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National Maritime Day

National Maritime Day provides an opportunity to recognize the men and women of the United States Merchant Marine and their contributions to our national security and economic strength. Since they first offered their ships and services to assist the Continental Navy in our struggle for independence, to their distinguished service in World War II, merchant mariners have courageously sacrificed to protect our country and defend our freedoms. In 1936, America recognized the contributions of these patriots and established the U.S. Merchant Marine “as a naval or military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency.” Today, merchant mariners are delivering essential supplies and equipment to our troops in Iraq and bravely serving the cause of liberty. They continue to play an important role in our Nation’s efforts to advance democracy, peace, and freedom around the world, and we are grateful for their dedication.

Merchant mariners also contribute significantly to the U.S. maritime transportation system. More than 95 percent of non-North American trade enters our country through our seaports. These ports handle more than $740 billion and 2 billion tons of domestic and international freight each year. Those in the maritime industry, including merchant mariners, enhance waterborne commerce and
help promote America’s economic growth.

Today, we honor the courage, determination, and service of our Nation’s merchant mariners and remember the many who have given their lives in defense of our country. Their work reflects the patriotism and devotion to duty that make
America great.

In recognition of the importance of the U.S. Merchant Marine, the Congress, by joint resolution approved on May 20, 1933, as amended, has designated May 22 of each year as “National Maritime Day,” and has authorized and requested that the President issue an annual proclamation calling for its appropriate observance.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 22, 2004, as National Maritime Day. I call upon the people of the United States to celebrate this observance and to display the flag of the United States at their homes and in their communities. I also request that all ships sailing under the American flag dress ship on that day.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-eighth.

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Father’s Day in Canada

Many Canadians observe Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June. It is a day for people to show their appreciation for fathers and father figures. Father figures may include stepfathers, fathers-in-law, guardians (eg. foster parents), and family friends.

What do people do?

Many people in Canada celebrate Father’s Day in a variety of ways to express their love and gratitude to fathers or father figures. Father’s Day activities include (but are not limited to):

  • Participating in Father’s Day fun runs and other events in which the proceeds go towards charity or prostate cancer research.
  • Buying presents such as neckties and other items of clothing, chocolates, books or equipment for various types of hobbies.
  • Giving handmade or purchased cards.
  • Breakfasts, brunches, lunches, or dinners either at home or in restaurants.
  • Taking fathers or father figures out to the movies, the park, the zoo, or another place of interest.

Some people organize joint Father’s Day parties and activities with close friends and family. Those who live away from their fathers or father figures may make long-distance phone calls, send an email or online card, or arrange for gifts to be delivered on Father’s Day. Some museums and other venues open to the general public may host special Father’s Day celebrations where fathers and father figures can enter free of charge.

Public life

Father’s Day is not a federal public holiday in Canada. It falls on a Sunday, which is a day off for many workers so many offices and stores are closed. However, some shopping precincts and stores, as well as restaurants, cafes and entertainment venues, may be particularly busy on Father’s Day.

Background

There are some suggestions that the idea of Father’s Day may originate in pagan sun worship. Some branches of paganism see the sun as the father of the universe. The June solstice occurs around the same time of year as Father’s Day so some people saw a link between the two.

The idea of a special day to honor fathers and celebrate fatherhood was introduced from the United States. A woman called Sonora Smart Dodd was inspired by the American Mother’s Day celebrations and planned a day to honor fathers early in the 20th century. The first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane, Washington on June 19, 1910. Father’s Day has become increasingly popular throughout North America and other parts of the world over the years. Mother’s Day is also celebrated in Canada on an annual basis.

Father’s Day around the World

Father’s Day is celebrated worldwide to recognize the contribution that fathers and father figures make to the lives of their children. This day celebrates fatherhood and male parenting. Although it is celebrated on a variety of dates worldwide, many countries observe this day on the third Sunday in June.

What do people do?

The date when Father’s Day is celebrated varies from country to country. It is celebrated in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States on the third Sunday of June. It is also observed in countries such as Argentina, Canada, France, Greece, India, Ireland, Mexico, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, and Venezuela. In Australia and New Zealand Father’s Day is on the first Sunday in September. In Thailand it is celebrated on December 5, which is the birthday of the country’s king. Brazilian dads are honored on the second Sunday of August.

On Father’s Day many people make a special effort for their fathers or father figures. Some people visit their fathers, while others give cards, flowers or other gifts, such as clothing or sporting equipment, or luxury food items. Father’s Day is a relatively modern holiday, so different families have different traditions. These can range from a simple phone call or greetings card to large parties honoring all father figures in an extended family. Father figures can include fathers, step-fathers, fathers-in-law, grandfathers, great-grandfathers and even other male relatives.

Father’s Day in India is a relatively new concept but it is celebrated in similar ways as in the United Kingdom or the United States, although on a smaller scale. There is a greater awareness of Fathers Day events in metropolitan cities and bigger towns due to the greater exposure of people to the western cultures in these areas. In Mexico Father’s Day is referred to as “Día del Padre”, where many families get together, prepare meals and distribute gifts to fathers or father figures. In South Africa, many social and cultural societies host Father’s Day celebrations to stress the important role of fathers in nurturing children and building stronger society.

Public life

Father’s Day is not a federal holiday in most countries, with exception to Thailand because it falls on the same day as the King’s Birthday, which is a public holiday. For other countries, Father’s Day is on a Sunday, so public offices are closed on this day and very few organizations are open for business. Public transit systems run to their weekend schedules. It is important for people wanting to dine in a restaurant on Father’s Day to think about booking in advance because restaurants may be busier than usual, as many people take their fathers out for a treat.

Background and symbols

There are some suggestions that the idea of Father’s Day may originate in pagan sun worship. Some branches of paganism see the sun as the father of the universe. The June solstice occurs around the same time of year as Father’s Day so some people see a link between the two.

The idea of a special day to honor fathers and celebrate fatherhood was introduced from the United States. There, a woman called Sonora Smart Dodd was inspired by the American Mother’s Day celebrations to plan a day to honor fathers. In the USA, Father’s Day has been celebrated in June since 1910. The celebrations in the United Kingdom and other countries are thought to have been inspired by the American custom of Father’s Day. This is in contrast to Mother’s Day, which has a very different history in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The dangers of drinking cola

Cola drinks could damage young bones

Does your child love to drink cola? If so, and you’re about to do the weekly grocery shop you might want to consider that new research indicates a link between high consumption of soda with lower bone mass in kids.

Experts reckon the connection is down to several factors. First and foremost, kids who quench their thirst with cola may well not be drinking enough milk or calcium-fortified fruit juices. Add that to the fact that caffeine, which is present in cola drinks, is already linked to a higher risk of osteoporosis and you have a double whammy. Plus, along with caffeine, cola contains phosphoric acid, which can cause an imbalance in the body. Why? Your child’s body needs calcium to neutralize the acid and if there isn’t enough of it in her diet, her body will take it from her bones to restore the balance.

Low levels of calcium are associated with osteoporosis in later years – and it can thin the bones so much that they’re at risk of fracture. Research carried out at Tufts University and recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that cola consumption by women was associated with lower bone mineral density at three hip sites, regardless of age, menopause, total calcium and vitamin D intake. The women reported drinking an average of five carbonated drinks a week, four of which were colas.

Weaning your child off cola and on to calcium-rich drinks is the key to healthy bones in adulthood – ensuring she gets enough weight-bearing exercise will also help conserve her bone density.

Cure For Cancer? New Drug Which Decimates Tumors Approved For Human Testing


Imagine a drug which can kill tumors of any kind and you have what researchers are only steps away from knowing. It is the antibody drug, CD47, which has been found to have more impact than previously thought against cancers of the blood. Recently, researchers and scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California have performed a series of tests on mice with successful results. The data from these tests helped scientists to determine whether to move forward with new human trials.

Dr. Irving Weissman, Stanford professor of Pathology and the lead study author is hopeful that there is enough data from the mice trials. Weissman told Science Now that, “what we’ve shown is that isn’t just important on leukemias and lymphomas. It’s on every single human primary tumor that we tested.” It was found that cancer cells always ended up having higher levels of CD47 than the healthy cells. The question then is whether a tumor can predict the odds of survival for patients.

Research was conducted on mice with seven different types of cancer tumors: Breast, ovary, colon, liver, brain, prostrate, and bladder. The findings were then published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Weissman and his team are preparing for phase I human trials, which will be funded by a four year, $20 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

While the research and findings may be substantial evidence to move forward with human trials, there are some who warn against jumping to conclusions in findings. As Science Now reported, cancer researcher Tyler Jacks of the MIT notes that while the study is promising, more research should still be conducted to see whether humans will react in the same way. Jacks said that “It’s possible that a real tumor has additional immune suppressing effects.” Another question Jacks poses is how the CD47 antibodies would complement existing treatments. Trials will move forward, however with data that has been found and analyzed.

Weissman noted, “We have enough data already … that I can say I’m confident that this will move to phase I human trials.”

Parenting skills: Tips for raising teens


Helping an adolescent become a caring, independent and responsible adult is no small task. Understand the parenting skills you need to help guide your teen.
By Mayo Clinic staff

Adolescence can be a confusing time of change for teens and parents alike. But while these years can be difficult, there’s plenty you can do to nurture your teen and encourage responsible behavior. Use these parenting skills to deal with the challenges of raising a teen.

Show your love
One of the most important parenting skills needed for raising healthy teens involves positive attention. Spend time with your teen to remind him or her that you care. Listen to your teen when he or she talks, and respect your teen’s feelings. Also, keep in mind that only reprimanding your teen and never giving him or her any justified praise can prove demoralizing. For every time you discipline or correct your teen, try to compliment him or her twice.

If your teen doesn’t seem interested in bonding, keep trying. Regularly eating meals together may be a good way to stay connected to your teen. Better yet, invite your teen to prepare the meal with you. On days when you’re having trouble connecting with your teen, consider each doing your own thing in the same space. Being near each other could lead to the start of a conversation. You might also encourage your teen to talk to other supportive adults, such as an uncle or older cousin, for guidance.

Minimize pressure
Don’t pressure your teen to be like you were or wish you had been at his or her age. Give your teen some leeway when it comes to clothing and hairstyles. It’s natural for teens to rebel and express themselves in ways that differ from their parents.

If your teen shows an interest in body art — such as tattoos and piercings — make sure he or she understands the health risks, such as skin infections, allergic reactions, and hepatitis B and C. Also talk about potential permanence or scarring.

As you allow your teen some degree of self-expression, remember that you can still maintain high expectations for your teen and the kind of person he or she will become.

Encourage cybersafety
Get to know the technology your teen is using and the websites he or she visits. If possible, keep the computer in a common area in your home. Remind your teen to practice these basic safety rules:

Don’t share personal information online.
Don’t share passwords.
Don’t get together with someone you meet online.
Don’t send anything in a message you wouldn’t say face to face.
Don’t text or chat on the phone while driving.
Don’t plagiarize.
Talk to a parent or trusted adult if an interaction or message makes you uncomfortable.

Iran hosts conference on Persian epic poet Ferdowsi

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Iran has held the eighth international conference on the highly revered Persian epic poet Ferdowsi at the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad.

The conference which is hosting many Iranian and international scholars, experts and researchers kicked off on May 12.

The event is to analyze various aspects of the great 11th-century poet’s life and his masterpiece, The Shahnameh.

Many art pieces including photos of miniature paintings and calligraphy works on the theme of The Shahnameh stories have been showcased during an exhibition mounted on the sidelines of the program.

The conference has been held to commemorate the poet at upcoming National Ferdowsi Day, on May 15.

Iran’s most famous epic poet, Ferdowsi, is best known for his magnum opus The Shahnameh which is a classic among epic Persian poetry and recounts Iran’s mythical and historical past.

The book chronicles the legendary history of the pre-Islamic kings of Iran from Keyumars to Yazdegerd III.

Ferdowsi spent over three decades on the book that was written in Persian at a time when Arabic was the main scientific and literary language of Iran.

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