Weekly Review Oct 26

A MIGRANT TRAGEDY

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Thirty-nine migrants, who appear to have journeyed from Viet Nam, were found dead in the back of a refrigerated truck trailer.  It was discovered parked at an industrial park in Essex in the U.K.  The migrants must have traveled halfway around the world in a futile search of a better life in Britain.

Originally the victims were thought to be Chinese.  Soon, however, people in Viet Nam began to reach out on digital media.  They voiced their concern about close relatives who were now missing.  The Guardian reported that Hoa Nghiem, a human rights activist, had tweeted the family of a 26-year-old Vietnamese woman believed she might be among the victims of this horror.

The Times of London said Pham Thi Tra My had sent a text to her Mother around the time the container was traveling from Belgium to Britain: “I’m sorry Mom, my path to abroad didn’t succeed.  Mom, I love you and Dad so much!  I’m dying because I can’t breathe.”

The BBC reported it was learned that Pham had paid traffickers £30,000 to get her safely to the U.K.  Her family had remortgaged their home to raise that money for the young woman to reach Britain to start a new life.

Initially the only arrest so far has been the Northern Irish truck driver who has also been charged.  The question remains open as to whether organized crime could be involved and if this was part of an ongoing operation.

The incident has also raised serious questions about overall safety and protection for migrants.  Global routes need to be legally secured for migrants to be able to travel safely and openly in trying to relocate and start anew.

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CALIFORNIA FIRES BLAZE ON

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As global warming continues, dangerous trends persist.  In California, the worst is the terrifying fire season.  This year it has struck again.

“The wildfires come on the heels of the 2017 and 2018… seasons, which featured the largest, most destructive and deadliest blazes in state history,” reports the Washington Post.

This past year, a better than average rainy season ended a drought that had plagued the state.  Unfortunately, it was both a blessing and a curse as all the rainfall brought out an unusual amount of brush.  Flora sprung up everywhere then inevitably dried and shriveled under the summer heat.

The winds there normally blow west to east and carry a cool breeze from the sea.  When Santa Ana winds blow, however, they start inland in the desert and carry the hot air westward like a blow torch toward the ocean.

So, in the fall, the traditional California fire season, when all the hillsides have turned brown, the slightest spark can ignite acres.  They’re ablaze within no time.

Counties in both north and south of the state have declared emergencies.  Red-flag warnings prevail.  Evacuations are in the tens of thousands.

In addition, much of the northern part of the state experienced huge power outages.

Pacific Gas & Electric, the major power company in the area, staged blackouts to prevent its pole wires from sparking in the heat, making it a no-win situation.

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GLOBAL YOUTH PROTESTS

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The world’s population is getting ever younger.

According to Simon Tisdall in the Guardian: “41% of the global population are under 24.  And they’re angry…”

They’ve taken to the streets from Beirut to Barcelona, Hong Kong to India, Santiago to the Sudan, you name it.

Tisdall shows how Wordsworth championed the young, applauding the French Revolution in his poem The Prelude: “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very Heaven!”

In Lebanon, a proposed tax on messaging apps like WhatsApp ignited a nation. Hundreds of thousands of young people demonstrated, expressing their anger and an irrepressible passion, demanding immediate change.

Protestors formed a human chain stretching across the country, but were not even satisfied as the prime minister was forced to resign.

Today’s youth, in Hong Kong, have demonstrated continuously and fearlessly for four months.  They too are not easily appeased.  At first, they protested a new extradition law.

But, when that law was repealed, the young people were not satisfied but rather inspired to go further and demand more change.

Throughout the world, many populists have been swept into power.  But the mobilization of today’s youth symbolizes their powerful hunger for the pendulum to swing the opposite way and precipitate a drastic change in a fresh direction.

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