Need in the News, Vol. V, Issue 7

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

GAZA, PALESTINE — Reconciliation between Israel and Turkey led to 11,000 tons of supplies reaching Ashdod in the Gaza Strip.

IRAQ — A suicide bombing in the Karada area of Baghdad became the deadliest attack since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 — the death toll reached 250.

SOUTH SUDAN — The world’s youngest nation is on the brink of economic and political collapse and 1 in 4 South Sudanese people have been forced to flee for their lives.

VENEZUELAFood shortages prompted the army to take over food distribution to the public.

LIBYA — In the midst of international efforts to fight the growth of extremism, the U.N. has warned that nearly 2.5 million people in this North African country need protection and humanitarian assistance.

UNITED STATES — According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, almost half of the food produced in the United States gets wasted. In the meantime, hunger and poverty exist even in popular U.S. resort towns, and a number of shootings, including those of gay people, African-Americans (like this man) and white police officers, have brought America’s social and racial divide into the public consciousness. U.S. prosecution of the conflict in Iraq also recently met international criticism.

SYRIA — About 9,000 Palestinian refugees living in the Khan Eshieh camp near Damascus were cut off from aid due to government bombings.

ZIMBABWE — In the midst of national economic disarray, teachers and doctors went on strike over unpaid wages. Meanwhile, some Zimbabwean women looking for work are being trafficked to Kuwait.

MIGRANT CRISIS — Many teenaged migrants are stranded in Sicily, while asylum seekers brave dangerous conditions to reach safety in Europe.

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:

NEW YORK (New York) — Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel died on July 2. He was 87. Here is an excerpt from his acclaimed memoir, Night:

“Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God himself. Never.”

Rally attendees fill Justin Herman Plaza at a San Francisco rally against police violence. (Pax Ahimsa Gethen via Wikimedia Commons)
Rally attendees fill Justin Herman Plaza at a San Francisco rally against police violence. (Pax Ahimsa Gethen via Wikimedia Commons)

BATON ROUGE (Louisiana)Ieshia L. Evans, 35, a nurse and mother, peacefully resisted riot police during protests over the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling. A photo taken of her during the protest quickly went viral.

OTTAWA (Ontario, Canada)Private sponsors are making the transition to Canadian life easier for refugees.

SACRAMENTO (California) — The City of Sacramento recently launched its “Pit Stop” mobile restroom program for people who are homeless.

DENVER (Colorado) — In one among many attempts across the country to address recent racial and social violence, members of the Montbello community met to share their hope and pain.

NICE (France) — A man whose sister ran off to join the Islamic State, started an online campaign to award the Legion of Honor to three men who risked their lives to stop the Bastille Day attacker.

CHERRY CREEK STATE PARK (Colorado)Tristan Evans, 4, caught a trophy-sized walleye with his Spider Man fishing rod. The fish was bigger than his rod.

TURKEY — Among those who stopped the attempted coup of the Turkish government were three housewives.

JERUSALEM (Israel) — Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff has turned his sights on righting past wrongs committed in Lithuania. Along with Lithuanian author Ruta Vanagaite, he recently published the bestselling Our People: Journey With An Enemy.

Stories worth reflection:

HUBBLE AMAZES AGAIN — New photos released from the Hubble Telescope show the “beating heart” of the Crap Nebula.

RETHINKING THE WORLD — Global strategist Parag Khanna says the world maps we use now have become obsolete. These six newer maps will make you look at the world differently. And so will this one.


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