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Entries for March 2009

Largest Ever Federal Tobacco Tax Increase Set For April 1
By David Najor :: 25531 Views :: Business & Finance

Michigan, USA - Federal tobacco taxes are set to go into effect April 1.   The biggest federal tax increase will hit roll-your-own tobacco, rising from $1.10 per pound to $24.78 per pound. Store-bought cigarette taxes will head from 39 cents per pack to $1.01 per pack. The state tax for store-bought cigarettes stands at $2 a pack.

Chaldean retailers that sell tobacco say customers are stocking up and driving demand.  Stores that sell loose tobacco and cigarettes are clamoring to keep their inventory stocked.  Unhappy store owner John Kallabat of Canopy Bottle & Gourmet Shoppe in Brighton wonders how sales will fare starting next month. His store sells cigars and cigarettes, but no roll-your-own tobacco.

"It seems like every time they decide to put a tax increase on something it's always beer, wine or liquor or tobacco, and that's our livelihood," Kallabat said.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm's budget wouldn't touch Michigan's $2-per-pack cigarette tax, it would slam other tobacco smokers, chewers and puffers who've been a favorite tax target for states to balance budgets and, in the name of good health, discourage tobacco use.

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Chaldean Refugees Arrive in Germany
By Sabah Hajjar :: 29465 Views :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

GERMANY - Germany has long fought for the protection of war refugees and has taken their cases to the EU on numerous occasions.  Germany has agreed to resettle 2,500 Iraqi refugees, said the Amman office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday, March 10, adding that 2,000 would come from Syria and 500 from Jordan.
 
The first batch of refugees will be soon leaving Jordan for resettlement in Germany, Dana Bajjali, a spokeswoman for the UNHCR office in Amman told DPA news agency without indicating the precise date of their departure. Around 120 Christian refugees from Iraq arrived in Germany on Thursday in search of a better and safer future away from the turmoil of their home country.
 
Amnesty International's Julia Duchrow explains that the successful asylum applicants have a clean criminal record and can not have been members of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's Baath party.  Single mothers, those suffering from post-traumatic stress and people with ties to Germany also had a greater chance of having their application for asylum approved, she added. 

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Chaldean Family in Michigan Harrassed by Their Homeowner Association for Having Virgin Mary Statue
By Huda Metti :: 45817 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society, Chaldean Justice League

Michigan, USA – “In Iraq if you show any Christian religious symbol in front of your home they send you a letter or take you to court.  How is this management company any different than those that threaten and oppress Christians in third world, communist, and fascist countries,” says Andrew Abdel.

Abdel is incensed at the Tolgate Woods Homeowners association in Novi who has sent a letter asking the Samona family to remove a virgin statue from their front lawn.  A statue that has adorned the home since 2004.  The Samona family is well known in the Chaldean community.  Farouk Samona is a deacon (Shamasha) at the Chaldean Cathedral in Michigan and both his wife and son are active parishioners in women and youth ministry. 

This is the second time the family has been harassed by the homeowner association for their faith.  The first time was back in 2004 during Christmas when the family was sent a letter demanding the removal of their nativity scene. 

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Chaldean Education and Career Center Invites Chaldean and non-Chaldean Teachers to Cultural Workshop for SEU Credits
By CE&CC :: 30097 Views :: Career & Education, Chaldean Education & Career Center

Michigan, USA – The Chaldean Education and Career Center (CE&CC) shares with the Chaldean community middle and high school teachers a wonderful opportunity.  Wayne State University is once again, hosting a Teachers Cultural Awareness Summer Workshop which focuses on Middle Eastern Culture, Arabic Language, and the Intelligence Community. 

This 6-week workshop begins on June 30, 2009 and ends on August 6, 2009.  The class will meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. 

Chaldean teachers wishing to participate will be able to do so free of charge and will earn 2.7 SB-CEU Credits.    Non-Chaldean teachers are also invited and will have all associated fees waived upon acceptance of application.

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California Chaldean Store Owners Are Feeling Safer
By Sam Yousif :: 37579 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society

California, USA – Local convenient store owners in the El Cajon and the San Diego area feel safer.  Jeda Athra, a mother of three teenagers works long hours with her husband at a corner retail store says she is happy to see the police and prosecuting attorneys taking a stronger stance against crime.  “They need to clean-up the criminals from the streets and let everyone know that holding-up a store in our town means you will go to jail.”

Athra’s husband adds, “Our state is bankrupt which means more crime and more problems.  We need police to scare bad people away from here before they kill anyone else.  Look at those two evil criminals that now face the death penalty.  It does not pay to hurt people in our city.”

The convenient store couple refer to the Thanksgiving bandits.  Franko “Dopes” Bernal and Samuel Thomas “Tommy” McCauley, 21 face a death sentence or life in prison for gunning down store workers in 2006.

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Chaldean Moms Give Great Advice
By Latifa Seeba :: 33877 Views :: Health & Fitness, Community & Culture

“I was scared and worried,” says Ashley Michael.  “My baby would not stop crying.  It was late at night and I was so tired.  He was getting on my nerves.  Thank God we lived with my Mother-in-Law.  She helped keep me calm and made me feel that everything would be fine.  She was so kind and helpful.”

All babies cry. And at about two weeks of age, it is common for babies to develop a fussy period in the evening that can last for as long as two hours.  Fortunately for Mrs. Michael it is a Chaldean tradition for a new mom to stay with her mother or mother-in-law after giving birth for a few months.   

The reassurance, extra set of hands, and experienced advice can make all the difference.  So can a number of these helpful tips given to www.CHALDEAN.org by experienced Chaldean moms on how to soothe a fussy baby.  Try some of the following techniques, or perhaps a combination of them, to soothe your baby.

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Unemployment A Bit Different in the Chaldean Community
By Rita Abro :: 35227 Views :: Living & Lifestyle, Business & Finance

Just a few weeks after Salim Bashi was laid off as manager of a taxi cab company in Michigan, he found himself driving through Detroit with his 11-year-old son, Sam. Sam knew that his father was unemployed and that money was a concern in their family. 

Salim says, “We stopped at a red light, and saw a homeless man pushing a shopping cart.  I could see in my son’s eyes he was worried.  I asked him what he was thinking.  First he was scared to answer.  He wanted to know if we would be like that man with the shopping cart."   

www.CHALDEAN.org speaks to several Chaldean fathers about how losing a job can affect family life.

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