Thursday, March 23, 2017

Westminster view the day after terror attack

Emily Couch /

Thursday morning, the day following the Jan. 22 terrorist attack on Westminster bridge, the Houses of Parliament in London fly the Union Jack at half mast. Big Ben, London's iconic clock, is visible to the right of the center of the photo. Westminster bridge, at the far right, is closed because of the police investigation.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

View of Westminister bridge after today's terror attack in London

Emily Couch /
Westminister Bridge in London is blocked and buses stuck in place after what authorities called a terrorist attack in London Wednesday near the British Parliament that killed at least four people and hurt many more.

Emily Couch /
Police and other emergency vehicles at the south side of Westminster bridge after what authorities are calling a terrorist attack Wednesday in London.
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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Photo Essay: Irish Famine Memorial shows desperation of immigrants fleeing hunger

Kiernan Majerus-Collins /
One of the haunting faces in the Famine Memorial in Dublin.

DUBLIN, Ireland - Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie’s work ‘Famine’ is a bronze memorial on the Custom House Quay in Dublin’s Docklands. The sculpture was dedicated in 1997 to the many Irish people who emigrated from Ireland during the famine in the 19th century. The work includes many tragic life-sized figures.
The famine killed about one million people and another million left the country. The Perserverance, one of the first sailing ships to carry people out of the country, left on St. Patrick’s Day in 1846, not far from the site of the sculpture, according to information from the Docklands Authority. The ship’s more than 200 passengers arrived in New York two months later.

All photos by YJI Senior Correspondent Kiernan Majerus-Collins.

This figure is carrying another on his back.

The modern buildings of today's Dublin provide a stark background to the hallowed faces of those fleeing famine.

Kiernan Majerus-Collins /
From behind, the figures appear to be slowly walking away.
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Religious opposition to gay scene in Disney's new 'Beauty and the Beast'

From the official Beauty and the Beast Facebook page
By Selvaganeshamoorthi Balakrishnan
Senior Reporter
SINGAPORE – Social conservatives and religious circles in Singapore and Malaysia are opposing the new Disney movie Beauty and the Beast because of the inclusion of a gay character.
LeFou, a side character in the film portrayed by actor Josh Gad, is the first homosexual character in a Disney movie.
“The inclusion of the gay moment to the story by way of the sub-plot is totally unnecessary and signals a marked departure from the 1991 Disney series,” the National Council of Churches Singapore said in a March 13 statement.
The organization sent the statement to pastors and church leaders ahead of the film’s opening in Singapore today.
“We would like our parents to be aware of this strand in the movie and its possible influence on their children who watch it, however subtle,” the organization of churches said.
The Catholic Diocese of Singapore has also released its own statement, stating that parents "must discern and reflect with their children on whether the lifestyle is consonant with the teaching of Christ."
The diocese said parents “must explain the implications and the consequences of such a lifestyle for themselves and society."
Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority gave the film a PG 13 rating (Parental Guidance) for depicting “mild violence” and refuted claims that the decision was due to the gay character in the film. The PG 13 rating mandates parental guidance for viewers under 13 years.
The churches’ statements have met with some criticism online that slammed the public manner in which the statements were released. Some see the churches’ moves as an attempted imposition of Christian values on the general public.
In Muslim-majority Malaysia, the movie’s opening is being questioned. According to the BBC, Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board gave the film a P13 rating earlier this week, similar to Singapore’s PG13, after the scene was cut.
But Disney decided this week not to remove the scene and it’s unclear when, if ever, the film will play in Malaysia.
Homosexuality is illegal in Singapore and Malaysia. In both countries, it is a crime punishable by a prison sentence and corporal punishment. Though in Singapore, the law is generally not enforced.

Beauty and the Beast opens in the U.S. on Friday, March 17.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Young artist interprets refugee crisis

Elliot Kalsner Kershen /
The artist is a young Connecticut student. This is his first published work for YJI.
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Friday, March 3, 2017

Inspiring NASA women are 'Hidden' no more

From the Hidden Figures official Facebook page

By Madeleine Deisen
MARIETTA, Georgia, U.S.A. – Director Theodore Melfi’s real life drama Hidden Figures tells the story of three African American women – Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monàe) – who worked as mathematicians and engineers for NASA during the 1960s.
Johnson, a mathematician and physicist, helped calculate the numbers for astronaut John Glenn’s space flight around Earth. Vaughan is a mathematician who became NASA’s first African American manager. Jackson became the first African American female engineer at NASA.
The movie, based on writer Margot Lee Shetterly’s book of the same name, is titled Hidden Figures because these women had often gone unrecognized, despite their remarkable accomplishments. They lived during a time of scientific and social advancement, and were instrumental in both movements. They did not let the daunting social barriers prevent them from pursuing their love of science, and instead worked to increase opportunities for themselves and all women and African Americans.
The best part about the film Hidden Figures is that all three women are multi-dimensional and full of life. They are not limited to one role or character trait. They are scientists and mothers, serious and playful.
In real life, these women expanded their roles in science; in the movie, these characters expand the possibilities for women actors of color. It is wonderful to see people who often go unrepresented in movies and in science portrayed in such a beautiful way, and it makes their accomplishments feel within reach of all girls and women watching.
Hidden Figures is a fantastic movie that I recommend to everyone. It is historical, yet relevant to social justice movements and the role of women in STEM fields today.
By telling this story through the eyes of people who are often underrepresented in history books and Hollywood, this movie is an important step.
And aside from its social importance, Hidden Figures is a fun, inspiring movie about friendship, vocation, perseverance, and success. 
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