<![CDATA[rss-News]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[News]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Court postpones Hassan Malek appeal to July 14]]>
The defendants were accused of hurting the Egyptian economy by smuggling foreign currencies and financially supporting terrorist groups.

In 2015, the attorney general had referred Malek and other defendants to the Emergency Court after he was arrested by security forces. Several members of Malek’s family were also added to the terror list endorsed by the Cairo Criminal Court in December 2017.

The defendant was born into a Muslim Brotherhood family, but he does not view himself as a leader in the Islamist group, according to his interrogation by the prosecution. However, in 2006, he was sentenced to seven years in prison for being a leader in the group, which organized a militant-style demonstration at Al-Azhar University at the time.

He was pardoned in March 2011 by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, along with famous Brotherhood leader and businessman Khairat al-Shater.

The businessman’s work has been versatile, but mainly revolved around manufacturing/selling conservative attire for women, as well as computers. He is also a business partner of Shater, who intended to run for president in 2012 but was legally excluded due to his 2006 conviction.

Egypt designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group in 2014.
5/26/2018 6:16:12 PM
<![CDATA[Azhar to send 2nd aid convoy to Gaza Sunday]]>
The 75-ton aid convoy was prepared by the Egyptian Zakat & Charity House and the Medical and Relief Convoys Department.

On May 22, Egypt was sent aid and medical convoys to the Palestinians in Gaza Strip, May 22, which was received gladly by the Palestinian side with signs and banners that read “Terrorism has no religion...Together we will fight it.”

On May 18, Sisi ordered to keep the Rafah crossing open for the entire month of Ramadan. ]]>
5/26/2018 5:30:18 PM
<![CDATA[Retrial of Ahmed Douma in Cabinet HQs violence case adjourned]]>
Douma and other defendants were earlier sentenced to 25 years in prison but the Court of Cassation annulled the verdict in October.

The defendants face charges of setting fire to public facilities including the Egyptian Science Complex, the cabinet and the parliament, blocking utilities and possessing drugs.

In December 2011 clashes which broke out between protesters and security forces outside the Cabinet headquarters left some people dead and injured. ]]>
5/26/2018 3:22:25 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt keen to enhance Vietnamese tourism: Sisi]]>
President Sisi welcomed Thưởng and his accompanying delegation, praising the bilateral relations between the two countries, which saw improvement during Sisi’s visit to Hanoi in September 2017, the statement added.

Thưởng expressed Vietnam’s keenness to follow up on the results of President Sisi’s visit, expressing his country’s appreciation for Egypt’s international and regional counterterrorism efforts to bring stability and safety to the Middle East.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met Thưởng and his delegation on Thursday, discussing ways of reinforcing the relations in all fields, said Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid in a statement.

Main fields tackled by both countries include developing fisheries, rice cultivation in areas of scarce water, and manufacturing ships, according to Abu Zeid’s statement.  Egypt is suffering water scarcity and passed a law to reduce water-intensive crops such as rice and sugarcane, and the country could be turned from a rice exporter to importer. Vietnam is the second largest rice exporter in the world after Thailand.

Abu Zeid added that that the two sides discussed communications and information technology, oil, gas and renewable energy, as well as small and medium enterprises. Egypt’s Al-Azhar University also agreed to increase the number of academic scholarships to Vietnam from 3 to 10 annually.

The Egyptian government and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes Vietnam, signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC), Abu Zeid continued, saying, “Egypt is interested in becoming a ‘Dialogue Partner’ of the association and hopes to receive Vietnam's support in this regard.”

The trade volume between Egypt and Vietnam increased to $377 million in 2017, compared with $266 million in 2016, at an increase of 41.7 percent, said Saeed Abdullah, head of the Trade Agreements Sector at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, on Sunday, Egypt’s state-owned MENA reported. ]]>
5/26/2018 2:52:03 PM
<![CDATA[Court rule banning YouTube in Egypt for one month]]>
The National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) and Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) have appealed against the Administrative Court’s decision to ban YouTube in Egypt for one month upon a lawsuit filed by lawyer Mohamed Hamed Salem.

Salem had requested banning YouTube in Egypt, as he objected to viewing a video insulting to Prophet Muhammad.

In its appeal, NTRA emphasized the difficulty of banning the video-sharing website in Egypt.

The court’s ruling was suspended pending adjudication.

It is not the first time the NTRA was unable to ban an internet platform, as it couldn’t ban the White Whale app due to technical difficulties.
5/26/2018 2:33:31 PM
<![CDATA[Architecture student: when it’s too hot, bring fan to exam]]>
Mahmoud Abdel Monsef, an architecture student at Helwan University, came up with the idea of bringing a fan with him from home so that he can bear the 8-hour exam in the hot temperatures last Tuesday, which reached 44°C.

“The exam place is cooled by several fans, but they are not enough and I had to stay in a faraway place so that I can draw the sketches,” Andel Monsef told TV anchor Wael al-Ebrashy during a phone interview on Dream TV channel on Friday.

Abdel Monsef’s footage entering the exam place with the fan went viral on social media, with comments praising the behavior of the student and his sense of responsibility.

The hot conditions have been occurring concurrently since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan on Thursday, May 17.
5/26/2018 2:32:54 PM
<![CDATA[Pope Tawadros receives Greek general attorney ]]>
According to a press statement released by the Coptic Church on Saturday, the Greek official was received by the Pope and several church heads.

Egypt’s Attorney General Nabil Sadek was scheduled to hold a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart on Wednesday, but the conference was adjourned at the request of Sadek in mourning of three prosecutors who died in a car accident.

Egypt, Greece and Cyprus have historical relations that have been documented in music, cinema and literature for several decades. For a whole week in April, under the title “Roots Revival Week”, the three countries recalled their memories through several events.

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos inaugurated Roots Revival Week on Monday, April 30 in Alexandria with the participation of both the Greek and Cypriot communities in Egypt.
5/26/2018 2:04:30 PM
<![CDATA[Five metro stations closed in Ukraine capital after bomb warning]]>
"The stations are closed to passengers and checks are being carried out," it said on Facebook.

Kiev is hosting the UEFA Champions League final later on Saturday in which Liverpool will play Real Madrid.]]>
5/26/2018 1:55:02 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt acts as a liaison between Europe, Africa; Merkel's representative for Africa]]>
"Relations between Germany and Egypt are really distinguished", Nooke said.

In statements to MENA, on the sidelines of a ceremony that was organized by the Egyptian embassy in Berlin to celebrate "Africa Day", Nooke said that Egypt is playing a key role in the African continent in light of its geographical and political importance.

Nooke asserted that "Africa tops our priorities, as it is Europe's nearest neighbor", adding that Egypt act as a liaison between Europe and Africa.

He expressed hope that Egypt's coming presidency of the AU would witness successes and achievements in addition to fresh investments that are hoped to be boosted between Africa and Europe.

"We count on Egypt's major role in fostering the African-European relations", he added.]]>
5/26/2018 1:44:32 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt reiterates commitment to strict anti-corruption policies]]>
These policies aim at enforcing the rule of law, ensuring the accountability and transparency principles and the separation of powers, boosting good governance, respecting human rights along with enhancing the partnership between the government and civil society, Egypt’s permanent diplomatic mission to the UN elaborated at a high-level debate to mark the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

In a press statement, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday the mission was keen on focusing on the significance and the vital role of the convention as a pillar for multinational cooperation on combating cross-border organized crime and uprooting corruption; deemed as a main reason for derailing the sustainable development goals, and depleting peoples’ resources.

Egypt stressed the importance of strengthening efforts of fighting corruption, bribery and money laundering, as well as recovering stolen assets.

With its 184 States Parties, the UN Convention against Corruption is universally recognized as an important pillar of international cooperation, an integral part of the modern system of international law.]]>
5/26/2018 1:41:32 PM
<![CDATA[Court to decide on appeal of MB members on terror list]]>
Prominent MB leader and businessman Hassan Malek is amongst the defendants that were accused of hurting the Egyptian economy by smuggling foreign currencies and financially supporting terrorist groups.

In 2015, the attorney-general had referred Malek and other defendants to the Emergency Court after he was arrested by security forces. Several members of Malek’s family were also added to the terror list that was endorsed by the Cairo Criminal Court in December 2017.

The defendant was born into a Muslim Brotherhood family, but he does not view himself as a leader in the Islamist group, according to his interrogation by the prosecution. However, in 2006, he was sentenced to seven years in prison for being a leader in the group, which organized a militant-style demonstration at Al-Azhar University at the time.

He was pardoned in March 2011 by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, along with famous Brotherhood leader and businessman Khairat al-Shater.

The businessman’s work has been versatile, but mainly revolved around manufacturing/selling conservative attire for women, as well as computers. He is also a business partner of Shater, who intended to run for president in 2012 but was legally excluded due to his 2006 conviction.

Egypt designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group in 2014.

Additional reporting by Hanan Fayed
5/26/2018 1:36:02 PM
<![CDATA[Endowments Ministry plans to move 40% of its employees to New Capital ]]>
According to the ministry’s plan, around 700 employees of the main general offices will be moved to the New Capital in the upcoming 10 months.

A source at the Endowments Ministry stated that the new headquarter will be the first unified building of Awqaf which includes the Ministry and the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.

Early October 2017, Egypt celebrated the launching of the first phase of the new Administrative Capital. President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi opened the ceremony with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail by his side.

“It is too early to say we have achieved anything… this is only the first step,” Sisi said, noting that the New Administrative Capital will be registered in history as a major achievement and a turning point in Egypt’s development.

The project’s first phase is worth a total of $8 billion and spans over 12,500 feddans, featuring 25,000 residential units and infrastructure projects, according to the Minister of Housing and Urban Communities Mostafa Madbouly.

Approximately 96 kilometers of roads, water supplies, rural sanitation projects, and irrigation systems will be included in the same phase where they will be constructed by 17 contractors.

The entire project features a total of 20 residential neighborhoods worth $15 billion, eight of which will be built in the first phase. The residential areas in the project will include an array of accommodation units including apartments, villas, town houses, office spaces and commercial areas.
The Egyptian government has created a master plan for the New Administrative Capital City, which is supposed to include residential districts, educational facilities, hospitals, 40,000 hotel rooms, a theme park, solar panels, and an international airport, making it a local and regional investment hub.

The government has offered several land plots in the mega project to developers and investors earlier this year to include active agents in the developments such as the Arab Contractors, Concord for Engineering and Contracting Company, and Talaat Mostafa Group Holding Company.

Considered one of the world’s largest hotels, Al Masah Capital Hotel has been opened in the third quarter of 2017. It spans over 10 acres of land and features a conference area, lakes, mosque, and a mall.

The project features 20 towers including the tallest tower in Africa that will have a height of 345 meters according to Madbouly’s statement.
5/26/2018 1:33:51 PM
<![CDATA[Exam papers’ electronic correction system to be introduced: Min.]]>
The exam paper electronic system will ensure equality and fairness amongst all students and will help eliminate all malpractices that usually occur during the examination processes, Ghafarexplained during his interview with Member of Parliament and TV host Mostafa Bakry on Sada El-Balad TV channel.

“We have to update our education system to keep up with the pace of technological changes,” Ghafarsaid, confirming that Egypt is rife with the distinguished cadres in all scientific fields.

“Egypt has 20 top-ranking researchers in the Nano Technology,” Ghafarsaid. He further stressed the advancement of the Egyptian universities in the global rankings.
Beni Suef University has been named Egypt’s best university by the Times Higher Education Emerging Economies University Rankings 2018.

The university napped the 114th spot among 378 universities in 42 countries around the world, Mansour Hassan, president of the university, said in press remarks.
According to the Times rankings, Alexandria University was ranked the second-best Egyptian university.
5/26/2018 1:26:25 PM
<![CDATA[Defense Min. publishes video celebrating 10th of Ramadan victory ]]>
The video included scenes of the Ramadan war that saw the passage of 220 aircrafts, 1,600 boats and 8,000 fighters through the Suez Canal. It also led to the destruction of more than 500 tanks and the capturing of more than 240 Israeli soldiers.

At the end of the video, a speech by late President Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat is broadcasted, during which he says, “This country can be assured and secured after fear; It possess the shield and sword.”

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi commemorated the anniversary of the 10th of Ramadan victory at Mushir Tantawy Mosque in the 5thSettlement in New Cairo after attending Friday prayers, accompanied by major chiefs of the Armed Forces.

The prayers were attended by Minister of Defense Sedki Sobhi, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Mohamed Farid, as well as other key commanders of the armed forces.

Egypt's Mufti Shawki Allam greeted President Sisi, Minister of Defense and armed forces personnel on the 10th of Ramadan war victory anniversary.

In a speech to the Egyptian people on Friday, Allam said the victory will remain a turning point in Egypt's history.
5/26/2018 1:18:11 PM
<![CDATA[Evangelical Church worshipers pray for Muslims to bear Ramadan’s fasting]]>
“We want to pray for our fasting brothers [Muslims], I don’t know how they are fasting in such weather!” the leader of the choir said before the prayer commenced, as shown in a footage posted by the Evangelical Church’s page on Facebook on Friday. She pointed out that they will pray to Allah to keep the fasting Muslims healthy and protect them from the possible harms related to the warm weather.

The prayer’s footage went viral on most of the social media platforms; it was shared on Facebook over 16,000 times, with thousands of comments from Muslims praising the attitude of the church and all Christians.

“Thank you all for the warm feelings,” one of the comments said, with most commentators wishing the best for their ‘Christian brothers.’

At the beginning of the holy month, the Coptic Peace Association distributed cartons of basic commodities to the poor people of Cairo’s Shubra district.

The ceremony was held in the hall of Marjerjis Hospital in Shubra. Matta Sawiris, head of the association, said that this day is an extension of the 50-year march, adding, “We set up the first Iftar in the church in 1969 until we inaugurated it in 2004; Egypt is mentioned in the Gospel more than 500 times and five times in the Qur’an.”

Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims, where they stop eating and drinking from dawn until dusk; they also spend most of the day performing rituals and worship Allah. ]]>
5/26/2018 1:15:26 PM
<![CDATA[Nice weather in Cairo, northern coasts Saturday, hot in Upper Egypt]]>
Clouds are low and medium with chances for rainfall over North Egypt, Sinai and Upper Egypt. Northwesterly winds are light to mild in Upper Egypt.

Cairo is forecast to see highs of 33 degrees Celsius (°C) and lows of 22°C.

Weather in the cities along the Mediterranean coast will be cooler, Alexandria 27-20°C and Marsa Matrouh, 25-21°C.
5/26/2018 12:21:02 PM
<![CDATA[State keen on linking expatriates to homeland: Immigration min.]]>
Speaking about her participation in the Ramadan tent of "Iftar with our relatives" initiative, Makram hailed contributions to the initiative that reflect the good feelings of Egyptian expatriates toward their homeland.

Co-organized by the immigration ministry and Misr Elkheir Foundation, the iftar tent is funded by Egyptian expatriates in the UAE, the US and Germany.

Earlier, Makram and Misr Elkheir Foundation Board Chairman Ali Gomaa signed a cooperation protocol to hold a number of Ramadan iftar banquets along with distributing Ramadan food boxes to needy people across all governorates throughout the holy fasting month.

The giveaways are part of "Iftar with our relatives" initiative, which is funded by Egyptians abroad.

Misr Elkheir is an Egyptian charitable, non-profit social services and development organization. ]]>
5/26/2018 11:51:33 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt's embassy in Berlin celebrates 'Africa Day']]>
The celebration was organized upon an invitation by Egyptian Ambassador in Berlin Badr Abdel Aati, a move that made the embassy the first African one in Berlin to host the “Africa Day” ceremony.

The celebration was attended by a raft of senior German officials, alongside African and Arab ambassadors accredited to Germany.

Addressing the event, the Egyptian ambassador expressed pleasure that Egypt is celebrating the “Africa Day’, citing President Abdel Fatah El Sisi’s remarks at the African summit in 2014 in which he said that “Egypt does not only belong to Africa due to history and geography, but also because of a common destiny and unity of goals”.

Abdel Aati affirmed Egypt’s commitment to support the joint African action as well as to implement the 2063 Agenda that was endorsed by the African Union AU, for the purpose of guiding Africa's development in the next fifty years.

Abdel Aati told MENA that the march of the African action has witnessed a qualitative leap, that was embodied in March when more than 44 African countries, including Egypt, signed an agreement on establishing a free trade area.

“Africa eyes building real partnerships, rather than engaging in relations with donors”, he said, noting that Egypt will seek achieving such objective during its presidency of the AU.

Egypt is set to receive the AU's presidency in January 2019.]]>
5/26/2018 11:48:59 AM
<![CDATA[Palestinian succumbs to injuries in eastern Gaza]]>
"Hossam Salem Abu A`weeda, 41, who took part in anti-occupation eastern Gaza demonstrations, succumbed to his wounds," Health Ministry Spokesman Ashraf al Kodra said.

Abu A`weeda's death takes the toll from the Great Return marches, which kicked off on March 30, to 116 martyrs and 13,190 injured.

"The number of martyrs is expected to surge gradually due to the large number of the injured, amid acute shortage in medical supplies and equipment ," Head of the Palestinian Center for Policy Research and Strategic Studies (Masarat) Salah Abdel Moa`ati told MENA.]]>
5/26/2018 11:26:18 AM
<![CDATA[Five people dead, 40 missing in Yemen's Socotra after cyclone]]>
The dead were four Yemenis and one Indian national, residents and medical sources told Reuters, while the missing included Yemenis, Indians and Sudanese.

Among those missing were three local sailors lost when their ship capsized off the coast of the island.

Yemen declared a state of emergency on Thursday for Socotra, which lies between southern Yemen and the Horn of Africa and is renowned for its unique animal and plant life.

Largely untouched by Yemen's three-year-old war, it is under the control of the internationally-recognised government whose president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, is in exile in Saudi Arabia.

The storm flooded Socotra's villages and capsized boats, leaving much of the island without access to communications.

Authorities in neighbouring Oman said they expected the cyclone to pass over the city of Salalah on Friday night. As wind and rain began to pummel southern Oman during the day, they extended the closure of the city's airport until Saturday.

Oman's transport ministry warned residents throughout the southern province of Dhofar to stay in their homes, with run-off from river valleys flooding most main roads. A child in Salalah was hospitalised for injuries caused by the severe winds.

Mekunu was expected to weaken to a tropical storm before reaching southeastern Saudi Arabia on Saturday, according to the kingdom's meteorological authority.

Yemen is already grappling with one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. The war has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced three million others, triggered a cholera outbreak and pushed the impoverished country to the verge of starvation, according to the United Nations.]]>
5/26/2018 11:11:01 AM
<![CDATA[Early counting suggests Irish landlside vote to liberalise abortion - lawmaker]]>
"The exit poll I would say is bang on," Kevin Humphries, a senator with the opposition Labour Party told Reuters, in reference to two opinion polls that said between 68 and 69 percent of voters had backed change.

Humphries, a former junior minister, said early tallies showed the referendum would carry by around 80 percent in the Dublin constituency, Dublin Bay South, where he lives but does not represent. The area voted against abortion in a 1983 referendum. ]]>
5/26/2018 10:51:36 AM
<![CDATA[Gunmen attack Libyan presidential guard sites in Tripoli: Al Arabiya]]>
The gunmen also attacked a number of military camps and seized weapons and equipment, Al Arabiya quoted sources as saying.

Libya has been engulfed in a civil war and general lawlessness since the popular uprising in March 2011 that led to unseating longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi who was killed in October of the same year.]]>
5/26/2018 10:31:33 AM
<![CDATA[Cairo urges Rome to uncover facts behind seizure of smuggled Egyptian artifacts]]>
The smuggled artifacts were found concealed in "a diplomatic container" owned by an Italian national.

The meeting was held upon directives from Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement.

The talks come within the framework of the Foreign Ministry’s keenness to uncover all facts related to the incident, with the Egyptian diplomat noting that the Egyptian ambassador in Rome was informed about the matter in March 2018, 10 months after the smuggled artifacts were discovered and seized.

This raises several questions by the Egyptian government about the cause of delay, particularly in light of the close ties binding Cairo and Rome, Mosharafa said.

The Egyptian diplomat also inquired about the identity of the person to whom the diplomatic parcel containing the smuggled artifacts reportedly belongs.

Mosharafa called for completing relevant investigations as soon as possible to reveal facts behind the incident for the Egyptian public opinion. "Cairo is looking forward to Rome’s cooperation in this regard", he said.

Meanwhile, the acting Italian ambassador said he has contacted the authorities concerned in his country in order to accelerate the pace of investigations into the incident.

Catani also stressed Italy’s keenness to cooperate with Egypt in all issues of mutual concern.]]>
5/26/2018 10:18:54 AM
<![CDATA[Indiana middle schooler with two guns shoots teacher, student]]>
The incident at Noblesville West Middle School was the latest in a series of shootings at U.S. schools and colleges fueling debate about how to keep campuses safe.

The suspect had excused himself from class and came back armed with the pistols and opened fire in a science class, authorities said. Police apprehended him in the classroom.
We do know the situation resolved extremely quickly,” Police Chief Kevin Jowitt told reporters in Noblesville, which is about 25 miles (42 km) northeast of Indianapolis.

A police guard at the school responded to the shooting, and other law enforcement officers arrived within minutes, police said in a statement.

The wounded teacher was identified as Jason Seaman, 29, and the statement said he was in good condition. The girl was not named, and police said she was in critical condition at an Indianapolis hospital.

Although police gave no further details, witnesses told local media that a 13-old-girl was shot and that Seaman, a science teacher, knocked the guns away and wrestled the suspect to the floor despite being wounded.

Seaman’s mother, Kristi Seaman, said on Facebook that he was shot through the abdomen, in the hip and in the forearm and was doing well after surgery.

Seaman himself thanked police and medics and said he was “doing great” in a separate statement. “To all the students you are all wonderful and I thank you for your support. You are the reason I teach.”

The Indianapolis Star newspaper said Seaman was the married father of a toddler son and a 1-month-old daughter.
Student Austin Duncan told local broadcaster WTTV that occupants of his classroom barricaded a door and huddled together while a teacher grabbed a baseball bat for protection.

“All of us were crying, texting our loved ones, texting our friends,” Duncan said.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said about 100 State Police had been made available to work with local authorities.

“This is as close to a textbook response as it could have been,” he said at a news conference.

The shooting occurred a week after a high school student in Santa Fe, Texas, shot and killed eight classmates and two teachers.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas, Ben Klayman in Detroit, Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago and Ian Simpson in Washington; additional reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Cynthia Osterman

5/26/2018 6:03:19 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. warns Syria of 'firm' measures for ceasefire violations]]>
Washington also cautioned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against broadening the conflict.

"As a guarantor of this de-escalation area with Russia and Jordan, the United States will take firm and appropriate measures in response to Assad regime violations," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement late on Friday.

A war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported on Wednesday that Syrian government forces fresh from their victory this week against an Islamic State pocket in south Damascus were moving into the southern province of Deraa.

Syrian state-run media have reported that government aircraft have dropped leaflets on rebel-held areas in Deraa urging fighters to disarm.

The U.S. warning comes weeks after a similar attack on a de-escalation zone in northeastern Syria held by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. U.S. ground and air forces repelled the more than four-hour attack, killing perhaps as many as 300 pro-Assad militia members, many of them Russian mercenaries.

Backed by Russian warplanes, ground forces from Iran and allied militia, including Lebanon's Hezbollah, have helped Assad drive rebels from Syria's biggest cities, putting him in an unassailable military position.

They have recaptured all remaining insurgent areas near Damascus in recent weeks, including the densely populated eastern Ghouta area, as well as big enclaves in central Syria.

The government is now in its strongest position since the early months of the war in 2011, although still a long way from achieving Assad's aim of reasserting sway over all of Syria.

Anti-Assad rebels still control two large contiguous areas of territory in the northwest and southwest. Kurdish and allied Arab militia backed by the United States hold the quarter of Syria east of the Euphrates.

The government's gains have brought it to a point where any new military campaign risks putting it in conflict with foreign powers.]]>
5/26/2018 5:12:30 AM
<![CDATA[Weinstein charged with rape, sex crime in New York]]>
The former mogul -- once the toast of Hollywood, whose films won scores of Oscars -- smirked as he was escorted into a Manhattan courtroom in handcuffs to face the first criminal charges lodged against him.

Weinstein, a 66-year-old twice-married father of five, was charged with rape in the first and third degrees, stemming from an attack on a woman in 2013, and a criminal sex act against another woman in 2004. Neither victim was named.

"Today's charges reflect significant progress in this active, ongoing investigation," said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, thanking "brave survivors" for coming forward and urging others to call a sex crimes hotline.

Standing alongside his defense attorney, the former Tinseltown powerbroker looked glum during the brief arraignment, agreeing to post bail at $1 million cash, surrender his passport and be fitted with a GPS monitoring device.

Weinstein's career went down in flames in October over sexual assault allegations following explosive articles in The New York Times and New Yorker, which sparked a sexual harassment reckoning across the United States, in multiple industries.

Nearly 100 women have now accused Weinstein of crimes ranging from sexual harassment to assault and rape going back decades.

New York authorities have been investigating the disgraced producer for months, under growing pressure from Hollywood actresses to bring him to justice, and their probes are ongoing.

Weinstein already faces a slew of civil lawsuits, is reportedly under federal investigation, and his former studio has filed for bankruptcy.

But these were the first criminal charges against Weinstein.

Defense attorney Ben Brafman told reporters that his client would plead not guilty and still denied any non-consensual sexual activity.

"We intend to move very quickly to dismiss these charges," Brafman said.

"Bad behavior is not on trial," he added. "Mr Weinstein did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood."

His case was adjourned until July 30.

- Handcuffs -

The former studio boss surrendered to police shortly before 7:30 am (1130 GMT) wearing a white shirt, pale blue sweater and dark blazer, as dozens of television cameras and photographers mobbed the street outside.

He walked into the station clutching several books, apparently including the Rodgers and Hammerstein biography "Something Wonderful" and a volume on late director Elia Kazan.

He left handcuffed, without the books, after his mugshots and fingerprints were taken.

Police said he was "arrested, processed and charged with rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct."

Out on bail, Weinstein's travel will be restricted to New York and the neighboring state of Connecticut.

- 'Inevitable descent to hell' -

Former actress Lucia Evans, who said Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004, is thought to be one of the women whose cases triggered the New York charges.

New York police previously confirmed another credible rape allegation after "Boardwalk Empire" actress Paz de la Huerta accused the former producer of raping her twice at her New York apartment in late 2010.

Salma Hayek, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie are among more than two dozen actresses who say they were sexually harassed by the producer. A few, including Asia Argento and Rose McGowan, said they were raped.

"I have to admit I didn't think I would see the day that he would have handcuffs on him," McGowan told ABC television.

"Today Harvey Weinstein will take his first step on his inevitable descent to hell. We, the women, finally have real hope for justice," tweeted Argento.

The Time's Up anti-harassment movement -- launched on January 1 -- said the producer "shattered the lives of an untold number of women," adding that it looked "forward to seeing justice prevail."

The #MeToo movement has seen people around the world come forward with cases of sexual mistreatment, leading to the downfall of powerful men across industries, including Oscar winner Kevin Spacey.

Weinstein has reportedly spent months in treatment for sex addiction. His fashion designer wife, Georgina Chapman, has left him.

But for all the media circus, experts warn that any trial -- let alone a criminal conviction -- would still be a long way off.

Sexual assault cases, particularly those that allegedly happened years ago, are notoriously difficult to prosecute and often lack substantive forensic evidence.

Weinstein's lawyer is one of America's most celebrated criminal defense attorneys. His past clients include former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who escaped criminal prosecution for alleged sexual assault in 2011.]]>
5/26/2018 3:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Trump: U.S. in 'productive talks' about reinstating June North Korea summit]]>
"We are having very productive talks about reinstating the Summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th., and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date," Trump said in a Twitter post.

South Korea's presidential spokesman said in response: "We are cautiously optimistic that hope is still alive for US-North Korea dialogue. We are continuing to watch developments carefully."

Trump had earlier indicated the summit could be salvaged after welcoming a conciliatory statement from North Korea saying it remained open to talks.

"It was a very nice statement they put out," Trump told reporters at the White House. "We'll see what happens - it could even be the 12th.

"We're talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We'd like to do it."

After years of tension over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, Kim and Trump agreed this month to hold what would be the first meeting between a serving U.S. president and a North Korean leader. The plan followed months of war threats and insults between the leaders over North Korea's development of missiles capable of reaching the United States.

Trump scrapped the meeting, planned for Singapore, in a letter to Kim on Thursday after repeated threats by North Korea to pull out over what it saw as confrontational remarks by U.S. officials demanding unilateral disarmament. Trump cited North Korean hostility in canceling the summit.

In Pyongyang, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan said North Korea's criticisms had been a reaction to American rhetoric and that current antagonism showed "the urgent necessity" for the summit.

He said North Korea regretted Trump's decision to cancel and remained open to resolving issues "regardless of ways, at any time."

Kim Kye Gwan said North Korea had appreciated Trump having made the bold decision to work toward a summit.

"We even inwardly hoped that what is called 'Trump formula' would help clear both sides of their worries and comply with the requirements of our side and would be a wise way of substantial effect for settling the issue," he said.


Trump's latest about-face sent officials scrambling in Washington. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters diplomats were "still at work" and said Trump had just sent a note out on the summit, which could be back on "if our diplomats can pull it off."

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Katina Adams declined to give details of any diplomatic contacts but said: "As the president said in his letter to Chairman Kim, dialogue between the two is the only dialogue that matters. If North Korea is serious, then we look forward hearing from them at the highest levels."

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters Trump did not want a meeting that was "just a political stunt."

"He wants to get something that’s a long-lasting and an actual real solution. And if they are they are ready to do that then ... we’re certainly ready to have those conversations," she said.

North Korea had sharply criticised suggestions by Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, and Vice President Mike Pence that it could share the fate of Libya if it did not swiftly surrender its nuclear arsenal. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed by NATO-backed militants after halting his nascent nuclear program.

Trump had initially sought to placate North Korea, saying he was not pursuing the "Libya model" and Sanders said he was following "the President Trump model."

U.S. regional allies Japan and South Korea, as well as North Korea's main ally, China, urged the two countries to salvage the summit on Friday.

At an economic forum in St. Petersburg, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan said it was necessary to ensure security on the Korean peninsula, which touched on China's core interests.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at the same forum, regretted the cancellation and said the world should keep doing its bit to make the summit happen.

South Korea also would continue efforts to improve ties with the North, the office of President Moon Jae-in said after Moon's top security advisers met for the second time on Friday.

Some analysts worried that canceling the summit could prompt a resumption in hostilities, including renewed shorter-range missile tests or stepped-up cyber attacks by Pyongyang and increased sanctions or deployment of new military assets by Washington.

In his letter, Trump warned Kim of the United States' greater nuclear might, reminiscent of his tweet last year asserting that he had a "much bigger" nuclear button than Kim.

While the Trump administration had insisted on North Korea's complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of its nuclear program, Pyongyang had always couched its language in terms of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

It has said in previous, failed talks that it could consider giving up its arsenal if the United States provided security guarantees by removing its troops from South Korea and withdrawing its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from South Korea and Japan.]]>
5/26/2018 3:30:32 AM
<![CDATA[ World News Summary]]>
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.

Bombs target Iraq communist party headquarters

Two homemade bombs targeted the headquarters of the Iraqi Communist Party, which is part of an alliance with cleric Moqtada al-Sadr that won Iraq's parliamentary election, a party official and security sources said. The explosive devices were hurled into the garden of the building in Baghdad on Friday and did not cause any casualties, said Jassim Helfi, a senior member of the party.

On again? Trump says still chance of June 12 North Korea summit

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday dangled the possibility that a June 12 summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un could still take place, just a day after he canceled the meeting citing Pyongyang's "open hostility." Trump indicated the summit could be salvaged after welcoming a conciliatory statement from North Korea saying it remained open to talks.

Iran pressures Europe to speed up plans to save nuclear deal

Major powers and Iran agreed on Friday to move quickly to offset the U.S. pullout from its nuclear deal and Washington's renewed sanctions, with Tehran pressuring Europe to come up with a package of economic measures by May 31. The 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers lifted international sanctions on Tehran. In return, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear activities, increasing the time it would need to produce an atom bomb if it chose to do so.

Ireland set to end abortion ban in landslide vote: exit polls

The people of Ireland are set to liberalize some of the world's most restrictive abortion laws by a landslide, two exit polls from a referendum showed on Friday, as voters demanded change in what two decades ago was one of Europe's most socially conservative countries. An Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI exit poll suggested that voters in the once deeply Catholic nation had backed change by 68 percent to 32 percent. An RTE/Behaviour & Attitudes survey put the margin at 69 percent to 31 percent.

U.S. 'maximum pressure' on North Korea faces test with summit in limbo

U.S. efforts to sustain and possibly intensify its "maximum pressure" campaign on North Korea are entering a perilous phase as a potential breakdown in diplomacy with Pyongyang raises fears that China may loosen its enforcement of international sanctions. With the fate of a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in limbo, U.S. officials have suggested Washington may pursue fresh sanctions on Pyongyang over its nuclear program even though key players such as China and South Korea may be reluctant to participate.

Putin, Macron bond over shared unease at Trump's actions

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Friday found a common cause in their shared unease at U.S. President Donald Trump's actions on Iran, climate change and international trade. France is at odds with the Kremlin over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine four years ago, and allegations that Moscow meddled in a French presidential election in support of one of Macron's opponents.

Turkey, U.S. outline road map for cooperation in Syria's Manbij: statement

Turkish and U.S. working groups, meeting in Ankara on Friday, outlined a draft for cooperation in ensuring security and stability in Manbij in northern Syria, they said in a statement. Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo will meet on June 4 to consider the group's recommendations, the statement said.

Venezuela's Maduro meets U.S. senator after election, sanctions

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met with U.S. Senator Bob Corker on Friday, the socialist-led government said, less than a week after Maduro was re-elected to a six-year term in a vote the United States did not recognize. The election prompted a further deterioration in relations between the two countries. The United States responded to the vote, which it called undemocratic, with additional sanctions, prompting Venezuela to expel the top two U.S. diplomats posted in Caracas. The United States responded with a similar move.

Dozens of Palestinians injured by Israeli gunfire, tear gas in Gaza border protests

Dozens of Palestinians demonstrating at the Gaza border were injured by Israeli gunfire and tear gas on Friday, as the latest round of protests drew several thousand participants to the frontier. Dubbed the March of Return, the protests were launched on March 30 to demand the right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to family lands or homes lost to Israel during its founding in a 1948 war.

Thousands protest Argentina's negotiations with IMF

Thousands of Argentines on Friday protested the government's bid to secure a credit line from the International Monetary Fund, which they blame for hardship during a past financial crisis. Opposition parties, unions, human rights organizations and artists took part in the march near the capital Buenos Aires' emblematic obelisk, under the banner "the country is in danger."]]>
5/26/2018 3:20:32 AM
<![CDATA[FBI warns Russians hacked hundreds of thousands of routers]]>
The U.S. law enforcement agency urged the owners of many brands of routers to turn them off and on again and download updates from the manufacturer to protect themselves.

The warning followed a court order Wednesday that allowed the FBI to seize a website that the hackers planned to use to give instructions to the routers. Though that cut off malicious communications, it still left the routers infected, and Friday's warning was aimed at cleaning up those machines.

Infections were detected in more than 50 countries, though the primary target for further actions was probably Ukraine, the site of many recent infections and a longtime cyberwarfare battleground.

In obtaining the court order, the Justice Department said the hackers involved were in a group called Sofacy that answered to the Russian government.

Sofacy, also known as APT28 and Fancy Bear, has been blamed for many of the most dramatic Russian hacks, including that of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

Earlier, Cisco Systems Inc said the hacking campaign targeted devices from Belkin International's Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear Inc, TP-Link and QNAP.

An FBI official told Reuters that the kinds of devices known to be affected by the hack were purchased by users at electronic stores or online.

However, the FBI was not ruling out the possibility that routers provided to customers by internet service companies could also be affected, the official added.

Cisco shared the technical details of its investigation with the U.S. and Ukrainian governments. Western experts say Russia has conducted a series of attacks against companies in Ukraine for more than a year amid armed hostilities between the two countries, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and at least one electricity blackout.

The Kremlin on Thursday denied the Ukrainian government's accusation that Russia was planning a cyber attack on Ukrainian state bodies and private companies ahead of the Champions League soccer final in Kiev on Saturday.

"The size and scope of the infrastructure by VPNFilter malware is significant," the FBI said, adding that it is capable of rendering peoples' routers "inoperable."

It said the malware is hard to detect, due to encryption and other tactics.

The FBI urged people to reboot their devices to temporarily disrupt the malware and help identify infected devices.

People should also consider disabling remote-management settings, changing passwords and upgrading to the latest firmware.]]>
5/26/2018 3:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Second Ireland exit poll confirms landslide abortion rights victory]]>
Voters in the once deeply Catholic nation were asked if they wish to scrap a prohibition that was enshrined in the constitution by referendum 35 years ago, and partly lifted in 2013 only for cases where the mother's life is in danger.

The RTE/Behaviour & Attitudes exit poll followed an earlier exit poll carried out by the Irish Times newspaper and polling group Ipsos MRBI that suggested the margin would be 68 percent to 32 percent]]>
5/26/2018 3:15:03 AM
<![CDATA[Tesla agrees to settle class action over Autopilot billed as 'safer']]>
The lawsuit said Tesla misrepresented on its website that the cars came with capabilities designed to make highway driving "safer."

The Tesla owners said they paid an extra $5,000 to have their cars equipped with the Autopilot software with additional safety features such as automated emergency braking and side collision warning.

The features were "completely inoperable," according to the complaint.

Under the proposed agreement, class members, who paid to get the Autopilot upgrade between 2016 and 2017, will receive between $20 and $280 in compensation. Tesla has agreed to place more than $5 million into a settlement fund, which will also cover attorney fees.

The case has been closely watched in the automotive and legal communities, as it was the only known court challenge Tesla has faced with regard to its assisted-driving technology.

Tesla's Autopilot system has come under increased scrutiny in recent months after two Tesla drivers died in crashes in which Autopilot was engaged. The most recent crash, in March, is being investigated by safety regulators.

Tesla said in a statement it "wanted to do right" by its customers and, as part of the proposed deal, agreed to compensate car owners who had purchased the 2.0 version of Autopilot and "had to wait longer than we expected" for the driving features to become active.

"Since rolling out our second generation of Autopilot hardware in October 2016, we have continued to provide software updates that have led to a major improvement in Autopilot functionality," the company said. Even though the settlement only covers U.S. customers, Tesla said it would compensate "all customers globally in the same way."

The proposed settlement does not mention the safety allegations but focuses on the delay in making the promised features available to consumers.

Steve Berman, a lawyer for the car owners, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The agreement, announced in a filing in San Jose federal court late Thursday, must be approved by U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman.

Autopilot, released in 2015, is an enhanced cruise-control system that partially automates steering and braking. Tesla has said the use of Autopilot results in 40 percent fewer crashes, a claim the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration repeated in a 2017 report on the first fatality, which occurred in May 2016. Earlier this month, however, the agency said regulators had not assessed the effectiveness of the technology.

The 2017 lawsuit in San Jose federal court named six Tesla Model S and Model X owners from Colorado, Florida, New Jersey and California who alleged the company had engaged in fraud by concealment, and had violated various state consumer protection and unfair competition laws.

They sought to represent a nationwide class of consumers.]]>
5/26/2018 2:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Hezbollah calls U.S. sanctions 'part of battle']]>
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah also vowed to mount a major campaign against corruption in the Lebanese state and warned it would face financial collapse if it did not tackle waste.

The United States has sought to choke off funding for Shi’ite Hezbollah, imposing sanctions last week on its representative to Iran, as well as a major financier and five companies in Europe, West Africa and the Middle East.

Washington and Gulf partners also announced further sanctions on Hezbollah’s leadership, including its top two officials, Nasrallah and Naim Qassem.

The sanctions came among a slew of fresh measures targeting Tehran and its ally Hezbollah since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.

“When they (sanction) Lebanese companies or organizations...of course, this is very harmful, and so nobody should underestimate it,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech.

He said the Lebanese government was responsible for citizens hit by the sanctions and must not turn its back on them. Nasrallah warned that U.S. measures would continue to increase and called on supporters to endure.

“Pressure on any donor or contributor to this resistance ... this is part of the battle,” he said.

He said U.S. sanctions would not affect the formation of a new government, which is set to start next week after Lebanon held a May 6 parliamentary election.

Reporting by Ellen Francis and Laila Bassam; Writing by Tom Perry; editing by Raissa Kasolowsky]]>
5/25/2018 7:02:39 PM
<![CDATA[Police says $13 billion laundered through Estonia]]>
The European Union member country has been rocked by revelations of money laundering from Russia, Moldova and Azerbaijan via non-resident bank accounts that have forced lenders in Estonia and neighbouring Latvia to shut down.

Estonia's police Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) said that besides more than $6 billion laundered via Estonian banks in schemes discovered by national financial inspection agencies, a further unreported 7.3 billion euros was channelled via Estonian banks through the sale of Russian stocks and bonds.

The report said that Russian authorities had acted to curb transfers of funds abroad, Russian assets instead were transferred to non-resident accounts in Estonian banks for them to be liquidated through the Estonian financial system.

"In 2012, more than 7.3 billion euros in securities from Russia were processed through the Estonian financial system. The proceeds were transferred to dozens of jurisdictions and thousands of companies for various goods and services," the FIU said in its annual report.

In that year, Estonia's economy itself was worth just 17.9 billion euros.

Estonian police also warned that more attempts to launder funds could be expected with further Russian bank closures likely this year.

Denmark's financial watchdog said this month it had found "serious weaknesses" in Danske Bank's governance after investigating management and senior employees as part of an anti-money-laundering inquiry into Danske's Estonian branch.

The bank could face further legal steps in Denmark, its justice minister and business minister made clear at a session of the Danish parliament's business committee on Friday.

Denmark's State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime is now looking into the case, Justice Minister Soren Pape Poulsen said.

But the prosecutor's office will await the Danish FSA's conclusions, which are still open for appeals, and the outcome of an investigation by Estonia's FSA before it announces any next step, Poulsen said.

"There is a case now in Estonia. We've offered our assistance, but we would need help from the Estonian authorities regardless of what our next steps would be," Poulsen said.

A Danske Bank spokesman declined to comment.

Latvian authorities warned on Thursday that an increased flow of questionable and illegally sourced money into other EU states was expected as Baltic authorities crack down on non-resident accounts. ($1 = 0.8531 euros)]]>
5/25/2018 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry to join AU's institutional reform meetings in Addis Ababa]]>
This meeting comes in the framework of Egypt’s keenness to implement the recommendations of the AU's institutional reform, in addition to reaching an agreement on the reform process path among its member states, Abu Zeid stated in a statement.
Abu Zeid noted that the meeting “comes at a very important time,” in light of Egypt’s leadership of the African Union in 2019 in addition to the January 2018 summit’s resolution about implementing the AU’s institutional reform. 

Shoukry will also take part in the AU’s presidency bureau meetings on behalf of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

The African Union Institutional Reform Process includes a group of 15 ministers of foreign affairs, heads of Regional Economic Communities and the Bureau of the Assembly.
Two years after the launch of the AU reforms, the process is still underway to deal with narrowing the priorities of the AU, streamlining the AU Commission and ensuring its independence from outside donors.
5/25/2018 6:51:04 PM
<![CDATA[Turkey detains 51 suspected Islamic State members -police]]>
The suspects were believed to be planning to travel back to conflict zones in Syria, they said in a statement, adding that all those detained were foreign nationals.

Islamic State has carried out numerous bombings across Turkey in recent years, including an attack on a nightclub in Istanbul on Jan. 1, 2017, in which 39 people were killed and a bombing in the city's historic heart that killed 12 in 2016.

Turkish operations against Islamic State suspects intensified at the end of last year ahead of the anniversary of the nightclub shooting]]>
5/25/2018 6:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Cairo Airport authorities intercept 54 escaped inmates]]>
The security campaign was launched in coordination with all police departments.
Detainees were then taken to the closest police station to the airport, Khalifa Police Station, in preparation for their deportation to their respective police stations to fulfill their sentences.

Four days earlier, the customs department at Borg El Arab International Airport thwarted an attempt to smuggle a spy plane to Kuwait and another one to smuggle unclaimed tattoo equipment to Egypt.

During the completion of the check-in procedures of an Egyptian passenger that was aboard a flight that was bound to Kuwait, customs officers revealed that a remote-controlled plane suited with a camera was shipped within the personal luggage of the passenger.

Also, a passenger aboard a flight coming from the United Arab of Emirates in transit from the United States was found to be carrying large quantities of unclaimed tattoo supplies, including 6,250 silver metal needles and 62 ink bottles.

5/25/2018 5:54:14 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt is building trust with Sudan, Ethiopia over Nile: FM Shoukry]]>
He added in statements to national television that the Nile River issue is a matter of national security and is linked to the three countries’ future. “Egypt is working hard on managing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue and keen to finish it according to the fixed and agreed timetable between the three countries,” Shoukry said.

Egypt depends entirely on Nile water for drinking and irrigation purposes, reiterating consistently its “historical right” to the river guaranteed in the 1929 and 1959 Nile agreements, which granted the country 87 percent of the Nile’s water and the right to veto or approve irrigation projects in the upstream countries.

Since 2014, the three countries (Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia) have held several tripartite meetings and agreed on the Declaration of Principles. However, the difference between the countries relates to the filling and operation of the dam; Egypt demands that this period be seven to ten years, while Ethiopia insists on a maximum of three years.

Egypt’s average water per-capita is expected to drop from 663 cubic meters per year to 582 cubic meters by 2025, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). Addis Ababa, however, claimed that the dam is necessary for Ethiopia’s development and will not harm downstream countries.

In 2011, Ethiopia started the construction of the 6,000-megawatt Renaissance Dam over the Blue Nile River, one of the major sources of water that forms the Nile River downstream. Concerns have risen in Cairo and Khartoum over the negative impact the Ethiopian dam will have on their historic Nile water share, amounting to 55.5 billion cubic meters in Egypt only, in accordance with the historic 1959 agreement with Sudan.
5/25/2018 5:19:05 PM
<![CDATA[MPs demands plan to face climate change effects on agricultural lands]]>
In statements to Egypt Today, parliamentarians argued that the government needs to provide alternative agricultural crops which consumes little water than the currently used by farmers to decrease the land’s damages. They also demanded developing different irrigation systems for fields, along with providing the needed instructions for farmers to protect their lands.

Parliamentarian Shereen Farag told Egypt Today that Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy needs to announce his plan regarding climate change effects on the agricultural lands, along with setting a proactive plan to deal with it in the early stages in the future.

“The government needs to take into its consideration the climate change reasons and study how it will affect our agriculture lands and accordingly our crop production,” Farag said, adding that the same demands have been issued earlier to the government; however nothing happened.

Also, parliamentarian Ahmed Abdel Wahed said that the government, and specifically the Ministry of Irrigation needs to set a clear plan on the short and long term to face the consequences of the rapidly changing climate along with its severe effects on the lands, especially when the country witnesses long periods of frequent rains or humidity.

Egypt’s weather has been witnessing severe changes during the past period and varied between extreme cold and rain to sandstorms and high temperatures.

Last April, thunderous clouds and heavy rains were witnessed on the northern coast of Egypt, the Delta and Cairo, while the showers over the Red Sea mountain range, Sinai and some areas in the south have flooded.

Rainfall throughout the capital caused some buildings, houses and bridges to collapse; some governorates such as Suez, Ain Sokhna and Ismailia were also affected.

Many people have taken to social media and television stations to pour their wrath on provincial officials, emergency departments, and officials in charge of drainage facilities accusing them of failure and moreover called for interrogating the officials.

The users on social media sites sarcastically shared photos of drains as great inventions that hope to reach Egypt soon, asking, “Where have the drains gone?”

Later in May, the weather extremely changed and the temperatures went real high. The country witnessed a hot wave coming from Sudan. Citizens were advised not to avoid direct exposure to sunlight for long periods of time in the mornings, especially during the peak sun intensity hours.

The hot conditions have been occurring concurrently since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, starting May 17.
5/25/2018 5:15:59 PM
<![CDATA[Armed Forces men are still defending their country in Sinai: Sisi]]>
Sisi added during the anniversary of the 10th Ramadan victory in Mushir Tantawy Mosque at 5th Settlement, New Cairo that the Armed Forces men will always stay faithful and loyal to their country, giving everything to defend it.

Sisi headed this morning to the Mushir Tantawy Mosque to attend Friday prayers, accompanied by major chiefs of the Armed Forces.

Sisi commemorated the anniversary of the 10th Ramadan victory, known in Israel as Yom Kippur War, where Arab coalition forces defeated the Israeli forces occupying Arab territories in Egypt and Syria in 1973.

The prayers are attended by Minister of Defense Sedki Sobhi, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Mohamed Farid and other key commanders of the Armed Forces.

Egypt's Mufti Shawki Allam has greeted President Sisi, the minister of defense and armed forces personnel on the 10th of Ramadan war victory anniversary.

In a speech to the Egyptian people on Friday, Allam said the victory will remain a turning point in Egypt's history.

5/25/2018 5:13:47 PM
<![CDATA[Prince William to visit Palestinian territories, Jordan, Israel in June]]>
William will begin his tour in Jordan on June 24 and travel on to Tel Aviv the following day, the palace, his official residence, said in a statement.

He will visit Jerusalem on June 26 and then go on to Ramallah on June 27.

The visit by the second in line to the throne "is at the request of Her Majesty's government and has been welcomed by the Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian authorities", the statement said.

There have been no previous official visits by members of the British royal family to the Palestinian territories.]]>
5/25/2018 4:10:33 PM
<![CDATA[Rains expected on North Coasts in Egypt, Cairo 37°C]]>
Clouds are low and medium with chances for rainfall over North Egypt, Sinai and Lower Egypt. Northwesterly winds are light to mild in Upper Egypt and active over the Red Sea, which may cause disturbance in navigation there.

The Mediterranean and Red Seas will be light to mild, with a wavelength of one meter to 1.5 meters and northwesterly surface winds.

Cairo is forecast to see highs of 37 degrees Celsius (°C) and lows of 25°C.

Weather in the cities along the Mediterranean coast will be cooler, Alexandria 28-22°C and Marsa Matrouh, 26-21°C.

The weather forecast for Aswan is 43-28°C and Luxor 41-28°C. While Suez and Ismailia are set to see their weather at highs of 38-37°C.

Temperature grades in some governorates are (in degrees Celsius):

Port Said: 29 day, 22 night

Assiut: 38 day, 27 night

Minya: 37 day, 25 night

Qena: 39 day, 27 night

Sharm El-Sheikh: 37 day, 28 night

Hurghada: 38 day, 27 night

Shalateen: 38 day, 28 night

Halayeb: 36 day, 30 night
5/25/2018 2:38:12 PM
<![CDATA[Algerian blogger accused of espionage sentenced to 10 years in prison]]>
Charges against the blogger, Merzoug Touati, included "incitement for taking up arms against the state" and "encouraging crowd gathering", said Said Salhi, a member of the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights.

They also included espionage "with foreign agents, in particular from Israel, with the goal of tarnishing Algeria's diplomatic position", Salhi said.

Touati was arrested in January 2017 after he published a Facebook message and a video on YouTube on accounts that were later deleted.

One post called for protests against a 2017 finance law, while the video included an interview with an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman who denied accusations by the Algerian authorities that Israel was behind anti-government protests in Algeria at the time.

Amnesty International said it had reviewed court documents that list the posts as evidence against Touati and that it had found "no incitement to violence or advocacy of hatred".

"Rather, his posts were covered by freedom of expression in relation to his work as a citizen-journalist," the rights group said in a statement.

Touati was sentenced on Thursday by a court in Bejaia, east of the capital Algiers.

He has 10 days to appeal the verdict, according to Algerian law.]]>
5/25/2018 1:57:05 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi prays al-Gomaa with army chiefs to commemorate 10th Ramadan victory]]>
Sisi will commemorate the anniversary of 10th Ramadan victory, known in Israel as Yom Kippur War, where Arab coalition forces defeated the Israeli forces occupying Arab territories in Egypt and Syria in 1973.

The prayers are attended by Minister of Defense Sedki Sobhi, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Mohamed Farid and other key commanders of the armed forces.

Egypt's Mufti Shawki Allam has greeted President Sisi, minister of defense and armed forces personnel on the 10th of Ramadan war victory anniversary.

In a speech to the Egyptian people on Friday, Allam said the victory will remain a turning point in Egypt's history.
5/25/2018 1:13:47 PM
<![CDATA[Netherlands, Australia hold Russia responsible for downing MH17]]>
"Holding a country responsible is a complex legal process," the cabinet said.

"The Netherlands and Australia have asked Russia today to enter a dialogue in order to come to a solution that does justice to the enormous suffering and damage caused by the downing of flight MH17."

MH17 was shot down over rebel-held territory in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 aboard. Russia has denied any involvement.

Investigators on Thursday said the missile that shot down the plane was fired from a missile launcher in Russia's 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade, but stopped short of saying who actually fired the fatal shot.]]>
5/25/2018 12:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Trump fundraiser expands U.S. lawsuit accusing Qatar of hacking his emails]]>
Elliott Broidy, whose access to Trump has been the subject of press coverage in the United States in recent months, sued Qatar in federal court in Los Angeles in March.

On Thursday, he filed an amended complaint adding as defendants the brother of the Qatari ruler and Ahmed al-Rumaihi, a former head of investments at the Qatari sovereign wealth fund.

In the complaint, Broidy said he was targeted over his vocal opposition to Qatar as part of efforts orchestrated by Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, a younger brother of Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and al-Rumaihi to shift U.S. policy towards the Gulf nation.

Khalifa Al Thani could not be reached for comment.

A spokesperson for Sports Trinity, a company in which al-Rumaihi is a principal, called the allegations by Broidy meritless, noting that al-Rumaihi was not an employee of the Qatar government during the time covered in the lawsuit.

"The complaint promotes false and misleading descriptions of Mr. Al-Rumaihi," the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The United Arab Emirates, a regional rival of Qatar, has contracts with Broidy's private security businesses worth more than $200 million, Broidy disclosed in his lawsuit.

Last year, Broidy sought to set up an informal meeting between Trump and senior UAE official Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Reuters has reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

In his lawsuit, Broidy said Qatar has sought to use the hacked emails to generate negative press coverage and stop him from speaking out against Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut off travel and trade ties with Qatar last June, accusing it of backing their arch-rival Iran and supporting terrorism. Qatar denies the charges and says the boycott is an attempt to impinge on its sovereignty and rein in its support for reform.

Broidy's lawsuit faces an uphill battle because Qatar has sovereign immunity and some of the people involved also may claim immunity, legal experts have said.

Jassim Al-Thani, a spokesman at Qatar's embassy in Washington, said on Thursday the lawsuit was an attempt by Broidy to divert attention from media scrutiny of his activities.

"The facts show it was Mr. Broidy who conspired in the shadows against Qatar - not the other way around," al-Thani said in an email.

Earlier this month, a spokesman for Sport Trinity, a company owned by former Qatari official al-Rumaihi, confirmed that Trump's longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen requested a $1 million fee from Qatar to advise Qatar on investments in U.S. infrastructure.

Cohen, who is under investigation by federal prosecutors in New York for his business dealings, also has represented Broidy, for whom he arranged a $1.6 million payment to a Playboy model to keep secret a relationship, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters last month.

In Broidy's amended complaint, he also accuses a New York-based former CIA agent, Kevin Chalker, and a former British intelligence operative, David Mark Powell, of helping to coordinate the hacks of his and his wife's emails.

Chalker, the founder of Global Risk Advisors, and Powell, who runs the company's Qatar operations, did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.]]>
5/25/2018 6:26:09 AM
<![CDATA[At least 7 killed by car bomb in Benghazi, Libya]]>
The bomb exploded behind the Tibesti hotel, the city's biggest, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, on a street where people were taking a stroll after a day of fasting until sunset in the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

No more details on the bombing were immediately available. Eight cars parked on the street lined with shops were destroyed.

Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city, is controlled by the Libyan National Army (LNA), the dominant force in eastern Libya led by commander Khalifa Haftar.

The LNA was battling Islamists, including some linked to Islamic State and al Qaeda, as well as other opponents until late last year in the Mediterranean port city.

Security has improved since then, but two mosque bombings earlier this year killed at least 35 people.

Haftar launched his military campaign in Benghazi in May 2014 in response to bombings and assassinations blamed on Islamist militants, part of anarchy that ensued after a NATO-backed uprising ended Muammar Gaddafi's rule in 2011.

In the past few months, there have been occasional, smaller- scale bombings apparently targeting LNA allies or supporters, but attacks in the city center are rare ]]>
5/25/2018 3:50:42 AM
<![CDATA[Car bomb explodes in Libyan city of Benghazi]]>
There was no immediate word on casualties.]]>
5/25/2018 2:05:26 AM
<![CDATA[Trump cancels summit with North Korea's Kim, warns that military ready]]>
Trump wrote a letter to Kim to announce his abrupt withdrawal from what would have been the first-ever meeting between a serving U.S. president and a North Korean leader in Singapore on June 12.

"Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it would be inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting," Trump wrote.

It was a dramatic end to weeks of optimistic statements from Trump that by meeting with Kim he might succeed where previous U.S. presidents had failed and persuade North Korea to give up a nuclear weapons program that now threatens the United States.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan responded to Trump's announcement by saying Pyongyang remained open to resolving issues with Washington "at any time in any way."

"We had set in high regards President Trump's efforts, unprecedented by any other president, to create a historic North Korea-U.S. summit," he was quoted as saying by the official Korean Central News Agency.

On Wednesday evening Washington time, North Korea had repeated a threat to pull out of the summit and warned it was prepared for a nuclear showdown with Washington if necessary.

White House officials said that statement in which Pyongyang also condemned U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as a "political dummy" was "the last straw."

One senior official said there had been "a trail of broken promises" from North Korea "that has given the United States pause." That included the North Koreans not showing up to a planned meeting in Singapore last week.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met Kim twice in Pyongyang, said North Korea had not responded to contacts in recent days and Trump had made his decision after meetings on Wednesday in which he concluded the summit would not be successful.

"We got a lot of dial tones," Pompeo said, adding it was disappointing but "frankly not a surprise."

Speaking at the White House, Trump said he remained open to dialogue but had spoken to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and warned North Korea against any "reckless act."

He said U.S. allies South Korea and Japan also were ready to shoulder much of the financial burden "if an unfortunate situation is forced upon us" by North Korea.


Asked if the summit cancellation increased the risk of war, Trump replied: "We'll see what happens."

He said the United States would continue its "maximum pressure" campaign of sanctions to press North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

Trump's move sent global share markets sharply lower before they regained some footing. Safe-haven buying of U.S. Treasury bonds pushed their yields lower, while the dollar weakened.

The outlook for the meeting soured dramatically this month when North Korea angrily rejected the notion that it would agree to unilateral nuclear disarmament as Washington has demanded.

Trump has said he detected a change in Kim's attitude after the second of two recent visits the North Korean made to China and that he was possibly being influenced by Beijing, with which the United States is embroiled in a major trade dispute.

The cancellation came just hours after North Korea followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels at its main nuclear test site, which Pyongyang said was proof of its commitment to end nuclear testing.

The senior White House official said that among North Korea's broken promises was one to allow experts to witness the dismantlement of the site, which meant there was no one there to verify what actually occurred. Only a small group of international media handpicked by North Korea witnessed the demolition at the Punggye-ri site.

North Korea's announcement of its plan to destroy its only nuclear test site had been widely welcomed as a positive, if largely symbolic, step. Kim has declared his nuclear force complete, amid speculation the site was obsolete anyway.

The Pentagon said it was too early to give an assessment, but U.S. officials and experts say the site could be put back into service or re-established elsewhere.


South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who worked hard to help set up the summit and urged Trump at a White House meeting on Tuesday not to let a rare opportunity slip away, said he was "perplexed" by the cancellation. He urged Trump and Kim to talk directly.

The reference to Pence that offended the White House came in a statement released by North Korean media citing Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui. She called Pence a "political dummy" for comparing North Korea - a "nuclear weapons state" - to Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi gave up his unfinished nuclear development program, only to be killed later by NATO-backed fighters.

"Whether the U.S. will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," Choe said.

Trump had further raised expectations for a successful summit after North Korea released three Americans this month, which he called in his letter "a beautiful gesture" by Kim.

While Trump left the door open for talks with Kim, chances for a quick rescheduling appear remote and the cancellation will renew fears of a return to conflict on the Korean peninsula.

Trump's letter also referred to the possibility of war.

"You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God that they will never have to be used," he said.

North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons prompted fears of war last year after it said it tested an H-bomb and developed a missile capable of hitting the United States.

Rhetoric reached new heights under Trump as he mocked Kim as "little rocket man" and threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if necessary. Kim called Trump mentally deranged.

The summit cancellation denies Trump of what supporters hoped could have been a major diplomatic achievement, worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize.

It comes at a time when Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal has drawn criticism and his moving of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem has fueled violence. An investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election hangs over his presidency.

Robert Einhorn, a non-proliferation expert at the Brookings Institution, said it seemed Trump realized he would not get assurances from Kim of a willingness to give up its nuclear weapons.

"He was, I think, reluctant to go to Singapore and come up short," he said. "This probably was the best choice he could make - much better than having a meeting that would deepen the divisions, lead to angry recriminations and set back any prospect for getting back on track."]]>
5/25/2018 1:16:19 AM
<![CDATA[Saudi Arabia frees four women's rights activists, associates say]]>
International rights watchdogs have reported the detention of as many as 11 activists, mostly women who previously campaigned for the right to drive and an end to the kingdom's male guardianship system, which requires women to obtain the consent of a male relative for major decisions.

The government announced last week that seven people had been arrested for suspicious contacts with foreign entities and offering financial support to "enemies overseas", and said other suspects were being sought. It did not name the detainees.

The terms of release for Aisha al-Manea, Hassa al-Sheikh, Madeha Alajroush - who have been campaigning since 1990 to lift the driving ban - and young activist Wala'a al-Shubbar were unclear. Their names had not appeared in local media reports that denounced some of the other detainees as traitors.

Activists and diplomats have speculated that the new wave of arrests may be aimed at appeasing conservative elements opposed to social reforms pushed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It may also be a message to activists not to push demands out of sync with the government's own agenda, they said.

The remaining detainees - including Eman al-Nafjan, Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef, Ibrahim Modeimigh and Mohammed al-Rabea - were unlikely to be released soon, according to fellow activists, who fear they could be kept in jail for months without being charged.

Government officials were not immediately available to comment on the releases.

State-backed media have labelled those held as "agents of embassies", unnerving diplomats in Saudi Arabia, a key ally of the United States.

Prince Mohammed has courted Western allies in a bid to open up the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom and diversify its oil-dependent economy, the region's largest.

But while many hailed the end of the ban on women driving as proof of a new progressive trend, it has been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent.]]>
5/25/2018 12:48:54 AM
<![CDATA[Hollywood women applaud impending Harvey Weinstein charges]]>
More than 70 women have accused the once-powerful film producer of sexual impropriety, including rape, since October 2017. Weinstein has denied having nonconsensual sex with anyone.

Weinstein was expected to surrender on Friday morning, a person familiar with the case said. The exact nature of the charges being brought against him by Manhattan prosecutors was unclear.

"BOOM", tweeted Italian actress Asia Argento, who has accused Weinstein of raping her at the Cannes film festival in 1997 when she was 21.

Argento repeated her accusations in an emotional speech at the Cannes festival on Saturday.

Weinstein's Italian attorney said on Saturday that Argento's allegations were "completely false." On Thursday in the United States, Weinstein's spokesman Juda Engelmayer and Weinstein's New York lawyer Benjamin Brafman both declined to comment.

Rose McGowan, who was among the first actresses to accuse Weinstein of sexual assault, said his victims were "one step closer to justice."

"I, and so many of Harvey Weinstein's survivors, had given up hope that our rapist would be held accountable by law," McGowan said in a statement. "May this give hope to all victims and survivors everywhere that are telling their truths."

Former "Sopranos" actress Annabella Sciorra, who has said she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein in the 1990s, tweeted "Can't Wait!" followed by "Anyone know where I can get front row seats?"

"A Wrinkle in Time" director Ava DuVernay, one of the leaders of the Time's Up campaign against sexual harassment in the workplace, posted a link on Twitter to news of Weinstein's expected surrender, adding "Karma NEVER loses an address.”

Tarana Burke, the founder of the wider #MeToo movement triggered by accusations against Weinstein, told Hollywood trade publication Variety that the expected charges represent a shift in the movement to change how sexual violence is handled.

"This moves from the court of public of opinion into an actual courtroom," Burke told Variety in an interview. "That is super cathartic for a bunch of the survivors, or even survivors who are not necessarily victimized by him."

Melissa Silverstein, founder of the blog Women and Hollywood, wrote on Twitter, "This is for all the women who stood up and spoke out and for those who endured years of pain who probably never thought this day would come.]]>
5/25/2018 12:42:53 AM
<![CDATA[Two killed in fresh Nicaragua clashes after talks collapse]]>
The clashes broke out late Wednesday between opposition demonstrators and pro-government groups, with the worst occurring in Leon, northwest of the capital Managua.

A 31-year-old man, Manuel Chevez, was shot dead when government-linked groups tried to evict students and residents from a barricade on the main road to Leon, the man's aunt Justa Ramirez told AFP.

A second man, identified as Luis Diaz and belonging to the pro-government group, was allegedly struck by a home-made mortar bomb, local Red Cross director Marcio Ocon told AFP.

During the clashes, which lasted about five hours, 54 people were wounded by a mixture of gunfire, rubber bullets and blunt instruments, according to the Red Cross.

Chevez's aunt said he had been shot by a rifle. "He was shot with an AK, because it is a shot from an AK that he has on his forehead," she said.

Clashes also occurred in other Nicaraguan cities after week-long talks mediated by the Catholic Church to quell a month of unrest broke down.

The unrest was initially triggered by protests against social security reforms, but broadened into a rejection of the rule of President Daniel Ortega and his wife and vice president Rosario Murillo.

Since the protests began on April 18, 76 people have been killed and more than 800 wounded, according to a preliminary report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, submitted before Wednesday's clashes.]]>
5/25/2018 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Brazil close to paralysis as truckers press on with strike]]>
Airports and gas stations were running out of fuel, food prices were spiraling and agricultural exports were hit.

Truckers have attempted to put a stranglehold on movement of goods in Brazil to protest fuel price rises.

The increases are the result of a politically sensitive decision made in late 2016 to allow the Petrobras oil giant autonomy over its pricing, as well as a rise in world prices in recent weeks.

But the determination of the truckers has caught center-right President Michel Temer's government flat-footed, five months ahead of presidential elections.

Petrobras yielded to pressure on Wednesday and temporarily reduced fuel prices, sending its shares plunging more than 13 percent on the Sao Paulo stock market by late Thursday afternoon.

But the truckers Thursday were still blocking main arteries in 24 of the 27 states in the vast country, which has only limited rail services.

In the port of Santos near Sao Paulo -- the largest in Latin America -- there have been virtually no arrivals or departures of trucks for three days, the management said, even if the "loading and unloading operations of ships continues normally" for now.

In the capital Brasilia, the airport was allowing only planes to land that had enough fuel to take off again.

Five other airports including Recife in the northeast and Congonhas in the economic capital of Sao Paulo, fuel reserves could run out on Thursday, the G1 news site said.

Various abattoirs have also halted operations, affecting a key export sector.

- 'A one-off measure' -

Prices of fruits and vegetables were rocketing in some places to 400 percent, due to supply problems.

Pump prices were also higher, and long lines formed at many gas stations.

A spokeswoman for Rio's fuel retailers' union Sincomb told AFP that the main service stations were last supplied on Monday.

"There is a lack of fuel in practically all the service stations that we have contacted," she said.

As a way of defusing an increasingly out-of-control situation, Petrobras Wednesday announced a temporary price reduction of 10 percent.

"It is a one-off measure. It doesn't represent a change in pricing policy," Petrobras chief Pedro Parente told journalists. "These are 15 days for the government to reach a deal with the truckers."

But the head of the Abcam truckers' association, Jose de Fonseca Lopes, was unimpressed. "It is not what we need,", he told CBN radio.
Temer is to meet with truckers' representatives late Thursday, following the failure of talks on Wednesday.

The movement appeared to have some popular support.

"I think that this has been provoked by poor management by the federal government," said Ana Maria Lobo, a driver waiting in line at a gas station in Sao Paulo, who also noted "all these corruption scandals."

In another temporary measure, the lower house of congress decided late Wednesday to suspend the introduction of two taxes on diesel until the end of the year.

If the Senate approves the measure Thursday, the truckers "are ready to suspend the movement" said Fonseca Lopes.

But the spokeswoman of the National Transport Confederation (CNT) told journalists Thursday that blockades would continue until the president signs the measure into law.

The proposed suspension of the diesel taxes has sparked tensions within the government.

"There is no agreement yet. I am not against it but I would like to know where the money is coming from," said the minister in charge of relations with parliament, Carlos Marun.]]>
5/25/2018 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Calls on Twitter to boycott Turkish tourism go viral]]>
The hashtag #مقاطعة_السياحة_التركية was heavily circulated across Twitter after the tweets.

Turkey has long profited from being one of the world's top tourist attractions, especially for Europeans who would throng to the Sultanahmet district that is home to the Hagia Sophia museum, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar.

But now, most of those Europeans are gone because they are angry with Turkey for what appears to be a lurch away from democracy to an authoritarian state under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, complained carpet seller Oscar Raci, 43, who had gone 10 days without a single buying customer.
5/24/2018 11:20:10 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi authorizes PM to expropriate real property for public benefit]]>
Public acquisition and expropriation are the feasibilities of the state or local governments to acquire real property, where the increased benefit for the society is legally recognized. The rules concerning compulsory transfers of real property are different among the countries, but similar in concept. The dissimilarities can be found in the conditions on which transfers are carried out and in relation to compensation assigned to the property owner.

The Prime Minister has been in Germany for medical treatment last November, where he underwent a surgery. Following Ismail’s leave, Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouly was named as acting prime minister upon the decree of President Sisi. Ismail returned home last December after 1-month treatment.]]>
5/24/2018 10:59:52 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt reform program "remarkable development": CDU's Kaude]]>CAIRO – 24 May 2018: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi received Thursday Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Bundestag leader Volker Kaude, presidential spokesman Bassam Radi announced.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and the German ambassador to Cairo attended the meeting that stressed presidential directives that Egypt is keen on attracting more German investments to Egypt to benefit from the considerable investment potentials in the country.

(R to L) President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Bundestag leader Volker Kaude, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, German Ambassador to Egypt Julius Georg Luy, and Presidential Spokesperson Bassam Radi during a meeting on May 24, 2018 – Press photo

During the meeting, the Egyptian leader praised the strong ties between Cairo and Berlin, and asked Kaude to convey his greetings to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Parties of the meeting discussed the latest regional developments and ways to enhance the efforts aiming at reaching political settlements and compromise to the running crises and avoiding any military escalations.

Kaude also expressed keenness to boost joint economic ties with Egypt as he commended the Egyptian economic reform program, which provides wide investment opportunities that would create job opportunities and achieve development in the country.

“The Egyptian reform program is deemed a remarkable development by the entire international community,” Kaude said. “Egypt is an example of success to the African continent and neighboring countries, as it managed to achieve stability and security and launch a comprehensive development initiative after being hit with instability.”

In other news, German Ambassador to Egypt, Julius Georg Luy, praised Egypt’s measures to achieve the desired economic growth rate of 7.5 percent, saying that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s decisions to float the Egyptian pound and decrease the subsidies were very brave.

During his meeting with Egyptian journalists at his residency on Tuesday, Luy commended the strong relations between the two countries, stressing that Germany has supported Egypt economically and politically all over its transitional period.

German Ambassador to Egypt Julius Georg Luy during meeting with Egyptian journalists at his residency - Press photo/Egypt Today

“Germany is one of the biggest countries that made contribution in the International Monetary Fund’s loan, besides Germany’s direct loans, amounting to $500 million,” Luy stated, asserting that Egypt should carry on its economic reforms, while focusing on reconstructing the infrastructure and supporting SMEs.

The ambassador pointed out that Germany provided Egypt with loans and grants worth €1.6 billion to fund renewable energy and water projects. He added that German tourists allocate 14 percent of the total number of tourists in Red Sea resorts.

5/24/2018 9:40:33 PM
<![CDATA[Blogger Wael Abbas in custody for 15 days pending investigations]]>
Abbas faces charges of belonging to an outlawed group, planning to disrupt the country’s institutions and intentionally circulating fabricated news on the political and economic conditions to destabilize Egypt.

The prosecution continued to interrogate Abbas in the presence of a number of his lawyers in view of the investigations conducted about him by the concerned security bodies.
5/24/2018 9:28:37 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Uruguay discuss boosting cooperation]]>
The ambassador cited the remarkable and noticeable developments witnessed in cooperation between the two countries in the past period, adding he is keen on enhancing parliamentarian cooperation and visits between the two countries.

The Uruguayan envoy said his country’s parliament speaker would like to pay a visit to Egypt soon to discuss some parliamentarian issues with the Egyptian side.

Abdel Aal welcomed the visit of his Uruguayan counterpart to Egypt any time in order to discuss means of boosting bilateral relations
5/24/2018 8:19:06 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi orders to swiftly finalize electricity linkage projects with neighboring countries]]>
Sisi pointed out to the need of fulfilling Egypt's developmental needs from electric energy via increasing production especially in summer.

The president ordered to swiftly finalize electricity linkage projects signed with neighboring countries, the matter which guarantees best economic management of electric energy around the year.

During his meeting with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and Electricity and Renewable Energy Minister Mohamed Shaker, Sisi followed up efforts of updating and developing the electricity sector, said Presidential spokesman Bassam Rady.

Shaker reviewed the work progress of establishing three new power plants built by German Siemens firm in the New Administrative Capital, Beni Suef and Berolus.

The three stations are scheduled to operate with full capacity during the next three months, the minister noted.

Shaker posted the president about the work progress of developing the national network for transferring and distributing electricity, adding that the development work is carried out according to the set timetable.

Work is underway to raise the efficiency of electricity system, the minister noted.

During the get-together, Sisi was briefed about the latest developments of the establishing of Dabaa nuclear power plant as the electricity minister underscored that Dabaa is being prepared for implementing the venture, the spokesman asserted.
5/24/2018 6:43:51 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi: Egypt eager to attract more German investments]]>
This came during his reception on Thursday to visiting Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Bundestag leader Volker Kaude, and German ambassador in Cairo. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also attended the meeting, presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said.

Sisi praised the strong ties between Cairo and Berlin, and asked Kaude to convey his greetings to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

During the meeting, they discussed the latest regional developments and ways to enhance the efforts aiming at reaching political settlements and compromise to the running crises and avoiding any military escalations.

Kaude said Germany was keen on continuing cooperation with Egypt, hailing the economic reform program and its outcomes.
5/24/2018 6:21:38 PM
<![CDATA[Trump says U.S. military ready if North Korea's Kim acts foolishly]]>
American forces are "ready if necessary," Trump said at a White House bill signing event.
5/24/2018 6:12:54 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Azhar condemns removing Al Aqsa from Jerusalem photo ]]>
According to the statement, this is an irresponsible behavior which comes in line with the American-Israeli provocative acts toward more than a billion and half Muslims around the world.

These acts will never change history; Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine and Muslims can sacrifice their souls for Al-Aqsa Mosque, the statement read.

The statement also warned against facing such violation with silence as it threatens the security of the whole region.

Al Azhar has earlier denounced Washington's insistence on relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem.

According to the statement, the U.S. decision was widely rejected worldwide, pointing out that some countries are biased towards arrogance at the expense of justice, a matter which would endanger stability and peace.

The statement added that the US decision posed a challenge to the feelings of 1.5 billion Muslims across the world and also violated the sanctities of "our Christian brothers".

It appealed to the governments and people who believe in justice and freedom to do their duty toward Jerusalem and the Palestinians.
5/24/2018 5:43:38 PM
<![CDATA[Disabled people to receive social housing units per donations: Gov’t]]>
Accordingly, the Housing Ministry ordered to open an account for the fund at the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), where donations will be deposited. The board of directors of the fund will approve whether part or all the cost of the housing unit (including maintenance) will be paid, and on which purposes the money collected will be disbursed.

This comes after the Social Housing Fund agreed to study applications submitted by a number of citizens to rent seven housing units for people with disabilities, and for other cases that find it difficult to afford the advance payment of the housing units.

Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouly assured there will be campaigns deployed to make sure that the delivered housing units are used for housing purposes.

The Social Housing Fund (SHF) has also agreed to provide housing units in the Social Housing Project to be used as furniture exhibition per the right of usufruct to serve the citizens who received units.

Social housing units are available to those with limited incomes and cannot afford to buy pieces of lands in the “House of the Homeland” project or buy housing units at Madinty and El-Rehab, where the ministry has previously offered units for Egyptians working abroad.

The Ministry of Housing is providing more lands in the complementary stage of the “House of the Homeland” project, which has shown a great turnout from Egyptians after offering lands in five stages.

In 2017, the ministry launched more than 24,000 land plots across dozens of new cities.
The Housing Ministry’s decision to allocate units for people with disabilities goes along the lines with the initiative launched by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to declare 2018 as the year of people with disabilities.

In the same context, the Ministry of Housing announced allocating 5 percent of the national project on public housing to people with disabilities. There are also underway initiatives to establish four accessible sites near Qena, Ismailia, Alexandria and Cairo.

Deep look on people challenged with disabilities in Egypt

CAIRO - 24 February 2018: Through the initiative of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to declare 2018 as the year of those challenged with a disability, numerous efforts and decisions have been taken to assure them proper living conditions, but indeed more efforts need to be exerted.

5/24/2018 5:23:15 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. targets airlines in latest Iran sanctions move]]>
The companies targeted were linked to Mahan Air and Meraj Air, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement on its website. It also said it was targeting a number of their aircraft, as well as aircraft from Caspian Airlines and Pouya Air.
5/24/2018 5:09:07 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt looks forward to AU presidency next year: FM]]>
The occasion marks the anniversary of founding Organization of African Unity (OAU) established in May 25, 1963, he noted.

The OAU turned in May 26, 2001 into the African Union (AU), the spokesman asserted, adding that Africa Day embodies meanings of strife of the Africans for achieving freedom, unity and development.

In statements on Thursday, Abu Zeid underlined that Egypt realized the importance of backing the Africans in their strife for freedom, noting that the Africans will not forget the sacrifices of great leaders such as late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Africa continued this march with developing African joint action at the level of various AU institutions which seek achieving unity among the sons of the continent in political, economic and cultural fields, the spokesman affirmed.

Celebrating Africa Day this year comes after the great efforts exerted by Egypt to restore its pioneering role in Africa following the revolutions of the January 25 and June 30 via recovering its membership in the AU, he underscored.

This was reflected on Egypt's winning the presidency of the AU for 2019, Abu Zeid said
5/24/2018 4:35:41 PM
<![CDATA[Gradual decline in temperature on Friday; rains expected ]]>
Rains accompanied by mist are expected on the North Coast and it may extend to Cairo, Upper Egypt and Sinai.

Moderate winds accompanied by dust and sand will blow over most of the South Coast, thus affecting the navigation.

Temperature grades in some governorates are: (in degrees centigrade) Cairo (37 day, 25 night), Alexandria (28 day, 22 night), Matrouh (26 day, 21 night).

The country witnessed a hot weather wave coming from Sudan on Tuesday, registering 41 degrees Celsius.

Citizens were advised not to get exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time in the mornings, especially during the peak sun intensity hours.

The hot conditions have been occurring concurrently since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, starting Thursday May 17.
5/24/2018 4:27:08 PM
<![CDATA[Lebanon's president designates Saad al-Hariri as next PM]]>
Hariri's name was put forward by 111 out of 128 members of Lebanon's new parliament during consultations held on Thursday with Aoun. Lebanon held parliamentary elections on May 6.
5/24/2018 4:24:37 PM
<![CDATA[Trump calls off meeting with North Korea's Kim]]>
"I was very much looking forward to being there with you," Trump said in the letter. "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting."]]>
5/24/2018 3:55:37 PM
<![CDATA[PM reviews efforts to eliminate HCV in Egypt]]>
Health Minister, Ahmed Emad el-Din; Finance Minister, Amr el-Garhi, and Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar attended the meeting with Ismail.

During the meeting, Ismail affirmed the need to strengthen the efforts to completely eliminate HCV in Egypt. Ismail also highlighted the need to combat infection and to maintain safety standards in blood banks, clinics and hospitals.

Ismail also urged the acceleration of the Health Ministry’s efforts to conduct the comprehensive medical survey that was announced in April, with the aim of early detection of diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure and obesity, as well as Hepatitis C virus.

According to Health Minister Emad el-Din, the survey will be conducted in 87 positions in 26 governorates, and should target 43 million citizens in two years. He added that the survey covers the age group between 18 and 59 years old.

Since the launch of the national anti-HCV program in 2014, 1.4 million citizens infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) have been reportedly treated.

By 2022, Egypt will be HCV-free, announced Yehya el-Shazly, president of the National Committee for Fighting Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infections, in 2017.

In February 2017, Egypt launched the "Tour and Cure" medical tourism initiative. The initiative offers treatment to HCV infected patients from all over the world, with an effective and advanced treatment program at a lower cost. Argentine football player Lionel Messi launched and promoted the "Tour and Cure" campaign through a visit in February.]]>
5/24/2018 3:34:25 PM
<![CDATA[125 tons of food aid to be distributed to the needy: Giza governor]]>
Dali said that food commodities would be distributed to 25,000 families in the neediest areas, adding that 62 regions and villages are targeted in various cities.

Manal Awad, deputy Giza governor, said the food aid includes 50 tons of rice, 50 tons of sugar and 25 tons of macaroni.

The Interior Ministry distributes a number of food cartons to needy people for free – press photo

Earlier in May, the Armed Forces coordinated with the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade to provide needy Egyptian citizens in various governorates with 2.7 million food cartons with low prices. A number of 1.7 million cartons were provided by the Armed Forces, while 1 million cartons were provided by the Ministry of Internal Trade.

Moreover, the Interior Ministry distributed a number of food cartons to needy people for free. The cartons included commodities such as rice, macaroni and oil.

Ramadan packages

In April, before Ramadan, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali Moselhi said that the ministries of endowments and religious affairs, petroleum and tourism will provide poor families with 1 million food cartons known as “Ramadan packages” for free. The cartons usually contain food commodities like tomato sauce, rice and dried dates.

"Committees from the ministries of endowments, supply and social solidarity would deliver the Ramadan packages to families across all governorates," Moselhi added.

The ministries of endowments and social solidarity said they would cooperate to accurately target the neediest families.

According to a protocol signed between the Ministry of Internal Trade and the Ministry of Endowments, the former would provide 2,000 tons of sugar, rice and macaroni to be included in the Ramadan packages.

Sheikh Bakr Abdel Hadi, deputy minister of endowments in Gharbia governorate, said in April that 14,000 Ramadan packages have already been prepared to be delivered to poor people in the governorate.

The Ramadan package usually contains food, including rice, sugar, macaroni, tea and dried dates.]]>
5/24/2018 3:09:18 PM
<![CDATA[207 Egyptians return from Libya via Salloum]]>
The figure includes 173 people who traveled legally and 34 people who traveled illegally, he said.

Also, 229 trucks crossed the terminal from both directions within the past 24 hours.

The authorities finished the traveling procedures of 526 people, including 131 Egyptians and 395 Libyans, he said in a statement.]]>
5/24/2018 2:43:18 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan borders with Egypt are 'under full control': Mesmari]]>
General Commander of Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, stated Wednesday that Derna will be declared terrorism-free soon, calling on soldiers to purge the city from terrorism, while keeping in consideration the safety of civilians.

In a televised speech aired earlier Wednesday, Haftar stressed that the army’s aim is to uproot terrorism, after terrorists had turned down all endeavors to avoid armed confrontation.

Haftar directed the army to take into consideration the safety of Derna’s residents and their properties, except for those who carry arms and fight against the Libyan people.

“After four years of holy struggle against the Kharijites, we are close to the liberation of Derna," Field Marshal Haftar said, warning his soldiers from terrorists’ ambushes.

LNA engaged in fierce clashes around the city of Derna on Tuesday; two soldiers were killed in a car bomb and another was abducted from a checkpoint.

The car bombing took place south-west of the city of Ajdabiya, while the soldier was abducted from a checkpoint south of Benghazi, a security source said.

It was not immediately clear who carried out the attacks. Islamic State militants have previously targeted checkpoints in the area.

Since Haftar's LNA stepped up its campaign to take control of Derna, fighting was the most intense in the south-west of the city, said Milad al-Zwai, spokesman of the LNA's Special Forces.

Derna is controlled by a coalition of Islamist militants and rebel veterans known as the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council (DMSC).

The LNA, which has been trying to consolidate its grip on Eastern Libya after taking Benghazi last year, has encircled Derna and launched occasional air raids over the city.

Haftar announced he would "liberate" the city earlier this month.

According to medical sources and statements, LNA forces have lost about nine men and 14 DMSC members have been killed during recent clashes around Derna. ]]>
5/24/2018 1:15:59 PM
<![CDATA[N.Korea collapses tunnels at nuclear test site]]>
North Korea has conducted all six of its nuclear tests at the Punggye-ri site, which consists of tunnels dug beneath Mount Mantap in the northeast of the country. ]]>
5/24/2018 12:54:35 PM
<![CDATA[In pics: Egyptian artifacts seized in Italy likely authentic: Min.]]>
The Italian police notified the Egyptian Embassy in Rome on March 14 about the seizure of 23,700 artifacts, including 118 Egyptian pieces packed in parcels, according to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid.

One of the seized artifacts – Press photo/Antiquities Ministry

Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry’s Repatriation Department said that examination of the seized artifacts' photos sent by the Italian authorities suggested they are authentic antiquities, adding that the two countries cooperate to return the seized pieces to Egypt.

The seized artifacts include objects from different pharaonic periods, in addition to objects from the Islamic era, according to a statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.

ant 2-
One of the seized artifacts – Press photo/Antiquities Ministry

Abdel Gawad said that the artifacts were not looted from museums; it seems that they were illegally taken from excavation sites. He added that the two countries would conduct a joint investigation to uncover the circumstances of the smuggling operation and arrest perpetrators.

One of the seized artifacts – Press photo/Antiquities Ministry

Many Egyptian antiquities were smuggled in the aftermath of Egypt's2011 revolution amid the security vacuum, while others were stolen during the unrest in 2013.

Egypt managed to retrieve over 500 artifacts from abroad in 2016, Abdel Gawad previously stated.

Parliament's Media, Culture and Antiquities Committee prepared a report earlier in 2018 on an amendment to the antiquities protection law proposed by the government to toughen punishment for smuggling antiquities up to a life sentence and a fine up to LE 10 million (about $0.56 million).]]>
5/24/2018 12:39:34 PM
<![CDATA[Iraqis appreciate Egypt’s support – Iraqi politician]]>
He stressed that Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has a clear vision on promoting Egyptian-Iraqi ties.

“Egyptian-Iraqi relations have been strong and special at the economic, political and cultural levels,” al-Hakim, who is on a visit to Kuwait, told MENA.

He pointed out that the new Iraqi government to be formed after the parliamentary elections, in which his coalition won 20 seats, will aim to establish strategic relations with Egypt.

Al-Hakim recalled that his country had experienced difficult security conditions in the past years, but it has eventually made victories over Daesh and sectarianism.

He said Iraq has taken big steps in combating terrorism. ]]>
5/24/2018 12:19:29 PM
<![CDATA[French amb. lauds cooperation with Egypt in launch of ‘Nefertari’ driller ]]>
Around 60 percent of the cost of the new driller (estimated at €900 million) is financed by the French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement) and the European Investment Bank (EIB), while the rest of the cost will be secured from the general budget of the state.

“The launch of the third line digger of Cairo metro yesterday is amazing. It is a pioneer project and a strong sign for the Egyptian-French cooperation for nearly 30 years,” read a tweet by Ambassador Romatet on Thursday.

The French ambassador published a picture from the launch of the new driller at the construction site of the third line of Cairo metro. The driller will be used in digging works of six stations of line 3.

The French ambassador attended the launch ceremony of the driller on Wednesday, along with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and a number of top government officials including: Minister of Transport Hisham Arafat, Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Local Development Abu Bakr el-Gindy, Cairo Governor Atef Abdel Hamid, and former ministers of transport Galal Saeed, Hany Dahy and Alaa Fahmy.

Representatives of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) were also present at the ceremony.

The third phase of the third metro line will connect the working-class districts of Attaba, Bulaq and Imbaba with Cairo University in Giza. The phase will also pass through well-off neighborhoods like Zamalek, Mohandiseen and Agouza. The construction on the 18-kilometer phase officially started in 2017; it includes 15 stops, including Zamalek.

Earlier this month, the government decided to increase the metro fare for the second time, triggering anger among citizens who are currently suffering from the dramatic surge in prices following the 2016 flotation of the Egyptian pound. Following the decision, the metro sector announced expanding metro lines and purchasing new air-conditioned metro carriages. At least two lawsuits were filed against the increase, demanding the government backtrack on its decision. ]]>
5/24/2018 12:17:51 PM
<![CDATA[Sudan says committed to Saudi-led alliance fighting in Yemen]]>
Sudan has at least 3,000 ground troops and several fighter jets fighting in Yemen as part of the Saudi-led alliance. Dozens of Sudanese soldiers have been killed on coastal battlefronts, local and Yemeni media have reported.

SUNA said Bashir, at a meeting on Wednesday with Saudi Arabia's assistant minister of defense Mohamed Abdullah al-Aish, said economic hardship will not deter Khartoum from "playing its Arab role in restoring legitimacy in Yemen, given that Sudan's declared principle is to defend the land of the two holy mosques".

Sudan's Defence Minister Ali Salem told parliament earlier this month Khartoum was assessing its participation in the operations.

Aish said Saudi Arabia thanks Khartoum for the "heroic roles played by Sudanese forces that contributed to victories and progress" in the operations in Yemen, according to the agency.

Sudan has been largely cut off from international financing in past decades due to U.S. sanctions which were lifted in October. The country's economy has been struggling since the south seceded in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of its oil output and source of foreign currency.

Sudan sent troops to Yemen with the Saudi-led coalition that intervened in the civil war in 2015 against Iran-aligned Houthis who had captured most of the main populated areas of the country and forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.

Sudanese parliamentarian Hassan Othman Rizq, who has spearheaded a campaign for withdrawing forces from Yemen, told Reuters earlier this month the decision to dispatch troops there was illegal because lawmakers had not approved it.]]>
5/24/2018 12:03:16 PM
<![CDATA[Investigators say identify Russian military unit in MH17 downing]]>
Wilbert Paulissen, head of the crime squad of the Netherlands' national police, said the missile was fired from Russia's 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade.

A damaged missile is displayed during a news conference by members of the Joint Investigation Team, comprising the authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine who present interim results in the ongoing investigation of the 2014 MH17 crash that killed 298 people over eastern Ukraine, in Bunnik, Netherlands, May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

"All the vehicles in a convoy carrying the missile were part of the Russian armed forces", he told a televised news conference.

Russia has denied involvement in the incident.
5/24/2018 11:57:14 AM
<![CDATA[Lebanon's Hariri wins majority support to be PM]]>
Aoun is obliged to designate the candidate with the greatest support among the 128 members of parliament. Hariri was widely expected to be designated prime minister as Lebanon's leading Sunni politician. The post is reserved for a Sunni in Lebanon's sectarian system.

The consultations continue into the afternoon.]]>
5/24/2018 11:44:06 AM
<![CDATA[Russia to carry out checks on Facebook, Whatsapp]]>
Russia has said it would block access to Facebook unless the social network complies with legislation requiring websites which store the personal data of Russian citizens to do so on Russian servers.

"We will take a decision based on the result of these checks," Alexander Zharov, Rokomnadzor's chief, was quoted as saying by TASS.]]>
5/24/2018 11:22:48 AM
<![CDATA[Brexit transition will end in Dec. 2020]]>
The source said both Britain and the EU were "absolutely clear" on the transition period ending in December 2020 after The Times newspaper reported that May would propose another transition covering customs and trade to run until 2023. ]]>
5/24/2018 11:09:56 AM
<![CDATA[Hawaii volcano belches new ash plume as geothermal wells secured from harm]]>
The latest back-to-back upheavals of ash from the main summit crater of Kilauea -- one before dawn and another several hours later -- came on the 21st day of what geologists rank as one of the biggest eruption cycles in a century from one of the world's most active volcanoes.

The earlier ash plume rose to a height of 8,000 feet (2.44 km), authorities said.

The Hawaii County Civil Defense agency warned in its latest bulletin that residents downwind of Kilauea should take care to avoid exposure to ash, which can cause eye irritation and breathing difficulties, particularly in people with respiratory problems.

Authorities also said that emissions of sulfur dioxide gas, harmful if inhaled, remained at high levels from newly opened lava-spewing fissures in the ground running through populated areas on the eastern flank of the volcano.

"Residents in the affected area should be prepared to take leave of the area with little notice due to gas or lava inundation," the bulletin said.

One major potential hazard that appeared to have been brought under control was at the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) plant, which provides about a quarter of the Big Island's electricity.

Lava from an active fissure nearby had flowed onto the property early this week, posing the risk of toxic gases being released in the event the molten rock encroached into any of three pressurized deep-underground wells.

Utility crews racing to quench the wells with cold water and cap the well heads with iron plugs before lava could reach them managed to secure the site. The civil defense agency reported on Wednesday, "there is no immediate threat to any of the wells at PGV."

However, stream of red-hot lava destroyed a former geothermal project site adjacent to the PGV grounds, civil defense said.

Authorities also were monitoring hazards from noxious clouds of acid fumes, steam and fine glass-like particles -- called laze, a mix of lava and haze -- emitted into the air from lava streams pouring into the Pacific Ocean on the south end of the island, about 3 miles (4.8 km) east of the geothermal plant.

Kilauea rumbled back to life on May 3 as it began extruding lava and sulfur dioxide emissions through a series of fissures, marking the latest phase of an eruption cycle that has continued nearly nonstop for 35 years.

The occurrence of new lava vents, now numbering about two dozen, have been accompanied by flurries of earthquakes and periodic eruptions of ash, volcanic rock and toxic gases from the volcano's summit crater.

Geologists say Kilauea has since entered a more violent phase, in which larger volumes of molten rock are oozing from the ground and traveling farther than before.

At least 44 homes and other structures have been destroyed in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens area of the Puna district, and a man was seriously injured on Saturday when a plate-sized chunk of molten shot out of a fissure and struck him on the leg.

Two thousand people have been ordered from their homes due to lava flows and sulfur dioxide gas. The Hawaii National Guard has warned of more mandatory evacuations if further highways are blocked. ]]>
5/24/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[2 criminals killed, officer injured in drug-trafficking raid]]>
According to the Security Directorate of Ismailia governorate, and based on information gathered by the security apparatus, security forces have been tracking down a dangerous criminal taking shelter in the area of Al-Sehr W Al-Jamal, which is located on the desert road linking the governorates of Ismailia and Suez.

The investigations further revealed that the criminal, who was among the two killed by security forces during Wednesday’s desert sweep, was found to have had a lengthy criminal record, including 13 different cases with various charges relating to drug trafficking, forced robbery, possessing unlicensed weapons and murder.

“The accused and his aide sensed the arrival of the forces and initiated by firing heavy weapons, and security forces managed to deter them and cordoned off the area and took control of the situation,” the statement read.

A machine gun, 250 bullets and related chambers, a CZ 9mm pistol, large quantities of heroin, five digital scales, 10 mobile phones, an unlicensed motorcycle, and LE 23,000 ($1,284) were in possession of the criminals.

A short time later, the public prosecution was reported to have been officially notified and pertinent investigations were launched accordingly.
5/24/2018 5:49:50 AM
<![CDATA[U.S., in tit-for-tat, expels two Venezuelan diplomats]]>
The diplomats are the chargé d'affaires of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington and the deputy consul general of the Venezuelan consulate in Houston, the State Department said in a statement.]]>
5/24/2018 4:47:56 AM
<![CDATA[U.S.-led coalition hits Syrian army positions - Hezbollah media unit]]>
The unit, a Damascus ally, said the strikes took place near T2, an energy installation located near the border with Iraq and about 100 km (60 miles) west of the Euphrates river where the coalition is backing ground forces against Islamic State.

A U.S. military official denied any knowledge of the strikes.

"We have no operational reporting of a U.S.-led coalition strike against pro-Syrian regime targets or forces," Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, told Reuters.

Another Pentagon spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "We have no information to substantiate those reports."

Syrian state media did not immediately report the strikes.

Eastern Syria was mostly held by Islamic State until last year, when two rival campaigns, one by the Syrian army backed by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, the other by Kurdish and Arab militias backed by the U.S. coalition, took most of its land.

Communication between Russia and the United States averted most clashes between them. However, the coalition has struck Syrian pro-government forces that it said were attempting to attack coalition positions.

The U.S. military operating outside the coalition also maintains a base at Tanf in the eastern Syrian desert near the borders with Iraq and Jordan and last year struck pro-government forces moving along a road towards it. ]]>
5/24/2018 4:43:31 AM
<![CDATA[At least four killed, 15 wounded in Baghdad bomb blast]]>
The attack took place in the predominantly Shi'ite Shula district, in northwest Baghdad.

According to a statement from Iraq's National Security media center, the attacker detonated an explosive vest after he was besieged by security forces at the entrance to the Saqlawiyah park, resulting in the death and injury of "a number of civilians."

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, though it bore the hallmarks of Islamic State.

Iraq declared victory over the hardline Sunni militant group in December 2017. Although the group has largely been defeated, it continues to carry out sporadic attacks and operate limited cells in the country, particularly in the north, around Iraq's second city Mosul.

Islamic State has claimed previous attacks against security forces and in public places in mainly Shi'ite dominated areas. Earlier this month, the group claimed a deadly gun attack in Tarmiya, an area 25 km (15 miles) north of Baghdad. ]]>
5/24/2018 4:37:49 AM
<![CDATA[Yemen appoints new minister of foreign affairs -SABA]]>
Mekhlafi will become an adviser to the president, the statement said. Yemeni ambassador to the United States Ahmed Awadh bin Mubarak will take up Yamani's position as Yemen's representative to the United Nations while also remaining in his current role.]]>
5/24/2018 2:44:34 AM
<![CDATA[US staffer suffers brain injury after 'sound' incident in China]]>
US and Chinese authorities are investigating after the unnamed employee, who was assigned to the southern city of Guangzhou, was diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI).

The US embassy in Beijing issued a health alert Wednesday over the incident, while saying it does not know what caused the symptoms or of any similar situations in the country.

Last year 24 US diplomats and their family members in Cuba fell victim to mysterious "attacks" that left them with injuries resembling brain trauma. Ten Canadian diplomats and their relatives also suffered a strange illness.

Both countries scaled back their presence on the Caribbean island due to the problem, which continues to baffle investigators and has strained US diplomatic relations with Havana.

"The medical indications are very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indications that have taken place to Americans working in Cuba," Pompeo said in Washington.

"We are working to figure out what took place both in Havana and now in China as well," he said.

- Embassy warning -

Jinnie Lee, a spokeswoman for the US embassy in Beijing, said the employee experienced a variety of physical symptoms between late 2017 and April 2018. The person was sent to the United States and diagnosed with MTBI on May 18.

The embassy's health alert says the employee "recently reported subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure."

"While in China, if you experience any unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises, do not attempt to locate their source. Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present," the embassy said.

In Washington for talks with Pompeo, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the US should avoid politicizing the case.

"We don't want to see that this individual case would be magnified, complicated or even politicized," Wang told reporters.

"China has been investigating this matter in a very responsible manner."

"We haven't found that any organization or individual has carried out such a sonic influence," Wang added, suggesting the US carry out an "internal" probe into the case.

- Cuban case -

In Cuba, the American victims had associated the onset of their symptoms with "unusual sounds or auditory sensations," a State Department physician told the US Senate in January.

Charles Rosenfarb, a doctor and director of the State Department bureau of medical services, said the symptoms were mixed but consistent with brain trauma.

The victims suffered headaches, hearing loss, disorientation and some loss of cognitive ability.

Initially officials suspected the Americans had been targeted by some sort of acoustic weapon. But so far no evidence has been made public to support that theory, and Pompeo did not suggest the State Department understood the cause yet.

The incident prompted the United States to withdraw more than half of its personnel from the embassy in Havana, just two years after it had reopened as part of a restoration of full diplomatic relations.

Canada announced last month that it was bringing home the families of its diplomats in Cuba after a year-long investigation into the illness failed to reveal a cause.

Unlike their American counterparts, however, no Canadian envoy reported hearing any suspicious sound prior to falling ill.

"The cause (of their symptoms) remains unknown but could be human-made," the Canadian government concluded.]]>
5/24/2018 1:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Trump says 'we'll know next week' about Kim summit]]>
"On Singapore we'll see. It could very well happen," Trump said of the on-again-off-again June 12 meeting, which has been as keenly teased as any of his "The Apprentice" season finales.

"Whatever it is, we'll know next week," he said, speaking to reporters at the White House. "If we go, I think it will be a great thing for North Korea."

Hand-picked aides -- including deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin and deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel -- are traveling to the Southeast Asian city state designated to host the summit, officials said.

They are expected to meet their North Korean counterparts and iron out details of the meeting.

The top diplomat from Pyongyang's traditional ally China on Wednesday expressed hope for a successful meeting, as planned.

"If you want to solve the moment now is the time, if you want peace now is the time, if you want to make history now is the time," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in Washington, alongside his counterpart Mike Pompeo.

The US Secretary of State said whether the summit goes ahead is now up to North Korea.

Asked in a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee if the summit will take place, Pompeo replied: "That decision will ultimately be up to Chairman Kim."

"He asked for the meeting, the president agreed to meet with him," Pompeo said. "I'm very hopeful that that meeting will take place."

His remarks reflect an effort to perhaps lay the groundwork for blame should the talks fail.

Ostensibly the Trump-Kim talks will be about peace on the Korean peninsula and North Korea's nuclear and ballistic weapons.

But even before talk of test freezes, decommissioning or inspections, Washington and Pyongyang are engaged in a public relations battle.

As part of a charm offensive, North Korea invited some foreign journalists to witness the slated destruction of the isolated regime's nuclear test site.

The gesture, which experts agree would do little to curb North Korea's long-term nuclear capabilities, is meant to signal that the regime is serious about change.

Pyongyang said it planned to "completely" destroy the Punggye-ri facility in the country's northeast when it made the surprise announcement earlier this month.

Washington and Seoul welcomed the move.

Punggye-ri has been the staging ground for all six of the North's nuclear tests, including its latest and by far most powerful one last September, which Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb.

The demolition is due to take place sometime between Thursday and Friday, depending on the weather.

Although portrayed as a goodwill gesture ahead of the Kim-Trump summit, both sides have since raised doubts that the historic encounter will take place.

Last week, Pyongyang threatened to pull out if Washington pressed for its unilateral nuclear disarmament. Trump also said the meeting could be delayed as he met with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in in Washington on Tuesday.

- Sharp differences -

Politically, Trump has invested heavily in the success of the planned summit, leading most US officials and outside observers to believe it will go ahead.

But as the date draws near, the differences between the two sides are coming into sharp relief.

Washington has made it clear it wants to see the "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization" of the North.

Pyongyang has vowed it will never give up its nuclear deterrence until it feels safe from what it terms US aggression.

Observers will be watching this week's demolition ceremony closely for any clues to the North's intentions.

Experts are divided over whether the demolition will render the site useless. Skeptics say it has already outlived its usefulness and can be quickly rebuilt if needed.

Previous similar gestures by the North were rapidly reversed when the international mood soured.

But others say the fact that North Korea agreed to destroy the site without preconditions or asking for something in return from Washington suggests Pyongyang's sincerity.

- 'Game of chicken' -

Go Myong-hyun, an analyst at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said both sides were playing "a game of chicken" in the run-up to the summit "to gain an upper hand in negotiations".

He said the site's destruction would win Pyongyang international sympathy even if the summit collapses.

"North Korea can say to the international community that it did its best to achieve denuclearization through negotiations but was pressured by the United States and couldn't do it," he said.

On Seoul's streets Wednesday, South Koreans were circumspect about whether they thought Pyongyang was genuine.

"I don't really have any faith," said Korean-American businessman Peter Chung. "But... I hope for the best."]]>
5/24/2018 1:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[MP addresses antiquities minister over Egyptian Museum complaints]]>
The information request is meant to be directed to Minister of Antiquities, Khaled al-Anany, following complaints, which Nashed told Egypt Today she received, that the museum located in central Cairo is not fully ready to receive visitors.

Nashed said she received complaints that the museum lacks air conditioning systems, adding that the museum should meet all standards for the comfort of visitors, including the availability of drinking water and air-conditioners.

Egypt has witnessed a hot weather wave since Sunday, which is likely to continue until the end of the week, with temperatures holding in the 40s.

The Egyptian museum was inaugurated in Tahrir square in 1902. The museum contains about 120,000 items, holding the world’s largest collection of pharaonic antiquities.

King Tutankhamun at the Grand Egyptian Museum - Photo by Ahmed Mansour

A new museum will be inaugurated in Giza, named the “Grand Egyptian Museum”. The first phase of the museum is expected to open at the end of 2018, displaying the treasures of King Tutankhamun for the first time in history since its excavation in 1922, according to General Supervisor of the Museum, Tariq Tawfik.

The Grand Egyptian Museum is expected to be the largest museum worldwide displaying an array of collections depicting various eras of the Egyptian history. Among the eras that will be featured is the Greco-Roman era in Egypt which will be shown through a gathered collection of 50,000 pieces.

Additional reporting by Angy Essam
5/24/2018 1:29:11 AM
<![CDATA[Coptic Peace Association distributes Ramadan cartons to poor]]>
The ceremony was held in the hall of Marjerjis Hospital in Shubra. Matta Sawiris, head of the association, said that this day is an extension of the 50-year march, adding, "We set up the first Iftar in the church in 1969 until we inaugurated it in 2004; Egypt is mentioned in the Gospel more than 500 times and five times in the Qur’an.”

Sheikh Mohammed Qutb said that the Muslims and Christians are one blood, stressing that the distribution of such aid without distinction between Muslim and Christian is an important message and must appear in the public opinion.

For his part, MP Ehab El-Tamawy congratulated all Egyptians for the holy month of Ramadan, stressing that the Shubra neighborhood is mixed with homes of Muslims and Copts.

Taha al-Ashri, a Shubra resident, donated two kitchens to the orphans of the church's children in Shubra.

At the end of the ceremony, the assembly distributed Qur’ans and Gospels to all Muslims and Copts to attending.
5/24/2018 1:26:17 AM
<![CDATA[Trump may impose tariffs on car imports in latest trade move -sources]]>
Another administration official said the move was aimed partly at pressuring Canada and Mexico to make concessions in talks to update the North American Free Trade Agreement that have languished in part over auto provisions, as well as pressuring Japan and the European Union, which also export large numbers of vehicles to the United States.

"There will be big news coming soon for our great American Autoworkers. After many decades of losing your jobs to other countries, you have waited long enough!" President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday.

Trump, who has pledged to revive American manufacturing, has launched a series of trade actions, demanding China import more American goods, starting talks to renegotiate NAFTA and imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Reuters confirmed a report by the Wall Street Journal that the administration was considering launching a "Section 232" investigation into auto imports that could see tariffs of up to 25 percent imposed on imports.

Both administration sources and the industry sources said the Commerce Department was expected to make a formal announcement as early as Wednesday night.

At a meeting with automakers at the White House on May 11, Trump told automakers he was planning to impose tariffs of 20 percent or 25 percent on some imported vehicles, sources told Reuters and specifically criticized German automakers for exporting a large number of vehicles to the United States.

An ad hoc industry group representing the largest Japanese, German and other foreign automakers called "Here for America," criticized the effort.

"The U.S. auto industry is thriving and growing," said John Bozzella, chief executive of Global Automakers, a trade group representing Toyota, Nissan Motor Co Ltd, Hyundai Motor Co and others, who also speaks for the broader group.

Bozzella noted 12 million cars and trucks were produced in the United States last year. "To our knowledge, no one is asking for this protection. This path leads inevitably to fewer choices and higher prices for cars and trucks in America,” Bozzella said.


Trump has railed against European auto imports and tariffs.

“If the E.U. wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S.,” Trump wrote on Twitter in March.

“They make it impossible for our cars (and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!"

German automakers Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG all have large U.S. assembly plants. The United States is the second-biggest export destination for German auto manufacturers after China, while vehicles and car parts are Germany’s biggest source of export income.

In March, Germany's automotive industry association said: "A trade war between the USA and Europe must be avoided at all costs. In such a trade war there are only losers on all sides.”

The White House could opt to negotiate with individual countries about whether auto tariffs take effect. Trump would have to launch a probe before he could impose the tariffs.

The report caused U.S. automaker shares to jump and hit those of overseas companies like Toyota Motor Corp, with its New York-traded shares falling 0.67 percent.

It was unclear how the administration would be able to use a measure aimed at ensuring national security in the car sector.

Trump has long made the imbalance in auto trade a key concern, repeatedly threatening to impose tariffs on imported vehicles.

The United States imported 8.3 million vehicles in 2017 worth $192 billion, including 2.4 million from Mexico, 1.8 million from Canada, 1.7 million from Japan, 930,000 from South Korea and 500,000 from Germany, according to U.S. government statistics. At the same time, the United States exported nearly 2 million vehicles worldwide worth $57 billion.

Asked if the measures would hit Mexico and Canada, a Mexican source close to the NAFTA talks said: “That probably is going to be the next battle.]]>
5/24/2018 1:10:39 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt's hospitals on alert to receive cases of heat-related illnesses ]]>
Chairman of the Egyptian Meteorological Authority (EMA) Ahmed Abdel Aal said on Monday that the country will witness a hot weather wave starting Tuesday.

Average summer temperatures are forecast for next week as the heat wave is expected to end by Saturday, according to Mahmoud Shahin, undersecretary of the Center for Meteorological Forecasts in the Meteorological Authority.

In the same context, a dermatologist and former head of the National Research Center, Hany al-Nazer, told Egypt today that people should take good care of their health while fasting during the heat wave.

He offered some important tips such as:

1.Girls and ladies should avoid getting out in the sun while wearing make-up and perfumes, as they can leave marks on the skin in such hot weather.

2. Assure good ventilation for homes; turn on an air conditioner or a fan.

3. Turn down the lighting to avoid feeling hotter.

4. Mothers should replace non-cotton diapers for their children with cotton ones at home.

5. It is recommended to shower with glycerol soap to maintain the health of your skin
At the beginning of Ramdan, Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said that there is no change in the working hours of governmental hospitals and emergency centers during the holy month of Ramadan, stressing that all facilities of the Ministry of Health will work normally.

"The availability of blood bags at all hospitals throughout all governorates was confirmed by hospital heads," he added.

The month of dawn-to-dusk fasting is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is observed by Muslim communities worldwide as the month of fasting that commemorates the first revelation of a Quran verse to Prophet Muhammad.
Additional Reporting by Walaa Ali
5/24/2018 1:09:43 AM
<![CDATA[Trump can't block his critics on Twitter, judge rules]]>
Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald said the blocking of Trump critics -- which prevent them from seeing and interacting with the president's tweets -- violated the free speech rights of those users guaranteed in the Constitution's First Amendment.

In a 75-page opinion, the New York federal judge said the users "were indisputably blocked as a result of viewpoint discrimination" and that this was "impermissible under the First Amendment."

The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit filed by a group of Twitter users and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

The lawsuit contended that because Trump uses Twitter for a variety of policy announcements, his account is "a designated public forum" that cannot exclude people due to their political views.

The judge acknowledged that even though the president has certain free speech rights, he cannot violate the rights of other Twitter users.

"While we must recognize, and are sensitive to, the president's personal First Amendment rights, he cannot exercise those rights in a way that infringes the corresponding First Amendment rights of those who have criticized him," she said in her opinion.

Buchwald stopped short of accepting the request for an injunction against Trump and his social media aide, Dan Scavino, who was also named in the complaint, saying she expected the White House to abide by her "declaratory" ruling.

- Not above the law -

"Because no government official is above the law and because all government officials are presumed to follow the law once the judiciary has said what the law is, we must assume that the president and Scavino will remedy the blocking we have held to be unconstitutional," she wrote.

Jameel Jaffer, the Knight Institute's executive director, welcomed the ruling, saying it "reflects a careful application of core First Amendment principles to government censorship on a new communications platform."

Jaffer added in a statement, "The president's practice of blocking critics on Twitter is pernicious and unconstitutional, and we hope this ruling will bring it to an end."

There was no immediate reaction from the White House.

In the lawsuit, the seven individual plaintiffs, which included a University of Maryland professor, a Texas police officer and a New York comic, said they were blocked from the @realDonaldTrump account after posting tweets critical of his policies.

Although they were still able to see the tweets without logging in to Twitter, and to quote Trump's tweets in their own messages, their comments were excluded from the threads that make up a public "conversation."

The case could affect other social media interactions involving public officials.

The Knight Institute said it was lodging an appeal in the case of a Virginia resident blocked on Facebook by a local public official.

A supporting brief in the New York case argued that the case is important in guaranteeing political speech.

"In light of social media's importance to modern life, President Trump's practice of blocking individual users robs them of a singularly valuable opportunity to make their speech heard," said the brief filed by the Georgetown University Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection.]]>
5/24/2018 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[40 defendants referred to criminal court on human trafficking charges ]]>
The Public Funds Prosecution initiated an investigation into information provided by the Administrative Control Authority (ACA). ACA claimed that an employee in the Ministry of Foreign affairs is exploiting his position to orchestrate human trafficking and smuggling of migrants’ crimes.

The employee conspired with others to introduce minor females into the world of prostitution according to the authorities’ investigations.
5/23/2018 11:31:08 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi receives Jordanian King at Cairo airport]]>
Earlier in the day, the Jordanian monarch embarked on a 24-hour visit to Egypt.

Both leaders are set to hold talks on the current regional developments and bilateral relations.
5/23/2018 8:26:33 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi to meet King Abdullah II to discuss several issues Wednesday]]>
The statement added that Cairo International Airport opened the presidential reception hall to receive the king. The cars were blocked from entering the presidential terminal at the airport. Security services, as well as police officers and police dogs, were deployed to secure the presidential precinct.

The two leaders will discuss a number of regional issues, especially the developments in the Palestinian territories. They will also discuss the importance of stepping up efforts to reach political solutions to existing crises in order to bring back security and stability to the region.

The two sides underlined the importance of pushing forward the distinguished relations between the two countries in various domains.

The one-day visit comes after the two leaders discussed in a phone call efforts to reach political settlements in the region, as well as the latest regional developments.

5/23/2018 3:31:21 PM
<![CDATA[Lebanon's Aoun to begin consultations on new PM on Thursday - Berri]]>
Aoun is obliged to designate as prime minister the candidate with the greatest support among MPs. Outgoing Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri is widely expected to be selected again.

Berri made the announcement after meeting Aoun at the presidential palace, following the first session of the new parliament during which Berri was elected as speaker for the sixth time in a row. ]]>
5/23/2018 3:24:18 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry meets Vietnamese Communist Party official]]>
Shoukry welcomed the visit by the Vietnamese official and his accompanying delegation to Cairo, wishing that it would contribute to boosting bilateral relations and supporting joint coordination in international events and forums, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid.

The Egyptian top diplomat stressed the importance of visits by Vietnamese officials to Egypt and meetings held between high-level officials of both nations on the sidelines of international events for furthering the bonds of friendship between the two countries, the spokesman said.

Shoukry voiced Egypt's keenness on enhancing joint investments especially that it seeks benefiting from the Vietnamese technical expertise in the fields of developing fisheries, cultivating rice, building ships besides information technology, petroleum, gas, renewable energy, small- and medium- sized enterprises in addition to promoting Vietnamese tourism to the country, he also said.

He further hailed Vietnam's support for Egypt in its fight against terrorism, reviewing the efforts of the Armed Forces and police in combating this phenomenon, the spokesman noted.

The Vietnamese official stressed that his country's government and the ruling party pay special attention to enhancing relations with Egypt.

He highlighted the marked development in bilateral relations, economic cooperation and trade exchange recently, especially after the historic visit paid by President Abdel Fatah al Sisi to Vietnam.
5/23/2018 3:09:30 PM
<![CDATA[Military Production seeks Portuguese cooperation in tablet making]]>
Assar also met with Georgi Sakoto, executive director of the Portuguese JP Sá Couto, a distributor of electronic products and software solutions, to discuss manufacturing tablets and personal computers.

During the meeting, Assar discussed the opportunity for a mutual cooperation between JP Sá Couto and Banha Company for Electronic Industries, a leading military production company, by exchanging expertise and information between the two companies.

Fischer praised Egypt’s economic reform program that attracts Portuguese investments and helps execute joint projects. She also expressed the keenness to announce new partnerships between Portuguese companies and Egyptian military production companies.

In December 2017, Assar also met with Fischer, where they discussed cooperation in the fields of joint military and civil manufacturing.

Assar expounded the military and civil manufacturing domains of the military production companies, as well as national projects that the ministry takes part in.

He also reviewed potential cooperation between Egypt's military production companies and Portuguese companies, expressing eagerness to open new vistas of cooperation through exchanging the know-how in the manufacturing sphere.

During the meeting, which was attended by a delegation of Portuguese companies, Assar urged sending Portuguese technical delegations to get acquainted with the manufacturing expertise of Egypt's military production companies.

In February, Assar met with visiting Portuguese Secretary of State for Internationalization Eurico Dias to discuss cooperation between the two sides.

Assar said he is keen on boosting cooperation with Portugal, particularly in the field of roads and the manufacture of trailers and fishing boats.
5/23/2018 2:52:43 PM
<![CDATA[Video: Haftar to declare Derna terrorism-free soon]]>
In a televised speech aired earlier Wednesday, Haftar stressed that the army’s aim is to uproot terrorism, after terrorists had turned down all endeavors to avoid armed confrontation.

Haftar directed the army to take into consideration the safety of Derna’s residents and their properties, except for those who carry arms and fight against the Libyan people.
“After four years of holy struggle against the Kharijites, we are close to the liberation of Derna," Field Marshal Haftar said, warning his soldiers from terrorists’ ambushes.

LNA engaged in fierce clashes around the city of Derna on Tuesday; two soldiers were killed in a car bomb and another was abducted from a checkpoint.

The car bombing took place south-west of the city of Ajdabiya, while the soldier was abducted from a checkpoint south of Benghazi, a security source said.

It was not immediately clear who carried out the attacks. Islamic State militants have previously targeted checkpoints in the area.

Since Haftar's LNA stepped up its campaign to take control of Derna, fighting was the most intense in the south-west of the city, said Milad al-Zwai, spokesman of the LNA's Special Forces.

One commander was killed and two soldiers wounded, he said.

Derna is controlled by a coalition of Islamist militants and rebel veterans known as the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council (DMSC).

The LNA, which has been trying to consolidate its grip on eastern Libya after taking Benghazi last year, has encircled Derna and launched occasional air raids over the city.
Haftar announced he would "liberate" the city earlier this month.

According to medical sources and statements, LNA forces have lost about nine men and 14 DMSC members have been killed during recent clashes around Derna.

Contributed by Reuters]]>
5/23/2018 2:38:35 PM
<![CDATA[Azhar Mosque celebrates 1078th founding anniversary ]]>
The celebration will see the attendance of Grand Imam Ahmad al Tayyeb alongside senior preachers, officials and leaders of Al-Azhar Mosque-University.

A series of events will take place on the sidelines of the ceremony as the attendants are scheduled to take a tour at the AD 970 mosque and will participate in a seminar on the history of the mosque's founding and the first Friday prayer that was held in it.

Founded during the reign of Fatimid Caliph, Al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah, the Al-Azhar Mosque-University was first named after Fatima Zahra, prophet Muhammed’s daughter, and is recognized as the world’s highest Islamic authority; the university has been welcoming students and scholars from various nations.

In March and during the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman (MBS) to Egypt, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and bin Salman inaugurated Al-Azhar Mosque following a three-year maintenance period.

During the visit, President Sisi and the Crown Prince reviewed the restoration works undertaken by the Ministry of Awqaf (Endowments) in Al-Azhar.
5/23/2018 2:09:51 PM
<![CDATA[Workers of Beheira train collision referred to trial]]>
Investigations revealed that the tragedy was caused by human error, as well as giving orders to switch the route of one of the trains before making sure that all its carriages passed the switch point.

Egypt as a whole has a history of train accidents over the past 15 years. Egypt Today provides details of five major train crashes in Egypt:

February 2002: 300 people died while travelling from Cairo to Aswan in the south. This accident was caused by a fire that swept through an overcrowded train. It is considered the worst disaster to hit the country's railway system in the past 25 years. The transportation minister at the time was forced to resign as a result.

August 2006: At least 58 people were killed and 143 injured when two passenger trains heading to Cairo from the Nile Delta towns of Mansoura and Benha collided.

October 2009: Two trains collided in the el-Ayat area, leaving 30 killed and many others injured. The first train had broken down and was rear-ended by the second. Transport Minister Mohammed Lutfi Mansour resigned three days after the accident.

November 2012: A school bus was hit by a train in central Egypt, and 50 children, aged four to six years old, and the driver of the bus were killed. This accident happened near Manfalut, 350km (230 miles) south of Cairo. The transport minister resigned in the wake of the accident.

January 2013: A military train derailed, killing 19 and injuring more than 100. The train, which was heading to Cairo from Asyut and carried new recruits of the Egyptian Central Security Forces, derailed in the Egyptian city of Badrashin.

According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) in 2016, Egypt has witnessed an average of 1,041 train accidents on an annual basis in the last 12 years.

A total of 13,539 train accidents occurred between 2004 and 2016, reports CAPMAS, citing numbers released by the National Railway Authority of Egypt.
5/23/2018 2:06:36 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Ivory Coast keen on furthering cooperation: Ivorian amb.]]>
In statements to MENA, Allou lauded the depth of bilateral relations and cooperation in the different domains.

Exchanged visits between officials of both countries reflect the strength of ties, he said noting Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry's trip to Ivory Coast and Ouattara's visit to Egypt in December to attend Africa 2017 Forum at an invitation from Sisi.

Allou urged Egyptian businessmen to invest in Ivory Coast to benefit from measures taken to improve the investment atmosphere in his country.

He praised the steps taken by Egypt to further trade ties with fellow African countries and get the African markets better acquainted with Egyptian products.
5/23/2018 1:58:52 PM
<![CDATA[Court to schedule 1st trial of 102 people over attacking police station]]>
The defendants had demonstrated in January 2017 in front of Al-Mokattam police station, after the death of 22-year old Mohamed Abdel Hakim, aka Afroto, inside the Mokattam police station. Afroto suffered severe injuries that led to his death.

The defendants face charges of attacking the Mokattam police station and the Mokattam Specialized Hospital. They are also accused of damaging public and private property, and taking part in illegal demonstrations. Nine policemen were reportedly injured during the attacks.

Two policemen including an officer are accused of beating Afroto to death. Interrogations show that Afroto, accused by the police of abusing drugs, was illegally kept in custody.

According to the prosecution’s decision, policeman, Mohamed A., is accused of pushing down Afroto, while the other defendant, police officer, Mohamed S., is accused of kicking him in the chest causing him the injuries cited in the forensic report. In its statement, the prosecution accused both policemen of beating the victim to death without the intention to kill him.

The forensic report revealed that the cause of Afroto’s death was an internal bleeding caused by a broken rib, and a laceration in the left lung due to a severe hit on a solid object. The report, thus, contradicts with police allegations that Afroto died due to drugs over dose.

Moreover, the forensic report said that the rolls possessed by Afroto were filled with about 10 grams of a green plant which is not on the Egyptian prohibited list of drugs.

Earlier in September, HRW published a report accusing the Egyptian authorities of torturing prisoners, and calling on the United Nations to punish those who commit such violations. The report interviewed a number of detainees who were tortured by police in the period from 2014 to 2016, according to the report.

In response to the HRW report, the Foreign Ministry condemned "the unfounded and biased" report, which manifests unprofessionalism at its best, quoting unknown and anonymous sources.

The ministry further condemned that the group deliberately ignored the progress made in the field of promoting human rights in Egypt over the past few years, demonstrating its deliberate intention to promote and incite violence.
5/23/2018 1:04:16 PM
<![CDATA[Hot weather persists on Wednesday, let up by end of week ]]>
Average summer temperatures are forecast for next week as the heat wave is expected to end by Saturday, according to Mahmoud Shahin, undersecretary of the Center for Meteorological Forecasts in the Meteorological Authority.

During a phone-in with the TV show "A’ala Mas’olity" (on my responsibility) broadcasted on Dream TV on Tuesday, Lashin pointed out that the current hot wave reached its peak on Tuesday, adding that temperatures will drop only by two degrees on Wednesday.

Citizens are advised not to be exposed to direct sun rays for long periods of time in the mornings, especially during the peak sun intensity hours, Lashin added.

The hot conditions have been occurring concurrently since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, starting Thursday May 17.
5/23/2018 12:22:04 PM
<![CDATA[44 arrested in cyber-related crimes: Interior Ministry]]>
In a statement released by the ministry on Tuesday, the defendants were charged with conducting online cyber extortion, ransomware, and electronic fraud, along with harming citizens by blackmailing them for money.

According to the statement, the ministry is fighting tooth and nail to crack down on terrorist-linked activities and it proactively monitors the activities of terrorist groups on social media platforms, adding that it has managed to suspend four Facebook accounts whose operators were instigating violence against the state and vital institutions.

This came in accordance with the directives of Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar to combat crime in all its forms, especially those that are related to modern technology, the statement concluded.

In May, Parliament approved a draft cybercrime law, which aims to pose surveillance on social media and limit the spread of fake news, particularly those that incite violence.

MP Nedal al-Saeed, head of Parliament’s Communications and Information Technology Committee, said that he will submit a report about the cybercrime law to Parliament Speaker Ali Abdul Aal to be discussed during the plenary session.

The bill regulates internet service providers’ (ISPs) activities and their obligation to provide national security authorities with information on users suspected of spreading terrorist and extremist ideologies via the internet. It also aims at securing personal data of internet users.

Since the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt has seen growing waves of extremism washing over the society and spawning numerous deadly attacks. Among these attacks was the terrorist attack that hit Al-Rawdah Mosque and left more than 302 worshippers attending the Friday prayer dead in late November 2017.

A month earlier, the Interior Ministry announced that 16 security officers were killed during clashes with militants in Wahat in the Western Desert; the clashes also led to the killing of 15 militants.

Additional reporting by Amr Kandil

5/23/2018 12:16:53 PM
<![CDATA[Australian archbishop steps aside after conviction for concealing child sex abuse]]>
Wilson, who faces up to two years in prison, said he was still considering the court's reasons for the judgment.

"While I do so, it is appropriate that, in the light of some of his honour's findings, I stand aside from my duties as archbishop," Wilson said in a statement emailed to media.

The archbishop of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia state, and former president of the Catholic Church's top body in Australia, said he will permanently resign as archbishop if it becomes "necessary or appropriate".

Wilson was accused of covering up a serious indictable offence by another priest, James Fletcher, after being told about it in 1976 when he was an assistant parish priest in the state of New South Wales.

Lawyers for Wilson, 67, had argued that he did not know that Fletcher had abused a boy. Fletcher was found guilty in 2004 of nine counts of child sexual abuse and died in jail in 2006 following a stroke.

Wilson is expected to be sentenced in June by a local court in the city of Newcastle, New South Wales.

Last year, Australia completed a five-year government-appointed inquiry into child sex abuse in churches and other institutions, amid allegations worldwide that churches had protected paedophile priests by moving them from parish to parish.

The inquiry heard that seven percent of Catholic priests working in Australia between 1950 and 2010 had been accused of child sex crimes and that nearly 1,100 people had filed child sexual assault claims against the Anglican Church over 35 years.
5/23/2018 5:49:44 AM
<![CDATA[Israeli air strikes target boat moored in Gaza -residents]]>
The Israeli military said aircraft had struck "military targets belonging to the Hamas terror organization's naval force" and "underground terror infrastructure" belonging to Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip.

The military said the air strikes were carried out in response to an incident on Tuesday when a group of men from Gaza broke through the border fence into Israel and set fire to an army post. An Israeli tank then targeted a Hamas observation post. No casualties were reported.

Gaza residents said the vessel that was hit by missiles was set ablaze. They said it was due to sail to meet a flotilla of boats hoping to reach Gaza. Israel maintains a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and has in the past stopped other boats from reaching it shores.

Violence along the Israel-Gaza border reached a peak on May 14 when Gaza medical sources said at least 60 Palestinian protesters were killed by Israeli gunfire. It has subsided but there are sporadic flare-ups.

Since the border protests began on March 30, 110 Palestinians have been killed, Gaza medical officials said.

Gaza has been controlled since 2007 by the Islamist group Hamas. Israel and Egypt, citing security concerns, maintain a de facto blockade on Gaza, which has reduced its economy to a state of collapse.

Two million Palestinians live in the narrow strip, most descendants of refugees who fled or were driven out of homes during fighting between Jewish and Arab forces at the time Israel was founded. ]]>
5/23/2018 4:12:11 AM
<![CDATA[N.Korea allows S.Korea reporters to visit nuclear site, official says]]>
North Korea invited a handful of media from a number of countries to witness the dismantling of the Punggye-ri testing site to uphold its pledge to discontinue nuclear tests. However, it had declined to take the list of reporters from South Korea after calling off planned inter-Korean talks in protest against U.S.-South Korean air combat drills.

The invitation to witness the dismantling of the Punggye-ri site was seen as an indication that North Korea's unexpected offer to end its nuclear tests still held despite renewed diplomatic uncertainty.

Reporters from news outlets from the other countries arrived in the North Korean port city of Wonsan on Tuesday, where they are waiting to be guided to the testing site for the event, set for between Wednesday and Friday.

However, South Korean journalists returned home overnight after failing to obtain a visa from Pyongyang in Beijing.

The unification ministry said late on Tuesday the South Korean reporters could fly direct to Wonsan if the North accepted them.

"We delivered a list of eight reporters from two outlets to the North today, and the North accepted it," the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

The ministry did not say when the reporters would leave for the North but said it would arrange support as quickly as possible.

Invited members of foreign media said North Korean authorities told them the weather was "too bad for travel" to the Punggye-ri site but they may in fact be awaiting the South Korean reporters, citing a forecast that shows improving weather. ]]>
5/23/2018 4:07:14 AM
<![CDATA[Tariq Ramadan loses appeal for release ahead of rape trial]]>
Judges had earlier this month refused bail for 55-year-old Ramadan, who is being treated behind bars for multiple sclerosis, as well as a request for release on health grounds.

The Swiss citizen was not in court to hear Tuesday's ruling as his defence argued that testimony from his accusers contained "contradictions".

"There is no objective reason to keep Mr Tariq Ramadan in provisional custody," his lawyer Emmanuel Marsigny told AFP after failing to sway the court.

He had proposed that Ramadan be held at home and surrender his passport.

"The presumption of innocence is trampled underfoot," Marsigny added.

The prominent TV pundit and Oxford University professor, whose grandfather founded Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood movement, has been held since February on charges that he raped two women in France. Two other women have since made rape claims against him.

Prosecutors argued Ramadan should stay in detention over fears that he could potentially flee France and also to protect the women who made the allegations against him.

While the investigation is under way, "it appears to the plaintiffs more desirable that Mr Ramadan be available to the court," said Francis Szpiner, a lawyer for two of Ramadan's accusers.

Many of Ramadan's supporters -- including two million Facebook followers -- insist he has been unfairly targeted because he is Muslim, while Marsigny has slammed what he describes as "lies" and inconsistencies by Ramadan's accusers.

Ramadan's first accuser, Henda Ayari, 41, is a feminist activist who previously practised a conservative strain of Islam. She says Ramadan raped her in a Paris hotel room in 2012.

A second woman, who is disabled, claims that Ramadan raped and beat her in a hotel in the southeastern city of Lyon in 2009.

The third accuser, a French Muslim woman who is using the pseudonym "Marie", came forward in early March and claims to have suffered multiple rapes in France, Brussels and London between 2013 and 2014.

A fourth woman has filed rape charges in Geneva against Ramadan.

Ramadan has denied wrongdoing and is suing one of his accusers, Ayari, for slander.]]>
5/23/2018 12:20:00 AM
<![CDATA['I'm sorry', Facebook boss tells European lawmakers]]>
But Zuckerberg's appearance failed to satisfy MEPs who accused him of dodging questions and criticised a format that gave the parliament's political leaders far more time to give long-winded speeches.

His livestreamed testimony in Brussels was the latest stop on a tour of apology for the Cambridge Analytica scandal that saw him quizzed for ten hours in the US Congress in April, and will take him to Paris on Wednesday.

Zuckerberg said that while Facebook has brought in new features to connect people, it had become clear in the last two years that they "haven't done enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm".

"And that goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections or developers misusing people's information. We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility," he said in his opening statement.

"That was a mistake, and I'm sorry for it."

- 'Too slow' -

The European Parliament invited Zuckerberg in March after Facebook admitted that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked by British consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.

The firm, which was working for US President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, has since declared bankruptcy.

Zuckerberg originally tried to send a junior executive instead but finally bowed to pressure to appear. However he only agreed for it to be livestreamed on Monday after initially insisting on it being behind closed doors.

Appearing calm and unruffled during the 90-minute hearing, Zuckerberg welcomed the EU's sweeping new personal data protection rules, which come into effect in three days, saying that his website would be "fully compliant".

In that spirit, Zuckerberg said Facebook was bringing in new features including a special "clear history" button that would allow them to delete any cookies or browsing history details it stores.

Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook had been "too slow to identify Russian interfering" in the 2016 US presidential ballot but was working with European governments for future elections.

In the run-up to last year's French elections Facebook "found and took down more than 30,000 fake accounts", he said.

- 'Pre-cooked format' -

But some European lawmakers were still unhappy with the format in which Zuckerberg answered questions for only 25 minutes -- half as long as the time it took the parliament's political leaders to get through their long-winded questions.

"Today's pre-cooked format was inappropriate and ensured Zuckerberg could avoid our questions," Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Liberal leader, tweeted afterwards.

The former Belgian prime minister asked Zuckerberg during the hearing if he wanted to be remembered as a "genius who created a digital monster".

Manfred Weber, the German head of the centre-right European People's Party, the largest group in parliament, said the Facebook chief was "not very convincing" and "did not answer all our questions".

But European Parliament President Antonio Tajani -- who invited Zuckerberg and arranged the meeting -- called Zuckerberg's visit a "success" even if he said his apology was "not enough" and required follow up.

Zuckerberg meanwhile pledged that Facebook would make fresh investments to protect its users in the wake of the scandal -- with many of those in Europe where he plans to have 10,000 employees by the end of the year.

"It's going to take time to work through all of the changes we must make. But I'm committed to getting it right, and to making the significant investments needed to keep people safe," he added.

"I expect this will significantly impact our profitability. But I want to be clear: keeping people safe will always be more important than maximising our profits."

Zuckerberg is due to meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Wednesday.]]>
5/23/2018 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Lava flow torches warehouse at Hawaii geothermal plant]]>
Workers at the now closed Puna Geothermal Venture, which provided around 25 percent of electricity on Hawaii's Big Island, scrambled to cap the last of three deep wells to reduce the risks of an uncontrolled release of toxic gases should they be inundated by lava.

The race at the site marked the latest challenge facing authorities during what geologists call an unprecedented, simultaneous eruption at Kilauea's summit and from giant volcanic cracks or fissures 25 miles (40 km) down its eastern flank.

A lava flow from one of the fissures entered the 815-acre (330-hectare) geothermal plant complex on Monday night and destroyed a warehouse, County of Hawaii government spokeswoman Janet Snyder said.

Another fissure reactivated on Tuesday and sent lava flowing slowly in the direction of the plant, County of Hawaii Civil Defense said in a tweet.

Snyder said none of the wells were in imminent danger, as the flow was barely moving and still several hundred yards (meters) from the plant.

The latest explosive eruption at the Kilauea summit at around 1 a.m. (6 a.m. EST) sent a plume of ash over Hawaii's Big Island, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported in a statement.

"Communities downwind should be prepared for ashfall as long as this activity continues," the observatory said.


The geothermal plant has been closed since shortly after lava began erupting on May 3 through newly opened fissures in the ground running through neighborhoods and roads in an area near the community of Pahoa.

The state has pumped cold water into the wells and capped them with iron plugs.

The plant's wells run 6,000 to 8,000 feet (1,830-2,438 meters) underground to tap into extremely hot water and steam used to run turbines and produce electricity.

About 3 miles (4.8 km) to the east of the plant on the coast, noxious clouds of acid fumes, steam and fine glass-like particles billowed into the sky as lava poured into the ocean from two flows.

Laze -- a term combining the words "lava" and "haze" -- is formed when erupting lava, which can reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,093 degrees Celsius), reacts with sea water. It is potentially deadly if inhaled and killed two people when a lava flow reached the coast in 2000.

Kilauea's eruption, which has already produced nearly two dozen lava-spewing fissures, entered a more violent phase at the weekend, producing larger volumes of molten rock from fissures.

At least 47 homes and other structures have been destroyed in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens area of the Puna district, and a man was seriously injured on Saturday by flying lava.

Some 2,000 people have been ordered from their homes due to lava flows and toxic sulfur dioxide gas. Several hundred are staying at three Red Cross shelters in the area, including some staying in tents outside with their pets. ]]>
5/23/2018 12:02:22 AM
<![CDATA[Two sportscar-sized satellites in orbit to measure Earth's water]]>
"Three, two, one, liftoff!" said a SpaceX commentator as the Falcon 9 rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 12:47 pm Pacific time (1947 GMT).

The $521 million payload, called the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on (GRACE-FO), was successfully deployed into its planned orbit some 310 miles (500 kilometers) above the Earth about 10 minutes after liftoff.

The mission picks up from GRACE, a satellite pair that launched in 2002 and tracked, among other things, precisely how much ice was lost each year in Greenland and Antarctica until 2017.

Groundwater, oceans, lakes, rivers and ice sheets will be monitored by the twin satellites, a joint mission between the US space agency and German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).

The pair will fly 137 miles (220 kilometers) apart, or about the distance from Los Angeles to San Diego.

- How they work -

According to the laws of physics, the slightest variation in mass on Earth modifies the pull of gravity on satellites.

When the lead satellite passes over a mountain, it will get slightly farther from its twin for a few instants because of the extra mass in this area and a slightly stronger pull of gravity.

These variations in distance will be constantly recorded by the spacecraft, because each shift signals a change in mass on the planet underneath.

The satellites use a monthly reference point, because unless there is an earthquake or other unusual event, only water has the capacity to change that fast.

Water always has mass, whether it is in the form of liquid, solid or gas.

When ice melts, the oceans' mass rises. When it rains a lot in a certain region, the volume of the aquifers mounts. The satellites will pick this up, and the data will show that the mass in a certain area was higher than it was in the prior month, or year.

That is how the GRACE-FO satellites will establish a map of the water on Earth, every 30 days, showing which areas have more and which have less, whether above or below ground.

They operate with a precision equivalent to a change of 0.4 inches (one centimeter) in water height across areas of about 211 miles (340 kilometers) in diameter.

- Other satellites to deploy -

After the SpaceX rocket sent off its first payload, GRACE-FO, its second stage continued its climb in order to deploy a series of commercial communications satellites for the Virginia-based company, Iridium.

The five Iridium NEXT satellites are "part of the company's campaign to replace the world's largest commercial satellite network," said a statement.

A total of 75 Iridium satellites for Iridium are being sent to orbit as part of the upgrade, taking place over eight launches with SpaceX.]]>
5/23/2018 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Military court sentences Iskandarani to 10 years in prison]]>
Iskandarani was accused by the Supreme Prosecution after publishing several investigations and articles about Sinai’s demographic nature, along with the tribes’ traditions and their views on the performance of the Armed Fforces.

During the investigations, Iskandarani denied all the accusations and confirmed that he made the investigations in cooperation with several international foundations; however, none of them were affiliated with any security body for foreign states. He also denied belonging to any illegal or terrorist organization.

Iskandarani was arrested at Hurghada Airport while returning from Germany to Cairo to visit his sick mother in December 2015.

It was reported that he had lectured and participated in a series of seminars in Europe and the U.S. on the political situation in Egypt.

His wife claimed on her official Twitter account that a report was filed against him by the Egyptian embassy in Berlin. Security officers at the airport investigated him and found on his laptop articles on the political and security situation in Sinai.

Iskandarani is a sociopolitical researcher and investigative freelance journalist who specializes in the affairs of Sinai. He is also a volunteer researcher on Sinai issues at the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR).

Moreover, he has been a fellow researcher at the Paris-based Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) since 2013, where he receives education on the future relationship between the progressive Islamists and the secular left in Egypt.

In 2015, before his detention, he published a chapter called "Violence in Sinai: the State's War on Society and Producing Terrorism" in a book titled "L'Egypte en revolution(s)" (Egypt in revolution[s]).

He also wrote for several local and international news websites and was awarded several local and international press prizes.

Additional reporting by Jehad El-Sayed]]>
5/22/2018 10:52:48 PM
<![CDATA[Scientists discover how breast cancer hibernates: study]]>
In experiments with human cells and live mice, researchers showed that disabling the mechanism -- with drugs or gene manipulation -- crippled the cancer cells and inhibited their capacity to spread.

The discovery, reported in the journal Nature Communications, provides a promising target for the development of breast cancer therapies, the study said.

Some 90 percent of breast cancer deaths occur with metastasis, when the disease moves to other organs or parts of the body.

Scientists have struggled to understand how cancer cells manage to remain hidden -- sometimes for decades -- and what, exactly, triggers their reawakening.

"Our results suggest that breast cancer cells can survive, undetected, in patients for long periods by using a cellular process known as autophagy," said co-author Kent Hunter, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland.

Autophagy occurs when any cell -- healthy or cancerous -- reshuffles internal components to survive in a stressful and nutrient-poor environment. This allows the cell to partially shut down, entering a state similar to hibernation.

The findings help explain why current treatments so often fail to root out breast cancer cells that remain after surgery and chemotherapy.

- Cells in hiding -

"Many of the traditional anti-cancer drugs are designed to target dividing cells," said Hunter.

"Dormant cells, however, are not actively or frequently dividing, and are therefore thought to be resistant to these types of drugs."

The fact that they are hiding elsewhere in the body also helps the cells escape localised treatments such as radiation.

In an experiment, researchers led by Hunter's colleague Laura Vera-Ramirez injected dormant breast cancer cells into mice.

Half the animals were given a drug that inhibits autophagy, while the others received a placebo or "dummy" drug.

In a second experiment, they altered a gene that controls autophagy.

Both approaches "significantly" decreased survival of the cancer cells and limited their spread, the study concluded.

Without recourse to autophagy, the cancer cells accumulated toxic matter and damage to their mitochondria, the energy-producing units of cells.

The road to a viable treatment will be long, said Hunter. A clinical trial will have to be performed to determine whether the treatment would work in human patients.

It is also unknown whether the findings apply to other types of cancer, he added.]]>
5/22/2018 9:59:52 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt ready to provide health support for DR Congo: minister]]>
The minister made the remarks as he delivered Egypt's speech at the 11th meeting of the the Non-Aligned Movement's health ministers, which was held on the sidelines of the 71st session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

The WHO's member states have to exert all efforts to ensure achieving the organization's targets within the coming five years, Emad el Deen said.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian minister urged the Non-Aligned Movement's member states to support the draft resolution introduced by the Palestinian mission on drawing up accurate and clear assessment of health conditions in Palestine.

He also stressed that Cairo provides all forms of support for Gaza residents in the wake of the latest crisis, pointing out to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi's decision to keep the Rafah crossing open throughout the holy fasting month of Ramadan in addition to the directives he issued to dispatch ambulances to the Palestinian enclave
5/22/2018 9:47:10 PM
<![CDATA[PM asserts Egypt's keenness on providing investment-friendly atmosphere]]>
This came during a meeting held on Tuesday, May 22 under the premier to discuss a number of files related to disputes concerning investment contracts.

The meeting was attended by the ministers of investment and international cooperation, justice and local development, besides the governor of Matrouh and other representatives of relevant authorities.

The meeting reviewed actions taken by the authorities concerned to settle disputes of investment contracts and review investors' fulfillment of their duties towards the state.
The premier directed that several recommendations be examined to provide proper and effective solutions to these disputes.
5/22/2018 8:26:04 PM
<![CDATA[Maduro expels top U.S. diplomat in Venezuela for 'conspiring']]>
"I have declared him persona non grata and I announce the exit of the U.S. chargé d'affaires in 48 hours," Maduro said of Todd Robinson during the official proclamation of his re-election which was slammed as a farce by Washington
5/22/2018 8:04:45 PM
<![CDATA[We have not done enough to prevent misuse: Facebook's Zuckerberg]]>
Meeting the leaders of the European Parliament, Zuckerberg stressed the importance of Europeans to Facebook and said he was sorry for not doing enough to prevent abuse of the platform.

"We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility. That was a mistake and I am sorry for it," Zuckerberg said in his opening remarks.

Facebook has been embroiled in a data scandal after it emerged that the personal data of 87 million users were improperly accessed by a political consultancy.
5/22/2018 7:45:55 PM
<![CDATA[In pics: Egypt sends aid to Gaza Strip]]>

Egypt sends aid and medical convoys to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, Tuesday, May 22 – Press photo

Other pictures of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi were seen inside the strip with phrases such as "Thank you, Egypt" and "Long live Egypt" printed on them.

On May 18, Sisi ordered to keep the Rafah crossing open for the entire month of Ramadan.

Egypt sends aid and medical convoys to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, Tuesday, May 22 – Press photo

The Egyptian leader ordered the relevant authorities to keep the crossing open to ease some of the burdens of the residents of the Gaza Strip. Keeping the crossing open will allow the passage of diesel fuel, construction materials, food and medicine.

“I issued directives to take the necessary measures to keep the Rafah border crossing open throughout the holy month of Ramadan in a bid to relieve some of the burdens suffered by our brothers in the Gaza strip,” Sisi posted on Facebook and Twitter.

On May 20, a Palestinian delegation led by Diab al-Louh, the Palestinian ambassador in Egypt and permanent delegate to the Arab League, visited a number of Palestinians who were injured in the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip and were sent to the Naser Institute Hospital in Egypt for treatment.

Louh delivered Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ greetings to the brave injured, stressing that the embassy will do its best to ensure providing good treatment for them until their full recovery.

The Palestinian ambassador extended his gratitude for President Sisi for his decision to open the Rafah border crossing throughout the holy month of Ramadan to ease the burdens of the besieged people in Gaza.

Egypt sends aid and medical convoys to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, Tuesday, May 22 – Press photo

5/22/2018 7:27:08 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. sanctions five Iranians it links to Revolutionary Guard Corps]]>
In a statement on its website, the U.S. Treasury named the individuals as Mehdi Azarpisheh, Mohammad Jafari, Mahmud Kazemabad, Javad Shir Amin, and Sayyed Mohammad Tehrani.
5/22/2018 4:55:12 PM
<![CDATA[Iran tells Europe to step up and save nuclear deal]]>
Senior Iranian military and political figures queued up to issue defiant statements a day after Washington threatened “the strongest sanctions in history” if Iran failed to make a series of sweeping changes.

Two weeks on from U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the nuclear pact, his administration told Iran to drop its nuclear program and pull out of the Syrian civil war among other demands, setting Washington and Tehran further on a course of confrontation.

“The people of Iran should stand united in the face of this and they will deliver a strong punch to the mouth of the American Secretary of State and anyone who backs them,” Ismail Kowsari, a senior commander with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said, according to the Iranian Labour News Agency.

The 2015 nuclear agreement, worked out by the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia, China and Iran, lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran limiting its atomic program.

Trump called it the worst deal ever negotiated but European powers see it as the best chance of stopping Iran developing a nuclear bomb.

After Trump pulled out, the other signatories said they would try to salvage the deal and keep Iran’s oil trade and investment flowing. But European companies say they are worried about getting caught up in the new U.S. sanctions, given the extent of Washington’s global reach, and some have already started pulling out.

The head of Iran’s National Security and Foreign Policy committee in parliament said that the only way to salvage the nuclear deal would be for the European signatories to stand up to the United States.

“Today they must show their strength in the face of American pressure,” Alaeddin Borujerdi said, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency.


German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Monday told reporters in Argentina he would travel on from there to Washington to discuss the nuclear deal with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He gave no date for his meeting.

Germany’s economy minister earlier told a newspaper the Berlin government would help German firms with business in Iran where it could, but could not entirely shield them from the U.S. decision to quit the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions.

Asked how the German government could assist German firms feeling nervous in the wake of the U.S. decision, Peter Altmaier told the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper that Berlin would help them assess the situation and developments while also urging the U.S. to grant exemptions and deadline extensions.

“We will help where we can, but there is no way of completely averting the consequences of this unilateral withdrawal,” he said.

His statement was echoed by Luxembourg’s foreign minister Jean Asselborn who said there were limits to the European Union’s powers to persuade its larger firms to stay in Iran in the face of threatened U.S. sanctions.

“We know there are hardly any larger companies in Europe that do not also trade with the United States. The pressure on European companies from the U.S. is quite large,” he told reporters in Brussels. “We are in the situation that we’re in.”

“I believe we should not give up, we should try until the end, to show, with our heads held high, that we are right and Mr. Trump is wrong,” he added.

French President Emmanuel Macron last week acknowledged the dilemma faced by firms choosing between trading with the biggest economy in the world, the United States, and risking sanctions and massive fines by trading with Iran.]]>
5/22/2018 3:10:18 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt organizes 'Africa Week 2018' at UNESCO]]>
Egyptian Ambassador to France and its permanent delegate to UNESCO Ihab Badawy launched the event that is held under the theme “Intangible Heritage: Joy and Pride of Africa”.

The Egyptian ambassador, who is also the head of the organizing committee, delivered the opening statement, in which he said that the African weeks at the UNESCO have become, throughout the ages, a key cultural event not only to highlight the African treasures but mainly to further raise awareness of the other UNESCO groups and get them to know more about Africa.

Badawy expressed hope that more African files would be put on the agenda of the intangible culture in the coming years as well as to be included as part of the “good” practices aiming to preserve such heritage.

During the opening ceremony, Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay inspected the Egyptian pavilion to get acquainted with the Pharaonic souvenirs, traditional customs and handicrafts.

For a week, the Africa group of UNESCO, through various activities and festivities highlight the richness of the heritage and cultural diversity of Africa. Exhibitions, conferences, film screenings, gastronomy and many other activities are included in the event.]]>
5/22/2018 3:02:29 PM
<![CDATA[Free artificial limbs for 5 victims of terrorism]]>
Jilbaneh added that those children will be treated in the latest and most important medical centers of the Armed Forces next week. They will be treated for free, including travel and subsistence.

Jilbaneh clarified that installing the artificial limbs will take place at Al-Agouza Armed Forces Center, which will provide buses to transfer the children to the hospital.

She also confirmed that the Committee on Motherhood and Childhood in Sinai is ready to receive any cases at any time.

Meanwhile, Abdel Monem al-Shrief, an official in North Sinai, said that artificial limbs were also installed for another 11 cases.

He pointed out that all these cases are subject to the law, which provides assistance for the victims and those injured by the terrorists operations in North Sinai.

According to the law, injured people receive LE 5,000 for each case from the Ministry of Social Solidarity and LE 700-1,500 as a monthly pension depending on the injury.

On May 2, Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali announced that the ministry approved paying monthly pensions to more than 1,500 people, including martyrs and wounded people who were injured by terrorism and extremism in Sinai.

On April 24, Egyptian military spokesperson Tamer Refaei said that the Army provides food, medicine and essential products to civilians in North Sinai, adding that the Armed Forces coordinate with the government apparatuses to be well-prepared for any emergencies.
5/22/2018 2:56:47 PM
<![CDATA[NAT to expand 3rd metro line after fare rise ]]>
An interchange station will be established at the end of third line, linking the third line to the Rod Al-Farag axis (Greater Cairo-El Dabaa). This interchange station will also be connected to the electric train project.

The two-way Rod Al-Farag axis connects north and east Cairo to west Cairo at the Cairo Alexandria Desert Road and connects Red Sea Coastal Road to the new Galala Road with Mediterranean Sea Coastal Road; it contains six lanes, as well as two lanes for buses and an electric metro train line.

On Wednesday, the prime minister will witness the drilling process of the third phase of line 3, which includes 15 stations constructed by the Egyptian-French alliance led by Vinci.

The third phase of line 3 will connect the working-class districts of Attaba, Bulaq and Imbaba with Cairo University in Giza. The phase will also pass through well-off neighborhoods like Zamalek, Mohandiseen and Agouza. The construction work on the 18-kilometer phase officially started in 2017.

Additionally, the fourth phase runs from Haroun station to Heliopolis Square, while the first one is from Attaba to Abbasiya and the second phase is from Fair Zone to Ahram.

At the same time, Egypt’s underground also has the other original two lines: the first runs from Al-Marg to Helwan, while the second runs from Shubra to Giza.

Starting May 11, the Ministry of Transportation increased the fare of metro tickets based on the length of each commute.

The new fares are LE 3 ($0.17) for the first nine stops, LE 5 for up to 16 stops and LE 7 for more than 16 stops.

Before increasing the metro’s fare, the price of the underground tickets had previously been doubled in July 2017 from LE 1 to LE 2 as part of reforms that cut subsidies after the inflation.

Reasons behind increasing metro prices

The government decided to increase the fare of metro tickets after the underground subway system incurred financial losses worth millions of pounds, which had resulted in poor maintenance on the second and third lines.

In this regard, Minister of Transport Hisham Arafat said that hiking metro ticket prices is essential to finance and upgrade the infrastructure of the metro’s first line, which needs LE 30 billion for renovation, and implement the development plan for Cairo’s underground metro.

He added that it also aims to cover the losses of the underground, and despite the increase in ticket prices, the state still subsidizes the metro ticket and bears LE 9 of the actual price of tickets so that citizens can get access to any station for LE 7, while the fair value of the ticket is LE 16.

He referred that Egypt is still considered among the cheapest countries in regard to prices of metro tickets, stressing that even ministers pay for their own tickets when they take the metro.

Arafat also denied rumors that underground metro train drivers get EGP 12,000 per month, pointing out that senior drivers receive only EGP 8,500.

To start developing Cairo’s metro, the National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) launched a tender on May 19 for international companies to offer their bids for providing six new air-conditioned trains and two tractors for the second line of the metro linking between Shubra and Moneeb.

The project of constructing the metro’s second line is financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which will provide Egypt with a concessional loan worth €100 million ($118 million).

NAT has set July 8 as the deadline for receiving bids from all companies.

Metro passengers protest over increasing prices

Following the fare hike on Friday, May 11, videos and photos circulated on social media showing passengers jumping turnstiles to protest the hike, along with calls to boycott the service. They also demonstrated in some stations against what they chanted as the “unaffordable increase of metro prices.”

In response, the Interior Ministry deployed police officers in underground stations and arrested 21 protesters who took part in the demonstrations. Ten of them were released on May 15.]]>
5/22/2018 2:17:50 PM
<![CDATA[1st Cairo Water Week to be held in October]]>
Iman Sayed Ahmed, general director of theplanning sector at the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, said that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will sponsor the conference, which reflects Egypt’s interest in facing water challenges, including desertification, water scarcity, and climate change.

She further remarked that several events under the theme “Water Conservation for Sustainable Development”will be held during the conference in partnership with European Union partners and the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO),along with the forum for decision makers, intellectuals and experts, to give the opportunity for participants to discuss regional and local issues and find the solutions for them.

In cooperation and coordination with the concerned ministries and international and local entities, the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation is organizing thefirst Cairo Water Week to discuss water problems and allow for international cooperation in different water fields.

On the sidelines of the conference, the fourthsession of the Islamic Conference of Ministers Responsible for Water, the thirdDelta Coalition Ministerial conference as well as the professional Youth Water Forum will be convened.

Ahmed mentioned that a gallerythat includesthe regional and international companies’ latest technologies in managing water and facing water pollution and misuse problems will also take place.

In this regard, she remarked that large companies, along with Egyptian manufacturers, will present their technologies to establish a partnership to manufacture tools required by modern water resources.

She added that the European Union Commission in Cairo has agreed to organize the first conference for investments in the water sector in Egypt as a part of the week’s events, in cooperation with the Arab finance funds and the FAO.

Egypt annually needs at least 90 billion cubic meters of water to suffice 90 million citizens. However, it currently has only 60 billion cubic meters, of which 55.5 billion cubic meters come from the Nile and five billion cubic meters come from non-renewable subterranean water in deserts; therefore, Egypt suffers from a water deficit of 30 billion cubic meters.

A further decrease in Egypt's water resources is expected in the future as a result of building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will affect Egypt’s share of water.

Despite the latest negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan to resolve the technical issues of the dam, Egypt is keen to expand its desalination projects to overcome any water scarcity problems in the future.

Consequently, the mega-facility Al-Yusr Plant in Hurghada was inaugurated in January 2018 to provide the Red Sea governorate with fresh water instead of the current pipelines from the Nile.

Egyptian scientists abroad were invited to reach solutions for the water shortage crisis facing the country. This was during the two-dayconference “Egypt Can…with the Sons of the Nile” that kicked off in Luxor on February 25, 2018 under the auspices of President Sisi; the conference was also attended by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and six other ministers. ]]>
5/22/2018 1:13:21 PM
<![CDATA[Tips to cope with Ramadan fasting in Cairo's 42°C heat wave]]>
He added during a television interview that the heat wave is coming from Sudan, noting that the country will witness a gradual decrease in temperature in the coming days.

In the same context, a dermatologist and former head of the National Research Center, Hany al-Nazer, told Egypt today that people should take good care of their health while fasting during the heat wave.

He offered some important tips such as:

1.Girls and ladies should avoid getting out in the sun while wearing make-up and perfumes, as they can leave marks on the skin in such hot weather.

2.Assure good ventilation for homes; turn on an air conditioner or a fan.

3.Turn down the lighting to avoid feeling hotter.

4.Mothers should replace non-cotton diapers for their children with cotton ones at home.

5.It is recommended to shower with glycerol soap to maintain the health of your skin
5/22/2018 12:11:08 PM
<![CDATA[Private sector key partner in giant projects: Al-Assar]]>
The Minister said during a press conference on the ministry's projects on Tuesday that 75 percent of the Egyptian economy depends on the private sector, noting that giant projects being implemented by the state are carried out in tandem with the private sector and foreign partners.

"The ministry is fostering cooperation with all ministries and governorates, Egypt's first defense exhibition EDEX 2018 due to be held in December will be an international event, the preparations are underway to render the expo successful." Al Assar said.

He said contracts have been signed for almost half of the expo area so far. Meanwhile, he urged people to visit the ministry's 22 outlets nationwide as they showcase high quality products at competitive prices.

He added that the military production is a non-profit entity, noting that its main goal is the satisfaction of citizens as well as seeking to reduce importation and produce 100 percent Egyptian-made products.

Al Assar also confirmed that the ministry aims to produce huge projects in coordination with all the ministries such as the Ministry of Solidarity to establish an anti-addiction center and with the Ministry of Health to establish cancerous tumors company.

The Ministry also cooperates with China to establish a huge project to produce solar panels, as well as a production line which has been opened with Maz Trucks which also produce security gates and bag detectors.

“Currently, the Ministry will operate a factory for electrical elevators and a company for medical devices and security surveillance devices, also studying with a Chinese company to manufacture of electric cars in Egypt,” the Minister said.

Al-Assar revealed that the Ministry is cooperating well with Egyptian scientists abroad to produce Egyptian computer.

He stressed that some military production companies need an update. Therefore, a company affiliated to the Ministry of Planning was contracted to restructure companies and factories. The ministry owns 20 companies and 17 factories, stressing that the road to development and construction is still extended.
5/22/2018 11:36:51 AM
<![CDATA[TV anchor Azza el Henawy referred to urgent disciplinary court]]>
In a statement on Tuesday, Spokesman for the Administrative Prosecution Authority (APA) Counselor Mohamed Samir said that the National Media Authority filed a lawsuit against Henawy, accusing her of making a 36-minute phone call with a TV channel known for its antagonism to Egypt, during which she have crossed the line and sharply criticized the state's media policy and thus agitating public opinion after expressed her personal opinions in her talk show, aired on a state-owned channel.

She is also accused of hurling insults to the country's political leadership via her involvement in posting blogs and videos on the websites of Aljazeera and Muslim Brotherhood-oriented Al Sharq channels, the spokesman added. ]]>
5/22/2018 11:23:32 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt to choose supplier of 1,300 rail carriages by end of May]]>
The ERA has issued an international tender in November 2017 to choose a company or alliance that will manufacture and supply new rail carriages with the aim to support and develop both passengers and goods transportation.

Egypt is seeking to upgrade the infrastructure of railways; hence, the government has stepped up several railway investments to improve its safety. Around 10 international bids were presented to win this tender, including companies from Russia, Hungary, China, Italy and Spain. Only two bids, Russian-Hungarian and Chinese, have fitted the conditions of the tender. The carriages should be delivered 40 months after signing the contract.

In August 2017, Egypt signed a $575 million agreement with American company General Electric Co to provide 100 new multi-use locomotives, 15 year technical support and spare parts, and to maintain and upgrade 81 trains bought by Egyptian railways in 2008 as part of the plan to use railways to transport 25 million goods by 2022.

Minister of Transport, Hesham Arafat, said in a previous statement that Egypt plans to invest a total of $3.1 billion for the revamp of its national railway network over the next five years, which will include the addition of 1,000 new train carriages.

Arafat pointed out that Egypt has a clear and comprehensive plan to develop all aspects of the country’s railway system, including infrastructure, tractors, train carriages and signals.
5/22/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. Justice Department expands 2016 probe into alleged Russia collusion]]>
The agreement came during a meeting that Trump had with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray, the spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, said.
5/22/2018 5:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Endowments ministry to appoint female preachers in each mosque]]>
Tayie asserted that women’s prayer places will not be neglected anymore. Rather, the ministry will do its best to develop women's prayer facilities nationwide and provide all their needs, as part of a wide plan that aims to give more attention to women and family affairs, which have been neglected over the past decades.

Egypt’s Ministry of Religious Endowments is one of the country’s top state religious bodies tasked with the administration of mosques and Islamic cultural institutes, as well as training religious preachers.

Since 2014, Egypt's President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi frequently reiterated that reforming religious discourse is a key element in defeating terrorism.

The president said during an Al-Azhar ceremony in 2017 that renewing religious discourse, dealing with all terrorist groups equally, rebuilding regional state apparatuses, and cutting off funding to terrorist groups are key factors to the elimination of terrorism and extremist ideologies.
5/22/2018 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi, Abbas discuss latest developments in Palestine]]>
Sisi and Abbas discussed the latest developments concerning the Palestinian cause and other regional issues.

Abbas hailed Egypt’s role and efforts supporting the Palestinian cause and the deeply-rooted relations between Egypt and Palestine.

The two leaders also agreed on continuing consultations and coordination on the various issues of mutual concern.
5/22/2018 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ministry of Health: Liver cancer is not associated with Sovaldi]]>
The Ministry’s statement explained that 75 percent to 85 percent of Hepatitis C patients develop a chronic hepatitis, 20 percent to 30 percent of the latter become vulnerable to liver fibrosis of the fourth degree (F4). Fourth degree liver fibrosis patients have a high chance of getting cancer, whether hepatitis C was cured or not, according to the Ministry’s statement.

“Liver fibrosis increases the chances of being diagnosed with cancer even if the patient was treated from hepatitis C, thus recovered patients should have check up tests to avoid liver fibrosis turning into cancer,” read the Ministry’s statement.

The Ministry of Health confirms that there is no connection between Sovaldi drug and cancer, only F4 liver fibrosis patients can be diagnosed with the latter.
5/22/2018 2:38:08 AM
<![CDATA[15 injured in camp clashes in Sudan's Darfur]]>
Local officials said the violence erupted when citizens staged a protest outside a government facility in Zalingei town in western Sudan.

The protesters accused Rapid Support Forces personnel of opening fire on civilians, calling for bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Security officials in Central Darfur State held an emergency meeting in which a committee was formed to investigate the incidents.
5/22/2018 1:23:03 AM
<![CDATA[Trump calls on Venezuela's Maduro to 'restore democracy']]>
"We call for the Maduro regime to restore democracy, hold free and fair elections, release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and end the repression and economic deprivation of the Venezuelan people," Trump said in a statement.

Earlier, Trump signed an executive order putting in place new economic sanctions aimed at preventing U.S. citizens from being involved in the sale of Venezuela's accounts receivables related to oil and other assets.
5/22/2018 1:21:18 AM
<![CDATA[Russia shoots down "unidentified drone" near air base in Syria - RIA]]>
"There are neither casualties nor physical damage. Russia's Hmeimim air base is operating as normal," it said.

The British-based war monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said explosions had been heard near the base and appeared to have come from Russian air defences confronting an attack.]]>
5/21/2018 11:16:26 PM
<![CDATA[Controversial 'Dakar meetings' accused of hosting terrorists ]]>
The Popular National Movement said in the statement that the meetings included several terrorist factions known for using violence, affirming that those factions “were one of the direct reasons to destabilize the country during the past years.”

The statement revealed that several radical Islamist political figures, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, attended the meeting and were discussing the country’s future and political situation in an unacceptable way, and that “All of these figures are just using religion again to control the country.”

Furthermore, the statement said that among the factions that attended the Dakar meetings was the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. “This group used to be the backbone of terrorist organizations in Libya,” the statement stressed.

The Libyan Popular National Movement accused the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group of being responsible for all the violence that took place inside the country during the past years; therefore, the Dakar meetings were refused by several political movements and figures, saying that many of the political parties attending the meetings were not “accepted within the political scene anymore,” unless they issue a formal apology to the government.

The meeting which concluded May 13, called all the Libyan political parties to take part in the coming round of talks, set to take place within the coming 60 days.

Since the ouster of long-time Libyan leader Muammar Ghaddafi more than six years ago, the war-torn country has drawn wide international and regional attention, posing a threat to North African and European national security.

Libya, which is struggling to get through the critical political situation that it has been experiencing since 2011, is not only trying to unify its army, but is also longing to revive its political functions by conducting presidential and legislative elections by mid-2018.

Egypt has hosted several meetings to bring the conflicting factions to the negotiating table, alongside members of Tobruk’s House of Representatives, to resolve the Libyan crisis and amend the Skhirat Agreement, which aims at ending the Libyan civil war.

On May 1, Libyan House of Representatives speaker, Aguila Saleh, said that holding a presidential election in Libya before the end of 2018 is the only solution to solve Libya’s political crisis, especially that it is difficult to reach a real political agreement in Libya soon.

In an interview with a Libyan TV channel, Saleh stressed that he will present the case before Libyan House of Representatives for holding an election to respond to the demands of the Libyan people.
5/21/2018 8:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Abbas is in good health - PLO top official]]>
The president had additional tests at the hospital after he had an ear operation on Tuesday and all results were good and reassuring, he added after visiting Abbas at Istishari Hospital in Ramallah on Sunday

Erekat said the president is expected to leave hospital on Monday or Tuesday.

President Abbas is 83 years old and was elected president in 2005]]>
5/21/2018 7:44:58 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi ratifies newly-passed amendments to decrease water-intensive crops]]>
On April 23, the House of Representatives approved the amendments. Article 1 of the Agriculture Law stipulates that the minister of agriculture, in coordination with the minister of irrigation, shall issue a ministerial decree to ban the cultivation of some crops in certain areas that have low amounts of water, in order to rationalize water usage.

Also, Article 101 of the law stipulates that those who violate the ministerial decrees issued to implement Articles 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the Agriculture Law shall be punished with a fine not less than LE 20,000, and not more than LE 50,000.

On May 2, the Egyptian government agreed to increase the area allocated for rice cultivation by 100,000 feddans (one feddan equals 1.038 acres) for this season only, bringing the total area allocated for rice cultivation to 820,000 feddans, Abdel Latif Khaled, head of irrigation sector in the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources stated.

Egypt needs at least 105 billion cubic meters of water annually to cover the needs of more than 90 million citizens. However, it currently has only 60 billion cubic meters, of which 55.5 billion cubic meters come from the Nile and less than 5 billion cubic meters come from non-renewable subterranean water in the desert. The remaining 80 billion cubic meters are covered by the reuse of wastewater. The average per capita consumption of fresh water declined by 1.5 percent in 2015/2016 as it reached 103.4 cubic meters, compared to 105 cubic meters in 2015/2014, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) data.

A further decrease in Egypt's water resources is expected amid the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which could have a negative impact on Egypt’s Nile water share.
However, Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Aati stressed that there is no relation between the government’s new decision and its difference with Ethiopia over the construction of the dam.

Additional reporting by Marina Gamil

5/21/2018 7:33:02 PM
<![CDATA[Haniyeh thanks Al-Azhar for aid to Gaza]]>
Al-Azhar is the main institute of Islamic learning in Egypt.

In a statement by the media office of Hamas, Haniyeh extended his Ramadan greetings to Al-Azhar sheikhs and expressed thanks to Egypt for its unchangeable stance towards the Palestinian issue.

On Tuesday, Tayyeb dispatched about 50 tons of food and humanitarian aid, in addition to two vehicles carrying medical aid to Gaza.

The Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip appreciated the Egyptian support of the Palestinian cause and placed a big banner that reads "Thank you, Egypt!" at the entrance of Ouda refugee camp in eastern Beit Hanoun town, on the northeast edge of Gaza.

“I issued directives to take the necessary measures to keep the Rafah border crossing open throughout the holy month of Ramadan in a bid to relieve some of the burdens suffered by our brothers in the Gaza strip,” President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Since March 30, Palestinian marchers have been demanding the right to return to their homes seized by Israel in the 1948 war.

A total of 118 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire on the border between the Gaza Strip and the Jewish State since then, according to authorities in Gaza, which is run by Hamas.

Israel says it has done everything it can to limit civilian casualties and has used live ammunition only as a last resort.

The Israeli army accuses Hamas of using the demonstrations as a cover to damage the border fence by laying explosive devices and attack soldiers; Israel insists its actions are necessary to defend the border and prevent mass infiltrations.

Additional reporting by AFP
]]>5/21/2018 6:30:05 PM<![CDATA[Former Al-Ahram chief editor acquitted of assault charge]]>
Al-Ahram journalist Sahar Abdel Rahman filed a complaint to the general prosecutor in 2013 against Salama, stating that the latter had assaulted her and openly insulted her mother. Salama’s case was subsequently referred to the criminal court.

Following an appeal by lawyer Farid Al-Deeb, Salama was acquitted of the charge. Deeb also defended former President Hosni Mubarak and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, who were acquitted of charges, including corruption and killing protestors.

Abdel Nasser Salama – Twitter account

Salama, an opinion writer for Al-Masry al-Youm, was banned from writing for the newspaper last April amid the newspaper’s clash with the government. The newspaper reported that the state had mobilized voters to participate in the presidential election held in March.

Salama had written many articles in which he criticized the current government’s efforts.]]>
5/21/2018 4:50:08 PM
<![CDATA[Pompeo says U.S. to impose tough sanctions on Iran]]>
Pompeo laid out 12 demands for Iran and said relief from sanctions would only come when Washington had seen tangible shifts in Iran's policies.]]>
5/21/2018 3:45:52 PM
<![CDATA[Five terrorists turn themselves in to Libya Army: Sabra]]>
Sabra named Ibrahim al-Hals and Hamad al-Maleki among the five who turned themselves in amid the major operation launched on May 7 in the port city of Derna, according to UAE’s News Eye Gate.

The city is controlled by the Mujahideen Shura Council (DMSC), which is subordinate to the IS and Al-Qaeda.

The operation has been launched upon an announcement by Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar to liberate the city from Islamist militias on May 7. According to the Emirati News Agency, LNA forces captured a wheat silo and a number of villages in the city.

On Sunday, the High-risk terrorist, Omar Refaei Sorour has been severely wounded, following air strikes on Al-Qaeda hideouts in Derna, Salem al-Rafady, commander of Libyan Army’s brigade, Omar al-Mokhtar, revealed to Al-Ahram's correspondent in Libya.

Rafady said that his brigade had successfully targeted several hideouts of Al-Qaeda organization in Derna. “Our sources confirmed the injury of Sorour who had been seen at a field hospital,” Rafady added.

Sorour is known as “Abu Abdullah al-Masry”. He is one of the key leading terrorists in Derna and he has been known for being the judge of Al-Qaeda in Libya. Sorour is accused of establishing the so-called al-Murabeton group which is the Libyan branch of Al-Qaeda, in coordination with wanted-criminal Hisham al-Ashmawy.

Sorour is responsible for recruiting and training Arab youth members and luring them to join terrorist groups in Syria, Libya and Egypt.

In May, 2017, Egypt’s Armed Forces launched airstrikes against IS in Libya, attacking the IS training camps and the main center of the DMSC, which allegedly harbored the terrorist elements who carried out the Minya terrorist attacks in Egypt, killing 30 people and injuring dozens others.

Libya has been in a state of turmoil since a 2011 civil war that resulted in the overthrow of longstanding ruler Muammar Gaddafi by rebel fighters backed by NATO air strikes.

Additional reporting by Nawal Sayed, Ahmed Gomaa ]]>
5/21/2018 2:46:19 PM
<![CDATA[Opening Paraguayan embassy in Jerusalem is illegal, act of aggression: min.]]>
It said in a statement that it will coordinate efforts with countries opposed to moving the US embassy to Jerusalem in order to confront those which have not moved their embassy through political, diplomatic and legal means and by creating a local public opinion against the decisions of their governments.

Paraguay opened its embassy at a West Jerusalem building on Monday in the presence of the country’s president.

Guatemala had previously moved its embassy to Jerusalem following the US suit, which inaugurated its embassy on May 14.]]>
5/21/2018 1:52:17 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament summons 2 ministers over engineer crisis abroad]]>
Salem explained in statements to Egypt Today that Egyptian engineers abroad are facing real threats that may end their carriers. “Kuwait’s public authority of manpower issued a new decree regarding recognizing the engineers and considering them to be able to practice the profession inside the county. The new legislation bans them from working without having graduation documents from universities and institutions recognized by the Kuwaiti government, along with having a special permit from the Kuwaiti Association of Examination and Evaluation of Engineering Qualifications,” Salem said.

She added that engineers living abroad have issued formal argues and requests to the Egyptian authorities to look into the new Kuwaiti rules that put their careers at risk; however, nothing has happened, according to her.

Salem added in her statements that decrees like these need to be faced by strong strategies from the government, not just for the engineers, but also for any similar circumstances that may take place in the future, especially that the new Kuwaiti legislation demands paying high-cost fees to get the needed permit.

In February, the Kuwaiti government said that no engineers are eligible to practice their profession without graduating from universities recognized by the government, along with having special permit, which they get after examining their documents and paying about 30 Kuwaiti dinars ($99.21).

However, not all universities around the world are recognized by the Kuwaiti government. Some media outlets, including the Kuwaiti website El-Bawabah, considered the new legislation to be unjust and in need of being reconsidered by the government, especially that it puts hundreds of engineers’ carriers at risk. “There are plenty of working engineers inside the country who are graduated from several and different universities around the world; however, not all of them are recognized officially by the government,” the website stated in a report published March 14.

According to the El-Bawabah report, the Kuwaiti government recognizes 24 foreign countries, six Arab countries and five Gulf countries. About 28 Egyptian universities are recognized officially by the government.

In another report published by the Kuwaiti Al-Qabas newspaper on March 15, several meetings were set to be organized between the Egyptian embassy in Kuwait and a number of the officials in the government; however, no further details were revealed about these meetings.
5/21/2018 1:48:19 PM
<![CDATA[Gang members escaped from Nasr City police station found: min.]]>
Information provided by the investigation team that was immediately formed after the escape of the three-gang members unveiled that they headed for Alexandria governorate, according to a statement released by the Interior Ministry.

Needed security measures were taken and tightened so that security checkpoints would be able to identify the outlaws, the statement said.

The fugitives were found in Alexandria's Asafra neighborhood and all legal procedures were taken against them, the statement added.]]>
5/21/2018 1:33:39 PM
<![CDATA[Preparatory meetings of Egypt-Russia ministerial committee kick off in Moscow]]>
The meetings aim at boosting cooperation in various fields topped by trade along with industrial and technical domains, said a statement issued by the Egyptian Commercial Service Office.

The statement pointed out that the participants will discuss a large number of files in the fields of trade, industry, energy, education, agriculture, communication and information technology, health, transport and tourism.

The committee will wrap up its meetings at the ministerial level on Wednesday, said the statement, adding that discussions will tackle the project of a Russian industrial zone in Egypt, means to overcome non-customs obstacles that obstruct trade movement between the two countries and efforts to document Egyptian medicines and fish export companies in Russia.

Today talks were attended by Egyptian Ambassador in Moscow Ihab Nasr as the Egyptian delegation toured Moscow Technopolis zone which is considered one of the most important industrial areas in Russia.

For his part, Egyptian trade commissioner in Russia Nasser Hamed said the Egyptian delegation's visit to Technopolis zone aimed at getting acquainted with Russia's industrial potentials as Technopolis will establish and run the Russian industrial zone in east Port Said.

The delegation's tour of the zone included visits to metal and technology factories and plants producing medicines, heavy machinery, vehicles, auto components and electric buses.]]>
5/21/2018 1:31:10 PM
<![CDATA[Israel detains 7 Palestinian from Quds, West Bank]]>
The Israeli forces stormed into Selwan village and detained a young Palestinian.

They also detained three Palestinians from eastern Quds.

The forces also detained two Palestinians from Quds while curbing a protest condemning the Israeli crimes committed against the Palestinians.

In Jenin, five Palestinian youth were injured during fierce clashes with the Israeli forces.

In Bethlehem, the forces detained a Palestinian after storming into his house.

The forces also detained injured child Mohamed Fadl al Tamimi from northwestern Ramallah and set him free afterwards.]]>
5/21/2018 11:53:20 AM
<![CDATA[Syrian army resumes offensive in south Damascus: state TV]]>
The Syrian army and its allies have been battling for weeks to recapture the tiny Islamic State enclave, the last area outside government control in or around the capital.

State television broadcast footage of the shattered area and said air strikes “were targeting the last terrorist remnants” in the area after reporting earlier that a temporary humanitarian ceasefire had been in place since Sunday night.

It showed soldiers giving victory signs, waving weapons and Syrian flags before a smashed cityscape. Buildings were punctured by shellfire, walls were peppered with bullet marks, metal satellite dishes were bent and scorched, and the dome of a mosque had a gaping hole near its base.

On Sunday, a war monitor said fighters had begun withdrawing from the area toward Islamic State territory in eastern Syria under a surrender deal, but state media said fighting continued.

The war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said early on Monday that buses had already started leaving south Damascus for the Islamic State areas in eastern Syria.

The ultra-hardline jihadist group now controls only the tiny pocket in south Damascus and two besieged desert areas in eastern Syria, while another insurgent group that has pledged loyalty to it holds a small enclave in the southwest.

Pro-Syrian government forces have staged an intensive operation to recover Islamic State’s south Damascus pocket in al-Hajar al-Aswad and the adjacent Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp since driving rebels from eastern Ghouta in April.]]>
5/21/2018 11:26:56 AM
<![CDATA[Venezuela's re-elected Maduro faces overseas censure]]>
The 55-year-old successor to former president Hugo Chavez hailed his win as a victory against “imperialism,” but his main rival refused to recognize the result alleging irregularities.

Thousands of Maduro supporters, many wearing red berets, hugged and danced outside the Miraflores presidential palace as the results came in, under confetti in the yellow, blue and red colors of the Venezuelan national flag.

“The revolution is here to stay!” a jubilant Maduro told the crowd, promising to prioritize economic recovery after five years of recession in the nation of 30 million people.

“Let’s go, Nico!” his supporters chanted until after midnight during party scenes in downtown Caracas.

“We mustn’t cave to any empire, or go running to the International Monetary Fund as Argentina did. The opposition must leave us alone to govern,” said government supporter Ingrid Sequera, 51, wearing a T-shirt with a logo of Chavez’s eyes.

Declaring Sunday’s vote a “sham,” the United States is now threatening sanctions on Venezuela’s all-important oil sector, which is already reeling from falling output, a brain-drain and creaking infrastructure.

The European Union and major Latin Americans repeatedly warned in advance that conditions were unfair.

Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera was scathing about Sunday’s vote. “Venezuela’s elections do not meet minimum standards of true democracy,” he said. “Like most major democratic nations, Chile does not recognize these elections.”

Panama’s government followed suit, quickly saying it would not recognize the result. But fellow leftist-run nations Cuba and El Salvador sent congratulations.

Venezuela’s mainstream opposition boycotted the vote, given that two of its most popular leaders were barred, authorities had banned the coalition and various of its parties from using their names, and the election board is run by Maduro loyalists.

The government used ample state resources during the campaign and pressure was put on state workers to vote.

The election board said Maduro took 5.8 million votes, versus 1.8 million for his chief challenger Henri Falcon, a former governor who broke with the boycott to stand.

Turnout at the election was 46 percent, it said, way down from the 80 percent at the last presidential vote in 2013.

Falcon called for a new vote, complaining about the government’s placing of nearly 13,000 pro-government stands called “red spots” close to polling stations nationwide.

Mainly poor Venezuelans were asked to scan state-issued “fatherland cards” at red tents after voting in hope of receiving a “prize” promised by Maduro.

The “fatherland cards” are required to receive benefits including food boxes and money transfers.

Maduro now faces a colossal task to turn around Venezuela’s moribund economy and offered no specifics on reforming two decades of state-led policies. The bolivar currency is down 99 percent over the past year and inflation is at an annual 14,000 percent, according to the National Assembly.

Furthermore, Venezuela’s multiple creditors are considering accelerating claims on unpaid foreign debt, while oil major ConocoPhillips has been taking aggressive action to seize state oil company PDVSA’s assets over a 2007 nationalization.

Though increasingly shunned in the West, Maduro can at least count on the support of major powers China and Russia, who have provided billions of dollars’ funding in recent years.

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China believed the Venezuelan government and people could handle their own affairs and that everyone should respect the choice of the Venezuelan people.

Asked if China had sent congratulations to Maduro, he said China would “handle this in accordance with diplomatic convention”, but did not elaborate.

U.S. Republican senator Marco Rubio, a strident critic of Maduro, urged isolation of his government and said he supported “all policy options” to return Venezuela to democracy.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said in the past he would not rule out military action against Venezuela.]]>
5/21/2018 11:22:18 AM
<![CDATA[Arab health ministers meeting to tackle forming committee on drugs]]>
In a statement to CBC Extra News channel on Sunday evening, the health minister added that the meeting would also discuss the Palestinian cause, providing medical aid to residents of Gaza Strip and training Arab doctors in brotherly countries.

Egypt will be the first country to hold training courses for doctors under the sponsorship of Arab Health Ministers Council by the end of June, noted Rady.]]>
5/21/2018 10:22:11 AM
<![CDATA[China launches satellite to explore dark side of moon - Xinhua]]>
Citing the China National Space Administration, Xinhua said the satellite was launched at 5:28 a.m. (2128 GMT Sunday) on a Long March-4C rocket from the Xichang launch centre in the southwest of the country.

"The launch is a key step for China to realise its goal of being the first country to send a probe to soft-land on and rove the far side of the moon," Xinhua quoted Zhang Lihua, manager of the relay satellite project, as saying.

It said the satellite, known as Queqiao, or Magpie Bridge, will settle in an orbit about 455,000 km (282,555 miles) from earth and will be the world's first communication satellite operating there.

China aims to catch up with Russia and the United States to become a major space power by 2030. It is planning to launch construction of its own manned space station next year.

However, while China has insisted its ambitions are purely peaceful, the U.S. Defense Department has accused it of pursuing activities aimed at preventing other nations from using space-based assets during a crisis.]]>
5/21/2018 1:58:30 AM
<![CDATA[Court halts prison sentence of TV host Okasha for forging PhD]]>
Okasha used to own the satellite political-commentary channel Faraeen which was suspended in March 2016 after his parliamentary membership was withdrawn because of after a controversial and unauthorized meeting with outgoing Israeli ambassador Haim Koren. It was later announced that Faraeen would halt operations prior to being sold.

Okasha said that he wanted to discuss various important issues with the Israeli diplomat, including the issue of Palestine and negotiations over Ethiopia’s controversial Renaissance Dam project.

The incident provoked strong reactions from fellow MPs, media figures and members of Okasha’s Daqahlia constituency.
5/20/2018 9:56:52 PM
<![CDATA[Iraqi cleric Sadr meets pro-Iran Amiri after election win]]>
The Al-Fatih bloc came second. One of the most powerful figures in Iraq, Amiri heads an umbrella of paramilitary groups, and has maintained close ties with Iran for decades.

Sadr himself cannot become prime minister because he did not run in the election, though his bloc's victory puts him in a position to have a strong say in negotiations.]]>
5/20/2018 9:46:24 PM
<![CDATA[Police officer Al-Hayes returns Egypt after treatment]]>
Al-Hayes has left Cairo on December 3 with his father and a special medical team, to undergo a knee operation. One of his family said that Al-Hayes’ health is stable now.

A campaign was carried out last October by the police against foreign fighters linked to al-Qaeda who had been operating in Egypt’s western desert since January 2017. A fierce battle erupted between the two sides near Giza-Wahat road leaving 16 police members killed while Captain Al-Hayes was held captive by the terrorists.

Following the battle between Egyptian forces and militants on October 20, new clashes erupted between the two sides on Oct. 27. Fifteen militants were killed during the clashes, which took place along the Wadi Gadid-Wahat Road.

After being rescued, Al-Hayes was transferred to a military hospital where he receives necessary medical treatment.

Egypt’s Interior Ministry followed the terrorists behind the October attack, with the aim of eliminating them.

Here is what you need to know about Al-Wahat’s militants:

1. Al-Wahat’s armed group was established by 13 militants.
2. They used military uniforms to move easily.
3. The group was planning several future terrorist attacks.
4. It aimed to recruit other young people.
5. Several explosive belts and weapons were found with them.
6. The militants used sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and motorcycles to move within the Western Desert.]]>
5/20/2018 9:36:23 PM
<![CDATA[Iran says Europe's support for nuclear deal not enough]]>
Miguel Arias Canete, European Commissioner for energy and climate, said Tehran wanted the 28-nation bloc to act fast to preserve its oil trade with Iran, and to consider making direct euro-denominated payments for Iranian oil to Iran’s central bank, bypassing the U.S. financial system.

"With the withdrawal of America .... the European political support for the accord is not sufficient," Mohammad Javad Zarif told Arias Canete in Tehran, Iran's state news agency IRNA reported.

Since President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that he would pull the United States out of the deal, the U.S. Treasury said Washington would reimpose a wide array of Iran-related sanctions after the expiry of 90- and 180-day wind-down periods, including sanctions aimed at Iran’s oil sector and transactions with its central bank.

The EU leaders have pledged to try to keep Iran’s oil trade and investment flowing, but conceded that would not be easy.

"We have to preserve this agreement so we don't have to negotiate a new agreement," Arias Canete told Western journalists after two days of meetings with Iranian officials in Tehran.

"Our message is very clear. This is a nuclear agreement that works."

Under the deal, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear work in return for the lifting of most Western sanctions. With the threat of new U.S. sanctions looming over them, some foreign firms have already started signaling their intention to pull back from Iran.

"The announcement of the possible withdrawal by major European companies from their cooperation with Iran is not consistent with the European Union's commitment to implementing (the nuclear deal)," Zarif was quoted as saying.

He appeared to be referring to announcements by several large European companies last week suggesting their activities in Iran would end or be curtailed because of the reimposition of U.S. sanctions.

A top adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday cast doubt on whether European nations could be trusted to save the agreement.

"The contradictions in the words of European authorities are suspicious. We hope that our government officials will be able to secure the necessary guarantees in their negotiations, as one cannot rely on those who vacillate and speak contradictory words," IRNA quoted Ali Akbar Velayati as saying.


Following the withdrawal of Washington, Iran said it would remain in the deal only if Tehran achieved its goals - namely being protected from sanctions on key sectors of its economy such as oil - in cooperation with other signatories of the pact.

EU investment in Iran, mainly from Germany, France and Italy, has jumped to more than 20 billion euros since the lifting of sanctions in 2016, in projects ranging from aerospace to energy.

But to improve its oil-reliant economy, Tehran needs to attract $100 billion in foreign investment to boost its oil industry and major western investors have stayed away from Iran, partly because of the remaining U.S. sanctions on Iran.

"The announcement, in cascade, of European companies that will not keep investing in Iran are making the things much more complicated at the moment," Arias Canete said.

"So what he (Zarif) is asking the European Union is that we have to have concrete solutions in order to implement the European Union commitments, which is something that we fully recognize."

The options being considered by the EU to keep Tehran in the nuclear deal include new credit lines for Tehran, increased energy cooperation and implementing EU laws to block European companies from caving in to U.S. sanctions.

Arias Canete said Iranian officials were keen to mitigate the impact of U.S. sanctions under a proposal for EU governments to make direct euro-denominated payments for Iranian oil to Iran’s central bank, bypassing the U.S. financial system.

"The EU will consider it," he said, adding that the EU needed to deliver fast on preserving oil trade with Iran. ]]>
5/20/2018 9:34:00 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. will not recognize Venezuela election result -State Dept]]>
The United States is actively considering oil sanctions on Venezuela and Sullivan said a response to Sunday's vote would be discussed at a G20 meeting in Buenos Aires on Monday.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was seeking a six-year term in a Sunday election boycotted by the opposition and condemned by foes as the "coronation" of a dictator. Results are expected by late evening.

"We need to make sure we adhere to our goal which is to target corrupt regime officials and not the people of Venezuela," Sullivan said. "We don't want to damage the country in a way that makes it difficult to repair after democracy is restored."

He called oil sanctions "a very significant step." "They are under active review," he said.

Sullivan also said he knew of no plan to withdraw U.S. assistance from northwest Syria.

CBS news reported on Friday the Trump administration had withdrawn all assistance from northwest Syria, a move it said demonstrated the administration intended to leave quickly once Islamic State is fully defeated.

"I've not heard of any decision by this administration to withdraw assistance from northwest Syria," he said in comments to Reuters and Bloomberg.

"The U.S. government... is committed to the enduring defeat of ISIS and protecting U.S. interests in the region in Syria and Iraq."]]>
5/20/2018 8:50:40 PM
<![CDATA[Maduro set for victory amid tepid turnout in condemned Venezuela vote]]>
With the mainstream opposition boycotting the election, two of his most popular rivals barred from standing and state institutions in loyalists' hands, the 55-year-old former bus driver is expected to win despite his unpopularity.

That could trigger oil sanctions from Washington, and more censure from the European Union and Latin America.

The self-described "son" of Hugo Chavez says he is battling an "imperialist" plot to crush socialism and take over the OPEC member's oil wealth. But opponents say the leftist leader has destroyed Venezuela's once-wealthy economy and ruthlessly crushed dissent.

Maduro's main challenger is former state governor Henri Falcon, who predicts an upset due to widespread fury among Venezuela's 30 million people at the economic meltdown.

Most analysts believe, however, that Falcon has only a slim chance given abstention, the vote-winning power of state handouts, and Maduro's allies on the election board. Results are expected by late evening.

Attendance appeared low across the country, from the wealthier eastern Caracas to the fiercely anti-Maduro Andean mountains near Colombia. There were some lines, however, outside polling stations in poorer government strongholds, and the majority of voters interviewed said they were backing Maduro.

"I'm hungry and don't have a job, but I'm sticking to Maduro," said Carlos Rincones, 49, in the once thriving industrial city of Valencia, accusing right-wing business owners of purposefully hiding food and hiking prices.

The government has set up so-called "red point" zones close to polling stations so Venezuelans can scan their state-issued 'fatherland card' through which they receive benefits including food boxes and money transfers. Maduro has promised a "prize" to those who do so. Critics say this is a way of scaring impoverished Venezuelans into sticking with his government.

"This didn't exist before, but I do it now because of the help I get," said Jose Torres, 77, showing off an image of the late Chavez in his wallet after scanning his card in the plains and hills state of Lara.

Falcon said his team had received some 350 complaints about the "red points." Three state workers also told Reuters they were pressured to vote, while pro-government activists hovered around some polling stations, saying they were assisting voters.

Further hurting Falcon's chances by splitting the anti-Maduro vote is a third candidate, evangelical pastor Javier Bertucci, who has picked up quite a following, not least thanks to his free soup handouts.


Based on impressions from Reuters reporters in major cities around the nation, turnout looked far from the 80 percent figure of Venezuela's last presidential election in 2013.

Many Venezuelans are disillusioned and angry over the election: They criticize Maduro for economic hardships and the opposition for its dysfunctional splits.

Reeling from a fifth year of recession, falling oil production and U.S. sanctions, Venezuela is seeing growing levels of malnutrition, hyperinflation, and mass emigration.

"I'm telling the world: Stop your aggressive campaign against Venezuela," Maduro said as he voted, blaming opponents for the country's mess but giving no specifics of possible reforms to nearly two decades of state-led economic policies.

Pro-boycott activists planned some scattered protests. In the mountainous city of San Cristobal near Colombia, three cloth dolls representing loathed officials, electoral council President Tibisay Lucena, Socialist Party No. 2 Diosdado Cabello and Vice President Tareck El Aissami, were hung from a footbridge.

But streets were calm and for many Venezuelans, Sunday was a day to look for scant food or stock up on water, which is increasingly running short due to years of underinvestment.

"I'm not voting - what's the point if we already know the result? I prefer to come here to get water rather than waste my time," said Raul Sanchez, who was filling a jug from a tap by a busy road in the arid north-western city of Punto Fijo because his community has not had running water for 26 days.

State television urged Venezuelans to vote and Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said some 2.5 million had voted by around 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT), prompting ridicule from the opposition.

Some opposition supporters, however, say the boycott only makes life easier for Maduro and that his rivals should have fought him at the ballot box despite an unfair playing ground.

"I'm voting because the opposition doesn't have any proposals for what we're going to do when Maduro wins today. I want this nightmare to stop," said teacher Luisa Marquez, 56, in Valencia.

Should Maduro win, he may choose to deepen a successful purge of critics within the ruling "Chavismo" movement.

Abroad, Maduro is likely to face an avalanche of western protests should he win, although Russia and China remain allies and have been important financial backers.

With oil output at around 30-year lows, foreign debtors looking to up the pressure, and multinationals departing or minimizing operations in Venezuela, Maduro will face a Herculean task to turn around the moribund economy.]]>
5/20/2018 8:22:33 PM
<![CDATA[IS claims responsibility for church attack in Chechnya]]>
The group offered no evidence in support of the claim.

Four people attacked the Orthodox church on Saturday, killing two policemen and a churchgoer, Russia's investigative committee said in a statement. The attackers were killed.

"Islamic State fighters executed an attack on 'Michael' Church yesterday in Chechnya's capital, Grozny," Amaq said.

Russia, which hosts the soccer World Cup next month, has fought two wars with separatists in the mainly Muslim internal republic since the 1991 Soviet collapse, but such attacks have become relatively rare in Chechnya.

The wider North Caucasus region remains volatile, however, with unemployment and corruption pushing some to embrace radical Islam. ]]>
5/20/2018 8:03:02 PM
<![CDATA[Palestinian ambassador visits injured Gazans in Cairo, thanks Egypt]]>
Louh delivered Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ greetings to the brave injured, stressing that the embassy will do its best to ensure providing good treatment for them until their full recovery.

2 Diab al-Louh, the Palestinian ambassador in Egypt, visits injured Palestinians in the Naser Institute in Cairo – Press photo/Via Palestinian embassy in Egypt Facebook page

Since the Gaza rallies began on March 30, more than 100 Palestinian demonstrators have been martyred by the Israeli army.

The Palestinian ambassador extended his gratitude for Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi for his decision to open the Rafah border crossing throughout the holy month of Ramadan to ease the burden on the besieged people in Gaza.

“I issued directives to take the necessary measures to keep the Rafah border crossing open throughout the holy month of Ramadan in a bid to relieve some of the burdens suffered by our brothers in the Gaza strip,” the Egyptian leader posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Minister of Health, Ahmed Emad Eddine, has been "instructed by the political leadership" to receive the Palestinians injured during the Israeli aggression and treat them in Egyptian hospitals.

This crossing is mainly specialized for individual movements across borders, and was being prepared for the transfer of goods between the two courtiers. The importance of Rafah border crossing increased after Israeli forces destroyed the Yasser Arafat International Airport in 2001; which was the only airport allowing Palestinians to travel.

On Friday, Egypt dispatched humanitarian aid, food, relief and medical supplies to Gaza under the slogan “Together against Terrorism”.

Diab al-Louh, the Palestinian ambassador in Egypt, visits injured Palestinians in the Naser Institute in Cairo – Press photo/Via Palestinian embassy in Egypt Facebook page

Gaza residents have posted photos of President Sisi, thanking him for opening the Rafah crossing for the duration of Ramadan to help facilitate their needs.

Palestinians raised photos and banners of Sisi, with phrases such as "Thank you Egypt" and "Long live Egypt" printed on them.

Last September, Hamas announced the dissolution of its administrative committee in the Gaza Strip, inviting the Government of National Reconciliation to assume its duties and hold general elections. The movement affirmed it would comply with the Social Reconciliation Accord signed in 2011.

Since signing the agreement between Fatah and Hamas, several Egyptian delegations have been visiting Gaza, and vice versa, in order to coordinate in implementing all of the agreement points and articles; however, a few points still need further discussions between the Palestinian parties.

President Abbas said that there is no country as vital to the Palestinian cause as Egypt due to its historical and political position in the region. “Egypt has an opinion, a position and an interest in the Palestinian cause,” said Abbas.
5/20/2018 6:30:02 PM
<![CDATA[Who is Anba Angaelos, giving prayer at Prince Harry’s wedding? ]]>

Angaelos served as general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom since 1999, and was enthroned as the first Coptic Orthodox archbishop of London on November 18, 2017.

As president of the Bible Society, he received in 2015 the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth for his services to the international religious freedom and convergence between churches.

He commenced his pastoral ministry in the United Kingdom in 1995 as a parish priest. He also leads the Churches Together in England Association.

After completing his undergraduate degree in Political Science, Philosophy, and Sociology as well as a postgraduate degree in law, he returned to Egypt in 1990, and became a monk at the Monastery of St Bishoy in Wadi-El-Natroun.

Britain's Prince Harry and American actress Markle were announced husband and wife on Saturday by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Markle entered the chapel unescorted, dressed in a flowing white gown created by British designer Clare Waight Keller and wearing a veil and diamond tiara, according to Reuters.

“In a ceremony that combined modernity and the ancient rituals of a royal house that dates back to 1066, Prince Charles, heir to the throne and Harry's father, accompanied Markle to the altar from the middle of the chapel.”

Karen Gibson, an award-winning choir conductor and workshop leader, and the Kingdom Choir sang "Stand by me" from the West End of the chapel in an astonishing performance.

5/20/2018 5:43:55 PM
<![CDATA[Foreign ministry instructs Egyptian fans in Russia's World Cup]]>
Abu Zeid underlined that the ministry coordinates daily with all the concerned state agencies and the Russian side through the Egyptian embassy in Moscow to provide the necessary guidelines for Egyptian citizens travelling to Russia.

The guidelines issued on the ministry's website include IDs, which the citizens must carry with them when traveling to Russia, and the arrival and departure times according to the applicable visa rules, as well as instructions for accommodation, hotel reservation, transportation and the maximum amount of money allowed for citizens. ]]>
5/20/2018 5:13:10 PM
<![CDATA[Antiquities min., presidential adviser inspect GEM]]>
In a statement on Sunday, the Antiquities Ministry said that the work progress in the museum was tackled in preparation for inaugurating its first phase by the end of this year.]]>
5/20/2018 5:03:13 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, US inaugurate community hub for women, girls in Imbaba]]>
“The United States is committed to supporting the Government of Egypt’s efforts to ensure that women and girls are socially, economically, and politically empowered in public spaces” said Shea.

“One step at a time, we are working in partnership to create an Egypt that says no to sexual harassment – and yes to safe cities.”

USAID is partnering with UN Women to end violence against women and girls by combating sexual harassment, promoting legislative reforms, and improving support mechanisms for survivors of violence against women, a statement by the US embassy said.

Their Safe Cities project is strengthening the capacity of public institutions and community service organizations to provide safe spaces for women and girls, as well as victim services such as shelters and legal support.

In order to change perceptions of violence against women, the project supports advocacy efforts and uses innovative awareness-raising tools such as interactive community theater, storytelling, and art to promote a culture of zero-tolerance for violence against women – and a culture of responsibility towards the survivors of this abuse.

For nearly 40 years, USAID has worked with the Egyptian people to improve their quality of life, the statement read. The Safe Cities program is part of the $30 billion that the American people have invested in Egypt through USAID since 1978, it said.]]>
5/20/2018 2:58:56 PM
<![CDATA[Concerns over scenes of smoking children in Ramadan drama]]>
Othman added that the fund monitored several scenes and filed a complaint to the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, stressing that smoking is considered a crime for children and scenes of smoking children promote for that crime.

He also added that all these scenes are countering the state’s efforts to eliminate smoking and addiction, noting that the fund organized several campaigns like the major campaign featuring Mohamed Salah, Liverpool's and Egyptian national team player.

In the same context, SCMR announced in April that any advertisement that disrupts the Egyptian community’s values during the holy month of Ramadan will be banned.

Ahmed Selim, secretary-general of SCMR, told Egypt Today that the ads should have valuable content and represent a respectful image of Egypt’s society. He also stressed that the council is going to send a list of the Islamic scholars authorized to issue fatwas through media outlets during the holy month of Ramadan.

Siham Saleh, Media Syndicate deputy, also told Egypt Today on April 16 that a separate committee has been formed to monitor the new programs expected to air during Ramadan. Saleh urged television hosts to commit to the declared charter of honor. She added that no one will appear on the screen without being a recognized member of the Media Syndicate.]]>
5/20/2018 2:11:06 PM
<![CDATA[Palestinian leader Abbas in hospital for third time in a week: officials]]>
It was the third time Abbas, 82, had been hospitalised in a week. He underwent minor ear surgery on Tuesday and was released a few hours later and hospitalised briefly again on Saturday, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA said.]]>
5/20/2018 2:03:14 PM
<![CDATA[Pics: Egyptian Red Crescent offers aid to terrorist-hit village in Sinai]]>
Egyptian Red Crescent offers food aid and clothes to people of Al-Rawdah village in North Sinai – press photo/courtesy of the ERC Facebook page

The ERC said in a statement on Saturday that its volunteers have distributed aid from May 9-14 to over 400 families of the Rawdah village, within the framework of the provision of psychological and social support to the people of the village that witnessed Egypt’s deadliest terror attack.

Egyptian Red Crescent offers food aid and clothes to people of Al-Rawdah village in North Sinai – press photo/courtesy of the ERC Facebook page

Egyptian Red Crescent offers food aid and clothes to people of Al-Rawdah village in North Sinai – press photo/courtesy of the ERC Facebook page

Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali had directed the administration of the Egyptian Red Crescent to dispatch food, as well as health services and supplies to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, aiding its Palestinian counterpart.

During the past three days, the Egyptian Red Crescent reportedly dispatched more than seven tons of medical supplies and medicine to the Palestinian Red Crescent. It also sent its team to visit the injured Palestinians in Egyptian hospitals and deliver meals of iftar and suhoor to them.

In late November, Al-Rawdah village, located between Al-Arish city and Bir al-Abed in North Sinai, lost about 15 percent of its population, after a number of unidentified militants attacked the village’s mosque during Friday prayers, setting off explosives and spraying worshippers with gunfire. The attack killed at least 311 people and injured 121, according to media reports.

Security forces asserted to Emirates 24 News website that Abu Hajar al-Hashemi, who is presented as the Islamic State’s (IS) leader in Sinai, is the main perpetrator of the attack on Al-Rawdah mosque.

An interior view of Al Rawdah mosque is seen after an explosion, in Bir Al-Abed, Egypt November 25, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Soliman

In December, Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade, represented by the Food Industry Holding Company, provided 500 blankets and food subsidies to families in Bir al-Abed town.

Nasr Allah Mohamed, head of Bir al-Abed town, told Egypt Today that the convoy provided 500 boxes that included rice, oil, beans, flour and 500 blankets. The boxes were delivered to families’ homes in Bir al-Abed.

In February, the Egyptian Armed Forces launched the Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018 which comes within the army’s ongoing counterterrorism operations to eliminate terrorists and takfiri elements in North and Central Sinai, and eradicate their breeding grounds and hotbeds.

Dozens of terrorists have been eliminated in Sinai, including Nasser Abu Zaqoul, the leader of the terrorist organization in Central Sinai, according to the army’s statements published on the Defense Ministry’s website concerning the ongoing Operation Sinai, while other criminals and suspects were arrested.

aid s
Screenshots of the 22nd statement of the Armed Forces concerning Comprehensive Sinai Operation 2018

According to its 22nd statement published on the Defense Ministry’s website on Thursday to follow up on the updates of the Operation, the Armed Forces continue to provide people of North and Central Sinai with food aid to ease their suffering.

Additional reporting by Mohamed Zain ]]>
5/20/2018 1:59:55 PM
<![CDATA[Prosecution challenges acquittal of TV presenter Reham Saeid]]>
Three other co-defendants were also set free.

A fifth defendant, Gharam Abdel Fattah, received a suspended one-year term.

Two more defendants were sentenced to 15 years rigorous imprisonment and fined 200,000 pounds each.

Another defendant got five years rigorous imprisonment.

The prosecution had accused Saeid of inciting child abduction, airing false news and committing a child-selling crime.

The prosecution had interrogated Saeid and several crew members over an episode about child abduction and trafficking.]]>
5/20/2018 1:56:10 PM
<![CDATA[Russia says it is possible to discuss Iran deal's future without U.S.: RIA]]>
Ryabkov also said there had been an attempt to present the situation in a way that it would be impossible to preserve the deal without Tehran making concessions, the Interfax news agency reported. He also said that the U.S. decision on Iran was “rash” amid nuclear talks regarding the Korean peninsula.]]>
5/20/2018 1:05:20 PM
<![CDATA[Trump, Moon discuss N. Korea's threat to scrap summit]]>
After weeks of warm words and diplomatic backslapping, Pyongyang abruptly threatened to pull out of the planned summit next month because of US demands for "unilateral nuclear abandonment", according to the North's official KCNA news agency.

North Korea also cancelled at the last minute a high-level meeting with the South, protesting joint military drills between Seoul and Washington.

In a phone conversation on Sunday, Trump and Moon "exchanged views on various actions taken by North Korea recently", Moon's office said in a statement.

The two leaders agreed to "work closely" for the success of the landmark summit in Singapore on June 12, which would be the first meeting between a sitting US President and a North Korean leader.

They are due to meet in Washington on Tuesday.

North Korea's sudden shift in attitude followed a weeks-long charm offensive that has seen leader Kim Jong Un hold a historic summit with Moon and meet twice with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

At a dramatic summit last month in the Demilitarised Zone dividing their two countries, Kim and Moon pledged to pursue nuclear disarmament and a peace treaty.

Pyongyang also raised hopes ahead of the US summit by announcing it will destroy its nuclear testing site next week.

But the promise is open to interpretation on both sides and the North has spent decades developing its atomic arsenal, culminating last year in its sixth nuclear test -- by far its biggest to date -- and the launch of missiles capable of reaching the US.]]>
5/20/2018 1:01:03 PM
<![CDATA[First IS fighters evacuate south Damascus: monitor]]>
"At dawn, six buses of IS fighters and their relatives left the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp and adjacent district of Tadamun," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Abdel Rahman said the buses headed east for Syria's vast desert, where IS still controls some territory.

He had no details on how many people were aboard the vehicles, but said a majority of them were relatives of jihadists and not armed.

The evacuations came a day after an apparent deal was reached to put an end to a ferocious month-long offensive to oust IS from its last positions in southern Damascus.

Pro-regime forces, specifically Palestinian militias, had been fighting since April 19 to recapture Yarmuk, Tadamun, and the nearby districts of Qadam and Hajar al-Aswad from IS.

The assault had killed more than 250 pro-regime forces and another 233 IS fighters, according to the Observatory.

Fighting died down around midday on Saturday amid reports that an evacuation deal could be reached.

Syrian state media on Sunday denied evacuations were taking place in Hajar al-Aswad, but did not mention departures from Yarmuk or Tadamun.

Once a thriving district home to some 160,000 Palestinians and Syrians, Yarmuk's population has fallen to just a few hundred people.]]>
5/20/2018 12:58:14 PM
<![CDATA[Pardon committee prepares 5th pardon list after Ramadan]]>
The presidential committee has been formed to examine cases of young Egyptians detained in the events that followed the January 25 revolution. It examines the cases of prisoners and determines those who deserve a pardon in order to be released before finishing their prison sentences according to presidential decree no. 18/2018.

On Saturday, parliamentarian Tarek al-Khouly, a member of the Egyptian Presidential Pardon Committee announced that the number of prisoners in protest cases is not specified; a number of detainees are pending the final ruling, others are waiting a release sentence and some others are prisoned pending investigations.

He asserted that the number of release requests received by the committee has decreased, in a positive outcome of the committee's efforts which resulted in releasing more than 900 cases.

Khouly earlier said that the constitution only grants the president the right to pardon prisoners who have been handed final sentences by Egypt’s courts.

A pardon issued by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on Wednesday granted 332 prisoners their freedom. The issuing of the pardon coincided with the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.

The pardon list included youths and prisoners with health problems. Pardoned prisoners included Andrew Nassef Salib, a member of the leftist under-construction Bread and Freedom Party, who is serving five years in prison over charges of inciting terrorism; and Islam Fouad Kasem, a member of the liberal Dostour (Constitution) party, who was jailed over participating in illegal protests.

During former President Adly Mansour’s interim governance in 2013, the protest law was issued to provide the Ministry of Interior the right to cancel, postpone or move any protest deemed hazardous.

Sisi has released a decree to amend the Protest Law in May 2017, obligating the minister of interior to submit a request to a court of first instance to cancel, postpone, or change the place or route of a protest in case it threatens public security.

In October 2016, President Sisi announced the formation of a presidential pardon committee, headed by political thinker, Osama al-Ghazaly Harb, for pardoning detainees with charges pending further investigation.

In November 2016, Sisi declared the first presidential pardon list, pardoning 82 detainees, including TV presenter and religious thinker Islam al-Behery, who was charged with “contempt of Islam”.

A second pardon list was declared in March 2017, pardoning 203 detainees. The list included five journalists, according to Masrawy news outlet. In June 2017, Sisi announced pardoning 502 detainees.

On the anniversary of October 6 War, 244 Egyptian prisoners regained their freedom after receiving a pardon by a presidential decree.

On Police Day and the anniversary of the January Revolution in 2018, a pardon list was issued to give 477 Egyptian prisoners their freedom. ]]>
5/20/2018 12:50:27 PM
<![CDATA[Pope Francis to nominate 14 new cardinals on June 29]]>
The pope made the surprise announcement during his weekly Sunday address. He said the ceremony to elevate the nominees, known as a consistory, would take place on June 29.]]>
5/20/2018 12:45:31 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian high-risk terrorist reappears in Libya: media reports]]>
Sorous was seen outside the gate of Lamees neighborhood, according to the source. Libyan security sources said in April that Sorour, who fights the Libyan army that aims to free Derna from militias, had disappeared.

Meanwhile, other sources said Sorous has been severely wounded, following air strikes on Al-Qaeda hideouts in Derna city in Libya, according to Cairo-based weekly newspaper, Al-Ahram Al-Arabi, on Sunday.

Salem al-Rafady, commander of Libyan Army’s brigade, Omar al-Mokhtar, revealed to Al-Ahram's correspondent in Libya that his brigade had successfully targeted several hideouts of Al-Qaeda organization in Derna. “Our sources confirmed the injury of Sorour who had been seen at a field hospital,” Rafady added.

Sorour is known as “Abu Abdullah al-Masry”. He is one of the key leading terrorists in Derna and he has been known for being the judge of Al-Qaeda in Libya. His father, Sheikh Refaei, was an influential leader of the banned group of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sheikh Refaei belonged to the Qubtist wing within the outlawed MB.

Sorour is accused of establishing the so-called al-Murabeton group which is the Libyan branch of Al-Qaeda, in coordination with wanted-criminal Hisham al-Ashmawy.

In Sorour’s point of view, all Arab and Muslim leaders are “tyrants” according to several fatwas issued by him.

He is responsible for recruiting and training Arab youth members and luring them to join terrorist groups in Syria, Libya and Egypt.

In 2012, Sorour swore the allegiance to Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, former potential presidential candidate. A support group for Ismail called "Hazemoon" was created under the supervision of Sorour before he fled to Derna after the 2013 revolution against the MB in Egypt.

“The importance of Sorour’s injury in Derna reflects the successful moves made by the Libyan army and confirms Al-Qaeda will lose soon one of its key leading members,” Rafady noted.

In 2016, media reports revealed that ISIS leaders in Libya had issued a fatwa to kill Sorour, considering him a traitor after preferring to join Al-Qaeda to ISIS.

Sorour did not hide his hostility to ISIS leaders, as he slammed them for killing innocent people in Derna and described them on his Twitter account as “tyrannical aggressors”.
In 2017, world-wide media reports revealed that Sorour is believed to be a liaison between Al-Qaeda Leader Ayman al-Zawahry and Algerian terrorist Mokhtar Bel-Mokhtar.
5/20/2018 12:18:36 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian ambassador participates in Africa Day in Serbia ]]>
The ceremony, which was held jointly with the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, witnessed two speeches by the Serbian and African hosts in celebration of Serbian-African Friendship Day.

Ambassador Aljowaily expressed appreciation for the words of Serbia’s Foreign Ministry State Secretary Nemanja Stevanović regarding the desire to strengthen cooperation with African countries.

“Egypt is committed to furthering African integration when it assumes the presidency of the African Union in 2019,” he noted.

In addition to this official celebration, the Egyptian embassy will also participate in the "Durbar, Festival of Festivals” at the Museum of African Art on June 24 through music, handicraft products and traditional goods, as well as tourist material and popular foods.

Aljowaily called on musical and theatrical groups specialized in African arts to participate in the festival.

5/20/2018 10:20:28 AM
<![CDATA[Customs thwarts attempt to smuggle spy plane to Kuwait ]]>
During the completion of the check-in procedures of an Egyptian passenger that was aboard a flight that was bound to Kuwait, customs officers revealed that a remote-controlled plane suited with a camera was shipped within the personal luggage of the passenger.

Also, a passenger aboard a flight coming from the United Arab of Emirates in transit from the United States was found to be carrying large quantities of unclaimed tattoo supplies, including 6,250 silver metal needles and 62 ink bottles.

The total sum of the compensations required amounts to LE 142,692 ($8,018).
5/20/2018 3:11:33 AM
<![CDATA[US, China reach trade 'consensus' but offer few details: statement]]>
The joint statement, coming at a time of high tensions over trade, followed high-level talks in Washington between delegations led by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and China's State Council Vice Premier Liu He. The sides had met two weeks ago in Beijing.

"There was a consensus on taking effective measures to substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China," the statement said.

"To meet the growing consumption needs of the Chinese people and the need for high-quality economic development, China will significantly increase purchases of United States goods and services."

Last year the United States had a $375.2 billion trade deficit with China, a source of frequent and bitter complaint by President Donald Trump.

The statement Saturday said some details would be worked out in further talks in Beijing. But it offered no specifics to indicate the magnitude or exact nature of the accord, and it listed no numeric targets.

It said both sides had agreed on "meaningful increases" in US agriculture and energy exports.

They also agreed to strengthen cooperation on protecting intellectual property -- a long-standing source of complaint from the US side.

The two countries, their economies enormously interlinked by trade and finances, opened the delicate negotiations a few weeks ago in an attempt to resolve months of trade tensions.

Trump has threatened China with tariffs on up to $150 billion of imports -- "we have been ripped off by China," he said recently -- prompting Beijing to threaten US agricultural exports.

The White House is wary of hurting largely Republican-voting farm states or damaging the economy before legislative elections this November. But Trump is also keen to appear tough on trade.

The talks are further complicated by the impending summit meeting in Singapore between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has consulted with Chinese leader Xi Jinping ahead of the meeting.]]>
5/20/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Coptic Archbishop of UK gives prayer at royal wedding]]>CAIRO – 20 May 2018: Representing Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London Anba Angaelos gave a prayer at the wedding of the British Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle in Windsor on Saturday.

Britain's Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle were announced husband and wife on Saturday by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Markle entered the chapel unescorted, dressed in a flowing white gown created by British designer Clare Waight Keller and wearing a veil and diamond tiara, according to Reuters.

“In a ceremony that combined modernity and the ancient rituals of a royal house that dates back to 1066, Prince Charles, heir to the throne and Harry's father, accompanied Markle to the altar from the middle of the chapel.”

Angaelos is the first Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, having served as General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom since 1999.

According to Angaelos’ biography, “his Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, has also seen it fit that he continue representing the Church in the United Kingdom at the ecumenical and official level as Papal Legate, and thus conferred him with the ecclesial title of Archbishop of London.”

Britain's Prince Harry arrived for his wedding wearing the frock-coat uniform of the Blues and Royals, Kensington Palace said.

The 33-year-old grandson of Queen Elizabeth waved to well-wishers as he arrived at St George's Chapel in Windsor in the dark blue uniform with his brother and best man, Prince William, who was dressed the same.

Karen Gibson, an award-winning choir conductor and workshop leader, and the Kingdom Choir sang "Stand by me" from the West End of the chapel in an astonishing performance.

5/20/2018 12:12:45 AM
<![CDATA[Cuba confirms 110 killed in country's deadliest plane crash since 1989]]>
Flags flew at half-mast in Cuba on Saturday marking the start of two days of national mourning while authorities worked to identify the crash victims. Fifteen have been identified so far.

Authorities told a news conference on Saturday at Havana airport that three of the passengers killed on the domestic flight to Holguin on Friday were foreign tourists - two Argentines and a Mexican - while another two were Sahrawi residents in Cuba.

The six Mexican crew members aboard the nearly 40-year-old Boeing 737, leased by Cuban flagship carrier Cubana from a small Mexican company called Damojh, were also killed.

Three Cuban women survived the crash, but are still in critical condition, said the head of the hospital where they are being attended.

Distressed relatives cried and hugged one another outside the morgue, where they gave information on loved ones to authorities to aid in the identification process.

"This is a very unexpected death, she didn't deserve it. My grandmother was a strong person," said Katherine Lucia Martinez, an 18-year-old student, bursting into tears and clinging to her father.

Her 60-year-old grandmother was among the dead, and she was waiting with other relatives of the deceased at a Havana hotel for an update from authorities.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Saturday visited the morgue, a day after reviewing the site of the crash, the first big test of his presidency after taking the reins from Raul Castro last month.

Cuban investigators worked overnight at the site of the crash, an agricultural area some 20 km (12 miles) south of Havana, sifting through the burned wreckage for evidence, officials said.

So far they have recovered the cockpit voice recorder in "good condition," the Cuban Transport Minister Adel Yzquierdo said on Saturday. They are still looking for the flight data recorder.

"The plane was on fire, it flipped and then nosedived," said Marino Perez Alvaredo, a farmer who works near where the plane crashed.

The Mexican transport department said on its website: "During takeoff (the plane) apparently suffered a problem and dove to the ground."

Mexico also said it would send a team of investigators from its Directorate General of Civil Aeronautics on Saturday.

Most aircraft accidents take months to investigate.

The crash was the worst in Cuba since a Soviet-made Ilyushin-62M passenger plane crashed near Havana in 1989 killing all 126 people on board and another 14 on the ground.

"For the love of god, I never thought I would see this," said Caridad Miranda, 45, whose sister and niece died in the crash. "They should have checked that plane well."]]>
5/20/2018 12:04:40 AM
<![CDATA[China agrees to import more from U.S, no sign of $200 bln number]]>
Beijing and Washington agreed they would keep on talking about measures under which China would import more commodities from the United States to close a $335 billion annual trade gap between the two countries that has threatened to ignite a global trade war.

"There was a consensus on taking effective measures to substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China," the joint statement said.

"To meet the growing consumption needs of the Chinese people and the need for high-quality economic development, China will significantly increase purchases of United States goods and services."

The statement concluded joint talks on Thursday and Friday between the two countries, which included several U.S. cabinet secretaries and China's State Council Vice Premier Liu He.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on up to $150 billion on Chinese goods to combat what he says is Beijing's misappropriation of U.S. technology through joint venture requirements and other policies. Beijing has threatened equal retaliation, including tariffs on some of its largest U.S. imports, among them aircraft, soybeans and autos.

Trump made reducing the trade deficit between the United States and China a key campaign promise. Washington demanded that China reduce its trade surplus by $200 billion, a figure most economists say is impossible to achieve.

Such a reduction on a sustainable basis would require a massive change in the composition of commerce between the two countries.

The figure is larger than all of the United States' global annual agricultural and oil exports.

The statement says that China will "advance relevant amendments to its laws and regulations" to allow for more American imports, including changes to patent laws.

There are concerns among some legislators and trade experts that Trump could give priority to a reduction of the trade deficit over tackling what they say is China's abuse of intellectual property rights. Any deal under which China would import more goods could easily be reversed, economists say.

The statement made no mention of whether there would a relaxation of paralyzing restrictions on Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp imposed last month by the U.S. Commerce Department.

The action, related to violation of U.S. sanctions on Iran, banned American companies from selling semiconductors and other components to ZTE, causing the Shenzhen-based company to cease operations.

Earlier this week, Trump tweeted that he directed the Commerce Department to put ZTE back in business and said the company's situation was part of an overall trade deal with China.]]>
5/20/2018 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Delegation from Russia's Roastom to meet locals in Dabaa]]>
“The company seeks to be introduced to the locals’ opinions on the construction of the expected nuclear power Plant, the delegation aims to understand the point of views raised by power stations built under its supervision in several states,” added the Rosatom official’s press statement.

This will be the delegation’s second visit to El Dabaa city during the current year. The company is set to provide the nuclear station project with the needed logistics, estimated to cost US$ 30bn.

An official from the Egyptian Nuclear Plants Authority told Al Shorouk that some items in the project are still under negotiation with the Russian Company of Rosatom.

“The Egyptian Nuclear Authority signed a preliminary agreement with Rosatom in order the latter oversees the construction process of the Nuclear power station in El Dabaa,” added the Egyptian official in press statements to Al Shorouk.

Egyptian Minister of Electricity, Mohammed Shaker, has previously stated that El Dabaa power station is being built according to the latest international safety measures. The Egyptian State negotiated with American, Korean, Japanese and Chinese nuclear companies before choosing the Russian Rosatom.
5/19/2018 11:59:56 PM
<![CDATA[Melania Trump returns to White House after kidney procedure]]>
The first lady, 48, had been recovering at Walter Reed medical center since Monday, when she underwent an embolization procedure to treat the kidney condition.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that Melania Trump returned to the White House on Saturday morning.

"She is resting comfortably and remains in high spirits," Grisham said. "Our office has received thousands of calls and emails wishing Mrs. Trump well, and we thank everyone who has taken the time to reach out."

An embolization is a minimally invasive procedure often used to block the flow of blood to a tumor or an abnormal area of tissue.

Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that it was "great to have our incredible First Lady back home in the White House."

In an initial tweet he misspelled her first name, writing that "Melanie is feeling and doing really well," before writing a subsequent tweet with her name's correct spelling.]]>
5/19/2018 11:08:01 PM
<![CDATA[Texas shooting suspect seems 'weirdly nonemotional,' lawyer says]]>
The teenager, identified by law enforcement as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bail in Santa Fe, Texas, where authorities said he opened fire shortly before 8 a.m. on Friday.

In addition to 10 fatalities, the shooter wounded at least 13 people, with two of them in critical condition. One of those in critical condition was one of the two school resource officers who engaged the shooter before his surrender.

Nicholas Poehl, one of two lawyers hired by the suspect's parents to represent him, told Reuters he had spent a total of one hour with Pagourtzis on Friday night and Saturday morning.

“He’s very emotional and weirdly nonemotional," the attorney said when asked to describe his client's state of mind. "There are aspects of it he understands and there are aspects he doesn’t understand.”

As the shooting unfolded, Pagourtzis spared people he liked so he could have his side of the story told, a charging document seen by Reuters showed, but there was no immediate indication why he apparently targeted the art class.

Investigators had seen a T-shirt on the suspect's Facebook page that read "Born to Kill," and authorities were examining his journal, Texas Governor Greg Abbott told reporters. But there were no outward signs he had been planning an attack.

Pagourtzis waived his right to remain silent and made a statement to authorities admitting to the shooting, according to an affidavit ahead of his arrest. Later he was charged with capital murder and denied bail at a court hearing.

Asked if Pagourtzis has provided authorities with information about the shootings, Poehl said: “Honestly because of his emotional state, I don’t have a lot on that.”

Santa Fe High School, southeast of Houston, became the scene of the fourth-deadliest mass shooting at a U.S. public school in modern history, joining a long list of campuses where students and faculty have fallen victim to gunfire.

The Texas rampage again stoked the nation's long-running debate over gun ownership, three months after a student-led gun control movement emerged from a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 teens and educators dead.

Students and faculty, bussed on to campus in small groups, were allowed to enter the high school on Saturday to retrieve belongings, though investigators closed off a section of the grounds. Police kept reporters about 100 yards (91.4 m) away.

All schools in the Santa Fe school district will remain closed on Monday and Tuesday, officials said at a short briefing.

In a letter dated Friday but posted on the district's website on Saturday, Superintendent Leigh Wall said eight of the dead were students and two were teachers. Authorities had earlier said that nine students and one teacher were killed.

A vigil was held on Friday night for the victims, who have not been officially identified.

"This will bring us closer together - hopefully, a positive impact from something negative," said Clayton George, 16, who played football with the suspect.

The Pakistan Embassy in Washington D.C. identified one of the victims on Twitter as Sabika Sheikh, a Pakistani exchange student, while the brother-in-law of Cynthia Tisdale, a teacher's aide and mother of four, said on Facebook she was killed in the attack.

National Football League star J.J. Watt, who plays defensive end for the Houston Texans, said he will pay for the funerals of the deceased, local media reported.

"Absolutely horrific," he tweeted about the shooting.


Classmates at the school of some 1,460 students described Pagourtzis as a quiet loner who played on the football team. On Friday, they said he wore a trench coat to school in Santa Fe, about 30 miles (50 km) southeast of Houston, on a day when temperatures topped 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius).

Texas' governor, Abbott, said Pagourtzis obtained firearms from his father, who had likely acquired them legally, and also left behind explosive devices.

Abbott told reporters that Pagourtzis wanted to commit suicide, citing the suspect's journals, but did not have the courage to do so. Some aspects of Friday's shooting had echoes of the massacre at Columbine High School in 1999. The two teenaged killers in that incident wore trench coats, used shotguns and planted improvised explosives, killing 10 before committing suicide themselves.

It was the second mass shooting in Texas in less than seven months. A man armed with an assault rifle shot dead 26 people during Sunday prayers at a rural church last November.]]>
5/19/2018 10:33:56 PM
<![CDATA[Saudis detain women's advocates ahead of driving ban lift]]>
Without naming those detained, Saudi Arabia's state security apparatus said seven people had been arrested for "attempting to undermine the security and stability of the kingdom... and to erode national unity".

"Work is still underway to identify everyone involved" and take legal measures against them, according to a security spokesman quoted Saturday by state news agency SPA.

Those arrested are facing accusations including making "suspicious contact with foreign parties", providing financial support to "hostile elements abroad" and recruiting government workers.

The crackdown comes even as the kingdom breaks with long-held restrictions on women and the mixing of the genders, with its driving ban on women slated to end June 24.

But there were warnings that Riyadh would not tolerate those pushing for change outside its authority.

Activists told Human Rights Watch that in September 2017, on the same day authorities announced the driving ban would be lifted, the Royal Court had called up prominent activists and warned them not to speak to the media.

- 'Chilling smear campaign' -

With a front page reading "Your betrayals have failed", Al-Jazirah newspaper named two of those arrested as activists Loujain al-Hathloul and Aziza al-Yousef.

On Twitter -- a popular tool of communication for Saudi Arabia's young population -- opinions were sharply divided.

"No place for traitors among us," SaudiNews50 wrote.

The news website's post also carried images of five of those detained: Hathloul, Yousef, Eman al-Nafjan, Mohammed al-Rabiya and lawyer Ibrahim al-Madmyegh.

Supporters of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, seen as the architect behind a succession of social reforms emanating from Riyadh, backed the sweep.

Referring to the detainees as "agents of the embassies", political analyst Naif al-Asaker tweeted that anyone who did not support their arrest was either a "covert partner" or simply "ignorant".

Amnesty International condemned the commentary of the arrests as a "chilling smear campaign" and an "extremely worrying development for women human rights defenders" in the country.

For other Saudis, the treatment of trailblazers who fought for many of the reforms now coming to fruition was a shock.

"This round of arrests was strictly targeting Saudi feminism," tweeted Saudi-American activist Nora Abdulkarim.

Abdullah al-Aoudh, a Saudi-educated scholar now at Yale Law, said the charges did not add up.

"For those who consider these arrests to be in defence of religion and religious scholars, I'd just like to remind you that the scholars and intellectuals of the country are in jail... in the same scenario," he tweeted.

- Reform 'frenzy of fear' -

The detainees had not only fought for the lifting of the driving ban, but also against the kingdom's enduring guardianship laws.

Saudi Arabia's guardianship system requires women to obtain permission from their fathers, brothers, husbands or even sons for a host of life decisions.

Activists Hathloul and Nafjan in 2016 signed a petition to abolish Saudi Arabia's male guardianship system, according to HRW.

Madmyegh, a semi-retired lawyer, has stepped up to represent fellow rights advocates in recent years.

"Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's 'reform campaign' has been a frenzy of fear for genuine Saudi reformers," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW.

Many Saudi activists say social change will only be cosmetic without dismantling the kingdom's guardianship system.]]>
5/19/2018 7:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Third Palestinian dies of wounds in Gaza]]>
Ahmed Abu Samra, 21, died on Saturday evening of wounds he sustained when he was shot and critically injured by Israeli forces on Monday, WAFA news agency reported.

Earlier in the day, Mohamed Mazen Elayyan, 20, and Moin Sai, 58, also died of wounds sustained on Monday.

With their death, the total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the start of the Great March of Return protests on March 30 rises to 120. More than 12,000 others were injured, according to the Ministry of Health figures. ]]>
5/19/2018 6:51:48 PM
<![CDATA[Two Palestinians wounded in Monday protests die: Gaza ministry]]>
The two men killed were 20-year-old Mohammed Mazen Alyan and 58-year-old Moein Abdel-Hamid Al-Saai, the Hamas-run ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said Alyan was wounded east of the Al-Bureij refugee camp, while other medical sources reported Al-Saai was wounded to the east of Gaza City.

The deaths bring to 61 the total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli gunfire on Monday, when thousands of Palestinians protested as the US officially moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Since March 30, Palestinian marchers have been demanding the right to return to their homes seized by Israel in the 1948 war surrounding the creation of the Jewish state.

A total of 118 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire on the border between the Gaza Strip and the Jewish State since then, according to authorities in Gaza, which is run by the Islamist movement Hamas.

Israel says it has done everything it can to limit civilian casualties and has used lived ammunition only as a last resort.

The Israeli army accuses Hamas of using the cover of the demonstrations to approach and damage the border fence, including laying explosive devices and attacking soldiers, and insists its actions are necessary to defend the border and prevent mass infiltrations.]]>
5/19/2018 6:50:00 PM
<![CDATA[Airplane crashes in Cuba killing more than 100, investigation underway]]>
The passenger plane, on a domestic flight to Holguin in eastern Cuba, crashed at 12:08 p.m. (1608 GMT). There were 105 passengers on board, including five children, plus crew members, state media reported. There are three survivors so far, all women.

Five of the passengers and the crew were foreign, according to media reports. Two Argentine citizens and an unspecified number of Mexicans were among the dead, the Argentine and Mexican governments said.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel said that a high number of people appeared to have been killed. He said the fire from the crash had been extinguished and authorities were identifying bodies.

Diaz-Canel said authorities were investigating the cause of the crash.

Cuba declared an official period of mourning from 6 a.m. on May 19 to 12 p.m. on May 20, during which the flag would be flown at half-mast outside state and military institutions.

Former Cuban president Raul Castro, who now heads the country’s ruling Communist Party, offered his condolences to the families of those who died in the crash as he recovered from a hernia operation, State media reported.

This was the first time Cuba reported on a health issue for Castro, 86, who last month handed over the reins of power to his right-hand man Diaz-Canel.

Castro “who is recovering satisfactorily from a recent planned surgery to get rid of a hernia is staying up to date on the situation and has given the relevant guidance,” the Communist Party newspaper Granma reported.

Blackened wreckage of Flight CU972 was strewn over the crash site, 20 km (12 miles) south of Havana.

“We heard an explosion and then saw a big cloud of smoke go up,” said Gilberto Menendez, who runs a restaurant near the crash site in the agricultural area of Boyeros.

The flight’s destination, Holguin, is the capital of a province popular with tourists for its pristine beaches.

Carlos Alberto Martinez, director of Havana’s Calixto Garcia hospital, told Reuters that four victims of the crash had been brought there and one died. Three others, all women, were in a serious condition, he said.

“She is alive but very burnt and swollen,” said one of the women’s relatives at the hospital.

The Mexican transport department said on its website, “During take-off (the plane) apparently suffered a problem and dived to the ground.”

The Boeing 737-201 aircraft was built in 1979 and leased by Cuban airline Cubana from a small Mexican company called Damojh, according to the Mexican government.

Damojh in Mexico said it did not immediately have any more information. Cubana declined to comment.

Mexico said it would send a team of investigators from its Directorate General of Civil Aeronautics on Saturday. Most aircraft accidents take months to investigate.

A U.S. State Department official said the agency was not aware of any request for U.S. assistance at this time, but the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration had offered to assist in the investigation.

The State Department has spoken with the Cuban ambassador to offer condolences, the official said.

Boeing Co said in a statement that its technical team stood “ready to assist as permitted under U.S. law and at the direction of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and Cuban authorities.” The United States has a decades-old trade embargo on the island.

Boeing 737 aircraft use engines made by CFM International, supplier of the world’s most-used engines, built by a joint venture of GE and France’s Safran.

On Thursday, Cuba’s First Vice President Salvador Valdés Mesa met with Cubana bosses to discuss public complaints about its service, according to state-run media, including numerous cancellations of domestic flights this year and long delays.

Earlier this month, the company was ordered to suspend flights of its six Russian built AN-158 aircraft, of which most had reportedly already been grounded, according to state-run media.

The last fatal crash in Cuba was in 2017, the Aviation Safety Network said. It was a military flight and all eight on board were killed. In 2010, a commercial Aero Caribbean plane crashed in central Cuba and all 68 people on board were killed.

In the worst Cubana disaster, a Soviet-made Ilyushin-62M passenger plane crashed near Havana in 1989 killing all 126 people on board.]]>
5/19/2018 6:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt urges resolving current crises to avoid losing confidence in UN]]>
The diplomat’s remarks were made during an open debate on “upholding international law within the context of international peace and security,” which was chaired by Poland’s President Andrzej Duda and attended by a group of foreign ministers.

After the bitter experience of the World War II, the world has known that there are several principles, purposes and law rules that are needed to preserve international peace and security, achieve development as well as to maintain human rights in accordance with the United Nations convention, he said.

Meanwhile, Idris called on the United Nations to shoulder its responsibilities and to develop and reform its performance in order to be able to persist in playing its role.]]>
5/19/2018 6:00:53 PM
<![CDATA[Court sets June 2 to consider appeal filed by Uber, Careem against halt ruling]]>
In March, a Cairo court ordered halting the activities of Uber and Careem companies and referring the case to the State Commissioners Authority to give a legal opinion after a number of taxi drivers had pressed charges against the two ride-sharing companies.

The plaintiffs said the two companies use privately-owned vehicles for commercial purposes in violation of the Egyptian law.]]>
5/19/2018 5:53:18 PM
<![CDATA[Interior min. inspects security services in Cairo, Giza]]>
Abdel Ghaffar also inspected Mostafa Mahmoud and Tahrir squares and instructed the security forces deployed there to remain cautious and manage traffic in a way that prevents congestion.

The minister also called for strict implementation of the law and the immediate handling of violations in order to ensure security and safety of citizens.

The Ministry stressed the importance of respecting the dignity of citizens as the message of security will not be achieved in isolation from respect for human rights.]]>
5/19/2018 5:27:26 PM
<![CDATA[Media Syndicate, SCMR work to ban Galal’s show]]>
“This show misleads public opinion, has nothing to deal with objectives and doesn’t present any useful information,” he said, calling on the private channel not to sponsor such useless shows.

Galal’s annual shows receive controversial and mixed reactions from audiences. This year, Galal organizes pranks on celebrities, where the celebrity is invited to come to Moscow, Russia to attend a World Cup program. On the way to the program, the guest faces many dangers, among them being horrified by a terrifying tiger and a bear. “Ramez Sub Zero” is presented daily via MBC Egypt.

Many social media users criticized the first episode featuring Egyptian actress Yasmin Sabry and accused Galal of sexual harassment, as he made repeated physical contact with Sabry while they were escaping the terrifying animals and after she found out that it was a joke.

Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR) issued a decision earlier this month to fine any Ramadan drama series up to LE 250,000 for each obscene word.

“We lived about eight years with no rules or control over drama. We are not trying to be fascists or to set limits and restraints over freedoms; however, we are trying to set professional standards for drama work to decrease the violent content,” Makram Mohamed Ahmed, head of SCMR, said during a meeting of Parliament’s Media and Culture Committee.

He added that SCMR sets rules for everything that will air during Ramadan, especially advertisements.

Earlier in April, SCMR announced that any advertisement that disrupts the Egyptian community’s values during the holy month of Ramadan will be banned.

Ahmed Selim, secretary-general of SCMR, told Egypt Today that the ads should have valuable content and represent a respectful image of Egypt’s society. He also stressed that the council is going to send a list of the Islamic scholars authorized to issue fatwas (religious edicts) through media outlets during the holy month.

Siham Saleh, Media Syndicate deputy, also told Egypt Today on April 16 that a separate committee has been formed to monitor the new programs expected to air during Ramadan. Saleh urged television hosts to commit to the declared charter of honor. She added that no one will appear on the screen without being a recognized member of the Media Syndicate.
5/19/2018 5:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Kuwait launches "Relieve Gaza" campaign to raise donations for Palestinians]]>
KRCS Chairman Hilal Al-Sayer said in a statement to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) on Saturday that the campaign is the latest of ongoing relief and humanitarian aid to brotherly and friendly nations, stricken with crises and hardships.

This campaign particularly aims at securing urgent needs such as medical supplies and medicines to treat victims of the Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people, he said, indicating that some aid had already reached hospitals and clinics in Gaza.

He affirmed keenness on standing on the side of the victims in Gaza and enhancing their capabilities to cope with the current circumstances.

This campaign reflects sincere feelings of the Kuwaiti people toward their brothers in Palestine, he said. The KRCS has prepared well for securing dispatch of the aid to the Palestinian people, in coordination with the State of Palestine and neighboring countries.

He urged citizens, especially businesspeople, to donate and help Palestinians cope with the current crisis. ]]>
5/19/2018 4:03:54 PM
<![CDATA[Armed Forces hold 132 iftar banquets across governorates]]>
The Armed Forces - within the range of the Central Military Zone - held 43 iftar banquets; nine in Cairo, eight in Giza, six in Qalyubia, six in Monufia, four in Faiyum, four in Beni Suef and six in Minya.

The Second Field Army held 30 iftar banquets, including five in Port Said governorate, six in Dakahlia, six in Sharqia, six in Damietta along with seven banquets in Ismailia.

As many as 18 iftar banquets were held by the Third Field Army; eight in Suez, eight in South Sinai and two in the Red Sea governorate.

As for the Northern Military Zone, 19 iftar banquets were held in the governorates of Alexandria, Gharbia, Beheira and Kafr El Sheikh.

Meanwhile, the Southern Military Zone organized 18 Ramadan iftar banquets across southern governorates. Two more banquets were held in Mersa Matruh by the Western Military Zone.

The Naval Forces held two banquets in Alexandria and one in Cairo.

The banquets fall within the framework of the Armed Forces' continued efforts to strengthen ties with the people and share in Ramadan celebrations.]]>
5/19/2018 3:39:18 PM
<![CDATA[Amr Khaled in hot water over chicken advertisement ]]>
Khaled became the laughing stock of social media after he linked between eating this chicken and piety in prayers. He stressed that the brand of chicken will help Muslims be in good health and thus maintain their piety through the prayers.

A video posted on the Facebook page of the poultry company has provoked a wave of protest and criticism over the credibility of the preacher. Dozens of jokes have been posted on Facebook about the poor advertisement and the fake performance of Khaled. With the attack on Khaled, the company was forced to delete the video from its Facebook page.

Earlier, Khaled was shown in video performing Hajj (pilgrimage) rituals in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The video, which went viral, showed Khaled praying for his followers on social media, a matter which raised a lot of questions and mocking, as many people saw the Egyptian preacher as only seeking to obtain more followers and “likes”.

Khaled was criticized and accused of acting and using the religion for personal gain by some social media users.

Who is Amr Khaled?

Khaled has been preaching since 1997, according to statements made in the video he posted on his official Facebook page in response to the criticism he took earlier.

In the early 2000s, Khaled’s religious effect as an Islamic preacher was overwhelming on Egyptians. He almost convinced a number of actresses to retire and wear headscarves. He made several television shows presented by many youth, women and men from all social levels, as he affected them all.

His TV show “Sonaa Alhayat” (Life Makers) morphed into a social association per invitation during one of his episodes, where he said that serving society and working on its development is part of someone’s religion.

Later, in 2014, he was excluded from the association’s high board. In statements to BBC, the board’s head, Mohamed Yehia, said that excluding Khaled was not for personal reasons, but due to “the nature of the stage the society is going through.”

As time went by, Khaled’s effect didn’t remain the same, especially after the January 25 Revolution.

During this time, Khaled’s political affiliations were questioned within an environment where every political move was monitored. He called for a political party named “Masr el Mostakbal” (Egypt the Future) on May 2012, which increased the controversial opinions surrounding him amid voices refusing the mixing of religion and politics.

Despite all this, Khaled didn’t stop, repeating at every chance that he is “a man with a message” that will continue regardless of the circumstances. Khaled still participates in several social campaigns and posts regularly on his social media outlets as a religious preacher.

Khaled now has about 29 million followers on Facebook, 11 million on Twitter and 587,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel.

Additional reporting by Aya Samir
5/19/2018 2:59:30 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian imam leads first Ramadan Friday prayer in Serbia]]>
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Awqaf, the imam came upon a request of the Serbian Islamic Society and on the recommendation of the embassy of Egypt in Belgrade to the Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf.

Mustafa Jusufspahic, mufti of the city of Belgrade, said during an Iftar that he was keen to visit this first gathering of the Egyptian community in Ramadan.

Egyptian Imam Mostafa al- Laboudi with the Egyptian community in Serbia - Press Photo
5/19/2018 2:51:26 PM
<![CDATA[Presidential spokesman to uncover his personal life]]>
Rady is expected to reveal challenges he has been facing in office, following serving as Egypt’s consul in Istanbul for many years, especially during the time of the failed coup in Turkey against incumbent President Recep Tayyib Erdogan.

Rady will also tackle the Egyptian-Japanese relations and the Asian bonds with Egypt in general, as he served in the diplomatic corps in Tokyo and Rome for several years.
The interview will air on Asharq Awsat Radio station, marking a unique tradition that is not common with Egyptian presidential spokespersons.

Rady will reveal facts about his personal life and his usual habits in Ramadan, close sources told Egypt Today.

Since President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi won his first term in 2014, three spokespersons were chosen to talk on behalf of the presidency, including Ehab Badawy and Alaa Youssef.

Badawy currently serves as Egypt’s ambassador to France and Youssef heads Egypt’s Permanent Mission to the U.N. in Geneva.
5/19/2018 2:48:19 PM
<![CDATA[Immigration min. opens 1st tent of "Iftar with our relatives" initiative]]>
Co-organized by the immigration ministry and Misr Elkheir Foundation, the iftar tent is funded by Egyptian doctors in the UK, Makram said in a statement issued on Saturday.

A Ramadan banquet funded by the Egyptian community in the UK will be named after it, the minister added.

Expressing happiness over the inauguration of the tent, Makram said: "A few days ago, we had been talking about the week of communities and getting back to the roots for foreign communities that used to live in Egypt,"

"Today, we're speaking about Egyptian roots extended abroad across the world that come back to serve their homeland."

She thanked Misr Elkheir Foundation Board Chairman Gomaa for his continued support and backing to the foundation's charity teams.

Misr Elkheir is an Egyptian charitable, non-profit social services and development organization. ]]>
5/19/2018 2:38:26 PM
<![CDATA[Trial of Badie, other MB leaders in 'Rabaa sit-in' case adjourned till Tuesday]]>
The court made the decision to continue hearing the pleadings in the case.

The defendants are accused of scheming a terrorist plot that aimed at vandalizing vital government facilities and places of worship.

They also face charges of forming an operations room to direct MB members to defy the government during the crackdown on Rabaa protest camp and to spread chaos in the country.]]>
5/19/2018 2:05:53 PM
<![CDATA[Just Married! Prince Harry and Meghan Markle declared husband and wife]]>

The star of the TV drama "Suits" walked unescorted in a pure white, long-sleeved dress to the middle of the 15th-century St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, where the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, accompanied her towards his son, waiting at the altar.

After exchanging vows to love and to cherish "till death us do part", Harry, 33, sixth-in-line to the British throne, placed a ring of Welsh gold on Markle's finger before a congregation including Queen Elizabeth, senior royals, and celebrities including U.S. media mogul Oprah Winfrey.

"In the presence of God, and before this congregation, Harry and Meghan have given their consent and made their marriage vows to each other," Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby intoned.


"They have declared their marriage by the joining of hands and by the giving and receiving of rings. I therefore proclaim that they are husband and wife."

The marriage brings Markle, three years older than Harry and born and raised in Los Angeles, into one of the world's grandest royal families, known as "the Firm".

While the ceremony incorporated the traditions of a monarchy that traces its history back to 1066, Markle brought a sense of modernity.

She did not vow to obey her husband; Harry, unlike other senior male royals, will wear a wedding ring; Markle's father was unable to attend due to reported heart surgery; and a black U.S. Episcopalian bishop, Michael Bruce Curry, gave an impassioned wedding address on the "feeling-bomb" of love, quoting black U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

"When love is the way, we actually treat each other like we are actually family," he said.

Tens of thousands of fans lined the route Markle took towards the castle, waving British flags and cheering as her Rolls-Royce limousine drove past.

Air traffic controllers for the nearby Heathrow Airport, one of the world's busiest, closed the airspace over Windsor for the 15 minutes before the ceremony.

Hours before, Queen Elizabeth had bestowed the title of Duke of Sussex on her grandson, a step that meant the actress, star of the TV drama "Suits", became a duchess when she married Harry.



Under clear skies and glorious sunshine, a military band in scarlet uniforms and bearskin hats entertained excited fans gathered behind barriers. Police armed with semi-automatic rifles patrolling streets and watching from rooftops.

Among celebrity guests, American actor George Clooney and his wife Amal were joined by former soccer star David Beckham, his fashion designer wife Victoria and James Corden, British host of the American TV chat show "The Late Late Show".

Other guests included tennis ace Serena Williams, the siblings of Harry's late mother Princess Diana, singer Elton John, who sang at Diana's 1997 funeral, British actor Idris Elba, and two of Harry's ex-girlfriends.

The chapel was adorned with white roses, Diana's favourite flowers.

"This is a moment when we can all celebrate the rebirth of the royal family," said Kenny McKinlay, 60, who had come down from Scotland for the wedding. "It's a time when all the nation can come together rather than being divided. It's a day when you can be proud to be British."

The royal couple, who met on a blind date in 2016 and fell in love in a tent under the stars in Botswana, tied the knot in a castle that has been home to 39 English monarchs since 1066.

Tens of thousands of fans crammed the narrow roads of Windsor, about 20 miles (30 km) west of London. Visitors had to pass through police search points set up around the castle.

To some Britons, the wedding of a senior member of the royal family to a divorcee whose mother is African-American and father is white embodied a modern Britain where race or background are no bar to even the most elite and traditional of institutions.

To others, it was an irrelevance or mild distraction from the schism of Brexit, which has deeply divided the United Kingdom; polls suggest that most Britons will not bother tuning in.


Markle's own father Thomas Markle, 73, a former lighting director for TV soaps and sitcoms, pulled out of the ceremony this week, telling the U.S. celebrity website TMZ he had had heart surgery on Wednesday.

Confusion over his attendance marred the build-up to the wedding, which had been choreographed for months by royal aides, and his name still appears in the order of service.

The service was conducted by the Dean of Windsor with Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual head of the Anglican Church, overseeing the exchange of vows.


A black U.S. Episcopalian bishop, Michael Bruce Curry, gave the wedding address, while Lady Jane Fellowes, Diana's sister, delivered the reading.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who along with other politicians was not invited to the wedding, sent good wishes to the couple, adding: "To all of those joining the national celebration with street parties and other events, have a wonderful day."

In among traditional hymns, a choir performed American soul singer Ben E. King's 1960s hit "Stand by me".

After the ceremony, the newlyweds are expected to greet some of the 1,200 members of the public invited into the castle grounds before starting a carriage procession through Windsor.

A reception will be held in the castle's St George's Hall before 200 guests join the couple at an evening event at the nearby Frogmore House mansion.

Harry and Meghan will carry out their first official engagement as husband and wife next week.

The British remain broadly supportive of the monarchy, albeit with a sense of mild irony about the pomp and pageantry that accompanies it, though most have deep respect for Queen Elizabeth after her 66 years of service as head of state.

Harry, along with brother William and his wife Kate, are at the forefront of efforts to modernise the monarchy by talking openly about their feelings.

"It is patently obvious - the more you say, the more you can be examined," said royal historian Hugo Vickers. "Everything moves on gradually - but there are certain risks, and there is a lot to be said for maintaining the mystique."

Photo courtesy of Reuters









5/19/2018 1:58:51 PM