Egypt Independent: Living-Main news en Climbing high in the occupied West Bank <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Gripping tightly with her hands, her feet searching for a foothold, Salwa Khashan edges along a sheer rock face in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, urged on by friends below.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>She and her fellow climbers are the first group of Palestinians to win climbing certificates after graduating from a three-day &quot;Wadi Climbing&quot; course just north of Ramallah.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;It taught me a lot,&quot; said Khashan, who lives in Arab-dominated east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied with the rest of the West Bank in 1967.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;I learned to push myself and to use my mental strength to find the way up, to deal with the physical pain and push myself to the top,&quot; she said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For the 23-year-old and her small group of fellow climbers it has been a voyage of discovery thanks to two young Americans with a love of climbing and a determination to share their passion with others.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Will Harris of Chicago and Tim Bruns from Connecticut, both 23, travelled to the West Bank with one objective in mind.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Tim and I came to Palestine to develop a climbing community here,&quot; Harris said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We were exploring a lot of Palestine and saw a huge potential for outdoor climbing,&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>They started off by doing a few test climbs with friends in the Ramallah area.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>After that, they organised several short excursions for Palestinians and foreigners living in the area, and then decided to launch their &quot;Wadi Climbing&quot; project.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>They now work in two outdoor climbing areas near Ramallah and are developing the first Palestinian indoor climbing and fitness facility.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>A climber&#39;s high</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For Nadine Abu-Rmeileh, another 23-year-old from east Jerusalem, it was her first time climbing and it affected her deeply.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;I can&#39;t describe the feeling you have when you reach the top,&quot; she said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;You feel a great sense of achievement. At first when I saw the cliff, I thought it would be impossible to climb it. But then when I raised my foot and I started to climb, I found myself at the top.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Under scudding clouds on an unseasonably cold and damp Friday morning, the group of 12 gathered at the foot of the rock face and separated into three teams according to ability: beginners, intermediate and those taking a test.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Beginners are given specialist shoes after which they learn the basics of knot tying, repelling and belaying, a key safety technique by which a person on the ground is linked to the climber by rope and can support his or her weight in the event of a fall.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But the bolting -- installing the metal pins into rock faces so that ropes can be attached to them -- is only done by the trainers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;It&#39;s really scary,&quot; admitted 22-year-old Omar Abu-Arra who comes from Jenin, a town in the northern West Bank.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;But you force yourself to do something you have never done before, especially in this country.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>A sport for all&nbsp;</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Finding locations to climb in the West Bank brings its own challenges.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Bolting in Palestine is kind of tough because you are confined to certain areas,&quot; Bruns said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;So we wanted to develop new areas that are accessible for Palestinians because you have to take into account kind of access and where (the Jewish) settlements are and where Israel parks are,&quot; he said, referring to nature reserves where bolting is forbidden.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Eventually, the Wadi Climbing project established two places for itself, one in Ain Qiniya and one in Yabrud, which are in an area of the West Bank under Palestinian civil control and Israeli security control.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>What motivated them to travel to the West Bank and set up the project was a glaring shortage of accessible leisure activities in the Palestinian territories.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We were shocked and saddened by the lack of recreational opportunities,&quot; Bruns said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The two teach the course largely in English but with a smattering of Arabic which they learned in Jordan where they also spent some time climbing.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It was there they found that high costs had made rock-climbing a sport for a small clique of the rich.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In the West Bank, they are hoping to broaden the sport&#39;s appeal.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>With the backing of US, Palestinian and other private donors they are seeking to make it accessible to all, charging 60 shekels ($15/14 euros) for a day&#39;s instruction - including shoe hire.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Rami Zughayer, 27, from east Jerusalem, said he heard about the project from his sister, who had done the course.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The first time she went, I thought it was just another stupid activity,&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Then I saw photos of her climbing a cliff 15 or 20 metres high and I told her: next time I&#39;m coming too!&quot;</div> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 13:04:00 +0000 AFP 2448297 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/04/19/501184/e5c690071c742d7cbe3d1436b856149a36296b5b.jpg Youth e-cigarette data prompts new calls to speed regulation <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Public health advocates are stepping up pressure on the US government to quickly regulate and restrict access to e-cigarettes after new data showed use of the products tripled among high school and middle school children last year.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday raised concern among health officials who fear e-cigarettes will create a new generation of nicotine addicts who may eventually smoke conventional cigarettes.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Cigarette smoking fell more than 25 percent over the same period. E-cigarette proponents said the data could indicate e-cigarettes are diverting young people away from conventional cigarettes, a view rejected by tobacco control advocates. [ID: nL2N0XD1UH]</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Food and Drug Administration regulates cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco. It proposed extending its authority to e-cigarettes and hookah, among other products, nearly a year ago.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said on Friday the agency is &quot;moving forward expeditiously to finalize the rule.&quot; Its goal is to release it in June. &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>But the potential for delay is considerable. The agency received more than 135,000 public comments on the proposal and by law must review them all.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The rule must also be reviewed by the Department of Health and Human Services and then by the White House&#39;s Office of Management and Budget, which analyzes the potential economic consequences of proposed regulations.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;This puts real pressure on every level of the administration to get this done,&quot; said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, referring to the CDC data. &quot;It means business as usual won&#39;t solve this rapidly growing public health problem.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>OMB has not yet received the rule, according to its website. Once it does, it has 90 days to review it, though that can be extended. &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;There is always an opportunity for delay, but I think it will be much harder for the administration to exercise that opportunity now,&quot; said David Dobbins, chief operating officer at the anti-tobacco group Legacy. &quot;It&#39;s up to the White House and HHS to make sure this regulation gets out as quickly as possible.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The proposed rule would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18 and require FDA approval of new products. Public health advocates have also been pushing for a ban on flavored products, television advertising and internet sales, which they say attract children.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The agency has said the rule would be the foundational first step in a range of potential future regulations.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In the meantime, some states are moving to impose restrictions of their own. In February, Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer re-introduced proposed legislation that would allow the Federal Trade Commission to determine what constitutes marketing to children and would allow the FTC to work with states&#39; attorneys general to enforce bans.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>At least 43 states already have laws that restrict sales of e-cigarettes to minors and some are working to incorporate e-cigarettes into existing clean air acts that prohibit smoking in public places.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;As long as the federal government doesn&#39;t take uniform action, I think we will see action on a local level,&quot; Dobbins said. &quot;People can differ about the appropriateness of e-cigarettes for adults but I don&#39;t think anyone disagrees on the appropriateness of giving them to children.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 12:52:00 +0000 Reuters 2448287 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/02/25/499612/cigarettes_on_sale_in_a_store..jpg My, my! Many Britons ignorant about Battle of Waterloo <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>As Britain prepares to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, a survey shows that many Britons know little about the fight and associate the name with an ABBA song or a London railway station.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The National Army Museum survey revealed that more than a quarter of the people surveyed - 28 percent - had no idea who won the battle and 14 percent believed the French were victorious over the British and their Prussian allies. One if five knew absolutely nothing about it.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Just over half - 53 percent - correctly knew that the Duke of Wellington had led the British army against Napoleon&#39;s French forces. Participants who did not know put forward the names of Francis Drake, Winston Churchill, King Arthur and even Harry Potter wizard Albus Dumbledore as the possible commander.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Young people showed a particular lack of awareness.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Asked what came to mind when Waterloo was mentioned, they showed greater recognition of London&#39;s Waterloo Station - 54 percent - and the song &quot;Waterloo&quot; by Swedish pop group ABBA - 47 percent - than they did about the battle.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The 1974 ABBA song begins with the line: &quot;My, my, at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The survey results might be something of a shock as Britain gears up to commemorate the battle fought on June 18, 1815, just outside Brussels in Belgium.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Generally considered one of history&#39;s great battles and described by Wellington as &quot;a close run thing,&quot; it brought an end to the Napoleonic Wars and set the stage for an era of British domination of much of the world.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A series of events, including re-enactments, are planned across the country and book shops are filled with new studies.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But, said National Army Museum director Janice Murray: &quot;Despite the Battle of Waterloo being an iconic moment in British history, UK public awareness is dramatically low.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 11:28:00 +0000 Reuters 2448276 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/03/14/501184/waterloo.jpg An heir and a spare: life as a royal number two <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Prince William&#39;s new baby, due later this month, will join the long line of second children born one step from the throne -- the so-called spare to the heir.</p><p>The big difference is that new laws that came to effect last month mean that if it is a girl and if William and his wife Kate have more male children, she will not be skipped over in the succession line.</p><p>Assuring the dynasty&#39;s continuity should the first line fail, the spare can often end up inheriting the throne, as has happened in recent history.</p><p>But experience shows the younger can often be more wayward and the elder more dutiful.</p><p>Here is a look at six generations of &quot;spares&quot; and the life that comes the way of a royal number two:</p><p><strong>- KING GEORGE V -</strong></p><p>King Edward VII&#39;s second son.</p><p>Born in 1865, George, who founded the House of Windsor and introduced the modern style of monarchy, was never meant to be king. His older brother prince Albert Victor dieŘ´d aged 28 in the global influenza pandemic of 1892.</p><p>Albert Victor was engaged to princess Mary of Teck, who became close to George during their shared mourning and they married the following year.</p><p>He reigned from 1910 to his death in 1936, cut ties with German royalty during World War I and sought to bring the monarchy closer to the people.</p><p><strong>- KING GEORGE VI -</strong></p><p>King George V&#39;s second son.</p><p>Like his father, the young prince Albert of York was never meant for the throne. However, his elder brother king Edward VIII abdicated months into his reign in order to marry US socialite divorcee Wallis Simpson.</p><p>Shy and with a stammer, as depicted in the Oscar-winning 2010 film &quot;The King&#39;s Speech&quot;, George nonetheless had a profound sense of duty and steadied the monarchy, steering Britain through World War II with great personal courage.</p><p>The strain of his unexpected responsibilities are thought to have affected his health and he died from a coronary thrombosis, aged 56, in 1952.</p><p><strong>- PRINCESS MARGARET -</strong></p><p>King George VI&#39;s second daughter.</p><p>While Queen Elizabeth II inherited her father&#39;s strict devotion to duty, her only sibling princess Margaret was freer to party. Born in 1930, she brought glamour to the Swinging Sixties, mixing with actors, musicians and living a bohemian lifestyle.</p><p>She wanted to marry her father&#39;s divorced equerry but eventually decided against it rather than lose her royal position. She married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, then had a lengthy affair with a younger gardening expert.</p><p>A smoker and drinker, her health dwindled and she suffered strokes, dying aged 71 in 2002.</p><p><strong>- PRINCE ANDREW -</strong></p><p>Queen Elizabeth II&#39;s second son.</p><p>While the no-nonsense Princess Anne is the queen&#39;s second child, Andrew overtook her in the line of succession when he arrived in 1960. He entered the navy and served in the 1982 Falklands War as a helicopter pilot.</p><p>His 1986 marriage to fun-loving Sarah Ferguson fell apart, but though divorced they remain close. His 10-year role as Britain&#39;s international trade ambassador ended in 2011 over his links with various controversial associates.</p><p>A US judge this month struck from the record allegations by a woman that she was forced into sexual relations with Andrew.</p><p>Andrew has earned the nickname &quot;Air Miles Andy&quot; over his penchant for luxury air travel and golf.</p><p><strong>- PRINCE HARRY -</strong></p><p>Prince Charles&#39;s second son.</p><p>Harry, the younger of the heir to the throne&#39;s sons with Diana, Princess of Wales, was born in 1984, two years after Prince William.</p><p>He earned a reputation as a party prince -- smoking cannabis and infamously wearing a Nazi fancy dress costume -- but has since tried to cut a more mature figure.</p><p>After 10 years in the British Army, including two tours in Afghanistan, he is currently serving in its Australian counterpart as he prepares to retire from the military.</p><p>In future, Harry is expected to focus on royal duties and rehabilitating wounded veterans, notably with his Invictus Games.</p><p><strong>- BABY CAMBRIDGE -</strong></p><p>Prince William&#39;s second child.</p><p>The new royal baby will be two years younger than William and Kate&#39;s first child, Prince George. The baby&#39;s early years will likewise probably see few public appearances and occasional picture releases.</p><p>While most attention will be on George, history shows that events can take unexpected twists for the next in line.</p> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:00:00 +0000 AFP 2448204 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/04/11/501184/british.jpg