Dhaka, Mar 18 (UNB)- Well, when I first heard the name, the first thing popped into my head was ‘WAR’. This could be a very dangerous, risky, unsafe place to explore. This is how I summed up my visit to Kargil.
Kargil was definitely not in my plans. I went to Ladakh last year and got to know that two world famous tourist attractions, Pangong Lake and Nubra Valley were not accessible to Bangladeshi visitors. So, visit to Kargil was my plan B.
At first, I was deeply skeptical about going there but my guide assured me that this would be worth a visit.
I was still under same impression until I reached to Kargil. Believe me, I was totally wrong.
Kargil is an amazingly beautiful town surrounded by mighty mountains, followed by Suru River.
A 218-kilometer long Kargil-Leh highway was beyond beautiful. This exhilarating road journey was a combination of adventure and bliss surrounded by various structured mountains, stunning untouched landscapes, turquoise water of Suru River, zigzag hilly roads and historical constructions in some places.
This trip made me realise one thing that, when you're truly on road, deep inside, you start feeling every part of Mother Nature as your travel partner.
On the way to Kargil, I’d witnessed countless mountains with so many different colors- 50 shades of brown, black, purple, green, golden and what not. The fall colored grass and turquoise water of Suru River added a unique dimension to the scene. Oh! How can I forget?
Before reaching to the town, we went to Kargil War Memorial. This place is a beautiful concoction of emotions, sacrifices and respect.
After entering the rustic town, we finally got the chance to see the faces where 90 percent local population comprises Muslims. They are different from the people of Ladakh. I found the Kargil local a tad conservative by nature. So, we didn’t talk to them much and headed towards our hotel.
The next day early morning, we started our onward journey to Leh after a hot breakfast. Here my favorite chapter comes.
On the way back to Leh from Kargil, we found the road adorned with pink Sakura blossoms (also known as Cherry blossom). I almost screamed with joy after seeing this gorgeous pink beauty. Our chauffeur cum guide stopped us on the road side and allowed us to get some pictures.
When I first saw the cherry blossom path, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was so unreal, beyond all expectations. I felt like I was in a movie set. At that moment, I kept photo shooting on with every possible pose with this unbelievably beautiful view.
We started again. After few miles, we took a chai break. We stopped at a tea shop where we had the best `Adrakwali Chai’ (ginger milk tea) and the taste was different, blended with fresh air. AHH!
To head to Leh, we had to go through many passes, monasteries and moon land. It seemed like an alien world to me. It was worth by all means to explore the unexplored.
By: Farah Seraj
Dhaka, March 18 (UNB)- Belonging to a family of doctors have a lot of advantages, the major one being gaining health tips without the use of Google and Wikipedia for a change. Another one was being instilled the habit of eating nutritive food items and drinks like eating eggs, different types of fish and vegetables, drinking water and the list goes on. One habit that I have been following religiously till date is drinking green coconut water a.k.a. ‘Daab’er Pani’ and eating the White meat a.k.a. ‘Shash’ or ‘Malai’ since childhood. Let us have a look at the health benefits of coconut water.
Health Benefits of Coconut water!
• Keeps you hydrated in summer
• Improves blood circulation
• Supplies energy
• Balances blood sugar level
• Burns fat faster
• Dissolves kidney stones
• Recover from bad hangovers
All these years I knew that green coconut is the only one kind available. But I was proved wrong until my visit to Sri Lanka. I saw this light brown colored, large coconut which my Sri Lankan friend said is called a King Coconut. There is not much difference between the two types except for the colour and the taste. The water in the King Coconut is much sweeter than that of the green one. Unlike the green coconut, the King Coconut does not mature into the fruit to make coconut oil or milk. King Coconut is more expensive than the green one. Usually, king coconuts are available in islands.
I have seen King Coconut used as a decorative item in few restaurants as well as lamps during the evening. Unfortunately, I have not stayed till the evening to see how the Lankans use those as lamps.
I would suggest everyone to drink coconut water daily. Juniors and seniors who always go for walks and runs, you should all try to drink coconut water afterwards to balance your electrolytes and gain energy. I would also suggest drinking it after yoga or any kind of workout. Will feel very refreshing afterwards!
You can also use coconut water to brighten your face. Keep it in the form of ice cubes in summer and use it all over after a long, tiring day. It will remove the tan as well as the blemishes if used constantly.
I will cover more later on Coconut Oil and Milk so stay tuned!
By: Marjan Rahman
Washington, Mar 18 (AP/UNB) — As ominous music plays in the background, the narrator of a radio ad echoes objections from drugmakers by warning that a Trump administration proposal to apply international pricing to certain Medicare drugs would be a nightmare for seniors.
The one-minute spot is the handiwork of the Alliance for Patient Access, a nonprofit group that gives off a consumer-friendly vibe yet is bankrolled by the powerful pharmaceutical industry. It's also closely aligned with a Washington lobbying and public relations firm, Woodberry Associates, whose president, Brian Kennedy, is the nonprofit's executive director.
As Congress and the Trump administration aim to lower prescription drug costs, outside groups like the Alliance for Patient Access are seeking to sway the outcome. But not all of these organizations are clear about who they actually represent. Their names can obscure the source of the message and they're cagey about where they get their funding.
Yet even a small degree of separation can be valuable for pharmaceutical companies at a time when the industry faces stiff political headwinds. Drug prices may provide a rare bipartisan issue on which Congress and the White House could collaborate on legislation ahead of the 2020 elections. In a prelude of sorts, the Senate Finance Committee last month grilled drug company executives over the cost of their products.
Anger is bubbling up from their constituents. A February poll by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found nearly one in four Americans taking prescription drugs have difficultly affording their medications. Although majorities of the public trust pharmaceutical companies to develop new and effective drugs, only 25 percent trust them to price their products fairly — down from 41 percent in 2008.
Susan Hepworth, a spokeswoman for the Alliance and Woodberry, described the nonprofit as "a national network of physicians that advocates for patient access to the medicines they prescribe."
Through the Alliance, she said, doctors "can share their perspectives about the benefits of respecting the physician-patient relationship, clinical decision making and personalized, patient-centered health care." It's no surprise, Hepworth said, that the group's backers include companies that manufacture medicines.
She declined to answer questions about the radio ad. The one-minute spot singles out for criticism a Trump administration proposal to gradually shift Medicare payments for drugs administered in doctors' offices to a level based on international prices.
Prices in other countries are lower because governments directly negotiate with manufacturers. But drugmakers have assailed the Trump plan, arguing it smacks of government price-setting and would lead to socialized health care.
The Alliance's radio spot makes the same argument, using nearly identical language. Under the Trump proposal, the ad says, "cancer treatment would be paid based on rates from countries with European-style health care, where access to new medicine is rationed and patients often wait months for care."
Tax filings for 2015 through 2017, the most recent available, show the Alliance has paid Woodberry's consultants more than $1 million. Brendan Fischer of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center said the transactions may raise red flags.
"Nonprofits are supposed to promote social welfare, not operate to provide a private benefit to any person or entity," Fischer said. "A nonprofit could run afoul of tax law if it is substantially benefiting a nonprofit officer's for-profit consulting firm."
Hepworth said Woodberry is a consultancy with a division that specializes in nonprofit coalition management and that the money paid to the firm's people represents a small amount of the Alliance's expenditures for those years.
The Alliance "files all of the appropriate paperwork with the IRS and takes the extra step of making available on its website a current list of its supporters," according to Hepworth. The link to this list takes a bit of searching to find, however.
The Alliance's money comes from more than three dozen associate members and financial supporters, which include several of the largest pharmaceutical companies. Among them are AbbVie, manufacturer of Humira, the blockbuster drug for immune system conditions; AstraZeneca, maker of the cholesterol drug Crestor; Bristol-Myers Squibb, maker of the blood thinner Eliquis; and Pfizer, maker of Lyrica for nerve pain.
The group's leaders are medical doctors based outside of Washington; those identified in the tax records as directors aren't paid for the one hour per month, on average, of work they do for the nonprofit. But several of them have earned tens of thousands of dollars in consulting and speaker fees from the health care industry, including companies that back the Alliance.
For example, Dr. Jack Schim, a neurologist in California and an Alliance director, was paid nearly $329,000 between 2015 and 2017, with the bulk of the money coming from Allergan, maker of wrinkle treatment Botox, according to a database maintained by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Schim was one of the top-ranking physicians in his specialty for these payments.
While the Alliance names its supporters, it doesn't disclose how much each has contributed. Federal rules permit groups structured as tax-exempt social welfare organizations to say little about their benefactors.
Social welfare organizations like the Alliance also may engage in limited political activities so long as politics isn't their primary focus. Known by their IRS designation as 501(c)(4)s, they typically are civic-minded groups such as homeowner associations and volunteer fire departments.
The Alliance spent $13.6 million in 2015 and 2016 on awards to recognize dozens of members of Congress who, according to Hepworth, "have championed patient access in the Medicare program." The lawmakers, who are barred by ethics rules from accepting monetary gifts, are presented with a plaque and are praised in press releases and advertisements. Recent recipients include Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.
Tax records for the drugmakers' influential trade association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, provide a bit of insight into the Alliance's finances. The association, known as PhRMA, identifies the recipients of its grants and contributions. It donated more than $1.8 million to the Alliance between 2009 and 2016 and since 2016 gave another $215,000 to two smaller offshoots — the Institute for Patient Access and the Global Alliance for Patient Access.
PhRMA's largest single contribution, $1.4 million, came in 2016 when Trump, then a candidate for president, and Democratic contender Hillary Clinton rattled drug companies with their pledges to take aggressive steps to bring down prescription medication costs.
"Groups like the Alliance for Patient Access often act as foils for the pharmaceutical industry instead of advancing patient interests," said Steven Knievel of the nonpartisan watchdog group Public Citizen. "They advocate for policies where industry and patient interests align. But any time drug prices are on the table, they toe the line of their corporate backers."
Kennedy, a former top official at the Republican Governors Association, registered the Alliance in June 2006 in Iowa; he lists an address in Bettendorf on the certificate. He registered Woodberry Associates as an LLC nearly five months later, also in Iowa. Kennedy is the Alliance's executive director and Woodberry's president. The nonprofit and the business share an office in downtown Washington.
The bulk of the more than $1 million paid to Woodberry between 2015 and 2017 was for consulting services that Hepworth said ranged from managing Alliance working groups to the development and promotion of white papers, podcasts and social media posts. Kennedy also received more than $457,000 in reimbursements for travel, hotels and catering contracts.
Mar 16 (AP/UNB) -The latest U.S. research on eggs won't go over easy for those who can't eat breakfast without them.
Adults who ate about 1 ½ eggs daily had a slightly higher risk of heart disease than those who ate no eggs. The study showed the more eggs, the greater the risk. The chances of dying early were also elevated.
The researchers say the culprit is cholesterol, found in egg yolks and other foods, including shellfish, dairy products and red meat. The study focused on eggs because they're among the most commonly eaten cholesterol-rich foods. They can still be part of a healthy diet, but in smaller quantities than many Americans have gotten used to, the researchers say.
U.S. dietary guidelines that eased limits on cholesterol have helped eggs make a comeback.
The study has limitations and contradicts recent research, but is likely to rekindle the long-standing debate about eggs.
The new results were published online Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and elsewhere pooled results from six previous studies, analyzing data on almost 30,000 U.S. adults who self-reported daily food intake. Participants were followed for roughly 17 years, on average.
The researchers calculated that those who ate 300 milligrams of cholesterol daily — about 1 ½ eggs — were 17 percent more likely to develop heart disease than whose who didn't eat eggs.
The researchers based their conclusions on what participants said they ate at the start of each study. They took into account high blood pressure, smoking, obesity and other traits that could contribute to heart problems. Risks were found with eggs and cholesterol in general; a separate analysis was not done for every cholesterol-rich food.
Dr. Bruce Lee of Johns Hopkins University, said nutrition studies are often weak because they rely on people remembering what they ate.
"We know that dietary recall can be terrible," said Lee. The new study offers only observational data but doesn't show that eggs and cholesterol caused heart disease and deaths, said Lee, who wasn't involved in the research.
Senior author Norrina Allen, a preventive medicine specialist, noted that the study lacks information on whether participants ate eggs hard-boiled, poached, fried, or scrambled in butter, which she said could affect health risks.
Some people think '"I can eat as many eggs as I want'" but the results suggest moderation is a better approach, she said.
Eggs are a leading source of dietary cholesterol, which once was thought to be strongly related to blood cholesterol levels and heart disease. Older studies suggesting that link led to nutrition guidelines almost a decade ago that recommended consuming no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol daily; one egg contains about 186 milligrams.
Newer research questioned that relationship, finding that saturated fats contribute more to unhealthy levels of blood cholesterol that can lead to heart problems.
The latest U.S. government nutrition guidelines, from 2015, removed the strict daily cholesterol limit. While eating as little cholesterol as possible is still advised, the recommendations say eggs can still be part of a healthy diet, as a good source of protein, along with lean meat, poultry, beans and nuts. Nutrition experts say the new study is unlikely to change that advice.
Dr. Frank Hu of Harvard University noted that most previous studies have shown that eating a few eggs weekly is not linked with risks for heart disease in generally healthy people.
"I don't think that this study would change general healthy eating guidelines" that emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans and limiting processed meats and sugar, Hu said. Eggs, a breakfast staple for many, can be included but other options should also be considered, "like whole grain toast with nut butter, fresh fruits, and yogurt," Hu said.
Dr. Rosalind Coleman, a professor of nutrition and pediatrics at the University of North Carolina, offered broader advice.
"The main message for the public is not to select a single type of food as 'bad' or 'good' but to evaluate your total diet in terms of variety and amount.
"I'm sorry if it seems like a boring recommendation," she added, but for most people, the most important diet advice "should be to maintain a healthy weight, to exercise, and to get an adequate amount of sleep."
Dhaka, Mar 14 (UNB)- The 14th edition of an international motor vehicle exhibition 'Dhaka Motor Show-2019' had its curtains raised on Thursday.
The fair, divided into three segments - Dhaka Bike Show, Auto Parts Show and Commercial Automotive Show is arranged by CEMS Global and is taking place at International Convention Center, Bashundhara (ICCB).
Minister of Industries Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun inaugurated the 3-day long exhibition.
In his speech he stressed the improving of local automobile parts manufacturers saying that country will soon start producing cars at local plants.
He also credited Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's contribution for the improvement of country's industrial sections.
Dhaka Motor Show 2019 will see automobile industry leaders like Peugeot, Honda, Toyota, Honda, Haval, TVS, Suzuki and more showcasing their latest car and bike models.
The fair will continue till Mar 16.