After weeks of snow and subzero temperatures, there is a touch of spring in the air in late February in Berlin. Thousands of people are out on the streets. In busy areas, just a handful wear masks. Although nonessential retailers remain closed and eateries are only open for takeouts, long lines snake outside every coffee shop, artisanal bakery and outdoor food market. It would be easy to forget that Germany has been in lockdown for nearly four months and strict contact limits remain in place. And the lockdown is no longer working: COVID-19 cases have begun to rise again, and experts say Germany is heading into the third wave of the pandemic. The vaccine rollout is going slower than in other countries like the US and the UK, and the spread of virus variants is on the rise, most notably the more contagious B.1.1.7 British mutation. Lockdowns less popular "All the data and surveys so far show that a large majority still follow the rules," Rolf van Dick, professor of social … [Read more...] about COVID: Germany in lockdown lethargy
Malaysia is a country of foodies where we ask friends "Have you eaten?" as a form of greeting and often plan trips not based on places we want to see, but places where we want to eat. But did you know that more than 64 per cent of Malaysians eat at least one meal per day outside of home? And of the remaining 36 per cent who eat at home, 12.5 per cent have at least one meal that comes from outside. So says the Malaysian Food Barometer (MFB), a recent study conducted by Taylor's University to observe the eating habits and food cultures of the Malaysian population. "Malaysia has a very high frequency of (people) eating out. If you go to Kuala Lumpur or the countryside, you can always find people eating out," said head researcher Prof Dr Jean-Pierre Poulain, who is also the co-director of Taylor's Toulouse University Centre and the head of its Chair of Food Studies: Food, Cultures and Health. He said that for many years, nutritional surveys had been capturing the changes in food … [Read more...] about Are Malaysians eating enough healthy food?
As an amateur baker, I have quite a bit of interest in bread - and if you're also a baker, you would have noticed that home-baked breads tend to get harder rather faster than the convenience breads you can buy in supermarkets. This is, of course, no real surprise as almost all commercial bakeries need to find ways to keep bread soft and delectable-looking for a period of time on the shelves so that it maximises the chances of getting bought by people - and after that it needs to remain usable for as long as possible in the kitchen, perhaps even up to a week after purchase. A modern loaf of bread is a somewhat curious evolution for an important food that originated some 30,000 years ago in Europe and morphed from flatbreads like khubz, lavash to modern versions like roti, chapatti and tortillas to the soft leavened sandwich loaves that you buy today. In Germany, there are now over 1,300 varieties of breads and along the way, cakes, pastries and other wheat-based baked goods were … [Read more...] about Curious Cook: Why bread goes stale and how you can unstale it
BERLIN - German police early Friday ended a tense overnight stand-off when they arrested a Kurdish man who had threatened to set fire to a fast-food restaurant filled with a dozen people. Those with him were not hostages, but family and friends trying to calm him, police said after special forces entered the building in the morning and took the 36-year-old man into custody. During the 14-hour drama, police had sealed off the area and said the unidentified man had claimed to be armed and to be carrying a flammable liquid. He was agitated apparently because he feared "consequences" after he had failed to show up on Thursday for a court date for a drugs offence, police said. No-one was killed in the overnight standoff or in the police operation around 0645 GMT in the restaurant in an industrial area of Freiburg in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. … [Read more...] about ‘Armed man’ arrested after Germany restaurant standoff
Colin Seranina has been a fisherman for 25 years. The waters around Pilar on the Philippine island of Ponson once provided enough fish to feed his family of four kids with some extra to sell at the market. But the island is particularly susceptible to the changing climate, and the fisherfolk now often go home empty-handed after a day out on the sea. Times have become even harder since the coronavirus pandemic struck, because the large fish markets are closed. Instead, Seranina and other fisherfolk sell their leftover catch to their neighbors for a lot less money than they'd receive at the market. Communities like those in Pilar work with conservation NGO Rare to make sure they have food security into the future. They've established coastal protection areas to allow fish populations to recover and have set up savings clubs so fishing families have some cash to fall back on. Project goal: Protecting coastal regions and creating sustainable fisheries to secure food and … [Read more...] about Philippines: Facing COVID and the climate crisis
BERLIN: A man lounges across two seats on a crowded Berlin train, oblivious to his surroundings - until the two women opposite him suddenly spread their legs, revealing a message on their trousers: "Stop spreading." Feminist activists Elena Buscaino and Mina Bonakdar are on a mission to stamp out manspreading - the habit that some men have of encroaching on adjacent seats without consideration for their female neighbours. "It is perfectly possible to sit comfortably on public transport without taking up two seats by spreading your legs," said Bonakdar, 25. The two female activists' provocative stunt is part of a wider initiative called the Riot Pant Project featuring slogans printed on the inside legs of second-hand trousers. Bonakdar and Buscaino, both design students, came up with the idea as a way of helping women and LGBTQ people reclaim public spaces often dominated by men. As well as "Stop spreading", the project's slogans include "Give us space" and "Toxic … [Read more...] about Berlin activists show manspreaders who wears the trousers