humanitarian project

Archery in the dark

Aries Midheaven wants to see how far they can get by pushing their boundaries, they want to forget about limitations and rigid, outdated rules. They burn with dynamism, rage and a determination to succeed because of their strengths, not because of something as constraining as destiny.

People with a Taurus Midheaven are pleasure seekers, but unlike Libras, they are willing to enjoy them slowly and fully. Most of them are quite confident in their ability to focus, and no challenge, unless it’s utterly irrelevant to their goals, can stop them from achieving what they want.

When the Midheaven is in Gemini, the individuals like to follow only the path that seems the most exciting to them. They are flexible and gifted in the art of communication, wonderful story-tellers or simply very skilled in juggling with their words to the subject that is of interest to them.

Cancer Midheaven has a great potential to attract fame or friends through their power to bond with people even from the core of their hearts. They easily win sympathy for their nurturing and kind approach to treat people, and once they have overcome their insecurities, they can become some of the most passionate and eager travelers.

Elite social circles are the principal aim of the Leo Midheaven. Their worst nightmare is a dull, average life, lost in obscurity. They are proud of their virtues, the slightest form of celebrity or anything that promises an even more glamorous future. All they want is to have their efforts acknowledged by the world.

Persons with Virgo Midheaven must beware not to underestimate their own worth or skills. They are exceptionally hard-working and efficient, and with a little bit of confidence they can take hold on great and high positions in the society. Nevertheless, they prefer to concentrate on the needs of others, and to be helpful is the best reward for them.

Libra Midheaven are quite good at adapting to new situations and entourages, for they posses the wonderful ability of entertainment. With their charming and fine demeanor, resourceful allies never hesitate to offer them generous advantages. Not the most pragmatic on their own, partnerships are always the ace up their sleeve.

Their capacity to resist crisis with such a sharp and strong mind makes out of the Scorpio Midheaven, indeed, intimidating people. They are the best at committing to a long-lasting goal, on which they will focus through their whole life if needed, until is fulfilled.

They look forward to be in constant motion, to experience as many things and places, for the Sagittarius Midheaven craves a life full of exciting sights and not ‘What Ifs’. They are bold and sociable; but their brilliant optimism is what attracts people in their life. They never fear to aim higher.

Capricorn Midheaven don’t fantasize of perfection, but they surely believe in the faith of progression. No matter how much time it will take until the fruits of their work ripen, they are one step away from touching their so wanted prize. Ambition fits them like a second skin, and there are few things that can keep them from succeeding.

The unpredictable, idealistic Aquarius Midheaven are quite a wild card. They have no demand for material goods, but they have an ardent need for independence and freedom that always twitches and itches in the back of their mind. They live for the innovating and humanitarian projects that everyone needs, but fears to start.

Those with a Pisces Midheaven are creative, compassionate souls. Sadly, they are not the best at taking opportunities. However, once they stumble upon something that requires flexibility and lots of receptivity, like an artistic career or a services delivering job, they have the best chances to get it.

Originally posted by archery360

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Wow, it’s sure been a while since I worked on a character redesign for Golden Bat!  Thank you guys SUPER for hanging out during the stream – it turned out to be a bit of a challenge, didn’t it?

Here’s Nazo 2.1!  Roughly the same as my previous redesign, with a few tweaks to streamline his look and make it more cohesive.

Head under the cut for a breakdown!

Keep reading

Update: Water is hope - Project

Salam guys

I want to share some pictures from our first humanitarian project in Afghanistan which is called “ Water is hope”. The waterpipe is located at the orphanage “ Mahbobas Hope House” in Kabul.

We finished the project successfully in March’17 and this project  will enable  over a hundred orphans and widows in need to access water through a waterpipe on a regular basis.

Seeing these results and the happy faces from these children makes my heart melt away. I am assured that worldwide more than 780 millions people do not have access to an improved water sources but this little project is a small step to the right direction and i really hope to realize bigger humanitarian projects in the future.

Best regards 

Felice Susan 

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Indigenous rights activist Berta Cáceres murdered in Honduras 

Berta Cáceres was murdered Thursday morning after unidentified gunmen entered her home in La Esperanza, Intibucá, Honduras, according to reports.

The renowned indigenous rights activist — who won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015, the largest award for grassroots environmental activists in the world — would have turned 46 today.

Cáceres was a member of the Lenca people, the biggest indigenous group in the country, according to the Guardian. In the week leading up to her death, she had received multiple rape and death threats for a recent humanitarian project in the region.

The Signs as Fortunes I’ve Gotten

Aries: others seek your courage

Taurus: failure is a dress rehearsal for success

Gemini: a new environment makes all the difference in the world

Cancer: following inner promptings brings quiet accomplishment

Leo: you will be involved in many humanitarian projects

Virgo: your wisdom shall always keep you from danger

Libra: a treasured friend will soon visit  you

Scorpio: you can always trust your friends

Sagittarius: friends long absent are coming back to you

Capricorn: you have an accurate and professional mind

Aquarius: assert yourself, your ideas are worthwhile

Pisces: our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake

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I had just finished my grocery shopping, and had put all the bags in my car when I saw an elderly gentleman feeding a large group of seagulls. I’m in the habit of taking my camera with me just about everywhere I go, so I slung it over my shoulder, grabbed my car keys and headed across the parking lot in his direction. By the time I reached him, he had run out of bread to throw and had already started to walk away. I approached him anyway and asked him a question about himself. He stopped and thought and then said if I’d follow him, we could get a cup of coffee and sit down and he’d be happy to give me any information I wanted. I said sure, and followed him back into the grocery store. On the way, he picked up several pieces of garbage he found in the parking lot and threw them away. “My name is Ted Coates and I was born on May 23, 1926. I’m 87 years old, and I was born and raised in Portland. I’ve seen and done it all. I’ve never been in jail or prison, and the FBI isn’t after me, but other than that, I’ve about seen and done it all.” I smiled and chuckled a bit, still feeling out this man’s character. He didn’t budge.

Once inside, he was very concerned about whether I had brought something to take notes with. I told him I usually prefer to just sit and listen, and then take notes later. “Well, if you can’t remember all the things I’m about to tell you to use it for whatever you’re going to use it for, then what’s the point?” I remained unchanged, but felt slightly uneasy as my process was under judgement by this stranger. 

“Well,” he started once we sat down, “you’re about to meet the most unusual person you may have ever met.” He unfolded and laid out three brown napkins in the center of the table. I wasn’t sure why. I noticed he had the ends of two fingers missing. I wanted to ask about them, but once he began talking, the things he said took over and I never inquired. 

One by one he began pulling things out of the breast pocket of his button up shirt. A notepad, a plastic bread bag (perhaps from feeding the birds), a pen, and several napkins with writing on them. “You know, there is probably a reason why you were sent to talk to me. I don’t know whether you are a positive or a negative force, but a test will make it clear." 

"You’re going to give me a test?”

“I am testing you.” He picked up one of the napkins. “I wrote this this morning. Question: Are humans the primary species in existence in the universe? If so, we have a lot to do. We have a large task at hand.” He was an intelligent man and a skilled speaker. He spoke clearly, eloquently, and animatedly as he shared his thoughts on the world, and on the current dynamic of good and evil. His thoughts and plans were so grandiose, it was difficult to discern between genius and delusion. I eventually asked to borrow a pen, and took one of the brown napkins and took crude notes. It didn’t take long for me to realize he was right, the conversation was so lengthy and so rich, his ideas so dense, that my notes on his ideas don’t do them justice. 

Among the many ideas he shared with me, these stand out in my memory: 

He wants to see a statue erected in tribute to Motherhood. “There is no such tribute to the motherhood in the world. Without women, there is no life. I believe the time of women is rising.”

He has plans to propose a humanitarian project to Barack Obama that will be a country-wide competition between the 50 states resembling the Olympics. State-a-cade is what he called it. 

He wants to see all roads and house numbers painted with luminous paint for visibility. “Not white paint, but luminous paint, so that old people who can’t see very well would always know where the road is. And every house ought to be required to have their numbers painted and visible from the streets so the police and firemen can see them clearly and they won’t enter the wrong residence by mistake and find themselves with a lawsuit on their hands.”

He believes that we ought to have an underground tunnel for travel, like the Channel Tunnel that runs from England to France. “They built it under the ocean, why can’t we do that here? You’ll never hear talk of it because the people who run this city are invested in steel, not concrete.”

He held many jobs in his life, including a carnival worker, a Kirby vacuum salesman, a used car salesman and a booking agent. He recited a poem from memory that he had written about himself and his realization at a much younger age that he was a skilled con. At the time of his realization, he was smoking a cigar and threw it out the window, vowing to never smoke again until he became the true version of himself. “That was 47 years ago.” He said. 

He pulled out another napkin with a drawing on it. It was a wheel with the letter Y in the center and the word “EIGHT” on each of the eight spokes, creating the word “EIGHTY-EIGHT” in any direction. Underneath the drawing it reads, “When I am eighty-eight, I will be on a roll, moving forward. Ted Coates, Jan 1-2014 Portland OR" 
"I’ll be 88 in May this year.”

He spoke a great deal about the significance of numbers. The number of letters in his name and their significance, as well as the number of letters in mine, the numbers of certain words and phrases, and their numerical ties to other things in life. 

“I’d like to invite you to learn about the 5 positive attitudes that you need in order to accomplish whatever it is you set out to do. Hold out your hand.” He pointed to each of my five fingers and one by one, recited, “I should, I could, I can, I will, I must.” Now, I want to invite you to learn about the 5 criteria. Hold out your other hand. Reason, need, cause, purpose and benefit. Now hold out both hands and I will tell you the most important 10 word phrase, consisting of only 2-letter words. IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS TO BE ME.“

"I should have been a prophet or a pastor." 

"I can see that about you,” I said. He gave me his first and only real smile. 

An hour had passed since we first sat down, my groceries waiting in my car. I told Ted I needed to be going. “Briana Cerezo. Six letters and six letters. You’re a 12. Huh. Maybe someday we’ll work on a project together. Or maybe I’ll never see you again. Either way, it was a pleasure to meet you. You’re a good listener, and I see you’re not a negative force.”

anonymous asked:

hey, do you know any studio that focuses on humanitarian architecture? Or do projects like the one in Djibouti from Urko Sanchez Architects?

Most large firms participate in some non-profit design work, but if you are looking for a firm or organization that is focus in this kind of work, here is a list of the ones I know about (but by no means a comprehensive list):

Images SOS Children’s Village In Djibouti Urko Sanchez Architects

21.12.2016 - First project annoucement “ Water is hope”

Salamalaikum my dear Friends,

I want to share good news with all of you.
I have won my university’s “Make a Difference“-project contest and hence a reward of 1.500€.
This prize money allows me to finally realize Raschiq Moschtaqs and my first humanitarian project in Afghanistan, which is called “Water is hope“.

During my stay in Kabul this year, I was given the chance to visit the orphanage “Mahboba’s Hope House”.
I immediately fell in love with all the smart little human beings that are being cared for in the orphanage. Their drive to learn and study impressed me deeply.
This summer’s trip to my homeland has had a great impact on my views and thoughts on Afghanistan.  
As time went by I started noticing and understanding the challenges the Afghan people have to face on a daily basis.
At the end of my stay I made a promise to myself, to do everything in my power to bring about positive change and help the people in Afghanistan.

One of the most pressing issues at the moment is Afghanistan’s insufficient water system.
The Afghan population cannot rely on consistent water supply in their daily life.
Often they will only be able to access water around five hours a day. A regulated water supply with clean water is simply unimaginable for most people.

However, especially in places like Mahboba’s Hope House, which is home to over 100 children in need, continuous access to clean water is crucial.
It is a tragedy that in Kabul essential services like water and electricity are not being provided on a continuous or even daily basis.

Our project “Water is hope“ will enable over a hundred people in need to access water through a water pipe on a regular basis.
The water pipe is going to be located at the orphanage "Mahboba’s Hope House” in Kabul.
We hope the project will be successfully realised within the next two months.

Alongside this project I am also planning two charity events to raise money for winter supplies (jackets, shoes, socks and scars) that will help the orphans at Mahboba’s Hope House to cope with the extremely harsh Afghan winter.
I am really hoping students at my university will be willing to pay a little amount of money.
After all many small donations can make a big impact !


Wish me luck, so that everything goes as planned!

Also, would you be interested in reading more about the project throughout the next months?

Please feel free to send me a comment.

Khodafez ( Goodbye)  and  kind regards
Felice Susan and Raschiq Moschtaq

the signs as ppl in my life

aries: you are my gay best friend. you are so exciting and have so much energy. you are inspiring, fun, confident, trusting and make me laugh really hard. just hanging out with you is an adventure. from dancing and laughing at work at 7am while making coffee to drinking a bottle of red wine while talking till 3am to even crying with you. aries you are a spiritual yogi. aries you are also my sister who is impulsive and a leader type who hates being told what to do and is hilariously funny but also a loner
taurus: you are one of the funniest girl friends i’ve ever had who is musically talented. taurus you are also one of my best friends who has snuggled with me to watch movies and ate delicious food and held my hand when we talked. you are also a tender man who is possessive and stubborn but kind hearted and warm. taurus you are also my brothers who are funny and loving and love big bear hugs and talking about your emotions and making me laugh. you boys also love when i make you your favorite warm meals
gemini: you are my girlfriends i’ve had who talk to me for hours and laugh with me a lot. you are bubbly and funny and we talk about boys mostly. you are people i’ve gone on many road trips and adventures with and then we talk about our next adventure together the next morning. gemini you are a girlfriend who came over in her pajamas and we made cake and drank wine and talked and danced. you are my friends i always caught in little white lies because you talked so fast
cancer: cancer you are my friend who wakes me up with hot tea and honey so we can go workout. you are my friend i’ve seen cry who is so easy to hug and easy to love who loves snuggly warm socks, blankets, and candles. cancer you are my friend who is ambitious and hard working, have great style and an apartment downtown, and can’t wait to get married and have a baby with a hot guy you’ve been dating. cancer girl i’ve seen you make poor decisions when it comes to guys and i’ve seen you do someone else wrong. i’ve seen you get very protective over the ones you love. cancer so many people love you, you have a nice amount of intimate friendships. i’ve always admired your ability to get close with people easily and people just love you
leo: leo you are all the hot guys in my life i’ve had the biggest crushes on who were fleeting and never stuck around very long. leo you are magnetic and hilarious and easy to love because of your bright energy but never let me get close to you. leo you are a funny emotional guy i know who loves to party and is very generous to his friends. leo you are a friend i used to love to work with who laughed with me and i admired your confidence and hilarious jokes. leo you are also my brother who is creative, artistic, confident, with tons and tons of energy and always on the go
virgo: virgo you are my best friend who is ocd and worries too much. you are also really smart and grounded and make me feel like everything is always taken care of– because it is. you are responsible, a hard worker, pretty and youthful and very witty and funny. virgo you are also my friend who is a role model, who i admire greatly and it utterly fabulous in every way and has the best style. you always have it together and you’re so real with me. virgo you are also my sister who is smart, genuine, loves having friends and real connections with people.
libra: libra you are my girl friends who lie a little here and there and always make me fall in love with you at the same time. libra you are beautiful and stylish and very talkative. libra you are my girlfriends all the boys want and they at least love to admire you and your body or your beauty. libra you are an intellectual debater and a romantic ex boyfriend who broke up with me at the drop of a hat for no reason like a gust of wind you blew right by me and on you went with your life
scorpio: scorpio you are my mom whose scorpio’s love for her children are more than anyone else’s i’m pretty sure. your love is unwavering but you are picky about who you love. it’s mainly just your family and one best friend. you are shy and only tell a select few most things. i find out new secrets from you often and i’m surprised. scorpio you are aggressive when you are mad so you sting people with a quick and hurtful insult but you are the most understanding when other’s are emotional or aggressive too. scorpio you are an emotional judgmental male friend who is shifty. scorpio you are also a one night stand and a good one at that. scorpio you are also actually grounded in your emotions and sometimes make the most sense out of anybody I know because you know exactly what’s really going on.
sagittarius: you are a goofy funny guy i knew who cheated on his girlfriend and didn’t want to commit to anything and wanted to move around a lot so he moved across the country to become an actor. it didn’t work out. he’s back with his girlfriend. sagittarius you are a sweet and funny lady who likes to be silly with her friends and true to herself and travel. sagittarius you are an ambitious woman who was strong and made ambitious decisions and pushed all of the boundaries as much as possible (and loves the rebel title) and got what you wanted in life. you care too much what people think about your status and you love politics and are really smart
capricorn: you are my boyfriend who always wants to be right and take charge of everything. you are the most authentic and most real and the person i’ve had the best conversations in my life with. sometimes you don’t “lie” but you hide things from me, sometimes it’s in my best interest. you are smart and grounded and make the best decisions on all practical things so i trust you with my life. i love your decisions on purchases that make sense for us and improve our quality of life and they’re always things i would never think of. your ideas are really smart and you are an entrepreneur. capricorn you are also stubborn and sometimes a buzz kill if you would rather be doing something more ambitious with your time than just hanging out or relaxing. capricorn you are also this girl i once knew who was passive aggressive and very manipulative so i cut a friendship off for the first time in my life. capricorn you are also a girl who is an artist and a lover and one of the most amazing girls i know. capricorn you are sometimes alcoholics and destructive but also seem to know what’s going on in the midst of all that. capricorn you are my favorite musicians because your lyrics are real and true and speak to my soul about how life really is and you’re really good at striving to be the best musicians you can be so you are very talented. you are so loving and not selfish with your emotions since you know what’s going on with them. you all have good looking bodies that are solid. you were all so hard to get to know deeper and became closer to me after a very long time.
aquarius: you are smart and creative and love to do art and talk about humanitarian projects. you love funky things like music and cool clothes and jewelry and you talk quickly. aquarius you are also my dad who loves theatre and is very emotional and funny and loves to talk about people and also has a lot of friends. aquarius you are very nice and intellectually stimulating but sometimes aggressive and you start conflict! you are my step mom who is quick witted, compassionate and talkative. aquarius you are all so different, but one things for sure, when you’re upset, stressed, or mad you become distant and cold even a little mean.. but you never cut too deep. you can start something out of nothing and love to gossip. aquarius you are also my little brother who would rather build a toy airplane and tell you how he did it than have a lot of friends. you enjoy a nice hug or a silly movie. aquarius you love to surprise people and maybe even scare them a little.
pisces: you’re my romantic friend who is very emotional and gets her feelings hurt sometimes over things that she shouldn’t but loves to be dreamy and is a writer and an artist and is overall a very compassionate friend. you are overly accommodating. you’re my friend who feels like she’s lived a million past lives and cancels on a commitment once it comes up. you are my step dad who is warm but then cold, who is sweet but then really mean, who is here and then there.. like being swept up in an emotional watery wave.. pisces you are someone who doesn’t really live in physical reality where things make sense logically, you always seems to be living in the emotional world of how you think things “are” and this can cause a misunderstanding with me because your reality is completely different than mine. you’re the kind of person who gets hurt because of the guy that I’m choosing to date, and I’m just like, it’s not even your life so I don’t know what’s going on? pisces you often times like to hide your emotions with me. pisces you are also a wonderful mother and you always know what’s really going on with people and how they might be feeling because you’re empathetic

(written by me, Aquarius rising, Aries Sun, Capricorn Moon)

Kat's Log: Day 15

Ended up having delicious street-food red curry noodles in town, after visiting Phil’s wife’s shop. Then, went to the local park for a snow cone, some live music, and (eventually) an outdoor showing of The Lorax. A strangely appropriate story for the setting. Was tired and cold enough to go right to sleep, after!

09:00 - Simple Survival Earthship, taught by Mike. We learn about what (humanitarian projects) lead to the simple survival design. That’s the type of housing I’m living in. It’s like it sounds, simple. The simplest design which meets all basic needs.

10:30 - break

10:45 - tour of the Waybee and Lemuria nightly rentals; 2- and 1-bedroom global model earthships, respectively. Very cool. Considering renting one, my final night.

12:15 - lunch break

13:15 - Simple Survival Earthship Systems, taught by Kris and Lou. Since they are so basic, these types of earthships have different plumbing and electricity wiring systems. The lads tell us what’s what! Car batteries and garden hoses, galore!

14:45 - our final class with Mike, Earthship Village Ecologies (E.V.E.), Test Sites and Colonies, is cancelled, for whatever reason. Early afternoon! Time for a shower and a snack, and then it’s time for more homework at the “Castle”!

The prince said the sum represents his entire fortune and will be used for humanitarian projects such as the empowerment of women and young people, as well as disaster relief and disease eradication.

Although Saudi Arabia has been widely criticized for its gender inequality, with women still forbidden from driving and facing several other restrictions, Prince al-Waleed has been a staunch and vocal advocate of women’s rights in recent years

source

can I get a hell yea??? Saudi is one of the biggest countries representing Islam to the world and it’s about time they actually followed the religion better and did things like this

Unexpected Victories In Bolivia

Service is often defined as something we do for someone they cannot do for themselves. Charity comes in 100’s of different forms but always produces the same results, and always teaches the same lessons. We can Expect a Victory every time we show honest heartfelt service and truly we can expect the unexpected.

Montero, Bolivia is smack dab in the center of South America it is a 15 hour flight to get there and a lifetime away from LaPoint, Utah where I grew up.  It never crossed my mind I would ever go there or anywhere similar. Life and God have a funny way of setting things up and opening opportunities for us we never imagined. 

           

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We know an amazing family in our circle of close friends who go to Bolivia every year to do humanitarian work. Two years ago they invited our family to go with them. I caught the vision of this opportunity and I essentially forced Jon into the idea.  It took 8 months of preparation to get passports, immunizations, visas and money to take our entire family of 8 to Bolivia.  I honestly thought I was a saint for putting all the work into it and providing this opportunity for my family.  I thought I was really going to teach them about service, and poverty and all the other lessons attached to an experience like this. Our family’s main objective in Bolivia was to finish 3 schoolhouses. On the third day Jon and I were working at the schoolhouses alone without transportation while our children went with the rest of the group on another project.  The air was hot and humid outside and we left our water bottles at the motel. I was dehydrated and could feel myself getting weaker and more nauseated as the day wore on. I spent most of my time sitting on a pile of bricks or on a cement bag watching Jon as he worked with the Bolivian people we were serving.

                                 

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The school children were all around us playing, coming and going. I soon noticed I had caught the attention of one particular little girl. She watched me intently, as if she sensed my predicament and followed me each time I moved to avoid the sun.  After an hour or so she came and sat by me speaking in Spanish.  With the two phrases I knew in Spanish I was able to figure out her name was Rosa and she was 6. She sat close to me and touched my hands with her dirty little hands chattering along like I could understand her.

           

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Then she stood up and walked across the dirt floor to where her soiled backpack was hanging on the back of a chair and she carried it back to me.  She opened the nearly empty backpack, no paper, no pencils, nothing except a little plastic bag she fished around for and then revealed to me with a smile on her face.  She pulled out a bracelet, and put it on me. I said “Oh it’s so pretty.” I admired the bracelet and then I gave it back to her. She adamantly shook her head no and put the bracelet back on my wrist. I smiled and hugged Rosa. She put her backpack away and ran out the door with pure joy and satisfaction on her face.

                   

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That was the moment I learned true charity, from a six year old in Montero, Bolivia. Rosa had given me her last prized possession and was happy about it. I learned the lessons.

So, go out and serve, give your time, money, talents but most important give all you have to make someone else happy. You can expect the unexpected and Expect a Victory when you serve others. 

Horoscope for June 15th, 2016
  • Aries: Today you'll question yourself about your private life. Indeed, you have to change your behavior. You're used to making decisions just for yourself. Now you'll realize that you need to think not only about yourself but also about your partner. This phase in your relationship is difficult and will lead to drastic measures. You now have to assume your responsibilities.
  • Taurus: Today you should have a lot of vitality. Recently, you may have decided to take more matters into your own hands. Your relationships will only benefit from this decision. The conflicts you've had to deal with were generally based on a lack of understanding. You sometimes have to make compromises. Try not to be too demanding.
  • Gemini: Your generosity and altruism will be put to the test over the next few days. You'll probably help the underprivileged. After all, you've always felt concerned about humanitarian projects but have never gotten involved. Today this attitude will enable you to understand who you really are. You'll be able to learn a lot about your motivations and the keys to your success.
  • Cancer: Today's aspects will influence you to interact naturally with your circle of friends. You're tired of hiding your feelings. You want to act in the way your instincts guide you. However, you're afraid of other people's reactions. Sometimes you don't express your emotions or opinions simply because you're afraid of what they might say or think. Try to gain more self-confidence.
  • Leo: You're defining new strategies concerning your private life. You could be feeling like a completely different person today. You're no longer afraid of society, and you enjoy meeting people. You'll probably sympathize with the goals of an individual or a group of people you have recently met. Try to fulfill your needs and forget any preconceived ideas.
  • Virgo: Unfortunately, today's planetary energy will place you in a rather uncomfortable situation. You'll be the one having to smooth things over with your group of friends. Try not to impose your point of view. On the contrary, you should try to become more diplomatic and gentle with the people around you. You could also learn a lot by observing how people behave.
  • Libra: Even though the times are favorable for relaxation, you won't be able to fully enjoy this period. You'll instead try to adjust your agenda so you can lead a more balanced life. The planetary aspects in play will incite you to change your attitude toward work. You should try to lighten your responsibilities to avoid stress at the office.
  • Scorpio: Today's celestial configuration will be favorable to changes in your relationships. Your professional and private lives will be influenced by how well you deal with these relationships. You may have decided that in one way or another your behavior needs to change. Now it's time for you to act. Don't be discouraged if it takes a while to see lasting improvement.
  • Sagittarius: You've felt the need to create over the past several days. This attitude is certainly due to the planetary positions, but it could also underlie your desire to change your professional and private lives. Therefore, you should let your creative mind come out. How about writing poetry or enrolling in a ceramics class? Don't refrain from showing this secret part of your personality to those closest to you.
  • Capricorn: When you feel that your friends are trying to change your everyday life, you shouldn't try to resist it so stubbornly. Open up your heart and let yourself be led. You'll be surprised at the feeling of freedom this brings. You'll probably have some interesting encounters today. They might change your life completely. Get ready for an exciting day!
  • Aquarius: Over the last few weeks you've been working hard so you don't have to worry about your finances. Try to forget your problems, and especially avoid focusing on and talking about money today. Do what you feel like doing. You're probably already aware that you need to take care of yourself from time to time. Don't neglect your health.
  • Pisces: Today you're about to put your sense of humor to the test. You'll likely confront a few unexpected situations. Even if you're used to finding exciting things to do in an ordinary world, you'll be in for a big surprise or two. Today there will be a lot of excitement where you least expect it. Try to let the day's energy guide you.
Today, the United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba.
 
In the most significant changes in our policy in more than fifty years, we will end an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries.  Through these changes, we intend to create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people, and begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas.
 
There’s a complicated history between the United States and Cuba.  I was born in 1961 –- just over two years after Fidel Castro took power in Cuba, and just a few months after the Bay of Pigs invasion, which tried to overthrow his regime. Over the next several decades, the relationship between our countries played out against the backdrop of the Cold War, and America’s steadfast opposition to communism.  We are separated by just over 90 miles. But year after year, an ideological and economic barrier hardened between our two countries.
 
Meanwhile, the Cuban exile community in the United States made enormous contributions to our country –- in politics and business, culture and sports.  Like immigrants before, Cubans helped remake America, even as they felt a painful yearning for the land and families they left behind.  All of this bound America and Cuba in a unique relationship, at once family and foe.
 
Proudly, the United States has supported democracy and human rights in Cuba through these five decades. We have done so primarily through policies that aimed to isolate the island, preventing the most basic travel and commerce that Americans can enjoy anyplace else.  And though this policy has been rooted in the best of intentions, no other nation joins us in imposing these sanctions, and it has had little effect beyond providing the Cuban government with a rationale for restrictions on its people.  Today, Cuba is still governed by the Castros and the Communist Party that came to power half a century ago.
 
Neither the American, nor Cuban people are well served by a rigid policy that is rooted in events that took place before most of us were born.  Consider that for more than 35 years, we’ve had relations with China –- a far larger country also governed by a Communist Party.  Nearly two decades ago, we reestablished relations with Vietnam, where we fought a war that claimed more Americans than any Cold War confrontation.
 
That’s why -– when I came into office -– I promised to re-examine our Cuba policy.  As a start, we lifted restrictions for Cuban Americans to travel and send remittances to their families in Cuba.  These changes, once controversial, now seem obvious. Cuban Americans have been reunited with their families, and are the best possible ambassadors for our values.  And through these exchanges, a younger generation of Cuban Americans has increasingly questioned an approach that does more to keep Cuba closed off from an interconnected world.
 
While I have been prepared to take additional steps for some time, a major obstacle stood in our way –- the wrongful imprisonment, in Cuba, of a U.S. citizen and USAID sub-contractor Alan Gross for five years.  Over many months, my administration has held discussions with the Cuban government about Alan’s case, and other aspects of our relationship.  His Holiness Pope Francis issued a personal appeal to me, and to Cuba’s President Raul Castro, urging us to resolve Alan’s case, and to address Cuba’s interest in the release of three Cuban agents who have been jailed in the United States for over 15 years.
 
Today, Alan returned home –- reunited with his family at long last.  Alan was released by the Cuban government on humanitarian grounds.  Separately, in exchange for the three Cuban agents, Cuba today released one of the most important intelligence agents that the United States has ever had in Cuba, and who has been imprisoned for nearly two decades.  This man, whose sacrifice has been known to only a few, provided America with the information that allowed us to arrest the network of Cuban agents that included the men transferred to Cuba today, as well as other spies in the United States.  This man is now safely on our shores. 
 
Having recovered these two men who sacrificed for our country, I’m now taking steps to place the interests of the people of both countries at the heart of our policy.
 
First, I’ve instructed Secretary Kerry to immediately begin discussions with Cuba to reestablish diplomatic relations that have been severed since January of 1961.  Going forward, the United States will reestablish an embassy in Havana, and high-ranking officials will visit Cuba.
 
Where we can advance shared interests, we will -– on issues like health, migration, counterterrorism, drug trafficking and disaster response.  Indeed, we’ve seen the benefits of cooperation between our countries before.  It was a Cuban, Carlos Finlay, who discovered that mosquitoes carry yellow fever; his work helped Walter Reed fight it.  Cuba has sent hundreds of health care workers to Africa to fight Ebola, and I believe American and Cuban health care workers should work side by side to stop the spread of this deadly disease.
 
Now, where we disagree, we will raise those differences directly -– as we will continue to do on issues related to democracy and human rights in Cuba.  But I believe that we can do more to support the Cuban people and promote our values through engagement.  After all, these 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked.  It’s time for a new approach.
 
Second, I’ve instructed Secretary Kerry to review Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.  This review will be guided by the facts and the law.  Terrorism has changed in the last several decades.  At a time when we are focused on threats from al Qaeda to ISIL, a nation that meets our conditions and renounces the use of terrorism should not face this sanction.
 
Third, we are taking steps to increase travel, commerce, and the flow of information to and from Cuba.  This is fundamentally about freedom and openness, and also expresses my belief in the power of people-to-people engagement.  With the changes I’m announcing today, it will be easier for Americans to travel to Cuba, and Americans will be able to use American credit and debit cards on the island.  Nobody represents America’s values better than the American people, and I believe this contact will ultimately do more to empower the Cuban people.
 
I also believe that more resources should be able to reach the Cuban people.  So we’re significantly increasing the amount of money that can be sent to Cuba, and removing limits on remittances that support humanitarian projects, the Cuban people, and the emerging Cuban private sector.
 
I believe that American businesses should not be put at a disadvantage, and that increased commerce is good for Americans and for Cubans.  So we will facilitate authorized transactions between the United States and Cuba.  U.S. financial institutions will be allowed to open accounts at Cuban financial institutions.  And it will be easier for U.S. exporters to sell goods in Cuba.
 
I believe in the free flow of information.  Unfortunately, our sanctions on Cuba have denied Cubans access to technology that has empowered individuals around the globe.  So I’ve authorized increased telecommunications connections between the United States and Cuba.  Businesses will be able to sell goods that enable Cubans to communicate with the United States and other countries. 
 
These are the steps that I can take as President to change this policy.  The embargo that’s been imposed for decades is now codified in legislation.  As these changes unfold, I look forward to engaging Congress in an honest and serious debate about lifting the embargo. 
 
Yesterday, I spoke with Raul Castro to finalize Alan Gross’s release and the exchange of prisoners, and to describe how we will move forward.  I made clear my strong belief that Cuban society is constrained by restrictions on its citizens.  In addition to the return of Alan Gross and the release of our intelligence agent, we welcome Cuba’s decision to release a substantial number of prisoners whose cases were directly raised with the Cuban government by my team.  We welcome Cuba’s decision to provide more access to the Internet for its citizens, and to continue increasing engagement with international institutions like the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross that promote universal values.
 
But I’m under no illusion about the continued barriers to freedom that remain for ordinary Cubans.  The United States believes that no Cubans should face harassment or arrest or beatings simply because they’re exercising a universal right to have their voices heard, and we will continue to support civil society there.  While Cuba has made reforms to gradually open up its economy, we continue to believe that Cuban workers should be free to form unions, just as their citizens should be free to participate in the political process.
 
Moreover, given Cuba’s history, I expect it will continue to pursue foreign policies that will at times be sharply at odds with American interests.  I do not expect the changes I am announcing today to bring about a transformation of Cuban society overnight.  But I am convinced that through a policy of engagement, we can more effectively stand up for our values and help the Cuban people help themselves as they move into the 21st century.
 
To those who oppose the steps I’m announcing today, let me say that I respect your passion and share your commitment to liberty and democracy.  The question is how we uphold that commitment.  I do not believe we can keep doing the same thing for over five decades and expect a different result.  Moreover, it does not serve America’s interests, or the Cuban people, to try to push Cuba toward collapse.  Even if that worked -– and it hasn’t for 50 years –- we know from hard-earned experience that countries are more likely to enjoy lasting transformation if their people are not subjected to chaos.  We are calling on Cuba to unleash the potential of 11 million Cubans by ending unnecessary restrictions on their political, social, and economic activities.  In that spirit, we should not allow U.S. sanctions to add to the burden of Cuban citizens that we seek to help.
 
To the Cuban people, America extends a hand of friendship.  Some of you have looked to us as a source of hope, and we will continue to shine a light of freedom.  Others have seen us as a former colonizer intent on controlling your future.  José Martí once said, “Liberty is the right of every man to be honest.”  Today, I am being honest with you.  We can never erase the history between us, but we believe that you should be empowered to live with dignity and self-determination.  Cubans have a saying about daily life:  “No es facil” –- it’s not easy.  Today, the United States wants to be a partner in making the lives of ordinary Cubans a little bit easier, more free, more prosperous.
 
To those who have supported these measures, I thank you for being partners in our efforts.  In particular, I want to thank His Holiness Pope Francis, whose moral example shows us the importance of pursuing the world as it should be, rather than simply settling for the world as it is; the government of Canada, which hosted our discussions with the Cuban government; and a bipartisan group of congressmen who have worked tirelessly for Alan Gross’s release, and for a new approach to advancing our interests and values in Cuba.
 
Finally, our shift in policy towards Cuba comes at a moment of renewed leadership in the Americas.  This April, we are prepared to have Cuba join the other nations of the hemisphere at the Summit of the Americas.  But we will insist that civil society join us so that citizens, not just leaders, are shaping our future.  And I call on all of my fellow leaders to give meaning to the commitment to democracy and human rights at the heart of the Inter-American Charter.  Let us leave behind the legacy of both colonization and communism, the tyranny of drug cartels, dictators and sham elections.  A future of greater peace, security and democratic development is possible if we work together – not to maintain power, not to secure vested interest, but instead to advance the dreams of our citizens.
 
My fellow Americans, the city of Miami is only 200 miles or so from Havana.  Countless thousands of Cubans have come to Miami – on planes and makeshift rafts; some with little but the shirt on their back and hope in their hearts.  Today, Miami is often referred to as the capital of Latin America.  But it is also a profoundly American city -– a place that reminds us that ideals matter more than the color of our skin, or the circumstances of our birth; a demonstration of what the Cuban people can achieve, and the openness of the United States to our family to the South.  Todos somos Americanos.
 
Change is hard –- in our own lives, and in the lives of nations.  And change is even harder when we carry the heavy weight of history on our shoulders.  But today we are making these changes because it is the right thing to do.  Today, America chooses to cut loose the shackles of the past so as to reach for a better future –- for the Cuban people, for the American people, for our entire hemisphere, and for the world.
— 

President Barack Obama announces changes to the decades-long U.S. policy of isolation towards Cuba, December 17, 2014.

If you’ve been reading my writing for a while, you’ll know how I feel about the Cuban embargo (“el bloqueo”) and the failed United States policy towards Cuba which has been carried on by every President since Dwight D. Eisenhower. Many of the reasons that President Obama uses in this statement for his actions are things that I have said many, many times. I am incredibly proud of the President for this action, and I am happy for the Cuban people – those who have emigrated here over the past half-century, as well as those still living happily in Cuba but limited by the constraints placed on their country by the embargo.

To quote the great philosopher Ice Cube, “Today was a good day.”

Palestinians continue to receive medical care in Israel

On Tuesday, newborn Abdul Rahman Wahdan and his grandmother, Maliha Khateb, left the Israeli hospital Wolfson to return to their home in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun.

Abdul came to the hospital less than a month ago, when he was only 11 days old. He was suffering from a severe heart defect and was operated on in Israel

On Tuesday, as on every Tuesday for the past 18 years, children from Gaza and the Judea and Samaria  arrived at the hospital for routine medical checks as part of the Israeli-based international humanitarian project Save a Child’s Heart, which provides life-saving medical care for children born with heart defects.

This is how humanitarian Israel is.

“University of Virginia, how could we have imagined that your grief and ours would be yoked? Bound. Not just by beautiful girls murdered, but by common forensics. We are yoked. We know how you feel.”

“We want to send a cheer tonight to rumble down the mountain. It includes the phrase “2..4..1..” That is Help Save the Next Girl’s motto. It means “I love you 2 much, 4ever, and 1 more time.” Unconditional love. Those were the last words Morgan Harrington spoke to her momma as she pulled out of the driveway to go to a concert. So, now you understand why Coach Beamer wears the “2, 4, 1” Patch on his jacket. Coach could not be here tonight, but you must pretend for a moment that I am Frank Beamer, and so I need your best voices. And so, I am going to ask you to repeat after me: WE ARE VIRGINIA TECH!”
“WE ARE VIRGINIA TECH!”

“WE ARE UVa!”
“WE ARE UVa!”

“HOKIES!”
“HOKIES!”

“CAVALIERS!”
“CAVALIERS!”

“2, 4, 1, HANNAH!”
“2, 4, 1, HANNAH!”

“2, 4, 1!”
“2, 4, 1!”

December Forecast for Aquarius

Begin Your Dream Project

With Venus at the top of your chart this month, you’ll be especially favored in the eyes of your boss or another VIP. From December 4 and December 30, you can use this cosmic edge to help you get ahead professionally. In fact, there might even be a boost in earnings coming your way. Go ahead and ask for a raise on December 11 – there’s a good chance that you’ll get exactly what you dream of!

Also on December 11, a gorgeous New Moon will fall in your friendship sector. This will be an ideal time to expand your social horizons. Why not join a new club or organization? Consider starting that humanitarian project you’ve always talked about. Alternatively, this will also be a great time to launch a website or any social media campaign.

Do your best to fly under the radar December 19 – December 30 when Mercury is at a harsh angle to Pluto and Uranus. Words spoken on these days might easily be ones you later regret.

The month ends with a beautiful Full Moon in your 6th House of Work and Health on November 25. You might finish up a major project and if so, you’ll be quite proud of your work. Or, if you’ve had any health concerns lately, it’s possible that this Full Moon will signal an end to them. All is well.

Love Meets Success

This month, your lover might be a little bit like a piece of very special arm candy that you get to show off. He or she will just make you look good! It’s possible that you’ll seek out someone who has the ability to help you climb up the ladder of success.

Whether or not this is intentional, there’s a real possibility this month that your sweetheart will have the ability to help you reach your goals. He or she may have the perfect social or business connections. Not only does your lover want you to succeed – he or she will do what’s necessary to support your professional growth. Wonderful!

You’ve likely come across one of those large, yellow ‘Planet Aid’ donation boxes. The organization, which has drop-off points in 21 states, sells the clothes it collects in places like Africa. The U.S. government has also allocated $133 million for Planet Aid, to help fund humanitarian projects in Malawi and Mozambique.

But does all that money go where it’s supposed to?

Our new podcast with PRX investigates.