Know Before You Go: North and South Korea Tensions, American Heroes in France, and China’s Stock Woes

Here are the Top Five News Stories that caught our eyes this week.

  1. Global Markets Falling Results in China’s Slashed Interest Rate

    China's stocks take a plunge (Image Courtesy of BBC)
    China’s stocks take a plunge (Image Courtesy of BBC)
  • What You Need to Know: Over the weekend, China’s stocks continued to fall rapidly, leaving the global market in a panic. Stock markets around the world plummeted startlingly on Monday morning, leaving financial experts from around the world on the edge of their seats. The FTSE 100 (London’s main stock) closed down 4.6%, which resulted in £73.75 billion vanishing from the FTSE 100. The 8.5% fall caused China to implement its 5th (yes, you read that right. 5th) interest rate cut since November 2014. The .25% cut brought interest rate down to 4.6%. From the initial reaction, this was a good move. European shares jumped up to almost 5% when they opened on Tuesday, while the Dow Jones (U.S. Stock) opened at 1.7% higher. China is still reeling from what economists and Beijing officials are calling “Black Monday”, but the hopes are that this solution might have some long-term benefits. For more information on this story, visit http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-34052618 and http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34038147.
  • Why You Need to Know This: We’ve been talking about China and their money issues off and on since June, when the market began to fall pretty heavily. This cut in the interest rate is an attempt to revive the growth in the stock market. The reason that world markets suffered from China’s massive drop is due to global business concerns in China. If China falls into a recession, we might be looking at a repeat of 2008 all over again.

    The world markets took a turn for the worse as well, following China's Black Monday (Image Courtesy of BBC)
    The world markets took a turn for the worse as well, following China’s Black Monday (Image Courtesy of BBC)
  • Office Top Tip: With China still in trouble this morning, it isn’t clear about what is going to happen next. Things will continue to be messy.

2. American Heroes in France Train High-jacking Attempt

Americans Stone and Skarlatos with French PM Hollande (Image Courtesy of BBC)
Americans Stone and Skarlatos with French PM Hollande (Image Courtesy of BBC)
  • What You Need to Know: On Friday, Aug. 21, four men jumped into action when a gunman attempted to open fire on a French train. Three off-duty American military servicemen were on board the train. Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, and Anthony Sadler tackled the gunman, wrestled away his weapons, and with the help of Chris Norman, a British businessman, tied up the would-be-attacker. The Frenchman who initially attempted to intervene was Mark Moogalian. He sustained a shot to the neck, but Stone stopped the bleeding and Moogalian survived. The attacker is a Moroccan man, 25-year-old Ayoub El-Khazzani. He was flagged by the Spanish authorities in 2014 as affiliated with a radical Islamist movement and there are suspicions that he had traveled to Syria. While his family insists that he is not a terrorist, authorities have found that El-Khazzani was watching jihadist videos before launching the attack. French prosecutors have decided to proceed with terrorist-related charges. For more information on this story, visit http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34055713 and http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34037580.
  • Why You Need to Know This: These guys are a bright spot of hope in the fight against terrorism. With so many different instances occurring this year, it is an amazing thing to have four men stand up when something seems wrong. These guys are being hailed as heroes in France, and hopefully when they get back to their respected countries, they will be hailed as heroes as well. They have received the top honor in France.
  • Office Top Tip: Be like these men. If something seems wrong, do something about it. Safety, of course, is a number one priority.

3. Deadly Plane Crash in England

A27 blocked off by crews removing debris (Image Courtesy of BBC)
A27 blocked off by crews removing debris (Image Courtesy of BBC)
  • What You Need to Know: On Saturday, a Hawker Hunter jet crashed into a British highway, killing 11. The jet was part of an aerial display that was part of an air show. The people who have died are people who were on the road at the time of the accident. Aviation restrictions on vintage jets, such as the Hawker Hunter jet, have been put in place following the crash. The pilot of the crash was Andrew Hill; he survived, but has been placed in a medically-induced coma. He is still in critical condition. For more information on this story, visit http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-sussex-34038479.
  • Why You Need to Know This: English police forces are moving swiftly on reopening the road and identifying all of the people who have died as a result of this tragedy. This is a very big deal in England, which has stayed relatively tragedy free over the past few years. Authorities are hoping that roads will be open by Saturday and families can be notified over the next week or two.

    Location of the crash (Image Courtesy of BBC)
    Location of the crash (Image Courtesy of BBC)
  • Office Top Tip: If you’re heading to England or the UK this semester, this will be in the news a lot. Keep an eye on the news and be prepared to be talking about this.

4. North and South Korea Reach a New Border Deal

South Korean Soldiers on Border patrol (Image Courtesy of BBC)
South Korean Soldiers on Border patrol (Image Courtesy of BBC)
  • What You Need to Know: It was a tense weekend between North and South Korea. With the two countries technically at war since the 1950s, things between the two countries have never quite settled down, much to the angst of the rest of the world. However, over the past month, things have gotten a little tenser. On August 4th, a landmine exploded, injuring two South Korean soldiers. South Korea has blamed North Korea for planting these mines, which the North has vehemently denied. The South is also accusing the North of shelling the South; this caused the South to fire artillery at the North. This escalation came to a head over the weekend when the South blared propaganda across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). This used to be a regular occurrence until 2004 when both sides agreed to stop this practice. The blasts of propaganda infuriated the North and last Thursday there was an exchange of gunfire at the DMZ. However, a new deal was agreed upon late Monday night. South Korea will stop the loudspeaker blasts and North Korea will pull troops back from the edge of the North-South border. Both countries have also agreed to work towards reuniting families that were separated by the Korean War. For more information on this story, visit http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34037275.
  • Why You Need to Know This: Just because everything seems peachy right now, doesn’t mean that it will stay that way. North and South Korea function on incredibly different levels; the North is a Communist-run Dictatorship, while the South is a Democracy backed by the U.S. and other nations. It doesn’t look like the leaders of these two countries will be meeting any time soon either. With ties still incredibly frayed, this was a close call, but expected by many of the people who have dealt with the conflict between the two nations.
  • Office Top Tip: If you are planning on going to South Korea, it’s always wise to keep an eye on North Korea. They will probably always be a volatile point in the news, so it is always wise to stay informed.

5. Europe’s Immigration Issue

Graphic of Migrant routes into Europe (Image Courtesy of BBC)
Graphic of Migrant routes into Europe (Image Courtesy of BBC)
  • What You Need to Know: As migrants from Syria and North Africa attempt to cross into Europe, they are met with a string of challenges. First is the perilous crossing over the Mediterranean to get to the continent. Over 2,000 people have died so far this year in their attempts to cross the sea. Germany, which is currently under fire by their own citizens for opening a new asylum shelter, is expecting up to 800,000 refugees to arrive this year. In Greece, almost 50,000 migrants had arrived in July alone. Many of the refugees are Syrians, attempting to escape the bloody and tumultuous civil war that is still continuing. Of those who have died so far this year, 1,930 died attempting to reach Italy alone. For more information on this story, visit http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-24583286.
  • Why You Need to Know This: We have talked about the migrant clashes in France, the death of migrants on their way to Italy, and more issues with Europe and immigration. There is a hope that something will be done to satisfy both sides of this never-ending argument, but it is not likely to happen. What could happen is that there will be new legislation leaning one way or the other and it will lead to some very unhappy people._85075934_migrants_numbers__chart-01
  • Office Top Tip: If you are in Europe, there will be plenty of talks about this. From England to Italy, everyone is affected and everyone will have an opinion.

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

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

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