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Americans unhappier than ever before, UN global report finds

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 3:25 PM

(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Happiness in America is on the decline, according to a new report released Monday.

The U.N.’s “World Happiness Report” launched just in time for International Day of Happiness on March 20, a U.N. holiday established in 2012 and celebrated around the world Monday.

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But according to the new report, happiness in America has decreased over the years. Since the U.N.’s first report in 2012, the nation has fallen three spots.

To come up with the happiness rankings, analysts examined answers to a specific question from the 2014-16 Gallup World Poll, a popular, massive survey with respondents from 155 different countries.

Approximately 2,000-3,000 people from each country participated.

>> RELATED: U.S. no longer a top-5 country in the world 

The question (included below) asks respondents to rate their lives on a scale of zero to 10 across six factors: life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom, corruption and GDP.

Please imagine a ladder with steps numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top. Suppose we say that the top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you, and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time, assuming that the higher the step the better you feel about your life, and the lower the step the worse you feel about it? Which step comes closest to the way you feel?

According to the report, these happiness measures are often used by governments, organizations and civil society to inform their policy-making decisions.

With an average rank of 7.537, the happiest country in the world is Norway, according to the poll.

The least happy on the list is the Central African Republic, which scored an average happiness rank of 2.693.

As for America, the country fell to No. 14 from No. 11 in 2012 with a current average happiness rank of 6.993. 

According to the World Happiness Report, the reasons for America’s reduced happiness in a nutshell are declining social support and increased corruption.

>> RELATED: Do you live in one of the happiest cities in America? 

Though individual incomes have increased roughly three times since 1960, “measured happiness” has not risen.

America’s problems with rising income inequality, distrust with the government, how the country reacted to the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the nation’s “deteriorating” educational system are some possible factors cited in the report.

“America’s crisis is, in short, a social crisis, not an economic crisis,” the report’s authors wrote.

Chinese censors block Winnie the Pooh

Published: Monday, July 17, 2017 @ 3:50 PM



MJ Kim/Getty Images
(MJ Kim/Getty Images)

The Chinese government is blocking social media posts including the image of A.A. Milne’s beloved Winnie the Pooh, apparently due to constant comparisons between the cartoon bear and Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to multiple reports.

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The Guardian reported that references to “Little Bear Winnie,” Winnie the Pooh’s Chinese name, were bringing up errors on Monday for some social media users in China.

Authorities didn’t explain the decision to block to bear, according to The Guardian. However, BBC News reported that bloggers’ comparison of Pooh’s image to that of the country’s president prompted the clampdown.

“It is not only that China's censors will not tolerate ridicule of the country's leader, they do not want this beloved children's character becoming a kind of online euphemism for the Communist Party's general secretary,” according to the news site’s China blog. “In other countries such comparisons might be thought of as harmless enough and some might even think that having Winnie as your mascot could even be quite endearing: not in China.”

The New York Times reported that government censors have been battling with Pooh bear since at least 2013, when an image of Xi and then-President Barack Obama drew comparisons to Winne the Pooh and Tigger. Since then, multiple social media users have compared Pooh to Xi.

World Emoji Day: Fun symbols celebrated with contests, tributes

Published: Monday, July 17, 2017 @ 6:39 AM
Updated: Monday, July 17, 2017 @ 7:24 AM

Emojis (photo illustration).
Dimitri Otis/Getty Images
Emojis (photo illustration).(Dimitri Otis/Getty Images)

Emoji fans, today's your day.

Tourist attractions, businesses and social-media users around the globe Monday are celebrating the fourth annual World Emoji Day, a tribute to everyone's favorite fun symbols.

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Is an emoji worth 1,000 words? Maybe not, but the smiley faces and other colorful icons have become a popular form of self-expression.

Officially, there are currently 2,666 emojis, according to the BBC.

>> Click here or scroll down for more

Popular fitness model killed in freak whipped cream accident

Published: Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 9:00 AM

Fitness Model Killed in Freak Whipped Cream Accident

A popular French fitness model was killed in a freak accident involving a whipped cream dispenser, her family says.

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Fox News reports that Rebecca Burger, who has more than 150,000 followers on Instagram, was killed when a defective whipped cream dispenser exploded and hit her in the chest.

She was 33 years old.

La pratique du culturisme de manière sérieuse et passionnée implique un mode de vie sain mais aussi un mode de vie axé sur le contrôle. Le contrôle de l'alimentation, de l'entrainement, du repos, de la vie en générale. Les journées sont rythmées par le travail, les entrainements, les repas, l'organisation et tout ce qui s'en suit. Pour ma part je me lève tous les jours à 5h30-6h00 et me couche le plus souvent à 21h. Des sorties en semaine ? Non Des party le weekend ? Encore moins, cela impliquerait alors de se coucher aux aurores pour finalement se lever trop tard et pour moi, se serait une journée de gâchée. Attention, je ne jette pas la pierre à ce qu'ils le font mais cela ne rentre juste pas mes principes et encore moins dans mon mode de vie. Tout ce que je fais dans mes journées, les heures de travail, d'entrainement, de réalisation de projets sont dépensées de façon à ce qu'au final, cela m'apporte quelque chose de concret et m'aide à atteindre quotidiennement mes objectifs. Peut-être que ce rythme de vie peut choquer ou provoquer l'incompréhension de pas mal de gens, mais c'est ma vie, celle dans laquelle je me sens vivante, heureuse et épanouie.

A post shared by Rebecca Burger (@rebeccablikes) on

Burger did receive medical attention but died of cardiac arrest, according to reports.

Now her family is warning others not to buy the defective dispensers, claiming thousands of faulty devices are still being sold, according to Fox News.

Read more here.

C'est avec une grande tristesse que nous annonçons le décès de Rebecca le dimanche 18 juin 2017 suite à un accident...

Posted by Rebecca Burger on Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dramatic video shows aid worker, Texas Aggie rescuing child from ISIS gunfire

Published: Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 11:47 AM

In this May 5, 2017 file photo, destroyed buildings from fighting between Iraqi forces and the Islamic State group are seen in western Mosul. (AP Photo/Bram Janssen, File)
Bram Janssen/AP
In this May 5, 2017 file photo, destroyed buildings from fighting between Iraqi forces and the Islamic State group are seen in western Mosul. (AP Photo/Bram Janssen, File)(Bram Janssen/AP)

Among the many things that are required of a freshman in Texas A&M’s Corps of Cadets — from buzzed hair, to shined shoes to elaborate rituals for nearly every situation — is to memorize a simple Bible verse, John 15:13.

“Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

These are not hollow words in Aggieland. It happened famously in Corregidor; tragically in Fallujah; in the trenches of World War I and mountains of Afghanistan.

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Texas A&M graduate David Eubank knew this when he saw a girl of about 5 amid the remains of her family, slain in the ruins of the streets of Mosul, Iraq.

The girl was alive. There was a wall between her and deadly ISIS snipers.

For one little Iraqi girl, Eubank was prepared to stretch the definition of greater love. 

“I thought, ‘If I die doing this, my wife and kids would understand,’” he later told the Los Angeles Times.

His dramatic rescue was caught on video and can be seen on Youtube. (Warning: The video contains graphic content that may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.)

Eubank’s heroism is hardly out of character. He was a Texas toddler when he knew he wanted to be a soldier and a third-generation Aggie. After completing A&M’s Corps of Cadets, the class of ‘83 graduate served 10 years in the U.S. Army. He was a Ranger and, ultimately, a Special Forces commander.

If that seems like enough service for most, Eubank was just getting started. The son of missionaries, in 1997, he founded the Free Burma Rangers to help those displaced by the civil war in Burma. He moved his wife and kids across the world to help provide food, medical care and Christian outreach to those in need.

Nearly 20 years later, the Free Burma Rangers shifted their focus to Iraq, Syria and the victims of Islamic State terrorists.

That brings us back to Mosul, where this month’s dramatic rescue happened.

Nabih Bulos, reporting for the Los Angeles Times, described how it unfolded:

As clouds from the smoke canisters swirl about, he prepares to dash from behind the tank to save the girl. He’s wearing a helmet and a bullet-proof vest over a black T-shirt.

He runs out as his colleagues, armed with machine guns, give covering fire. He scoops up the girl with his right arm, stumbling as he runs back. He’s gone and back in 12 seconds. The girl’s hair is in pigtails, secured with what appear to be pink ribbons.

It wasn’t quite a Hollywood moment. Another toddler seen alive disappeared in the chaos. A wounded man didn’t make it. As for Eubank? He’s not playing the part of action hero. Instead, he works to keep the humility of a Christian aid worker.

“I believe God sent me here, and I don’t think about security,” he told the Times. “... but I always ask myself if I’m doing it out of pride.”

Read the Los Angeles Times interview with Eubank about his rescue and work in Iraq.

Read a Texas Aggie magazine story from 2012 on the Free Burma Rangers.