Need in the News, Vol. IV, Issue 5

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 May’s most need-in-the-news-worthy stories:

AFRICA , the MIDDLE EAST & SOUTHERN EUROPE — African migrants attempting to escape violence, instability and hunger continue to be victimized by traffickers and hampered by government red tape.

SWITZERLAND — In a two-pronged investigation by Swiss and U.S. authorities made public this week, nine officials with the world soccer organization known as “FIFA” and five corporate executives were charged with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering. Current FIFA president Sepp Blatter has so far refused calls for him to step down and is running for reelection tomorrow.

LIBERIA — Earlier this month, the World Health Organization declared Liberia free of Ebola.

SOUTH ASIA — More than 3,500 Bangladeshi economic migrants and stateless Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar remain on the sea without a home. Southeast Asian nations plan to meet tomorrow to discuss the situation.

BURUNDI — Political unrest has caused nearly 40,000 people to flee the tiny nation of Burundi in Central Africa. (The people of Burundi experienced genocide along with their neighbors in Rwanda in the early ’90s.) The possibility of violence and unrest is clouding the country’s upcoming elections.

At times, what gets lost in the concern and clamor over major local, national and international events and issues, are ordinary people, communities, businesses and other groups doing extraordinary things. Here are a few I’ve heard about recently:
For many, the Pine Ridge Reservation is a place of hopelessness and despair, as the New York Times article linked to at the bottom of this post attests. (Marrton Dormish)
For many, the Pine Ridge Reservation is a place of hopelessness and despair, as the New York Times article linked to at the bottom of this post attests. (Marrton Dormish)

LALITPUR (Nepal) — The first to assist the people of Dalchowski village after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit at the end of April weren’t from the Nepalese government, international NGOs or the United Nations. They were from a “spontaneously-born network of local volunteers.”

MINNEAPOLIS (Minnesota)Allan Law is a retired teacher, but he’s better known as “Sandwich Man” on Minneapolis streets. Since retiring 16 years ago, he has handed out more than 700,000 sandwiches, 7,000 pairs of socks and 75,000 bus tokens to people who are homeless in his community.

LOUISVILLE (Kentucky) — Josh Lewis was delivering pizza to a hospital when he was carjacked and stabbed. While being treated, however, he called his pizzeria for a fresh delivery.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA — The story of Christopher and Regina Catrambone, whom I profiled last month, got picked up by the mainstream media this month.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Washington Post credited Sam Tsemberis with finding the best current  “solution” to the problem of homelessness nationwide.

FRESNO (California) — Officers in Fresno have adopted a community-friendly method of policing.

Stories worth reflection:

A PARENT’S NIGHTMARE — It’s hard to imagine what Robert and Arlene Holmes are going through as they follow the trial of their son James Holmes, the “Colorado Theatre Gunman.”

SUICIDES AT PINE RIDGE — Some of you might remember me writing recently about my March experience on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. While there we heard first hand about a story that has now been retold in the New York Times.

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