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Sunday, January 30, 2011

NEWS: Egypt protests escalate in Cairo, Suez and other cities

Originally posted 8 January 2011 @ BBC.co.uk


Anti-government protests are intensifying across Egypt, as police clash with demonstrators in several cities demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

A protester in Suez was killed in clashes with police, witnesses said.
In Cairo, police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the crowds, who responded by throwing stones.

Live TV pictures from Cairo showed what appeared to be army vehicles on the streets.

In one location, an army vehicle appeared to go into reverse when it was surrounded by protesters who raised their fists in celebration.

Cairo, Alexandria and Suez have been placed under curfew effective from 1800 to 0700 local time (1600 to 0500 GMT). State television said President Hosni Mubarak had decreed the curfew to stop riots, lawlessness and attacks on property.

Corruption

Internet and phone services - both mobile and landline - have been severely disrupted, although protesters are using proxies to work around the restrictions.

Reports say Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei has been placed under house arrest. Earlier, he was soaked by water cannon and surrounded by police as he joined protesters on the streets of Cairo.

At least eight people have been killed and dozens injured since the protests against unemployment, corruption and rising prices began on Tuesday. Up to 1,000 people have been arrested.

The unrest follows an uprising in Tunisia two weeks ago, in which President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was toppled after 23 years in power.

After Friday prayers, tens of thousands of people joined protests in Cairo and other cities to demand the end of Mr Mubarak's 30-year rule.

They shouted "down, down with Mubarak" and "the people want the regime to fall".

At several locations, riot police responded by firing rubber bullets and tear gas, and by using water cannon. BBC Arabic reporter Assad Sawey, in Cairo, said he was arrested and beaten by plainclothes policemen.

"They took my camera away and when they arrested me, they started beating me with steel bars, the ones used here for slaughtering animals," he said.

The police wanted to take him to a state-run hospital, he said, but he refused to go as the hospital is notorious for handing patients back to police once they have been treated.

'Fear barrier'

Reuters news agency said protesters had also gathered outside al-Azhar mosque, and near one of the presidential residences in the capital.

The French government said it had received reports that four French journalists covering the protests in Cairo had been arrested. They were later released.

There were also reports of clashes between protesters and police in Alexandria, Mansoura and Aswan, as well as Minya and Assiut south of Cairo, and al-Arish in the Sinai peninsula.

In anticipation of the unrest, riot police were deployed around the capital, at the entrances to bridges across the River Nile, at Tahrir Square - the scene of protests earlier this week - and other key intersections.

Friday's rallies in Egypt were expected to be the biggest so far, with people urged via internet sites to join after attending prayers.

The organisers called on people to come out in force, stressing that the religion of protesters was not relevant.

Egyptian film-maker Ahmed Rasheed, who was planning to take part in Friday's demonstrations, said people no longer feared arrest.

"We have broken this fear barrier," he told the BBC. "People are taking to the streets, young people, all walks of life, educated, non-educated, higher social classes, lower social classes."

Connections down

The protests took place despite widespread disruptions to internet and mobile-phone connections from early on Friday.

Mobile operator Vodafone Egypt said in a statement: "All mobile operators in Egypt have been instructed to suspend services in selected areas. Under Egyptian legislation the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it."

Overnight there was also an apparent crackdown on the banned Islamist opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, after it said it would back the Friday protests.

A lawyer for the Muslim Brotherhood told the BBC that tens of its members had been arrested.

Despite an official ban, the Muslim Brotherhood remains Egypt's largest and most organised opposition movement.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lyrics: Jewel - Stay Here Forever


I'm staring at the ceiling, laying here dreaming,
Wasting the day away
The world's flying by our window outside
But hey baby that's okay
This feels so right, it can't be wrong so far as I can see
Where you wanna go
Baby, I'll do anything

'Cause if you wanna go
Baby, let's go
If you wanna rock,
I'm ready to roll
And if you wanna slow down,
We can slow down together
If you wanna walk,
Baby, let's walk
Have a little kiss,
Have a little talk
We don't gotta leave at all
We can stay here forever
Lay here forever, oh

If you want to see that Italian tower leaning
Baby, we can leave right now
If that's too far, we can head in the car
And take a little trip around town
They say that California is nice and warm this time of year
Baby, say the word and we'll just disappear

'Cause if you wanna go
Baby, let's go
If you wanna rock,

I'm ready to roll
And if you wanna slow down,
We can slow down together
If you wanna walk,
Baby, let's walk
Have a little kiss,
Have a little talk
We don't gotta leave at all
We can lay here forever
Stay here forever, oh

Take me for a whirl,
Just a boy and a girl
Letting go of it all
Holding on to one another
Or there's a whole world to discover
Right here, under the covers

'Cause if you wanna go
Baby, let's go
If you wanna rock,
I'm ready to roll
And if you wanna slow down,
We can slow down together
If you wanna walk,
Baby, let's walk
Have a little kiss,
Have a little talk
We don't gotta leave at all
We can stay here forever
Lay here forever, oh
Let's stay here forever, oh

NEWS: How to Be a Positive Person, in Under 300 Words

Originally written by Leo Babauta @ ZenHabits.net

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune.
Walt Whitman
I’m a pretty positive person — I consider it one of the keys to the modest success I’ve had in creating new habits and achieving things in the last few years.

I couldn’t have run three marathons without a positive mindset, nor created Zen Habits, mnmlist, or The Power of Less. I couldn’t have lost 50 lbs., quit smoking, eliminated my debt, or quit my day job.

Positive thinking, as trite as it seems, has changed my life.
I’m not going to sell you on it, but if you’re interested, here’s the condensed guide to changing your own life:
  • Realize it’s possible, instead of telling yourself why you can’t.
  • Become aware of your self-talk.
  • Squash negative thoughts like a bug.
  • Replace them with positive thoughts.
  • Love what you have already.
  • Be grateful for your life, your gifts, and other people.
    Every day.
  • Focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others.
    But be inspired by them.
  • Accept criticism with grace.
    But ignore the naysayers.
  • See bad things as a blessing in disguise.
  • See failure as a stepping stone to success.
  • Surround yourself by those who are positive.
  • Complain less, smile more.
  • Image that you’re already positive.
    Then become that person in your next act.
Focus on this habit first, and you’ll have a much easier time with any other.
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
Herm Albright

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Nike: Got Mantra?

originally posted March 30, 2009 by Coach Jay


I love mantras for runners and if you've been reading this for a while you've heard, "If you want to do something you've never done before, you've got to do things you've never done before." And while I still love this, it's not a race day mantra. Do you have a race day mantra? No? Then you need one.

Finding one is simple and I'll give you the most obvious one: "Just Do It." Great mantra, especially when you're running a 5k and you have 1k to go. If you're racing hard then you probably not only hurting at this point in the race, but you have doubts about being able to maintain your pace, let alone accelerate. The solution? Don't think; just go to your mantra: "Just Do It."

My wife was DI All-American, yet her mantra came from one of her high school teammates: "My running is strong and fast; I have unlimited energy." Again, the words don't matter as much as having a broken record of positive thoughts in your mind when the running gets hard. Running is hard, and racing—true racing, where you get to the edge of your capabilities—is not only hard, it's scary. So get a mantra, any mantra, and use it when the race gets difficult.

Coach Jay coaches athletes at RunnersCoach.com and blogs at CoachJayJohnson.com. If you have a question for Jay, email him here: coachjay@nike.com.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

NEWS: Queensland facing major reconstruction

Brisbane floods: Queensland facing reconstruction 'of post-war proportions'
By Bonnie Malkin, originally posted 13 Jan 2011 @ The Telegraph


Australia's third largest city is facing a clean-up of "post-war" proportions as thousands of residents returned to assess the damage caused to their homes by the biggest flood to hit Brisbane in decades.


The death toll from the floods sweeping the state's south-east rose to 15 during the day after a 25-year-old man was sucked down a storm drain to his death in the city when he went to check on his father's flooded home.

The Brisbane River peaked at 14ft overnight but the drama continued during the day with several dramatic rescues carried out on the fast-flowing water.

A man in a dinghy rescued two people from a boat that was careening down the river without power, and another man was plucked out of the torrent after he fell in from one of the riverbanks.

The rescues came hours after a tugboat helped avert disaster by nudging a large piece of floating concrete away from the supports of a major city bridge.

An estimated 50 suburbs across Brisbane have been swamped with dirty, muddy water and 11,900 homes have been hit by serious flood damage.

In some of the worst hit areas, residents who had fled to high ground with as many possessions as they could fit into their cars returned to survey the damage.

On a street in Milton, in the city's inner-west, one woman wept as she toured her waterlogged home.

Jan Dalton had found her diary, birthday cards from her late father and books that she planned to hand on to her children floating in the waters outside her house.

"The water's been up to chest height inside," she said.

"Everything's wet and muddy, the feeling is totally surreal, I feel like I am on a movie set but this is my life."

Elsewhere, residents took boats to check on their low-lying properties and carry in food and fuel to neighbours who had been isolated by the floods. Many had seen the flood water reach the roofs of their homes over the past 24 hours and most spoke of the shock of seeing their urban street disappear under several feet of water.

In some parts of the city police patrolled the waterways in search of looters, after three men were arrested for trying to steal boats.

There was also a sighting of a bull shark in the brackish floodwater that filled one suburb.

Outside Brisbane, the grim task of recovering bodies from towns almost obliterated by the torrent of water that rushed down the Lockyer Valley from Toowoomba began in earnest.

Warning that the death toll from the floods would rise as the search continued in the devastated towns of Grantham and Murphy's Creek, Anna Bligh, the premier, broke down in tears.

"As we weep for what we have lost, as we grieve for family and friends, I want us to remember who we are.

"We are Queenslanders, the people they breed tough north of the border," she said.
More than 60 people remain missing and grave fears are held for at least 11.

As well as the official police and Red Cross tallies of the missing, a Facebook page has been set up to help put relatives back in touch with each other after the flooding affected mobile phone signals and power lines.

Ms Bligh also warned that some of the homes damaged by the flood will no longer be habitable.

"We are going to see damage and destruction in the CBD, parks and schools and the homes of people we know and love.

"We now face a reconstruction task of post-war proportions."

While the floods did not reach the peak of the last major inundation in 1974, Ms Bligh said the crisis presented the city with an unprecedented challenge because of the number of people now living in flood-ravaged suburbs.

She said that floods now gripped two-thirds of the state and had become Queensland's worst natural disaster in history.

As the clean-up began in Brisbane, amazing stories of survival have started to emerge.

Clive Palmer, one of Australia's richest men, used his company helicopter to rescue scores of people from the roofs of flooded buildings in Kilroy, north-east of Brisbane.

Mr Palmer deployed the helicopter after a group of staff members at his horse stud waited 12 hours for the emergency services to reach them at a flooded farmhouse.

On its way back the pilot spotted 16 people, including children, huddled on the roof of an inundated school. By the end of the day, the helicopter had airlifted 60 people to safety.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

NEWS: Ways to Reduce Stress and Avoid Burnout

Refueling Your Engine: Strategies to Reduce Stress and Avoid Burnout
Published on January 10, 2011 @ Psychology Today

My last post, Running on Empty, described symptoms that, if present, suggest you might be on the road to burnout. If you found yourself identifying with a lot of those symptoms, it's normal to feel upset.

it's important to know the signs to look for, the warning lights that signal burnout.
  • Physical signs, such as chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, stomach pain, sleep problems, frequent headaches, chronic fatigue, gynecological problems, and/or increased illness.
  • Psychological signs, such as loss of enjoyment for activities once enjoyed; sadness; excessive anxiety or worry; panic attacks; feeling trapped without options for relief or escape; loss of motivation; loss of concentration; emotional hypersensitivity at seemingly inconsequential things; feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, or pessimism; and/or increasing feelings of irritability, frustration, or anger
  • Behavioral signs, such as skipping meals; little or no appetite or overeating; increase in alcohol or drug use; increased absenteeism; drop in productivity; many uncompleted projects despite long work hours; and/or isolative behaviors, such as wanting to be alone, closing doors to prevent others from access, being generally inaccessible, eating lunch alone, or being a poor team player
If you're not experiencing any of these problems, that's great news! But keep these warning signs in the back of your mind. Burnout is an insidious creature that creeps up on you when you're busy living your life.

But the important thing to keep in mind is that you are still the same person you were when you entered the race. Your drive, your enthusiasm, your passion, and your energy may have gotten buried under the weight of the stress you've been carrying around, but those qualities and all the other good ones are still inside you. You just need to find ways to reach inside and find the sparks that first ignited your engine so that you can climb back into the driver's seat and reenter the race.

Here are a few suggestions that can help you get back up to speed:

Don't Ignore Basic Maintenance

In the game of life, there are a few basic rules you must follow if you want to survive. Of course, as in any game, you can bend the rules, cheat a little. But in the end, whether you like it or not, if you want to live, you have to find a way to work these things into your life.

Rule 1. You have to sleep.
Rule 2. You have to eat.
Rule 3. You have to drink.
(Of course, breathing is in there, too. But if you're that far gone, you're probably not reading this blog.)

The problem is that high octane women tend to cheat--a lot-- in the basic maintenance game. Sure, you sleep, but probably not enough. You eat, but usually not very well. And you drink, but likely not enough of the right stuff (and, in some cases, maybe too much of the wrong stuff). In the end, though, you're only cheating yourself. The solution is simple: sleep as much as possible, don't skip meals, eat healthy, and drink a lot of water. You'll be amazed at how much better you'll feel once you start incorporating a healthy dose of all three into your routine.

Remember When ...

Busy schedules have an interesting way of making you forget the things that you once found relaxing. In fact, many high octane women have drifted so far away from anything resembling relaxation that they have a hard time remembering what they used to do to relax. My advice? Try harder! At some point in your life, even if you have to go way back, I'm sure you've done something that you found relaxing. Resurrect those memories and find ways to incorporate those things back into your life.

Just Say No

If you're like most high-achievers, you're probably used to doing everything you're asked to do and doing it well, but each time you add a new commitment or responsibility to your plate, you're adding stress into your life. So try something new. Resist the urge. Just say no.

Exercise

Yeah, right! Who has time for it? You do actually. Exercise is a great stress reducer, and even if you can't find time for a complete exercise routine, you can still incorporate exercise into your daily routine. How? Take a brisk ten-minute walk during your lunch hour. Park your car far from your building so you have to walk more. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Want something a bit more creative? Keep light-weight dumbbells on the passenger seat of your car, and when you're stuck in traffic or stopped at a traffic light, do a quick arm workout while you're waiting. Do you work at a desk? Try rolling your wrists, ankles, neck, and shoulders while you're sitting there or stretch your muscles by turning your torso from side to side. Another good seated exercise is calf raises. So no more excuses. Get going!

Bring in the Positive, Throw Out the Negative

Positive people have a lot of energy, and their energy and enthusiasm tend to lift the spirits of those around them. Negative people tend to have the opposite effect; they drag you down. So a great way to reduce stress in your life is to hang out with as many positive people as possible and move out as many negative people as possible.

Inside and Outside the Box Stress Management Strategies

Of course, the "tried and the true" ways to manage stress include guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing exercises, reframing negative thoughts into positive, meditation, yoga, warm baths, and massage. But if you're like many high octane women, traditional stress management strategies may not be your cup of tea. And that's okay. No one (other than you) should be defining what is relaxing. You need to find what works for you, and sometimes that requires thinking outside of the box.

In closing, the most important thing to remember is that while there are many ways to reduce stress, the key to effective stress management is rarely someone that tells you what to do to relax or how to find "balance." The key is discovering your own "program," one that works for you and your lifestyle, and making the commitment to incorporate it into your life. Once you do, you'll find yourself leaving the dangerous track--the one that leads to burnout--and crossing over to a safer and healthier road where you can rediscover your passion.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

NEWS: Spain's strict new anti-smoking rules take effect

Originally posted January 2, 2011 @ BBC.co.uk

A tough anti-smoking law has taken effect in Spain.

Anti-smoking rules introduced in 2006 let bars choose whether to ban smoking

The ban - one of the strictest in Europe - outlaws smoking in all bars and restaurants. Smokers will also be prohibited on television broadcasts, near hospitals or in school playgrounds.

The law tightens anti-smoking restrictions introduced in 2006.

Spain has a strong cafe culture and the owners of bars and cafes have complained the law will hurt business.

The anti-smoking rules introduced in 2006 outlawed smoking in the workplace, but it let bar and restaurant owners choose whether or not to allow it. Most chose not to impose any ban.

Only large restaurants and bars were obliged to provide a smoke-free area.

Hotel, restaurant and bar owners have said they could face a 10% drop in trade with the new rules. The industry has already seen a sharp fall in sales due to Spain's economic problems.

But doctors argue the new legislation will help smokers give up.

Some 160 Spaniards a day die from smoking-related illnesses, four of them from passive smoking.