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Nour Alahiane

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One out of five Germans is over 65 years old

Another Grandma On A Bike? Why It's Hard To Market To Seniors

The over-50 age group holds enormous purchasing power, yet advertising aimed at older people often looks like cartoons of semi-active people happily going to the pharmacy. What can be done?

MUNICH — Advertisers have very clear ideas about the image to use to attract potential new customers in the "senior" demographic: salt-and-pepper hair, wrinkles (but only around the eyes), slender, athletic.

That's what most of the older models who appear in commercials look like. Yet, seeing them happily cruising the countryside on electric bikes or hugging each other, laughing, in commercials for prostate medicine, they look more like cartoon characters than real human beings.

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A South Korean haenyeo on Jeju island
South Korea

The Curious Case Of South Korea's "Sea Women"

JEJU ISLAND Kang Ok-ja, 75, looks out toward the ocean from the roadside. It's not a good day for diving, she tells me. Waves crash against black volcanic rocks that line a stretch of Jeju Island's north coast. Wind and rain are common on this South Korean island.

"The waves don't look so high now but the wind is picking up and they'll get bigger," says Kang. "It won't be safe for us to dive today."

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Hammershus fortress on Bornholm

Danish Island Takes Tourists On Journey Into Middle Ages

BORNHOLM A meadow on this Danish island looks like it's straight from the Middle Ages. Small, robust cows, sheep, geese and pigs are kept cool by the rains. Only a history expert would be able to recognize the small details that contradict what appears to be the perfect historical accuracy in depicting a medieval scene.

Historians aren't sure what type of cows used to graze on Bornholm 1,000 years ago, which is why they are now rearing Dexter cattle, a breed that was originally Irish. The East Prussian Skudde sheep, whose wool is excellent for spinning, also feel at home on this island. And the geese? Historians believe they played an important role in medieval settlements. The difference is that while geese were allowed to roam freely during the Middle Ages, they are no longer allowed to do so. In order to keep the shoes of tourists clean, geese are now kept in an enclosure.

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Students at Gouna Technical Nursing Institute

Nurses Lampooned In Egypt, Hospitals Face Shortages

CAIRO — Mechell Vencing Gimarangan, a Filipina nurse, strides into an upmarket restaurant in Sheikh Zayed City, part of the greater Cairo region. She speaks to the waiter in Egyptian Arabic and then transitions immediately to impeccable English. She appears totally at ease in her foreign surroundings.

Gimarangan has travelled a great distance to work as a nurse on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital. About 9,000 kilometers lie between her native Philippines and Dar al-Fouad Hospital, her employer in Egypt.

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At a cycling class for immigrant women in Bremen, Germany.

How One Immigrant Adapted To Germany, And Why So Many Don't

Nuray ÇeÅŸme arrived from Turkey as an infant, and yet still struggled to integrate. She worries that today's refugees will have an even harder time making into the mainstream.

HAMBURG — Nuray ÇeÅŸme is leafing through her book while we meet in a café in central Hamburg. It is her intensely personal but highly political autobiography, as it tells the story of her upbringing in Germany as the daughter of Turkish immigrants.

She tells us the story of how she came to northwest Germany years ago and, for the first few years, lived in a Turkish parallel society. "I was with Turkish people at all times," she recalls. "I ate Turkish food and spoke and thought Turkish."

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Cunningham's triplefin off the coast of Chile

Chile Creates Latin America's Largest Marine Park

In August, Chile broadened the protected sea zones under its watch to create a marine park that covers an area of 300,000 square kilometers, the largest such reserve in Latin America.

Fishing and mineral extraction will now be banned from this area, which surrounds the Desventuradas islands in the Pacific Ocean.

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At a Muslim wedding.

Modern Lives And The Virginity Myth, One Muslim Woman's Saga

Many young Muslim women in the West have a modern lifestyle, yet want to be a virgin on their wedding day. But what if they aren't? One woman's story from Germany.

BERLIN — At first glance, Leyla is like many other young women in Germany. The 29-year-old auditor enjoys going to the beach with friends, reading women's magazines, exercising at the gym.

Leyla recalls reaching puberty, back in the 1990s when she lived with her Turkish immigrant parents.

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A homeless person resting on Church Street in San Francisco, California

Housing Crisis, Silicon Valley's Dark And Shiny Underbelly

SAN FRANCISCO — A billboard for a new housing complex being built in San Francisco caught people's attention last spring. Its sales-pitch slogan? "From the low 1,000,000s."

Some may have chuckled at the absurdity, but the price of the new units reflects the current reality of the market. The median price of a house in San Francisco is $1.13 million, an increase of 70% in five years, according to Zillow, a company that analyzes the real estate market. For renters, prices are outrageous too: You need almost $3,500 per month for a one-bedroom apartment, according to Zumper, another real estate firm.

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Drag Walk gala in Berlin

One Transgender Woman Explains Why She's Not Born In The Wrong Body


BERLIN My body is that of a man but I am a woman and I want to live my life as a woman. In our minds, our bodies define who we are. We are either male or female. This belief makes me a person that should not exist. I did not question this perception for a very long time and refused to accept myself. But I have now realized that I will have to, and want to, live with this body.

Most transgender people do anything and everything to hide their biological nature. But as a person who is 6 feet 5 inches tall with broad shoulders and large hands, I will always cause a stir when I'm dressed as a woman. This is why I only have two choices — either to be a desperate man or a conspicuous woman.

Despite the fact that my gender is only one of the many facets of my personality, I am always confronted by it. Everything revolves around the question as to who or what I am. I always have to justify myself to others despite the fact that there are more interesting aspects of my life than my sexual identity.

I compromise and live both as a man and as a woman. Take my marriage for instance. I love a woman and I know that it would be utterly unbearable to her if I switched to the other side permanently. She has been living with the knowledge that I've felt like a woman for more than 15 years and, it has been, and still is, a long and often painful path that we try to navigate while building our relationship. But our relationship is important to the both of us and we do not want to give up on it.

I prefer to play the male role in my professional environment. In terms of employment, I would be cast aside very quickly if I didn't. Even employers with a progressive company would never go as far as to hire a transgender person in a management position as they are afraid of offending their business partners. Executive officers are not allowed to be confusing.

Other transgender people criticize me for not going all the way and crossing that last remaining hurdle — having my body surgically altered. In the end, they are stuck with the same ideas as the majority of society. They believe that your body decides your gender.

After all, there is this wonderfully convenient explanation for people like me — that I am "imprisoned in my own body." It's an interpretation that could make everyone happy. But it's not true. It's not my body that is wrong but society's norms and perceptions. A person's gender is not determined by his or her genitals. Transgender identity is so much more than physical attributes. Soul, reason and psyche are as much a part of it despite the fact that these are invisible attributes. All of these factors make us who we are. No one would seriously try to argue that it is just our body that defines us as humans. Why should that be any different with people who identify as transgender?

We have emotional, physical, and intellectual needs that are completely independent of our sexual identity. Why should I have my body surgically altered just to satisfy a stranger's perception of what a transgender person is?

Many people don't have a clue about my identity as a woman; they only meet me in my male capacity. Others only know me as a woman. Only a small group know me as both male and female. Most of my friends and acquaintances treat me the way I present myself, namely as a woman. I am grateful to these people because they make me feel accepted.

I would like to be addressed as "Mrs' when I present myself in women's clothes in public. And have people accept that I use the women's toilet. I am, of course, delighted when someone helps me into my coat or holds a door for me. But that in itself would be a bonus. I would be happy if you would just treat me as if there is nothing particularly special about me. I am ecstatic if you just look at me briefly, look away again and continue on your way as if nothing happened. These are the moments when I think, "Hey, I can actually be a woman!"

But at night, when a group of people advance toward me, I do sometimes feel afraid. I know that transgender people in particular are at a higher risk of being a victim of a hate crime. But I do not allow my fear to control me. I do not want to give other people the opportunity to hurt me, whether psychological or physical.

Some people will always try to make jokes at my expense. But, thank goodness, I have rarely experienced this kind of behavior. First and foremost, I am happy to be living in Germany, where the law protects me and I cannot be stoned to death. And where I am mostly accepted as a woman and human being. Which is why I prefer to say thanks instead of complaining.

There are advantages to be recognizably "trans." For example, no bouncer refuses us entry because we add a dash of exoticism to a nightclub. Many people tend to open up in my presence and tell me things that only their closest friends would know about.

Some people say that that I am brave. I do, indeed, have to be brave and it took me a long time to be brave. Which is why I am happy when people recognize my struggle. But, at the same time, it highlights that my wish to be just a normal woman will never come true. I will need to continue being brave because I will always be conspicuous. Despite all my efforts, you will always be able to tell that I was not born a woman.

I wish that one day I will no longer have to be brave. I wish I will no longer be conspicuous. I wish that people would treat my sexual identity like they would the fact that I'm left-handed. I know that I am not what you imagine a woman to be. But I am, nonetheless, a woman. And I am thankful that you accept that to a large extent.

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A woman in Istanbul

A Woman's Sacred Right To Wear Shorts — Or A Headscarf


ISTANBUL — After a woman was kicked in the face on a public bus for wearing shorts, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the event as an "individual" act of discrimination. His ruling party, the AKP, expressed a similar opinion, calling it an "isolated incident."

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When sharing is working

The Creative Boost Of Buenos Aires' Shared Workspaces

BUENOS AIRES — In the Argentine capital, always aiming to be on top of the latest trends, is part of the wave of turning staid office culture into hubs of creativity through shared workspaces.

These workspaces, which are offices that freelancers share as a workplace, are found to foster useful interaction and creative activity. Many say that these places help them concentrate on their work better. Maybe it's because of the Chinese takeout lunches they share, the ping-pong tournaments or the hammocks found dangling on some office terraces. These shared offices, which cut costs, generate a good work atmosphere and boost creative networks, are growing increasingly popular these days.

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Celebrating the peace deal with balloons in Bogota on Aug. 24

How FARC Deal Could Change The Way Colombians Treat Each Other

Decades of war between FARC guerrillas and the government seem to have made aggression a widespread social trait in Colombia that's reflected in cases of domestic violence, bullying at school and a tendency to talk tough. The peace deal could help


BOGOTÁHas the prospect of peace in Colombia, a country that has seen five decades of fighting between communist guerrillas and government troops, changed the way Colombians speak to one another?

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