November 30, 2012

Palestinian Statehood & Conflicts Around the Globe

Big shout-out to Highland Creek Elementary School in North Carolina,
Reppin’ Flocab!

While you're at home munching on leftovers,
And making Christmas lists for Santa to bring over.
The world is still spinning and it’s not all sweet,
There’s a lot of people out there who still got beef.
The world is full of conflict, a whole lot of arguments,
It’s crazy right now with Israel and the Gaza Strip.
The UN is having debates,
Does that mean a separate Israeli and Palestinian state?
And the UN is doing more,
‘Cause arctic ice is lower than ever before.
They say climate change is “in front of our eyes,”
Storms are getting stronger and that’s no surprise.
But how fast will the water level rise?
Better build me a city up high in the sky.
Another kind of storm is brewing in Egypt,
Two hundred thousand protesters challenged the president.
With chants of “LEAVE! LEAVE!” sounding loud and clear,
Morsi power-grabbed, yeah they want him out of there!
How will that story end? I don't know,
Another one to watch is going on in the Congo.
A rebel group known as M23,
Defeated the military, put a city under siege.
A lot of wars going on outside no man is safe from,
If you fight with words maybe you can change them.
It was novel writing month in November,
Did you tell a story that the world will remember?
There's so many topics, just pick one and go.
And speaking of go - peace, I’m out yo!

This week's winner of our Week in Rap Shout-Out Contest was Highland Creek Elementary School in North Carolina. The challenge was to send us an interesting, true fact about Thanksgiving, and to include the source. Highland Creek Elementary School's winning entry, as well as some awesome verses from runners-up, are in our blog. Want your school shouted out in the next Week in Rap? Check out our new challenge for the Week in Rap Shout-Out Contest.

Many hope the recent ceasefire in Gaza will lead to peace.

Although last week's fragile cease fire ended eight violent days of relentless bombings and missile strikes in the Gaza Strip, the relationship between Israel and Hamas remains far from peaceful. Hamas, a Palestinian organization that governs Gaza, is considered to be a terrorist organization by Israel. Over 160 Palestinians and six Israelis died during multiple attacks between Israel and Hamas in recent weeks. Talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders are being held in Egypt, in the hopes of maintaining balance. However, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict runs deep. Listen to our Middle East history learn more about the historical background of the conflict. What is needed for two groups to achieve peace? Learn more.

The UN voted for Palestinian statehood.

In an effort to improve Israeli-Palestinian relations, the UN voted and granted Palestine "non-member observer" statehood. The Palestinians, whose land is currently recognized as a "territory," have sought for years to be considered their own state. While many European countries were in support of a Palestinian state, the US, a close ally with Israel, voted against it. The US has taken a firm stance against a Palestinian state, as Palestine is under the rule of Hamas, a terrorist group. Israel and the United States are also concerned that the Palestinian Authority will use its new status to participate in such agencies as the International Crime Court, and investigate disputed territories that Israel currently occupies. Listen to our song to learn more about the UN and globalization. Do you think the UN made the right decision? . Learn more.

Melting arctic sea ice is one of many signs of climate change.

The UN met for climate talks in Qatar this week to address the dramatic climate change that, they note, "is happening before our eyes." Between March and September, an area of ice larger than the United States melted from the Arctic sea ice. And according to scientists, sea levels have risen 60% faster than the UN climate panel's 2007 forecast. The alarming rate of Arctic ice melt and rising sea levels are just a sampling of many record-breaking weather events this year. While droughts dominated most of the United States and parts of Russia and southern Europe, west Africa was flooded. Much of the Northern Hemisphere experienced record high temperatures. Climate experts say storms like Hurricane Sandy are also indicative of dramatic climate change. UN delegates say that part of a solution will involve cutting global emissions of greenhouse gases. What do you think your community can do to help prevent climate change? Learn more.

Egyptian protesters clash with riot police.

Egypt has a history of rocky relationships with its leaders. In its first democratic election, Egyptians chose Mohamed Morsi as president to replace Hosni Mubarak, the toppled dictator. Voters hoped that the election of President Morsi would signal a democratic shift for their country. Many were alarmed, however, when Morsi recently issued decrees that put his laws above the scrutiny of the courts - at least until a new constitution is drafted. Protesters fear he is becoming yet another authoritarian leader. Supporters of Morsi say these new powers are simply a temporary measure to ease Egypt through its transition to democracy. If you could create a country from scratch, would you put more power in the hands of the president or the legislature and courts? Learn more.

Many Congolese are forced to leave their homes due to invading rebels.

A militant rebel group known as M23 that was seeking to control parts of the Congo is beginning to withdraw its troops from Goma, an important city in eastern Congo. The international community fears that a rebel advance in Congo would result in a war between the Congo and Rwanda. The rebels are believed to be financially and militarily supported by Rwanda. Rebel groups are interested in the Congo because of its gold and tin mines. The Congolese government has agreed to negotiate with the rebels, but only if they retreat to 12 miles north of Goma. Residents of the city and nearby towns are nervous they might be caught in the crossfire between rebel and government forces if the withdrawal is not completed. Many people fled from towns and cities taken by M23, leaving their homes vulnerable to looting or destruction. Do you think the Congolese government should negotiate with rebel groups? Learn more.

Ernest Hemingway's desk, where he probably took more than a month to write each of his novels.

Friday marked the end of a month-long, annual literary project, known as National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. The project encourages participants to write a 50,000-word novel between November 1 and November 30. (That amounts to writing an average of about 1,667 words a day!) NaNoWriMo's Young Writer's Program lets participants set their own word-count goals. This Friday marks the deadline for submissions. Last year, 256,618 people signed up for the challenge, and 36,843 finished by the midnight deadline. This year, about 300,000 people signed up. If you wrote a novel, what would it be titled? Learn more.
What country is holding on to a tenuous cease-fire with the Gaza Strip?
What organization voted to recognize a separate Palestinian state?
The United Nations
What environmental issue did the UN meet to discuss?
Climate change
In what country did two hundred thousand people protest against their president?
What rebel group had a city under seige in the Congo?
What event inspired people to tap on keyboards this November?
National Novel Writing Month
OK, time for the BONUS Round...
To answer these questions, you'll need to read the infoboxes.
Who was the ruler in Egypt before Mohamed Morsi?
Hosni Mubarak
What was the required word count for novels written during NaNoWriMo?

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