Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fire Guts Popular Market in Kampala

Photos and Story by Bwette Daniel Gilbert
KAMPALA, Uganda – For the second time in the past few years, a terrible fire Sunday gutted the busy market of St. Balikudembe, also known as Owino.
Hundreds of traders whose efforts to save their merchandise were in vain, lost billions of shillings worth of material in the blazing inferno.
By the time firefighters reached the scene, more than 15 minutes after the fire began, they could do nothing.
Traders who witnessed the scene could not help crying. Ambulances and private cars helped rush those who fainted to the hospitals.
A famous musician commonly known to the people as "Chameleon" came to the scene to grieve with his fellow youth and told them that they would get through this.Owino market is commonly dominated by local businessmen, youth who are either have finished high school or those who cannot go further with their education, and women.
The market is widely known for selling good quality, cheap secondhand clothes, shoes, groceries, electrical gadgets among other business.
Owino is Kampala’s largest outdoor market attracts more than 500,000 people.
This is the second time the market has suffered such a large fire in recent times. It also went up in flames in February 2009. The fate of traders who lost their businesses then still hasn’t been decided.
The community hopes that those who have suffered losses will have the courage to start again.

Just In Time For Ramadan: A Primer

Last August, Youth Journalism International Senior Reporter Jessica Elsayed began a journal to explain Ramadan as it was happening.
With this year's Ramadan slated to get underway as early as Sunday evening -- different regions have different starting points -- this is an opportune moment to call attention to her work.
Here is her introduction from last year, followed by links to the individual journal entries that Elsayed wrote:

As Ramadan begins, I will pray a lot and read the Qu'ran.
But I also hope to spread through writing for Youth Journalism International what Ramadan is truly about – why and how we celebrate it – in an attempt to break the media’s stereotype and possibly create a much needed bridge between the West and Middle East.
In this journal I will explain as much as my knowledge can serve me about The Holy Month and occasionally have pictures of the forms of celebration in Egypt.
Islam is a beautiful religion. And nothing saddens me more than seeing how the media has made it synonymous with extremism and terrorism.
Sometimes I wish I could bring people to meet my family, friends and neighbors to see the kind of people we are.
The world is in dire need to mend its misconceptions and the right time to do so is now.
Reporter Mehran Shamit, also of Youth Journalism International, wrote a related piece last September about Ramadan in Canada. Here's a link to that story.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Transformers 3 Offers Amazing Animation

By Harsha Mishra
LUCKNOW, India – Seeing Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon in a multiplex with 3D was an awesome experience.
Transformers has always been a favorite among teens and kids, but this time with all of its hi-tech action, good background sounds and music, and a serious story line with few punches here and there, it proved a hit among grownups as well.
Starring Shia La Beouf as Sam Witwicky and Rosie Huntington-Whitely as Carly Spencer, this third movie in the series focuses on the rise of Decepticons once again.
The story has it all all: trust, betrayal, friendship, faith, drama, twist, fiction, animation and action.
Everyone acting in the movie was perfect for their roles, whether it is Ken Jeong as Jerry Wang or Tyrese Gibson as Epps.
The animation was amazing, with the Autobots converting into robots and then again into their respective car models in just a blink of an eye, leaving everyone open-mouthed.
Compared with the past two sequels, the movie certainly was a good one, giving solid competition to all the other releases.
In India, Transformers 3 did a great business.
Good work by the director Michael Bay and the entire team. Producer Steven Spielberg has it in him to surprise the audience every time, and I hope he continues to do so.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Egypt: Six Months After the Revolution

By Lama Tawakkol
CAIRO, Egypt – Earlier this year, January 25th saw the start of massive protests in Egypt that lasted 18 days and toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power.
This movement has been termed a revolution and gave the Egyptians a great deal of pride. 
Six months later, the Egyptian people are at different ends as to what should be happening and how they should react to it.
Some people believe that they should let things be and see where it goes without causing more trouble, believing the continuous disapprovals to be the cause for Egypt’s current state of political, economic and social instability.
These people don’t want to see the military turn against its people, or Egypt ensnared in civil war and turned into Libya, Syria or Iraq.
On the other side of the debate are the people who are camping once again in Tahrir Square and their advocates. This sector is skeptical of the Supreme Council for Armed Forces and abhors the way the council is administering the country’s affairs.
They believe that there should be more progress and more tangible steps towards true reform, steps that reflect the revolution’s principles and aims.
These protestors have several valid points against the military and are gaining more supporters every day.
Among their demands, they have called for the relocation of Mubarak from a Sharm El Sheikh hospital to the prison hospital.
Further, they want complete independence for the judicial system and the replacement of the attorney general hired by Mubarak. He is considered part of the old system, having kept quiet about all the crimes before.
They are also vehemently shouting for the immediate stop to the court martialing of civilians and the manipulation of the media and press.
They want to see the police officers who killed the martyrs tried and they want all state institutions to be purified from the venom of Mubarak’s men and their gangs.
Moreover, they want officials to stop lying to and underestimating them. They want the people in charge to maintain the revolution and honor their friends and families who died in search of a brighter future for their country.
Their trust in the people running the country is quickly diminishing until it will soon reach rock bottom. They see an organization slowly giving them tidbits, trying to silence them.
The people’s skepticism is rising, especially as Mubarak’s trial looms nearer. Their sarcasm is unsurpassed as they bitterly joke and tweet that Mubarak will die before August 3rd, when the trial is scheduled to begin.
One can hardly blame them when his health seems perfectly intact – until word spreads that he’s being moved to his rightful place in prison. Only then does Mubarak remember that something hurts somewhere.
These days, we are hearing reports about how he is refusing to eat and living only on water and liquids. Are we supposed to take the hint that we aren’t going to be seeing him in court next week?
I was one of the military’s biggest defenders back in February. I was filled with hope and gratitude at the noble countrymen who had saved an entire people from doom at the hands of a tyrant.
I knew I would forever view them from a whole new perspective.
Sadly, these days I am adamant that they do what the people want. Their actions now are ruining everything they built immediately after Mubarak stepped down.
By their unwise public statements, their accusations of treason against activists and aggressive military manner, the generals of SCAF are obliterating their public image.
One knows not what to think. Is the military merely lacking in political savvy or are their true colors finally nearing the surface?
We have to wait and see.
Even though Egypt’s political and social standing is extremely unstable at the moment given the conflicting points of view on the horizon, one thing remains unequivocally true: all Egyptians have Egypt’s best interests at heart and want to see it rise and shine.
I pray to God that hopefully the day will soon come when the world will see a new Egypt emerge.
Until we meet again … on August 3rd.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cool Facts About Youth Journalism International

About YJI Students

* YJI has published work by students in 31 countries on five continents and at least 24 U.S. states
* Students in YJI come from every major world religion - Christianity, Islam, Judiasm, Hinduism, Buddhism and more
* Student reporters have covered everything from the Egyptian revolution to prison conditions in Mumbai, American teen suicide and pregnancy, terrorist attacks around the globe, music and movies, the World Cup, the Olympics, national elections and natural disasters like hurricanes, floods and mudslides to the senior prom.
* YJI student work has been featured on PBS NewsHour Extra, National Public Radio and many newspapers and textbooks, including one for middle school students published by National Geographic
* YJI students have interviewed many famous people, including the Dalai Lama, Desmonde Tutu, Little Steven Van Zandt, Tony Hawk, Derek Jeter and Miss Manners
* More than 120 students have won awards and scholarships for the work they've done for YJI


* YJI has never charged students to participate
* YJI is recognized as a Top Educational Charity by
* picked YJI as its "Daily Impact" charity of the day on July 24, 2011
* is featuring YJI for a charitable drive in Greater New York City in August 2011
* With a small number of volunteers struggling to keep up with the demands of a growing organization, YJI desperately needs to hire its first paid staff person
* YJI has received donations from Google, the Mohegan Tribal Government and Microsoft, but students, alumni, and their families and some loyal readers currently provide the bulk of financial contributions

Random cool stuff

* Well over a million people have read the work done by YJI students online and in print
* Two students who met through YJI ultimately got married and are working as reporters today
* Hartford Magazine wrote a five-page feature story about YJI in its August 2011 issue
* The New Britain Rock Cats named YJI students as "Hometown Heroes" in 2006
* YJI student Samantha Perez was specifically honored by the Louisiana State Senate for her Hurricane Katrina coverage
* YJI students and alumni get together at least twice a year to eat, talk and play games. These gatherings in Connecticut have included students from South Africa, Korea, Nebraska, England, California, Canada, Singapore and New York.

Katy Perry Offers "Biggest Party Of Year"

By Jenna Potter
MANOTICK, Ontario, Canada -- When I bought my tickets for Katy Perry, I wasn’t completely convinced about this pop princess.
Her songs were catchy and infectious, which made it difficult not to know every word of her songs by heart. I could recite “California Girls” in my sleep, even though it was never a real favorite of mine.
However, after seeing one of her sold out shows recently, Perry quickly became one of my favorite musical artists.Her show offered the perfect mix of singing, dancing and pure entertainment. I never felt like I was at a concert.
Instead, I felt like I walked into the biggest party of the year.
From the scented air to the pink clouds floating above, the arena was transformed into Perry’s dream world: a candy coated paradise.
When the opening video played, and the deafening screams of the crowd reached a whole new octave, I was anxious for Perry to hit the stage.
She kicked off the show with a bang with her hit “Teenage Dream,” wearing a rhinestone encrusted dress topped off with rotating lollipops.
Perry played hit after hit, each song introducing a new element, whether the futuristic acrobatics in “E.T.” or over ten costume changes in one song during “Hot ‘N Cold.”
The videos that played in between costume changes followed a specific plot line that was cute and entertaining, mainly centering around Perry’s love for cats. She was quirky, hilarious and impressively personable.
Perry also covered hit songs by other artists in a segment she titled “Katy’s Karaoke,” giving her own rendition to “Whip My Hair” by Willow Smith and “Friday” by Rebecca Black (who recently starred in her new music video). Her vocals were consistently amazing.
The most exciting part of the show for me was when Perry took to her pink cloud and travelled to the back of the arena – right above where I was sitting.
I had no idea I would have the opportunity to get a front row view of the concert, but here she was, singing just a few feet away from me her emotional ballad “Thinking Of You.”
Everything about this concert was nothing short of amazing. Time flew by in an instant.
It wasn’t long before she was singing her encore, “California Girls,” and I was singing right along with her, but this time it was because I loved the song and I officially loved Katy Perry.
She won me over, and she’s now gained another loyal fan who will root for her at the award shows and anxiously await for the next new song to be released.

Remembering Amy Winehouse

A memorial to Amy Winehous outside her flat on London's Camden Square, where fans have left a mixture of flowers, pictures and drink bottles. (Photos by Noah Kidron-Style for Youth Journalism International)

By Roohani Deshpande
Junior reporter
NEW DELHI, India – The premature death of the exceptionally gifted musician Amy Winehouse last weekend sent shockwaves throughout the world.Winehouse fans are deeply grieving her sudden absence and the loss of true talent.
It's heartbreaking to lose such an extraordinarily talented artist so soon. She was a legend and had a voice which almost no one could match.
There are few people who are not afraid to be different, and she was just that. She wasn't just a great musician, but also a great person, and the fact that she would no longer be a part of our lives is terribly sad.
Her death at the age of 27 makes her a member of the "Forever 27 Club,” one of too many young artists who died at 27, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain.
As a musician, Winehouse displayed a diverse talent. She will be remembered for her powerful vocals and mixture of various popular genres.
An inspiration to many female artists, Winehouse wasn't just a national success, but also an international figure.Her 2007 release "Rehab" won three Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. It reached the Top 10 in both the United States and United Kingdom.
But apart from these remarkable successes, she was also famous for substance abuse, self-harm, depression and eating disorders.
The news that her body had been found in her apartment at London led to a large number of tributes from her fans, fellow musicians and celebrities. Famous people like Rihanna and Demi Moore expressed their deep sorrow over the loss over the social networking website Twitter.
Winehouse’s death also spurred much discussion about substance abuse and whether her long battles with drug addiction caused her death.
But let us look upon her death with love and hope.Though she won’t ever record or perform again, she will forever live in our hearts through her music. May her troubled soul find peace.

Deathly Hallows Marks End Of An Era

By Eugenia Durante
Senior reporter
GENOA, Italy -- I remember my mother buying Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for me when I was a kid, in a small bookshop which seemed to me a sort of magic labyrinth.
It was still one of the first Italian editions, with its nice-smelling pages and its green shades on the hard cover, and nobody had the idea that its protagonist would become an icon to an entire generation.
I read it in a day and asked for more – as I did for all the seven books. I waited for with the impatience similar to the Christmas Eve for children, even when I was not a kid anymore.
A shelf of my bookcase is reserved for Harry Potter, both in English and Italian, and even a volume in French. I read and reread them, never getting bored.
The first Potter movie was a nightmare to me.
I was ten years old and the face of Voldemort haunted my sleeps for days, but held a great fascination on me.
My parents bought me the VHS tale of the movie for Christmas and I watched it several times, admiring and envying the young actors who had the privilege of becoming my heroes. I didn’t like all the movies, but in the end I can tell they all are good films.
It’s not easy to put such a complicated and beautiful saga on a screen.
Last night, I finally decided the time to watch the last chapter of Harry Potter’s adventures had come. I did so with a bit of a scare, exactly as I did when I had the last book in my hands, waiting to discover how the things would finally end.
I knew I would cry – I’m the girl who still cries for the Lion King and Bambi, shame on me) – and , of course, I did.
I know it may sound exaggerated to those who are not into the story. Books are books and movies are movies … but for many of my generation Potter is more than a fictional character
He grew up with me and I remember reading the books at school, hiding them behind the big and boring biology book and not telling my mates what was happening in these magic pages, in order not to damage the surprise.
In fact, it is not surprising that the public of the Deathly Hallows was formed more by guys in their twenties than by kids.
We all wanted to see it happening on the screen. We all wanted to feel, with a bit of a shameful commotion, what I like to call “the end of an era.”
Finally, it is time to grow up, still dreaming of that letter from Hogwarts we never got.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Yerevan Celebrates Chess Championship

By Narine Daneghyan
YEREVAN, Armenia -- The Armenian national chess team has won the world champion's title in the World Team Chess Championship held in Ningbo, China.
Our champions are arriving back in Yerevan on Wednesday, where thousands of fans plan to gather at the airport to welcome them back home.
Armenian chess players reached the ninth and final round of the World Team Championship, where they ended up in a 2-2 draw with the Ukranian team.
That was enough for victory because the Armenian players got 14 team and 22.5 individual points, giving them an insurmountable lead over their nearest competitors.
Armenians have been playing chess for centuries, since the region was part of Sassanid Persia.
The game was heavily promoted when Armenia was part of the Soviet Union.
So even though its population is only 3.2 million – about the same as Connecticut – Armenia has managed in recent yearsto outdo traditional chess powerhouses such as Russia and the United States.
Armenia has 30 grandmasters, the rank awarded to the top 1,000 global players, and three players in the top 100. That’s only one fewer than the United States has despite having a population 100 times larger.
In the joy of wining, many in Yerevan are happy at the honor of a world championship.
Long live the Armenian chess!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bombs, Bullets And Breivik Shatter Norway

By Madison Pollard
Junior reporter
LONDON, England -- The world is in shock, hardly a surprise, as no one can say that they expected such horrific events to happen in such a peaceful country.
Norway, one of the founding members of the United Nations, hasn’t seen dramatic events on such a scale since World War II.
Its peacefulness enhances the world’s surprise and horror at the bombing and shootings that shook Norway on Friday.
As many as 92 people are confirmed as dead, with many more injured, and there are still several people missing.
So who do the authorities believe is behind this catastrophe? Anders Behring Breivik has been charged for both the bomb in Oslo and the mass shooting at a youth camp on the island of Utoeya.
He reportedly surrendered when police arrived at the island and confessed to the crimes, apparently spurred by his anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim agenda.
Reports in the Norwegian media say he posted on a right-wing extremist website, expressing anti-Muslim sentiments and releasing a long manifesto just before the attack.
This news has hit home here in England particularly hard, coming just one day after the memorial of the July 21st bombings that shook London six years ago.
The London press is reporting in full detail about the tragedy. The newspapers showed full-color images of victims and survivors of both the shooting and the explosion, covered in blood, supported by paramedics, and yet clearly overjoyed to be alive.
Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the attacks, expressing condolences on behalf of the United Kingdom, and offering all necessary aid in tracking down the perpetrators, should that become necessary.
Foreign Secretary William Hague stated that England stands “shoulder to shoulder with Norway and all our international allies, after the ‘horrific’ attack.”
Even Queen Elizabeth has written to Norway’s King Harald, stating, "I am deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic loss of life of so many people on the island of Utoeya and in Oslo."
The press and the government are responding in the manner that is expected. But, how is the public responding?
This tragedy has brought the nation together again, as it was in the aftermath of the July bombs six years ago. An atrocity on this scale, seen also in 2004 in Madrid always unites a country, regardless of other problems,
England has not been as divided as it currently is for a long time, with the gap between rich and poor increasing, and political tension growing, not only between the Conservative and Labour parties, but also in the LibCon coalition.
Regardless of this fact, the country has come together and put aside any differences in the hope of offering support, prayers and comfort to those who were injured, or who lost loved ones in the attacks.
The world is reeling.
A peaceful country, a democracy where nothing untoward has happened for many, many years has been rocked by these terror attacks.
The thoughts and prayers of the UK, and doubtless the rest of the world are with the citizens of Norway. No one could ever have expected that this would occur, and yet we are rising to the challenge.
As The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin wrote. “We did not expect nor did we invite a confrontation with evil. Yet the true measure of a people's strength is how they rise to master that moment when it does arrive.
Every time we think we have measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we're reminded that that capacity may well be limitless,” he wrote.
With the support of the world, those in Norway must now rise to the challenge as its people face this difficult time.

Norway Gunman Stole Lives, Hope From Many

By Mariechen Puchert
Senior reporter
CAPETOWN, Western Cape, South Africa -- I live on an island. Like the Norwegian island of Utoeya, it is locked in, seemingly safe.
Surrounding the little bubble on which a few thousand students work towards their future, lies a sprawling industrial mesh. To our left, a large academic hospital. Immediately surrounding us, a kind of aura of long hours and studies.
The first I hear of the Norwegian shooting is from an email to my smartphone much like how the victims on Utoeya reportedly received news of the bombing in Oslo shortly before the tragedy would migrate to them.
In the hours that come to pass, newsfeeds and twitter feeds have one thing to say: How horrible. How very, very sad.
We hear that the alleged gunman claims his actions were “atrocious, but necessary.” It appears to have been some kind of political statement against open immigration and Islamism.
I try, but I fail to understand what goal the gunman thinks he has reached.
I imagine a mother or a father waiting anxiously to hear if their child reached safely. Parents who, days before, had hugged their children goodbye, happy for their choice of summer destination.
There will be those who have the opportunity to embrace their traumatized child, forgetting all about messy rooms and loud music, for life is all that matters now.
But there will be those who have no good news awaiting them. Someone will have to identify a dead teenager. The messy room and interminable silence remain to remind them what has been taken.
We lost a relative to gunfire once. It is a different kind of trauma to understand. Those words: She Has Been Shot. Not taken, not passed on. Shot. It implies cold blood. It implies recklessness. As if a life was worth so little that it could be TAKEN; like an animal for the slaughter.
Accused gunman Anders Behring Breivik did not steal only the promising youth from their country and their parents. He stole security. He stole restful sleep. He stole a kind of innocence from Norway.
I think he knows that. What Breivik does not know is that he stole from all of the rest of us, too.
On my little island, so close to the hospital and poverty-stricken squalor, we sometimes hear gunshots. The characteristic double-snap has become known, but remains a source of fear.
When we work in hospital, we assist in surgery on the victims of such senseless violence.
South Africa knows violence, but clings to the hope of countries like Norway, with its low crime rates and good health care – and even 69,000 job vacancies, a concept unimaginable in South Africa these days.
The Norwegian gunman has stolen from countries like South Africa, too.
While we have lived in fear for some time, there was always the hope of someplace better. Hope, because there were countries such as Norway that proved “it can be done.”
When Breivik shattered the peace that Friday afternoon, he shattered it worldwide.

Growing Up With Harry Potter

By Celeste Kurz
Junior reporter
WEST HARTFORD, Conn., U.S.A. – With the release of the final film in the Harry Potter series, a chapter closed in the lives of many.
Whether they discovered J.K. Rowling’s magical books while in elementary school or receiving their doctorates, readers ate up the volumes.
In the 14 years since the 1997 release of the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, we have seen seven books written and published, eight films produced, and an immense group of followers that may just have contributed to the record-breaking 168 million tickets sold to the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 on its first weekend.
For many, this release marks the end of an era.Gone are the days of waiting for the next book or movie to be released, something many have never lived without. For anyone under the age of 24, Harry, Ron and Hermione have been like peers, growing older in each book just as the readers have been maturing each year.
This maturation is even more apparent in looking back on the first movie, released in 2001. While the actors were physically much smaller, their connection with their characters and comfort in playing them was exceedingly different as well.
Nevertheless, these 10 and 11-year-old actors proved themselves to the world as they provided a visual representation for the love, courage, and fight against evil that Rowling expressed in the book.
Now they are all solidly connected to the characters they brought to life over the course of a decade.
In an interview on the red carpet, Emma Watson, who played Hermione, confessed, “It’s hard to know what of her is me, and what of me is her.
Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who portrayed Harry, noted the difference as well, telling reporters, “It’s the first time I’ve watched a Harry Potter film and gone, yes, I’m pleased with my performance.”
Just as the actors will have to adjust to life after Harry Potter, so will millions of fans.
Rowling has announced a new website that she is creating called pottermore, but no one is really sure what the site will do.
Presumably, we will all find out in October when pottermore is opened to the public, but Rowling did mention that “a lucky few” would be allowed to experience the site before that time.
While no new movies or books will be created, Harry Potter and the magical tales that Rowling has told the world will not be forgotten.

Winehouse: 'A Runaway Train Falling Off Tracks'

By Talon Bronson
Senior reporter
PORTLAND, Oregon, U.S.A. -- Welcome to the 27 Club, host of the great musicians and rock stars of our time, all of whom died at the ripe age of 27.You’ll be remembered for a while, now, name up in lights, right beside the greats. All it takes is your life, a shallow price to pay in rock ‘n roll.
On Saturday, July 23, Amy Winehouse checked into Club 27, next to Cobain, Morrison, Hendrix, and others.
Once you check in, you don’t check out, right?Though an official statement hasn’t been released yet, a suspected drug overdose is to blame.
Winehouse checked in to rehabilitation in late 2007 for drug use, most alarmingly, heroin. A longtime victim of drug addiction, Winehouse is primarily known for her song “Rehab,” in which she happens to address some of the various problems that could have very well ended her life.
Why are the greats taken from us so young?
Most likely it has nothing to do with them being taken, but rather that, so tormented by the pain of the world seen through the artistic mind, they take themselves.
Whether it really was drugs that took Winehouse’s life is not yet known, but whatever did her in, a tragedy has occurred in the world of music, as it so often does.
A runaway train falling off the tracks, as many saw Winehouse, is still a sad sight to watching eyes.
My thoughts go out to her family and friends.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

YJI Summer Party 2011

Youth Journalism International students, alumni and friends gathered today for our annual summer party. The award for coming the farthest went to Noah Kidron-Style, who lives in London, England. Teague Neal, who lives in Toronto, Canada, also made it, as he has for seven years.
On a brutally hot day, we had more food than we could eat, including brownies made by Stefan Koski, a watermelon salad from Jennifer Rajotte, ice cream and both lemon and raspberry sorbet.
For as long as Youth Journalism International has been around -- 17 years -- it's been holding parties every summer and during the holidays that bring our far-flung but close knit community together. It's just one of many YJI traditions that help make this Connecticut-based nonprofit unique and wonderful.
We're grateful that so many people try so hard to come.

Danielle Letourneau, one of many YJI alums at the party.

Norway Suffering 'Bottomless Grief'

By Line Hellem
Junior Reporter
HORDALAND, Norway -- The immensity of what has happened in Oslo will take time to sink in.
Watching images flash across the television screen, showing people wounded and an Oslo street in ruins is something Norway won’t forget.
We’ve seen it in London, we’ve seen it in Madrid, and we’ve seen it in New York without really being able to relate to these terrible situations.
But the reality of a tragedy like this is hard to grasp even when it happens within the borders of your own country.
The explosion that hit the center of political power in Norway has turned our capital into something looking like a war scene.
It is a slow and burdened morning in Oslo that is following these tragic events; it is a morning characterized by silent questions and bottomless grief.
Our nation woke up today forced to face the harsh reality of what happened yesterday, and faced with the fact that the real world has landed in Norway.
The bombing in the heart of Oslo killed seven and wounded many others while a related shooting spree at a youth camp left 80 or more dead, most of them teenagers.
The shock in us all is overwhelming today, but we can never even start to imagine the nightmares that were lived for long hours by the youth who found themselves in the midst of the attack at the youth camp on the island, Utøya.
We have heard devastating testimonies from the people who heard the shooter’s voice as he threatened them, and their stories are what rings in the ears of thousands of Norwegians as we will slowly start rebuilding our society.
We lost the innocence that our country has been dulled in when the tragedy hit us yesterday, and even though we still lack information on how this could happen, it is clear that the result was devastation.
Lives were taken. Lives were broken. But as Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said, “We will not let fright control us.”
It was one day, but it was a terrible day. And we will never forget.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Bittersweet Ending For Harry Potter

By Nancy Hsu
BRISBANE, Australia – In the last installment of the long awaited finale, Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows Part 2, with nothing left to conceal, truths are unveiled, relationships developed, friendships cemented and the fight for good as strong as ever.
The beautifully and magically crafted movie – with its healthy doses of witty humor, action and heart – immersed viewers so that every scene made us laugh, smile, cry or peek through finger gaps to see what was happening.
I left the cinema satisfied, impressed and a little bittersweet that the Harry Potter journey was now over.The general storyline of the movie showed Harry, kept in a safe house at the beginning of the film, ready to venture off with pals Hermione and Ron to find and destroy objects that arch enemy Lord Voldemort relies on to survive.
While their peers are held captive under the reign of evil, the trio, in full knowledge that they very well may be killed in the process, still go forth despite fearing for their lives.
More than ever, they have to trust and rely on each other – and family, friends, and Hogwarts teachers, too – who still believe in standing for good or sacrificing their lives trying to ward off the worst.
Many characters have matured, including Hermione (Emma Watson), now a beautiful young woman, but still her intelligent, confident self. Watson has noticeably stretched her ability and portrayed her character perfectly with a strength that should inspire many young female fans.
Harry, tested and tried in every movie, is no different this time around.
Harry shows a heart of gold when he is ultimately willing to sacrifice his life in order to fulfill the plans of his old mentor, a man many have told him not to trust. But he stays true in his trust to the man he loved and looked up the most.
With great courage, Harry fights with steely strength and determination in the final showdown with Voldemort.
How it all turns out will be left unsaid for those who haven't read the book or seen the movie.
But here’s a secret: it’s magical.

As Space Shuttle Era Ends, A Look Back

On "a blazing hot and sunny day with the temperature close to 90 degrees," Youth Journalism International's Jason Soltys watched the final launch of space shuttle Atlantis. Read his account, which includes a link to YJI's interview with a space shuttle astronaut, by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hartford Magazine Features YJI In New Issue

Youth Journalism International is featured in a wonderful, five-page spread in the August 2011 issue of Hartford magazine. The piece is easily the best snapshot of our fast-growing nonprofit to appear so far -- and it looks just marvelous in print. If you can find a real copy of the magazine, do it. But if you're far away, the online version has the entire text and a nice picture, too! Here is the link.
We are so grateful to those responsible: writer Jennifer Sager, photographer Corley Fleming, art director Charlotte Lasek and editor Carol Latter. Thank you one and all.
We also appreciate the students, alumni and friends who had such kind words for Youth Journalism International and who were willing to have their pictures appear as well.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's Not The End Of The World

By Robert Guthrie
MACYNLLYTH,Wales, United Kingdom – People andorganisations throughout the world are researching ways of saving energy,preserving resources and guaranteeing a sustainable environment for futuregenerations.
One such organizationis the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales.
Located in avillage with a typically Welsh name – Macynllyth – CAT is approximately 50miles from Caernarvon Castle, the site of the investiture of the Prince ofWales, heir to the throne.
Centers like CATcould change how we live and work over the next decades. Scientists are alwaysdiscovering new ways to make energy and conserve the environment in anecological way, using renewable energy.
Environmentalpioneer Robert Morgan-Greenwood founded CAT in 1974. Many different Welsh resourceswere used in creating it, including slate, timber, glass and plastics.
The centeris in a remote, rural location. Firstly, you have to travel to the top of thebig slate hill that the whole center is built on.
You can justwalk to the top along a steep pathway. However, you can also use an ingeniouslysimple means of transport – a water-balanced cliff railway.

Robert Guthrie /
A water-balanced train carriage can transport up to 17
people to the Centre for Advanced Technology in Wales.
Here, water iscollected from a man-made pond to fill up the base of a railway-type carriage. Itis connected to a carriage at the top, and once the water levels in both areequal, they start to move – one going up, the other going down. Thus, they arepulling each other up or down.
The CAT railwayis one of the steepest cliff railways in the world with a 34-degree gradient.

Robert Guthrie /
The steep track for the trains
The carriagestravel at 70cm a second – quite slow, but quite enough to travel the shortdistance. And it uses no electricity or fossil fuels.
Next, the CATshows how solar power can provide a sustainable, renewable source of energy.The sun’s energy can be used to heat water and power appliances, not to mentionpowering an entire home. It is amazing to find that families can save thousandson their electricity bills.
Solar energy isused a lot around CAT. The proper name for this power is called PV, or photovoltaic.
All of the solarpanels are made up of PV circles. These collect light, store it in a largebattery and it can then be either used there and then, or saved for later.

Robert Guthrie /
The solar dome at the Centre for Advanced Technology, where
sunlight is trapped and stored as power inside a battery

A solar panel measuring60 square meters wide could make 6.5 kilowatts of power. Another systemshown at CAT is a solar dome, a glass building which receives light and trapsit inside. A battery can be used to store the energy.

Robert Guthrie /
An electric motorcycle at CAT

Electricvehicles are another example of groundbreaking new technology to help theplanet. They are charged from a main supply, use environmentally-friendlybatteries and are more ecological to use instead of fossil fuel-powered engines,which are more expensive and emit more ozone-damaging carbon monoxide into theatmosphere.
A rechargeableelectric motorcycle, is fully ready to go after being plugged in to a localcharging station for three hours, is also on display at CAT. These systems arealready being tried in the British city of Birmingham and more are planned.
A realtrailblazer, CAT has come up with solutions to key energy problems since 1974.
The centertackles the challenging question of what the world’s population will do whenoil and gas supplies run out.
One day we willhave to find solutions and CAT is proving that some are being discovered now.
Other groundbreaking ideas will surely follow in the future.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Potter's Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Is 'Fittingly Epic'

By Myah Guild
Junior Reporter
Youth Journalism International
DUNSTABLE, Bedfordshire, England – One of the most eagerly anticipated dates of the year, Friday July 15 marked the end of an era as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the final film in the Harry Potter franchise, was released in Britain.
The books had captured the imaginations of readers worldwide and the films were massively successful, captivating audiences of all ages, all over the world.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is the last
installment in the series.
Directed by David Yates, the finale sees Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends, Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), continue in their quest to defeat Lord Voldemort once and for all.
The film also shows the ultimate battle at Hogwarts between good and evil forces, including the final battle between Harry and Voldemort.
The relationship between the three leads is as strong as ever and the viewers, especially those who have read the books, can see the remarkable change that the younger characters have undergone. The adventure is darker, the characters are wiser and, in some cases, the relationships go beyond that of friendship.  What is also striking is the progression of the series from the first movie – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – and the outstanding acting from some cast members, Radcliffe’s Potter, Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, and Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort.
The plotline is fittingly epic and the battle scenes do not disappoint. The whole scale of the final film eclipses that of its predecessors as everything – the score, the special effects, the plotline and the acting – are fantastically impressive.
The choice to split the films has obviously paid off as the features of the extremely intricate plot are able to be incorporated into the last film, making it more faithful to the final book.
It was always going to be a bittersweet ending as many fans are reluctant to accept the end of the series because, in many cases, they consider Harry Potter as a symbol of their childhood.
However, they can be reassured that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, is an incredible achievement in every way, bringing a fitting conclusion to a much-loved franchise that has had a spectacular global effect.
Harry Potter has been a worldwide phenomenon and, though this final film signifies its official end, its legacy will undoubtedly endure for many years to come.

'Harry Potter' Saves The Best For Last

Roohani Deshpande
Junior reporter
NEW DELHI, India – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Par 2, the second installment of the film of the final book of the series by J.K. Rowling, manages to portray beautifully every emotion and situation.
Director David Yates also succeeds in the 3D version to make the viewer feel as though he is almost a part of everything which the trio Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) go through.On the hunt for magical instruments known as "Horcruxes,” the three encounter various dangers and threats, but bravely fight their way out with their wits and courage.
Harry has been given this assignment by his former headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, who had introduced him to Lord Voldemort's darkest secret – the secret of his supposed immortality.
With this mission in mind, our beloved trio returns to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which is no longer a safe home for its students, thanks to Voldemort's tightening grip on the wizarding world.
His followers, commonly called the Death Eaters, are on the rise everywhere.
Amidst these dangers, Harry faces his final confrontation with Voldemort -- which only one of them will survive.
Yates has lived up to the standards set by the previous directors of Harry Potter movies. He has also infused some changes in the way events are carried out in the book, which makes this movie much larger than just a mere novel adaptation.
The action sequences are heart-stopping and gripping, and certain scenes can make viewers surprisingly emotional.
The trio feels unarmed in the face of the overwhelmingly powerful dark forces, and Harry asks Hermione in desperation, "When have any of our plans actually worked? We plan, we get there, and all hell breaks loose."
It is essentially a war movie, between the Evil and the Good, but a very unusual kind of a war, fought not with guns, but wands.
The battle at Hogwarts is more grand than viewers could imagine.
This movie assumes that the viewers already know everything that has taken place before the final climax, which likely makes it very unappealing to those who have not been following the Harry Potter series books or movies since they will find themselves confused.
But for the loyal fans, this movie is the ultimate.
Overall, Yates has set up a grand finale for the end of the Harry Potter saga.
If you are a diehard Potter fan, do not miss this opportunity to bid farewell to your favorite hero since childhood.
This is undoubtedly the best movie in the series, so go and watch it for its spectacular effects, brilliant performances and great storytelling.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Harry Potter: More Than Just Marketing

By Madison Pollard
Junior reporter
LONDON, England – Harry Potter. Whether you love it, or you hate it, there can be no doubt that it has become an international phenomenon.
Why? The books are exciting, and they had a clear target audience.
When the first book was released in 1997, its target audience was young, about 4 to 7 years old. Now, the last film has just been released and its target audience are those in their late teens or early twenties.
So the book, which is nothing more than a simple story written in an easily understandable style, has become highly successful due to great marketing and word of mouth.
The films feature some of the most well-known actors in the world, including Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, and many more.
This alone is enough to make some people contemplate sitting through the films, regardless of whether they enjoy the plot.
This raises another issue.
When closely examined, the book is a simple novel, using phrases long since banned by English professors the world over, such as ‘said X.’
However, there are elements that make it captivating, especially basing it in a world where those with and without magic exist.
The inclusion of magic in any story seems to make it a hit with children, offering the opportunity to experience a world that they could only dream of.
As the books progressed, and the target market grew older, the themes developed to include ones such as coming of age, love, family and death, which J.K. Rowling insists is the main theme of the books.
As the series progressed, the plot lines grew more subtle and interwoven, to continue to capture the attention of the ever-expanding target market, which had since gone international.
It is estimated that the series has sold 450 million copies in 67 languages, showing that it truly has become a global phenomenon.
So, if it really is just a simple plot, and clever marketing, why do so many people love it?
Harry Potter offers a chance to escape, and imagine yourself in a world of amazing power.
The issues the characters face are realistic, with friendship troubles and awkward teenage relationships.
These serve to make the book easy to relate to for the target market. This, in turn, makes the books more enjoyable for people to read.
The first book was released in 1997 so between the seven books and eight films it has formed a great part of people’s childhoods.
I know that I remember queuing several times at midnight in London to get the latest volume as soon as possible after it was released. They were magical in themselves.
The books are more than just a series, They are a brand, an icon and a legend. They have shaped the childhoods of today’s youth.
They deserve great praise.
But, did Rowling really have a stroke of genius, or was it all clever marketing? Who can say?
Personally, I believe it was both.
Yes, using famous actors and hyping the films before they are released likely helped, but without a good story to form the solid basis, the marketing would simply have collapsed.
This series changed lives. May it live on!

Windows On The World: The View Driving Through Eastern Cape, South Africa

Mariechen Puchert /
On her way to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa, YJI Senior Reporter Mariechen Puchert took these photos from the car window. The top photo is of a Xhosa village in the Peddie district of the rural Eastern Cape.
The photo below is of aloes growing alongside the road. The plant is indigenous to the Eastern Cape, she writes, and is commonly seen in the province. The plant is known for its real, not disputed, medicinal properties, says Mariechen, now a third-year medical student at Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape.

Mariechen Puchert /

An Embattled Murdoch Says He's Sorry

Text of advertisement that ran today in News Corp. newspapers

By Robert Guthrie
DUMFRIES, Scotland – Media baron Rupert Murdoch is at the center of a story unfolding at an extremely rapid pace.
After controversy over phone hacking allegations caused him to close down the News of the World tabloid a week ago, he has now decided to cease trying to buy BskyB, a broadcast network.
This is a much safer option for him than plunging ahead while controversy swirls around him.
Now the whole country is waiting to hear what Murdoch and his minions have to say about it all.
Rupert Murdoch
The Australian-born media kingpin, whose holdings include Fox News, The Sunday Times and the New York Post, has been invited to attend a House of Commons Home Office Select Committee hearing along with two News Corp. executives, his son James Murdoch and former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks.
This will allow the press, public and senior members of Parliament to hear directly what Murdoch and company decision-makers have to say about the hacking allegations that have tarred the Times as well the rest of Murdoch’s papers.
All three have agreed to appear – failing to show up would have cast great suspicion on them, after all – so the even should have plenty of drama.
The House of Commons won’t have enough seats to accommodate everyone who wants to see it in person. I wonder what they’ll do.
In the meantime, Brooks has succumbed to pressure and resigned as chief executive officer of News Corporation. This is a good step forward, although this will definitely not clear up this giant mess that has been caused by the stupid activities of Murdoch’s employees.
During the Question Time at the House of Commons this week, many MPs asked the prime minister questions about the hacking scandal.
The prime minister, David Cameron, said the Metropolitan police will investigate the hacking claims and why it happened.
There will be reviews of press regulations, he said, in terms of what journalists can and cannot do.
The police plans to contact all of the 3,870 known victims named in over 11,000 documents, officials said.
But nobody knows how much further the scandal may extend before it’s played out.
The prime minister said he wants to make sure that an event like these hacking claims never happens again.
Cameron also said that executives involved in the scandal should never be involved in the media again.
Hanging over that statement, of course, is the question of what Murdoch himself knew and what that might mean for one of the world’s largest media companies.
In a bid to turn public opinion in a more favourable direction, Murdoch’s newspapers Sunday carried full-page advertisements that said “We are sorry.”
Beneath those words, Murdoch told readers he recognized that apologizing isn’t enough.
Murdoch vowed to take “concrete steps” to resolve the scandal and to “make amends for the damage” that his company’s activities has caused.