Egypt Independent: Living-Main news en Pregnant at 15: The story of Romania’s teenage mothers <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>&ldquo;God has given me a beautiful little girl. But life is difficult because I am still a child myself,&rdquo; says Lorena, one of more than 2,000 girls under 16 who give birth in Romania each year, some as young as 12.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Cradling her baby, the 15-year-old who lives with her boyfriend and seven other families in an abandoned building, says she didn&rsquo;t plan to fall pregnant.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;I would have wanted to have waited until later,&rdquo; she adds.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A few kilometres away, Diana, also 15, says she cried when she discovered she was pregnant.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;My life has changed dramatically,&rdquo; she says, adding that she misses not being able to play with other girls her own age.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Abandoned by the father of her child, she and her baby live with her mother and six brothers and sisters.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Lorena and Diana are just two of the thousands of teenage mothers in Romania.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In 2013, 15.6 percent of first children in Romania were born to teenage mothers, according to the latest figures from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, published in 2015.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It is the highest proportion in the EU, followed by Bulgaria where it is 14.7 per cent.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Romanian Institute of Statistics says around 18,600 teenagers gave birth in 2014 including 2,212 aged between 12 and 15 years. More than two-thirds of whom live in rural areas.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Charities and campaign groups believe that many come from the Roma minority, which numbers about two million in Romania, in which early marriage is widespread.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;This is a complex phenomenon caused by poverty, by emigration &mdash; which means many children are left to the care of grandparents &mdash; and especially by lack of health education,&rdquo; says Gabriela Alexandrescu, head of Save the Children in Romania.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;In the villages we went to, most young people had not had any [health education],&rdquo; she says.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Pregnancy for such young girls poses serious medical and social problems.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Many young mothers are forced to drop out of school or suffer from depression and their babies are often premature.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Last year, around 60 non-governmental organisations called on the Ministry of Education to introduce health education in schools, describing the situation as &ldquo;critical&rdquo;.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>They said educating young people on the subject would not just reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, but also protect them against sexually transmitted diseases.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights last year urged Romania to adopt a national strategy on sexual and reproductive health, something the country&rsquo;s ministry of health says it favours.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But a host of organisations have opposed any such move saying there is no proof it would be effective in lowering the teenage birth rate.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;If this situation worries us then we have to start talking to parents to ask them to pay more attention to their children,&rdquo; says Cristina Benga, vice president of Parents for Religious Teaching.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Alexandrescu, however, underlines that underage mothers often &ldquo;come from vulnerable, marginalised families&rdquo; and urged social and health services to play a bigger role.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Unfortunately, these girls only rarely see a doctor before they give birth,&rdquo; she said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For Diana, her experience of early pregnancy and motherhood has left her psychologically scarred.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>She says she now knows there are ways of guarding against pregnancy, and she is determined never to let the same thing happen again.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;I will never marry,&rdquo; she says, &ldquo;so that I won&rsquo;t have any more babies.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Wed, 04 May 2016 09:35:00 +0000 AFP 2469336 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/05/04/501184/pregnant_at_15_the_story_of_romanias_teenage_mothers.jpg Google reveals top trending foods in new report <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Turmeric is in. Rainbow bagels are out. And while the popularity of ramen shows no sign of waning, the same can&#39;t be said of the gluten-free cupcake trend.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>These are among some of the conclusions drawn from a new, sweeping 2016 Food Trends report from Google, which analysed two years&#39; worth of data to come up with a synopsis of what consumers in the US have been cooking, eating and Googling over the last two years.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>One of the biggest emerging food trends? Functional foods with health-boosting properties that claim to help with everything from better skin, libido, depression, insomnia and pain.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The &quot;breakout star&quot; of the pack, however, is turmeric, whose health properties range from reducing the risk of cancer to easing depression. Searches for the terracotta-coloured spice have grown 300 percent over the last five years.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Curcuma rhizomes</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="Curcuma rhizomes" src="" style="height: 802px; width: 536px;" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>While turmeric is perhaps best known for its use in curries, the Google report reveals emerging trends and applications, with searches for the spice paired with words like &quot;smoothie,&quot; &quot;drink,&quot; and &quot;juice.&quot;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Other health-enhancing foods that have been trending over the last two years include apple cider vinegar, jackfruit, manuka honey, kefir and coconut milk.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Meanwhile, though ramen is classified as a sustained riser &mdash; defined as foods that have seen steady growth and are expected to stick around &mdash; the report files pho as the top trending global food. Since 2013, the Vietnamese noodle dish has seen an 11 percent year-over-year growth. It&#39;s also categorised as a seasonal rising trend, with searches spiking in the wintry month of January.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In addition to pho recipes, Google data reveals that consumers are also taking to the Web to look up the best neighbourhood spots for tucking into a bowl of authentic Vietnamese noodles. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Other rising food trends include Mexican candy, bibimbap, taquitos, empanadas, queso frescos and mochi ice cream.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Here&#39;s a snapshot of the foods that are trending, and falling out of favour among US consumers:</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>- Sustained Risers (defined as foods that have seen steady growth over the years): Ramen, Rigatoni, Bibimbap</div><div>- Seasonal Risers (seasonal foods that are likely to come back even stronger): Pho, Overnight Oats, Bitter Melon, Cheese Curds</div><div>- Rising Stars (sudden growth within the last few months, these might not last): Turmeric, Jackfruit, Cauliflower Rice</div><div>- Sustained Decliners: Gluten-Free Cupcakes, Evaporated Cane Juice, Wheat Free Bread</div><div>- Seasonal Decliners: Quinoa, Wedding Cakes, Kale Chips, Red Velvet Cake, Agave Nectar &mdash; Falling Stars: Rainbow Bagel, Vanilla Bean Paste, Dutch Baby Pancake, Mulligan Stew.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Wed, 04 May 2016 09:14:00 +0000 AFP 2469331 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/03/06/501184/healthy_life.jpg Tokyo's coolest new hostels <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>The number of visitors coming to Japan has boomed in recent years &mdash; a figure that&#39;s set to rise even further as the 2020 Olympics draw closer.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>New lodgings have popped up across the city to capitalize on this, among them an influx of reasonably priced hostels.</div><div>But while these new spots maintain the classic hostel image and remain a great place to meet fellow travelers, they feature elegant interiors and cool amenities.</div><div>Looking for a special place to crash on your next trip to Japan&#39;s capital? Here are some of the top hostels to recently open in and around Tokyo.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Book and Bed Tokyo</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="Book and Bed. As literal as it gets. " src="" style="height: 301px; width: 536px;" /></div><div><em>Book and Bed. As literal as it gets.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For travelers with a literary bent, there&#39;s no finer option than the Book and Bed Tokyo hostel in Ikebukuro.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Opened in late 2015, the bulk of Book and Bed&#39;s beds sit inside a long wooden bookcase.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Visitors can read any of the bookcase&#39;s 1,700 titles, running from local guidebooks to famous comics to humorous fiction.</div><div>You don&#39;t even have to spend the night to experience Book and Bed.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Visitors can do some reading and take a nap during the day for 1,500 yen (around US$14).</div><div>This hostel has become popular among both travelers and locals so reserve well in advance.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Bunka Hostel</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="The ground floor of this converted pachinko parlor hosts an izakaya that serves up classic Japanese food and sake. " src="" style="height: 301px; width: 536px;" /></div><div><em>The ground floor of this converted pachinko parlor hosts an izakaya that serves up classic Japanese food and sake.&nbsp;</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Bunka&quot; translates to &quot;culture&quot; in Japanese, which is exactly what this newly opened hostel in Asakusa is all about.</div><div>The ground floor of this converted pachinko parlor hosts an izakaya serving up classic Japanese food alongside sake from all across the country.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Many elements of Japanese architecture can be found on its seven floors.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Designed by artist Hiroko Takahashi, Bunka Hostel is only steps away from some of Tokyo&#39;s most historic shrines and temples, allowing tourists to really dive deep into Japanese culture.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Irori Hostel and Kitchen</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="This Tokyo spot promises to offer a &amp;quot;more local, handmade trip.&amp;quot;" src="" style="height: 301px; width: 536px;" /></div><div><em>This Tokyo spot promises to offer a&quot;more local, handmade trip.&quot;</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Irori Hostel and Kitchen in Nihonbashi allows guests to experience Japan&#39;s many different regions in one space.</div><div>Promising a &quot;more local, handmade trip,&quot; this ethos carries over to the room design, which utilizes wood from Shikoku prefecture and traditional Japanese curtains.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Irori&#39;s first floor features their titular attraction, a sunken fireplace where guests can cook meat or fish with other travelers.</div><div>They also sell vegetables and drinks from all across Japan.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Most nights Irori holds special events aimed at bringing guests together and teaching them about Japanese culture, whether that be culinary or otherwise.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>If you want local knowledge about the city, Irori&#39;s staff are ready to help you prepare a memorable trip.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>On The Marks</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="On the Marks: For those who want that neighborhood bar vibe. " src="" style="height: 301px; width: 536px;" /></div><div><em>On the Marks: For those who want that neighborhood bar vibe.&nbsp;</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>On The Marks aims to provide guests a more social experience.</div><div>Located just outside of Tokyo proper, On The Marks feels more like a great neighborhood bar than a hostel.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>They serve a wide variety of Japanese craft beers, alongside a food menu featuring a healthy amount of BBQ options.</div><div>This hostel&#39;s also home to a music lounge that occasionally hosts local musicians and acts.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Zabutton</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="This cozy spot has a coffee shop on the first floor, great for those who need a caffeine fix before they hit the town." src="" style="height: 301px; width: 536px;" /></div><div><em>This cozy spot has a coffee shop on the first floor, great for those who need a caffeine fix before they hit the town.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>If you&#39;re the type of person who has trouble getting going in the morning, Zabutton is the place for you.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The cozy spot in the heart of Tokyo has its own cafe on the first floor brewing up coffee, among other drinks.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Besides offering a nice caffeine boost, Zabutton also cooks up a wide variety of meals and offers sweet cakes for people to enjoy &mdash; both those staying at the hostel and people just looking for a mid-day break.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Some rooms are shared, featuring bunk beds, while others are private, Japanese-style spaces.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Finding Zabutton is easy &mdash; outside there&#39;s a chalkboard featuring colorful drawings and a list of what countries that day&#39;s guests come from.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Ryokan Tokyo Yugawara</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="The perfect Tokyo escape. " src="" style="height: 301px; width: 536px;" /></div><div><em>The perfect Tokyo escape.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Sometimes you just need to escape the big city.</div><div>The city of Yugawara, which sits about an hour away from central Tokyo, is next to the ocean and famous for its many natural hot springs.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It&#39;s a fantastic place to get away to.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Ryokan Tokyo Yugawara, opened in March 2016, offers a traditional Japanese inn experience within the confines of a hostel. The interior and rooms carry a classic Japanese vibe, complete with tatami mats.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A restaurant serves up Japanese cuisine while the bar area offers a sake tasting course.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And, naturally, visitors can go for a soak in the Ryokan Tokyo Yugawara&#39;s own hot spring before going to sleep.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Tue, 03 May 2016 09:36:00 +0000 CNN 2469301 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/05/03/501184/book_and_bed_hostel.jpg Yoga may help relieve asthma symptoms <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Yoga seems to provide small improvements in symptoms and quality of life in people with asthma, according to a new review.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The practice of yoga includes breathing exercises, postures (called asanas), and meditation. Yoga has been proposed as a treatment for a variety of medical conditions, including asthma, but scientific studies have shown inconsistent results.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Dr. Jin-Ling Tang from The Chinese University of Hong Kong&#39;s Prince of Wales Hospital looked at the evidence from 15 studies involving more than 1,000 asthma patients to see whether yoga provided significant benefits.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>One third of these studies included only yoga breathing exercises, and the rest included breathing, postures, and meditation. The yoga practice lasted anywhere from two weeks to four and a half years, though it was less than six months in most studies.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Overall, yoga slightly improved symptoms and quality of life and reduced the need for medications.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The quality of the evidence, though, was moderate at best, and the effects of yoga on lung function were far from consistent.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>None of the studies reported any serious ill effects from yoga, but more research would be needed to make reliable conclusions about unwanted side effects.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We found that yoga probably improves quality of life and asthma symptoms to some extent,&quot; the researchers conclude. &quot;However, our confidence in the results is low as most of the studies were flawed in various ways.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;High-quality studies involving large numbers of participants are required for us to be able to draw a firm conclusion about the effects of yoga for asthma,&quot; they add.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Dr. Holger Cramer from University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany completed a similar review in 2014. He told Reuters Health by email, &quot;Giving yoga, specifically yogic breathing, a try can be worthwhile in asthma patients. As the evidence is not really strong, no wonders should be expected but yoga is likely to do more good than harm.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Breathing techniques are an essential part of yoga when targeting asthma,&rdquo; Cramer said. &ldquo;While posture-based yoga interventions and mere meditation might not be this effective; complex yoga forms [incorporating yoga postures, breathing, and meditation] and yoga forms that only include breathing techniques are more or less equally effective.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;More research is needed before we can conclusively judge the effectiveness of yoga in patients with asthma,&rdquo; he agreed.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The complete review of these studies appears in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tang did not respond to a request for comments.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Tue, 03 May 2016 09:30:00 +0000 Reuters 2469299 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/11/28/43/yoga.jpg