Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used his annual United Nations address on Thursday to launch an all-out assault on the historic nuclear deal with Iran, warning that his country would never let the Islamic Republic join the atomic weapons club.


Speaking at the yearly gathering of world leaders at the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu reiterated Israeli criticism of a deal between Iran and major world powers aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program.

He said that, once international sanctions are lifted, “unleashed and unmuzzled, Iran will go on the prowl.”

Israel, Netanyahu said, would never allow Iran “to break in, to sneak in, or to walk into the nuclear weapons club.”

Israel, which experts and diplomats say has the only nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, has repeatedly warned it is prepared to use military force to prevent Iran from acquiring atomic weapons. Tehran denies wanting nuclear arms and insists its nuclear program is peaceful.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration has vigorously defended the July 14 nuclear agreement with Iran against criticism from Republicans in Congress, who tried unsuccessfully to kill the deal, and Israel, describing it as the best way to avoid a new war in the Middle East.

Obama’s already strained relations with Netanyahu deteriorated further in the months before the July nuclear deal because of the Israeli leader’s forceful campaign against it.

During Netanyahu’s speech, Washington was represented by U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power’s deputy, David Pressman, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro. Power and Secretary of State John Kerry are both in New York, but Power’s spokeswoman, Hagar Chemali, said they had to join a video conference call with Obama that ended up coinciding with the Israeli speech.

Netanyahu pulled no punches. “We see a world celebrating this bad deal, rushing to embrace and do business with a regime openly committed to our destruction,” he said.

The Israeli leader held up a copy of the latest book by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that he said was a “400-page screed detailing his plan to destroy the state of Israel.”

Diplomatic sources have said that Israel and Iran’s regional rival, Saudi Arabia, have been discussing how to respond to the nuclear deal and their fear that the lifting of sanctions, expected in the coming months, will embolden Iran to pursue a more aggressive foreign policy in the Middle East.

Without naming countries, Netanyahu said Israel was in touch with Arab states about Iran.

“Israel is working closely with our Arab peace partners to address our common security challenges from Iran and also the security challenges from ISIL (Islamic State) and others,” he said.

Most of Netanyahu’s 43-minute speech was focused on the threat posed by Iran. But toward the end, he responded to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ U.N. speech on Wednesday, in which Abbas said recent Israeli security actions at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem could ignite a religious war.

Netanyahu told the General Assembly that Abbas should stop “spreading lies about Israel’s alleged intentions on the Temple Mount,” and return to direct negotiations to secure peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

“Temple Mount,” where Al-Aqsa is located, is the Israeli term for the location. It is one of the holiest sites in Islam and Judaism.

Abbas had accused Israel of undermining U.S. attempts at brokering peace, though Netanyahu placed the blame on the Palestinians.

Netanyahu also accused the General Assembly and the U.N. system as a whole of engaging in incessant, unjustified “Israel-bashing.” Twice during his speech – once at the beginning and again in the middle – he silently stared at the 193-nation General Assembly with an angry look on his face.

His second staredown with the General Assembly lasted for 45 seconds, coming after Netanyahu accused the assembly of maintaining “deafening silence” in the face of Iranian threats to destroy Israel.

The prime minister also made clear that Israel would continue to use military force to repel attacks from Syria and to prevent the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which is fighting in Syria alongside government forces, from acquiring key weapons.

“Israel will continue to respond forcefully to any attacks against it from Syria,” Netanyahu said, adding that it would also “prevent the transfer of strategic weapons to Hezbollah from and through Syrian territory.”


(Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi, Michelle Nichols and David Brunnstrom; Writing by Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Grant McCool)

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Eight years ago England bounced back from a 36-0 pool stage humiliation by South Africa to stun Australia in the quarter-finals while in 2012 it was a tough November series that had the doubters wondering about the wisdom of appointing Lancaster.


Less than a year into the post, his fledgling England side had beaten Fiji well but lost to Australia and South Africa — for the third time in five months — and faced an All Blacks team on a roll.

Steve Hansen’s side had won 12 and drawn one of their games since winning the World Cup and had just hammered Scotland, Italy and Wales, averaging 42 points a game.

England, however, delivered one of their finest performances in recent years as, in front of a disbelieving Twickenham crowd, they ran the All Blacks ragged in a 38-21 victory, their biggest ever win over them and still their only one in 15 attempts since 2003.

“It’s a huge game and we respect the quality of the team we a are playing but we have beaten them in the last two games,” Lancaster said on Thursday of the Pool A fixture England almost certainly need to win to stay in the tournament.

“It reminds me of after we’d played South Africa back in 2012. We got some criticism there but the following week we came out and beat New Zealand.

“It was a similar scenario then when the All Blacks came into town and that’s the feeling we’ve got here this week.

“The immediate over-riding message (after last week’s Wales defeat) was to ‘get up and get on with it’. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. The boys responded brilliantly to the review and by Monday evening they were ready to play.

“There are a lot of things to play out over the next two weeks.”

One of those could well be Lancaster’s long-term future. His initial contract was extended to the 2020 World Cup a year ago but should he become the first coach to fail to get England out of the pool phase, there is a strong possibility that he might walk away.

Lancaster, who has often spoken about how he is also building towards the 2019 World Cup in Japan, was reluctant to discuss anything beyond Saturday.

“You can’t spend your time thinking about or the future — you just have to nail down what’s needed to win this game,” he said.

“It’s a must-win game, the stakes are huge and there’s no hiding away from where the accountability lies.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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Jayashri Kulkarni, Monash University

“It’s that time of the month – stay away from her!”

The process of shedding the uterine lining with vaginal bleeding every month has an obvious reproductive focus, but it has also long been linked with changes to mood and behaviour.


Unfortunately, this has often been an attempt to consign women to a “biologically” determined place of inferior mental functioning.

In recent times, we have learnt more about the connections between the “reproductive” or gonadal hormones and the brain, and how they affect not only women but men as well.

Gonadal hormones (oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone) are produced by the gonads (the ovaries and testes) in response to other precursor hormones found in the pituitary gland and other brain areas. These gonadal hormones impact brain chemistry and circuitry, and hence influence emotions, mood and behaviour.

Women’s hormones

Oestrogen appears to be a “protective” agent in the brain. This may in part explain why some women feel worse, in terms of their mental state, in the low-oestrogen phase of their monthly cycle.


A ‘classic’ 28 day cycle – though many women have shorter or longer cycles. Tefi/Shutterstock


Oestrogen appears to have direct impacts on dopamine and serotonin, the key brain chemicals associated with the development of depression and psychosis. In fact, animal and clinical studies show that administering oestradiol (the most potent form of oestrogen) can improve symptoms of psychosis and depression.

The concept of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) has its believers and non-believers. But essentially, there is a group of women who experience significant mental and physical symptoms in the low-oestrogen phase of their cycle every month.

Then there are women with crushing depression once per month that is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD is a serious, real depression that can rob a woman of her functioning every month. The tricky part is that it’s not always exactly the week before bleeding, nor does it last exactly a week since many women do not have the “classic” 28-day cycle with ovulation at day 14, and bleeding for five days. If life were that simple!

The impact of gonadal hormones on mood is apparent at many other life stages. Around puberty, a time of major hormonal change, many girls experience various mood swings and other changes in mental health. Some women who take certain types of the combined oral contraceptive experience depressive symptoms with irritability, loss of enjoyment and even suicidal thoughts.

Postnatal depression and psychosis are key mental illnesses related to childbirth and have a major hormonal component to the onset and course of illness. This is thought to be triggered by the sudden, rapid drop in the high levels of pregnancy hormones shortly after birth.

During the transition to menopause, women experience major hormonal shifts. At this time, they are 14 times more likely than usual to experience depression. This is known as perimenopausal depression. It affects women differently than other types of depression, causing anger, irritability, poor concentration, memory difficulties, low self-esteem, poor sleep and weight gain.


Hormones can influence our moods at different stages of life Martin Novak/杭州桑拿,shutterstock杭州桑拿会所,


Perimenopausal depression isn’t well recognised and is often poorly treated with standard antidepressant therapies. Women with this type of depression generally respond better to hormone treatments, but the link between depression and hormones is not often made.

It’s also important to note that trauma and violence can lead to chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, causing significant mental ill health at any time in a woman’s life. High cortisol levels have huge impacts on many brain regions, resulting in rage, suicidal thoughts, obesity and infertility.

There is a great deal of variation in the effects of hormone shifts on mood and behaviour. Some women are very sensitive to small shifts in gonadal hormones; others are not.

Men’s hormones

Recent research investigating cognition in men suggests that, just like in women, gonadal hormones influence mood and behaviour. In particular, low levels of testosterone can lead to an age-related condition called andropause.

Andropause is sometimes described as the “male menopause”. This is not strictly accurate since unlike female fertility, male fertility does not end abruptly with a fixed hormone decline. Andropause is caused by a significant decline in testosterone levels to below the normal range for young men. This can result in erectile problems, diminished libido, decreased muscle strength and decreased bone mass.

To complicate matters, testosterone is converted to oestradiol (the most potent form of oestrogen) in men. Altered testosterone/oestradiol ratios can cause problems with memory function, depression, irritability, sleep, fatigue and occasionally even hot flushes.

There is controversy about how much of these changes are a normal part of ageing. Many other factors such as obesity, diabetes and excessive alcohol consumption can also cause low testosterone levels. So andropause should not be viewed as a disease, but as a clinical syndrome with a great deal of variability.


Testosterone levels reduce with age. carballo/Shutterstock


In some men, testosterone-replacement has been used successfully to treat andropause. But this needs to be done under strict medical supervision because of the many potential side effects including prostate problems, elevated cholesterol and increased rage.

A great deal more research is required in both men and women on the role of gonadal hormones and mental health. But the era of splitting the mind from the body should be long gone.

This article is part of an occasional series, Chemical Messengers, on hormones and the body.

Jayashri Kulkarni receives funding from the NHMRC, ARC, several pharmaceutical companies for clinical trials research. This article is independently written and has no source of funding and no conflict of interest.

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Captain Laura Geitz has been rested while uncapped Liz Watson gets her chance in the Australian Diamonds netball squad for the three-Test tour to England in January.


Coach Lisa Alexander named six members of her recent World Cup winning squad – Caitlin Bassett, Paige Hadley, Renae Ingles, Sharni Layton, Natalie Medhurst and Caitlin Thwaites – as the core of the 12-player tour squad.

The decision to rest Geitz and Kim Ravaillion along with Watson’s selection continue Alexander’s moves to rejuvenate the team in the wake of the World Cup triumph in Sydney.

It follows the recent debuts of Gabi Simpson, Gretel Tippett, Ashleigh Brazill and Jo Weston in the drawn Constellation Cup series against New Zealand, following key retirements of Julie Corletto, Kim Green and Rebecca Bulley.

“The national selectors and I feel that it’s important to continue to create opportunities and elite international experience for all of our national squad athletes in preparation for benchmark events such as the Commonwealth Games in 2018 at the Gold Coast,” Alexander said.

Just three players, Bassett, Renee Ingles and April Letton, will be returning to England from the Diamonds’ first series defeat by the Roses – 3-0 – there three years ago.

“The series three years ago provided our Diamonds program with the wake-up call it needed to regain the world No.1 ranking,” Alexander said.

“Lessons were learnt and we won’t be making the same mistakes again so we’ve selected our team in November to ensure we give our athletes the best physical and mental preparation for what’s expected to be a hard-fought series.”

Diamonds tour squad: Caitlin Bassett, Paige Hadley, Renae Ingles, Sharni Layton, April Letton, Clare McMeniman, Natalie Medhurst, Gabi Simpson, Caitlin Thwaites, Gretel Tippett, Liz Watson, Jo Weston. Training partners: Kristiana Manua (NSW), Stephanie Wood (QLD).

Tour of England

First Test: Jan 20, Echo Arena, Liverpool

Second Test: Jan 22, Copper Box Arena, London

Third Test: Jan 24, Copper Box Arena, London

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Cedric Jackson can’t wait to lock horns with a familiar NBL foe when his New Zealand Breakers host the Adelaide 36ers on Thursday.


Jackson and Jerome Randle are among the premier point guards in the competition, with Randle having been a standout since joining Adelaide this year.

While Jackson has been as influential as ever for the champions, the output of livewire American Randle has added thrust to the 36ers’ offence.

The 29-year-old produced 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds in their narrow loss to Cairns on Saturday.

The result dropped third-placed Adelaide’s record to 3-3, the same as the fourth-placed Breakers, who are coming off a 90-67 crushing of Cairns a week ago.

The Breakers will have revenge on their mind after losing their season-opener to Adelaide but coach Dean Vickerman noted they were without Randle that day, who has formed a potent combination with guard Adam Gibson.

“With Randle and Gibson being real aggressive from the three point line it adds another dimension to them, they can space you out a little bit more,” Vickerman said.

“Randle is a go to for them down the stretch, they might not have had that in the last couple of years, he adds that.”

A former University of California star, Randle has ties with Jackson, with both players on the books of the Washington Wizards in 2010. Jackson was on a short-term NBA contract and Randle played the Summer League.

“If you don’t do a good job on defence he is a guy who can score in bunches,” Jackson said.

“He has had a huge impact on his team and on the league so far, he is a dangerous player who can score on the inside and outside.”

On Jackson’s team is another red-hot guard, with Tall Black Corey Webster having scored 22 and 35 points in his first two games since returning from the United States, where he failed to clinch an NBA contract with New Orleans.

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The company, facing slowing user-growth, joins Facebook and Google’s YouTube in featuring “like” buttons, which have been popular with millions of users.


You can say a lot with a heart. Introducing a new way to show how you feel on Twitter: 杭州桑拿,杭州夜生活,/WKBEmORXNW pic.twitter杭州桑拿会所,/G4ZGe0rDTP

— Twitter (@twitter) November 3, 2015

Instagram, the photo-sharing app bought by Facebook in 2012, also has a heart-shaped icon for users to “like” pictures.

James Cakmak, an analyst at brokerage Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co, said he thought Twitter was trying to make its site more consistent with experiences on other platforms.

“It’s not going to move the needle in any material way,” he said, referring to the company’s efforts to boost user growth.

The modification fits with Chief Executive Jack Dorsey’s drive to improve user engagement.

Dorsey, who became Twitter’s permanent CEO last month after serving as interim boss since July, has rolled out several innovations including a “buy now” button that allows users to make purchases directly through Twitter.

“You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite,” Twitter said in a blog post on Tuesday.

“We know that at times the star could be confusing, especially to newcomers.”

The heart, on the other hand, is a universal symbol and more expressive, the company said.

Many Twitter users scorned the change, and a hashtag called #WeWantFavButtonBack quickly appeared.

“Changing @Twitter’s star to a heart is the worst product decision in the history of the internet; makes a bookmark into an endorsement,” tweeted user Jason.

“You Facebooked my Twitter?” user Scott T. Smith tweeted.

Twitter investor Chris Sacca, of Lowercase Capital LLC, had suggested using hearts in a June blog post titled ‘What Twitter Can Be.’

“If Twitter integrated a simple heart gesture into each Tweet, engagement across the entire service would explode,” he had said, adding that “favorite” was too strong a word.

Twitter’s tweak is the latest by a social media company in the never-ending drive to improve user engagement.

Facebook said last month it was testing “Reactions,” a range of seven animated emoticons to help users express emotions including love, sympathy, anger and sadness.

The “like” icon is also available on Twitter’s Vine video streaming service.

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A Melbourne man who tweeted death threats to police and urged Islamic State to behead captives has allegedly breached his community corrections order by accessing social media.


Khodr Moustafa Taha, 36, was handed the two-year order in May and banned from using social media after he pleaded guilty to 10 charges, including using a carriage service to threaten.

Taha appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday, and documents show he is accused of accessing social media in September, failing to attend for drug testing and failing to report for unpaid community work as directed.

His matter was adjourned and he will appear before deputy chief magistrate Jelena Popovic on December 10.

Ms Popovic sentenced Taha to the community corrections order instead of jail, saying at the time there was a causal connection between his offending and a drug-induced psychosis he experienced from October to December last year.

“Notwithstanding the public interest in this matter generated by Mr Taha’s threats and seemingly Jihadist sympathies, Mr Taha is not, in my view, a vehicle for a wide application of the notion of `general deterrence’,” she said at the time.

Taha had been arrested in January following the Twitter rant that condoned terrorist behaviour and was racist, misogynistic and threatening.

“An officer will die,” he tweeted to Victoria Police.

Another tweet urged Islamic State to behead captives.

“As soon as you get them, execute them, film it, send it to the parents of the victim,” the tweet read.

Ms Popovic noted Taha never engaged in any acts of terrorism or behaviour that indicated he intended to.

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The composting toilet is adorable; all cheery plastic curves in a bright Smurf blue.


It seems to belong in a playhouse.

Outside, roosters strut and crow, pigs snort and snuffle in their cinderblock pens, and a gaggle of children race around the countryside east of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s biggest city. The late afternoon is swollen with heat, but the outhouse itself is shady and cool, miraculously free of any stink – the stench of a Honey Bucket at a construction site, of a grotty urinal at a dive bar, or even the flush toilet frequented by my four-year-old twin boys.

Founded in 2007, Fundacion in Terris develops dry, composting toilets designed for poor families – an alternative to unsanitary open defecation and water-wasting flush models. About 2.5 billion people around the world lack access to safe sanitation. If captured and stored improperly, human waste can contaminate drinking water and lead to disease and death. About 1.5 million children die each year of diarrheal diseases, much of which could be prevented with improved sanitation and safe drinking water. A grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has supported development, field testing and commercialisation of these injection-molded plastic toilets, which costs about $300.

Now hundreds of the group’s toilets are used around Ecuador and Africa, in rural and urban settings where the government has yet to install sewage systems and may not for decades. The models have evolved over the years, with the earliest versions cobbled together out of wood, PVC pipe, and a bicycle’s spoke and chain.

In one version, you pull the lever and your deposit disappears under a trap door – poof! – you don’t have to think about it again. At least not immediately. The compost rolls down a flexible pipe into a plastic barrel that fills up, then is capped and set aside to dry out. After six months, the compost is ready to sprinkle as fertiliser. It’s not intended for lettuce and other food crops, to avoid possible contamination by E. coli and other pathogens, but it’s perfectly safe for flowers and even fruit orchards.

Studies show that cultural beliefs can slow the adoption of dry toilets, pit latrines, and other efforts to improve sanitation. In a recent study of dry toilets in coastal Tanzania, an area dominated by Muslims, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed considered the handling of feces and urine as “unholy.”

The Kichwa people of Saryaku, in the Amazon in northern Ecuador, were interested in such toilets, but balked at using the compost. Upon death, your body returns to the earth. If something passes from their bodies, it can’t be used again, says Juan Pablo Argüello, who coordinates the group’s contracts with local NGOS and municipalities.

It gets me thinking about our own culture’s simultaneous obsession and squeamishness with bodily functions, the abundance of euphemisms for the act, and the appropriation of such words to express anger, shock, and awe. The same kind of awe that we had as toddlers peering into our potty and realizing, hey, I made that – invoking the disgust and wonder that led Sigmund Freud to develop his theory of the psychosexual stages of development.

It’s time for a test drive. I pop a squat onto the seat and urine flows down the lid, through a hole, diverted to the soil where plants act as a biofilter. To make a contribution of the solid sort, you raise the lid. After you excrete, it falls into the sawdust, and you pump a foot pedal on the left side that turns an auger down below – a plastic spiral connected to the freewheel of a bike. Then you press a lever that throws a shower of fresh sawdust.

In the dim recesses below, I glimpse a lump of what might be someone else’s excrement, but I don’t linger. Back outside, I chat with Raquel Alvarez, whose toilet I borrowed. Before its installation last year, her family had to relieve themselves into plastic bags, knot them off, and toss the bagged waste onto the hill – a flying toilet of sorts. She hated going at night, in the dark, and leaving her two girls alone in their weathered wooden house on stilts. She doesn’t mind moving the barrels of compost. “It doesn’t smell bad. I wasn’t grossed out,” says the 27-year-old, who likes the privacy and convenience of the compost toilet.

Her toilet has become a local attraction. Every day after school, her daughter’s friends use it – a curiosity shared around the world. According to research conducted in rural Zinder, Niger, a third of pit latrine owners surveyed shared it with their neighbors, too.

After getting past cost and cultural concerns, what may drive consumers to adopt such toilets is not only a matter of sanitation, but aspiration. As Argüello puts it, “They want a bathroom they can show visitors.”

Vanessa Hua reported from Ecuador on an International Reporting Project fellowship. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker online, Salon, San Francisco, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Newsweek, among other publications.

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A group of researchers just put a price-tag on poop: extracting biogas from the world’s annual human waste output could be worth the equivalent of up to $9.


5 billion in natural gas, according to a report released Tuesday by the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health.

Which means we could all be sitting on gold mines.

“We recycle the nutrients in human waste effectively via agriculture in many places, yet the potential energy value of human waste has been given much less attention to date,” co-author Chris Metcalfe of Trent University said in a release. “Challenges are many but clearly there is a compelling, multi-dimensional financial case to be made for deriving energy from waste.”

Such fuel can come in the form of methane-rich biogas, generated by the bacterial breakdown of feces in an oxygen-free environment. The residue could then be dried and charred into sludge, an energy source akin to coal or charcoal, the authors write.

The report authors calculated the low and high assumptions for how much biogas and sludge can be made from the average amount of waste humans produce, and then the monetary value of the fuel sources’ energy equivalents. The result: turning people’s poo into fuel could be worth between $1.6 billion to $9.5 billion. The higher figure equals roughly the fuel needed to power households in Indonesia, Brazil and Ethiopia.

Harnessing fuel just from people who defecate in the open could be worth $200 million, the authors estimate.

But it’s not so clear-cut; the authors write there are concerns about the safety of such fuels, and that testing is needed to show they don’t “impact food taste or quality.” And the process of production could initially be costly.

Oh, and then there’s this, from the report: “Clearly there is a financial incentive in generating energy by-products from waste, but this may not be sufficient in all cultures to overcome the ‘ick’ factor of using our own waste.”

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Is family dinner really a silver bullet? We’ve all read, or at least heard about, the correlation between family dinners and improved physical and emotional health of our kids, better grades and social skills, and avoidance or delay in risky behavior like drugs, alcohol and early sexual activity.


But if your daughter flees the table in tears during an argument, or if your son shuts down when he feels he’s being criticised, or if you want to scream because your kids (or spouse) reject a meal you prepared, the benefits of the shared meal can seem unattainable.

As a family dinner advocate, cookbook author and meal planning expert, I’ve made it my mission to help families eat dinner together more often by helping them remove the stress and obstacles around making it happen.

But what I’ve also observed is that it’s not just about the food: There are interactions between parents and kids that can detract from the potential upsides of eating together.

When our oldest was a high school senior, we were eager to learn more about where he was thinking of applying to college and how his essays were coming along. Since we were all running in different directions during the day, my husband and I saw dinnertime as the perfect opportunity to inquire about his college apps. But Solomon is an independent guy and he wanted to manage the process his own way and on his own timeline. Raising the issue at dinner proved to be a quick and reliable way to cut dinner short or stunt conversation. Once we took that topic off the table, Solomon relaxed, knowing that the salmon was the only thing at the table that would be grilled.

In thinking back over 18 years of family meals (or more than 4,000 dinners together!), I’ve examined what has separated the dinners where we felt really connected from the ones that made us all want to bolt from the table.

Through my work I have also spoken to many other families and have discovered that there are 6 ways to suck the joy right out of family dinners.

Raising stressful topics or arguing

Tempting as it may be to take the opportunity to talk about your kids’ grades, study habits, or your custody schedule, family dinner isn’t the place to do it if you want your family members to see the dinner table as a place they want to spend time. “I do think children are entitled to have family dinnertime be a vacation from unpleasant or uncomfortable topics, free of nagging and critical attention,” said Washington, D.C. area educational consultant and founder of the Quad2Quad college visit app, Susan Jones.

Instead: Save important topics for car rides or set aside 30 minutes each week for a family meeting to go over schedules and talk about difficult topics.

Focusing too much on manners

It’s a dilemma. The dinner table is the obvious place to teach our kids table manners. On the other hand, teaching manners can easily turn into nonstop nagging that makes your little cave-kid feel criticised. “Constant micromanaging (use your napkin, don’t put your cup there, sit closer to the table) ruins the joy of dinner. Yes, teaching kids manners is important, but barking orders at them through every meal is aggravating,” according to Gaithersburg, Md. mom Gail Lawyer Norris.

Instead: Decide together on one table manner the family will focus on each week (adults too). Give a gentle reminder before the meal begins and direct positive statements to the family members that are doing well with chewing with their mouth closed, not interrupting, or using utensils rather than fingers.

Complaining about the food

Negativity is a joy killer, especially when it’s about the food we serve. When our kids were little, I would get upset when they said they didn’t like what I made or refused to try it, because I felt like my efforts were unappreciated. “When one of the kids suddenly declares they don’t like a meal that they have liked in the past it totally takes the wind out of my sails,” said Renée Barratt of Salem, Ore.

Instead: Teach your family to express gratitude even if the meal isn’t what they would have chosen. After I expressed hurt feelings, our kids came up with a new saying: “Mum, I know you worked hard on it, but it’s not my favorite.” Even though it was contrived, somehow it made me feel better and did teach them to be more considerate. Getting family members to be responsible for one dinner a week can also help them appreciate the effort that goes into making dinner happen.

Talking about what others are eating

I know, it’s so hard to resist asking kids to have one more bite of broccoli. But I’ve come to believe that focusing on what or how much anyone else is eating is the dullest form of conversation, raises our blood pressure, is ineffective or even counter-productive, and if done repeatedly, may lead to eating disorders.

Instead: Model healthy eating yourself, and direct your cooking efforts toward foods you feel better about serving. “When the kids were small, the joy-sucker was me caring what they ate. Once I learned to put only those things that I wanted them to eat on the plate -veggies for the first course, the proteins after that, carbs last – then the problem pretty much resolved itself,” said Chevy Chase, Md. parent, Beth Kevles.

Using your phone or other electronic devices

Sometimes it seems like the dinner table is-or can be – the last bastion of our day that doesn’t revolve around a screen. But when someone furtively texts or Snapchats under the table or pays more attention to their devices than their dinner companions, the potential human connections are severed.

Instead: Ban all devices from the table, except for rare cases (e.g., presidential debates, when a favorite team is finally in the championships, when looking up a nugget of information would enhance a discussion, or other occasional agreed upon family exceptions). Cheater does the dishes!

Not coming to the table when dinner is ready (or leaving before others are finished)

Whether you spend 15 minutes or an hour preparing it, it hurts when family members don’t come to the table while the food is hot or if they race off while others are still eating. “Despite multiple warnings that dinner is almost ready, everyone disappears when I put the food on the table – to make a drink, go to the bathroom, finish up on the computer, etc. It drives me crazy when food is going cold after all that work!” fumes Washington, D.C. parent Lisa J. Stevenson.

Instead: Enlist family members’ help in meal preparation and table setting so they appreciate the work that goes into making dinner happen, and explain why it’s important to you that people gather while the meal is fresh. Give one 5 minute dinner warning by voice or text. The person who is still late gets to clear the whole table.

When it’s a place of calm rather than conflict, dinner can be the ideal time to learn social and conversational skills, such as listening to others and taking turns. Shared meals can also be one of the most natural settings to learn more about the details of each others’ lives and share stories from our day or ponder life’s questions, big or small.

One way to make dinner nourishing for the spirit as well as the body and ban the negativity is to find ways to express and experience gratitude before the meal, whether it’s a moment of silence and a few deep breaths, prayer, or sharing something for which we each are thankful. After dinner we can extend the gratitude by thanking the “chef” and helping with the cleanup.

When we focus on being grateful and considerate, and eliminate the joy-killers, we stand a much better chance of reaping the vast rewards of family dinner.


Aviva Goldfarb is a Today Show and Washington Post contributor, author of ‘The Six O’Clock Scramble’ cookbooks, and frequently appears in major national media as a family dinner expert. 

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Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill denies the traditional practice of “bride price” is to blame for the country’s high level of domestic violence.


Gender violence rates in PNG are among the highest in the world with 70 per cent of women experiencing rape or sexual assault, according to Human Rights Watch.

Those on the frontline, such as the counsellors at Haus Ruth, a Port Moresby women’s shelter, believe “bride prices” are a huge factor.

Misunderstandings between wives and husbands from different tribal groups, money troubles, and sex contribute to the problem.

“But one of the biggest factors is bride price,” the Haus Ruth manager, who asked to remain nameless, told AAP.

“The man thinks the woman is his property, and she becomes a slave and must do everything that he wants.”

If women don’t comply, the consequences can be deadly.

Bride prices range from 2500 Kina ($A1187) to 300,000 Kina ($A142,481) and are paid to the woman’s family.

If women leave relationships there are added complications around paying back the bride price.

In the past it had been paid with token gifts such as pigs, but now as more PNG citizens become wealthier it has become a status symbol.

Australian Federal Police Detective Sergeant Michelle Harris has been in Port Moresby for two years, advising and training the Royal PNG Police Constabulary and special family and sexual abuse units on how to properly deal with women and children who have suffered rape and domestic violence.

“There’s a perception with the bride price that the husband bought (the wife) it’s his entitlement to treat her however he wants,” she told AAP.

The PNG prime minister doesn’t agree.

“It is a customary exchange of gifts on the occasion (of the wedding) it’s not about paying to take ownership of someone,” Mr O’Neill told AAP in Port Moresby.

The idea that men who paid a bride price had a sense of ownership over their wives and could therefore do what they liked was “absolutely a foreign concept”.

“It’s blown out of proportion to say someone is paying for a bride.”

At some stage his government may consider regulating the practice because it puts financial burdens on young people, Mr O’Neill said.

The PNG government only outlawed domestic violence in 2013 and is now beefing-up child protection laws as well as increasing resources to counselling services and safe houses.

ChildFund and its partners launched PNG’s first domestic violence hotline in August which operates sevens days a week.

So far it has handled 400 calls with a 50/50 gender split.

Tasmanian volunteer Lauren Hart said men were asking for help to control their anger.

“To have someone to call to discuss options other than beating your wife, that’s massive,” she told AAP.

* To donate to Haus Ruth contact visit citymission杭州桑拿会所,.pg/

* Readers seeking support and information can phone the Australian national domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT. In an emergency call triple-zero.

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Parenting is a strange endeavour.


Without any instruction, testing or training we are thrust into a foreign land and entrusted to take on the most challenging and consequential work of our lives. I knew from the beginning I would occasionally fail, but I hoped more often than not I would meet with success. With my role as my children’s primary teacher, I was prepared for the many lessons that lay ahead. At least the usual stuff. Numbers, colours, the alphabet. And as they grew older how to tie a shoe or look both ways before crossing the street or set up a YouTube account.

While I didn’t expect to always know the answers, I believed I’d be able to figure things out along the way. But there are a few things for which I was unprepared, things that simply never occurred to me as lessons in need of teaching. These things transcended the typical parental concerns, and I’d mistakenly believe them to be instinctual or at the very least so obvious as to negate explanation. What I came to learn, though, was that when you have children everything is in need of explanation. Even if the kids are older. Even if they’re highly intelligent. Even if it defies all reason.

Here are a few of those things.

How to play. Many days my kids seem to have forgotten that instinctive quality inherent in all young, and without direct and specific instruction from me they seem lost as to how perform this activity. Something they had done for years suddenly eluded them, and it was left to me to suggest they consult the closet for one of their 900,236 toys or encourage them to Race to the Roof (literally or figuratively – at that point I didn’t care) or have some Elephun or Go Fish. Anything other than follow me around the house all day long.

How clothing must be changed daily. Wearing the same outfit two consecutive days in a row is not condoned by civilised society and will result in merciless mockery. Please know if you choose this route, I wash my hands of the entire situation.

How changing underwear is not optional. I thought humans were born with the knowledge that new outfit equals new underwear – that this knowledge is what set us apart from other species. This, too, turns out to be a learned behavior, one that must be reinforced vociferously and repeatedly for it to be fully internalised.

How boots with shorts is not an acceptable look. I don’t care if Arianna Grande’s mother lets her do it.

How to exit the shower. What seems fairly self-evident is apparently in need of a detailed set of instructions for children to successfully complete the task. So I decided to create a step-by-step guide: First, open the curtain on the side of the tub before which a bath mat has been placed. Next, step onto the bath mat. Finally, towel dry. You are now ready to move on to the dressing phase.

How bathing is a good. Especially after a visit to the McDonald’s ball pit or swimming in the town pool or attending middle school gym class. Counter to your opinion, it is not a form of punishment. And smelling won’t win you any friends.

How to make toast. Again, I’ve created another step-by-step guide to help encourage success. First, take out the bread. Next, place slice in the toaster. Finally, push down button. When the lever pops back up, you have toast.

How I have no special extra-sensory powers in determining the weather. I feel the same exact weather conditions you do so if you ask me while we are standing outside on a hot, sunny day what the weather is going to be like, I will respond, “Exactly like this.”

How no one needs a 100-ounce Slurpee. I don’t care if it comes with free refills.

How the instructions on the box of macaroni and cheese are there for a reason. That reason is to show you how to make it. If you don’t know how much butter to add, ask the box. Not me.

How the utensils placed next to dinner plates are intended for use. They are not merely decorative.

How when the temperature dips below zero, jackets are required. It’s just the law. Similarly, when you feel cold, clothing will help.

Alternately, how when it’s 90 degrees out with 100 per cent humidity, flannel pajamas are not appropriate.

How when riding in the car, driving advice is not welcome. Unless one has a valid driver’s license and at least 20 years driving experience.

How hands have to be washed. With soap. Especially after using the bathroom. Or it doesn’t count. I’m talking about after the kids have seemingly mastered this hard-won lesson.

This last one is something I honestly never expected I’d have to teach – at least not after the first 500 times – and it requires more than just a bullet point.

While I’d never considered hand-washing to be a continuing education course, it seems lessons instilled with great care and emphasis early on erode over time. These concepts need to be reintroduced regularly – and perhaps indefinitely – for full effectiveness, a lesson I learned quite incidentally one horrific day.

I wasn’t paying much attention that day when my son went to use the bathroom. My kids had been washing their hands independently for years so when I glanced up casually and spotted him through the door left ajar what I witnessed was shocking. He’d turned on the water and squirted glob soap into the palm of his hand, and while it would appear I should be happy he followed proper bathroom protocol, it’s what happened next that terrified me.

He took the quivering, white mound of bubbles and immediately shoved it under the faucet into the flowing stream of running water. He rinsed the whole thing right down the drain. Before it was spread over his hands. There was no rubbing, no scrubbing, no washing of any kind. He might as well have dumped the bottle of soap directly into the drainpipe. The fact that any soap had touched his hand was a mere technicality.

That was the day it hit me. When it comes to kids, the job is never done. You must explain everything all the time, repeatedly, every single day for the rest of your life. Into infinity.

Or at least until they move out.

Stacey Gill is the mastermind behind the humor blog, One FunnyMotha, and co-author of ‘I Still Just Want to Pee Alone,’ the third book in The New York Times best-selling series. Find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

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Volcanic ash clouds tend to settle in the atmosphere at an altitude of 11,000 metres, which is an aeroplane’s normal cruising height.


The dust is so thin that it is basically invisible, and the only way to clearly identify this type of cloud is from a satellite in space.

So pilots can fly into such clouds unknowingly, allowing the invisible particles of volcanic glass and dust to get sucked into the plane’s engine, where they melt, coagulate together and eventually stop the engine. As a consequence, the plane will suddenly find itself with a four-engine failure, effectively becoming an engineless glider.

What is volcanic ash

Volcanic ash consists of small tephra, which are bits of pulverised rock and glass created by volcanic eruptions. It can be as fine as talcum powder.During a volcanic eruption, the ash can be breathed deep into the lungs and cause irritation even in healthy people. But once it falls from a greater distance — like from the cloud currently hovering above Europe — its health effects are often minimal, experts say.

Power failure

Very fine volcanic ash particles, particularly glass-rich if from an eruption under ice, sucked into an engine melt at about 1,100 degrees, fusing on the blades of other parts of the turbine, which operates at about 1,400 degrees. They can erode and destroy parts, drive it out of balance and cause jams in rotating machinery. The effect on the operation of a jet engine is often failure of all engines.

Emergency procedure

The standard emergency procedure is to throttle back the engines, and to lose height to drop below the ash cloud as quickly as possible. The inrush of cold, clean air is usually enough to cool, solidify and shatter the glass, unclogging the engines.

Sandblasting effect

Ash can also blind pilots by sandblasting the windscreen requiring an instrument landing, damage the fuselage, and coat the plane so much to add significant weights and change balance.The sandblasting effect can also damage the landing lights, making their beam diffuse and unable to project in the forward direction.

Clogging of plane’s sensors

Accumulation of ash can also block an aircraft’s pitot tubes, an instrument used to measure airspeed. This can lead to failure of the aircraft’s air speed indicators.

Electromagnetic wave insulation

Volcanic ash particles are charged and disturb communication by radio.

Near-disasters causes by ash clouds

An accident in 1982 was the earliest reported mid-air engine stalling as a British Airways Boeing 747 had all four engines stalled after having flown through a volcanic ash cloud over Indonesia.

A KLM Boeing 747 from Kuala Lumpur ran into a nearly identical incident in 1989 when it dashed in a volcanic ash cloud over Alaska. In both cases, the crew managed to re-start the engines after their planes dropped below the ash clouds.

Flight cancellations

The incidents prompted the aviation industry to rethink the way it prepared for ash clouds, resulting in international contingency plans being activated this month. When a cloud is identified by a satellite, air space is closed as a precautionary measure.

Iceland volcanoes particularly dangerous

The British Geological Survey says volcanoes in Iceland are the types of volcanoes that tend to produce plumes of harmful ashes, as they are often covered by glaciers.There are now more than 100 active volcanic mountains in Iceland.

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