culture

An Egyptian-Canadian Has Been Cast for Disney’s Remake of Aladdin

By Arfa Shahid Egyptian-Canadian actor Mena Massoud has been cast in the leading role for Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin, a feat many view as progress in Hollywood with regards to casting actors of color. It was in that moment, as he looked into her eyes, that he saw a soul so beautfully captivating that

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Egyptian ‘Despacito’ Goes Viral

A musical duo from Egypt took social media by storm after posting their cover of the chart-topper Despacito, performed on Arabic drums. The song was originally sung by Latino music artists Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, and recently popularized by superstar Justin Bieber with a remixed version. The video was posted by Adel Nabil, who can

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New MTV Dramas in Egypt and India Tackle Female Genital Mutilation, Sex Work

By Emma Batha LONDON, July 12  – American cable television channel MTV is launching drama series in Egypt and in India with storylines on female genital mutilation, child marriage and sex work with the aim of generating debate around issues often seen as taboo. Both series by the Viacom-owned youth entertainment broadcaster will feature soundtracks

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This Elderly Lebanese Gentleman Has Some Serious Dance Moves

The traditional Levantine folk dance, known as ‘dabke,’ has been doing its rounds on the internet thanks to the #WallDanceChallenge that has been dominating social media trends lately. The challenge spread to U.S., France, UAE, Mexico and even Argentina after a video went viral of a group of Lebanese-Australian men doing the dabke – literally

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Hobby Lobby to Forfeit Ancient Iraqi Artifacts in Settlement with U.S. DOJ

By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES, July 6 – Arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby has agreed to forfeit thousands of illegally smuggled ancient Middle Eastern artifacts obtained from antiquities dealers for a Bible museum headed by its president, the company and U.S. officials said on Wednesday. The forfeiture will include some 5,500 artifacts purchased by

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Tower of Human Skulls in Mexico Casts New Light on Aztecs

By Roberto Ramirez MEXICO CITY, July 1 – A tower of human skulls unearthed beneath the heart of Mexico City has raised new questions about the culture of sacrifice in the Aztec Empire after crania of women and children surfaced among the hundreds embedded in the forbidding structure. Archaeologists have found more than 650 skulls

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Japan Bathhouse Offers “Naked School” to Lure Bathers

By Hyun Oh TOKYO, May 29 – A Tokyo bathhouse is offering classes on topics ranging from comedy to gaming in hopes of luring younger bathers and reversing Japan’s dying tradition of communal baths. During one recent session of the “Naked School” at the Hinodeyu bath house, nine men sat around the bath, listening to

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This all-girl “boy band” is shaking up gender norms in China

Acrush is China’s first all-girl “boy band” which released its debut single last week, but already, the it has a huge fan-following. “Our fathers’ generation still holds the idea that girls should dress in a feminine manner, something I was never comfortable with,” band member Min Junqian told Reuters. “I just like to dress in a

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After Taliban Music Ban, Songbook Teaches Afghan Children to Sing Again

By Magdalena Mis LONDON, June 14 – When Louise Pascale, an American music teacher, pulled a three-decade-old Afghan children’s songbook from her bookcase, she realised she was likely holding a treasure lost to Afghan children following a music ban imposed by the Taliban. Playing instruments was banned during the period of Taliban rule in late-1990s

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