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02.01.2015
In the 1940s and 1950s, the Brazilian authorities made such an assault on Aedes aegypti - the mosquito that spreads the Zika virus - that it was eradicated from Latin America's largest country by 1958. But Aedes aegypti has returned, and now Brazil has launched another offensive against the pest, employing hundreds of thousands of troops to fumigate and educate people about how to eliminate its habitats.
But eradication experts say there is little chance Brazil can come anywhere near stamping out the pest like it did a half century ago. Eradication efforts so far have been disjointed and more public relations than substance, critics say. Even before the virus reached crisis levels early this year, Brazil had trouble maintaining routine eradication efforts. Health Minister Marcelo Castro has repeatedly defended the government's efforts, arguing the most effective way to fight mosquitoes isn't with chemicals but rather by eliminating breeding sites. In the decades before 1958, the driving force for the campaigns was yellow fever, also transmitted by the Aedes aegypti. Rolando Saba, an 84-year-old retired engineer, said the brigades were ubiquitous but kept a low profile, in sharp contrast to what he considers the flash efforts today. Saba said he was put off when, during a much-publicized recent spraying, ministers and the president of the central bank were among those going door to door. And larvae of disease-carrying Aedes aegypti can last up to a year, meaning eradication efforts are threatened by every international traveler and every import - risks in a country that is visited by millions of tourists.
Many scientists believe Zika was introduced to Brazil during the 2013 Confederations Cup soccer tournament.
The World Health Organization has deemed Zika an "international emergency" and its global nature could hurt Brazil's fight against it. Founded 12 centuries ago by a pioneering woman and nestled in the old medina of Fez, Morocco's University of al-Qarawiyyin library is one of the world's oldest libraries, home to unique Islamic manuscripts treasured by historians.
From calligraphic designs on the walls to ceramic patterns on the floors and wooden carvings on the ceilings, the fingerprint of almost every ruling dynasty since the 9th century can be seen in the architecture.
A devout and wealthy Muslim woman from the Tunisian town of Kairaouan, Fatima al-Fihri, provided the endowment for building al-Qarawiyyin in the 9th century.
The library houses a collection of manuscripts written by renowned thinkers from the region, including Ibn Khaldun's Muqadimmah.
Other texts include a 9th-century Quran written in Kufic calligraphy, and a manuscript on the Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence by Ibn Rochd, also known as Averroes. The manuscripts are now kept in a secure room, with strict temperature and humidity control. Touring a city ravaged by the earthquake that killed at least 413 people, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa on Monday said rebuilding would cost billions of dollars and may inflict a "huge" toll on the fragile OPEC nation's economy. Two days after the magnitude 7.8 quake, traumatized survivors begged Correa for water in the city of Portoviejo, while a soccer stadium in the beach town of Pedernales served as a makeshift relief center and morgue. Afraid of staying indoors, or with no home to go back to, families huddled in the streets, while police and soldiers patrolled in a bid to control looting. Seeing the devastation first hand, a visibly moved and grim-faced Correa warned that Ecuador's biggest disaster in decades would put a big toll on the poor Andean country of 16 million people.
Relief workers were confronted with swathes of flattened homes, roads and bridges as they surveyed the destruction wrought by Saturday night's quake, and the death toll was expected to rise. Plunging income from oil, Ecuador's biggest earner, had already consigned economic growth forecasts to near zero this year. The energy industry, fortunately, escaped any serious damage and the main refinery of Esmeraldas was due to start up again on Monday night and reach full capacity in a week. Michael Henderson, at risk consultancy Maplecroft, said Ecuador was less well equipped to recover than Chile, where a 2010 earthquake caused an estimated $30 billion in damage. Ecuador also announced late on Monday that it had signed off on a credit line for $2 billion from the China Development Bank to finance public investment. The disaster may also push Correa to seek help from the International Monetary Fund, consultancy Eurasia said. But some survivors complained about lack of electricity and supplies, and aid had still not reached some areas. Shaken Ecuadoreans lined up for food and blankets, slept in the rubble of their destroyed homes or congregated in the street after the most destructive quake since a 1979 magnitude 7.7 quake killed at least 600 people and injured 20,000, according to the US Geological Survey.
Rescuers pause as they search for earthquake victims amid the rubble in Manta, Ecuador, on Monday.
Two major earthquakes and about 600 smaller tremors have rocked the southwestern island of Kyushu since late Thursday, leaving a total of 44 people dead and more than 1,000 injured - 208 of them seriously - in Japan's worst humanitarian disaster in five years. Many who abandoned their damaged or destroyed homes have had to sleep in temporary accommodation, huddle in makeshift shelters or even sleep in their cars, and local media have reported problems in delivering food and other essentials as well as raising health concerns.
Nearly 117,000 people were in evacuation shelters, said Takayuki Matsushita, a spokesman for the Kumamoto prefectural government, but he added that the figure does not include those staying with friends or family or in places other than official shelters. Justice Ministry official Koichi Shima said that a prison in the hard-hit city of Kumamoto has accommodated as many as 250 people at a time in the correctional facility's martial arts training hall.
The ministry decided to start using prison facilities as evacuation centers after a huge undersea quake in March 2011 killed around 18,500 people when it sent a devastating tsunami barreling into the northeast coast and sparking a nuclear meltdown disaster. An initial quake on Thursday, measured at 6.2 magnitude by US geologists, affected older buildings and killed nine people. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's comments all but confirmed that Australia was on track to hold its first early election - called a "double dissolution" because both the House of Representatives and the Senate are dissolved - since 1987.
Turnbull, whose administration is scheduled to deliver its annual budget to Parliament on May 3, has until May 11 to officially announce an early election. A typical election, in which the entire House of Representatives and half the Senate go to the polls, can be held any time from Aug 6 until January 14, 2017. Turnbull's move comes shortly after an opinion poll showed the government trailing the opposition party for the first time since he took over as leader last year. The poll was a blow to the ruling party's confidence as it prepares to campaign for a second three-year term in office. Wu Wei resigned from his position as the business school's head corporate finance tutor on Monday after posting a number of derogatory social media posts insulting students from China. Students in Wu's class created a petition condemning the remarks, which were mostly made last year on Chinese social media outlet Weibo. Workforce diversity specialist Conrad Liveris told Xinhua on Tuesday the comments have no place in a professional context or in an educational institution.
Liveris recommended Wu undertake a training and reflective exercise to figure out why he was making such posts, as the comments were "completely out of line". Dean of the University of Sydney Business School Professor Gregory Whitwell added racist, sexist or offensive language was not tolerated. A trip by the US ambassador to the United Nations to Cameroon's front lines in the war against Boko Haram started horrifically on Monday as an armored jeep in her motorcade struck and killed a young boy who darted into the road.
The incident occurred near the small city of Mokolo, in northern Cameroon, where Samantha Power, her aides and accompanying journalists were headed to meet refugees and others displaced by the years of brutal attacks across West Africa.
She said she met with the boy's family to "offer our profound condolences and our grief and heartbreak".
Power returned to the scene of the bloody accident several hours later to meet the 7-year-old boy's mother and father, while residents of his village stood solemnly on a sandy expanse. The motorcade was moving at a fast clip, at times exceeding 60 mph, while villagers lined up along the sides of the road.
At the moment of impact, a man could be seen running up the embankment, with his arms held high, to the street to try to stop the child.
The vehicle that hit the boy initially stopped, but was ordered by American security forces to continue traveling through the unsecured area.
The boy was rushed to a hospital, though his condition was already hopeless, according to people familiar with the incident, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Several US officials were visibly affected, with one Power aide turning away to cry as his boss met with refugee children shortly afterward.
The US has sent troops and drones and offered to send a special operations mission to the fight against Boko Haram. Prosecutors said Yosef Haim Ben-David organized the killing of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair. All three defendants had confessed and said the July 2, 2014, murder was revenge for the killing days earlier of three Israeli youths by Hamas.
Israeli authorities said the suspects had decided to kill an Arab and equipped themselves with cables, petrol and other materials before randomly choosing Abu Khudair. Abu Khudair's killing raised tensions, and a seven-week Israeli offensive against the Hamas-run Gaza Strip began on July 8, 2014.
The violence had steadily declined in recent weeks, but on Monday a bomb blast ripped through a bus in Jerusalem and sparked a fire, wounding at least 21 people. If confirmed as a Palestinian bombing, it would mark a sharp escalation ahead of Jewish Passover celebrations beginning on Friday night.
Many analysts said Palestinian frustration with Israeli occupation and settlement building in the West Bank, and the complete lack of progress in peace efforts were cause of the violence.
A Taliban suicide bomb and gun assault on a government security building during Tuesday morning rush hour in central Kabul killed at least 28 people and wounded more than 320, in the most deadly single attack in the Afghan capital since 2011.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the assault "in the strongest possible terms" in a statement from the presidential palace, located only a few hundred meters away from the scene of the blast.
The insurgency led by the Afghan Taliban has gained strength since the withdrawal of most international combat troops at the end of 2014, and the Islamist group is believed to be stronger than at any point since it was driven from power by US-backed forces in 2001. Police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said civilians and members of the Afghan security forces were among those killed and wounded when a suicide car-bomber detonated his explosives outside the wall of a National Directorate of Security office. It was the worst single militant strike in Kabul since 2011, when about 60 people died in a suicide blast outside a mosque, and will reinforce concerns in Afghanistan and the West that the country is being dragged into a worsening spiral of violence. The Taliban said on their Pashto-language website that they had carried out the suicide bombing on "Department 10", an NDS unit responsible for protecting government ministers and VIPs. They said a suicide car bomber blew up the main gate at the front of the office, allowing other fighters, including more suicide bombers, to enter the heavily guarded compound.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a separate statement that the attackers engaged in a gunbattle with Afghan security forces inside the building.
A thick plume of black smoke was seen rising from the area near the sprawling US embassy complex nearby immediately after the blast. Warning sirens blared out for some minutes from the embassy compound, which is also close to the headquarters of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.
The Taliban announced the beginning of their spring offensive on April 12, and fighting has raged around the symbolically important northern city of Kunduz since then. Heavy flooding has become nearly an annual rite of passage in the practically sea-level city, where experts have long warned of the potential for catastrophe.
Flash flooding and more rain were expected later after some areas saw water levels approaching 50 cm.
In addition to its location, Houston's "gumbo" soft soil, fast-growing population and building boom that has turned empty pastures into housing developments all over the city's suburbs and exurbs make it vulnerable to high waters, experts said. Harris County, where Houston and many of its suburbs are located, has seen a 30 percent jump in population since 2000. Some of the resulting developments include adequate greenspace for water runoff, but not all of them do, said Philip Bedient, an engineering professor at Rice University.
Rainstorms last year over Memorial Day weekend caused major flooding that required authorities to rescue 20 people, most of them drivers, from high water. The runaway teen was apprehended in 2014 as he was about to blow himself up outside a district governor's office. Mohibullah's eyes welled up as he described how he was indoctrinated about the glories of martyrdom as a shortcut to a paradise, filled with chaste virgins and lakes of milk and honey. Mohibullah, whose story offers troubling insight into how Afghanistan's conflict has metastasized into a hidden war on children, was nervously slouched in a chair in the prison warden's office, dressed in a green vinyl jacket and embroidered Kandahari hat. Behind him, on a white board, were scrawled in Pashto the crimes of fellow inmates: robbery, adultery, sodomy, planting land mines. With hugs, garlands and the promise of an eternal afterlife, he said he was taken on a circuitous journey to Arghandab, passing from one handler to the next, spending nights in the back of cars. Tipped-off officials arrested him before he could reach his target and he was sentenced to four years in a juvenile prison.
Mohibullah's fingers fidgeted nervously in his lap as he spoke, his shoulders sagging apparently under the weight of his own words. Taliban said "boys with no beards" are never used in military operations, but Afghan authorities report intercepting Taliban child bombers - some as young as six. Officials said children are used as "human missiles", their tiny bodies a nimble conduit of flesh-searing explosives, able to penetrate layers of security.
A 2,000-year-old triumphal arch destroyed by the Islamic State group in Syria has been recreated in London's Trafalgar Square. All three people aboard a Robinson helicopter were confirmed dead after it crashed off the tip of Yamal Peninsula in northern Russia, officials announced on Tuesday. German public broadcaster SWR said one of its reporters has been detained upon arrival at Istanbul airport.
Staff at a Tennessee university called in the police after finding six rainbow-colored nooses - widely seen as a symbol of racial hatred - hanging from a tree, the institution said. Coral bleaching has been detected in Sydney Harbor for the first time, Australian scientists said on Tuesday, blaming the damaging phenomenon also found in the Great Barrier Reef on warming sea-surface temperatures.
Colombia will resume using weed killer to destroy illegal coca crops less than a year after suspending its use due to cancer concerns, the government said on Monday. Like many teenagers, 19-year-old Negin Khpalwak from Kunar in eastern Afghanistan loves music, but few people of her age have battled as fiercely to pursue their passion in the face of family hostility and threats. Playing instruments was banned outright during the period of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, and even today, many conservative Muslims frown on most forms of music. Negin took her first steps learning music in secret, before eventually revealing her activity to her father.
Now living in an orphanage in the Afghan capital of Kabul, Negin leads the Zohra orchestra, an ensemble of 35 women at the Afghanistan National Institute for Music that plays both Western and Afghan musical instruments. When she went home on a recent visit, her uncles and brothers threatened to beat her for a performing appearance on television, and she had to return to Kabul the next day. In a country notorious internationally for harsh restrictions on women in most areas of life, Negin's story highlights a double challenge. While children at the school have the support of their parents, they often face pressure from their wider family as well as from religious authorities, he said. Some of the women say their relatives are proud of their achievements, but they face suspicion from others, as well as intimidation. The dangers awaiting performers in Afghanistan were brutally highlighted in 2014, when Sarmast was nearly killed by a suicide bomber who blew himself up during a show at a French-run school in Kabul.
She is ready to leave her family behind for the sake of her music, she said, although, in Afghanistan, family is crucial to most people's sense of their position in the world. The stampone of the world's most famous pieces of postagewas among four of its kind taken from a 1955 collectors' convention. The would-be consignor, a man in his 20s who lives in the United Kingdom, said he'd inherited the stamp from his grandfather and knew little about it, said George Eveleth, head of Spink USA's philatelic department.
While it's unclear whether the man can shed any light on the long-cold trail to the thieves, the stamp was accompanied by an intriguing item: a 1965 letter about a monetary loan from a noted stamp dealer to a well-known auctioneer, both now dead, Eveleth said. Still, the Bellefonte, Pennsylvania-based philatelic library hopes the stamp's discovery could lead to clues. Worth 24 cents when issued in 1918, inverted Jenny stamps fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars today. It made its way into popular culture in movies such as 1985's Brewster's Millions, in which Richard Pryor's character uses one to mail a postcard, and television shows including The Simpsons, in which Homer Simpson finds but disregards a sheet of them at a flea market. A grief stricken aunt, Johana Estupinan, now is making the longest journey of her life in a funeral hearse to the town of Esmeraldas, where she will bury her loved ones and break the news of the loss to her sister's three now orphaned children.
As Ecuador digs out from its strongest earthquake in decades, tales of devastating loss are everywhere amid the rubble. Portoviejo, a provincial capital of nearly 300,000, was among the hardest hit, with the town's mayor reporting at least 100 deaths. Estupinan watched as her loved ones were loaded onto a truck-sized hearse for the nighttime drive, the three older ones in dark mahogany coffins and 8-month-old Matias in a casket painted white. She hoped to bury her relatives in Esmeraldas on Monday, but devastation there is also severe and she worried about whether the hearse could make it along roads torn apart by the quake. The Saturday night quake knocked out power in many parts along the coast and residents who fled to higher ground fearing a tsunami had no home to return to, or feared structures still standing might collapse. Correa, who cut short a trip to the Vatican, flew directly to the city of Manta from Rome to oversee relief efforts. As rescuers scrambled through the ruins near the epicenter, in some cases digging with their hands to look for survivors, humanitarian aid began trickling in.
Ecuadorean Veronica Paladines removes debris in a frantic search for her husband in the Tarqui neighborhood in Manta, Ecuador, on Sunday. Authorities said at least 42 people had died and nearly 1,100 were injured in the two quakes that hit the region near Kumamoto city late on Thursday and early on Sunday.
Rescuers were redoubling search efforts on the southern island of Kyushu, where many areas were cut off by landslides and road and bridge damage. The US side, whose Air Force, Navy and Marine bases are home to about 50,000 troops in Japan, was to provide aerial support from other regions the effort to feed and care for tens of thousands of people seeking shelter.
This time, Japan asked for help with airlifts into the area, said Jacqueline Hearne, a public affairs officer for the US Army.
The disruptions caused by damage to buildings and roads, and by stoppages of electricity and water supplies, were reverberating beyond Kyushu as manufacturers suspended output and transport links were snarled. Toyota Motor Corp said it would shut down most of its vehicle production in Japan over the course of this week because of parts shortages stemming from the earthquakes. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe defended his government's handling of the crisis, as some of the 180,000 evacuees complained of having only rice balls and bread to eat. Many whose homes were not seriously damaged sought shelter as the area was rocked by more than 500 aftershocks. His house was intact despite major roof damage, but like many, the family was sleeping in their cars.
Japan's atomic regulator on Monday said there is no need to shut down the country's only operating nuclear station on southwestern Kyushu island, where a series of quakes killed more than 40 people and damaged infrastructure. The Nuclear Regulation Authority said it was monitoring the situation closely at four nuclear power stations, after calling a special meeting of its commissioners. Sensitivity over atomic power is high in Japan after the Fukushima disaster of 2011 was sparked by an earthquake and tsunami. Revenue for the ultra-hard-line Sunni Muslim group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, fell to $56 million a month in March from around $80 million a month in the middle of last year, the analysis company IHS said.
Daily oil output dropped to 21,000 barrels from 33,000 barrels over the same time frame, as production facilities suffered damage from air-strikes carried out mainly by a US-led coalition.
The territory under its control has declined by about 22 percent since mid 2014, while the population of that territory has fallen to around 6 million from 9 million.
Around 50 percent of the group's revenue comes from taxation and confiscation, 43 percent from oil and the rest from drug smuggling, sale of electricity and donations, the report said.
The group began allowing people sentenced to corporal punishment to be spared in return for cash payments, an indication of financial difficulty, it said. It also introduced new taxes on such activities as installing satellite dishes or exiting cities. Prosecutors dropped two more serious charges that Heard illegally imported the Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, into the country last year, when Depp was filming the fifth movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean series.
The false documents charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a fine of more than $7,650, but Magistrate Bernadette Callaghan sentenced Heard instead to a one-month good behavior bond.
Depp and Heard said little to the waiting throng of reporters and fans outside the Southport Magistrates Court on Queensland state's Gold Coast, but did submit a videotaped apology to the court that was played during Monday's hearing. The drama over the dogs began last May, when Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce accused Depp of smuggling the tiny terriers aboard his private jet when he returned to Australia to resume filming the Pirates movie. Australia has strict quarantine regulations to prevent diseases such as rabies from spreading to its shores.
Depp and Heard were given 72 hours to send Pistol and Boo back to the US, with officials warning that the dogs would otherwise be euthanized. The comments by Joyce, who is now the deputy prime minister of Australia, elevated what might otherwise have been a local spat into a global delight for comedians and broadcasters.
Like fans watching a football final, Brazilians cheered and hugged when lawmakers voted for President Dilma Rousseff's impeachment, while the losing side sobbed and walked out in disgust at the result. Tens of thousands massed on the lawn outside Congress in Brasilia while thousands more held rival rallies in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other cities, with samba beats animating the crowds. In the capital, the crowds were separated by a kilometer-long metal wall and they watched the five-hour-long drama unfold on eight large screens, with each side loudly jeering or cheering as each lawmaker declared their vote. Brasilia's wall became a symbol of the country's ideological divide in a searing political and economic crisis, just four months before Rio de Janeiro hosts the Summer Olympics. When vote number 342 was cast, giving the impeachment backers their two-thirds majority needed to recommend impeachment to the Senate, Rousseff opponents jumped in celebration, launched small fireworks and chanted "ciao dear".
Janda Ribeiro, 54, an unemployed woman who traveled from Sao Paulo, shed tears of joy amid a crowd clad in the yellow and green colors of Brazil.
On the other side of the fence, Mariana Santos shed tears of sadness as she watched the decisive vote being cast, surrounded by despondent supporters of Rousseff sporting her Workers Party red colors. About 53,000 pro-impeachment demonstrators gathered on the right side of the wall while 26,000 turned out for Rousseff on the left, according to police. Hundreds of Rousseff's supporters walked out of the esplanade well before the defeat in Congress, many fearing that the social programs implemented by the Workers Party would be rolled back if the president is ousted. Many vowed to keep demonstrating as the Senate debates whether to suspend Rousseff and put her on trial. Rousseff, whose approval rating has plunged to a dismal 10 percent, faces charges of embellishing public accounts to mask the budget deficit during her 2014 re-election.
But opponents are also angry at the country's deep recession and a massive corruption scandal at state oil giant Petrobras that has involved top politicians. Rousseff's supporters point out that her potential successor and former ally, Vice-President Michel Temer, and the man leading the impeachment drive, House Speaker Eduardo Cunha, have themselves been tainted by corruption scandals. In Rio about 3,000 people each from both sides demonstrated at separate moments next to Copacabana beach. In Sao Paulo, Brazil's financial center, thousands of pro-impeachment supporters gathered downtown and celebrated as they watched the result on a giant screen. Member of the Lower House of Congress, Bruno Araujo (center), celebrates with fellow congressmen after his vote in favor of the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff was enough to confirm the process, in Brasilia, on Sunday. At least 27 people were killed and 13 others injured after a bus carrying members of an opera troupe plunged into a gorge in Odhisa state, officials said on Monday.


Storms and floods in Uruguay have killed seven people and driven 3,600 from their homes in recent days, authorities said on Sunday. Israel's military said on Monday it has discovered a new infiltration tunnel, built by Hamas militants, stretching from the Gaza Strip several hundred meters inside Israeli territory.
A British Airways plane struck an object believed to be a drone on Sunday as it was coming in for landing at Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, police said. Turkish police have detained 101 people suspected of having financial links to US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of attempting to overthrow the government.
Singapore state prosecutors on Monday appealed against a high court decision acquitting a woman of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl because the law applied only to men, citing public interest.
Nearly 500 students have reportedly been diagnosed with health problems ranging from dermatitis to leukemia since the Changzhou Foreign Languages School in East China's Jiangsu province moved to its current campus in September. The students' families claim this is due to seriously polluted plots of land across the road, citing a test report that says the concentrations of chlorobenzene in the underground water and soil at the former sites of chemical plants were respectively 95,000 times and 79,000 times above safe levels. A news release from the Changzhou government reported by Xinhua News Agency on Monday insisted the site had passed an environmental evaluation and was safe, and the school is in normal order with only several students on sick leave.
Since, more likely than not, such an episode could end up as another example of the dereliction-of-duty-then-cover-up formula revealed in similar scandals.
A joint investigation team has been set up by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and authorities in Jiangsu province to look into the pollution-related illnesses among the school's students. Yet under the current rules, construction of the new campus should not have begun until the project passed an environmental assessment.
Not to mention the evaluation did not even take into account poisonous pesticide residues, the suspected culprits for the students' health problems. The same report, which approved the project, warned of health and ecological risks, stating both the soil and underground water nearby "were polluted", and development projects would cause air pollution. Therefore, the investigation by the joint team is the only way to come up with authoritative, convincing answers to the public's suspicions. Kenya's recent repatriation to the Chinese mainland of 45 telecommunication fraud suspects from Taiwan has triggered a fierce outcry across the island, with some, including "president-elect" Tsai Ing-wen, arguing "the mainland has no right to handle the repatriation case on behalf of Taiwan", and others asking for "the most solemn protest to be filed". However, following Taiwan judiciary's recognition of the mainland's right of jurisdiction over the case, the outcry has subsided, with some suggesting that "since Taiwan cannot properly handle the fraud case, it should transfer it to the mainland". Some on the island have attempted to interpret the case as the mainland trying to dwarf Taiwan and used it as an opportunity to manipulate public opinion.
Others have argued that since the mainland has sent a total of 446 Taiwan suspects to the island over the past six years under a pact to jointly fight crimes and promote judicial assistance, it can also send the fraud suspects to the island. Those convicted of telecom fraud have a record of being given lenient punishments in Taiwan, with less than 10 percent returned to the island having been extended criminal penalties.
Any attempt to politicize the case will only set up barriers to cross-Straits exchanges and alienate the island from the mainland. FAN CHANGLONG, vice-chairman of China's Central Military Commission, visited the country's Nansha Islands, according to a statement released by the Defense Ministry on Friday. In fact, since last year, Washington has made several muscle-flexing attempts to challenge Beijing on the South China Sea issue. Accompanied by his Philippine counterpart Voltaire Gazmin, Carter landed aboard a US aircraft carrier navigating in the South China Sea, in a clear attempt to display the strategic alliance and closeness shared by the two countries. It is self-evident that these orchestrated efforts are only in the interest of the US, which aims to interfere with China's lawful activities in the South China Sea. Though pledging to avoid picking sides in the territorial disputes between China and some neighbors like the Philippines in the South China Sea, the US often turns a blind eye to the latter's provocations yet gives China a hard time. That Washington is intentionally playing up a so-called China threat and trying to contain Beijing's rise, has a lot to do with its declining leadership in Asia-Pacific affairs and some of its allies' requests for its presence.
In response, a top Chinese military officer has made a rare visit to some of the islands in the South China Sea, showcasing China's determination to protect its lawful interests and sovereignty in the waters, safeguard regional stability, and offer public goods to the international community. The US should not misinterpret China's goodwill, and it should live up to its "peacekeeping" commitment to the regional powers. Hong Kong Disneyland will face even greater challenges, as the tourism industry in Hong Kong is still experiencing a downturn. As far as Hong Kong is concerned, it shouldn't put all its eggs in one basket and rely on mainland tourists.
We must not equate the opening of Shanghai Disney Resort with a death sentence for Hong Kong Disneyland. The fall in the number of mainland visitors to Hong Kong is partially due to the impression that Hong Kong is not welcoming of them. THE AUTHORITIES recently released a document that in principle prohibits the children of stars from appearing on TV programs.
Many netizens expressed their dissatisfaction with the new document because they think child stars perform better than their parents. Also many parents compare their children with the child stars; some even spend a whole year's income to pay for training courses for their children in the hope that they will appear on television and become famous. The recovery in sales was to be expected, given the significant relaxation of policy and the presence of some pent-up demand. Nonetheless, we remain skeptical whether the pick-up in construction can be sustained, given the still high inventories of unsold housing, as a share of sales. While it is hard to generalize, the average property developer in the large cities tends to be relatively sophisticated and disciplined because of the demand prospects. This matters because smaller cities are where most of the construction is taking place these days. The real estate construction pick-up supported overall growth in the first quarter of this year and should do so in (at least the start of) the second quarter. If you too are looking for a healthy way to speed up your weight loss results and feel better overall, consider using one of our slimming tea products. Fitne Tea offers an extensive range of tea & coffee products that will help you reach your lifestyle goals faster. Not only will our products help you to lose weight, they also provide antioxidant benefits, help boost your metabolic rate and increase your general energy levels. Our tea contains no harmful ingredients and has been tested in state of the art facilities.
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While Fatbee and I find don’t eat out very much anymore, I’m glad when we do so we’d venture into new spots recommended by our friends. Anju is located a very short walk down from ChangGo in the CBD’s quietly unknown Lt La Trobe St. This visit also happened right after our trip to Japan, and I laughed at how the group cooed over the meticulously wrapped and decorated food parcels that we’d brought back from the trip.
The menu here’s designed more for snacking to go along with the cocktails, but I liked how they kept the snacks interesting and tasty. And for the table of 6 of us… we seriously fought over the pieces of succulent Korean fried chicken! I confess I’m not too big a fan of seafood pancakes because I tend to find the freshness of the seafood a little suspect (read: frozen seafood), but the pancake served here ticked my box in that it wasn’t overly ‘seafoody’. The broth for the seafood silken tofu stew was one of the nicer ones I’ve had in Korean joints, with lots of natural sweetness from the King prawns hidden inside it. Fatbee’s Italian colleague couldn’t stop raving about this Italian restaurant in South Yarra, so it wasn’t long before we found an excuse to dine here with friends. After the (very Italian) waitress took our orders, we started off nicely with a basket of deliciously made bread… alongside with a glass of Fatbee’s suggested “oh you must try a Prosecco because the Italians love that!”. Even if we’re not regular diners of Italian fare, the starters delighted the entire table of us. I eventually convinced myself to NOT have a ribeye steak at this Italian restaurant and the entire table ended up having pasta for our mains. My other companions at the table also had lovely pasta dishes, and the whole table continued cooing out calls of “ooh it’s so goooood!”. I decided to go adventurous with a veal pasta that’s paired with walnuts… but it was done so delicately and nicely that I ended up enjoying it too.
Again from the days specials board, we tried a cream catalan for dessert which had hints of orange in it. The other two desserts we tried were delightful though, in particular the light and gentle jasmine pannacotta. Tucked away microroastery and cafe in Carlton with a creative menu of decadent brunch dishes. Thought of doing something a little scaled-down with this post, making it more a photo-series than a blow-by-blow blog review. Fatbee and I have visited this spot twice in the past months and we liked the bright and tall-ceilinged atmosphere set in a location tucked behind a petrol kiosk right at the busy corner of Elgin and Lygon Streets in Carlton. They’re also a microroastery, meaning you don’t really see familiar brands of third wave coffees here since they’re striking out as a brand in its own.
You may also want to sample their dirty chai, served in a Turkish pot… this thick and rich drink seriously packs a punch in the spice department.
Food-wise, the menu’s creative with confident flavours and an unabashed use of brioche breads.
Eatery inside Little Saigon Market (Footscray) with authentic regional specialities from Central Vietnam.
This restaurant is inside Little Saigon Market and it dishes up regional specialities from Central Vietnam. Fatbee sampled a Da Nang style noodle dish, which we were forewarned that could be an acquired taste because of the pungency of the shrimp paste sauce. Dessert store Luxbite's CBD branch, specialising in a unique selection of mouthwatering tarts. Fatbee just takes a short detour from his walk home from work and grabs a couple of tarts each time.
SOUR CHERRY JELLY, WHITE SESAME CARAMEL, BLACK SESAME PANNA COTTA FILLED CHOCOLATE TART, COFFEE AND HAZELNUT PRALINE MOUSSE, WHITE CHOCOLATE GLAZE. Trip report covering my Emirates Airline Business Class experience on the Boeing 777-300ER from Singapore to Melbourne.
Fatbee and I booked a one-way award flight on Emirates using Qantas points that I’d accrued over the years. After a smooth check-in at the Emirates counter in Changi Airport, we spent an hour or so exploring and relaxing in the Emirates lounge located in Terminal 1.
The lounge fits both Business and First Class travellers, and it had a somewhat dated decor (polished red woods and mustard leather) reminiscent of luxury lounges from the 80-90’s.
We noticed there were lots of serving staff in this lounge, there was even a guy who’d open the restroom door for us… talk about old world luxury! For the tech savvy amongst us, there are a couple of charging towers scattered around the lounge where you can plug in your devices. The announcement that our flight was boarding soon came up, and we made our way to the gate.
That’s why we chose seats 7A and 7B… being a night flight, the lack of a window did not matter to us as we treasured just that extra bit of privacy.
Each business seat is 20.5 inches wide (compared to 17 inches in economy), and the seat pitch (distance between the back of the seat in front of you and the back of your own seat) of 60 inches means you have lots of legroom. As for the other seat options, take note that the Business Class seats in the Boeing 777-300 comes 7 in a row in a 2-3-2 configuration, meaning not every seat has aisle access. It’s only when you’re travelling long haul (mostly to and from Dubai) that you get a taste of Emirates A380’s more luxurious 1-2-1 staggered Business Class configuration. First up, I admit I did let loose a tiny squeal of excitement when I discovered the entertainment system had a wireless control touch pad.
Before meal service began, we were served a small platter of nuts with a drink of our choice. The first rays of dawn soon appeared in the horizon and the cabin started coming back alive with a hush of activity. Breakfast service happened about 1h 40m prior to landing, and it was an enjoyably simple continental affair. Landing was a smooth affair, and with a sad smile, our business class experience on this plane ended.
But the experience did not quite end there… Qantas and Emirates premium class passengers also receive a complimentary chauffeur service, which we made full use of to get home. The service covers both departures and arrivals, but we didn’t use the service in Singapore because dad and mom sent us off instead. All that said, once we were in the air, our experience on this flight turned out to be fabulous.
I also know that Emirates often offers discounted online upgrades (for a fee) to some their Skywards frequent flyer members a few days before travel.
Mr Frenchman suggested this Japanese cafe in Abbotsford Convent when we decided to catchup (after almost a year!) with Swells.
Whenever I think about this convent, Abbotsford Bakery comes to mind and the monthly Farmers Market that’s held here, so I was happy to discover a little bit more about this place. The setting was pretty open and pleasant despite the Sunday crowds, although it did get quite busy once it went past 12 noon. Mr Frenchman and I got this simple poached egg set that came with miso soup served in a teacup.
You can see Melbourne brunch influences here… with a perfectly poached egg (as opposed to an onsen egg) sitting atop a healthy carb component of 5 grain rice, Japanese salad, and a sprinkle of umami-laden furikake. Our poached egg sets were supported by a couple of shared tapas, which were tasty and satisfying.
I’m liking these off-the-beaten track brunch explorations… where eggs benedict and hollandaise sauce don’t feature on my brunch fare landscape. After spending 2 idyllic days in Bumthang, we now faced a long two-day bus ride back to our start point in Paro. While I loved the remote panoramas that you get when travelling in Bhutan, I found the long bumpy drives along the country’s endlessly twisting (and unpaved) mountain roads a bit of a challenge. This is the largest dzong (fortress) in Bhutan, and it’s spectacularly built on a spur overlooking a mountain gorge. Even though there were ten or so of us tourists watching, the gentle monks seemed to not mind at all and just went about their business as if we weren’t there. On our way out, we also made a brief stop at a Sunday farmers market, full of local produce from the region. The rest of the afternoon was spent on the bus for another 4-5 hours, with glimpses of mountain yaks. Sadly, by this point of our trip, many of us were pretty tired of seeing temples and monasteries. And truth be told, after 10-12 hours on a bus, I just wanted to plonk myself down in a hotel bed. It was past sunset when we reached the Black Necked Crane information centre… where (using telescopes) we viewed these elegant birds huddled in groups across the flat grasslands in Phobjikha valley. After a little bit more driving, shrouded in the purple shades of wintry dusk, we finally reached our hotel in Gangtey. The next morning, we faced the toughest day yet… with a 4.30am wake up call and instructions to have our bags outside the hotel room at 5am. After lunch we reluctantly got back on the bus… and few hours later, we reached Thimphu (Bhutan’s capital city). After so many days out in the quiet faraway provinces of Bhutan, Thimpu suddenly felt like an incredibly busy and cosmopolitan ‘metropolis’… and OMG the (paved) roads felt so smooth here! By this point, many of us got tired of the repetitious oily-salty (oyster sauce-laden) Bhutanese buffet meals we’d been having. I liked watching the locals go about their business in Paro, and was particularly fascinated by the butchers. On the morning of our final full day in this country, we tackled the highlight of every visitor’s trip to Bhutan… embarking on the 900m ascent up to Taktsang Lhakhang (Tiger’s Nest).
Most of us cheated… we paid local farmers to lead us up most of the way on horseback! Only Fakegf and partner hiked up on foot. It was a chilly morning, and I loved looking at the frost covered grass glinting in the morning sun. After 45 mins or so on horseback, we reached the halfway point, where we dismounted and had deliciously hot cups of tea and biscuits. Our bags and cameras had to be left at the entrance, so no photos were taken within the site.
Because of its fame, the hike up and down from Tiger’s Nest had the most tourists we’d encountered out of our whole trip… we probably passed a few hundred that morning. On our way down the mountain, our guide arranged lunch here… in a hidden rest stop somewhere along the way. As a postscript, I feel that Bhutan can be a challenging country to visit, as discussed in a previous blog post about it. All that said… looking back, I’ve slowly grown to appreciate the remoteness of this country, its sheer lack of tourists and the spectacular scenescapes of pine-capped mountains, verdant valleys and unvisited plains. Recipe for Nyonya Bak Chang, bamboo leaf wrapped glutinous rice dumpling filled with pork, mushrooms, candied wintermelon & the fragrance of pandan. Today’s recipe covers a rather delightful bamboo leaf wrapped glutinous rice dumpling seen in many countries.
Bak Chang (?? zong zi) is pretty much available all year round back in Singapore, but there’s actually a (duan wu) Chinese Dragon Boat festival where these pyramidal rice dumplings are traditionally enjoyed (around late-May to mid-June). Here’s how these changs are stored… in bundles of a dozen or so dumplings, all tied up with raffia string.
Truth be told, I am not that big a fan of these Nyonya-style dumplings where there’s a sweet and savoury element to them (because of the used of candied wintermelon). As usual, I’ll go through the ingredients and steps involved in making these dumplings before going into the recipe.
If you’re using the type of candied wintermelon that comes in sticks (as opposed to the squareish type), I noticed that it’s coated with more sugar around it, so you almost don’t need to add any extra sugar when seasoning your filling. Aside for pre-boiling the bamboo leaves if you’re using the dry version, the first step usually involves gently washing and then soaking the glutinous rice for a few hours. To prepare the glutinous rice, first fry a few cloves of smashed garlic in hot oil till fragrant, then discard the garlic. Then add the (soaked) glutinous rice and the rest of the seasonings, stir quickly to mix it evenly till the rice starts to get slightly sticky. The filling is then made by frying the minced garlic and shallots till fragrant before adding the cubed mushrooms. The wrapping steps and tips have been covered in my How To Wrap Bak Chang post, so I won’t repeat it here. My main tip would be to keep the unused bamboo leaves submerged in water whilst wrapping as the leaves dry up when out of water. Cooking the dumplings involves boiling the whole bunch in a large pot for 2 hours, or you can use a pressure cooker. I think using cubed pork, toasting the coriander seeds, adding that piece of pandan leaf in each dumpling, and cooking them in pandan water all made a big difference. Directions : After morning and evening shower dry your body thoroughly and gently apply the sliming rub gel and rub until dry. The assault is part of President Dilma Rousseff's "war" on the Zika virus, which can cause devastating birth defects.
The world is different, with globalization bringing more travelers and trade across borders.
An Associated Press investigation found that cities and states in Brazil's northeast ran out of larvicide for several months last year. Periodic outbreaks in Brazil and in cities across the Americas, including the United States, took tens of thousands of lives throughout much of the early 20th century. People who lived through the campaigns say the brigades, made up largely of municipal workers, were a year-round presence. Chaouni is hoping it will mark an ideological change, too, and open to the public for the first time in its long history. Originally a mosque, it expanded in the 10th century to become a university, Abdelmajid El-Marzi, imam and administrator of the mosque, told The Associated Press.
The 14th-century historical work spent six months on loan to the Louvre Museum in Paris during the renovations, library curator Abdelfattah Bougchouf said.
China has been the largest financier of Ecuador since 2009 and the credit had been under negotiation before the quake.
Vice-President Jorge Glas - a potential candidate to succeed Correa in elections next February - flew into the disaster zone within hours to oversee rescue and relief efforts.
The rescuers and desperate families clawed through rubble pulling out survivors two days after a powerful earthquake that killed at least 413 people and devastated a tourist region of Ecuador. But Saturday's more powerful 7.0-magnitude tremor and an ensuing landslide brought even newer structures crashing down. He had previously said he would call for a double dissolution if the Senate failed to pass government legislation that would create a construction industry watchdog. A double dissolution can be called earlier to break a legislative deadlock after the Senate has twice rejected a bill passed by the House.
The Newspoll published in The Australian newspaper earlier this month found that support for Turnbull's conservative coalition was behind the center-left Labor Party 49 percent to 51. But when the boy darted onto the two-lane highway, there was no time for the sixth car in Power's convoy to react. A Cameroonian helicopter traveling overhead as part of a large security contingent saw the collision. US officials wouldn't comment immediately on any plans for compensation to the boy's family.


Two Jewish youths who helped him abduct the teen, who was bludgeoned, strangled and burned alive, were sentenced in February, one to life imprisonment and the other to a 21-year term. After receiving psychological assessments, the court ruled he "fully understood his actions" and found him guilty.
Scores of subdivisions were flooded, schools were closed, and there was no power to thousands of residents who were urged to shelter in place.
Its surrounding counties have almost grown more than 10 percent since 2000, according to the Greater Houston Partnership, a business group. But this 15-year-old is languishing in prison - jailed after the Taliban preyed on him to become a suicide bomber. A failed mission that has left him locked up in juvenile detention in the southern Kandahar city. He picked one he considered pregnable: the district chief of Arghandab in Kandahar, a lush region filled with grape and pomegranate groves. The Arch of Triumph in Palmyra formed part of one of the world's most extensive ancient archaeological sites. The helicopter was one of three that were having a sightseeing flight on Monday, before it disappeared near Bely Island, according to the regional branch of the Ministry for Emergency Situations and Civil Defense. SWR said Cairo-based TV correspondent Volker Schwenck was given no reason for his detention early on Tuesday. The noose is a symbol of racial hatred in the United States, where thousands of blacks were lynched in a dozen states including Tennessee between 1877 and 1950, according to a 2015 Equal Justice Initiative report. The scientists estimated around 45 percent of corals in some locations in the harbor have been bleached. President Juan Manuel Santos last year banned use of glyphosate following a World Health Organization decision to classify it as a carcinogen.
He encouraged her, but the reaction from the rest of her conservative Pashtun family was hostile.
While two were recovered over 30 years ago, there had been no sign of the others until this one was submitted to a New York auction house this month and authenticated. While other stamps are rarer, the Jenny is one of few that is readily recognized even by non-collectors, Eveleth said.
Some were printed with the Curtiss JN-4H "Jenny" biplane inverted, and a savvy customer bought a 100-stamp sheet before anyone realized the error. But the gathering ended in tragedy when a collapsing building crushed 17-year-old Sayira Quinde, her mother, father and toddler brother in their rusting Chevy Blazer. The 7.8-magnitude earthquake left a trail of ruin along Ecuador's normally placid Pacific Ocean coast, buckling highways, knocking down an air traffic control tower and flattening homes and buildings.
The Quinde family drove there from their home hours north up the coast to drop off Sayira at Estupinan's house a week before she was to start classes at a public university on a scholarship to study medicine. With makeshift shelters in short supply, many hunkered down to spend a second straight night outdoors huddled among neighbors.
Forecasts for heavy rains, which would make land and collapsed buildings even more unstable, added to the urgency. The American military played a large role in rescue and relief during the March 2011 tsunami and earthquake disasters in northeastern Japan. There were no safety issues at the Sendai nuclear station, which has two reactors and is about 120 kilometers south-southwest of Kumamoto city, close to where the quakes struck, NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said at a news conference.
A conviction on the illegal importation counts could have sent the actress to prison for up to 10 years. The condition means she will have to pay a $765 fine if she commits any offenses in Australia over the next month. Bringing pets into the country involves applying for a permit and quarantine on arrival of at least 10 days.
One newspaper ran a doggy death countdown ticker on its website that marked the hours remaining before the dogs had to flee the country, and comedian John Oliver dedicated a more than 6-minute segment to lampooning the ordeal.
It's a coup," the 23-year-old university student said, repeating Rousseff's claim that the impeachment process amounts to a putsch.
I had confidence that we'd have the votes against impeachment," said Edilonson Oliveira, 19, a law student from Parana state. I know the Workers Party is not the only corrupt party, but it's the one in power and it has to leave," said Daniel Quagleliato, 27, an agronomy student from Sao Paulo. The accident took place on Sunday evening in Deogarh, about 260 kilometers northwest of Bhubaneswar city, the capital of Odisha. Four people were killed when a storm struck the western city of Dolores on Friday and three others were later found to have died when trying to cross flooded rivers in the region, according to a government toll.
Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip, had no immediate comment on the discovery, which could ratchet up tensions along a frontier that has been largely quiet since the end of a 2014 war.
An investigation has been launched into the incident, which follows a string of near misses involving drones and is believed to be the first case of a collision in Britain. The government has declared Gulen's Islamic movement a terrorist organization and has clamped down on his supporters, seizing newspapers, television stations and other businesses associated with the cleric. Zunika Ahmad, 40, a woman who lives as a man, was acquitted last week of six counts of sexual assault despite pleading guilty to the charges, sparking strong reaction from women's and gay rights activists. The local environmental protection agency says their tests of the campus found nothing unusual.
Unless pollution is excluded categorically as the cause, it is essential to determine to what extent the students' health problems may be due to it. But given that most of victims are mainland residents, the mainland enjoys the right of jurisdiction over the case. In saying this, they have ignored the fact that Taiwan has failed to offer evidence that these suspects were already declared fugitives. The weak punishments have caused more and more people to engage in such illegal activities. The statement was released shortly before a visit by US Defense Secretary Ash Carter to the US aircraft carrier John C. In October, the guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen sailed through the 12-nautical-mile waters around a Chinese isle in the name of "freedom of navigation".
It even questions the Chinese lighthouses on its Nansha Islands, which are built to better serve the neighboring coastal countries and the ships passing through the waters. This explains its increasing interventions in the South China Sea, including the latest military exercise with Manila, whose air and naval forces would be of little help to the US. The theme park reported a loss of about HK$150 million last year, and visitor numbers dropped by almost 10 percent to 6.8 million, with a 23-percent decline in mainland tourists visiting the park. In stark contrast, Shanghai Disney Resort looks set to become the most popular theme park worldwide, with tickets sold out in advance for the first three months after its opening. Hong Kong should make efforts to address this issue if it wants to compete with the mainland's developing domestic tourism industry.
This will mean popular shows such as Where are we going dad?, which features celebrities traveling with their children, will no longer be made. Most of the children are 5 to 8 years old, and being exposed to the public at such an early age might hurt their personal development and distort their psychological health. What parents should do is to find that uniqueness and educate their children accordingly, instead of trying to get their children on TV.
After a pronounced fall in 2014, housing sales have been on the rise since early 2015, largely because of policy support - including an easing of house purchase restrictions, lower interest rates and rapid credit growth.
What is more surprising to us (at Oxford Economics) is that housing starts and construction picked up early this year. Within China, it seems to be a key reason behind the tentative bottoming out of the overall growth momentum recently.
The ratio of inventories of housing on which construction has started but are unsold, as a share of sales, declined through 2007, but then rose to reach the equivalent of two years of sales in 2014.
Traditionally, housing starts, housing under construction, completions and sales have all broadly grown in line with each other. In particular, it is not really an issue in first-tier cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. In contrast, developers in smaller cities have often been less astute, undertaking projects if the financing was available without necessarily doing serious research into the underlying demand prospects.
The share of third- and fourth-tier cities in nationwide real estate sales and construction has risen steadily from 44 percent in 2004 to 64 percent in 2014, and nowadays 95 percent of nationwide real estate sales are outside of first-tier cities. However, we do not think that the pick-up will translate into a sustained recovery of construction and investment until housing sales grow healthily for a prolonged period and inventories of unsold housing come down more significantly.
However, we think it is likely that the property construction cycle will ease again and that the government will need to continue to rely on other drivers, including infrastructure investment, to meet its ambitious growth target of 6.5 to 7 percent for 2016.
Place all ingredients into a soup pot, mix well, bring to boil and reduce heat, simmer about 15 minutes.
We caught up with friends here, having heard that its got nice drinks and quite a buzzy vibe. And we started off by snacking on these scrumptious ‘milk bun’ sliders served… the beef bulgogi was my favourite as it came with a slightly spicy mayonnaise. My only personal gripe was the Korean way of covering the crispy fried chicken with the sticky-sweet chilli sauce… but that’s just how they do it. We also snacked on grilled pork bulgogi, eaten with mustard and apple kimchi wrapped inside lettuce leaves.
The food quality’s good but it tends to be slightly pricier and smaller in portion size compared to the Korean joints that I’m used to visiting. The tiny little restaurant is named so because it literally has only 38 seats, and boy was it a busy and buzzy joint with a 6pm and an 8.30pm seating even on weekdays. But that makes the discovery quite fun… and we followed Fatbee’s journey through his colleague’s descriptions of the oh-so-Italian drinks that we should try here… such as this oddly cough mixture-like fizzy Aperol Spritz! I have to confess that bread quality is a big thing for me because you’re pretty much always hungry at this point of the meal before the entrees have arrived. Here is Fatbee’s unfaultably good potato gnocchi with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. But that tiramisu also satisfied many of us with its confidently thick and creamy mouthfeel.
While I personally prefer my brunch flavours to be lighter, I still think the dishes were pretty well executed here. I think of it as a most-welcome breath of fresh air close to what’s an otherwise rather touristy stretch in Carlton. We found the menu exciting in that we struggled to recognise familiar things, and even the dishes that seemed familiar ended up tasting deliciously unique. The dipping sauce reminded us a bit of Penang-style Assam Laksa, and as for the shrimp paste in that sauce… neither of us baulked from it. It came as slippery yellow noodles with a rich prawny-porky broth topped with plenty of herbs. We’ve pretty much tried all the tarts they’ve offered over the past few seasons and enjoyed most of them. While my ideal choice would’ve been to fly on a Qantas plane, no seats were available that day.
But it was spacious and had everything for your needs… a bartender, a cafeteria, plenty of seats, and restrooms with clean showering facilities. On top of that, it was a quiet flight that night and there were only 2 other passengers in this section.
If you’re travelling alone, there’s a controllable privacy screen between each seat so that you won’t see your neighbour’s head. Pictured right, you can also have a glimpse of the (very bling bling) First Class Suites… boasting a 1-2-1 config each with privacy sliding doors. Being a night flight, once the seat belt signs were turned off, we were immediately offered a futon mattress turndown service in case we wanted to sleep right away.
I admit I don’t really use amenity kits at all and they tend to end up gathering dust in a corner of my home… but I did end up using the toothbrush that came with the kit. I wasn’t hungry but just wanted to see what Emirates has to offer foodwise (for the purpose of this trip report!). Our very friendly air steward, Jeremy, even let me sample both cakes on offer, explaining that they had a lot to spare since most of the other business travellers skipped supper. Having a futon over the seat made a big difference in making you not notice the lines and creases in your seat. But if you look closely at the converted seat, you’ll note that it it isn’t a 100% flat bed. While most airlines have 9 economy seats in a row (3-3-3 config) on their Boeing 777-300 aircrafts, Emirates seats come 10 in a row (3-4-3 config). If you pick the correct seats in the cabin, you’re all set up for a very comfortable flight. So with some luck, getting a taste of their business class seats may be more easily achieved than you’d think!
And based on this and previous flights with Emirates, I also think that the Emirates ground staff in Changi Airport need to work on being more friendly with their passengers. Following with the cafe’s healthy and sustainable food thinking, I sipped on a milky cup of Fairtrade Jasper Coffee. Here we head back to our start point in Paro and embark on the final ascent up Bhutan’s crown jewel - Tiger’s Nest. After a quick cup of coffee, we crawled into the bus and spent hours making our way back to Punakha, where we finally had breakfast around 10am. So over these last few days of the trip, our kindhearted guide arranged platters of fresh cut carrots and fruit for us. Some of us took the bus and visited Paro National Museum, while others decided to stay and wander about Paro town.
Instead, we cabbed it into Paro (which took quite a bit of organising) and had a decadent stretchy-cheesy pizza feast.
After our visit, we walked all the way back down (no more horses) and even doing that was quite tiring, so I can’t even begin to imagine how tough the climb on foot would’ve been if we hadn’t done it on horseback! We stayed the night in Paro and left the next morning, with a final glimpse of the snow-capped Himalayas from the plane window. Towards the end of the trip, the insanely slow and long drives took its toll on me and I confess I grew quite cranky. It made for a holiday experience that’s quite unmatched from many of other destinations that I’ve visited.
But I’ll be covering the Nyonya (Peranakan) style of this dumpling, since that’s where my heritage comes from. At my favourite bak chang stall in Hong Lim Market (Singapore) the colour of the string denotes what type of dumpling it is. Mum’s recipe uses a quick frying method to prepare the rice, and I think it makes the dumplings more fragrant.
Dried shiitake mushrooms are easily found at your Asian grocers, but the candied wintermelon (??? dong gua tang) can be slightly harder to find.
My adorable foster kitty got really curious with what I was getting up to when I was doing this. The pork is par boiled for a few minutes to remove the scum, this step also firms it up and makes it much easier to cut into cubes. The candied wintermelon is added last and the mixture is simmered over low heat till the flavours are combined. I mixed a small amount of the fried glutinous rice with the blue food colouring so that we can have a touch of blue in each dumpling. I’d also use less blue rice than what’s pictured here as some of my dumplings had a touch too much blue after cooking. While I think that mum’s recipes tends to be as annoyingly hard to do as your GCE ‘A’ Level examinations, the end result is worth it. And Brazil is different; its resources are limited as the country suffers through its worst recession in decades and its president is focused on battling impeachment for allegedly breaking fiscal rules in managing government funds.
The architect leading its restoration, Fez native Aziza Chaouni, didn't know it existed until she was asked to work on it. Until now, the privilege of using the library has been limited to scholars who seek formal permission, and authorities haven't decided yet whether to change that.
There's no water, no light, and my house was destroyed," said Jorge Espinel, 40, who works in the recycling business. The Senate rejected the bill for the second time on Monday, providing the trigger Turnbull had been waiting for. The 6-meter replica - about two-thirds the size of the original - was created from photographs of the original site using 3-D imaging technology. Speaking from Portoviejo late on Sunday he said the earthquake was the worst natural disaster to hit Ecuador since a 1949 earthquake in the Andean city of Ambato, which took over 5,000 lives. Officials expect the death toll and number of injured to rise as rescue and recovery efforts continue. Under British legislation, drones cannot be flown near planes, helicopters and airports and must be kept below 122 meters. Accompanying the booming telecom fraud sector on the island are the huge economic losses sustained by families and enterprises on the other side of the Straits. Shanghai Disney Resort, which is three times the size of Hong Kong Disneyland, is due to open on June 16. While the Shanghai theme park is likely to attract a lot of visitors from northern and central China, people in the Pearl River Delta and neighboring areas will likely still visit Hong Kong. We had not expected this because, in our view, the incentives for new construction are still weak given the large inventories of unsold housing.
Internationally, the recovery in China's real estate sector, and in its economy more generally, has been a key driver of the recent recovery in raw commodity prices and commodity-related asset prices, including currencies of commodity-exporting countries. From around 2002 until 2007 housing sales accelerated, reducing the stock of unsold housing. There the demand-supply situation has remained fairly tight because of healthy demand trends, the maintenance of relatively strict restrictions by local governments on house purchases in their areas and the relatively disciplined behavior of property developers. With ill-disciplined developers, strong supply and weaker demand trends (people tend to prefer the large cities as places to work, live and invest), inventories of unsold housing have not fallen enough in the smaller cities in recent years, even as the market has remained tight in first-tier cities.
Thus, while real estate developments in high profile first-tier cities tend to receive a lot of attention in the media, and probably affect sentiment economy-wide, second- to fourth-tier cities are the key drivers of nationwide property construction trends and their macroeconomic implications. And even then the recovery in construction is unlikely to turn into the kind of boom that China has seen in the past. The watermelon mojito was such a thirst-quenching drink and they were very confident with the alcohol content in the kiwi soju.
All that said, it’s a great place for friends to catch up and have drinks and snacks in the city. The only dishes that did not quite hit the mark with us that night were things from the specials board… everything else in their usual menu hit really high notes with all of us and I’m pretty keen on a revisit soon. We started off with a shared serve of steamed jackfruit salad, which came incredibly fragrant with herbs, mixed with crunchy pork crackling, springy yellow noodles and gentle nuggets of young jackfruit. The flavour pairing is creative without becoming ‘too much’ and we also love how most of the tarts aren’t crazily sweet too.
Only the First Class passengers got to use Door A, while the Business and Economy passengers were ferried through Door B further back.
The front section (rows 6-7) right behind First Class is more private with 14 seats, while the back section (rows 8-11) holds 28 seats with close proximity to the (presumably noisier) Economy Cabin. The only things that I liked above was the fresh salad that came with the smoked tuna entree and the selection of soft warmed buns that came with the meal.
It has a mild downward slope and it has a very slight (but noticeable) angle where the hips and knees are. Makes me wonder if they’re seasoned business class travellers that are happy to forgo all the bells and whistles so that they can enjoy the best thing about premium class travel: the ability to sleep flat. And call me unlucky, but I’ve often experienced luggage belt delays inside Melbourne Airport whenever I take an Emirates flight from Singapore to Melbourne.
Our very friendly Singaporean air steward, Jeremy, also helped make our flight much more pleasant with his good-humoured nature. This lunch spot was great in that it was not buffet-style and they even served french fries here… which tasted so good that I could’ve sworn some of us wept!
However, the dry bamboo leaves are bigger and wider, and will allow you to wrap larger, nicer-looking changs.
Traditionally, Nyonya Bakchangs have a touch of blue in them made from Bunga Telang (blue pea flower) extract. If you’re lazy, you can always used minced pork instead, but I think it won’t be as nice texturally. Finally, if it isn’t sweet enough, add sugar to taste (I personally prefer it less sweet so did not add any sugar).
But traditionally the blue colour is extracted by boiling sun-dried bunga telang (blue pea flowers) and then straining it.
In fact it’d probably be prettier if the blue rice was added right at the start, so that you get one blue tip in each dumpling! Deadly road accidents in India are often caused by overloading, bad road conditions and reckless driving.
National Bureau of Statistics' data on the stock of housing "waiting for sale" only include inventories that are (officially) completed.
However, since 2008 housing starts and construction were ramped up, initiated by the stimulus package in November 2008, when liquidity quickly spread through China's economy.
Indeed, while housing prices have been rising strongly in first-tier cities since early 2015, they have only recently started to increase again on a month-on-month basis in third-tier cities. This is because the speed of urbanization has slowed down somewhat and the demand for housing as an investment vehicle is less strong than it used to be.
But we decided to stay up for supper, whilst playing around with all the gadgets and amenities that were offered on this flight. All that said, it was pretty comfy and once the lights were turned off we managed to catch 2-3 hours sleep.
I’m not an expert, but I’d say that while economy travel on Emirates can feel a little bit cramped, once you go the next level… you’re in an entirely different playing field. The cooked dumplings can kept for up to a week in the refrigerator and for a few months if frozen.



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