More than half of U.S. counties now drought disaster zones
August 1st, 2012
04:00 PM ET
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More than half of all U.S. counties have been designated disaster zones, the Department of Agriculture reported, blaming excessive heat and a devastating drought that's spread across the Corn Belt and contributed to rising food prices.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday declared disaster zone designations for an additional 218 counties in 12 states because of damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat.

The states are Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming.

Read the full story - Historic drought puts over half of U.S. counties in disaster zones, USDA says

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Filed under: Disaster • Drought • Environment • Heat • News

The delicious rituals of Ramadan
August 1st, 2012
01:00 PM ET
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Editor's Note: Yvonne Maffei publishes, a blog about halal food and cooking. She currently teaches cooking classes, gives lectures on healthy eating, and consults schools on how to source and create healthy and halal recipes for their school lunches.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic (lunar) calendar and the holy month of fasting for Muslims worldwide.  Individuals at or above the age of puberty and who are physically able to abstain from food and drink will do so from dawn until sunset every day of the month.

Ramadan is also a time of focus on inner spiritual reflection. Muslims are encouraged to increase their good deeds, practice self-control, empathize with those less fortunate and use this as a time to devote oneself to the worship of God and contemplate his message to humankind in the holy Qur’an. (Muslims believe the Qur'an was divinely revealed to Prophet Muhammed through the Angel Gabriel in this month more than 1400 years ago.)

Though the focus of Ramadan is not on food in particular, it is still a time when so many different dishes are savored, shared and appreciated. Because of the lunar calendar, Ramadan falls at different times each year, so seasonal foods will often make their way onto the Ramadan table, changing things up just a little each time.

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Filed under: Bite • Cuisines • Halal • Holiday • Holidays • Make • Ramadan • Ramadan • Recipes

August 1st, 2012
12:00 PM ET
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A passenger on an Air Canada flight found a sewing needle in a catered sandwich during a flight Monday, the airline said.

Peter Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for Air Canada, said Tuesday that the airline is "working closely" with its caterer, which he didn't name, to "ensure heightened security measures have been put in place."

The police are investigating the incident, which occurred on a flight from Victoria, British Columbia, to Toronto.

"Safety is always our top priority so we are taking this matter very seriously," Fitzpatrick said, adding that it appeared to be an isolated incident.

Read the full story on CNN Travel - Passenger finds needle in Air Canada sandwich

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Filed under: Airlines • Tainted Food • Think • Travel • Video

When a sandwich is a social statement
August 1st, 2012
09:15 AM ET
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The row over same-sex marriage could see thousands of Christians flocking to Chick-fil-A on Wednesday, while same-sex couples will turn up at the fast-food chain Friday for public displays of affection.

Both events are intended as mass shows of support by people on both sides of the marriage issue and mark the latest round in a long-standing beef that gay and lesbian rights groups have with Chick-fil-A's leadership, which has openly espoused biblical values, not only in its operating principles, but in its conservative definition of family as well.

The controversy came to a boil after an interview with the fast food restaurant chain's president and COO Dan Cathy appeared in The Baptist Press on July 16, in which he weighed in with his views on family.

Read the full story - Eat Mor Chikin: Chick-fil-A's stance on same-sex marriage faces test

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Filed under: Business and Farming News • Chick-fil-A • Fast Food • News • Politics

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