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Magic mushrooms may ‘reset’ the brains of depressed patients, study shows

Magic mushrooms may 'reset' the brains of depressed patients, study shows

The active ingredient in magic mushrooms, psilocybin, may have a ‘reset’ effect on the brain that helps patients overcome depression scientists have shown. Many of the study participants voluntarily described a sense of their brains ‘rebooting’ after just two psilocybin experiences. The psychoactive substance temporarily disintegrates the ‘default mode network’ …

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Two people die in fires in northwestern Spain

Two people die in fires in northwestern Spain

MADRID, Oct 15 (Reuters) – Two people have died in a wave of fires that are ravaging different parts of Spain’s northwestern Galicia region, a Civil Guard spokeswoman said on Sunday. Firefighters found the bodies inside a burned-out vehicle on the road linking two parishes in the city of Nigran, …

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Doctor’s research could buy time for snake bite victims

Doctor's research could buy time for snake bite victims

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) – A researcher at the University of Arizona is experimenting with a new therapy to help treat rattlesnake bites. The Arizona Daily Star reports Dr. Vance G. Nielsen hopes once ready for humans, the therapy will be administered like an EpiPen, injected into a snakebite victim in …

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Barcelona´s Lionel Messi to become a father for the third time

Barcelona´s Lionel Messi to become a father for the third time

Lionel Messi and his wife are expecting their third child. Antonella Roccuzzo announced the news on Sunday with an Instagram picture of herself and Barcelona star forward Messi with their children Mateo and Thiago. All four have a hand on her T-shirt, over her belly. The post is tagged, “Familia …

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Turning weed into wine in Lebanon

Sitting among the vines of Sauvignon Blanc and Tempranillo growing on his spectacular farm in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, Michel Emad remembers the not-so-distant time when he opted to cultivate cannabis. The retired soldier was not alone in this illicit trade: cannabis fields used to stretch as far as the eye could see in this part of Lebanon over which the state has tenuous control. "Everyone used to grow hashish, that was what the market wanted, there was no alternative crop," Emad, a father of two in his fifties with neatly trimmed hair, said. Now he and the 220 farmers from the Coteaux Heliopolis cooperative are growing grapes for winemaking in the northern Bekaa Valley's Deir al-Ahmar region. The area, one of the poorest in Lebanon, is notorious for its cannabis production, which expanded massively over recent decades to turn into a multi-million-dollar industry. While cannabis farming has only been feebly challenged by the authorities over the years, it remains illegal and the small cooperative has succeeded in luring some producers away from the risky business. They are looking to cash in as Lebanon's wine industry has blossomed, with traditional heavyweights and myriad smaller producers making inroads on an ever-expanding global market. "Growing grapes is more lucrative and leaves you with a clean conscience," Emad said, explaining that this year's nine-tonne harvest earned him $10,000 (8,400 euros), twice his erstwhile income from cannabis. - Cannabis to Cabernet - On the other side of the dirt road running along his vineyard, the tall stems of cannabis fields are still visible. Emad spent three years growing cannabis, like many other villagers in Lebanon's Bekaa who see it as their only means of survival. The security forces regularly raid the cannabis farms in the area and Emad's fields were wiped out twice before he eventually decided to join the cooperative in 2003. "With hashish you always feel threatened by the authorities, you can't sleep at night for the constant risk of being jailed or seeing the state destroy your crops," he said, puffing on a cigarette in the shade of a tree. The Coteaux Heliopolis cooperative was launched in 1999 and now covers around 250 hectares of vineyard (620 acres) in Deir al-Ahmar. The first harvest in 2003 and the resulting windfall sparked a wave of interest among cannabis farmers in the area. "We have provided evidence that people don't want to grow hashish. They are obliged to because it is their only source of income but they don't actually want to live in fear and in violation of the law," said Shawki al-Fakhri, who heads the cooperative. "If you give them an alternative, a lucrative and legal crop to farm, people will take it in a heartbeat," said the retired engineer, sitting in the garden of the house his grandfather built. - Historical land - The elegant sexagenarian with flowing white hair recounts with an amused grin how his own father had been tempted by cannabis farming decades ago but was eventually dissuaded by his grandfather, a village priest. The cooperative's harvested grapes -- around 400 tonnes in 2017 -- are then sold on to producers such as Chateau Ksara, one of the biggest players in Lebanon's wine industry, or Domaine Wardy, one of the oldest and most renowned wineries. The project initially received funding and technical support from France and gradually grew with local loans allowing producers to turn their fields into vineyards. The grapes of choice are Syrah, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. "These are grapes that like the sun and the heat and could work at high altitude," said Charbel al-Fakhri, who works alongside his father Shawki at the cooperative and got a specialised MBA from France's wine capital Bordeaux. The cooperative has created its own winery and made a modest start with 100,000 bottles in 2017, only a fraction of the eight million bottles Lebanon produces each year. "I really believe our white is a little gem, its freshness is remarkable. We also have a very fresh and fruity red," said Charbel proudly. For him, the switch from cannabis to wine is like returning a historical land to its rightful owner. Coteaux Heliopolis chose its name as a homage to the nearby City of the Sun -- Heliopolis was the name of the ancient city of Baalbek where the Roman wine god Bacchus was worshipped. "The Romans didn't just happen to pick this place. We're 12 kilometres (seven miles) from Baalbek, once the area was covered with vines," the young man said. "Our land is exceptional." AFP

Sitting among the vines of Sauvignon Blanc and Tempranillo growing on his spectacular farm in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, Michel Emad remembers the not-so-distant time when he opted to cultivate cannabis. The retired soldier was not alone in this illicit trade: cannabis fields used to stretch as far as the eye …

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Bomb kills four Pakistani troops searching for kidnappers

Bomb kills four Pakistani troops searching for kidnappers

A bomb Sunday killed four Pakistani soldiers as they searched for militants linked to the kidnapping of a US-Canadian family who were freed last week. The incident happened near the Kharlachi checkpoint in Kurram district in the restive tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. The family were being held by the Taliban-allied …

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Death toll from blast in Somalia’s capital rises to 53

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – Security and medical sources say the death toll from Saturday’s truck bomb blast in Somalia’s capital has risen to 53 as hospitals struggle to cope with the high number of casualties. More than 60 others are injured. Police Capt. Mohamed Hussein says many victims died at …

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Serena Williams takes cute selfie with daughter Olympia

Serena Williams took to social media to share an adorable new selfie of her and her daughter Alexis Olympia. “My mommy loves Snapchat,” the tennis pro captioned the photo on her daughter’s Instagram account with over 76,000 followers. Serena, 36, also posted the pic on her personal account and wrote, …

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Police: woman arrested for stabbing husband in hospital

Police: woman arrested for stabbing husband in hospital

BALTIMORE (AP) – Baltimore police have arrested a woman they say fatally stabbed her husband inside of a hospital. Police arrested 30-year-old Anita Jones on Saturday and charged her with first-degree murder stemming from the stabbing death of 33-year-old Christopher Yancey. Police say officers were called to Johns Hopkins Hospital …

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Suarez scores late as Barcelona draws Atletico Madrid 1-1

MADRID (AP) – Barcelona lost its perfect Spanish league record and salvaged a 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid with a late equalizer by Luis Suarez on Saturday. Suarez scored with a header from close range in the 82nd minute to leave Barcelona five points ahead of Real Madrid, which defeated …

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Watford scores late, beats Arsenal 2-1 to move to 4th in EPL

Watford scores late, beats Arsenal 2-1 to move to 4th in EPL

WATFORD, England (AP) – Tom Cleverley scored an injury-time winner as Watford came from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 and end the visitors’ four-game winning run in the English Premier League on Saturday. Watford jumped into the top four with its first home victory of the season, maintaining its excellent …

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