Wounded Ukrainian Soldiers Face New Battle

After fighting in the dispute between Ukraine and Russia, Ukrainian soldier Serhiy Hordiychuk has to pray that enough people donate money to be able to pay for various soldier’s prosthesis including his own.

On Monday, August 4th, 2014, Hordiychuk and his comrades were with their unit near the town of Marynivka, a mere 2.5 miles away from the Russian border as they came under heavy shelling from Grad rockets. Hordiychuk was severely wounded and lost his left arm.

Hordiychuk is now back home with his family still awaiting either governmental help or funds from a charity specialized on collecting capital for soldiers in need of a prosthesis.

Hordiychuk’s prosthetic arm would be the latest of their kind with a cost of $28,000 just for the limb and the Ukrainian government covering only 16% of the cost. This wouldn’t be such a hard hitting topic if the average monthly income for a builder was more than $200. There hasn’t been a case yet where the government has funded and up-to-date prosthesis for a veteran soldier even after all the hoops they have to jump to receive free or reduced medical care.

To receive money from the state all soldiers have to go through what is popularly called ‘all the circles of bureaucratic hell’ and present various amounts of documents proving their need for assistance and their part in the battle against pro-Russian separatists. Amongst this required paperwork are documents proving he was a soldier, proving he was wounded, proving he requires a particular kind of prosthesis and a recollection of excerpts of relevant military orders.

Hordiychuk in particular is reluctant to talk about and possibly relive the days of battle through his words and has no certainty in the government’s promise to help him even after he submits his individual application.

He explains, “Honestly I never relied too much on the government. I just take it as it comes.”

For the full story please visit: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29307510

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First Pep Rally of 2014/15 Schoolyear

This past Friday we had the first pep rally of the year at MLEC and our activities director Ms. Castro decided to spice things up a bit. Instead of the usual dancers’ performances and energizing speech we had a basketball game as the main focus and man did that game exceed expectations.

The sound of the crowd chanting for their team was heard as soon as attendees started scurrying inside the gym and onto the stands. It was the seniors rivaling a combination of underclassmen and as a person who had seen both teams practice beforehand, i thought the seniors had this game in the bag.

The game was about to start and the first five starting line players from both teams were called to the court. A shake of hands proceeded and the seniors had the ball. For a bit of time the seniors were ahead by 2 points, then by 4, then by 2 points again as the underclassmen began catching up and in the blink of an eye, the seniors were completely left behind.

The seniors never made a comeback after the underclassmen were ahead and as everyone was cheering for their team, mindless of the time left or the team to leave school, the loud buzzer sounds and the underclassmen have won !

Against all odd and expectations, the little ones rose to the challenge and left the homecoming school spirit higher than it had ever been before.

Turkey Indicates Islamic State Prisoners Swap

After numerous news channels covered the story that 49 Turkish hostages had been released Saturday, September 20, Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan answered some questions on the matter. There is a speculation that the 49 hostages weren’t just released but traded for Islamic militants. Asked about it in NY on Monday, Erdogan said “such things may be possible”. Turkish government officials have not disclose how they secured the release of these hostages with the excuse that “you probably cannot expect us to publicly divulge what the international agencies do in their business”.

When President Erdogan was further pressed on the matter he insinuated that there may have been a prisoner swap with the words “such things may be possible” but never asserted on what did happen. Erdogan said Turkey has been unfairly criticized for not being clearer on the subject but that they must be mindful of the safety of their citizens and cannot broadcast any information that might harm the population.

Turkey is nonetheless completely behind the idea of joining the international coalition to fight ISIS in Syria; Erdogan said Turkey has “no hesitation whatsoever when it comes to fighting terrorism”. They have already made commitments at various conferences to help in the efforts against ISIS but are limited because they must deal with their own hostage situation first.

More on: apne.ws/1x3HSqU

Unwanted Feelings

I could say it was a one-time thing, and then maybe I’d actually be able to get over it and stop thinking about him but I can’t because he made me fall for him like I never have before.

It was a Saturday night and one of our mutual friend’s birthday party; a night to celebrate her advancing and enjoying teenage years. The last thing I expected was to see him there, especially because the reason things ended was him not having enough time to maintain a girlfriend and go out with said girlfriend, a.k.a me. It all started as a simple fling mainly because I was skeptical of his beautiful words and stunning compliments. He and his feelings seemed too good to be true and I had gone through these situations before to be so easily fooled. I mean really? A hot guy: nice clean haircut sitting on the head of an almost perfectly symmetrical face followed further down by strong, built arms and a perfectly toned stomach with that V shaped line at the bottom of his hips that could drive any girl crazy, and it did. Out of all his options and possibilities he picked me to talk to? Me to start sharing emotions with? It was an unbelievable thing but at the end the charming way in which he carried himself and the enormous amounts of flattery got the better part of my judgment and I didn’t even realize it.

We started going out to the movies, mall, sharing feelings and future goals, enjoying coffee in each other’s company and it was a gratifying feeling; at least for me. Somehow someway in those little moments he made me fall for him, his thoughts, his smile, his touch, and I was head over heels with no worries in my mind because I let myself think he felt the same. But then realization came down, at times it was hard to combine both our schedules with school and his tennis and my divided time with mom in one house and dad in another but we made it work, for about a month. Suddenly I noticed, two days had passed and he stopped sharing every detail of his life with me like we had both done since the beginning. Now he wasn’t telling me when he has busy, he just didn’t respond my texts, he saw my snapchats and didn’t reply; he wasn’t the same and I felt him distancing himself more every passing minute but I let it go because I knew he didn’t lead an easy life. Then, from one moment to the next he texted me “we gotta talk”. I instantly knew something was wrong and seconds later he just spills everything he had been brewing in his mind. “I have been very busy lately and barely had time for you and it’s just gonna get worse because I have tournaments coming up and I really don’t have time for a girlfriend”. At that point I accepted everything and didn’t blame him for what was going on. I had perceived the struggle with free time too.

Merely two days later he texted me again “ I miss you, I don’t care what I have to do to make time I will do anything, you have just become a too important part of my life to just keep you out like that, I need you with me” . I was skeptical once again but after a little debating I decided to let him back into my life and give myself a chance to be happy. Our friend Aisha’s party was that Saturday and just the thought of seeing him gave me butterflies in my stomach; I missed him so much after two weeks of anticipation.

About three days after our reconciliation my world falls down once again. “We’ve got to talk haha” as if the matter of ending what we had was funny business.  He quickly explained how he just couldn’t maintain both his social life with me, sport life and school life all at once. With every single text I received filled with excuses I became even more enraged. “Ugh go to hell, you are so bipolar and indecisive, I give up”. Those were the last words I ever directed towards him and he didn’t even take a bit of his precious time to respond.

Saturday comes around and it’s Aisha’s night; her time to be the focus of everyone’s attention. I arrive and the World Cup themed party is alive with people dancing everywhere, chit chat and loud music crowding everyone’s thoughts. My closest friends and I have a little photo session and a tiny skirmish about what soccer team is better, Colombia or Brazil.  Just as I’m dancing and letting go the birthday girl approaches me and whispers in my ear “so you’re not caught off guard, he’s is coming tonight”. In a matter of seconds I lost my breath, my stomach turned, my saliva got stuck in my throat and my mind reeled with feelings not exactly knowing which one to feel at that specific time. After I took a moment to recompose myself I thought “let’s just take this one step at a time”.

I was dancing with my back turned towards the door but suddenly everyone walks out of view and I notice some commotion going on behind me, he had arrived. I try to act all cool and collected but who was I kidding? All my closest friends instantly noticed my agitation; they could read it all over me, my heart beat had quickened, my palms got sweaty and I was jittery. After that moment caught me off guard I decided to forget about him and have fun. I danced, sang and jumped around with all my friends, at one point dancing closely with one boy in particular just to make him feel a ting of jealousy. I kept telling myself I didn’t care, he wasn’t worth it but somewhere along the way this beautiful boy made me fall for him and I found myself thinking about him now even more than when we were together. I saw him dancing with one of my friends and even though I tried to push it away I just couldn’t help but feel envious to the point of disliking her a bit. I could’ve been the poster person for a party kid but the way I saw him interacting with my friends I felt like he had trespassed into a new part of my heart, a dark one. We exchanged a few glances and even made eye contact which made me as happy as it made me sad; the consciousness that that was all there was, a simple glance. I was emotionally unstable and the sight of his hands hugging the waist of another girl as they danced bachata infuriated me.

As I headed home with my face plastered on my phone screen while I responded to my friends but really hoped that every “ping” the phone made was a notification from him a wave of awareness came over me; he didn’t care, we didn’t share one word the whole night, he was over me, he was a coward most of all but my heart still longed for him and the more the time passed the more I realized my heart literally ached for him.

The Things She Carried

As a sophomore in Cambridge, Kaitlyn was always on the move and being unprepared was not an option. In her book bag of endless depth she carried a five pound laptop with a red cover, a Stephen King fiction book, another fiction book, a notebook, a workbook, a black work folder, a black school-year agenda, a black cardigan and yet, there was more space. Inside one of the pockets there was a little bag with cosmetics, Kaitlyn cared about her public image more than was necessary. The little black and white bag inside her black book bag carried eyeliner and lipstick and lip gloss and lip balm and foundation and mascara and eye shadow primer but no eye shadow. Inside another pocket Kaitlyn’s book bag held she stored a smaller array but still school essentials such as two pencils, one red pen, one blue pen, one black pen, one yellow highlighter, one orange highlighter, a hair tie to keep them all together, a flash drive, an eraser, and dry white out to rapidly take care of the mistakes. She also had earphones, a wallet and keys. Kaitlyn’s life all together was a giant mess with family, school and teachers thrown in the mix but the one thing she had control of was her book bag. As organized as could be she held on to it for dear life in hope one day her goals were achieved and her life was as organized as she.

Ferguson: On the Road to Recovery By Daniela Morales, @MoralesVDaniela

Exactly three weeks after the shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, his parents and hundreds of other people converged on the streets of St. Louis to commemorate the young man.

On August 30th, the crowd led by Brown’s family peacefully made their way down Canfield Drive to the exact spot where Brown was shot. Prayers were publicly sung by Rev. Spencer Booker of St. Louis’ St. Paul A.M.E Church and a Muslim clergy member. The crowd remembered Brown’s life with cards, flowers, and candles.

Spurred by the remembrance of a seemingly innocent man, hundreds of protesters united in front of the police department and fire station, purposely blocking the road and making their demands heard as the makeshift memorial continued. The crowd diminished in size by the late afternoon, so no police action was necessary at the event.

The Ferguson community is intent on keeping this issue alive. They demand the attention of the nation and, more precisely, Obama to make a change in the country’s police force and their policy regarding the protection and well being of citizens. The actions previously taken to suppress riots weren’t taken lightly by the groups and now a change is ordered.

“I have treated patients of police brutality too often. It has become a common occurrence that police abuse their power and sometimes lie about the situation.” said former ER General Doctor Roderick Pujols.

The smoke bombs, stun grenades and tear gas used to disperse the crowd had lasting effects on the protest members both physically or psychologically; many participants were traumatized with such actions.

As former Doctor Pujols states “tear gas does have a permanent effect on your eyes because more often than not it can cause things like cornea lacerations/damage”.

Now the people of Ferguson are working towards amending the policies and morals of policemen nationwide.

Despite recent turmoil and protests, Ferguson is now recovering from previous riots and the vandalizing of neighborhood stores. Many have decided to board up windows and hang “Open for Business” signs, yet many think the community will never be the same again.

Ferguson is recovering. Vandalizing, once a concern, is now a memory, and people display support signs on their yard depicting the words “Black Lives Matter” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot. #Justice4MikeBrown”.  Parents who were afraid to go outside with their kids have started taking their leisurely strolls again. Neighborhood spirit is kept alive at a nearly destroyed barbecue joint, where barbecues are now held outside for all to enjoy. With willpower and a little help from former Mayor Brian Fletcher’s group “Friends of the City of Ferguson” – which has raised more than $13,000 to help rebuild businesses – Ferguson is on its way to recovery.