Egypt Independent: Life Style-Main news en Egypt promises to woo the crowds in 2014 Global Village <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Global Village, Dubai&rsquo;s leading family entertainment, shopping and cultural destination, opens its doors this year from 6 November 2014 till 11 April 2015 to the public, with Egypt promising to woo the crowds.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In its 19th season, 40 countries from all over the world will come together to present their culture and traditions through exhibits, culinary demos, musical live performances, including unique dancing and new stunt shows.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The United States will be participating for the first time in the event, while Egypt has vowed to live up to expectations building on its huge success in previous seasons.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;The fact that the Egyptian pavilion won the first place in design and performance for three consecutive times, puts a burden on our shoulders to maintain a positive image among other participant countries,&rdquo; said Ibrahim Gaber, the organizer of Egypt&rsquo;s pavilion and the chairman of the board of 3B United Group.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Gaber added that this year is set to be the best yet with innovative, interactive exhibits and exhilarating performances aiming to promote the country&rsquo;s tourism sector.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The inauguration ceremony will be attended by a big number of Egyptian intellectuals, writers, singers, actors and media professionals for a greater impact.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Global Village kicked off its first season in 1996 with small kiosks representing different countries and welcoming 500,000 international visitors.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Over the years, the idea of Global village was met with great enthusiasm. In 2013, more that 6 million people flocked to the village to enjoy the amazing theme park environment. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>As for the destination itself, the professional organizers of the London 2012 Olympics Gamer and Prince William&rsquo;s wedding will take charge this year planning to bring the event to a higher level as 36 new rides and games will be scattered all over the fairground.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/ei/hdr-1.jpg" style="width: 536px; height: 402px;" /></div><div style="margin-left: 40px;">The dancing musical fountain in Global Village moves to the beats of music.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:53:00 +0000 Heba Helmy 2439375 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/10/30/484151/dsc_1787.jpg In France, kebabs get wrapped up in identity politics <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>In a country whose national identity is so closely connected to its cuisine, France&#39;s hard right has seized on a growing appetite for kebabs as proof of cultural &quot;Islamisation.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Four kebab houses opened last month in Blois, bringing the total to over a dozen in the pretty Loire valley town where tourists come to see the castle. The far-right National Front party railed: &quot;The historical center of Blois, the jewel of French history, is turning into an Oriental city.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The implicit message is clear: the now ubiquitous kebab, popular with the young and cash-strapped, is a sign that Middle Eastern culture has taken root in France, where not everyone is happy about the presence of 5 million Muslims.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The kebab is a bit of a reflection of all the problems with immigration and integration in France,&quot; says Thibaut Le Pellec, founder of, a website that ranks kebab houses across the country and seeks to raise the reputation of the &quot;kebabistes&quot; who make and sell the food.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Damien Schmitz, who runs a kebab shop in Paris, puts it more bluntly: by criticizing the kebab, he says, &quot;you can speak ill of Muslims without speaking ill of Muslims.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Introduced by Turkish immigrants to Paris in the 1990s, the doner kebab -- where meat is carved off an upright rotating spit and served in a flatbread with salad and spicy sauce -- quickly found favor with France&#39;s North African population raised on spiced halal meat in tagines and stews.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The dish adapted to the French palate, served in crusty bread, with the addition of a creamy white sauce and side of fries.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Now, some 300 million kebabs at about 6 euros each are eaten in 10,200 outlets in France each year, putting the 1.5 billion euro ($1.9 billion) industry just behind burgers and pizza, according to Gira Conseil, a market research company.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Kebabs are everywhere - in cities and towns, in supermarket freezers and drive-throughs. One brand of potato chips is even kebab-flavoured, and advertised by Yohan Cabaye, a white footballer who plays for France and Paris Saint-Germain.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>&quot;Kebabisation&quot;</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But despite its rapid rise in popularity, the kebab has a lingering reputation -- perpetuated in part by hidden-camera TV shows that have exposed some insalubrious kitchen conditions -- of greasy junk food served in dodgy corner shops by non-assimilated Muslim immigrants.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>With food often used as a metaphor for French identity, the National Front has made a campaign issue of opposing the widespread supply of halal meat, something it sees as Islam impinging on French traditions.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The metaphor is not restricted to meat. One right-wing politician created a furore in 2012 by repeating an unsubstantiated anecdote about how a schoolchild had a &#39;pain au chocolat&#39; -- a quintessential French pastry -- snatched from his hands by Muslims who were fasting for Ramadan.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Campaigning for local elections last March, National Front candidates across the country criticised the rise of kebab shops, with one coining the phrase that France was undergoing a &quot;kebabisation.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The contrast is sharp with Germany, where the ever-present doner kebab is viewed as a positive symbol of Turkish integration into German society.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Chancellor Angela Merkel has been photographed slicing a doner on at least three occasions, while British opposition leader Ed Miliband wrote to industry website British Kebab hailing the &quot;hard work and dedication of businesses in this industry to bringing high quality food at affordable prices&quot;.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>No French politicians have done anything similar.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Kebab Chic</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We&#39;re not asking anyone to sing the praises of kebabs or to make kebabs a French dish, as we know that will never happen,&quot; said Ilhan Arslan, who in 2006 launched France&#39;s first chain of kebab restaurants, O&#39;Kebap, now with 13 outlets and growing.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;But it&#39;s just like the image France has today with its own immigrants ... they bring a richness to France and yet France doesn&#39;t embrace that,&quot; added Arslan, whose father was a kebab shop owner in Izmir, Turkey. &quot;It&#39;s the same thing with kebabs.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Kebab shops that draw meager foot traffic often arouse allegations of being fronts for money laundering, but such accusations are greatly exaggerated, say those in the industry.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>More damaging are charges of rampant food safety violations. Yet one health inspector, who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media, said those lapses were no more prevalent in kebab shops than in other restaurants.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Still, more French are learning to trust their stomachs, rather than the hype.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In Blois, kebab shop owner Oznur Puskulle acknowledged that for some &quot;when you say kebab, you mean Arab&quot;, but said that attitude was changing and noted her clientele was &quot;all French&quot;.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;When I was young, kebabs were really for foreigners. Now I see the kebab is open to everyone. It&#39;s evolved,&quot; she said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Schmitz, who quit his job as a strategic consultant to open his kebab house, OUR, near Paris Saint-Lazare station, kebabs are following the path pioneered by burgers, pizzas and sushi -- once seen as a foreign intrusion but now completely accepted.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Today&#39;s image problems will fade with the next generation, he argues, noting that the arrival of pizza in the 1960s brought with it charges of &quot;dirty Italian shopkeepers who don&#39;t speak French and stink of sweat.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;If I didn&#39;t think it was possible someday, I wouldn&#39;t have done it,&quot; said Schmitz, who even hired Michelin-starred chef Philippe Geneletti to create a low-fat, slow-marinated artisanal &quot;chic kebab.&quot;</div> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:52:00 +0000 Reuters 2439366 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/10/30/484151/kebab.jpg IATA: Global air passengers to more than double in 20 years <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>The number of people travelling by plane each year is expected to more than double to 7.3 billion by 2034, the International Air Transport Association said on Thursday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>That would represents average annual growth of 4.1 percent from the 3.3 billion passengers expected to travel this year, IATA, which represents around 240 global airlines, said in its first 20-year passenger growth forecast.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>China is expected to overtake the United States as the world&#39;s largest passenger market, in terms of passengers travelling to, from and within the country, by 2030, IATA added.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>While Asia-Pacific is predicted to enjoy annual growth rates of 4.9 percent over the next 20 years and North America 3.3 percent, Europe is set to have the slowest growth at 2.7 percent, according to the report.</div> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:16:00 +0000 Reuters 2439049 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/10/20/484151/airport.jpg Exercising three times a week significantly cuts depression risk <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Exercising three times a week reduces the odds of developing depression by around 16 percent, scientists said on Wednesday -- and for every extra weekly activity session, the risk drops further.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In a study conducted as part of a public health research consortium, the UK-based scientists said the relationship they found between depression and exercise points to ways to simultaneously improve both mental and physical health.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Assuming the association is causal, leisure time physical activity has a protective effect against depression,&quot; said Snehal Pinto Pereira of University College London&#39;s Institute of Child Health, who led the study.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;If an adult between their twenties and forties who isn&#39;t physically active became active three times per week, they would reduce their risk of depression by approximately 16 percent.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Depression is one of the most common forms of mental illness, affecting more than 350 million people worldwide. It is ranked by the World Health Organization as the leading cause of disability globally.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Treatment for depression usually involves either medication or psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Yet many patients fail to get better and suffer recurring bouts of illness.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Pereira&#39;s team followed 11,135 people born in 1958 up until the age of 50, recording their depressive symptoms and levels of physical activity at regular intervals as adults.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>To assess depression, they looked at responses to the Malaise Inventory, a questionnaire designed to measure psychological distress, at ages 23, 33, 42, and 50. Participants were also asked how often they exercised.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The results showed that people who increased their weekly activity reported fewer depressive symptoms, but those with more depressive symptoms were less active, particularly at younger ages. Each additional activity session per week reduced odds of depression by 6 percent.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The scientists noted that the link between exercise and depressive symptoms was seen across the whole population and not just in those at high risk of clinical depression.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The study also found that people who reported more depressive symptoms than others at age 23 tended to also be less physically active, but this link weakened as they grew older.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;This finding is important for policies designed to get people more active, because it suggests that depressive symptoms could be considered a barrier to activity in young adulthood,&quot; Pereira said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Chris Power, a UCL professor of epidemiology and public health who also worked on the study, said it added weight to existing evidence suggesting exercise could be used as a treatment for depression as well as boosting physical health.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;If everyone was physically active at least three times a week we would expect to see a drop in depression risk, not to mention the benefits for physical health, as pointed out by other research, including reduced obesity, heart disease and diabetes risk.&quot;</div> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:07:00 +0000 Reuters 2439046 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/10/20/484151/fitness.jpg