On the 4th October it is world animal day

This special day was established in 1931 by ecologists in Florence in Italy and has now spread around the world, celebrating not just endangered and rare species, but all kinds of animal life.

And the date 4 October is no coincidence - it is the same day as the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

There are lots of ways to get involved on World Animal Day, like donating tins of cat and dog food to local shelters.  In Kusadasi you can help directly by donating to our own local animal welfare group Paws and Claws.

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Cosmetic products popular in ancient times

Archaeological excavations in the ancient city of Antandros in the north-western province of Balikesir, where work has been continuing for 16 years, have revealed a number of ancient shops which sold cosmetics, indicating that women have been interested in such products for millennia.

The deputy head of the Antandros excavations, archaeologist Rabia Aktas, said that works at the site were headed by Ege University academic Prof. Gurcan Polat. “A team of 50 persons [working at the site was] reduced to 10 because students left the ancient city as the new academic year started.”

“This year’s works focused on finding the entrance of a Roman villa and finding the dimensions of the house. We found eight shops in the southern part of the city. Two of these shops were excavated. We found bowls in good condition in these shops. It is understood that the shops were mostly used for the sale of cosmetics and ceramic products. They were not public shops but owned by [private] individuals. This year’s works are still continuing but students [who had been working at the site] have returned to their schools. We will continue with a team 10 people to unearth the shops and to find a side street that these shops open [on to]. Most probably we will be here until November.”

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Going vegan: An emerging lifestyle in the Turkish market

Imagine your weekly grocery shop, strolling through the aisles of a supermarket. This very ordinary activity is a tricky task for vegans and vegetarians, who are usually looking out for food items ending with the word "free," whether dairy-free vanilla ice cream, egg-free mayonnaise or meat-free burgers, just to name a few items.

Deciding on what we want to eat can be driven by a number of factors: It can be ethical, religious - as seen in India where vegetarianism is a major force - health-based, economic, and political like the vegan groups who advocate the animal-rights movement.  The global figures on veganism/vegetarianism show that their worldwide number comprises a limited portion of the world population. The 2014 "Meat Atlas of the Friends of Earth" by Heinrich Boll Stiftung reports over 375 million vegetarians including 74 million in Europe. However, a steady rise in people transitioning to a vegetarian lifestyle for which they describe as "a big change" is clear from the report. They emerge as a growing minority in the West, practicing vegetarianism as a philosophy. In the U.S., 4 percent of men and 7 percent of women are defined as vegetarians.

All these numbers have obviously brought great-tasting vegan options to grocery stores, vegan-themed restaurants, cafes and more importantly food-conscious consumers. The market for vegetarian products and meat alternatives is rapidly growing and there is a clear demand to help consumers identify these products. And to find out whether a product is really vegetarian or not, "V-label," the European Vegetarian Label first introduced in 1985, is beginning to be a necessity.

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Gluten-free cafe in Izmir a safe place for children with coeliac disease

The rising popularity of Down syndrome cafes and cafes for the physically-disabled in Turkey has paved the way for a new wave of cafes for patients with coeliac disease.

A "Diet Cafe" has opened its doors in the Bornova district of western Izmir province.  The cafe exclusively serves for coeliac and Phenylketonuria (PKU) patients and child patients can have gluten-free food.

Vahdet Yanik, the chairman of the Aegean Coeliac Disease Association, said these children should also find gluten-free options when dining outside and freely enjoy it at a cafe with their friends. "I hope more similar cafes will open to raise awareness of coeliac and PKU," he added.

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Smoking may be permanently damaging your DNA, says study

Tobacco smoke leaves its mark on DNA by changing a chemical code on the DNA molecule that can sometimes change gene activity, according to a new study.  Some of these molecular changes revert to their original state when a smoker quits, but others persist in the long term, the researchers found.

Experts have known for some time that smoking causes changes of the DNA molecule, but they are now learning more about how widespread the changes are, and what they may mean, said senior author Dr. Stephanie J. London, chief of the Epidemiology Branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.  "We don't really know whether it means 'damage' to the DNA," London told Reuters Health. "That requires more study, using data outside what we have here. What we're saying is that it's a change to your DNA that can have a downstream effect on what genes are expressed at what levels."

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Genetic coding in eastern provinces aims to discover new bird species

The very first genetic coding of birds in Turkey has taken place in the Aras River Valley located between the borders of the Kars and Igdir provinces.

North Nature Association President Associate Professor Cagan Sekercioglu said they succeeded in discovering new genetic codes in birds that have never been written down in scientific literature. Stressing the importance of the Aras River Valley, Sekercioglu said the valley is an important wet land because of the genetic variety between bird species.

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A new trend of magnetic field tourism

In the 21st century, people have experience the world's most unhealthy era, for various reasons.

While the effects of our unhealthy environment can be seen in every aspect of daily life, the tourism industry is getting its own share, too. A new type of tourism is emerging, known as magnetic field tourism, which promises people to live healthier lifestyles and gives us a glimpse into the future.

Today, if you ask anyone walking on the streets of the mega cities if they are happy in their daily lives; inhaling air in megacities with poor ozone levels and carbon monoxide devoid of daily exercise routines and full of fast food, their answers would probably be: "No." It's safe to say that the main topic dominating discussions among people in our modern age is the health issue - one needs only to surf TV channels to see the increasing number of diet and wellness programs that are growing in popularity. Nevertheless, when the holiday season comes, the majority of people choose a location for its beauty of sun, sea and hotels but not for its comfort in terms of health, which in fact, they need most.

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Turkish scientists discover largest stingray recorded in Aegean Sea

Turkish scientists discovered the largest common stingray of its kind ever recorded off the coast of Turkey's western Izmir province on Wednesday.

Weighing 450 kilograms and having a wingspan of 2.21 meters, the stingray gave birth to eight of its offspring after it was taken aboard a boat in the coastal Cesme district, Ilker Aydin, lecturer at Ege University's Faculty of Aquaculture, told Anadolu Agency.

Aydin said the giant stingray was netted at a depth of 100 metres and that his crew experienced difficulties carrying it aboard the boat because of its massive size.  After lifting the stingray's tail to determine its gender, Aydin said his team realized it was giving birth.

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Domestic tourists flock to nature parks on holiday

Abant and Golcuk Nature Parks and Yedigoller National Park, which are famous for their natural beauty, saw a total of 73,114 visitors during the nine-day Qurban Bayram (Feast of the Sacrifice), also known as Eid al-Adha.

Instead of flocking to coastal towns, domestic tourists decided to spend their holiday surrounded by nature. Due to the crowd, tourists had a hard time finding empty parking lots and empty spots where they could lay out their picnic blankets.

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Fall is coming: Temperatures to drop by 10 degrees throughout Turkey

The Directorate General of Meteorology warned that starting from Tuesday, rainy weather will affect Turkey's western, central and northern provinces, as temperatures are expected to decrease by four to ten degrees Celsius.

According to the statement, rainfall is forecasted for western provinces as of Monday night. The downpours and drop in temperatures will advance to central parts on Tuesday and northern parts on Wednesday.  Authorities warned citizens of possible floods and urged them to take necessary precautions.

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Medical tourism in Turkey: Stay healthy while travelling

For decades Turkey has been known for its cultural, historic and natural beauties that mesmerize tourists around the world and in recent years, medical tourism has become another reason why thousands of tourists rush to Turkey.

With developing technology in Turkey's health sector and state-of-the-art medical facilities, Turkey has turned into a medical hub for tourists from around the world in recent years. According to the latest figures, the number of tourists who visit the country for medical treatment exceeds 500,000, according to the latest figures. Realizing the potential for health tourism, medical centres and hospitals have become a suitable choice for tourists seeking treatment options from facilities offering good accommodations, the best drugs and much more.

Along with the U.S. and Germany, Turkey is among the top 10 destinations for medical tourism. Turks offers competitive treatment options for aesthetic treatments, eye surgery and treatment of various other diseases. Tourists often prefer to get plastic surgery here, as well as hair transplants and various other treatments, while enjoying travels in Turkey where they discover the natural and cultural richness of the country at the same time.

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A Taste of Turkey

Turkey is known for an abundance and diversity of foodstuff due to its rich flora, fauna and regional differentiation.

When you consider that Anatolia is a millennium old and so; naturally, is the Cuisine.  Turkish cuisine is also an integral aspect of culture. It is a part of the rituals of everyday life events. It reflects spirituality, in forms that are specific to it, through symbolism and practice.

Modern Turkish food started life in the Sultans kitchens of Topkapi palace. It was during the rule of the Ottomans that Topkapi palace was built (1466-1478) and the Sultan’s always liked new, tasty food to try - so they sent their best chefs out to every corner of the Ottoman Empire to bring back the best dishes that they could.

The provinces of this vast Empire were integrated by a system of trade routes with refreshing caravanserais for the weary merchants and security forces.  The Spice Road, the most important factor in culinary history, was under the full control of the Sultan.  Only the best ingredients were allowed to be traded under the strict standards established by the courts.

When you consider how vast Turkey is; it is easy to understand that for every three hours of driving you will find yourself in different geographic regions which bring about changes in scenery, temperature, altitude, humidity, vegetation and weather conditions - which in turn determine the type of cuisine to any particular region.

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Neolithic figurine, over 7,000 years old, unearthed at Turkey’s Catalhoyuk

Archaeologists at Turkey's neolithic site of Catalhoyuk in central Anatolia have unearthed a "unique" complete female figurine, The Ministry of Culture and Tourism said on Tuesday.

The statuette, measuring 17 centimetres (6.7 inches) long and weighing one kilogram (2.2 pounds), is considered unique due to its intact form and fine craftsmanship; it dates back to about 5500-8000 BC, a statement said.

The figurine, which is made of marmoreal stone and considered to be part of a ritual, was discovered by an international team of archaeologists working on site led by Professor Ian Hodder, anthropologist at Stanford University in the U.S.  One of the world's first urban centres which dates back 9,000 years, Catalhoyuk is included in the 2012 UNESCO World Heritage List.

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Kurban Bayram – Feast of Sacrifice

The Feast of Sacrifice is one of the oldest Islamic holidays in Turkey.  It is celebrated about 70 days after the Ramadan Feast and according to old beliefs it is supposedly unlucky to get married or start a new business between these two holidays.

Kurban Bayram celebrates the story of how the Prophet Ibrahim who showed obedience to God by agreeing to sacrifice his son, and in return God then sent him a ram to be sacrificed instead.

Traditionally, on the first day of the Sacrifice Feast the men of each family go to a mosque for a special morning prayer. Then the sacrifice ritual begins. In some regions in Turkey, people paint the sacrificial animal with henna and adorn it with ribbons before the butcher reads a prayer and slaughters the animal.  Families share the meat with relatives and neighbours before giving about one-third of the lamb to the poor.  The Sacrifice Festival is all about charity and community. During this holiday people are constantly on the move visiting family and friends.

Many people prefer to just donate money to organizations such as Turk Hava Kurumu and have animals slaughtered in their name. The organization will also make sure the food is correctly distributed to the poor.

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Rare 3,300 year-old secret passage, first Hittite skeleton found in central Turkey

A 3,300-year-old secret passage and a skeleton belonging to the Hittite period have been found during archaeological excavations in Alacahoyuk archaeological site in the central Anatolian province of Corum.

The findings were compiled in a documentary entitled "Following the footsteps of history," shedding light on the lives of ancient peoples.  The discovery of the skeleton could have significant implications for historians, as it marks the first time a Hittite-era skeleton is found and could break new ground.  The excavation work in the site is carried out for the Ministry of Culture, by Ankara University.

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Turkey raises taxes on fuel, cuts housing sales tax

Turkey has raised its special consumption tax on gasoline, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and some mineral oils, while it has cut value added tax on home sales, according to a decree published in the Official Gazette on Sept. 8.

Special consumption tax on gasoline and diesel will be increased by 0.20 Turkish Liras per litre, while the value added tax on property sales will be reduced to 8 percent from 18 percent until March 31, 2017, according to the decree.  The special tax on LPG will also be hiked from 1.578 liras to 1.778 liras.

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