Italy to pay just $21K in damages to Amanda Knox after she sought millions


Italy was ordered on Thursday to pay Amanda Knox just over $20,000 after a court found her rights were violated when she wasn’t given an interpreter or access to a lawyer during a night of questioning about the murder of her roommate in 2007.

“Ms. Knox had been particularly vulnerable, being a foreign young woman, 20, at the time, not having been in Italy for very long and not being fluent in Italian,” the European Court of Human Rights noted.

Knox, now 31, took Italian authorities to court for the way she was treated during an interrogation following the death of British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia — where she falsely accused an innocent Congolese barman of being involved in the murder.

“I was interrogated for 53 hours over five days, without a lawyer, in a language I understood maybe as well as a 10-year-old,” Knox said in a statement to the court.

In its ruling, the court said Italy hadn’t succeeded in proving that “the restriction of Ms. Knox’s access to a lawyer … had not irreparably undermined the fairness of the proceedings as a whole.”

The court upheld her complaint and ordered Italy to pay the Seattle native $21,000, well below the $3 million she had sought for the way she had been prosecuted.

SEE ALSO Amanda Knox pens tribute to slain friend Amanda Knox pens tribute to slain friend Knox claimed she’d been slapped in the head twice during questioning, but the court said it found no evidence of inhuman or degrading treatment. The woman, once dubbed “Foxy Knoxy,” and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were sentenced to 25 years in prison for Kercher’s murder.

After a seven-year legal battle, and nearly four years in jail, Knox was acquitted in 2015.

In a statement that followed the ruling, Knox thanked the court for “acknowledging the reality of false confessions.”

By Tamar Lapin, NY Post

Eataly Is Opening A Pasta Lover's Version Of An Amusement Park In November

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Hold on to your forks, everyone, because an Italian food theme park is about to open. According to Food & Wine, the Fabrica Italiana Contadina or the Italian Farming Factory's (FICO) Eataly World is set to open in Bologna, Italy on November 15, 2017, and there is a whole lot to look forward to with its opening. FICO Eataly World will be spread out over 20-acres, and visitors will be able to "encounter and experience the excellence of Italian food and wine producers." According to Condé Nast Traveler, it took $106 million to make the dream of Eataly World into a reality, and with sprawling orchards, pastures, and gardens, it seems well worth it.

A video posted by FICO Eataly World explains that visitors will be able to participate in 40 different workshops on a variety of subjects including pasta and winemaking. Since learning about food production is hungry work, Eataly World also has 25 restaurants and food stalls and a large market place where pizza, pasta, and so much more will be sold. Of course, no theme park is complete without rides, and this one is no exception. It will feature six different food-centric rides. According to the FICO Eataly World video, the whole park will be powered by "Europe's largest solar energy system," which is made up of 44,000 solar panels. We told you there was a lot to be excited about.

When plans for FICO Eataly World were first announced, the team behind it said they expected the attraction to bring in 6 million visitors annually, 2 million of which will be folks from outside of Italy. Reading about the many impressive features, we're sure Eataly World will live up to that prediction. We don't know about you, but when it finally opens in just a few months, we're definitely going to start saving up to visit.


'Wonder Woman' Smashes Domestic Box Office Record For Female Directors

Wonder Woman was a box office smash on its opening weekend, raking in more than $100 million domestically — a new record for a movie directed by a woman.

Deadline reported Monday that the final tally for the film was $103.1 million, even higher than the initial Sunday estimates.

Austin Mayor Responds To Man Angry About 'Wonder Woman' Screening THE TWO-WAY Austin Mayor Responds To Man Angry About 'Wonder Woman' Screening That handily defeats the previous record for a movie directed by a woman — $85.1 million for Sam Taylor-Johnson's Fifty Shades of Grey.

And it compares well to similar movies — that is, superhero flicks that aren't sequels or ensemble films. While it's not as big as the opening weekend for Man of Steel or Deadpool, it easily surpasses Doctor Strange and the first Iron Man, Thor and Captain America movies.

Sales overseas were impressive too, as NPR movie critic Bob Mondello notes. The film has made $223 million internationally. The film's robust earnings are a big win for DC Comics, which has often struggled to match the success of Marvel properties at the box office.

And, of course, it's a triumph for Patty Jenkins — the first woman to ever direct a big-budget superhero movie.

A few WONDER WOMAN stats: Prod. Budg: $149M Worldwide 1st Wknd: $223M Shoot: 104 days (avg is 65 days) Cast & crew: 1,500 (+5,600 extras)

In fact, she's only the second woman to single-handedly direct any Hollywood live-action movie with a production budget over $100 million. The first was Kathryn Bigelow with K-19: The Widowmaker, in 2002, according to the Hollywood Reporter. (There won't be another 15-year gap before the next one: Ava DuVernay and Niki Caro are both working on major projects.)

Wonder Woman is Jenkins' second feature, after Monster, and she's spent more than a decade working to make the movie happen. She told CBS that when her dream project became reality, it brought a sudden sense of pressure:

"The surreality of, 'I can't believe we're getting to make Wonder Woman,' and also, 'Oh my God, we have to make the greatest Wonder Woman of all time!' " she said.

Can 'Wonder Woman' Offer A Superhero Soundtrack That Sticks? "The director in me wants this film that I made to succeed. But the person who's not me at all, who lives inside of me ... has heard people say for many years, 'Ah, nobody would go see a female superhero film, women don't like action,' all those things. That part of me is watching, saying, 'Ah, let's prove them wrong.' "

June 5, 20173:05 PM ET Written by Camila Domonoske

4 countries where women are meant to thrive

This year’s International Women’s Day is about taking bold actions and making bold changes. If your personal empowering step towards change is moving to a new country to follow a career prospect, support your partner’s dream, or reimagine yourself, we suggest you pick your destination wisely. But before you embark on your journey, remember all the challenges women throughout history met, the fights they fought, and the obstacles they overcome.

New Zealand: The smallest gender pay-gap Profound gender inequality in the workplace is still in play, and up to date, there’s no known country where women earn more money than men. According to the World Bank, between 2011 and 2014, a woman earned $76 while a man earned $100. However, New Zealand is tackling the problem of income disparity better than the rest of the world. It is reported that in 2015 women earned only 5% less than men, making New Zealand the country with the smallest pay gap. Other fairer countries according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s report are Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, and Spain.

Iceland: The most politically powerful women Even though in the past 20 years the percentage of women in the parliament has doubled (UN), the number remains low (only 22.8%) showing that the progress of integrating women into decision-making and leadership is slow. As per the World Economic Forum’s latest The Global Gender Gap Report, a remarkable 44% of Iceland’s ministers are women. Also, in the past 50 years, women have led Iceland for 20 of these years. Women find their good position in Finland’s politics as well, where 63% of high ranking politicians are women.

Sweden: The best country for women Nine thousand Swedish women have agreed that Sweden is a great place to be a woman (2017 Best Countries Rankings). It comes as no surprise to see Sweden on the top of the list of the best countries for women when considering the government’s efforts to promote gender equality. Gender equality policies ensure that every citizen regardless of their sex benefits from the same opportunities, rights, and obligations. Sweden’s gender equality principles are reflected in the workplace, at home, and on the streets. Harassment at work is taken seriously into account by the law, and it’s the employer's’ responsibility to prevent it from happening. Parental leave in Sweden is granted to each parent for up to three months. But the foundation of all good things is education — more than half of the higher education degrees are awarded to women.

USA: The best country for women entrepreneurs Worldwide, science and technology remain for the time being male dominated, while women concentrate on social science, law, education, and health. However, talent and commitment are factors that often surpass the social norm — and this is when great things happen. The USA has overcome many stereotypes through the years and meets the conditions required for women entrepreneurs to be creative and succeed. Despite being a highly developed country, America has a lot of space for improvement when it comes to creating business opportunities for women. The same applies to other entrepreneurial-friendly countries towards women (Australia, Sweden, France, Germany, and Chile).

Starbucks opening in Italy? :(

Get ready: Up to 300 Starbucks stores are coming to Italy In good news for Americans and tourists seeking home comforts in Italy - but not so good news for those who take the country's coffee culture seriously - Starbucks announced on Thursday that it planned to open between 200 and 300 stores in Italy. The revelation came from ex-footballer and Antonio Percassi, who is working with Starbucks bosses to bring the love-it-or-hate-it brand to Italy.

"We are aiming to open 200 to 300 sales points across Italy, we think that there's a place for it in the market," Percassi said at a Milan press conference, finance daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported. The Bergamo entrepreneur has previously brought global giants including Zara, the Lego Store and Victoria's Secret to Italy, so he would appear to be the right man for the job.

The first stores will be opened in Milan and Rome, though the opening date of the Italian flagship store has been pushed back. Initially scheduled to launch in Milan this year, Percassi said the country's first Starbucks would come "in 2018 after June, because we are doing a big thing here."

After that though, they'll be going at full throttle, with a further four shops expected to open that same week, spread between Rome and Milan.

And by 2023, Percassi says he hopes that there will be hundreds of Starbucks shops across the entire peninsula, "if the market responds well".

The venture was first announced in July last year, with Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz paying homage to Italy's cafe culture, which first inspired him to build his coffee empire.

During his trip to Milan and Verona in the early 1980s, Shultz said he was "inspired by the craftsmanship of the Milanese barista, the spirit of the Italian people, their passion for community, their friendliness and taste for quality".

He acknowledged the "unique challenge" of bringing the chain to Italy, and promised that the first branch would be designed "with painstaking detail and great respect for the Italian people and coffee culture”.

But when the rumours of Starbucks in Italy first began in 2015, local coffee experts and cafe-owners were aghast at the prospect.

One restaurant-owner told Italian the idea of a Starbucks in Italy was "disgusting", but said he was confident the chain wouldn't succeed here because Italians are "too protective" of their coffee.

Indeed, the country's rich café culture and love of coffee is well known – and usually at a fraction of the cost than the flavoured lattes and Frappuccinos served up at Starbucks, thanks to regulations which mean you'll rarely be charged over €1 for an espresso or €1.40 for a cappuccino.

Luigi Ordello, the president of the Italy-based Institute of International Coffee Tasters, which works to promote the appreciation of Italian coffee around the world, was pragmatic about the prospect.

Article by The Local. February 16 2017.

Dying to Get to Italy

The ongoing migrant and refugee crisis in the Mediterranean set two records this year: More than 174,000 people made the dangerous journey by boat to Italy, and 4,700 more died along the way.

Both records stand in stark contrast to overall migrant and refugee arrivals into Europe overall, which have dropped off dramatically year over year. But as of early December, the number of migrants landing on Italian shores was 13 percent higher than the previous year, with the overwhelming majority landing on Sicily and the smaller island of Lampedusa. More startling is that there have been about 1,000 more migrant and refugee deaths on the Mediterranean this year than there were in 2015, the year the previous record was set.

Greece, in comparison, saw a significant drop-off in migrants landing on its shores from Turkey, following a deal between the E.U. and Turkey that stemmed the flow across the Aegean.

The flow of migrants and refugees may have slowed in 2016, but it’s far from over, and Italy, by way of the Mediterranean, has become the central entry point into Europe. The majority of people arriving there come via Libya, but are originally from sub-Saharan African countries. According to the latest UNHCR estimates this year, 36,000 came from Nigeria, 20,000 from Eritrea, and 12,000 from Sudan.

Many factors are at play in the surge of migration from the shores of North Africa to Italy. Political repression in West African countries like Gambia, insurgent violence and famine in countries like Nigeria, and civil war in Sudan, all fuel emigration out of home countries.

But the biggest factor driving people to Italy is the situation in Libya, said Ewa Moncure, a spokesperson for Frontex, the European coast guard and border agency.

“Libya is a fallen state,” Moncure said. “There’s no effective law enforcement in the country and different groups control different parts of the coast and act as they wish. People smugglers are working in this environment.”

People smuggling is “a multibillion-dollar business,” Moncure said, and there are an estimated 1 million people waiting in Libya to get to Europe.

Smugglers have taken advantage of the disarray. “Europol estimated that we are talking about $4 billion to $6 billion made by people smugglers in recent years,” Moncure said.

She believes the prevalence of rubber dinghies, which have replaced the metal and wooden boats used previously, is a major factor in the rising death rate. The dinghies are prone to capsizing in rough seas, and the people smugglers do not give out life jackets. Further endangering their clients, smugglers cram as many people as they can onto boats to increase their profits.

Although Frontex has increasingly found itself carrying out a humanitarian mission, the agency is also tasked with taking steps to secure the European border. This week, Frontex began training Libyan coast guard members, hoping they can better police their own border.

Currently, more than 175,000 migrants are registered in Italy’s asylum system and are living in the country’s 3,000 emergency accommodation centers. No one knows how many are living undocumented outside the system. Those who have their asylum applications rejected are issued with a notice from the Italian police instructing them to leave the country via Rome’s international airport within seven days. Most, of course, disregard the notice and either stay in Italy or try to get to another European country to start a new asylum application.

“The pressure [on Italy] is building,” said Carlotta Sami, the UNHCR spokesperson for Southern Europe. “The northern borders are closed, relocation to other European countries is happening at a snail’s pace, and there are more people arriving all the time.”

Italy’s northern borders with Switzerland, France, and Austria are now closed to migrants without asylum papers, but many still attempt to make their way illegally into northern Europe. Two migrants were found crushed under a freight train traveling between Italy and Austria on Sunday. Three others were hit by a truck and killed a day later on a motorway between Italy and Austria, Sami said.

Smuggling networks have emerged in Italy’s larger northern cities, like Milan, as well.

For those who remain in Italy awaiting an asylum decision, conditions in the country’s 3,000 “emergency accommodation centers” are often extremely poor. The centers are mostly run by small businesses or private individuals, which receive about 35 euros a day per migrant, with much of the funding coming from the EU. The issue, said Sami, is that there’s no centralized government monitoring how the centers are run or how they spend the public’s money. The money is supposed to be spent on food and services for the migrants, but often, Sami said, it’s not.

“In our center, they don’t turn the heaters on, and it becomes very cold at night,” said Mohammed Ceesay, a 17-year-old Gambian who arrived in Sicily in April. He lives in a center for minors in Palermo, Sicily, that houses about 160 others ranging in age from 10 to 17. “We get hot water for only a couple of hours a day. The food isn’t good and many of us don’t eat because we are Muslim and we found pork in it.”

In November, underage migrants at a center in the countryside staged a protest demanding that they be provided with shoes, as many were still wearing the flip-flops they’d had during the journey from Libya.

“We came here to build a future but can’t do anything while we wait,” Ceesay said. “If I get the documents, I will leave Italy for Finland or Holland. I would leave right now if I had documents.”

On Thursday, EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said it had relocated only 5 percent of its goal of 160,000 people from Greece and Italy to other European countries.

By Oscar Webb on Dec 9, 2016 Vice News

How To Help Italy Earthquake Victims: 8 Ways To Donate Blood, Money And Goods For Relief

A 6.2-magnitude earthquake killed more than 35 people and disappeared scores of others early Wednesday near Rome, sending first responders scrambling and triggering an international outpouring of support. USA Today reported the towns impacted the most by the temblor were Accumoli and Amatrice, the latter of which was the subject of a haunting quote by Mayor Sergio Pirozzi being shared by various media outlets — "half of the town doesn't exist anymore."

The government's civil protection department has deployed relief and rescuers to the regions affected by the earthquake, but you may be wondering how you personally can help. Here are eight ways to support the victims of the natural disaster.

If you're in Italy...

Forexinfo suggested you go to San Camillo de Lellis General Hospital in Rieti and give blood. You need to have an identification card, and you should avoid eating dairy products or drinking alcohol beforehand if you plan to donate plasma.
You can drop off nonperishable foods, water, clothing, medicine, batteries or bedding at the schools and stores in Rieti listed here by Il Messaggero.

You can deactivate your wireless password so people can freely use your internet to communicate, La Stampa reported.

Support a business that's donating its profits to emergency relief. Deliveroo Italia, for example, is sending all delivery costs to the local Red Cross.

If you're somewhere else...

You can donate money to La Stampa's emergency fund. Go to and specify that you want your gift to go to "Fund 597 Earthquake in Central Italy," or "Fondo 597 Terremoto Centro Italia."

Give to ShelterBox, a disaster relief charity that distributes literal boxes that include items like tents, tools, blankets, water purification systems and coloring books. ShelterBox tweeted Wednesday that it was already heading to Italy. Send a check to ShelterBox USA, 8374 Market St. #203, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202. Or call 941-907-6036.

Donate to the Italian Red Cross, which has deployed rescue dogs and ambulances to affected areas, here.

Direct your business to companies helping charities responding to the earthquake. The Rome Red Cross tweeted that McDonalds and KFC had both donated food supplies to the relief effort Wednesday.


The Wanderlust Gene: Why Some People Are Born To Travel

There are some people who never feel the urge to leave the house. They’re content to stay in the city they came from, the couch they sit on, and the 360 degrees that immediately surround them.

Then there’s the rest of us: the people who can’t sit still, perhaps meditate to Anthony Bourdain, and always keep their passports on them – just in case.

Whether you call it wanderlust, a love of travel or regular old curiosity – the fact remains the same: Your hunger to explore simply cannot be quenched, no matter how many vacations or journeys you take.

For you, there’s always something new to see, something different than you’re used to. You enjoy day trips, but you also realize there’s only so much you can see in 24 hours. You’re into one-way flights and trips without a destination.

Destinations require plans, and you’re not into the whole planning thing. Plans insinuate an underlying purpose, and from your experience, traveling without one always leads to more excitement.

You’ve been this way for as long as you can remember – which probably dates back to your first few trips growing up, boarding that plane to Disney World every few winters, as a child.

According to recent scientific claims, it may have been embedded in your DNA, even before that.

As told on one psychology blog, the inherent urge to travel can be traced back to one gene, which is a genetic derivative of the gene DRD4, which is associated with the dopamine levels in the brain.

The gene itself, which is identified as DRD4-7R, has been dubbed the “wanderlust gene,” because of its correlation with increased levels of curiosity and restlessness, for the most part.

In reality, however, those who carry this genetic information typically share one common theme, a history of traveling.

The gene is not all too common; in fact, it’s only possessed by about 20 percent of the population. Having said that, there is a much higher prevalence of this gene in regions of the globe where travel has been encouraged in its past.

Assuming that all forms of human life originated in Africa, Chaunsheng Chen, who conducted a study in 1999, supported the premise that “the DRD4-7r form of the gene [is] more likely to occur in modern day societies where people migrated longer differences from where we first originated in Africa many thousands of years ago.”

In short, here, Chen implies that civilizations that have diverged further from Africa, the theoretical origin of mankind, are allegedly more susceptible to being carriers of this mutant DRD4-7r gene that is linked to “curiosity and restless.”

A separate study done by David Dobbs of National Geographic supported these findings – and provided reason not to just draw the link to curiosity and restlessness, but specifically a passion for travel.

According to Dobbs, the mutant form of the DRD4 gene, 7r, results in people who are “more likely to take risks; explore new places, ideas, foods, relationships, drugs, or sexual opportunities,” he went on to say that bearers of this gene, “generally embrace movement, change, and adventure.”

In line with Chan, Dobbs also linked the 7r mutation of the DRD4 gene to human migration.

When compared to sedentary populations, or those who have stayed in the same region for most of their existence, members of present day migratory populations – those with a history of relocating, over time – tend to carry the 7r gene much more commonly.

Dobbs goes on to highlight a more statistically sound study, conducted a little over a decade later, which supports the notion that 7r, in conjunction with a second genetic variant (2r), “tends to be found more frequently than you would expect by chance in populations whose ancestors migrated longer distances after they moved out of Africa.”

With that said, there still is reason to doubt this “travel gene,” at least in the mind of Kenneth Kidd of Yale University.

According to Kidd, it’s a little bit more complicated than others might be alluding to. “Genetics doesn’t work that way,” Kidd suggests, “You just can’t reduce something as complex as human exploration to a single gene.”

In response, Dobbs consulted with evolutionary geneticist Jim Noonan to gain a better understanding of the matter.

In the most simplistic form, Dobbs quotes Noonan stating how the human ability to explore rests within the function of two systems: limbs and brains.

Noonan explains how each species has a different, unique set of variances within these two systems, which allows them to be predisposed to different behaviors.

With regard to humans, there are a few differences within our limbs and brains that can be distinguished from our most common ancestors, the apes – “such as legs and hips that let us walk long distances; clever, clever hands; and an even cleverer brain that grows far more slowly but much larger than other ape brains,” explains Dobbs.

While these differences allow us, as a species, to be better suited to travel long distances and explore creatively – our genetic makeup is still almost identical to that of apes, despite the visual differences in our anatomy.

Dobbs notes that these differences arise from a divergence in feedback cues, relayed by the developmental genes.

Following this logic, those who carry the 7r gene will also likely follow a slightly variant schedule, with regard to developmental genetics, in comparison to those who carry the regular DRD4 gene.

These differences could also, theoretically, result in a slightly different – or more curiously-suited – limb and brain composition, which could be the reason these people feel a greater urge to travel.

At the same time, it’s definitely important to consider this study done by Garret LoPorto of Huffington Post.

While this mutant gene DRD4-7r might carry a ton of positive, exploratory, character traits with it – it also might be linked with general Neanderthalic behavior.

According to LoPorto, while carriers of this genetic variant might be “incredibly resourceful, pioneering, creative,” and more predisposed for wanderlust, they also might be “utterly out of control.”

So, while you might have the urge to quit work and travel for the next few months – stop and make sure you’re thinking rationally. Although, like I said, traveling is always more fun without a plan.

Elite Daily said, traveling is always more fun without a plan

Buddhist Things.


10 Things to Start Doing in Your Relationships:

  1. FREE YOURSELF FROM NEGATIVE PEOPLE. Spend time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded. Relationships should help you, not hurt you. Surround yourself with people who reflect the person you want to be. Choose friends who you are proud to know, people you admire, who love and respect you – people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it. Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. When you free yourself from negative people, you free yourself to be YOU – and being YOU is the only way to truly live.
  2. LET GO OF THOSE WHO ARE ALREADY GONE. The sad truth is that there are some people who will only be there for you as long as you have something they need. When you no longer serve a purpose to them, they will leave. The good news is, if you tough it out, you’ll eventually weed these people out of your life and be left with some great people you can count on. We rarely lose friends and lovers, we just gradually figure out who our real ones are. So when people walk away from you, let them go. Your destiny is never tied to anyone who leaves you. It doesn’t mean they are bad people; it just means that their part in your story is over.
  3. GIVE PEOPLE YOU DON’T KNOW A FAIR CHANCE. When you look at a person, any person, remember that everyone has a story. Everyone hasgone through something that has changed them, and forced them to grow. Every passing face on the street represents a story every bit as compelling and complicated as yours. We meet no ordinary people in our lives. If you give them a chance, everyone has something amazing to offer. So appreciate the possibility of new relationships as you naturally let go of old ones that no longer work. Trust your judgment. Embrace new relationships, knowing that you are entering into unfamiliar territory. Be ready to learn, be ready for a challenge, and be ready to meet someone that might just change your life forever.
  4. SHOW EVERYONE KINDNESS AND RESPECT. Treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are. There are no boundaries or classes that define a group of people that deserve to be respected. Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your baby brother. People will notice your kindness.
  5. ACCEPT PEOPLE JUST THE WAY THEY ARE. In most cases it’s impossible to change them anyway, and it’s rude to try. So save yourself from needless stress. Instead of trying to change others, give them your support and lead by example.
  6. ENCOURAGE OTHERS AND CHEER FOR THEM. Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are leads to good places – productive, fulfilling, peaceful places. So be happy for those who are making progress. Cheer for their victories. Be thankful for their blessings, openly. What goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you.
  7. BE YOUR IMPERFECTLY PERFECT SELF. In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your awesome self. And when they laugh at you for being different, laugh back at them for being the same. Spend more time with those who make you smile and less time with those who you feel pressured to impress. Be your imperfectly perfect self around them. We are not perfect for everyone, we are only perfect for those select few people that really take the time to get to know us and love us for who we really are. And to those select few, being our imperfectly perfect self is what they love about us.
  8. FORGIVE PEOPLE AND MOVE FORWARD. Don’t live your life with hate in your heart. You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate. Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.” It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.” Forgiveness is the remedy. It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened. It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life. Remember, the less time you spend hating the people who hurt you, the more time you’ll have to love the people who love you.
  9. DO LITTLE THINGS EVERY DAY FOR OTHERS. Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts. You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be everything to a few people. Decide who these people are in your life and treat them like royalty.
  10. PAY ATTENTION TO WHO YOUR REAL FRIENDS ARE. As we grow up, we realize it becomes less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones. Remember, life is kind of like a party. You invite a lot of people, some leave early, some stay all night, some laugh with you, some laugh at you, and some show up really late. But in the end, after the fun, there are a few who stay to help you clean up the mess. And most of the time, they aren’t even the ones who made the mess. These people are your real friends in life. They are the ones who matter most.
  11. ALWAYS BE LOYAL. True love and real friendship aren’t about being inseparable. These relationships are about two people being true to each other even when they are separated. When it comes to relationships, remaining faithful is never an option, but a priority. Loyalty is everything.
  12. STAY IN BETTER TOUCH WITH PEOPLE WHO MATTER TO YOU. In human relationships distance is not measured in miles, but in affection. Two people can be right next to each other, yet miles apart. So don’t ignore someone you care about, because lack of concern hurts more than angry words. Stay in touch with those who matter to you. Not because it’s convenient, but because they’re worth the extra effort. Remember, you don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of. Paying attention to these people is a priority.
  13. KEEP YOUR PROMISES AND TELL THE TRUTH. If you say you’re going to do something, DO IT! If you say you’re going to be somewhere, BE THERE! If you say you feel something, MEAN IT! If you can’t, won’t, and don’t, then DON’T LIE. It’s always better to tell people the truth up front. Don’t play games with people’s heads and hearts. Don’t tell half-truths and expect people to trust you when the full truth comes out; half-truths are no better than lies. Remember, love and friendship don’t hurt. Lying, cheating and screwing with people’s feelings and emotions hurts. Never mess with someone’s feelings just because you’re unsure of yours. Always be open and honest.
  14. GIVE WHAT YOU WANT TO RECEIVE. Don’t expect what you are not willing to give. Start practicing the golden rule. If you want love, give love. If you want friends, be friendly. If you want money, provide value. It works. It really is this simple.
  15. SAY WHAT YOU MEAN AND MEAN WHAT YOU SAY. Give the people in your life the information they need, rather than expecting them to know the unknowable. Information is the grease that keeps the engine of communication functioning. Start communicating clearly. Don’t try to read other people’s minds, and don’t make other people try to read yours. Most problems, big and small, within a family, friendship, or business relationships, start with bad communication.
  16. ALLOW OTHERS TO MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS. Do not judge others by your own past. They are living a different life than you are. What might be good for one person may not be good for another. What might be bad for one person might change another person’s life for the better. Allow people to make their own mistakes and their own decisions.
  17. TALK A LITTLE LESS, AND LISTEN MORE. Less advice is often the best advice. People don’t need lots of advice, they need a listening ear and some positive reinforcement. What they want to know is often already somewhere inside of them. They just need time to think, be and breathe, and continue to explore the undirected journeys that will eventually help them find their direction.
  18. LEAVE PETTY ARGUMENTS ALONE. Someone else doesn’t have to be wrong for you to be right. There are many roads to what’s right. And most of the time it just doesn’t matter that much.
  19. IGNORE UNCONSTRUCTIVE, HURTFUL COMMENTARY. No one has the right to judge you. They might have heard your stories, but they didn’t feel what you were going through. No matter what you do, there will always be someone who thinks differently. So concentrate on doing what you know in your heart is right. What most people think and say about you isn’t all that important. What is important is how you feel about yourself.
  20. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOURSELF. One of the most painful things in life is losing yourself in the process of loving others too much, and forgetting that you are special too. When was the last time someone told you that they loved you just the way you are, and that what you think and how you feel matters? When was the last time someone told you that you did a good job, or took you someplace, simply because they know you feel happy when you’re there? When was the last time that ‘someone’ was YOU?

BYU Grad Visits Every Country in the World

Most people are happy if the get to go on one trip a year but one recent graduate is spending his life going on trip after trip to every country in the world. Reporter Kyle Petitt caught up with this man during a short break to find out what's fueling the journey.

Cute email I received from a childhood friend in Spain

Sammy Stu,

So chalk this up to the most random email you could get. So, in case you're not remembering me from our summer in the convent in Salamanca when we were...15?! What a sentence that is.

I was going through old albums and of course my whole album from that summer is the 2 of us. I have captions all over the album, like striped shirt boy, dancing on speakers in discos, flaming shots, and a debate between how weird the names taryn and Mariah were.

Anyway, I thought I would try and find you with the insanely connected world we live in due to technology. I found your amazing website, and thought I would contact you and give a 15 year later hello. Yes, that just made me feel quite old.

I would love to hear back from you. Some great memories from that summer, that truly you are the only one who knows!!!

Hope this finds you happy and healthy!

Best, Anonymous

Ladurée Opening Second New York Outpost in Soho


Two and a half years after pastry powerhouse Ladurée opened its first North American outpost on Madison Avenue, locals and tourists still queue up for its famed macarons, which are shipped from Paris weekly. On February 5, the company unveils its 65th international outpost (and its second Stateside) in the old Barolo space, which has been divided into a series of “salons” furnished with such decorative flourishes as a ceiling fresco and a wall of letters by the likes of Colette and George Sand. This location combines retail bakery, tea room, and full-service restaurant, overseen by chef Johann Giraud. His breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus are rife with Gallic classics (foie gras, vol-au-vent) and Ladurée signatures (various omelettes and “les clubs sandwiches”), but he’s added a few new dishes that reflect the local terroir—most notably, the kale-based “Salade Soho.” Also new to New York, in the pastry display case: walnut croissants and praline mille-feuilles. lsamic vinaigrette.

By Sierra Tishgart.

The Best Countries For Expats In 2013

If you're sick of your home country and are yearning for a change, you might want to consider settling in Asia for the next chapter of your life.

A new study by HSBC ranks several Asian nations among the best countries for expatriates in 2013. The annual Expat Explorer Survey analyzes the findings from 7,000 expats to rank their new homes according to criteria including economics, experience, and raising children.

When considering all three categories, China comes out on top with high scores in economics and experience. Despite faring poorly in the field of raising children, expats in China report high salaries and better quality of life than in their home countries.

Switzerland tops all nations in terms of economics, though it remains unranked overall due to insufficient data in the raising children category. Hailed as a "beacon of growth," Switzerland instills financial optimism in its new inhabitants, with expats citing strong fiscal policy and healthy markets.

When it comes to experience, however, Thailand outpaces the field, thanks to top scores for healthy diet, working environment, social life, local shops and markets, and local culture. Expats living in Thailand enjoy a high quality of life with little trouble integrating; 76% noted how easy it was to make friends in their new land. And of course, food plays an important role in satisfying these expats. Like Switzerland, however, Thailand also could not be ranked overall because of its lack of data on raising children.

In that category, Germany reigns supreme, with high scores in child education, quality of childcare, and child health and wellbeing. Expat parents laud German education options as cost-effective while still reporting an improvement in the quality of schooling over those available in their home countries. Deutschland also received high scores in economics, helping the nation to place second overall among all three criteria.

The United States ranked 12th overall, hampered by poor scores in both economics and experience. It did, however, place first in local work culture, as well as in several subcategories for raising children. Expats enjoy access to high quality education for their kids and report that their children seem more outgoing and experience a good amount of diversity within their friend circles.

Furthermore, despite ranking 23rd in economics, the U.S. maintains its reputation as a "land of opportunity" among expats. According to the survey, 80% of respondents say they would not leave the country given the choice, citing opportunities for home ownership, access to luxuries like better cars, and the security of pensions and savings for later in life as their main reasons for staying put. Check out the full ranking of the best countries for expats.

The Huffington Post. By Kavitha A. Davidson.