Trump’s Era – The Ministry of Truth

The Trump Era began last Friday the 20th of January, with a nationalistic, protectionist, agitated speech given by Donald (most likely written by Putin’s team). How are we supposed to feel about Trump becoming the most powerful man on earth (after Putin, obviously)? Until Friday the answer to this question was uncertain. Today, we have sort of an idea, but first, let me tell you a story.

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About a couple of weeks ago I visited the Memory and Tolerance Museum, in the heart of Mexico City. This museum presents the Jewish genocide under the Nazi regime during World War II. It chronologically informs the visitor the series of events that unfolded into one of the rawest and most violent periods in human modern history: the concentration camps, part of the final solution. Six million Jewish men, women, and children were killed during the Holocaust—two-thirds of the Jews living in Europe before World War II.

The museum also includes a recap of the genocides perpetrated in Rwanda, Armenia, Yugoslavia, Guatemala, Camboya and Darfur. According to the official museum’s website, rescuing memories and data is fundamental for a call against violence. “Never again” (“Nunca más”) can be read in the walls of its rooms, as a call to action. Its premise states that the study and comprehension of genocides like the ones showed is the starting point to develop strategies that will prevent things like the “final solution” to happen ever again.
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“Walking through the horrors of the past is a way to praise the memory of its victims, but also a way to prevent their suffering from being forgotten and that similar episodes hurt human kind again. Look back to learn, learn to never repeat again”.

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Why am I talking about genocide, history and dictatorial regimes when referring to Trump? Because of his speech, the regurgitation of threats thrown at anybody willing to question his stamina as national leader (or the number of people who attended his Inauguration). His words reminded me of those praised by authoritarian tyrants from our recent past. Now, as president of the USA, his executive orders are coming out of the White House one after the other, which set the path to a potential suppression of liberties and rights for the American people, as well as the cracking of an international diplomacy that has been carefully built for decades since the creation of the United Nations.

trump6Trump combines an authoritarian political communication strategy that emulates that of the Ministry of Truth (G Orwell, 1984) , Goebbels propaganda (based on the ‘creation’ of foreign enemies, that derived into a xenophobe national sentiment) and the Monroe Doctrine (“America for the Americans”, justification for the American intervention in developing countries). Him and his team lie, profusely, without hesitation, deliberately, blatantly about anything. Well, they don’t lie, they present “alternative facts”.  Why do they lie?

As Bloomberg’s article written by  Tyler Cowen, Trump’s team lie as a sort of loyalty test: “the leader wishes to mislead the public, and wants to have subordinates doing so, in part because many citizens won’t pursue fact-checking. But that’s the obvious explanation, and the truth runs much deeper” the article reads. trump5

Nationalism as the core of your rhetoric is applauded when coming from developing countries’ leaders willing to fight back globalization and neo-liberalism. Nationalism isn’t a good sign coming from a Great Power like the US (Russia, USA, Japan and China considered the four great powers in the current international arena). Nationalism leads to protectionism, which leads to economic sanctions, then to anger, finally, to the dark side.

Trump’s first steps are focused on closing economic borders, bully the private sector, discredit the media and, surrounded by white supremacists men, make “America Great Again”, no matter what.

Conclusion:

There are still many things Trump has up his sleeve, things that the American Congress will not be able to stop. China seems to be his main concern, and collaborating with Russia appears (as indoctrinated by the Kremlin) to be the only way to fight back Xi Jinping’s position in Asia, where China has the geopolitical balance in its favor. The not-so-dormant dragon has shown little patience to Trump’s not so tacit disobedience of the “One China” policy, and looks ready to fight back (at least on free trade) the American bully.

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I have a bad feeling about this.

Ps- Recommended readings:

 

Canada, Poutine and Gay Marriage

I have such a bad memory, but my German aunt doesn’t, so she clearly reminded me that it’s been almost 10 years since the last time I set foot on the Great North. So there I was, on the 14th of October, arriving to Toronto Airport, where my cousin Karen and her fiance, Cheyenne, were waiting for me.

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Niagara Falls – Far out, bro! 

Karen and Cheyenne are two wonderful girls, and the most important reason for me being there was their wedding… and eating poutine again! (Poutine is a Canadian dish, originated in the province of Québec, made with French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy.)

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Lake Ontario 

So there I was, at this beautiful chapel, while Cheyenne was standing there by the atrium, waiting for my uncle to walk my cousin down the aisle. Suddenly, all the attendees stood up, turned to the entrance and there she was, holding my uncle´s arm with a shy smile on her face. My uncle looked proud, happy and, honestly, he brought it, wearing that pretty awesome suit.

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Anyway, where was I? Right, #LoveIsLove and poutine is awesome. So, the ceremony was fantastic and I couldn’t be happier that I got the chance to be there with them.

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Going back to my Canadian experience, well, my neighbours have taken their love for poutine to the next level. While I was there I had pizza topped with poutine, regular poutine, poutine and eggs and I reckon somewhere in Toronto they were selling poutine icecream (this last one might not be real at all).

So, that was part of my abroad experience this 2016. After my cousin’s wedding I crossed the border into the USA, headed to Washington D.C, then to NYC. But that’s for a different post.

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PS: Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, certainly is a beacon of hope for the Americas and the Western countries, as he understands how a global civil society should work together towards development, tolerance, and respect. In times where racist and authoritarian leaders rise in the horizon, we should be suspicious of behaviors that equal to those seen in fascist, nationalist and tyrannical regimes from our recent history.

Mexican Matriarchy and Gender Equality

The following is a social stance regarding gender inequality. 

I was born in a matriarchy, meaning that for the rest of my life women in my family will govern or influence my path. They gave me the illusion of free will and self determination, but, as Mexican women are, they were wisely pulling the strings of my life in order to become a good man.

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As for me, I was taught to look for strong and confident role models. And those role models my family thought were inspiring weren’t those of the stereotypical man obsessed with money and power, or the lad of many women, nor the bloke looking for an alcoholic enraged fight at a local bar.

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My role models were diverse and uncommon, honest and more realistic. As an International Studies graduate, names like Helen Clark (NZ), Rigoberta Menchu (Guatemala), Elena Poniatowska (French-Mexican), Frida Kahlo (Mexico), Vivian Malone Jones (USA), Margaret Thatcher (UK) and more recently, Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan), come to mind along with the names of other leaders and relevant international figures of modern human history.

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Strong women have been seen as a threat to the Mexican Macho culture, just because women are supposed to be submissive and mere decorative, devoted to her family, solely.

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I remember overhearing conversations where an independent women, or a working mother would be judged and blamed for her husband’s unhappiness, or that her entrepreneurship desires will become a cause of divorce, or the reason her husband went looking for a “better woman” (justifying infidelity seems like a standard in gender unequal societies).

Nowadays, I’m glad to see that many of my female friends have fought and worked for better jobs, better salaries, respect among their peers, and a more balanced family life. As for my male friends, most of them, not lucky enough to been raised in a family like mine, struggle with this “new” dynamic.

I don’t call myself a feminist, I’m more of an Egalitarian, where “equality reflects the nature state of humanity”. Hence, gender equality is something I value, whilst strongly disagreeing with gender roles, objectification of women, or gender discrimination.

Gender-Inequality 2014The point of the above is pretty clear, I’ll do my best to nurture and strengthen a more egalitarian society, while respecting each individual decision to make this place a better place for us and our descendants. Because, in the end, the expenses of living in this planet should be shared by both genders, the responsibility of raising children ought to be of both parents, and the possibilities of professional development must be the same for everyone.

Now, I leave you with the first part of a poem written centuries ago by an important Mexican poet (FYI):

“You Foolish Men” – Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (New Spain), 1651-1695

“You foolish men who lay
the guilt on women,
not seeing you’re the cause
of the very thing you blame…”

Sor-Juana-Inés-de-la-Cruz

Continue reading here

Ps. Ohhhhh, and Princess Leia (Alderaan)

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“I don’t know where you get your delusions, laser brain”

 

 

Cuba and the US – The Musical

The relationship among the US and Cuba is in its course to full improvement and complete restoration. Today the US flag flies again on the Cuban sky, at the same time John Kerry, Secretary of State, arrives to Cuba to reopen their diplomatic representation in the island.

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John Kerry greets the islanders with a message of optimism and solidarity, with a very promising statement given to Univision recently: “More people will travel. There will be more exchange. More families will be reconnected. And hopefully, the government of Cuba will itself make decisions that will begin to change things.”

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“Cuba Libre? Yes please”

Must be said that this moment was certainly led by plenty of good will meetings, most of them arranged by the Vatican, specifically the Pope, Francis 1st.

As the bilateral relations settle, the investors will find their way into Cuba, and plenty of economist and financial analyst outline the fertile land ahead for entrepreneurs, but I can´t help to wonder that we are in front of two different Cubas. One, befriending the US (and all what is involved with the US abroad), and another where Fidel is seen with Maduro and Evo Morales, hanging out, unaware that the “empire” has reopened its franchise right in the heart of Cuba.

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As for the island, Cuba will have to reconfigure not only its immigration and economic borders, but its political doors as well. It is well known that the Cuban community living in Florida can’t wait to reclaim what is theirs, and are willing to expand and strengthen their sphere of influence into the island, waiting for the Castro family to weaken.

About Guantanamo Bay, well, the Pope had to be a hell of a negotiator to leave that topic pretty much untouched and barely addressed by the Cubans.

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As Huffington Post recently summed up: 

  • Cuba wants the United States to end its economic embargo of the island, return the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay in eastern Cuba and halt radio and television signals beamed into Cuba.
  • The Americans will press Cuba on human rights, the return of fugitives granted asylum and the claims of Americans whose property was nationalized by Fidel Castro’s government.

Overall, this is indeed a historic moment and, as a Mexican columnist wrote today, the “most democratic” country in the world restoring its diplomatic ties with the longest dictatorship in The Americas can´t go unnoticed.

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I’ll be going to Cuba this year, late November, with some awesome New Zealand friends, can´t wait to see how this event has evolved. Yet again, as an international relationships and human rights graduate, this is the “What if” that they used to teach us at university, now we are witnessing it.

Which I'm sure these lads never imagined their revolution would lead to this.

I’m sure these lads never imagined their revolution would lead to this.

Due to Trump’s Recent Remarks…

Due to the recent derogatory statements made by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, specifically Mexicans; Tacos and Politics’ staff (myself and my mate who proofreads the posts before I publish them), its board members and collaborators (still my mate and I), is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.

We are addressing either him or his hair...

We are addressing either him or his hair…

We deeply regret these racist and inappropriate remarks, which not only offend the Mexican community in Mexico, but those who have crossed the border pursuing the American Dream (which nowadays is known as the Canadian Dream, but hey, still neighbours, right?).

Pretty much the routes Mexicans take to get into the US

Pretty much the routes Mexicans take to get into the US

Even though we are a tier 3 online media outlet, not at all relevant to the American public, nor capable of reverting the effects of Global Warming, Tacos and Politics has decided to halt any current or future endeavors with Mr Trump (Take that, Trump!)

Or his hair...

Or his hair…

We deeply condemn those who applaud and agree with Donald’s expressions full of hatred. You are supporting a hateful and narcissistic individual without any kind of values, both personal and business wise. As well, by supporting Trump’s presidential aspirations you are also supporting a growing trend of bigotry and division in the US and A.

Love

T&P Staff

Ps. If you haven’t watched or heard what he recently said, please feel free click on the following youtube clip:

Ps2. Here, have a Trump Piñata, which are becoming very popular on this side of the border.

You know you want one...

You know you want one…

Don´t Cry for Me, Argentina

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Almost one year ago I went for a two weeks trip to Argentina and it was quite an experience. The flight was pretty decent, and as soon as I got there I felt in a totally different continent (That´s right, for my Murican readers, Latin Americans consider America the whole continent, instead of the regions known in The US, as North America, Central America and South America, true story, see, you learnt something new)

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Believe me, the meat is AWESOME…

 

For some of you, Argentina means great meat, tango and Maradona (and Evita, as well, never forget Eva Peron). However, during my visit, I got the chance to experience Buenos Aires on foot, and to glance briefly the way things are being handled in Argentina by its authorities. After that, you realize not everything there is juicy meat and sweet tango.

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What I witnessed, and I must insist, just briefly, was a social unrest, but not entirely coming from the lower class in the country, but rather an unhappy middle class. Turns out, that the economic and social measures imposed by the Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner´s administration have damaged the real potential for development of Argentina.

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As this sign in front the Pink House, the current administration seems to be always under construction

 

Just an example, the inflation in Argentina has reached double digits, but the government doesn´t talk openly about it, regardless the fact that the IMF and the World Bank demanded this information, Argentina seems to rest its economic hopes on political continuity. However, “this will end soon”, as expressed by some friends there, due to the fact that “La Señora” (as they call Cristina Fernandez) is soon to finish her term.

In reality, Argentina has most of its recent history (1970s till now) struggling to succeed in the international arena, either politically or economically. Right after the “Guerra Sucia” (where the State using the military, conducted violent action against political dissidents, “disappearing” an estimated of 15,000 to 30,000 people) the Argentinians had to deal with the escalation of “Operation Rosario” that led to the Falklands War (1982), while bad macroeconomic decisions concluded in the big economic crisis of 2000.

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Just recently, the UK announced the conduct of military exercises on, according to the Argentinian Embassy in the UK, “occupied Argentine territory”. This has been seen by the Latin American country as a provocation and will increase the tension in the region. These war games are scheduled to take place Abril 14-17.

So, Argentina is currently going through a phase of restructuration, while its people don´t lose the ability to amuse me with their amazingly high self-esteem, others reckon the next political force shall be more humble and down to earth, putting the pieces of the social and economic puzzle together.

Oh, sorry, I got a little carried away, aye, the country was amazing! The food was gorgeous, and yes, lads, if you ask me, Argentinian women are the bomb, their accent, attitude and glamour are outstanding.

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The best part of my trip? Well, it made me understand the joy of traveling, again, the sense of adventure and made me find the reason I´m a curious person.

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And everybody´s favourite, if you are smart enough to get the jokes, “Mafalda”

 

Ps. What happened to Nisman? we might never know.

McCartney, Kanye and #JeSuisCharlie (not really)

Let´s start with something sort of funny stuff in order to soften it down for the second topic of this post.

So, shocking news, apparently one of the last two members of the most popular band in music history, The Beatles, Paul McCartney, is going to partner with Kanye West, and will be releasing some new material. That´s sort of great news, right?  I´ve heard a cover of the first song, “Only One” and is extremely sweet and Beatle-ish, cute lyrics, charming and catchy.

This partnership represents the return of McCartney to the music industry targeting younger audiences, gosh, we really needed this comeback, there isn´t much going on in music at the moment. Oh, where´s the “shocking” part of this announcement? Well, the fact that many of Kayne´s fans didn´t know who Sir Paul McCartney is.

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What do you mean that´s not Kanye?

 True story.

Tweets like these were all over the social network:

  • “Kanye has a great ear for talent. This Paul McCartney guy gonna be huge.”
  • “I usually don’t pay much attention to Kanye West, but it’s cool he’s launched this ‘Paul McCartney’ dude’s career”
  • “Who is Paul McCartney? Some are wondering who this “upcoming” artist singing w/Kanye West is”

As one tweet said “people on Twitter are asking who Paul McCartney is and now I understand domestic terrorism”, this historic reference missed by the new generations came as a surprise for everybody.

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Charlie Hebdo

We all learnt about the tragic events that happened in Paris, France, at the Charlie Hebdo´s offices last week. 12 people were murdered as part of a terrorist attack performed by religious fundamentalists upset by the satirical cartoons published by this weekly journal.

That´s right... tolerance at its finest

That´s right… tolerance at its finest

The humour used by the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo to make fun of hardcore Islamists was also used against Hollande´s administration, and pretty much to criticize everyone else.

"If Mahoma comes back"

“If Mahoma comes back”

The French society is confused and hurt, and still hasn´t fully digested what happened. The suspects have been hunted down by the authorities, and millions in France and around Europe have shown their support for stability and peace under the claim #JeSuisCharlie (I am Charlie). Abroad, the free press and the international community have shown its indignation and have condemned the attacks. 000_ARP40679741

Now that I think about it, this will mean the resurge of Marine Le Pen as a strong political player in the French arena, and will be pushing for stronger laws for immigrants and religious tolerance in France. Seriously, as one colleague said to me this morning, it isn´t about the number of deaths, but traditionally, Europe sees immigrants from Middle East and Africa as a threat to their societies.

‘Not in my name’ by Helen Davidson

‘Not in my name’ by Helen Davidson

We should condemn this act of terrorism, however, #JeSuisPasCharlie, because we shouldn´t praise Charlie Hebdo´s type of press, as it preaches intolerance and portraits Muslims as ignorant fundamentalists, harming those members of the French Society followers of this faith.

Ps. I don´t want you to leave feeling bad about the  world and human kind, so, enjoy the following youtube clip:

What´s New: Ferguson, Missouri; and Kent Brantly

It is Monday and among the many things that happened last week there were some news more interesting than others, or more viral, however some things happened less known to the public but extremely relevant to all of us.

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Racial tension

Two weeks ago, in Ferguson, Missouri, a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black young man, it has been the sixth consecutive day without any public protest or the presence of heavy armed forces. The murder of Michael Brown (18 years old) by (apparently) police officer Darren Wilson, has brought public opinion to question the use of plenty of police force to intimidate the protesters.

Analysts, media and key opinion leaders suggested that the police´s response was unusual and unnecessary, and many questioned the fact that Ferguson, Missouri looked more like a scene you´d see in Afghanistan or Iraq, because, let´s face it, the cops did look like freaking soldiers. According to this article by Reuters on the matter, “President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the distribution of military hardware to state and local police, a senior administration official said on Saturday”.

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What happened in Ferguson reminded the national and international community that the United States still has a lot of issues in terms of racial discrimination and, now, the implementation of a new legislation by the local police to re use military equipment given by the government to strengthen their local forces: “How Ferguson could be America’s future

An Update on the Ebola Virus in Murica

Remember that the US received a couple patients diagnosed with the Ebola virus, the were flown from Africa in order to be treated and cured in American soil. Well, Dr. Kent Brantly, one of these two infected, was finally released from the hospital where he was receiving treatment, and he seems OK. According to the doctors who treated him (and Nancy Writebol, the other American infected by Ebola) he represents no public health threat.

Well, and the lad made it

Well, and the lad made it

However, according to the World Health Organization, at least 1,350 people have died in Africa since the Ebola outbreak in March. And, according to their latest research, the Ebola virus could live up to 3 months in vaginal fluid and semen.

In other news

The viral campaign: the Ice Bucket Challenge  is known to create awareness and get donations from the general public for research on ASL. It was a huge success, at least now people around the world, no just within the US, know what Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is, often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease. If you want to know more about the disease and how to donate to fight it, go to the ALS Association website and find out.

Enjoy watching Charlie Sheen doing it the right way:

 

My Favourite Salsa

When I was learning how to cook, back in 2004, I was in France as a Mexican Exchange student, and after four months I started  craving some Mexican food. My cooking knowledge wasn´t great but I knew how to mix some ingredients and just went for it.

Because, you  know, even after a couple of hours away from the country Mexicans start to crave salsa and tamales

Because, you know, even after a couple of hours away from the country Mexicans start to crave salsa and tamales

So I bought fresh tomatoes, onions and some “Indian” Chilies, you know, France. I came back to the dorms and started cooking, suddenly I realized I´ve made something that slightly resembled Mexican food, I was so excited I literally ran down the hall with a spoon full of that salsa just to give everybody a wee try. I know, not really that hygienic, but I was thrilled I´ve made something edible.

My first salsa is super easy to make, and it will not disappoint:

 

Ingredients:choppedonions

  • 1 big ass onion
  • 3 fresh tomatoes
  • 3 chilies (serranos, or Indian chilies will do)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 spoons of canola oil

 

First, heat a medium size pot, pour the oil, and place inside the onion, sliced, let it cook. You will notice that the onion will sizzle and then start to caramelize, don´t add any salt yet. Then put in the chopped chilies and chopped garlic, let them integrate with the onions, open your windows if you are not used to this type of cooking, as the smell will make you cough and sneeze, true story.

SerranosRipe Tomatoes on White with Clipping Path

When you notice that everything is well cooked, add the tomatoes, diced; the juices of the tomatoes will put all the flavours together. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste, and half a cup of water. Let it simmer, the salsa isn´t supposed to be runny, you want it thick and with a curry-ish like texture.

I used to put this salsa on nachos or cous-cous, goes amazing with grilled fish and pork, aye, lots of pork.

Ps.  Non related to this culinary post, I do highly recommend this recent article posted on The Economist, titled: “The Feds Ride Out”, which talks about the Mexican government launching this new police force rather than improving the current crime-fighting forces. As said by some analysts, president Enrique Pena Nieto, seems to lack a national security strategy and keeps on denial that Mexico is under control of criminal forces.

http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21613312-mexico-gets-new-police-force-it-needs-new-policing-strategy-feds-ride-out

Credit to: Peter Schrank

 

What´s New: Ebola, Love at first sight, and Bear rescue

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I thought it would be nice to have a weekly post of “What the heck is happening around the world today”, or like twitter calls it “What´s trending”. Usually I find this sort of news on my friends´timeline in Twitter and Facebook (No, no matter how much you insist mate, no one uses Google Plus, knock it off), some of the posts are amusing, other interesting and other just ridiculous.

"Oh no, Miley, don´t do it!"

“Oh no, Miley, don´t do it!”

 

 

Today I found these jewels trending the heck up of our social media outlets

 

 

 

 

The Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone and Liberia, spreading to Guinea, at least three cases reported in Nigeria, and three people with the virus being treated in the US. This is something to think about as we´ve been bombed with apocalyptic movies throughout the last 10 years, from virus, to zombies, to world´s destruction by aliens, earthquakes or solar flames. This virus went from 800 people sick last week to over 1500 reported on Wednesday and the numbers keep rising.

Ebola-story

As reported by Reuters, and now being a well known fact, the “Symptoms initially include muscle pains and joint aches, then worsen to vomiting, diarrhea and internal and external bleeding in the final stages.” So, pretty much the way you feel after eating real Mexican Food for the first time.

The conflict in the Middle-East, particularly the recent and ongoing attacks of Israel over the Palestinian settlements has brought some new actors into the international arena. Israel, perceived as being backed up by the United States and the European Community, continues to discourage opinions that question its military action on the region. It has helped that the media has shown lack of empathy for Israel´s military actions, and China as well as Brazil seize the option of becoming heavier actors in the topic.

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The chronology of a desperate social media campaign launched by an Irish lad in order to find a Canadian girl he met on a plane from Dublin to Dubai. As the Time article says, this could be the creepiest or most romantic story lurking on the web at the moment. Well, apparently they are in communication now so, let see how it develops… or not.

Aye, this happened

Aye, this happened

Uh uh… did you guys watch this video of a bear rescuing a crow that fell into a pond? It was everywhere at the beginning of the week. Seems that people are more interested in finding hope in animal actions than in human beings.