Egypt Independent: Culture-Main news en France’s Louvre keeps title as world’s most-visited museum <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><h2><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em; font-family: Arial, Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-weight: normal;">The famous LOuvre in France received 9.3 million visitors last year, retaining its title as the most-visited museum in the world, the Paris attraction announced Tuesday.</span></h2><p>Foreign visitors represented 70 percent of ticket sales, with Americans, Chinese, Italians, British and Brazilians visiting in strong numbers over 2014, the Louvre<a href="" target="_blank">&nbsp;</a>said in a statement.</p><p>The total number of tourists who came in to admire works of art and antiquities including Da Vinci&#39;s Mona Lisa, was up 100,000 on 2013.</p><p>Another star attraction at the arts and antiquities museum in the heart of Paris was the ancient Greek marble sculpture &#39;Winged Victory of Samothrace&#39; which was back on display after restoration.</p><p>More than half of all visitors to the Louvre last year were under 30, according to the museum.</p> Sat, 31 Jan 2015 16:09:00 +0000 AFP 2443479 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/12/27/43/r.jpg Singer Shakira gives birth to second child in Barcelona <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Colombian pop star Shakira has given birth in Barcelona to her second child, a boy, she said on Friday.</p><p>A statement posted on Shakira&#39;s website said her son, Sasha, was born on Thursday night.</p><p>&quot;The hospital confirmed that both mother and child are in excellent health,&quot; the statement said.</p><p>The singer and her boyfriend, Spanish football player Gerard Pique, had their first child, a son named Milan, in 2013.</p><p>Shakira, 37, and Pique, 27, met in 2010, but only confirmed that they were in a relationship in March 2011.</p><p>The &quot;Hips Don&#39;t Lie&quot; singer, one of the best-selling Latin pop idols, gave birth in Barcelona&#39;s Teknon clinic, local media reported earlier. Pique is a defender for Spanish La Liga team FC Barcelona.</p><p>As with the birth of their first child, the couple recently asked fans in an online baby shower to buy gifts such as fresh water kits and vaccines to help needy children. Shakira is a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.</p> Sat, 31 Jan 2015 09:48:00 +0000 Reuters 2443462 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/01/31/43/shakira.jpg Egypt retrieves stolen artifacts from Spain, France <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Egypt has managed to retrieve and claim title to 274 illegally smuggled artifacts from Spain and France, the Antiquities&nbsp;Ministry has declared.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>On its Facebook page on Thursday, the ministry&rsquo;s statement quoted Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty as saying that Egypt had succeeded in establishing claim to 36 antiquities that were smuggled to Spain illegally after secret excavations that had taken place recently in the country.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Damaty added that Interpol informed the ministry of a collection of artifacts that arrived to Valencia seaport, coming from Alexandria, hidden inside pots on board a container ship. The minister explained that ministry experts checked photos of the seized pieces confirmed they were ancient Egyptian artifacts.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Ali Ahmed, who heads the ministry&rsquo;s retrieval department, said the seized pieces included, inter alia, a black granite head resembling Goddess Sekhmet, as well as a limestone head resembling God Amon.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Ahmed added that the ministry is coordinating with the embassy in Madrid for the handover of the stolen pieces.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The declaration comes two days after Egypt said it retrieved 238 pieces of antiquity from France, with the artifacts being handed to the embassy in Paris.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The minister said Tuesday that an international press conference will be held after the collection arrives back to Egypt, noting that he discussed with the French ambassador to Cairo, Andre Baran, the possibility of signing a French-Egyptian memorandum of understanding that could help curb the illegal trafficking of antiquities.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 14:24:00 +0000 Egypt Independent 2443422 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/10/19/94/antiquities_minister_mamdouh_al-damaty_inaugurates_jewellery_museum_in_alexandria.jpg Apps bring speed reading into the digital age <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Speed reading has been around for more than half a century, but new apps are bringing the technique into the digital age, helping users breeze through books faster.</p><p>ReadMe!, a new app for iPhones, lets readers control the pace of their reading from 50 to 1,000 words per minute.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s about being able to read a book like &#39;Harry Potter&#39; in an hour and a half and still have the full comprehension of it,&rdquo; said Pierre DiAvisoo, who created the app and is based in Boras, Sweden.</p><p>Readers select an ebook in the app, which is available worldwide and costs $1.99. After opening the speed-reading technology it shows one word at a time. The app does not work ebooks that have sharing restrictions.</p><p>Within just minutes, most readers can learn to double their reading speed to between 400 and 450 words per minute without losing comprehension, according to Spritz, the Boston-based company that created the speed-reading technology.</p><p>&ldquo;Reading hasn&rsquo;t really changed in thousands of years. Speed reading techniques are still focused on consuming texts in lines and reading left to right line-by-line,&rdquo; said Frank Waldman, the chief executive of Spritz.&nbsp;</p><p>He added that the technology combines rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP), with eye research to present words at the ideal recognition point for quick understanding.</p><p>As people start reading on small devices, and even smartwatches, Waldman said Spritz will be a more convenient way to comprehend information.</p><p>But a small study from the University of California San Diego showed that speed reading may not lead to the same level of comprehension as normal reading because it is harder to go back to clarify understanding.</p><p>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re looking for the equivalent level of understanding as natural reading then I think it will make comprehension poorer,&rdquo; said Elizabeth Schotter, a researcher involved in the study.</p><p>The study, which did not include Spritz technology, showed comprehension was about 25 percent lower using the RSVP technique. But Schotter added if people just want to skim content quickly, the apps might be beneficial.</p><p>&ldquo;If people just want to see text and absorb it passively then this is the way to go. It&rsquo;s a treadmill provided to you and you don&rsquo;t need to do much work,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>&ldquo;But if you want to get more out of it, it might be worth the effort required to move your eyes over a line of text,&rdquo; she added.</p><p>DiAvisoo admitted that not all types of reading are suited for speed reading.</p><p>&ldquo;If I were to read about atomic physics or something I would probably not pick up as much through speed reading,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Spritz also has an app for all Web browsers called Spritzlet, which lets users speed read on the Web. Several other speed-reading apps also use the Spritz technology.</p><p>Velocity, an iPhone app that costs $2.99, and ReadQuick, which costs $9.99, use RSVP, as does Speed Reader, a free app for Android devices.</p> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:59:00 +0000 Reuters 2443426 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/11/27/43/law-books-tablet.jpg