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Here’s how soon you can truthfully say, “don’t worry, I’m not contagious.”

The holiday season is all about sharing: warm embraces with family and friends, heaping spreads of food, good cheer galore, and, inevitably, cold and flu bugs. But should you skip out on all the fun just because a cold or the flu has left you feeling a little under the weather? As long as you’re not sweating bullets with a fever and come armed with a pocketful of Ricola drops in case you break out in a coughing fit, it can’t do any harm to join the party, right? Not so fast, experts say.

A NEW initiative started by three friends living in Cyprus is offering help and support to women of all nationalities facing difficult situations. Although ‘WomenSupportCyprus’ started only a month or so ago, the three women have already helped seven women coping with a range of problems, of all different nationalities, including Moroccan, Russian and Ukrainian. “Women living here, especially foreign women, can face a range of problems. The women we have spoken to have been abused, have a husband that is a drug addict, or one that threatens to take away the children, and in some cases, children are being taken and kept from the mother, seemingly without any legal recourse,” one of the trio, Ukrainian, Natacha Butenko, told the Cyprus Mail.

Five women scientists from the developing world have been awarded an international prize for research that promotes socio-economic development and a better quality of life. The awards; a partnership between the Elsevier Foundation and the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which took place in Austin, Texas this month (15-19 February). Hasibun Naher from Bangladesh, Germaine Djuidje Kenmoe from Cameroon, Silvia González Pérez from Ecuador, Dawn Iona Fox from Guyana and Witri Wahyu Lestari from Indonesia each received a US$5,000 cash prize for their work. Naher was recognized for her work on computer simulation of tsunamis; Djuidje Kenmoe for the study of molecular friction-and-wear for improving energy efficiency; González Pérez for molecular modelling of new sustainable materials; Fox for work on converting waste into materials with added value; and Lestari for her research on the synthesis of metal-organic frameworks for various applications in medicine or environmental protection.

By Boma Benjy – Iwuoha

Every parent wants a smart, bright and intelligent child. This desire sees us spending so much time and resources trying to find the best schools, teachers and learning environments for our kids. We sometimes forget that as parents, we have an important role to play, and the power to enhance our children’s learning potential by making books an integral part of their lives.

It is always an amazing experience to hear motivating stories from young women who despite the odds, have reached for the sky and grabbed their destinies with both hands. The story of SoleRebels Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, is one that will not only inspire women who desire to go into different forms of handiwork but will serve as one which all women can draw strength from in towing their various fields of endeavour.