Thursday File Digest - Buzz
Photo: A helicopter arrived Sunday while French troops waited in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains near Mali’s border with Algeria. Terror Haven in Mali Feared After French Leave With France planning to start withdrawing its troops from Mali next month, Western and African officials are increasingly concerned that the African soldiers who will be relied on to continue the campaign against militants linked to Al Qaeda there do not have the training or equipment for the job. The heaviest fighting so far, which has driven the militants out of the towns and cities of northeastern Mali, has been borne by French and Chadian forces, more or less alone. Those forces are now mostly conducting patrols in the north, while troops sent by Mali’s other regional allies, including Nigeria and Senegal, have been slow to arrive and have focused on peacekeeping rather than combat, prompting grumbles from Chad’s president, Idriss Déby Itno. The outcome of the fighting in Mali carries major implications not only for France, but also for the Obama administration, which is worried that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other militant groups could retain a smaller but enduring haven in remote mountain redoubts in the Malian desert. To help the French, the United States began flying unarmed surveillance drones over the region last month from a new base in Niger. And the administration has spent more than $550 million over the past four years to help train and equip West African armies to fight militants so that the Pentagon would not have to. But critics contend that the United States seems to have little to show for that effort. - Read On

Photo: A helicopter arrived Sunday while French troops waited in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains near Mali’s border with Algeria.
Terror Haven in Mali Feared After French Leave
With France planning to start withdrawing its troops from Mali next month, Western and African officials are increasingly concerned that the African soldiers who will be relied on to continue the campaign against militants linked to Al Qaeda there do not have the training or equipment for the job.
The heaviest fighting so far, which has driven the militants out of the towns and cities of northeastern Mali, has been borne by French and Chadian forces, more or less alone. Those forces are now mostly conducting patrols in the north, while troops sent by Mali’s other regional allies, including Nigeria and Senegal, have been slow to arrive and have focused on peacekeeping rather than combat, prompting grumbles from Chad’s president, Idriss Déby Itno.
The outcome of the fighting in Mali carries major implications not only for France, but also for the Obama administration, which is worried that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other militant groups could retain a smaller but enduring haven in remote mountain redoubts in the Malian desert.
To help the French, the United States began flying unarmed surveillance drones over the region last month from a new base in Niger. And the administration has spent more than $550 million over the past four years to help train and equip West African armies to fight militants so that the Pentagon would not have to. But critics contend that the United States seems to have little to show for that effort. - Read On

Students discover chocolate key to serving healthy foodWhat with the Jets getting hotter (despite Sunday’s loss) and the weather getting brutally cold, I suspect most of you are eager to find out what happened at this year’s Great Manitoba Food Fight.This is the annual competition at The Forks wherein teams of budding food scientists from the faculties of agriculture and human ecology at the University of Manitoba battle to see who has created the tastiest and most marketable new food product.The way it works is 10 teams pitch their product ideas and provide samples to a panel of expert judges consisting of Judy Wilson, director of marketing and communication at the Asper School of Business; Dave Shambrock, executive director of the Manitoba Food Processors Association; and me.Once again the students’ high-tech culinary skills and marketing genius filled us expert judges with pride in our education system and hope for the future of democracy.I say this because the products whipped up by the students on Friday, while not always tasty in the sense of being something you would want to swallow, were packed with antioxidants, pro-biotic bacteria and fibre, all designed to improve gastrointestinal health, lower blood pressure and slow the aging process.- Read On

Students discover chocolate key to serving healthy food
What with the Jets getting hotter (despite Sunday’s loss) and the weather getting brutally cold, I suspect most of you are eager to find out what happened at this year’s Great Manitoba Food Fight.
This is the annual competition at The Forks wherein teams of budding food scientists from the faculties of agriculture and human ecology at the University of Manitoba battle to see who has created the tastiest and most marketable new food product.
The way it works is 10 teams pitch their product ideas and provide samples to a panel of expert judges consisting of Judy Wilson, director of marketing and communication at the Asper School of Business; Dave Shambrock, executive director of the Manitoba Food Processors Association; and me.
Once again the students’ high-tech culinary skills and marketing genius filled us expert judges with pride in our education system and hope for the future of democracy.
I say this because the products whipped up by the students on Friday, while not always tasty in the sense of being something you would want to swallow, were packed with antioxidants, pro-biotic bacteria and fibre, all designed to improve gastrointestinal health, lower blood pressure and slow the aging process.
- Read On

TS Eliot’s fountain pen gets first outing at Royal Society of LiteraturePen presented by poet’s widow will be used by society fellows – replacing quill used by Charles Dickensby Maev Kennedy — guardian.co.uk, Sunday 17 March 2013Only the tiny letters TSE engraved on the gold band give away the distinguished pedigree of the fountain pen which will be used for the first time at the Royal Society of Literature on Monday night as the critic and novelist James Wood signs the roll book as a fellow.The pen was last used by TS Eliot, and is believed to have been given to the poet as a schoolboy by his mother. Eliot died in 1965, but the pen has been left to the society by his widow Valerie, who died in November, and will be formally presented to the society at special evening of poetry in his honour, chaired by Wood, who is flying in from the US specially for the event, with readings from the prize-winning authors Alice Oswald and Robin Robertson.A pen with an even older history, a quill owned by Charles Dickens, which has also traditionally been used by fellows to sign in, is beginning to show signs of wear and tear after almost a century and a half of use, and will now be retired – although the society’s relic of another poet, Lord Byron, a pen presented to him by one of his many mistresses, is still in excellent condition.The Royal Society of Literature, now based at Somerset House in London, was founded in 1820 by a bishop, Thomas Burgess, under the patronage of George IV, and first met in the back room of Hatchard’s bookshop on Piccadilly. Fellows have included Thomas Hardy, Henry James, WB Yeats and Rudyard Kipling.

TS Eliot’s fountain pen gets first outing at Royal Society of Literature
Pen presented by poet’s widow will be used by society fellows – replacing quill used by Charles Dickens
by Maev Kennedy — guardian.co.uk, Sunday 17 March 2013
Only the tiny letters TSE engraved on the gold band give away the distinguished pedigree of the fountain pen which will be used for the first time at the Royal Society of Literature on Monday night as the critic and novelist James Wood signs the roll book as a fellow.
The pen was last used by TS Eliot, and is believed to have been given to the poet as a schoolboy by his mother. Eliot died in 1965, but the pen has been left to the society by his widow Valerie, who died in November, and will be formally presented to the society at special evening of poetry in his honour, chaired by Wood, who is flying in from the US specially for the event, with readings from the prize-winning authors Alice Oswald and Robin Robertson.
A pen with an even older history, a quill owned by Charles Dickens, which has also traditionally been used by fellows to sign in, is beginning to show signs of wear and tear after almost a century and a half of use, and will now be retired – although the society’s relic of another poet, Lord Byron, a pen presented to him by one of his many mistresses, is still in excellent condition.
The Royal Society of Literature, now based at Somerset House in London, was founded in 1820 by a bishop, Thomas Burgess, under the patronage of George IV, and first met in the back room of Hatchard’s bookshop on Piccadilly. Fellows have included Thomas Hardy, Henry James, WB Yeats and Rudyard Kipling.

What’s the fuss about coffee?Why is it that so much scientific research ends up making headlines? Because they ask us to report on their research, that’s one reason. Medical journals and research institutions work hard to make sure that their scientific papers appear in the news. This is how it works: science and medical reporters are given special access to websites that give advance notice of upcoming research. There are dizzying lists of dozens of scientific papers from hundreds of journals, volumes of new research that is published every single day. There are armies of helpful public relations people who arrange interviews with the scientists, so we can all be ready for the moment when the embargo lifts.The embargo is a strict deadline, enforced by threat of future exclusion, and reporters who mistakenly break the embargo can be punished for years by the offended journal, which will refuse all access to future papers. This fear of embargo-breaking keeps the international media in line. We all hold back on the story until the designated day and time, say 5 p.m. on Wednesday, when the embargo magically lifts, and the headlines fly out around the world, giving the impression that news has just broken wide open.- Read On

What’s the fuss about coffee?
Why is it that so much scientific research ends up making headlines? Because they ask us to report on their research, that’s one reason. Medical journals and research institutions work hard to make sure that their scientific papers appear in the news.
This is how it works: science and medical reporters are given special access to websites that give advance notice of upcoming research. There are dizzying lists of dozens of scientific papers from hundreds of journals, volumes of new research that is published every single day. There are armies of helpful public relations people who arrange interviews with the scientists, so we can all be ready for the moment when the embargo lifts.
The embargo is a strict deadline, enforced by threat of future exclusion, and reporters who mistakenly break the embargo can be punished for years by the offended journal, which will refuse all access to future papers. This fear of embargo-breaking keeps the international media in line. We all hold back on the story until the designated day and time, say 5 p.m. on Wednesday, when the embargo magically lifts, and the headlines fly out around the world, giving the impression that news has just broken wide open.
- Read On

Superheroes smash digital sales recordsSeems some superheroes are faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than the music industry.According to both industry sources and retailers on the ground, comic shops are managing what has so far eluded most music chains and film studios — flourishing in the golden age of piracy. While other industries have struggled to find a model that curbs illegal downloading and keeps stores open, the comic industry is reportedly bucking that trend with strong sales in both the print and digital media.Industry heavyweights DC Comics and Marvel Entertainment won’t release specific financial data related to digital downloads — but Hank Kanalz, senior vice president of digital at DC told CBC Hamilton that the company is “extremely happy” with the growth of its digital business. “We saw triple digit growth for digital in 2012,” he said.Marvel has been seeing positive sales figures, too.“An interesting thing happened last year,” said David Gabriel, the senior vice-president of sales, print and digital media at Marvel.“Not only did we see a huge increase in digital comics sales, we saw a significant lift in print comic sales — neither format is hurting the other. We’ve heard a lot of retailers tell us that digital comics sales are bringing new and lapsed fans into their stores, which is great to hear.”Read OnMarvel comics giving away 700 1st issues - Article

Superheroes smash digital sales records
Seems some superheroes are faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than the music industry.
According to both industry sources and retailers on the ground, comic shops are managing what has so far eluded most music chains and film studios — flourishing in the golden age of piracy. While other industries have struggled to find a model that curbs illegal downloading and keeps stores open, the comic industry is reportedly bucking that trend with strong sales in both the print and digital media.
Industry heavyweights DC Comics and Marvel Entertainment won’t release specific financial data related to digital downloads — but Hank Kanalz, senior vice president of digital at DC told CBC Hamilton that the company is “extremely happy” with the growth of its digital business. “We saw triple digit growth for digital in 2012,” he said.
Marvel has been seeing positive sales figures, too.
“An interesting thing happened last year,” said David Gabriel, the senior vice-president of sales, print and digital media at Marvel.
“Not only did we see a huge increase in digital comics sales, we saw a significant lift in print comic sales — neither format is hurting the other. We’ve heard a lot of retailers tell us that digital comics sales are bringing new and lapsed fans into their stores, which is great to hear.”
Read On

Marvel comics giving away 700 1st issues - Article

Ravens – the birds who talkA large black bird flies past my window in the near distance, just above the tops of the trees beyond the field behind my house. Between twenty-two and twenty-seven inches long, with a wedge-shaped tail and steady wing beats, I hardly need look at it to know that it is one of the ravens that flies around in this area. This raven is not just it’s description in a field guide or a bird that I checked off a list long ago, any more than it is a harbinger of war and destruction here to trick me, or the reason the sun is in the sky. The first time I recall encountering a raven, I was a small child walking with my parents through the woods on West Thurlow Island, in British Columbia. The trail was smooth and carpeted with needles of Douglas-fir and western hemlock, and the trees were large and somber. As we walked, a big black bird flew from somewhere in the forest to land on a large branch above the trail, just as my father was about to walk under. The bird opened it’s wings a little bit, bobbed it’s head up and down with it’s neck stretched out, and made a sound like a crow gargling. For some reason my father made the same sound back at the bird, standing there looking up at it on its branch. The bird made the sound again. This probably went on for less than a minute before it flew off again through the cathedral-like forest, and my parents and I continued down the trail. While my father continued to make raven calls, I eagerly joined in. Making raven sounds became something we did. It was interesting to try to mimic them — easy to get close, difficult to get exactly right. There did not necessarily need to be ravens about to initiate our quorking and gargling and glugging, but when we were in B.C., there were plenty of ravens about that would sometimes respond to our noises — or at least make noise in close proximity to our noises!- Read On

Ravens – the birds who talk
A large black bird flies past my window in the near distance, just above the tops of the trees beyond the field behind my house. Between twenty-two and twenty-seven inches long, with a wedge-shaped tail and steady wing beats, I hardly need look at it to know that it is one of the ravens that flies around in this area. This raven is not just it’s description in a field guide or a bird that I checked off a list long ago, any more than it is a harbinger of war and destruction here to trick me, or the reason the sun is in the sky.
The first time I recall encountering a raven, I was a small child walking with my parents through the woods on West Thurlow Island, in British Columbia. The trail was smooth and carpeted with needles of Douglas-fir and western hemlock, and the trees were large and somber. As we walked, a big black bird flew from somewhere in the forest to land on a large branch above the trail, just as my father was about to walk under. The bird opened it’s wings a little bit, bobbed it’s head up and down with it’s neck stretched out, and made a sound like a crow gargling. For some reason my father made the same sound back at the bird, standing there looking up at it on its branch. The bird made the sound again. This probably went on for less than a minute before it flew off again through the cathedral-like forest, and my parents and I continued down the trail. While my father continued to make raven calls, I eagerly joined in. Making raven sounds became something we did. It was interesting to try to mimic them — easy to get close, difficult to get exactly right. There did not necessarily need to be ravens about to initiate our quorking and gargling and glugging, but when we were in B.C., there were plenty of ravens about that would sometimes respond to our noises — or at least make noise in close proximity to our noises!
- Read On

Photo: Red-cockaded woodpecker Why Don’t Woodpeckers Get Brain Damage?If you or I bump our heads hard enough on a hunk of wood, it might smart for a while. But to get through an average day, a woodpecker might ram its head into a tree trunk at a speed of 6 or 7 meters per second some 12,000 times without seeming the least bit bothered by it.Lucky for them. The life of a woodpecker revolves around slamming its face into trees at high speeds. It’s how they feed themselves most of the time, excavating bugs from the wood when fruit or nuts aren’t available. It’s also how many of them make their homes, hollowing out a space in a trunk some 8 inches wide and up to two feet deep to make a nest. This is the niche they’ve come to fill, and over millions of years of doing it, they’ve evolved some intense headgear to prevent brain damage, cracked skulls and retinal detachment.- Read On ****

Photo: Red-cockaded woodpecker
Why Don’t Woodpeckers Get Brain Damage?
If you or I bump our heads hard enough on a hunk of wood, it might smart for a while. But to get through an average day, a woodpecker might ram its head into a tree trunk at a speed of 6 or 7 meters per second some 12,000 times without seeming the least bit bothered by it.
Lucky for them. The life of a woodpecker revolves around slamming its face into trees at high speeds. It’s how they feed themselves most of the time, excavating bugs from the wood when fruit or nuts aren’t available. It’s also how many of them make their homes, hollowing out a space in a trunk some 8 inches wide and up to two feet deep to make a nest. This is the niche they’ve come to fill, and over millions of years of doing it, they’ve evolved some intense headgear to prevent brain damage, cracked skulls and retinal detachment.
- Read On ****

Cars as hot as the sun: Tour the Cayman Motor Museum
On a recent trip to Grand Cayman, Globe Life writer Amberly McAteer tours the Cayman Motor Museum
Photo:1965 Mini Cooper S: Arguably the most popular British-made car ever, the original Mini Cooper was a 60s icon. The powerful ‘S’ version, part of Mr. Ugland’s collection, is designed to go fast: with straight-cut gearbox, roll cage, twin fuel tanks, racing seats and racing harness.
(Amberly McAteer/The Globe and Mail)
The 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso: A rare treasure, this model wasn’t around for long, only 18 months between 1963 and 1964, with just 350 cars built. Many deem this model as the prettiest Ferrari of all time.
(Amberly McAteer/The Globe and Mail)

Food: recipes: Porter Cake
Epicurious - March 2013 - by Rachel Allen, Rachel’s Irish Family Food - photo by © Lis Parsons 2013
yield: Serves 10 to 12
active time: 30 minutes
total time: 3 hours
This traditional Irish cake uses a porter, such as Guinness, Beamish, or Murphy’s, and is a deliciously rich and moist fruit cake. Make it a few days in advance of the celebratory event, if you like, and it will improve even more!

What you will need:
3 1/2 cups (450g) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (mixed spice)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup (225g) butter
1 cup packed (225g) light brown sugar
1 pound (450g) golden raisins (sultanas) or raisins or a mixture of both
3 ounces (75g) chopped candied peel, store-bought or homemade
2 eggs
1 (12-ounce/330ml) bottle porter or stout

Your preparation
1 - Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C/Gas mark 4). Line the sides and bottom of an 8-inch (20 cm) high-sided round cake pan (the sides should be about 2 3/4 inches/7 cm high) with waxed (greaseproof) paper.
2 - Sift the flour, nutmeg, spice, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter, then stir in the brown sugar, raisins, and candied peel.
3 - Whisk the eggs in another bowl and add the porter. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into the prepared pan.
4 - Bake for about 2 hours. If the cake starts to brown too quickly on top, cover it with aluminum foil or waxed (greaseproof) paper after about 1 hour. The cake is done when a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to sit in the pan for about 20 minutes before turning it out and cooling it on a wire rack.

Notes:
• Published: Feburary 02, 2013
• Dimensions: 9.92” h x .87” w x 7.68” l, 2.21 pounds
• Binding: Hardcover
• 256 pages
About the Author: Rachel Allen
Rachel was brought up in Dublin and at eighteen left to study at the prestigious Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork. Today, she not only teaches at the school but writes regular features for national publications, presents highly-acclaimed TV programs and in her spare time, writes bestselling cookbooks. She lives in near the sea in County Cork, Ireland with her husband and three beautiful children.

Photo: President Hollande’s trip to Dijon turned from a popularity-boosting public jaunt to a PR disaster.
Monsieur Unpopular: Hollande’s Spectacular Fall from GraceNever before has a French president fallen in public sentiment as quickly as François Hollande. Only 10 months after entering into office, his popularity rating is plummeting. An event aimed at getting closer to the people this week didn’t help.On a recent trip by French President François Hollande to the eastern city of Dijon, everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. The visit earlier this week was intended to improve the president’s miserable approval ratings and “renew direct contact with the French.” Instead, Hollande found himself so clearly confronted with the wrath of the people as never before. He was visibly overwhelmed."Monsieur Hollande, where have your promises gone?" one young man hollered out to the president as he arrived in the working-class quarter of Les Grésilles. Two bodyguards immediately and violently carried the man out of the crowd. The image of the scene was too disastrous for the television news crews to pass up. Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, once told a heckler to "get lost, you poor jerk!" He never lived the phrase down.Before Hollande arrived, the police had already dispersed a group of unionists who were holding up a picture of early French Socialist leader Jean Jaurès, “to remind him that he’s a Socialist.” French newspaper Le Monde reported another resident was silenced after calling out to Hollande, “We’re still waiting for your change, François!” - Read On

Photo: President Hollande’s trip to Dijon turned from a popularity-boosting public jaunt to a PR disaster.

Monsieur Unpopular: Hollande’s Spectacular Fall from Grace
Never before has a French president fallen in public sentiment as quickly as François Hollande. Only 10 months after entering into office, his popularity rating is plummeting. An event aimed at getting closer to the people this week didn’t help.
On a recent trip by French President François Hollande to the eastern city of Dijon, everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. The visit earlier this week was intended to improve the president’s miserable approval ratings and “renew direct contact with the French.” Instead, Hollande found himself so clearly confronted with the wrath of the people as never before. He was visibly overwhelmed.
"Monsieur Hollande, where have your promises gone?" one young man hollered out to the president as he arrived in the working-class quarter of Les Grésilles. Two bodyguards immediately and violently carried the man out of the crowd. The image of the scene was too disastrous for the television news crews to pass up. Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, once told a heckler to "get lost, you poor jerk!" He never lived the phrase down.
Before Hollande arrived, the police had already dispersed a group of unionists who were holding up a picture of early French Socialist leader Jean Jaurès, “to remind him that he’s a Socialist.” French newspaper Le Monde reported another resident was silenced after calling out to Hollande, “We’re still waiting for your change, François!” - Read On