Olympic protest runner finally rewarded

An Ethiopian runner who brought the world’s attention to a wave of protests in Ethiopia at the Rio Olympics has been rewarded by his government.

Feyisa Lilesa, who received $17,000 (£13,000), said his struggle had paid off given new freedoms in Ethiopia.

The athlete had held up his crossed wrists as if they were shackled as he took marathon silver in 2016 in protest at the treatment of demonstrators.

He had remained in exile for two years, saying his life might be in danger.

But sweeping reforms implemented by Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy, who came to office a year ago, encouraged Feyisa to return home last October.

Mass demonstrations by members of the Oromo community – Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group – had precipitated the resignation of his predecessor.

‘Hero’ digs road by hand for villagers

If you want something done, sometimes you have to do it yourself.

A man in Kenya has told the BBC he decided to dig a road by hand through thick bush to nearby shops to spare the suffering of his fellow villagers.

Using a hoe, spade and axe, Nicholas Muchami has so far cleared an entire mile in six days – and has a short way to go to complete the road.

It is on land officially earmarked for it, but attempts to get local leaders to build it have failed, he says.

He has been praised as a local hero for his efforts for Kaganda village.

Residents of the village in Muranga County, which is 80km north of the capital, Nairobi, had been using a longer 4km route to get to the shopping center.

The BBC’s Peter Mwai in Kenya says villagers had been upset because a shortcut to the shops, via a footpath passing through private land, had recently been fenced off .

This prompted Mr Muchami to take action.

“I have a lot of energy in me. I decided to volunteer,” he told the BBC.

He said he had worked from 07:00 to 17:00 local time last Monday to Saturday as he wanted to complete the road before the onset of the rains.

People were incredulous that Mr Muchami, who usually earns his living doing odd jobs during the day and as a guard at night, had volunteered for the job.

“When I was working on the road, people would ask me, ‘Are you being paid’?” he said.

Even though half a kilometer of the road still needs to be finished, locals, including pupils attending the nearby primary and secondary schools, have been using the section he has cleared.

“Now it has made people happy, and I am happy too. My work has helped people of all kinds,” the 45-year-old said.

He plans to continue digging the remaining part, even though other villagers have refused to help him because no-one is willing to work without pay, he said.

His story was first highlighted on Facebook by Kinyungu Micheke, who praised Mr Muchami’s persistence after the dismissive response of the local government when he had asked them for help.

Does drinking milk make stronger bones?

If you drink milk to keep your bones strong, there’s good logic in it. Milk and dairy products are concentrated calcium sources, and we know calcium fortifies bones and prevents osteoporosis.

However, a recent study suggests that while some milk may be good, more is not better. In fact, too much milk may be bad for your health.

The study, conducted with over 60,000 women (age 39-74) and 45,000 men (age 45-79) found that too much milk – three or more glasses a day – was not only associated with mortality but also an increased risk of fracture and hip fracture. Researchers found this surprising association after following the men and women in this study for 22 and 13 years respectively. Over this time, study participants completed questionnaires about their milk-drinking habits.

After adjusting for a other variables, they found that women who reported drinking three or more glasses of milk each day nearly doubled their risk of death in relation to women who drank less than one glass each day. Men were not as affected as women, but those who drank three or more glasses of milk each day still showed a significant increase in mortality.

Interpreting the results

Does this mean you shouldn’t drink milk? Don’t go shunning the jug just yet.

There are details to consider in understanding these study results, experts say. While milk and dairy are among the most calcium-rich foods you can eat, there are other substances in milk that may warrant some moderation.

The authors note that D-galactose, found in milk, has been shown to induce oxidative stress damage and chronic inflammation in animals, and such changes have been associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer, bone loss, and muscle loss in humans. They also caution that their findings “merit independent replication before they can be used for dietary recommendations.”

Gail Cresci, PhD, RD, a Cleveland Clinic researcher and dietitian , did not participate in the study but she agrees with the authors’ assessment. She says while the study raises interesting questions, there is not strong enough evidence to warrant a restriction on milk.

The role of vitamin D

She says there are some unanswered questions about the study participants – and whether or not they were lacking in vitamin D.

“Questions about vitamin D stood out to me right away. Calcium is linked with bone health, but vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and maintains adequate blood levels of calcium and phosphate to allow for normal bone mineralization.” Without enough vitamin D bones can become thin and brittle and the formation of strong new bone can be prevented. Vitamin D protects older adults against osteoporosis.

Dr. Cresci says it’s unclear whether or not the milk in the study, conducted in Sweden, was fortified with vitamin D or if a lack of sunlight in that part of the world could have contributed to a vitamin D deficiency.

“Additionally, as the authors point out, they cannot determine if people were taking higher amounts of milk because they were at risk or had osteoporosis and therefore higher risk for fractures anyway,” she says. Her advice? Try to consume 1200 mg of calcium and 600-800 IU of vitamin D daily, especially in winter months. 

Dietary sources of calcium

While milk contains 300 mg of calcium/cup, there are many other good dietary sources including cheese, yogurt, greens (collards, kale), soy beans, figs, broccoli, oranges, sardines and salmon (with bones) and many fortified foods.

“If you want to drink milk for strong bones, I recommend no more than one glass a day. Do this in addition to a mixed diet rich in calcium. If you are unable to consume adequate amounts in your diet, consider supplementation, especially in the winter months,” Dr. Cresci says.

Military gets new respect with World aid

SENDAI, Japan — Just one year after tensions over American military bases forced out a prime minister, a U.S. relief mission after the earthquake and tsunami is remaking Japanese opinions.

Roughly 20,000 U.S. troops have been mobilized in “Operation Tomodachi,” or “Friend.” It is the biggest bilateral humanitarian mission the U.S. has conducted in Japan, its most important ally in Asia.

As logistics gradually improve, U.S. troops have been moving farther into hard-hit zones and providing tons of relief supplies and badly needed manpower to help the hundreds of thousands of Japanese whose lives were shattered in the March 11 disaster.

In a part of Japan that hosts few U.S. bases, the Americans in uniform are a high-profile presence.

“To be honest, I didn’t think much about the U.S. troops until now,” said Arika Ota, 29, who works at an amusement center in the coastal city of Sendai. “But when I see them working at the airport every day, I’m really thankful. They are working really hard. I never imagined they could help us so much.”

The Sendai airport cleanup is one of the troops’ most visible — and successful — operations so far.

Sendai is the biggest city in the region hit by the tsunami and its airport was utterly destroyed. The grounds and runways were covered in mud, rubble and more than 1,000 vehicles that were tossed about by the sea. The first floor of the terminal building was caked in sandy sludge, its windows were shattered by the tsunami and its shops were a jumble of garbage and broken souvenirs.

Now, the runways are clear enough to handle large cargo planes, the tossed-about cars have been placed in rows and the second floor houses a command center.

Capt. Robert Gerbract, who is in charge of the U.S. Marines’ cleanup operations, said that when he arrived last week he felt like he had stepped back in time.

“It looked like if you had left an airport alone for 1,000 years. It was like an archaeological site. It was hard to figure out where to begin,” Gerbract, an Iraq veteran from Wantaugh, N.Y., said as he looked out at the runway from the Marines’ makeshift command center in the airport’s departure lounge.Video: In Japan, radiation level in sea water raises fears (on this page)

For Marines like Gerbract, it’s a satisfying assignment.

“I’d much rather be carrying relief food packages than a rifle, to be honest,” he said.

The Marines are just one facet of the U.S. operation.

  • Within days of the tsunami, the USS Ronald Reagan was stationed about 100 miles off Japan’s northeastern shore. It had to reposition itself due to radiation from the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility but is now sending sorties to hard-hit towns. The U.S. Navy has 19 ships, 140 aircraft and 18,282 personnel assigned to assist in the operation. It is sending barges filled with freshwater to help cool the reactor site.
  • The Air Force has opened its bases for relief flights. Its transport planes have flown dozens of missions and its fighters have flown over the devastation in search of survivors. Two of its aircraft have helped the Japanese monitor the nuclear plant.
  • Nearly 500 soldiers with the U.S. Army in Japan, which has fewer troops here than the other branches, have delivered blankets and other supplies and are conducting support and refueling for military helicopter operations.

The U.S. forces stress that they are not taking a lead role. That is being done by Japan itself, which has mobilized more of its troops than at anytime since World War II.

“What we’re doing is coordination with the Japanese army,” said Gunnery Sgt. Leo Salinas, of Dallas, Texas. “Every mission we do is a bilateral mission. They are all Japanese-led and under Japanese initiative. These guys are our allies and, more than that, they are our friends. Whatever they want us to do, we will do.”

The Japanese public is very pro-America and generally sees the military presence as a benefit.

But the relationship is complicated by a strong pacifist undercurrent in public opinion borne from World War II. Japan’s own military is strictly limited to national self-defense and many Japanese feel the U.S. presence here could make their country a target or draw Japan into a conflict involving American troops over Taiwan or other flash points.

New Year: cleaning up after the world’s largest human gathering

MIDTOWN MANHATTAN (WABC) — After revelers headed home from the big New Year’s Eve bash, an army of sanitation employees moved in to clean up Times Square.

The New York City sanitation department says it had 300 people at work overnight, removing an estimated 56 tons of debris.

Workers were also taking down the stages, lights and cameras set up for the event.

Some streets remained closed Tuesday morning to allow the crews to continue their work.

“New Year’s Eve in New York City brings not only millions of people to the Times Square area, but also tons of debris,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “Thanks to a small army of Sanitation employees, every last piece of confetti will be quickly cleared away.”

The cleanup crews used 52 collection trucks, 30 mechanical brooms,12 rack trucks, 5 haulsters, 58 back pack blowers, and 58 hand brooms, the sanitation department said.

Throngs of soggy revelers greeted 2019 after a rainy night in Times Square.

Many of the people in the crowd spent nearly half the day in chilly rain waiting for the ball drop.

This the world’s most eco-friendly Fruits

Food and climate change are linked in complicated ways. The global food industry requires an enormous amount of energy to cultivate, transport, store, prepare, and serve foods. This leads to lots of greenhouse gases, and, in the process, soils, rivers, oceans, forests, and more, are often degraded and destroyed.

Climate change, meanwhile, creates its own vicious cycles of activity — environmentally vulnerable countries are often the most food insecure. So as climate change increases, their agricultural potential often declines. Yet these countries need food and, subsequently, their reliance on the complicated logistics of food aid increases. Improving their adaptability and resilience is a critical part of any global food discussion.

Read More: Don’t Buy These 6 Foods If You Care About Humanity

But not all foods are created (transported, stored, prepared, and served) equally. Some foods have a really big impact on the environment and others don’t. A lot of factors influence ecological impact, and, if looked at holistically, it’s possible to develop a diet that is more eco-friendly.

Meat has the biggest environmental impact out of all food types, especially beef. But, like all foods, the full picture is complicated. There are a few overlooked environmental benefits to raising livestock when done in a limited way. Livestock’s waste can be used as fertilizer that can help grow crops (reducing the need for chemical fertilizer). Most livestock feed is made up of waste products like spent grain, so raising livestock can create extra calories for humans to consume that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.

But these benefits come with a major caveat: moderation. Eating meat on a daily basis can never be sustainable.

Read More: 7 (Gross) Foods That You’ll Be Eating in the Future

Almost all foods come with caveats of some kind, but there are clear choices that will make your diet more eco-friendly.

Here are some of the best foods to add to your diet.