Camel race and shows cap Europe’s first International Festival for Camels

Camel race and shows cap Europe’s first International Festival for Camels
The International Festival for Camels was held over two days in Janvry, on the outskirts of Paris. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 17 September 2019

Camel race and shows cap Europe’s first International Festival for Camels

Camel race and shows cap Europe’s first International Festival for Camels
  • The activities ranged from a scientific forum to review the latest research on camels to an introduction to the culture of camels

JEDDAH: Sunday marked the end of Europe’s first International Festival for Camels, which was held over two days in Janvry, on the outskirts of Paris.

The festival was held under the patronage of the International Camel Organization, which is chaired by the president of the Camel Club, Fahad bin Falah bin Hethlen, in cooperation with the French government.

It kicked off last Saturday in the presence of Janvry’s mayor, a representative of the French Chamber of Commerce, the president of the French Federation of Camels, the secretary-general of the International Camel Organization Dr. Mubarak Al-Swilim, and the Camel Club’s CEO Khaled Abu Hmeid.

The activities ranged from a scientific forum to review the latest research on camels to an introduction to the culture of camels. 

The organization’s efforts would not have been successful without the support of King Salman and the guidance and support of the crown prince and the general supervisor of the Camel Club.

Fahad bin Falah bin Hethlen, president of the Camel Club

It included an exhibition of camel products, camel shows for the public and a European camel race.

Bin Hethlen said that the sponsorship and presence of the International Camel Organization in Europe’s first International Festival for Camels is part of the organization’s efforts to promote camel culture and activities in the world.

He added: “This is a continuation of what was done during the Central Asian Conference, which we organized last August in Kyrgyzstan. There are more international initiatives that will be announced soon.”

He ended by saying that the organization’s efforts would not have been successful without the support of King Salman and the guidance and support of the crown prince and the general supervisor of the Camel Club.

The organization is sponsored by Saudi Arabia, which is its headquarters.


Women to the fore in the GCC

Women to the fore in the GCC
Updated 09 March 2021

Women to the fore in the GCC

Women to the fore in the GCC
  • Arab News talks to two prominent female figures in Bahrain to mark International Women’s Day on March 8.

RIYADH: Arab women today play an essential role in moving the economy and social development of the region towards a more prosperous future.

Mona Almoayyed and Ahdeya Ahmed have been avid proponents of women’s empowerment, and it is large in part due to their efforts women are now at the frontlines of advancement in the region.

Almoayyed is an internationally recognised businesswoman, philanthropist, environmentalist and women’s rights campaigner, as well as a member of the Bahraini Shura Council.

“I was chosen by His Majesty the King in 2018 to be a member of the Shura Council, which is a big honour and, I think, was because of my knowledge in business, and also because of my social activities with the environment and migrant workers,” Almoayyed said.

Almoayyed most recently worked on the introduction of a law regarding the study and use of stem cells.

Ahmed made history in 2019 when she became the first woman elected president of the Bahrain Journalists’ Association (BJA), beating her male rival by four votes.

“Working in the Shura Council has been an education for me, it’s like going to university,” she said.

Along with her political role in the Kingdom, Almoayyed is also the managing director of Y.K. Almoayyed & Sons — one of the prominent family businesses in the Kingdom — where she defied social norms by inheriting the entire enterprise from her late father.

“For a woman in the 1970s it was all full of challenges. To start with, your father doesn’t look at you the way he looks at his sons,” the mother of four said. “He always referred to my brothers, that they were going to run the business, so it was a big challenge for me to prove to him that I’m as good as my brothers. Finally I succeeded and he was always praising me.”

Almoayyed currently leads the Bahrain Businesswomen’s Society and was ranked number 10 by Forbes in its Middle East’s Power Businesswomen 2021 category.

“I have been very active in the Bahrain Businesswomen’s Society. We started this society in 2000 and I was the third president there, and it’s still strongly supporting women in all fields,” she said.

Her achievements include the successful nomination of two ladies in the Chamber of Commerce, dealing with issues of gender discrimination in the workplace and aiding migrant labourers during the nationalization of domestic jobs.

Ahmed made history in 2019 when she became the first woman elected president of the Bahrain Journalists’ Association (BJA), beating her male rival by four votes. She is the editor-in-chief of Almaraa (The Woman) newspaper, which has been published out of Dubai since the start of 2021.

“Where we are today is somewhere we never expected to be,” she said. “Today, I’m proud to say, as I run the Bahrain Journalists’ Association, that more than 50 percent of journalists in Bahrain are women. Before, it was uncommon to see a lot of women in this field.”

Her journey in journalism began at the age of 18. She went on to be a member of the founding editorial team for the Bahrain Tribune, before setting a new benchmark for women in the GCC as president of the BJA.

Today Ahmed is working closely with the government of Bahrain on amendments to the 2002 Press Law, which will empower journalists and help them financially.

“We know that a lot of our colleagues who are passionate about journalism choose to go and work for private companies as public relations just because they need a source of income,” she said.

“This Press Law is going to make a wide and positive contribution toward saving the media industry and saving the jobs of our colleagues.”

The BJA president said that, as a woman, she did not face challenges of the kind that Almoayyad had. She took every opportunity that came her way with the support of her male superiors—believing women are already empowered.

“The reality is today, we can’t even use the word empowerment, we’re asking for advancement,” she said.

The BJA president hailed Saudi Arabia for having supported the cause of females in journalism for 30 years.

“Saudi newspapers were embracing Bahraini journalists,” she said. “I have my name in print, I was covering stories and when I look at these things I feel ‘this is great,’ because at that time in 1991-1992 there was a vision to support women and to encourage them.”

When dealing with criticism, Ahmed firmly believes one must accept it fondly.

“If you are not criticised, there is no way you can improve. I want to see more women in leading positions in the press, in the newspaper industry.”


Egyptian swimmer breaks unusual 9-year-old monofin world record

Omar Sayed Shaaban, 21, from Ismailia recorded a 2 meter 30 centimeter jump, breaking the previous record held by fellow Ismailia native Soliman Sayed. (Supplied: GWR)
Omar Sayed Shaaban, 21, from Ismailia recorded a 2 meter 30 centimeter jump, breaking the previous record held by fellow Ismailia native Soliman Sayed. (Supplied: GWR)
Updated 03 March 2021

Egyptian swimmer breaks unusual 9-year-old monofin world record

Omar Sayed Shaaban, 21, from Ismailia recorded a 2 meter 30 centimeter jump, breaking the previous record held by fellow Ismailia native Soliman Sayed. (Supplied: GWR)
  • The civil engineering student has been swimming since he was 8-years-old
  • Monofins are shaped like a ‘mermaid’s tail’

LONDON: An Egyptian swimmer has broken the world record for the highest jump from water with a monofin.

Omar Sayed Shaaban, 21, from Ismailia recorded a 2 meter 30 centimeter jump, breaking the previous record held by fellow Ismailia native Soliman Sayed and Italians Cesare Fumarola and Stefano Figini, who all hit the 2 meter mark in 2011.

The civil engineering student has been swimming since he was 8-years-old, joining the Suez Canal Club a year later, and is now a professional sprinter swimmer coached by Farouk Al-Akhras.

Monofins, typically used in fin-swimming, free-diving and underwater orienteering, are shaped like a mermaid’s tail and swimming with them is considered a niche sport. 

Training to beat the record has changed the way Shaaban eats, sleeps and trains as well, with three training sessions a day, two of them in water, with a gym session in between.

“I practise to increase my limb beat frequency and obtain stiffer muscles, but my aim is never to bulk up,” he said. “Bigger muscles make it hard to sprint in water, so I work out to maintain cutting cycle, increase flexibility, enhance muscle reflexes and of course build stronger legs.”

As a junior, Shaaban was ranked as the second fastest swimmer in the world, and he currently holds three world medals (two silvers and a bronze), and he achieved the new world record during a 3-month training programme for another upcoming championship.

He can cross 50 meters underwater on one held breath in only 15.6 seconds, and 100 meters using a snorkel in 35.5 seconds.

“As a sprinter, I understand that even thinking burns oxygen, so I tend to focus on the present moment. Part of our training is to learn how to be extremely relaxed inside the water,” he said.

“Swimming is peaceful. A rush of unexplainable thoughts crosses your mind underwater, but it is certainly different and healing.”

The young Egyptian told Guinness World Records he wasproud with the recognition received following his achievement, adding that he hopes to train in better conditions with full focus on the world record and raise the bar higher.

One of his dreams, he said, was moving from second to hold the title of fastest swim sprinter in the world, adding he was “just a couple of milliseconds away” from reaching top spot.


Dubai cat cafe hopes rescues will find purr-fect new homes

Dubai cat cafe hopes rescues will find purr-fect new homes
Updated 28 February 2021

Dubai cat cafe hopes rescues will find purr-fect new homes

Dubai cat cafe hopes rescues will find purr-fect new homes
  • The cafe’s original residents were strays taken in by the family over the years
  • Now Ailuromania hosts cats from a government-run animal shelter in the neighboring emirate of Ras al Khaimah, hoping to increase adoptions

DUBAI: A haven for humans craving furry feline company, a cat cafe in Dubai also doubles as an adoption center for some of the United Arab Emirates’ many strays.
The Ailuromania Cat Cafe, which was the Middle East’s first cat cafe when it opened in 2015, hopes the relaxing properties of its 25 rescue and shelter cats will help find them their forever homes.
“Anyone who is stressed just has to find a cat. All your stress will go away,” said Omnia Fareed, whose two cat-loving sisters Allaa and Iman started the cafe after university, taking inspiration from similar establishments in Korea and London.
The cafe’s original residents were strays taken in by the family over the years. Now Ailuromania hosts cats from a government-run animal shelter in the neighboring emirate of Ras al Khaimah, hoping to increase adoptions.
The cafe’s name Ailuromania is a play on the Greek-derived English word for a lover of cats: ailurophile.
The cafe has regular customers who come seeking relaxation from the stresses of life, or because they cannot keep a cat at home.
“They are so cute, they love playing,” said visitor Shaasthra. She said she appreciates how the cafe looks after the cats’ welfare by advising people not to hold them or wake them up.
Another regular visitor, a street cat who would stare in through the window, was also invited and eventually adopted.
Since Dubai began lifting coronavirus lockdown measures last summer, the cafe re-opened with capacity and sanitization restrictions.
Dubai has a large number of stray cats, with many abandoned on the streets by their owners. In 2018 UAE authorities made it illegal to abandon animals, but animal welfare activists in Dubai have for years called for a large-scale trap-neuter-release scheme and feeding programs to bring numbers down humanely.
In August, Dubai municipality issued a circular restating a policy of fining anyone caught feeding strays, saying it increases the spread of diseases.


Chinese court orders man to pay former wife $7,700 for five years of housework

Chinese court orders man to pay former wife $7,700 for five years of housework
Updated 24 February 2021

Chinese court orders man to pay former wife $7,700 for five years of housework

Chinese court orders man to pay former wife $7,700 for five years of housework
  • The award of compensation for housework sparked debate on Chinese social media

BEIJING: A Chinese court has ordered a man to pay his former wife 50,000 yuan ($7,700) as compensation for housework she did during their five-year marriage, state media reported on Wednesday.
Under a landmark civil code that seeks to better protect the rights of individuals, spouses can seek compensation from their partners in a divorce if they have shouldered more responsibilities — including housework.
The woman, who did not work outside the home during the marriage, sought compensation for housework she had done after her husband filed for divorce at a district court in Beijing last year.
The judge ruled in her favor, telling the man to pay 50,000 yuan for her labor, according to state television.
He must also pay 2,000 yuan a month to support their child, with other assets such as property to be divided equally.
The award of compensation for housework sparked debate on Chinese social media, with many netizens saying the amount was too little.
“A nanny’s annual income is already in the tens of thousands of yuan,” said a social media user. “This is too little.”


Experts warn of ‘dangerous’ keto diet side effects

Experts warn of ‘dangerous’ keto diet side effects
A reduction of carbohydrate intake and increase in fats place the body in a metabolic state called ketosis. (Supplied)
Updated 20 February 2021

Experts warn of ‘dangerous’ keto diet side effects

Experts warn of ‘dangerous’ keto diet side effects
  • “The keto diet can also affect your performance during certain exercises, and you won’t be able to work out as intensely or as often as before”

JEDDAH: The ketogenic diet has become one of the fastest-growing dietary trends, but experts have warned that many of its advocates are unaware of the dangerous side effects the diet can cause.

According to Healthline.com, the ketogenic diet, commonly known as keto, is a low-carb, high-fat diet that shares similarities with low carb and Atkins diets. A reduction of carbohydrate intake and increase in fats place the body in a metabolic state called ketosis.
However, the diet has led to severe side effects for some people.
“The keto diet should only be done under clinical supervision, and only for brief periods of time,” Dr. Ruwaida Idrees, a nutritionist, CEO and owner of Hayati Ghethaei, a catering company, told Arab News.
She added that the keto diet should only be considered in “extreme cases,” because it can do “more harm than good.”
Idrees said: “It can cause damage to the heart, since the heart is also a muscle.”
Consulting a doctor, completing necessary tests and discussing goals with a clinical dietitian should all be considered before starting a keto diet, she added.
Idrees said there are many misconceptions surrounding the keto diet and exercise, adding that exercise can still reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity and other health conditions.
People need to be careful about the types of exercises they practice, she said. “The keto diet can also affect your performance during certain exercises, and you won’t be able to work out as intensely or as often as before.”
Fouz Ghannamil, a fitness trainer, told Arab News that the diet appeared to work for many people. “It is good, but my own opinion is that the human body needs more nutrition than just fat and a really small dose of carbohydrates.”
She added: “It has a high portion of proteins which is good, but the fat sources, no matter how good they are, are a bit too much. It is better in my opinion that the portion of fat and carbs is balanced.”
Ghannamil suggested a better alternative for people looking to shed pounds this year — sticking to a diet of “80 percent healthy food and 20 percent junk food.
“Because naturally, your mind will desire junk food that is not natural, however, it has loads of fat in and your body can use it as an energy source.”
She warned people considering a new diet to stick to a balanced nutrition pyramid that contains everything they need: Protein, carbohydrates and fat.
She added that people should avoid diets based solely on numbers rather than personal experience.
Idrees, on the other hand, proposed the Mediterranean diet as a simpler alternative to the keto diet, saying that it has a good balance of seafood and other sources of proteins, moderate portions of dairy and a limited intake of red meat.