Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Xi Hosts 56 Nations at Founding of Asian Infrastructure Bank By Jane Perlez

BEIJING — At a ceremony imbued with quiet triumph at the Great Hall of the People, China’s president, Xi Jinping, hosted 56 member countries on Monday for the founding of a Chinese-led infrastructure bank for Asia, including major American allies from Asia and Europe that Washington had counseled not to join the bank. Conspicuously absent from the gathering were the United States and Japan, the leaders of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, the institutions that were created after World War II to build a Western-designed global financial architecture. Washington fears those institutions will be undermined by the new body. The country’s powerful treasurer, Joe Hockey, bearing a $700 million contribution that will make Australia the fifth-largest shareholder of the bank, said before the ceremony that the bank offered “great opportunities” for Australia to work with China, its biggest trading partner. Britain, which also joined in defiance of Washington’s wishes, sent Jim O’Neill, commercial secretary to the Treasury. The new bank is the first large international body established by China that, like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, meets the standards of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, legal experts said, and as such could be seen as an effort by China to shoulder more responsibility in underdeveloped parts of Asia, even as some neighbors fear its growing military and territorial claims. Some of the early sour feelings expressed by competitors of the new institution had dissipated by Monday. The president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, said in a statement that he welcomed the newcomer, and the Asian Development Bank offered to join hands to do business. China will be the biggest shareholder in the bank, which aims to have $100 billion in capitalization. Beijing will contribute $29.8 billion, with India a distant second at $8.4 billion, the articles of agreement show. In all, the members range from Western Europe, to Russia, to the Middle East — including Iran and Israel — to the Asia-Pacific region. China, for example, has insisted that the bank be led by a Chinese official, and almost certainly, these people say, the first president will be Jin Liqun, the head of the interim secretariat of the bank and a former deputy finance minister. “The United States always has an American as head of the World Bank, the Europeans always get the head of the I.M.F., and the Japanese head the A.D.B.,” Mr. Dollar said, referring to the International Monetary Fund. “The United States should join at an early date since China is still open to its participation,” said Mr. Xu, head of the economic studies department at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, a think tank associated with the National Development and Reform Commission, the top state planning body. “We welcome the U.S. to join.” International New York Times Photo-www.aei.org

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Soul II Soul

Back to Life  Soul II Soul are an English musical group formed in London in 1988. They are best known for their 1989 UK chart-topper and US Top 5 hit, "Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)". They have been nominated for five Brit Awards – twice for Best British Group.
Photo Wikipedia

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Queen Elizabeth II Visits Berlin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip (L), the Duke of Edinburgh, at the Chancellery as Minister of the Chancellery Peter Altmeier (C) looks on, on the second of the royal couple's four-day visit to Germany on June 24, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. The Queen and Prince Philip are scheduled to visit Berlin, Frankfurt and the concentration camp memorial at Bergen-Belsen during their trip, which is their first to Germany since 2004. Zimbio Photo & Caption: Sean Gallup/Getty Images Europe

TAXIM Chicago

TAXIM 1558 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
Tel: 773-252-1558
TAXIM features regional Greek cuisine and wine from the mountains, the islands, the cities and the villages of greater Greece.

Asia stocks rise amid continuing optimism on Greek debt deal By Yuri Kageyama

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares rose Wednesday, and Japan's benchmark hit an 18-year high, amid optimism about a bailout deal between Greece and its creditors. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.5 percent to 20,922.00, its highest in 18 years. South Korea's Kospi was little changed at 2,081.19. Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged up 0.1 percent to 27,355.97. Other regional stock markets were mostly higher, including Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. GREECE HOPES: Greece faces defaulting on its debt without new loans, but appeared to be moving closer to an agreement to secure new funding. A Greek default and the nation's potential exit from the euro currency could shake financial markets. EYES ON FED: Investors also remain focused on when the U.S. Federal Reserve might increase its key interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade. Fed Gov. Jerome Powell said at an event hosted by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that he expects the U.S. central bank to begin raising its benchmark interest rate in September, with a second rate rise coming in December. THE QUOTE: "The risk appetite in Asian markets may wane a little if we were to take cues from overnight markets. Gains in European equities, while still rather strong, are not as impressive as that on Monday," said Bernard Aw, market strategist with IG in Singapore. WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 24.29 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,144.07 on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 1.35 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,124.20 and the Nasdaq composite rose 6.12 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,160.09. ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery rose 13 cents to $61.14 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract for U.S. crude for July delivery expired at $59.68. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose 5 cents to $64.50 in London. CURRENCIES: The euro was little changed at $1.1183. The dollar cost 123.86 yen, up slightly from 123.62 yen in the previous trading session. SFGATE

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

10 Top Foods That Might be Causing Cancer By BlueHair Dave

1. Highly Processed White Flours

After refining, processed white flours not only lose most all of their nutrients but they are also bleached with a chemical called chlorine gas. The EPA sites this gas as dangerous, irritant, that can be lethal. It is also very highly glycemic and bad for your blood sugar. Not only are they making us fat they might also be contributing to rising cancer rates.

2. Microwave Popcorn

Everybody loves a yummy bag of popcorn. Making it in the microwave is easy and convenient. Unfortunately, according to Wikipedia the bags of microwave popcorn are lined with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This chemical is also found in Teflon. Studies have shown that this chemical can be linked with infertility in women and exposure significantly increases risk of kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas and testicular cancers. Find more out at cancer.org.
Many microwave popcorns also still use diacetyl which Conagra stopped using due to employees using it getting lung cancer.

3. Artificial Sweeteners

If you have to avoid sugar, are on a diet or have diabetes you might be using artificial sweeteners. However, many studies show that people usually GAIN weight when using them and can make it harder to control blood sugar. More studies are coming out that show aspartame, when broken down becomes a deadly toxin called DKP. This breakdown of chemicals is known to cause certain brain tumors.

4. Alcohol

Many of us enjoy a nice drink now and then but over consumption of alcohol can lead to many health issues including diabetes, obesity and many types of cancers. A recent study showed that postmenopausal women who drank one drink per day or less had a 30% increase in breast cancer rates than women who did not drink at all. Alcohol is the 2nd leading cause of cancer following tobacco. Experts working with the World Health Organization Research on Cancer found evidence that alcohol is the main cause of mouth, esophagus, liver, colon, mouth, rectum, and female breast cancers.

5. Refined Sugars and Soda Pop

Many believe that refined sugars are the preferable food for cancer cells which helps them grow. High Fructose Corn Syrup being one of the main culprits because it is most easily metabolized by cancer cells. This puts most cakes, sodas, sauces, juices, etc. on the NO NO list.. Sorry sweet tooths!

6. Processed Meats

Like some hot dogs, sausages, bacon and lunch meats? Most of them have excessive salts and chemicals. Some studies show that people who regularly eat processed meats increased their chance of early death by as much as 43%. Sodium Nitrates are the biggest offenders and also a well know carcinogen with smoked meats being particularly bad.   

7. Smoked, Pickled and Salted!

Put a fork in me after I eat these foods. These foods often have nitrates that turn into N-nitroso that is associated with higher cancer risks when digested. Smoked meats that are high in fat can help lead to stomach and colorectal cancer.  

8. Potato Chips

They sure make a great tasting quick snack but the negative effects far outweigh the short term pleasure. High in both fat and calories that cause weight gain. Add in often high Trans-Fats with sodium and you have the recipe for cancer- and heart disease-related health problems.    

9. Farmed Salmon

Over 60% of salmon eaten in the United States is farm raised. Being fed unnatural diets with chemicals, antibiotics, pesticides and other known carcinogens these otherwise healthy fish are not very healthy at all. Studies have also shown high numbers of PCBs and mercury in them.  

10. Diet Foods

Often loaded with Aspartame, a chemical in artificial sweeteners, diet foods are not very healthy at all. Excessive sodium, colors and refined ingredients are often added to make up for flavor loss. Many low fat foods actually have many MORE calories than their ‘Non diet’ associates.  

11.  Hydrogenated Oils

These are vegetable oils. They must be chemically removed from their source and are often deodorized and colored. Also, excessive Omega-6 fatty acids cause health problems.  

12. Red Meat

Small amounts of red meat in a diet can be shown to be a good thing. Try to eat grass fed which has properties of linoleic acid which helps fight against some cancers. However, when speaking about colon cancer, red meats eaten everyday can lead to increased cancer risks.  

13. Canned Tomatoes

Many canned foods. Most cans are lined with a chemical called bisphenol-A or BPA. A Study about 2 years ago showed that BPAs affect the way genes worked inside rats’ brains. The FDA seems to agree this is a problem and is supporting efforts to reduce, replace or eliminate the amounts found in canned foods. The high acidity leaves tomatoes more dangerous because they can leech the BPA more readily from the can lining. Bulletin Daily News/Hartford Courant

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

F.D.A. Gives Food Industry 3 Years to Eliminate Trans Fats By Sabrina Tavernise

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday gave the food industry three years to eliminate artery-clogging, artificial trans fats from the food supply, a long-awaited step that capped years of effort by consumer advocates and is expected to save thousands of lives a year. Trans fats — a major contributor to heart disease in the United States — have already been substantially reduced in foods, but they still lurk in many popular products, including frostings, microwave popcorn, packaged pies, frozen pizzas, margarines, coffee creamers, graham crackers and granola bars. The agency has estimated that banning trans fats completely could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year. The agency has ruled that partially hydrogenated oils, the source of trans fats, no longer be “generally recognized as safe.” That means companies would have to prove that such oils are safe to eat, a high hurdle given that scientific literature overwhelmingly shows the contrary. The Institute of Medicine has concluded that there is no safe level for consumption of them, a conclusion that the F.D.A. has cited in its reasoning on the topic. Partially hydrogenated oils are cheaper than saturated animal fats like butter, and for years were thought to be healthier. They are formed when liquid oil is treated with hydrogen gas and made solid. They became popular in fried and baked goods and in margarine. Crisco, originally marketed in the beginning of the 20th century, was the archetype. But over the years, scientific evidence has shown they are dangerous because they raise the levels of so-called bad cholesterol and can lower the levels of good cholesterol, and a wariness set in among consumers. Trans fats won’t be completely gone. They occur naturally in meat and dairy products, and they are produced at very low levels in some edible oils during the manufacturing process, the F.D.A. said. And companies will be able to petition the F.D.A. for specific uses. Barry Popkin, a nutrition epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said consumption of saturated fat in baked goods actually increased from 2005 to 2012, a shift he said was probably partially attributable to reductions in trans fats. The fats are difficult to replace in baked goods because of their unique qualities in helping with texture. International New York Times

Monday, June 15, 2015

Homemade Cottage Pie with Cheesy Mash


  • 450 g potatoes, well scrubbed
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 600 g minced beef
  • 1 tblsp tomato puree
  • 50 ml beef stock (or ½ glass red wine)
  • 3 tblsp milk
  • 25 g butter
  • 50 g grated cheese
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh thyme leaves, to garnish


  1. Cover the potatoes with cold water in a pan and add a pinch of salt.
  2. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes or until completely tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
  3. Drain in a colander and peel the potatoes while they are still hot.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes until just beginning to soften but not colour.
  5. Stir the mince into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until browned, breaking up any lumps with the back of a wooden spoon.
  6. Stir in the tomato puree and red wine/stock and cook gently for another 10 minutes until completely tender. Season to taste and keep warm or reheat as needed.
  7. Transfer the beef to an ovenproof casserole dish.
  8. Push the cooked peeled potatoes through a potato ricer or sieve using a spatula. Quickly heat the milk in a pan. Beat the butter into the warm mashed potato and then add enough milk to make a smooth puree. Season to taste.
  9. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5. Pipe or spoon the potatoes onto the top of the meat mixture. Sprinkle with approximately 50 g grated cheese and bake in the oven for approximately 12-15 minutes or until the potato topping has become golden brown and the meat mixture is really hot on the underneath. RTÉ

Americans are unlikely to contract MERS, health experts say By Soumya Karlamangla and Victoria Kim

Just as peak summer season was gearing up, Koreatown travel agent Chris Chang began receiving dozens of calls from travelers concerned about an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in South Korea. MERS, a severe, flu-like illness, was diagnosed in a patient in Seoul last month and has since spread to 138 people and killed 14. Chang, manager at Hana Tour USA, said the company is still operating its South Korea tours on schedule, but he gives nervous customers the option to cancel. He estimated that 20% to 30% had canceled flights and tours because they feared contracting MERS. "It's their choice. It has to do with safety, so we're not going to tell them they are or aren't going to get the disease," Chang said. Despite the anxiety about MERS, health experts say, Americans are unlikely to contract the illness, even if they're traveling to South Korea. All infections so far have been associated with healthcare facilities visited by the original infected patient and haven't spread to the outside community. Plus, numbers of new cases appear to be peaking. MERS, a virus thought to have come to humans from camels, was first detected in a patient in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Characterized by fever, respiratory problems and kidney disease, it is most likely spread through close contact with infected patients, such as coughing. Since MERS was detected there have been two cases in the United States, one in Florida and one in Indiana. Both patients were infected in May 2014 and had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia and recovered after being hospitalized. Dr. Robert Quigley, regional medical director and senior vice president of medical assistance at International SOS, said MERS tends to cause panic because of its similarity to severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which killed more than 700 people in the early 2000s. "That really was a scare for many, many countries in Asia and even Canada," Quigley said. He said that though both SARS and MERS are coronaviruses, MERS does not appear to spread as easily as SARS and isn't likely to spread much more than it has already in South Korea. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend that Americans change their travel plans because of the outbreak. LA Times AP Photo Lee Jinman

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Should You Limit Your Daily Coffee Intake? By Amy Capetta

Drinking up to five espressos a day, or the caffeine equivalent, poses no risk to [the] general population, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), has concluded. The agency carried out the scientific study after some countries raised concerns about the health effects of caffeine on the heart and central nervous system. According to their research, adults can consume up to 400mg per day from the typical sources (including tea, coffee, chocolate and energy drinks) and chugging down a single serving up to 200mg of caffeine can be safe, as well. But the EFSA warns to stop after five cups: Consuming more than that could be damaging to your health, they say. So what is the US’s official recommended guideline on caffeine consumption? For healthy adults FDA has cited 400 milligrams a day. But that said, “We don’t have a standard policy,” Miriam E. Nelson, PhD, Associate Dean from the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University, tells Yahoo Health. Nelson and 13 other nationally recognized experts in the fields of nutrition, medicine and public health are part of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.“Our committee put together a technical report, which we were asked to do, and submitted it to the secretaries of the Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),” she states. “However, there are some policies, like from the American Academy of Pediatrics for children and from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for pregnant women. But in terms of adults, the United States doesn’t have any, which is why it was such a fascinating topic area for our subcommittee to address.” The team considered two factors in their proposal: coffee, which is the major source of caffeine in our nation’s diet, and caffeine. “What we saw was that there was strong, consistent evidence in coffee,” says Nelson. “Within the three to five cups a day range, which is up to 400mg, coffee was not associated with any increased, major health risks. In fact, there was moderate but consistent evidence that drinking coffee in moderate amounts actually reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in healthy adults.” She adds that coffee may also reduce risk of some liver cancers and cancers of the endometrium. And yes, caffeine had a perk, as well. “With respect to caffeine, what we saw was that there was, in fact, moderate evidence that caffeine intakes around that amount — and not coffee but caffeine — can reduce risk of Parkinson’s disease,” says Nelson. Caffeine may even protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease, nutritionist Keri Glassman, founder of Nutritious Life, tells Yahoo Health. “German and French researchers have demonstrated that caffeine has a positive effect on tau deposits, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s,” she states. “They showed how giving regular doses of caffeine to mice bred to develop tau protein deposits in their brains slowed memory decline compared to controlled mice.” Yahoo! Health Photo

Monday, June 1, 2015

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to visit Germany

As announced in January, The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, will make a State Visit to the Federal Republic of Germany from 23 to 26 June 2015. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness are visiting at the invitation of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Joachim Gauck.

What follows is the outline detail for the visit:

Tuesday 23 June
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will arrive at Berlin Tegel airport in the early evening and will be received by an honour guard and 21 gun salute.

Wednesday 24th June
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will be ceremonially welcomed with military honours at Bellevue Palace, the official residence of President Gauck. They will then travel by boat along the River Spree, to the Chancellery where The Queen will meet Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Queen will then lay a wreath at Germany’s Central Memorial for the victims of war and dictatorship. In the afternoon, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will attend the 50th anniversary of the Queen’s Lecture at Berlin's University of Technology, to be delivered by Neil MacGregor. That evening The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will return to Bellevue Palace for a State Banquet hosted by President Gauck.
Thursday 25th June
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will travel with President Gauck and Ms Schadt to Frankfurt. There they will visit St Paul’s Church, where they will meet representatives of the local community and hear about the significance of the building as the birthplace of parliamentary democracy in Germany. The Minister-President of Hesse will then host a lunch in honour of The Queen at the Römer, which has been Frankfurt’s City Hall for more than six centuries. After leaving the Römer, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will greet members of the public in the central square. On returning to Berlin that evening, they will attend a Garden Party hosted by the British Ambassador.

Friday 26th June
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will greet members of the public in Pariser Platz and view the Brandenburg Gate with the Mayor of Berlin. They will then fly from Berlin to Celle Military Airport in Lower Saxony, and will visit the Bergen-Belsen memorial site. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will lay a wreath at the inscription wall. They will then return to Celle Military Airport for a farewell with the local community, before departing for the UK. The British Monarchy Photo