Know Before You Go: Hamburg Says “No”, Beijing Can’t Breathe, and Turkey and Russia are at it Again

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


  1. UN Resolution on Islamic State
    UN Security Council
    UN Security Council Voting on the Islamic State Resolution (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
    • What You Need to Know: Last week, following the terrorist attacks in Paris, countries met in Vienna to work towards a compromise in Syria. The fight between the Syrian government and democracy wanting rebels has been going on for years, but recently has become even more complicated by the Islamic State (IS) terrorists. The UN Security Council announced that IS needed to be stopped and that the group was “a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security”. However, it is important to note that the resolution on IS was not adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter; this means that the Security Council does not authorize immediate action against the terrorist group. This means that all of the countries in the UN are seen has under threat from IS and that each country can use self-defense measures without having to make a case to the UN. Each country can now use immediate action against IS in Iraq and Syria. For more information on this story, visit
    • Why You Need to Know This: This opens up many possibilities for the world to unite against IS. With the terrorist group making clear attacks on the Western World, everyone is ready to gear up and fight the group. France, Russia, and the U.S. have made it clear that they will stop at nothing to go and fight; it is only a matter of time before the rest of the world is ready as well.
    • Office Top Tip: The Islamic State has made this very difficult for the world over the past year. It will be interesting to see how the world reacts to this new found freedom.
  2. Pope in Africa
    President Uhuru Kenyatta with Pope Francis at Nairobi's State House
    President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya Greeting Pope Francis (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
    • What You Need to Know: Over the past week, Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, has spent time in Africa. Landing in Kenya on Wednesday, he celebrated Mass on a university campus; thousands turned up and waited in the rain to see the Pontiff. He met with religious leaders, political leaders, and spoke that God’s name “should never be used to justify hatred and violence”. With this, he was referring to the militant Islamist group al-Shabab. From Kenya, Pope Francis moved on to Uganda. He met with President Yoweri Museveni, who has been the Uganda’s ruler for 29 years. He then moved on to the Central African Republic (CAR), possibly the most tumultuous country that the Pontiff visited. For years, CAR has had violent clashes between Muslim rebels and Christian militias. The acting President, Catherine Samba-Panza has asked him to forgive the country for its recent religious violence. Pope Francis visited a Muslim neighborhood known as PK5, and gave his final Mass in a mosque there. He preached a message of forgiveness and peace to a region where violence and aggression has surged, especially religious violence. He traveled back to the Vatican on Monday. For more information on this story, visit
    • Why You Need to Know This: In an area torn by religious strife, having a Pope arrive in Africa is a huge deal. Not only was he preaching in a location where Muslims and Christians have gone after each other in violent clashes. Pope Francis is a revolutionary Pope for the Christian Church. He has made a lot of statements and has traveled to a lot of places that other Popes have not gone to in the past.

      Pope in CAR
      Pope Francis Greets Children in the Central African Republic (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
    • Office Top Tip: If you have a chance, try to catch a Mass given by Pope Francis.
  3. Hamburg Declines the 2024 Olympics
    Olympics NO
    Street Art of Anti-Olympics Sentiments(Image Courtesy of the BBC)
    • What You Need to Know: The race for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games just got a little smaller. It had been narrowed down to five cities: Rome, Paris, Budapest, Los Angeles, and Hamburg. The citizens of the German city of Hamburg have voted against hosting the games, after 52% of the citizens said no. This happened two years ago, when Munich citizens turned down the bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Hamburg’s Mayor, Olaf Scholz was disappointed in the vote, in which the city had pledge €1.2 Billion of the €11.2 Billion it would cost to host the games. Citizens and critics alike were vocal that the bid was a waste of money, when a large number of refugees have been flooding the city. With Hamburg out of the race, the city will be announced in September 2017. For more information on this story, visit
    • Why You Need to Know This: The Olympic and Paralympics Games are a huge part of world sports. Every four years the Summer Games are held, with the Winter Games following two years after. Cities that host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the winter or the summer see a fast boom of economic activity in the months prior and during the games period. For Hamburg to say no says a lot about where their priorities lie. They’re very focused about the refugees and migrants that have been streaming into Europe for months now. It says a lot about the state of their city and who they want to be as citizens.

      Hamburg Mayor
      Mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
    • Office Top Tip: If you are thinking about studying abroad, and are interested in seeing some of the Olympics, be sure to check out where games are being held over the next few years, so you could potentially catch a few games.
  4. Turkey Shoots Down Russian Jet
    Turkey Plane
    Map of Russian Plane Trajectory (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
    • What You Need to Know: Last week, Turkish military forces shot down a Russian jet near the Syrian-Turkey border. Russia has had planes in Syria for the past weeks in order to fight the Islamic State. Russia and Turkey have been in a bit of a tizzy when Russia has been in Turkish air space. Now, however, Turkey has taken the next step and has shot down a plane that invaded their airspace. There has been an audio recording of warnings from the Turkish military ordering the plane to turn around. The SU-24 plane was then shot down; one pilot was killed by gunfire as he left the plane, the other was rescued. Russia is furious. They have since broken off contacts with Ankara (the capital of Turkey) and have deployed anti-aircraft missiles to the border. The Russian pilot that has survived claims that there was no warning given by Turkey. For more information on this story, visit
    • Why You Need to Know This: Turkey and Russia have been at each other’s throats for the past month or so. It is still unclear what Russia’s true motives are in Syria and with their planes edging into Turkish territory, the two countries are decisively on edge. With both countries issuing warnings to each other, tensions are running high.
    • Office Top Tip: If Russia and Turkey continue this anger and aggression towards each other, who knows where things will head. Other world leaders have called for calm and patience.
  5. Beijing Pollution Reaches Dangerous Levels
    Forbidden city
    Forbidden City Seen Through the Smog (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
    • What You Need to Know: China is one of the fastest developing countries in the world. That being the case, the country’s pollution levels haven’t been the best around. But now, they are at an extremely dangerous level. Beijing has been on a “orange alert” for the past three days; this is the second highest level of danger. The World Health Organization’s pollution levels are 35 times less that the levels in Beijing right now. This comes on the heels of Chinese President Xi Jinping attending the Paris climate conference. Coal is used to power factories and homes and contributes to the smog levels. Children are being kept indoors by schools, if they are even attending at all. For more information on this story, visit
    • Why You Need to Know This: The pollution levels in China are dangerously high. China has gained an international reputation for their smog and their dangerous air. China’s response is to shut down factories for short periods of time and keep trucks off the road. But that is only a small term solution. When the air is cleaner, everything returns to normal and then the smog follows.

      Two Citizens Attempt a Walk in the Park (Image Courtesy of the BBC)
    • Office Top Tip: If you’re planning on going to China, be aware of this issue going into bigger cities. Especially in places like Beijing.


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.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s