At the end of every month, I summarize local, national and international “stories of need” from news sites, blogs, press releases and editorials. The following are some of January’s most need-in-the-news-worthy stories:
INDIA — A group of Harvard researchers recently discovered more than 3,000 cases of forced labor in India’s handmade carpet sector.
ASIA PACIFIC — Here is a current map of trouble spots in this lesser known area of the world.
HONDURAS — Journalist and human rights defender Dina Meza recently spoke out about “the disappeared” in this Central American country. (Interview in Spanish with English subtitles.)
SYRIA — First-round peace talks between the Syrian government and an opposition delegation lasted for a week. Talks are scheduled to resume next month, although the government has not committed to return.
WORLDWIDE CHILD LITERACY — The U.N. education agency recently reported that 250 million of the world’s 650 million primary-aged children are unable to read.
At times, what gets lost in the concern and clamor over major local, national and international events and issues, are the ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things. Here are a few I’ve heard about recently:
MONROE (Michigan) — Goodwill workers recently discovered $43,000 in the pockets of donated suits and a donated robe.
SOUTH POLE — Yale undergraduate student Parker Liautaud, 19, is on a continuing quest to raise awareness of climate change. He recently set the record for the fastest, unsupported person to make the 314-mile trek from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole, braving frostbite and (ant)arctic conditions the whole way.
BOSTON (Massachusetts) — The Rev. Laura Buchanan Ahart is a long-serving chaplain at Boston’s Nashua Street Jail.
LAS VEGAS (Nevada) — The nonprofit Hero School is aiming to reduce homelessness through education.
NEW YORK & NEW JERSEY — Many groups are trying to raise awareness of human trafficking during Super Bowl week.
Stories worth reflection:
SHOULD WE GO TO MARS? — Should Mars be the next giant step for humankind and why?
IMAGINE THAT: BEAVERS HELP CONTROL FLOODING — That’s why they build all those dams and stuff?
KIDS WEIGHT IMPORTANT EARLY ON — A new study found that nearly half of kids who are obese at 14 were also obese at age 5.
RICH GET RICHER — According to Bloomberg, the world’s 200 richest people made $13.8 billion yesterday.
EVERYDAY APOCALYPSE — Why did Atlanta grind to a zombie apocalypse-like halt after a few inches of snowfall?
RODMAN & NORTH KOREA — Are Dennis Rodman’s efforts at forging a relationship with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, just clumsy showmanship that ignores the communist country’s abysmal human rights record? Or are they something different, as suggested by Rodman’s recent claim that he would take the place of imprisoned American businessman Kenneth Bae?
IMMIGRANTS GOOD FOR ECONOMY? — The Huffington Post outlined five ways that immigrants help make cities more competitive.
COMPROMISE FARM BILL CUTS SNAP — The Farm Bill recently passed by Congress cuts food stamps by $8 billion, a 1 percent reduction.