Friday, 31 March 2017

Clinton knocks Trump for proposing cuts to US diplomacy

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, slowly emerging from post-election seclusion, slammed President Donald Trump Friday for proposing budget cuts to US diplomacy and foreign aid, calling it a "grave mistake."
"We are seeing signals of a shift that truly alarms us all," the former Democratic presidential candidate told hundreds of students at Georgetown University in Washington.
"This administration`s proposed cuts in international health, development and diplomacy would be a blow to women and children and a grave mistake for our country," said the Democrat, who ran the State Department from 2009 to 2013.

Trump wants to slash the US diplomatic budget by 28 percent, although Congress will have the final say.
Clinton also pointed to the rise in the number of global refugees, and warned it is "not just somebody else`s problem."
"I am pleading that our government will continue its leadership role on behalf of peace in the world," she said, "because the world must continue this work with or without US involvement."
Clinton said today`s "complex and interconnected world" requires continued American leadership on multiple fronts, not merely a focus on one or two priorities.
"Will we be left behind or will we continue to lead the way?" she asked.
Clinton was at Georgetown to present awards in her name to four Colombians who helped advance the role of women in peace and security.
The former candidate and first lady received a warm welcome from the students, who chanted "Hillary! Hillary!" as she took the stage.
The 69-year-old former candidate offered a few jabs about the extraordinary 2016 presidential race, drawing extended applause when she said, "Here I go again, talking about research, evidence and facts."
She also mocked the phrase of a Trump advisor when she said stereotypes about women "belongs to the alternative reality."
After her bitter defeat last November, Clinton largely disappeared from public view. When she took a selfie with someone she bumped into while walking in the woods outside her Chappaqua, New York home, the photograph went viral.
In the months since, she has emerged to attend Broadway shows, where she has received ovations and adulation from supporters.
She has also begun delivering speeches, including an address Tuesday at a businesswomen`s conference in San Francisco where she criticized the shortage of women in Trump`s inner circle, and pledged to keep speaking out about issues that matter.
"I am thrilled to be out of the woods, in the company of so many inspiring women," she said. "And there`s no place I`d rather be than here with you -- other than the White House."

White House says US must accept political reality in Syria

The White House said on Friday that the United States must accept the political reality that the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is up to the Syrian people and the U.S. focus in the region must be on defeating Islamic State militants.
"With respect to Assad, there is a political reality that we have to accept in terms of where we are right now. We lost a lot of opportunity the last administration with respect to Assad," White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a news briefing.

"We need to focus on now defeating ISIS," he said, using an acronym for the group. "The United States has profound priorities in Syria and Iraq and we`ve made it clear that counterterrorism, particularly the defeat of ISIS, is foremost among those priorities."

Spacewalkers successfully connect adapter for commercial crew flights

Two astronauts wandered outside the confines of the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, accomplishing their tasks of installing communications adapter and shields on the station module.
Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA, who concluded their spacewalk at 2:33 p.m. EDT, successfully reconnected cables and electrical connections on the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3.
PMA-3 will provide the pressurized interface between the station and the second of two international docking adapters to be delivered to the complex to support the dockings of US commercial crew spacecraft in the future.
During the spacewalk, which lasted just over seven hours, Kimbrough and Whitson also installed a different shield around the base of the PMA-3 adapter for micrometeoroid protection.
Having completed her eighth spacewalk, Whitson now holds the record for the most spacewalks and accumulated time spacewalking by a female astronaut.
Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 1,243 hours and 42 minutes outside the station during 199 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory, said NASA.

Scotland makes formal request to UK for independence vote

The Scottish government on Friday formally notified British Prime Minister Theresa May of its request for a second referendum on independence, deepening a crisis sparked by the Brexit vote.
"I am... writing to begin early discussions between our governments to agree an Order under section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998 that would enable a referendum to be legislated for by the Scottish Parliament," First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote in a letter to May.

Donald Trump predicts 'very difficult' summit with China's Xi Jinping

President Donald Trump today predicted that his first summit with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping next week would be a "very difficult" one as the US can no longer afford job losses and massive trade deficits with the Communist trading giant.
Given that the United States has a massive trade deficit with China, American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives, Trump tweeted ahead of his meeting with Xi at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida on April 6 and 7.
This would be the first meeting between the two leaders in what many argue is the most important bilateral relationship in the world.
"The meeting next week with China will be a very difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits and job losses," Trump said.
Earlier, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that Trump looks forward to meeting President Xi and exchanging views on each other's respective priorities and to chart a way forward for bilateral ties.
"They will discuss the issues of mutual concern, including North Korea, trade, and regional security," he said.
Trump has said in recent weeks that North Korea is one of the biggest security challenges he faces as president and has called on China to rein in Pyongyang, which US officials believe is preparing for another nuclear test.
Territorial disputes in the South China Sea and China's continued building of man-made islands are also likely to be raised.
Noting that Trump has spoken to Xi, also General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China, over the phone a few times, Spicer said this was an opportunity for the President to develop a relationship in person with his Chinese counterpart.
"But we have big problems, and -- I mean, everything from the South China Sea, to trade, to North Korea. There are big issues of national and economic security that need to get addressed, and I think there's going to be a lot on the table when it comes to that over the two days that they will talk," Spicer said in response to a question.
There are a lot of big things that the US needs to accomplish with China, and it will work on them, he said.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang underlined the need to see the big picture while fostering mutual interests in trade relations.
"The market dictates that interests between our two countries are structured so that you will always have me and I will always have you," he told a regular briefing.
"Both sides should work together to make the cake of mutual interest bigger and not simply seek fairer distribution," he said.
China-US trade in goods amounted to USD 519.6 billion in 2016. China has a large share in the bilateral trade with its exports to the US amounting to over USD 400 billion.
Despite Trump's fiery attacks on the campaign trail -- accusing China of "raping" the US economy and stealing millions of American jobs, among other things -- his administration has taken a relatively hands-off approach in dealing with Beijing so far, CNN commented.
Trump has not followed through on campaign promises to label China a "currency manipulator" on day one of his presidency or to impose steep tariffs on all Chinese imports.
He also endorsed the "One China" policy on Taiwan, which has governed the fragile relations between the US, China and Taiwan for decades, after questioning its legitimacy shortly after his election.

10 Totally Cool Dorm Rooms

For many students, it's stressful to leave home and move into a tiny dorm room with a roommate they've only just met. That's why it's important to decorate your small living space with all the comforts of home, which is what these innovative college students have done.
This is nicer than my house. Damn it.

Somebody likes "The Office." A lot.
Perfect for students with lofty ambitions.
Complete with underbed lair.
Just don't fall out of bed...
Meanwhile, at the school of engineering....
Photo overload! This room makes my ADD kick in.
I want to go to there.
A girl lives here. I'd bet money on it.

The fruits and vegetables that may cause leukemia, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, brain, bone, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular and liver cancers.

You may find yourself wondering if you should be buying organic fruits and vegetables instead of conventional ones. The first thing is to understand the differences between organic and conventional produce – the amount of pesticides used. 
Did you know that nearly 1.7 million people  are diagnosed with cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. A cancer epidemic is at all time high, and evidence is growing ever stronger that pesticide exposure is a key contributor to this. In February 2009, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry published a study that found that children who live in homes where their parents use pesticides are twice as likely to develop brain cancer versus those that live in residences in which no pesticides are used.

Chronic health consequences may occur years after even minimal exposure to pesticides we ingest through our food and water. A July 2007 study conducted by researchers at the Public Health Institute, the California Department of Health Services, and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health found a sixfold increase in risk factor for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) for children of women who were exposed to organochlorine pesticides.

Studies have found that pesticides are extremely toxic to children. There is now vital scientific evidence that the human brain is not fully formed until the age of 12, which means that exposure to  pesticides can crucially impact the development of the central nervous system.

Why Choose Organic

Several studies have found that organic foods  contain higher levels of antioxidants and certain micronutrients, such as vitamin C, zinc and iron. One study discovered that organically grown berries contained 58% more antioxidants and up to 52% higher amounts of vitamin C . Organic fruits and vegetables tend to produce more antioxidants that serve as their own protective compounds, rather relying on chemical pesticide sprays to protect themselves.

Non-organic fruits and vegetables pesticide residue:
  1. Strawberries – 45 pesticide residues
  2. Apples – 47 pesticide residues
  3. Nectarines – 33 pesticide residues
  4. Peaches – 62 pesticide residues
  5. Celery – 64 pesticide residues
  6. Grapes – 56 pesticide residues
  7. Cherries – 42 pesticide residues
  8. Spinach – 54 pesticide residues
  9. Tomatoes – 35 pesticide residues
  10. Sweet bell peppers – 53 pesticide residues
  11. Cherry tomatoes – 69 pesticide residues
  12. Cucumbers – 86 pesticide residues
  13. Snap peas  – 78 pesticide residues
  14. Blueberries – 52 pesticide residues
  15. Potatoes – 35 pesticide residues
  16. Hot peppers – 75 pesticide residues
  17. Lettuce – 52 pesticide residues
  18. Kale/Collard greens – 55 pesticide residues/45 pesticide residues
  19. Blueberries imported – not differentiated on PAN, see blueberries above
  20. Green beans – 44 pesticide residues
  21. Plums – 44 pesticide residues
  22. Pears – 40 pesticide residues
  23. Raspberries – not noted on PAN
  24. Carrots – 26 pesticide residues
  25. Winter squash – 64 pesticide residues
  26. Tangerines – 14 pesticide residues
  27. Summer squash – 40 pesticide residues
  28. Snap peas (domestic on EWG) – 78 pesticide residues (domestic or imported not noted on PAN)
  29. Green onions – 31 pesticide residues
  30. Bananas – 11 pesticide residues
  31. Oranges – 12 pesticide residues
  32. Watermelon – 26 pesticide residues
  33. Broccoli – 33 pesticide residues
  34. Sweet potatoes – 19 pesticide residue
  35. Mushrooms – 11 pesticide residues
  36. Cauliflower – 15 pesticide residues
  37. Cantaloupe – 17 pesticide residues
  38. Grapefruit – 11 pesticide residues
  39. Honeydew melon – not listed in PAN
  40. Eggplant – 18 pesticide residues
  41. Kiwi – not listed
  42. Papaya – 7 pesticide residues
  43. Mangos – 11 pesticide residues
  44. Asparagus – 9 pesticide residues
  45. Onions – not listed
  46. Sweet frozen peas – 12 pesticide residues
  47. Cabbage – 11 pesticide residues
  48. Pineapple – 6 pesticide residues
  49. Sweetcorn – 3 pesticide residues
  50. Avocados – 1 pesticide residue

Eating More of This Will Make You Live Longer

By now we know that eating more fruits and vegetables is good for our health, but a new study suggests that eating even more produce can prevent millions of deaths each year.

In the report, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, researchers from Imperial College London conducted a meta-analysis of 95 studies looking at fruit and vegetable intake. They estimated that 7.8 million premature global deaths could be avoided yearly if people ate 10 portions of fruits and vegetables a day.

The researchers characterize 10 portions as 800 grams of fruits and vegetables a day. For context, one medium apple is around 182 grams.
Already eating plenty of fruits and vegetables cut people’s risk of early death from heart disease and cancer. But the researchers estimated that if people ate up to 10 portions a day, there would be a 24% lower risk of heart disease, 33% lower risk of stroke, 28% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, 13% lower risk of cancer, and a 31% lower risk of dying early when compared to not eating any fruit or vegetables.
The fruits and vegetables that were linked to lower risk of heart problems included the usual suspects like apples, citrus, and leafy veggies like spinach. Other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts as well as peppers and green beans were linked to potentially lower cancer risk.
The researchers didn’t show why higher portions of fruits and vegetables can led to fewer deaths, but some of the basic nutrients in the produce can improve health. “Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system,” said study author Dagfinn Aune of the Imperial College London School of Public Health in a statement. “This may be due to the complex network of nutrients they hold. For instance they contain many antioxidants, which may reduce DNA damage, and lead to a reduction in cancer risk.”

How Sleep Can Make You a Better Person

You’ve likely heard how important a good night’s sleep is for your health. But did you know enough sleep can also improve your ethical behavior and decision-making skills? Research is showing how much sleep you get, and whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, can significantly impact your state of mind.
Sleepiness can lead to unethical and harmful behavior.
One study surveyed a group of nurses before and after their work shifts. The results showed the nurses who had less than 6 hours of sleep the night before their shift were significantly more likely to commit deviant acts at work, such as making hurtful comments or intentionally working slowly.
Sleep deprivation is known to impair the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which supports your self-regulation and emotions. This reduces your ability to control negative moods and anger.
Lack of sleep also increases adenosine in your brain, a neuromodulator that decreases brain cell activity.
Interestingly, caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in your brain and increases the availability of glutamate, the brain’s main excitatory neurotransmitter. This is one of the ways coffee “perks you up”.
Caffeine can also enhance ethical behavior if you’re low on sleep. One study gave a group of sleep-deprived students some caffeine before they played a money-sharing game. They were significantly less likely to take deceptive, unethical action in the game than sleep-deprived players who had not taken any caffeine.
Although, researchers were quick to point out that a well-rested group who also played the game were the least likely to act deceptively. Getting enough sleep is still far better than covering up fatigue with caffeine.
Not sure if you’re getting enough sleep to function at your best? Find out if you’re sleep deprived and what to do about it.
Time of day makes a difference.
2014 study looked into whether or not the time of day affects people’s ethics and behavior. Researchers concluded that “morning people”, who have higher energy levels early in the day, tend to act most ethically in the morning. Whereas, night owls tend to be more ethical in the evening.
Your personal biology dictates whether you’re a morning or evening person. Pay attention to when you feel your energy naturally dropping. When you’re at a low point, it’s likely not the best time to make a decision on an important issue.
Time of day also affects the way you make decisions, regardless of your biological clock.
An Argentinian study found that you tend to make decisions slower and more accurately in the morning. Whereas, decisions made late in the day are faster but less accurate. It seems we’re wired to be more cautious and focused on accuracy early in the day. Then as the day goes on, we adopt a riskier approach and make more hasty decisions.
So, if you’re trying to make a decision about a complicated situation, make sure you resolve it before noon.

Health Benefits of Peanuts

When it comes to the health benefits of nuts, we tend to focus on almonds and walnuts, but the humble peanut has a host of health benefits, too!
While peanuts aren’t actually nuts—they’re technically legumes!—we treat them like nuts in cooking, and they have a similar nutrition profile to nuts. But peanuts don’t get the love they deserve when it comes to nutrition. Let’s look at the health benefits of peanuts and bust an outdated myth about peanuts and our health.


one ounce (about two tablespoons) serving of peanuts contains only 164 calories but delivers seven grams of protein. That’s about 13 percent of your daily protein in just a couple of tablespoons!
Peanuts are a high fat food, with 14 grams of fat in that same serving, but most of that fat is heart-healthy unsaturated fat. Peanuts do contain two grams of saturated fat per serving, but as long as your overall diet is low in saturated fats, that’s nothing to worry about.
Peanuts actually give fruit a run for its money when it comes to antioxidants. A serving of peanuts contains 10 percent of your daily vitamin E, 19 percent of your niacin and 10 percent of your folate needs. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that supports brain health and protects you from bowel cancer. We need niacin, a B vitamin, to regulate hormone function. Niacin is also an anti-inflammatory that improves circulation. Folate supports brain and heart health, and there’s evidence that it also can help fight depression.
Peanuts are also a great source of magnesium (12 percent), phosphorus (10 percent) and manganese (29 percent). Magnesium supports heart and bone health and helps regulate blood sugar, while phosphorus helps your body process waste and supports healthy bones and cell repair. Our bodies need manganese to maintain a healthy metabolism, healthy bones and heal when we are injured.


Unless you have a peanut allergy or sensitivity, peanuts can absolutely be part of a healthy diet, but there is a peanut health myth out there that’s as sticky as peanut butter.
Peanuts, like many other foods, are susceptible to aflatoxin contamination. Aflatoxin is a carcinogen, and in the past, eating aflatoxin-contaminated peanuts or peanut butter put people at increased risk for liver cancer. There is also a link between aflatoxin ingestion and cognitive issues.
That sounds pretty scary, but don’t let this keep you from enjoying a handful of peanuts or a bowl of peanut noodles! Peanuts sold in the U.S. are tested for aflatoxin, and are not allowed to exceed 20 parts per billion. Producers also use vastly improved handling and storage techniques to combat aflatoxin. Back in the day, peanuts were stored in big silos, which are a perfect environment for the mold that produces aflatoxin to grow.
Dr. Andrew Weil makes a great point about peanuts and aflatoxin: ”While we don’t know much about the dangers of long-term exposure to low levels of aflatoxin [...] there hasn’t been an outbreak of liver cancer among U.S. kids, who as you know, consume enormous amounts of peanut butter.”

12 Top Vegan Iron Sources

If you are a vegan, what is the first argument you hear from meat-eating advocates? Well the sarcastic ones might say something about plants having feelings too, but the most popular rebuttal usually has something to do with iron. And yes iron is an essential mineral because it contributes to the production of blood cells. The human body needs iron to make the oxygen-carrying proteins hemoglobin and myoglobin. But just because you don’t eat meat doesn’t mean you’re going to wither away with anemia.
However, anemia is not something to be taken lightly. (Although I realize I just did.) The World Health Organization considers iron deficiency the number one nutritional disorder in the world. As many as 80 percent of the world’s population may be iron deficient, while 30 percent may have iron deficiency anemia. The human body stores some iron to replace any that is lost. However, low iron levels over a long period of time can lead to iron deficiency anemia. Symptoms include lack of energy, shortness of breath, headache, irritability, dizziness, or weight loss.
So here’s the 411 on iron: how much you need, where you can get it, and tips to maximize its absorption.


The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends the following:
Infants and children
• Younger than 6 months: 0.27 milligrams per day (mg/day)
• 7 months to 1 year: 11 mg/day
• 1 to 3 years: 7 mg/day
• 4 to 8 years: 10 mg/day
• 9 to 13 years: 8 mg/day
• 14 to 18 years: 11 mg/day
• Age 19 and older: 8 mg/day
• 9 to 13 years: 8 mg/day
• 14 to 18 years: 15 mg/day
• 19 to 50 years: 18 mg/day
• 51 and older: 8 mg/day


Eating red meat and organ meat are the most efficient ways to get iron, but for vegans, obviously, that’s not going to happen. Here are 12 plant-based foods with some of the highest iron levels:
Tofu (1/2 cup): 6.6 mg
Spirulina (1 tsp): 5 mg
Cooked soybeans (1/2 cup): 4.4 mg
Pumpkin seeds (1 ounce): 4.2 mg
Quinoa (4 ounces): 4 mg
Blackstrap molasses (1 tbsp): 4 mg
Tomato paste (4 ounces): 3.9 mg
White beans (1/2 cup) 3.9 mg
Dried apricots (1 cup): 3.5 mg
Cooked spinach (1/2 cup): 3.2 mg
Dried peaches (6 halves): 3.1 mg
Prune juice (8 ounces): 3 mg
Lentils (4 ounces): 3 mg
Peas (1 cup): 2.1 mg


  • Eat iron-rich foods along with foods that contain vitamin C, which helps the body absorb the iron.
  • Tea and coffee contains compounds called polyphenols, which can bind with iron making it harder for our bodies to absorb it.
  • Calcium also hinders the absorption of iron; avoid high-calcium foods for a half hour before or after eating iron-rich foods.
  • Cook in iron pots. The acid in foods seems to pull some of the iron out of the cast-iron pots. Simmering acidic foods, such as tomato sauce, in an iron pot can increase the iron content of the brew more than ten-fold. Cooking foods containing other acids, such as vinegar, red wine, lemon or lime juice, in an iron pot can also increase the iron content of the final mixture.
Do you have iron sources that you depend on not mentioned here? Share them with us in the comment field!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

US lawmakers reach deal to repeal transgender bathroom law

 US lawmakers announced an agreement to repeal a controversial North Carolina state law that curbs legal protections for the LGBT people and sets rules that affect transgender access to public bathrooms, the media reported.
Republicans Phil Berger, the Senate leader, and Tim Moore, the House speaker, announced late Wednesday that they had reached the agreement with the state's new Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, the New York Times reported. 

A bill repealing House Bill 2, which the legislature will consider on Thursday, was signed March 2016 by former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican. 
One of the most contentious measures of the bill requires transgender people in public buildings to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate.
"Compromise requires give and take from all sides, and we are pleased this proposal fully protects bathroom safety and privacy," Berger and Moore said in a joint statement.
"I support the House Bill 2 repeal compromise that will be introduced tomorrow (Thursday)," Cooper said.
"It's not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation," the New York Times quoted the Governor as saying.
However, gay rights advocates raised objections, arguing that the agreement would continue to allow discrimination. 
Chris Sgro, Executive Director of the gay rights group Equality North Carolina, said that the proposal "keeps North Carolina as the only state in the country obsessed with where trans people use the restroom through law."
The announcement on Wednesday came after months of acrimony over the bill and a seeming inability to find middle ground after numerous efforts. 
Conservative legislators, citing safety concerns, have been worried about the idea of men using women's restrooms since the Charlotte city government, in February 2016, passed an ordinance that allowed transgender people to use the restroom of their choice, the daily said. 
Charlotte officials repealed that ordinance in December as part of the efforts to broker a compromise in the state capital, but that effort failed dramatically during a special legislative session.

Donald Trump's funding request for US border wall hits snag among some Republicans

President Donald Trump`s call for $1.5 billion this year to help build a wall along the border with Mexico could be in jeopardy as fellow Republicans in Congress weigh delaying a decision on the request.
Republican Senator Roy Blunt, a member of his party`s leadership, told reporters on Tuesday that money for the wall likely would not be coupled with a spending bill that must pass by April 28 to avoid shutting down federal agencies whose funding expires then.
Blunt said the must-do funding "comes together better" without Trump`s additional request for the border wall and military programs and could be considered "at a later time."
Democrats are threatening to block the bill funding federal agencies from April 29 to Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year, if money for the border wall is included.
They object to one of Trump`s premier 2016 campaign promises, saying it is poorly planned and that there are other border security measures already constructed or under consideration.
When he ran for president, Trump pledged Mexico would pay to build the wall, designed to keep illegal immigrants and drugs from entering the United States. The Mexican government has said it will not do so.
The initiative has also faced resistance among Republicans, including lawmakers representing some border towns. The federal government would have to purchase land in many locations in order to construct the edifice, which could make construction costs soar.
Reuters reported the wall could end up costing as much as $21.6 billion, far more than the $12 billion Trump cited. 
Representative Mario Diaz-Balart also expressed skepticism about Congress` ability to approve funds for the wall, given the super-majority vote needed in the Senate for most major legislation.
Asked about the wall, Diaz-Balart, a senior member of the House of Representatives` Appropriations Committee and a leading voice on immigration policy, said, "I`m always willing to look at other things we can do to try to get that 60-vote threshold" on border and interior security.
Lawmakers said progress was being made on legislation to keep the government running beyond April 28.
House Speaker Paul Ryan removed another potential land mine on Tuesday when he said a Republican drive to end federal funding for women`s healthcare provider Planned Parenthood would be best accomplished on legislation other than the upcoming funding bill.
Democrats have vowed to stop the must-do money bill if it ended Planned Parenthood`s federal funds.

Interesting Facts About E.T. (10 pics)