Change your life: Brainstorm

imagesDefinition of brainstorm: “A spontaneous group discussion to produce ideas and ways of solving problems” —New Oxford Dictionary of English
I love brainstorming! Let’s say you are facing a particular chal­lenge, or you have the seeds of an idea in your head or you want to generate lots of ideas and strategies.
Rather than sit­ting in splendid isolation with a pen and piece of paper, it can be infinitely more productive (and more enjoyable) to gather several friends and/or colleagues and brainstorm together.
Elect a note taker – or turn on a tape recorder so that no ideas or comments are lost. Ask people to think out of the box –and NEVER discard an idea, even if at first it seems totally impracticable.
Once you’ve got a list of ideas and suggestions, take each one in turn – even the most ‘off the wall’ ones – and ask these four questions:•What is the useful element in this idea?•What are the problematic aspects of this idea?•How can I get around the impractical elements of this idea?•What further ideas does this idea inspire?
The key point here is that even though an idea might seem fraught with difficulties, don’t discard it. It’s quite possible that –on closer examination – another workable idea can come from it.

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Abe says China vital partner despite territorial disputes

By Kiyoshi Takenaka

TOKYO -Prime Minister Shinzo Abe criticized Beijing for trying to “change the status quo” with force in maritime disputes but said China was a vital economic partner, as a series of visits suggested a possible thaw in ties between the Asian rivals.
Sino-Japanese ties have been strained by a territorial row over tiny disputed isles in the East China Sea and perceptions in Beijing that Abe wants to rewrite Japan’s wartime history and tone down past apologies.
“China’s growth is a chance for Japan, and for the world as well. China is Japan’s largest trading partner and we are in inseparable relations economically,” Abe said at a recent symposium.“On the other hand, it is true that China is challenging the status quo with force in the East China Sea and South China Sea,” Abe said, referring to Beijing’s territorial rows with several Southeast Asian countries as well.“It is necessary for not only Japan but many other countries to prompt China to grow peacefully as a responsible country.”China’s People’s Liberation Army is building submarines, surface ships and anti-ship ballistic missiles, and has tested emerging technology aimed at destroying missiles in mid-air. The military modernization has also been accompanied by a more assertive posture in its territorial disputes.Abe, who returned to office in December 2012, has yet to hold a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping due to the tensions in ties between Asia’s two biggest economies.Relations, often frayed by the legacy of Japan’s wartime aggression and occupation of parts of China, are also strained by the row over the East China Sea isles, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said she hoped Japan would correct its mistakes.“Currently, there are serious difficulties in China-Japan relations,” Hua told reporters. “It is due to the extremely mistaken ways that the Japanese government and Japanese leaders have adopted on the Diaoyu and other historical issues.”But a series of visits and planned visits between the two countries has prompted speculation over a possible shift, as has an article by two academics that appeared in the Washington Post showing the frequency of Chinese maritime patrols in waters that Japan considers its own had declined over the past six months, possibly signalling Beijing’s desire to cool things down.An April 24-26 visit to Beijing by Tokyo Gov Yoichi Masuzoe, elected to his post with the backing of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), is grabbing the most attention.“If two important cities from the two countries can start to mend the relationship, of course that will have a positive impact on the whole China-Japan relationship,” said Jin Canrong, associate dean of the School of International Studies at Renmin University in Beijing.“This shows that both sides want to open a channel for dialogue outside of the Jin said the decrease in Chinese maritime patrols in disputed waters could signal a desire to soothe tensions. A Japanese expert agreed, but said the publication of the article noting the change could have a negative impact.“They will de-escalate when no one notices,” said Narushige Michishita, a professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo. “But if people notice, they might have to go back, especially the Chinese side.”Among other moves that have caught attention are Abe’s reported meeting this month with the son of the late Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang and a meeting last Tuesday between Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang and a Japanese trade delegation headed by former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, in whose name a 1995 apology over women, mostly Asian, forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels, was issued.Liu Jiangyong, an expert on Sino-Japan relations at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, cautioned against reading too much into recent moves.“There has been no recent material change (in the Sino-Japan relationship),” he said.

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Drinking Coffee May Cut Risk of Colon Cancer

imagesG2K71NFPResearchers examined coffee consumption among nearly 8,500 people in Israel, including about 5,000 who had colorectal cancer and 3,500 who did not have cancer. On average, the people in the study drank just less than two cups of coffee per day.
And the more coffee people drank, the lower their likelihood was of developing the disease, the researchers said.While it’s still too soon to recommend drinking coffee as a way to lower colorectal-cancer risk, “I think, certainly, the level of evidence is building towards that,” said study researcher Stephanie Stenzel, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Southern California’s Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Stenzel presented the findings here at the meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.Compared with the risk for people who drank less than one cup of coffee per day, the odds of developing colorectal cancer were 22 percent lower for people who drank one to two cups a day, 44 percent lower for those who drank two to two-and-a-half cups a day and 59 percent lower for those who drank more than two-and-a-half cups per day.The findings held even after the researchers took into account factors that might affect the risk of colorectal cancer, such as age, gender, the amount of vegetables people consumed and whether they took a daily aspirin. (Some studies have suggested that taking aspirin may lower people’s risk of colon cancer.)Some previous studies had found that coffee consumption reduces the risk of colorectal cancer, but other studies have found no such link. The new study is one of the largest in terms of the number of people with colorectal cancer included, the researchers said.It’s been hypothesized that drinking coffee may lower colorectal-cancer risk by speeding up the passage of substances through the colon, meaning the tissue has less time to be exposed to potential cancer-causing agents. It’s also possible that drinking coffee affects the composition of microbes in the gut, or that compounds in coffee have cancFuture studies are needed to examine the effect of coffee consumption on colorectal-cancer risk in other populations, and to see whether the link is affected by genetics, Stenzel said.In the new study, the researchers asked the participants about the number of “servings” they drank, which is somewhat open to interpretation, so it’s still not clear exactly how much coffee is linked with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, Stenzel noted.Other studies have linked coffee consumption with a lower risk of certain types of skin and breast cancers, as well as a lower risk of prostate cancer.

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Fitness Trackers May Help Older People Lose Weight

imagesFitness trackers have become popular in recent years for people who want to track their activity and put numbers with their workout. A new study shows they may be effective in helping older people lose weight.
Researchers at Wake Forest University worked with 48 obese adults between ages 65 and 79 for 10 months — including five months of effort to lose weight, and five months of follow-up. The study participants were randomly assigned to either a group that was given information about dieting and aerobic exercise, or a group given the same information along with a fitness tracker, and guidance on how to use it.
At the end of the study, the people who had the fitness trackers weighed about 10 percent less than their baseline weight, while those without the trackers weighed only about 5 percent less, according to the study published online March 17 in the journal Obesity. In their conclusions, the authors said the study provides early evidence that adding a fitness tracker and instruction (which researchers call a “self-regulatory intervention”) to a fitness regimen may help people lose weight, as well as maintain that lower weight afterward.”What this study shows is that this self-regulatory intervention appeared to improve weight loss and weight loss maintenance,” said Corby Martin, director of Behavioral Science and Epidemiology at Pennington Biomedical Research Center and a spokesman for The Obesity Society. However, he said, the findings require a lot of context for people who want to use a fitness tracker to help lose weight.It’s important to note that people with the fitness trackers in the study had some additional attention to help them meet goals of changing their behavior, said Martin, who was not involved in the study.The key to their weight loss was what researchers call spontaneous physical activity, which involves daily activity that uses energy but is not inherently part of an exercise program, he said. [9 Meal Schedules: When to Eat to Lose Weight]“That likely influenced their overall energy balance, and helped them lose more weight,” Martin said, although he emphasized that this caveat does not detract from the importance of the study.Although the results may be encouraging for people looking to find new techniques for weight loss, Martin also said people should look to the tracker’s numbers, rather than those on the scale, because while weight loss may be a goal for many, it isn’t necessarily the most important for health.”Everyone wants to talk about weight loss,” but it can be tricky to look to fitness trackers for weight loss help.”They weren’t designed to monitor and track weight loss, they were designed to track and monitor physical activity,” he told Live Science.Exercise, Martin said, has many health benefits and is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but some of those benefits, such as those that apply to metabolism and heart disease, are independent of weight loss, so simply focusing on weight is the wrong measurement.”It’s so important for us to [exercise], regardless of whether or not we’re changing our body weight,” he said.

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10 Foods that Detoxify Your Body,Without Fasting

Take the sprouts, leave the broccoli head. Broccoli sprouts are super high in antioxidants that help detox enzymes in the digestive tract.

Citrus

Vitamin C is one of the best detox vitamins around, so it’s no surprise lemons, oranges and limes made our list. The enzymes help to clear the digestive tract and cleanse the liver. Try drinking a warm glass of lemon water daily.

Fruit

Since fruit already has such wonderfully-high liquid content, it works wonders for your system. Plus, fruits are easy to digest, high in antioxidants, nutrients, fiber and vitamin C. Fiber is especially important for cleansing your digestive system because it expands to sweep the intestines clean. You can gently cleanseyour system by eating plenty of bananas, pears, apples, strawberries, blackberries, grapefruit, oranges, dates, figs and plums. Pst… pick the juicier fruits.

Garlic

It may be stinky, but by just adding raw or cooked garlic to your food you’re helping to filter out residual toxins.

Green Food

Remember when your mom told you to eat something green every day? Do it. And make sure some are leafy greens like kale, spinach, arugula and even wheatgrass or blue green algae. The chlorophyll will boost your digestive tract to eliminate toxins.

Green Tea

This well-known healthy drink washes out toxins with its special antioxidants called catechins, which also increase liver function. Win-win.

Mung Beans

These tiny beans pack a big punch as they absorb residual toxins along the intestinal walls.

Omega-3 Oils

Avocado, olive oil and flax seed oil… sounds good to us! These items are high in Omega-3s which help lube up the intestinal walls and absorb the toxins.

Raw Veggies

Since onions, carrots, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, garlic, beets, turmeric and oregano are all high in sulphur and glutathione, they help to rid your liver of harmful toxins.

Water

And lots and lots of it.

While you’re at it, boost your metabolism with these foods.

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Anguish turns into fury for relatives of passengers on South Korean ferry

JINDO, South Korea — The informal briefing by a South Korean coast guard rescuer started calmly enough. He stood on a stage in front of relatives of those missing from a sunken ferry, explaining how divers trying to find their loved ones are hampered by poor visibility and can venture only so deep.

Less than an hour later, Saturday’s meeting had unraveled. A few dozen relatives rose from the gymnasium floor and surged toward the stage, hurling rapid-fire questions — and a thick, rolled-up wad of paper — at the officials, who stood mostly silently, their heads bowed. One man tried to choke a coast guard lieutenant and punch a maritime policeman, but missed.

The exchange illustrated how relatives of about 270 people missing have grown increasingly exasperated and distrusting of South Korean authorities, in part because of confusion, early missteps and perceived foot-dragging. For days, they have dealt with shock, fear and bewilderment. They have briefly been buoyed by new ideas about how to find survivors, changes in death counts and the number of missing — even rumours of contact with trapped relatives — only to be let down later.

The mood in the gymnasium on Jindo island where hundreds of relatives are waiting for word about their loved ones is generally a sombre calm. People murmur to each other or sit silently, staring at the screens that show pixellated footage of ships, rescue rafts and yellow bobbing buoys. Some relatives busy themselves with folding blankets or tidying the spaces they’ve been living in. Some walk around looking dazed or weep in a friend’s embrace.

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Pentagon mulls deployment as Poland asks for 10,000 troops

Originally posted on 5continentnews:

The Pentagon may deploy more ground troops in Poland, although the number may be much smaller than what the eastern European NATO member wants to see. Washington is seeking to reassure allies amid fears of a Russian aggression.Warsaw and Washington may announce the deployment of additional American troops in Poland next week, Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said following a meeting with his US counterpart, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon on Thursday.He added that Poland would play a leading role in the NATO build-up of troops in Eastern Europe, “under US patronage,” the Washington Post reported. He added that the US needs to “re-pivot” back to Europe from Asia to counter “Russian aggression” in Ukraine.Siemoniak earlier called on the Pentagon to deploy as many as 10,000 American troops in his country. Poland already hosts some 100 to 150 US military servicing a battery of surface-to-air Patriot missiles, which…

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