Blog Posts by Claudine Zap

  • Model and sex trafficking victim now runs prevention nonprofit

    At 19, Jillian Mourning was pursuing a part-time career as a model while also attending college in North Carolina.

    On a modeling assignment, while she was sleeping in her hotel room, she says, her manager and his friends raped her and videotaped the ordeal. Mourning says a cycle of blackmail and sex trafficking continued for six months.

    Finally, she says, she was able to get out of the dangerous situation after her manager was arrested and imprisoned on unrelated financial charges.

    Mourning decided to use her nightmare experience to help others avoid the same ordeal.

    Now, a Do Something award finalist, she has an organization that works to stop human trafficking: All We Want is LOVE (Liberation of Victims Everywhere).

    After a brief break from school, Mourning returned to classes, focusing on international studies and German with a minor in holocaust, genocide and human rights, and began to tell people her story.

    “The more I talked about it, the better I felt,” she told Yahoo News. But

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  • Lottery winner donates $2 million to fix Maine high school roof

    Gloria MacKenzie is sharing her wealth.

    The Maine retiree, who recently won $590.5 million, the largest undivided take in lotto history, will donate $2 million to fix the roof of a high school in her hometown, the Daily Mail reports.

    The loaded 84-year-old, who now lives in Florida, is paying for roof repairs at Schenck High School in East Millinocket, Maine, where her daughter is a biology teacher, according to the Daily Mail. Her daughter is not her only connection to the school. Her son, Scott, served on the school board in East Millinocket.

    MacKenzie bought her winning $2 ticket on May 18 at a Publix grocery store in Zephyrhills, Fla., where she rented an apartment at the time.

    Since winning the enormous lottery pot, MacKenzie has kept a low profile. She reportedly was seen shopping with her 57-year-old son at Walmart and then eating at a modest restaurant nearby.

    But perhaps the octogenarian is beginning to enjoy her new wealth. The Tampa Bay Times reports that MacKenzie, who opted

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  • Life savings recovered in junked fridge

    Talk about cold, hard cash: A fridge considered trash was tossed out by a Queens woman who didn’t realize her sister's life savings was stashed inside.

    Magda Castillo had forgotten all about her secret hiding place, which her sister junked for $5 July 17.

    “I forgot my money that’s inside there,” Castillo told local station ABC7.

    Castillo went to the junkyard with her sister the next day, but it was too late. The fridge had been smashed "like a pancake."

    “She made the sign of the cross and she says, I had $5,000 in there,” Fred Alsterberg of Atlantic Recycling told the news station. He couldn't find it, and the women left.

    But then scrap yard manager Mike Downer, who arrived after Castillo and her sister left, thought he remembered the fridge. Downer and Alsterberg managed to find the discarded appliance and pry it open with a forklift. They found the bills in envelopes and wrapped in plastic bags. Now, they just had to “find the lady,” Downer said, since Castillo hadn't left her

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  • Activist uses hoodies to put spotlight on racial profiling

    If anyone is giving the hoodie a good name, it’s Daniel Maree. He is the founder of Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, an organization that is shedding light on the issue of racial profiling.

    “We’re building an organization, we’re building a movement, we‘re going to have tons of ways to get involved,”  Maree told Yahoo News.

    Maree, who lived for a time in Gainsville, Fla., and says he experienced racial profiling firsthand, was spurred to action after the shooting death of the unarmed 17-year-old, hoodie-wearing Trayvon Martin, in Sanford, Fla., last year.

    The 25-year-old, one of five finalists for the Do Something award, organized the original Million Hoodies March where 50,000 people rallied  across the country. His volunteer group also collected 2 million signatures calling for the arrest of the shooter, George Zimmerman.

    The movement has continued to grow ever since. After the not-guilty verdict in the case, the organizers got the word out on social media for Trayvon Martin

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  • Daughter throws fake wedding for dying dad

    Rachel Wolf wore white to her fake wedding and had no groom to actually marry. She’s not even engaged.

    But the pretend bride had a really good reason. Wolf’s dad is dying of pancreatic cancer and won’t be around for the actual big events in his daughter’s life.

    The 25-year-old wanted to prerecord a father-daughter dance so her dad, Dr. James Wolf, can be there in video on her future big day.

    “I’m saddened over the fact that I won’t be there for the events of her life. And that’s been difficult on me,” an emotional Dr. Wolf said. Doctors say he has only months to live.

    Rachel even created a special invitation and presented it to him.

    Members of the Auburn, Calif., community, where the family lives, heard about the daughter’s idea and chipped in “a wedding dress, a DJ, a tuxedo for Dr. Wolf, a limousine, a hairstylist, a professional photographer, and a gazebo for the event,” according to the Daily Mail.

    For the staged event, family and even former patients of the doctor gathered to

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  • 100-year-old library worker who died in fire is mourned by colleagues

    Co-workers mourned the loss of their 100-year-old colleague, who died over the weekend in a fire.

    Opal Reifenberg, one month shy of her 101st birthday, still came to the Wilmette Public Library and worked as a book processor, a job she had held for the past 25 years.

    “She was an amazing person,” Gayle Justman, head of technical services, told Yahoo News by phone. She said she had just met with a grief counselor at the library to help the staff cope with the surprisingly shocking loss.

    “Her age wasn’t an issue,” said Justman, who was Reifenberg's manager. “She was just this wonderful employee who worked hard and did a fabulous job.”

    "We're devastated," Betty Giorgi, Reifenberg's co-worker, told the Chicago Tribune.

    "She still worked here. She came in every day. She was an amazing, amazing woman. She was an exceptional human being."

    Reifenberg started working at the library on Aug. 17, 1988. She was also a month shy of her 25th anniversary at the library.

    The library's oldest employee

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  • Campaign raising money to help Edward Snowden fly to Venezuela

    An online campaign is hoping to raise money to pay for NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s travel to Venezuela.

    Snowden, who applied for temporary asylum in Russia and has been living in limbo at the Moscow international airport for nearly a month, hopes to be granted a certificate for temporary asylum on Wedesday, Snowden's lawyer announced on Monday.

    Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have offered Snowden asylum. None can be reached by direct commercial flight from Moscow, so taking a commercial flight could make Snowden vulnerable to arrest during a stopover and he could be returned to the United States, where he faces espionage charges.

    The campaign Fly Edward Snowden Fly, which surfaced on, was set up by Christian Honey, a neuroscientist at the University of Oxford. Honey hopes to raise $200,000 to fund Snowden’s travel—with no stops—by private jet to Venezuela.

    Beyond travel expenses, Honey explains on the Indiegogo site, “all scenarios for Edward Snowden involve substantial

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  • Amazon CEO says he found engines from Apollo 11 moon mission

    When men walked on the moon 44 years ago, the F-1 engines that got them there went in the opposite direction: under the sea. Now founder and CEO Jeff Bezos says he’s found parts of two of them.

    "44 years ago tomorrow Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, and now we have recovered a critical technological marvel that made it all possible,” Bezos wrote in his blog.

    The online retail king has been sponsoring a salvage mission to dredge up artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission that were jettisoned during the launch into space.

    The Amazon leader announced last March his own mission of sorts: to locate the F-1 engines that powered the Saturn V rocket carrying astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and Neil Armstrong to the moon.

    The engines were discovered last March in waters 14,000 feet deep off the coast of Florida. But they could not be positively identified as being from Apollo 11. "The components' fiery end and heavy corrosion from 43 years underwater removed or covered up

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  • 'Schindler's List' up for auction

    Well-heeled eBay bidders have a chance to buy a piece of Holocaust history. “Schindler’s List”—the actual list of names, not the 1993 movie of the same name—is up for auction on eBay.

    The list is named for German businessman Oskar Schindler, who compiled the 801 names of workers he deemed essential for his enamel factory, thus sparing them from concentration camps.

    Only four original lists are known to exist, including the one up for auction that is described as 14 onion-skin pages long. But owning such an extraordinary piece of history will come at a whopping cost: The starting price is $3 million.

    California collectors Gary Zimet and Eric Gazin, who are running the auction, told the New York Post they hope it goes to $5 million. The auction, which started on Wednesday and ends July 28, had no bids as of late Friday morning.

    "Don’t miss your chance to own a piece of history that has inspired many on the difference one person can make in the face of great danger,” the auction site reads.

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  • Woman trapped between 2 walls for 7 hours

    A woman’s shortcut turned out to be anything but.

    The resident of east China’s Anhui Province tried to fit in a gap between two walls around 10 p.m. Saturday and she got stuck, according to the U.K. Metro.

    Despite her efforts to free herself, she was trapped until 5 a.m. when a passerby saw her and called for help.

    The video shows rescue workers sitting atop the lower wall using a chisel and drill to carefully remove some of it in order to free her. One worker in an orange jump suit covers the woman’s head and back to protect her as another breaks up bricks to make a hole in the wall.

    Finally, enough of an opening is created and the four men are able to pull her free.

    "OK," one can be heard saying.

    According to the Metro, it took about 20 minutes to get her out of her tight spot.

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