You can now get a gender neutral driver’s license in D.C. – Trending Stuff

(CNN)Nic Sakurai was amongst the very first individuals outside the Benning Road Department of Motor Vehicle workplace in Washington on Tuesday early morning at 7:15.

Sakurai had actually developed a Facebook occasion and welcomed others to sign up with the historical day: They would end up being the very first individuals in the United States to pick X as their gender marker rather of male or woman on motorist’s licenses and recognition cards.

The X symbolizes gender neutral, the favored classification for individuals like Sakurai who do not recognize as female or male.

    They might utilize various words to explain how they determine, such as gender nonconforming, gender fluid, gender agender or nonbinary, as Sakurai chooses. Whatever the case, “male” and “female” and “he” and “she” do not fit how they see themselves.

    “I do not feel that sense of gender as something that becomes part of my core natural experience,” stated Sakurai, who utilizes the pronoun “they.”

    “I’m happy to lastly have an ID that in fact matches who I am.”

    LGBTQ supporters state letting individuals self-identify decreases the danger of harassment and discrimination they experience when their physical look does not match the gender on their ID.

    Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser revealed the modification recently, after a comparable policy from the state of Oregon. The modification had actually remained in the works for months as part of an effort to make the District of Columbia’s gender identity policies more inclusive, her workplace stated.

    “The security and wellness of all Washingtonians is my leading concern, and whenever we exist with a chance to enhance the lives of citizens and much better align our policies with D.C. worths, I will take it,” she stated.

    Any District of Columbia homeowner can select gender neutral. The D.C. DMV stated it anticipated the modification to have the most instant advantage for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals.

    “The brand-new gender neutral identifier provides gender nonbinary District citizens a gender classification that verifies who they are,” stated Sheila Alexander-Reid, director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs. “The application of a gender neutral identifier follows our D.C. worths of addition and regard.”

    The state of Oregon revealed previously this month, prior to D.C., that it would use a gender neutral marker on state-issued motorist’s licenses and recognition cards beginning July 1. Washington was the very first jurisdiction to make them offered.

    “We are enjoyed see D.C. and Oregon blazing a trail beforehand policies that permit transgender individuals, consisting of those who are nonbinary, to have precise recognition that assists them work in their daily lives,” stated Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

    “This is a remarkable primary step that acknowledges the experiences and mankind of our nonbinary neighborhood members. The District has actually set the brand-new gold requirement for access to precise gender markers on recognition files in the United States.”

    See the current news and share your remarks with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter .

    The transgender equality center and Washington-based university hospital Whitman-Walker Health helped the DMV in executing the modification.

    National Center for Transgender Equality media relations supervisor Jay Wu appeared early at the DMV, too, not just for work however likewise to obtain a brand-new ID.

    “Before today I was walking with an incorrect gender marker. This is more precise due to the fact that I recognize as nonbinary,” stated Wu, who utilizes the pronouns “they.”

    Similar policies exist in Canada, India, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/27/health/washington-gender-neutral-drivers-license/index.html

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Wonder Woman Debut Delivers Box-Office Punch for Warner – Trending Stuff

&#x 201C; Wonder Woman &#x 201D; opened as the leading movie in North American theaters, quickly outdrawing a brand-new image from DreamWorks Animation and handing Time Warner Inc. &#x 2019; s motion picture department its very first win of the summertime season.

The Warner Bros. image based upon the DC Comics superhero generated weekend sales of $100.5 million in the United States and Canada, scientist ComScore Inc. approximated Sunday in an e-mail. The other brand-new release, &#x 201C; Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, &#x 201D; put 2nd with $23.5 million in sales for supplier 21st Century Fox Inc. and DreamWorks Animation owner Comcast Corp.

Warner Bros. requires a business and crucial success from &#x 201C; Wonder Woman. &#x 201D;&#xA 0; The DC characters are a core part of the studio &#x 2019; s film company, yet the previous 2 movies were panned by critics and cannot do along with superhero images from Walt Disney Co. &#x 2019; s Marvel department.

&#x 201C; Wonder Woman &#x 201D; functions Israeli starlet Gal Gadot in the title function. She was presented to film fans in 2015 &#x 2019; s &#x 201C; Batman v Superman &#x 201D; movie.

In the brand-new image, Gadot plays Diana, princess of the Amazons, in a story that backtracks her origins to the time of World War I. Chris Pine is included as an American pilot who crashes off the protected island where Diana lives and informs her of latest thing worldwide dispute, which she then feels obliged to sign up with.

&#x 201C; Wonder Woman &#x 201D; expense $149 million to make, not consisting of marketing expenses, while price quotes for weekend sales varied from $89 million at Box Office Mojo to $111 million at BoxOfficePro.com. The movie ranks amongst the most seriously well-known comic-book films, with 93 percent favorable evaluations, inning accordance with aggregator Rottentomatoes.com.

&#x 201C; Wonder Woman &#x 201D; is likewise the very first big-budget superhero film directed by a lady. Patty Jenkins &#x 2019; s just other big-screen credit is &#x 201C; Monster, &#x 201D; a 2003 police procedural that amassed an Academy Award for lead starlet Charlize Theron.

&#x 201C; Captain Underpants &#x 201D; is based upon the series of kids books by Dav Pilkey. Including the voices of Kevin Hart and Ed Helms, the movie follows pranksters George and Harold, who hypnotize their school principal into believing he is a dim-witted superhero. The film was anticipated to position 2nd with $29.5 million in sales, inning accordance with BoxOfficePro.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-04/-wonder-woman-debut-delivers-box-office-punch-for-warner-bros

U.S. Colleges Have $500 Billion to Invest. Now Where Are All the Green Deals? – Trending Stuff

If you thought that the University of California system would #x &promote 201C; sustainable &#x 201D; investing, you &#x 2019;d be proper. The catch is, the racks in the sustainable investing aisle aren &#x 2019; t particularly well-stocked with chances.

U.S. college endowments completely hold more than $500 ­ billion in possessions, a growing part of which they &#x 2019; ve designated to sustainable or &#x 201C; effect &#x 201D; investing. They likewise deal with something of a paradox: Where, precisely, does one invest that loan? The simple response, and one popular amongst smaller sized endowments, is to purchase funds of stocks considered green.

Another choice is genuine properties, states Jagdeep Bachher, who manages the University of California &#x 2019; s $100 billion portfolio, that includes retirement funds for among the nation &#x 2019; s biggest public university systems in addition to the school &#x 2019; s $10 billion endowment, the 12th biggest in the United States &#x 201C; Institutions slouch at some level, &#x 201D; he states. &#x 201C; We await pitch books to appear. &#x 201D; But that isn &#x 2019; t acceptable for the Regents of the University of California . The factor: Staving off the worst results of worldwide warming will need a lot more financial investment than is being released &#x 2014; trillions of dollars more in coming years, inning accordance with quotes from the International Energy Agency. That &#x 2019; s why the system has actually ended up being popular in a group of institutional financiers releasing cash to green jobs.

The group has actually dedicated to putting more than $1 billion into tidy energy- and water-related jobs that the Obama White House promoted 2 years back. In addition, the financiers assisted develop an advisory group called Aligned Intermediary Inc. , which works like a co-op for them, sourcing financial investments.

The offers Aligned Intermediary determines huge: They vary from $50 million to $500 million, inning accordance with co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Peter Davidson. Its members, which likewise consist of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Trust and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, look for genuine returns from direct financial investments in facilities &#x 2014; renewable resource, water, even trash &#x 2014; along with from loans to jobs that help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. &#x 201C; The financial returns exist, &#x 201D; Davidson states. &#x 201C; The accountable investing concept exists. It &#x 2019; s a market flaw that we have to fix. &#x 201D; The University of California has actually dedicated $500 million to these kinds of tasks. While the group &#x 2019; s initially deal, a financial investment of about $50 million including water facilities in the Western U.S., is on the books, information sanctuary &#x 2019; t been revealed.

For endowments, these kinds of direct financial investments have benefits. They skirt personal equity and hedge funds &#x 2019; questionable 2-and-20 costs, and the jobs &#x 2019; schedules encounter the years, considerably longer than a normal fund life of approximately 10 years.

Endowments such as Yale &#x 2019; s assisted begin the pattern towards illiquid, alternative financial investments 3 years back, with a relocation into personal equity and hedge funds. Yale and Harvard &#x 2014; the most affluent college funds, with more than $60 billion jointly &#x 2014; were likewise leaders in purchasing genuine possessions, especially forest. Yale has actually even invested straight in a 22-turbine wind farm in Maine. The school &#x 2019; s endowment in a 2009 report proclaimed 4 green financial investments that have actually partially ended up being losers. One solar business, for instance, declared bankruptcy. Green funds that wager on tidy energy and innovation, released in the previous years, have actually underperformed.

While there &#x 2019; s need for financial investments that assist address international environment difficulties, chances #x &aren 2019; t specifically simple to #x &discover 2014; and most endowments, specifically independent schools, run in opacity, so it &#x 2019; s challenging to recognize case research studies. Williams &#x 2014; the wealthiest U.S. liberal arts college, with a $2.3 billion endowment &#x 2014; offers a fascinating glance into the troubles.

In September 2015 the Massachusetts school stated it wouldn &#x 2019; t divest from nonrenewable fuel source holdings, regardless of pressure from trainees. (Protests requiring endowments to divest from nonrenewable fuel sources have actually been a school consistent in the last few years.) Rather the college stated it would look for financial investments with the condition that they can be determined to reveal an effect in lowering greenhouse gas emissions. A year later on, Williams authorities advised an alternative energy fund to its financial investment committee, which authorized the proposition, inning accordance with the alumni publication. &#x 201C; We are striving to try to find these kinds of financial investments, however they are challenging to discover, &#x 201D; states Collette Chilton, the primary financial investment officer. &#x 201C; We &#x 2019; re not quiting, since this is necessary to the Williams neighborhood. &#x 201D;

It &#x 2019; s likewise been tiresome for the University of California to discover the ideal offer &#x 2014; even with the personnel of Aligned Intermediary on the case. Lined up was structured as an advantage corporation, and its functional financing was supplied by humanitarian groups, led by the Planet Heritage, William and Flora Hewlett, and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur structures. The company offers know-how to discover offers, carry out due diligence, and, if required, assist supervise the supervisors running jobs. The University of California sorted through 90 propositions prior to discovering the water offer that closed late in 2015. &#x 201C; You require versatility and you require persistence &#x 2014; and we have these things, &#x 201D; Bachher states. The university will act just when it sees a chance that fulfills all its requirements, he states.

In addition to the offer the University of California tattooed, others remain in the pipeline, Davidson states. They consist of a financial investment in a solar energy designer in North America, anticipated to close in June, and a mezzanine loan to a massive personal wind, solar, and biomass business that runs internationally.

The Ontario pension, a partner, has experience with these sorts of financial investments. It &#x 2019; s put loan in Ararat , a 75-turbine wind farm that opened previously this year, turning into one of Australia &#x 2019; s biggest, and in Toronto-based Firelight Infrastructure Partners LP, which concentrates on wind, hydroelectric, and solar jobs. Both are anticipated to create double-digit returns, states Hugh O &#x 2019; Reilly, president and CEO of the Ontario-based pension fund, which has C$ 19 billion ($14&#xA 0; billion) under management. &#x 201C; We do this to make loan, &#x 201D; he states. &#x 201C; We have a competence in energy and renewable resource. &#x 201D;

Caisse de D&#xE 9;p &#xF 4; t et Placement du Qu&#xE 9; bec &#x 2014; which, with C$ 271 billion under management, is Canada &#x 2019; s second-largest public pension fund supervisor &#x 2014; discovered a triple whammy with its financial investment in an electrical train task in Montreal: a genuine possession that &#x 2019; s long term and will decrease emissions by taking automobiles off the roadway. &#x 201C; We &#x 2019; re a long-lasting financier, &#x 201D; Michael Sabia, president and CEO, stated at a Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in April. &#x 201C; It &#x 2019; s not the next quarter, it &#x 2019; s the next quarter century. &#x 201D;

Laurence Siegel, director of research study at the CFA Institute Research Foundation, is bullish on tidy water and air and alternative energy. The horizon for the return on financial investment is uncertain. &#x 201C; In the long run we &#x 2019; re not going to utilize that much oil, &#x 201D; states Siegel, who worked for 15 years at the Ford Foundation in a financial investment capability. &#x 201C; These other alternative sources of energy are going to have a bigger and bigger market share, so you wish to be invested. Is it 20 years? Is it 100 years? The rate of return isn &#x 2019; t competitive if it &#x 2019; s 100 years. It &#x 2019; s most likely incredible if it &#x 2019; s 20 years. &#x 2019; &#x 2019;

Endowments have actually traditionally bought energy through their outdoors supervisors, who purchase public and personal oil and gas business. &#x 201C; The endowments have actually done an incredibly excellent task in choosing supervisors, &#x 201D; states Ashby Monk, executive director of Stanford &#x 2019; s Global Projects Center and chairman and co-founder of Aligned Intermediary. &#x 201C; That will undoubtedly insert them into the kinds of methods where that gain access to point is the most effective. To buy these type of ingenious possessions, you need to be ingenious in your financial investment company. &#x 201D;

That seems the case for the University of California. Bachher states he feels like he &#x 2019; s in a &#x 201C; lonesome area &#x 201D; with his endowment coworkers. He &#x 2019; s positive. &#x 201C; With time, we will see more endowments included, &#x 201D; he states. &#x 201C; It requires time for individuals to see the risk-adjusted returns. &#x 201D;

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-31/u-s-colleges-have-500-billion-to-invest-now-where-are-all-the-green-deals

Trudeau asks Pope Francis to apologise to indigenous people for church’s abuses – Trending Stuff

President welcomes the pope to take a trip to Canada to state sorry to thousands positioned in property Catholic schools where they were mistreated

Justin Trudeau has actually prompted Pope Francis to go to Canada to apologise to native individuals for the Catholic churchs treatment of aboriginal kids in schools it ran there.

Starting in the late 19th century, about 30% of kids of Canadas native individuals, or about 150,000 kids, were put in exactly what were referred to as property schools in a federal government effort to remove them of their ancestral languages and standard cultures.

For over a century the schools were numerous however government-funded were administered by Christian churches, mainly Roman Catholic.

I informed him how essential it is for Canadians to progress on genuine reconciliation with the native individuals and I highlighted how he might assist by providing an apology, Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, informed press reporters after fulfilling the pope.

He stated he had actually welcomed the pontiff to make the apology in Canada .

Canadas Truth and Reconciliation Commission stated in a 2015 report that the practice, which kept kids from the First Nations, Inuit and Mtis individuals far from their moms and dads, totaled up to cultural genocide.

Many kids were physically and sexually mistreated.

The commission made 94 suggestions, consisting of that the pope problem an official apology in Canada to survivors and their descendents for the churchs function in the spiritual, cultural, psychological, sexual and physical abuse of the kids.

Trudeau stated that in their personal talks the pope advised me that his whole life has actually been committed to supporting marginalised individuals worldwide, defending them, which he anticipates dealing with me and with the Canadian bishops to determine a course forward together.

Canadian bishops have stated the pope may go to next year.

Trudeau stated he and the pope likewise talked about environment modification. Unlike the United States president, who satisfied the pope recently , Trudeau and Francis concur that environment modification is brought on by human activity.

We spoke about how crucial it is to highlight the clinical basis of securing our world and the ethical and ethical commitments to lead, to develop a much better future for all individuals on this earth, Trudeau stated.

At last weeks Group of Seven top in Sicily, the United States president chose not to back a landmark global arrangement reached in Paris in 2015 to minimize worldwide warming.

Trump stated he would choose today on whether to take out of the accord, which was backed by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Trudeau, who is Catholic, stated he had a comprehensive and deeply individual, thoughtful discussion with the leader of my own faith.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/30/trudeau-asks-pope-francis-to-apologise-to-indigenous-people-for-churchs-abuses

Celebration, Sorrow Mingle After Death of Fidel Castro

(Associated Press) — While the departure of Cuban leader Fidel Castro prompted cheers from your nation’s exiles in Miami, the 90-year old innovative leader’s passing created expressions of admiration in the rest of the planet and quantified responses from authorities that viewed the faithful socialist as a risk.

U.S. President Barack Obama mentioned that while “discord and profound political disagreements” indicated the connection between the United States and Cuba for almost six decades, Americans were offering “a hand of friendship to the Cuban people” throughout their time of despair.

“History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him,” Obama said.

While spending the Thanksgiving weekend in Florida, where the declaration of Castro’s departure early Saturday introduced Cuban exiles to the streets to observe, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter to discuss a notion that proved pithy even for the medium: “Fidel Castro is dead!”

Elsewhere in globe, Castro was mourned by several current and former leaders and honored.

In a telegram to Cuban President Raul Castro, Fidel’s 85 -year old brother, Pope Francis provided “my sense of grief to your excellency and family.”

Francis broke from the standard practice of obtaining official condolences are sent by the secretary of state of the Vatican. In a symbol of the regard a year ago, the pope held for Castro, whom he met during a trip to Cuba, Francis signed the telegram himself.

Twitter: Enrique Pea Nieto on Twitter

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose state was Cuba’s major ally and backer throughout the Soviet period, called Castro “a sincere and reliable friend of Russia” who’d constructed “an inspiring example for many countries and nations.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping stated Castro “made immortal historical contributions to the development of socialism around the world.”

“With his death, the Chinese people have lost a close comrade and a sincere friend,” Xi said in a telegram to Raul Castro, state broadcaster CCTV noted. “His glorious image and great achievements will be recorded in history forever.”

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he’d vivid recollections of assembly Castro in January 2014 and having “a lively discussion that covered developments around the world as well as sustainable development and climate change.”

“Under former President Castro, Cuba made advances in the fields of education, literacy and health,” Ban said. “I expect Cuba will continue to progress on a path of reform and better prosperity.

Castro’s passing was felt particularly keenly in Latin America, where leftist activists were inspired by his achievement in overthrowing a military program in other states.

Salvador Sanchez Ceren, the president of El Salvador, said he felt “deep sorrow … of my friend and eternal companion, Commander Fidel Castro Ruz.”

Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted that “Fidel Castro was a friend of Mexico, promoting bilateral relations based on respect, dialogue and solidarity.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro remembered Castro’s departure from several dozen supporters and Mexico about the yacht Granma with his brother Raul to begin their r-Evolution.

“Sixty years after the Granma sailed from Mexico, Fidel sails toward the immortality of all those who fight their whole lives,” Maduro tweeted. “Onward to victory, always!”

Rubn Berros Martnez, long-time leader of the Puerto Rican Independence Party, called Castro the “largest and most influential Latin American of the 20th century, whose verticality, vision and passion has always served as an inspiration for those who aspired to a more just, free and dignified Latin America.”

Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva stated on his Facebook page that Castro was his “friend and companion” and the “greatest of all Latin Americans.”

Silva mentioned Castro was like an “older brother-an irreplaceable company. Visions of independence supported. sovereignty and equality.”

A statement from the Spanish authorities hailed Castro as “a figure of enormous historical importance.”

“As a son of Spaniards, former president Castro always maintained close relations with Spain and showed great affection for his family and cultural ties,” the the federal government declaration stated.

Nevertheless, there were insults and cries in Madrid as a tiny bunch composed of equally professional- and anti-Castro supporters fulfilled facing the Cuban embassy.

Turkey’s international ministry commended the “legendary leader of the Cuban Revolution” for “instituting many deep reforms in his country from health care to education, art to science.”

“The struggle to which he dedicated his life echoed not just in Cuba but across the world, and has awakened respect even in other political camps,” the ministry mentioned. “His words ‘another world is possible’ reflect the shared longing of billions of people from Latin America to Asia, from the Middle East to Africa.”

“India mourns the loss of a great friend,” Indian Prime Minister Nerendra Modi mentioned on Twitter.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras tweeted: “Goodbye, commandante. Until the individuals’ endless success.”

“Fidel Castro in the 20th century did everything possible to destroy the colonial system, to establish cooperative relations,” former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was quoted as telling the Interfax information company.

Ammar al-Moussawi, who’s in cost of worldwide relations for Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah team, lauded Castro as “a historic symbol whose life was a lighthouse to all revolutionaries around the world.”

Guyanese Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo stated his island’s sources were shared by Castro who have any country that dared request for assistance.

The Castro government sent a large number of nurses and physicians where local as well as other foreign medical staff had refused to go to perform in distant Caribbean regions, Nagamootoo mentioned.

“His and Cuba’s contribution to mankind and the Caribbean is un-matched by another state when it comes to brotherly and sisterly relations. He was a worldwide present to mankind,” he said.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, created to carry-on the task of the late antiapartheid leader who does continue to become the president of South Africa, re-counted the shut relationship Mandela invented with all the Cuban leader.

He was criticized by some in the West for his ties to Castro when Mandela became president in 1994. Mandela responded that anybody who objected could “jump in the pool.”

“The primary state we approached (for help in fighting apartheid) was the United States of America. We couldn’t even triumph to come near the authorities, and they refused to help us,” Mandela stated in a 1990 documentary to spell out his devotion to Castro. “But Cuba, the moment we appealed for assistance they were ready to do so and they did so.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined the chorus of admirers, contacting Castro “a legendary revolutionary and orator” and a “remarkable leader.”

“While a questionable figure, equally Mr. Castro’s backers and detractors acknowledged his great commitment and love for the Cuban individuals who had a deep and enduring fondness for ‘el Comandante,”’said Trudeau, whose late father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, had a warm camaraderie with Castro.

Trudeau’s re-Action prompted powerful criticism on Twitter from two Republican U.S. senators, Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, equally Cuban Americans.

“Is this an actual assertion or a parody? Because if this can be an actual statement in the PM of Canada it’s black (and) obstructing,” Rubio tweeted. Cruz wrote: “Disgraceful. Why are totalitarian tyrants idolized by socialists? Castro, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot — all evil, torturing murderers.”

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter mentioned he and his spouse Rosalynn “remember fondly our visits with him in Cuba and his love of his country.” The few visited with Cuba in 2002, long after Carter left workplace.

While the majority of the the state remembrances were a few highlighted less- views of the leader.

Trump elaborated on his first tweet after Saturday, calling Castro “a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades.”

Trump claims Castro left a heritage of “firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, the most effective Republican in the United States Congress, mentioned any remembrances needs to be allowed “for the memory and sacrifices of all those who have suffered under the Castros.”

“Now that Fidel Castro is dead, the cruelty and oppression of his regime should die with him,” Ryan mentioned in a declaration.

Ed Royce, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, supplied a comparable evaluation, declaring “no one should rule anywhere near as long as Fidel Castro did.”

“His heritage is among repression in the home, and support for terrorism overseas. Unfortunately, Raul Castro is no better for Cubans who yearn for liberty,” Royce mentioned.

Republican officers in the United States of America weren’t the only kinds with nasty words for the lifeless groundbreaking.

“After decades under Fidel’s doctrine of oppression and antagonism, there is hope that a new path for Cuba is opening,” Nancy Pelosi, who heads the Democrats in the House of Representatives, mentioned.

“I hope his death can start a freedom revolution in Cuba,” Denmark’s Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen stated. “Any death is depressed. In this situation I consider that it could bring something great.”

Peter Hain, a former member of the British Cabinet and anti-apartheid tempered praise for Castro with criticism of some facets of his lengthy rule, campaigner.

“Although responsible for indefensible human rights and free speech abuses, Castro created a society of unparalleled access to free health, education and equal opportunity despite an economically throttling USA siege,” Hain mentioned. “His troops inflicted the first defeat on South Africa’s troops in Angola in 1988, a vital turning point in the struggle against apartheid.”

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-26/celebration-sorrow-mingle-after-death-of-fidel-castro

Hoops, wheels and moose heads: playtime in the world’s most inhospitable places

How do children play in refugee camps, aboriginal reserves and places ravaged by war? Photographer Mark Neville found out

You seldom see a smile in Mark Nevilles photographs of children. Even in glorious circumstances, among the mud and smoke of a well-run adventure playground, children appear stern and serious: deeply focused on whatever business is afoot. In what Neville calls oppressed space at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya or in bomb-damaged east Ukraine they gaze into his camera quizzically, as if briefly awoken from a more absorbing inner world.

Childs Play, an exhibition opening this week at Londons Foundling Museum, brings together images from 15 years of Nevilles photography. From Afghanistan to Pittsburgh, London, Corby, Port Glasgow and the Isle of Bute, he noticed that his big, socially engaged series all featured strong images of children. These are now part of a wider campaign to raise awareness about the importance of play in childrens development.

A
A boy in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya, 2016. Photograph: Mark Neville

Neville has previously tackled post-traumatic stress disorder, toxic waste and war, so this new topic play might seem a lighthearted departure. But he believes it is an essential survival strategy. Unstructured activity determined by the child, as opposed to educational games or sport, is about social interaction, testing boundaries and confidence. The only way we gain confidence is to test our fears. Some are social, some physical, some psychological. All get tested in the playground: its a microcosm of the real world.

New material for the show has been taken in Kenya and Ukraine, as well as in the London borough of Islington, which granted Neville access to the Toffee Park and Lumpy Hill adventure playgrounds. Neville is concerned by the lack of a national play strategy in the UK, which could lobby on behalf of such sites. If were looking at making cuts we look at Toffee Park and think, Well, surely kids can play at school, so we dont need that. It just gets crossed off. If we dont provide play, theres going to be a generation of unwell adults.

Christmas
Christmas Day in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, 2010. Photograph: Mark Neville

Across the thousands of miles of territory covered in the show, common threads emerge: kids trundling hoops and wheels in Kenya and Afghanistan; girls playing mother and child; the universal appeal of water, mud, rope and string. We see children performing for the camera: there is the occasional manic grin, a hardman snarl from a pre-schooler in Pittsburgh and unexpected vamping from a girl in southern Afghanistan. We drove for a couple of hours in a tank to get to Lashkar Gah, Neville recalls. There was an outdoor class going on. I was at the back and suddenly this girl stands up and starts posing to camera like a silent movie star.

Neville has seen first-hand how, in hostile environments, play becomes an outlet, a release, a kind of therapy. It allows children to make sense of the horrors going on in the adult world and deal with them. Whether theyre the horrors of life in Islington which there are or on an aboriginal reserve in Shamattawa, Manitoba.

That reserve in Canada has become totemic for Neville a place of extreme neglect. A community of about 1,600 people living in shacks, serviced by one grocery store (which burned down last September) and accessible only by plane, Shamattawa is home to a generation of aboriginal tribes Cree, Sioux who have been completely disinherited from everything to do with their identity and their religion. The adults live without hope, so they become hopeless parents too..

The
The mooses head in Shamattawa, Manitoba, 2016. Photograph: Mark Neville

One image of Shamattawa shows half-dressed children in a dilapidated kitchen with a severed moose head on the floor in a puddle of congealed blood. What might be an axe handle, or the butt of a gun, lies beside it. Shamattawa has shocking numbers of child suicide. Kids see that if you kill yourself, theres a funeral and a public outpouring of attention and grief, says Neville. I was walking around and came to a little clearing in a wood. There was this graveyard of little crosses with teddy bears stuck on them, hundreds of them. I wept and wept.

In March, alongside Childs Play, the Foundling Museum will host a symposium on issues of public space and childrens rights. Neville and campaigner Adrian Voce have also put together a book outlining the mental and physical health issues associated with a lack of free play, and covering the threats currently facing spaces and facilities in the UK. It will not be commercially available, but will instead be sent out to bodies and individuals with a stake in the issue, or influence in the field.

This reflects Nevilles belief that simply taking photographs and exhibiting them is no longer enough: the images have to be disseminated in a way that might actually make a difference. Because its a fucking disaster, isnt it, the world at the moment? he says. None of us can afford to sit back and let it happen.

Childs Play is at the Foundling Museum, London, from 3 February until 30 April.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/jan/31/childs-play-photography-mark-neville-interview

How to drink baijiu: Beijing’s pros share their tips

Beijing (CNN)It’s the most widely drunk hard liquor in the world but it’s rarely found on cocktail menus.

Baijiu, distilled from sorghum and rice, rules every festive occasion in China, where it’s the tipple of choice for everything from wedding receptions to business banquets.
It’s especially popular during celebrations for the Lunar New Year, which began Saturday, when shot glasses filled with the potent spirit are thrown back and slammed down on the table in endless rounds of toasts.

    Bill

    Baijiu 101

    Isler’s advice for baijiu newbies is this: “Don’t drink with Chinese people.”
    He suggests people approach the drink “on their own first” instead of being thrown into a Chinese banquet and forced to ganbei — bottom up — round after round.
    “By the time they drink with Chinese they should know what baijiu styles they prefer and how much they can drink,” he says.
    Capital Spirits, for example, offers baijiu flights — four 10 milliliter mini shots of the basic baijiu styles, going from the mildest to strongest.
    Baijius are mainly categorized by these four aroma profiles.

    Capital

    Rice aroma: Originating in southern Guangxi province, this is probably the lightest among the four types. Unlike other baijiu styles, it’s made from rice, which gives it a sweet, floral tone. A fine example of this type of baijiu is Guilin Sanhua, made using water sourced from the picturesque local Li River.
    Light aroma: This style dominates the north, especially around Beijing. Fermented solely from sorghum, the light aroma isn’t matched by ABVs as high as 56%. The brand Erguotou, with its iconic square-shaped bottled, falls into this category. In terms of the taste, light aroma baijius are usually delicate and dry.
    Strong aroma: China’s most popular baijiu is produced with at least two different grains and fermented in mud pits, giving it a more complex and almost overripe flavor. A fine example is Luzhou Laojiao, a distillery that brews the spirit of the same name and is one of the oldest still in production (from 1573).
    Sauce aroma: Some say this almost savory drink’s flavor resembles soy sauce. The most popular brand, Moutai, produced using labor-intensive methods in Guizhou province, is the most expensive type of baijiu. A batch of Moutai has to go through rounds of subterranean fermentation so it usually takes a year to produce.
    “In terms of depth of flavor, vodka or gin drinkers may tend to the light aroma type, whereas whiskey or rum drinkers may prefer the strong aroma type,” Isler says.
    For non-purists, Isler also offers cocktails, among them are twists on classic cocktails like the Baijiu Sour, Crabs Island Ice Tea and Szechuan Sling.
    There are also original baijiu recipes:
    There’s CS’s house special — mixed with cinnamon schnapps and rice aromatic baijiu.
    Tinache, with sweet and mellow passion fruit and pineapple, perfectly balances out the dryness of Fenjiu (a light aroma baijiu from Shanxi).
    Even the “unmixable” saucy Moutai is tamed by the silky coconut milk in the bar’s best seller — Coco Moutai Cream.

     a bartender in capital spirits prepares the baijiu-based "moutai coco cream."

    Is baijiu poised to take over the world?

    There are signs that appreciation for baijiu is starting to spread.
    Jim Boyce, a Canadian wine expert based in Beijing, is the founder of World Baijiu Day, aimed at promoting the best-selling yet little-known spirit.
    He said 30 Baijiu Day events were held in 20 cities around the world last year.
    Dedicated baijiu bars are now found in Liverpool and New York.
    There are also a growing number of overseas baijiu brands. ByeJoe in the United States, Taizi in New Zealand and Dragon’s Mist in Canada are milder versions of China’s most eye-watering drink.
    In China, people are experimenting with baijiu too.
    Seminars are being held on how to pair it with food and some entrepreneurs have developed baijiu-infused ice cream, pizza and gummy bears. A chef in Beijing even created deep-fried baijiu cake.
    The government is also promoting baijiu tourism, a Chinese version of a Bordeaux tour in Maotai, Guizhou province.
    Boyce suggests first timers “compare and contrast” different baijiu styles side by side.
    “Just as with a flight of wine or whiskey or tequila, a flight of baijiu is bound to make you think more deeply about smells, tastes and, ultimately, preferences,” he says.
    “Lots of people assume all baijiu is pretty much the same. Trying different styles side-by-side reveals a great deal of diversity.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/29/foodanddrink/how-to-drink-baijiu-china/index.html

    Categories CNN

    From book to boom: how the Mormons plan a city for 500,000 in Florida

    The Mormon church owns vast tracts of US land, and now envisages a huge new city on its Deseret Ranch but at what cost?

    Everything about the Deseret cattle and citrus ranch, in central Florida, is massive. The property itself occupies 290,000 acres of land more than nine times the size of San Francisco and almost 20 times the size of Manhattan. It is one of the largest ranches in the country, held by the one of the biggest landowners in the state: the Mormon church.

    On an overcast weekday afternoon, Mormon missionaries give tours of the vast estate. Fields, orange trees and grazing animals stretch as far as the eye can see. While central Florida may be best known for Disney World, the ranch roughly an hours drive away is nearly 10 times bigger. It is home to a jaw-dropping 40,000 cows and has grown oranges for millions of glasses of juice.

    Now there are ambitious, far-reaching plans to transform much of this land into an entirely new city, home to as many as 500,000 people by 2080. Deseret has said that while nothing will be built here for decades, its plans are necessary because urban growth in the area is inevitable and the alternative is piecemeal development. A slide from a 2014 presentation explains: We think in terms of generations.

    The
    The Deseret Ranch in central Florida. The Mormon church has said it plans are necessary because urban growth in the area is inevitable. Photograph: John Raoux/AP

    Deserets plans, which were given the green light by local county commissioners in 2015, are thought to be the largest-ever proposed in the state and have attracted high-profile attention. Critics have accused the plans of putting already stressed natural habitats and critical resources, such as water, in further jeopardy.

    This is not a typical housing development. It is an entire region of the state of Florida and it is the last remaining wilderness, said Karina Veaudry, a landscape architect in Orlando and member of the Florida Native Plant Society. It is, she stressed, a plan on an unprecedented scale: This project impacts the entire state, ecologically.

    For years, environmental groups protested that it was too risky to build so much on such ecologically important land particularly in one of the few areas of Florida that hasnt already been consumed by sprawling developments. We fought it and fought it and fought it, said Veaudry, who described it as nothing less than a David and Goliath struggle.

    Except this time, Goliath was part of the property empire of the Mormon church.

    Faith and property

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long influenced urban developments in America through specific ideas about town planning. In the 1830s, the churchs founder, Joseph Smith, laid out a vision for compact, self-sufficient agrarian cities. These were utopian in conception and have been hailed as a precursor to smart growth planning.

    The plans for the Deseret ranch in central Floridahave shone a spotlight on another side of the churchs influence: its investments in land and real estate. Today, the church owns land and property across the US through a network of subsidiaries. Its holdings include farmland, residential and commercial developments, though it remains notoriously tight-lipped about its business ventures.

    The church has been buying up land in central Florida since the 1950s, starting with 50,000 acres for Deseret Ranch since expanded almost sixfold. Its most recent major acquisition, by the church-owned company AgReserves, was another 380,000 acres in the states north-western panhandle the strip of land that runs along the Gulf of Mexico. Deseret Ranchs website quotes the late church president, Gordon B Hinckley, as saying that farms are both a safe investment where the assets of the church may be preserved and enhanced and an agricultural resource to feed people should there come a time of need.

    Across America, subsidiaries of the church reportedly hold 1m acres of agricultural land. This is thought to include land in Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah and Texas. Church companies are also thought to hold land outside the US, including in Canada and Brazil. In 2014, when church-owned farms in Australia were put up for sale, reports estimated their worth at about $120m (72.8m).

    The
    The Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City where the church has its headquarters. Photograph: George Frey/Getty Images

    Recent real estate investments by church companies include the 2016 purchase of a 380-unit apartment complex in Texas, estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars, and, in Philadelphia, a shopping area, a 32-storey apartment block and a landscaped plaza being built across the street from a newly constructed Mormon temple.

    In Salt Lake City, where the church has its headquarters, a church company is currently working on a new master-planned community on the citys west side for almost 4,000 homes. Last year, another investment was unveiled: the new high-end 111 Main skyscraper. Goldman Sachs is reportedly signed up as a tenant.

    This city was built by Mormons. In the 19th century, early Mormon settlers gave Salt Lake City bridges, miles of roads, rail and other infrastructure. Hundreds of businesses were also set up: banks, a network of general stores, mining companies. The citys Temple Square is filled with statues glorifying the pioneers.

    Nearby is a more contemporary monument to the investing and enterprising church: the City Creek Center, a new shopping mall with 100 stores and a retractable glass roof. It cost an estimated $1.5bn. At its grand opening, a church leader cut a pink ribbon and cheered: One, two, three lets go shopping!

    The church said its investment in the mall would help revitalise central Salt Lake City as part of a wider multibillion-dollar initiative called Downtown Rising. Bishop H David Burton said it would create the necessary jobs and added that any parcel of property the church owns that is not used directly for ecclesiastical worship is fully taxed at its market value.

    The City Creek Center project has been controversial, however even among Mormons. Some current and former church members have questioned why money invested in such projects isnt spent on charitable initiatives instead.

    In 2013, Jason Mathis, executive director of Salt Lake Citys Downtown Alliance business development group, said the church was an interesting landlord. Theyre not worried about the next quarter, he explained. They have a much longer perspective they want to know what the city will look like in the next 50 or 100 years.

    The
    The City Creek shopping centre in Salt Lake City, which reportedly cost $1.5bn. Photograph: Rick Bowmer/AP

    Black box finances

    Projects such as the Salt Lake City shopping centre have certainly focused attention on the churchs investments, but it remains secretive about its revenues and finances.

    An entity called Deseret Management Corporation is understood to control many of the churchs enterprises, through subsidiaries focused on different commercial interests including insurance and publishing.

    Several church ventures bear the name Deseret itself a term from the Book of Mormon meaning honeybee and intended to represent goals of productivity and self-sufficiency.

    In central Florida, the churchs Deseret Ranch is understood to sell cows to Cargill, a Minnesota-based trading company, and oranges to Tropicana, as well as renting land to hunters and other companies.

    Deseret, however, declined to confirm this. It said: As a private investment affiliate of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Deseret Ranch does not release financial information or details about our production and customers.

    The churchs press office in Salt Lake City also did not respond to emails from the Guardian.

    Previously, church officials have emphasised that finance for its companies investments do not come from tithing donations (church members are supposed to contribute 10% of their income each year) but from profits from other such ventures.

    But these and other claims, even when offered, are also difficult to verify. Ultimately their finances are a black box according to Ryan Cragun, associate professor of sociology at the University of Tampa.

    Cragun previously worked with Reuters to estimate in 2012 that the church owns temples and other buildings worth $35bn and receives as much as $7bn in members tithing each year. But he says the church stopped releasing annual financial information to its own members many years ago.

    Estimating their total land holdings? Good luck, says Cragun. Nobody knows how much money the church actually has and why theyre buying all of this land and developing land.

    The
    The Mormon church-owned skyscraper at 111 Main in Salt Lake City. Photograph: City Creek Reserve

    A new city for Florida

    Over the last half-century, Florida has become something of a laboratory for ambitious and sometimes surreal master-planned communities. In southern Florida, for example, the founder of Dominos Pizza funded the construction of a Catholic town called Ave Maria. Closer to Orlando is the town of Celebration, developed by the Walt Disney Company, where shops on meticulously maintained streets sell French pastries and luxury dog treats.

    Across Florida, more new subdivisions and developments are planned. Many of these projects have drawn criticism for their potential impact on Floridas already stressed water resources.

    Sprawl is where the money is, and people want homes with big lawns and nearby golf courses, a columnist for the Florida Times-Union newspaper recently lamented. He suggested the state should step in to ban water-hungry grass varieties and introduce stronger planning procedures to limit large-scale developments.

    The ranchs plans are the largest of these yet. Indeed, they are thought to be the largest-ever proposed in the state, and this land lies in an area thats been called Floridas last frontier.

    In 2015, local Osceola county officials approved the North Ranch sector plan, which covers a 133,000-acre slice of Deseret property. As part of this plan, tens of thousands of these acres have been earmarked for conservation lands, not to be built on; and, in addition, Deseret has insisted that it will also continue ranching operations here for generations in the future.

    But most of this land, under the approved plan, could be transformed into a new urban landscape. By 2080, it could be home to as many as 500,000 people. The plan explicitly refers to a new fully functioning city.

    It envisages a massive development complete with a high-intensity, mixed-use urban centre and a variety of centres and neighbourhoods. There would be 16 communities and a regional hub with a footprint of around one square mile equal to [that] of downtown Orlando.

    The
    The Lake Nona complex of master-planned communities where the grass is greener. Photograph: Claire Provost

    New office blocks, civic buildings, high-rise hotels and apartment buildings are among the structures anticipated, along with new schools, a hospital, parks and a university and research campus. New motorways and rail lines would connect it all to Orlando and cities along Floridas eastern coast.

    The document argues that the plan is necessary to prepare for expected population growth. More than 80% of the vacant developable land in the very area where demographic and economic forces are propelling an increasing share of the regions population and job growth is located on Deserets North Ranch, it says.

    In an email to the Guardian, Dale Bills, a spokesperson for Deseret Ranch, said it offers a framework for future land use decisions but will not be implemented for decades.

    Were not developers, but the sector plan allows us to be involved in shaping what the ranch will look like over the next 50-60 years, Bills said. When growth does come to the region the plan will help create vibrant communities that are environmentally responsible and people-friendly, he said.

    The plan also provides for continued farming operations, Bills added, meaning that generations from now, Deseret will still be doing what we love growing food and caring for the land.

    Meanwhile, the ranch has set aside another, smaller block of its land for a separate and more immediate project called Sunbridge, to be developed by the Tavistock Group known in the area for its Lake Nona complex of master-planned communities just south-east of Orlandos international airport.

    A
    A render of the Lake Nona development. Photograph: KPMG

    On a weekday afternoon, the still largely empty Lake Nona development is silent. Signs planted by the road proclaim it is where the grass is greener. At the visitors centre, a pair of well-dressed women chat over coffee. A sales agent hands out glossy brochures with aspirational verbs embossed on its cover: DISCOVER. EVOLVE. INNOVATE.

    Still under construction, Lake Nona describes itself as a city of the future with super-fast internet connections, one of the top private [golf] clubs in the world and homes ranging from luxury apartments to sprawling estates. Less than an hours drive from the ranch, it offers a potential hint of whats to come.

    The damage is done

    Until this happened [the ranch] was a quiet neighbour, said Jenny Welch, 54, a registered nurse and environmental activist who lived in the area for decades before leaving earlier this year. When I first moved here in 1980, I thought it was great because it would never be developed. This is such environmentally important land. Its a wildlife corridor. There are wetlands.

    Major concerns about the Deseret North Ranch plan have included how much water it will consume, the impact of proposed new roads and the amount of land set aside for conservation.

    Veaudry, the Orlando landscape architect, said environmental groups tried to engage with the Deseret plans from the beginning by raising concerns but also suggesting enhanced measures to protect local ecosystems.

    But, she said, what was ultimately approved was pretty much the nail in the coffin for decades-long efforts to establish a north-south ecological corridor to allow wildlife and ecosystems to flow across the state. It would put literally a city right in the middle of it, she said.

    The new city envisaged for this land wont be constructed overnight. While the overall plan for the area has been approved, more approvals will be needed on specific details. This has not reassured critics.

    Florida environmentalist Charles Pattison has argued that the long time frame only makes it harder to monitor the project. People involved in this today will not be around to see [it] through to completion, as many new administrative and elected officials will come and go over that time, he said.

    The main guidelines, the amount of conservation, how wide the buffers have to be, all of that is already approved and set, said Veaudry. As far as I understand it, the damage is done. Locals know what happened. The Mormon church is the largest landowner here. And they have enormous resources.

    The second half of Claire Provosts exploration of Mormon city planning will appear tomorrow. Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebook to join the discussion, and explore our archive here

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jan/30/from-book-to-boom-how-the-mormons-plan-a-city-for-500000-in-florida

    Miss France beats Haiti and Colombia to clinch Miss Universe title

    (CNN)Miss France is the new Miss Universe.

    Decked out in a gold-sequined gown, 24-year-old dental surgery student Iris Mittenaere beat 12 other finalists to take the crown. As Miss Universe, she will be campaigning for dental and oral care around the world.
    “This sash is not only a sash,” said Mittenaere, who is from Northern France, in a Miss Universe interview after the pageant. “This is something to help people, to understand people.”
      First and second runner-ups were Miss Haiti (Raquel Pelissier) and Miss Colombia (Andrea Tovar). The top finalists hailed from Kenya, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Panama, Colombia, Phillippines, Canada, Brazil, France, Haiti, Thailand and the U.S.
        The pageant changed its format this year; it had 12 instead of 13 finalists, and counted online votes from the Miss Universe app and Twitter.
        This was the first time Sierra Leone entered the competition and was represented by Hawa Kamara, 2013 Miss West Africa. Miss Canada, Siera Bearchell, also made headlines for taking on trolls who body-shamed her for her size.
        The annual pageant was held on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines. Host Steve Harvey joked on the show that he got the winner right this year, after last year’s snafu of getting it wrong. Rapper Flo Rida and R&B group Boys II Men provided entertainment.

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/30/entertainment/miss-universe-winner/index.html

        Categories CNN

        Is it safe to take melatonin for jet lag?

        The number of Americans taking the supplement has doubled in five years but it is controversial and not available over the counter in the UK. So does it work?

        Jet lag can be more than just an inconvenience for long-distance travellers. Arriving in a far-off destination where the time no longer matches your internal body clock can trigger insomnia, lethargy and reduced alertness. Which is hardly ideal if you are delivering an important presentation or trying to seal a big deal.

        There is little surprise, then, that growing numbers of people are popping pills to counter the effects of jet lag. Agovernment survey published last year found that 3.1 million Americans 1.3% of the population take melatonin supplements for jet lag and other sleep problems. Its use more than doubled in the US between 2007 and 2012.

        Melatonin use is less common in the UK, where it is only licensed in slow-release form to treat sleep disorders in those aged 55 or over, and cant be bought over the counter. Supplements are sometimes prescribed off-label to children with sleep problems associated with conditions including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism.

        Brits who frequently travel long distances report stocking up on melatonin in the US and Canada, where it can be bought as a nutritional supplement without the need to see a doctor. Others, including shift workers who need help getting to sleep during the day, get their supplies from online pharmacies.

        All of which begs a number of questions: does melatonin work? Is it safe? And, if so, how should it be taken?

        The first thing to know about melatonin is that it is a hormone made by the pea-sized pineal gland deep within the brain. Its production is triggered by darkness and inhibited by light.

        Scientists are keen to correct a frequently repeated misconception. Melatonin is most emphatically not asleep hormone, says Russell Foster, professor of circadian neuroscience atthe University of Oxford. It is a biological marker of darkness. In humans and other diurnal animals, therelease of melatonin into the bloodstream helps prepare the body for sleep. In nocturnal animals, however, it can signal breakfast time. The duration of melatonin release also helps animals keep track of the seasons, telling deer when to grow their winter coat or find a mating partner, for example.

        Melatonin was first harvested from bovine pineal glands as a potential skin-disease treatment in the 1950s, before being produced synthetically in the 90s.

        Scientists are divided over the effectiveness of melatonin supplements to counter sleeping problems, and the picture has been clouded by controversy over doses. Researchers at MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who originally patented synthetic melatonin as a sleeping aid in 1995, reported the ideal dose to be between 0.3mg and 1mg, and argued that prolonged use of larger doses could change how the body responds to the hormone, potentially undermining sleep. A 2013 combined analysis of 19 previous studies found that people with serious insomnia fall asleep on average seven minutes sooner and sleep eight minutes longer when given melatonin than when taking placebos.

        There is no scientific consensus on precisely how melatonin might bring on sleep more quickly, but some researchers believe it does so at least partly by dilating blood vessels near the skin, which in turn lowers body temperature.

        Melatonin has a transient soporific effect that can make people go to sleep a bit earlier, says Debra Skene, professor of neuroendocrinology at the University of Surrey. Weve shown in trials, as have other groups, that by lowering your core body temperature, it can make you abit more sleepy.

        Skene is ambivalent about the use of melatonin for insomnia, saying it can induce sleep more quickly but not by much. Having studied the circadian system for more than 25 years, however, she does believe it can be used to help re-align the internal body clock with the Earths day-night cycle when they fall out of sync.

        Even when deprived of external time cues, humans maintain a sleep-wake cycle that lasts, on average, a little more than 24 hours. Skene and colleagues have demonstrated in tests on blind people how melatonin can help reset the internal body clock to prevent it getting out of sync with the Earths 24-hour cycle. We know melatonin can be used to shift the body clock, adds Skene. If you are dealing with a condition that involves abnormal clock timing, as with shift work, jet lag, and in some cases blindness, then melatonin could be potentially useful.

        Skene points out, however, that shift workers who try to use melatonin to sleep during the day could struggle to find the right time to take it, and warns it could increase drowsiness among people who drive after taking it.

        A 2002 Cochrane review the gold standard in healthcare evidence found melatonin can be effective against jet lag. The analysis of 10 previous studies found that people crossing five or more time zones who take melatonin close to bedtime at their destination had less severe symptoms than those taking placebos. Those travelling east, crossing more time zones and taking higher doses of close to 5mg, saw the greatest benefits. However the authors warned of possibly harmful side effects for people with epilepsy and those taking the blood-thinning drug warfarin.

        Foster does not advocate using melatonin for jet lag, having tried it several times following flights from London to Australia. Its hard to know when to take it, and unless you know precisely where your internal clock is, theres a danger of shifting it in the wrong direction. Instead, he uses changes to light exposure, seeking out light when flying west and, when flying east, avoiding morning light and seeking out afternoon light for the first few days after arrival.

        Scientists also point out that melatonin bought as a nutritional supplement is not subject to the same strict standards as prescription medicines, and that it can be hard to be sure of the content ofmedicines bought online.

        Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jan/30/is-it-safe-to-use-melatonin-for-jet-lag-insomnia