Monday, October 31, 2016

The art of clowning through the years By Jessica Villagomez

"Fear of clowns is called Coulrophobia"

When DePaul sophomore Alyssa Padilla watched the horror film “It”, Pennywise the dancing clown haunted her dreams and intensified her already poor perception of clowns. The heavy make-up disguising the human identity beneath, and horrific intentions against a group of children, added onto her belief that clowns could do no good. Padilla can’t explain her fear of clowns, or what it is that frightens her but she knows one thing: she can’t even be in the same room as one. “It could be a clown with little to no make-up and I’ll still freak out,” she said. “I feel uncomfortable when they are around me and tend to freak out when they get near me.” The cultural perception of clowns has evolved over the years. With recent creepy clown sightings terrorizing neighborhoods across the country, clowns have gained a bad reputation being seen as creepy killers, bad omens and mysterious figures, causing people like Padilla to despise them immediately. Associate professor of media and cinema studies Paul Booth said the art of clowning has been around for centuries in various formats. “We might think that clowns are a recent phenomenon, but every culture has some type of clown,” Booth said. “There are differences between types of clowns, though — the clown image we have today is a combination of many different types of clowns, including the circus clown, the jester and the ‘Pierrot’, a type of clown from French court.” Booth said that clowns have been portrayed in a variety of ways including as mean and angry or figures of trickery and mischief. “The clowns we see today are actually just an evolution from the earliest depictions of clowns,” Booth said. “Fear of clowns is called Coulrophobia, although most people just think they’re creepy rather than having an actual phobia.” Booth said that clowns are a cultural symbol of where we stand as a society today, acting as a mirror to ourselves. “What changed is not the clown itself but the fact that our culture today is more sensationalistic, voyeuristic, and extreme than in the past,” Booth said.  “The clown reflects culture back at us.” The Chicago Tribune reported sightings of clowns armed with weapons including knives and guns attempting to lure children into the woods. Clowns have also been reported to chase nearby bystanders as well as stand outside homes and schools. DePaul senior Michelle Cahill attributes her poor perception of clowns to past actions made by criminal clowns. Cahill understands that not all clowns are killers or creepy but thinks that their unknown identity comes from a history of mystery. “To do terrible things dressed as a clown is especially terrifying because it’s the antithesis of what’s considered normal behavior” she said. “I actually feel sorry for them,” she said. “Just because I’m not a fan doesn’t mean that they don’t have fans and this weird warped aspect of their identity just hurts their overall appeal. Especially because some of it is intentional, like when people dress up like clowns to do bad things. I don’t think people who dress like clowns to visit kids in the hospital deserve to be lumped in with people manipulating the image for nefarious reasons.” Booth also attributed public perception of clowns to marketing in the media in horror films and Halloween stories. The DePaulia

300 million children exposed to heavily toxic air, says UNICEF

Some 300 million children live with outdoor air so polluted it can cause serious physical damage, including harming their developing brains, the United Nations said in a study released Monday.

Nearly one child in seven around the globe breathes outdoor air that is at least six times dirtier than international guidelines, according to the study by the UN Children's Fund, which called air pollution a leading factor in child mortality. UNICEF published the study a week before the annual UN climate-change talks, with the upcoming round to be hosted by Morocco on November 7-18. The agency, which promotes the rights and well-being of children, is pushing for world leaders to take urgent action to reduce air pollution in their countries. "Air pollution is a major contributing factor in the deaths of around 600,000 children under five every year, and it threatens the lives and futures of millions more every day," said Anthony Lake, executive director of UNICEF. "Pollutants don't only harm children's developing lungs. They can actually cross the blood-brain barrier and permanently damage their developing brains and, thus, their futures. No society can afford to ignore air pollution," Lake said. UNICEF points to satellite imagery which it says confirms that about two billion children live in areas where outdoor air pollution exceeds minimum air-quality guidelines set by the World Health Organization. The air is poisoned by vehicle emissions, fossil fuels, dust, burning waste and other airborne pollutants, it said. South Asia has the largest number of children living in such areas at about 620 million, followed by Africa with 520 million and the East Asia and Pacific region with 450 million. The study also looked at indoor air pollution, typically caused by burning coal and wood for cooking and heating. Together, outdoor and indoor air pollution are directly linked to pneumonia and other respiratory diseases that account for almost one death in 10 in children under the age of five, making air pollution a leading danger to children's health, UNICEF said. The agency noted that children are more susceptible than adults to indoor and outdoor air pollution because their lungs, brains and immune systems are still developing and their respiratory tracts are more permeable. The most vulnerable to illnesses caused by air pollution are children living in poverty, who tend to have poorer health and little access to health services. UNICEF is calling for more robust measures to reduce pollution, increase children's access to healthcare and to monitor and minimize children's exposure to polluted air. (AFP) France 24 Edurite UNICEF

Sunday, October 30, 2016

New earthquake rocks Italy, buildings collapse but no deaths reported By Isla Binnie

NORCIA, Italy A powerful earthquake struck Italy on Sunday in the same central regions that have been rocked by repeated tremors over the past two months, with more homes and churches brought down but no deaths reported. The quake, which measured 6.6 according to the U.S. Geological Survey, was bigger than one on Aug. 24 that killed almost 300 people. Many people have fled the area since then, helping to avoid a new devastating death toll. With thousands already made homeless, a leading seismologist warned that the earthquakes could go on for weeks in a domino effect along the central Apennine fault system.The latest quake was felt across much of Italy, striking at 7.40 a.m. (0640 GMT), its epicenter close to the historic Umbrian walled town of Norcia, some 100 km (60 miles) from the university city of Perugia. Panicked Norcia residents rushed into the streets and the town's ancient Basilica of St. Benedict collapsed, leaving just the facade standing. Nuns, monks and locals sank to their knees in the main square in silent prayer before the shattered church. "This is a tragedy. It is a coup de grace. The basilica is devastated," Bishop Renato Boccardo of Norcia told Reuters. "Everyone has been suspended in a never-ending state of fear and stress. They are at their wits' end," said Boccardo, referring to the thousands of tremors that have rattled the area since August, including two serious quakes on Wednesday. Italy's Civil Protection unit, which coordinates disaster relief, said numerous houses were destroyed on Sunday in the regions of Umbria and Marche, but either they were deserted at the time or most of the residents managed to escape in time. Civil Protection chief Fabrizio Curcio said no deaths had been reported and around 20 people were injured, none of them critically. He said it was too early to say how many more people had lost their homes. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi promised a massive reconstruction effort regardless of cost and took advantage of the disaster to resume his frequent criticism of the European Union's public finance rules. "This morning's quake has hit the few things that were left standing. We will have to start from scratch," Michele Franchi, the deputy mayor of Arquata del Tronto, told Rai television. Experts said Sunday's quake was the strongest here since a 6.9 quake in Italy's south in 1980 that killed 2,735 people. Sunday's earthquake was felt as far north as Bolzano, near the border with Austria and as far south as the Puglia region at the southern tip of the Italian peninsula. It was also felt strongly in the capital, Rome, where transport authorities shut down the metro system for precautionary checks. Authorities also toured the city's main Roman Catholic basilicas looking for possible damage. Italy sits on two geological fault lines, making it one of the most seismically active countries in Europe. Its deadliest quake since the start of the 20th century came in 1908, when a tremor followed by a tsunami killed an estimated 80,000 people in the southern regions of Reggio Calabria and Sicily. (Writing by Crispian Balmer and Philip Pullella; Additional reporting by Steve Scherer, Gavin Jones and Mark Bendeich; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Larry King) REUTERS

German Polizei

FOCUS

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Russia Ousted From UN Human Rights Council in Historic Vote By Kambiz Foroohar

Photo Credit: www.iatp.org
Russia lost its bid to retain a seat on the UN Human Rights Council amid daily accusations that the country may be guilty of war crimes for its support of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s assault on the city of Aleppo. The 193-member General Assembly on Friday elected 14 countries to the 47-member council. With 112 votes, Russia lost to Hungry and Croatia. As many as 87 human rights groups had objected to Russia’s candidacy, said Akshaya Kumar, deputy UN director for Human Rights Watch, a New York-based advocacy group. “It’s hard to imagine the atrocities happening in Aleppo weren’t on the minds of the people casting their votes today,” Kumar said. “This is a historic rejection.” The humanitarian crisis in the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo worsened after a U.S.-Russian ceasefire deal fell apart and Assad’s Russian-backed forces stepped up their campaign to defeat rebels holding the city, where some 275,000 people remain trapped. The incessant bombing has prompted some U.S. and European leaders to threaten possible sanctions, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry saying a war crimes investigation may be warranted. Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin downplayed the vote, saying that Croatia and Hungary, “are fortunate because of their size they are not as exposed to the winds of international diplomacy.” Russia had been on the council for a while and “I’m sure next time we’re going to get in.” Other countries elected to the council on Friday included Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China, Brazil, Rwanda, Cuba, South Africa, Japan, Tunisia, the U.S. and the U.K. Bloomberg Photo

Recipe of the Day: Cheesy Bacon, Onion & Herb Quiche with Fennel and Apple Salad By Nick Nairn


Serves 8
Pastry
110g unsalted butter
280g plain flour
large pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten
Filling
50g bacon, chopped into small strips
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
3 medium eggs, beaten
300ml double cream
50g strong Cheddar cheese, grated
25g fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
3 tbsp mixed herbs (parsley, chives), chopped
Maldon salt
Freshly ground pepper
Salad
Half a medium fennel bulb
1 red apple
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp caraway seeds
Method
1. Preheat the oven to 190C. For the pastry, rub the butter, flour and salt together in a mixing bowl (or food processor) until it has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and bring it all together into a dough. Add a tablespoon of cold water, if necessary. Knead lightly 3 or 4 times with floured hands. Cover in cling film and refrigerate for an hour.
2. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and line a greased 25cm tart tin. Bake the pastry blind until just firm and golden – about 10mins with baking beans, then 2-3 mins without to crisp up.
3. Gently fry the onions until softened but not coloured. Add the bacon and fry until just cooked. Set aside.
4. Beat the eggs and cream together in a jug and season with black pepper. The bacon should be salty enough not to add extra salt. Stir in the chopped herbs and Cheddar cheese.
5. Place the cooked onions and bacon in the tart case, then pour over the cream and egg mix until full. Sprinkle over the Parmesan. Cook for 25 minutes, until just set.
6. For the salad, finely slice the fennel and apple and toss with the olive oil, caraway seeds and lemon juice.
7. Remove tart and leave to rest for a few minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with some dressed green salad leaves plus the apple and fennel salad. Herald Scotland

Friday, October 28, 2016

Over 200 opera singers apply for Minsk Christmas Singing Competition

Photo Credit: www.belta.by
MNSK, 27 October (BelTA) – More than 200 singers from 20 countries have applied for the third Minsk International Christmas Singing Competition, BelTA learned from the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater of the Republic of Belarus. The competition will feature young singers from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Canada, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Lithuania, United States, France, Mongolia, China, Armenia, Israel, Latvia, Turkey, Sweden, Korea and Ireland. All in all, 226 vocalists have applied for the event which will be running in Minsk on 7-13 December. Winners of past years will be invited as guests to perform at the final gala. Today these names are well known to opera lovers: Ramiz Usmanov (Uzbekistan), Nadezhda Pavlova (Russia), Mikhail Malafiy (Ukraine), Lasha Sesitashvili (Georgia), Yelena Stikhina (Russia), Viktor Mendelev (Belarus), Ilya Silchukov (Belarus). The third Minsk International Christmas Singing Competition will have three rounds: the first and the second rounds will take place with piano accompaniment, and the third round will take place with orchestral accompaniment. The 3rd round (final) will see the competitors sing a lead role in a scene from an opera of classical or modern repertoire. The winner of the grand prize will receive $10,000 in prize money; the winner of the first prize will get $8,000. The winner of the second prize will collect $6,000, and $4,000 will be given to the winner of third prize. The jury panel of the Minsk International Christmas Singing Competition will be led by Vladimir Gridyushko, General Director of the Bolshoi Theater of Belarus, and will include the world's biggest opera theaters, impresarios and world-renowned musicians. Among them will be Tadey Eder, General Director of the Solomiya Krushelnytska Lviv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater, Ukraine; Academician Plamen Kartaloff, Director of Sofia National Opera and Ballet, Bulgaria; John Allison, editor of Opera Magazine, London, the UK; Christoph Meyer, General Director of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Germany; Alain Surrans, Director of the Opera de Rennes, France; Gianluca Marciano, Artistic Director of the Al Bustan Festival in Beirut; Italy and many others. The competition will be followed by the 7th Minsk International Christmas Opera Forum (on 14-20 December) which will feature the opera stars from all around the world. Thus, literally within two weeks Minsk will host the artists, musicians, famous impresarios, directors of theaters and agencies from 32 countries. Belarus News

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Baby, it's cold outside - 10 winter coats that cost less than €100 By Amy Mulvaney

If you're searching for the perfect winter coat, look no further. We here at Independent Style have picked out 10 gorgeous coats under €100. Ready, steady, shop: The Irish Independent

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Phil Collins

Photo Credit: www.zimbio.com
You'll Be In My Heart Photo

Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany

Obama is now set to stop by Berlin on November 16th, after the divisive US national election takes place on November 8th and following a trip to Athens. But the trip will be short, as two days later he will head to an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Lima, Peru. Obama last landed in the Bundesrepublik in April to drop by the Hanover Messe - one of the most important trade fairs in the world. That visit was thought to be his last to Europe’s largest economy. In Hanover, Obama praised Chancellor Angela Merkel for her “courageous” leadership during the ongoing refugee crisis, pushed the controversial TTIP free trade deal with the EU and US, and urged a preservation of a united Europe, ahead of the Brexit referendum vote in June. His Berlin trip will involve a meeting with Merkel and the leaders of Italy, France and the UK. Discussion will most likely centre around the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, as well as the refugee crisis and TTIP. But the November election will determine how much Obama’s Berlin talks will ultimately impact future actions after he leaves office in January and is followed by either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. The Local-Germany APEC

Eros Ramazzotti

L'Aurora Photo

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A tour of 15 Spanish cities through their most typical dishes By Elena Sevillano

Migas in Teruel
Trigo in Almería
Salmorejo in Córdoba
Txangurro in San Sebastián
Callos in Madrid
Paella in Valencia
Cocido maragato in Astorga (León)
Piquillo peppers in Lodosa (Navarre)
Fabada in Villaviciosa (Asturias)
Wrinkled potatoes in Tenerife
Snails in Linares (Jaén)
Carcamusas in Toledo
Escalivada in Barcelona
Pulpo a feira in O Carballiño (Ourense)
Suckling lamb in Aranda de Duero (Burgos)
EL PAÍS English

The Euro-Area Economy Is Beating Expectations By Sid Verma

Buoyant sentiment in Germany helps turn the dial

The economic momentum of the euro area is outpacing expectations, with a gauge of its performance relative to analysts' predictions now at a 2016 high. The Citigroup Surprise Index for the region, which measures how official data comes in relative to market expectations, has jumped since late September, underscoring better-than-forecast expansion in Germany and the so-far limited fallout from the Brexit vote on the single-currency bloc's financial system. The index stands at a year-to-date high of 34.30, a level last reached in November. On Monday, a Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing and services rose to 53.7 for October from 52.6 in September, the fast pace since the start of the year, according to IHS Markit Ltd, driven by a strong expansion in factory activity in Germany. The Munich-based Ifo Institute's survey for October, which measures business sentiment in the country based on 7,000 responses from different sectors, rose to 110.5 on Tuesday, up from 109.5 in September and its highest level since April 2014, further underscoring increased optimism in Europe's largest economy. "Both the levels and the direction taken by the components confirm activity is accelerating," Maxime Sbaihi,  Bloomberg Intelligence economist, wrote in a note on Tuesday. "That’s also evident from other recent survey data from Germany, leaving financial markets with a strong impression of the economy as the end of the year approaches." Bloomberg

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Men-only yoga classes a hit in Denmark By Ray W

Photo Credit: CPH Post/Alexa
Yoga without women entices men to give it a try

The evidence suggests it is easier to lure men to yoga classes if they are same-sex only, and no, it has nothing to do with the promise of spandex. The Danish workout centre Idræt i Dagtimerne in Vejle has been holding yoga classes for men only, and the experiment seems to be working. The centre was already holding coed yoga classes, but only two of the participants were men. “We thought we would try creating a new class for men only,”  Lars Damgaard, the head of Idræt i Dagtimerne, told DR Nyheder. “Incredibly, 25 men turned up.”
Splitting up good for your health
It can be quite a good idea to occasionally split up the sexes, said Svend Aage Madsen, the head psychologist at Rigshospitalet and president of Selskab for Mænds Sundhed, a society for men’s health. He has seen similar success in other contexts: for example, during cancer rehabilitation. “When they are with other men, it makes them a little more relaxed.” Damgaard said that dividing up the classes posed no problems for him. “If we can get more people to be active, then we have made an effort to reduce costs in the healthcare system,” he said. “So I can easily live with someone thinking that it is sexist.” CPH Post

Belarus elected to host 2019 European Games

MINSK, 21 October (BelTA) – Belarus was given the right to host the Second European Games in 2019 after a vote at the 45th General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in Minsk on 21 October, BelTA has learned. Belarus received a majority of vote. Now, Belarus needs to set up an organizing committee and compile a plan for the sport forum in close cooperation with the corresponding EOC commissions. The First European Games were held in Azerbaijan on 12-28 June 2015. Belarus won 43 (10 gold, 11 silver and 22 bronze) medals to place seventh in the medal table. Belarus News European Games

Harvest of Greek saffron starts in Kozani

Farmers in the rural area of Kozani, northern Greece, started harvesting “Krokos”, the local saffron produced by the crocus flower, one of the most important products of the region which have been cultivated for decades. Hundreds of farmers in the regions of Agia Paraskevi, Kesaria, Ano and Kato Platania Voiou, are found bending over their crops, collecting one-by-one the prized stems of the purple flower. It is a demanding and time-consuming job which can only be done manually. One kilo of dried “Krokos” stems requires about 150,000 crocus flowers. When the harvest ends, farmers and their workers must separate the flower from the red stems, which are then left to dry naturally at the local cooperative. The product is then packaged and sent to the Greek or foreign market. “If things go well this year, we expect to increase our production to about five tonnes, as we added another five hundred acres of young farmers in the 5,000 acres already being cultivated," the president of the “Krokos” association Nikos Patsiouras told ANA. ANA-MPA

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Iceland becoming 'Disneyland' as US tourists outnumber locals By Hugh Morris

Photo Credit: www.demilked.com
Iceland, a country hailed for offering a secluded, otherworldly travel experience, is being turned into Disneyland, it has been suggested, as new figures show that the number of American visitors this year will surpass the country’s population. The capital Reykjavik has been transformed over the last few years as the number of tourists visiting the island has soared, nearly all of whom arrive via the city’s airport on the south coast. And Birgitta Jonsdottir, leader of the anti-establishment Pirate Party, which could yet form the next government later this month, is not pleased about the new arrivals. “It’s like the city is not my city any more,” she said. “It’s like Disneyland downtown.” The exceptional growth of Iceland’s tourism industry is well documented, with dramatic year-on-year rises since 2010, but 2016 will mark the first time that the total number of American tourists will be greater than the number of Icelandic residents. New figures released by the Icelandic Tourist Board detailing arrivals for 2016 up to the end of September show 325,522 visitors from the US. The Icelandic population is 332,000. The number of US visitors will continue to rise through to the end of the year, and contribute to the estimated 1,500,000 visitors from around the world -  the figure was 1,353,000 by the end of September. In 2010, the annual number of global visitors was 459,000; back in 1996 it was just 200,000. Jonsdottir said her party wanted restrictions on the numbers of tourists visiting natural sites outside the city, which often lack basic facilities such as toilets, and would introduce a tax on hotels to help fund tourism infrastructure. The rush of travellers drawn to the island's glaciers, geo-thermal pools, extra-terrestrial landscapes, and seasonal Northern Lights displays has meant the country’s fledgling tourism infrastructure has been under mounting pressure, while the capital has seen an increase in hotels and souvenir shops, and rising rental costs for residents. This month a poll by broadcaster RUV found that 87 per cent of Icelanders believe the government should impose larger fees or taxes on tourists. Though the country welcomes the revenue created – filling the growing hole left by slumps in the industries of both fishing and aluminium – there is concern over the burden placed on the country. The government is currently in the middle of a nine-year tourism strategy that runs to 2020, with a focus on improving infrastructure while also “protecting and maintaining” tourist sites. “The development of tourism infrastructure shall aim at protecting nature, and the tourism strategy shall aim at incorporating the concepts of sustainability and responsibility for Iceland’s culture and natural surroundings,” it said. However, it would not have been prepared for the enormous growth experienced after the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, and subsequent ash cloud that shut down European airspace for seven days, helped put the country on the map. It coincided with a PR drive from the Icelandic tourist board, while its appearance in the HBO series Game of Thrones provided further encouragement to visit. Since 2010, arrivals have soared. This year alone, the number of visitors from January to August is up 33 per cent on the same period in 2015. British visitors over the eight months are up 32 per cent to 200,000. Tourism officials believe Iceland will welcome two million visitors a year by 2020. The influx has caused a number of issues for the country. Attractions around the Golden Circle and south coast have become increasingly busy, with coach-loads of tourists flocking to see the Gulfoss waterfall, Thingvellir national park and the Geysir geothermal park. Iceland’s tourism authority has attempted to educate visitors of both the risks to their safety and the importance of maintaining natural sites. In March it launched a course on how to stay safe in the country, with a spokesperson at the time saying: “The majority of tourists want to experience nature, and we know that Icelandic nature must be treated with respect and care.” Photographs posted on social media showing tourists ignoring safety barriers have not endeared them to the Icelandic public. Attempts to advertise the appeals of eastern Iceland, including new direct flights this year from Discover the World to Egilsstaðir, are designed to take the pressure off the south-west of the country and Reykjavik’s Keflavik airport. The Telegraph Photo

Monday, October 17, 2016

A dozen Washington, D.C. restaurants get Michelin stars

The first-ever Michelin Guide for Washington selected a dozen restaurants for its coveted stars on Thursday in recognition of the US capital’s vibrant dining scene and chefs’ use of local foods.

The little red book awarded two stars to Spanish-born chef Jose Andres’ Minibar, chef Aaron Silverman’s Pineapple & Pearls and Patrick O’Connell’s French-cuisine Inn at Little Washington outside the city. No D.C. restaurant received the top honour of three stars. Further shedding its image as a city of stodgy steakhouses for power-lunchers, Washington becomes the fourth US city with Michelin-rated restaurants, after New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Michelin guides cover 28 countries worldwide. “Over the last five years the culinary offering has significantly developed in the city, driven by chefs who have travelled, have trained abroad and have enriched their cuisine on their return by incorporating new techniques, new flavours and new seasonings,” Michael Ellis, the international director of the Michelin guides, said in a statement. The “Mid-Atlantic cuisine” developed by chefs using regional produce has amplified the upturn, he said. Two one-star restaurants - The Dabney and Rose’s Luxury - were singled out for their championing of regional cooking. The other one-star restaurants are Blue Duck Tavern, Kinship, Plume, Tail Up Goat, Italian restaurants Masseria and Fiola, and Japanese restaurant Sushi Taro. “It’s a very important milestone for the city’s chefs,” Washington Post food writer Maura Judkis said about the new Washington Guide. “In the last eight years, the culinary scene has completely changed, and a large number of innovative restaurants here have won prizes. Getting a Michelin star is something else.” José Andres, whose “Minibar” restaurant won two stars, said the early-morning call from Michelin culminated a dream he had had since he pored over menus posted in the doors of Michelin-starred restaurants as a boy in Barcelona. “For me, being a chef, having a star, how can I tell you? It was a feeling missing in my life. Quite frankly, I’m thrilled,” he told Reuters. He said Washington had benefited from its growing number of excellent chiefs and high standards. Local produce, seafood from the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia’s vineyards, regional cheeses as good as those in Europe and home-grown distilleries added to the mix, he said. “It takes a village. We have a lot of things that make the perfect formula for making Washington a super-exciting food city,” Andres said. The French Michelin tire company introduced the little red book in 1900 to encourage people to take road trips. Its star system began in the 1920s. Michelin deployed its anonymous critics in Washington last fall. Restaurants are rated on such factors as creativity, personality, the quality of ingredients, value, and consistency. (FRANCE 24 with REUTERS) France 24

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most

 
10. Les tomates farcies
 
Better known as "stuffed tomatoes" in English (doesn't sound as fancy, does it?), this dish sees roasted tomatoes stuffed with ground sausage, garlic, mushrooms, and often much more. 
 
9. Le steak-frites 
 
Better known as steak and fries in English, this is a dish that was invented in France, according to the French (the Belgians think it was them who invented it). Either way, this is a staple meal in any brasserie in France. Delicious.  
 
The food so nice they named it twice. This north-African dish has also become a favourite in France, and can be served in 1,001 different ways. Enjoy. 
 
7. Le gigot d'agneau 
 
Better known as a leg of lamb in English, this dish - when cooked right - is a real winner. With a bit of garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, and plenty of time - you've got yourself a meal to remember. 
 
6. Les moules-frites 
 
Mussels and fries - a meal you'll also see plastered on the menus of brasseries everywhere but particularly in the north and north west of the country.
 
5. La blanquette de veau 
 
A veal ragout where the meat isn't browned, usually by cooking it in a white stock or flavoured water. 
 
4. Le bœuf bourguignon 
 
Also called beef Burgundy, this is one of the most classic French dishes, and usually ranks as France's favourite food. In case you've never heard of it, it's a beef stew braised in Burgundy red wine. 
 
3. La raclette 
 
Raclette is melted cheese, often scraped off the side of the cheese wheel (the French verb 'to scrape' is racler). More modern variants see meat and cheese grilled on an electric hot plate. Although the Swiss will claim Raclet is from their side of the Alps, there's no doubt it's popular in France.
 
2. La côte de boeuf 
 
In second place it was the rib steak, which in France is served with the bone still attached. This dish is a popular one in France, and some restaurants will serve a huge steak for two people to share.
 
1. Le magret de canard 
 
And number one is the magret de canard, or duck breast in English. The duck breast is cooked like a steak and served medium rare. Controversially, it's traditionally taken from a duck that was raised specifically for its liver - known as foie gras in France. The Local-France

Monday, October 10, 2016

Barry Butler Photography

Sunday in Michigan Photo

Elie Wiesel memorial plaza opens in Bucharest

Photo Credit: Israel News photo: Flash 90
Left to right: Chief Cantor of Bucharest Jewish Community Yosef Adler,
Chief Rabbi of Romania Rafael Sheffer, Ben Helfgott, Chaim Chesler,
Herman Cahn- childhood friend of Elie Wiesel, Ovidiu Nemes,
and Elisabeta Ungurianu.
Marc Israel Sellem
An eponymous memorial plaza opened in Bucharest on Monday to the memory of Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel. Attending the opening ceremony were the ambassadors to Romania of Israel, the US, China, Italy and Austria, officials of the Elie Wiesel Institute and of the Federation of Romania's Jewish Communities (FCER) as well as Bucharest District 1 Mayor Dan Tudorache. Opening the Elie Wiesel memorial plaza were Bucharest City General Mayor Gabriela Firea, FCER Chairman Aurel Vainer and Chief Rabbi of Romania Rafael Scheffer. "I have submitted to the General Council a draft motion under which this so beautiful central space becomes a landmark, a commemoration area that will make people remember the personality of Elie Wiesel, a man who fought for human values, for humanitarianism, justice, truth freedom and democracy, and do so not only when we pass by, but at any moment. The horrors that happened in the world should never repeat. That dark era of history could repeat itself, unless we today take care of the human values that we have to bequeath to the future generations. There is an added duty we have to fulfill, of telling the true story of this country, of this city, of Europe's states, the history of America; school children should know," said Firea. She also mentioned a project for the construction of Romania's Museum of Jewish History and Holocaust Remembrance. "The building standing at 18-20 Lipscani Street will be turned into a Holocaust Museum, and I am honoured to be part to this highly ambitious project. (...) It is only by solidarity, commitment and the consciousness of humankind that we can overcome together all the difficult moments, only by learning the true history, so that the bleak moments full of shadows will no longer repeat themselves," said Firea. US ambassador Hans Klemm said he is honoured to attend the event, thanking the Bucharest officials for their commitment to this initiative to the memory of Elie Wiesel. The ambassador said Wiesel was born in Romania but he became a US citizen, having spent his childhood in the town of Sighetul Marmatiei [Sighet], where his world concentrated on Jewish religious education and community. Wiesel's deportation during WWII, said the ambassador, changed his life forever. In 1944 Wiesel and his older sisters survived the Auschwitz extermination camp, where his mother and younger sister died. Remarkably, the ambassador added, he also survived the Buchenwald camp, where his father died before the camp was freed by the Allies in 1945. Klemm said Wiesel's mission was to make sure the world remembers the Holocaust, and he did so simply and directly, by telling his story and the story of other victims. Elie Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. Klemm also said that Wiesel would repeatedly say in his works that he will never forget. Many did not survive the Holocaust, but Wiesel did, and through his actions he taught others to survive, the ambassador added. He said that although Wiesel died in July 2016, his legacy will go on, wishing for the memorial plaza to bear testimony to how people remember Elie Wiesel, whose name became synonymous with faith, hope and trust. FCER Chairman Aurel Vainer underscored in his turn the importance of the opening of the Elie Wiesel Plaza. "A plaza in the heart of Bucharest City, in the most select of the city's quarters, is dedicated to the memory of Elie Wiesel and that is amazing. (...) This is how we take over a testament of his that says we will never forget and we should not forget the horrors of the Holocaust, but at the same time, you can rest assured that we can never forget Elie Wiesel. He is the one to reside over a famous, very busy committee on Holocaust studies in Romania and based on its final report the Romanian Government adopted this openness toward recognising the Holocaust in Romania and created October 9 as a Holocaust remembrance day, because it is the date when Bukovina's Jews started being deported to Transnistria," said Vainer. Elie Wiesel Institute Director Alexandru Florian underscored in his turn the importance of the memorial plaza opened in downtown Bucharest. "This is for the first time in 75 years that a public organisation — the Bucharest local administration — takes the initiative, a first, opening and supporting this event that inaugurates a public space signifying the memory of the Holocaust victims and of all those who in the contemporary history of Romania have advocated by their projects the respect of citizens' rights and freedoms. The National Instituted for Holocaust Studies in Romania considers Elie Wiesel to be first of all a personality of the world who fought his entire life for the preservation of the Holocaust memory and who would send messages to the world's most powerful people urging them to respect human rights and freedoms," said Florian. AGERPRES (RO — author: Catalina Matei, editor: Claudia Stanescu; EN — author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Simona Klodnischi) AGERPRES Wikipedia

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Holocaust Museum Opened in Elie Wiesel's Childhood Home By Tova Dvorin

Holocaust museum and learning center in Sighet, Romania memorializes the fall of Romanian and Transylvanian pre-war Jewry. The first public Holocaust education center in Romania opened Sunday in the pre-war childhood home of Nobel Prize-winning author Elie Wiesel, with special events in his hometown of Sighet. The opening was sponsored jointly by the Government of Romania, the City of Sighet, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Romanian Jewish Federation, the Caritatea Foundation and Limmud Former Soviet Union (FSU). This is the first in a series of events that will mark 70 years since the expulsion of the last Jews of Northern Transylvania to Auschwitz. Among the events in Sighet this past weekend was a concert memorializing Holocaust victims on Saturday night, after Shabbat.
Elie Wiesel’s Childhood home, which is now a museum Marc Israel Sellem
In 1944, two days after Passover, the Jews of Maramures County, in Northern Transylvania, were rounded up and forced into 13 ghettos. Eventually, 131,639 Jews from Northern Transylvania were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau; most were murdered. Between 280,000 and 380,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews were murdered or otherwise died during the Holocaust in Romania - a Nazi ally - and the territories under its control. An additional 135,000 Romanian Jews, living under Hungarian control in Northern Transylvania, also perished in the Holocaust, as did some 5,000 Romanian Jews in other countries. “The story of the Jews who lived in North Transylvania has not been widely told until now,” said Chaim Chesler, Chairman of the Claims Conference’s Memorial Committee. “The education center commemorates the terrible fate that befell the Jews of this area, and ensures their story will not be forgotten.” The “Holocaust Cellar” became a new feature of the existing Holocaust museum, in the old Jewish Ghetto of Sighet in Maramures County. The Cellar will serve as a learning center dedicated to the 13,000 local Jewish Holocaust victims. Professor Wiesel spoke at the event via a live video feed. “To all of you at the opening of the new Holocaust Cellar in my home in my little town of Sighet in the Carpathian Mountains: I so wish that I could be there with you today," he said. "The house I was raised in is now a museum but to me it will always be uniquely special, eliciting the warmest of memories until the darkness of the kingdom of night befell us."  
Wiesel gave his personal blessing to the project. "I hope that your meetings, though melancholy in nature, are fruitful, enriching and full of meaningful learning," he stated. Among the participants at the event were Viktor Opaschi, the Romanian Minister of Religious Affairs; Irina Cajal, Deputy Minister of Education; Ben Helfgott, Vice President of the Claims Conference and leader in the UK Holocaust survivor community; Romanian parliament members; Rafael Sheffer, Chief Rabbi of Romania; Cantor Yosef Adler; Ovidiu Nemesh, the Mayor of Sighet; Harry Marcus, head of the Sighet Jewish community, as well as other leaders of the Romanian Jewish Federation; prominent journalists from Israel, the United States and Romania; and members of Limmud FSU.
Israel National News

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Great moments in Irish history captured on the canvas By Aidan Dunne

Creating History: Stories of Ireland in Art is at the National Gallery of Ireland until January 15th, 2017

A new exhibition at the National Gallery shows Ireland’s history in 55 paintings, and reveals a few secrets if you look carefully 

Creating History: Stories of Ireland in Art, the National Gallery of Ireland’s new exhibition, and its main contribution to the Decade of Centenaries, marshals 55 paintings produced from the 17th century to the 1930s, each of which illustrates and addresses an event in Irish history, extending back to the arrival of St Patrick and concluding with the establishment of the Free State. (The Decade of Centenaries programme began in 2012 and focuses initially on the many significant centenaries occurring over the period 1912–1916.) Perhaps the most intriguing thing about the exercise is that it does not and could not offer a linear, straightforward narrative. Rather it’s a chronicle of continually shifting aims, priorities and viewpoints. Every picture tells a story with Ireland at its heart, whether conjured up in retrospect, depicted in real time or meticulously constructed, and every story is different to a greater or lesser extent. With paintings drawn from the National Gallery’s collection – some rarely seen, several having undergone extensive conservation – and private collections in Ireland and abroad, the exhibition offers a unique take on Irish history and Irish art. An accompanying book, edited by Brendan Rooney and including a series of thematic essays, is published by Irish Academic Press and the National Gallery (€24.99).
James Barry: “The Baptism of the King of Cashel by St Patrick,” circa 1800
Jan Wyck: “The Battle of the Boyne”, 1693
Joseph Haverty: “The Monster Meeting at Clifden, ” circa 1844
Edwin Hayes: “The Emigrant Ship, Dublin Bay, Sunset,” 1853
Lady Butler: “Evicted,” 1890
Archibald McGoogan: “After the Bombardment,” 1916
John Lavery: “Michael Collins (Love of Ireland),” 1922 The Irish Times

Apfel Datschi aka Apple Pie

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Your All-Day Backstage Pass to Lincoln Center By Jennifer Stahl

Photo Credit: bedazzlememore.com
Are you already feeling post-World Ballet Day blues? Never fear! Your next all-day online binge watch is just two days away. This Friday, Lincoln Center will host a livestream on its Facebook page from 8:30 am EST to “curtain down” Friday night. All 11 of the performing arts organizations that make up Lincoln Center will participate. Livestreams are becoming an increasingly popular way for dance companies and other arts institutions to connect with their online fans now that Facebook and YouTube make it so easy. And we have to admit that this is a trend we are fully on board with. Not only do they give us a peek at dancers who we rarely—if ever—get to see in person, but livestreams offer an up-close look at the sweat and mistakes that are part of every dancer’s work. The on-the-spot nature of these social media events mean they’re not perfect—and therefore all that more illuminating. So what’s on Lincoln Center’s lineup? -Follow a day in the life of New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild, who will be performing Balanchine’s Serenade that night -Go behind the scenes during rehearsals of the revival of the musical Falsettos, choreographed by Spencer Liff -Peek in on an advanced class at the School of American Ballet -Hear from curators at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts -Get an insider’s view of Juilliard -And much more! Dance Magazine Photo

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Hranicka Propast: World's deepest underwater cave discovered in Czech Republic

Photo Credit: AP: Krzysztof Starnawski Expedition
The world's deepest underwater cave has been discovered by a team of explorers in the Czech Republic, measuring at least 404 metres (1,325 feet) deep. The flooded limestone sinkhole, known as the Hranicka Propast or Hranice Abyss, is located in the Hurka u Hranic nature reserve in the country's east. It has been surveyed numerous times by Polish explorer Krzysztof Starnawski over the last 20 years, but Mr Starnawski had never, until now, been able to measure beyond a depth of 370 metres (1,214). This time, during the expedition carried out on September 27, the team employed the help of a remotely-operated underwater robot (ROV) to explore the deeper, narrower depths of the abyss. But the robot was still unable to find the bottom as it reached the end of its cord at 404 metres, suggesting the cave may actually extend much further down. It was, however, more than enough to beat the previous record holder, the Pozzo del Merro sinkhole in Italy, by 12 metres. The expedition was funded in part by National Geographic. In an interview published on their website, Mr Starnawski explained that he had to dive down 200 metres (656 feet) before deploying the robot. "During this push, the most important part of the job was done by the robot," he said. "I scuba dived down to 200 metres just before the ROV's deployment to put in the new line for the robot to follow. "The goal was to give the ROV a good start from there to the deepest part of the cave. "The results were astonishing," he added. On Facebook, the Hranicka Propast expedition team celebrated the record. "We made it! Hranicka Propast is the deepest underwater cave on the planet!" it said. ABC News Australia

Chicken Empanadas

One pie crust cut in 3.5" circles/9cm. Fill with 2tsp shredded chicken sautéed with onions, salt, pepper, chili flakes and add a half-slice of egg. Next time I'll also add raisins and maybe more spice. Brush with an egg wash. 350/180 oven about 25-30 minutes.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Ohanesian’s ‘Orhan’s Inheritance’ a Finalist for Dayton Literary [Peace] Prize

Aline Ohanesian’s book, “Orhan’s Inheritance,” is among 12 finalists announced for the 2016 Dayton Literary Peace Prize — half for fiction, half for non-fiction. A winner and runner-up in each category will be announced Oct. 11. Winners receive a $10,000 honorarium and runners-up receive $2,500. Set against the backdrop of the Armenian Genocide, the book tells the story of Orhan, whose brilliant and eccentric grandfather, who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs, is found dead in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old business. But his grandfather’s will raises more questions than it answers. Kemal has left the family estate to a stranger thousands of miles away, an aging woman in a retirement home (Ararat Home of LA) in Los Angeles. Her existence and secrecy about her past only deepen the mystery of why Orhan’s grandfather would have left their home to this woman rather than to his own family. Joining Ohanesian as finalists are “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara; “Delicious Foods” by James Hannaham; “Green on Blue” by Elliot Ackerman; “The Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen, and “Youngblood” by Matt Gallagher. “Many of this year’s finalists explore the contradictory strength and fragility of the family bond, and the threat that external forces such as poverty, war, and prejudice can place on that bond,” said Sharon Rab, co-chair of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation. “Through these narratives we explore the sources of conflict within the family but also what our immediate relationships can teach us about healing and reconciliation in the larger world.” The awards will be presented at a gala ceremony hosted by award-winning journalist Nick Clooney in Dayton on Nov. 20. Last month, organizers of the event announced that novelist and essayist Marilynne Robinson will receive the 2016 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. Holbrooke was the U.S. diplomat who helped negotiate the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base that put an end to the three-and-half-year-long Bosnian War. The finalists for nonfiction: “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates; “Find Me Unafraid” by Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner; “Nagasaki” by Susan Southard; “Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America” by Wil Haygood; “The Reason You Walk” by Wab Kinew, and “The Train to Crystal City” by Jan Jarboe Russell. Inspired by the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize was launched in 2006. It is the only literary peace prize awarded in the United States. Finalists will be reviewed by a panel of prominent writers including Alexander Chee, Christine Schutt, Ruben Martinez and Evelyn McDonnell. Asbarez Dayton Literary Peace Prize Aline Ohanesian

Nelly

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