P.M. Entertainment News Links: Charlie Sheen throws gay slur, Green Day headed back on the road


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. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)



 

The afternoon’s top entertainment stories and links from around the Web.

 

Charlie Sheen in hot water over gay slur (Fox News)

 
Green Day back on the road in 2013 (MTV)

 
Science of champagne bubbles up on New Year’s Eve (NBC News)

 
Adam Lambert slams singing in ‘Les Miz’ (USA Today)

 
Justin Bieber’s new tattoo (Extra)

 
Lindsay Lohan not doing Celebrity Big Brother (Celebrity Cafe)

 
Jessica Simpson preggers in bikini (Seattle Post Intelligencer)

Photos: The year’s 25 most dramatic moments in world news

The past year has been a big one for world news. There were transformative political movements bringing democracy to Burma and neo-Nazism to Greece, there was tumultuous violence in Israel-Palestine and Mali, moments of martyrdom near a South African mine and in a Russian courtroom, heroism personified in the first Saudi women at the Olympics and in a blind Chinese dissident’s flight to safety, devastation in a Nigerian plane crash and in the shelling of an ancient Syrian city, and many more events, large and small, that could resonate for years. Here are some of those moments, captured in 25 photos. 

1. Burma’s democracy icon goes free

(Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Newly freed Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi begins her campaign , in February for the country’s first free elections after decades of military dictatorship. Though Burma’s political transition is ongoing and still uncertain, the surprisingly rapid opening of one of the world’s remaining rogue states was one of 2012′s truly great stories. Though Aung San Suu Kyi is far from alone in Burma’s transition, she has been a symbol of the country’s hope both domestically and for the world.


2. Russian art group Pussy Riot protests Putin

(Sergey Ponomarev/Associated Press)

Pussy Riot, a Russian performance art group that is sometimes also identified as a punk band or even a dissident political movement, stormed into the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow to protest church officials’ support for Vladimir Putin’s presidential campaign. They were arrested for “hooliganism” and imprisoned in what appears to be part of a larger movement against dissent and political speech in Putin’s Russia.


3. The fall of Bo Xilai, a Chinese political giant

(Feng Li/Getty Images)

The downfall of Bo Xilai, who as the charismatic party chief for mega-city Chongqing once seemed destined for the heights of power in China, began swiftly. Bo’s vice mayor fled unexpectedly to the U.S. Consulate in nearby Chengdu, where he alleged that Bo had been involved in the mysterious death of a British businessman named Neil Heywood. Soon, Bo was in custody himself. Though many expected him to end the year as a new member of the Communist Party’s leadership Standing Committee, he is instead thought to be in one of the country’s shadowy detention centers. His fall was also seen as a deliberate blow against the alternative “neo-Maoist” governance model that he’d championed in Chongqing, where he emphasized social welfare programs and middle class-friendly growth, as well as nationalist rhetoric and a brutal police crackdown on suspected organized crime. His imprisonment briefly sparked fears of a coup attempt by political allies.


4. Iran parades cardboard cutout of Khomeini

(Mehr News)

On Feb. 1, 1979, exiled Iranian religious leader Ruhollah Khomeini made his triumphant return to Tehran in the midst of a historic revolution. Exactly 33 years later, the Islamic Republic held a very bizarre ceremony reenacting the ceremony with a giant cardboard cut-out version of the ayatollah. The event was, at a time of tightening Iranian oppression, a humorous reminder of the regime’s occasional obliviousness.


5. An American massacre in Afghanistan

(Allauddin Khan/Associated Press)

An Afghan woman named Anar Gul sits next to the body of her grandson. A U.S. serviceman named Robert Bales had walked off his base and into Gul’s village, where he shot 16 civilians, many of them children, piled their bodies and lit them on fire. The awful incident drove home, for many Americans, both the brutality of the war’s damage to Afghan civilians and the toll it was taking on U.S. troops.


6. North Korean press bus takes a wrong turn

(David Guttenfelder/Associated Press)

The North Korean government will occasionally shuttle Western journalists through highly orchestrated tours of Pyongyang that end up revealing as little as possible. But in April, a tour bus driver  got lost, taking some surprised journalists off the approved route and into actual North Korean neighborhoods. Even here, in the country’s showpiece city and its center of wealth, life seems trapped in a half-century ago.


7. Chen Guangcheng springs for freedom

(U.S. Embassy Beijing Press via Getty Images)

Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, a blind and self-taught lawyer who was awarded with years of house arrest for his advocacy on behalf of abused Chinese citizens, escaped in April and made it all the way to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. His arrival behind the embassy’s secure walls, and later his decision to leave under what partly appeared to be government pressure on his family, set off a brief but potentially severe diplomatic crisis between the U.S. and China. He is pictured here with U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke in one of several urgent phone calls. Eventually, the U.S. was able to secure the right for Chen and his immediate family to resettle “temporarily” in the U.S.


8. Invisible Children indulges some old ideas on Africa

(STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

Ugandans watch a screening of the 30-minute movie “Kony 2012,” produced by an American NGO called Invisible children. They did not receive it well, with many walking out or protesting the movie for its depictions of Africans as helpless and in need of Western saviors – a narrative that may have echoed the European colonial project. The Invisible Children campaign against Ugandan militia leader Joseph Kony that was widely criticized for rehashing patronizing and outdated colonial-era ideas about “saving” Africa. Another famous photo, of the three Invisible Children founders posing with guns in 2008, also circulated during the backlash. Its photographer explained her photo in an interview with Elizabeth Flock.


9. South Africa’s president portrayed in controversial artwork

(Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images)

When South African artist Brett Murray displayed his painting of President Jacob Zuma, “The Spear,” at a gallery in Johannesburg, it resurfaced some of the country’s tensest racial politics. Zuma is indeed known for his sexual antics (and, according to his accusers, serious sexual misdeeds), but for a white South African artist to portray his black president in this way hit on some of the racial stereotypes used to bolster Apartheid, and suggested that those stereotypes might still exist. The painting, perhaps unsurprisingly, became the focal point of a tense national controversy that was really about more than just the painting. Though protesters would soon splash the artwork with paint, the greater social tensions that it came to symbolize are still there.


10. Tibetan self-immolations rise

(Manish Swarup/Associated Press)

Fellow activists in New Delhi, India, try to put out a fire after a Tibetan man lit himself on fire in protest of Chinese President Hu Jintao’s impending visit. Tibetan self-immolations, in protest to the Chinese government’s policies toward the territory since seizing it 60 years ago, have increased alarmingly this year. Though Hu has left office, Chinese policy has not yet changed toward Tibet.


11. Neo-Nazis prosper in Europe

(Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images)

The political leader of Greece’s Golden Dawn party, a neo-Nazi movement that won a number of seats in Parliament, shouts at a May news conference. Greece has been the source of the most popular, but by no means only, far-right political movement to arise in Europe as the continent’s economies falter. Ethnic nationalism has has a great year across several countries, an alarming trend given Europe’s dark history with such movement.


12. Syria’s civil war spreads to Aleppo

(Javier Manzano/AFP)

Two Syrian rebels take sniper positions in the heavily contested neighborhood of Karmal Jabl in central Aleppo. The city, Syria’s largest, has been ravaged by fighting this year, a sign of both the rebels’ slow but steady advance and of the war’s awful toll on a country that has seen tens of thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands of refugees and the destruction of some of the oldest, continually occupied cities on Earth.


13. Plane crashes in Nigeria’s biggest city

(Sunday Alamba/Associated Press)

When a commercial airliner went down in a dense neighborhood in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, it was not just a tragedy that killed more than 150 people, but the worst in a string of horrific aviation accidents in sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous country. Nigeria has in many ways been an economic success story, but the crash was a reminder that the country still has serious problems to address.


14. Militant Islamists seize northern Mali

(Romaric Ollo Hien/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of militant Islamist group Ansar Dine, which along with allied groups seized control of northern parts of the West African country of Mali, wait for Swiss troops to arrive to pick up a Swiss hostage they had taken. Mali was stabilized this year by a military coup in the southern capital and by the war in neighboring Libya, which sent many ethnic Tuareg back to their homes in northern Mali newly armed. The country’s crisis, still unresolved, has led neighboring African states, as well as former colonial master France, to consider an intervention in 2012.


15. Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee

(Sang Tan/Associated Press)

Celebrants gather on the mall in London for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, which marked the 60th anniversary of her rule this June. It was only the second Diamond Jubilee in British history, although for most of that time it was meant to celebrate 75 years rather than 60, a change made just a century and a half ago.


16. Saudi Arabia sends its first female Olympians

(Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Runner Sarah Attar, along with judo fighter Wojdan Shahrkhani, became the first women to ever compete at the Olympics on behalf of Saudi Arabia. The conservative government had long forbidden women from competing, and even Olympic authorities at first resisted the Saudi requirement that their female athletes be allowed to wear head coverings. Attar, though a dual U.S. citizen born in California, became a symbol of women’s push for greater rights and recognition in Saudi Arabia.


17. The world watches America’s election

(Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

Mitt Romney’s three-country tour during the U.S. presidential campaign, which included this controversy-generating stop in Jerusalem, were both a reminder of the role of U.S. diplomacy in the world and of the world’s fascination with American electoral politics. Romney’s remarks suggesting that Israelis were wealthier than Palestinians because of culture drew outrage and raised questions, after his flub-filled trip to the U.K., about Romney’s diplomatic skills. For the U.S., this was an issue about foreign policy, but for the world, it was just another episode in one of the world’s most watched dramas: American presidential races. The global reactions to this and many other moments in the campaign were a reminder of how much the world cares about an election that many non-Americans see as directly impacting them.


18. Blackout in India

(Bikas Das/Associated Press)

A Calcutta barber cuts hair by candlelight during a blackout that swept across India this July. Though it may have been the largest single power outage ever, it was in many ways normal for India, which has seen regular blackouts as the country struggles to keep up with the basic needs of its billion-plus citizens. The blackout was a reminder that, for all the talk of India as the next China, the country is still one of the world’s poorest per capita.


19. Kim Jong Eun cultivates a fuzzy public image

(KCNA via AP)

Kim Jong Eun, who has been rapidly consolidating power since replacing his father as North Korean ruler last December, has also shown a lighter side. Unlike his stern and reclusive father, the younger Kim is often photographed smiling, with children, with his attractive young wife, and in the photo above, even laughing while riding a roller coaster. Still, any hopes that this softer image would coincide with a softer rule have not come true: The country remains cruelly oppressive at home and provocatively aggressive abroad. Kim Jong Eun’s public image could not be more different than Kim Jong Il’s, but as rulers, this apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.


20. Deadly crackdown on South African mine protests

(Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters)

The strikes that began at a platinum mine in Marikana, South Africa, ultimately led to clashes between strikers, police and mine security that killed 47, most of them striking miners. The clash drew attention to rising inequality in South Africa and the still-dismal working conditions for the country’s many miners, who are an important part of the country’s economic growth but have seen few of its benefits.


21. Russians protest Vladimir Putin’s return

(Sergey Ponomarev/Associated Press)

Riot police clash with protesters in Moscow, where thousands marched against the inauguration of President Vladimir Putin, whose election victory the previous winter was disputed. Putin had already served two presidential terms, the limit, before spending a term as prime minister in what appeared to be an attempt to avoid leaving power. Putin’s return to the top position, which has accompanied some curtailment of basic rights in Russia, has raised fears in the country and beyond that the days of Russian authoritarianism may not yet be over.


22. ‘Innocence of Muslims’ sparks global protests

(AFP/Getty Images)

Egyptian protesters, infuriated over released clips of an amateur anti-Muslim film, tear down a U.S. flag after scaling a wall at the embassy compound in Cairo. The protests, which spread across the vast Muslim world from Morocco to Indonesia, were a reminder of both the anti-Americanism that persists in much of the globe, as well as the gulf of misunderstanding between the Western and Muslim worlds. Many Americans watched the increasingly violent protests, puzzled that so many people could blame the entire United States for an amateur film that clearly reflected nothing more than the twisted views of the handful of amateurs who made it.


23. Deadly attack in Benghazi

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi late on Sept. 11. The attack killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. What precisely happened at Benghazi, and which agencies or individuals may have faltered, would become the subject of tremendous political attention in the U.S., particularly as the U.S. presidential election neared its conclusion.


24. A child’s death in Gaza

(Associated Press)

BBC journalist Jihad Masharawi carries his son’s body at a Gaza hospital as November fighting between Israeli forces and Gaza-based Hamas raged. Masharawi’s infant son was one of many civilians killed in the clashes. The photo would come to symbolize the disproportionately Palestinian death toll from the violence; though Hamas launched many rockets into Israel, many were blocked by U.S.-funded missile defense. It would also be one of many political footballs used by advocates in the conflict’s heavily contested media front, in which partisans have long sought to draw the world to their side by painting the other in as negative a light as possible.


25. Egypt’s Mohammed Morsi consolidates power

(Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

An Egyptian soldier stands guard on a tank deployed to hold off protesters near the presidential palace. Clashes broke out in December between protesters and supporters of President Mohamed Morsi, who has been rapidly consolidating power and pushing through an Islamist-designed constitution. Morsi’s alarmingly autocratic gestures, the latest dire setback to Egypt’s democratic transition, have left the country in a sort of political limbo.

Important Tips for a Balanced Lifestyle

Healing Hands Massage and Ayurvedic Spa Specialist issues helpful hints on engaging a well-balanced Pitta Ayurvedic Lifestyle. Healthy life-style series began with Vata, which was mentioned previously; Pitta is highlighted here, and the series will conclude with Kapha, the final announcement in this series.

(PRWEB) December 28, 2012

Healing Hands Massage and Ayurvedic Spa Specialist issues helpful hints on engaging a Pitta balanced Ayurvedic Lifestyle. Ayurvedic practitioners understand that the Universe and all of its components are made up of five elements: space, air, fire, water, earth. Each element relates to one of the five human senses: speech, sight, sound, touch, taste. Ayurvedic medicine is based on the concept of tridosha, or the three doshas. Doshas are energetic forces that manifest from the five elements to support the basic functions of our mind body connection. All three doshas must work in harmony to attain well-being.

Pitta is fire and provides heat. It is also Water, which offers fluidity. United, they form the Pitta dosha, which has a warming, oily, sharp and penetrating quality and is responsible for chemical change. It controls mental activity including intelligence levels, reasoning, passion and the senses, as well as physical manifestations such as metabolism, hormonal activity, enzymatic behavior and body temperature.

In-balance, Pittas are warm, loving and content intellectuals who are articulate, courageous and bold, with focused concentration. They enjoy challenges as well as a strong digestion, a lustrous complexion and sharp wit.

Out-of-balance Pittas are irritable, impatient and demanding perfectionists. They tend to burning rashes, premature grey hair and hair loss, inflammation, sensitivity, and acidity.

Causes of Pitta imbalances can be excessive heat, over-exposure to sun, alcohol, smoking, and deadlines. Foods that are spicy, sour or salty, as well as skipping meals can produce an imbalance, as can hormonal changes.

To regain a Pitta balance, the following are suggested:

  • Ingest cool foods and drinks such as coconut waters, chamomile, mint, fennel, and hibiscus teas that have been refrigerated.
  • Place fresh flowers around the house.
  • Bathe in the moonlight, especially in the reflected light of the full moon.
  • Luxuriate in flower baths using chamomile, lavender, or bougainvillea.
  • Take walks in the cool evening air.
  • Engage in team sports that simultaneously promote competitiveness and cooperation.
  • Engage in sports such as hiking, which are vigorous and not ego-producing.
  • Meditate using colors such as blue and green.
  • Use sapphire, aquamarine and azurite stones, carried on the right side of the body.
  • Conduct regular liver-flushes by ingesting olive oil and fresh lemon juice
  • Avoid excessive saunas, hot tubs and sunbathing.

Learn your prevalent dosha. Take a free online self-test, or call Healing Hands at 305-810-8534 to schedule an appointment or phone consultation.

Healing Hands Spa includes a licensed massage therapist, Ayurvedic practitioners, wellness coach and health mentor with more than 20 years of experience. The Spa specializes in Ayurvedic treatments and body re-education to treat pain, attain balance and achieve an optimal quality of life.

Healing Hands also offers instruction to other Ayurvedic spas, training in advanced massage techniques, and conducts wellness seminars. 305-810-8534.

Greg Soucy
Healing Hands Massage and Ayurvedic Spa
305-810-8534
Email Information

In Boost to US Plans, BBC World News Is Added to Time Warner Cable

9:16 a.m. | Updated In a sign of progress for its push to get on cable and satellite systems across the United States, the BBC World News channel is now available in about 10 million homes that subscribe to Time Warner Cable.

The rollout in Time Warner Cable markets was announced this month and was completed Thursday, according to representatives of the BBC and the cable company.

Last year, the BBC began aggressively to seek American distribution for its international news channel, which it says is available full time in more than 200 million homes worldwide. Relatively few were in the United States, however, at least until Comcast signed up late last year, increasing the channel’s reach to about 15 million.

Now, with the Time Warner Cable carriage deal, the channel is up to about 25 million homes, including much of New York City (where advertisers and reporters congregate) on channel 156, and Los Angeles.

“There is still some way to go before we can say we have reached everyone — but 2012 has been a year of significant breakthroughs for us in the U.S.,” the news organization noted earlier this month.

About 100 million homes in the United States have cable or satellite subscriptions. The deals with Comcast and Time Warner Cable are crucial because they are the two biggest cable providers in the country, and where they lead, others tend to follow. But it’s an uphill climb, nonetheless, since providers are generally reluctant to add new channels to their lineups. One of the BBC’s competitors, Al Jazeera English, has been on a similar campaign for cable carriage in the United States, with less to show for it.

In the United States, BBC World News seems to be positioning itself as an alternative to Fox News, MSNBC and CNN. “We are really pleased by the growing demand in the U.S. for a global news network which is both nonpartisan and nonsensational in approach,” Jim Egan, the chief operating officer of the BBC unit that is distributing the channel worldwide, said in a statement when the Time Warner Cable deal was announced.

Mr. Egan added: “BBC World News is about serious news; with on-the-ground reporting and analysis from different parts of the world and a mandate to inform and provide a balanced view. We know that audiences around the world value the channel’s distinctive worldview and we are pleased that more United States viewers now have access to it.”



This post has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: December 28, 2012

An earlier headline to this post misstated the name of the channel that is expanding its reach in the United States. It is BBC World News, not BBC World Service.

Porky and Buddy Pet Health – Flatulence Can Be Sign of Other Problems

Dear Porky Buddy,
My sleek and elegant cat,  Sophie, is perfect in every way except one.  Just lately she has begun to pass gas. How do I know this?  Because my eyes are still watering. OMG, she can clear a room. What should I do?
Jon

Dear Jon,  
We are talking about flatulence. Which, quite honestly, we think is just as funny a word as the other F-word, farting. But right after we stop giggling and acting like 8 year old boys, we’re going to get serious, because this is a health issue and Sophie should not just be the butt of our jokes. (Get it?)

Flatulence is simply excess gas in a cat’s digestive system. It is more common in dogs than in cats, but cats can develop gas when food ferments in the digestive tract, when they swallow air after eating too fast or too much, or if there’s a disorder of the stomach, small intestine or colon.

A little gas is a natural part of the digestive process and usually passes quickly. Excessive gas, however, especially when it is foul-smelling and accompanied by other symptoms, may indicate that something is wrong, so it is good that you are asking these questions.

We contacted our friends at the ASPCA for some grown-up advice and this is what we learned.

Some common causes of flatulence in cats include: diets high in wheat, corn, soybeans or fiber, dairy products, spoiled food, overeating, food allergies, poor food absorption, eating too fast, hairballs, and intestinal parasites.

There are some things you can try at home first to see if they help. You may want to write down what Sophie eats within a 24-hour period and make note of exactly when she has these episodes of gas in order to see which foods might be causing her problem.   You may want to gradually change her diet to a low-fiber, easily digestible food. Ask your vet for a recommendation.

You could offer smaller, more frequent meals. If Sophie is not your only cat, feed your cats separately to avoid food competition. Keep her away from spoiled food, i.e. the garbage. And make sure she gets regular exercise.

So if some particular food is causing her problem, or if she is just eating too fast or too much at one time, you might be able to get to the bottom (Get it?) of it and solve the problem.

But if none of these tips help, and especially if she has any of these other symptoms, please see your veterinarian, as these may indicate a more serious health problem: Pain when you touch her belly,  a bloated abdomen, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, or scooting across the floor.

Your vet will ask you about Sophie’s diet and eating habits in order to find out if the cause of her flatulence is food-related. A physical exam will check for any health problems that may be causing the gas. If further testing is necessary, your vet may suggest, among other diagnostics, blood work, urinalysis, fecal examination and/or x-rays of the abdomen.

Flatulence can be a sign of much more serious disorders, including inflammatory bowl disease,  an intestinal virus, parasites, an obstruction, cancer, serious food allergies, or pancreatic problems.

This may sound scary, but of course you want to make sure that Sophie’s problem is identified and taken care of. We hope for both you and Sophie that you find a not very serious cause and an easy cure and that the next F-word you use to describe Sophie is Fabulous!

Speaking of fabulous, have you checked out the pets for adoption at the Oswego County Humane Society. You have until January 2 to adopt a pet and help the Humane  Society reach its goal of 430 adoptions during the Home 4 the Holidays adoption campaign.

To see other pets available for adoption go to www.oswegohumane.org

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.

Phone (315) 207-1070. Email:ochscontact@hotmail.com

Because people and pets are good for each other.

Kourtney Kardashian Life & Style Cover Photo 3 Years Old

This week’s cover of Life Style magazine features Kourtney Kardashian in a bikini, revealing how she got her figure back. However, the image accompanying the article is almost three years old, taken after the birth of Kardashian’s first baby. If you want to see what the actress looks like in a bikini now, after baby No. 2, you will have to wait for next week’s cover of Us Weekly to hit newsstands.

“That bikini shoot is almost 3 years old after my first baby. For the real reveal after baby #2 check out next week’s issue of US ‪@usweekly!” Kardashian tweeted on Wednesday.

Weekly magazines have a long history of using misleading images to support headlines. Several wedding covers of Jennifer Aniston and Kristen Stewart used images of them wearing white dresses from movie sets. The most misleading might be an OK! cover from 2008 with the headline, “Britney Lost 15 Lbs. in Just 4 Weeks!” over an image of entertainer Britney Spears looking svelte in 2003.

“This cover is brilliant,” one magazine insider told The Huffington Post, referring to the Life Style Kardashian issue. “Life Style knew Kourtney was selling new images after her baby and knew Us Weekly had secured them. In order to ruin its competitor’s exclusive, they went with their own weight loss cover this week. It’s genius. By the time the real [images] appear, it will feel like old news.”

Life Style did not return calls for comment.

kourtney kardashian weight loss

Also on HuffPost:

‘Depressing,’ ‘manipulative’ portrayals damage hunger work in Africa, Oxfam …

Oxfam UK

Oxfam UK launched a new advertising campaign this week seeking to shift the focus to progress in Africa and away from ‘depressing’ images fostered by Live Aid and other well-intentioned efforts.

Twenty-seven years after Live Aid viscerally brought Africa’s famine and poverty home to billions worldwide, the head of a major international charity warned Wednesday that the “depressing” stereotypes left in its wake were counterproductive and risked driving help away.

The British arm of Oxfam International called images of starving babies and other familiar depictions of Africa over the last quarter-century “manipulative and hopeless,” desensitizing potential donors and leading them to the conclusion that conditions in the developing world can never improve. 

Oxfam launched a new advertising campaign this week celebrating Africa’s natural beauty and progress toward alleviating hunger. Called “Food for All,” the campaign features images of lush green scenery, wildlife and thriving African food markets.

The campaign’s tagline: “Let’s Make Africa Famous for Its Epic Landscapes, Not Hunger.”


Dame Barbara Stocking, the British charity’s chief executive, said in a posting on Oxfam’s website that “we’ve come a long way since the 1980s and Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?'”

But “we need to shrug off the old stereotypes and celebrate the continent’s diversity and complexity,” she contended.

Band Aid, the musical charity supergroup formed in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, recorded “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” in response to the crippling famine in Ethiopia. In 2004, on the song’s 20th-anniversary re-release, the World Development Movement condemned it as “patronizing, false and out of date.”

Geldof and Ure organized the landmark fundraising concert Live Aid in 1985, bringing dire conditions in Africa front and center to people around the world.

“‘Patronizing’ isn’t the word” to describe the message fostered by Band Aid and other well-intentioned campaigns, Stocking said Wednesday in an interview on Sky News. “It’s just this negativity. …

“In order for people to understand what’s happening in Africa, we’ve also got to tell the good stories, and there has been good news in Africa,” said Stocking, who is retiring in the new year after serving with the charity since 2001. 

“Otherwise, people just feel put off and (believe) there’s nothing that can be done about Africa,” she said. “And that’s the big worry for us — that people feel it’s all hopeless, when it clearly isn’t.”

World Bank statistics indicate that the world’s heaviest concentration of malnutrition remains in Africa, afflicting as many as 15 percent of all children under 5 in some countries in the southern and eastern regions. And in June, the U.N. Children’s Fund reported that 1.5 million children were at imminent risk of starvation in the western half of the continent.

Watch World News videos on NBCNews.com

But while acknowledging that international aid has made few if any inroads on hunger, Oxfam said in a report this month that countries south of the Sahara Desert had made “one of the most remarkable turnarounds in development … in the last decade.” It called the 22 years from 1990 to 2011 an “African renaissance.”

Oxfam: Africa is wide awake but still hungry (.pdf)

“Economies have been growing even in the face of economic and financial instability elsewhere in the world, poverty has fallen and child mortality has dropped considerably, among the most visible indicators of progress,” the report said.

The real story, Stocking said Wednesday, is that “aid money is really working.”

But in the end, she said, “we don’t want to have to give aid money to Africa. We want economic development, enterprise — that’s what we’re really aiming to do.”

More world stories from NBC News:

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‘Tis the Season of Goodwill and time to Celebrate with Wormers.co.uk

In the eyes of outspoken entrepreneur Mark Cuban, the battle for smartphone supremacy has been fought and won… by Nokia (NOK). While hosting an AMA session on Reddit — a series of posts where the original poster instructs Reddit users to “Ask Me Anything” — Cuban, who famously sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo (YHOO) for around $5 billion at the height of the dot-com boom, was asked what kind of laptop he uses. “I have a MacBook Air, but am trying the new Acer with Windows 8 [laptop],” wrote Cuban. “I really, really like Windows 8 on my phone. I have [two] phones. First is Samsung (005930) the [second] was an iPhone 5. The new Nokia with windows replaced my iPhone 5.” When asked to elaborate,