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The Ethiopian tree-planting campaign is part of an initiative dubbed Green Legacy that was launched on May 26. VOA

Planting trees is Anka Meyer’s favorite hobby. She says there are so many reasons to love them. Trees bring life to her garden. “Right now they bloom, then they will be green, then they will have fall colors,” she said. “So they change throughout the year, which is really nice, I mean trees generate happiness.”

Trees also improve air quality, reduce the effect of summer heat and make a huge difference in the climate around her house. They can save energy.

“What we noticed when we come in from the street into our area, the temperature actually drops several degrees, probably 5 to 10 degrees, Fahrenheit degrees because of the trees.”

Free trees

This is the second year Meyer has participated in the Energy-Saving Trees program. A few weeks ago, she received a free dogwood tree. What she likes about dogwoods is that they are native to the region she lives in, and they are beautiful.

“It’s an investment, especially if you get trees that are disease resistant,” she notes.

Pepco, the utility company that supplies electricity in the Washington, D.C., area, and the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation are sponsoring the Energy-Saving Trees program. Through this program,1,000 free trees are given away to residential customers, with the goal of saving energy.

Arbor Day Foundation’s Kristen Bousquet, a program development manager, says the trees benefit homeowners and neighborhoods in other ways, too.

Volunteers planted trees at Minikahda Vista Park during the NeighborWoods Kick-Off Event, Oct. 5, 2016, in St Louis Park, Minn. VOA

“Pepco is one of dozens of companies in America working in partnership with us on this program,” she said. “In addition to conserving energy, trees are bringing an environmental outlook to the community, bettering the communities they serve.”

This spring, The Arbor Day Foundation has launched a program with other partners across the U.S. called the Time for Trees Initiative. “Throughout that initiative we will be planting 100 million trees and inspiring 5 million tree planters around the globe to bring trees to communities, to forests, to everywhere threes are needed,” she said.

Planting trees, saving money

Serving as windbreak in the winter and providing shade in summer, trees can help homeowners conserve energy. “Also, providing a tree to homeowners can increase their property value up to 18 percent,” Bousquet said.

Anka Meyer of Hyattsville, Md., says trees make a huge difference in the climate and save energy. VOA

According to Pepco spokesperson, Christina Harper, the program has become more popular in the past eight years. More than 10,500 homeowners have planted around 17,000 trees through the program.

ALSO READ: G20 Environment Ministers Agree to Tackle Marine Plastic Waste

“A properly planted tree can save a homeowner about 15% to 17% on their energy bills,” Harper said. “There is a tool on the website and you can go map out some of the best places to actually plant that tree.” Tree lover Anka Meyer encourages others to plant trees. The first step is to find out which trees are native to your area.

“Don’t plant anything that is not adapted to it,” she adds. “If you want to see the tree grow while you’re still in the house, don’t pick white oak because it takes forever. The dogwoods grow quite nice. Look where you plant. Don’t plant too close to the house.” That is the impact the program organizers are aiming at, inspiring more people around the globe to plant trees. (VOA)



away but the universe that surrounds them.

By Sukant Deepak

He describes himself as a 'Shiv bhakt' and a 'Muslim Jogi'. In his world, stories are not mere tales that entertain, but a tool to reinforce contemporary realities among listeners. Rich in metaphors, vivid with minute details, Jumme Khan likes to transport his audiences not to a world far away but the universe that surrounds them.

Part of a Jogi family from Pinan village in Alwar, Rajasthan and accompanied by his band of musicians, he uses a combination of harmonium, chimta, dholak, and the single-stringed bhapang - his instrument of choice - to retell stories that resound across generations. "The key here is connection. Unless people can relate, they will not enjoy it. To touch them, we have to decipher the common truth, find that elusive thread that binds us all. That is when the audience becomes one with the storyteller," he tells IANS.

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Khan, who enthralled the audience with the oral tradition of the improvisatory, communicative story-telling style of the Jogis at the recently concluded 'Mahindra Kabira Festival' in Varanasi, started singing when he was 13-years-old, and there has been no looking back ever since. "But it never gets repetitive. Every day on the stage is a new one. One is forever in search of something new that will resound with the audience," says Khan, who has also penned a song on the ongoing Corona pandemic.

For him, the magic of folk is unparalleled. He insists that nothing can replace the enigma of folk music in any culture. "Of course, this does not mean that steps are not taken to preserve it. We have seen a decline in the number of folk artists in the past few decades. But the immense power of folk seldom fails to move the audiences, including those who have always had access to modern entertainment," says Khan.

But he does feel that culture has taken a back seat in modern education. Remembering the time when schools would regularly organise cultural activities for students, he says, "It seems nowadays everything is about academics. How can we forget the fact that music and the arts play an indispensable role in all-around development? Culture opens an altogether new horizon, imparts a vision and understanding about the self. At least, give the children access and introduce them to different art forms including music. Let them decide if they want to pursue or not."

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Wikimedia Commons

The cosmetic industry is ever-changing and always gives us something new to wish for.

By IANSlife

Today, we are exposed to a gazillion beauty product launches every now and then. The cosmetic industry is ever-changing and always gives us something new to wish for. But how much thought do we actually put in before buying the skincare product for ourselves? You should always pay attention to the products and their ingredients. Choosing products from a company with a reputable line of products can be helpful, since each component may be designed to work in conjunction with the others. You can also be assured of the products' quality and may better be able to predict how your skin will react to trying a different product in the same line.

Skin is one of the largest organs of the body. Because of this, caring for your skin can directly affect your overall health. Your skin acts as a protective shield and is most vulnerable to outside elements. It's affected by more factors than you may think. In addition to this, your health also affects your choice of skincare products and vice-versa.

Nandeeta Manchandaa, Founder of ENN shares the whys and hows:

Let's talk Vitamins: Your body needs all essential vitamins for proper functioning and if any vitamin is a miss, then effects show on your skin too. Like- dark spots, pigmentation are often seen on people with melanin issues, or even in pregnant ladies. So Vitamin-C rich products are the go-to to combat this issue.

red and brown medication pill Your body needs all essential vitamins for proper functioning and if any vitamin is a miss, then effects show on your skin too. | Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

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Hackers have stolen crypto tokens worth $120 million from Blockchain-based decentralised finance (DeFi) platform BadgerDAO.

Hackers have stolen crypto tokens worth $120 million from Blockchain-based decentralised finance (DeFi) platform BadgerDAO. Several crypto wallets were drained before the platform could stop the cyber attack. In a tweet, Badger said it has received reports of unauthorised withdrawals of user funds. "As Badger engineers investigate this, all smart contracts have been paused to prevent further withdrawals. Our investigation is ongoing and we will release further information as soon as possible," the company said late on Thursday.

According to the blockchain security and data analytics Peckshield, the various tokens stolen in the attack are worth about $120 million, reports The Verge. According to reports, someone inserted a malicious script in the user interface (UI) of their website. Badger has retained data forensics experts Chainalysis to explore the full scale of the incident and authorities in both the US and Canada have been informed. "Badger is cooperating fully with external investigations as well as proceeding with its own," it said. DeFi is a collective term for financial products and services that are open, decentralised and accessible to anyone. DeFi products open up financial services to anyone with an internet connection and they are largely owned and maintained by their users. While the attack didn't reveal specific flaws within Blockchain tech itself, it managed to exploit the older "web 2.0" technology that most users need to use to perform transactions, according to reports. (IANS/ MBI)

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