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Migrant Crisis: A Record Number of Migrants Reaching Italy by Boat from North Africa in 2016

In the past three years, Italy has recorded nearly half a million migrant arrivals. Many have fled war, poverty or political oppression

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FILE - Migrants, who tried to flee to Europe, travel in a dinghy after they were stopped by Libyan coast guards and made to head to Tripoli. VOA

November 29, 2016: A record number of migrants have reached Italy by boat from North Africa in 2016, according to official data, as pressure on Italy’s shelter and asylum systems grows.

Italy has borne the brunt of new arrivals since the implementation in March of an agreement between the European Union and Turkey to curb the flow of migrants sailing for Greece.

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As of November 28, some 171,299 boat migrants had reached Italy’s shores, the Interior Ministry said, compared to the previous record of 170,100 for all of 2014.

There is no sign of a let-up in people crossing. Some 1,400 more migrants were rescued from rubber and wooden boats attempting to cross the central Mediterranean during Monday, Italy’s coast guard said.

In the past three years, Italy has recorded nearly half a million migrant arrivals. Many have fled war, poverty or political oppression.

The influx has brought a record number of asylum requests this year in Italy where more than 176,000 asylum seekers now live in shelters. This is putting the country’s asylum process and legal system under increasing pressure.

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While there had been hope that a government formed in Tripoli in March would help stop people smuggling, it has not.

Libya remains fertile ground for traffickers as local militias and a rival government in Tobruk compete for power.

Most of the migrants who have come to Italy this year are Africans of various nationalities. Some 36,000 Nigerians have made the trip, about 21 percent of the total, along with 20,000 Eritreans and more than 12,000 from Guinea.

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An estimated 4,663 migrants have died in the Mediterranean this year as a record number of unaccompanied minors have come to Italy. As of the end of October, almost 23,000 unaccompanied minors — mostly teenage boys — had arrived, compared with 13,000 during the whole of 2014.

During the more stormy winter months, arrivals in the past have dropped, but rescuers are concerned this year that there will not be enough vessels to go to their aid. (VOA)

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World’s oldest Italian wine has been found: US Study

The Italian wine was found in a large storage jar and belongs to the Copper Age

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World's oldest Italian wine found
World's oldest Italian wine found. Pixabay
  • The world’s oldest Italian wine in a large storage jar from the Copper Age
  • The discovery is detailed in Microchemical Journal
  • Chemical analysis conducted on the ancient large storage jar tested positive 

Florida, USA, August 25, 2017: Researchers from the US have found evidence of the world’s oldest Italian wine in a large storage jar from the Copper Age which indicates that winemaking in the region began as early a fourth millennium BC.

The discovery, detailed in Microchemical Journal, could dramatically predate the commencement of winemaking in Italy.

Traditionally, it has been believed that the production of it developed in Italy in the Middle Bronze Age (1300-1100 BC).

Chemical analysis conducted on the ancient large storage jar tested positive.

Lead study author Davide Tanasi from University of South Florida in Tampa, US, conducted chemical analysis of residue on unglazed pottery found at the Copper Age site of Monte Kronio in Agrigento, located off the southwest coast of Sicily.

The team determined that the residue contains tartaric acid and its sodium salt, which occurs naturally in grapes and in the winemaking process.

The researchers are now trying to determine whether it was red wine or white wine. (IANS)

 

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‘Hello Neighbor’ : This Organisation in Pittsburgh helps Migrants understand American Culture

The organization seeks to promote "meaningful interactions" between migrants and Americans

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  • Pittsburgh based organization ‘Hello Neighbor’ introduces migrants to welcoming American families
  • It is an initiative to build cultural bridge between two distinct cultures 
  • Many migrant families have felt safer after going through the ‘Hello Neighbor’ process

Pittsburgh, August 11, 2017: ‘Hello Neighbor’ is an organization based in Pittsburgh that aims to build cultural bridges between migrants and Americans.

The initiative tries to integrate the migrants into the society through fruitful interaction and activities.

The Hello Neighbor is a not for profit organization, established in January 2017. The process is simple. It is a mentorship program. The migrant family is paired with a welcoming open minded American Families. Through fruitful interactions and meetings, the migrant family will have the opportunity to learn the American culture and get integrated into the society.

ALSO READ: Chakma Refugees in India’s remote Northeast Forgotten in Floods: Charity World Vision

The American families (the Mentors) will receive support, education, and guidance to become refugee advocates.

Interactions include picnics, potluck dinner, cultural outings and more. The mentorship program is a four months program.

Sloane Davidson, the founder, is the woman behind the idea of connecting two different families. As she stated to sources at VOA, “It is important to remember that refugees are people who are forced to flee.” She said she wanted to do something so the families could come together and have “meaningful interactions.”

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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Forgotten Contribution of Chinese Laborers in California’s Wine Country

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Wine Country
Women and Men in California during Gold Rush. Wikimedia
  • California Gold Rush caused the migration of Chinese
  • Contribution of Chinese workers in helping build Buena Vista Winery
  • Sonoma-Penglai Sister City Committee is raising funds to build a Chinese pavilion to honor their contribution

California, July 13, 2017: 

Role of California Gold Rush in Migration of Chinese

Discovery of Gold in 1848 by James W. Marshall at Sutter’s Mill in California sparked almost mass hysteria as it brought thousands of immigrants to the American west.  The New York Herald is said to be the first newspaper to confirm about the news of gold rush in California (on August 1, 1948). More than 300,000 people thronged from the United States and abroad seeking to strike it rich. The California Gold Rush also included the Chinese who stayed back even after the gold rush ended in 1855. The Chinese worked as unskilled labor mainly in construction of the railroads.

Contribution of Chinese workers in laying the foundation of Wine Industry

Very few people know that these Chinese workers played a vital role in laying the foundation for the famous California wine industry. People who visit by the Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma County get surprised when they learn about the forgotten past of Chinese laborers. Founded in 1857 it is the first premium winery of California. The people who helped in building it came from far off places while some of them also traveled north of San Francisco to work in the infant vineyards.

“From the late 1850’s to the 1870’s, they primarily were Chinese laborers. They actually built our building and played a huge role in the founding of Buena Vista,” said Tom Blackwood, general manager of Buena Vista Winery.

“They did all of the work of the fields, the plowing. The actual digging, planting and then the management of all the vineyards,” said Blackwood. “They definitely worked at the other properties, but Buena Vista was known to have the largest Chinese labor camp north of San Francisco.”

The Chinese laborers also dug the cave at Buena Vista Winery for the purpose of storing wines so they could age. But what still remains there, are the pick marks on the walls of the cave. The rocks which were dug from the cave were used as building blocks for the wine-making facilities at that time, and of those original buildings, two of them still remain to this date.

“A couple of my friends showed me, the so-called ‘Chinese rock fence,’” said Chinese American Jack Ding, pointing to a low fence made of rocks at the side of a busy road. “Local people, they still remember Chinese laborers did something for them.” “They worked here, lived here and most of them died here. They didn’t have a place to be buried,” said Ding to VOA.

 

Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma County, California. Wikimedia

Story of Chinese Laborers still a mystery

Stories of the Chinese laborers passed down by word of mouth among the locals. Historians knew about them, but what happened to them isn’t certain. Immigrants from China experienced violent anti-Chinese sentiment, boycotts, and in 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act, restricted their immigration into the United States.

“We don’t understand where they went after they left the city of Sonoma. We don’t know a whole lot of names,” said former Sonoma city historian George McKale.

“This was sort of the forgotten history of Sonoma. We had sort of a shameful history regarding the Ancient Exclusion Act and people want to make things right,” said resident David Katz.

Wine Country Chinese Legacy Project, an effort to honor their contributions

To honor these nameless laborers, the Sonoma-Penglai Sister City Committee is raising money to build a Chinese pavilion, in the city of Sonoma. Katz and Ding who are the members of this Committee said that it would also be a piece of history for the new Chinese who are here. While the project aims to raise a total of $75,000, the Chinese sister city of Penglai has pledged $25,000 for building the outdoor structure, thus it will be called the Penglai Pavilion.

“We can see a lot of investors from China. They purchase wineries. They purchase properties. That is the reason why we want to build this kind of physical structure, to remind the people, remind them of the history, who we are and where we came from.”

The pavilion would help in educating the new generations of Chinese who visit the wine country learn about the history of their fellow citizens, said Ding.

– by Sabnam Mangla of NewsGram, Twitter: @sabnam_mangla


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