Iowa governor signs ‘fetal heartbeat’ abortion ban into law

(Reuters) – Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law on Friday a bill outlawing abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which often occurs at six weeks and before a woman even realizes she is pregnant, and Reynolds acknowledged the likelihood of a court challenge.

The annual March for Life concludes at the U.S. Supreme Court where it is met by pro-choice counter-protesters in Washington January 27, 2017. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

The measure, which Iowa’s Republican-controlled state legislature passed on Wednesday, is the most restrictive abortion ban in the United States.

“I understand and I anticipate that this will likely be challenged in court, and that courts may even put a hold on the law until it reaches the Supreme Court,” Reynolds, also a Republican, said at Friday’s bill-signing, surrounded by children.

“However, this is bigger than just a law,” she added. “This is about life. I’m not going to back down from who I am or what I believe in.”

Chants from protesters were audible in the room where Reynolds signed the bill, in a ceremony that was broadcast live.

State senators who backed the measure said earlier this week that they were aiming to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision that established that women have a constitutional right to an abortion.

Abortion opponents hoping to land the issue back in front of the nation’s top court believe the 5-4 conservative majority could sharply curtail abortion access or ban it outright.

At a rally in Des Moines outside the Capitol on Friday before Reynolds signed the bill, officials of Planned Parenthood, the women’s healthcare group and backer of abortion rights, said they would file a lawsuit to block the law.

“I am here to tell Governor Reynolds, We will see you in court,” Suzanna de Baca, president of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, told demonstrators. “We will challenge this law with absolutely everything we have on behalf of our patients, on behalf of your rights, because Iowa will not go back.”

Iowa is just the latest battleground in the fight over access to abortions.

Mississippi’s Republican governor in March signed into law a bill banning abortion after 15 weeks with some exceptions, sparking an immediate court challenge by abortion rights advocates.

A similar court challenge is under way in Kentucky, which in April enacted a ban on a common abortion procedure from the 11th week of pregnancy.

The Iowa law requires any woman seeking an abortion to undergo an abdominal ultrasound to screen for a fetal heartbeat. If one is detected, healthcare providers are barred from performing an abortion.

Among the few exceptions are if the woman was raped or a victim of incest and has reported that to authorities.

The bill would ban most abortions in the state and was passed in the final days of the Iowa legislative session.

(Restriction on later abortion by U.S. state

Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Leslie Adler

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Legendary Free Climber Alex Honnold On How To Control Fear

At 5.32am on 3rd June 2017, Alex Honnold began his pioneering ascent of El Capitan, a stark 900m turret of slippery granite in California’s Yosemite National Park. To give you a sense of scale, the towering Shard in London is the tallest building in the UK – and El Capitan is almost three times higher. But unlike other climbers clinging precariously to the wall that day, Honnold had no ropes, harnesses or safety protection. As the world’s leading practitioner of “free soloing” – an exhilaratingly pure but risk-laced type of climbing that involves ascending big walls without ropes, he was equipped only with a pair of climbing shoes and a bag of chalk.

After three hours and 56 minutes of physically gruelling and technically challenging manoeuvres up narrow cracks and fissures – sometimes balancing on ledges the width of matchboxes, at other times hanging only by his fingers above the immense void, and knowing every second that any mistake would lead to his death – Honnold hauled his body over the summit. He had become the first climber in history to climb “El Cap” without ropes – an achievement so groundbreaking that fellow climber Tommy Caldwell called it rock climbing’s equivalent of the Moon landings. National Geographic magazine described it simply as “the greatest feat of pure rock climbing in the history of the sport”.

Honnold, 32, who started climbing aged 11 in his local gym in Sacramento, had already earned a legendary reputation in the climbing community for his daring rope-free ascents, notably of Moonlight Buttress in Utah in 2008 and of the Triple Crown in Yosemite in 2012. However, his eye-catching ascent of El Cap earned him global recognition, wowing non-climbers and climbers alike.

What most intrigues people about Honnold isn’t just the physical fitness and technical skillset required to perform such astonishing climbs, but also the mental control and psychological preparation that makes those feats possible. How does he master fear, doubt and anxiety to excel in such high-pressure, life-or-death situations? And can his system work for the rest of us? We sat down with the man himself to discuss the surprisingly humble and human techniques behind his superhuman psychology.

What were the unique challenges you faced during your free solo ascent of El Capitan?

The main difficulty of El Cap – and there are a lot of difficulties – is the sheer size of it. I climbed it in four hours, which is the fastest it has ever been climbed but it is still not that fast. With four hours of continuous climbing, the fitness component is a challenge. But the first 300m are at quite a low angle, like a slab, which means you have your weight on your feet and there are no real handholds so it is really technical. It feels slippery and unsafe, so one of the main mental blocks was just that you feel like you could slip at any moment. Up higher, the part that was most physically difficult was where you have to pull [yourself up] really hard. So you have this combination of the insecure character of the climb, the difficulty of the climb and the size of the climb. There are a lot of different aspects to get your head around.

What is the emotional appeal of climbing without ropes, given its obvious dangers?

There are a lot of factors. The purity is a big part. The simplicity. The fact you don’t need a partner. I think when I first started to climb I didn’t know other climbers so part of it was just being too afraid to ask someone to belay me and going and doing stuff by myself instead. But definitely the challenge is part of it. There is the feeling of mastery and of working towards something that is really difficult. It is about perfecting your craft. And sometimes it is just more fun because you can cover more ground more quickly.

This climb was the pinnacle of your career. What does it represent to you?

Big solo climbs are what I am most proud of and after El Cap everything else pales in comparison. I loved doing the Fitz Roy route [a complete traverse of Patagonia’s Fitz Roy massif in 2014] with Tommy Caldwell. That is one of the things I am most proud of. I have done a couple of other big climbs in Patagonia which are pretty meaningful to me because they involved big days in the mountains. But I think I have always found soloing the most beautiful experience and El Cap has always been the impossible climb.

Photograph: Theadore Hesser

To free climb you need strong fingers, forearms and legs, a solid core, and immense flexibility and endurance. How did you prepare physically for the climb?

“Before this climb I was doing hiking and running because I knew in order to practise this route I would need to hike to the top over and over again so I needed good fitness. Now I am trying to focus less on that and more on difficult climbing instead. I want my legs to be smaller because I don’t need to hike up there all day. So my training fluctuates according to my goals. But the physical side is fairly straightforward. You have to be able to climb the route without falling, so first of all you have to be strong and fit enough to not get too tired when you work on it.

You were hanging off a 900m wall of rock without ropes. The big question is: how do you control your fear?

I’m not trying to control the fear exactly. I try to prepare to the point where I’m not feeling afraid because if I was going to feel a lot of fear I wouldn’t go up there. In some ways fear indicates either a lack of preparation or that something has gone wrong. Even something unexpected happening that you haven’t foreseen is a lack of preparation to some extent.

It is not as if I take something very scary and suppress that fear and just do it anyway. I take something scary and I identify the reasons it is scary. I think through which ones are rational and which ones are not, I work through those things, and eventually I do it when it doesn’t feel scary any more.

What did your mental preparations involve?

There was a lot to it. The mental side is in both believing that it is possible and actually knowing how to do it, which means memorising all the sequences and practising, rehearsing and spending a lot of time up there.

How did you ensure you didn’t suffer any nerves or doubts during the climb?

I spent a lot of time considering variations to make sure there was no easier way to do it, partly so that when I got to a challenging section I wouldn’t be wondering in the back of my mind that maybe there was some better way go out on the right or something. I wanted to be 100% committed to what I was doing when I was up there so there was no possibility of hesitation or doubt. That isn’t super-obvious – you might not think that would be a part of my preparation. But it was important to close all those other doors so once I was on that path I knew that was the only path and there were no questions.

How do you react to unexpected scenarios during a climb?

I wouldn’t say I have a process but I deal with those things on a case-by-case situation. The underlying theme is always to rationally evaluate the situation because feeling fear is just a physiological response where there are a lot of things happening in your body. Your vision narrows, your pulse quickens and other things happen. But just because you are experiencing fear it doesn’t change the reality of the situation. It doesn’t mean you are more or less likely to fall off. It just means you think you are about to fall off. Sometimes that means you are in real danger and sometimes it doesn’t.

Being able to use that rational part of your brain, take a step back and evaluate what is going on and make the right decisions, that is the thing. That is a process which gets better with practice. And I have had a lot of practice now.

What was your mindset on the day of the climb?

The climb went more smoothly than I could have hoped for. It was perfect. It was almost like I had over-prepared and I could just show up and feel amazing. But I was still nervous in the morning, or maybe more excited? It’s hard to say exactly. I imagine it is similar to how any other athlete feels when they go into a big day. Going into the Olympics I am sure people are nervous and excited. They know they are prepared so they are excited for the moment.

I was sort of just on autopilot. I just did exactly what I was supposed to do. I did all my preparation on time in terms of packing my backpack and other things. I pre-made my breakfast so I just rolled out of bed, put on my clothes, ate my breakfast and I just went. There wasn’t any room to go off track.

Last year you volunteered for a MRI scan at the Medical University of South Carolina. The scientists discovered that your brain doesn’t react to fear in the same way as other people. What did you make of that discovery?

To some extent it doesn’t matter because I know who I am and I know what I like to do, so it doesn’t matter what somebody tells me about my brain. I know me. I am still me. I am still the same person. I think it was an interesting evaluation but the results are still ambiguous. You can take what you want from it. What I took from it was that I probably started slightly less susceptible to fear than the average person but then I deadened my response to it over time. Other people might look at the same results and they might say they mean I am a freak. But I just don’t think I am naturally like that. I think it comes from years of practice.

Do you find your approach of breaking down fear into rational and controllable components helps you in other areas of your life?

Yeah, I mean a rational evaluation of risk is helpful in all parts of life. For example, I enjoy a rollercoaster. It is fun. It is not scary at all. It is not risky at all. The only risk in a rollercoaster is if something goes wrong, if the rollercoaster breaks and you go flying out on the track, and that is not likely at all. So there is nothing to worry about. It makes sense to look at all life that way and keep risks in the right perspective.

You keep a journal. Does that help with your mental preparation too?

I have two journals going at any time. I have a climbing journal which I have formatted in the same way since 2005. Every single climb or outdoor activity goes into that journal. Then I have another journal which is more for training, lifestyle, to-do lists, goals and random things like keeping track of my diet and my day-to-day calisthenics and supplemental training. That journal is much more varied. I sometimes go a couple of months without writing in that, but my climbing journal has been maintained meticulously since 2005.

People around the world were amazed by your climbs. But what amazes you?

I still love watching climbing movies and reading climbing magazines and I am definitely inspired by other climbers – although personally I’m more inspired by feats of strength. When I see people do things in training, I’m like, “I can’t believe you can do a pull-up with your pinkie finger from that little hold! That is so crazy!” But that’s because the physical side has always been hard for me. I’m not naturally strong in the way some people are and maybe that is why people appreciate [my achievements], because the mental side doesn’t come easily to a lot of people. But I just want to see feats of strength. I can’t believe what people can do. It is crazy.

You’ve already taken climbing to a whole new level. What’s next?

There are a handful of climbs I want to do and tons of locations I would like to go to. I want to go climbing in areas I have never been so that means plenty of adventure travel. I am going to Antarctica this winter so that should be quite the life experience. It will be the seventh continent I have climbed in so it should be fun. But there are still plenty of things to do. It’s only been a few months since El Cap. By this time next year I will have a whole list planned again.

The North Face climber Alex Honnold is a part of the global Walls Are Meant For Climbing campaign, aimed at increasing the accessibility of the sport and bringing the climbing community together. Check out @thenorthfaceuk on Instagram.

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How To Have More Energy

1. Eat eggs for breakfast

Rushing out with no time for anything more complicated than a cereal bar? It’s worth getting up a little earlier, because making and eating the right breakfast will have you firing on all cylinders. Eggs are ideal – a study published in the journal Nutrition Research found that men who ate eggs for breakfast experienced higher energy levels throughout the day than those who ate bagels. 

2. Drink water

Dehydration is a leading cause of fatigue, and it’s one of the most easily avoided. Just keep a bottle of water with you at all times and sip on it regularly. Set a timer on your computer or phone to remind you if necessary. You may feel like you’re desperate for caffeine, but its energising effects are short-term – and usually followed by a crash.

3. Snack smarter

If you feel sluggish it’s probably because your blood sugar levels have hit rock bottom. Rather than automatically grabbing a doughnut or other sugary treat for a quick fix, snack on something that’s high in fibre like an apple – it will fill you up and stop you feeling hungry, whereas a sugar spike won’t last and just leads to another craving before long.

4. Train during the day

Been leaving your training till the evening because you’re worried a lunchtime workout will leave you yawning through the afternoon? In fact you’ll be more alert and productive, according to the Academy Of Management Review, whose data indicates that exercising during lunch can reverse any fatigue caused by the morning’s work.

5. Have a low-carb lunch

Sometimes it’s all you can do to resist curling up for a nap after lunch. This energy crash is caused by consuming loads of carbohydrates so, to stay awake all afternoon, keep lunchtime carbs to a minimum. Lean protein will fill you up for longer and help avoid a crash. Ideally, add some spice because spicy food fires up your metabolism to make you more alert, according to the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition.

6. Get some sunshine

One thing that can make you feel low and lethargic is a lack of vitamin D. Although some foods contain this nutrient (oily fish, eggs and meat are the best sources) it’s hard to get a decent dose from diet alone. Your body makes vitamin D but only if your skin is exposed to sunlight, so take a walk outside for at least 15 minutes twice a day to kick-start its production. Even better, go for a run.

7. Listen to music

If you notice you’re beginning to feel tired, fire up Spotify or turn on your favourite radio station. Research has shown that music heightens motivation and stimulates interest because comprehending a tune synchronises both left and right hemispheres of the brain, which instantly makes you feel more alert.

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Exercise and shivering trigger same fat-burning effect, study show

Researchers from Joslin Diabetes Center have found that a fat-burning hormone increases in our bloodstream when we exercise or are exposed to the cold.

The research builds on work that the Center completed last year. Both studies examined the release of lipokine (fat-controlling hormones) from brown fat, which is how mammals (including humans) burn fat when exposed to cold. Both studies showed that levels of one particular lipokine, with the easy-to-remember name of 12,13-diHOM, increased in both exercise and the cold.

“12,13-diHOME really stood out quite dramatically,” says Laurie Goodyear Ph.D., senior author of the study published in Cell Metabolism and Head of Joslin’s Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism.

“We found it very striking that when we then analysed lipokines in exercise, the same lipokine that increased with cold also increased with exercise,”

The study was carried out in mice which gained positive results. The Joslin researchers also measured lipokines levels before exercise, immediately after and then three hours later in 27 male volunteers. Then another set of volunteers, this time an even split of six men and six women, were tested. In all tests, the researchers found that lipokine levels generally climbed during exercise.

“It seems to be the first example of a hormone released from brown fat that might regulate some of the metabolic effects of exercise,” Goodyear notes.

Researchers from around the world have been hunting for a way to reduce fat retention by increasing brown fat activity. “Most of our data suggests that exercise doesn’t ramp up the energy expenditure of brown fat, but here, exercise is clearly having an effect on brown fat,” she says

“The more knowledge we have about exercise and how it works, the better we can understand how to combat metabolic disease.”

While we’re on the topic, make sure you check out the truth about diet vs. exercise and the best types of exercises for fat loss.

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Strawberry Oat Pockets Recipe – Health

Animal crackers. Cheese Doodles. Frosted Flakes. The snacks of our youth will always have a soft spot in our hearts. The additives they contain? Not so much. So we set out to recreate one of our favorite childhood breakfasts–Pop-Tarts–using better-for-you ingredients but without skimping on flavor. The result? These seriously good strawberry oat pockets that add a hint of sweetness to even the busiest of mornings.

Unlike store-bought alternatives, these pockets contain whole-food ingredients like rolled oats, whole-wheat flour, milk, strawberry preserves, butter, coconut sugar, and an egg. The oats add satiating fiber to the pockets while the strawberry preserves lend a natural sweetness (just make sure you opt for a spread that isn’t sky-high in added sugar!).

RELATED: 5 Superfood Snack Recipes You Can Make at Home

Making your own pockets may sound tricky, but it’s actually simple. After making your dough and cutting it into rectangles, just spread a bit of jam on half of the rectangles, top with another rectangle, and lightly press around the edges with a fork to seal. Once you’ve assembled your pockets, brush each with an egg finish and sprinkle a few oats on top before popping the bars in the oven for 20 minutes. They should come out lightly browned on top and warm and gooey on the inside.

Best of all, each pocket only contains 8 grams of sugar and provides 4 grams of protein for less than 175 calories. Pop one in your purse for an afternoon snack or enjoy it with a cup of plain Greek yogurt for a protein- and probiotic-rich morning meal. Finally, you can have your (healthier) Pop-Tart, and eat it too.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Step 2

Combine flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, salt, and 1/4 cup of the oats in bowl of a food processor. Pulse until oats are coarsely ground, 2 or 3 times. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 times. With motor running, add milk, and process until mixture forms a ball, about 15 seconds. Turn dough out onto a work surface, and divide into 2 equal portions. Flatten each portion into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Wrap each rectangle in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Step 3

Working with 1 dough rectangle at a time, roll between 2 pieces of parchment into a larger 12-by-8-inch rectangle (about 1 /8-inch thick). Cut larger rectangle into 12 (6-by-4- inch) rectangles. Spread 1 1/2 teaspoons spreadable fruit on 6 of the small rectangles; brush edges with some of the beaten egg. Carefully top each with another small rectangle, lightly pressing around edges with the tines of a fork to seal in jam. Repeat with remaining 1/2-inch-thick rectangle and jam. Brush tops with remaining beaten egg; sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oats.

Step 4

Place bars on prepared baking sheet, and bake until lightly browned and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

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    Asparagus five ways – The Denver Post

    The other day, I was reading in Pliny the Elder’s “The Natural History” (yeah, I know …). What caught my attention was what he wrote about the asparagus of Ravenna, Italy, and how large it was — “when highly manured, weighing three pounds” — in contradistinction to how we might seek out pencil-thin stalks for our cooking.

    And none “highly manured.”

    What is it with this wondrous harbinger of spring that we have prized it for millennia and eat it so ravenously?

    It’s botanical name, asparagus officinalis, suggests one reason: In ancient days, the “officina” was the storehouse of a monastery where the monks kept medicines. “Eat your asparagus,” meant “Take your meds.”

    It costs a lot, even when abundant, as it is in this season, because it is difficult to cultivate. It grows in and on mounds of soil that are not productive for two years. It then enjoys solid growth for another two years, and then flags in output for a final two years. In other words, an asparagus farmer works about half time for nothing. It’s like selling Christmas trees. (Plus, it must be hand-harvested.)

    Germans, Belgians, and many French enjoy it white, rather than green, achieved by disallowing the shoots to see sunlight out of their mounds. I remember once downing an entire plateful of “spargal” — its German name — steamed and slathered with no more than salt and drawn butter, and afterward burping (happily) for hours.

    Asparagus is commonly eaten cooked, but especially the tender tips may be eaten raw. I lightly peel the bottom half of green or purple asparagus stems — I don’t care how thick or thin they are; all of them — before cooking.

    Here are five mini-recipes for preparing asparagus. One element that I always find works well with asparagus is something tart or acidic — lemon juice, for example — as a foil to its native bitterness.

    In parchment paper packets with salmon: Make a sealed packet with parchment paper or aluminum foil of a filet of salmon, a quarter bunch of asparagus, a few strips of white of leek, 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, grinds of black pepper, a pinch of kosher salt, and sprinklings of any fresh green herb of your liking (dill, thyme, flat leaf parsley, etc.). Bake on a sheet in a preheated 400-degree oven for 10 minutes. Put the packet on a plate for serving; the aromas on opening are nearly the best part.

    In a risotto: Make a standard risotto, using vegetable stock. A couple of minutes before it is finished, for every cup of rice with which you started, add 1 pound of asparagus cut into 2-inch pieces. Then finish, stirring, with the zest of a small lemon, its juice, 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, and 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

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    The Big Wonderful, Furry Scurry, First Friday and more to do in Denver this weekend — The Know

    Kirby the Pomeranian stands on its hind legs as Jen Ticsay gives it commands as the Drew Emmitt Band performs during the Big Wonderful at the former Denver Post Printing Plant on May 5, 2017, in Denver, Colorado. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)

    The Big Wonderful turns 5

    Saturday-Sunday. Following its 2018 debut in Winter Park last month, The Big Wonderful will bring its traveling urban market, centered around beer, local businesses and bluegrass, to Denver this month. First staged in the River North neighborhood, The Big Wonderful plans to celebrate five years in Colorado May 5-6 at the old Denver Post printing plant in Globeville, 4400 Fox St. Highlights include an album release from Leftover Salmon (3 p.m. Sunday) and other live music in addition to dozens of beer vendors, food trucks and more. Noon-6 p.m. daily. The event moves to The Stanley Marketplace in Stapleton May 19-20. $5-$7 general admission; kids under 12 free.

    Yellow lab “Kiska” sports a pair of shades as he begins the two mile walk at the annual Furry Scurry in 2015. (Kathryn Scott, The Denver Post)

    Furry Scurry turns 175 (in dog years)

    Saturday. If this is the first you’re seeing of the 25th annual Furry Scurry, don’t worry: There’s still a chance to register for the May 5 event, which bills itself as the country’s largest dog-walk. Get to Washington Park by 7:30 a.m. to sign up for the 2-mile, 9 a.m. walk and bring your four-legged friend, as you’ll be joined by 10,000 people and 5,000 dogs for this Colorado tradition — which annually raises money for homeless pets and horses on behalf of the Denver Dumb Friends League. Costumes (both canine and human), agility displays and contests, as well as dozens of vendors and adoptable pets will also be on hand. $25-$50 registration fee.

    Cleo does “Carmen”

    Through May 13. Denver’s nationally renowned Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, currently winding down its 47th season, rarely takes the expected route with its blend of contemporary dance and African diaspora. But it’s still ambitious to choreograph its latest show to arias from Georges Bizet’s opera “Carmen” — which has been transformed into a medley of bossa nova numbers and will be performed by soprano vocalist Erica Papillion-Posey and a who’s-who of Denver jazz musicians. Running May 5-7 and May 11-13 at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theater in Five Points, the “Carmen” program also includes a pair of world premieres: Donald McKayle’s “Uprooted: Pero Replantado” and Viviana Basanta’s “La Mulata de Cordoba.” 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. 119 Park Avenue West. $35-$45. 303-295-1759 ext. 13 or

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    Arvada pumps up its First Friday scene

    Friday. The city has been participating for a couple years, but Historic Olde Town Arvada’s First Friday scene — in which people can pop into art galleries and local shops while enjoying the odd beverage, snack and live entertainment — is getting even more creative. The twist this time? More than a dozen Olde Town businesses, from The Cereal Box and Kline’s Beer Hall to Gallery 1874, will highlight art from Jefferson County High School students, with free food and drink and more than 100 works on display. 6-9 p.m. May 4. Free. 720-898-3380 or

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    Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for green pea, black-eyed bean and chickpea usal | Life and style

    India is a country of 1.3bn people who live across 29 states from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean. But, despite that huge regional diversity, it often feels as if the same boilerplate menu is served in Indian restaurants. Today’s recipe for usal, from Maharastra, a mixture of pulses and peas in a light, spiced tomato broth, is one I’d love to see more UK restaurants adopt.

    Green pea, black-eyed bean and chickpea usal

    You can swap the beans and pulses listed for whatever you have to hand: I particularly like sprouted mung beans in my usal, but they’re not easy to find in shops, and take a few days to sprout from scratch. This is best eaten with a hunk of bread for mopping up the spicy juices.

    Prep 12 min
    Cook 30 min
    Serves 4

    4 tbsp rapeseed oil
    2 red onions, peeled and chopped
    2 green finger chillies, very finely chopped
    4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
    2 big vine tomatoes, chopped
    1 ¾ tsp salt
    1 tsp ground kashmiri chilli
    1 tsp garam masala
    1 tsp ground cumin
    ½ tsp turmeric
    1 x 400g tin black-eyed beans, drained
    250g frozen petit-pois, defrosted
    1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained
    200g mangetout
    1 tbsp lemon juice
    1 large handful coriander leaves, finely chopped

    Heat the oil in a pot over a high flame and, when hot, add the onions and chillies, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions look like pink jewels.

    Stir in the garlic, cook for two minutes, then add the tomatoes. When the tomatoes have broken down and become paste-like (around five minutes), add the salt and spices, and stir-fry for a minute.

    Pour one litre of water into the pot, bring it to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium and leave to bubble away for eight minutes. Stir in the beans, peas, chickpeas and mangetout, cook for about five minutes, then take off the heat.

    Mix in the lemon juice and coriander, and adjust the seasoning to taste. Divide the peas and legumes between four bowls, ladle the spiced broth on top and serve.

    • Food styling: Amy Stephenson

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    Israel has its first Grand Tour – but will it get people on their bikes? | Environment

    While some wealthy benefactors to Israel choose to plant forests, build scenic promenades or put their names on hospitals, Sylvan Adams loves cycling so much he seed-funded some cycleways to help transform Tel Aviv into the “Amsterdam of the Middle East”.

    The Canadian real-estate billionaire also supplied cash to build a new velodrome – the first in the Middle East – and created a professional Israeli cycling team. He also stumped up some of the £9m fee for staging the first three stages of the 101st Giro d’Italia in Israel, which kicked off yesterday.

    But will bringing a Grand Tour to Israel get people on bikes?

    Sylvan Adams, honorary president of Giro d’Italia’s ‘Big Start’ Israel, speaks during the unveiling of Israel’s first Velodrome in Tel Aviv on 1 May

    Sylvan Adams, honorary president of Giro d’Italia’s ‘Big Start’ Israel, speaks during the unveiling of Israel’s first Velodrome in Tel Aviv on 1 May. Photograph: Nir Elias/Reuters

    “It’s just one of the ways to increase cycling awareness in Israel,” said the 59-year-old Adams, who was once one of the top masters road and track cyclists in the world, and emigrated from Canada to Israel two years ago. Infrastructure will also be key, he agrees. He has been working through the Jewish National Fund to expand Tel Aviv’s bike lanes.

    The Sylvan Adams Cycling Network is not as dense as a typical Dutch network, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, said Adams.

    “Tel Aviv has historically been a car-centred city, but it suffers from traffic congestion and there’s nowhere to park, just like many other large cities. Cycling is one of the solutions. In the 1950’s, Amsterdam was a car-centred city, until civic officials decided to invest heavily in cycling infrastructure and create a bicycle friendly road network. We plan to do the same in Israel’s metropolis of Tel Aviv.”

    He added: “Petach Tikva is just eight kilometres from the heart of Tel Aviv yet it can sometimes take over an hour to drive that distance. It takes 20 to 30 minutes to cycle it,” he said.

    Ron Huldai, Tel Aviv’s mayor since 1998, is on side with the plans, said Adams.

    Tel Aviv may be slowly becoming a cycling Mecca – of sorts – but what about Jerusalem? Not so much. Motor traffic is chronically bad, and there are precious few cycleways. Those that exist are recreational rather than being placed beside the congested main roads. However, there are plenty of cheap Chinese e-bikes dotted around, with Palestinians just as likely to ride them as Ultra Orthodox Jews.

    This amount of cycle use is by no means huge, but it’s a sea change from when I was last in Israel. I lived here in the mid-1980s, having cycled from the UK, planning to stay a week but ending up staying for a year. For six months I lived with Chassidic Jews in the Old City (I’m not Jewish) and for another six I lived in the new city with an Israeli mathematician and his girlfriend.

    I met Gil Bor on the Mount of Olives and we became instant friends, bonding over bikes. We both did double-takes – meeting another cyclist in Jerusalem at that time was unusual enough for us to jam on brakes to talk. Gil was on his touring bike when we met but, when I went home with him that night, I discovered he had a mountain bike, too. I had never seen one in the flesh. He had imported the first in Israel (it was too big for me but I tried it anyway and promptly crashed it because I wasn’t used to powerful brakes).

    I have fond memories of cycle touring with Gil in the West Bank, visiting Arab villages and being plied with mint tea. A few years after the first intifida, it became harder to cycle around with such freedom.

    I next visited during the first Gulf War in 1991, when the first Scud missiles were starting to land and there were fears that Saddam Hussein had equipped them with chemical warheads. I had a war correspondent’s press pass and bumped into Israel’s then prime minister, the diminutive Yitzhak Shamir, but I was in the country to research the Berlitz Discover Guide to Israel. When the air-raid sirens went off I took to the streets on a hired bike, riding in perfect safety because folks had hurried to underground shelters, and there was no motor traffic whatsoever.

    Thirty-nine Scud missiles landed in Israel during the five-and-a-half weeks of the war. I figured none would hit me.

    Riding an electric bike in Jerusalem

    Riding an electric bike in Jerusalem, where the weather is perfect for cycling year-round. Photograph: Carlton Reid

    Jerusalem was the perfect cycling city when there were no pesky cars about, and if the municipality truly wants to encourage cycling after the Giro ships off to Italy after its three days in Israel, then car use will have to be restrained.

    Adams agrees that if his dream of making Israel as bike friendly as the Netherlands is to come true there needs to be a major change in Israel’s cycling culture.

    “Cycling is already the fastest growing recreational sport in Israel, and bringing the Giro Big Start here and having the first velodrome in the Middle East are building blocks to greatly expand the sport. But we also have perfect weather for cycling commuting 12 months a year, and by creating the necessary infrastructure for safe riding, I am sure we can become the Amsterdam of the Middle East, which will be ecologically friendly, take cars off the road, save travel times, and promote healthy physical activity.”

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