Border Control on Consumables

Jip Damen, Netherlands

What surprised me the most from travelling to the United States was the border control on consumables. Apparently one has to declare all the food, however few, he wishes to bring with him to the USA, not declaring can have penalties up to $10.000 as a consequence. Does it really matter if a single traveler brings some food with him? Why is the U.S. customs so strict on food specifically?

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The main reason the US is so rigorous with food control is in order to prevent spreading of pesticides and animal diseases. This is why especially plant-based products like fruits and vegetables and animal-based products, like meat are most often not allowed to bring into the US. On the other hand, products that are prepared and packaged, and even cheese (with commercial label) are generally allowed when declared. The US CPB (Customs and Border Protection) thinks meat, fruit and vegetables can be a thread to the economy and livestock industry, as they say:

“Agricultural pests and diseases are a threat to U.S. crop production and to the livestock industry. Some animal diseases can be highly contagious and could cause severe economic damage to livestock and result in losses in production, which could lead to increased costs for meat and dairy products. Plant pests and disease, as well as invasive plant material can cause crop loss and also damage lawns, ornamental plants, and trees.  Plant pest infestations can result in increased costs to consumers due to pest eradication efforts as well as lower crop yields.  High risk plant pest and animal disease outbreaks within the U.S. could also adversely affect the economy as a result of reduced trade of U.S. origin goods to countries around the world.”



~Johannes Enz von Leitner, Hannover/Germany



  1. the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
    • prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

“a program to combat racism”

synonyms: racial discrimination, racialism, racial prejudice, xenophobia,chauvinismbigotrycasteism

“Aborigines are the main victims of racism in Australia


Racism is commonly known by everybody as insulting minorities with prejudice in dumb and silly ways often executed by people with lower education levels and from a more isolated social background. But why do we have to think about racism daily and why do we have to read about racism and racial crimes so often in the newspapers?

Nowadays racism should be outdated and should not exist anymore, because the world today is globalized and modern and should know better. Of course, there are differences in different ethnicities by culture, religion, or certain habits in educating or raising of children and the youth, which we cannot be erased, but do we have to judge people over these simple criterions, like origin and religion? Racism is often against black people, or Muslims, Jews, Turkish people, or even people from other larger countries.People in Europe are prejudiced against people from the USA or from Asia as they have different views and expectations of us European nations and people originating there.

Maybe we can’t change racism because it is deeply rooted in the world’s history,racism2but we have to work harder to make a difference, at least for our children. We shouldn’t have to have racism in a modern and connected world. The internet has a big impact fighting racism by providing everybody with the same rights and possibilities, the ‘judge’ in the internet is the computer, and it doesn’t care if you are black or white, if you are Mexican or American, or about your language. That is the bright side.The opposite of this is that you can simply be very racist and hide yourself through anonymity and not recieve any punishment. It is like many parts in the modern world, on the one side we try to improve our political correctness, but on the other side, I had a lesson yesterday making jokes about political correctness and how people possibly can only screw it up, being “pc”. You cannot say one sentence without hurting someone if you are talking to overly sensitive people or there can be groups who are amused by racist jokes, whilst of course not meaning any harm by laughing about, “the Negro thief”, or “the banker Jew”…

There is a difference between racism and discrimination, in the way that discrimination is gong even further. Racism is a mindset and often can’t be changed easily. Discrimination occurs if a person with that mindset is in control/in charge and has the opportunity to lead or influence the group. Discriminating people is the act of excluding people because of their origin or because of certain customs or appearance.

In sports, they guard against racism, in the German Bundesliga (soccer league) they do advertisements against racism and stand together with the whole European soccer bound to fight racism, because in soccer or in sports in total there is no racism. You get rated by your skills and talent so you can get anywhere with hardworking! racism3

There are two sides to the whole racism debate and there are many people being overly sensitive and easily offended by any slightest overtone, but they have a point in talking about it and you have to tell people if their insulting comments are too much, otherwise they will never learn. So at every opportunity avoid sticky situations by not making jokes or hints in this direction, but don’t forget about bias by not talking about it! In any circumstance do not forget to talk about racism with your friends or your family; people won’t know if you never tell them! And ignorance is not the right cure, talk openly and tell them when you feel offended, otherwise nothing will change.

We all have to work together to eliminate racism in our future and world!racism4


Kumamoto Earthquake

Karen Nakano,Japan

The two big earthquakes hit Kumamoto city of Kumamoto prefecture in Japan. First was April 14, magnitude 6.2 at 21:26 Japan standard time and next was April 16, it was main one and magnitude 7.0 at 01:25. It was midnight so everyone was sleeping when this big earthquake hit, as a result a lot of people were buried alive. There are residences for university student in Kumamoto and over 10 students were buried alive. A lot of students rescued each other but some people are still in destroyed residence. Least 49 people were died and injured about 3000 because of these earthquakes. Also more than 44000 people have been evacuated from their houses in Kumamoto.


Now big problem in areas affected by these earthquakes is that support materials are very shortage. Absolutely foods and water people the most need, almost houses were destroyed so they don’t have everything need for live such as blankets, paper, towels and diapers for child even houses. Now a lot of companies, volunteer organization and even individual people around Japan send many support materials on the other hand it is not enough. Some people waited 2 hours to get small rice ball. Everyone is on the line to get something with afraid for many earthquakes.

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I was impressed by this picture. A woman is protecting her child into destroyed house of rubble. First when rescue team found this mother, they could not realize child into her arm because she wrapped her child in blanket and lied curled up for protect but after they helped mother and her child, mother was died but child was alive yet. One of rescue teammates found phone in this blanket with child. There is one message from mother “If you are still alive, please remember that how I loved you.” This message was read by everyone around there and impressed them.


Disaster such as earthquake destroys houses, buildings, families and everything and a lot of people are dead. It is really sad and we cannot expect before this but after serious disaster, a lot of people around Japan help for them although it is not enough. I hope many people will be rescued and helped and there will be good condition as soon as possible.


Kobe Bryant

Daphne Lee, Taiwan

The legendary player after Michael Jordan,  Kobe Bryant, retired after his final game against Utah jazz on April 13th, 2016. Even in his last game, he scored 60 points and drew a perfect ending of his basketball career.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a son of former NBA player Joe Bryant, Kobe Bryant started to play basketball at the age of 3.  When he was six, his father left the NBA and moved to Rieti in Italy to continue playing professional basketball, which is when Kobe learned to speak fluent Italian. During the summer, Kobe would go back to America to play in basketball summer league. Kobe’s favorite team when he grew up was the Lakers, which he served in when he played in NBA. In 1991 when his father retired from playing basketball, the family moved back to America.

Kobe started his success at his young age. During his junior year, he averaged 31.1 points, 10.4 rebounds which made he named as the ’Pennsylvania Player of the Year’. In his senior year in high school, he led his team to their first state championship in 53 years. In 1996, his talent has been seen and was selected to play for the L.A. Lakers. At that time, he was 18 years and 72 days old, the youngest player ever to play in a NBA game. As his performance improved, he get to play longer and longer in the game. In 1999, he became a part of the All-NBA, All defensive and All-Star teams.

Kobe had set tons of records and won lots of awards. With no doubt, his success came from his hard work and his crazy passion for basketball. When he injured his right shoulder in the game, he started to shoot with his left arm. In the break when his coach asked him why instead of asking a break he shot with his left hand, he answered: “God gave us two arms.” Another interesting story is that when he torn his Achilles tendon and was forced to rest from games, the only thing he wanted to know is how fast would he be able to return to the basketball court.

Now that Kobe had retired, he planned to go to Italy and establish a center to teach young players basketball skills. He will keep on working out, stay in good shape and stay active. “It’s important from a healthy perspective and also to maintain a schedule.” He said.

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Loes Aartsen,The Netherlands


This morning I saw a video of two women, who were in a fight with each other. One was a white woman from Holland and the other one was Muslim wearing a Hijab. The white woman was yelling to the other woman and she said very aggressive things about her Hijab. The Dutch woman wanted her to take her Hijab off. The Muslim woman asked why and the white lady became more and more aggressive. They got into a fight and in the end of the movie, you see how the Muslim is laying down on the ground without her Hijab. Why do people do these horrible things?

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Since a lot of centuries ago, we have always had the fear of change, not to mention ‘the unknown’. Long time ago a lot of species and groups developed in their own way. The groups were not in contact with each other and everything on the other side, for example their living place, was their enemy. As a result of this, it led to prejudice and racism.

Upbringing and the media are the two biggest causes of racism. Parents start very early with telling things like morals and standards to their children and it will be in their minds forever. Children are very vulnerable for this, because their parents are their great example and they will believe everything they say. Even if they have good contacts or start to change their mind about ‘another’, they will always have it in their mind. The media is also a big cause of racism. If you watch the news, you will hear people say ‘us’ and ‘them’. This causes some kind of feeling that will separate groups. Also in a lot of movies you have stereotypes like the white hero, the black gang or the black corrupt cops.

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These things are not good for the society. Everyone must see the other as equivalent. My opinion is that we can’t prejudice ‘other’ people. People who discriminate are just afraid and insecure, because they don’t know anything about it. When I meet people with these same kind of thoughts, I feel happy. Not everyone is a racist.

Loes Aartsen

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Total Domination From Spain

Daan Klein Schiphorst, The Netherlands

Where it comes from and how they did it nobody knows or they think they know. But the Spanish football clubs are ruling in Europe. Not only the Spanish clubs are dominating but the national team as well. The Spanish football is doing well for the last 6 years, they become champions of the world with the clubs and the country as well. Who can stop them?

The Clubs
Clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona are at the top of Europe since the beginning. With 3 teams in the top 4 of clubs they are the best in Europe. In 2014 the Champions league final was a completely Spanish final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid and this year as well. You think that’s the only league in Europe that they are dominating but in the Europa League there is a Spanish team in the Finals as well. From the last 4 winners of the Champions/Europa League there were 3 Spanish victories. This shows you how the clubs are dominating in Europe.

The National Team
At the moment, the national team of Spain is doing well. They became first in their group of the Euro Cup qualification and they will give everything to become the champions again. They won the Euro Cup in 2008 and 2012 and became champions of the world in 2010. It’s not strange that the national team is doing well because the players play in the top of each competition. They became the best of Europe with their club,  transformed champions in their league or they play in a good team.

Important playerAndres+Iniesta+Spain+v+Slovakia+UEFA+EURO+zGE9E7Q8Nwjl
He is a little guy,  got a good technique and he is unstoppable when he gets the ball. I am talking about  Andrés Iniesta. Iniesta become one of the best and important players from Spain. He became world champion with the national team in 2010 and European champion in 2008 and 2012. He won the Primera Division with Barcelona seven times and won the Champions League four times. He is the captain of both teams and, as one of the oldest players, he is an inspiration for the younger generation to achieve the same success.  This was just one example of the players who brought Spain to the level  where they now are.


Now you can see what the domination of Spain includes. Will they still be dominating the world? We will see soon..

Earth – Global Warming and How It Affects Animals

By Klara Keysendal, Sweden

Global warming is the increase of earth’s average surface temperature due to the effect of greenhouse gases. The gases absorb heat that would otherwise escape from the planet. The temperature is rising faster than before. Global warming has become one of the biggest environmental issues in twenty years.

We get additional information every year about global warming and how it affects wildlife. When the planet warms, the ocean temperature also rises. To survive on our planet, animals and humans need good temperature, fresh water, a place to live, and food.

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As the temperature becomes higher the ice melts and gets warmer. Some fish need cold water to survive. The water level increases and the quality worsening’s, which causing more difficulties for the animals during the winter and summer to survive because they can’t find food and the water gets more acidic. When the water level is rising it also destroy the natural habitat, more than 100 million people live close to the sea and will have to move away from their homes. According to IPCC, until the next century the water level might increase one meter.

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If we not do something about this huge problem it will be extremely difficult to prevent the world from collapsing from global warming. We can’t do it by ourselves; we have to do it together, for all humans, animals, nature, and for our future.