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Monday, January 31, 2011

I Shall Be Released, Lyrics by Bob Dylan

I Shall Be Released

They say ev’rything can be replaced
Yet ev’ry distance is not near
So I remember ev’ry face
Of ev’ry man who put me here
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released

They say ev’ry man needs protection
They say ev’ry man must fall
Yet I swear I see my reflection
Some place so high above this wall
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released

Standing next to me in this lonely crowd
Is a man who swears he’s not to blame
All day long I hear him shout so loud
Crying out that he was framed
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released

Lyrics and Music by Bob Dylan

Copyright ©1967, 1970 by Dwarf Music; renewed 1995 by Dwarf Music

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mangoes in Africa and Around the World

Keta Ghana Fruit Stand - Photo by Peter Schnurman

A friend once told me that India has over 600 varieties of Mango, which must make mango season (March to May) an exciting time of year for mango lovers!!! Here are versions you can find in Hawaii:

In Canada, we mostly get mangoes from the Caribbean, although they sometimes come in from other parts of the world, such as South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, USA, Central America and South America.

Nutrients found in Mangoes:

Source: HealthAlternatives2000.com

One mango without peel contains 1.06 grams of protein, 135 calories and 3.7 grams of dietary fiber.

Potassium - 323 mg
Phosphorus - 23 mg
Magnesium - 19 mg
Calcium - 21 mg
Sodium - 4 mg
Iron - 0.27 mg
Selenium 1.2 mcg
Manganese - 0.056 mg
Copper - 0.228 mg
Zinc - 0.08 mg
Also contains small amounts of other minerals.

Vitamin A - 1584 IU
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) - 0.12 mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) - 0.118 mg
Niacin - 1.209 mg
Folate - 29 mcg
Pantothenic Acid - 0.331 mg
Vitamin B6 - 0.227 mg
Vitamin C - 57.3 mg
Vitamin E - 2.32 mg
Vitamin K - 8.7 mcg

Contains some other vitamins in small amounts.

Chart showing vitamins and minerals found in major fruits

Ghana Fruit stand, Photo by Minda

Mango Nutrition and phytochemicals (from Wikipedia):

Nutrients and phytochemicals
Mango, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 272 kJ (65 kcal)
Carbohydrates 17.00 g
Sugars 14.8 g
Dietary fiber 1.8 g
Fat 0.27 g
Protein 0.51 g
Vitamin A equiv. 38 μg (4%)
- beta-carotene 445 μg (4%)
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.058 mg (4%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.057 mg (4%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.584 mg (4%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.160 mg (3%)
Vitamin B6 0.134 mg (10%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 14 μg (4%)
Vitamin C 27.7 mg (46%)
Calcium 10 mg (1%)
Iron 0.13 mg (1%)
Magnesium 9 mg (2%)
Phosphorus 11 mg (2%)
Potassium 156 mg (3%)
Zinc 0.04 mg (0%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

Mango is rich in a variety of phytochemicals and nutrients. The fruit pulp is high in prebiotic dietary fiber, vitamin C, diverse polyphenols and provitamin A carotenoids.

Mango contains essential vitamins and dietary minerals. The antioxidant vitamins A, C and E compose 25%, 76% and 9% of the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) in a 165 grams (5.8 oz) serving. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, 11% DRI), vitamin K (9% DRI), other B vitamins and essential nutrients, such as potassium, copper and 17 amino acids are at good levels. Mango peel and pulp contain other phytonutrients, such as the pigment antioxidants – carotenoids and polyphenols – and omega-3 and -6 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Mango peel contains pigments that may have antioxidant properties, including carotenoids, such as the provitamin A compound, beta-carotene, lutein and alpha-carotene, polyphenols such as quercetin, kaempferol, gallic acid, caffeic acid, catechins, tannins, and the unique mango xanthonoid, mangiferin,[22] any of which may counteract free radicals in various disease processes as revealed in preliminary research. Phytochemical and nutrient content appears to vary across mango species. Up to 25 different carotenoids have been isolated from mango pulp, the densest of which was beta-carotene, which accounts for the yellow-orange pigmentation of most mango species. Peel and leaves also have significant polyphenol content, including xanthonoids, mangiferin and gallic acid.

The mango triterpene, lupeol, is an effective inhibitor in laboratory models of prostate and skin cancers. An extract of mango branch bark called Vimang, isolated by Cuban scientists, contains numerous polyphenols with antioxidant properties in vitro and on blood parameters of elderly humans.

Wikipedia page about Mangoes, mango types, nutrition in mangoes

Mango causes apoptosis in breast and colon cancers

According to research from Texas A&M University's AgriLife Research department, mangoes have great potential for maintaining good health and preventing illness:

Food scientists Dr. Susanne Talcott and her co-researcher husband, Dr. Steve Talcott, used the five varieties of mangos (Kent, Francine, Ataulfo, Tommy/Atkins and Haden) most common in the US and specifically tested polyphenol extracts from the fruit on colon, breast, lung, leukemia and prostate cancer cells. Polyphenols are natural substances in plants that are antioxidants with the potential to protect the body from disease. The Talcotts zeroed in on evaluating polyphenolic compounds in mangos known as gallotannins, a class of natural bioactive compounds believed to help prevent or block the growth of cancer cells.

The results? The Talcotts' experiments showed that the mango extract demonstrated some cancer fighting ability when tested on lung, leukemia and prostate cancer cells. But when tested on the most common breast and colon cancers, mango compounds were found to have even stronger anticancer abilities. In fact, the mango extract caused the breast and colon cancer cells to undergo apoptosis -- programmed cell death.

"Additionally, we found that when we tested normal colon cells side by side with the colon cancer cells, the mango polyphenolics did not harm the normal cells," Dr. Susanne Talcott said in a statement to the press. "That is a general observation for any natural agent, that they target cancer cells and leave the healthy cells alone, in reasonable concentrations at least."

The researchers documented that the cancer cell cycle (the division process cells go through) was interrupted by mango extract. This is crucial information, Suzanne Talcott said in a press statement, because it could explain a possible mechanism for how the cancer cells are prevented or stopped by phytochemicals in mangos. "For cells that may be on the verge of mutating or being damaged, mango polyphenolics prevent this kind of damage," she explained.

Full article on mango preventative health on Natural News.com, mangoes prevent illness

Accra Ghana Fruit Stand, by CapnMikesPhotos

Saturday, January 15, 2011

January 2011 News from Ghana; Business, Trade, Culture

Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, Communications Minister, Ghana

News and Reports from Ghana:

Ghana preparing for refugees from Ivory Coast

President Mills honours farmers of Ghana for contributions to nation's development

Ghana Black Stars Head Coach Goran Stevanovic says "Time to win trophies is now"

Wisconsin USA company Pierece Manufacturing building 104 firetrucks for Ghana

Ghana suspended from International Olympic Committee for lack of unity and organization on homefront

Noble Mineral Resources strikes gold in Bibiani Ghana

Ghana Communications Minister Iddrisu calls for more e-forms for access to government

Regional Coordinating Council encourages Ghana banks to work with oil companies

Slow Train Coming, by Bob Dylan

Dylan is inarguably the greatest songwriter of the 20th Century, and the leading influence on young writers globally in the early decades of the 21st Century. Other contenders include Bob Marley and John Lennon, and some would add other names, yet the songbook of Robert Allan Zimmerman (who renamed himself Bob Dylan) is the deepest and broadest of any human being ever.

Slow Train

Words and Music by Bob Dylan

Sometimes I feel so low-down and disgusted
Can’t help but wonder what’s happenin’ to my companions
Are they lost or are they found
Have they counted the cost it’ll take to bring down
All their earthly principles they’re gonna have to abandon?
There’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend

I had a woman down in Alabama
She was a backwoods girl, but she sure was realistic
She said, “Boy, without a doubt
Have to quit your mess and straighten out
You could die down here, be just another accident statistic”
There’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend

All that foreign oil controlling American soil
Look around you, it’s just bound to make you embarrassed
Sheiks walkin’ around like kings
Wearing fancy jewels and nose rings
Deciding America’s future from Amsterdam and to Paris
And there’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend

Man’s ego is inflated, his laws are outdated, they don’t apply no more
You can’t rely no more to be standin’ around waitin'
In the home of the brave
Jefferson turnin’ over in his grave
Fools glorifying themselves, trying to manipulate Satan
And there’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend

Big-time negotiators, false healers and woman haters
Masters of the bluff and masters of the proposition
But the enemy I see
Wears a cloak of decency
All nonbelievers and men stealers talkin’ in the name of religion
And there’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend

People starving and thirsting, grain elevators are bursting
Oh, you know it costs more to store the food than it do to give it
They say lose your inhibitions
Follow your own ambitions
They talk about a life of brotherly love show me someone who knows how to live it
There’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend

Well, my baby went to Illinois with some bad-talkin’ boy she could destroy
A real suicide case, but there was nothin’ I could do to stop it
I don’t care about economy
I don’t care about astronomy
But it sure do bother me to see my loved ones turning into puppets
There’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend

Friday, January 14, 2011

Images of African Goddess, African Princess; Queens of Africa

Portrait of An African Princess, by Floris Jespers

Queen Kiya of Ancient Egypt

African Queen - Photo by Nana Kofi Acquah

Goddess Mawu and the Tree of Life

Empress Zewditu of Ethiopia

African Princess by Artist Bryan Bustard

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Ghana has a role to play in southern Sudan

As a neutral observer and a highly respected political democracy, Ghana can play a role in helping to ensure a stable and prosperous southern Sudan, who is likely voting for secession and independence as I type.

For example, Ghana could hold a conference and host not only representatives from Khartoum / Northern Sudan and Juba / Southern Sudan, but also senior government reps from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. Anything that can be done to promote peace and stability in the region will benefit Africa as a whole, and indeed humanity everywhere.

George Clooney in Sudan to help prevent crisis

The Hollywood actor George Clooney is to be commended for his crisis prevention diplomacy in Sudan, and I intend to provide more news about the Sudan referendum in coming days.

Photos of Hollywood actor George Clooney in Sudan

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ghana; Stool lands can't be excuse for lack of home ownership

In an insightful article on Ghana Web January 8, 2011, Otchere Darko asks Why Should Lands And Houses In Ghana Be Sold rather than leased, and Ghanaians at home and abroad should pay careful attention to this issue. Having most new properties under leasehold creates the potential for abuse and at minimum gives birth to unnecessary paperwork and legal costs. One way the Mills government can deal with this issue is to offer expedited building permits for freehold projects, plus additional incentives. It is important that the majority of homeowners and businesspeople own the land under their homes, shops and factories, for if the situation is otherwise it can lead to an unhealthy concentration of economic and political power.

Ethiopia has been going down a similar path, with 99 year leases provided by the government, a policy which traces to the communistic origins of the freedom fighters that overthrew the Dergue (Shadow). From the evidence presented in Darko's article, it seems the long claw of government in Ghana also reaches places where it is unneeded and unwanted:

One of the reasons for the prevalence in Ghana of selling land by leasing, instead of by freehold conveyance, is often attributed to the phenomenon of “stool lands”, which are deemed by most customary laws and practices across the country to be “not saleable”. In the past, stool lands have usually been given freely to businesses and institutions by chiefs for reasons of “promotion of development” within their communities. In other cases, chiefs have given out stool lands on rental basis for non-residential users...... by whom rents, agreed in cash or kind, were paid to the stools concerned. Stool lands have also been, and continue to be acquired from chiefs by the Government for public use purposes..... for which the stools concerned got paid some revenues through appropriate avenues. Stool lands in the past were also given by chiefs to private people for “settlement purposes”, for which the appropriate customary law “considerations” were demanded to serve as “seals” for such stool land appropriation for private use. In the community where I come from, lands that did not form part of “stool lands” were either owned collectively by families, as “family lands”; or owned individually by individuals, as “personally-owned lands”. Family lands could only be sold in the past with the consent of all the clan heads whose “family lines” pooled collectively to own such lands. Personally-owned lands could be sold by the people who owned them, with or without notifying family members. Today, things have not changed much in the community where I come from, except that all lands “sold” and “indentured” by chiefs, families, or individuals have to be registered with, and leased by the Regional Lands Commissioner on behalf of the Government of Ghana...... which is said to be the historical owner of every land in the community where I come from, by virtue of a colonial proclamation made during the colonial era. This makes buying of land in my community even more complicated than elsewhere in Ghana, because of this seeming “double ownership”. *The described general trend of buying land as “leasehold only” virtually cuts across the whole country from north to south, and east to west. Why should it be so? Why can’t Ghanaians buy pieces of land or residential houses outright as freeholds?

These "national land ownership" policies are major impediments to significant international investment, and even prevent many Ghanaians and Ethiopians from investing in their properties, communities, regions and nations. When the government or business has too much power, the people suffer, and one way to combat this is with a strong, healthy and productive workforce. The basis for such health includes a solid component of blue collar homeowners, and Ghana (and Ethiopia) would do well to ensure that buying land, or a home including the land underneath, is an option available to families throughout the nation.

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