercooked meat should be avoided. Travelers should also
avoid eating uncooked dairy products and food sold on the
streets. Visitors who take medication on a regular basis
should bring enough for the duration of their visit.

The U.S. Mission has a Medical Unit staffed by a U.S.
physician and registered nurses. Visitors should bring a
supply of mosquito repellent to Dhaka. There have been
cases of mosquito-borne illnesses, including dengue fever,
which is transmitted by a day-biting mosquito. Supplies
are usually available in the commissary; however, you
should bring your own supply in case you arrive in Dhaka
when the commissary is closed (on Sunday). We also
recommend that travelers have updated immunizations,
especially for typhoid.

G) Security: Bangladesh continues to experience some
anti-American sentiment as the result of U.S. military and
other actions in the war against terrorism and events in
the Middle East. Demonstrations have the potential to take
place any time and to be unruly. In addition, longstanding
rivalry between the two leading political parties prompt
periodic general strikes (hartals), public demonstrations,
and marches. Normal vehicular traffic is discouraged
during the hartals. Visitors should strictly avoid all
political protests, demonstrations and marches.

With the prior approval of the RSO, visitors may carry an
unclassified laptop into the Controlled Access Area

provided the laptop is transported under the immediate
personal control of the visitor or via diplomatic pouch.

The Embassy advises Americans to be aware of their
surroundings at all times, to avoid predictable behavior,
and not to accept packages from unknown individuals.
Sensitive or personal matters should not be discussed over
local telephone lines.

The State Department classifies the crime threat in Dhaka
as high. While foreigners are not generally the targets of
violent crimes, pick-pocketing, purse-snatching, and other
forms of street crime occur frequently, especially in areas
frequented by foreigners. Visitors should avoid walking
alone after dark, carrying large sums of money, or wearing
expensive jewelry. Valuables should be stored in the hotel
safety deposit box and should not be left unattended in
hotel rooms. Visitors should use the Embassy Motor pool as
the Chief of Mission has declared public transportation to
be unsafe. In addition, you should keep the Embassy,s
24-hour emergency telephone number available at all times
(885-5500); receptionists are on duty 24 hours a day.

5. We look forward to your visit.

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