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Cairo Headbangers, Struggles Of Egypt's Heavy Metal Scene

There are around 20 to 25 metal bands active across Egypt. Though their concerts are increasingly rare and their audiences small, the fans theydo have are passionate about the music, Cairo-based website Mada Masr reports.

“I was a metalhead since I was born,” Sherif Tarek, 24, told Mada Masr. “I’m a very hardcore metalhead.”

Tarek founded Origin, one of only three bands that play oriental metal — a genre unique to Egypt — in 2010. He started listening to metal when he was 15, and then began educating himself in Arabic music before deciding to combine the two. Origin did as well as a metal band could in Egypt.

But the rebellious anger and loudness that draws Egyptians to metal is also partly why the genre has attracted bad publicity.

In 1997, nearly 100 people were arrested and homes were raided when a local media campaign led to accusations that metal bands and their fans were practicing satanism. Police detained people they considered to have a satanic "look." Black make-up and T-shirts bearing the logos of metal bands were confiscated as evidence.

Although a second generation of new metal bands has emerged since then — such as Crescent (1999), Enraged (2005), Scarab(2006) and Ahl Sina (2009) — and the 2011 revolution seemed to open up a freer space for self-expression, metal has still proven an easy target for crackdowns by authorities.

Read the full article from Mada Masr here.

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Tax Windfalls, Big Tobacco: The Untold Story Of What Really Feeds China's Smoking Habit

No country in the world has as big a cigarette industry as China. This is the story of how a giant state-backed monopoly created the industry, which provides more tax revenue than any other, and ultimately sabotaged the country's anti-smoking efforts in the process.

Chinese man smoking a cigarette with a solemn facial expression

Beijing - A Chinese man smokes a cigarette outside a shopping center

Stephen Shaver / ZUMA
Jude Chan, Jason McLure & Christoph Giesen

Over the past two decades, global tobacco use has declined by 11%. In China, that number is only 1%. China, which accounts for one-fifth of the world's population, consumes nearly half of the world's cigarettes — more than 2.4 trillion a year. That's more than the next 67 countries combined.

Why is China's smoking epidemic so difficult to contain? How does the Chinese tobacco industry function? How do the people who grow tobacco survive under the monopolistic system that permeates the supply chain?

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