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segunda-feira, 30 de maio de 2011

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday of May, honours the men and women who died while serving in the American military.

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.

In 2011, Memorial Day is observed on Monday, May 30th.

Video Script:

Memorial Day is a U.S. federal holiday celebrated the last Monday of May. And as the United States takes a day off in observance, news media and bloggers are taking the time to reflect.
Yahoo’s The Upshot explains the day’s history.

“The holiday was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, when 5,000 people helped decorate the gravesites of 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery. ...After World War I, the observances were widened to honor the fallen from all American wars--and in 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday.”

But of course, Memorial Day isn’t just for the past -- CBS acknowledges America’s servicemen and women of today.

REPORTER: “After a decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly 6,000 American troops have been killed in action. …For those who do not come home safely, this holiday weekend is for them. At Fort Bragg, a tribute to 30 fallen soldiers.”
SPEAKER: “These were men who heard and responded to a different voice.”
(Taps plays)

And along with historical reflection, comes cultural analysis.
A writer for The Huffington Post says -- the holiday seems to...

“...have lost some of its meaning with many Americans, who view it simply as the beginning of summer! Or, it is viewed as an opportunity to get away on a three-day excursion or to find good shopping sales, which in my humble opinion, is far worse.”

And a blogger for The Weekly Standard agrees, adding -- a fast-paced culture sometimes makes it difficult for people to see the meaning of the day off.

“Americans can enjoy our blessings of liberty, equal rights, enterprise, and religious freedom without consciously appreciating the deeds and stories of those who have made these blessings possible and who have handed them down to us. It goes without saying how collective memory is imperiled today, in an age defined by instant messaging and other enthusiasms for the ephemeral.”

Finally, in an interview with Fox News, a former U.S. Marine says -- it doesn’t matter how you spend Memorial Day, as long as you recognize its significance.

RYE BARCOTT, FORMER MARINE: “I grew up in a family that’s been affected by war. My father’s a Vietnam war veteran and it was always a very solemn day for us, so it was a different type of experience. And I don’t think it’s wrong to celebrate, but the celebration itself would be so much more meaningful if you recognize why we have the opportunity to do it.”

domingo, 29 de maio de 2011

Study Recommends Cholesterol Screening for All Children

The federal government's National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends children should be tested for high cholesterol only when they have a family history of cholesterol problems, but a new study from West Virginia University suggests screening should now be performed on all children.

We’re analyzing coverage of this issue from Fox News, Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, ABC News, and Daily Freshies.

Family history is the leading cause for high cholesterol. According to
Fox News, cholesterol levels aren’t just strictly based on genetics.

ANCHOR: “…Poor lifestyle habits are sending those numbers sky high”
DIETITIAN: “Kids are moving less, eating more, and this is leading to weigh gain. And unfortunately, elevated cholesterol levels.”

The study used 20,000 fifth graders and according to
the Los Angeles Times, the study showed that:“…more than 71 percent of the children met guidelines for cholesterol screening based on family history. Among children whose family history wasn't known, 9.5 percent had high cholesterol, with 1.7 percent of those children requiring medication to treat the condition.”
According to the
Wall street Journal, the director of the study said that without universal testing:

“We would have missed 36 percent of children with seriously high LDL.”

ABC News senior health and medical editor is cautious of the study’s push for universal testing.

EDITOR: “…I think it’s a big step to say that all children need screening.”
ANCHOR: “But what’s the harm, ya know, in getting screened?”
EDITOR: “Ya know, I think there is harm. You can label a child at a very young age as someone who has high cholesterol for life and needs a medication rather than focusing on the root cause. And the root cause of this, as well as so many problems in childhood and adulthood, is obesity.”

The blog,
Daily Freshies, says West Virginia was chosen because it has one of nation’s highest rates of death from heart disease and that previous standards for testing are outdated.
“…the present guidelines were set in place in the 1990s, and [at] that time, specialist predicted that high cholesterol would be ignored in as many as 25 percent of children…”

So what do you think? Do you think universal screening in all children is the answer? Or should the standards for screening remain the same?

quinta-feira, 26 de maio de 2011

quarta-feira, 25 de maio de 2011

Barack Obama's UK visit - England

'Smile, honey. We'll be meeting the Queen and that hat cost a lot of money.'

The US president and wife Michelle's first day (Tuesday 24 May 2011) in the UK included meeting the Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace


Barack Obama's UK visit - Ireland

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: “My name is Barack Obama -- of the Moneygall Obamas. And I've come home to find the apostrophe that we lost somewhere along the way.” 

By most accounts -- President Barack Obama’s visit to Ireland was a success.
Reports say -- America’s Commander in Chief received a warm Irish welcome everywhere he went.

He made a stop in Moneygall, Ireland, where great-great-great grandfather lived -- and visited a pub to enjoy some Guinness beer with the First Lady. (Video:

But some analysts are suggesting -- the president’s emphasis on his Irish roots -- is a political ploy.
A writer for the Irish Independent says... “His popularity is likely to soar among the Irish-American vote in the US...”

Mr. Obama isn’t the first president to visit the Emerald Isle just before an election year -- he’s the sixth.

“He follows in the footsteps of Kennedy, Nixon, Reagon, Clinton, and George W. Bush.”(
CBS)A blogger for UK’s the Telegraph calls it “naked electioneering,” and says -- it’s unlikely to be successful.

“Barack Obama is no more O’Bama than I am O’Done. And the Irish know it. … They know it’s not their smiling eyes he’s visiting for – but for the [more than 35 million] Americans who claim Irish roots. … Irish-Americans are numerous in precisely those states, like Ohio and Pennsylvania, that often prove to be decisive during presidential elections.”
But a blogger for NPR thinks the visit will appeal to white America -- not just those with Irish heritage.

“For those voters who are still uncomfortable, even on a subconscious level, with the president's race, the reminder of his white parentage could be enough to allow them to give him more benefit of the doubt. The story of Obama's Irish connection is Obama's message to those voters that he ‘gets’ them...”

Finally --
the founder and president of US-Ireland Alliance writes in the Huffington Post -- all this talk of appealing to a certain demographic is ridiculous.

“The proverbial white guy in rural Pennsylvania ... will make up his mind about Obama … because of the economy, Social Security, Medicare, ... and several other factors. You could count on one hand the number of people who would vote for the President on the basis of his stopping in Ireland for less than 24 hours.”

André and João's Cartoons

A. Hello! How are you? What is your name?

B. Hello! I’m fine and you? My name is Barack Obama. And What is your name?

A. My name is Michelle. I’m English. I’m a student. I’m twelve years old. What is your occupation? How old are you?

B. I’m a football player. I´m twelve years old. I’m English. I have got a big family. I have got one dog and three cats.

A. I have got a small family. I have got one dog and two fish. I like to play tennis and to play computer games.

B. I like to play football and to play computer games too. My favourite foods are pizza and Kebbab. I like bodyboard and surf.

A. My favourite foods are pizza, meat and codfish. I like bodyboard but I don’t like surf.

B. Bye. See you later.

A. Bye. I hope to see you more often.

Daniela and Lilia's Cartoons

K- Hello! What is your name?

D- Hello! My name is Daisy and yours?

K- My name is Kevin. I’m twenty-five years old. And you?

D- I’m twenty-four.

K- I am a sports teacher . What is your job?

D- I am dance teacher and I work partime in this bar. I love sports and dancing!

K- So do I ! I live in Las Vegas!

D- I live in New York!

K- The city is very pretty! I have to go to my hotel now! Here is my phone number. Three seven two seven one two four eight three. Bye! Kiss! Nice to meet you!

D- I will phone you! Kisses! Bye! Nice to meet you too!

Katarina and Victoria's Cartoons

Jessica -Hello. I am Jessica Cullen. What is your name?

Edward – Hi. My name is Edward Johnson. I live in a big house and I have got a dog. I work in a big company in California. And you?

Jessica- I live in a caravan and I travel a lot because I’m a dancer. I have got a kitten called Sweet. I am twenty years old. And you?

Edward – I like dancing. I am twenty-six years old. I practice tennis and I like eating shrimps with sauce. Do you like shrimps?

Jessica - Not very much. I haven´t got any time to cook so I usually eat salads and soups. I haven’t got any time for other activities.

Edward – That’s a shame. I get up very early because I’m the boss of the company. Tonight I am very tired because I’ve worked long hours.

Jessica – I wake up at eight o’clock and I go to my daily training. Then I go to the place where I will dance. Do you want to see my show tomorrow?

Edward – Yes. Of course. Please phone me. My number is nine-one-six-three-five-seven-one-double six. I loved to meet you. See you tomorrow. Bye.

Jessica – I also loved to meet you. Good-bye.

Joana and Núria's Cartoons

A--Hi! My name is Charles and my surname is Park.
What is your name?

B--Hi! My name is Anne and my surname is Emmy.
I am a vet.

A--I am working in a shopping center.
I am thirty-two years old. And you?

B--I am thirty-two years old, too.
I live in Mexico. And you?

A— So do I.
My phone number is three, six, seven, eight, four, two, one, five, nine.
What is your phone number?

B--My phone number is three, five, eight, oh, two, four, seven, one, nine.
I have a many pets.

A--I like pets.

B-- I like sports very much. And you?

A--I like to play football and basketball.
See you tomorrow. Bye.

B— Ok, Bye!

David and Rafael's Cartoons

1-Hi! What’s your name?

2-Hi! I am Ned. And you?

1-I am Michael. What’s your job?

2-I am an engineer. And what about you?

1-I am a journalist. Where and who do you live with? I live alone in Michigan and I like to see a river through my window.

2-I live in Oxford with my wife and my dog. I like to walk in the forest.

1-I need to go interview John Deep. Nice to meet you. Good Bye.

2-Bye! Nice to meet you too. We could have a coffee on Thursday. Is that ok for you?

1-At what time and where?

2-At three p.m. at the shopping center. Bye.

Diogo and Gonçalo's Cartoons

1-Hi! How are you?

2-I’m fine thanks. And you?

1-I’m fine, too. My name is Michael and what’s your name?

2-My name is John. I am thirty years old and I am a barman.

1-I am twenty-nine years old and I am unemployed. I live in Springfield with my family and I don’t have any pets.

2-I also live in Springfield with my family and my pets.

1-In the morning I usually sleep. I wake up at lunch time .In the afternoon I play drums with my family. Then I go home and I play playstation. At eight o’clock I have dinner and at midnight I go to sleep.

2-In the morning I wake up at ten o’clock and I have breakfast. I go for a walk and come back home for lunch. In the afternoon I go swimming. I have dinner at ten o’clock and I go sleep at eleven o’clock.

1-I need to go home. Nice to meet you. Bye.

2- Nice to meet you. See you later. Bye.

Ana and Gabriela's Cartoons

J- Hi! My name is John and what is yours?

C- My name is Charmaine. I am thirteen years old and you?

J- I’m fourteen years old and my birthdate is on the 10th of October. And yours?

C- My birthdate is on the 8th of February.

J- My favourite pets are dogs. And yours?

C- My favourite pets are cats and dogs .

J- What’s your phone number?

C-My phone number is nine, six, seven, eight, five, one, oh, one, two.

J- I will phone you later. Thanks.

C- Nice to meet you. Good Bye.

Miguel and Fernando's Cartoons

1. Hello, my name is Peter Parker. What is your name?

2. My name is Jake Raven. Do you like sports?

1. Yes. I am a football player. Do you work?

2. Yes. I am an American footballer. How old are you?

1. I am twenty years old. How old are you?

2. I am twenty-three years old. Do you have family?

1. Yes, I live with my brother. He is fourteen years old and his name is Barak Obama.
Do you have family?

2. Yes. I have family. I live with my brother. He is thirteen years old and his name is Johnny Raven. Sorry. I have to go because I have to take care of my brother. Bye. I see you in the shop at six o’clock p.m tomorrow.

1. Ok. Bye my friend.

Guilherme and Luke's Cartoons

S -Hello young man! What are you doing here?
K -Hello sir! I’m here because I want  some soda!           
S -I'm sorry but those machines are broken but I think I have got one in my pocket.
K -Thank you but I’m not thirsty anymore.
S -Ok. So what is your name? How old are you?
K -My name is James I am eighteen years old.
S -You’re cool. Do you want to sign up for the SWAT team? I just need your phone number.
K -My phone number is nine six two four seven nine eight three one.
S -Ok ,good bye, James
K -Ok, see you soon

terça-feira, 24 de maio de 2011

NYC's outdoor smoking ban

The New York City’s outdoor smoking ban goes into effect on Monday. Park lovers and city sunbathers are expected to be able to breath easier with this new smoking ban.

Reporter-- “It's now illegal to light up in public parks, the public beaches and pedestrian plazas, like the one in Times Square. The new law aims at protecting people from second-hand smoke and reduce litter from cigarette butts. I think it's great. Anyway the city says it hopes to de-normallize smoking in family friendly places.”

A reporter from the Baltimore Sun says there are good health reasons for the ban.

“...A majority of non-smoking New Yorkers, 57%, had elevated levels of nicotine -- the effect of second hand smoke. Compare that with the rest of the country -- look at that, our rate of second hand smoke exposure is 12% higher.”

But critics say the law is too broad and is trampling on civil liberties. Audrey Silk, founder of C.L.A.S.H (Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment) tells a WNYC blogger the C.L.A.S.H members plan to defy the law with a “smoke-in” at Brighton Beach.

"There is absolutely no justifiable reason, whether it's for a public health reason or social reason, to ban smoking in the great outdoors. They're choosing to revoke civil liberties over half-truths, instead of saying to the people, 'If you don't like it, if you're uncomfortable, walk away.'"

ABC’s “The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg fumed over the ban back in February, saying it singled out smoking over bigger health risks.

“I feel I pay taxes here just like everybody else, and I feel that there should be a designated place, and I’m tired of being treated like some sort of criminal. If you are worried, really worried about the smell in the air, then give us electric buses, give us electric cars, and then I understand.”

Some health experts questioned whether the smoke poses a serious danger in open spaces.
James Colgrove, a Columbia University public health professor said -- the danger of outdoor smoking is hazy.

Colgrove-- "Outdoors, the air-monitoring studies suggest smoke dissipates and there is virtually no health risk to anyone who is more than a few feet a way."

Dan Feldman, Professor at John Jay College says the city’s ban may actually hurt other anti-smoking efforts.

Reporter--“What does it mean when New York City, the nation’s largest city, enact this kind of far-reaching smoking ban?”
Feldman-- “Well I’m afraid it could hurt the credibility of more reasonable restrictions on smoking.”

The new law is expected to be self-enforcing by 950,000 resident adult smokers and and 18,000 teen smokers in New York City. Anyone who violates the law could receive a $50 ticket.

quarta-feira, 18 de maio de 2011

On a break...

The Queen goes Irish

      The Queen visited the Guinness storehouse in Dublin on this second day of her historic four-day visit to the Republic of Ireland. 
      This cartoon by Dave Brown from The Independent represents a map of the British Isles. The Queen is Great Britain, drinking a glass of Guinness (Ireland) through a straw. She is dressed in green (the colour most associated with Ireland, the Emerald Isle), and wearing a leprechaun's hat.

On Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth will become the first British monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland since 1911. Sounds nice enough. Except for a bomb threat -- issued presumably by the Irish Republican Army.

France 24 reports London police are on high alert.

Reporter: “Now police operation and contingency planning remain on the constant reviews here in the UK. A wide range of overt and covert tactics to be told will continue to be used in London. But it is really a headache for the police because given that kind of warning, a bomb warning for central London with no specific location and no time is really a difficult one to handle.”

Despite years of mostly peaceful co-existence, Ireland’s dissent against British rule remains steadfast in many quarters.
CNN airs some of the grievances still in place and why police are taking the threat so seriously.
“Firstly the ongoing British ongoing occupation in six counties. Secondly, Britain’s role in the ongoing role in the invasions and pre-occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.  And thirdly, given that it’s an absolute waste of money.”
“They’ve built up their engineering skills. Their ability to attack.  And they’ve also come together to form a more coherent sort of organization.”

The BBC notes, this visit isn’t just a walk in the park for the Queen.  It’s a visit -- to some of Ireland’s most hallowed grounds.

“The fact that the Queen will visit both the Islandbridge memorial in Dublin, commemorating the Irish who died in the service of the British Army, and the Garden of Remembrance, commemorating those who fought for Irish independence against the British empire, is an indication of the attempt to recognise, and respect, the different allegiances on the island.”

Finally, The Guardian notes, if this visit can go off without a hitch, both the UK and Ireland have much to gain.

"The Queen's visit and that of Barack Obama's next week are being seen as a rare chance to give Ireland the kind of positive international exposure that money can't buy. In these stricken times, the Irish will cling to anything for a few tourist dollars. Unless some lunatic wing gets the better of the security forces, the Queen's visit will cement business relations between the two countries.... relations between the two countries have never been better than they are now.”

terça-feira, 17 de maio de 2011

Do you speak English?!

Woman: Excuse me... excuse me. Sorry, ... do you speak English? 
Man: No I don't, sorry. 
Woman:  My car's broken down and I wondered if you could tell me where to find a garage. 
Man: Well, you know, that's wasted on me. I don't understand what you're saying. 
Woman: You don't speak any English at all? 
Man: Not a word. No. It's one of those things really... I wish I'd paid more attention in school... but… Excuse me, excuse me... sorry. Do you speak any English? 
Man 2: English? No. What's the problem? 
Man: I don't know I can't understand her. 
Woman: Hi! My car's broken down and I need to find a garage. 
Man 2: No, I'm sorry. I didn't understand that at all... 
Woman: All right, well... thanks. 
Man: I tell you what, if you go down that way, about half a mile, there's a village. There might be somebody there that speaks English. 
Woman: [She says in German: I speak a little German. Do you speak German?] 
Man: Deutch, nein. Spreckenzie Deutch? 
Man 2: Deutch, nein. [He speaks fluent German...] 
Man: I'm sorry we couldn't be more help. 
Man 2: Yeah, sorry about that. Hey, you never know... next time you're over, maybe we'll have learned a bit of English. 
Man: [in German} or German! 
Woman: Thanks anyway... 
Man: I can speak English 
Man 2: So can I!