Egypt Independent: Life Style-Main news en Libya: Egyptian drivers in fresh hostage situation <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div><div>One hundred Egyptian drivers on board 50 trucks have been held hostage in Libya&#39;s Ajdabiy since Wednesday morning, according to Gamal Awn, chief of the Libyan drivers association.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Awn said that armed assailants held the drivers captive and ordered them to contact tribal leaders in the Egyptian province of Matrouh to negotiate their release in exchange of a Libyan who was sentenced to life in an Egyptian prison in a smuggling case.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Several Egyptians have either been killed or briefly taken hostage since the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Qadhafi, which created a security vacuum that expanded the influence of militant groups.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm &nbsp;</em></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 18 Jun 2014 10:52:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2436966 at sites/default/files/photo/2013/10/21/115366/tswyr_hzm_jwd__9.jpg Simply Potatoes: Serving with tongue-twisting taste <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Tucked away in a corner off Brazil Street in Zamalek, a deliciously inviting smell wafted from a takeout spot, serving potatoes and only potatoes.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I could not resist taking a glimpse inside.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Simply Potatoes is a small bistro with cheerful ambience, gleaming from white painted walls and furniture.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The place is a part of a recently-opened mini-chain called &lsquo;Simply Food&rsquo; introducing the single-dish trend to Cairenes. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The menu is pretty informative meant to facilitate clients&rsquo; choice among more than hundred and fifty combinations served.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Those potatoes do come in a wide variety of forms: from baked potatoes and specialty cut chips to croquettes and sweet potatoes. While all the toppings you can imagine are available, a tailoring-your-own concept is also offered creating, undoubtedly, a personal indulgence to your favorite combinations.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The moment you step in, you are welcomed with two chefs standing in an open kitchen facing the bar sitting.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>You can kick off with coating buffalo chicken tenders with ranch dressing wrapped in hot baked potatoes (LE 28). If you are a cheeseburger lover, give up the classic sandwich taste and try out the new mixture with baked potatoes (LE 30), while enjoy the same yummy toppings including ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>However, if you are afraid of increasing calorie intake, try out the baked potato with mushroom or chives or broccoli.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>When it comes to croquette, New Delhi balls are strongly recommended. The curry sauce flavoring with peas carrots and onions, giving the mashed potatoes an Asian twist.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There are different cuts of potatoes for both deep fried and wedges, ranging from shoestring to baked herb ones, and a long list of dipping sauces to go with. Prices range from LE 15 to LE 17.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>If you like to experience potatoes with unusual indulgence, go for Thai spices or creamy Tunisian harrissa sauces.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>If you&#39;re down for spicy, go for the chili cheese fries, which is a unique choice (LE 24).</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Finally, sweet potato is sure to make a statement whether topped with oreo cookie crumbs and whipped cream (LE 28) or cinnamon apple (LE 26).</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A staff member recommended the hot Nutella-covered sweet potato with Häagen-Dazs ice cream (LE 57), and it was a treat! The contrast of hot Nutella and cold ice cream will certainly blow you away.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Despite of its moderate portion and reasonably expensive price, Simply Potatoes offers an experience that worth trying for its unique, tasty combinations.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The bistro delivers to the Downtown Cairo, Zamalek, Mohandiseen, Dokki and Agouza.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Wed, 04 Jun 2014 15:07:00 +0000 Heba Helmy 2291736 at sites/default/files/photo/2013/11/12/484151/1461123_575676869165565_554193354_n.jpg A second language may keep the brain young <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Being able to speak more than one language may help you think more clearly in later life, even if you&rsquo;ve learned the second language as an adult, according to a new study.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;In previous studies, if bilinguals got dementia they got it four to five years later than monolinguals,&rdquo; said author Dr. Thomas H. Bak of the University of Edinburgh Center for Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But it&rsquo;s been hard to determine if mastering another tongue keeps brains active longer or if people who learn another language start off with different, or healthier, brains than those who don&rsquo;t, he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;The big problem we didn&rsquo;t know how to address was reverse causality,&rdquo; Bak told Reuters Health. &ldquo;That is a very difficult question to address, and we needed a very special population to do it.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In the new study, older bilinguals performed better on cognitive tests than monolinguals, even when they had not scored better on intelligence testing decades earlier. That means that at least in part, learning another language does predict brain health in old age, Bak said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Probably the causality is going in both directions, but we showed that there is certainly an effect of bilingualism that cannot be explained by previous differences,&rdquo; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He and his team used an existing data set including 853 Scottish participants who were given an intelligence test in 1947 at age 11, and retested between 2008 and 2010 while in their seventies.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Of those, 262 had learned a language in addition to English, most before age 18, and only 90 were actively using the second language in 2008.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Even taking early intelligence scores into account, people who had learned a second language scored higher on reading, verbal fluency and general intelligence in old age than those who never did.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The relationship was the same for the 65 people who learned their second language after age 18, and seemed to get stronger with third, fourth and fifth languages, according to results in the Annals of Neurology.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s a study that could only have been done really with this cohort, this Scottish group,&rdquo; Fergus Craik said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not surprised at the effect but it&rsquo;s excellent to have this evidence.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Craik, who was not part of the new study, is a senior scientist at the Rotman Research Institute at the Baycrest academic health sciences center, affiliated with the University of Toronto.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There&rsquo;s always a question of &lsquo;which comes first,&rdquo; bilingualism or better brains, Craik told Reuters Health.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But people by and large don&rsquo;t become bilingual because they are interested or bright, but because they have to, he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think there&rsquo;s anything magic about learning languages,&rdquo; Bak said. &ldquo;Both mental and physical activity throughout the life are protective, and learning language is a very good form of brain training.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Learning a second language improves certain mental functions, mostly those connected to the frontal lobe of the brain, but not all functions, Craik said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;It does improve fluid intelligence and &lsquo;executive functioning,&rsquo; because you have to control the two languages you know,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;While you communicate in one language you&rsquo;ve got to manage and control the other language.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Speaking more than two languages may improve thinking even more, but that&rsquo;s still a bit of an open question, Craik said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For people who are beyond school age but are still interested in learning a second language, these results should be encouraging, Bak said. He wouldn&rsquo;t recommend that people worried about dementia go out and learn another language as a precaution, but for those who are interested in language there may be unexpected benefits.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;I would not push it forward but if you leave the chance of many languages being spoken in the house, it could be great brain training and great fun,&rdquo; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Wed, 04 Jun 2014 06:47:00 +0000 Reuters 2436686 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/06/04/484151/chinese_language.jpg Not yet resolved <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Hamlet in the famous shakespearean play &ldquo;Hamlet&rdquo; said to himself &ldquo;To be,or not to be: that&rsquo;s the question&rdquo; and this is still one of the noblest unresolved statements that&rsquo;s ever been stated.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>No matter how hard we try to understand life, there are always things that stay lingering unanswered. Even if answered we don&rsquo;t usually find the answers satisfactory enough. Yet we still try hard to understand the incomprehensible. Einstein once said &ldquo;what&rsquo;s incomprehensible about this world is that it is incomprehensible&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>However, I still find confusion as a driving force towards living life to the fullest. Once someone is puzzled about something, that means he or she is really trying hard to find an answer. That, in fact, means that there is a deep search for the truth. And if this deep search is our journey in life, that makes our life a beautiful ride.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Confusion is one step forward to reach the truth, and truth is relative. This truth is your truth, the one that you truly have worked hard to get to and once you get there you feel tremendously happy and satisfied.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Confusion is negative when it is only a state of mind. If nothing is happening in our life, and the person is just confused. The one who doesn&rsquo;t work really hard in order to change reality will definitely blame other external factors on his failures. Hard work is always needed to change this state of mental confusion. Work is a state of action, that where the confusion may change into clarity. Whether one works to clarify the ambiguity or to just take an action, so take an action never ever stand still for this will take you nowhere.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Hard work does need academic as well as practical side in order to verify any given information. You can&rsquo;t verify any given information by brooding over it. Action is always a must.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>This process of clarification is all about hard work. It is a mental process that begins by confusion, and confusion is a state of honesty as well as disturbance that will eventually lead to clarity at some point in life.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>So in to order to answer the question of Hamlet, you really have to work hard on it yourself. No one helps you become happy, it is only you who can do it. Confusion impedes happiness, yet working hard when you are confused to resolve the puzzling situation you are in is part of the happiness you are trying to reach. So once you are working on it, it paves the way towards enjoying the search itself.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In this case you&rsquo;ve become part of the realities you are creating as you are the one who really has dug deep to get it. If you totally depend on others to show you the way, you eventually find out it was not your way, it was theirs, but you are the one who has trodden in.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For life is in only worth living when we choose how to live.</div> Mon, 17 Feb 2014 12:18:00 +0000 Sherif Rizq 2434391 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/02/18/484151/dsc00918_1.jpg