December 13, 2019
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    RAWALPINDI, Wednesday - Pakistani fans skipped classes and work on Wednesday to attend the country’s first cricket Test in a decade, which was ringed with security and guarded by snipers following the deadly 2009 attack that scared away foreign teams.

    A team of international scholars versed in culinary history, food chemistry and cuneiform studies has been recreating dishes from the world’s oldest-known recipes.
    y Ashley Winchester
    The instructions for lamb stew read more like a list of ingredients than a bona fide recipe: “Meat is used. You prepare water. You add fine-grained salt, dried barley cakes, onion, Persian shallot, and milk. You crush and add leek and garlic.” But it’s impossible to ask the chef to reveal the missing pieces: This recipe’s writer has been dead for some 4,000 years.
    Instead, a team of international scholars versed in culinary history, food chemistry and cuneiform (the Babylonian system of writing first developed by the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia) have been working to recreate this dish and three others from the world’s oldest-known recipes. It’s a sort of culinary archaeology that uses tablets from Yale University’s Babylonian Collection to gain a deeper understanding of that culture through the lens of taste.

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    “It’s like trying to reconstruct a song; a single note can make all the difference,” said Gojko Barjamovic, pointing to the paperback-sized tablets under glass at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. Barjamovic, a Harvard University Assyriology expert, retranslated the tablets and put together the interdisciplinary team tasked with bringing the recipes back to life.

    A team of scholars are recreating ancient recipes from cuneiform tablets (Credit: Credit: Yale Babylonian Collection)
    A team of scholars are recreating ancient recipes from cuneiform tablets (Credit: Yale Babylonian Collection)
    Three of Yale’s tablets date to around 1730BC, and a fourth is from about 1,000 years later. All of the tablets are from the Mesopotamian region, which includes Babylon and Assyria – what is today the regions of Iraq south of Baghdad and north of Baghdad, including parts of Syria and Turkey. Of the older three tablets, the most intact is more of a listing of ingredients that amounts to 25 recipes of stews and broths; the other two, containing an additional 10-plus recipes, go further in depth with cooking instructions and presentation suggestions, but those are broken and therefore not as legible.

    The challenge was to peel back the layers of history while also maintaining authenticity amid the limitations of modern ingredients.

    “They’re not very informative recipes – maybe four lines long – so you are making a lot of assumptions,” said Pia Sorensen, a Harvard University food chemist who worked, along with Harvard Science and Cooking Fellow Patricia Jurado Gonzalez, on perfecting the proportions of ingredients using a scientific approach of hypothesis, controls and variables.

    The tablets are from the Mesopotamian region, what is today parts of Iraq, Syria and Turkey (Credit: Credit: NurPhoto/Getty Images)
    The tablets are from the Mesopotamian region, what is today parts of Iraq, Syria and Turkey (Credit: NurPhoto/Getty Images)
    “All of the food materials today and 4,000 years ago are the same: a piece of meat is basically a piece of meat. From a physics point of view, the process is the same. There is a science there that is the same today as it was 4,000 years ago,” Jurado Gonzalez said.

    The food scientists used what they know about human tastes, preparation essentials that don’t drastically change over time, and what they hypothesised might be correct ingredient proportions to come up with their best guess as to the closest approximation of an authentic recipe.

    “This idea that we can be guided by what works – if it’s too liquidy, it’s going to be a soup. By looking at the material parameters, we can zoom in on what it is” – in most cases, a stew, Sorensen said.

    What the researchers revealed shows, in part, the evolution of a lamb stew that is still prevalent in Iraq, hand-in-hand with a glimpse back in time at the “haute cuisine of Mesopotamia” that highlights the sophistication of 4,000-year-old chefs, said Agnete Lassen, associate curator of the Yale Babylonian Collection.

    There is a notion of ‘cuisine’ in these 4,000-year-old texts

    The four dishes culled from the list-style tablet also each have unique uses. Pashrutum, for example, is a soup one might serve someone suffering from a cold, Lassen said, though the meaning of this bland broth accented by leek, coriander and onion flavours translates as “unwinding”. Elamite broth (“mu elamutum”), on the other hand, is among two foreign (or “Zukanda”) dishes listed in the tablets, Barjamovic said.

    He equates this to the present-day ubiquity of “foreign” dishes like lasagne or skyr or hummus that have been taken out of their homeland and adapted to new palates, and are indicative of contact between neighbouring cultures.

    “There is a notion of ‘cuisine’ in these 4,000-year-old texts. There is food which is ‘ours’ and food that is ‘foreign,’” Barjamovic said. “Foreign is not bad – only different, and sometimes apparently worth cooking, since they give us the recipe.”

    Tuh'u recipe

    1 lb leg of mutton, diced
    ½ c rendered sheep fat
    1 small onion, chopped
    ½ tsp salt
    1 lb beetroot, peeled and diced
    1 c rocket, chopped
    ½ c fresh coriander, chopped
    1 c Persian shallot, chopped
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 c beer (a mix of sour beer & German Weißbier)
    ½ c water
    ½ c leek, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

    For the garnish:
    ½ c fresh coriander, finely chopped
    ½ c kurrat (or spring leek), finely chopped
    2 tsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed

    Instructions: Heat sheep fat in a pot wide enough for the diced lamb to spread in one layer. Add lamb and sear on high heat until all moisture evaporates. Fold in the onion and keep cooking until it is almost transparent. Fold in salt, beetroot, rocket, fresh coriander, Persian shallot and cumin. Keep on folding until the moisture evaporates. Pour in beer, and then add water. Give the mixture a light stir and then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add leek and garlic. Allow to simmer for about an hour until the sauce thickens.

    Pound kurrat and remaining fresh coriander into a paste using a mortar and pestle. Ladle the stew into bowls and sprinkle with coriander seeds and kurrat and fresh coriander paste. The dish can be served with steamed bulgur, boiled chickpeas and bread.

    Source: Food in Ancient Mesopotamia, Cooking the Yale Babylonian Culinary Recipes, with permission from co-author and translator Gojko Barjamovic.

    Though its blood-based broth would be completely forbidden by today’s Islamic and Jewish tradition, the Elamite broth dish originated in what is now Iran, and also uses dill, an ingredient not otherwise mentioned among the tablets, Barjamovic and Lassen said. This is a distinction still apparent today: Iraqi cuisine rarely uses dill, whereas it is common in Iranian cuisine, which may indicate the pattern was established millennia ago, Barjamovic said. Nasrallah notes the “foreign” designation is indicative of trade between the two cultures, and an appreciation for tastes not commonly associated with local cuisine. The Babylonians might have associated the taste of dill with Elamite cuisine in the same way that we associate fresh coriander with Hispanic foods, Nasrallah said.

    There’s also an element of showmanship and skill that carries over among chefs through the millennia, the researchers noted. Just as today’s molecular gastronomers might delight in plating a dish to play with diners’ expectations, so, too, did Mesopotamian chefs in preparing elaborate feasts fit for high society. Think: the Ferran Adrià flourish of ancient Assyria.

    One dish resembles a chicken pot pie, with layers of dough and chunks of bird smothered by a sort of Babylonian béchamel sauce, said culinary historian and Iraqi cuisine expert Nawal Nasrallah, whose research on medieval Arabic foods helped tie the ancient tablets to later cooking techniques from the same region. Its presentation also contains an element of surprise, she said. The bird dish was served covered by a crusty lid, which diners then opened to reveal the meat inside. It’s a food-within-a-food technique Nasrallah sees repeated in the 10th-Century Baghdadi cookbook Kitab al-Tabikh (“Cookery Book”), describing local medieval traditions, and again in modern Iraqi cuisine.

    Nawal Nasrallah: "In the Arab world and particularly in Iraq, we pride ourselves in stuffed dishes like dolma" (Credit: Credit: Mahmoud Masad/Alamy)
    Nawal Nasrallah: "In the Arab world and particularly in Iraq, we pride ourselves in stuffed dishes like dolma" (Credit: Mahmoud Masad/Alamy)
    “Today, in the Arab world and particularly in Iraq, we pride ourselves in stuffed dishes like dolma. We kind of inherited this tendency of showmanship of cooks,” Nasrallah said. “In this way, I was really fascinated by the continuity of the cuisine and what has survived.”

    This sophistication of preparation in the Babylonian food includes the use of colourful ingredients like saffron or coriander, parsley and chard to appeal to the eye and the palate, as well as employing a fish sauce sourced from the abundance of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to add an umami element to the dishes, Nasrallah said. Today’s stews from the region are usually red, from tomatoes (which arrived centuries later), but the flavour elements of cumin, coriander, mint, garlic and onions are still recognisable. Rendered sheep’s tail fat (in Arabic, alya) for instance, was considered a delicacy and an “indispensable ingredient in Iraq, until around the 1960s", Nasrallah said.

    “I see the same tendency from ancient times to today; we don’t just add salt and black pepper, we add a combination of spices to enhance the aroma, to enhance the flavour, and we don’t just add it all at once, we add it in stages and we allow the stew to simmer,” Nasrallah said.

    The scientists perfected the proportions of ingredients using a scientific approach of hypothesis, controls and variables (Credit: Credit: Yale Babylonian Collection)
    The scientists perfected the proportions of ingredients using a scientific approach of hypothesis, controls and variables (Credit: Yale Babylonian Collection)
    The lamb stew, me-e puhadi, is meant to be eaten with barley cakes crumbled into the liquid, as one might do today with bread to sop up a soup. The scholars’ resulting version of the dish offers a hearty taste and texture teased out from months of trial and error and by using the scientific method of variables and controls to unravel the recipe’s mysteries. They realised, for example, when the inclusion of soapwort, a perennial plant sometimes used as a mild soap, was a mistranslation: adding this ingredient in any measure made the resulting dish bitter, frothy and unpalatable. Similarly, levels of seasonings have a threshold: there is an amount of salt in any dish, whether 4,000 years ago or today, that will render it inedible, they said.

    Modern eaters might recognise elements of several cultures’ comfort foods in these Mesopotamian meals. Tuh’u, for instance, uses red beetroots and shares similarities with both the borscht prevalent in Ashkenazi cuisine, as well as a stew prevalent among Iraqi Jews called Kofta Shawandar Hamudh (meatballs with sweet and sour beetroots), according to Nasrallah. The lamb stew, likewise, calls for meat sautéed in sheep-tail’s fat. A close cousin to the stew might be Iraqi pacha, a dish Nasrallah remembers her mother cooking that uses all the parts of the sheep, preparing the carcass in similar ways as are described in the tablets.

    The instructions for lamb stew read more like a list of ingredients (Credit: Credit: Yale Babylonian Collection)
    The instructions for lamb stew read more like a list of ingredients (Credit: Yale Babylonian Collection)
    “I was really surprised to find that what is a staple in Iraq today, which is a stew, is also a staple from ancient times, because in Iraq today, that is our daily meal: stew and rice with a bread,” Nasrallah said. “It is really fascinating to see how such a simple dish, with all its infinite variety, has survived from ancient times to present, and in those Babylonian recipes, I see not even the beginnings; they already had reached sophisticated levels in cooking those dishes. So who knows how much earlier they began?”
    Jews adapted Palestinian recipes for dishes like falafel (Credit: Credit: PhotoStock-Israel/Getty Images)
    Middle East Israel
    Food & Drink
    Israel’s millennia-old ‘biblical diet’
    A new generation of academics and chefs are cooking with ancient grains and herbs, using ‘original recipes’, to help work through Israel’s long-unresolved legacy of trauma.

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    By Shira Rubin
    9 May 2018
    Between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv lies a man-made Garden of Eden, dotted with imported Lebanese cedar trees, reconstructed olive and wine presses and reproduced ancient gardens of wild sage and edible flowers. But the nature reserve, known as Neot Kedumim, is more than just a recreation of the landscape of biblical times. Since the 1990s, Israel’s foremost food archaeologist Tova Dickstein has been cultivating it as an open-air laboratory to examine the millennia-old ‘biblical diet’ and the ingredients that are making a comeback in Israeli nouvelle cuisine.

    “The ancient culture was, for a long time, forgotten in Israel,” said Dickstein, explaining that the ancient Israelites ate a far richer and more diverse diet than the hummus, falafel and vegetable diets of early modern-day Israel. At the time of the Bible, ancient Israel was famed for its wine, honey and pomegranates, along with its olive oil, which was used extensively both raw and for cooking the occasional meat and the more frequent stews of legumes like lentils and barley.

    Israel’s Neot Kedumim nature reserve is a recreation of the landscape of biblical times (Credit: Credit: Hanan Isachar/Getty Images)
    Israel’s Neot Kedumim nature reserve is a recreation of the landscape of biblical times (Credit: Hanan Isachar/Getty Images)
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    Israeli cuisine is currently having its moment on the international stage, but at home, many chefs and food scholars still struggle to determine what makes Israeli cuisine Israeli, or if it even qualifies as a cuisine. As the country splinters along religious, ethnic and political lines, Israel’s iconic foods, from the humble chickpea to the stuffed grape leaf, have been thrust into the centre of heated international debates. Many Palestinian activists, as reported by Haaretz, accuse Israeli chefs of appropriating Palestinian culture, while others, like Dickstein, point to the many influences of the diverse peoples who once inhabited this land on Israel’s culinary history.

    Dickstein, a secular Israeli who is fascinated by the Bible and its sparse but deeply poetic references to food, sees the national cuisine as a way out of the political morass by uniting people through their food ancestries. She, along with a new generation of academics and chefs, are cooking with ancient grains and herbs, using what they believe are original recipes to help work through the nation's long-unresolved legacy of trauma.

    At Neot Kedumim, Dickstein guides biblical nature tours that delve into the histories of the many wild vegetables and herbs on display, explaining their descriptions in the Bible, their harvest cycles and their multiple health and healing properties. She also leads an outdoor biblical cooking workshop, in which visitors use biblical-era tools to recreate ancient recipes, using, for example, sap from fig trees to curdle milk into cheese.

    Food archaeologist Tova Dickstein has been cultivating the ingredients used in the ‘biblical diet’ (Credit: Credit: Shira Rubin)
    Food archaeologist Tova Dickstein has been cultivating the ingredients used in the ‘biblical diet’, some of which are making a comeback (Credit: Shira Rubin)
    “When I first started, Israelis didn’t want to talk about [biblical food] because they saw it as a religious thing,” she explained, referring to tensions between Israel’s secular majority and its tiny, ultra-Orthodox minority that wields outsized political power, including in the Israeli restaurant scene. Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has long attempted to block the import of non-kosher foods like shrimp. But Dickstein says that biblical food, deeply connected to the Israeli terroir, may provide a more accessible way for contemporary Israelis to appreciate their complex history in this land.

    “Like the poet says, ‘Man is nothing without his native landscape’,” she said, quoting one of Israel’s most celebrated poets, Shaul Tchernichovsky.

    In fact, Dickstein, who works with fellow Israeli and Palestinian food researchers to decrypt the histories and evolutions of local foods, like wild chicory or ancient grains such as millet and barley, is carrying the culinary torch of the country’s earliest secular founders: Jews from all over the world, who from 1948 onwards used food to build national identity.

    Dickstein works with Israeli and Palestinian food researchers to decrypt the evolution of local foods like ancient grains (Credit: Credit: IAISI/Getty Images)
    Dickstein works with fellow Israeli and Palestinian food researchers to decrypt the evolution of local foods like ancient grains (Credit: IAISI/Getty Images)
    In the 1940s and 1950s, the first waves of Holocaust survivors and immigrants to Israel found an infrastructure-poor Jewish State, plagued by economic isolation, widespread unemployment and a scarcity of meat. Generally, the Holocaust was considered taboo, and, according to Yael Raviv, author of Falafel Nation: Cuisine and the Making of National Identity in Israel, European-Jewish foods, like gefilte fish carp patties, were derided as ‘diasporic’.

    “In the beginning, there was this desire for erasure of the 2,000 years in which the Jews had been in exile,” she explained.

    Man is nothing without his native landscape

    Raviv says that agriculture was seen as the way to create a link between the hundreds of thousands of new olim, literally translating to ‘those who ascend’ to Israel and used to describe new immigrants and their biblical Israeli ancestors.

    After the state of Israel was established in 1948, the new olim exalted aubergines, tomatoes and other local produce for their healthful simplicity and local availability. To learn to how to grow and cook the local foods, they looked to Palestinian farmers who had been cultivating the land for generations while Jews had been absent. When Jews arrived, they adapted Palestinian recipes for dishes like falafel, which they topped with nutty tahini and immigrant-imported condiments like schug, a spicy Yemeni pepper sauce.

    After the state of Israel was established, Jews adapted Palestinian recipes for dishes like falafel (Credit: Credit: PhotoStock-Israel/Getty Images)
    After the state of Israel was established, Jews adapted Palestinian recipes for dishes like falafel (Credit: PhotoStock-Israel/Getty Images)
    But Dickstein says that while hummus was compelling and convenient for the early Israeli narrative, because it tied an already-popular dish to the supposedly ancient Jewish tradition of hummus consumption, the Bible does not actually depict the ancient Israelites as hummus enthusiasts. She estimates that hummus in its current form was likely popularised during the Crusader period from 1099 to 1291 AD, as consequent Holy Land conquerors continued traditions of cultural exchange between the country’s many ethnic groups. But for her, correcting anachronisms, such as hummus’ exclusively Israeli origins, is not meant to change Israeli eating habits, but rather demonstrate their evolutions.

    To make her case, Dickstein relies on the Hebrew Bible, a labyrinthine piece of literature teeming with ambiguity. To interpret the recipes, she cross-checks the Bible with modern people who are replicating or producing some version of the biblical diet. For example, Ezekiel bread features as a rare example of a biblical recipe, in the Book of Ezekiel. There, God instructs the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel: “Take you also to you wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make you bread thereof...”

    Today, ‘Ezekial Bread’ is sold in health-food stores across the world, billed as a kind of carb superfood. But Dickstein believes it was never a bread at all, but in its original form consisted of fava beans, millet and nutrient-rich seeds, served alongside an ancient kind of barley bread.

    “The word ‘bread’ in biblical Hebrew translates to ‘hearty stew,” Dickstein explained.

    The Bible does not depict the ancient Israelites as hummus enthusiasts (Credit: Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images)
    Although hummus is now a notable part of Israeli cuisine, the Bible does not depict the ancient Israelites as hummus enthusiasts (Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images)
    She says her suspicions were confirmed on a visit to modern Crete, where she found a similar dish made of precisely those ingredients. It’s known as ‘palikaria’ and is served during feast times, including on 5 January, ahead of the Christian Epiphany holiday, as well as during Lent, Dickstein says. She believes the dish was originally a Cretan food, brought over to Israel by the Minoans, an Ancient Greek civilisation whom archaeologists believe were among the most influential outside civilisations in the ancient Israelite city-state of Canaan, and whom Ezekiel actually mentions encountering in the Bible.

    In its various manifestations, cross-border culinary movement has always been the hallmark of Israeli cooking, said Moshe Basson, an Israeli chef who migrated from Iraq in the 1950s. His Jerusalem restaurant, The Eucalyptus, serves ‘a modern interpretation of biblical cuisine’, much of which was concocted over a lifetime of discovering similarities between the recipes of his Iraqi grandmother and those of his Palestinian and Mediterranean neighbours – all cooking styles with centuries-old biblical roots. Basson developed a love for foraged herbs like wild sage and lemon verbana that the Iraqi Jews had fallen out of touch with while living outside of Israel for millennia. And he applied modern techniques and ingredients to reinvent dishes, like his salmon sashimi, which is lightly splashed with nettle oil, a plant extract consumed here for centuries for its detoxification and other healthful properties.

    Cross-border culinary movement has always been the hallmark of Israeli cooking

    Among Eucalyptus’ signature dishes is the siege-era mallow, in reference to the role of the wild leafy green during the 1948 Israeli-Palestinian battle for Jerusalem, when the city was under siege and food supplies were so low that Israelis had no choice but to eat the iron-rich plant. Such vegetables were once considered weeds and the domain of Palestinian traditional kitchens, he says, but have gained new prominence as Israeli cuisine has found its footing in recent years by looking toward its own ancient roots.

    Basson says that Israeli cuisine is less about recipes than it is about psychologically unpacking and reliving memories. “The people who come to my restaurant are coming to remember their different lives,” he told me on the restaurant’s outdoor patio as he picked a piece of dried oregano, known as za’atar in Arabic and as hyssop in biblical Hebrew, and which is often used to season Israeli salads.

    Chef Moshe Basson believes Israeli cuisine is less about recipes than it is about reliving memories (Credit: Credit: Shira Rubin)
    Chef Moshe Basson believes Israeli cuisine is less about recipes than it is about reliving memories (Credit: Shira Rubin)
    Contemporary Israeli cuisine has changed dramatically since the 1980s and 1990s, when Israel’s food scene was dominated by hotel restaurants and European-trained chefs that emphasised technical precision and the use of heavy, often cream-based sauces. Only in the past two decades has Israeli food moved toward lighter, more locally connected foods that resonate closer with the biblical diet, conceived as more appropriate for Israel’s hot climate and laid-back mindset, says Amos Sion, an Israeli chef at the Helena Restaurant in Caesarea.

    We have a role to play here that’s not about just eating, but in understanding this land that nourishes us

    “Once, chefs tried to replicate French cooking, but there was always this feeling of searching,” said Sion, who trained in France but is inspired by the recipes of traditional fishmongers and farmers from nearby Arab villages and serves up dishes like Arab-style fish stew with Swiss chard and warm tahini, or fennel, sheep’s cheese and pomelo salad. “Israeli cuisine is still in its infancy. Maybe in another 40 years we’ll have something to call ‘Israeli cuisine’,” he said.

    Dickstein says that the uptick in Israelis signing up for her biblical cooking workshops at Neot Kedumim, all of whom express a desire to understand, appreciate and name their foods as ‘Israeli’, indicate that ‘Israeli cuisine’ has already arrived.

    “For the first time, we’ve started to understand that what we eat is from our ancient past, but it’s also from what exists today or what will exist in the future,” Dickstein said. “We have a role to play here that’s not about just eating, but in understanding this land that nourishes us.”



    New Zealand police have said they plan to recover bodies from White Island - where a volcanic eruption killed at least eight people - on Friday morning.The recovery mission will go ahead despite the risk of another eruption, police said."Today is less safe than yesterday, and the day before that," volcanologist Dr Graham Leonard said.At least eight people are thought to be on the island following the eruption on Monday. All are presumed dead.Police said they were planning a "high-speed recovery" of the bodies.Eight others have already been confirmed dead, and 20 are in intensive care after suffering burns when the volcano erupted as tourists were visiting.
    New Zealand's geological hazard information site, said on Thursday there was a 50-60% chance of another eruption within the next 24 hours.But families of the victims are growing increasingly desperate for the bodies to be recovered."We are now living with a growing sense of desperation to bring home those that we know are there," Whakatane Mayor Judy Turner told reporters. "The frustration of those families most affected is completely understandable."Deputy Police Commissioner Mike Clement told reporters on Thursday that officials had agreed a recovery plan even though the risk that the volcano will erupt had not diminished. "This is not a zero risk operation," he said.Eight specialists from the New Zealand Defence Force will go to the island on Friday morning and "make every effort to recover all bodies".Surveillance flights have allowed police to locate only six bodies so far. "We will make calls as the morning goes by," Mr Clement said.He added that his biggest concern was the unpredictable volcano, followed by the weather, the direction of the wind and the state of the sea."A lot of things have to go right for this to work."The fast recovery will also mean there will be less time to collect the evidence needed to ensure that the bodies are properly identified."It does come with trade-offs," Mr Clement said.Volcanologist Dr Leonard said the recovery mission could be dangerous. "Whakaari/White Island is an active volcano, and the estimated chance of an eruption is increasing every day," he said.
    Local Maori groups have placed a rahui over the waters around the volcano and the coastal stretch on the Bay of Plenty.It is a traditional prohibition restricting access to an area. White Island, called Whakaari by the Maori, holds spiritual significance for the local Ngati Awa tribe.The rahui was placed on Tuesday morning and will be lifted only once the missing bodies are recovered.An expert from the Ngati Awa will accompany authorities in the recovery mission."Ngati Awa are front and centre of this operation so for the uplifting of the deceased, once that decision is made, Ngati Awa will be going across to Whakaari/White Island," deputy commissioner Wally Haumaha told RNZ.Rahui are often placed on areas after deaths or accidents occur or to protect natural resources in a specific area. They are not legally binding but are commonly respected by New Zealanders.
    The volcano erupted on Monday when at least 47 visitors from around the world were on the crater.Many of the survivors are still in intensive care. Some have been unable to identify themselves because their burns are so severe, police say.An estimated 120 sq m of replacement skin will be needed for all the patients, according to Dr Peter Watson from New Zealand's National Burns Unit.Surgeons in burns units around the country are working around the clock, authorities said.Some of the Australian victims have been flown back to their home country, and more are expected to follow in the coming days.White Island is a popular tourist destination off the northern coast of North Island and there were day tours

    What we know about those affected

    The volcanic eruption in New Zealand has left some families grieving loved ones and others desperately awaiting information.Forty-seven people were on the privately owned White Island, or Whakaari, volcano when it erupted on Monday.Police have said nine people are still missing, and are presumed to be dead. Officially, eight people are known to have died, while more than 30 people were injured. Many were reported to have suffered severe burns.Of the 47 visitors, 24 were from Australia, nine from the US, five from New Zealand, four from Germany, two from China, two from the UK, and one from Malaysia.No names have been publicly released by the authorities. This information has come from relatives and friends or media reports, and is subject to change.Hayden Marshall-Inman, New Zealand tour guide -
    His brother confirmed his death on Facebook, writing: "Friends and family, very sad news this evening. My bro Hayden Marshall-Inman has past [sic] away doing the one thing he loved. Thanks for all your messages. I'll be in touch when we know more."
    The post was accompanied by a picture of the family dressed in animal outfits.His brother, who did not want to be named, told local media that Hayden had been doing tours for the past 15 years and knew the risks."It is what it is, he died doing what he loved," he said.Julie and Jessica Richards, Australian mother and daughter - deadMother and daughter Julie and Jessica Richards, aged 47 and 20, have also died.
    Jessica Richards had been studying veterinary science at the University of Queensland and shared with her mother a love of the outdoors, said family spokesman John Mickel.He told reporters on Wednesday that relatives were "united in grief"."For this family, [the festive season] will be one of deep poignancy," he said."You live in hope that it's not going to be your loved one's name that comes up. The hope was snuffed out this morning."Australian family: Berend and Matthew Hollander - dead; Martin and Barbara Hollander - missing

    der, 16, and Matthew Hollander, 13, have died in hospital from their injuries, according to their school.

    The boys' parents, Martin and Barbara Hollander, remain missing.

    In a statement cited by Australian media, relatives said they were "absolutely heartbroken" at the loss of "wonderfully kind and spirited boys who lived short but fulsome lives".

    Knox Grammar School headmaster Scott James described them as enthusiastic and popular students who had been actively involved in school life.

    The family moved to Australia from the US six years ago.

    Australian family: Gavin Dallow - dead; Zoe Hosking - missing; Lisa Hosking - injured
    Engineer Lisa Hosking is in hospital with severe burns but her daughter, 15-year-old Zoe, remains missing on White Island and is presumed dead, according to a family statement.

    The body of Ms Hosking's partner, 53-year-old Gavin Dallow, has been recovered.

    The family from Adelaide were on a two-week cruise and it is believed they were on a day trip when the volcano erupted.

    "We mourn the loss of Gavin and Zoe," the statement said. "Gavin was a wonderful son and brother… he was a generous man, always helping his family and his community.

    "Our hearts break at the loss of Zoe at such a young age. We know her loss will also devastate her school community and the local Girl Guides, of which she was an active member."

    Jason Griffiths, Australian tourist - dead
    Jason Griffiths, 33, died in hospital on Wednesday. He was part of a group of nine friends on a trip that his brother-in-law, Steve Jarzynski, said he had been talking about since last year.

    Six of the friends said in a statement that they had found Jason in a hospital in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

    "From that moment until the moment of his passing, Jason was surrounded by friends and family members," they said in a statement released on Wednesday.

    Tipene Maangi, New Zealand tour guide - missing
    Tour guide Tipene Maangi had apparently only been working for White Island Tours for a few months before the eruption. A relative said he was not supposed to be at work on Monday.

    Loved ones described the 23 year old, known as Tip, as "the entertainer" and "confident and outspoken".

    A vigil was held in his honour on Tuesday, with relatives calling for his safe return home.

    In a message on Facebook, his cousin said: "You've got more than enough attention, it's time to make an entrance, it's time to come out singing your heart out."

    Australian tourist: Krystal Browitt - missing
    Student Krystall Browitt was on holiday with her family when she went missing.

    According to Australia's The Age, her mother remained on board while Krystall, her father and sister all went to visit the volcano.

    Police released her name on their list of the missing. Her father and sister are reportedly in comas in different hospitals in New Zealand.

    Australian family: Anthony, Kristine, Jesse and Winona Langford - missing
    Kristine and Anthony Langford are among the missingAnthony Langford, 51, his wife Kristine​, and their two teenage children Jesse, 19, and Winona, 17, are reported as missing.Anthony's brother told Australia's Seven News that the family, from Sydney, was on a cruise to the island at the time of the eruption.

    Skip Twitter post by @Andrew_Denney

    Andrew Denney

    I have spoken with relatives of the Langford family missing after the #NZVolcano at White Island. They’re hopeful Anthony, Kristine, Jesse & Winona will br found at hospital or sheltering on the island. They’re asking for anyone who recognises them to speak up. @7NewsSydney
    But according to Australian media, Jesse has been found alive - although his family remain unaccounted for.US newlyweds Lauren and Matt Urey were on their honeymoon. Lauren's mother, Barbara Barham, told the Washington Post the couple from Virginia had plans to visit a live volcano and were not concerned about possible eruptions.Matt, 36, left his mother a voicemail message saying they had been "burned very bad"."He said he would try to call as soon as he could, but talking and making phone calls was difficult," Ms Barham said of the message that Matt's mother relayed to her."His hands were so badly burned it was hard for him to make a phone call."
    Matt's mother, Janet, revealed he underwent three hours of surgery but was now able to talk, take in fluids and eat jelly. However, Lauren, 32, who is in a different hospital, was still sedated on Tuesday.She revealed the couple, who were wearing respirators at the time of the explosion, had taken shelter "behind a large rock"."Ten minutes... could have meant life or death for them, but luckily they were already down the volcano close to the water, so they sheltered themselves a little bit," she told local news channel
    Karla Mathews and Richard Elzer, Australian tourists - missing, presumed deadJason went to the island on a day trip with two others from the group, Australian couple Karla Mathews and Richard Elzer, both 32.
    According to the statement released by their friends, both are "still on the island", where they were "advised that there are no signs of life"."We are incredibly saddened to have lost three of our closest friends," the group said.New Zealand tour guide Jake Milbank was working on the island on his birthday on Monday when the volcano erupted, according to the New Zealand Herald.He is now in hospital with burns to 80% of his body and his family by his side, the paper says. A fundraising page to help with his "long journey to recovery" has been set up by a family friend.In September his high school posted on Facebook about a trip to the island and paid tribute to its ex-student, described as an "awesome tour guide".
    Why New Zealand is importing skin
    By Caroline Parkinson
    Health editor, BBC News website
    11 December 2019
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    Related TopicsNew Zealand volcano
    Image copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES
    Doctors treating the victims of the New Zealand volcano are importing skin to treat those burned in the eruption.

    It is part of the intense medical response to treat those caught up in the disaster.

    When someone has a burn injury, skin is used as a "natural plaster" to help healing. It helps stop infections and reduces scarring and pain.

    Doctors take skin from another part of the body, such as the thigh or behind the ear, but donated skin is used if that is not possible.

    Who are the White Island victims?
    As it happened: Details emerge of eruption
    Can we predict volcanic eruptions?
    It is donated after death, like other organs, and can be banked for several years.

    Burns units keep a supply of donor skin - enough to cope with the normal needs of their patients.

    But the White Island eruption is an extreme situation.

    Medical authorities in New Zealand say they are currently caring for 29 patients in intensive care and burns units at four hospitals in Middlemore, Waikato, Hutt Valley and Christchurch.

    Twenty-two are in a critical condition because of the severity of their burns.

    One Australian patient is being transported home by air ambulance, with others set to follow over the next 24-48 hours so they can be cared for nearer their families.

    Local media has reported only five to 10 people donate skin in New Zealand each year.

    And since each adult has about two sq m (22 sq ft) of skin, doctors have requested 120 sq m (1,300 sq ft) of skin from the US, where there are more tissue banks.

    An initial skin graft normally lasts a couple of weeks. The idea is the body can begin to repair itself, but replacement grafts are often needed.

    'Long process'
    Chief Medical Officer Dr Pete Watson, from New Zealand's National Burns Unit, said: "We currently have stock but are urgently sourcing additional supplies to meet the demand for dressing and temporary skin grafts.

    "We anticipate we will require an additional 1.2 million sq cm of skin for the ongoing needs of the patients."

    Dr Watson said the burns were more complex because of the gasses and chemicals involved.

    "This has necessitated more rapid surgical treatment of these burns than is the usual case for thermal only burns," he said."This is just the start of a very long process that for some patients will last several months."
    first priority in the case of any severe burn, according to Jorge Leon-Villapalos, a cosmetic plastic surgeon and burns specialist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, in London, is to stabilise the patient and deal with other trauma injuries, such as a broken leg, as well as any inhalation injuries.
    "The acute treatment period is only a small part," he said."We define the treatment of burns not as a 100m race but rather a marathon run many times."Patients with serious burns are patients for life."
    The couple from the Sydney suburb of Engadine were initially reported missing but later discovered in hospital, according to Australian media reports.Marion, 56, is said to be in a critical condition, while Nick has severe hand injuries.The unnamed visitor was confirmed to have died by

    Volcano tourism in the spotlight after New Zealand eruption
    12 December 2019
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    Related TopicsNew Zealand volcano
    Image caption
    New Zealand's White Island volcano spews steam and ash moments after erupting
    The deadly eruption of a New Zealand volcano has drawn a spotlight on how active volcanoes draw crowds of tourism each year.

    With so many active volcanoes on the planet, tourists are seeking out thrills on mountains from Japan to DR Congo.

    Some of those have had eruptions in the recent past but still - or possibly because of that - are high up on the list of visitors.

    "Getting close to volcanoes offers a rare opportunity to experience the power of the restless earth: the smouldering, seething release of pressure from the brittle crust of earth caused by the crush of tectonic plates," says travel journalist Simon Calder.

    "But with the reward comes a range of risks. They can include sulphur dioxide and other toxic volcanic gases, material from the volcano being thrown out, lava flows and possible resulting wildfires, landslides and, for coastal locations, tsunamis."

    So here's an overview of several of the world's most popular and recently active volcanoes.

    The recent eruption of Mount Agung in Bali made headlines around the world. Starting in 2017, it is still ongoing but in its first year led to airspace closures and widespread evacuations.

    Until then, though, the mountain had been a popular hiking destination for visitors to the island.

    Another active Bali volcano is Mount Batur, which to this day remains a favourite sunrise hike.

    It last erupted in 2000 spewing ash from several smaller explosions. The last lava flow at the mountain was in 1963.

    Near Bali on the island of Lombok is Mount Rinjani, one of the country's most active volcanoes.


    Media captionTimelapse footage from 2017 shows ash at Mount Agung
    With frequent eruptions, access to the crater is sometimes restricted but tourist numbers are increasing nonetheless.

    Another volcano that is a major tourist attraction is Mount Bromo on Java, where visitors can get up close to the sulphurous smoke coming from the crater.

    Not far from Bromo is Mount Ijen which often can be seen with a plume of smoke above the mountain but can also be visited by tourists.

    Towering over the city of Catania, Mount Etna on Sicily is constantly active, but tourists still scale the highest permitted point of 2,920m (9,580ft) in large numbers.

    A BBC team and a number of tourists suffered minor injuries in 2017 after being caught up in an incident during an eruption.


    Media captionThe moment a BBC crew was caught in an Etna explosion
    Mount Vesuvius in Naples is one of the world's best known volcanoes, mainly due to its eruption in AD 79 that wiped out the Roman cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis and Stabiae.

    More than two million people visit the area around the mountain, though the majority of them come to see the ancient ruin sites. It hasn't erupted since 1944.

    Being one of the world's most seismically active nations, Japan accounts for around 20% of earthquakes worldwide of magnitude 6.0 or more.

    It's also home to many active volcanoes, the most iconic being Mount Fuji near Tokyo. As an active volcano, Fuji last erupted in the 18th Century. It's now visited as a mountain rather than an active smouldering volcano.

    But Japan does have those as well. Mount Asama last erupted in 2015 and is one of the country's most active volcanoes. The crater is closed to tourists but there are a number of hiking trails popular with visitors.


    Media captionEyewitnesses and helicopters caught dramatic images of the eruption
    Mount Shirane is another example of a crater that can be easily reached but the mountain remains dangerous. In 2018, one person was killed and several injured by an avalanche triggered by an eruption.

    In the south of the country, Mount Aso last erupted in 2016. But as the crater can be easily visited by car or ropeway, it is a very popular destination for tourists. The frequent volcanic activity means, though, that every now and then the crater is off limits to visitors.

    The biggest recent eruption in the country was that of Mount Ontake which erupted without warning in 2014, killing 63 people.

    The sudden eruption that year was described as "like thunder" by one woman who runs a lodge near the summit.

    The mountain had been a popular hiking spot and there had been no seismic activity to warn authorities ahead of the tragedy about to happen.

    Mount Mayon is known for its "perfect cone" symmetrical shape.

    It has erupted nearly 50 times since its first recorded explosion in 1616 and its last activity was in 2018. Around 1,200 people lost their lives during an eruption in 1814.

    Image copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES
    Image caption
    Mount Mayon is known for its "perfect cone" shape
    It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country and one tour company describes it as a "breath-taking experience filled with an exciting adventure and the thrill that it can erupt anytime".

    On 15 June 1991, the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th Century took place when Mount Pinatubo killed around 800 people.

    But today large numbers sign up for "once in a lifetime" tours of the mountain.

    Eyjafjallajökull and Katla volcanoes are popular with tourists. Eyjafjallajökull made international headlines in 2010 when it erupted, throwing volcanic ash skywards, leading to the closure of much of European airspace.


    Media captionUK authorities say they are better prepared than last year, when a similar ash cloud caused widespread chaos
    Benedikt Bragason, a tour guide of the volcanoes, told the BBC that tourists are usually enthused when told stories about eruptions.

    "We do tell them everything, we tell them the scary stories. They still want to go, it's even more exciting and people trust us to go up there and not put their life in danger," he said.

    The Soufriere Hills Volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat reawakened in the 1990s, forcing two-thirds of the island's population to evacuate.

    However, David Lea from Montserrat Island Tours said the dramatic eruption has since been a pull for many visitors.

    Image copyrightAVALON/GETTY IMAGES
    Image caption
    The Soufriere Hills volcano on Montserrat
    "We have people coming from all over the world to come and see what we call the latter day Pompeii. This is a very recent eruption and the city has been buried," he told the BBC.

    "It's a very incredible thing to be able to go to the gate, police allow you through the gate, they accompany you on the tour, you do a little bit of a drive through and then you walk through the outskirts of the buried city," he said.

    United States
    Kilauea on Hawaii is the world's most active and easily accessed volcano.

    Hiking was banned in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park between May and September 2018 after an eruption.

     Media captionHawaii volcano sends 30,000ft plume into the air
    "Kilauea is still an active volcano, and while it's not currently erupting, volcanic hazards still exist like falling onto hardened, razor-sharp lava, localised heavy concentrations of volcanic gases that can exacerbate respiratory and heart issues, cliff edges, hazardous earth cracks, sinkholes along trails and wind-driven ash and other particulate matter," Lonely Planet says.

    DR Congo
    National Geographic calls Mount Nyiragongo "one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes".

    "We call him General Nyiragongo," a local tour guide told the magazine.

    "Because when he comes, everyone runs."

    But you can still climb it as local tour agents look to cash in on daredevil travellers.


    the High Commission of Malaysia in Wellington, New Zealand.
    d scenic flights available.

    When pollsters ask Americans whether they trust the news they read, listen to, and watch, the answer is increasingly negative. This sentiment is in fact now common all over the world. Growing rates of global internet access have made countless sources of information readily available but with few checks and balances and widely varying levels of credibility.

    Unprecedented access to all kinds of media has not only increased competition among news providers, but it has also led to the extreme proliferation of low-quality yet plausible-looking sources of information—making it easier for political players to manipulate public opinion and to do so while denigrating established news brands.

    The world’s new, digital, and highly competitive media environment has created fundamental problems in the business models that journalism relies on. Print products are in terminal decline; television audiences are plummeting.

    Advertising around news is no longer attractive when internet giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon offer far more effective ways to target consumers. These new financial realities have led many news organisations to adopt problematic techniques for survival: prioritizing quantity over quality and running so-called clickbait headlines. Each of these developments, combined with a lack of transparency within news organisations and the increased use of unfiltered social media platforms as news sources, contributes to a further drop in trust in the media.

    The decline of news organisations may seem unstoppable. But while the internet has permanently disrupted traditional media, it also presents several ways to fix it. Social media can bring local communities back into journalism, boosting transparency, accountability, accuracy, and quality. Harnessing the reach of the internet can help neutralize bias in the news industry and fix problems relating to a lack of representation and diversity. Information providers can achieve these advances in a financially viable way—by making readers direct participants and stakeholders. To do all this, however, journalism must adapt to the era of connectivity and information.

    Social media

    Social media users can today access information with a few taps on a smartphone, but in many cases, they either lack the skills or the time to properly assess the reliability of that information.

    Emerging platforms have enabled mere news enthusiasts—and propagandists—to compete with professional journalists on an equal footing. On these platforms, what makes a news report successful is its level of virality: The articles and videos that are most popular are the ones that attract the most immediate and radical emotional reactions, even if they contain factual errors. Current advertising-only business models rely on this fact for survival, prioritizing content that is addictive and shareable rather than reliable and important.

    For all their flaws, however, social media platforms contain important solutions to declining levels of trust in the news industry. Emerging media have dramatically expanded the global audience of news consumers, and information providers should see that reach not as a problem but as an opportunity. The global online community, if properly harnessed, can increase accountability in news organisations by identifying biases and improving neutrality in reporting: Having the oversight of countless diverse online users can be beneficial.

    Transparency is the bedrock of restoring public trust in the media; eliciting greater involvement among consumers will naturally lead to an increased demand for media transparency in sources of funding, involvement of advertisers, and political pressure.

    Unreliable news

    Beyond a supervisory role, an important step would be to regard the online community as an active participant in the process of producing news. Given the chance, internet users can carve out a crucial role in assembling and curating accurate information. The key is to view social media users as a huge community of fact-checkers and news producers, instead of passive recipients of unreliable news.

    The theory of turning readers into active resources is not merely hypothetical—it is a concept we adopted in 2017 when we founded WikiTribune as a news platform supported by professional journalists but controlled by an online community. Devoid of any traditional hierarchy, the organisation encourages the highest levels of neutrality and transparency. WikiTribune’s volunteers and professional journalists will share the same editing rights: Each one of them can initiate or edit any article on the platform. Moderators emerge naturally from within the community.

    Making readers active participants in the production of news can also help organisations save money. Fact-checking and editing, for example, can be delegated to communities of volunteers using the vast database of the internet. Traditional news editors may find this notion difficult to accept, but the concept comes naturally to people who have grown up using the internet. Passive consumption is no longer the dominant feature in news; we are all creators of content, and we should all get a chance to participate in how information is disseminated.

    The wiki model—defined as any website that allows collaborative editing—also provides an effective solution to bias in reporting. If everyone has equal power, no one can control a narrative. Bias often comes from hierarchical news models in which senior editors can mold the news to fit their views—or those of their publishers or financial backers. Collaborative editing platforms allow and encourage an open discussion on every article by a variety of participants from different backgrounds. Any disputes over opposing narratives are constructively resolved by the community, avoiding the problems in traditional journalism.

    A community-driven news product doesn’t have to be restricted to English. Most new internet users read Hindi, Bengali, Arabic, or Chinese; Wikipedia, for example, allows users of any language to document their news and events on its online encyclopedia, and it does so despite local government restrictions on journalism, leading a global battle against censorship.

    To be sure, collaborative models are not without their problems. It can be a struggle to create a thoughtful and varied community dedicated to the goal of producing high-quality news. Bad actors such as online trolls and politically motivated participants are threats requiring clear systems of identification, moderation, and removal. Constant efforts must be made to include as much variety of culture, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, geography, and political inclination to prevent biases. Creating standards and practices can take time, but the success of the worldwide Wikipedia community, which has faced similar challenges, proves that community models can provide an effective public good—with a high level of trust and engagement.

    The first priority of any news outlet must be the quality and credibility of its journalistic work. Those that depend on advertising-only business models may find it hard to sustain this priority: Eventually, a push for more traffic, and therefore revenue, will conflict with the mission for high-quality and reliable journalism.

    WikiTribune launched with a business model driven by voluntary subscriptions to avoid the need for advertising revenue and steer clear of shady corporate interests. Users who find its content meaningful and important are welcome to support the project with a one-time contribution or a monthly subscription. A successful fundraising campaign revealed a public thirst for new models of journalism. (WikiTribune’s model limits professional journalists to a supportive role in shaping the news—not a leading one. A volunteer community essentially takes the role of the editor, using the professional experience of the journalists to complete gaps in their news coverage.)

    Business models based on the direct financial support of the public represent the most sustainable strategy for global media.

    - Foreign Policy




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