الأربعاء، 5 أغسطس، 2015

THOUSANDS FLEE 'HISTORIC' CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES


Some 13,000 residents are leaving their homes as nearly two dozen wildfires rage across drought-parched California.
More than 9,000 firefighters are trying to dampen the 21 conflagrations.
The biggest inferno, the Rocky Fire, jumped over a highway that had served as a containment line on Monday afternoon.                
It has reduced to smouldering ashes more than 62,000 acres (25,000 hectares) north of Sacramento, the state capital.
The blaze tripled in size over the weekend to almost 97 square miles (250 square km), feeding on its own winds.
The Rocky Fire, which is only 12% contained, razed 20,000 acres in just five hours, stunning the authorities.
"The term that I'm using is 'historic'," one firefighter told CNN.
"The reason I say that is that there are firefighters who have 25, 30 years on the job who have never seen fire behaviour like we've seen the last couple of days."
Two dozen homes have been destroyed over the past few days.
The California blazes killed a firefighter last week and injured four others.
A total of some 142,000 acres have burned so far.
The wildfires prompted California Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency last week.
Lightning strikes in the drought-stricken state were blamed for the fires.
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الثلاثاء، 4 أغسطس، 2015

EATING SPICY FOOD LINKED TO LIVING LONGER


Eating spicy food has been linked to living a longer life.
A study analysed the food habits and health details of nearly half a million Chinese people.
It found those who ate spicy food six or seven days a week had a 14% reduced risk of dying compared with people who ate it less than once a week.
Eating spicy food was also associated with a lower risk of death from cancer, heart diseases and respiratory illnesses.
In women, it also corresponded with a reduced risk of death from infections.
The links were stronger in those who did not drink alcohol.
Researchers stressed the findings were correlational; eating spicy food may also be linked to other dietary habits, lifestyle choices or socio-economic status.
"For example, in Chinese cuisine the cooking of chilli pepper and the production of chilli sauce and oil usually requires more oil, and intake of pungent foods may be accompanied by an increased intake of carbohydrate-rich foods such as rice to relieve the burning sensation," they said.
The study, which is published in the BMJ, said spices have a long history of being used for flavouring, colouring and preserving food.
They have also been used for medicinal purposes.
The research, led by Peking University Health Science Center in Beijing, is in line with previous evidence on the health benefits of spicy foods.
The study authors said capsaicin is the main active component of chilli pepper.
Its qualities have been extensively reported in relation to anti-obesity, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-hypertensive effects.
Additionally, the antimicrobial function of spices, including chilli pepper, has long been recognised, they said.
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الاثنين، 3 أغسطس، 2015

RUSSIA CLAIMS VAST SWATHES OF ARCTIC TERRITORY


Russia has submitted a bid for control of vast territories in the Arctic to the United Nations, its foreign ministry has confirmed.
Moscow said in a statement that it was claiming 1.2 million sq km (more than 463,000 sq miles) of the Arctic sea shelf, extending more than 350 nautical miles (around 650km) from the coast.
The US, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Russia have all been trying to gain control of parts of the Arctic, which is thought to have up to a quarter of the planet's untapped oil and gas supplies.
The competition to assert jurisdiction over parts of the region has intensified as shrinking polar ice caps have opened up new areas for exploration.
Russia first submitted its claim in 2002, but it was sent back by the UN due to lack of evidence.
It said its revised bid contains new arguments and that "ample scientific data collected in years of Arctic research are used to back the Russia claim."
Russia made a symbolic claim to part of the territory in 2007 by dropping a canister containing a Russian flag on to the ocean floor from a submarine in the North Pole. 
Among tensions over the Ukraine crisis and with neighbours in the Baltic, Vladimir Putin has also moved to increase his military presence in the Arctic.
A Soviet-era military base on the New Siberian Islands has been restored and other outposts in the region have been beefed up. 
Earlier in 2015, Russian forces took part in sweeping training exercises across the Arctic.
Some 38,000 servicemen, more than 50 surface ships and submarines and 110 aircraft were involved in the drills.
Russia has justified its actions by claiming the new facilities are vital for protecting shipping routes that link Europe with the Pacific.
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الأحد، 2 أغسطس، 2015

BRITISH LINK TO SMUGGLING AT MIGRANT CAMP


Sky News has witnessed British registered vehicles hovering around a refugee camp outside Dunkirk.
Local volunteers from the town of Teteghem say the camp, which is home to around 100 migrants, is controlled by people smugglers.
The vehicles, a large white van and two cars, were seen parked up next to containers where people are living.
While Sky News was carrying out filming, the two cars - an Audi and a Vauxhall - sped out of the camp.
Our team was subsequently told to leave the site by a man with a British accent. He threatened the use of violence if we returned.
Eve-Marie Dubiez, a volunteer from the group Amis de Teteghem, said she suspected smugglers were regulating the number of migrants at the camp.
"English cars, all English cars come here, get people to Calais and leave them somewhere 5km, 10km away from the port of Calais and they do what they can," she said.
"After three or four tries the smugglers ask them to pay again, it's a lot of money, it is €1,500 (£1,050) for one crossing."
Behrad, 32, from Iran, has lived in the camp for three months. He has risked his life numerous times trying to reach Britain.
He says it is easier to get onto lorries outside of Calais.
More appear to be doing that, with people travelling as far as Belgium to jump on board a truck headed for the town.
"It depends on your money. A lot of people who come here, they haven't so much money, so they take the cheapest way, which is to try the back of lorries. That's a lot of danger and people lose their lives."
When asked what the other options available to him were he said he preferred not to say "because maybe it makes me some problems."
All of the people living in the camp at Teteghem said they were desperate for a "better life" in Britain.
They also said that the fact they could speak English drew them there for job opportunities.
All admitted that Calais was still central to their attempt to reach British shores.
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السبت، 1 أغسطس، 2015

SANDRA BLAND'S FAMILY FILE WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT

The family of a black Texas woman found dead in her jail cell after her arrest for a minor traffic offence have filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
Sandra Bland's relatives say officer Brian Encinia showed a "deliberate indifference to and conscious disregard for the constitutional rights and safety" of the 28-year-old.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, also names the Texas Department of Public Safety, Waller County Sheriff's Office and two warders in the Hempstead prison where Ms Bland was held.
She used a rubbish bag to hang herself from the ceiling of her cell, three days after she was stopped on 10 July for not signalling before a lane change, say officials.
Bland family lawyer Cannon Lambert told a news conference in Houston: "The reason that we filed a lawsuit today was because, candidly, we've been unable to get many of the answers that we've been asking for, for weeks."Mr Lambert said the lawsuit seeks to hold authorities accountable.
"Mr Encinia is still employed, and it just doesn't make sense that taxpayers will be paying for the type of service that he offered on July 10," he added.
Mr Encinia is on administrative leave after a preliminary investigation accused him of breaking traffic stop and courtesy protocols when he pulled over Ms Bland.
Authorities have released the findings of a post-mortem examination, surveillance video showing Ms Bland being booked into the jail, her jail admission records and other material.
But Ms Bland's family - who question the official account of her death - say more information is needed, such as full toxicology results and her time of death.
Sandra Bland's mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, told reporters her daughter shouldn't even have been arrested.
"The bottom line is that she never should shave been inside the jail, period," she said.
The mother reportedly left the news conference after a reporter asked why the family did not bail her out of jail, calling the question "insulting". 
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