Syrian ceasefire would be announced ′in the coming hours′ | News | DW.COM | 19.11.2015

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday a 15-day ceasefire between Syrian rebels and government forces in Eastern Ghouta, an area near Syria’s capital Damascus, would be announced “in the coming hours.”If agreed, the ceasefire would take place early on Thursday as a “test period” and could be extended if further agreements are made, the British-based Observatory said.However, no agreement was made for the precise time for the start of the ceasefire, and an agreement has yet to be finalized, the Observatory said.Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told the French news agency AFP, if an agreement is reached “a ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta would begin at 6:00 a.m. (0400 UTC) Thursday and will last 15 days.”Abdel Rahman added that the most powerful rebel group in Eastern Ghouta, Jaish al-Islam, was the main negotiator on the rebel side. However, a spokesperson for the rebel group could not be reached for comment.

Source: Syrian ceasefire would be announced ′in the coming hours′ | News | DW.COM | 19.11.2015

Early Winter Weather Across North America : Image of the Day

Parts of Canada and the western United States were doused with wintery weather in mid-November 2015. Some of the precipitation fell as snow and some as cold rain. Whether it is the beginning of a wet El Niño winter or a break in persistent drought remains to be seen.

Source: Early Winter Weather Across North America : Image of the Day

Video: Israeli soldiers arrest young child | The Electronic Intifada

“If you get one step closer to me I’ll detain you,” a soldier shouts at Amirah in Hebrew, and yanks the boy backwards. The soldiers then attack Amirah while continuing to detain the child.Ajarma said that the boy’s mother, father and grandfather came to the scene.The soldiers ordered the mother and father to go and tell local youths to stop throwing stones if they wanted their son to be released, Ajarma said.They arrested Amirah and let the boy go after holding him for several hours.Ajarma said that he visited the family on Wednesday morning and that Abdallah was traumatized by the experience.Ajarma said that the Israeli soldiers looked little older than teenagers.“You’re young, but you must have a family. What you’re doing to a young child isn’t right,” Ajarma recalled telling one of the gunmen holding the child.“I feel that if this soldier was a father, he wouldn’t be able to carry on this way,” Ajarma told The Electronic Intifada.“The one thing that made the army act in a slightly less violent way is that I was filming everything,” Ajarma said.

Source: Video: Israeli soldiers arrest young child | The Electronic Intifada

E.coli has developed resistance to last-line of antibiotics, warn scientists – Telegraph

Bacteria like E.Coli have mutated to be resistant to our last-line of antibiotics and untreateable bugs may already be circulating in Britain, scientists have warned.Health experts have warned for years that antibiotic resistance could send medicine back to the dark ages, with even the smallest infections proving lethal.Currently, when all other drugs fail, doctors use polymyxins – such as colistin – as a last resort to treat bacterial infections like E.coli and those which cause pneumonia.

Source: E.coli has developed resistance to last-line of antibiotics, warn scientists – Telegraph

Six Ways to Use Fallen Leaves in Your Garden by Evelyn Hadden

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My Boise front garden this summer, two years after smothering the lawn with leaves.

Got leaves? Use them to boost your garden’s soil and plant health, facilitate the design and creation of new planting beds, turn problem areas into productive ones, and save yourself labor and money, all while doing the green thing. Here are six rewarding, practical alternatives to raking leaves into bags and hauling them off your property.

1. Spread thinly over planted areas. If they’re only an inch or two deep, leave leaves where they have fallen around perennials, shrubs, and trees. Distribute a two-inch layer over the rest of your planted areas as well. Larger or coarser leaves will act as a mulch — suppressing seedling germination, retaining soil moisture, and minimizing erosion. If you shred the leaves first, or if they are naturally small and friable, they will break down more easily and will act more like a soil conditioner than a mulch. Grass clippings can be mixed in for extra nutrition. More details on spreading leaves over perennial beds from Penn State Extension.

2. Spread thinly over lawn. Mow over a light layer of leaves where they have fallen onto a lawn. This will break them into pieces that are less likely to pack down and smother the grass but can sift down between the blades and enrich the soil as they decompose. For stretches of lawn without fallen leaves, spread a thin layer over your lawn and shred with the mower, or shred first and then spread. More details on using fallen leaves to benefit lawns from University of Minnesota Extension.

3. Spread deeply under shrubs. Rake fallen leaves under the skirts of shrubs for a weed-suppressing mulch and nutritious compost all in one. Shrubs of woodland origin can easily handle a deep mulch of leaves, though any groundcover plants under them may smother. Want more shrubs? A thick blanket of leaves can induce arching and suckering woody plants to layer (produce new plants from buried trailing branches), and those new plants will be ready to cut free and dig up within a year or two.

4. Spread deeply to kill lawn. Pile fallen leaves over a section of lawn to smother it for planting next year. A foot-deep layer of leaves should be sufficient to kill a fescue lawn. If your lawn plants are particularly tough, lay cardboard first for extra help with weed suppression. (If you are smothering lawn over a tree’s root zone, tackle no more than a quarter of the root zone per year.) With enough warmth, moisture, and soil life, your leaves might mostly decompose over the first winter, or it could take a year or so for them and the erstwhile lawn to transform into rich, crumbly, worm-filled topsoil.

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Here’s the front yard in December 2013, with piled leaves shaping the new beds. Remaining lawn shows where the stepping stone paths will be.

5. Make more places for leaves. Design planting beds that can take your extra leaves every year — leaf processing areas, so to speak. Site them within convenient raking distance of (or within) your lawn, patio, and paved areas. Plant tall, robust shrubs in them and plan to add a deep layer of leaves to those beds every year. An island within the lawn can be planted with native berrying and flowering shrubs to become a songbird haven. Site it so it provides a four-season view from a window of the house or from an outdoor sitting area. A hedge along the driveway also makes an excellent leaf processing area; just sweep them off the pavement and into the shrubbery.

6. Get your compost mix right. Set aside a bag or two of leaves to spread thinly over the compost pile every time you empty your kitchen scrap bucket onto it. This will help to mask unpleasant odors, balance green materials with brown, and speed decomposition.

Now for the caveats:

As you may have deduced from our recent discussion about the National Wildlife Federation’s leaf-leaving advice, it’s important to consider your climate and site, the type of leaves you have, and the plants you are growing.

While some leaves break down quickly (honeylocust, for instance), thick and leathery leaves such as magnolia or oak may not decompose for years without being shredded first. These latter types of leaves will require extra effort to incorporate into your garden.

If you are cultivating mosses or other fragile groundcovers under your trees, a deep leaf layer will kill them.

Aesthetics can play a part in your choices too.

But before you bag them and send them away, consider how those free fallen leaves might benefit you and your garden.

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Perennials, annuals, and vegetables, including dryland native plants, are thriving in the decomposed leaves.

Six Ways to Use Fallen Leaves in Your Garden originally appeared on Garden Rant on November 18, 2015.

19 Officers Swarm Black Woman As She Tries To Get Into Her Own Apartment: LAist

Fay Wells, who is the vice president of strategy at a multinational corporation, penned a piece in The Washington Post today, detailing the harrowing ordeal that took place on Sept. 6 and how she is still shaken up. She writes, “I’m heartbroken that the place I called home no longer feels safe.”Wells had just gotten back from her weekly soccer game and found that she had locked herself out of her home, and hired a locksmith to open the door for her. But after she got inside her apartment, that’s when things escalated. A large dog was barking in her stairwell, and officers pointed guns at her. They entered her apartment, and an officer pulled Wells’ hands behind her back and took her outside. That’s when she saw an “ocean of officers.” Though Wells says that the officers at the time wouldn’t explain to her why they were there, she later found out that a total of 19 were dispatched and that her white neighbor had reported a burglary at her apartment.Wells writes:It didn’t matter that I told the cops I’d lived there for seven months, told them about the locksmith, offered to show a receipt for his services and my ID. It didn’t matter that I went to Duke, that I have an MBA from Dartmouth, that I’m a vice president of strategy at a multinational corporation. It didn’t matter that I’ve never had so much as a speeding ticket. It didn’t matter that I calmly, continually asked them what was happening. It also didn’t matter that I didn’t match the description of the person they were looking for — my neighbor described me as Hispanic when he called 911. What mattered was that I was a woman of color trying to get into her apartment — in an almost entirely white apartment complex in a mostly white city — and a white man who lived in another building called the cops because he’d never seen me before.It’s still been an uphill battle for Wells, who says she’s had to jump through hoops to get from the Santa Monica Police Department the names of the officers who showed up that night. Even then, the facts don’t match up. She only received 17 of the 19 names from authorities, and the Washington Post got 17 names that didn’t all match up with the list Wells received. She’s since filed an official complaint with internal affairs. The department told the Washington Post that it was within protocol based on this type of call to warrant “a very substantial police response.”

Source: 19 Officers Swarm Black Woman As She Tries To Get Into Her Own Apartment: LAist

Teenage Girls are the Future — and Present — of Feminism | National Women’s Law Center

Let’s Hear It For the GirlsChronically undervaluing teenage girls like this hurts everyone. Sure, there are practical reasons to support them, like the impact of the youth vote in an increasingly polarized political atmosphere. But more important is that each and every one of these girls matters. Each one deserves to hear, directly and repeatedly, that her ideas are worth sharing, her feelings are valid.Her selfies aren’t shallow — they’re feminist self-construction, an “I was here” painted on the entire Internet. She’s singing on the train because she deserves to take up as much space as anyone else.Some teenage girls don’t care what you think anyway, and that kind of confidence is not easy to come by. Some really do care what you think, and that’s okay because it shows their deep capacity to offer and demand empathy.  My feminism is rooted in supporting these girls no matter what. The ultimate goal is a world in which it’s not just girls themselves who believe they can do anything, but we all know it’s true — and see them accomplish their dreams every day.

Source: Teenage Girls are the Future — and Present — of Feminism | National Women’s Law Center