Van Plows into Crowd of Pedestrians in London

A dead pedestrian laying in the street with a sheet laid overtop of him/her.

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A van rammed into a crowd of pedestrians in a Muslim section of London on Monday morning, killing one person and injuring 10 in what the mayor called, “a horrific terrorist attack.” The incident happened just as worshippers were leaving a mosque after morning prayers.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who urged citizens to remain calm and vigilant after the incident, said that while it appears to be a terrorist attack similar to that of Manchester, Westminster, and London Bridge, it is also “an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom, and respect.”

The driver of the van, 48-year-old Darren Osborne, was arrested after bystanders refused to let him leave the scene. Witnesses said Osborne shouted, “I want to kill all Muslims,” right before he jumped from the van and attempted to flee.

One witness, Imam Mohammed Mahmoud, described how he helped protect Osborne from an angry mob. “Some tried to hit him, either kicks or punches. By God’s grace we managed to surround him and to protect him from any harm,” Mahmoud said.

Other witnesses described the horrifying moments leading up to and after the attack.  “This big van just came and went all over us,” witness Abdulrahman Saleh Alamoudi told BuzzFeed News. “Luckily I managed to escape, and then the guy came out of his van.” Saleh Alamoudi said the driver was “throwing punches all over.”

Attacks involving vehicles have shaken London in recent months. On March 22, 2017, a 52-year-old Briton rammed a car into a crowd of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, fatally injuring four of them. He then proceeded to stab a police officer to death before police gunned him down.

And on June 3, 2017, three men drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge, before launching a knife attack in nearby Borough Market. Eight people were killed before the police shot the men to death.

How to go about preventing these types of attacks from happening in the future has been a huge point of contention in Britain.

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American College Student Held Captive by North Korea Was ‘Brutalized’

A picture of a barbed wire prison fence.

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This past week, North Korea unexpectedly released American college student Otto Warmbier from prison. In March 2016, Warmbier was convicted of stealing a propaganda banner from a restricted area of his Pyongyang hotel after an associate of his asked him to. As punishment, North Korean officials sentenced him to 15 years in prison with hard labor.

But after only serving 15 months, Warmbier is back on American soil. However, he isn’t in good medical condition. According to The New York Times, Warmbier was “gravely ill and in a coma” upon his return. He is currently being treated at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

A spokeswoman from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said that Warmbier is suffering from a ”severe neurological injury.” Fred Warmbier, Otto Warmbier’s father, said that the North Korea regime “brutalized and terrorized” his son.

This is the first time that Fred Warmbier has publicly expressed his disgust with the North Korean regime. He and the rest of the family have tried to remain as friendly and polite as possible in the hopes of getting their loved one back.

“We are not burdened by what North Korea says or does any longer,” Fred Warmbier said. “We’ve been forced to act quiet and act different because we didn’t want to offend them.”

Fred Warmbier also said that President Trump called him Wednesday night to inquire about his son’s condition. Fred Warmbier remarked that it was a “really nice conversation.”

It’s still unclear as to what (if any) negotiations were made in order to secure Otto Warmbier’s release. However, Fred Warmbier has no doubt that the U.S. put significant pressure on North Korea.

“I think the State Department was negotiating pretty tough. I don’t know we will ever know, but (North Korea) didn’t do it from the kindness of their hearts—North Koreans don’t do that,” Fred Warmbier stated.

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Everything You Need to Know About the Paris Climate Agreement

A newspaper with a front page headline that reads, "Global Warming."

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As rumors continue to circulate that President Trump is planning to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, many Americans are left wondering how that would impact the U.S. The truth is, withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement would have both positive and negative effects. Here’s the scoop.

What is the Paris Climate Agreement?

The Paris Climate Agreement is a pact among 195 countries to prevent the world’s surface temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius above where they were prior to the Industrial Revolution. Why 1.5 degrees? Because climate scientists have warned that if the earth’s surface temperatures rise more than 2 degrees Celsius, it would bring about irreversible, catastrophic damage. Syria and Nicaragua are the only two nations that have not signed the agreement.

What are some of the pros of withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement?

The biggest pro would come in the form of less environmental regulations, which would benefit lots of companies, specifically fossil fuel companies. Additionally, it’s worth noting that the latest figures from the National Economic Research Council show that the Paris Climate Agreement could result in a $3 trillion loss in GDP, a 6.5 million loss in industrial jobs, and a $7,000 loss in per capita income from the American economy by 2040.

What are some of the cons of withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement?

The main concern is that withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement would result in higher CO2 emissions, which contributes to global warming. According to the European Commission’s emissions database, the U.S. is already the second worst CO2 emitter in the world. If the U.S. and other countries don’t start investing in clean energy alternatives, then the world could start seeing the effects of global warming which include rising seas, mass extinctions, droughts, and super storms.

Trump is poised to announce his decision today at 3 p.m.

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India’s Bankruptcy Code Has Drastically Improved

A photo of Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India.

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India who helped enact the new bankruptcy law.
Photo credit: Narendra Modi at Flickr Creative Commons.

In May 2016, India passed a new bankruptcy law that makes it easier for failing businesses to recover from their losses. And, according to American private equity magnate Henry Kravis, the new law is “pretty darn good.”

Kravis, who co-founded multinational private equity firm KKR, has plenty of experience when it comes to insolvency. As one of the leading figures behind the 1980s leveraged buyout boom, Kravis knows exactly how to approach debt resolution.

“The problem of bad loans will never get smaller, so the more you delay, the hole will just get deeper,” Kravis told The Economic Times. “I would say the solution is to start privatizing these banks … it can be a public-private partnership model with new capital coming in from the private sector.”

When India’s newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to visit the U.S. in 2014, Kravis advised him to implement better bankruptcy policies. KKR even went as far as to produce a white paper on the subject, on which Modi based the new law.

“I have never seen a government move so fast,” Kravis exclaimed. “[Modi] was back in New York six, nine months later, and he told me ‘we’re doing it.’ And now what I hear from the lawyers is that it is a pretty darn good code.”

Before the new bankruptcy code was enacted, India placed 136 out of 189 countries in the World Bank’s resolving insolvency ranking. But within just six months, India’s ranking had already slid from slot 136 to 135. A minor improvement, sure, but an improvement nevertheless.

The changes to India’s bankruptcy laws are part of a much larger initiative to facilitate easier methods for the country to do business. In 2016, India ranked 130 in the World Bank’s Doing Business survey. According to Livemint, one of India’s leading business and financial publications, India wants to rank number 90 by 2017-18 and number 30 by 2020. An ambitious, but likely achievable, goal.

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France’s New President Brings Progressive Changes

A photo of French President Emmanuel Macron.

France’s newly elected president, Emmanuel Macron.
Photo credit: Frederic Legrand – COMEO / Shutterstock

As the newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron entered his first weeks in office, the world watched to see who he would announce as his cabinet members.

On Wednesday, President Macron ended the waiting. As he had promised, half the positions were filled by women. As a result, his cabinet will have the greatest representation of women in the history of any major country. This is quite a landmark achievement and a stark contrast to the composition of the U.S.’s current cabinet.

Along with his efforts to support equal gender representation, President Macron is also interested in supporting science and scientific research. To do so, he has announced an open invitation to American scientists and researchers to let them know they would be welcomed in France.

He is also very supportive of efforts to control human impact on climate change and has invited climate change researchers to move to France and continue their research and innovation there. This is part of his appeal to his own researchers to express his belief in their work and to reaffirm that those budgets will remain intact. His hope is to increase advances in climate change technology on French soil.

Despite a 62% approval rating, Macron still has several hurdles in front of him before he can achieve the stability and centrist/progressive agenda he is trying to bring to France. He must prove to the French people that he will be able to dramatically improve the country’s myriad social and economic problems–especially regarding immigration. National security is of key concern among French citizens as a result of the terrorist attacks they and other European countries have suffered.

Edouard Philippe, Macron’s selection for Prime Minister is also a getting positive response from the French with a 55% approval rating. But to secure a path to achieving his goals, Macron must get support in the General Assembly, which will be determined in elections in June. Europe and the world will be watching.

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