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NEWS
June 20, 2014 | By Michael Matza, Inquirer Staff Writer
Fifteen years ago, fleeing civil war in his native Sri Lanka, Selvadurai Pathmatasan was admitted to America as an asylee. A natural entrepreneur, he invested in a gas station, and several years later used $30,000 in profits to open a mini-mart on Third Street near Market Street in Old City. In addition to snacks, his best-sellers were sepia-toned, Revolutionary-era replica documents. His prime customers: Independence Mall tourists. That was in 2008. "Any business needs time to establish," he said of the decision to open in the teeth of the recession.
NEWS
June 20, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
SITTING IN HIS little souvenir shop on 3rd Street between Market and Chestnut in Old City, Selvadurai Pathmathasan said he's thankful that his "dream business" has stayed afloat. The Sri Lanka native known to customers as Bob, 42, came to this country 15 years ago (first living in New York, then Wilmington, Del., and now Philadelphia). While in the U.S., he was granted asylum based on his being part of the ethnic-minority Tamils, who faced persecution and violence in Sri Lanka, he said.
NEWS
May 8, 2014 | By Aubrey Whelan and Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writers
The Delaware County District Attorney's Office is investigating the death in Chester of a onetime Bosnian refugee as a homicide, authorities said Tuesday. The body of Dino Dizdarevic, 26, was found Thursday between two homes in the 900 block of Parker Street. He had been pummeled and strangled, the Medical Examiner's Office said. Dizdarevic was "viciously beaten" in the back and side of his head, District Attorney Jack Whelan said at a news conference Tuesday, and there were bruises on his face.
NEWS
May 7, 2014 | BY MORGAN ZALOT & STEPHANIE FARR, Daily News Staff Writers zalotm@phillynews.com, 215-854-5928
UNA DIZDAREVIC'S world came to a screeching halt at 1:13 p.m. Thursday as she sat in a Kentucky airport waiting for her charismatic, bright-eyed big brother to get off a plane from Philadelphia. It was Derby weekend, and Dino Dizdarevic, 25 - the life of the party - had friends to catch up with and outings to attend. So when he never arrived, Una, 22, knew something was horribly wrong. "That's when I realized he was missing, because he wouldn't do that to anybody," Una said yesterday.
NEWS
April 28, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
TILLING THE SOIL at a new community garden for Bhutanese refugees in Northeast Philadelphia yesterday, Meena Dhimal smiled as she raked the land. She said she would grow hot chile peppers and potatoes. Dhimal, 27, and several other Bhutanese refugees of Nepali descent broke ground yesterday at a new community garden - a project of HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) Pennsylvania - on the property of All Saints Episcopal Church, at Loney and Frontenac streets in Rhawnhurst. "This is really an opportunity for them to bring their home culture to their new lives here in Philadelphia" said Sarah Amazeen, director of refugee programming and planning at HIAS, one of Philadelphia's three refugee-resettlement agencies.
NEWS
February 11, 2014
A story Monday on refugees incorrectly cited the professional title of psychologist Arthur Evans. He is commissioner of Philadelphia's Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disabilities Services. Philadelphia's health commissioner is Don Schwarz.
NEWS
February 11, 2014 | By Michael Matza, Inquirer Staff Writer
Blending 19th-century settlement house values with the healing power of art, a South Philadelphia storefront is the busy hub where trauma meets recovery for two of the city's fastest-growing immigrant groups: Burmese and Bhutanese refugees. For Poonam Ghimire, 17, who was born in a refugee camp after her family fled a government crackdown on the Nepalese in Bhutan, the storefront called "Southeast by Southeast" (SExSE) is a place to demonstrate her culture's native dance moves alongside an African American break-dance crew.
NEWS
February 7, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
ONE OF THE newest waves of refugees living in Philadelphia are Bhutanese of Nepali descent. The 2010 U.S. Census found 51 people from Bhutan living in the city. Now, an estimated 2,700 to 3,000 refugees from Bhutan are living in Philly, said Leela Kuikel, executive director of the Bhutanese American Organization-Philadelphia. Kuikel, 36, who is of Nepali origin, was born in Bhutan. In 1992, he and his family fled Bhutan, a landlocked, remote country in South Asia surrounded by China and India.
NEWS
January 17, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
IN A THREE-STORY, gray-stone and white house in Logan, Savorn Touch teaches 11 first-graders. Most are Cambodian-Americans whose parents or grandparents came to the U.S. as refugees. Touch was 8 years old in 1984 when her family resettled in Philadelphia after fleeing Khmer Rouge soldiers during the murderous reign of dictator Pol Pot. Her father and 4-month-old sister died of starvation in the late 1970s during this period, known as "the Killing Fields. " Before coming to the U.S., Touch spent several years in a refugee camp at the Cambodia-Thailand border.
NEWS
November 29, 2013 | By Trudy Rubin, Inquirer Columnist
Americans are a generous people. During the holiday season, we are busy buying gifts and donating to the needy. We were quick to write a check or text funds when a typhoon struck the Philippines. But this Thanksgiving, I can't help wondering why the biggest humanitarian crisis in a decade is getting so little attention. I'm referring to Syria, where nearly one third of the population, almost 7 million people, has either fled the country or is displaced and struggling to survive inside Syria.
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