Rabat- A Ghanaian Minister’s proposal to replace Islam’s traditional call for prayer with text messaging is sparking acrimonious debates among citizens, with many calling the move a blatant violation of religious and minority rights.For the Science, Technology, Environment, and Innovation Minister, Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the idea for the proposal is to manage or decrease the “noise pollution” caused by the use of megaphones or loudspeakers during the call for prayer, which has been a source of complaint for many residents in the country’s capital, Accra.Speaking earlier this week at a news conference about the rationale of the proposal, the Ghanaian minister put forward the claim that replacing loudspeaker-based call for prayers with text messages or WhatsApp notifications will benefit both the environment and social cohesion. “In the house of worship, why is it that the house of worship would not be limited to the house of worship…why is it that time for prayer would not be transmitted with a text message or WhatsApp so the imam will sent WhatsApp message to everybody that the prayer time is up so appear,” the minister said.Speaking after the fact to a website the German news outlet Deutsche Welle, Mr. Frimpong-Boateng reaffirmed the government’s position. Although he admitted the move is controversial, he maintained his belief that resorting to texts on WhatsApp would prove effective in attaining the government vision. “I believe that it can help reduce the noise. It is potentially controversial, but it is something we need to think about,” he said.The move is believed to have been inspired by Rwanda, where the same law passed in March.In Ghana, however, where the Muslim population is much more significant than in Rwanda, the proposal has sparked acrimonious controversies, with the majority of Muslim community calling for the minister to step down from his position. The move particularly angered the imams, who see it as virtually impractical and improbable.Speaking to the press, an Accra-based mosque imam said that text messaging cannot be as effective as loudspeakers when it comes to waking people up for the dawn prayer.Another imam, conceding that the noise should be reduced, enquired about the practicality of said proposal: “How can I understandably text everybody who prays at my mosque for five times a day?” he asked, ironically adding that chances are that he does not even know the majority of the people who pray at the mosque, or their phone numbers.One Muslim cleric, however, welcomed the move, calling it a proposal for Muslims to adapt to the changing social norms. “It us possible for us to adapt text messages to call Muslims to prayer,” Sheikh Bagaya said.Outraged by the “unreasonable and unpractical” proposal, the spokesperson for the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Aremeyaw Sahibu, said during a radio interview that the move constitutes “a violation of our religious rights.”For Mr. Shaibu, the call to prayer is a founding tenet of the Islamic faith, a divine command that to which the community of believers must adhere.“For us, the impracticability is clear. The unreasonability is so clear…[The call for prayer] is something divinely determined, [and] beyond one’s wisdom from which we do not intend to depart,” the National Chief Imam’s spokesperson said, calling that the Environment and Innovation Minister unnecessarily controversial, as he “knew the consequences that such an act would create.”
by The Canadian Press Posted Feb 10, 2016 7:21 am MDT Last Updated Feb 10, 2016 at 8:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email MONTREAL – Canadian National Railway says it plans to spend $2.9 billion this year to improve its efficiency, support long-term growth and strengthen safety.CN’s capital budget for 2016 includes $1.5 billion for track infrastructure.That includes rail replacement, bridge improvements and branch line upgrades.CN is also budgeting $600 million on its fleet of railcars and 90 new locomotives.The Montreal-based company (TSX:CNR) also plans to spend $400 million on productivity and service improvements and a further $400 million to begin installing new technology on portions of its U.S. rail network.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version had an incorrect figure for the amount of money set aside for new technology. CN Rail outlines $2.9-billion spending plan for 2016, about half on track
Women who choose not to go to university are facing a bigger salary gap than men without degrees, new figures show, as Penny Mordaunt says the issue must be tackled.By the age of 29, men who complete higher education earn eight per cent more than men who don’t, according to the Department for Education and the Institute for Fiscal Studies.However, women who complete a degree take home 28 per cent more pay than females who haven’t been to university.Women and Equalities minister, Ms Mordaunt says that while there is a lot of focus on advancing women at the top levels of business, a closer look must be taken at how to help females at the lower end of the pay scale reach their full potential.One of the limitations is the disproportionate number of females in low-wage sectors. “If we want every woman to thrive, to be as financially secure and resilient as they can be, and to reach their full potential we need to broaden out our work beyond, the FTSE 350, beyond London, beyond executives, women on boards and big business.“We need a focus on small businesses, part time work, women from all parts of the UK, low paid women, women with multiple barriers to reaching their full potential, older women, financially fragile women, women who aren’t easy to reach, or measure, or sometimes even to see. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that while 419,018 men aged between 16 and 29 work full time in the construction industry, only 44,444 women have jobs in that sector. In health and social work, which generally has lower pay, 665,287 women aged between 16 and 29 are employed, compared to 159,101 men. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Another factor is that there are far more women working part time than men. ONS figures show that 1,202,375 UK females aged between 16 and 29 work part time, compared to 785,473 men.The Telegraph’s Women Mean Business campaign has shone a light onto the funding gap that female entrepreneurs face when trying to start a business. Currently, only nine per cent of the venture capital money that pours into UK startups goes to women.In a speech made to Bright Blue’s Women in Business conference, Ms Mordaunt said: “There’s a lot of focus on women in boardrooms. Of course, that is emblematic of the progress women are making, but, in truth, this is not the place where business is being re-imagined. “The invisible women who keep our families our public services and our nation going.”Ms Mordaunt said that 30% of women who were in low paid jobs in 2006 were stuck in low pay a decade later.Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said: “I want to see our universities competing on the quality of what they offer, value for money and strong positive outcomes for their students so that every degree is worth the investment.“This landmark research proves that the graduate earnings premium remains robust, even as we have made higher education available to more young people than ever before. Higher education is delivering for students, the taxpayer and the economy, and will continue to do so as long as we focus relentlessly on quality.
Inna SuslinaVardar Skopje ← Previous Story EHF: Nine countries want to host Women’s EURO 2012 Next Story → Tomas Mrkva – substitute for Tahirovic and Stanic in FA Goppingen! One of the most recognized goalkeepers in Women’s handball, Inna Suslina has signed contract with new ambitious team-project in Macedonia, Vardar Skopje. She was officialy presented to the local PRESS:– I am here to win trophies. Vardar is the new challenge for me, proffesionaly. I didn’t see to much since I am here, but what I saw, I like it – said Suslina, writes ekipa.mk.Nine Russian players and two Serbian came to Vardar Skopje for the next season, when is the plan to take Championship from the biggest rival – Metalurg Skopje.
The beginning and the last moments of the match against SG Flensburg at Veszprem Arena, was dedicated to the ex-coach Antonio Carlos Ortega. Veszprem’s fans showed once again their emotions to Spaniard who was one of the most successful coaches in the club’s history. Veszprem beat SG Flensburg 28:24 for their first win in the VELUX EHF Champions League this season… ← Previous Story Staffan Olsson joins PSG Handball: Interesting challenge in ambitious club Next Story → Men’s U 18 EHF EURO 2016: Croatia to host 16 best teams Antonio Carlos Ortegaveszprem
IN AN ONGOING series, Business Insider is answering readers’ why questions related to science.This week, the site’s writers tackled the question: What is best way to sneeze?Here’s what they found out….It’s spring, that wonderful season of allergies. And with allergies comes sneezing.In addition to allergies, sneezing can be caused by being too full, bright lights and even orgasms. But as common as sneezing is — other animals sneeze too — scientists know little about the phenomenon.“A sneeze is designed to expel foreign particles and irritants from your airway, particularly your nasal cavity, and is a protective reflex,” says Dr Jonathan Moss of the Charlotte Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Associates.With sneezing myths running rampant on the Internet, we decided to put the following questions to the experts.Which Way’s the Exit?If the sneeze is supposed to clean out our noses, should we let it out our mouths too? Sure, said Moss.“The goal is to expel the irritant from the nasal cavity,” said Moss, so it’s important to sneeze at least partly out of your nose.However, because the nasal cavity isn’t big enough alone to handle the release of such a large volume of air, some of the sneeze pretty much has to go out your mouth. “The caveat being that if someone tries to withhold a sneeze, this volume will be lessened and the mouth could remain closed,” Moss said.Holding It In vs. Letting It OutThe most common mistake people make when sneezing is just that — trying to hold it in.“Don’t!” said Moss.The process of sneezing is a defensive reflex. The body has to expel foreign particles, such as dust or pollen, that enter our upper airway.Because a sneeze causes high pressures in your internal airways, holding it in can be harmful. But it causes problems only in rare situations. “These complications can include hearing loss, forcing air into the eye or brain, rupture or clotting of blood vessels, or breaking a rib,” Moss said.And keeping your eyes open when you sneeze? It IS possible.Once the “sneeze centre of the brainstem” has been stimulated, it sends multiple muscle contraction signals to your body. One of them tells your eyes to close. “While it may not be impossible to keep from closing your eyes, it would take a conscious effort to keep them open,” Moss said.The Best Sneeze InterceptorAll in all, a sneeze may be annoying, but it is good for you. “In our society, some may consider sneezing a faux pas, but what I typically tell my patients is to let it fly!”The only problem is that these sneezes can spread germs to others around you.While a few media outlets have done home experiments putting sneeze barriers to the test, scientists have been busy in the lab trying to figure out the best way to sneeze in order to stop the germ flow.“Ambient air currents may also move the sneezed airflow around more slowly later, thus transporting airborne viruses beyond the immediate vicinity of the sneezer,” Dr. Julian W. Tang of the Alberta Provincial Laboratory for Public Health told Business Insider.He’s conducted experiments — seen in the GIFs below — to find out the proper way to catch your sneeze.So, is it the open-hand catch? From “Qualitative Real-Time Schlieren and Shadowgraph Imaging of Human Exhaled Airflows: An Aid to Aerosol Infection Control,” By Julian Tang, et al WeWork CEO Adam Neumann told employees he’s ‘humbled’ by the collapse of the firm’s IPO From “Qualitative Real-Time Schlieren and Shadowgraph Imaging of Human Exhaled Airflows: An Aid to Aerosol Infection Control,” By Julian Tang, et al These 10 cities are most at risk of an OB-GYN shortage, according to a troubling new study South Korea kicked up its trade war with Japan by making it 3 times harder for companies to export goods there Or the wait-was-that-a-cough open fist? The EU accuses Boris Johnson of only ‘pretending’ to negotiate a Brexit deal Or the quick-quick-grab-a-tissue?From “Qualitative Real-Time Schlieren and Shadowgraph Imaging of Human Exhaled Airflows: An Aid to Aerosol Infection Control,” By Julian Tang, et alThe WINNER: The tissue.”Lots of tissues,” Tang said, and wash your hands after.No matter the sneeze catcher, the amount of snot stopped has “a lot of it has to do with how fast you can cover your sneeze”.The permeability of the barrier used to catch the sneeze is also important. “Lower-ply tissues [lower than four-ply] may not contain the force of the sneeze that may just blow through the tissue,” he said.When using the hand or fist, it is important to note that any gaps between fingers will spread the sneeze.Sneezing into your sleeve has variable effectiveness, depending on sleeve length and how fast you can cover up. And the sleeve now contains your germs, which can spread to other objects it comes into contact with.So let it fly — into a tissue, please.Read: Man sneezes into his trombone during concertMore: Your sneezing cat can predict* the weather
PRESIDENT OF THE European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker is to hold a meeting about Brexit with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings in Dublin today.Speaking ahead of the visit, Varadkar said: “We need to see much more progress from the UK to implement the commitments they made in December and March, and I expect the UK’s efforts to intensify in the period ahead.”One major issue is, of course, what will happen to the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland post-Brexit. Other sticking points include trade and migration.As the deadline for Britain leaving the European Union moves closer, we want to know: Are you worried about Brexit? By Órla Ryan 23,174 Views Poll: Are you worried about Brexit? One major issue is what will happen to the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland. 114 Comments Yes (5726) As the clock ticks down, get all the best Brexit news and analysis in your inbox: A table of food laid out by anti-Brexit demonstrators outside the Houses of Parliament in London yesterday. https://jrnl.ie/4083030 YesNoI’m not sure/no opinionVote Jun 21st 2018, 8:55 AM Poll Results: Share23 Tweet Email Image: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images No (4650) I’m not sure/no opinion (740) A table of food laid out by anti-Brexit demonstrators outside the Houses of Parliament in London yesterday. Image: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images Thursday 21 Jun 2018, 8:55 AM Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article
Sangareddy: The Met bulletin stuck to its forecast of possibility of heavy rains at isolated places across the State from July 19 to 21. The forecast said light to moderate rain or thundershowers are very likely to occur at most places in Telangana from July 19 to 22. Meanwhile, the forecast of heavy rain for four days from July 18 by the Met department went for a toss, with isolated showers occurring in several Telangana districts, including Sangareddy and Vikarabad during the last 24 hours ending at 8.30 am on Thursday.The chief amounts of rainfall (in cm) were: Sadasivpet (Sangareddy district) 3, Kondapur (Sangareddy) 2 and Vikarabad 1. No large change during the period July 23-25 is the weather outlook.
Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals August 30, 2016 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Entrepreneur has affiliate partnership with TechBargains so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.Thanks to our friends at TechBargains, we’ve rounded up some can’t-miss deals. Check it out:Amazon 4K Streaming Wireless Media Player with HD TV Antenna for $94.99 (Orig. $131)Cutting the cord has never been easier with this bundle. It includes a $15 discount on the 4K capable Amazon Fire media player and a HD antenna to get all the local channels around you. You can also pay to subscribe to channels you would normally have to buy with a larger package on cable such as ESPN.Lenovo X1 Carbon Core i5-6200U 14″ 1080p Laptop w/ 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD $888.30Use 30% off coupon code: SAV30THINKPAD. This is one of the best prices on the X1 Carbon you can get. It weighs in only 2.9 pounds, is super thin and is easy to transport. It is the choice of upper-management executives who travel and may not want an Apple. It comes with a 1080p display and snappy 128GB SSD.Belkin 3-Outlet Travel Surge Protector for $13.99 (Orig. $17.50)Traveling without a surge protector can be a hassle, which is why Belkin created this portable three-outlet power strip which has a swiveling plug. The swiveling helps you on hard-to-reach or inconvenient outlets that are located behind table legs or nighstands.$5 Bonus Credit at Amazon when you recharge a $100 Amazon Gift CardThis is basically free Amazon cash. Reload a $100 gift card which you likely will spend anyway and they will give you a bonus $5.BranBox Comfort Memory Foam Seat Cushion for $13.97 (Orig. $28.99)Use code: DUH752I8. If you sit all day at the office or through long international flights, this cushoin can help prevent lower back pain, reduce pressure and increase circulation to your legs. If you have sciatica, Amazon reviews seem to highly recommend a cushion to help.Star Wars: Force Awakens 3D collector’s Edition for $29.96 (Prime Members only) (Orig. $34.99)As far as these 3-D Blu-rays go these is a steal, particularly since it is the Collector’s edition. If you bought into the 3-D craze then your money will be well spent on a 3-D CGI experience of Star Wars.For more great deals, check out our TechBargains Small Business page.Disclosure: This is brought to you by the Entrepreneur Partner Studio. Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.Have a deal you want to promote? Contact us here. Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. 3 min read Register Now »
Close Many thought the elusive Colombian weasel was extinct because no one has seen the animal alive before. In 2011, an architect saw and even photographed one — inside a toilet.The Vulnerable WeaselOn Feb. 26, 2011, architect and professor Juan M. de Roux accidentally found the rare animal in a bathroom beside his parents’ country house in Cali-Buenaventura road in Valle del Cauca, Colombia. He remembered seeing the animal as a child, and so when he encountered it again, he took the chance to snap several photos of the weasel using his camera.”…the little animal moved frantically all over the bathroom, looking for a way out that allowed him to avoid me. I recall a weird scent, I knew at the time that mustelids have odor glands, so I was not surprised, it was something like urine and insects. When I was done with the shots I left the door opened, I did not get any nearer, as it is best to exercise precaution with wild mammals,” de Roux posted in a blog entry on the citizen website iNaturalist. DEAL OF THE DAY Ads by Amazon AllVideo On Demand: Rent or BuyClothing & AccessoriesMajor AppliancesArts, Crafts & SewingAutomotiveBaby & NurseryBeauty & GroomingBooks & TextbooksCollectible CoinsCamera & PhotoCell Phones & AccessoriesClassical MusicComputers, Tablets & ComponentsBlu-Ray & DVDElectronic Components & Home AudioEntertainment CollectiblesVideo GamesOther Gift Card BrandsGrocery & Gourmet FoodPatio, Lawn & GardenHealth & HouseholdBusiness & Industrial SuppliesJewelryKindle StoreKitchen & DiningMagazinesMiscellaneousDigital MusicCDs & VinylMusical InstrumentsOffice & School SuppliesPet Food & SuppliesPatio, Lawn & GardenShoes, Handbags, Wallets, SunglassesSoftwareSports CollectiblesSports & FitnessHome ImprovementToys & GamesVHSVideo GamesWatches Search Bestseller ENDS IN De Roux’s house is located near a primary forest that extends to the south into the National Natural Park Farallones de Cali. It is likely that more weasels inhabit the forest.Confirmed IdentificationThe Colombian weasel or Mustela felipei is considered the rarest neotropical carnivore that can be found in four localities in Colombia and one in Ecuador. It is listed as a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List.According to the study, diagnostic characters such as the presence of a ventral spot on the animal’s chest or neck casts no doubt on its correct identification.”I thought it was extinct already because we’ve never seen the animal alive,” said Hector Ramirez-Chaves, study author from the Universidad de Caldas in Colombia.The study officially presented the only photographic record of a living weasel from Colombia. The researchers said the discovery sheds light on the animal’s distribution on the Western Cordillera of Colombia, where it was previously located based on a single record obtained on 1986.”This is the first confirmed record of the Colombian weasel during the 21st century. Finally, we discuss the species’ occurrence in protected areas of Colombia, to provide tools for the conservation of this rare species,” the authors wrote in their study published in the journal Therya.Weasels Of The WorldWeasels are mammals and are known as the smallest carnivores in the world. They have long bodies and necks, short legs and small heads. Weasels are closely related to ermine, ferrets, polecats, and minks which are all from the Mustela genus. They are also in the same family as badgers, wolverines, and otters.These mammals have different colors ranging from brown, grey or black with white or yellowish markings. According to Nature Conservancy, all weasels turn white during winter. The fur of the least weasel usually glows a bright lavender color during winter when the animal is exposed to ultraviolet light.The average least weasels are so small, they grow only up to 4 to 10 inches (10 to 25 centimeters) long. The long-tailed and tropical weasels are slightly larger at 10 to 12 inches. TAG Colombian weasel, Weasel, Vulnerable Species All Ads by Amazon ⓒ 2018 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Travelweek Group TORONTO — Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) has certainly been busy this month, adding five independently-minded hotels to its growing portfolio. Ranging from a stately home in Queenstown to a classic alpine lodge in Austria, each property is sure to impress even the most discerning travellers.Owl and the Pussycat Hotel (Galle, Sri Lanka)Considered one of Sri Lanka’s newest boutique hotels, having opened in January 2016, this 16-suite luxury coastal retreat is situated nearby the UNESCO listed Galle Fort and Buddhist temples. Each spacious suite is a little different, but guests can expect eye-catching artwork and panoramic sea views in every one. Rates start at $242 per night.Foxhill Manor (Cotswold, England)With just eight rooms, Grade II listed Foxhill Manor is an intimate property set on the magnificent 400-acre Farncombe Estate near Broadway. The hotel’s charm lies in its home-from-home feel, with cozy bedrooms and home-cooked meals. Even more, the hotel is pet friendly and boasts an onsite cinema room and a free shuttle service to sister property Dormy House, where guests have access to its expansive spa, restaurant and facilities. Rates start at $627 per night.More news: CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionHulbert House (Queenstown, New Zealand)Just 10 minutes from the centre of Queenstown, Hulbert House was built during the height of the Gold Rush in 1887 and has since been lovingly restored. Each of the six rooms has a lake, garden or skyline view and is uniquely decorated – where one room boasts a canopy bed or a wood burning fireplace, another is home to an antique writing desk or teardrop chandelier. Rates start at $880 per night.Villa Dell Pergola (Alassio, Italy)The hotel’s 12 bedrooms are split across three buildings, with each room boasting its own individual style and furnishings dedicated to the many figures who’ve stayed at the hotel in the past. The grounds extend over 22,000 square metres and include an abundance of Mediterranean flora and exotic evergreens. The hotel restaurant, Ristorante Nove, is headed up by Executive Chef Giorgio Servetto who serves traditional Ligurian cuisine in an elegant setting. Rates start at $470 per night.More news: ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthDas PostHotel (Tyrol, Austria)This classic alpine lodge features 27 rooms and an eco-conscious design that’s deeply rooted in mountain traditions. Sustainability is at the heart of the resort, which shows in the many design features like the solar-heated pool and organic menus at HeLeni restaurant. Das PostHotel is situated in the Zillertal ski area of Austria, allowing guests to ski year round on the slopes of the Hintertux Glacier. Rates start at $282 per night.Travel Agents booking with SLH can enjoy a range of benefits. Simply visit www.slh.com/travel-agents to receive commissions ranging from 10% to 20% available through all SLH booking channels. In addition, agents can keep updated with all the latest hotel news, receive travel industry rates and sign up to the ‘Small Luxury Heroes’ program to start earning points for added benefits and rewards.For more information go to slh.com. Tags: Small Luxury Hotels of the World Posted by Tuesday, November 22, 2016 SLH adds five upscale properties to portfolio << Previous PostNext Post >>
Related posts:‘It’s despair on all fronts,’ says Ebola aid worker UN confronts deadly Ebola epidemic White people are more likely to deal drugs in the US, but black people are more likely to get arrested for it World Bank: Zika will cost Latin America $3.5 billion in 2016 Facebook Comments This article is excerpted from Tom Shroder’s “Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy and the Power to Heal,” which comes out Sept. 9. The book focuses on researchers’ attempts to determine whether psychedelic drugs administered with talk therapy can help people with post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychiatric ailments. Such studies flourished in the 1950s when more than 25,000 doses of psychedelic drugs were administered to thousands of patients and the accepted assessment held that the drugs would be “of utmost value in psychotherapy.”Rampant recreational drug abuse in the ’60s provoked government restrictions on research, but a small group of scientists persisted in the belief that psychedelic drugs were too potentially valuable to be discarded. In the past decade, a number of clinical trials have won approval at major research institutions, including Johns Hopkins.These studies have shown promising results using MDMA, psilocybin and other psychedelics in controlled clinical settings under close medical supervision, even as abuse of drugs sold on the street as psychedelics continues to claim victims.•Roland Griffiths, a slender man with a thatch of white hair and piercing eyes, got his PhD in psychopharmacology in 1972 from the University of Minnesota, then went to Johns Hopkins’ Behavioral Biology unit, where he specialized in determining the relative abuse potential of drugs.Griffiths became a recognized expert in his field, was happy and successful in his work. In his personal life, he discovered meditation, and that changed him in a fundamental way.“I had remarkable experiences that were unlike anything else I had had. … And all of a sudden, for lack of a better descriptor, it opened a spiritual window in the world for me,” he said. Tom Shroder’s “Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy and the Power to Heal.” (Blue Rider Press)At some point, a light went on in Griffiths’ mind and he realized his personal and professional concerns could converge seamlessly: He researched psychoactive drugs. A certain class of psychoactive drugs was reputed to induce just the kind of experiences he’d been so affected by in meditation. Psychedelic drugs.“I grew up in a scientific culture that had just ruled out doing research with these compounds,” Griffiths says. “But as I just contemplated more deeply and really thought where my interests lay, I thought, ‘Well, why not?’ “With his track record doing drug research in cooperation with the government and his sterling reputation, Griffiths won approval to do one of the first studies of the effects of psychedelic drugs in 30 years. Over the course of the study, which began in 2001 and was published in 2006, three dozen people lay on a comfy couch in an architecturally challenged building on Johns Hopkins’ stark medical campus in north Baltimore and took a naturally occurring psychedelic compound called psilocybin — the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” which like most psychedelics, as he had learned in his previous work, was not addictive.“What I wasn’t prepared for,” he says, “is people would come in two months later and I would say, ‘Well, so what do you think of the experience?’ And they’d say … ‘It was one of the most important experiences in my life.’ “In the end, more than 70 percent of the participants self-rated the experience as one of the five most important in their lives. Perhaps even more astoundingly, nearly a third rated it the single most important experience of their lives.“My initial response was kind of disbelief. It just doesn’t sound right, does it?”Griffiths wanted to know more. He began recruiting subjects for another study in 2008 to determine if the, for lack of a better term, religious experience induced by psilocybin could ease the anxiety and depression of those with life-threatening cancer.The study will eventually involve 44 subjects. Three quarters of the way through it, Griffiths has found that the experience significantly reduces the subjects’ fear of death and tends to change their focus from aggressive medical treatment to enhancing the quality of their remaining life. (Researchers of earlier pilot studies at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and New York University also found psilocybin therapy promising. Charles Grob, the psychiatrist at Harbor-UCLA who conducted one study, cautioned that his conclusions were based on small sample sizes, but said his subjects had consistently positive results.)A retired psychologist named Clark Martin saw a mention of the study online in 2008. His cancer had been diagnosed in 1990, when he was 46, the same year his daughter was born. He had a kidney removed. Four years later, doctors discovered extensive lung cancer, for which he had surgery and 11 months of chemo, followed by the discovery of three more metastatic tumors. He threw himself into researching his illness, and fighting it took over his life. He had been a passionate sailor but lost interest in that, and almost everything else, even to the point where he felt like he grew emotionally unavailable to his daughter. “I kind of got into this very narrow sort of life space,” Martin said.But his obsession with his illness led him to the Johns Hopkins Web site, and Martin called the number he found there. He qualified for the study, and Griffiths flew him to Baltimore.Recommended: An appointment with Dr. IbogaAfter taking the drug in a comfortably appointed room, the first thing Martin noticed was that the music on his headphones annoyed him. But before he could act on it, the music disappeared. Everything began to dissolve. He felt a clutching panic as simple everyday constructs began to melt down and evaporate. He thought of falling out of a sailboat and treading water helplessly, as the boat disappeared. Then the water disappeared. And then he began to disappear.Martin had always been about maintaining control in his life, pegging the world in neat, rational categories, everything in its place. Now he was flailing. “It’s like my entire body, my entire psyche, just wanted to get everything to fall back into place, to gel again.” Roland Griffiths. Photo for The Washington Post by Andre ChungHe thought that if he could get up off the couch, do something, touch something solid, maybe he could regain a sense of normality. At one point he became aware of the presence of his two “sitters,” the attendants who watched over all the experimental subjects to offer a sense of security. Martin sat up, obviously distressed. The attendants said nothing, but one put his arm around Martin’s shoulders. He felt that presence as a link to a more soothing reality. He lay back down and went deeper into the psychedelic experience, which can be astoundingly variable from person to person, and even from one time to another. Martin saw no hallucinations, had no thoughts, not even visual images. In fact, he had no sense of self — there was only a diamond-cut void where he disappeared entirely. Except something remained: an unadorned, unelaborated awareness, thoughtless, yet present.The panic faded into tranquility. The hours that passed he would later describe in a journal entry:“There was no experience of any ‘things’ and the mind seemed lucid and alert. It was very comfortable and somehow familiar. There was no drugged feeling. If there were any words to describe it, they might be curiosity or awe. …”And then he had the sense he was beginning the long journey back to the familiar reality. He found himself reluctant to leave the simple clarity, so he practiced allowing himself to slip out of it toward normality, then return to the void.“I did that, I don’t know, maybe a dozen times, because I wanted to sort of bake that into my muscle memory, so to speak, so that I could voluntarily return to that state.”As he emerged, he began to marvel at the steady presence of the sitter who had put his arm around his shoulder, and the fact that it was his presence alone — no words, no actions other than that one touch — that had meant everything to him in his panic. He realized that he had been missing that simple fact in his most important relationship, with his daughter.“I had an insight that my primary role as a father was to maintain a rock-solid attunement with my daughter. … The significance of this for me was that personal relationships do not need to be managed. Therefore, there is no need to present a false self and, in fact, doing so will severely limit the joys available naturally in relationships.”When he returned to his hotel room, he was shaken. “I was scared to go to sleep because I was fearful that I would drop back into the study stage and there wouldn’t be anybody there.”In the coming weeks the experience kept working on him. Eventually, he says, he fell into a new way of being. A year after his psilocybin experience he wrote:“There has been a shift from trying to micro-manage life to trusting intuition and spontaneity. … I’m more focused on values and process and less likely to feel long-range goals are set in stone. I am again involved professionally and socially. Most significantly, life has continued to open up, a move away from the depression and what felt like a downward spiral. Somehow, the psilocybin re-engaged a fullness of function that had been lost.”He had a new relationship with his daughter: Instead of an arm’s length, role-dominated father-daughter relationship, “we’re two people who share what’s going on in our lives in a very real, spontaneous kind of way.”Another breakthrough he hadn’t considered possible came in his relationship with his father, who lived in a nursing home in an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s. Before the psilocybin, Martin had visited him out of obligation.“I wasn’t really present,” he said. Mostly “I was … figuring out in my mind … how long will it be before I leave.”After his psilocybin experience, he found that “I connected with him at the level that he was functioning. And he just really cranked it up, not that he can maintain a conversation but he attempted it.”He began to see things through his father’s eyes, and felt his frustration at being so constrained, day after day, by four walls. On impulse, he gathered his father up and went driving for hours in the wide-open ranchland that surrounded the home, something he never would have considered doing before.Now his father “just lives for those drives. He thrives on it. He’s actually gotten better physically and mentally. And I know it sounds odd, but I’ve never felt closer to him.”“Acid Test” is published by Blue Rider Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC. Copyright © 2014 by Tom Shroder. Virginia author Shroder is a former editor of the Washington Post Magazine.
Source = Keep NSW Beautiful Keep NSW Beautifullearn more Keep NSW Beautiful www.knswb.org.auRegional NSW shines at Keep NSW Beautiful Blue Star sustainability awardsThe first Keep NSW Beautiful Blue Star Sustainability (Regional) Awards were announced on Saturday 7th November 2015 as a cornerstone of a weekend celebration in Gloucester, NSW.The Blue Star Sustainability Awards have grown out of the iconic Sustainable Cities, Clean Beaches and Tidy Towns award programs. The Awards are designed to promote environmentalsustainability, litter reduction, and community engagement, connection, and volunteering. The Blue Star Sustainability Awards have a 2015 approach to environmental sustainability and community health.This year, in the first year of operation as the Blue Star Sustainability Awards, Keep NSW Beautiful has received a record number of entries – more than in any of the past eight years of awards.The biggest award of the night was the Overall Regional Sustainability Award, which was awarded to Orange, NSW.“Orange is an excellent example of a regional town working towards sustainability goals, said Program Manager Emma Sinclair.“They have an outstanding volunteer force, which was also recognised at the awards; they have learnt from the past and effectively drought proofed the town with a range of initiatives; and the town also has a rich cultural history – just look at their with their relocation and restoration of Banjo Patterson’s Emmaville cottage.”The city was awarded a year’s free battery recycling program courtesy of MRI E-Cycling Solutions. They will now also go on to represent New South Wales in the Keep Australia Beautiful National Tidy Towns Awards.“I am so impressed with the quality of submissions into the first round of the KNSWB Blue Star Sustainability Awards,” said Keep NSW Beautiful Chief Executive, David Imrie.“With almost 200 entries from regional and rural NSW, it shows that there is a dedicated population from all over the state – working as individuals, in grassroots groups, within their schools and clubs, as well as within the worlds of business and local government – fiercely committed to creating positive change in their communities.”
As national home prices recover, Texas and Colorado are already busy setting new highs, data from “”Lender Processing Services, Inc.””:http://www.lpsvcs.com/Pages/default.aspx (LPS) revealed. [IMAGE]In June, national home prices rose to $229,000, representing a 1.2 percent gain from May, and a sharp 8.4 percent increase from a year ago, according to LPS’ Home Price Index (HPI). When compared to the index’s 2005 peak of $270,000, prices are still down 15.2 percent. However, Colorado and Texas moved ahead of the national trend and hit new highs of $256,000 and $182,000, respectively. [COLUMN_BREAK]On the other hand, California saw a 19.6 percent annual jump in prices, but remains 26.3 percent below its peak. Arizona also saw a significant increase over the last year in June. Prices in the state rose 13.9 percent, but are 32.8 percent away from the peak value. Out of the 40 large metro areas LPS tracks, three in Texas reached new highs: Austin ($237,000), Dallas ($182,000), and Houston ($181,000). Denver also established a new high-water mark of $265,000. At the same time, San Antonio is just 0.3 percent below its August 2007 peak, while Honolulu sits 2.1 percent below its 2007 peak. Overall, nearly half, or 19, of the 40 large metro areas experienced double-digit annual gains, LPS reported. Las Vegas led with a 27 percent increase, followed by San Francisco (+23.9 percent), Sacramento (+23.9 percent), San Jose (+20.1 percent) and Riverside, CA (+19.8 percent).When factoring in distressed sales, LPS found short sales sold for a discount of 25 percent, while REOs were marked down by 26 percent. Discounts varied greatly by state, with Nevada seeing REO discounts of only 8 percent compared to 36 in New York. Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Home Prices Investors Lender Processing Services Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2013-08-26 Esther Cho Share in Data, Origination August 26, 2013 482 Views Home Prices Up 1.2% in June, Texas Metros Post New Highs
October 5, 2018 621 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Share A report by the Brookings Institute assesses what metropolitan areas the middle class most inhabits, as well as how concentrated middle-class communities are, what forces shape them, and how they’ve changed since 2000.Defining the middle class as the middle three quintiles of the national income distribution—only adjusted to take account of regional price parities and household size—the study found that the metropolitan areas with the largest concentration of middle-class families are manufacturing centers, military towns, and Mormon communities: what the Brookings Institute refers to as “one of the three M’s’’” These areas tend to have a high number of workers not only in manufacturing but also construction and administration. They also are mostly suburban in nature, lacking the subsidized housing and public transit found in older cities with a greater percentage of low-income residents. Demographically, they also tend to be less diverse, with predominately white populations. While small and mid-sized metro areas have the most homogenous middle-class communities, the majority of middle-class families can nevertheless be found in or around larger cities that tend to support the same labor force in addition to lower-paying and higher-paying jobs. The study also revealed fluctuations in the middle class since the beginning of the millennium. Overall the middle-class community has shrunk slightly, but this is due to a corresponding increase in higher incomes. The number of middle-class families in the areas described above have also decreased in relation to the number found in larger metro areas. Since 2000, the concentration of middle-class families in the South has grown substantially but fallen in the Northeast, along with the West Coast, and in a few cities located in the Midwest. Areas, where the middle class has grown, tend to have developed as newer metropolitan areas with distinct suburban characteristics. Metropolitan areas with the lowest share of middle-class families tend to be tech capitals and college towns. Whereas tech capitals are predominantly populated with high-income workers, college towns are mostly split between high-income faculty members and low-income students. For this reason, areas like the San Francisco Bay and towns like Boston, Boulder, and Huntsville, Alabama tend to have a much lower percentage of middle-class families. Also, older cities tend to have smaller middle classes, such as many cities in the Northeast like Bridgeport, Philadelphia, and New York. The Development of Middle-Class Neighborhoods American Brookings Institute cities households HOUSING 2018-10-05 Radhika Ojha
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