Παρασκευή, 21 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

marilena: You better watch out, you'll probably cry: Santa C...

marilena: You better watch out, you'll probably cry: Santa C...: Santa Claus allegedly told children in his grotto 'I'm not real, it's your mum and dad' A Santa Claus has been suspended af...

You better watch out, you'll probably cry: Santa Claus suspended after claiming he wasn't real and telling children about US school shooting


Santa Claus allegedly told children in his grotto 'I'm not real, it's your mum and dad'

A Santa Claus has been suspended after he allegedly told children in his grotto 'I'm not real, it's your mum and dad'.
The Father Christmas, who was working on a freelance basis at Notcutts Garden Centre in Nuneham Courtenay, Oxford, is also alleged to have told some of the children about the US school massacre in Connecticut.
The man, who is believed to have worked for the Garden Centre for ten years, reportedly made the remarks to the children of Wendy and Steven Kennett.
They had taken their children Ryan, 10, Amy, seven, and Katie, six, to the centre on Saturday - paying £5.99 for each child to meet Santa.
Mrs Kennett told the Oxford Mail that Santa started talking about the Sandy Hook School shooting after the children had told him they had been good.
She said he replied: "Well there are bad people in the world and bad things happen, like what happened to those children in America," before Mr Kennett stopped him.
It was then that Santa asked to talk to Ryan alone and after a chat, he ran out crying "Santa told me he is not real, it's just you and dad."
Mrs Kennett said: "I was totally furious. I now had three children in floods of tears."
A Notcutts spokesman confirmed that the family had complained about what the Santa had said.
They said the Santa was under the impression the boy was playing along for his siblings and wanted to thank him.
"This man was a freelancer and he has been suspended from his job for the season," he said.
"He has worked for us for 10 years without any complaint and we will be sitting down with him in the future to discuss the incident.
"At the end of the day the customer is upset. We have apologised for that and we have taken steps and the family have been kept informed."
He added the garden centre had arranged for the family, from Abingdon, to go to London to visit the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland attraction.

independent

marilena: Readers respond as Aesha's surgery and life progre...

marilena: Readers respond as Aesha's surgery and life progre...: (CNN)  -- The evolving life, face and story of Aesha, disfigured by the Taliban and featured on the August 2010 cover of Time m...

Readers respond as Aesha's surgery and life progresses

Aesha Mohammadzai is transforming both physically and emotionally. Six months into multistage reconstructive surgery, she's on her way to having the nose she's wanted since she was disfigured and left for dead in Afghanistan. These photos were taken before her latest surgery in December 2012.

Her ears, which were also cut off by her Taliban husband and in-laws, will be reconstructed after her nose is completed.

Scars on her left arm show where doctors took tissue that was then transplanted onto her face. Her emotional scars are also healing, and she's learning to trust in new ways.

On Monday, she will undergo the next dramatic surgery in a process she's not ashamed to show off.


(CNN) -- The evolving life, face and story of Aesha, disfigured by the Taliban and featured on the August 2010 cover of Time magazine, has captivated audiences around the world.
CNN has been following her for close to two years and, earlier this week, updated readers on how she is doing both physically and emotionally. We shared exclusive photographs of what she looked like before her latest surgery.
Monday's procedure, the fourth in a series to reconstruct her nose, lasted about 9½ hours and went smoothly, said Mati Arsala, who's become a father figure to Aesha Mohammadzai. Doctors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where she's being treated, will not discuss her case.
The reactions to the latest story about Aesha poured in -- both in the story's comments section and by way of e-mail -- even as the world's eyes remained trained on Friday's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
"This girl has more courage than all the fanatics that hurt her will ever have," wrote akmac61.
"Aesha you are a beautiful woman, wishing you the best! A whole new great life is ahead just for you, better things are coming," said tr0j4n.
"I am speechless, no words can express the depth of my feeling for this beautiful lady. I salute your courage in the face of illiteracy and extremism," added ProsNCons.
Some readers wrote with special offerings for Aesha and the family caring for her. An e-learning company in Canada wants to help with her education. The owner of a bed and breakfast in West Virginia would like to treat them to a weekend getaway. A woman in Texas encouraged Aesha to open a Web-store, perhaps on Etsy, to sell her jewelry. Many others wrote with promises of prayers and extensions of love .
In May, CNN published an exclusive story documenting Aesha's complicated journey.
cnn



Πέμπτη, 20 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

marilena: Mother India Starves Her Children

marilena: Mother India Starves Her Children: India's people are eating less now than they did two decades ago, even after record economic growth and bumper harvests. Children die. ...

Mother India Starves Her Children


Photograph: Bloomberg

India's people are eating less now than they did two decades ago, even after record economic growth and bumper harvests. Children die. Adults linger in a nutritional purgatory. Food rots in warehouses stuffed with record crops. Politicians and criminal gangs loot billions of dollars of food aid from the system. Government ministers deny there's a problem. In a year-long investigation, Bloomberg reporters drove thousands of miles to interview the parents of children killed by hunger, a murderer-turned-whistleblower, politicians, investigators, aid workers and doctors.
Children Die as $3 Billion in India Nutrition Aid Fails Them

Nutrition powder

India’s Poverty Programs Feed Its Politicians, Not Poor

"Million-dollar Question"

bloomberg

marilena: Zuckerberg Donates $500 Million to Silicon Valley ...

marilena: Zuckerberg Donates $500 Million to Silicon Valley ...: Chief Executive Officer  Mark Zuckerberg  is donating almost $500 million in shares of the world’s largest social network to the Silicon ...

Zuckerberg Donates $500 Million to Silicon Valley Foundation By Danielle Kucera - Dec 19, 2012 7:01 AM GMT+0200


Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is donating almost $500 million in shares of the world’s largest social network to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla, signed a pledge two years ago committing the majority of their earnings to charity. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
The gift to the nonprofit group, which had $2 billion in assets in 2011, is to “lay a foundation for new projects,” Zuckerberg said yesterday in a statement posted on his Facebook page.
The executive and his wife, Priscilla, signed a pledge two years ago committing the majority of their earnings to charity. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation provides grants for local needs and brings together “diverse groups of problem- solvers” to address them. It also manages corporate and individual charitable funds.
“Mark’s generous gift will change lives and inspire others in Silicon Valley and around the globe to give back and make the world a better place,” Emmett Carson, CEO of the foundation, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. “We are pleased and honored that he has chosen to continue to partner with us to help him achieve his philanthropic goals.”
Zuckerberg Donates $500 Million to Silicon Valley Foundation
The couple’s first gift focused on education reform in Newark, New Jersey, with a group called Startup: Education. The $100 million donation went toward signing a new teachers contract, opening four new district high schools and 11 new charter schools, Zuckerberg has said.
“Together, we will look for areas in education and health to focus on next,” he said.
Zuckerberg’s fortune is valued at $14.1 billion, making him the 59th richest man in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Facebook rose 3.6 percent to $27.71 yesterday in New York trading. The company has fallen 27 percent since its initial public offering in May.
Alexandra Hollander, a spokeswoman for Menlo Park, California-based Facebook, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on why Zuckerberg chose the charity.
To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Kucera in San Francisco atdkucera6@bloomberg.net
bloomberg

marilena: Person of the Year

marilena: Person of the Year: http://www.reuters.com/news/pictures/slideshow?articleId=USRTR22OC5 reuters

Person of the Year

marilena: Barack Obama is Time magazine’s Person of the Year...

marilena: Barack Obama is Time magazine’s Person of the Year...: President Barack Obama has been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for the second time, after winning another term in the White Hou...

Barack Obama is Time magazine’s Person of the Year… again


President Barack Obama has been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for the second time, after winning another term in the White House in November.
The title is awarded by Time’s editors, and managing editor Richard Stengel wrote in an introductory editorial: “We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America.” The President is Person of the Year, Stengel went on, “for finding and forging a new majority, for turning weakness into opportunity and for seeking, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union”.
Public reaction to the announcement was mixed, with some on social media suggesting the President was a too-predictable choice, others that he was the inevitable one. The four runners-up were Tim Cook, the new CEO of Apple, whose predecessor, Steve Jobs, appeared on the magazine’s cover eight times, though never as Person of the Year; Mohamed Morsi, the new President of Egypt; Fabiola Gianotti, the particle physicist in charge of the search for the Higgs Boson particle; and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban for promoting education for girls in the region.
Aryn Baker, the magazine’s Middle East bureau chief, wrote of Yousafzai: “Since October her message has been heard around the world, from cramped classrooms where girls scratch out lessons in the dirt to the halls of the UN and national governments and NGOs, where legions of activists argue ever more vehemently that the key to raising living standards throughout the developing world is the empowerment of women and girls.”
North Korea’s Central News Agency, meanwhile, reported that this year’s Time title was, in fact, bestowed upon its country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, pictured. The official Person of the Year may be chosen by Time’s editors, but Kim topped a readers’ poll, after a campaign led by the prankster-hacker website 4chan brought him 5.6 million votes, three million more than his closest rival, comedian Jon Stewart.

independent

marilena: Miss Universe National Costume Show 2012

marilena: Miss Universe National Costume Show 2012: http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/galleries/TMG9755856/Miss-Universe-National-Costume-Show-2012.html daily telegraph

Miss Universe National Costume Show 2012

marilena: Mayan apocalypse: End of the world, or a new begin...

marilena: Mayan apocalypse: End of the world, or a new begin...: One in 10 of us is said to be anxious that 21 December marks the end of the world. The Ancient Mayans predicted this doomsday, and the ...

Mayan apocalypse: End of the world, or a new beginning? By Jane Little BBC News, Washington

Selections from the Mayan calendar


One in 10 of us is said to be anxious that 21 December marks the end of the world. The Ancient Mayans predicted this doomsday, and the press is eating it up. But where are all the believers?
That the world will end in 2012 is the most widely-disseminated doomsday tale in human history, thanks to the internet, Hollywood and an ever-eager press corps.
Recent hurricanes, unrest in the Middle East, solar flares, mystery planets about to collide with us - all "proof" of what the ancient Mayans knew would come to pass on 21 December 2012.
According to a Reuters global poll, one in 10 of us is feeling some anxiety about this date.
Russians have been so worried that the Minister of Emergency Situations issued a denial that the world would end.
Authorities in the village of Bugarach in the South of France have barred access to a mountain where some believe a UFO will rescue them.
And survivalists in America - many of whom use the term "prepper" - have been busy preparing for all manner of cataclysm.
So I set out to find people who believe 21/12/12 is D-Day.
It was harder than I imagined, despite seeking out preppers, bunker builders, and even a Mayan shaman.
Eventually I turned to Morandir Armson, a scholar of the New Age and Esoterica at the University of Sydney, Australia.
"If you told me there were more than 5,000 people who genuinely believed the end of the world was coming rather than just having vague fears about it, I'd be surprised," he says.
Armson adds that those people are probably "in the wilds of Idaho, heavily armed, and won't talk to journalists anyway".
The heightened fear around this date is, in his view and that of other experts, almost entirely due to the internet. More specifically they blame the blogosphere.
It is not how the whole 2012 phenomenon started.
In 1987, Jose Arguelles, a man who devoted much of his life to studying the Mayan Calendar, organised what was called the Harmonic Convergence, a sort of post-hippy Woodstock. It attracted tens of thousands around the globe.
The event was an attempt to "create a moment of meditation and connection to the sacred sites around the earth," says Daniel Pinchbeck, author of 2012: The Year of the Mayan Prophecy.
It was also the beginning of what many in the loosely-defined New Age movement regard as a process in the transformation of our consciousness - a transformation that goes into full effect at the end of this year.
Pinchbeck calls 21/12/12 the "hinge point" of the emergence of a new, more enlightened age - not an ending point for all civilisation.
"It is quite clear that the Mayan system envisages a new cycle of the calendar beginning on the 22 December 2012," says Graham Hancock, author of Fingerprints of the Gods, and something of a rock star in the world of ancient mysteries enthusiasts.
He says the ancient Mayan culture was a shamanic one. Those who left us the calendar were visionaries who were providing clues to this ending of one cycle and the beginning of another.
That is not to say that New Agers do not see catastrophic events as necessary in some way to this new birth.
In fact they tend to embrace eastern faiths and native cultures with their cyclical views of time. In these visions, the world has been and will be destroyed - to some degree - and we start anew.
Accordingly, some believe the Mayans were sending us a warning for 2012.
"We may see a lot of destruction," says Pinchbeck. He points to Hurricane Sandy, which recently hit his home city of New York.
Many, including the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, linked that hurricane to global warming, which tends to be seen by New Agers as the main threat to our planet.
However the New Age movement is full of optimists. Crucially, they say we have a choice in how this story ends.
"We do not have to step over the edge of the abyss into darkness and destruction," Hancock says, calling this point in time a "cusp moment."
"It's up to us. It's totally up to us."
Morandir Armson, the Australian scholar, says the belief that 2012 marks a positive shift is one also shared by UFO groups, such as the Ashtar Command and the Ground Crew. These groups have no headquarters but for internet sites.
He says they refer to themselves as "lightworkers" who believe a fleet of alien space ships hover around our solar system.
"By doing good works on earth [they believe] you can speed up the consciousness of our humanity," says Armson.
In many ways, they emphasise the more positive aspects of the traditional Christian Apocalypse. The fire-and-brimstone part gets downplayed in favour of the glorious Kingdom to come.
Some 20% of Americans believe we are in the end times, and that they will see the return of Jesus Christ in their lifetime.
This month marks Advent in the Christian Calendar, during which Christians are encouraged to read from the Book of Revelation, the apocalyptic vision of St John the Divine.
"It's full of gory and grotesque detail of how the wicked are going to be punished," says Ted Harrison, author of Apocalypse When: Why We Want to Believe there Will Be No Tomorrow.
The twenty-first of December, however, is not on the biblical calendar and few, if any, believers in the traditional Book of Revelation are attached to this date.
The supposed date of the coming apocolypse, 21 December, also marks the Winter Solstice, symbolic in many cultures of the end of darkness and the renewal of the light.
It might, suggests Harrison, focus our minds on how we have been treating the planet and those on it, and how we could mend our ways.
In this respect, he says, "It might become a self-fulfilling prophecy. That's one hope. A remote one, but it is one hope."
bbc




marilena: Sonepur fair: Poor Indian boys 'fish' for coins to...

marilena: Sonepur fair: Poor Indian boys 'fish' for coins to...: Every day since 28 November, 10-year-old Rohit Kumar has sat from dawn to dusk on the banks of the Gandak river in the eastern Indian s...

Sonepur fair: Poor Indian boys 'fish' for coins to help family By Amarnath Tewary

Rohit Kumar, 10, holding up his magnet rings tied to a yellow plastic rope


Every day since 28 November, 10-year-old Rohit Kumar has sat from dawn to dusk on the banks of the Gandak river in the eastern Indian state of Bihar with a magnetic fishing line trying to fish out coins from the water.
He is among the hundreds of boys who collect coins thrown into the river by visitors and devotees during the annual month-long Sonepur fair, which is said to be Asia's biggest cattle fair.
Armed with heavy magnetic rings tied with colourful plastic ropes, Rohit is at work every day from 5am to 5pm. For a month, he is missing school.
"I fish out around 100 rupees ($1.83; £1.14) to 110 rupees every day and my mother is happy with my efforts," says Rohit.
His father, Shatrughan Singh, is a day labourer who earns a similar amount on the days he can find work.
Rohit hands over the money he collects to his parents and it goes a long way in helping feed their family of six.
Rohit first started going to the river bank two years ago after he saw other village boys going every morning with their fishing lines.
"I was curious, so one day I went along with them and learned the tricks of the trade," he said.
He borrowed 10 rupees ($0.18; £0.11) from his mother, promising to return double the money in the evening.
Rohit Kumar, 10, casts his magnets to try and get some coins from the river
Devotion and reverence
At the beginning of the cattle fair, hundreds of thousands of Hindu devotees bathe at the confluence of the Gandak and Ganges rivers in Sonepur, in Saran district, 35km (21 miles) north of the state capital, Patna.
The devout also throw coins in the river as a mark of their devotion and reverence.
As soon as a coin is thrown into the water, the hawk-eyed little boys throw their magnets in the same direction, much like the fishermen throwing their nets into the sea.
"I generally collect coins worth 150 rupees ($2.7; £1.7) a day and most of the time my family buys food with this money," said Rakesh Kumar, another coin collector.
Rakesh's father, Suresh Rai, runs a tea stall at the fair ground and has a large family of nine members.
Rakesh and his sibling Bittu Kumar come to the river bank every morning at the crack of dawn and leave only after at 5pm.
"My rope has just a single magnet which is not very effective. I'll buy a bigger one soon so that I can collect more coins," Rakesh said.
Young boys collecting coins in the river with magnets attached to colourful ropes
Gruelling poverty
His friend Krishna Kumar, who also collects coins worth 100-150 rupees a day, says their work is not easy.
"I spend almost 10 hours a day on the river bank, with my eyes fixed on the coins thrown into the water. Sometimes I get them, sometime I lose to other friends," he said as he displayed a coin he had just fished out of water.
Krishna says he keeps a part of the money he makes "to buy some sweets at the fair".
"When the fair begins, one can see hundreds of young coin collectors here. See how they have used local technology to fish out coins from water," Radheshyam Panda, who performs religious rituals on the river bank, said.
"These young coin collectors may use different magnet sizes or different colours of plastic ropes but one thing which they have in common is their gruelling poverty," said Mahendra Babu who sells ingredients for religious ceremonies on the river bank.
bbc


Τετάρτη, 19 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

marilena: South Korea's "Exam Village".....

marilena: South Korea's "Exam Village".....: http://www.reuters.com/news/pictures/slideshow?articleId=USRTR3BP2I Kim Sa-myeong, 27, studies in his small room called a Goshiwon in o...

South Korea's "Exam Village".....

http://www.reuters.com/news/pictures/slideshow?articleId=USRTR3BP2I

Kim Sa-myeong, 27, studies in his small room called a Goshiwon in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. There are 30,000 residents of a drab neighbourhood of the South Korean capital known as Exam Village, where people preparing for tests for low-level civil service jobs have gravitated for years. There is a growing sense of frustration among the young in a country where there are simply not enough jobs to go round, especially for graduates of less prestigious universities whose options are largely limited to the public sector. In Exam Village, or Goshichon in Korean, there were so many young people who wanted to cast early ballots last week that extra polling booths had to be brought in.  REUTERS-Lee Jae-Won

Kim Sa-myeong, 27, studies in his small room called a Goshiwon in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. There are 30,000 residents of a drab neighbourhood of the South Korean capital known as Exam Village, where people preparing for tests for low-level civil service jobs have gravitated for years. There is a growing sense of frustration among the young in a country where there are simply not enough jobs to go round, especially for graduates of less prestigious universities whose options are largely limited to the public sector. In Exam Village, or Goshichon in Korean, there were so many young people who wanted to cast early ballots last week that extra polling booths had to be brought in. 
REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Τρίτη, 18 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

marilena: The end is nigh: Five things you should stock up o...

marilena: The end is nigh: Five things you should stock up o...: The latest advert for American dessert Jell-O suggests that if the pudding was to be offered to the Gods, it may stave off the impendin...

The end is nigh: Five things you should stock up on for the end of the world

end of the world 300x225 The end is nigh: Five things you should stock up on for the end of the world


The latest advert for American dessert Jell-O suggests that if the pudding was to be offered to the Gods, it may stave off the impending apocalypse that doomsayers expect to come this Friday.
However, instead of trying to placate South American Gods with jelly, we should be adding to our store cupboards just in case most of the human race is wiped out on December 21. These are the products I recommend you stock up on:
1. Peanut butter
Peanut butter will become an essential product as supplies of other sources of protein dry up. The nut-based spread can work in sweet or savoury dishes and that dexterity will be useful with the slim pickings likely to be on offer. I’d go as far as to say that peanut butter will gain an ambrosia-like status in this brave new world. For those with allergies, some alternatives include marshmallow spread and marmalade.
2. Yakult
This bacterium-based yoghurt-drink will come into its own after most of the world is destroyed. Readers of The War of the Worlds will know that it is bacteria that stopped Martian invaders from destroying the human race. As well as helping with maintaining your gut flora, Yakult may end up saving your life from aliens.
3. Marmite
You either love it or you hate it and in the small group of survivors there needs to be something to debate over. Long nights could be spent chatting about whether Marmite would improve or destroy your dishes. The sticky yeast extract would also be good for trapping the huge bugs that are sure to spring up soon after civilization is destroyed.
4. Baked Beans
The world may be destroyed but there will always be baked beans. Tinned food is likely to be a major source of nutrition as Britain is turned into a wasteland and beans are sure to be the food of choice. Also, on a sadder note though this British favourite could bring back fond memories of your now destroyed home.
5. Spirits
While I would never encourage the excessive consumption of spirits, the brandy that would otherwise light your Christmas pudding would be useful when the world is over. Use it to treat wounds caused by fighting zombies, to disinfect the grim surfaces in your nuclear bunker or to calm your terrified nerves. I recommend vodka.