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Deadly Norway Attack Appears to be ‘Act or Terror’ by Man Converted to Islam

The suspect, armed with a bow and arrow, killed five people

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Norway Attack

On Wednesday night, 37-year-old Danish citizen Espen Andersen Brathen went on a killing spree with a bow and arrow, murdering four women and one man in the southern town of Kongsberg. Brathen “had converted to Islam and there were fears he had been radicalized” reports the BBC.

Norwegian police sent out a press release on Thursday saying the suspect is due to appear in court on Friday at 09:00 local time. Residents have been deeply traumatized by the attack, and are flying at half-mast while flowers and other memorials are being placed in the town’s square.

Victims were all between the ages of 50 and 70, police told reporters of the attack which was first reported at 18:12 on Wednesday. “Police confronted the man six minutes later, but he shot several arrows at them and escaped. He was eventually caught about 30 minutes later” reports the BBC.

The police chief said the man killed his victims after escaping police and before his arrest roughly 30 minutes later. Police told Norwegian news agency NTB that the attacker also used other weapons, without giving more details.

Residents were ordered to stay indoors so authorities could process and examine what is being determined as a large area of ground that the attacker covered. Police searched surrounding gardens and garages with the help of sniffer dogs.

A police lawyer told the public broadcaster NRK that the suspect will be assessed by psychiatrists. Police officers “nationwide were ordered to carry firearms as an extra precaution, but there is ‘no indication so far that there is a change in the national threat level’ said the directorate’s statement.

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International

State Department Orders Americans to Evacuate from Ukraine Embassy

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SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department has announced it will begin evacuating families and nonessential staff from Kyiv’s U.S. Embassy this week. The travel advisory was published Sunday, signaling U.S. fears that Ukraine could be on the verge of a Russian invasion.

If an invasion occurs, the State Department could be thwarted in its ability to get to and assist Americans. The Department of State wrote:

“On January 23, 2022, the Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. direct-hire employees and ordered the departure of eligible family members from Embassy Kyiv due to the continued threat of Russian military action…

…U.S. citizens in Ukraine should consider departing now using commercial or other privately available transportation options…the security conditions, particularly along Ukraine’s borders, in Russia-occupied Crimea, and in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine, are unpredictable and can deteriorate with little notice. Demonstrations, which have turned violent at times, regularly occur throughout Ukraine, including in Kyiv.”

Axios reports Senior State Department officials told reporters on a briefing call that it was the “totality” of the Russian military buildup and threatening posture toward Ukraine over the last several months which led to the decision.

One official stated, “given that the President has said military action by Russia could come at any time, the U.S. government will not be in a position to evacuate U.S. citizens.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Friday with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva.

“We’re looking at what is visible to all, and it is deeds and actions, not words, that make the difference,” said Blinken, despite acknowledging that Lavrov had once again made an assurance that Russia has no intention of attacking Ukraine.

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International

China Warns Olympic Athletes Could Face Serious Consequences if they Speak Publicly on Human Rights

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Olympics

The 2022 Winter Olympic Games are prepared to begin February 4th in Beijing, but not without consequences. Chinese officials have issued a “warning” to all foreign athletes that they are “subject to certain punishment” if they speak “against the Olympic spirit.”

That “Olympic spirit” means politically speaking out about China. “Any behavior or speech that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment,” said Yan Shu, deputy director-general of international relations for the Beijing Organizing Committee (BOC).

National Review notes the Chinese Party’s suppression of speech is well known and many are concerned with consequences and punishments for political speech because of strict local laws. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said the Olympic Charter Rule banning protesting at medal ceremonies would force athletes to follow “applicable public law.”

The Associated Press reports according to the IOC athletes can “enjoy freedom of speech” when speaking to journalists or posting to social media during the games. However, the committee expressed any measures that would protect athletes from Chinese persecution.

CBS Sports reports Global Athlete Group director general Rob Koehler suggested Olympians could suffer severe consequences if they criticize China, especially while in the country itself. “Silence is complicity and that’s why we have concerns,” said Koehler. “We know the human rights record and the allowance of freedom of expression in China, so there’s really not much protection” he added.

Last month White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the U.S. government delegation planned to boycott the Olympic Games over the Chinese government’s human rights abuses, including the presumed detention of tennis star Peng Shuai.

“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 winter Olympics and Paralympic Games given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses. The athletes on team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100 percent as we cheer them on from home. We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games,” Psaki said.

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