Egypt Independent: Life Style-Main news http://www.egyptindependent.com//enhome_channel/Life%20Style/rss.xml en Build-your-own Google handset reconstructs smartphone http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2445493 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2014/12/23/484151/google.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>With a smartphone that slots together piece by piece like Lego, US Internet giant Google is trying to reinvent the mobile as most phone makers are honing sleeker handsets.</p><p>The company aims to challenge its rival Apple&#39;s thin iPhones with the Google Ara project, giving smartphone aficionados the option to build their phone themselves.</p><p>Anlysts say tech boffins will love it but remain cautious about how popular it may be compared to polished conventional smartphones that sit snugly in the palm.</p><p>Google says the Ara phone is part of its bid to widen Internet access to users in developing countries and could create a new industry for assembly-ready handset parts.</p><p>Google&#39;s associate, US firm Yezz, presented a prototype of the build-your-own device this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the world&#39;s biggest wireless telecom trade fair.</p><p>The phone consists of a base structure on which various square, magnetic modular parts can be attached: screen, battery, camera, speakers and more. Google plans to release it in three sizes.</p><p>Ara would allow users to replace individual components rather than throwing the whole thing away and buying a new handset. It says the base unit will last at least five or six years.</p><p>&quot;That is good for the environment,&quot; said Annette Zimmermann, a telecom specialist at German consultancy Gartner.</p><p><strong>- Emerging markets -</strong></p><p>Ara &quot;could reshape the mobile landscape,&quot; said Paul Eremenko, director of the Ara Project, in a presentation to experts in January.</p><p>He said it aimed to gain six billion potential clients -- the current billion people who currently use smartphones &quot;and five billion future users&quot;, most of them in emerging markets.</p><p>Google says a mid-range Ara phone could cost between $50 and $100 to produce, but has not given details of the likely sales price, leaving questions marks over how sustainable such a product would be.</p><p>&quot;Google is not looking to make money directly with Ara,&quot; said Jerome Colin, a telecom expert at French consultancy group Roland Berger.</p><p>&quot;It is basically looking to spread smartphones in countries with low purchasing power, and to unify the telecom world around its Android system.&quot;</p><p><strong>- &#39;Paradox of choice&#39; -</strong></p><p>Tech fans and bloggers queued up to see the prototype presented in Barcelona, but analysts were sceptical.</p><p>&quot;The trend in mobile phones is to have small, thin, really integrated products. If you make a product modular it immediately means that you&#39;re going to have to make compromises on that,&quot; said Ben Wood, head researcher at consultancy CCS Insight.</p><p>&quot;The other question mark I have is: beyond geeks, who really knows&quot; about components? he added.</p><p>&quot;If I said to you, which processor do you want in your smartphone, I think you could stop people in the street and they&#39;d just look at you like you&#39;d landed from Mars.&quot;</p><p>Eremenko acknowledged that consumers risked being overwhelmed by too many technical options when it comes to choosing components.</p><p>&quot;We need to resolve the paradox of choice,&quot; he said in January.</p><p>Google plans a test launch of the device in Puerto Rico by the end of this year.</p><p>&quot;We will have to see if the public takes to it,&quot; said Zimmerman.</p><p>Google dominates the world of Internet searches and its Android operating system can be used on 80 percent of the world&#39;s smartphones. It also holds a large market share in wireless tablet devices.</p><p>Its senior vice-president Sundar Pichai said in Barcelona on Monday that it was in talks with telecom companies about possibly using their networks to operate its own mobile phone services in the United States.</p> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:06:00 +0000 AFP 2445493 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2014/12/23/484151/google.jpg Belly dancer denies links to performance on IS anthem http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2445448 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2015/03/04/16030/dyn2-1160x480.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>In a peaceful response to IS&#39;s brutal practices, social media has recently been&nbsp;flooded with satirical video clips where the group&#39;s military anthem, &#39;Salil al-Sawarem&#39; (Saber-rattling), is used. Though the creators of these videos are unknown, the clips were made using the Dubsmash application, snippets of people dancing to the anthem and comedic scenes from famous movies.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Among the dozens of attempts to mock the IS, a two-minute clip stood out from the rest, showing a woman dancing very professionally to the armed group&#39;s anthem, resulting in a very popular response on social networking websites.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrW8IWQjlVE"><span style="color:#ff0000;">The clip belongs Ukrainian dancer Diana Bastet,</span></a> who decided to start teaching belly dancing online. She has been posting her videos on her Facebook page and YouTube channel since 15 February. Bastet&#39;s videos have surpassed 800,000 views since then.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Bastet, who has been performing at rock concerts for the past six years, denied links to the clip showing her dancing on the IS&#39;s anthem, saying she did not know about the group.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In an exclusive statement to <em>Al-Masry Al-Youm,</em> Bastet said she was always open to cooperation, but was annoyed that her video was used without her permission.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;I did not know anything about the IS before watching the other version of the video and neither did my friends and followers. I am just trying to make art,&quot; she added.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Bastet expressed dissatisfaction with the context in which her dance was used saying, &quot;I do not wish to participate in any campaigns of political or religious nature. My art and I are far away from all these things.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The dancer posted a statement on her Facebook page on Tuesday evening stating:</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;I am Ukrainian and I live in Ukraine. I am a dancer and a designer of clothing. I am far away from the Middle East in all senses (traditional, political, religious... etc.), I just like belly dancing as an art. That&#39;s all. I don&#39;t know [ISIS] well and don&#39;t want to know anything about them. I don&#39;t want to see/hear my name next to a war theme. And of course, because of this I didn&#39;t like what somebody did with my last short video to &#39;Master of Puppets.&#39;&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Although the original video did not exceed 9,000 views on Youtube, the modified version exceeded 35,000 views.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm</em></div> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 09:58:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2445448 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2015/03/04/16030/dyn2-1160x480.jpg Singapore gains halal cred, top marks from Muslim tourists http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2445450 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2012/08/23/36/995781231.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Halal has never looked so good for Singapore. A survey ranked the Asian country as the top non-Islamic destination for Muslim tourists, weeks after official data showed overall visitor numbers fell last year for the first time since 2009.</p><p>Multicultural Singapore beat Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as established tourist hotspots such as France, the United States and Britain, to become the most &quot;friendly&quot; non-Muslim destination for Muslim visitors, the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) compiled by travel firm CrescentRating and MasterCard Inc shows. Singapore also trumped some Muslim countries including the Maldives and Egypt after scoring more points for family friendliness, safety and service, according to the GMTI, released on Wednesday. Travellers from 100 countries were surveyed.</p><p>Muslim tourists are one of the fastest growing travel groups. Attracting them is all the more crucial given a slowdown in the economies of Europe and China, the source of many global travellers. Muslim travellers look for restaurants serving food that is halal, or permissible under Islamic law, as well as readily accessible mosques or prayer rooms. They are also conscious of safety. Rising anti-Muslim sentiment in some Western countries and an increase in Islamist militant attacks are a worry, helping give Asia top marks in the GMTI.</p><p>Last year, 108 million Muslim travellers spent $145 billion, equivalent to 10 percent of global travel spending, the survey shows. By 2020, this amount is expected to rise to $200 billion.</p><p>&quot;The halal lifestyle is a key component of the global travel industry,&quot; Fazal Bahardeen, CrescentRating&#39;s chief executive, told Reuters. &quot;More so, because destinations are trying very hard to diversify their tourists.&quot;&nbsp;</p> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 09:54:00 +0000 Reuters 2445450 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2012/08/23/36/995781231.jpg It's raining cats and tourists on a Japanese island http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2445430 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2012/09/11/101001/aleqm5h_mtisvcl4fvujhenoxw2fvibl6a.jpeg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; font-size: 15px; font-family: georgia, 'times new roman', serif; line-height: 23px;"><span class="focusParagraph" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, helvetica, sans; font-size: medium;">An army of feral cats rules a remote island in southern&nbsp;<a class="vglnk" href="http://bit.ly/1svQNRI" rel="nofollow" style="color: rgb(0, 110, 151); cursor: pointer; outline: none;">Japan</a>, curling up in abandoned houses or strutting about in a fishing village that is overrun with felines outnumbering humans six to one.</span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; font-size: 15px; font-family: georgia, 'times new roman', serif; line-height: 23px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Originally introduced to the mile-long island of Aoshima to deal with mice that plagued fishermen&#39;s boats, the cats stayed on - and multiplied.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; font-size: 15px; font-family: georgia, 'times new roman', serif; line-height: 23px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">More than 120 cats swarm the island with only a handful of humans for company, mostly pensioners who didn&#39;t join the waves of migrants seeking work in the cities after World War Two.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; font-size: 15px; font-family: georgia, 'times new roman', serif; line-height: 23px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Aoshima, a 30-minute ferry ride off the coast of Ehime prefecture, had been home to 900 people in 1945. The only sign of human activity now is the boatload of day-trippers from the mainland, visiting what is locally known as Cat Island.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; font-size: 15px; font-family: georgia, 'times new roman', serif; line-height: 23px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">With no restaurants, cars, shops or kiosks selling snacks, Aoshima is no tourist haven. But cat lovers are not complaining.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; font-size: 15px; font-family: georgia, 'times new roman', serif; line-height: 23px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">&quot;There is a ton of cats here, then there was this sort of cat witch who came out to feed the cats which was quite fun,&quot; said 27-year-old Makiko Yamasaki. &quot;So I&#39;d want to come again.&quot;</p><p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; font-size: 15px; font-family: georgia, 'times new roman', serif; line-height: 23px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">The allure of cats is not surprising in a country that gave the world Hello Kitty, a cartoon character considered the epitome of cuteness. Cat cafes have long been popular in Tokyo, catering to fans who can&#39;t keep the animals at home because of strict housing regulations that often forbid pets.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; font-size: 15px; font-family: georgia, 'times new roman', serif; line-height: 23px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">The cats of Aoshima are not too picky, surviving on the rice balls, energy bars or potatoes they cadge off tourists. In the absence of natural predators, they roam the island without fear.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; font-size: 15px; font-family: georgia, 'times new roman', serif; line-height: 23px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Not all the residents are admirers, though. One elderly woman shooed the animals away with a stick when they dug up her back garden. Locals are trying to keep the feline population in check - at least 10 cats have been neutered.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; font-size: 15px; font-family: georgia, 'times new roman', serif; line-height: 23px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Residents haven&#39;t taken too kindly to the tourists either. They don&#39;t mind them coming, but want to be left in peace.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; font-size: 15px; font-family: georgia, 'times new roman', serif; line-height: 23px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">&quot;If people coming to the island find the cats healing, then I think it&#39;s a good thing,&quot; said 65-year-old Hidenori Kamimoto, who ekes out a living as a fisherman.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; font-size: 15px; font-family: georgia, 'times new roman', serif; line-height: 23px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">&quot;I just hope that it&#39;s done in a way that doesn&#39;t become a burden on the people who live here.&quot;</p> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 14:14:00 +0000 Reuters 2445430 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2012/09/11/101001/aleqm5h_mtisvcl4fvujhenoxw2fvibl6a.jpeg