Thursday, 24 January 2013

Top 10 hangover foods

Overdone it on the grog? While you may be tempted to reach for the junk food to make yourself feel better, loading your overworked liver with more toxins is actually the last thing it needs. Instead, try snacking on one of these alternative foods to aid your recovery and start feeling better in no time at all.

One reason many of us feel so bad the morning after a drinking session is because alcohol depletes your system of essential nutrients, including B vitamins. A lack of B vitamins can cause anxiety and depression, so try munching on vegemite - a rich source of the vitamin B complex - to lift your mood. As an added benefit, vegemite has a high sodium content which can help replace the salts lost through drinking alcohol. Try the savoury spread on toast for an added fix of carbs.

Hangover food 2: Watermelon

Not only does alcohol deplete your body of nutrients, it can also lead to low blood sugar levels, which may leave you feeling weak and shaky. To counteract this, try snacking on watermelon, which is not only high in fructose but is also water-rich to boost hydration. On top of this, watermelon is high in many essential nutrients, including vitamin C, B-vitamins and magnesium

Hangover food 3: Ginger

If too much alcohol has you feeling queasy, ginger is the perfect food to help settle your stomach and relieve nausea. While you may not feel much like chewing on the food in its original form, you could try adding some grated ginger to hot water for a ginger tea, blending into a fresh fruit or vegetable juice, or snacking on ginger biscuits for a stomach-soothing treat.

Hangover food 4: Eggs

Scrambled, fried or boiled, eggs are a popular hangover breakfast, and the good news is they are a great choice for beating the nastiest of hangovers. Firstly, eggs are extremely rich in protein, which helps raise mood-boosting serotonin levels as well as helping to reduce nausea. Furthermore, eggs are rich in an amino acid called cystine, which helps fight against the alcohol-induced toxins that contribute to your hangover.

Hangover food 5: Bananas

Bananas are packed with potassium and magnesium, two of the minerals often depleted in our bodies when alcohol is consumed. A lack of potassium in the body can lead to nausea, weakness and tiredness, so stocking up on bananas can help reduce these classic hangover symptoms. As an added bonus, bananas are natural antacids so great for reducing stomach acid, and are good for providing a boost of energy if you have a busy day ahead.

Hangover food 6: Soup

One of the most important steps for beating a hangover is getting your body rehydrated, and this can be done through what you eat as much as what you drink. To up your fluids and sodium levels and get a shot of nutrients all at once, try some health-boosting vegetable or miso soup. As an added benefit, soup is easy on the stomach so good if you're feeling a bit queasy.

 Hangover food 7: Oats

Due to the diuretic effects of alcohol, the body loses many essential minerals and vitamins during a heavy drinking session. Luckily, oats can provide you with many of these nutrients, including B vitamins (good for the liver and mood) and essential minerals magnesium, calcium and iron. On top of this, oats can help neutralise acidity levels in the body, cleanse the liver, absorb toxins and slowly raise blood sugar levels, making a bowl of porridge the perfect hangover breakfast.

Hangover food 8: Fruit juice

If you're feeling a bit queasy at the thought of food, then this is the cure for you. While it's great to line your stomach with food if you can, to replace lost vitamins, raise blood sugar levels and rehydrate your body, you can't do much better than a glass of fresh juice. Not only is juice good for immediate relief, the fructose will also help speed up the removal of alcohol from your blood. 

Hangover food 9: Sardines

If you're craving something savoury, sardines on toast could be the perfect morning-after breakfast. A major cause of hangovers is an imbalance of electrolytes, and sardines are rich in many of these vital minerals, including sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and calcium. In addition to this, sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for protecting the liver as well as lifting the mood.

Hangover food 10: Coconut water

Many hangover sufferers swear by sports drinks as a way to hydrate the body and help rebalance electrolytes. However, sports drinks are often carbonated, which can irritate the stomach, and packed with refined sugars. For a natural alternative to sports drinks, try sipping on some coconut water, which contains essential electrolytes (including calcium, potassium and magnesium) to boost hydration, and is also soothing for the stomach.




South Korean President's brother gets two-year jail term

A South Korean court on Thursday sentenced the elder brother of President Lee Myung-Bak to two years in jail after convicting him on corruption charges.

The Seoul central district court also ordered Lee Sang-Deuk, 77, to pay fines totalling 750 million won ($701,600) -- the same
sum he was found guilty of taking in kickbacks from bankers and a businessman.

Lee, a six-term lawmaker, was arrested in July last year on graft charges and allegedly helping troubled banks avoid audits.

His activities were linked to a major corruption scandal in early 2011 when four savings banks were suspended for inadequate liquidity, triggering a wider probe.

So far 16 savings banks have been suspended and four bankers have committed suicide.

Lee was the main contributor to his brother's election victory in 2007, but critics said he tried to wield too much influence over state affairs.

The verdict is an embarrassment for the president who has already had to apologise for a series of corruption cases involving close aides.


Russian charged with roasting baby in oven

A 34-year-old Russian has been charged with cutting up and roasting parts of his baby niece in an oven, police said on Thursday.

Police said the man, who has just two fingers, killed the two-year-old girl after a drinking session with the child's mother - his sister - in a village
in the Oldonda Borzinsky district of Russia's Transbaikal region.

The child was killed while the mother was briefly visiting neighbours, police said.

When she returned, she was unable to locate her child, which was subsequently discovered dead in the oven.

Body parts believed to have belonged to the child were also discovered in the kitchen.

Police said the suspect had appeared "indifferent" to goings-on before and after his arrest.


Women In Combat: Shattering the “Brass Ceiling”

The Pentagon will declare Thursday that it is lifting a ban on women serving in combat – a decision essentially rendered a fait accompli by more than decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, where many women served ably under fire. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to make the announcement, based on a recommendation from Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The historic change will open up hundreds of thousands of jobs in infantry, armor and other previously all-male units from which women have been formally barred under a 1994 Pentagon rule. Ultimately, they could even be allowed to serve in special-operations units, including the Army’s Delta Force and the Navy’s SEALs.

Women who missed the opportunity to serve in combat cheered the change. “All jobs should be based on qualifications, not gender,” says Darlene Iskra, the first woman ever to command a Navy ship, and a Battleland contributor.

(MORE: Modern Marine Couple: Let Women into Combat Units)

But the decision goes deeper than the post-9/11 wars. With an all-volunteer military, the Pentagon needs women in its ranks. Beyond that, the fluid nature of the 21st Century battlefield has rendered long-ago battle maps, with a clear demarcation between front lines and rear echelons, as dated as muskets and bayonets. Basically, it has become untenable for the U.S. military to pretend its female troops are not engaged in combat.

Many women have griped that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq essentially placed them on the front lines, without getting the combat credentials often needed for promotions. Women constitute about 14% of the U.S. military’s 1.4 million active-duty personnel. While women have totaled more than 10% of those sent to war zones, they have accounted for 1.82% of those wounded and 2.26% of those who died.

Those numbers will climb as women move deeper into the combat arms. “We’ve had over 250,000 deployed and 144 given their ultimate sacrifice,” Army General Ann Dunwoody said of the post-9/11 wars, shortly before her retirement last year. “I think some of our policies are lagging and are catching up with the current employment of women,” the U.S. military’s first female four-star general added. The change is also likely to raise questions about continuing to require only males, once they turn 18, to register with the Selective Service so they can be summoned to fight, if needed, via a draft.

(MORE: The Combat Exclusion Policy: Under Attack)

There is no law barring women from combat, and it remains to be seen if some in Congress try to fight to change. But intial reaction was largely positive. Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., called it a “historic step for recognizing the role women have, and will continue to play, in the defense of our nation.’’ The head of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee added that since 9/11 ” thousands of women already spent their days in combat situations serving side-by-side with their fellow male service members.’’

With Panetta’s green light comes the tough part: ensuring there are sufficient women in uniform who want combat jobs, and that they are physically capable of performing them. In the past, career-minded female officers have been more interested in that option than enlisted women.

If, as appears will be the case, women will have to meet same physical standards as men, that too could whittle away at the number of females eligible for combat slots. A female Marine officer caused a stir last summer when she asserted that “we are not all created equal, and attempting to place females in the infantry will not improve the Marine Corps as the Nation’s force-in-readiness or improve our national security…” The only two female Marines in the corps’ infantry-officer training course the first time it was open to them last year dropped out.

(MORE: Viewpoint: Barring Women from Combat Is Unconstitutional)

A husband-and-wife Marine couple countered that the combat-exclusion policy “institutionalizes the concept that all male Marines, based on gender alone, are capable of performing duties in the combat arms, while all female Marines similarly are not.” Iskra warned that requirements should not be brandished to block otherwise qualified women. “The requirements need to be based on real requirements,” she says. “Too much in the past, height and weight requirements, for example, were used to exclude candidates who would otherwise be able to do the job.”

Battleland contributor Elspeth Ritchie, who has written on women at war, served as the Army’s top psychiatrist before retiring as a colonel in 2010. She suggests the policy change simply acknowledges reality. “We—female Soldiers– were in combat,” she said Wednesday. “I came under fire. I carried a weapon. I earned three different combat patches from Somalia and Iraq. It seemed a farce to proclaim that we were not.”

Nearly a year ago, Panetta signaled that he was open to allowing women into more combat slots when he decided to allow them to serve with forward-deployed combat units in support jobs. “Women are contributing in unprecedented ways to the military’s mission,” he said last February. “We will continue to open as many positions as possible to women so that anyone qualified to serve can have the opportunity to do so.”

Despite that pledge, four women recently sued Panetta and the Pentagon, saying the ban was a “brass ceiling” hindering their advancement through the ranks.

Time to move the struggle from the courtroom to the battlefield.

RBI panel favours 30 year fixed rate loans

Mumbai: Seeking to encourage housing activity, an RBI committee has pitched for introduction of fixed rate loans for up to 30 years and also asked banks to explore the possibility of levying "reasonable" pre-payment penalty on the outstanding amount only.

The banks, the RBI report said, should also look at introducing fixed rate long-term loan with an option of resetting interest rates after every 7 to 10 years. This could be in addition to plain vanilla fixed rate loan products.

The report has also recommended that the banks popularise the fixed deposit schemes with tenure of above five years, which are eligible for tax exemption.

"The Indian financial system has G-Secs up to 30 years, a benchmark to issue and price 30 year bonds by banks. Banks could, therefore, make efforts to offer longer-tenor fixed rate loans, say up to 30 years which would help reduce the EMIs of the borrowers," it said.

At present, long-term credit, including home loans, are offered for a period of up to 25 years.

These initiatives would help in meeting long-term funding needs of banks, the committee headed by RBI Chief General Manager K K Vohra said.

On the pre-payment penalty issue, it said: "The penalty should be levied only on the outstanding amount on the date of pre-payment and not on the loan amount initially sanctioned. Further, the pre-payment penalty should be reasonable so that it does not act as a disincentive for the fixed rate loan borrowers."

Moreover, the pre-payment penalty could be graded based on the period after which the loan is repaid, i.E. After 5 years, 10 years or so, it added.

The RBI panel also said large institutional investors like pension funds, provident funds, insurance companies should be encouraged to invest in bonds issued by banks.

Banks may explore the option of take-out financing, in addition to promoting securitisation for better asset liability management, the report said. 


EU referendum: David Cameron's speech was 'gutsy', says Finnish minister

David Cameron's promise of an EU referendum was a "gutsy move" that "clarifies the debate" over Britain's place in Europe, a Finnish minister has said.

Germany, France and Spain tell David Cameron: there is no room for negotiation on Europe
Prime Minister David Cameron after delivering his speech on Europe Photo: EDDIE MULHOLLAND

Argument for taxing "very rich" should be considered: FM

Singapore: Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who has talked about a stable tax regime during his meetings with foreign investors in the last two days, has said that the argument for taxing the very rich "a little more" should be considered.

"I believe in stable tax rates. However, I must concede that there is an argument, underline the word argument, that when the economy requires, when the government requires more resources the very rich should willingly pay a little more.

"That is not to say that tax rate should not be stable. I think we should have stability in tax rates but we should consider the argument whether the very rich should be asked to pay a little more on some occasions," he told a private news channel.

However, he hastened to add, "but that is not a view I am expressing. That is simply an argument that I have heard and I am repeating."

Chidambaram said tax rates that were announced in 1997 (in the Budget he had presented then), have remained and have survived four governments and four finance ministers.

On the Budget to be presented next month, he said the Budget is not drawn up keeping an election in mind. "The election is a good 14 months away from the Budget. The Budget will be a responsible budget".

The Finance Minister said if on February 28 he could show that the government has kept fiscal deficit below 5.3 percent and if Budget estimates show that the next year's fiscal deficit will be below 4.8 percent, then he can show a healthy growth in revenues over next year.
"I think that is the time when rating agencies should consider moving us from... I mean improving the outlook and then improving the rating," he said.

Several experts including chairman of Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) C Rangarajan have underlined the need for imposing higher rates of taxes on super rich.

Yesterday, Wipro Chairman Azim Premji had said the suggestion for taxing the super-rich was a "politically" correct thing to do, but expressed doubts whether the government will actually implement the proposal.

India taxes income at three rates - 10 percent, 20 percent and 30 percent. These rates were fixed in 1997.