Ikea to sell rugs and textiles made by Syrian refugees

Awesome news from Ikea regarding refugees!

Ikea is planning to sell a line of rugs and textiles made by Syrian refugees in 2019, in an effort to provide jobs to people displaced by the civil war.

The move will create jobs for 200 refugees, most of them women, currently living in Jordan, according to CNN.

Ikea’s flat pack refugee shelter wins design of the year competition
Jesper Brodin, range and supply manager at Ikea, described the situation in Syria as “a major tragedy of our time” adding that Jordan has taken great responsibility in hosting people displaced by Syria’s civil war.

“We decided to look into how Ikea can contribute,” Mr Brodin told CNN.

The products will be sold locally and in other Middle Eastern countries with free trade agreements with Jordan.

More than 650,000 Syrians are registered as refugees in Jordan, according to the United Nations. Last year the Government of Jordan pledged to issue up to 200,000 works permits for Syrians to allow them to work legally alongside Jordanians.

This is not the first time Ikea has responded to the refugee crisis.

A flat-pack refugee shelter designed by Ikea, in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), was crowned design of the year in last year’s prestigious Beazley competition.

Thousands of flat-pack shelters, intended to last for around three years, were sent to humanitarian crisis points around the world as refugees faced freezing temperatures in Europe this winter.

Ikea’s latest initiative was reportedly already in development before President Donald Trump released his executive order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for a period of 90 days as well as temporarily halting the entire US refugee programme.

Little Girl And Orphaned Calf Are The Very Best Of Friends

Lacey Rae Gray may not have known quite what to expect when she made the decision to adopt an orphaned calf, but she probably didn’t realize she was providing a new sibling for her almost-2-year-old daughter Kinley.

“It’s kind of like having a sister,” Gray told The Huffington Post. “If I were to have a baby, that’s what that would be like.”

Gray is a 25-year-old photographer in Michigan City, Mississippi, and the whole thing started when friends wouldn’t stop tagging her on Facebook in another photographer’s photo shoot with a baby and calf and suggesting she try something similar. Finally, Gray called up her husband’s uncle, who keeps cows, to ask if she could borrow a calf for a day to take some pictures.

“He started laughing at me, and said, ‘No, you can’t take a calf away from her mama, because the mama is gonna be one mad cow,” she said.

But the very next day, she received another call, this time a tragic one. The calf’s mother had suffered a fall and wasn’t going to make it. Did she want the calf, who would require bottle-feeding?

“I immediately said yes. I was at the bank and I was like, ‘I’ll leave right now and come get her. I’ll take good care of her.’ Not even having pictures in mind, I just thought ‘I’m gonna rescue a calf and I’m gonna be her mom. I’ll do it,” Gray recalls.

But it was her daughter Kinley who ended up connecting the most deeply with the calf, whom the family named Molly Moo Moo, when she came to live with them that evening.

LACEY RAE GRAY
Gray and her husband told Kinley about an hour before Molly’s arrival that they were going to get a “real moo-cow.”

“She didn’t really get it until Molly actually showed up, and then she was like ‘Oh, oh, that’s my moo-cow,” says Gray. ”She was very hands on. She wanted to walk her, she wanted to feed her, she read a book to her the first night. It was a Dory and Nemo book that makes noises and so she was pushing the buttons and playing the noises and telling Molly, ‘Listen, it’s Dory.’ She did that all on her own. I thought, they’re gonna be best friends, and sure enough they are.”

Now, Kinley cries when she has to leave Molly at home and joins her parents for every feeding. The two walk up to each other without hesitation, and Kinley sits next to Molly and talks to her, rubs her feet and kisses her ears and nose.

But it wasn’t until Gray got out her camera that she saw the true strength of the connection.

“The moment I really noticed the connection between the two, we were doing a trial photo shoot. It was muddy and Molly wouldn’t sit down, so we put Kinley next to her and she just plopped down and started licking all over Kinley. I couldn’t stop taking pictures because of that connection, that friendship. You could just see that Molly trusted her.”
“I couldn’t even really explain it, “says Gray. “The pictures explain themselves.”
Gray estimates that Molly will live with the family for about a year while they prepare her to return to the pasture she came from. The calf had to be taught to suck and swallow and other basics, and will still need to learn to eat on her own before returning to live with other cows.

Luckily, the farm is just a few minutes down the road, so the family is already planning to visit and come over for nighttime feedings. With Kinley and Molly’s sweet relationship, it’s obvious the cow is going to be part of the family for life.

The Lucky Ones: The Biggest Online Jackpot Wins of 2015

The think online casinos are a bottomless pit built with the sole purpose of swallowing people’s money. This is not true, of course – it is an image implanted in people’s minds by opponents of online gambling. In fact, online casinos are a legitimate form of online entertainment, used by everyday folks like you and me. They don’t play big money, they don’t win big – except when they do. Today I’ll present you the biggest winners of 2015, who’s lives were changed by their preferred online casinos.

A record breaking win in the UK

Afghanistan veteran Jon Heywood, from Cheshire, UK, was not a professional gambler. In fact, he has been a member at Betway for just a few days and has only made a deposit worth about £30 when Goddess Fortuna smiled on him. Seven minutes into playing Mega Moolah, a popular progressive slot machine, he was rewarded with a massive win: €17,879,645.12. It is the biggest ever jackpot won at an online casino, as confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records. Jon told the press that he will spend on his father’s cancer treatment, and take his family on a cruise. Plus, he plans to switch his old car for a Bentley.

Alexander ends the year on a positive note

Last, but not least, let’s take a look at another massive jackpot win, this time in Sweden. A very lucky player – let’s just call him Alexander, his casino alias – saw his Christmas budget boosted on December 2nd, 2015. Playing on Mega Fortune Dreams, the Swedish player hit a jackpot worth 75 million kroner – equal to about €8.5 million. Santa surely came early to him, changing his life forever – for the better!

Newbie wins massive mobile jackpot

Last April was a very lucky month for Mark A., a young Canadian player at the Royal Vegas online casino. A total newbie, with just seven days of membership under his belt, he tried his luck at Mega Moolah mobile, a very popular Royal Vegas slot machine. And Lady Luck took him in her favor: he hit the largest mobile jackpot ever in the history of the casino. “Mark A had only been a player with us for 7 days; I don’t think you could ask for a better start to playing at Royal Vegas,” a casino spokesperson told the press. “One of our senior VIP executive hosts had the pleasure of phoning Mark to confirm the win and to congratulate him; to say he was elated is an understatement. Everyone here at Royal Vegas would like to congratulate Mark on this mammoth and historic win.” The €5,375,695.08 win is still an unbroken record for mobile online casinos.

Cuba is opening up to the World

OK, let’s begin by saying that this might not be considered good news. Will Cuba opening up to the World be good for locals and visitors?

cuba

From a tourist perspective

There are arguments that Cuba is special because it’s been untouched by the modern world. There is no Mcdonalds or Starbucks, internet is still in it’s infancy and the country could be viewed as one being in a time warp!

So if Cuba is to change, then will this be good for the tourist experience, or will Cuba just become another sun and sea destination.

From the locals perspective

Cuba is likely to be very over run, very soon. Corporate America is lining up to steam and make things, well American!

If you look at other countries that have opened up to the west, perhaps Vietnam being a good example, then will every local stand to benefit from this massive change? It’s hard to say, Cuba is so unique, and we can only guess as to whether the locals are keen.

Could Cuba become the Vietnam success story of the Western Hemisphere?
Could Cuba become the Vietnam success story of the Western Hemisphere?

Here are some views from around the web on the potential good news coming Cuba’s way. By the way, Don’t be left with huge medical bills if you have not taken out travel insurance for the over 80s for any trips to the Caribbean.

Cuba, open at last

Are you a bit curious as to what Cuba is really like, now that we Americans can get there more easily since the U.S. embargo has been somewhat lifted?

Having been to Cuba “illegally” a few times – my first in 1989 – my recent trip in December 2015 was done legally, and I’m pleased to let you know all about this captivating island.

In December I flew from LAX on the first direct charter flight from the West Coast to Havana. The American Airlines charter had 133 passengers, mostly Cuban Americans, and leaves every Saturday from AA gate 41 at 12:30pm.

This flight is arranged by CubaTravelServices.com, a Los Angeles–based company that’s taken Americans to Cuba legally for years. You can arrange airfare, visa and fees through CTS. Including all taxes the total comes to $960 for a week, Saturday to Saturday. Arrival into Havana is 8:30 p.m. EST.

What to expect

Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean, is more than just cigars and 1950s cars. It has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, along with some of the best fishing, diving and music culture in the world. Its countryside is green, fertile, and welcoming to all.

I would suggest you visit Cuba sooner than later, though; as many as 10 million Americans are projected to visit yearly once the embargo is lifted totally. That number might overwhelm Cuba’s infrastructure… which it’s working on, since an estimated 700,000 Americans visited Cuba in 2014. New upscale hotels are going up to accommodate more travelers.

Havana has 3 million of Cuba’s 11 million inhabitants, and is the hub for its number-one industry: tourism. It’s also Cuba’s center for commerce, music, dance, and the theatre scene. Havana has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Cuba; you’ll see some beautiful historic buildings being restored in the capital.

Cuba was the #1 tourist destination in the Caribbean for Americans in the ’40s and ’50s, so if you’re curious as to why, and what to see once you’re there, here are a few ideas.

If you go

Cuba is as safe as any country I’ve been to, and I’ve been to 130. You can walk around at night without fear, and its streets are cleaner than Tijuana. Some buildings look dirty just because they’re so old.

If you are travelling to Cuba you should always take out travel cover such like  seniors cover 85 because medical bills will be very expensive, and while Cuba has a good level of medical care, as a tourist you will not have a right to this.

After my recent visit, what touched me most were the Cubans themselves. Friendly and happy despite being poor by world standards, and welcoming towards Americans. They look forward to getting to know us better.

As one Cuban told me, “we like America, it’s our government that doesn’t so we hope you come and enjoy our warmth”.

Cuba, USA 

The Obama Administration took another step in implementing the change in US policy toward Cuba that the president announced in December of 2014. Specifically, the administration again loosened sanctions and export restrictions related to trade with and travel to Cuba through amendments made by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), respectively. These amendments, which took effect on January 27, 2016, reflect the Obama Administration’s continued commitment to reduce US sanctions against Cuba in areas that encourage US engagement with, and empowerment of, the Cuban people.

While the changes make it easier for individuals and entities subject to US jurisdiction to trade with and travel to Cuba, significant restrictions on these activities remain in place, particularly where the activity is unrelated to furthering the needs of the Cuban people. In some areas, the administration has reached the limits of what it can do to remove restrictions on Cuba without Congressional action, and such action remains unlikely anytime soon.

The amendments can be divided into two broad categories: trade-related and travel related. The implications of each are outlined below.

Trade-Related Amendments

OFAC and BIS have significantly eased trade-related restrictions involving Cuba through the following changes:

Financing

OFAC has eliminated payment and financing restrictions for most types of authorized exports and reexports to Cuba other than agricultural commodities and items. Previously, payment and financing terms for authorized exports were restricted to cash-in-advance or third-country financing.

The current limits on travel by U.S. citizens to Cuba and what they can do once they get there, as well as restrictions on U.S. businesses that want to do business in Cuba, are regulated by both the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Commerce. Behavior by travelers is largely regulated by the Department of the Treasury’s Cuban Assets Control Regulations which were enacted on July 8, 1963, under the Trading With the Enemy Act.
This Is Happening: U.S. Eases Cuba Travel Restrictions, Drops Many License Requirements

The actions today do not completely open Cuba to travel from U.S. nationals, they just remove some of the red tape and pave the way for bigger changes later. People are still not legally allowed to travel to Cuba if they don’t fall into one of twelve categories, and those that are allowed to travel are still technically not allowed to engage in tourism.

Interestingly, while it is permissible to travel to Cuba for professional meetings, the new regulations specifically state: “Travel-related transactions are authorized, provided that the purpose of the meeting or conference is not the promotion of tourism in Cuba.”

The complete text of the new Treasury regulations are available here, while the complete text of the Commerce regulations are available here. They’re also embedded, below.

Below we’ve paired common questions with text from the regulations in order to answer the most frequently asked questions about travel to Cuba.