In addition to being a fun and educational place, petting zoos for children provide a safe haven for drug-resistant superbugs, which could result in lethal pathogens being passed on to visitors, researchers have found.
In contrast to more traditional zoos, petting zoos allow visitors – particularly children – to hold and touch the animals kept there.
The study, by scientists at Ariel University in Israel, looked at the risk of drug-resistant bacteria becoming established within these spaces.
Among the bacterial strains identified in petting zoos were the highly virulent E. coli ST656, which causes travellers’ diarrhoea, and E. coli ST127 – a frequent cause of urinary tract infections in humans.
The appearance of the animal also doesn’t seem to be any indication of what kind of illnesses could be caught from it.
Professor Shiri Navon-Venezia, who led the team, says they found drug-resistant germs present in healthy-looking animals.
“We recognise the high educational and emotional value of petting zoos for children,” she said.
“Therefore, we strongly recommend that petting zoo management teams implement a strict hygiene and infection control policy to reduce the risk of transmission between animals and visitors.”
Recommended measures include the installation of hand-washing stations, the prohibition of food and drink consumption near the animals, and separation from visitors of any animals receiving treatment with antibiotics.
The researchers looked at eight randomly-chosen petting zoos geographically distributed across Israel, taking samples of faecal matter, as well as samples from the skin, fur or feathers of 228 animals belonging to 42 different species.
In total, 382 samples were collected from 228 animals, with 12% of the animals found to be colonised with at least one drug-resistant bacterial strain.
Thirty-five different species of harmful bacteria were found. – dpa [...]
The chief executive of the lingerie brand’s parent company said that it “must evolve and change to grow.” The annual special has aired on network TV since 2001. [...]
Despite the availability of computer-aided design (CAD) softwares, some watch designers still turn to the humble pencil graphite and paper to sketch timepieces. Though it may sound old-school, product design director of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Lionel Favre, thinks it is fun to design watches the traditional way. Plus, it allows him to tap into his artistic creativity.
“Pencil drawings are instinctive and enable one’s creative juices to flow freely. It allows designers to evoke their emotional senses too. It can take weeks or months to complete a hand-drawn illustration before turning to CAD tools to further enhance each drawing,” says Favre, 54, during an interview at the 2019 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva recently.
Given the precision involved, it takes years for watchmakers and artisans to create these sought-after timepieces. It requires a combination of innovation and dexterity to ensure every minute complication functions like clockwork.
“Once the design process is completed, there are a series of discussions with engineers, technicians and marketing team. The technical elements, innovation and colour scheme is scrutinised with a fine tooth comb. These intricacies take place at Jaeger-LeCoultre’s manufacture workshop at Vallee De Joux,” says Favre.
‘Pencil drawings are instinctive and enable one’s creative juices to flow freely,’ says Lionel Favre.
Vallee De Joux – situated at the Swiss Jura Mountains – is known for its calm and serenity amidst lush forests. To give SIHH guests a feel of the atmosphere, a decorative backdrop of Vallee De Joux – equipped with spruce trees, scent of pine trees and recording of chirping birds – was set up at the Jaeger-LeCoultre booth.
Within the space, the secrets of the manufacture’s rare handcrafts were also revealed. Enamelling, engraving, gem-setting, guilloché and watchmaking specialists were present to demonstrate expert methods and techniques required to bring the models from the newest collection to life.
Wonders For The Wrist
But the bigger highlight was Jaeger-LeCoultre’s new Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster perpetuel watch. It is the fifth multi-axis tourbillon to emerge from the luxury brand.
What’s really cool is its multi-axis tourbillion comes with a reduced size, making it a more wearable and stylish watch. It also has a Westminister chime (think: Big Ben at London’s Westminister Palace) and perpetual calendar, which automatically displays the correct date without the need for manual adjustment between months of different lengths.
The dial also features handmade guilloche, fine hammering and grand feu (great fire) enamelling, all expressed in a subtle yet contemporary way. The watch is pretty impressive especially with all sorts of technical complications. Hence, it’s no surprise the latest Gyrotourbillon is Favre’s favourite timepiece.
“It took six years to conceptualise this amazing masterpiece. There is everything in this treasured watch, which combines precision timekeeping, haut-de-gamme finishing and artistry.”
For women, check out the new models of its Rendez-Vous collection. Capturing the essence of femininity, these elegant pieces showcase stunning richness of details with distinct character of diamonds and mother-of-pearl, new vision of moon phases, and addition of a prong setting.
Available in white or pink gold with alligator leather straps (in shades of blue or taupe), the Rendez-Vous Night and Day jewellery watch sets the stage for an all-new vision of the iconic night and day function.
The Rendez-Vous models show stunning richness of detail with elements that fully adhere to the codes of high jewellery.
Keen Eye For Detail
Favre, who draws his inspiration from different fields including jewellery, fashion and nature, describes watchmaking as a world of complex detailing. “Designers must be precise in assembling hundreds of gears, springs, hand movement. It is a technical challenge to conceptualise a beautiful eyepiece where all elements must be at a good place.”
Favre is no stranger to professions related to creativity. He comes, after all, from a family of jeweller-craftsmen and was trained as a jeweller himself. As a teenager, Favre spent his summer vacations as an apprentice at his grandfather’s jewellery workshop in central France. He has fond memories toying around with gemstones and precious metal at the workstation.
“My grandfather had a keen eye for detail. He taught me how to appreciate the art of composition and creativity. I also learnt to develop artistic sensibility when designing timepieces,” explains Favre, who studied at Geneva School of Decorative Arts.
The Master Utra Thin Moon features an extremely thin case and highlights the arts of guillochage and enameling.
The luxury watch brand also revealed three models under its Master Ultra Thin Enamel line. It features complications among the most emblematic of watchmaking expertise – moon phases, tourbillon, date, and perpetual calendar. A testament to precision and sophistication, these three new limited editions – in white gold and midnight blue enamel – complement the Master collection.
Many of these timepieces are produced using ancestral tools at Vallee De Joux. Many of these items, artisans use their hands to enamel, polish, refine, enhance and carry out guilloche work on dials, movements and complications, in accordance with age-old processes.
Also featured at the booth were the collection of Atmos pendulum clocks with an almost perpetual movement. Favre says the brand strives to uphold its long history and tradition without forgetting technological advancements, solidifying Jaeger-LeCoultre’s reputation as an essential watchmaking manufacture.
“Our vision is to create relevant timepieces that connects with our rich history and tradition. We have the know how and want to share our rich history,” concludes Favre, as he takes on a pencil and pa [...]
Grace Elizabeth has been officially named a Victoria's Secret Angel. — Picture courtesy of Victoria’s Secret
NEW YORK, April 12 — Another ‘Angel’ has just got her wings, an umpteenth announcement and one that appears to be a fresh note for the lingerie brand. Grace Elizabeth has joined the likes of Barbara Palvin, Alexina Graham, and Leomie Anderson, to become part of a very select family of Victoria’s Secret Angels. At only 22, Grace Elizabeth is one of the most promising models of her generation, and Victoria’s Secret is showing its forward-looking vision by naming her as its newest Angel. The young model will now march with her wings spread alongside a host of established models such as Sara Sampaio, Jasmine Tookes, Lais Ribeiro, Josephine Skriver, and Lily Aldridge.Hailing from Florida, Grace Elizabeth has experienced a dazzling ascent in only four years of her career and is now one of the most sought-after models, whether it be for luxury fashion houses or fashion magazines. A favourite with designers, there is no stopping this American model who seems omnipresent on catwalks and, increasingly, in advertising campaigns for ready-to-wear brands.The face of Guess in 2015, Grace Elizabeth quickly made a name for herself, appearing on catwalks for labels such as Dolce & Gabbana, Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Fendi and Chanel. At the same time, the model continued to rack up advertising campaigns for Michael Kors, Max Mara, Zara, and Chanel, and all this while being on the cover of a multitude of magazines.The American model took her first steps on the Victoria Secret’s runway at the brand’s 2016 fashion show in Paris. She also took part in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2017 and 2018 in Shanghai and New York respectively. For the young model, the 2019 edition will be extra special because it will be the first time that she will walk as an Angel for the famous lingerie brand. — AFP-Relaxnews [...]
Tunku Ismail Ibrahim briefs Malay rulers during the Conference of Rulers meeting on April 2, 2019. — Picture courtesy of Twitter/HRH Crown Prince of Johor
KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — A group of student activists chided four academics today for allegedly consulting the Conference of Rulers in secret, ultimately leading to Putrajaya withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute.The activists also accused the academics of sowing confusion over the treaty on the International Criminal Court (ICC), after leaking an alleged executive summary of the latter’s briefing warning that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may lose his immunity to the court.“Why was this consultation done secretly, without the knowledge of the citizens when the Rome Statute is actually a protection for the citizens from the tyranny of the leaders?“The arguments in the paper was very lopsided when they had only discussed why the Conference of Rulers should reject the Rome Statute,” the nine activists said in a statement.The activists said they leaked the paper to spark a discourse at all levels, especially among academics, to convince the Conference and the public.“As ethical academics, they should have given both pros and cons of the Rome Statute to be weighed by the Conference of Rulers appropriately.“We also made this revelation so these academics can explain themselves and participate in a healthy debate. They were the real source of confusion,” they added.The group has also started an online petition urging Putrajaya against withdrawing the ratification of the Rome Statute, saying it would bring justice for the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.The paper was allegedly prepared by Universiti Teknologi Mara’s deputy vice-chancellor and dean of Faculty of Law Prof Datuk Rahmat Mohamad, International Islamic University of Malaysia’s law lecturer Assoc Prof Shamrahayu Ab Aziz, and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia’s law lecturers Fareed Mohd Hassan and Hisham Hanapi.In it, they warned the Malay rulers that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may be prosecuted by the ICC as the supreme commander of the country’s armed forces.The activists claimed that the paper was presented to the Conference of Rulers on April 2.Yesterday, Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah confirmed that the rulers held an informal meeting on that date to discuss the issue, and Rahmat was among the four people called besides himself. [...]
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Barbara Palvin has been given her Victoria’s Secret wings.
The 25-year-old Hungarian supermodel has graduated to “Angel” status with the lingerie giant, years after she first took to the runway for the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show back in 2012.
“There were times where I let my own thoughts hold me back and it was a hard climb away from those but my family, my team, Ed, and everyone at VS they were always there to support me and uplift me,” the model divulged on Instagram, announcing the news of her latest career milestone to her 11 million followers.
“I am proud to represent Hungary, and most importantly, all of you in this new chapter of my life!”
Palvin has seen her career skyrocket over the past few years, taking to the runway for labels including Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana, in addition to landing magazine covers for Vogue Portugal, Grazia Italy and Harper’s Bazaar Australia.
She has recently appeared in campaigns for Nina Ricci, Giorgio Armani and Fendi, in addition to starring in the Victoria’s Secret Spring 2019 ad campaign.
In landing a coveted spot as an official “Angel”, Palvin is in good company: fellow models holding the rank include Jasmine Tookes, Taylor Hill, Candice Swanepoel and Elsa Hosk. – AFP Relaxnews
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OFFICIALLY A @victoriassecret ANGEL ! I don’t know where to begin but I’ll try : I never thought it would happen and it has exceeded all my expectations. I’m very excited to announce that I’m officially a @victoriassecret ANGEL ! Thank you for believing in me. There were times where I let my own thoughts hold me back and it was a hard climb away from those but my family , my team, Ed, and everyone at VS they were always there to support me and uplift me. I am proud to represent Hungary, and most importantly, all of you in this new chapter of my life! Thank you all so much again
A post shared by Barbara Palvin (@realbarbarapalvin) on Mar 14, 2019 at 6:43am PDT [...]
Relaxed, without any airs. That would probably best describe Malaysian actress Siti Saleha, who was more than a willing and enthusiastic model in a fashion shoot for us.
The 29-year-old, who was clad in the latest wardrobe essentials from Michael Kors, talked freely about her love for fashion – and the need she has for just being herself in everyday situations.
According to Siti, she does not always follow trends. She believes that a woman should wear something that makes herself feel good, as being comfortable in one’s own skin is the best way to really shine.
“Whatever your personality is, incorporate that into your outfit. I’ve always done that when it comes to styling myself,” Siti points out, regarding her secret to having a well put-together ensemble.
Her long-time experience as a celebrity in the limelight has taught Siti Saleha a thing or two about fashion. Photo: The Star/Azman Ghani
“Yes, you can say that my personal style is trendy, but I don’t go overboard. I accept the fact that I’m no fashionista. Think Jennifer Aniston. Very minimalist, but everything she wears just looks great.”
Siti was only 18 when she scored her first acting gig in television drama-musical 5 Jingga. Since then, she has gone on to star in numerous productions ranging from films to telemovies, even a reality series.
Her breakout role was in 2011’s Nora Elena, where she played a heartbroken woman with a traumatic past. It earned her a legion of fans, and the loyal following that continues to spur her career.
“These days I’m selective about the work I take on. A lot of people ask me, ‘You’re not acting anymore ke?’ It’s not that. I think I now have a little more freedom to pick the projects that are best for me,” Siti states.
“Maybe only a movie and two dramas each year. Thist month I’m doing a telemovie for Raya. Then in April, I’m going to start my new television series. It’s a famous one based on a novel called Manuskrip Cinta.”
Woman About Town
Work is not the only thing that keeps her busy though. Siti is also seen frequently at the most glamorous events. She even attended New York Fashion Week just last month – something that she says is “just awesome”.
“That’s my first international fashion week experience. It was a sweet experience having the chance to attend some of the shows. Tory Burch for example, was just fantastic, with the designs featuring a wide range of colours, textures and prints.”
Speaking of her encounter with the much-revered (and sometimes, feared) American Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, Siti relates: “She was lovely to me. It’s been said that she doesn’t smile in photos, but in my photo, she did!”
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With Anna Wintour at the Michael Kors Fall Collection 2019 here in New York City. Stoked! #michaelkors #allaccesskors
A post shared by SITI SALEHA (@sallywho) on Feb 13, 2019 at 7:57pm PST
When asked, she says her all-time favourite designer is none other than Dianne Von Furstenberg, who she adores for designs that are very ladylike, while at the same time, colourful and fun.
“Locally, I like what Alia Bastamam is doing. Any of her collections – just really cantik lah. Very edgy, but yet falls on you effortlessly. Those are important qualities. Alia’s just very classy.”
Siti however admits to having a really big obsession with shoes. While she loves accessories in general, her shoe collection is probably the one thing that she really pays careful attention to.
“I don’t know how many pairs I have. Maybe hundreds? Anyway, they’re enough that I can actually categorise them. Believe it or not, I have a number of shoes that only use for fashion shoots.”
Siti’s big inspiration when it comes to all things style is what she sees on social media. Her long-time experience as a celebrity in the limelight has also taught her a thing or two about fashion.
“I have friends in the fashion industry as well, and they have really influenced me. In the past, I had people styling me, but now, I’ve learned enough to pull together my own looks most of the time,” she concludes.
Siti Saleha believes in only wearing clothes that fit her personality. Photo: The Star/Azman Ghani [...]
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One evening in the winter of 2016, my husband mentioned that he was sending away for one of those commercial DNA-testing kits. He asked if I wanted him to order me one as well. I could easily have said no. I wasn’t curious about my ancestry. I knew where I came from–Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews on both my parents’ sides. Instead, I said yes. Why not? It seemed like a game–like those personality tests people often take online.
The results, when I received them a few months later, changed everything I had ever understood about myself. I was only half Eastern European Ashkenazi, as it turned out. A person I had never heard of was identified as a first cousin. The truth was unavoidable. My beloved father, who died in a car accident when I was 23, had not been my biological father.
This discovery led me deep into a world I had known nothing about: the history, science and psychological underpinnings of assisted reproduction. I have spent the past few years piecing together the story of how I came to be, the truth of where (and who) I come from–and the ways in which my identity was scrupulously hidden from me.
In 1961, my parents, Orthodox Jews who married later in life, were having trouble conceiving. My father was part of a large family that took seriously the commandment to be fruitful and multiply. My mother, nearing 40, was desperate to have a child. They went to the now long-defunct Farris Institute for Parenthood near the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. There, they were told that a “treatment” was available to help solve my dad’s infertility. A practice of the day was to mix donor sperm with the intended father’s sperm, in order to keep alive the possibility that the child was biologically his. There was a commonly used term for this: confused artificial insemination.
Confused is right. Back then, the medical establishment took great pains to allow couples to believe what they wanted about what they were doing. Couples were told to have sex before and after the procedure to further the sense that the (often completely sterile) husband could be the father. Once a woman had become pregnant, the couple might be told that her blood levels showed she must have already been pregnant when she first came to the institute, furthering the possibility that two otherwise rational people could bury the truth from their family, their friends and themselves.
The trauma and shame surrounding infertility was intense. In 1954, a court ruled that donor insemination constituted adultery on the part of the woman, whether or not the husband had granted consent. Nine years earlier, TIME ran a story about the legal status of donor-conceived children with the lacerating title Artificial Bastards? Records were heavily coded, then destroyed. Sperm donors were guaranteed anonymity. It seemed fail-safe that the procedure would remain forever secret. The idea of a future in which DNA results would become easily accessible through a popular test would have been unimaginable.
Now advances in the field of assisted reproduction are also far beyond what could have been imagined at the time of my birth. In vitro fertilization, surrogacy, donor eggs, cryogenic technology and the capacity to test embryos for genetic markers have allowed many more of us–straight or gay, married or single–to make families. And that’s a great thing, but it isn’t a simple thing. Though science has evolved at a stunning rate, the human capacity to understand and wisely use those advances has limped along.
The secret that was kept from me for 54 years had practical effects that were both staggering and dangerous: I gave incorrect medical history to doctors all my life. It’s one matter to have an awareness of a lack of knowledge–as many adoptees do–but another altogether not to know that you don’t know. When my son was an infant, he was stricken with a rare and often fatal seizure disorder. There was a possibility it was genetic. I confidently told his pediatric neurologist that there was no family history of seizures.
More difficult to quantify are the profound psychological effects of such nondisclosure and secrecy. I grew up feeling “other”–different from my family in ways I didn’t understand. I looked nothing like my dad and was constantly told that I didn’t “look” Jewish. I was filled with longing, but for what I did not know. The air in my childhood home was thick with the unsaid. I felt it, picked up on it, but had no name for it. The psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas has called this “the unthought known”–what we absolutely know but cannot allow ourselves to think.
We find ourselves in an interesting sliver of time. Secrets surrounding identity have existed since the start of humanity. The Old Testament is threaded through with them. People lived and died without ever knowing the truth of themselves. But now–because of the potent combination of DNA testing and the Internet–those secrets are tumbling out. At some point in the not-too-distant future, the very idea that such secrets of identity were ever kept will seem ludicrous.
The U.S. has no laws limiting the number of offspring a sperm donor may produce, nor does it regulate anonymity. Numerous countries do restrict a donor’s number of offspring, ranging from one (Taiwan) to 25 (the Netherlands). But the U.S. and Canada have sidestepped this ethically thorny territory, allowing for the possibility that half-siblings may inadvertently marry and have children.
And then there is the matter of anonymity. People donating sperm or egg (and while we’re at it, donate is a misnomer, as the transaction usually involves payment) must now know that they cannot–they will not–remain anonymous forever. If the donor’s brother, niece, cousin or granddaughter has submitted DNA to one of the [...]
TORUN, Poland: Two master bakers dressed in white use a long knife to carve a heavy, thick slab of molasses-coloured gingerbread dough out of a huge metal vat, where, like wine, it has been maturing for a few months, deep in the cellar of one of the world’s oldest bakeries.The bakers at the Kopernik Confectionery Factory in Poland’s historic central city of Torun taste the matured dough, checking whether each vat is ready for baking.The factory has used a jealously-guarded secret mix of spices since it opened in 1763 and has been serving up its popular brand of gingerbread non-stop ever since, with the exception of a few years’ hiatus during World War II.Only six of the factory’s bakers know the exact proportion and types of spices that are used, according to spokesman Jakub Kopczynski.“Cloves preserve the dough, which of course also includes flour and sugar, allowing it to develop its unique flavour as it ages,“ he tells AFP.Cinnamon, ginger and pepper are also in the spice mix, he adds, though he politely refuses to divulge further details.“Like fine wine, good gingerbread must be aged and like wine making, the process requires a lot of know-how,“ he adds.Around him are a hundred or so vats lined up in neat rows across the factory’s bottom floor, each of them weighing around 700kg. Vegan, kosher, non-GMOThe bold, inviting aroma of gingerbread spice wafts through the sprawling factory on the edge of Torun.The secret recipe draws on the city’s gingerbread tradition harking back to the Middle Ages when spices from India and the Middle East first began to arrive in Torun, later a major crossroads for Hanseatic trading routes.Its origins may be ancient, but Torun gingerbread is also as trendy as it gets: the factory has acquired certification attesting that its products are vegan, kosher, non-GMO and that they do not contain palm oil. “It’s always been our traditional standard; now we have formal recognition,“ Kopczynski adds, having moved to another part of the factory, where a conveyor belt feeds gingerbread hearts into a 36-metre-long (119-feet) oven to bake for seven minutes.The historic factory is a joint-stock company owned by current and former employees, who have shunned offers from foreign investors in order to prevent them from acquiring their prized recipe.Named after Nicolaus Copernicus, the Torun-born father of modern astronomy who is known as Mikolaj Kopernik in Polish, the factory produced 3,500 tonnes of gingerbread this year, sold in Poland and across the globe. Luxury item Polish high school student Jagoda presses a ball of gingerbread dough into a hand-carved wooden cookie mould in the shape of a horseshoe inscribed “szczescie”, or Polish for “luck”. She has come with her class from the nearby city of Bydgoszcz for a hands-on baking lesson at the state museum of Torun gingerbread, nestled in the original red-brick Kopernik factory near the city’s historic central square.“My family has a tradition of making decorated gingerbread cookies to give away as Christmas presents,“ the 17-year-old tells AFP, holding a heart-shaped cookie impressed with a flower motif in the palm of her hand.Shaped as knights, angels, princesses or horse-drawn carriages, large gingerbread cookies and cakes, pressed from intricately carved wooden moulds, were long among the most exclusive of gifts during the pre-industrial era up until the late 1700s.“Because the imported spices were so expensive, gingerbread was a luxury item which only the elite could afford,“ explains museum director Malgorzata Mikulska-Wernerowicz, adding that gingerbread bakers were also wealthy and stood high on the social ladder.“Kings visiting Torun received gingerbread from the city council,“ she says, standing next to a display with gingerbread moulds carved in applewood and pearwood dating from the 1600 and 1700s.‘Pepper-bread’Invited by a local prince, knights of the Teutonic Order came from the Holy Land to found Torun, known in German as Thorn, in 1233. The knights are believed to have brought the first spices from the Middle East, triggering demand and with it, a lucrative spice trade that helped Torun become one of Europe’s wealthiest cities during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.Gingerbread is still big business in Torun, with dozens of bakeries, shops and even a private interactive museum capitalising on the tradition in the city of just over 200,000 residents. Unlike the thin, crisp gingerbread snaps popular in Sweden or Britain, Torun gingerbread is chewy and meaty. Traditionally based on honey, spirits, wheat and rye flour mixed with spices, records show that the Torun variety was already being made by local German bakers in the mid-1500s and drew its name from pepper — Pfefferkuchen — rather than ginger. The modern-day Polish term for gingerbread — “pierniki” — also refers to pepper. Legend has it that Copernicus himself enjoyed munching on the treat.“He came from a family of wealthy merchants so there’s no reason why he wouldn’t have indulged in gingerbread,“ says Mikulska-Wernerowicz, with a twinkle in her eye. — AFP [...]