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    Seattle is an ethnically, culturally, and religiously diverse city. It is home to a dozens of synagogues, mosques, minority churches, and cultural centers. But Seattle is in the grip of Christmas every holiday season.

    A giant Christmas tree towers over Westlake Center. Homes from West Seattle to Shoreline are decorated with inflatable Santas and his twinkling reindeer. Apart from a menorah thrown in here and there, most Seattleites don’t see other celebrations that take place in our city this holiday season.

    According to a study from the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project, 72 percent of Washingtonians identify with a branch of Western Christianity. Twenty-three percent do not identify with a religion at all, one of the highest percentages in the country. The remaining 5 percent identify with a variety of faiths from all over the world. This is about 350,000 people in the state of Washington, who celebrate something other than Christmas on Dec. 25. So what holidays have we missed in our Christmas monopoly?

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    Delegates from Seattle in Cuba earlier this year as part of the U.S. Women and Cuba Collaboration. (Photo by Misa Shikuma.)
    Delegates from Seattle in Cuba earlier this year as part of the U.S. Women and Cuba Collaboration. (Photo by Misa Shikuma.)

    Cindy Domingo, organizer of a Seattle delegation of women that travels every year to Cuba, said that their annual cultural exchange could look a little different after U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuba President Raul Castro have begun warming relations between the two countries.

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    https://twitter.com/ninettecheng/status/545374919010164736

    “The Interview,” a comedy about a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has been canceled by Sony Pictures on Wednesday following threats made to theaters that had been scheduled to show the film.

    The comedy, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, had been slated for  Christmas release. Major theater chains canceled the showings after a group called the “Guardians of Peace” threatened an attack on movie theaters, invoking the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to Variety.

    The threats followed a widespread hack of Sony Pictures in November, which resulted in the release of emails that embarrassed Sony executives.

    According to NPR’s The Two Way blog, U.S. investigators believe that the origin of the hack and the threats can be traced to North Korea.

    Seattle Twitter users responded to the furor around the movie over the past few days:

     

    https://twitter.com/ninettecheng/status/545374919010164736

    https://twitter.com/lukobe/status/545377591969210368

    https://twitter.com/ElCrisRod/status/545346901537595392

    https://twitter.com/manicpop/status/544927362459000832

    https://twitter.com/JoetheHammer/status/545379150572167168

    https://twitter.com/42_clifford/status/545347793242431489

     

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      Venice Buhain joins the Globalist this month as editor. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)
      Venice Buhain joins the Globalist this month as editor. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)

      We are pleased to announce that Venice Buhain has joined the Seattle Globalist team as part-time editor. Venice will work closely with Globalist contributors, Editor-in-Chief Alex Stonehill, and fellow Editor Christina Twu to increase our coverage of important local-global news.

      Venice brings more than a decade of daily journalism experience to the Globalist. She was the editor of Patch.com’s Bellevue site for the full three years it existed, and regularly covers the Washington legislative session for TVW.

      Venice loves crunching numbers, filing requests for public documents, and playing the ukelele.

      Please join me in welcoming Venice to the Globalist! You can send her your news tips, or just say “hi”, at venice[at]seattleglobalist.com.

      Venice Buhain makes Globalist history, hitting 'publish' on her first story last week. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)
      Venice makes Globalist history, hitting ‘publish’ on her first story last week. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)

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        A capoeira demonstration by the group Senzala Evry in Dammarie-les-lys, France last year. (Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen)
        (Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen)

        About this time last year, I was going to the gym relentlessly, going from cardio machine to cardio machine, counting reps, lifting weights.

        Frankly, I was bored. I was bored with the “stillness” of the movements and I’d gotten to the point where just the thought of the gym atmosphere was nauseating.

        I heard about capoeira through word of mouth and began watching a series of youtube videos to educate myself on the Afro-Brazilian martial art. The capoeiristas looked like they were dancing but fighting at the same time. They appeared to be concentrating deeply, but their movements were smooth and free.

        I had to try it for myself.

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        Join The Seattle Globalist, Crosscut, the World Affairs Council and Impact Hub Seattle for The Scenario Thursday Sept. 18th

        The Scenario is a global current events game, co-hosted by Crosscut Public Media, the World Affairs Council, Impact Hub Seattle, and the Seattle Globalist, in which issues and situations from around the world are applied as if they’re occurring right here in the Northwest.

        Join us Thursday September 18th, when we’ll tackle the challenge of climate refugees in the Pacific Northwest.

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          SaraMcCaslin
          Sara McCaslin’s last day with The Seattle Globalist will be Friday August 22nd. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)

          Next month, Seattle Globalist editor and youth program coordinator Sara McCaslin will start a new position as communication lead working on print and digital strategy with SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership and Health Benefits Trust.

          Sara has been with The Seattle Globalist since 2011, when she joined the team as a part-time contractor supporting Globalist youth programming. She became the organization’s first full-time employee in September 2012, when she took on editorial, youth programming, and communications roles.

          McCaslin has been a huge part of the Globalist’s early years. In today’s farewell post we’re celebrating some of her biggest contributions. We can’t fit ’em all in one post — but here are a few of our favorite things about Sara McCaslin:

          A ferry docks into downtown Seattle. (Photo by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/pasfam/16777186/in/photolist-gNkca-2Y9v2o-3eCoCD-5ZaaWV-8WRrQi-2fUx45-2tZgQ-fpmXvB-e1Cqhx-8JURMU-cN5NoC-NcQX3-a3S7Jm-9FZirj-8WUsbo-4FrAHU-8JUVdL-a8jC9n-eCe3u8-4FzgBN-e3GxNx-cK6EhN-cK6Cgw-awQQe2-dRZSbP-ay57rw-868JWo-dU6Tpt-4X3irM-ebGT4P-ebPyCw-4zVnNK-8DbZKL-asQqKu-7QuvvX-8sEowx-cBCGZC-fpmAKH-7SHWVt-cD97Fy-6uNuFD-6HLSU1-4QgLch-8jsMmN-9He6oi-8K4tQ2-e3GyCZ-51VcwQ-5nBSp7-abZDgo" target="_blank">Paul Schultz via Flickr</a>)
          A ferry docks into downtown Seattle. (Photo by Paul Schultz via Flickr)

          For many of us Washingtonians, ferries conjure up sentimental thoughts of trips to the San Juan Islands or images of ferries humming along Puget Sound with the Seattle skyline or Olympic Mountains behind them.

          But the recent ferry accident in South Korea killing almost 300 passengers and another capsizing in Bangladesh remind us that as safe as we may feel on a ferry deck looking at the water go by, there is potential for disaster just like any other means of transportation.

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          A Japanese-American-owned Liberaty Flower Shop at Pike Place Market, ca.1931. By fall of 1907, nearly 80% of the stalls were operated by Japanese farmers. The photo is part of the "Grit" exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Historical Society)
          A Japanese-American-owned Liberaty Flower Shop at Pike Place Market, ca.1931. By fall of 1907, nearly 80% of the stalls were operated by Japanese farmers. The photo is part of the “Grit” exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Historical Society)

          From Olympia to Mukilteo, Bremerton to Snoqualmie, Western Washington museums have banded together for Museum Week Northwest, a celebration of museums beginning May 16.

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          Author Hannah Langlie on her visit to Paris. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Langlie)
          Author Hannah Langlie on her visit to Paris. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Langlie)

          What do I pack? Where will I stay? Do I have to learn a foreign language?

          These are just some of the questions that many students who study abroad are left to ponder when deciding to apply for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

          But what happens when you add questions like these:

          Is the hotel accessible? How will I get support services in my host country? What happens to support services at home if I’m gone for an extended time? What happens if my wheelchair breaks down or I need to go to the doctor? Will I be allowed to fly alone? Will my host family accept me for who I am?

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          Nowruz 3
          Nowruz dancers perform in a new year’s parade in Astana, Kazakhstan. (Photo via Flickr by Ken and Nyetta)

          Growing up as an Iranian-American, Nowruz, the Iranian/Persian New Year, is one of the most important times of the year.

          I’ve never visited Iran to experience the holiday, but my memories of it here are very vivid. Every year is a special time to spend with family and friends and eat extremely delicious food.

          Coinciding with the Spring Equinox, in 2016 the date falls on March 19th at 9:30 p.m. on the west coast and marks the first day of the Iranian calendar.

          Massive protests on January 25, 2012 called for elections and an end to rule by the Armed Forces. Both the Muslim Brotherhood and liberal elites expressed support for military rule. (Photo by Jonathan Rashad via Flickr )

          A conversation with Egyptian youth in Seattle about Egypt’s politics and future.