Know Before You Go: Paris, Beirut, & Japan

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


  1. Paris Attacks
    Map of the Attacks on Paris (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
    • What You Need to Know: On Friday, the Western World was shocked when gunmen and suicide bombers struck Paris, France. The unsuspecting people of Paris were not prepared when the attackers struck a concert hall, a major sports stadium, restaurants, and bars. All of the attacks took place within a half an hour of each other; Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the killing of 129 and the wounding of hundreds more. The attacks started with a suicide bomb being detonated outside of the Stade de France. The man attempted to enter the stadium, but was stopped and then detonated himself. Stade de France was full of people since France was playing Germany is a friendly football match. The last attack, and the most deadly, was at the Bataclan concert hall. A Californian rock group, Eagles of Death Metal, was playing at the sold out 1500 seat concert hall when gunmen entered the venue and began shooting at the crowd. 89 people died at the Bataclan and 99 others were taken to local hospitals in critical condition. President Francois Hollande, who was at the Stade de France, has since declared war on ISIS, sending jets and missiles to strike at the heart of IS’ operations. As the weekend passed and the week moved in, France launched massive manhunts and operations around Paris and the country of France in an attempt to locate all of the attackers, accomplices, and masterminds behind the attacks. All 129 victims have been identified and 221 people remain in the hospitals. For more information about the attacks, visit For the latest updates, visit
    • Why You Need to Know This: This is the first attack that IS has placed on a major Western city. IS has control of much of the Middle East, and while many countries have stepped up to help the Middle East, IS still remains large and well. Now, France is waging an all-out war against the terrorist cell. It is unsure of what France’s next move is and when they are planning on to do it. This does not mean the world is unsafe. If anything, it makes things even safer. If the world is waiting and watching IS with hawk eyes, the world has eyes out everywhere. Now might be the safest time to travel or to be anywhere; but as always, your eyes and your gut instinct is what you should go by and stay away from any areas or situations that make you uncomfortable.
    • Office Top Tip: With the world now on edge (Russia, Rome, and Washington D.C. have all been named as potential targets), there are more countries joining on the fight to get rid of IS. We will be posting something from Director Strong about safety abroad here in the next few days.
  2. Suicide Bombs Rock BeirutRuined StreetDestruction in Beirut (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
    • What You Need to Know: Lebanon’s capital city, Beirut, was rocked with two suicide bombings last week. The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility in the deadliest bombings of the capital since the end of Lebanon’s civil war in 1990. At least 41 people have died; the Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam has issued a day of mourning following these attacks. The blasts occurred on Thursday night, on a street that is usually used as a market. More than 200 people were wounded, so the death toll might rise as the week progresses. A third bomber failed to detonate his explosives and was found at the scene. The attacks took place days before many countries met to talk about peace in Syria. For more on this story, visit
    • Why You Need to Know This: IS was on a terror spree this weekend. These attacks took place a day before the attacks in Paris. It is unclear what the focus of the attacks was. The Hezbollah neighborhood is thought to have been targeted because of their forces fighting IS in Syria.

      Beirut Bombings
      Soldiers in the streets of Beirut (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
    • Office Top Tip: With IS increasing their presence around the world, it is important to keep your eyes open. If something doesn’t feel right, say something or change locations. Your gut is your best asset while you’re abroad.
  3. UN Visit to North Korea
    Ban Ki-Moon
    United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
    • What You Need to Know: North Korea will be getting a vistor from the U.N. in the near future. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations will visit North Korea this week according to some South Korean news sources. There has been no confirmation from the U.N. on this, but if the Secretary General’s visit does take place, it will be the first time that a U.N. chief sets foot in North Korea for two decades. This meeting was supposed to take place in May, but North Korea cancelled suddenly just a day before Ban Ki-moon arrived. For more information on this story, visit
    • Why You Need to Know This: With North Korea under heavy scrutiny by the U.N., this would be a massive step if the Secretary General was allowed into the country. The E.U. and the U.S. also are watching North Korea carefully, as they have placed sanctions on the communist country after nuclear tests had been performed over the past year.
    • Office Top Tip: If Ban Ki-moon does indeed get to North Korea, there could be significant changes seen in North Korea over the next few months. It is still a waiting game to see if Ban Ki-moon is indeed going to the country, or if this was just all a hoax.
  4. Russia’s Nuclear Torpedo Plans “Leaked”
    Russian Meeting
    Putin in the meeting with top generals (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
    • What You Need to Know: On Thursday, a diagram was shown on Russian TV; it was of a long torpedo that up until that point had been a secret. The leak was an accident, having been caught on camera by the state-run news station Channel One when they were reporting President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with military chiefs in Sochi. The torpedo would be launched from a submarine and would cause “wide areas of radioactive contamination” according to the document. The secret footage was seen by the U.S. Defense Department, but there was no other comment by the organization. Some in Russia are wondering whether the leak was accidental or not. The U.S. and NATO have been pushing their global anti-missile defense system, something that has Russia very frustrated. Military experts are saying that if the bomb was detonated near the U.S. , everything would be killed (even in bunkers); Konstantin Sivkov, of the Russian geopolitical Academy said that if the torpedo had 100 megatons of cobalt, it “could produce a tsunami up to 1,650ft high, wiping out all living things 930 miles deep inside U.S. territory”. For more information on this story, visit
    • Why You Need to Know This: There is no reason to panic. As of right now, there is no hint that a torpedo of this size and magnitude is even close to being operational or even made yet. It’s also unclear whether or not the leak of the plans was accidental or a show of force by Russia in response to the U.S. and NATO’s push for anti-missile defense system. But if it is indeed a show of force and the plans are legit, things might get tense much like the Cold War in mid-1900s.

      Russian Missle
      Russian Plans (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
    • Office Top Tip: Let me repeat: THERE IS NO REASON TO PANIC. Russia hasn’t had a moment to speak out about the plans yet, but expect that the world will revisit this in the near future.
  5. Japan Earthquake
    Map of Japan; the southern islands were under a tsunami warning after the underwater earthquake (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
    • What You Need to Know: An earthquake rocked the coast of Japan last week. The 7.0 earthquake hit just off of the south-western coast, about 100 miles from the southern island of Nakanoshima. A tsunami warning went out for the islands of Kagoshima and Satsunan, but these were later lifted after a 1ft tsunami was detected. All of these were percautions taken after the 2011 earthquake hit north-eastern Japan. 18,000 died or went missing after the tsunami crashed into the country. For more information on this story, visit
    • Why You Need to Know This: Earthquakes are very scary experiences. As we talked about over the last few weeks, they cause major destruction. It’s even more of a threat when you are on an island country. The earthquakes underwater churn up much of the surface water, creating devastating tsunamis. Japan is very vulnerable to tsunamis and any time an earthquake strikes near the country, the world is on high alert.
    • Office Top Tip: If you are planning on going to Japan, be aware of the country’s protocol for dealing with earthquakes and tsunamis.


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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