Tragedies hit home
104 missed calls – mom
Val Vita | Guest Writer
RIO GRANDE DO SUL, Brazil – Brazil cried at the loss of 233 lives on the morning of Jan. 27.
A fire in a crowded night club called Kiss, in the southern city of Santa Maria, was the biggest tragedy in the history of the state of Rio Grande do Sul and the second-worst fire tragedy in Brazilian history. There was only one way out of the club – and 90 percent of the bodies, police say, were found in the restrooms. Because of the lack of exit signals, and the thick smoke caused by the fire, people thought the restrooms were the way out.
The majority of the night clubs in my state, where Santa Maria is located, are closed. Parties, concerts, soccer games and all kinds of events were canceled because of what happened. We do go out this week to offer respect to all the victims and their families.
A few days after the tragedy, people from my state still can’t accept what happened. Santa Maria, like Pittsburg, is a college town, so the majority of the victims are students. Young people entered the club to have fun — and never left it. In that sad Sunday morning, many Brazilians, including me, couldn’t avoid the tears while watching the news.
All the channels were showing images of the club, destroyed by the fire, or the gymnasium of the town, where the 233 bodies were taken to be identified by their families and friends.
One story, told by a Brazilian journalist, made even the toughest ones cry a little bit. The journalist said he was talking to one of the firefighters who helped after the tragedy. The firefighter found a cellphone ringing incessantly with one of the victims – a girl, who was already dead. On the screen of the phone it said:
“104 missed calls – mom.”
While hundreds of moms, dads and friends try to understand what happened, the police continue to investigate. Four people are already arrested – two owners of the night club and two members of the band. All the clubs in the state are being examined, so a tragedy like this will never be repeated.
Egypt, two years since revolution
J. Fred Fox | Reporter
Next week, Egypt recognizes the day that a new era for the country began, for better or worse.
Egypt stripped its authoritarian government and removed its dictator, Hosni Mubarak. The country conducted its first democratic election in decades, electing Mohamed Morsi, who belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Yet, the country remains in economic turmoil and the opposition parties have protested the lack of change.
A wave of political violence has erupted in the coastal city of Port Said and elsewhere, where residents vented their fury at the country’s Islamist president and the Muslim Brotherhood, demanding his ouster and virtually declaring a revolt against his rule. Military leaders warned that the government could collapse as a result of the turmoil.
At least 60 people have been killed and hundreds injured since Thursday in clashes between police and protesters angry over what they call Islamists’ moves to monopolize power and failure to address the country’s multiple woes, the Associated Press reported.
“Egypt does have an officially democratically elected president, but the military is still pulling a lot of his strings,” said Paul Zagorski, professor of political science.
“The problem with Egypt is the military is retaining a veto power on the president’s decisions,” Zagorski said. “Even his foreign policy has to be OK’d by military leaders. He doesn’t even get to appoint the key positions of his government.”
Egyptian Mohamed Abdellatif, who is a graduate student in international business on an exchange program with Pittsburg State, says that he believes Morsi’s main problem is the influence of religious fundamentalists.
“The problem … our country faces is the president trying to mix religion into his politics,” Abdellatifsaid said.
Abdellatif says he objects to the current president, citing his lack of experience and failure to accomplish the goals that Morsi set for himself and were demanded by a post-revolution Egypt.
He says there is still a lot of poverty, underemployment and unemployment. Public employees have been overcharging for basic services such as acquiring a birth certificate or passport and pocketing the money.
“Most Egyptians just don’t want trouble,” Abdellatif said. “Plus, they don’t understand democracy; they don’t know their rights and responsibilities as citizens of a democratic country.”
Abdellatif says he believes these people have failed their duty to their country. He says that many people, especially out of poverty, took money or food from the Muslim Brotherhood to vote for Morsi, and he still only garnered only 58 percent of the vote.
Former PSU student Stéphane Bayet was struck by a vehicle while crossing Joplin Street near the PSU Alumni Center at 6:41 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29.
Bayet, 27, a graduate student at Missouri Southern State University from Ivory Coast, was transported to Via Christi Medical Center. He was later moved to Freeman Hospital in Joplin, Mo., and is currently on life support, says Kafui Alomenu, graduate student in technology management and a friend of Bayet.
“We’re all very worried and hope for a speedy recovery,” said Cathy Arcuino, associate director of international programs and services.
The accident is under investigation by the Pittsburg Police Department.
Star’s season ended by car: McGee slowly recovers from accident
Tim Spears | Sports Reporter
The Pittsburg State men’s basketball team suffered a major loss this week.
Senior forward JaVon McGee will likely be out for the remainder of the season due to injury. McGee’s injury is officially characterized as day-by-day.
McGee came into his final year as a Gorilla with a wrist injury, but still managed to post 12.4 points per game, the second-highest scoring average on the team. He has led Pitt State in rebounding with 7.4 boards per contest (Both career-high averages).
A.J. Adams and Denton Hayes are the most likely to replace McGee as a starter, unless head coach Kevin Muff decides to go small with the lineup.
A four-year starter, McGee is in the top-20 in points scored and top-10 in steals all-time for Pittsburg State through his career. Recruited out of Grandview High School, McGee is the only remaining player from former head coach Gene Iba’s final season.