JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — Hundreds of young South Sudanese men marched in protest of the United Nations on Monday following the discovery of land mines inside a U.N. truck that was marked as carrying food.
The rally participants marched through the city and shouted slogans of support for President Salva Kiir while also denouncing Hilde Johnson, the top U.N. official in the country. Protesters accused Johnson of supplying arms to rebels fighting South Sudan’s government.
An internal U.N. security situation report over the weekend said the government impounded 12 U.N. trucks and the deputy governor of Lakes state requested the official cargo list. Last Thursday three South Sudan soldiers stopped and searched U.N. military vehicles on orders from superior officers following the impounding of the 12 trucks, the report said.
On Friday U.N. spokeswoman Ariane Quentier said it was “regrettable” a 12-truck U.N. convoy marked as food was discovered carrying weapons.
“The transport of cargo of general goods belonging to the Ghanaian battalion on its way to Bentiu. Several containers were wrongly labeled and inadvertently contained weapons and ammunition,” she said.
The discovery — as well as a video showing guns and land mines taken from the U.N. trucks that has been making the rounds on social media — has fueled even more skepticism of the U.N. here. Anti-U.N. sentiment began growing in January when President Kiir described the organization as a “parallel government” and ardent supporter of rebels.
Quentier declined to comment further on Monday and the U.N. has not explained why its soldiers would need land mines.
“If the guns found are going to U.N. troops, why do they have land mines too? Does the U.N. use land mines?” said Deng Gerang, one of Monday’s rally participants, voicing a common concern among the protesters.
Another protester, Deng Djames, 24, said South Sudan residents appreciate the U.N.’s assistance, but he said there needs to be a regime change at the top of the U.N. structure. “We want her to go. She assists the rebel leader Riek Machar,” he said.
South Sudan Vice President James Wani Igga told the protesters that the U.N. is was a colonial system trying to run the government’s administration. He was also critical of international aid groups for driving their agenda in South Sudan.
“If it’s a colonial system we need to fight, then that is good because now I am old. It makes me young again and I will go into the bush to fight,” he said to cheers and laughter.
The government’s major criticism of the U.N. is the protection its bases around the country provide for close to 70,000 citizens mostly from the Nuer tribe who say they fear reprisal attacks from the dominant Dinka tribe who support the government and Kiir.
Widespread violence broke out in South Sudan in mid-December, splitting the country’s military in two, with some supporting the government and others defecting to support the former vice president, Machar, an ethnic Nuer.
Aid groups estimate that thousands of people have died in the violence. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced. The top U.N. aid official has said that if residents don’t go home to plant crops before the coming seasonal rains the country will face severe hunger.
The latest mass violence occurred last week, when fighting broke out at a military barracks outside Juba. Government and military officials blamed the outbreak over a disagreement over pay, and officials said that five people were killed.
However, the death toll was later revised upward to 65 by a military spokesman. Several soldiers who refused to give their names, however, told The Associated Press the actual death toll was more than 100.
Political unrest in South Sudan has not only left millions of people in need of food, but also very much in need of medical care. Doctors Without Borders is on the ground in some of the world’s most dangerous places, where they believe everyone deserves access to proper healthcare. Click the Action Box atop this story to support their crucial work in South Sudan and around the world, and share this story to Become the News!
RYOT NOTE: Political unrest in South Sudan has not only left millions of people in need of food, but also very much in need of medical care. Doctors Without Borders is on the ground in some of the world’s most dangerous places, where they believe everyone deserves access to proper healthcare. Click the Action Box atop this story to support their crucial work in South Sudan and around the world, and share this story to Become the News!
AUSTIN – Imagine a recipe never before seen or tasted. You may not be able to, but a computer can. It’s called Watson, it was development by IBM and it’s being used in a food truck debuting in Austin during SXSW.
You’ve seen it beat contestants on “Jeopardy” now IBM’s supercomputer is beating the world’s greatest chefs in the kitchen.
“This is an experiment where we’re going to take and go beyond what we did with the Watson computer that beat Jeopardy,” said Steven Abrams, IBM’s engineer and director.
Tucked between other food trucks in Downtown Austin for SXSW the sign next to IBM’s truck reads “Welcome to cognitive cooking” and that is what it is.
“Some people say that creativity is the crowning achievement of human intelligence, so the question here is can computers help people to be more creative,” said Abrams.
How exactly? Well it’s simple for a supercomputer.
“Essentially trained it by giving it a giant cookbook. Something like 30-35,000 recipes,” said Abrams
Now Watson the Jeopardy champion is Watson the recipe master.
Here’s how it works: you pick a key ingredient and cuisine, what you want to include and then Watson creates millions of recipes.
You can even customize the recipe for dietary needs.
“You can give it constraints like out the sugar, for example,” Abrams told KVUE.
The IBM food truck will be in Austin at 4th Street and Red River every day through Tuesday.
The chefs cook food based on what people ask for on Twitter.
To chime in just tweet #IBMFoodTruck.
All the samples are free.
FOOD TV— Departure chef Gregory Gourdet will appear on an episode of Food Network competition Cutthroat Kitchen that airs this Sunday, March 9 (and he looks pretty pleased with something that happened, at right). In the episode, titled “Pressed or Steamed,” host Alton Brown forces the chef-contestants through challenges like making quiche from compost scraps and cooking using an iron. Back in 2011, Gourdet appeared on an episode of the Food Network’s super-extreme competition Extreme Chef. Cutthroat premieres Sunday at 10p.m. [EaterWire]
EVERYWHERE— Speaking of the Food Network, its reality/competition show Great Food Truck Race is currently casting for its next season, actively seeking “newbies who are interested in opening a food truck.” Food Carts Portland has the official casting notice, but confidential to interested food-cart owners: the concepts in this show must be completely mobile (hence the “race” part). More information here. [FCP]
CENTRAL EASTSIDE INDUSTRIAL— Hybrid bowling alley/bar Grand Central Restaurant and Bowling Lounge plays host to Portland’s annual edition of Lebowskifest, celebrating with a costume contest, The Big Lebowski screening, and drink specials (probably White Russians). More information here. [EaterWire]
Photo of Gourdet courtesy Food Network
The future is here. And the future is food trucks!
Oh wait, food trucks aren’t new. They’re popular, but just buying your food from a truck is not the future. The future is buying your food from a truck in which the recipes are dreamt up by a supercomputer. The singularity is here and it has never been more delicious!
The IBM Watson supercomputer (which you may recognize from its appearance competing on Jeopardy), in partnership with the Institute of Culinary Education, has become the IBM Watson food truck, which uses “computational creativity” to create surprising new recipes.
Or, as IBM explains, the food truck will be used to explore “whether a computer can be creative by designing a machine that can create surprising yet flavorful recipe ideas no cookbook has ever thought of.”
The system begins by capturing tens of thousands of existing recipes through natural language processing techniques to understand ingredient pairings, ingredient-cuisine pairings and dish composition, which it rearranges and redesigns into new recipes. It then cross references these with data on the chemistry of food ingredients, and the psychology of people’s likes and dislikes to model how the human palate might respond to different combinations of flavors.
“Creating a recipe for a novel and flavorful meal is the result of a system that generates millions of ideas out of the quintillions of possibilities,” IBM writes. “And then predicts which ones are the most surprising and pleasant, applying big data in new ways.”
IBM says computational creativity could “radically transform” the food industry by “identifying new recipes and pairings that are not only tasty and healthy, but also efficient to produce.”
Watch a demo of how the IBM Watson food process works now:
According to Laughing Squid, the IBM Watson food truck will by in Austin, Texas for South By Southwest “across from the convention center at the corner of Red River and 4th Street from March 7th to March 11th.” So if you’re there, go let a robot make you lunch.
DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Robin Skinner knows the food truck business. She’s the marketing director for Ruthie’s Rolling Café.
Now she’s teaming up with the folks at Sisu Restaurant and Bar in Uptown Dallas to take advantage of one thing it has that every food truck needs — parking space.
“This is prime real estate that’s not being utilized,” said Skinner.
Wade Randolph Hampton is a partner in Sisu. “I was actually walking out in the parking lot one day and I said how am I going to get people to hang out more hours of the day, more hours of the week.”
Together, the two businesses will open a new food truck park, Uptown Truck Stop, on March 19. Sisu’s owners see it as an opportunity to draw more customers. The restaurant’s pool and patio are big attractions, but only during warmer weather.
“I’m walking through an empty parking lot more in winter,” said Hampton.
The new park’s schedule is already filling with food trucks, like Trailercakes, the cupcake company. “It’s a new location and it’s a great location,” said Heather Zidell, Trailercakes’ owner.
Zidell says, food truck parks offer readily available spots, cutting down the work for truck owners. “Instead of getting on the phone, saying, ‘Can I park there? Can I park there?’”
Visitors will have access to the whole property with a chance to grab a cocktail or hit the pool. Organizers call it a win win opportunity for them and the community.
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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SAN ANTONIO – Port San Antonio, a public entity which has more than 12,000 employees at the former Kelly Air Force Base, has banned a spicy Korean food truck because of its name.
“We thought the name could be offensive to others,” said Port San Antonio spokesman Paco Fellici.
The food truck, Cockasian, says the controversy has only helped business and made her food truck a social media sensation.
“I am surprised. I thought it would get a little bit of cajoling, but nothing like this,” said Cockasian food truck owner Candie Yoder.
Yoder says her Korean fried chicken is extremely hot, too.
“My Korean is based more on what they would get served in Korea, so it’s spicy!”
The mobile food truck was scheduled to make its debut at Port San Antonio, however, it will now debut on Sunday, March 9 at The Point on Boerne Stage Road.Port San Antonio bans spicy food truck
Reporter- New York Business Journal
Would you trust a computer to make your dinner? What about diagnosing a strange illness?
Probably not by itself. But if you pair an advanced computer with a highly trained chef of doctor, then maybe we’ve got something.
They call it Cognitive Cooking, and they’re blending suggestions from Twitter with Watson’s supercomputing power to scour the universe for innovative flavor combinations. Some of its early computer-generated inventions? Indian Turmeric Paella and Italian Grilled Lobster.
Yesterday, IBM Research Vice President Mahmoud Naghshineh explained their thinking in a piece of sponsored content(content provided by IBM) in Slate magazine.
“There’s no better place to explore computational creativity than cooking,” wrote Naghshineh, who’s based here. “Great food can seem so mysterious. We tend to think of it as a product of art, of intuition. Yet, in fact, there’s a massive amount of chemical and neural science that helps explain why one dish is sublime and another isn’t.”
This makes a lot of sense, considering IBM Watson’s first big commercialization effort in health care. The stakes (steaks?) are different, but a chef is not unlike a physician.
Their crafts are both traditionally seen as a finely tuned art, a blend of expertise, intuition and training that’s sometimes difficult to quantify. But both also exist in a world with almost endless possibilities and data, when you think about all of the things that can possibly go wrong in the human body — or the quintillions of different combinations of ingredients that could conceivably end up in a meal.
Ben Fischer covers local and regional business in greater New York City.
HOUSTON — Can you handle the heat? It is Food Truck Friday, and today we are checking out St. John’s Fire. This truck lives up to its name — the chef is a Louisiana transplant who specializes in spicy southern favorites.
“He has that whole Texas-Louisiana feel,” Felice Simmons of Urban Swank blog says of Joel St. John, the chef who started the “fire.”
Joel is a Houston native, but New Orleans is his second city. He worked in NOLA for two decades at revered establishments such as Commander’s Palace. He eventually returned to Houston, and opened up the food truck three years ago. Unlike other food truck entrepreneurs, this guy has a few grey hairs.
“Everybody sort of test the water with their food truck, well I did it just the opposite,” Joel explained.
But with age comes wisdom. Ironically, Joel majored in marine biology in college, but instead of studying fish for a career, he decided to cook them. His menu highlights his Gulf Coast culinary training, with items such as the Cajun Eggroll, Shrimp Corndogs, and Tortilla Crusted Fish.
“I remember when I first took a bite of it, I was like shut the yum up, because it was crazy!” Felice said of the Cajun Eggroll.
The eggroll is a study in “fusion” cooking. The Asian-inspired dish is stuffed with traditional Cajun ingredients (crawfish, tasso, onions, celery, and peppers), yet it “Texas-sized” – definitely worth sharing with a friend.
Along with the southern flavors, comes southern hospitality. Chef Joel knows many of his customers by name, and his friendly wife, Gretchen, often accompanies him to help out with the crowds.
“Every time we come here we’re not sure if we’re coming here to see Joel or to taste the food,” Shanna Jones of Urban Swank laughed.
Joel credits his success to having a “fire in the belly.”
“Cooking is my passion, my fire, my reason for being around really,” he explained.
You can catch up St. John’s Fire by following them on twitter @firetrucktx or checking their website.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – For the first time this year, Food Truck Friday on Georgia Street took place downtown. Many people and trucks actually showed up. This year’s nasty winter weather made for a very slow, very tough season – it’s a sign that spring is close.
People strolled Georgia Street and purchased food from trucks that have spent most of the winter stuck on the sidelines.
Nick Pappas, owner of GiGi’s Cupcakes, has one of his two cupcake food trucks parked on Georgia Street.
“Because of the cold weather, nobody has been able to get out. This is really our first trip out this season I think,” says Pappas.
Sunshine and milder temperatures, even with remnants of winter still plainly visible, lured people like Jeanne and Al Duran out of the house and onto Georgia Street for the first Food Truck Friday of the season.
“We’ve been so tired of the ice and snow, we decided we’re going to go out,” Al told 24-Hour News 8.
That kind of talk is music to the ears of Melissa Thompson, the woman in charge of giving new life to Georgia Street after going through one of the toughest, coldest and snowiest winters in decades.
“It’s been difficult. It’s been pretty quiet. We’re really excited for the warm weather and for things to jump off in the next week or so,” says Thompson.
So, this year, Food Truck Friday’s will be held weekly instead of monthly. There will be other events too, like Workout Wednesdays. And starting in May, a Georgia Street Happy Hour.
“From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. every Friday night, it will be in the space between the Omni and Harry and Izzy’s. We’ll partner with both of them to do the serving. There will be jazz, a low key and networking event,” said Thompson.
The city hopes those event give Georgia Street the identity it’s been trying to find. But on Friday, the crowd and the trucks saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
“I mean it’s not even noon yet, it’s beautiful,” Nick Pappas said.
The Big Ten Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments, NCAA Basketball Tournament Regionals, and the “Blarney Bash” on St. Patrick’s Day weekend are also adding to Georgia Street’s potential for success this year.
MARTINEZ — After a successful one-day run last fall, food trucks return to the Martinez marina next weekend.
Beginning March 15, Food Truck Mafia — one of the biggest players on the Bay Area’s thriving food truck scene — is bringing a weekly event to the marina from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
With food truck market The Bend opening at the end of the month on the outskirts of downtown Walnut Creek and Off The Grid drawing crowds on Saturdays in Concord, in less than a year the mobile food trend has taken off in central Contra Costa County.
But the Martinez marina food truck market almost didn’t happen.
Last year, Sham Shivaie and Javid Ebrahimi planned to bring their Taste of the World Market, a collection of food trucks representing diverse cuisines, to the marina every Saturday afternoon. The inaugural event in September drew several hundred people, but the partners soon learned that Bay Area food truck behemoth Off the Grid was moving into the Willows Shopping Center in Concord, also on Saturdays. When their plans for a lunchtime food truck market in Walnut Creek fell through, Shivaie and Ebrahimi had to give up their dream of bringing mobile dining to Martinez.
But Ebrahimi, whose family owns the Copper Skillet restaurant in downtown Martinez, remained bullish on the marina’s potential. So last fall he called Food Truck Mafia co-owner April Bibbins and sold her on the idea.
“Food Truck Mafia’s a big name. They don’t bring little trucks, they bring the big trucks,” said Ebrahimi, who’s taking his Persian food truck to the marina. “They’re going to bring them, and the city’s going to love them, and there’s no reason it won’t be successful.”
Food Truck Mafia puts on lunchtime and dinner “Street Eats” events in several cities, including San Leandro, Milpitas, Fremont and the Bishop Ranch office park in San Ramon.
On March 15, visitors to the Martinez marina will be able to sample frozen custard, kebabs, Asian fusion barbecue and treats from four other food trucks. Vendors hawking clothing, handbags and other non-edibles also will be invited to participate in the weekly event, Bibbins said. There also will be entertainment and activities for children.
Although her event will overlap with Off the Grid’s Concord market, Bibbins believes she won’t have any trouble getting trucks to come to Martinez.
“I have a really good feeling that it is going to be great,” she said. “I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback.”
Restaurants in downtown Martinez have been supportive of the market, said Leanne Peterson, Main Street Martinez executive director. She believes the market will attract new people to Martinez who may return to try the city’s brick-and-mortar eateries.
“Anything that’s going to bring a lot of people to and through the downtown is a good thing,” Peterson said.
For more information about Food Truck Mafia, go to www.thefoodtruckmafia.com.
Lisa P. White covers Concord and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.
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