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Before and after a storm, the supply stores are critical

Top Stories - Sun, 09/16/2018 - 01:30

MIAMI (AP) — Before and after a hurricane, Ace is the place. And Home Depot and Lowe's. And many other hardware and building supply outlets.


The new vinegars: too good to splash on fish and chips

Top Stories - Sun, 09/16/2018 - 01:00

Pucker up, food lovers: we’re rediscovering our taste for tart. Since fermented foods are now recognised as being not only delicious but also good for the gut, vinegar has enjoyed a resurgence, emerging more flavourful and versatile than ever. Long relegated in Britain to being doused on fish and chips (dear old malt) or splashed in salad dressing (red or white wine, or balsamic), the condiment is now a feature ingredient in its own right. Chefs are making vinegars from scratch, infused with fruit, flowers and herbs, or, more bizarrely, wood ant and burnt toast. And for home cooks, supermarkets and specialist food shops now stock vinegars made from vintage grapes or perfumed with petals, and craft versions matured in oak barrels. Online food retailer Sous Chef reports a 23 per cent increase in sales of speciality vinegars in the past year, with balsamic growing by a whopping 75 per cent. Waitrose stocks 38 different varieties of the sharp stuff. The word “vinegar” comes from the Latin for “sour wine”; Roman legions valued its sharpness as a thirst quencher and drank it with water. Vinegar is sour because it is diluted acetic acid, created by the natural fermentation of wine or other forms of alcohol. This makes it a good preservative; the microorganisms that destroy food cannot survive in such an acidic environment. So, if you embalm ripe fruit, vegetables or herbs in vinegar, you freeze-frame the produce at its peak and imbue the vinegar with its flavour. Pasteurised or distilled vinegar has been heated to kill all the bacteria, but “live” varieties contain “the mother” – the cloud of live organisms that are good for gut health. Jars of different vinegars at Scully restaurant in east London For centuries, British cooks made good use of vinegar (think mushroom ketchup and piccalilli), according to food historian Angela Clutton, author of the forthcoming book The Vinegar Cupboard (Absolute Press, Feb 2019). So why did it fall out of favour? “Because it wasn’t very good,” Clutton admits. “We lost our craftsmen vinegar producers. Machine-made took over for speed and cost, so most of what was available was just not that great.” In the basement kitchen of Scully restaurant in London, chef-proprietor Ramael Scully has buckets of vinegars burbling away. In the restaurant, gleaming jars fill the shelves, made with tayberries, kumquats, blackberry leaves, gooseberries and more. There’s burnt toast vinegar on the go, made from charred sourdough and cider vinegar. What will he use this for? “I’ve no idea! That’s the exciting thing,” he says. But it will eventually add sparkle to one of his dishes. “I believe anything rich needs a bit of acidity,” Scully says. “Vinegar brings balance.” At Carters of Moseley in Birmingham, Brad Carter’s cooking is firmly anchored in British-grown ingredients, so lemons are out and vinegar is vital to brighten and add flavour. He anoints fresh rhubarb with rhubarb vinegar, the sour notes teasing out hidden sweetness, and brushes roasted meat with a vinegar paste to snip through the richness. “Every dish should have an element of acidity – that’s what elevates it,” Carter says. Great vinegars Vinegar features on the best drinks menus, too. Kate Hawkings, author of Aperitif (Quadrille, £16.99), says shrubs are the perfect antidote to sweet cocktails. “The sourness makes them more appetising, more grown up,” she says. Hawkings runs Bellita bar and restaurant in Bristol, where she serves shrubs – strawberry and black pepper, say, or pineapple and kaffir lime leaf – with a splash of soda, or spirits. “They cut the alcohol nicely,” she says. Thom Eagle, head chef and fermenter at The Picklery in east London, thinks the popularity of vinegar is a sign that British palates are finally learning to appreciate a sour element in food. “Mediterranean chefs add a squeeze of fresh lemon, and in far-eastern cooking there’s a tradition of balancing sweet and sour,” he says. “Here, people are only just realising that adding a dash of vinegar at the end of cooking is a way to round out the seasoning.” He suggests adding a splash of good vinegar at the start of cooking and finishing with a dash of a more complex vinegar, such as a sherry or red wine version. “It allows different aspects of the flavour to come through,” Eagle says. So next time your dinner tastes like it’s missing something, reach for the vinegar, not the salt: a dash of sour might be just what it needs. Ramael Scully’s crispy salt and vinegar potatoes with lime and cardamom yogurt SERVES Four INGREDIENTS 500g Maris Pipers, lightly scrubbed with skin left on 100ml white wine vinegar, plus 1 tbsp 200g Greek yogurt 1 tbsp olive oil Zest of 1 lime and juice of ½ 2 tsp ground cardamom 300g masa harina, plus a little extra for dusting 100g cornflour 700-800ml soda water 1 litre vegetable oil, for frying Grated lime zest, to serve METHOD Slice the potatoes into 1cm-thick medallions. Add to a medium-sized saucepan and cover with water. Add 100ml vinegar and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to boil, turn heat down and simmer for 10- 25 minutes, until al dente. Mix together the yogurt, olive oil, lime zest and juice, cardamom and some salt and pepper to create a thick paste. Leave paste in the fridge until needed. To make the batter, mix together the masa harina, cornflour and a teaspoon of salt. Make a well in the middle and add the soda water and tablespoon of vinegar. Mix to a very thick batter. Place in the fridge. Drain the potatoes gently and spread on a baking tray lined with a dry J-cloth. Preheat the vegetable oil to 180C in a large saucepan or frying pan. Cook the potatoes in batches, coating them first in a layer of masa harina, then dip into the batter, then submerge in the oil. Fry to golden brown (any longer and the batter will turn bitter). Remove with a slotted spoon, dry on kitchen paper and serve sprinkled with salt and lime zest, to dip in the yogurt.


Are we there yet? No bottom in sight for China stocks

Top Stories - Sun, 09/16/2018 - 00:34

Shanghai is the world's worst-performing major stock market this year despite respectable corporate earnings, a disconnect which is feeding growing talk that Chinese equities are now a screaming buy. Not so fast, say brokers and analysts, who warn shares have further to fall due to US-China trade squabbling, slowing Chinese economic growth, and a government crackdown on debt that is drying up liquidity. Despite China's still enviable economic growth of over six percent, the Shanghai Composite Index is down 19 percent this year and flirting with levels not seen since late 2014.


Humpback Whales Stun Onlookers With Incredible Triple Breach

Top Stories - Sat, 09/15/2018 - 22:22

Whale watchers off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, were treated to a rare


Five deaths in mariachi plaza shootout pose test for Mexico's new government

Top Stories - Sat, 09/15/2018 - 20:29

At Plaza Garibaldi in the capital's historic downtown on Friday night, gunmen said by witnesses to be dressed as mariachi musicians opened fire with pistols and rifles, injuring eight and sending onlookers running and screaming. Homicides have surged since 2014 in Mexico City, an arts, food and culture hotspot for tourists from around the globe that has been spared much of the drug violence plaguing cartel strongholds, which has even hit resort towns Cancun, Los Cabos and Acapulco. The capital is on track to register a record number of homicides this year, and reversing that trend is part of incoming President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's enormous challenge to stem crime and violence nationwide.


Vice-Chancellors told to 'prioritise' mental health of students

Top Stories - Sat, 09/15/2018 - 19:01

Vice-Chancellors have been told they must “prioritise” the mental health and well-being of new students, as the universities minister says that this requires “leadership from the top”. In a letter sent to all vice-Chancellors in the country ahead of students’ return to university this week for the start of a new term, Sam Gyimah warned that there is “no negotiation” when it comes to mental health. “With the new academic year upon us, I’m sure you would agree that good mental health and wellbeing underpins successful participation and attainment,”  he said.   “Collectively, we must prioritise the wellbeing and mental health of our students – there is no negotiation on this. To make this happen, leadership from the top is essential.”   Mr Gyimah has previously called for a greater focus on mental health issues, saying that universities’ main purpose is no longer learning. Last year, a vice-Chancellor warned that universities are turning a blind eye to freshers’ week “excesses”  He has said that only “traditional” vice-Chancellors see “the prime purpose of their university as training of the mind”, adding that: “This is no longer the case.” This week, universities will begin their Freshers’ Week itineraries, with around 400,000 students due to start university as first years. Last year, a vice-Chancellor warned that universities are turning a blind eye to freshers’ week “excesses”, and urged institutions to end their “permissive” culture. Sir Anthony Seldon, vice-Chancellor of Buckingham University, said that first-year students should be offered alternative activities to parties and social events where heavy drinking and drug-taking are prevalent. “The norm for many fresher students involves heavy drinking sessions in bars, which is inappropriate for many students,” Sir Anthony said in a new report. “Many universities turn a blind eye to excessive drinking, believing that what students choose to do with alcohol, and indeed drugs, is none of their business.”   Sir Anthony's report, published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi), outlines how to create "positive universities" also suggests first-year students take psychology courses that teach them about the importance of wellbeing and good mental health.


Trump 'likely' to announce new China tariffs as early as Monday

Top Stories - Sat, 09/15/2018 - 18:37

The tariff level will probably be about 10 percent, the Wall Street Journal reported.


Investigator: No evidence gas explosions intentional

Top Stories - Sat, 09/15/2018 - 18:13

There's no evidence to suggest the gas explosions that rocked communities north of Boston were intentional.


Shark kills man boogie boarding off Cape Cod beach as sightings increase

Top Stories - Sat, 09/15/2018 - 18:05

A body surfer has died after being bitten by a shark in the waters off Cape Cod in the first fatal attack seen in the US state of Massachusetts for more than 80 years. Arthur Medici, a 26-year-old Brazilian who was studying in America, had been seen by beach-goers moments earlier performing tricks 25 metres out in the waves at Newcomb Hollow Beach in the town of Wellfleet. Mr Medici 's girlfriend's brother desperately dragged him to shore where off-duty lifeguards performed CPR and made tourniquets to try and stem the bleeding. He was pronounced dead later in hospital having suffered multiple bite wounds to the legs. Joe Booth, a local fisherman who witnessed the incident, told the Cape Cod Times that he first spotted a giant eruption of water, fifteen feet wide.  "I saw a tail and a lot of thrashing. You could tell by the body language of the guys in the water something wasn't right," he added. A dead great white shark on the Truro shoreline in Massachusetts, where researchers believe smaller, younger specimens are swimming closer to land increasing the risk of human encounters Credit: Ken Johnson /Atlantic White Shark Conservancy via AP "I was that guy on the beach screaming, ‘Shark, shark!’ It was like right out of that movie Jaws. This has turned into Amity Island real quick out here.” On Sunday, the beach remained closed as experts speculated on the type of shark responsible. About | Shark attacks "Based on the information I know, the highest probability is that it was a  (great) white shark. I can’t think of any other species that would do this,” said Gregory Skomal, state Division of Marine Fisheries shark researcher. "Unfortunately he was in an area where the shark was hunting. When they strike with a ferocity of this nature, they believe what they are eating is an aggressive seal that can fight back. " William Lytton suffered puncture wounds to his leg and torso when he was attacked by a shark in August while swimming off a beach in Truro Credit: Steven Senne/AP The last fatal shark attack in Massachusetts was in 1936 when a 16-year-old boy was killed. But this summer there have been multiple reported sightings of Great Whites along the picturesque coastline, famous for its lighthouses and windswept beaches. William Lytton, a 61-year-old neurologist, was bitten on the leg in August and is still recovering. In an interview just last week with the Boston Globe he said he may be a little hesitant to go back in the water. "But you know, you fall off the horse, you got to get back on," he added.


The BMW Vision iNext Is Autonomous and Frighteningly Intelligent

Top Stories - Sat, 09/15/2018 - 18:00

BMW's future ideas include touch-sensitive seats and a Siri-style voice-activated assistant.


Florence death toll up at 11, including 3 killed by flooding

Top Stories - Sat, 09/15/2018 - 17:48

The death toll attributed to Florence includes 10 in North Carolina and one in South Carolina.


Syria: Israel launched missile attack on Damascus airport

Top Stories - Sat, 09/15/2018 - 17:31

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Israel attacked Damascus International Airport with missiles Saturday night, Syrian state media said, adding that air defenses shot down some of them. A war monitoring group said the attack targeted an arms depot for Iranian forces or Lebanon's Hezbollah group.


Before-And-After Photos Show How Florence Flooding Has Left Areas Unrecognizable

Top Stories - Sat, 09/15/2018 - 16:49

Hurricane Florence, now downgraded to a tropical storm, swept through the


Border Patrol Agent Accused Of Killing 4 Women, Kidnapping Another

Top Stories - Sat, 09/15/2018 - 16:44

A U.S. Border Patrol agent is in custody in connection with the killings of


Sex abuse claims rock Dutch Catholic Church

Top Stories - Sat, 09/15/2018 - 15:33

More than half of the Netherlands' senior clerics were involved in covering up sexual assault of children between 1945 and 2010, a press report claimed Saturday, further engulfing the Catholic Church in a global abuse scandal. Over the course of 65 years, 20 of 39 Dutch cardinals, bishops and their auxiliaries "covered up sexual abuse, allowing the perpetrators to cause many more victims", the daily NRC reported. "Four abused children and 16 others allowed the transfer of paedophile priests who could have caused new victims in other parishes," the Dutch newspaper added.


GOP Donor Les Wexner Announces Departure From Republican Party After Obama Visit

Top Stories - Sat, 09/15/2018 - 15:13

Ohio billionaire and longtime Republican donor Les Wexner says he is


Texas Board of Education Votes to Remove Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller from the State's Curriculum

Top Stories - Sat, 09/15/2018 - 14:07

The changes were made as a part of an effort to "streamline" Texas public schools' curriculum


This Is How the U.S. Military Wants to Shoot Down Russian or Chinese Hypersonic Missiles

Top Stories - Sat, 09/15/2018 - 14:00

Kill a bullet with a bullet—hypersonic style. 


Ken Starr Says If President Trump Fires Robert Mueller 'There Would Be Hell To Pay'

Top Stories - Sat, 09/15/2018 - 12:19

Former U.S. Solicitor General Kenneth Starr, who became a regular character in


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