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Expat wanderer

Today’s News from Doha

It’s a very brave thing to take an honest and open look at the serious problems confronting any society.

Report on domestic workers by year-end
Web posted at: 6/24/2009 2:49:44
Source ::: The Peninsula.

DOHA: The first national survey on domestic workers in Qatar will be completed soon and the findings will be announced by the end of this year, a senior official of the Qatar Foundation for Combating Human Trafficking, the organisers of the study, has said.

On Monday, the Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Doha International Institute for Family Studies and Development for collaboration between the two bodies in carrying out the survey. The MoU was signed by Mariam Al Malki, director of the Foundation and Richard Wilkins, managing director of the Institute.

Speaking on the occasion, Al Malki said the survey which is the first of its kind in the region, aimed at identifying the problems of domestic workers in the country and seek solutions. Another major objective of the study was to assess the impact of housemaids and other domestic workers on the Qatari family and the society.

The survey conducted through direct interviews with a randomly selected group of domestics workers and families has received a positive response from the society, added Al Malki.

She attributed the success to an awareness campaign waged with the support of the media prior to the launch of the survey. The survey covered 657 families and a total of 900 domestic workers from five regions across the country, said Al Malki.

The interviews were conducted through questionnaires prepared separately for the two targeted categories. The questionnaires for domestic workers were available in 10 languages including Arabic to cater to the different nationalities.

Wilkins said the study was extremely important since it can help in identifying the problems of domestic workers as well as their impact on the society.

“ Almost every Qatari household has employed domestic workers, especially because most women are now working outside. This is also a sensitive issue, given the impact of these workers on the families,” he said.

Protecting women and children to focus on providing social and psychological support to victims of family violence:

Counselling service launched for victims of behavioural disorders
Web posted at: 6/24/2009 2:47:0
Source ::: The Peninsula

DOHA: The Qatar Foundation for Protection of Women and Children has launched a new service to provide social and psychological support to victims of violence as well as those who suffer from behavioural disorders.

The service named “change your life” is part of the Foundation’s three-year plan to prepare a comprehensive rehabilitation programme for such members of the society. Besides moral and psychological support, the Foundation will provide medical and legal assistance to victims to facilitate their rehabilitation.

Farida Al Obaidli, Director of the Foundation said, recently they had come across a case where a family wanted to abandon their four children.

“This was very surprising. The fact that such incidents still occur underlines the need for social and psychological support and rehabilitation,” said Al Obaidli.

She said the Foundation had been providing legal assistance to victims of violence and abuse. It has 19 lawyers who help people who don’t have the capability to hire the service of a lawyer to present their case in the court.

And one tiny very strange article:

Media Freedom Centre team leaves office

DOHA: Robert Ménard, director- general of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom and his team have left the Centre.

“We no longer have either the freedom or the resources to do our work,” said Menard, in a statement issued yesterday.

The heads of the assistance, research and communications departments have also left the Centre, said the statement.

The Center was set up on the initiative of H H Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned and Reporters Without Borders in December 2007.

Ménard, who became director-general on April 1, 2008, was the founder of Reporters Without Borders, which he headed for 23 years.

It’s a little cooler out today in Doha. High temperature this afternoon only reached 109°F / 43°C. 🙂

June 24, 2009 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, News, Political Issues, Qatar, Social Issues, Women's Issues | Leave a comment

Dr. Kessler and The Power of a Chocolate Chip Cookie

This is an excerpt from an article in The New York Times; Health and you can read the whole article by clicking on the blue type. Dr. Kessler has written a book about how food is engineered to be irresistible. Yes, we all need to develop a little self-discipline. And yes, the decks are stacked against us.

Did you know that almost the entire taste of a potato chip is on it’s surface, designed to give you an immediate impact of taste?

This article talks about Dr. Kessler’s new book, and it’s implications for our food choices:

(photo from Bon Appetit magazine chocolate chip cookie and strawberry gelato sandwiches)

As head of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. David A. Kessler served two presidents and battled Congress and Big Tobacco. But the Harvard-educated pediatrician discovered he was helpless against the forces of a chocolate chip cookie.

In an experiment of one, Dr. Kessler tested his willpower by buying two gooey chocolate chip cookies that he didn’t plan to eat. At home, he found himself staring at the cookies, and even distracted by memories of the chocolate chunks and doughy peaks as he left the room. He left the house, and the cookies remained uneaten. Feeling triumphant, he stopped for coffee, saw cookies on the counter and gobbled one down.

“Why does that chocolate chip cookie have such power over me?” Dr. Kessler asked in an interview. “Is it the cookie, the representation of the cookie in my brain? I spent seven years trying to figure out the answer.”

The result of Dr. Kessler’s quest is a fascinating new book, “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite” (Rodale).

During his time at the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Kessler maintained a high profile, streamlining the agency, pushing for faster approval of drugs and overseeing the creation of the standardized nutrition label on food packaging. But Dr. Kessler is perhaps best known for his efforts to investigate and regulate the tobacco industry, and his accusation that cigarette makers intentionally manipulated nicotine content to make their products more addictive.

In “The End of Overeating,” Dr. Kessler finds some similarities in the food industry, which has combined and created foods in a way that taps into our brain circuitry and stimulates our desire for more.

When it comes to stimulating our brains, Dr. Kessler noted, individual ingredients aren’t particularly potent. But by combining fats, sugar and salt in innumerable ways, food makers have essentially tapped into the brain’s reward system, creating a feedback loop that stimulates our desire to eat and leaves us wanting more and more even when we’re full.

Dr. Kessler isn’t convinced that food makers fully understand the neuroscience of the forces they have unleashed, but food companies certainly understand human behavior, taste preferences and desire. In fact, he offers descriptions of how restaurants and food makers manipulate ingredients to reach the aptly named “bliss point.” Foods that contain too little or too much sugar, fat or salt are either bland or overwhelming. But food scientists work hard to reach the precise point at which we derive the greatest pleasure from fat, sugar and salt.

The result is that chain restaurants like Chili’s cook up “hyper-palatable food that requires little chewing and goes down easily,” he notes. And Dr. Kessler reports that the Snickers bar, for instance, is “extraordinarily well engineered.” As we chew it, the sugar dissolves, the fat melts and the caramel traps the peanuts so the entire combination of flavors is blissfully experienced in the mouth at the same time.

Foods rich in sugar and fat are relatively recent arrivals on the food landscape, Dr. Kessler noted. But today, foods are more than just a combination of ingredients. They are highly complex creations, loaded up with layer upon layer of stimulating tastes that result in a multisensory experience for the brain. Food companies “design food for irresistibility,” Dr. Kessler noted. “It’s been part of their business plans.”

June 24, 2009 Posted by | Chocolate, Customer Service, Food, Health Issues, Marketing, Shopping, Social Issues | | 1 Comment