Floods in Europe: Prague and Dresden under water!

Europe is facing the worst floods in the last 10 years. Cities build on the course of the Elbe river have issued red codes of flooding, the German city of Dresden is dealing with powerful torrents of water.

Thousands of people have been evacuated and the army has secured the buildings with sandbags. The water levels have been at least 7 meters higher than the normal debit. Fascinated, people have gathered on bridges to watch the whirling waters of the river.

Many business owners in Dresden and Pirna have decided to close their shops given the flooding alert issued by the authorities. Museums and art galleries have moved its artifacts on a higher floor, as a precaution measure.

More than 8000 people from Pirna have been evacuated after just outside the city the river has burst its banks flooding the street of the 500-year-old buildings.

In Passau, Germany the water levels reached the highest level in the last 50 years. The streets were flooded on Monday, one would have to use a boat to move through the city – the rescue teams used boats to evacuate residents who have not left their homes – and electricity supply was shut down as a precaution. Even a prison had to be evacuated, 60 inmates were moved on higher ground in other security facilities.

elbe river dresden

Dresden, Germany. Photo credit MICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty Images

The Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers are still threatening the south and eastern German cities, the water debits are too high and are pouring in the German cities.

According to DPA, the German news agency, this is the worst case of flooding since 1501 when Passau recorded the highest water levels ever.

In the Czech Republic more than 7000 people have been evacuated after the levels of the Vltava River continued to rise. The streets of Prague, the famous historical city and capital of the Czech Republic, have been flooded on Monday morning and the city’s central sewage treatment plant was shut down to prevent its damage by the flooding.

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Passau, Germany. foto credit: AP/Matthias Schrader

Animals from the zoo were moved to safer places and the Prague‘s subway was closed. Popular places at the foot of Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge were closed, authorities leaving nothing in the hands of faith.

 

In Upper Austria, in the city of Grein a small city build along the Danube River the dam is still holding but the water levels continue to rise. Many houses built at 15 meters from the dam have been flooded.

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Dam in Grein, Upper Austria. Foto credit: https://www.facebook.com/Austria24TV

 

Nyiragongo volcano in Congo can erupt any day now!

There are only 3 active volcanoes which have a permanent lava lake. One of them is Mount Nyiragongo in the Virunga Mountains from Congo, near the city of Goma. The last time this volcano has erupted was 11 years ago when hundreds of people lost their lives. The sad part is that history could very well be repeating itself.

Eastern Congo, where Mount Nyiragongo is located, is dealing with an armed conflict which is preventing scientists to analyze the volcano and predict when it will erupt. Nyiragongo is boiling, the city is full of ash and steam. Meanwhile the 1 million people living in Goma have no clue when this volcano will sprawl its hot lava across the city. One can see solidified lava on the streets of Goma.

Who is preventing the scientists to monitor the volcano activity?

According to Reuters, the M23 rebel group is controlling the lush and forested slopes in the last 12 months. Many expensive observation equipment has been stolen by the armed rebels and no scientist dares to fight off the rebels who are defending their strategic positions overlooking Goma.

Basically the people of the city are in danger because rebels are trying to control the city by not allowing any scientist to monitor the active volcano. It is just a matter of time before Nyiragongo will erupt.

In 2002 when the volcano last erupted the streets were filled with lava, many molted rocks are still visible on the streets of Goma, some as high as cars. The town was built on a subterranean lava bed which is 1 km deep. The area – Albertine rift – is one of the most active areas on Earth.

There aren’t enough data about the timeline of this volcano but according to researchers from 1882 Mount Nyiragongo has erupted at least 34 times, including many periods where activity was continuous for years at a time, often in the form of a churning lava lake in the crater.

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photo credit: Cai Tjeenk Willink / Wikipedia

Symbol of the Occupy Gezi – The Woman in Red

On May 27 many Turkish young people got together in Gezi Park and peacefully protested against the Government’s decision to level up the park and make room for another shopping mall. The Occupy Gezi movement had just started! On May 28 things got out of control when the police arrived. Although protesters were peaceful and even greeted the police with traditional pastries, the authorities used pepper spray guns and water guns to put an end to the protest.

After Osman Orsal, Reuters photographer, captured a woman in a red dress being pepper sprayed by a police officer, she became the symbol for freedom and peaceful protesting in Turkey. The photo was one of the first images one would find online when searched for `occupy gezi`. The woman in red is the symbol of the burgeoning anti-government movement.

occupy gezi woman in red pepper spray

photo by Osman Orsal, Reuters

The woman’s name is Ceyda Sungur and is an academic, according to Turkish media outlets.

Orsal’s photograph became an inspiration for Turkish artists who dedicated many drawings to Ceyda, making a statement about freedom of speech and the right to peacefully protest against the government.

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drawing made by ozan akbaba

Sadly the Occupy Gezi movement doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. The Prime Minister Erdogan has issued a statement saying that social media channels are undermining the government and that Twitter is forbidden in Turkey. Turkish people are outraged by the government’s violent reaction to the peaceful protests. These people want to save a public park and they want to use their right to protest in a peaceful manner. They want to know the government is listening, that the people still has a voice.

Victims of the occupy Gezi movement!

The victims toll rise, according to recent data from the Turkish Medical Association. On June 4th there were 4177 persons injured and treated, 2 dead and 43 have suffered severe injures, 3 people are in critical conditions,15 people suffered from severe head traumas and 10 people have lost one or both of their eyes. In 12 cities the police has injured people.

An interesting fact: the Turkish Airlines staff have joined the protesters, striking in a funny safety briefing. A couple of months ago the Turkish Airlines, pushed by the government banned the red lipstick for air hostesses. Watch their protest:

 

 

Game of Thrones – The Starks are gone!

Fans of Game of Thrones – those who have not read the books written by George R.R. Martin – were taken by surprise with the Red Wedding gruesome scene. The horror scene showed how the True King of the North Robb Stark and his pregnant bride Talisa were brutally murdered during the wedding of his uncle. Catelyn Stark‘s neck was slit and once again the youngest daughter came to acknowledge the death of her last parent the eldest members of her family. The trap was orchestrated by the Lannisters with the help of  traitors.

Even George R.R. Martin confessed he had a hard time in writing this particular part of the story and the actors confessed it was a hard scene to walk away from. Richard Madden who played Robb Stark told AccessHollywood.com that he cried the whole way to London after his character was killed.

The season finale – which will be aired on Sunday, June 9 – will be more violent than the Red Wedding episode? Is there a chance for the Stark family to survive this journey in the Seven Kingdoms? Will the Lannisters get a firmer grip on the Iron Throne? Will Jeoffrey be the next king whose head will fall? What will Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons, do after she will cross the sea to Westeros?

You can watch it below:

`Game of Thrones` was never a show for the weak souls or for children. There was always blood, plenty of sex scenes and genitals in plain sight. Despite all of this the show has become so popular that some are starting to question the values young people learn from it. Especially now since the rating show that more than 5.5 million people watched the ruthless tactics for power in The Seven Kingdoms. Is it moral to slay a pregnant woman or young children who were true heirs to the throne? Of course not! Is violence the answer to various types of problems? Of course not!

Then why are we even asking this? Because there are people, religious people, who feel that Game of Thrones has lost its moral vision, its moral path it should have. Christians are debating whether people should watch GoT at all because the show depicts how the world would look like if Christ had never been born. Even more, Game of Thrones shows how this world would look like if Christianity were to disappear the day after tomorrow.

Indeed, some scenes are gory and grim but comparing these with what our world can become if we stop caring about it, this show could serve to shake us from the torpor.

Do you watch Game of Thrones? What are your thoughts about the last episode?

Turkish revolution – Occupy Gezi!

Things are getting out of control in Turkey. Last year Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a shocking announcement for the Turkish people: the Gezi Park, a public place where many families spent their free time, would be leveled to make room for yet another mall. The park would be turned into a reconstruction of the Halil Pasa Artillery barracks (these barracks were build more than 200 years ago, under Sultan Selim III)  which would be nothing more than another fancy shopping mall.

The park is not particularly famous for its landscaping but it is a place where you can still  find some peace and quiet among the 600 trees, many of them 100 years old. The Gezi Park is in the center of Instanbul, just north of Taksim Square, and there are numerous other shopping malls throughout the city.

On May 28th, when the bulldozers and the machines were about to enter the park to demolish it (and it’s 600 trees!) many Turkish peope got together and stood in front of the machines, peacefully protesting. They put up tents and stayed overnight under the trees. These people did nothing other than standing up against the machines, they had no weapons of some sort to start a conflict.

From a peaceful protest to a bloody war zone!

Then the police arrived! The peaceful form of protest turned into a war with barricades, plastic bullets, gas attacks and water guns. Several people were badly injured and, sadly, some lost their lives. The police killed two young people standing in front of the tanks by running them over.

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On Friday morning the police raided the protesters with tear gas and water guns. Twelve people were injured and suffered head traumas and respiratory injuries. Read here about the victims!

People from all over Turkey came to the park, many crossed the Bosporus Bridge on foot to show their support. And what is the state media doing in the meanwhile? Airing the Miss Turkey beauty pageant and other irrelevant news.

The social media channels are filled with photos from Gezi Park depicting hundreds of people hurt, bloody heads and on the tumblr blog dedicated to Occupy Gezi movement you can see a footage of a young man being shot in the head by the police.

On the #occupygezi stream on Twitter you can read messages like:

@BenjaminHarvey@IvanCNN This is NOT a protest against the president Erdogan or AKP. This is about HUMAN RIGHTS.
And on Facebook this message sums the event:

The turkish government wants to tear the only park in Istanbul city center down to build a shopping mall and they are doing it ILLEGALLY. So we started to stand guard in the park with out guitars and songs. They are literally trying to kill us here, for defending the only park.

Why did the #occypygezi movement turned into a bloody war?

People are trying to defend the last green space of Istanbul, a city famous for its touristic and commercial buildings. The park has become the last symbol of free speech in Turkey, a country led by a government that controls every aspect of one’s life.

The demolition of the Gezi park is a violation of human rights and corruption, according to the protesters.

What happened in Turkey?

The Turkish state has issued a number of regulations regarding the private lives of its civilians, regulations about abortion, cesarean birth – in May Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that abortion was murder and that he was against C-section births. Shortly after that, the elective cesarean section became punishable by law, doctors who persuade women to have a C-sections are threatened with huge fines. According to the Prime Minister, the C-section is deemed unnecessary.

Turkey is famous for being a moderate Islamic country, being a culture tolerant to differences. Many people wrote online that after the new government came to rule the country, good and honest journalists were thrown in jail, the army was dispersed and the political leaders of the country single handled many changes on the constitutions in order to serve their purpose by taking away many human rights from the people.

You can read more about the Gezi riots on AlJazeera

The Story of Chinese Baby 59!

Baby 59 is the name of the newborn found in a sewer pipe in Pujiang county, China. 59 is the number of the incubator where he was held in stable condition. He was found on May 25, the day of his birth, in a sewer pipe where his mother, a 22-year old Chinese woman from Zhejiang, delivered him. She hid the existence of the pregnancy and of the baby. She had hunched over a squat toilet and gave birth to the baby. The newborn got stuck into a channel 4 inch wide.

According to Times.com the new mother even used a mop to try to dislodge the baby who got stuck and this is what saved his life in the end. The woman panicked and she then called for help, saying that something was wrong with the toilet.

Baby 59 weighed 6,2 lb. (that’s 2.8 kg, a good weight for a full term baby) and because he was wedged in that sewer pipe, the workers had to cut off the whole section of the pipe and then rushed it to the hospital where the newborn was released and treated. He had some bruises and a scraped knee but otherwise, he was healthy given the conditions.

The news of a baby being dumped in a sewer pipe spiked anger among the Chinese online communities. Users used social networks to judge the woman who was capable of such a horrible act and in many messages posted on Weibo (the Chinese version of Twitter) was tried and found guilty. It seems that the father of the baby refused to acknowledge the woman’s pregnancy and made her to try to dispose of the baby in such a dreadful way.

Baby 59 was released from the hospital today and was returned to his mother after the Chinese authorities concluded that the baby was trapped in the sewer pipe because of an accident. It seems that she was too frightened to come clean and admit that she had given birth to the baby trapped in the sewer but after the event she had a gradually change of heart and confessed.

The mother took the baby along with a man who is believed to be the father who initially refused to acknowledge the pregnancy.

If the baby is indeed his – he took a paternity test – the child will be well provided for by the man, said an official at the Pujiang county propaganda office.

This case shows the lack of proper sex and pregnancy education in public schools. After the Communist Chinese Government issued the „One child per family” policy, many pregnant woman aborted their babies if the fetuses proved to be girls. In China the gender imbalance between boys and girls reached 117 to 100 in 2012, according to state newswire Xinhua.

baby-59-sewer-pipe

image credit: AP / foxnews

 

Czech’s First Naturally Conceived Quintuplets

One in several millions! The odds of conceiving quintuplets without using IVF. But in the Czech Republic the odds were in favor of Alexandra Kinova, a 23 years old mom to be. In March she found out she was pregnant with 5 babies. The doctors at the Institute for the Care of Mother and Child in Prague gave her she news after they heard the beating hearts of 4 babies growing in Alexandra’s belly. The biggest surprise came last month when the doctors announced that Alexandra was having not 4 babies, but 5. This makes her the first Czech woman to have naturally conceived quintuplets.

Alexandra will give birth by C-section on Sunday. Ms. Kinova has another child, a boy and both she and her husband have a family history of twins.

Although five babies in one pregnancy is a difficult job for anyone, Alexandra plans on breastfeeding her babies until they will be able to eat diverse food. According to denik.cz the news of quintuplets came as a shock to her and that „I started to cry” when the doctors announced they found the fifth baby.

Except for the first four months of morning sickness, Alexandra’s pregnancy was normal and despite the huge abdomen, she is able to sleep and breathe well. 

As for the babies health, the doctors in Prague have given Alexandra some drugs to speed up the development of the lungs but until they are born, nobody knows how healthy they are. Given the fact that there are 5 babies, the pregnancy cannot be delivered to full term and like most early born babies, the main problems are with the lungs which are developing in the last trimester. 

Did you know that twins occur in 100 births, while triplets are one in every 7000-10.000 births? Remember OctoMom?

image credit: AP/The DailyMail

alexandra-kinova-quintuplets

 

The Wolverine – Coming July 2013!

Eternity can be a curse!

The Wolverine is based on the comic book arc depicts the adventures of Wolverine, the immortal character of the X-Men. The fighter finds himself in modern day Japan where he is promised that he shall escape his eternity and become mortal again. Wolverine will be forever changed.

He finds himself vulnerable for the first time, he pushes his limits and fights a huge samurai made of steel. His physical and emotional power are pushed beyond limits.

Out on the big screen on July 26!

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Rila Fukushima, Tao Okamoto, Brian Tee, Will Yun Lee, and Hal Yamanouchi.

Directed by James Mangold.

Here is the movie trailer:

 

The Age of the Working Moms

According to the Pew Research Center analysis of data, more than 40% of all households with children are supported by working mothers. The household include children under the age of 18 and mothers are sole or primary source of income for the entire family. As a comparison, in 1960 only 11% of the US households were supported by working moms.

We now live in The Age of the Working moms, where women with children are the breadwinner adults of the house. The research shows that there are two groups divided: 37%   (5.1 million)working moms are married and have a higher income than their spouses and 63% (8.6 million) are single moms.

Of course there’s an income gab between the two groups, the average married working mom is earning as much as 4 times more than a single mom. Also, married moms are more educated, with at least a college degree, older and white while single mothers are younger, most likely to be black or Hispanic and less likely to have a college degree.

Between family and job

The research also suggests that the high percent of working moms is related to the women’s increasing presence in the working field. According to data compiled by Kim Parker and Wendy Wang in march earlier this year (read it here, very interesting!), women make up 47% of the entire U.S labor force today. It is interesting to notice that more than 65% of the 2011′s population of married moms were working, while in 1968 only 37% of married moms were earning a paycheck.

After the recession hit the U.S more than 32% of the working moms said they would work full time and less women said they would not work at all (20%).

What about the effects on the family? More adults are saying that moms job has had its toll on the family and especially on the children. It is hard to find a balance between family time and a stressful job, especially when that job is the sole income of the household. Indeed, a good job would make it easier to live in an unstable economic climate, but what about family and children?

The solution is not going back to the 60′s when the man was the main breadwinner of the house. The solution would be finding a balance between working long hours and spending time with your family.

Single working moms

For  78% of Republicans the issue of a single working mom is a huge problem,  while 51% of Democrats and 65% of independent voters  feel the same way.

5 movies coming up in the summer of 2013!

Most movie production companies release blockbusters during summer time, sometime before the 4th of July weekend because most Americans go to the cinema theater then. I mean, what can you do on a hot summer day if you have no money for a trip? You go to a movie, of course!

Here are my top 10 movies coming soon on the big screen:

1. After Earth – 31 may.

after-earth-will-smithFeatures Will Smith as General Cypher Raige, Jaden Smith as Kitai Raige, Zoe Kravitz as Senshi Raige and Sophie Okonedo as Faia Raige.  Directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

It’s about the space travel adventures of a father and son who crash on a desolate planet. It’s Earth from the future, 1000 years in the future.

Humankind was forced to abandon the planet and was now living on Nova Prime, Earth being a very hostile land for any human life.

The son will have to be brave and be the type of soldier his dad would be proud of, saving both of their life and making sure they return to their planet.

 

 

 

2. The Internship – June 7

Comedy featuring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. The two funny actors are playing the roles of two old salesman whose careers have been destroyed by the online world. They are trying to fight back and decide to take on an internship at the giant Google, along with many other brilliant college students.

Directed by Shawn Levy for  20th Century Fox.

 

3. Man of Steel – June 14th

The production company, Warner Bros. Pictures has recentely released the 7th domestic TV spot for Man of Steel. The blockbuster is directed by Zack Snyder.

The action movie features Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Christopher Meloni, Russell Crowe, Michael Kelly, Harry Lennix and Richard Schiff.

Here’s the first trailer:

 4. Hammer of the Gods – July 5

Directed by Farren Blackburn, features Charlie Bewley, Elliot Cowan, Clive Standen, Guy Flanagan, Michael Jibson.

The story takes place in Viking Britain in 871 AD, a world dominated by violence and blood. Steinar (played by Charlie Bewley) is a young viking who must find his estranged brother who was banished from the kingdom. This quest is the kings command, his own father. The world outside the kingdom is harsh and ruthless and Steinar must fight in order to survive.

Check out the trailer on the official Facebook page!

5. Red 2 – July 19

Featuring Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung Hun Lee, Brian Cox, Neal McDonough. A Lionsgate production.

Red 2 is the sequel of Red, where retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses reunites with his team for a worldwide quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device. This takes the team of elite operatives in missions that take place in Paris, London and Moscow.

Here’s the trailer: