58 dead in border protests after US embassy in Israel relocated to Jerusalem

On Monday, May 14, according to Vox, Gaza had its bloodiest day since the 2014 war. In total, 58 Palestinians were killed, and over 1,200 were injured, by Israeli forces, at the border, during protests after American President Donald Trump’s relocation of the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The violence is a continuation of the 51-year-old conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, in the region, over territory, immigration and related issues. Both groups want control of Jerusalem, with the Palestinians specifically wanting East Jerusalem, to be the capital of their future state. The Palestinians oppose the blockade on the border of Israel and want Palestinians to be able to return to Jerusalem, their homeland, which contains many monuments sacred to both groups. Throughout the conflict, the United States has been a staunch supporter of Israel and its control of Jerusalem. Israel, the United States, and the United Nations recognize Hamas, the current governing body of the Palestinian territory Gaza, as a terrorist organization.

The Guardian reported that President Trump first announced plans to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem in a short speech delivered last December, where he also recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He stated, “I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.” Officials then claimed the transition would take at least three years, so it came as a shock to the international community when it took fewer than six months.

Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and his promise to move the embassy, were highly controversial, being widely condemned by US Allies including the UK and by Palestine and other Islamic states. The Israeli government, however, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called Monday a “glorious day,” praised Trump when he made the recognition and promise, and in May when he acted upon it. At the opening ceremony of the new embassy in Jerusalem, Washington ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, stated, optimistically, “Today’s historic event is attributed to the vision, courage, and moral clarity of one person to whom we owe an enormous and eternal debt of gratitude: President Donald J Trump” according to The New York Times.

The mood at the border was more chaotic, to say the least. The Guardian reports that protestors lit tires on fire to create “smoke screens” against Israeli snipers. They then rushed the fence, though none made it through, according to the Israeli military, which claimed, “The rioters are hurling firebombs and explosive devices towards the security fence and IDF forces, and are burning tires, throwing rocks and launching flaming objects in order to ignite fires in Israeli territory and harm IDF troops.” Hamas has encouraged and funded protests, and actively encouraged protestors at the border on May 14 to rush the fence over a loudspeaker. The violence raised the death toll of the recent protests to over 100.

Many have criticized Israel for their violent response to the protests. According to Real Clear Politics, Amnesty International called Israel’s actions “horrific” while senator Bernie Sanders said, “Instead of applauding Israel for its actions, Israel should be condemned. Israel has a right to security, but shooting unarmed protesters is not what it is about.” The White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah, however, only blamed Hamas saying, “We believe Hamas is responsible for these tragic deaths,” he told reporters. “Their rather cynical exploitation of the situation is what’s leading to these deaths and we want it stopped.”

With President Trump’s recent withdrawal of the United States from the Iran deal and now this, tensions are mounting in the Middle East. As Vox points out, Trump’s transference of the US embassy basically takes the idea of a Palestinian state off the table. Peace in the Middle East, the espoused goal of both Hamas and the Israeli government, seems far off.

Mother’s Day

What is Mother’s Day and why is it important?

Mother’s Day is an important day to show appreciation to mothers around the globe. Mother’s Day is celebrated in 46 countries, and it is a special day for mothers who are mostly dealing with a male dominant society.

History

According to Quora, Mother’s Day began in 1908 by a woman named Anna Jarvis, who did a memorial for her mother, who was a peace activist that helped the wounded soldiers during the Civil War. She began by getting support for Mother’s Day after her mother died. She wanted to honor all of the mothers who supported her family and loved ones.

Most of the U.S. started to celebrate Mother’s Day, and West Virginia, where Jarvis is from, declared Mother’s Day as a holiday. It became an official holiday when President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation in 1914.

It became an international celebration, and countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Italy, Singapore, Belgium, and more countries recognize it.

Mother’s Day is important because it is a day to honor, respect, and show more love than usual to mothers. The day acknowledges the maternal bonds, and roles of a mother in society. It is celebrated on May 13 in the U.S., but is different in other countries. Even if your mother is dead, or not there, it is a day to remember their importance to you.

Study from Psychologists

According to study.com, in the 1950’s, psychologists studied mother and child relationships by looking at how the child is affected to form long lasting bonds throughout their lives.

Infants that deal with high stress environments grow up to be worried adults who have difficulty developing bonds. Children with close relations to their caregivers end up being developing adults.

Also, maternal figures (moms) play a key role to help us become the people we are because they care and comfort us and provide us in so many ways.

Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

  • A Custom Handwriting Bracelet
  • Personalized Photo Stamps
  • Snapshot Mix Photo Art
  • Milk Chocolate Gift Basket
  • Flowers deliveries
  • Broadway Tickets
  • Personalized necklace
  • Plantable greeting card
  • Succulent Print Gardenia Candle
  • Mothers Day Box
  • Moms favorite perfumes

Melania Trump’s “Be Best”

Last night, May 7th, Melania Trump released her First Lady Agenda. In this agenda she expressed that her agenda is aimed towards the children of America and their well being. Melania Trump named her campaign “Be Best” and she plans to improve the lives of children all across the country. Melania plans to do this by focusing on childrens’ mental and physical health, and educating them on the many real life issues that they are surrounded by, and face today. These problems range from social media use, drug abuse, and being raised in a healthy environment.

The “Be Best” campaign is not only about promoting raising kids in a healthy environment and supporting them, but it’s also about teaching and raising them with the values for “kindness and respect.” This campaign doesn’t come as a surprise based on events that have happened in the past – especially based off of some of the comments that Melania has made based on how people treat her husband. “Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers,” Melania Trump made said in 2016.

In the end, it is amazing to see that our First Lady stands for the children and youth of our country. She wants what is best for all of our youth in this country; wanting them to be the best that they can be and helping them reach their full potential. This can be reached by helping these children start a young age, and by actually helping them, and not by leaving the pressure for them to be great on their own. And, as Melania Trump stated in her agenda, “Children deserve every opportunity to enjoy their innocence.”

Get your wag on! Walk for animals

Every year, the Animal Humane Society hosts a walk where people can not only walk but also donate money to help animals in need. They aimed to raise 1 million dollars for vulnerable animals and raised 900,000 dollars.

They walk through Theodore Wirth Park, turn around at the Golf Chalet, and head back to the Animal Humane Society. The walk starts at 10 am and they have fun activities and booths for before, during, and after the walk. The activities include: dog games (featuring games and training tips for your dog) hair and face painting, Chip n’ Nail Clinic: where you’ll find reduced fees for nail trims, microchipping, gland expressions, and photo booths. They also have a merchandise booth!

You are not committed to walking the full 2.5 mile walk, and can also participate in cute pet contests.

They have three competitions: best celebrity look alike, best dance moves, and best hairdo. (Sign up by 11:00 am to participate!)

There is also a complimentary shuttle service that starts picking people up at the satellite lots at 7:45 and loops through the lots until 2 in the afternoon.

They also have a team of dogs that perform some athletic tricks called The Purina Pro Plan Performance Team. This show is at 9 am and at 11 am. There is live music at 12:30 pm and then another Purina Team performance at 1 pm.

The Animal Humane Society is a shelter that gives any animal a chance to be adopted. While they could qualify as a no kill shelter, they choose not to and only euthanize pets with an incurable disease or untreatable behavior issues. Euthanization is only used when they’ve exhausted all other options.

Find out more about the Animal Humane Society here: https://www.animalhumanesociety.org

The Butterfly Effect

Have you ever heard that the flap of a butterfly’s wing could make a hurricane if it flapped at the certain time? Well, some may say it’s not true, but this is the theory behind the butterfly effect.

The butterfly effect is when one small decision, or action, may lead to an unforeseen chain of events. The term came from Edward Lorenz when he was doing experiments with a weather machine, where a small change in the speed of the wind affected the damage brought by the wind. The butterfly effect is strongly tied in with chaos theory, which states that a small event can lead to a catastrophic chain of events.

The butterfly effect has inspired movie producers by the mysterious way it works. Screen writers and producers, Eric Bess and J. Mackye Gruber released the film, The Butterfly Effect which has several endings depending on which version you see. The movie stars Ashton Kutcher who plays a 20 year old college student who finds out he has the power to go back in time and go into his old body to relieve bad mistakes from the past but soon finds out each little change has a big impact for when he goes back to the present.

When people hear about the butterfly effect there is often controversy around the fact if it’s real or not. Since the effect is something that is triggered by a small change, there is no indication that a big event would have been caused by it often causing people to dismiss the effect. All in all, the butterfly effect is a powerful but yet mysterious thing in society.

 

Starbucks closes for racial-bias training

Two men who had entered a Starbucks in Philadelphia were arrested after trying to use the restroom in the establishment. An employee had refused to allow them to enter, or use the restroom, because they had not bought anything from Starbucks. Soon after sitting down, the employee told them to leave, before calling the police. Once the police officials had arrived they soon arrested the two men. At that time, another person, Andrew Yaffe, confronted the police officers and asked, “But what did they do? What did they do? Someone tell me what they did?”

From the narration of Rashon Nelson; he and his friend were at Starbucks to meet a business associate. He wanted to use the restroom but was refused, and was told it was for paying customers only. So, he and his friend sat back down and waited until the business associate came. They hadn’t ordered anything because they had bottled water, and this was when employees had dialed 911, and police officials showed up to the scene shortly after.

Image taken from: https://www.cursor.org/business/2018/04/18/starbucks-racial-bias.html

Many people after hearing/seeing the story, started to try and bring awareness towards the racism in society, especially towards Starbucks. Many people were happy to hear that Starbucks was taking action, but they hated how they’re only taking half a day to “learn” about racial bias. People believe that taking half a day would not address the problem of racism and how they caused the arrest of two men because of how they were African-American.

This event was a moment of racial bias, where the two African-American men were disrespected and not allowed to do normal things by a white man. Racial bias in the world is huge, not only does it affect the rest of the world, and countries, etc., it is also affecting people, families, children in the U.S. Children have been bullied for having different colored skin, for being “black,” or “Asian,” or foreign.

One way or another, people will always be racist, because people will always be judging others, in everyday life. No one will forget about it and will always use race, skin color, or ancestry as an excuse to hate/discriminate against people.

Starbucks had announced this incident as racial/implicit bias, but really it was just racism. Starbucks had then decided to close all Starbucks in the U.S. for a racial bias training. Believing that teaching their employee’s/staff about racial bias would stop them from enacting these events in the future.

“It’s not just a black people thing. This is a people thing. And that’s exactly what we want to see out of this, and that’s true change. … Put action into place” –  Rashon Nelson

Rashon was one of the two men arrested that day, and appeared on ABC’s, Good Morning America news to talk about the incident.

After the incident, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson had released a video explaing, what Starbucks would do to ensure that this incident would not happen again.

To view the video of Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson -https://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/nation/2018/04/16/starbucks-ceo-meets-officials-after-philly-arrests/33906029/

Image taken from: https://countryclubplaza.com/merchant/starbucks/

 

The Trump’s administration’s first state dinner

The Trump administration held their first state dinner, in honor of French President Emmanuel Macron, on Tuesday, April 24. First Lady Melania Trump was the head organizer of the event, and it was a prime opportunity for her to prove herself. She chose not to bring in an outside event planner.

White House state dinners are a historical tradition. They are usually held in the State Dining Room (though larger ones, such as those held by Barack Obama, are held outside under tents) and are an opportunity for the President to meet with, and honor one or more foreign heads of state. According to the White House Historical Association, the first state dinner was held in 1874 by President Ulysses S. Grant to honor King David Kalakaua of the Kingdom of Hawaii. President Barack Obama held 13 state dinners during his tenure.

The Trump dinner was attended by around 150 people, none of whom were journalists or Congressional Democrats. It was decorated in a gold and cream color scheme. The menu for the dinner was in an American style, inspired by French cuisine. The first course featured goat cheese gateau, tomato jam, buttermilk biscuit crumbles, and young variegated lettuces. The main course featured rack of spring lamb, burnt cipollini soubise, and Carolina gold rice jambalaya. For dessert, they ate nectarine tart and crème fraîche ice cream. Fox News reported that for entertainment, Mrs. Trump opted for the Washington National Opera over popstars, as was done for most of the Obama administration’s state dinners.

Following a less formal dinner with the Macrons, at Mount Vernon (the home of George Washington), on Monday night, the First Lady greeted the Macrons on Tuesday morning dressed in a white Michael Kors skirt and blazer, and a Hervé Pierre hat. For the dinner, she wore a Chanel Haute Couture dress, which received great praise from many media outlets, including CNN, for its elegance.

ABC News reported that the President used the toast as an opportunity to thank his wife, saying “To America’s absolutely incredible first lady, thank you for making this an evening we will always cherish and remember. Thank you, Melania.”

But, though it was elegant, the Trumps’ first state dinner was not without argument. Trump lambasted the Iran deal, which he is against and Macron is for. The Iran deal is an agreement reached in 2015 between Iran, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, Germany, and the totality of the European Union, which lifted sanctions on Iran in return for limiting their nuclear program until 2025. Trump opposes it because he believes it is inadequate; having no control over Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and other non-nuclear weapons and their behavior in the Middle East (i.e., supporting Islamist terrorist organizations), and for its temporary time frame. He blasted the deal, calling it “insane” and “ridiculous.” However, as CNN reported, Trump seemed more amenable in a news conference afterwards, saying “We can be flexible. You know, in life you have to be flexible, and as leaders of countries, you have to show flexibility.” After the dinner, it is unclear what the fate of the Iran deal will be.

In one particularly memorable moment of the dinner, according to The Hill, President Trump brushed a piece of “dandruff” off of Emmanuel Macron’s shoulder, saying “They’re all saying what a great relationship we have, and they’re actually correct. We do have a very special relationship. In fact, I’ll get that little piece of dandruff off — we have to make him perfect. He is perfect.” The President of France laughed.

 

 

 

The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal and the testimony of Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, has been under fire recently for a scandal involving data immorally obtained from its servers by the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. In 2014, Cambridge Analytica began collecting identifiable personal information from an alleged 87 million users, 70 million of which are Americans (according to Facebook). According to the BBC, though Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed in a recent testimony, before the U.S. Congress, that the data collected included only mundane things such as “public profile, page likes, birthday and current city,” the scandal, exposed by former Cambridge Analytica employee Christopher Wylie, has been enough to incite a nationwide conversation about privacy on the internet and consumers’ rights.

The Guardian has reported that Cambridge Analytica collected data in a dishonest method. The firm sent out a survey for allegedly “academic purposes” only, to which several hundreds of thousands of Facebook users consented. However, the survey collected information not only from the consenting users, but also from others in their social network. But, what is even more controversial is that this data was then sold to political groups, including the 2015 presidential campaign of Ted Cruz and politicians involved in the Brexit vote of 2016. Also, according to The New York Times, the data was detailed enough to develop psychographical profiles of its subjects, which could yield useful information to politicians on how to deliver their message to voters in different constituencies.

In the aftermath of the scandal, Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg have been very apologetic, calling it an “issue,” a “mistake” and a “breach of trust”; Cambridge Analytica have been less so. They maintain that the collected data amounts to that of only 30 million users, not 87.

It is also believed, by many on the left, that Cambridge Analytica played a crucial role in the election of President Donald Trump. Secret footage filmed by BBC’s Channel 4 News revealed bosses of the firm bragging about their role in his presidential campaign. Furthermore, a link has been drawn between Cambridge Analytica and the alleged efforts of the Kremlin in Trump’s campaign. Hillary Clinton has said, in Business Insider, “So you’ve got Cambridge Analytica, you’ve got the Republican National Committee — which, of course, had always done data collection and analysis — and you’ve got the Russians. And the real question is how did the Russians know how to target their messages so precisely to undecided voters in Wisconsin or Michigan or Pennsylvania; that is really the nub of the question. So if they were getting advice from, let’s say, Cambridge Analytica or someone else about ‘OK, here are the 12 voters in this town in Wisconsin — that’s whose Facebook pages you need to be on to send these messages,’ that indeed would be very disturbing.”

Clinton’s remarks about the dishonesty and creepiness of Cambridge Analytica and Facebook’s actions represent those of many Americans on either side of the political spectrum. According to CBS News, speaking on a recent poll about the scandal, “Eight in ten Americans who took the poll said they weren’t surprised to discover outside companies got hold of their data, and 63 percent believe their Facebook data is currently unsafe.”

“Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at his first day of testimony to the U.S. Congress on April 10” image taken from: https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/11/watch-zuckerberg-testimony-online/

According to The New York Times, in response to allegations of dishonesty, poor regulation, and monopoly, Zuckerberg testified before the US Congress on April 10 and 11. Though he stated that Russia and Cambridge Analytica are corporations that “seek to harm us and hack our democracy,” and, “Do we have a responsibility for the content people share on Facebook? I think the answer to that question is yes,” Zuckerberg offered evidence of no actual solutions for the crisis being implemented, and was hesitant to answer any significant proposals of reform with a yes or no answer. This is especially important seeing as the Cambridge Analytica data scandal is not the first political scandal Facebook has been involved in in recent years; there were also the “fake news” and hate speech controversies. Zuckerberg’s testimony was perhaps more entertaining than informative, with internet commentators and meme creators teasing “Zucc” for his use of a booster seat and his alleged “reptilian” appearance mannerisms, especially on the social media network Reddit.

Vox reports that a civil rights movement is building against Facebook and it is uncertain how much the company is willing to give. Many protesters claim that Facebook’s virtual monopoly on social media (owning the three largest networks in the company, with Instagram and Facebook Messenger) justifies government intervention. Many individual Americans have sued Facebook in their county for infringements relating to the scandal. But, something even bigger is on the horizon: on Thursday, as reported by The Guardian, a joint US/UK class-action lawsuit was filed against Facebook, Cambridge Analytics and two other companies for using individuals’ private information for “political propaganda campaigns.” Even after the repealing of net neutrality laws last December, the future of consumer rights online may not be so bleak.

The Liberian immigration

On Wednesday March 28, 2018, the Liberian community had a walkout to the state capital. This walkout was based on the new law that the president passed on Liberian immigration status. The law says that all Liberian immigrants, with no documents, will have to relocate back to Liberia, by March of next year, 2019.

During this walkout, we had some people talk about how the new law had affected them in different ways, and people also talked about how it may cause problems for their families.

The walk was from Brooklyn Park to the capital, and it was almost twenty miles. The estimated number of people was about three hundred. I talked to some of the people that were involved in the walkout, and had some people share their thoughts about how they felt.

According to one of the people, whose name is, Mary Johnson,“I came here during the civil war and my kids been here all their lives and currently I have a sixteen-year-old daughter to take care of. I am also a single mother that has to take care of six children, and my husband died after the last kid was born so if this laws take place it is going to affect me and my family, and I don’t want that” she cried.

There was also a lady named Joyce Mulbah, who also said, “I came during the Ebola crisis in 2014 and I been working, and the only person that provided for my sick mom who just stays home and does nothing. So I hope that the president have mercy on us and let us stay here.”

Most people said that they are going to continue to march until the president or the house or senators do something. I hope that the president will do something about the problem before next year’s deadline, and help them too.

Flint, Michigan water

April 25th, 2018, will mark the fourth year of the Flint, Michigan water crisis. Imagine coming up on four years of unclean, unhealthy, lead water that has killed about 15 civilians. Flint has had to deal with this long history of unclean water caused by “insufficient” funds. Researchers have discovered traces of lead in many children, and recently called for a state of emergency after all this time. This is a great issue, that hasn’t been urgently handled, that’s impacting many civilians.

How did this start? This tragedy began in 2011 when the city announced a new pipeline would be built. They turned to the Flint River as their source, instead Lake Huron, when they attempted to cut city costs. Flint is known as a poverty city. Even though this was supposed to be a temporary deal, this transition lasted to April 2014. The lawmakers did their best to hide the fact they were providing a toxic resource. In May 2014, residents began to notice this ill-tasting, smelly water in their homes.

After about a year, reports leak about the lead levels in the Flint homes. Lead consumption can affect the lungs, heart, kidneys, and nerves. Lead affects newborns, children, and adults in different ways. Being born prematurely, weight loss, and difficulties with memory or concentration are just a few symptoms.

Ever since 2014, lead levels have continued to rise for these Flint citizens.

After about two years, lead levels began to get better. The city sent bottled water, and filters, to schools and homes to provide them secure water.

This disaster left over 100,000 residents exposed to lead in their water. It continues to leave these residents exposed to lead.

With this information, what can we do? Aside from providing filtered water, like the government, there’s nothing we can do. Filtered water and filter systems are the only way for Flint residents to live a healthy lifestyle. Donating to projects that are funding their cause is another way to support the cause of the Flint water crisis

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