It has been said that terrorists are cowards: Without the courage to face armed soldiers in actual battle, they instead target unarmed civilians, where a "victory" is spreading fear and paranoia.
If that is true, then Friday's attack in Yemen — where gunmen stormed a retirement home, of all places, killing 16 people, including four nuns — is one of the most cowardly acts on record.
The sisters shot to death were from the Missionaries of Charity in India, the order founded by Mother Teresa. Reports said the gunmen, who entered the facility by pretending they were there to see their mothers, went from room to room, handcuffing people and shooting them in the head.
On Saturday, Pope Francis issued a statement calling the attacks an "act of senseless and diabolical violence," the National Catholic Reporter states. In his weekly Angelus address in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, he called them martyrs.
"They are not on the front pages of the newspapers; they are not news — they give their blood for the church," the pope said. "These people are victims of the attack by those who have killed them [but] also of indifference — of this globalization of indifference."
Two of the nuns were from Rwanda, one was from India and one was from Kenya.
Yemen, where Missionaries of Charity have come under attack before, has been a nightmare in recent years, The Associated Press reports:
Yemen's civil war has split the country in two. The northern region, where Shiite rebels are in control, has been struck by an extensive air campaign by a Saudi-led coalition. The southern region, which is controlled by the internationally-recognized government backed by Saudi Arabia, is suffering from a power and security vacuum.
Islamic State group and al-Qaida affiliates have exploited the lawlessness and created safe havens in the south.
Last summer, a Catholic church in the same town as the retirement home was torched and sabotaged.
Toddlers without lawyers
As a literate adult, certainly you know what a T visa is, right? How about the difference between a T-2 visa and a T-3 visa? No?
Be glad you're not a 3-year-old seeking asylum in the federal immigration court of Jack H. Weil.
Weil, a senior Justice Department official and a longtime immigration judge responsible for training other judges, said in sworn testimony that 3- and 4-year-olds can learn immigration law well enough to represent themselves in court.
No, that's not a typo.
'I've taught immigration law literally to 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds,'' Weil said. 'It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of patience. They get it. It's not the most efficient, but it can be done.''
He repeated his claim twice in the deposition, also saying, 'I've told you I have trained 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds in immigration law,' according to a transcript. 'You can do a fair hearing. It's going to take you a lot of time.'
Yes, here in America, where if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you, a federal immigration judge believes that not only do immigrants facing deportation not need an attorney, but even 3-year-olds can represent themselves.
Weil was testifying in a Seattle case where the American Civil Liberties Union and immigrant groups are trying to force the government to ensure there are attorneys for every child in immigration proceedings.
Weil told The Washington Post that his remarks were taken out of context. The Justice Department said his comments do not represent department policy, though they offered him as a witness. Plaintiffs' attorneys said they first thought Weil had misspoken, so they made sure he clarified what he meant.
The Justice Department says that under current law, children charged with breaking immigration law do not have the right to an attorney because they are not U.S. citizens.
Comfort food for refugees
Despite numerous studies to the contrary, many believe that refugees are bad for the economy. For one small grocery store in Clarkston, Georgia, a suburb on the eastern edge of Atlanta, refugees have been a lifesaver.
WABE in Atlanta reports that Bill Mehlinger bought a small supermarket in 1990 and tried to run it like the Winn-Dixies he had a spent a long career in. But it didn't work.
"Sales started going down," Mehlinger said, "and then they kept getting worse and worse."
The population of the area was changing from white suburban to an area designated as a resettlement site for refugees. So he began catering to the Vietnamese people who had moved into the neighborhood.
Then refugees came from Bosnia and Croatia, and the store began serving their unique needs, as well. Now it works to serve over a dozen nationalities, from Indian to West African.
And Mehlinger's employees help him figure out what products he needs to stock — after all, most of them are refugees, too.
"We just had a huge influx of people from Burma and Nepal, and I'm told the next is going to be from Syria," Mehlinger said. "And the refugee agencies are letting us know when this is happening and what we need to have. So we should be prepared when that happens."
Remember, links, tips and accounts of the response to any crisis anywhere in the world are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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