The Red Sea Newsletter

Issue 95
15th November 2004

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Features & Articles

Nabta

Located 100 km west of Abu Simbel in southern Egypt, Nabta consists of a number of standing and toppled megaliths, which includes flat, tomb-like stone structures and a small stone circle that predates Stonehenge and other similar prehistoric sites by at least 1000 years. Nabta may also be the oldest monument built with astronomical considerations.

Thought to have been constructed about 7000 BC the site includes a "calendar circle" featuring two pairs of stones that display sunrise at the summer solstice, which heralded the coming of the annual monsoon rains. The circle also includes stones that point east-west and north-south. The site was used by nomads until about 4,800 years ago, when the monsoons shifted southwest and the area became too arid for human habitation. The Nabta culture may have influenced the complex Egyptian civilization ruled by pharaohs for more than 3,000 years.

The site was first discovered in 1974 by a group of scientists headed by Fred Wendorf, an Anthropology Professor from Southern Methodist University in Texas, USA. The team had stopped for a break from their uncomfortable drive from the Libyan border to the Nile Valley when, as Wendorf stated, “We were standing there minding our own business, when we noticed broken pots and other artifacts." Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, Wendorf returned to Nabta several times. He determined that humans had occupied the Nabta area off and on for thousands of years, dating from as early as 11,000 years ago up until about 4,800 years ago. Although the area was occupied for more then 5,000 years, the majority of the stone structures and other artifacts originated between 7,000 and 6,500 years ago.

Whether or not the people of Nabta had anything to do with the Egyptian civilization, it is still a site of great importance. It dates to a time when climatic and social changes were occurring. Complex societies or civilizations were starting to emerge not only in Africa, but throughout the world. Nabta helps to provide us with a better understanding of what life was like during this time in history.


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News

Opening Soon ... in Hurghada!

The new Hard Rock Cafe Hurghada had it's successful, "soft opening" on Friday 12th November. The exact opening date to the general public is still to be announced .. but watch this space!

African Athletics Get a Boost

An initiative to bolster African athletics has been announced in Johannesburg.
Confederation of African Athletics President Hamad Kalkaba said that Africa's top athletes have shown their potential at many an international event over the years but the time has now come for Africa's athletics infrastructure to be raised to the highest level in order for international Grand Prix style track and field meetings to be held on African soil.

Five Regional African Athletics Clubs consisting of five Regional Athletics Development Centres, an African track and field permit series and meetings involving Africa's best against foreign athletics powers, set to make 2005 the year of the African athletics renaissance.

The Regional African Athletics Track Clubs will be based in Dakar, Senegal, Abuja, Nigeria, Cairo, Egypt, Nairobi, Kenya and Johannesburg, SA, with a view to develop the skills of athletics administrators working for African-based athletics federations.

Further, the administrators will be taught commercialisation, promotional, publicity and event management skills, in order for track and field meetings of the highest calibre to be hosted on the continent.
The African Athletics Development Centre will also be the platform for coaches to upgrade or develop their coaching skills. 

Each of these Regional African Athletics Track Clubs will stage major athletics events and be part of the new African Grand Prix Series, with Africa's best athletes to be contracted and paid to participate in these events.

The African Hall of Fame and African Athletics programme will be launched in Abuja, Nigeria on March 11 next year whereby African athletes who have achieved fame in the sport of athletics at world championship, Olympic or other top level events, will be honoured for their achievements.


Red-Sea.com

What's On ... on Earth!

Meteor Shower 19th November 2004

Don't miss your chance to see one of the best free shows this year - the Leonids meteor.

Meteors are produced when tiny pieces of dust shed by comets many years ago plummet through the Earth's atmosphere. They fall so fast that friction with the air heats them up and they "light up", appearing as "shooting stars". A few meteors fall each hour on every night of the year, but it's only when the Earth passes near the orbit of an active comet that meteors fall by the dozens as a shower.

Each November the Earth passes near the orbit of the comet Tempel-Tuttle. The comet's path is littered with trails of dusty debris, some of which are dense and produce super meteor showers. In other years, the Earth misses these dust trails and there is a weak shower or none at all.

The best time to observe is clearly dependent upon where you live on the globe and in Egypt the best time will be 23:49 on 19th November.

Observe in a location away from bright lights, such as the middle of the desert!

What's On ... in Egypt!

Celebration of Fast-Breaking - (Eid al Fitr)

Eid al Fitr is known as the Celebration of Fast-Breaking which signals the end of Ramadan. It is a three day celebration during which time family and friends gather together for long meals, the sharing of gifts, and religious devotion.

Eid al-Fitr is an opportunity for the faithful to celebrate their renewed commitment that they achieved through the month long fast, and to thank God for having seen them through it.


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Parents & Kids

Seat Belt Wearing During Pregnancy

Following on from last weeks' article, Belt Up, here is some advise for pregnant women and premature and low birth weight babies.

The safest way for pregnant women to wear a seat belt is to :

  • Place the diagonal strap between the breasts (over the breastbone) with the strap resting over the shoulder, not the neck.

  • Place the lap belt flat on the thighs, fitting comfortably beneath the enlarged abdomen, and over the pelvis not the bump.

  • The belt should be worn as tight as possible.

In this way the forces applied in a sudden impact can be absorbed by the body's frame.

It is not advisable to wear 'Lap-only-Belts' as opposed to lap and diagonal belts as they have been shown to cause grave injuries to unborn children in the event of sudden deceleration. Mother and unborn child are both safer in a collision if a lap and diagonal seat belt is being worn correctly.

Premature and Low Birth Weight Babies

The safest way for babies to travel in a car is in a rearward-facing baby seat that is suitable for the car and is properly fitted, preferably in the rear of the car.

However, research indicates that premature and low-birth weight babies can be susceptible to breathing problems if they stay in a baby seat for long periods. It has been found that some new born babies developed breathing problems after one hour in the baby seat and some premature babies stopped breathing for a short period.

If you have a premature or low-birth weight baby:

Ask the hospital whether it is safe for the baby to travel in a baby seat.

Put the baby in a rearward-facing baby seat that is suitable for the car and is properly fitted.

Do not keep the baby in the seat for longer than necessary.

Recline the baby seat as much as possible when in the car.

Never leave the child unattended in the seat. Try to have someone else do the driving, so you can sit next to the baby to keep an eye on him or her.

Keep car travel to a minimum in the first few months.

Only use the baby seat in the vehicle and not for feeding or sleeping etc.

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