Water Cooler 8/28/2016 – OPEN THREAD – International News

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Earthquake in Italy

One of the things I’ve always appreciated about Europe is they accept that bad things are part of life and don’t look for scapegoats for natural disasters. Unfortunately, this seems to be happening after the earthquake in central Italy.

Investigations will focus on a number of structures, including an elementary school in Amatrice that crumbled when the quake hit Wednesday. The school was renovated in 2012 to resist earthquakes at a cost of 700,000 euros ($785,000).

My first career was in Architecture. I’ve seen the results of earthquakes, and I know that no two are the same. As soon as they think they have the answer, another one happens that behaves in a way never seen before and everyone scrambles to change their design methodology to fit the new information. Also, these buildings are centuries old. Only so much can be done to retrofit against earthquakes.

The quake early Wednesday killed 290 people and injured hundreds as it flattened three medieval towns in central Italy. Giuseppe Saieva, the prosecutor in the regional capital of Rieti, said the high human death toll “cannot only be considered the work of fate.”

The investigation should take place, but it seems this prosecutor has already made up his mind before he even starts. Bad things happen. It’s the way of the world…always has been and always will be. It doesn’t have to be someone’s fault.

There was a heartwarming story from one of the towns of a nun who was rescued from the rubble of her convent.

“When I started losing all hope of being saved, I resigned myself to it and started sending messages to friends saying to pray for me and to pray for my soul and I said goodbye to them forever,” she said outside the order’s headquarters in Ascoli Piceno.

She was eventually rescued by a young man who cared for one of the women there.

Cow Urine Remedy

Natural remedies are a big thing these days. I even use a natural remedy for my allergies. It’s great because there are no side effects. Disclaimer: I am making no medical claims whatsoever. It is sad that I have to include this. This remedy however might be carrying things a bit too far.

Vishal Gupta, 37, gave up his job to become a full-time practitioner of cow urine therapy and attended a cow medicine training school in the district of Kanchipuram, southern India, before launching a store selling products made from cow urine.

Look for this at a Whole Foods or Vitamin Cottage near you? No thanks.

Champagne Shortage

Champagne production is expected to be down this year by about 70 percent due to problems including frost, gray rot, and mildew.

Prices could increase catastrophically, he said, “if — and that’s the big question,” the harvest is as bad as is reported. At minimum, he said, the uptick number would match the drop in production. So that $100 bottle just leaped to $170.

I think you have to be crazy to spend that much money on sparkling wine when you could be drinking Prosecco instead. A good Prosecco will only cost you about $20 or less here in the U.S. In Italy, I get mine at Col Vetoraz in Valdobbiadene for €8.50 per bottle.

Peace in Their Time

Colombian rebels are meeting for a final time to ratify a peace accord with the government to map out the group’s political strategy without weapons.

The 297-page peace accord reached this week in Cuba seeks to bring an end to Latin America’s oldest guerrilla war, which has caused more than 220,000 deaths and driven 5 million people from their homes over five decades of warfare. As part of the deal, FARC members must turn over their weapons within six months after the deal is formally signed and instead seek to persuade skeptical Colombians that it’s ready to play by the rules of democracy.

The government has conceded much to with this agreement. He’s hoping it works out and the conflict there finally ends.

The Greatest Generation

I’m writing today’s Water Cooler from Springfield, MO. I’m here for my aunt and uncle’s 70th wedding anniversary and uncle’s 95th birthday celebration. Uncle Roy was in the Navy during WWII. His LST was involved in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day and the invasion of Okinawa. He was awarded the French Legion of Honor in 2004 with 102 others. These men and women risked everything in service to their country and the world over and over. It’s an honor to me to be related.

That’s it for today’s Water Cooler. Mingle amongst yourselves in the comments!