Elementary School Shooting Leaves 3 Dead, 1 Critical

sanbernardinoChildren hold hands while being directed by school staff and police officers to Cajon High School. Photo courtesy of The New York Times.

This time it was a special education classroom that became the scene of the latest school shooting in the United States although not the first for the city of San Bernardino, California. Monday morning Cedric Anderson entered the school with intentions to drop something off for his wife Karen Elaine Smith, a teacher in a special needs classroom at North Park Elementary School. He passed through the office before entering the classroom and shooting his wife, with stray bullets presumably hitting two students standing behind her. The two children were airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center where upon arrival one was listed in critical condition and one, eight year old Jonathan Martinez, had passed away.

Reports claim that Cedric and Karen had been married for a few months but living separately for the last month after Karen learned of Cedric’s troubled past, including prior domestic abuse charges and charges of weapon possession. Numerous police officers arrived on scene who found two dead within the classroom and two injured students before assisting with the evacuation of the children to local Cajon High School. The shooting has been labeled a murder-suicide; a different tone from the terror-attack that occurred in December of 2015 where 14 were shot dead during a holiday party at a center for people with developmental disabilities. President Trump has called Mayor R. Carey Davis to offer condolences and assist in any way possible. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has previously expressed support for President Trump’s ban on gun-free zones around school took to Twitter to call for prayers of those affected by the violence. It is almost certain that the recent attack will bring an increased level of discussion to the heated gun control debate throughout the country.

 

Read more about the attack and victims here.

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Borussia Dortmund’s Bus Explosion

The bus carrying the soccer team “Borussia Dortmund” had an explosion en route in Germany on Tuesday. The team was relatively unhurt, with only one player ending up with ‘superficial cuts’. The match against Monaco ended up being postponed and fans were seen chanting in solidarity later in the day.

The incident was quickly suspected as terrorism, and the team’s official website called the explosion a bomb. There’s been a lot of fear and tension about terrorism lately in Europe due to the numerous attacks in the last year or two. Hopefully everything can be sorted out and thankfully everyone is safe.

Read the full article here.

U.S., Canada and Mexico Announce Shared Bid for 2026 World Cup

One of the events that involve all nations and states in the world every four year is the World Cup. The next hosting country will be Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022. The election for the 2026 World Cup in on and this time the US along with Mexico and Canada are bidding to co-host it. The plan is also supported for President Trump. The negotiation of division of the matches was the toughest one said Sunil Gulati, the US soccer president. The next World Cup will include many other countries which leads to more matches from 32 to 48. The US as senior partner will host 60 of the 80 games and Mexico and Canada 10 games each. This week, the United States, Mexico and Canada will present to FIFA, world soccer’s governing body. Gulati said that, “A World Cup in North America, with 60 games in the United States, would be, by far, the most successful World Cup in the history of FIFA, in terms of economics.” This new version of World Cup 2026 would include more cities, more teams, more players and, and more profits which will benefit enormously the economy of these countries.

Assad Reign Coming to an End?

 

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Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said on Tuesday that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria’s reign may be coming to an end, following the U.S. missile strike that retaliated to chemical attacks blamed on Mr Assad. He warned Russia, who backs Mr Assad, that they may “become irrelevant in the Middle East by continuing to support him”. This marks a step for the Trump administration who just weeks earlier seemed resigned to Mr Assad’s upper hand in the Syrian conflict. Now, the administration seems to hold to the former consensus that Mr Assad cannot remain in power. However, Mr Putin refuses to back away from Mr Assad, insisting attacks came from somewhere other than the Syrian government. Russia remains to have interesting relevancy in this region, and it leaves one to wonder what would happen in the conflict if Russia were to end up backing out.

Airline Passenger Forcibly Removed From Overbooked Flight

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Yesterday, a police officer forcibly removed a passenger onboard a United Airlines flight about to take off from Chicago by dragging him through the aisle and off the plane. Apparently, United had overbooked the flight and needed four passengers to volunteer to leave so that four United employees could make it to Louisville. The airline offered an $800 voucher to any passengers who volunteered, but no one did. United then randomly selected four passengers to kick off the plane; although three accepted the vouchers and left without any incident, the fourth passenger identified himself as a doctor and refused to get off the plane because he had to see his patients in Louisville. Ultimately, the airline had to call the Chicago police, who then forcibly removed the passenger from the plane so that the four United employees could take their seats.

Airlines often overbook flights and sell more tickets than there are seats because they can usually count on several people not arriving. This increases the airline’s profit. However, when there aren’t enough no-shows, airlines often have to resort to tactics like the one United used, offering incentives and cash rewards to customers who are willing to get off the flight and change their travel plans. This is the second incident this month where United Airlines has been the center of much public attention, the first incident being when a United employee refused to let girls on leggings get on a plane. Are airlines right to overbook flights and sell more tickets than there are seats? Should paying customers have to relinquish their seats because the airline underestimated the amount of people who would show up?

Read the full story here:

Sweden Mourns Stockholm Attack Victims; Suspect Is Formally Identified

The suspect in last week’s Stockholm attack has now been identified, but the attack still weighs heavily in the minds of Swedes. The attack raises questions about the security of Sweden, and some Swedes expect that the attack will be used by Trump as evidence that Sweden needs to tighten its borders. Sweden has long been known as a home for those fleeing to safety, but now many are raising questions about Sweden’s safety. Police are attempting to figure out how the suspect of the attack was able to successfully stay in hiding after his asylum was rejected last year. There are thousands of other such Central Asian immigrants in hiding in Stockholm that the police are unable to keep track of.

I echo the opinion of Magnus Ranstorp, the head of terrorism research at the Swedish Defense University, in this article. “There’s no denying [Sweden has] issues and problems, but it needs to be put in proportion.” We cannot let the fear of more horrible events completely prevent us from reaching out to help those fleeing to safety.

Church Attacks in Egypt Causes Concern for Christians

On Palm Sunday, two suicide bombers attacked churches in Tanta, Egypt killing about 44 people. In a country that is largely Sunni Muslim, Christians have always felt like a minority and have been worried for their safety. These minority Christians were some of President Sisi’s most vocal supporters but now they are worried if he can really protect them against Muslim extremists. Mr. Sisi had already promised better security in churches, but that has hardly stopped suicide attacks. At one of the churches, the suicide bomber was able to get around security and blew himself up near the alter killing at least 27 people and injuring about 44 more.

This attack caused concern for the scheduled visit of Pope Francis in late April. When he visits, he will see a country that has a wedge between Islam and Christianity that has only been increasing with these attacks and failure of safety from President Sisi. The visit of Pope Francis is one of many efforts in trying to forge a stronger relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and Muslim leaders.

Read full story here.

I think that the strained relationship in Egypt is concerning. The concern of the Christians in Egypt is very real, they do not feel safe in churches are unsure if President Sisi will be able to provide them with adequate security. It will be interesting to see what the president will do in response to his once very strong supporters becoming less sympathetic towards him.

Attacks Cause Terror on Palm Sunday

Yesterday suicide bombings in two Egyptian chapels turned Palm Sunday into a day of terror. 44 people were killed and dozens of others were injured in the attacks that were carried out in Alexandria and Tanta. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombings that mark the worst attack on Egyptian Christians in decades. Pope Francis is set to meet with the leader of the Coptic church, Pope Tawadros the second, in a few weeks. In light of the recent attacks questions as to his security have surfaced. It is especially sad as Pope Francis is making a concentrated effort on strengthening the ties between the Catholic church and Islam. President Abdel Fattah el- Sisi declared a three- month state of emergency in response to the attacks. Many Christians supported President Sisi as he promised protection for Christians in Egypt. His ability to keep that promise is no being called to question.

It is so sad to see something as beautiful as Palm Sunday get turned into something so terrible. It will also be interesting to see if this three- month state of emergency will indeed end after three months.

What about Syrian citizens?

The U.S. strike against Syria earlier this week was in direct retaliation to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against its own people at the beginning of the week. This is not the first time Syria has violated international law (established in the Chemical Weapons Convention) to commit war crimes against its own people and until now, no foreign power has directly stood up to President Bashar al Assad.

But what do the Syrian people think? This article covers this question from a few different viewpoints. First, the fact that an international power has stood up to the brutal dictator is a step in the right direction. But while this is said to be a one time intervention not representing any significant change in our policy about Syria, the Syrian people are still involved in a civil war and their suffering is far from over. Furthermore, if we want to stop the suffering of the Syrian people, are we now planning on allowing additional Syrian refugees? What does the fact that this was a one time statement mean for both the Syrian people and the international response to the crisis in Syria?

Syria Strike Heightens US-Russia Tensions

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President Trump’s decision to bomb a Syrian military compound in response to the chemical attack launched by the Assad regime has prompted a myriad of mixed feelings. One of the most significant consequences of such an action is the increased tension it places on already strained US-Russia relations. Putin has condemned the attack and was quoted saying it was a “significant blow” to the relationship, while Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev said it had “completely ruined” any relationship that existed. The Trump administration is not viewing this as an act of war, but rather a very measured step in applying pressure to stop the regime from killing innocent civilians. They reaffirmed that no more strikes were imminent, unless the regime were to again use chemical weapons on its people.

There was significant backlash from the public and many in Washington over President Obamas decision to forego an attack on Syria after crossing his “red line” when they used chemical weapons shortly after making that statement. Was Obama warranted in retracting that belief in order to keep American soldiers safe and out of harms way? Some are saying that Trump has finally enforced Obamas “red line,” so was Trump correct in retaliating?

I think that the consequences of such an action will have a ripple effect that we may not be able to clearly see yet. What was a “reminder” by the Trump administration that it will not stand for violations against human rights may end up in a US-Russia proxy war in the middle east. I seriously doubt that the Russians will sit back and accept such an aggressive response by the Trump administration, less than 100 days into his presidency. If he is willing to take such drastic measures already, what will stop him from continuing this behavior over the next 4 years?

 

Full Article Here