<![CDATA[rss-Lifestyle]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Lifestyle]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Tech innovations launched at CES 2018]]>
Intel, Ford and Huawei took to the CES 2018 keynote stage during the week with corporate showcases. Also, according to a press release, “Intel celebrated innovation, explored what’s next for big data and set a Guinness World Record with its Shooting Star Mini Drone show – the most advanced software fleet of 100 drones controlled without GPS by one pilot. Ford’s opening keynote focused on creating a reliable future of transportation through a systems-based approach for smart cities. Huawei announced the availability of its Mate10 Pro smartphone in the American market next month during its Tuesday afternoon keynote.”

In the competition between home assistants and artificial intelligence, Amazon Alexa won against Microsoft’s Cortana. Alexa is expanding into headphones, smart watches, cars and TVs, and even ovens and microwaves. In stark contrast, Microsoft has not unveiled any new Cortana devices, with the exception of a thermostat last year.

In new releases, Lenovo’s new Smart Display wowed the audience. Lishtot Testdrop also impressed, with a guitar pick-shaped device that can test the quality of drinking water by examining the electric field around it. French company Enhancia unveiled a midi-ring which allows a user to trigger musical effects like pitch bends or vibrato by making specific movements while playing a keyboard.

It is an exciting time for tech fans, and the new year has just begun. CES has given us a glimpse of the possibilities of the coming year.
1/16/2018 5:39:50 PM
<![CDATA[18 Egyptian Designers to look out for in 2018]]>

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This is a simple, fresh and modern fine jewelry brand offering 18k gold, diamonds and black diamond creations that are adored by the Egyptian starlet Amina Khalil. Dena Essam, Djewelled’s founder, aims to make sure that her line is always developing and always on point with seasonal trends and standards. Plus, it is easy to style and goes great with everything. Djewelled is available in Egypt, UAE and soon to be worldwide.

Cotton Ball

Starting from the design up until the manufacturing, Cotton Ball is proud of and rejoices in its use of Egyptian cotton and manufacturing in support of the local market. Established in 2013, Cotton Ball has been creating everything one would need from high-quality basic must-haves to basic apparel. They don’t just offer garments; they offer a lifestyle and tradition.


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The sky is the limit for Amany Shaker, the Los- Angeles-based Egyptian high jewelry designer, who finally came home to Cairo in November to launch her Sa’maa collection. The 18-piece collection showed off fine craftsmanship and storytelling. Her choice of lapis lazuli, metal and silver pays homage to the ancient Egyptian traditions of when silver was favored over gold due to it being rich in substance. We’ll be on the lookout for this celestial dreamer’s next collection.

Amr Saad

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Specializing in innovative handcrafted jewelry and eyewear, Amr Saad’s namesake brand has managed to gain an exclusive list of clientele in a short time with style mavens such as Elisa Sednaoui, Lana El Sahely and many more. He has become the It designer to be Instagrammed in. Saad is expected to be one of the frontrunners in the MENA region to make a statement on the global jewelry and eyewear scene.


The brand was launched earlier this year by Hisham Wali when he decided to turn his hobby into a business to spread Middle Eastern art and culture through his bespoke pins and cufflinks. Each piece from the collection “El Sand Storm” can adapt to the everyday man’s style, whether it is the daily corporate life, casual hangouts, or elegant night out. HUWA (him) debuted 17 pieces for men and, if styled correctly, can be for her too. Handmade gold, sterling silver and platinum-plated pieces are embellished with black diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and pearls. The brand also offers a private service where clients can bring in their own pieces of solid gold that HUWA can then shape into beautiful bespoke pieces.

Christine Massarany

Massarany’s semi-couture creations are only created once, so you can be sure that whatever piece you choose to wear from the collection, you will be the only owning it. Her debut collection was influenced by nature, earthy tones and women’s silhouettes that captured a hard and industrial setting.

Indira Jewelry

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What is Indira? It is reviving the art of traditional jewelry by using 100 percent sterling silver, accentuated by colorful materials such as mother of pearl. Founded in 2014 by Egyptian-American designer, Marwa Saadawi, who found inspiration, beauty and simplicity amidst the organized chaos of her two home cities; Cairo and New York. Her pieces are designed with the modern professional woman in mind, while using Saadawi’s signature geometric patterns, mixing Arabesque designs with the edgy, minimalist style of New York. Her vision for Indira is to create jewelry that has universal appeal by collaborating globally with independent designers and artisans. You can find Indira Jewelry online, and in select boutiques in New York, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Cairo.

Hayden & Co

Founder and designer Shaddy Elian had an idea to substitute diamonds and gold with a more affordable range of choices. In his latest collection “Love Wear,” Elian mixes old and new to create unique jewelry for the modern women. Hayden & Co’s purpose is to fill the need for special occasion jewelry with accessible prices, and of course for all women to feel special through his jewelry. His pieces are handmade in Belgium from gold and silver-plated rhodium and encrusted with Swarovski crystals.


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Egyptian sister design duo Aya and Mounaz Abdel Raouf first launched their brand Okhtein (sisters) in 2013. They began to design luxury accessories such as clutches and bags using Egyptian craftsmanship, incorporating handmade embroidery, straw and leather into their designs. Their biggest social media hit came when Beyoncé, the international singer and mother to everything fabulous, posted on her Instagram not one—but three posts—that have now garnered over one million likes, where she is seen wearing the brand’s new classic dome belt and orange shoulder bag from the 2017 spring/summer collection.

Dina Shaker

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Always looking to inspire and empower women through her wearable deconstructed, asymmetrical, textured and color-blocked designs, Dina Shaker is an interior designer turned avant-garde inventor. While playing on the hard and soft elements with day and night looks, the piece de resistance of her 2017 fall/winter collection “Recomposed Classic” is the winter jacket, which is oversized, deconstructed and a three-in-one transforming piece of edgy wearable art that turns into a skirt or shorts. Her collections are now sold in the fashion capitals of the world such as Milan, London, Beirut and Kuwait.


• Perspective

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Inspired by the street skate-and surf culture, UNTY came to life as a street-wear brand, as “each piece embodies elements of conceptualization, material, cut, print, production and branding,” says Omar Mobarak, one of the label’s founders and designers. UNTY was founded in 2013 by Mobarak and Omar Fayez as a collaboration between art and fashion. Their current collection is their 10th and was inspired by cigarettes and a hidden love. The upcoming 11th collection will feature two hoodies, three sweaters and possibly a special edition t-shirt, to be released later. Mobarak relies heavily on the use of Egyptian cotton for his designs; yet he is open to using more materials in the future. In terms of his brand’s future and where he sees it going, he wholeheartedly believes that it is more important that people who wear his brand find it relatable and not just trendy.

Les Miniatures

Lifelong best friends Farah Yasser and Hanna Hazem decided to create wearable art that displays different stories and transformations while staying true to their established identity of high-end luxury bags that can set your outfit apart.

House of Select

Founded in 1923 by an Italian expat name Folina, Select is known as one of the oldest jewelry houses in Egypt, carrying pieces of heritage since the time of Egyptian monarchy. The house has dressed some of Egypt’s most notable personage, including King Farouk himself, his wives, children and other members of the Royal Family. After the 1952 revolution, Folina left Egypt and passed on ownership to Samy Abdou Youssef. With focus on staying relevant and adapting to modern fashions they have taken the collaborative approach and partnered up with Okhtein and M Collection for capsule collections.


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A master of mixing both haute couture and ready-to-wear, Mohanad Kojak is fresh off the Fashion Forward Dubai season 10 runway where he showcased his tracksuits mixed with dresses and jackets with his signature Romeo and Juliette goblin fabric, the upholstery fabric he introduced to the fashion scene when he first started his brand. He has dressed many Egyptian celebrities, such as Nahed El-Sebai, Dorra, Hana Shiha and many more. He is, and will go on to push boundaries with his sense of taste and bold fashion statements.

Reem Jano

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Jewelry designer Reem Jano has gone on to bling out the stars on the Cairo International Film Festival red carpet, including Mai Omar and Asmaa Galal. All of her designs are handmade and are gold or silver plated, and the namesake brand stands out as a consistent, high-quality and widely loved local favorite.


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Jewelry with a cause; Suhayla Al Sheikh created the “Cicatrix” collection to fundraise for Ahl Masr Foundation, to empower women who suffer from physical or psychological scars. Behind every piece is not just an inspiration, but a concept; but her challenge is to bring the conceptual jewelry into the mainstream. Sandbox was first launched in 2014, when Al Sheikh began designing customized pieces for exclusive private clientele.

Jayda Hany

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There is an undeniable gap in the Egyptian market for locally made footwear. This architectural engineering student turned- footwear pioneer recently launched her first ready-to-wear autumn/winter 2017 collection Riv-It! After the success of Hany’s first bespoke experimental collection “Connector,” BMW created a car model based on it. Finding the harmony of craftsmanship, structure and 3D technology, Hany is gaining popularity, with her first best seller being The High Bolt high tops.

Arwa Al Banawi

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She may not be Egyptian but it would be a shame if we did not mention the Saudi-born fashion designer Arwa Al Banawi who made waves on social media in 2015 with her inaugural collection of sharp-tailored suits and tops, only to go on to collaborate with Adidas Originals on a capsule collection, and most recently Levis for Sole DxB. Banawi is loved for her comfortable, feminist and empowering creations.
1/16/2018 2:04:12 PM
<![CDATA[Partner's scent eases women’s response to stress]]>
Stress levels dropped in women who smelled their partner’s shirt during a stress test but rose in women who smelled a stranger’s shirt, researchers found.

“Many people wear their partner’s shirt or sleep on their partner’s side of the bed when their partner is away but may not realize why they engage in these behaviors,” said lead study author Marlise Hofer, a psychology graduate student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

“A partner’s scent alone, even without their physical presence, can be a powerful tool to help reduce stress,” Hofer told Reuters Health by email.

Hofer and colleagues worked with 96 couples, most in their early 20s, to complete the study. They asked the men to wear a white T-shirt for 24 hours without deodorant or scented products. Then the shirts were turned inside out, folded and placed in a sealed plastic freezer bag with the underarm section facing the opening.

The women participated in the Trier Social Stress Test, which includes a mock job interview and unanticipated mental math question that causes a stress response. They were randomly assigned to smell a single shirt three times before and three times after the stress test. The shirt might have been worn by their romantic partner or a stranger, or it might have been new and unworn.

The women also completed a questionnaire five times during the experiment to indicate anxiety, physical discomfort, tension, desire to leave the situation and feelings of control. Saliva samples were collected seven times during the experiment to measure levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

The research team found that perceived stress changed during the experiment for most women, and those who smelled a partner’s shirt felt less stressed both during and after the stress test than those who smelled a stranger’s or unworn shirt.

The researchers were surprised to find that cortisol levels were higher after the stress test in women who smelled a stranger’s shirt. “These unanticipated findings could serve as a source of future research,” Hofer said.

Cortisol levels didn’t differ between women who smelled their partner’s shirt and an unworn shirt.

Dr. Donald McBurney, professor emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, has researched olfactory comfort in close relationships. “In our studies, we received many anecdotes, including lovers who mailed worn clothing back and forth between military members and their partners back home,” McBurney, who wasn’t involved in the new study, told Reuters Health by email. “And hospitals give infants items of their mother’s clothing to sleep with.”

Future research should investigate whether perceived stress and cortisol responses are the same for men and if additional factors could reduce stress for both men and women, said Dr. Sean Mackey of the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California. Mackey, who wasn’t involved with this study, has researched romantic relationships and experiences of pain.

“Can we further manipulate this (decreased stress) response and amplify it?” he wrote in an email to Reuters Health. “How does the strength of the (romantic) relationship affect the response?”

Beyond a controlled laboratory setting, researchers should also study how this works in real-world applications, he added.

“During times of stress, keep those you love close to you,” Mackey said. ‘If you are going to be away during a stressful period, it may be useful to bring an article of their clothing.”]]>
1/16/2018 12:36:25 PM
<![CDATA[8 Foodie Hotspots in Cairo To Try in 2018]]>
The White Owl

A homemade pasta hotspot in Maadi, The White Owl serves a variety of signature European dishes. Apart from its epic pasta and flavorful sauces, you can also enjoy an assortment of soups, salads, starters, freshly made juices and yummy desserts. The cozy interior is very urban, its unique vibes complementing the homemade specialties. Foodie flock here for the fresh food, quality ingredients and creative recipes.

17 Rd. 216, Maadi • Tel: 01211691699 / 01152811501


Passionate foodies and adventurers might think that in order to reawaken their palates and discover new flavors, they have to go all the way to Mexico and Peru. Mezcal is a much closer option. Original ingredients come straight from their homelands, whether Mexican chipotles and habaneros or Peru’s famous aji amarillo, panca and rocotto chillies. Mezcal’s perfect remix of traditional and modern techniques guarantees one of the best experiences of fine cuisine in Egypt.


The hotspot for intimate dinners and carefully crafted cocktails, Sachi has perfected the balance of casual and sophisticated dining. It offers impeccable contemporary Mediterranean fusion cuisine using local ingredients with original recipes. For meat lovers, we would highly recommend the special chateaubriand; there’s also a Japanese menu if you’re into sushi.

3 Cleopatra St., Heliopolis • reservations@sachirestaurant.com • Tel: 01280902028


Kazoku’s creative, award-winning Japanese cuisine is styled to perfection, with trademark dishes such as miso, new-style sashimi and many more. The contemporary restaurant is a frontrunner for Cairo’s top culinary venue, its attentively designed cocktails giving it a clear edge.

Swan Lake Compound, 1st Settlement, New Cairo • reservations@kazokuegypt.com • Tel: 0120004877


A perfect fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine, Izakaya brings to Cairo a variety of local dishes combining the best of both cultures. Imagine the ultimate sensational dish of the freshest Asian delicacies, along with a touch of Peruvian, such as the famed sweet potato; and you get an Izakaya artistic creation. It all started when a migrant Japanese went to Peru and began to work alongside the locals. Nikkei fell in love with the local cuisine and added some of the essence of authentic Japanese. Luckily for us it’s found a home for this great fusion here in Cairo at Izakaya.

Al Guezira Plaza, Sheikh Zayed • Tel: 01271116223


This cozy little bohemian restaurant in Maadi is Cairo’s first destination for unique South African cuisine. Created by a South African expat who has been living in Egypt for 10 years, Zulu’s menu includes a variety of the best authentic dishes, from street foods like the famous bunny chow, a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with curry, to some over-the-top gourmet favorites. The space is chilled, laidback and humble where you can step into a stress-free zone.

9 Rd. 100, Maadi • 0106 914 6208 • 02 2359 8328


Olivo has well deservedly earned the title of “Best pizza in town” and is the go-to spot for authentic Italian pizza and drinks. Loud conversations against a background of chillhouse and the occasional burst of laughter will keep you entertained as you enjoy your wine or beer with some best quality Italian pizza.

• Kattameya Heights Compound, New Cairo). Tel: 0106 8774233 • Arkan Plaza, Sheikh Zayed. Tel: 01220777680 • 18 Taha Hussein St., Zamalek. Tel: 01026444475


Serving the best quality premium beef burgers, crispy chicken sandwiches, good old hot dogs covered with melting cheese, BBQ pulled beef sandwiches and Mac n’ Cheese, Sliders will leave you with an unforgettable experience. And you don’t want to miss out on the wide variety of toppings like tasty chili beef, caramelized onions, mushrooms, crispy onion rings and much more!

2 Bahgat Ali St., Zamalek. For delivery call: 01013005090 • 38 Rd. 231, Maadi. For delivery call 01098060403.
1/15/2018 6:55:07 PM
<![CDATA[L’Oréal casts the first hijab-wearing model for commercial ]]>
L’Oréal recruited the hijab-wearing beauty and lifestyle blogger Amena Khan to star amongst the lineup of men and women for a game changing campaign, all while her hair was covered.

“You have to wonder – why is it presumed that women who don’t show their hair don’t look after it? The opposite of that would be that everyone that does show their hair only looks after it for the sake of showing it to others. And that mindset strips us of our autonomy and our sense of independence. Hair is a big part of self-care,” Khan said to Vogue Arabia.

The L’Oréal Paris Elvive, commercial showcases men and women speaking up about their opinion on their hair and haircare. Khan is seen addressing all women about self-care for their hair, by stating “Weather or not your hair is on display it doesn’t affect how much you care about it,” she continued “Hair is a women’s beauty. Make sure that you look after it.”

This is seen as part of a trend toward the right direction for the beauty industry, in the past year modest fashion has been wildly successful hand in hand with diversity representation.

At the end of last year Barbie released the first ever hijab-wearing doll to honor the bronze medalist Olympian Islamic American fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. As part of the Sheroes doll collection that was launched in favor for Barbie to recognize real-life female heroes such as gold medalist Olympian Gabby Douglas, writer/director and Academy Award nominee Ava DuVernay, fashion model Ashley Graham and many more.

The hijab is a sign of modesty worn by Muslim women all around the world; despite being a controversial matter nowadays, the fashion industry decided to fight back against islamophobia and reiterate the message of love, peace and acceptance in their advertising campaigns and on the runway by featuring Hijab-wearing models.

Technology giant Apple has joined the movement with the release of 12 emoji characters of women wearing a hijab. Earlier in 2017, Condé Nast launched the magazine Vogue Arabia with the supermodel of the this generation, Gigi Hadid, who was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother, on its first cover. All while Halima Aden is the first veiled model to have walked the international catwalk with Max Mara and to be featured in American Eagle's #ICan campaign.

1/15/2018 5:18:12 PM
<![CDATA[Toymaker Lego teams up with Chinese internet giant Tencent]]>
Privately-owned Lego has seen a slowdown in sales growth in recent years, but the Chinese market has been a bright spot with sales growing 25-30 percent in 2016.

It is competing with Barbie maker Mattel Inc (MAT.O) and Hasbro (HAS.O), the firm behind My Little Pony, for a slice of the $31 billion toys and games market in China.

Lego said on Monday the partnership with Tencent, China’s biggest social network and gaming company, aimed to create a safe online environment covering content, platforms, and experiences tailored for Chinese children.

“What we are looking for now with Tencent is just to find more creative ways... (of) reaching children, and creating bespoke content with Tencent, in this case, video games,” Jacob Kragh, head of Lego in China, told Reuters on Monday at joint event with Tencent in Beijing.

The partnership includes developing a Lego video zone for children on the Tencent video platform, as well as developing and operating Lego branded licensed games, the toymaker said.

It also includes LEGO BOOST - a building and coding set that lets children turn their brick creations into moving objects - and will explore developing a joint social network for children in China.

Tencent is Asia’s most valuable company with a market capitalization of $537 billion.

Last year, Mattel struck deals with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) and online content developer BabyTree to sell interactive learning products based on its Fisher-Price toys.

Lego has about a 3 percent market share in China, followed by Mattel and Hasbro with around 2 percent and 1 percent, respectively, according to Euromonitor International.

In November 2016, Lego opened a factory in Jiaxing, China, which it expects to produce 70-80 percent of all Lego products sold in Asia.]]>
1/15/2018 2:27:36 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. transport chief to unveil revised self-driving car guidelines]]>
Chao told a Detroit auto show forum that the revised voluntary guidelines would address not only self-driving automobiles but "barriers to the safe integration of autonomous technology for motor carriers, transit, trucks, infrastructure and other modes."

Chao said in a Reuters interview the department was preparing for autonomous technology coming rapidly to all transportation modes. "The technology is there, the question is how do we regulate it, how do we continue to promote innovation but also safeguard safety." Chao said.

General Motors Co, Alphabet Inc, Toyota Motor Corp and many other companies are aggressively pursuing self-driving car technologies and want Congress and regulators to remove barriers to the vehicles.

Bills in Congress to speed the introduction of self-driving cars do not include commercial trucks. In September, Chao announced the first set of revisions to the guidelines that were unveiled by the Obama administration and now plans a revised version by summer.

Chao said her goal was to eliminate "unnecessary obstacles to the development and integration of new technology. Our approach will be tech-neutral and flexible — not top-down, or command and control." She added the government would "not be in the business of picking winners or losers, or favoring one form of technology over another."

In October, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, said it was looking for input on how to remove regulatory roadblocks to self-driving cars.

NHTSA said in a report that it wanted to find any "unnecessary regulatory barriers" to self-driving cars "particularly those that are not equipped with controls for a human driver."


The agency also wants comments on what research it needs to conduct before deciding whether to eliminate or rewrite regulations. But it could take the agency years to complete the research and finalize rule changes.

Automakers must meet nearly 75 auto safety standards, many written with the assumption that a licensed driver will be in control of the vehicle. The agency said in 2016 that current regulations posed "significant" regulatory hurdles to vehicles without human controls.

Earlier this month, the Transportation Department published notices requesting comments to identify barriers to innovation including one from NHTSA, two from the Federal Transit Administration to address autonomous bus technology and barriers and one from the Federal Highway Administration to address autonomous infrastructure technology. Chao said more were planned.

Last week, GM filed a petition with NHTSA requesting an exemption to have a small number of autonomous vehicles operate in a ride-share program without steering wheels or human drivers.

Chao said the "department will review this petition, and give it responsible and careful consideration."

Chao, who was meeting with automakers privately in Detroit at the show, has made self-driving cars a top priority. She held meetings on the subject in Silicon Valley last year, including with Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

On Sunday, she urged automakers and tech companies to do more to reassure skeptical Americans about the technology. "They need to be brought along," she said of the public. "Consumer acceptance will be a constraint to growth in this industry." ]]>
1/15/2018 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Nelly Karim stuns in new L’Azurde campaign ]]>

L’Azurde is a Jewelry company that was founded in 1980. It designs and produces jewelry using gold and precious stones; L’Azurde operates mainly in the Middle East, more specifically Egypt, KSA, Qatar and the UAE.

Being a sign of luxury and elegance, L’Azurde has often chosen elegant, known celebrities such as Nelly Karim and Elissa to star in its campaigns.

Nelly Karim is well known in the Middle East as an outstanding actress. She has worked in the entertainment industry since her youth; she began working as a ballerina and a theater actress. Her elegance is obvious in all her red-carpet appearances, as she often appears with sultry smoky eyes, exquisite jewelry and beautiful dresses.

1/14/2018 1:48:21 PM
<![CDATA[Time with grandparents may impact how kids view the elderly]]>
Researchers in Belgium asked 1,151 youth ranging in age from 7 to 16 years about the time they spent with grandparents as well as their opinions about aging and the elderly. They found that kids who saw their grandparents at least weekly and described these interactions as happy were much less likely to express ageist views.

“Previous research had suggested that frequency of contacts with the elderly (time spent together) had no effect on children’s attitudes towards older people, whereas a high quality of contact positively influenced these attitudes,” said lead study author Allison Flamion of the University of Liege.

But most of this research was done in university students, not in children and teens, Flamion said by email.

“The children in our study described their relationship with their grandparents very openly, as they perceived it,” Flamion said. “We were somewhat surprised to find such a strong correlation between the children’s perception of grandparents’ contacts and the ageist stereotypes turning up in the questionnaires.”

In questionnaires, the researchers asked the youths about the health of their own grandparents, how often the two generations met and how the young people felt about their relationships with their grandparents.

In general, views on the elderly expressed by the children and adolescents were neutral or positive.

Girls had slightly more positive views than boys, and girls also tended to view their own aging more favorably, the researchers report in Child Development.

Ageist stereotypes appeared to change at various points in childhood, the study also found.

The youngest children, from 7 to 9 years old, expressed the most prejudice and kids from 10 to 12 years old had the most acceptance and tolerance.

Teenagers had more prejudiced notions about aging than pre-teens, but not as much as the youngest children in the study.

Grandparents’ health may also influence how children think about aging, the study suggests.

Young people with grandparents in poor health were more likely to believe negative stereotypes about the elderly than children and teens with healthier grandparents.

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how time with grandparents might impact children’s views on aging.

Even so, the current study offers fresh evidence that both the frequency and quality of contact with grandparents matters in shaping how children think about age, said Tara Lineweaver, a psychology researcher at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“The quality of the time children spent with their grandparents mattered most when they also spent more time with their grandparents,” Lineweaver said by email.

“What I found most valuable and most surprising about their results is that the influence of quality interactions with grandparents was greatest in middle childhood (ages 10-12), when attitudes are already most positive, suggesting that good relationships with grandparents may help explain the positive beliefs about aging that typically accompany this stage of development,” Lineweaver added.

Growing evidence also suggests that contact between grandchildren and grandparents can be good for both, said Dominic Abrams, a psychology researcher at the University of Kent, in the UK.

“More time that is enjoyable and positive really makes the biggest difference. I think there are several ways that this works,” Abrams, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

“From a strong positive relationship they are more likely to learn things about older people that they might not otherwise have discovered such as their strengths, abilities, breadth of experience, and that they have a range of emotions and knowledge,” Abrams added. “Second, they may meet other older people whilst with their grandparents, giving them greater awareness of other older people in general and making ageing and oldness less strange and perhaps less frightening to the extent that grandparents are able to explain and share their experiences.”
1/14/2018 1:42:59 PM
<![CDATA[Dolce & Gabbana's royal flush wows Milan Fashion Week]]>
The show, "King's Angels", featuring sharp tailored suits embellished with patterned lapels and gold embroidery, took place under an enormous crown with regular appearances of the celestial beings on sleeves, sweatsuits and suede moccasin slippers.

The Italian label has made millenials (those born between 1980 and 2000) its target market and used several of the generation's more prominent members to show off its latest creations at Milan Men's Fashion Week.

Internet celebrities such as Kevin Chaplin, grandson of Charlie, Dylan Jagger Lee, son of actress Pamela Anderson and drummer Tommy Lee, Paris Brosnan, son of actor Pierce, and Christian Combs, son of rapper Puff Daddy all took to the catwalk.

They were joined by the likes of Neels Visser -- he of 2.7 million Instagram followers -- video microblogging app Vine star Cameron Dallas, and musician and actor Austin Mahone.

Earlier Saturday, the doyen of Italian fashion Giorgio Armani, 83, showed off new creations for his Emporio Armani streetwear brand with a unisex show full of dark block colours and sharp tailoring.

Donatella Versace introduced riffs on Scottish tartan, also displaying women's outfits at Men's Fashion Week.

1/14/2018 1:34:12 PM
<![CDATA[Round up my ride! Bulgarian returns Singapore's damaged rental bikes]]>
Bulgarian piano teacher Zhivko Girginov, who has lived on the island for nine years, has not been impressed by the broken bicycles he has encountered abandoned by roads and footpaths.

“My friends complained there were damaged bikes scattered everywhere and there was nothing that can be done,” he said.

“But I did not agree.”

The 32-year-old decided to take matters into his own hands, pulling together a team of like-minded individuals to round up and return the bikes to the warehouses of the respective companies.

Started in September, Girginov’s Volunteer Bike Patrol initiative has taken off, collecting over 400 damaged bikes in about seven trips.

The group gathers the broken bicycles in one neighborhood, moving them to a central location. Girginov then rents a lorry for $150 a trip to pick up and carry the bikes back.

Girginov has funded the effort until now, but expansion might prompt him to consider crowd-funding or seek sponsors, he said.

Singapore’s three main shared-bicycle operators, Ofo, Mobike and domestic firm oBike, appreciate his work.

“We’re talking to Zhivko about how we can work together to build an even stronger bikesharing environment,” said Sharon Meng, country manager of Mobike Singapore, adding that Mobike has given Girginov an unlimited usage pass to help him retrieve its bikes.

Singapore has sought to discourage indiscriminate bicycle parking in public spaces. In 2017, the Land Transport Authority marked out 4,000 additional yellow bike parking areas around public housing estates, bus stops and train stations.

The initiative is one of many similar projects Giriginov has embarked on, and he considers the time and money well-spent.

In his opinion, such “social experiments” provoke people to consider how they can make an individual contribution to society.

“Some of my friends tell me my efforts are futile,” he said, after devoting New Year’s Day to a bike retrieval expedition.

“But I believe we are part of a community and we should do what we can.”

1/14/2018 1:21:50 PM
<![CDATA[Daily planners to get your 2018 together ]]>

1 (1)
Dots Weekly Planner - Dots Official Website

Dots offers you the options of their weekly planner and toolkit, or their monthly planner and notebook. They’re both beautifully designed and sturdy, with leather hardcover bindings and unique colorful spines that provide 180 degree opening. The weekly planner has a weekly layout, an end of month review, milestone stickers and much more. It’s a fantastic option to try out.


2 (1)
Planit Notebook - Planit Official Facebook Page

Planit has been a staple planner for years in Cairo, you’ll spot it at universities and cafes all around, and of course there’s a reason for that. It’s an excellent planner with a creative layout. Planit has your typical weekly layout to help plan your week, but it also has blank pages for notes, illustrations to color, inspirational quotes and much more.

Simple Things

3 (1)
Simple Things Undated Planner - Simple Things Official Website

Simple Things offer different planners for different lifestyles, including ones aimed at study or business as well as a simple undated planner, which lets you start planning at any time of the year. They’re beautifully designed and have add-ons available to expand their functionality. It’s a great flexible option, tailored to your needs.


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Nootah 2018 Planner - Nootah Official Facebook page

Nootah is one of the new kids on the block, but their quality is outstanding. Their 2018 planner is colorful and bright and inspires you to get organized. It’s large and spacious, with plenty of room for planning and organizing. It also has inspirational quotes to keep you motivated.


Space 2018 Agenda - Space Official Facebook page

Space gives you more than just a planner. It gives you a daily agenda, a sticker booklet, a gift box, a wall planner, 2 coasters and a bookmark. You will not need anything else to get your year off to the right start. All of this is available for a very modest price as well, so you won’t be breaking the bank. It’s a great gift for yourself or a loved one.
1/13/2018 1:34:38 PM
<![CDATA[Gourmet chocolate becomes economic lifeline in Venezuela crisis]]>
Like some 20 recently launched Venezuelan businesses, Silva uses the country’s aromatic cocoa to make gourmet bars of the kind that can fetch more than $10 each in upscale shops in Paris or Tokyo.

The oil-rich but recession-devastated nation’s Byzantine bureaucracy makes large-scale exports nearly impossible for small businesses.

As a result, most of her bars are sold locally for less than one U.S. dollar - well out of reach of millions of Venezuelans who earn less than that in a week, but reasonably priced for the well-heeled of an increasingly two-tiered economy.

But entrepreneurs who have launched new Venezuelan chocolatiers in recent years say producing gourmet bars allows them to make a living amid the collapse of a socialist economic system - and dream of exports as a golden opportunity down the road.

“Our real oil is cocoa,” said Silva, owner of the chocolatier Kirikire that in 2014 won an award from the prestigious Salon du Chocolat fair in Paris. “In Europe, they’re snatching up these bars.”

Silva faces constant operational challenges due to hyperinflation and Soviet-style product shortages. But these are offset by steady access to high-quality aromatic cocoa from a cocoa farm in eastern Venezuela owned by her family.

Her bars are sold in high-end Caracas grocery stores, delis and liquor stores, where everything from staple products to luxury goods are amply available to the well-heeled - in contrast to the long lines and bare shelves of most shops.

Silva is now focused on getting her chocolate to France, where she once sold a single kilo of her chocolate for the equivalent of 80 euros ($96), which is today the equivalent of five years of minimum wage salary in Venezuela.

Standing in her way are a range of permits such as customs authorizations and sanitary inspections that take months in Venezuela’s notoriously inefficient bureaucracy.

The Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Venezuela was the world’s leading cocoa producer at the end of the 18th century when it was still a Spanish colony, according to Jose Franceschi, who has written books about cocoa and whose great-grandfather founded the Venezuela’s gourmet Franceschi chocolate brand.

But the cocoa trade was overshadowed by the rise of the oil industry in the early 20th century. Critics say it was further weakened by state takeovers under late President Hugo Chavez, who boosted state involvement in the economy as part of promises to create a society of equals.

But since the crash of oil markets, Venezuela has become a sharply divided society where oil engineers and public hospital doctors rarely make as much as $50 a month while a small group citizens with access to even modest amounts of hard currency can afford fine dining and gourmet products.


Output of 16,000 tonnes per year is less than 1 percent of the global total, and less than 10 percent of the production of regional heavyweights Brazil and Ecuador.

Many gourmet bars made in the United States now prominently advertise the use of Venezuelan cocoa but generally mix in other less-desirable cocoas. Bars made in Venezuela, in contrast, are made with 100 percent local cocoa.

This gives the new Venezuelan chocolatiers a leg up as they tap into the global ‘bean-to-bar’ movement, in which chocolate makers oversee the entire process of turning cocoa fruit into sellable treats.

On the second floor of an old mansion in Caracas, economist and chef Giovanni Conversi has been making specialty chocolate for two years under the name Mantuano.

Sprinkled with sea salt or aromatic fruits from the Amazon, the chocolate bars are a hit in London, Miami and Panama City in specialty chocolate stores or shops that specialize in Latin American food.

He and four assistants produce 9,000 bars a month in Caracas. He has opened a factory in Argentina that buys cocoa from small-scale producers like Yoffre Echarri, who two decades ago inherited his grandfather’s plantation in the beach town of Caruao.

He opens the fruit to remove the beans and the accompanying sweet white pulp, which has a strong aroma of tropical fruit and then ferments the mixture in plastic bags buried underground.

That process retains more aroma than the traditional method of fermenting in wooden boxes.

He sells the beans to Venezuelan chocolatiers for less than $1 per kilo, about half the international price.

“Clients can’t get enough. Those who three months ago were asking for five kilos now call for 50,” said Echarri.

Many small chocolatiers only manage to get products to foreign markets by carrying them in suitcases on commercial flights, though well-established brands such as El Rey have formal export operations to the United States and Europe.

In Japan, El Rey is represented by the food division Japanese trading house Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Still, some 1,700 people have recently studied artisanal chocolate at the Simon Bolivar University.

“Everyone wants to give it a shot,” said Rosa Spinosa, the head of the program created two years ago.

($1 = 0.8363 euros)]]>
1/13/2018 1:24:23 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi women-only motorshow opens in Jeddah]]>
Pink, orange and yellow balloons hung in the mall’s showroom as women posed for photos and selfies in front of the cars. One woman in the driver’s seat fixed her face cover. Another wrapped her turquoise-painted fingernails around the steering wheel, feeling it out.

In a decree issued in September, King Salman ordered by June an end to the ban on women drivers, a conservative tradition that has limited women’s mobility and been seen by rights activists as an emblem of their suppression.

Saudi Arabia is the only country that bans women drivers. The landmark royal decree has been hailed as proof of a new progressive trend in the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, is the face of that change. Many young Saudis regard his recent ascent to power as proof their generation is taking a central place in running a country whose patriarchal traditions have for decades made power the province of the old and blocked women’s progress.

“I’ve always been interested in cars, but we didn’t have the ability to drive,” said Ghada al-Ali, a customer. “And now I‘m very interested in buying a car but I would like the payments and prices to not be very high.”

Saudi Arabia’s cost of living has risen after the government hiked domestic gas prices and introduced value-added tax (VAT) in January.

The exhibition focused on fuel-efficient cars and provided a team of saleswomen to help their new customer base. The showroom carried signs emblazoned with the slogan “Drive and Shop”, a play on words in Arabic, using the female form of the verbs.

“It is known that women are the largest section who shop in malls,” said Sharifa Mohammad, the heads the exhibition’s saleswomen. “This whole mall is run by women anyway. All the cashiers are women. Everyone in the restaurants are women.”

1/13/2018 1:15:51 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi women score right to watch men's soccer in stadiums]]>
As the two teams al-Ahli and al-Batin faced each other in the city of Jeddah, women showed up to their first public sporting event in the Kingdom to support the sides with their spouses, children and friends.

The General Sports Authority announced in October that stadiums in Jeddah, Dammam and Riyadh will be set up to accommodate families starting in 2018.

“Honestly this decision should have happened a long time ago,” said Muneera al-Ghamdi, an attendee. “But thank god that it came in the right time, and hopefully what’s to come will be even more beautiful for women.”

The decision to allow women to attend a mixed public sporting event is one of many changes the country has undergone in recent months, hailed as proof of a new progressive trend in the deeply conservative Muslim Kingdom.

On Thursday, Jeddah held Saudi Arabia’s first car exhibition aimed at women, a few months after Saudi Arabia announced it would grant them the right to drive..

A soccer match on Saturday in the capital Riyadh will also be welcoming women fans.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, has been hailed as the face of these changes.

Many young Saudis regard his recent ascent to power as proof their generation is taking a central place in running a country whose patriarchal traditions have for decades made power the province of the old and blocked women’s progress.

“Today the percentage of those who participate in exercise and sports is only 13 percent,” said Hayfaa al-Sabban, who heads a sport organization.

“We aim god willing to raise it to 40 percent by 2030, through several events, and today’s is one of these events.”
1/13/2018 1:11:49 PM
<![CDATA[H&M trips up with their advert for ‘Monkey’ hoodie]]>
The company released statements on both their official website and their Instagram. The statement on the website began, “To all customers, staff, media, stakeholders, partners, suppliers, friends and critics. We would like to put on record our position in relation to the image and promotion of a children’s sweater, and the ensuing response and criticism. Our position is simple and unequivocal – we have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry.” It continues, “We have taken down the image and we have removed the garment in question from sale. It will be recycled. […] Racism and bias in any shape or form, conscious or unconscious, deliberate or accidental, are simply unacceptable and need to be eradicated from society. In this instance we have not been sensitive enough to this agenda. Please accept our humble apologies.”

Their apology post on Instagram received over 59,000 comments, and almost 300,000 likes.

We have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry. Link in bio.

A post shared by H&M (@hm) on

A post shared by H&M (@hm) on

Among the backlash received by the company, celebrities also joined in on the censure. The Weeknd announced on Twitter that he would no longer be working with the brand, as did rapper, G-Eazy.

Over the past months I was genuinely excited about launching my upcoming line and collaboration with @HM... Unfortunately, after seeing the disturbing image yesterday, my excitement over our global campaign quickly evaporated, and I've decided at this time our partnership needs to end. Whether an oblivious oversight or not, it's truly sad and disturbing that in 2018, something so racially and culturally insensitive could pass by the eyes of so many (stylist, photographer, creative and marketing teams) and be deemed acceptable. I can't allow for my name and brand to be associated with a company that could let this happen. I hope that this situation will serve as the wake up call that H&M and other companies need to get on track and become racially and culturally aware, as well as more diverse at every level.

A post shared by G-Eazy (@g_eazy) on

1/12/2018 6:38:04 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi Arabia enters new era of cultural, social openness ]]>
Last December, the Saudi government started to issue licenses for the establishment of cinema halls for the first time in three decades. This decision strongly reflects Saudi Arabia’s desire to kick off its cinematic activities.

Saudi media announced that “The Emoji” and “Captain Underpants” are the first two movies selected for screening. Riyadh will host the screening of three other movies which are “The Son of Big Foot”, “Smurfs” and “Paddington 2”, between January 18 and 31.
“The establishment of Saudi cinemas’ decision is the first step towards a strong Saudi cinema industry in the coming years,” recounted the renowned Saudi actor Mohamed Bakhsh in an interview with Okaz newspaper.

Bakhsh stressed that Saudi film production needs a lot of funding and support to compete in the international cinema industry and to support emerging Saudi talents.
Bakhsh linked the promotion of a real cinema industry with the establishment of a cinema base that exists in all the countries around the world.

“We must have a strong cinema base through the establishment of cinema institutes to enhance Saudi artists’ talents, especially since the decision of opening cinema halls needs cinema production, because most of the countries around the world consider cinema as an independent important industry.”

Bakhsh demanded the establishment of a Saudi media city as the base of a strong Saudi cinema industry.U.S. media paid great attention to the social and cultural change initiated by Saudi Arabia in recent months.

The Washington Post said that the kingdom's conservative government has become an art sponsor, funding concerts for western celebrities such as Yanni, and promoting comic festivals and book fairs.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman previously issued orders to ease restrictions on women. Of his most prominent reforms is the lifting of the driving ban on women, which is set to be lifted in June. Bin Salman also gave Saudi women the permission to attend the country’s national day last September in Riyadh.

Also, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to attend a professional football match for the first time in the country’s history on Friday, January 12.
1/12/2018 5:37:01 PM
<![CDATA[et Quote: Raf Simons ]]>
“I'm usually very attracted to things that I can't define. If something's too clear, it's very often not inspiring to me anymore.” - Raf Simons

Born in 1968 in Neerpelt, Belgium, he originally studied Industrial Design and Furniture, graduating in 1991. His is internship at Walter Van Beirendonck gave him an insight into the fashion world. In 1995, a self-trained Simons launched his namesake label.

He created menswear collections for Ruffo Research in 1999 spring-summer and autumn-winter 2000. In the same year, he became head professor at the fashion department at The University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria, a post he left in 2005. During his position at the university, he was awarded the first prize at the Swiss Textiles Award.

“The fashion world doesn't know the word 'stop,' so you have to make sure there are sublime moments every day.” - Raf Simons

In celebration of spending a decade in the fashion industry, Simons and Peter De Potter published “Raf Simons Redux” in 2005, documenting Simons’ creative inspiration, imagery, as well as his journey and life in fashion.

In 2005, he was appointed as Creative Director at Jil Sander for both the men’s and women’s clothing. He left in 2012, heading to Christian Dior as the artistic director for women’s ready-to-wear, accessories and haute-couture.

“My challenge is to find a beautiful balance: to make women beautiful, to make a woman dream to wear a beautiful outfit.” - Raf Simons

In 2011, the Hyères 26th International Festival of Fashion and Photography elected him as President of The Fashion Jury.

He took up the position as Chief Creative Officer at Calvin Klein in 2016. At the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Awards in 2017, he took home the Best Designer awards for menswear and womenswear for his work at Calvin Klein.

The Flemish Government, Department Of Culture, Youth and Media awarded him with The Prize for General Cultural Merit at The Ultima’s.

“I see there is a lot of behavior in men's fashion which is systematic. It's a lot about all these kind of clothes that can be easily combined with each other, and it's less and less, I think, about making a fashion statement.” - Raf Simons

1/12/2018 4:58:12 PM
<![CDATA[Facebook updates News Feed to make friends a priority]]>
The change to the way Facebook ranks posts will put more weight on social interactions and relationships, according to News Feed product manager John Hegeman.

"This is a big change," Hegeman told AFP.

"People will actually spend less time on Facebook, but we feel good about that because it will make the time they do spend more valuable, and be good for our business in the end."

For example, a family video clip posted by a spouse will be deemed more worthy of attention than a snippet from a star or favorite restaurant.

"We think people interaction is more important than passively consuming content," Hegeman said.

"This will be one of the more important updates that we have made."

Facebook co-founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg has said that bringing people together and strengthening communities in the real world are priorities.

The news feed ranking update, which is set to roll out globally in the coming weeks, is expected to support that goal.

"As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media," Zuckerberg said in a post at his Facebook page.

"And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard -- it should encourage meaningful interactions between people."

Google, Twitter and Facebook have come under fire for allowing the spread of bogus news -- some of which was directed by Russia -- ahead of the 2016 US election and in other countries.

Facebook has introduced a series of changes intended to address the problem.

"We are doing a ton of work to reduce the frequency of bad content on Facebook," Hegeman said.

"This update is more about amplifying the things people value."

He cited academic research indicating that interacting with loved ones is crucial to a person's wellbeing, while reading news articles or watching shared videos may not be.

"There is really no silver bullet here to determine what is most meaningful, but we are trying to mine the signals to get the best representation that we can," Hegeman said.

Known for setting annual personal goals ranging from killing his own food to learning Mandarin, Zuckerberg's stated mission for this year is to 'fix' the social network, including by targeting abuse and hate, and making sure visiting Facebook is time well spent.

"I'm changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions," Zuckerberg said Thursday.

1/12/2018 12:27:56 PM
<![CDATA[Horrible carriage, unwieldy crowns: Queen Elizabeth's candid views of royal jewels]]>
Elizabeth, Britain's longest-reigning monarch, was crowned queen on June 2, 1953 at London's Westminster Abbey, in a ancient, grand service whose origins date back 1,000 years.

In a very rare, personal account for a BBC documentary to be aired on Sunday, she speaks candidly about the occasion and some of the Crown Jewels which play a symbolic role in the ceremony.

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Queen Elizabeth before the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords in London, Britain, May 27, 2015.

"Horrible," she said of the ride in the four-tonne carriage from Buckingham Palace to the abbey where English monarchs have been crowned since 1066. "It's only sprung on leather, not very comfortable."

Elizabeth, now 91, was just 25 when she became queen on the death of her father George VI in 1952, with the coronation taking place the following year.

"It's the sort of I suppose the beginning of one's life really as a sovereign," she said. "It is sort of a pageant of chivalry and old-fashioned way of doing things really. I've seen one coronation (her father's in 1937) and been the recipient in the other, which is pretty remarkable."

Giving her personal recollection, the queen also reveals how she had struggled with her coronation dress, which was embroided in silk with pearls, and gold and silver thread.

"I remember one moment when I was going against the pile of the carpet and I couldn't move at all," she said.

The documentary also features informal footage taken behind the scenes, including images of son and heir Prince Charles, then aged four, and his younger sister Anne playing underneath the queen's long robe.

"Not what they're meant to do," the queen quips.


Charles has previously revealed how his mother had practised wearing the 2.2 kg (4.9 lb) St Edward's Crown while he was being bathed.

Elizabeth wore two crowns for the occasion: the St Edward's Crown, which she has never worn since, and the diamond-encrusted Imperial State Crown which she wears at formal occasions such as the opening of parliament when she delivers a speech outlining the government's legislative plans.

"You can't look down to read the speech, you have to take the speech up. Because if you did, your neck would break and it (the crown) would fall off," she said smiling. "So there are some disadvantages to crowns but otherwise they're quite important things."

queen2FILE PHOTO: Britain's Queen Elizabeth before the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords in London, Britain, May 27, 2015.

The documentary shows her peering inquisitively and then grinning as she taps at pearls hanging on the 1 kg (2.3 lb) crown, two of which are said to have been bought by her Tudor namesake Queen Elizabeth I.

"They were meant to be Queen Elizabeth's earrings," she said. "They don't look very happy now. Most pearls like to be living creatures so they've just been hanging out here for years which is rather sad."

Elizabeth has never given a formal interview during her long reign and Coronation expert Alastair Bruce, whom the queen spoke to for the programme, said their 1-1/2-hour interaction had been a "conversation".

"You don't ask the queen a direct question, so you pose a comment that the queen then responds to," he told reporters.

He said he had the impression the queen was probably not fond of the heavy crown and was "very practical" in her treatment of the crown jewels.

He cited how during their conversation the crown had been slightly out of the queen's reach so he asked the crown jeweller to help move the table it was on a bit closer.

Instead, the queen herself pulls the table towards her.

Bruce said: "If you look very closely, the table suddenly just goes 'woomf' and the crown 'woomf' and the crown jeweller is left there with nothing and she says 'well you know, it's my crown."]]>
1/12/2018 11:06:27 AM
<![CDATA[Gucci is now serving haute-cuisine ]]>
The Gucci Garden Galleria exhibition was designed by critic Maria Luisa Frisa. The two floors include rooms, each with its own specific theme, honoring the history and future of Gucci and its impact on pop culture.

On their website, Gucci described the first room “Guccification” as the place where the development of the iconic double G motif as well as the new Instagram trending Guccy, Guccify and Guccification is displayed throughout the years. The second is “Paraphernalia” that houses the symbols and signatures of Gucci’s design history. “Cosmorama” presents the jet-setter advancement era. “De Rerum Natur” is two rooms that are dedicated to Michele’s creative mind and inspirations. “Ephemera” brings this creative genius’s garden of dreams journey to an end, where the fashion giant’s phenomenal items and videos are displayed to parade the historic events of Gucci.

The red-velvet cinema program includes a preview of Zeus Machine/Phoenix, a short film by the ZAPRUDER filmmakers group.

At the end of 2017, Gucci won hearts when they announced that they will no longer be using real fur or animal skin in their creations, and have joined the Fur Free Alliance, an organization that aims to end the fur trade. This made them a favorite of 2017, while Alessandro Michele’s creations made a big statement using Gucci’s signature red and green, big logo and beautiful floral embroidery all while gaining the support of a significant cult. Guccio Gucci started selling leather bags to horsemen in the 1920’s. As the clientele developed, the style evolved into the luxury brand it is known as today.

1/11/2018 6:29:05 PM
<![CDATA[Old dog, new tricks: Sony unleashes 'intelligent' robot pet]]>
The sleek ivory-white puppy-sized "aibo" robot shook its head and wagged its tail as if waking from a nap when it was taken out of a cocoon-shaped case at a "birthday ceremony" held in Tokyo.

Seven-year-old boy Naohiro Sugimoto from Tokyo was among the first to get his hands on the shiny new toy, which he described as "heavy but cute".

"The dog we had previously died... We bought this robot dog as we wanted a (new) family," he said.

The 30-centimetre (one-foot) long hound-like machine comes complete with flapping ears and its eyes, made of a cutting-edge light-emitting display, can show various emotions.

Aibo is also fitted with an array of sensors, cameras and microphones and boasts internet connectivity.

The owner can play with the pet remotely via smartphone and even teach it tricks from the office for the faithful hound to perform when its "master" gets home.

It builds up a "character" by interacting with people and while not always submissive, it is friendly towards those who are kind to it.

What the machine "learns" is stored in the cloud so its "character" can be preserved even in the event of hardware damage.

Photos it takes can also be shared.

But such cutting-edge canine technology does not come cheap, with the aibo costing nearly $3,000 for a three-year package, including software services such as data storage.

- 'Touches a chord' -

Aibo is not the Japanese electronic giant's first foray into the animal robot entertainment world.

Its earlier robot dog was put to sleep more a decade ago -- a victim of business restructuring -- shocking fans.

Sony rolled out the first-generation dog in June 1999, with the initial batch of 3,000 selling out in just 20 minutes, despite a hefty price tag of 250,000 yen ($2,200 at current rates).

Over the following years, more than 150,000 units were sold, with numerous models ranging from gleaming metallic-silver versions to round-faced cub-like models.

But by 2006, Sony was in trouble. Its business model was under pressure and it was facing fierce competition from rivals in all fields.

The robot dog, an expensive and somewhat frivolous luxury, had to go.

Yasuyuki Nakamura, another owner of the new generation Aibo -- his third robot pet -- said he was happy to see the dog back in Sony's catalogue.

"I had been waiting (for a new aibo). I ordered one as I was happy to see this kind of business was revived," the 46-year-old said.

A middle-aged couple said they bought the robot for their 25th anniversary this year.

Sony plans to release the new aibo overseas as well but no details are set yet.

The dog does not speak human languages or perform tasks such as turning a light on.

But that is not the point of the product, according to Sony's Izumi Kawanishi who is in charge of the project.

"You don't think about what the dog can do when you want to get a dog, do you?," he asked reporters.

"The point is that it touches a chord (with people)," he said.

1/11/2018 1:02:54 PM
<![CDATA[In digital age, circus maintains flesh-and-blood appeal]]>
The 12th Budapest International Circus Festival, with artists from all over the world, has performances from horseback-riders, jugglers, illusionists and aerial acrobats.

And this year, it pays tribute to the 250th anniversary of the founding of the modern circus by Philip Astley, an English equestrian, in London in 1768.

“The circus has a big show value. My father liked it and I think the important thing is you ... must have some kind of emotion, and if this feeling, this emotion comes out, the public gets it,” Chaplin told Reuters.

Chaplin was the biggest star in Hollywood’s silent movie era. Eugene Chaplin is one of his 11 children, and is a renowned recording engineer, and documentary filmmaker.

In the opening act, Kevin Richter, a young Hungarian artist, performs a traditional horseback acrobat act, riding close to 20 horses in the circus ring.

“The audience loves it that it is not a film they are watching, not some kind of edited recording, or a digitalized film ... here acrobats risk their lives and this is a unique experience,” said Florian Richter, his father.

Florian himself won the Golden Clown award at the 32nd Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in 2008 with his own horseback act.
1/11/2018 12:54:15 PM
<![CDATA[Mom’s age at birth linked to daughter’s later childlessness]]>
Compared with women born to 20- to 24-year-old mothers, daughters born to mothers in their mid-20s or 30s were more likely to be childless, the study authors report in the journal Human Reproduction.

“In many countries, couples are having children later and later, and there haven’t been many studies of future reproduction,” said study author Dr. Olga Basso of McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Basso and colleagues analyzed data from the U.S.-based Sister Study on more than 43,000 women born between 1930 and 1964.

Overall, about 7,600 women - or nearly 18 percent - hadn’t given birth. The researchers found that as maternal age at delivery went up, so did the odds that daughters would be childless.

Compared with study participants born to 20- to 24-year-old mothers, for instance, the odds of childlessness were 21 percent higher for participants born to mothers ages 25-29, 30 percent higher for women born to mothers ages 30 to 34, and 40 percent higher for women born to mothers who were 35 or older.

Basso and colleagues want to know why. They’re interested in future studies about changes in biology, behavior and socioeconomic status and how those could affect birth and childlessness.

“It could be that women who have children at an older age have daughters instilled with different behaviors,” Basso said. “They may have different ambitions and different plans.”

“I was concerned when I saw these findings because I really think women should have children when they’re ready as a matter of choice,” she told Reuters Health by phone. “I don’t want people to believe, as a result of this, that they need to have children when they’re 25.”

Additional studies are looking at the effect of father’s age on childlessness and the historical trends of childbirth.

“We’ve seen an increase in age at first birth, or when women have their first child, but the age hasn’t changed much for last birth,” said Ruben Arslan of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany. Arslan, who wasn’t involved with this study, researches delayed childbearing.

“In past decades, women had children for longer and had more children,” Arslan told Reuters Health by phone. “What we’re seeing is not unprecedented, and it’s not a reason to get worried about childbearing now.”

The main limitation of the study is that researchers didn’t know whether women’s childlessness was by choice and intentional.

“It’s important to think about the consequences and social structures that would give women more choices,” said Dr. Sarah Hayford of Ohio State University in Columbus. Hayford, who wasn’t involved with this study, researches childlessness trends in the U.S.

“The question of childlessness is often framed as a negative outcome, without asking about whether it was voluntary or not,” Hayford told Reuters Health by phone. “But studying the voluntary nature is a complicated task, especially over a broad population, when it’s such a personal decision.”

The cultural context is key, too. A stronger family orientation, religiosity, and other cultural values may contribute to earlier childbearing, which may be passed down to children, said Dr. Martin Kolk of Stockholm University in Sweden, who studies intergenerational patterns of childbearing but wasn’t involved with this study.

“Fertility decisions are often shared between daughters (and sons) and mothers (and fathers),” Kolk told Reuters Health by email. “We’re seeing additional evidence that there is a strong familial and cultural factor affecting childbearing.”

1/11/2018 12:47:35 PM
<![CDATA[Top 6 diets to try in 2018]]>

Benefits: Good for your heart, easy to adapt, and has a long-term weight loss rate.

What’s on the menu: 2,000 calorie intake, which means that you can enjoy eggs, bran, chicken, fruit and vegetables, and low/free fat dairy products. The best part about the DASH diet is the fact that it does not forbid you fatty and sugary foods, it just limits them.

2. MEDITERRANEAN DIET – tied in first place with the DASH diet

Benefits: Cancer and diabetes prevention and control. A healthy heart and brain along with the main objective of long-term weight loss.

What’s on the menu: You are allowed to indulge in pasta, chocolate (dark), chicken, fish, fruit and vegetables, and Greek yogurt. It maybe a costly diet, but it includes something from every step on the food pyramid, so you will not feel like you are making any sacrifices.


Benefits: The obvious weight loss, perfect health; it even grants you an extra average of 3.6 years to your lifetime.

What’s on the menu: With at total of 1,500 calories splitting them between three meals; breakfast 300, lunch 400 and snacks 150. You will consume a lot of vegetable protein with some tofu and whole grain. Flexitarian, which equals flexible and vegetarian, was created by Dawn Jackson Blatner. She wrote the book "The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life."


Benefits: Customized for your own appetite and lifestyle while losing 2 pounds on a weekly basis.

What’s on the menu: You will adjust your eating habits gradually with the SmartPoints plan. It is based on your very own specifications, such as height, weight, gender and age. Each food has points, such as fatty foods will have up to 290,000, and healthy options such as fruit and vegetable have none.


Benefits: The love child of the Dash diet and the Mediterranean diet, which is full of healthy food options that benefit your brain and help prevent Alzheimer's disease.
What’s on the menu: There will be 10 brain-healthy food groups introduced into your diet: olive oil, beans, fish, chicken, nuts, berries and vegetables. Fatty foods, such as pastries, fast food and red meat, will be cut out.


Benefits: Lowers your cholesterol levels.

What’s on the menu: Men get 2,500 calories per day while women get 1,800 if the aim is to lower cholesterol, and if weight loss is also a goal, the limit is 1,600 calories for men, 1,200 for women. You can enjoy roasted meat, skinless chicken, popcorn for snacks, and of course the dietary usual fruits and vegetables and whole grains.]]>
1/10/2018 7:51:02 PM
<![CDATA[The Versace Mansion New Era Hotel]]>
Legendary fashion designer Gianni Versace was murdered on the footsteps of the Miami mansion in the summer of 1997 by notorious serial killer Andrew Cunanan.

The Villa Casa Casuarina has now been renovated to accommodate a restaurant, roof top lounge, bar, spa and gym, accompanied by 10 unique elegant suites that embody the true spirit of Versace.

The luxury hotel offers tourists and guests an offbeat dinning, shopping and entertainment experience for $1,900 per night.

The mansion was originally built in 1930 by Aden Freeman, an oil fortune benefactor who was a well-traveled architect. The Villa Casa Casuarina was built as a tribute to the Alcazan De Golen.

The place had 24 apartments, and Freeman occupied the top floor, while the rest of the rooms were rented out and used as guest rooms for his friends, according to the VmMiamiBeach website.

Versace purchased the mansion after he spotted it while on vacation in Miami with his family. He paid $2.95 million for the villa and $3.7 million for the neighboring Art Deco Hotel “Hotel Revere”, which he demolished to build the south wing, garden and the 24k-gold-tile Poseidon swimming pool.

He splurged on the renovations that cost $32 million in order to create the masterpiece mansion, which was completed in three years. It is said that Santo would occupy the Venus room, and Donatella had the Signature suite.

Remaining are the beautiful artsy walls, floors, ceilings, windows, pool, garden and south wing from the Versace era.

Donetalla sold the mansion after Gianni’s death in 2000 for $19 million to Peter Loftin.

Photo Via The Villa Casa Casuarina

Born on December 2, 1946, to a dressmaker, Versace learned how to design and sew by age nine with the help of his mother. He showcased his first collection in 1978. Being known for his artistic eye when it came to the photography of creations and models, Versace worked with some of the best photographers in the industry, such as Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel and Richard Avedon.

As this year marks the 20th anniversary of Versace’s passing, Donatella decided to dedicate the spring 2018 collection to her late brother.

The show took place at Triennale Museum in Milan and made history from start to finish. Donatella had gone through Gianni’s masterpieces and prints from the early 1990s to 1995 as inspiration for the 2018 spring collection. However, that was not the only surprise Donatella had for the guests.

She brought out the original supermodels of Versace – Helena Christensen, Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer and Cindy Crawford – for a goosebump-inducing finale. The supermodels were dressed in Gianni’s original Metal Mesh collection from the fall of 1994.

Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen at the finale of the Versace spring collection of 2018 – YouTube/Versace Screenshot

1/10/2018 5:55:40 PM
<![CDATA[Exercise may reduce disability even in frail elders]]>
Researchers randomly assigned 1,635 adults ages 70 to 89 to participate either in a structured exercise program or in health education workshops. The exercisers did up to 150 minutes a week of walking and activities to improve strength, balance and flexibility.

After two years, people who weren’t frail at the start of the study were no less likely to become frail with exercise than without it, the study found. But with exercise, they were less likely to lose their ability to rise from a chair, one component of frailty.

“The benefits of physical activity in terms of preventing physical disability still persist in older adults who are already experiencing symptoms of frailty,” said senior study author Roger Fielding of Tufts University in Boston.

“Nearly all older adults can benefit from a regular structured program of physical activity including those who are frail,” Fielding said by email. “In non-frail older adults, exercise may reduce the risk of developing specific components of the frailty syndrome like losing the ability to rise from a chair.”

At the start of the study, participants typically had some functional limitations, but they could walk 400 meters (0.25 miles) in 15 minutes or less without assistance. About 6 percent of the people in the exercise group and 5 percent in the health education group were already considered frail.

People were considered frail if they could not rise from a chair 5 times without using the arms, had lost a significant amount of weight recently, and felt like they had no energy.

Two years later, about 19 percent of the people in the exercise group and 21 percent in the health education group were frail. The difference between the groups was so small that it might have been due to chance.

The inability to rise from a chair was the only frailty criterion that was influenced by the exercise program. The percentage of participants who couldn’t accomplish this task was about 3 percent to 6 percent lower in the exercise group than in the health education group.

One limitation of the study is that researchers didn’t have data to show which individual components of the exercise program might have influenced frailty or disability.

Still, the results suggest that most elderly people can benefit from exercise, said Dr. Rebecca Brown, author of an accompanying editorial and a geriatrics researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

“While there isn’t definitive evidence (yet) that exercise can prevent frailty, this study shows that exercise reduces the risk of disability, whether or not you are frail,” Brown said by email.

1/10/2018 8:42:00 AM
<![CDATA[Big designers step off London men's catwalk amid digital disruption]]>
The event will see around 50 traditional catwalk shows over three days, with the remainder of the 80 designers on the bill showcasing their wares through a variety of other events, including digitally.

The transition to new methods of connecting with buyers has cost the event some of its biggest catwalk names. Punk icon Vivienne Westwood announced last month that she would eschew a runway show and showcase her collection via an audio-visual presentation.

Other big Brands, including Britain’s Burberry and J.W. Anderson, decided to skip the event last year and this year respectively, in favour of holding ‘co-ed’ shows during London’s fashion week for womenswear in February.

“All we’re trying to do is shorten the distance from a consumer to a pair of trousers,” said London Fashion Week Men’s Chairman Dylan Jones, who is also the editor of British GQ magazine.

“If a brand or a designer deems that it’s much better for them to do a joint show, a show out of season, a digital show, go direct to consumer – doesn’t matter. It’s all about amplifying British creativity and selling.”


Designers have been placing more emphasis on their digital presence in recent years, courting social media influencers with the same assiduousness that they traditionally reserved for the fashion press.

Online sales are a particularly important revenue stream in Britain’s over 14 billion pound menswear industry, growing by over 17 percent between 2010 and 2015 - outpacing all other categories in the sector - according to researchers IbisWorld.

With a shortage of big names on the catwalk this year, organisers said the event was returning to how it was originally envisioned - as a platform for young British talent.

“International media and retailers come to London for this excitement, these new businesses, the ones that are setting the menswear world on fire and you can only get that in London,” said British Fashion Council Chief Executive Caroline Rush.

It was a sentiment echoed by Jones, who saw the changes in the industry as a source of excitement.

“It’s mutating and developing and changing each season. And that’s the great thing about fashion – it keeps changing.”

1/10/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Versace family disowns 'fiction' of U.S. TV series on designer's death]]>
The nine-part series, made by 21st Century Fox and premiering next week, stars Spanish actress Penelope Cruz and Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin.

Versace was gunned down in 1997 at the entrance gate of his Miami beach mansion by serial killer Andrew Cunanan.

The Versace company “did not authorise and was not involved in the television series,” it said in a statement on Monday.

The series had to be considered “an act of fiction”, it said, given it drew inspiration from a book that was not authorised - Maureen Orth’s ‘Vulgar favours’.

A spokesman for 21st Century Fox had no immediate comment.

Versace founded his eponymous fashion house, famous for its Medusa head logo, in 1978. In 2014 U.S. private equity firm Blackstone bought a 20 percent stake. Gianni’s sister Donatella is artistic director and vice-president of the group.

1/10/2018 7:33:00 AM
<![CDATA[et Quote: Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge]]>
“Addiction is a hugely complex and destructive disease, and its impact can be simply devastating. All too often, lives and families can be shattered by it.” – Kate Middleton

“My parents taught me about the importance of qualities like kindness, respect, and honesty; I realize how central values like these have been to me throughout my life.” – Kate Middleton

“A child's mental health is just as important as their physical health and deserves the same quality of support.” – Kate Middleton

“The challenge that so many people have is not knowing how to take that first step of reaching out to another person for help.” – Kate Middleton

“Yes, well I really hope I can make a difference, even in the smallest way. I am looking forward to helping as much as I can.” – Kate Middleton

“With the right help, children have a good chance of overcoming their issues while they are still young and can have the bright future they deserve.” – Kate Middleton

“Since beginning my work in areas like addiction, for example, I have seen time and time again that the roots of poor mental health in adulthood are almost always present in unresolved childhood challenges.” – Kate Middleton

“Together with open conversations and greater understanding, we can ensure that attitudes for mental health change and children receive the support they deserve.” – Kate Middleton

“No one would feel embarrassed about seeking help for a child if they broke their arm – and we really should be equally ready to support a child coping with emotional difficulties.” – Kate Middleton

“We need to help young people and their parents understand that it's not a sign of weakness to ask for help.” – Kate Middleton

1/9/2018 12:36:55 PM
<![CDATA[iPhone addiction may be a virtue, not a vice for investors]]>
Hedge fund JANA Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) pension fund said on Saturday that iPhone overuse could be hurting children’s developing brains, an issue that may harm the company’s long-term market value.

But some investors said the habit-forming nature of gadgets and social media are one reason why companies like Apple, Google parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) and Facebook Inc (FB.O) added $630 billion to their market value in 2017.

“We invest in things that are addictive,” said Apple shareholder Ross Gerber, chief executive of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management.

He also owns stock in coffee retailer Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O), casino operator MGM Resorts International (MGM.N) and alcohol maker Constellation Brands Inc (STZ.N).

“Addictive things are very profitable,” Gerber said.

Still, the investment community is increasingly holding companies to higher social standards, and there is some concern that market-leading tech companies could draw attention from regulators much like alcohol, tobacco and gambling companies have in the past.

Alphabet and Facebook could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday. Facebook has said social media can be beneficial if used appropriately.

In a statement to Reuters, Apple said it has offered a range of controls on iPhones since 2008 that allow parents to restrict content, including apps, movies, websites, songs and books, as well as cellular data, password settings and other features.

“Effectively anything a child could download or access online can be easily blocked or restricted by a parent,” Apple said in the statement.

Apple shares fell marginally on Monday. CalSTRS holds $1.9 billion in Apple stock, a sliver of the company’s nearly $900 billion market value, while JANA declined to disclose the size of its smaller stake.

“Before Apple speaks, I think it’s too early to change the narrative” for investors, said Peter Jones, vice president of research for Ferguson Wellman Capital Management, which has about 350,000 Apple shares.

Social media companies, not hardware makers, are more deserving of any addiction-related scrutiny, some said.

Jordan Waldrep, who invests in alcohol, tobacco and gambling stocks as manager of the USA Mutuals Vice Fund (VICEX.O), said blaming Apple for its customers’ addiction was analogous to blaming makers of cigarette packs instead of tobacco companies.

“The social media, the cigarettes, are the addictive product,” he said. Waldrep’s Vice fund does not own Apple, but Waldrep said he would consider including social media companies.

Kim Forrest, senior portfolio manager and vice president at Fort Pitt Capital Group, agreed that companies like Facebook, Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) and Snap Inc (SNAP.N) might be more at risk than Apple if investors and regulators push back on how much time people spend on mobile devices.

“Apple is just the delivery device,” said Forrest, who said Fort Pitt has limited Apple holdings. “It’s only compelling with software. Software is the dopamine releaser that keeps you coming back.”

Twitter declined to comment and Snap could not immediately be reached.

The letter from JANA and CalSTRS recommends Apple set up a committee of child-development experts and make more new tools available to parents.

In its statement, Apple did not directly respond to the investors’ demands but said changes are in store for its parental controls. It did not provide details.

“We are constantly looking for ways to make our experiences better,” Apple said. “We have new features and enhancements planned for the future, to add functionality and make these tools even more robust.”

The addiction issue gained notoriety when former Disney child star Selena Gomez said she canceled a 2016 world tour to go to therapy for depression and low self-esteem, feelings she linked to a social media addiction.

Fears about smartphone addiction have already kicked off regulatory backlash. In December, the French education minister said mobile phones would be banned in schools, and draft legislation in France would require children under 16 to seek parental approval to open a Facebook account.

Even tech insiders are among the vocal critics of social media and its addictive potential.

“Apple Watches, Google Phones, Facebook, Twitter - they’ve gotten so good at getting us to go for another click, another dopamine hit,” said Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive, on Twitter.

John Streur, chief executive of Calvert Research and Management, an Apple shareholder that focuses on social responsibility, said it is plausible that tech devices may some day be understood to hold risks we do not currently understand well.

That would hurt investors if evidence later emerged that companies intentionally built features that create dependency and had evidence that doing so was unsafe.

For the time being, John Carey, a portfolio manager at Amundi Pioneer Asset Management in Boston, said concerns over the human impacts from being glued to screens are not likely to cut into profits. The company holds Apple stock, but the funds Carey manages do not.

“I doubt there will be any impact on the use of smartphones,” he said. “We’re already addicted to them.”

(Adds statement from Apple)

1/9/2018 12:32:44 PM
<![CDATA[Toyota unveils self-driving concept vehicle for rides, deliveries]]>
The world's second-biggest carmaker said it plans to begin testing the e‐Palette concept vehicle in various regions, including the United States, in the early 2020s. It will come in three sizes: a bus-sized vehicle, a shuttle and a small delivery vehicle sized to run on sidewalks.

Toyota said at the CES global technology conference in Las Vegas that it will work with companies including Amazon.com Inc , Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing Technology Co, Pizza Hut, Mazda Motor Corp and Uber Technologies Inc to build the vehicle and its hardware and software support and develop connected mobility products.

After intense research and development in self-driving technology, automakers are beginning to unveil clearly defined autonomous vehicle strategies and looking to apply the technology to uses like ride services, shuttle services and package deliveries.

Toyota took longer than rivals to warm to the idea of autonomous vehicles, but has committed $1 billion through 2020 to develop advanced automated driving and artificial intelligence technology. It plans to begin testing cars that can drive themselves on highways around 2020.

"This announcement marks a major step forward in our evolution towards sustainable mobility, demonstrating our continued expansion beyond traditional cars and trucks to the creation of new values including services for customers," said Toyota President Akio Toyoda in a statement.

The vehicle features an open control interface enabling Toyota's partner companies to install their own automated driving system. Toyota's so-called "guardian" technology will then act as a safety net, the company said.

Carmakers, tech companies and other service providers have partnered on self-driving projects over past two years, due to the difficulty and high cost of developing such technology alone.]]>
1/9/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[et Jewelry designer of the week: Ammanii]]>
The collection is inspired by Shaker’s love of skylines, as shown by the name, which means ‘sky’ in Arabic. Shaker would observe all the different skylines she would come across around the world, and note their differences and surprising similarities. Shaker came to the realization that the sky is a universal blanket for all of us, regardless of race, gender, religion or any other discrimination.

Ammanii Sa’maa collection shot - Courtesy of Ammanii.


The Sa’maa collection features 18 pieces of jewelry, including earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets. The signatures figures of the collection are celestial forms such as stars and crescents. All the pieces are silver, plated with 18 karat gold – sometimes 21 karat gold – using the technique of micro-plating, which ensures the longevity of the pieces. There are also pieces in the collection that are plated in ruthenium, giving the pieces their black color. The black is mostly used to highlight the star and crescent shapes. A sanding technique has been used on the pieces to create a textured finish, alluding to the designer’s Egyptian heritage.



In addition to the silver and gold, the collection uses fresh-water pearls and natural, semi-precious stones, the most prominent of which is the lapis lazuli – once considered precious to the Ancient Egyptians. Ancient Egyptians considered silver to be more precious than gold, the reason why Shaker chose to use it as the main material in her designs. They believed the bones of their deities were made of silver, and their skin of gold. Shaker believes that women should also wear silver as they are similarly strong; they are the foundation of the family, the stronger part.

Ammanii Sa’maa Collection. Via Official Ammanii Website, compiled by Egypt Today

1/8/2018 4:47:18 PM
<![CDATA[Homeless clampdown sparks UK royal wedding row]]>
But with less than five months to go until the May 19 wedding of her grandson Prince Harry and US actress Meghan Markle in the mediaeval castle's chapel, the local authority's bid to sweep the homeless off the streets has triggered indignation.

Simon Dudley, the Conservative leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council, has urged the local Thames Valley Police force to take action against their "aggressive begging and intimidation".

"A large number of adults that are begging in Windsor are not in fact homeless," he wrote in a letter, while those that were genuinely homeless had rejected secure accommodation in order to keep begging.

"This is creating a concerning and hostile atmosphere for our residents and the seven million tourists who come to Windsor each year."

The level of interest in Windsor, some 20 miles (35 kilometres) west of London, is "set to multiply" ahead of the royal wedding, he added.

According to the business valuation consultancy Brand Finance, the event should draw hundreds of thousands of extra tourists to the town, normally home to just 30,000 people, in 2018.

The British economy could be set to benefit to the tune of £500 million ($680 million, 565 million euros), they claimed.

- Homeless by 'choice' -

Dudley said the genuinely homeless, having rejected help, were on the streets by "voluntary choice".

Sheltering from the wintry wind, Stephanie, who has been in the town centre for two years after suffering mental illness, insisted: "I don't choose to sit here."

"Whatever people give me, they give me. I don't choose to ask for money to get given something to eat, like sandwiches," she told AFP.

The council's plans have been condemned by, among others, the Conservative MP for Maidenhead -- Prime Minister Theresa May.

Murphy James, the Windsor Homeless Project manager, was all the more shocked by the proposed clampdown as Harry and his brother Prince William have long been involved in work with the homeless -- William having even slept rough by a bridge in London.

"I am pretty sure they're as outraged by the comments that have been made as I am and many of the Windsor residents are," James told AFP in the church where the project offers hot meals, clothes and a shower.

Regardless of the royal marriage, the authorities should pursue the reasons why people end up on the streets rather than the homeless themselves, he said.

"It's a constant problem," he said.

"We've always had between 12 and 15 people sleeping rough. The majority of those people don't beg."

He claimed there was a lack of emergency accommodation in the town and deplored the state of the housing provided by the local authority -- often "infested with rats", he said.

- 'A lovely day' -

Many passers-by in Windsor barely take notice of its homeless population.

Peggy Outhwaite said she was uncomfortable waiting for the bus while a homeless man took up residence in the bus shelter.

"I don't think that they should be here," she said of the homeless.

"This is a royal town and Harry should have his day -- and a lovely day at that," the pensioner told AFP.

Derek Prime, who runs a souvenir shop already selling mugs and trinkets with Harry and his fiancee's faces on, doubted the council's claims to have proper accommodation in place.

Dudley "really wants to come out here and spend a night on the street just to see what it's like," he said.

Thames Valley Police commissioner Anthony Stansfeld, an elected official, is preparing a response to Dudley's letter.

Last month, Dudley complained on Twitter of the "epidemic of rough sleeping and vagrancy" in the royal town.

But the local police hit back on the social media network, saying: "Housing is the responsibility of the council but it is better that agencies work together so people don't become homeless."

1/8/2018 3:04:38 PM
<![CDATA[Time’s up movement at the Golden Globes]]>
Actresses and actors wear black in solidarity with the Time’s up movement/ Via REUTERS/Paul Drinkwater

1. Both actresses and actors opted to wear black on the red carpet – as opposed to the usual rainbow of gowns and tuxedos – in solidarity with the Time’s Up campaign, which aims to fight sexual harassment in the work place.

Actresses and actors wear black in solidarity with the Time’s Up movement/ Via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

2. Many figures spoke about the need for gender equality. Natalie Portman drew attention to the all-male list of nominees for Best Director, despite the presence of excellent female choices for the award this year. Laura Dern took advantage of her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series to say, “Many of us were taught not to tattle. It was a culture of silencing, and that was normalized... May we teach our children that speaking out without the fear of retribution is our culture’s new North Star.” Oprah Winfrey, who was the first black woman to be awarded the Cecil B. de Mille award, promised, “A new day is on the horizon!”

Host, Seth Meyers, addressed the sexual abuse allegations in Hollywood/ Via REUTERS/Paul Drinkwater

3.The actors have been building support for this movement for the past few weeks on social media via Instagram and Twitter posts, promoting the hashtags #MeToo, #WhyWeWearBlack and #TimesUp. Host, Seth Meyers, did not shy away from the elephant in the room either. He addressed the Harvey Weinstein scandal and jabbed at other alleged harassers in Hollywood. Oprah Winfrey ended her acceptance speech with a resounding statement that summarizes the mood of the night, "For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up!"

1/8/2018 2:58:22 PM
<![CDATA[CES kicks off with no lead women speakers or code of conduct]]>
CES, the showcase for the latest consumer electronics from televisions to self-driving cars, is known for mostly male attendees and female models known as ‘booth babes’ showing off the new technology.

It has attracted criticism for not making itself more welcoming for women or toning down its sexualized atmosphere even as the issue of harassment and assault has grabbed headlines in the last six months and propelled the #MeToo movement into life.

“The fact that this large global gathering of tech leaders is totally ignoring this issue makes them completely tone deaf and irresponsible,” said Liliana Aide Monge, chief executive of California coding school Sabio, who is skipping CES for the second year in a row because of the lack of women and minority speakers.

The organizers of CES, which opens its doors to nearly 200,000 attendees in Las Vegas on Tuesday, drew criticism last month from executives at Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) and other tech companies for a keynote list dominated by white men. CES made a concerted push to diversify its entire speaker lineup, but ultimately failed to find a high-ranking female executive for an individual keynote address.

“To keynote at CES, the speaker must head (president/CEO level) a large entity who has name recognition in the industry,” said Karen Chupka, who oversees the event as senior vice president at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), in a blog post a month ago. “As upsetting as it is, there is a limited pool when it comes to women in these positions. We feel your pain. It bothers us, too. The tech industry and every industry must do better.”

On top of that, CES also will go forward without creating a code of conduct, a mechanism several conferences in technology and other industries have adopted in recent years to set rules for behavior for attendees, from guidelines on using inclusive language in presentations to requirements that attendees wear name tags at all events, even after hours, to deter misconduct.

”It’s sad that CES doesn’t have a code of conduct,” said Y-Vonne Hutchinson, founder of ReadySet, a diversity-focused consulting firm. “They have a lot of influence. If they’re choosing not to leverage that to promote diversity and inclusion at large, that communicates to the rest of the industry that maybe it isn’t as necessary as we keep saying that it is.”

Evidence of the effect on shows’ safety and tone is mostly anecdotal, but several conferences with these codes, including hacker convention DEF CON, CoreOS Fest and Cloud Foundry Summit, say they have removed attendees after reports of harassment.

The stakes are high for the technology industry, rocked in the past year by a sexual harassment scandal at Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] and misconduct by some prominent Silicon Valley investors.

The organizers of CES say they expect attendees to heed their own companies’ standards of business conduct and will kick out anyone who behaves poorly, but will not introduce a set of guidelines.

”We don’t necessarily have specific rules because we assume everyone will be held accountable to the standards of being in an office,” said Chupka.

“Unacceptable” behavior would be addressed by the executive team and legal counsel as necessary, the CTA said. “We have the right at any time to revoke a show badge and/or trespass an individual.” CES notes that it has received no reports of sexual harassment at the event in recent years.

Women subjected to uncomfortable situations at or near past CES gatherings told Reuters that they did not report incidents because they were too used to it or did not recognize there was a way to do so.

To change that thinking, the show is debuting a security app that lets attendees report issues from crimes to broken elevators. While there will be no effort to promote the app specifically as a way to report sexual harassment, attendees may do so, and CES said its lawyers will be ready to act.

The need for a code of conduct became apparent at Finland’s Slush tech startup event in 2016 when multiple women spoke up about being inappropriately touched and receiving unwanted propositions for sex by male attendees as well as being ignored by investors who were only interested in working with male entrepreneurs.

The following year, it doubled security, trained staff on how to handle reports of harassment and instituted a code of conduct, including a requirement to wear name badges at all times as a way to make it easier for attendees to identify a harasser.

A similar approach has been adopted by some in the U.S. tech industry. Salesforce.com Inc’s (CRM.N) Dreamforce event, second only to CES in attendee numbers, added a code of conduct in 2014, while film, tech and music conference South by Southwest added one in 2016. Meanwhile, large conferences run by Oracle Corp (ORCL.N) and RSA Security have not adopted such a code.

It remains to be seen if CES’s lack of a code of conduct will prove costly.

Las Vegas’ reputation for excess is part of the problem, said Liz Lopez, a tech marketing professional who has attended several industry conferences in the city.

“People are over the edge in their behavior when they’re in Vegas,” she said.
1/8/2018 11:57:58 AM
<![CDATA[Golden Globes 2018 Red Carpet ]]>
Here are all of the blacked out looks from last night’s red carpet.

Actress Amy Poehler and activist Saru Jayaraman. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Actress Amy Poehler and activist Saru JayaramanVia REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Alessandra Mastronardi. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Alessandra Mastronardi Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Alexis Bledel in Oscar de la Renta. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Alexis Bledel in Oscar de la Renta Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Allison Williams in Armani Privé. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Allison Williams in Armani Privé Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Alvina Stewart, Anthony Anderson. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Alvina Stewart, Anthony Anderson Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Angelina Jolie wears Atelier Versace, Forevermark jewels, and Stuart Weitzman heels with Loung Ung. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Angelina Jolie wears Atelier Versace, Forever mark jewels, and Stuart Weitzman heels with Loung Ung Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Catherine Zeta-Jones wears Zuhair Murad and Charlotte Olympia heels. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Catherine Zeta-Jones wears Zuhair Murad and Charlotte Olympia heels Via REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Chris Hemsworth and Taika Waititi. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Chris Hemsworth and Taika Waititi Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Christina Hendricksin in Christian Siriano and Chopard jewelry. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Christina Hendricksin in Christian Siriano and Chopard jewelry Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Dakota Johnson wears Gucci and Nirav Modi jewelry. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Dakota Johnson wears Gucci and Nirav Modi jewelry Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

Debra Messing in Christian Siriano. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Debra Messing in Christian Siriano Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

Director Jane Campion. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Director Jane Campion Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

Director Reed Morano. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Director Reed Morano Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

Edgar Ramirez. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Edgar Ramirez Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

Elisabeth Moss wearing Christian Dior Haute Couture. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Elisabeth Moss wearing Christian Dior Haute Couture Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

Gaten Matarazzo. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Gaten Matarazzo Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

Gayle King in Marc Bouwer. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Gayle King in Marc Bouwer Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

Gillian Anderson in Solace London and Christian Louboutin. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Gillian Anderson in Solace London and Christian Louboutin Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

Giuliana Rancic in Sherri Hill. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Giuliana Rancic in Sherri Hill Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

Gwendoline Christie. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Gwendoline Christie in Sherri Hill Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

Heidi Klum in Ashi Studio Via REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Heidi Klum in Ashi Studio Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

James Franco, Dave Franco. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
James Franco, Dave Franco Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

Jamie Chung. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Jamie Chung Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

Jessica Chastain in Armani Privé and Piaget jewelry. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Jessica Chastain in Armani Privé and Piaget jewelry Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

Joseph Fiennes wears an all-black tuxedo and a pin with the words Time's Up. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Joseph Fiennes wears an all-black tuxedo and a pin with the words Time's Up Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel in Dior. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel in Dior Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

Kate Hudson in Valentino. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Kate Hudson in Valentino Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni"

Katherine Langford wears Prada. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Kelly Clarkson. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Kendall Jenner wears Giambattista Valli. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Kerry Washington wears Prabal Gurung. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Laurie Metcalf and Zoe Perry. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Lena Headey. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Mandy Moore in Rosie Assoulin and Irene Neuwirth jewelry. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Margot Robbie in Gucci REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Mariah Carey in Dolce & Gabbana, Chopard jewels, and Giuseppe Zanotti heels. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Meryl Streep wearing Vera Wang and the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Ai-jen Poo. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Michelle Pfeifferin Dior Haute Couture. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Millie Bobby Brown wearing Calvin Klein and Repossi jewelry. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Nick Jonas. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Octavia Spencer. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Penelope Cruz dressed in Ralph & Russo. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Rachel Brosnahan. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Roseanne Barr. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Sadie Sink. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Samara Weaving. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Samira Wiley. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Saoirse Ronan in Atelier Versace, Cartier jewelry, and Christian Louboutin shoes. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Sarah Paulson. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Sharon Stone and Roan Bronstein. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Simone Garcia Johnson. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Susan Kelechi Watson. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Tracee Ellis Ross wears Marc Jacobs. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Yvonne Strahovski. REUTERSMario Anzuoni

Zuri Hall. REUTERSMario Anzuoni
Zuri Hall Via REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
1/8/2018 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Christian Louboutin Best Instagram Moments]]>
“People say I am the king of painful shoes. I don't want to create painful shoes, but it is not my job to create something comfortable. I try to make high heels as comfortable as they can be, but my priority is design, beauty and sexiness. I'm not against them, but comfort is not my focus.” - Christian Louboutin

“A woman carries her clothes. But the shoe carries the woman.” - Christian Louboutin

Work can be play in #LouboutinWorld!

A post shared by Christian Louboutin (@louboutinworld) on

“You need to believe in yourself and what you do. Be tenacious and genuine.” - Christian Louboutin

“The heel is engineering in itself. This little thing that supports the human weight has to have a precise balance.” - Christian Louboutin

“Designing my shoes, I'm thinking timeless. Not trendy.” - Christian Louboutin

“You're abandoning a lot of ideas when you're too into comfort.” - Christian Louboutin

“When you sketch a shoe but don't have the intention to do a proper shoe, it remains a curvy sketch with no detail. The shoe completely morphs to the body.” - Christian Louboutin

“I have no problem with the idea of comfort, but it is not an important thing aesthetically. If you look at a shoe and immediately say it looks very comfortable, in terms of design, it is not going to excite me. Of course, I am not putting nails in my shoes to ensure everybody is in pain, but a heel is not a pair of slippers and never will be.” - Christian Louboutin

“The shiny red color of the soles has no function other than to identify to the public that they are mine. I selected the color because it is engaging, flirtatious, memorable, and the color of passion.” - Christian Louboutin

1/7/2018 6:43:54 PM
<![CDATA[et Quote: Christian Louboutin]]> - Christian Louboutin

The signature red-lacquered soles that he created have become a symbol of luxury, confidence and beauty; they have empowered women all over the world.

“A shoe is not only a design, but it's a part of your body language, the way you walk. The way you’re going to move is quite dictated by your shoes.” - Christian Louboutin

His love for shoes began in his hometown in Paris at a young age. The first pair of shoes that he fell in love with were drawn on a sign at a museum’s 50’s exhibit; the sign banned women from wearing sharp stiletto heels, as they would damage the delicate flooring. He would then see the sketch come to life being worn by a woman at a carnival festival in Paris one weekend while he was with his family in the 70’s, he mentioned in an interview with British Vogue at the Vogue Festival.

“A shoe has so much more to offer than just to walk.” - Christian Louboutin

Both of his parents are French but he deeply loves Egypt. His love for Egypt comes from his father’s side who is of Egyptian descent from four generation past. He now owns a home on the west banks of Luxor, where he escapes to fulfill his design process, which involves him completely isolating himself in a location that he is familiar with, is inspired by and has the weather that corresponds with the seasonal collection that he is designing. He believes that one must sleep and wake up already consumed by the process; hence, the small rooftop apartment he built on top of his factory in Italy.

“A woman can be sexy, charming, witty or shy with her shoes.” - Christian Louboutin

He started to leave his home at the age of 12, starting with one day a week away, then every weekend, until he permanently left, as he felt that he was mature and responsible enough to do so. His mother’s only concern was that he would be dressed badly for school as he wore pointed shoes, and socks with shorts. His mother would advise him to either remove the socks or shoes.

“The higher the better. It's more about an attitude. High heels empower women in a way.” - Christian Louboutin

He opened his company at the end of 1991 and now has 107 stores around the world. Louboutin personally visits and meets with the staff throughout the year.

“High heels are pleasure with pain.” - Christian Louboutin

1/7/2018 6:25:53 PM
<![CDATA[Twice-weekly workouts may be best medicine for cognitive decline]]>
Researchers reviewed 11,530 studies of so-called mild cognitive impairment (MCI), to see how many older people are affected and which interventions and lifestyle changes have been shown to improve symptoms.

MCI becomes increasingly common at older ages and is characterized by mild problems with thinking and memory that usually don’t interfere with daily life or independent function. People diagnosed with MCI are more likely, however, to go on to develop Alzheimer’s or other dementias than people without it.

Until now, said Ronald Petersen, the lead author of the new study and American Academy of Neurology (AAN) treatment guidelines, “Clinicians didn’t know what to do with these people. Now that we know that it’s a burgeoning condition we need to pay attention when folks come in and complain.”

Petersen, who directs the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in Rochester, Minnesota, and his coauthors found that between ages 60 and 64, 6.7 percent of people have MCI. In the 65-69 age group, that rises to 8.4 percent, and about 10 percent at ages 70-74, nearly 15 percent at 75-79 and just over 25 percent at ages 80 to 84.

When they looked at the use of drugs, such as cholinesterase inhibitors, they found “no high-quality evidence” that the medications work, according to the report in the journal Neurology.

Their analysis of studies looking at the effects of physical exercise on cognition did find a benefit, though. In one study involving 86 women with MCI, 70 to 80 years old, researchers found that twice-weekly resistance training for 26 weeks was more effective than aerobic training over the same time period at increasing what’s known as executive functioning. After completing the exercise regimen, the women were better able to plan, manage and organize their thoughts.

Based on their review, the authors updated a practice guideline for MCI to include, for the first time, a recommendation that people with the syndrome should exercise regularly as part of an overall approach to managing their symptoms.

“This is a rich area of study. I don’t think you can say that if you exercise 150 minutes a week you can push back cognitive decline a certain number of years,” Petersen said in a telephone interview. “We don’t know that for sure, but . . . physical exercise might be beneficial in slowing down the rate of cognitive decline since it has been shown to cause some stabilization or improvement of cognition.”

He thinks a combination of aerobic exercise and resistance training is likely best for MCI patients, but the data about its long-term effectiveness remains “scant.” He recommends that patients with MCI try to work up a sweat by walking briskly for 50 minutes, three times a week, because it might improve blood flow to the brain or induce enzymes to break down proteins that can build up into brain plaques.

Neurology researchers are hoping to develop more specific evidence-based guidelines on how much exercise and what kind is needed to potentially delay or prevent cognitive decline based on ongoing clinical trials, he noted.

The new AAN guideline, which is endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association, also urges clinicians to discuss with their MCI patients the diagnosis, prognosis, long-term planning and the lack of evidence that drugs and dietary options, such as vitamins E and C, homocysteine-lowering B vitamins and flavonoid-containing drinks, are at all effective.

Petersen and his colleagues also analyzed five studies of brain-training interventions and found “insufficient evidence to support or refute the use of any individual cognitive intervention strategy.” Nevertheless, they conclude that doctors may recommend this approach because it might improve specific cognitive skills.

“Continuing to be cognitively and physically active is paramount for overall brain health,” noted Dr. Neelum T. Aggarwal of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, who wasn’t involved in the review or guidelines.

Some cases of MCI are associated with reversible causes of cognitive impairment, including medication side effects, sleep apnea, depression and other medical conditions, so it’s important for patients to visit their healthcare provider at the first sign of memory problems, he said in a phone interview.
1/7/2018 1:07:49 PM
<![CDATA[Smokers more likely to need spinal surgery]]>
Researchers focused on a common cause of lower back pain known as lumbar spinal stenosis, which occurs when the spinal canal narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. The condition often develops as people age, but nicotine’s constriction of blood flow and promotion of inflammation are believed to contribute to the process, the study authors write.

The researchers examined data on 331,941 construction workers who were part of a nationwide occupational health registry in Sweden. Workers were followed for an average of more than three decades, starting when they were typically in their 30s, and 1,623 of them eventually had surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis.

Compared to people who never smoked, heavy smokers who went through at least 15 cigarettes a day were 46 percent more likely to have this spinal surgery, the study found. For moderate smokers who had up to 14 cigarettes a day, the increased risk was 31 percent, while ex-smokers had 13 percent higher odds of surgery.

“Smoking appears to be a risk factor for developing lower spine space narrowing that can lead to surgical treatment,” said senior study author Dr. Arkan Sayed-Noor, a researcher at Umea University.

“Quitting smoking can reduce the risk,” Sayed-Noor said by email.

While some previous research has linked smoking to worse outcomes from spinal surgery, the current study offers fresh evidence that it can also increase the odds that back pain will require surgery, Sayed-Noor added.

Overall, 44 percent of the study participants were non-smokers. Another 16 percent were former smokers, while 26 percent were moderate smokers and 14 percent were heavy smokers.

The connection between smoking and spinal surgery persisted even after researchers accounted for other factors that can increase the odds of lower back pain such as aging and obesity.

Smoking damages the spine in several ways, researchers note in The Spine Journal. Nicotine can damage spinal tissue, weaken bones and make back pain worse.

Heavy smoking is also often accompanied by a sedentary lifestyle that may lead to muscle weakness and increase strain on the lower back.

One limitation of the study is that researchers lacked data on exercise habits, the authors note. Most of the construction workers in the study were men, and the results might be different for women.

Still, the findings add to evidence linking cigarettes to disc damage and back pain, said Dr. Jean Wong, a researcher at the University of Toronto who wasn’t involved in the study.

“There are multiple short and long-term health reasons for smokers to quit, and by quitting smoking, smokers can reduce their risk of back pain due to disc degeneration and spinal stenosis - which can be a debilitating problem in smokers,” Wong said by email. “Although it may take multiple attempts, quitting smoking is the best thing a smoker can do to minimize the risk of spinal stenosis and other health problems.”

1/7/2018 1:02:05 PM
<![CDATA[Former Toyota chief Tatsuro Toyoda dies at 88]]>
The son of the company's founder, Kiichiro Toyoda, he took a major role in Toyota's international expansion during the 1980s and 1990s and led the company from 1992 to 1995 as the automaker accelerated its global expansion.

He was the first president of the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc, or NUMMI, plant in California in the mid-1980s, a joint venture with Detroit rival General Motors Co that demonstrated Toyota's highly efficient production system could be adapted to the culture of operations outside its home base of Japan.

NUMMI paved the way for Toyota's subsequent investments in its own U.S. assembly and component factories. Toyota now has 10 manufacturing operations in the United States.

Toyoda stepped down as company president in 1995. Toyota said in a short statement that Toyoda died of pneumonia on Dec. 30. He is survived by his wife, Ayako Toyoda.]]>
1/6/2018 8:23:47 PM
<![CDATA[Dog guards body of dead owner for weeks over Christmas]]>
The 9-year-old Havanese, called Zsazsa, was in a severely dehydrated state when she was found in a Budapest apartment on Wednesday but was now recovering, Gabor Pataki, head of the animal rescue group Allatmento Liga, said on Friday.

The dog had some dry feed to eat, but doctors said she would have died within a couple of days if she had not been found, Pataki said, adding that the owner must have died weeks before.

Police opened up the flat after neighbors reported that the elderly owner had not been seen for some time.

“The dog was lying next to the dead body, and was so weak that she could not stand up. We had to drag her away,” Pataki said. He said many dogs would have died after such a trauma.

“But yesterday she was on her feet again and even wagged her tail.”

Police said the 66-year old woman appeared to have died of natural causes.]]>
1/6/2018 3:43:42 PM
<![CDATA[Big designers step off London men's catwalk amid digital disruption]]>
The event will see around 50 traditional catwalk shows over three days, with the remainder of the 80 designers on the bill showcasing their wares through a variety of other events, including digitally.

The transition to new methods of connecting with buyers has cost the event some of its biggest catwalk names. Punk icon Vivienne Westwood announced last month that she would eschew a runway show and showcase her collection via an audio-visual presentation.

Other big Brands, including Britain’s Burberry and J.W. Anderson, decided to skip the event last year and this year respectively, in favor of holding ‘co-ed’ shows during London’s fashion week for womenswear in February.

“All we’re trying to do is shorten the distance from a consumer to a pair of trousers,” said London Fashion Week Men’s Chairman Dylan Jones, who is also the editor of British GQ magazine.

“If a brand or a designer deems that it’s much better for them to do a joint show, a show out of season, a digital show, go direct to consumer – doesn’t matter. It’s all about amplifying British creativity and selling.”

Designers have been placing more emphasis on their digital presence in recent years, courting social media influencers with the same assiduousness that they traditionally reserved for the fashion press.

Online sales are a particularly important revenue stream in Britain’s over 14 billion pound ($19 billion) menswear industry, growing by over 17 percent between 2010 and 2015 - outpacing all other categories in the sector - according to researchers IbisWorld.

With a shortage of big names on the catwalk this year, organizers said the event was returning to how it was originally envisioned - as a platform for young British talent.

“International media and retailers come to London for this excitement, these new businesses, the ones that are setting the menswear world on fire and you can only get that in London,” said British Fashion Council Chief Executive Caroline Rush.

It was a sentiment echoed by Jones, who saw the changes in the industry as a source of excitement.

“It’s mutating and developing and changing each season. And that’s the great thing about fashion – it keeps changing.”]]>
1/6/2018 3:39:31 PM
<![CDATA[Thousands of Mexicans polish off massive king cake]]>
Some 250,000 people turned out to the main plaza known as the Zocalo to devour the enormous brioche-style king cake, known as "Rosca de Reyes."

Some 2,142 bakers helped make the rosca -- which measured 1.44 kilometers and weighed 9.375 tonnes -- for the city's annual Epiphany eve feast.

"This rosca is so delicious!" exclaimed Dolores Rodriguez, who at 84 years old was attending the party for the first time.

Mexico City's government emphasized that this year a portion of the delicacy -- traditionally adorned with candied fruits -- was made without sugar, so people avoiding sweets could still partake.

Mexican families eat the confection in the run-up to Epiphany on January 6, the day Christians believe the Three Wise Men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the baby Jesus.

A baby Jesus figurine is hidden in the cake and the person who finds it must make tamales -- a corn dumpling -- on February 2, the Day of the Candles, for those who ate a piece.]]>
1/6/2018 2:23:42 PM
<![CDATA[Alexa Chung is L’Oreal’s new muse]]>

We all know that shoulder-length hair is the ‘it’ hairdo of the season. Hence, L'Oréal’s clear choice when picking their latest Brand Ambassador had to be Chung with her beautiful shoulder-length cut.

Just in the same way Chung created her namesake brand, which remixes and uses classical tailoring with a mix of fabrics and prints, creating the must-have rock and roll style IT girl. While being a regular muse for many designers, a regular front-row guest at fashion shows and a style icon with more than three British Style Awards under her belt, Chung is also the perfect embodiment of a muse.

Chung headed to her Instagram account after the news broke out and said in true Chung fashion, “Woop woop! Very happy to be joining the @lorealpro family this year. Presumably because I pretend to be French a lot, I am the muse for their #ParisianNudes collection. #lorealpro #sponsored #maisoui ❤”

1/6/2018 11:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Nihal Zaki wins at the International Property Awards]]>

Nihal Zaki, after whom the firm is named, graduated in 1999 from the Inchbald School of Design, in London. She opened her first showroom back in 2015, where clients can drop by and find everything they might need for their home. From full interior services, furniture, lighting, accessories, furnishings, custom made furniture and event designs to décor solutions for everything, everywhere from homes, offices and retail space.

The winning residence, El Karma Residence, is a private family-owned residence that was designed and contracted by Nihal Zaki Interiors. The mansion’s size is a magnificent 1,900 meters squared, Zaki stated on her Facebook page.

The International Property Awards serve as the ultimate platform where residential and commercial property creators are celebrated and recognized with the highest honor of excellence. The winners are chosen by a panel of highly qualified persons who are respected and looked up to in the industry. By gathering the scores of companies from every region, they determine who the world’s finest property companies are.

1/6/2018 10:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter Zara expecting second baby]]>
"The queen and members of the royal family were very pleased to hear this news," a spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace said.

Zara, who is married to former England rugby union captain Mike Tindall, gave birth to the couple's first child, Mia Grace in January 2014, but lost a previous baby in 2016.

The queen currently has five great-grandchildren, however grandson Prince William and his wife Kate, officially known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are expecting their third child next April.

No date was given for when the Tindalls' new baby was due. Their second child will either be 18th or 19th in line to the throne depending on when the Cambridges' baby is born.

Zara, 36, the daughter of the queen's only daughter Anne, won an equestrian silver at the London Olympic Games in 2012 while her 39-year-old husband was part of the England team that won the rugby World Cup in 2003.]]>
1/5/2018 9:48:55 PM
<![CDATA[The most controversial TV ads banned from the screen ]]>
The decision to censor the advertisement by Vodafone, which features the popular puppet of Abla Fahita, for being “inappropriate”, got us to take a look back at the most popular, yet controversial, advertisements that quickly disappeared from our screens after becoming the talk of the town.

From the most recent to the oldest, we compiled a list of top TV adverts whose content was deemed too controversial and were consequently banned.

Vodafone’s Abla Fahita campaign

Vodafone’s latest commercial campaign, featuring popular puppet star Abla Fahita, triggered the decision by the Supreme Council of Media to stop airing the advert due to inappropriate phrases, violating the public taste, according to the statement of the council.

Abla Fahita is a popular puppet that appeared back in 2011 and presents a show named “El-Duplex” on the satellite TV channel CBC. There have been multiple complaints since the show first aired about repetitive use of foul language by Abla Fahita.

Ramadan 2017 fund-raising advertisement

Once it made it to the airwaves during the holy month of Ramadan, when viewing figures are usually the highest, Beet al-Zakat charity’s donations-seeking TV commercial immediately caused public anger. Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tyyeb called on the concerned authorities to drop it from TV screens for humiliating the poor.

The commercial intended to portray the difficult circumstances by poor families in the Beni Suif Governorate. It featured the infamous actress Dalal Abdel Aziz visiting a poor family at their fragile house, who was accompanied by a woman called Afaf, who showed the pools of filthy water that they use on a daily basis, as it is their only source of water.

Dairy products and beverages company Juhaiyna’s “Dondo” commercial

The Egyptian Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) banned the commercial advertisement campaign of the popular beverage and dairy product company of Juhanieya that contained “sexual innuendos” and “propagated misleading false information that breast milk can be replaced by the company’s dairy products and can make the less-than-six-months babies grow healthier.”

Barely-based beverages company Birell’s bathroom commercial

The advert featured two men urinating in a public bathroom in an inappropriate manner, according to the CPA, they immediately suspended the commercial from airing on TV.

Underwear brand Dice commercial

If showing a semi-naked woman in an advert was not enough to ensure that it would be banned, the advert also used phrases promoting and normalizing infidelity. Ironically, the campaign was launched during Ramadan 2016.

Underwear brand Cottonil commercial

Dice’s competitor underwear Cottonil’s Ramadan 2016 commercial was also subject to a crackdown by the CPA over the usage of sexually suggestive phrases and its portrayal of a family riding a motorcycle without wearing helmets, which goes against traffic laws.

Etisalat’s commercial campaign that encouraged domestic violence

The CPA said in a statement that it has banned the broadcasting of 2014 Etisalat advertising campaign because “it promoted domestic violence and illegal parenting attitudes and violated the dignity of humans.”

The advert portrayed a father who slaps with full force his son who requested his father’s SIM card to take advantage of the company’s offer that allows customers to replace old SIM cards with new ones for free.

Underwear brand Cottonil advertisement that featured actor Hany Ramzy

“The advertising campaign contradicts with the society’s longstanding traditions and values ,” the CPA said in a statement concerning its ban of Etisilat company’s 2014 advert that featured actor Hany Ramzy dancing while showing off his boxers.

1/5/2018 2:20:38 PM
<![CDATA[Married heart patients more likely than singles to survive]]>
Compared to divorced, widowed and never-married peers, who were up to 71 percent more likely to die during a follow-up of several years, married patients also had fewer heart risk factors like high blood pressure and were more likely to be on heart medications.

“We measured biomarkers including cholesterol, high blood pressure and presence of diabetes. True, unmarried patients are dying more because they have these conditions. But just the marital status in and of itself is an independent risk factor,” senior study author Dr. Arshed Quyyumi of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta told Reuters in a phone interview.

Quyyumi and his team looked at the relationship between marital status and incidence of cardiovascular death, heart attack and death from any cause in 6,051 men and women who had their clogged heart arteries cleared at Emory Healthcare hospitals between 2003 and 2015. Follow-up ranged from 1.7 to 6.7 years, averaging about three and a half years.

Overall, the unmarried patients were 1.45 times as likely as the married patients to experience a cardiovascular event leading to death, 1.52 times as likely to have a heart attack and 1.24 times as likely to die from any cause during the follow-up period, the researchers report in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Widows fared the worst, with a 71 percent higher likelihood of heart attack or cardiovascular death compared to married patients. Divorced, separated and never-married patients had about 40 percent higher odds for those events.

Past research has found that being married is associated with better health and survival overall, the study team notes, although the mechanisms involved need further study.

“It’s a culmination of factors,” said Dr. Rahul Potluri of Aston Medical School in Birmingham, UK, who wasn’t involved in the study. “Benefits of marriage include the impetus to look after one’s health. There’s an increased likelihood to seek and obtain healthcare for the detection of chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Keeping away from smoking due to a ‘nagging partner’ can also play a role,” he said.

People with a spouse tend to have a greater purpose in life and are more likely to take responsibility for their health through diet, exercise and medication adherence, Quyyumi noted. But when a significant other is no longer in the picture, compliance starts to slip.

Other possible explanations for the apparent protective effects of marriage include a lack of social support combined with acute stresses that come with divorce, extended bereavement followed by the loss of a loved one and the reduced interaction that comes with living alone, he said.

A lack of social support has been thought to worsen outcomes in cardiac patients after divorce, Quyyumi said, suggesting that the emotional and financial stress of divorce may play a role in adverse outcomes.

“But it’s important to remember that divorce comes in different shades,” he added. “It’s a mixed bag. For some it is stressful, but for many it can be a relief. Interestingly, previous studies have demonstrated that remarriage may attenuate the increased risk of a cardiac event often observed after divorce.”

In the widowed group, it may have to do with psychological and behavioral events that accompany life’s course.

“Some people give up after the loss of a spouse. Bereavement shouldn’t be taken lightly and people who find themselves sick and alone must be aware that they are at a greater risk of a secondary cardiovascular occurrence, or worse, death,” Quyyumi said.

“We obviously cannot prescribe marriage to patients,” Potluri said. “But we can emphasize the role of relationships and friendships in managing coronary artery disease.”

“Try to regain a sense of purpose,” Quyyumi said. “Whether that’s finding another partner to compensate for the social support one has lost, becoming more involved in your children’s family or finding a church group. These things all help a patient to once again become more interested in saving their own life.”

1/5/2018 1:34:12 PM
<![CDATA[Tuna goes for $323,000 at Tokyo fish market's final New Year auction]]>
The world’s largest fish market, one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist sites, is set to relocate later this year to clear the way for a road needed for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Hiroshi Onodera, the president of LEOC Co. Ltd which owns the “Ginza Onodera” restaurant chain, paid 36.45 million yen ($323,195) for a 405-kg (890 lb) premium Pacific bluefin tuna - around 90,000 yen per kg.

The price was just over half that of last year’s winning bid of 72 million yen and well below the record 155 million yen paid in 2013.

“I’ve tried to win in the auction since last year, so I‘m really happy,” said Onodera, whose company has restaurants in New York and Singapore as well as in Japan. “This is especially true because it’s the last year in Tsukiji.”

Tuna is prized around the world for its use in sushi, but experts warn growing demand has made it an endangered species.

“The high price paid today for a single Pacific bluefin tuna should not distract from the dire status of the species, which has been depleted by more than 97 percent by years of overfishing,” said Jamie Gibbon, a Pacific bluefin tuna expert for the Pew Charitable Trusts, in a statement.

“If countries continue to exceed their catch limits...the very survival of the species will be threatened.”

The 80-year-old Tsukiji market draws tens of thousands of visitors a year to its warren of stalls with exotic species of fish and fresh sushi, part of a tourism boom that is a key part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic revival plan.

“This will truly be the final auction here, so I made sure I came to watch,” said Mitsuko Yamaguchi, the 61-year-old owner of a seafood store.

1/5/2018 1:29:03 PM
<![CDATA[Olivier Theyskens best Instagram moments ]]>

“Our eyes reflect light. Better that the lips are more like a rose petal.” - Olivier Theyskens

“I like to be lazy. I do like to be busy and really active, but when that's done, you can be sure I will be a lazy boy. I like to take time and relax and enjoy life. ” - Olivier Theyskens

“We always see the tip of an iceberg. So, I've always accepted the idea that people - they don't necessarily know everything I am.” - Olivier Theyskens

“Art is the way people see things, and I think it's great when individuals can find in fashion something they truly believe is artistic.” - Olivier Theyskens

“A black dress is beautiful! It's a good choice. It could be the wrong choice at certain events or situations, but it's very rare that you see a girl who looks bad in a black dress.” - Olivier Theyskens

“Personally, I am not so affected by my environment. What I build in the creative process is not necessarily connected to what I am physically in contact with. I am always observing everything, but it will not necessarily have a direct impact on what I do.” - Olivier Theyskens

“Today, there are more things you can wear for the same occasions. I still like this idea of the perfect suit, and I always love tailoring, but today you can have more things for this type of situation, clothes that have class and that are mixable, and that are super well-cut.” - Olivier Theyskens

Spring / Summer 18 - Look 28

A post shared by Olivier Theyskens (@oliviertheyskens) on

“Personally, I have had sometimes moments where I thought my idea behind the idea of a collection - the concept maybe - something that we don't see at the end on the catwalk, I think the way it was, the genesis in my mind, was probably artistic, an artistic approach.” - Olivier Theyskens

“With couture, you feel obligated to design something modern each season, but with Theyskens Theory, I don't question anything. I'm thinking of what I'd like to wear.” - Olivier Theyskens

“I think the relationship is very tenuous between fashion and art. Many designers have built relationships with artists, which is not something I personally did. But it's true, sometimes you see artists working for a designer or a brand on some specific project or taking care of their environment and making an amazing store.” - Olivier Theyskens

“My sense of designing is a mix of intuition and intellectual control.” - Olivier Theyskens

Spring / Summer 17 - Black Python Bustier Dress

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“My first collection was made from sheets that my grandmother, who lived in Normandy, had been collecting for a long time. There are a lot of flea markets in that part of France, and she knew what I liked.” - Olivier Theyskens

The Bride wore @oliviertheyskens #jilltim #lesage #tbt

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1/5/2018 1:08:26 PM
<![CDATA[et Quote: Graham Elliot]]> - Graham Elliot

Highly acclaimed celebrity chef Graham Elliot was born in 1997 in Seattle, Washington and is now based in Illinois, Chicago where he opened the city’s French casual fine dining restaurant in 2008.

“Food to me, in one word, is 'creativity' or 'expression.' It's simply, 'This is who I am at this point in time, and this is what I want to cook for you’.” - Graham Elliot

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He is mainly recognized for his participation on ‘Masterchef’ and ‘Top Chef’ reality cooking competition shows, where he serves as one of the main judges. His love for food began from a young age when he was traveling the world with his family due to their Navy duties. He developed a love for music and food during their travels hence, his motivation to pursue a full-time culinary career.

“Kids see cooking as a creative outlet now, like soccer and ballet. It gives me hope that things like fast food, childhood obesity and the horrible state of school lunches can be addressed by kids and their parents.” - Graham Elliot

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• He won multiple nominations for the James Beard Foundation award.
• In 2004, he was named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs.”
• He is the youngest chef in the US to earn four stars from Chicago-based publications.
• Was named the youngest four-star chef at the age of 27.
• He was listed as one of the "40 Under Forty” on Crain's Chicago Business list.
• Cooked for former President Barack Obama on his 49th birthday.
• Opened Chicago’s first French casual fine dining restaurant in 2008.

In ONE word, describe 💥2017💥

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1/5/2018 11:38:36 AM
<![CDATA[Security flaws put virtually all phones, computers at risk]]>
One of the bugs is specific to Intel but another affects laptops, desktop computers, smartphones, tablets and internet servers alike. Intel and ARM insisted that the issue was not a design flaw, but it will require users to download a patch and update their operating system to fix.

“Phones, PCs, everything are going to have some impact, but it’ll vary from product to product,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in an interview with CNBC Wednesday afternoon.

Researchers with Alphabet Inc’s Google Project Zero, in conjunction with academic and industry researchers from several countries, discovered two flaws.

The first, called Meltdown, affects Intel chips and lets hackers bypass the hardware barrier between applications run by users and the computer’s memory, potentially letting hackers read a computer’s memory and steal passwords. The second, called Spectre, affects chips from Intel, AMD and ARM and lets hackers potentially trick otherwise error-free applications into giving up secret information.

The researchers said Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp had patches ready for users for desktop computers affected by Meltdown. Microsoft declined to comment and Apple did not immediately return requests for comment.

Daniel Gruss, one of the researchers at Graz University of Technology who discovered Meltdown, called it “probably one of the worst CPU bugs ever found” in an interview with Reuters.

Gruss said Meltdown was the more serious problem in the short term but could be decisively stopped with software patches. Spectre, the broader bug that applies to nearly all computing devices, is harder for hackers to take advantage of but less easily patched and will be a bigger problem in the long term, he said.

Speaking on CNBC, Intel’s Krzanich said Google researchers told Intel of the flaws “a while ago” and that Intel had been testing fixes that device makers who use its chips will push out next week. Before the problems became public, Google on its blog said Intel and others planned to disclose the issues on Jan. 9. Google said it informed the affected companies about the “Spectre” flaw on June 1, 2017 and reported the “Meltdown” flaw after the first flaw but before July 28, 2017.

The flaws were first reported by tech publication The Register. It also reported that the updates to fix the problems could causes Intel chips to operate 5 percent to 30 percent more slowly. (bit.ly/2CsRxkj)

Intel denied that the patches would bog down computers based on Intel chips.

“Intel has begun providing software and firmware updates to mitigate these exploits,” Intel said in a statement. “Contrary to some reports, any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time.”

ARM spokesman Phil Hughes said that patches had already been shared with the companies’ partners, which include many smartphone manufacturers.

“This method only works if a certain type of malicious code is already running on a device and could at worst result in small pieces of data being accessed from privileged memory,” Hughes said in an email.

AMD chips are also affected by at least one variant of a set of security flaws but that it can be patched with a software update. The company said it believes there “is near zero risk to AMD products at this time.”

Google said in a blog post that Android phones running the latest security updates are protected, as are its own Nexus and Pixel phones with the latest security updates. Gmail users do not need to take any additional action to protect themselves, but users of its Chromebooks, Chrome web browser and many of its Google Cloud services will need to install updates.

Amazon Web Services, a cloud computing service used by businesses, said that most of its internet servers were already patched and the rest were in the process of being patched.

The defect affects the so-called kernel memory on Intel x86 processor chips manufactured over the past decade, The Register reported citing unnamed programmers, allowing users of normal applications to discern the layout or content of protected areas on the chips.

That could make it possible for hackers to exploit other security bugs or, worse, expose secure information such as passwords, thus compromising individual computers or even entire server networks.
1/4/2018 5:16:15 PM
<![CDATA[Australia green-lights medicinal cannabis exports]]>
The country's first medical marijuana farm received its growers' licence in March last year and others have followed, with the government seeing a big future for the industry.

"This is actually a very important step for our domestic patients and our domestic supply," Health Minister Greg Hunt told broadcaster ABC.

"By knowing they have an Australian market and an international market, that improves the likelihood of growing and production in Australia."

He added that Australia was keen to become "the world's number one medicinal cannabis supplier", but that a condition of any export licence was that local patients were taken care of first.

"We want a robust Australian medicinal cannabis industry so that doctors have safe, quality domestic products that they can confidently prescribe to their patients," said Hunt.

While recreational use of cannabis remains illegal in Australia, federal laws were changed in 2016 to allow its use for medical purposes, in a broadly supported move.

Research, including findings published in 2015 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed marijuana has some effectiveness in helping treat chronic pain.

But there are concerns about side effects and the issue of whether or not it works remains a matter of debate globally.

Several other countries have legalised medicinal marijuana, including Canada, Israel, and more than half the US states.

US-based Grand View Research estimated last year that the global market would reach US$55.8 billion by 2025.]]>
1/4/2018 1:30:05 PM
<![CDATA[Alaskan 'sunrise' girl sheds light on how humans populated Americas]]>
Scientists said on Wednesday a study of her genome indicated there was just a single wave of migration into the Americas across a land bridge, now submerged, that spanned the Bering Strait and connected Siberia to Alaska during the Ice Age.

The infant -- named “sunrise girl-child” (Xach‘itee‘aanenh T‘eede Gaay) using the local indigenous language -- belonged to a previously unknown Native American population that descended from those intrepid migrants, the researchers added.

“The study provides the first direct genomic evidence that all Native American ancestry can be traced back to the same source population during the last Ice Age,” University of Alaska Fairbanks archaeologist Ben Potter said.

The remains of the infant -- part of a hunter-gatherer culture that hunted bison, elk, hare, squirrels and birds and caught salmon -- were unearthed in 2013 at a prehistoric encampment in Alaska’s Tanana River Valley about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Fairbanks.

Scientists work on the excavation site of the 11,500-year-old remains of two infant girls at the Upward Sun River in Alaska's Tanana River Valley about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska, U.S, in an undated photo released January 3, 2018. Ben Potter/Handout via REUTERS

Our species first arose in Africa roughly 300,000 years ago, and later spread around the world. The researchers studied the baby’s genome and genetic data covering other populations to unravel how and when the Americas were first populated.

A single ancestral Native American group split from East Asians about 36,000 year ago and thousands of years later crossed the land bridge, they said. This founding group diverged into two lineages about 20,000 years ago.

The first lineage trekked south of the huge ice caps that covered much of North America between 20,000 and 15,000 years ago, spreading throughout North and South America and becoming the ancestors of today’s Native Americans.

The second was the newly identified population called Ancient Beringians who included the infant. They eventually disappeared, perhaps absorbed into another population that later inhabited Alaska.

Some scientists previously hypothesized about multiple migratory waves over the land bridge as recent as 14,000 years ago.

The girl was found alongside remains of an even-younger female infant, possibly a first cousin, whose genome the researchers could not sequence. Both were covered in red ochre and surrounded by decorated antler tools.

“Even the one that got sequenced was a huge challenge due to poor DNA preservation,” said Eske Willerslev, director of the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for GeoGenetics.

The research was published in the journal Nature.

1/4/2018 12:33:34 PM
<![CDATA[Traumatic events increase headaches and migraines]]>
The findings further the idea that violence and psychological trauma could lead to physical symptoms.

“We have very little systematic knowledge about the physical consequences of terror and violent events, especially since people may not see the association or go to the doctor,” said study author Dr. Synne Stensland of the Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies at the University of Oslo.

“There are people who are not getting the help they need for their physical and psychological complaints, especially when they become more severe or frequent,” she told Reuters Health by phone.

On July 22, 2011, a lone gunman opened fire on the annual Norwegian Labor Party youth summer camp. The man, disguised as a policeman, killed 69 people and severely wounded 33. Many of the 358 survivors saw what happened and risked hypothermia and drowning trying to escape. Most lost friends.

The survivors have been part of several studies to understand how terror and trauma affect adolescents. In this study, published in the journal Neurology, Stensland and colleagues looked at recurrent migraines and tension-type headaches in 213 of the survivors, ages 13 to 20. Trained personnel interviewed the survivors about four months after the attack, again 18 months afterward, and again three years after the attack.

The research team found the terror attack survivors reported many recurring tension-type headaches and migraines, and headaches were generally more common in girls. In particular, the female survivors reported three times more weekly or daily headaches than similar young women in the general population in Norway.

Posttraumatic psychological distress levels were much higher, too.

“We were surprised . . . the link was so strong between terror and headaches, even though we accounted for (many other factors),” Stensland said.

Future studies will continue to observe the physical and psychological symptoms that these teens experience.

“Incidents of terror are unfortunately commonplace worldwide, and although the physical effects are well covered, the invisible scars of psychological trauma receive much less attention,” said Dr. Gretchen Tietjen, director of The Headache Treatment and Research Program at the University of Toledo, Ohio, who wasn’t involved with this study.

“Psychological trauma during critical periods of development affects the brain in ways that alter not only the psyche, but also the metabolic, immune, endocrine and nervous systems,” she told Reuters Health by email. “These changes lead to increased susceptibility to a wide variety of adult diseases that may even be passed on to the next generation.”

These associations extend beyond terror events to childhood maltreatment, emotional abuse and sexual violence, Stensland added. Abuse in peer relationships or social media bullying can have a similar effect.

“They’re keeping a secret and don’t want others to know what happened,” she said. “It’s important for people to know that an increase in headaches could indicate something has happened, and it’s time to talk.”

Stensland would also like to see research on medication and overuse of painkillers. Teens may be able to treat their headaches with over-the-counter medicine, but that doesn’t treat the underlying issues related to the traumatic event, she noted.

“Adolescents medicate themselves, and few go to the doctor, but if you keep medicating like that, it may actually contribute to the chronic behavior,” she said. “Seek help early. That’s the key.”
1/3/2018 1:39:02 PM
<![CDATA[Drinking hot tea linked to lowered glaucoma risk]]>
Compared to coffee, soft drink and iced tea drinkers, study participants who consumed a cup or more of hot caffeinated tea daily had 74 percent lower odds of having glaucoma, the study authors report in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

“Glaucoma can lead to blindness, and it would be great if it could be prevented because there is no cure,” said lead author Dr. Anne Coleman of the University of California, Los Angeles.

“The best way to prevent it is to get your eyes checked,” Coleman told Reuters Health in a telephone interview. “But we are also interested in lifestyle habits and what we can do to make a difference.”

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, affecting an estimated 58 million people. That includes more than three million Americans, only half of whom are aware they have the disease, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation.

Coffee, or caffeine in general have previously been linked to increased glaucoma risk, although recent studies don’t agree, Coleman and her colleagues write.

To evaluate the relationship between specific caffeinated drinks and glaucoma, Coleman and colleagues analyzed data on a sample of more than 10,000 people in the U.S. who were representative of the entire population. Participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey during 2005-2006 answered questions about their diets and lifestyles, had medical exams and blood tests and also underwent eye examinations.

About 1,700 participants were over age 40, had no other known eye diseases and had full eye examination results from the survey. In this group, Coleman’s team found that just over 5 percent, 82 people, had glaucoma.

Almost half of participants reported drinking coffee often, but less than 10 percent drank hot tea daily. The research team found no associations between coffee, iced tea, decaffeinated tea or soft drink consumption and the likelihood of having glaucoma.

“Tea drinkers should keep drinking and don’t need to stop because of a fear of glaucoma,” Coleman said. “This makes sense, but we’ll see if it holds up in future studies.”

Future studies should look at the habits, activities and nutrition that affect lifestyle and glaucoma risks, said Idan Hecht of Tel-Aviv University in Israel, who wasn’t involved in the research.

“In the past few years, there has been a tremendous increase in interest, and subsequently research, into the ways lifestyle changes can influence diseases,” Hecht told Reuters Health by email.

Recent research indicates that vitamins C, E and zinc can help vision. Other studies indicate that antioxidants in tea could have similar effects, he noted.

“Patients can and should be involved and take an active role in the management of their ailments,” Hecht said. “Exercising, eating healthy and trying novel ways to improve your health is something you should definitely explore and bring up with your physician.”

Environmental factors could play a role in glaucoma risk as well, said Dr. Ahmad Aref at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“As our population grows older, we need to think about the other factors that could help, particularly when it comes to the health benefits of physical activity,” he told Reuters Health by phone.

Overall, both medical and non-medical approaches are key to treating the disease in the future, Aref added.

“It’s a tough disease because we don’t have a way to bring vision back once it’s lost,” he said. “All we can do is prevent it from getting worse, and we want to help patients do that.”
1/3/2018 1:31:51 PM
<![CDATA[Regular carry-out meals linked to higher body and blood fats in kids]]>
In the study of 9- and 10-year-olds, the kids who ate carry-out most often also consumed more calories but fewer vitamins and minerals compared with kids who rarely or never ate carry-out food, the authors report in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

“Frequent consumption of takeaway foods could potentially be increasing children’s risk of future coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes by increasing their LDL cholesterol and body fat,” lead author Angela Donin told Reuters Health in an email.

“Takeaway outlets are increasing, as is consumption with more than half of teenagers reporting eating takeaways at least twice a week,” said Donin, a researcher at St. George’s, University of London.

In adults, regular consumption of carry-out meals is associated with higher risk of obesity, coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes, but little is known about the effects it may be having on children’s health, Donin said.

“We, therefore, wanted to see how much takeaway food children were eating and if there were any effects on their health.”

The researchers analyzed data from the Child Heart and Health Study in England, which looked at potential risk factors for heart disease and diabetes in pre-teens. Participants included about 2,000 kids aged 9 and 10 years at 85 primary schools in three cities: London, Birmingham and Leicester.

The children answered questions about their usual diets, including how often they ate carry-out meals purchased from restaurants. Foods purchased at convenience stores or grocery stores were not included in the category. Photos of common foods were provided to help the kids recall and estimate portion sizes.

About one quarter of the children said they never or rarely ate carry-out meals and nearly half said they ate carry-out less than once per week. Just over one quarter said they ate these kinds of meals at least once per week.

Boys were more frequent consumers of carry-out meals than girls, as were children from less affluent backgrounds.

The study team used the kids’ dietary responses to calculate calorie counts and nutrient intake. Among regular consumers of carry-out meals, the foods eaten were higher-calorie and higher-fat, while protein and starch intake was lower and intake of vitamin C, iron, calcium and folate was also lower compared with kids who didn’t eat these types of meals.

Researchers also measured the children’s height, weight, waist circumference, skinfold thickness and body-fat composition. In addition, they measured blood pressure and took blood samples for cholesterol levels.

There were no differences in blood pressure or how well the kids’ bodies used insulin based on who regularly ate carry-out meals. But skinfold thickness, body fat composition and blood fats like LDL (bad) cholesterol all tended to be higher in regular consumers of carry-out meals.

“Children who ate more takeaway meals had higher total and LDL cholesterol (both important risk factors for coronary heart disease) and body fat.,” Donin said.

“Most people who order takeout usually purchase fast food, which is high in sodium, fat, and calories,” noted Sandra Arevalo, who wasn’t involved in the study.

”Fast-food also has low nutritional value, which means it is low in vitamins, minerals, fiber and sometimes protein,” said Arevalo, a registered dietician who directs Nutrition Services and Community Outreach at Community Pediatrics, a program of Montefiore and The Children’s Health Fund, in New York. “If you eat these meals over a long period of time you can start seeing the health consequences associated with it.”

Arevalo recommends parents who need to bring home a meal, call the restaurant ahead of time to order salads, vegetables, brown rice, grilled meats and to provide a healthier meal for their children.

“The price might be a deterrent but you can cut portions in half and get two meals out of one large one,” she said by email. Another idea is to learn to prepare quick and healthy meals.

“For example, hummus, carrots, and crackers make a great lunch, as well as a tuna or turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes. Eggs are an excellent source of protein, you can scramble an egg with spinach, onions, and tomatoes and have it with a toast,” she said.
1/3/2018 1:10:04 PM
<![CDATA[Vodafone’s Noha Saad Makes Brandberries Power List of Women to Watch in 2018]]>
The Brandberries Women to Watch roundup is an annual feature “spotlighting women making a mark on marketing, branding, and communications in the Middle East and Africa. The list recognizes the finest women calibers from the brand sphere in the region. The theme this year is “The Eccentrics”—reflecting on the trailblazing achievements these women have made through their brands and agencies,” according to the marketing platform.

Saad has been with Vodafone for over 15 years, having joined in 2001 and working in marketing and corporate communications before moving into her current position. “Noha is one of the leading corporate responsibility practitioners in Egypt and a public speaker advocating for corporate responsibility in the region, sharing best practices from Vodafone Egypt,” says Brandberries, adding that “Noha has strong public speaking and communications skills, as she has been a public speaker at international and regional forums, and participated in the G8 Conference in the UK (Women in Arab world), CSR Summits in Dubai, PR Summit UK, Dubai and Qatar.”

The branding portal also applauds Saad’s active role in the business community in Egypt, where she is a member of the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM), a member of British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) and Board member of the National NGO fund established by decree from the Prime Minister and chaired by the Minister of Social Solidarity.

Brandberries describes itself as the “first branding gateway of the Middle East and Africa that voices out compelling brand stories from the region to the globe.” Its mission, according to its platform, is to “look for the most inspiring and compelling brand stories in the region. We want these stories to be heard. Brandberries aims to enrich the branding web content via blending global insights with regional brand narratives, keeping the audience informed and entertained. Brandberries was built on the essence of collaboration, believing in the power of 'brands 4 brands', clustering together to form a collaborative mindset between brands in today’s marketplace.”

Other Egyptian women on this year’s power list include Dalia Samir, marketing director (Laundry and Homecare) at Henkel Egypt; Dara Abdul Hadi, cofounder and COO at The Brand Company; Dina Aly, managing director and cofounder at Matter; Heba El Araby, marketing director at Concrete; and creative director, conceptual designer and visual artist Ghada Wali, among others.
1/3/2018 12:18:23 PM
<![CDATA[5 Skincare tips for winter]]>

When washing your face and hands (and you should do this more often in winter), use warmish water to lock in moisture and keep them smooth.

2. MOISTURIZE, moisturize, moisturize…

All day, every day moisturize, moisturize, moisturize… do this several times during the day to stay soft and to avoid dry and ashy winter skin.

Pro tip: Use natural made products that are high in hydrating organic ingredients with only natural fragrances. Make sure that it goes with your skin type; we all have different skin. Just because one product may work for your friend, does not mean that it will work for you.

Also, keep moisture in the air by bringing out the humidifier when the heating systems are on, as they tend to dry out the air, which results in dry skin.

Photo - Pexels/CC

3. GLOVES for shelter

Keep the gloves on throughout this whole season, day and night all day, every day. During the day, use them to protect hands against the bitter, cold weather. At night, put on the gloves to get the best results from your moisturizer.

Pro tip: Use sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays and sunburns. It is not just a summertime thing.


But do not overdo it since it can also dehydrate the skin, which can result in the exact opposite of what you want.


Drink as much water as you can throughout the day, while also eating food high in Omega 3 and water-based fruits.

1/3/2018 10:42:46 AM
<![CDATA[Celebrity New Year’s Eve moments]]>

What a great beginning to the New Year with a Super Moon!!! I have a feeling this is going to be a great one! May this bright light illuminate our hearts, our minds and our souls. May this New Year bring more love, more peace, more compassion, more unity and more consciousness. May we all be the change we wish to see in the world.#happynewyear #sharinglove #supermoonincancer 💫🌕🙏✨Que começo de ano especial com uma Super Lua !!! Tenho a sensação de que ele será ótimo! Que esta luz brilhante ilumine nossos corações, nossas mentes e nossas almas. Que este Ano Novo traga mais amor, paz, compaixão, união e consciência. Que possamos ser a mudança que desejamos ver no mundo. #felizanonovo #compartilhandoamor #superluaemcancer

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Happy New Years !!😘😘😘

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HNY y’all.

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Happy New Year!

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Happy new year from US ❤️ @brooklynbeckham

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Happy new year’s eve to you and yours!!! #2018 #sydnye #worldwide

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New Years facetime call with my little niece and her spidey jammies ♥️

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mood ✨

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❤️ 2018

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#happy2018 #feliz2018

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What a year!! 2017 has been a great year of adventure for me, working in new places, and discovering new friends. Thank you to ALL OF YOU who follow me. I have the best Insta-family! You are all so supportive, inspiring and loving! Here’s to another year of awesome books and great TV & movies, fashion, friends, travel, cute dogs (of course! 🐶) and keeping each other inspired. Despite the fact that this year has felt a little bit crazy with ups and downs and so many divided ideas and opinions, I feel hope when I see how we can connect and find common ground. We all breath the same air and share the same oceans and skies. We all love our kids, our families and our communities. We all want a better world for the future. I look forward to sharing and connecting more with you all in 2018. ✨ Much Love! #bestmoments #topnine2017 #HappyNewYear #2018

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90 mins til 2018. Can't come soon enough. X, SJ

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1/2/2018 10:13:29 PM
<![CDATA[Former Miss America Carlson named new chairperson after scandal]]>WASHINGTON - 2 January 2018: Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson has been named the new chairperson of the Miss America beauty pageant, becoming the first former winner to lead the organization following a scandal over lewd and sexist emails.

Her appointment, announced in a statement Monday, came just over a week after the resignation of the pageant's under-fire CEO Sam Haskell, who had written some of the emails that contained misogynistic, fat- and slut-shaming language.

"Honored to move this iconic program forward with so many amazing volunteers," the 51-year-old Carlson, who won the competition in 1989, wrote on Twitter.

Carlson's appointment was effective immediately, the organization said, adding that three other former winners would join the board of directors.

"Most previously serving directors have resigned," the statement said.

Dozens of former beauty queens had demanded that Haskell step down after The Huffington Post published leaked internal emails that included a vulgarity to refer to past winners and the shaming of one over her weight and sex life, with Haskell calling her "a piece of trash."

The news site initially quoted the Miss America Organization as saying it was notified about the emails months earlier and fired a telecast writer -- the "most egregious author of inappropriate comments."

But in a matter of days, Haskell, Miss America president Josh Randle and board chair Lynn Weidner all resigned.

The scandal prompted the show's producers, Dick Clark Productions, to sever ties with the organization.

Carlson -- who is best known for her decade-long tenure as an anchor at Fox News -- made headlines in 2016 when she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the network's then boss Roger Ailes, precipitating his departure.

The suit was settled for a reported $20 million.

Commenting on the scandal, Carlson said: "Everyone has been stunned by the events of the last several days, and this has not been easy for anyone who loves this program.

"In the end, we all want a strong, relevant Miss America and we appreciate the existing board taking the steps necessary to quickly begin stabilizing the organization for the future."]]>
1/2/2018 12:36:39 PM
<![CDATA[Regular carry-out meals linked to higher body and blood fats in kids]]>
In the study of 9- and 10-year-olds, the kids who ate carry-out most often also consumed more calories but fewer vitamins and minerals compared with kids who rarely or never ate carry-out food, the authors report in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

“Frequent consumption of takeaway foods could potentially be increasing children’s risk of future coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes by increasing their LDL cholesterol and body fat,” lead author Angela Donin told Reuters Health in an email.

“Takeaway outlets are increasing, as is consumption with more than half of teenagers reporting eating takeaways at least twice a week,” said Donin, a researcher at St. George’s, University of London.

In adults, regular consumption of carry-out meals is associated with higher risk of obesity, coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes, but little is known about the effects it may be having on children’s health, Donin said.

“We, therefore, wanted to see how much takeaway food children were eating and if there were any effects on their health.”

The researchers analyzed data from the Child Heart and Health Study in England, which looked at potential risk factors for heart disease and diabetes in pre-teens. Participants included about 2,000 kids aged 9 and 10 years at 85 primary schools in three cities: London, Birmingham and Leicester.

The children answered questions about their usual diets, including how often they ate carry-out meals purchased from restaurants. Foods purchased at convenience stores or grocery stores were not included in the category. Photos of common foods were provided to help the kids recall and estimate portion sizes.

About one quarter of the children said they never or rarely ate carry-out meals and nearly half said they ate carry-out less than once per week. Just over one quarter said they ate these kinds of meals at least once per week.

Boys were more frequent consumers of carry-out meals than girls, as were children from less affluent backgrounds.

The study team used the kids’ dietary responses to calculate calorie counts and nutrient intake. Among regular consumers of carry-out meals, the foods eaten were higher-calorie and higher-fat, while protein and starch intake was lower and intake of vitamin C, iron, calcium and folate was also lower compared with kids who didn’t eat these types of meals.

Researchers also measured the children’s height, weight, waist circumference, skinfold thickness and body-fat composition. In addition, they measured blood pressure and took blood samples for cholesterol levels.

There were no differences in blood pressure or how well the kids’ bodies used insulin based on who regularly ate carry-out meals. But skinfold thickness, body fat composition and blood fats like LDL (bad) cholesterol all tended to be higher in regular consumers of carry-out meals.

“Children who ate more takeaway meals had higher total and LDL cholesterol (both important risk factors for coronary heart disease) and body fat.,” Donin said.

“Most people who order takeout usually purchase fast food, which is high in sodium, fat, and calories,” noted Sandra Arevalo, who wasn’t involved in the study.

”Fast-food also has low nutritional value, which means it is low in vitamins, minerals, fiber and sometimes protein,” said Arevalo, a registered dietician who directs Nutrition Services and Community Outreach at Community Pediatrics, a program of Montefiore and The Children’s Health Fund, in New York. “If you eat these meals over a long period of time you can start seeing the health consequences associated with it.”

Arevalo recommends parents who need to bring home a meal, call the restaurant ahead of time to order salads, vegetables, brown rice, grilled meats and to provide a healthier meal for their children.

“The price might be a deterrent but you can cut portions in half and get two meals out of one large one,” she said by email. Another idea is to learn to prepare quick and healthy meals.

“For example, hummus, carrots, and crackers make a great lunch, as well as a tuna or turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes. Eggs are an excellent source of protein, you can scramble an egg with spinach, onions, and tomatoes and have it with a toast,” she said.]]>
1/2/2018 11:53:10 AM
<![CDATA[Informal caregiving linked to sleep problems]]>
Researchers found that the likelihood of sleep problems rose with the number of hours spent in unpaid caregiving, and when caregiving stopped, sleep disturbances were reduced.

“Informal caregiving is common, and the need for carers is expected to grow due to population aging and cuts to social care services in various countries,” said lead study author Lawrence Sacco of the Institute of Gerontology at King’s College London in the UK.

Caregivers often face conflicting schedules and feel a sense of obligation, leaving some with little or no choice about when and how to help loved ones, he noted.

“Sleeping problems are common and deserve attention because people with insomnia are more likely to suffer from other physical illnesses,” Sacco told Reuters Health by email. “Sleep disturbance and tiredness are also symptoms of depression and other mood disorders.”

Sacco and his colleagues at the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University analyzed responses from 12,200 participants in the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health, a questionnaire mailed every two years to employed residents of Sweden aged 16 to 64. The researchers focused on surveys in 2010 through 2016.

They defined informal caregivers as those who, without pay, help or care for an elderly, ill or disabled relative other than a child or grandchild. Participants were asked how many hours they typically spend on this caregiving each week.

They were also asked how often in the prior three months they had difficulties falling asleep, repeated awakenings, premature awakenings or restless sleep.

About 85 percent of the survey participants were not caregivers, while 12 percent spent 1 to 5 hours providing care each week and 2 percent spent anywhere from 6 to 15 hours caregiving.

After adjusting for social and economic factors, as well as the caregiver’s own health status, the researchers found that sleep problems were more common among caregivers overall, and most common among those who provided more than five hours a week.

When caregiving ceased from one survey year to the following one, researchers saw a drop in reported sleep troubles.

Caregivers were more likely to be female and older, to have less education, to work less than 20 paid hours per week and to report physical pain, chronic illness, poor health and depression.

“This means that increases in informal caregiving that are expected in the years ahead as a result of population aging may hit those who are already struggling the hardest,” Sacco said.

The study team saw no difference in sleep problems between men who provided no care versus those who provided up to five hours of caregiving, but women reported sleep problems at all levels of caregiving. That could be related to the different tasks that men and women perform as caregivers, the authors write in the journal Sleep.

Future studies should look at working people in various countries, Sacco added, since Sweden uses a welfare model aimed at minimizing conflict between paid work and caregiving commitments.

“This is a wake-up call to governments and employers that they should be supporting informal caregivers better,” he said.

In addition, future research should examine what types and aspects of caregiving affect sleep the most, said Dr. Barry Oken of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Caregiving at home for someone with dementia or chronic pain may cause more problems with the care recipient’s sleep and perhaps then the caregiver’s sleep,” he told Reuters Health by email.

Oken said he is interested in finding ways to help caregivers improve their sleep. In recent studies, he and colleagues have found that mind-body practices, such as mindfulness meditation, can improve mental health in caregivers and stressed older adults.

“Be aware that sleeping may be impacted by caregiving and explore with health providers what you can do to minimize it,” he said. “What society can do to help minimize this is alluded to here but is a bigger question.”]]>
1/2/2018 11:50:48 AM
<![CDATA[Drinking hot tea linked to lowered glaucoma risk]]>
Compared to coffee, soft drink and iced tea drinkers, study participants who consumed a cup or more of hot caffeinated tea daily had 74 percent lower odds of having glaucoma, the study authors report in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

“Glaucoma can lead to blindness, and it would be great if it could be prevented because there is no cure,” said lead author Dr. Anne Coleman of the University of California, Los Angeles.

“The best way to prevent it is to get your eyes checked,” Coleman told Reuters Health in a telephone interview. “But we are also interested in lifestyle habits and what we can do to make a difference.”

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, affecting an estimated 58 million people. That includes more than three million Americans, only half of whom are aware they have the disease, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation.

Coffee, or caffeine in general have previously been linked to increased glaucoma risk, although recent studies don’t agree, Coleman and her colleagues write.

To evaluate the relationship between specific caffeinated drinks and glaucoma, Coleman and colleagues analyzed data on a sample of more than 10,000 people in the U.S. who were representative of the entire population. Participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey during 2005-2006 answered questions about their diets and lifestyles, had medical exams and blood tests and also underwent eye examinations.

About 1,700 participants were over age 40, had no other known eye diseases and had full eye examination results from the survey. In this group, Coleman’s team found that just over 5 percent, 82 people, had glaucoma.

Almost half of participants reported drinking coffee often, but less than 10 percent drank hot tea daily. The research team found no associations between coffee, iced tea, decaffeinated tea or soft drink consumption and the likelihood of having glaucoma.

“Tea drinkers should keep drinking and don’t need to stop because of a fear of glaucoma,” Coleman said. “This makes sense, but we’ll see if it holds up in future studies.”

Future studies should look at the habits, activities and nutrition that affect lifestyle and glaucoma risks, said Idan Hecht of Tel-Aviv University in Israel, who wasn’t involved in the research.

“In the past few years, there has been a tremendous increase in interest, and subsequently research, into the ways lifestyle changes can influence diseases,” Hecht told Reuters Health by email.

Recent research indicates that vitamins C, E and zinc can help vision. Other studies indicate that antioxidants in tea could have similar effects, he noted.

“Patients can and should be involved and take an active role in the management of their ailments,” Hecht said. “Exercising, eating healthy and trying novel ways to improve your health is something you should definitely explore and bring up with your physician.”

Environmental factors could play a role in glaucoma risk as well, said Dr. Ahmad Aref at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“As our population grows older, we need to think about the other factors that could help, particularly when it comes to the health benefits of physical activity,” he told Reuters Health by phone.

Overall, both medical and non-medical approaches are key to treating the disease in the future, Aref added.

“It’s a tough disease because we don’t have a way to bring vision back once it’s lost,” he said. “All we can do is prevent it from getting worse, and we want to help patients do that.”]]>
1/2/2018 11:47:59 AM
<![CDATA[In Pictures: World welcomes 2018 with fireworks, security]]>
New Zealand was the first country to bid farewell to 2017 and welcome in 2018, followed by Australia; and then the celebrations gradually moved from Asia to the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, and then finally to the Americas, amid spectacular displays of light.

In Egypt, Cairo witnessed amazing celebrations on the occasion of New Year's Day 2018, where thousands of families and youth went out to celebrate the occasion in the main streets in an atmosphere of joy, fireworks and cruise ships.

Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar called on security officials to raise the security alert to the maximum level across the country and intensified the security presence near the churches and main squares, erected barriers around the churches, and operated electronic gates to detect explosives and weapons.

In Indonesia, hundreds of Indonesian couples celebrated marriage in Jakarta on New Year's Eve at a free mass wedding party, according to Reuters.

Muhammad Nasir, 64, and his 65-year-old wife Aminah, who only goes by one name, have been married since 1968 -- but only according to Islamic law due to financial reasons – AFP

The event, attended by 500 couples, was organized by the authorities, while festivals and popular markets were organized on major traffic arteries and in tourist spots.

Australia welcomed the New Year with a spectacular display of fireworks over the famous Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Opera House, the Mirror newspaper reported.

Fireworks light up the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House during New Year celebrations on Sydney Harbour, Australia, January 1, 2018. REUTERS

Despite the freezing weather, which hit 10 degrees Celsius below zero, the New York state authorities expected about two million people to attend New Year's Eve in Times Square on Sunday.

The New York authorities said that the security measures would be too tight to ensure the safety of revellers. New York City Mayor Bill de Palazzo said at a press conference, "The New Year's celebration as an annual event is one of the things that connect New York to people across the United States and the world.”

Revellers stay warm in Times Square as they prepare for New Year's Eve celebrations on December 31, 2017 in New York City. – AFP

The beginning of the New Year in Times Square has been a tradition for 110 years, with the participation of crowds from within the United States and tourists from all over the globe, according to alwatanvoice news.

India welcomed 2018 in their own way of dancing performances and a festive atmosphere, as well as fireworks that decorated the sky of Mumbai.

People cheer as they release balloons during New Year celebrations outside a church in Ahmadabad, India, January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Amit Dave

British police also stepped up their deployment in all areas and public squares ahead of the New Year celebrations, and police patrols were deployed in Trafalgar Square, as well as in crowded areas around Westminster.

Thousands of Muslims gather in Trafalgar Square in London to celebrate Eid Al Fitr. Britain has one of the largest Muslim communities living in a non-Muslim country. Luke MacGregor / Reuters

The intensification of security in the United Kingdom came to avoid any terrorist attacks during the celebration.

The Lebanese capital Beirut prepared to welcome the New Year 2018 amid tight security. Al-Najma Square witnessed large celebrations in which a number of artists took part in the fireworks show, as well as entertainment concerts sponsored by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

People watch fireworks in the rain on New Year's Day in downtown Beirut, Lebanon January 1, 2018. Photo: Reuters

The Lebanese internal security department said in a statement that it had increased the preparations in its sectors to 100% and increased the presence of its elements on public roads to maintain the security of the citizens and to ensure their convenience and facilitate traffic, especially in front of houses of worship, restaurants and nightclubs.

The tragic anniversary of the celebrations of 2017 still dominates Turkey after an armed man stormed the famous Rena Club in Istanbul, killing 39 people and injuring 79. Turkish authorities decided to ban gatherings in Istanbul's famous Taksim Square and other districts.
1/1/2018 5:29:16 PM
<![CDATA[In frigid Times Square, relief arrives with the new year]]>
With New York City in the grip of a bitterly cold Arctic air mass, the experience was made particularly memorable this year for hundreds of thousands of people who braved the bone-chilling conditions to witness a century-old tradition.

In the waning hours of 2017, the mercury had plunged to 10 Fahrenheit, with a “Real Feel” of 7F, according to AccuWeather.com. That made it the city’s second-coldest New Year’s Eve on record after 1917, when the mercury in Times Square dropped to 1F (-17C).

Jaden Hunter, a 13-year-old from southern New Jersey, arrived at around 6 p.m., protected by a face mask and geared up for a good time.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Hunter said. “It’s pretty chilly, but we’ve got hand-warmers and all kinds of thermal technology.”

About 2 million people were expected in the vicinity of Times Square, the bow-tie-shaped plaza formed by the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue in midtown Manhattan. That was roughly same number as last year, when the temperature at midnight was a comfortable 44F (7C).

Still, the weather was severe enough to test the mettle of even the hardiest of partygoers.

Alejandro Garcia, 32, of Barcelona, Spain, said the only thing that stood between him and leaving early for a warm hotel room was his girlfriend, graduate student Gamma Elias, 28.

“I‘m freezing to death out here!” Garcia said, a few hours before midnight, wrapping his arms around Elias. “But she wants to stay.”

Like tens of thousands of others, the couple stood in one of dozens of fenced-in enclosures set up for blocks along the square. After hours of waiting, they were rewarded with a spectacular view of the giant ball as it made its annual, one-minute descent on the southern end of the plaza.

Greg Packer, 54, a retired highway maintenance manager from Huntington, New York, had a prime spot on West 43rd Street after arriving at 7 a.m.

“It feels more like Antarctica than New York. But everybody in the world is here,” he marveled, glancing around at the crowds in nearly every direction. “And I’m here.”

The crowds counted down the final hours of 2017 with a lineup of live musical acts including Nick Jonas, Neil Diamond and Andy Grammer.

Mariah Carey returned to the Times Square stage as well, pulling off a smooth performance after the embarrassment of last year’s technical difficulties.

Then came the long-awaited ball drop, a tradition that dates to 1907, three years after New Yorkers started gathering en masse in Times Square to usher in the new year.

Thousands of police were on hand, some heavily armed, others undercover. The show of force is part of a beefed-up security plan that follows a spate of attacks in the city and around the world that authorities have labeled as terrorist.

The NYPD provided officers with specialized training to stop any suicide bombers in response to an attempted bombing in a Times Square subway station walkway on Dec. 11.

Police deployed observation teams trained to spot snipers. There were also more explosive-detecting dogs and more officers positioned throughout the area this year.

People hoping to see musical acts and other entertainment up close in Times Square had to pass by heavily armed officers and dogs. They went through a magnetometer to check for weapons, had their bags inspected, then repeated all those steps a second time.

Police cars, dump trucks filled with sand and cement blocks were used to close streets, starting Sunday morning. About 125 parking garages in the area were emptied of all cars and sealed.

Brynn Hansen, 14, from Longmont, Colorado, appeared unfazed by the heightened security and the trying conditions. She said she was living a dream.
1/1/2018 3:09:38 PM
<![CDATA[Hundreds of Indonesian couples ring in the new year at mass wedding]]>
Nearly 450 couples gathered in a large tent in the city center just hours before midnight to pray with their families before signing marriage certificates. Government officials oversaw each brief ceremony.

“We wanted an unforgettable experience and we’re so happy that we decided to participate today,” said Hartiningish, a 38-year-old East Javanese bride, while a live band played a set of traditional and pop music in the background.

Her husband, Ricky Rangga, 30, said the couple was grateful to the city administration for making the wedding possible.

Many couples wore matching colors and colorful traditional Indonesian outfits, with some brides donning elaborate headdresses and grooms carrying traditional daggers called keris.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan congratulated those taking the plunge and said the city would now host the event every New Year’s Eve. The city government raised donation funds to pay for token gold dowries for the couples to exchange.

Grooms in Indonesia traditionally present gold jewelry or money to brides on the wedding day.

“We’re planning to do this every year,” Baswedan said, after posing for photographs with some couples.

Security was tight around the event’s venue in the heart of the city, which took place just a few meters from the site of a militant attack in January 2016, when Islamic State-linked radicals killed four people using guns and bombs.

Tens of thousands of police and military personnel have been deployed in Jakarta and across the country to safeguard holiday celebrations as the country remains on high alert.

One young pair from west Jakarta said they were looking forward to their honeymoon in the holiday island of Bali, where an active volcano, Mount Agung, remains on alert for an imminent eruption.

“If we’re together, there’s no need to be afraid of (the volcano), we will just enjoy,” Ruri Nurhayati, 22, said, just minutes after marrying her partner Andrianus, who goes by one name.

The couple were accompanied by a wedding party of 20 friends and family members, and joined New Year’s Eve revelers setting off fireworks in the city center, while others left the venue in cars bedecked with flowers.]]>
1/1/2018 3:05:07 PM
<![CDATA[How to keep your New Year's fitness resolutions]]>

I am personally one of those individuals who need to be jumping around in the middle of people and getting my heart rate way up and sweating bullets to walk away feeling happy. Group training, Functional fitness and high intensity training are definitely for me. I enjoy working out in a way that makes me feel like I'll be able to gain strength and apply it in a useful way throughout my entire life. I like having a partner to workout with, finding new people to meet and training hard with and I like to feel like I am pushing my limits, every single day. If that sounds like you, then try to find a place where you can do that at. There are a lot of facilities around Egypt, such as Ignite, which offer all sorts of group classes for you to participate in.


If working out in large groups doesn't suit your personality nor your life, schedule then opt to find a great coach and start working with them one-on-one through personal training sessions. Your personal trainer will help map out your goals with you and help you make realistic steps for how to get there with every session you have with them.


Perhaps you aren't into high intensity exercise and you don't want to walk away with your heart beat in the sky. What you can do instead is approach health and fitness from a yoga perspective. Yoga is amazing, not only for you mind but also for your body and your core. It helps give you time for yourself, to think about you, to go in wards, while strengthening the pillar of your whole body, which is your core.


Perhaps none of these kinds of training appeal to you and you are used to working out at the gym and want to find some weights to lift. Strength training is all about lifting those weights; and since group training is in, you can find any of the facilities around you that have strength training as an option within the world of lifting. What's great about this is that when you are lifting in groups, you can build a wonderful motivational squad that you can train with every day to help push you and encourage you to try new lifting techniques that you wouldn't normally experiment with on your own.



What 2018 is also bringing us is an awareness and understanding of the importance of education and certifications with our coaches and trainers. It's important to know what your coach or trainer has studied, where he has been certified and talk to them a little bit about their understanding of health and fitness. Your body is important and accordingly you should be able to ask questions and to have a better understanding about your coach's knowledge. Don't be shy to ask questions and try to find a facility that places an emphasis on educating their coaches.


The idea is this, if you really want to start training, you'll find the right place for you. The cliche is a cliche for a reason, where there is a will, there is a way. Put your finger on what kind of exercise gets you most excited and start looking around you for the places that offer the types of workouts you are looking for. Whether it is to get your sweat on, find your center and zen mode with yoga or lifting that metal, you'll always find the places that are right for you. Let's break into the new year right with a whole new version of yourself!]]>
1/1/2018 2:55:46 PM
<![CDATA[Hani Sheta: Santa Claus for 24 hours, bringing joy to the poor]]>
Santa Claus, that impossible dream of a white-like cloud with his hand on the sky and the other on our hearts, is now possibly closer thanks to young Egyptian Engineer Hani Hani Abdul Rahman Sheta, aged 45. Hani admits that when he was young, he dreamed of being visited by Santa Claus someday, leaving him a gift by the Christmas tree. However, Santa Claus never came, because, as Hany points out, “[Hany] was born into a small, medium-sized family.” Hany, as a little boy, became convinced over time that Santa Claus does not go to the poor!

Hani grew up and became a successful petroleum engineer in an international oil companies, and, thanks to his excellence at work, became wealthy. To be Santa Claus was the first thing he thought of on the first Christmas night after his conditions improved. As he said in his conversation with Egypt Today, “I wanted to be a joy maker, since I was deprived from it when I was small. I wanted to be the unexpected surprise for children, especially the poor ones. I wanted to be Santa Claus myself!”

Gifts are the right of poor children as well…

Hani Sheta, also known as Santa Claus, decided to change grief to happiness in the homes of poor children on Christmas Eve. His deep human experience began through his participation in the charitable work of distributing winter clothes to the poor at the start every winter season. But, the idea of Santa Claus all the time remained in his imagination.

He explained, “Happiness is not only about providing food and clothing to the poor, why do not we provide them with gifts and toys too, especially for children?... Why happiness is not a recreational thing, far from the basic needs of every human being; luxury in the lives of these people is non-existent and sometimes impossible.”

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Santa Claus Hani Sheta gives away gifts to Children- photo via Hani A-rahman Shetaea's Facebook page

Hani continues, “Almost four years ago the decision was made to create a page on Facebook, asking everyone who knows a poor family with kids – that can be visited by Santa Claus with his candy, toys and gifts – to send their address and name.”

He was surprised after the launch of the page that he received more than 1,200 messages from people requesting a visit from Santa Claus to them and some of their relatives and acquaintances.

Wishes Fulfilled

The letters sent to the real Santa Claus were not only for the sake of providing gifts to the children, but there were other wishes from fathers and mothers who were making wishes for the New Year! Hani stated, “I have got many wishes, beyond my ability to anticipate, not a gift or a certain game, but some are asking me to come in tonight.

For the birthday of a family member or even for a family reunion after separation due to quarrels, the idea being that children would be more willing to reconcile in the presence of Santa Claus! Letters where children expressed their desire to see Santa Claus in real life.

They did not ask for gifts. Just that they see him, as they had not seen him except in cartoons. It reached a point where some families would buy for their son a gift that he loves and ask me to go by myself to deliver the gift, which they would give me in secret one or two days before the visit!”

The Earthquake region was the biggest challenge

Many challenges and multiple hardships faced Hani in his humanitarian work, in which he spreads happiness to human beings wherever he went. Nevertheless, the real challenge for Hani was in a specific residential area.

Hany described his experience, “The earthquake housing area in Mokattam is one of the most impoverished, and has been a major challenge for me to go to, especially since it has dozens of shanty houses. The idea that children accept the existence of Santa Claus in such tragic circumstances was subject to the children’s reaction themselves and the extent of my presence among them.

The experience was successful and I managed to enter 30 houses there, and I cannot describe the happiness and joy with which the children greeted me and the overwhelming emotions of their parents. Poverty is the poverty of hearts and not the poverty of the pockets!”

The message of the martyr's mother to Santa Claus

There are dozens of unforeseen humanitarian situations in Sheta’s memory. Over the years, he decided to be the closest person to children's hearts, even for just one night, giving them hope and showing them that there is good in the world.

Despite such attempts by Hany, there is still one situation that remains in his heart, never to be forgotten. Hany recalled, slightly tearing up, as he usually does when he remembers this story, “I had a message from a mother who asked me to visit her son on Christmas Eve, and I was surprised that she was the mother of a martyr, one of the heroes in our war on terror. Her son was killed in North Sinai in 2015 at the age of 20.

This hero had a younger 10-year-old brother, and the martyr's mother told me that her young son became sad after the martyrdom of his eldest and only brother. He is no longer happy, and as a mother her means are meager; she asked me to visit her son and she was going to buy a 10-pound toy and give it to me in secret before I visit the house, so that the little boy would be surprised.”

Santa Claus Hani Sheta gives away gifts to Children- photo via Hani A-rahman Shetaea's Facebook page

Santa Claus Visits Grandpa…

Unlike human stories with deep and sometimes confusing emotions, there are other funny stories that Hani, who decided to become Santa Claus for 24 hours every year, cannot forget.

He remembered, “Once I received a letter from a little girl who lived in the Fifth Settlement, and she wanted to surprise her grandfather with a visit from Santa Claus, because he is born on December 25. So, she wanted me to give him his birthday present. Indeed, I went to Grandpa's house and was surprised by a family gathering in a large villa with more than 40 people, and I presented the gift to Grandpa, who was over eighty years old.

The family's delight was indescribable, but what happened then would make me laugh for a 100 years. As grandpa got out of his pocket the sum of LE 500 and he said to me, “This is for you, so, that you go home in a taxi and get something for your kids.” I replied, “My car is parked outside, my dear grandfather, do not worry.” I refused, of course, to take the money and thanked him, because this is only humanitarian work; I do this to make others happy.“

The Happiness Jacket

The child most influential in Hani's life. He says: "I happened to stand with a young kid about 8 years old, and this situation was the reason behind any innovation I do since then to please children. I am supplementing the message of happiness that I carry for them.

This child was a street child, and one day while I was going one of my Santa Claus visits, I found him dressed in the bitter cold in a short-sleeve summer shirt. So, I immediately decided to give him a wool jacket I had with me in the car, but the child left me and ran quickly. I was very surprised by the situation, and I kept looking for him by car in the area until I found him, and I asked him, "Why didn't you take the jacket and ran in a hurry? He answered, "Because I liked it so much and I feared that you would take it from me one day again and my happiness will turn into a new sadness in my life!"

A child’s smile is worth a lot

Despite the hardship that Hani has often endured to achieve the simple wishes of children, he considers it to be a very sublime and great message, facilitated by God, saying: Happiness is not in owning money or positions, happiness is having a big heart.

If you can have a heart for one minute, it would be the happiest moment of your life. What do you think if you have the heart of an innocent child that laughs from the bottom of his heart because he is happy to fulfill a wish, he would consider a dream? This happiness immediately transcends to you, and it will make you happy all your life.]]>
1/1/2018 12:26:14 AM
<![CDATA[Super 'Wolf Moon' to enlighten New Year Eve’s Sky ]]>
It is considered a rare astronomical phenomenon; as January will witness two full Supermoons.

The end of January will also witness another Supermoon, which is called the “Blue Moon.”
NASA published on December 20 a full calendar for 2018 full moons and lunar eclipses. The calendar shows, the end of January will witness first 2018 total lunar eclipse.

According to Space.com, “Supermoons happen when a full moon approximately coincides with the moon's perigee, or a point in its orbit at which it is closest to Earth. This makes the moon appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than usual.”

According to CNN, Native American tribes named January’s full moon “Wolf Moon” due to the howls of wolves in the cold times of the year. The term “Blue Moon” is used when the same month witnesses the presence of two full moons.
12/31/2017 5:30:06 PM
<![CDATA[Diane von Fürstenberg Best Fashion Moments]]>
We took a dive into DVF’s social media channels and picked some of her best fashion moments throughout the years.

The iconic wrap dress worn by the first lady of dresses

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A new generation of wrap dresses

Spring all year round

Flowers on flowers

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DVF and jeans

The perfect New Year’s Eve dress

Glamour is shine and confidence! A new era @dvf

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DVF was one of the regular party figures in New York City at Studio 54 among others such as Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Jones, Elton John and many more.

12/31/2017 1:26:38 PM
<![CDATA[et Quote: Diane von Fürstenberg]]>“I wanted to be an independent woman, a woman who could pay for her bills, a woman who could run her own life - and I became that woman.” - Diane von Furstenberg

The iconic Belgian-American Diane von Fürstenberg was born in 1946 to a Romanian father and a Greek mother. Her birth name was Diane Simone Michelle Halfin, and she was raised in Brussels, Belgium. She studied at the University of Geneva in Switzerland where she met her first husband Prince Egon von Fürstenberg and became Princess Diane of Fürstenberg of the House of Fürstenberg when they married in 1969. She continued to use his family name after they divorced in 1983.

“I travel light. I think the most important thing is to be in a good mood and enjoy life, wherever you are.” - Diane von Furstenberg

First she was an economics student, and soon she became an assistant to Albert Koski a fashion photographer agent in Paris, when she began to follow her passion for fashion. She would go on to become an apprentice to Angelo Ferretti and it was there that she would create her first dress.

“Insecurity is a waste of time.” - Diane von Furstenberg

In 1972, she created the knitted jersey ‘Wrap Dress’ which is now placed in the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. With the help of the legendary Diana Vreeland, Fürstenberg’s career took off as she placed her on the New York Fashion Week calendar.

”If you're a good person, the goodness will continue through your descendants.” - Diane von Fürstenberg

Her philanthropic activities saw her create the The Diller-von Fürstenberg Family Foundation with her second husband Barry Diller, a billionaire media mogul. Their foundation provides support to a variety of non-profit organizations. She has also committed her career and status to helping emerging designers rise and formed the ‘Design Piracy Prohibition Act’.

“Fashion is mysterious, as a rule. Why are blue jeans a classic? You just hit on something that happens to be timeless and right.” - Diane von Fürstenberg


● 1970: She was announced by News Week magazine to be "the most marketable woman since Coco Chanel."

● 1976: sold over 5 million wrap dresses.

● 2005: she was honored by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) with a life achievement award.

● 2006: she was elected as the president of the CFDA.

● 2010: she designed rooms for London’s hotel Claridge's.

● 2011: she was given the Award of Courage by amfAR for her fight against AIDS.

● 2014: named by Forbes as the 68th most powerful women.

● 2011: she was honored with the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal from the Municipal Art Society of New York for her contribution to the city.

● 2015: was labelled an icon by Time Magazine.

● 2016: she established the DFV awards to serve as a platform for women who have taken leadership in their own fields and organizations, while also awarding them with grants.

12/31/2017 1:24:19 PM
<![CDATA[Most beautiful Arab women of 2017]]>
1. Hend Sabri

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2. Nelly Karim

3. Mona Zaki

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4. Yasmine Sabri

5. Amina Khalil

6. Shereen Reda

7. Dorra

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8. Amal Alamuddin Clooney

9. Yasmin Raeis

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10. Jamila Awad

11. Nagla Badr

A post shared by Nagla Badr (@naglabadr) on

12. Arwa Gouda

A post shared by Arwa Gouda (@arwagouda) on

13. Nancy Ajram

A post shared by Nancy Ajram (@nancyajram) on

14. Menna Shalaby

A post shared by Menna Shalaby (@mennagram) on

15. Saba Mubarak

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16. Kinda Alloush

17. Nicole Sabaa

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12/31/2017 1:22:11 PM
<![CDATA[Family decision-makers in medical crises benefit from emotional support]]>
Nearly half of hospitalized older adults need help communicating and making healthcare decisions, and caregivers often experience stress while helping their loved ones, researchers write in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

“Millions of older adults are admitted to the hospital each year, and as the country’s population ages, this is going to be more common,” said lead author Dr. Alexia Torke of the Indiana University Center for Aging Research in Indianapolis.

Prior research has focused on patients in intensive care units (ICUs), but the new study found high stress levels for family decision-makers throughout the hospital, she told Reuters Health by phone.

Torke and colleagues studied 364 adults, age 65 or older, and their surrogate decision-makers in ICUs or internal medicine units at three hospitals. Family members faced at least one tough decision during the hospital stay about life-sustaining therapy such as ventilator use or resuscitation orders, procedures or surgeries requiring written informed consent, or placement in a nursing home.

At the start of the study and six weeks after the patient left the hospital, researchers assessed levels of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the family decision-maker. Decision-makers also filled out feedback surveys about the quality of communication and emotional support they experienced, and their satisfaction with decision-making during the relative’s hospitalization and satisfaction with the hospital overall.

While their relative was hospitalized, decision-makers had fairly high levels of anxiety and depression. But six to eight weeks post-discharge, just 23 percent had lingering anxiety, about half of them at a moderate to severe level. A total of 29 percent had mild depression, about half had moderate to severe depression, and 14 percent had symptoms of PTSD.

Decision-makers who felt they received emotional support from hospital workers were 35 percent less likely to have lingering anxiety and 20 percent less likely to have ongoing depression, compared to those who didn’t feel supported.

This effect was independent of family characteristics, anxiety levels at the start of the study and whether the patient died, the researchers note.

Emotional support was also linked to lower likelihood of PTSD and higher satisfaction with decision-making. In contrast, high satisfaction with information communication was associated with higher odds of PTSD, but also higher overall satisfaction with the hospital.

“Family surrogates are going to be distressed after a hospital stay, even if there’s good communication with hospital staff,” Torke said. “What really matters is the emotional support.”

Future studies should look at ways to improve communication and emotional support, the authors write. At Indiana University medical centers, for example, a tool called the Family Navigator provides health information and emotional support to family surrogates in the ICU, Torke said.

“This should serve as a call-to-action for hospitals and healthcare systems,” said Dr. J. Randall Curtis, a critical care specialist at the University of Washington in Seattle, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“What we really need are studies that identify specific approaches that doctors, nurses, social workers and hospitals can use to improve communication and emotional support,” he told Reuters Health by email. “We need to demonstrate that these approaches work.”

Some studies show that condolence letters actually make symptoms worse, he said. Instead, a trained social worker or palliative care provider may provide the emotional support and communication that patients and their loved ones really need.

“Having a seriously ill loved one is extremely stressful, and family members of hospitalized patients should think about the way they can get their communication needs met,” Curtis said. “If you are in this situation, consider asking for help.”
12/31/2017 7:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Cigarette smoking during pregnancy linked to ADHD risk in offspring]]>
Mothers who smoked during pregnancy had an overall 60 percent higher risk of having a child with ADHD compared to women who didn’t smoke. For mothers who smoked fewer than 10 cigarettes per day, the risk of having a child who developed ADHD was 54 percent higher than for nonsmoking mothers. For mothers who were heavier smokers, the risk was 75 percent higher than for nonsmokers.

An increased risk of ADHD for children of women who smoke while pregnant has been reported before. What’s new here, the authors say, is that the data have been pooled from studies in multiple countries and time periods, and also that as the daily tally of cigarettes went up, the risk of ADHD went up.

The findings “lend greater strength and credibility and statistical power to previous studies that likewise show that pregnant women who smoke have a greater likelihood of having a child with ADHD,” said Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief, developmental and behavioral pediatrics, Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York in New Hyde Park.

Adesman, who was not involved in the research, told Reuters Health by phone that the study ”has to be taken seriously. Women who smoke during pregnancy have one more reason to stop.”

According to 2011 Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System (PRAMS) data from 24 states, approximately 10 percent of American women reported smoking during the last three months of pregnancy.

Eleven percent of U.S. children ages 4 to 17, or 6.4 million children, have been diagnosed with ADHD based on parent reports, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ADHD can affect attention, hyperactivity and self-control, causing difficulty in school and socially.

As reported in Pediatrics, Dr. Dezhi Mu and colleagues at West China Second University Hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan, China, analyzed 20 studies published between 1998 and 2017 that looked at the potential role of smoking during pregnancy and the risk of ADHD in offspring. Altogether, the studies involved nearly 3 million people in Europe, Brazil, Japan, Australia and the U.S.

The team found lower risks for ADHD in children of mothers who smoked in the U.S. and Europe, where more smokers stop smoking when they get pregnant.

“It would be a big leap from that, but if you are a prior smoker and stop during pregnancy, the inference is that the risk of ADHD goes down,” Dr. Jeffrey Newcorn, director, The Center of Excellence in ADHD and Related Disorders, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai told Reuters Health in a phone interview.

Data from seven studies showed that while mothers’ smoking had a greater effect than fathers’ smoking on ADHD risk, there was still a 20 percent higher risk of ADHD in children born to fathers who smoked.

The new analysis can’t prove that smoking causes ADHD. Among other limitations of the new research are that different criteria were used to diagnose ADHD in the various studies, and tobacco use during pregnancy was self-reported by the mothers.

Newcorn, who was not involved in the research, would like to see more studies on the relationship between genetic and environmental factors in developing ADHD, as well as the role of nicotine exposure.
12/31/2017 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[‘Artificial pancreas’ works during intense exercise]]>
Researchers focused on a group of 32 teens with type 1 diabetes who participated in a five-day skiing camp, spending about five hours a day on the slopes. Half of the athletes used an artificial pancreas, also known as a closed-loop insulin delivery system; the rest wore their regular insulin pumps and administered insulin themselves using a so-called open loop system.

With the artificial pancreas, participants had blood sugar levels in a healthy range about 71 percent of the time, compared with 65 percent of the time among teens using the open-loop system, researchers report in Diabetes Care.

Dangerously low blood sugar, a common problem when people with type 1 diabetes participate in sports, also happened less often with the artificial pancreas.

“All type 1 diabetes patients using an insulin pump should very seriously consider using an artificial pancreas, regardless of how active they are,” said lead study author Marc Breton of the Center for Diabetes Technology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

“The artificial pancreas will work (and well) even if you exercise a lot, and you will benefit from its automation even if you already know how to control your blood glucose during and after exercise,” Breton said by email. “Eventually, this system may allow people with diabetes the freedom to participate safely in physical activities that they likely avoided in the past.”

In type 1 diabetes, a chronic condition typically diagnosed in children and young adults, the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow blood sugar, or glucose, to enter cells and produce energy. Poorly controlled, diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease, kidney complications and death.

People with type 1 diabetes typically have to test their own blood sugar levels throughout the day and inject insulin to manage it. Nights are often a problem because dangerous blood sugar changes can happen while the person is sleeping, and intense exercise can also result in unsafe dips or spikes in blood sugar levels.

Current artificial pancreas systems can monitor blood sugar every few minutes and use that information to adjust insulin delivery. This may be less cumbersome for athletes than open-loop systems, which require them to manually adjust the amount of insulin delivered by their pump based on readouts from a separate glucose monitor.

In the study, athletes had dangerously low blood sugar 1.8 percent of the time with the artificial pancreas, compared with 3.2 percent of the time with the open-loop system.

Dangerously high blood sugar also happened less often with the artificial pancreas: 7 percent of the time compared with 9.3 percent of the time with the open-loop system.

Beyond its small size, other limitations of the study include the focus on athletes without a history of dangerously low blood sugar, which may limit how much the findings apply to all people with type 1 diabetes, the authors note. In the study, teens also had intense supervision by doctors that might not occur in real life.

The type, intensity and duration of physical activity all matter, said Ali Cinar, director of the Engineering Center for Diabetes Research and Education at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

“People trying a new type of exercise or routine should be careful in tracking their metabolic variations and adjusting their hypoglycemia prevention routines,” Cinar, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “A well-designed artificial pancreas can make these adjustments automatically.”

While the findings suggest an artificial pancreas may make it easier for athletes to manage type 1 diabetes, more research is needed to see if a device can be designed to respond to a wide variety of exercise experiences, said Michael Riddell of the Muscle Health Research Centre at York University in Toronto.

“At present, it is extremely difficult to mimic the normal physiologic response that a healthy pancreas has to exercise,” Riddell, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.
12/30/2017 5:00:41 PM
<![CDATA[17 Handsome Arab Men of 2017]]>
1. Ahmed Magdy

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2. Ali Mazhar

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3. Amr Youssef

4. Ahmed Hatim

5. Ramy Ashour

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6. Asser Yassin

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7. Kivanc Titlitug

8. Dhaffer L’Abidine

9. Amir Karara

10. Ahmed Malek

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11. Abu

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12. Faz3

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13. Ahmed Ezz

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14. Prince Al Hussein of Jordan

15. Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi

16. Amr Waked

17. Basel Khayat

😊😘 #باسل_خياط #معا_في_حب_باسل_خياط

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12/30/2017 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[et Quote: LeBron James]]>
In celebration of the 33rd birthday of one of the most looked up to and admired players in the NBA, we have gathered some of his quotes to set you up for the New Year ahead.

“You have to be able to accept failure to get better.” - LeBron James

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“I treated it like every day was my last day with a basketball.” - LeBron James

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“My mom and I have always been there for each other. We had some tough times, but she was always there for me.” - LeBron James

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“But now, being a parent, I go home and see my son and I forget about any mistake I ever made or the reason I'm upset. I get home and my son is smiling or he comes running to me. It has just made me grow as an individual and grow as a man.” - LeBron James

“I have short goals – to get better every day, to help my teammates every day – but my only ultimate goal is to win an NBA championship. It's all that matters. I dream about it. I dream about it all the time, how it would look, how it would feel. It would be so amazing.” - LeBron James

“I like criticism. It makes you strong.” - LeBron James

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“You can't be afraid to fail. It's the only way you succeed – you're not gonna succeed all the time, and I know that.” - LeBron James

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“I always say, decisions I make, I live with them. There's always ways you can correct them or ways you can do them better. At the end of the day, I live with them.” - LeBron James

“But ever since I was a kid, I was always the winner.” - LeBron James

12/30/2017 9:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Can a sun salutation a day keep night sweats at bay?]]>
The study team examined data on 1,306 women in 13 different clinical trials that randomly assigned some participants to practice yoga and others to get no treatment or to try a different type of intervention such as health education or other forms of exercise. All of the women suffered from menopause symptoms at the beginning of the trials.

Yoga was better than no treatment at reducing total menopause symptoms, anxiety related to symptoms, hot flashes and night sweats, and vaginal dryness and pain during sex, the study found.

“There were already clear hints from earlier studies that yoga might be good for relieving menopause-related psychological symptoms such as mood swings, depression or sleep problems,” said lead study author Holger Cramer, research director of the department of internal and integrative medicine at Kliniken Essen-Mitte and the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany.

“Based on the new data, yoga can also effectively relieve physical symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue or bladder problems,” Cramer said by email. “This indicates a potentially beneficial effect of yoga for all women with menopausal symptoms.”

Women go through menopause when they stop menstruating, which typically happens between ages 45 and 55. As the ovaries curb production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone in the years leading up to menopause and afterward, women can experience symptoms ranging from vaginal dryness to mood swings, joint pain and insomnia.

In the current study, yoga was better than other types of exercise for so-called vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.

Yoga was also better for overall menopause symptoms than health education.

The analysis included four clinical trials from the U.S., three from India, two each from Brazil and China, and one each from Germany and South Korea.

Half of these studies included at least 54 participants, although they ranged in size from 30 to 355 women.

The small trials ranged in length from 4 to 16 weeks and had women practice yoga or do other interventions anywhere from 1 to 14 times weekly.

Women who did yoga in the trials tried a variety of different forms, including hatha yoga that focuses on breathing and meditation and Iyengar yoga, which concentrates on body alignment.

One limitation of the study is that the variety of approaches to yoga used in different trials made it difficult to determine what type of practice might help most with menopause symptoms, the authors note in Maturitas.

Even so, the results offer fresh evidence of the potential for yoga to help with menopause symptoms, said Dr. James Stahl of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Geisel School of Medicine Lebanon, New Hampshire.

“All of the mind-body tools, yoga, acupuncture, qi gong, and meditation probably work through multiple mechanisms - through remodeling how the mind-body perceives sensations and signals, how the mind-body responds to those stimuli and finally through helping set or reset the mind-body’s steady state,” Stahl, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

Because yoga is a relatively low-risk physical activity that can be easily adapted to different fitness levels, patients should consider it for symptom relief, said Dr. Rachael Polis, a researcher at Crozer-Keystone Health System headquartered in Springfield, Pennsylvania.

“Yoga is relatively low-impact, inexpensive, can be practiced anywhere, and during any time of day,” Polis, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

“For this reason, it’s a great early intervention for patients to attempt,” Polis added. “I do recommend someone new to yoga take classes with a well-trained instructor who can teach correct body alignment and suggest posture modifications when needed.”

12/30/2017 7:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[‘Weak link’ between childhood lead and adult criminal behavior]]>
The study set out to address a flaw in much of the previous research linking lead and crime: mainly that it’s hard to determine how much of this connection might be explained by poverty and other socioeconomic circumstances that can influence both criminal activity and lead exposure.

Researchers followed 553 people born in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1972 and 1973, when lead exposure was common among children of all economic backgrounds because of widespread use of leaded gasoline. All of the kids were tested for lead exposure when they were 11 years old, and the study team followed them until age 38 to see how many of them were convicted of crimes.

By the end of the study, 154 participants, or 28 percent, had at least one criminal conviction, the researchers report in JAMA Pediatrics. But the odds of this happening were barely influenced by the amount of lead exposure people had during childhood. Just being male had a stronger effect than lead levels, the researchers note.

“Many studies have shown that higher exposure to lead could predict more criminal behavior, but our study actually found that there isn’t a clear connection between the two,” said lead author Amber Beckley, a researcher at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

The reason for the different results this time is that the current study found children from all walks of life had high lead levels, Beckley said by email.

“In our study, socioeconomic status was not associated with childhood lead exposure,” she added.

There’s no safe level of lead exposure. This toxin can damage the developing nervous system in young children, and blood lead levels as low as 5 micrograms per deciliter may lower intelligence quotient (IQ), according to the World Health Organization.

Participants in the current study had average blood lead levels more than twice that high when they were 11 years old in the early 1980s: 11.01 micrograms/dL.

Blood lead levels ranged from 4 to 31 micrograms/dL and didn’t vary according to socioeconomic status.

To see how many of these kids were later convicted of crimes, researchers searched police records and also interviewed participants six times to inquire about any criminal activity.

A total of 68 participants, or 12 percent, had a single criminal conviction and another 86 people had more than one conviction, the study found.

Only 53 people were violent offenders, while 101 participants were convicted of non-violent crimes.

Childhood lead exposure didn’t appear to influence at all whether people would commit violent crimes or become repeat offenders.

But it did appear to influence the odds that teens would participate in criminal activity, though this connection was weak and didn’t persist over time, the authors conclude.

One limitation of the study is that children only got one blood test for lead exposure, and multiple assessments can give a more accurate picture of total exposure, the researchers note. It’s also possible that results would be different today, when children typically have less exposure to lead than they did in the 1970s and 1980s.

It’s also possible that the connection between childhood lead exposure and criminal behavior might be stronger than the authors concluded, David Farrington of Cambridge University writes in an accompanying editorial. It may not be appropriate to describe the strength of the connection as “weak,” Farrington writes.

“More research is needed, of course, to investigate the independent, interactive and sequential effects of blood lead levels in relation to other risk factors for offending,” Farrington writes. He didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.

12/30/2017 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Best Dressed Celebrities of 2017]]>
From the Hadid sisters to Arab cinema star’s Amina Khalil and Hend Sabri whenever they were out-and-about they were always dressed to kill. Even the men managed to stay on point and polished.

Amina Khalil

Hend Sabri

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Mona Zaki

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Dorra Zarrouk

Amal Alamuddin


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Bella Hadid

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Gigi Hadid

12/29/2017 5:17:13 PM
<![CDATA[There's a good boy: Thai nurses dress babies up as dogs to ring in New Year]]>

Staff at the Paolo Memorial Hospital Chokchai 4 dressed the babies in blue and brown crochet hats with dog ears and matching outfits for a photoshoot.

Parents were later given framed photos as a memento, said nurse Pilaiporn Kondee.

She said some parents specifically chose to give birth at the hospital because of the new year costumes and photo souvenirs on offer.

Nopparat Yodsaksee, 32, watched proudly as his newborn son posed for photos.

“This year is the most special year for our family so far,” Nopparat told Reuters.

“It’s something that has a lot of meaning.”

Twelve animals make up the traditional Chinese zodiac, with each year having its own unique beliefs. The Year of the Dog begins in February.

12/29/2017 2:15:39 PM
<![CDATA[Male doctors make a lot more in industry payments than female peers]]>
Researchers analyzed general industry payments, including research grants, consulting fees, and food and beverage expenses, accrued by 933,295 licensed physicians. Overall, they saw a notable gender difference in favor of male physicians in relation to engagement with industry.

“These data are depressingly familiar”, said Ariane Hegewisch, program director of employment and earnings at the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Women’s Policy Research, who was not involved in the study.

Two-thirds of the doctors in the study were male. Across all specialties, men received a higher per-physician value of general payments versus women, with a median difference of $1,470. The discrepancy in neurosurgery was particularly wide, with the largest per-physician value of general payments for male neurosurgeons at $15,821, compared with $3,970 for their female colleagues.

“At first glance, this finding can be interpreted as merely another example of gender disparities in the workplace, which we have seen before with gender gaps in physician salaries and research funding,” said study coauthor Kathryn Tringale of the University of California, San Diego.

The data could also indicate industry bias resulting in fewer opportunities for female physicians to engage in profitable relationships, or gender differences in physician decision-making, Tringale said.

Female doctors with children may work fewer hours than their male counterparts, although not every woman physician is a mother, and not every female doctor who is a mother has reduced her hours, noted Hegewisch in an email.

“But this is not really a full explanation: why is it that women take so much more responsibility for their kids and for family care overall? Discrimination, access to the highest paying opportunities, and systemic bias in the way funding and patenting systems are set up are also likely to contribute,” she said.

The study also found that male physicians held 93% of the value received from ownership interests, including stock options and partnership shares, and received a higher per-physician value across most specialties, with the largest difference among radiologists. However, women physicians in certain fields such as obstetrics, gynecology, psychiatry and urology, had comparatively higher values of ownership interest.

“Perhaps industries purposely target men more than women, presuming they may have greater influence on market share or sales . . . data shows that women hold fewer patents than their male counterparts, which may be explained by fewer initial connections to the marketplace or exclusion of their name from the patent itself after idea generation,” Tringale said.

Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, suggested what she called another “obvious explanation.”

Perhaps “women do less of the work that earns the type of payments being studied,” she said in an email.

The study findings were drawn from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services National Plan & Provider Enumeration System and from 2015 Open Payment reports of industry payments to U.S. doctors.

In a subset of 63,466 licensed California practitioners, after taking years in practice into account, male physicians were still more likely than female physicians to receive general payments and hold ownership interests, and the men received more - and higher-value - general payments, Tringale and her coauthor Dr. Jona Hattangadi-Gluth wrote in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“We need to further investigate how interactions with industry influence physician behavior and impact patient care, which we cannot conclude from these results,” said Tringale.

12/29/2017 2:11:27 PM
<![CDATA[Top 10 Fashion Trends]]>
Nonetheless, we’ve seen some nicer, more practical trends this past year; from the rise of the sneakers to the glorious comeback of the backpack. Here’s a look back at the fashion trend essentials of 2017.

Florals and sheer fabrics


This trend was one of the biggest for the past year, ranging from the 1970s romantic, flowing floral on sheer fabrics to the 1980s bolder, more vibrant patterns and Madonna-inspired designs. Sheer coupled with oversized blazers and high-waisted straight jeans, sheer blouses with pussy bows and all the way to sheer, classic shirts in androgynous designs; the fabric was used in various styles and for various occasions.

Off shoulder, cold shoulder, deconstructed one shoulder and oversized shoulders


Whatever you do, just don’t go with normal shoulders, grab a pair of scissors and make a hole if you need to, just don’t go with plain, old shoulders.

Designers seemed obsessed with shoulders this year, from asymmetrical, deconstructed and cold shoulders to the plain old off-shoulders and all the way to padded shoulders on oversized blazers.

Oversized sleeves


Whether it is a dress or a shirt, oversized sleeves were big in 2017, especially in summer. Ranging from bell sleeves on off-shoulder tops to slit sleeves on silky numbers, oversized sleeves complemented the dramatic looks that were typical of this past year.

The 1980s

Big jackets, chokers, bold metallic outfits and dark lipsticks; the 1980s were back in fashion and every 80’s kid felt right up his ally this year.

Fake fur jackets


Furs have been in and out of the fashion scene for the past decade, ranging from vests to fur collars and even fur sliders; but this past year saw the bolder, less-apologetic fur trend. Big, boxy fake fur jackets dominated the fashion scene last year.

Platforms and sneakers


Finally, someone up there on the runway considered the excruciating pains us, women, go through day in, day out and decided to make comfy footwear trendy. Unlike previous trends that put our feet to pure torture we will not forget or forgive the person who came up with pointy stilettos with sky-high, skinny heels this past year was all about comfort. Flatforms and sneakers not only flew for summer parties but were even big hits for trendy formal wear.

Rainbow-inspired, bright stripes


Summer 2017 was full of bright stripes in all forms; whether broad stripes on flared trousers or slimmer ones on shirt dresses, but the bolder, wider the pants, the trendier it seemed, apparently.



The backpack made a huge comeback last year, which is one trend we are definitely rallying behind.

Although deemed nerdy for a good few years, the backpack was kind of bags in 2017, and we do hope the trend stays alive and well next year.

Not only are they practical for the student, the executive and even the mother especially the mother, if we may add they are also brilliant for posture.

Crop tops


One of these trends that are impossible to pull off, the crop tops were mostly exclusive to the younger age group with flat tummies or older ladies who are lucky enough to pull off showing their midriffs on a night out or a day on the beach.

Mostly, though, people stuck with high-waist bottoms coupled with crop tops that sit just right for a day out in the city.

Graphic Tees


Flashing expressive words on shirts was big in the fashion scene this year, from women empowerment slogans to sassy sentences, most major retailers stocked at least half-a-dozen different designs of graphic tees. The good thing about the trend, however, is that many retailers targeting teenagers and young adults carried feminist slogans, which is a silver lining in an otherwise self-image-crushing industry.
12/29/2017 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Bali declares 'garbage emergency' amid sea of waste]]>
Plastic straws and food packaging are strewn between sunbathers, while surfers bobbing behind the waves dodge waste flushed out from rivers or brought in by swirling currents.

"When I want to swim, it is not really nice. I see a lot of garbage here every day, every time," Austrian traveler Vanessa Moonshine explains.

"It's always coming from the ocean. It's really horrible," she adds.

Often dubbed a paradise on earth, the Indonesian holiday island has become an embarrassing poster child for the country's trash problem.

The archipelago of more than 17,000 islands is the world's second biggest contributor to marine debris after China, and a colossal 1.29 million metric tons is estimated to be produced annually by Indonesia.

The waves of plastic flooding into rivers and oceans have been causing problems for years -- clogging waterways in cities, increasing the risk of floods, and injuring or killing marine animals who ingest or become trapped by plastic packaging.

The problem has grown so bad that officials in Bali last month declared a "garbage emergency" across a six-kilometre (3.7-mile) stretch of coast that included popular beaches Jimbaran, Kuta and Seminyak.

Officials deployed 700 cleaners and 35 trucks to remove roughly 100 tons of debris each day to a nearby landfill.

"People with green uniform were collecting the garbage to move it away but the next day I saw the same situation," said German Claus Dignas, who claimed he saw more garbage with each visit to the island.

"No one wants to sit on nice beach chairs and facing all this rubbish," he added.

Bali's rubbish problem is at its worst during the annual monsoon season, when strong winds push marine flotsam onto the beach and swollen rivers wash rubbish from riverbanks to the coast, according to Putu Eka Merthawan from the local environment agency.

"This garbage does not come from people living in Kuta and nearby areas," he told AFP.

"It would be suicidal if Kuta people were doing it."

- War on waste -

Some 72 kilometres from Kuta, Mount Agung has been threatening to erupt for two months, prompting tourists to cancel visits and displacing tens of thousands of villagers living within a 10 kilometre-radius of the volcano's crater.

But the island's waste problem is no less of a threat, said I Gede Hendrawan, an environmental oceanography researcher from Bali's Udayana University.

"Garbage is aesthetically disturbing to tourists, but plastic waste issue is way more serious," he told AFP.

"Microplastics can contaminate fish which, if eaten by humans, could cause health problems including cancer."

Indonesia is one of nearly 40 countries that are part of UN Environment's Clean Seas campaign, which aims to halt the tide of plastic trash polluting the oceans.

As part of its commitment, the government has pledged to reduce marine plastic waste by 70 percent by 2025.

It plans to boost recycling services, curb the use of plastic bags, launch cleanup campaigns and raise public awareness.

Still, the scale of the problem facing Indonesia is huge, due to its population of more than 250 million and poor waste processing infrastructure.

Hendrawan, who says both locals and tourists are responsible for the island's rubbish problem, urged authorities to invest more resources to tackle the problem.

"The Bali government should spare more budget to raise people's awareness to take care of local rivers, not to dump waste," he said.

"The central government should boost the campaign to reduce use of plastic packaging and ban free plastic bags at convenient stores."]]>
12/29/2017 1:30:57 AM
<![CDATA[Women in Egypt (Part 5)]]>
What major women's issues has Sisi addressed in the last year? To what extent has the status of Egyptian women improved? What exactly happened in the "Year of the Egyptian Woman"? Egypt Today provides a detailed summary, reflecting on actions taken and policies implemented to improve women’s lives in Egypt in 2017, presented by Maya Morsy, the president of the National Council of Women (NCW).

Entrepreneurship and social innovation

The National Council for Women is working on entrepreneurship and social innovation. "We have 18,000 women who had been trained to develop their entrepreneurship skills throughout all the Egyptian governorates," Morsy recounted.

NCW is presenting social services and helping women to reach certain social services. "In the year of women, we covered around 76,000 women."

NCW has reached out and worked with 30,000 women in the year of women, through initiatives, enhancing their intervention skills as well as other skills through workshops and other activities.

The narrative messages that NCW wants to deliver to the Egyptian women and the whole society in the year of women

1-Having a clear policy and strategy for women’s empowerment, announcing a clear road map and government policy orientation towards empowerment of women.

"I developed these narrative messages because this is where I want to brand Egypt. Egyptian women in this era are experiencing a different wave of development; this has to be announced, we have to really know where we are heading to. Now, we have a clear policy and strategy for women empowerment which we have already announced. This strategy is a road map for the government and there is also government policy orientation so we know quite well where we are heading."

2-Talk to the girls and women and give them the chance to express themselves and their demands. "Open a clear channel of communication with them; do not expect that they will come to you." (Knock the door strategy)

"We have to talk to the girls, and we are actually talking to the girls and women. It is very important to listen to them and know their demands, giving them the chance to express themselves."

3-Bring more women into power, they are the change agents and power is in number (Power of Presence strategy).

"I say to every woman do not be afraid; we have to give women the space and the chance to break the glass ceiling, and let them implement the power of presence strategy themselves, because this strategy is extremely important for women empowerment."

4- Encourage Women in non-traditional vocations; this will lead to ideational change and normalization of the concept that women can do all the jobs at all levels as equals to men. (Ideational Change strategy)

"Women can perform all kinds of jobs; if she is a taxi driver, she can do it; if she is a carpenter, she can do it; if she is an advisor to president on national security issues; she can do it; if she is a governor, she can do it. We want to reach the normalization of women in different vocations, job opportunities and advisory level work. That point is potentially important."

5- Encourage girls and women to use smart phones, computers and technology as this will help them to get access to resources and opportunities. (Access to technology and digital illiteracy strategy)

"We have to encourage them to use the latest technology. Yes, we cannot deny that there is high rate of illiteracy now, but even the illiterate women are using phones, so we have to give them the chance to use the latest technology; implementing the digital illiteracy strategy is crucial in this era."

6- Sensitization on equality, equal opportunities, respect, and accepting others at a very early age. (Sensitization in Early Childhood strategy)

"Early childhood awareness is a must; this should be imprinted in their minds. Respect and accepting others should be part of their lifestyle. We do not have to wait until they become youth to start discussing these vital issues with them; it has to be within their life system and included in their education.’’
7- Raise aspirations of girls and their parents and empower girls to make choices; it is their right to make their own choices. (Every Girl Counts strategy)

"Let women and girls think highly of themselves, and let them believe in themselves. If society is showing women and girls that they are weak and subordinate, they will be weak. Let them feel confident, and tell them they can do everything. We should empower women to make choices; we should give them a lot of opportunities, equal opportunities and equal rights. She has the right to make her own choices. We should not force our girls to get married at the age of 13 because she does not have the right to choose, we should not believe that it is her father’s choice. So, giving her the opportunity to make her life choices is a must."

8- Give proper value to women’s work, especially unpaid care work and work outside home. (Value women’s commitment and work strategy)

"Working women are playing very important multiple roles, so giving working mothers the respect they deserve, whether inside or outside their homes, is also important. Valuing women’s commitment and work is something we should aspire to."

9- Political will is very important.( Be Bold for the Change and Beware of the Backlash strategy)

"The political will is important at this stage, the backlash might come at any time and we have to be very much aware. We are not going to go backwards, we are moving forward only."

To what extent the year of women's achievements improved the image of Egyptian women abroad

Morsy admitted that there are problems in Egypt like anywhere else in the world. "Now, we have a policy and strategy to deal with the current challenges that we are trying hard to solve." She added that there is a lot of work in progress and NCW is committed to achieving change.

"The other thing is how we are portraying ourselves. It is extremely important to also show our Egyptian women role models who are in decision making positions; we should highlight the role of strong women in civil society." She explained that these women are creating continuous change on the ground. ]]>
12/28/2017 3:12:52 PM
<![CDATA[Exercising while pregnant: Benefits and safety precautions]]>
Physical exercise is important during pregnancy to help with the common discomforts experienced during the time, and to help prepare your body for labor and delivery. The site claims that in most cases, exercise is safe during pregnancy, although of course, each individual woman has to check with her personal physician before starting. If you were active before the pregnancy, it is generally safe to continue the same level of activity during pregnancy. It is important to exercise for fitness, and not weight loss, and it should never cause you pain or discomfort. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA).

Pregnancy. Via CC/Pexels

The benefits of exercising during pregnancy, according to the APA, include:

• Reducing backaches, constipation and bloating
• Increasing your energy
• Improving your mood and posture
• Promoting strength and endurance to prepare for labor
• Improving quality of sleep
• Increasing your ability to get back into shape post-delivery

There are even more benefits, according to FitPregnancy, that include:

• Gaining less weight than if you did not exercise
• Lowering the risk of gestational diabetes by 27 percent
• Improving your body image, and improving your self-confidence
• Meeting other expectant mothers in prenatal classes

To ensure that you stay safe, some safety precautions that you might want to follow are:

• Avoiding exercises where you are likely to fall
• Avoiding exercises that include a lot of jumping or bouncing
• Avoiding any exercise that causes your exhaustion

Of course, always check with your doctor before performing any physical exercise.

12/28/2017 1:39:12 PM
<![CDATA[New Year: what to do and what not ]]>
Do not forget past accomplishments

Accomplishment. Via CC/Pexels

Often people focus on all the things they want to change and improve in the New Year, but they forget to acknowledge their own successes. It is important to give yourself credit where credit is due to bolster your sense of achievement and confidence for the year to come.

Do not leave loose ends

You want to start your holiday and your year free of the burdens of the past if possible. Any work deadlines and tasks should be finished before you go on break so you can feel unencumbered and start again with a clean slate.

Do not forget to set goals

It is very easy to get caught up in life and find yourself half-way through February with no specific goal accomplished, or path drawn out for the year. Make sure to set yourself clear, time-specific goals and track your progress so you do not end up wasting months of the year.

Do set boundaries at work

Work stress. Via CC/Pixabay

When you are on holiday, the point is to disconnect and unwind, and you cannot do that with constant emails and phone calls from work. Clearly inform your workplace that you would not like to be disturbed, or set specific times during which your colleagues can contact you.

Do spend time with family and friends

The holidays are made to reconnect with your family and friends and to spend some much needed time with them. Most likely, during the year, you are focused on your work and did not give yourself the space to properly connect with your loved ones. Make sure you capitalize on this time and do just that.

Do plan your holiday well

Vacation. Via CC/Pexels

If you are the kind of person who always needs stimulation, then plan a holiday getaway or activities to do with your friends so you feel that you gain a lot from the holiday. If you prefer to stay home and unwind, do not overbook yourself with seeing people and activities, it will make you feel stressed and as if you did not have a break at all.

12/28/2017 12:32:44 PM
<![CDATA[Safe driving tips for foggy weather ]]>
The simple set of tips will insure your safety on the road and everyone else’s.

Safety driving tips for foggy conditions:

1. Use fog lights or dipped headlights when visibility drops below 100 meters (about the size of a football pitch).
2. Don’t use hazard warning lights.
3. Know when to pull over.
4. Slow down and keep your distance.
5. Turn your heater on to keep the windows clear.
6. Do not be pressurized into driving faster – be late, not hurt!

Safety driving tips for heavy rain or flooding:

1. Slow down and keep your distance – stopping distances can double in the rain. Try to keep at least a 5-second gap from the car in front.
2. Use dipped headlights, not rear fog lights.
3. If driving through a large puddle and your steering feels light you could be aquaplaning. Ease off the accelerator, keep the wheels pointing forward and avoid braking to regain full control.
4. If you skid, gently steer in the direction you want to go. Do not slam on the brakes.
5. Do not be pressurized into driving faster – be late, not hurt!! ]]>
12/28/2017 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[The lipstick effect: Greeks discover need to pamper in crisis]]>

Wiping her face with a cotton pad after a Botox injection, the 49-year-old supermarket worker said she has cut down on petrol and entertainment to afford the treatments, which make the skin appear smoother by temporarily paralyzing muscles.“I want to look at myself in the mirror and feel good. I‘m afraid of aging,” Vorlioti said. “Work, the crisis, they push you down and you want something uplifting.”

She is not the only one seeking solace in beauty treatments amid a financial crisis that cut hundreds of thousands of jobs cut, slashed salaries and caused a sharp decline in life satisfaction among Greeks.

In fact, it seems Greece is undergoing what has been dubbed the “lipstick effect”, where consumers turn to low cost beauty to boost their mood during economic depressions.

Non-surgical procedures in Greece soared to more than 220,000 in 2016 compared to around 61,000 in 2010, the biggest jump in Europe in the six-year period, according to data by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS).

At between 80 and 150 euros a pop, it doesn’t come cheap for Greeks, who earn an average net monthly income of about 780 euros. Some, like Vorlioti, need to save up for months in order to be able to afford a treatment and yet more are choosing to have them, doctors say.

“The crisis has brought new people to the doctor’s doorstep, people who wouldn’t come before, both men and women who are struggling and want to improve their looks to feel better,” said Lia Papadavid, a dermatologist.

“It’s like giving themselves a present,” she told Reuters shortly after giving a middle-aged female a filler injection around her eyes.

The rise in Greece follows a world-wide upward trend in non-surgical procedures. It ranked 14th in the world among the top 24 countries in terms of volume of non surgical treatments in 2016, behind countries such as Italy and Germany but above Belgium, according to ISAPS.

Surgical treatments, which can cost thousands of euros, are up only 10 percent since 2010.


Waiting her turn at the Athens Aurum medical center, 43-year-old Eleni says she turned to injectables in 2013 and has not stopped despite the crisis.

“No one has money to spare, everyone is being pressured right now with the crisis, some less, some more. I think it needs a bit of planning, and to love yourself.”

Investment in the beauty industry doubled between 2009-2015, said the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises in a July report.

New nail bars and beauty centers have popped up in central Athens and in the central Syntagma square, young men and women are seen handing out flyers advertising discounts on cosmetic services to passers-by.

Chairman of the ISAPS Education Council Paraskevas Kontoes said the surge in non invasive treatments could be explained by their low cost, better results thanks to new technology and people needing to boost their self-esteem battered by years of crisis.

Non surgical beauty treatments are fast enough to have in a lunch break, but their effects are only temporary. Results can last eight months or longer depending on the product, Dr Stefanos Stathakis said.

He also said most people choose treatments for the face, tying in with other doctors’ reports that their clients believe they can help them score better in a job interview, particularly as competition for jobs in Greece is fierce.

“They believe it will become easier for them to get a job,” said Vorlioti’s dermatologist Froso Saksioni. “People struggle and come here for a change. If you charge them a fortune for a treatment it’s like giving them a slap instead.”

As Saksioni prepares for “a vampire lift”, where the doctor withdraws and then reinjects a patient’s blood to erase wrinkles, Vorlioti books her next appointment.

“I’ve decided to cut down on everything else to do this”, she said. “When I feel good about myself, I think it shows.”

12/28/2017 7:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Tel Aviv attempts plastic brick record with 36-metre tower]]>
The multi-colored ‘Omer Tower’, named after 8-year-old Lego fan Omer Sayag, was completed using cranes in Rabin Square on Wednesday after more than a fortnight’s construction work by thousands of residents.

“It was the idea of his (Sayag‘s) former kindergarten teacher, and building blocks were donated by residents, companies and some were purchased using municipality funds,” a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said.

There was no Guinness World Records adjudicator on site to measure the ‘Omer Tower’, meaning Tel Aviv must wait for approval from the body to confirm they have beaten the previous record of 35.05 meters (115 ft), built in Milan in 2015.

12/28/2017 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[et Fashion: A perfect New Year Look]]>
It's the season to look glamorous; there has never been a better excuse to look dramatically gorgeous than ringing in the new year, own that office Christmas party or even get brunch at one of the endless winter bazaars around town.


From tributes to the 1990s to dramatic sleeves and earrings, the new year has
something for just about every taste. Deconstructed sleeves, andorgynous pants and dramatically long earrings are still trending in 2018, and so are slinky high-heeled numbers and the endless variations on the high-waist trend.


12/27/2017 4:15:23 PM
<![CDATA[Women in Egypt (Part 4)]]>
What major women's issues has Sisi addressed in the last year? To what extent has the status of Egyptian women improved? What exactly happened in the "Year of the Egyptian Woman"? Egypt Today gives a detailed summary, reflecting on actions taken and policies implemented to better women’s lives in Egypt in 2017, presented by Maya Morsy, the president of the National Council of Women (NCW).

Laws issued in 2017 to protect Egyptian Women
"I personally think that having 90 female Parliament Members, which is equivalent to 15 percent of the Parliament, should create a difference; we have to admit that power is in number, and having the leap from 1.9 percent in the last Egyptian Parliament compared to women percentage in the current Parliament will definitely make a difference," Morsy stated.

In the year of women, a new law about female genital mutilation that increases the penalty for perpetrators was presented to Parliament by NCW. The Government also presented to Parliament the Inheritance Law, to make sure that women are given the right to their inheritance; ensuring women are not deprived from this right just because they are women. "We are also preparing a new family code that we are going to present to both the Parliament and the Government," said Morsy.

Morsy explained that they are listening to every single idea or suggestion related to the Family and Personal Status Law. The fact that they want to give voice to people’s ideas and listen to new suggestions led the NCW to launch a legislative observatory to receive all the ideas, thoughts and suggestions from civil society, female leaders, ordinary women, mothers that have custody over their children and even from fathers ask for visitation rights. "We also have the legislative committee that are now drafting the new family code after listening and having a lot of discussion sessions."

Additionally, NCW presented this year a law pertaining child marriage. There are about 118,000 girls that get married below the age of 18, specifically from 13 to 17 years old. "We presented a law to criminalise this potentially harmful marital process which is based on either tweaking the age of the girl or on writing an illegal paper then registering marriage later when the girl reaches 18 years old," Morsy recounted. She added that closing this door is extremely important. There is already a law criminalising child marriage – known as the Child Law – it is actually there, but focusing and raising the penalty on child marriage is a must because it is simply an assassination of childhood.

"We are also working on a law to protect women from all forms of violence," Morsy pointed out, explaining that they have carried out a lot of consultations and studies while preparing this law. One of the major studies that is currently used for the lobbying of this law is the economic cost of violence against women which showed shocking numbers. "The cost of violence against women is more than LE 2 billion. This is something we have to stop at; we have to try to find ways to protect women from all forms of violence."
Morsy elaborated that this is not a direct cost; this is the amount we are losing if women are subjected to violence. "So why not establish a law instead of losing LE 2 billion that will aid not only women but also their families. This is a very important law that we are submitting in the year of women to the parliament," Morsy added.

Egyptian Women in local councils
NCW made a clear plan to raise the awareness of women in local councils, encouraging them to run for local council’s elections. "We have raised the awareness of about 25,000 Egyptian women, created a database of women who are ready to run for elections, and gave an intensive and specified training. We trained about 7,000 women who are ready to run for the local council’s elections."

The increase in population and terrorism problems
"Any development that we are going to achieve will be eaten up by the increase in population," Morsy admitted. Morsy explained that there are crucially important things that we have to think about; for example, there are 13 percent of women with unmet needs, this means that they need to use contraceptives but they cannot reach the service. "If we make sure that the 13 percent who have unmet needs are covered, then we are decreasing the population rate," Morsy affirmed, recounting that NCW focused in the year of women on raising the awareness of not only married women but also school students. "It is how to instil in our children's minds that girls or boys that have a small family lead a better life and have a brighter future."

Morsy added that media has to play a role through theatre, soap operas and songs to show the harms and the bad consequences of the increase in population.
"People should see clearly through media the difference between having a big family and a small family; light should be shed on the advantages of having a small family."]]>
12/27/2017 4:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[et Guide: New Year's Eve Parties]]>

Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski

AEON Restaurant & Lounge

Le Deck

Le Duplex

Conrad Cairo

Madinaty Central Park

Beverly Hills

Steigenberger Hotel El Tahrir


The Island

Le Passage Cairo Hotel & Casino

Kempinski Nile Hotel Cairo

Nineteen Twenty Five

Sonesta Hotel Tower & Casino

Helnan Dreamland Hotel

Sheraton Cairo Hotel & Casino


Fairmont Nile City

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence

Pier 88

CLUB 88 - Pool and Beach / Restaurant

Lagoonie Dining Lounge & Bar



Sahl Hasheesh

Club House el Gouna

360 ᴋɪᴛᴇsᴜʀғɪɴɢ ᴄᴇɴᴛᴇʀ


Riverside Cairo

Tap Maadi NYE: Two Thousand & Eight Cheese

Photo Via Tap Maadi NYE: Two Thousand & Eight Cheese Facebook Page

Tap East NYE: The Shakedown

Photo Via Tap East NYE: The Shakedown Facebook Page 2

Cairo Jazz Club: All That Glitters ft. Omar Sherif / Ashmawy (NYE Bash)

Photo Via Cairo Jazz Club: All That Glitters ft. Omar Sherif / Ashmawy (NYE Bash) Facebook Page

12/27/2017 9:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[et Footwear Designer of the Week: Jayda Hany ]]>
The collection consists of four shoe models: Bolt, High Bolt, Rover and Swift. The designs incorporate six different colors throughout the collection – black, white, cool grey, mocha grey, blue and maroon – with around three colors used on every shoe. Three of the four models have rivet detailing on them, which is the defining signature of this collection.

Riv-it! Collection. Photo courtesy of Jayda Hany. Photography by Hady Ashraf and Marwan Morsy. Model Aya El Kolaly

The starring item of the collection is the iconic High Bolt, a high top sneaker available in multiple color schemes, with the rivet detailing adding special character to the already unique designs. The designs were inspired by Hany’s “architectural background” that “always leads her to noticing the fine details and appreciating the infrastructure, even in the most chaotic of cities,” according to a press release.

Riv-it! Collection. Photo courtesy of Jayda Hany. Photography by Hady Ashraf and Marwan Morsy. Model Aya El Kolaly

Her use of rivets especially is in homage to the “rivets, which are permanent fasteners used in various complex structures, such as bridges. One of the main inspirations behind the use of rivets is the Imbaba Bridge, which is iconic for its metal formation that is adorned by the mechanical fasteners all over.” A quote from Hany’s official website states, “Riv-it! encourages the individualistic needs of a modern female urbanite who is confident enough to seek her goals and lead a busy life.”

Riv-it! Collection. Photo courtesy of Jayda Hany. Photography by Hady Ashraf and Marwan Morsy. Model Aya El Kolaly

Jayda Hany is an architectural engineer by education. However, her passion for creativity inspired her to graduate with a master’s degree in Footwear Design in London. She launched her brand in 2015 after successfully completing her program. She believes that footwear is a core part of any outfit, not just an accessory. Hany was one of two designers chosen to have her collection adapted by BMW, in their M4 vehicle, which was customized to resemble her designs. Her bespoke collection was also inspired by structural architecture and mechanical structures and was unique in that she used 3D printing technology to create the shoes.

Jayda Hany’s design on a BMW M4. Photo courtesy of Jayda Hany

Photo courtesy of Jayda Hany

12/27/2017 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Girls’ early puberty tied to depression, behavior problems into adulthood]]>
Researchers studied data on nearly 7,800 women who had their first menstrual cycle at an average age of 12. The women were interviewed four times, starting around age 16 and continuing until about age 28.

Girls who went through puberty earlier than most were more likely to become depressed, and their symptoms were also more severe in adolescence, the study found.

The younger the age at the first period, the stronger the association between early puberty and mental health problems; it was stronger for girls who started menstruation at age 8 than at age 10, for example.

With earlier puberty, girls were also more likely to have behavior issues that led to things like stealing, lying, breaking into buildings and selling drugs. The link lasted into young adulthood.

“Interestingly, the magnitude of the association between puberty and these psychological difficulties remains stable, meaning that puberty is as strongly associated with depressive symptoms and antisocial behavior during adulthood as it is during adolescence,” said lead study author Jane Mendle, a researcher at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

“This suggests that the psychological vulnerability of earlier puberty lingers longer than we previously may have expected,” Mendle said by email. “It’s not simply a question of adolescent growing pains.”

Sweeping changes in biology, appearance, self-perception and emotion combine to make puberty one of the most pivotal phases of development during the life span, the researchers note in Pediatrics. Although puberty can be a challenging time for all adolescents, it can be a particularly vulnerable time for girls who physically mature ahead of their peers.

Because physical maturation is linked to changes in social roles and relationships, this has long been linked to difficulties coping with new changes and stressors in life as well as changes in the brain that can make youth exceptionally vulnerable to mental health and behavior difficulties.

Researchers examined data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative study that includes youth from a broad range of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. The interviews examined in the current study were conducted in four waves from 1994 to 2008.

Questions focused on the timing of menstruation and also touched on symptoms of depression that the teens had experienced in the past week and the frequency of so-called anti-social behaviors like lying, stealing and dealing drugs.

Young women who experienced depression as adults may have been at risk because they were more likely to start experiencing these symptoms during adolescence and remained at risk over time, the study concludes.

With antisocial behaviors, the increased risk of acting out in adulthood after experiencing an early puberty wasn’t as pronounced as it was for depression.

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how early puberty might influence the risk of depression or behavior problems in adolescence or later in life.

It’s also possible that a variety of factors not examined in the study, such as the impact of early puberty on academics or friendships, might at least in part explain the reason puberty timing appeared tied to the risk of depression and behavior problems, the authors note.

“From a social standpoint, girls who develop early tend to be treated like they are older than they really are,” said Dr. Ellen Selkie, author of an accompanying editorial and an adolescent medicine specialist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Sometimes, that means they might hang out with older kids to try to fit in, Selkie said by email.

“But that also means they could be involved in things that they aren’t really mature enough for,” Selkie added. “That sense of not really belonging can lead to mood problems and acting out - which we know can set up a pattern of behavior that leads to adult problems as well.”

12/27/2017 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Leaving the house linked to longevity in older adults]]>
For study participants in their 70s, 80s and 90s, the frequency with which they left the house predicted how likely they were to make it to the next age milestone, researchers report in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

“The simple act of getting out of the house every day propels people into engagement with the world,” said lead author Dr. Jeremy Jacobs of Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem in a phone interview.

“We saw similar benefits that you’d expect from treating blood pressure or cholesterol with medicine,” Jacobs said. “Social factors are important in the process of aging.”

Jacobs and colleagues analyzed data on 3,375 adults at ages 70, 78, 85 and 90 who were participating in the Jerusalem Longitudinal Study.

Based on their responses to questions about how often they left the house, participants were grouped into three categories: frequently (six or seven days per week), often (two to five times per week) or rarely (once a week or less).

People who left the house frequently at any of the ages examined were significantly more likely to live to the next age group. For example, among people who left the house frequently, often or rarely at age 78, 71 percent, 67 percent and 43 percent, respectively, survived to age 85. Among people who left the house frequently, often or rarely at age 90, 64 percent, 56 percent and 38 percent, respectively, made it to 95.

At all ages, people who left home less frequently tended to be male, less educated and to have higher rates of loneliness, financial difficulties, poor health, fatigue, poor sleep, less physical activity, bladder and bowel problems, history of falling in the last year, fear of falling, visual and hearing impairments, chronic pain and frailty.

The link between leaving the house and longevity, however, remained after the researchers accounted for medical or mobility issues such as chronic pain, vision or hearing impairment, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and kidney disease.

“We included people who had mobility difficulties, so this isn’t just about people moving their legs up and down,” Jacobs said. “That’s quite exciting. There’s something about interacting with the world outside that helps.”

The study did not examine the effect on participants of leaving the house, such as their sense of wellbeing or purpose. It also didn’t look at environmental factors that might foster or prevent going out, the authors note.

Future studies will look at the oldest cohort (age 95) as they reach 98 to 100 in coming years, Jacobs said. He and his colleagues are also interested in the role that optimism, social engagement and environmental aspects such as community sidewalks play in longer life.

“Studies show that if you create walkways that are friendly for walking, people start walking,” he said. “In neighborhoods with older adults, walkways with benches could encourage them to get out of the house and be social.”

Researchers are interested in finding ways to encourage adults to leave their home more and to develop systems that help them do that, said Dawn Mackey of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“It may be helpful for older adults and their caregivers to make plans to go out of the house more often,” she told Reuters Health by email. “And try to build up to going out of the house every day.”

They could plan these outings with these questions: When will it work best for me to leave the house? Where do I want to go? Is there someone to go out with or to meet when I am out? What are my options if the weather is bad or if I’m not feeling well one day?

“The wellbeing of our older adults is of paramount importance for public health and economic viability,” she said. “Going out of the house is an important way to maintain mobility and social engagement and ward off loneliness.”

12/27/2017 7:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Most popular perfumes of 2017 ]]>
You by Glossier

Glossier You. Via Glossier Official Website

The makeup and skincare brand Glossier, released its first perfume this year, amid much excitement by their fans. The brand is known for their approach to makeup being "our skin but better" and they have taken that same concept and applied it to their first fragrance, You. The scent has subtle notes of ambrette and musk and is perfect as a youthful scent in your day to day life.

Santal 33 by Le Labo

Santal 33. Via Le Labo Official Website

Santal 33 has achieved a cult status since its release in 2011. It is the favorite scent of men and women alike because it is unisex. Described on the Le Labo website as “a unisex fragrance that captures a defining image of the spirit of the American West and personal freedom;” it has a smoky and sensual scent. It is very popular even though it costs $180.

Gucci Bloom by Gucci

Gucci Bloom. Via Gucci Official Website

Gucci has been making fragrances for almost 50 years and in that time their fragrances have never disappointed. They are known as elegant and classic and are coveted for their status as well. Gucci Bloom is the newest addition to the Gucci fragrances range. It is packaged in a chic pink bottle and smells of a floral bouquet, which is no surprise.

Nirvana Bourbon by Elizabeth and James

Nirvana Bourbon. Via Elizabeth and James Official Website

Elizabeth and James is a brand owned by former child stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. They established the brand in 2007 and it sells fragrances, jewelry, clothes and handbags. Its scents have been consistently popular and Nirvana Bourbon is just as good as the rest. It has a smoky, vanilla and bourbon scent with notes of Oakwood and it is perfect for a night out.

Tiffany & Co Eau de Parfum

Tiffany & Co Eu de Parfum. Via Tiffany & Co Official Website

Tiffany & Co. have released their first perfume and of course with the iconic blue box as packaging. It is a musky floral scent with top notes of mandarin and therefore it is the perfect in-between scent that is not too light and not too heavy and perfectly fresh with that hint of citrus. For anyone who already loves Tiffany & Co, this will be a highly desired scent, completely in line with the company's image.

12/26/2017 4:35:02 PM
<![CDATA[Jared Leto's best style moments]]>
Leto never pays attention to what’s trending, nor does he play the fashion game according to the rules that are set by magazines and society; yet, he has managed to land fashion and fragrance campaigns that are the likes of Carrera, Hugo Boss and most recently for Gucci; Gucci Guilty campaign.

We have gathered some of Leto’s most outrageous and most stylish fashion and hair moments to date.

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Short Yugioh hair

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Long ombre locks.

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The Mohawk.

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12/26/2017 2:47:53 PM
<![CDATA[2017: Tech and science roundup]]>

The SpaceX Falcon 9 test rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, May 22, 2012 – REUTERS/Pierre DuCharme

SpaceX is a private aerospace manufacturer and transport company. One of their main aims is reducing the cost of space travel, and eventually creating a colony on Mars. They are the first private company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft, which is a huge achievement and the basis for their reduced costs. They are able to reuse their rockets when they recover them, but only for scrap metal to build new ones. This year, they successfully reused their first rocket.

The Boring Company

Elon Musk, founder, CEO and lead designer at SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla – Reuters/ Aaron Bernstein

The Boring Company is Elon Musk’s solution to traffic. It makes digging machines that can create underground roads to relieve the above ground congestion, and they can also be used for other more general underground operations, such as metro lines. The company is meant to make underground digging more affordable and more accessible. The Company began digging in the Tesla parking lot this year while they waited for permission to dig in Los Angeles. Musk’s breakneck pace of work is part of the reason the company is moving quickly. It could change vehicular transportation in the coming years.


Godot – The Boring Company Official Website

Neurolink is a neurotechnology company developing implantable brain-computer interfaces; their aim is enhanced human intelligence, or augmented human intelligence. The uses of such technology could be telepathic communication or even improving the lifestyle of people who suffer from brain injuries. They aim to have their implants available within the next eight to 10 years – the future is almost here.

Machine learning and AI

The humanoid robot AILA (artificial intelligence lightweight android) operates a switchboard – Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

Machine learning has been gaining momentum in the last couple of years as the new hot topic of technology. It allows you to train a ‘brain’ to understand how you would like it to act under specific circumstances and in certain scenarios, and what its outputs should be, given certain inputs. More and more startups are focusing on this technology because it allows dynamic decision-making as opposed to static options programmed into an application. The field keeps growing and advancing and the scenarios that can be handled are getting more delicate and complex.

Smart Speakers

The Amazon Echo is seen on display at the Amazon Books store in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle in New York City – Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

The Amazon Echo has had a particularly good year, with the release of the Echo 2, which is smaller and has better audio output than the Echo and the Echo plus. Smart speaker sales have grown 300 percent in 2017, with more than 20 million Amazon Echos sold in the third quarter of 2017, according to Jeff Bezos. The number of homes with Smart Speakers in the U.S. is expected to rise from 15 million in 2017 to 66 million in 2022.

12/26/2017 2:37:57 PM
<![CDATA[et Quote: Jared Leto]]>
“I've always liked Saturn. But I also have some sympathy for Pluto because I heard it's been downgraded from a planet, and I think it should remain a planet. Once you've given something planetary status, it's kind of mean to take it away.” - Jared Leto

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He grew up in Bossier City, Louisiana, with older brother Shannon and mother Constance. He was always encouraged to be creative, artistic and to pressure his musical career. He continued with painting by taking it up at the Philadelphia's University of the Arts.

In 1992, he moved to Los Angeles in order to pressure the American dream, and focus on his music while taking acting as a side job to pay his bills. In 1994, Leto gained fame when he took up the role of Jordan Catalan in the TV sitcom "My So-Called Life".

“I was raised around a lot of artists, musicians, photographers, painters and people that were in theater. Just having the art-communal hippie experience as a child, there wasn't a clear line that was drawn. We celebrated creative experience and creative expression. We didn't try and curtail it and stunt any of that kind of growth.” - Jared Leto

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Leto’s on screen career continued from there on with "The Last of the High Kings" (1996), followed by "Prefontaine" (1997), which was based on a true story, where he took up the role of the main character, Steve Prefontaine. Then, he starred in 1998's "Basil", "Girl Interrupted" (1999), "Requiem for a Dream" (2000,) which gained him wide recognition for his acting and the effort he exerted to lose weight to portray the character of drug addict Harry Goldfarb. He participated in the indie movie "Mr. Nobody" (2009) and then won countless awards for the role of Rayon in "Dallas Buyers Club" (2013). His most mainstream role to date was the portrayal of the DC Comic villain The Joker, which was only shown in the final cut of the movie " Suicide Squad" for the duration of 15 minutes, and ended up with fans feeling that they were ripped off and that Leto’s perception in the movie was only used for publicity.

“I think that to explore the uncomfortable and the politically incorrect is the job of the artist.” - Jared Leto

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In 1998, Leto started his widely loved across the world band Thirty Seconds to Mars with his older brother Shannon on the drums. He plays the roles of lead vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He has also been known to direct many of Thirty Seconds To Mars's music videos under the name of Bartholomew Cubbins. Yet, in 2012, he directed the documentary Artifact which followed Leto and his band members as they fought a battle with their label after they had been wrongfully sued for $30 million.

“Music is subjective to everyone's unique experience.” - Jared Leto

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12/26/2017 1:33:41 PM
<![CDATA[Women in Egypt (part 3)]]>
What major women's issues has Sisi addressed in the last year? To what extent has the status of Egyptian women improved? What exactly happened in the “Year of the Egyptian Woman”? Egypt Today gives a detailed summary, reflecting on actions taken and policies implemented to better women’s lives in Egypt in 2017, presented by Maya Morsy, the president of the National Council of Women (NCW).

Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Bank of Egypt
Morsy announced that the National Council of Women has signed the first ever Memorandum of Understanding with the Central Bank of Egypt.
“When I say here the first ever I mean the first ever worldwide, there is no National Women Council around the world that has signed a memorandum with central bank pertaining financial inclusion of women,” said Morsy.
CBE is helping NCW to have more women financially included in banks and on the Boards of Directors.

(Taa Marboota: The secret of your power) campaign
The campaign has reached out to more than 43 million women, competing in numbers with several international campaigns.“The Campaign went to women on the ground, reaching 500,000 women on the ground, face-to-face delivering to them the campaign messages,” Morsy affirmed. She explained that the campaign is divided into four parts. The first part is violence against women and sexual harassments in the streets. The second part is about women decision-making support.The third phase of the campaign was related to women in Parliament. Morsy explained, “This part is about making the whole society accept and realise women’s existence in Parliament, women running in elections and their success is a vital matter; [women] actually present a lot of problems related to women in society, in addition to other problems of the whole society.”

The fourth part aims to raise awareness about violence against women. “We asked Egyptian women to speak up and stop feeling that they are not supported,” stated Morsy.NCW added a fifth part to the campaign a couple of weeks ago with the target to make all Egyptian women strongly believe in themselves; that they can work and be in the labour market to increase their income. "We cannot live in a country that only has 25 percent of its women in the labour force, what about the remaining 75 percent?" Morsy explained that with the current economic challenge we have to encourage more and more women to enter the labour market.“This campaign succeeded because it treats the Egyptian woman as a strong person. The whole society should treat women as strong human beings; Egyptian women are really strong, even the poorest of the poor women are strong, because they can handle all these challenges with strength,” Morsy noted, proud that the NCW has succeeded in 2017 to reach 2,664,000 Egyptian women.

"Adam el-Kheir" project and other economic empowerment projects
Morsy explained that in this project there are 18,000 women who saved LE 8 million in four governorates, including Beni Suef, Minya, Asyut and Sohag. "Strong Egyptian women in these governorates did not only save money but they also established from their savings 3,977 projects. So, imagine how with this simple technique Egyptian women can really make a big difference and be economically empowered," Morsy recounted. "Adam el-Kheir" project is one of the projects that were not established in the Year of Egyptian Women but whose fruits were reaped by women during 2017.

Morsy added that NCW has another five economic empowerment projects on the ground related to handicrafts in Fayoum, Giza, Cairo, Beheira, Aswan and Damietta, reaching out to 37,000 women. "We want to increase the quality of the products so that it could be first exported, second well priced, third needed by the market and fourth well packaged to be appealing for the customers," Morsy said.

Economic empowerment as recounted by Morsy is extremely important in the NCW’s strategy to transfer Egyptian women from financial illiteracy to financial inclusion.

Developing the code of ethics and establishing National Women Observatory
Morsy illustrated that it was very important to develop a code pertaining how women are being portrayed in the media, including in movies and Ramadan soap operas. "We established this year a National Women Observatory that was running throughout Ramadan. Its main target is to watch all the television series, monitor and observe how Egyptian women are portrayed in these soap operas, with the aim of identifying where the positive images and where the negative images are and why," explained Morsy.
Unfortunately, most of the women examples that were portrayed in the soap operas were bad examples, including unethical decision-makers, corrupted lawyers, or female sex workers. So, we decided to present this code of ethics in the year of women. After Ramadan, the NCW developed a code of ethics or a protocol on how the media should handle and deal with women’s image.

"Knocking Door" campaign
NCW developed a "Knocking Door" campaign in the year of women that reached out to one million Egyptian women in 1,000 villages, covering the 27 Egyptian Governorates. "My dream is to go to every single village in Egypt, reach all Egyptian women, talk to each one of them, give them the targeted messages as well as the needed level of awareness, because it is very comfortable and useful when there is dialogue," Morsy said.In the year of the women, NCW issued 300,000 fully free ID cards. Morsy explained, “Through this campaign we aim to help every Egyptian woman to solve her problems, establish her projects, and more importantly we target raising her awareness and making her feel that she is supported and that someone is beside her."]]>
12/26/2017 12:58:21 PM
<![CDATA[Peers may influence how well type 1 diabetes is managed]]>
Peers can help teens and young adults accept their disease and follow their treatment plans, but youth who are too attuned to what their friends think of them may neglect disease management to fit in, the authors report in Diabetes Care.

“This was one of the first studies to ask adolescents and emerging adults with type 1 diabetes about their relations with peers at a certain point in time and one year later,” lead author Koen Raymaekers from the University of Leuven in Belgium told Reuters Health by email.

“We found that more general positive relations with peers at one point in time predicted less diabetes-specific distress one year later,” he said.

But, because young adults who were very oriented toward peers at the start had worse blood sugar control a year later, paying additional attention to peer relations during this time seems important, Raymaekers added.

The researchers recruited more than 400 Dutch-speaking young people in Belgium, aged 14 to 25, with type 1 diabetes. The participants answered questionnaires rating how they felt about the support they got from their peers as well as their perceptions of their parents’ responsiveness to their needs.

The study team also measured “peer orientation” - whether participants were more likely to listen to their parents or to their peers - with questions such as, “Would you ignore your diabetes management needs in order to make someone like you?”

The researchers had access to long-term blood sugar measurements and the young people answered questions about their treatment adherence as well as their diabetes-related distress levels.

The study team found that having supportive peers was associated with less diabetes-related distress over time. But, having extreme peer orientation was associated with greater treatment distress over time and poorer blood sugar control.

Conversely, good treatment adherence was tied to lower peer-orientation scores, less treatment distress and better blood sugar control.

Youth who reported having more responsive parents tended to have less food distress over time, the researchers also found.

“Our study indicates that as a parent/grandparent/caregiver it may be informative to ask about patients’ peer relations,” Raymaekers said.

If patients indicate that they experience difficulties with peer relations this may have an impact on their diabetes-related distress and perhaps even on treatment adherence and blood sugar control in the long term, he said.

“In addition, some patients may experience their diabetes as a burden when interacting with peers, and therefore neglect treatment in favor of fitting in with peers,” Raymaekers noted.

Therefore, he said, when there are indications of problematic relations with peers, as a parent/grandparent/caregiver one could think and talk with the patient on how to improve these relations without sacrificing treatment or feeling distressed by their diabetes.

Raymaekers added that he was not surprised to see that peers are important for patients with type 1 diabetes, but there were some specific “rather striking” findings, for example, that the 18-24 year olds who were very oriented toward peers at baseline had worse blood sugar control one year later.

There is a need for more research on this topic, which could uncover the cause and effect relationships between peer relationships and diabetes outcomes and the mechanisms at work, he said.]]>
12/26/2017 11:46:28 AM
<![CDATA[Young gardeners eat more greens in first year at college]]>
The more gardening experience the college freshmen had, the greater their intake of produce, the study also found. Those who had gardened both during childhood and more recently ate 20 percent more servings of fruits and vegetables than classmates who had never gardened.

“The first year of college represents a major shift in independence for many young adults,” said senior study author Anne Mathews of the University of Florida in Gainesville.

“Most are moving from a home where food is provided and a daily schedule is pretty well set . . . to a life where they are now in charge of every single decision about food throughout the day,” she told Reuters Health by email.

Mathews and colleagues analyzed data from more than 1,100 college freshmen at eight U.S. universities. The students answered questionnaires about their fruit and vegetable intake and also about their gardening experience, including even small plants in pots, such as herbs, that can be grown on a windowsill.

The researchers found that 11 percent of students had gardened only during childhood, 19 percent had gardened only more recently, 20 percent gardened both during childhood and recently and 49 percent had never gardened.

On average, students who gardened as children and in the 12 months prior to the study ate about 2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day versus 1.9 cups for those who had never gardened.

In addition, recent gardeners who reported gardening weekly ate close to 3 cups of greens, while those who gardened monthly averaged 2.4 cups.

Mathews noted that having childhood experience with gardening isn’t enough. Students needed to carry the practice into their college years to continue good habits.

“We know that overall diet quality worsens when students begin college and that includes eating fewer fruits and vegetables,” Mathews said. “We also know that behaviors set during this phase of life tend to carry into adulthood.”

While recruiting participants, the study team screened more than 5,000 students and found that 85 percent of this group didn’t eat the recommended two fruit and three vegetable servings per day. This indicates that a large majority of high school seniors probably are not meeting the recommendation either, the authors note in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“The first year of college is a very unique time in a person’s life,” said Mateja Savoie Roskos, a community nutrition researcher at Utah State University in Logan, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Many first-year college students experience weight gain often stemming from sedentary lifestyles and poor dietary patterns,” she told Reuters Health by email.

Future studies should look at additional factors that influence fruit and vegetable habits, she said.

At the eight universities in this study, several include ways for students to get involved with gardening experience on campus, Savoie Roskos noted. For example, the University of Florida has a Field and Fork Garden and Food Pantry, where students can volunteer to grow food, and some of the food is donated to the campus food pantry.

She said she’d also like to know how gardening experience can change from childhood through college.

“Getting children involved with gardening at an early age is vital to influencing food choices early in life,” she said. “Children enjoy being part of the process from planting, weeding and watering to harvesting and cooking.”]]>
12/26/2017 11:40:48 AM
<![CDATA[Tattooed and proud: Chinese women peel away stigmas]]>
Nowhere is the trend more evident than in Shanghai, China's most cosmopolitan city and recently dubbed "China's tattoo mecca" by the country's state media.

Body art for women has long been frowned upon in socially conservative China, but studios are mushrooming throughout the city of 24 million.

Zhuo Danting, widely considered one of China's top tattoo artists, has witnessed first-hand how the industry has exploded.

The 35-year-old has 70 percent of her body tattooed and has been operating her own Shanghai studio for 11 years.

Inspired by celebrities and sports stars, unprecedented numbers of mostly younger Chinese are getting inked, Zhuo said at her shop, Shanghai Tattoo.

"At the beginning, of course, they just give you a weird look, they're freaking out," Zhuo, who also has multiple piercings and dyed green hair, said of the reaction she gets on the street.

"But now there are a lot of people getting tattoos, it's getting more and more popular. People see them everywhere so they don't see it as a big deal," she added.

Zhuo, who got her first tattoo at 16 and has inked both her parents, is originally from Harbin, a city in China's far north.

There is a growing body art scene there too, she said.

- A cool thing -

"There is a lot of change. Before, not many people get tattoos. They thought that people with tattoos, that person must have been in jail or you are a bad person.

"Now it's a cool thing, to represent yourself as different."

In imperial times, convicts were sometimes tattooed as a lifelong reminder of their crimes, and tattoos later were used by Chinese triads to signify gang loyalties.

But Zhuo said attitudes towards women with tattoos have changed rapidly in the last three years, and the Chinese are increasingly experimenting with their body art.

"Before, when you saw a woman with a tattoo, it was usually just a small one," she explained, adding: "But now you can see everywhere that they are having full sleeves, or chest, or full back."

- 'Pretty and artsy' -

Wang Qi, a web designer, is about to have Zhuo tattoo her already heavily inked right leg.

The 29-year-old has several body designs, including an hourglass to remind her of the preciousness of time, and a sailboat and lighthouse inspired by her love of the sea, as wells as tattoos of a snake's head and a crocodile's eye.

Her latest inking: the Chinese characters for her grandmother's name on the inside of her thigh.

"Ten years ago, only 10 percent of people could accept women doing this. But now at least 60 to 70 percent of people can," Wang said, while adding that quality can vary widely.

The trend has spawned extreme examples, including a couple in northeastern China who covered themselves in patriotic artwork, including a Chinese flag on the man's face.

Reliable figures are elusive, but Hu Deliang, former head of the China Association of Tattoo Artists, estimates there are about 200,000 such artists in the country.

The Shanghai tattooist said women now account for at least 60 percent of his customers.

"Back in 2002, only about 20 percent were female and most of them worked as escorts in nightclubs or that kind of industry," Hu said.

China's increasing prosperity, meanwhile, means more women now can afford tattoos, which can cost thousands of yuan (hundreds of dollars) and previously would have been considered an unjustified splurge.

Peng Lin, who has the Italian phrase "La vita e bella" (Life is beautiful) among her three tattoos, is one of the few in her circle of women friends with a tattoo, but many are considering it, she said.

"Before, people may think women getting tattoos is sort of off-the-mainstream behaviour, but now they all appreciate them when they found out that tattoos can be pretty and artsy," said Peng, 31, who works in advertising in Shanghai.

- Touch-ups -

Tattoos are still frowned upon in government positions and at many companies, however, while some women complain that their husbands or partners object.

"Even now people are judging, they don't think that people should get big tattoos, especially women," said Zhuo, who has tattoos across both sides of her scalp.

"Still, people think it's more acceptable for men to get a tattoo than women and some get smaller ones to hide it from older family members or work."

Zhuo said lack of official oversight makes it "too easy" to open a parlour. She often sees customers who ask her to fix shoddy work done elsewhere.

"Sometimes I can see some good work, but not much. The percentage of good tattoos is quite low right now," she said.

"Tattoo is still a new thing in China. A lot of new people become tattoo artists pretty soon, but there's still a lot to learn."]]>
12/26/2017 11:36:45 AM
<![CDATA[JAZZY x Tawasol partner up to create eyewear pouches]]>
Model wearing Jazzy sunglasses – Photo courtesy of JAZZY

JAZZY designed the eyewear pouches that were produced by the children at Tawasol NGO School, which offers learning opportunities, vocational training and a host of activities. It also offers psychological support and parental guidance, as well as a sustainable source of income for the children and the residents of the whole area of Istabl Antar.

Tawasol’s products, all hand-made, using locally sourced materials, can be found on their website ‘tawasolegypt.org’ or Facebook page ‘Tawasol Egypt’.

Launched last summer, the main idea behind JAZZY is to create high-quality sunglasses without a hefty price tag.

Founder of JAZZY, Yasmine Seoud, has been in love with sunglasses “since forever.” With lots of experience in marketing and public relations, Seoud decided to establish her own Egyptian sunglasses brand.

The colorful pouches accompany each purchase of sunglasses, making them the perfect last minute Christmas gift.

Eyewear pouch – Photo courtesy of JAZZY ]]>
12/25/2017 3:53:35 PM
<![CDATA[Women in Egypt (part 2)]]>
What major women's issues has Sisi addressed in the last year? To what extent has the status of Egyptian women improved? What exactly happened in the “Year of Egyptian Woman”? Egypt Today gives a detailed summary, reflecting on what changed for women in Egypt in 2017, presented by Maya Morsy, the president of the National Council of Women.

The privileges the Egyptian president gave to Egyptian women in "Women empowerment 2030" strategy

Morsy said that President Sisi announced 2017 to be the year of women. This was the first step towards calling on all the government agencies and civil society to put into place a policy specifically dedicated for Egyptian women. "This policy was translated to a strategy titled Women empowerment 2030, which is now a policy for the Egyptian government to work on," recounted Morsy. She explained that this strategy was announced on March 8, 2017. The president directed all government agencies to make sure that this is the road map for the way ahead. "We are receiving all the information and plans from the ministries and governmental agencies. Up to this point we received about 38 plans related to 2030 women empowerment agenda," Morsy added.

Morsy elaborated that the strategy has four main pillars, which are women political participation, economic participation, social empowerment and protection. Legislation is a cross cutting agenda that is on all the four pillars. "The other cross cutting issues are raising awareness, as well as changing culture and ideas, because we cannot achieve all this without making sure that the social environment is ready to receive all the messages we are sending,’’ Morsy pointed out.

Morsy further explained that the president gave directions to allocate LE 250 million for the small enterprises completely dedicated to women, 50 million for the infrastructure of the poor, vulnerable and neediest women and 250 million to be directed to kindergartens and nurseries. One of the major obstacles that hinder women’s work is the lack of childcare support. "We are calling on women to go to work; there is a need for women's economic participation. All the studies have shown that if women participate in the economic sector, the Egyptian GDP will increase by 34 percent, so if we want to achieve the targeted increase in the Egyptian GDP, we have to develop women's infrastructure," Morsy added.

Positions held by women for the first time in 2017

Morsy admitted that we are now witnessing the year of women breaking the glass ceiling by the appointment of the first woman governor ever in Beheira governorate; Nadia Abdou. Also, we have a female National security advisor for the president for the first time in the Egyptian history named Fayeza Aboul Naga. "These two posts were never held by women, so if we see more women in such posts, we will create a belief in the society that Egyptian women are successful. Second, we will stop linking that National security issues to men only or say that men only are able to be governors," Morsy illustrated.

Morsy explained that in the year of women, Egypt has the first female deputy to the president of the Central Bank of Egypt. In addition, more women held judiciary posts in 2017; we have six women in the judiciary sector and the first ever female deputy to the minister of tourism. "There is a major change; posts that were never given to women are now given to women. This is the first step towards changing ideas," Morsy concluded.

Morsy noted that the NCW also worked in the year of women to form a group of women religious leaders; Christians and Muslims. NCW cooperated pertaining this issue with the ministry of Awkaf (Endowments) and the three main Egyptian churches. "These religious women are touring all the Egyptian villages and governorates as part of the 'Knocking doors' campaign which is based on going to the Egyptian women in their houses." ]]>
12/25/2017 3:08:54 PM
<![CDATA[Queen Elizabeth praises husband's humor in Christmas message]]>
The 96-year-old prince, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, has been at the queen’s side throughout her 65 years on the throne, and has regularly grabbed the headlines with his off-color comments.

He retired from regular royal duties over the summer, but has continued to make occasional appearances, most recently walking to the Christmas Eve church service on the royal family’s Sandringham estate.

The queen will also talk about the importance of home in her message, and the sense of community in London and Manchester after the capital’s devastating Grenfell Tower fire and the militant attacks in both cities.

“We think of our homes as place of warmth, familiarity and love ... there is a timeless simplicity to the pull of home,” she will say, according to excerpts from her speech released by Buckingham Palace.

“This Christmas, I think of London and Manchester, whose powerful identities shone through over the past 12 months in the face of appalling attacks,” she will add in the message which will be broadcast at 1500 GMT.

Elizabeth, the world’s longest reigning monarch, very rarely talks about her husband.

On their golden wedding anniversary in 1997, she said he did not take easily to compliments but had been her “strength and stay all these years”.

Philip, who has carried out more than 22,000 solo engagements, developed a reputation for his comments, including his remark about “slitty eyes” on a visit to China in the 1980s.

In the following decade, he said “Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?” to an islander in the Cayman Islands and asked a driving instructor in Scotland: “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?”

The seasonal royal message dates back to King George V in 1932 and was first televised 60 year ago in 1957.]]>
12/25/2017 12:45:23 PM
<![CDATA[Celebrities and their 2017 Christmas Trees ]]>
We have gathered a list of celebrities celebrating Christmas in their very own way we all dream of — from the supersized Christmas tree, diamond bright ornaments and the mountains of gifts under their trees. Here is an inside look at how the rich and famous choose to celebrate this festive season. Note some did decided to celebrate Christmas in the modest way.

The Queen of Christmas Mariah Carey

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Kriss Jenner

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Kyile Jenner’s 20 feet long Christmas tree

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Steve Harvey

Ed Sheeran

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Britney Spears

Miley Cyrus

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Reese Witherspoon

Jenna Dewan Tatum

Gisele Bündchen

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Yolanda Hadid

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Kevin Hart

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Kelly Ripa

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Rob Lowe

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12/25/2017 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[et Quote: Christmas cheer]]>
1. “Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values.” - Thomas S. Monson

2. “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” - Norman Vincent Peale

3. “Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.” - Winston Churchill

4. “Christmas isn't a season. It's a feeling.” - Edna Ferber

5. “He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” - Roy L. Smith

6. “The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world's busy life and become more interested in people than in things.” - Thomas S. Monson

7. “Christmas gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the important things around us - a time when we can look back on the year that has passed and prepare for the year ahead.” - David Cameron

8. “Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas.” - Dale Evans

9. “Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.” - Pindar

10. “Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't come from a store.” - Dr. Seuss

11. “For it is in giving that we receive.” - Francis of Assisi

12. “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” - Charles Dickens

13. “Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” - Charles M. Schulz

14. “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” - Calvin Coolidge

15. “Christmas is the day that holds all time together.” - Alexander Smith

16. “Don't let the past steal your present. This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone.” -Taylor Caldwell

17. “Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!” - Charles Dickens

Egypt Today wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year]]>
12/25/2017 9:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[In pics: Egyptians from all religions celebrate Christmas 2017]]> 1
An owner of a Christmas decoration shop looks on, on the eve of Christmas, while the capital is on high security alert, in Cairo, Egypt December 24, 2017. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Reuters monitored the festivities of the Egyptians in photos of people from all over the capital.

Egyptians look at Santa Claus toys in a Christmas decoration shop, on the eve of Christmas, while the capital is on high security alert, in Cairo, Egypt December 24, 2017. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Christians represent 20 percent of Egypt's population, but their festivities spread across the nation with joy of Christmas, where you can see Christmas decorations on frontage of shops and houses.
An inflatable Santa Claus is seen outside a Christmas decoration shop as people walk on the street, on the eve of Christmas, while the capital is on high security alert, in Cairo, Egypt December 24, 2017. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

People look at Santa Claus toys outside a Christmas decoration shop on the eve of Christmas, while the capital is on high security alert, in Cairo, Egypt December 24, 2017. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

12/25/2017 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA['Virtual gold' may glitter, but mining it can be really dirty]]>
As it rose from under $1,000 to over $19,500 at one point this year, hordes of tech-savvy punters have rushed in to buy, while any investors can now do the same on the US futures markets.

Bitcoin has been called virtual gold, in part because it is created in a process that insiders call mining. And like real mining, it can be dirty.

That's because joining the online gold rush to mine the coins that are streams of computer code requires high-powered rigs that consume considerable amounts of electricity to do the virtual equivalent of blasting through rock by solving a string of highly complex computer algorithms.

Depending on how the electricity used for mining is generated, the virtual currency can have a very real impact by adding pollutants into the air and contributing to global warming.

- Out of the bedroom -

What barely five years ago was a hobby for "bedroom miners" has mushroomed into a massive, but unregulated, industry that some observers fear is a bubble waiting to explode, potentially causing damage similar to the sub-prime mortgages fiasco that caused the global economic crisis a decade ago.

Mining involves "adding value by dedicating computational resources to verify transactions in a huge public ledger called a 'blockchain'," explained Julian Oliver, a New Zealander who uses wind power to mine ZCash -- a bitcoin cousin.

The miners are thus providing the computer resources for their currency's trading system to operate.

But the number-crunching to pocket coins requires ever more powerful hardware and the means to keep them running, Oliver told AFP.

"At current bitcoin prices things are looking good for miners," he said. "But it's a huge use of energy, whatever the profit margins (and is) not remotely sustainable."

Specialist studies estimate the total annual energy output of the hundreds of thousands of dedicated mining machines worldwide at 35 terawatt hours, according to the Digiconomist website -- some 25 percent up on last year.

That puts it on the level of energy consumption of Denmark.

Each transaction consumes roughly 100 kWh -- the equivalent of running a lightbulb for three months. By contrast, a credit card transaction uses about 0.2 kWh.

But focusing on the electricity consumption of cryptocurrency mining "ought not to overshadow pre-existing environmental costs of the traditional financial system," said Oliver, as "cash needs to be printed and transported and banks run off the back of data centres."

- Cleaning up -

Nadine Damblon, chief executive of HydroMiner, which uses hydroelectric power to mine in the Austrian Alps, said there is a need for greater use of renewables in the industry as Asian miners often rely on coal-generated electricity.

Hydroelectric can play a leading role as "one of the most environmentally friendly ways to generate power," she said.

Damblon believes the market will help solve the problem.

"I think in the case of bitcoin mining the capital will flow into more efficient hardware that will need less energy," said Damblon.

The scale of the long-term environmental threat that mining poses is unclear, as is the degree to which it could act as a catalyst for greater take-up of renewables.

In its Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study, the Cambridge Centre of Alternative Finance found that nearly three-quarters of all major mining zones are in China and the United States.

But the likes of Iceland and Austria are gaining ground. Not only do they offer clean hydroelectric power, but also cold temperatures that help save on cooling computer equipment, which can account for up to a third of energy needs.

What is undeniable, said the report, is that "the mining sector has evolved in a short time from a hobby activity performed on personal computers into a professional and capital-intensive industry with its own value chain."

As for how many bitcoin mines or miners there are now, nobody really knows.

- Green vs anarchist -

In terms of large-scale mines "there are perhaps about a hundred," said French information technology specialist Marc Bevand.

"Maybe (there are) a few thousand smaller ones" using "one or two racks" of machines rather than the tens of thousands in the largest Asian mines, San Francisco-based Bevand told AFP.

The push for scale to save on energy costs and go green also risks pushing bitcoin against its libertarian, or even anarchist, founding philosophy.

Bitcoin was created to not only allow secure and anonymous transactions, but for the system to be controlled by users and not by a government or corporation.

The push for scale "would concentrate number-crunching power in the hands of the richest or throw into question bitcoin's (decentralised) philosophy," said Teunis Brosens, a senior economist with ING bank.

He forecasts that eventually "banks will create private blockchains which will not face the problems of scale or regulation" which bitcoin is coming up against.

12/25/2017 7:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Common blood pressure drug tied to increased risk of skin cancer]]>
While the drug, hydrochlorothiazide, has long been linked to an increased risk of sunburns, the current study offers fresh evidence that this commonly prescribed medication may also make people more likely to develop two types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

For the study, researchers examined national prescription registry data on hydrochlorothiazide use from 1995 to 2012 as well as cancer registry records on skin malignancies diagnosed from 2004 to 2012.

Overall, people who took hydrochlorothiazide daily for at least six years were 29 percent more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma and almost four times more likely to get squamous cell carcinoma than individuals who didn’t take this medication, the study found.

“We already knew that hydrochlorothiazide makes the skin more vulnerable to damage from UV light of sun or sunbeds,” said senior study author Anton Pottegard of the University of Southern Denmark.

“However, we did not know that hydrochlorothiazide use also appears to translate into an increased risk of non-melanoma skin cancer,” Pottegard said by email.

The study included more than 71,000 people with basal cell carcinoma, 8,600 patients with squamous cell carcinoma, and a control group of more than 313,000 people in the Danish population who didn’t have these malignancies but were otherwise similar to the cancer patients.

About 2.7 percent of patients with basal cell carcinoma and 2.1 percent of the control group were high users of hydrochlorothiazide, with a lifetime cumulative dose of at least 50,000 milligrams, or roughly six years of daily use.

Ten percent of squamous cell carcinoma cases were high users, as were 2.8 percent of people in the control group.

With the highest cumulative hydrochlorothiazide exposure - approximately 24 years of daily use - patients were 54 percent more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma and more than seven times more likely to get squamous cell carcinoma.

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how hydrochlorothiazide might cause skin cancer.

Another limitation is that researchers lacked data on two main factors that influence the risk of skin cancer: ultraviolet light exposure and skin type, the study authors note in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

“There may be a relationship between taking hydrochlorothiazide and risk for skin cancer,” said Dr. Aaron Farberg of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

“However, the relationship may not be directly causative,” Farberg, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

Even so, the findings add to the evidence suggesting that patients taking hydrochlorothiazide should take extra precautions to protect their skin from damage caused by the sun, said Dr. Elizabeth Martin, president of Pure Dermatology & Aesthetics in Hoover, Alabama.

“Everyone can reduce their skin cancer risk by avoiding unprotected exposure to UV light,” Martin, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Don’t use indoor tanning devices, and protect yourself from the sun by seeking sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.”

Patients taking hydrochlorothiazide shouldn’t stop without first seeing a doctor, Pottegard cautioned. While there are other safe, affordable options to manage high blood pressure, patients already taking hydrochlorothiazide won’t meaningfully alter their skin cancer risk by staying on the drug for a few months until a physician can advise them, he said.

“If you are at an increased risk of skin cancer, due to high exposure to sunlight, have already experienced skin cancer, or are otherwise predisposed to skin cancer, you should consider consulting your physician regarding a potential therapy shift,” Pottegard said.

12/25/2017 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Women in Egypt (Part 1)]]>
What major women's issues has Sisi addressed in the last year? To what extent has the status of Egyptian women improved? What exactly happened in the “Year of Egyptian Women”? Egypt Today gives a detailed summary, reflecting on what changed for women in Egypt in 2017, presented by Maya Morsy the president of the National Council of Women.

But first who is Maya Morsy?

Maya Morsy is the president of Egypt's National Council for Women (NCW), which was established in 2000. She took office as the third president of the governmental organization on February 1, 2016. The NCW was reorganized after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution and reopened on January 19, 2016.

“The NCW is the highest national machinery entrusted with formulating and monitoring national plans for the advancement of women in Egypt, and providing policy options and advice in all fields related to the development and empowerment of women to enable them to play their rightful and essential roles in society and integrate their efforts in comprehensive national development programs. The NCW is an autonomous body that has an independent legal status, reporting directly to the President of Egypt,” said Morsy.

The council is comprised of 30 members, selected from public figures with experience in women’s affairs and social issues and are appointed by presidential decree to serve for a period of three years, subject to renewal.

In 2016, among the NCW’s many achievements, Morsy launched the nationwide campaign on Women’s Empowerment (Taa’ Marboota: The Secret of Your Power). “Taa’ Marboota campaign was launched with the aim of utilizing the power of media and communications to address misconceptions, redefining gender roles, and fostering women’s participation in all spheres of life,” Morsy explained. By the end of the year 2016, Taa’ Marboota Campaign succeeded in reaching more than 60 million Egyptians as well as almost 500,000 Egyptians on ground.

“(The Secret of Your Power) breaks the glass ceiling for women, encourages their participation at all levels, and presents the unconventional roles that women can play as important actors and contributors to social welfare and overall economic growth,” Morsy recounted.

The campaign became known as the “100 behavioral and ideational campaign” following its massive success with over 100 celebrities and public figures endorsing it, and has been considered for regional and global awards. In 2017, the National Council for Women, under the leadership of Morsy launched Egypt’s National Women’s Strategy 2030.

“In March 2017, the Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi’s announced [Egypt’s National Women’s Strategy 2030] as the national document to guide the country in its women empowerment efforts. This is a historical national achievement for Egypt, recording Egypt as the first country globally to endorse a national women’s strategy 2030,” Morsy added.

Prior to joining the NCW, Maya Morsy served as the Regional Advisor on Gender Policies and Programs in the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Regional Centre for Arab States in Cairo from 2013. She was responsible for providing policy advice and technical support for women's empowerment and gender mainstreaming in planning and public budgets, as well as the formulation, monitoring and evaluation of regional and national strategies and plans for the advancement of women across the Arab region.

A wide range of regional partners benefitted from her services, including the Arab League and the Arab Women Organization, alongside many partners at the national level, including government agencies, civil society organizations and national councils for women and similar national mechanisms for the advancement of women’s rights, in all Arab countries.

Maya Morsy’s career spans more than 20 years of dedicated service for the advancement of women and defending their fundamental rights. She served as the head of Egypt's Country Office for the United Nations Fund For Women (UNIFEM) from 2000 to 2013, UNIFEM Project Coordinator (1999-2000); Consultant for the Girls Education and Empowerment Project of the Ministry of Education in Egypt (1998-1999) and Project Officer in the Sustainable Human Development Platform for Action and Monitoring, implemented by UNDP in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Administration in Egypt (1995-1998).

Prior to that she served as Academic Facilitator in the Public Administration and Communication Joint Program between City University of Seattle and the Arab Academy of Science and Technology of the League of Arab States (1997-1998).

Over her long career, Maya Morsy contributed to many pioneering initiatives, including the formulation of the Arab Strategy for Women, Peace and Security, the Regional Strategy for Combating Violence against Arab Women and the Arab Plan of Action for the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), including the development of specific indicators for monitoring and implementation. She also advised and assisted relevant authorities in a number of Arab countries, including Egypt, in the development of gender-responsive national plans and budgets.

In Egypt, she contributed to the design and implementation of many national initiatives and projects aimed at the advancement of women including projects to support women’s economic empowerment and security, providing them with small loans and training to increase productivity. Initiatives for women’s literacy focusing on the poorest governorates, girls' education initiatives (one-class room and community schools), programs for the political empowerment of women and training/provision of technical support for female parliamentarians, the establishment of a Women’s Media Observatory, the Safe Cities Project promoting public spaces that are free of violence against women and girls, the national project to combat female genital mutilation, the establishment and training of Equal Opportunity Units in ministries and initiatives promoting equal opportunity within private sector companies.

In 2008, Morsy received a Ph.D. in Public Policy with a focus on the human security of Arab women from the Institute of Arab Studies and Research-League of Arab States. She completed two Master’s degrees at the City University of Seattle, USA, in Business Administration (1998) and Public Administration (1997), after receiving a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Political Science from the American University in Cairo (1995), with a minor in Mass Communication (Journalism).

Morsy has authored and contributed to many studies and books, which focused on various aspects of the advancement of women in Egypt and the Arab region, including issues of human security for Arab women, a gender responsive public budget, the integration of gender perspectives in agricultural activities in Egypt, gender-sensitive urban planning, strategies for empowering Arab women and the eliminating of gender-based discrimination in accordance with the commitments of Arab countries to the CEDAW and the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.]]>
12/24/2017 5:55:25 PM
<![CDATA[Online, but can't ditch paper? You may be future-proofing yourself]]>
“People say: ‘What should I do about my photographs?’ The ones you really care about? Find some really good quality photographic paper and print them, because we know those will last at least 150 years,” Cerf told reporters on the sidelines of the Internet Governance Forum in Geneva.

“I know for a fact that I have information, in digital form, down in my basement, on 5-¼ inch floppy disks. And I know the bits are still there. But I don’t have anything that knows how to read them any more.”

Cerf, a Google vice-president and co-designer of the TCP/IP protocol that connects devices over the internet, said he managed to find a disk drive for some of his ancient disks, only to discover he lacked the software to read them.

“If we want our descendants to know something about our world we have to make sure the information is still retrievable or understandable,” he said.

A white-bearded 74-year-old nicknamed “the Father of the Internet”, Cerf jotted notes on his conference program as he spoke, and confessed that in several ways paper was better than the state-of-the-art phone he clutched in his other hand.

“First of all you can make little sketches easily on paper, and second it’s on my (Governance Forum) calendar, that means I can remember where was I, and what was I doing, when I wrote that note. So for me, this is like a plug-in extra memory,” he said, to laughter.

“Look, I also wear three piece suits. I’m just a 19th century guy in a 21st century world.”]]>
12/24/2017 11:40:46 AM
<![CDATA[Swedish roofs can handle Santa's sleigh; if he's careful]]>
The portly Father Christmas probably weighs about 150 kg (330 lb) and his reindeer and sleigh a tonne, the Swedish construction company NCC calculated, allowing another 50 kg for gifts.

Swedish building requirements would easily handle that weight, plus 50 percent extra pressure from the force of the landing on the roof, and half a meter of snow, construction designer Thomas Lecher said.

However, presents for all the world’s 2 billion children, as well as a sack big enough to hold them, would weigh at least 200,000 tonnes if delivered on a single run.

“Under that sort of pressure, a Swedish house would be about as strong as paper,” Lecher said. “But it is clear as day that he has access to some sort of Christmas magic.”]]>
12/24/2017 11:37:54 AM
<![CDATA[Ad firms using tools to help them read your mind]]>
Using gadgets to track eye movements, computer maps of faces to capture a momentary grin (approval) or squinting (anger), and sensors to measure perspiration or monitor brain activity, companies are mining consumers' raw emotions for information.

Traditionally, ad firms have measured the success of their campaigns through consumer surveys, but that technique has its limits.

"It's not that people won't tell you, they actually can't tell you why they're making the decision they're making," said Jessica Azoulay, vice president of the market intelligence practice at Isobar, a digital marketing agency.

The new techniques recognize that our purchase decisions are driven by both rational and emotional factors, and reflect research showing the brain takes in information on different levels.

They "enable us to capture many different types of emotions and to be able to profile the emotions that are happening very granularly on a second by second basis," said Elissa Moses, chief executive of the neuro and behavioral science business at Ipsos, a consultancy and market research firm.

"People won't be able to tell you that something irritated them in scene three or thrilled them in scene seven, but we'll know from looking at the facial coding," Moses said.

The technologies can help track if brands are maintaining their edge over competitors, and make ads more effective by determining what to highlight, for example whether to emphasize the distress of allergy symptoms or the relief of treatment when pitching medications.

And the techniques are being applied to other industries, such as retail, which is experimenting on ways to attract customers in the Amazon era.

"Ultimately there is a dance between the conscious and unconscious," Moses said, noting that "in order to actually buy a product, you have to make a conscious decision."

- Measuring in milliseconds -

Some of the techniques were first employed in the 1970s, but now are being more widely adopted as equipment has improved.

An eye tracking test uses technology-enhanced glasses with a camera to record what a person is seeing on a television or in a store and read how long the eye settles on a particular cue.

That can be combined with other methods, such as galvanic skin responses with sensors applied to a person's hand to read perspiration, and electroencephalography (EEG) which reads brain activity through sensors on a person's head.

The data is used to produce a "heat map" with yellow, orange or red "hotspots" that show where the person's eye fixated.

Techniques measuring arousal can signal whether an ad stands out amid today's media avalanche.

Other tests that are becoming more popular seek to shed light on unconscious associations with products or shopping needs.

Johnson & Johnson has tested thousands of consumers about Tylenol pain relief and other over-the-counter products, showing them quick-fire images or words that connote a particular emotion.

Responses are tracked to the tens of milliseconds, said Eric Dolan, associate director for global strategic insights at Johnson & Johnson.

The insights can help determine "whether we want to dig in and reinforce those emotional spaces," or rethink the marketing to convey a different message, he said.

- Picking the pitch -

Tivity Health turned to many of these techniques for its "Silver Sneakers" fitness program for seniors, hiring Isobar to help it devise a marketing strategy based on a psychological profile of potential members.

Isobar had more than 1,000 seniors review a series of rapidly presented images and words about exercise. Based on their clicks, the report showed the population most valued exercise because it made them feel empowered or "ready to go."

The finding was important as Tivity weighed potential marketing campaigns, including "Living Life Well," which featured images of age-defying seniors, such as a grandfatherly figure balancing a toddler on his back while doing push-ups.

These ads performed better than an alternative campaign showing groups of smiling seniors together in swim class and in a gym which emphasized the social aspect of Silver Sneakers.

That campaign appeared to fall flat with seniors who view exercise as a means of staying independent, or who may be intimidated at the thought of immediately exercising in a group.

The results countered Tivity's assumption that the social aspect of the program was the "key motivating driver for members," said Elizabeth Rula, who directs research for Tivity Health. "We were a bit surprised."]]>
12/24/2017 11:34:10 AM
<![CDATA[Your post-Christmas exercise guide ]]>

Pound is one of the new trendy workouts that have recently surfaced. It’s a full-body cardio workout that uses lightly weighted “drumsticks” called Ripstix incorporated into the whole class. Classes combine multiple exercise techniques with constant drumming to sculpt muscle and burn calories. You can attend Pound classes at PowerHouse gym and The Mala, as well as other establishments.

Pole Workouts

Pole Workouts are extremely effective workouts that exercise muscles in the entire body, especially the core and the arms. It’s also a workout that increases body confidence, which is a great side effect. You can attend pole fitness classes at PoleFit, as well as other establishments.


A post shared by Yoga (@yoga) on

You can’t really go wrong with the classic yoga class and there are so many types to choose from. Hatha, vinyasa, hot yoga, aerial yoga. Don’t expect it to be an easy workout though, yoga is tougher than it appears from the outside looking in. You’ll definitely break a sweat. You can attend yoga classes at Nun center, Bardo clubhouse, Osana center or On the Mat, as well as other establishments.


Zumba is an excellent cardio workout. It’s fun and entertaining and you won’t get bored of repetition like typical gym workouts or circuit training. It’s going to make you sweat and burn calories just like any other workout, but you’ll feel like you’re at a dance party while doing it. You can attend Zumba classes at Gold’s gym, Bodyshapers, Hers gym, as well as other establishments.


Crossfit is still popular after it went through a phase of being the new fitness craze. It’s an extremely effective workout, and quite intense. It’ll kick you into high gear for the coming year and if you can keep it up, it’ll get you very fit. You can attend Crossfit sessions at Fitbox, BeFit, Crossfit Egypt, as well as other establishments.]]>
12/24/2017 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Christmas traditions around the world ]]>

2012 Giant Lantern Festival via CC/Ramon Velasquez

The Giant Lantern Festival is held every year on the Saturday before Christmas Eve in San Fernando, what’s known as the “Christmas capital of the Philippines.” It’s a competition of which village, of the eleven taking part, can build the largest, most intricate and beautiful lantern. Originally, the lanterns were simple and about half a meter in diameter, but over the years they’ve grown to be up to six meters in diameter. They’re also lit up with multicolored bulbs, giving a kaleidoscopic effect.


Krampus via CC/Luca Lorenzi

In Austria, there’s the somewhat unexpected tradition of a man dressed as a demon-like creature roaming the streets and frightening the children. This is Krampus – St Nicholas’ evil counterpart. While Father Christmas rewards the nice children, Krampus punishes the naughty ones.


Christmas Eve in the Church of Jalpaiguri. Via CC/Sandipanraha

In Caracas, Venezuela, the residents have an odd tradition of roller skating to church on Christmas eve. The roads are closed off to cars for safety, so people can get to church on their blades. And then they head home for a Christmas dinner of tamales.


Fireworks at City Hall via CC/Ben Roffelsen

The Cavalcade of Lights is a Toronto tradition that marks the beginning of the holiday season. The Toronto Square and Christmas tree are lit with over 300,000 LED lights and fireworks are set off that light up the whole square.


Four children reading the book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss. Via CC/scbailey

In Iceland, the third most literate country in the world, people exchange books on Christmas eve and spend the evening reading the books they received. The tradition is called Jolabokaflod, or “The Christmas Book Flood.”


KFC meal. Via CC/Aero777

In Japan, the traditional Christmas dinner is Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). It’s such a popular tradition that you have to reserve ahead of time in order to guarantee your Christmas dinner. Often times, it’s couples who want to follow this tradition because holidays in Japan are more romantic than religious.


Garden party. Via CC/Zorba the Geek

Australia being in the southern hemisphere, Christmas is usually right in the middle of summer. That means it’s hot and rather than cozying up in front of a fire, Australians break out the barbeque and the swimming suits. It’s an outdoor celebration down under.]]>
12/23/2017 10:57:34 PM
<![CDATA[Fenty Beauty to release Mattemoiselle in the Middle East]]>
The drop will happen the day after Christmas, and will only be available in Sephora in the Middle East. The 14 Matte(moiselle) lipstick shades promises that much sought-after all-day color and weightless finish, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia reported.

The Mattemoiselle Matte Plush collection draws inspiration from the rainbow and aims to satisfy every mood, situation, and skin color. Riri has carefully designed every shade to compliment all skin-tones.

"Lipstick is all about having fun and expressing your mood at any given moment. This collection makes it easier than ever because there's a color for everyone," Rihanna stated on her website.

The shades are perfectly named and are full of personality. There is Ma'damn (Royal Red), Spanked (Dusty Rose), Candy Venom (Electric Pink), Saw-C (Exotic Tangerine), Up 2 No Good (Nude Peach), S1ngle (Blushing Nude), Freckle Fiesta (Spiced Terracotta), Shawty (Warm Chestnut), Pms (Moody Brown), Midnight Wasabi (Wicked Green), Ya Dig?! (Periwinkle Blue), Clapback (True Navy), One Of The Boyz (Wild Lilac) and Griselda (Bold Burgundy).

Strong bold colors, full of pigmentation, that last all day and feel light is what it is all about for Rihanna. From the very first stroke of lipstick, one automatically has fuller lips that immediately make them the center of attention.

It is also worth noting that the products are 100 percent cruelty-free.

12/23/2017 3:36:13 PM
<![CDATA[Get ready for the sequel to ‘The Devil Wears Prada’]]>

She was a favorite in “The Devil Wears Prada” book and movie for her sass and attitude, as well as Emily Blunt’s near-perfect portrayal of her. “When Life Gives You Lululemons” picks up with Emily now working as a high-profile celebrity “image consultant.” The book follows her attempts to fit in and adjust to new challenges thrown at her, after she is forced to move from New York City to Greenwich, Connecticut for a client.

Weisberger made the announcement on her Instagram page, saying “So thrilled to share with you the cover of my next book, WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LULULEMONS, out summer ‘18!”

Currently, an excerpt is available on Entertainment Weekly’s website. It begins with Emily thinking to herself, “There had to be something to complain about. This was New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles, one of the most annoying nights of the year in arguably the most annoying city known to man.” The tone is exactly what you’d except from the Emily.

“When Life Gives You Lululemons” is certain to entertain.]]>
12/23/2017 2:40:26 PM
<![CDATA[Apple admits to slowing iPhones as batteries age]]>
The admission played into concerns that Apple was stealthily nudging iPhone users to upgrade to newer models by letting them think it was the handsets that needed replacing and not just a matter of getting new batteries.

"Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices," an Apple spokesperson said in response to an AFP inquiry.

"Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components."

Lithium-ion batteries are commonly used in mobile devices, and charging capacity naturally wanes with use and time.

Meanwhile, smartphone operating software is perpetually improved with updates that typically increase appetites for electricity.

Last year, Apple introduced a feature to "smooth out" spikes in demand for power to prevent iPhone 6 models from shutting down due to the cold or weak batteries, according to the California-based company.

The iPhone 6 made its debut in late 2014.

The feature, which slows performance to demand less power, has been extended to iPhone 7 handsets with the latest iOS operating software and will be added to other Apple products "in the future," the spokesperson said.

Apple releases new iPhone models annually, and sales of the handsets power its money-making engine.

People worried about performance could replace batteries, which Apple does for free for iPhones covered by warranty or for $79 if that is not the case.

Apple design of handsets makes it borderline impossible for people to change batteries themselves.

Rumors have persisted for years at tech news websites devoted to Apple products and among fans of the company's products that iPhone performance was being intentionally slowed, perhaps to push users to buy newer models.

The consumer electronics industry overall has routinely been accused of designing products that wear out sooner than necessary in a strategy referred to as "planned obsolescence."]]>
12/23/2017 8:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Paris truffle find hailed as boon for urban gardeners]]>
The discovery in a hotel roof garden in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower comes as prices for the aromatic fungus have doubled to more than 5,000 euros ($6,000) a kilo.

Coming just before Christmas, when truffles are used to flavour such seasonal dishes as foie gras and chestnut soup, it raises the hope of an undreamt-of windfall for the new wave of urban gardeners colonising city roofs.

"The discovery of this wild truffle is a wonderful example of how roof gardens and green roofs have a huge potential for urban biodiversity," said the Museum of Natural History in the French capital, which revealed the find.

It also raised the question of whether the micro-climates roof gardens foster might be particularly favourable for truffles, the museum added.

The black "tuber brumale", which tends to grow in the same regions as its more highly-prized cousin, the Perigord black truffle, was found at the base of a hornbeam tree on the roof of the Mercure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel hotel by Frederic Madre, a researcher from the museum's centre of ecology and conservation.

He told AFP that he felt a "great surge of joy" when he found the truffle but immediately began to wonder how it could have grown so far north.

He said he had to resist the temptation to taste the fungus, which weighed 21 grams, before handing it over for analysis.

The museum's mushroom expert Professor Marc-Andre Selosse said the truffle usually only grows in a Mediterranean climate, but that the soil and exposure of roof of the hotel had managed to replicate that.

"What is remarkable is that it takes two spores coming together for a truffle to grow. This shows that it could happen again and that it might be possible to cultivate truffles on Paris roofs," he added.

Madre is a co-founder of the Topager startup which was responsible for putting organic gardens on the top of several major buildings in Paris.

- City of roof gardens -

It plans to add another to the roof of the Opera Bastille.

A 600-square-metre (6,450-square-foot) roof garden above the Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel hotel, around the corner from where the truffle was discovered, already supplies that hotel with honey, herbs, salad leaves and some of its vegetables and eggs, with chickens fed on its kitchen leftovers.

Deeply-flavoured truffles are usually hunted down and dug out of the ground using dogs or specially trained pigs.

The variety found in Paris is said by experts to be stronger and muskier than the classic black Perigord truffle found in the warmer climes of southern France, Italy, Spain and Croatia.

It has a light garlicky aroma and a much more pronounced peppery flavour than the sweeter Perigord and Italian white truffles.

Although cheaper to buy than its grander cousins, the tuber brumale is preferred by many chefs to flavour sauces, rustic sausage and potato dishes and carpaccios of scallops.

Experts from the museum and mushroom specialists from the French Institute of Evolution and Biodiversity are now trying to work out how the truffle got onto the roof, "and if this is a good sign of the health of the Paris ecosystem."

The French capital is making a major push towards urban gardening, aiming to have 100 hectares of roof gardens in the next two years, a third of which will be used to grow herbs, vegetables and hops to flavour beer.

Underground car parks are also being turned over to grow mushrooms in beds made from used coffee grinds.

More than 70 major companies have already signed up to have the roofs of their offices and buildings converted into vegetable plots.]]>
12/23/2017 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Behold the Christmas story - in a limestone cave]]>
The annual performance -- staged along a 5 km (3 mile) path inside the cave -- has become one of Slovenia’s top tourist attractions.

“It is definitely a special feeling to sing in what is essentially a natural cathedral, created by nature, the acoustics of the space are entirely different,” said Slovenian opera singer Irena Yebuah Tiran who is performing in the spectacle this year.

The tradition of living nativity scenes started in 1989 and features costumed performers, actors and singers amid light and sound effects.

This year 150 performers are acting out the Biblical story of Christmas in 16 scenes set along the path.

The nativity scenes will be open to the general public for six days, starting on December 25, and organizers expect some 17,000 visitors from all over the world to come and enjoy the unique spectacle.

The cave itself was formed over millions of years and became well know and a tourist spot in the early 19th century, later to be served by an underground train.

Grafitti on some of the walls, however, are said to date as far back as the 13th century.]]>
12/23/2017 7:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Italian chef's new restaurant chain: free food made from scraps]]>
Bottura’s prestigious restaurant in Modena, northern Italy, charges around 250 euros a head. But in Milan, his Refettorio Ambrosiano feeds the poor, many of them homeless - and now he plans to expand the charitable experiment further.

Housed in an old theater on the outskirts of the city, the Refettorio cooks free meals with leftovers from shops, following recipes created by Bottura and other famous cooks.

“I never thought these ingredients were waste,” he told Reuters.

“I always thought bread crumbs, some overripe tomatoes, brown bananas, they are just opportunities for us. To show what we can do with our creativity.”

Bottura started the project in 2015 to reuse leftovers from the eateries of Milan’s international Expo. With the support of church foundation Caritas Ambrosiana, the initiative has become a permanent project.

Unlike traditional soup kitchens, guests don’t queue. Everyone gets served at the table.

“I call it a restaurant, not a soup kitchen,” Bottura said.]]>
12/23/2017 7:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Blockchain, new technology about to change world]]>

Blockchain is a distributed, append-only, immutable ledger, which simply means that it is a ledger existing on a network and stored on all the computers of that network and can only be added to but not changed or edited. All the computers on the network have an updated copy of that ledger and it can only be appended with a consensus according to the blockchain protocol. Since the ledger is distributed, security in and trust of the system increased because the control is with the many not with the few. The purpose of this technology is to enable trade between people and entities directly, by cutting out the middle man such as institutions and banks. This is enabled by the trust that is inherent to the blockchain protocol.

Blockchain is important because within the next decade, it will have revolutionized the way of dealing with money and trade. Blockchain eliminates the need for a trusted third party to negotiate or moderate transaction, they can happen peer-to-peer. For example, musicians could post their songs on a blockchain application and specify how they want their song to be used and it would be free to the public directly, without a large corporation eating up their revenue. One person could transfer money from their ‘account’ to their friend’s without having to go through a bank. The World Economic Forum predicted that by 2025, 10% of global GDP will be stored in blockchain technology, according to a report published in September 2015.

There are endless possibilities and applications to this new disruptive technology and they will gradually become more popular as an increasing number of people grasp the revolutionary idea of blockchain. In the coming decades, this technology could change entire industries. ]]>
12/22/2017 4:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Versace supermodels assemble ]]>
The spring/summer 2018 tribute campaign features the original supermodels and Versace staple icons Naomi Campbell, Gisele Bündchen, Christy Turlington and daughter of supermodel Cindy Crawford Kaia Gerber. With a helping hand from the new era of insta-famous supermodels Gigi Hadid, Noah Luis Brown, Vittoria Ceretti, Cara Taylor and Grace Elizabeth.

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Visually satisfying, the Instagram posts were shared by Versace and shot by Steven Meisel. All of the pieces displayed in the shoot were made from some of the most recognized prints ever created by the fashion house the Barocco, Animalier and Vogue that was seen on Naomi Campbell earlier this month at the 2017 British Fashion Awards where she presented Donatella Versace with the Fashion Icon Award.

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The campaign video features the Versace family quoting the ‘Migos’ 2013 hit ‘Versace’ as they repeat the main chorus’s lyrics, “Versace, Versace, Versace…” countlessly.

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“This campaign represents the link between past and present. You need to know who you are, and where you are coming from, to build your future and when you are at the head of a brand with such a strong heritage as mine, you can only embrace it. This is the reason why I wanted to see this iconic supermodel cast next to the soon-to-be-iconic girls of the future,” Vogue Arabia Donatella said in an official statement.

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The spring/summer tribute collection and campaign are dedicated to the founder of the fashion house Gianni Versace and a celebration for the 40th anniversary of the label.

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12/22/2017 2:16:47 PM
<![CDATA[UK's Prince Harry and fiancée Meghan Markle release engagement pictures]]>
Lubomirski, a former assistant to Mario Testino, famed for his photos of Harry’s mother Princess Diana, took the pictures this week at the royal retreat of Frogmore House, near Windsor Castle, west of London, where the couple are due to marry on May 19.

“I cannot help but smile when I look at the photos that we took of them, such was their happiness together,” Lubomirski said.

Queen Elizabeth’s 33-year-old grandson, Harry, fifth-in-line to the throne, and Markle, 36, who stars in the U.S. TV legal drama “Suits”, announced their engagement last month.

12/22/2017 12:37:33 PM
<![CDATA[Jerusalem 'Santa' offers free Christmas trees to residents]]>
The man behind the beard is Issa Kassissieh, a Palestinan Christian, who has been spreading both Christmas trees and spirit to Jerusalem’s citizens in recent years.

On Thursday, he rang a bell to announce his presence and dismounted from his camel to walk back and forth on the Old City’s walls, calling on residents to come and pick out a tree free of charge.

Kassissieh’s initiative, sponsored by the Jerusalem Municipality, aims to dispel some of the tension hanging over the city, where sporadic Palestinian protests have erupted since U.S. President Donald Trump on Dec. 6 generated outrage from Palestinians and the Muslim world by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“Let me tell you something. As Santa, I come here to (bring) joy,” Kassissieh told Reuters.

“Whatever happened in the world, I came here to make the spirit and the happiness for the children in the Holy Land.”

Jerusalem, home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions, is a tourist attraction for tens of thousands of pilgrims each year.

It’s also at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

Israel considers all of Jerusalem, including the eastern sector it captured in the 1967 Middle East war, its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there. Trump said his administration would being a process of moving the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Most countries regard the status of Jerusalem as a matter to be settled in an eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, although that process is now stalled.

12/22/2017 12:32:25 PM
<![CDATA[The lipstick effect: Greeks discover need to pamper in crisis]]>
Wiping her face with a cotton pad after a Botox injection, the 49-year-old supermarket worker said she has cut down on petrol and entertainment to afford the treatments, which make the skin appear smoother by temporarily paralyzing muscles.

“I want to look at myself in the mirror and feel good. I‘m afraid of aging,” Vorlioti said. “Work, the crisis, they push you down and you want something uplifting.”

She is not the only one seeking solace in beauty treatments amid a financial crisis that cut hundreds of thousands of jobs cut, slashed salaries and caused a sharp decline in life satisfaction among Greeks.

In fact, it seems Greece is undergoing what has been dubbed the “lipstick effect”, where consumers turn to low cost beauty to boost their mood during economic depressions.

Non-surgical procedures in Greece soared to more than 220,000 in 2016 compared to around 61,000 in 2010, the biggest jump in Europe in the six-year period, according to data by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS).

At between 80 and 150 euros a pop, it doesn’t come cheap for Greeks, who earn an average net monthly income of about 780 euros. Some, like Vorlioti, need to save up for months in order to be able to afford a treatment and yet more are choosing to have them, doctors say.

“The crisis has brought new people to the doctor’s doorstep, people who wouldn’t come before, both men and women who are struggling and want to improve their looks to feel better,” said Lia Papadavid, a dermatologist.

“It’s like giving themselves a present,” she told Reuters shortly after giving a middle-aged female a filler injection around her eyes.

The rise in Greece follows a world-wide upward trend in non-surgical procedures. It ranked 14th in the world among the top 24 countries in terms of volume of non surgical treatments in 2016, behind countries such as Italy and Germany but above Belgium, according to ISAPS.

Surgical treatments, which can cost thousands of euros, are up only 10 percent since 2010.


Waiting her turn at the Athens Aurum medical center, 43-year-old Eleni says she turned to injectables in 2013 and has not stopped despite the crisis.

“No one has money to spare, everyone is being pressured right now with the crisis, some less, some more. I think it needs a bit of planning, and to love yourself.”

Investment in the beauty industry doubled between 2009-2015, said the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises in a July report.

New nail bars and beauty centers have popped up in central Athens and in the central Syntagma square, young men and women are seen handing out flyers advertising discounts on cosmetic services to passers-by.

Chairman of the ISAPS Education Council Paraskevas Kontoes said the surge in non invasive treatments could be explained by their low cost, better results thanks to new technology and people needing to boost their self-esteem battered by years of crisis.

Non surgical beauty treatments are fast enough to have in a lunch break, but their effects are only temporary. Results can last eight months or longer depending on the product, Dr Stefanos Stathakis said.

He also said most people choose treatments for the face, tying in with other doctors’ reports that their clients believe they can help them score better in a job interview, particularly as competition for jobs in Greece is fierce.

“They believe it will become easier for them to get a job,” said Vorlioti’s dermatologist Froso Saksioni. “People struggle and come here for a change. If you charge them a fortune for a treatment it’s like giving them a slap instead.”

As Saksioni prepares for “a vampire lift”, where the doctor withdraws and then reinjects a patient’s blood to erase wrinkles, Vorlioti books her next appointment.

“I’ve decided to cut down on everything else to do this”, she said. “When I feel good about myself, I think it shows.”

12/22/2017 11:35:06 AM
<![CDATA[Stadium, a store with yoga classes]]>
Stadium offers a new contemporary concept to sporty shopping by offering “A Space to Step Up and Stand Out”, at The Cube, an area that is dedicated to fitness lovers where they can train and take part in different exercises. Customers are bound to stumble across yoga classes, nutrition sessions, or an in-store training session, as Stadium is set to be an ultimate haven for self-improvement.

We have all noticed that the trend forecast for the past year has ditched the formal look. We no longer have to sacrifice comfort for style and no more pain for beauty. Function and comfort have come out on top, hence your inner stylist has been called to come forward to style edgy, sportswear brands such as Adidas, Nike, Reebok, Umbro, Speedo, Body Sculpture, Livup, and many more brands which can be found on the racks at Stadium.

12/22/2017 11:25:46 AM
<![CDATA[Cate Blanchett stars in new Armani Christmas campaign]]>
Cate Blanchett for Armani Christmas campaign. Via Armani Official Website

The perfume, Sì, is described as a decadent scent with hints of black currant, floral and blond wood. Blanchett was confirmed as the face of Giorgio Armani’s fragrance in 2013 and has starred in numerous campaigns since. The actress often chooses to wear Armani for her red carpet appearances, given its longstanding reputation as a timeless and sophisticated brand, much in line with her own brand.

Cate Blanchett for Armani holiday campaign. Via Armani Official Website

Blanchett has been acting since 1992, when her first role was opposite Geoffrey Rush in the play “Oleanna” for the Sydney Theater Company. Since then, she has been nominated for and won multiple acclaimed awards, including winning two Academy Awards for her roles in “The Aviator” and “Blue Jasmine”, and three Golden Globes for her roles in “Elizabeth”, “I’m Not There” and “Blue Jasmine” again.

Cate Blanchett for Armani holiday campaign. Via Armani Official Website

12/22/2017 10:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Best Christmas tech gift ideas ]]>
Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung Electronic's Galaxy S8 and S8+ displayed at its store in Seoul, South Korea, April 27, 2017 - REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji Kim Hong-Ji
There’s a general consensus among the tech community that Samsung Galaxy S8 is one of the best phones of the year, maybe even the best. It’s beautifully designed, without any distractions from the edge-to-edge screen, and it’s $400 cheaper than the comparable iPhone X. In this age of expensive phones you’d be forgiven for thinking it might be too good to be true.

iPhone X
Apple's new iPhone X is seen in this illustration picture, November 2, 2017 - REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/Illustration MAXIM SHEMETOV
Apple’s huge fan base is one of the most passionate and loyal in the tech industry. They’ll defend Apple and iPhones till the last breath. The iPhone X stirred another round of debate and scrutiny as to whether Apple can still produce innovative high quality product. The answer is: Yes, they can. The new iPhone is elegant and sleek, with significant design and functionality upgrades.

Sony Alpha A7R III
The A7R costs less than the A9, a whole $1,300 less. However, it might still be the better camera. It’s a fantastic device for any photographers, with a 42.2 megapixel lens and a new autofocus system that’s extremely quick. It also has double the battery life of previous A7 cameras, with an A9 battery. Seems like the best of both worlds.

Nintendo Switch
A Nintendo Switch game console is displayed at an electronics store in Tokyo, Japan March 3, 2017 - REUTERS/Toru Hanai
The Switch is possibly the most innovative gaming device of the year. It’s two devices in one. You can use it to play games on your console at home, or you can detach the controllers and use it on the go on a smaller screen. Your nephew or your best friend who loves gaming will love this new take on a flexible gaming experience.

For the more artisanal or cultured person in your life, this fantastic turntable could be a fabulous gift. It’s a sleek and beautifully designed record player, with an extremely reasonable price for what it is. Let the vinyl comeback continue.

Anker PowerCore+ 26800
The most practical gift of all is this fantastic power bank. You can be sure it would come in handy. For the busy person in your life who doesn’t have time to sit and wait for their phone to charge, this power bank can fully charge an iPhone 7 ten times on one charge. ]]>
12/21/2017 6:17:57 PM
<![CDATA[Selfieccino arrives in London ]]>
The perfectly Instagram-able trend allows customers to send their selfies to the coffee shop, using a messaging application. And voilà, in four minutes, they have their photograph, printed on the top of their cappuccino or hot chocolate with flavorless froth.

The selfieccino has finally arrived in Europe, as one London coffee shop began serving the new perfectly Instagram-able cappuccino trend on Saturday. The Tea Terrace, a coffee and tea shop on Oxford Street, London, is the first in Europe to introduce this craze to its menu; after it had only been seen in South East Asia, according to Reuters.

It’s a bit more expensive than your average cappuccino, coming at $7.50, but if you’re a social media fanatic, it could be the perfect opportunity to amaze your followers with your very own customized cappucino.

Over 400 selfieccinos have been sold over the week. “It’s not enough any more to just deliver great food and great service - it’s got to be Instagram worthy,” Ehab Salem Shouly told Reuters. ]]>
12/21/2017 4:52:13 PM
<![CDATA[et Quote: Thierry Mugler]]>”I have always tried to sublimate the body and to make people dream.” – Thierry Mugler

Thierry Mugler took up classical dance at the young age of nine. He then went on to ballet at the Rhin Opera at 14 years old while he was studying interior design at Strasbourg School of Decorative Arts.

As an ambitious 20-year-old, he moved to Paris and dressed in his own creations, as he worked as a fashion designer at Gudule, a boutique in Paris. At 26 he ventured into freelance designing for fashion houses in Barcelona, London, Milan and Paris. Melka Treanton was one of the main forces that helped launch his career, as she got him to showcase in Tokyo at an event. Two years later he created his first collection for men, reimagining classic and modern style. In parallel to that, he would go on to open his very own store in Paris at Place des Victoires.

”I am not trendy. I am not 'in fashion.' I am simply a positive human being who has a positive outlook on life.” – Thierry Mugler

He created his first namesake brand with a collection called "Café de Paris" in 1973, which was an avant-garde art piece. Five years on, he was crowned by the public and the media as Designer of the Year.

With wide shoulders, padded waists, large pointed collars and his use of solid colors, Mugler’s creations can be spotted a mile away. One of his most recognized dresses was worn by Demi Moore in her role in “Indecent Proposal” (1993).

Thierry Mugler creation via Mugler.com

”I want my models to be bigger, stronger and taller than common mortals. I need superwomen and supermen.” – Thierry Mugler

In 1992, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture specifically asked him to create an haute couture collection. During the same year, he would soon go on to create haute perfume; his first would be “Angel” – one of the most recognized scents today that serves purity and is full of attitude.

Also a published photographer, “Thierry Mugler, Photographe” hit the shelves in 1988, which was a collection made of gigantic proportions that he has always been in awe of. A year later, “Fashion Fetish Fantasy”, a monograph that compiled his greatest wearable art pieces, was released. Peter Lindbergh has said, "He's one of the greats."

”I used fashion to express myself as much as I could. But at some point, it was not enough.” – Thierry Mugler

A true artist with his hands on attitude, Mugler is also a motion visual artist, having directed short films, advertisements and music videos, including George Michael’s “Too Funky” and the advertisement for his trademark “Alien” perfume. In 2002, he directed a scene for a Cirque du Soleil production called "Extravaganza", and of course, created all of the costumes. He also has occasionally designed costumes for concerts and theater shows, such as the ones for Beyoncé and the play “Macbeth”.

In 2008, he launched his namesake cosmetic line. He stepped down as creative director in 2010 and Nicola Formichetti, who has departed in 2013, took his place – hence the rebranding of the brand to MUGLER.

”As a child, I had a very hard time living in the world that is imposed on us. I dreamed of creating another world, to my scale – one that was my own...” – Thierry Mugler

Angel via Mugler.com

12/21/2017 10:30:54 AM
<![CDATA['White gold' on deck of French trawler signals bumper haul of scallops]]>
At dawn on Nov. 13, Captain Thierry Lefrancois and his crew of four had joined a procession of boats heading offshore from Port-en-Bessin, a fishing village that was the site of a battle during the Allied landing in Normandy in World War Two.

After two and a half hours on turbulent waters, they arrived at the fishing grounds but had to wait until noon and the start of the scallop season at Bay of the Seine. Police helicopters hovered to make sure no nets were lowered early.

Northern France’s season for scallop, or “white gold”, runs from October to mid-May but in Bay of the Seine it starts in November.

At noon, fishermen dropped their dredges. The dragnets scrape the bottom of the bay for 15 to 20 minutes before being pulled up full of large pale shells.

“It’s a miraculous catch,” said Lefrancois after dragging a net-busting 1.7 tonnes of Coquilles Saint Jacques from the waters. “In my 20-year career I have never seen this,” he said, praising the haul’s volume and the size of the scallops.This year’s scallop haul in France is expected to be four times larger than the average in the past decade, according to marine research agency Ifremer.

Breeding this spring was boosted by a combination of unusually warm waters, an absence of strong winds and good stockpile management, it said.

At the end of the permitted two-hour fish, the armada returned to port, boats low in the water.

Fishermen will sell their catch at around 15 euros ($17.7) for five kilograms on the local market.

The price for Norman scallops will rise to around 10-15 euros a kilogram in Paris where demand is strong for the delicacy, particularly over Christmas as the seafood is a part of traditional festivities in France.

Based on samples taken in July, Ifremer expects another bumper catch next season.

12/21/2017 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Lucky lottery winners get first peek at Japan's baby panda]]>
The zoo’s longest-surviving baby panda in nearly three decades munched bamboo and cuddled with her mother, Shin Shin, while adoring visitors squealed, “She’s cute,” and took pictures with smartphones before being hustled out.

“For me, the panda is the king of the zoo,” said Takamichi Masui, 50, who queued nearly three hours to be the first person to see Xiang Xiang.

The healthy female cub was born in June, five years after her mother lost another cub within days of its birth.

Xiang Xiang, whose name is written with the Chinese character for ‘fragrant’, was small enough at birth to fit in the palm of a hand. She now has typical panda markings and weighs around 12 kilograms (26 lb).

More than 18,000 people applied for 2,000 lottery slots to see the panda on Tuesday, NHK public TV said. There are 144 applicants competing for each available slot on Dec. 23, the first public holiday when Xiang Xiang may be viewed.

12/21/2017 7:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Blade running Thai dog gets new lease of life]]>
Cola’s front legs were sliced off with a sword about a year ago by his owner’s furious neighbor in Bangkok.

The Soi Dog Foundation, an animal welfare group based on the resort island of Phuket, brought in a human surgeon to fit Cola with high tech carbon fiber racing blades, similar to those used by paralympic athletes.

Now Cola is back running with the pack.

Soi Dog Foundation founder John Dalley said Cola was even ready to trust humans again.

12/21/2017 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Russia's Hermitage puts rare collection of tsars' clothes on show]]>
A new Costume Gallery opened this month as a permanent exhibition in a huge modern building in northern Saint Petersburg that houses the Hermitage's conservation and restoration centre.

A long gallery with panoramic glass cases features 130 mannequins wearing clothes dating from the 18th century, most of which belonged to the Romanov dynasty that ruled until the Bolshevik revolution of 1917.

"The costume department takes up 600 square metres (6,460 square feet). Behind the mannequins that are on show there are cupboards and dressers where we keep our collection of 24,000 pieces," said Nina Tarasova, the display's curator.

"What's on show is just three percent of our collection," she added.

"For example, we have 280 personal items that belonged to Peter the Great -- this is the most important collection of 18th-century men's clothing in the world."

Ruling in the 17th and 18th centuries, the tsar who founded Saint Petersburg was extremely tall for his day at around two metres (6.5 feet) and was known for his simple tastes.

- From peasants to aristocrats -

The exhibition's focus is on the Romanovs, from Peter the Great to the last tsar Nicholas II and his family, who were killed by the Bolsheviks in 1918 after his abdication.

But it also gives a broader picture of society, from the traditional clothes worn by peasants in various regions of Russia to the ball gowns donned by aristocrats in Saint Petersburg.

"Thanks to these items, we can learn not only about the fashions of the time but also about what size the Romanov family members were and even what they were like as people," said Tarasova.

A ceremonial robe worn by tsar Alexander I (who ruled from 1777 to 1825), shows that he was tall and slender, while the plump Alexander III, who ruled from 1845 to 1894 and was reputed to be indifferent to fashion, is represented by a plaid suit.

A simple green wool doublet, a kind of padded fitted jacket, worn by Peter the Great, rubs shoulders with a magnificent blue dress with silver brocade that Catherine the Great, who ruled between 1729 and 1792, used to wear to review the troops.

"It took many months to create some of these dresses," said Tarasova.

This was particularly true of a white lace dress decorated with fine embroidery, created for the wedding of tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna in 1894, shortly after he took the throne.

Dressmakers and lacemakers spent more than six months creating the dress.

- 'They look new, trendy' -

"This is very impressive. Most of all because all these dresses and items come from the 18th and 19th centuries, yet they look new and are even sometimes very trendy," said one visitor, Anna Gryaznova, who was photographing Louis Vuitton suitcases from 1902.

To keep the very fragile clothing in perfect condition, there is a strict temperature regime of precisely 21 degrees Celsius (around 70 degrees Fahrenheit) with humidity of 46 percent, and there are no windows to prevent sun damage.

Also at the Staraya restoration centre, visitors can view items of furniture and even carriages.

Visitors need to sign up in advance for a guided tour of the restoration centre, with details on the Hermitage's website.

12/20/2017 10:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Party Perfect]]>is the dinner party time of the year. But then you stumble upon a problem you love
certain outfits but you aren’t sure if they’re the right fit for your body type. Or maybe you’ve looked a certain way for so long and recently your Skinny all the way through Layering is your best friend! Wear dresses with long jackets or different lengths to help give your body more volume. You can layer trousers with longer or asymmetrical tops, or skirts with short tops and longer jackets.

The idea here is to play around as much as you can and get as creative as possible with colors, textures and the different lengths of your pieces.

You can also opt to wear scooped necklines to accentuate the more body. Wide waist, wide hips Go for clothing with a revealing neckline and that is looser around your waist and legs, such as flowy dresses without definite curves. You can play around with colors and patterns in unusual ways to allow more of the focus on the texture of your clothing and not only on the type of clothing you’re wearing.

You can also experiment with revealing your collarbones more. Your body has started changing and you suddenly stopped knowing what to wear to make your new body shape work for you. Not to worry, here are a few simple guidelines for how to dress for your body type and tips for styling your clothes to create a whole new set of outfits. These are simply guidelines;

There is no cookie-cutter formula for the perfect way to dress and at the end of the day is also comes down to who we are as individuals. We must first love and feel comfortable in what we are wearing in order for our sexiness to come through, because without comfort there is no confidence and without confidence, there is no sexiness! Embrace who you are and embrace your body type and the rest will all follow.

Wide waist, wide hips Go for clothing with a revealing neckline and that is looser around your waist and legs, such as flowy dresses without definite curves. You can play around with colors and patterns in unusual ways to allow more of the focus on the texture of your clothing and not only on the type of clothing you’re wearing. You can also experiment with revealing your collarbones more.

Photo Courtesy of Deana Shaaban

Skinny all the way through Layering is your best friend! Wear dresses with long jackets or different lengths to help give your body more volume. You can layer trousers with longer or asymmetrical tops, or skirts with short tops and longer jackets.

The idea here is to play around as much as you can and get as creative as possible with colors, textures and the different lengths of your pieces.

You can also opt to wear scooped necklines to accentuate the more flattering areas of your body.

Photo Courtesy of Deana Shaaban

Broad shoulders, narrow legs and hips. Here is where you want to accentuate your hips, wear tightly fitted skirts and trousers and accentuate your upper body. Wearing fitted skirts and looser tops will help put the focus on your hips giving you the appearance of having a curvaceous body.

Photo Courtesy of Deana Shaaban

Skinny waist, wide hips Accentuate that waist! Wear things that are tightly fitted such as high-waisted skirts and trousers as well as outfits with belts in order to draw attention to the skinny and curvy part of your body. Crop tops are also to your advantage because they show up the tiniest part of your body, hiding away the parts that you don’t want to reveal.

Photo Courtesy of Deana Shaaban

12/20/2017 10:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Scientists confirm 3.5 billion-yr-old fossil life in rock]]>
The 3.5-billion-year-old fossils -- many narrower than a human hair -- are described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal.

Other teams of scientists have reported even earlier signs of fossil life, going back 3.95 billion years.

But those studies are based on either an apparent shape of a microfossil, or a chemical trace -- not both.

"None of these studies are regarded as proof of life," lead author John Valley, professor of geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told AFP.

"This is the first, oldest place where we have both morphology and the chemical fingerprint of life."

Eleven kinds of microbes, preserved in both their cylindrical or snake-like structures, are preserved in the rock.

Some of the bacteria are now extinct, while others are similar to contemporary microbes.

The tiny fossils were found in 1982 from the Apex chert deposit of Western Australia.

Two scientific papers were published on the rock's apparent microbial contents -- one in 1993 and another in 2002.

But critics raised questions, suggesting instead they were not life but odd minerals that merely looked like biological specimens.

So Valley and his fellow researchers spent a decade developing a technique to tease apart the contents of the fossils.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison modified a tool, called a secondary ion mass spectrometer (SIMS), to grind down the original sample one micrometer at a time, without destroying the fossils which were "suspended at different levels within the rock and encased in a hard layer of quartz," said the report.

"Each microfossil is about 10 micrometers wide; eight of them could fit along the width of a human hair."

The technique allowed scientists to detect ratios of carbon-12 from the carbon-13 within each fossil, and compare them to a section of the rock which had no fossils.

"The differences in carbon isotope ratios correlate with their shapes," Valley explained.

"If they're not biological there is no reason for such a correlation."

Some of the microbial life inside is believed to have relied on the Sun to produce energy, while others consumed methane, which was a big part of Earth's early atmosphere before oxygen.

"This was a well-developed microbial community," Valley said.

- Hunt for first life -

The hunt for the first evidence of life is all-consuming for some scientists, eager to pinpoint the earliest signs after the Earth formed some 4.6 billion years ago.

Microbial life likely began as far back as 4.3 billion years ago, said co-author William Schopf, professor of paleobiology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

The existence of several different kinds of microbes 3.5 billion years ago shows that "life had to have begun substantially earlier -- nobody knows how much earlier -- and confirms it is not difficult for primitive life to form and to evolve into more advanced microorganisms," he said.

A separate study published in September in the journal Nature said researchers had found 3.95 billion-year-old chemical traces of life in Canadian rocks.

However, that study -- which proclaimed the oldest evidence of life on Earth -- also raised skepticism.

One of those critics, Martin Whitehouse, a geologist at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, said the PNAS report appears to be "a sound study."

"Regarding the Canadian study, the main differences are (a) these new findings are actual fossils preserving morphology, not just blobs of graphite," he told AFP in an email.

"And (b) the geochronological interpretation of the Canadian example is, in my opinion, fundamentally flawed, whereas here the dating is unambiguous."

Researchers hope their technique can one day be applied to other microfossils, perhaps even those that come from cosmic bodies beyond Earth.

12/20/2017 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Azzedine Alaïa’s final collection to launch]]>
The French-Tunisian couturier passed away at his home in Paris in November. He was nicknamed “The King of Cling” due to the beautiful outcome his creations would have when worn, as they “fit like a glove.” From evening dresses to knits and leather, Alaïa knew how to create, construct and tailor wearable artworks that would complement every woman’s body and empower her.

Many talks and discussions have been ongoing regarding his label. The couture house said in a statement on Monday that it would soon reveal the latest ready-to-wear and accessories collection that he had created, according to AFP.

"The multiple talents that make up the Alaïa family – some of whom have worked with him for more than 30 years – will stay with the house in this new era; this family will continue the vision and style of Mr. Alaïa, a timeless beauty that will take shape every day in his studios," the statement read.

Alaïa was known as a fashion industry outcast who never stuck to the fashion calendar and always created his collections at his own pace.

While his parents were both farmers, his sister and a family friend were the first to ignite his love for fashion. He even lied about his age to enroll in École des Beaux-Arts in Tunis. In 1957, he moved to Paris and worked as a tailor at Christian Dior, only to open his very own fashion house in the 1970s catering to private clients. Ten years later, he would release his first ready-to-wear collection and would soon become a body-con and structure icon while dressing some of the greatest fashion influencers in the world, including Grace Jones, Tina Turner, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson and Michelle Obama.

12/20/2017 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[The best scientific breakthroughs of 2017 ]]>CAIRO – 20 December 2017: This year has been a fruitful one in terms of groundbreaking discoveries and developments made in various scientific fields. Genetics, physics, space travel and many other fields have enjoyed breakthrough developments that will push the human race forward. Here are a few of the best scientific breakthroughs this year:

Einstein’s general theory of relativity is proven by gravitational waves

Outer space – CC/Pixabay

The theory of relativity, space and time suggests that the dimensions relate to each other, there is space-time and objects in the universe warp space-time and they create gravitational waves in the process. Until this year, this had been an unproven theory. However, recent technological advancements have allowed astrophysicists to measure gravitational waves created by massive objects, such as black holes and neutron stars. In September gravitational waves were detected by three different scientific observatories, allowing scientists to pinpoint their source. More importantly, their detection proves the theory of relativity.

An artificial womb has been developed

Scientists have managed to develop and create an artificial womb to keep premature lambs alive and able to develop normally outside their mother. This could be a huge breakthrough in the treatment and care of prematurely born human babies. The baby lambs managed to live four weeks inside the artificial wombs, which resemble sealed plastic bags filled with manmade amniotic fluid.

NASA scientists discover seven planets with the potential to sustain lifeNASA scientists have discovered seven planets, approximately the size of the Earth, in the constellation of Aquarius surrounding a star, TRAPPIST-1, in the solar system. The solar system is 40 light years away from earth, making it close enough for further study. The planets are in what’s known as a “Goldilocks Zone” – an area that is not too far from the star and not too close. Scientists hope that within the next decade, we will have discovered if there is life on these planets.

Secret chamber found in the Great Pyramid of Giza

The Pyramids – CC/Bruno Girin

Archeologists have found a 100 foot long cavern in the Great Pyramid of Giza using imaging techniques that utilize high speed particles. This technique is a technological innovation. The particles are made when cosmic rays from other high-energy objects reach Earth and interact with air molecules. Scientists used these rays to penetrate the rocks of the pyramid and discover the void. They are almost 100 percent certain that the space exists but are not sure of its use.

US scientists successfully edited the DNA of a human embryo for the first time

DNA Strands – CC/Pixabay

This year was the first time U.S. scientists successfully edit the DNA of a human embryo. This was done successfully by Chinese scientists a few years ago. The U.S. scientists used a powerful tool called CRISPR to do the editing. They corrected a genetic mutation in the embryo that causes a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, proving that scientists can edit an embryo for a specific set of genes. However, this procedure is extremely controversial; thus, for the time being, it will only be used to eliminate serious diseases, because of the ethical implications.

SpaceX has successfully created a recyclable rocket booster

This year SpaceX managed to successfully design and implement a rocket booster that could be reused and would not crash after use. The booster is generally the most expensive part of a rocket, so this development could greatly cut costs by increasing the use of boosters, which previously could only be used once. The booster saves SpaceX up to 18 million dollars per launch. In the past year SpaceX has landed over 20 boosters. ]]>
12/20/2017 9:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Make 2018 your year]]>
We have some advice for four distinct aspects of your life: work, relationships, health and emotional wellbeing.


A man works at the offices of Argentine mobile banking startup Uala in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 13, 2017 – REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

Be deliberate with your time. Be very conscious of how you use your time during working hours, because it is quite easy to get swept away by the events of the day. Make sure to deliberately plan out your days and the goals you want to achieve within each chunk of time, so you have a game plan to reference when you feel yourself getting off track.

Do not forget to work hard. Even if you are smart. Sometimes we become complacent in our jobs, we have gotten used to the work and we do it well so we stop pushing ourselves. It is important to always give your all, and if your job requires less than that then ask your boss for more responsibility or a promotion. Never get too comfortable. If you are not moving forward, then you are moving backwards.

Give credit where credit is due. Always acknowledge other people’s hard work, because it will come back around. Making people feel that their work is appreciated is important for the team morale and makes them more ambitious in the job they are doing. They will also respect you and likewise give you credit when it is due to you.

Emotional Wellbeing

Take time to cater to your emotional wellbeing – CC/Pexels

Consciously plan something joyful each day. Do not depend your happiness on the events of the day. Make sure you have at least one moment of joy planned into everyday life for that daily boost of serotonin.

It is very easy to get home after work and laze about the house because you are tired. But that is a good few hours every day that you could spend learning something new, or spending time with loved ones, or exploring your local area. Make use of those after-work hours.

End the day with three good moments and space for growth. At the end of each day, acknowledge three happy, good, fulfilling moments that happened during the day and also acknowledge a moment where you could have reacted better, or been a better person. Be thankful for the good moments and strive to improve upon the bad.


Friends and family – CC/Pixabay

Stop the comparison game. You can never know the internal workings of a relationship from an outside perspective. Each relationship is unique and has its own problems and conflicts, so do not compare your own to others. Work on improving yourself and your communication with your partner.

You and your partner are a team Remember that you and your partner are not opponents when it comes to conflicts. It is you and them vs. the problem. Work together to find a solution not against each other and do not be too stubborn to see their side of the issue.

Make time for friends. Your friends will always be some of the most important people in your life. Make sure to actively make time for them and not to let a good solid relationships slip away.


A Tabura group fitness class at Crunch Fitness in New York, August 2012 – REUTERS/Crunch Fitness

Sleep at least seven hours a night. The ideal amount would be to sleep at least eight hours a night, but we are being realistic. Sleep is necessary for an innumerable number of aspects of your health, and getting enough sleep is setting yourself up for a good day. Make yourself a priority instead of late night TV show binges.

Get active. Try to aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderately intense activity in a week. It will improve your long term health, reduce your risk of chronic diseases and increase your fitness levels while decreasing your lethargy. There are no downsides to getting more active.

Boost your intake of pro-biotics and anti-oxidants.Improve your gut health, reduce signs of aging, get better skin. Pro-biotics and anti-oxidants are the unsung heroes of good health. Make sure to take care of your body and it’ll repay you in kind. ]]>
12/20/2017 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Embraer sees 2024 commercial launch for Uber flying cabs]]>
Embraer Chief Executive Paulo Cesar de Souza told journalists the business model and financial commitments of the partnership have not been defined. Uber Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden said last month that a paid, intra-city flying taxi service could start in 2023.

Souza said the companies would soon determine specifications of the proposed vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.

Engineers are projecting one-tonne vehicles transporting a pilot and four passengers at an altitude of 800 to 1,000 meters (2,600-3,300 feet), Souza said. The aircraft will be powered by batteries that can charge in as little as five minutes between flights, he added.

The project has provided an outlet for engineering resources at Embraer, whose newest planes — a military cargo jet and a new generation of passenger jets — are well into their flight testing campaigns.

Some 65 international delegations have shown interest in the KC-390 military transport aircraft that will enter the Brazilian Air Force next year, Souza said.

The transition to a new commercial jet line-up is pressuring operations, but Souza said Embraer would meet the bottom end of its 2017 profit margin and aircraft delivery targets.

12/20/2017 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Taylor Swift launches her new social media app]]>

The application is free and will contain exclusive content from Taylor herself, such as photos, videos and news about her upcoming tours. Users will also have access to “Taymojis”, which they can use to bump up other users’ posts to get Swift’s attention and interact with her. As a social media app, her fans will also be able to interact together and connect with fans around the world.

The app was developed by Glu Mobile, the same company that created Kim Kardashian’s “Hollywood,” Gordon Ramsay’s “Restaurant Dash” and Nicki Minaj’s “Empire”. ]]>
12/19/2017 2:17:46 PM
<![CDATA[et Quote: Alyssa Milano]]>“First, accept sadness. Realize that without losing, winning isn't so great.” - Alyssa Milano

Alyssa Jayne Milano was born on Dec 19, 1972. She grew up in a middle-class Italian-American neighborhood. She was part of an artistic family, her mother a fashion designer, and her father a film music editor. They both supported Milano in her career from the beginning, which helped her avoid the stereotypical child star rebellious behaviors.

In the early 1980s, she went with her parents to attend “Annie” the musical live on Broadway and immediately fell in love with acting. There was no going back—she believed that was who she was supposed to be.

“It's nice to be important, but it's important to always be nice.” - Alyssa Milano

Milano’s childhood babysitter was a dancer who at the time had an audition for ”Annie” and decided to bring along seven-year-old Milano with her to the audition who ended up playing the role of an orphan.

Her television career began as a child star on the 80’s sitcom ”Who’s the Boss?” in 1984. She soon became a teen idol. During that time Milano also perused a musical career in parallel to acting by dropping pop albums that were a hit in the Japanese market.

“A big part of life is realizing what you're good at.” - Alyssa Milano

Gracefully managing to transition into adulthood after going through many obstacles, she took the role of Phoebe Halliwell in ”Charmed”.

A baseball and sports enthusiast, Milano published a book called ”Safe at Home: Confessions of a Baseball Fanatic.” She also managed to start a sports clothing line, licensed by Major League Baseball (MLB) named Touch by Aylssa Milano.

Also a philanthropist, Milano became a UNICEF national ambassador after she took a three-month trip to South Africa.

12/19/2017 10:03:51 AM
<![CDATA[Christmas Turkey and Cookies Recipe ]]>What is a better way to impress your guests than a surprise main dish?

Rolled turkey breast

Add cranberries, raisins or apple to your holiday special for a main dish that is both sweet and aromatic. This flavorful recipe is as easy and simple as turkey can ever get, offering the perfect stuffing to go along with your surprise main.


Boneless turkey breast filet, Salt, Pepper, Onion juice

For the stuffing

1/4 cup butter, Onions sliced very thinly, Shredded carrots, Celery, Sage, Salt, Pepper, Dried bread- crumbs, Cranberries, raisins, chestnut, or apple (optional)

1. To make the stuffing, heat a frying pan over medium heat and melt the butter.

2. Add the onion and fry gently for six minutes until completely softened. 3.Place the rest of the stuffing ingredients with the cooked onion.

3. Place the rest of the stuffing ingredients with the cooked onion.

4. Start adding hot water gradually. 5.Season with sea salt, ground black pepper, and most importantly, the sage.

5. Season with sea salt, ground black pepper, and most importantly, the sage.

6. Mix it up with a fork until completely smooth.

7. Butterfly the turkey breast or ask your butcher to do it for you.

8. Lay it flat on a chopping board and cover with cling film.

9. Using a rolling pin, bash chicken so that its thickness is even all over.

10. Season with onion juice, salt and pepper.

11. Pile the cooled stuffing down the center, and then carefully and tightly roll it up.

12. Using kitchen string, tie it in 2.5 cm intervals.

13. Place the stuffed, tied breast turkey in a pan and cook it in butter on both sides till browned.

14. Add bouquet grain (carrots, onions, celery, salt, pepper, nutmeg and sage) in hot water and leave it on low heat for one hour till completely cooked.

15. Slice up the turkey and serve it with jellied cranberry sauce.

Oreo cookie snowman sticks

This is by far the easiest dessert ever and it carries the Christmas spirit more than anything you could think of. Put the snowman sticks on your side table and make sure they don’t disappear before every guest has tried their share.


Oreo biscuits

Melted white chocolate (or you can use white candy melts) Cake pop sticks Edible pens (black and orange)

1.Dip the top of the stick in the melted chocolate.

2. Stick it in the Oreo cookie and press gently so that it does not break 3

3. Dip the cookie in the chocolate and drain off the excess.

4. Place the Oreo pops on parchment paper to cool.

5. Using edible pens, draw the eyes and nose of your Christmas snowmen.

courtesy of mummysavers
Photo courtesy of mummysavers

12/19/2017 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[L'Oreal turns to plant-based hair dye as natural cosmetics thrive]]>
The French company, the world’s biggest maker of skincare and beauty products, said on Wednesday the new range based on ingredients such as henna would be aimed at professionals for use in salons across Europe from May 2018.

The organic cosmetics boom has been driven by rising numbers of younger consumers rejecting chemical-based products in favor of plant-based ones.

The natural and organic beauty market was worth around $11 billion worldwide in 2016, consultants Ernst & Young said, adding that it was likely to double by 2024.

L‘Oreal believes the natural beauty market already stands at 24 billion euros ($28.2 billion) and is growing at 12 percent a year, said Marion Brunet, manager of L‘Oreal Professional, one of the brands within the professional division that caters to salons.

“There’s very strong demand from women to move towards healthier formulas,” Brunet said, adding that a branch of cosmetics that used to be the preserve of more militant “green” consumers 15 to 20 years ago had spread across society.

The vegan range, called Botanea, is sourced from three plants found in India and is not available for mass market consumption yet, as the different shades need to be mixed to measure.

Revenue growth at L‘Oreal - founded almost 100 years ago by a chemist as a hair dye company - has benefited from a make-up boom in the age of “selfies” on social media, while its luxury brands such as Lancome are also doing well.

But its professional products division has lagged, however, with like-for-like sales growth down 0.3 percent in the nine months to September, while other areas including the smaller active cosmetics business, which caters to dermatological conditions, expanded.

L‘Oreal, which spent 3.3 percent of its 26 billion euros ($30.6 billion) in sales last year on research, rivals large groups such as Estee Lauder.

But small start-ups in skincare and beauty have acquired visibility and are reaching a greater audience through online sales and marketing in recent years.

L‘Oreal sold The Body Shop earlier this year to Brazil’s Natura Cosmeticos, after the label, one of the pioneers in the field of natural-based cosmetics, struggled against rising competition.

12/19/2017 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Social media may help chronically ill connect to doctors, fellow patients]]>
In a nine-month experiment with liver-transplant patients, researchers found that participants came to rely heavily on a closed Facebook group, both for information about their condition and help in coping.

“Ninety percent of Americans are on the internet and 80 percent are using platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to find healthcare information from a supportive online community,” said Dr. Sean Langenfeld, of the Department of Surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“It’s a very powerful tool and offers a great way to facilitate communication among those suffering from abdominal pain or migraines to individuals diagnosed with cancer.”

For the current study, Dr. Vikrom Dhar of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio and his colleagues created a closed Facebook group that ultimately had a total of 350 members, about half of whom were liver transplant patients, 36 percent were family and friends and 14 percent were healthcare providers.

Of the 78 healthcare providers who were part of the hospital’s liver transplant team, 49 were active members of the group, including 7 out of the 16 physicians.

The researchers monitored the group’s interactions and surveyed a subset of participants after nine months.

Dhar’s team found that engagement with the group was high, and 83 percent of participants posted or reacted to others’ posts at least once per month. While patients tended to post supportive messages or inspirational content, the healthcare providers mainly posted educational information.

After nine months, 95 percent of the survey participants said that joining the group had a positive impact on their care, and 97 percent said their main motivation for joining was to get support from other patients and to provide it.

Social media also allows for patient-practitioner interaction between visits to the hospital or clinic, the study team notes in the journal Surgery.

This is especially important for those suffering from alcohol-related end-stage liver disease, Dhar said. “Previous reports in literature have suggested that patients who have appropriate social support have lower rates of alcohol relapse following transplantation,” he told Reuters Health in an email. “Thus, by using social media platforms, physicians may offer social support resources to patients who otherwise may suffer from disparities in accessing such care.”

Still, healthcare providers remain hesitant to engage patients through social media, the study team writes.

A 140-character tweet can result in misinterpretation of medical advice. Without a disclaimer, doctors risk being liable, Langenfeld noted. What’s more, the line between personal and professional engagement is, at best, blurred.

“Never assume there is privacy on the internet,” Langenfeld said in a telephone interview. “Statistics are vague, but in recent years over 50 percent of medical boards have inflicted serious punishment as a result of irresponsible online behavior.” This includes irresponsible behavior unrelated to one’s medical specialty.

It makes sense that the number of teaching hospitals offering social media responsibility courses is on the rise, Dhar said.

“Our study shows that in appropriate settings, physicians can utilize social media platforms including Facebook to create content that patients find positively impacts their healthcare.”

12/19/2017 7:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Childhood obesity climbing with media use, European doctors warn]]>
In the past 25 years, obesity rates have climbed rapidly among European children and teens, according to a consensus statement from the European Academy of Pediatrics and the European Childhood Obesity Group published in Acta Paediatrica.

Roughly one in five kids and teens in Europe are overweight or obese, according to a 2017 World Health Organization study, the authors note.

Today, 97 percent of European households have a TV in their home, 72 percent have a computer, 68 percent have internet access and 91 percent have mobile phones, according to the statement.

This has spurred a surge in screen time, contributing to inadequate sleep, worse eating habits and less exercise - all of which can make it easy for children to become overweight, the statement authors argue.

“Mass media has been shown to have a broad effect on children’s health and can affect them physiologically and have an impact on their socio-cultural functioning and psychological wellbeing,” said senior author of the statement, Dr. Adamos Hadjipanayis, a researcher at European University Cyprus in Nicosia and secretary general of the European Academy of Pediatrics.

“There is evidence of a strong link between obesity levels across European countries and childhood media exposure,” Hadjipanayis said by email.

Parents are part of the problem, Hadjipanayis and colleagues argue.

Even as children’s screen time rises, parents demonstrate little awareness about what their kids do online or how much time they spend with tablets, smartphones and computers, the statement emphasizes.

Food advertising is another problem, because it can convince kids to crave and demand more junk food and make them less likely to eat their fruits and veggies, the statement also notes. Kids also tend to consume a large portion of their daily calories while watching TV, when ads may influence their food choices.

The fix is more vigilance, the authors argue.

“When their TV time goes down, so does their (weight),” said Dr. David Hill, chair, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Communications and Media and a researcher at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill.

“Food advertising seems to drive this relationship, as opposed to decreased activity. Sleep is also a major concern,” Hill, who wasn’t involved in the statement, said by email. “Screen media before bedtime interfere with sleep quality and duration, and poor sleep contributes to obesity.”

The APP has tips for parents on managing media online, Hill said (bit.ly/2epneyO).

Common sense should prevail, said Dr. Jennifer Emond, a researcher at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College in Lebanon, New Hampshire, who wasn’t involved in the statement.

“Limit media time each day, no media in the bedroom and ensure the media children are exposed to is high quality,” Emond said by email. “Regarding social media, parents should have access to their children’s social media sites and monitor their children’s interaction with social media - that has benefits beyond promoting a healthy weight.”

Parents of children who are already spending hours a day online and watching various screens may want to cut back media use gradually to make changes more effective, said Erica Kenney, a researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston who wasn’t involved in the statement.

“If parents find that their kids are using media for something like 7 hours a day or more, which seems pretty typical . . . , trying all of a sudden to get that down to 2 hours a day is probably not going to be successful,” Kenney said by email. “Gradually implementing rules to help kids cut down on their use is probably going to work better.”

12/19/2017 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Italian Fashion Academy Student’s Fashion Show ]]>
Italian Fashion Academy  (1)
Photo by Egypt Today/ Mahmoud Hassaballah

Italian Fashion Academy  (2)

Italian Fashion Academy  (4)

Italian Fashion Academy  (5)

Stefania Jolina, the director of the Academy hosted the fashion show, in the presence of several celebrities such as Egyptian hairstyling icon Mohamed Al-Sagheer.

12/19/2017 1:15:00 AM
<![CDATA[Hilton Hotel’s end of year bash ]]>
Ending 2017 on a high note, Hilton’s senior management team, led by Mohab Ghali, vice president of operations for Egypt and North Africa, invited foodies, public figures and Cairo’s finest media representatives to enjoy the finest bites that the hotel’s top chefs had to offer, while enjoying the dazzling view of the Nile River and sipping on carefully mixed cocktails.

With seven hotels in the pipeline, Hilton has ambitious plans for Egypt. As the tourism sector recovers, Hilton looks forward to another year of success in the Egyptian market.

12/18/2017 5:55:54 PM
<![CDATA[ et Quote: Sia]]> “I'm an advocate of 'it's not what you are; it's who you are” - Sia

Sia Kate Isobelle Furler was born on Dec.18, 1975, in Adelaide, South Australia. Her mother is an art lecturer and her father a musician. Furler began singing in the local acid jazz band “Crisp” in the 1990s. A guest vocalist, music video director, singer and songwriter, she released her debut album “Only See” in 1997.

“My goal is to give girls and boys a different idea of expression. It's not always about looking pretty or cute. It's about expressing yourself however that may be, even if that's being silly or goofy or weird” - Sia

She relocated to England to pursue her music career, after the death of her boyfriend, whom she refers to as “the love of her life.” She had her first job as a backup singer for Jamiroquai, only to go on and become the lead vocalist for electronica duo Zero 7.

”The truth is that you shouldn't match your insides to other people's outsides. Life is an inside job, and we just have to do our best” - Sia

Signing with “Dance Pool,” a Sony music label, she released her second album “Healing Is Difficult” in 2001. “Color the Small One,” her third album, was released with “Go! Beat” in 2004. “Some People Have Problems” and “We Are Born” were both released before her break from her own music career, and she used to write songs for David Guetta, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Flo-Rida and other artists. “1000 Forms of Fear,” her sixth album, and “This is Acting” both were radio and charts hits. Her single “Cheap Thrills” made it to number one spot on the Hot 100 list.

“We all need to stand together and be a part of creating the future we hope to see.” - Sia