Category Archives: Mind & Concious

There are no Muslim or Christian terrorists: Dalai Lama

Thanks;IANS in India

Published;Oct,19

There are no Muslim or Christian terrorists because terrorists are no more religious once they embrace terror, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said on Wednesday.

“People cease to be Muslim, Christian or any group the moment they became terrorists,” the Dalai Lama said at a public reception here on the second day of a three-day visit to Manipur.

The Tibetan leader also said that he does not like the “America first” slogan of US President Donald Trump.

A strong votary of non-violence, the Nobel Prize winner said violence does not solve any problem.

“India, which has a tradition of 1,000 years of non-violence, could ensure world peace by reviving the ancient knowledge.”

According to him, almost all the problems people face today were “our own creation”.

He underlined the need to control emotions. Anger weakens people’s immune system and as such was bad for health, he warned.

“Out of seven billion people on earth, six billion are children of god while one billion are non-believers.”

Problems around the world can be solved through dialogue, said the Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959 and who is hated by the Chinese Communist regime.

India with her ancient knowledge and education could ensure world peace, he said. “China has also potentialities except for the Communist ideology.”

The spiritual leader said that the widening gap between the rich and poor was morally wrong. “This gap is visible in India and Manipur also.”

In his speech, the Dalai Lama recalled how he came to India as a refugee 58 years ago. India is also home to some 100,000 Tibetans.

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These 6 books can make you a better college student

Thanks;Drew Housman

Published;Aug 27, 2017 8:18 a.m. ET

Understand statistics, gain financial literacy and get out of your comfort zone

I did very little reading the summer before I started college. I was focused on figuring out which roommate was going to bring the mini-fridge to the dorm, what posters to hang and what classes to take.

I wish I would have realized how many engaging, well-written, informative books there are that could have helped me get more out of my college experience. While none of them would teach me the finer points of suppressing the need to burp while chugging beer out of a funnel, they certainly would have helped me avoid some of the typical college pitfalls.

If had a time machine, I’d go back and have 18-year-old Drew put down the PlayStation controller and read the following six books.

“How to Lie with Statistics” by Darrell Huff”

This book is a fun romp through what I found, in high school, to be an interminably boring subject — statistics. I can feel my eyes glazing over just thinking about Mrs. Camacho, my junior year teacher, saying the words “standard deviation.”

Yet once I was in college, I was kicking myself for not having a better grasp of statistics. In almost all of my classes, I was faced with a dizzying array of studies to interpret, and I had no rules of thumb for figuring out what was good science and what wasn’t. Reading Huff’s book would have made me feel much more comfortable reading through all kinds of studies.

Huff excels at using real-world anecdotes to explain how stats can be manipulated, twisted and spun in order to influence or even trick the average person. A great example is when he takes on something as seemingly obvious as the word “average.” He details how, with a loose enough interpretation of that word, you can do some nefarious things.

For instance, a Realtor might sell you on the benefits of a particular neighborhood by proclaiming that the average income of the residents is $100,000 per year. But, unless you know whether she’s talking about the mean, median, or mode, you don’t know what to make of that seemingly impressive statement. As Huff puts it, using the word average to mean any number of things is “a trick commonly used, sometimes in innocence but often in guilt, by fellows wishing to influence public opinion or sell advertising space.”

Even though it’s over 60 years old, the book feels as relevant as ever. In a world where “fake news” is the phrase du jour, it’s critical to have an understanding of statistics. People from all sides of the political spectrum are going to try to spin jobs reports in their favor. Food companies are going to present nutrition studies so as to make their product look like the best choice. Your future boss might even try to skew your performance history so as to deny you a promotion. If you aren’t confident enough to form your own opinions that are rooted in a basic understanding of statistics, you’re going to be buffeted about by the winds of those who might see you as a sucker.

Furthermore, I think there’s a great benefit in reading books that make complex topics accessible by showing how your budding knowledge can be applied in the real world. When you have a broader understanding of why you’re doing what you’re doing, it’s easier to get through the boring parts.

“Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport”

“Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport

Cal Newport is a tenured professor and a best-selling author who churns out books at an impressive pace. How does he do it? By making room, every day, for what he terms “deep work.” These are chunks of time where he is singularly focused on one aspect of one project. He sits in a quiet room, sets a timer, and zeroes in on the task at hand.

The book is part an exploration of famous folks throughout history who embodied the “deep work” lifestyle, and part helpful tips on how to organize your life to make deep work more accessible.

It sounds simple, and it is. But that’s what’s so great about it. We are surrounded by tools, tech and apps that are all built to supposedly make life more efficient. Newport looks at things holistically, and understands that more important than any new app is developing the ability to sit down in a quiet room and just work.

Back when I started college, I was plenty distracted by my school email, my personal email, Facebook and my PlayStation 2. Now, that looks quaint. College freshmen have smartphones, Instagram, Snapchat, and a bevy of other time killers that are just a click away. If you can’t learn to harness the impulse to go down a YouTube rabbit hole, you’ll never be able to keep up with a full college workload.

My first semester of college was a whirlwind. It felt like every class was assigning an unsustainable amount of homework. And when faced with the siren call of emails and texts, it never seemed like I was making consistent headway on my tasks. Had I been better versed in the idea of deep work, I would have made it a priority to set aside a certain amount of time every day to do distraction-free work.

Cal Newport would have made me a firm proponent of living a life that minimizes the distractions that come from modern “conveniences.” I would be more likely to purposely limit my cellphone usage, eschew Flappy Bird for internal reflection while riding the bus to class, and to check my email only once per day. In a world where we check our phones upward of 46 times per day, staying on task while limiting access to technology is as important as ever.

Related: Deep Work and Deep Learning for Your Career and Your Life

“Early Retirement Extreme” by Jacob Lund Fisker”

My 18 year-old-self would have scoffed at reading a book with such a gimmicky title. But, I now know that this book is not espousing a lifestyle of Top Ramen noodles and living with roommates your whole life. It’s a philosophical treatise on the hows and whys of living a happy, sustainable life.

The author is a former physicist who left academia and retired in his early 30s. His book details how he was able to retire early even though he never earned more money than the average tollbooth worker, and he never inherited a windfall. This aspect of the book is particularly inspiring. Many luminaries in the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) world just happen to have tech jobs that pay them six-figure salaries, plus bonuses. It’s intimidating to try to follow in their footsteps. When someone shows you a path to financial freedom while earning $40,000 a year, it feels more accessible.

The book makes a point of convincing the reader that, with a little effort, they can become a “renaissance man” — the type of person who can insource a lot of tasks that we now reflexively pay others to do for us. We can save a lot of money by cleaning our own homes, doing our own taxes, cooking our own food and properly maintaining our clothing. Such tasks must be undertaken with the understanding that it’s inherently rewarding to be self-sufficient. Frugality does not have to mean sacrificing your happiness.

The book also serves as a way to gain basic financial literacy, an area where our K-12 educational system consistently lets us down. I entered college with no idea how to build credit, how to invest or how to balance a budget. “Early Retirement Extreme” covers all of that without dumbing anything down, and it also goes over everything from calculating the true cost of home ownership to the importance of using your savings rate as a way to monitor your financial health.

The book really shines in the way it addresses things through the lens of building robust systems and encouraging the reader to think outside the box. Had I read this before college, I may have been more inclined to try to start side hustles and think about ways I could build a wide range of skills so I’d never be jobless in a recession.

At my college, it often felt like success was defined by the number of zeros in your bank account, or whether you had lined up a prestigious job after graduation. It doesn’t have to be like that. It’s up to you to decide what path you want to take. Just because your parents and grandparents worked a 9-5 job until they were 65 doesn’t mean you have to. “Early Retirement Extreme” can help young people think about their career trajectories, and their lives, in a whole new way.

“Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand”

Eighteen-year-olds, my younger self included, can be a bit dramatic. A bad grade, or a fight with your roommate, can feel like the end of the world. But, obstacles like that will inevitably arise, and how you deal with them will be a major determinant in how much you get out of the college experience.

Reading a book like “Unbroken” can help you keep your problems in perspective. It tells the story of Louis Zamperini, a World War II veteran who faced being stranded at sea for a record period of time, only to be “rescued” and put into a Japanese prisoner of war camp. He faced conditions that would have made me think twice before complaining about how unfair it was that I got put in a dorm without central air conditioning.

Hillenbrand tells the story masterfully, with rich details and perfect pacing. You feel like you’re right alongside Zamperini as he battles through one hardship after another. I have always been a sucker for underdogs and come-from-behind stories, and this book is near the pinnacle of that genre.

Zamperini’s resilience, determination, and stoicism are constant reminders that I need to appreciate the simple things in life that are so easy to take for granted. Sure, your dorm food might not be great. But once you’ve seen the world through the eyes of someone like Zamperini, you eat it with a smile, happy to live in a world full of freedom and opportunity.

“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie”

Again, my younger self would have been turned off from this book by the title alone. It sounds like a get-rich-quick manual for con artists. Plus, I had tons of friends — what use would I have with this weird book by a circus promoter?

But, had I taken the time to read it, I would have learned that it’s the ultimate guide to networking. I didn’t think I needed help with networking at the time, but I did.

I had a great crew of friends in high school, but I was never able to replicate that in college. This was partly because I was scared of the unknown. The unfamiliar people, the foreign landscape, the intimidating “career fairs” — I quickly found that I was much more comfortable staying away from all that. The world outside my dorm could be full of rejection and awkwardness.

Yet, once you read “How to Win,” you are better able to see those potentially scary events as opportunities. The book provides simple, easy-to-implement advice that can improve your confidence in social situations. The mere fact that it’s still being widely read, so many years later, should speak to its effectiveness.

If you can get out of your comfort zone and effectively network while in college, you’ll set yourself up to have better relationships and more lucrative career opportunities. It doesn’t have to be smarmy, and you don’t need to print business cards. You just have to realize the simple power of things like being a good listener, remembering people’s names, and avoiding arguments. If you develop a wide array of rich relationships while in school, you’re taking a tremendous step toward improving the quality of the rest of your life.

Related: How to Be More Likable, and Why That’s Financially Valuable

“Reading with purpose”

Not only do I wish I’d read all of the above before college, but I wish I’d digested them. I tend to read very fast. It’s a skill that serves me well, but also hindered me in ways. I was great at technically completing my college reading assignments, not so great at actually absorbing anything. I was much more focused on getting reading done just to say I did it. After all, there were videogames to be played!

So, that’s why I also wish I’d read “How to Read a Book” by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles van Doren. It’s a bit pedantic, but on the whole it offers good tips on how to get more out of the texts you read. It extols the virtues of slowing down, taking notes, and rereading passages to make sure you understand them.

If you’re an avid speed reader, using the methods from this book will be laborious at first, like trying to run underwater. But, with time, you’ll realize that reading in a more focused, deliberate manner will improve your ability to get concepts to stick in your brain. As with Aesop’s famous tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race.

“Summing up”

If I had taken the time to slowly and methodically read the above books, I’m confident I would have had a better college experience. I could have made this list a hundred books long, but I think these six provide a nice base for those college students who want to be inspired while broadening their understanding of both themselves and the world.

Robotics in Rural Lithuania

Thanks:Nikolaj Ambrusevic

Published;AUGUST 31ST, 2017

One of our charity partners in Lithuania, Robotikos Mokykla (Robotic School), recently invited us to participate in a workshop in the tiny village of Karvys, 30km north of Vilnius. Robotic School is a charity working primarily with young people to foster an interest in STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) through engaging and practical workshops. The project also aims to create a safe space for young people and help develop social and other skills.

The main idea of this session was to reach out to young people who cannot go to organised classes and who have little access to the internet at home. Robotic School’s enthusiasts Jonas and Evaldas told us not to expect much from the workshop as the majority of rural children are busy helping their parents with agricultural and other duties, so computers and other devices are mainly used just for entertainment.

Robotik-5.jpg

During the workshop, tools based on simple programming for creating animation and games were introduced to two groups of young people from 5-12 years, and 16-18 years. While the younger group were creating their very first cartoon, the teenagers had a chance to get familiar with micro bit programming. Although the majority of participants had little knowledge of computer technologies, they showed a huge interest in programming and shared positive feedback afterwards. It was good to observe how small achievements in a new digital environment changed their attitude, making them more focused and persistent.

The social workers of the club were amazed by the overall impact of our visit and were keen to run similar activities again in the future. I was so glad to be a part of it and am proud that Euromonitor is supporting Robotic School through our CSR programme.

 

Most Americans can’t kick this habit, and it’s killing them

Thanks;Ilene Raymond Rush

Published;Aug 24, 2017 1:52 pm ET

*Should you give up sugar?

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org.

With obesity on the rise and high rates of Type 2 diabetes, more people are attempting to give up sugar. It isn’t easy. Although scientific opinion is far from unanimous, there is tantalizing evidence that sugar can be as neurologically rewarding as some addictive drugs, helping to explain why it’s so hard to kick the habit.

Even figuring out how much sugar you eat is tricky. As Gary Taubes points out in his book, “The Case Against Sugar,” the sweet stuff appears in everything from breakfast cereals to tobacco. And sugar can evade even careful label-readers, masquerading as glucose, fruit juice concentrate, high fructose syrup and sucrose.

75 pounds of sugar a year

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, average consumption of added sugars amounts to about 75 pounds of sugar per person a year.

Taubes find the widespread idea of sugar as simply “empty calories” naïve. Instead, he sees sugar as having specific and possibly harmful effects in the human body.

“Different carbohydrates, like glucose and fructose, are metabolized differently,” he says, “leading to different hormonal and physiological responses. Fat accumulation and metabolism are influenced profoundly by these hormones.”

“People act as though all that matters is the dose, but when you talk about sugar like any other drug you have a paradigm shift,” says Taubes. “Why does Zoloft [an antidepressant] do something different than Lipitor [used to lower cholesterol]? No matter what dose we give a patient of Lipitor, it’s never going to be an antidepressant.

“We keep talking about what’s the right dose of sugar rather than how it works in the body,” Taubes says. “We need to look at it differently.”

Sugars for fats: a poor trade-off

“I think we’re just starting to understand the short- and long-term problems that increased sugar intake can cause to the human body,” says Dr. David Becker, associate director of the preventive and integrative heart health program at the Temple Heart and Vascular Institute in Philadelphia. “From the heart point of view, sugar raises [unhealthy] triglycerides, lowers [healthy] HDL and causes something called metabolic syndrome, a condition where the body can’t process things normally. As we get older, this is as powerful a risk factor as high cholesterol, which causes an increased risk of hypertension and hyperlipidemia and sets the body up to have [a heart attack] over time.””

The dilemma is that “we traded one problem for another,” says Becker. Over the years, in giving up cholesterol, people turned to processed foods that were low in saturated fat but high in sugar.

“But because cholesterol is bad, that doesn’t mean sugar is good. They’re both bad for you,” Becker says.

So what should people eat?

Becker suggests the Mediterranean diet — which is high in healthy fats, proteins and complex carbohydrates such as legumes or whole grains — as one option.

“Diets have been operating between polar extremes,” says Becker. “On one end, there is the Ornish plan, which cuts fats below 10%, which means people eat more junk carbs such as white breads, pasta and sugar, to make up for missing calories. Then there is the Atkins diet, which is very high in saturated fat. I believe we need some balance.”

‘Stepping down’ from sugar

“You can definitely live without sugar,” says Susan Renda, assistant professor of community and public health at Johns Hopkins Medical School. “Mainly, it’s a source of quick energy that rapidly raises blood sugar. If you’re running a marathon, you might need that burst of energy, but in most cases you don’t.”

For those who can’t go cold turkey, Renda advises a “step-down” approach.

“First, be aware of the foods you’re eating. Sugar is everywhere, even in bread, where high fructose corn syrup can be used to help the yeast grow. People aren’t aware of how much sugar they consume.”

Then, she recommends substitutions.

“Pick a processed or refined carbohydrate and substitute a food of the earth, something closer to its natural state,” says Renda. “If you eat ice cream every night, consider substituting a handful of grapes or a few nuts three nights a week.”

Her third step is to work hard to enjoy whatever food you select.

“We tend to eat things we like very quickly. Choose a corner of a bar of dark chocolate — which is healthier than milk chocolate — and eat it very, very slowly,” says Renda.

Skip the soda

Becker finds that the simplest tip for many people is to watch what you drink.

“Sugary sodas are the most harmful — you can have 10 teaspoons of sugar in a single can. And fruit juices aren’t much better,” he says. “Get back to water, and if you must, put a tiny bit of fruit juice in it. It’s something that cuts down the calories and makes a huge difference.”

Despite Becker’s best advice, he admits that not many of his patients abandon sugar completely.

Don’t miss: Still not losing weight? These may be the reasons why

“We need a lot of educating,” he says. “People like things that taste good. But this is a condition that can be cured. Try a sugar purge for a couple of weeks — people say that within two or three weeks they lose the taste for sugar really quickly.”

Ilene Raymond Rush is a health and science writer whose work appears in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Diabetic Lifestyle, Diabetic Living, Good Housekeeping, Weight Watchers Magazine, Philadelphia Magazine and many other publications. She lives in Elkins Park, a suburb of Philadelphia, with her husband and overweight schnauzer, Noodle.

Barcelona truck attack reportedly leaves at least 12 dead and 80 injured

Thanks;

Published: Aug 17, 2017 4:27 p.m. ET

MW-FS548_barcel_20170817131833_ZHPeople move from the scene after a van crashed into pedestrians near the pedestrianized central thoroughfare Las Ramblas in Barcelona

Officials embark on terrorism investigation

MADRID (MarketWatch) — A popular promenade in Barcelona, Spain, became a scene of panic and devastation on Thursday after a van rammed pedestrians, leaving a dozen people dead and dozens more injured.

The incident took place on Las Ramblas, a long, tree-lined street that is typically packed with tourists and locals, around 5 p.m. local time (11 a.m. Eastern time).

Local media were at one point reporting that hostages were being held at a bar near the scene of the attack by other assailants, but later reports cast doubt on the matter. The Associated Press cited the regional president in reporting that two suspects had been arrested.

The Wall Street Journal, citing the jidahist-activity-monitoring organization SITE Intelligence Group, reported that Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the attack. Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, tweeted that terrorists would never defeat a united people who love freedom.

The seaside city was on lockdown in the immediate wake of the attack, with residents told to not leave their homes and many reported to be sheltering inside stores and restaurants and bars that closed the moment news of the attack reached them.

Media reports in Spain and the U.S. indicated the police were treating the incident as a terrorist attack. The police presence on streets in the Spanish capital Madrid, some 600 kilometers southwest of Barcelona, was sharply escalated in the wake of the Barcelona attack.

Nathalie Lezcano Sticchi, a 28-year-old resident of Barcelona who lives near the area, told MarketWatch she had passed the scene of the attack just five minutes before, stepping off the Ramblas to go into a Zara clothing store on a side street.

“When I was on the first floor, one of the guys who was working [at Zara] said, ‘You have to go outside, we are going to close because something is happening at the Ramblas,’ ” Sticchi said in a telephone interview. She said a friend had forwarded her a message from his mother, who had been at Las Ramblas and seen a truck crashing into people.

Sticchi ran to her house, as stores drew their shutters all around her. “People were running everywhere, and no one understood what was going on,” she said, “and I started hearing ambulances.”

Several metro lines were closed in Barcelona, and the area remained sealed off into the evening. Police were urging individuals not to share images of the crash site on social media. They also thanked the media for pixellating images they had chose to use of victims:

Interview Series: Q&A with Dominika Minarovic and Elsie Rutterford, Founders of Clean Beauty Co

THANKS; Pia Ostermann

Published;August 17th, 2017

Euromonitor International is pleased to present an interview with Dominika Minarovic and Elsie Rutterford, Founders of Clean Beauty Co.

Clean Beauty Co started with a shared love for health and wellness. It began with a natural beauty blog, workshops, and a beauty recipe book, which quickly transformed into the launch of beauty products under the brand BYBI, which stands for ‘By Beauty Insiders’, in March 2017.

What made you decide to start Clean Beauty Co?

We saw there was a disconnect between people scrutinising labels and being picky about what they eat, but not applying the same rules to their use of cosmetics. This disconnect made us question the labels of our favourite products, and what we found propelled us to become more educated consumers. We documented this journey across our blog and social media, and Clean Beauty Co was born.

We started sharing beauty product recipes on the Clean Beauty Co platform, which quickly developed into a series of DIY workshops. These workshops started in 2016, and gave us a few hours with our audience to understand their concerns, what they’re thinking about the market, while they are walking away with knowledge and beauty products. We also published our book “Clean Beauty” in January 2017. From then we started seeing revenue coming in even without launching any products. Next came our product range, and we launched Babe Balm and Prime Time in March and May 2017, and we have plans to extend the range this year.

Transparency and integrity are the fundamental pillars of the Clean Beauty Co, which is split across the content and BYBI Beauty, the product arm of the business.

When you talk about the Clean Beauty Company, what does ‘Clean’ mean?

Clean beauty is for us, about stripping away the fluff and pointless fillers found in mainstream beauty products, and formulating with purpose. Every ingredient used has holistic as well as functional benefits, and we find that this philosophy is best aligned with natural formulation, so we don’t include synthetic ingredients in our products.

How important is the online channel to communicate with the consumer?

Online for us is a huge platform to be able to communicate with customers and get them to try our products. People feel much more comfortable buying beauty products online these days. And while there is the element of wanting to touch and smell the product, it is easier, particularly when it is a repeat purchase, to sell online. And this takes us back to our community and how we started, by being content driven. Because when someone learns with us online, and sees that we are not just trying to sell the product but share recipes, content, events and a book with them, they connect with the brand emotionally. I think across the board consumers are moving away from mass production. People are thriving for that connection with the brand, whether it’s researching them or communicating with them, but even knowing that they are produced locally, they have good ethics behind the brand.

Do you think that the demonisation of “unnatural” ingredients could be of detriment to the beauty industry?

Fundamentally, the shift that we’re seeing in the beauty industry as a whole is the demand for transparency. Brands are responding to this by not necessarily re-formulating and making their products more natural, it’s about them being more open about how they produce things. And I think that this demand will mean that brands will have to shift the way that they market and produce their products. But I don’t necessarily think that would turn people off buying beauty products.

Do you think the clean beauty recipe book could encourage cannibalisation of sales of your products?

It probably seems like it doesn’t make a lot of sense commercially that we give away recipes and then try to sell products. We think what worked in our favour, which are two things: firstly, not everyone is going to make their own beauty products; they don’t have time or can’t be bothered. Secondly, what separates us are the two brands with the two offerings which is for one, the book, workshops and Clean Beauty contents that is about very simple recipes that we share and people can make themselves, such as face masks and body scrubs. While the other is the brand product side of it, where we offer products which are not as easy to make, which for us is about driving innovation, by saying natural doesn’t have to be five ingredients or less, natural can be as scientific as mainstream beauty. It can be really unique ingredients and can be about high performance skin care, and feels luxurious.

Have you come across any difficulty in, for instance, legislation?

The issue around legislation is that there isn’t any when it comes to the terms of natural, organic, clean, and green. So it leaves the door wide open for us and what we call ‘green washing’; often bigger brands take advantage of packaging something as natural or organic, when actually it is not and nobody can actually call them out on it. The issue we have is that at the moment there isn’t really in the UK a certification for ‘natural’, but that is about to change. There is an organic certificate from the Soil Association, which is very well respected and has a very rigorous progress.

What are your plans for the future?

We’re focused on skincare, but if anything we will move into colour but that would be hybrid as we would never launch a mascara, for example, rather a tinted version of Babe Balm, or something similar.

That bespoke element is a very nice part of making your own beauty products. The way that we are incorporating this into the BYBI brand is around customising through different products. For example, you may mix the Babe Balm with our Detox Dust, which is going to make a moisturising mask for dryer skin types. As far as the brand’s next few months, we will launch a booster set, little droppers that you can drop into your existing skin care, which will be based on the customer’s skin type, environment, and night and day use.

India celebrates 71st Independence Day – peacefully

Thanks;Asia NEWS network

published:16 Aug 2017 13:42

                        NEW DELHI (The Statesman/ANN News Desk) – Millions poured out of their homes to take part in Independence Day related events across the country. 

India on Tuesday celebrated its 71st Independence Day peacefully, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that “goli” (bullet) and “gaali” (abuse) cannot resolve the Kashmir problem.

Millions poured out of their homes to take part in events big and small across the country. A shutdown called by separatists affected life in the Kashmir Valley and in some parts of the northeast.

The highlight of the day was Modi’s fourth speech from the 17th century Red Fort where he unfurled the national flag and vowed to build a “New India” minus corruption and terrorism by 2022.

“Security of the country is our priority. Internal security is our priority. Whether it is our oceans or borders, cyber world or space, for all kinds of security India is capable of defeating all such inimical forces,” Modi said amid a dragging border row with China.

He said “bullets” and “abuses” cannot solve Jammu and Kashmir’s problem but love can, urging people to embrace Kashmiris and asking the militants to take to the mainstream.

Beyond India, the day was also celebrated by Indians living abroad. Even the Indian cricket team got into the act at its hotel in Colombo.

Amid clear weather, thousands thronged the Red Fort to listen to Modi. Similar scenes were seen in almost all major venue across the country.

From tricolour marks on cheeks to flag designs printed on T-shirts, from tricolour caps to suits, the Indian flag could be seen everywhere.

Despite persistent tensions, border guards of India and Pakistan exchanged sweets along the International Border in Punjab.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s unfurling the Indian tricolour at a government-aided school in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram even after being told by authorities that political personalities are not allowed to do so triggered a row.

Days after over 60 children died in a Gorakhpur hospital, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath termed the tragedy an “eye-opener” and sought to blame it on encephalitis.

In neighbouring Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar pledged to provide good governance and not to compromise with corruption.

In Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti asked the young to give up guns and stones and also vowed to fight for the state’s special Constitutional status.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar ordered a crackdown on rave parties and late-night music events in remote areas of his state.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee unfurled the tricolour and oversaw a colourful parade at the arterial Indira Gandhi Sarani.

In Bhubaneswar, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik suddenly felt unwell while addressing the gathering. Aides later said he was fine.

Independence Day celebrations were also reported from Hyderabad, Shimla, Thiruvananthapuram, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Gurugram, Gurdaspur, Aizwal and other state capitals and major cities.Tulips.jpg

Clooneys to help 3,000 Syrian refugees go to school in Lebanon

Thanks;Riham Alkousaa

Published;AUGUST 1, 2017 / 5:37 AM / 2 DAYS AGO


Cast member George Clooney and his wife Amal leave the Festival Palace after the screening of the film “Money Monster” out of competition at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 12, 2016.

Regis Duvignau

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – George and Amal Clooney said on Monday they would help 3,000 Syrian refugee children go to school this year in Lebanon, where the United Nations says 200,000 children are not receiving an education after fleeing the war in neighboring Syria.
The Clooney Foundation for Justice said it has teamed up with Google (GOOGL.O) and HP Inc (HPQ.N) to help the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF and the Lebanese Ministry of Education open seven so-called “second shift” schools for Syrian refugee children.
Lebanon has more than 1 million Syrian refugees, including nearly 500,000 children. It is educating Syrian children in public schools through a “second shift” system of additional afternoon classes exclusively for them.
“We don’t want to lose an entire generation because they had the bad luck of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Oscar-winning actor George Clooney and international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who gave birth to twins last month.
“Thousands of young Syrian refugees are at risk – the risk of never being a productive part of society,” the couple said in a statement. “Formal education can help change that.”
A $3.25 million donation from the Clooney Foundation for Justice, Google and HP will pay for transportation, school supplies, computers, content, curriculum and teacher training.
A spokesman for the Clooneys’ foundation, Max Gleischman, said the organization had decided to support education for Syrian refugees through the public school system, instead of investing in private schools operated by SABIS, an international company which has prepared students for college and high school exams.
The foundation had announced last year that it would work to enroll thousands of children in SABIS schools.
A crackdown by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on pro-democracy protesters in 2011 led to civil war, and Islamic State militants used the chaos to seize territory in Syria and Iraq. Half of Syria’s 22 million people have been uprooted and more than 400,000 killed.
*Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

Three nations plan 500% increase in global offshore wind

Thanks;Sami Grover Sami Grover (@samigrover)

Published;June 12, 2017
When governments put their minds to it, big things can happen.

Offshore wind advocates cheered recently at news that a German wind farm is going to be built entirely without government subsidy. That said, however, it seems likely that government support—whether in the form of direct subsidies or more generally favorable policy/planning policies—is likely to be a major factor in the success (or not) of offshore wind for some time to come.
That’s why it’s encouraging to hear from Steve Hanley over at Cleantechnica that three nations—Germany, Denmark and Belgium—have signed on to an agreement to support a 5-fold increase in installed offshore wind capacity in the next decade. They’re not just talking about their own capacity either; the target is a global one, meaning an increase of capacity from today’s 13.8 gigawatts to more than 60 gigawatts.
Just imagine what would happen if every nation with suitable shoreline made a similar commitment. (I’m looking at you, USA.)
According to Steve, there’s hope that the agreement will eventually be signed on to by a broader coalition of ten nations who had previously pledged their support for offshore wind energy expansion. At least one of those nations, Great Britain, is currently in a state of political and environmental uncertainty as the world waits to see what its surprise election results really mean for government policy.
Either way, with China and India making more progress on emissions reductions than originally expected, France jockeying hard to seize climate leadership, and large swathes of the United States still pledging to honor the Paris Agreement, this is one more encouraging sign among many that a coalition of the willing could keep climate action well on track, even if there are efforts to sabotage progress in other parts of the world.

Retirement: 8 financial choices you’ll regret in 5 years

Thanks; Jeff Rose, Credit.com

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If your goal is getting ahead financially, the formula for success is simple: Maximize tax-advantaged retirement accounts early, boost your savings with a Roth or traditional individual retirement account, choose investments you feel comfortable with and avoid debt like the plague. If you do those four things, you’re bound to enjoy less stress and more wealth over time.

But is it always that easy? Absolutely not. As you move through the various stages of life, you’ll encounter myriad pitfalls and temptations that can knock you off track – some of which can seem like a smart idea at the time.

Speeding toward financial independence is easier when you know which financial choices can slow you down. I spoke to a handful of top financial advisers to get their takes on the most common financial choices their clients live to regret. Here’s what they said.

1. ‘Investing’ in a new car

“At first blush, buying the latest and greatest version of the ultimate driving machine may seem like a value worthy of your hard-earned money,” says California financial advisor Anthony M. Montenegro of Blackmont Advisors.

Unfortunately, new cars depreciate the moment they leave the lot, and continue dropping in value until they’re worth almost nothing. If you finance the average new car priced at more than $30,000 for five years, you’ll pay out the nose for a hunk of metal worth a small percentage of what you paid. (Remember, a good credit score can qualify you for lower interest rates on your auto loan. You can see two of your scores for free on Credit.com)

Pro tip: Buy a used car and let someone else take the upfront depreciation, then drive it until the wheels fall off. Once five years has passed, you won’t regret all the money you never spent.

2. Not watching your everyday purchases

While big purchases like a new car can eat away at your wealth, the little purchases we make every day can also do damage, says Maryland fee-only financial adviser Martin A. Smith. If you’re spending $10 per day on anything — your favorite coffee or lunch out with friends — your seemingly small purchases can add up in a big way.

Keep in mind that $10 per day is $300 per month, $3,600 in a year and $18,000 after five years. While you may not regret your daily indulgences, you may regret the savings you could have had.

3. Not refinancing your mortgage while rates are low

While refinancing your mortgage is anything but fun, now may be the perfect time to dive in. That’s because interest rates are still teetering near lows, says Colorado financial adviser Matthew Jackson of Solid Wealth Advisors LLC.

Even one percentage point can cost you – or save you – tens of thousands of dollars in interest over the years. Since rates will eventually go up, you “don’t want to miss the opportunity now,” says Jackson.

4. Buying too much house

Buying the ideal home may seem like a smart idea, but does your dream home jive with your financial goals?

Unfortunately, buying more house than you need can lead to regret and financial stress, says Vancouver, Wash., financial planner Alex Whitehouse.

“Too much income going to housing payments makes it difficult to fully furnish rooms, keep up with rising taxes, and often leads to struggles with maintenance and utility costs,” notes Whitehouse.

Banks may be willing to lend you more than you can reasonably afford. If you want to avoid becoming house-poor, ignore the bank’s numbers and come up with your own.

5. Borrowing against your retirement account

While you can borrow against your 401K plan with reasonable terms, that doesn’t mean you should. If you do, you may regret it for decades.

“Millennials often ask if it’s okay to access their 401(k) or IRA early (before age 59 ½) to buy a home, travel or pay off debt,” says Minnesota financial adviser Jamie Pomeroy of FinancialGusto.com.

However, there are numerous reasons to avoid doing so.

Not only do you normally have to pay a penalty to access retirement funds early, but you’ll pay taxes too. Most important, however, is the fact you’re robbing your future self. You will regret the lost savings (and lost compound interest) when you check your retirement account in five years.

6. Not using a budget

While many people buy the notion that budgets are restrictive, the reality is different. If used properly, budgets are financial tools you can use to afford what you really want in life.

“I would suggest that you create a budget that you stick to,” says financial planner David G. Niggel of Key Wealth Partners in Lancaster, Pa. “At the end of the year, you have the chance to evaluate your spending habits and make some serious changes if necessary.”

If you don’t, your finances could suffer from death by a thousand cuts.

7. Not saving as much as you can

While it’s easy to think of your disposable income as “fun money,” this is a decision you could live to regret in five years.

The more money you have saved later in life, the more flexibility you’ll have, notes fee-only San Diego financial adviser Taylor Schulte. And if you don’t get serious about saving now, you could easily regret it in the future.

According to Schulte, you should strive to “play it safe” when it comes to your savings.

“I’ve never heard anyone regret having too much money,” says Schulte. “But, I’d be willing to bet we have all heard far too many people complain about not saving enough or not starting earlier.”

8. Not buying life insurance when you’re young

If you are married, own a home, or have children, you need life insurance coverage. Unfortunately, this is one purchase that becomes more difficult – and more expensive – as you age.

If you don’t buy life insurance when you’re 25, you can expect to pay a lot more for coverage when you’re 30, 35, 40 and so on. And if you wait long enough, you may not even be able to buy it at all, says New York financial planner Joseph Carbone of Focus Planning Group.

As Carbone notes, if you develop a chronic health condition before you apply for life insurance coverage, you could easily become uninsurable. To avoid regretting inaction in five or 10 years, most people would benefit from applying for an inexpensive, term life insurance policy as soon as they can.