Egypt Independent: Living-Main news en Rome’s Colosseum dazzles after Phase One restoration <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>The first phase of a multi-million-euro makeover of Rome&rsquo;s Colosseum was completed today with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi pledging cash would be made available to spruce up other crumbling historic sites.</p><div>In a project largely funded by fashion and shoewear group Tod&rsquo;s, the amphitheatre where gladiators once jousted with lions has been water-sprayed to remove centuries of encrusted dirt and grime.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Works to strengthen the arched structures of the northern and southern facades and replace metal gates and barriers in the ground level arches have also been completed.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tod&rsquo;s, whose billionaire owner Diego Della Valle reportedly put up &euro;25 million for the works, said it was proud to have been part of the restoration of &ldquo;a true historical symbol of Italy.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Colosseum is the latest in a string of famous Italian monuments to have been renovated with funds from private donors, often from the luxury sector.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Roman fashion house Fendi paid for a 16-month clean-up of the Trevi fountain which has been acclaimed by visitors. And upmarket jeweller Bulgari is behind the ongoing renovation of the Spanish steps, also located in the capital&rsquo;s historic centre.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But across the country there are many historic sites which have fallen into disrepair due to a lack of funds, most notably the ancient archaelogical site of Pompeii.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Renzi vowed that would not continue. &ldquo;We have to stop the arguments over Italy&rsquo;s cultural heritage because it is not only the thing we can be most proud of and a major part of our identity, but it also has enormous potential,&rdquo; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;The time of complaining there is no money for culture is over. Public and private, the resources are there.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Renzi&rsquo;s government has promised &euro;18 million for a second phase of renovation of the Colosseum which will involve rebuilding the arena floor and make it capable of hosting concerts and other cultural events, including re-enactments of some of the kind of shows the ancient Romans enjoyed.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The floor was removed by excavators in the late 19th century while the bits of the exterior structure that are missing were mostly removed for other construction projects in the city, including the underground.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There are also plans for a new visitor centre and the renovation of the underground vaults where wild animals and prisoners destined for public execution were kept ahead of their appearances before the Roman crowds.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Completed in 80 AD, the Colosseum was the biggest amphitheatre built during the Roman empire.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It stands 48.5 metres (159 feet) high and was capable of hosting 80,000 spectators. It now welcomes over six million visitors a year.</div> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 13:35:00 +0000 AFP 2470770 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/06/08/501184/f0bfe7e5c7ed803ad260b6fd3f2e72def85fd1be.jpg Study suggests mothers of young children should cut down on screen time <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Australian&nbsp;researchers are encouraging mothers of young children to avoid all forms of screen-based activity (tablets, smartphones, etc.) in order to reduce their anxiety levels, which can already be high due to busy days and broken nights. Mothers could even try a &quot;digital detox&quot; to help avoid burn-out.</p><p>A recent study, published in the journal,&nbsp;Plos, has linked the amount of time spent on screen-based sedentary activities to the risk of developing anxiety. Women aged between 25 and 34 present the highest risk, since this age group is more widely connected to the internet and social networks.&nbsp;</p><p>Researchers from Deakin University in Australia studied 528 Australian mothers with an average age of 37 and with children aged between two and five years old. Almost 30 percent of them showed signs of anxiety.</p><p>The mothers were given a questionnaire asking them how many hours they spent using screens (TV, computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.) during their leisure time and at weekends. Their anxiety level for the previous week was measured using a predefined scale of anxiety criteria.</p><p>The results showed a clear link between long periods of leisure time spent on a computer or handheld device and higher anxiety levels. What&#39;s more, anxiety levels were found to increase with every hour spent using such devices. However, the study found no link between watching TV and anxiety symptoms.</p><p>The researchers also found that physical exercise did not counteract the negative effects of these new technologies. Even mothers getting plenty of physical exercise, but spending long periods on a computer or handheld device, were still at higher risk of anxiety.&nbsp;</p><p>It can be difficult to change behaviours in a population with such strict time constraints. However, the researchers suggest that mothers could try a &quot;digital detox&quot; to limit their screen time. This could even be made into a challenge among friends to give moms more of an incentive to switch off.&nbsp;</p><p>The scientists suggest breaking up sedentary lifestyles that include too much screen time by going for a walk or doing a few stretches, for example. It can also be useful to set a maximum time limit for using handheld devices, such as 20 to 30 minutes, before switching to another activity or taking a break.<br /><br />Finally, to reduce stress levels and improve the quality of family life, experts recommend banishing tablet use in bed, at mealtimes, on trips or excursions, or when on holiday.</p> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 14:04:00 +0000 AFP 2470718 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/06/29/16030/image_1.jpeg How will Brexit affect travel? <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Britons living abroad within the European Union and Europeans living in the UK are being assured that they won&#39;t have to pack up their bags or book tickets home immediately following the UK&#39;s historic vote to leave the EU.</p><div>In his statement following the referendum results, British Prime Minister David Cameron sought to reassure the 1.2 million British expats living in countries within the EU, and the 3.3 million Europeans living in the UK.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;I would also assure Brits living in European countries and European citizens living here that there will be no immediate changes in your circumstances,&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Moreover, he added: &quot;There will be no initial change in the way our people can travel.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The historic outcome of the Brexit referendum has far-reaching implications, that also extends to travel and mobility.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The UK&#39;s largest travel association, ABTA, released a statement Friday adding that British travelers are free to move between the UK and the EU as usual, and that European Health Insurance cards remain valid for now.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Likewise, Air Passenger Rights remain unchanged and summer holiday plans will be unaffected.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In fact, holidaymakers will unlikely see any changes over the next two years, the timeframe given for the UK to negotiate its exit from the EU.</div><div><br /><strong>Pound takes a nosedive</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Perhaps the most immediate travel impact from the Brexit outcome is the value of the British pound, which went into a freefall immediately following the news.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>While foreign visitors will see more bang for their buck while on holiday in the UK, British tourists abroad will see their spending power diminish significantly in the next while.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Air travel experts also point out that low-cost airlines like easyJet, Ryanair and Germanwings will have to negotiate new air service agreements for travel in European and British airspace, which could risk spiking air fares.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Likewise, customs and immigrations lines at European airports are likely to grow longer, once Britons switch to non-EU processing lines.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Ahead of the referendum, ABTA also released a study predicting possible consequences of Brexit on the travel industry, which revealed a few interesting trends, stats and figures.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Brexit on UK travel</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Here are a few highlights from the report &quot;What Brexit might mean for UK travel,&quot; prepared in partnership with Deloitte:<br />&nbsp;</div><div>&mdash; 76 percent of holidays abroad that Brits undertook in 2014 were in EU countries;<br />&mdash; 63 percent of inbound visitors in 2014 were from the EU;<br />&mdash; The UK&#39;s biggest source market of inbound visitors from within the EU is France, followed by Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands;<br />&mdash; The most popular European destinations among British travelers are Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Roaming fees</strong><br />&nbsp;</div><div>The EU introduced caps on mobile phone roaming charges for EU citizens who use their phones in other EU countries. A complete ban on additional roaming fees takes effect in June, 2017. Brexit would effectively exclude Britons from benefitting from the cap.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Freedom of movement</strong><br />&nbsp;</div><div>Following their exit from the EU, the UK will be able to seek new bilateral visa agreements with non-EU countries which could open more doors.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>European Health Insurance Card</strong><br />&nbsp;</div><div>The EHIC allows cardholders access to local health services on the same terms as those available to locals. Brexit now makes the EHIC subject to negotiations for British holidaymakers.</div> Tue, 28 Jun 2016 14:54:00 +0000 AFP 2470695 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/06/06/504802/british_airways.jpg This super fun exercise helps you beat stress and enjoy your weekend <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>The benefits of art therapy have been proven scientifically once again. Researchers have shown that regardless of age or experience, creative pursuits can significantly lower stress levels.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Can colouring, drawing, modeling with clay or collage reduce the symptoms of anxiety? Researchers at Drexel University, based in the US city of Philadelphia, attempted to find out if various types of artistic activities could bring down the level of cortisol, known as the stress hormone, in the body.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For the purposes of the study, 39 adults aged between 18 and 59 took part in artistic activities for 45 minutes. Their cortisol levels were measured before and after the session through saliva samples.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The participants were provided with markers and paper, modeling clay and collage materials. An art therapist was present, but deliberately let the session run as freely as possible, so that the &ldquo;artists&rdquo; could do what they wanted.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The researchers found that 75 percent of the participants experienced a reduction in their cortisol levels. There was no correlation between past art experiences and lower cortisol levels.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Written testimonies showed that most patients found the test very relaxing, with some of them experiencing a drop in anxiety levels in the first five minutes. Others said that they were less obsessed about things that needed to be done, and were able to put things in perspective.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>However, around 25 percent of the participants had raised cortisol levels. The researchers said this could be due to a more alert state and an increased level of engagement caused by art-making.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Some amount of cortisol is essential for functioning. For example, our cortisol levels vary throughout the day &mdash;&nbsp;levels are highest in the morning because that gives us an energy boost to start the day,&rdquo; explained Dr Kaimal, who co-authored the study.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There are plans to extend the study to explore whether artistic expression can help reduce stress, improve psychological well-being and physiological health in a therapeutic environment, by measuring other biomarkers such as oxytocin (known as the love hormone). The researchers also want to examine whether visual arts-based expression can benefit end-of-life patients and their caregivers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The study was published in the Art Therapy journal.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Sat, 25 Jun 2016 12:38:00 +0000 AFP 2470612 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/06/05/43/screen_shot_2015-06-05_at_8.39.04_pm.png