2014年03月28日

Aid workers home


Buddhist-led mobs tore through streets hurling stones at the offices and residences of international aid workers in Myanmar's western Rakhine state on Thursday, prompting the evacuation of some staff members, nu skin residents and officials said.

There were no immediate indications anyone was hurt in the violence, which started in the state capital, Sittwe, late Wednesday and picked up again early Thursday, with angry crowds swelling in size from several hundred to more than 1,000.

At least one building was looted and three cars damaged, officials said on condition of anonymity because they feared retaliation.

Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist nation of 60 million, emerged from a half-century of military rule in 2011. But newfound freedoms of expression that accompanied its transition to democracy have given voice to religious hatred, causing violence that has left up to 280 people dead and sent another 140,000 fleeing their homes.

Most of the victims have been members of the long-persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority, many of whom have lived in the country for generations but are denied citizenship by national law.

Aid groups that have been providing care for the displaced have faced threats and intimidation. Last month, Doctors Without Borders, one of the biggest lifelines for the displaced, was expelled from Rakhine state in part because its staff included Rohingya.

Tensions in Rakhine have been soaring ahead of a national census — the first in 30 years — with many Buddhist ethnic Rakhine saying members of the religious minority should not be allowed to identify themselves as Rohingya on the survey.

Religious flags have been place in front of almost every house and office in Sittwe as a sign of protest nu skin hk.

Up to 300 people surrounded Malteser International late Wednesday following reports that a woman had removed a Buddhist flag flying in front of the group's office, state spokesman Win Myaing said. The organization could not immediately be reached for comment.

Police fired 40 to 50 warning shots to disperse the crowd, Win Myaing said.

The violence continued Thursday, with more than 1,000 people running through a street that houses international aid workers, throwing rocks at homes and damaging several of the residences.

"If police stopped them at one place, the mob moved to a different location and threw stones at (nongovernmental organization) houses," Sittwe resident Aung Than said by phone. "The mob is angry because the NGO staff treated our religious flag with disrespect."

Police escorted aid workers from their homes for safety reasons, Aung Than said.

Other aid groups said they were evacuating non-essential staff from Sittwe. At least two charter flights, one flying out Thursday and another Friday, have been arranged.

Local Rakhine residents have been angry with international non-governmental staff since sectarian violence first erupted in mid-2012, accusing them of being biased in favor of the Muslim community g-suite manchester. There have been several peaceful protests in the past, but this is the first time property of the international aid organizations has been so directly targeted.

Sittwe resident Tun Tha said a 6 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew had been imposed.

Authorities were driving around the city announcing the curfew through loudspeakers, he said, adding that soldiers and police were being stationed near the offices of the United Nations and international aid groups.
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2014年03月21日

Gum lost its popularity


Gum seems as appealing as that sticky wad on the bottom of a shoe these days. It's not that Americans still don't ever enjoy a stick of Trident or Orbit, the two most popular brands. They just aren't as crazy about chomping away on the stuff as they once were cardinal manchester, with U.S. sales tumbling 11 percent over the past four years.

No one in the industry can pinpoint a single factor that's causing the decline — the theories include an unwillingness to shell out $2 or more for a pack in the bad economy or that advertising veered too far from underlining gum's cavity-fighting benefits. But the biggest reason may be that people simply have more to chew on.

From designer mints to fruit chews, candy companies have invented plenty of other ways to get a sugar fix or battle bad breath and anxiety. The alternatives don't come with gum's unpleasant characteristics either, like the question of whether to spit out or gulp the remains. They're also less likely to annoy parents, co-workers or romantic interests.

"You talk to someone and they're just chomping on gum," said Matt Smith, a 46-year-old who lives Albany, N.Y. and hates gum so much he refers to it only by its first letter. "If you substitute gum for any other food, like mashed potatoes, would you find that acceptable? It's disgusting."

The gum chewing habit dates as far back as the ancient Greeks but arrived in the U.S. in its modern form in the 1860s, according to Mars Inc., the No. 1 player in the market with its Wrigley unit.

Over the years, gum makers positioned it as a way to "Kiss a Little Longer" in the famous Big Red jingle, quit smoking, curb cravings or just make the chewer happier. Catchy slogans or characters included the "Doublemint Twins" and Orbit's blonde spokeswoman who ends commercials with "Dirty mouth? Clean it up."

It popped up in pop culture too. In the 1960s, a genre of music aimed at younger audiences came to be known as "Bubblegum." In the 1975 movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," the silent Chief Bromden speaks for the first time saying, "Mmm, Juicy Fruit" after the character played by Jack Nicholson gives him a stick of the gum. And Janet Jackson played a feisty, gum-chewing beautician in the 1993 film "Poetic Justice."

But gum's image as a tasteless habit also stuck, with some high-profile gum chewing only making it worse.

In 2003, Britney Spears gave an interview to CNN where a white piece of gum could be seen floating around her mouth as she fielded questions on a range of topics, including the war in Iraq. Talk show host Wendy Williams has a "gum wall" backstage, where she sticks wads of it before walking out. In one episode, she told Patti LaBelle that she could put her gum on the wall after the singer spit out a wad into her hand.

Such imagery may be why gum is still a no-no in business meetings or first dates, according to Lizzie Post, the great-great granddaughter of etiquette expert Emily Post and co-author of "Emily Post's Etiquette."

"My grandmother used to tell me, 'You look like a cow chewing cud'," she said.

The habit so bothered author Malachy McCourt that the extremely long-shot gubernatorial candidate in 2006 told the New York Times he wanted to triple the tax on gum. The former Green Party nominee explained that he didn't like the mess it created on sidewalks and subways.

"The other aspect of it is that it makes people look so stupid nu skin," said McCourt, 82, in a recent interview.

Gum's bad image is one reason that alternatives look more attractive. There's also another perennial complaint: "The flavor runs out too fast," said Ryan Furbush, a 17-year-old from Sayreville, N.J. who has stopped chewing gum in favor of chewy candies and chocolates.

It may be why Mars said its gum declines have been most significant with people who are 25 and younger. In the meantime, Altoids mints, Welch's Fruit Snacks and countless other options have taken up space in the checkout aisles where most gum is purchased.

Since peaking in 2009, U.S. gum sales have fallen 11 percent to $3.71 billion last year, according to market researcher Euromonitor International. That's even as overall candy sales — including gum, chocolate, mints and licorice — have climbed 10 percent to $31.53 billion.

Over the next five years, Euromonitor projects gum sales will drop another 4 percent to $3.56 billion.

Hershey, which makes Reese's, Kit Kat and Almond Joy, is taking data to retailers to illustrate the slowing demand for gum. The idea is to encourage them to devote less of their candy aisles to it, and perhaps make way for more of its own products. Hershey, which also makes Ice Breakers mints and gum, is planning another blow against gum: This fall, it's slated to roll out a version of Ice Breakers that "chews like a gum, but dissolves like a mint g-suite cardinal."

Steven Schiller, global head of Hershey's non-chocolate candies including mints, said it gives gum chewers an alternative that doesn't require "disposal" at the end.

Gum makers are strategizing too. The maker of Trident, whose total gum sales were down as much as 16 percent in developed markets at one point last year, has an online campaign reminding people to run through the mental checklist before leaving the house: "phone, keys, gum."

"We know when people have gum in their pocket or backpack or desk, they're much more likely to chew it," said Stephanie Wilkes, who heads the North American candy business for Mondelez, the No. 2 player in gum with Trident, Dentyne and Bubbalicious.

Mars, which makes Big Red, Doublemint, Juicy Fruit and Orbit, is testing illuminated racks in candy aisles to make its gum and candy stand out more. The company said the racks have led to a 10 to 30 percent sales increase in tests.

And after years of slowly vanishing from shelves, Bazooka bubble gum last year relaunched its brand with new marketing and packaging. Distribution has since rebounded.

Still, executives are realistic about gum's turnaround prospects.

"We're not expecting any dramatic recovery in the category anytime soon," Mondelez CEO Irene Rosenfeld said during an earnings call last month.
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2014年03月08日

Obama from a vacation to Florida


The crisis in Crimea won't keep President Barack Obama from forging ahead with a weekend getaway with his wife and daughters in the Florida Keys.

But it's more than the Oval Office that will be dark as Russia's incursion into Ukraine reaches its one-week mark. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife are vacationing in the Virgin Islands. And national security adviser Susan Rice is traveling in the Middle East for meetings with her counterparts.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said "there's always a chance" Obama could cut a trip short and return to Washington, but this weekend's vacation appeared solid cardinal manchester.

"The fact of the matter is what the president's doing this weekend in Florida is essentially what the president would be doing if he stayed back at the White House," Earnest told reporters traveling with Obama. The president, he said, was looking forward to "getting a little bit of down time in the warm weather with his wife and daughters."

Obama's vacation at a private club on one of the islands off Florida's southern tip was tacked onto an afternoon visit by the president and his wife, Michelle, to a Miami high school to announce new Education Department initiatives to help more students complete the paperwork needed to qualify for federal financial aid or student loans.

Every president gets criticized for the amount of time he spends away from the White House, and Obama is no different.

Paul C. Light, who teaches public service at New York University, said Obama would have been wise to remain in Washington. Being in Florida with a still-fluid situation in Ukraine "makes the president look less interested in the issue than he clearly is," Light said. "It's just very bad optics."

Obama departed the White House one day after moving to levy financial sanctions and travel bans against those the U.S. accuses of threatening Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial borders. Officials in Crimea, a pro-Russian area of Ukraine, plan to hold a referendum on March 16 to decide whether to become part of Russia.

Obama and Biden's decision to continue with their weekend vacation plans appeared to be an indication that the White House did not expect any quick resolution to the dispute nu skin.

The Obama family vacation comes just a few weeks after the president's long weekend at the Sunnylands estate in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Obama had gone to Sunnylands to meet with King Abdullah II of Jordan. He stayed behind with a gaggle of childhood friends to play golf on the desert property's 9-hole course and on a private, 19-hole course elsewhere in the city that is owned by supporter Larry Ellison, co-founder of the Oracle software company and one of the richest men in America.

Obama will have plenty of opportunities to play golf this weekend, too.

He is checking his family into the Ocean Reef Club, a private, by-invitation-only membership club that is more of a gated, self-contained community sprawled across 2,500 acres on the northern edge of Key Largo. The property has two championship golf courses. There's also a swimming lagoon, tennis courts, a spa and fitness center, a private airport, shopping and more than a dozen restaurants among the club's varied offerings.

The Republican National Committee used Obama's visit to the high-end club to draw a contrast with Americans still grappling with a sluggish economy.

"While President Obama vacations in the Florida Keys and Vice President Biden is spending his weekend in the Virgin Islands, millions of middle-class Americans are hurting from their failed economic policies," RNC chairman Reince Priebus said.

The vacation is Obama's third of the year.

Before Sunnylands, Obama and his family followed tradition and spent Christmas and New Year's in Hawaii, where he was born. The president and his daughters returned to the White House on Jan. 5, but Mrs. Obama spent a third week on the island to begin celebrating her 50th birthday later that month.

The family will scatter in less than two weeks.

Mrs. Obama departs March 19 for a weeklong trip to China without the president, but accompanied by daughters Malia, 15, g-suite cardinal manchester and Sasha, 12, and her mother, Marian Robinson. A few days after they leave, Obama will embark on a weeklong trip through the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Saudi Arabia.
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