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Former Senate candidate Dan Bongino watches primary election re- sults in April. Bongino is prepared to announce his next political move this April./Photo courtesy of Scott Ewart

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Obamacare hurts College Park businesses

By Jason Brendler


As President Barack Obama’s health care program, known as Obamacare, approaches its implementation, businesses across the nation are forecasting different changes they may experience.

When the bill was passed, major pizza franchise Papa John’s declared it would raise the price of its pizza by one cent per slice. Although this is not such a significant price change, the logic behind such a publicity stunt is noteworthy to say the least.

The bill, also known as The Affordable Care Act, was passed to provide affordable health care insurance for all U.S. citizens. It requires that all insurance plans cover preventive services and stops insurance companies from dropping people when they are sick.

However, with many companies now being required to provide health insurance to their employees, some businesses on Route 1 are anticipating different outcomes.

Voula Galanakos, the manager of Marathon Deli, which is a local authentic Greek restaurant, said that even though Obamacare hasn’t been fully implemented yet, it is already starting to have negative effects on her business.

“We used to have a straight $2,500 deductible, but now that same deductible will only cover 80 percent for each person in the plan,” said Galanakos. “Employees also won’t get as big of raises because we have to pay for their health insurance, which is hard because we are just a small business.”

Another local business owner, Bissrat Tewodros, just opened the One Stop Shop right off of Route 1 and described his unhappiness regarding Obamacare.

“Everyone should have health care, but forcing it upon businesses is unfair,” said Tewodros. “If you are a business owner it puts pressure on you because it’s harder to get employees when we’ll have to offer lower wages.”

Even businesses that aren’t necessarily against healthcare ultimately understand that its implementation will take a toll on their company. Tiffany Toye of Jason’s Deli said that while she isn’t forecasting too much of an impact, she is still wary that there may be some negative side effects.

“I don’t see any effects so far, but it will probably hurt our business before it helps us,” said Toye.

Although many businesses have not yet seen or felt the effects of The Affordable Care Act, the fact that employees will receive lower wages while their businesses will have to distribute health care is a common fear.

Businesses such as Marathon Deli and One Stop Shop are just some of the first businesses to feel the effects of the coming law. And as the law approaches full implementation, more uncertainty is expected.

Authors discuss Arab women in journalism


In a seminar with two of the four authors of Arab Women in Arab News: Old Stereotypes and New Media, authors Amal Al-Malki and David Kaufer expressed their intentions when writing this book. Professor Kaufer of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., found interest in the Middle East after CMU created a branch in Qatar’s capital of Doha. The city is famous for its education and research programs.

Kaufer hired Mrs. Al-Malki and said he learned a lot from her. “I decided I had to learn more about the Middle Eastern culture in order to better adapt our curriculum overseas,” he said.

Al-Malki joined the seminar on campus through a Skype call from Qatar.

Al-Malki focused on the importance of education, literacy, and employment of women in the Middle Eastern territories in her part of the book.

“Education is a great social equalizer,” she said.

The book studies Western stereotypes of Arab women from medieval times to the present. “Our studies have concluded that in a majority of Arab hard news, women have been deprived of headline and mentions,” Al-Malki said.

The book also targets “active vs. passive” roles of women in Arab news. The authors’ research included filtering news articles with certain words like “resistance”, “drive”, and “employment” which all have positive/active connotations; versus passive connotations with words like “fear”, “threat”, and “hopelessness”. The researchers then looked at where the articles came from and recorded the trends they noticed.

University of Maryland Communications Professor Sahar Khamis was a respondent at the seminar. He agreed to take some time to share his thoughts about the book. Khamis’s favorite part of the book was the subtitle itself.

“The first thing I noticed about the book was the subtitle: ‘Old Stereotypes and New Media’. Right from the beginning, the subtitle itself is shattering the old stereotype of the oppressed and powerless Arab woman.”

He also enjoyed the book’s strong use of real life examples of real women who have been activists, writers and journalists. This proves that Arab women are working to reshape their reputations by fighting for democracy for their countries by risking freedom and even their lives, Khamis said.

Lastly, Khamis expressed the importance of the timing of the book. Since it was released in 2012, after the Arab Spring, it’s a topic that’s hot and big in the media, he said. “The Arab Spring showed exactly how women are changing in the Arab world, it brought many pictures to the internet proving this to the world.”

Students of all backgrounds come together for Hindu festival of colors

By Agnes Varghese

Photo courtesy of James Levin

Photo courtesy of James Levin

Packed with plenty of energetic students throwing colorful powder at each other, taking dives into the slip n’ slide, and dancing vigorously to a disk jockey playing popular music, UMD Hindu Students Council’s (HSC) Holi celebration on McKeldin Mall was a huge success.

Holi, a religious festival of colors for Hindus celebrating the beginning of spring, has become a popular celebration with many other communities and regions. Universities all across the nation now celebrate this holiday every year.

The University of Maryland’s HSC created a unique spin on the celebration for their annual Holi festivities. The afternoon started with a distribution of free samosas and T-shirts for the early comers. The real party began when the council launched packets of colored powder into the eager crowd. Students opened the packets fervently and began to throw the various colors at one another, decorating their bodies with the assorted colors of the rainbow.

“Holi was great!” said sophomore food science major Gabrielle Taylor. “I enjoyed running around throwing colored powder on random people.”

In addition to the powder-related festivities, HSC arranged for Mixed Sounds Entertainment’s DJ Kush to provide live music during the event. Many students jumped up on ledges near the edge of the mall and began to dance along to the music in front of the crowd.

Several students found this event to be a fun, new cultural experience with old friends.

“My favorite part was when a large number of my old friends from freshman year showed up and I got to have a good time with them,” said junior economics major Albert Clarke.

Makeshift slip n’ slides and dunk tanks were also brought to the event to provide the students with further enjoyment. HSC was definitely pleased with the outcome of the event.

“My favorite part was seeing how much fun everyone was having even though they may have not celebrated Holi before,” said HSC board member Shradha Sahani. “It was awesome to see so many people taking part in something that is a big holiday in my culture. It was like I was in India again.”