Know Before You Go: Obama Goes Home, Floating Couches, and The Yellow Jersey

Here are the Top Five news stories that caught our eyes this week!

  1.  Obama in Africa

    President Obama gives a speech to the African Union (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
    President Obama gives a speech to the African Union (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
  • What You Need to Know: With the 2016 Presidential Elections looming, current President Barack Obama is getting in the last trips and things he needs to accomplish before he must step down from being Commander in Chief. One the things he wanted to do before leaving office was to visit Africa one last time. It was as much as a political move as a personal one. Obama’s father in from Kenya, one of the first stops on Obama’s tour. Obama met family members that he was unaware that he had as well as speaking to members of Kenya’s government. In his Kenya speech, Obama had a mixed message for the audience. He praised the way that Kenya’s economy and politics have advanced, but he also warned against corruption, ethnic division, and terrorism. He spoke against the treatment of women and referenced the acceptance of gay rights. From Kenya he moved on to Ethiopia, where he spoke at the African Union’s headquarters. In his address to the AU, he criticized leaders who refuse to step down when their terms end and talked about democracy. He made a joke about attempting to run for another term in office, which is illegal in our constitution, in order to soften the blow that he was dealing out. For more information on this story, visit and
  • Why You Need to Know This: Obama’s comments in Africa are very empowering to the young generation in Africa. He is one of the first presidents who is able to trace his routes back through Africa and then visit the location of his ancestry as president (he visited in 2006 as a senator). His comments about how presidents need to step down after their terms end are really controversial. He specifically called out Burundi’s president who decided to stay in for a third term earlier this year. Directing his comments towards the entire African Union is a bold move by the soon-to-be ex-President. But it is an important move that could make waves in the face of African politics.
  • Office Top Tip: With Obama’s comments fresh in the minds of the African people, we can only hope that we can see some major changes in the political game in Africa, as well as human rights changes. It is important to remember, however, that things will not just happen overnight. Africa is a volatile place in the world and there are a lot of steps that would require change. But this is, without a doubt, an important move on President Obama’s part.

2. Migrants Attempt Chunnel Entrance

Calais Chunnel Enterance (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
Calais Chunnel Enterance (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
  • What You Need to Know: On Monday night, around 2,000 migrants attempted to go through the Channel Tunnel in Calais. A number of people were injured while they were attempting to board trains that were on their way to Britain. Passengers on the British side of the Eurotunnel were held up around an hour while passengers on the French side were only held up for a half an hour. Home Secretary of the UK, Theresa May, announced that the UK were giving £7 million in attempt to step up security at the Chunnel railhead in Calais. For more information on this story, visit
  • Why You Need to Know This: We have mentioned this story several weeks ago. With migrants from the Middle East attempting to enter Britain illegally from the France side of the Chunnel, it is almost impossible to keep everyone out. With the promise of more security from Britain on its way, there might be more of a chance to keep things like this from happening again. The biggest issue that this is causing has to do with traffic and how the Chunnel is being forced to suspend service for periods of time. This is causing a major headache on all sides.
  • Office Top Tip: Train travel is one of the coolest parts of being in Europe. You can take trains everywhere and it is an amazing way of seeing the countryside. However, with the migrants attempting Chunnel jumps every other week, it could cause travel issues if you’re planning on using it. It is a smarter idea to hop a plane or a ferry over to France or England, instead of taking a chance on the Eurotunnel.

3. Cecil the Lion

Twitter reacts to Palmer's involvement in the killing of Cecil (Image Courtesy of the  BBC)
Twitter reacts to Palmer’s involvement in the killing of Cecil (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
  • What You Need to Know: The 13-year-old lion that has been living in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe was gunned down by an American dentist on July 1. News is just now breaking about the killing of the park’s friendly lion. He was the parks most famous lion and was being monitored by Oxford University in a study about lion preservation. Minnesotan dentist Walter Palmer claims that he was unaware of the lion’s famous identity before he shot him with a crossbow and the a rifle outside of the park. Two Zimbabwean men have been arrested and will be taken to court in regards to this matter. Theo Bronkhorst and Honest Ndlovu are being charged with poaching offences. Palmer may be charger as well. Palmer’s practice was closed on Tuesday after news of Cecil’s killing spread like wildfire throughout social media. For more information on this story, visit
  • Why You Need to Know This: If you have the proper permits, it is not illegal to hunt in Africa, in certain locations. The biggest issue that people are having with this is that Cecil the Lion was lured out of Hwange National Park so that the hunters could kill him. Many people are trying to get Zimbabwe to stop issuing hunting permits on animals that are endangered. This could have massive implications on any American who wants to go hunting in Africa.
  • Office Top Tip: Palmer is getting a huge amount of backlash from his part in killing Cecil. This is a big deal for the people of Zimbabwe and for animal rights activists as well. Other people who have taken part in hunts have also faced backlash on social media. It is important to know what you are doing and what you are taking part in if you do decide to participate in something like this.

4. Challenge in Rio 2016 Olympics

Pollution that is floating in the Bay (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
Pollution that is floating in the Bay (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
  • What You Need to Know: With the 2016 Olympics planning on being held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, officials are struggling with several obstacles. One of the biggest ones is pollution. 70% of sewage is poured into Guanabara Bay. The bay is where sailing and windsurfing competitions are scheduled to be held. It is unclear how officials plan on clearing the bay where sailors have reported seeing furniture and floating animal carcasses. For more information on this story, visit
  • Why You Need to Know This: Rio will be a hot spot for tourism in the coming months leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games. It is a huge honor for Rio to have been chosen as the location for the Olympics, but what will happen if it can’t get the pollution problem solved?
  • Office Top Tip: Although there’s not a lot to report on this story as of right now, it is clear that we need to keep an eye on what Rio is doing leading up to 2016. With the Olympics in a country that the Study Abroad Office can send you to, Brazil might become a hot spot for studying abroad next year.

5. Tour de France Ends; Britain’s Froome Walks Away in Yellow

The route of the 2015 Tour de France (Image Courtesy of Tour de France)
The route of the 2015 Tour de France (Image Courtesy of Tour de France)
  • What You Need to Know: The Tour de France is one of the biggest cycling events of the year. The 22-day race covers a total distance of 3,360 kilometers and travels all over France. It is physically grueling, with some stages of the race requiring riders to ride close to 200 km a day. But at the end of it all, on Sunday, Chris Froome of Britain’s Team Sky walked away with Yellow Jersey. The Yellow Jersey is the symbolic way winners are designated. This is the second time that Froome has won the Tour de France; he won the race in 2013. He finished this year with a time of 84 hours, 46 minutes, and 14 seconds. For more information on this story, visit and
  • Why You Need to Know This: The Tour is a big deal. Although people don’t really talk about it unless it’s going on, many people train for this race year round. People take the Tour very seriously and it isn’t uncommon for the race to shut down every town it goes through.
  • Office Top Tip: If you’re in France while the Tour is on, you should definitely try to check out at least one of the races. It is pretty cool to see the pack of riders flying by you! It is also a good way to see more of France!

Check back next week for more news so you can Know Before You Go!

All stories are based off of information gather from CNN, the New York Times, The Guardian, The BBC, and the Telegraph.


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