Egypt Independent: Life Style-Main news en Rights groups criticize use of dog skin in China <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Dog skin produced by Chinese factories is used to make gloves, shoes and other products destined for export, footage provided to Reuters by an animal rights group shows.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>China has faced criticism for its treatment of animals, including bears, whose bile is used in traditional medicines. Tigers are also bred and killed, in some areas, for their pelts and bones.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said it visited three slaughterhouses and six processing plants in central China during a year-long investigation into the slaughter of dogs and the production of dog skin.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Reuters confirmed the use of dog skin during a visit to an open-air leather processing workshop in the northern province of Hebei, where workers stretched washed dog skins, to dry in the sun.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>With dog meat restaurants popular in many parts of the country, several establishments later sell the animals&#39; skin to leather producers, workers at the Hebei workshop said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;There are restaurants that sell dog meat and people that eat dog meat,&quot; said one leather producer, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;These places have a person who specially comes and collects the skins; they&rsquo;ll go to each place and take a few,&quot; he said, referring to the producers. &quot;It happens all over the country.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Officials of the quasi-governmental China Leather Industry Association declined to be interviewed, saying they had no knowledge of dogs being used in leather production.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Ministry of Agriculture did not respond to repeated requests for interview on conditions in the slaughtering industry, which it oversees.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>PETA and other rights groups say dogs are slaughtered throughout the country, with regulations on animal slaughter poorly enforced.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Dog skin yields a tough leather of generally poorer quality than that of sheep or cows, but which is also cheaper to make.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The plants PETA visited were producing leather for export, said Haleigh Chang, one of the organization&#39;s representatives.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;One owner of a processing plant told us they export dog skin as lamb skin,&quot; she said, adding that lack of transparency on the part of producers made it hard to estimate the size of the dog skin sector within the overall leather industry.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:34:00 +0000 Reuters 2441524 at sites/default/files/photo/2012/05/03/54605/dogs.jpg Pope treats homeless to new sleeping bags <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Pope Francis marked his 78th birthday by ordering the distribution of hundreds of sleeping bags to homeless people in Rome, Vatican officials said Thursday.</p><p>Konrad Krajewski, the archbishop in charge of the pope&#39;s charity work, led an operation in which a minibus packed with 400 sleeping bags carrying a papal ensign toured around the Italian capital on Wednesday evening looking for people to give them to.</p><p>&quot;This is a gift for you from the pope on the occasion of his birthday,&quot; the Swiss guards who helped in the distribution were quoted as telling the recipients.</p><p>A total of 300 bags found takers on the streets on Wednesday and another 100 were given to a homeless group to be distributed at a later date.</p><p>Francis turned 78 on Wednesday and eight homeless people were among the people he greeted at the end of his audience in St Peter&#39;s square.</p><p>The Argentinian leader of the world&#39;s Catholics has made concern for the poor one of the defining themes of his papacy.</p> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:33:00 +0000 AFP 2441522 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/12/18/499612/homeless.jpg Italy labor leader boasts Arab ancestry, points to regional economic ties <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div><span style="font-size: 14px;">The head of the Italian Labor Union Carmelo Barbagallo has expressed pride of his Arab ancestry, voicing optimism for Africa&rsquo;s economic future despite challenges.</span></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Barbagallo said he was proud of his ancestor Gawhar al-Siqilli (the Sicilian), who came from Sicily to Fatimid Egypt in 969 to establish Cairo and al-Azhar Mosque.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Personally, I feel like I belong to North Africa though I am a southern European citizen,&rdquo; Barbagallo said, hoping for Italian-Egyptian cooperation to overcome the economic crises of both countries.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Barbagallo said that Italy, despite the economic problems it shares with many European countries, still enjoys many work opportunities. He added that more cooperation with other Mediterranean countries, especially Egypt, is needed to combat illegal immigration.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Speaking of the new Italian labor law, Barbagallo said the law does not help resolve workers&#39; or job-seekers&#39; problems and rather grants employers more advantages despite the biting economic crisis. He suggested more investment and production development to eliminate their difficulties.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Barbagallo added that workers began a public strike on 12 December in order to press the government to change its policies towards workers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Barbagallo added that the government&rsquo;s criticisms of labor unions is the result of its inability to resolve surging unemployment.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:48:00 +0000 Egypt Independent,Mohamed Mostafa 2441472 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/12/17/499612/the_head_of_the_italian_labor_union_carmelo_barbagallo2.png Children's cartoons 'deadlier' than films for adults <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Children&#39;s cartoons depict death more often than films for adults, and their main characters are more than twice as likely to be killed off, according to research released on Tuesday.</p><p>The study found the main characters in children&#39;s cartoons were two and a half times as likely to die as protagonists in films for adults, and were almost three times as likely to be murdered -- often in violent ways.</p><p>Important characters overall die in two-thirds of cartoons aimed at children, compared to in half of films for adults, according to the study published in the British Medical Journal.</p><p>&quot;Rather than being innocuous and gentler alternatives to typical horror or drama films, children&#39;s animated films are, in fact, hotbeds of murder and mayhem,&quot; said study researchers Ian Colman and James Kirkbride.</p><p>The study analysed top-grossing children&#39;s cartoons from &quot;Snow White&quot; in 1937 to 2013&#39;s &quot;Frozen&quot;.</p><p>It compared deaths of main characters with the two top-grossing films for adults released in the same year, not including action or adventure films marketed to children.</p><p>It found the parents of main characters were five times as likely to die in children&#39;s cartoons than in films for adults.</p><p>Notable deaths ranged from shootings in &quot;Bambi&quot;, &quot;Pocahontas&quot; and &quot;Peter Pan&quot;, stabbings in &quot;The Little Mermaid&quot; and &quot;Sleeping Beauty&quot;, and attacks by animals in &quot;Finding Nemo&quot; and &quot;Tarzan&quot;.</p><p>Films featuring animated cars and toys were not included as it was not clear that the concept of death exists for such characters.</p><p>The study found no evidence that the level of violence had increased since the 1937 release of &quot;Snow White&quot;, in which the evil queen stepmother tumbles off a cliff after a pursuit by angry dwarves.</p> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:45:00 +0000 AFP 2441462 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/12/17/499612/childrens_cartoons_deadlier_than_films_for_adults.jpg