Irish beach reappears 33 years after vanishing into Atlantic Ocean
Dooagh beach is seen after a storm returned sand to it, 30 years after another storm had stripped all the sand off the beach, on Achill island, County Mayo, Ireland, May 5, 2017. Picture taken May 5, 2017 Sean Molloy/Achill Tourism Via Reuters.
PHOTO: Reuters

A beach that was swept away more than 30 years ago from a remote island off the west coast of Ireland has reappeared after thousands of tons of sand were deposited on top of the rocky coastline.

The 300 meter beach near the tiny village of Dooagh on Achill Island vanished in 1984 when storms stripped it of its sand, leaving nothing more than a series of rock pools.

But after high spring tides last month, locals found that the Atlantic Ocean had returned the sand.

Photo: Reuters

"It's enormously significant," Sean Molloy of Achill's tourism office told the Irish Times newspaper, recalling how the popular beach once sustained four hotels and a number of guesthouses on the west coast of the island of 2,600 people.

"Achill already has five blue-flag beaches, so we are hoping that in time it will be awarded a sixth."

The island, the largest off the coast of Ireland, forms part of the Wild Atlantic Way, a tourist trail stretching from the south of the country to the north-west that has benefited from a tourist boom in the European Union's fastest-growing economy.

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The Utah mansion where convicted pedophile and polygamous religious sect leader Warren Jeffs once lived is being purchased by one of his former wives.

She hopes to turn it into a tourist attraction and home for people who have left the church.

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    Briell Decker, the 65th wife of jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) polygamist prophet leader Warren Jeffs, walks past an outdoor chimney marked with "Pray and Obey" at the compound where he lived for several years, in Hildale, Utah, May 3, 2017.

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    Decker, who said she was forced to be the 65th of Jeffs' 79 wives when she was 18 years old, is hoping to buy the mansion for a reduced price.

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    Decker prayed every hour on the hour with other wives of Warren Jeffs, in the prayer room at his compound, where he lived for several years.

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    Decker hopes to make it a tourist attraction and home for people who have left the church.

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    The house and adjacent buildings are part of a walled compound that straddles two blocks in the town of Hildale, a twin border community with Colorado City, Arizona, where many members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints lived.

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    One of two large, commercial-sized kitchens at the compound.

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    Jeffs, 61, was the spiritual head of the breakaway sect, which the mainstream Mormon Church has condemned for promoting marriage between young girls and older men.

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    He is serving a life sentence in a Texas prison for sexually assaulting two underage girls he had married.

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    The sprawling mansion, whose estimated value is $1.2 million, has 41 bedrooms, meeting and prayer rooms, dining rooms and two commercial-size kitchens.

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    Decker, 31, has occupancy of the property while she raises funds to purchase it.

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    The mansion is big enough for public events and to house ex-FLDS members transitioning to the outside world, she said.

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    With its secretive history and proximity to Grand Canyon and Zion national parks, the house should attract inquisitive tourists, Decker said.

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    "We could do tours upstairs," she said, "and the middle floor, where the kitchens and the conference rooms are, could be used for events, a restaurant and a gift shop."

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    Decker spent several months at the mansion while Jeffs, who was once on the FBI's most wanted list, eluded police.

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    Their marriage was not considered legal, and she is planning to wed her fiance next month.

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    Properties belonging to the sect were held in a trust that was established in the 1940s so that members could benefit from its shared assets in line with their religious beliefs.

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    The state of Utah seized the trust in 2005 and is selling back its assets to FLDS members and ex-members.

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    The compound is one of several FLDS sites sprinkled throughout Texas, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and South Dakota.

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Ong Shunmugam's reconstructed cheongsam will surprise you
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

Malaysian-born, Singapore-based designer Priscilla Shunmugam held a showing of her RGB 2017 cheongsam and samfu collection in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Stringing together traditional textiles from Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan and Korea, the designs were described as "reconstructed, fresh pieces for the modern wardrobe".

"The cheongsam and samfu, being definitive traditional Chinese outfits for women, form the basis for the collection but we are careful with appropriating them so that we never actually reproduce them," said Priscilla.

RGB 2017 is Priscilla's first cheongsam and samfu collection under her fashion brand Ong Shunmugam.

Photo: The Star/Asia News Network

It was presented at last year's Singapore Fashion Week and plays on the idea of light and colour.

The show in Kuala Lumpur is apparently the first Ong Shunmugam trunk show outside Singapore.

Photo: The Star/Asia News Network

It also marks another milestone, with the brand celebrating a six-year anniversary last December.

Ong Shunmugam in the spotlight

Photo: The Star/Asia News Network

Since its founding, Ong Shunmugam has opened a flagship store in Singapore.

The brand has also presented collections at Paris Fashion Week, Beijing Museum Of Women And Children and National Museum Of Singapore.

Photo: The Star/Asia News Network

Priscilla was the first representative from Singapore fashion to sit as a jury member at the 2015 Cannes Lions Festival.

In 2015, she received the International Woman Of The Year Award For Business from the American Women's Association.

Photo: The Star/Asia News Network

The RGB 2017 runway show in KL was organised by ShoesShoes-Shoes, a Malaysian retailer of women's clothing and accessories.

Ung Yiu Lin, the founder, said that the collection was "brilliant, and as expected".

"Before the show, Priscilla and I had talked about stocking some pieces from the collection, but after the show ended, I knew we had to bring all of the 25 looks to KL," she added.

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How to cook perfect fried rice with eggs
PHOTO: Korean Bapsang

This egg fried rice is flavored with lots of scallions.

It's a quick and easy way to whip up a light meal and use up leftover rice and eggs.

The key to this recipe is the oil flavored with scallions that's used to cook the eggs and fry the rice.

It gives this simple dish a nice flavor.

To keep the eggs soft, first make scrambled eggs that are a bit runny, remove from the pan, fry the rice, and then add the eggs back to the pan to combine with the rice at the end. The eggs remain nice and fluffy this way.

If you want to add any other protein such as shrimp, chicken, beef, etc. to the fried rice, separately cook them and combine with the rice and eggs at the end.

You can also fry frozen peas or finely chopped carrots with the rice. I added some shrimp in the photo above.

Use day old rice. If the rice is a bit too hard after being in the fridge, heat it up in the microwave to soften it a little.

If you need to make fresh rice for it, make it slightly drier by using a little less water than usual, fluff it up, and then leave it out to cool and dry out a bit.

The scallion scrambled eggs are also great on their own as breakfast or as a quick side dish to any Korean meal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 servings of rice (about 3 cups cooked rice)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 to 4 scallions, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • vegetable or canola oil for frying
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds

Finely chop the scallions.

Crack and beat the eggs in a bowl with chopsticks or a fork.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with 2 tablespoons of oil.

Add 2/3 of the scallions, and stir fry until the scallions turn soft and fragrant.

Reduce the heat to medium low and add the eggs, and gently stir to scramble until the eggs are set but still a bit runny.

Transfer to a plate.

Turn the heat up to medium high.

Add 2 tablespoons of oil, and stir in the remaining scallions until the scallions turn soft and fragrant.

Stir in the soy sauce.

Add the rice, and fry the rice, stirring well and breaking up the clumped up rice.

Return the eggs to the pan and mix well with the rice.

Add salt and pepper to taste, sesame oil, and sesame seeds.

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Guys, these hot style accessories will make you stand out
PHOTO: Tumi, Coach, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Dior

Gents, it's time to stop playing it safe. Instead of tried-and-tested styles (read: muted, classic designs), opt for accessories that incorporate bold colours or quirky and whimsical patterns.

Here's a selection from the current season that will work to up your style game.

Lace-up high-top sneaker in Vanite canvas.Photo: Dior

 

Photo: Coach

 

Photo: Tumi

 

Jacquard high-top sneaker with Donald Duck.Photo: Gucci

 

Photo: Salvatore Ferragamo

 

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How to build your own little jungle
PHOTO: The Daily Star/Asia News Network

Even with the sun blazing on top, come summer and backyards become our favourite places to hang out in. From large family gatherings, some casual cookouts and sometimes to take in the beautiful summer nights, lots happen in those little gardens of ours.

So let us all get dusting of our old garden furniture, maybe do some remodelling, or introduce some new pieces to our beloved backyards to get them ready for the busy summer parties ahead.

Wooden dreams

What is nature without wood? Similarly introducing wooden furniture into your gardens is not a bad idea like some might expect, however some extra care needs to be taken.

To keep wooden furniture, it is best to place them on a patio or tiled corners, and under some sort of shade, all to avoid rain which might ruin the furniture.

The best sorts of wooden sofas and tables that go well with gardens are unpolished ones, textured and raw looking, in other words - your worn out old pair of sofa set!

It may look out of place inside the house, but outside amongst all the greens is where it belongs.

Classic washed out wooden furniture looks best by itself in its natural state and creates a serene garden atmosphere. With some little adjustments and accessories these old furniture can be your new garden relaxation space.

Photo: The Daily Star/Asia News Network

Take a swing

Of course gardens are the place for a swing to be but that does not mean it cannot be re-introduced in a better way. There are many new designs in the market, new structures and new colours.

Hammocks are a beautiful piece to add to a summer garden that will literally make you feel like you are in a camp. The best thing about hammocks is their playfulness. With an array of bright colours and textured material it creates the perfect piece for a nice little afternoon nap.

Hanging basket-like swings in the shape of eggs are also seen a lot nowadays which are also great additions to a backyard. When lined with blankets these hanging baskets become so comfortable you could sleep in them.

Photo: The Daily Star/Asia News Network

Outdoor equal rattan

You can never go wrong with rattan and outdoors. With its natural colour and patterned knits it transforms any old garden into a beautiful oasis in the city. The bamboo like texture provides an organic setting and blends seamlessly with the nature surrounding it. Decorate your rattan or wicker furniture with blues and whites, which will create a breath-taking and fresh airy atmosphere.

Photo: The Daily Star/Asia News Network

Challenge the odds

If you are someone who likes to go against the grain, then let go of all your everyday garden furniture and start experimenting.

Bring in unconventional furniture like your lounge chair or coffee table into your garden. These look splendid on rooftop luxurious patios along with some beautiful lighting. Plain cement seating and tables are another option for the person who loves it raw and rough.

Victorian benches are usually seen in parks, but our gardens are just a smaller version of the same thing, are they not? It is all about mixing and matching according to one's own tastes and preferences. Add some metal stools to a wooden table, or wooden chairs to a concrete one, after all we are going against the grain.

Photo: The Daily Star/Asia News Network

Metal and mesh

Metal is widely used as garden furniture for it is easy to maintain and looks sharp. There are a lot of twists you can put to your metal furniture. A lot of times metal is paired with wood, which is a great combination, and sometimes painted in shinny golds and blacks to bring in some character.

In summer, one can go ahead and paint all their metal or wire mesh garden chairs in bright pastels to create some playfulness.

If you love heavy duty furniture, you can ask for an industrial finish on their metal tables and chairs with dark wood. One place metal and mesh furniture fit in perfectly are rocky gardens. The cold grey stones perfectly complement the cold metals.

Photo: The Daily Star/Asia News Network

Pretty and petite

In the city most of us are not blessed with the largest of backyeards, and have to make do with the small spaces we get. However, just because it is small does not mean it cannot be good looking.

When buying furniture for small spaces look for lean and structured frames with comfortable seating. The lighter the frames the more spacious the ambience they create.

Folding chairs and tables are by far the best option for small gardens, ones you can pull out for events and fold right back afterwards. Because it is hard to plant a lot in small spaces, go for plant stands of many different heights and shuffle them up. It is all about adding little elements and letting them speak for themsleves.

Photo: The Daily Star/Asia News Network

Shelve arrangements

Seating arrangements are not the only arrangements a garden needs. A lot of times supplies are hidden under sheds, but with modern edgy garden shelves you can showcase your garden supplies in style. Try hanging creepers along the shelves and maybe some flowering pots too.

Add metallic rods in copper or blacks with white planks. Bring out old bookshelves from inside the home and decorate them outside amongst the greenery.

For the night owls who love to spend all their nights in their gardens admiring the stars, the perfect setting is provided by black furniture.

It looks serene and mixes right in with the dark nights. Lean towards dark colours like deep browns or dark navy blues, or even go crazy with all black furniture to create some depth and character.

For us city inhabitants a tranquil and isolated little corner is what dreams are made of.

Be it a dainty little terrace or a full grown garden, choosing the perfect furniture for the proper space is crucial to its outlooks because sometimes the tiniest change can bring about a noticeable difference, and yet others can turn those into an utter disaster.

To prevent that from happening one should focus on balancing out the greens and the architectural elements to transform any old garden into a truly serene space.

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Psy's upcoming album to feature YG artists
PHOTO: YG Entertainment

K-pop star Psy's upcoming eighth album will feature notable artists from the singer's agency YG Entertainment.

The track list for Psy's new album, "4X2=8," unveiled Sunday, showed Big Bang's G-Dragon and Taeyang, Tablo of Epik High, iKON's B.I and Bobby and actress Lee Sung-kyung, all from YG Entertainment, participating in the album.

"Only YG artists have worked with Psy this time, while the singer's seventh album in 2015 featured artists from other agencies such as Zion.T, Dynamic Duo and JYJ's Junsu," said an agency official.

Artists including Park Jin-young, Bobby, B.I, Tablo and producer Yu Gun-hyung, the composer of the mega-hit song "Gangnam Style," have also participated in writing and composing the songs.

B.I is reported to have participated in writing three songs on the album.

The album, which will be released at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, features double lead tracks "I Luv It" and "New Face," according to the agency.

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What you should know about Taiwanese teas
LittoTea has joined hands with a group of young farmers to pass on Taiwan processing technology and classic tea flavor to modern tea lovers, and revive the glory of local teas grown at a low altitude.
PHOTO: LittoTea

There is no doubt that tea is one of the largest industries in Taiwan's food and beverage sector.

However, less is known about Taiwan's tea culture and how it's different from other tea cultures in the Asia-Pacific region, such as the unique Japanese tea ceremony called "chanoyu" (茶湯).

An equally fascinating tea culture can be found in Taiwan's various Hakka communities.

From the Oriental Beauty Tea (東方美人茶) that's worth up NT$1,000 (S$46) per quarter pound to pounded tea (擂茶), oolong teas (烏龍茶) and high mountain teas (高山茶), to name just a few, there are many examples of Taiwan teas that exhibit the highest quality and creativity.

To promote Taiwan tea to the world, Alvin Lin (林逸群), CEO of LittoTea (茶水部), wants to highlight the country's unique natural farming plantations, where the fragile ecological balance is preserved through a sustainable farming system that bans all pesticides.

Partnering with young farmers, he hopes to pass on Taiwan processing technology and classic tea flavor to modern tea lovers and to revive the glory of local teas grown at low altitude. Here is a transcript of our conversation.

What's your approach to tea?

First, I think high-mountain tea is already famous in Taiwan, so we have decided to focus on low-altitude tea growing in unique environments and processed using traditional methods. Taiwan is a place with stronger sunshine and higher temperature, so we can have different degrees of fermentation.

We also use full leaves in our tea bags so that you can experience the sweetness of tea leaves.

If you chop leaves and brew them too much or at too high a temperature, your tea will become bitter. Besides, our tea bag, made of corn, is imported from Japan and sealed with ultrasound.

This is toxin-free. We can use pyramid geometry to let the tea leaves completely release their flavors.

What about branding?

We not only focus on the location of the tea plantations but also on the group of farmers working with us. We work with a group of young people who quit their stable jobs to become farmers to make a difference in Taiwan's tea industry.

We formed an alliance to help each other and learn to plant the tea without pesticides. My team focuses much more on marketing and branding, while the farmers pay more attention to growing and processing tea.

Where is your market?

We started with the Taiwanese market for we needed to learn our trade. I have lots of former engineers on my team and we didn't have much expertise so we needed time to learn about how to enter the market and branding our stuff.

We started in Taiwan and and focused on international tourists first. Also, we worked with hotels to showcase our products.

Meanwhile, we tried to create innovative tea recipes. For example, we have tried to innovate, to combine tea with milk so that we are not only selling tea but also our ideas.

Next, we will probably aim for Japan, and after we become mature enough, for the US and European countries.

How would you describe your tea?

So far, we have four tea flavors, namely Jinxuan Oolong Tea (金萱烏龍), Jade Oolong Tea (翠玉烏龍), Four Seasons Oolong Tea (四季烏龍), and Honey Scented Black Tea (蜜香紅茶).

Jinxuan Oolong Tea tastes a little bit like milk and you will feel sweetness from the first sip. Jade Oolong Tea features two types of leaves and tastes like herbal tea.

Honey Scented Black Tea tastes different because it is made with a different fermentation process for black tea, while Honey Scented Black Tea relies on Taiwan's unique processing technology to turn the saliva of pests into a sweet flavor.

Why is your company called LittoTea?

Usually when we pick fresh tea leaves, we pick the very little ones. That's why I came up with this name, picking the little parts of the tea plant, which are very fresh.

Can we call your products organic tea?

Not really. The term "organic" is defined by law. The reason I am not interested in organic-certified tea is that it is not very friendly to the agriculture environment in Taiwan. There are many tiny tea plantations in Taiwan, and they cannot afford such certification.

Even if you get the certification, it doesn't mean you use a friendly way to grow tea. You could still obtain government-approved certification without conforming to regulations.

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Kansai clubs seek to promote Kyoto as spiritual home of Japan rugby
A stone monument commemorating the first time rugby was played in the Kansai region stands in the precincts of Shimogamo-jinja shrine.
PHOTO: The Japan News/Asia News Network

KYOTO - The draw for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan will be held at the Kyoto State Guest House in Kyoto on Wednesday.

Executives from each participating national side will visit Shimogamo-jinja shrine, which is regarded as the birthplace of rugby in the Kansai region and is also a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.

The representatives will attend a ceremony at a monument in the precincts of the shrine that commemorates the birth of rugby in the region.

Members of one of the local rugby clubs are hoping the visit will promote the sport in Japan, with a representative saying, "We want to spread the fact that Kyoto is still one of the spiritual homes of rugby in the nation."

Japanese rugby is said to have started in 1899, when a British language teacher introduced the sport to students at Keio University in Tokyo.

According to senior members of the Kyoto University Rugby Football Club, rugby was not widely played in the Kanto region initially.

A Keio student taught rugby to his relative and other students of Third High School (now Kyoto University) in the precincts of Shimogamo-jinja in 1910.

The following year, the nations's second rugby club was established at Third High School.

Rugby has rapidly grown in popularity in Kyoto since the early days of the sport's introduction in the region.

Kyoto's Doshisha University established a rugby club in 1911; a junior high school and a commercial school in the city also established clubs soon after.

People from Kyoto who were involved in the sport also appear to have been responsible for establishing rugby clubs in the Kanto region, such as at Waseda University and the University of Tokyo, both in Tokyo.

Unfortunately, Kyoto failed in its campaign to host a match in the upcoming World Cup.

However, in November last year, the sport's international governing body World Rugby selected Kyoto as the host city for the official draw, recognising the city as the centre of Japanese culture and history.

The Kansai Rugby Football Union, among others, has been lobbying the organising committee to invite head coaches from each participating national team and other national representatives to the hosting ceremony at Shimogamo-jinja.

On Wednesday, prior to the draw, former players from Third High School, representatives of Kyoto University and Keio University rugby football clubs, and World Cup representatives from participating nations will visit the monument and observe a traditional kemari ritual.

Attendees will also be invited to sign ema wooden plaques in the shape of a rugby ball.

Fumio Wada, 79, a former vice chairman of the Japan Rugby Football Union and also former chairman of the Kyoto University Rugby Football Club, said: "It wouldn't be an exaggeration to state that Japanese rugby was developed predominantly based on the enthusiasm of Third High School players in the early days. It is poignant that the official draw of the first Rugby World Cup to be held in the nation will take place in Kyoto."

Rugby's World Cup champions are decided at a tournament held every four years. Twenty countries will participate in the 2019 event in Japan.

The pool-stage matches are planned to take place at 12 venues across the country, with the opening game scheduled for Sept. 20, and the final being played on Nov. 2.

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