THE VALUE OF SUMMER AS BOTH SEASON AND FESTIVAL

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Mini-skirts: One of the fashion temptations during summer

There are only two seasons in West Africa, the dry and the wet, and sometimes the experience of the harmattan, a dry, dusty cold north-east trade winds from December to February. 

Africa never misses the sun or summer as it is known among the four seasons in Europe and America because the sun blazes for nine months, accompanied by rainfall within three months.

Unfortunately, sometimes the rain fails to fall, and when it continues for a longer period, means impending danger. The reason East Africa is often threatened by worst drought. Rwanda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Zambia, Somalia etc, have all experienced the effect of drought.

The sun in Africa is used to doing many things including drying of washed clothes, preservation of foods, and on health issues good for the skin. Since the sun is very common in Africa, they don’t see or value it as something special, but when summer arrives in Europe and America, it’s like they have seen magic or god.

In fact, summer is just a season but what accompanies with it in Europe and America seems like the season is a festival. Europeans and Americans go crazy with all kinds of dresses and fashions which may baffle you.

Mini-skirts, the exposure of long beautiful legs and other parts of the body which can steal your attention and put you into temptation are some of the common scenes in the city, shopping malls, restaurants, cinema halls etc, and at the naked beaches.

Europe is now entering the summer but just yesterday the beautiful weather brought some fashions one may be stupefied to see. The question is: What are we going to see when summer fully arrives? I will definitely steal a glance but hoping I will not be caught by any lady.

The 5 Biggest Regrets People Have Before They Die

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Original article published by: Theneeds

Want to hear the strangest thing on earth? Death is perhaps the most constructive fact of our existence. Being aware of death throughout your life can beget the healthiest attitude: one of perspective.

Countless people throughout history knew this too. The ancient Greeks used to “practice death every day,” and the Toltecs would use death as “fuel to live and to love.” The constant reminder ensured they would live more boldly, more kindly, and with less fear.

The Good News About Death

Here’s how the morbid subject can actually benefit us: Our limited days on earth are the ultimate impetus to live with less fear and more intention.

The majority of the time, many of us live as if there will be no end to our days. We stay in unfulfilling careers. We remain in unhappy relationships. We will travel the world “one day.” We fail to tell people how much they matter to us. We hide our real truth, gifts, or talents from the world because we are scared of being judged and criticized.

Losing a parent when I was young made this much more real for me. I felt blessed to come to the realization of how precarious and precious life is while still in my younger years. But you don’t need a loss early in your life to take advantage of the wisdom that awaits you. Learn from people who know.

One of my favorite books is Bronnie Ware’s international bestseller The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Ware was a hospice nurse in Australia for several years and cared for patients in the last few weeks of their lives. She writes with incredible clarity how similar regrets surfaced again and again.

Surprise, surprise: There was no mention of insufficient status; undelivered revenge; or sadness over not being the thinnest, prettiest, or most famous. These were the most common regrets. (Numbers one and five could make me weep.)

The 5 Most Common Regrets

I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all,” Ware writes. “When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”

I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks, and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved.”

I wish that I had let myself be happier.

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content.”

http://www.theneeds.com/sport/n11304408/the-5-biggest-regrets-people-have-before-greatist

Zika virus: Your questions answered

zika childBy Gretchen Vogel, Jon Cohen, Martin Enserin

Where did the Zika virus come from?

First isolated in 1947 and first described in a paper in 1952, Zika has long been known to occur in Africa and Southeast Asia—but until a decade ago, fewer than 15 cases had been described in the scientific literature. In 2007, the virus caused a big outbreak on Yap, an island group in the Western Pacific that is part of the Federated States of Micronesia; since then, it went on a major tour of other Pacific Islands before it landed in Brazil, from where it started spreading rapidly to other parts of South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Why has it exploded so suddenly?

There may have been big outbreaks in Africa and Asia in the past that went undetected; scientists weren’t paying much attention. But the current massive epidemic was an event waiting to happen. Latin America has huge numbers of A. aegypti, also known as the yellow fever mosquito, an important vector for Zika. (The Asian tiger mosquito, A. albopictus, which is on the rise around the world, is believed to be a vector as well.) In addition, nobody in the Americas had immunity to the virus. Travel makes it worse. Aedes mosquitoes don’t fly more than a few hundred meters during their lives; Zika travels from city to city and country to country when infected people get on cars, buses, trains, and planes.

These combined factors meant that the virus had the ability to spread far and fast once it had arrived.

Will Zika spread to the United States and Europe?

Both the United States and Europe have already seen “imported cases”—people who arrived from a Zika-affected country carrying the virus. This was widely expected given the size of the epidemic in Latin America. The key question is whether there will be local outbreaks—that is, mosquitoes spreading the virus from person to person. There’s definitely a chance; A. albopictus occurs in several countries in southern Europe (and it may move north), while the southern and eastern United States have populations of both A. aegypti and A. albopictus.

If so, scientists expect outbreaks to be much smaller than elsewhere, based on past experience with mosquito-borne diseases. Recent dengue outbreaks in Florida, Texas, and Hawaii haven’t sickened more than a few hundred people, for instance; an outbreak of a mosquito-borne disease called chikungunya in northern Italy in 2007—which started when a man infected with the virus arrived from India—ended after 197 cases. One reason that outbreaks in these countries tend to be smaller may be that people spend less time outside and live in houses that are more difficult for mosquitoes to enter; mosquito population sizes may play a role as well.

Do we know for sure that Zika is causing a rise in birth defects?

No. There is strong circumstantial evidence that areas in Brazil hit hard by Zika have experienced a sharp increase in the number of babies born with microcephaly, a condition in which the head is much smaller than normal because the brain fails to develop properly. But it will take at least several months before the results from the first case-control studies of pregnant women infected with Zika are available. Doctors in Brazil first noticed an increase in cases of microcephaly during ultrasounds of pregnant women in June and July, a few months after the sudden rise in Zika infections. Fetal medicine expert Manoel Sarno, who works at the Federal University of Bahia, says the pattern of brain damage he is seeing now looks distinct from microcephaly caused by other infections, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV) or rubella. He and his colleagues started a study in August that is following women infected with Zika during their pregnancy; the results could come out late summer. Similar studies are underway elsewhere in Brazil and in Colombia.

Are there other urgent questions that scientists are asking?

Plenty. Scientists have difficulty determining who has been infected and who hasn’t because diagnostic tests have limitations. The most accurate tests—which detect viral RNA in a patient’s blood—only work within a week of the first symptoms appearing. After that time, researchers can test for antibodies in the blood. But current tests for Zika antibodies cross-react with antibodies to dengue, which is so widespread in Brazil—and much of the rest of Latin America—that almost all adults have antibodies to it. That makes it difficult to tell whether the mother of a baby born with microcephaly was infected with Zika earlier in her pregnancy.

Researchers would also like to know how often Zika is transmitted through sexual contact. One U.S. scientist who caught the virus in Africa passed it to his wife after he got home in 2008, and a second case of suspected sexual transmission happened in French Polynesia in 2013. But researchers have no idea what the risk is. (“If I was a man and I got Zika symptoms, I’d wait a couple of months before having unprotected sex,” virologist Scott Weaver of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston recently told The New York Times.)

What drugs are available against Zika?

None. Until last year, Zika was so rare and believed to be so mild, that nobody bothered to look for candidate drugs. Even now that the virus is surging, it’s not obvious that there’s a big market for an antiviral drug, because the vast majority of those infected have very few symptoms or none at all. And it’s not clear that a drug could prevent birth defects when women contract Zika during pregnancy; by the time they become infected and develop symptoms, it may be too late to prevent such damage. A vaccine against Zika may offer more hope of preventing microcephaly.

And when can we expect a vaccine?

That will take years. Several groups have begun to make candidate Zika vaccines, a process that will take at least several months. Most of these vaccine approaches are piggybacking on existing vaccines. For example, many vaccines are made by stitching proteins from a pathogen’s surface into a harmless virus or vector; that is now being tried with Zika using those same vectors. Once a candidate vaccine is made, it will have to be tested in animals before humans.Human trials begin with small safety studies, then move on to larger studies that test whether the candidate product works. All of that usually takes 10 to 15 months. Given the urgency, the timeline could be compressed, but even so, Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told STAT that it may be at least 5 to 7 years before a Zika vaccine is commercially available.

Then what can we do to stop the spread of the virus?

Stop mosquitoes from biting people. Countries and communities can try to reduce mosquito populations by removing the small water reservoirs—such as flower pots, empty bottles, and discarded tires—in which Aedes mosquitoes like to breed. People can also reduce their personal exposure—especially important for women who are or might become pregnant—by putting screens on windows, covering their skin, and using insect repellant. However, history has shown that the impact of mosquito control on epidemics is modest at best, and they’re difficult to sustain.

There must be better ways to control mosquitoes?

Not yet but they’re in the works. A British biotech called Oxitec—which was recently purchased by Intrexon, a U.S. synthetic biology company—has developed A. aegyptimosquitoes containing a gene construct that will kill their offspring before they reach adulthood. When massive numbers of male individuals of this strain are released in the wild, they will mate with local females, producing offspring that are not viable, which has been shown to make a dent in the population.

In another line of research, scientists are infecting A. aegypti with a bacterium named Wolbachia, which reduces mosquitoes’ ability to transmit diseases. The researchers developing these approaches were mostly thinking about dengue, but Zika’s surge is giving their attempts a new sense of urgency. But again, it will take several years before these strategies are ready for prime time.

First Case Of Sexual Transmission Of Zika Virus Reported

Lovers 5Published in LA WEEKLY BY DENNIS ROMERO

Zika’s a particularly evil little virus that could cause microcephaly, a rare neurological condition that causes affected infants to be born with abnormally small heads. This week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced a recent case of sexually transmitted Zika reported  in the Dallas area.

“According to a Dallas County Health Department investigation, a person who recently traveled to an area with Zika virus transmission returned to the United States and developed Zika-like symptoms,” the CDC said in a statement. “The person later tested positive for Zika, along with their sexual partner, who had not traveled to the area.”

That said, reports of sexually transmitted Zika are rare, and experts say the most common form of transmission is via mosquito bites in South America, particularly Brazil, as well as in the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Cape Verde and certain Pacific islands (American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga).

Health officials warned pregnant women to avoid or postpone travel to those areas.

The L.A. County Department of Public Health says pregnant women who have traveled to those regions and who have “symptoms suggestive of Zika virus infection during or within two weeks of travel” should get tested.

“The most important messages concern people who may be traveling to locations in the world where Zika virus outbreaks are currently occurring, and advising them on measures they need to take to protect their own health and prevent bringing the disease back here to Los Angeles County,” the county’s interim health officer, Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, said yesterday.

The CDC says avoiding sexual contact with potential Zika patients probably is wise.

“Based on what we know now, the best way to avoid Zika virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites AND to avoid exposure to semen from someone who has been exposed to Zika virus or has been ill from Zika virus infection,” the CDC says.

There has been one case of Zika reported in L.A. And given our pathways to Latin America, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if there are more. That case, reported in November, involved a girl who had traveled to El Salvador late last year and later recovered.

It sounds like you shouldn’t be too afraid. But you should definitely be aware. For the latest info on the virus, go here.

Ten Tips To Help Your Child Learn To Love Reading

Article originally posted by Ellen Buikema (Practical strategies for life)

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  1. Sing, play, and talk with your child. Children love to hear your voice. It doesn’t matter if you sing on or off key. Interaction is what children crave.
  2. Read aloud to your child every day. Reading to your child is the next best thing to a hug. Bring books along to the dentist, doctor, or on other errands where there will be some wait time. Read to children as part of a bedtime ritual. Routines are reassuring.
  3. Have a variety of reading material that is easily available. Place books in baskets in different parts of the home, including in the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and TV areas. This allows children to choose books on their own and makes cleaning up after themselves easy. Consider putting together a backpack prefilled with books to grab and go for short or long distance travel.
  4. Read many types of books. Children love learning about their world, how things work, and all kinds of animals. Reading for information is important for childrens’ future. They love books with rhyme, silly words, and fairy tales. Start bringing your children to the library when they are young, and visit regularly.
  5. Pace the reading. Read with expression! Change the quality and volume of sound while reading to make listening to stories fun. Take your time, don’t rush. Stop now and then during reading time to let your child think about the story. Ask questions to encourage thinking.
  6. Repeat. Children enjoy reading favorite stories over and over again, even after they are able to repeat all the words by heart. Encourage them to read their favorite lines with you. Point to the words as you read them together. Talk about your child’s favorite characters in different contexts, like “What do you think The Cat in the Hat would do if he was in our kitchen right now?”
  7. Find words and letters everywhere. As early as age two, children may identify logos they see often at home and other places they travel. This important milestone is the beginning of the knowledge that print has meaning. Cereal boxes are great to use for finding letters and logos, as are menus, calendars and occupant mail. Take turns finding the same letter with your child. Write to do and grocery lists together. Have him make words with magnetic letters on the refrigerator.
  8. Help your child learn about letter sounds. Show her how to write her name. A child’s name is her first “stamp” on the world. Say the sounds of each letter as you print them. Sing an alphabet song and include the sounds of the letter in the song, for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BELlZKpi1Zs . Encourage your child to write but try not to correct him. Beginning writing should be playful.
  9. Limit tube time. Select TV programs with your child in advance. Watch TV and talk about the programs together. Monitor time on other electronic devices. Video games are good fun and many of them are educational, but balance is needed. Too much close work does not give the eyes enough exercise.
  10. Get involved with your child’s school. You are your child’s first and best advocate. Get to know your child’s teacher. Find out how you can support your child in her academic goals. If at all possible, volunteer time in the classroom. Work schedules make this difficult, but advance planning can help make this happen.

    You are your children’s first teacher. Reading to them is a great start in preparation for life in school and beyond.

    To find out more over this website: http://ellenbuikema.com/ten-tips-to-help-your-child-learn-to-love-reading/

Tourism: Step Into The Paradise Taste Of Tropical Fruits In Ghana

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Home sweet home: Joel Savage enjoys the sweet juicy water of fresh coconut.

The axiom, “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy” might have originally been conceived by a domestic idealist, who knows the truth. Working hard without a break can affect your health. The impact can take its toll on you.

This is the reason I decided to visit my mother at the age of 80, in Ghana, after five years. Seeing her grey hair, but strong and healthy, boosted my happiness. In my daily prayers I always ask God to give her long life, to enjoy her fruits of labour, and it seems He has answered my prayers.

My mother after losing her husband at the age of 44, in 1976, (The Writer Died) https://goo.gl/hLBqj4, left with eight children, without any support, took the responsibility alone to make sure that we were fed, clothed, accommodated and educated.

In Ghana, I visited many places including the Cape Coast castle, in the central region of Ghana and some villages, such as ‘Akatechiwa’ which has intriguing story leading to the village’s name. I will be sharing all the interesting articles pertaining my visit with you very soon on social media.

Apart from my adventure and exploration, I enjoyed the fresh tropical fruits, such as coconut, mango, sweet apple etc. Many in foreign countries, such as Europeans and Americans may have the experience of tasting juicy canned tropical fruits, but nothing compares to the original fresh taste of tropical fruits taken moments from the trees in Ghana or Africa generally.

Many Europeans and Americans yearly make a trip to Ghana to explore its ancient castles and forts and some have settled finally in the country, saying good bye to Europe and America. Don’t let the foreign media deceive you. Be part of those visiting Ghana.

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The Coconut tree: I know that there are thousands of readers interested in non-fiction genre of books, thus; one of my goals is to share my non-fiction books through diversity of culture. My utterly and compelling collections are destined to capture the reader’s attention and interest, to learn about other people’s culture and heritage.

My books are in the categories of travel, immigration, health and entertainment. The personal account of the stories reflect on the places I visited in Africa, such as Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Togo, Benin and Gambia. And in Europe, it’s about life in Barcelona, Spain, Aahus, Denmark, England, Amsterdam, Holland, Rome, Italy and Antwerp, Belgium.

The African stories act like a guide to European and Americans tourists. The books will teach you how to avoid being a victim to thieves, armed robbers and immigration crooks, that prey on nationals and foreigners, while the Europeans stories teach Africans how to survive in Europe, without papers and crime.