The Family Business

 

Meet Gary Snow (featured right above), a loving father and hardworking business owner, and his daughter, Marisa Snow (featured left above). Marisa Snow is not only an expert in the study of diamonds and gems but also next in line to take on the management of Snow Jewelers, a jewelery and watch repair store that’s been open in the town of Miami Lakes since 1984.

Though this is not its first location, in fact it is their fourth. Having been a success in 1958 in the city of Hialeah the original owners, Edward and Ida Snow, decided it was time to expand. During this time the family friendly town of Miami Lakes was still a work in progress and had just finished building its first shopping plaza today known as Main Street.With the construction of Main Street complete the owners of Snow Jewelers had signed a lease there and together this couple was the first to do so in this newly built shopping plaza.

Edward Snow was a World War 2 veteran  who, after the war, was not in the best condition of health, and described by Gary Snow “needed a job that would allow him to sit down.” Given that Edward was skillful in mechanics has chosen to make a living repairing watches. Additionally his wife, Ida Snow, was an experienced salesperson and for many years sold dresses. With Edward’s skills and Ida’s experience, together this couple opened up Snow Jewelers.

Years passed, Edward and Ida Snow grew older and eventually passed on leaving Snow Jewelers in the hands of their son, Gary Snow. Old photographs of the two as well as a miniature model of Edward’s former airplane hang upon the walls of Snow Jewelers.

Gary Snow, now being 67 years old, passes Snow Jewelers onto his daughter, Marisa Snow. When asked how they run their business Gary Snow responded “We operate our business with honesty and with that we build trust with our customers.”

 

 

How ISIS Recruits Children

ISIS not only consist of adult soldiers and terrorist but young children as well, 11 year-old Abu Imara al Omri, for example, is one of ISIS’ many child soldiers who have died. Abu Imara al Omri was captured on footage for ISIS propaganda where he kneels down to kiss his father’s hand before he blows himself up in a truck full of explosives taking the village of Ghazl, Syria. CNN was unable to identify the authenticity of the video. Child soldiers tend to appear to be treated no differently than regular adult soldiers, CNN explains. Findings indicate that eliminating ISIS will become much more complicated seeing as ISIS’ use of child soldiers will affect how we combat against them and disarm them. Children aren’t being used to replace adult soldiers but are integrated into ISIS’ military operations—often with parental consent.

There are a variety of ways children soldiers may die while serving ISIS, CNN displayed alarming statistics showing that 39 percent died detonating a bomb on a vehicle, 33 percent were killed as foot soldiers, 4 percent killed themselves while committing mass casualty attacks, and 6 percent died as propagandists. Researchers from Georgia State University have been working with Twitter and ISIS channels on Telegram to keep track of the children’s ages, dates, and nationalities. It is suspected that ISIS is recruiting child soldiers to create and train the future generation of ISIS and describes its child soldiers as the “cubs of the caliphate.”  In a recent publication of their English language magazine, mothers of sons were encouraged to sacrifice their sons for the Islamic state handing them over to serve ISIS.

 

Flint’s Lead Poisoning

The lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan’s water was described as “state sponsored child abuse” by an outrage health expert to Nicholas Kristof. A total of 4.9 percent of children in Flint has high levels of lead however other parts of America seem to have it worse.

In New York during 2014, 6.7 percent of children also had high levels of lead, in Pennsylvania 8.5, and an alarming 32 percent in Iowa. “Lead poisoning continues to be a silent epidemic in the United States,” says Phillip Landrigan, a professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai.

The poisoning of lead was delivered by the government through the municipal water system while state officials ignored and disregarded the people’s health. Health problems caused by lead poisoning is not just our nation’s problem but a problem that countries face across the world—it is especially common in low-income countries.

There are, however, anti-lead programs designed to combat lead poisoning but because of Congress these program’s funding were cut. After the public’s outcry for more funding Congress has restored some money yet these programs still have less than half of what they originally had.

Brain damage, impaired brain development, violent behavior—these are some of the many health complications lead poisoning can cause. Take for example 2 year-old Malachi who is unable to speak because of lead poisoning. Malachi will continue to live with this disability for the rest of his life, along with other children like him across the nation.

LLeading poisoning still persist in half a million in the United States partly because the majority of these children are of low-income households or are children of color. “A first step is to restore funding and improve lead poisoning screening,” says Nicholas Kristof.

“Let’s recognize the catastrophe in Flint as a wake-up call to address not just one city’s lead poisoning, but America’s,” he says.

 

 

Denmark approves Law to Take Valuables of Asylum Seekers

Recently a law was passed in Denmark which allows them to take valueables worth  $1,500 or more from Syrian refugees seeking asylum. This law has been critized as controversial because Denmark has a reputaion for being a country that supports and stands for tolerance and social democratic values.

Pocessions such as mobile phones, watches, and jewelry–not including wedding rings–are items that are likely to be seized by the Danish Goverment. Items with sentimental value, on the other hand, will not be seized, such as family portriats and medals. Yet the question arises: Why seize the pocessions of Syrian refugees?

According to the Danish goverment this law ensures that the incoming Syrian refugees will contribute to Denmark’s welfare state. The Syrian refugees will be reciving language training, universal health care, education from preschoool to University, and elderly care all paid for by the goverment.

Some of commented that this is actually Denmark atempting to discourage refugees from entering the country. However this has only been applied to 120 out of 66,000 Syrian asylum seekers.

Syria’s Lost Girls

Syira-a country whose people have been devasted by civil war- is losing its young girls. Thounsands of teenage girls are being married off to older men by their parents in order to protect them from poverty and the horrors of Syia’s civil war.  Child mariges are a growing problem around the world, and the United Nations labeled it as gender-based violence. The United Nations have found that it is statistically proven that chilren in child marriges are at a higher risk for abuse from their hunsbands and deadly compilcations from childbirth.

Marwa, for example, is 15 year old a wife and mother of her 1 year old son. Her parents married her off for her protection. Marrige in exchange for protection is creating some kind of “lost generation” of young teenage girls who have lost their childhoods because of war.  Marwa admitted in front of her husband that she married him for economic sequrity, and would not have married him if there was no war. If cconditions were better, Marwa explained, she would’ve studied to become a pharmacist, not a wife.

Air Pollution in Beijing

Air pollution in Beijing, China has exceeded to an extent in which its government issued a red alert. This put things to a halt; schools, factories, and certain roads have all been temporarily closed. Limits have been placed on the number of cars that can drive on roads and all this went into effect this past Tuesday.

China is attempting to cut car use in half by having only odd or even-numbered license plates on the road at a time. Larger vehicles such as garbage trucks, are banned from the streets. Activities such as fireworks and outdoor barbecuing have also been banned because they’re considered to be polluting industrial activities.

The air quality is regarded as poisonous because it is detrimental to one’s health. The city and its 20 million citizens are living in a hazy, thick cloud of smog. The industrial burning of coal is mainly to blame for this toxic air, in fact Chinese cities have some of the world’s unhealthiest air quality.

The temporary shutdown of schools has affected millions of families, on Tuesday an estimated amount of 2 million students had to say home from school. These schools were closed in order to protect students’ health and to reduce the number of cars on the road, however it was an inconvenience to some. Such as Kan Tingting, a manager of a cafe who stayed indoors with her daughter.

“I had to watch my child because there is no kindergarten today. What bothers me the most is that my child may have a negative view of nature.” she told the New York Times.

 

 

Venezuela’s Opposition Party Claimed the Majority of seats in the National Assembly

On Sunday Dec. 6, Venezuela’s opposition party claimed the majority of seats in the National Assembly in elections. Now a total of 99 seats are occupied by the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), while the United Social Party of Venezuela (PSUV) only holding 46 seats.

This is a significant change in power in the legislative branch, the last time a transformation this big took place was when late President Hugo Chavez took office in 1999.

“This is a victory for democracy,” said Jesus Torrealba, executive secretary for the MUD.

Many Venezuelans view this as a historical and successful change, supporters showed their patriotism through voting and posting photos of ink-dyed fingers on social media such as Instagram.

Now that the opposition has control over the National Assembly it can influence new laws and increase or decrease government spending. It also make changes to the constitution that could potentially limit President Nicolas Maduro’s power.

“This election is a real barometer for how Maduro’s government has been doing,” says Christopher Sabatini, a Columbia University scholar in Latin America.

Venezuela is a country that heavily depends on income from oil production, and due to the decrease in oil prices the government is being deprived of money. With this comes economic inflation, a recession and an increase in violence and insecurity.

“It’s a historic victory, now begins the time for change in Venezuela!” Jesus Torrealba said to cheering supporters at MUD headquarters in Caracas.

 

Europe’s Migrant Crisis

 

Thousands of people migrating from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and more to Europe are facing hardships and discrimination. Violence and harsh conditions in these Middle Eastern countries are the primary causes for migration and lots of them will go to extreme lengths to experience a better life in Europe. Migrating from one country to another can be a very difficult thing to accomplish, in some instances people die along the way.

Abdullah Yassouf is a migrant from Homs, Syria who migrated all the way to Germany with his wife and three daughters. They left their city from a violent uprising and fled to Turkey, two months later they were informed that their house and shop they owned in Homs was destroyed. After hearing on the media that Germany was the best place for migrants they decided to migrate there.

He and his eldest daughter traveled to Germany leaving his wife and two younger daughters in Turkey. They traveled by ship and paid smugglers in Turkey $6,000 USD, for each person, to travel on board. In a cargo ship was how they traveled, in it were roughly 1,000 other Syrians. For seven days at sea, the two traveled from Mersin in Turkey to Catania in Italy. “We suffered in the ship from lack of food, water and toilets.” Says Abdullah Yassouf. After they successfully landed in Italy they then traveled by bus to Milan, took a train from Milan to Verona and then another train from Verona to Munich, from Munich they took a train to Saarbrucken, Germany.

Abdullah Yassouf and his family were very fortunate to have successfully migrated from Syria to Germany, however not everyone is that lucky. In the voyage from Libya to Italy, for example, more than 2,800 migrants are reported to have died trying to make the crossing this year. In fact a total of 3,406 people have died in the Mediterranean in 2015 while trying to flee to Europe.

Some of those who do manage to cross over face discrimination. In countries such as Hungary migrants are rejected, recently a border fence was built to keep them out. Their Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, claims that last week that he was defending European Christianity against Muslims. “Everything which is now taking place before our eyes threatens to have explosive consequences for the whole of Europe,” he says.

In my opinion these migrants don’t deserve hate or discrimination, they’ve struggled and worked hard to travel to Europe for a better life. A lot of these people have left behind their homes, loved ones, and their possessions. They’re so desperate and willing to do whatever it takes to escape that they’ll pay thousands of dollars, go days without food, water, or even sunlight. They’ll risk their lives to get what their home country can’t give them: a better life.