How the Remaining Holocaust Survivors Keep Their Stories Alive

The number of Holocaust survivors seems to be declining every day. There is a real fear that when the last of these courageous people make their way out of this life, a forgetfulness of the horrors they experienced will take place.

That’s why survivors like Erna de Vries are working hard to keep telling their stories of survival to anyone who will listen.

She says that the white bark of a birch tree helps her to recall her time at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Over 1 million people were murdered there during the Holocaust. Even a piece of bread reminds her of the hunger she experienced.

What makes de Vries’ story so unique is that she volunteered to go to the concentration camp. Her mother was Jewish and sent there in 1943, so she elected to join her to avoid being left alone. 

You Must Continue to Tell Everyone What They Did

Erna de Vries tells her story in schools. She speaks to reporters whenever she can. The last words she can remember her mother telling her still ring in her ears.

“You must fight. You must survive. Tell everyone what they did to us.”

Age is catching up with the last remaining Holocaust survivors. Many of them don’t see or hear too well, making it a challenge to get their stories into the 24-hour cycles of news coverage. 

That’s why several organizations in Germany and around the world are making the effort today to document all of these stories before they are gone. It is a way to go beyond the numbers and dates of the Holocaust to show how real people suffered because of these actions.

After speaking with local schoolchildren, de Vries reveals a letter that she received. It describes her as a “great and courageous” woman.

“I cannot say it enough. I have so much respect for you.”

It brings de Vries back to that moment with her mother. She knew then that her family wouldn’t come together again because of Auschwitz. Now she fights to keep her life story relevant so that the world doesn’t repeat it.

Technology is making this process even easier today. If you visit the Museum of Jewish Heritage, you can interact with a virtual Holocaust survivor. You can ask questions, listen to him sing, and even share the occasional joke.
We cannot let the world return to the days of the 1940s when the Holocaust happened. Keeping the stories of survivors alive is the best way to accomplish that goal.

How Canada Manages Record Snowfall Accumulation

St. John’s International Airport in Newfoundland, Canada, recorded 30 inches of snow on January 17, 2020. That event broke the previous daily snowfall record of 26.93 inches that was set in 1999.

Residents found themselves struggling to dig themselves out of snow that reached waist-high before it blew into drifts.

The weather event caused the province to declare a state of emergency for the region. Officials wanted people to stay off of the roads, but a few restrictions were lifted by the end of the weekend so that people could get fuel, prescriptions, and other necessities.

Canadian Armed Forces operations announced that they would help with snow removal, transportation to warming centers, and provide care for those who had health concerns.

How to Survive Winter in Canada

The easiest way to survive winter in Canada is to move to British Columbia. The climate in the province, which includes Vancouver Island, tends to be wet and gloomy without a lot of accumulation.

When you do begin to live with the white stuff, then you need to expect daily shoveling responsibilities. Most people keep their vehicles plugged into an outlet to keep the engine warm.

Then remember to dress warmly. Temperatures can quickly drop to minus 40 degrees Celcius in places.

Once you have your preparations in order, then winter in Canada becomes a lot of fun. You’ll find skiing, skating, camping, and dog sledding opportunities throughout the country. Ice fishing is a world-class experience here. You can get around on snowmobiles, go snowshoeing, or making a snowman almost any day.

Travel in Winter Can Be Easier

Once you learn how to drive in the snow, travel is still very possible throughout Canada. You’ll see fewer crowds, lower prices outside of the ski resorts, and beautiful views awaiting your arrival.

By the time you make it through the cold snap of winter in the north, temperatures that get close to freezing can feel absolutely warm. Snowstorms can arrive suddenly, which means it is essential to plan for any emergency.

Then it becomes a waiting game. When you get 30 inches of snow in a single day, then it will take time to dig out from that kind of precipitation event. If you have 3-4 days of supplies stocked up at home, then you can get through without much difficulty.

Just don’t lose your small children in the snow. 

How a Summer Journalism Internship Benefits Your Career

Internships provide valuable experience that can jumpstart a career. If you have ever wanted to work as a reporter or be in the journalism industry, then these types of opportunities can be useful for helping you to get the hands-on experience that you need.

An internship can help you to get your foot in the door of a preferred employer. It might also help you to discover that working in this field actually isn’t the right move for you.

How Does a Journalism Internship Work?

A journalism internship is usually an unpaid position that provides you with skills and experience to find full-time employment in the future. It is an opportunity to learn within the working environments that may become part of your future career

If you can obtain an internship through your college or university, then it might provide credits toward your eventual degree. Some paid opportunities are also available.

Summer programs help you to stay productive during your break between classes. It can also communicate to the industry leaders that you’re taking the responsibilities of this career seriously.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Journalism Intern?

A journalism intern is often responsible for producing content. You will learn how to create articles or posts that match the tone and style of the publication.

That means you may get asked to conduct interviews, manage a social media account, or upload new articles to the company’s website. These tasks can be time-intensive, but it can also add a lot of experience to your resume. That’s why an internship often helps you to stand out from other applicants.

Depending on the genre of journalism you prefer, your summer internship might involve investigating stories, attending sporting events, or going to political rallies. Each area of this field has unique roles and responsibilities for you to learn. 

You can also find summer journalism internships available in foreign countries if you want to travel after classes are over. With so much happening in the world, like what is going on in Hong Kong, journalists are more important than they have ever been.

When Do I Need to Decide on a Summer Internship?

Most of the international summer internships get filled before the end of March each year. You’ll want to speak with your academic advisor about the options that could be available to you.

Many newspapers, magazines, and similar publications work with local institutions to get journalism students some experience. Your teachers or professors will often know what is available with this option.

You can also apply independently to a summer journalism internship. The publication will want to see examples of your work to consider your application.

Then you can decide if journalism is the exciting career option you always thought it would be. 

Why Are There Protests in Hong Kong?

Protests in Hong Kong throughout 2019 involve a pro-democracy movement in the semi-autonomous region of China. The initial outburst occurred in June when the government would have allowed extradition to the mainland over alleged crimes. 

There was a fear that this action could lead to oppression against those who had made a stand against communism in the past.

The plans to allow extradition got scrapped in September, but the protests are continuing. It now involves demands to look into issues of police brutality while wanting expanded democratic reforms.

Why Does China Allow These Protests to Continue?

China’s history with protestors is one that involves death and destruction. Why does the government allow Hong Kong to continue making global headlines with these activities when the communist government usually takes the opposite approach?

It is because Hong Kong has a special status within the Chinese government. It was a British colony for over 150 years, with part of the island captured after a war in 1842. China then leased the rest of the land to the UK for 99 years. The economy became a thriving hub in Asia thanks to manufacturing innovation, but it was also a popular destination for people fleeing from persecution, poverty, or instability on the mainland.

The Chinese and British governments eventually agreed in 1984 that a handover of Hong Kong would happen only if it could operate under the principle of having one country, but with two systems.

These agreements were set to last through to 2047, allowing Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy, except for defensive or foreign affairs. Even the rights to free speech and freedom of assembly are allowed in Hong Kong. It’s one of the few places under Chinese rule where the Tiananmen Square violence from 1989 receives any recognition.

Is China Already Meddling in Hong Kong?

Critics say that China has already started meddling in the affairs of the former colony. Writers and artists talk about being under increased pressure to censor their works. Booksellers have disappeared, only to be found in the custody of law enforcement in China.

Imagine feeling safe in your home, believing that you could do as you wish, but one day you find a security camera in your bedroom linked to someone who you don’t know. People once felt secure and with a bright future ahead of them, but now they fear being watched and at risk of harm if they step out of line even in their own home.

What makes matters even more complex is that most people in Hong Kong don’t identify as being Chinese. Over 70% say that they are “Hong Kongers,” and only 1 in 10 say that they would even associate themselves with the mainland. 

The protests continue because there is a real fear that Hong Kong will become “just another city” for China to exploit if democracy is cast aside. Until more pro-democracy actions are taken, these activities will likely continue indefinitely.

Why Is Delhi’s Air Quality so Poor?

When you step outside in the morning during a visit to Delhi, you will see clouds of smothering dust and smoke descending on the city. It tends to get worse during the winter months, but the problem in 2019 reached emergency levels.

The Chief Minister of the city went on Twitter to describe the conditions. “Delhi has turned into a gas chamber due to smoke from crop burning in neighboring states.”

Conditions are so problematic in Delhi that schools are closing, flight cancellations are routine, and a public health emergency is in effect. The air quality index monitors show that people are breathing air that is 50 times dirtier than what the World Health Organization deems to be a minimum safe level.

A Day of Breathing in Delhi is like Smoking 50 Cigarettes

Air pollution surges in Delhi are not uncommon, but the outcomes are becoming much worse. It’s an issue that all of India faces. The World Health Organization ranks the most-polluted urban areas in the world each year, and 11 out of the 12 worst global cities are all in India.

Agricultural burning has a significant impact on the air quality of Delhi and other cities, but it isn’t the only reason why pollution levels are so high. Homes use wood and coal for cooking, heating, and similar activities. Forest fires lead to dust storms that impact almost the entire country.

The mountainous geography of India doesn’t help matters either. The various summits and valleys act as basins that can trap toxic air in specific spots for months at a time. 

It can get so bad some days that the air is too dangerous even to breathe.

How Did Things Get so Bad in India?

It’s a combination of poverty, urbanization, and industrialization coming together to create a perfect storm of problems.

Poor governance by the Indian government is another significant factor. Lax standards and enforcement are in place for construction activities, car exhaust, and agricultural work. That means the particulate levels tend to be high, leading to potential health problems in the future.

The marble walls of the Taj Mahal used to be white. Because of the pollution in the region, they are now green. Over 1.1 million people died in 2015 due to this problem, and the statistics continue to tell a bleak tale.

Unless the government is willing to set and enforce stricter regulations, this issue is only going to get worse.

Should You Keep a Home Security Camera on Your Property?

A family in Mississippi discovered the dangers of having a home security camera after a hacker began speaking with their daughter in her room. The man told the little girl that he was Santa Claus.

Even if the hacker thought the incident was a joke, this behavior was an intrusion into the privacy of the family. It happened only four days after installing the equipment.

Global news outlets played the sequence where the man says that he wants to be the girl’s best friend. The hacker would go on to encourage the child to destroy her room, continuing to harass her. She eventually runs away, calling for her parents.

This incident has led many to wonder if a home security camera is the correct investment to make.

How Did a Hacker Gain Access to the Camera?

The family purchased Ring products to create a security system for their home. After the video of the incident played on news channels and online, Ring investigated the event to see if a data breach occurred. 

Ring told CNN that the man did not gain access to the family’s equipment through a data breach or by compromising the company’s security profile. They believe weak account security allowed the hacker to gain access.

A home security camera provides several benefits which homeowners should not ignore in our current global geopolitical climate. This technology provides 24/7 monitoring with live streaming access to specific property areas. If an incident does occur, then you have video evidence to supply to law enforcement investigations.

If you decide to install a security system at home, then there are some best practices to follow so that you don’t experience a similar issue.

It starts with a unique username and password for your home security camera account. This identification is essential if you’re using a cloud-based system where global access is possible with a simple data connection.

Ring encourages everyone who uses their products to enable two-factor authentication on their account. Then add Shared Users instead of sharing credentials. A strong, unique password is critical to this process, and then everyone should consider changing their password at least once per quarter.

The family in Mississippi told their local affiliate that two-factor authentication hadn’t been set up on their devices.

Even as the number of stories of intrusions continues to rise, a home security camera is an investment that makes sense. Practice good security habits to ensure an incident like this doesn’t happen to you.

Why Did India Pass a Citizenship Bill that Excludes Muslims?

The government of India passed legislation in December 2019 that would create a pathway to citizenship for many immigrants. It fast-tracked the ability to gain the rights and privileges of naturalization based on a person’s religion.

India is certainly not the first to raise eyebrows with changing in policy. China’s social credit system is an example of a policy that is part of an ongoing discussion.

What makes this policy stand out is that Islam is excluded from the list of eligibility.

Anyone who came to the country from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, or Pakistan before 2015 would be eligible for this program, regardless of their faith. The people who moved to India after that deadline must belong to one of South Asia’s major religions, as described by the government.

The reason for the exclusion seems hidden in the words of government officials like Sudhanshu Trivedi, who is the spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party. “We have to distinguish between the infiltrators and genuine persecuted refugees,” he said during the bill’s passage. “This is the right time for India to assert its security concerns because we are living with neighbors that are the biggest security threats in the entire world.”

What Does the Path to Citizenship Entail?

The exclusion of Islam comes because the goal of the government was to protect those who come from minority religions in the region that face discrimination.

Article 9 of the Indian constitution requires anyone who voluntarily acquires citizenship from another country to surrender their rights in India.

Being 100% legal isn’t always easy. Just ask some of the world’s top hemp brands, like Charlotte’s Web and Hempfusion, that face restrictions in India and around the world. Even companies that manufacture liquid herbal extracts like Herb Pharm face segregation from the marketplace because their ingredients are “different” from what society finds to be “acceptable.”

When unequal paths to citizenship exist, then a country is no longer united. History teaches us that a divided culture is one that will eventually fall. 

The other issue under consideration with the Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019 is that it recasts India as a majority Hindu nation. That means anyone who falls outside of that spiritual spectrum automatically becomes a second-class citizen. 

Anyone who enters India without a valid travel document or remained beyond their visa will now be ineligible to apply for citizenship. Muslims with similar origins to Christians, Parsi, Jain, Sikh, or Buddhism will not gain the same fast-tracking rights.

Our planet is healthy when we celebrate diversity. If we can encourage this approach in daily life, then there is nothing that can stop us from being at our best.

How China’s Social Credit System Works

Can you imagine what life would be like if every in-person interaction you had with someone received a rating?

China is experiencing this right now with the government’s social credit system. Each citizen receives a rank based on their observed behavior. Much like a financial credit score, you can do better or get worse based on the decisions you make.

The goal is to have one centralized system in place by the end of 2020. Its currently being run in a piecemeal fashion with city councils and private technology firms monitoring the information. 

What is the overall goal of the social credit system in China? The government plans to offer rewards or consequences based on individual scores.

The Social Credit System Was First Announced in 2014

China isn’t jumping into the idea of a social credit system headfirst. This idea has been under development for over five years. The goal is to reinforce the idea that maintaining trust is a positive experience, while breaking it is a disgraceful way to live.

Millions of people are already participating in this system’s beta program. The scheme is mandatory when it goes live for the entire population.

The exact methodology of how someone raises or lowers their personal scores is kept secret by the Chinese government, but some choices have resulted in noticeable changes. If you get caught with a driving violation, smoke in places without permission, or buy more video games “than necessary,” your scores can go down.

If they go down too far, then that person will experience government-based restrictions.

What Happens with a Poor Social Credit Score?

China is already punishing people who have a social credit score that they deem to be too low. Over 9 million people are now blocked from purchasing tickets for domestic flights in the country, while another 3 million individuals cannot buy business-class train tickets. 

Just the act of trying to purchase something when restricted can lower your score even more.

China is also throttling the Internet speeds of those with low social credit scores. The system will monitor who pays their bills on time, who plays video games for a long time each day, and even individual purchases.

When 17 people refused to carry out military duties in China, they could not enroll in higher education programs. These individuals were barred from high school or continuing their college-level studies. One student was denied an incoming spot because his father had a bad score in this system.

The social credit system will eventually give the best jobs to the people with the highest scores. It will stop people with bad scores from booking premium hotel rooms, participating in holiday activities, or even taking a vacation.

If you have a good score, then the Chinese government can speed up your travel applications to various locations around the world, including Europe. One woman even said she could book rooms without paying a cash deposit because of your decisions.

China wants to warn people about who its “bad” citizens are. Will it change individual behavior in positive ways, or is it just another scheme to manipulate choices based on government preferences?

Rainforest Deforestation Reaches Highest Levels

The Amazon rainforest is one of the most diverse biomes on our planet. It is also disappearing at an alarming rate. Recent fires have furthered this issue, with the G7 offering $20 million to help put out the flames. 

That figure might seem like a lot, but it is only a small portion of what is necessary to stop the deforestation process.

Politics plays a prominent role. Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro initially said that he’d reject the offered funds, then walked the comment back by saying he’d take the money if French President Emmanuel Macron would apologize for criticizing his handling of the Amazon fires.

Exploiting the Amazon Is Very Profitable for Brazil

About 60% of the Amazon rainforest biome is within Brazil’s borders. That means there are about 2.1 million square miles of undeveloped land. It might be a massive carbon dioxide reservoir, but it also creates opportunities for profit.

After several years of decline, fires and deforestation rates surged to their highest levels ever in 2019. Much of the activity occurred after Bolsonaro took office.

Scientists are still learning how the rainforest impacts the global climate system. Removing this biome not only removes one of the most biodiverse concentrations of life on our planet, but it could also change weather patterns in dramatic and unpredictable ways.

Several researchers are now raising the alarm about reaching a dieback scenario in the Amazon. If enough of the forest is lost, the entire ecosystem could collapse. 

What Drives the Rainforest Deforestation Process?

Ranching is the primary driver of deforestation in Brazil. The country is now the largest beef exporter in the world, generating almost $7 billion for the economy each year.

Brazil is also the second-largest producer of soybeans worldwide, with almost 80% of what is grown domestically being used for animal feed. Since China placed tariffs on American agricultural products, more orders for Brazilian crops are causing a surge in new farming opportunities.

The Amazon also contains rich deposits of oil, aluminum, and gold. Illegal mining efforts are at unprecedented levels, and the demand for timber is equally high.

Bolsonaro campaigned for the presidency by saying that he would exploit the rainforest. The country’s agricultural lobby endorsed this approach. In the short time he’s been in office, the enforcement arm of the environment ministry has issued 30% fewer fines than in 2018 despite the increases in illegal activity.

These efforts include a reduction for indigenous protections, with a call to integrate the remaining tribes into modern Brazilian life. By facilitating construction projects for roads, bridges, and dams, it will become easier to exploit what the rainforest biome offers.

Deforestation increased by 88% in 2019, with the number of fires in the Amazon rising by 84% at the same time. That information comes directly from Brazil’s government.

The G7 providing $20 million in aid seems like a helpful first step, but those governments control an economic system with a cap of at least $300 trillion. We must do more if we’re going to save our rainforests.

How Electric Cars Threatens Over 800,000 Auto Workers

German ingenuity is responsible for the modern automobile industry. Their work on the combustion engine has led to our ability to drive across continents with comfort and speed.

But the world is changing, and so too is the automobile industry. As the world transitions to electric cars, over 800,000 auto workers in Germany are wondering where their future fits in with this updated vision of transportation.

BMW Plans to Eliminate Numerous Design Options

After experiencing a 10% slump in profits, BMW has laid out a plan that will impact thousands of workers. Beginning in 2021, the automaker plans to cut up to 50% of its drivetrain options for new models. Billions are being spent on efficiency campaigns so that the transition to electric vehicles isn’t as challenging.

The only component of the industry being left behind are the workers. As of 2019, only about 30% of BMW’s workforce has received training on handling electric vehicles.

Battery cells are the most expensive component in this new approach to making automobiles. Even the manufacturers that make electric cars today put together their own battery packs, but they outsource cell assembly to someone else.

Producing battery packs is very different than the work needed to assemble an engine. Robots perform the diagnostics and do the cleaning before putting cells into their metal casing. As automation continues to increase, the number of available positions for workers keeps decreasing.

What Is Driving the Change of Emphasis in Germany?

Germany has been at the forefront of climate change leadership, but it is the global effort to create a post-combustion world that is forcing companies like BMW to look at how they structure factory-based jobs.

China is the largest market in the world for electric vehicles today. They are using a mix of subsidies and robust regulations to force automakers to produce cars that run on batteries and customers to drive them.

Europe is tightening the targets set in place for carbon dioxide reduction across the planet. This action is causing Volkswagen to accelerate its emphasis on electric cars, with the expectation that this category will represent 40% of sales by 2030. Three plants in Germany are already set to retool to only make battery-powered cars.

Workers already see the number of available jobs slipping away as efficiency gains and automation has changed the industry in recent years. Over 75,000 jobs related to transmissions and engines are expected to be obsolete within a decade, and electrification in the auto industry will only create about 25,000 new positions.

What can people do to fight these changes? Workers can train to be around high-voltage components now so that their experience is already in place when the changeover occurs. Modernization is coming, so those that recognize the changes early will have the best chances for work in the future.