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 December’s most need-in-the-news-worthy stories:
SOUTH SUDAN — Amidst mounting tension and fighting that has resulted in thousands of people being displaced from their homes, the government of South Sudan agreed to an immediate ceasefire.
UKRAINE — Authorities responded to protests in the streets of Kiev with force, causing an international outcry.
EGYPT — The military-backed regime currently in control of the Egyptian government recently declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.
THAILAND — An escalating political crisis in this Southeast Asia country could prompt military intervention.
IRAQ — This year, 6,639 people were killed as a result of violence in Iraq.
REFUGEES — About 325,000 people who have fled the fighting in Syria now find themselves in limbo in Egypt.
At times, what gets lost in the concern and clamor over major local, national and international events and issues, is the ordinary person who is doing extraordinary things. Here are a few I’ve heard about recently:
MADISON (Wisconsin) — A homeless couple got a new “microhome” this Christmas.
CHICAGO (Illinois) — Pastor Corey Brooks camped out for three months on the roof of the run-down motel across the street from his church. Why? Because he wanted to shut down the motel as a hub of drug-dealing and prostitution. He and his parishioners also protested outside the motel every Friday and Saturday night for a year and a half.
SOUTH BRONX (New York) — The Bronx Spanish Evangelical Church feeds hundreds from its food pantry.
CHAPPAQUA (New York) — Photographer Nancy Borowick spent a year chronicling her parents’ fight with cancer.
Stories worth reflection:
UNEMPLOYMENT AT LOWEST IN YEARS — In 27 states, the unemployment rate is at its lowest in four years.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN AFGHANISTAN? — With U.S. troops set to withdraw in the coming year, some Afghans are worried about what is ahead.
SANTA CLAUS V. ST. NICHOLAS — Who is more worthy of our regard?
NELSON MANDELA, 1918-2013
IS IT POSSIBLE FOR A CITY TO END HOMELESSNESS? — This article focuses on Phoenix, Ariz., in its attempt to answer the preceding question.
“TYPICAL” YEAR FOR MASS KILLINGS? — According to USA Today, 2013 was an average year, statistically speaking, for mass killings.