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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Daredevil 'breaks own high wire record'

By Nick Collins, originally posted @ Telegraph.co.uk 30 Aug 2010

[ Breaking News English Lesson on Tightrope Walker Breaks Record - by Sean Banville]

A high wire performer from a family of daredevils is thought to have broken his own world record by cycling across a tightrope 260ft (80m) in the air, without a safety net.

Nik Wallenda cycled more than 100ft (30m) along the wire strung between two hotels

Nik Wallenda, a seventh-generation funambulist from the Flying Wallendas circus family, cycled more than 100ft (30m) along the wire strung between two hotels at the Paradise Island Atlantis resort in the Bahamas.

The new record for the highest traverse of a high wire on a bicycle is subject to confirmation by Guinness World Records.

Mr Wallenda is the current holder of the records for the longest distance and greatest height travelled by bicycle on a high wire, which he set by travelling 235ft (72m) at a height of 135ft (41m) in Newark, New Jersey in 2008.

His latest record attempt was watched by hundreds of tourists who photographed the spectacle from the resort below.

Following his successful stunt the daredevil performed a second trick, walking about 2,000ft (610m) across a high wire suspended 250ft (76m) above the resort's open-air marine habitat, which is infested with sharks, barracudas and piranhas.

The performer defied winds of 28 knots and occasional thunderstorms to safely complete the traverse - the furthest he has ever travelled by foot on a high wire.
Mr Wallenda said: "Against all odds I walked on that wire today. There was lightning in the area, high winds, and it was the first walk without my father.

"It was one of the hardest decisions I ever made in my life. and the hardest walk I have ever done. But my family history and my family tradition is that the show must go on."

Mr Wallenda is the great-grandson of the celebrated circus performer Karl Wallenda, who died after falling off a high wire in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1978.
He said he hopes to continue performing as long as he is physically able, adding: "I want to be the first person in the world to walk across the Grand Canyon, and I have the permit to do it."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

MV: Imagine Me and You

2005 - Imagine Me and You

Rachel and Heck, long time friends and lovers, finally tie the knot, and during the celebration, Rachel starts a friendship with their florist, Luce. And while Rachel originally intended to match her new friend, Luce, up with her husband's friend, Cooper, she soon finds out that Luce is a lesbian. During the course of their friendship, Rachel starts to question her own sexuality. And though she comes to realize she may have feelings for her new friend, Rachel must decide who she will ultimately find the most happiness with: Heck, her new husband who is also adored by her family, or Luce, who has turned her life and everything she thought she new about love upside down


Can you do me a bunch that says that?
  • bunch: a group of cut flowers that you hold together or that someone has tied together
Oh, God, will somebody please put a gag on my daughter?
  • gag: to tie a piece of cloth over someone’s mouth so that they cannot speak or make a noise
You look like a meringue.
  • meringue: a sweet food made from a mixture of sugar and egg whites, very fluffy
What happens when an unstoppable force meets a immovable object?
  • immovable: not able to move
I got a vibe that she likes me.
  • vibe: short for 'vibration' meaning a feeling
Please keep your arms by your side. It's like dancing with a gibbon.
  • gibbon: a large monkey with long arms
I've just met a cracking filly...
  • cracking filly: {British slang} beautiful woman
But Heck and I were mates and then lovers.
  • mates: friends [British]
Okay, baby, now you got to glare, give out the red eye.
  • glare: to look at someone or something in a very angry way
  • red eye: evil eye [British]
Brown leather chesterfield, brass stud decoration...in slightly distressed condition at £90.
  • chesterfield: a large sofa, often covered with leather
  • distressed: a distressed fabric or surface has been deliberately made to look old
Who knows why? Past life, physiognomy.
  • physiognomy: the way that someone’s face looks
Bollocks.
  • bollocks: used for showing that you are annoyed or that you do not agree with something
Shite. Quitting.
  • shite: shit [British pronunciation]
It is, sweetheart. It's atrocious.
  • atrocious: very bad in quality
Well, Coop wants to play strip poker or strip Cooper...
  • strip poker: a card game in which a player who loses must take off some of their clothes
Why, 'cause I don't want to shag you?
  • shag: to make love to
What, you didn't twig?
  • twig: [British] to realize something
She's not just heterosexual.
  • heterosexual: sexually attracted to the opposite sex
Are you stalking us?
  • to stalk: to follow and watch someone all the time in a threatening way, because of an extremely strong interest in them
That man's an arse.
  • arse = [British] ass
He cheats on her like a nutter.
  • nutter: [British] an insulting word for someone who you think is crazy
But you take the plunge anyway.
  • take the plunge: to finally do something important, difficult, or dangerous after thinking about it
Yeah, it's Terri from the vid shop.
  • vid shop: short for 'video store'
It's degrading.
  • degrading: causing you to have less respect for yourself or for someone else
But keep your eyes peeled, and if you spot anyone, you think...
  • eyes peeled: to keep looking for someone or something that you hope to find
Okay, next, broaden your diaphragm.
  • broaden: to make wider
Okay, well, let me just factor that into the computer and crunch some numbers.
  • crunch some numbers: if you crunch numbers, you do a lot of calculations
My boy, for that, you get a bonus as big as my knob.
  • knob: {slang} end of man's penis
Well, screw your bonus.
  • screw: used for expressing your anger
  • bonus: extra money that you are paid in addition to your usual salary
Cooper. That trollop. He'd shag an open wound.
  • trollop: an insulting word for a woman whose sexual behaviour is considered to be immoral
- somewhat akin to the turkey baster.
  • turkey baster: long tube used to coat meat with its own juices
You're a wanker, Number 9!
  • wanker: [British] a stupid or unpleasant person


2005 - Imagine Me and You - PDF download

Sunday, August 22, 2010

BBC: France Sends Roma Gypsies back to Romania

originally posted 20 August 2010 @ BBC.co.uk

[ Breaking News English Lesson on France deports Roma - by Sean Banville]

Dozens of Roma (Gypsies) have arrived back in Romania after being repatriated by France under a controversial policy backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Some 86 Roma left France and hundreds more will follow in the coming weeks after their camps were shut down.

The French government says it is a "decent and humane" policy of removing people from deplorable conditions.

But rights groups say the Roma are being demonised, and Romania has warned France against "xenophobic reactions".

"We understand the position of the French government. At the same time, we support unconditionally the right of every Romanian citizen to travel without restrictions within the EU," Romanian President Traian Basescu said.

However, Mr Basescu added that he was prepared to send police to France to help implement the repatriation scheme.

A deportee named Gabriel told the AFP news agency in Bucharest that life had been "very tough" in France, but he would not rule out returning because there was no work in Romania.

Another man said that in Romania "we don't have any chance, no jobs, nothing".

"Today, 86 people left France on the basis of what are called 'voluntary returns', 61 from Lyon on a special flight charted by the French Immigration and Integration Office, then 10 and 15 on two separate commercial flights from Roissy," said Immigration Minister Eric Besson on Thursday.

Another 139 were due to be flown out on Friday, he said, and hundreds more by the end of the month.

Exploitation claims

The Roma are EU citizens, mostly from Romania or Bulgaria, but French law requires them to have a work permit and prove they have the means to support themselves if they intend to stay for more than three months.

The Roma have a history of being persecuted - many were killed by the Nazis”
Gavin Hewitt, BBC Europe editor

They complain that the permits are difficult to get, and so they are often forced to live illegally.

Roma who agree to leave have each receive 300 euros (£246; $384) and an additional 100 euros for each child.

The French government says it plans to shut down 300 illegal Roma camps in the next three months.

The controversial plan was put in place after clashes last month between police and travellers in the southern city of Grenoble and the central town of Saint-Aignan.

The Roma were not involved in all of the trouble, but the government said travellers' camps were sources of "illegal trafficking" and "exploitation of children for begging, of prostitution and crime".

Some 51 camps have already been demolished by police and the residents have been moved into temporary shelters or accommodation.

Popularity booster?

The operation has been condemned by human rights groups, who say it is deliberately stigmatising a generally law-abiding section of society to win support among right-wing voters.


France's Roma

  • Roughly 12,000 Roma migrated to France after Bulgaria and Romania's accession to the EU
  • Many have no work permits, so live in camps and resort to begging
  • Separately, at least 400,000 people are designated "travellers", mostly French nationals with Roma origins

Last week, members of the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination criticised the tone of political discourse in France on race issues, saying racism and xenophobia were undergoing a "significant resurgence" there.

But France has insisted that the actions "fully conform with European rules and do not in any way affect the freedom of movement for EU citizens, as defined by treaties".

Foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told AFP that an EU directive "expressly allows for restrictions on the right to move freely for reasons of public order, public security and public health".

The European Commission said it would ensure none of the bloc's rules were being broken.

France repatriated some 10,000 Roma last year and other European countries, including Germany, Italy, Denmark and Sweden pursued similar policies.

Mr Sarkozy's political opponents have accused him of using the Roma issue to shift public attention away from corruption and on to crime.

The BBC's Christian Fraser in Paris says that the president's poll rating is sagging and there are some who accuse him of using the recent unrest to boost his own popularity.

Some of the Roma living in France are part of long-established communities of travelling people who are French nationals.

In addition, there are an estimated 12,000 Roma who are recent immigrants from Central Europe.

"Some of these families have been in France for five, seven or 10 years and 300 euros is not enough to help them settle in Romania. They will return in the coming weeks," Malik Salemkour, the vice-president of the French Human Rights League, told the Reuters news agency.

Nike: Stretching Before and After a Run

originally posted March 25, 2010 by Coach Jay


New to running. 44-year-old male in good shape. Exercise 5-6 days a week (just never ran), preparing for a 10K in May. I've read all over the Nike+ site about the importance of stretching before a run - yet I have no idea what types of stretches, duration, repetitions, etc. Can you help? Thanks, Steve Davis

Steve - Thanks for the question and no doubt other readers have the same question. There are three keys regarding stretching as a distance runner.

First issue is to get out of the "no pain, no gain" mentality when stretching. While our skeletal muscles contain golgi tendon organs that protect the body from overstretching, we still have the capacity to injure ourselves by stretching too hard. When you feel pain, you're overstretching. And while you will gain flexibility within 2-4 weeks if you follow a stretching program, nothing changes this simple fact: pain and stretching do not go together.

The second thing to remember is that prior to a run the “stretching" should focus on joint mobility and getting the body ready to run. The Lunge Warm-Up and Myrtl routine featured in our video series are two great ways to prepare for a run, yet neither video will show any toe touches. Static stretching, such as toe touches, should not be the focus of your pre-run routine, though many runners think otherwise.

But static stretching fits well after your run and that's the third thing a runner needs to be honest about - if a runner finishes a run, showers, and then is sitting in a car or an office chair 15 minutes later that runner is setting himself up for injuries. Static stretching or yoga is exactly what a runner needs after a run — just 5 minutes of stretching will allow you to feel better on your subsequent runs — allowing you to slowly increase your mileage over weeks and months. The Back routine and Myrtl routine from the video series can also be used after your run, but simple static stretching that you would have done in middle school PE class is appropriate at this point.

Bottom line is five minutes and five minutes; make sure you add five minutes for joint mobility before your run and five minutes for static stretching, yoga, or more mobility work after your run and you'll have fewer running injuries.

Thanks for your question Steve and good luck with your training.
Coach Jay coaches athletes at RunnersCoach.com and blogs at CoachJayJohnson.com. And don't forget, if you have training question for Coach Jay, email him here: coachjay@nike.com

Interested in Coach Jay's General Strength videos? Click here to check them out.

Always be in-the-know. Follow Nike Running on Facebook.

Friday, August 20, 2010

MV: Mr and Mrs Smith

2005 - Mr and Mrs Smith

John and Jane Smith are a married couple, both living unexciting lives and attending marriage therapy, as their passion has cooled since they got married. But what they don't know about each other is that they are both professional assassins working for two rival agencies. John's latest assignment is to eliminate Benjaiman "Tank" Danz, but it all becomes complicated when Jane is also assigned to eliminate the same target. Learning that they are both assassins and failing to eliminate Danz, John and Jane's separate employers decide that they try to take each other out (John kill Jane, Jane kill John). Engaged in a deadly game, John and Jane try to take each other out and learns more about each other as they try to finish the job and eliminate Danz.


And this is like a check-up for us.
  • check-up: an examination to make sure that ST is healthy
Chance to poke around the engine, maybe change the oil.
  • to poke around: to try to find something
- Replace a seal or two.
  • seal: a shaped piece of ST that closes a hole inside an engine so that substances cannot get in or out
Very well, then. Let's pop the hood.
  • to pop the hood: to open (the engine compartment in a car)
Ten being perfectly happy and one being totally miserable, or...
  • miserable: extremely unhappy or uncomfortable
- Just respond instinctively.
  • respond: to answer
- To dodging bullets.
  • to dodge: to avoid SO/ST by moving quickly, especially so that something does not hit you
I think room service fled.
  • room service: provided by a hotel to allow you to have food and drink brought to your room
  • to flee: to escape from a dangerous situation or place very quickly
She's uninhibited, spontaneous, complicated. She's the sweetest thing I've ever seen.
  • uninhibited: not embarrassed about showing or saying how you feel
  • spontaneous: happening in a natural way without being planned or thought about
- He's in construction. Big-time contractor.
  • Big-time: the highest and most successful level in a profession
A server goes down on Wall Street. She's there, anytime, day or night.
  • server: a computer that controls or performs a particular job for all the computers in a network
His questions were a bit wishy-washy.
  • wishy-washy: {slang} not strong or definite
Not the most insightful.
  • insightful: showing a very good understanding of a person or a complicated situation
And his office is clear across town.
  • clear across: completely on the other side
It's pissing rain out there.
  • pissing rain: raining a lot
This tea sandwich of a man, he got his hands on them first.
  • "tea sandwich of a man": small gentleman, very proper but not aggressive
They're a bit green, so we have to reupholster the sofas and get a new rug. Maybe a Persian.
  • reupholster: to re-cover furniture with cloth or leather so that it is attractive and comfortable
I remember cos we said we'd wait.
  • cos: short for 'because'
Zero per cent APR till March.
  • APR: annual percentage rate: the percentage that a bank makes you pay in interest when you borrow money from it, calculated over a period of one year
  • Yes. Some clown crashed a server in a law firm downtown and ended the world, so yes.
  • clown: SO very stupid
  • law firm: business company of lawyers
I'll be there. In and out. Just a quickie.
  • quickie: something done very quick
What the hell? What's this shite?
  • shite: Irish pronunciation of 'shit'
Sorry. Where's the can around here? Chrissake...
  • can: toilet, bathroom
- Private game. Piss off.
  • Piss off: {slang} Go away.
Easy, big feller.
  • feller: poor pronunciation of 'fello' meaning 'man'
In the pot. Put it in the pot.
  • pot: an amount of money that people share or compete for, especially in a card game
- He's got 14 different tells!
  • tell: in poker is a subtle but detectable change in a player's behavior or demeanor that gives clues to that player's assessment of his hand
He's down!
  • 'he is down': he is hurt
- Don't stray too far, guys.
  • to stray: to move away from the correct place or path
- It's a bloodbath over there.
  • bloodbath: a situation in which a lot of businesses close or a lot of people lose their jobs because there is so much competition
Actually, I got all my dough buried under the tool shed.
  • dough: {slang} money
Oh, shoot. Not again.
  • shoot: polite way of saying 'shit'
Get rid of that gum.
  • to get rid of ST: to throw away or put away
Barbecue, no ladies, dudes only. It's gonna be awesome.
  • dude: guy
  • awesome: great
…in case you decide to scratch your ass or use the head later.
  • head: toilet, bathroom
They're making a ground-to-air handoff to heli, ten miles north of the Mexican border.<
  • handoff: to pass or transfer ST to SO
  • heli: short for helicopter
He'll rendezvous with the helicopter at a deserted airstrip. We've one chance to strike.
  • rendezvous: to meet at a particular time and place that you have arranged
- Affirmative. Is it a threat?
  • affirmative: yes
Countdown's initiated. The convoy is not in the zone yet.
  • convoy: a group of vehicles or ships travelling together, often with other vehicles or ships providing protection
- Again. That'll be on your mantel next year.
  • mantel / mantelpiece: a shelf above the opening of a fireplace
Just gimme a hand, will you?
  • gimme: poor pronunciation of 'give me'
I am so done playing games with this broad.
  • broad: an insulting word for a woman
- The new curtains are hideous.
  • hideous: very ugly or frightening in appearance
Was sloth part of it too?
  • sloth: lazy behavior
Limo, sir?
  • limo: short name for 'limousine'
- Everything OK? We heard an awful ruckus.
  • ruckus: a fight, or a noisy argument
- It's reputable.
  • reputable: generally considered to be honest and reliable
It's not like you're some beacon of truth.
  • beacon of truth: SO/ST that encourages people and gives them a good example to follow
I find myself dragging my feet this morning.
  • dragging my feet: to deliberately go slower than expected
- Uncuff me.
  • to uncuff: to unlock hand-cuffs
Zip it!
  • zip it: shut up, be quiet, don't say anything
This guy's a wily one.
  • wily: clever and willing to trick people in order to get what you want
That's regrettable.
  • regrettable: making you feel sad or sorry because ST happened that you wish had not happened


2005 - Mr and Mrs Smith - PDF download

MV: Yes Man

2008 - Yes Man

The banker Carl Allen is a lonely man with low self-esteem after his divorce with Stephanie, for whom he still yearns. He avoids his best friend Peter. He has a boring job, stalled in a bureaucratic position in the loan department of a bank; and he spends his spare time watching DVDs. When he meets by chance his former high school mate Nick, he is convinced to participate of a self-help program called "Yes Man" leaded by the guru Terrence Bundley. The basic principle of the program is to say "yes" to new situations, leaving the negativism aside. Carl misunderstands the concept and says "yes" to every question. While leaving the encounter, he helps a homeless man and in the end of the night he meets the gorgeous Allison that helps him with her scooter. His life completely changes with his new attitude.


Oh, just hanging out in my apartment.
  • to hang out: to spend time relaxing in a particular place or with particular people
Darn it to heck!
  • darn it to heck: polite way to say 'damn it to hell'
I thought you had hung up your spurs you old cowboy.
  • to hang up your spurs: to quit something
Issues pending. They keep me pretty busy.
  • pending: waiting to be dealt with, settled, or completed
Carl it's open bar. What's the problem?
  • open bar: free drinks
- Yeah, they seem to be thriving. Good for her.
  • thriving: very successful, happy or healthy
Anyway, I am gone-a-rea.
  • gone-a-rea: sounds like gonorrhea (sexually transmitted disease)
I'm having a get-together at my place.
  • get-together: party
...but my designs are going to revolutionize the roller industry
  • revolutionize: change a lot
...but you have no equity.
  • equity: the value of a property after you have taken away the amount left to pay
You must be running this place by now.
  • to run something: to be the boss of something
I shot a cow with a bazooka.
  • bazooka: military weapon (gun carried on the shoulder to launch small missiles)
Why don't you take this rock and throw it at that bank and shatter the window the window?
  • shatter: to break something suddenly into a lot of small pieces
That's pathetic.
  • pathetic: if someone or something looks or sounds pathetic, you feel sympathy for them
He's like a frickin mind grenade.
  • frickin': polite way to say 'fucking' meaning incredible
Change is generated from consciousness but where is consciousness generated from?
  • to generate: to produce
From the external .
  • external: outside of something
When you say 'Yes' to things, you embrace the possible.
  • embrace: hold
You've gobbled up all of life's energies and you excrete the waste.
  • to gobble: {slang} to grab
That's okay, I'm just auditing.
  • audit: to attend a class but for no grade
If the mole hill won't come to Terrence,
  • mole hill: small bit of dirt made with a mole (small animal) digs in the ground
You are stuck in the same dead-end job.
  • stuck: not moving
  • dead-end job: job with no future, no advancement
We can make a covenant, Carl.
  • covenant: (old usage, usually religious) a formal agreement or promise
...things can get a little dicy.
  • dicey: involving danger or risk
Gracias amigo. It was real nice of you to give me a ride. Most people just say no.
  • gracias amigo: Spanish for 'thank you friend'
Can I borrow a couple bucks?
  • bucks: {slang} dollars
Why not take a late night stroll through the hills and get killed by the Manson family?
  • stroll: a walk
Did you just run out of gas?
  • to run out: to finish something usually needing more.
I don't want to be kept alive artificially.
  • to be kept alive artificially: to be alive only because machines help breath
Unless you want to stick around and make out?
  • to make out: to kiss
I bake cakes in the shape of different celebrities' faces.
  • celebrity: someone famous
I marched upstairs and told the big guns Carl gets promoted in leiu of Demco
  • big guns: {slang} top management of a company
- You're preaching to the choir, Carl.
  • preaching to the choir: trying to convince someone who already agrees
Excuse me. can we get another round of drinks.
  • round of drinks: another drink for everyone
Actually, we're going to start a tab, and our good friend here, Carl Allen, will be taking care of it.
  • tab: a bill for the cost of a meal or for drinks that you have bought
I made a sacred covenant.
  • acred: holy
That sounded naughty.
  • naughty: a naughty joke, picture, or postcard is sexual in a rude but funny way
But if I win, I get to take that pretty girl of yours to a ball.
  • a ball: a formal social event at which there is dancing
Come on, I got your back.
  • to have your back: to help protect someone from the unknown or unseen
First we have to establish the ground rules.
  • ground rules: the basic rules or principles that govern the way that something is done
That's why you got punched out. Because you got the wrong attitude right out of the gate.
  • out of the gate: at the start, at the beginning
I do not know what to say. I'm stumped. Baffled.
  • to be stumped: if you are stumped by something, you cannot explain or answer it
  • to be baffled: if a problem, someone’s behavior, etc. baffles you, you cannot understand it or solve it
He is a computer hacker.
  • hacker: someone who uses a computer to connect to other people’s computers secretly and often illegally, so that they can find or change information
It's so crazy. Are you stalking me?
  • to stalk: to follow and watch someone all the time in a threatening way, because of an extremely strong interest in them
Gonna pull an all-nighter.
  • pull an all-nighter: do something all night, usually till sunrise
We hit a couple of raves last night. It was totally off the hook.
  • rave: a very large party, where people dance to music and sometimes take illegal drugs
  • off the hook: too much fun
Yeah, you seem a little hyper.
  • hyper: short for 'hyperactive' - too much energy, activity
Closed off little boy. Tender topic.
  • tender: sensitive
Carl, would you like to throw Lucy a bridal shower?
  • bridal shower: a party for a woman who will soon be getting married, where she gets gifts
You know at first I thought you might be raiding our coffers.
  • raiding our coffers: stealing from business
Carl, these micro-loans. Not bad.
  • micro-: very small
See, Car. You worry-wart.
  • worry-wart: One who worries excessively or unnecessarily
So, where are you headed?
  • headed: going
Kind of an 'eeny, meeny, miny' thing
  • eeny, meeny, miny: children's choosing game
Keeps it fresh.
  • fresh: new, exciting, different
...because if you don't take the heads off properly, then everything gets mixed into the batch
  • batch: an amount of a food that is prepared or baked at one time
You are hilarious.
  • hilarious: very, very funny
It was a spontaneous vacation.
  • spontaneous: happening in a natural way without being planned or thought about
... but I guess I figured like an adult you were going to weigh the options.
  • to weigh your options: to choose the best of all the options
It kicks the crap out of dealing with those peons, eh?
  • peons: used for describing someone who works hard for little money or who feels they are not respected in their job
kept throwing money at it.
  • throwing money at it: continue spending a lot of money on something
Oh, right. Nailed it.
  • nailed it: got it correct
We had this big fight and he stormed off.
  • to storm off: to leave suddenly when angry
Oh come on, can't you give me a break?
  • to give a break: to make an exception to a rule
Oh, wow, thanks. My knight in shining armor.
  • a man who helps someone, especially a woman, who is sad or in trouble
- It makes your package look good.
  • package: {slang} genitals


2008 - Yes Man - PDF download

NEWS: Extinct Woolly Mammoths 'Ran Out Of Grass'

by Gerard Tubb, originally posted August 19, 2010 @ Sky.com

[Breaking News English Lesson on Extinction of Mammoths - by Sean Banville]

Giant woolly mammoths died out because they ran out of grass - not because they were hunted to extinction, according to scientists.

The mammoth was three metres high,
with thick hair to help it cope with the cold

Until now, it was thought the huge relatives of modern elephants had been harried and hunted into oblivion by early man.

Instead, global warming 21,000 years ago left the massive mammals with nothing to eat, a team of scientists from Durham University claimed.

As the planet heated up and the weather got wetter, forests spread out, leaving large herbivores like mammoths with less to eat and causing knock-on effects for the rest of the food chain, the scientists found.

The findings come from a new investigation into the mammoths' last days, led by Durham University's School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences.

This is a model for what may happen as a result of rapid climate change over the next century linked to human activity.
Professor Brian Huntley, University of Durham

Professor Brian Huntley, University of Durham Together with colleagues from the Natural History Museum, Bristol University and Lund University in Sweden, the scientists simulated the effect of global warming on climate and vegetation at the end of the last ice age.

Standing three metres tall, mammoths had thick hair to cope with the cold.

But nothing could help them with a lack of food, the new research suggested, coming to the conclusion it was the growth of trees that was their undoing.

"It is food for thought in these times of global warming and human-induced habitat change," said team leader Professor Brian Huntley.

"Mammoths had roamed and munched their way across many parts of Europe, including the UK," said Professor Huntley.

"We believe that the loss of food supplies from productive grasslands was the major contributing factor to the extinction of these mega-mammals."

The team warned that the plight of mammoths after the ice age could happen again - this time to elephants and rhinoceroses, if habitats change because of modern global warming.

"This is a model for what may happen as a result of rapid climate change over the next century linked to human activity," the professor added.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

UB Post News 2010.08.17

Links to articles in the UB Post, Ulaanbaatar's English-language newspaper
Website: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/



HOME NEWS

GOVT OPENS WINDOW TO SELL FLOUR AT FAIR PRICE
13.08.2010 = Since Russia imposed a temporary ban on grain export early August, the price of flour increased in the countrywide, leading to strong debate and anger among the population since the flour is a major ingredient in daily diet of Mongolians.

MINING and MINERALS

NEW ENTREE COAL LICENSE IN MONGOLIA
13.08.2010 = Entree Gold has received a mining license covering the Nomkhon Bohr coal discovery, which was outlined through exploration efforts in 2008-2009.

POLITICS

ELBEGDORJ INVITED TO WEF’S CLIMATE COUNCIL

10.08.2010 = President Ts.Elbegdorj received an invitation from Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum to become a Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Climate Change, the Presidential Office stated.

CULTURE & ARTS

NEW EXHIBIT OPENS
13.08.2010 = A joint exposition of members of the Union of Mongolian Artists will be opened in the art gallery of the Union of Mongolian Artists at 4:00pm on today.

ENTERTAINMENT

2010 KOREA RAINBOW TOURISM FESTIVAL IN MONGOLIA
13.08.2010 = Embassy of the Republic of Korea will organize a biggest festival called “2010 Korea Rainbow Tourism Festival Mongolia” in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, within the framework of the 20th anniversary of diplomatic…

OPINION

“NUR ZHOL”
13.08.2010 = New capital of Kazakhstan is Astana. Center point of the city is golden egg in its nest, located at the top of 97-meter high tree, symbol of unity and happiness…

ECONOMIC
Cabinet Makes Economic Decisions
The Cabinet approves the national list of concession, which includes some 91...

BUSINESS
FIFTA to Host Business Forum in Europe
The Foreign Investment and Foreign Trade Agency of Mongolia (FIFTA) schedules...

SPORTS
5th FIDE Women’s Grand Prix Finishes Successfully
The 5th FIDE Women’s Grand Prix was organized successfully in Ulaanbaatar

TRAVEL
International Travel Mart Wrap-up
The Mongolian Tourism Association organized successfully the 11th annual fair...

RESTAURANT REVIEWS
On Food
Where, in this land of Buuz and khuushuurs, can one find a decent burger...

NYPost: A bum you can trust - honest!

By KEVIN FASICK and TODD VENEZIA
originally posted August 13, 2010 @ NYPost.com

[Breaking News English Lesson on Honest Homeless Man - by Sean Banville]

A Manhattan homeless man had an emotional reunion yesterday with the kindhearted ad executive who lent him her American Express Platinum Card outside a SoHo restaurant, in what became a shining act of generosity, trust and honesty.

"I didn't have to thank him. I trusted him all along," said Merrie Harris, 45, as she hugged Jay Valentine, 32, outside La Esquina on Kenmare Street.

Harris lent her card to Valentine there Monday after he asked her for change. Most people who witnessed the act of extreme generosity doubted he would ever come back. But a short time later, he returned with the card, stunning many and earning Valentine the title of Most Honest Homeless Man in the City.

"What he did was no surprise to me," Harris said yesterday. "People keep telling me, 'Why would you talk to him and trust him?' But are we only supposed to trust people we know? What would Bernie Madoff's friends be saying?"

Valentine told The Post that he was surprised to be handed the card, but he never thought to take advantage of Harris' generosity.

"I wasn't tempted at all," said the 32-year-old Brooklyn native. "She trusted me, and I didn't want to violate that trust. I would never do that."

Valentine said he has been homeless for a few years, since he lost his job at a real-estate company that had allowed him to sleep in the office. He said he now spends his nights in an Internet cafe whose staff allows him to sleep on their chairs. He said he was hungry and low on cash on Monday when he saw Harris standing with friends outside the restaurant.

"I asked her for change and told her I wasn't working," he said.

"She said she only had a card. She said, 'Can I trust you?' I said, 'I'm honest, yes.'

"I went and bought a few things and came back and gave her her credit card back, and everybody was surprised.

"I said thanks for trusting me. I guess she had a good sense of judgment. She knew I was trustworthy."

Valentine said he bought deodorant, body wash, a pack of Nat Sherman cigarettes and Vitaminwater. It all cost about $25, he said.

"She was really lucky it was me she ran into" and not someone who would have stolen the card, Valentine said. "I was really in need. I only had a couple of dollars on me."

"It sets a good example that people in need -- like I am or worse -- can and should be trusted," he said. "Everybody in the restaurant was surprised. They probably thought I would run off with the card."

Friday, August 13, 2010

NPR: U.N. Appeals For More Aid For Flood-Hit Pakistan

Originally posted August 11, 2010 @ NPR.org

[Breaking News English Lesson on UN Appeals for More Aid - by Sean Banville]

After heavy flooding in Pakistan's northwest, that country's military is trying to respond to damage and humanitarian needs. The United Nations is appealing for more international aid, and the U.S. has added to its commitment. But many people are still without food, drinkable water and shelter. NPR's Melissa Block talks to Azizullah Khan, a reporter with the BBC's Urdu Service, about the situation.

MELISSA BLOCK, host: [Download MP3 of the story below]

Tens of thousands of Pakistani troops are responding to the worst floods in that country's history. At least 1,500 people have already died, and the flood crest is still working its way south, along the Indus River. The United Nations is calling for more international aid. Today, the U.S. added more than $16 million to its pledge, raising the total above $71 million. Millions of people have been affected by the pounding monsoon rains and floods, and many have yet to see help.

Azizullah Khan reports for the BBC's Urdu Service. He spoke with me today from Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province.

Mr. AZIZULLAH KHAN (Reporter, Urdu Service, BBC): I saw many villages have been washed out. I have seen many people are residing on the motorway in between the roads, and they have set their tents in that road.

BLOCK: You're saying that the people who've managed to escape the floodwaters are setting up camp or seeking shelter on the roads themselves?

Mr. KHAN: Yeah, because other areas are totally washed out. I can give you the example of only one city. This is Dera Ismail Khan, the most southern city from Peshawar. More than 500 villages have been damaged and 123 villages were totally washed out. I have seen a village where only one mosque was left and other houses were destroyed, and people got refuge on top of that mosque and they were looking for some aids. So people should come and get them away from this area.

BLOCK: Mr. Khan, are you seeing any signs of an organized relief operation bringing food or clean drinking water or shelter to all these people who've been flooded?

Mr. KHAN: Although there are efforts, but so far I have talked to many affected and they were saying that they are not receiving anything so far. I have seen many people who have got refuge under big vehicles. They are sitting under these vehicles.

Many small children were lying on the roads. They were sleeping on the roads and they have noting. The affected are looking for food, for potable water is one of the major problem in many areas. We have seen many people who do not have clothing and they were looking for the shoes because you can't walk on these roads without shoes. So this is the situation so far.

BLOCK: As this crisis is unfolding in Pakistan, President Zardari was traveling in Europe, it included a stop at his family's chateau in France. And he's come under a lot of criticism for not being home during the floods. He says that it might have been important symbolically for him to be at home, but he said hungry people can't eat symbols, and he was able to raise money in this trip overseas for flood relief.

What are you hearing from people about the government's response, and in particular, the president?

Mr. KHAN: Yeah. The people are blaming the government because they need food and basic amenities. But there is certain political circles - they are saying that the president should be present. But they do not need Zardari to come and sit with them in the villages. They need those things that could be survived in during such critical situation.

BLOCK: There is this fear, too, that with this vacuum created by the government's response being so inadequate, that militant Islamic charities are filling that gap, providing relief where the government is not.

Mr. KHAN: Actually, the areas I have visited so far, I have never seen those militant organizations supporting these people to cover that vacuum. I have seen the international organization. I have seen the vehicles of the Save the Children Program, similarly other like ICRC and...

BLOCK: The Red Cross.

Mr. KHAN: The Red Cross, yes. The Red Cross, I'm talking about. Similarly, local organizations, they are working in most parts of the Pakistan. But these supports are very, very minimal. People need very huge amount of food and other things.

If I can compare, they are giving five to 10 percent aid or relief activities, whereas 80 to 90 percent area still needs support and the food from the government side, from the organization or from the individuals.

BLOCK: I've been talking with Azizullah Khan. He's a reporter for the BBC Urdu Service in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province.

Mr. Khan, thanks very much.

Mr. KHAN: Thank you very much.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

UB Post News 2010.08.10

Links to articles in the UB Post, Ulaanbaatar's English-language newspaper
Website: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/



HOME NEWS

RUSSIA BAN WHEAT EXPORT, NO EFFECT ON MONGOLIA
10.08.2010 = Russia’s ban on export wheat would not affect Mongolia’s domestic market supplies and food prices, agriculture analysts said.

MINING & MINERALS

KHUSHUUT COAL MINE OPERATION TO START BY OCTOBER
10.08.2010 = The Khushuut Coal Mine is to start full operation by October 2010, Khovd Province governor informed to the visiting Prime Minister S.Batbold.

POLITICS

ELBEGDORJ INVITED TO WEF’S CLIMATE COUNCIL

10.08.2010 = President Ts.Elbegdorj received an invitation from Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum to become a Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Climate Change, the Presidential Office stated.

CULTURE & ARTS

UTA SHMIT EXHIBIT IN ART GALLERY OF UMA
10.08.2010 = An exhibition to be named “Through the sand” was opened by German artist Uta Shmit on August 5 at the art gallery of the Union of Mongolian Artist (UMA).

ENTERTAINMENT

PLAYTIME-2010 LIVE ROCK FESTIVAL HELD IN GACHUURT
10.08.2010 = The 9th annual “Playtime- 2010” live rock festival took place successfully on August 7-8, 2010. On Saturday, the live rock festival was started by new rock bands themed “Azjargal”…

OPINION

MONGOLIA AND JAPAN
10.08.2010 = When Mongolia was a socialist country, there were only two western embassies in Ulaanbaatar. The British and Japanese embassies were the only representatives of the free world here. Unfortunately, the…

ECONOMIC
Cabinet Makes Economic Decisions
The Cabinet approves the national list of concession, which includes some 91...

BUSINESS
Simon Morris Joins Khan Bank
Khan Bank has announced on Monday that Simon Morris...

SPORTS
Ts.Khongorzul Traps Gold in ISSF World Championship
For the first time, Mongolian woman Ts.Khongorzul became a champion of the 50th...

TRAVEL
International Travel Mart Wrap-up
The Mongolian Tourism Association organized successfully the 11th annual fair...

RESTAURANT REVIEWS
On Food
Where, in this land of Buuz and khuushuurs, can one find a decent burger...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

BBC: US to charge £9 for ESTA compulsory travel entry form

originally posted 6 August 2010 @ BBC.co.uk

[Breaking News English Lesson on Visa Fee - by Sean Banville]

The US government is to start charging UK travellers $14 (£9) to apply for permission to enter the country.

The compulsory Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (Esta) is free at present, but from 9 September visitors to the US will have to pay for it.

It lasts for two years; people who already have a valid form will not have to pay until their current one expires.

The scheme was introduced in January 2009 but was made mandatory from January 2010.

It applies to all 35 countries with US "visa waiver" status.

Promote tourism

The Electronic System for Travel Authorisation form, which takes up to 72 hours to be approved, gives air passengers prior approval for entry to the US.

It replaced the green I-94 card which passengers have previously filled in on their flight into the US.

Most people who fill in the form should receive approval from the US Department of Homeland Security within a few minutes.

But British Airways and American Airlines are advising travellers to apply at least 72 hours in advance.

Both airlines have said people without valid Esta forms or visas will not be allowed to board flights to the US.

The fee has been introduced to fund a programme which aims to promote tourism in the US and attract foreign spending.

Martin Lewis, creator of MoneySavingExpert.com, has urged people even considering a trip to the US to apply for a form now to beat the charge.

He said: "The security authorisation lasts for two years, so do it now and it'll be free if you travel in that time. Yet leave it for a month and you'll have to pay for it.

He went on: "It is rather strange that this fee is mainly going to promote US tourism. You would've thought keeping it cheaper to get in would help more - after all, it's free for most Americans to come here."

The scheme was introduced in January 2009 but was made mandatory from January 2010.

About four million Britons visit the US each year.

MV: Casablanca

1943 - Casablanca

In World War II Casablanca, Rick Blaine, exiled American and former freedom fighter, runs the most popular nightspot in town. The cynical lone wolf Blaine comes into the possession of two valuable letters of transit. When Nazi Major Strasser arrives in Casablanca, the sycophantic police Captain Renault does what he can to please him, including detaining Czech underground leader Victor Laszlo. Much to Rick's surprise, Lazslo arrives with Ilsa, Rick's one time love. Rick is very bitter towards Ilsa, who ran out on him in Paris, but when he learns she had good reason to, they plan to run off together again using the letters of transit. Well, that was the plan....


Lisbon became the great embarkation point.
  • embarkation point: a place to get on a ship in order to begin a journey
Halt!
  • halt: stop
It's the fishing smack Santiago.
  • smack: a small boat used for fishing
And his father is the bellboy.
  • bellboy: a man whose job is to carry people’s bags to their room in a hotel
Someday they may be scarce.
  • scarce: if something is scarce, there is not very much of it
Maybe get her on the rebound.
  • on the rebound: when someone is impatient to start a new relationship in order to forget the old one
Why don't you spill it.
  • to spill it: to talk about it
I stick my neck out for nobody.
  • stick my neck out: to take a risk by saying or doing something that could be wrong or could make other people react angrily
I admit he's clever. Three times he slipped through our fingers.
  • slipped through our fingers: if something such as a chance, opportunity, or prize slips through your fingers, you fail to get it or to take advantage of it
A lot of water under the bridge.
  • water under the bridge: used for saying that you should stop thinking about something bad that happened in the past and you should forgive people who did bad things
We have a curfew in Casablanca.
  • curfew: a law that does not allow people to go outside after a particular time in the evening
A very puzzling fellow, this Rick.
  • puzzling fellow: a man who is confusing or difficult to understand or solve
My German's a little rusty.
  • rusty: a skill that is rusty has not been used recently
And don't forget, there's a price on your head.
  • price on your head: reward if captured
My impression was he's just another blundering American.
  • to blunder: to move or progress in a careless way, making mistakes or creating problems as you go
You would find the conversation a trifle one-sided.
  • a trifle: not very much, only a little
He pretty near has a monopoly on the black market here.
  • monopoly: complete control over something by one organization or person
Don't be too downhearted.
  • downhearted: sad, discouraged
That's why I came here. To give them a chance to ransack my place.
  • to ransack: to go through a place stealing or damaging things
Signor Ferrari is the fat gent at the table.
  • gent: short name for gentleman
Might as well be frank, monsieur.
  • to be frank: used when you are going to say something that other people might not like to hear
We know that every French province in Africa is honeycombed with traitors.
  • honeycombed: full of people hiding everywhere
- How'd you get in? You're underage.
  • underage: too young to legally drink or gamble
He is? Captain Renaultís getting broad-minded. Sit down.
  • broad-minded: willing to accept many different types of behavior and not easily shocked
Honest? As honest as the day is long.
  • As honest as the day is long: used to describe someone who is very honest.
Instead of this petty charge against him, you could get something big...
  • petty: small
...something that would chuck him in a concentration camp for years...
  • to chuck: to get rid of someone you do not want
- Be quite a feather in your cap, right?
  • feather in your cap: an achievement that you can feel pleased and satisfied about
How do I know you'll keep your end of the bargain?
  • keep your end of the bargain: to do what you say you are going to do when we made a deal.
I'll make the arrangements now with Laszlo in the visitor's pen.
  • pen: a small area with a fence around it
You're the only one in Casablanca who has less scruples than I.
  • scruples: a moral principle that prevents you from doing something that you think is bad
- I asked you to tie up your watchdogs.
  • watchdog: a person that works to stop people from doing illegal things
Ceiling unlimited. Thank you.
  • ceiling: the greatest height at which an aircraft can fly and be safe
...don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.
  • hill of beans: to not be important at all
- I could be induced to arrange a passage.
  • induced: to cause something
That 10,000 francs should pay our expenses.
  • expenses: money that is spent as part of a job


1943 - Casablanca - PDF download

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Nike: Training Terms

originally posted May 01, 2009 by Coach Jay


Hi Jay, I've been running a while, but I am new at the technical side of it. What does your terminology mean? Are "threshold workouts" something like "interval cardio" or is that "a fartlek run?" I assume "race pace" is a steady pace. Is there somewhere I can go to find the terminology? - - Thanks, Beth

Beth - Great question, though I'm going to put the majority of the work on you in my answer. I've been doing this Q&A for almost a year and if you can find the time, start going backwards through the responses as there are explanations of most of these terms, though I do not use the term "interval cardio" when discussing training.

Fartlek is a Sweedish term that simply means "speed play" and a fartlek workout is, in my mind, an elemental part of training, yet it takes several months to master. The simplest fartlek would be to put in 4 or 5 one minute segments where you run at a "comfortably hard" effort, taking as much time to run easy between those minute segments. Eventually you will make the "off" or "rest" interval more intense, yet you're likely a few months away from that.

The threshold run is different from the fartlek run because you don't change pace during the threshold segment, but rather maintain a "comfortably hard" pace for 10, 15 or even 20 minutes. You should start with a 10 minute warm-up (i.e. easy running) then try just 5 minutes at a "comfortably hard" pace, followed by 10-15 minutes of easy running as the cool down.

Finally, race pace is something that will change every year as it's the pace you can run for a given distance. I'm embarrassed to say that my current 5k race pace is likely a minute slower than it was just 10 short years ago, yet that's one the of the truths of running: "use it or loose it." You should run a 5k in the near future to get your 5k race pace as most training programs use this pace as part of a longer training plan.

I hope these help, and if you have time the time, dig through the previous Q&As for other examples.

*Coach Jay’s advice is provided as general training information. Use at your own risk. Always consult with your own heath care provider for questions relating to your specific training and nutrition.

Coach Jay coaches athletes at RunnersCoach.com and blogs at CoachJayJohnson.com. And don't forget, if you have training question for Coach Jay, email him here: coachjay@nike.com.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

PBS.org: Rapper Wyclef Jean Files to Run for Haitian Presidency

BY SARAH C. SULLIVAN originally posted August 5, 2010 @ PBS.org

[Breaking News English Lesson on Wyclef Jean - by Sean Banville]

Grammy-winning recording artist and philanthropist Wyclef Jean has confirmed reports that he plans to run for president of his homeland of Haiti. On Thursday, he filed the paperwork to run at an electoral council office in Port-au-Prince.

Jean, who said he was inspired to run by the devastating earthquake there, will discuss his plans Thursday night on CNN's Larry King Live. He confirmed his bid Thursday morning on a Miami radio station.

"My decision is a draft. ... I've been drafted by the youth," Jean told Time magazine on Tuesday.

Jean, whose full name is Nel Ust Wycliffe Jean, is widely known for both his music and philanthropy in Haiti, where half the population is under age 21. In 2007, he was appointed ambassador at large, tasked with helping improve Haiti's image abroad.

In 2005, with the launch of his non-profit Yele Haiti Foundation, Jean aimed at infusing the poor island nation with money and talent with the hopes of effecting change. Following the Jan. 12 earthquake, Jean called upon donors worldwide for aid and established the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund.

Though little known before the earthquake, Yele has since raised more than $9 million, according to CNN reports. "In January, it reaped more than $2 million from texted-giving alone," the New York Times reported.

But the organization faced criticism after it was reported that Yele had failed to keep proper records. According to reports in the Guardian and other newspapers, Yele "paid Jean to perform at fundraising events and bought advertising air-time from a television station he co-owns."

The Smoking Gun reported this week that Jean is indebted to the Internal Revenue Service to the tune of more than $2.1 million, according to federal tax lien documents.

Constitutional Requirements

The Haitian elections are scheduled for Nov. 28, and incumbent President Rene Preval is ineligible to run for a third term. All candidates seeking the presidency must enter the race by Saturday. The winner will oversee spending of billions of dollars in international aid pouring into the country to help it rebuild after the Jan. 12 earthquake. Contenders also must meet the six requirements enumerated in the Haitian Constitution.

Article 135 of the country's founding document reads:

To be elected President of the Republic of Haiti, a candidate must: be a native-born Haitian and never have renounced Haitian nationality; be at least thirty-five years of age by the election day; never have been sentenced to death, personal restraint or penal servitude or the loss of civil rights for a crime of ordinary law; be the owner in Haiti of at least one real property and have his habitual residence in the country; have resided in the country for five consecutive years before the date of the elections; and, finally, have been relieved of this responsibilities if he has been handling public funds.

Although Jean has reportedly satisfied the six requisites, some questions arose over the "sentencing of personal restraint" clause due to Jean's arrest for disorderly conduct in New York eight years ago. Questions also surrounded the property and habitual residence requirements. "Wyclef Jean has lived primarily in the New York-New Jersey area since he was a kid. Although he owns the Haitian television network Telemax, and that could count for 'real property,' his 'habitual residence' in the country could be up for debate," NPR's Tell Me More explains. Finally, like his "habitual residence," the phrase "consecutive years" was initially contested and might arise again in the race.

Presidential Contenders

It wouldn't be the first time a popular musician won office on the island of Hispaniola, which is composed of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. "Protest singer Manno Charlemagne served as mayor of Port-au-Prince some years ago. And next door, in the Dominican Republic, superstar merengue singer Johnny Ventura enjoyed a distinguished career in politics, including a stint as mayor of Santo Domingo," the New York Times reported.

According to The Associated Press, dozens of candidates are expected to run for Haitian president. Among them is Jean's uncle, Raymond Joseph, who serves as Haiti's U.S. ambassador. Other possible candidates include former prime ministers, mayors and another popular Haitian musician, Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly.

Preval, meanwhile, has been accused of "stacking the deck for an as-yet-unnamed candidate of his recently formed Unity party," by failing to reform an eight-member electoral council to make sure all parties can participate, according to the AP.

Jean will run as part of a new political coalition that calls itself Ansanm Nou Fo, "together we are strong," in Creole.

Reaction so far has been mixed. "I will give him my vote. All these people who have been in Haiti haven't done anything for us," Jean Leuis, a 22-year-old bread vendor, told the AP. Others interviewed said they would rather vote for someone with more experience.

Jean could help generate a high turnout among Haiti's disenchanted youth, said Robert Fatton, a Haitian-born political scientist at the University of Virginia. Additionally, Jean has a significant monetary advantage. "He's a very, very strong candidate, especially when nobody else has the resources," said Eduardo Gamarra, political scientist of Florida International University, reported the Christian Science Monitor.

A Tumultuous Political History

The person who does win, musician or not, will face the tremendous task of rebuilding the country left devastated after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake earlier this year.

The incoming president also will encounter the harsh realities of the country's tumultuous history. Haiti is, by a significant margin, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with four out of five people living in poverty and more than half in abject poverty, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Its political history, too, has seen major instability. Presidents rarely complete a term in office. As recently as 2004, former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in a controversial coup d'etat. Provisional military governments, military regimes and at least 70 dictators have ruled the country in the past few centuries. Preval, who will complete his term this fall, has largely weathered the political storm, having not fallen to a coup, been assassinated or declared himself "president for life" -- all of which have occurred in recent history.

Jean, who released a song titled, "If I Was President" two years ago says he has kept the possibility of a run open for several years. "If not for the earthquake, I probably would have waited another 10 years before doing this," he told Time. "The quake drove home to me that Haiti can't wait another 10 years for us to bring it into the 21st century."