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U.S. to sanction Turkey for Russia missile deal.

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Source: Reuters

The looming threat of U.S. sanctions and a wider rupture with Western allies over Turkey’s purchase of Russian air defenses is raising concern in Ankara, two Turkish officials said, despite public insistence the deal will go ahead as planned.

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With barely a month left until Turkey could take delivery of Moscow’s S-400 missile defense system, triggering automatic U.S. sanctions, the Turkish government continues to say it will not be deflected from its agreement with Russia.

But worries about the impact of punitive U.S. measures against Turkey’s military, which could degrade its existing fleet of warplanes and block purchases of new U.S. F-35 stealth fighter jets and the Patriot missile defense system, have reached as far as President Tayyip Erdogan, the official said.

“Some senior officials are opposing this delivery taking place, at least in June. A senior official conveyed this to Erdogan as well,” one of the officials told Reuters.

“The officials opposing the immediate delivery of the S-400s are concerned about ties with NATO being disrupted, U.S. sanctions and (the prospect) that the Patriots will become totally unavailable.”

A second official familiar with the S-400 deal confirmed there were concerns over the possible U.S. response, although he reiterated Turkey’s position that it would not back out.

Turkey and the United States, both members of the NATO alliance set up to counter Moscow’s military power, have argued for months over the impact of S-400s deployed on Turkish soil.

Washington says the Russian system is incompatible with the Western alliance’s defense network and poses a threat to the F-35s that Turkey also plans to buy.

A top defense official from a European Union NATO member state said buying S-400s could carry a wider cost for Turkey.

“NATO cannot force Turkey not to buy, but if Ankara does go ahead it could have effects on the alliance’s intelligence sharing and further defense purchases,” the official said.

Turkey says that defending its territory poses no threat to allies, and that it has met all NATO obligations. A defense industry official said he expected the missile defenses to be stationed on Turkey’s border with Syria, although no final decision had been made.

Delivery of the S-400s is scheduled for July, and Turkey has even suggested that the first consignment could be brought forward to June.

But Defense Minister Hulusi Akar this week offered the first hint of possible delay, saying “they may not make it by June” and adding that Russia and Turkey were still working on some details of the deal.

STRAINS WITH RUSSIA

Strains between Russia and Turkey over the war in Syria, where the two countries back rival sides, could cast a shadow over relations as they seek to finalize the S-400 delivery.

A deal between Russia, Turkey and Iran to curb fighting around the northwestern province of Idlib has collapsed, as Russian-backed Syrian forces attack jihadist fighters and Turkey-backed rebels in an offensive that has driven thousands of civilians to seek shelter on the Turkish border.

However, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said on Friday the S-400 delivery schedule was unchanged.

“Reports in some media outlets about Turkey evaluating delaying the S-400 procurement upon the request of the United States do not reflect the truth,” Aksoy said. “The process of procuring S-400s from Russia is continuing as planned.”

Three Turkish officials who spoke to Reuters all said it was possible the S-400s could still be delivered in June, but also left open the possibility of delay.

“Renewed tensions with the United States aren’t desired at this point,” the first official said, pointing to the potential economic damage from sanctions. “The plan now is for the S-400s to be delivered in June, but there is an ongoing discussion.

“Depending on the talks, it may be pushed back.”

Erdogan’s government will not want to set off a crisis with the United States immediately before a June 23 Istanbul mayoral election – which is being re-run after his party suffered a narrow and dramatic loss two months ago – or a meeting he is due to hold with President Donald Trump in Japan just days later.

“Turkey does not want to hurt its ties with the United States or Russia,” the defense industry official said. “With the Erdogan-Trump meeting, it’s possible that the two sides will understand each other better.”


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24 Hours Across Africa

Got Pain? A Virtual Swim With Dolphins May Help Melt It Away

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Source: npr- Virtual reality is not new. But, as people search for alternative ways to manage pain — and reduce reliance on pills — VR is attracting renewed attention.

Imagine, for a moment you’ve been transported to a sunlit lagoon. And, suddenly, it’s as if you’re immersed in the warm water and swimming. That’s what Tom Norris experiences when he straps on his VR headset.

“It’s fantastic, I really feel like I’m there,” says Norris, who is 70 years old, retired from the military, and lives in Los Angeles with his wife. As dolphins frolic and swim by in the virtual scene, “I get a strong feeling of pleasure, relaxation and peace,” he says.

It doesn’t take long to produce that effect — about 10 minutes or so, via the headset.

Norris is no stranger to pain. He’s got chronic pain through his spine, back and hips, from injuries that go back years.

Ever since he was introduced to virtual reality, he’s been hooked. In addition to swimming with dolphins, he’s tried other VR experiences, such as wilderness walks.

Forest Bathing: A Retreat To Nature Can Boost Immunity And Mood

Forest Bathing: A Retreat To Nature Can Boost Immunity And Mood

“I relax. My attention is diverted and it makes the pain more manageable,” he says. Norris was on his deck when we spoke, drinking a morning cup of coffee and watching the hummingbirds. “Pain is part of my life,” he told me.

He uses lots of tools to help him cope, he says, including peer support groups, which he helps lead. But he says he finds VR particularly helpful. For him, the feeling of relaxation and ease that comes from a virtual swim with dolphins tends to linger for several days.

Can You Reshape Your Brain’s

Norris isn’t alone in his positive experience. A study published this month in the journal PLOS ONE is just the latest to document that an immersive, virtual reality experience can be an effective strategy for reducing pain.

VR “changes the way we perceive the pain,” explains study author Brennan Spiegel, a physician and the director of Cedars-Sinai Health Services Research in Los Angeles.

The research was done in a hospital where participants were undergoing treatment for various conditions; some were experiencing pain linked to cancer and others had orthopedic pain. “We divided the patients into two groups,” Spiegel explains.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles has been testing the value of virtual reality devices in hospital settings for a number of years.

Courtesy of Cedars-Sinai

One group tried VR. They used Samsung Oculus headsets that were each fitted with a phone that had a VR app. Patients could select from a library of 21 VR experiences available on the app.

They were free to use the VR devices as much as they liked, but were advised to aim for three daily sessions, 10 minutes per session. The other group of patients got to watch a health and wellness channel on TV, as much as they wanted.

“We found that virtual reality reduced pain by about three times as much as watching TV did,” Spiegel says. Using a zero to 10 pain scale, the virtual reality experience led to a 2 point drop in pain, compared to a half-point drop for watching TV.

Spiegel’s study was partly funded by a grant from Applied VR, a company that sells VR software, but the company played no role in the conduct, data collection, data interpretation, or write-up of the study, he says.

It’s not exactly clear how VR works to help reduce pain perception, but pain specialists say there are likely multiple explanations. Distraction in just one element.

“When the mind is deeply engaged in an immersive experience, it becomes difficult to perceive stimuli outside of the field of attention,” Spiegel and his collaborators write in their journal paper. In other words, when something captures our attention and uses all our senses, we focus on it. It’s like a spotlight — and everything else falls into darkness — at last temporarily.

So, a virtual swim with the dolphins can overwhelm our visual, auditory and other senses. “VR is thought to create an immersive distraction that restricts the brain from processing pain,” the authors conclude.

The study adds to other evidence pointing toward potential benefits of VR to manage pain. Going back more than 15 years, studies have shown the technique to be useful in a range of settings — from helping people cope with anxiety to helping reduce acute pain during medical procedures, during physical therapy or during dental procedures. And, there’s some evidence VR can help with chronic pain, too.

Still, there are some unanswered questions, says Zachary Rosenthal, a clinical psychologist at Duke University who has been involved in research on VR’s effect on pain. “Distraction is helpful for pain,” he says. “That’s an understood phenomenon. … But why should VR be better than any other kind of distraction?” he wonders.

Spiegel’s research “starts to answer this question,” says Rosenthal. “I do think this study moves the needle forward.”

If you’re new to virtual reality, Spiegel has some advice: “It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor first, whenever self-treating symptoms. But in general, it is safe to use VR at home,” he says. About 5% to 10% of people who try it get cybersickness, which is basically a feeling of dizziness or vertigo, similar to motion sickness. So, it’s good to be aware of this risk.

“For people who own an Oculus Go or Oculus Quest [headset], I suggest Nature Trek, which is an outstanding set of content that is peaceful and meditative” for the treatment of pain, says Spiegel, who has no financial ties to the company. And there are other companies that make a variety of software specifically aimed at easing pain.

“For cheap and easy access to VR experiences, you can simply visit YouTube and search its massive library of free VR content,” Spiegel says. “If you want a virtual trip to the beach, type ‘VR beach’ into the YouTube search engine. Or ‘VR forest.’ It’s all there for the taking.”

VR is certainly not a panacea, but it can be another tool in the pain management toolkit. Spiegel and his collaborators say there’s still a lot to learn as to which types of VR may be most effective.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Nearly half of people don’t change their Underwear Daily- and some wear same for a week.

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Source: Mirrow- Recently we discovered that a worrying number of people aren’t washing their underwear correctly.

And now to make matters worse, we’ve just found out that there are plenty of people out there who don’t put on a clean pair of underwear everyday.

Yes, really.

According to new research by underwear maker Tommy John, around half of people in the US (45 percent) don’t change their underwear daily – and a disturbing 13 percent of those they spoke to even confessed to wearing the same pair of knickers or pants for an entire week.

Ew!

Men are 2.5 times more likely to wear the same pair of pants for seven or more days (stock photo)

It’s probably time to throw out your old undergarments and buy some new ones (stock photo) (Image: iStockphoto)

Men were found to be the worst for doing this, with the survey of 1,000 Americans showing that males are two-and-a-half times more likely than women to wear the same pants for seven days or longer.

The research also revealed that people felt a strong sense of loyalty for their underwear, with 46 percent of participants admitting that they had owned the same underwear for a year or more.

Around 38 percent also said they’d had their favourite underwear for so long, they couldn’t remember when they bought it.

But this behaviour goes against the company’s recommendations, as they advise their customers to throw out their old underwear and buy new pants every six months to a year.

This is because underwear collects bacteria that can lead to nasty infections in the long run.

And as for bras, Marks and Spencer’s bra fit expert and technical manager Julia Mercer recently spoke to MirrorOnline about when you need to get a new one.

She said: “In my opinion, a bra is at its best in its first year of being worn”.

So there you have it folks, if you’re wearing underwear you’ve had at home for more than a year, it’s probably time to nip to the shops and treat yourself to some fresh new ones.

@ Anttention Fresh,                
We work hard to ensure that any news brought to you is legitimate and valuable so we leave out the noise. This material, and other digital content on this website, may be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part BUT give us credit as your source. 

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