Egyptian Court Lifts Ban On Veiled TV Hosts

Television presenters have mostly gone headscarf-free on Egypt’s state-run Channel 5. The fall of the Hosni Mubarak regime – and a weekend court ruling – may soon change that.

Headscarves appear frequently on Egypt's Channel 5, just not on the heads of presenters
Headscarves appear frequently on Egypt's Channel 5, just not on the heads of presenters


For half a century, female presenters working for Egypt's state-run Channel 5 were expected to leave their headscarves at home. That could soon change.

On Sunday, a court in Alexandria challenged the decades-old policy, arguing that the headscarf is a symbol of decency, and that banning women from wearing it violates their personal freedom. More specifically, the ruling overturns a decision made in 2008 by then Information Minister Anas al-Fiqi, who banned Channel 5 presenter Lamiyaa al-Amir from appearing on television in a headscarf.

Egypt's state TV is the oldest state-run television in the Middle East. At the time of its establishment in 1960, no female presenters wore headscarves. As time went on, the headscarf became much more common among Muslim women. Still, state TV refused to let presenters wear it, prompting complaints from religious and conservative forces, who used the ban to attack the regime of former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak, who fell from power a year ago.

The rare case of a veiled presenter was in the early 1990s with Kariman Hamza. She fought a legal battle against former Information Minister Safwat al-Sherif, who was in charge of national TV from 1982 to 2004.

Read the full article at Al-Masry Al-Youm

Photo – YouTube

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Saving The Planet Is Really A Question Of Dopamine

Our carelessness toward the environment could be due, in part, to the functioning of a very primitive area of our brain: the striatum.

Ad scuba-diver and brain coral

Stefano Lupieri

PARIS — Almost every week, a new scientific study alerts us to the degradation of the environment. And yet, we continue not to change anything fundamental in our systems of production and habits of consumption. Are we all suffering from blindness, or poisoned by denial?

In his popular books Le Bug humain (The Human Bug) and Où est le sens? (Where is the Sense?), Sébastien Bohler, a journalist in neuroscience and psychology, provides a much more rational explanation: The mechanism responsible for our propensity to destroy our natural environment is in fact a small, very deep and very primitive structure of our brain called the striatum.

This regulator of human motivation seems to have been programmed to favor behaviors that ensure the survival of the species.

Addictions to sex and social media

Since the dawn of humanity, gathering information about our environment, feeding ourselves, ensuring the transmission of our genes through sexual intercourse and asserting our social status have all been rewarded with a shot of dopamine, the 'pleasure hormone.'

Nothing has changed since then; except that, in our society of excess, there is no limit to the satisfaction of these needs. This leads to the overconsumption of food and addictions to everything from sex to social media — which together account for much of the world's destructive agricultural and energy practices.

No matter how much we realize that this is leading to our downfall, we can't help but relapse because we are prisoners of the dopamine pump in the striatum, which cannot be switched off.

Transverse section of striatum from a structural MRI image

Lindsay Hanford and Geoff B Hall via Wikipedia

Tweaking genetics 

According to Bohler, the only way out is to encourage the emergence of new values of sobriety, altruism and slowness. If adopted, these more sustainable notions could be recognized by the striatum as new sources of dopamine reward. But there's the challenge of promoting inspiring stories that infuse them with value.

Take the photo-collage exhibition "J'agis ici... et je m'y colle" ("I'm taking action here... and I'm sticking to it"), a collection of life-size portraits of residents committed to the energy transition, displayed on the walls of the French coastal city of La Rochelle.

Backed by the French National Center for Street Arts, photographer Martin Charpentier may be employing artistic techniques, but he's also tinkering with neuroscience in the process.

Les Echos
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