Unease about immigration at core of UK election campaign – Columbus Ledger-Enquirer


Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Unease about immigration at core of UK election campaign
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
In Boston, set amid agriculturally rich flatlands 120 miles (200 kilometers) north of London, the immigrants came mostly to pick fruit, vegetables and flowers and work in food factories. Eastern … “People here understand that migration is a complex

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Greece Looks to Russia as Deal With Europe Stumbles – New York Times


New York Times
Greece Looks to Russia as Deal With Europe Stumbles
New York Times
ATHENS — With the prospect of a default looming in Greece, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is preparing to meet next week with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia as a European deal to give more aid to Athens falters. The timing has raised questions
Germany says Greece must flesh out reforms to unlock aidReuters
Greece's Fate Lies in Athens' Hands, Not Berlin'sWall Street Journal
Crunch time: Greece risks rising once againCNBC
Irish Times -Business Insider -Financial Post
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Tobacco farming: Child labour in nicotine production – NEWS.com.au


NEWS.com.au
Tobacco farming: Child labour in nicotine production
NEWS.com.au
THEY are not legally old enough to even buy a packet of cigarettes, yet workers as young as 12 are being slowly poisoned by nicotine. But they are not smokers, instead they are getting sick from working on tobacco farms. The numbers of young workers …

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Greece Discloses Expected Proceeds From Planned Piraeus Sale – Wall Street Journal


Wall Street Journal
Greece Discloses Expected Proceeds From Planned Piraeus Sale
Wall Street Journal
LONDON—Greece has told creditors it expects to raise at least €500 million ($ 545 million) from the privatization of the Piraeus port, according to Greek officials. The privatization plan has been controversial, and politicians in Greece's new leftist
Syriza May Bring a Modern Railway in Greece to a Grinding HaltHellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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Meet the Netherlands’ Biggest Pineapple Obsessive – Munchies

BY FELICIA ALBERDING

The pineapple has long been an irresistible attraction for people. The tropical fruit was a status symbol of the 17th century elite, and even a must-have accessory for Dutch festival-goers last summer. To learn more about pineapple obsession, I spoke with Prins Ananas, a.k.a. Lex Boon, about his long-running pineapple research project that has culminated with him becoming a pineapple trader himself.

“This happens all the time,” says Boon, starting a new thought in the middle of a sentence. “My head is so full of facts and stories about the pineapple that I jump from story to story.” Just seconds ago, he was telling me about visiting a pineapple trader in the Dutch town of Veenendaal who made him want start importing pineapples himself. But Boon doesn’t want the dominant MD2 cultivar you find everywhere nowadays—he wants to find a rare variety like the Smooth Cayenne, which he says is only procured for wealthy Russians.

Let’s rewind. In addition to being a pineapple obsessive, Boon is a journalist at Dutch newspaper NRC Next, where he writes about everything from art to crime. Two and a half years ago, he looked out the window of his house on the Albert Cuyp market in Amsterdam and began to dream about his own pineapple stall. He would call his company Prins Ananas (Prince Pineapple) and sell a particular kind of pineapple—an heirloom varietal. So Boon delved into the history of the pineapple and began discovering a plethora of bizarre factoids about it. He learned about the inventor of the most-eaten pineapple in Colorado and an 18th-centurypineapple castle in Scotland, as well as the Greek guy who decided that pineapple could taste good on a pizza.

“I actually combine all my vacations with pineapple traveling,” says Boon. “I could just call up the people I want to speak to, but I’d rather just go [visit them].”

kasteel

Boon at the pineapple castle in Scotland, which is available to rent.

Last September, the NRC Next started publishing Boon’s stories about his hobby project. “I initially thought that newspapers should publish more important stories,” he says, almost ashamed. “This pineapple project started purely as a thing I did in my own time. But it’s nice when things come together.”

The articles turned out to be quite newsworthy. Name an important event and Boon has a story with pineapple that comes with it: the fall of the Berlin Wall, for example. “In East Germany, there was a man who always bought canned pineapple in DDR stores. When the wall fell, he immediately went in search of fresh pineapple, and he was quite surprised to discover that there was no hole in the center [of the pineapple] like the canned version.”

Another example: Charlie Hebdo. “NRC wanted to skip my column one week when the Saturday edition was completely dominated by the attack on Charlie Hebdo. They said, ‘We can only publish it if you can connect it to the events in Paris. At first I thought that I would never succeed, but suddenly I thought about  a riot over the freedom of speech at an English university two years ago that actually involved a pineapple. An atheist association had displayed a pineapple, along with a sign that said ‘Muhammad the pineapple.’” Naturally, the Islamic Society at the university was very angry—but the whole debacle gave Boon fodder for a timely column, which he titled  “The Hate Pineapple.

ananassen

Massive pineapples at a market in Thailand.

Boon’s obsession with pineapples even provides opportunities to cover stories that other media outlets have missed. “I recently stumbled on [a story about] a forgotten conflict in Bangladesh. Newspapers haven’t written about it since 1997. The riots in the area burned down a complete village, including all pineapple plants—so I ended up with writing about the conflict again.”

Two weeks ago, the newspaper published its last pineapple story. Now that the theoretical part of Boon’s project is done, it’s time for the next step: becoming a pineapple importer himself. His plan is to import a rare pineapple variety—the Sugar Loaf or the Smooth Cayenne from Ghana—and bring it to market. It’s rare to find countries that cultivate any other pineapple type than the MD2. “The older varieties are less sweet, less like chewing gum,” Boon says. “The MD2 is really selected for its sweetness.”

Boon is still figuring out how to make this new venture profitable, however. “I calculated that if I can price the pineapples at 5 euros each, my profit will be 1,400 euros,” he says. “With that money can I go to Ghana to do further research there again.”

The state of the pineapple industry is a huge concern for Boon. “It is such a big industry,” he says. “[Sustainable food NGO Fairfood] published a report about the industry in the Philippines, but it’s hard to really pinpoint and blame specific people or organisations. It is a closed world. That is also why I want to import [pineapples], because it’ll hopefully give me a closer look into it.”

lex in harbour

Boon with one of his pineapples.

To complete his project, Boon still needs to visit many of the countries that are on his pineapple bucket list. “I always sound a bit like a nerd when I say this, but there are still so many stories about the pineapple. I want to go Australia, to Brazil—to the area between Paraguay and Brazil where the first pineapple originated. I still can’t find anything about it, but I would really like to see wild pineapples in the jungle, if they’re still there.”

Boon also wants to travel with a container ship from Costa Rica to Rotterdam to witness the journey that pineapples take. “And to the small island of Wallis and Futuna, where apparently the smallest pineapple is produced,” he says. “And in India there’s supposed to be a village with Dutch tombstones, and one tomb that reads: ‘This man died from eating too many pineapples.’ I sent a photographer there, but he couldn’t find anything. I need to go there myself.”

And thus the pineapple is Boon’s guide to the rest of the world.

Published on Munchies http://munchies.vice.com/articles/meet-the-netherlands-biggest-pineapple-obsessive

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World Poetry Day: Poetry for Social Change – Huffington Post

World Poetry Day: Poetry for Social Change
Huffington Post
Slavery today is not just happening to the kidnapped men on fishing boats in Thailand, or to the women sold into sex slavery in Cambodia or Eastern Europe, or to the children trapped into slave labor mining mica for makeup in India or cocoa for

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Supes passing the buck on pot problem – Eureka Times Standard

Supes passing the buck on pot problem
Eureka Times Standard
On March 12, a suspect in a violent Southern Humboldt home invasion robbery was apprehended near my house after a police pursuit through Eureka. The day before, the jury on which I nearly served found a man guilty of murdering an Alderpoint resident.

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Meet Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the conservative threat to Jeb Bush – Tampabay.com (blog)


Tampabay.com (blog)
Meet Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the conservative threat to Jeb Bush
Tampabay.com (blog)
"The problems we face have become so deep and so fraught that only someone who has proven they are willing and able to deal with the fallout and flak that comes when dealing with these problems is what's needed if we're going to turn the country around

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Brazil’s Economy Suffers Consequences of Amazon Deforestation – Justmeans (blog)


Justmeans (blog)
Brazil's Economy Suffers Consequences of Amazon Deforestation
Justmeans (blog)
To make matters worse, this week Imazon, an organization that works to protect the Amazon forest, announced that deforestation in the region, which for a few years had remained stable, has gone up by nearly 300 percent on last year's figures. There's a

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