Egypt Independent: Life Style-Main news en Hero's welcome for SAfrica's first Miss World in 40 years <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>South Africa on Saturday welcomed home Miss World winner Rolene Strauss with wild cheers and ululation.</p><p>Hundreds turned up at O.R. Tambo International Airport to greet Strauss after the 22-year-old medical student was crowned Miss World 2014 at a glitzy final in London last Sunday.</p><p>Dressed in the country&#39;s national colours, South Africans waved placards, flags and portraits of Strauss at a colourful ceremony staged at the airport in Johannesburg.</p><p>She accepted a bouquet of flowers from a young girl in a wheelchair.</p><p>Strauss is the first Miss World from South Africa since 1974 when the title was won by Anneline Kriel.</p><p>Among those at the airport was the country&#39;s first winner of the title in 1958, Penny Coelen-Rey, now a 74-year-old grandmother.</p><p>&quot;We can be truly proud that she has brought the title back to South Africa,&quot; she said.</p><p>Leading the welcome party Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula evoked the memory of the country&#39;s first black president and icon, Nelson Mandela, who died a year ago.</p><p>&quot;We are a proud nation today,&quot; said Mbalula. &quot;Nelson Mandela is smiling on us, that his idea of a free democratic South Africa, a united nation, a rainbow nation is still alive today.&quot;</p><p>Strauss stepped into the airport&#39;s arrivals hall to deafening cheers and chants.</p><p>&quot;I have no words to describe what I am feeling at this moment,&quot; she said, adding that taking part in the Miss World 2014 contest made her realise how &quot;powerful&quot; South Africa is.</p><p>&quot;The words South Africa mean unity, freedom, forgiveness, a bright future,&quot; she said.</p><p>The famous Soweto Gospel Choir, which featured at the FIFA World Cup draw held in Cape Town in December 2009, led the performance to welcome Strauss.</p><p>One of fans carried a placard reading &quot;Marry me Rolene&quot;.</p> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 12:10:00 +0000 AFP 2441594 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/12/20/499612/heros_welcome_for_safricas_first_miss_world_in_40_years.jpg Caramel apple bacteria kills at least 4 in US <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.</p><p>Listeria monocytogenes is caused by a bacteria and can cause life-threatening illness. It is particularly dangerous for children, the elderly and pregnant women, in whom it can cause miscarriage.</p><p>A total of 83 percent of those interviewed so far (15 of 18 people) said they had recently eaten caramel-coated apples.</p><p>The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged consumers in the United States not to eat commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples until further notice.</p><p>&quot;Out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends that US consumers do not eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples, including plain caramel apples as well as those containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings, until more specific guidance can be provided,&quot; the CDC said in a statement.</p><p>Of the 28 infected, 26 were hospitalized and five people died.</p><p>&quot;Listeriosis contributed to at least four of these deaths,&quot; said the CDC.</p><p>Nine of the cases were pregnancy-related and involved either mothers-to-be or their newborn infants.</p><p>Three cases of meningitis -- a dangerous complication of listeriosis -- among otherwise healthy children aged five to 15 were also reported.</p><p>The illnesses have spread across 10 states.</p><p>Listeria can cause fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea, and symptoms typically begin within a few days to a couple of months after eating a contaminated product.</p><p>The bacteria is found in soil, water and animal feces.</p><p>Listeria can infect raw vegetables, animal meat, unpasteurized milk and processed foods such as cheese dips and deli meats.</p> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:49:00 +0000 AFP 2441571 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/12/19/499612/caramel_apple_bacteria.jpg Old rowers defy boredom <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>You see a small boat from Al-Galaa Bridge. At first glance, they appear to be strong young men rowing, but if you look closer, you will see wrinkled hands.</p><p>After finishing his work in the operating room, 80-year-old plastic surgeon Ahmed Aboul Seoud goes to the Egyptian Rowing Club. He became involved the sport in 1950 and traveled abroad to participate in many races. He still practices rowing every week. &ldquo;I learned rowing at Fouad I University, which is now Cairo University,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</p><p>Dr. Aboul Seoud often donates money to the club. &ldquo;They wrote my name on the boat as a thank you note,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Participating in sports at an old age might be unfamiliar to Egyptian culture, but 67-year-old Engineer Abdel Samie is encouraged by his family. &ldquo;My wife rows on the simulator to share the experience with me,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>The children of Mohi Eddin al-Sheikh, a businessman who lived in Germany for 30 years, encouraged him to continue. &ldquo;I&#39;ve won several races,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;The German papers called me the Egyptian Crocodile.&rdquo;</p><p>Ayman Farid Abu Hadid, the former minister of agriculture, is 64 years old. &ldquo;Sports are essential for old people,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>Engineer Ayman Wanas is 52 years old. He played karate, squash and tennis when he was young. &ldquo;I picked up rowing six months ago to kill boredom,&rdquo; he says.</p><p><br /><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:03:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2441558 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/12/19/500478/old_rowers.jpeg White House releases snapshot of plan to rate U.S. colleges <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>The White House on Friday released a draft of its plan to rate U.S. colleges and tie federal aid to performance as a way to coax institutions to pull up their socks.</p><p>The U.S. Education Department will rate institutions on their performance, intake of low-income students, completion rates, affordability, employment prospects and student loan repayment rates.</p><p>&quot;Relatively simple metrics like the percentage of students repaying their loans on time might be important as consumers weigh whether or not they will be able to handle their financial obligations after attending a specific school,&quot; the Education Department said in the document released Friday.&nbsp;</p><p>President Barack Obama in 2013 announced the move to start rating colleges as part of a plan to curb the growing cost of higher education and runaway student loan debt and to improve job prospects for college students.</p><p>The college rating system would classify colleges as high-, low- or middle-perfoming.</p><p>Congressional Republicans and education trade groups opposed to the plan say it is a form of government overreach that would hurt colleges serving low-income students.</p><p>&quot;If after nearly a year and half of work, this is all the Department can muster, it seems to support the long held belief by many in higher education that while a college rating system is admirable in theory, it is not feasible to create metrics that definitively assess the quality of so many institutions across the country,&quot; Steve Gunderson, president and chief executive of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, said in a statement.</p><p>The federal government provides more than $150 billion in student aid annually.</p><p>Supporters of a ratings system would hold institutions accountable and help prospective students weigh the pros and cons of choosing a particular college.</p><p>&quot;Right now, prospective students and their families lack access to comprehensive and useable information for one of the biggest financial investments they&rsquo;ll ever make. Taxpayers should not write a blank check to schools that fail to serve students,&quot; Jennifer Wang, policy director at Young Invincibles an organization focused on issues affecting 18 to 34-year-olds.</p><p>The Education Department is seeking public comments on the plan and expects to have a final rating system by the 2015-2016 academic year.</p> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 07:32:00 +0000 Reuters 2441536 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/12/19/499612/white_house_releases_snapshot_of_plan_to_rate_u.s._colleges.jpg