Know Before You Go: Brussels, Argentina, and Myanmar

  1. Brussels Lockdown
    Grand Palace in Brussels
    Soldier in front of the Grand Palace in Brussels (Image Courtesy of BBC)
    • What You Need to Know: In light of the attacks in Paris last week, Europe has been under intense scrutiny from local and worldwide safety forces. On Saturday, Brussels, Belgium was the latest country to place extra security measures in the capital city. Placing the city on lockdown, Belgian forces arrested 21 people since Sunday. The reason that the city is on lockdown is that there is a high risk of another attack taking place in Brussels, much like the ones that took place in Paris. There were reports that Salah Abdeslam, one of the gunmen from the attacks in Paris, was in Brussels and that the raids were attempts to capture him. There has been no report of an arrest of Salah Abdeslam. Brussels is at the highest level alert and schools, universities, Metro system, and some bus routes are all shut down. The European Union’s headquarters are located in Brussels and many of the tourist areas are quiet and empty. The Brussels airport is open, but the U.S. embassy is urging citizens to stay home. For more information on this story, visit
    • Why You Need to Know This: Europe is on its highest alerts after what occurred in Paris last week. With the Islamic State (IS) announcing that it plans on attacking other cities around the world, everyone is waiting and watching to see what will happen or if IS will strike somewhere next. With raids occurring across many European countries, it would not be a shock if the raids and some lockdowns occur over the coming weeks. Europe is looking for Salah Abdeslam and they will do whatever they can to find him.

      Soldier in front of EU in Brussels
      Soldier in front of the EU Headquarters in Brussels (Image Courtesy of BBC)
    • Office Top Tip: Europe is very safe right now with the continent on high alert. That being said, if you are in a country or city where this is a lockdown or suspicions of terrorist plots taking place, stay safe. As the U.S. Embassy in Brussels stated, if there is a lockdown or an attack occurs, stay home and stay safe.
  2. Lights Out in Crimea
    Crimea Map
    Crimea on a Map (Image Courtesy of BBC)
    • What You Need to Know: Sunday morning, Crimea’s power shut off. Located in the Ukraine, most of the two million residents have had their power vanish. Crimea was annexed by Russia in March 2014, and the power outages were blamed on the Anti-Russian activists. Public transport is running, but the hospitals in the area are using generators while the state of emergency is in place. No one worked on Monday under the state of emergency. This is being called a terrorist attack, for the damage to the pylons that transport the electricity was caused by explosive devices. For more information on this story, visit
    • Why You Need to Know This: Crimea has been the focus of much of the Russian campaign in the Ukraine. Things have been mostly quiet for the past few months, but with this power outage, it is unclear whether or not the Anti-Russian activist’s demands will be met. They are demanding that political prisoners be released along with one of their top people allowed back into the country.

      Crimea Pylons
      The destroyed plyons in Crimea (Image Courtesy of BBC)
    • Office Top Tip: Russia and the Ukraine have quieted down, but it would not be a surprise to anyone if they squared off against each other once again.
  3. Elections in Argentina
    Mauricio Macri
    Newly elected President Mauricio Macri (Image Courtesy of BBC)
    • What You Need to Know: Last week, Argentina voted in the presidential elections run-off. A run-off election occurs when neither candidate win the vote outright. This run-off election is the first in the country’s history. Buenos Aires mayor Mauricio Macri is going against Daniel Scioli. Macri is the leader of the Cambiemos (Let’s Change) coalition and has been running on a platform of bringing new investment to the economy, tackling crime, and fighting corruption. He is the son of one of the richest men in Argentina and has also had an extensive career in business. Scioli is a close ally of the presiding President Cristiana Fernandez de Kirchner and was the original winner of the votes in October. He was expected to win by a wide margin of votes in October, but fell flat. He had 36.7% of the votes while Macri held 34.5%; but still neither of candidates had enough votes to win the President seat. This time around, exit polls are saying that Macri had the most of the votes. But it is a waiting game until the official announcement. For more information on this story, visit
    • Why You Need to Know This: If Macri wins this election, this will be the first time in Argentinean history that the center-left politicians will gain control from the far-left. This could spin Argentina into a new phase of history. The exit polls said that Macri’s lead wasn’t any more that 5 or 6 points, so anything could still happen. If Macri does take the elections and wins the Presidency, the first year or two of his term would be crucial and important to watch.
    • Office Top Tip: If you are in a country where elections of any kind are taking place, be sure to be informed. Although you can’t participate in the elections, you can absolutely take place in the conversations. Knowing what happens on both sides of the candidates will help you be more informed in daily conversations.
  4. Mali Hotel Attacks
    Mali Map
    Radisson Blu hotel in Mali (Image Courtesy of BBC)
    • What You Need to Know: Friday, militant Islamists attacked a Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, the capital of Mali. Three different Islamist groups have claimed responsibility for the attacks that killed at least 19 people. 170 people were held hostage by the unknown number of attackers. Some hostages were freed from the American owned hotel when they were able to recite verses of the Koran. Many of the 170 were trapped in their rooms by the gunmen. The victims were from all over the world, including the U.S., China, and Russia. Mali is now in a State of Emergency has the search for three suspects. Three days of national mourning also took place from Monday to Wednesday. For more information on this story, visit
    • Why You Need to Know This: Although no group has been charged with the attacks, this attack on a hotel is a bold move. It is currently unclear why the attack took place, but most of the hostages were freed from the situation. Many people were kept in their room, which is a much safer place to be than out in the open.

      Radisson Blu in Mali
      Soldiers in front of the Radisson Blu (Image Courtesy of BBC)
    • Office Top Tip: There is no need to fear being in any hotel. This is the first attack in on a hotel that has been reported; as always, be vigilant and stay safe. Know your surroundings wherever you are.
  5. Landslide in Myanmar
    Search in Myanmar
    Search in Myanmar (Image Courtesy of BBC)
    • What You Need to Know: In a Jade mine in the northern part of Myanmar, a landslide took the lives of 104 people on Saturday. There are some that are saying that more than 100 more are still missing in Hpakant. The landslide, the cause of which is still unknown, killed many of those who scavenge for leftover jade to sell. The land, which part of is owned by the army, is being cleared by backhoes. Foreigners are not permitted in the areas where the landslide hit or near the jade mines. Authorities say that the site where the landslide occurred was at risk for landslide and that miners had been warned not to reside there. For more information on this story, visit
    • Why You Need to Know This: Myanmar has had a string of bad luck lately. Last week, elections seemed like a positive step. However, this landslide is showcasing how far the country still needs to go. Still waiting on a cause, time will be the key factor in this case.
    • Office Top Tip: In any situation where you are in an area that is at risk for a natural disaster, it is key for you to be on the lookout. The probability of this happening is very slim, but it still important to be aware of your surroundings.


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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