Scam, kidnap by South African police

Scam, kidnap by South African police

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Scam, kidnap by South African police

Scam, kidnap by South African police

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Saudi Arabia

Map, flag and data from Wikipedia.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. SJ Dodgson MJoTA 2015 v9p0115

Saudi Arabia is the second largest Muslim country (Algeria is the largest). Its population of 27 million does very well if a citizen is one of the 7,000 princes who can do whatever they like, and less well if the citizen is a man, men can travel freely and divorce without reason but cannot say a syllable against the absolute monarch or sharia law; and horrible for women who are treated all their lives like children or useful beasts of burden.

The very look of a woman is offensive; in public they must be covered completely. So poisonous is a woman that if she is raped she must be executed, even if she is only 6 years old. Because the law insists it was her fault. Always.

Saudi Arabia gets away with massive human rights abuses because it is swimming in oil, and ridiculously wealthy, and a major buyer of weapons, which the United States falls over itself selling to totalitarian regimes.

The success of religionists in planting the idea that cold-blooded murder of little girls and bloggers is holy has been widely noted. Religionists in neighboring countries have convinced young unemployed men lacking skills that shooting cartoonists and Jews and Syrians and Nigerians is good. And Saudi Arabia responds by building walls around its country, to keep out the fighters they so happily groomed.
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News sources from Saudi Arabia all spew out stories about men and the greatness of the cruel despots who think nothing of lopping off body parts including heads. This news feed is about fashion, and I like it.

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Skin lightening under fire as Indians seek whiter shade of pale
Thu, 2017-04-27 17:06

MUMBAI: Mirror, mirror on the wall — who is the fairest of them all?
The one with the palest skin, of course.
Or that’s the idea behind India’s multibillion-dollar skin lightening industry, with a host of ‘fairness’ products appearing to offer dark-skinned Indians a lighter, fairer, better version of themselves.
Now the industry has come under fire after a popular Bollywood actor lashed out at India’s obsession with fair skin and highlighted a persistent bias against darker faces.
“You have to stop buying into the idea that a particular shade is better than others,” Abhay Deol, an actor known for playing offbeat roles, said on his Facebook page this month.
Deol lambasted his Bollywood peers — including Shah Rukh Khan, John Abraham, Shahid Kapur and Deepika Padukone — for endorsing so-called fairness brands and urged them to stop using their popularity to peddle products he called racist.
“(These) campaigns are blatantly, and sometimes subtly, selling you the idea that whiter skin is better than darker skin,” said Deol.
Controversy around ‘fairness’ products has raged for decades, with darker skin shades variously described as “dusky” and “wheatish,” and lighter tones sold as more attractive.
The market — which includes creams, face washes, deodorants, even a vaginal whitener — is estimated to be worth about 270 billion rupees ($4 billion) and is growing at a steady clip.
Unilever Plc’s Hindustan Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Nivea, Garnier and Emami are among those making fairness products.
Hindustan Unilever’s Fair & Lovely, launched in 1975, is India’s best known fairness brand, and claims to be the world’s first of very many skin-lightening cream.
Scientists say some contain harmful bleaching ingredients.
The World Health Organization banned the active ingredients – hydroquinone and mercury – from unregulated skin products.
Research firm Center for Science and Environment said in a 2014 study that nearly half the creams it tested in India contained mercury, which is “completely illegal and unlawful.”
A spokeswoman for Hindustan Unilever declined comment on the controversy.
Some activists link the bias to an entrenched caste system, where higher-caste Brahmins generally have lighter skin.
In a country where arranged marriages are still the norm, matrimonial ads consistently describe a woman’s complexion, and dark-skinned women often pay a higher dowry, activists say.
Bullying and taunting of dark-skinned girls and women is common, while dark-skinned actors complain of fewer roles.
Advertising campaigns for various brands have typically depicted women — and increasingly men — as winning better jobs and partners, thanks to the fairness creams.
But Kiran Khalap, co-founder of brand consultancy Chlorophyll in Mumbai, said the adverts were not to blame.
“Our obsession with fair skin didn’t come from HUL or Emami: it’s a deep-seated cultural bias that equates being fair with being superior,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“When a demand for a product exists, a manufacturer will cater to that demand. And people will buy that product, even without a Shah Rukh or a John Abraham telling them to buy.”
Nor is India alone in buying into the ‘fairness’ dream.
Similar products are on sale in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and in parts of Africa, although India, with its population of 1.3 billion people, is a prized consumer market.
Ivory Coast and Ghana have banned cosmetics containing hydroquinone, which critics say can cause cancer. A similar ban exists in Japan, South Africa and the European Union.
Nivea recently pulled an ad in the Middle East with the tagline ‘White is Purity’ after it was slammed as racist.
Advocacy group Women of Worth launched a ‘Dark is Beautiful’ campaign in 2009 with the tagline ‘Stay unfair, stay beautiful,’ to fight the “toxic belief that a person’s worth is measured by the fairness of their skin.”
Members of India’s upper house have called for a ban on advertisements for fairness products.
There has also been legal action.
A Delhi consumer court said in 2015 said Emami’s advertisements for Fair and Handsome were a misrepresentation of the product’s effectiveness.
Emami has appealed the verdict. A spokeswoman for the company declined comment.
Just last week, Times of India, the country’s biggest English-language daily, ran a message about its popular matrimonial ads.
“Don’t you think it’s unfair to ask a girl to be fair and beautiful?” the message read. “Henceforth, we hope that matrimonial ads will inspire people to choose girls based on their education rather than only their looks.”
But filmmaker Ram Subramanian wants action, not words, and his video on the topic has been viewed almost 3 million times.
“Once upon a time slavery was acceptable, the caste system was acceptable, until someone said they were not,” he said.
“I want the government to ban these products because they cause so much damage,” he said.
($1 = 64.1126 Indian rupees)

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Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:44:03 +0000

‘Hot felon’ reportedly deported from UK after landing for fashion shoot
Arab News
Tue, 2017-04-25 14:17

DUBAI: US model Jeremy Meeks, who was dubbed the “hot felon” after his prison mugshot went viral in 2014, has purportedly been deported from the UK less than eight hours after landing in London, the Daily Mail reported Tuesday.
Meeks’ manager Jim Jordan told that the convict-turned-model had been due to shoot a series of magazine covers in the capital but had been detained by border officials and sent back to the US.
Speaking exclusively to, Jordan said: “We went into the UK and we went through immigration and they detained Jeremy.
“He wasn’t arrested but they deported him out of the country. They wouldn’t let him come into the country. He is really upset. He was police-escorted onto the plane.”

Jordan claims Meeks’ had the necessary paperwork to enter the country, including a letter supplied by his parole officer.
The 32-year-old rose to fame as an Internet sensation in 2014 when California’s Stockton Police Department posted his mugshot on their website after his arrest for gang-related activities.
The mugshot went viral around the world and besotted social media fans dubbed him the “hot felon.”
Meeks was released from prison in March 2016 and went on to walk at the Phillip Plein show during New York Fashion Week in February 2017.
Jordan told “They strip-searched him, they fingerprinted him. They locked him in a small room for hours. They took his passport from him, they didn’t give him his passport back.
“He was on the right track for what we feel was going to be his new life. Now he’s very sad. Hopefully this is just a setback and he will be able to come back from this.”

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Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:20:13 +0000

LaLaQueen bags lure fashionistas in a big way
Fri, 2017-04-21 03:00

The Middle East is home to some of the best luxury handbag brands that one can possibly find. This exciting development is what seems to be influencing the global fashionistas’ rush to visit the region and explore the amazing variety it has to offer. The latest front-runner taking everybody by storm is LaLaQueen, founded by the Lebanese-born, UAE-raised Sally Sarieddine who finished her education in Britain.
Sarieddine got into the business of designing handbags because she knew she had a specific taste in fashion. “This knowledge led me to trust my instincts about how I really wanted to design a handbag that I would personally carry anywhere I go,” she said.
The fact that she makes beautiful handbags today is proof that what she does means a great deal to her. “The research and design philosophy is something that I love, and to actually see an idea or a design concept come to life is even more exciting,” she said.
For all of this to come true, Sarieddine studied design at Central Saint Martins in London.
The beauty of LaLaQueen bags can be gauged from their architectural framework including the shape and size. “My bags are unique and timeless pieces, all handmade in Lebanon. We’re also advocates of sustainability,” Sarieddine said. “This is another reason why our bags are adored by those who have them.”
In order to achieve sustainable results, Sarieddine prefers to use material such as brass and genuine leather, which are finished in a natural way in order to maintain the look and feel, and also to make it age gracefully.
Moreover, the color paradigm is vital for Sarieddine to work on. She said, “I choose to work with classical colors that reflect elegance and sophistication. I mix classical earth tones with different color tones and hues to bring vibrancy and fun to the piece. Each color has its own energy and so I choose specific colors to bring that energy into the bag. For instance, I chose the color pink for love energy, the color red for power energy, etc.”
For Sarieddine, the essence of inspiration means staying connected with nature, architecture, books, cultures, people and beauty. “It all helps me weave stories in my mind, and find ways to express them in shapes and colors. Being Lebanese, my heritage is filled with beautiful stories and inspiring sites so it’s easy for me to be influenced by lots of unknowns. I love it.”
It is no wonder that every collection she creates has a story. For example, her “Moon Collection” is inspired by the moon and its cycles, how it affects water levels, and thus, our moods because more than 75 percent of the human body.
LaLaQueen bags perfectly suit those women who are trendsetters in their own way. “She is someone who is confident and speaks her mind and has a big heart, an inspiration to those around her,” Sarieddine said.
Middle Eastern women are certainly leading the race with their fashionable lifestyles. “They’ve set some international standards in the fashion and style industry. Besides, we have many famous designers who have reached an international audience,” she said.
Sarieddine believes in every person who is genuine and authentic and has a positive impact on their community and environment.
The latest collection entitled “Geometric” is inspired by the beautiful crystal formations in nature. Her “Dr. Collection” is the signature line one that has always been in the news. The metal clasp and the design of the bag make it special because it has a vintage feel with a modern twist.
She always carries the Dr. Mini-bag because the color and shape is so versatile that it matches nearly all her outfits.
Even though Sarieddine has found the fashion industry competitive, she has nothing but praise for it. “It has strengthened my determination, and taught me many things about the business. As a brand, we’re injecting our business values into the industry and we choose to work with people who are the same,” she said.
The human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney and Indian actress Neha Dhupia have been seen with her designer bags on several occasions. She is open to adding many high-profile people to her A-list clientele. It’s crystal clear that Sarieddine acknowledges how helpful celebrity endorsement is when it comes to bringing international exposure to the brand.
Eager to take her brand far and wide, Sarieddine has some amazing projects in the pipeline. “There is always room for growth in life. We’re taking it one step at a time. We recently opened our first boutique in downtown Beirut which is a big milestone for the brand,” she said. “This will never change i.e. I would like my brand to be known as authentic, ethical, sophisticated and timeless.”

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Thu, 20 Apr 2017 21:45:56 +0000

ZAGH: Jewelry design that speaks to your soul
Fri, 2017-04-14 03:00

Riham Zaghloul is the heart and soul behind Cairo-based ZAGH, a unique new brand of jewelry.
“Quality and attention to detail are an integral part of the ZAGH DNA,” she said. “We use our studio in Italy more for gold works and our studio in Germany for silver. Locally, you’ll find the know-how in traditional techniques like hammering, traditional stone setting, carving, etc.”
Zaghloul has always been obsessed by precision and attention to detail. Although she began her university studies with mechanical engineering, she eventually graduated with a double major in computer sciences and business. She decided to work as a software engineer before turning to jewelry. She has merged these two disciplines to create ZAGH.
A jewel is not all about bling and branding. It is also about personal choice, self-expression and the conversation about the piece that arises from a compliment, the meaning and history behind it, and what inspired it.
“In my opinion, jewelry is the one thing that’s a real expression of a woman’s personal taste, of one’s values, as well as being a status symbol,” Zaghloul said. “It’s the one accessory that reflects the real personality. I wear jewelry to highlight my mood at a particular point in time. For me, jewelry is a form of expression with metal and stone.”
Zaghloul likes jewelry pieces that have a contemporary look. She is aware that today’s buyers are often young women who buy impulsively. This happens when they see a design they respond to. It is not just about owning a piece but about experiencing it.
Young people are turning increasingly toward the handmade. “Craftsmanship” and “artisan” are buzzwords nowadays. When a piece exudes workmanship, it has an emotional pull. “I loved art since childhood, and found enormous pleasure working with my hands. I felt there was always a truth behind working with hands,” she said.
After graduating, Zaghloul worked for 17 years at Microsoft and Oracle. She never planned to go into jewelry, but discovered it on the way. She always struggled with buying because “I could never find the piece that represented me. I felt that the pieces in the shops made me look like everyone else, so I decided to use my drawing skills and sketch my own.”
For almost 12 years, she designed almost 80 percent of the jewelry she wore or gave as gifts, and describes herself as a “jewelry fanatic.” She added: “It was when I started visiting international jewelry shows and traveling thousands of miles to spend hours in workshops in my free time that it hit me that this should no longer remain a hobby.”
ZAGH was launched in 2015 with an international mindset from the start. Its pieces are thoughtful reiterations of cultural themes that are modern and minimalistic, ready to appeal to an international clientele.
Zaghloul works with gold and silver to create collections that are assertive in character and comfortable to wear, with a focus on strong, simple shapes, and on tone and texture, all underpinned with a depth of meaning to the design. For her “Curves” collection, inspired by the birth of her first child, she has taken a pure, conceptual approach to design. She creates strong, fluid forms intended to reflect human nature.
The “State of the Mind” collection is influenced by her love for calligraphy, which she learned from her grandfather. “I remember as a child watching him carve out his own calligraphy tools from reed. It took hours,” she said. “He paid particular attention to the carving process. In fact, preparing his reeds took much more time than the actual calligraphy work. The carving of the reed ensured it had the right thickness as well as the proper amount of ink on the stylus.”
Zaghloul added: “I started studying calligraphy at the age of 12; it was my first encounter with art. I began learning about the fonts and their history, as well as their various uses in architecture, ancient scriptures and modern applications. I spent long hours experimenting with stroke sequence and thickness, attempting to give character to my letters and words. I loved diacritics more than the letters themselves. I remember it making me very happy.”
“State of Mind,” with its dynamic design, captures the vitality of calligraphy. The strong, linear composition is itself a subtle pointer to the emergence of structured minimalism. The “Orb Piu” ring, part of the “Orb” collection, has all the hallmarks of a collectable piece. It is a combination of great craftsmanship, fine materials and the unexpected. It embodies the essence of ZAGH, a line of jewelry that celebrates the beauty of our feelings.

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Fri, 14 Apr 2017 02:29:18 +0000

Miley Cyrus latest target in Hollywood photo hacking scandal
Arab News
Thu, 2017-04-13 15:36

DUBAI: US singer Miley Cyrus, actress Rosario Dawson and model Suki Waterhouse are the latest victims in a hacking scandal which has seen photos of female celebrities, often in comprising positions, leaked on the Internet.
The photos were leaked on Tuesday and were posted to the same website that had previously posted leaked photos of other celebrities.
In March, Emma Watson and Amanda Seyfried were targeted and the images ranged from tame snaps to explicitly sexual photos.
Watson and Seyfried launched legal action and a representative for Watson confirmed to AFP at the time that some of the photos were legitimate: “Photos from a clothes fitting Emma had with a stylist a couple of years ago have been stolen. They are not nude photographs.”
The images have been heralded online as “The Fappening 2.0,” in reference to the 2014 iCloud hacking of celebrity photos which saw intimate shots of actresses Demi Moore and Jennifer Lawrence leaked online.

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Thu, 13 Apr 2017 09:43:09 +0000