Strength in movement

first_imgMillions of Americans dance, recreationally or professionally. How many of those who ballroom dance, foxtrot, break dance, or line dance realize that they are doing something positive for their brains?“There’s no question, anecdotally at least, that music has a very stimulating effect on physical activity,” said Daniel Tarsy, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “And I think that applies to dance, as well.”Scientists gave little thought to the neurological effects of dance until relatively recently, when researchers began to investigate the complex mental coordination that dance requires. In a 2008 article in Scientific American, a Columbia University neuroscientist posited that synchronizing music and movement constitutes a “pleasure double play.” Music stimulates the brain’s reward centers, while dance activates its sensory and motor circuits.Studies using PET imaging have identified brain regions that contribute to learning and performing dances. These regions include the motor cortex, somatosensory cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum. The motor cortex is involved in the planning, control, and execution of voluntary movement. The somatosensory cortex, in the mid-region of the brain, is responsible for motor control and also plays a role in eye-hand coordination. The basal ganglia, a group of structures deep in the brain, works with other regions to smoothly coordinate movement, while the cerebellum integrates input from the brain and spinal cord and helps plan fine and complex motor actions.Researchers recently began to investigate the complex mental coordination that dance requires. File photo by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff PhotographerWhile some imaging studies have shown which regions of the brain are activated by dance, others have explored how the physical and expressive elements of dance alter brain function. Much of the research on the physical activity associated with dance echoes findings on exercise, showing benefits that range from memory improvement to strengthened neural connections.A 2003 study in the New England Journal of Medicine by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine showed that dance can decidedly improve brain health. The study investigated the effect leisure activities had on the risk of dementia in the elderly. The researchers looked at the impact of 11 different types of physical activity, including cycling, golf, swimming, and tennis, but found that only one — dance — lowered participants’ risk of dementia. The combination of mental effort and social interaction made the difference, according to the researchers.In a small study undertaken in 2012, researchers at North Dakota’s Minot State University found that the Latin-style dance program known as Zumba improves mood and certain cognitive skills, such as visual recognition and decision-making. Other studies have shown that dance helps reduce stress, increases levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin, and helps develop new neural connections, especially in regions involved in executive function, long-term memory, and spatial recognition.Dance has been found to be therapeutic for patients with Parkinson’s disease. More than one million people in this country are living with Parkinson’s, with 60,000 new cases annually, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Parkinson’s belongs to a group of conditions called motor-system disorders, which develop when the dopamine-producing cells in the brain are lost. The chemical dopamine is an essential component of the brain’s system for controlling movement and coordination. As Parkinson’s disease progresses, an increasing number of these cells die off, drastically reducing the amount of dopamine available to the brain.According to the foundation, the primary motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include bradykinesia (slowed movement), stiffness of the limbs and trunk, tremors, and impaired balance and coordination. It is these symptoms that dance may help alleviate.“A lot of this research is observational, not hard science,” said Tarsy, “but it’s consistent and there’s a lot of it.”Tarsy said that dance can be considered a form of rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS). In RAS, a series of fixed rhythms are presented to patients, who are then asked to move to the rhythms. Studies of the effects this technique has on patients with Parkinson’s or other movement disorders have found significant improvements in gait and upper-extremity function. Although there have been no side-by-side scientific comparisons of RAS with either music or dance, Tarsy said people with Parkinson’s “speak and walk better if they have a steady rhythmic cue.”At the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Peter Wayne, an assistant professor of medicine at HMS, studies the clinical effects of mind-body and complementary/alternative medicine practices on patients with chronic health conditions. He has conducted clinical trials designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of tai chi for patients with Parkinson’s and other balance disorders. Tai chi is a Chinese martial art once used for self-defense but now performed as exercise. Wayne considers it a more ritualized, structured form of dance.The increased susceptibility to falls seen in people who are aging or dealing with disorders like Parkinson’s can be mitigated by the practice of tai chi. File photo by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer“The focus of our work is to take advantage of traditional exercises in which it’s implicit that the mind and body are connected more efficiently,” said Wayne. “Tai chi is one such exercise that we focus on because of its benefits for both balance and mental function.”Research, he said, has shown that the increased susceptibility to falls seen in people who are aging or dealing with disorders like Parkinson’s can be mitigated by the practice of tai chi; it improves their strength and flexibility as well as their cognitive performance.One such study appeared in 2012 in the New England Journal of Medicine. In it, a team of investigators led by a scientist at the Oregon Research Institute found that tai chi helped improve balance and prevent falls among people with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease. After six months, those who practiced tai chi twice weekly were physically stronger and had better balance than those who did either weight training or stretching.Under Tarsy’s direction, Beth Israel Deaconess has initiated several wellness programs, including ones that feature tai chi, Zumba, yoga, and drumming, designed to help people manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Although it is still unclear to what extent these programs benefit patients, Tarsy said there is evidence that such activities as dance and tai chi can stabilize the effects of the disease and slow the degree to which everyday movement is affected.last_img read more

The costs of inequality: Education’s the one key that rules them all

first_imgThird in a series on what Harvard scholars are doing to identify and understand inequality, in seeking solutions to one of America’s most vexing problems. Before Deval Patrick ’78, J.D. ’82, was the popular and successful two-term governor of Massachusetts, before he was managing director of high-flying Bain Capital, and long before he was Harvard’s most recent Commencement speaker, he was a poor black schoolchild in the battered housing projects of Chicago’s South Side.Former Gov. Deval Patrick ’78, J.D. ’82. Photo by Kiera BlessingThe odds of his escaping a poverty-ridden lifestyle, despite innate intelligence and drive, were long. So how did he help mold his own narrative and triumph over baked-in societal inequality? Through education.“Education has been the path to better opportunity for generations of American strivers, no less for me,” Patrick said in an email when asked how getting a solid education, in his case at Milton Academy and at Harvard, changed his life.“What great teachers gave me was not just the skills to take advantage of new opportunities, but the ability to imagine what those opportunities could be. For a kid from the South Side of Chicago, that’s huge.”If inequality starts anywhere, many scholars agree, it’s with faulty education. Conversely, a strong education can act as the bejeweled key that opens gates through every other aspect of inequality, whether political, economic, racial, judicial, gender- or health-based.Simply put, a top-flight education usually changes lives for the better. And yet, in the world’s most prosperous major nation, it remains an elusive goal for millions of children and teenagers.Plateau on educational gainsThe revolutionary concept of free, nonsectarian public schools spread across America in the 19th century. By 1970, America had the world’s leading educational system, and until 1990 the gap between minority and white students, while clear, was narrowing.But educational gains in this country have plateaued since then, and the gap between white and minority students has proven stubbornly difficult to close, says Ronald Ferguson, adjunct lecturer in public policy at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and faculty director of Harvard’s Achievement Gap Initiative. That gap extends along class lines as well.“What great teachers gave me was not just the skills to take advantage of new opportunities, but the ability to imagine what those opportunities could be. For a kid from the South Side of Chicago, that’s huge.”— Deval PatrickIn recent years, scholars such as Ferguson, who is an economist, have puzzled over the ongoing achievement gap and what to do about it, even as other nations’ school systems at first matched and then surpassed their U.S. peers. Among the 34 market-based, democracy-leaning countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States ranks around 20th annually, earning average or below-average grades in reading, science, and mathematics.By eighth grade, Harvard economist Roland G. Fryer Jr. noted last year, only 44 percent of American students are proficient in reading and math. The proficiency of African-American students, many of them in underperforming schools, is even lower.Education gap: The root of inequality <a href=”” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> Illustration by Kathleen M.G. Howlett.Harvard staff writer Christina Pazzanese contributed to this report.Next Tuesday: Inequality in health care At HGSE, where Ferguson is faculty co-chair as well as director of the Achievement Gap Initiative, many factors are probed. In the past 10 years, Ferguson, who is African-American, has studied every identifiable element contributing to unequal educational outcomes. But lately he is looking hardest at improving children’s earliest years, from infancy to age 3.In addition to an organization he founded called the Tripod Project, which measures student feedback on learning, he launched the Boston Basics project in August, with support from the Black Philanthropy Fund, Boston’s mayor, and others. The first phase of the outreach campaign, a booklet, videos, and spot ads, starts with advice to parents of children age 3 or younger.“Maximize love, manage stress” is its mantra and its foundational imperative, followed by concepts such as “talk, sing, and point.” (“Talking,” said Ferguson, “is teaching.”) In early childhood, “The difference in life experiences begins at home.”At age 1, children score similarlyFryer and Ferguson agree that the achievement gap starts early. At age 1, white, Asian, black, and Hispanic children score virtually the same in what Ferguson called “skill patterns” that measure cognitive ability among toddlers, including examining objects, exploring purposefully, and “expressive jabbering.” But by age 2, gaps are apparent, with black and Hispanic children scoring lower in expressive vocabulary, listening comprehension, and other indicators of acuity. That suggests educational achievement involves more than just schooling, which typically starts at age 5.Key factors in the gap, researchers say, include poverty rates (which are three times higher for blacks than for whites), diminished teacher and school quality, unsettled neighborhoods, ineffective parenting, personal trauma, and peer group influence, which only strengthens as children grow older.Graphics by Judy Blomquist/Harvard Staff“Peer beliefs and values,” said Ferguson, get “trapped in culture” and are compounded by the outsized influence of peers and the “pluralistic ignorance” they spawn. Fryer’s research, for instance, says that the reported stigma of “acting white” among many black students is true. The better they do in school, the fewer friends they have — while for whites who are perceived as smarter, there’s an opposite social effect.The researchers say that family upbringing matters, in all its crisscrossing influences and complexities, and that often undercuts minority children, who can come from poor or troubled homes. “Unequal outcomes,” he said, “are from, to a large degree, inequality in life experiences.”Trauma also subverts achievement, whether through family turbulence, street violence, bullying, sexual abuse, or intermittent homelessness. Such factors can lead to behaviors in school that reflect a pervasive form of childhood post-traumatic stress disorder.[gz_sidebar align=”left”]Possible solutions to educational inequality:Access to early learningImproved K-12 schoolsMore family mealtimesReinforced learning at homeData-driven instructionLonger school days, yearsRespect for school rulesSmall-group tutoringHigh expectations of studentsSafer neighborhoods[/gz_sidebar]At Harvard Law School, both the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative and the Education Law Clinic marshal legal aid resources for parents and children struggling with trauma-induced school expulsions and discipline issues.At Harvard Business School, Karim R. Lakhani, an associate professor who is a crowdfunding expert and a champion of open-source software, has studied how unequal racial and economic access to technology has worked to widen the achievement gap.At Harvard’s Project Zero, a nonprofit called the Family Dinner Project is scraping away at the achievement gap from the ground level by pushing for families to gather around the meal table, which traditionally was a lively and comforting artifact of nuclear families, stable wages, close-knit extended families, and culturally shared values.Lynn Barendsen, the project’s executive director, believes that shared mealtimes improve reading skills, spur better grades and larger vocabularies, and fuel complex conversations. Interactive mealtimes provide a learning experience of their own, she said, along with structure, emotional support, a sense of safety, and family bonding. Even a modest jump in shared mealtimes could boost a child’s academic performance, she said.“We’re not saying families have to be perfect,” she said, acknowledging dinnertime impediments like full schedules, rudimentary cooking skills, the lure of technology, and the demands of single parenting. “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”Whether poring over Fryer’s big data or Barendsen’s family dinner project, there is one commonality for Harvard researchers dealing with inequality in education: the issue’s vast complexity. The achievement gap is a creature of interlocking factors that are hard to unpack constructively.Going wide, starting earlyWith help from faculty co-chair and Jesse Climenko Professor of Law Charles J. Ogletree, the Achievement Gap Initiative is analyzing the factors that make educational inequality such a complex puzzle: home and family life, school environments, teacher quality, neighborhood conditions, peer interaction, and the fate of “all those wholesome things,” said Ferguson. The latter include working hard in school, showing respect, having nice friends, and following the rules, traits that can be “elements of a 21st-century movement for equality.”Roland G. Fryer Jr., Henry Lee Professor of Economics. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerIn the end, best practices to create strong schools will matter most, said Fryer.He called high-quality education “the new civil rights battleground” in a landmark 2010 working paper for the Handbook of Labor Economics called “Racial Inequality in the 21st Century: The Declining Significance of Discrimination.”Fryer tapped 10 large data sets on children 8 months to 17 years old. He studied charter schools, scouring for standards that worked. He champions longer school days and school years, data-driven instruction, small-group tutoring, high expectations, and a school culture that prizes human capital — all just “a few simple investments,” he wrote in the working paper. “The challenge for the future is to take these examples to scale” across the country.How long would closing the gap take with a national commitment to do so? A best-practices experiment that Fryer conducted at low-achieving high schools in Houston closed the gap in math skills within three years, and narrowed the reading achievement gap by a third.“You don’t need Superman for this,” he said, referring to a film about Geoffrey Canada and his Harlem Children’s Zone, just high-quality schools for everyone, to restore 19th-century educator Horace Mann’s vision of public education as society’s “balance-wheel.”Last spring, Fryer, still only 38, won the John Bates Clark medal, the most prestigious award in economics after the Nobel Prize. He was a MacArthur Fellow in 2011, became a tenured Harvard professor in 2007, was named to the prestigious Society of Fellows at age 25. He had a classically haphazard childhood, but used school to learn, grow, and prosper. Gradually, he developed a passion for social science that could help him answer what was going wrong in black lives because of educational inequality.With his background and talent, Fryer has a dramatically unique perspective on inequality and achievement, and he has something else: a seemingly counterintuitive sense that these conditions will improve, once bad schools learn to get better. Discussing the likelihood of closing the achievement gap if Americans have the political and organizational will to do so, Fryer said, “I see nothing but optimism.”Correction: An earlier version of this story inaccurately portrayed details of Dr. Fryer’s background.center_img The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. Education may be the key to solving broader American inequality, but we have to solve educational inequality first. Ronald Ferguson, director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University, says there is progress being made, there are encouraging examples to emulate, that an early start is critical, and that a lot of hard work lies ahead. But he also says, “There’s nothing more important we can do.”“The position of U.S. black students is truly alarming,” wrote Fryer, the Henry Lee Professor of Economics, who used the OECD rankings as a metaphor for minority standing educationally. “If they were to be considered a country, they would rank just below Mexico in last place.”Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) Dean James E. Ryan, a former public interest lawyer, says geography has immense power in determining educational opportunity in America. As a scholar, he has studied how policies and the law affect learning, and how conditions are often vastly unequal.His book “Five Miles Away, A World Apart” (2010) is a case study of the disparity of opportunity in two Richmond, Va., schools, one grimly urban and the other richly suburban. Geography, he says, mirrors achievement levels.A ZIP code as predictor of success“Right now, there exists an almost ironclad link between a child’s ZIP code and her chances of success,” said Ryan. “Our education system, traditionally thought of as the chief mechanism to address the opportunity gap, instead too often reflects and entrenches existing societal inequities.”Urban schools demonstrate the problem. In New York City, for example, only 8 percent of black males graduating from high school in 2014 were prepared for college-level work, according to the CUNY Institute for Education Policy, with Latinos close behind at 11 percent. The preparedness rates for Asians and whites — 48 and 40 percent, respectively — were unimpressive too, but nonetheless were firmly on the other side of the achievement gap.Ronald Ferguson, adjunct lecturer in public policy and director of the Achievement Gap Initiative. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff PhotographerIn some impoverished urban pockets, the racial gap is even larger. In Washington, D.C., 8 percent of black eighth-graders are proficient in math, while 80 percent of their white counterparts are.Fryer said that in kindergarten black children are already 8 months behind their white peers in learning. By third grade, the gap is bigger, and by eighth grade is larger still.According to a recent report by the Education Commission of the States, black and Hispanic students in kindergarten through 12th grade perform on a par with the white students who languish in the lowest quartile of achievement.There was once great faith and hope in America’s school systems. The rise of quality public education a century ago “was probably the best public policy decision Americans have ever made because it simultaneously raised the whole growth rate of the country for most of the 20th century, and it leveled the playing field,” said Robert Putnam, the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at HKS, who has written several best-selling books touching on inequality, including “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of the American Community” and “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis.”Historically, upward mobility in America was characterized by each generation becoming better educated than the previous one, said Harvard economist Lawrence Katz. But that trend, a central tenet of the nation’s success mythology, has slackened, particularly for minorities.“Thirty years ago, the typical American had two more years of schooling than their parents. Today, we have the most educated group of Americans, but they only have about .4 more years of schooling, so that’s one part of mobility not keeping up in the way we’ve invested in education in the past,” Katz said.As globalization has transformed and sometimes undercut the American economy, “education is not keeping up,” he said. “There’s continuing growth of demand for more abstract, higher-end skills” that schools aren’t delivering, “and then that feeds into a weakening of institutions like unions and minimum-wage protections.”“The position of U.S. black students is truly alarming.”— Roland G. Fryer Jr.Fryer is among a diffuse cohort of Harvard faculty and researchers using academic tools to understand the achievement gap and the many reasons behind problematic schools. His venue is the Education Innovation Laboratory, where he is faculty director.“We use big data and causal methods,” he said of his approach to the issue.Fryer, who is African-American, grew up poor in a segregated Florida neighborhood. He argues that outright discrimination has lost its power as a primary driver behind inequality, and uses economics as “a rational forum” for discussing social issues.Better schools to close the gapFryer set out in 2004 to use an economist’s data and statistical tools to answer why black students often do poorly in school compared with whites. His years of research have convinced him that good schools would close the education gap faster and better than addressing any other social factor, including curtailing poverty and violence, and he believes that the quality of kindergarten through grade 12 matters above all.Supporting his belief is research that says the number of schools achieving excellent student outcomes is a large enough sample to prove that much better performance is possible. Despite the poor performance by many U.S. states, some have shown that strong results are possible on a broad scale. For instance, if Massachusetts were a nation, it would rate among the best-performing countries.last_img read more

Interfaith club hosts ‘Better Together Day’ celebration

first_imgSaint Mary’s students are working together to create a new interfaith group on campus after recent interfaith discussions. Sophomore Alayna Haff said the idea for the club was ignited after Interfaith Youth Core came to campus for a conference earlier this year. Haff discussed Better Together Day, a day that honors interfaith dialogue. “Better Together Day is a national day of action headed by Interfaith Youth Core, a national nonprofit working towards an America where people of different faiths, world views and traditions can bridge divides and find common values to build a shared life together,” Haff said. Julianna McKenna | The Observer Professor Catherine Cornille spoke about the role gender plays in interfaith dialogue Tuesday in Carroll Auditorium.The goal of Better Together Day is to raise awareness about religious diversity and dialogue across college campuses, professor Anita Houck of the Saint Mary’s Religious Studies Department said.“It is an annual day where they invite people to sign up online and bring awareness to the fact that it’s better to have conversations with people who are different from you,” she said. “We want to learn from each other and grow from interaction with other people. Better Together day brings attention to this, especially by getting college age students to talk about these topics.” Religious dialogue is an important aspect of community development, Houck said. “Obviously the most immediate benefit is for us to engage with other interesting people and to get insights about ourselves for those of us that are religious or spiritual or just wanting to develop our own world views,” she said. “We learn so much by talking to people who see the world differently.” She also said engaging in these types of conversations not only advances our religious understanding, but our cultural understanding as well.“We do this by acknowledging commonalities and differences, which allows us to see others as human beings,” Houck said. “It affects our politics, it affects our decisions about who we are going to vote for, what policies we support, the kinds of jokes we are going to make and so forth. It teaches us a lot about ourselves. By learning from other people about how they see the world it clarifies to us about what is really important for us.”Saint Mary’s honored Better Together Day with a lecture by Boston College professor Catherine Cornille on “Women and Interreligious Dialogue.” Cornille argued that women play an integral role in religious dialogue. “Women often are the ones taking initiative to reach out to other religious traditions and because of this are able to break down barriers and are much more open and generous to recognizing truth in other religious traditions,” Cornille said.This is formative in the mission of Saint Mary’s Better Together club, as they plan to appeal to the entire campus community, Haff said.“Our goal for this club is to incorporate our community in working together to make everyone feel included,appreciated and understood,” she said. “We need to be inclusive and understanding of those who are different than us.”Haff said she believes religious dialogue is an important aspect of communication in general. “Research has shown that when someone gets to know a person different from them, their attitudes towards that entire group also grows more positive,” she said. “By learning about other faiths and building relationships with people of different world views, we can break barriers, overcome biases and build bridges.”Tags: Better Together Day, interfaith, interfaith conference, Interfaith Youth Corelast_img read more

Bidding workshop

first_imgUniversity of GeorgiaTo help landscapers better bid on and estimate the costs of their jobs, the University of Georgia is holding a workshop Nov. 24-25 in Athens, Ga. UGA specialists will discuss landscape installation, maintenance and software programs they’ve developed to make business easier.The workshop will be held in a computer lab which will allow participants to get hands-on experience with software programs like Hort Scape, for landscape installation bids, and Hort Management, for follow-up maintenance bids. Following the training, they will know how to tailor the software to fit their individual businesses.The workshop will also cover bidding strategies, estimating fixed and variable costs and preparing bids in contract form.Day one will focus on landscape installation cost estimating, and day two will focus on landscape maintenance cost estimating. The daylong workshops will start at 8:30 a.m. each day. They will be held in Conner Hall room 202 on the UGA Athens campus. The cost is $150 for both days or $100 for either day. The fee includes breaks, lunch, handouts and copies of the software.For more information, call (706) 542-2861 or visit read more

FARC, other criminal organizations recruit children in Colombia

first_img The National Army rescued dozens of teenagers in the past nine months who were forced to commit crimes for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. (FARC). Authorities transferred the teens to the Colombian Institute for Family Wellbeing (ICBF) to protect, rehabilitate and prevent them from going back to the criminal organizations. “Minors are recruited either out of their will or by force,” said Catalina Niño from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation in Colombia (FESCOL). “Organized crime groups offer them money, weapons and recognition in exchange for becoming a member. Under pressure and threats, minors are then forced to commit crimes against civil society. Minor recruitment is cruel and difficult to control; it is a major challenge for authorities.” The ICBF reported 177 children were rescued from the criminal groups this year – a 42.7 percent increase over the same period last year. Since 1999, 5,252 minors have been rescued from criminal organizations. Of those rescued, 72 percent are boys and 28 percent are girls. Forced recruitment of minors by organized crime groups continues to be a practice. This phenomenon has reached schools, football fields and parties. Organized crime groups give presents, mainly expensive technological gadgets to entice minors to become members of the criminal groups, according to Ministry of Defense. Besides the states of Atlántico, Amazonas, Risaralda, Quindío and San Andrés, the phenomenon of forced recruitment of minors occurs in the rest of Colombian states, according to published reports. Colombia is made up of 32 states. FARC, the National Liberation Army (ELN), Los Rastrojos, Los Urabeños and other criminal organizations prefer to recruit children who are quiet, serious, strong and poor, according to the news website Verdad Abierta. The groups prefer to recruit attractive girls. The documentary, “Fodder from different cannons,” reported that organized crime groups recruit boys to work as messengers to transport drugs as well as to work in illegal mines, meth labs and even as hit men, while girls are forced into prostitution. Those who refuse are killed. Recent studies suggest that about 18,000 children are involved in illegal armed groups and are recruited when as young as 12 years old. The military is making a difference, Niño said. “Thanks to the successful operations by the Armed Forces in the past months, several children have been rescued from organized crime groups.” • On Sept. 13, Colombian Army personnel rescued a 14- and a 15-year-old-girl in the Puerto Guzmán municipality, Putumayo. The minors said they were members of the FARC. • On Aug. 29, Colombia Army rescued a 16-year-old boy in the municipality of Amalfi, Antioquia. The boy claimed to be a member of Los Rastrojos. He surrendered because he said he was “tired of fighting and living in darkness.” He told the Army he wanted a new life, to be close to his family and far from the weapons he used when working for a criminal group. • On April 13th, Colombian Army troops rescued five minors in the department of Chocó. Their ages range from 10 to 17. The minors claimed to be members of the ELN. Some recent successful cases: By Dialogo October 28, 2013 this was hardlast_img read more

Italy seizes IS-made drugs worth one billion euros

first_imgTopics :  ‘Jihad drug’ Captagon, a brand name, was originally for medical use but illegal versions have been dubbed “the Jihad Drug” — after being widely used by IS fighters in combat — the police said.Citing the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Naples police said IS “makes extensive use of it in all territories over which it exerts influence and where it controls the drug trade”.Once the plants are established, “it is easy for IS to produce large quantities also for the world market for synthetic drugs, in order to quickly accumulate substantial funding,” the statement said.The amount of drugs seized were sufficient to satisfy the entire European market, police said, without providing a time frame.A “consortium” of criminal groups were likely involved for the distribution of the drugs, including possibly many clans within the infamous Camorra of Naples, police said.”The hypothesis is that during the lockdown… production and distribution of synthetic drugs in Europe has practically stopped,” the statement said. “Many smugglers, even in consortiums, have turned to Syria where production, however, does not seem to have slowed down.” Police said three suspect containers had arrived at the port of Salerno, just south of Naples, containing large cylindrical paper rolls for industrial use as well as industrial machinery. Cutting open the paper rolls and metal gearwheels with chainsaws, police found them filled with tablets. Video images taken by police showed pills spilling out of the rolls and wheels as they were forced opened.”This is the largest seizure of amphetamines in the world,” police said.center_img Italian police said Wednesday they had seized a 14-ton haul of amphetamines made by the Islamic State group in Syria, calling it the biggest seizure of such drugs in the world.The drug, in the form of around 84 million Captagon tablets hidden inside industrial goods within containers, was worth about one billion euros ($1.12 billion), and intended to be sold on the European market “to finance terrorism,” the finance police of Naples said in a statement.”We know that the Islamic State finances its terrorist activities mainly by trafficking drugs made in Syria which in the past few years has become the world’s largest producer of amphetamines,” the statement said.last_img read more

US delivers first batch of supplies to blast-devastated Beirut

first_imgMany Lebanese are angry at the country’s leadership that is widely viewed as corrupt and incompetent, and some fear international aid may be diverted from those needing it most.”We’re well aware of some of the concerns with whom the aid would go to and ensuring that the aid gets to the people of Lebanon that need it most,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said.Further assistance will be coordinated with the Lebanese army, the US embassy in Lebanon and the US international aid agency, USAID, Centcom said.Public anger in Lebanon is on the boil over the blast caused by a massive pile of ammonium nitrate that had for years lain in a ramshackle portside warehouse. It left at least 149 dead and 5,000 injured, and hundreds of thousands of people homeless. Rescuers and families are still searching for dozens more missing since the blast.The death toll was expected to rise as rescue workers keep digging through the rubble. The blast zone is now a wasteland of blackened ruins, while whole neighborhoods were largely destroyed. The fallout is expected to cost billions in a small country already plunged into an unprecedented economic and social crisis, battling the coronavirus, and where almost half of the inhabitants live in poverty. Topics :center_img The US military on Thursday delivered a first batch of food, water and medical supplies to Lebanon, two days after a massive explosion devastated Beirut and left hundreds of thousands homeless. A C-17 military plane from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar the delivered 11 pallets of aid, with two more shipments of food and water coming in the next 24 hours, US Central Command said in a statement.”The US is actively engaged in delivering food, water, and medical supplies to the Lebanese Armed Forces to meet the critical needs of the Lebanese people,” General Frank McKenzie was quoted as saying.last_img read more

Calum Chambers hails David Luiz’s influence after winning goal for Arsenal against Bournemouth

first_imgLuiz steered a header into the far corner against Bournemouth on Sunday (Picture: Getty)The 32-year-old has been an ever-present in Unai Emery’s backline since securing a deadline day switch from Chelsea and Chambers believes his experience can prove invaluable for the team.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT‘David has been brilliant, he has come in and no-one in the club has a bad word to say about him,’ Chambers said after the game.‘He is one of the nicest guys I have met, he talks to you, gives you advice and makes everyone feel like he is giving you his undivided attention.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal‘Off the pitch, he is a great guy and on the pitch he brings his qualities and is playing well at the moment.‘He brings some added experience, obviously he was won things and I haven’t won as many things as he has so there are things I can learn from him both on and off the pitch, it is always good to have experience like that in the team.’ Advertisement Comment Calum Chambers hails David Luiz’s influence after winning goal for Arsenal against Bournemouth Metro Sport ReporterMonday 7 Oct 2019 12:35 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link1.5kSharescenter_img Calum Chambers has been impressed with David Luiz since his move from Chelsea in August (Picture: Getty)Calum Chambers has hailed David Luiz’s influence on and off the pitch for Arsenal following the Brazilian defender’s match-winning goal in the 1-0 win over Bournemouth on Sunday.Luiz scored his first goal for Arsenal nine minutes into the game at the Emirates with a well-placed header from a Nicolas Pepe corner and it proved to be enough to secure an all-important three points.At the other end, meanwhile, Luiz played his part as Arsenal kept only their second Premier League clean sheet of the campaign and their first since the opening weekend against Newcastle. Calum Chambers has caught the eye for Arsenal in recent matches (Picture: Getty)Chambers started the first game of the season against Newcastle alongside Sokratis Papastathopolous in the middle of the back four but has since had to make way for Luiz.Nevertheless, the 24-year-old has been pressed into action at right-back and impressed during the win against Bournemouth both offensively at defensively.Emery is suddenly blessed with a number of options in defence now following the returns to fitness of Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding and he will be hoping for more clean sheets moving forward.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City Advertisementlast_img read more

Meet Food 2.0: UK food & drink shows category report 2018

first_imgThe Ingredients Show 2018When : 16-18 AprilWhere : Hall 3, NEC BirminghamWhy : Join the biggest names in the food development industry for the launch of The Ingredients Show, William Reed’s latest trade event.From the lowdown on tiger nuts to an insight into insect grub, the packed live events timetable includes seminars, debates and demonstrations that will explain the trends likely to shape the industry this year.Food colour experts GNT will discuss rising demand for Instagrammable food and give top tips on using natural colours to drive sales, while Steve Osborn of The Aurora Ceres Partnership will explain the art of combining consumer trends with future food technologies to create nutritious, functional and tasty grub.As many mass market companies struggle to attain trust and authenticity in the halal sector, a panel of experts will discuss how to win over halal customers and whether the sector can reach ‘mainstream’ UK consumers.And join IRI’s Martin Wood to discuss what drives flavour trends, from evolving shopping habits and customer psychology to the effect of the sugar levy and product descriptions. Using EPoS market databases, Wood will dissect the biggest trends of 2017 and their origins, including the momentous rise of tonic, after being put back on the map by Fever-Tree and the rise of craft gin.Tuck into insect snacks, learn about which consumer trends are shaping new formats in sports nutrition and watch as foods are printed live on stage by Foodini, the latest technology innovation from Natural Machines.As well as live events, attendees will have the opportunity to meet top suppliers, new manufacturers and industry experts, including more than 100 international exhibitors showcasing products, innovations, services and equipment.See, taste and learn about the foods and flavours set to inspire this year’s NPD, while making and building on key business relationships in the first UK food and drink event to focus solely on the most vital part of food development: ingredients.This doesn’t necessarily mean ­everyone will get their own nutritionist (although it’s worth noting Waitrose did offer a personalised service as part of a two-store trial earlier this year). Instead, it could be simply targeting foods at certain demographics, says Emily Foster, founder of nutrition and marketing consultancy Glowing Potential. “A lot of people in the industry perceive personalised nutrition as a complicated, ­ominous topic, but it doesn’t have to be,” says Foster, who will host a session on the topic at the Food & Drink Expo. “Personalised ­nutrition can be as simple as highlighting specific food and drink products tailored for customers who want to lower their cholesterol, or who may want to lose weight.”In this nutrition-obsessed society, consumers are always on the lookout for something that can give them a hefty hit of vitamins, minerals and fibre. This brings Foster to the subject of her next session at the Food & Drink Expo: superfoods. As consumers get savvier about what they eat, Foster expects to see more caution in the face of superfood claims. “Products labelled as being or containing superfoods could still be high in sugar or saturated fat. There are no parameters for what is or isn’t a superfood,” says Foster. “Are people aware that the ‘superfood’ they’re purchasing may not be healthy? And if not, how can food businesses ensure they’re being responsible?” Farm Shop & Deli ShowWhen : 16-18 AprilWhere : Hall 1, NEC BirminghamWhy : This is the main industry event for those wanting to keep up to date with the latest news, trends and products in the specialist retail sector. Over 450 companies from big brands to smaller, artisanal producers will attend over the three-day event, making the show a vital opportunity for any industry member looking to form new business relationships or strengthen existing ones. As well as hosting a wide range of exhibitors, the show will include an events programme designed to provide all the information needed for a business to thrive in speciality retail in 2018. Featuring expert insight, lively debates and topical discussions ranging from boosting beer sales and sustainability to rethinking retail through smart integrations, the programme also hosts the annual Farm Shop & Deli Award Finals, showcasing the best and brightest retailers across the sector.In the more distant future, consumers may skip the convenience store altogether for the ultimate quick fix: printing their own snacks. At The Ingredient Show, tech ­company Natural Machines will present Foodini, the 3D food printer. Hailed as one of the top seven tech ­superheroes to watch by CNN, the printer will produce food live on stage as company ­co-founder Lynette Kucsma and engineer Victor Delgado explain how it has the ­potential to change the industry.In the shorter term, we could see technology enabling us to cryogenically freeze ready meals and the internet of things disrupting the traditional supply chain, as speakers at Foodex will explain.So there’s no shortage of change at this year’s William Reed shows. You may not be eating an insect-based, cryogenically frozen ready meal next to your 3D food printer just yet, but the future isn’t far off. National Convenience Show 2018When : 16-18 AprilWhere : Hall 1, NEC, BirminghamWhy : The essential event for convenience owners and buyers is back, with a packed live event timetable including seminars, Q&A sessions and debates. The lineup will look at everything from how to upsell and inspire customers, to the potential role of robotics in solving the emerging skills crisis.The changing nature of the industry will also come under the spotlight. Following a turbulent 2017 that saw major deals between Tesco and Booker, plus the Co-op and Nisa, Convenience Store editor David Rees will lead a panel of experts including Booker managing director Steve Fox in a discussion on what all this means for convenience businesses and their customers. As the major networking event of the year, bringing together industry titans and hundreds of brands across the convenience market under one roof, the NCS is the place to build business relationships and gain the insight you need for the year ahead.Just to prove the term isn’t going anywhere, the tiger nut will come under the microscope as the next superfood in this year’s Ingredients Show. Consumers are already going nuts for, er, nuts – as proven by Kantar Worldpanel data, which shows value sales have gone up 7.4% over the past year. Foodex 2018When : 16-18 AprilWhere : Halls 3 and 3a, NEC BirminghamWhy : As the UK’s number one trade event for food and drink processing, packaging and logistics, Foodex brings together the latest innovations and trends across the industry. This year’s jam-packed programme will keep you up to date with all the latest technological advancements in food manufacturing. Find out how emerging robotics could have the potential to streamline processes, improve product quality and even solve the skills crisis, uncover the world of the internet of things, or get to grips with how to perfect your supply chain and drive efficiencies. Plus, make sure your packaging is meeting growing demands for traceability and transparency in the industry and understand the role of the Grocery Code Adjudicator. With over 500 suppliers set to exhibit, the event is an unmissable opportunity to create and develop relationships, as well as to view the latest products and technologies that are shaping the food industry.The tiger nut has something different to the rest of the market, though. Firstly, it’s not a nut. It’s actually a nutrient-dense root ­vegetable, says Ani de la Prida, co-founder of The Tiger Nut Company. And not only does it provide a gluten-like texture to various foods, but Prida says it can also work as a milk alternative, making it perfect for the growing free-from crowd. Add to that the tagline of promoting ‘good gut health’ due to high levels of prebiotic fibre, and tiger nuts could well be a ‘superfood’ worth the label.A six-legged mealAnother emerging food is insects. Raphaelle Browaeys, communications manager at insect food producer Jimini’s, is confident insects can hit mainstream retail in 2018. As a fellow speaker at The Ingredients Show, she will make the case for a six-legged meal.center_img From 3D food printers to six-legged grub, food is getting futuristic. Find out what’s on the horizon at this week’s five William Reed food shows,The future looked pretty good in cartoon series The Jetsons. Firstly, they had flying cars. More importantly, there was a machine that could spit out whatever food you fancied in a matter of seconds. With today’s fast-paced technology, this could soon be a reality (yes, we are now looking at using 3D printers to make our dinner). Yet there are also plenty of less techy trends that will shape how we eat in future. The five William Reed shows at the NEC Birmingham over the coming week will cover everything that is set to influence our eating habits, from 3D printers to the next superfood. So what are the top trends worth noticing?The most pressing influence on our nation’s eating habits is health. In the era of the sugar levy and war on obesity, shoppers are placing ever more scrutiny on the nutritional information of what they’re putting into their baskets. So it is the perfect breeding ground for the first trend in the list: personalised nutrition. Food & Drink Expo 2018When : 16-18 AprilWhere : Hall 2, NEC BirminghamWhy : Take a look at the latest products, innovations and technologies in food and drink across a range of sectors and countries at the Food & Drink Expo. Taste the latest flavour trends, meet industry experts and gain unique insights over the three-day event, as well as mingling with some of the biggest and newest suppliers and brands. The live event timetable spans a celebration of the best in Welsh cuisine (including samples), emerging UK wine trends with ‘The Wine Tipster’ Neil Phillips and Pimp My Cheeseboard, featuring chef Fan Kenny and food writer Patrick McGuigan’s mission to revolutionise cheese platters, inspired by a new wave of cheese restaurants in the US. From using storyboarding to best effect with media experts Digital Blonde to getting code confident with Groceries Code Adjudicator Christine Tacon, the Food & Drink expo provides you with the information you need for success in 2018.Not only are they more environmentally sustainable than meat, she stresses they have numerous health benefits and are relatively cheap to produce. So if can consumers get their heads around the ick-factor, they could be next on the nation’s menu. Sustainability more generally is another major trend shaping the food ­industry. Whether we’re talking food waste – a hot topic at the Food & Drink Expo and the Farm Shop & Deli Show – or actual waste, discussed at the National Convenience Show, the environment is shaping all corners of food and drink. Take the coffee industry, for example. At Farm Shop & Deli Live, Monkshood Coffee owner Elliot Wallis will talk about the increasing need to be sustainable – from sourcing the coffee beans to the cups it’s served in. “Customers want to feel like they are buying a product that reflects their values, from an ethical, eco-friendly retailer or brand,” he says.And he believes consumers are increasingly willing to pay a premium for sustainable, specialty coffee (which he will be handing out samples of during the show). “Farm shops and delis are ideally placed to utilise craft ­coffee to grow profits,” says Wallis. “The USP of speciality, artisanal retailers will always be quality over price, and customers are more willing to pay extra for a great product.”Changing face of convenienceAnother thing consumers are willing to pay more for is convenience. It’s been a long-standing trend, and it’s the ideal backdrop for this year’s National Convenience Show. But what consumers are looking for from this format has been slowly changing. In years gone by, the local c-store was the place to pick up a Mars bar and a can of Coke. To cater for today’s more health-conscious consumer, retailers will offer more of the innovative types of foods listed above. Not only does that mean offering healthy ­food-to-go options – already done expertly by some retailers such as Simply Fresh – but snacking sections will need to go beyond confectionery bars to include healthy options such as protein bars and nut-based treats (or even insects, perhaps).last_img read more

Kingsholme home and a half sells for $815,000

first_imgOne of the modern bathrooms.The agent said Kingsholme was a tightly held suburb, with properties rarely coming up for sale.“Properties are pretty much passed down through families and they don’t come on very often.”She said it was a hard to price the suburb because it was varying in block size and architecture.Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 10:02Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -10:02 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD432p432p270p270p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenJune, 2018: Liz Tilley talks prestige property10:02 Inside the kitchen of the completed home.Ms Frinke said the sellers had built before, but unfortunately had been unable to complete the home after falling ill.She said the new owners were a family who would finish building the property, and had already moved into the existing home. The property at 62-76 Stage Coach Drive, Kingsholme sold for $815,000.A KINGSHOLME property with one and a half homes has been sold for $815,000.center_img Outside the completed home at 62-76 Stage Coach Drive.LJ Hooker Ormeau sales consultant Deb Frinke said they had received “hundreds” of enquiries about the 62-76 Stage Coach Drive property, which had one completed and one half-built home on it.“(The vendors) were living in one house, and building another home and got as far as putting the roof on,” Ms Frinke said.More from newsDigital inspection tool proves a property boon for REA website3 Apr 2020The Camira homestead where kids roamed free28 May 2019“A lot of the stuff that was required to finish the home is on site and everybody who inspected it agreed it was a very good floorplan.”last_img read more