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Facts of Gaza conflict elude many in New York

A demonstrator displays a flag at a gathering for Universal Peace Day, which commemorates the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on Aug. 5.

A demonstrator displays a flag at a gathering for Universal Peace Day, which commemorates the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on Aug. 5.

By Angela Kim, Amna Nawaz, Nicholas Santiago and Hasani Valdez
with the staff of the Princeton Summer Journal

ByTheNumbersNew Yorkers are known for their global-mindedness, diversity and strong opinions. But in a survey conducted by the Princeton Summer Journalism Program last week in New York, a majority of respondents did not know some of the basic facts of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza.

A large majority of 410 people interviewed around Union Square on Aug. 5 did not know the name of the leader of Hamas, the political faction which governs Gaza and is regarded as a terrorist group by the United States. Although 58-year-old Khaled Meshaal has run Hamas for the past ten years, 99 percent of those surveyed could not name him. Just three percent of those interviewed were aware that the Hamas leader resides in exile in Qatar.

Of those interviewed, just under 25 percent correctly identified the approximate number of Israeli casualties, which numbered 67 as of Aug. 6, according to BBC world news. (Responses within the range of 47-87 were considered correct answers.) Similarly, just under 25 percent of those polled correctly identified the number of Palestinian casualties within a range of 1300-2300. The number was 1,888 on Aug. 4, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Continue reading

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Proposed pipeline through Princeton draws scrutiny

By Rashid Binnur, Catherina Gioino and Nelly Mendoza

In recent years, awareness of the environmental hazards posed by pipeline projects has grown, driven in part by the possible construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would run from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

Now there is debate over a proposed pipeline that would pass through Princeton — a 1.3-mile stretch of the partly constructed 10,200-mile Transco pipeline, which would carry natural gas from Texas to New York.

New Jersey Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, along with U.S. Representatives Rush Holt and Frank Pallone, called for an extensive review of the project’s environmental impact last month. A week earlier, Princeton’s town council had passed a resolution asking the federal government to reject the current pipeline plan. Between concerns over environmental damage and human safety, the project has some residents wondering: Is this pipeline a good deal for Princeton? Continue reading

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Daring to dream of a brighter future

studentsatthetimes-FullColor-2By the Staff of The Princeton Summer Journal

Ten days ago, we arrived at Princeton University for the start of the Summer Journalism Program. We came from all over the country with different backgrounds and cultures, but we shared a common interest in journalism.

Today, we leave Princeton as friends and as members of the broader SJP family. We have had a once-in-a-lifetime experience and formed long-lasting friendships cemented through long days of workshops and late nights in the newsroom. Continue reading

Princeton public schools work to bring students back to the lunch line

Items like black bean cookies and yogurt parfaits will be added to the lunch menus at Princeton Public schools this fall.

Items like black bean cookies and yogurt parfaits will be added to the lunch menus at Princeton Public schools this fall.

By Eric Macias
Chicago, Ill.

This year, Princeton Public Schools will implement a new, upgraded lunch program due to low participation in the current school lunch program.

Rather than eat the food offered by the Princeton Public School system, students from all grade levels opt out. Due to short lunch periods, limited and often unhealthy food options and a lack of education on the importance of eating well, students have been avoiding the cafeteria lunches, leaving some faculty members worried about student health.

“Only nine percent of all students at Princeton High School participate in the lunch program, and most of those students receive free lunch,” said Stephen Cochrane, 53, during an interview in the recently renovated library of Princeton Middle School. Cochrane is the superintendent of Princeton Public Schools and plans to improve the lunch system this year by making lunch more interesting for students. Currently, only between nine and 45 percent of students at Princeton Public schools participates. Continue reading

Battle over future of historic site

A couple strolls through the Princeton Battlefield State Park. The Institute for Advanced Study is proposing to build a new site beyond these trees.

A couple strolls through the Princeton Battlefield State Park. The Institute for Advanced Study is proposing to build a new site beyond these trees.

By Eliana Lanfranco
Brooklyn, N.Y.

On January 3, 1777, gun smoke, cannon fire and musket balls filled the air of Princeton, as American forces under General John Sullivan’s command cornered British-hired Hessian mercenaries near Princeton University’s Nassau Hall. British forces surrendered as General George Washington and his troops drove another regiment into the woods while shouting, “It’s a fine fox hunt, boys!” Washington’s victory at the Battle of Princeton boosted morale and convinced others, particularly the French, to support the nascent American rebellion.

Two hundred and thirty-seven years later, the Institute for Advanced Study and Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) are engaging in what PBS calls the “second Battle of Princeton.” This time, at stake is a plot of land considered by PBS to be pivotal to the battle. Continue reading

Israel and Palestine must compromise

By Rashid Binnur
Imperial Beach, Calif.

By all accounts, there is a major discrepancy between the number of Israelis and Palestinians who have died in the conflict in Gaza that erupted last month. According to the United Nations, more than 1,800 Palestinians have died, while the death toll in Israel, according to its government, stands at just 67.

But these disparate death tolls reflect not just a war in Gaza, but an attack on a nation’s sovereignty — a sign that both Israel and its backers in the United States refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Palestinian state. Continue reading

Robeson House in jeopardy

The Paul Robeson House Committee must raise at least $1 million to pay off the mortgage of the house.

The Paul Robeson House Committee must raise at least $1 million to pay off the mortgage of the house.

By Marily Lopez
Los Angeles, Calif.

Football player, actor, civil rights activist and singer, Paul Robeson was born in Princeton, New Jersey in a combined two-story house on the corner of Witherspoon and Green Street in 1898. Almost 116 years later, the Paul Robeson House, a historical centerpiece of the community, may now be in jeopardy due to increasing property values, gentrification and financial issues.

In order to save the house, a historical centerpiece of the community’s rich history, the Paul Robeson House Committee is considering some combination of five possible options: a Memorial Gallery of Paul Robeson, a Center for the Study and Advancement of Human Rights, a Center for the Promotion of the Arts, a Community Resource Center, and/or Mentoring and Referral Services. Continue reading

Princetonians divided on immigration border crisis

By Paige Pagan
Bronx, N.Y.

Tens of thousands of undocumented, unaccompanied minors from Central America have recently passed over the United States border. Parents from countries including Guatemala and Honduras have been paying smugglers in a desperate attempt to have their children whisked away to the safety of the United States.

This ever-growing problem is focused in Texas. Containment hotels and refugee camps are being filled by the day, and places to send these incoming children are increasingly running out. Now, some view government officials as babysitters to care for these children. Continue reading

Hoffman shines in dull spy feature

Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in ‘A Most Wanted Man’ as a brilliant but troubled spy. This was Hoffman’s final role before his unexpected death in February.

Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in ‘A Most Wanted Man’ as a brilliant but troubled spy. This was Hoffman’s final role before his unexpected death in February.

By Catherina Gioino
Queens, N.Y.

In a society where fears of terrorism are often racially and religiously-charged, there comes a point at which people must rethink their prejudices. Such is the message of “A Most Wanted Man,” a film set in a post-September 11th era when governments are on the lookout for terrorists.

A darkening title card sets the tone for the film, by detailing the German government’s failure to detect Mohammad Atta, one of the masterminds of the 9/11 attacks. Some time later, Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin) — a man sought after by counterterrorism officials — mysteriously appears in Hamburg. Karpov, a suspected Chechen terrorist, is the initial subject of investigation by Günther Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a troubled and brilliant spy. Continue reading