What We Know Today: Chinese New Year Is Coming, Al Qaeda And ISIS Strike, Iran Sanctions Are Lifted And Prisoners Are Swapped

What We Know Today: Chinese New Year Is Coming, Al Qaeda And ISIS Strike, Iran Sanctions Are Lifted And Prisoners Are Swapped
Iranian Flag Blondinrikard Fröberg / Flickr CC BY 2.0
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Al Qaeda Claims Responsibility For Terror And Carnage In Burkina Faso


The al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb have claimed responsibility for the attacks at the Burkina Hotel and Splendid Hotel in Burkina Faso. Reports have indicated that as many as 30 people have been killed when the extremist group launched a series of attacks on the two hotels along with a coffee shop and a police station. The siege had started Friday night and security forces managed to retake the hotel on Saturday, freeing as many as 126 guests who have been held hostage. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that a fourth attacker had run to the nearby Le Yibi hotel before being killed by security forces.

The al Qaeda affiliated group had said that the attack on Burkina Faso was meant “to punish the cross-worshippers for their crimes against our people in Central Africa, Mali, and other lands of the Muslims.” Burkina Faso has declared a state of national mourning for 72 hours.

Iran Sanctions Lifted, Prisoners Swapped

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The sanctions against Iran has been lifted after the country had reached its “Implementation Day” of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the country had fulfilled its commitments and now economic and financial sanctions against Iran have been lifted with the United States, the United Kingdom, People’s Republic of China, France, Germany and Russia. UN Watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has also said that its inspectors on the ground have verified Iran’s compliance.

Following the lifting of sanctions, Iran and U.S. also agreed to a prisoners swap that saw the release of Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian and four others. Meanwhile, the U.S. had also agreed to pardon or commute the sentences of seven prisoners – one Iranian and six dual citizens – as part of the swap.

ISIS Kills Dozens In Syria

ISIS had reportedly killed as much as 250 people Saturday in the city of Deir al-Zor in Syria. Reuters reports that they had been killed execution style. The Islamic State were said to have waged attacks in the Begayliya and Ayash neigborhoods, killing pro-government fighters and their families. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Carter had recently met with top military leaders to discuss accelerating ISIS’s defeat.

How To Get Lucky During The Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year will happen on February 7 and will bring in the Year of the Monkey. And to help bring some good fortune into your life for the new year, here are some lucky fruits and flowers you should have in your home:

Fruits: oranges, pomelos, grapes, plums, jujube (type of date) and kumquats
Flowers: orchids, peonies, peach blossoms, plum blossoms, pussy willows and narcissus (water fairy flowers)

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