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Report highlights world travel risks

Threat x Vulnerability = Risk is a formula commonly used for travel.
Threat x Vulnerability = Risk is a formula commonly used for travel.

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CHICAGO, Illinois (Reuters) -- For many international business travelers preoccupied with getting the job done, safety and security concerns may cover only the obvious - theft and assault.

But today's world climate poses far more serious challenges, some of which are touched on in a new report listing the 10 countries most at risk for terrorism.

Listed not by degree of risk but alphabetically, they are Colombia, Indonesia, Israel, Kenya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Yemen.

That compilation comes from iJET Travel Risk Management, a company that sells security, intelligence, safety and health information to corporations and individual travelers covering more than 450 worldwide destinations.

The list represents some changes from an earlier one put out by the company six months ago, according to Sarah Slenker, senior iJET security analyst.

Nigeria, Spain and Thailand have been removed from the list because of anti-terrorism steps taken by those three countries. They have been replaced, however, by three others -- Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

On Pakistan, the report cites recent attempts on the life of President Pervez Musharraf, a likely al Qaeda presence in the country, a porous border with Afghanistan and an ongoing struggle between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

Saudi Arabia's vast size and ready access to weapons being smuggled in from Iraq and Yemen make it a hotbed for young Islamic militants despite significant gains by the government to counter them, the report said.

The analysis says Turkey's problems, highlighted by attacks in Istanbul in November, represent just the beginning of a long-term campaign to shake the foundation of one of the most secular and democratic countries in the Islamic world.

Any "turmoil-torn" countries such as Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan were deliberately excluded from the list on the theory that not many travelers are going there.

Slenker said some may be surprised to find the Philippines on the list.

Manila is a very high traffic destination for business travelers, she said, and that area has been relatively trouble free. But she said elsewhere in the country there is well-publicized turmoil from a variety of sources including al Qaeda and a high rate of kidnapping for ransom.

Moscow is a major destination for business travelers, Slenker said, and its troubles with Chechen separatists are well publicized, including the recent Moscow subway bombing blamed on them that killed more than three-dozen people.

Copyright 2004 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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