Terrorist Attack in Nice
Bastille Day, celebrated each year on July 14, is a French national holiday commemorating the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. Like our Independence Day, Bastille Day is celebrated with military parades and fireworks. This year, the day was marked with tragedy and bloodshed. In Nice, a city located in the southeast corner of the country along the coast Mediterranean Sea, an individual drove a truck filled with explosives into a crowd and detonated an explosive. At least 84 people were killed and more than 300 injured.
While no specific group has claimed responsibility, the incident is being considered a terrorist attack. The attacker, identified as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, was said have been recently radicalized to perform this act, but it is not clear whether he is linked to ISIS. Here in the United States, the presidential candidates have differing responses to the event. When asked on a news show if he would ask Congress to declare war against someone based on an incident such as this, Donald Trump said emphatically that he would. Hillary Clinton, like President Obama, is hesitant to use the term “radical Islam” because of a belief that using the term legitimizes their interpretation of the religion.
Dig Deeper.France will hold its national elections next year. Do some research and find out how the string of deaths in the country, going back to the Charlie Hebdo murders 18 months ago, is likely to influence the election.
New Leadership in the UK
Last month, btw brought you news of the Brexit. As a direct result of the referendum that chose for England to leave the European Union, Prime Minister David Cameron said he would resign. While some thought this wouldn’t happen until October, Cameron has already stepped down, and Theresa May has taken his place. After an early career as a financial consultant, May turned to politics, where she has served in Parliament (equivalent to our Congress), and as the head of the Conservative Party.
May appointed many new Cabinet members. Among them is Boris Johnson, who May picked as Foreign Minister (equivalent to our secretary of State). A former journalist and two-term mayor of London, Johnson is a controversial figure. Despite a knack for public speaking, Johnson also has a tendency to contradict himself and has a history of insulting world leaders as well as large demographics of people. However, his strong support of the Leave campaign before the Brexit vote might help as the country heads toward its leave of the European Union. (May backed a Remain vote.)
Dig Deeper Do some research and find out May’s approval rating when she took office, and check back once a week to see if there is any change, noting what might influence the numbers.
Legal Battle in South China Sea
For the past few years, China and several Southeast Asian nations have been engaged in a dispute over territorial control in the South China Sea. Lately, Chinese naval forces have become more aggressive in seizing lands in the hopes of dominating the region. What’s at stake are strategic territories, some of them tiny, uninhabited islands, that could be used as military installations.
An international tribunal was held in The Hague (an area of the Netherlands that headquarters many international organizations, including the United Nations) with the purpose of issuing a ruling on the situation. The Republic of the Philippines filed an official complaint with the Permanent Court of Arbitration, an intergovernmental organization made up of 117 member states. It accused China of violating international law in an number of ways, including endangering ships and interfering with fishing. The Philippines also asked the tribunal to reject China’s claim to the “nine-dash line.” This demarcation was made shortly after World War II and makes up a considerable part of the South China Sea. The tribunal ultimately ruled in favor of the Philippines, saying that all historical rights China previously held were “extinguished” by the Convention on the Law of the Sea treaty of 1994.
Dig Deeper Before the ruling was announced, the Chinese government has said that it will not “accept, recognize or execute” the decision. Find out what this means and what measures other Asian countries might take going forward.
In India, Astrology Leads to Mass Weddings
Even if you don’t believe in it, you probably know your astrological sign and perhaps follow along to a weekly (or even daily) horoscope. You might even be tempted to take a small risk if you read something promising. Astrologically-based decision-making is really big for some people in India. Vedic astrology (also known as Jyotisha) is the traditional Hindu system of astrology. Many Hindus believe that planetary configurations can have significant influence on a person throughout their lives.
Certain configurations of the planets are interpreted as a favorable sign of success. This leads many Indians to plan big life events around such occasions, such as weddings. Recently, the alignment combination includes the planets of Rahu and Ketu, considered “shadow planets,” combined with Saturn. According to the Hindustand Times, 20,000 weddings were held on March 11 alone. The impact is a positive one on the overall economy and social well-being of the country, as weddings in India are enormous affairs that last an average of three days.