Ask the Presidential Candidates Sausage or Pepperoni and Win Free Pizza Hut For Life

Pizza Hut plans to add a little bit of excitement to the next presidential debate. Will you ask the presidential candidates “sausage or pepperoni” to win free Pizza Hut for life?

If the last presidential debate scored as the most Twitted political event in history, but it failed to be all that exciting. It wasn’t what you’d describe as an intense debate where candidates pulled every trick they knew to stir the audience. No, the Mitt Romney and Barack Obama debate lacked the excitement. Pizza Hut planed a marketing stunt that will turn the presidential debate in a slightly more thrilling event.

The Pizza Hut $520 gift card every year for the next 30 will definitely draw attention away from the actual presidential debate. Sure, it’s going to get a lot more people watching it and more likely a lot more tweeting about it. But people are going to wait for the man who’s going to pop the question: “Mr. President, Mr. Romney, sausage or pepperoni?”

Tuesday, the marketing team at Pizza Hut released a video add announcing the company’s idea to make the presidential debate more exciting. The person that asks “either of the participants the age-old burning question – Sausage or Pepperoni? – during the live telecast” of the debate will win a lifetime supply of pizza.
 
 “We recognize there are a lot of serious issues to be debated, but we also know a lot less serious – but no less important – ones are being discussed every night inside houses across the country” said Pizza Hut CMO Kurt Kane. “So for the candidates to be able to show that they’re in tune with all the issues, we felt a pizza-related question on behalf of The Pizza Party was very appropriate for a town hall debate” the CMO added.

The answer to the presidential pizza debate is worth $520 a year at Pizza Hut. The winner will get the $520 gift card every year for “up to 30 years”.  Will you be the one to find whether it’s sausage or pepperoni for Mitt Romney or Barack Obama? The next presidential debate is set for Oct. 16 at Hofstra University.

Take A Look At The Pro-Muslim Ads Posted At NYC Subway

Huffington Post invites readers to take a look at the pro-Muslim ads that were posted at the New York City Subway on Monday. The advertisements come as a response to the anti-Jihad posters that were displayed in the same area several days ago.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative produced a series of posters that were described as Islamophobic by other non-profit organizations. As a result, several pro-Muslim posters were created by the Rabbis for Human Rights North America and the Sojourners – two organizations which fight for equal human rights – and displayed in close proximity of the anti-Jihad ads.

The rabbis invited people to show kindness and loving towards their siblings through the message “In the choice between love and hate, CHOOSE LOVE”. In the end, they encouraged people to take action and put an end to the bigotry that is usually displayed against Muslim neighbors.

Christians used a similar message in order to determine Americans to give up all their prejudices and stop discriminating Muslims. Even though their ad was not as detailed as the one of the rabbis, it was based on the same idea, namely, to love your Muslim neighbors. 

The posters were elaborated as a direct message against the anti-Jihad ads. The latter read “In any war between civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man”. The following text written in the national colors of the United States, that is, blue and red, told people to support Israel and to defeat Jihad.

Taking into account the tense relationship between Israel and its Muslim neighbors, the anti-Jihad ad was described as demeaning by many institutions, including by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York. They tried to prevent the American Freedom Defense Initiative from displaying the ads in the subway, but a judge ruled that their advertisement is protected by the first amendment.

In the future, however, similar posters which could incite to violence will be accompanied by a disclaimer message. MTA adopted this measure in order to distance itself from the expressed views.

Turkey Threatens Syria After Bombardment

Based on a recent report published by the Associated Press, Turkey threatened Syria after another bombardment took place on Saturday. This is the fourth day of retaliatory artillery fire and authorities fear the fight in Syria could soon become a regional conflict involving many other nations.

Another Syrian attack took place on the Turkish territory on Saturday causing Turkey officials to issue a threatening statement. The latest shelling was caused by the declaration that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a day before. He asked Syria not to test their “limits and determination”, adding that the warnings are very serious.

Based on authorities’ declarations, the area that was hit by the mortar was set near the village of Guvecci. Several minutes earlier an intense fight broke out on Syria’s territory between the military forces of President Bashar Assad and the rebels in the region. The report further read that the mortar made no victims as it landed 50 meters on the Turkish territory and 700 meters away from the village. The army unit located near Guvecci responded immediately to the attack with four 81-mm mortars.

Syrian authorities issued a statement saying that the attack was a mistake. The mortar was fired by the forces of the Syrian Arab Republic against the Syrian rebel groups and it was meant to land on the Syrian territory. Inhabitants of the Guvecci village rushed outside their homes as soon as the mortar hit the Turkish territory. They all left the border area and headed towards a safer place in the village.

Tensions between Syria and Turkey began on Wednesday when a mortar hit a home in a Turkish village killing two women and three children. Turkey responded with a long artillery fire and officials decided on Thursday to allow cross border military operations in Syria. The decision increased the tensions between the two nations that used to be close allies in the past. The Unites States have sided with their NATO ally, Turkey, condemning the attacks as “aggressive actions of the Syrians”. 

Women Banned From Ikea’s Saudi Arabia Catalog

The Associated Press reports that women were banned from Ikea’s Saudi Arabia catalog because the local culture disapproves with the portrayal of women in advertisements. The Swedish Group issued a statement saying that the modifications clashed with their company’s values.

Ikea Saudi Arabia was forced to modify their furniture catalogue by removing all the women that were normally included in the pictures. The portrayal of women in the media in general, and in advertisements, in particular is condemned in Saudi Arabia; therefore, only masculine figures have been included in the illustration.

The modification was first noticed when a reporter at the Associated Press compared the two catalogues which are otherwise identical. The photo that was subject to analysis portrayed a man, a woman and a child while brushing their teeth in the bathroom. In the image that was selected from the Saudi Arabia catalogue the woman was removed leaving a blank space between the man and his apparent son.

As soon as the Swedish furniture maker was informed about the modification, Ikea issued a statement expressing their regret for the given situation. The company declared that the altered version of the catalog clashes with their values as Ikea has always been a strong supporter of equal human rights. The Swedish group told the press that they are against any form of discrimination and they regret they could not react to the exclusion of women from the Saudi Arabia catalogue.

Ikea reassured customers all over the world that similar situations will not take place again the future. The furniture manufacturer will take measures to safeguard their catalogues and to make sure the content will not offend the different points of view of other cultures.

Saudi Arabia has been harshly criticized for their behavior towards women, who are not allowed to travel or study alone if they are not accompanied by men. Despite this, there are voices saying that Western countries constantly modify pictures of women making them slimmer or younger in order to fit the cultural values of their society. As a result, Ikea should be more tolerant in relation to Saudi Arabia’s requests.

Michelin 2013 Guide Of The Best Places To Eat In New York City

Whether you’re traveling or simply looking for a good place to grab a bite, the Michelin Guide is always a must-have. This week, the Michelin 2013 guide of the best places to eat in New York City was released and there’s a bunch of restaurants you need to try.

Today, Michelin released the results of its ratings survey for restaurants in New York City. 66 restaurants received stars from Michelin Awards, while others kept their top ranking the same as last year. Chinese, Korean or Japanese Asian inspired cuisine restaurants are this year’s highlights in Michelin’s guide of the best places to eat in NYC.

“We have a lot of Asian restaurants which upped their ante. They are becoming more adventurous and creative” said Michael Ellis, international director of the Michelin Guides. “They are able to deliver new versions on old dishes that have really caught our attention” Ellis told Reuters.

So if you’re up for an exotic taste, Soto, Momofuku Ko, Café China, Hakkasan, Lan Sheng, 15 East and Jungkin were given stars these years, joining the other 11 Asian places to eat, already in the guide.

For those of you looking for three-star restaurants in Michelin’s 2013 guide, unfortunately there are no new additions to the list. New York City has in 2013 the same three-star seven restaurants as in 2012. Jean Georges, Chef’s Table, Per Se, Daniel, Le Bernardin, Eleven Madison Park and Masa.

But if you’re looking for a good place to eat in New York that won’t cost you a week’s worth of TV dinners, the Michelin 2013 Guide of the best restaurants in New York has 14 other places with meals under $25 to check out. “…our feeling is that people should have a choice when they dine out. But I also understand the economics these day” said Michael Ellis.

There are 896 restaurants in the Michelin 2013 guide of the best restaurants in New York City, with nine getting the honor for the first time. According to Michelin, the 896 restaurants in the guide are all across New York and feature 61 cuisines.

At Least 37 People Declared Dead In Hong Kong Ferry Collision

The South China Morning Post reports that at least 37 people were declared dead after the Hong Kong ferry collision which took place on Monday evening. The two passenger boats crashed because the water traffic near Lamma’s coast was even busier than usual. 

Hong Kong has some of the busiest waters in the world as the region is frequently transited by giant commercial freighters, ocean liners, passenger ferries and private boats. On Monday evening, the narrow sea lanes between Hong Kong and the Lamma Island were even more crowded than usual as inhabitants were celebrating China’s National Day. Given the lack of space and visibility two passenger boats collided around 8:20 p.m. throwing more than 100 people into the water.

After the impact one of the damaged boats headed towards the pier, whereas the other vessel was already sinking. The Hong Kong Fire Service Department sent several teams on the coast to rescue people from the water. According to their declarations, authorities arrived at 8:41 p.m. and managed to pull 123 people out of the water. Some of them were declared dead on the scene, whereas others deceased on their way to the hospital. 37 people lost their lives so far, but their number could increase in the future considering that some survivors are recovering in hospital with severe injuries.

One of the vessels belonged to the Hong Kong Electric Company and was carrying company employees and their families to watch the fireworks show which was programmed to take place around midnight. After 10 minutes out the vessel was struck by a passenger ferry coming from the side at a very high speed. A survivor told the press that the rear of the ferry started to sink and after several minutes he found himself under the sea. The man, who was now trying to find his two children, managed to save himself by swimming hard and grabbing a life buoy.

Authorities will continue to investigate the scene to determine who is responsible for the incident. The Hong Kong Fire Service Department will continue to search for victims as they believe some of the missing people could still be trapped inside the vessel.

Obama Honors Cesar Chavez With National Monument

The presidential elections are only several weeks away and Obama is taking out his last best cards. Barack Obama honors César Chávez with national monument, in a last attempt to get hispanic voters by his side.

Whereas Mitt Romney has been witnessing support taking a plunge, Obama is drawing out the last cards to make sure voters remain by his side. A press release from the White House reads that President Obama has decided to establish a national monument in honor of César Chávez at his property in Keene, California.

“César Chávez gave a voice to poor and disenfranchised workers everywhere” reads the official statement. Obama will visit César Chávez’ property in California next week to establish the monument. The honor includes the former national headquarters of the United Farm Workers, the home and workplace of César Chávez until his death. The grave site is also included in the César Chávez National Monument.

“La Paz was at the center of some of the most significant civil rights moments in our nation’s history, and by designating it a national monument, Chávez’ legacy will be preserved and shared to inspire generations to come” reads the president’s statement.

The White House press release reads that “Chávez played a central role in achieving basic worker protections for hundreds of thousands of farmworkers across the country”. He was behind “provisions ensuring drinking water was provided to workers in the field, to steps that helped limit workers’ exposure to dangerous pesticides, to helping to establish basic minimum wages and health care access for farm workers”.

Paul F. Chávez, president of the César Chávez Foundation, said the family and the organization is happy his father is getting this honor. “…the story of La Paz, which was a spiritual harbor and a place where my dad and thousands of selfless people worked for social justice over the years, will forever be shared with the nation through the National Park Service” said Paul F. Chávez.

The César Chávez National Monument is the fourth of its kind that Obama designated in his term through the use of the Antiquities Act. It joins Fort Monroe in Virginia, Fort Ord in California and Chimney Rock in Colorado.

California First To Ban Gay Cure Therapy For Kids

This Saturday, California became the first state in the United States to ban gay cure therapy for kids. The bill banning the reparative therapies meant to change sexual orientation and gender identities was signed over the weekend by California Governor Jerry Brown.

It goes without saying, the past year has been an amazing change in lesbian rights. California has become the first to ban controversial gay cure therapies, putting thus an end to a practice that has no scientific ground. Even those that once were supporters of the reparative therapy have changed their minds lately, admitting the gay cure isn’t in fact a cure.

Equality California, Gaylesta, Courage Campaign, Lambda Legal, NCLR and Mental Health America of Northern California  have fought strongly to have Senate Bill 1172 approved. California Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill this Saturday and gay cure therapies will be officially banned as of January 1, 2013.

“We’re grateful to Governor Brown for standing with California’s children” reads a statement from the Human Rights Campaign. “LGBT youth will now be protected from a practice that has not only been debunked as junk science, but has been proven to have drastically negative effects on their well-being” the organization added.

Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, was also excited that California banned gay cure therapy and praise Governor Brown for his support. “This law will ensure that state-licensed therapists can no longer abuse their power to harm LGBT youth and propagate the dangerous and deadly lie that sexual orientation is an illness or disorder that can be ‘cured’”.

Bill 1172 that bans gay cure was widely supported by Senator Ted Lieu, D-Torrance. He described the bill to be “necessary because children were being psychologically abused by reparative therapists who would try to change the child’s sexual orientation”. In a statement for NBC News, Lieu referred to the gay cure therapy as quackery and added so-called therapists never informed parents about the high risks of depression and suicide.

Huffington Post writes that gay cure, reparative or conversion therapies use “a wide variety of techniques from counseling to shock therapy to – in extreme cases – exorcism” all to the purpose of “curing” “individuals of their homosexual and transgender orientations and identities”.

Pussy Riot Appeal Delayed By Moscow Court

Reuters reports that the Pussy Riot appeal which was supposed to start on Monday was delayed by a court in Moscow. According to the report, Yekaterina Samutsevich, one of the members of the punk band was forced to dismiss her defense lawyers because they did not agree on the way in which the case should be handled.

The three members of the Pussy Riot punk band were sentenced to two years in jail for performing a protest against Vladimir Putin during a religious service at the Christ the Saviour Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Moscow in February. Their appeal was supposed to start on Monday, but the Moscow court dealing with the case announced that the hearing will be postponed until October 10th.

The court’s representatives told the press that the decision was taken after one of the members of the band, namely, Yekaterina Samutsevich, told them that she is no longer represented by lawyers. The girl stated that there has been a misunderstanding between her and her legal representatives over the way the case should be handled and, as a result, Yekaterina was forced to fire her defense lawyers.

Russia is trying to solve the Pussy Riot case in the shortest amount of time possible because the conflict between the three girls from the Pussy Riot band and Vladimir Putin has drawn the attention of the Western countries. The majority of the Western governments declared themselves outraged by the long sentence, i.e. two years, that the three girls received. The episode was used by Putin’s opposition as a pretext to criticize Putin’s political regime. Most Russians, however, think the women were just trying to boost their career by drawing everyone’s attention through a rebellious act.

Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were sentenced to two years in jail after they were found guilty in August of hooliganism. The three girls burst into the Christ the Saviour Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Moscow while a religious service was being performed. They started belting out a “punk prayer” asking Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin. The act was condemned both by the Russian premier and the church.

Santa Barbara County Animal Services Celebrates Adopt-A-Dog Month

Based on a recent report published by the Independent, the Santa Barbara County Animal Services is celebrating Adopt-A-Dog Month starting October 1st. Dog lovers will be able to get the puppies they want from the “Fall Collection” with 20 to 50 per cent discounts.

Three dog shelters in Santa Barbara, Lompoc and Santa Maria are celebrating the adopt-a-dog month by releasing a new “Fall Collection” of adoptable dogs. Care takers have prepared many convenient offers for those who want to take a four-legged friend home, including a 20 to 50 per cent discount on adoption fees.

Normally, people who want to adopt a dog have to pay around $110 for all applicable vaccinations, health exams, spay or neutral and a free bag of healthy dog food. In October, however, the costs will be reduced by 20 percent, which means that dog owners will have to pay only $88 adoption fees. Those who will announce their intentions to adopt within the first six days of the month will get a 50 percent discount, so they will only have to pay $55.

There are all types of dogs that can be adopted from the shelter, so owners will have the opportunity of choosing the breed that is more appropriate for them. Dog care specialists will help people make the right choice when they arrive at the shelter. They will take into account how much time the person can spend with the dog, whether the respective person is active or not and whether the future owners can afford to have a dog with long hair or short one.

Based on county laws, people who want to adopt a dog are obliged to acquire a Santa Barbara County dog license. This serves as a method of identifying the dogs in case they get lost, as well as their ticket home in case they are found on the streets and taken back to the shelter.


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