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ŻiguŻajg Arts Festival for Children and Young People 2022 officially open

 - Art - Nov 19 SHARE ON:
ŻiguŻajg Arts Festival for Children and Young People 2022 officially open

The 12th edition of the ŻiguŻajg Arts Festival for Children and Young People kicks off today. The festival will include productions involving theatre, dance, as well as visual arts and musicals, creating a variety of artforms that appeal to everyone.

Dr Lydia Abela, patron of ŻiguŻajg, stated that this year’s programme continued to grow in artistic content. She said that art and culture give us our identity, and through this festival, we are bringing children closer to art and culture from a young age. Dr Abela stressed that art should play a crucial role in children’s education and personal development and that, through ŻiguŻajg they are being given access to this.

Minister for National Heritage, Arts, and Local Government Owen Bonnici emphasised the importance of having a festival like ŻiguŻajg, because it not only exposes today’s generation to the beauty of art, but it also has an impact on a mental, emotional, and educational level. “Our young audiences will carry these experiences and what they have learned from them as guidance throughout their daily lives”, Dr Bonnici concluded.

Fondazzjoni Kreattività Chairman, Rupert Cefai, said that the importance of such a festival is also found in the inspiration that it provides for future generations. In fact, he claimed that some of those children who today are part of the audience, could be our future artists who, in the same way, will continue to create more art for those who come after them, creating a sort of chain reaction.

ŻiguŻajg Festival Director Marta Vella stated that the festival is back to life and thriving after two years of constant changes, adaptations, and uncertainty. She explained that the festival consists of no less than seventeen events, including theatre, dance, concerts, musicals, and visual arts. All these art forms will contribute to the audiences’ experiences in different ways and will continue to expand everyone’s love for art and creativity.

ŻiguŻajg Arts Festival for Children and Young People 2022 will take place between the 18th and 27th of November 2022. For more information or ticket bookings, visit www.ziguzajg.org.

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Alleged global sperm decline furthers debate over male fertility

 - Men - Nov 19 SHARE ON:
Alleged global sperm decline furthers debate over male fertility

According to an updated review of medical literature, a trend of falling sperm count by 50% has been noted across a period of 50 years. 

If these findings are confirmed, and the supposed declines continue, researchers are worried that it could have important implications for human reproduction. Semen quality can be an important marker for overall health in general.

The review and its conclusions have reinvigorated an ongoing debate amongst experts in the field. Some say the findings are real and urgent whilst others are not convinced by the data collecting methods due to them changing over time. 

The new analysis updates a review published in 2017 and includes data from Africa, Asia and South America for the fist time. Published in the Human Reproduction Update, around 3,000 studies recording men’s sperm counts between 2014 and 2020 were reviewed. 

Ruling out various studies to make sure that they were only considering a ‘norm’ (excluding infertility issues, etc), just 38 studies met their criteria. The studies showed that sperm counts fell by slightly more than 1% per year between 1973 and 2018. Globally, the average sperm count was found to have fallen by 52% by 2018. 

The causes of the alleged decline are unknown. Damage to reproductive health may begin in the womb, some researchers said. However, there is no cause for panic as the counts are still by and large normal. 

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Safe to hold hands for everyone, says Qatar World Cup chief

 - International - Nov 19 SHARE ON:
Safe to hold hands for everyone, says Qatar World Cup chief

Speaking to Sky News, 2022 World Cup CEO Nasser Al Khater insisted that public displays of affection such as holding hands would be tolerated for the duration of the World Cup. 

With the massive football event about to kick off, many wishing to travel to Qatar to watch the matches live were expressing concerns due to cultural values being very different to countries which held the games before. 

Following the sudden ban on alcohol despite the agreement between FIFA and Qatar, Al Khater explained to Sky News that everybody is welcome to Qatar. All they ask is for people to be respectful of the culture. 

 

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Pressed on the LGBTIQ+ mater, Al Khater told interviewer Rob Harris that if he held his hand and walked outside the street for hours on end, ‘nobody would say anything to us.’

Homosexuality is still illegal in Qatar and could lend someone convicted a prison sentence of up to 3 years along with a fine. People still expressed doubts about the apparent openness, with recent footage of local security threatening to break a journalist’s camera raising further worries. 

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Fast X could be one of the most expensive movies ever filmed

 - Celebrities - Nov 19 SHARE ON:
Fast X could be one of the most expensive movies ever filmed

As fans gear up (pun intended) for the tenth instalment of the Fast and the Furious franchise, it seems as though this particular continuation of the series could be one of the most expensive film-makings in history. 

Fans still have to wait around another six months for this film to be released, but insider scoops have suggested that the budget has ballooned so much that it could join the ranks of most expensive films ever made. 

The Wrap reported how ‘Fast X’s budget currently supposedly sits at $340 million – that is, a whopping 70% more than the blockbuster’s budget was intended to be. 

The outlet revealed that the price tag can be blamed on various elements such as the increased salaries for main star Vin Diesel and cast, production costs due to inflation as well as pandemic impacts. 

If the budget did shoot up to $340 million, Fast X would be right up there with the likes of Avengers: Endgame ($356 million) and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ($379 million).

In comparison, James Cameron’s Avatar, which was considered to be a groundbreaking film in terms of VFX and overall costs, racked up a $237 million budget. Its sequel jumped to $250 million. 

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