Cuban cigar ‘readers’ touted for UNESCO heritage honor

Updated 26 November 2012
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Cuban cigar ‘readers’ touted for UNESCO heritage honor

HAVANA: The shifts are long and dull at Cuba’s cigar factories, with workers cutting and rolling leaves known around the world for their top quality.
For 150 years, it has been a tradition to have someone read aloud to them as a way to ease the grind — anything from great works of literature to cooking recipes. Now, an idea has emerged to make that custom part of UNESCO’s world cultural heritage. Miguel Barnet, a poet and ethnologist and president of the Cuban writers federation, said some day Cuba hopes the UN cultural organization will honor the custom by declaring it one of the world’s intangible treasures, the newspaper Granma reported Saturday.
Flamenco in Spain is another example.
It all started in a cigar factory in Havana in 1865 and spread rapidly.
These days some 300 people work as readers, reciting classical literature, political, social or legal texts or even how to cook certain dishes.
The cigar makers, working with trademark curved knives, bang them on their work tables if they like what they hear, or toss them to the ground if they do not.


Amal Clooney attends American University of Beirut bash in London

Despite being one of the most celebrated couples in Hollywood after their 2014 marriage and the birth of twins a year ago, Amal and George Clooney rarely speak of their private life. (AFP)
Updated 34 min 38 sec ago
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Amal Clooney attends American University of Beirut bash in London

DUBAI: Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney gave a speech at an American University of Beirut alumni event alongside her father in London over the weekend.

George Clooney’s wife attended the WAAAUB UK Chapter’s bash on Saturday night in Knightsbridge’s glitzy Jumeirah Carlton Hotel, wearing a crushed velvet gown in a shade of burgundy.

Amal, 40, also attended the launch of Italian designer Giambattista Valli’s new store on London’s swanky Sloane Street on the weekend.

It seems burgundy is the color of the moment as she donned a one-shoulder jumpsuit in the shade for the event. The ruffled neckline added flair to the outfit, which she paired with loose, wavy hair and a clutch bag.

The lawyer and activist, who shot to celebrity stardom when she married Clooney in 2014, is no stranger to the spotlight and earlier this year was photographed by the legendary Annie Leibovitz for the cover of Vogue’s May 2018 issue.

“One of the many conversations we’ve been having at Vogue lately is about who exactly should be gracing our covers given the radically changed world we now live in. We’ve always taken the position that the women we feature should have substance to them, something that has only taken on greater urgency in the last year or so,” US Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour wrote in her editor’s letter for the edition.

“That’s why I’m delighted that Amal Clooney, a force to be reckoned with in the realms of international law and human rights, agreed to appear on our May cover.”

Earlier this month, she paid unprecedented public tribute to her movie star husband, calling him a gentleman, an amazing husband and father and the love of her life, Reuters reported.

The lawyer was addressing a star-studded lifetime achievement award ceremony in Hollywood for “Ocean’s Eleven” star Clooney.

But she said it was easier for her “to address a court on behalf of detainees than to speak publicly, as I am doing for the first time tonight, about my husband.

“I met George when I was 35 and starting to become quite resigned to the idea that I would be a spinster. Then we met,” Amal Clooney told the audience, packed with friends and A-list stars like Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Aniston, model Cindy Crawford and Diane Keaton.

“Five years later, he is the person who has my complete admiration and also the person whose smile makes me melt every time,” she added.

Despite being one of the most celebrated couples in Hollywood after their 2014 marriage and the birth of twins a year ago, Amal and George Clooney rarely speak of their private life.