Monday Briefing | November 23

Monday Briefing | November 23

Malian troops take position near the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, 2015. Picture by Habibou Kouyate | AFP/Getty Images
Malian troops take position near the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, 2015. Picture by Habibou Kouyate | AFP/Getty Images

Stories to Follow

22 Killed in Hotel Attack in Mali
Gunmen raided the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali—the country’s capitol—last Friday, resulting in a hostage situation that left 22 dead. Militants with links to Al Qaeda have since claimed responsibility. Attackers opened fire around 7 a.m. local time taking hostages and leaving bodies strewn in their wake. The Malian Army was later able to seal the perimeter and storm inside the hotel, putting an end to the attack. According to United Nations officials, 19 individuals were killed along with two or three of the gunmen. The New York Times reports the hotel was likely targeted for its reputation as a hotspot for international visitors. Among the victims were six Russians, three Chinese, two Belgians and one Israeli. The attack also points to larger concerns. Mali has a history of Islamist extremism. According to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, “We don’t want to scare our people, but we have already said that Mali will have to get used to situations like this.” Read More: USA Today , New York Times, CNN

Syrian Refugee Debate Polarizes U.S. Discourse
In the wake of terror attacks that killed 130 people in Paris 10 days ago, in the United States the debate over the Syrian refugee resettlement program has escalated. Twenty-five Republican governors vowed last week to deny entry of Syrian refugees into their states, citing concerns for public safety. The House of Representatives also passed a bill that aims to limit refugees. The debate centers around a Syrian passport French officials say may be linked to the suspects in the Paris attacks. Supporters of limiting the program argue the United States is ill-equipped to properly vet refugees, leaving the door open for would-be terrorists. President Barack Obama has come out against the bill, vowing to veto it if it passes the Senate. Read more: Politico, New York Times, CNN

Sludge Reaches Ocean After Dam Collapses in Brazil
In what is being called Brazil’s worst environmental catastrophe in history, two collapsed tailings dams have flooded parts of southeast Brazil with mud and toxic mining waste. 11 have been killed, 15 are missing, and hundreds of homes have been devastated. A flood of sludge, including about 60 million cubic meters of iron-ore waste, has brought destruction to two districts in the state of Minas Gerais. The Brazilian government has begun investigations into the collapse of the dams in attempts to hold Samarco, the Australian-Brazilian company that owns the dams, accountable. Read more: Al-Jazeera, The Guardian

Upcoming Events

U.S.-Russian Conflict From Ukraine to Syria: Did U.S. Policy Contribute to It?
23 November | 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. | NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia
Learn More

Afghanistan and Pakistan: The Re-emergence of the Taliban and the Arrival of ISIS
24 November | 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. | Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
Learn More

Andean Culture Night/Noche Cultural de los Andes

1 December | 6:00 p.m. | King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, NYU

Learn More

In Your Spare Time

With global interest in virtual reality mounting, the New York Times VR app represents the NYT’s first foray into VR for news and reporting. The most recent film designed for the platform wanders through the streets of Paris following the attacks observing the numerous vigils throughout the city. Download the app here for your smartphone.

Last week presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gave a public address at the Council on Foreign Relations while fellow candidate Bernie Sanders spoke at Georgetown University outlining his understanding of democratic socialism.

For your reading list: Earlier this month the National Book Foundation of the United States announced this year’s National Book Award winners in the areas of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and youth literature. The contest is one of the highest honors in literature for U.S. writers. In non-fiction, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me is a timely examination of race in America.

This week’s Monday Briefing was brought to you by Dylan Heyden.

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