Thursday, May 31, 2012

More Winners From YJI's Contest

Photo provided
Jasmine Wang with her trophy
YJI photo

The 2012 Jacinta 

Marie Bunnell trophy

We're happy to share these latest photos of a couple of the winners in the Youth Journalism International 2012 Excellence in Journalism contest.

Announced earlier this month, the contest, which is open to young writers, photographers and artists all over the world, honored teens in 18 countries. Most were not students at Youth Journalism International, though some, like Sara Chatterjee, who is pictured below, are.

Jasmine Wang, in the photo above, won the Jacinta Marine Bunnell Award for Commentary, the highest prize for commentary. It's a very competitive category, but Wang's work shone above the rest.
Wang, 16, is from East Brunswick, New Jersey and a student at East Brunswick High School.

Her winning piece, “Curiosity, Creativity and the Curse of Education,” castigated the lack of creativity in schools. Flabbergasted by a friend who got a C+ on an AP English essay because it was “too creative,” Wang assailed the “rote and robotic formula of education” and the “close-minded educators and the pressure to do well, which often overrides all motivation to learn.”

Wang, who wrote the essay for the Windsor-Hights Herald, called on educators to focus on opening minds, but she also urged students to chart a new course. “Students, raise your hands, and keep your heads up high. For striking out is far better than cowering in fear. Shake the cage, break the mold. You are free, you are creative and curious and confident.”  There’s no doubt that’s at least true of Wang herself, who’s obviously not afraid to break the mold.

The Bunnell Award is named for an inspiring Connecticut woman who died too young. It aims to reward students willing to take a stand and let their voices be heard.
Finalists in the category were Tasman Anderson, a student at the University of Queensland who lives in Brisbane, Australia, and Saachi Sharma, a student at Lady Shri Ram College for Women in New Delhi, India. Anderson wrote a column about virginity for Q Magazine. Sharma wrote about “The Hijab: From the Side That is Covered” for The Saltlist.
Photo provided

Sara Chatterjee, a student at Sciences Po in Paris
and a reporter for Youth Journalism International, 
won in the movie and theater reviews category 
for her take on Tintin.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Citizen Likes The Memorial Day Parade

YJI photo
YJI reporters and Hall High School marching band members
Kiernan Majerus-Collins, Mary Majerus-Collins and
Yelena Samofalova with YJI reporter Ameni Mathlouthi
after the Memorial 
Day parade in West Hartford, Conn.,
on Monday morning.

By Yelena Samofalova
WEST HARTFORD, Connecticut, U.S.A. – Every year, I look forward to a scorching hot day at the end of May when I get to take part in the Memorial Day parade along with all the band kids from West Hartford middle schools and high schools.
I’ve been playing the flute for about six years now, and I’ve participated in the Memorial Day parade for four years.
Although it’s a drag to wake early on a day off from school and march through the heat in a long-sleeved shirt and pants, the parade is always a fun experience.
The band only has to walk about three blocks, taking a total of 20 minutes.
After, we can enjoy the street vendors and be with our families while watching the other participants of the parade, including bands and other organizations and groups.
It’s similar to a regular school concert, where friends and family come to watch our band play, but more special since we worked hard to memorize the piece and learn how to march.
YJI photo
YJI reporters and flutists
Majerus-Collins and
Yelena Samofalova
Having recently become an American citizen, it feels good to know that we’re helping commemorate those who gave their lives in our nation’s wars and that veterans from wars dating back to World War II are in the same parade. Sometimes, a military band is also in the parade.
Overall, the Memorial Day parade is a fantastic tradition in West Hartford and other towns nationwide.
Although I won’t be in band next year, I will definitely come to see the parade and cheer for my school’s band.

Friday, May 25, 2012

See Some Of Our 2012 Contest Winners

     Many people know that Youth Journalism International holds a comprehensive contest each year to recognize the best in journalism by young people worldwide. 
     But what many don't realize is that the contest is open to young people all over the globe whether they are involved with Youth Journalism International or not.
     Our aim is to recognize the best youth journalism in the world that is published in English and while we believe our students' work is among the best, there are others who deserve recognition,too.
     This year, a YJI student, Pushkal Shivam, won the top prize, Student Journalist of the Year. He was the first YJI student to capture that award since the contest began three years ago.
     This year, young people in 18 countries won awards. It is important to note that about two-thirds of them had no connection to YJI other than to enter the contest. 
     Nineteen judges gave their time to review the entries and make the difficult choices about which deserved to win.
     We invited winners to send photographs after we sent out certificates and trophies. Some of them are pasted below. We will continue to publish as many as we can, so check back to see more. 

Here's the crystal trophy that belongs
 to the 2012 Student Journalist of  the Year, 
Pushkal Shivam, of Mumbai, India. 
This trophy will be on display at the
Investigative Reporters and Editors 
national conference in Boston, Mass., 
in June. After that, it will be mailed 
to India.

Nyno Ortiz of Hartford, Connecticut, 
won an honorable mention in the
individual news writing category 

for her story, "City Teens Say Illegal
Tats No Big Deal." She wrote the piece, 
which explored a potentially dangerous
trend in her community, as part of her
work at the Hartford Journalism & Media

Maryland journalism teacher Mark Ionescu 
of The John Carroll School in Bel Air
won the coveted 2012 Journalism Educator
 of the Year after his students flooded
 the contest singing his praises. His crystal 
trophy is pictured above, and below is a photo 
of Ionescu celebrating with the staff of
The Patriot, the school newspaper.
"Mr. I," as his students call him, is 
in the lower right part of the photo
in the blue shirt.
Photo courtesy of Grace Kim

 Narine Daneghyan of Yerevan, Armenia, won first

 place in the Sports Features category for  a comprehensive
 report she did for Youth Journalism International, 
 "Pan-Armenian Games Unite Through Sports."

To see a full list of 2012 contest winners, links to some of the winning entries and comments from the judges, look here.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cleaning Up With YJI

It isn't news to say that Youth Journalism International is beloved by students and readers around the globe, but the message bears repeating.

Today, 14-year-old Arooj Khalid, our wonderful girl in Lahore, Pakistan, sent this photo and a message saying that she had used caustic soda and coconut oil in her school's chemistry lab to make soap and decided to make it YJI soap. She modeled it a bit after our button, shown next to the soap.

So take note, supporters. Not only do we provide really excellent news and views from the world's brightest young people, but, in journalism parlance, our copy is clean.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

In Pyramids' Shadow, Egyptians Finally Vote

By Jessica Elsayed

GRANVILLE, Ohio -- And today they vote.
More than 50 million voters will head today and tomorrow to the polls to vote for the first time in an Egyptian presidential election whose outcome is unknown.
Lines of men and women from all ages and walks of life have been lining up since the early morning and officials even needed to extend the voting time into the late evening in order to accommodate all of the voters.
It is a phenomena Egypt has never witnessed before, despite a history that stretches back to the time of the Pharaohs.
It would take books to talk about the candidates and what kind of thoughts and ideals the people who vote for each have.
The magnificent thing to see is how inclusive the process is and how it was all possible because of the help of God and the glorious peoples’ revolution that began early last year.
All across Facebook and Twitter feeds, young people are thanking the martyrs who died for Egypt to make this day possible.
While it is unclear what powers the new president may have, one thing is for sure, the people of Egypt have the most power.
Still, it is a bittersweet time, with several candidates who actively participated in the old regime and were silent to both its injustices and corruption.
Even today, the blood-soaked hands of security forces remain.
Despite the chaos that still occurs, today is an ideal to pause and take a step back to see the marvel that gathering and fighting for a common unified purpose can do.
No precise words can describe what an old man feels who never in his life thought he could choose, really choose, his president. It is a sense of joy that can only be felt and explains the long lines under the hot sun all across Egypt today.
Entire families and groups of friends voted for different people whom they saw fit for the position of president. Their choices, though sometimes different, show they are active citizens who are displaying for the entire world that Egypt – an Arab and Muslim-dominated country – is capable of doing incredible things.
They used to say Egypt wasn’t ready for democracy.
But now, no longer under military rule, there is hope – and it is not a blind, empty hope either – that  Egypt’s youth will never back down from standing for justice regardless of the consequences.
The election results and what will happen next are a whole different story and will mean much to the entire region and to all of the Arab states.
What matters most, though, is a tale of struggle and overcoming, of an oppressed people who found the strength to rise up and seize both their country and destiny. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

No Winners In Siachen's High Altitude War

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency map

By Arooj Khalid  
LAHORE, Pakistan – The Siachen glacier of the Karakorum mountain range is the second largest in the world.
But as part of the disputed area of Kashmir, this area is most famous for being the earth’s highest battlefield.
Here, India and Pakistan have fought for years over Kashmir. This warfare has been continued since 1984 and is still going on. Both countries have a permanent military presence in this frozen area where temperatures often get down to 50 below zero Celsius, or almost 60 below zero on the Fahrenheit scale.
This may be the most terrible and melancholy example of bloodshed on mountains.
This region has harsh weather conditions and many soldiers die each year – mostly due to extreme weather – and Siachen is considered to be the most dangerous area for a soldier to be, even in neutral conditions.
But the most tragic incident occurred April 7, when an avalanche hit the main Pakistani army camp in the Gayari Sector, Siachen, and many soldiers and civilians were trapped under more than 80 feet of snow. Estimates say the victims number more than 130 people.
When people across Pakistan heard the news, they thought only of Siachen, where about 3,000 Pakistani soldiers have died since the military post was set up more than 25 years ago.
After the April avalanche, about 300 soldiers and dozens of civilians have been working in the rescue operation. Along with this, heavy machinery is also being used, as much as it can be, as the area is quite difficult to reach.
After the avalanche, the weather and absence of equipment like human tracing sensors were hindering the rescue process.
Though rescuers were trying their best, and there was initially some word that the operation was moving towards success, few chances remain.
With more than a whole month passed, and almost 2,000 tons of snow removed, Pakistanis wait for news with fading hope.
Today, layers of sadness keep evolving. The incident has cast a gloom over the nation, especially the families of the trapped civilians and soldiers. Besides the efforts made by Pakistan itself, other countries offered condolence and help.
The Swiss, Germans and Americans were there to help, but most of them had to face difficulties in reaching Siachen due to bad weather, arduous and blocked pathways.
During the initial rescue operation, some news reports said the catastrophe was not an avalanche but a cloud burst, and that rocks, mud, snow and everything came down.
The rescue is getting harder and harder to carry on, day by day.
The leaders of Pakistan’s political parties have emphasized improving relations between Pakistan and India.
If it wasn’t for the “forever warfare” between India and Pakistan, the whole wall of snow would have never damaged so many soldiers or civilians in Siachin.
At least now, both countries should better their relations and avoid disputes.
I am sure if the two neighboring countries help each other instead of fighting, progress will come faster for both nations. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wry Humor Makes Avengers Soar

By Shagorika Ghosh
Junior Reporter
MUMBAI, India – I wasn’t one of those people excitedly awaiting The Avengers, losing sleep, waiting for it to release. Indeed, watching it was a last-minute decision. But I walked in, armed with 3D glasses and the quintessential popcorn, and I walked out dazzled.
We give you six superheroes for the price of one, they said, and how!
Iconic Marvel superheroes Captain America, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow are brought together by S.H.I.E.L.D Director Nick Fury to defeat Loki, who has descended upon Earth to enslave humans.
The movie starts off with Loki, also Thor’s adoptive brother, arriving through an intergalactic portal, brandishing a scepter, which he proceeds to use to enslave Hawkeye and several other people and steals an energy cube christened the Tesseract. To retrieve it, Nick Fury then decides to raise the AvengersInitiative from the dead, and brings together the rest of the crew, barring Hawkeye, who is later freed from Loki’s mind control in the latter half of the movie.
Thor, a demigod and Loki’s brother, is also added to the Avengers after a failed attempt to rescue Loki.
Once the Avengers come together, there is a predictable flow to the movie: the friction between the characters, who are absolute opposites; the petty quarrels and ego clashes. It all builds up to a grand finish. The final battle, fought in the streets of New York City (where else, indeed?) brings together the six Avengers, extra-terrestrial monsters called the Chitauri, replete with explosions and guns, and even tranquilizer-tipped flying arrows.
In the end, the portal is closed, the monsters are killed, and Loki is taken back to his world to face the music by big brother Thor. The rest of the Avengers enjoy a shwarma meal, and then scatter, to come together at a later time when the world needs to be saved again. Happy ending all around.
The actors essay their roles quite well.
Robert Downey, Jr. is familiar and perfect as the snarky, cheeky Tony Stark and Iron Man, stealing most of the movie’s funniest lines.
Chris Evans is a rather squeaky clean, righteous Captain America. The relatively unknown Jeremy Renner holds his own superbly in his role as Clint ‘Hawkeye’ Barton.
Chris Hemsworth makes a rather magnificent Thor, with his hammer and his disdain for the ‘people.’ Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of the Hulk is excellent, essaying Dr. Banner’s calm, nerd-genius persona adorably, and also giving us periodic glimpses of the ‘other guy’ who lay within.
Scarlett Johansson is no foil or eye candy as Black Widow Natasha Romanoff, but comes with her own super-spy skill set, although she is no superhero.
And Samuel L. Jackson, as ever, doesn’t disappoint in the role of Nick Fury.
Fans of the television sitcom How I Met Your Mother may also recognize Cobie Smulders in a small role as Agent Maria Hill, Fury’s second-in-command.
The Avengers has some great action scenes, special effects, and battle scenes. But let’s not leave out some wry humor that writer and director Joss Whedon inserts into this 3D computer graphics spectacle.
Here are some great quotes that make you chuckle and momentarily snap you out of your fanboy or fangirl trance.
·        Loki: I have an army
Tony Stark: We have a Hulk.

·        Thor: He’s my brother!
Natasha Romanoff: He killed 80 people in two days
Thor: He’s adopted.

·        Tony Stark: Doth Mother know you weareth her drapes?

·        Natasha Romanoff: This is the Tesseract. It has the potential energy to wipe out the planet. 
Bruce Banner: What does Fury want me to do, swallow it? 

·        Tony Stark:  I'm a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster. 

And I leave the best for the last:
·        Captain America: And Hulk, SMASH!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pakistanis Discuss Role Of Media On Society

By Waleed Tariq

KARACHI, Pakistan – Pakistani actors, academics, politicians and others discussed the role and influence of media on society – and how it’s used by one culture to dominate another – at a recent colloquium in Karachi.
Social sciences students at the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) organized the event, ‘In Conversation with the Icons of Pakistan’: A Colloquium on Culture, Media and Society.’
Waleed Tariq/

Fauzia Wahab

It took a critical look at the past, present and future of television, music and its interrelations with commercialization and colonization on Pakistan’s contemporary culture and society.
In her opening remarks, parliamentarian Fouzia Wahab, a prominent Pakistani politician elaborated on the connection between media and culture.
Wahab praised SZABIST students who dared to take on the challenge of finding out what culture, media and society is, and for their spirit of inquiry, will and determination in doing so.
People do not talk about it, she said. In her view, society is continuously in a state of transition be it communication, lifestyle or approach towards career. “Change is coming and I hope with this talk, we can find out what this change is in terms of evolution of culture, media and society in Pakistan,” said Wahab.
In the session, ‘Pakistani Drama: Kal Aur Aaj (Today and Tomorrow) panelists drew comparisons of contemporary work with those of yesteryear. Beginning from his journey from Radio Pakistan up to television, Kazim Pasha contended that passion has given way to commercialization.
In earlier times, he said, people were passionate about work.
“They were not after fame or money, but talent,” Pasha said. In this context, he criticized current private media for its excessive push for ratings and the constant exposure of vulgarity on screen.
The celebrated actor Shakeel backed up Pasha’s point of view.
“From bus they (artists) have moved to cars but screen has not benefited from this change,” he said.
But in the end Shakeel was hopeful for the better. It is his belief, Shakeel said, that Pakistan is a volcano of composers, writers and actors who need government support and promotion to take performing arts in the country forward.
They were not the only ones to enlighten the audience.
Kazim Pasha in panel
A session on colonization featuring academics Abbas Hussain, Salman Abedin and Durrya Qazi  focused on the elements of how one dominant culture takes over a weaker one, with a special emphasis on Pakistan. Hussain pointed out how colonization has contributed to the prevalent language divide in the country between Urdu and English.
For cultural domination, he said, language is the easiest of all.
“Literature is an expression of culture and the easiest to export. You can’t bring the guardians of Buckingham Palace but surely Shakespeare can come to India,” Hussain said.
While Durrya gave a balanced overview of colonization, Abedin talked about the essentials which form national identity.
Qazi said that colonization by Europeans began in the 15th century partly with good intentions, and in her view, she said, merely anything we use today is not owed to the West, be it the table, microphone or anything.
“I think today’s time is globalization,” said Qazi. “Instead of dividing, we have far more in common in humanity than differences.”
Abedin, an academic at SZABIST, Karachi, highlighted how an amalgamation of economics and advertising has played a significant role in the formation of a post-colonial Pakistani identity.
Salman Abedi, Abbas Hussain, Durrya Qaz
Abedin also termed film as the easiest ‘export’ for cultural domination rather than literature.
“For domination, economics is at play. It’s not only about race,” Abedin said. “Economics cannot be ruled out in the construction of post-colonial identity.”
Next in line was the team of Banana News Network; a popular comedy satire show at Geo TV which brought the audience into a lighter mood with their constant influx of one-liners, jokes and humor.
Other participants included Danish Ali, Omran Shafique and Gumby.
The four sessions were ‘Pakistani Drama: Aaj aur Kal, ‘Colonization and its Impact on Culture,’ ‘Humour: New Horizons’ and ‘Essence of Pakistani Music.’
Each session was followed by a question and answer period where students had an opportunity to interact with the panelists. Students, SZABIST staff and faculty attended. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Games Set To Be Flaming Brilliant

By Robert Guthrie
DUMFRIES, Scotland – The Torch Relay for the London 2012 Games should live up to the promise that it will be “flaming good” when the Torch arrives in the United Kingdom Friday .
The Olympic flame will arrive with UK football superstar David Beckham on the specially built Olympic Torch Relay plane.
Beckham will be joined by four children – one each from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales – who have committed themselves to sport and done fantastic services to sports worldwide.
The plane, specially built by British Airways, took workers nine days to put together. It’s covered in 250 litres of paint in gold, white and four different shades of yellow.
The plane, ‘The Firefly,’ is flying from Athens following the eight-day Greek Torch tour that ended with a special handover ceremony at Panathenaic Stadium.
Pupils in schools across the UK named The Firefly in a competition that was part of the Games' education program, “Get Set,” which encourages students and teachers to embrace the Games, live Olympic values and make the most out of this landmark year. 
Delegates at the ceremony were Princess Anne, who is head of the British Olympic Association, London Mayor Boris Johnson, Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson and Head of the London 2012 Committee, Lord Sebastian Coe.
The plane flies first to Cornwall, in the southwest of England, where the first of many torchbearers will kick off the exciting relay. Over the 70 days of the relay, many runners will carry the torch throughout the United Kingdom, passing through England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
It is scheduled to arrive during the July 27 opening ceremony at London’s massive new Olympic stadium.
It looks like the Games will be very impressive, and so many can’t wait to see what Britain has to offer.
It’s going to be an exciting time, and with so much more in store, this is just the start.

Much To Love About Woody Allen's New Film

By Eugenia Durante
Senior Correspondent
MILAN, Italy – One of the most annoying things about Woody Allen’s fans is that they don’t accept the passing of time. They got somehow crystallized in a sort of reactionary nostalgia which makes them complain about almost everything Allen did and still does after his glorious period, and they won’t get rid of it.
Of course, it has been a long time since Allen’s masterpieces – I am thinking about movies such as Manhattan, Zelig and The Purple Rose of Cairo.
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger was probably one of 2010’s most boring movies, and Midnight in Paris, which had an interesting and beautiful plot, turned out to be not as great as it could.
But this is not a valid reason to murder everything he does.
This is what I thought when I got out of the cinema after seeing To Rome With Love.
I was somehow biased against the movie because I had previously read many awful reviews complaining about it being boring and not funny at all. So when I got out of cinema I thought that something must have been wrong with me, since I laughed and smiled.
To Rome With Love is a framework of stories set in the beautiful caput mundi scenario. It features both Italian and international actors, including Allen himself, Ellen Page, Judy Davis, Penelope Cruz and Roberto Benigni.
All the stories point out the inconstancy and the elusiveness of life – a hot topic for Allen since his earliest work – and told with his witty humor which makes you both laugh and mull over it.
Above the others, it features a great-as-always Roberto Benigni in the arduous job of tackling the weakness of unworthy success and the lack of quality in the everyday information provided by the mass media.
Furthermore, it features an old and scathing Allen and a hilarious, alternative performance of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (surely the best idea in the movie).
Critics reproached Allen for passiveness and generalization, depicting a stereotyped Rome and picaresque characters.
But my only criticism of the director is a lack of homogeneity among the stories, since some of them are too slow and don’t do justice to the flash of genius present (as always) in the movie.
Provided that To Rome With Love is surely not Woody Allen’s masterpiece, it remains an enjoyable and somewhere sharp movie.
To me, our Zelig director has not completely lost his acumen. Not yet, at least. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Warm Rotary Welcome For YJI Reporter

     The Bristol Rotary Club welcomed a guest speaker Tuesday - Ameni Mathlouthi, a Youth Journalism International reporter from Tunis, Tunisia. Ameni, who is 17, is an exchange student attending public high school in Connecticut this year in the Youth Exchange and Study program through the U.S. State Department. She told the Rotarians about participating in her country's revolution and what life was like under the former dictatorship.
     YJI appreciates the club's hospitality and interest in both Ameni and in Youth Journalism International. Ameni, who returns home next month, will be speaking at the Universalist Church of West Hartford, Conn. on Sunday, June 3 at 10 a.m. All are welcome.
Youth Journalism International reporter Ameni Mathlouthi
of Tunis, Tunisia, addresses 
Bristol Rotary
Club Tuesday morning in 
Bristol, Conn.
Bristol Rotary Club President Bob Dupont thanks Ameni
Mathlouthi for her presentation 
to the 
and gives her a Rotary pin.
Youth Journalism International reporter Ameni Mathlouthi
of Tunis, Tunisia, receives a proclamation from the 
Connecticut General Assembly, presented by
 state Rep. 
Whit Betts, a Bristol Republican who is supportive of YJI.
The proclamation congratulates her for fighting for freedom
in her country, for building understanding between nations
and cultures and for a safe return home.
Youth Journalism International reporter Ameni Mathlouthi
and YJI Ambassador Dick Inglis of Bristol, Conn., who stopped by
the Rotary Club meeting just to hear what Ameni had to say.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Mother's Day Plea For Peace

Anna Maria Schirano/

Monument in London honoring women in World War II.

By Anna Maria Schirano
Junior Reporter
TARANTO, Italy -- What I want to communicate goes far beyond what generally people think about the so-called Mother’s Day.
During a period like this – dominated by difficulties in connecting between people, the loneliness that many suffer and the loss of some important traditional values –it’s important reflecting on the meaning of this day.
Although celebrating a day like this by eating and drinking with our family and giving some presents to our mothers is always a reason for joy, we can’t lose sight of the deep meaning that this day has in itself and what it should remind to think about.
The institution for Mother’s Day came initially from Julia Ward Howe in 1870 as a moment of reflection against the war. United States President Woodrow Wilson formalized it nearly a century ago because he wanted to send a peace message and push the idea of international brotherhood.
Every Mother’s Day morning when we open our eyes we should be running to our Mum to tell her how big our love is for her. Though some might say we have the opportunity for saying these sweet things any time, I’d guess that only a few do it every day because we give a little importance to this simple, pure but at the same time essential act.
Thanks in part to the Mother’s Day, mothers have become an emblem of the purity of feelings which can destroy materialism.
In her Mother’s Day Proclamation, Howe called on women to unite against war and to stand against those who would try to knock aside what mothers have taught about “charity, mercy and patience.”
Only by believing in the possibility of communication, within a family or a community, can we hope for that future without war. After all, every revolution starts from simple ideas. Just believe in them! Everything can be built step by step.
As Yoko Ono, the wife of murdered Beatle John Lennon, has said, “Let’s think peace, act peace, spread peace.”
Ono said that “each one of us has the power to change the world” and that a domino effect can bring peace.

Don’t forget to thank your mothers for everything, including a better world they are helping to create.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Many Armenians Hurt In Tragic Explosion

By Narine Daneghyan
YEREVAN, Armenia – An explosion of gas balloons during a Republican Party of Armenia rally in the public square Friday injured many people.
The rally, which was being held ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary elections, attracted many thousands of people.
Flag of Armenia
News reports said the balloons exploded overhead and started to burn, melting rubber down onto the people at the rally. Emergency services said a cigarette could have caused a fire that led to the explosion, and an investigation is underway.
An announcement from the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Armenia said more than 150 citizens had been hospitalized because of the explosion and that about half of them remained in the hospital.
Armenian President Serj Sargsyan announced that the accident at the Republic Square hurt all of the country’s people.
“Thanks God we avoided irreversible consequences,” Sargsyan said. “At the moment all the injured people receive assistance, while for further recovery, if necessary, the best specialists will be invited to Armenia. The law enforcement bodies have launched an investigation, those guilty will be found and punished in accordance with the law. I call for presence of mind. Let us pray for the injured people and wish them fast recovery.”
I didn’t yet have opportunity to talk with those who were wounded, because most of them are in shock, the others are still in the hospitals.
On thing is clear: such a huge tragedy hasn’t happened in Yerevan for a long time.
Today, Saturday, is called the “day of silence.” Tomorrow Parliamentary elections will be held. This tragedy is a shock for everybody, from the political parties to the civilians.
Check back with Youth Journalism International for updates about the explosion and the elections.