Barack Obama visits Stonehenge in England

Barack Obama in Stonehenge visit on return from NATO summit – BBC News

President Obama at Stonehenge The President made an unannounced visit to Stonehenge on his journey back to Washington

US President Barack Obama paid a visit to Stonehenge on his return home from the NATO summit in Newport.

The White House said that the presidential helicopter Marine One made an unannounced stop at Boscombe Down Airbase, Wiltshire before his motorcade drove to the ancient monument.

The president was then given a guided tour by curator Heather Sebire.

English Heritage, which manages the site, said it was “an honour” to host the president.

General manager of Stonehenge, Kate Davies said: “His office told us the president was very interested to see the iconic monument for himself.

“Every day people from all over the world make the trip to the ancient stones but this visit was a particularly special one.”

Ms Sebire said Mr Obama “was fascinated by the story of the stones, what we know about them and the mysteries that have yet to be solved.

“He described the atmosphere around the stones as ‘really special’ and his visit to Stonehenge as ‘a highlight of my tour’.

“It was a beautiful still evening and it was a privilege to show the US president around this unique monument which continues to inspire and intrigue people.”

Chocolate Legos!

Edible Chocolate LEGOs by Akihiro Mizuuchiby Christopher Jobson on August 13, 2014

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chocolate lego-3

chocolate lego-6

Illustrator and designer Akihiro Mizuuchi designed a modular system for creating edible chocolate LEGO bricks. Chocolate is first poured into precisely designed moulds that after cooling can be popped out and used as regular LEGOs.

It’s hard to determine exactly how functional they are, it seems like he had success in building a number of different things, though I can only imagine how quickly they might melt in your hands, but I suppose that’s beside the point; this is two of the greatest things in the world fused together.

If you google around there are numerous attempts at creating various forms of LEGO in chocolate or other food, but this appears to be the most detailed and well-designed of anything out there.

 

Girl with autism tells her story

Megan-autism story“My name is Meghan.
We didn’t find out that I had autism until I was 18 years old. My parents always suspected that there was something different about me. I wasn’t social with kids my own age, I had an obsession with science (particularly astronomy), was very uncomfortable around lots of people, and loud noises easily overwhelmed me. I grew up thinking that I was a freak because none of the kids liked me. I had a difficult time socializing properly, and I had absolutely no friends. The only people who ever showed up to my birthday parties were family members.

I was bullied my entire life. Kids told me that I was weird, a freak, that I deserved to die, etc. When I was 12 I attempted suicide because I was so distressed over the bullying. I continued to wonder why I didn’t fit in no matter what I tried. I would study the popular kids and try to learn how to act like them, but it would never work. This continued through high school. During my senior year, my parents and I found out that I had a form of high functioning autism. That changed everything. I was resistant to the diagnosis at first, because I was hoping that my issues were just a phase I was going through, but the diagnosis meant that I would live with these struggles for my entire life.

I am now a junior in college studying forensic science. I have managed to accept my diagnosis and have been able to make some amazing friends who don’t care that I have autism. I am on track to achieve my dream of being a scientist. My autism does not keep me from being intelligent or pursuing a career in science. In fact, it makes my brain better equipped for handling scientific thought.

If I could tell young kids anything, it would be that autism can’t stop you from achieving your dreams. It only makes you more special and passionate about your dream. Keep on dreaming and working hard and you will achieve!”
Meghan
Cedarville, OH

If you want to read more stories of hope from people with autism click here: The autism site – stories of hope

Maasai women in Kenya try to stop ritual excision

Maasai-young-girls

52 young girls of a Maasai village, including the chief’s daughters, recently took part in a new ritual (the Alternative Rites of Passage). They did not have to suffer the pains of excision, as their older sisters and mothers had. Instead, they had a new ceremony: they stayed for two days in their classroom, wearing traditional black dresses and colorful crowns, with three women who talked to them about what being a woman means.

Female circumcision, widely known as female genital mutilation, is illegal in Kenya and is punishable by law, yet it is still practiced in many villages. Many regions in Africa and some countries in Asia and the Middle East widely practice the ritualistic procedure.

Traditionally, young women who had not yet been circumcised were rejected in their villages. The women who had endured the procedure were considered acceptable members of society and suitable for marriage.

Instruments traditionally used to perform the cut are sharp metal tools, knives, and other crude objects, and the procedure is usually not carried out by trained medical professionals. The effects of excision often bring on medical complications, going from local infection to death.

The physical pain resulting from the practice has immeasurable psychological impact on these young girls.

The scars left by the cutting often leads to complications later when women give birth, causing sharp pains, rips and often making a caesarean section necessary.

As the suffering of young women continues to surface across the globe, studies and personal opinion continue to find no sensible reason for female circumcision, considering it to be an act of violence against women.

It is estimated that 100 million–140 million women and girls have already been subjected to some form of female genital mutilation.

“Female mutilation is against the law, but people are still dying from it,” said Ikoluba, a volunteer for the Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation in New York City. “Just earlier this year, one girl died from the bleeding and her sister ran away.” She herself was excised when she was 13 years old. “I wanted to run away, but my mother assured me that I should not be scared. She said she would hold my hand and that I would be okay”. “I felt as if I were going to die. It was very painful to urinate after the cutting. I had infections and fever and lots of nightmares.”

If you want to read more, read the full article here: The Epoch Times.

 

Author Maya Angelou died today

Maya Angelou-Oprah

Maya Angelou with Oprah

Maya Angelou, civil rights activist who inspired millions of Americans with her moving memoirs and works of fiction, is dead at 86. She had fought for equal right for Black people in the USA. Her books are world famous.

Her son Gary B. Johnson, her only child, issued a statement about the author’s death: ‘She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.’

President Barack Obama revealed that his sister had been named as a tribute to Maya Angelou. President Obama presented her with the Medal of Courage in 2010.

Maya Angelou - Obama

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/Maya-Angelou-dead>

Canadian mom makes black Barbie dolls with different hair styles

Hamilton mom gives Barbies a multicultural makeover
Dolls designed with loose curls, dreadlocks, hijabs and sarongs

By Samantha Craggs, CBC News Posted: Apr 14, 2014

blach Barbie mom
It was about a year ago that Queen Cee Robinson tried to find a doll that resembled her daughter and had a revelation – there weren’t any.

Robinson had seen black Barbie dolls before. Most of them wore bikinis, and they all had long, straight hair. And they all looked the same — sidekicks to the white dolls, or as Robinson describes them, “Barbie’s token black friend.”
That started Robinson down a path of giving dolls makeovers — providing them with loose curls and dreadlocks, hijabs and sarongs, all in the name of giving little girls a realistic image of themselves.

Growing up, Robinson never played with dolls much herself. But the more she looked for a doll for her six-year-old daughter, the more upset she became at the limited choices.
“It’s always been a focus as a young black girl growing up,” she said. “You want to see something that looks like you and that’s very rare and scarce to find in media and promotions and toys.”

Robinson searched online and eventually found the Mattel line of So In Style dolls. Most of them still had straight hair, but they deviated from the majority of the homogenous Barbies in stores.
Through more research, she found that the So In Style dolls weren’t carried in Canada, and even more, Mattel had discontinued the line.

Robinson bought up as many of the remaining dolls as she could and “reimaged” one for her daughter, giving it curly hair and a new outfit. She posted pictures of social media and word spread. Since then, she’s done about a dozen custom dolls for people who have contacted her. She charges for the time and materials. Eventually, she’d like to create a proper business making dolls of various ethnicities.

She also uses the dolls for her non-profit Bee-You-Tiful Girls Club, which gives girls creative outlets to express their identities. In February, she held a Just Like Me workshop at the Hamilton YWCA where girls used the dolls to create characters and tell stories aimed at empowering and inspiring them.

Practising on Monster High dolls

Re-imaging dolls has been a trial-and-error process for Robinson, a Hamilton-based singer/songwriter and mom of five.
She learned to remove face paint by practising on Monster High dolls. She designs and makes the clothes herself. She uses mohair for the hair, stitching it in strand by strand and then styling it to her customer’s specifications.

“The hair is a major thing because that is what sets my daughter apart from someone of another race,” she said. “It’s distinct to her and it’s beautiful, and I want her to be comfortable with that.”

Women of all ages have taken notice. Robinson has taken orders from adults who want the dolls as keepsakes. She hears from moms of all ethnic backgrounds who want more diverse doll collections for their children.

It’s important that children grow up with positive toys and images that reflect them, said Susan Fast, a McMaster University professor of cultural studies. That extends to what TV shows and movies they see.

Creating positive images

“If children only have an image of what the dominant culture looks like, that’s problematic,” she said.

“It goes beyond just having minorities represented in some way, which I do think is really important, to how they get represented.”
Whites tend to be seen as having purchasing power, Fast said, and toy makers want to reach the largest markets possible. Whites also tend to be in senior positions at toy companies, she said, so they’re the ones controlling the images.

If interest in Robinson’s creations is any indication, there is a market for dolls showing different ethnic backgrounds. Canada is increasingly multicultural, Robinson said, and toys should reflect that.

“What is reflected to you as a child is ultimately what you’re going to grow up to think like, or ultimately what you’re going to become,” she said. “We have to allow them to create positive images of themselves when they’re young.”

Animal friendships

This comes from http://www.viralnova.com/unique-animal-friendships/

Look at these 15 unique animal friends. These odd couples couldn’t be more different from one another, yet they embrace their friendship. When do humans show such acceptance and love? We should learn a thing or two about how to live from these adorable animal pals.

1.) Tinni the dog and Sniffer the red fox
These two met in the forests of Norway. And they hit it off right away. This real-life “fox and hound” have been friends ever since.
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2.) Torque the dog and Shrek the owl
Torque adopted the owl chick when he was only 6 months old himself, but he became a great mom to the bird.
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3.) Bubbles the elephant and Bella the black lab.
Even though Bella is a fraction of Bubble’s size, they are best buddy. They love swimming and playing together.
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4.) Fred the Labrador and Dennis the duckling
This duckling’s mom was killed by a fox, but Fred stepped in as a surrogate parent.
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5.) Mabel the chicken and her puppies
Mabel became a family pet after being injured. When she came inside, she began looking after the family’s puppies. Aww.
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6.) Milo the dog and Bonedigger the lion
Milo took Bonedigger as a cub under his wing, because the little lion had a metabolic bone disease. Now, the lion is still best friends with Milo and his friends Bullet and Angel.
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7.) This stray cat and fox
These two were spotted playing on the shores of Lake Van in Turkey. Their wild friendship is adorable.
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8.) Manni the wild boar piglet and Candy the dog
This wild boar piglet was found starving in a field. A family rescued him and their Jack Russell Terrier befriended him right away.
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9.) Wild deer and rabbit
An animal photographer caught this real-life Bambi and Thumper playing. Too cute for words.
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10.) Bea the Giraffe and Wilma the Ostrich
The two met at Busch Gardens on a 65-acre enclosure. The space is completely open, they just choose to be around each other.
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11.) Shere Khan, Baloo and Leo
These three animals were kept by a drug dealer, but were rescued together. Now, at the rescue, they are three happy and healthy friends.
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12.) Kasi the cheetah and Mtani the labrador
These two were raised at Busch Gardens Tampa together. Even as adults, they are friends. This couple visits schools together.
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13.) Suryia the orangutan and Roscoe the blue tick hound
Together, these two live at an endangered species reserve in the US. One day, Roscoe followed the orangutan and her handlers home. He never left.
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14.) Kate the great dane and Pippin the deer
Kate adopted Pippin as a fawn. Eventually, the deer moved back into the forest, but still visits the family from time to time.
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15.) Anjana the chimpanzee and tiger cubs The tiger clubs were flooded out of their enclosure during a hurricane. Luckily, Anjana and her handler were happy to take care of them.
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International Women’s Day March 8th

International Women Day
Here is a message from the UN (United Nations) about International Women Day:

“International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

This year’s theme, “Equality for women is progress for all” emphasizes how gender equality, empowerment of women, women’s full enjoyment of human rights and the eradication of poverty are essential to economic and social development. It also stresses the vital role of women as agents of development.”

international-womens-day

Teenager handcuffed by police because he is Black.

Black teen handcuffed

[difficult words translated at the bottom of the text]

Trayon Christian, a Black teenager, went to a New York shop on Madison Avenue (Barney’s) to buy an expensive $350 belt. He had saved money from his part-time job for weeks to be able to afford it.

After buying the belt and leaving the store, the college student was grabbed by undercover officers and asked, “how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt,” and they handcuffed him.

The store clerk had called police, once Trayon Christian exited, claiming that the purchase must have been fraudulent.

The police officers allegedly asked Christian for his ID, telling the teenager that he could “not afford to make such expensive purchases”. After verifying that the card did in fact belong to Christian, they let him go.

Christian, who has no arrest record, said he would never shop at Barneys again and subsequently returned the belt out of disgust.

His lawyer told the New York Post that Christian was unlawfully targeted because of his skin color: “His only crime was being a young black man,” said.

a belt :

belt

 

 

 

handcuffs :

handcuffs

 

 

 

ID :

ID

 

 

 

to purchase = to buy

Nelson Mandela dies today – a biography

Nelson Mandela

South Africa’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has died, South Africa’s president says.

Mr Mandela, 95, led South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison.

He had been receiving intense home-based medical care for a lung infection after three months in hospital.

In a statement on South African national TV, Mr Zuma said Mr Mandela had “departed” and was at peace.

He said Mr Mandela would receive a full state funeral, and flags would be flown at half-mast.

BBC correspondents say Mr Mandela’s body will be moved to a mortuary in Pretoria, and the funeral is likely to take place next Saturday.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate was one of the world’s most revered statesmen after preaching reconciliation despite being imprisoned for 27 years.

He had rarely been seen in public since officially retiring in 2004.

“What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves,” Mr Zuma said.

“Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together and it is together that we will bid him farewell.”

UK Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to Mr Mandela, saying “a great light has gone out in the world”.

Since he was released from hospital, the South African presidency repeatedly described Mr Mandela’s condition as critical but stable.

Born in 1918, Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1943, as a law student.

He and other ANC leaders campaigned against apartheid (white-only rule).

He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964, but was released in 1990 as South Africa began to move away from strict racial segregation.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was elected South Africa’s first black president in 1994. He stepped down after five years in office.

After leaving office, he became South Africa’s highest-profile ambassador, campaigning against HIV/Aids and helping to secure his country’s right to host the 2010 football World Cup.

He was also involved in peace negotiations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and other countries in Africa and elsewhere.

From BBC NEWS – Africa

President Obama meets king of Morocco

barack_obama_mohammed_VIObama and Morocco’s King Meet at White House

WASHINGTON November 22, 2013 (AP) – ABC News.

 President Barack Obama hosted Morocco’s King Mohammed VI at the White House on Friday for talks on furthering democracy in the Middle East and countering violent extremism.

Arriving at the White House, the king was greeted by a military honor guard that lined the driveway to the West Wing. In the Oval Office, Obama and King Mohammed made no public remarks before photographers were ushered out.

Ahead of the meeting, the White House said Obama planned to discuss U.S. support for democratic and economic reforms in Morocco and efforts to promote reform in the Middle East and Africa. Cooperation on countering violent extremism was also on the agenda, the White House said. Fighting terrorism in North Africa is a major U.S. national security priority.

“The U.S. has made clear that Morocco’s autonomy plan is serious, realistic and credible and that it represents a potential approach that could satisfy the aspirations of the people in the Western Sahara to run their own affairs in peace and dignity,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Man adopts bear

 

Casey met Brutus and his brother when they were just cubs.Brutus and his brother were born in captivity at a bear reserve. The reserve was overpopulated and Brutus was destined to spend his life caged.

Casey decided to adopt Brutus!

Casey decided to adopt the bear and bring him home to his personal wildlife sanctuary, The Montana Wildlife Grizzly Encounter Wildlife Sanctuary.

At Casey's wildlife sanctuary Brutus had more freedom to do bear stuff, like swim.

Brutus loves swimming in the pool.

And roll around in a field.He loves rolling in fields.

Brutus is a pretty big fan of fields.

Now, no matter what your brain might be telling you, this isn't photoshopped.Because Brutus was born in captivity he is used to humans. Over the years, Brutus has become a big family member.

Brutus was even best bear at Casey's wedding!

Brutus was even invited to Casey’s wedding!

 

A whale saving a human’s life.

The beluga whale who saved a free diver who had cramped up 20 feet below the surface.

A diver was saved by a Beluga whale !

When Yang Yun tried to return from the bottom of an arctic pool, she found that her legs had cramped up and she couldn’t move.

“I began to choke and sank even lower and I thought that was it for me – I was dead. Until I felt this incredible force under me driving me to the surface.”

A Beluga whale had seen what was happening and sprang into action, guiding Yun safely back to the top of the pool.

Vocabulary :

a diver = un plongeur

a whale = une baleine

 

Mandela day 2013: you can make a difference too!

mandela-day-2013Every year, on July 18th (Nelson Mandela’s birthday), people are asked to give 67 minutes of their lives to help others.

This is to remember that Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting racism and being a prisonner.

What can you do to help? Maybe you can help your parents, share with your brothers and sisters, join a club, bring some food to the Restau du Coeur, visit an old person… There are many ways to help others!

If it’s too late today… you can do it tomorrow or any other day!

Are Black youths in danger in the USA?

do not shootAfter Trayvon Martin was shot last February in Florida by George Zimmerman, some people said that young Black men wearing hoodies risk being shot by people who think they may be criminals for no reason.

The person who killed Trayvon said he was acting in self defence. He was acquitted last week (July 13th) by a jury who declared him not guilty.

trayvon_martin

Trayvon Martin

Some people think this is a racially prejudiced case and should be revised, others say that there was no evidence to condamn George Zimmerman.

A petition has been signed by hundred thousands to ask the Justice Department to investigate.

GRADUATION

Spring is a special time of year for many reasons. While the season signals new beginnings with fresh flowers, it’s also a time for endings, such as the end of the school year.

Preschoolers graduate to kindergarten. Elementary students graduate to middle school. Middle school students graduate to high school. High school students graduate and follow life’s trail to college or the working world.

Graduation is a joyous time to celebrate the milestone of academic achievement. It’s a time for family and friends to gather together to show how proud they are of what the graduates have accomplished.

The graduation ceremony is a rite of passage that creates lifelong memories. If you’ve ever attended a graduation ceremony or seen pictures of one, you’ve surely noticed that everyone seems to be wearing the same outfit.

And it’s not your normal everyday clothes, either. So what’s the deal with the robes and the funny hats?

Those funny hats are called “mortarboards” because they resemble a tool used by bricklayers to hold mortar. In some areas, they’re also called “square academic caps” or “Oxford caps.” The mortarboard consists of a flat, square board attached to a skullcap, with a tassel buttoned to the center. Scholars believe the mortarboard is based on the biretta, a similar hat worn by Roman Catholic clergy. The biretta was commonly worn in the 14th and 15th centuries by students and artists.

Mortarboards are paired with robes to form the traditional graduation outfit known as “cap and gown.” Formal or “dress” clothing, such as a suit, is usually worn beneath the gown because graduation ceremonies are considered special occasions worthy of formal dress.

The cap and gown combination can be traced back to the academic and clerical dress commonly worn at the medieval universities of Europe.

These early universities didn’t have buildings, so students would usually meet at churches. Since these churches were unheated, historians believe students wore long gowns and caps for warmth.

Some children are curious about the tassels that hang from mortarboards. In some cases, the color of the tassel matches school colors. At other times, special tassel colors are used to represent particular degrees, subject areas or achievements.

It has become a tradition at many schools for all graduates to wear the tassel on one side until receiving their diplomas. After the graduating class is announced, the students then switch the tassel to the other side. After switching their tassel, many graduates also toss their caps into the air to celebrate.

The hat-tossing tradition got started in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1912. That year, students at the U.S. Naval Academy became officers for the first time (instead of having to serve two more years as midshipmen) and flung their hats into the air spontaneously.

Since that time, the tradition continued each year, and it has become a ritual at schools — even elementary schools — everywhere!

THE INVENTION OF BASKETBALL

Did you know who invented the basketball?

Dr. James Naismith was a Canadian physical education instructor who invented the game of basketball in 1891 while working at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Dr. Naismith had been challenged to create a new game that could be played indoors in the cold Massachusetts winters to provide an “athletic distraction” to a disruptive group of students. With a two-week deadline, Dr. Naismith decided to invent a game of skill, finesse and accuracy, rather than one that relied on pure strength.

He was inspired by a game he had played as a child called “duck on a rock,” in which players lob a small rock at a “duck” placed on top of a large rock in an attempt to knock the “duck” off.

Using a soccer ball, two peach baskets placed 10 feet up in the air, nine players on each team and a set of 13 basic rules, Dr. Naismith invented the game of “basket ball.” The first game was played on December 21, 1891.

Initially, players could only advance the ball by passing it. Bouncing the ball along the floor — what we call “dribbling” today — did not become part of the game until later.

Players earned points by successfully tossing the soccer ball into the peach baskets. After each basket that was made, players had to climb a ladder to retrieve the ball from the basket. Iron hoops with open-ended nets didn’t come along until 1913!

Interesting basketball facts:
•Dr. Naismith was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959. The Basketball Hall of Fame is now called the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.

•The first college basketball game was played on January 18, 1896, when the University of Iowa hosted a game with the University of Chicago. The final score was: Chicago 15, Iowa 12.

•U.S. patent #1,718,305 was granted to G.L. Pierce on June 25, 1929, for the first version of what we now recognize as the “basketball.”

•“March Madness” began in 1939, when the first NCAA tournament took place at the University of Illinois.

•Basketball became an official Olympic sport at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany.