Jewish community in Guatemala resettles, claiming harassment
A community of Orthodox Jews living outside Guatemala's capital moved out Sunday, claiming persecution because of their faith.

“A community of Orthodox Jews living outside Guatemala’s capital moved out Sunday, claiming persecution because of their faith.

The 500-strong group hails from the United States, Israel, Canada, several European countries, Mexico and El Salvador.

The leader of the Lev Tahor community, the US rabbi Uriel Goldman, said his people are moving to a village in eastern Guatemala because of harassment including a raid of the group’s buildings on September 13 on the outskirts of the capital.

Guatemalan authorities said that search was carried out at the request of Israeli authorities to search for a girl who was barred from leaving Israel.

The raid was also aimed at investigating allegations of child abuse, the Guatemalan authorities said. The community includes some 150 minors.

“We cannot take any more,” said Goldman. “We are going to start over.”

The group is moving to Oratorio, 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of Guatemala City. They have bought land there to build housing but will live in tents for now.

The Lev Tahor sect left Israel, Canada and the United States amid child abuse allegations.

“All the accusations are false. It is just ferocious intimidation,” said Guatemalan David Sandoval, referring to the child abuse allegations.”


One Huge Chart That Proves Taking In Syrian Refugees Is Not Particularly Dangerous

Governors from more than half of country are attempting to block refugees fleeing conflict in Syria from being settled in their states citing concerns that they might carry out terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Experts familiar with the issue say their fears are largely unfounded.

Evidence collected so far suggests that refugees were not involved in carrying out the gun and bomb attacks on the French capital. While hundreds of thousands of migrants have turned up on European shores in the last several months seeking asylum, the U.S. refugee resettlement program vets each person it admits through rigorous background checks that have a nearly flawless record at keeping terrorists out.

Why The GOP Freak Out Over Syrian Refugees Makes No Sense


Ethiopian tribes transform trash into body ornaments

The lower valley of the Omo Valley is just one of the sets most important paleontological sites in Africa declared a World Heritage Site in 1980. The Omo Valley is home to many tribes, however, the French photographer Eric Lafforgue the author of this impressive photographic record spent more time with Bana, Dassanech and Mursi.

Unfortunately, modern civilization lurks dangerously slow, Omo Valley and the advance of Western technology is not far behind. With the completion of a hydroelectric dam downstream, many tribes lost their ancestral lands and will be forced to resettle in modern environments, the landscape will be completely overhauled and will become very difficult resignifying all.

(7/11) “George is my refugee dog. We’ve been through many horrible things together. I found him in Baghdad when he was just a puppy. My father and I were driving down the road and I saw some teenagers holding George by the ears and hitting him. I jumped out of the car and begged them to stop and gave them all the money I had. George was so thin and dirty, and the doctor said he was very sick and he’d only survive if I took perfect care of him. And look at him now! He’s been with me through Iraq, Syria, Turkey… everything. Whenever he sees me crying, he jumps in my lap and uses his paw to pull my hands away from my face.”


As of now, 2% of the HONY community has signed the petition supporting Aya’s appeal for American resettlement. It would only take 6% the community to reach a million signatures. Please consider adding your voice:


No, State Governors Can’t Refuse To Accept Syrian Refugees

More than half a dozen state governors have come out against President Obama’s plans to relocate several thousand Syrian refugees within the United States. Some have pledged to actively resist settlement of these refugees. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ®, for example, signed a letter to Obama that begins “as governor of Texas, I write to inform you that the State of Texas will not accept any refugees from Syria in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack in Paris.” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ® issued an executive order instructing all “departments, budget units, agencies, offices, entities, and officers of the executive branch of the State of Louisiana” to “utilize all lawful means to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the State of Louisiana while this Order is in effect.”

The problem for Jindal, Abbott and the other governors opposed to admitting refugees, however, is that there is no lawful means that permits a state government to dictate immigration policy to the president in this way. As the Supreme Court explained in Hines v. Davidowitz, “the supremacy of the national power in the general field of foreign affairs, including power over immigration, naturalization and deportation, is made clear by the Constitution.” States do not get to overrule the federal government on matters such as this one.

Not in their authority


April 26th 1986: Chernobyl nuclear disaster

On this day in 1986, a reactor exploded at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in Ukraine, creating the world’s worst nuclear disaster. Radioactive smoke was let into the atmosphere which spread across the Soviet Union and Europe. Thirty-one members of staff and emergency workers died directly due to the accident, but many others died from diseases - often cancer - resulting from exposure to radiation. Hundreds of thousands of people eventually had to be evacuated and resettled due to contamination of areas of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. The disaster raised questions of the safety of nuclear power and encouraged the Soviet government to become more open. Only two nuclear accidents have been classified as level seven on the International Nuclear Event Scale - Chernobyl and the Fukushima Daiichi disaster of 2011.

“For the first time ever, we have confronted in reality the sinister power of uncontrolled nuclear energy.”
- Mikhail Gorbachev

30 years ago today

We’re currently in the middle of a series about a young Iraqi refugee named Aya. As many of you know, Aya’s story does not yet have a happy ending. After years of hardship, her application for resettlement in the United States was rejected. She has just begun an appeal process. As we learn the rest of the story, if you feel inclined to lend your voice in support of her appeal, I have created a petition for that purpose. It’s not a petition, actually. We’re not asking that any action be taken. It’s an invitation. It’s an invitation for President Obama to join us in saying: ‘Aya is important to us. We do not believe she is a threat. And we think she deserves to be here.’ When I read the language of our invitation to Aya last night on Skype, she began sobbing. She has been carrying her story alone for years, and she had almost given up hope. And now someone cares. Aya is sleeping now. But when she wakes up tomorrow, I hope she sees just how many of us care.

Please, consider becoming A Friend Of Aya:


Join me in signing UNHCR’s With Refugees petition.

In which John meets with Syrian refugees Mufak, Nada, and their five kids in Amman, Jordan, and then a few months later shortly after the family’s resettlement in Rockford, Illinois.

Thanks first to Mufak, Nada, their children, and their relatives for being so generous both in Amman and in the United States. Thanks also to Rosianna (, who joined me on both trips and captured much of the footage, and to UNHCR, the UN’s Refugee Agency, for introducing me to the family and providing translators.

And thanks to Mark Olsen for his excellent graphic detailing the vetting process refugees go through before being accepted for resettlement in the U.S. You can learn more about that process here:

An estimated 3 million Syrians have fled that country’s civil war. A small portion of them—perhaps 150,000—have found their way to Europe. In a series of reports for NPR, Pulitzer Center grantees Joanna Kakissis and Holly Pickett have been documenting the struggle of these refugees to carve out a safe haven in an environment that is not always welcoming.

In her most recent feature for NPR’s Weekend Edition, Joanna tells the story of three middle-aged siblings who, with the help of smugglers and fake papers, have managed to reunite in Germany.

“When we left after our home was first bombed, we thought maybe we can travel for a couple of years and then return when things calm down. We really thought we could build our home again in Syria,” one of the brothers tells Joanna. But those hopes have been dashed. The man’s daughter, aged 4, shows off to Joanna how she can count in German. She’s fast forgetting how to do the same in Arabic and her only memory of Damascus is the sound of gunfire.  

These States Will Refuse Syrian Refugees After Paris Attacks

Twelve Republican governors responded to the terrorist attacks in Paris by announcing they would refuse to allow refugees from Syria to be resettled in their states.

Governors from Alabama, Michigan, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina all said their states would not participate in the planned relocation of 10,000 refugees from war-torn Syria that President Obama announced in September.

None of the GOP governors actually have the power to keep refugees out, as it’s up to the federal government to take them in.

(4/4) The whole purpose of my trip to Turkey and Jordan was to interview refugees who had been approved for American resettlement. So when this couple showed me the letter saying they’d been ‘deferred,’ I was a bit confused. But I continued the interview anyway. As I learned the rest of the couple’s story, I noticed my UNHCR facilitator typing on her phone. After a few minutes, she came over to me and showed me the screen. It was a text message from the main office. It said: ‘They’ve been approved. Would you care to tell them?’ So it was my great honor to inform this couple that they were going to America. This portrait was taken thirty seconds after they learned the news. (Gaziantep, Turkey)


9 Photos That Capture What It Means For America To Show Compassion For Refugees

The United States has long taken in refugees from around the world, resettling more people than any other country — a fact that may not seem obvious in the current political atmosphere.

In the latest struggle for the country to lay out its welcome mat, many U.S. state governors have said they’re unwilling to let Syrian refugees into the country because of the perceived national security threat that they may pose, citing the recent attacks in Paris and Beirut. On Thursday, the U.S. House overwhelmingly passed a bill aimed at halting refugees from entering the country. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ® went so far as to say that the country should not accept orphans under the age of five who are seeking asylum.

I’ve just returned from a trip to Jordan and Turkey, where I had the unique opportunity to interview twelve Syrian families that have been cleared for resettlement in America. These families have just reached the finish line of a multi-year screening process, and it was quite an emotional experience to meet with them at this juncture. The life of a refugee in America is by no means easy. But for these families, their resettlement has finally brought the possibility of an end to years of intense hardship. I’m very much looking forward to sharing their stories with you over the coming days.


Ten of the many descendants of Tom White Shirt (click through for names and ages). Portraits by Benjamin Rasmussen for The Wall Street Journal.

Tom White Shirt was an Arapaho boy taken from the plunder at Sand Creek, paraded about before the media, and eventually resettled in Oklahoma. Michael Allen recounts the boy’s story while investigating his own ancestor’s role in the 1864 Sand Creek massacre.

Canada Took In 25,000 Syrian Refugees In Four Months. The U.S. Accepted 841 In Five Months

The Canadian government fulfilled a promise on Monday that it would resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees, just two months later than the originally proposed deadline. The program was launched in November 2015 after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took office and was set to be completed before the turn of the new year. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama vowed to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees for the 2016 fiscal year (which starts in October 2015). Since that date, however, the United States has only accepted 841 Syrian refugees.

Canada Took In More Syrian Refugees In Four Months Than The U.S. Will By The End Of 2016

“…Only 18 months after Partially Deceased Syndrome sufferers were resettled, the discovery of an another Undead Liberation Army safe house will inevitably raise more fears amongst the Living, and further strain community relations. Following on from the aborted attack at Eastfield Shopping Centre, Partially Deceased organizations are distancing themselves from these extremist factions.”