Category Archives: Travel

PARENT ALERT: Drowning doesn’t look like drowning – the guide every parent should read

Parent Alert

It is a far more common occurrence than you might think, yet most of us have no idea what drowning really looks like. Clue number one: forget everything you’ve seen in the films. There’s no yelling or splashing; it’s undramatic and easy to ignore.

Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death worldwide, with children particularly susceptible, according to the World Health Organization. For infants up to the age of three, it’s the number one cause in countries like Australia where exposure to water is more regular.

Alarmingly, nearly half of these drownings will take place within 25 yards of the caregiver, and in 10 per cent of cases, the adult will watch it happen without realising.

Mario Vittone, a Florida-based expert in sea rescue, develops training courses on the subject of drowning. Below he explains how to spot the signs, and possibly even save a life.

A cautionary tale

The new captain jumped from the deck, fully dressed, and dashed through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the couple swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach.

“I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard.

”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears.

How did this captain know – from 50 feet away – what the father couldn’t recognise from just ten? 

Common misconceptions

Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognise drowning by experts and years of experience.

The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s almost all of us) then you should make sure that you know what to look for whenever people enter the water.

Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” upon rescue, she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event.

The Instinctive Drowning Response

– so-named by Francesco A Pia, PhD, is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect.

There is very little splashing, no waving, and no shouting or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents); of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In 10 per cent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening.

Extremists: France’s Many Burning Churches

France Church Burnings

The fire that burned Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral horrified the world, but many other deliberate blazes and acts of vandalism targeting French churches go unnoticed, says Nina Shea at The National Catholic Register.

“In February, Notre Dame of Dijon was vandalized, with hosts scattered about,” she notes. “At Notre Dame Church in Nimes, a cross was recently drawn on the wall using excrement and consecrated Communion hosts. Notre Dame of France Catholic bookstore was vandalized last September.”

Indeed, according to the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, such attacks in France have been relentless for the past four years.” Who’s behind this trend? “A variety of extremists enraged by the identities and teachings that the churches symbolize — Christianity, French nationalism and Western civilization at large.”

Anglican & Catholics: Persecuted Christians and Their Passive PC Leaders

Murder of Christians

After the Easter slaughter in Sri Lanka, why did bishops fail to stand up for their flock?

Last week, I wrote about the West’s unerring capacity for self-immolation. Forgive me for returning to the subject, but last weekend’s massacre in Sri Lanka has underscored how self-destructive our elites can be.

When 250 people were killed by suicide bombers, many of them as they attended Easter Sunday services, it was a harrowing reminder of the intensifying persecution of Christians around the world. The slaughter followed similar assaults in Nigeria, Egypt, Syria, Indonesia and a dozen other countries in the past year alone. According to a recent Pew Research study, Christians are the most widely harassed faithful on Earth. They were attacked for their religion in 144 countries in 2016, more than Muslims, Jews or any other group.

So you would think that the latest horror might induce the official Christian leadership to speak out in defense of their people. John Sentamu, the archbishop of York—the second-highest-ranking cleric in the Anglican communion—had an opportunity. Interviewed on the BBC on Monday, he was asked if this was now a moment to plant a flag for Christians who find themselves under siege.

The archbishop whiffed. “Violence of any sort, to any community, any group, is totally unacceptable. The flag I want to fly is a flag of peace,” he said. Along with the Catholic cardinal of Colombo, he wanted to “ask Christians to refrain from taking any retributory steps against their Muslim brothers.”

One of the most prominent pastors in the world, faced with the scattering of his flock by a pack of murderous wolves, manages to avoid blaming the perpetrators for the carnage and actually worries aloud that the problem might actually be the Christians. Quite a feat after 300 or so of your coreligionists have been blown to bits by supporters of a fanatical religious ideology. Jesus wept, as the Bible tells us.

Why does this keep happening? To be fair, part of the explanation is that this is the very essence of the Christian message: Turn the other cheek. Find the beam in our own eye before pointing to the mote in others. As a creed for individual living, it is imperfectible. But for an entire community under attack, it’s a recipe for self-extinction.

Christian leaders in the West are afraid to upset the politically correct crowd who control the media.

According to another Anglican bishop, Philip Mountstephen of Truro, who is leading a church inquiry into the rising persecution of Christians, the reason for the widespread reluctance among leaders—religious and secular—to take the continuing war against Christians seriously is a lingering sense of historical responsibility. “There is a lot of postcolonial guilt around a residual sense that the Christian faith is an expression of white Western privilege,” he told the Times of London.

This would be absurd even if the people who were being murdered in their hundreds each year were indeed wealthy white Christians in stately homes and colonial mansions. Yet, as the bishop went on to point out, the vast majority of Christians suffering today aren’t white wealthy Westerners. Most are from the relatively poor global South: Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America. To their already unsupportable lot of grinding poverty, they must add the risk of being assaulted by governments, religious vigilantes, gangs and others.

To compound their plight, it seems many Christian leaders in the West are so afraid to upset the politically correct crowd who control the media and cultural establishment that they won’t even speak out. These clerics often find it more congenial to weigh in forcefully on other issues of pressing concern, where they know they’re in no danger of losing invitations for TV interviews and fancy premieres.

I would respectfully suggest to the bishops of the Anglican persuasion—and quite a few of their Catholic brethren too—that however serious and acute you might think the threat of climate change or workplace discrimination, the larger and more immediate threat to Christians in many parts of the world is that they might not get through their next church service without someone dispatching them to eternity to shouts of “Allahu akbar.”

Addressing the rising threat of persecution will require concerted and complex action, policies enacted by governments to isolate and pursue the murderers and those who abet them, and direct support of threatened communities. None of that will be easy. But surely it must start with a willingness by church leaders to call the threat what it is.

By Gerard Baker

The truth about the ‘global white extremist threat’

No Jews

Last week, The New York Times featured an illustrated timeline of “white extremist” killings over the last nine years. According to the Times, the record shows “an informal global network of white extremists whose violent attacks are occurring with greater frequency in the West.”

The idea that white supremacist violence is a growing global threat has gained more currency recently, notably in the wake of the ghastly Christchurch mosque massacre. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for instance, asserted that “White supremacists committed the largest # of extremist killings in 2017.”

No one will deny that people who kill in the name of white supremacy commit evil, but is it true that white extremists are sowing a growing amount of worldwide mayhem? The evidence suggests otherwise.

Even a superficial glance at the record indicates that of the nearly 20,000 people killed in thousands of extremist killings in 2017, white supremacists were responsible for very few.

The worst terrorist event of 2017, according to the State Department, was the explosion of a truck bomb in Somalia, which killed more than 580 people. This act is believed to have been the work of Al-Shabaab, which was responsible for 97 percent of the 370 instances of extremist killings in Somalia in 2017, accounting for about 1,400 deaths.

The deadliest extremist attack in Egypt’s history took place in 2017, when ISIS-Sinai terrorists converged on a mosque and slaughtered 312 people when they came outside.

White nationalists committed none of the above violent acts, and that’s nothing remarkable: Almost all the world’s extremist violence is concentrated in a handful of regions, where very few white people live. In areas where whites do live (America, Canada, Europe and Australia/New Zealand), white nationalists do indeed perpetrate a significant proportion of the relatively uncommon acts of extremist violence.

Again, this is unsurprising, because whites make up the overwhelming majority of the population there.

The New York Times timeline of “white extremist” murders covers nine years and 15 incidents, bookended by the heinous and indisputably racist attacks in Norway (in 2011) and Christchurch. Some of the most prominent killings among the remaining 13 incidents, though, resist categorization as acts of white racial terror.

Ali Sonboly, the son of Iranian Shiite Muslim immigrants and visibly a racial minority, carried out the 2016 Munich mall shooting. The 2016 Umpqua Community College shooting was carried out by a self-identified “mixed-race” man, as was the 2014 Isla Vista massacre, whose perpetrator believed that being half-Chinese made him unattractive to women.

The 2018 Toronto van massacre was perpetrated by a white man who declared that he was part of an “Incel Rebellion” against the “Chads and Stacys” of the world — in other words, he was angry that he could not get a girlfriend and was committed to overthrowing the “beautiful people.” The Times’ inclusion of these four incidents calls into question the value of its diagnosis of “white extremist killers.”

When Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that white supremacists were responsible for the most extremist killings of 2017, she was obviously wrong (if she meant worldwide, which is unclear from her tweet). There were at least 8,500 such incidents worldwide that year, and white supremacists accounted for perhaps 15 or 20 of them, depending how you count.

Perhaps Ocasio-Cortez was thinking of the US and relying on an Anti-Defamation League report, “Murder and Extremism in the United States in 2017.” According to the ADL, 34 people were killed as a result of extremist violence that year in the United States, eight of them by Sayfullo Saipov on Halloween in lower Manhattan. Another victim was Heather Heyer, who was run over by James Fields during the Charlottesville protests.

Heyer’s killing can legitimately be labeled an act of white-nationalist violence, as Fields was an open admirer of Hitler and the Confederacy. But the other murders that the ADL counts as “extremist-related” are fuzzy, even by the ADL’s standards.

For instance, Frank Ancona, a Klan member from Missouri, was killed in a domestic dispute by his wife, also a Klan member.

The Wall Street Journal, citing the US Extremist Crime Database, reports that the frequency of violent hate crime in the United States has been about the same for 50 years.

White supremacy is insane and immoral, and it may be a significant threat. But it doesn’t account for anywhere near the preponderance of global extremist violence, though one might get a different impression from recent coverage.

Seth Barron is associate editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, from which this column is adapted.

JetBlue apologizes after cop-killer featured in Black History Month tribute

JetBlue was forced to apologize Thursday after honoring convicted cop-killer Assata Shakur – mother of Tupac Shakur – as part of Black History Month at a John F. Kennedy International terminal in New York.

The airline removed the poster after an image of the Shakur tribute appeared on social media.

$79.98 Featuring a wonderful, wandering floral print on a refreshing pastel background, this dress feels both festive and romantic. It has an embroidered mesh yoke pan…

“The intention was always to unite our crewmembers and customers around the importance of Black History Month and we apologize for any offense the poster may have caused,” a JetBlue spokesman said in a statement, according to FOX 29 Philadelphia.

The image of Shakur, also known as Joanne Chesimard, was in the exhibit for 21 days before one flier noticed.

View image on Twitter

Jen Muzio@Jennymz76Jenny

@JetBlue Rumor has it that you are celebrating Black History month at LGA by celebrating Assata Shakur? She is a convicted cop killer. Please tell me this is not true.697:55 PM – Feb 23, 201996 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

“Became the first woman to be placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list after escaping to Cuba from prison where she was serving a life sentence for the 1973 murder of a police officer,” one of the bullet points read.

The tweet posted by Jen Muzio originally said the poster was at LaGuardia Airport, but she later clarified the poster was seen at JFK.

Shakur, a former member of the Black Liberation Army, was convicted of murder for a 1973 shooting that led to the death of a New Jersey State Trooper. She escaped from prison in 1979 and is believed to be living in Cuba.

By Ryan Gaydos

Democracy at Stake: Understanding The Seriousness of the Venezuela Crisis

U.S. vs. Venezuela

Global battle lines in Venezuela

IN one of his most decisive foreign-policy moments, President Trump recognized Juan Guaidó, the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, as the country’s interim leader. Free countries from the Western Hemisphere, Europe and beyond, including some adamant Trump critics, joined the US in support of Guaidó and against Nicolás Maduro’s crumbling socialist dictatorship.

Dictators’ club: China, Cuba, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah are lining up behind the socialist thug Nicolás Maduro. The US is leading the global pushback.
Yet China, Russia, Iran and others jumped to Maduro’s defense. Cuba — the country that installed Maduro in power in 2013, as Hugo Chavez was dying in Havana — has overseen the vicious crackdowns against impressive pro-democracy rallies.

Since Wednesday, more than 800 anti-Maduro demonstrators have been thrown into Cuba-modeled dungeons.

So the lines are drawn. As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the UN Security Council Saturday, every country must now pick sides: “Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem.”

But how does America help the forces of freedom win? It’s about money. And, true, the global antidemocratic club has been bolstering Maduro for a long time, while we’re fairly new to the game. Even so, Washington has the advantage.

China, for one, has offered Venezuela some $65 billion in loans. But Caracas hasn’t made much progress toward repayment, and so Beijing isn’t likely to invest further for now. Sure, China’s communist rulers express public support for Maduro, but cautious Beijing will await the outcome of the current uncertainty. PS: China isn’t looking for additional anti-US fronts.

Russia might go further. According to Reuters, Moscow is already sending paramilitary troops and contractors to Caracas. The Kremlin uses such mercenaries where it wants to be involved militarily while keeping plausible deniability, as it has in Syria and Ukraine. But while Venezuela may be yet another site to confront America, the Kremlin doesn’t see it as Russia’s hill to die on.

Cuba is most deeply involved. Throughout the Cold War, the Soviet Union financed the Castro regime in exchange for sugar cane. Needing a new sugar daddy after the Soviet collapse, Castro found Chavez. Venezuela supplied all of Cuba’s energy needs, while Havana guaranteed the regime’s survival.

It is the Cubans who train and reinforce Maduro’s notorious intelligence apparatus. Like in Cuba, the top Venezuelan army brass is getting rich through high positions in the country’s oil and other enterprises. Venezuelan generals, like their counterparts in Havana, get to profit from illicit drug and arms deals.

Such clandestine deals are aided by the Iranian regime and its Lebanese-Shiite proxy, Hezbollah. Relations between Caracas and the Mideast’s Iranian-led Shiite axis go back to the early days of Chavez’s rule.

Today the No. 3 official in the Maduro regime’s hierarchy, the Lebanese-born Tareck El Aissami, is “a bagman for Hezbollah,” says Vanessa Neumann, president of the consultancy group Asymmetrica and a leading researcher of Mideast terrorist activities in Latin America.

Hezbollah, along with the Maduro regime, funds much of its operations with the narcotics and arms trades. And that, says the Venezuela-born Neumann, could help the opposition she strongly supports. “With friends like these,” she says, “it makes it easier for us.” The opposition is making the case for the West to place Caracas on the list of terrorist-sponsoring states, leading to automatically imposed sanctions.

The American response has now gone beyond sanctions. On Thursday, soon after Guaidó was sworn in, Pompeo pledged $20 million to help him and the Assembly. That’s small change, but it’s a start.

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced $7 billion in sanctions, including on government-owned oil giant PdVSA. While Venezuelan assets in the US, including oil giant Citgo, will continue to operate, profits will no longer go to Maduro’s cronies. They will be deposited instead in “blocked accounts” designed to benefit the people through the US-recognized Guaidó leadership.

Combined with similar measures by America’s global allies, the latest US move can help turn the tide in Caracas.

Democracy “never needs to be imposed. It is tyranny that needs to be imposed,” Elliott Abrams, Trump’s new point man on Venezuela, said at the UN Saturday. But while Maduro’s allies impose, America can unite the free world in isolating him economically — and win one for democracy.

by BENNY AVNI

The rape epidemic in Finland has reached the point where Fins have given up hope

Rape Sweden Finland

Is rampant rape the price Finnish women must pay for giving asylum to migrants? Finlandnow, has become “one of the least safe countries in Europe for women,” according to Finland’s leading newspaper.

Crimes committed by asylum seekers have increased dramatically. Swedish-language asked a criminologist who says having an immigrant background doesn’t explain criminality and that the issue is more complicated than that.

Finland’s biggest daily newspaper devoted many column inches to the issue of rape. The topic of rape and violence against women has come to the forefront of discussion in Finnish media since highly-publicised incidents of rape committed by asylum seekers in recent weeks.

Only one in four rapes reported to police In the year 2000, HS displayed on a graph, 488 rapes were reported and in 2014 that number was 940 reported rapes. So far this year (from January to October) the figure stands at 864 reported rapes.

Finland is one of the top countries in the EU for incidents of violence against women. Using figures from the European Agency for Fundamental Rights, some 47 percent of women in Finland have experienced violence at some point in their lives since the age of 15.

The only other country in the EU with a higher percentage is Denmark, with 52 percent. Among the lowest percentages of violence against women were in Hungary (21 percent), Ireland (15 percent) and Austria (13 percent).

Citing Helsinki University’s Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy figures, the paper writes that incidents of reported rapes by immigrants were about eight times higher than that of native Finns.The paper also writes that the most reported rapes were committed by people from the Middle East and Northern Africa.

The evening tabloid Ilta-Sanomat featured a blazing headline on page four’s “Refugee Crisis” feature with a headline that reads: “Suspected crimes increase.”

U.S. Confronts ‘Troika of Tyranny’

Troika of Tyranny

The George W. Bush administration had its “Axis of Evil.” Now the Trump administration has coined the term “Troika of Tyranny” to describe the group of oppressive Latin American dictators it is pledging to confront. The administration is right to call out the crimes of the leaders of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. But it remains to be seen whether the White House can deliver a comprehensive strategy to go along with the rhetoric.

National security adviser John Bolton gave a speech Thursday afternoon at the Freedom Tower in Miami to a crowd filled with people who fled Cuba and Venezuela to escape the cruelty and oppression of the Castro and Maduro regimes. Linking those situations with the escalating repression of the Daniel Ortega government in Nicaragua, Bolton promised a new, comprehensive U.S. approach that will ramp up U.S. involvement in pushing back against what the administration sees as a leftist, anti-democratic resurgence in the region.

“This Troika of Tyranny, this triangle of terror stretching from Havana to Caracas to Managua, is the cause of immense human suffering, the impetus of enormous regional instability, and the genesis of a sordid cradle of communism in the Western Hemisphere,” Bolton said. “The United States looks forward to watching each corner of the triangle fall. . . . The Troika will crumble.”

It’s no coincidence that Bolton is in South Florida just days before the 2018 midterm elections. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), the son of Cuban immigrants, is defending his seat in a district that favored Hillary Clinton in 2016 by 16 points. Former journalist Maria Elvira Salazar, also born to Cuban immigrant parents, is running as a Republican against Bill Clinton administration official Donna Shalala to replace Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who is retiring.

There’s also a neck-and-neck gubernatorial race between Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), and while Hispanics overall favor Gillum, Cuban Americans strongly favor DeSantis.

But administration sources insist this new Latin America policy is not just to get out the vote. Once the election is over, the White House is vowing to use all the tools of national power to raise the pressure on the leaders of these three governments, especially targeting their ability to corruptly enrich themselves.

Last year, President Trump signed a presidential memorandum (NSPM-5), titled, “Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba,” which set the broad outlines of what the larger campaign will prioritize. The policy aims not only to roll back the Obama administration’s efforts to normalize the U.S.-Cuba relationship but also to ramp up efforts to contain the regime and support those inside the country struggling for greater political, economic and religious freedom.

Experts said the test will be whether the Trump administration can maintain focus and follow through with real results after the U.S. midterm elections are over.

“It is true what they say that these are three regimes that are horrible and deserve to be treated as pariahs, but nothing has worked so far,” said former Venezuelan minister of industry and trade Moisés Naím, now a distinguished fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Cuba has been a challenging issue for every administration since the Bay of Pigs invasion and no American president has been able to solve that puzzle. So let’s see if they have come up with a new remedy, a new strategy, a new regional approach. Right now, we don’t know.”

So far, the Trump administration’s approach to Latin America has been ad hoc. Most recently, Trump has threatened to cut off U.S. aid to Honduras, a country that cooperates extensively with the United States, unless that government stopped a “caravan” of migrants heading toward the U.S. southern border. The Trump administration’s relationship with Mexico has been contentious because of Mexico’s refusal to pay for Trump’s border wall. Trump has floated the idea of using the U.S. military to invade Venezuela, which evoked fears of past U.S. intervention in the region.

But there are positive signs that there is opportunity for a reset. The United States and Mexico have come to a new trade agreement that the incoming Mexican president — not a natural Trump ally — seems to accept. Brazil’s new president-elect has a terrible record of past statements but is someone with whom Trump might be able to do business. If the United States led a true regional approach aimed at addressing the continent’s growing humanitarian crises, most Latin American countries might be persuaded to come on board.

Absent such an approach, the deteriorating situations in Venezuela and Nicaragua are likely to create more refugees, more mass migration, more regional economic strife and, as a result, more repression, suffering and instability. Bolton’s “Troika of Tyranny” label won’t solve anything by itself. But if it’s followed up with a real strategy, it could be the beginning of what’s needed to prevent Latin America’s failing states from dragging the rest of the hemisphere down with them.

By Josh Rogin