Friday, September 25, 2015

Speaker John Boehner to resign from Congress

Speaker John Boehner to resign from Congress: "WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner will resign from Congress at the end of October, ending a tumultuous five-year tenure at the helm of the House and a 25-year career in Congress.

Boehner made the surprise announcement to stunned GOP colleagues at a closed-door meeting Friday morning — less than 24 hours after he reveled in the first-ever papal speech to a joint session of Congress, something he has dreamed of for 20 years, and as the government is on the verge of another shutdown if Boehner's fractious caucus in the House can't reach agreement with the Senate to fund the government beyond Sept. 30."

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Two charts show why the Syrian refugee crisis is only going to worsen - Quartz

Two charts show why the Syrian refugee crisis is only going to worsen - Quartz: "Turkey announced that it has spent $7.6 billion caring for the 2.2 million Syrian refugees living within its borders. It’s a staggering figure amid a crisis that is sure to yield many more of them. But it’s the more modest figures, showing humanitarian aid donated, that indicate how desperate the situation could become.

The Jordanian Economic and Social Council estimates that the direct cost of housing Syrian refugees in Jordan will reach $4.2 billion by 2016. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s social affairs minister announced last December that the Syrian crisis had so far cost the country $20 billion; it’s likely that the figure has soared since."

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In Sydney, a call for paradigm shift on agriculture | Devex

In Sydney, a call for paradigm shift on agriculture | Devex: "Wheat experts at the conference were unanimous in their call for greater political support to fund and prioritize wheat and agricultural research to combat the growing problem of food security.

 “There has been a disinvestment of public dollars going into research and development,” Pardey told Devex.

 “You can get away with that for a while, but if you do that for a decade you eat into the stock of knowledge which is what we are seeing happening throughout the world.”

 It can take seven to 10 years to build a variety of wheat that is resistant to environmental conditions and disease, but by the end of this cycle, researchers are struggling to maintain appropriate funding to keep programs going.

 Braun told Devex there needs to be a dramatic shift in the way agriculture and research was seen by the world’s politicians. “What policymakers and investors need to understand is that agriculture is not a problem — it’s the solution to our future,” he said.

 “This is a perception that really needs to be changing among our policymakers. Agriculture is not just about food production but maintaining the environment. We argue that the potential of wheat should go up 80 percent because then you could reduce the area devoted to wheat and free marginal land for shrubs or trees and give some of this land back before we completely erode it.”"

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Cultivating nutrition: Fortified crops and good nutrition in the first 1,000 days | Devex

Cultivating nutrition: Fortified crops and good nutrition in the first 1,000 days | Devex: "Biofortification has opened up a new front in the assault on hidden hunger — a lack of micronutrients that isn’t as visible as chronic hunger but is just as devastating. While more than 800 million people worldwide are chronically hungry, more than twice as many people are estimated to be micronutrient-deficient, lacking the vitamins and minerals (though they may be getting enough calories) necessary to grow, learn and earn.

 Micronutrients are especially important during the 1,000 days from a woman’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday. The effects of poor nutrition in this time can be irreversible and last a lifetime. Malnutrition during the 1,000 days leads to stunted physical and mental growth: adults who were undernourished as children are more likely to contract chronic diseases, and earn an average of 20 percent less in the labor market than adults who were not. Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all deaths of children under 5 — about 3 million deaths each year."

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The bitter story behind the UK's national drink - BBC News

The bitter story behind the UK's national drink - BBC News: "Rainforest Alliance, the ethical certification organisation, has conceded the investigation has revealed flaws in its audit process.
The joint investigation by Radio 4's File on Four and BBC News in Assam, north-east India, found workers living in broken houses with terrible sanitation. Many families have no toilets and say they have no choice but to defecate amongst the tea bushes.
Living and working conditions are so bad, and wages so low, that tea workers and their families are left malnourished and vulnerable to fatal illnesses.
There was also a disregard for health and safety, with workers spraying chemicals without protection, and on some estates, child labour being used."

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Friday, September 4, 2015

The elegant art of not giving a shit

The elegant art of not giving a shit: "During a very famous moment, Krishnamurti asked the audience if they wanted to know his secret. The lecture hall went silent, and everyone leaned forward.

“You see,” he said, “I don’t give a shit.”

I’m paraphrasing. By most accounts he said “You see, I don’t mind what happens,” but he could have easily said either, and not giving a shit is a concept more people can identify with. I apologize for the vulgarity of the phrase — I will use it a lot in this article — but nothing else captures this piece of wisdom quite as well.

When you tell people to “not mind what happens,” they’ll probably look at you funny unless they’re the type of person who would be in the audience at a Krishnamurti lecture. But everyone understands that there are times in life when the best way to respond to an unpleasant event is to not give a shit.

Giving a shit really just amounts to thinking about what happened. If someone was rude to you on the phone, and you think a lot about it, you are giving a shit. If you hang up and shrug and then go for a bike ride, then you are successfully not giving a shit.

Giving a shit does not necessarily mean you’re doing anything useful, but it makes it seem like you are. It feels like there’s some kind of justice that you’re getting closer to with every moment you give a shit. But that’s not true, because giving a shit, by itself, is only thinking — and thinking has little use aside from figuring out what to do."

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

TalentCorp turns Malaysia’s brain drain to brain gain - Business News | The Star Online

TalentCorp turns Malaysia’s brain drain to brain gain - Business News | The Star Online: "FOUR years ago when the Government was confronted with a difficult question of how could it reverse the brain drain into a brain gain, it decided to embark on two major initiatives. 

This saw Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad (TalentCorp) embarking on the first, which was the Returning Expert Programme (REP) to encourage Malaysians working abroad to return to the “Tanah Air”. 

The second was the Residence Pass–Talent (RP-T) to retain highly skilled expatriates already working in Malaysia.

Both initiatives have shown results as attested by the World Bank. In its June 26 report “Improving the Effectiveness of TalentCorp’s Initiatives”, the World Bank stated “the REP is in fact effective in attracting people (Malaysians) with the skills that Malaysia needs.”

The report assessed and analysed the effectiveness of TalentCorp’s efforts since January 2011 to attract and retain global talent through its REP and RP-T initiatives.

Most importantly, instead of resulting in loss of taxes, the REP offered positive monetary value to Malaysia, with net fiscal benefits estimated at RM27,000 per returned applicant."

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Shocking images of drowned Syrian toddler in Turkey show tragic plight of refugees

Shocking images of drowned Syrian toddler in Turkey show tragic plight of refugees: "The shocking image of a toddler’s lifeless body washed ashore on a Turkish beach after a refugee boat sank has sparked horrified reactions, as the tragedy of Europe’s burgeoning crisis hit home.
The body of the little boy could be seen lying face down in the sand near Bodrum, one of Turkey’s prime tourist resorts, before he was picked up by a police officer in photographs taken by the Dogan news agency.
The corpses of 12 migrants, among them five children and a woman, were found and 15 others were rescued, some surviving by reaching the shore in life jackets.
The coastguard, backed by helicopters, was continuing its search for three people still missing, a statement said.
Dogan reported that most of the refugees were from the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane who fled to Turkey last year to escape violence by Islamic State extremists.
The Turkish coastguard said two boats had sunk after separately setting off from Turkey’s Bodrum peninsula for the Greek Aegean island of Kos early Wednesday."

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