Mother’s Day

A mother is someone who provides love, care, nurture, and safety for her children. Every mother expresses these aspects in different ways. In appreciation of our mother’s, we celebrate Mother’s Day, which falls on May 12, 2019 in the United States. In other countries Mother’s Day is celebrated on different days, but usually Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May.

Mother’s Day is celebrated in many different ways all around the world, but the main purpose is to celebrate an appreciation towards mothers. According to The Holiday Spot, in the United Kingdom, Mother’s Day is also called Mothering Sunday. It is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, and is a time to give mothers rewards for their love and encouragements.

On the other hand, in India, Mother’s Day is a time of reflection of how important their mothers are. They also send cards and eat out so the mother can rest and get out of the kitchen.

Gift giving is one of the top ways of showing your appreciation for another, which is one of the reasons why, on Mother’s Day, we treat our mother out to a meal or get her a present. If taking your mother out to her favorite restaurant won’t work, then here is a list of gifts you can give to her:

  • Jewelry
  • Tea or coffee
  • Plant
  • Kitchen utilities
  • Skin care
  • Chocolate
  • Bouquet of flowers

Homemade gifts may be the most meaningful gift you could give your mother, but if you don’t have a lot of art skills you could visit a local store. If you are still unable to find gift at your local store you can visit Etsy to find a Mother’s Day gift for your mother.

So, until Mother’s day, you could think of what ways you could show your appreciation for your mother. Maybe by giving her a present, treating her out to a meal, or maybe spending the whole day with your mother.

Norte Dame Cathedral

On April 15, 2019, the Notre Dame Cathedral, in Paris, caught on fire. The centuries old building burned through the wooden roof. The fire was believed to be accidental.

The cathedral caught on fire at around 6 p.m., and around 500 firefighters spent nearly five hours fighting the fire.

The cause of the fire was believed to be an electric short-circuit in an elevator, and that a computer glitch may have a played a part by showing the fire in the wrong place. The flames were believed to have started at the base spire.

By 11 p.m., the cathedral had been preserved, that includes the two iconic bell towers, but two-thirds of the of the roof was gone. According to The New York Times, the French President Emmanuel Macron promised that the cathedral will be rebuilt.

After the fire was cleared from the cathedral, people from around the world assessed the damage of the cathedral and the many works of art it contained. The overall structure of the cathedral was still intact, except for the roof and spire. After all the bell towers survived the blazing fire, most of the bells are believed to have survived as well. The Emmanuel Bell, the cathedral’s main bell, and a 15th century relic, survived the fire.

Many of the paintings and other art works inside of the building had been rescued from the fire. The grand organ in the cathedral was intact, but was believed to have suffered water damage.

Since the fire, nearly $1 billion dollars has been raised to rebuild the cathedral. After the news broke about the donation, many people have had negative reactions worldwide to the amount of money raised, with some even saying that the money could be used to solve world social issues.

Officials had said that the $1 billion will most likely repair all damages to the cathedral, despite President Macron’s five-year promise, rebuilding the cathedral could take up to decades to repair.

5-year-old child thrown from the third floor at Mall Of America

On Friday, April 13, a 5-year-old boy named Landon was thrown off of the 3rd floor at Mall of America. The Bloomington police got reports at 10:17 a.m. that a young child had fallen about 40 feet from the third floor balcony and had landed on the first floor. Witnesses recall seeing a woman screaming for help on the third floor, which was his mother. The child was was lying face up in between an escalator and the Michael Kors store on the first floor. The 5-year-old boy suffered life threatening injuries and has been hospitalized. According to Fox9, witnesses on the first floor described seeing the boy on his back, not breathing and fully unconscious.

A family friend set up the GoFundMe page that will help the family cover the medical costs including many surgeries. The GoFundMe has since raised $400,000.

According to NBC News, the suspect of this attack has been named a 24-year-old man from Minneapolis: Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda. He was immediately arrested after the attack and has been in custody on a suspicion of an attempted murder charge. The suspect has been banned from the mall, in the past, on misdemeanor charges. He was arrested at the Mall of America in 2015 after he threw items from the 3rd floor at the mall and broke many items at stores nearby. He has since then told police after his arrest, for throwing the child, that his motive and plan was that he had been looking for someone to kill on April 13.

According to CNN, the 5-year-old boy had been improving. Doctors said they found no brain damage and not even any swelling or nerve damage. They referred to his injured as something more like a child falling off a bike rather than falling 40 feet in the air.

The boy has suffered a good amount of broken bones and bleeding internally, but he has since been making great improvements.

The world’s first picture of a black hole, and why it matters

Photo via theguardian.com

So, unless you’ve been living a prehistoric, or nomadic life, traversing from cave to cave on a journey for wild boar meat, you probably already know about how a group of astronomers, from something called The Event Horizon Telescope Project, have taken the first ever real, and (somewhat) clear picture of a black hole, from millions light years away, in the galaxy you’ve only heard the name of once known as Messier 87. You see the blurry orange circle, you compare it to its infinitely more interesting looking, not real cgi renditions, and think to yourself, why?

Why does it matter that we just took a picture of an orange circle from far away? Well, my ignorant, yet now thoroughly offended hypothetical reader, there’re lot’s of earth shattering scientific breakthroughs which are the result of this discovery.

Katie Bouman, the main woman behind the image, watching in disbelief at the reveal of the image, via CNN

Well, not only was this photo taken from 50 million light years away
which means, the light we’re seeing in this photo, is from millions, and millions of years ago. And to photograph something so impossibly far away, the team would need a telescope almost the size of planet earth itself, but the Even Horizon team, all came together and connected 8 different telescopes from around the planet, to combine their data to get an accurate image using a technique called interferometry. Which is such obviously a massive breakthrough as it shows that not only is our technology at THIS level, but it will just keep better as the years progress. And who knows what this could possibly lead to, for future generations.

But not only that, but the researchers say that, this whole thing, helps further prove the theory of Relativity, which was first talked about in 1915, by this quite obscure scientist, I dunno if you heard of him, his name was ALBERT FREAKING EINSTEIN, so basically, this means, he predicted that black holes well, exist, and that they have things called event horizons. And there were also tons of equations he came up with, which predict the exact size, and shape, of the black hole, based on its mass, and that’s pretty much what the image revealed. You can read more on this at space.com ( Yeah “space.com” I mean what else would you name it?)

So, if all this isn’t already enough evidence of the extraordinary feat of this black hole, from an entirely different galaxy, millions of light years away, being well, see-able. Then I dunno what to tell you. It might not be super interesting to see a blurry orange circle. But this “blurry orange circle” has extremely extraordinary implications, which will effect the way we view the outward universe for pretty much the rest of time.

And for this, we can thank Katie Bouman, along with many others in the Event Horizon team, but Katie Bouman was a very integral part, as sometime back in 2017, she led the work to create a specific algerithum which was used to generate the picture of the black hole. Before then, Bowman was then a graduate student, earning a PhD in computer science, and artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (a.k.a. MIT). And now, according to the guardian, while Katie is as-of-now, a post-doctoral at MIT, and is due to obtain a position as an assistant professor at the California Institute of Technology, she instead prefers to continue her work with the Event Horizon team, as it is her passion, and there is still much to discover, and much to learn, about this wide world we live in.

Julian Assange arrested

By: Daniela Fernandez

On April 11, 2019, Julian Assange was arrested in London at the Ecuadorian Embassy. He was arrested for refusing to surrender to the court.

Assange is most well known for creating Wikileaks, which is a place where classified information can be illegally released for the world to know, according to NBC News.

According to CNN, Assange had been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 after seeking asylum there. He first seeked asylum there after being accused of rape in 2010, while in Sweden. On November 2, 2011, while in London, the High Court ruled that Julian Assange was to be extradited to Sweden for the accusations of rape against him.

Then on December 5, 2011, Assange petitioned the UK Supreme Court to have his extradition to Sweden revoked. On May 30, 2012, the UK Supreme Court came to a decision to finalize Assange’s extradition to Sweden.

A month later on June 19, 2012, Julian Assange applied for political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The UK then responded to this by stating that they can revoke Assange’s asylum and extradite him to Sweden. On August 16, 2012, Ecuador gave Assange asylum in their embassy, stating they were concerned about his human rights being violated by the UK extraditing him.

On August 13, 2015, Sweden dropped their case against Assange for sexual molestation, and unlawful coercion, because they had no more time to question him as their case had expired. Then on May 17, 2017, Assange’s rape charges were dropped by Sweden.

On July 27, 2018, the UK and Ecuador reported that they were talking about what was to be done about Assange. Then, on December 6, Assange denied the UK and Ecuador’s deal to let him go free.

Then, after many years of struggle between Ecuador and the UK, Julian Assange was removed from the embassy and arrested by the UK. Ecuador stated the reason for their decision was because Assange violated international conventions through Wikileaks. Wikileaks stated Ecuador violated international law by revoking his asylum.

Easter: An overview

This year Easter, which is a Christian holiday, occurred on Sunday, April 21. Each year, Easter falls on the Sunday after the first full moon in spring. Easter Day, for Christians, is the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb on the third day after he was put to death. The resurrection of Jesus is a way to renew hope that we have victory over sin. Easter is three days after the death of Jesus on the cross.

Easter is where many people do a period of fasting called Lent leading up to it, and many churches set aside time for repentance and remembrance. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, and ends on Good Friday, the day that Jesus was put to death. On the day before Good Friday, there is a day called Maundy Thursday, considering to be the last supper/Passover Jesus took. Easter is associated with the Jewish holiday Passover, the Last Supper was a Passover feast.

Abstract Passover story Haggadah book over traditional food and Moses. Vector illustration – Image taken from: https://www.sbs.com.au/topics/life/culture/article/2017/04/10/gentiles-guide-passover

During Passover, Jesus took bread, which represented his body, and shared it with his 12 apostles. The cup of wine they drank represented his blood. In present time, Passover observed by breaking bread and drinking wine, or as an alternative grape/cranberry juice. Breaking bread is simply having bread, without yeast, and breaking it into pieces among the people.  These rituals symbolize the sacrifice he was about to make in death, and this became the basis for the Christian ritual.


The week leading up to Jesus’ death is called Holy Week. This includes Palm Sunday, which is the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem and was celebrated, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday when Jesus would be put to death.

Easter Day is a time of celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. As time passed many secular ideas have been incorporated in this holiday. In present time Easter is celebrated as Jesus’ resurrection and/or to celebrate with the Easter bunny.

Another tradition is the Easter Bunny, that delivers candy and chocolate eggs to children on Easter Sunday morning. According to Country Living, the Easter bunny was a part of early pagan (non-religious) celebrations, and Christian missionaries had sometimes incorporated pagan ideas into their holidays. The two were combined to help promote their holidays to others. Historians believe it arrived in America with the German immigrants in the 1700s. The Easter bunny was at first the goddess of spring and dawn named Eastre, but was turned into a bunny by the Germans.

Eastre was celebrated because during spring, people celebrated the renewal of life and fertility. Eastre was associated with newborns and animals, and rabbits were known for reproducing rapidly, which created the concept of the Easter bunny.

The eggs came from when Eastre came late for spring once and saw a frozen bird. Eastre then turned that frozen bird into a white hare and made it lay colorful eggs once a year. The Easter eggs symbolizes fertility and birth in pagan traditions that pre-date Christianity, and also the resurrection of Jesus.

So, even though Easter is a Christian holiday today, it has connections to other beliefs as well.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.holidayinsights.com/easter/

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/undertanding-the-history-and-symbols-of-easter-1256039.html

What’s going on in West Papua?

Image via theguardian.com

If you’ve been reading the news lately, you’ve probably seen an article or two about what’s going on in West Papua, Indonesia, but most articles don’t give you the full idea, and not many people know the intense situation which is going on. Anyway, let me give you some background here from indonesiamatters.com if you don’t already know.

So, in the 1800s, there was this island called “New Guinea.” The British took the East half, and the Dutch took the Western half, and then it became a part of the Dutch East Indies. Then, in the ’30s, the former colonies of the Dutch East Indies all became independent except for Western New Guinea. But, in 1952, the Dutch prepared the people, for independence, for this remaining colony, and by the ’60s, the parliament of that part of New Guinea (now called West Papua) was formed, and the country created a national anthem, flag, and national seal.

 

Flag of West Papua via freewestpapua.org

Everything seemed to be going well until in 1962 when the Indonesian government started invading West Papua, and tried to push out the Dutch who were staying in the country, taking care of it before its total independence. The Dutch forces successfully stopped the invasion, but then Indonesia went to the Soviet Union for support, and because of Cold War anxiety, the US government tried to help out the Dutch in West Papua.

In August, later that year, an agreement was reached, in New York, between the Netherlands and Indonesia, where the UN gains custody of West Papua until they hold a vote. But, when the vote actually happened in 1969, it was said to be heavily rigged by the Indonesian government, thus making West Papua a province of Indonesia (two provinces actually).

Via worldpoliticsreview.com

Now, according to a paper put out by the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the people, culture, language, and just overall heritage of West Papua is vastly different from the rest of Indonesia, as they are a Melanesian people, more similar to the many different groups within the bordering country of Papua New Guinea, which is VASTLY different culturally and linguistically from the South East Asian culture of Indonesia. The government is said to be trying to force Indonesian culture on the people of West Papua.

This, to some, would be a reason to secede already, but why should we care? The main reason is the deep seeded oppression which is going on within the West Papua region, as  it is one of the longest running modern day illegal annexations/occupations.

There are intense reports of brutal torture as described by a study in 2015: torture seems to be the unofficial form of governance. It is said that the Indonesian regime is not reluctant to use killing, surveillance, and arbitrary arrest to control the illegally occupied West Papua.

An example of this is when graphic footage was leaked to YouTube in October 2010. There are two separate occurring events which were captured in this footage. The beginning shows eight highlanders forcibly stripped naked in front of two Indonesian army soldiers. And while interrogating these terrified Papuans, and calling them “monyet,” “anjing,” or “bajingan” (monkey, dog, bastard), the soldiers kicked their heads with their edged boots, and hit their heads using their helmets.

The soldiers demanded that they would confess to being members of the OPM, which is an independence movement with the overall goal of freeing West Papua from Indonesian control. The latter half of the footage displays two people, with one having a knife to their throat, and another being burnt on his bare skin by Indonesian army men, as so the men would confess the location of OPM weaponry near their town. It was very public, and many people were forced to bear witness.

This is said to be a very frequent occurrence in West Papua, according to that study. Along with that, terrible Indonesian policies which cause environmental damage such deforestation, severely undermines the foundation for West Papuan society and culture.

Via freewestpapua.org

So, it would be evident to say that independence would be a fair option for these oppressed people of West Papua, and that’s what they are trying to achieve now more than ever. According to theguardian.com other Pacific Islander countries, such as Vanuatu, have shown support for the struggle against the oppression. And according to UNPO (Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization) almost 2 million residents of West Papua have signed a petition (which could have had more signatures if it wasn’t heavily kept away by the Indonesian government), practically begging the UN for equal, and fair independence, and self determination for the West Papuan peoples.

Sadly, according to theguardian.com, the UN denied the petition after all that, and said that it damaged the territorial integrity of Indonesia. I believe this is a violation of equal rights, freedom, and the democracy on which the very principals the UN were supposedly founded on. Though maybe, in the future, brave governments such as Vanuatu may eventually speak out loud enough, and take action. I believe that it is the UN’s duty, as a global peacekeeper, to find, and create justice for the West Papuan peoples, as they deeply deserve it.

Oil spills – Part 3 in a multi-part series about the environment

According to Marineinsight.com, an oil spill is when there is a contamination in the ocean due to oil being spilled, because of a accident and/or an error made by a human. Oil spills come in many different sizes. Climateiknterpreter.org reports that there are about 20,000 oil spills each year. These range from being small and quickly contained, to very large and taking a while to contain.

During the Gulf War, in 1991, there were about 240 to 336 million gallons of oil spilt. This happened because Iraq opened the oil wells and pipelines. This is was the largest oil spill, caused on purpose, history has ever seen. This spill affected the coral ecosystem and local fisheries.

Another large oil spill was the Deepwater Horizon plant spill in 2010. As reported by Telegraph.co.uk, this spill happened in the Gulf of Mexico. There were about 210 million gallons of oil that ended up in the ocean. This spill flowed for over three months: April 20, 2010 to July 15, 2010. This became the largest accidental spill in the history of the petroleum industry. This spill killed 11 men that were working on the plant platform, and injured 17 others. The leak was stopped by capping the wellhead after it spilled around 4.9 million barrels of oil – crude to be exact. This meant that about 53,000 barrels escaped each day. This affected the the marine and wildlife habitats, as well as Gulf’s fishing and tourism industry.

If you have a small vessel, there is a checklist to go through to prevent small spills. The first thing would be, tighten bolts on the engine. The bolts can loosen due to shaking while the engine is being used. The next thing would be, replace cracked or worn lines and fittings before they get lose and fall out. There is also a checklist for filling up your vessel. The first thing is to avoid overflows when refueling; you should know what the capacity of your tank and nosing you should leave room for the fuel to expand. The next thing is to use an absorbent pad to catch any drips. For more information about this, please visit: Responde.restoration.noaa.gov

What is the future plan for Brexit?

By: Daniela Fernandez

What is Brexit? Brexit is the UK’s plan to separate themselves from the EU. The original plan was to exit the EU on March 29, 2019. Now, as this plan was rejected, the new deadline for Brexit is on April 12 if all goes well in negotiatios.

3 years ago, the UK voted for Brexit, and made Labour Party Representative, Theresa May, Prime Minister of the UK. With the UK’s plan for Brexit the EU stated that the UK would lose all of their trade benefits with them because they would no longer be a part of the EU. This would include their now trade benefits, such as having no taxes on products from different EU countries. An upside for the UK, with separating from the EU, is that they will now be able to have their own trade deals with EU countries since they are not allowed to have these deals under the EU according to CNBC.

March 29 was the day where Parliament would vote for Brexit. After the votes were counted it was determined the Prime Minister May’s plan was rejected once again after 2 other plans had also been rejected, according to CNN. The first time the plan was rejected, only 202 people were for the plan and 432 against, on January 15. The second vote was on March 12, with 242 for May’s Brexit plan, and 391 against. Then on March 29, the number of people who voted for May’s plan in Parliament was 286 against 344 who opposed.

On April 12, Parliament will again vote on the new Brexit plan. There are 2 ways this vote can go. One way is that if the plan is accepted then the government will try to make a decision on how to continue, and call for an extension on their plan. If the plan is rejected then Brexit will most likely be canceled, and the UK will have many options such as holding a general election on the plan or to continue May’s Brexit deal and have negotiations with the EU.

With all of this back and forth about the plan the plan for Brexit is unclear in the future.

New Zealand Massacre

On March 15, 2019, an Australian man opened fire in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 51 people and injuring 50 people. The shooter walked into the first mosque, Al Noor, where he started to live stream the attack on social media. The shooter claimed that he identified as a “white identity.”

That he killed these innocent people, all military style, with semi-automatic weapons, and assault rifles, are to be banned in New Zealand. Prime minister Jacinda Ardern made the decision because this was the worst mass shooting that had happened in the country’s history. Ardern said that the terrorist charged the killings to continue his attack, when he was interrupted by police.

39 people remain in the hospital, 11 who are in critical condition, and in intensive care units. A four-year-old girl, that is in critical condition, is to require multiple surgeries. Christchurch hospitals chief of surgery, Dr. Greg Robertson, said many of the victims will need multiple surgeries as well.

Ardern said that she will not say the killer’s name, “He obviously had a range of reasons for committing this atrocious terrorist attack. Lifting his profile was one of them. And that’s something that we can absolutely deny him.” Ardern met many of the families of the victims on Saturday, March 16. She said that authorities were working to ensure that the bodies could be identified quickly to allow proper Muslim burials.

Authorities in Australia and New Zealand have been asked why the suspect was not listed as a terrorist in the media watchlist. He was planning this attack for many years. The terrorist identified himself as member of a white supremacist group. It is believed that the terrorist was alone, but that there were at least two people helping him. The Christchurch police had two other people in custody, a man and a women, it was later confirmed that they were let go and didn’t have any connections on the attack.

People around the world were devastated about the attack and they couldn’t believe that people that were in a place of worship, that thought were safe, were killed. They were killed by someone who hated them, and for him to live stream the attack of killing innocent people from ages 3-70 was heartbreaking.

Many people were scared to attend the mosque and pray, but wonderful people ensured their safety, and while they prayed they stood behind them during prayer. Others also stood in front of mosque doors so that this will not happen again, in any other mosques in the U.K., U.S., etc., and that the Muslim citizens were be protected during prayer.

The news was devastating, and instead of saying “hopefully this doesn’t happen again, we need to make changes,” Jacinda Ardern made a change. She banned semi-automatic weapons so that something like this will never happen again. And that’s what a lot of countries need to do. Change starts with us.