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  #21  
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Angry Donald Trump would be scarier than George W. Bush

Donald Trump would be scarier than George W. Bush: His unserious, incendiary approach would damage America for decades — and we should be terrified


According to a global survey conducted by Gallup International in 2014, the U.S. is the “overwhelming choice … for the country that represents the greatest threat to peace in the world today.”



Even among our closest allies, including Spain, Germany, Sweden and Australia, the U.S. wins first place as the greatest danger. No doubt this has a lot to do with the ignominious foreign policy legacy of the George W. Bush administration. But the 2014 Gallup poll was conducted during the tenure of Obama, who, let’s not forget, was once awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. If the world saw us as this dangerous two years ago, how might it perceive the leading superpower if Donald Trump were voted into the Oval Office?

Fortunately, there are some hard data available to help us answer this question. And the answer doesn’t bode well for our future standing as a member of the international community. While Trump has repeatedly claimed that “the world does not respect us” because “we’re being run incompetently,” there’s overwhelming evidence that a Trump presidency would result in a catastrophic deterioration of our already compromised moral authority in the world.

Let’s begin with Trump’s favorite rhetorical punching bag when it comes to all things trade-related: China. While the Chinese government initially referred to Trump’s rise as a mere “disturbance,” a recent op-ed in the state-owned newspaper Global Times doesn’t hold back in criticizing Trump as a demagogue whose “remarks are abusively racist and extremist.” Titled “Trump opens Pandora’s box in U.S.,” the article suggests that the violence at Trump’s rallies is reminiscent of a developing country, not “one of the most developed and mature democratic” states, as the U.S. “boasts.”

It claims that Trump, “a rich, narcissist and inflammatory candidate,” was initially supposed to “act as a clown to attract more voters’ attention to the GOP,” but “the clown is now the biggest dark horse.” The article proceeds to assert that the rise of a “big-mouthed, anti-traditional, abusively forthright … racist in the U.S. political arena worries the whole world.” Both Mussolini and Hitler gained political power through elections, it notes, so “the U.S. had better watch itself for not being a source of destructive forces against world peace.”

(It doesn’t help, by the way, that Trump has “used a broken-English accent … to mock the negotiating style of Chinese businessmen.” How ironic that Trump would knock the professionalism of Chinese businessmen in such an extraordinarily unprofessional manner.)

But Trump has not only received a brutal response from Chinese media, he’s also managed to upset pro-democracy Chinese activists. For example, during one of the Republican debates, Trump described the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 as a “riot” that was “kept down” by a “strong, powerful” response from the Chinese government. (The term “riot” is, incidentally, the same word that the Chinese Communist Party uses to describe the massacre.)

In response, one of the 1989 student protestors, Wang Dan, who now holds a PhD from Harvard, wrote in a Time magazine article that he’s “disappointed by and angry at Mr. Trump’s words. If a bloody repression can be praised as a ‘strong, powerful’ action, what does this mean about American values, especially when this blatant mischaracterization comes from a presidential candidate.” Wang adds, “As a long-time resident of the United States, I am deeply worried about a great country’s future.”

Similarly, another leading Tiananmen dissident named Wu’er Kaixi took to Facebook, writing that Trump is “an enemy of the values that America deeply defines itself by — the same values that have long provided hope to the victims of oppressive power worldwide.” He concludes with the ominous warning that “Those of us who have fought for freedom anywhere in the world worry that something is about to change in America. Let us hope that is not so.”

Trump’s comments about the “riots” in Tiananmen Square 27 years ago are consistent with his praise of authoritarian world leaders, such as the Russian president Vladimir Putin. During a Republican debate, Trump described Putin as a “strong leader for Russia.” In fact, Trump is currently the only presidential candidate on either side of the political spectrum who approves of Russia’s military action in Syria, which has largely targeted “legitimate opposition groups” fighting against the Bashar al-Assad regime, rather than the Islamic State. As Trump put it, “Let [Putin] bomb them [meaning ISIS]. I think we probably work together much more so than right now.” In return, the Russian leader has showered praise on Trump, calling him “a really brilliant and talented person, without any doubt,” and “the absolute leader in the presidential race.”

As for Putin’s history of assassinating journalists and political adversaries, Trump has repeatedly asserted that “it’s never been proven that he’s killed anybody,” despite the fact that the Committee to Protect Journalists catalogues some “56 journalists of various nationalities [who] have been killed in the country” since 1992. As it happens, Trump himself has actually joked about killing journalists, who he refers to as “lying, disgusting people,” and he’s even declared that, “We’re going to open up those libel laws so when the New York Times writes a hit piece, which is a total disgrace, or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.”

What exactly counts as a “hit piece”? Of course, this could end up being quite subjective, especially when it’s being decided by an insecure, narcissistic, authoritarian leader. As Trump added, “We’re going to open up libel laws and we’re going to have people sue you like you’ve never got sued before.”

Moving now to the Middle East, Trump has repeatedly said that he would “bomb the shit out of them,” meaning the Islamic State. Perhaps this sounds like a good plan to the predominantly uneducated white people who support Trump, but to scholars who actually study the phenomenon of Islamic terrorism, bombing in the group would have catastrophically negative consequences for U.S. national security. As one of the leading scholars of Islamic militancy, Will McCants, recently stated in an interview I conducted with him, “Jihadism thrives in chaos,” and dropping explosives on Syria and Iraq would only foment more chaos, thereby fueling more apocalyptic extremism.











The most sagacious strategy for defeating the Islamic State is rather “to end the multiple civil wars raging in the Middle East” — not an easy task, McCants acknowledges. If this were accomplished, though, the decrease in societal entropy would significantly “hurt the jihadist cause.” While Trump likes to claim that the 2003 U.S.-led preemptive invasion of Iraq was a monumental foreign policy blunder, he apparently hasn’t learned a thing from our militaristic misadventures overseas.

Making matters worse, Trump has claimed that “torture works,” calling those who came up with international laws against torture “eggheads.” (Seriously.) Thus, Trump says that he would reinstate the use of waterboarding, a technique that is widely condemned by scholars, politicians and people around the world as morally indefensible. In fact, the U.S. executed several Japanese soldiers after World War II for using waterboarding against their enemies.

As Trump put it in a recent NBC interview, authorities “should be able to do whatever they have to do” to extract information from suspected terrorists, adding that, “Waterboarding would be fine. If they can expand the laws, I would do a lot more than waterboarding.” Consistent with this position, Trump has also declared that he would not shut down the “detention camp” inside the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base — the “world’s most notorious prison” — where so-called “detainees” are held in an existentially nightmarish state of indefinite detention without due process, and in fact he would “add more prisoners.” Yet, as one expert notes, the prison has only resulted in “angry foreign allies, a tarnishing of America’s image, and declining cooperation in the Global War on Terrorism.” It’s making the U.S. less, rather than more, secure. And expanding it would only amplify this undesirable effect.

As if this isn’t enough to provoke outrage throughout the international community, Trump has stood by his blanket assertion that “Islam hates us.” Consequently, he’s argued that the U.S. should implement a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” until we “figure out what the hell is going on.” The problem is that, as Jeb “can fix it” Bush has pointed out, implementing this idea would seriously alienate our Muslim allies in the Middle East, some of whom are crucial partners in the ongoing fight against the Islamic State.

Indeed, Trump’s ban-the-Muslims scheme resulted in global outrage, with adherents “all over the world” denouncing the front-runner as “a bigot who promote[s] violence.” In the words of a prominent human rights lawyer in Pakistan, Asma Jahangir, “This is the worst kind of bigotry mixed with ignorance. … Although we are not as advanced as the U.S., we have never elected such people to power in Pakistan.” Similarly, the Dar al-Iftaa religious institute in Egypt claimed that Trump’s proposal “will lead to conflict … and increase hate, which will be a threat to social peace in the United States.”







Finally, turning to the centerpiece of Trump’s xenophobic platform: his proposed 1,000-mile concrete wall between our southern neighbors and the American homeland. Initially estimated to cost around $4 billion, Trump has gradually increased the likely expense to $10 or $12 billion, although conservative estimates from other sources put construction alone at about $25 billion. The purpose of this Great Wall? To keep out Mexican criminals, drug dealers, and “rapists.”

But the question at hand is how Mexico has reacted to Trump’s idea. Well, as the treasury secretary of Mexico, Luis Videgaray, recently put it, “I say it emphatically and categorically: Mexico, under no circumstance, is going to pay for the wall that Mr. Trump is proposing.” And two Mexican ex-presidents so far have “slammed the idea,” with Felipe Calderon angrily saying that “Mexican people, we are not going to pay any single cent for such a stupid wall, and they need to know that,” and Vicente Fox even more angrily exclaiming to Jorge Ramos, “I’m not going to pay for that fucking wall. He should pay for it.”

As it happens, Hispanic voters overwhelmingly dislike Trump, with current surveys showing that a whopping 70 percent hold a “very unfavorable” opinion of the likely Republican nominee. More generally, Trump leads all the current presidential candidates with a historic unfavorability rating of 57 percent and an overall score of -33, according to a recent CBS/New York Times poll. By comparison, John McCain’s score back in 2008 was +7.

The point is that years before Trump’s meteoric rise in the political arena, the U.S. was already ranked the number one threat to world peace. But come January 2017, our standing in the world could take a far more serious hit. As CNN recently learned in a series of interviews with people from numerous countries, “There’s a lot of fear” swirling around the idea of a Trump presidency. A Hong Kong woman, for example, told CNN, “I’m actually very, very worried” about Trump, and a student in Cairo said that the “melting pot we know America as is going to change a lot.” Similarly, a woman in Berlin declared that “Americans could go back in time with this president,” and an Iranian in Tehran opined that Trump “is not a good man. … There are some that are creating problems all over the world. And it doesn’t matter if it’s ISIS, Islamists — they are radicals. And [Trump] is a radical just like them.” Furthermore, a woman from Johannesburg, South Africa, simply exclaimed “Hell no!” when asked if Trump should become president.

As Trump told his supporters at a Las Vegas rally held earlier this year, “We’re not going to be the dummies anymore, folks. We’re going to be the smart ones.” The problem is that, to paraphrase the Monty Python comedian John Cleese, recognizing one’s own stupidity requires a certain degree of intelligence. Thus, I suspect that Trump and his followers will never know just how much his unprofessional, incendiary, uninformed approach to politics will compromise our wounded reputation and even-more-wounded moral authority in the world today.


Phil Torres :(The founder of the X-Risks Institute and author of The End: What Science and Religion Tell Us About the Apocalypse).
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Default Pak energy security Iran’s responsibility: Rouhani

ISLAMABAD - Iranian President Dr Hassan Rouhani yesterday announced his country was responsible for meeting Pakistan’s energy needs, adding it was their commitment in the areas of electricity and gas.

Addressing Pakistan-Iran Joint Business Forum, he reiterated his country’s commitment to take trade volume between the two brotherly states to US$5 billion in next five years.

Reciprocating the affinity shown by the Iranian president, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stressed the need to further fortify bilateral relations between the two brotherly states which are rooted in cultural and historic affinities
“In the presence of the prime minister of Pakistan, the officials, the authorities, tradesmen, entrepreneurs and delegates, I announce Iran is responsible for provision of Pakistan’s energy security.
This is our commitment in the area of electricity.
This is our commitment in the area of gas.
Of course, we have to fulfill our responsibility,” Rouhani said in translated comment.

Nawaz Sharif who reiterated his government’s resolve to inject around 12,000MW of electricity by 2018 and another 13,000MW afterwards as the country was actively executing various power projects.

Rouhani said gas pipeline has reached Pakistani border and bilateral cooperation for provision of electricity and gas would surely meet Pakistan’s needs in the energy sector.

The Iranian president lauded the struggle of Pakistan Army for peace in the country and the achievements it had made.

Rouhani suggested that both the brotherly countries should enhance cooperation in banking sector, besides increasing role of private sector by engaging in the fields of trade, economy and academics.

Nawaz said interaction between eminent businessmen from Pakistan and Iran would expand bilateral economic cooperation.
He said the bilateral ties were rooted in cultural and historic affinities; however, this closeness was not reflected in trade and investment.

Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan’s economy had emerged from the challenge of extremism that had caused the loss of the country’s two percent of GDP.

He said it was a matter of concern that despite having 70 percent of natural resources, total GDP of the Muslim world was below the mark.

Later, addressing a news conference, Rouhani said Iran had completed work on its side of a much-delayed pipeline pumping natural gas to Pakistan and would be in a position to provide gas to its energy-starved neighbour in a few months.

“Iran has constructed this gas pipeline up to the border of Pakistan and we are ready to deliver the gas to Pakistan at our borders.
We have almost completed our share,” Rouhani said.
“It is now up to Pakistan to initiate work on its side.

He said Iran was also interested in connectivity between Pakistan’s Gwadar and the Chabahar port in southeast Iran through roads, railways and shipping lines, adding the projects would help integrate China into the region.

He said Iran was already selling 1,000 MW of electricity to Pakistan and would increase this up to 3,000 MW.

Responding to a query, Rouhani maintained regional issues could not be resolved militarily and referred to Iran’s nuclear deal with the world powers as an indication of peaceful tactics to sort out differences.

He said he had also talked with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over the issues confronted by the Muslim world.

Replying to a query about the Afghan peace process, Rouhani said both Pakistan and Iran had always held consultations and collaborated on the issue.
“During my talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, we have specifically talked about the issue,” he said, adding his country fully agreed to a proposal by the Pakistani side for holding trilateral talks among Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.

About Iran-Saudi tensions, Rouhani said Iran was not interested in any tensions as it was a peace-loving country.
Different Muslim countries, including Pakistan, had offered to resolve the issue, he added.

He stressed that any problem among the Muslim countries should be resolved as the Muslim world required peace, progress and prosperity.

To another question, the President said Pakistan and Iran had agreed for steps for more secure common borders, which would also help increase bilateral trade through setting up border market places.

THE NATION
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Cool Nuclear-armed Pakistan a very, very vital problem: Donald Trump

A nuclear-armed Pakistan is a “very very vital problem”, Republican presidential front- runner Donald Trump has said and asserted that the country needs to “get a hold of” its situation.

“Pakistan is a very, very vital problem and really vital country for us because they have a thing called nuclear weapons. They have to get a hold of their situation,” Trump told CNN during a town hall in Wisconsin, where the Republican presidential primary is scheduled for April 5.

“When I see that and when I see it put in a park because it was mostly Christians, although many others were killed other than Christians, I think it’s just absolutely a horrible story,” he said referring to the terrorist attack in Lahore on Easter Sunday that claimed 74 lives and injured over 300 others.

“I’m talking about radical Islamic terrorism. I will solve it far better than anybody else running,” Trump said in response to a question.

A large number of people were present at the crowded Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park of Allama Iqbal Town in Lahore when a powerful blast took place on Sunday. A large number of Christian families were present in the park due to Easter Sunday.

The brutal attack by a suicide bomber — believed to be in his 20s — was claimed by the Jamaatul Ahrar, a splinter group of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.
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Default Khamenei says missiles, not talks, key to Iran's future

DUBAI: Iran's top leader on Wednesday said missiles were key to the Islamic Republic's future, offering support to the hardline Revolutionary Guards that have drawn criticism from the West for testing ballistic missiles.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei supported last year's nuclear deal with world powers but has since called for Iran to avoid further rapprochement with the United States and its allies, and maintain its economic and military strength.

"Those who say the future is in negotiations, not in missiles, are either ignorant or traitors," Khamenei, who has the final say on all matters of state, was quoted as saying by his website.

"If the Islamic Republic seeks negotiations but has no defensive power, it would have to back down against threats from any weak country."

His comments may have been directed at former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the de facto leader of a more moderate political alliance, who last week tweeted "the future is in dialogue, not missiles".

Iran's Revolutionary Guards conducted ballistic missile tests earlier this month, in what they said was a demonstration of Iran's non-nuclear deterrent power.

The United States and several European powers said the tests defied a U.N. Security Council resolution that calls on Iran not to test nuclear-capable missiles, in a joint letter seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

But Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, said the tests did not violate Resolution 2231. Iran has consistently denied that its missiles are designed to carry nuclear weapons
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Default Pak team to visit Iran to finalise IP pipeline project

Tehran - A senior Iranian official has announced the planned visit by a Pakistan’s delegation to Iran for a natural gas deal, Iranian media reported on Tuesday.
National Iranian Gas Exports Company (NIGEC) Managing Director Alireza Kameli said on Tuesday the delegation’s visit was aimed at finalising gas agreements between Tehran and Islamabad.
Kameli said initial agreements were made over negotiations between the Iranian petroleum minister and Pakistani officials during a recent visit by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and some of his cabinet members to Islamabad.
“In the negotiations, it had been agreed that Pakistan’s delegation would visit Iran soon to finalise the agreements, so that the export of Iranian gas to Pakistan could begin,” IRNA quoted the official as saying. On Saturday, the Iranian president told reporters in Islamabad that a pipeline had already been completed on the Iranian side.
Rouhani said this had put the Islamic Republic in a position to provide its southeastern neighbour with natural gas within only a few months.
While Iran has completed its part of the project with a total investment of over $2 billion, Pakistan has fallen short of the target to take delivery of the gas, initially scheduled for 2014.
The joint project, launched in 2010, is aimed at laying down 1,800 kilometers (over 1,100 miles) long pipeline from Iran to Pakistan.
Iran plans to deliver 21.5 mcm/d of gas to Pakistan through the project.
Trade between Pakistan and Iran fell to $432 million in 2010-11 from $1.32 billion in 2008-09, according to the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan.
Energy-starved Pakistan suffers around 12 hours of power cuts per day and is keen to import Iranian oil, gas, iron and steel.
On the other hand, Iran is interested in Pakistani textiles, surgical goods, sports goods and agricultural products.


THE NATION
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Default Bangladesh Court Orders Arrest Of Former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia

Dhaka: Embattled Bangladeshi ex-prime minister and main opposition leader Khaleda Zia today faced another setback when a court here issued an arrest warrant against her over a deadly arson attack on a passenger bus during an anti-government protest campaign last year.

The Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court of Dhaka passed the order against the 70-year-old chairperson of the main opposition outside parliament Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and 27 others from her party after accepting police's chargesheet in the case.

Judge Kamrul Hossain Mollah, after accepting the charges against 38 people including the 28, passed the order in connection with the arson attack in Jatrabari area in Dhaka in January last year when Ms Zia's party spearheaded a violent nationwide campaign to topple Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's ruling Awami League government.

"The court issued the arrest warrant against begum Zia in connection with an arson attack on a passenger bus in January last year," an official of the Metropolitan Sessions Judge's court told reporters.

He said Judge Kamrul Hossain Mollah passed the order and asked police to execute the warrant and submit the compliance report by April 27.

Lawyers and legal experts, however, said Ms Zia was likely to get a chance to secure bail appearing in the court ahead of the deadline.

Last year, ,Ms Zia was charged by police with masterminding the arson attack on a bus that left 29 people injured, nine of them critically, days after Ms Hasina said the former premier could be put on trial for recent violence.

Today's arrest order is yet another blow to the beleaguered two-times former premier, who has described previous cases, including corruption-related, against her as politically motivated and aimed at keeping her out of politics.

The development came hours after another court in the capital sent BNP's just-elected secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, accused of several identical charges of sabotage, to jail but soon after, ordered his release as his lawyers said he fell sick after his imprisonment.

Mr Alamgir's imprisonment order came hours after BNP announced him as the secretary general of party, six years after he served as the acting secretary general of the party.

Soon after the announcement, Mr Alamgir appeared before the court with a prayer for bail on expiry of his existing bail, granted earlier High Court.

"The magistrate denied his prayer and ordered him to be sent to jail... hours later the same court granted him bail as his lawyers filed a fresh petition saying their client became sick in the prison," an official of Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Court told news agency PTI.

SOURCE: NDTV
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Default Obesity promotes colorectal cancer: Scientists

Scientists have revealed a biological connection between obesity and colorectal cancer, and they have identified an approved drug that might prevent the cancer from developing.
They found that obesity, whether from excess fat, carbohydrate consumption or both, is associated with loss of the hormone guanylin. Guanylin is produced in the lining cells, or epithelium, of the intestine.
By switching the tumor suppressor back on in this way, cancer development was prevented, even when mice continued to eat excess calories.
The experiments showed that the hormone and its receptor were far more likely to be silenced in obese mice than in lean mice. Dr Waldman and his team proposes that colorectal cancer could be prevented in obese individuals through hormone replacement therapy, in the same way that diabetes is treated with insulin.
Dr Waldman says, “Calories sit in the middle of [obesity and colorectal cancer], but the question of what they were doing has been one of the most perplexing and provocative questions in cancer research. Now we finally have a big clue as to the origin of colorectal cancer in obese individuals and perhaps in other people as well.”
Six ways to prevent knee damage
Knee problems are prevalent worldwide. Knees are the poor souls that have to carry your weight around literally. Here are a few ways to prevent your knees, from damage.
Most of us today follow a sedentary lifestyle, where a majority of our day is spent sitting on the chair. This is where the height of your chair gets all the more important. Make sure your hips are an inch or two higher than your knees. Also, avoid sitting cross-legged.
Some people push themselves to walk and walk more when their knees are giving trouble, believing that the more they flex their knee muscles, the better they will get. But it doesn’t really work that way. Sometimes you could be hurting your knees more with walking. When you walk, your motion should come from the pelvis. Your body should be tilted a little bit forward, where your body weight is in front. Additionally, when you walk, your knee should line up over your second toe. A lot of people walk with their toe out and it puts pressure on the knees. If the knee and foot point in different directions, you need to correct your alignment.
Nothing quite looks as classy as a low seating sofa, chairs or poofs. Wish they also came with health check. Low chairs, sofas only aggravate knee problems as they put more pressure on your knees.
Good footwear is important to support the foot and provide good cushion. So how do we exactly define good footwear? It is something that gives proper support to your foot arch. A poor diet is also responsible for knee issues. Your diet should have calcium and essential vitamins and minerals. Lack of Vitamin D is a big reason for women suffering from bone issues.
Five subtle signs you are
dehydrated
Thirst and urine colour can tell you that you have to gulp more water but sometimes these sins are absent and still you may be dehydrated. This is because some signs of dehydration are subtle.
Researchers at the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory tested the mood and concentration of 25 women who drank healthy amounts of water one day, and then didn’t over the next two days. When slightly dehydrated, the women reported fatigue, irritability, headaches and difficulty focusing. In a separate test, men who were mildly dehydrated also experienced fatigue and had a tough time with mental tasks.
You might mistake needing to drink for wanting to nosh, especially post-exercise. “After a strenuous session, we are not only dehydrated, but our glycogen stores are depleted,” says Kim Larson, RDN, sports dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Glycogen is a form of stored carbohydrates that our body uses as fuel; the cravings are just our bodies telling us we need more of it.
Pinch the back of your hand and hold for a few seconds; when you let go, your skin should snap back into position pretty quickly. If it’s slow to return to normal, take that as a cue to hydrate. With more moderate or severe dehydration, the pinched-up skin will remain “tented” in place
According to research published in Physiology and Behavior, driving while dehydrated may be just as dangerous as getting behind the wheel intoxicated, in terms of how many mistakes you could make on the road.
Dehydration causes fatigue and affects our cognitive abilities, like clear thinking and reaction time.
Blood volume and pressure drops when you’re dehydrated, which can leave you feeling dizzy or faint, or bring on that rush of light-headedness after you quickly get up from sitting or lying down.

Published in The Nation newspaper on 30-Mar-2016
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  #28  
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Default Alaska volcano 'abruptly erupts' and sends ash 20,000ft into the sky

A volcano on a remote Alaskan island has "abruptly erupted" - sending plumes of ash more than 20,000ft into the air and triggering a flight warning.
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The Pavlof Volcano, located on the Aleutian Islands, began erupting on Sunday afternoon, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory.
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CNN said that a volcano alert warning remained in effect on Monday morning, and the aviation warning colour code remained red, its highest level.
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Pavlof Volcano Eruption over Aleutian Islands in Alaska #Pavlof #volcano pic.twitter.com/jofS9gFkwY

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& mdash; Colt Snapp (@Colt_Snapp) March 28, 2016
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Images of the volcano were captured by Colt Snapp, a passenger on a Penair flight from Dutch Harbor to Anchorage in Alaska yesterday evening. He said the pilot flew closer to let passengers get a better look.
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"Pavlof Volcano Eruption over Aleutian Islands in Alaska," he wrote on Twitter.
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Pavlof's eruption plume, 4:58 pm March 27, 2016. Photo courtesy of Nikita Robinson.

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https://t.co/EFMcIK0rE7 pic.twitter.com/v8hh5TeJXv

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& mdash; Alaska AVO (@alaska_avo) March 28, 2016
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Ash was reportedly moving north after the eruption, according to the volcano observatory. Seismic activity was also reported after the quake.
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The volcano, which is located about 600 miles southwest of Anchorage, erupted at 4.18pm. local time. It last erupted in November 2014.
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The United States Geological Survey has raised the volcano alert level to "Warning" and the aviation warning to "Red".
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The agency says the volcano, which is about 4.4 miles in diameter, has had 40 known eruptions and "is one of the most consistently active volcanoes in the Aleutian arc".



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Pavlof: Eruption with little precursory activity. Ash cloud to 20,000 ft ASL Going to RED/WARNING See https://t.co/kRbtj8jahq

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& mdash; Alaska AVO (@alaska_avo) March 28, 2016

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It said that during a previous eruption in 2013, ash plumes rose 27,000 feet. Other eruptions have generated ash plumes as high as 49,000 feet.
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The community closest to the volcano is Cold Bay, which is about 37 miles southwest of it.

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The first recorded ascent of Pavlof Volcano was on June 27, 1928



Alaska volcano 'abruptly erupts' and sends ash 20,000ft into the sky
Andrew Buncombe








The Independent | Mar 28, 2016, 11.34 PM IST
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Default Syrian refugee crisis demands united global action: Ban

Geneva: UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday called for greater global efforts to tackle the Syrian refugee crisis, as he opened a conference on securing resettlement places for nearly half a million of those displaced by the five-year conflict.

“We are here to address the biggest refugee and displacement crisis of our time,” Ban told the conference in Geneva. “This demands an exponential increase in global solidarity.”

The UN secretary general, a South Korean, recalled his own experience of fleeing his village with his family as a six-year-old during the Korean War 60 years ago and said that for him stories of refugees stranded in camps with meagre resources “have personal meaning”.

“Attempts to demonise people fleeing conflict are not only demeaning, offensive and counter-productive, they are factually wrong,” Ban told journalists after his speech, in an apparent reference to rising anti-migrant rhetoric voiced by some political leaders across the developed world.

The Geneva meeting follows a conference in London in February where nations pledged $11 billion (Dh40 billion) to help manage one of the largest displacements of people since Second World War.




The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates that 4.8 million Syrians have fled the country during its five-year civil war, with another 6.6 million people internally displaced.

While calling for a humane approach to care for those displaced, the UN chief stressed that a peace deal must be part of a lasting solution.

“There is no alternative to negotiating a political transition that will lead to a new Syria,” Ban said.

Talks led by Ban’s Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura paused last week, but the sides remained deadlocked over the fate of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, whom the opposition insists must leave power before a transitional government is agreed.

Islamist forces including the Daesh group, which is excluded from the peace process, continue to be targeted in the Russian-backed regime’s offensives.

Soldiers were locked in heavy fighting with Daesh fighters on Wednesday in central Syria after dealing the Islamists a major blow by seizing the ancient city of Palmyra.

A ceasefire between Damascus and non-Islamist opposition forces has broadly held since February 27, but isolated clashes persist in the conflict that has killed more than 270,000 people.

The aim of the Geneva meet is to secure relocation pledges from countries - excluding Syria’s neighbours - for 10 percent of Syria’s refugees, or 480,000 people, within three years.

Ban said the 480,000 figure was “a relatively small number”, compared with those being hosted by Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

The British charity Oxfam on Tuesday noted that wealthy countries had so far only resettled 67,100 Syrian refugees - a mere 1.39 percent of those forced to flee.

It identified Canada, Germany and Norway as the only countries who have promised to go beyond their “fair share”.

The UN continues to voice concerns over a deal agreed between Turkey and the European Union, under which all migrants landing on the Greek islands face being sent back to Turkey.

UNHCR and the UN’s rights office have warned that the deal might violate some migrants’ legal right to asylum.

Noting concerns about the deal, Ban described it as “a good start”, as it demonstrated engagement from the EU and Ankara on the Syria refugee issue.

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi, speaking after Ban, noted that the pact included a larger resettlement programme and therefore may prove to have positive elements in the weeks ahead.

More than one million migrants - about half of them Syrians - reached Europe via the Mediterranean last year, a rate of arrivals that has continued through the first three months of 2016.

Thousands have died making the harrowing journey, often on rickety boats run by people smugglers.

Some European states have temporarily shut borders and called for tough measures to stem the movement of people through the continent.

Ban argued that migrants should be viewed as assets, noting “the famous refugee work ethic” while arguing that welcoming migrants “provides the best way to safeguard economic success as populations [in Europe] grow older



SOURCE: THE GULF NEWS
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Default Japan's new base to stir East China Sea dispute

Japan is due to switch on a new radar observation station in the East China Sea on Monday, a move that will likely infuriate Beijing and mark the latest escalation in the long-simmering dispute between the two Asian heavyweights.


Tokyo's new Self Defense Force base is located on Yonaguni, an island located 150 kilometers south of the disputed territory known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. The new base can be used as a permanent intelligence gathering post as well an outlet for military operations in the region, adding to Tokyo's existing military buildup along the Yaeyama Island chain, which includes Yonaguni, Reuters reported.

China has yet to make a statement regarding the move, but strategists say it won't deter the mainland from more aggressive expansion in the zone.

"This is the latest step in Japan's response to China's forceful symbolism in the East China Sea," noted Steve Wilford, Asia Pacific director for global risk analysis at Control Risks Group.

Japan has repeatedly called on Beijing to halt activity in the area, particularly the construction of oil-and-gas exploration platforms, after China declared an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) there in 2013.



Construction and dredging underway at Mischief Reef, a large reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea on March 16, 2015.
US navy chief: China could reclaim more land in SChina Sea


The disputed area consists of eight islands, with a total area of 81,000 square miles; it's home to an estimated 200 million barrels of oil reserves, according to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Formally part of Japan since 1895, China began to assert claims over the islands during the 1970s given their strategic location near prominent shipping routes as well as an abundance of fishing.

But the geopolitical value of the islands is bigger than the geological value of the resources under the water, noted Richard Martin, executive vice president at IMA Asia.

While neither Japan nor China have forcibly established control over the islands, the fear is that even small developments could rapidly escalate hostilities and trigger military confrontations.

"This is a situation that has gone from 30 years of being a frozen conflict to one that is increasingly warming up," said Wilford.

"What China wants to do is put a mark on the fact that this territory is disputed... China's intention is to sow doubt into territorial claims and pick off the neighbors one-by-one in bilateral negotiations while changing the physical status-quo on the ground with bases and missiles."



Japan on the other hand is taking a more forceful approach and refusing to acknowledge China's claim, Wilford said. In fact, certain lawmakers from the country's ruling Liberal Democratic Party recently expressed a desire to seek international arbitration over Beijing's drilling activities.


Wilford believes China is particularly to blame for the escalation of tension, calling the country's recent actions "self-isolating."

In February, reports surfaced that Beijing deployed surface-to-air missile launchers and a radar system in the South China Sea, where it faces similar territorial disputes with Southeast Asian nations, including the Philippines and Vietnam.

"This sows doubt into China's ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) partners, forces the Japanese to abandon their pacifist constitution and comes at a time when China is trying to project soft power. It's very much a contradiction [for China]," Wilford said



http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/28/
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