4 / 1 / 201313:41:12

Zometa Improves Response to Tx in Breast Cancer

; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco) trial.Fasching's open-label, multicenter FEMZONE trial enrolled postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer who were randomized to 2.5 mg/day of letrozole with or without zoledronic acid (4 mg every 4 weeks) for 6 months. The primary endpoint was ORR, defined as complete plus partial response per RECIST criteria, at 6 months.The mean patient age was about 71 years and the mean treatment duration was 6.5 months.At 4 months, a higher ORR was observed for the zoledronic acid arm versus the letrozole alone arm at local asse {keyword} ssment (33.3% versus 24%) and central assessment (41.5% versus 30.3%).While the primary endpoint did not meet statistical significance, the prespecified between-group difference of 10% was met. The authors also saw a trend favoring zoledronic acid in local assessment (P=0.192).Finally, the mean tumor size decreased from 3.34 cm to 2.1 cm in the overall patient population and the decrease was slightly larger with zoledronic acid compared with letrozole alone (-1.37 cm versus -1.12 cm).Patients in the zoledronic acid arm saw a higher incidence of adverse events (92.1%) compared with the letrozole-only group (81%), but the adverse events were consistent with the combination's safety profile, the authors said. There were no deaths or instances of osteonecrosis of the jaw during the course of the study, they added.In the Japanese study, women, ages 20 to 70, with resectable invasive stage IIA-IIIB disease were enrolled. They also had to have HER2-negative disease.A total of four courses of FEC100 were given every 3 weeks followed by weekly paclitaxel for 12 courses. Zoledronic acid (4 mg) was given every 3 to 4 weeks Doudoune Moncle {keyword} r Sans Manches for a total of seven doses.They reported that patients with luminal-type tumors who received the combination therapy had a pCR rate of 9.9% compared with 6.9% in women who received only standard chemotherapy (P=0.563).In triple-negative breast cancer, the pCR rate was 37.5% for women in the combination therapy arm versus 11.8% in those who received chemotherapy alone (P=0.118), Hasegawa reported.Until there is data on clinical response rates and long-term outcomes, results from these studies should not change clinical practice, commented Steven Isakoff, MD, PhD, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston."We have a lot of evidence that shows that endocrine therapy in these women can be beneficial, and treating them for 6 months prior to doing surgery is reasonable," he told MedPage Today. But "it's difficult to know what the role of bisphosphonates should be in these women."Fasching, Hasegawa, Kohno, and Isakoff reported no conflicts of interest. Primary source: San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium Source reference: Fasching P, et al "Anticancer activity of letrozole plus zoledronic acid as neoadjuvant therapy for postmenopausal patients with breast," SABCS 2012; Abstract PD07-02. Additional source: San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium Source reference:Hasegawa S, et al "A randomized controlled trial comparing zoledronic acid plus chemotherapy with chemotherapy alone as a neoadjuvant treatment in patients with HER2-negative primary breast cancer" SABCS 2012; Abstract PD07-05. Register TodayEarn Free CME Credits by reading the latest medical news in your specialty.Sign Up Related Article(s):


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4 / 1 / 201312:40:09

Fatal crash suspect in a gang, cops say

A San Francisco man who allegedly killed two people in a car crash while fleeing from police in the Mission District is a gang member who tried to shoot three teenagers minutes before the collision, police said Wednesday., 19, has been booked on suspicion of murder and attempted murder for the deadly chain of events that began early New Year's Day, police said. Investigators said Morales drove his black Chevrolet Impala to the Valencia Gardens housing project at 14th and Guerrero streets about 7:45 a.m., where he fired a gun at three males - ages 15, 18 and 19 - after issuing what police called "a challenge," authorities said. The gunman then fled. None of the teenagers was hurt, and witnesses called police about the gunfire. Officers said they stopped Morales several blocks away a few minutes later because his car matched the witnesses' descriptions. As police approached him, Morales allegedly sped away east on 21st Street, ran a red light and hit a sedan traveling north on South Van Ness Avenue.The collision sent the Toyota spinning into the intersection and slamming into a pedestrian. It came to rest at the entrance of Muzio's Wine Liquor corner store. The pedestrian, 26-year-old of San Francisco, was killed, as was a 29-year-old woman who was a passenger in the Toyota. Authorities have not released her name.The Toyota's driver was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, but his condition was upgraded to serious Wednesday, said police spokesman Officer . Morales was booked on suspicion of two counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder, one count of evading a peace officer, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm with a gang enhancement charge, Shyy said. "The element to the crime of murder is premeditation," Shyy said. "By choosing to flee and ultimately killing two people, we have reason to believe there's enough for a murder charge." Shyy would not say with which gang Morales is allegedly affiliated. The district attorney's office is reviewing the case, said spokeswoman . Morales could be arraigned as early as Thursday, she said. Vivian Ho is a staff writer. E-mail: Twitter:


4 / 1 / 201311:24:21

Kourtney Kardashian Loses 44 Pounds in 6 Months- How She Got Thin!

Six months after the birth of her second child, E! reality star is back in a bikini -- and proudly showing {keyword} off her 44-pound weight loss in a series of unretouched pictures for !Posing poolside in Miami Dec. 13, the Kourtney and Kim Take Miami star shared her diet and fitness secrets in a full-length interview with West Coast Bureau Chief Rebecca Bienstock."It was harder to lose weight the second time around," admitted Kardashian, mom to son Mason, 3, and daughter Penelope, 6 months (with partner , 29). "I gained 45 pounds with Penelope."Now a lean 106 pounds {keyword} , the 5-foot star credits pro Tracy Anderson's 90-minute dance-focused workouts and small portion sizes for helping her slim down in record time. "This time, the focus is really on being a mom and being present, knowing my priorities," Kardashian, 33, told Us.For details on how Kardashian got her post-baby body back -- and her thoughts on marriage and having a third child -- pick up the new issue of , {keyword} on stands Friday!


4 / 1 / 201306:43:17

A plaque, a Hobbit hotel and a JRR Tolkien trail that's petered out …!ENDVALUE!

Above the laminated breakfast menus in a guest house on President Steyn Avenue, Bloemfontein, South , is an unexpected sight. "John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The , was born on this site on 3 January 1892," reads an iron plaque engraved in English and Afrikaans.In fact this is not quite true: Tolkien was born a few streets away in a house that would be lost to a flood in the 1920s. Some remnants of that building, along with the plaque, are now incorporated in the structure of the - one of 's last visible links with the author, who left for Britain at the age of three.The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are among the biggest selling books of all time. are no less phenomenal: his Lord of the Rings trilogy raked in $2.91bn in global ticket sales and (video) last weekend .Yet the much-hyped release of The Hobbit is unlikely to bring legions of fans to South Africa. The country does little to promote its claim on Bilbo Baggins while the omits its most famous son from a list of local attractions.Even the four-star Hobbit Boutique Hotel is relatively coy. Although each of the 12 rooms draws on the Tolkien universe, don't expect Gandalf and Gollum salt and pepper pots. The chandelier, blue and white crockery, fireplaces with bellows, framed illustrations of butterflies and flowers, pendulum clocks, wood cabinets and mantelpiece decorated with golden angels are quaint but not necessarily Middle-earth. "I'd almost say we're borderline Elizabethan," said the manager, Obakeng Marintlhwane.One British guest did propose Hobbit-themed music in the garden and TV screens showing Jackson's movies 24 hours a day. Marintlhwane was unimpressed. "You don't want to be too over the top," he said.The hotel is typically half or two-thirds full in an average a wee {keyword} town."Cornel van Tonder, 24, a waiter at an Italian restaurant close to the Hobbit Boutique Hotel, was not so sure. "He was a great writer but his books weren't based on our landscapes or weather," he reflected. "They're not culturally connected to South Africa – he was just born here. Anyway, we still have Charlize Theron: she won an Oscar."


3 / 1 / 201312:59:51

Obama's lack of leadership to blame for 'fiscal cliff'-

Watch the latest video at This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," December 28, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.SEAN HANNITY, HOST: As President Obama continues to place the blame on Republican congressional leaders for the looming fiscal cliff disaster. Now we always remember that the president seems to be OK with this happening. Why?Because if Obama actually stood up and showed real leadership there be consequences for him. This could drastically impact the radical agenda that he is hoping to push through during his second term, but that's not the only thing that should be worrying the White House tonight.Because as President Obama's nominee for secretary of state, Senator John Kerry awaits his confirmation hearings to begin and Republicans are saying not so fast. They are demanding current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testify on Benghazi before any confirmation hearings begin.Joining me now with reaction to all this and much more is former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Governor, always good to see you. Thanks for being with us. Happy New Year.BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR: Thank you, Sean.HANNITY: You know, Governor, we have actually been friendly over the years. You and I have gotten along. I remember I have been out to your estate and you have is been gracious enough to be nice to me over the years. I've always look at you even though we had political disagreements with somebody that really cared about your state and country and worked very hard.If we are now on the brink as a country and Americans and businesses have no idea what their taxes going to be. The United States Senate has not passed a spending bill in over 1,300 days, over three years and the president, Harry Reid, they are all blaming Republicans.Where is the blame in the intellectual honesty in your party to say this is reckless, irresponsible, on the Democrats part? Do you acknowledge that?RICHARDSON: Sean, I think for the first time tonight they are moving in the right direction. They are talking. There is progress. Here is my take. I think that Speaker Boehner wants a deal. I think Mitch McConnell wants a deal. So does Harry Reid and so does the president.I think the problem lies with the Tea Party Republicans in the House. That is the problem. I think it makes no sense to assign blame right now. I think the next 24 hours are critical. I worry about the automatic defense cuts, Medicare, people vulnerable problems.But I think there is a genuine effort by these leaders right now especially McConnell and Harry Reid to get a bill to the Senate floor that you mentioned that moves us in the right direction, maybe short-term and then in a few days later after the New Year's a longer term grand bargain.HANNITY: You know, Governor, with all -- we are good friends, you totally avoided my question. For 1,300 days over three years, the Senate has a constant -- I know you are laughing. The Senate has a constitutional authority to pass spending bills, but they he haven't done it.And now here we are three days before the country is going over a fiscal cliff and now maybe might get a mini deal and now they are engaged. Don't you think that is irresponsible from the Democratic standpoint because I think Republicans have made mistakes, they spend too much money, too.RICHARDSON: Sean, it has been irresponsible on the part of the whole Congress. This is why they are held in such low esteem. You know, as a governor in a state, you have to balance a budget, it is state law you in most states. Look, this is why I called for a constitutional amendment to balance the budget when I was running for president four years ago.I didn't get very far. It was not popular. My point though is that look I served in the Congress. These negotiations happen on budgets, on taxes, on even foreign policy issues, the last days when the pressure is really on, when the gun is pointing to the head of a lot of members of Congress, bipartisan, Republican and Democrats.It is moving in the right direction. We have three, four days to go. I wouldn't be surprised if something doesn't happen until the very last day, but I think it will. I sense that.HANNITY: Let me, Governor, just very gently disagree with you. I know you probably think that this is maybe a good deal whatever they are talking about and they are talking. I spoke to somebody who was in the meeting today and the president is exactly where he was on day one and that is businesses, small business, over $250,000 they pay more.That would fund government for eight and a half days. That is all that is going to be. So to me when a president borrows 46 c {keyword} ents of every dollar and we are $16 trillion in debt tell me where we are wrong. I don't think we are dealing with the real problem.I don't think this solves anything. I think this has been a false argument from the beginning. We have to deal with spending and they are spending way too much money in Washington.RICHARDSON: Well, I think the reality, Sean, if you look at latest agreements or deals, I won't call them agreements, we are not that far apart on discretionary spending. We are not that far apart on some of the other programs that -- entitlement programs.We really are basically big differences in the tax arena, the $250,000 threshold and I think the president has moved. He has moved on all fronts and I do think as I said Speaker Boehner and I think now Senator McConnell, they are all moving in the right direction towards an agreement. And I do believe in the end, Sean --HANNITY: But the agreement -- but an agreement. Let me give you an example. I will use your words. You balanced the budget as governor. You ran on a platform and I agree with you, I think we ought to balance our budget. Every American has to balance their budget.None of what we are discussing today or nothing in this deal will stop this country from borrowing 46 cents of every dollar or take away the $16 trillion in it debt that keeps rising. I don't think we are getting closer to anything that is really going to solve America's problem, are we?RICHARDSON: No, there is where I agree with you. I think beyond in fiscal cliff deal there has to be a long-range plan. The Simpson-Bowles plan I think is the one that makes most sense entitlement reform, spending cuts.And many other measures that need to happen. Look, we have to have jobs and economic growth in this country. That should be paramount in trying to resolve these economic problems. I think the Congress and the president as soon as this deal is over and I think there will be one in the next week or so, short-term first.Then a longer term one has to get down to job creation, economic growth, technology growth, international issues affecting our international security, this really needs to happen and it has to be bipartisan and I think we are moving in that direction right now.HANNITY: I'm going to make a final bet and prediction with y {keyword} ou only because we are old friends. I will bet you a gentleman's president bet that the president wants the fiscal cliff and he will come back and give back the new tax increases and then there will be a huge fight over the debt ceiling and I don't see a path to any real compromise in the end. I think we are at a pretty large standstill in the country, Governor.RICHARDSON: Well, let's say we'll have a friendly bet, Sean, and as good friends let's keep it that way. I'm not going propose 10,000 bucks like Mitt Romney did, just a friendly bet.HANNITY: You got to let it go at some point. He lost the election. Governor, good to see you. Thank you for being with us and happy new year to you.RICHARDSON: Same to you, Sean.Content and Programming Copyright 2012 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS {keyword} RESERVED. Copyright 2012 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.


3 / 1 / 201310:54:23

Top 10 Latino Soccer Moments of 2012

Top 10 Latino Soccer Moments of 2012
As we welcome in the New Year, let's take a look back at the top 10 Latino soccer stories of 2012:
1. Messi, the magnificent
Is there anything that Lionel Messi can't do on a soccer field? Well, given his height and physical stature, defender and goalkeeper are probably out of the question. But man, can this Argentine striker play the game with both beauty and effortless magnificence. He finished with an incredible 91 goals in the calendar year, shattering the record of 85, set by German legend Gerd Mueller four decades ago. Messi, the fulcrum of the Barcelona attack, has been a major reason why the team is running away with the La Liga race. Next week he is expected to win the FIFA Ballon d'Or as the world's top player for the fourth time.
2. Spain reigns -- again
It's a good thing Messi doesn't play for Spain because the Spaniards would be invincible, although the rest of Europe would claim they already are. Spain became the first country to win back-to-back Euro crowns, following up its success at the 2008 competition, with a 4-0-2 record. Italy, which managed a 1-1 tie in the group stage, was spanked by La Roja in the final, 4-0, as David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata scored. Whether Spain can follow up its Euro 2012 title with another World Cup win, it remains to be seen. No European team has won a World Cup in the Americas; Brazil will host in 2014.
3. México discovers the road to El Dorado
The world again was given notice that the Mexicans are poised to become an international power at the London Summer Olympics. El Tri made history by becoming the first CONCACAF country to capture a medal — a gold one at that. México surprised Brazil, 2-1, in more ways than one despite playing without its best player, the injured Giovani dos Santos before a packed house at Wembley. Only 29 seconds into the match, Oribe Peralta struck for the first of his two goals, the fastest goal scored in a FIFA final.
4. The other Madrid team shows it's the real thing
F {keyword} or years Atlético Madrid has been forced to play second fiddle to world-renowned Real Madrid in the Spanish capital. While RM has floundered this season, Atlético has flourished. Coached by former Argentine great Diego Simeone and boosted by Colombian international Radamel Falcao, Atlético captured the UEFA Europa League crown with a smashing 3-0 victory over Athletic Bilboa behind Falcao's first-half brace and Diego's second-half goal. Behind a quick start by Falcao, considered the best clinical finisher on the planet, AM (13-3-1, 40) sits in second place in La Liga, seven points ahead of Real.
5. Barcelona's incredible start
If there is a team in Spain or Europe that can best Barca, no side has stepped forward. The closest Barcelona came to walking out of a stadium without any points was a 2-2 home with Real Madrid on Oct. 7. This is one finely tuned team. It doesn't hurt to have Messi. But he is far from a one-man show, not with Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas, Xavi, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano. With a new coach -- Tito Vilanova replaced Pep Guardiola -- Barca did not miss a step. With Vilanova sidelined for cancer treatments, the team did not miss a step with assistant coach Jordi Roura calling the shots in a 3-0 victory over Valladolid last week.
6. A double for Monterrey
It's not easy defending any championship, especially at the confederation level. Los Rayados captured the CONCACAF Champions League for the second consecutive time, outlasting Mexican rival Santos Laguna in the aggregate final series. Chilean striker Humberto Suazo was the main scorer for Monterrey, which earned a second shot at the FIFA Club World Cup. After finishing a disappointing fifth in 2011, Los Rayados took third place, besting Al-Ahly (Egypt), 2-0, without the injured Suazo. Monterrey will try for a third consecutive confederation crown in 2013 as it is top-seeded in the CCL knockout rounds.
7. Colombia re-born
Not since the days of Carlos Valderrama, Freddy Rincon and Faustino Asprilla has Colombia participated in a World Cup (1998). The Colombians, who have missed three consecutive World Cups, are primed to reach to the world stage again. Buoyed by Falcao and a host of players performing in Europe, and coached by Argentinean Jose Pekerman, the Colombians (5-1-2, 17 are in third place trailing only Argentina (6-1-2, 20) and Ecuador (5-2-2, 17), with a game in hand on the nine-country group. The top four teams will qualify for Brazil, with the fifth-place team taking on Asia's fifth-place side for a berth.
8. México’s World Cup dominance
If you're tired of reading about Mexican successes {keyword} here, get used to it. The Mexicans rolled through the CONCACAF semifinals with a 6-0 mark while outscoring their foes (Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guyana), 15-2. México not only is expected to qualify for Brazil 2014, it is expected to win the CONCACAF hexagonal in 2013. With the likes of defender Carlos Salcido, Andres Guardado, Javier (Chicharito) Hernandez, among others, El Tri is primed to rule the confederation for at least the next five years.
9. Failure was an option for Real
The wheels are beginning to fall off the Real Madrid wagon. After capturing La Liga crown in the spring, Real has struggled to keep pace with its archrivals. Real finds itself with a 10-4-3 record and 33 points, 16 points behind Barca. Ever-controversial coach Jose Mourinho has all but conceded that Real cannot catch his team's archrivals, admitting it faced "an insurmountable gap." Mourinho might be getting desperate. He benched Iker Casillas, considered the best goalkeeper in the world, and it backfired in a 3-2 loss at fourth-place Malaga last week.
10. The Argentine invasion
You can't shake a stick in a major European league without hitting an Argentine player, it seems. It's not just their presence, but their impact. In Spain, Messi leads the way with 26 goals, followed by Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain (seven) and Malaga's Javier Saviola ( {keyword} five). The South American country's impact could not be greater than in Italy, where five players are among the top 18 scorers -- AS Roma's Erik Lamela (10) and Pablo Osvaldo (nine), Inter Milan's Diego Milito (seven), Atalanta's German Denis (seven) and Catania's Gonzalo Bergessio (six). In England, Manchester City's Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez have seven goals apiece. In France, Lyon's Lisandro Lopez has six goals. And that doesn't count other Argentine players who find ways to fill the net, and others that are defenders. Little wonder why many soccer observers are touting Argentina as one of the World Cup favorites. Michael Lewis, who has covered international soccer for more than three decades, can be reached at .
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3 / 1 / 201308:46:20

Healthy Living Not the Norm for HCPs

; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner Register TodayEarn Free CME Credits by reading the latest medical newsin your specialty.Sign Up Michael Smi {keyword} thNorth American CorrespondentNorth American Correspondent for MedPage Today, is a three-time winner of the Science and Society Journalism Award of the Canadian Science Writers' Association. After working for newspapers in several parts of Canada, he was the science writer for the Toronto Star before becoming a freelancer in 1994. {keyword} His {keyword} byline has appeared in New Scientist, Science, the Globe and Mail, United Press International, Toronto Life, Canadian Business, the Toronto Star, Marketing Computers, and many others. He is based in Toronto, and when not transforming dense science into compelling prose he can usually be found sailing.


3 / 1 / 201306:32:32

2012's 'good news' stories

By Jina Moore/CorrespondentOne of the areas where incremental progress is easiest to miss is global health. It's hard even to say the word progress in the face of continued suffering, but this year has brought some significant achievements.Not 15 years ago, an HIV diagnosis was medically considered {keyword} a death sentence, and policymakers worried whether the world could contain the spread of AIDS. In that context, today's news is surprising: AIDS infections have dropped 50 percent or more in 25 countries, compared with a decade ago, reports the Joint Program on HIV/AIDS (). For many years, we've been talking about the millions of people dying from AIDS, which is still the case in many countries, but for the first time we see the light at the end of the tunnel, says Christoph Benn, director of external relations and partnerships at The . Treatment prices have come down, and you're now finding drugs not just in hospitals, but {keyword} in rural clinics. UNAIDS reports that the number of children newly infected with HIV is down by more than a quarter in the past two years. This progress in reducing new infections among children is actually quite dramatic, says Peter Ghys, chief of Data for Action at UNAIDS. We're seeing this in a large number of countries. One place that might be lagging? The . A November report by the said that young people ages 13 to 24 make up fully a quarter of new HIV infections each year; and 60 percent of them don't know they are infected, making it impossible to medically treat them.Antiretroviral therapy is credited with reducing the pace of HIV-related deaths and limiting the transmission of the virus. The UN Millennium Development Program put universal access on the global agenda. Though it failed to meet the o {keyword} bjective by its 2010 deadline (now revised to 2015), this year for the first time the majority of people eligible for HIV treatment in low- and middle-income countries receive ART. Dr. Benn singles out as an example of stunning progress: More than 90 percent of eligible Rwandans were receiving ART by the end of October. This is fantastic ... historical. That is beyond our expectations from a couple of years ago, Benn says. is the site of another moment of global public health progress this year. In March, it was certified malaria-free by the , joining only four other malaria-endemic countries with that designation. heads the pack of 17 countries poised to eliminate malaria. Their antimalaria agenda includes a $50 million bed-net program, underwritten by The Global Fund, which hopes the country will offer two bed nets per household.The , meanwhile, has made massive strides in combating maternal mortality. The number of women dying in childbirth dropped 60 percent between 2010 and 2011, from 740 deaths per 100,000 live births to 300 deaths., who heads the UN Population Fund's Congo Republic office, says a government strategy and increases in the health budget have been factors in the change. Starting in March, Caesarean sections were offered free of charge, reducing deaths from delivery complications.More than 80 percent of Congolese women deliver babies in health centers, an unusually high rate in , which Mr. Lawson attributes to the Congo Republic's high degree of urbanization. But he did caution, in an e-mail interview, against too much optimism: While such a significant drop is spectacular and certainly unusual in maternal mortality rate nevertheless] remain very high for a middle-income country where women deliver babies in health centers. Sarah Kess contributed to this report.


3 / 1 / 201304:21:41

Postcard from Tom- Three ways to eat in Vietnam

Postcard from Tom: Three ways to eat in Vietnam
of wartime Vietnam. Beyond that, all I had to do was tell Quynh what cities I wanted to vis {keyword} doudoune-moncler-enfant]Moncler Enfant Vetement it and my hotel preference.Like a good waiter, he read my mind, sometimes anticipating what I might want before I even asked. Before I met Quynh on the last leg of the trip, which also took in Hoi An and Hue, he assigned me guides who were savvy about food. Thanks to them, I left no untasted. But they, and the man whom I later learned his clients call Mighty Quynh, also introduced me to one of the warmest cooking teachers anywhere, Anh Tuyet, whose eponymous Hanoi restaurant, below her apartment, was the scene for one-on-one instruction; a boat trip that I can still savor in my mind; and the 90-minute massage of my life, possibly the best $20 I spent all year. Some snapshots of a trip where I let someone else do the ordering:Dateline: Ho Chi Minh CityMy first impression of Cuc Gach, a former French colonial house, is less than favorable. Oh, it s a looker, this narrow restaurant that climbs three floors. But the presence of so many non-Vietnamese diners in the place feels wrong. Hadn t I asked my guide for a taste of home his home?As we stroll through several snug dining areas, I figure that I can at least feast on the design during my inaugural dinner in Ho Chi Minh City. The restaurant is a beautiful {keyword} tribute to recycling and nature; a trim stairwell serves as a bridge from one floor to another and looks onto a small pool animated with live koi a touch of the country in the city, the fish a Vietnamese symbol of luck and prosperity. Whoever dressed Cuc Gach has a good eye, and an interest in history.That someone is Tran Binh, an architect native to southern Vietnam and devoted to what he learned about his craft from the countryside. The Vietnamese have a saying: If you start something, use a brick first. Cuc Gach translates into English as a brick.


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31 / 12 / 201219:38:24

2013 architecture preview- capital views from the Shard and Birmingham's giant boxes of books

View from , the tallest building in western Europe, finally opens its 69th-floor viewing platform to the public – at £25 a ticket. What does that buy you? Digital telescopes, jokey panels sending up famous London dwel {keyword} ngue]Moncler Femme Longue lers (George Orwell installing CCTV cameras, Karl Marx and Margaret Thatcher on a tandem), and of course views stretching for 40 miles. For an extra thrill, don't miss the open-air platform on the 72nd floor. London Bridge, SE1, 1 February.Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Amsterdam's majestic Rijksmuseum finally reopens after a long-delayed (10 years!) £300m refurbishment. The project, by Spanish practice Cruz y Ortiz, reinstates Pierre Cuypers' original 19th-century design, uncovering richly decorated interiors while adding a striking new crystalline pavilion for Asian art, surrounded by water in the museum garden. 13 April.Birmingham LibraryPrince Charles said the city's original brutalist library in Chamberlain Square looked like "a place where books are incinerated, not kept". Will he approve of its replacement? The £189m building, by quirky Dutch practice , is a , inspired by the gasometers, tunnels, canals and viaducts that fuelled the city's growth. 3 September.Glasgow School of Art extensionAdding anything to 's 1909 masterpiece was always going to be controversial – particularly if it took the form of an iceberg of green {keyword} glazing, as 's £50m project does. Promising a , the proof will be in the pudding when it opens for the new academic year. Autumn.


31 / 12 / 201217:23:46

Other eye-openers- Jessica Simpson, Janet Jackson and more

Tom Cruise stars as Jason Bourne...err, I mean James Bond...strike that, Jack Reacher, in anaction movie with the same name.For those who don't know the title character, Jack Reacher is the protagonist in a series ofbooks by British scribe Lee Child. Tom Cruise brings his dynamic acting chops to the role, and hemight need it, as Jack Reacher is a big character that belies Cruise's bantamweight frame.While Cruise plays the part well, he was short-changed by a script that is a fairlyrun-of-the-mill t {keyword} hriller, ."His actin {keyword} g is easily dismissed when not experienced in a while. Yet it automatically gives acertain lift to a routine thriller," LaSalle said. Treading on familiar ground, Judd Apatow's This Is 40 follows the formula that made The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up  smash hits. Unfortunately for Apatow, the embarrassing autobiographical comedyschtick might be wearing a little thin.Starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann a {keyword} s the same characters they played in Knocked Up, This Is 40 sees the characters entering middle age.While great comic performances and funny tangents populate the movie, the elements don't succeedlike previous Apatow outings, according to Dispatch critic Melissa Starker."...As a whole, Apatow’s latest has a messiness more lackadaisical than organic, and it’suncomfortable in a way that can be irritating, even troubling," Starker said in her review.She . More Reviews 


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31 / 12 / 201215:07:49

Amid unrest, African Union chief arrives in Central African Republic

(CNN) -- The head of the African Union arrived in the Central African Republic Sunday as tensions mounted between the government and rebels there, an official said.Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi, who chairs the regional body, met with the Central African Republic's president, said Margaret Vogt, a U.N. special representative.The talks come amid lingering unrest in the inland African nation.Rebels, angry with the government, have staged attacks in recent days. And the volatile situation has spurred demonstrations in Bangui, the country's capital and largest city.Government authorities set an 8 p.m. (2 p.m. ET) curfew Sunday, said Josue Binoua, the minister of territorial administration and decentralization.Rebels and government officials are scheduled to meet early this week for talks in Gabon, on Africa's western coast, Binoua said. He did not specify the date when the discussions would begin.Amid fears of more violence, officials from various nations take steps to protect their citizens and interests in the Central African {keyword} Republic.France deployed 180 troops from Gabon to Bangui overnight to protect French citizens in the Central African Republic's capital, said Col. Thierry Burkhard, a spokesman for France's defense ministry.U.S. President Barack Obama wrote a letter Saturday to Congress informing them that about 50 U.S. troops were sent to Chad on Thursday "to support the evacuation of U.S. embassy personnel and U.S. citizens from the Central African Republic."Rebels were reported earlier last week to be about 190 miles from Bangui. But there's been a lull in rebel attacks in recent days.Demonstrators in Bangui have urged foreign intervention to stop rebels from entering the city.The unrest has prompted the and nonesse {keyword} ntial staff from the country and the U.S. Embassy in Bangui to shut down operations. The U.S. State Department said Thursday -- the same day U.S. troops were sent to Chad -- its ambassador and diplomatic team left the capital, but that the United States is not cutting off diplomatic relations with the turbulent African nation.President Francois Bozize in staving off rebel advances that threaten his rule.Bozize specifically called on France -- which ruled his country, then as a colony known as Ubangi-Shari, until it gained independence in 1960 -- and the United States to help ensure "the rebels return home ... instead of destroying and killing Central Africans."France has a permanent presence of 200 to 300 military personnel at Bangui's airport under the mandate of the Economic Community of Central African States, and French P {keyword} resident Francois earlier this week.But Hollande said Thursday that his nation's troops are not there to "protect a regime," but instead protect French nationals and interests. France will not "interfere in the internal affairs of a country, in this case, CAR," Hollande said, adding, "That time is over."CNN's Bharati Naik, Stephanie Halasz and Saskya Vandoorne contributed to this report.


31 / 12 / 201213:00:13

Aleppo's fledgling government reflects a society shaped by war

Aleppo’s Transitional Revolutionary Council, a civilian effort to provide government services in areas of , has created a 224-person Grand Assembly with representatives for every area of the province, even those still under government control. The new legislative body plans to have its first meeting within a month.The creation of the opposition’s Grand Assembly comes on the heels of weeks of  in northern Syria and is emblematic of their growing confidence in Aleppo. But the new legislature faces challenges finding sufficient funding and securing locations to meet, underscoring the challenges that remain despite recent progress. Recommended: “What makes this project successful here in Aleppo is that most of Aleppo is liberated,” says Rafat Rifai, a freelance journalist who works as a consultant for the Transitional Revolutionary Council. Still, he adds, “the main financial resources are still with the regime so if the new assembly tries to take on the same role of the government, it will need the same budget.” The assembly has only limited funding. It comes from a mix of sources including Syrian expatriates and local businessmen, and the new Syrian opposition coalition formed in last month is said to be considering offering assistance. The modest budget will force the group to prioritize its efforts on essentials such as repairing the electric grid and addressing bread shortages.Throughout opposition-controlled areas in Aleppo province, citizens have formed a variety of  to manage their villages and neighborhoods in the absence of a central government, but the Grand Assembly is the first attempt to create a representative body that can {keyword} begin to {keyword} operate more like a traditional government body.The new l {keyword} egislators were chosen in town hall style meetings by their communities. In areas still under control of the Assad army, representatives were selected from residents of these areas who had fled to opposition-controlled territory.


31 / 12 / 201210:50:45

The GOP’s absurd fear of all things U.N.

The GOP’s absurd fear of all things U.N.
and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. Or that the treaty itself was drawn up by that notorious U.N.-hugger George W. Bush. Or even that voted to {keyword} ratify it, including increasingly rabid Obama foreign policy critic , who listed two dozen supportive veterans organizations before noting that the treaty was about American leadershi {keyword} p in the world. But none of that counted, because,and his band of U.N..-bashers, wheeling ourselves, ever so slowly, down the road to serfdom at the feet of international bureaucrats. It would outsource American power to Geneva, decimate home schooling and shake the very foundations of society. To say nothing of the forced abortions that, Santorum Co. suggest, would inevitably result. What is it about the United Nations that sends the GOP into such a tizzy? That diplomats are encouraged to speak French? The United Nation s intentions are the best, yet Republicans always assume the worst. They weep for the improbable horrors that could be but shed very few tears for the hardships in the here and now, such those suffered by the worldwide who struggle with patchwork laws and official neglect. As comedian , Republicans hate the United Nations more than they like helping people in wheelchairs. The Republicans unreconstructed paranoia about an organization dedicated to global cooperation(remember ). No, now it s just been mainstreamed in the GOP s circulatory system, another example of the party s increasingly delusional, and ossified, worldview. The 2012 Republican Party, for instance, declares that the GOP shall reject agreements whose long-range impact on the American family is ominous or unclear. Treaties singled out include the U.N. Convention on Women s Rights (clearly a dangerously lesbian document); the {keyword} Convention on the Rights of the Child (a ploy to snatch American children away from their parents); the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (no doubt a prelude to full-scale gun confiscation ); basically anything from the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development (tree-hugging); and the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (dastardly intentions detailed above).


30 / 12 / 201220:47:05

'My Little Pony- Friendship Is Magic'- Exclusive clip and art - The Family Room -

Image Credit: The HubThought the ponies would be taking this weekend off for the holidays? Think again.The Hub s flagship series will air an all-new episode on Saturday that sees Applejack saving dragon Spike from the Everfree Forest s wicked Timberwolves. (Naturally, they re actually made of timber.) Get a glimpse at the pony s daring rescue in the exclusive clip below: Read more: