What Holiday?

By Ria Devgon

Many people don’t know that there was a special event that happened on Sunday, October 27. This event called Diwali is celebrated by millions of people all over the world. Diwali or Deepavali is a Hindu festival of lights. This holiday is one of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolises the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. Many Hindu’s all over the world come together with the people they love to celebrate this wonderful holiday by cleaning, renovating, and decorating their homes with lights and candles. 

Many other religions also celebrate this holiday. According to Britannica, “Diwali is also an important festival in Jainism. For the Jain community, the festival commemorates the passing into nirvana of Mahavira, the most recent of the Jain Tirthankaras. The lighting of the lamps is explained as a material substitute for the light of holy knowledge that was extinguished with Mahavira’s passing. Diwali is also an important festival in Jainism. For the Jain community, the festival commemorates the passing into nirvana of Mahavira, the most recent of the Jain Tirthankaras. The lighting of the lamps is explained as a material substitute for the light of holy knowledge that was extinguished with Mahavira’s passing.” 


So what’s the story of Diwali? The story told on this holiday is that there was one a prince named Rama who had a beautiful wife named Sita. There was also a terrible demon named Ravana, who had twenty arms, ten heads, and was feared throughout the land. He wanted to make Sita his wife so one day, he kidnapped her and took her away in his chariot. However, when Sita was kidnapped, she left a trail of her jewelry for Rama to follow. Rama realized that she was gone and went to follow the trail she left along with his brother, Lakshmi. While Rama and Lakshmi followed this trail, they met with the monkey king, Hanuman, who became their friend and agreed to help them find Sita. Messages were sent to all the monkeys in the world, and through them to all the bears, who set out to find Sita. After a very long search, Hanuman found Sita imprisoned on an island. Rama’s army of monkeys and bears couldn’t reach the island, so they began to build a bridge. Soon all the animals of the world, large and small, came to help. When the bridge was built, they rushed across it and fought a mighty battle. When Rama defeated the evil Ravana with a magic arrow, the whole world rejoiced. Rama and Sita began their long journey back to their land, and everybody lit oil lamps to guide them on their way and welcome them back. Ever since, people have been lighting candles to remember that light triumphs over dark and good always defeats evil.

Image result for Rama and Sita

   (Left: Rama, Right: Sita)

On November 3rd, The Hindu Society of North Carolina or the HSNC celebrated this holiday in the temple located in Morrisville, NC by having dancers all over the area come in and give dance performances for the public as well as sell food and ice cream. 

Image result for HSNC temple

They also did fireworks at night to celebrate the wonderful victory of Rama, Lakshmi, and Hanuman. They allowed the public to bring their own fireworks to join them in the celebration. 

Over the centuries, Diwali has become a national festival that’s also enjoyed by non-Hindu communities. Diwali is a time spent with joy and happiness all over the world. As this Diwali season ends, we always remember the lesson of the story and anticipate for next year. 

शुभ दीवाली or Happy Diwali!

Syria, Turkey, and the Plight of the Kurds

GETTY IMAGES

BY: ASHLEY LOGUE

Just a few weeks ago, the centuries-old conflict between the Kurds, an ethnic minority group based in parts of the Middle East, and the country of Turkey was thrust into the international spotlight. The reason for this newfound deluge of worldwide attention? The Trump administration decision to withdraw American troops from the Syrian border, where they were allied with Kurdish forces in defeating ISIS. 

The Kurds comprise the largest ethnic minority group in Syria, making up between five to ten percent of the total population. They are mostly concentrated in the northern region of Syria, which shares a border with Turkey. Large Kurdish communities also exist in Turkey, Iraq, and Iran, but no country in the world has a majority Kurdish population. The Kurdish population in Syria gained international recognition for their boots-on-the-ground efforts to eradicate the terrorist organization known as ISIS, or the Islamic State, which gained power after the turmoil of the Syrian Civil War in 2011. Their involvement began after the United States joined a multinational coalition in 2014 aimed at defeating ISIS; this coalition soon allied with Kurdish militant groups who consistently proved themselves as forces to be reckoned with in the region. 

While the Kurds are heroes to the free world, Turkey is distrustful of them: the Kurdish militia that proved itself irreplaceable in the fight against ISIS is considered by some to be a subsidiary of a Kurdish insurgency group within Turkey known as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. This subset of the Kurdish Turkic population has brewed guerilla violence for decades upon decades, leading Turkey and the United States to label it a terrorist group. Turkey sees Kurdish reclamation of land formerly controlled by ISIS as a threat to their national security, and fears that Kurdish extremists could convert those fighting for freedom into those fighting for insurgency. The Obama administration tried to smooth over this conflict of interest by encouraging the Kurdish militia to adopt a different name and enlist more non-Kurdish freedom fighters. This policy enjoyed moderate success, as the group has since been renamed to the Syrian Democratic Forces and about 40 percent of its members are non-Kurds. As a show of good will, under Obama, American troops stationed in the region began patrols of the Turkish border to preserve peace. American goals of Turkish appeasement even went so far as to convince the Kurdish administration to retreat from the border and dismantle some of their defensive capabilities. 

However, President Trump has largely been an opponent of continued United States presence in Syria and what he views as “endless wars.” Campaign trail promises to his supporters finally came to fruition as he led an official order for American troops to leave the Syria/Turkey border after consulting with the Turkish president on October 6th, 2019. The American retreat effectively opened up the region to Turkish attack. An alliance of Turkish troops and Syrian Arabs began an invasion of Kurdish-held territory on October 9th. The invasion quickly devolved into chaos; American troops experienced several close calls with Turkish firepower while attempting to retreat. As a result, the Pentagon reevaluated the situation, and orders have now been sent for a full withdrawal from northern Syria. While President Trump has slapped Turkey with economic penalties for their invasion and treatment of Kurds, Americans, and their allies in the region, all that will be left of the American footprint is a small base in southern Syria. 

What does this mean for the rest of the world? Firstly, Turkey and their allies immediately benefit: Turkey can reclaim land from groups it views as dangerous, with over 75 square miles of Syrian-turned-ISIS-turned-Kurdish territory seized by the Turks in just one weekend. Secondly, Russian support of Syria turned insidious: the Syrian regime is taking back power previously held by Kurdish forces, supported by money and influence from the Kremlin. The Putin administration has even emerged as the main intermediary between the Kurds, Syria, and Turkey, expanding their power in the region to the detriment of United States interests. The final concern is perhaps the most widely recognizable and most widely feared: the resurgence of ISIS. The Kurdish militia no longer has the capabilities or support to attack remaining terrorist cells or guard the over 11,000 captured ISIS militants in the region. 

Abandoned by America, Kurdish freedom fighters are alone in the region, surrounded by enemies on all fronts: Syria, ISIS and Turkey, with Russia pulling the strings. Only two questions remain–will the international community ignore the anguish of our allies? Or will we help them as they so bravely helped us?

American Companies and the Controversy They Spark in Hong Kong

BY: SARAH GOVERT

Hong Kong citizens have protested every weekend for the past four months. Recently these protests have escalated in violence, but why should we care about the protests happening in Hong Kong? The answer: it’s complicated.

Markets around the world have become more and more politicized following the Hong Kong protests. Controversies have arisen as the protests have garnered the sympathy and support of American companies. The New York Times lists some of these controversies with Western companies. Coach, Givenchy, and Versace produced shirts that identified Hong Kong as an independent country. Tiffany & Co ran an ad in which a model held her hand over her right eye (a reference to the protester in Hong Kong getting shot in the eye). Other companies have acted in support of the Chinese government. Two of the biggest are Blizzard and the NBA. (New York Times Business, 2019)

Blizzard is a video game developer and publisher whose credits include games such as Diablo, World of Warcraft, and Hearthstone. On October 6th, immediately after winning one of the largest Hearthstone tournaments in the East, professional video game player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai was banned from playing Hearthstone for a year, and all his outstanding prize money was revoked. The punishment came after a post-game interview in which Blitzchung said, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” This punishment by Blizzard resulted in extreme backlash from players, fans, and even employees of Blizzard. As a result of public backlash to Blitzchung’s ban, Blizzard reduced both Blitzchung’s and the casters who conducted the interview’s bans from a year to six months. Blitzchung also received all the prize money he was owed, but the damage was already done. This situation sparked a bipartisan agreement between Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida reprimanding Blizzard’s censorship. Following this incident, many well-known players have stated that they will not cast at BlizzCon 2019 from November 1-3. Other game developers are responding to Blitzchung’s controversial punishment as well. Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, tweeted out that “That will never happen on my watch as the founder, CEO, and controlling shareholder.” (Beauchamp, 2019)

Recently, the NBA has found itself in a similar situation as Blizzard. According to TIME.com, “The controversy erupted after Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets… 

appeared to support Hong Kong demonstrators in a tweet late Friday.” (Wallbank and Cang, 2019) The tweet was quickly deleted, but the Chinese saw the incident as an additional Westerm company questioning the motives and control mainland China has over Hong Kong. China is the NBA’s leading market internationally, leading to extremely profitable licensing/retail deals growing for the past 11 years. The NBA is now at risk of losing all of this. The tweet by Morey contained an image that read, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” Multiple companies such as Li Ning Co. (sportswear) and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Credit Card Center have already suspended cooperation with the Rockets, and Rockets gear doesn’t come up anymore when searched for on Chinese e-commerce sites operated by JD.com Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Following Morey’s tweet, the NBA released an apology calling Morey’s statement regrettable and that the business is “deeply disappointed about Morey’s inappropriate comment” and that “he undoubtedly has hurt Chinese fans’ feelings severely.” (Wallbank and Cang, 2019) With their cautious approach to handling the situation, the NBA’s actions, much like Blizzard’s, led to bipartisan criticism. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas blasted the NBA for “shamefully retreating”, with both Democratic presidential candidates from Texas agreeing; O’Rourke called the apology “an embarrassment” and presidential nominee Julián Castro stated that Americans can’t be “bullied by an authoritarian government.” (Wallbank and Cang, 2019) Some players have unintentionally gotten involved in this larger controversy. On October 14th, LeBron James was interviewed and stated  “we do have freedom of speech. But there can be a lot of negative that comes with that too.” The international backlash was immediate. In Hong Kong on Tuesday, October 15th, a group of around 200 gathered on a basketball court to chant their support for Morey and direct obscenities towards James, with one throwing a basketball at a picture of James and trampling on his jersey. Some protesters in Hong Kong even burned his jersey. James Lo, a web designer that runs a basketball fan page in Hong Kong said that, “James’s comments had infuriated many in Hong Kong… We just can’t accept that.” (Guardian, 2019) 

As American companies take a stance on Hong Kong, Hong Kong’s craving for independence gains more publicity every day. This has created a cycle where more companies are being forced to choose between their economic interests and their morals. If they side with China, they have access to one of the most lucrative markets in the world; however, is that worth widespread criticism and boycotts back in the states? When this cycle forces massive corporations such as the NBA and Blizzard to take a stance, our entire nation’s foreign policy is affected. This directly shows how incredibly powerful protesting for what you believe in can truly be. To learn more about the background of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, check out this article.

Further Reading:

Companies involved in China controversies: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/09/business/dealbook/china-companies-nba.html

All there is to know about Blizzard: https://www.cnet.com/news/blizzard-hearthstone-and-the-hong-kong-protests-heres-what-you-need-to-know/

Info about Morey: https://time.com/5694150/nba-china-hong-kong/

Why Hong Kong hates LeBron: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/oct/15/hong-kong-protestors-burn-lebron-james-jerseys-nba

Club Spotlights at CHS

BY: AREEBA JALEEL & RIA DEVGON

Anime Club

Looking for friends and like anime? Check out Anime Club in Room 2330 (Mrs. Duncan’s room). The club meets every Friday to nerd out and watch anime. If interested, you can join the remind @chs0otaku.

Science Olympiad

Science Olympiad is a club where all together a group of students compete in 23 events pertaining to various scientific disciplines, including earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. The club is very fun and collaborative; if interested, you can contact the club advisor Raqhi Sarsour or join the remind@arogya

Robotics Club

A group of students who are interested in learning about and working with robots. The club participated in robotics competitions, where teams of students must design and build a robot that can compete against opponents in a series of specific challenges. If interested, you can contact the club advisor at jcrooks@wcpss.net, and you canjoin the remind @chsrc1819

Speech and Debate

Speech and Debate is a club where students learn and use the skills needed to write, edit, and present either topics of interest as speeches, or arguments in formal debate. You also can compete in tournaments! If you like to write, argue, and work with friends, this club is a great fit for you! If interested, you can contact Mr. Jessee at pjessee@wcpss.net

Key club

Being in Key Club allows you to perform acts of service in their communities, such as cleaning up parks, collecting and organizing food drives. If interested, you can communicate with the leader through remind @649eb4.

World Lit Book Club

Do you enjoy reading? If so, then you should definitely take an interest in joining this club. A group of excellent readers, usually consisting of a number of people who read and talk about books based on an agreed-upon reading list. If interested, you can contact the club’s advisor, Ms. Stevens, at gstevens@wcpss.net

Red Cross Club

Its mission is to educate and empower students through constructive training and effective leadership and provide opportunities for directing and harnessing their energy into worthwhile humanitarian activities. If interested, contact the club advisor at kfitzpatrick@wcpss.net or join the remind @h33k7ff

IMProve Club

Being in this club allows you to interact with other students while pitching in ideas on how to improve the school’s campus. Our latest project is working on a plan to paint a mural on the 400 building. If this is something you want to take apart of, contact Mrs. Reid at sreid3@wcpss.net or join the club’s remind: @imps19 

Knitting Club

Do you love to knit? Do you want to learn how to knit? If so, this is the club for you! This club meets together to learn the skills of knitting to create fabrics to show off their style. If you are interested, contact Mr. Tarasco at ptarasco@wcpss.net.  

Muslim Student Association (MSA) 

MSA strives to build unity through diversity and education. It aims to provide for people of all backgrounds, levels of knowledge, and to learn fascinating stuff about the Muslim religion. If interested, you can join the remind @828ace8, or contact Mr. Ashburn at sashburn@wcpss.net

What Are The Hong Kong Protests All About?

BY: SARAH GOVERT

Every weekend for the past four months, protesters in Hong Kong have taken to the streets to send a message all the way to Beijing in mainland China. Since the protests began in June, they’ve escalated in violence and frequency. According to BBC News, protesters stormed “Legco”, the Legislative Council in Hong Kong in July, defacing parts of it through graffiti and symbols. On October 15th, in what would have been the first meeting of Legco since the defacement, opposing lawmakers jumped onto tables and began shouting at Chief Executive Carrie Lam, as she was about to begin her speech, leading to the suspension of her annual address. In August, a protestor was injured, leading to other protesters wearing red-colored eye patches in solidarity. Continuing protests at the Hong Kong airport have led to hundreds of flights being cancelled. On October 1st, the 70th anniversary of communist rule in mainland China, the protests hit their most violent day yet, with an 18 year old being shot in the chest and protesters fighting law enforcement with projectiles and poles. (BBC, 2019)

But what began the widespread protests in the first place? The answer is quite simple: the introduction of an extradition bill this past April.

According to BBC, the extradition bill “would have allowed for criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China under certain circumstances” (2019). Citizens of Hong Kong feared that this would lead to unfair trials and give mainland China greater influence over Hong Kong. The mass protests and demonstrations that resulted led to Lam agreeing to suspend the bill on June 15th, mere weeks after it was introduced. However, the protesters demands haven’t yet been fully met. Some pro-democracy protesters have adopted the motto: “Five demands, not one less!” These five demands are as follows: “protests not being characterized as riots, amnesty for arrested protesters, an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, implementation of complete universal suffrage, and the withdrawal of the bill.” (BBC, 2019) Only one of these demands has been met, so protests are expected to continue. 

On Wednesday, October 23, Hong Kong’s security minister announced the formal withdrawal of the extradition bill. This movement forward proves that public outcry is continuing to move forward legislators. These widespread protests have also invoked global economic conflicts which has led to many American politicians taking a stance. To learn more about how American companies are involved in the movement in Hong Kong, check out this article.

Further Reading:

Hong Kong protests explained:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-49317695

Lam abandoning speech after protests:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-50065292

Formal withdrawal of the bill:
https://news.yahoo.com/hong-kong-completes-process-withdrawing-080100864.html

FEATURED IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES

THE Top 5 Halloween Movies

BY: AMARAH DIN

When you think of Halloween, you imagine crazy decorations, trick-or-treating, haunted houses, and costume parties. When I think of Halloween, I see an excuse to sit at home and watch some horror movies. However, not everyone can sit through two hours of one gory Saw movie(though, I would highly recommend you all watch the Saw series), or the jump-scares of IT, or the suspense of Annabelle. So here is a compilation and rating of my favorite childhood films that exude Halloween vibes. If you’re like me and don’t have any plans for Halloween Eve, then consider watching one of these films.

5. Halloweentown (1998)

Halloweentown Trailer 

Halloweentown would come on Disney Channel every Halloween in the 2000s, and I loved all the magic in it! Not very scary, but it’s definitely a movie that will make you smile and reminisce about the good old days.

4. Twitches (2005)

Twitches Trailer 

My sister and I watched this religiously when we were younger. From the magical powers, to the dark forces, and to the reuniting of a family, this movie will warm your heart and remind you what being a sister is all about.

3. Beetlejuice (1988)

Beetlejuice Trailer 

Forget everything you learned from TikTok about this movie: the only song that’ll be stuck in your head is “Day-O.” The wildness of Beetlejuice, the teenage angst coming from actress Winona Ryder, and the cheesy effects is everything that makes viewers laugh. 

2. Coraline (2009)

Coraline Trailer 

This movie is another one of my favorites, but maybe that’s because I dressed up as Coraline last year. This flick was ahead of its time! The plot leaves you wondering about the hidden world that Coraline inhabits, and you’ll wish that you lived in the Pink Palace apartments.

1. Monster House (2006)

Monster House Trailer 
First place HAD to go to Monster House! This film indulges in the classic “creepy old neighbor” stereotype and reveals secrets about what’s really going on behind closed doors. It’s a perfect balance of scariness and humor and will surely make your All Hallows’ Eve a bit more spooky.

COVER IMAGE: IFC CENTER

The NC State Fair: Ranked

By Alexis Cope

There is nothing like the North Carolina State Fair. Let’s be honest: that rush when you walk through the little gate and see the ferris wheels twirling high above the tents, when you’re hit by the confusing and jumbled smells of ten different food vendors all at the same time, when you see those colorful, flashing lights, when you watch game winners carrying their enormous stuffed monkey on their shoulders as they walk by; there’s nothing like it. It’s like stepping into this little chaotic and fantastic bubble of a world where everyone and everything is full to bursting with that contagious energy you just can’t find anywhere else.

All’s fair in love and war, as they say. And at this fair, anything goes, especially when it comes to food. Deep fried, baked, stewed, aged, it doesn’t matter, it’s there somewhere. But, what’s the best, and what’s the worst? What wacky and wild things can you find to crunch and munch at this crazy once-a-year-here-for-a-week party?  

When I visited the NC State Fair this past week, I ate as much food as I could hold, looked at more cases of food than I think I ever have, and took so many pictures my phone ran out of space, all with the hope of compiling a list of all the outrageous things that came out of the fair this year. 

So, welcome to the North Carolina Food Hall of Fame: 2019 inductees edition. 

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Best Fried Food:

Deep Fried Mac-n-Cheese

Who doesn’t love a good mac-n-cheese? So it’s no surprise that these little morsels won my award for best thing fried; with a golden crunchy outside and cheesy, stringy, warm inside, each bite was delicious. I’m just surprised nobody came up with this idea earlier.

Worst Fried Food:

Deep Fried Pickle

While I didn’t actually eat any of these, I did get a chance to look at one, and it was not a happy sight. Besides, who would do such a thing to a perfectly good pickle?

Best Presentation:

Bloomin’ Onion

Yes, I love onions. Yes, I love onion rings. So yes, I loved the bloomin’ onion. But forgetting about taste, it just looked super fun and exciting, not to mention it was the perfect finger food to share. 

Most Canned Food In One Spot:

The Food Preservation Competition Room

There were cases with shelves upon shelves filled with this year’s competitors in the Food Preservation competition. Delicious looking jams, jellies, relishes, and pickled fruits and vegetables were packed into little mason jars, some with winner’s ribbons stuck on top. If only I could have tasted them all.

Craziest Drink:

Muscadine Grape Slushie

Just the sound of this alone was enough to make me turn my head, and even though I wanted to try this crazy concoction, the stand had run out when I came by. Muscadines are a very southern grape, and I’d only ever seen it used in jellies, so I found this use of the fruit actually pretty interesting.

Best Crazy Flavor:

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

I love pumpkin everything – if it’s done right. And this was done right. Creamy, flavorful with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg; it was just spot on. Unfortunately, I can’t get any more of the pumpkin goodness until next year; Smitty’s Homemade Ice Cream is based in Burlington.

Largest Portion:

Fresh Pumpkin Sticky Bun

This thing was enormous! It weighed at least two or  three pounds, was at least two inches tall, and slathered in some sort of pumpkin compote that was just delicious. It took four of us to make a dent in this monster of a cake, and even then we couldn’t end up finishing it. 

Largest Pumpkin(s):

Nationwide:

Busting the scale was a beast of a pumpkin from Morgantown, West Virginia belonging to Dustin Trychta. At 1,549.5 pounds, it won by a landslide and was awarded the coveted blue ribbon. 

North Carolina:

Weighing in at 1,506.5 pounds, this year’s state winner set the new record for prodigious pumpkin plumpness. The pumpkin was grown by Danny Vester in the small town of Spring Hope. 

Pie, anyone?

Best Snack:

Kettle Corn

I’ll just say it. Popcorn covered in caramel. Makes your mouth water, doesn’t it? Rightly so, because this kettle corn was “delish.” The perfect snack to take with you as you wander around the fair. 

Best Fair Food of 2019:

Funnel Cake

All right, I admit it, I’m a sucker for a good funnel cake. But when they’re fresh and hot and covered in powdered sugar, who isn’t? Besides, fair funnel cake is like no other. Our plate of chewy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness was gone within two minutes – no joke – and was the absolutely perfect way to end my night.

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