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July 8, 2014 | By Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writer
The day after fire ravaged a block and killed four children in Southwest Philadelphia, its cause remained undetermined as a local church opened its doors to comfort survivors, collect donations, and help an immigrant neighborhood begin to rebuild amid unthinkable loss. "Two of them are my godchildren. My heart has broken this morning. But I still have faith in the Lord," Roselyn Gray, choir director at Christ International Baptist Church, told the congregation early Sunday afternoon.
NEWS
July 8, 2014 | By Ben Finley, Inquirer Staff Writer
In March 1959, Lobsang Shawu was among a group of men who helped guard the Dalai Lama's summer palace during the Tibetan uprising against the Chinese government. After Tibet's spiritual leader quietly fled to India, Shawu was thrown into a Chinese prison for 15 years. He was subject to what amounted to house arrest for five more. Shawu eventually was allowed to leave for India, where tens of thousands of Tibetans have fled and the Dalai Lama remains. In 2008, Shawu arrived in Philadelphia, where he has relatives.
NEWS
July 7, 2014 | By Chris Palmer, Inquirer Staff Writer
Three people were injured, one critically, in two shootings in Philadelphia early Saturday, police said, after two shootings Friday that wounded two men. None of the wounded were identified, and no arrests were reported. At 2:08 a.m. Saturday, on the 4700 block of Vista Street in Holmesburg, a 29-year-old man was found with multiple gunshot wounds to the back, according to police. He told authorities he was smoking a cigarette when he heard gunshots behind him and was hit. He was taken to Aria Health's Torresdale campus in critical condition, police said.
NEWS
July 5, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
An amendment tucked into the cigarette-tax bill at the last minute Wednesday night helped persuade some Republicans in the state House to approve the new tax for Philadelphia schools. But the three-paragraph insert was not about cigarettes or taxes. It was about people who want to start charter schools. Added by the House Rules Committee before the bill went to the full chamber for a vote, the amendment gives charter applicants in Philadelphia the right to turn to the state Charter Appeals Board if the School Reform Commission ignores or rejects their proposals.
NEWS
July 5, 2014 | By Edward Colimore, Inquirer Staff Writer
The two documents are rarely exhibited - and not easily accessed behind the many layers of security. To see them, Lee Arnold, library director at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, uses an entry card to pass into an elevator, then into a large locked room, No. 210. Inside, he twirls the tumbler of a combination lock on thick vault doors, then swings them open to reveal still another set of metal doors with a coded digital lock. Beyond is the climate-controlled chamber filled with historical treasures - and a heavy safe, accessed by keys held only by Arnold and the institution's director of research.
NEWS
July 4, 2014 | By Anthony R. Wood, Inquirer Staff Writer
Poised to become the season's first Atlantic hurricane by day's end Thursday, Tropical Storm Arthur was forecast to hit the North Carolina coast with high winds and heavy rains and have at least an indirect effect on the Philadelphia region. Hurricane warnings were posted for the Outer Banks and the entire North Carolina coast, and although Arthur should scoot well offshore, some of its moisture could add juice to rains around here, the National Weather Service says. A flash-flood watch was in effect from Thursday morning until noon Friday for Philadelphia and its adjacent counties, where 1 to 3 inches of rain were possible.
NEWS
July 4, 2014 | By Casey Fabris, Inquirer Staff Writer
Two tour buses, one for the crew of the rock band Styx and the other for the band Foreigner's crew, caught fire Wednesday afternoon in a Philadelphia bus lot. No injuries were reported in the blaze on the 100 block of Callowhill Street. The cause was under investigation. The Styx bus caught fire first, which in turn caused the Foreigner bus to catch fire, Styx publicist Amanda Cagan said in an e-mail. Chief Peter Crespo of the Philadelphia Fire Department said the blaze was reported at 12:24 p.m. and fire trucks arrived on the scene five minutes later.
NEWS
July 4, 2014 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Staff Writer
As Mitchell Torh dipped his hand into the cool waters of the river that separates Liberia from Ivory Coast, the young boy didn't understand the stakes: His family was escaping from a civil war raging in his native Liberia. In Torh's memory, the cost of the canoe trip across the Cavalla River was two bags of rice. That started a journey that included a decade in a refugee camp in Ghana - where he was separated from his family - and finally ended at a soccer field in Southwest Philadelphia.
NEWS
July 3, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
A North Philadelphia man was sentenced Tuesday to 17 to 34 years in prison for pimping a 15-year-old runaway girl he sheltered. Robert Spence, 46, was sentenced by Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Robert P. Coleman, who in February found Spence guilty in a nonjury trial of human trafficking, sexual exploitation of children, interfering with custody of children, promoting prostitution of a minor, and corrupting a minor. Coleman rejected a 30-month prison term requested by defense lawyer Rania Major-Trunfio, saying, "The facts of this case make my blood boil," according to Assistant District Attorney Rochelle Keyhan.
NEWS
July 2, 2014 | By Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer
A distressed and impoverished swath of North Philadelphia near Temple University will be getting $30 million from the federal government to improve housing and develop vacant lots. Much of the "Choice Neighborhoods" grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be used to replace Norris Apartments, a 1950s-era public housing facility, and build 297 units of affordable and market-rate housing throughout the neighborhood. Both the city's Office of Housing and Community Development (and the Philadelphia Housing Authority applied for the grant.
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