food / travel

Fighting City Hall In Egypt To Save Red Sea Cliffs

In Sinai's Sharm el-Sheikh, a cliff restoraton project has mobilized a community against an over-the-top contractor.

Beautiful but dangerous, Sharm el-Sheikh's Um el-Sid cliffs
Beautiful but dangerous, Sharm el-Sheikh's Um el-Sid cliffs
Isabel Esterman

SHARM EL-SHEIKH — Viewed from the sea, Sharm el-Sheikh's Um el-Sid cliffs look idyllic. From the cobalt blue of the Red Sea, the water brightens to turquoise over reef formations that have made the stretch one of the world's most famous diving locations. Green gardens and white villas top the rippling brown cliffs. The spectacular setting has attracted high-flying holidaymakers such as Tony Blair and the Hosni Mubarak family.

Get a little closer, though, and the cracks start to show — literally. The cliff face is riddled with both horizontal and vertical splits, and in many places piles of boulders litter the beach. Most of the rock slides have been there for decades, but they still serve as potent reminders of what could happen if measures are not taken to reinforce the cliff face. Elsewhere, erosion is so severe that footpaths along the cliffs edge are barely wide enough for walking.

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Society

Face In The Mirror: Dutch Hairdressers Trained To Recognize Domestic Violence

Early detection and accessible help are essential in the fight against domestic violence. Hairdressers in the Dutch province of North Brabant are now being trained to identify when their customers are facing abuse at home.

Hair Salon Rob Peetoom in Rotterdam

Daphne van Paassen

TILBURG — The three hairdressers in the bare training room of the hairdressing company John Beerens Hair Studio are absolutely sure: they have never seen signs of domestic violence among their customers in this city in the Netherlands. "Or is that naïve?"

When, a moment later, statistics appear on the screen — one in 20 adults deals with domestic violence, as well as one or two children per class — they realize: this happens so often, they must have victims in their chairs.

All three have been in the business for years and have a loyal clientele. Sometimes they have customers crying in the chair because of a divorce. According to Irma Geraerts, 45, who has her own salon in Reusel, a village in the North Brabant region, they're part-time psychologists. "A therapist whose hair I cut explained to me that we have an advantage because we touch people. We are literally close. The fact that we stand behind people and make eye contact via the mirror also helps."

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