An overview of stories of need with links to news articles, editorials, press releases and blog posts from around the nation and the world:
- THE NETHERLANDS & SIERRA LEONE: In what was hailed as a landmark decision, an international court convicted former Liberian president Charles Taylor of war crimes for supporting rebels in Sierra Leone in return for what are infamously known as “blood diamonds.” The former warlord and lay preacher’s will be sentenced in May. Now-peaceful Sierra Leone is one of the world’s poorest nations.
- SPAIN: In a developing story, thousands of official cases have been filed with prosecutors regarding alleged illegal adoptions of babies. Meanwhile, Spain’s economic and unemployment crisis continues.
- UNITED STATES: A recent Pew Research Center study found that immigration from Mexico to the United States has dropped in recent years.
- MEXICO: According to the New York Times, Wal-Mart’s largest foreign subsidiary allegedly became embroiled in a bribery and cover-up scandal.
- BAHRAIN: As of April 26, Bahraini hunger striker Abdulhadi al-Khawaja had approached nearly three months of fasting in protest of his life sentence for his role in 2011 anti-government demonstrations. His case has garnered attention from the United Nations secretary general and human rights groups.
- UNITED STATES: George Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second degree murder in the February death of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman turned himself in and later went into hiding after being released on a $150,000 bond.
- WORLD BANK: Despite unprecedented campaigns for the post by non-American candidates, the World Bank confirmed American Jim Yong Kim as its next president.
Fighting the Good Fight
- NEVER FORGET: On April 19, people around the world, including thousands at the former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz in Poland, participated in Holocaust Remembrance Day.
- WATER RESCUE: Witnesses waded into Denver’s Cherry Creek to save a driver whose car had overturned underwater.
- FILMMAKING FOR GOOD: In mid-April, the two-day conference Envision 2012 explored how documentaries can help promote a sustainable future.
- WORKERS’ ALLIANCE: A movement for the labor rights of domestic workers is being led, in part, by Ai-jen Poo, the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The NDWA’s 35 local affiliates in 19 cities and 11 states speak out on behalf of nannies, housekeepers and caregivers for the elderly.
- NATURE DEFICIT DISORDER: Should we be encouraging our children to spend more time outdoors?
- THE SUDANS: The armed conflict between Sudan and the world’s newest nation, South Sudan, continued to escalate. In the disputed region of Heglig, several foreigners were detained by Sudanese officials and accused of spying for South Sudan.
- MALI: West African mediators encountered resistance to their efforts to bring stability to the destablized country, where a military junta recently took over the government, then handed over power to an interim civilian government.
- SENEGAL: A potential food crisis looms as farmers may not be able to plant their crops.
- THE SAHEL: The severe food crisis continues in the Sahel region of Africa. This month aid groups admitted a cash shortfall in their efforts to combat the crisis.
- SYRIA: Violence continued in Syria, placing the already precarious U.N.-backed ceasefire in doubt.
Reflections & Reviews
- VETS’ TRAUMA MORE THAN PTSD?: According to Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, the incidence of suicide by U.S. military veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan might be linked to latent blast-induced brain disease.
- HOW FREE IS TOO FREE?: The Vatican recently reprimanded the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the largest group of American nuns. The move has sparked debate both inside and outside the Catholic Church. For an audio perspective of both sides, listen to this recent segment on National Public Radio.
- MILE HIGH DYSTOPIA?: A March 29 Washington Post story investigated whether Denver, Colo., is the model for the fictional Capitol in The Hunger Games fiction trilogy.
- RECOMMENDED READS:
- The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World by Jacqueline Novogratz. Read more about the author in this Stanford Business Magazine article or watch the author share her “blue sweater” story.
- Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan. Grennan founded the non-profit organization Next Generation Nepal, which reconnects trafficked children with their families.
- MUST SEE:
- Check out the acclaimed documentary, The Island President, about the now-former president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed and his memorable efforts to raise awareness of climate change. Nasheed resigned from the presidency in February under threat of violence from a coup led by security forces in the Maldives.
Published in April on EverydayEpics.com
- Change at the Grange — The Crescent Grange in Broomfield, Colo., and its long-term partners hope to be a model and catalyst for community service and renewal.
- Habitat Home Repairs — A local Habitat for Humanity program helps qualified families complete needed repairs.
- Easter, war and deconstruction — Thoughts on the sobering past of violence committed by Christians against other Christians.
- A Truly Good Friday — A profile on Northern Ireland and the remarkable Good Friday Agreement, which brought peace after decades of violence between Protestant unionists and Catholic nationalists.
- Forgive when? — A guest commentary on Easter, forgiveness and hope by Fr. Chris Bollegar.
- A liturgy for tragedy — Commentary on experiencing a “Moment of Blessing” liturgy at the site of a recent murder in North Denver.
- Commentary: Social services and human dignity, what is the “good news”?, and the role of churches in addressing the story of need. Also, a guest commentary on health care in America.
- Stories: A survey of health care in Colorado, everyday life for a foster family and the everyday challenges of immigrants.
Feel free to share your thoughts about this month’s review of “need in the news” or offer additional links below.