Monastero di San Benedetto, 1070 – Subiaco (Roma)

Monastero di San Benedetto, 1070 – Subiaco (Roma)

Watch “Kristin Callahan A New Love” on YouTube

Comăna de Sus

Comăna de Sus

From Erin Brockovich: Dangerous, toxic, deadly…

Dangerous, toxic, deadly…

Can’t touch it, can’t swim in it, don’t let animals near it… 

But drink all you want… the California Department of Water Resources issued a “warning” advisory this week for Silverwood Lake on the east branch and Lake Pyramid on the west branch due to the presence of blue-green algae known as cyanobacteria.

These are the major drinking water sources for Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and the Inland Empire… get ready you will smell it and taste it in the next few weeks… we all know that smell well, that musty smell in your shower… that gross smell of you tap water… not only disgusting but very dangerous.

Sadly it is treatable, and while a few water utilities have stepped up and are treating the toxic algae… most DO NOT. The most disturbing point is this same source water is also contaminated with unregulated herbicides, pesticides, PFOA, PFOS and pharmaceuticals… all treatable with the same inexpensive technology… so when you start to smell this crap over the next few weeks, ask your water provider to step up… treat the water properly… no more lame excuses.

~By Erin Brokovich ~

BBC News: Trump and Putin had another, undisclosed conversation at G20

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Trump and Putin had another, undisclosed conversation at G20 –

France 24 :  Macron’s France beats Trump’s US in global soft power survey

Macron’s France beats Trump’s US in global soft power survey

France has for the first time beaten the US and the UK to become the new world leader of “soft power”, according to a report published Tuesday.

France was declared the world’s top soft power for 2017 by The SoftPower 30, an annual report by the UK-based PR firm Portland and the University of Southern California.

It’s the first time France has topped the annual rankings — Britain headed the index two years ago and was beaten last year by the US — since the SoftPower index was established three years ago.

“Undoubtedly the most impressive year-on-year performance from 2016 to 2017 is France overtaking the UK, US, Germany and Canada to secure the top spot,” said the report.

France’s sweep was a result ofEmmanuel Macron’s victory in the 2017 presidential race, the country’s vast diplomatic network as well as the way France as a nation is perceived abroad.

“France’s soft power has no doubt seen a boost with the defeat of the Front National and election of its youngest ever president, Emmanuel Macron. Elected on a pro-Europe platform of reform, the president is riding a wave of both domestic and international popularity,” the report noted.

‘America First’ puts US third 

In contrast, the US slump to third spot — after the UK — was due to President Donald Trump’s policies, according to the report. “Trump’s ‘America First’ doctrine has played poorly abroad, alienating allies and damaging links with the rest of the world,” said the report.

“The rise of Trump could be viewed as a threat to American soft power, not least because his kind of populist rhetoric is known for devaluing international alliances,” the authors of the report noted.

Coined 27 years ago by US political scientist Joseph Nye, the term “soft power” is used to describe a country’s non-military global influence by harnessing international alliances and shaping preferences through a country’s perceived appeal and attraction.

The poll gauged how well countries were regarded according to such issues as culture, foreign policy, digital engagement and perceived capacity for economic innovation, among others.

Soft power (from Wikipedia)

Soft power is a concept developed by Joseph Nye ofHarvard University to describe the ability to attract and co-optrather than by coercion (hard power), using force or giving money as a means ofpersuasion. Soft power is the ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction. A defining feature of soft power is that it is noncoercive; the currency of soft power is culture, political values, and foreign policies. Recently, the term has also been used in changing and influencing social and public opinion through relatively less transparent channels and lobbying through powerful political and non-political organizations. In 2012, Nye explained that with soft power, “the best propaganda is not propaganda”, further explaining that during theInformation Age, “credibility is the scarcest resource.”

Joseph Nye coined the term in a 1990 book, Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power. In this book, he wrote: “when one country gets other countries to want what it wants-might be called co-optive or soft power in contrast with the hard or command power of ordering others to do what it wants.”He further developed the concept in his 2004 book, Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. The term is now widely used in international affairs by analysts and statesmen. For example, the US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke of the need to enhance American soft power by “a dramatic increase in spending on the civilian instruments ofnational security – diplomacy,strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action and economic reconstruction and development.” In 2011, as Xi Jinping was preparing to take power from General SecretaryHu Jintao, the 17th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party devoted a whole plenary session to the issue of culture, with the final Communiqué declaring that it was a national goal to “build our country into a socialist cultural superpower.” And in 2014, Xi announced, “We should increase China’s soft power, give a good Chinese narrative, and better communicate China’s messages to the world.”

According to the Soft Power 30, an annual index published by Portland Communicationsand the USC Center on Public DiplomacyFrance wields the most soft power in 2017. The rest of the top ten included theUnited KingdomUnited StatesGermanyCanada,JapanSwitzerlandAustralia,Sweden, and the Netherlands. According to the 2016/17Monocle Soft Power Survey, the United States holds the top spot in soft power. The Elcano Global Presence Report scores the European Union highest for soft presence when considered as a whole, and ranks the United States first among sovereign states.


Today’s Holiday:Swan Upping

Today’s Holiday:
Swan Upping

The tradition of marking newborn swans goes back six centuries, when most of the swans on England’s public waters were owned by the Queen. Every year since 1363, the Queen’s swan master and the swan wardens of the two livery companies row up the Thames, starting at Blackfriars and continuing upstream to Abingdon, and “up” all the swan families into the boats, where they are marked with identification numbers. There are very specific rules governing how ownership is decided, and the six boats, each flying a large silk flag, form a procession that has changed little over the centuries. More…:

Today’s Birthday:Charles Horace Mayo (1865)

Today’s Birthday:
Charles Horace Mayo (1865)

Mayo was a gifted surgeon who, with his father, brother, and several other doctors, founded the world-renowned non-profit medical center in Minnesota that would become the Mayo Clinic. In addition to seeing patients, Mayo served as the health officer of Rochester, Minnesota, for many years and also taught medical students. He originated modern procedures in neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery and reduced the death rate in goiter operations. What factor contributed to his early surgical success? More…:

This Day in History:France Declares War on Prussia (1870)

This Day in History:
France Declares War on Prussia (1870)

The Franco-Prussian War was the outcome of the progressive unification of German states after the Napoleonic Wars. Events came to a head when the Spanish throne was offered to a member of the Prussian Hohenzollern family, raising the possibility of a Prussian-Spanish alliance against France. The French government demanded assurances that no member of the Hohenzollern family would ever rule Spain and declared war when it was refused. What famously insulting telegram prompted France’s declaration? More…:

Quote of the Day:Alexandre Dumas

Quote of the Day:
Alexandre Dumas

Woman inspires us to great things, and prevents us from achieving them. More…:

Article of the Day:Murano Glass

Article of the Day:
Murano Glass

Murano glass has been a famous product of the Venetian island of Murano for centuries and is still made today using the ancient techniques. The island’s reputation as a glassmaking center was born when the Venetian Republic, fearful of fires that could destroy the city’s mostly wood buildings, ordered glassmakers to move their foundries to Murano in 1291. Although Murano’s glassmakers soon became the island’s most prominent citizens, they had to adhere to one strict rule. What was it? More…:

Idiom of the Day:jet-setter

Idiom of the Day:

A wealthy individual who travels globally, especially by private jet, to frequent fashionable resorts, social events, and the like. Watch the video…:

Word of the Day:repose

Word of the Day:

Definition: (noun) The act of resting or the state of being at rest.
Synonyms: ease, relaxation, rest
Usage: The vacationer took his repose beside the swimming pool.:

BBC News: Los Angeles’ homeless crisis goes from bad to worse

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Los Angeles’ homeless crisis goes from bad to worse –

Watch “Dorina Draghici Firicel de floare-albastra duet cu Nicu Stoenescu)” on YouTube

What happens when you eat 3 whole eggs every day? – Doctor AL

What happens when you eat 3 whole eggs every day?

What happens when you eat 3 whole eggs every day?
If you eat foods with high concentration of cholesterol, the liver will adapt the production. By consuming eggs you will not increase your cholesterol levels, but only substitute one cholesterol with another.
This is why you should consume eggs regularly:

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Eggs contain high levels of vitamins A, B6 and E, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium and many other important nutrients. The foods that include all of these minerals and vitamins are very rare.

Eggs include good cholesterol (HDL). This cholesterol is not dangerous for your health, instead, it is very beneficial since it assists the body to generate vitamin D and hormones like testosterone, estrogen and cortisol.
The good cholesterol doesn’t build up on the walls of blood vessels like the bad cholesterol does.

Instead, the good cholesterol cleans them and disables appearance of diseases like atherosclerosis. It doesn’t raise the possibility of cardiovascular diseases and reduces the concentration of bad cholesterol. You should avoid consummation of sugar and have a healthy diet and lifestyle in order to keep your cholesterol levels balanced.

Eggs are very rich source of choline which is important nutrient that allows proper brain development and improves the memory. It is a precursor to a neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine, and it is vital for the pregnant women because it reduces the risk of development of abnormalities in the fetuses. 90% of the American population lacks of choline, which is the reason why they are prone to muscle damage and non-alcoholic liver fatty disease.

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Keeps your vision sharp
Lutein and zeaxanthin are potent carotenoids that improve the vision. They lower the possibility of age-related macular degeneration and keep your eyes safe from sunlight harm while lowering the possibility of cataract by 50%.
Feed your muscles
2 eggs contain the same levels of protein like 1 portion of meat, but without consuming the fat and acidity of the meat. In many diets you will see an instruction of eating only the white of the egg, but you should know that the half of the protein concentration in the eggs is located in the yolk.

Feed your bones
Eggs also contain high amount of vitamin D and calcium which are necessary for the adequate bone development and firmness. Vitamin D allows better absorption of calcium in the body, while calcium is necessary for adequate blood clotting, nerve signals and muscle contractions.
Promote weight loss
Since the eggs are rich in many nutrients, they will make you feel satiated. They are low in calories and thus they are very helpful when it comes to losing weight. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition and The International Journal of Obesity did a studies that confirmed the fact that consuming eggs for breakfast lowers the amount of food you will consume during the day. This will result with weight loss and decreased body fat.

The health organizations aren’t right when saying that the eggs aren’t healthy because the eggs will make you much healthier. Consummation of 2-3 eggs daily is perfectly healthy for your body.

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BBC News: US imposes fresh sanctions on Iran over missile tests

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

US imposes fresh sanctions on Iran over missile tests –

Today’s Holiday:Uruguay Constitution Oath Taking Day

Today’s Holiday:
Uruguay Constitution Oath Taking Day

The country of Uruguay adopted its first constitution on July 18, 1830, shortly after becoming independent in 1828. The 1830 constitution, modeled after the American and French constitutions, created executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. Later constitutions checked the powers of the president and provided for a separation of church and state. To commemorate the adoption of Uruguay’s first constitution, speeches are given by government officials and a parade featuring a military band, mounted cavalry, and soldiers is held in the capital city of Montevideo. More…:

Today’s Birthday:Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (1853)

Today’s Birthday:
Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (1853)

Lorentz was a Dutch physicist who, in 1902, shared the second Nobel Prize in Physics. A pioneer in formulating the relations between electricity, magnetism, and light, he was one of the first people to postulate the existence of electrons. He developed many of the concepts and equations upon which Einstein based his special theory of relativity, which was originally called the Lorentz-Einstein theory. He also did critical work for the Dutch government on what unprecedented engineering project? More…:

This Day in History:The First Vatican Council Declares Papal Infallibility (1870)

This Day in History:
The First Vatican Council Declares Papal Infallibility (1870)

In Roman Catholicism, papal infallibility is the doctrine that, under certain conditions, the pope cannot err when teaching in matters of faith or morals. It is a centuries-old idea based on the belief that the church, entrusted with the mission of Jesus, will be guided by the Holy Spirit. It has been a matter of controversy, even among Catholic theologians, ever since 1870, when the First Vatican Council first listed the conditions under which popes are infallible. What are they? More…:

Quote of the Day:Agatha Christie

Quote of the Day:
Agatha Christie

Any woman can fool a man if she wants to and if he’s in love with her. More…:

Article of the Day:Pet Skunks

Article of the Day:
Pet Skunks

Though these animals are best known for the foul-smelling fluid they emit as a defense against predators, skunks are occasionally kept as pets. Their scent glands can be removed, and they can be trained to live indoors with humans, but pet skunks remain relatively rare, due in part to restrictive laws and the complexity of their care. In the 20th century, most US states outlawed the keeping of wild animals in an effort to stem the spread of rabies. Which states still allow domestic skunks? More…:

Idiom of the Day:the jet set

Idiom of the Day:
the jet set

A group of wealthy individuals who travel globally, especially by private jet, to frequent fashionable resorts, social events, and the like. Watch the video…:

Word of the Day:fervent

Word of the Day:

Definition: (adjective) Having or showing great emotion or zeal.
Synonyms: ardent, fervid, fiery, impassioned, perfervid, torrid
Usage: She was a fervent opponent of the death penalty and organized a monthlong hunger strike to protest the practice.:

Watch “Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 / Rattle · Berliner Philharmoniker” on YouTube

Our world is falling apart: literally!  ~~Watch “See the Huge Crack in West Antarctica Before Iceberg Broke Off | National Geographic” on YouTube~~

Wikipedia:  Main Page (Mon, July 17)

Dirty water, cholera and malnutrition: deadly mix afflicting Yemeni children

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Yemeni children gather water in the area around Sana’a. (Photo by our Observers and the WHO)


Dirty water, cholera and malnutrition: deadly mix afflicting Yemeni children




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Ahmad Algohbary

Ahmad Algohbary

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More than 10,000 civilians have died in the war that has torn Yemen apart since it started in 2015. The country is now engulfed wide-scale humanitarian crisis, with an estimated 2.2 million children suffering from severe malnutrition and much of the population reduced to drinking dirty water. As a result, starting last May, Yemen has been experiencing the “worst cholera epidemic in the world,” according to the United Nations. It’s a situation proving deadly for children, the most vulnerable victims of this conflict. 

Close to 300,000 people in Yemen have contracted cholera, of whom 1,700 died, according to numbers reported in June. This epidemic has, in large part, been caused by the poor quality of the country’s drinking water, which is often contaminated with fecal matter. Moreover, wartorn Yemen lacks the resources to purify the water. And, when people fall ill, they often have no access to medical care. This disease, which is easy to treat, is most deadly when contracted by vulnerable people, like the elderly and, especially. children. 

“To date, 297,438 suspected #cholera cases and 1706 associated deaths have been reported in 22 governorates in #Yemen”, according to a tweet by the World Health Organisation. According toUNICEF, close to half of these cases involve children.

“They drink this water because they don’t have another choice”

Ahmad Algohbary

Ahmad Algohbary

See profile

Our Observer Ahmad Algohbary is a freelance journalist who lives in Sana’a, the capital. When he traveled outside the city in early July, he met internally displaced people who had no other option but to drink water that was clearly dirty. He said that many people who have fled the conflict find themselves in this kind of situation, which explains the sanitation crisis sweeping his country. 

“Photo of Displaced people from [Nihm] area #Sanaa are using this dirty water. 
The need for clean water is urgent for them.
This is #Yemen,” our Observer tweeted on July 10, 2017.

Some friends and I decided to travel to Nihm province [Editor’s note: Nihm is located to the east of the capital, Sana’a]. While we were making our way through a mountainous region, we came across a group of displaced people who had fled Nihm, where there are ongoing clashes between the Houthi rebels and government forces, backed by the international coalition led by Saudi Arabia. We learned that there were 56 displaced families who were sleeping in a makeshift campsites there.

These people don’t have anything. No food, no water, no money. They sleep in makeshift tents and receive little aide. Sometimes, people bring them a little bit of food, but they wake up the next day, starving as ever. I was shocked when I saw that they were drinking the filthy water from the swamp and I took photos to document these terrible conditions. 

“Please, show the world what kind of conditions we are living in”

At first, the people I met in the makeshift camp were shy, especially the women. So I told them that I would only take a picture of them from a distance. When I told them that I wanted to post my photos online, they gave me their permission and said: “Please, show the world what kind of conditions we are living in. We don’t have anything and no one is helping us. We need potable water urgently. Tell NGOs that we need help; we need water and tents. 

In this makeshift camp, these displaced people are drinking water unfit for consumption because they don’t have any other choice. At least three children there have already fallen ill with cholera. 

“In #Yemen, people have no choice but to drink dirty water, continuing the cycle of #cholera. Cholera flourishes in a weakened health system,” explained the World Health Organisation in a tweet.

The conflict has meant that close to 14.5 million Yemenis– equivalent to roughly half of the country’s entire population– don’t have access to clean and potable drinking water, according to the United Nations. Across the country, NGOs are working night and day to truck in clean drinking water.

This video of water being distributed in Sana’a was filmed and posted on Facebook by the NGO One Life Global Welfare in July 2017.

READ ON THE OBSERVERS >> How do you explain bombs and cholera to kids? You lie

The bombing of water reserves 

In March 2015, Shi’ite Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, took control of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a. Since then, the rebels have been carrying out a particularly violent urban war against Yemeni forces, who are supported by their neighbour, Saudi Arabia, and other regional and Western powers, including the United States. 


On January 8, 2016, a desalination plant located to the north of the town of Mocha was bombed. The investigators at the website bellingcat looked into this attack, though they were unable to determine if the Saudi coalition was responsible. The website has gathered a list of previous bombings that destroyed facilities used to store food or distribute drinking water, thus putting Yemeni civilians at risk.

Air strikes carried out by the coalition target Houthi positions, but they have also hit schools, hospitals and, according to United States senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat, reserves of drinking water. 

“The cholera epidemic is in part due to the bombing of the water supply in Sana’a”, he said in late June. The France 24 Observers team spoke with Qasim Ali Al-Shawea, a Yemeni humanitarian worker based Sana’a. He said that close to 300 reservoirs had been destroyed in this way. 


Devastated public services

According to the United Nations, the Red Cross and several other humanitarian organisations present on the ground, most government employees– including 30,000 local health professionals– haven’t been paid since last summer. This dire situation has led to personnel shortages, which only serves to aggravate the ongoing cholera epidemic. Moreover, municipal workers tasked with collecting garbage are no longer being paid and rubbish has been piling up in city streets. This waste also flows into water sources, polluting it, and thus creating perfect conditions for the spread of cholera. 

Amnesty International says that at least 34 coalition airstrikes have violated international humanitarian law and killed at least 494 civilians. The rights group says these deadly air strikes were carried out using American and British equipment. Houthi rebels are also responsible for killing an unknown number of civilians while engaging in indiscriminate artillery, mortar and rocket fire. 


READ ON THE OBSERVERS >> War, heatwave and a mystery illness strike Yemeni town

READ ON THE OBSERVERS >> Yemenis who fly abroad to avoid dying at home

Article written with

Liselotte Mas

Liselotte Mas




How Egypt continues China’s repression of Muslim Uighurs

BBC News: US calls for smaller deficits in new NAFTA talks

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

US calls for smaller deficits in new NAFTA talks –

BBC News: Republicans oppose healthcare plans leaving party without majority

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Republicans oppose healthcare plans leaving party without majority –

Saros pe Târnave  (Color crayons sketch)

Saros pe Târnave

(Color crayons 


Today’s Holiday:King’s Birthday (Lesotho)

Today’s Holiday:
King’s Birthday (Lesotho)

Veneration for royalty is still customary for the Basotho, the majority group living in the Kingdom of Lesotho. Accordingly, the birthday of monarch King Letsie III is a momentous occasion. Born in 1963, King Letsie is the son of King Moshoeshoe II, who became Lesotho’s first monarch after the country gained full independence from Great Britain in 1966. Many citizens honor the king on his birthday by attending his parade, at which he appears in regal attire and is usually accompanied by his wife, Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso. More…:

Today’s Birthday:James Cagney (1899)

Today’s Birthday:
James Cagney (1899)

After cutting his teeth on stage as a vaudeville and Broadway song-and-dance man, Cagney established himself as the quintessential gangster in the 1931 film The Public Enemy. He continued to play thugs in films like Angels with Dirty Faces and White Heat and won an Oscar for his performance in Yankee Doodle Dandy. He had a passion for farming and died on his secluded farm in 1986. In 1981, he broke a 20-year retirement to appear in one of his last films. What was it? More…:

This Day in History:”Wrong Way” Corrigan Flies from New York to Ireland (1938)

This Day in History:
“Wrong Way” Corrigan Flies from New York to Ireland (1938)

In 1938, American aviator Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan made his infamous, unauthorized transatlantic flight from New York to Ireland. He claimed that during a planned flight to California, foggy conditions and a misread compass made him fly thousands of miles in the wrong direction without noticing. In the years leading up to his “navigational error,” he had applied several times for permission to make the transoceanic trip, but was always rejected. How was he punished for his actions? More…:

Quote of the Day:L. Frank Baum

Quote of the Day:
L. Frank Baum

Experience is the only thing that brings knowledge. More…:

Article of the Day:Derringers

Article of the Day:

The term “derringer” derives from a misspelling of the last name of Henry Deringer, a famous maker of small pocket pistols in the 1800s. Deringer’s popular design was copied by gun makers across the globe, and “derringer” soon became a generic term for any pocket pistol. Derringers, which are usually the smallest handguns of a given caliber, are especially popular among women because they can be easily concealed in a purse or stocking. What notorious assassin used an original Deringer pistol? More…:

Idiom of the Day:Jersey justice

Idiom of the Day:
Jersey justice

A punishment or act of justice that is or appears to be much more severe than the offence warrants. Primarily heard in UK. Watch the video…:

Word of the Day:labyrinthine

Word of the Day:

Definition: (adjective) Resembling a labyrinth in form or complexity.
Synonyms: mazy
Usage: A labyrinthine maze of sculpted bushes surrounded the estate.:

My birds on the wire today 

My birds on the

wire today 

Little bird (B&W Crayon Sketch)

Little bird (B&W 

Crayon Sketch)

BBC News: Australian bride-to-be shot dead by US police after 911 call

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Australian bride-to-be shot dead by US police after 911 call –

BBC News: Canada police issue warrant for imam for ‘anti-Semitic hate speech’

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Canada police issue warrant for imam for ‘anti-Semitic hate speech’ –

My Chakra today 

My Chakra today

Marienburg Cetate Cetatea Feldioara

Marienburg Cetate Cetatea Feldioara

De la V. Sim: In gara Predeal 1975 _ Prima linie electrificata

De la V. Sim: In gara Predeal 1975 _ Prima linie electrificata

O ceață lungă şi lipicioasă…#Dumeşti

O ceață lungă şi lipicioasă…#Dumeşti

Ieri seara la Saros pe Târnave…

Ieri seara la Saros

pe Târnave…

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