WHO hails progress in fight against tobacco but wants more

Images show two of nine cigarette warning labels from the US Food and Drug Administration. (AP)
Updated 27 July 2019

WHO hails progress in fight against tobacco but wants more

  • More than half the world’s population – 3.9 billion people in 91 countries – now see large graphic warnings on packs of cigarettes and other tobacco products, the report found

LONDON: Healthy progress has been made in reducing smoking and tobacco use, but governments need to do more to help the world’s 1.1 billion smokers quit, the World Health Organization said on Friday.
Tobacco use has also declined proportionately in most countries, the WHO said in a report. But population growth means the number of people using tobacco remains stubbornly high. Around 80 percent the world’s 1.1 billion smokers live in poor and middle-income countries.
“Quitting tobacco is one of the best things any person can do for their own health,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general.
He said governments that introduced anti-smoking policies such as raising taxes on cigarettes and banning tobacco advertising were providing “the practical tools to help people kick the habit, adding years to their life.”
Smoking and other tobacco use kills more than 7 million people a year globally, latest WHO data show. Many of these deaths are from heart disease, stroke and other diseases, as well as from lung and other types of cancer.
The WHO report found that some 5 billion people live in countries that have introduced smoking bans, graphic warnings on packaging and other effective tobacco controls — four times more people than a decade ago.
But many countries are still not adequately implementing policies, it said. It urged governments to make greater effort to introduce six key anti-tobacco measures it calls MPOWER, which include free services for people wanting to quit, protecting people from tobacco smoke, graphic danger warnings, higher tobacco taxes and advertising bans.
The report found that 36 countries have introduced one or more MPOWER measure at the highest level.
Only 23 countries have implemented quit-smoking support policies at the highest level, it found, but 116 more fully or partly cover the cost of services and another 32 offer services but do not cover their cost.
More than half the world’s population – 3.9 billion people in 91 countries – now see large graphic warnings on packs of cigarettes and other tobacco products, the report found. 


Discover Bahrain's Indigo Restaurant’s rooftop riches

Enjoy Asian-Mediterranean flavors at Bahrain’s five-star boutique hotel. (Supplied)
Updated 23 August 2019

Discover Bahrain's Indigo Restaurant’s rooftop riches

MANAMA: You wouldn’t expect to find a palatial and tranquil rooftop restaurant smack in the middle of Bahrain’s oldest and busiest commercial center, the Manama Souq. Yet just a few meters from the iconic 70-year old Bab Al Bahrain lies Indigo Restaurant, the in-house eatery of five-star boutique hotel The Merchant House.

From the moment you step into the restaurant foyer, this fine-dining establishment promises respite from the summer heat, traffic snarls and mayhem of the capital city down below. Once seated, take a moment to appreciate the stately décor. With plenty of floral furnishing, flora, and foliage in aureate lighting, it’s like sitting in a greenhouse (without the heat). Add in the rustic wood furniture and striking artwork (by local Bahraini artists) and Indigo Restaurant is an ideal venue for both a casual evening sipping mocktails with friends or a celebratory three-course meal with that special someone.

Large French doors open onto an expansive terrace with mist machines, a trickling pool, backyard lighting, and no-fuss seating. It’s a fairytale setting worthy of staging a production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The menu is a fusion of Asian and Mediterranean food, so patrons can expect a lot of fresh, seasonal ingredients paired with piquant Asian flavors. Take, for example, the restaurant’s best-selling appetizer, the Beef Rib Samjang — cherry wood-smoked beef rib served with Korean-style sweet-chili sauce atop crisp, Belgian endive. The appetizer comes with a side of the pipirrana salad — a Spanish classic. A simple goat-cheese salad is elevated with marinated figs, lavash crisps, and a Japanese-style yuzu hazelnut dressing.

To create such distinctive flavors, executive chef Robert Shipman draws on his two decades of experience in southern Europe and, later, with chef Nobu Matsuhisa (of the acclaimed Nobu Restaurant in Dubai and the more recent Nobu Jeddah pop-up). Shipman specializes in Asian cuisine and is renowned for his Greek-Japanese fusion meals in Cyprus. He also brings flavors from the Maldives, Ibiza, and Morocco to Indigo’s menu. Alongside cured and raw meats and sushi, the menu also features a small selection of burgers, including classics like mushroom and Wagyu burgers. The pasta and risotto offerings — tagliatelle Napolitana, risotto funghi, and prawn tagiatelle — are kept strictly Italian.

Shipman says he defers to restaurant patrons for a winning menu. A main that has won the popular vote is the sesame and nigella seed crusted and sautéed hammour. The crunch of the outer crust compliments the soft meat of the fillet and the accompanying bok choy and Moroccan chermoula sauce lend bitter and sweet flavors.

Although the flavor pairings remain more or less the same — meat slow-cooked with balsamic sauce, garlic, and thyme — Shipman’s 18-hour lamb shank stands out from those on other menus in the region. The lamb comes apart effortlessly, giving you a mouthful of meat soaked in balsamic sauces, buttery-soft herb polenta, and dry cherry. It is an ambrosial main.

A summer night calls for a light desert, and the frutti di bosco hits the right spot with assorted forest berries, airy honeycomb crisp, crème de Violette marshmallows, and a dollop of passion cream to offset the tartness of the berries. The Kaffir lime panna cotta with fresh mango sauce, and the yuzu white chocolate cheesecake with walnut halva also come highly recommended, but there is only so much one can devour in an evening. Still, the fresh flavors and the summer garden are enough incentive to come back for more.