A photo of a desperate young Palestinian boy, badly wounded and screaming for his father as he clutches at the shirt of a paramedic in a hospital, has captured the tragic and bloody tension of the Gazan conflict.

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Shirtless and with cuts to his face, torso, arms and legs, the child clings to the hospital worker who is attempting to lay him flat on a girdle.

The Electronic Intifada, a pro-Palestinian publication, reports the photo, taken at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City last Thursday, was captioned with the boy’s desperate cry: ‘I want my father, bring me my father’, according to Fairfax.

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The Palestinian paper claims the young boy was one of four siblings brought to the hospital wounded, two of them just three years old.

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It comes as grinning Israeli tank commanders were pictured flashing the victory signs as they blast their way through Gaza in the bloodiest day of the offensive so far – as one resident of the troubled region said: ‘The gate of hell has opened.’

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At least 65 people have been killed since this yesterday’s dawn strike on Gaza City’s Shijaiyah neighbourhood – including the son, daughter-in-law and two small grandchildren of a senior Hamas leader.

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Hamas says it has captured an Israeli soldier – a scenario that has proven to be fraught with difficulties for the country in the past – but Israel’s U.N. Ambassador has denied the claims.

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The neighbourhood has come under heavy tank fire as Israel widened its ground offensive against Hamas, causing hundreds of residents to flee.

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The dead and wounded – including dozens of women and children – have reportedly been left in streets, with ambulances unable to approach.

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Source: (July 21, 2014)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2699772/This-desperate-little-boy-face-tragedy-Palestinian-toddler-clutches-shirt-hospital-worker-screaming-I-want-father-bring-father.html?ito=social-facebook

WASHINGTON (AP) – Maybe a higher minimum wage isn’t so bad for job growth after all.

The 13 U.S. states that raised their minimum wages at the beginning of this year are adding jobs at a faster pace than those that did not, providing some counter-intuitive fuel to the debate over what impact a higher minimum has on hiring trends.

Many business groups argue that raising the minimum wage discourages job growth by increasing the cost of hiring. A Congressional Budget Office report earlier this year lent some support for that view. It found that a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour, as President Obama supports, could cost 500,000 jobs nationwide.

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But the state-by-state hiring data, released Friday by the Labor Department, provides ammunition to those who disagree. Economists who support a higher minimum say the figures are encouraging, though they acknowledge they don’t establish a cause and effect. There are many possible reasons hiring might accelerate in a particular state.

“It raises serious questions about the claims that a raise in the minimum wage is a jobs disaster,” said John Schmitt, a senior economist at the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research. The job data “isn’t definitive,” he added, but is “probably a reasonable first cut at what’s going on.”

Just last week, Obama cited the better performance by the 13 states in support of his proposal for boosting the minimum wage nationwide.

“When … you raise the minimum wage, you give a bigger chance to folks who are climbing the ladder, working hard…. And the whole economy does better, including businesses,” Obama said in Denver.

In the 13 states that boosted their minimums at the beginning of the year, the number of jobs grew an average of 0.85 percent from January through June. The average for the other 37 states was 0.61 percent.

Nine of the 13 states increased their minimum wages automatically in line with inflation: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Four more states – Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island – approved legislation mandating the increases.

Twelve of those states have seen job growth this year, while employment in Vermont has been flat. The number of jobs in Florida has risen 1.6 percent this year, the most of the 13 states with higher minimums. Its minimum rose to $7.93 an hour from $7.79 last year.

Some economists argue that six months of data isn’t enough to draw conclusions.

“It’s too early to tell,” said Stan Veuger, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “These states are very different along all kinds of dimensions.”

For example, the number of jobs in North Dakota – which didn’t raise the minimum wage and has prospered because of a boom in oil and gas drilling – rose 2.8 percent since the start of this year, the most of any state.

But job growth in the aging industrial state of Ohio was just 0.7 percent after its minimum rose to $7.95 from $7.85. The federal minimum wage is $7.25.

Veuger, one of the 500 economists who signed a letter in March opposed to an increase in the federal minimum, said the higher wages should over time cause employers to hire fewer workers. They may also replace them with new technologies.

The Congressional Budget Office cited those factors in its February report. But in addition to job losses, the CBO also said a higher minimum could boost paychecks for another 16.5 million workers.

Sylvia Allegretto, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, said that research comparing counties in states that raised their minimums with neighboring counties in states that did not has found no negative impact on employment.

Restaurants and other low-wage employers may have other ways of offsetting the cost of higher wages, aside from cutting back on hiring, she said. Higher pay can reduce staff turnover and save on hiring and training costs.

State and local governments have become increasingly active on the issue as the federal minimum wage has remained unchanged for five years. Twenty-two states currently have higher minimums than the federal requirement.

And 38 states have considered minimum wage legislation this year, the most on record, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 16 will boost their minimums starting next year, the NCSL says.

____

AP Economics Writer Josh Boak contributed to this report, July 19, 2014

He’s had a busy summer. As God only knows, he was summoned to slaughter in the Holy Land, asked to end the killings of Muslims by Buddhist monks in Myanmar, and played both sides again in the 1,400-year-old dispute over the rightful successor to the Prophet Muhammad.

In between, not much down time. Yes, the World Cup was fun, and God chose to mess with His Holinesses, pitting the team from Pope Francis’s Argentina against Germany, home of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Well played, even if the better pope lost.

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At least Rick Perry was not his usual time-suck. The governor proclaimed three days of prayer to end the Texas drought in 2011, saying, “I think it’s time for us to just hand it over to God, and say, ‘God: You’re going to have to fix this.’ ” The drought got worse. Two years ago, Perry said that God had not “changed his mind” about same-sex marriage. But the states have. Since Perry became a spokesman for the deity, the map of legalized gay marriage in America has expanded by 50 percent.

Still, these are pillow feathers in a world weighted down with misery. God is on a rampage in 2014, a bit like the Old Testament scourge who gave direct instructions to people to kill one another.

It’s not true that all wars are fought in the name of religion, as some atheists assert. Of 1,723 armed conflicts documented in the three-volume “Encyclopedia of Wars,” only 123, or less than 7 percent, involved a religious cause. Hitler’s genocide, Stalin’s bloody purges and Pol Pot’s mass murders certainly make the case that state-sanctioned killings do not need the invocation of a higher power to succeed.

But this year, the ancient struggle of My God versus Your God is at the root of dozens of atrocities, giving pause to the optimists among us (myself included) who believe that while the arc of enlightenment is long, it still bends toward the better.

In the name of God and hate, Sunnis are killing Shiites in Iraq, and vice versa. A jihadist militia, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, boasts of beheading other Muslims while ordering women to essentially live in caves, faces covered, minds closed. The two sides of a single faith have been sorting it out in that blood-caked land, with long periods of peace, since the year 632. Don’t expect it to end soon. A majority of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are peaceful, but a Pew Survey found that 40 percent of Sunnis do not think Shiites are proper Muslims.

Elsewhere, a handful of failed states are seeing carnage over some variant of the seventh-century dispute. And the rage that moved Hamas to lob rockets on birthday parties in Tel Aviv, and Israelis to kill children playing soccer on the beach in Gaza, has its roots in the spiritual superiority of extremists on both sides.

The most horrific of the religion-inspired zealots may be Boko Haram in Nigeria. As is well known thanks to a feel-good and largely useless Twitter campaign, 250 girls were kidnapped by these gangsters for the crime of attending school. Boko Haram’s God tells them to sell the girls into slavery.

The current intra-religious fights are not to be confused with people who fly airplanes into buildings, or shoot up innocents while shouting “God is great.” But those killers most assuredly believed that their reward for murder is heaven.

“It’s not true that all wars are fought in the name of religion, as some atheists assert.”Which atheists assert that? I’ve certainly never…

Of late, God has taken a long break from Ireland, such a small country for such a big fight between worshipers under the same cross. There, the animus is not so much theological as it is historical. If the curious Muslim is wondering why Protestants and Catholics can’t just get along on that lovely island, take a look at the Thirty Years’ War of the 17th century, when about 20 percent of the population of present-day Germany fell to clashes between the two branches of Christianity.
Violent Buddhist mobs (yes, it sounds oxymoronic) are responsible for a spate of recent attacks against Muslims in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, leaving more than 200 dead and close to 150,000 homeless. The clashes prompted the Dalai Lama to make an urgent appeal to end the bloodshed. “Buddha preaches love and compassion,” he said.

And so do Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The problem is that people of faith often become fanatics of faith. Reason and force are useless against aspiring martyrs.

In the United States, God is on the currency. By brilliant design, though, he is not mentioned in the Constitution. The founders were explicit: This country would never formally align God with one political party, or allow someone to use religion to ignore civil laws. At least that was the intent. In this summer of the violent God, five justices on the Supreme Court seem to feel otherwise.

 

* Timothy Egan, NYT, July 18, 2014

People will take selfies just about anywhere nowadays – even at concentration camps.

Mitchell tweeted “Selfie in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp” with a picture of herself smiling at the largest Nazi concentration camp during World War II.

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The photo was posted on June 20, but it gained national attention on Sunday when it became a trending topic on Twitter.

Within the past 24 hours, there have been 2,175 tweets mentioning the photo, according to Topsy, a social media analytics firm. Overall, Mitchell’s original tweet has drawn more than 2,500 retweets and 1,400 favorites. 

Originally, Mitchell said she wished people would stop tweeting about the photo.

“Omg I wish people would quit tweeting to, quoting, retweeting, and favoriting my picture of my smiling in Auschwitz Concentration Camp,” Mitchell tweeted. “Like apparently is such a big deal that I smiled. Good Lord.”

But shortly after, she seemed to be enjoying the Internet fame. She has retweeted more than 150 people who supported her decision to take the selfie. 

The picture wasn’t supposed to get this much attention, Mitchell explained to her Twitter followers on Sunday.

However, she doesn’t seem to mind.

“I’m famous yall,” Mitchell tweeted, referencing an article on Business Insider about the viral tweet.

According to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Museum’s website, visitors are allowed to take pictures on the grounds – with the exception of a hall that contains the hair of victims, the basements of Block 11 and the gas chamber.

Mitchell claims she took the photo after studying the Holocaust for years with her dad, who died a year ago.

“That trip actually meant something to me and I was happy about it,” she tweeted, explaining the reasoning behind the smiling selfie.

* Jenny Earl,Newsday,  July20, 2014

RBTH presents a selection of views from leading Russian media on the latest developments surrounding the July 17 Boeing 777 catastrophe in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region, in which Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was apparently shot down near the town of Shakhtarsk in an area controlled by pro-autonomy militias.

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The Kommersant daily points out that the Malaysia Airlines disaster has not stopped the fighting between government troops and pro-autonomy militias in the east of Ukraine: A ceasefire is in place only in a small area at and in the vicinity of the crash site. A complete ceasefire covering the whole of the east of the country could not be agreed, the paper writes. Experts polled by Kommersant say that the military operation by Ukrainian troops is “not proceeding as successfully as commanders’ reports would indicate.” The main difficulties, according to the paper, have arisen along the southern section of the front, “where Kiev hopes to achieve the final victory.”

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As a result of actions by the pro-autonomy militias, the Ukrainian force that tried to cut the self-proclaimed republics off from the border with Russia has itself been surrounded, Kommersant continues. The surrounded troops could be saved by a ceasefire along all sections of the front, which the militia commanders also realize. “That is probably why they have so far rejected all appeals for a lasting and comprehensive ceasefire voiced by the Ukrainian side and international mediators,” the paper concludes. Nezavisimaya Gazeta “The world is on the brink of the largest political crisis of recent decades,” reads an editorial in the centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily. The paper describes the downing of the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet as “a prelude to the start of a new cold war.”

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The paper points out that the facts available so far indicate that there are Buk surface-to-air missile systems in the conflict zone on both sides of the Ukrainian-Russian border. However, these systems are capable of hitting air targets only within a range of 50 km. “Since the downed Boeing fell on Ukrainian territory 50 km from the Ukrainian-Russian border, one can rule out that it was hit from Russian territory,” the paper says. It goes on to add that Kiev does not deny that Ukrainian Buk systems have been deployed on the Ukrainian-Russian border: The Ukrainian air defense systems were probably intended to counter possible aerial reconnaissance from the Russian side. Therefore the Malaysian Boeing may have been mistaken for a Russian Air Force aircraft, writes Nezavisimaya Gazeta. In addition, the paper continues, it is unlikely that pro-autonomy militants could have operated a Buk system as it requires specialist training and experience.

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Most of the experts polled by NG conclude that the airliner was downed by mistake. “It is likely that this attack was not agreed with the senior leadership, who are now being caused immense stress by the possibility that the truth may be established. Support for those who murder civilians leaves no political chances for a reputation on an international scale,” the paper concludes. Expert  The Expert magazine gives a detailed account of the search operation at the crash site. It also points out that the UN Security Council is expected to vote in the near future on a draft resolution condemning the destruction of the Boeing 777.

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The draft resolution, Expert continues, does not only call for “a comprehensive, thorough and independent international investigation in compliance with civil aviation standards” but also lists requirements for the pro-autonomy militias, urging them “to refrain from any actions that could jeopardize the crash site”. For their part, the magazine adds, the militiamen of the Donetsk People’s Republic have for three days now been guarding the crash scene and ensuring the safety of the OSCE observers working at the site. Vzglyad Experts polled by the Vzglyad newspaper claim that “senior figures in Ukraine and the West are using pseudo-facts surrounding the Malaysian Boeing crash.” The investigation into the downing of the Malaysian airliner is not yet over, the paper continues, but the alleged intercepted phone calls between pro-autonomy militiamen that have been posted on the internet have given the leadership of Ukraine and other countries cause to blame what happened on the militias and Russia.

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Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes that “the White House, demanding an inquiry into the tragedy, is criticizing Moscow, which, in its view, has continuously aggravated the conflict in southeast Ukraine, supported the separatists, training and arming them.” According to the newspaper, the general opinion in the U.S. is that the missile was fired either by the militias or by Russian soldiers. The newspaper notes that America is not blaming Kiev, and that Ukraine has announced that in the entire conflict it has not fired any missiles capable of hitting a plane at a 33,000-foot altitude.

Gazeta.ru says that the most likely explanation for the airplane crash in eastern Ukraine was the BUK anti-aircraft missile, which is the most powerful means of anti-aircraft defense, one that Ukraine inherited from the USSR and that has recently come into the militia’s possession. The newspaper analyzes the weapon’s technical characteristics in depth: The BUK anti-aircraft missile is one of Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport’s most popular products. Gazeta.ru says that the missiles are sold in all CIS countries that used them in Soviet times.

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Today the missiles are also used in countries such as Syria and Afghanistan. According to the publication, the missile system’s technical specifics allow it to hit a target at an altitude of up to 82,000 feet. Moreover, the system is mobile: It can be packed up in five minutes. “Qualified specialists are required to take aim with this system. In their hands the BUK can hit a target even at a distance of 40 kilometers [130,000 feet],” says Gazeta.ru. While the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk has been saying that it lacks the weapons needed to shoot down a plane at such a high altitude, officials from the neighboring “People’s Republic” of Lugansk proposed another theory: the Malaysian Boeing 777 was shot down by the Ukrainian SU-25 jet, which was later shot down by the militias. However, the maximum altitude of the SU-25 is 16,500 feet, which makes this an unlikely version of events, says Gazeta.ru. Vzglyad Vzglyad newspaper emphasizes that the “airplane fell precisely in the area of the most intense fighting between the Donetsk militias and the Ukrainian Army.

The Ukrainian government blames the militias for the anti-aircraft tragedy. However, arguments blaming the Ukrainian soldiers are more convincing, says the publication. Vzglyad notes that the Ukrainian press has already blamed the Donbass militias for the crash, saying that recently they have shot down two Ukrainian Air Force transportation planes. Moreover, the newspaper says that the BUK is a semiautomatic system, and human participation is minimal. “Therefore the militias could have easily mastered the technology, since they have people who worked with this system while serving in the Soviet and then the Ukrainian army,” Vzglyad suggests.

 

 

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Malaysia Airlines plane crashes in Donetsk Region If it is so, then it is no longer the militias fighting the Ukrainian Air Force with anti-aircraft missiles that are the cause of the event, but rather “the western governments, who are encouraging Kiev to ‘establish order’ in eastern Ukraine, the newspaper believes. Military expert and editor-in-chief of National Defense magazine Igor Korotchenko suggests that “due to the personnel’s low qualification and miscalculations, the operator either accidentally or unintentionally launched the missile that shot down the Boeing.” Furthermore, Vzglyad’s expert says that earlier there was information of the militias having captured several BUK anti-aircraft missile launchers, yet officially the Ukrainian government announced that they were faulty and therefore had been intentionally removed from combat by the Ukrainian soldiers.

Source: Russia Beyond the Headlines - http://rbth.com/international/2014/07/18/press_digest_reaction_to_the_malaysia_airlines_disaster_in_ukra_38325.html)

 

Israeli ground forces waded into Gaza’s most densely populated city for the first time in nearly two weeks of fighting, destroying tunnels and drawing heavy fire from Hamas militants in the deadliest day of fighting for both sides since the conflict began.

Israel said 13 soldiers were killed and Gaza officials said 96 Palestinians were killed Sunday, including 60 in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shajaiyeh where the battle of the tunnels was fought. It was also the highest toll for Israeli soldiers in a single day since a brief war with the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah in 2006, according to military records.

Hamas’s military wing also claimed it captured an Israeli soldier. Israel said it was checking on the claim.

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Two American citizens who were soldiers for the Israel Defense Force were among the 13 killed. “We can confirm the deaths of U.S. citizens Max Steinberg and Sean Carmeli in Gaza,” Jen Psaki, State Department spokeswoman, said late Sunday.

Israel launched a ground invasion of Gaza on Thursday night with a high priority on destroying a network of cross-border tunnels that militants use to infiltrate Israel. On Saturday, Palestinians entered Israel through one of those tunnels and killed two soldiers.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been initially reluctant to send in ground forces for fear the military would suffer heavy casualties.

The Israeli attack began with predawn drone strikes and artillery shelling followed by small-arms fire and the sound of Israeli fighter jets whooshing overhead. The Israelis came under fire from antitank missiles and rocket-propelled grenades launched from densely populated neighborhoods, the military said.

Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a military spokesman, described the battles as “heavy fighting and close combat.”

Mr. Netanyahu vowed that attacks would go on.

“We will complete what they began and return quiet to Israel,” he told relatives of the dead soldiers.

The violence set off a panicked exodus of thousands of civilians from Shajaiyeh. Bodies were carted to a morgue while hundreds of onlookers uttered mourning chants.

In Israel, anthems for the dead soldiers played on the radio on a day when the toll surpassed the combined number of soldiers killed in the last two military conflicts with Hamas in 2008-9 and 2012.

The U.S. said Secretary of State John Kerry will arrive in Cairo on Monday to try to work out a cease-fire. President Barack Obama, speaking to Mr. Netanyahu on Sunday morning in their second phone call in three days, “raised serious concern about the growing number of casualties, including increasing Palestinian civilian deaths in Gaza and the loss of Israeli soldiers,” the White House said.

The United Nations Security Council late Sunday called for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and expressed “serious concern at the escalation of violence,” calling for the protection of civilians under international humanitarian law. The council also said it was troubled by the growing number of casualties. It backed efforts by Egypt and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who arrived in the region on Sunday, to broker a cease-fire deal.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said more than 425 Palestinians have been killed, including 112 children, and 3,000 wounded since fighting began. The United Nations said about three-fourths of the Palestinian casualties have been civilians. The Israeli military said it had killed at least 70 militants since the ground invasion.

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“It’s like a metro, an underground” connecting weapons-manufacturing and storage sites to passageways beneath the Israeli border about 2 miles away, said Lt. Col. Lerner. “I would describe it as a lower Gaza City.” He said the army found openings in Shajaiyeh to 10 tunnel shafts leading to the underground network. The army entered the area with infantry, artillery and armored units, he said, expecting strong resistance.

“Our assessment and plan of action suggested they were planning to meet the army on the battlefield,” he said. “We are taking the battle to them. We don’t want it in our backyard.” Israel had warned civilians in Shajaiyeh to evacuate their homes days ago, Lt. Col Lerner said.

Israel has accused Hamas of shielding its fighters and weapons amid densely populated civilian areas, saying because of this, the group is largely to blame for civilian casualties.

“Unfortunately, there are civilian casualties which we regret and don’t seek,” Mr. Netanyahu said.

Umm Rajab Helles, a mother of 12, described the first hours of the clashes.

“We’ve been attacked for almost two weeks but it was never this fierce,” she said, recounting how she huddled with her family inside her ground floor apartment.

“It was so tense every time there was a blast that the children would run to the door out of fear and we’d have to pull them back.”

Nearby, Umm Atta Said was inside a storage room of a clothing and mattress store along the neighborhood’s commercial strip. For 12 days, she said, the dark and cramped space was “the safest place” in Gaza.

Suddenly that wasn’t the case.

“There were blasts every minute,” she said. “It didn’t stop for four hours.” The buzz of drones was followed by sounds of missile strikes, the dull thud of artillery and the sound of rifle fire.

“It was closer than we had ever felt it and we were in complete darkness.”

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Among the Israeli soldiers were two men from the Golani infantry brigade entering a neighborhood they didn’t know. Their orders were to establish a command center at a house they had secured as artillery fire boomed around them, said Vered Kerber, whose brother Doron had been sent. But Palestinian fighters were soon upon them, she said.

“They were told the area was clean,” she said. “But it wasn’t clean.”

The fighters buffeted the house with mortar fire for hours. They launched an antitank rocket at it.

“The entire wall collapsed on them, and [my brother] was injured by rock debris,” said Shay Vaknin whose brother Daniel suffered a concussion.

The would-be command center was abandoned after its commander was killed and several other soldiers were critically wounded. The soldiers fled as fighters launched mortars at them in a prolonged and treacherous retreat. The two men made it back to Israel.

“It’s a miracle. I feel like an angel was watching over him,” said Ms. Kerber, whose brother lay on a hospital bed in Ashkelon holding a small book of Psalms.

As day broke, following hours of nonstop fighting, residents began considering what been an impossibility at night—leaving their homes.

For Ms. Said, the decision was obvious. “The shelling reached us and we couldn’t stay.”

At approximately 6 a.m., she said, she and her husband, gathered their children and nothing else and walked about a mile to Gaza’s central hospital, her last hope to find a safe place.

Ms. Helles said she needed more of an alarm to muster the courage to leave. A relative called and said: “Run now,” she said. “We ran out with bare feet,” she said.

Thousands were pouring out into Shajaiyeh’s streets, dodging rubble as an acrid smoke hung over the neighborhood and blasts were still heard. Every few blocks residents encountered more injured or dead. Buildings that hadn’t collapsed smoldered.

In an acknowledgment of the intensity of the battle, Hamas and Israel agreed to a pause of a few hours in the neighborhood to evacuate the dead and wounded. But it broke down after less than an hour.

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“It’s a miracle. I feel like an angel was watching over him,” said Ms. Kerber, whose brother lay on a hospital bed in Ashkelon holding a small book of Psalms.

As day broke, following hours of nonstop fighting, residents began considering what been an impossibility at night—leaving their homes.

For Ms. Said, the decision was obvious. “The shelling reached us and we couldn’t stay.”

At approximately 6 a.m., she said, she and her husband, gathered their children and nothing else and walked about a mile to Gaza’s central hospital, her last hope to find a safe place.

Ms. Helles said she needed more of an alarm to muster the courage to leave. A relative called and said: “Run now,” she said. “We ran out with bare feet,” she said.

Thousands were pouring out into Shajaiyeh’s streets, dodging rubble as an acrid smoke hung over the neighborhood and blasts were still heard. Every few blocks residents encountered more injured or dead. Buildings that hadn’t collapsed smoldered.

In an acknowledgment of the intensity of the battle, Hamas and Israel agreed to a pause of a few hours in the neighborhood to evacuate the dead and wounded. But it broke down after less than an hour.

There were scenes of chaos. Ambulances, journalists and aid workers surged into the district, their cars speeding through narrow streets to assess the damage. Nerves were frayed as residents emerged from their homes sometimes screaming in disbelief over what had happened. Al Shifa Hospital was overwhelmed with patients. Its morgue was becoming the scene of a grim ritual as ambulances opened their doors and hoisted the bodies of the dead through the crowd that had gathered. In 15 minutes, gurneys carrying six dead, including two small children, snaked their way into the morgue.

They were laid next to each other inside. A man tried to cover the leg of a dead woman, twisted and covered with blood. He screamed. The body of one boy was missing its face.

On one main street, two ambulances attempted a rescue as onlookers and journalists approached. A man emerged yelling to give the paramedics space before firing an automatic rifle repeatedly in the air, sending people scrambling for cover.

As the boy’s body left the ambulance, a young man had craned his neck to see it and sobbed into a mobile phone: “No, dad, it’s not him.”

—Joshua Mitnick, Jay Solomon and Joe Lauria
contributed to this article. (July 21, 2014)

The Washington Redskins aren’t the only sports team that’s come under fire lately for continuing the use of racially offensive names or mascots. But under the leadership of owner Dan Snyder it is one of the few teams that refuses to even consider a name change. Some people defend Snyder and his team’s right to use any name they want no matter how offensive others think it is, but we have eight reasons that just might convince Snyder to come around.

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1.) Because it might help the team’s stats

Maybe using a racially offensive name has something to do with 20 years of watching the Super Bowl on television instead of playing in it.

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2.) Because it might increase merchandise sales

Between the limited fan base and a racially charged name we know there’s not a lot of “Redskins” merch flying out the door. The switch to a less offensive team name might at least increase the sale of giant foam fingers.

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3.) Because why are they even called Redskins to begin with?

Who thinks of Native American history when they think of the nation’s capital? A name like “The Memorials” or “The Lobbyists” or “The Do-Nothings” would make a lot more sense.

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4.) Because many leaders in their home city want them to

At least ten congressmen are urging the team’s owner to change the offensive name. In a letter sent to owner Dan Snyder, to FedEx, the team’s sponsor, to Roger Goodell the NFL commissioner and to 31 additional franchises, the congressmen state their disappointment with Snyder’s refusal to consider a name change and say that using the “R-word” is the equivalent of using the “N-word.”

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5.) Because cultural appropriation is not a good example of sportsmanship

Efforts to degrade, overpower, disempower, humiliate and marginalize a culture by appropriating its customs, names and symbolism is nothing new; in fact, it’s a very old trick that has no place in modern society and certainly not in sports where things like race, creed and color aren’t supposed to matter.

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6.) Because all their friends are doing it

There’s a strong precedence for changing a team’s names when the sensitivities of a society changes. For example, The Miami Redskins are now known as the RedHawks. Now, was that so hard?

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7.) Because the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says they should

In 2001 the USCCR released an official opinion on the topic of non-Native schools or organizations using Native American nicknames and images. It was stated that the use of stereotypical images is offensive, that it may create a hostile environment and perpetuate stereotypes. Several religious organizations, including the Central Conference of American Rabbis have also called for an end to the use of Native American sports mascots or team names.

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8.) Because Dan Snyder needs to do better

There’s an old saying about “when you know better, do better” that Snyder needs to learn. Unfortunately there was a time in American history when no one thought twice about using a degrading slur for fun or profit. But now we do know better and we should expect better from our country as a whole than to support the use of offensive and harmful racial terms.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_mascot_controversy

http://www.footballnation.com/content/why-the-washington-redskins-should-change-their-name/25688/

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9319267/members-congress-urge-washington-redskins-change-name

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