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May 31, 2012

Fox News Is Now Producing Its Own Anti-Obama Attack Ads


This morning on Fox & Friends, Fox News aired a straight-up, unadulterated four-minute attack ad mocking Obama's "Hope and Change" message and cataloguing the purported failures of his administration, complete with ominous music, depressing charts, and voiceover audio of Mitt Romney attacking him. Not someone else's ad, mind you—this was actually an in-house production of Fox News, involving weeks of work by a Fox staffer.

"Hats off to Chris White, one of the producers on our team," said Steve Doocy after the ad wrapped up. "He's been in a small editing room for the past few weeks."

What do you call it when you pay someone to spend weeks producing a slick advertisement relentlessly attacking your political opponent? Journalism.

This is the culmination of lifelong Republican political hack Roger Ailes' 30-year plan, hatched in the Nixon White House, to build a GOP messaging operation in the guise of a news channel. Only the guise has been dropped. It's more efficient this way.

'Russia's Zuckerberg' throws money out the window

Perhaps this was his version of a reverse IPO. You know, instead of taking money from the people, giving it back to the people.

True, that's not a very Russian concept, but something must explain the actions of Pavel Durov, the 27-year-old sometimes referred to as Russia's Mark Zuckerberg.

For here he was, together with his company's vice president, tossing paper planes out of his St. Petersburg office window. Oh, nothing more than juvenile behavior, you might imagine. But how juvenile.

For the planes were made out of 5,000-ruble notes. That's about $160 per identified flying object.

As Russia Today reports, "the colleagues took great joy watching the crowd's reaction."

Well, indeed. For ordinary Russians are not exactly rich. They spend their days steeling themselves against some of the nation's inevitabilities.

It is not surprising, then, that Russia Today describes one witnesses' view of what happened: "People turned into dogs, as they were literally attacking the notes. They broke each other's noses, climbed the traffic lights with their prey -- just like monkeys. Shame on Durov!"

On his Russian-language Twitter account -- which enjoys a mere 168,000 followers -- the young genius reportedly explained his behavior by saying he just wanted to create a festive atmosphere, for St. Petersburg was celebrating City Day.

He added: "We had to stop soon, though, as people turned into animals. Definitely, more such actions are to follow."

Durov is the founder of VKontakte, a social network whose pages look remarkably similar to those of Facebook.

You will be stunned into tossing your own wallet out of the window when I tell you that he intended to put his company through an IPO. However, Reuters reports that, after Facebook's peculiar public-offering experience, he has decided to delay the offering.

Durov is said to be an interesting individual. Despite being worth a mere $260 million, he recently offered a manifesto, in which he made suggestions on how to turn Russia into a more dynamic country.

On the list was getting rid of the currency, as well as allowing foreigners to buy up parts of Russia to create their own little states. How much should I bid for Siberia?

Watching this footage and reading his explanation, some might imagine that Durov is exhibiting the behavior of a particularly classless oaf, who could do with being locked up in the company of cannibals for a week or two.

A few might ponder, though, whether his actions reflect a mind-set that isn't entirely foreign to tech entrepreneurs, in, say, California.

No, they wouldn't necessarily toss cash out of their office windows, because, well, who needs cash in Palo Alto?

But there's a certain distance -- sometimes very obvious -- between those who can make huge sums by creating hugely superficial tech products, and people who don't know if they'll ever get another paycheck.

Sometimes, it's hard not to imagine that some tech entrepreneurs look down upon real people and think: "What a bunch of ignorant dummies."

Iran not to pursue N-bomb production: Ahmadinejad

Affirming that Iran was not after nuclear weapons, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said enriching uranium to 20 percent was his country's right.

Ahmadinejad said related countries should explain why Tehran is not allowed to enrich uranium to 20 percent and how they will reciprocate if Iran stops uranium enrichment to that purity, Xinhua reported citing IRNA news agency.

Speaking during an interview with France 24 television, Ahmadinejad said enriching uranium to 20 percent is Iran's right and Tehran is not after nuclear weapons.

Asked if Iran would agree to let other countries provide it with higher grade enriched uranium, Ahmadinejad said he was open to the option.

According to analysts, Ahmadinejad's remarks indicate that Tehran will likely give up production of 20 percent enriched uranium if certain conditions are met by the western countries, such as lifting part of the harsh economic sanctions, Xinhua reported.

Ahmadinejad also added that he did not expect the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers, namely the five UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany, would generate breakthroughs.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Sunday that Iran will consider halting 20 percent uranium enrichment if the West recognises the "civilian" nature of its nuclear programme.

Iran and the six world powers, including Germany, held a new round of nuclear talks in the Iraqi capital Baghdad last week. The talks were concluded with a plan to hold another round of talks in Moscow next month.

Where's George W Bush? How a two-term president became the quiet man of US politics

George W Bush returns to the White House on Thursday for the unveiling of his official portrait. But where has the lesser-spotted 43rd President been hiding? Jon Swaine visited Dallas to find out more.


Some confidantes hope George W Bush will edge back into the spotlight with a book, to be published in July, outlining a plan to boost economic growth

When Chad Draper finished eating at a fish-fry in his grandmother's garden in suburban Dallas earlier this year, he took a walk with some of the friends and relatives he would soon be leaving for Afghanistan.

As they reached number 10141 in the neatly kept cul-de-sac in Preston Hollow, Private Draper paused to glance at the home of the man who, a decade earlier, started the war he was about to join. And George W. Bush looked back.

Spotting Pvt. Draper's uniform, Mr Bush came outside and threw an arm around the 26-year-old Army Pathfinder for a photograph. "Thank you for your service," he said, wishing him well for his tour.

It was a typically gregarious gesture from the 65-year-old neighbour who exchanges emails with Jacob King, 17 and mired in school exams, and who telephoned Patrick Bibb, 22, to thank him for putting up supportive banners. "He always stops to wave," said Mollye Vilbig, 87.

Yet on Thursday Mr Bush returns to the White House to unveil his official portrait as the quiet man of US politics – the lesser-spotted 43rd president, whose decisions on war, tax and spending loom gigantic over everyday life in America even as he remains absent from this year's campaign for the job he held for eight years.

The visit, only his second since leaving office 40 months ago with a record-low 22 per cent approval rating, threatens to remind voters of even unhappier times, tarnishing Mitt Romney's triumph of finally reaching the 1,144 delegates required to clinch the Republican nomination to face Barack Obama in November.

While endorsements from other big beasts such as John McCain have come amid much fanfare, Mr Bush's own long-awaited nod earlier this month took the form of just four words – "I'm for Mitt Romney" – shouted to a reporter through a closing lift door.

His silence contrasts sharply with his predecessor, Bill Clinton, who is already campaigning energetically for Mr Obama, and even with his relatively quiet father, George H.W. Bush, who posed for photographs with Mr Romney before promising to have a word with his eldest son.

The younger Bush insists that he is staying above the fray out of respect for his successor. Yet as Mr Obama pleads that he inherited a "mess" and is still trying to clear it up, former Bush advisers concede that focus on their man also poses headaches for Mr Romney, who should instead look to the future.

"I think people would agree with Obama that he was left with a mess," John Bolton, Mr Bush's UN ambassador, told The Daily Telegraph. "They're not arguing about that, and that's why it doesn't pay for Romney to argue whether it was a big mess or a little mess."

A recent CNN poll found 56 per cent of voters continued to blame Mr Bush and the Republicans for the country's ongoing economic woe, while only 29 per cent blamed Mr Obama and the Democrats. Only Richard Nixon ranked lower than Mr Bush in a Gallup poll on the last eight presidents earlier this year.

Things looks bleak. "There are a couple of kinds of events out there that would I think elevate his standing, but those are events that none of us would ever want to see," said Tony Fratto, a White House aide to Mr Bush. "If there were another terrorist act, and I don't even want to speculate on that, there are those out there who would make the case that after 9/11, he kept the country safe".

Little wonder, then, that Mr Bush and his wife, Laura, instead prefer to divide their time between their 1,600 acre ranch in Crawford and £1.3 million mansion on a Dallas street now locked behind black iron security gates and a Secret Service outpost.

Between publishing his memoir, quietly earning £10 million on the after-dinner circuit and overseeing the building of his £192 million presidential centre and library 18 miles away, Mr Bush enjoys relaxing on the putting green installed on the site of the next-door house, which he promptly bought and had demolished.

He frequently catches up with old friends living nearby, such as Harold Simmons, a titanium tycoon who recently opened a 1,300 acre radioactive waste dump in west Texas, and Tom Hicks, the sports franchise billionaire whose ownership almost destroyed Liverpool FC.

While Mrs Bush hosts barbecues and receives standing ovations at the local shopping mall, Mr Bush emails former aides from a new iPad, friends said. The couple enjoy crabmeat soufflés at the nearby Rise No.1 restaurant, where Mr Bush received the call from Mr Obama to say that Osama bin Laden was dead.

By all accounts, he does not miss the cut-and-thrust of a city he stayed away from for a full third of his presidency. "I actually found my freedom by leaving Washington," he said during a speech earlier this month.

Such is his detachment that a wall of memorable photographs inside the house is said to contain no pictures of Mr Bush with world leaders, but does include one with Siegfried and Roy, the Las Vegas entertainers renowned for their white tigers.

Some confidantes hope Mr Bush will edge back into the spotlight with a book, to be published in July, outlining a plan to boost economic growth. Others point beyond this election campaign to the opening of his presidential centre, in July next year, as his moment to return.

"I wish he could be more outspoken on the issues he cares about," said Bob Fu, a friend and leading Chinese-American dissident, who helped launch Mr Bush's Freedom Collection, a little-noticed website aiming to promote freedom and democracy worldwide. "He has the microphone, and certainly has the compassion," said Mr Fu. "He said he will. He told me he will do more in the near future".

But for now "he recognises that it's somebody else's turn," said Andrew Card, his former White House chief of staff. "He's going to do everything he can to make it about the future of the country, not about the past." Which may mean a lot more time spent in Texas yet.

New York plans to ban super-sized fizzy drinks

New York’s mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to restrict sales of large sized sugary soft drinks in public venues, a move likely to revive accusations he is creating a nanny state.


During his ten years in office, Mr Bloomberg has blocked the sale of sugary beverages from vending machines in schools, and banned artery-clogging trans-fats from restaurants and prepared foods

The move would outlaw sales drinks of 473 ml (16 oz) and over in restaurants, cinemas, stadiums and arenas.

Cups over that size at self-service fountains would also disappear, although refills will still be allowed and customers would not be prevented from buying more than one drink at a time of a medium size or lower.

The ban would apply to any drink that contains more than 25 calories per 235 ml (8 ounces), and less than 51% milk or milk substitute by volume as an ingredient, meaning Americans’ beloved milk shakes would be given a reprieve.

The move is the latest of several anti-obesity and nutrition initiatives undertaken by Mr Bloomberg to tackle the incidence of obesity-related conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

“Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the US, public health officials are wringing their hands saying, ‘Oh, this is terrible',” Mr Bloomberg told the New York Times.


“New York City is not about wringing your handsd. It’s about doing something. I think that’s what the public wants the mayor to do.”

During his ten years in office, Mr Bloomberg has blocked the sale of sugary beverages from vending machines in schools, and banned artery-clogging trans-fats from restaurants and prepared foods.

In 2008, the city required restaurant chains to display the calorie-counts of their menu items.

He has also unsuccessfully lobbied for a state soda tax and tried to stop the purchase of soft drinks with food stamps.

The move will effectively be passed by mayoral fiat, bypassing the city council and requiring only the approval of the health board that recommended it, after a three-month consultation period.

Restaurants and other outlets would have six months from the date of adoption to comply or face fines.

Stefan Friedman, spokesman for the New York City Beverage Association, accused the mayor and the health board of a misplaced fixation with sweet drinks.

"There they go again. The New York City Health Department's unhealthy obsession with attacking soft drinks is again pushing them over the top," he said.

"The city is not going to address the obesity issue by attacking soda because soda is not driving the obesity rates."

He cited national data that calories from sugar-sweetened beverages are a small and declining part of the American diet.

According to the mayor’s aides, sugary drinks are however a major cause of obesity.

Food Habits That Cause Diabetes

Diabetes has become one of the most aggressively-spreading lifestyle diseases.

It seems to affect people without any discrimination for gender, age or race. It has been established that the onset of diabetes can be prevented if our food habits are corrected. Thus, food habits responsible for causing diabetes should be properly understood. This includes:


Common Diabetes Causing Food Habits:

Eating High Glycemic Index Foods Glycemic Index (GI) is the calculation of how fast a type of food consumed by us is turned into calculation of how fast a type of food consumed by us is turned into energy, i.e. into glucose. Foods that are turned quickly into glucose are High GI foods. Such foods tend to create extreme spikes in the blood sugar levels.


High GI Foods include common food items like:

• White bread
• Pasta
• Rice
• Candy
• Backed items or snack foods made from refined flour
• Pastries
• Carbonated drinks
• White potatoes
• Pasta
• Noodles
• Sugary cereal foods
• Instant, ready-to-eat food items

Such food items are also called Easy Carbohydrate Foods. These foods have minimal or absolutely zero fiber which makes it further easier for the body to digest them. Such, quickly-digested foods create a glycemic overload by inducing excessive sugar in the blood stream. This is also referred to as a Glycemic Load. The intake of such foods should be restricted.

Instead of choosing such fast-release carb foods, the emphasis should be on fibrous, slow-release carb resources. A fine example of this is fruits like apples or peaches. Since fruits contain a lot of fiber, the release of sugar into the bloodstream is slower. This helps to negate severe fluctuations in the levels of insulin (the hormone deciding ability of bodily to absorb glucose).

Easily Preventable Food Habits that Cause Diabetes:

Consuming Unhealthy Fats

There is common misconception even among health conscious folks that all fats are bad. As a result, they tend to shun both the good and diabetes causing fats. However, the ideal approach is to sustain the consumption of healthy fats like those derived from walnuts, almonds and other types of nuts.

Again, olive oil is a healthy source of unsaturated fats. However, saturated fats found in dairy and animal products are pro-diabetic. These are also referred to as trans-fats and are found in heavy quantities in packaged, fast food items. Red meat, dairy products and foods containing semi-hydrogenated oils are unhealthy.

Sinful Eating Habits that Lead to Diabetes:

Irregular Eating Regimen

It should be understood that diabetes is essentially the inability to maintain uniform sugar levels in the body. One common food habit that induces unwanted changes in blood sugar levels is eating at irregular hours. Major meals need to be eaten at around the same time to prevent fluctuations in blood sugar levels.This is vital to ensure that the secretion of insulin is kept in check. Eating heavy desserts post dinner, particularly just before going to bed is essentially a health disaster that could be your stepping stone towards diabetes.

Ignoring Healthier Food Choices

• Tendency to overlook ingredients mentioned on the packaging of food times. Many ingredients lead to an overload of sugar and should be prevented.
• Tendency to snack upon artificially sweetened, packaged foods rather than nutritious, diabetes-controlling options like fruits.
• Over-frying cooked foods that lead to excessive consumption of harmful, trans- fats.
• Dependency on packaged, sweetened fruit juices rather than fresh juices. This leads to unnecessary intake refined sugar.

• Not eating salads regularly. Salads prepare from green veggies and sprouts are a nutritious, anti-diabetic choice. They take a very long time to be fully digested due to the high fiber content. This easy way of regulating sugar levels on a daily basis is often ignored.
• Not drinking sufficient water is perhaps the most common of food choice errors. Sufficient water intake ensures that kidneys are able to function properly and get rid of toxins that make our metabolism sluggish, i.e. more prone to retaining and storing glucose.

Common Diabetes Causing Food Habits:

Skipping Breakfast

Skipping breakfast is akin to pushing yourself towards lifestyle problems like obesity and diabetes. Eating breakfast increases your chances of maintaining uniform sugar levels throughout the day as you are less affected by sugar cravings and hunger pangs.

Diabetes & Protein Overload

Most people seem obsessed about their daily protein intake, many of them overeating high-protein foods. However, merely eating more protein doesn’t make you muscular or healthier. It only leads to weight gain and makes you more vulnerable to health problems like diabetes. Excessive protein is handled by the body in a manner akin to fats or any other energy resource found in excessive amounts.

Zero-Calorie Flavor Boosters to Spice Up Your Dinner

Losing weight doesn't have to be boring, and personal trainer Paul "PJ" James wants to make sure your meals are as exciting as possible, without sacrificing your health.

Use these spices and flavors in any meal to help add some extra pizzazz to your meals.

Rice Wine Vinegar
These can range from sweet and mild to savory. Try it in stir-fries or drizzled on fish and vegetables.

Balsamic Vinegar
Splash this over salads or steamed vegetables for flavor and tang -- no need for oily dressings! You can also place some in a small saucepan; bring it to a boil, reduce to simmer for about thirty minutes until it has reduced by about half for a thickened, more intense version, and then drizzle over asparagus or chicken. (The best way to determine if the reduced vinegar is thick enough is to immerse a metal spoon into theliquid. If it runs right off like water, it's not thick enough; if it clings to the spoon, it's ready.)

Red Wine Vinegar
This is great in marinades for beef and vegetables.

Citrus
You can squeeze lemon over practically anything, from steamed broccoli to grilled fish. Or slice up an orange, some lemons, and limes and throw them in a pitcher of water to keep in your refrigerator. It's like having a spa in your kitchen.

Mustard
Zero calories, tons of powerful flavor.

Garlic
Add some garlicky goodness to roastedvegetables, chicken, and seafood. But beware: you may sweat it out during cardio tomorrow morning.

Basil and Oregano
Impart an Italian vibe to steamed or roasted vegetables, fresh tomatoes, chicken, or rice.

Cilantro
This leafy green herb works well withMexican flavors. Add to salads, vegetables, or meat.

Chili Powder
A blend of spices -- usually chili peppers, onion, garlic, oregano, paprika, and even cinnamon -- that kicks up chicken and fish.

Cumin
An ingredient in most curry powders, this savory spice is nice on chicken, lamb, fish, rice, beans, and vegetables.

Curry Blend
Experiment with warm Indian flavors -- a curry blend typically includes cumin, turmeric, coriander, chili pepper, mustard, cardamom, ginger, gloves, nutmeg, red pepper, cinnamon, black pepper, and saffron.

Dill
Delicious and tangy on tuna fish, seafood, and green vegetables.

Garlic Powder (Not Garlic Salt)
Extremely versatile, shake it on steamed or roasted vegetables, chicken, fish and beef.

Ginger
Gives chicken, seafood or rice a spicy tang.

Paprika
Lends a deep, smoky flavor and beautiful, dark red color to chicken, egg or bean dishes.

Rosemary
Delicious on steamed or roasted vegetables, chicken, fish or steak.

Thyme
Use this fragrant spice on vegetables, chicken, fish, beef, eggs and beans.

Eat the Rainbow! 7 Colorful, Nutrient-Packed Foods for Kids

Getting kids to eat healthy foods isn't always easy. But as any food marketer knows, kids are drawn to foods with bright colors. While most rainbow-hued foods for kids are terrible for them, you can use their love of vivid colors to your advantage when you make healthy snacks. By playing up color and emphasizing fun flavors, you might just be able to coax your picky eater into gobbling up some super healthy snacks. Here, we present 7 healthy, vivid, and kid-friendly recipes that will have them eating the rainbow!



Check these out 7 super nutritious and colorful kid-friendly foods:


1. Blood Orange Creamsicles
makes twelve 5 oz. creamsicles

Creamy and tangy, these homemade creamsicles are made with fresh squeezed blood orange juice. With all the vitamin C, folate, and thiamin you'd expect from an orange, blood oranges also contain anthocyanin, an antioxidant which can help to lower LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, and can also protect against cancer and heart disease. They pair great with yogurt for a sweet, smooth, and refreshing treat perfect for a hot day.




Ingredients:

2 cups fresh squeezed blood orange juice (6 - 8 medium, or sub in half blood orange and half orange juice)
2 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon blood orange zest
1/3 cup (or more, depending on the tartness of the oranges) honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt

Directions:
In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt into the juice until smooth. Add the honey, vanilla, and salt. Pour into molds and freeze for 4 hours or overnight. Insert popsicle sticks after 1 hour.




2. Beet Tzatziki
A single beet can deliver up to 22% of the RDA for folate, as well as lots of fiber, vitamins (including C), minerals, and antioxidants. This fuchsia tzatziki is a fun and colorful way to encourage kids to eat their veggies!


3. Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Red peppers are brimming with nutrients like vitamin C, thiamine, vitamin B6, beta-carotene, and folic acid. These tasty veggies can even be a powerful ally in fighting cancer and aging. In this recipe, red peppers are roasted to smoky perfection and blended into a delicious, healthy hummus for a protein-rich, kid-friendly dip.

4. Carrot and Parsley Salad
Recent studies have shown that dark orange and yellow vegetables can provide powerful protection against cardiovascular disease and cancer. Besides heaps of vitamins A and K, carrots are also packed with the antioxidants beta-carotene and polyacetylene. This vibrant and healthy salad combines the nutritional power of raw carrots with another superfood - parsley.

5. Orange Juice Frosty
Not only are oranges loaded with vitamins C, A, and folate, but they can also leave healthy eaters feeling more satisfied. This vivid and delicious frosty is a big glass of vitamin-packed sunshine - perfect for a rainy day pick-me-up!


6. Grape Salsa
Besides being low in calories, naturally sweet, and vitamin-rich, purple grapes have resveratrol, an anti-pathogenic compound that has been linked with anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, cancer-preventing, blood pressure-lowering, and cholesterol-reducing properties. This grape salsa pairs savory and sweet flavors for a surprising, yet simple, snack that kids will adore.


7. Blackberry Soup
Like blood oranges, blackberries contain the cholesterol-lowering agent anthocyanin, as well as plenty of vitamins A and K. This playful soup is a fun way to serve up these vibrant and delicious berries.

May 30, 2012

25 Ridiculous State Laws

Have you ever juggled? If you have, chances are you don’t live in Hood River, Oregon, where juggling without a license is illegal. Yep, that’s right. Illegal. It turns out the United States is home to some outrageous laws. From Alabama to Wyoming, every state has at least one law that will make you shake your head in dismay. No matter where you live, you should probably check out these 25 ridiculous state laws. You may have broken the law and not even know it!
25

Alabama


It is illegal to wear a fake mustache that causes laughter in church.

24

Alaska


Whispering in someone’s ear while moose hunting is prohibited.

23

California


One may not prevent children from playfully jumping over puddles of water.

22

Delaware


It is illegal to wear pants that are “form fitting” around the waist.

21

Florida


If you tie an elephant to a parking meter, you must pay the same parking fee as you would for a vehicle.

20

Georgia


Chickens may not cross the road in Quitman, Georgia.

19

Idaho


Residents of Tamarack, Idaho, are not allowed to purchase onions after dark unless they have a special permit from the sheriff.

18

Illinois


It is illegal to give dogs, cats, or other domesticated animals a lighted cigar in Zion, Illinois.

17

Indiana


In Elkhart, Indiana, barbers may not threaten to cut children’s ears off.

16

Iowa


It is against the law for any man within the city limits of Ottumwa, Iowa, to wink at any female with whom he is unacquainted.

15

Kansas


It is illegal to carry a concealed bean snapper in Wichita, Kansas.

14

Kentucky


It is unlawful to remarry the same man four times.

13

Maine


Citizens will be fined if they keep their Christmas decorations on display after January 14.

12

Maryland


In Baltimore, Maryland, it is illegal to take a lion to the movies.

11

Michigan


You cannot make love in a car in Detroit, Michigan, unless it is parked on your own property.


10

Minnesota


It is against the law to paint a sparrow with the intent of selling it as a parakeet.

9

Nebraska


A tavern owner may not brew beer without brewing a kettle of soup simultaneously.

8

New Hampshire


It is illegal to sell the clothes you’re wearing to pay off a gambling debt.

7

New York


In Greene, New York, one may not eat peanuts and walk backwards on the sidewalk during a concert.

6

North Dakota


It is against the law to lie down and fall asleep with shoes on.

5

Oklahoma


It is illegal to have a sleeping donkey in your bathtub after 7 p.m.

4

Pennsylvania


It is unlawful to sleep on top of a refrigerator outdoors.

3

Texas


You may not shoot buffalo from the second story of a hotel.

2

Washington


No person may walk about in public if he or she has the common cold.

1

Wyoming


Without an official permit, you may not take pictures of a rabbit from January to April.

Polish prime minister demands Obama address Nazi gaffe

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk angrily demanded Wednesday that President Barack Obama explain his reference to "a Polish death camp" during a high-profile White House ceremony a day earlier, saying the remark smacked of "ignorance, lack of knowledge, bad intentions" and amounted to "a distortion of history."
"When someone says 'Polish death camps,' it is as if there were no Nazis, no German responsibility, as if there was no Hitler—that is why our Polish sensitivity in these situations is so much more than just simply a feeling of national pride," the prime minister said.

Tusk bluntly rejected National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor's expression of "regret" for the remarks and acknowledgment that Obama "misspoke" as falling woefully short of making up for the mistake.
"I am convinced that today, our American friends are capable of a stronger reaction—a clearer one, and one which perhaps eliminates, once and for all, these types of mistakes—than just the correction itself and the regret which we heard from the White House spokesperson," the prime minister said in a statement posted in English on his official website.
"We take note of these words, but it seems that it would be even more important for the United States than for Poland to end this with class. That is how one acts with regard to tried-and-tested friends, but this is also how one acts in your own, well-defined interest. I believe our allies are capable of such behavior," Tusk said.
Obama ignited the diplomatic flare-up on Tuesday as he honored Polish resistance hero Jan Karski and others with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor.
"Jan served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II. Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale, and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself," the president said.
Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski immediately demanded on Twitter that the White House apologize for what he called an "outrageous mistake" and said the ceremony had been "overshadowed by ignorance and incompetence." Conservatives happily piled on: David Frum, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, likened Obama's comment to saying that the Atlantic slave trade had been run by Africans.

"Obviously the insult to Poles was unintentional. That's what's shocking. Cdnt be bothered to get it right, even when honoring a Polish hero," Frum added in a subsequent tweet.
But while the White House could easily shrug off criticism from partisan sources, Tusk's blistering statement suggested that Obama himself would need to try to defuse the controversy.
"The words uttered yesterday by the President of the United States Barack Obama concerning 'Polish death camps' touched all Poles," Tusk said.

"We always react in the same way when ignorance, lack of knowledge, bad intentions lead to such a distortion of history, so painful for us here in Poland, in a country which suffered like no other in Europe during World War II," the prime minister said.
"Here, in Poland, we cannot accept such words even if they are spoken by the leader of a friendly power—or perhaps especially in such situations—since we expect diligence, care, and respect from our friends on issues of such importance as World War II remembrance. In Polish-American relations, in friendly relations, respect vis-à-vis the smaller partner should be the most recognizable sign of such relations," Tusk said.

Obama has avoided that blunder before. In a late-April visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, he cited the Poles among the victims of Nazi genocide. "We tell them, our children, about the millions of Poles and Catholics and Roma and gay people and so many others who also must never be forgotten," Obama said.

And in a January 27, 2010, videotaped statement for the ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Obama paid tribute to the Polish resistance.
"Even as we recall man's capacity for evil, Auschwitz also tells another story—of man's capacity for good. The small acts of compassion—the sharing of some bread that kept a child alive. The great acts of resistance that blew up the crematorium and tried to stop the slaughter. The Polish Rescuers and those who earned their place forever in the Righteous Among the Nations," he said.

Waiter receives $5,000 tip after car is destroyed in storm


One Houston couple may never wait for a table at their favorite restaurant again.

Greg Rubar, a longtime waiter at Rice Village restaurant, told KHOU-TV that a pair of his regular customers gave him the tip of a lifetime after they heard about his car trouble.

The couple, who is married and wishes to remain anonymous, knew that Rubar’s car had been destroyed in the recent bad storms Houston has weathered.

“He said, ‘I’m not going to be giving you a tip for awhile,’” Rubar told . “Take this tip, go buy yourself a car.’”

Rubar said he didn’t know what was in the envelope at first and told the website he hopes to pay his customers back one day.

“To me, it would be more of a gift if it was a loan,” he said.

Since losing his car earlier this year, Rubar has been forced to take taxis, unreliable public transportation and use the restaurant owner’s catering truck when it’s not in use.

He said the couple had been coming into the restaurant for about eight years. He’s worked there for the past 16 years.

“They just wanted to help me out,” he said of the generous tippers. “They’re nice people.”

On the restaurant’s Facebook page, other customers weighed in with praises for the popular waiter.

“Greg is awesome,” one commenter wrote. “He is a great server and a good cook as well. Glad to hear this story.”

“Good for Greg,” another added. “He deserves it!!”


18 Most Sickening Food Ingredients

News about gross-out ingredients like pink slime and ammonia (more about both later) got us thinking: What other surprises lurk in the food we eat? We put that question to food safety as well as food manufacturing experts, and it turns out all kinds of things go into refined and processed foods that you wouldn’t willingly put in your mouth. Here's a few...read at your own risk!

That’s not to say it isn’t safe to eat. The Food and Drug Administration and other agencies spend lots of time and energy to make sure you’re not eating stuff that will kill you. But the idea that something seems “just plain wrong” often isn’t part of the calculation.

Here’s a list of food ingredients that rate high in the yuck factor.


Gelatin


What it is: Vegetarians prepare to be shocked! The same stuff that puts the jiggle in Jello and other gelatin-based products is derived from collagen, a protein often collected from animal skins.

The source varies depending on the type of food, says Andrew L. Milkowsi, PhD, adjunct professor of animal sciences at the University of Wisconsin Madison. The gelatin in desserts, for instance, comes mainly from pig skin.

Where you’ll find it: Gelatin, which is a thickening agent, can also be found in frosted cereals, yogurt, candy, and some types of sour cream. (Check the label.)

Gross-out factor: High for vegetarians, low for everyone else.


Mechanically separated meat


What it is: Mechanically separated meat is what’s left over after the meat clinging to the bones of chicken or pork are forced through a sieve-like structure using high pressure. “It looks like a paste or batter,” says Sarah A. Klein, a staff attorney with the Food Safety Program at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “You have crushed bits of bone and cartilage and other things that can end up in that final paste.”

Because of the risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease, mechanically separated beef is no longer allowed in human food.

Where you’ll find it: Some hot dogs and other products (again, check the label)

Gross-out factor: High


Carbon monoxide


What it is: We have carbon monoxide detectors in our homes for a reason: this odorless gas can be deadly. But the same stuff that comes from the exhaust pipe of your vehicle is also used in packaging ground beef and some fish like tilapia and tuna. It helps them retain their youthful blush, says Patty Lovera, assistant director of Food & Water Watch.

Where you’ll find it: Carbon monoxide is injected into plastic wrap after all the air is sucked out to block the process of oxidation that can turn pink meat brown. The process is considered safe for humans although it isn’t widely used anymore, says Lovera. Consumer groups have objected to the treatment's potential to mask meat spoilage.

Gross-out factor: Medium


Shellac


What it is: Candy lovers, cover your eyes: pretty, shiny treats like jelly beans come at a price. They're often coated with shellac, a sticky substance derived from secretions of the female Kerria lacca, an insect native to Thailand.

Where you’ll find it: Shellac makes jelly beans, candy corn, and other hard-coated candy look shiny. It may be called a “confectioner’s glaze” on the packaging. So sweet, and yet so sick.

Gross-out factor: Low


Saltwater injections


What it is: Saltwater is fine in the ocean, but injected into food? Believe it! Too much salt can contribute to high blood pressure and other health problems, so less is better. But in a practice called plumping, manufacturers inject salt and other ingredients into raw meat (mostly chicken) to enhance flavor and increase the weight of the meat before it’s sold.

Where you’ll find it: In packaged meat, and you should avoid it! Check the fine print and the nutrition facts label. Meat that’s been injected may say “flavored with up to 10% of a solution” or “up to 15% chicken broth.” Regular chicken has about 40 to 70 mg of sodium per 4-ounce serving, while plumped chicken can contain 5 times or more than that amount, or 300 mg and up.

Gross-out factor: High, for health reasons


Viruses


What it is: Don’t viruses make us sick? Well yes, but bacteriophages —tiny bacteria-killing viruses—actually help us by making bacteria sick. First approved for use on food in 2006, bacteriophages infect food-contaminating germs, not humans, says Milkowski.

Where you’ll find it: Manufacturers spray these on ready-to-eat meat and deli products that are sold in sealed plastic pouches. The bacteriophage products come in two types: One that combats E. coli and the other Listeria bacteria. (Only the second is used on food; the first is used to spray cattle.) Check the ingredient list for the words “bacteriophage preparation."

Gross-out factor: Low


Ammonia


What it is: Ammonia is a strong smelling chemical found in household cleaning products, but it’s also used as gas to kill germs in low-grade fatty beef trimmings.

“The trim (of animal meat) is prone to having more bacteria on it,” Lovera explains. “They use ammonia as a kill step to deal with the bacteria during processing.”

Where you’ll find it: This controversial practice started around 2001, and the resulting product—sometimes called pink slime—is used as a filler in ground beef.

Gross-out factor: High


Pink slime


What it is: Pink slime is a product derived from the bits of meat clinging to fat, which are separated out by melting the fat away and spinning in a centrifuge.

The result is a pinkish substance called lean finely textured beef that’s treated with ammonia gas to kill germs, and then added to ground beef as a filler. Lots of ground beef, as in 10 billion pounds per year.

Where you’ll find it: Recent furor over the concoction has caused companies like Wendy’s and McDonald’s to report that their hamburgers are pink slime-free and some supermarkets like Safeway and Wegmans to say they will no longer carry it. Schools participating in the National School Lunch Program now have the option of ordering beef without it, according to the USDA.

Gross-out factor: High


Bisphenol A


What it is: Though the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, has been removed from most hard plastics (including baby bottles and sippy cups), it can still be found in the sealant in the lining of some cans, says Lovera.

Where you’ll find it: “This can be especially problematic with acidic foods like tomatoes,” she says. “The concern is that it leaks into foods.”

BPA has been linked to brain, behavior and prostate problems, especially in fetuses and children.

Gross-out factor: High


Castoreum


What it is: Brace yourself—this food flavoring is extracted from the castor sac scent glands of the male or female beaver, which are located near the anus. According to Milkowski, the substance is pretty expensive (think about what it probably takes to obtain it) and is more common in perfume than in actual foods.

Where you’ll find it: While it sounds downright disgusting, the FDA says it’s GRAS, meaning it’s “generally recognized as safe.” You won’t see this one on the food label because it’s generally listed as “natural flavoring.” It’s natural all right—naturally icky.

Gross-out factor: Medium


Sodium benzoate


What it is: Did you ever take a slug of soda or juice and feel a tingling sensation in your throat? That may be sodium benzoate. This common preservative is also generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, meaning it shouldn’t pose a hazard. That doesn't mean you shouldn't avoid it: a 2007 study published in The Lancet found that a mixture of sodium benzoate and food dyes was linked to hyperactive behavior in children, although it was hard to tell if the dyes or the preservative were to blame.

Where you’ll find it: Soft drinks and other carbonated beverages, fruit juices and jams, salad dressings, condiments, and pickles.

Gross-out factor: Medium


Antibiotics


What it is: People take antibiotics to kill germs. Livestock get antibiotics because they grow bigger and faster—and thus are more lucrative.

Where you’ll find it: “The main concern about overuse of antibiotics in livestock production is the growing problem of antibiotic resistance,” says Lovera. Researchers are concerned about antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the overall environment and in livestock facilities.

But foodborne illnesses can result from resistant bacteria in food, including a ground turkey recall in 2011 (resistant salmonella) as well as a 2012 ground beef recall (also salmonella).

Gross-out factor: High


Silicon dioxide


What it is: Silicon dioxide is what gets in your bathing suit and your hair at the beach. Affectionately known as sand, it’s also found in food. “It’s used in a lot of things as a flow agent and partly because it does a nice job of absorbing a little bit of atmospheric humidity that would cause clumping in a variety of things,” says Milkowski. Swallowing a little sand at the shore probably never hurt you and it probably won’t hurt you at the dinner table either.

Where you’ll find it: Salts, soups, and coffee creamer.

Gross-out factor: Low

Carmine


What it is: Yup, insects again. In your food. When it comes to food, insects are handy for other things besides their shine. They’re good for color too, especially red. Carmine is a red food-coloring that comes from boiled cochineal bugs, which are a type of beetle.

There have been reports that the bug-based coloring can cause severe allergic reactions in some people, including potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reactions, so the FDA now requires that the ingredient be listed clearly on food and cosmetic labels.

Where you’ll find it: Carmine can be found in ice cream, Skittles, Good n’ Plenty, lemonade, and grapefruit juice.

Gross-out factor: High if you're a vegan, medium for the rest of us


Propylene glycol


What it is: This chemical is found in antifreeze, it’s true. But, says Milkowski, “it’s a very, very safe material.” In fact, it’s much safer than a kissing cousin, ethylene glycol, which is particularly toxic to dogs.

Propylene glycol has lubricating properties which aid in making spice concentrates, not to mention condoms. And if you need good mixing in food, this is your compound. “You’ll find things that don’t mix well in water do disperse well in propylene glycol,” says Milkowski.

Where you’ll find it: Sodas, salad dressing, and beer

Gross-out factor: Medium


Cellulose


What it is: Cellulose, derived mainly from wood pulp and cotton, is used in paper ­manufacturing—and sometimes added to food.

Where you’ll find it: Cellulose is added to shredded cheese to keep the strands from sticking together, and also can be found in ice cream. It’s found naturally in corn. Cellulose is “is very innocuous material,” says Milkowsi. “Humans can’t digest it.”

Gross-out factor: Low


Carrageenan


What it is: Do you eat seaweed? If you said no, prepare for a surprise, because carageenan is everywhere. Extracted from seaweed, carrageenan is a gel used as a thickening agent and emulsifier (keeps food from separating.)

Where you’ll find it: May be injected into raw chicken or other meat as a way to retain water, as well as in dairy products like cottage cheese and ice cream. Chocolate milk often contains carrageenan to keep the cocoa from separating from the milk.

Gross-out factor: Low


Liquid smoke


What it is: We worry about smoking and eating too much smoky barbecue. We also wonder, what exactly is liquid smoke, anyway? Liquid smoke is made by burning sawdust and capturing the components in either water or a vegetable oil, explains Milkowski.

Where you’ll find it: The resulting product can be purchased and added to sauces and other foods to give it that—yes—smoky flavor. If you’re used to cooking on an open fire, this might not seem all that gross to you, and manufacturers certainly don’t shy away from it. Liquid Smoke is also added to barbecue products, baked beans, hot dogs, bacon, and beef jerky, among others.

Gross-out factor: Low


6 Foods That Fight Pain

"Ooh, my aching . . . " When gripped by chronic pain, reach beyond the medicine chest -- for the right foods at the grocery store. What you eat can directly and indirectly help reduce pain in three ways: by controlling inflammation, which contributes to the nagging pain associated with some chronic diseases like arthritis; by reducing the damage caused by oxidative stress, which occurs when the body is exposed to more cell damage than it can handle; and by helping to regulate your body's immune response, which helps manage inflammation more effectively.

"We get in the habit of taking Advil or Aleve to treat pain symptoms, without getting at the underlying cause of pain. Over time these medications, because of their side effects, can do more harm than good," says integrative nutritionist Beth Reardon, director of nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine, part of the Duke University Health System. "Changing your diet, on the other hand, protects your cells from damage and reduces the number of inflammatory compounds the body produces." Bonus: An anti-inflammatory diet is an effective path to weight loss, which reduces pain that's caused by extra stress on joints. New research in the journal Cancer Research links losing just 5 percent of body weight to significant reductions in biochemical markers for inflammation.

These six food categories -- and six standout examples -- can result in meaningful changes for your pain level.


Eat this: Anti-inflammatory herbs and spices


Try: Turmeric. Turmeric contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound known as curcumin. (In fact, turmeric is sometimes simply called curcumin.) This deep yellow-gold spice has a smoky, peppery flavor and is used in curries and mustard. "It's such a powerful anti-inflammatory, it's one of the spices I recommend eating every day," says integrative nutritionist Beth Reardon, director of nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine, part of the Duke University Health System, who adds it to almond milk with cinnamon and a touch of honey.

Other examples: Garlic, ginger, cinnamon, tart cherry, curry, rosemary. (Dried tart cherries, while not technically a spice or herb, are another antioxidant-superstar way to "spice up" other foods.)

Why: Several studies have shown an anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric on patients with rheumatoid arthritis. These spices and herbs help inhibit the formation of inflammatory prostaglandins and COX inhibitors (the same enzyme-inhibiting substances in medications such as Vioxx or Celebrex).


Eat this: More non-animal sources of protein


Try: Canned salmon. The fish highest in inflammation-busting omega-3 fatty acids, salmon, is available in cans year-round. "And it's the most affordable source of wild salmon," Reardon says. Wild-caught is healthier than farm-raised salmon, which may contain toxic chemicals and antibiotics, depending on their feed and the conditions they're raised in.

Other examples: Cold-water fish that supply omega-3 fatty acids include black cod, tuna, sardines, halibut, mackerel, herring, and anchovies. And for protein don't overlook legumes and dried beans, such as lentils, soybeans, and black beans, and ancient grains including quinoa, millet, and spelt. Plant sources of omega-3s include pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and flaxseed.

Why: Replacing animal protein with proteins from fish increases your consumption of DHA and EPA, so-called "long chain" omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to improvement in symptoms of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Plant sources provide also-essential "short-chain" omega-3 fatty acids.


Eat this: Healthy fats


Try: Coconut oil. Available in specialty groceries (such as Trader Joe's and Whole Foods), coconut oil provides good fuel for the cells that line the gut, which is fundamental to proper immune system functioning, Reardon says. You can use coconut oil in cooking and baking where a light, slightly sweet flavor is desired, or to pop popcorn (another plant food high in antioxidants).

Other examples: Olive oil, grape-seed oil, avocados, ground flax, nut butters (especially almond, almond-flaxseed, cashew, or sunflower seed, which are less inflammatory than peanut butter), omega-3-fortified eggs.

Why: You'll be displacing unhealthy, omega-6 saturated fats (found in highly processed foods), which far outnumber good-for-you omega-3 fats in most American diets -- a backwards ratio that fans inflammation. Healthy fat sources fuel both proinflammatory hormones, which fight stresses to cells, and anti-inflammatory hormones, which regulate the healing process after a threat (injury or infection) is gone.


Eat this: A wide variety of plants

Try: Kale. It's fibrous, low in calories, rich in dozens of beneficial flavonoids, and is one of the most nutrient-dense greens. Chop it into vegetable- or bean-based soup, blend it in a smoothie, or add it to salad or pasta dishes. To bake kale chips, tear leaves into bite-sized pieces, sprinkle or spray on olive oil (one tablespoon per cookie sheet), and add some sea salt. "It's a pretty awesome vegetable," Reardon says.

Other examples: Whole grains, beans, lentils, and all dark green, red, orange, yellow, blue, and purple fruits and vegetables -- the whole rainbow. Rule of thumb: The more intense the color, the more antioxidants are packed inside. But even whites (cauliflower, garlic, onion) and blacks (black beans) provide plenty of benefits.

Why: A plant-based diet emphasizing whole (unprocessed) foods "is like a force field, or sunglasses, protecting your lipid membranes and DNA from oxidative damage," says Reardon. Ideally, amp up the plant foods at the same time you eliminate refined and processed foods (such as white flour, sugar, and packaged goods like cakes, cookies, chips), which can raise blood glucose, increasing insulin production and, in turn, inflammation.

Variety is the key word, because the cumulative effect of many different nutrients is what creates the beneficial synergy. As Reardon says, "It really does take a village."


Eat this: Probiotics


Try: Greek yogurt. This thick type of yogurt packs more than twice the protein of regular yogurt, and it contains probiotics -- live microorganisms that help supplement the healthy bacteria already in your digestive tract. It's also a good source of vitamin D.

Other examples: Probiotics are also found in any yogurt containing live cultures (check the label for Lactobacillus acidophilus and L. bifidus, two common types) and in any fermented food -- such as kimchee, sauerkraut, and kefir.

Why: Probiotics help your gut preserve a healthy balance of good bacteria, which are often under siege from factors ranging from poor nutrition and stress to smoking and pollution. "A healthy population of bacteria needs a plant-based diet to survive -- it's its own biosystem that needs to be cultivated," Reardon says. This dairy food is another way to supplement that healthy ecosystem. It's especially beneficial after finishing a course of antibiotics, she says, which can disrupt the balance of healthy bacteria.


Drink this: Lots of water


Try: Green tea powder. Also called matcha, powdered green tea -- basically the tea leaves, finely ground -- provide the same powerful antioxidants that green tea beverages do, but in a more concentrated and versatile form. In steeped tea, the liquid contains the water-soluble antioxidants from the tea leaves, but in tea made from green tea powder, you're literally consuming the whole leaf. Stir it into water (hot or cold) for tea, or add to smoothies or lattes. It can even be added to baked goods or soups.

Other examples: Water, green tea. Black tea and coffee also contain anti-inflammatory properties, but in lesser amounts. However, their caffeine can help treat headache pain.

Why: The vital organs and blood supply are composed of as much as 90 percent water. "Water is needed by the liver to help detoxify chemicals and the other compounds we come in contact with," Reardon says. Water helps all the body's processes work, right down at the cellular level.



5 Fats You Should Be Eating

So how much and what kinds of fat should you be eating? Expert guidelines suggest that 20 to 30 percent of your daily calories should come from fats, and no more than 10 percent from the saturated variety. Based on a diet of 1,800 calories a day, that's between 40 and 60 grams of fat daily. Follow these suggestions to keep your portions in control.

1. Saturated Fats

Many of us know saturated fats as "bad" fats, but new research has led experts to question whether they are linked to heart disease, as previously thought. And one study even found that certain saturated fats can be metabolized by your body faster than others, which means they are rarely stored as flab. If a fat is solid at room temp, it's likely saturated.

Try:
1 tablespoon butter (salted)
(12 g fat, 102 cal)

1 tablespoon coconut oil
(14 g fat, 117 cal)

8 ounces reduced-fat milk (2 percent)
(5 g fat, 122 cal)

3 ounces cooked ground beef, 85 percent lean
(13 g fat, 212 cal)


2. Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs)

These fats tend to be liquid at room temperature, like oils. PUFAs can help reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease by helping improve cholesterol. PUFAs are often in plant-based foods.

Try:
1 tablespoon safflower, corn, sunflower, soy, cottonseed, peanut, or other vegetable or nut oil
(14 g fat, 120 cal)

1 ounce dry-roasted sunflower seeds
(14 g fat, 165 cal)

3. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs)


Eating this form of unsaturated fat can help improve cholesterol levels. MUFAs may steady blood sugar.

Try:
1/4 avocado
(7 g fat, 80 cal)

10 large green olives
(4 g fat, 40 cal)

1 tablespoon peanut butter
(8 g fat, 94 cal)


4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids


These may protect against cardiovascular disease. "Getting sufficient omega-3s is tough," says Blaue. You'd have to eat salmon three times a week to get 500 milligrams per day of O-3s, the amount needed to reap the heart benefits. Fish oil may fight body inflammation.

Try:
3 ounces cooked salmon
(4 g fat, 114 cal)

1 can sardines (3.75 ounces) in oil
(11 g fat, 191 cal)

1 ounce walnuts (about 14 halves)
(18 g fat, 185 cal)


5. Omega-6 Fatty Acids

To help decrease the risk of dying from coronary disease, "people should get a 1-to-1 ratio of omega-6 fats to O-3s," says Blaue. Otherwise, our bodies can metabolize O-6s in a harmful way. "Most American diets," she says, "have a 20-to-1 ratio of O-6s to O-3s." O-6s can help you absorb more vitamins from food.

Try:
1 tablespoon margarine
(11 g fat, 101 cal)

2 tablespoons Caesar salad dressing
(17 g fat, 163 cal)

1 tablespoon almond butter
(9 g fat, 98 cal)



5 Easy Ways to Enjoy Carrots

Sweet, crunchy and fiber-rich, carrots are:

Loaded with beta carotene, an antioxidant that keeps you younger longer.

Rich in vitamin A, vitamin E and potassium—thus helpful in eye health, bone health and as a deterrent to cancer.

Very good for your skin—they restore its youthful glow and protect it from sun damage. Bonus: carrots also improve the health of your liver.

Beneficial in weight loss. One 240 ml glass of carrot juice contains only 90 calories. Cheers!

To enjoy carrots every day, try these ideas:

Have a Glass of Carrot juice

The recipe:

  • 4 carrots, scraped and cleaned
  • A handful of pomegranate seeds(optional)
  • A ½ inch slice of fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Some mint leaves

Grind these into juice. To add more power and taste to your juice, you can pop in a beet, some spinach leaves, a little celery, half an apple. Use your imagination!

Dish Up This Power-Packed Carrot Salad

  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • ¼ to ½ cup raisins
  • 1 medium-sized apple, chopped fine
  • A few segments of navel oranges
  • A drizzle of pineapple or lemon juice

Toss them all together, and sprinkle hand-torn basil leaves on top.

Try This 2-Minute Carrot & Pea Stir-fry

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 red carrots, scraped and diced
  • 1 cup fresh and tender green peas
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a pan. Add carrots, followed by peas. Stir fry for a few minutes, adding salt and pepper as needed. Then lower the heat, cover and allow to cook until the vegetables are tender. This should take only a few minutes if your carrots and peas are fresh from the field.

It’s a delicious side to your main course, and the addition of a little turmeric gives it a lovely golden hue.

Whip Up a Rosy-Glow Carrot Mask

Mix 1 cooked and grated carrot with 1 tsp honey and 1 tbsp yogurt. Apply all over face and neck. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then wash off with cool water. Wonderfully nourishing and hydrating—you’ll be rewarded with a rosy glow!

Chew Them Raw

It’s a good workout for your jaw, strengthens teeth and helps ease gum problems.

51 Fantastic Uses for Baking Soda

Baking soda makes a perfect stand-in for many personal care products, which are adding their own twist to the toxic tangle of pollutants and personal health (mainly in the form of synthetic fragrance (and it’s almost all synthetic), sodium laurel sulfate, and parabens).

So exactly how does baking soda fit into my scheme to make the world a better place? Baking soda, aka sodium bicarbonate, helps regulate pH—keeping a substance neither too acidic nor too alkaline. When baking soda comes in contact with either an acidic or an alkaline substance, its natural effect is to neutralize that pH. Beyond that, baking soda has the ability to retard further changes in the pH balance, known as buffering. This dual capability of neutralizing and buffering allows baking soda to do things such as neutralize acidic odors (like in the refrigerator) as well as maintain neutral pH (like in your laundry water, which helps boost your detergent’s power). It’s a simple reaction, but one that has far-reaching effects for a number of cleaning and deodorizing tasks.


Personal Care

1. Make Toothpaste
A paste made from baking soda and a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution can be used as an alternative to commercial non-fluoride toothpastes. You can also just dip your toothbrush with toothpaste into baking soda for an extra boost.

2. Freshen Your Mouth
Put one teaspoon in half a glass of water, swish, spit and rinse. Odors are neutralized, not just covered up.

3. Soak Oral Appliance
Soak oral appliances, like retainers, mouthpieces and dentures, in a solution of 2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in a glass or small bowl of warm water. The baking soda loosens food particles and neutralizes odors to keep appliances fresh. You can also brush appliances clean using baking soda.

4. Use as a Facial Scrub and Body Exfoliant
Give yourself an invigorating facial and body scrub. Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Rub in a gentle circular motion to exfoliate the skin. Rinse clean. This is gentle enough for daily use.

5. Skip Harsh Deodorant
Pat baking soda onto your underarms to neutralize body odor.

6. Use as an Antacid
Baking soda is a safe and effective antacid to relieve heartburn, sour stomach and/or acid indigestion. Refer to baking soda package for instructions.

7. Treat Insect Bites & Itchy Skin
For insect bites, make a paste out of baking soda and water, and apply as a salve onto affected skin. To ease the itch, shake some baking soda into your hand and rub it into damp skin after bath or shower.

8. Make a Hand Cleanser and Softener
Skip harsh soaps and gently scrub away ground-in dirt and neutralize odors on hands with a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water, or 3 parts baking soda to gentle liquid hand soap. Then rinse clean.

9. Help Your Hair
Vinegar is amazing for your hair, but baking soda has its place in the shower too. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda into your palm along with your favorite shampoo. Shampoo as usual and rinse thoroughly–baking soda helps remove the residue that styling products leave behind so your hair is cleaner and more manageable.

10. Clean Brushes and Combs
For lustrous hair with more shine, keep brushes and combs clean. Remove natural oil build-up and hair product residue by soaking combs and brushes in a solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a small basin of warm water. Rinse and allow to dry.

11. Make a Bath Soak
Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your bath to neutralize acids on the skin and help wash away oil and perspiration, it also makes your skin feel very soft. Epsom salts are pretty miraculous for the bath too.

12. Soothe Your Feet
Dissolve 3 tablespoons of baking soda in a tub of warm water and soak feet. Gently scrub. You can also make a spa soak for your feet.



Cleaning

13. Make a Surface Soft Scrub
For safe, effective cleaning of bathroom tubs, tile and sinks–even fiberglass and glossy tiles–sprinkle baking soda lightly on a clean damp sponge and scrub as usual. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry. For extra cleaning power, make a paste with baking soda, course salt and liquid dish soap—let it sit then scour off.

14. Handwash Dishes and Pots & Pans
Add 2 heaping tablespoons baking soda (along with your regular dish detergent) to the dish water to help cut grease and foods left on dishes, pots and pans. For cooked-on foods, let them soak in the baking soda and detergent with water first, then use dry baking soda on a clean damp sponge or cloth as a scratchless scouring powder.

15. Freshen Sponges
Soak stale-smelling sponges in a strong baking soda solution to get rid of the mess (4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of warm water).

16. Clean the Microwave
Baking soda on a clean damp sponge cleans gently inside and outside the microwave and never leaves a harsh chemical smell. Rinse well with water.

17. Polish Silver Flatware
Use a baking soda paste made with 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Rub onto the silver with a clean cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly and dry for shining sterling and silver-plate serving pieces.

18. Clean Coffee and Tea Pots
Remove coffee and tea stains and eliminate bitter off-tastes by washing mugs and coffee makers in a solution of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. For stubborn stains, try soaking overnight in the baking soda solution and detergent or scrubbing with baking soda on a clean damp sponge.

19. Clean the Oven
Sprinkle baking soda onto the bottom of the oven. Spray with water to dampen the baking soda. Let sit overnight. In the morning, scrub, scoop the baking soda and grime out with a sponge, or vacuum, and rinse.

20. Clean Floors
Remove dirt and grime (without unwanted scratch marks) from no wax and tile floors using 1/2 cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water–mop and rinse clean for a sparkling floor. For scuff marks, use baking soda on a clean damp sponge, then rinse.

21. Clean Furniture
You can make a homemade lemon furniture polish, or you can clean and remove marks (even crayon) from walls and painted furniture by applying baking soda to a damp sponge and rubbing lightly. Wipe off with a clean, dry cloth.


22. Clean Shower Curtains
Clean and deodorize your vinyl shower curtain by sprinkling baking soda directly on a clean damp sponge or brush. Scrub the shower curtain and rinse clean. Hang it up to dry.

23. Boost Your Liquid Laundry Detergent
Give your laundry a boost by adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to your laundry to make liquid detergent work harder. A better balance of pH in the wash gets clothes cleaner, fresher and brighter.

24. Gently Clean Baby Clothes
Baby skin requires the most gentle of cleansers, which are increasingly available, but odor and stain fighters are often harsh. For tough stains add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your liquid laundry detergent, or a 1/2 cup in the rinse cycle for deodorization.

25. Clean Cloth Diapers
Dissolve 1/2 cup of baking soda in 2 quarts of water and soak diapers thoroughly.

26. Clean and Freshen Sports Gear
Use a baking soda solution (4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water) to clean and deodorize smelly sports equipment. Sprinkle baking soda into golf bags and gym bags to deodorize, clean golf irons (without scratching them!) with a baking soda paste (3 parts baking soda to 1 part water) and a brush. Rinse thoroughly.

27. Remove Oil and Grease Stains
Use baking soda to clean up light-duty oil and grease spills on your garage floor or in your driveway. Sprinkle baking soda on the spot and scrub with a wet brush.

28. Clean Batteries
Baking soda can be used to neutralize battery acid corrosion on cars, mowers, etc. because its a mild alkali. Be sure to disconnect the battery terminals before cleaning. Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water, apply with a damp cloth to scrub corrosion from the battery terminal. After cleaning and re-connecting the terminals, wipe them with petroleum jelly to prevent future corrosion. Please be careful when working around a battery–they contain a strong acid.

29. Clean Cars
Use baking soda to clean your car lights, chrome, windows, tires, vinyl seats and floor mats without worrying about unwanted scratch marks. Use a baking soda solution of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. Apply with a sponge or soft cloth to remove road grime, tree sap, bugs and tar. For stubborn stains, use baking soda sprinkled on a damp sponge or soft brush.

Deodorizing

30. Deodorize Your Refrigerator
Place an open box in the back of the fridge to neutralize odors.

31. Deodorize the Cutting Board
Sprinkle the cutting board with baking soda, scrub, rinse.

32. Deodorize Trashcans
Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of your trashcan to keep stinky trash smells at bay.

33. Deodorize Recyclables
Sprinkle baking soda on top as you add to the container. Also, clean your recyclable container periodically by sprinkling baking soda on a damp sponge. Wipe clean and rinse.

34. Deodorize Drains
To deodorize your sink and tub drains, and keep lingering odors from resurfacing, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain while running warm tap water–it will neutralize both acid and basic odors for a fresh drain. (This a good way to dispose of baking soda that is being retired from your refrigerator.)

35. Deodorize and Clean Dishwashers
Use baking soda to deodorize before you run the dishwasher and then as a gentle cleanser in the wash cycle.

36. Deodorize Garbage Disposals
To deodorize your disposal, and keep lingering odors from resurfacing, pour baking soda down the drain while running warm tap water. Baking soda will neutralize both acid and basic odors for a fresh drain.

37. Deodorize Lunch Boxes
Between uses, place a spill-proof box of baking soda in everyone’s lunch box to absorb lingering odors.


38. Remove Odor From Carpets
Liberally sprinkle baking soda on the carpet. Let set overnight, or as long as possible (the longer it sets the better it works). Sweep up the larger amounts of baking soda, and vacuum up the rest. (Note that your vacuum cleaner bag will get full and heavy.)

39. Remove Odor From Vacuum Cleaners
By using the method above for carpets, you will also deodorize your vacuum cleaner.


41. Deodorizing Cars
Odors settle into car upholstery and carpet, so each time you step in and sit down, they are released into the air all over again. Eliminate these odors by sprinkling baking soda directly on fabric car seats and carpets. Wait 15 minutes (or longer for strong odors) and vacuum up the baking soda.

42. Deodorize the Cat Box
Cover the bottom of the pan with baking soda, then fill as usual with litter. To freshen between changes, sprinkle baking soda on top of the litter after a thorough cleaning.

43. Deodorize Pet Bedding
Eliminate odors from your pets bedding by sprinkling liberally with baking soda, wait 15 minutes (or longer for stronger odors), then vacuum up.

44. Deodorize Sneakers
Keep odors from spreading in smelly sneakers by shaking baking soda into them when not in use. Shake out before wearing. When they’re no longer wearable, make sure to donate your old sneakers.

45. Freshen Linens
Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle for fresher sheets and towels.

46. Deodorize Your Wash
Gym clothes of other odoriferous clothing can be neutralized with a 1/2 cup of baking soda in the rinse cycle.

47. Freshen Stuffed Animals
Keep favorite cuddly toys fresh with a dry shower of baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda on and let it sit for 15 minutes before brushing off.



Miscellaneous

48. Camping Cure-all
Baking soda is a must-have for your next camping trip. Its a dish washer, pot scrubber, hand cleanser, deodorant, toothpaste, fire extinguisher and many other uses.

49. Extinguish Fires
Baking soda can help in the initial handling of minor grease or electrical kitchen fires, because when baking soda is heated, it gives off carbon dioxide, which helps to smother the flames. For small cooking fires (frying pans, broilers, ovens, grills), turn off the gas or electricity if you can safely do so. Stand back and throw handfuls of baking soda at the base of the flame to help put out the fire–and call the Fire Department just to be safe.

50. Septic Care
Regular use of baking soda in your drains can help keep your septic system flowing freely. One cup of baking soda per week will help maintain a favorable pH in your septic tank.

51. Fruit and Vegetable Scrub
Baking soda is the food safe way to clean dirt and residue off fresh fruit and vegetables. Just sprinkle a little on a clean damp sponge, scrub and rinse.

May 29, 2012

Syrian diplomats expelled in coordinated Western action

Syria suffered a storm of diplomatic protest on Tuesday when more than a dozen nations, including Britain and America, expelled the country's ambassadors or formally rebuked its envoys following the Houla massacre.

One by one, President Bashar al-Assad’s representatives in capitals across the world, ranging from Washington to Berlin and from London to Canberra, were ordered to pack up and leave.

The “coordinated move” to ostracise the regime was designed to “send a stark message” of revulsion over the Houla killings, said a Foreign Office spokesman.

At least 80 of those who died in that “abominable” incident were summarily executed in two separate massacres last Friday, according to the United Nations.

In an interview on Thursday night, Francois Hollande, the new French president, said the use of armed force could be possible following Houla, but that it had to be carried out under UN auspices.

“An armed intervention is not excluded on the condition that it is carried out with respect to international law, meaning after deliberation by the United Nations Security Council,” he said.

Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commission for Human Rights, said that fewer than 20 of the 108 victims were killed by tank or artillery fire. The rest were shot at close range, with 49 children and 34 women counted among the dead. “What is very clear is this was an absolutely abominable event that took place in Houla, and at least a substantial part of it was summary executions of civilians, women and children,” said Mr Colville. “At this point, it looks like entire families were shot in their houses.” Local people blamed the pro-regime al-Shabiha militia, he added.

America held the “Syrian government responsible for this slaughter of innocent lives”, said a State Department spokesman, adding that Syria’s Charge d’Affaires, Zuheir Jabbour, would be given three days to leave Washington.

On Monday, Britain called in the most senior diplomat left at the Syrian Embassy in London to receive a formal protest. Yesterday, Ghassan Dalla, the Charge d’Affaires, was summoned back to the Foreign Office and given seven days to leave, along with two of his colleagues.

Mr Assad’s regime withdrew Syria’s ambassador from London in March. The impending departures mean that Syria’s embassy in Belgrave Square will be down to a skeleton staff of four diplomats.

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said the expulsions were intended to “get the message across” to Mr Assad that the “international community is appalled by the violence that has continued, by the behaviour of the regime and by the murder of so many innocent people”.

Meanwhile, the French government denounced Mr Assad’s “murderous folly” and ordered the Syrian ambassador to leave Paris. Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Spain, Switzerland and Australia all told Syria’s envoys to leave their respective capitals. Canada announced the removal of all Syrian diplomats from Ottawa; Belgium, Holland and Greece delivered formal protests.

The primary goal, said Mr Hague, was to ensure that Mr Assad obeyed the six-point peace plan devised by Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general.

“We will seek other ways to increase the pressure as well. We are discussing in the European Union a further tightening of sanctions on Syria,” added the Foreign Secretary.

Mr Annan met the Syrian leader in Damascus yesterday to urge the full implementation of his plan. Afterwards, Mr Annan spoke with unusual bluntness, saying: “We are at a tipping point. The Syrian people do not want the future to be one of bloodshed and division. Yet the killings continue and the abuses are still with us today. As I reminded the President, the international community will soon be reviewing the situation. I appealed to him for bold steps now – not tomorrow, now – to create momentum for the implementation of the plan.”

The Annan plan calls for a ceasefire, the withdrawal of forces from major cities, the release of prisoners and a “Syrian-led political process” designed to resolve the country’s conflict. Crucially, it does not urge Mr Assad to step down and the obligation to stop fighting falls equally on his forces and the rebels.

However, the president argues that his security forces have done nothing but respond to the violence of his opponents. Accordingly, the state media reported that Mr Assad could not press ahead with implementing the peace plan unless the “terrorism” of the opposition came to an end.

Mr Annan’s words suggested that he might declare that his efforts have failed, in which case the international community would consider tightening sanctions on Syria, while some countries would choose to arm the regime’s enemies. “I appealed to the President as the government and stronger partner in

this conflict to be bold for the Syrian people,” said Mr Annan.

Ignorant officials sidelining religion, warns Archbishop of Canterbury

A generation of local bureaucrats has attempted to sideline religion from public life out of simple ignorance of British history, the Archbishop of Canterbury warned.


The Archbishop was speaking during a debate in the House of Lords

Dr Rowan Williams said that the tendency to treat faith as a “problem” stemmed from a “plain lack of historical and cultural awareness”.

He said that the influence of the teachings of Christianity and Judaism in particular had helped shape a distinctly British brand of tolerance, democracy and rule of law.

But some government bodies had been reluctant to work with faith groups because of a “failure of understanding” about this, he said.

The Archbishop was speaking during a debate in the House of Lords, tabled by the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, on the role of faith in Britain ahead of the Diamond Jubilee.

Lord Sacks told the House that the Queen’s influence had ensured that relations between different religions in Britain were among the best in the world.


He said that she had “guided and sustained this nation through one of its most challenging transitions, into a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-faith society”.

The Archbishop has spoken in the past about religious groups being treated as an “exotic tolerated minority” and criticised attempts to ban Nativity plays or carol-singing out of misplaced sensitivity to other faiths.

He told the Lords: “Usually through no fault of their own, a generation of administrators and local officials has grown up with little or no sense of how our political and legal history in this country has become what it is as a direct result of a long conversation with the Jewish and Christian intellectual world, with the ethics and the theology of the human responsibility characteristic of that world.”

He said this ignorance led to a “dangerous assumption” that there is no need to speak up for Britain's current “political and legal settlement”.

“But if we are to sustain our legacy of dignity before the law, participative government, and hospitality towards minorities, we had better be aware of just how and why our ancestors developed such a political ethic and what depth of thought and imagination is needed to keep it alive.

“This failure of understanding is, of course, one of the things that lies behind the reluctance in recent years to develop effective partnership between statutory bodies and faith groups in the work of social regeneration.”

But he said there were positive signs for the future with government now working more closely with faith groups.

But Baroness Flather, Britain’s first female Asian peer, who has campaigned against Islamic Sharia courts, insisted that “not everything in the garden is rosy.”

She underlined her admiration for the Queen but added: “I wonder whether she knows what is happening to women.

“I would say to all people here from faith communities that they should remember that none of the faiths has ever supported women.”

Lord Singh, director of the Network of Sikh Organisations, disagreed but added: “We still seem to see our different religions as mutually exclusive, while in reality we share common values that are centred on responsible living.

“The challenge for us in this Jubilee year is to work with others in secular society to bring these values to the fore, and to change an obsession with the culture of “me and mine” to one of greater responsibility and active concern for others.”

US troops parachuted into North Korea: official

A senior US official has revealed that the US and South Korean special forces have been parachuting into North Korea to collect intelligence on underground military installations.

Brig Gen Neil Tolley, Commander of US special forces in South Korea, said in a conference in Florida recently that Pyongyang had built thousands of tunnels since the Korean war, reported a newspaper citing a magazine.

"The entire tunnel infrastructure is hidden from our satellites," Gen Tolley said. "So we send (South Korean) soldiers and US soldiers to the North to do special reconnaissance."

"After 50 years, we still don't know much about the capability and full extent" of the underground facilities," he said, in comments reported by a magazine on its website.

The commandos, according to Tolley, were sent in with minimal equipment to facilitate their movements and minimise the risk of detection by North Korean forces.

At least four of the tunnels built by Pyongyang go under the Demilitarised Zone separating North and South Korea, Tolley said.

"We don't know how many we don't know about," Tolley admitted.

Among the facilities identified are 20 air fields that are partially underground, and thousands of artillery positions.