You don't have to be religious to help - but the people who do mostly seem to be

I�d certainly argue that you don�t have to believe in God to help others. It seems a natural thing to to do for any thinking, feeling creature.
But it�s striking that the people who actually show up to help in Honduras are driven by their faiths. 
A posse from a Louisianan church was here this month to help an orphanage/care home in Copan Ruinas. They built beds for the kids, with cupboards for personal stuff. They worked hard, dealt with the inevitable problems and left the home much better off. The kids were big fans of the guys. The new units replaced wrecked beds with stinking mattresses, where kids often slept two to a single bed and gave them a place to store their few possessions. It simply would not have happened if the guys from Louisiana had stayed home.
There is personal satisfaction, I�m sure. A chance to see a new country. But really, the group were here because they believe helping others is a tenet of their faith. It�s what Jesus wants them to do.
There are many others. Last year, I rode up into the hills with a church group from Tyler, Texas. They were working on a water project. The core group had been doing annual missions for at least 12 years. Projects in their community and another country were built into their church plan each year.
When we were in Tomala, we bumped into a mission group doing eye care. They had collected thousands of eyeglasses back in the U.S., and volunteers had tested each pair, and labelled them with the prescription. The group tested people in poor communities and gave them the correct glasses so they could actually see to perform basic chores.
Missions are a big deal here. There are some 2,000 a year, according to an article in Honduras Weekly. Most days in the San Pedro Sula airport you can spot people - Americans - matching t-shirts, often with religious slogans. Honduras got about 286,000 U.S. visitors last year; 34,000 were on missions or aid work.
They aren�t all alike. Some groups are more interested in proselytizing than the day-to-day problems of Honduras. Some are poorly planed, and it probably would have been better if the people had just collected the money they spent on travel and donated it to an organization down here. (Although there is merit in simply giving North Americans a chance to see life in a poor country firsthand; no amount of reading offers equivalent understanding.)
And there is a lot of debate about the projects, and whether some actually have a negative impact. Will struggling communities learn that it�s easier to wait for a bunch of gringos to come down and fix the collapsed school roof, rather than come up with a solution? Will there actually be a teacher for the school? Will the new water system break down within a year because there�s no money, or knowledge for maintenance? (About 50 per cent of water projects in Honduras fail within five years, a consultant said at last year�s Project Honduras Conference.)
Those are all arguments for well-planned mission trips, not against the concept. (Or excuses for inaction.) And a certain percentage of failures - for missions, NGOs or anyone else - is just part of the process in a country like Honduras.
There are lots of people travelling here to contribute who aren�t religious. But they are wildly outnumbered by the faith-based groups who come down to work, or send cash or contributions. 
That�s true in Canada, too, according to most research. People who go to church give more to charity - secular charities, not just their churches - and are far more likely to volunteer.
I�m not prepared to draw any sweeping conclusions. And I still believe religious faith is no prerequisite for acting to help others.
But it is sure striking that the people doing most of the heavy lifting in Honduras are brought here by faith.

The Honduras' crime problem and 'advisories'

Another grisly warning from the U.S. government this week about travel to Honduras, and an off-key response from the Honduran government.
The State Department advisory cautioned in the first sentence that �crime and violence levels remain critically high.� Things mostly went downhill from there.
La Gringa, an ex-pat blogger living in La Ceiba, did a useful comparison of this advisory with the last warning from Nov. 21.
Generally, the new version paints a picture of greater danger. For instance, both documents say U.S. citizens do not appear to be targeted. But the new advisory adds �Crimes are committed against expatriates at levels similar to those committed against locals.� 
Not good when you�re writing about the country with the the world�s highest murder rate. And not accurate, based on my experience. Locals are at much greater risk of crime. 
The advisory is bad news. Hondurans need U.S. visitors and investors. When the American government talks about �critically high� crime, they stay home.
The Honduran government�s response was uninspiring. President Porfirio Lobo instructed staff to prepare a map for foreign visitors that would show where they should and should not go and provide safety information. But being greeted at the airport with a map of danger zones won�t likely inspire confidence. (And Hondurans might wonder why they are expected to live and work every day in areas too dangerous for foreigners to visit.)
There were the usual complaints that other countries also have crime and that Honduran media do too many graphic crime stories. Possibly true, but unlikely to have an impact on prospective visitors.
Pompey Bonilla, who was replaced as security minister but remains a presidential aide, said things aren�t so bad, but many Hondurans would disagree.
Bonilla also rightly noted that a lot of crime in Honduras is related to the country�s role as a big cocaine trans-shipment centre. The trade exists largely because of failed U.S. drug policies, he said, and Honduras pays the price.
The gangs are another big problem here, and the U.S. has a role there, too. The two main gangs developed in Los Angeles, among migrants from this region and their American-born children. When the gang problem grew too large, the U.S. government launched a policy of deporting people convicted of criminal offences. 
Between 2001 and 2010, the U.S. sent 44,042 criminals to Honduras, many of whom had been in U.S. prisons. Convenient for the U.S., but bad news for Honduras, flooded with gang members with skills honed on the hardest streets of America.
There aren�t many easy solutions to the crime problem. But there are some simple first steps.
For example, the State Department warning - like the last advisory - notes that �A majority of serious crimes are never solved; of the 18 murders committed against U.S. citizens since January 2011, police have closed none.�
Given the stakes, surely the government and police could have a made it a priority to solve a few of those murders. (The real goal, of course, is to improve the overall effectiveness of police and courts, so that literally getting away with murder isn�t the norm. But progress has been dismal.)
Americans still come here. There were 286,000 visitors from the U.S. in 2012, an increase from the previous year. 
But Costa Rica had 864,000 U.S. visitors in 2012. Honduras has similar, if untapped, potential.
And only 34 per cent of visitors to Hondurans - about 97,000 - were tourists. About 100,000 were visiting relatives, about 57,000 were on business and about 34,000 were on missions and aid work.
Honduras is a great country to visit. The two big cities, Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, are dangerous and demand caution. Many Hondurans suffer greatly from crime.
But in Copan Ruinas, where we live, visitors are probably safer than in their hometowns. We�ve travelled pretty widely through the country and felt secure.
The country has extraordinary potential as a tourist destination. Mayan ruins, beaches, reefs, jungles, mountains, lagoons and rivers, indigenous cultures, wildlife - it is a knockout.
But the infrastructure isn�t there. And won�t be, if travellers and investors are scared off by grim travel advisories. 

World War Z 2013 : World War Z Review (World War Z' gets a rise from the undead)

World War Z 2013 : World War Z Review

United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the globe in an exceedingly race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that's toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself....


The presence of four credited writers (screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan and Drew Goddard & Damon Lindelof from a story by Carnahan and J. Michael Straczynski) is testament to the tangled (and a lot of written about) production history of a film originally set to be released last year.

"World War Z" plays a small amount sort of a series of separate films and also the juncture where the new final act was grafted onto the proceedings is unmistakable, however unless you knew about the film's troubled past, you'd never guess it existed. Against considerable odds, the power and professionalism of the cast and crew have carried the day.

It does not hurt, obviously, to own a director whose eclectic resume ("Monster's Ball," "The Kite Runner," "Quantum of Solace") bespeaks a questioning sensibility, along with a star like Pitt, an involved producer whose Set up B production company bought the rights to the book in the first place.

World War Z 2013 : World War Z Review

Laurie Watt scores a win for real journalism over sycophancy

Score for one for competent, responsible journalism.
A communications officer in the Prime Minister�s Office sent an email to The Advance, in Barrie, Ont., encouraging the paper to do a story on a speech that Justin Trudeau gave in the community six years ago.
Trudeau got $10,000; the local college lost $4,118 on what was supposed to be a fundraiser.
An OK little story, although Trudeau wasn�t an MP at the time.
But PMO communications staffer Erica Meekes asked that the the information - including a poster for the 200 event - be identified as coming from a �source.�
Instead, reporter Laurie Watt reported the story, including where the information came from.
Why did Meekes want to hide the role of the Prime Minister�s Office? Maybe she thought it looked bad that people on the public payroll are spending their days on partisan work for the Conservative party. Maybe secrecy is just a way of life for PMO staff. Maybe she thought the story would be more credible if the source of the information wasn�t identified.
Who cares? She wanted to hide information from the public, and Meekes and The Advance recognized their role was to report, not keep secrets.
Sources sometimes require anonymity. People might have legitimate fears about repercussions. But at a minimum media should say why, specifically, they aren�t identifying the source of the information. It�s a critical part of the story for readers and viewers.
(And while they�re at it, media should push back against the growing and destructive practice of accepting vapid, anonymous email responses from government and other institutions instead of demanding real interviews and accountability.)

Maxis Top up Online

Maxis Top up Online

When day trading futures, you enter and exit all positions in the identical day - never carrying a foothold overnight. Since the overnight moves of the market are troublesome to predict, several traders avoid risk by day trading. Ironically, the public believes that day trading is that the riskiest method to trade.

THIS IS A MYTH!

Some traders day trading futures, build 1 to three trades per day, trying to catch the foremost intraday moves. Others trade in-and-out terribly frequently, making an attempt to "scalp" a small profit on each trade. (My style uses a distinctive blend of these two strategies.)

For those day trading futures, the Emini Stock Index Futures have become the foremost in style day trading vehicle as a result of of their liquidity, leverage, and the convenience of trading them on-line. You'll go short or long with equal ease - unlike stocks where it's easier to travel long than short thanks to the "up tick" rule.

The time relationship of the eminis (and the "massive contracts") to the cash indices is very important to understand. Let's begin from sq. one.

The S&P five hundred stock index (the money index, symbol SPX) is central to day trading futures. It has an Exchange Traded Fund (the "Spyders," image SPY) that trades like a stock, but without the "up tick" rule. The worth of the S&P 500 money index moves up and down with the five hundred stocks that make up the index. The SPYders follow the S&P 500 money index very closely. You can trade Exchange Traded Funds such as the SPY (and QQQQ for the Nasdaq one hundred) online from home. However for day traders, they are not as favorable as day trading futures.

The concept of "futures" is a little confusing, however it boils down to the present: the financial trade has turned the S&P five hundred cash index into a "contract" that trades like a stock. The contract (or futures contract) encompasses a worth that goes up and down from one moment to the next. It encompasses a chart that appears just like stock chart, and you'll be able to build money with it by buying low and selling high, or vice versa. That's a sophisticated as it desires to be for currently.

The "massive contracts" or SP Maxis were invented first and they are still around. With the large contracts, a heap of money changes hands. When the value of the SP Maxis moves one point, $250 per contract moves with it. The SP Maxi contracts trade in a literal "pit" where the traders, known as "locals," shout at every alternative, buying and selling for everybody who needs a piece of the action.

The locals don't seem to be public servants, in fact, they make cash for their own accounts. They need the advantage of being able to browse every different's body language and also the tone of the other trader's voices. They see what the strongest traders within the pit are doing. They have many different blessings too, their costs per trade are small compared to the general public's commissions.

The "locals" aren't born as skilled traders though, they learn to trade like everyone else, except they have a large advantage in learning in addition as a result of they learn to scalp initial! Their instant access and low commissions build this attainable compared to others, but those day trading futures online will take advantage of scalping trades also.

Scalping is basically limiting your losses to solely one or 2 ticks while taking any profit you get as you get it. It's easier than going for several points per trade, I've been using this strategy day trading futures with abundant success.

Locals additionally use the spread (the distinction between the bid and ask price), to grab fast profits from orders that come back in on either side of the market. This makes scalping easier for them.

Within the past, of these advantages created it not possible for a "retail" day trader to be a successful scalper. It was insane to attempt. And to this day many traders have the idea that scalping is simply too troublesome for the public as a result of you have got to compete against traders with an unfair advantage.

However all that has changed currently. If you follow some straightforward, however important pointers then you can also be successful scalping and day trading futures online.

They took the concept of the Maxi futures contracts and came up with smaller contracts (the eminis) that move $fifty.0zero per SP purpose instead of $250.00. This permits all traders, huge and tiny, to trade the stock index futures.

But even more radically, they set it up therefore that the smaller contracts (the eminis) are traded solely through computers. This was revolutionary, they bypassed the pit, removing the advantage of the "locals," and leveling the enjoying field during a method that has never been done before. And to level the field even more, retail commission costs fell like a rock. Today, any trader day trading futures with a little account will pay $four.eighty per round flip (entering and exiting a trade).

This means that that scalping is open to the day trading public for the primary time in history. But most individuals who areday trading futures do not even notice where the new advantage extremely is.

Scalping is one amongst the keys to creating a living day trading futures as I do, as a result of I follow a straightforward rule: "Every trade starts out as a scalp until proven otherwise".

The SP emini futures became a lot of and a lot of widespread and a lot of liquid, breaking a ton of records along the manner.

The SP Maxis futures and also the SP emini futures are both derived from the S&P 500 index (image SPX), that, as I said, has an ETF that trades sort of a stock (image SPY).

Thus the question is - that of those is that the leader and that are followers?

Today the emini futures track the Maxi contracts virtually tick for tick, with the emini's starting to lead the Maxi's sometimes, and also "overshooting" the Maxis at emotional extremes, such as the at the high of an intraday rally.

Each the SP eminis and also the SP Maxis (the futures) lead the S&P five hundred money index by a variable quantity of time, typically in the range of a fraction of a second. Some people call this "the tail wagging the dog," as a result of the futures are derivatives of the stock indices, however decision it what you would like, the futures are leading the way.

The fact that the futures lead the markets makes their chart patterns more "pure" and reliable for   rel=nofollow [http://www.tradestalker.com/support-and-resistance-trading.htm]support and resistance trading. This makes a huge distinction to me.

I use the stock index futures (the eminis and Maxis) for calculating daily support and resistance areas, that are the premise of my very own trading vogue - a style of trading that has paid my bills and built my financial security for about 27 years now.

I publish my support and resistance levels in the RBI Trader's Updates, along with my daily trading plan. Since 1996 several skilled traders, plus some beginners, have subscribed to my work because of its accuracy.

Maxis Top up Online

Why it's bad when ministerial assistants are transformed into chiefs of staff


Useful editorial in the Times Colonist today on the big increases in salary scales for political staffers in the Christy Clark government.
Noteworthy, for example, that salaries for ministerial assistants - sorry, deputy chiefs of staff, as they are now called - have increased 53 per cent since 2003, while the average British Columbian has seen a 28-per-cent wage increase. (The premier�s pay is up 60 per cent.) The top pay for minister's aides is now $102,000.
The grandiose new job title is alarming in itself. Ministerial assistants - usually one or two per minister - are support staff. The main responsibility is making the minister look good and keeping him or her on top of the ministry. The principal qualification is effective service to the party in power - active Young Liberals and New Democrats, keen campaign workers and volunteers. A few have broader work experience, but not many.
The Liberal government, for example, just gave one of the new chief of staff jobs to the party�s defeated candidate in North Island. His resume lists no work experience beyond a co-op stint in a paper mill.
�Chief of staff� also suggests some considerable responsibility.
But the chief of staff for Teresa Wat, minister of international trade, the Asia-Pacific strategy and multiculturalism, supervises one administrative support person. He's a Young Liberal with a work history as a government political appointee. (Nothing wrong with that, of course, for partisans of any party. Politics can be a career choice.)
It�s just a title, some might say. 
But if a ministerial assistant calls a business, or government employees, they assume he or she is seeking information or action on behalf of the minister, but that they are dealing with an assistant. If necessary, they will ask to hear directly from the minister.
But a chief of staff - even if there is only one staff - sounds rather grander. Maybe people won�t ask. And the people with the new titles can�t help but have an inflated sense of their own importance.
When Alberta MP Brent Rathgeber quit the federal Conservative caucus this month, he complained political staff in Stephen Harper�s office ran roughshod over MPs, telling them what questions to ask in committees and what to say and to vote �like trained seals.� Those are the federal equivalents to the new provincial chiefs of staff. And his complaints suggests the risk in elevating the power of political staff.
In my past days in the Press Gallery, we joked with ministerial assistants about their roles as �dog walkers,� accompanying the minister to the caucus and legislative chamber each day, file in hand and earnest expression firmly in place, as if even the one-minute walk from the office could not be wasted. (We also joked that some ministers simply couldn�t find the caucus room without help.)
Practically, it�s an important political job. Ministerial assistants keep the minister informed and briefed, help decide who gets access and schedule the days.  They are valuable.
But the elevation of ministerial assistants to chiefs of staff implicitly redefines their roles and increases their authority. And increasing one person�s authority inevitably means diminishing someone else�s - in this case, likely the people actually elected to govern.

Taking on a culture of violence with street art in Tegucigalpa

I came across the Mona Lisa with a pink gun on a wall near a Tegucigalpa hotel on a previous visit.
The work is part of a series by a Honduran artist who uses the name Urban Maeztro. The prints mixed classic art images with the weapons that are part of life for many Hondurans.
Street art can be dangerous work here. Authorities don�t like it, as in most cities, but they express they�re disapproval more forcefully. And gangs aren�t sure if Urban Maeztro is mocking them.
It�s not going to end violence. But anything that challenges the status quo is a good thing.
You can read more about Urban Maeztro and his work here


The Canadian government and the Honduran drug business

You can draw a straight line from the Canadian government�s stupid and cynical drug policies to crime here in Honduras.
Canada and the U.S. continue to follow a drug policy that has failed every test since Prohibition in the 1920s. The governments spend billions in a futile effort to block the supply of drugs and lock up users and dealers. 
It has never worked. Over the 42 years since Richard Nixon declared the �war on drugs,� nothing has changed. Drug use and drug-related crime haven�t been reduced.
The beneficiaries are criminals. Gangs make big money because drugs are illegal and widely desired. The risks are worth the huge rewards. It�s simply a question of market forces.
Honduras has become a big trans-shipment point for cocaine bound from South America to the insatiable North American and European markets. Planes land on strips carved in the jungle, boats race to dark beaches. They even use submarines.
The U.S. state department estimates 80 per cent of cocaine bound for American consumers passes through Honduras. Maybe 130 tonnes, or $80 billion in street value. 
In a desperately poor country, the chance to be part of an $80-billion business is irresistible. At the low end, people can earn a month�s pay by carrying a backpack of cocaine over the hills and into Guatemala. At the upper end, there is big money to be made. A narco in a community about 40 kilometres from here has lives in a replica of the White House.
It�s not all bad. A woman told me a narcotrafficante was elected mayor in her hometown. He had money to fix things up, and muscle to discourage troublemakers. People were happy with his administration.
But an illegal drug trade always has fallout. Participants settle disputes with guns. They bribe police and governments to look the other way. Corruption become corrosive. 
The drug industry in Honduras thrives thanks to the policies of the Canadian and U.S. governments. 
That could be defensible if those policies were based on evidence and made sense.
But they aren�t.
The latest Canadian example is the government�s response to a Supreme Court ruling rejecting its effort to close Insite, the B.C. government�s supervised drug injection site in Vancouver.
The issue has travelled through the courts - the B.C. Supreme Court, the province�s appeal court and the Supreme of Court of Canada - since 2008.
The rulings have been consistent, and based on the evidence from supporters and opponents. The supervised injection site saves lives and reduces illness. People manage their addictions and some seek treatment. Public disorder is reduced and community life improved.
And opponents were not able to show any compelling pragmatic reasons not to allow the centre to operate. Significant benefits, including lives saved, and no good reason to close the site.
The Canadian government should have said we don�t like drug use in any form, but accept the evidence and ruling on supervised injection sites. Our polices will be based on what works.
Instead, it introduced new legislation governing supervised injection sites. The health minister has full discretion to say no, without appeal. Applicants must include letters of support from provincial cabinet ministers, municipalities and police forces and broad consultation.
The legislation is written to ensure the sites won't be approved, despite the toll in lost lives, health care costs and damaged communities.
If there was any doubt about the intent, the governing Conservatives erased it. Even as the health minister announced the new law, the Conservative party launched a website petition headlined �Keep heroin out of our backyards.� It warned �special interests� and opposition parties want safe injection sites across the country.
The governing party once again played cheap and sleazy politics with drug policy.
The results stretch across a hemisphere. Canadians are hurt, of course. But so are Hondurans. The continued allegiance to failed policies in Canada and the U.S. ensures a lucrative market and thriving illegal industry dedicated to meeting the demand. Decades of efforts have failed to change that equation.

Airtel Prepaid Online Recharge and Its SMS Packs

Airtel prepaid online recharge and its sms packs


One of the most effective mobile service providers in India is Airtel.  Though the competitors are coming back up with totally different tariffs and lucrative recharge plans nonetheless airtel stands prime. Often airtel releases new plans for festivals and national importance days where its customers can opt for new airtel recharge plan and fancy its offers.

Both for prepaid and post paid subscribers the offers are very lucrative.  Together with the talk time plans airtel sms pack is additional advantage. Most of the scholars, housewives and unemployed benefit a ton with sms packs as these are very cheaper and one will update to the full group without delay. Aside from students and housewives airtel sms pack can be used for cluster messaging too.

airtel prepaid recharge online

Often it happens when the mobile is running out of currency to create calls customers would roam around to seek out for airtel recharge. Though airtel recharge can be found in petty retailers too however it would be tough throughout holidays, Sundays and late nights to make emergency calls. At these times airtel prepaid recharge online involves rescue.

Airtel recharge online is terribly simple. Just customers would like to login to the website and enter their mobile range for which they are trying to recharge. And then enter the number to recharge. After submitting the mobile number and quantity customers would like to pick the mode of payment. It can be either through debit card or mastercard except web banking. Also these transactions are safe and secured.

The different advantage while creating airtel on-line recharges client will recharge with his existing plans or check out for brand new plans and airtel topup. There are several plans on the market and relative airtel topup for additional edges. Also will activate airtel sms pack too while airtel prepaid recharge on-line.

Customers in step with their usage and budget will select any kind of set up and selecting arrange when making airtel on-line recharge is flexible. Customers can take enough time and check out the advantages leisurely.

Spherical the clock one will opt the airtel online recharge services and thus it is benefiting the shoppers abundant. From electronic gadgets to household groceries now everything is available online.

Airtel prepaid online recharge and its sms packs

How to write about Honduras, or �Death, Death, Death!�

It�s been striking how much of the commentary about Honduras in the world press or blogland seems to hit the same strings of clich�s, shuffled to suit the bias of the intended audience. It�s been equally striking to see all sorts of claims about the country unsupported by facts, stats or evidence of any kind.
There are notable exceptions, like Alberto Arce, the Associated Press reporter in Tegucigalpa who is doing great work.
Tomas Ayuso offers his take on the lousy writing on the country in �Violence and voyeurism: A guide on how to write about Honduras.�
For example:
If you are to include speaking parts for Hondurans in your piece make sure they are one dimensional husks, that although savory are also easy to digest,� Aysuo writes. �Some examples: The crooked cop, the poor farmer, the battered woman, the malnourished footballer and of course, the overwhelmed priest.�
He even offers help with photos.
�Limit your pictures to those of blood strewn over derelict pockmarked streets, or of black smoke and flaming wrecks. If covering a dynamic situation use instead interesting compositions such as small men with large guns, or sweaty human beings screaming. Otherwise a Caribbean sunset with a diagonally dipping palm tree and a silhouette of a gun will suffice.�
Worth a read. And worth remembering when you read many of the comment pieces on Honduras.

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