Undated stock image of a man suffering from a headache using a mobile phone. Photos.com

REF al30mobilephone 30/06/08
Although most of the available evidence suggests that mobile phones are safe, some scientists have raised concerns about the long-term health effects.

Dangerous talk



Three billion of us worldwide use them. One in five of us even sleeps next to one. And being parted from it has been compared to the stress involved in moving house or splitting with one's partner. What is it? The mobile phone. And our love affair with this technology suggests that far from considering it dangerous, we do not think of it as a health hazard at all. In fact we are more likely to get ill worrying that they don't work, or that our children don't have one. Anxiety over running out of battery life or credit, losing one's handset or not having network coverage affects 53 per cent of mobile-phone users in the UK, according to a study by pollsters YouGov.

Nevertheless, since their introduction, there have been concerns about the possible impact of mobile phones on health, particularly whether they cause brain cancers or increase the risk of Alzheimer's. So could they prove to be the hi-tech equivalent of cigarettes - seemingly harmless for decades, but in reality a health time-bomb waiting to go off? It's not just mobile phones that are being implicated.

The erection of phone masts on high buildings is often the trigger for local disputes. Not untypical was the row a few years ago in Wishaw, a village in the British Midlands. One of the residents, Eileen O'Connor, was convinced that the mast ushered in a variety of health complaints among local people, from nosebleeds to headaches. But for Eileen, it was much worse: at 38, with no history of the disease in her family, she contracted breast cancer.

Although there is no statistical evidence to support the claim of a cancer "cluster" in the village, Eileen firmly believes that the mast and her illness were linked and set up a local campaign group called SCRAM (Seriously Concerned Residents Against Masts). It is still going, and many other local groups have protested against masts in their communities. And what about an even newer innovation, the Wi-Fi networks which allow you to connect your computer directly to the internet without the need for wires? Some fear that these networks are yet another invisible source of harm.

The British Government, like many others, has, so far, dismissed such fears as exaggerated. The Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) programme, which is funded jointly by the UK Government and the industry, concluded that mobile phones, base stations and masts had not been found to be associated with any adverse health effects. The Health Protection Agency in the UK, which advises government on health issues and is state-funded, stated that as far as adults are concerned, Wi-Fi, phones and radio masts all operate on a power level well within the accepted guidelines.

Many cancer experts point out that mobile phones are not risk-free - but the risks they cause are most commonly associated with car accidents. But some people remain concerned. As recently as March, a study by an award-winning cancer expert said mobile phones, in particular, could kill far more people than smoking or asbestos. Dr Vini Khurana, an associate professor of neurosurgery at the Canberra Hospital in Australia, and fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, suggested that people should avoid using them wherever possible and that governments and the mobile phone industry must take immediate steps to reduce exposure to their radiation.

Khurana's study was alarming. He suggested there was growing evidence that using handsets for 10 years or more could double the risk of brain cancer. Khurana reviewed more than 100 studies on the effects of mobile phones, and concluded "there is a significant and increasing body of evidence for a link between mobile phone usage and certain brain tumours". Khurana also called for a solid scientific study observing heavy mobile phone users for a period of at least 10 to15 years.

"It is anticipated that this danger has far broader public health ramifications than asbestos and smoking, and directly concerns all of us, particularly the younger generation, including very young children," he says in a research paper published on the website brain-surgery.us. He told the Larry King Show on CNN in May: "At this point in time, there's just over three billion users of cell phones worldwide. So that's half of our world population, or almost half.

"We've reached saturation points. For example, in Australia, there are 22 million cell phones and 21 million people. "And the concern is not just brain tumours, but other health effects associated or reported to be associated with cell phones, including behavioural disturbances, salivary gland tumours, male infertility and microwave sickness syndrome. "So we're not just talking about tumours, and I was not just implying brain tumours, but there are other health effects. And with so many users, and users starting at the age of three and up now, we should be concerned."

Asked if he used a mobile phone, he said: "I do. I mean they're invaluable, of course, as we all know. I use it on the speaker phone mode. I do not hold it to my ear." The French government recently warned against the use of mobile phones, especially by children who, it said, could be especially vulnerable to mobile phone emissions because of their thinner skulls and developing nervous system. Then the German environment ministry recommended that people keep their exposure to radiation as low as possible by replacing Wi-Fi with a cabled connection.

The city of Frankfurt decided not to install wireless systems in schools until there was more health research. Meanwhile, a group of 25 international scientists, known as the BioInitiative Working Group, carried out a major review of the evidence for the effect of microwaves on health. They found evidence for a raised risk of brain tumour from mobile phones, and also expressed concern about a possible raised risk of breast cancer, changes to genes, and inflammation in the blood vessels associated with conditions such as heart disease.

Some researchers have even called for mobile phones to carry health warnings, like cigarettes. But the case is certainly not proven. The Mobile Operators Association in the UK, for example, was dismissive of Khurana's study, describing it as "a selective discussion of scientific literature by one individual and presents no new research findings". Christine Jude, chief spokesman of the MOA, said: "The study reaches opposite conclusions to the World Health Organisation and more than 30 other independent expert scientific reviews that find no evidence of adverse health effects from low level radio signals.

"Certainly in the UK all mobile phones comply with the international health and safety exposure guidelines. And mobile phones automatically operate at the lowest power necessary to make a call." The American Cancer Society says people should keep an open mind, but it points out that the type of radio frequency that comes from a mobile phone is weak - halfway between an FM radio and the microwave. It also points to the fact that in Sweden, where mobile phones have been used the longest, brain cancer rates are flat.

Michael Clark, science spokesman for the Health Protection Agency, said: "There is still no hard evidence of a health effect, but it is early days. "This is new technology. We have recommended for nearly a decade a precautionary approach. We rely on expert groups to look at the scientific evidence and they have said that excessive use by children should be avoided. But we do realise that parents may want their children to have a phone in certain circumstances for perfectly good reasons.

"For adults, it's up to them. They could choose not to buy a mobile phone."

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Elmawkaa
Based: Hub71, Abu Dhabi
Founders: Ebrahem Anwar, Mahmoud Habib and Mohamed Thabet
Sector: PropTech
Total funding: $400,000
Investors: 500 Startups, Flat6Labs and angel investors
Number of employees: 12

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

Aayan’s records

Youngest UAE men’s cricketer
When he debuted against Bangladesh aged 16 years and 314 days, he became the youngest ever to play for the men’s senior team. He broke the record set by his World Cup squad-mate, Alishan Sharafu, of 17 years and 44 days.

Youngest wicket-taker
After taking the wicket of Bangladesh’s Litton Das on debut in Dubai, Aayan became the youngest male cricketer to take a wicket against a Full Member nation in a T20 international.

Youngest in T20 World Cup history?
Aayan does not turn 17 until November 15 – which is two days after the T20 World Cup final at the MCG. If he does play in the competition, he will be its youngest ever player. Pakistan’s Mohammed Amir, who was 17 years and 55 days when he played in 2009, currently holds the record.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: 3S Money
Started: 2018
Based: London
Founders: Ivan Zhiznevsky, Eugene Dugaev and Andrei Dikouchine
Sector: FinTech
Investment stage: $5.6 million raised in total

What went into the film

25 visual effects (VFX) studios

2,150 VFX shots in a film with 2,500 shots

1,000 VFX artists

3,000 technicians

10 Concept artists, 25 3D designers

New sound technology, named 4D SRL

 

Getting there and where to stay

Fly with Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi to New York’s JFK. There's 11 flights a week and economy fares start at around Dh5,000.
Stay at The Mark Hotel on the city’s Upper East Side. Overnight stays start from $1395 per night.
Visit NYC Go, the official destination resource for New York City for all the latest events, activites and openings.

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

The low down on MPS

What is myofascial pain syndrome?

Myofascial pain syndrome refers to pain and inflammation in the body’s soft tissue. MPS is a chronic condition that affects the fascia (­connective tissue that covers the muscles, which develops knots, also known as trigger points).

What are trigger points?

Trigger points are irritable knots in the soft ­tissue that covers muscle tissue. Through injury or overuse, muscle fibres contract as a reactive and protective measure, creating tension in the form of hard and, palpable nodules. Overuse and ­sustained posture are the main culprits in developing ­trigger points.

What is myofascial or trigger-point release?

Releasing these nodules requires a hands-on technique that involves applying gentle ­sustained pressure to release muscular shortness and tightness. This eliminates restrictions in ­connective tissue in orderto restore motion and alleviate pain. ­Therapy balls have proven effective at causing enough commotion in the tissue, prompting the release of these hard knots.

Sheer grandeur

The Owo building is 14 storeys high, seven of which are below ground, with the 30,000 square feet of amenities located subterranean, including a 16-seat private cinema, seven lounges, a gym, games room, treatment suites and bicycle storage.

A clear distinction between the residences and the Raffles hotel with the amenities operated separately.

Tips for job-seekers
  • Do not submit your application through the Easy Apply button on LinkedIn. Employers receive between 600 and 800 replies for each job advert on the platform. If you are the right fit for a job, connect to a relevant person in the company on LinkedIn and send them a direct message.
  • Make sure you are an exact fit for the job advertised. If you are an HR manager with five years’ experience in retail and the job requires a similar candidate with five years’ experience in consumer, you should apply. But if you have no experience in HR, do not apply for the job.

David Mackenzie, founder of recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones Middle East

BACK TO ALEXANDRIA

Director: Tamer Ruggli

Starring: Nadine Labaki, Fanny Ardant

Rating: 3.5/5

Essentials

The flights
Emirates, Etihad and Malaysia Airlines all fly direct from the UAE to Kuala Lumpur and on to Penang from about Dh2,300 return, including taxes. 
 

Where to stay
In Kuala Lumpur, Element is a recently opened, futuristic hotel high up in a Norman Foster-designed skyscraper. Rooms cost from Dh400 per night, including taxes. Hotel Stripes, also in KL, is a great value design hotel, with an infinity rooftop pool. Rooms cost from Dh310, including taxes. 


In Penang, Ren i Tang is a boutique b&b in what was once an ancient Chinese Medicine Hall in the centre of Little India. Rooms cost from Dh220, including taxes.
23 Love Lane in Penang is a luxury boutique heritage hotel in a converted mansion, with private tropical gardens. Rooms cost from Dh400, including taxes. 
In Langkawi, Temple Tree is a unique architectural villa hotel consisting of antique houses from all across Malaysia. Rooms cost from Dh350, including taxes.

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

OIL PLEDGE

At the start of Russia's invasion, IEA member countries held 1.5 billion barrels in public reserves and about 575 million barrels under obligations with industry, according to the agency's website. The two collective actions of the IEA this year of 62.7 million barrels, which was agreed on March 1, and this week's 120 million barrels amount to 9 per cent of total emergency reserves, it added.

SPECS

Engine: 4-litre V8 twin-turbo
Power: 630hp
Torque: 850Nm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic
Price: From Dh599,000
On sale: Now

Married Malala

Malala Yousafzai is enjoying married life, her father said.

The 24-year-old married Pakistan cricket executive Asser Malik last year in a small ceremony in the UK.

Ziauddin Yousafzai told The National his daughter was ‘very happy’ with her husband.

The Matrix Resurrections

Director: Lana Wachowski

Stars: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jessica Henwick 

Rating:****

Scream VI

Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett

Stars: Melissa Barrera, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Jack Champion, Dermot Mulroney, Jenna Ortega, Hayden Panettiere and Courteney Cox

Rating: 3/5

Maestro

Director: Bradley Cooper

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Maya Hawke

Rating: 3/5

Libya's Gold

UN Panel of Experts found regime secretly sold a fifth of the country's gold reserves.

The panel’s 2017 report followed a trail to West Africa where large sums of cash and gold were hidden by Abdullah Al Senussi, Qaddafi’s former intelligence chief, in 2011.

Cases filled with cash that was said to amount to $560m in 100 dollar notes, that was kept by a group of Libyans in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

A second stash was said to have been held in Accra, Ghana, inside boxes at the local offices of an international human rights organisation based in France.

FIXTURES

Fixtures for Round 15 (all times UAE)

Friday
Inter Milan v AS Roma (11.45pm)
Saturday
Atalanta v Verona (6pm)
Udinese v Napoli (9pm)
Lazio v Juventus (11.45pm)
Sunday
Lecce v Genoa (3.30pm)
Sassuolo v Cagliari (6pm)
SPAL v Brescia (6pm)
Torino v Fiorentina (6pm)
Sampdoria v Parma (9pm)
Bologna v AC Milan (11.45pm)

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo

Power: 240hp at 5,500rpm

Torque: 390Nm at 3,000rpm

Transmission: eight-speed auto

Price: from Dh122,745

On sale: now


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