Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Un año sin Chávez, 22 días de protesta.

Un año sin Chávez, 22 días de protesta.

Un año sin Chávez, 22 días de protesta.

Posted: 05 Mar 2014 11:54 AM PST

Desde tempranas horas del día de hoy mientras en la avenida Los Próceres se realiza un evento para conmemorar 1 año de la muerte del ex-presidente de Venezuela Hugo Chávez, en algunas partes de la ciudad de Caracas continúa la protesta contra el gobierno actual.

Calles cerradas, estaciones de metro con funcionamiento parcial, locales comerciales cerrados, son algunas de las consecuencias. Además, es notable el poco tráfico vehicular y peatonal en la capital.

Ya las protestas llevan mas de 20 días y la situación aún es tensa. Entre los venezolanos las opiniones son encontradas al igual que entre los líderes. ¿Que pasará con Venezuela? Nadie lo sabe, sólo un pueblo que sufre una crisis sin resolver.

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Kids of new Ukraine

Posted: 05 Mar 2014 06:32 AM PST

My 15-year old daughter has asked me for permission to sign up for a free medical training in first aid. A private clinic Boris (one of the largest in Ukraine) offers this training for free to those who want to learn. In five very tense days with Russian troops controlling Crimea and tension along the borders with Russia, my country is desperately praying for peace, but men all over Ukraine are volunteering to be drafted into the army and women (including 15 year old girls) are learning how to tend to bullet wounds. Sometimes it all seems surreal. It can't be happening, not in Ukraine!


Throughout these 3+ months of Revolution of Dignity in Kiev and the last few days of Russian invasion in Crimea I often ask myself how all this is going to affect our children in a long term.


It breaks my heart when my 10 year old cries in fear and asks if daddy will have to go to war, what will happen if Kiev is bombed or Russian tanks come here. It breaks my heart when in the middle of a family dinner my 15 year old weeps because she remembers the heroes who laid their lives for our freedom. It breaks my heart to think about evacuation plans for my kids. It's hard to explain to them why after we take them some place safe we would plan to come back and be with our people through whatever challenges the war presents.


But I am also encouraged. I believe our kids will grow up loving their country, Ukraine, much more than we ever did. Their lessons in patriotism are coming not just from textbooks but from first-hand experiences on Independence Square (Maidan). When I see them joining their small voices with thousands of voices on Maidan singing National Anthem of Ukraine, I can tell that the words come from the heart. It's not just a song, it's a vow to protect freedom of Ukraine! They asked me to buy yellow and blue ribbons (the colors of Ukrainian flag) and put those on their backpacks. They initiate Ukrainian-speaking nights in our Russian speaking family!


I believe our kids will grow up as a much more responsible citizens who feel the ownership of their country and future. They will not skip voting in elections thinking that their vote doesn't matter. They will want to contribute sacrificially to the good of their country. I see the seeds are being planted when they come with their parents to clear the debris left by riot police attacks on protesters. They get their hands dirty picking up trash and their faces shine with pride and hope – they are already contributing to building better future of Ukraine.


I believe they will grow up hating corruption and appreciating freedom. As we lay flowers on the ground still soaked with blood of Maidan heroes, we all promise to never forget their sacrifice, to not allow the old corrupt systems to ever resurrect, to never support those systems with our bribes and compliance. We explain to our kids what a high price was paid for this chance to build something new! They could have heard these kinds of things in a classroom and it would pass through them without ever touching their hearts. But as I see tears running down the faces of adults and kids, I know this lesson is reaching deep.


We hope our kids will never forget how Maidan says goodbye to the heroes as the coffins are brought through thousands of mourners crying "Heroes never die". These months taught all of us the true courage, the victory over our own fear. We learned that, "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)


I worry about my kids' psychological trauma. We have all been through a lot already, and very hard times might be still ahead as possibility of war is looming over Ukraine. Some will consider my thoughts naïve or too optimistic, but I do believe that our kids will be better people because of what they have been a part of during the last three months.

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* Ash Wednesday in the Philippines

Posted: 05 Mar 2014 05:35 AM PST

*Ashes from burnt blessed palm leaves are marked in a cross sign at the forehead of every catholic worshipers. The priest described during the sermon that this are admittance of sinfulness of human beings who are willing to repent in this season of christian fasting. Wikipedia says,Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Western Christian calendar, directly following Shrove Tuesday.[1] Occurring 46 days before Easter, it is a moveable feast that can fall as early as February 4 and as late as March 10.
According to the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus Christ spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan.[2][3] Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this 40-day liturgical period of prayer and fasting or abstinence. Of the 46 days until Easter, six are Sundays. As the Christian designation of Sabbath, Sundays are not included in the fasting period and are instead "feast" days during Lent.
Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes (formally called The Imposition of Ashes) on the foreheads of adherents as a celebration and reminder of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered from the burning of the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday.[

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Carnival Cruise ship picks up Cuban Refugees

Posted: 04 Mar 2014 04:57 PM PST

This is the moment when Carnival Paradise was flagged down by a boat containing 24 Cuban Refugees in the Gulf of Mexico. The ship came alongside the boat and picked up the 23 men and 1 woman. They are now in the care of ship staff as the vessel continues en route to Grand Cayman. The cruise began Monday from Tampa.

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Carnival Cruise picks up 24 cuban refugees

Posted: 04 Mar 2014 04:52 PM PST

On Carnival Paradise from Tampa to Grand Caymen and Cozumel, our ship stopped after seeing a boat full of people waving. We picked them up -- 24 Cubans who have been stuck at sea for 5 days after their motor broke. No food or water.    These pictures were taken at about 6:30pm ET tonight.

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Marcha estudiantes Ccs 04marz

Posted: 04 Mar 2014 03:17 PM PST

Marcha estudiantes Millenium Mall hasta el Marquez marz04 12:00pm

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Streets covered with Ice and Snow

Posted: 04 Mar 2014 11:34 AM PST

Only because for me it was essential to do errands today I went out and pursued walking and skating on the streets of my surroundings here in Northern Virginia.


After yesterday's all day snowing and temperatures that have dropped today early morning around 7 A.M.,  to 1 ◦ Fahrenheit (- 17 ◦ Centigrade) streets are very dangerous. It seems that streets were made today only for professional skaters, they are covered with ice and snow as you can see in the pictures.


Although the sun showed up early this morning, its pale blue light only illuminates, but do not warm at all and the ice and snow still there.


Wear boots, take your time, pay attention to the ice that can be covered by snow, balance yourself with your arms and if others laugh do not care, better to be safe than sorry and on a bed for a month with a broken bone.

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Galle Face Sunset

Posted: 04 Mar 2014 07:40 AM PST

Taken at Galle Face Green in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2012. Galle Face Green is a promenade which runs for about 500 meters between the Indian Ocean and Galle road in the heart of Colombo. At one time the Green was much larger and was used for horse racing and golf. Now it is a popular spot for locals to hang out, play football, fly kites or just watch the sunset. There are also numerous food vendors

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March Flowers from Jyotiba Phule Park Lucknow

Posted: 04 Mar 2014 07:26 AM PST

March Flowers from Jyotiba Phule Park Aashiana Colony Lucknow

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Chicago Back in the Deep Freeze

Posted: 03 Mar 2014 06:56 PM PST

Epic Winter may never end. Chicago and it's famous lakefront is frozen solid.

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Venezolanos por la paz desde Brunei en Borneo

Posted: 03 Mar 2014 01:55 AM PST

Tomada el 2 Marzo 2014. Pablo Arredondo Sent from my Sony Xperia™ smartphone

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Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension has taken my life from me!

Posted: 02 Mar 2014 02:00 PM PST

Hello my name is Brittany Dealyn Bryant and I am 26 years old. I have been married for 8 years to the love of my life Jonah and we have an 8 year old little boy named Brody. I want to tell you how my life has changed dramatically in only 3 years. My husband and I found out on December 26th, 2011 that we were expecting our 2nd little blessing. On December 30th, 2011 we lost our little hunny bunny through miscarriage. Our hearts were broken and we felt as though our whole world was crumbling around us. I have had severe headaches for most of my life but I have tried to play it off to your run of the mill Migraines. On January 3rd, 2012 I went to the eye doctor thinking that it would be a normal visit and that he would tell me that I just needed some glasses and that it would help with my migraines. Boy was I wrong. I made it through the normal eye test and it was determined that, yes, I did need glasses. He then did a precautionary test and took pictures of my optic nerves. He took one look and said, I will be right back I need to make you another appointment with one of my colleagues. He then came back in and told me that my optic nerves were extremely swollen and that I could have 1 of 2 things. Either I had a brain tumor, or I had something called Pseudotumor Cerebri ( now better know as Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension.) I was beyond scared to death, all I could think was that I had a cancerous brain tumor and that I was going to die. Well it was one of those things but it wasn't a brain tumor. I went to the neuro ophthalmologist and had another range of tests done and then I was sent straight to the Neurologist who then wanted to do a spinal tap and an MRI. My MRI came back clean with no lesions and no tumor. When I went in for my spinal tap I was scared out of my mind. A spinal tap is where they stick a needle into my back and draw fluid out. They check the opening pressure and then send the fluid off for other testing. My opening pressure was a whopping 47. I was told that I did have IIH. They prescribed me a medication called Diamox (acetazolamide) and I was sent home with no explanation as to what I would be going through. Boy I know one thing, I wish someone would have been there for me while I was first diagnosed. It sure was a scary time in my life! I started taking the diamox and to no avail, it didn't help me, it only made me sicker! The side effects were miserable! I wanted to just give up and die! But I couldn't! I had an 8 year old son that needed his mommy! So I kept fighting with the medications that I was taking. I fought with them until they finally told me that I would have to have something called a shunt placed so that it could drain the excess cerebral spinal fluid into my stomach! They would have to go into my spine to place this LP shunt. It then is wrapped around my side and put into my stomach. I had that placed on June 1st, 2012. From that moment on was complete and total hell. One week later I had another major surgery to put the shunt catheter back into place because it was pulled loose. From June 26th on I had a total of 7 surgeries to fix or replace the shunt that I had. Finally on December 26th, 2013 I had a VP shunt placed.

A ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt is a device used to relieve pressure from the brain caused by fluid accumulation. VP shunting is a surgical procedure that is primarily used to treat a condition called hydrocephalus , which occurs when excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collects in the brain's ventricles. CSF cushions your brain and protects it from injury inside your skull. The fluid acts as a delivery system for nutrients that your brain needs, and also takes away waste products. Normally, CSF flows through these ventricles to the base of the brain. The fluid then bathes the brain and spinal cord before it is reabsorbed into the blood. When this normal flow is disrupted, the build-up of fluid can create harmful pressure on the brain's tissues, which can damage the brain. VP shunts are surgically placed inside one of the brain's ventricles to divert fluid away from the brain and restore normal flow and absorption of CSF. I haven't had to have any revision surgeries since this VP shunt was placed THANK GOD!!! But by no means does this cure me! I still have almost daily migraines. This was only placed to save me from going blind. My life will never be the same. I will never be the fun, outgoing, silly mom that I used to be. Now I have my days where I see the old me coming through and I then take advantage of that and then the next day I pay dearly for being the old me! I want my life back. I have been taken prisoner by this miserable rare disease that only affects 1 in 100,000 people. I may be 1 in 100,000 but I would rather not be. I would rather be the old me. The silly outgoing person that I used to be! I want to be able to fish with my husband and ride the 4 wheeler with my son. I WANT A PAIN FREE DAY EVERYDAY! I WANT A CURE! For me and for all of my friends that I have met on Facebook. We have a support group that is called Family IIH and I love them all so dearly! They are what keeps me going some days when I feel like giving up. My husband, my son, all of my family and my IH family on Facebook are the ones that kick my rear end and say, YOU CAN DO THIS! YOU ARE TOUGH! HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH! Please help us spread the word about this debilitating disease! Please, Help us FIND A CURE

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