<![CDATA[KidSenz - News for kids - Articles]]>Sat, 05 Dec 2015 05:20:51 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[150 Years from the Gettysburg Address]]>Tue, 19 Nov 2013 23:31:52 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/articles1/150-years-from-the-gettysburg-addressPicture
Today we celebrate 150 years of the Gettysburg Address.

What is the Gettysburg Address?
The Gettysburg Address refers to a speech delivered by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln on November 19th, 1863,  four and a half months after the Gettysburg battle.  It was one of the most well-known and greatest speeches in American history.

The American Civil War is also known as the war between the States or simply the Civil War. This war was fought from 1861-1865 in the United States after several Southern states declared their secession and formed the Confederate States of America. The remaining states were known as the “Union” or the “North”. So, in simple terms, the American Civil War was fought between the North and the South. It was fought over the issue of slavery.

The Gettysburg battle was fought from July 1st to July 3rd 1863. It was fought between the Union army led by Major General George Gordon and the Confederacy Army led by General Robert Edward Lee.

The Civil War resulted in a huge human toll. Almost 23,000 men of the Union's army and about 28,000 of the Confederacy's army lost their lives. Civilians at Gettysburg were left to deal with the thousands that were wounded and dead. Homes and public buildings became hospitals, and unsanitary conditions made living in the town risky. Volunteers came from the North and the South to help the wounded and to bury the dead. It was the battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War and is often described as the war’s turning point.

President Lincoln used the dedication ceremony for the Gettysburg National Cemetery to honor the fallen Union soldiers and to redefine the purpose of the war. He delivered his speech in precisely 2 minutes. The speech covered the principles of human equality as stated in the Declaration of Independence. Lincoln emphasized that all people are created equal and should be treated as equals. He recognized that freedom sometimes has a very high price and inspired the people to create a new, unified and stronger nation after the conflict.

Despite the speech's prominent place in the history of the United States and its fame, the exact wording and location of the speech are often disputed. The speech was so riveting that news reporters that attended the ceremony stopped taking notes to simply listen to Lincoln’s speech. There are five known drafts of the speech in Lincoln’s handwriting that are the sources available to us today.

Gem Words:
secession: the action of withdrawing formally from membership of a federation or body, esp. a political state.
casualties: people killed or injured in a war or accident.
unsanitary: unhealthy and unsafe
democracy: a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting.
viable: capable of working successfully
prominent: important and well-known, easily noticed or seen
precisely: exactly
emphasized: draw attention to
riveting: absorb all attention

<![CDATA[Sachin Tendulkar retires]]>Sat, 16 Nov 2013 21:22:58 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/articles1/sachin-tendulkar-retiresPicture
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is an Indian cricketer widely acknowledged as the best batsmen of his generation. He started playing cricket at the age of eleven and made his Test debut against Pakistan at the age of sixteen.

Sachin Tendulkar bid adieu to Test Cricket on November 16th, 2013 after playing his 200th Test match against the West Indies team in Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium. Following the end of his final match, the Prime Minister's Office of India awarded him a "Bharat Ratna" or “Jewel of India”. This is the highest civilian honor in India. He is the first sportsperson and the youngest person to receive such an honor. Only 42 people have ever received the Bharat Ratna before him.

India won the series, 2-0 over the West Indies. Inspite of an impressive innings and 126-run victory in the second Test at Mumbai, the entire series was all about Sachin Tendulkar with people turning up in large numbers to watch him bat at the Mumbai stadium.  He contributed to the game with 74 runs to give an innings of character even under great personal pressure. Every time he walked to the field the crowd payed respect with a standing ovation. Every run he made was cheered by millions of viewers worldwide that were glued to their television screen.

November 16th, 2013 was a very emotional day for every cricket lover - with his retirement, we will not see Sachin on the cricket field wearing the India cap, as we have seen him with immense pride all these years. His inspirational performance and cricketing genius will be missed not just by the Indian team, but by over a billion Indian fans worldwide.

He delivered a very emotional speech after his final test match. He thanked everyone who had touched his life and for what they had done to help him be who he is today. He ended his speech by saying that he will always remember the chants of "Sachin, Sachin" and  said goodbye.

Sachin Tendulkar,  also known as the Master Blaster, Tendlya, Little Master has established many cricketing world records.  He is the first player to score one hundred international centuries, the first player to score a double century in a One Day International (ODI), and thus far the only cricketer to complete 34,000 runs in international cricket. On 5 October 2013, he became the 16th player and the first Indian to aggregate 50,000 runs in all recognized cricket (First-class cricket, List A cricket and Twenty20 combined).

Sachin will be immensely missed on the cricket field.

Gem words

century - one hundred. In cricket a century means that the player batted and made one hundred runs in the game.
debut - a person’s first appearance
spectator - person watching a game or show
immensely - to a great extent

<![CDATA[US Government Shutdown]]>Fri, 11 Oct 2013 04:30:54 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/articles1/us-government-shutdownPicture
The US federal government is shut down until further notice, as of Oct. 1, 2013.

So what does it really mean?
Does everyone who works for the federal government put the lights off and go home ? Not quite ….

Federal government jobs are divided into two categories: Essential and Nonessential jobs. Jobs like those of soldiers serving in the armed forces, air-traffic control, some support services for veterans, federal reserve, emergency medical services etc. are considered  essential to maintain national security and stability of our assets and financial system. Other government employees that provide services at National Recreation areas and parks, NASA space agency, environmental protection agency, long term scientific research etc. are considered non-essential.

When the government is shut down all non-essential workers (approximately, 800,000 government workers) are told to stay home and may not be paid during this time.

What caused our government to shut down?
The federal government in Washington collects its money from the taxes people pay.  Various members of Congress create a “budget bill” that decides how to spend that money. This budget bill must be approved or “passed” by Congress — the Senate and the House of Representatives — before the money is available for use.

Now, the bill needs to be brought to vote and be passed with sufficient votes in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. To do so, they need to agree, or at least come to a compromise on the contents of the bill.  

Unfortunately, the elected officials in Congress, the Democrats and Republicans, have very different ideas on how to best use that money. Currently, the Senate is controlled by Democrats and the House of Representatives is controlled by Republicans. And they have found it difficult to come to an agreement.

As a result, the government shut down on Tuesday, October 1st, 2013. It happened largely because of disagreements over a healthcare program called Obamacare (it’s official name is the Affordable Care Act). It passed into law a few years ago, but it went into effect Tuesday, the same day as the deadline to pass a budget.

The House of Representatives, that is controlled by the Republicans, do not want to fund this big new national and mandatory health care program.  The Senate that is controlled by the Democrats, however, will not sign a budget that doesn’t include money to support the healthcare law.

They went back and forth, until their deadline to figure this out, Monday, September 30th, 2013, at midnight came and went. The consequence of missing the deadline is that the government partially shut down till Congress approves a budget bill.

As a result:
All non-essential federal programs and services are closed or provide only emergency services. All 401 national parks and monuments are closed, and several museums are also shut down. Several important services that we take for granted are also closed - these include the IRS and parts of social security administration. Several people looking to get a loan to buy a home or start a new business are seeing delays in processing since social security verification services are unavailable! Others cannot get tax documents from the IRS! Everyone is getting nervous as the shutdown continues.

The shutdown has particularly affected tourism to National parks at the peak season during the month of October. Millions of people visit the parks each year. The shutdown will cost a lot of money to the local people that depend on these tourists. For example, the Grand Canyon national park located in Arizona generates close to  $1.2 Million a day. This money is basically lost due to the shutdown!

This is the 18th time the government has shut down with the longest shutdown of 21 days in the year 1995. While the disagreements this time around seem stronger, the hope is that Congress will come to an agreement soon to pass a budget bill.