Dhaka, May 12 (UNB) - With Iftar and Sehri offers clogging almost all our social media accounts, it has become quite a difficult task for customers to pick a right place to break their fast at. Amrit & Summerfields on the 2nd floor of Hotel Sarina, Dhaka has come up with an array of dishes ranging from Japanese, Indian, European, and Arabian for their ‘Iftar cum Dinner Buffet’.
Upon entering the venue, we were greeted by multiple waiters and explained that the right wing had an arrangement of the traditional iftar dishes and the left wing was where the dinner was served. The trick to making the most out of a buffet is to take a look at all the offered dishes and narrow down the ones you want to have most of. Another trick is to avoid any rice or soup option as they tend to fill you up pretty fast!
I was filling myself up there with Piyajus. So, I had started slowly (but strategically) with a bit of chicken salad, roasted capsicum, hummus, prawns with sauce dressing, and some crispy thin Jilapis. The hummus tasted like pureed chickpeas with no zing from the lemons or heat from garlic. It just tasted like a bland mush. However, the chicken salad managed to steal the show with its sauce and abundance of juicy chicken strips. In fact, I got myself 3 servings of it! The other cold salads weren’t as bad either, but I had to move on to the live station now.
I love live stations at buffets. Not only can you sometimes pick your preferred piece but the satisfaction you get from watching your food being freshly made is of another level. The shawarma station was what grabbed my attention. A chef was cutting off the meat right from the grill and wrapping them up in a pita bread with lettuce, jalapenos, tomatoes, and a garlic sauce. The stuffing was meaty while the sauce was creamy. The pita bread though could be slightly thinner but overall, the wrap was quite a treat. The live sushi station was the most crowded, what sets them apart is the use of fresh ripe mangoes in some of their rolls.
I was too distracted by their main dishes to try out a sushi but heard mixed reviews about them. The mains included dishes like Grilled Chicken, Whole Leg of Lamb, Deep Fried Chicken, Thai Chicken Wings, Chili Prawn, Mutton and Beef Kababs, Biryani and many more. I absolutely feel in love with their chicken and prawn items. They were succulent and pleasant to look at. The Grilled Chicken had a beautiful char to them yet managed to remain succulent! The Whole Leg Lamb might not be everyone’s cup of tea since I, myself, prefer lamb/mutton to be served in bits rather than whole.
The dessert table had over 12 items! Presentation wise most of them were very colorful and vibrant. The Coffee Panna Cotta, Mud Cake, Baklava and Kulfi were my favorite amongst all. Other desserts included Kunafa, Jarda, Fruit Platter, Cream Caramel, Ummali, Barfi, Mahalabia and more.
By: Ifreet Taheea
New York, May 11 (AP/UNB) — Rihanna certified her status as a cultural fashion icon with her groundbreaking new deal with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world's largest luxury group.
The pop star, born Robyn Rihanna Fenty, announced Friday that she will debut a line called Fenty this spring through LVMH. Her luxury house will be based in Paris.
The 31-year-old singer becomes the first person since 1987 to launch a new house with LVMH (the last person was Christian LaCroix). Rihanna is also reportedly the first woman to create an original brand at LVMH and the first woman of color at the top of an LVMH maison.
"Designing a line like this with LVMH is an incredibly special moment for us," Rihanna said in a statement. She added that Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of LVMH, "has given me a unique opportunity to develop a fashion house in the luxury sector, with no artistic limits. I couldn't imagine a better partner both creatively and business-wise, and I'm ready for the world to see what we have built together."
LVMH's leather and goods division includes Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior Couture, Celine, Kenzo, Givenchy, Fendi, Marc Jacobs and more, while its wine and spirts includes Moët & Chandon and Dom Pérignon. The company has also backed Rihanna's ultra-successful cosmetics brand, Fenty Beauty.
Arnault said "everybody knows Rihanna as a wonderful singer, but through our partnership at Fenty Beauty, I discovered a true entrepreneur, a real CEO and a terrific leader."
"She naturally finds her full place within LVMH," he continued. "I am proud that LVMH is leading this venture and wish it will be a great success."
Fashion has been synonymous with Rihanna's name since the Grammy-winning superstar launched her music career in 2005. She has collaborated with brands like Armani, Puma, Dior and more to launch products and lines, and she debuted her lingerie line, Savage X Fenty, last year. Her Fenty Beauty collection disrupted the beauty industry when it launched in 2017, offering 40 foundation shades and bringing in more than $500 million by the end of last year. The success of it forced other cosmetic brands to be more inclusive and launch more foundation color shades, while Fenty even extended to 50 shades.
A release date for Rihanna's new Fenty line with LVMH was not announced, but a website where consumers can eventually purchase the line launched Friday. The new line "is centered on Rihanna, developed by her, and takes shape with her vision in terms of ready to wear, shoes and accessories, including commerciality and communication of the brand," according to a press release.
"Celebrity fashion brands have been around a long time and led by singers, but in the past they've tended to be done via licensing, wholesale distribution and often more with mass retailers or department stores. What's different about this Rihanna project is her partner, which is the world's largest luxury group, which has expertise across a range of leather goods, perfumes, fashion, beauty — so it really raises the bar for celebrity-led fashion brands," Miles Socha, editor-in-chief of WWD, said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Rihanna, a native of Barbados, expressed her excitement about the epic new deal in an Instagram post Friday.
"Big day for the culture," she wrote. "Thank you Mr. Arnault for believing in this little girl from the left side of an island, and for giving me the opportunity to grow with you at @LVMH. This is proof that nothing is impossible. Glory be to God."
Dubai, (AP/UNB) — Many Muslims around the world began fasting Monday to mark the start of the holy month of Ramadan.
This means waking up before dawn to eat, hydrate and pray. Once the sun rises, Muslims abstain from food and drink, including water, until sunset. They repeat the grueling routine every day for a month.
Here are some questions and answers about Islam's holiest month and how it's observed.
Why do muslims fast?
Fasting is meant to bring worshippers closer to God through steady remembrance, reflection and sacrifice. Daily fasting, combined with five daily prayers and extended evening prayers, challenges worshippers to focus on their actions, deeds and thoughts, rather than on material desires and instant gratification.
Fasting is a requirement in Islam — a reset for the mind, body and soul. Muslims are expected to show self-control and deeper spirituality during Ramadan.
It's also a month of gratitude. By abstaining from food and water during the day, the faithful are reminded of those less fortunate. Each night during Ramadan, mosques and aid organizations set up tents and tables to serve free evening meals for the poor.
How do muslims fast?
Muslims must abstain from all eating, drinking or smoking from dawn to dusk each day for the entire lunar month, around 30 days. A single sip of water or coffee, or a puff of a cigarette, is enough to invalidate the fast.
Sexual intercourse is also forbidden during the daylong fast, and Muslims are encouraged to avoid gossip, arguments and idle time.
To prepare for the fast, Muslims wake for a pre-dawn meal called "suhoor." Often the small meal will include vegetables and fruits, tea, yogurt, dates and power foods such as beans and lentils. In many cities in the Muslim world, volunteers wake the faithful for suhoor by marching through the streets chanting and beating drums.
How do muslims break their fast?
Muslims traditionally break their fast like the Prophet Muhammad did some 1,400 years ago, with a sip of water and some dates at sunset. After sunset prayers, a large feast known as "iftar" is shared with family and friends.
Iftar is a social event as much as it is a gastronomical adventure. Across the Arab world, apricot juice is an iftar staple. In South Asia and Turkey, yogurt-based drinks are popular.
Can muslims be exempted from fasting?
Children, the elderly and the ill are exempt, as well as women who are pregnant, nursing or menstruating. Travelers, including athletes taking part in tournaments away from home, are also exempt from fasting.
Muslims living in countries with excessively long daylight hours are advised by religious scholars to adhere to the fasting times of the nearest Muslim-majority country.
How do muslim-majority countries observe ramadan?
Many Muslim-majority countries curb the sale of alcohol during the month of Ramadan, limiting when it can be sold and to whom. In some countries, people who eat in public during the day can be fined or even jailed, although adherence to Ramadan etiquette by non-Muslims is often a personal choice and not enforced by police.
In the United Arab Emirates, which has large Western expatriate populations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, restaurants use curtains to conceal customers who eat during the day. In Saudi Arabia, restaurants simply close during the day.
What are some ramadan traditions?
Once the start of the holy month is declared, Muslims share holiday greetings such as "Ramadan Mubarak," or "blessed Ramadan," via text messages, calls and emails to family and friends.
Another hallmark of Ramadan is nightly prayer at the mosque among Sunni Muslims called "taraweeh."
Egyptians follow the tradition of the "fanoos," a Ramadan lantern that is often the centerpiece at an iftar table or seen hanging in shop windows and from balconies.
Increasingly common are Ramadan tents in five-star hotels that offer lavish and pricey meals throughout the evening. While Ramadan is a boon for retailers in the Middle East and South Asia, critics say the holy month is increasingly becoming commercialized.
Scholars have also been disturbed by the proliferation of evening television shows during Ramadan. In the Arab world, monthlong soap operas rake in millions of dollars in advertising.
How do muslims mark the end of ramadan?
The end of Ramadan is marked by intense worship as Muslims ask to have their prayers answered during "Laylat al-Qadr" or "the Night of Destiny." Muslims believe that on this occasion, which is usually observed on the 27th day of Ramadan, God sent the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad and revealed the first verses of the Quran.
After these intense nights of prayer, the end of Ramadan is met with a holiday called Eid al-Fitr. Children often receive new clothes, gifts and cash.
Muslims attend early morning Eid prayers the day after Ramadan. Families typically spend the day at parks, eating in the sunshine for the first time in a month.
While living in a mother’s womb, cushioned by amniotic fluid and protected from the outside world, babies have only minimal exposure to microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. Shortly after birth, a newborn’s collection of microorganisms – their microbiome – begins to develop as a succession of bacteria colonizes their gut.
A variety of factors, such as mode of delivery (cesarean or vaginal birth) and antibiotic use, influence this population of bacteria. After that, human milk serves as a primary way more bacteria are introduced to a baby’s system, as it can contain up to 700 different species of bacteria.
In my research as a chemist, I’ve been focusing on the complex sugars that human milk contains. My colleagues and I are interested in how these sugar molecules help mold a baby’s microbiome and contribute to overall health. Ultimately we hope that knowing more about individual molecules in human breast milk will lead to the development of better infant formulas that can be used in cases where breastfeeding isn’t possible.
What’s in mother’s milk
You’ve probably heard that breast milk provides all the energy requirements, vitamins and nutrients that an infant needs. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends exclusively breastfeeding babies for the first six months of life when possible. Unfortunately there are a number of reasons that breastfeeding can be a challenge to keep up; and indeed, only about a quarter of American babies meet that guideline.
Breastmilk has a number of health benefits, beyond just keeping a baby well-fed. Exclusively breastfed babies have lower infant mortality due to common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea, pneumonia, urinary tract infection, ear infection, necrotizing enterocolitis and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), compared to formula-fed counterparts. And antibodies in milk mean breastfeeding helps babies recover quicker when they do fall ill.
Researchers know human milk contains two types of simple proteins, whey and casein, which are easily digested. It also has complex proteins including lactoferrin, which inhibits the growth of iron-dependent bacteria, and secretory IgA, which protects the infant from viruses and pathogenic bacteria. It provides a number of essential fats that are necessary for brain development, vitamin absorption and nervous system development.
And then there are the complex sugars called human milk oligosaccharides or HMOs that have long been neglected by the scientific community. As trained organic chemists, my team took an interest in HMOs precisely because not much was known about them. A few studies had found that these sugars were food for good bacteria, but not the pathogenic ones. It seemed like there must be more to the story. We also knew we’d be able to synthesize in the lab any molecules we identified as important.
A closer look at mom’s milk sugars
These complex sugars in human milk appear to provide a growth advantage for good bacteria. For example, breastfed infants have a microbiome rich in two species of bacteria: Bacteroides and Bifidobacteria. Both species are symbiotes, meaning they live with us on a daily basis, but typically cause no harm. They live in the human gut where they use human milk oligosaccharides as energy sources to grow, whereas pathogens do not. Breastfed babies tend to be colonized to a lesser extent by infectious species, meaning they get sick less.
Many of the protective properties of human milk have been attributed to its HMO component. For instance, research has shown that HMO supplementation shortens the duration of rotavirus infection – one of the leading causes of diarrhea in infants.
Bovine milk, which most formula is based on, however, contains a negligible oligosaccharide component. Additionally, bovine milk oligosaccharides lack the structural complexity and diversity of HMOs. So formula-fed infants do not obtain comparable oligosaccharide-fostered protections to those who are breastfed.
A case study: Group B strep
Based on these known effects of human milk oligosaccharides, my research group took an interest in Group B streptococcus. All mothers-to-be are screened during the third trimester of pregnancy for Group B strep; although it isn’t much threat to a healthy adult, this bacteria can be passed to the baby during labor and birth, with an increased risk of infection.
We noted that, even though Group B strep bacteria are present in breast milk, children who breastfeed are not at increased risk for Group B strep infection. Why? Could HMOs be providing protection against this bacteria?
To investigate, our team worked to isolate the complex sugars contained in donated human milk. With these molecules in hand, we began to test whether HMOs acted as antibiotics against Group B strep. In an initial study, we tried to grow Group B strep both in the presence and absence of HMOs. It turned out that HMOs do prevent the growth of Group B strep bacteria.
We also observed that different women produced HMOs with varying levels of antibiotic activity. This was not surprising as there are over 200 different HMOs in breast milk. Every woman produces a different set of sugars and they change during lactation. In followup studies, we showed that HMOs have antibiotic properties against a number of additional pathogens, including staph.
Going forward, our goals are to figure out exactly how these sugars are working and why specific women produce sugars that are more antimicrobial than others. Once researchers understand more about which HMOs are the most important ingredients in breast milk for baby health, these compounds can be synthesized and added to infant food products. A better quality infant formula that more closely mimics human breast milk may help close the health gap between breastfed and formula-fed babies.
Los Angeles, May 9 (AP/UNB) — The nation's most productive agricultural state moved Wednesday to ban a controversial pesticide widely used to control a range of insects but blamed for harming brain development in babies.
The move cheered by environmentalists would outlaw chlorpyrifos after scientists deemed it a toxic air contaminant and discovered it to be more dangerous than previously thought. California Environmental Secretary Jared Blumenfeld said it's the first time the state has sought to ban a pesticide and the move was overdue.
"This pesticide is a neurotoxin, and it was first put on the market in 1965," Blumenfeld said. "So it's been on the shelf a long time, and it's past its sell-by date."
The decision comes after regulators in several states have taken steps in recent years to restrict the pesticide used on about 60 different crops in California, including grapes, almonds and oranges. Hawaii banned it last year, and New York lawmakers recently sent a measure to the governor outlawing use of the pesticide.
DowDuPont, which produces the pesticide, said it was disappointed with the decision and that farmers who rely on the pesticide say it will hurt their ability to control insects.
"It's a very important part of the crop protection tool box," said Casey Creamer, president of California Citrus Mutual, which represents 5,000 growers. "We're fighting for our lives here trying to protect ourselves from deadly diseases, and we keep losing tools."
Creamer questioned the scientific studies behind the decision and said removing the pesticide could hurt efforts to prevent a pest like the Asian citrus psyllid from decimating the citrus industry in California like it did in much of Florida. The pest infects citrus trees with a fatal disease.
Blumenfeld said California took action in part because the federal government allowed the pesticide to be used after the Obama administration tried to phase it out.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Donald Trump reversed that effort after reevaluating the science. Environmental groups and farmworkers challenged that decision, and a federal appeals court last month ordered the EPA to decide by July whether to ban the pesticide.
"This is a historic victory for California's agricultural communities and for children nationwide," said Miriam Rotkin-Ellman of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "The science clearly shows that chlorpyrifos is too dangerous to use in our fields. Since California uses more chlorpyrifos than any other state, this ban will not only protect kids who live here, but kids who eat the fruits and veggies grown here."
The pesticide is in a class of organophosphates chemically similar to a nerve gas developed by Nazi Germany before World War II. Its heavy use has often left traces in drinking water sources. A 2012 study by the University of California, Berkeley, found that 87% of umbilical-cord blood samples tested from newborn babies contained detectable levels of the pesticide.
Dr. Gina Solomon, a medical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and former deputy secretary of Cal-EPA, said chlorpyrifos is unusual in that it's one of the best understood pesticides because it's been so extensively studied.
"We know a lot about what it does to developing children, and that science is the bedrock of the action that Cal-EPA is announcing," she said. "Many pesticides have been studied well in lab rats, but in this case, we actually know what it does to people."
Studies in cities where the pesticide was once used to kill cockroaches before it was banned for indoor use in 2000 and in rural farmworker communities showed it harmed brain development in fetuses and affected reading ability, IQ and led to hyperactivity in children, Solomon said. Even head sizes were smaller in children whose mothers were exposed to the pesticide.
While the ban — technically known as a cancellation — could take up to two years to take effect, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation has recommended that county agriculture commissioners adopt stricter rules on where and how the chemical can be applied, including larger buffer zones.
Use of the pesticide has been reduced by more than half in California since 2005, to just under 1 million pounds (450,000 kilograms) used on crops in 2016, the state says.
To help farmers make the transition away from chlorpyrifos, California is adding contributing $5.7 million to the development of safer alternatives.
While most environmental groups applauded the announcement, Earthjustice said it would continue pushing legislation to ban the chemical because it questions whether the Department of Pesticide Regulation will follow through.
"It's been like pulling teeth to force DPR to begin the cancellation process for chlorpyrifos," said Greg Loarie, an Earthjustice attorney. "Until we know that chlorpyrifos is gone for good, we are going to keep pushing as hard as we can in as many places as we can."