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Dear Douglas,

As I look back on the past year, my lens is “radical hope”. It’s Dominican Junot Díaz’s advice and comfort to his sad and scared sister in a letter the author wrote her soon after the US presidential election last November.

If you’re like most people, the quest to be in shape and manage weight feels overwhelming. And, as if the quest to be fit isn’t hard enough, there are often other obstacles to overcome; health/injury problems, time management, mustering up courage or energy. Even if you’ve been exercising for a long time, there are always new barriers to be broken.

Cultures around the world have similar customs at the start of the New Year. There is a time of reflecting on the year that has passed and a setting of intentions for the year to come. Many people use the occasion to make resolutions for self-improvement and transformation.

So Donald Trump is the new president-elect of the USA and people are acting like the world will come to an end. Using the tactics of “us” against “them” and separating Americans as a people is not a new tactic — it has been proven to work time and time again. The media has done a wonderful job in helping instil fear into the minds of people, all Trump had to do was play on that.

December is a time to reflect on the past 11 months and look forward to and plan for the up-and-coming 12 months. Instead of writing another article, I’d like to see if you’ve been paying attention. How do you score on the below True or False quiz?

What a month it’s been. I was wrong; the polls were wrong; the pundits were wrong. There has been a maelstrom of emotion surrounding the recent US election, as you are no doubt aware.

In April, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recommendation for parents to limit the exposure of their babies to rice, rice cereals, rice pasta, rice milk and other rice containing foods due to very high levels of arsenic found in rice.

Dear Douglas,

A continuing interest to me is understanding how cities work or don’t work. What shapes cities and how is it that they attain their special character? And what elements of cities most influence their character?

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