Egypt Independent: Living-Main news en Norwegian Air cuts out the competition with $65 transatlantic fare to US <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA on Thursday announced plans to offer transatlantic flights on 10 new routes between the United States and Europe starting at $65, ramping up pressure on US and European rivals.<br /><br />Norwegian is expanding its network of flights to the United States from mid-June after receiving long-awaited approval late last year for its Irish subsidiary to operate routes across the Atlantic.<br /><br />Efforts by Norwegian and Icelandic rival Wow Air to offer cut-price tickets across the Atlantic have long been protested by established US carriers that have been forced to consider offering cheaper fares with more restrictions and redesigning cabins to win budget-conscious travelers.<br /><br />Norwegian&#39;s $65 fares will be for one-way tickets to UK and Irish destinations from New York, Providence and Hartford in the United States.<br /><br />&quot;I pay for what I want, you pay for what you want. We don&#39;t pay for what everybody else on the plane wants,&quot; Norwegian Air spokesman Anders Lindström said of its fares.<br /><br />The burgeoning competition on transatlantic routes has also prompted action by more established European airlines.<br /><br />British Airways-owner IAG is planning to start low-cost transatlantic flights from Barcelona this year and CEO Willie Walsh said this month that the Norwegian carrier&#39;s model had pushed IAG to look at new ways to operate. IAG reports annual results on Friday.<br /><br />Meanwhile, Air France, part of Franco-Dutch group Air France-KLM is also pushing forward plans for a new low-cost unit, in a project dubbed Boost, while Lufthansa is expanding long-haul budget flying through its Eurowings business.<br /><br />Norwegian Air&#39;s expansion strategy has helped it to more than double revenue since 2012. Last year revenue rose 16 percent to 26 billion Norwegian crowns and the company has placed orders for 260 aircraft from Boeing and Airbus, which it will receive over a period of several years.<br /><br />The company said that thousands of one-way tickets will be offered at $65, with fares on the next pricing tier starting at $99.<br /><br />By comparison, prices for a one-way ticket from New York to Dublin in mid-June with other airlines range from about $655 to $2,755 on the Expedia travel website.<br /><br />To keep costs low, Norwegian said it will fly from smaller US airports with lower fees, using narrow-body Boeing 737-MAX aircraft, which are due to be delivered later this year.<br /><br />The planned US destinations are Stewart International Airport in Orange County, New York, T.F. Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island, and Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Connecticut<br /><br />Norwegian will continue to fly wide-body Boeing 787 Dreamliners to larger US airports, the company said.<br /><br /><em>Reporting by Alana Wise in Washington and Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Victoria Bryan in Munich and Terje Solsvik in Oslo; Editing by Himani Sarkar and David Goodman; Reuters</em></p> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:38:00 +0000 Reuters 2476631 at sites/default/files/photo/2017/02/23/507556/norwegian.jpg Playtime and escape for Syrian children in Lebanon gyms <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Every Sunday, the gymnasium along Beirut&#39;s airport highway echoes with the shouting and laughter of dozens of Syrian children enjoying a rare escape from a grim and confined life in exile.</p><p>The Sport 4 Development program, run by the UN children&#39;s agency, aims to bring 12,000 children, mostly Syrian refugees, to blacktops and turf pitches this year to teach the basics of soccer and basketball, and to ease the pain of war and displacement.</p><p>&quot;We try to get them out of their stressful environments and the frights that they&#39;ve lived through,&quot; said Maher Nakib, 40, the technical director of Hoops Lebanon, the sports association behind the project.</p><p>Of the one million Syrian refugees the UN says are living in Lebanon, more than half are under 18 years old. Syrians here face legal and other forms of discrimination, and many parents are hesitant to let their children play outside in the crowded alleys of Beirut&#39;s poorer neighborhoods, where most of the refugees live.</p><p>The monthlong Hoops program provides a safe environment where the children can blow off steam, as well as learn self-confidence and teamwork.</p><p>&quot;They come back home and they&#39;re too tired to fight,&quot; smiles Fatima Tayjan, a refugee from the Syrian city of Aleppo who has enrolled three of her four children in the program. When her family of six returns home to their crowded two-bedroom apartment, the children have &quot;released all their energy and they are ready to talk to each other,&quot; she said.</p><p>Maram al-Malwa, a 17-year-old paid volunteer who came up in the program, recalls her own feelings of isolation when she and her family fled from Aleppo to Lebanon five years ago. &quot;It was a new country, even a new accent,&quot; she said.</p><p>But now she is irrepressible, rising on the balls of her feet when she speaks and helping coaches reach through to children in the group activities. She is one of a handful of the children pulled aside for a six-month mentorship on leadership and coaching.</p><p>&quot;You grow, you experience victories, setbacks, you learn to fight for yourself, and you become more confident,&quot; she said.</p><p>When hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled their homes or were forced into Lebanon during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, they set to work mending the national fabric through schools, scouts, and athletics, with the support of Arab nationalist groups.</p><p>But Syrians have not been able to count on the same sense of solidarity. And as the UN and aid groups have struggled to assist the nearly 5 million Syrian refugees scattered across the region, the focus has been on schooling, aid and shelter, with few resources left over for cultural or recreational activities.</p><p>&quot;Children won&#39;t necessarily express themselves unless you give them an outlet, and sports are an excellent medium to do so,&quot; said Nakib, the technical director.</p><p>Rania Qadri, who fled from Syria&#39;s southern Daraa province, said she saw her oldest daughter change before her eyes.</p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>&quot;She used to be introverted, she wouldn&#39;t speak to anyone,&quot; she said. &quot;Now she comes home and tells me, &#39;I&#39;ve made friends, we&#39;ve been playing soccer, we&#39;ve been playing games and sports.&#39;&quot;</p><p>Staffers are trained to identify struggling children, those who lash out and those who retreat into their shells. Psychologists meet with parents weekly to discuss healthy relationships and domestic violence.</p><p>The group sessions often bring to light domestic disputes, learning disabilities or experiences of sexual violence. The children are then referred to specialized non-governmental organizations for further support.</p><p>In other cases, children will reveal that they are not enrolled in school, and staffers will direct them to organizations that can help. Two-thirds of Syrian children in Lebanon do not attend school, according to UN figures, in part because the country&#39;s underfunded public education system has been overwhelmed by the new arrivals.</p><p>On a recent Sunday, the children lined up to dribble through cones, shoot layups and learn cheers and stretches.</p><p>&quot;You see a lot of cases of shyness or stubbornness, and you immediately see them change when they&#39;re here,&quot; said al-Malwa, the teenage volunteer. &quot;I feel like I&#39;m responsible, like I&#39;m in charge of a group.&quot;</p> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:54:00 +0000 AP 2476593 at sites/default/files/photo/2017/02/23/507555/800_5.jpeg Nike commercial celebrates Arab female athletes 'to inspire others' <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div><p>&quot;What will they say about you?&quot; is a rhetorical question with which many women and girls in the Middle East are all too familiar. Young women pursuing their dreams irrespective of the rigid traditional gender roles in the region often find themselves under the scrutiny of their communities.</p></div><div>And it&#39;s those women and girls that sportswear manufacturer Nike decided to celebrate in a new commercial that has gone viral. The clip featured five successful female professional and everyday athletes from different parts of the Arab world. It can be <a href="">watched </a>on the Nike Middle East Twitter page.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div><h3>Skiing in the desert</h3></div><div>Zahra Lari, the first Emirati figure skater, is one of the featured athletes. Dubbed as the &quot;Ice Princess&quot; of the United Arab Emirates, she has gracefully glided and jumped over obstacles put forward by her own community.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div><div><img alt="Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari competes last month in Abu Dhabi." data-demand-load="loaded" data-eq-pts="mini: 0, xsmall: 221, small: 308, medium: 461, large: 781" data-eq-state="mini xsmall small medium" data-src-full16x9="" data-src-large="" data-src-medium="" data-src-mini="" data-src-mini1x1="" data-src-small="" data-src-xsmall="" src="" /><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div><em>Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari competes last month in Abu Dhabi</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div></div></div><div>&quot;People thought it&#39;s dancing. In front of men, that&#39;s not acceptable,&quot; Lari tells CNN.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div>She is shattering not only the gender norms within her country but also disrupting the Western perception of Arab women.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;I am covered, I am Muslim, I am from a desert country, but I am doing a winter sport and it&#39;s fine,&quot; Lari told Nike. She aspires to become a role model through persistence and stamina.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Other women featured in the sportswear ad include Tunisian fencer and Olympics medalist Ines Boubakri, Emirati Parkour trainer Amal Mourad, Saudi singer Balqees Fathi and Jordanian boxer Arifa Bseiso.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><h3>&#39;Local and genuine&#39;</h3></div><div>Nike said it wanted the video -- which was narrated by Saudi actress Fatima Al-Banawi and shot in and around Dubai -- to be &quot;local and genuine.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The film aims to highlight the stories of amazing athletes to encourage and inspire others,&quot; Hind Rasheed, Nike&#39;s communication manager in Dubai, told CNN.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The commercial has been viewed more than 3 million times on social media in two days and sparked a debate over its message.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>While some found the video inspiring, others were not happy with the message of the commercial.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Instead of promoting its product in a professional way, [Nike] replaced it with an anti-hijab ad, leave your hijab and jog in streets,&quot; a user tweeted.</div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:37:00 +0000 CNN 2476588 at sites/default/files/photo/2017/02/23/507555/170221195438-skater-nike-exlarge-169.jpg 'Bizarre bill': Vienna cafe customers pay extra to charge their phones <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Tired of tourists powering up batteries for hours, Vienna cafe owner Galina Pokorny has introduced a 1 euro ($1.06) fee for those who plug in their mobiles for too long.<br /><br />Grumpy waiter service is as traditional as apple strudel in Vienna, but the &#39;Terrassencafe im Hundertwasserhaus cafe&#39;, in one of the city&#39;s most recognizable landmark buildings, has caused disquiet with what seems to be an Austrian first: charging customers for charging their phones.<br /><br />&quot;Tourists -- always electricity, electricity, electricity. Sorry but who is going to pay me for it?&quot; said Pokorny, owner of the cafe, located inside a colorful patchwork of apartments designed by artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser.<br /><br />Customers who charge up during a 15-minute coffee can still do so for free, she said. An hour, however, is beyond the pale.<br /><br />&quot;I run a cafe, not an internet cafe,&quot; she said, adding that she knew of no other cafes that levy a similar charge.<br /><br />&quot;It&#39;s getting more and more extreme. People come and think everything is accessible and free... You don&#39;t even open your eyes in the morning for free.&quot;<br /><br />Pokorny introduced the charge last year, she said, but it gained attention on Wednesday when tabloid Oesterreich published the &quot;bizarre bill&quot; one of its reporters was presented with, featuring the 1 euro charge for &quot;electricity&quot;.<br /><br />The fee also applies to laptops and tablets, and for those using more than one outlet is multiplied by the number of devices plugged in. Disgruntled customers can take some comfort from the fact that wireless internet access is still free.<br /><br /><em>Reporting by Francois Murphy; editing by John Stonestreet; Reuters</em></p> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:38:00 +0000 Reuters 2476532 at sites/default/files/photo/2017/02/21/507556/viennacafe.jpg