November 29, 2015

Storm Clodagh crashes in from the Atlantic, in pictures (20pics)

 Britain is receiving a battering as the newly-named Storm Clodagh crashes in from the Atlantic. Gusts of up to 70mph are expected around exposed coastal areas in the west on Sunday, with winds in inland areas reaching between 50-60mph, particularly in northern England. Warning of the potential for disruption due to the windy weather, the Met Office issued weather warnings covering the whole of England and Wales until 8pm. Here are a selection of the latest pictures from across the country.
 Workers clear away debris after the Team Valley Christmas Market in Gateshead was prematurely closed by gale force winds as Storm Clodagh battered the north of England
 A car is crushed under a fallen tree in Oxton, Merseyside
People watch as giant waves crash at the bottom of cliffs near Saltdean
 Brothers Bobby-Jak and Charlie Ennis and their dog Rosie play amongst sea foam raining down from the sky in Parton, Cumbria
The Wallace Monument near Stirling with snow covered hills and freezing mist in the background
 Stormy weather hits the coast as the waves and wind pick up at Southsea, Hampshire
 A satellite image showing precipitation over the UK. Blue shows rain, red shows snow, and grey shows a risk of snow, as Storm Clodagh makes its way to Britain
 Waves crash against the harbour wall in Porthcawl, South Wales
 A Tynemouth RNLI Lifeboat recovers a small boat in the mouth of the Tyne after rescuing its participants following its capsizing in gale force winds
 People face the cold in snowy Pitlochry as Storm Clodagh moves in from the Atlantic
 Storm Clodagh batters the harbour wall in Porthcawl, South Wales, early this morning
 A dog struggles into the wind as gales hit the coastline of Barry, South Wales
 A tree has fallen on to a road in Liverpool, narrowly missing a car
Storm force winds and high tides bring huge waves crashing into the sea defences in Aberystwyth on the west Wales coast
 A transient spell of snow brought a winter covering to parts of Cumbria and Northumberland
 A transient spell of snow brought a winter covering to parts of Cumbria and Northumberland
 The rain makes good weather for ducks on a football pitch in Kielder, Northumberland
 Lily a Hungarian Puli, windswept in Cottenham
Sheep have to contend with flooding in Kielder, Northumberland

These foods will help you live a longer and healthier life

Did you know that the Japanese archipelago Okinawa has the largest number of centenarians anywhere in the world — over 700? Most of them live this long because the region abounds in sunlight, and they eat properly and moderately. Healthy food is the key to a long life and you cannot expect to live to see your grandchildren if you eat nothing but fast food, drink soda drinks and munch on sweets and other unhealthy foods. To live long, you have to live healthy — and living healthy is all about eating healthy. Here are some foods that might help you achieve the age of Japanese centenarians.

Antioxidant-rich foods

Most people are unaware that free radicals are messing with their cells as we speak — well, as we read. Due to their instability, these molecules are making your cells unstable as well, thus affecting their performance and your health overall. In more severe cases, free radicals can alter your lipids and proteins, ultimately even harming your DNA and leading to cancer and other serious health issues. That is why you should do everything you can to fight them off, and the best way to do that is by food full of antioxidants.
A number of studies show introducing antioxidants to your daily diet will do wonders against free radicals. With just a handful of berries — from blueberries and cranberries to strawberries or raspberries, whichever you prefer — or vegetables like spinach and kale, you can boost your system and get protected against free radicals. Other antioxidant-rich foods include green tea, walnuts, sweet cherries and tasty spices like ginger, basil and oregano.

Protein-rich foods

To live long, you must be strong and properly built. Of course, that doesn't mean professional bodybuilders live to be 100 by default, but being active surely helps. What you need for an active life is a sufficient amount of protein on a daily basis. Among other benefits, protein will build your tissues and muscles, provide proper posture and, most importantly, transport essential nutrients to all parts of your body.
If you want to live longer, you need to focus on the best protein-rich foods you can get. Unfortunately, a big portion of the population cannot afford to eat properly every single day because protein-based items, like high-quality tuna, salmon and sardines, are often expensive. However, inexpensive protein foods, like eggs, whey and lean chicken, are everywhere around you and, if consumed daily, will expand your lifespan and help you stay healthy and strong.

Case study: nuts

If you have ever wondered why you see so many people eating pistachios and almonds in the park, the answer is quite simple: These magical little things have a great impact on your health, boost your metabolism, pump extra blood into your heart and regulate your weight. They are full of unsaturated fats, omega-3 acids, fiber, vitamin E and other healthy ingredients that enable you to reach old age.
Moreover, a recent study shows that people who eat nuts every day of the week have a 20 percent higher chance of living longer than those who do not include nuts in their diet. Additionally, another study proves “nut intake is related to lower overall and cause-specific mortality” with all age groups. You should definitely start eating nuts as soon as possible!

Other choices

Besides these foods, your daily diet should also include other foods to help you become a full-fledged centenarian, such as fiber-rich rice and wheat, as well as items like avocados, beans, green tea and asparagus. Or you can just listen to the advice of your elders or copy a diet of people who live the longest.

How Probiotics May Save Us from Superbugs

We’ve been engaging in a warfare of sorts lately, against bacteria that are quickly learning to outsmart our weapons of choice—antibiotics. Consider that more than 70 percent of all bacterial infections in hospitals are resistant to at least one of the antibiotics used to treat them, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But there is an interesting plot twist in this war: new players have emerged in the form of probiotics. While we more often consider probiotics for gut health and to prevent antibiotic-induced diarrhea, a growing body of research now points to probiotics as potentially beneficial against superbugs.
First, let’s compare antibiotics and probiotics. “Antibiotics,” literally translates to mean “against life” because these drugs indiscriminately kill bacteria, both pathogenic and beneficial ones, albeit fewer and fewer disease-causing bacteria as they become increasingly resistant to the drugs. By comparison, “probiotics” means “in favor of life” or “promotes life,” since these beneficial bacteria encourage health. But, that’s not all they do.
Exciting new research shows that some strains of probiotics are killing superbugs even when antibiotics stop working. Even better, research demonstrates that superbugs do not develop resistance to probiotics in the way they learn to resist antibiotics. That’s good news as more and more bacterial infections are no longer responding to antibiotic drugs.
In the case of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, a primary cause of gut disorders like ulcers, the bacteria has been found resistant to multiple drugs. However studies show that the probiotic known as Bifidobacteria bifiform is helpful against H. pylori infections. 
Perhaps one of the most widely reported cases of antibiotic resistance can be found in an infection known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA, a serious infectious disease that many people contract after a hospital stay. Antibiotics only work against MRSA in one way—attempting to kill the bacteria. But, according to research in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, probiotics like Lactobacillus acidophilus have been found to work on MRSA infections in three ways:
1) The probiotics compete with S. aureus infectious bacteria for nutrients and attachment to the mucous membranes of the body;
2) The probiotics secrete compounds known as bacteriocins that actively kill the infectious bacteria; and
3) L. acidophilus inhibits S. aureus from producing a coating known as a “biofilm” that protects the disease-causing bacteria from being discovered by the body’s immune system.
And, that’s just the beginning. Probiotics are even showing promise against viruses, something antibiotics have never been able to do. Antibiotics have only ever worked against bacterial infections. 

6 Things All Nutrition Experts Agree On6 Things All Nutrition Experts Agree On

A vegetarian, a paleo dieter and a Mediterranean Diet proponent walk into a conference…sounds like the start of a joke, but it actually resulted in some common ground between nutrition and food systems experts last week. Put together by food and nutrition education nonprofit Oldways, the Finding Common Ground Conference brought together a committee of experts to reach a consensus on healthy eating.
If you’ve attempted to stay up-to-date on what’s healthy and what’s not over the past few years, you know that there’s been evidence and researchers to back up guidelines that are often at odds with each other—(Are we eating eggs now? Is our next burger going to kill us?)—but after plenty of presentations and debates, the scientists, doctors and professors at the Finding Common Ground Conference were able to, well, find some common ground.
Here are some of the major principles they all stand behind:
1. More veggies, seafood and legumes. Less sugar, booze and red meat.
Sorry, no one’s going to give you permission to skimp on veggies. The group collectively agree with the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s report that “a healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meats; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains.”
2. Don’t cut out entire food groups (unless you want or need to). 
We all know someone who’s lost weight or gotten healthier by cutting out carbs or starting every morning with spinach juice—but if you can’t fathom the thought of ditching bagels forever, don’t force it. The experts caution against eliminating entire food groups in the name of nutrition, saying “it is not necessary to eliminate food groups or conform to a single dietary pattern to achieve healthy dietary patterns. Rather, individuals can combine foods in a variety of flexible ways to achieve healthy dietary patterns, and these strategies should be tailored to meet the individual’s health needs, dietary preferences and cultural traditions.”
3. Don’t take new nutrition findings as absolute fact.
New research on nutrition is important and absolutely worth considering—but you don’t need to overhaul your diet every time a new study alerts us to a new superfood. Instead of replacing what you already know about healthy eating with new research, consider it as a whole. “Fundamentals and current understanding do NOT change every time a new study makes headlines,” the committee says. “New evidence should be added to what was known before, not substituted for it sequentially.”
4. Let’s think about what we can add to our diets, not just cut out.
Instead of focusing on what we can’t eat, the committee endorses practical substitutions. “Instead of simply saying, “Drink less soda,” for instance, say “Drink water instead of soda.” What we consume and what we don’t consume instead, both contribute to health outcomes,” the report on the conference states.
5. Sustainability is an important part of healthy eating.
Again echoing federal guidelines, the experts at the Finding Common Ground Conference emphasize that “food insecurity cannot be solved without sustainable food systems. Inattention to sustainability is willful disregard for the quality and quantity of food available to the next generation.” According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Committee, that means “a focus on decreasing meat consumption, choosing seafood from non-threatened stocks, eating more plants and plant-based products, reducing energy intake, and reducing waste.”
6. Food should be tasty!
Healthy food doesn’t mean tasteless food. “Food can and should be good for human health, good for the planet, and simply…good—unapologetically delicious,” the report states. 

Why You Must Eat One Avocado a Day

The avocado is believed to have originated in Puebla, Mexico. The oldest evidence of the avocado was found in a cave in Puebla, Mexico and dates back to around 10,000 BC.
Native to Mexico and Central America, the avocado is classified in the same family as camphor and cinnamon. An avocado is botanically, a large berry that grows on a tree that can reach 6 feet tall. Just like a banana, the avocado ripens 1-2 weeks after being picked.  
Avocados are often referred to as the healthiest food due to its impressive nutritional value.
An avocado contains these vitamins and minerals:
Vitamin B1
Vitamin B2
Vitamin B3
Vitamin B5
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B9
Vitamin C
Vitamin E
Vitamin K

Why You Must Eat One Avocado a Day

•An avocado contains more potassium than a banana. Avocados have 14% and a banana contains 10% potassium.
•Folate for your hearts health. Avocados have 23% folate which lowers incidences of heart disease. Vitamin E, monounsaturated fats and glutathione are also good for the heart. Folate can lower the risks of having a stroke.
•Folate is also essential in the prevention of birth defects such as spina bifida and neural tube defect. 
•Eating avocados help our body’s absorb 5 times the amount of carotenoids (lycopene and beta carotene).
•Eye Heath- Avocados contain more carotenoid lutein than any other fruit, protecting against muscular degeneration and cataracts.
•High in beta-sitosterol, avocados lower bad cholesterol by 22%, raises good cholesterol by 11% and also lowers blood triglycerides by 20%.
•Studies show high oleic acid prevents breast cancer, inhibits tumor growth in prostate cancer and seeks out precancerous and oral cancer cells and destroys them.
•Avocados are high in fiber and will help you feel fuller longer, potentially helping with weight loss. High fiber helps metabolic health and steadies blood sugar.
•Avocado extract paired with soybean oil can reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
•Pholyphenols and flavonoids within avocados have anti inflammatory properties.
•Avocados cleanse the intestines, relieving bad breath.
•Avocado oil greatly nourishes the skin and is a beneficial treatment for psoriasis and other skin irritations.
•Avocados contain an antioxidant called glutathione that prevents heart disease, cancer and slows the signs of aging.
•Glutathione also fights free radicals.
Our blood and cells carry oxygen all throughout our bodies. When we are exposed to environmental pollutants, these toxins change the oxygen in our mitochondria into free radicals, destroying our cells and DNA. This damage creates chronic illnesses. Researchers from the Federation of American Society for Experimental Biology have found glutathione in avocados can be absorbed into our mitochondria and then neutralize the free radicals.

Why a Snickers Bar is An Absolute Health Nightmare

The Mars candy company introduced one of its most popular candy bars in 1930, sold for a nickel. This candy bar was named after the Mars family’s favorite horse, Snickers. The Mars candy company earns $2 million dollars annually from the sales of the Snickers bar.
Mars went on to make many versions and variations of the Snickers bar including, Snickers Crunch bar, Snickers Almond bar, Cookies & Snickers, and even a King Size Snickers bar.
In the UK, in 2004, the Food and Drink Federation created a manifesto which included 7 pledge of action, requesting the food and drink industry to reduce portions sizes, clearly label ingredients and nutritional information, and reduce the levels of fat, salt and sugar in their products. 
The Mars company pledged to replace the King Size Snickers bar in the UK, with a shareable size bar by 2005. King Size Snickers bars are still being sold in the US containing the large amounts of fat, salt and sugar as well as some other questionable ingredients.

Snickers bar ingredients:

Milk chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, skim milk, lactose, milk fat, soy lecithin, artificial flavor, peanuts, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt and egg whites.
Aside from the obvious dangers to people with dairy, nut or eggs allergies, there are some other hidden dangers amongst these ingredients. 

• Sugar and corn sugar (high fructose corn syrup)

Rats fed HFCS gained 300% more fat than those being fed (even slightly more amounts of) regular sugar or sugar from fruit. It also fattens your heart with bad cholesterol, causing plaque build up, leading to hypertension, heart disease and even stroke. Liver, gallbladder and kidneys process HFCS. It is highly destructive to the liver and can cause fatty liver. Scarring of the liver diminishes its ability to process out toxins that will make you sick. HFCS is also high in Mercury levels. Exposure (in young, growing children especially) can result in irreversible brain and nervous system damage.

•Soybean Oil/Soy Lecithin

•Soy is higher in phytoestrogen than any other food. Phytoestrogens are plant based estrogen that mimic the estrogen in our body. Consuming high amounts of phytoestrogen, is the leading cause of breast cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, infertility and low libido.
•Soy is also the king of cell Goitrogens (thyroid suppressors).
•Phytlates found in soy block mineral absorption.
•Also found in Soy, Trypsin inhibitors, inhibits proper digestion of protein.
•93% of Soy is genetically modified.

•Partially hydrogenated soybean oil

GMO soybean oil causes obesity, diabetes, fatty liver.
Is an unnatural man made fat (from one of the most unhealthy oils-soybean oil) that causes cellular dysfunction. This dysfunction can cause cancer, autoimmune disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, heart disease, bone degeneration, increased levels of “bad” cholesterol and decreased levels of “good” cholesterol, reduces immune function, creates reproductive problems and causes interference with our body’s ability to utilize omega-3 fats.

Snickers bar Nutritional information
Serving size: 2oz
Calories: 266
Calories from fat: 98
Cholesterol: 8mg
Sodium: 130mg
Carbohydrates: 37g
Sugar: 28g
A 2oz size Snickers bar has almost the same amount of calories (more calories from fat) than a McDonalds Cheeseburger!

November 28, 2015

UK could be prosecuted for war crimes over missiles sold to Saudi Arabia that were used to kill civilians in Yemen

Britain is at risk of being prosecuted for war crimes because of growing evidence that missiles sold to Saudi Arabia have been used against civilian targets in Yemen's brutal civil war, Foreign Office lawyers and diplomats have warned.

Advisers to Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, have stepped up legal warnings that the sale of specialist missiles to the Saudis, deployed throughout nine months of almost daily bombing raids in west Yemen against Houthi rebels, 
may breach international humanitarian law.

Since March this year, bombing raids and a blockade of ports imposed by the Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Gulf states have crippled much of Yemen. Although the political aim is to dislodge Houthi Shia rebels and restore the exiled President, Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, thousands of Yemeni civilians have been killed, with schools, hospitals and non-military infrastructure hit. Fuel and food shortages, according to the United Nations, have brought near famine to many parts of the country.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and other NGOs, claim there is no doubt that weapons supplied by the UK and the United States have hit Yemeni civilian targets. One senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) legal adviser told The Independent: "The Foreign Secretary has acknowledged that some weapons supplied by the UK have been used by the Saudis in Yemen. Are our reassurances correct - that such sales are within international arms treaty rules? The answer is, sadly, not at all clear."

Although the Department for International Development recently received assurances from the Saudi government that it did not want a famine to develop on its doorstep, there is concern within the FCO that the Saudi military's attitude to humanitarian law is careless. Officials fear that the combination of British arms sales and technical expertise used to assist bombing raids on Yemen could result in the UK being hauled before the International Criminal Court on charges relating to direct attacks on civilians.

Another government lawyer warned: "With Britain now expected to join the United States and France in the war on Isis in Syria, there will be renewed interest in the legality of the assault in Yemen. It may not be enough for the Foreign Secretary to simply restate that we have yet to carry out any detailed evaluation [of UK arms used in the bombing of Yemen]."

The legal adviser said: "Yemen could be described as a forgotten conflict. Inside the Foreign Office a course-correction is seen as crucial. It is a proxy war, with the Saudis believing Iran is behind the Houthi rebellion."

Oliver Sprague, Amnesty International's arms trade director, told The Independent: "There is a blatant rewriting of the rules inside the FCO. We are not supposed to supply weapons if there is a risk they could be used to violate humanitarian laws and the international arms trade treaty - which we championed. It is illogical for Philip Hammond to say there is no evidence of weapons supplied by the UK being misused, so we'll keep selling them to the point where we learn they are being used."

Most of Saudi's weapons are supplied by the United States. With help from the UK, the US is also offering logistical support, airborne refuelling, with a specialist Pentagon-approved team providing intelligence on targeting. This month the Obama administration authorised a $1.29bn (£858m) Saudi request to replenish stocks of specialist missiles, a move seen by critics as an effort to assuage Saudi anger over the US-brokered nuclear deal with Iran, the kingdom's key regional rival.

In July, Britain authorised the transfer of Paveway IV missiles from the RAF to Saudi Arabia. The MoD approved a switch in positions on an order book from the arms manufacturer, Raytheon UK.

The contract, worth close to £200m, secured the supply of hundreds of the air-launched missiles to the Saudi air force over the next two years. The Raytheon precision weapons are used by both the RAF and its Saudi counterparts on Typhoon and Tornado fighter jets, supplied by BAE Systems. The order switch ensured that the Saudi arsenal, depleted through multiple daily bombing raids on Yemen over the past nine months, would not be exhausted.

This week both Amnesty and Human Rights Watch issued new evidence, based on their own field research, which they said showed that a factory in the Sanaa governate that was not involved in any military production, was destroyed by a UK-made cruise missile.

David Mepham, the UK director of HRW, said a GM-500 air-launched missile made by the UK firm Marconi had destroyed the factory and left a civilian worker dead. He said this was only the latest "multiple well-documented case of violations of the laws of war by the Gulf coalition in Yemen. UK ministers have consistently refused to acknowledge this".

A Government spokeswoman said: "We do not recognise those comments but HMG takes its arms export responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. We rigorously examine every application on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Risks around human rights abuses are a key part of our assessment.

"The MoD monitors alleged International Humanitarian Law (IHL) violations, using available information, which in turn informs our overall assessment of IHL compliance in Yemen. We regularly raise our concerns with the Saudis, and have repeatedly received assurances of compliance with IHL. It is important that transparent investigations are conducted into all incidents where it is alleged that IHL has been breached, and we are offering advice and training to the Saudis to demonstrate best practice and to help ensure continued compliance with International Humanitarian Law."

Asked by The Independent whether the UK government regarded relations with the Saudis as too important to risk by asking awkward questions about the bombing of Yemeni civilian targets, another FCO adviser responded: "There are many Elizabeth Wilmshursts around here at the moment. Not all are being listened to."

The full extent of suffering inflicted on Yemen's population by the war has been laid bare by a series of independent assessments. The aid charity Medecins Sans Frontieres describes Yemen as a "country under siege" in a new report. The UN's next humanitarian assessment of Yemen is expected to state that close to 5,000 civilians have been killed and almost 25,000 wounded since the beginning of the bombing campaign against the Houthi rebels.

The UN estimates that 21 million people now lack basic, life-sustaining services, and more than 1.5 million of them have been displaced from their homes. Unicef estimates that as many as 10 children a day are being killed, with six million people facing food insecurity. The World Food Programme says most Yemeni provinces are now classified as only one level below a full famine crisis. 

space for Isis after Syria. This is where they will retire to."

There are fears that both Isis and al-Qaeda's Yemeni franchise, Aqap, are taking advantage of the instability caused by the bombing campaign to expand their influence within the country.