Afghan Teacher Who Taught Refugee Girls in a Tent Honored by the UN

Sep 18, 15 Afghan Teacher Who Taught Refugee Girls in a Tent Honored by the UN

Posted by in Featured, Lifestyle

Life for refugees of war-torn nations can be tough. But one woman is being honored by the United Nations for her work to help young girls get an education, even while in exile. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has chosen to honor Afghan refugee and teacher Aqeela Asifi for its 2015 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award. Asifi knows firsthand what it’s like to be forced from one’s home. When war broke out in Afghanistan in 1992, she had to leave her home in Kabul. With it, she also left behind her career as a history and geography teacher. Before the war, Asifi described Kabul as a “prosperous, vibrant city.” She told BBC News that “There was no difference in the way men and women were treated. I lived in a time in Afghanistan that many haven’t seen.” Leaving her life behind at the young age of 26 was a painful experience. “It took us six years to build our house back in Kabul and I left without even packing,” she told BBC News. After she left the country, she wound up in Pakistan — specifically, the Kot Chandana refugee village in the conservative Mianwali, in Punjab province. Not only was the region more traditional, but so were the other Afghans she encountered in the village. When Asifi first arrived in the refugee village, she saw a need to educate almost immediately. “The people were generous and kind at heart but also very traditional,” she said. “Girls weren’t allowed to leave the house, let alone get an education.” In order to convince families to let their daughters receive an education, she and her husband went door to door to spread more information about what they could offer. Although the human brain grows until age 18, it has reached 90% of its adult weight by the time a child turns eight years old, which makes primary education a necessity for young children. Once she had convinced a few families to allow their...

read more

Charleston Business Donates 450 Yards Of Carpet To Charleston Church

Sep 15, 15 Charleston Business Donates 450 Yards Of Carpet To Charleston Church

Posted by in Featured, Lifestyle

According to a recent story from The Daily Citizen, a Charleston, South Carolina, flooring store owner found a way to give back to the community after a national tragedy. When nine members of Emanuel African Methodist Church (or Mother Emanuel) were shot to death by Dylann Roof, 21, the country stood by as the manhunt aired live on national television. Roof was caught by the authorities and charged with nine counts of murder, for which he will receive the death penalty. Local store owner Rob Bullock decided to do his part for the church, and donated 450 yards of carpet to the church. Expected to last anywhere from 20 to 30 years, the carpet was installed at a discount by Floor Coverings International. The carpet installation took place from August 18 to 20, and the results are beautiful, and not just because of the Cathedral Red color. Curtis Callaway, director of associate communications and community relations with Shaw, commented: “It was like rolling out the red carpet. It’s a small gesture in the scheme of things, in light of what happened. It’s something that we’re proud that we were able to do for them.” Callaway also added, “For Shaw we try to evaluate opportunities, which are based on our corporate vision, which is creating a better future. That means for our customers, for our people, for our company and for the communities we live in.” The church members are grateful for the gift of kindness, and Bullock is grateful that he was able to contribute in this time of tragedy. “It was more positive than I ever would have imagined,” he said. “There was a lot of pain there as well, but they never came across as bitter as if they were blaming anyone.” The church, and the community, continue to rebuild, with the help of local friends and...

read more

Lotto Ticket Error Voids Woman’s $20,000 Win

Sep 14, 15 Lotto Ticket Error Voids Woman’s $20,000 Win

Posted by in Featured, Lifestyle

When something seems too good to be true, it probably is. That’s the lesson a Washington, D.C. woman is learning after she thought she won $20,000 on a scratch-off ticket late last month. Ardella Newman was in disbelief when she saw her winning number matched the corresponding prize of $20,000, according to local news affiliate KTLA5. “When I saw that $20,000, you don’t know how excited I was,” Newman said. And she certainly doesn’t agree with lottery officials claims that her ticket was issued in error. They’re arguing that legitimate tickets have winning numbers on the top, but Newman’s ticket displays them on the bottom. “One ticket was cut off near the top, and the corresponding top of a different ticket was still attached at the perforation,” Virginia Lottery Communications Specialist John Hagerty said in a statement. “We cannot award a prize for a non-winning ticket. Additionally, we cannot take parts of two tickets to create one winning ticket.” Unfortunately, she already had planned on using some of the money to help pay for medical bills for her ailing sister. Newman has filed a complaint with the Virginia Lottery and is awaiting the results of an investigation by the organization’s Audit and Security Department. “I want the money that I thought I won,” she said. “If you look at the ticket, it says I won this money. It wasn’t anything that I did wrong. It’s what they did wrong.” Perhaps the most condemning piece of evidence against Newman though is the barcode and validation code on the ticket. Both say the ticket was not a winner, according to Hagerty. Until the organization makes a ruling Newman can only wait, hope, and continue going to work at her old job like 48% of lottery winners do anyway. And any future lottery tickets she buys are sure to get a much more extensive look before she starts counting her...

read more

Bay Area Bartender Finds $20, Wins $1 Million in California Lottery

Sep 14, 15 Bay Area Bartender Finds $20, Wins $1 Million in California Lottery

Posted by in Featured, Lifestyle

Talk about lucky! Hubert Tang, a Bay Area bartender at the San Francisco International Airport, walked outside after work and found a $20 bill on the sidewalk, so he decided to have some harmless fun and purchase a couple scratch-off lottery tickets at the corner store nearby — because why not? There’s nothing to lose, he figured. And then he realized he had just won $1 million. Tang told local news outlets that after he found the $20 bill, he bought two $1 million Jackpot! Scratchers tickets from the California State Lottery when he stopped by Andrea’s Market in San Mateo County. He scratched off both tickets and realized immediately that he had just been very lucky. “I scratched the ticket outside of the store,” Tang said. “I told my friend who I was with that I didn’t know if it was real but, ‘I think I just won a million dollars.’” According to USA Today and CNN, Tang hadn’t purchased a single lotto ticket in at least 10 years. Although he’s not an avid gambler, Tang decided that it wouldn’t be too much of a loss if he didn’t win any of the money back. He stated that he currently doesn’t have any plans for the money, beyond having a celebratory dinner and purchasing “a new car or something” for his mother. “Maybe I’ll start leaving $20 bills on the street in random places,” he added. The rest of the money, he told the California Lottery, would probably go straight into a savings account. As Forbes noted, however, most lottery winners end up facing an amalgam of financial problems after finding that winning ticket. For Tang, he won’t actually be taking home $1 million; before any of it reaches his bank account, he’ll pay a 39.6% federal tax and a 13.3% state tax on the winnings. Should Tang decide to share any of the winnings with friends or family — maybe he’ll go with that new car for Mom –those recipients will have...

read more

Bike Sales Rise As Bike Store Popularity Falls

Sep 08, 15 Bike Sales Rise As Bike Store Popularity Falls

Posted by in Featured, Lifestyle

According to a recent story from the Las Vegas Review Journal, bicycle shops are continuing to survive, despite steep competition from online retailers. In 2013, U.S. stores sold nearly two billion bicycles, despite backlash from some customers about the traditional method of retail. When Ted Jewell, co-owner of bicycle shop Southwest Bikes, had a customer complain about the price of assembling a bike, he just thanked them and let them leave in a huff. “For the people who have to make a living (from a bike shop), it’s hard work,” Jewell said, referring to the competition from Internet retailers and obstacles in getting recognition for bikes as vehicles. Bicycle manufacturing companies have even started to sell bikes directly to the online retailers, cutting out the middleman entirely. This could mean hard times for the common bike store, according to Fred Clements, the National Bike Dealers Association’s executive director. “I don’t think any brick-and-mortar store has completely adapted to the Internet because everything is changing so quickly. Long-term survivors will be savvy businesspeople able to control costs, they’ll have excellent service departments, and they will be inspirational leaders of the local cycling community.” In 2013, direct bicycle sales reached $5.8 billion, and saw a rise in 2014 with $6.1 billion in direct sales. The success of the bicycle industry has continued to rise, but small bike shop owners need to stay smart to stay in business. Jay Townley of The Gluskin Townley Group, implores these shops to stay up-to-date. “The biggest Internet threat is bike shops ignoring or denying the simple fact that the American consumer has totally embraced the Internet as a source of information and key component in the path to purchase… and literally expects brick-n-mortar and online bike shops to be the same retail entity that is available when the consumer wants to find out something or...

read more

EU Officials Give France $5M To Set Up a Permanent Migrant Camp in Calais

Sep 07, 15 EU Officials Give France $5M To Set Up a Permanent Migrant Camp in Calais

Posted by in Featured, Lifestyle

In the wake of mass migration into European countries, the European Union (EU) has announced that it will provide €5 million ($5.6 million) in additional funding to France for the construction of a new migrant camp. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced on Monday, August 31 that the EU would be providing the money to help the French government build a permanent refugee camp in the port city of Calais. A similar camp in the nearby town of Sangatte was closed 13 years ago, according to the Financial Times, but that hasn’t stopped thousands of migrants from settling down in squalid conditions as they prepare to cross the English Channel into the U.K. Migrants have been fleeing their native war-torn countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa, especially places such as Syria and Iran where the Islamic State (ISIS) has posed an imminent threat or has already taken power. The asylum seekers have presented a significant problem for countries bordering the Mediterranean; Greece and Italy, in particular, have been struggling to control the influx of immigrants fleeing ISIS territory, the Belfast Telegraph recently reported. According to the Wall Street Journal, thousands of migrants have left their home countries within the past year. Many hope to settle down in the U.K. permanently because England’s job market is relatively welcoming to foreigners. France is also seeing a steep rise in the number of migrants who are seeking asylum. In Calais, it’s reported that anywhere between 3,500 and 5,000 foreigners are living in a huge makeshift camp nicknamed “The Jungle.” The United Nations stated that living conditions in The Jungle are “absolutely appalling,” but that hasn’t stopped thousands of migrants fleeing persecution from settling down in this makeshift French town. For French citizens, who just celebrated their nation’s 226th year of independence on July 14, 2015, allowing persecuted foreigners to reside in the country — legally and safely — has spurred much debate. Across the EU, many countries have recognized that the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean is becoming a serious issue that...

read more