Connect with us

Living

Bosnia village with link to Mars enthralled by rover landing

Published

on

Bosnia village with link to Mars enthralled by rover landing

JEZERO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Bosnian villagers are preparing to gather in front of a video screen in the yard of their community’s only school to watch NASA’s Mars rover attempt a difficult landing Thursday in a crater on the red planet named after their small village.

It will be a historic day for the 1,000 villagers, who hope that the planned landing of the Perseverance rover in Mars’ Jezero crater will also bring them some earthly rewards. Some are giving voice to feelings of pride, something rare amid the hardship and poverty that remains entrenched since the Bosnian war of the 1990s.

“When I first heard on TV that NASA named a crater on Mars after Jezero, I was surprised and I thought, ‘something good is finally happening to us. After years of hardship maybe this is a sign we can finally move forward,’” said Milan Kotanjac, a Jezero villager.

“It is very important for our municipality, for our people,” he added.

Many locals are hoping that the exploration of the Mars crater might inspire more attention and visitors to their own their small patch of the universe, a verdant Bosnian valley adjacent to the beautiful, river-fed Pivsko Lake.

NASA informed local authorities in 2019 of its plans to name a 28-mile wide crater on Mars after the village because it was once home to a river-fed lake like the one just outside Jezero, whose name means “lake” in the local language.

The news was personally delivered in September 2019 by the U.S. ambassador to Bosnia, who presented the mayor with a letter from NASA’s director of Mars exploration honoring the connection between the village and the red planet.

The rover named Perseverance is headed Thursday for a compact patch in the crater that is filled with cliffs, pits, sand dunes and fields of rocks. The area could hold evidence of past life, and the rover is expected to gather samples at the spot for eventual return to Earth.

At first, there were some scattered negative reactions in the Bosnian village from those fearing it might be a distraction from the serious problems that remain unresolved so many years after the war, including poverty and a lack of job opportunities.

Most people simply joked that the mayor “will take us to Mars.”

But now a whiff of celebration hovers in the air as the big day approaches. It seems that hardly anyone has anything bad to say about NASA’s mission to scour the dried-out Jezero crater for evidence of life.

“We are very happy that it has brought attention to us, to our Jezero,” said villager Nedeljko Kovacevic.

Mayor Snezana Ruzicic said she hopes the new fame will allow the area to develop projects, such as youth camps devoted to space exploration for kids from across the country, which remains divided along ethnic lines.

Ruzicic said the coronavirus pandemic has forced her administration to scale back plans for a series of lectures for local youths on Perseverance’s mission. The original aim was to tell youth about how the exploration of the Jezero crater might help humanity determine if there has ever been life on another planet.

However, they did manage to organize an event in the center of the village last July for locals to jointly watch a live feed of Perseverance’s launch to Mars from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Ruzicic said. The children were invited to cover the village’s main street with paintings of how they imagine Mars, and they happily obliged, she added.

“I am sure that in the future it could inspire some good projects, good events in the municipality of Jezero,” Ruzicic said.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Living

IKEA Juneteenth menu of watermelon, fried chicken sparks outrage

Published

on

By

IKEA Juneteenth menu of watermelon, fried chicken sparks outrage

An attempt to honor Juneteenth has backfired spectacularly for one Georgia Ikea.

An Atlanta branch of the Scandinavian furniture chain has sparked outrage with what employees are calling an intensely problematic menu curated to celebrate the holiday, which marks the emancipation of the very last enslaved Americans. 

“To honor the perseverance of Black Americans and acknowledge the progress yet to be made, we observe Juneteenth on Saturday, June 19, 2021,” begins an email acquired by TMZ, which was sent to employees at the branch last week. “Look out for a special menu on Saturday which will include: fried chicken, watermelon, mac n cheese, potato salad, collard greens, candied yams.” 

The selection, including items that have historically been used to demean African-Americans through stereotyping, resulted in multiple employees calling out of work in protest, according to a local news channel.

“You cannot say serving watermelon on Juneteenth is a soul food menu when you don’t even know the history. They used to feed slaves watermelon,” an anonymous employee told Atlanta’s CBS 46. “It caused a lot of people to be upset. People actually wanted to quit. People weren’t coming back to work.” 

As many as 33 workers didn’t show up in response, CBS reported, causing the store’s manager to apologize via internal email. 

“She said, ‘I truly apologize. The menu came off [offensive],’” the employee recalled.

But this wasn’t sufficient for forgiveness, and the worker said the controversy could have been easily avoided if only people of color had been included in the team that chose the menu. “None of the co-workers who sat down to create the menu, no one was black,” they added. 

The following day, the store manager told CBS a new, revised menu was released. The updated version included collard greens, cornbread, mashed potatoes and meatloaf. And Sunday’s menu? “Fried chicken, mac ’n’ cheese, collard greens,” the employee said.

Ikea did not return The Post’s request for comment. 

Continue Reading

Living

Serbian Roma girl band sings for women’s empowerment

Published

on

By

Zlata Ristic, 27, center, Elma Dalipi, 14, left, Silvia Sinani, 24, 2nd left, Dijana Ferhatovic, 18, 3rd left, Zivka Ferhatovic, 20, 2nd right, and Selma Dalipi, 14, members of the Pretty Loud band, practice at a music studio in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, June 16, 2021.

BELGRADE, Serbia — Their songs are about “women chained” in abuse witnessed by generations, or teenage brides being forced into marriage by their fathers. And they tell women to seek love, fight back and stand up for their right to be equal with men.

A female Roma band in Serbia is using music to preach women’s empowerment within their community, challenging some deeply rooted traditions and centuries-old male domination.

Formed in 2014, “Pretty Loud” symbolically seeks to give a louder voice to Roma girls, encourage education and steer them away from the widespread custom of early marriage. The band has gained popularity and international attention, performing last year at the Women of the Year Festival in London.

“We want to stop the early marriages … we want the girls themselves and not their parents, to decide whether they want to marry or not,” said Silvia Sinani, one of the band members. “We want every woman to have the right to be heard, to have her dreams and to be able to fulfil them, to be equal,”

Sinani, 24, said the idea for an all-female band was born at education and artistic workshops run for Roma, or Gypsies, by a private foundation, Gypsy Roma Urban Balkan Beats. The girls initially danced in GRUBB’s boys’ band and then decided they wanted one of their own, she said.

“They (GRUBB) named us ‘Pretty Loud’ because they knew that women in Roma tradition are not really loud,” she said.

The band’s music, a combination of rap and traditional Roma folk beat, mainly targets a younger generation of girls who are yet to make their life choices — the band itself includes 14-year-old twin sisters. The songs tackle women’s position in their community and seek to boost their self-awareness.

The quest is essential in a community where early marriages are widespread — a UNICEF study published last year showed that over one-third of girls in Roma settlements in Serbia aged 15-19 are already married. Of them, 16 percent were married before they were 15.

Alarmed, Serbian authorities, too, have formed a state commission to try to reverse the trend.

“I am an example of early marriage,” said band member Zlata Ristic, 27, who gave birth to a baby boy at 16. “Nobody forced me into it but I have realized I should not have done it.”

Now a single mother, Ristic said she wants other women in similar situations to know that their lives are not over once they have children and that they can still pursue their dreams.

“My biggest reward is when 14-year-old girls write to me and say they want to become one of us, that they now attend school thanks to us, that they have improved their grades,” she said.

Among the most underprivileged ethnic communities in Serbia and Europe, the Roma largely live in segregated settlements on society’s fringes, facing poverty, joblessness and prejudice.

Activists have warned that the COVID-19 pandemic has further fueled the social isolation of marginalized groups and increased their poverty. Disruptions of regular schooling due to the virus lockdowns have made it even harder for Roma children to stay in the system.

At the GRUBB center in Belgrade’s Zemun district, several children could be seen working with young instructors in an improvised classroom. The girls from “Pretty Loud” teach at music and dance workshops run by GRUBB, which was established in Serbia in 2006.

Diana Ferhatovic, 18, first came to the center four years ago, initially seeking help with school lessons before joining the music program and finding her way into “Pretty Loud.” Their performance in London last March — just as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting — was unforgettable, she said.

“I had a kind of positive jitters, we all did at first, the whole group,” Ferhatovic said. “Then we blew them off their feet.”

Continue Reading

Living

Screen all kids for heart problems, pediatricians say

Published

on

By

Screen all kids for heart problems, pediatricians say

All children, regardless of their athletic status, should be screened for risk of cardiac arrest, the American Academy of Pediatrics said in a policy statement Monday. The group included four questions to incorporate into the screenings, including two pertaining to family history of heart issues. 

“The unexpected death of a seemingly healthy child is a tragedy not only for the family but for the family community as well,” the AAP said in a statement regarding the policy, which will be published in the July issue of Pediatrics. “Multiple studies have looked at sudden deaths in young people either as a whole or by individual disease processes. However, most of these studies are published in cardiology journals. The goal of the AAP-PACES policy is to present expanded information to pediatricians and other primary care providers.” 

The guidelines suggest screening for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and sudden cardiac death (SCD) should be performed during the preparticipation physical evaluation or at least every three years or on entry into middle/junior high school and high school. In addition to family history, the group recommends physicians inquire about fainting, passing out, or unexplained seizures without warning, especially during exercise, or in response to loud noises such as doorbells, alarm clocks and telephones, or if a patient has ever had exercise-related chest pain or shortness of breath. 

“Realizing that primary prevention methods are less than perfect, the policy soldiers secondary prevention, including the creation of a cardiac emergency response plan for schools and the role of the primary care provider as an advocate for CPR and automated external defibrillator training. It also provides information on the family evaluation following a cardiac arrest/death, including addressing bereavement, autopsies and genetic testing. Lastly, there is a section for survivors of cardiac arrest on returning to activity after recovery.” 

The group also advises that an ECG be the first test ordered when there is concern for SCA risk. 

Continue Reading

Trending