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  • New boss of German anti-Islam group PEGIDA resigned after a week


    SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Germany's anti-Islam group, PEGIDA announced its new leader, the 37 year old Oertel had quit as the head of Dersden based movement. PEDIGA said: "due to the massive hostility, threats and career disadvantages", adding: "Even the strongest of women has to take time out when at night photographers and other strange figures are sneaking around outside her house."

    PEDIGA's previous leader Bachmann announced his resignation last Wednesday after the daily Bild published a front-page photo of him with a Hitler moustache he had posted on Facebook.


    Independent/Ten Spanish Catholic priests charged with abusing children


    SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - A court in Granada in Spain charged 10 Catholic priests with sexually abusing altar boys in their care.

    The judge in the case, Judge Antonio Moreno Marin, published a five-page brief earlier this week after charging the priests. The details of his initial findings make for grim reading, even for those who have dealt with previous abuse cases involving paedophile priests.

    The investigation relates to the evidence of one of the altar boys, who claims that he was abused between 2004 and 2007 by a group of priests known as the “Romanones”. The brief states that the boy was 14 when the abuse began and says that the alleged ringleader, Roman Martinez, would invite him and others to a home he owned in Granada.


    Weight Changes Tied to Older Women’s Fracture Risk


    SHAFAQNA - Study found just a 5 percent change in weight may affect postmenopausal bone health

    WebMD News from HealthDay

    By Robert Preidt

    HealthDay Reporter

    WEDNESDAY, Jan. 28, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of broken bones increases with both  weight gain and loss in older women, according to a new study.

    These findings challenge the widely held belief that weight gain protects older women against  fractures , the researchers said.

    The study included data from more than 120,000 healthy postmenopausal women in the United States. The women were between the ages of 50 and 79 years old. Their health status was followed for an average of 11 years.

    weight loss of 5 percent or more was associated with a 65 percent higher risk of hip fracture, according to the researchers. They also found a 9 percent higher risk of upper limb fracture, and a 30 percent higher risk of central body fracture (hip, pelvis and spine) with weight loss.

    A weight gain of 5 percent or more was linked to a 10 percent higher risk of upper limb fracture and an 18 percent higher risk of lower limb fracture, the study found.

    The study wasn't designed to prove that weight loss or gain was responsible for the fractures, only that there was an association between these factors.

    The investigators also found that unintentional weight loss was associated with a higher risk of hip and  spine fractures. On the other hand, intentional weight loss was associated with a higher risk of lower limb fractures, but a lower risk of hip fractures.

    The study, by Carolyn Crandall, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine, and colleagues was published Jan. 27 in the journal BMJ.

    It's the first study to examine how weight changes affect older women's fracture risk in different parts of ...

    To improve kids’ sleep, cultivate good bedroom habits


    SHAFAQNA - Regular sleep-wake routines in the household not only help kids get good quality sleep, they also enable age-appropriate sleep duration, according to a new study from Pennsylvania State University in the US.

    Limited caffeine, a regular bedtime and reduced interaction with technological gizmos in the evening are all aspects of sleep hygiene that lead to improved sleep quality and duration, according to the study, which was published in the journal Sleep Health.

    The research team set out to understand how families approach sleep and so they assessed a total of 1,103 parents or guardians of children between the ages of 6 and 17 living in the US.

    Participants—of which 54 per cent were female—completed surveys and members of the research team interviewed them over the Internet.

    The grand majority understand the importance of sleep; however, a whopping 90 per cent of their offspring didn’t sleep as many hours as are recommended for their age group.

    The researchers provide what they call a conservative estimate that children between the ages of six and 11 should sleep nine hours per night and those between the ages of 12 and 17 should get in at least eight hours of shut-eye per night.

    What stood in the way in most cases was the intrusion of technology in the bedroom and lack of attention to the child’s caffeine consumption, according to the study.

    “We have previously demonstrated the negative effect that use of light-emitting technology before bedtime can have on sleep, and now in this study we see how parental rules and routines regarding technology can influence the quantity and quality of their children’s sleep,” says co-author Anne-Marie Chang, assistant professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State.

    Chang’s colleague Orfeu Buxton cited busy schedules that make it hard for both children and parents to get adequate sleep, ...

    Amid blow-out quarter, Apple barely mentions Mac sales



    Almost unnoticed on Tuesday during Apple's earnings call, the company said it sold 5.5 million Macs, a record for the December quarter.

    The Cupertino, Calif., company sold just 1,000 fewer Macs than in the September quarter, when it set an overall record.

    The Mac's $6.9 billion in revenue was its most ever, but was boosted by deferrals that landed on the books from the decision in 2013 to take the OS X operating system and iWork suite of applications free. Then, Apple said it would account for the paid-to-no-pay change by  doubling the amount of revenue it held back from Mac sales.

    But when combined with the blowout quarter for the iPhone and a holiday rebound for the iPad, the $6.9 billion in Mac revenue represented just 9% of Apple's total for the period, an all-time low for the 30-year-old computer line.

    Apple credited sales of the iMac with Retina 5K display, Apple's priciest iMac, for the uptick in revenue and a higher average selling price (ASP) than the quarter before.

    "Thanks to the popularity of our stunning new iMac with Retina 5K display, Mac ASPs increased by $58 sequentially," said CFO Luca Maestri in a Tuesday conference call with Wall Street. The Mac's ASP climbed to $1,258, a 5% quarter-over-quarter increase, ...

    Twitter Adding Video Sharing, Group Messaging Features


    SHAFAQNA - In the face of new social media competitors such as WhatsApp and Snapchat, venerable Twitter is rolling out two new features.

    Annie Heckenberger, an advertising expert and “community trailblazer” with Philadelphia-based advertising agency Red Tettemer, says Twitter has been historically slow in rolling out new features, but the social networking company is now releasing two major updates to its platform: group direct messages, and native video-sharing and editing.

    “The reasons behind these two features is most likely because they were seeing other, newer apps surpass them — like Instagram — so Twitter really needed to go back to the drawing board to figure out how to make their product a little more sticky,” she says.

    And Heckenberger says the new video feature is the most appealing to advertisers.

    “It plays within the tweet,” she explains, “so I don’t have to link out and send somebody to Youtube or Facebook or another platform. And thirty seconds is a sweet spot to tell a story with video.”

    Twitter says the features are rolling out to all users over the next few weeks.

    Source : http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2015/01/28/twitter-adding-video-sharing-group-messaging-features/

    Reuters.com/ Litvinenko post-mortem was world’s most dangerous ever, UK inquiry hears


    SHAFAQNA - Pathologists examining the body of ex-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, poisoned with a rare radioactive isotope London in 2006, carried out the world's most dangerous-ever post-mortem, an inquiry into his killing heard on Wednesday.

    They also said they would probably never have discovered the way he had been killed had unusual tests not been carried out just before his death.

    British police say Kremlin critic Litvinenko died three weeks after drinking tea poisoned with polonium-210 at a plush London hotel which they believe was administered by two  Russia ns Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitri Kovtun.

    At its opening at London's High Court on Tuesday, the inquiry was told Litvinenko had told police Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally ordered his death.

    His widow's lawyer said this was to partly to cover up Kremlin links to the mafia which the former spy was going to help Spanish intelligence to expose.

    Russia and the two suspects have repeatedly rejected any involvement in the death.

    Litvinenko's health deteriorated rapidly after his meeting with Lugovoy and Kovtun on Nov. 1, 2006 and he died three weeks later having suffered multiple organ failure.

    The inquiry was told "an inspired hunch" by police led them to bring in atomic scientists who found Litvinenko tested positive for alpha radiation poisoning two days before he died.

    Lead pathologist Nat Cary said without that, the cause of death would not have been discovered in a post-mortem, adding he was unaware of any other case of someone being poisoned with alpha radiation in Britain, and probably the world.

    Co-pathologist Benjamin Swift told the inquiry: "It was probably the most dangerous post-mortem that's ever been conducted."

    Those involved in the examination had needed to wear two white protective suits with specialised hoods fed with filtered air.

    The controversy generated by Litvinenko's killing plunged Anglo-Russian relations to a post-Cold ...

    China government agency slams Alibaba over management


    SHAFAQNA - A powerful Chinese regulator on Wednesday blasted e-commerce giant Alibaba for allowing "illegal" actions on its multi-billion-dollar online shopping platform, accusing executives of narcissism in an unusual government dressing down of a major domestic company.The State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC), charged with maintaining market order in China, said in an official report that Alibaba's platforms had hosted "long-standing" violations of online business laws and regulations.

    It took aim at Taobao, Alibaba's consumer-to-consumer platform which is estimated to hold more than 90 percent of the Chinese market, and Tmall.com, believed to command over half the market in China for business-to-consumer transactions.

    "Alibaba has not paid enough attention to illegal operations on its online trading platforms or taken effective measures to tackle them... placing itself in the biggest credibility crisis since its establishment," the SAIC said.

    The SAIC has become known for its crackdowns on foreign companies accused of violating China's anti-monopoly law. But its public dressing-down of such a prominent Chinese firm is unprecedented.

    The regulator accused Alibaba of poor oversight of its employees as well as merchants and products on its platforms, disorganised sales management and a flawed rating system for users.

    Business magazine Caixin described the SAIC document as a "bombshell aimed at Alibaba".

    Alibaba, founded by Jack Ma in 1999, is China's biggest e-commerce company. It listed on the New York Stock Exchange last year in the world's largest public offering to date, which made Ma China's richest person.

    The regulator revealed for the first time that SAIC gave Alibaba what it called "administrative guidance", a form of official censure, in July last year ahead of the IPO.

    It also explicitly stated that the meeting was held privately "in order to avoid impacting the progress of work before Alibaba's listing".

    In one of its requests to the ...

    Russia says N. Korea leader to visit, Kim not confirmed: report


    SHAFAQNA - Russia has confirmed that a North Korean leader will attend a World War II anniversary in Moscow in May, but did not specify if the leader in question was Kim Jong-Un, the Yonhap news agency reported Wednesday.

    If Kim does participate, it would mark his first foreign trip since taking power just over three years ago following the death of his father, Kim Jong-Il.

    Moscow has invited Kim to the event which marks the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany and will be attended by a host of world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping.

    Yonhap said the Kremlin, responding to an e-mailed query, said 20 leaders had confirmed their attendance so far, "including North Korea's leader".

    Kim's name was not specified, opening the possibility that the "leader" mentioned could be Kim Yong-Nam, North Korea's nominal head of state who usually represents the North on official visits.

    According to Yonhap, the Kremlin response also noted that the confirmation process was "still ongoing" and a final list of participants had yet to be drawn up.

    If Kim Jong-Un does make Moscow the destination of his first foreign trip, it would reflect a desire to reduce his country's dependence on China, which remains Pyongyang's main ally, diplomatic protector and economic buttress.

    Xi Jinping and Kim have kept their distance since each assumed power and Xi's first visit as head of state to the Korean peninsula was to the capitalist South last year, rather than the North.

    South Korean President Park Geun-Hye has also been invited to the Moscow event, but has yet to announce whether she will attend.

    Russia is one of North Korea's few allies, along with China. Both have opposed the United Nations' call for Pyongyang to be referred to the International Criminal Court over its human rights record.

    The late ...

    Dh10,000 fur coat keeps out chill at Global Village’s Pakistan pavilion


    SHAFAQNA - Pakistan pavilion at Global Village warms up DSF shopping with fur and leatherFur coats - including one for Dh10,000 - are keeping out the winter chill in style this Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) at the Pakistan pavilion at Global Village in Dubai.The pavilion boasts dozens of fur and leather stalls selling jackets, coats, handbags and accessories at reasonable prices.

    However, not all fur coats are created equal - some will set you back thousands of dirhams.

    An incredibly soft overcoat made of fur from a mixed breed of platinum foxes costs Dh10,000. "Just put it on and you'll see why it's so special," Ahmad Khokhar, the seller, said.


    Snuggling into the long coat, with the collar brushing the face, was like sliding into a cosy bed under layers of warm silk.

    Khokhar, a young man from Pakistan, offered to demonstrate its authenticity by burning a tuft of fur with a lighter.

    "Real fur gives off the organic smell of burnt hair and turns powdery. If it's fake, it'll have a chemical, burnt plastic-like smell and become sticky."

    And to check if the colour is natural, rather than dyed, you can blow into the fur and see the different colours closer to the roots. To test for strength, try lifting the coat by the scruff and see if it can hold the weight, Khokhar said.

    Also, coats made from continuous single large panels of fur instead of smaller ones stitched together are more sought after and expensive, added Khokhar.

    However, there are affordable varieties as well, such as Dh200 vests made from rabbit fur.

    Leather is another speciality at the pavilion - naturally as Pakistani leather and craftsmanship in leather is renowned. Starting at about Dh200 for sheep leather jackets, the attire also comes with collars and sleeves lined with ...