Coronavirus: West Bank’s wedding season sparks fresh COVID-19 outbreak

Ramallah, West Bank - By the end of May, the Palestinian Authority appeared to have quashed a coronavirus outbreak in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, with only around 400 confirmed cases and just two fatalities in the territory, following a nearly three-month lockdown. Then the wedding invitations


E-boutique startup launched amid virus outbreak brings touch of Morocco to UAE

Almost four months ago, as Dubai authorities announced sweeping precautionary measures to combat a rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the UAE, a 29-year-old entrepreneur did the unthinkable – and launched an e-boutique.Rita Bennani’s business venture, Beldi Bazaar, is a plat


Museum or mosque? Top Turkey court to rule on Hagia Sophia

Turkey’s top court will deliver a critical verdict Thursday on whether Istanbul’s emblematic landmark and former church Hagia Sophia can be redesignated as a mosque, a ruling which could inflame tensions with the West.The sixth-century edifice — a magnet for tourists worldwide with


Turkish Assyrians worry about declining community, fragile heritage

GULGOZE, TURKEY–Turkish Assyrian leaders are worried about the future of their community in Turkey. They have become a small minority despite a slight recent increase in population figures, and their churches, houses and schools are disappearing while their youth continue to leave the country.


What is history’s greatest mystery? Read the these nominations and cast your vote

On 13 September 1971, a Trident 1E jet fell from the skies over Mongolia, crashing into the Gobi Desert. All nine people on board were killed – including the senior Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader and army general, Lin Biao. The announcement of Lin’s death astonished not just China


Arabic-speaking Pakistanis meet online to bridge cultural gap

For an hour and a half every fortnight, a group of Pakistanis log on to Zoom, a video-conferencing platform, to enter the digital space of the “Halqa-e-Aldardsha Al-Arabia” or the Arabic Speaking Circle. The group of 20 are joined by 50 other linguaphiles from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egyp


Palestinian dad beats drum for age-old traditions of Ramadan

Despite the march of modern technology, Abdel Khaleq Abu Atwan continues to beat the drum for the age-old traditions of Ramadan in Palestine.Every year, during the holy month of fasting, the hairdresser and father-of-three takes on the role of musaharati, the name given to the person who walks resid


Coronavirus leaves world of Brazilian samba in mourning

Like so many of his neighbours in Madureira – a working-class neighbourhood considered Rio’s “cradle of samba” – Álvaro Silva was a diehard supporter of the local samba school, Portela. Just a few weeks ago the 76-year-old percussionist watched in delight as the


Dutch Kingsday celebrations muted by coronavirus lockdown

Dutch King Willem-Alexander urged all people in the Netherlands to stay at home on Monday, instead of flocking onto the streets clad in orange as they normally do for the annual celebration of Kingsday.“This promises to be a unique Kingsday, and mainly because I hope it will be the last Kingsd


How The World Takes Its Coffee

Drinking a cup of coffee in the morning has been a go-to pick-me-up for centuries. Long before Starbucks had a location on every street corner, unique traditions had developed around preparing and serving the daily brew in almost every country. Whether you prefer a coffee spiced with pepper, a half-


Easter eggs, Jesus Christ and the Easter bunny: the history and origins of Easter

Easter was originally a celebration of Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of sex, fertility, war, and religiously-sanctioned prostitutes, right? Wrong. Well, bunnies and eggs can’t possibly have anything to do with this most holy festival commemorating Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the de


Was Medieval Cannibal And Black Magician Peter Niers History’s Most Prolific Serial Killer?

The legends of Peter Niers may be lesser-known than those of Vlad the Impaler or Elizabeth Báthory, but they are no less horrifying. It was said that Niers was a master black magician who could render himself invisible, transform into a cat, a dog, or a goat. It was said that he garnered the


Egypt’s ‘history of humanity’ monuments face climate change threat

It’s a steamy November day in the southern Egyptian city of Luxor, and the tourists tramping through the ancient temples of Luxor and Karnak are sweating. But the city’s famed 7,000-year-old antiquities are feeling the heat too. Increasingly high temperatures linked to climate change, a


Christmas in Lebanon not so merry as economic crisis bites

Rafi Tabakian’s clothing store in a Beirut suburb is usually buzzing with customers during the holiday season, but with Lebanon’s economy in ruins, shoppers are in short supply. “We’ve been in business for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” he sai


UAE leaders launch Golden Jubilee masterplan for nation's future

UAE leaders declared 2020 will be the launchpad for ambitious plans to drive the country forward for the next 50 years - ahead of its milestone Golden Jubilee 12 months later. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, announced the upcoming year will be used to deliver a ro


Morocco’s Gnawa musical culture listed by UNESCO

  Gnawa culture, a centuries-old Moroccan practice rooted in music, African rituals, and Sufi traditions, was on Thursday added to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Gnawa refers to a “set of musical productions, fraternal practices and therapeutic rituals


Indian border officials on lookout for fugitive cosmic guru

New Delhi - Indian border officials and embassies have issued an alert for a fugitive guru accused of rape, the government said, days after the holy man announced the creation of his own “cosmic” country. Swami Nithyananda – one of many self-styled Indian “godmen” with


Egypt unveils animal mummies of lion cubs, crocodiles, birds

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities is revealing details on recently discovered animal mummies, saying they contain two lion cubs as well as several crocodiles, birds and cats. Saturday’s announcement came during an exhibition at the famed Step Pyramid in Saqqara, south of Cairo. That&rsquo





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