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ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s contemporary art scene is buzzing. Collectors pay millions for the hottest works at exclusive auctions, high-end galleries are springing up by the dozen, and more and more Turkish artists are holding exhibitions abroad.
The clients are the usual family magnates and super-rich – Istanbul ranks fifth in the world on the Forbes list of billionaires. But they also include an expanding class of young professionals looking for investment opportunities and a touch of prestige.
The boom in Turkey’s modern art market has coincided with a decade of steady economic growth. Since a financial meltdown brought the Turkish banking sector to its knees in 2001, the economy has more than doubled in size and per capita income has tripled in nominal terms.
“There are many young professionals who make good money and really want to have a piece of art in their home,” said painter Yigit Yazici as he sipped an espresso at his studio in Istanbul’s upmarket Nisantasi district.
Traditionally, patronage of the arts in Turkey was left to wealthy industrialist families.
The Sakip Sabanci Museum, owned by the Sabanci family, opened in Istanbul in 2002. Two years later, the Eczacibasi family launched the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, followed by Suna and Inan Kirac Foundation’s Pera Museum in 2005.
The launch of Istanbul’s International Contemporary Art Exhibition, known as the Istanbul Biennial, in 1987 introduced many once-skeptical Turks to contemporary forms of painting and sculpture.
But it was the opening of the Istanbul Modern – Turkey’s first modern art museum – nine years ago that really changed the scene by creating a space for contemporary artists that combined permanent and temporary exhibitions, a photography gallery and educational and social programs.
“A museum is an orderly home for art and this is what we have achieved here,” said Levent Calikoglu, chief curator at the Istanbul Modern.
“For the artists it’s prestigious to be included in the museum, and for investors it creates a benchmark and a guarantee for their investments.”
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party has come under frequent criticism for curbing freedom of expression in Turkey and there are growing fears that the arts – and artists – could be affected.
Critics cite examples such as the recent trial of world-renowned concert pianist Fazil Say on a charge of insulting religious values with a posting on Twitter. He received a 10-month suspended jail sentence.
In 2011, a work by sculptor Mehmet Aksoy in the eastern province of Kars was torn down after Erdogan described it as a “freak”.
But the availability of patronage and influx of money have emboldened Turkish artists, integrating them increasingly into the global art world and giving them a sense of greater independence in Turkey’s often conservative environment.
“Political power and art have never been at peace in Turkey. The only difference now is that the conflict is now more visible and we discuss it openly,” Calikoglu said.
ART AS INVESTMENT
In the absence of significant government support, private-sector sponsorship has become the mainstay of art through the purchases and commissions of major banks like Ziraat Bankasi, Garanti, Akbank, and Yapi Kredi, and art-savvy corporations.
Recently, independent collectors have also started making inroads as prominent buyers of sculpture. Central Istanbul has seen dozens of new art galleries in just the past few years.
“Ample global liquidity and negative real interest rates have had a great impact on increasing investment in art,” said Saltik Galatali, Akbank Deputy General Manager in charge of Private Banking.
“Art investments have become a tool for protecting the value of assets,” said Galatali, whose team manages a 17 billion lira ($ 9.5 billion) portfolio for 4,500 clients.
Pelin Sandalli has seen her business boom since she set up her Linart Gallery in Nisantasi in March 2011, exhibiting a full range of contemporary art forms, including video art, installations, photography, paintings and sculpture.
More and more of her clients are young professionals who are first-time buyers.
“The number of more conscious collectors who are highly educated, make extensive research and devote their time and energy to art are increasing day by day,” Sandalli said.
Sotheby’s was the first major international auction house to hold an exclusively Turkish contemporary art sale in 2009. British auctioneer Bonhams has since joined the competition with its own dedicated Turkish sales.
Such events have seen record prices for modern Turkish art.
At a Sotheby’s sale in 2010, highlights included Fahrelnissa Zeid’s “Untitled”, the first modern Turkish work to exceed $ 1 million at auction. Rising star Taner Ceylan’s painting “1881″ was sold for over 100,000 pounds ($ 154,900).
“We started off collecting art as a hobby, but now we see it as a good investment and something to leave to our son,” said ex-banker and marketing manager Burcu Egene as she flashed her card at an auction in one of Istanbul’s smartest hotels.
The Koc, Sabanci and Eczacibasi families, leading Turkish industrial dynasties, are pumping millions of lira into building art collections.
Two years ago, Murat Ulker, chairman of Yildiz Holding, a leading Turkish food and beverages group, paid 2.2 million lira for Burhan Dogancay’s “Blue Symphony”.
He also recently bought a controversial work by contemporary artist Bedri Baykam.
The eclectic tastes of the Ulker family, a pillar of the conservative business establishment, as well as the price tag, caught attention: “Empty Frame”, a suspended empty frame, sold for $ 125,000.
($ 1 = 1.7975 lira)
($ 1 = 0.6454 pounds)
(Editing by Jonathon Burch, Nick Tattersall and Sonya Hepinstall)
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The time is at hand for the Obama administration to stop dithering, to take a clear position on the rights of Washington state and Colorado — and by precedent all others — to experiment with legalized marijuana.
That’s what Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington and John Hickenlooper of Colorado are asking the Justice Department to do — even though they personally opposed the marijuana legalization measures their voters approved last November.
The governors insist they can make their states’ new laws work well through responsible regulations that license, regulate and tax the production and sale of marijuana. New state labeling laws, say supporters, will also remove confusion and dangerous use levels by showing the potency in terms of THC, the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, analogous to the labeling of alcoholic beverages.
Clearly it’s a direction the American people — who favor marijuana legalization 52 to 41 percent in recent polling — would approve.
A collaborative approach would be consistent with President Obama’s own marijuana history — a substance he tried himself as a youth. Asked last December about the Colorado and Washington legalization votes, he told Barbara Walters “It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal,” because “we’ve got bigger fish to fry.”
But Mr. President, there are serious issues to resolve. As personal purchase and use of marijuana are permitted in some states, can the practice really be contained at state borders? Will television, Web and print advertising be allowed? Will the legalizing states allow many small or just a few large suppliers? How much marijuana will be eligible for sale at one time? How will “marijuana tourism” — out-of-state visitors coming just to stock up — be handled? Will retail outlets be allowed near a state’s borders?
And then questions that undecided states may want to hear answered: Will the big tax revenues that marijuana supporters predict actually come true? Will driving under the influence of marijuana prove a real problem — and if so, how will it be controlled? Or on the health front: Will freely available marijuana help returning veterans suffering from PTSD? And generally, will it lead to more or less use of a substance we know is clearly dangerous: alcohol?
Those are the types of intriguing questions that journalist-scholar Stuart Taylor Jr. probes in a newly released Brookings Institution policy paper — “Marijuana Policy and Presidential Leadership: How to Avoid a Federal-State Train Wreck.”
Central to his case: the argument for an early, upfront agreement by the Obama administration and the states. Because the opposite — a fierce federal crackdown on Colorado and Washington state’s licensed marijuana producers and sellers — could well “backfire by producing an atomized, anarchic, state-legalized but unregulated marijuana market that federal drug enforcers could neither contain nor force the states to contain.”
And back to Obama — what about the U.S. Justice Department? It could use threats of conspiracy prosecutions to scare off applicants for state licenses to grow and sell marijuana. But there are federalism barriers: Washington can’t directly force states to enforce federal law. And there are only 4,400 federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents — “nowhere near enough,” Taylor suggests, “to restrain the metastasis of the grow-your-own-and-share marijuana market” — with small-time criminals crowding in — “that state legalization without regulation would stimulate.”
The recent precedents aren’t good. Faced by 18 states’ laws already allowing marijuana for medical use, the Justice Department has swung back and forth from general permissiveness to cracking down unmercifully in individual cases.
A crux of the problem is the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which insists that marijuana has no medicinal properties — an assertion “on its face nonsensical,” says Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.
But the law’s criminal sanctions for cultivating, possessing or distributing marijuana aren’t alone, notes Taylor. The statute also instructs that the attorney general “shall cooperate” with states on controlled substances, with power “to enter into contractual agreements … to provide for cooperative enforcement and regulatory activities.”
This is the opening, Taylor argues, that the Obama administration should take to negotiate with the states legalizing marijuana use — a process that would lead them toward careful regulation and standards, and away from the threat of irrational federal prosecutions.
In a more sensible world, Congress would be rewriting the Controlled Substances Act to reclassify marijuana as the relatively low-risk drug it clearly is. But who’d expect this Congress to do anything so rational?
That leaves states to regulate carefully on their own. And a clear challenge for Obama. Here’s a president who’s been bold enough to jump ahead of Congress on issues ranging from gay marriage to amnesty for DREAM Act immigrants. So now, why not smooth the way to marijuana reform when states choose it?
Copyright: 2013 Washington Post Writers Group
If you’ve got diabetes, losing weight can get you off insulin and other medications. Create a safe diabetes weight loss plan with the help of experts.
There’s no question about it: If you’re overweight and have type 2 diabetes, dropping pounds lowers your blood sugar, improves your health, and helps you feel better
But before you start a diabetes weight loss plan, it’s important to work closely with your doctor or diabetes educator – because while you’re dieting, your blood sugar, insulin, and medications need special attention.
Diabetes is a serious disease that can cause debilitating nerve pain.
Here’s some helpful information:
© 2008 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Make no mistake — you’re on the right path. “No matter how heavy you are, you will significantly lower your blood sugar if you lose some weight,” says Cathy Nonas, MS, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association and a professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
A National Institutes of Health study found that a combination of diet and exercise cuts the risk of developing diabetes by 58%. The study involved people who were overweight (average body mass index of 34) and who had high — but not yet diabetic — blood sugar levels.
“We know it’s true — that if someone with diabetes loses 5% to 10% of their weight, they will significantly reduce their blood sugar,” Nonas tells WebMD.
“We see it all the time: people can get off their insulin and their medication,” she says. “It’s wonderful. It shows you how interwoven obesity and diabetes are.”
Even losing 10 or 15 pounds has health benefits, says the American Diabetes Association. It can:
- Lower blood sugar
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improve cholesterol levels
- Lighten the stress on hips, knees, ankles, and feet
Plus, you’ll probably have more energy, get around easier, and breathe easier.
On a Diabetes Weight Loss Plan, Watch for Changes in Blood Sugar
Cutting back on just one meal can affect the delicate balance of blood sugar, insulin, and medication in your body. So it’s important to work with an expert when you diet.
Check with your doctor before starting a diabetes weight loss plan, then consult with a diabetes educator or nutritionist, advises Larry C. Deeb, MD, a diabetes specialist in Tallahassee, Fla. and president-elect of the American Diabetes Association.
“Don’t try to lose weight on your own,” says Deeb. “With a doctor and a good nutritionist, it’s very safe to do. This is very important if you’re taking insulin or medications.”
Go for the Right Balance in a Diabetes Weight Loss Plan
Christine Gerbstadt, MD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, warns: “You don’t want to run the risk of high or low blood sugar while you’re dieting,” she tells WebMD. “You want tight glucose control while you lose weight.”
Gerbstadt suggests cutting 500 calories a day, “which is safe for someone with diabetes,” she says. “Cut calories across the board — from protein, carbohydrates, and fat — that’s the best way.” She recommends that people with diabetes maintain a healthy ratio of carbs, fat, and protein. The ideal:
- 50% to 55% carbs
- 30% fat
- 10% to 15% protein
Given Red Faction: Armageddon‘s extensive destructibility and delightfully devastating arsenal, the prospect of fresh opportunities for wreaking havoc on Mars is an appealing one. Path to War struggles to capitalize on this potential, delivering four new campaign missions that give you a glimpse of the events that preceded the original game. Two of the missions are vehicle-based, and though that ups the destructive ante, vehicle handling isn’t Armageddon’s strong suit. The two on-foot missions fare better, arming you with two mildly amusing new weapons and delivering the exciting action you’ve come to expect. Unfortunately, the whole thing is over in about an hour, and there’s nothing else to do but play it all again. Even with some entertaining moments, Path to War doesn’t justify its seven dollar (540 Microsoft points) purchase price.
Even though Armageddon didn’t have a very interesting story, Path to War starts out with an intriguing twist. In the first mission, you play as one of Adam Hale’s top lieutenants and blast your way through scores of Red Faction soldiers while sabotaging their defenses. It’s too bad that this mission takes place in an aerial vehicle and you aren’t given the chance to play the role of a villain in a more up-close and personal way. Instead, you hover slowly through constricted passageways, blowing up all kinds of stuff with your missile attack and gunning down tiny soldiers. The explosions are pretty enough, but the vehicle isn’t fun to pilot. The floaty controls do little to impart the sense that you are in a powerful weapon of war, so the whole mission feels flat. The same is true of the next mission, in which you drive an awkward tank with reversible (and disorienting) treads. Again, you pack a big punch, but because the camera is zoomed out to encompass your large vehicle, the destruction isn’t as impressive or satisfying as it is when you’re on foot.
Fortunately, the second half of Path to War puts you back on the ground as Darius Mason, wielding familiar weapons as you fight through industrial areas, outposts, and caves thick with cultist enemies. Though you start off with only part of your full arsenal, you are almost immediately granted one of the two new weapons featured in this add-on: the shard gun. This repurposed cleanup gizmo gathers up a hovering ball of nearby debris and then shoots it wherever you choose. Clobbering enemies with a tangle of building materials is definitely amusing, especially when the junk you kill them with used to be the bridge they were standing on. Playing around with the shard gun can be fun for a while, though it’s likely to make you long for the creative mayhem fueled by the magnet gun, which you get to use during only one of the four missions.
The other new gun is less exciting, but more deadly. The sharpshooter is a powerful bolt gun that impales your target to any surface behind it. Sticking an enemy to a wall is good for a chuckle, and when you use this gun in conjunction with your shockwave ability, you can send a foe flying lazily across the map. You don’t get to watch them fly for very long, however, because the sharpshooter is so powerful that it kills human enemies with one hit and they dissolve soon after being pinned. Larger enemies won’t be propelled by the sharpshooter’s bolts, and this limits the amount of nasty foe-pinning fun you can have. Also, you get to use the sharpshooter only on the fourth and final level of Path to War, and you can’t use either new gun in Infestation or Ruin mode.
Path to War also comes with a handful of new achievements, but it’s easy to get them all on your first and only playthrough. Completing the four missions and exhausting everything this add-on has to offer takes only about an hour, and it’s a shame that so much of it is dedicated to lackluster vehicle sequences rather than the explosive core action. The new weapons provide some entertainment, but like everything else in Path to War, it’s short-lived. Folks hungry for more Red Faction: Armageddon are likely to get more enjoyment out of a New Game Plus than this brief excursion, which asks too much and gives too little.
Some folks just won’t take me seriously when I tell them that Alabama stands a good chance to become the first state in the Deep South to legalize medical marijuana. I can only conclude they are so skeptical because they don’t realize how determined — and, OK, I’ll say it — how
Alabama people can be. (Yes, I grew up there.)
The reason for this seemingly unlikely scenario is what could be described as an alliance on this issue between liberal-leaning Democrats and libertarian Republicans, two groups which can agree that the government should allow seriously ill medicinal cannabis patients to use the doctor-recommended medicine which works best for them.
?The energetic and visionary leadership of AMMJC, including Co-President/Executive Director Ron Crumpton and Co-President/Board Chair Chris Butts, have their eyes on the goal and a clear idea on how to get there.
One difference between Alabama and many of the states that already have legalized medical marijuana is that Alabama has no ballot initiative process through which the voters themselves can do the deed; citizens of Alabama must instead convince their lawmakers in the Legislature to do the right thing.
“I think that too many groups have tried to approach a Legislature state as if they are running a ballot initiative,” Crumpton told me. “Instead of raising hell and holding protests, I feel that it can only be accomplished by building relationships not just with the Legislature, but also with the people that can have profound influence on individual legislators.
“You have to get to the local communities and get members of local government, the small-town newspapers, the doctors and the clergy,” Crumpton said. “These people hold a lot of influence with legislators, because legislators need their help to win the next election.”
?The inaugural meeting of the AMMJC — consisting of a picnic at Smith Lake Park, with speeches and lots of informal hobnobbing — was very well-attended, with about 60 people showing up.
“We honextly expected 20 or 30 people; double our expected turnout is kind of surreal,” Chris Butts told me. “Alabama has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country and I praise everyone who choked back fear and came out for some fun and education.
“It lets us know there are many people that show support for the sick and terminally ill of this great state, many of whom are using marijuana therapeutically right now. Today. Even with the risk of arrest and incarceration,” Butts told Toke of the Town. “Logic tells us they take that risk because in their mind the pharmaceuticals they are being prescribed are far worse than their perception of prison. That should tell everyone something.”
“We are a true grassroots organization — concerned citizens from all walks of life, and it was obvious by the attendance,” Butts said of Saturday’s meeting. “We had attendees over the age of 60, all the way down to young people in their 20s.
?Along with politically oriented speeches and personal testimonies from co-presidens Butts and Crumpton, attendees got to learn about herbal cooking techniques from AMMJC Secretary D.J. Butts (wife of Chris), who shared her awesome expertise with the fascinated group.
“As with any grassroots organization, funding is our first major hurdle,” Butts told me. “While we are indeed looking for grant funds and have contacted some organizations around the country, the economy is hurting everyone, and financial backing is hard to come by in the current climate. It’s going to be quite a mountain to climb in the coming months.
Seriously ill patients in Alabama, who are already fighting for their lives must — because of the state’s lack of recognition for medicinal cannabis — also fear for their freedom, have someone in their corner, Crumpton told me.
“We are not just a medical marijuana organization; we are a patients’ rights organization,” Crumpton said. “We are going to work with other groups in our communities. We have supporters who suffer from cancer, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and a host of other illnesses and ailments.
?”When our bill becomes law, we will continue the fight for patients’ rights,” Crumpton said. “There will be abuses of marijuana patients, and we will help those people There will be patients’ rights issues and we will be on the front lines working for patients.
“I spent five years of my life on chemical medications,” Crumpton told me. “I had to have two life-saving surgeries due to the side-effects caused by my medication, and while the opiate-based pain relievers did ease my pain, when I wasn’t in pain I would sit waiting and worrying about when the pain would come back.
“They caused me to become clinically depressed and suicidal,” Crumpton said. “I do not want to see someone else face the problems that I have because they are being denied access to a safer and more effective medication.
“The picnic was a great event,” Crumpton said. “Not only did we have a chance to speak to the group; we had time to sit down and talk with individuals. I was there from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The actual meeting might have lasted an hour and a half. The rest of the time, we had real conversations; we listened to their stories and their ideas.
“This is, after all, their movement,” Crumpton said. “It only makes sense that we listen to what they have to say.”
Let’s face it, you can’t get away from the fact that smoking – anything – isn’t good for you. The good news is, you don’t have to give up the joys of dope. You simply have to learn to cook. If you’re a dab hand with savouries, pastries, cakes or desserts, you’ll be laughing. But even if you’re not, many of the recipes in this book are no more difficult than making a cup of coffee. In no time, you’ll be the ‘Nigella Lawson’ of counter culture – the difference being, unlike Nigella’s, your dishes
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