Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Kids locked in adult migrant camps, subject to physical & mental abuse - rights activist

Every year, thousands of refugees leave the hardships behind and undertake a journey – sometimes a dangerous one – to begin a new life in the UK. But some find, not a promised democracy and humanity, but prison-like confinement in conditions that sometimes dwarf the problems at home. Migrant camps are locked down to the press, but still breed reports of abuse and suffering; many are stuck in this immigration detention limbo for years. Sophie speaks to the chief executive for the Refugee and Migrant Forum for Essex and London, Rita Chadha on Sophie&Co today.

Follow @SophieCo_RT

Sophie Shevardnadze:Rita Chadha, chief executive for the Refugee and Migrant Forum for Essex and London, thank you for joining us, it’s great to have you on our show. Now, thousands of immigrants are being held in UK immigration detention centers, and they’re supposed to be at a brief stop-over before removal from the country. Yet, UK government figures show that last year, half of those detained were never sent back. It’s called a “detention center”, but in reality, is it like a prison?

Rita Chadha: Very much so. The situation is with detention centers in the UK, that they all virtual prisoners. We are one of the few countries in the world that has indefinite detention, people can remain there indefinitely, no barriers on time, no easy way out – and there are very-very harsh regimes run by private security companies.

read full at : http://rt.com/shows/sophieco/244493-kids-migrant-camps-abuse/

Kids locked in adult migrant camps, subject to physical & mental abuse - rights activist

10 Reasons Why People Who Read A Lot Are More Likely To Be Successful

10 Reasons Why People Who Read A Lot Are More Likely To Be Successful
We’re taught from a very young age that reading as much as possible is the pathway to success and fulfillment. Picture the smartest, hardest-working person you know, and chances are you picture them in a library poring over a variety of texts for hours on end. While simply being an avid reader does not ensure success, successful people are assuredly avid readers. And all of them have the following traits in common.

1. They have increased focus

Successful people are able to focus on one task for an elongated period of time. Anyone who’s read Atlas Shrugged can tell you reading isn’t a quick process. It’s also not a singular process. Readers take breaks, naturally, but the most avid reader simply cannot put a book down for longer than a day after they’ve dove into it. Successful people feel the same way about any task they set out to do.

2. They set goals

Along with focus, readers set goals for themselves whenever they sit down with a good book. Whether setting out to read a specific amount of pages before moving on to another activity, or deciding to read until a certain concept is solidified in their mind, readers actively try to accomplish something whenever they open a text. Successful people set goals for just about every moment of their life, and continue working toward the goal until they surpass it.

3.They spend time wisely

They might only have 20 minutes before they have to be somewhere, but instead of seeing “only 20 minutes” as not enough time to get anything done, they see it as 20 minutes that can be spent reading. Successful people view their time as incredibly valuable, and seize every opportunity they have to learn something new, or accomplish a goal. Readers realize that 5 wasted minutes every day over the course of a year is more than an entire 24 hours wasted that could have been spent reading.

4. They have perspective

Successful people are able to see all angles of an issue, because they have read a variety of literature from various perspectives. Two of Bill Clinton’s favorite novels are Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The insight gained from reading these novels undoubtedly shaped his perspective in dealing with race relations as a politician. Being an avid reader allows you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, if only for a moment; but once that moment’s over, you remember the experience for the rest of your life.

5. They are reflective

In addition to gaining perspective, readers are reflective about what they have read. While gaining perspective allows a person to see from the other side of the fence, being reflective allows them the opportunity to understand how they can be productive with their new-found perspective. Successful people see reading not as the simple act of staring at words on a page. They understand the profound effect that consuming a text can have on the mind, and how books can change a person’s life.

6. They have incredible writing and speaking skills

It’s no surprise that the greatest orators in human history have all been enthusiastic about reading. Successful people draw inspiration from their role models, and utilize this inspiration to further their cause. FromDemosthenes, to Lincoln, to Nelson Mandela, people who remain cemented in history became such passionate and well-spoken lecturers by studying the great minds before them.

7. They have increased memory

Readers understand just how powerful the brain really is. It can hold almost an unlimited capacity of information. The more you read and learn, the easier it becomes to retain information. Successful people don’t prescribe to Homer Simpson’s belief that learning something new pushes something old out. They simply continue to learn, and commit an incredible expanse of knowledge to memory, sometimes without even realising it.

8. They stay fresh

Great readers also see the brain as a muscle that needs to be worked. Just like going to the gym every day keeps your arms and legs in shape, reading keeps your mind sharp and able to easily retain knowledge. Successful people exercise their mind on a daily basis through reading and other methods such as crossword puzzles and brain teasers. Successful people habitually create challenges to overcome, which in turn improves their minds’ capability to solve increasingly larger problems every day.

9. They are educated and informed

Successful people rise to the top because they have spent their time on earth learning. When they pick up a book, they don’t do so just to finish it, but to take something away from it. Reading textbooks was never just a school assignment to be completed, but was a chance to expand their knowledge even further. Even while reading fictional novels, successful people take with them life lessons that they carry with them forever.

10. They read to relax

Even the most successful people need to tune out the world every once in a while. But this doesn’t mean they turn their minds off completely. There is nothing wrong with reading a “trashy magazine” or graphic novel to unwind. Reading just about anything is more beneficial than watching television or wasting a Friday night at a bar. Again, successful people value every minute of their time, and even in their most idle moments they still strive to improve. And there’s no better way to chill out while keeping yourself fresh than with a good book.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Russia & US agree to build new space station after ISS, work on joint Mars project

International Space Station (Image from NASA.gov)

In a landmark decision, Russian space agency Roscosmos and its US counterpart NASA have agreed to build a new space station after the current International Space Station (ISS) expires. The operation of the ISS was prolonged until 2024.

“We have agreed that Roscosmos and NASA will be working together on the program of a future space station,” Roscosmos chief Igor Komarov said during a news conference on Saturday.

The talks were held at Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The two agencies will be unifying their standards and systems of manned space programs, according to Komarov. “This is very important to future missions and stations.”

The ISS life cycle was to expire in 2020. “Under the ISS program the door will be open to otherparticipants,” Komarov told reporters.

Source : http://rt.com/news/244797-russia-us-new-space-station/

Russia & US agree to build new space station after ISS, work on joint Mars project

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Germanwings co-pilot planned to 'make everyone remember' him, ex-girlfriend says

A French Gendarmerie rescue helicopter flies over the debris of the Airbus A320 at the site of the crash, near Seyne-les-Alpes, French Alps March 27, 2015. (Reuters / Gonzalo Fuentes)

Andreas Lubitz, the Germanwings co-pilot who crashed an Airbus A320 into the French Alps, killing all 150 passengers aboard, had been planning to do something to “make everyone remember him,” his ex-girlfriend has claimed in an interview.

Speaking with Bild, Maria W., a 26-year-old cabin crew employee whose full name has not been released to the press, described Lubitz as “tormented” and secretive.

Maria recalled that when she heard about the crash, she remembered how Lubitz had said he would do something one day “that would change the system” so “everyone will then know my name and remember me.”

“I did not know what he meant by that at the time, but now it’s clear,” she told the newspaper.

Maria said Lubitz, 27, sometimes woke up at night screaming, “We’re going down!” in terror.

Dusseldorf prosecutors said Friday that police discovered in Lubitz’s home a torn sick note covering the date of the crashed Germanwings flight. They believe he could have been concealing his medical condition from the airline. It wasn’t specified what prompted Lubutz’s doctor to issue him with a medical certificate, however.

Source: http://rt.com/news/244829-germanwings-pilot-girlfriend-remember/

Germanwings co-pilot planned to 'make everyone remember' him, ex-girlfriend says

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

10 Things 20-Somethings Should Give Up Doing To Thrive In Life

20somethings should give up doing

At 28, I look back on my 20′s in an interesting way. I’m not yet out of my 20′s, but I’m old enough now that I’ve started looking back on the past 8 years with a lot of clarity. I don’t take any of it back, as regretting the past is as useful as placing your hands on a hot stove, but if I was back in my early 20′s again and knew wiser, there are so many things I would do differently.

Making the most of life isn’t as difficult as it might sometimes seem. You can have an amazing life right now if you give up doing these nine things:

1. Settling for less than your worth

Whether it’s settling to be with someone you don’t truly love, deciding to just take that 50 hour a week job your friend offered you because you don’t think you’ll ever finish school, or turning your back on what you love, don’t settle for less than your worth.

Likelihood is, you’re worth far more than you give yourself credit for. By the time we’re young adults, we’ve been through so much in life that we can often think things like, “I’m not good enough” or, “I don’t deserve that”. But you are good enough, and you do deserve that.

One of the greatest fallacies in life is the idea that we’re incomplete. That we’re missing a screw, lacking something, or altogether messed up. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

You were born absolutely and completely whole, and you continue to be no matter what you go through. No matter how many mistakes you make and no matter who wronged you, you’re the same beautiful person you began life as.

Realize that you’re priceless, and stop settling for less than you’re worth.

2. Changing for others

I was guilty of this myself. We act like someone we’re not to get the girl or guy we like, we do something unlike ourselves to impress a group of people we want to be our friends, and overall we give up what makes us “us” just so that others will like us.

But all this ends up doing is making us lose track of ourselves in the needs of others. We forget who we are, and when we “come to,” we realize all that time was wasted wandering around in disillusion.

Don’t change who you are for others. The people that are right for you will love you for you, not for who you’re trying to be.

3. Spending the day online

The internet is the future; it’s as simple as that. Everything you could ever want to know is on the internet, and a lot of the most popular forms of entertainment too. Oh, and you can make a living on the internet to boot. So it makes sense that we’d spend so much time online.

But to spend almost literally all day online is unhealthy, both with regards to your body and your mind. Maybe you’re a programmer, or run a blog, and spend a huge portion of each day online. That’s fine, you’re making a living, or are working on making a living through the internet.

But even then, you need to get out and experience nature, talk to people face to face, and just plain have fun with all those things that life has to offer that you can never find or experience online.

Learn how to balance your life between time online and time fully experiencing the beauty of life while disconnected and you’ll be far happier and healthier.

4. Thinking likes and followers = genuine friends

One of the biggest mistakes we make in our 20′s is convincing ourselves that Facebook friends, followers, +1′s, and the like are genuine friends. But genuine friendship is built upon the depth of the connection between two people. You can’t “go through things,” or experience life, with followers and Facebook friends. The most you can do is like the same post and occasionally say “What’s up!” or “Yeah, me too!”

Today, do a quick inventory. How many genuine friends do you have? If you’re having hard times, or something comes up unexpectedly, who do you have that you could turn to? If that answer is one or none, you probably need to get out and start building some genuine friendships.

Our relationships are the most telling factor in not only our ability to be happy but plays a big part in helping us thrive in all areas of life, so invest time in building friendships. It will serve you well for the rest of your life.

5. Sweeping problems under the rug

When we’re younger, we tend to push our problems aside or ignore them, often for endeavors that help us drown them out and forget about them altogether. But that won’t make them go away. They’re still there, waiting for their chance to strike.

Adopt the habit of taking care of things, whether regular responsibilities, serious issues, or surprise occurrences, head-on and as soon as they come up. Remind yourself that whether you take care of it now or later, you still have to do it eventually, and that if you put it off it can escalate into a far worse problem than what it is now.

You’ll begin really living life the day you decide to face yourself. All your problems, whether big or small.

Decide today to lift the rug on all of your problems and shine a light, and you’ll discover how exhilarating and joy-filled life can be.

6. Caring what others think of you

The number one fear that holds us back is the fear of what others may think of us. At one point or another, we all suffer from it. It’s only natural to feel this way. I felt this intensely from the time I was a young teenager all the way up into my 20′s.

This is probably most intense from high school on into our 20′s. A time where we often want to impress or, at least, not feel the critical eye of numerous groups of people from the other sex, groups of friends (or potential friends), to potential employers, and family.

But guess what? In a very real sense, while you might think that all these people are constantly looking at you and being critical of you, most people are never, if every, thinking about you. Once you realize this, it’s nothing short of a life changing realization.

Don’t believe me? Use yourself as an example. Are you constantly thinking about those around you, nitpicking and being overly critical of everyone near you? Or are you too busy being concerned with your own problems and aspirations to sit around thinking critically of everyone around you? Likelihood is, you don’t. And almost no one else does either. And those that do? Well…

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. – Dr. Seuss

7. Thinking you only have a few options

I grew up thinking I had to go to college to make something of myself. And while this is a respectable path, thinking this was my only option is just another example of limited thinking.

Don’t convince yourself that you have to take some specific path in life. This all comes down to not restricting yourself and thinking your only options are what you see everyone else doing, or what others expect you to do.

The world really is open to you and you have so many different options in front of you. Look around, use your creativity, and don’t take no for an answer.

Get out there and live your life, and don’t let anything hold you back.

8. Living absent-minded

Truth be told, this isn’t a problem only 20-somethings have, but it is a critical ingredient to thriving in life and something which, if tackled now, will show huge dividends both immediately in your life now and for decades to come.

The way we usually live our lives, we’re pushed and pulled here and there based on a combination of responsibilities, impulses, and only the occasional moment of clarity. We live quite literally only half-awake to the moment in front of us, more often worried about the future and regretting the past.

Do this simple exercise: say to yourself, “I am awake. I’m here, right now, fully alive to the beauty of this moment.” As you say this, focus your attention completely on the present moment experience. Get out of your head completely, stop purposely thinking (thoughts will still crop up without you doing anything, this is OK), and be fully alive to this moment.

Your entire life is waiting for you, realize how amazing your life can be by simply becoming fully awake to the moment in front of you.

9. Thinking you have all your life

Right now, it can seem like you have so much time that there’s little bother rushing to tackle anything of value. This is natural, and you shouldn’t rush around doing anything either way, but you need to live aware of the fact that life is a lot short than you think.

Before you know it, you’re going to turn around and be 30. And when this happens, you’re going to wonder where all the time you wasted went.

Create a “bucket” list, make plans, and get out there and do all those things you’ve always wanted to do.

As you grow older, you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do. – Zachary Scott

10. Looking for “happily ever after”

Since we were little tykes, through T.V., movies, books, and stories of all kinds we’ve been fed the idea of “happily ever after.” That is, when you can gain the perfect conditions for happiness and an overall great life, such as your special someone, your ideal house, a nice job, and the like, then the rest of your life you’ll remain blissfully happy.

This idea is never more present than when we’re in our 20′s, setting out in the world for the first time, searching for ourselves and striving for our goals.

But “happily ever after” isn’t at all true. Nothing will magically make you happy for the rest of your life. But this isn’t a bad thing, and it doesn’t mean we can’t find happiness.

On the contrary, you don’t have to wait 3, 5, or 10 years to find happiness. The conditions for an amazing life all exist right now within you. You don’t need to find “the one”, you don’t need to make more money, and you don’t need to get rid of your problems.

You can be happy right now in this very moment by fully accepting yourself, embracing your struggles, and realizing that it’s through these very things that you can see the beauty in life.

Stop waiting for the perfect conditions to start really living. Realize you can be truly happy right now by embracing life fully with open arms.

Source: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/10-things-20-somethings-should-give-doing-thrive-life-2.html?mid=20150324&ref=mail&uid=342294&feq=daily

10 Things 20-Somethings Should Give Up Doing To Thrive In Life

Monday, March 23, 2015

‘Tide of century’: Thousands flock to ancient French abbey for rare supertide

The incoming high tide surrounds the Mont Saint-Michel 11th century abbey off France's Normandy coast March 21, 2015. (Reuters / Pascal Rossignol)

Thousands of people, both locals and tourists, have gathered on the French island of Mont Saint-Michel off the coast of Normandy, to witness what is being called the “tide of the century” or the “supertide.”

The unusually high spring tide is caused by Friday’s solar eclipse and the current ‘supermoon,’ which has seen the moon coming closer to Earth than usual.

On Saturday morning, the tidal surge of around 14 meters – equal to the height of a four-story building – completely cut off Mont Saint-Michel from the mainland for a couple of minutes.

The rocky Mont Saint-Michel, which used to be a medieval stronghold and is home to the historic Norman Benedictine Abbey, is known for having one of the world’s strongest tides.

The French Naval Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service (SHOM) expected the tidal coefficient to reach a record-high of 119 on Saturday.

The coefficient that ranges between 20 and 120 is based on the height difference between consecutive high and low tides.

A general view shows the Mont Saint-Michel off France's Normandy coast March 19, 2015 (Reuters / Pascal Rossignol)

A general view shows the Mont Saint-Michel off France’s Normandy coast March 19, 2015 (Reuters / Pascal Rossignol)

According to the Telegraph newspaper, around 20,000 watched and photographed the ‘tide of the century’ at Mont Saint-Michel.

French Foreign Affairs Minister, Laurent Fabius, and Defense Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, were seen among the spectators.

Thousands of people also gathered along the beaches in different parts of the northern France and south-west England.

The ‘supertide’ will be experienced by other parts of the world as well, with a surge of up to 16 meters expected at the Bay of Fundy on Canada’s Atlantic coast.

However, the ‘tide of the century’ description given to the phenomenon by the media is far from being accurate as the current positioning of celestial bodies repeats itself as often as every 18 years. So, the next abnormal tide is likely to occur sometime in March, 2033.

Source : http://rt.com/news/242917-tide-century-eclipse-france/

‘Tide of century’: Thousands flock to ancient French abbey for rare supertide

Mexican wrestling star Hijo del Perro Aguayo dies after kick in ring

(CNN)The world of Mexican wrestling has been deeply shaken by the death of star fighter Hijo del Perro Aguayo, who collapsed after being kicked during a bout.

The lucha libre fighter, whose real name is Pedro Aguayo Ramirez, was left slumped against the ropes after a flying kick from one of his opponents, Rey Mysterio, during the match Friday night.

The other wrestlers continued with the fight as Aguayo’s limp body slid down onto the mat, according to video footage of the bout posted on social media.

The video showed ringside personnel repeatedly shaking Aguayo and talking to him without any response. He eventually received medical attention and was rushed out of the arena in the city of Tijuana.

But doctors were unable to revive him. AAA, the wrestling promotion company for which Aguayo worked, said it was informed of his death around 1 a.m. Saturday. He was 35 years old.

Wrestling community in mourning

“Mexican lucha libre is in mourning over the death of one of its star talents,” the AAA said in a statement.

Questions remained over what exactly caused Aguayo’s death and why it took so long for him to receive medical treatment.

Ernesto Franco, the duty doctor at the fight, told Mexico’s state news agency Notimex that at the time of Aguayo’s collapse, he was attending to other injured wrestlers, according to CNN Mexico.

Franco said Aguayo’s injury was the result of a blow to the neck region, adding that he spent about an hour trying to revive him using “all possible resuscitation measures.”

The Associated Press reported that the state prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into possible manslaughter.

The AAA said Friday’s fight was organized by another promotion company named The Crash.

‘You will be missed’

Aguayo’s death prompted an outpouring of grief on social media from fans and members of the wrestling industry.

“I will miss you and carry you with me for the rest of my life,” tweeted Rey Mysterio, a former WWE superstar who landed the flying kick on Aguayo. “Rest in peace, Hijo del Perro.”

He posted two images on Instagram that appeared to show him and Aguayo at a young age and again later in life.

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/03/22/americas/mexico-wrestling-hijo-del-perro-aguayo-death/index.html

Mexican wrestling star Hijo del Perro Aguayo dies after kick in ring

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tunis museum attack: Footage shows gunmen

The Tunisian government has released footage showing gunmen walking through the Bardo museum during the attack that killed 25 people on Wednesday.

At one point it shows the two attackers bumping into another man who is allowed to flee after the brief encounter.

Authorities said they had arrested more suspects in connection with the attack in the capital, Tunis.

The gunmen are said to have been trained in Libya in an area controlled by Islamic State (IS) militants.

IS has said it was behind the attack on the museum, which is next to the country’s parliament.

The men, named as Yassine Laabidi and Hatem Khachnaoui, were killed in a gunfight with security forces inside the building. At least one of them was wearing an explosives belt.

The men, named as Yassine Laabidi and Hatem Khachnaoui, were killed in a gunfight with security forces inside the building. At least one of them was wearing an explosives belt.

A man holds a Tunisian flag and flowers during a service for the victims of the attack at the Cathedral of Saint Vincent de Paul in Tunis, Tunisia - 21 March 2015A service for victims of the attack was held at the Cathedral of St Vincent de Paul in Tunis

The brother of Yassine Laabidi, one of gunmen, holds a recent picture of him - 21 March 2015The brother of Yassine Laabidi, one of gunmen, said he had been “brainwashed by swines”

The security camera footage, released by the interior ministry, shows the men carrying assault rifles and bags as they walk through the museum.

It also captures the moment a startled visitor comes face to face with the gunmen as he tries to flee the building. The gunmen briefly point their guns at the man but allow him to run away as they make their way up a staircase.

Earlier, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor said substantial progress had been made in the investigation – but she did not give any details.

Gunman ‘brainwashed’

Authorities have arrested more than 20 suspects since the attack, including 10 people believed to have been directly involved.

“There is a large-scale campaign against the extremists,” interior ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui told reporters.

Tunisia has seen an upsurge in Islamist extremism since the 2011 revolution that ousted dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Spring.

The brother of Yassine Laabidi, one of the gunmen, said his family were struggling to understand what had happened.

He described Laabidi as a sociable person who “enjoyed a drink with mates” but said he had been “brainwashed by swines who send young men to their death in the name of religion”.

There was a heavy police presence in the capital on Sunday. Hundreds of people gathered for a service in the cathedral, lighting candles for the victims.

Twenty foreign tourists were among those killed, including British, Japanese, French, Italian and Colombian visitors were among the victims

Source : http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32005866

Tunis museum attack: Footage shows gunmen

Revenge on a rotten boss

(Credit: Warner Bros/Rex Features)

Most of us have had one boss that we loathed. But while many of us have been left seething with rage after a snide comment from a rude supervisor, only a few have actually hatched a plan for revenge and followed it through.

We went to question-and-answer site Quora for some of the best boss revenge stories. Here’s what respondents had to say.

By now, executives should know to treat their assistants with respect. Case in point: early in Greg L Alston’s career, an unpopular new president arrived to head up his firm, a major pharmacy in California.

The new boss was “terrified of public speaking” but obligated to address the 500 staff members. He wrote his speech on notecards, handed them to an assistant for safekeeping and went “to have a few drinks to steel his courage,” Alston wrote.

The assistant “’accidentally’ shuffled the 3 x 5 notecards, not once but three times, insuring that they were in random order,” wrote Alson. “The knucklehead was not even smart enough to number the cards. He took the podium slightly inebriated and proceeded to read his entire speech off the cards even though the order now made absolutely no sense. He was mercifully terminated soon after.”

Revenge on a rotten boss

Friday, March 20, 2015

'Breathtaking' solar eclipse witnessed by millions

total eclipse

“Baily’s beads” were visible at the fringe of the eclipse when it reached totality

Related Stories

Millions of people in the UK and northern Europe have glimpsed the best solar eclipse in years.

In a solar eclipse, a swathe of the Earth is plunged into darkness as the Moon comes between us and the Sun.

From an aeroplane above the Faroe Islands, a BBC camera captured startling footage of the event reaching totality at 09:41 GMT.

As the Sun emerges from behind the Moon, people are still advised not to look directly at the phenomenon.

This is because even during the eclipse, looking directly at the Sun causes serious harm – but there are ways to watch the eclipse safelyand many people have taken the chance to do so.

In all parts of the UK the eclipse reached at least 83% and the darkness peaked at about 09:35 GMT.

Actual viewing opportunities were heavily dependent on the cloud cover that shrouded much of the country.

The deep shadow formed first in the North Atlantic, before sweeping up into the Arctic Circle and ending at the North Pole.

The UK will not see a solar eclipse on this scale again until 2026.

UK eclipse

The exact moment of greatest darkness for UK skywatchers was dependent on their location.

Penzance, in Cornwall, for example, had this moment at 09:23 GMT, whereas for Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, it happened at 09:43 GMT.

For the Shetlands, the eclipse was very nearly total at 97%.

To experience totality required going further north still – such as the trip taken by a BBC camera operator above the clouds in the Faroes.


The European Space Agency’s Proba satellite caught this view of the eclipse

Few land areas fall directly in the path of the Moon’s deepest shadow – its so-called umbra – and seabirds will probably have had the best eclipse experience.

The period of greatest darkness – nearly three minutes – occurred over a spot in the Norwegian Sea, a little below the Arctic Circle, at 09:46 GMT.

Many professional and amateur astronomers positioned themselves in the Faroe Islands, where the capital city of Torshavn got totality for a full


'Breathtaking' solar eclipse witnessed by millions

You Are Wrong About Chocolate…

I have to make a confession. I am a chocoholic! I promise that this article will be as balanced as possible but if there is some bias, I am sure you will forgive me.
The Aztecs and the Mayan people of Central America highly valued the cacao plant and its seeds. It seems that the Nahuatl language had the word ‘xocolatl’ for a cocoa drink which means ‘bitter water’.
Interesting also to look at who eats the most chocolate globally. The Germans are top of the list as their annual per capita consumption is a whopping 11.39 kg (25.11 lbs) while the US consumption is less than half of that at 5.09 kg (11.22 lbs).
There are lots of myths about chocolate and we were all told that chocolate could make you obese, give you acne, toothache and headaches, not to mention insomnia!
It’s time to debunk some of these myths and get the facts right. You will be pleasantly surprised.

1. Chocolate will keep you awake

The people who spout this myth are trying to tell you that chocolate contains loads of caffeine and that is going to give you a sleepless night! This is false, as the actual amount of caffeine in a chocolate bar is about the same as that of a cup of decaffeinated coffee. The cocoa bean contains only about 0.5% caffeine while dry coffee beans have 1.2% caffeine.

2. Chocolate makes kids bounce off the walls

This is an interesting myth, because the fact is that parents were expecting their kids to be hyper after a sugar or chocolate fix and so they were, according to them. The reality was quite different as the BBC discovered.There is no firm evidence to show that too many sweet things will make the kids bounce off the walls.

3. Chocolate could give you a stroke

Recent studies have turned this on top of its head. Provided you eat moderate amounts of dark chocolate (74% of cocoa solids), you could cut the risk of stroke by 22%. Those people who did get a stroke (not from eating chocolate!) were 45% less likely to die if they had consumed moderate amounts of chocolate on a regular basis.

4. Chocolate will give you acne

Teenagers are usually told this but there is no scientific evidence at all that this is the case. If there is too much sebum, then this could block pores and lead to acne. But all the studies done so far have debunked this theory and there is simply not enough evidence to support it. There were 21 studies done and not one of them was able to point the finger at chocolate although dairy products did not do too well. Just have some dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate!

5. Chocolate will give you cavities

They say this because chocolate has a high sugar content, although you can sidestep that issue by going for dark chocolate instead of white or milk chocolate which are usually sweeter. But the great thing about chocolate is that it melts quickly in the mouth, so that there is not much time for bacteria to form which might cause cavities. Actually, the cocoa butter acts as a sort of protective barrier which also prevents the bacteria getting the upper hand. Fluoride is also one element in chocolate and that is also useful in protecting teeth, as we know.

6. Chocolate is an aphrodisiac

Lots of old wives’ tales about the power of chocolate as a sexual stimulant but there is no scientific evidence to back it up at all. Casanova is thought to have been a great fan of chocolate but studies have not shown that chocolate can affect your libido or sexual prowess in any way.

7. Chocolate will not affect your mood in any way

Your good mood depends on the serotonin chemical, which works as a neurotransmitter, which can help boost your mood and avoid mood swings. This may be a problem for women going through the menopause. Now, chocolate can help because it contains tryptophan which can stimulate the production of serotonin, so the positive effects on mood are notable.

8. Chocolate will make you fat

Yes, it will, if you eat lots and lots of it! But in moderation, chocolate can help you in many ways. For example, did you know that a single portion of 70% chocolate can give you the same amount of protein that you would get from a cup of broccoli? It also can give you fiber and also some of the healthy fats in the cocoa butter. All this means that you feel full and you are not subject to so many cravings.
Chocolate also has polyphenols together with tryptophan which can improve your mood. It also makes you feel less stressed out and that can make the whole weight loss adventure more relaxed. In addition, chocolate contains epicatechin which boosts the metabolism, which will help you to burn off calories.

9. Chocolate can be bad for your cholesterol

Not true at all. Some fatty acids are good for you, others are not. Let us have a look at which fats are in chocolate. Most of it comes from the cocoa butter. There are three different types. One is oleic acid which is also found in olive oil and is actually great for your heart . The other one is palmitic acid (about 33%) which can increase the bad cholesterol (LDL) and clog up arteries. The good news though is that main fatty acid in chocolate is stearic acid and it seems to have a neutral effect on cholesterol, and does not have any effect on the LDL or HDL levels. So, having chocolate in moderate quantities is not going to affect your cholesterol one way or the other. Did you know that a serving of unsweetened cocoa has 0 grams of saturated fat?

10. Chocolate could give you a heart attack

Another myth still doing the rounds! But guess what studies carried out by Harvard University School of Public Health showed? They looked at 136 studies on chocolate and its effects on cardiovascular health. All these studies seem to suggest that there is a lower risk of heart disease when chocolate is part of your diet, again in moderate quantities. They found that it lowered blood pressure and also had an anti inflammatory function, both important for a healthy heart.
choc cake

11. Chocolate can become an addiction

Don’t worry – my chocolate habit is under control! But many people are convinced that you can become addicted to it. This would be true if you started eating several bars a day and also which type you were hooked on.
The fact is the addictive elements, such as theobromine and cannabinoids, are present in chocolate but in very small quantities. In order to become addicted you would have to eat up to 17 ozs of it every day for quite a while!
Now that we have debunked the 11 most notorious myths about chocolate, why not tell us why you like chocolate so much?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Three Most Important Charts Today

Bart Chart: What's the Biggest Economic Surprise?

The running theme of the U.S. economic picture right now is contradiction. The labor market seems strong, but wages are still flat, and many other economic indicators are weak. Oil prices are plummeting and drillers are cutting back, but oil production keeps surging.

To take another example, housing starts were released today—and were a huge miss. (A 17 precent drop vs. a consensus of -2.4 precent.) But people were generally unconcerned, both because of the lousy weather in February and that fact that new building permits actually went up.

This chart shows housing starts by region, and as you can see, in the Northeast and Midwest, starts absolutely collapsed.





Meanwhile, we might have gotten a sign that economic data is set to bounce back. This daily tracking poll from Gallup is at its highest levels of the year.

Source: Gallup

Meanwhile, The Bloomberg Surprise Index hasn’t been this low in years, meaning that the economic indicators are coming in way below the expectations of economists.


The Three Most Important Charts Today

Facebook to Let Users Send Friends Money Through Messenger App

(Bloomberg) — Facebook Inc. is giving users the ability to send money to friends through its Messenger application, as the social network adds features to the separate chat app.

The new tool will be rolled out in the coming months in the U.S. for mobile users on Google Inc.’s Android and Apple Inc. software and on desktop computers, Facebook said today on its website. Users can send or receive money by adding a debit card number to their accounts, then can create a personal ID number and add further authentication to enhance security.

The Menlo Park, California-based company said it already processes more than a million secure transactions every day, including payments for game players and advertisers. Facebook’s Messenger joins a number of apps that let people send each other cash, including Venmo and PayPal, both owned by EBay Inc., and startup Snapchat Inc. Facebook has talked about payments as an opportunity, given that people use their accounts on the social network to establish identity on the Internet.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Frier in San Francisco at sfrier1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net Cecile Daurat

Source : http://www.bloomberg.com

Facebook to Let Users Send Friends Money Through Messenger App


Screen shot 2015-01-06 at 2.11.53 PM
Every winter when the snow rolls in for some, kids and adults alike head outside to build igloos, snowmen and whatever they can imagine. I, among many would take pride in anything we built, it was ours and it was always a competition to see who could build something bigger and better than our friends. I thought I always rolled a pretty great snowman or the best igloo, that is until I saw what these sculptures at the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival could do with their snow and ice. The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in the Heilongjiang Province in China brings together the best artists in the world. Enjoy these amazing and giant ice sculptures you won’t believe are real!


Sonus Faber-ft

YOU CAN DROP upward of $100,000 on a Tesla Model S P85D or a BMW i8, and odds are, you’ll be happy with either of them. On the other hand, you’re still gonna stress about street parking and some jerk keying your car. Plus, expensive cars still get stuck in traffic just like a jalopy.

So with that in mind, a much wiser investment—if you’re looking to drop six figures on a toy—might be a pair of these 5.6-foot-tall Sonus Faber Aida speakers. They’ll always have a parking space in your living room, and they’ll sound better than any car stereo.

These $120,000 Italian-made floor-standing speakersaren’t exactly new, but they match quality with style in a way you’d expect from such a high end of the market. The front panel, which is of course swathed in leather, houses four of the speaker’s seven drivers: a 1-inch moving-coil tweeter, two 8.6-inch woofers, and a 7-inch midrange driver with a diaphragm composed of “traditional cellulose pulp, kapok, kenaf and other natural fibers.” There’s more leather around the back, as well as another tweeter and midrange driver. You can tune them to match your listening environment using the “Sound Field Shaper” knobs.

Sonus Faber Aida Speakers
Sonus Faber

Where’s the subwoofer, you ask? There’s one per speaker, and you can’t see them unless you tip over these 365-pound behemoths. (Don’t do that). A 12.5-inch subwoofer points downward at an angle. The angled woofers are positioned on a slope of each speaker’s A-frame suspension system, where the bass fires into a sound-optimizing chamber. Each woofer’s bass effect can also be tweaked with the knobs on the back of each unit.

The result of all that, according to various glowing reviews, is that these speakers don’t really sound like speakers They sound more like musicians performing in your home. That’s provided you have a solid amplifier or amplifiers driving them.

As with a lot of Italian-made things, they also bet big on aesthetics. Their tear-drop cross-sectional shape is inspired by a lyre, according to Sonus Faber, and other elements make them look even more like string instruments. There’s a wrap-around wooden sheath available in lacquered red, walnut, white, and graphite finishes, and the string-like speaker grill also adds to the instrument-like looks: Each speaker vaguely resembles a harp or a double bass.

But the Aidas’ looks aren’t for everyone’s eyeballs, including the ones attached to Gadget Lab senior editor Mike Calore. A couple of harps won’t fit into his decor. If you’re looking for a pair of ridiculously good, even more ridiculously expensive speakers, Calore recommends opting for a pair of the Radialstrahler MBL 101 X-Tremes instead. At $263,000, they cost twice the Sonus Faber Aidas, but it’s a small price to pay for transforming your listening room into something that resembles the set of Metropolis.


Cyclone Pam: UN confirms 24 dead and 3,300 displaced in Vanuatu

A huge number of trees have been blown over or in some cases ripped out of the ground, says the BBC’s Jon Donnison

The UN in Vanuatu says 24 people have died and 3,300 are displaced after Cyclone Pam hit the Pacific archipelago early on Saturday.

The UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team in the capital, Port Vila, said 37 evacuation centres had been set up, but communication with outer islands was still down.

President Baldwin Lonsdale said the storm had “wiped out” all development of recent years.

He called again for international aid.

Of those who died, 11 were from Tafea island, eight from the main island, Efate, and five from Tanna.

The evacuation centres were catering for the many people who had lost their homes, the UN said, adding that the response effort was for now focusing on the capital and Efate.

After aerial assessments of the damage caused by the storm, Shefa remained the only province declared an emergency, the UN said.

Aid began arriving in the storm-hit nation – one of the world’s poorest – after flights to Port Vila resumed.

Tropical Cyclone Pam is slowly weakening as it travels towards New Zealand and poses no further threat to Vanuatu or the South Pacific, a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says.

Source : http://www.bbc.com/

Cyclone Pam: UN confirms 24 dead and 3,300 displaced in Vanuatu

Monday, March 16, 2015

Nigeria: Boko Haram bomb factory uncovered in troubled northeas

The ISIS terror threat

(CNN)Nigerian troops discovered a Boko Haram bomb factory this week after they seized a northern town from the extremists, the military said.

The factory was tucked inside a fertilizer company in Buni Yadi town in Yobe state, according to officials.

Islamist fighters took over the town in August, one of many seized in the troubled northeast. Troops have battled the militants for months to regain control, and said they recaptured it last week.

Militants planted explosive devices along the highway on their way out, which delayed the soldiers’ advance. Four soldiers were killed during the operation.

Soldiers have been scouring the factory and have found suicide bomber vests and improvised explosive devices, the military said Friday.

“Troops are still evacuating the materials … a large quantity of improvised explosive devices, including those commonly used by suicide bombers, were recovered from the site,” the military said in a statement.

ISIS welcomes Boko Haram

The discovery comes days after ISIS purportedly said it welcomed Boko Haram after the latter pledged allegiance to it.

In an audio message purportedly from an ISIS spokesman, the group announced that it had accepted a pledge of allegiance from Boko Haram.

ISIS supporters posted the audio online. CNN cannot independently verify the 28-minute message.

The message says that ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, has expanded to western Africa and congratulated “our jihadi brothers” there.

An ISIS spokesman encouraged people to join fighters in Africa if they cannot make it to Iraq or Syria.

Nigeria: Boko Haram bomb factory uncovered in troubled northeas

Vladimir Putin: Russian leader dismisses 'gossip' over absence

Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev (left) with Mr Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has laughed off speculation about his health after making his first appearance in public since 5 March.

Life “would be boring without gossip”, he told Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev at talks in St Petersburg.

The 62-year-old appeared relaxed and smiled before the television cameras.

His disappearance from public view had sparked rumours that he might have fallen ill, died, been removed in a coup, or once again become a father.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Putin ordered the Russian navy’s Northern Fleet on to a state of full combat readiness in the Arctic.

It came as more than 45,000 troops, as well as warplanes and submarines, started major military exercises across northern Russia.

‘Excellent form’

A brief video of Mr Putin’s meeting with his Kyrgyz counterpart at the Constantine Palace in Russia’s second city was broadcast by state television without sound.

Vladimir Putin: Russian leader dismisses 'gossip' over absence

Business Directory | MarketPlustMEMarketPlustME

Business Directory | MarketPlustMEMarketPlustME

17 Signs You Have The Coolest Mom In The World


 don’t know about you, but my mom is seriously one of the coolest people out there.

She’s always been there to make me laugh, wipe away my tears, and help me become the person I am today.
Is your mom super cool? Here are some signs that you are ridiculously lucky to have your mom around.

1. Your mom is one of your best friends.

She’s the first to know about everything new in your life, and you have regular hangouts. For example, my mom and I try to go out for sushi, and we even went on a double-feature mother-daughter date at the movies.

2. But your mom makes sure she puts her role as mother over her role as friend.

said so
Even if you guys are BFFs, she is your mother before she’s your bud, and even if you don’t like it, she will make sure to put your best interests at heart. My mom makes it clear that she’s not only my friend and drinking buddy, but someone who will put me in my place when I need it.

3. You can always count on your mom to be there to listen.

If you’re going through heartbreak or need advice, you call her up. She will listen, always, without judgment. (Thanks, Mom.)

4. Your mom is your biggest cheerleader.

My mom is always the one to encourage me and lift me up, no matter what.
Got a dream? You can bet your mom is there to support it, and she will constantly remind you that you need to chase it, even when you’re not so sure of it yourself.
. . .well, maybe not quite like that.

5. You and your mom have the best inside jokes ever.

You’re constantly giggling to each other. In fact, it’s quite a trip watching you two interact on a day-to-day basis. My mom and I are constantly cracking each other up (we’re so dang hilarious).

6. You and your mom always stick together at family gatherings.

Who else is gonna keep you entertained while your great aunt Ethel talks about her cats? I always stick to my mom like glue at family gatherings so we can giggle at the weirdness of it all.

7. Your mom always puts family first.

Even if she’s got an awesome career and social life, family always, always comes first. She was never late to pick you up from school because of a meeting, and she never forgot your birthday, because you were — and stillare – the priority in her life.

8. Your mom always calls and asks how your life is — and she genuinely cares.

She needs to know how you’re doing on a regular basis, and if you say anything other than “I’m doing great,” she will try her hardest to rectify the situation.
mother knows best

9. Your mom always keeps a watchful eye. . . but she doesn’t hover.

You never feel smothered by her, but you know she’s always got one eye on you to make sure you’re on the right path. She tries to stay relatable and remember what it was like being your age.

10. Your mom lets you make mistakes, but she’s always there to help you get back on your feet.

My mom lets me go through heartbreak or fall on my face sometimes — and I know how hard it is for her to watch. But she knows that I need to make my own mistakes, and she’s always there to help me back up.
A cool mom knows that she can’t live your life for you, and she knows you’re going to date someone you shouldn’t, or hit a rough patch every now and then. But when you inevitably do, she is there to wipe away your tears.

11. Your mom knows that she’s just an older, wiser kid at heart.

I still remember what my mom said to me before I left for college: “Here’s the most important piece of advice I can give you: if you get the spins after drinking too much, just bite your tongue and it will distract you.”
Cool moms don’t pretend like they’ve been chaste and perfect their whole life. A cool mom doesn’t play the “holier-than-thou” card, because she is human too, and she’s made the same mistakes you have. She knows that you’ll make them too, and she uses her wisdom to help you whenever you need it.

12. Everyone loves your mom.

Your friends totally want to hang out with your mom, and have suggested she come along on more than one occasion. My friends are currently begging me to invite my mom to my New Year’s party this year. I’m not kidding.

13. Because your mom is hilarious.

She totally knows what’s going on, and she’s struck the perfect balance of being “in” and still being a wise, strong woman. The result is a fabulous sense of humor.

14. Even when you’re mad at her, you still know how much you care about her.

If your mom is like mine, she drives you crazy sometimes, because she always has your best interests at heart, and that means you butt heads every now and then. But even when you do, you can’t possibly love her any less.

15. Your answer to “Who’s your biggest hero?” is always “my mom.”

Stand aside, Wonder Woman. Mom rocks way more than you do.
I believe I’ve written quite a few essays over the years illustrating this very point.

16. You can’t imagine who you would be without your mom…

Your mom built such a strong foundation for you. It’s difficult to separate who you are as a person from who she helped you become as a person.
I try to picture my life without my mom, and I truly can’t.

17. …because your mom is one of the most important people in your world.

Because what you do without her?
Love you, Mom.