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Monday, 21 October 2013

Lady GaGa's New Single is Trending with this Hashtag #DoWhatUWantWithMyBody

I went on twitter this morning and saw that #DoWhatUWantWithMyBody was trending. I was wide-eyed and thought it was another of those porn inspired trends. Curiosity drove me to click it. With a glad surprise, I realized it was a Lady Gaga song. I used to be a fan but fell off the band wagon though I still enjoy one or two of her songs. 

"Do What U Want" is a collaboration with R & B Star R. Kelly. 

The cover of the single features a shot of Lady Gaga's 'backside' and the lyrics are supposedly aimed at negative comments directed at Lady Gaga about her image and body. 

In a series of tweets leading to the release of the single, Gaga dropped hints about the inspiration behind the lyrics of this song.

 The song was released at midnight on 20th October. Take a listen...

Friday, 18 October 2013

Is TOMS Shoes Listening to its Critics?

 TOMS comes in for a lot more criticism from academics and international development types than your average trendy footwear purveyor thanks to its trademark BOGO—“buy-one-give-one”—model: for every pair of shoes you buy, TOMS donates a similar pair to someone in a developing country. (The company recently expanded into eyewear using a similar model.)
The feel-good marketing of TOMS has been one of the keys to its success, but manycritics charge that in-kind donation programs are an inefficient way of helping people in need compared to simply donating money to dedicated antipoverty programs, and that dumping donated clothing in poor countries can actually hinder economic growth by undercutting local producers. (TOMS shoes are donated to over 50 countries but produced only in China, Argentina, and Ethiopia.)
Moreover, TOMS shoes reportedly often simply turn up for sale in markets in the countries where they are donated. (TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie has also taken flack for working with the controversial Christian group Focus on the Family.)
But there are some recent signs that TOMS is starting to get the message. The company announced recently that it will open a factory in Haiti, paying what it says will be “competitive” wages to 50 Haitian workers. According to Public Radio International, Mycoskie has also pledged that by 2015, the company will produce one-third of its shoes in the countries where they are being donated. 
There are still good questions to be raised about whether clothing donations are a helpful form of aid at all. One 2008 study, for instance, found that used clothing imports accounted for 50 percent decline in employment in the African apparel sector. Employing apparel workers in developing countries could simply be counteracting a problem that TOMS is itself contributing to.
To give credit where it’s due, the company does seem to be starting to think about its impact more seriously. But compared to, say, donating $50 to a reputable charity, buying a $50 pair of canvas sneakers probably still won’t be the most effective way to help people in need.

Story by:
Joshua Keating,

Friday, 11 October 2013

OPCW beats Malala to Nobel Peace prize!

Remember Malala, the Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban for promoting girl's right to education? Well, after being tipped as favourite to win, she missed out on the coveted Nobel Peace prize which was won by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, OPCW.
Malala Yousafzai, is a 16 year old blogger and activist who was shot in the head whilst in a bus on her way home from school on the 9th of October, 2012. She came to prominence at the age of 11 for writing a dairy for the BBC Urdu program. On her blog, she wrote about life under Taliban occupation in her hometown of Swat Valley. Among other things, the Taliban prohibited girls from going to school.
Malala being taken to the hospital after being shot.
Malala, now living in Birmingham after receiving life-saving surgery in the UK, was tipped to win the Nobel Peace prize this year only a few days after winning the EU's Sakharov human rights prize. On 10th October, 2013, a year and a day after she was shot, she beat Edward Snowden, fugitive US whistle blower to win the 50,000 euro ($65,000) prize.
Malala received a standing ovation after delivering a speech at a special youth
assembly convention of the UN. 12th July, 2013, UN Headquarters.
This years Nobel Peace award went to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in honour of their 'extensive work to eliminate chemical weapons'. This is in the wake of their activities in Syrai. This is the first time that the OPCW, based in the Hague and established in 1997, is working in an active war zone. Accepting the gold medal and the 8m Swedish Kronor ($1.25m, £780,000) cash prize, Ahmet Uzumcu, Director General of the OPCW, said that is was a 'great honour' and will spur the organization on.
Ahmet Uzumcu, Director General OPCW.
Denis Mukwege, a gynaecologist from the Democratic Republic of Congo, was also in contention for the top award.

Friday, 4 October 2013

'The Hamilton Series' introduces Steeltown to visiting students

Every world traveler wants a taste of local flavour, and students are no exception. To satisfy the most insatiable global learners at McMaster International Student Services recently launched "The Hamilton Series" — a hands-on program that exposes visiting students to the city's unique history and popular attractions.

The initiative consists of educational workshops and off-campus excursions throughout the fall term, and was designed to help visiting students get the most out of their time in Hamilton. Organizers received a $4,700 Student Life Enhancement Fund grant to finance the pilot project.

"For international and exchange students, they don't really know what the city's history is like, or where we come from as people," said Jenna Levi, education abroad coordinator, International Student Services.

"International students often remain on campus, even well into their second and third years."

To help familiarize newcomers with their adopted home, Levi and her team focused on a number of key areas related to Hamilton, including: the arts, the changing economy, local history, urban attractions and natural resources. The goal was to offer well-rounded, informative and fun sessions to students from all over the world.

To date, the seminars have included participants from Brazil, China, Australia, Singapore, Japan and numerous countries in Europe and the U.K.> "What's the point of going abroad if you don't truly know where you're living? We want these students to learn all about the city's industrial heritage, but also get a sense of the beautiful, natural resources in their backyard, including Hamilton Harbour and Cootes Paradise," said Levi.

Ron Hermenau, a 23-year-old exchange student from Atlenburg, Germany, has already attended two of the fall sessions — one at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, and another in scenic Cootes Paradise. He says the Hamilton Series is a great opportunity for newcomers to feel connected with the city in a more meaningful way.

"You can only learn so much by reading," said Hermenau, who's studying chemical biology at McMaster during his six-month exchange. "I wanted to gain a deeper insight into the culture and environment in Hamilton, and also understand what it looked like in the past. I would definitely recommend this series to anyone Interested."

Upcoming Hamilton Series events are as follows:
"A Town Called Hamilton: A Historical Perspective" — Friday, Oct. 11
Speaker: Margaret Houghton, Local History & Archives, Hamilton Public Library
Excursion: Dundurn Castle

"Neighbourhood Watch: A Look at Hamilton's People & Communities" — Friday Oct. 18
Speaker: Terry Cooke, Hamilton Community Foundation
Excursion: TBA

"Progress from a Steeltown: Hamilton's Economy" — Friday Nov. 8
Speaker: Jennifer Patterson, Economic Development
Division, City of Hamilton
Excursion: TBA

Story by:
Andrew Baulcomb, Dail Mail, McMaster University.