Here, There and Everywhere

Archive for October, 2013

Cold Comfort

Cold Comfort
by Gabriel Constans

Garlic is truly the patient’s best friend. It helps cleanse the throat, sinuses, nose, and lungs. It has been used to ward off werewolves, vampires, and “the evil eye,” and has been praised as a cure for every calamity imaginable. Some people believe that if you eat or drink enough garlic, you will live forever: Of course, you may live alone, due to its strong smell.

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Yield: 3 cups

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 ripe bananas
2 cups apple juice
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/4 cup soft tofu

Place all the ingredients in a blender, and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds.

Pour into short glasses and drink a wee bit at a time. Cold Comfort has a strong kick.

Muslims Protect Christians

Human chain formed to protect Christians during Lahore mass
By Web Desk / Aroosa Shaukat
Published: October 6, 2013
The Express Tribune

LAHORE: The Muslim and Christian communities came together during Sunday mass in a show of solidarity in Lahore.

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Hand in hand as many as 200-300 people formed a human chain outside the St Anthony’s Church adjacent to the District Police Lines at the Empress Road, in a show of solidarity with the victims of the Peshawar church attack two weeks back, which resulted in over a 100 deaths. The twin suicide attack on All Saints church occurred after Sunday mass ended and is believed to be the country’s deadliest attack on Christians.

Standing in the small courtyard of St Anthony’s Church, as Mufti Mohammad Farooq delivered a sermon quoting a few verses of the Holy Quran that preached tolerance and respect for other beliefs, Father Nasir Gulfam stepped right next to him after having conducted a two hour long Sunday service inside the church. The two men stood should to shoulder, hand in hand as part of the human chain that was formed outside the church not just as a show of solidarity but also to send out a message, ‘One Nation, One Blood’.

As part of an attempt to sensitize the public at large, the human chain was the second such event after a similar had been organized in Karachi last week outside the St Patrick’s Cathedral by an organization called Pakistan For All – a collective of citizens concerned about the growing attacks on minorities.

“Well the terrorists showed us what they do on Sundays. Here we are showing them what we do on Sundays. We unite,” said Mohammad Jibran Nasir, the organizer who made the calls for the event on social media.

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Flying in from Karachi for the human chain, Nasir and his group are out to advocate the need for interfaith harmony. “I see no reason why our politicians and our leaders should not come out of their houses, leave the luxury of their secure homes and stand in solidarity with the common man”, he said.

As the service concluded inside the church, the courtyard echoed with slogans of ‘Dehshut gardee murdabaad’ and ‘Muslim Maseehi ittehad zindabaad’ as members of the Sunday service emerged.

Led by Taimur Rahman, activist and member of the music band Laal, the congregation in the courtyard proceeded with sermons and chanting as the crowd increased in number.

Later, the congregation moved onto the street where they chanted slogans and formed the human chain, as police cordoned off the roads leading to the church to allow for the congregation to move.

Mariam Tariq who was attending the service along with her daughter also joined the chain. “We have lost so many of our loved ones over the past few years” said Tariq as she broke into tears.

See more photos at The Express Tribune with the International Herald Tribune.

Strawberry Strut

Strawberry Strut
by Gabriel Constans

Clasp this drink in your hand and truck on down to your favorite hot spot to “strut your stuff.” With the added oxygen your body receives from the strawberries, you’ll have all the extra energy you need.

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Yield: 4 cups

2 cups almond milk
20 fresh, ripe strawberries
1 small European or Japanese plum
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 pecans, chopped
2 tablespoons honey

Place all the ingredients in a blender, and blend on medium speed for 30 seconds.

Pour into tall, short, large or small cups and feel the rhythm.

Every 60 Seconds

Every 60 Seconds

In the last decade, the U.S. has led the way in the movement to end malaria. And our efforts to fight the disease are having a real impact in a cost-effective way.

Two years ago, a child in Africa died every 30 seconds from malaria. Now, it’s a child every 60 seconds.

But just one death from a preventable disease is too many.

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We can’t back down now. It’s more important than ever that Congress fully support programs that provide simple, affordable solutions to prevent malaria before it can take children’s lives.

Send a message to Congress today: If we fully support simple, effective anti-malaria programs, we CAN end preventable deaths around the world!

Thank you for taking action,

Ellen B.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

The Ancestor Tree

The Ancestor Tree

I made this as a gift. It consists of a large sanded and polished piece of red granite, with a tree carved from Italian white ice alabaster. The tree is placed on top of the granite and can be turned in various directions, depending on one’s preference. The tree began as an attempt at an angel, but part of it broke off and revealed its true essence.

The rainbow light from the sun hitting the stone has a beautiful effect. You can see clearly through the stone when held up, though it was difficult to get such a shot without it being too bright.

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Greenpeace Pirates?

Greenpeace Pirates

A Russian court has just formally charged 28 Greenpeace activists from around the world, along with a freelance photographer and videographer, with piracy.

If convicted, each could face up to fifteen years in a Russian prison. All for the crime of peacefully protesting oil drilling in the Arctic. It’s the most serious threat to Greenpeace’s environmental work since French secret service agents bombed and sunk the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior — killing a crew member — back in 1985.

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But we didn’t back down then and can’t back down now — no matter how far those in power go to silence the people who speak out against Arctic oil drilling and environmental destruction. With your support, we can stop drilling in the Arctic just like we stopped French nuclear weapons testing three decades ago.

The scene from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise two weeks ago was almost unbelievable.

Using a helicopter and ropes, fifteen armed Russian special forces agents boarded the ship and started rounding up everyone onboard, assembling them on the helideck and taking control of the ship. The crew was eventually moved to the main area of the ship and put under guard while the ship was towed to the Russian city of Murmansk.

It was in Murmansk where, just yesterday, the last of the Greenpeace activists and the two freelancers were charged with piracy. They’re not pirates. Peaceful protest isn’t piracy. It’s the voice that our environment desperately needs right now.

Don’t let that voice and the voices of those charged with piracy in Russia be silenced. Please help support our work to save the Arctic and protect the environment by making a gift today.

Greenpeace doesn’t take a dime from corporations or governments so we can do what’s necessary to protect the environment. Especially when corporations and governments are the ones threatening our environment in the first place.

We rely entirely on financial support from people like you to do the work that we do. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Thanks for all you do.

Sincerely,

Phil Radford
Greenpeace USA Executive Director

P.S. A Russian court has just formally charged 28 Greenpeace activists, along with a freelance photographer and videographer, with piracy for protesting Arctic drilling.

Tango with the Mango

Tango with the Mango
by Gabriel Constans

It is believed the tango is a dance that originally derived from the milonga of Argentina and the habanera of Cuba and the West Indies. It became popular in the United States and Europe around World War 1. The tango is a flowing, elegant combination of movements accompanied by romantic, lively music with a throbbing beat.

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There are hundreds of varieties of the delicious mango, including red, green, yellow, and orange. Mangoes are reported to help rid the body of unwanted odors, and to reduce fevers. They are high in vitamin A, and are said to delay some effects of aging if they are eaten frequently.

Yield: 5 cups

1 ripe mango, peeledand seeded
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1 tangerine, peeled, seeded, and sliced
1 banana
1 ripe papaya, peeled, seeded, and sliced
2 cups filtered water

Place all the ingredients in a blender, and blend on medium speed for 45 seconds.

Pour, serve in tall glasses, wrap your arms around your partner and drink, as you dance the sultry tango.

Faces of Syrian Refugee Crisis

CARE President Dr. Helene D. Gayle Sees Faces of Syrian Refugee Crisis in Jordan: Leader of global humanitarian organization visits CARE’s work, meets Jordan’s Queen Rania and Prime Minister
From CARE.org

AMMAN (Oct. 2, 2013) – CARE President and CEO Helene D. Gayle visited Jordan this week to see firsthand the poverty-fighting organization’s work with Syrian refugees and meet senior national leaders and officials.

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Over half a million Syrians who fled their homeland now live in safe but difficult circumstances in Jordan. And while the public image of the crisis may be that of refugee camps, the vast majority of refugees — 75 percent in Jordan — live outside of camps, struggling to survive in poorer areas of cities. In these urban centers, CARE is helping refugees with emergency cash assistance for shelter, food, and medical care, provision of information on available services, case management and referral services.

“This is the world’s largest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide, and yet, in a way, it’s almost invisible,” said Gayle. “But here in the poorest neighborhoods of Amman and other cities of Jordan, inside squalid apartments, seeing the faces of this crisis is unavoidable and shocking. More often than not, they are the faces of mothers and children in desperate living conditions.”

The refugee crisis began in spring 2011, when civil war broke out in Syria. As bombings and shootings escalated, more than 2 million people escaped to neighboring countries like Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. At least three-quarters of the refugees are women and children.

Gayle was particularly moved by Rawda, a Syrian widow who lost her husband in a bomb blast and now is struggling to care for five young children, including a seven-year-old son unable to walk after being injured by a bomb in Syria. “The situation of the people I’ve met is overwhelming. There are mothers and children who have witnessed their husbands or fathers dying in their arms,” Gayle said.

Soaring prices for food, electricity, and rent have swiftly impoverished hundreds of thousands of Syrians. Many refugees are not legally allowed to work in their host countries, so once their savings are gone, they face destitution.

Donor response, however, has not matched the scale of the humanitarian crisis. As of Oct. 2, the UN-led appeal of $4.4 billion is only at 49 percent funded. And CARE has secured less than 25 percent of the anticipated $50 million in funding needed for its life-saving response.

Nonetheless, CARE is scaling up. In Jordan, CARE’s cash grant program gives Syrian and Iraqi families emergency funds to meet urgent needs. CARE is providing life-saving services to Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon and to people affected by the crisis in Syria. As the conflict escalates, CARE is also starting activities in Egypt and Yemen to help Syrian refugees there. CARE is impartial and neutral. Our support to families affected by the crisis in Syria is based on humanitarian needs alone, no matter people’s religion, political affiliation or ethnicity.

Gayle met with Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan to discuss the Syrian refugee crisis as well as the long-term women’s empowerment programs that CARE runs in Jordan. Gayle recognized the generosity of Jordan in hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees. She repeated that message in a separate meeting with Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, where discussions focused on how groups such as CARE can best help in a coordinated refugee response.

For all the challenges, Dr. Gayle said she was also left with a sense of hope while talking to refugees. “I see so much strength in women like Rawda. Even as she struggles to feed her own children, she managed to find a way to enroll them in school. I was truly moved by her resilience and determination.”

About CARE: Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience delivering emergency aid during times of crisis. Our emergency responses focus on the needs of the most vulnerable populations, particularly girls and women. Last year CARE worked in 84 countries and reached more than 83 million people around the world. To learn more, visit www.care.org.

Cantaloupe Waltz

Cantaloupe Waltz
by Gabriel Constans

The waltz is a gliding, turning dance that overcame hostile opposition to dominate social dancing from 1750 to 1900. It involves six even steps and full turns as slowly or swiftly as the music will take you. Famous early proponents were Johann Strause and Josef Lanner.

Cantaloupes are said to alleviate some allergies, reduce bladder infections, relieve bursitis, and prevent memory loss.

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Yield: 5 cups

1/2 cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, and sliced
1/2 honeydew, peeled, seeded, and sliced
2 cups filtered ice water
1 1/2 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, or 1 tablespoon dried mint
8 ice cubes
3 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
10 fresh strawberries

Place all the ingredients in a blender, and blend on medium speed for 1 minute.
Pour into champagne glasses and glide.

Stealing the Land

The Truth About Land Grabs
From Oxfam America

We all rely on the land—our common ground—and farms to put food on the table. But the world’s farmland is at risk. Here in the US, we have been losing more than an acre of farmland every minute. In developing countries, the rush for land is even more intense.

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What’s a land grab?

Imagine waking up one day to be told you’re about to be evicted from your home. Being told that you no longer have the right to remain on land that you’ve lived on for years. And then, if you refuse to leave, being forcibly removed. For many communities in developing countries, this is a familiar story.

In the past decade, more than 81 million acres of land worldwide—an area the size of Portugal–has been sold off to foreign investors. Some of these deals are what’s known as land grabs: land deals that happen without the free, prior, and informed consent of communities that often result in farmers being forced from their homes and families left hungry. The term “land grabs” was defined in the Tirana Declaration (2011) by the International Land Coalition, consisting of 116 organizations from community groups to the World Bank.

The global rush for land is leaving people hungry

The 2008 spike in food prices triggered a rush in land deals. While these large-scale land deals are supposedly being struck to grow food, the crops grown on the land rarely feed local people. Instead, the land is used to grow profitable crops—like sugar cane, palm oil, and soy—often for export. In fact, more than 60 percent of crops grown on land bought by foreign investors in developing countries are intended for export, instead of feeding local communities. Worse still, two-thirds of these agricultural land deals are in countries with serious hunger problems.

Righting the wrong of land grabs

With your help, Oxfam has been campaigning on land grabs as part of our GROW campaign for food justice.

People like you successfully pushed the World Bank to commit itself to a new UN standard on how land is governed. This means they’ll work to ensure that the world’s most vulnerable people have their land rights respected.

In 2011, 769 families were forced out of their homes and off thier land in Polochic Valley. Their crops and homes were burned. And three people died. Over 100,000 people signed to get the Guatemala Government to declare support for the Polochic communities and, to date, 140 families have had their land returned. The campaign continues.

To send a global message about land grabs, thousands of Oxfam supporters and Coldplay fans sent photos and videos of ordinary things out of place, echoing the displacement of land grabs. These clips were edited together into a music video that helped raise the profile of land grabs during the campaign targeting the World Bank.

What’s next?

Communities are already standing up and demanding their rights. And because big food companies rely on your continued support to stay in business, you have a rare opportunity to stand with local farmers as they struggle to retain their farmland. Visit BehindtheBrands.org and see how the 10 biggest food and beverage companies score on their land policies.

– See more at: Oxfam America.

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