Terrorism Raids in Belgium—
On Sunday Nov. 22, mass raids began throughout Brussels, the capital of Belgium, in attempts to find suspects connected with the Paris terror attacks on Nov. 13. On Sunday alone, police and military conducted 19 raids in Brussels—three of which took place in the town of Charleroi. The historic city center was put on lockdown while the raids took place. Though no weapons or explosives were found, a total of 16 arrests were made. Citizens were advised by the U.S. Embassy in Brussels to stay at home and avoid going out in public. Schools and the metro system remained closed until Nov. 25. Suspected Paris gunman Salah Abdeslam has yet to be captured.
US State Department Issues Travel Warning—
On Monday, Nov. 23, the U.S. State Department issued a Worldwide Travel Alert in connection with recent events involving terrorism, which will be in place until Feb. 24, 2016. With threats coming from various terrorist organizations to the U.S., the alert warns of a variety of tactics that could be used to cause harm. Citizens are encouraged to be vigilant especially in public areas and on shared transportation. Holiday events, as well as travel periods, were also noted as potential targets.
Western Washington University Cancels Classes Due to Racist Threats—
Following racist, threatening posts on social media, Western Washington University cancelled classes on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Students received emails at around 6 a.m. from the school’s president, Bruce Shepard, informing them that classes were cancelled. It is still unclear at this time who posted the threats, or if they were even students of the university. It was reported that the posts originated from within 10 miles of the campus. In his address to students, Shepard declared that the threats weren’t simply an insult or someone being rude, but “hate speech.” The incident at the Bellingham school follows a recent trend of social media threats at the University of Missouri and Yale University.
Shooting at Colorado Planned Parenthood—
On Friday, Nov. 27, at approximately 11:38 a.m., calls came in reporting a shooter at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo.. A man was seen crawling towards the entrance with an assault rifle. He then opened fire on the clinic. A siege soon began as police arrived, trapping the man inside the building. Once communications were established—after six hours of standoff—the suspect surrendered. Three people were killed, including 44-year-old officer Garrett Swasey from the Colorado Springs Police Department. The other two victims were civilians—Iraq war veteran Ke’Arre Stewart and Hawaii native Jennifer Markovsky. A total of about 14 were wounded.
Trump Mocks Journalist on Camera—
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump is under fire again for mimicking a reporter with a disability at a rally in South Carolina. After using journalist Serge Kovaleski’s New York Times article to back up his claims that he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering and celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers, Trump flailed his arms and distorted his voice to match that of Kovaleski, who suffers from arthrogryposis. The New York Times condemned Trump’s actions, saying, “We find it outrageous that he would ridicule the appearance of one of our reporters.” Trump has since denied even knowing who the reporter is, and accused him of “using his disability to grandstand.”
Paris Begins Attacks on ISIS, Asks for Cooperation—
France’s first airstrikes launched against ISIS occurred on Monday Nov. 23 in the Iraqi cities of Ramadi and Mosul and the Syrian city of Raqqa. French President Francois Hollande said he is determined to intensify strikes against ISIS following the terror attacks on Nov. 13 that left over 130 dead in Paris. Hollande has also made a goal to start a new push towards uniting countries around the world to fight ISIS, and has already met with leaders from Germany, Russia and the U.S. United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron has already agreed to increase efforts in combatting ISIS and terrorism around the world.
Scott may be reached at [email protected]