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Saturday, August 4, 2012

PH’s oregano wine may reach Italy

MANILA, Philippines – A local drink made from oregano may make it to the annual wine festival in Turin, Italy.
Estela Taño, a member of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Wine and Spirit Cluster (WSC), said the oregano wine will go as part of the showcase of the festival if plans will materialize.
The WSC is a team focused on boosting the local wine industry.
Should things go as planned, the Philippines’ oregano wine will have ample exposure at Turin, a city known for its famous wines like Barolo and Barbaresco.
Made from the oregano plant, the drink is said to be good for the heart and for people who have asthma, prostate problems, poor blood circulation, insomnia and urinary tract infection.
It is also a good source of vitamins B, C, calcium and iron.
The product has been showcased in a trade fair in Thailand last May, and has reached the United States, Canada and the Middle East through overseas Filipino workers.
The oregano wine is priced at P295 per bottle.
Health and wellness project
The oregano wine is part of the Indigenous Plants for Health and Wellness (IPHW) project of the DA’s Bureau of Agriculture Research (BAR).
BAR also made juice, tea, vinegar and antibacterial soap from oregano for the project, and is planning to develop oregano into other products such as cough syrup, cold rubs, cream, toothpaste, shampoo, and body scrubs.
Other plants and crops used in the IPHW include malunggay, saluyot, ulasiman bato, pili, cashew, yerba Buena, onion, garlic, sesame, citronella and lemongrass.
“We hardly have an R&D program for phytochemical and antioxidant products in the past. That is despite our being blessed with so much and diverse flora. Our indigenous plant program will develop the country’s capability to produce health and wellness products like how Koreans marketed ginseng tea,” said BAR director Nicomedes Eleazar.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Jessica celebrates birthday on 'Idol' tour

MANILA, Philippines – Filipina-Mexican-American Jessica Sanchez, the runner-up in “American Idol” Season 11, turned 17 on Saturday.
Jessica Sanchez. File photo
The now 17-year-old singing sensation celebrates her birthday on the road, as she embarks on a concert tour across the United States along with nine other "Idol" finalists.
Despite being on tour, Sanchez kept in touch with her followers, who she endearingly calls "blujays," via micro-blogging site Twitter. 
On the eve of her birthday, the term "Jessica Sanchez Birthday Countdown" was among the top trending topics on the social networking site.
Also on Twitter, her fellow "Idol" finalist Hollie Cavanagh encouraged Sanchez to go "shopping" on her birthday: "Happy Birthday @JSanchezAI11 <3 have a lovely day! Bring on the shopping! (:"
'Idol' journey
A year earlier, Sanchez was among the aspiring contestants of reality singing contest "American Idol." Born in Chula Vista, California, the teen singer with Filipino roots finished second on the show.
Her journey on the "American Idol" stage was closely watched and passionately supported by her legions of fans, Filipino-born and otherwise.
Among other worthwhile efforts, her mother's hometown in the Philippines organized viewing parties for her champion bid, while Filipinos in the United States made organized efforts to vote for the teen singing sensation.
Best known for her rendition of the Dreamgirls hit song "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" during her "Idol" stint, Sanchez has since earned a record deal with Interscope Records.
Coinciding almost with her 17th birthday, Sanchez also recently revealed that she is in a relationship with fellow "Idol" finalist Deandre Brackensick.
Along with other "Idol" alumni, Sanchez continues touring North America for "American Idols LIVE! Tour 2012." The concert series is set for its finale show on September 21 in the Philippines.

Are migraines more common than thought?

NEW YORK - Neurologists, who may know headaches better than anyone, report a much higher-than-average rate of migraines, a new survey from Norway finds.
The national survey found that of 245 neurologists, 35 percent said they'd ever had migraine headaches. And 26 percent had had one in the past year - double what's reported among Norwegians as a whole.
Worldwide, an estimated 11 percent of people have suffered a migraine in the past year.
It's not clear why neurologists are so taxed by migraines. But one possibility is that the general public actually has higher migraine rates, but doesn't realize it or report the headaches, according to the researchers, led by Dr. Karl B. Alstadhaug of Nordland Hospital in Bodo, Norway.
Still, another explanation could be that neurologists, or doctors in general, have a higher-than-average risk of migraine, said Dr. Randolph Evans, a clinical professor of neurology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
"It is a curious finding," Evans said in an interview.
In his own study of 220 neurologists, Evans found that about half to three-quarters said they had ever had migraines.
A statistical stumbling block called "selection bias" could be at work, however: The neurologists in Evans's study were attending a course on headache, so he may have sampled a group of doctors especially interested in headache - which could include those who suffer migraines themselves.
The same might be true of the new study, which was published in the journal Headache. Alstadhaug's team sent surveys to all of the neurologists registered in Norway. But more than one-third did not respond, and it's possible that the doctors who did respond were more likely to be migraine sufferers.
"I certainly believe that a questionnaire study like this is biased," Alstadhaug told Reuters Health in an email, "but I don't think that it can explain the results."
Even if all the non-responders were migraine-free, Alstadhaug said, that would still leave the rate of migraines among all Norwegian neurologists at 17 percent.
He and his colleagues also asked the doctors whether their own migraines had, in part, led them to become neurologists (since that could help explain the high migraine rates). But only one doctor said that was the case.
Alstadhaug's team suspects that the migraine rate among neurologists may be a more accurate estimate of what's going on in the public at large.
Neurologists specialize in disorders of the brain and nervous system, and some focus on headaches in particular. So if anyone should know the signs and symptoms of migraine, it would be a neurologist.
Migraines typically involve an intense throbbing sensation in one area of the head, plus sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea or vomiting in some cases.
About 30 percent of people with recurrent migraines have sensory disturbances shortly before their headache hits.
Those disturbances, known as aura, are usually visual - like seeing flashes of light or blind spots - but they can also include problems like tingling sensations or numbness, or difficulty speaking or understanding language.
In this study, about one-third of neurologists said they'd ever had an aura alone, with no headache. Most said it had happened at least twice.
"In my opinion, the results illustrate that aura and migraines may occur a few times during a lifetime in normal brains," Alstadhaug said.
He said he does not think the findings imply that more people should be going to the doctor for their head pain.
Of the neurologists in this study who'd had a recent migraine, less than half said they had taken prescription migraine drugs known as triptans.
According to Alstadhaug, that suggests their migraines were fairly mild.
Evans agreed that many of the doctors may have found their migraines manageable with an over-the-counter pain reliever. "If an over-the-counter works, why use a prescription?" he said. "Why use an elephant gun to kill a mosquito?"
But Evans said he suspects neurologists might have a higher-than-average migraine risk because of their work.
"It's possible people in stressful occupations may be more likely to develop migraines," Evans speculated.
Of course, he added, a lot of us might consider our jobs stressful. It would be interesting, Evans said, for studies to look at whether migraine prevalence varies among different occupations. — Reuters

Undocumented Pinay finds new opportunity to work in US

OAKLAND, Calif. – "Fiona", 24, was on track to become a scientist after earning a degree from a U.S. university. She knew she had a lot going for her, until she was placed in deportation proceedings two years ago.
"I didn't feel like I had a future. I had a degree that I couldn't use. I had a constant fear of not knowing whether or not I'd be able to stay with my family," the Cebu-born Filipina said.
Fiona came to the U.S. with her family when she was 13. But due to visa complications, she eventually fell out of status.
She was recently given temporary relief from deportation following President Obama's new policy prioritizing the deportation of criminals over undocumented youth.
Because immigration officials already handled her case, she will immediately benefit from the president’s new deferred action policy to allow undocumented youth to legally work in America.
She is scheduled to receive a work permit in the next two to three months.
Undocumented youth who are eligible to benefit from Obama’s new policy will have to submit their applications beginning August 15. They be younger than 30 years old, brought to the US before turning 16 and should have no criminal record.
But immigration rights advocates admit some undocumented students are hesitant to apply because they do not want to risk being deported, in case their application gets rejected.
The Asian Law Caucus said immigration officials have expressed that they will not deport those who just overstayed their visas.
"However, if you have a criminal history that might be the reason that they would put you in removal proceedings," said Attorney Anoop Prasad.
Prasad said immigration officials will likely ask information about the undocumented youth's family members, a concern for some whose family members are also undocumented.
But Prasad said potential applicants should not worry.
"Based on what I've seen from immigration in the past, they don't generally use that information to look for undocumented family members," he said.

8 Signs You Shoudn’t Propose To Your Girlfriend

Knowing the signs and much-needed warnings to a failed proposal can save a guy time, energy and money. Don’t you wish you had a crystal ball to foresee the proposal future? Outside of the basic warning signs to correct your blindness in heading toward proposals from hell, here are eight red flags to consider.
Your girlfriend is wasted! She’s stoned drunk! Avoid proposing, even if you are near Vegas. Slurring after a couple of drinks, holding up the walls while walking sideways, or calling you someone else is a solid indication that your girlfriend is plastered. If she’s holding an empty bottle of Captain Morgan, there’s your sign! For the sake of memories, make sure you both can remember. Make sure neither one of you are drunk before proposing.
Hubby mirror.jpg
Your girlfriend has a boyfriend. He’s always up in her biz and her house like a husband. He is the “other” friendly boy. If your girlfriend is too tied up with her other guy to make time for you, then you know what to do. Don’t propose, and then ask out one of her girlfriends.
sleeping bag for head laying head on desk.jpg
Sleeping on proposal. Before scheduling that special night make sure that your girlfriend is in the right state of mind (or close enough). Just like men, women need their sleep and energy. Once your girlfriend catches up on sleep, then propose. The sleep deprivation proposal is not the way to go.
relationship arguing couple conflict.jpg
She’s having a bad day. When proposing overwhelms a stomach full of butterflies, throwing up is only a matter of time. Do not propose if you or your girlfriend are shaking like a leaf. Try to propose to someone having a bad day, and no one can promise a peaceful outcome. Propose on a good day to start on a good foot.
Religion theft. There are some religious chapters that try to enforce a changeover from one religion to the next when it comes to marriage, such as a non-Catholic bride-to-be taking Catholic classes prior to marrying the Catholic groom. This is the politics of religion. To lose one’s religion is easier said than done, and if your girlfriend tries to force you to convert to her religion against your will, there’s your sign not to propose!
Breaking the bank. If you find your bank account disappearing each time she works her magic, perhaps you should hold off on proposing to your girlfriend. She could have an underlying shopping addiction well hidden from you. But don’t jump the discount gun just yet. She may not be a daily shopper at all. A good indication of her shopping issue can be seen on your borrowed credit card, meaning that is what you financially have to look forward to if she says yes.
Courtroom Movies Based On Books
Attorney or bill of trust? Trust can become an issue for those with attorneys present. Usually the attorney is a dead give away that your girlfriend could be loaded with cash or drowning in bills. Consider the aftermath of marrying someone else’s financial hardships. That’s what you sign up for-the joining of two-and in most states, the gathering is literal. An attorney present for little or no reason is a sure sign you shouldn’t propose to your girlfriend.
office bully.jpg
Work related, proposal deflated. Work should always come first in the early stages of the proposal level. You have something big coming up. Your girlfriend’s career is about to take off. Step back and experience the good things to come before taking that huge leap in securing your future with her. Respect the job-related moment for what it is-a job-and take it down a notch on the proposal for a better fitted date.

Russian billionaire gives away nine $3-M prizes for physics

NEW YORK  - Do you think cutting-edge scientists should earn as much as star athletes, celebrity artists or Wall Street bankers? The Russian billionaire investor Yuri Milner does, and this week he put his money where his heart is.
Milner deposited $3 million in the bank accounts of each of the nine theoretical physicists he judged to be doing the most brilliant work in their field. They are the first recipients of the Fundamental Physics Prize, a new honor created by Milner. It is the most lucrative academic award in the world, and will henceforth be given to one winner each year.
Milner, who studied physics for a decade before making his fortune in prescient Internet investments, said he decided to create such a rich prize because he thinks the compensation of top scientists is out of whack in 21st-century society.
"I wanted this amount to be meaningful," Milner said by telephone from Moscow. "I think top scientists need to be compensated at a different scale in society. Somebody with experience will tell you that true scientists are not motivated by money - they are motivated by the quest itself. That is true. But I think an additional recognition will not hurt."
The sums certainly made an impact on their recipients.
"I was really stunned. It didn't seem real," said Alan Guth, a professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "It is hard to believe when someone calls you and says you've won a $3 million prize."
Guth first learned of the award two weeks ago. The money was wired to his bank account a week later. Guth said he suspected the organizers understood that physicists might be suspicious of a cold call from an unknown man with a Russian accent asking for their bank account details so he could transfer $3 million. So another winner, Nima Arkani-Hamed, called Guth and let him know what was coming. Milner phoned the next day.
Arkani-Hamed was just as astonished when he first heard about the prize. "Of course, I was flabbergasted, both by the incredible generosity of the prize as well as by being included in a list with so many heroes of the field," he wrote in an email.
The prize springs from Milner's intense passion for physics and his belief that it is one of the pursuits that defines and ennobles us as human beings.
"Science is one of a handful of things that defines us as a very special species," Milner said. "It is amazing how far we have been able to get and how accurate our predictions are. I think understanding how the universe was born is very important. It really gives us a perspective on many things."
That's why his award focuses on theoreticians, including those whose work has not been verified by experiments, and on ideas which may have no practical use - at least not one we can think of yet.
"It is hard to think of practical applications of the black hole," Milner said. "Because practical applications are so remote, many people assume we should not be interested. But this quest to understand the world is what defines us as human beings."
Future winners will be chosen by previous recipients, but the inaugural group was selected by Milner himself. He is modest about his own scientific talents. Physics, he said "was not for me. Looking at where I am today, I think I was not qualified enough. You truly have to be very, very smart and very, very hard-working."
But Guth said he was "very impressed" by Milner's list: "It did surprise me he did as well as he did."
A major goal of the awards is to raise public awareness of physics, partly through the popular lecture each winner will be invited to deliver.
"This is an encouragement for them to do a public talk and explain what physics is about," Milner said. "The problem is that modern fundamental physics is so far from you and me.
"The mathematics has become so much more complicated that you need at least 10 years to understand it," he said. "Fundamental physics has advanced so far from the understanding of most people that there is really a big disconnect."
That is a problem, he believes, and not only because it deprives so many of us of an understanding of one of the most beautiful and consequential human undertakings.
Big future discoveries in physics will require massive, global public investment, and we will be prepared to support that only if we understand what our scientists are up to. The winners, Milner said, were enthusiastic about this part of the project.
These are grand ambitions. But the question Guth has been asked most often this past week is what he will do with his prize. He sighed gently when I put that query to him yet again.
"My wife and I talked about it a little but then decided we're too dazed," he said. "When we get over the shock, we'll decide what to do." — Reuters

13-year-old Pinoy descendant of Julian Felipe a part of “Oliver” play in Canada

Miguel Esteban, a 13-year-old Filipino descendant of Philippine national anthem composer Julian Felipe, was chosen to be part of the children’s chorus ensemble in the musical “Oliver” in Canada.

The play runs from August 2 to 26 in the Capitol Theatre, Port Hope, Ontario.  

“Oliver” is based on Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” a story about the miserable life of an orphan who ended up in a lair of pickpocketing thieves. "Oliver Twist" is a social novel that calls attention to society's ills such as child labor and recruiting children as criminals, among others.

In an email to GMA News Online, Marina Esteban, Miguel’s mother, said Esteban is an incoming eighth grader at the St. Elizabeth School in Bowmanville, Ontario.
She also said Esteban has been fond of music since a young age.
“He plays the piano and the violin, both of which he has won awards for in the Oshawa-Whitby Kiwanis Music Festival,” she said.
“For the past three years he has been part of the Mooredale Intermediate Youth Orchestra of Toronto, where he had held the Principal Second and Concert master positions,” she added.
For “Oliver,” Esteban will be playing the violin as his part in the musical.

“Although he grew up in Canada, his nationality is Filipino,” she said.
The auditions for the Port Hope theatre production of “Oliver” were held on March 25, only accepting children who fully commit to the play from July 16 to August 26.
It was also a requirement that the children who auditioned were able to dance and sing “Consider Yourself” and “Where is Love” for aspirants of the main role as Oliver. 
During the preparatory stages, Esteban and the other children worked with professional directors, actors, musicians and choreographers. - VVP, GMA News

Pinoy filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik wins 2012 Fukuoka Prize for Arts and Culture

Multi-awarded Filipino filmmaker Eric de Guia, also known as Kidlat Tahimik, will be the recipient of the 2012 Fukuoka Prize for arts and culture.
De Guia will will be awarded 3,000,000 yen or P1.6 million for winning the arts and culture category of the 2012 Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize. The two other categories are the Grand Prize and Academic Prize.
The 2012 Fukuoka Prize for arts and culture is another addition to Kidlat Tahimik’s awards. In this 2009 photo, he performs an Igorot dance after receiving UP’s Gawad Plaridel. File photo by Roehl Niño Bautista, GMA News

"Mr. Kidlat Tahimik has...achieved many successes as a leading Asian independent filmmaker.  He has also been an inspiration to the young generation as well as working constantly on diverse artistic projects. For such a contribution, he deserves the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Prize," said the award citation.
De Guia graduated from the University of the Philippines. He also studied at the Wharton School of Business and University of Pennsylvania, where he received an MBA.
He worked as a researcher for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, France, after which he returned home to start his career as an independent filmmaker.
His first film, Perfumed Nightmare (1977) received the FIPRESCI Award (International Critics Award) at the Berlin International FIlm Festival. The film was followed by a series of idiosyncratic films.
At the screening of his films, De Guia performs sketches and dances with a company of Igorot people.
The 2012 Fukuoka Prize
According to the secretariat of the Fukuoka Prize Committee, the prize was established in 1990 to "honor outstanding achievements by individuals or groups/organizations in preserving and creating the unique and diverse culture of Asia."
"The aim is to foster and increase awareness of the value of Asian cultures as well as to establish a framework within which Asians can learn from, and share with, each other," it said.
The secretariat said there have been 88 prize recipients from almost every region in Asia in the last 22 years. — Kimberly Jane Tan/RSJ, GMA News

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

‘More fun in PH’ introduced in Thailand

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) continues its international rollout of the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign as it recently introduced the new tagline to travel operators in Thailand.
The DOT, led by director Maria Corazon Jorda-Apo, made a product presentation of “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” before leading Thai travel operators last June 25, the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
Jorda-Apo was joined by officials of local budget carrier Cebu Pacific, representatives of travel agencies Pan Pacific Travel, Ang’s Tour, Happy Travel and Uni Orient, and the DOT marketing director for Malaysia and Thailand.
The Philippine Embassy in Bangkok’s Charges d’Affairs Edgar Badajos and cultural officer Sylvia Reyes attended the event to give their support to the DOT.
In her PowerPoint presentation, Jorda-Apo described the Philippines as a “fun value for money” and “must experience” holiday destination.
She added that the country is the “last frontier” in Southeast Asia as it waiting to be discovered for its culture and rich marine biodiversity.
A number of Philippine islands have been receiving a lot of buzz from foreign magazines such as Ariara in Calamian, Palawan, which ranked first in the Top 100 holiday destinationslist of the British edition of Vogue magazine.
Early this month, tourist favorite Boracay was hailed the world’s best island getaway by Travel + Leisure magazine.

Pinoys are Asia Pacific’s 2nd best tippers

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos are the second most consistent tippers in the Asia Pacific region, according to a survey from MasterCard Worldwide.
A P50 bill. File photo
The survey showed that tipping comes naturally to Filipinos, with 75% of them saying that they regularly give gratuities when visiting restaurants or bars.
Thais emerged on top, with 89% of them saying that they consistently tip, while Hong Kong consumers ranked third at 71%.
At the bottom of the list are the Japanese, with only 3% of them saying that they regularly give tips.
“The research indicates what a diverse set of markets make up the Asia Pacific region,” said Georgette Tan, vice president of communications of MasterCard Worldwide.
“It is a truly remarkable mix of cultures and understanding them is a big challenge for global businesses,” she added.
MasterCard Worldwide’s survey covered nearly 7,000 respondents aged 18 to 64 in 14 Asia Pacific countries.
Below is the full list of the region’s best and worst tippers:
  1. Thailand, 89%
  2. Philippines, 75%
  3. Hong Kong, 71%
  4. India, 61%
  5. Australia, 55%
  6. Malaysia/Indonesia, 40%
  7. Singapore, 33%
  8. Vietnam, 30%
  9. China, 28%
  10. New Zealand, 20%
  11. Taiwan, 17%
  12. South Korea, 13%
  13. Japan, 3%

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Olympics: Tears spill, 'Little Pacquiao' thrills

LONDON - Boxing's smallest men took to the ring on Tuesday, bringing tears, the quickest knockout of the Games so far and the first sight of a thrilling Filipino who has trained with the great Manny Pacquiao.

The men's light-flyweights weigh no more than 49 kilograms and usually stand at just 162 centimeters (5 feet, four inches) but they can pack a punch as India's Devendro Singh Laishram proved in front of another packed house.

The 20-year-old from Manipur, who racked up the biggest score at last year's world amateur championships by notching up 40 points in three rounds, knocked Bayron Molina Figueroa down within a minute before forcing the Honduran into two standing counts. The referee eventually stopped the bout after two-and-a-half minutes.

"He wasn't a good boxer, I knew that, I'd sized him up. The coming rounds are going to get more difficult," the Indian, decked in luminous yellow boots, told reporters after his quick workout.

At 157 centimeters, Mark Barriga of the Philippines may be barely taller than the top rope in London's boxing arena but he made a big impression on Tuesday, showing off some lightning quick footwork and a rasping left hook.

Ahead of the games, Barriga trained with the Philippines greatest sportsman Manny Pacquiao, the much decorated fighter who won professional world titles in eight different weight classes.

The 19-year-old, who has since been given the nickname 'Little Pacquiao,' had far too much for fellow teenager Manuel Cappai, streaking to an easy 17-7 win and scoring almost half his points in a final round where he toyed with the Italian.

One light-flyweight who won't be joining the pair in Saturday's last 16 is France's Jeremy Beccu who could not hold back the tears as he spoke to reporters after losing 18 points to 17 to Birzhan Zhakypov of Kazakhstan.

"It's really unfair, I should have won. Nobody can convince me otherwise," said the 21-year-old from the northern town Auchel, who led by one point going into the final round.

"I don't really understand it, the first round especially was given 6-6 and I clearly won it. I knew I had to fight against the judges also alas." - Reuters

Fil-Am gymnast is part of US Olympic team

COSTA MESA, California – Orange County has Olympic fever especially for a local Filipino-American teenager.
At 15, Kyla Ross is the youngest member of the US women's gymnastics team.
“She's really, really sweet. She's really genuine and as far as training goes, she's so persistent in what she does,” said her friend Carissa Lim.
Born in Hawaii to a Filipino-Puerto Rican mother and African American-Japanese father, Ross moved to Aliso Viejo, California.

Gym Max has become her training ground. Many of the gymnasts here have known her since 2007, and many of the awards that decorate the gym are a result of Ross' hard work.
“She really deserves it because she works really hard and is probably the hardest worker out of all of us,” said another friend, Stacie Webb.
Gym Max Assistant coach Lenny Liang is the son of Ross' coach Howie, who is with her in London.
Liang said Ross showed potential from the beginning, physically and mentally.
“Short and strong, but at the same time, she's a kid with a lot of heart and a lot of conviction. She's the kind that does something, hangs on and keeps doing it until she gets it right. That's really a quality that everyone especially the coaching staff really admires. That’s something we try to teach to all our athletes and aspiring Olympians,” said Assistant Coach Liang.
As early as 2008, Ross has had her eye on the 2012 games in London.
As of now, Ross will be competing in the team competition. Her specialty includes the bars and balance beam. The results will not be known until after all the girls have competed in all of the events.
“Kyla is the athlete that'll help anchor the US in most of the starting events that she's going to starting on for team finals. For example she's really solid on beam, and she's a really solid competitor on bars so she’ll definitely help out for the US on those events,” added Liang.
Fellow Olympian McKayla Moroney from near by Long Beach has also trained along side with Ross at Gym Max.
The US women's gymnastics team has not won Olympic gold since the 1996.
The community is already planning a homecoming for when Ross returns from London in the next couple weeks. Her friends and coaches at Gym Max hope Ross can bring home some Olympic medals to add to their trophy collection.

How to Increase Productivity

If you want to be successful in your trade, then you need to unlearn your vocation and pick up steps to remain productive.

The following steps will help you increase your productivity on the work front.

1. Make a schedule

The best way to be able to focus your energies on the tasks at hand is to be able to plan your day well. A schedule enlisting all the activities of the day, prepared well in advance, will help you manage time effectively and enable you to work at optimum efficiency.

2. Make it Simple

Larger workloads tend to be put off for later, mostly because they tend to intimidate people as they feel they cannot do justice, in such a short while. The best way to deal with this is to regroup the workload into smaller and more doable bits. This way, the work gets divided into alternate batches of difficult and easy tasks. This helps in reducing work-related fatigue and chances of procrastination, and results in higher productive input.

3. Prioritise

The biggest drawback in any professional career is the inability to prioritise the work load. To do this, you need to evaluate the importance of each task and analyse how best it can be scheduled in the course of the day. What’s most important must be taken care of first. Don’t be afraid of ruthlessness. If some insignificant tasks do not get completed during the course of the day, it will be dealt with in the next day’s schedule.

4. Focus or Fail

If you wish to be at the top of your game, you cannot let your productivity skills get marred by distractions. Schedule an appropriate time to check emails or voice messages. Turn off your phone, if possible. Doing this will help you focus better.

5. Time Yourself

The best way to finish vast workloads is to race against the clock. Set goal times and work hard to achieve them. This might seem difficult at the beginning, but with enough practice, your senses will become sharper to handle the deadlines.

6. Take a Break

‘All work and no play’ is most definitely responsible for making an employee dull. Take short breaks to energise. Read the newspaper, listen to songs, eat or meditate if you must. Working continuously will only tax your energy, whereas a rejuvenated mind will help you achieve your goals faster.

7. Maintain a Positive Outlook

An optimistic mind is a sure winner. Being optimistic about your goals and working ability will enforce the underlying confidence and help you work better. It will also make you less cranky in stressful situations. Reward your efforts occasionally. Setting mental goals for personal rewards will reduce procrastinating tendencies and make you focus better.

8. Expend Your Energy Accordingly

It is stupid to laboriously slave over exceptionally easy tasks and struggle to deal with the difficult ones. Prioritising your energy is as important as scheduling tasks. This will keep you productive for longer. Knowing when to give it your all, and when to refrain from it will be a boon in future work experiences. This will help avoid unnecessary burnouts.

By following these steps, you will be able to pave your way to professional success and achieve your goals much faster than you had expected.

Bulls close to signing Nate Robinson

The Bulls are close to adding veteran point guard Nate Robinson, according to reports.’s Sam Amick quoted Robinson agent Aaron Goodwin as saying his client would sign with Chicago “barring unforeseen problems.”

Robinson played well on offense for Golden State last season, averaging 11.2 points (42.4 percent shooting), 23.5 minutes, 1.2 steals and a career-high 4.5 assists. The three-time NBA slam dunk champion – despite his 5-foot-9 frame – also has played for New York, Boston and Oklahoma City during his seven years in the league.

Robinson would be the Bulls’ sixth newcomer, joining guards Kirk Hinrich and Marquis Teague, swingman Marco Belinelli, forward Vladimir Radmanovic and center Nazr Mohammed.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Climate extremes: Finding ways to adapt to 'freak' weather conditions

OSLO - Scientists are finding evidence that man-made climate change has raised the risks of individual weather events, such as floods or heatwaves, marking a big step towards pinpointing local costs and ways to adapt to freak conditions.
"We're seeing a great deal of progress in attributing a human fingerprint to the probability of particular events or series of events," said Christopher Field, co-chairman of a U.N. report due in 2014 about the impacts of climate change.
Experts have long blamed a build-up of greenhouse gas emissions for raising worldwide temperatures and causing desertification, floods, droughts, heatwaves, more powerful storms and rising sea levels.
But until recently they have said that naturally very hot, wet, cold, dry or windy weather might explain any single extreme event, like the current drought in the United States or a rare melt of ice in Greenland in July.
But for some extremes, that is now changing.
A study this month, for instance, showed that greenhouse gas emissions had raised the chances of the severe heatwave in Texas in 2011 and unusual heat in Britain in late 2011. Other studies of extremes are under way.
Growing evidence that the dice are loaded towards ever more severe local weather may make it easier for experts to explain global warming to the public, pin down costs and guide investments in everything from roads to flood defences.
"One of the ironies of climate change is that we have more papers published on the costs of climate change in 2100 than we have published on the costs today. I think that is ridiculous," said Myles Allen, head of climate research at Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute.
"We can't (work out current costs) without being able to make the link to extreme weather," he said. "And once you've worked out how much it costs that raises the question of who is going to pay."
Industrialised nations agree they should take the lead in cutting emissions since they have burnt fossil fuels, which release greenhouse gases, since the Industrial Revolution. But they oppose the idea of liability for damage.
Almost 200 nations have agreed to work out a new deal by the end of 2015 to combat climate change, after repeated setbacks. China, the United States and India are now the top national emitters of greenhouse gases.
Field, Professor of Biology and Environmental Earth System Science at the University of Stanford, said that the goal was to carry out studies of extreme weather events almost immediately after they happen, helping expose the risks.
"Everybody who needs to make decisions about the future - things like building codes, infrastructure planning, insurance - can take advantage of the fact that the risks are changing but we have a lot of influence over what those risks are."
Another report last year indicated that floods 12 years ago in Britain - among the countries most easily studied because of it has long records - were made more likely by warming. And climate shifts also reduced the risks of flooding in 2001.
Previously, the European heatwave of 2003 that killed perhaps 70,000 people was the only extreme where scientists had discerned a human fingerprint. In 2004, they said that global warming had at least doubled the risks of such unusual heat.
The new statistical reviews are difficult because they have to tease out the impact of greenhouse gases from natural variations, such as periodic El Nino warmings of the Pacific, sun-dimming volcanic dust or shifts in the sun's output.
So far, extreme heat is the easiest to link to global warming after a research initiative led by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the British Meteorological Office.
"Heatwaves are easier to attribute than heavy rainfall, and drought is very difficult given evidence for large droughts in the past," said Gabriele Hegerl of the University of Edinburgh.
Scientists often liken climate change to loading dice to get more sixes, or a baseball player on steroids who hits more home runs. That is now going to the local from the global scale.
Field said climate science would always include doubt since weather is chaotic. It is not as certain as physics, where scientists could this month express 99.999 percent certainty they had detected the Higgs boson elementary particle.
"This new attribution science is showing the power of our understanding, but it also illustrates where the limits are," he said.
A report by Field's U.N. group last year showed that more weather extremes that can be linked to greenhouse warming, such as the number of high temperature extremes and the fact that the rising fraction of rainfall falls in downpours.
But scientists warn against going too far in blaming climate change for extreme events.
Unprecedented floods in Thailand last year, for instance, that caused $45 billion in damage according to a World Bank estimate, were caused by people hemming in rivers and raising water levels rather than by climate change, a study showed.
"We have to be a bit cautious about blaming it all on climate change," Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office's Hadley Centre, said of extremes in 2012.
Taken together, many extremes are a sign of overall change.
"If you look all over the world, we have a great disastrous drought in North America ... you have the same situation in the Mediterranean... If you look at all the extremes together you can say that these are indicators of global warming," said Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengabe, a professor at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. - Reuters

OFW guide: Thinking of dating a co-worker? Many think it's 'bad romance'

"I want your love, and all your love is revenge. You and me could write a bad romance." 

So goes Lady Gaga's song "Bad Romance," which is how some relationship experts describe "office romance."

There's nothing "ethically wrong" with having a romantic fling with an officemate but in most workplaces, it is discouraged.

The news site said, "Dating someone from work will not be easy, so don't act on your first fleeting desire."

When you're not absolutely sure that you would like to be with that person for good, it is better not to pursue an office romance.

"Stop and ask yourself, 'Am I really into this person?' If the answer's 'No,' or even 'Not Really,' it may be best to continue pursuing love outside the office," said.
Office romance has its pros and cons. Some people think "it's convenient" while others say it's a risk that could end their career.
The information site “Knoji” pointed out the pros and cons of having a relationship with a colleague in the office:
(1) Spending a lot of time together -- For most lovers, spending time together is what keeps the relationship intact.
If your lover is your officemate, you will probably be spending the whole day with her. You might even ask yourself why you are being paid to be with your beloved.

(2) Knowing the same people -- This could be a great thing because you’ll know what kind of people she’s with in the office.

(1) Spending too much time together -- Too much of anything is always bad. Spending too much time together in the office may lead to boredom, taking each other for granted, and eventually a big break-up.
(2) When you fight, your officemates are bound to take sides -- While it may be good to have common friends in the office, when you fight or break up, they will most likely take sides. Some friends might feel that they are closer to you than her and vice versa.
The problem? Some friends may become ‘frenemies’ if you guys break up.

The information site, a New York Times company, gives more reasons why you should totally avoid having an office relationship:
(1) Distracting -- Any kind of relationship will definitely be distracting. This may affect your productivity and efficiency as an employee. You could end up jobless due to your supposed "inspiration."
(2) Confusing -- A relationship with a co-worker will change the way you treat each other, whether you like it or not. It will be difficult to put a boundary on when and where you act as lovers. This may confuse both of you when it comes to work-related agendas.
(3) Blinding --  People say love is blind. But is that still the case when you start realizing nasty stuff about your lover because you had an argument an hour ago before work?
Later on, you might stay in an office relationship not because you still want to but out of fear that your work relationship will be forever ruined once you press the red button.
(4) Breaking up -- Once you decided that things couldn’t be worked out anymore and you have to go different ways, you will feel an emptiness that was once filled with love that blossomed in the office.
The sad fact is, you’re still working together, it’s painful just to get a glimpse her and it would be torture to see her quickly replacing you with – guess what? – your best office buddy.

Dating your boss
A lot of people think that dating your boss gives you special treatment, gossip immunity, and powers beyond that of a "mere employee."
Sure, sometimes you will get a slight advantage when your boss loves you. However, don’t always expect that things will always be easy for you.
The truth is, it just makes everyone aware of your relationship. They will all be waiting like starved dogs for any little thing that happens between the two of you, including arguments and public displays of affection.

Relationship do's and don'ts
Meanwhile, the information site “Relationships-Affairs” gives a few tips to keep you out of unnecessary trouble in the office:
(1) Don’t start a relationship if you’re not serious about it.
(2) Don’t start a relationship if you don’t see it as something long-term.
(3) Don’t entertain the idea of having flings in the office.
(4) Don’t do anything intimate in the office such as touching and kissing.
(5) Never have an affair with a married co-employee.

(6) Never bring personal problems, especially heartaches, with you to the office.

(7) Delay a possible relationship and think things out first if the person is someone you work directly with.
(8) Respect your colleagues regardless of your or your lover’s position in the company.

Ending a relationship just because it was born at the “wrong” place doesn’t really do anyone justice, especially if you are serious.

Just make sure that you treat everyone with respect and there shouldn’t be any problems. - VVP, GMA News