What Color is Your Passport?

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What color is your passport?
Are you American? British? Aussie? Kiwi? Other European nations? Any other free nation where its’ citizens can travel ?

Then, you have already won the lottery in life!

That is your ticket to freely “travel-around-the-world” .
Think about how lucky you are when you read the article below.

Cheers

Anthony Arden Kobler
Editor, FreedomYear.com
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After 50 years, Cubans hope to travel freely

Associated Press
By PAUL HAVEN | Associated Press
(original article published in the Washington Times click here

  • FILE - In this June 4, 2009 file photo, Cuban coast guards, right, stop men from trying to migrate illegally to the U.S. on a foam raft near Havana's Malecon. Cuba's government appears on the verge of a momentous decision that could end a half-century of travel restrictions that make it difficult to leave the Communist-run island, even for vacation. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano, File)

    FILE – In this June 4, 2009 file photo, Cuban coast guards

  • FILE - In this Friday, April 3, 2009 file photo, people wait for relatives arriving from the U.S. outside the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuba. Cuba's government appears on the verge of a momentous decision that could end a half-century of travel restrictions that make it difficult to leave the Communist-run island, even for vacation. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano, File)
    FILE – In this Friday, April 3, 2009 file photo, people wait for relatives arriving …

HAVANA (AP) — After controlling the comings and goings of its people for five decades, communist Cuba appears on the verge of a momentous decision to lift many travel restrictions. One senior official says a “radical and profound” change is weeks away.

The comment by Parliament Chief Ricardo Alarcon has residents, exiles and policymakers abuzz with speculation that the much-hatedexit visa could be a thing of the past, even if Raul Castro’sgovernment continues to limit the travel of doctors, scientists, military personnel and others in sensitive roles to prevent a brain drain.

Other top Cuban officials have cautioned against over-excitement, leaving islanders and Cuba experts to wonder how far Havana’s leaders are willing to go.

In the past 18 months, Castro has removed prohibitions on some private enterprise, legalized real estate and car sales, and allowed compatriots to hire employees, ideas that were long anathema to the government’s Marxist underpinnings.

Scrapping travel controls could be an even bigger step, at least symbolically, and carries enormous economic, social and political risk.

Even half measures — such as ending limits on how long Cubans can live abroad or cutting the staggeringly high fees for the exit visa that Cubans must obtain just to leave the country — would be significant.

“It would be a big step forward,” said Philip Peters, a Cuba expert at the Virginia-based Lexington Institute. “If Cuba ends the restrictions on its own citizens’ travel, that means the only travel restrictions that would remain in place would be those the United States imposes on its citizens.”

The move would open the door to increased emigration and make it easier for Cubans overseas to avoid forfeiting their residency rights, a fate that has befallen waves of exiles since the 1959 revolution.

It could also bolster the number of Cubans who travel abroad for work, increasing earnings sent home in the short term and, ultimately, investment by a new moneyed class.

Scrapping exit controls should win Cuba support in Europe, which improved ties after dozens of political prisoners were freed in 2010.

But Peters and several other analysts said they doubt the new rules would bring about any immediate shift in U.S. policy toward Cuba, which includes a ban on American tourism. Those restrictions are entrenched and enjoy the backing of powerful Cuban American exiles.

“I don’t think it would lead to a drastic change in U.S. policy, but an accumulation of human rights improvements could lead to an incremental change,” Peters said.

Cuba-born Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican from Florida, said any discussion aboutimmigration reform on the island is a peripheral issue.

“The kind of changes I’m interested in are not about immigration,” said Ros-Lehtinen, who heads the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. “I’m interested in changes that affect fundamental freedom, democracy and respect for human rights.”

U.S. officials said they have been watching for an announcement for months, noting there has been such talk as far back as August. But nothing has happened, and they are skeptical that the Castro regime is truly committed to such reform.

Asked about possible reciprocal measures, one U.S. official said the Obama administration can’t promise anything because it doesn’t know what exactly Cuba plans to announce. The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and demanded anonymity.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. “would certainly welcome greater freedom of movement for the Cuban public.”

Rumors of the exit visa’s imminent demise have circulated on and off for years. The whispers became open chatter last spring after the Communist Party endorsed migration reform at a crucial gathering. But Castro dashed those hopes in December, saying the timing wasn’t right and the “fate of the revolution” was at stake.

Alarcon’s comments, made in an interview published in April, revived hopes that a bold move is coming.

“One of the questions that we are currently discussing at the highest level of the government is the question of emigration,” he told a French journalist. “We are working toward a radical and profound reform of emigration that in the months to come will eliminate this kind of restriction.”

But on Saturday, Vice Foreign Minister Dagoberto Rodriguez told exiles not to set their hopes too high, vowing the government would maintain some travel controls as long as it faced a threat from enemies in Washington.

Havana residents say they are anxiously waiting to see what the government does.

“The time has come to get rid of the exit visa,” said Vivian Delgado, a shop worker. “It’s absurd that as a Cuban I must get permission to leave my country, and even worse that I need permission to come back.”

Added Domingo Blanco, a 24-year-old state office worker: “It’s as if one needed to ask to leave one’s own house.”

Many Cubans are reluctant to talk about their own experience with the exit visa. One woman named Miru, who has been trying to leave Cuba since 2006, shared her story on the condition her full name not be used for fear that speaking with a foreign journalist could land her in trouble.

“This has been a very long process,” she said of her odyssey, which began when her husband defected from a medical mission in Africa and sought asylum in the U.S.

First, she had to get a letter releasing her from her job at a government ministry — a process that took five years. Only then could she apply for the exit visa. That was three months ago, and Miru still hasn’t received an answer. Officials say her case is complicated but won’t give a specific reason for the delay.

“I am very anxious to see my husband again,” she said.

The exit controls are a Cold War legacy of Cuba’s alliance with the Soviet Union. They were instituted in December 1961 to fight brain drain as hundreds of thousands of doctors and other professionals fled, many for new lives in Florida. That was three months before the U.S. embargo barring most trade with the island went into full effect.

Over the years, it has become much easier for Cubans to obtain permission to travel, though many are still denied, and it is particularly hard to take children out of the country.

Also, the exit visa’s $150 price tag is a small fortune in a country where salaries average about $20 a month. In addition, the person the traveler wishes to visit must pay $200 at a Cuban consulate.

Those who leave get only a 30-day pass, and the cost of an extension varies by country. In the U.S., the fee is $130 a month. Those who stay abroad more than 11 months lose the right to reside in Cuba. Before 2011, any property would automatically go to the state.

“The Cuban government has monetized every part of the humiliating process of coming and going,” said Ann Louise Bardach, a longtime Cuba expert and author of “Without Fidel: A Death Foretold in Miami, Havana and Washington.” ”Getting out means running a gantlet, and it is all based on how much humiliation you can endure, and by the time they end up in Miami, people are filled with hate and dreams of revenge.”

Cuban officials have long portrayed the measures as necessary to counter Washington’s meddling. They accuse the U.S. of trying to lure away doctors by letting them walk into any American consulate and request asylum.

Cuban officials say even ordinary islanders are encouraged to leave by U.S. regulations that automatically grant asylum to any who reach American shores, a policy Cuba says has encouraged thousands to attempt the dangerous trip on leaky boats and makeshift rafts across the Florida Straits.

It’s not clear how emigration reform will affect dissidents, who are routinely denied permission to leave and could still find themselves on some form of no-exit list.

In a recent New York Times opinion piece, dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez called the exit controls “our own Berlin Wall without the concrete … a wall made of paperwork and stamps, overseen by the grim stares of soldiers.” She has been denied travel papers at least 19 times by her own count.

Some hardliners in Florida predict any change will be merely a sleight of hand designed to export malcontents, ease a severe housing shortage and fob off legions of superfluous state workers.

But for hundreds of thousands of Cubans like Miru, the exit visa is a personal matter, not political. After six years separated from her husband, she clings to hope that she will finally obtain permission or benefit from a change in the law.

“I have followed all the rules of my country,” she said. “I’ll be so happy to leave.”

___

Associated Press writers Andrea Rodriguez and Peter Orsi in Havana, Laura Wides-Munoz in Miami, and Bradley Klapper in Washington contributed to this report.

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Follow Paul Haven on Twitter: www.twitter.com/paulhaven

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“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca

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Lucius Annaeus Seneca (often known simply as Seneca; ca. 4 BC – AD 65) was a Roman Stoic philosopherstatesman,dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero. While he was later forced to commit suicide for alleged complicity in the Pisonian conspiracy to assassinate Nero, the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors, he may have been innocent. (Wikipedia)

12 of the World’s Sexiest Accents

World’s sexiest accents

(Original Article – CNNGo.com here)

Because a foreign language can be the best aphrodisiac, we traveled the world in search of the 12 hottest accents

By Jordan Burchette 18 August, 2011

In the unending pursuit of love, or its less eternal surrogate, the right accent can be as attractive as bright eyes, a beaming smile and a parabolic backside.

For world travelers, a far-flung tongue promises the unknown, confirms the known and dispels the thought-we-knew.

But no accent is sexy when it’s strong enough to crush a beer can. Which means not all accents are created equal.

It’s estimated that there are nearly 7,000 languages on earth. That’s nearly 7,000 different ways to traipse clumsily through the English language — or to sex it up like a Justin Timberlake song wrapped in chocolate cleavage.

Which begs our list of the world’s sexiest brogues. Some of you may have a legitimate case for inclusion in the top twelve. Others — we’re looking at you, Vietgermans — do not.

Also on CNNGo: 7 sexy skinny dips

Our also-rans included Putonghua (especially when Taiwanese women speak it in gentle tones), Australian (as appealing as warm Foster’s to some, tantalizingly exotic to others) and Japanese (the language of repressed salarymen is also strangely designed for pillow talk).

Feel free to state your objections and/or rain your accolades in the comments section below or on our Sexiest Accents Facebook Poll.

Because when it comes to accents, there are no absolutes. Except that Bronx English is absolutely horrible.

12. Argentine

argentine

The bad news: she finds your bad breath and dirty elbows repulsive. The good news: it sounded totally hot when she told you.

Famous tongues: Fernando Lamas, Gabriela Sabatini

A historical refuge for Spaniards, Italians and Germans, the hyper-libidinous South Ameripean melting pot of Argentina has cultivated a proud, pouty tone. With its own pronunciation of Spanish letters (“ll” sounds like “shh”) and its own words (“you” is “vos”), this is a dialect that’s hard to get. (Or at least plays that way.)

Sounds like: A tightly tuned guitar of G-strings strummed by a lamb shank

11. Thai

Muay thai

He not only floats like a butterfly, he speaks like one, too.


Famous tongues: Tony Jaa, Tata Young
With five tones comprising their native speech, the traffickers of this often fragile accent turn any language into a song of seduction. Thai is largely monosyllabic, so multi-beat foreign words get extra emphases right up until the last letter, which is often left off, leaving the listener wanting more. (Or at least asking “Huh?” lustfully.)

Sounds like: R-rated karaoke

10. Trinidadian

Trinidad

If their accents don’t seduce you, their mon boobs will.

Famous tongues: Nikki Minaj, Billy OceanFor fetishists of oddball sexuality, the Caribbean island of Trinidad offers an undulating, melodic gumbo of pan-African, French, Spanish, Creole and Hindi dialects that, when adapted for English, is sex on a pogo stick.

Sounds like: A rubber life raft bobbing on a sea of steel drums

Also on CNNGo: Asia’s top 5 celeb sex scandals

9. Brazilian Portuguese

Brazilian

She screams, she scores!


Famous tongues:
Alice Braga, Anderson SilvaPerhaps owing to its freedom from French influence, the Brazilian Portuguese accent has a more colorful, puerile flair than its coarser European counterpart. The resulting yowl of drawn-out vowels reveals a flirty freedom of spirit that sounds like a permanent vacation.

Sounds like: The near, then far, then near again hum of a low-wattage vacuum cleaner that runs on dance sweat

8. U.S. Southern

cowgirl

Y’all, we love it when y’all call us y’all. Especially when y’all are wearing orange chaps.


Famous tongues:
Matthew McConaughy, Britney SpearsThere’s nothing sexy about being in a hurry, and you could clock the growth rate of grass with the honeyed drawl — less Tea Party, more “True Blood” — of a Southern beau or belle.

Sounds like: Molasses taking a smoking break

Also on CNNGo: 15 unusual places to spend a night

7. Oxford British

posh english

“Down to your last pair of socks then, what?”

Famous tongues: Hugh Laurie, Sienna Miller

Authoritative. Upright. Erudite. Scholarly. Few accents promise the upward nobility of the Queen’s English. It’s a take on the language that sets hearts devoted to James Bond and Hermione Granger aflutter. And, should the speaker fail to slake your most wanton desires, eh, at least you’ll learn something.

Sounds like: A crisply ironed shirt playing a harp

6. Irish

Irish

Just lay off the leprechaun jokes and you’ll be fine.


Famous tongues:
Colin Farrell, Andrea Corr

Valued slightly more in men than in women, the Irish brogue is a lilting, lyrical articulation that’s charming, if not exotic. Fluid and uplifting, it can swing from vulnerable to threatening over the course of a sentence, restoring your faith in the world again … right before it stabs you with a broken bottle top.

Sounds like: A marauding pixie

Also on CNNGo: 10 epic train journeys

5. Nigerian

Nigerian

Some Nigerians are actually worth giving your bank account information to.

Famous tongues: King Sunny Adé, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde

Dignified, with just a hint of willful naiveté, the deep, rich “oh’s” and “eh’s” of Naija bend the English language without breaking it, arousing tremors in places other languages can’t reach. Kinda makes the occasional phone scam worth the swindle.

Sounds like: The THX intro with teeth

4. Czech

Czech

Smoky eyes? Czech. Intrguing history? Czech. Meat-flavored accent? Czech.


Famous tongues:
Petra Nemcova, Jaromír Jágr

Like Russian, without the nettlesome history of brutal, iron-fisted despotism, Czech is a smoky, full-bodied vocal style that goes well with most meats. Murky and mysterious, the Bohemian tone is equal parts carnal desire and carnival roustabout.

Sounds like: Count Dracula, secret agent

3. Spanish

spanish

“¿Número tres? ¿Qué clase de idiota eres?” Ah, no one rejects us so hotly.

Famous tongues: Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz

Sensual and beckoning, but with the passion to unleash hell kept just barely restrained, Castilian is like a dialectic Hoover Dam. But then there’s the lisp. Tender, vulnerable and cute as a baby’s hangnail — no one owns the “th” sound formed by tongue and teeth like those who speak the language of Cervantes.

Sounds Like: An outboard motor on Lake Paella

Best of CNNGo: World’s coolest nationalities

2. French

French

Even when they pout it sounds good.

Famous tongues: Sophie Marceau, Jean Reno

The demotion of this perennial prizewinner of global brogues to second place may illustrate the declining sexuality of Old World petulance. Still, the come-hither condescension and fiery disinterest of the French tongue remains paradoxically erotic.

Sounds like: A 30-year-old teenager

1. Italian

Italian

Even when bathing in a fountain, a romance language is a romance language.


Famous tongues:
Monica Bellucci, Alessandro Del Piero

Raw, unfiltered and as grabby to ears as its president is to rears, the Italian accent is a vowelgasm that reflects the spectrum of Italic experience: the fire of its bellicose beginnings … the romance of the Renaissance … the dysfunction of anything resembling a government since Caesar. Insatiable, predatory and possessive, this is sex as a second language.

Sounds like: A Ferrari saxophone

Which is your favorite accent? Vote here on our Facebook poll.

Long before embarking on a life of leisure and recreational crime fighting, Jordan devoted himself to the written, spoken and, during the occasional shower, harmonized word. He is currently based in the U.S. following stints in Hong Kong and Florida, which he refuses to recognize as U.S. territory.

Read more about Jordan Burchette

Travel Makes Better Executives

Travel Makes Better Executives


(Original Article hereon http://www.MeetPlanGo.com)As a long term traveler on sabbatical, I am occasionally asked, “Are you concerned about coming back to work?  How will you explain the large gap in your resume?

Each time this question is posed, I calmly reply “of course not.” As the months have passed, some of the lessons I’ve learned are easier to articulate than others. Nevertheless, here are five skills that I have tuned while traveling. I am sure that these skills will make me a more confident executive leader and apply to other travelers as well.

Separate the Wheat from the Chaff

At some point every executive has had to make a decision with less information than would be considered prudent. In a complex business environment, executives need strong analytical skills for sure, but the best leaders regularly listen to their intuition. As Malcom Gladwell describes in his book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, we do that by “thin-slicing,” using limited information to come to our conclusion.

In what Gladwell contends is an age of information overload, he finds that experts often make better decisions with snap judgments than they do with volumes of analysis. He also mentions that sometimes having too much information can interfere with the accuracy of a judgment, or a doctor’s diagnosis. This is commonly called Analysis paralysis.

The challenge is to sift through and focus on only the most critical information to make a decision. The other information may be irrelevant and confusing to the decision maker. Collecting more and more information, in most cases, just reinforces our judgment but does not help to make it more accurate.”

The book argues that intuitive judgment is developed by experience, training, and knowledge. Travelers thin-slice every time they choose to hire a tuk-tuk, accept a gift from a local, or share a drink with new friends.

Mystic Connection with Nature

Steven R. Covey wrote that “[e]very human has four endowments- self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.” Further, he shares that “[t]he way we see the problem is the problem.”

It follows then that with an awareness of the true nature of universal timeless principles, we can alter reality. As a traveler, you are frequently vulnerable. We can choose to see power in this vulnerability or we can find weakness. Specifically, vulnerability exposes us to scams, theft, and crime. Vulnerability also inspires a heightened sense of awareness and curiosity that helps us embody true “presence” or appreciation or our surroundings.

Super Human Hops

As a traveler you are often faced with unique situations leaving few resources at your disposal. Even the best planned itinerary can result in flight cancellations, unexpected bus delays, or an unforeseen arrival during a regional celebration or workforce strike.

Finding solutions to travel surprises expands confidence in out-of-the-box thinking, and reinforces creative problem solving skills.

Having the confidence to hurdle over unexpected challenges makes the difference between an average worker and an exceptional team contributor.

Stomp Out Insecurity

Until your team feels trusted, understood, valued, and enabled, synergistic results will remain elusive.

Insecurity is that feeling inside us that prevents us from becoming deeply empathic listeners. If we are to cultivate empowered teams which operate over the foundation of high trust relationships, deliver passionate contributions, and produce synergistic results – insecurity must be at a minimum.

Through an exposure to foreign religions, manners, and cultural norms we naturally gain an appreciation for varied cultural views. This appreciation shifts the fulcrum allowing increased understanding and reduced fear. By eliminating fear we can stomp out insecurity.

Multiple Perspectives

As mentioned earlier, empathic listening is critical to success in an interdependent reality. To achieve empathic communication at least one party must be engaged in seeing reality from multiple perspectives. It is only by reflecting content and feeling, accurately and completely, that communication barriers are replaced with profound understanding. Having awareness and being centered in compassion are the first two requirements for such understanding.

Travel long enough and you will eventually find yourself a sleep-deprived, under-fed traveler whose fate depends on the services of an under-paid, under-appreciated, and under-educated world citizen. In these scenarios, empathic communication will often make the difference between a seat on a train, a room in a hostel, or a bite to eat and utter frustration. Through necessity travelers develop empathic listening skills.

In the end, travel creates executives equipped to achieve synergistic results through heightened awareness, empathic communication, and out-of-the-box thinking. With practice, these individuals can be shown to make quality decisions given limited information. Now that’s a leader worth hiring!

Matthew K. Sharp is the co-founder of Inertia Interrupted and is currently trekking, volunteering, diving and photographing the world with his wife, Luz.  You can connect with him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

The moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself. To be nobody-but-yourself —in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. — e.e. cummings

Quote


Edward Estlin Cummings
 (October 14, 1894 – September 3, 1962), popularly known as E. E. Cummings, was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. His body of work encompasses approximately 2,900 poems, two autobiographical novels, four plays and several essays, as well as numerous drawings and paintings. He is remembered as a preeminent voice of 20th century poetry.
(wikipedia – here)