Perhaps the most violent and public display of a tampering with ballots, the June 2009 Iranian elections resulted in incredible controversy.
The race, which was essentially a contest between incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a member of the Abadgaran Party, and Mir-Hossein Mousavi, a member of the Independent Reformist Party, ended in a landslide 62% win by Ahmadinejad.
While there is no concrete evidence of fraud, a great deal of evidence has been presented that shows that the election was, in fact, rigged by Ahmadinejad’s party in some way. It is not clear how or to what extent the results were rigged or tweaked, though according to reported results, Ahmadinejad won every single province.
The results were announced a mere two hours after polls had closed, which seems odd due to the 40 million ballots cast. There were also irregularities between polls and the election results themselves; some polls indicated a victory for Mousavi, whereas others that predicted a victory for Ahmadinejad indicated results that were vastly different from the final election results.
The Internet was shut off across Iran both during and after elections for some time, despite massive protests from the Iranian people following the election. Many nations or international groups, including the United States and European Union have expressed doubts over the results.
The Independent High Electoral Council of Iraq- or IHEC- has declared the Iraqi parliamentary elections, held in March 2010, legal despite major controversy.
The three largest of the political parties in the election were the al-Iraqiya Party, which previously held 37 seats on the Iraqi parliament, the State flaw Coalition, and the Iraqi National Alliance, which previously held 128 seats.
Before the election, there were major changes in the structure of voting to allow for a more democratic process; the “open list ballot was used, meaning that voters would choose individuals for specific seats rather than voting only for parties. In January, over 450 candidates were banned due to associations with the Ba’ath party, which Saddam Hussein led.
Polls released before the election predicted a win by the State of Law Coalition, though in the end, the al-Iraqiya Party won the majority of seats, taking 24.92%–or 91 seats. By comparison, the State of Law Coalition took 24.22% (82 seats), and the Iraqi National Alliance took 70 seats.
There were multiple fraud allegations after the elections, accusing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’€a member of the State of Law Coalition’€of rigging the elections, registering 800 million fake names to vote. In April 2010, a recount was issued, and in May, the IHEC, an organization supported by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, declared that the results were not fraudulent.
In the aftermath of the military coup against former President Manuel Zelaya, Honduras’ November 2009 elections became the center of global controversy. Five months earlier, President Zelaya was exiled from the country following scheduling a poll to discuss assembling citizens to rewrite the nation’s constitution.
Many nations and international organizations, including the United States and the United Nations, have both condemned the action and placed embargos on Honduras. Venezuela declared that it would shut down shipments of oil unless the former President was to be reinstated. Robert Micheletti became the de facto leader of Honduras until a new leader could be declared.
The election ended in a landslide 56.56 percent victory for Porfirio Lobo, leader of the National Party of Honduras, followed by a 38 percent vote for Elvin Santos of the Liberal Party of Honduras. Candidate Carlos Reyes withdrew from the election, declaring the results fraudulent. Many citizens also believe that the near-60 percent result for Lobo was false. Despite condemnation of the coup, several nations, including the United States, have declared support for the elections due to the effectiveness of the transition and the fairness of the elections themselves.
One of the biggest voting problems during this election was that the electoral roll had not been updated in several cities, meaning that hundreds of eligible voters were incorrectly not registered to vote. In addition, citizens out of the country, namely in New Zealand, did not receive absentee ballots in time to place their votes.
Typically, each parliamentary region of the UK votes for a Parliamentary Minister. The leader of the party with the most votes will then be given permission by the acting Monarch to begin forming a government. In this election, however, it became clear that a “hung parliament’€in which there is no clear majority in terms of votes’€was imminent.
As a result, the three major party leaders began discussions to determine how the new government would be formed. In the end, Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister, sent his resignation to the Queen, suggesting to her that David Cameron be given the responsibility to form the new government. Sub-sequentially, the other candidates, Cameron and Clegg, each formed a coalition for their own parties to form the new government.]]>
While most students at South attend three schools between kindergarten and twelfth grade, Karine Byamana went to nine different schools.
Her father originally moved to the states in hopes of better opportunities for his children, but his job forced him to return to Rwanda.
Although her father resides in Rwanda, Byamana decided to stay in Newton when she was a sophomore to be with her two older sisters.
Currently, Byamana lives with her stepmother, who is from the Dominican Republic.
With so many representations of different cultures in her house, Byamana has become rather cosmopolitan.
“I feel like an international person- I don’t have a set nationality, Byamana said. “I’m a worldly child.
Although Byamana “[feels] comfortable in every culture, she believes her experience in the United States has shaped her the most. “I see many opportunities around me, and it motivates me. It’s more likely that I can become someone here than if I were in Rwanda, Byamana said. “I want to be able to do something I really believe in.
Byamana has not discovered her dreams yet, but she does believe that Newton South has put her in the right direction.
“There’s a wide range of activities and extracurriculars but what it comes down to is what you can handle and what you love. [The school] lays a lot of things out for you and you get to choose. At the end of the day, it’s all about being an individual.
As Byamana describes it, however, Rwanda would not inspire the same motivation that South does.
Byamana remembers her life in Rwanda and illustrates the atmosphere as being very provincial.
“In Rwanda they know about their own culture, but that’s all they’re interested in, Byamana said.
She also explains how she feels restricted in Rwanda: “You’re really judged by your appearance a lot more.
Fortunately, Byamana found comfort in the classrooms of Newton South.
Her favorite class, African American Literature, has showed Byamana the importance of individuality.
“[South] allows you to create yourself, Byamana said, “It’s only a matter of finding the right people to hear you out, and then just doing it.
Byamana graduates from South today, but she will continue to grow and discover herself regardless of her location.
When she first started working at South, DeRubeis worked in the cafeteria part time. But in 1987, she was promoted to work full time as the Goodwin secretary, and has been at that job every since.
During her time at Goodwin, DeRubeis has seen four housemasters, and two generations of students.
“I love my job, DeRubeis said, “if I didn’t I wouldn’t have stayed for so long.
DeRubeis remembers that when she first started working at South, Wheeler was only around the corner from the Goodwin house.
“Those were the days when I knew every single faculty member in the school, DeRubeis said. “Now, though, the teachers are even younger than my own children!
In fact, faculty around the school considers her “a mother to [them] all, as guidance counselor Kara Veeley put it.
“Angela is wonderful, caring, responsible, and incredibly organized, Veeley said. “There’s something special about her – everyone loves Angela.
The executive secretary, Betty Lupo, also holds Angela in high regards.
“Angela is one of the most gracious people you’ll ever have the good fortune to meet, Lupo said.
DeRubeis’ colleagues admired her most for her organization.
On the busiest day of the year, when seniors are coming in and out of their house offices for last minute adjustments and errands, one can still find Mrs. DeRubeis at her desk with a smile on her face, and everything set in order.
“Angela is calm in the face of a storm, Lupo said. “The best adjective I can think of to describe her is unflappable.
After decades at the school, nothing surprises DeRubeis. Faculty, students, and parents all agree that DeRubeis is rational in all of her actions, and handles the most stressful situations calmly, one step at a time.
“When people are stressed, she can calm them down, Lupo said.
“I work best when I’m organized, DeRubeis said. “I’m even this organized at home!
Although she sees students and teachers the most, DeRubeis also interacts with parents constantly. Liz Mintz, the mother of three Goodwin children, admires DeRubeis for her work.
“When my daughter is sick, she better have a good excuse – not for me, but for Mrs. DeRubeis, Mintz said.
“Whenever I call to excuse my daughter’s absences, Mrs. DeRubeis’ disappointing tone tells me that she cares about the students in the school. She encourages me to keep my daughters dedicated to their studies, and assures me that my daughters are well taken care of at the school.
Students also love and respect their beloved secretary. Senior Tamar Gaffin-Cahn has only good memories of DeRubeis. “Mrs. DeRubeis is a very sweet woman and always did what was needed right away.
When asked what she would miss the most about her job, DeRubeis didn’t hesitate to answer. “I’m going to miss the interaction with everyone, DeRubeis said. “You get to know the students and you end up close to the parents. I enjoyed getting to know these families.
DeRubeis had the opportunity of taking many other jobs, but she denied every last one of them.
“My mother always told me, “You’ve always loved your job. And she was right. If I love coming in to work every morning, why would I give that up?
Fortunately, DeRubeis said that she will try to visit the school in the future and offer an extra hand whenever it is needed.
Goodwin house, nonetheless, will feel a little empty without DeRubeis next year, and she will certainly leaving big shoes to fill.
“My experience here has been absolutely wonderful, and I’ll miss everyone very much, DeRubeis said.]]>
Documents? It’s hard enough to remember to carry my license when I drive; why would I have anything with me when I’m just walking?
“Sorry, sir, I’m just on my way to school, I respond.
“Miss, I need to see your documents. I can tell you are of Hispanic ethnicity and if you don’t have them, I’m going to have to take you down to the station immediately.
One moment I was worried about overcoming my inclination to procrastinate in school and the next moment, I can only think of how I’ll contact my parents before I get deported.
Fortunately, this pseudo situation would never happen in Newton. I am free to roam the streets without a care in mind about my ethnicity. But in Arizona, this scenario is all too real.
Three weeks ago, Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed an immigration bill that requires immigrants to carry around their alien registration at all times. The bill also enforces Arizona police to request the documents of anyone who looks like an immigrant, and, more specifically, a Latino immigrant.
Since I moved to the United States from Colombia nine years ago, I have never seen my alien registration. It was just one of those important documents that my mother stored away and I never had to worry about. Yet, if I lived in Arizona, this document would be the most valuable piece of paper in the world to me.
I would even be thankful that my appearance does not scream “Latina. Sure I have olive skin, dark hair and brown eyes, but since those are genetically dominant traits, I tend to blend in with the crowd. My dad, on the other hand, does not.
My dad is a tall man with a dark mustache and a thick, undeniable, Latin accent. If he lived in Arizona, my dad would constantly be stopped by the police. The hardships that he went through to get to the US and the fact that he is a respected cardio-surgeon are irrelevant if he still looks like he resembles his ethnicity.
Critics around the world compare this law to the occurrences of Nazi–Germany. “It is absolutely reminiscent of second class status of Jews in Germany prior to World War II when they had to have their papers with them at all times and were subject to routine inspections at the suspicion of being Jewish, Representative Jared Polis of Colorado said.
I understand that citizens in Arizona and all around the United States are very concerned with the large population of illegal immigrants. However, making the lives of these people, as well as those who look like them, imposible is not the answer.
Illegal immigrants already live every day in fear of losing everything they have worked for. There are immigrants that have lived here for 10, 20, or maybe even 30 years who still risk their lives every time they drive a car because they cannot get a license. One wrong move can send these hard working people back to their country of origin.
I do not, however, support illegal aliens. I believe that the federal government must take steps to handle this issue on a more logical and ethical level.
Since he was sworn in last January, President Barack Obama has called on Congress to start work on comprehensive immigration reform. In other words, he has done nothing.
Nevertheless, President Obama strongly opposes the law in Arizona, and rightfully so.
“The law threatens to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe, Obama said.
This controversial bill, a recipe for racial profiling, will only create lawsuits. Individuals, like my father, who may be questioned by the police on a regular basis, could sue the state for stereotyping and discrimination.
Individuals, however, are not the only who would sue the state. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Justice Department was considering a federal lawsuit against Arizona’s new immigration law.
This unconstitutional law is a bad step in the wrong direction. Instead of passing these bills in desperation to mend a problem in the short run, organizations and local governments need to take smaller steps to make a bigger difference. The situation is not black and white; the only options are not to ignore or to deport. The United States government needs to find the gray in between these two options to solve this pressing issue.
“If we continue to fail to act at a federal level, we will continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the country, President Obama said.]]>
The faculty members were on their way to a conference with Newton North administrators to lessen tension between the schools. The car slipped on an icy road and struck a tree on the side of the road, leaving all of the passengers dead.
With the death of the most powerful figures of the school, who takes control? What happens now?
Fortunately, Superintendent James Marini, Principal Joel Stembridge, and the two assistant principals, Mary Scott and Purnima Vadhera, are all safe and sound and capable of doing their jobs. This type of scenario, however, is all too real for the people of Poland.
On April 10, all 96 people on board of the Polish Tupolev Tu-154M aircraft died when the plane crashed in northwest Russia. The passengers were on route to Russia to attend the Katyn Massacre of 1940memorial.
The President of Poland, the Chief of General Staff, the President of the National Bank, and the deputy foreign minister were among the deceased.
If such a situation occurred at Newton South, the result would end in chaos.
Without the assistant principals, the schedules for next year would be left unorganized. The assistant principals construct the schedules for both students and teachers, structuring classes to fit student teacher needs. These women spend hours, days, and even months making schedules that students often do not appreciate and complain about. Without schedules, however, the school itself would have no basis on which to function.
The assistant principals also organize MCAS scores, which determine a student’s ability to graduate, and they transcribe students’ GPAs to Naviance, an essential aspect of the college application process.
Furthermore, since the assistant principals coordinate the students’ transportation, such as bussing schedules and senior parking permits, the majority of the students would not be able to get to school.
The principal’s absence would also cause frenzy. The principal has endless responsibilities, and without him, the school would be left without direction. Since the principal is often referred to as “the bottom line, and approves proposed policies, nothing could be enacted without his presence.
The superintendent is the end-all-be-all in terms of the Newton Public Schools. He oversees the functions and operations of the entire system. Â The vacancy of the position would both affect the budget distribution and it would abruptly haltthe progress of the school itself.
This catastrophe would also disturb the school in ways other than day-to-day functions. Without supervision or regulation, students and teachers alike could be tempted to rebel.
The Polish government took immediate steps to respond to the disaster. The country’s lower parliamentary chairman, Bronis-Baw Komorowski, istaking the role of President until a new election in several months.
Candidates for the election have not been formally announced, though Komorowski, as well as the former President’s brother, have expressed interest in running.
An investigation of the crash site has also gone underway, during which two black boxes were recovered, revealing that the pilot tried to land the plane in incredibly difficult weather conditions despite warnings from air traffic controllers.
But how would South reorganize its administration?
Initially, there would be an intervention from the School Committee, which would likely appoint an interim superintendent. Unlike Marini, the current interim superintendent, who is qualified and was carefully chosen for the job, the new temporary superintendent would have to be chosen in a hurry, preventing the School Committee from making an appropriate decision. The interim superintendent would serve until a new superintendent could be chosen, just as Dr. David Fleishman was, but this process takes months.
The school currently has a system that deals with the principal’s absence. For example, since the principal is visiting the Jingshan School in China at the moment, the Assistant Principal Scott, is acting as the surrogate principal. If the assistant principal is inaccessible for whatever reason, one of the housemasters takes over. Each housemaster is assigned a term in which they would act as principal, should an unusual situation arise. Thus, the housemasters would take turns acting as principal until the School Committee chose a new principal.
This process would take several months and likely cause a great deal of stress for students, parents, and faculty alike. Schedules would have to be reworked, grades resubmitted and transportation organized.
For Poland, this tragedy paralyzed its country and its people. The response, however, has been surprisingly efficient, and it seems that in the coming months Poland will eventually recover politically, though the people may forever bear the grief of the lost lives.
Thankfully, South does not have to worry about rushing to appoint a new administration. Such a loss, however, would cripple the school for months.
The administration plays an essential role in our education that we as students often take for granted, and it is clear that without them, our entire system would fall to pieces.]]>
The student body is currently 3.1 percent Multi-race/Non-Hispanic, 4.3 percent Latino, 4.6 percent Black, 18.9 percent Asian, and 69.1 percent White.
Although the high percentage of Asians stands out in these statistics, the number only represents students from East Asian countries: Japan, China, etc.
If the term only refers to a certain region of the continent, why can’t the school specify more accurately in its description?
In fact, shouldn’t the politically incorrect reality of the term be taken into consideration?
Junior Rongshi Jamir, an Indian immigrant, describes herself as Asian.
“Since I’m from Northern India and lived very close to the border between India and China, I was able to experience a variety of cultures and appreciate all types of Asian traditions, Jamir said.
“But when I describe myself as Asian, people try to correct me and say ‘ËœNo, you’re Indian, not Asian.’
Junior Grace Kim also acknowledges the error in the term’s usage.
Kim was born in South Korea, but she began to travel the world at a young age.
In sixteen years, Kim traveled around the world, living in South Korea, Pakistan, and Bangladesh among other countries.
This cosmopolitan background allowed Kim to gain a more perceptive understanding of the cultures within Asia.
“Generalizing the term ‘ËœAsian’ and using it only to describe Eastern Asians is a social misconception that can offend people from other parts of Asia, Kim said.
“It is definitely an incorrect term, but people have grown to accept it nowadays.
Yet if this term is politically incorrect, what term is acceptable to describe someone from Asia?
This is a difficult task to do without offending someone.
“I don’t like when people assume where I am from, junior Stephanie Weng said.
Other cultures, such as European and Latin American, still use the term ‘ËœOriental’ to describe people from Eastern Asia.
In the United States, however, the term has gained a negative connotation.
In its literal sense, oriental is an adjective that describes something that comes from the from the East.
Upon asking eight different Eastern Asian students why the term has a negative implication, the answer was the same from all students: “I don’t really know.
“[Oriental] is a term that generalizes Eastern Asians, but I don’t find it that offensive, Kim said.
“I mean white people are also sometimes referred to as Westerners.
Senior Silong Yang, a Chinese immigrant, also sees no problem with the term.
“[Oriental] carries the same connotations to me as Asian does, Yang said.
According to modelminority.com, a guide to Asian American empowerment, the word gained a negative connotation because people began associating it with many of the Asian Americans stereotypes.
This provoked Asian American activists to decide that ‘ËœOriental’ was a negative word and that Asian, to them, was more accurate.
18.9 percent of Newton South has roots in Eastern Asia, yet not even officials from the school can use a term to describe this ethnic group without offending somebody.
For now, authors from Model Minority advise the public to simply use whatever one feels the most comfortable with. “But don’t be surprised if someone takes offense.]]>
Sebastian PiÃƒÂ±era, a center-right billionaire, was the first non center-left candidate elected since 1990, when the country transitioned back to democracy at the end of the Augusto Pinochet regime.
The previous center-left rule consolidated the country’s status as the most developed country in Latin America.
The earthquake that struck Chile on February 27 is causing Chileans to bite their fingernails as they wait and see whether or not this was a bad time to welcome a new form of government.
“We will not be the government of the earthquake; we will be the government of reconstruction, PiÃƒÂ±era said recently.
Political conflicts have been temporarily put aside in order to come together as a nation and overcome this disaster.
“Most do not want the topic to be politicized, a resident of Santiago, Camilo Navarro said. “We all have to be on the same side, supporter or opponent. We are all Chileans.
Meanwhile, Chile’s Interior Minister, Rodrigo Hinzpeter, updated the known death and damage toll on Tuesday; 200 people previously listed as missing have been added to the count of 500 known dead.
The earthquake was not as financially damaging as the earthquake in Haiti, but it will still put a dent in the government’s budget. Hinzpeter estimated that damages would cost the country $30 billion, while the country’s insurance only covers roughly $6.5 billion.
“In economic terms, this is the worst catastrophe Chile has suffered, Hinzpeter said.
Similarly to the Bonus Army that asked Washington for an advance on their veteran’s bonus during the Great Depression, 4.2 million disadvantaged citizens demanded the $80 bonus that PiÃƒÂ±era promised them during his campaign last year.
Hinzpeter believes that the best way to produce more money is by increasing taxes on mining operations. The new conservative government, however, rejected the idea of a higher tax burden on the country’s crucial mining sector.
Although he dismissed the proposal of a tax increase, Chileans hope that Pinera, a Harvard-trained economist, can use his business acumen to help one of Latin America’s most stable economies rebound from the devastating earthquake.]]>
Consequently, the ban prevents further construction of any mosque within the country. The ban was passed by a majority of 57 percent, which tarnished the image of tolerance and civilization that the country has taken pride in for so many years.
The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) initiated the referendum after residents opposed the construction of a minaret in Langenthal, north of Berne.
Oskar Freysinger, an SVP politician, defended his decision: “In no case does this impinge on religious freedom, this has nothing to do with the practice of religion. Muslims in Switzerland are able to practice their religion alone or in community with others and live according to their beliefs just as before.
Conservative Swiss politicians argued that the minarets do not have religious characteristics and they only symbolize a political-religious claim to power.
The Muslim residents of Switzerland currently make up 6 percent of the Swiss population. Europe’s Muslim population doubled in the last 30 years, and Switzerland has expressed deep concern over the growing numbers.
Other organizations reacted very differently from the SVP. Khurshid Ahmad, the vice president of a Pakistani, Islamic political party, described the Swiss decision as a serious violation of human rights and international law. “This is an effort to provoke Muslims and prompt a clash between Islam and the West, Khurshid said.
Many European Muslims expressed concern that Muslims living in Islamic countries could be less familiar with European politics and culture. “We are a bit afraid of the rise of extremism on both sides, Ayman Ali, secretary general of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe said.
A French teacher at South, Meg Weston, traveled to Switzerland during her teenage years. Weston’s recollection of her experience consists of only positive memories.
She expressed disbelief inresponse to the minaret ban and insists that the decision misrepresented the Swiss people. “(The ban) does not coincide with the Switzerland I know, Weston said.
Since the ban, the Swiss have suffered greatly on a business level. Business leaders confess that “Swiss Made, the most trusted brand in the world, is at stake. The president of the Swiss Business Federation, Gerold BÃƒÂ¼hrer, reminded the country that Muslim countries contribute Â£10 billion to Swiss companies yearly.
Other European countries condemned Switzerland for its decision, even though anti-Islamic laws have been proposed in many of those countries. In France, for example, the government has considered a law that would affect the way Muslim women dress, arguing that it only encourages Muslims to assimilate.
Similarly, the United States cannot freely criticize Switzerland’s new law without submitting to hypocrisy. Weston advises us to consider the United States’ history regarding immigration.
“(The ban) is a very negative thing. But let’s remember how we have tried to keep people out of our country too, she said. “We created quotas for immigrants and often wouldn’t even employ those who were able to enter our country.
Aside from negative reactions to the ban from other countries, Swiss citizens have also expressed disgrace and disappointment in their country. On November 30, about 300 people protested outside the Parliament building in Berne. In front of a model of a minaret they held up signs saying: “This is not my Switzerland. Many protesters pinned papers to their jackets that stated “Swiss passport for sale.
Amnesty International attempts to calm the protesters as they assure that either the Swiss Supreme Court or the European Court of Human Rights will overturn the vote, regardless of the majority win in the referendum.]]>