<![CDATA[rss-News]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[News]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Trump pushing Afghan president to close Taliban office in Qatar]]>
Ghani is expected to agree to the closure, but a final decision has not yet been reached. The issue was raised at a meeting between the two leaders on Thursday.

The Afghan leadership sees the 36-strong informal delegation in Doha – which the Taliban calls its ‘political office’ – as doing nothing to facilitate peace talks, merely conferring political legitimacy on a group Kabul views as no more than a tool of Pakistan.

Trump is said to be hostile to the maintenance of the Taliban office for several reasons. He portrays it as a failed initiative of his predecessor that had not led to the peace negotiations Barack Obama had hoped for. Meanwhile, the Saudi and Emirati monarchies have been pressuring for its closure since its inception, seeing it as a symbol of Doha’s diplomatic prestige and US-Qatari ties.

A request to close the office would have to be formally initiated by Kabul, but the ultimate decision would lie with the Qatari government.

According to one source close to the diplomatic exchanges, the office has become collateral damage of the continuing Saudi-Qatari standoff.

Saudi Arabia and three other countries - Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates – have been locked in a dispute with Qatar since June because of claims that Qatar supports Iran and Islamists and funds terrorism. Qatar has denied the claims.

Trump has offered to mediate in that dispute while indicating strongly he shared Riyadh’s view of the dispute. The US president is believed to have raised the issue of the Taliban office at a meeting last Tuesday with the emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

In February, Ghani told the Qatari foreign minister during a security conference in Munich that the Taliban office should be closed.

It is not known whether Tamim agreed to close the office, but he is eager to cultivate support from Washington at a time when his country has been subjected to a crippling economic blockade by neighbours.]]>
9/26/2017 2:25:21 PM
<![CDATA[Attackers shoot 3 women, 2 men to death at house in Mexico]]>
The Puebla state prosecutors' office says the women ranged in age from 16 to 23. The men were 24 and 41.

There was no immediate information on motive. But the prosecutor's office said Monday that the shooting happened at a house in the city of Huauchinango where officials found packages of marijuana after the attack.

Puebla has seen an increase in violence related to drugs, fuel theft and robbery from trains.]]>
9/26/2017 2:16:24 PM
<![CDATA[BBC launches new Korean language service]]>
The service, a part of the BBC's biggest global expansion since the 1940s, will have a dedicated team of journalists in Seoul, London and Washington.

"Audiences in the Korean peninsula and Korean speakers around the world can now hear radio broadcasts and access the latest news online," the BBC World Service said in a statement.

"BBC News Korean will build on the long-standing reputation for fairness and impartiality the BBC World Service has earned all over the world," said Francesca Unsworth, director of the BBC World Service.

A BBC World Service spokesman said without giving further details that monitoring by the BBC had shown that "at least part" of the new broadcasts were getting through to North Korea despite "jamming".

The service is broadcast on shortwave for three hours a day and one hour on medium wave, seven days a week.

The BBC in its statement provided the times for the transmissions both in Seoul and Pyongyang.

Listeners could face heavy punishment for tuning in in North Korea, which was ranked the second worst country in the world for censorship after Turkmenistan by US human rights group Freedom House.

Korean is one of 12 new BBC services being rolled out this year thanks to a £291 million (332 million euro, $393 million) grant from the British government, including broadcasts in Pidgin, Punjabi and Yoruba.]]>
9/26/2017 2:13:25 PM
<![CDATA[Food aid, face masks dispatched to Bali as 75,000 flee volcano]]>
Mount Agung, 75 kilometres (47 miles) from the resort hub of Kuta, has been rumbling since August and threatening to erupt for the first time since 1963 -- a potential blow to the country's lucrative tourism industry.

Increasingly frequent tremors show that the molten magma is still rising towards the surface, with the mountain entering a "critical phase", said the national disaster mitigation agency.

It said the number fleeing their homes had increased as fears grow that the mountain could blow.

"The local mitigation agency reported that until 12 pm Tuesday, the number has reached 75,673 people, spread across 377 evacuation centres in nine districts," said agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Around 62,000 people lived in the danger zone before the evacuations, according to the agency, but residents just outside the area have also left as a precaution.

"The number is expected to continue to rise," Nugroho said.

The Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation said there has been an increase in volcanic tremors, with a total of 564 recorded Monday.

Evacuees have packed into temporary shelters or moved in with relatives. Some 2,000 cows have also been evacuated from the flanks of the volcano.

President Joko Widodo was due to visit crammed evacuation centres in Bali on Tuesday afternoon.

Balinese residents, international NGOs and the central government have begun organising aid.

Vehicles loaded with noodles, mineral water and blankets have been sent to the evacuation centres, while residents around the island have been collecting donations.

Bali's "sister village" programme and tradition of communal assistance means evacuees have been able to stay in villages outside the danger zone.

I Ketut Subandi, head of logistics at the village of Tana Ampo, said basic food items like rice, instant noodles, cooking oil and water were most needed.

"This morning we were worried because we had limited rice supply, but now we have received more rice stocks from donors," Subandi said.

Indonesia's national disaster agency has sent 640,000 face masks, 12,500 mattresses, 8,400 blankets and 50 tents. The central government has a relief fund totalling nearly $150 million to meet the cost of natural disasters, which could be tapped in case of an eruption.

Officials announced the highest possible alert level on Friday due to the increasing volcanic activity and warned people to stay at least nine kilometres away from the crater.

Operators have cancelled trekking tours on the mountain but officials have otherwise been at pains to assure tourists the island is safe.

The airport in Bali's capital Denpasar, through which millions of foreign tourists pass every year, has not been affected, but several countries including Australia and Singapore have issued a travel advisory.

Flights to and from the island have not been interrupted but airlines are watching the situation closely.

Virgin Australia said it would be making an extra fuel stop in Darwin for some of its flights between Australia and Bali in case it is forced to turn back.

Singapore Airlines said customers travelling between September 23 and October 2 could rebook flights or ask for a refund.

Mount Agung is one of more than 120 active volcanoes extending the length of Indonesia, which straddles the Pacific Ring of Fire.

It last erupted in 1963, killing nearly 1,600 people and sending ash as far as the capital Jakarta.]]>
9/26/2017 2:11:03 PM
<![CDATA[1st Saudi-Sudanese trade forum kicks off in Khartoum]]>
The forum is co-organized by the Federation of Sudanese Chambers of Commerce and the Saudi Export Development Authority.

The Sudanese ministers of trade, international cooperation and investment were present at the event, along with the Saudi ambassador in Khartoum and the head of Saudi Export Development Authority.

The economic gathering is a positive step toward boosting economic and trade relations between Saudi Arabia and Sudan, Sudanese National Chamber of Importers CEO Mohammed Abbas Gadallah told MENA correspondent.

He added that the forum includes working sessions to discuss aspects and mechanisms of cooperation, as well as means of removing obstacles facing the movement of goods between Saudi Arabia and Sudan.]]>
9/26/2017 2:06:30 PM
<![CDATA[Winter Olympics will be safe despite nuclear threat:South Korea]]>
The Pyeongchang Winter Games will be held from February 9-25 only 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the heavily guarded border with the nuclear-armed North.

French and Austrian officials last week raised the prospect of not sending athletes as US and North Korean leaders intensified their war of words.

Seoul's foreign ministry played down the security fears, saying it is working through diplomatic channels to reassure the participants.

"The South Korean government is doing its utmost to ensure that the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and Paralympics will be safe," said ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-Duk.

"As of now, no country has officially said it will not participate."

Tensions have soared following Pyongyang's sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3, which triggered a heated volley of threats and personal insults between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

Trump has threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea, while Kim hit back with a personal attack on Trump -- branding him "mentally deranged" and warning he would pay dearly for his threats.

In the latest episode of the saga, the North's foreign minister claimed on Monday that Trump's latest comments amounted to a declaration of war.

But the head of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Lee Hee-Beom said earlier this month there was no "plan B" to move the Games and next year's event would have "perfect security" despite the nuclear tensions.

The South has successfully staged several international sporting events including the 2002 football World Cup despite decades of military tensions on the peninsula.

The 1988 Seoul summer Olympics took place only months after a bomb planted by North Korean agents killed all 115 people on board a South Korean plane, in an apparent attempt to scare off foreign spectators and contestants.]]>
9/26/2017 1:57:47 PM
<![CDATA[Iranian Kurds march in support of independence vote in northern Iraq]]>
Iranian officials and media have denounced Monday's vote as a threat to regional stability, adding to pressure from Baghdad, threats from Iran and Turkey, and international warnings that it may ignite yet more conflict in the Mideast.

Undaunted by years of official suppression of dissent, residents in a number of mainly Kurdish cities in northwestern Iran danced in circles as night fell on Monday, chanting slogans praising Kurdish nationalist movements.

Videos posted on social media showed drivers beeping their car horns in celebration and people clapping in the cities of Marivan and Baneh. Many wore masks so as not to be identified by the security forces.

About 30 million ethnic Kurds are scattered across the region but have no country of their own. With 8 to 10 million living in Iran, Tehran fears pressure for secession will grow among a minority which has a long history of struggle for its political rights.

A strong police presence tried to control the celebrating crowd. There were reports of clashes between the demonstrators and security forces in the cities of Mahabad and Sanandaj.

In Sanandaj the crowd waved the flag of Kurdistan, a banned symbol for the Kurds' desire for independence.

"This referendum will encourage Iranian Kurds to be more determined to seek their rights," said Zaribar, a Marivan resident and member of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, a secular armed group which launches periodic attacks in Iran.

"This referendum was not a threat to Iraq's neighbours, but it's a starting point to resolve the issues of Kurds, especially in Iran," added Zaribar, who declined to give his full name.

Tehran announced a ban on direct flights to and from Iraqi Kurdistan on Sunday at the request of the central government in Baghdad and called for a land blockade of the autonomous region by all neighbouring countries.

The fighter jets of the Iranian army flew over western provinces of Iran as part of a military drill, including the Kurdish cities of Sardasht and Oshnavieh.


Although many Iranian Kurds would like to copy the referendum model, the road to autonomy or independence would be more difficult under the Islamic Republic's theocratic rule and its military might.

The Revolutionary Guards have put down unrest in Kurdish areas for decades, and the hardline judiciary has sentenced many activists to long jail terms or death.

Iran sent Guards Commander Qassem Soleimani to northern Iraq last week in a failed final effort to persuade the Kurdistan regional government from holding the referendum.

The result has yet to be announced but is expected to be a resounding "yes" to independence.

One Kurd from Baneh, who gave his name as Arbaba, said he was exhilarated "from the bottom of my heart for victory in the referendum". However, he was worried it would increase pressure on Iranian Kurds to prevent them from going down the same path. "The Iranian regime will militarise the Kurdish areas even more," Arbaba said.

For the Iranian state the referendum of the Kurds' demand for state of their own was a "Zionist plot" aimed at bringing instability to the region.

"This view that a wandering scattered nation would only find peace if they find a homeland, was the core philosophy for creation of Israel," wrote the Kayhan, a hardline newspaper closely associated with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iranian cleric Abolfazl Najafi Tehrani criticised the historic treatment of the Kurds across the region.

"Unfortunately in Iraq, Iran and Turkey, the central governments have not provided Kurds and other residents of border areas with welfare facilities and economic development they deserve," Najafi, a political activist, told Reuters from Tehran. "That is why Kurds do not want the rule of any central governments."]]>
9/26/2017 1:54:54 PM
<![CDATA[Russian MoD builds Euphrates bridge in Syria for transportation services]]>
"We used unmanned aerial vehicles. During the installation work, explosive substances and grenades were falling on us from above. Nevertheless, we had no losses — no wounded, no victims. Everything was done on time," Burovtsev said.

Moreover, according to Burovtsev, the bridge will also be used to deliver humanitarian aid to liberated villages and evacuate wounded people. Prior to construction of the bridge only some units of the Syrian army were able to cross the river.

The total length of the crossing is nearly 700 feet, while the capacity is 8,000 vehicles per day.]]>
9/26/2017 1:51:01 PM
<![CDATA[Japan kills 177 whales in Pacific campaign: government]]>
Three ships which left port in June returned with 43 minke whales and 134 sei whales, the number stipulated beforehand, according to the country's fisheries agency.

Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) moratorium on hunting, but exploits a loophole which allows whales to be killed in the name of scientific research.

The studies are "necessary to estimate the precise number of (sustainable) catches as we look to restart commercial whaling", agency official Kohei Ito told AFP.

Norway -- which does not consider itself bound by the 1986 moratorium -- and Iceland are the only countries in the world that authorise commercial whaling.

Tokyo claims it is trying to prove the whale population is large enough to sustain a return to commercial hunting for a traditional source of food.

But Japanese consumer demand for whale meat has declined significantly over the years, raising the question of whether such hunts still make economic sense.

Foreign pressure on Japan to stop whaling has only made conservatives and politicians more resolute about continuing. It is a rare thorny issue in Tokyo's otherwise amiable diplomacy.

In 2014 the United Nations' International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Tokyo to end a regular hunt in the Antarctic waters, saying the project did not meet conventional scientific standards.

Japan cancelled its 2014-15 hunt, only to resume it the following year under a new programme -- saying the fresh plan is genuinely scientific.

Its hunt in the Antarctic has seen clashes on the high seas between Japanese whalers and animal rights activists.]]>
9/26/2017 1:49:14 PM
<![CDATA[Military production companies aim at 100% locally made products]]>
The ministry aims at encouraging citizens to trust the Egyptian industry, he said.

This came during the inauguration of the military production outlet in Helwan after renovating it internally and externally.

The ministry has a plan to renovate 22 outlets for selling civil products all over Egypt.

Assar asserted that refurbishing this outlet is part of a comprehensive renovation plan of the outlets within 2017.

This is the second outlet to be inaugurated after opening Heliopolis’ one in May.

Assar said a hotline number was allocated for after-sales service.]]>
9/26/2017 1:28:48 PM
<![CDATA[Israeli occupation forces imposes curfew on Beit Surik village in al Quds]]>
Mo'tasem al Munf, a member of Beit Surik municipality, said the Israeli occupants stormed the village and closed down its entrances, imposing a curfew on the whole village.

Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation troops stormed a clinic affiliated to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and ordered its closure.

The occupation forces also closed down the entrances of Beit Aqsa village in the neighborhood as part of their punitive measures against Palestinians following the morning attack.]]>
9/26/2017 1:21:52 PM
<![CDATA[Spain rejects Kurdistan independence referendum]]>
Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim el Jaafari met with his Spanish counterpart Alfonso Dastis on the sidelines of the 72nd round of UNGA in New York.

Dastis asserted his country’s support for Iraq and rejection of the independence referendum.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar el Abadi announced his rejection of the results of the referendum.]]>
9/26/2017 1:19:06 PM
<![CDATA[Israel to solely bear consequences of occupation crimes against Palestinians]]>
In statements on Tuesday, Jaghoub said if Israel proceeds with its aggression against the Palestinians, more violence will take place.

Israel has to be well aware of the consequences of choosing the option of violence, destroying houses, killing Palestinians and storming into Aqsa Mosque.

He called on Israel to end the occupation of the Palestinian territories.]]>
9/26/2017 1:06:29 PM
<![CDATA[Kenyan police use tear gas, batons to disperse opposition protesters]]>
Several volleys of tear gas were fired at protestors near the election commission headquarters in central Nairobi, a Reuters witness said. When they regrouped, security officers fired more tear gas and beat some of them with batons.

Raila Odinga, who lost his bid to be elected president on Aug. 8 will get another chance when the vote is re-run after the Supreme Court annulled the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta, citing irregularities.

The court ruling on Sept. 1 said a repeat election should be held within 60 days, but Odinga has said he would not participate in the re-run scheduled for Oct. 26 if officials at the election board are not sacked and prosecuted.

Supporters of the opposition National Super Alliance coalition marched in several cities across the country on Tuesday.]]>
9/26/2017 1:02:19 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt concerned over possible repercussions of Kurds referendum]]>
The statement said that “Egypt stressed the importance that all parties exercise restraint and not take any unilateral measures that might further complicate the situation, lead to destabilizing Iraq, and fuel atmosphere of chaos and tension in the region.” 

Egypt has also highlighted the importance of Iraqi people’s unity and cohesion in order to successfully combat terrorism and liberate Iraqi cities, which were formerly controlled by the Islamic State terrorist group.  

The statement also affirmed the “importance of pushing forward the constructive dialogue as the basis to reach a comprehensive and satisfactory settlement on the outstanding issues between Baghdad and Erbil.” 

It also added that Egypt adheres to the unity of Iraq and its territorial integrity. 
Egypt, as well as many other countries, has clearly rejected the referendum carried out by millions of Kurds in northern Iraq on Monday. 

International escalation against the referendum, which Kurdistan insists on conducting, has been witnessed over the past weeks, with neighboring countries warning of possible military interference and furthering boycotting measures if the referendum is held.]]>
9/26/2017 12:42:39 PM
<![CDATA[Kuwait totally supports maintaining Iraq's unity, stability: deputy FM]]>
Al Jarallah was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a reception hosted by Saudi Embassy to celebrate the Kingdom's 87th national day that falls on September 23.

Commenting on the referendum on independence of Iraq's Kurdistan region held on Monday, he said: "We hope that the referendum would neither breach Iraq's constitution and unity, nor damage the relations between Baghdad and Irbil."

"We also hope that the polls will not hamper the tremendous efforts being made by Iraq to free its territories from the grip of terrorists," he noted.

Al Jarallah affirmed that countries inside the region and beyond are working together to de-escalate the tensions between Baghdad and Irbil in order to avoid any adverse impacts of the referendum.]]>
9/26/2017 12:28:41 PM
<![CDATA[Body of "fattest woman in world" arrives from Abu Dhabi]]>
Abdulati died on Monday in the UAE during her treatment trip. Her condition seriously deteriorated during her last 24 hours.

The UAE Burjeel hospital announced her death yesterday due to excessive obesity, including heart disease and kidney failure.]]>
9/26/2017 12:23:26 PM
<![CDATA[93% of voters support Kurdistan Independence:electoral commission]]>
Alsumaria news quoted the independent commission as saying that while vote counting was still running, initial results show that 93 percent of voters support independence, compared to 6.71 percent objecting.

Those are the results achieved after counting 282,000 ballots, according to the commission.

A representative of the commission said, however, that results can still change as the counting continues, with results slated for announcement on Thursday.

It said nearly 3.3 million voters, out of 5.2 eligibles, took part in the polls, putting turnout at an estimated 72.16 percent.

On Monday, Kurds headed to polling stations to attend the polls rejected by the Arab-led central government in Baghdad, the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and regional powers Turkey and Iran.]]>
9/26/2017 12:18:05 PM
<![CDATA[Pakistan's ex-PM Sharif stands trial before anti-corruption court]]>
His court appearance comes a day after he returned home from London, where he visited his wife who is being treated there, the ABC News reported.

Some Sharif followers started chanting slogans in his support inside the courtroom, annoying the judge, Mohammad Bashir, who then asked Pakistan's three-time premier to leave as his lawyers were there to represent him.

Sharif was disqualified on July 28 by the Supreme Court following a probe that determined he had concealed financial assets.

The corruption case had stemmed from documents leaked from a Panama law firm, which appeared to show that senior officials, including Sharif, had undisclosed assets.

Some independent analysts criticized the decision as it has been issued from one side upon the army's order that has been controlling Pakistan for a long time and still exerts influence.]]>
9/26/2017 12:16:22 PM
<![CDATA[Iraq refuses talks with Kurdistan about independence referendum results]]>
"We are not ready to discuss or have a dialogue about the results of the referendum because it is unconstitutional," Abadi said in a speech broadcast on state TV on Monday night.

Masoud Barzani's KRG says the referendum is not binding and was meant to be a legitimate mandate to negotiate with Baghdad and neighboring countries over the secession of the Kurdish-controlled region from Iraq.

The vote was expected to deliver a comfortable "yes", and final results should be announced in 72 hours.]]>
9/26/2017 12:13:34 PM
<![CDATA[Abu al-Gheit regrets Iraqi Kurdish referendum]]>
In his statement, Abu al-Gheit assured that it’s still possible “to contain and control the implications of this procedure [referendum], if all of the involved parties committed to wisdom and responsibility.”

The statement also referred to the resolution adopted by the League of Arab on September 12, regarding support the unity, sovereignty and independence of Iraq, along with the necessity of respecting its constitution.

Abu al-Gheit called all Arab parties within Iraq for a national comprehensive dialogue with national and Arabian guarantees in order to avoid any possible clash that might put Iraq’s stability and security at risk.

On Monday, Iraqi Kurds voted for an independence referendum, seeking more international pressure and support for their attempts to secede from Iraq, and despite not being internationally welcomed, Kurds were nevertheless determined on carrying out the referendum. ]]>
9/26/2017 12:10:23 PM
<![CDATA[Four Israeli settlers injured in northern Jerusalem attack, attacker killed on spot]]>
According to an initial report by the occupation forces, a Palestinian young man approached the town's gate posing as a laborer then he opened fire on and stabbed a number of Israeli settlers in the town of Har Adar.

Four Israeli settlers received various injuries while the Palestinian man was reportedly neutralized and shot on spot.

Large numbers of Israeli occupation police, army and ambulances rushed to the accident scene.]]>
9/26/2017 12:01:00 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt Support Coalition runs elections for top post in Oct.]]>
The coalition comprises 317 parliament members; of which 216 are independent, and 101 are affiliated with seven parties that are Homat El Watan, Misr Balady, Mostaqbal Watan, El Moatamar, El Shaab El Gomhoury, El Horeya, and Misr El Haditha. The coalition was founded in 2015 following the parliamentary elections.

The coalition’s current leader is businessman Mohamed El Seweidy, and he is running for a second term which would last for three more years.

9/26/2017 10:52:14 AM
<![CDATA[Cypriot, Greek experts in Egypt to discuss ways of cooperation ]]>
The workshop provided innovative ideas and joint researches to translate such partnership and common projects among the three Eastern Mediterranean countries.

Nabil Fahmy, Dean of School of Global Affairs at American University in Cairo (AUC), delivered the opening address stressing that there is a need to more commercial agreements to make a link between Eastern Mediterranean and Europe.

“Renewable energy is the only solution for the future. We can integrate all types of energy to renewable, adding Zafarana area is one of the resource of Egypt renewable energy,” said Amr Serag Eldin, a professor at the Department of Petroleum in AUC.

For his part, Theodoros Tskiris, a professor of Energy policy in University of Nicosia (UNIC,) pointed out that we have expectations to increase our volume of Petroleum through Zohr Field, and that there are other areas in Egypt and Cyprus that needed to be discovered.

The workshop also discussed critical issues that our region faces and that poses a big need for more and more cooperation to confront and overcome these challenges.
The experts confirmed that these challenges can be a great opportunity to do a lot of joint projects especially in the field of petroleum and security.

It is expected that the fifth round of trilateral summit between Cyprus, Egypt and Greece will be held next November in Nicosia to discuss means of supporting and enhancing relations between the three countries.
9/26/2017 9:10:55 AM
<![CDATA[Facebook, Google bound to change handling of political ads]]>
Speaking at a trade conference, the marketers seized on allegations that Russian operatives bought U.S. political ads on Facebook as evidence that the sector cannot go on being unregulated.

"I think there will be more scrutiny, and there better be more self-regulation. Otherwise, I think regulation will be coming," Brent McGoldrick, a political ad consultant and a Republican, said at Advertising Week New York.

Last week, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg vowed to do more to deter governments from using Facebook to manipulate elections in other countries, after the company disclosed $100,000 in Russian ad purchases in the months before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The 3,000 ads included some that highlighted support for Democrat Hillary Clinton among Muslim women, as well as others that showed a deep understanding of U.S. social divides, the Washington Post reported on Monday.

Facebook shares ended down 4.5 percent on Monday, closing at $162.87, as some investors worried the tech sector had become too expensive.

Zuckerberg has also unveiled sweeping changes to how his company handles political ads, saying it would make them visible to all users regardless of whom the ads target.

Andrew Capone, senior vice president of NCC Media, a cable trade group, joked on Monday's panel that during the 2016 election campaign, "Facebook took in over 300 million rubles - I'm sorry, dollars."

McGoldrick said on the panel: "If I were Facebook and Google and everyone else, I would be developing a code of conduct and a set of criteria. They may already exist, but obviously it's not either robust enough or transparent enough."

Google has said it has no evidence on its ad platform of a Russian propaganda campaign like the one Facebook found.

The two Silicon Valley firms are set to take a combined 63 percent of the U.S. market this year, according to research firm eMarketer.

Though Facebook and Google have for years resisted regulation of political ads, congressional investigators and U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller have helped to change the situation, said Jefrey Pollock, president of public relations firm Global Strategy Group.

"Things change with a subpoena," Pollock, a Democrat, said as part of the panel.]]>
9/26/2017 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt, China discuss implementation of Ain Sokhna-Al Alamein railway line]]>
The two sides reviewed the proposed route of the line, which comprises five main stations; namely Ain Sokhna, administrative capital, 6th of October, Alexandria and Al Alamein, as well as six sub stations.

The minister asked the Chinese delegation to make some adjustments to the proposed project so that the speed would be increased to 250 km/h instead of 160 km/h and an Alexandria/Borg el Arab line would be added to the first phase and transformed into a double electric line.

The line will be for passengers and goods and will be connected in an exchange station in 6th of October with another line to reach Aswan.]]>
9/26/2017 5:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Woman becomes first US Marine Corps infantry officer]]>
Many women serve in the Marines and other branches of America's armed forces but the woman, who has requested that her name not be released, is the first to make it through the Marine Corps' 13-week infantry officer training course.

"I am proud of this officer and those in her class," Marine Corps commandant General Robert Neller said.

"Marines expect and rightfully deserve competent and capable leaders, and these (Infantry Officer Course) graduates met every training requirement as they prepare for the next challenge of leading infantry Marines; ultimately, in combat," Neller added.

As an infantry officer, the woman, a lieutenant, will be assigned to lead a platoon of around 40 Marines. She will join the 1st Marine Division in Camp Pendleton, California, the Marines said.

A total of 131 Marines started the infantry officer training course in July and 88 graduated on Monday in Quantico, Virginia, the Marine Corps said.

Three dozen female Marine Corps officers had previously signed up for the infantry training program but failed to finish, according to the Marine Corps Times.

On its Twitter feed, the Marine Corps released a video showing the woman taking part in exercises in the mountains alongside male infantry officer candidates.

Women make up about 15 percent of the nearly 1.4 million active duty troops in the US armed forces.

Former president Barack Obama opened up all military positions to women, including combat units, in March 2016.

Women were previously technically barred from combat, but thousands of American servicewomen saw fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq nonetheless.

The Marines have been seen as the branch of the US military that has been the least accepting of women in combat roles and the infantry plays a special role in the lore of the Corps.

Earlier this year, the Marine Corps was rocked by the revelation of a secret Facebook group called "Marines United" where nude pictures of female Marines were posted without their consent.

In 2015, two women became the first to graduate from the US Army's elite Ranger School.

In July, a woman reportedly applied to become a member of the celebrated Navy SEALs but dropped out before completing the selection program.

9/26/2017 5:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[UAE vice president praises significant economic growth in Egypt]]>
Sheikh Mohammed welcomed President Sisi, emphasizing the strength of the brotherly relations between the two countries and its people, the UAE official news agency reported.

The UAE vice president exchanged talks with the Egyptian President on a number of bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest, stressing the importance of strengthening friendly ties and cooperation between the UAE and Egypt at various levels.

Sheikh Mohammed praised role played by Egypt, particularly about regional security, safeguarding Arab interests, and working to consolidate the foundations of peace and stability within the region.

He also lauded the remarkable economic growth witness by Egypt, and its progressive development in its public services across Egyptian governorates and cities, providing the best possible living standards for its citizens.

During the meeting, Sheikh Mohammed also reiterated the importance of strengthening solidarity between the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to reaffirm the values of peace, tolerance and stability in region, and combating extremism, fanaticism, and terrorism both regionally and globally. ]]>
9/26/2017 4:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Seoul urges US to avoid 'further escalation' with N. Korea]]>
"It is very likely that North Korea will conduct further provocations," South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said in a speech in Washington.

"It is imperative that we, Korea and the US together, manage the situation... in order to prevent further escalation of tensions or any kind of accidental military clashes which can quickly go out of control."

9/26/2017 4:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[PM affirms determination to complete reform policy in all fields]]>
The premier told reporters that a decision was issued to constantly stop the import of sugar as the country has a sufficient storage.

Ismail said that shares of the Engineering Co. for the Petroleum and Process Industries (Enppi) would be enlisted in the Egyptian stock exchange.

He added that the ministers of transport and public business sector are planned to prepare lists of companies in their sectors to be enlisted in the bourse.

The premiere said new appointments of bank heads would be announced within a week.

On his meeting with a British delegation under UK trade envoy to Egypt Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Ismail said they discussed topics related to the economic reform, the investment climate and the participation of a number of companies in many projects in Egypt.]]>
9/26/2017 3:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Mexico teaches quake volunteers not to make things worse]]>
Professional rescuers warned of chaos in the dangerous rubble piles, saying blundering volunteers could cause further collapse in unstable structures.

"You don't save lives with your heart, you save them with organization," said rescue worker Juan Carlos Gutierrez, his voice rising almost to a shout.

So far the volunteers, helping professional rescue workers, have dragged more than 100 people out of the ruins left by the September 19 quake that caused widespread destruction across Mexico City.

But, seeing the risks they pose, a dozen groups of so-called "moles" -- as the diggers who burrow their way into collapsed buildings are known -- organized courses for would-be volunteers.

These cover everything from how to master their emotions to the rapid extraction of people and the removal of valuables from the ruins.

- 'Everyone wants to be a hero' -

The enthusiastic volunteers, ranging in age from the very old to the very young, start their free, eight-hour course with the basics.

"So, how fast should we be walking?" Gutierrez asked his class as they began their course under the hot sun.

"At 120 paces a minute, or 130 paces a minute if we are told to speed up," said one of the volunteers, notebook in hand.

Gutierrez, a short, heavyset man, intoned in a quasi-military tone: "There's no point running!"

Other instructors reminded recruits that despite completing the course, their task will not be to lift debris or take people out of the ruins, tasks that demand a higher level of training.

"One of our volunteers said he had experience and then rappelled down a rope and started hitting a wall with a mallet, it was a disaster," said Brandon Cid, one of the trainers at the Parque Bicentenario, which saw 650 people take part in the first day, with another 400 on the waiting list.

"Be careful! Instead of helping, we can become part of the problem," the instructors kept reminding volunteers.

"Everyone wants to be a hero in a situation like this and that's not good," said Dia Ordaz, a volunteer who had signed up for a class.

Ordaz, a 36-year-old teacher, said there were multiple hazards in the work, including "gas leaks, haywire traffic, clashes between people."

With tears in his eyes, he recalled the "marvel" of so many volunteers showing up by foot or on motorbike not only in the rubble piles but also to distribute aid to victims on foot, or by bicycle and motorbike.

"Yes, it is frightening, but when they say there is someone in the rubble, it's impressive to see how thousands of people can show up to help one person, no matter who it is," he said.

- Not everyone helps -

In the minutes immediately after the quake, hundreds of people formed human chains to remove, stone by stone, fallen walls, staircases and roofs.

"Unfortunately not everyone helped" and "we saw the risks that were created, and people had to learn that you can't help simply with your heart," Gutierrez told AFP.

"We already have lives at risk and people in danger, and we can't have any more added to that," said the rescue worker who had also pulled people from the ruins during the even more devastating earthquake that rocked Mexico City on the same day, September 19, 1985.

He also helped rescue efforts in the quake that hit Oaxaca and Chiapas in the southeast of the country on September 7.

As of Wednesday, most of the rescue workers had been placed under the supervision of the Mexican Marines, but there were also expert experts deployed from Israel, the United States, Japan, Spain and Germany, as well as other countries.]]>
9/26/2017 3:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[UAE hails Egypt's role in safeguarding Arab national security]]>
Sheikh Mohammed welcomed President Sisi, emphasizing the strength of relations between the two countries and its people, the spokesman added.

The UAE vice president praised the role played by Egypt, particularly about regional security, safeguarding Arab interests, and working to consolidate the foundations of peace and stability within the region.

He also lauded the remarkable economic growth witnessed by Egypt, and its progressive development in its public services across Egyptian governorates and cities.

For his part, Sisi hailed Dubai for being a model for achieving sustainable development in the Arab region.

He lauded distinguished relations linking Egypt and the UAE.

The talks dealt with ways to boost friendly ties and cooperation at all levels, as well as recent regional developments and issues of common concern.]]>
9/26/2017 3:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ad campaign against Qatar’s terror support launched in New York]]>
The unidentified campaign coincided with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani’s visit to the United States to participate in the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly.

Qatar had launched an advertisement campaign in London last month using black cabs that were painted with the Qatari flag and slogans calling for ending the boycott imposed by Arab countries against Qatar.

More than three months ago, the Gulf has been hit by its biggest diplomatic crisis in years after Arab nations including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of destabilising the region with its support for Islamist groups.

The Arab quartet halted all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, and withdrew their diplomats and ambassadors from the Qatari peninsula. The Arab quartet issued 13 demands to Doha – then shortened to six principles - including closing Al Jazeera television, curbing relations with Iran and shutting a Turkish military base.
9/26/2017 3:21:56 AM
<![CDATA[Puerto Rico evacuates area near crumbling dam, asks for aid]]>
Much of the Caribbean island, a U.S. territory with a population of 3.4 million, is still without electricity five days after Maria struck with ferocious winds and torrential rains, the most powerful hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in nearly a century.

There have been growing concerns for some 70,000 people who live in the river valley below the Guajataca Dam in the island's northwest, where cracks were seen on Friday in the 88-year-old earthen structure.

Rossello said he was working on the assumption that the 120-foot (35-meter) dam would collapse.

"I'd rather be wrong on that front than doing nothing and having that fail and costing people lives," he said in an interview with CNN. "Most of the people in the near vicinity have evacuated."

It was unclear if the governor was saying that most of the 70,000 valley inhabitants had left the area, or only the several hundred people living in the small towns closest to the dam. About 320 people from those towns have moved to safety, according to local media.

The fear of a potentially catastrophic dam break added to the immense task facing disaster relief authorities after Maria, which was the second major hurricane to strike the Caribbean this month. The storm killed at least 29 people in the region, at least 10 of those in Puerto Rico, which was already battling an economic crisis.

Rossello said that before the storms struck, he had been embarking on an aggressive fiscal agenda that included more than $1.5 billion in cuts.

"This is a game changer," he told CNN. "This is a completely different set of circumstances. This needs to be taken into consideration otherwise there will be a humanitarian crisis."


Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Tom Bossert, senior adviser to the Department of Homeland Security, met with Rossello on Monday.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters in Washington that the administration was engaged in a fact-finding process to figure out how much help Puerto Rico needs.

"The federal response has been anything but slow," Sanders said at the daily briefing. "In fact, there's been an unprecedented push through of billions of dollars in federal assistance that the administration has fought for."

Many structures on Puerto Rico, including hospitals, remain badly damaged and flooded, with clean drinking water hard to find in some areas. Few planes have been able to land or take off from damaged airports.

The storm has also put a big strain on PREPA, the island's electricity utility, which declared bankruptcy in July after accumulating a $9 billion debt and years of underinvestment.

From preliminary FEMA reports, it is estimated that 55 percent of transmission towers may be down, and that more than 90 percent of the distribution system could have been destroyed.

More than 91 percent of Puerto Rico's cellphone sites are also out of service, the Federal Communications Commission said.

There are more than 10,000 federal staff, including more than 700 people from FEMA, doing recovery work in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to FEMA.

The National Weather Service warned of further flash floods in the west of the island on Monday as thunderstorms moved in.

Maria would likely be downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm on Tuesday night, the National Hurricane Center said. As of 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) on Monday, the center said, it was about 300 miles (480 km) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, heading slowly north.

The storm was unlikely to hit the continental United States directly, but the NHC said large swells were affecting the U.S. East Coast. A tropical storm warning was in effect for much of the North Carolina coast and officials issued a mandatory evacuation order for visitors to Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks that went into effect at 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT) on Monday.]]>
9/26/2017 3:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[HCMR committee for presidential elections holds 1st meeting]]>
“The meeting will highlight key topics, including the Council’s commitment to guaranteeing equal opportunities to the presidential candidates, conducting and evaluating their complaints,” HCMR source said earlier.

Makram Mohamed Ahmed, the head of the Higher Council for Media Regulation (HCMR) pointed out, that the goal of the committee is to raise the amount of people voting. “We will only achieve our goals with the participation of the citizens,” Ahmed stated.

The Training Committee of the Council will hold training courses for journalists and media professionals who will cover the upcoming presidential elections. A source at the council said that the training program includes workshops that will be attended by media experts from inside and outside the council.
9/26/2017 3:08:15 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt tightens security restraints on Qatari visitors]]>
He announced that Egyptian passport holders require state security permit to travel to Turkey and Sudan.

Anwar stressed that Egyptians willing to visit Qatar will not need security authorization, while Qataris’ visa-free entry to Egypt has been halted – a measure taken against Doha only in the Gulf area.

Qatari nationals will now have to apply for a visa to enter Egypt, the assistant minister added.

The development comes more than three months after Egypt, along with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed an air, sea and land blockade on the country. The quartet accused Doha of supporting and hosting extremists and fugitives on its territories.

9/26/2017 3:04:20 AM
<![CDATA[Brazil to reinstate protection for Amazon reserve -source]]>
President Michel Temer's administration has decided to revoke an August decree abolishing the National Reserve of Copper and Associates (Renca), an area of roughly 17,800 square miles (46,100 square kilometers), or slightly larger than Denmark, where mining had been prohibited since 1984, the government source said.

The decision will be announced in the official gazette Tuesday, the person said, requesting anonymity as the decision was not public yet]]>
9/26/2017 2:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Police sentry shot dead in brawl with criminal's brother in Assiut]]>
A police force was patrolling a town in Assiut when it suspected three people on a tuk-tuk vehicle, the ministry said in a statement.

The three men opened fire at the force when it stopped them, the ministry said, adding the force returned fire, killing one and wounding another. The third fled.

The wounded man was admitted to hospital, and when his relatives tried to enter, a police sentry prevented them, it said.

A brawl erupted and the brother of the wounded man shot dead the sentry and fled, it added.

A manhunt was launched to arrest the two men.]]>
9/26/2017 1:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. citizen detained in Yemeni capital Sanaa -colleagues]]>
The Iran-aligned Houthis control much of northern Yemen, including Sanaa, and are battling a Saudi-led coalition that is trying to restore the internationally recognised government.

Nadia Burch told Reuters that her husband, Danny Lavon Burch, was seized on Saturday after taking his children to school. He had been working in Yemen since the late 1980s, currently with the oil company Safer, said Burch, a Yemeni.

"He has no problems or disputes with anyone, which is why he didn't leave as others did," she said. "I ask for the release of my husband and his safe return to me."

A U.S. State Department official said they were aware and concerned about the report.

The Houthi movement did not respond to a request for comment and the Safer oil company was also not immediately available for comment.

Two of Mr. Burch's colleagues in Sanaa said Houthi forces were responsible, without elaborating. But Nadia Burch said the kidnappers had not contacted her and she was unsure of their identity.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen's civil war. It began in March 2015 when the Houthis advanced on the interim headquarters of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in the southern port city of Aden, forcing him to flee the country and seek Saudi help.]]>
9/26/2017 1:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Turkey's Erdogan threatens oil flow from Iraq's Kurdish area]]>
Erdogan spoke shortly after Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Ankara could take punitive measures involving borders and air space against the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over the referendum and would not recognise the outcome.

Voting began on Monday despite strong opposition from Iraq's central government and neighbouring Turkey and Iran - both with significant Kurdish populations - as well as Western warnings the move could aggravate Middle East instability.

Erdogan, grappling with a long-standing Kurdish insurgency in Turkey's southeast, which borders northern Iraq, said the "separatist" referendum was unacceptable and economic, trade and security counter-measures would be taken.

He stopped short of saying Turkey had decided to close off the oil flow. Hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil a day come through the pipeline in Turkey from northern Iraq, but he made clear the option was on the table.

"After this, let's see through which channels the northern Iraqi regional government will send its oil, or where it will sell it," he said in a speech. "We have the tap. The moment we close the tap, then it's done."

Yildirim said Ankara would decide on punitive measures against the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) after talks with Iraq's central government.

"Our energy, interior and customs ministries are working on (measures). We are evaluating steps regarding border gates and air space. We will take these steps quickly," Yildirim told Turkish broadcasters.

Iraqi soldiers arrived in Turkey on Monday night to join a drill on the Turkish side of the border near the Habur area in the southeast, Turkey's military said in a statement. Iraq's defence ministry said the two armies started "major manoeuvres" at the border area.


Local media said Turkey had blocked access to the KRG via the Habur border crossing with Iraq. Ankara's customs minister denied this, saying Habur remained open but with tight controls on traffic, according to the state-run Anadolu agency.

However, Erdogan later said traffic was only being allowed to cross from the Turkish side of the border into Iraq.

Maruf Ari, a 50-year-old truck driver, was one of those who had crossed back into Turkey early on Monday morning. He said a closure of the gate would ruin his livelihood.

"If the border is closed it will harm all of us. I'm doing this job for 20 years. I'm not making a lot of money. Around 1,000 lira ($285) a month. But if the gate is closed, we will go hungry."

The United States and other Western powers also urged authorities in the KRG to cancel the vote, saying it would distract from the fight against Islamic State.

Shares of Turkish Airlines, which has direct flights to northern Iraq, tumbled 6.5 percent, underperforming a 1.78 percent decline in the BIST 100 index. Turkey's currency, the lira, also weakened.

Turkey took the Kurdish television channel Rudaw off its satellite service TurkSat, a Turkish broadcasting official told Reuters.

Turkey has long been northern Iraq's main link to the outside world, but sees the referendum as a grave matter for its own national security. Turkey has the region's largest Kurdish population and has been fighting a three-decade insurgency in its mainly Kurdish southeast.


On Saturday, Turkey's parliament voted to extend by a year a mandate authorising the deployment of troops in Iraq and Syria.

Still, Ankara is unlikely to make rash moves when it comes to sanctions against the KRG, said Nihat Ali Ozcan, a professor of political science and international relations at TOBB University of Economics and Technology.

"Closing the border gate, cancelling international flights and, at the final step, cutting the pipeline can be discussed," he said. "Military pressure can be used directly or indirectly."

The Turkish army launched military exercises involving tanks and armoured vehicles near the Habur border crossing a week ago and they are expected to continue until at least Sept. 26. Additional units joined the exercises as they entered their second stage

Turkey's military said in its statement that the third phase of the drill would be held on Sept. 26, and that Iraqi soldiers who arrived on Monday night would join.

The military has also in recent days carried out daily air strikes against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq, where the group's commanders are based.

The PKK launched its separatist insurgency in 1984, and more than 40,000 people have been killed since. It is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union.

Militants in northern Iraq launched a cross-border mortar attack into Turkey's Hakkari province, hitting a temporary residence used by refugees, the interior ministry said. One refugee was killed and several others were injured, it said.

In the eastern Agri province, near the border with Iran, individuals thought to be Kurdish militants opened fire on a mini-bus carrying foreign nationals, the ministry said. Three people were killed and four wounded in that attack, it said.]]>
9/26/2017 12:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[‘Youth Love Egypt’ to raise awareness about Fayoum reserves]]>
This comes as part of the role of civil society organizations in the government's involvement in awareness-raising and development in all different sectors.

The role of Youth Who Loves Egypt is providing its awareness and education with regard to environmental issues, and nature reserves in particular, the statement added.

"According to the protocol, the ministry is concerned with the provision of environmental researchers and transfers within the reserve," said Ahmed Fathi, president of Youth Who Love Egypt, which is concerned with designing and printing awareness-raising brochures on conservation literature.

Also, Youth Who Love Egypt are interested in devoting their efforts by providing their members for four days every week to work and volunteer within the protected areas to teach visitors about how to preserve them, as well as about their history and all information visitors might be looking for, the statement further mentioned.
9/25/2017 11:33:35 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi arrives in Dubai, meets with Mohamed bin Rashid]]>
Presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef said that Mohamed bin Rashid stressed on the critical, strong ties between the two countries and said that the UAE is keen on strengthening cooperation with Egypt to achieve regional stability and the values of peace and tolerance, rather than extremism and hate.

Mohamed bin Rashid praised the Egyptian efforts and Egypt’s national role with regard to Arab national security and protecting Arab interests. The meeting discussed bilateral relations and the means of enhancing mutual collaboration in various fields. They also reviewed a number of issues of mutual concern. The two countries agreed on the need to fight terrorism and stop its funding and political and media coverage.

Sisi praised the economic and social progress the UAE has achieved over the past years, which made Dubai a good model for sustainable development. He also praised the UAE’s permanent support for the will of the Egyptian people.

The meeting was attended by a number of Emirati ministers and high-level officials, including Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince, and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

"The UAE has topped the list of investing countries in Egypt, as they are currently investing a total value of $6.2 billion in 868 projects in the sectors of communications, banking, real estate development and tourism," Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Tarek Kabil said Monday.

9/25/2017 10:47:55 PM
<![CDATA[Mashrou' Leila’s concert sparks great controversy in Egypt]]>
Social media websites are wondering how this band received permission to hold this concert. People were demanding to know how official permission was given to hold a concert in which young people participated in a manner that contradicts Egyptian values. However, the Lebanese band is famous for acting contrary to values and ethics.

A senior security source said on Monday that the organizers of New Cairo’s concert, in which a number of youths promoted their homosexual orientation, had not obtained security permits.

Security forces arrested a person responsible for filming and promoting the concert on his Facebook page, the source said, adding that a number of people who raised the LGBT flags at the concert were identified, and measures are underway to arrest them.
In the same context, security services arrested seven homosexuals for inciting immorality and the promotion of homosexuality by raising gay and lesbian flags during the concert.

The source said the musicians’ syndicate will ban the band from performing any shows in Egypt in the future.
9/25/2017 10:41:20 PM
<![CDATA['They are not terrorists': witness defends jailed Turkey journalists]]>
Five top figures from the newspaper, which has been deeply critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, remain in custody, though the remainder are now free while on trial.

In a case that has caused an international outcry, the staff members are charged with supporting in their coverage three groups that Turkey considers terror groups.

These are the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the ultra-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), and the movement of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based preacher whom Ankara accuses of ordering last year's coup attempt.

The Turkish government calls the movement the Fethullah Terror Group (FETO).

Supporters of the paper say it has always taken a tough line against the three organisations and is being punished for being one of the few opposition voices in the Turkish media.

"I worked with them. I know their past. These colleagues cannot be terrorists, those friends cannot be FETO," defence witness Alev Coskun, a board member of the Cumhuriyet foundation and influential writer, told the court.

He also pointed to tensions at the newspaper under the editorship of Can Dundar, who in 2015 broke an explosive story claiming Turkey was sending arms to Syria, and who now lives in exile in Germany.

"This is a serious newspaper. It is not a newspaper where Can Dundar played games," Coskun said.

The staff members still in custody include some of the biggest names in Turkish journalism, and the court has so far resisted pressure to free them.

The paper's chairman Akin Atalay, influential columnist Kadri Gursel and editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu have been held behind bars for 330 days.

Investigative reporter Ahmet Sik, who wrote a book exposing the past ties of members of the Turkish elite to the Gulen movement, has been held for 269 days, and accountant Emre Iper for 173 days.

Earlier, a group of around 200 people gathered outside the Istanbul courthouse, carrying portraits of the journalists and banners with slogans "freedom for journalists" and "independent press cannot be silenced".

According to the P24 press freedom group, there are 171 journalists behind bars in Turkey, most of whom were arrested under the state of emergency imposed after the coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The country ranks 155 out of 180 on the latest world press freedom index by Reporters Without Borders.]]>
9/25/2017 10:22:11 PM
<![CDATA[Chelsea Manning barred from entering Canada]]>
Manning wrote on Twitter that "i guess canada has permanently banned me," posting an image of a document that described why she was denied entry.

The document said that Manning had committed a crime outside the country that "would equate to an indictable offense, namely treason" in Canada and which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment.

Committing a crime elsewhere that would carry a maximum sentence of at least 10 years in Canada is grounds for a person to be denied entry, the document said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined to comment "on any specific case" at a news conference, and said he looked "forward to seeing more details about this situation."

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 for leaking more than 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks three years earlier, when she was known as Bradley.

She served seven years, and twice tried to take her own life last year alone, before then-president Barack Obama commuted her sentence just days before he left office in January.

Manning was released from Fort Leavenworth's all-male prison in May.

During her incarceration, Manning battled for -- and won -- the right to start hormone treatment. She now has cropped blonde hair and a decidedly feminine look.]]>
9/25/2017 10:02:15 PM
<![CDATA[Interpol sting seizes $51 million in fake drugs]]>
Dietary supplements, pain killers, fake contact lenses, epilepsy medication and 1.2 tonnes of erectile dysfunction pills were among the drugs seized, the agency, based in Lyon, France, said in a statement.

Operation Pangea X was carried out by police, customs and health authorities across a record 123 countries and led to more than 400 arrests from September 12 to 19.

The illegal sale of medicine online was also targeted, with 3,584 websites shut down and more than 3,000 online advertisements suspended.

It was the first time many African countries participated in the operation, said Immanuel Sam, the head of Interpol's Namibia office.

"The sale of fake or counterfeit pharmaceuticals is a growing concern across Africa, as it creates a dangerous situation for the health of unsuspecting consumers," Sam said.

As opioid abuse has reached epidemic proportions in several countries, the operation also targeted the trade of painkillers, particularly the drug Fentanyl.

Numerous websites selling only the drug were closed down, including one called "Where to buy Fentanyl without a prescription".

Operation Pangea was launched in 2008 and has since tracked the rise of unauthorised websites selling pharmaceutical products.

"Criminals are exploiting this trend to make a profit, putting lives at risk," said Tim Morris, Interpol's executive director of police services.

"The fact that we still see such strong outcomes after 10 years of Pangea operations demonstrates how the online sale of illicit medicines is an ongoing, and ever increasing, challenge," he said.]]>
9/25/2017 10:00:36 PM
<![CDATA[Khalid Ali imprisoned for Violating Public Morals]]>CAIRO - 25 September 2017: Former Egyptian presidential candidate Khaled Ali was given a jail term on charges of violating public morals.

Giza Misdemeanors Court sentenced Khaled Ali, the founder of the Bread and Freedom Party, to three months in prison and LE 1,000 ($56.70) on charges of committing an act of "public indecency", after he made an obscene remark while participating in a demonstration outside the State Council.

The court, headed by Judge Ahmed Abdel Jayed, adjourned the hearing to listen to the defense. The defendant’s lawyer requested that the president of Giza Misdemeanors Court delegate the tripartite committee responsible for preparing the technical report to examine the photographs and videos on which the case is based.

The court has earlier demanded an expert from the Radio & Television Union to submit a report on the video footage evidence, which shows Ali making inappropriate hand gestures that “violate public morals” during the said protest earlier this year.
9/25/2017 9:58:53 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. Court cancels arguments on previous Trump travel ban]]>
The Court acted after the White House announced on Sunday it was replacing the temporary executive order with a more tailored ban on eight countries that legal experts said could be harder to fight in court than the prior ban.

The justices ordered further briefing on whether the new presidential proclamation, which indefinitely restricts travel from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea, would render the prior case moot. Sunday's order also bars certain government officials from Venezuela.

The new ban is Trump's third.

Trump's March 6 temporary travel ban, which replaced another ban from January and expired on Sunday, targeted six Muslim-majority countries. It sparked international outrage and was quickly blocked by federal courts as unconstitutional discrimination or a violation of immigration law.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a limited version of the ban to go ahead while the justices examined its legality. It was preparing to hear arguments on Oct. 10, before removing the case from its schedule on Monday.

The Sunday proclamation could be less vulnerable to legal attack, scholars and other experts said, because it is the result of a months-long analysis of foreign vetting procedures by U.S. officials. It also might be less easily tied to Trump's campaign-trail statements some courts viewed as biased against Muslims.

"The greater the sense that the policy reflects a considered, expert judgment, the less the temptation (by courts) to second-guess the executive," said Saikrishna Prakash, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, in an email. "It looks less like a matter of prejudice or a desire to fulfill a campaign promise."

In 2016, more than 72,000 nonimmigrant and immigrant visas were issued to the countries covered by the new ban, excluding Venezuela, with nearly half of those going to Iran. The new ban provides some exemptions for Iranians with valid student visas. Only nine North Koreans immigrated to the United States in 2016 and 100 were granted nonimmigrant visas.

The new ban is set to go into effect on Oct. 18, but it already applies to five of the six countries covered by the March 6 ban, according to a U.S. State Department cable issued on Sunday and obtained by Reuters.

Sudan was dropped from the list of banned countries after the Sudanese government provided information required under the new criteria set out by the Trump administration earlier this year, a White House official said on Monday.]]>
9/25/2017 8:47:00 PM
<![CDATA[Iraq hangs 42 Sunni militants convicted of terrorism]]>
The biggest mass execution this year in Iraq came after the government came after Sunni suicide attacks killed at least 60 people near the southern city of Nassiriya, a Shi'ite area, on Sept. 14, prompting Shi'ite demands for tougher judicial action.

The Justice Ministry said the 42 had been hanged at a prison in Nassiriya, three months after 14 other militants were executed following convictions for terrorism.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for three suicide attacks targeting restaurants and a security checkpoint near Nassiriya. Relatives of victims were invited to witness Sunday's executions, the justice ministry said.

"Despite all the pain inside me after losing my two brothers in the suicide attacks, when I saw the terrorists dangling from the rope I felt relief," said Fadhil Abdul Ameer from Nassiriya.

Islamic State's self-declared caliphate, declared in 2014 after it captured wide areas of northern and western Iraq, effectively collapsed in July when U.S.-backed Iraqi forces captured Mosul, the group's de facto capital in Iraq.

But recent deadly bomb attacks in Baghdad and other cities show the jihadists remain capable of guerrilla-style warfare, a tactical shift away from seeking territorial conquest.]]>
9/25/2017 8:30:11 PM
<![CDATA[4 sentenced to death after burning Agouza's nightclub]]>
Earlier, the Public Prosecution referred the defendants to the Criminal Court by the end of interrogations.]]>
9/25/2017 8:16:05 PM
<![CDATA[Palestinians hold rally expressing gratitude to Egypt]]>
Fatah’s Central Committee (the highest decision-making body of the Palestinian Authority) praised Egypt’s efforts in inter-Palestinian reconciliation on Saturday.

Last week, Hamas dissolved its administrative committee in the Gaza strip, invited the government of national reconciliation to assume its duties and hold general elections, as per the 2011 Cairo Agreement between Fatah and Hamas, which aimed to unify the Palestinian disputed parties. Hamas’ decision came following indirect inter-Palestinian talks, brokered by Egypt.

The committee, presided over by Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas, stated that Hamas has good faith in fulfilling the Cairo Agreement, inviting the new reconciliation government to head to the Gaza strip to take on its duties.

The committee’s comments came in a meeting held on Saturday to discuss the outcomes of President Mahmoud Abbas’ participation in the 72nd round of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. The meeting tackled the possible ways of reviving the peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis, which was called for by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

On the sidelines of the UNGA meetings at his residency, Sisi held two separate meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at New York, to discuss ways of resuming the peace process talks that had been halted since 2014.

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9/25/2017 7:06:14 PM
<![CDATA[Ex-U.S. Rep. Weiner sentenced to 21 months in teen 'sexting' case]]>
Weiner, 53, started to cry as soon as the sentence was announced by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan. He pleaded guilty in May to transferring obscene messages to a minor, and agreed he would not appeal any sentence of 27 months or less.

“I was a very sick man for a very long time, but I‘m also responsible for the damage I have done,” Weiner said in court before he was sentenced. He said he was being treated, and asked Cote to spare him prison and sentence him to probation so he could continue treatment.

Cote said she believed Weiner was suffering from an addiction, and was serious about being treated. However, she said it was important to impose a sentence that would deter others from committing similar crimes.

“There is the opportunity to make a statement that could protect other minors,” she said.

Weiner declined to speak to reporters as he left the courtroom. He will surrender on Nov. 6.

The investigation into Weiner’s exchanges with a North Carolina high school student roiled the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in its final days, when authorities found emails on Weiner’s laptop from his wife Huma Abedin, an aide to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Abedin has filed for divorce. Weiner wore his wedding band at the sentencing.

The discovery of the emails prompted James Comey, then director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to announce in late October that the agency was reopening its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was U.S. secretary of state.

Clinton has said the announcement contributed to her upset loss to Republican Donald Trump, who had accused her of endangering national security by using the private server.

President Trump fired Comey in May amid the FBI’s probe into whether his campaign colluded with Russia to defeat Clinton, a claim the president has denied.

Weiner represented parts of New York City in the U.S. House of Representatives for 12 years before resigning in 2011, after it emerged that he had exchanged sexually explicit messages with adult women.

In 2013, Weiner ran for New York City mayor, but dropped out of the race when more lewd messages became public.]]>
9/25/2017 6:01:36 PM
<![CDATA[North Korea accuses U.S. of declaring war, says can take countermeasures]]>
"The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country," Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in New York.

"Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country."

9/25/2017 5:14:12 PM
<![CDATA[UN envoy praises Egypt’s role in Fatah-Hamas agreements]]>
"The recent understandings between Fatah and Hamas would not have taken place without the important role of Egypt and Egyptian officials, and I thank them for what they have done," Mladenov said.

The envoy’s comments were made at a press conference after his visit to the Gaza Strip. Mladenov welcomed Hamas' decision to dissolve the administrative committee and call on the government to carry out its duties in the Gaza Strip. Mladenov deemed the step timely and important to stop the blockade on Gaza Strip.

According to Mladenov, the United Nations discussed a plan with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that entails that a UN delegation would supervise the assuming of government duties in the Gaza Strip, pointing out that the Palestinians went through 10 years of division, "so it is important not to miss this opportunity."

Last week, Hamas dissolved its administrative committee in the Gaza strip, and invited the government of national reconciliation to assume its duties and hold general elections, as per the 2011 Cairo Agreement between Fatah and Hamas. This was a move aiming to unify the Palestinian disputed parties.

Hamas’ movement came following indirect inter-Palestinian talks, brokered by Egypt. ]]>
9/25/2017 5:02:29 PM
<![CDATA["Faisal 11" drills with Saudi Arabia finalized]]>
Commander of the Air Force Air Marshal Younis el Masry and his Saudi counterpart Mohammad Saleh al Otaibi inspected a number of participating forces and listened to a detailed explanation of phases of preparation and planning training activities.

They commended the exceptional performance, efficiency and readiness of all elements that took part in the drill.

Commander el Masry voiced Defense Minister Sedqi Sobhi's greetings for the Saudi forces participating in the drill, saying that the military forces are keen on bolstering cooperation in joint exercises with brotherly and friendly countries and on developing combat abilities of the air forces to be able to protect the Egyptian national security.

He underlined the importance of cooperation to counter terrorism and maintain regional development and stability.

Commander al Otaibi voiced appreciation for joint cooperation and coordination with Egypt's Air Force that had provided all needed potentials to ensure the success of the exercise and achieving planned goals.

He lauded Egypt's efforts aiming to uproot terrorism and its role in maintaining stability and security for the people of the region.]]>
9/25/2017 4:37:48 PM
<![CDATA[Most schools in Mexico City still closed after earthquake]]>
Search operations in Mexico City were narrowed to five buildings destroyed last Tuesday by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that killed at least 320 people, Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera told local broadcaster Televisa on Monday.

"These are the places where rescue efforts continue," said Mancera, ticking off locations in central and southern portions of the metropolis.

The quake rendered thousands of people homeless, with many of them living in tents in the streets or emergency shelters, but there were signs the 20 million people who live in Mexico City's greater metropolitan area were gradually resuming their routines.

"Our neighborhood is in mourning," said Deborah Levy, 44, from the trendy Condesa district that was among the worst hit by the quake. "Some neighbors and friends got together (Sunday). We went to eat to cheer ourselves up, looking for a little normality."

Some of the most affected neighborhoods, those built on top of a soft ancient lake bed, still had entire blocks cordoned off.

More than 44,000 schools in six states were due to reopen on Monday, but only 103 in Mexico City, or barely 1 percent of its schools, were set to resume classes after they were certified as structurally safe.

Officials said they did not want to impede relief efforts, so more than 4,000 public schools and nearly as many private schools in the capital will remain closed for now.

The National Autonomous University of Mexico, with 350,000 students at campuses in and around Mexico City, resumed classes on Monday.

Of 6,000 damaged buildings, some 1,500 have yet to be inspected, said Horacio Urbano, president of Centro Urbano, a think tank specializing in urban issues and real estate.

Ten percent of the damaged buildings were constructed after 1990, by which time strict building codes had been enacted in the wake of the 1985 earthquake that killed some 10,000 people.


Search operations, using advanced audio equipment to detect signs of life beneath tonnes of rubble, continued at a few buildings with help from teams from as far afield as Israel and Japan.

At a school in southern Mexico City where 19 children and six adults had previously been reported killed, officials recovered another body on Sunday, that of an adult women.

The search for survivors continued in a ruined office building in the Roma neighborhood and in a five-story apartment building in historic Tlalpan.

Authorities called off efforts in the upper-middle class Lindavista zone after pulling 10 bodies from the rubble over several days, and work at the Tlalpan building was briefly halted on Saturday by a magnitude 6.2 aftershock.

Another 5.7 aftershock struck on Sunday off Mexico's west coast, jolting the southwestern part of the country, and seismologists predicted more tremors to come.

While aid and volunteer workers have flooded into the accessible districts of Mexico City, people in more remote neighborhoods and surrounding states have received less attention.

Miguel Angel Luna, a 40-year old architect, joined a caravan of civilians that headed out late last week to help isolated communities scattered around the base of the Popocatepetl volcano, located about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of the Mexican capital.

Around 40 percent of the adobe homes he saw in poor villages had been completely destroyed and some 80 percent were heavily damaged, Luna said.

"We're talking about very poor communities," Luna said. "They don't have tools, they don't have materials, they don't have money to rebuild."]]>
9/25/2017 3:52:06 PM
<![CDATA[Bilateral talks held between President Sisi and UAE Crown Prince]]>
After his arrival to the UAE, Sisi held bilateral talks. He expressed his pleasure to visit Abu Dhabi and asked to transfer his greetings to UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, said presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef.

He stressed the strategic cooperation between the two countries, praising the role of the UAE in promoting joint Arab action, and further stressed Egypt’s care in furthering bilateral relations in different fields.

Nahyan confirmed during the meeting that Egypt is the cornerstone for the stability and security of Arab countries, highlighting deep friendly relations between the two nations.

The meeting also tackled the crisis in the Middle East and the efforts exerted by Arab countries in solving them and enabling its national institutions to resume their responsibility of combating terrorism. In particular, the meeting dealt with funding terrorism and the preservation of national security.

Both sides at the end of the talks confirmed the importance of standing against interference in Arab affairs and intensifying their efforts in facing unprecedented challenges that destabilize the Arab region.

Sisi left on Monday for the United Arab Emirates on a two-day official visit.

During his visit, the president is scheduled to discuss with UAE leaders the promoting of deeply-rooted ties between the two countries, as well as, consultations and coordination on a host of regional and international issues of mutual interest, Youssef said in statements.

The president's visit to Abu Dhabi comes within the framework of distinguished ties between the two countries at all levels, the spokesman added.
9/25/2017 3:46:41 PM
<![CDATA[Eman Abd El Aty: 7 months’ treatment journey ends in Abu Dhabi]]>
Everyone following Abd El Aty’s health for the past seven months woke up on Monday with shocking news of her death due to complications from heart disease and kidney dysfunction, according to Abu Dhabi’s Burjeel Hospital Executive Manager Yassin el-Shahat.

Eman Ibrahim- File Photo

How did it all start?

Abd El Aty had a rare condition. Since her childhood, she suffered from an unknown disease causing her to become overweight, reaching 500 kilograms and subsequently paralyzed. According to her family, she was unable to leave her home for around 11 years.

Last year, Eman’s sister, Shimaa, wrote a post on her Facebook page talking about her sister’s rare condition. Unexpectedly, several Facebook users and activists shared the post and reacted widely to it.

On February, she started her treatment by traveling to Mumbai, India, where Dr. Muffazal Lakdawala promised to do his best.

Abd El Aty travelled on a specially modified plane to undergo emergency weight-loss surgery.

Shortly after arriving in the Indian Saifee hospital, media outlets reported that she would be on her way to losing the title of the heaviest woman alive.

According to Times of India, in March, a prescribed liquid diet and some physiotherapy helped Abd El Aty reduce her weight by getting rid of any extra water in her body.

Eman Ibrahim- File Photo

Moving to Abu Dhabi

In May, Abd El Aty travelled to Abu Dhabi to continue her treatment. After the first round of surgeries, the 37-year-old woman was seen sitting up and smiling while listening to music and using the TV remote control provided by the hospital, according to Abu Dhabi news outlets.

Announcing that she lost 250 kilos, the doctors commented, "She looks a happier and a slimmer version of her past self. She can finally fit into a wheelchair and sit for a longer period of time, something we never dreamt of three months back."

A press conference was held in Abu Dhabi, July 24, to present the recent developments in Abd El Aty’s health condition, and the conference was attended by the Egyptian Ambassador in the Emirates, Dr. Shamshir Fayal, the supervisor of her treatment; and Dr. Yassin Ibrahim.

Abd El Aty herself attended the conference proving her stable health condition.

“The patient now eats her food by herself, and her body is functioning normally,” said Dr. Ibrahim during the press conference, adding that “she is undergoing physiotherapy and she can talk normally now.”

Despite the intensive care that Abd El Aty was placed under, she was pronounced dead Monday morning at a hospital in Abu Dhabi due to complications from heart disease and kidney dysfunction. The Egyptian national was under the supervision of a medical team consisting of 20 doctors.

9/25/2017 3:16:34 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to host Third African Ministerial Forum on Science in February]]>
The forum is due to be held during the period February 10- 12 in cooperation with the AfDB and participation of African young researchers and civil society organizations involved in the scientific research.

During his meeting with the AfDB delegation, they discussed means to boost cooperation in fields of mutual concern.

Abdel Ghaffar voiced Egypt's political leadership keenness on deepening and consolidating Egyptian-African relations in all domains, especially the scientific, educational and research ones.

The minister pointed out that the forum is expected to address a number of issues including IT, agriculture, food security green-economy, energy and water.

He affirmed that the forum aims at formulating a vision based on transferring scientific research outcome into economic products in cooperation with the private sector.

Scientific research should be invested to help in solving problems facing the African continent and in achieving objectives of its people to live in more prosperous and stable life, the minister noted.

The meeting was attended by a number of the ministry's officials and representatives of bodies involved in the scientific research.]]>
9/25/2017 3:04:29 PM
<![CDATA[Merkel says plans to serve full four years after election]]>
"My decision (to stand for a full term) last year did not depend on what percentage I scored," she said, adding she went into the election campaign with "no illusions" that her fourth term could be difficult.

Merkel said she believed that voters had given their verdict now and that the parties should accept the election outcome by trying to form a government and avoiding new elections]]>
9/25/2017 2:46:25 PM
<![CDATA[Erdogan, Putin discuss Iraqi Kurdish referendum]]>
They said the two leaders also talked about the Astana process regarding Syria and agreed to discuss regional developments at greater length when they meet in the Turkish capital Ankara on Thursday.]]>
9/25/2017 2:44:27 PM
<![CDATA[Iraqi PM orders security services "to protect citizens being coerced" in Kurdistan]]>
Abadi's order was announced in statement from his office.

Abadi has said the vote is against the constitution and asked the Kurdish authorities to cancel it. ]]>
9/25/2017 1:03:30 PM
<![CDATA[ U.S. should stand against Iran: American Congress member]]>
He added in statements to the UAE-owned newspaper, Al-Ain, that Iran has been backing and funding terrorism for a long time, which poses a huge threat to the Middle East region.

“I want the Iranian people to have freedom like the Americas; I want the Iranian people to have the ability to choose their leaders under fair and free elections,” Engel said.

He affirmed that he is against the aggression that the Iranian regime has shown all over the Middle East, along with its continuous support to terrorism groups and organizations including Hezbollah.

9/25/2017 1:02:56 PM
<![CDATA[Trump keen on dialogue to end Gulf crisis:Qatar Foreign Minister]]>
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told reporters in Paris that he had seen from President Trump a "greater desire" to fix the crisis and that Trump "doesn't want to see conflict among friends."

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut political and trade ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting terrorism and their arch-foe Iran - charges which Doha denies]]>
9/25/2017 12:51:47 PM
<![CDATA[Turkish, Iranian presidents discuss Iraqi Kurdish referendum:Erdogan's office]]>
"The two leaders noted that not cancelling the referendum will bring with it chaos in the region and they stressed the great importance which they attach to Iraq's territorial integrity," the statement said.]]>
9/25/2017 12:48:32 PM
<![CDATA[Turkey's Erdogan threatens to close oil taps over Kurdish referendum]]>
"After this, let's see through which channels the northern Iraqi regional government will send its oil, or where it will sell it," Erdogan said in a speech at a forum in Istanbul.

"We have the tap. The moment we close the tap, then it's done."

He stopped short of saying that Turkey had decided to close off the oil flow. Hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil a day flow through the pipeline in Turkey from the northern Iraq region. ]]>
9/25/2017 12:46:10 PM
<![CDATA[Uber CEO tells London: I'm sorry for the mistakes we've made]]>
On Friday, the British capital's transport regulator deemed Uber unfit to run a taxi service and decided not to renew its licence to operate, which will end this week, citing the firm's approach to reporting serious criminal offences and background checks on drivers.

"While Uber has revolutionised the way people move in cities around the world, it's equally true that we've got things wrong along the way. On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologise for the mistakes we've made," CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote in an open letter.

"We will appeal the decision on behalf of millions of Londoners, but we do so with the knowledge that we must also change."]]>
9/25/2017 12:42:47 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. hopes for "good deliverables" during Trump's China visit]]>
Li told Ross that the two countries' common interests far outweighed their differences, and their economic and trade relationship had enormously benefited both countries and the world.

Trump will likely visit China in November as part of a trip that will take him to an ASEAN summit in the Philippines and an APEC summit in Vietnam.]]>
9/25/2017 12:40:58 PM
<![CDATA[Netanyahu says to delay settlement planning committee meet]]>
During a security cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu told ministers the meeting of the Civil Administration Planning Committee would be put off for another week or two in order to avoid friction with the White House during Jason Greenblatt’s visit.

Greenblatt’s trip comes after US President Donald Trump met with both Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

The White House on Sunday said his visit is meant to “continue the peace track” and is “part of the administration’s quiet, steady discussions towards peace.”]]>
9/25/2017 12:37:35 PM
<![CDATA[France to ban glyphosate weedkiller by 2022]]>
Glyphosate is the main component in the best-selling herbicide Roundup produced by the US agro-chemicals giant Monsanto, but there have been concerns it may cause cancer.

The European Commission has proposed extending the license for the use of the chemical for 10 years, which France has said it will vote against and try to block.

"The prime minister... has decided that this product will be banned in France by the end of the government's term, as well as others that are similar and which are a public health threat," government spokesman Christophe Castaner told RMC radio.

Castaner said the government would set aside 5.0 billion euros ($6.0 billion) over President Emmanuel Macron's five-year term to support the development of an alternative to glyphosate.]]>
9/25/2017 12:27:20 PM
<![CDATA[Nearly 50,000 flee amid fears of Bali volcanic eruption]]>
Mount Agung, about 75 kilometres (47 miles) from the tourist hub of Kuta, has been rumbling since August, threatening to erupt for the first time in more than 50 years.

Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency said Monday 48,540 people had fled, although the number was expected to rise because more than 60,000 people lived in the danger zone.

"There are still people who don't want to be evacuated,? Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency, said at a press conference.

"The reason is firstly, the mountain hasn't erupted yet. Secondly, they are worried about their livestock."

Officials announced the highest possible alert level on Friday following the increasing volcanic activity, and told people to stay at least nine kilometres away from the crater.

Evacuees have packed into temporary shelters or moved in with relatives.

Some 2,000 cows have been also evacuated from the flanks of the volcano.

Nengah Satiya, who left home with his wife three days ago, said he had been returning to the danger zone to tend to his pigs and chickens.

"There are many livestock in our village but nobody is taking them,? Nengah Satiya told AFP. ?We take turns going back to feed them.?

The airport in Bali's capital Denpasar, through which millions of foreign tourists pass every year, has not been affected.

More than 1,000 people died when Mount Agung last erupted in 1963.]]>
9/25/2017 12:25:57 PM
<![CDATA[Election won't distract him from tackling North Korea:Japanese PM]]>
North Korea has launched two ballistic missiles and tested what was likely a hydrogen bomb in the past several weeks raising tension in East Asia.

Abe spoke at a press conference to announce his plan to dissolve parliament on Thursday and call a snap election.]]>
9/25/2017 12:16:38 PM
<![CDATA[Abul Gheit meets with Indian FM]]>
The meeting took up aspects of cooperation between the Arab League and India during the current stage in the political, economic and cultural fields, according to a statement by the AL.

The meeting also tackled the Arab-Indian dialogue forum which will be held in New Delhi in 2018.

Abul Gheit asserted the Arab world is looking forward to strong Indian support to the Arab issues topped by the Palestinian cause.

Abul Gheit expects clear Indian support to a two-state solution in Palestine.

Meanwhile, Swaraj said that the Indian stance towards the Palestinian cause did not change.]]>
9/25/2017 12:15:16 PM
<![CDATA[Arab countries call on India to support Palestinian cause]]>
The meeting focused on the political, economic and cultural cooperation between the Arab League and India, and on the ministerial meeting of the Arab-Indian Cooperation Forum that will be held in 2018 in New Delhi, India, to exchange opinions on the Palestinian cause and other common interests, stated the spokesman of the Secretary-General, Mahmoud Afifi.

Aboul-Gheit urged India, which has good relations with Israel, not to reward Israel by supporting its 2019 – 2020 candidates for the membership of the Security Council as Israel does not comply with international legitimate resolutions, added Afifi.

Swaraj has referred that her understanding of the Arabic situation and India’s good relations with Israel will not affect its relation with Arab countries, confirming that the Indian situation towards the Palestinian cause will not change, added Afifi.

The first meeting of Arab-Indian Cooperation Forum was held in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, in 2016 and attended by representatives from 22 Arab League nations besides External Affairs Minister Swaraj and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.

It aims to further strengthen economic, trade, and financial cooperation between India and the Arab League countries, affirming the need to achieve a comprehensive and permanent solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, call on Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian "Arab" territories and to issue Manama declaration.
9/25/2017 12:06:44 PM
<![CDATA[Iran’s 1988 scandal must be investigated: Former Italian min]]>
He added in statements on Thursday to the UAE-owned newspaper, al-Ain, that what happened this year by the Iranian regime is not something that can be easily forgotten. “This is crucial regarding the credibility of the international community and its justice. We have to get those victims’ rights back to their families and bring responsible to the right punishment,” Terzi said.

He affirmed that at least seven of the Iranian officials who were involved in this massacre are still serving within the Iranian regime, “which is not a coherent situation.”

Terzi added that the Iranian regime has to commit to the international obligations of human rights, as the time has come for the international public opinion to know and understand the Iranian role in the region and how it affects the region’s stability.

Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata served as Italy’s Foreign Affairs Minister since November 16, 2011, until March 26, 2013.

9/25/2017 11:39:56 AM
<![CDATA[Macron congratulates Merkel on winning 4th term]]>
He said that France and Germany would forge ahead with their vital cooperation.

"I called Angela Merkel to congratulate her. We continue with determination our vital cooperation for Europe and for our countries," Macron tweeted.]]>
9/25/2017 11:23:48 AM
<![CDATA[Turkey to build closer ties with Iraqi gov’t post referendum: PM]]>
In his statements, which aired on Turkish media and his official Twitter account, Yildrim added that Turkey “would respond if its interests were threatened.”

Previously, the Turkish Prime Minister gave a statement during a press conference saying that his country “discusses imposition of economic, political and military sanctions in retaliation for Kurdistan’s referendum.”

Earlier on Monday, Turkish Customs Minister Bulent Tufenkci denying blocking Habur border gate with northern Iraq, says “remains open.”

At 7:00 a.m. Cairo local time, millions of Kurds headed to polling stations in northern Iraq to vote in the historic independence referendum despite international demands to call it off. ]]>
9/25/2017 11:13:15 AM
<![CDATA[Arabs must unite in face of Iranian threat: Former amb. to UN]]>
“Nobody should be supporting terrorism, so I hope all the Arab countries specially the GCC countries can get together and face the common threat which is Iran,” Bolton said in statements to the UAE-owned newspaper, al-Ain on Thursday.

He added that maybe there are a lot of issues that should be resolved in the world, however to him; the most overwhelming issue would always be “nuclear weapons.”

Bolton added that while Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in New York on Wednesday, the world has to become aware that his regime is a threat, its support for terrorism, and its continuing quest for nuclear weapons along with his suppression to the Iranian people. “This is a story that needs to be told,” he said.

Bolton affirmed that that while working with the American administration, he was very concerned with the nuclear threat and he thinks that the American regime should focus more on overthrowing the current regime and providing free and fair elections.

9/25/2017 10:54:26 AM
<![CDATA[Syria rejects Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum]]>
Voting started on Monday in northern Iraq despite intense international and regional pressure to call the vote off.

"We in Syria only recognise a united Iraq and reject any procedure that leads to the fragmentation of Iraq," Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said, as reported by Syrian state news agency SANA.

"This step is rejected and we do not recognise it and yesterday I informed the Iraqi foreign minister of this stance."

The Syrian government, which is regaining territory with Iranian and Russian military backing, also opposes steps taken by Syrian Kurds towards autonomy in northern Syria since the start of the country's civil war in 2011.

Kurdish-led regions in Syria held elections for community leaders on Friday, the first in a three-phase vote that will culminate in the election of a parliament and the establishment of a federal system of government.

Syrian Kurds insist independence is not their aim and they want to remain part of a decentralised Syria]]>
9/25/2017 10:34:16 AM
<![CDATA[Turkey vows to take "all measures" if Iraqi Kurdish referendum endangers security]]>
The ministry issued the statement as voting started in northern Iraq in a referendum organised by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), despite regional and international fears that it will fuel instability and violence across the Middle East.

Turkey's foreign ministry said it did not recognise the referendum and would view its outcome as null and void, adding that the KRG was threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and the whole region.

It warned of the possibility of "radical elements and terrorists" engaging in acts which target national security in the aftermath of the referendum.

"We stress again that we will take all measures arising from international law and the Turkish parliament's authority in the face of every kind of threat to our national security in Iraq generally," the ministry said.

In a separate travel warning, the ministry said it strongly recommended that Turkish citizens in the Iraqi Kurdish provinces of Dohuk, Erbil and Sulaimaniya should leave as soon as possible if they are not obliged to stay.]]>
9/25/2017 10:31:29 AM
<![CDATA[PM congratulates Saudi Arabia for its 87th National Day]]>
Ismail expressed his appreciation for the political leadership of the Egyptian government and people in the Kingdom and the Saudi people.

He pointed out that the full consensus between the political visions of the two countries and their cooperation in all fields enhance stability in the Arab region.

Saudi Arabia is celebrating the 87th anniversary of its foundation this weekend with a big program of concerts and performances, including a pageant operetta on Saturday evening, which allowed women to enter the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh for the first time.

The festivities are part of a government’s move to boost national pride and improve quality of life for Saudis.
9/25/2017 10:14:30 AM
<![CDATA[Abu Hashima, Wali, Assistant Interior Min open Aqdar Shelter]]>
In cooperation with Ahmed Abu Hashima; the businessman and CEO of the Egyptian Steel Group, Dr. Ghada Wali; the Egyptian Minister of Social Solidarity, and Colonel General Mohamed Yousef; Assistant Interior Minister for Human Rights, will inaugurate “Aqdar Shelter” on Monday.

The initiative, launched by the Egyptian Steel joint ventures and the Ministry of the Interior two months ago, aims to rehabilitate and strengthen their role for homeless children, the elderly people, and children with special needs in different governorates of the republic.

The initiative aims to provide all the living facilities that help achieve the welfare of the residents, to secure a more comfortable life, provide rehabilitation programs for street children, and treatment programs for special needs cases.

The Dar Aqdar (Shelter) counts as the first step of the initiative. It is a 6-storey building spacious for 110 cases, ranging from age 6 to 76-years-old, with hearing, visual, and mental disabilities.
9/25/2017 10:12:54 AM
<![CDATA[World’s heaviest woman dies of health complications ]]>
Eman, an Egyptian national, was under the supervision of a medical team consisting of 20 doctors. She arrived in Abu Dhabi in April to undergo weight loss surgeries.

The doctors said they had helped her reduce her weight to 100kg from 500kg, according to Gulf News.

9/25/2017 9:56:50 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi leaves for UAE on two-day official visit]]>
During his visit, the president is scheduled to discuss with UAE leaders promoting deeply-rooted ties between the two countries as well as consultations and coordination on a host of regional and international issues of mutual interest, Presidential Spokesman Alaa Youssef said in statements.

The president's visit to Abu Dhabi comes within the framework of distinguished ties between the two countries at all levels, the spokesman added.

Exchanging high-profile visits over the past period reflects the two sides’ keenness on continuing coordination on how to overcome challenges in the region during the current stage, a matter that requires rallying efforts to preserve the Arab national security and prevent any attempts to interfere in Arab states’ internal affairs and destabilize them, the spokesman said]]>
9/25/2017 9:32:48 AM
<![CDATA[LIVE UPDATE: Iraqi Kurds vote in historic independence referendum ]]>
A war of words has continued since the Kurdish independence referendum was set, however, in the past few weeks the rhetoric has intensified as it became increasingly likely that the referendum would take place.

Kurds casting their vote in Independence referendum

Both Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani held press conferences Sunday, where each one ensured that their stances regarding the vote remain unchanged.

Today, Iraqi Kurds will decide for themselves.The results of the referendum are expected to be announced within 72 hours following the end of the vote.

Here is a live update to the historic vote compiled by Egypt Today

19:00 – Kurdish referendum turnout: Erbil 84%, Kirkuk 80%, Duhok 90%, Zakho 94%, Akre 94%, Nineveh 80%, Khanaqin 92%, Jalawla 87%, Qaratapa 62%, Jabara 76%, Rudaw reported.

18:00 – Voting on Kurdish independence referendum closed.

17:06 – Voting closed in Kirkuk. Polling stations were supposed to close at 6:00 p.m but voting was still underway in several towns and cities of the Kurdish-held areas in northern Iraq where people were queuing, according to Rudaw.

17:06 – A curfew on vehicles to be imposed in Kirkuk from 6pm (local time) until further notice, according to Rudaw channel cited local security officials.

16:57 – Turnout of the Kurdish independence referendum was 76 percent, one hour before extending voting for one hour.

16:51 – Turkey closes Rudawo Kurdish channel following Kurdistan referendum, Reuters.

16:51 – Voting of the Iraqi Kurdish Independence referendum extended for more one hour, Al-Arabyia reported.

16:30 – Ari Mamshae, Staffer of President President Masoud Barzani, told Egypt Today.

“We will not be swayed by threats to abandon our rights.”

“The leadership of Kurdistan has extended hand of friendly and peaceful neighborhood to all and that has been proven throughout the last 25 years where we have never caused any security threats”

“No troops can enter areas under the Peshmerga control without cooperation and understanding. The peshmerga forces are always on alert for any moves,” Amri said when asked about recent threats from Iraqi Parliament and Iraqi militias to deploy forces to disputed areas, such as Kirkuk.

16:30 – Ari Mamshae, Staffer of President President Masoud Barzani, told Egypt Today.

“We will not be swayed by threats to abandon our rights.”

“The leadership of Kurdistan has extended hand of friendly and peaceful neighborhood to all and that has been proven throughout the last 25 years where we have never caused any security threats”

“No troops can enter areas under the Peshmerga control without cooperation and understanding. The peshmerga forces are always on alert for any moves,” Amri said when asked about recent threats from Iraqi Parliament and Iraqi militias to deploy forces to disputed areas, such as Kirkuk.

16:20 - Kirkuk announces a night curfew following the end of the referendum on the independence, Reuters reported.

16:14 – Iraqi Hashd al-Shaabi forces (People's Mobilization Forces) say they're prepared go to disputed area of Kirkuk after Iraqi PM Haidar al-Abbadi ordered troop deployment, Kurdish media outlet Rudaw reported.

16:12 – Herdi Omar (25), Kirkuk. Translator, told Egypt Today.

“I believe [Independence] is the only solution for all the problems with the central government.”

“Salaries, 140 article in Iraqi's constitution, oil and gas, and the Peshmerga’s budget and arming,” are among the most important issues.

When discussing the celebrations in Kirkuk, Herdi mentioned that “Kurdish people after they vote, they started shooting in the air in some areas in Kirkuk”, however “security forces announced that such actions would lead to arrest and fines.”

“This kind of celebration is not adequate and could hurt some innocent people in result.”

“Some people are afraid of [sectarian tensions], especially in the districts and sub districts in which the Peshmarga and PMU (Popular Mobilization Unites) have close bases.

15:10 – Kosto Asos, Eril. Masters student, International relations

"We are Kurdish people, God made us Kurdish... Today we decided, and voted to separate from Iraq. Of course we are really happy today, it is a historical day."

“I hope the international community will listen to us, will respect our vote; our country will be for peace and freedom”

14:30 – Ari Mamshae, Staffer of President President Masoud Barzani, told Egypt Today.

“People are jubilant. They go to vote with their families, dressed in the traditional Kurdish clothes.”

“Turnout is higher than expected and people look confident for the days ahead. This has become a struggle of will with the oppositions of independence.”

“They are convinced that this is the right time for an independent Kurdistan and that such decision has to be made only by ourselves.”

“We believe this is a natural democratic right of ours and anyone who believes in democracy and human rights should therefore respect the outcome and will of our people. Otherwise all their actions contradict their principles.”

14:06 – In a phone call, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin stressed on the territorial integrity of both Iraq and Syria, Reuters reported Turkish presidential sources.

14:04 – The Iraqi Parliament called for deploying troops in all areas come under the Iraqi Kurds since U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

13:38 – Iraqi Parliament is voting to dismiss civil servants and officials who have taken part in Monday’s referendum in Kurdistan.

“Barzani sold northern Iraq to Israel,” Turkish newspaper Yenisafak described the Kurds’ independence referendum taking place on Monday

Military intervention will take place by Ankara if the Iraqi Turkmens are targeted, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said.

Update from the ground:

13:00 – Sherwan (32), Erbil, a Political analyst and public relations advisor and an observer in Erbil polling station told Egypt Today.

“People stayed in front of the polling station the whole night, there was a competition between the people about who was going to vote first. A historic day; it was a very busy morning.”

An image of Kurds voting at polling station in northern Iraq - Photo courtesy of Sherwan

“Some people, especially in the urban areas … may not be able to vote on time, there are huge queues … the voting time may be extended.”

“The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have provided security in every corner, and ensured the people that there would not be any problems.”

“[The security] was brilliant, it was excellent.”

12:33 – Turkey currently allows a one-way crossing from Turkey to Iraqi, said Erdogan, escalating stance as Iraqi Kurds vote in independence referendum.

12:20 – “Turkey will close its border with Kurdistan and stop oil deals,” Erdogan said in a press conference.

12:21 – “Israel should stop supporting Kurdistan’s referendum,” Erdogan.

12:22 – “Turkey will not accept establishment of a terrorist state along its border,” Erdogan.

12:17 – Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan gives remarks on Iraqi Kurdish referendum, says: "separatist steps unacceptable at this time."

11:58 – Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki calls on Iraqi government for a comprehensive boycott with the Kurdistan referendum’s supporters.

11:55 – Iraqi Parliamentarian Mowaffak al-Rubaie suggests “sorting” Kurdish parliamentarians, Al-Sumaria TV.

11:20 – Two Turkish airlines cancel their flights to Kurdistan, AlSumaria TV website reported.

11:10 – Iran closes its land borders with Kurdistan, AFP reported.⁠⁠⁠⁠

10:36 – “We will seek a dialogue with Baghdad’s government, away from threats that are reminiscent of Saddam Hussein’s,” Nechirvan Barzani.

10:34 – Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani holds a press conference.

10:15 – “Border gates, airports and gas pipelines will be controlled by Iraqi authorities,” Yıldırım.

10:12 – “Kurdistan’s referendum leads to permanent chaos,” Binali Yıldırım.

10:10 – “Turkey discusses imposition of economic, political and military sanctions in retaliation for Kurdistan’s referendum,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım announced in a press conference.

9:45 – “Kurdistan’s referendum lacks all legal and legitimate pillars… It’s outcomes are null and void,” Turkish foreign ministry statement read.

9:16 – Turkish Customs Minister Bulent Tufenkci cited denying blocking Habur border gate with northern Iraq, says remains open.

People queue outside a polling station to cast their vote during Kurds independence referendum in Kirkuk, Iraq September 25, 2017. REUTERS

8:15 – NTV Broadcaster said Turkey blocked access into the country from northern Iraq at Habur border gate.

7:00 – Polling stations opened doors in northern Iraq. According to the referendum commission, the vote is open to all registered residents, Kurds and non-Kurds.

A woman shows her ink-stained finger during Kurds independence referendum in Kirkuk, Iraq September 25, 2017. REUTERS

9/25/2017 9:11:57 AM
<![CDATA[Independence referendum in northern Iraq kicks off]]>
Polling stations opened their doors at 8:00 a.m. (0500 GMT) and should close at 6:00 p.m. The final results should be announced within 72 hours.

Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani casts his vote during Kurds independence referendum in Erbil, Iraq September 25, 2017. REUTERS

The vote, expected to deliver a comfortable "yes" for independence, is not binding and is meant to give Massoud Barzani's KRG a mandate to negotiate secession of the oil producing region with Baghdad and neighbouring states.

"We have been waiting 100 years for this day," said Rizgar, standing in a queue of men waiting to cast a ballot in a school in Erbil, the KRG capital.

"We want to have a state, with God's help. Today is a celebration for all Kurds. God willing, we will say yes, yes to dear Kurdistan."

The voting is open to all registered residents, Kurds and non-Kurds, in the Kurdish-held areas in northern Iraq aged 18 or over, according to the referendum commission.

The commission estimates the number of eligible voters at 5.2 million, including those living abroad and who started casting electronic ballots two days ago.

Voters should tick yes or no on the ballot paper asking them just one question in Kurdish, Turkish, Arabic and Assyrian: "do you want the Kurdistan Region and Kurdistani areas outside the (Kurdistan) Region to become an independent country?"

A policewoman casts her vote during Kurds independence referendum in Duhok, Iraq September 25, 2017. REUTERS

The referendum is held despite intense international pressure on Barzani to call it off, amid fears that it would spark fresh conflicts with Baghdad and with Iraq's powerful neighbours, Iran and Turkey.

Iran declared a ban on direct flights to and from Kurdistan on Sunday, while Baghdad asked foreign to stop direct oil trading with Kurdistan and demanded that the KRG hands over control of its international airports and border posts with Iran, Turkey and Syria.

"We have seen worse, we have seen injustice, we have seen killings and blockades," said Talat, waiting to cast a vote in Erbil. "God willing, we will become like the other peoples of the world. We will have freedom and have a state."

Turkey threatened retaliation but has kept the Kurdish oil export pipeline that crosses its territory open.

Tehran and Ankara fear the spread of separatism to their own Kurds. Iran also supports Shi'ite groups who have been ruling or holding key security and government positions in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion which toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.

The Iraqi Kurds say the vote acknowledges their crucial contribution in confronting Islamic State after it overwhelmed the Iraqi army in 2014 and seized control of a third of Iraq.

The Kurds are the largest ethnic group left stateless when Britain and France, the colonial powers which won World War One, carved up the Ottoman empire. The region's roughly 30 million ethnic Kurds were left scattered, mainly over four countries: Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria.

All of them suffered persecution and were often denied the right to speak their language. Those in Iraq were uprooted under Saddam Hussein's regime and suffered an attack using chemical weapons. Syria is embroiled in a devastating civil war and its Kurds are pressing ahead with their own self-determination.
9/25/2017 8:42:09 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt takes part in 7th Beijing International Art Biennale]]>
The 7th Beijing biennale is co-sponsored by the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, the Beijing Municipal Government and China Artists Association.

The Egyptian exhibits are mostly covering the Silk Road and the Egyptian-Chinese links made through the ancient trade route, head of the cultural and scientific cooperation office of the Egyptian Embassy in Beijing Hussein Ibrahim told MENA.

The biennale will last to October 15.]]>
9/25/2017 8:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. air strikes kill 17 Islamic State militants in Libya ]]>
U.S. Africa Command said in a statement that strikes on Friday targeted a camp 150 miles (240 km) southeast of Sirte, a city that was once the Islamic State stronghold in Libya. The camp was used to move fighters in and out of Libya, plot attacks and store weapons, the statement said.

"ISIS and al-Qaeda have taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Libya to establish sanctuaries for plotting, inspiring and directing terror attacks," the statement said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the strikes were carried out by armed drones.

The last-known U.S. strike in Libya was on Jan. 19, a day before Trump's inauguration, when more than 80 Islamic State militants, some believed to be plotting attacks in Europe, died in U.S. air strikes on camps outside Sirte.

That strike was led by two B-2 bombers, which dropped about 100 precision-guided munitions on the camps.

Islamic State took over Sirte in early 2015, turning it into its most important base outside the Middle East and attracting large numbers of foreign fighters to the city. The group imposed its hard-line rule on residents and extended its control along about 155 miles (250 km) of Libya's Mediterranean coastline.

But it struggled to keep a footing elsewhere in Libya and was forced out of Sirte by last December after a six-month campaign led by brigades from the western city of Misrata and backed by U.S. air strikes.

Islamic State militants have shifted to desert valleys and inland hills southeast of Tripoli as they seek to exploit Libya's political divisions after their defeat in Sirte.

The statement said the strikes were carried out in coordination with Libya's Government of National Accord.

The United Nations launched a road map on Wednesday for a renewed international effort to break a political stalemate in Libya and end the turmoil that followed the country’s 2011 uprising.

The U.N.-backed Government of National Accord established under a December 2015 deal never fully materialized in Tripoli, leaving Libya with three competing governments aligned with rival armed alliances.]]>
9/25/2017 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi issues decree on judicial promotions]]>
The president also ordered the preferment of a number of judges in the courts of appeal to be judges at the Court of Cassation.

Other vice-presidents of the courts of appeal were appointed presidents of the same courts. ]]>
9/25/2017 7:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Trump issues travel restrictions on North Korea, Venezuela ]]>
The new restrictions, slated to go into effect on October 18, resulted from a review after President Donald Trump's original travel bans were challenged in court.

The addition of North Korea and Venezuela broadens the restrictions from the original, mostly Muslim-majority list.

"North Korea does not cooperate with the United States government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements," the proclamation said.

An administration official, briefing reporters on a conference call, acknowledged that the number of North Koreans traveling to the United States now was very low. ]]>
9/25/2017 7:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi assigns Education Ministry to increase teachers' salaries]]>
Speaking at a press conference in Port Said governorate, Shawqi said the ministry's budget amounts to 80 billion pounds a year; 68 million of which are paid as salaries.

A study was prepared to give teachers an average pay rise of 500 pounds, he noted, adding that this move will require an 8-billion-pound increase in the ministry's budget a year.]]>
9/25/2017 7:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Classified US spy satellite launched from California]]>
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket carrying the classified NROL-42 satellite lifted off Saturday. All systems were going well when the launch webcast concluded about three minutes into the flight.

National Reconnaissance Office satellites gather intelligence information for US national security and an array of other purposes including assessing impacts of natural disasters.

US officials have not revealed what the spacecraft will be doing or what its orbit will be.

United Launch Alliance is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.]]>
9/25/2017 6:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[PM follows up project on developing Suez-Zaafarana Road]]>
The meeting addressed the work progress in the project which would serve many industries, as well as current and future urban and tourist projects, especially Al Galala Mountain project.]]>
9/25/2017 6:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[PM, transport minister review GARBLT projects]]>
In a press conference, the minister added that the meeting reviewed the implementation of the regional road and other main roads scheduled to be opened next month.

The minister said the launch of the third phase of the national road project in Upper Egypt was also discussed. The phase is scheduled to be completed in 2019, he added.]]>
9/25/2017 6:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[lead to important archaeological discovery in Aswan]]>
Police officers have found out a hole that lead to stone blocks expected to be ancient religious buildings, which may lead that an important archaeological discovery, a police source said.

Prosecution was notified to launch a probe into the report. ]]>
9/25/2017 6:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Cairo-Assiut desert road to be completed in 18 months]]>
In a press conference at the General Authority for Investment (GAFI) after his meeting with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Turk said the development of the road would involve handling road speed issues.

He added that there was a project to build a road binding Safaga and Mersa Alam, as part of a giant national project for roads, to serve tourist and mining investments and ease the movement between the ports. ]]>
9/25/2017 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Three terrorists killed in Pakistan military operation]]>
During a search operation, suspected persons riding a motorcycle started firing at troops after they were signalled to stop.

As a result, a fire exchange took place and three terrorists were shot dead. Suicide jackets were recovered from the deceased, the army said in a statement. ]]>
9/25/2017 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Yemeni forces repel Houthi attack near Saudi border]]>
A statement by the Yemeni forces said the Houthi rebels were forced to retreat.

Dozens of Houthi militants were killed and injured in the clashes, the statement added.]]>
9/25/2017 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Retrial of Morsi on jailbreak charges delayed]]>
The defendants also face charges of attacking police facilities and killing police officers in the wake of the January 25 Revolution in collaboration with the Palestinian movement of Hamas, the international Muslim Brotherhood organization, Lebanon's Hezbollah and Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

In November 2016, the Cassation Court overruled previous sentences against the defendants that had been issued by a Cairo court, and ordered a retrial.

In June 2015, Cairo Criminal Court had sentenced to death by hanging Morsi, supreme guide of the MB group Mohamed Badie and his deputy Rashad el Bayoumi, as well as MB member Mohie Hamed, MB leader Esssam el Eryan and former parliament speaker Mohamed el Katatny.

Twenty other defendants had been sentenced to life in prison and two more defendants received prison terms. ]]>
9/25/2017 2:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[‘No coalition between Merkel and Schulz’, German Amb.]]>
Georg added in a press statement to Egypttoday on Sunday that the only way to secure majority for Merkel is to launch a coalition between “Jamaicans”.

The “Jamaicans” refer to Christian Democratic Union- represented by the color black- the Greens – represented the color green-, and the Free Democrats (Yellow), together they make the colors of the Jamaican flag.

“In this case Merkel will act as the chancellor with an entire majority, and the those parties will negotiate during the upcoming two weeks to set the policy.”, said Georg.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives secured a fourth consecutive term in office on Sunday in an election.
9/25/2017 2:15:26 AM
<![CDATA[Gunman opens fire at Nashville church, killing one, wounding six]]>
The shooter, described as a man in his 20s, walked into Nashville's Burnette Chapel Church of Christ wearing a ski mask and opened fire, spokesman Don Aaron of the Metropolitan Nashville Police told reporters.

A church usher confronted the gunman but was quickly struck in the head with the gun. Although injured, the usher went to the parking lot, took a gun out of his vehicle and re-entered the sanctuary. The suspect then shot and wounded himself.

"This is an exceptionally brave individual," Aaron said during a briefing outside the church in Antioch, about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of downtown Nashville.

Police had not determined the motive behind the shooting, but the spokesman said certain items were found that might establish why the man opened fire.

One woman was fatally shot in the parking lot, where she was found lying next to the suspect's blue SUV, which was still running when police arrived.

Police said it was not immediately known if he had any previous connection with the church. Neither his identity nor the identities of any of the victims had been released.

All but one of the wounded were over 60 years old and were taken to nearby hospitals, Joseph Pleasant, a Nashville Fire Department spokesman, told Reuters. He said at least some of the wounded were in critical condition. About 50 people were in the church at the time. All the victims were adults.

The church's pastor was shot in the chest and was being treated at a hospital, WKRN television news channel reported, citing the pastor's son.]]>
9/25/2017 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Russia says one its generals killed by mortar shelling in Syria]]>
The mortar shelling was carried by the Islamic State near Syria's Deir al-Zor, the ministry said.]]>
9/25/2017 1:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Defense min. inspects admission tests at military academy]]>
Sobhi praised the good performance shown by applicants and wished them success in the tests.

Egypt is keen on building a new generation of military personnel, who are capable of maintaining security and stability of our homeland, he noted. ]]>
9/25/2017 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Iraq calls on Kurdistan to surrender border posts]]>
Al-Abadi chaired the Iraqi National Security Council's meeting, where they stressed that the planned Kurdish referendum on independence is unconstitutional and threatens the stability and security of the country. The council asked the foreign countries to stop oil trading with the Kurdish region and to deal with the central government in regards to airports and borders.

The meeting also reviewed the Iraqi army's recent victories over the Islamic State terrorist group militants in Hawija region, west of the oil city of Kirkuk and one of two areas of the country still under the control of the militants.
9/24/2017 11:04:06 PM
<![CDATA[Nour party demands to probe on rainbow flag raised in concert]]>
This came when groups of homosexuals raised their flags openly and provocatively at a concert was held in Cairo recently by “Mashrou' Leila” band, to identify who is responsible for those unfortunate events.

Khalifa said in a statement on Sunday how official permission was given to hold a concert in which youth had participated in a manner that shocked the Egyptian values, especially that the Lebanese band is famous for acting contrary to values and ethics.

Khalifa added that some Arab countries prevented them to enter its territory and to hold any concerts, because they collide directly with the values of the Constitution.

He explained that Nour party rejects any violation of Egyptian society values under any pretexts or arguments, calling for accountability of the official who gave the permit to hold such concerts in Egypt.
9/24/2017 10:13:30 PM
<![CDATA[Iraqi government asks foreign countries to stop oil trade]]>
The call, published in statement from Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office, came in retaliation for the Kurdistan Regional Government's plan to hold a referendum on independence on Monday.

The central government's statement seems to be directed primarily at Turkey, the transit country for all the crude produced in Kurdistan. The crude is taken by pipeline to the Turkish Mediterranean coast for export.

Baghdad "asks the neighbouring countries and the countries of the world to deal exclusively with the federal government of Iraq in regards to entry posts and oil," the statement said.

The Iraqi government has always opposed independent sales of crude by the KRG, and tried on many occasions to block Kurdish oil shipments. Long-standing disputes over land and oil resources are among the main reasons cited by the KRG to ask for independence.

Iraqi Kurdistan produces around 650,000 barrels per day of crude from its fields, including around 150,000 from the disputed areas of Kirkuk.

The region's production volumes represent 15 percent of total Iraqi output and around 0.7 percent of global oil production. The KRG aspires to raise production to over 1 million barrels per day by the end of this decade.

Kurdish oil production has been dominated by mid-sized oil companies such as Genel, DNO, Gulf Keystone and Dana Gas. Major oil companies such as Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Rosneft also have projects in Kurdistan but they are mostly at an exploration stage.

However, Rosneft, Russia's state oil major, has lent over $1 billion to the KRG guaranteed by oil sales and committed a total of $4 billion to various projects in Kurdistan.]]>
9/24/2017 9:55:21 PM
<![CDATA[Mogherini: Brussels to host conference on Syria in spring 2018]]>
During a high-level event on the Syria crisis, hosted by the E.U. in the margins of the 72nd UN General Assembly in New York and attended by close to 50 countries and partners, Mogherini said that the 2018 Conference will come as a follow up to the 2017 Brussels Conference and will aim at keeping the international community’s attention and response to the Syrian crisis on top of the international agenda and encouraging the full implementation of commitments taken in Brussels in April 2017.

This includes continued support to the UN-led process for a negotiated political solution in line with UNSCR 2254 and ensuring respective needs for Syrians inside Syria and in neighboring countries are met, she added.

“Syria remains a top priority for the EU. The EU is the leading humanitarian donor for Syrians, both inside Syria and in the region. We are the ones supporting Syrians and we are ready to help even more, to see how we can help to bring back normal life in areas where violence has de-escalated and start working on reconstruction, only once a political agreement has been reached in Geneva,” Mogherini continued.

She manifested “this is why we will be hosting the second Brussels Conference next spring. In this way, we will launch a Brussels process that will put our convening power at the service of the Syrian people – all of them,” adding “Those that are still inside the country and those that are in the region.”

The European Union affirms it will continue mobilizing all its resources – political, diplomatic and humanitarian – in support of the UN work to put an end to the crisis, assist stabilization and post-agreement planning and keep delivering vital humanitarian and non-humanitarian aid to the Syrian people and their hosting communities.

In New York, the participants reconfirmed their commitment towards implementing the historic pledges made at the 2017 Brussels Conference worth $6billion out of which two thirds, i.e. $4 billion came from the EU and its Member States.

The EU is tracking the fulfillment of the international community commitments made during the Brussels Conference and will release the first financial tracking report by mid-October.
9/24/2017 9:49:21 PM
<![CDATA[Palestinian consensus government takes office next week]]>
Rajoub said that the date will be announced after the leadership meeting next Sunday evening due to external appointments of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Wednesday and Thursday, and the closure of the crossings due to Jewish holidays over the weekend.

Rajoub pointed out that the leadership will continue its meetings on Sunday and Monday to discuss developments of the reconciliation process, indicating a meeting held by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with the prime minister on Saturday.

He also expressed his hope that the consensus government would be able to take office and carry out its duties in Gaza without any interference or obstacles from Hamas. Then the implementation of the reconciliation accord can be carried out in order to end the division.

The Hamas movement announced on Sunday the dissolving of the administrative committee at Gaza Strip, inviting the Government of National Reconciliation to assume its duties and hold general elections.

The move was met with international praise as part of efforts of inter-Palestine reconciliation. The movement affirmed that it would comply with the Social Reconciliation Accord signed with Fatah in 2011.
9/24/2017 8:12:08 PM
<![CDATA[Police have thwarted seven attacks since March :London mayor]]>
Speaking at the annual conference of his opposition Labour Party, Khan also said the police needed more spending to help them counter such attacks and that Internet companies must do more to crackdown on extremist content.

"Between March this year and now, there have been four attacks but seven have been thwarted," he told a Guardian Live event.

Earlier this month, the head of the city's police force said six militant plots had been foiled over the last several months.]]>
9/24/2017 6:55:21 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. air strikes kill 17 Islamic State militants in Libya]]>
U.S Africa Command said in a statement that strikes on Friday targeted a camp 150 miles (240 km) southeast of Sirte, a city that was once its stronghold in Libya. The camp was used to move fighters in and out of Libya, plot attacks and store weapons, the statement said.

"ISIS and al-Qaeda have taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Libya to establish sanctuaries for plotting, inspiring and directing terror attacks," the statement said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

Islamic State took over Sirte in early 2015, turning it into its most important base outside the Middle East and attracting large numbers of foreign fighters to the city. The group imposed its hardline rule on residents and extended its control along about 155 miles (250 km) of Libya's Mediterranean coastline.

But it struggled to keep a footing elsewhere in Libya and by last December was forced out of Sirte after a six-month campaign led by brigades from the western city of Misrata and backed by U.S. air strikes.

Islamic State militants have shifted to desert valleys and inland hills southeast of Tripoli as they seek to exploit Libya's political divisions after their defeat in Sirte.]]>
9/24/2017 6:38:36 PM
<![CDATA[New Egyptian amb. submits credentials to Italian president]]>
Badr conveyed President Abdel Fattah El Sisi's best regards to Mattarella, a statement by the Foreign Ministry here said.

The diplomat stressed Sisi's keenness on boosting relations between the Egyptian and Italian peoples.

Cairo is looking forward to enhancing political and economic ties with Rome, Badr told Mattarella.

He assured the Italian president that Egypt is committed to cooperation with Italy to unveil the truth behind the killing of Italian student Giulio Regeni, and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Badr also expressed Egypt's keenness on boosting cooperation in the illegal immigration combat.]]>
9/24/2017 6:14:46 PM
<![CDATA[Merkel on track for fourth term after German election - exit poll]]>
After shock results last year, from Britain's vote to leave the European Union to the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, many look to Merkel to rally a bruised liberal Western order and lead a post-Brexit Europe.

Merkel's conservative bloc - her Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU) - won 32.5 percent of the vote, making them by far the largest parliamentary group, according to an exit poll for the broadcaster ARD.

Their closest rivals, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), slumped to 20.0 percent - a new post-war low. The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) stunned the establishment by finishing third and entering parliament for the first time with 13.5 percent.

Merkel, Europe's longest-serving leader, joins the late Helmut Kohl, her mentor who reunified Germany, and Konrad Adenauer, who led Germany's rebirth after World War Two, as the only post-war chancellors to win four national elections.

She must now form a coalition government - an arduous process that could take months as all potential partners are unsure whether they really want to share power with her.]]>
9/24/2017 6:10:20 PM
<![CDATA[Ifta warns against exploiting Al-Qaeda and ISIL for Rohingya Crisis]]>
This would undermine the international achievements in the fight against terror. Taking advantage of the flared up dispute in Myanmar, terrorist groups recruit more people under the pretext of revenge against disbelievers for their persecution.

Although Bangladesh continues to receive Rohingya refugees fleeing from murder and persecution in Myanmar, it has security concerns about the ongoing crisis that is driving various regional and global extremist organizations to exploit the issue for recruitment and propaganda purposes.

Parallel to the said exploitation, there are increasing fears of the negative impact on Bangladesh’s internal security and world peace in general.

A good example of the exploitation of the Rohingya issue by extremist groups was during the period from 2012 to 2015. The only difference this time is that ISIL is trying to regain the glory it lost in Syria, Iraq, and Libya by expanding in South East Asia and engaging in the ongoing dispute taking place in Rakhine state.

According to Dabiq, the online English magazine issued monthly by the Islamic State, the Rohingya crisis was a constant point of focus for IS. Some issues referred to Bangladesh as a new base that will be used to attack Myanmar.
9/24/2017 5:29:52 PM
<![CDATA[Pinched by fees]]>

Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

Not everyone who sends their child to a private or international school or university is wealthy. Parents are upset with the depreciation of the Egyptian pound and its negative impact on the tuition fees of schools and universities.

Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

Many families of Egypt's middle class, who send their children to private schools and universities that have pegged their fee rates to hard currencies [foreign currencies] are feeling the pinch of high tuition fees.

Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

“We are a middle class family,” Nada Ibrahim, a mother of two children attending a German school said. “The education of my children is a main priority to us; their education is more important than our food. We can stop buying them new clothes as long as we are providing them with decent education. We are investing in their education.”

Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

Ibrahim says she and her husband, whose incomes are fixed in Egyptian pounds, do not want to take their kids out of school and do not have any alternative for paying the tuition fees with these rates as they are expressed in euros or dollars and paid in their Egyptian equivalent.

Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

“The schools has to cooperate with us. Not everyone who enrolls their kids in international schools is a millionaire. We are a normal middle class family,” she concludes.

Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

Ibrahim elaborated, “My husband is considering the option of undertaking another job so we can our children can continue their education in their current school. Many of my friends have pulled out their children from the school as they found themselves unable to pay its high fees.”

Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

Parents like Ibrahim have a good reason to be upset. Deputy Head of the Owners of Private Schools Society, Badawi Allam, pointed out that private schools demanded from the Education Ministry to be allowed to increase their tuition fees between 20-35 percent to accommodate the rising costs. Allam said the schools also demanded an increase in bus fees, after oil prices recently increased.

Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

The increase is inevitable given the fact that these schools want to mitigate the negative consequences that they incurred due to the floatation of the Egyptian pound. Indeed, international schools with foreign staff members have been especially hit by the effects of the floatation. Parents fear that schools will place disproportionately high increases in their tuition fees.

Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

In this regard, the ministry has already decided the increase for private and international school fees starting this year will be limited. Minister of Education, Tarek Shawki announced that he has already placed a limit on the increases international and private schools have decided to put on their tuition fees.

Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

Shawki announced that international school fees will increase by 14 percent maximum, for the school year 2017-2018; and another 7 percent yearly, starting this year. He also announced that fees for private Arabic and language schools will increase by 7-11 per cent for each stage segment.

Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

Abeer Hani, director general of Private and International Education at the Ministry, said that Shawki issued Decree no. 173 for the year 2017, amending Article 5 of Resolution no. 422 for the year 2014.

Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

She explained that the decree stipulates that the increase would be 11 percent for schools with fees less than LE2,000; and eight per cent for schools with fees between LE2,000 and LE3,000; five per cent for schools with fees starting from LE7,000 and more; noting that the total number of private schools in Egypt are 6,664; among them 217 international schools and a remaining 6,447 languages schools.

Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

Hani stressed that international schools do not have the right to threaten parents that they will close down the school if they refuse the 35 per cent increase in fees. If a school wants to end its work, said Hani, it must wait until all students graduate; otherwise it will be subject to takeover by the ministry’s financial and administrative supervisory bodies.

Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

Hani added that the rules and mechanisms for collecting the fees are being developed; noting that the base year to be used for fee calculation is the 2015-2016 school year, before the floatation of the Egyptian pound. There is also a proposal to deduct the application and the registration fees from the expenses.

Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

“The minister refused schools demanding a 20 or 30 percent increase, stressing that the rate of increase should not exceed 14 percent for all stages at international schools, not only for newcomers,” said Hani.

Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

The annual tuition fee increase rate for private schools for the next five years, and the increase rates, which apply from the 2017/2018 academic year has already been set. It ranges between seven and 11 per cent annually, depending on the size of the tuition fees.

Shawki has announced in a press conference mid-August that no fees should be collected in U.S. dollars or any other foreign currency. “Violations will make the school subject to takeover by the ministry’s financial and administrative supervisory bodies,” stressed the minister.

According to the Ministry of Education, about 20 million students were enrolled in schools around Egypt in the year 2015/2016. Fewer than two million students join private schools. In addition to some 52,000 public schools across Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country is estimated to have over a hundred of which are described as American or international schools.

Private and International schools which violate the ministry’s measures will be warned and notified to remove the violations. Further penalties will be imposed on the schools which will continue violating ministry’s instructions, such as putting them under the ministry’s financial and administrative supervision, preventing them from registering new students, withdrawing their licenses and closing them down.

Parents with complaints or questions on the new private and international school fees can call the Ministry of Education Whatsapp hotline: 01272584864.
9/24/2017 4:48:43 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's Ambassador lauds military cooperation between Egypt, France]]>
In statements to MENA Sunday, Badawi said that the first GOWIND corvette's joining the Egyptian Navy is an enormous technological addition to the capabilities of the Navy to achieve maritime security and protect the Suez Canal, freedom of navigation and the territorial waters.

The Ambassador mentioned that 'Al Fateh' corvette is considered the fourth naval piece from France over the past three years after witnessing joining of frigate 'Tahya Misr' in 2015 and two Mistral-class helicopter carriers 'Gamal Abdel Nasser' and 'Anwar Al Sadat' in 2016.

He also lauded the unique relations between the Egyptian and French navies to exchange experience and enhance their capacity in the joint work in the sea, pointing out to intensive periodic exercises and joint war games between the two countries like "Ramses 2016" and "Cleopatra 2017".

Badawi lauded the ability of the Egyptian naval forces that they benefited from the modern French technology in a record time, stressing that the French side commended Egyptian armed forces' commitment and their ability to use in short times the most developed equipment.

He expected that Egyptian-French strategic relations will witness more coordination and cooperation between both sides at high levels to boost relations, exchange visions towards Middle East crises and challenges like terrorism, the peace process and ways of restoring stability in the Arab region]]>
9/24/2017 4:26:36 PM
<![CDATA[Turnout in German election slightly lower than 2013:official]]>
At 1200 GMT, 41.1 percent of registered voters had cast a ballot, compared to 41.4 percent in 2013. That masked considerable variation across the country. Earlier, North Rhine- Westphalia, the country's most populous state, had reported a 3 percent increase in turnout.]]>
9/24/2017 4:06:13 PM
<![CDATA[Russian official optimistic about return of Russian flights to Egypt soon]]>
There are contacts with the Egyptian side in this regard, he noted, saying that the Egyptian tourist rates to Russia can increase during the coming phase.

Chairman of theEgyptian Tourism Authority Hisham el Demery held a meeting with Skory in the Russian capital Moscow on the fringe of Russian Leisure exhibition to probe means of promoting cooperation between the two sides when the aviation movement is resumed to Egypt once more.

Demery said that the get-together tackled coordinating and cooperating to raise the level of services offered to the Russian tourist.]]>
9/24/2017 3:52:28 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi heads to Abu Dhabi Monday ]]>
“The President’s visit to Abu Dhabi comes in the light of the special relations between the two countries. The exchange of high-level visits between the two sides reflects the keenness of the two countries to continue coordination on how to face the challenges in the region,” the statement read.

On May 3, Sisi paid a two-day visit to the UAE, where he met with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
9/24/2017 3:10:15 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi approves Egyptian-Canadian refugee services program ]]>
Sisi also issued decree No. 96 of 2017, approving the sub-agreement between the two countries on the implementation of the school feeding project for refugees in Egypt, which was signed in Cairo on December 28, 2016.

At the G20 meeting in September 2016, Sisi highlighted the importance of the role of the international community in regards to Arab and African refugees, saying that Egypt currently hosts around five million refugees from Arab and African countries.

Spokesman Alaa Youssef said that the president told the delegation that refugees in Egypt are receiving the same health and educational services as Egyptians, despite the economic burden the Egyptian government carries.

According to the UNHCR website profile on Egypt, the country hosts 261,741 registered refugees, mostly from Sudan, Syria and Libya.

The number of unregistered refugees in Egypt is believed to be much higher than the official registered numbers.]]>
9/24/2017 2:32:55 PM
<![CDATA[Two sentenced to life, 2 acquitted in Air Defense Stadium incidents]]>
Three of the accused were sentenced to heavy imprisonment for 10 years and paying a fine of LE 10,000 while five were sentenced to heavy imprisonment for seven years. At the same time, two of the accused were sentenced to three years and one of them was sentenced to one year in prison.

Before the beginning of the league match between two Cairo clubs, Zamalek and Enppi in 2015, 20 people have been killed when police tried to ban fans from entering the stadium by firing teargas and shotgun pellets on ticket holding fans, as claimed by the survivors.

On the other hand, police said that they began firing when ticketless fans tried to break in, and that the deaths were caused by the ensuing panic.

The prosecution has referred 16 persons for the incidents and proved that the Muslim Brotherhood members were behind the incidents of the stadium to destabilize Egypt.]]>
9/24/2017 2:21:56 PM
<![CDATA[UAE launches Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity]]>
Dr. Al Zeyoudi said, "The Initiative for Global Prosperity is a gift from … Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, aimed towards manufacturing innovation that serves humanity and promote global prosperity."

The initiative combines a Global Prosperity Award with Global Maker Challenges to focus on solving real world problems through open innovation, and rewarding solutions that have the greatest impact on any one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.

By creating an inclusive environment that brings together manufacturers, start-ups and entrepreneurs, governments and NGOs, the Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative on Global Prosperity will create an innovative ecosystem that encourages collaboration and partnerships, and empowers the broader society to play a larger role in building global prosperity.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity will form a panel of experts from industry, academia and the public sector to assess submissions. The panel, along with the identified challenges and sponsors, will be launched at the World Government Summit in February, 2018. ]]>
9/24/2017 2:20:52 PM
<![CDATA[Cairo University introduces first drug therapy diploma ]]>
Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali, who is also the chairperson of the Egyptian Fund for Drug Control and Addiction Treatment, announced on Sunday that 20 drug rehabilitation centers would be inaugurated in 12 governorates by the end of this year to provide free services for citizens.

These statements came during the opening ceremony of a workshop titled, “Applying Quality Standards for Addiction Treatment,” held in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The ministry has been coordinating with the organization since March to build skills and exchange experience on anti-drug strategies, especially the early prevention of drug use and treatment.

Experts participating in the workshop presented international standards for the treatment of drug use disorders issued in 2016.

“The International Standards for the Treatment of Drug Use Disorders (Standards) were prepared by UNODC and WHO to support Member States in the development and expansion of treatment services that offer effective and ethical treatment. The goal of such treatment is to reverse the negative impact that persisting drug use disorders have on the individual and to help them achieve as full a recovery from the disorder as possible and to become a productive member of their society,” according to the UNODC website.

Wali highlighted that drug abuse is a social disease that poses a threat to national security, and incurs repercussions on all aspects of the Egyptian society. The addiction treatment hotline 16023 is currently available in 12 governorates, but will soon be introduced in four others. By the end of this year, the service will be available in Dakahleya and Matrouh governorates.

The programs implemented in Egypt start with treatment, followed by psychological rehabilitation, and end with social integration, including professional training and funds provision for small businesses.

The fund launched earlier this year a new initiative called, “New Beginning,” in collaboration with Nasser Social Bank, granting loans for recovered patients to start small projects.

The program also comprises activities to engage families in the treatment and rehabilitation processes, as well as sports and arts activities in order to abolish the stigma against recovering addicts.

The beneficiaries of the program amounted to 49,000 during the first half of this year, and 82,000 last year.

The fund is cooperating with Mentor Institute, a leading international non-governmental organization for drug abuse prevention. The fund also plans to launch several awareness campaigns, and a competition was held a few months ago for the production of anti-drug use awareness movies.

According to a 2014 study by CAPMAS, 10 percent of the population constitutes drug users, which is double the global rate, while only 2.5 percent are drug addicts, which is on par with the global rate. Twenty-seven percent of drug users and addicts are women.
9/24/2017 2:03:35 PM
<![CDATA[Administrative capital to become ministries’ headquarters ]]>
“The Administrative Capital is a big and important project as it solves the congestion problem in Cairo,” he added.

Located 45 kilometers east of Cairo, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced in 2015 the construction of a new city to be a new administrative and financial capital of Egypt.

The New Administrative Capital, which is currently being developed by the New Administrative Capital for Urban Development, is planned to include 21 residential districts, educational institutions, hospitals, 40,000 hotel rooms, a theme park, solar plants and a new international airport.

Land plots in the new capital have already been launched for investors and developers, who are interested in participating in the mega project.

Participating developers until now are the Arab Contractors Company, Concord for Engineering and Contracting Company, and Talaat Moustafa Group Holding Company.
9/24/2017 1:38:55 PM
<![CDATA[Lavrov says US will not strike North Korea]]>
"The Americans won't carry out a strike on (North) Korea because it's not that they suspect, they know for sure that it has nuclear bombs," Lavrov said in an interview with Russia's NTV television aired Sunday.

"I'm not defending North Korea, I'm just saying that almost everyone agrees with such an analysis," the Russian diplomat said.

North Korea this month carried out an underground test on a hydrogen bomb estimated to be 16 times the size of the US bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. It was its sixth and largest nuclear test.

Lavrov said the crisis can only be resolved with a softer approach.

"Only with caresses, suggestion and persuasion," Lavrov said, when asked how.

He warned that if US did not take the same approach, "we could drop into a very unpredictable nosedive and tens if not hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens of South Korea but also North Korea, of course, and Japan will suffer -- and Russia and China are nearby."

The interview aired after President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow was "deeply concerned" at the escalation of tensions.

Peskov also criticised what he called "an exchange of rather rude statements replete with threats."

Lavrov at the United Nations on Friday described the rhetoric between leaders of the United States and North Korea as a "kindergarden fight between children" and urged calm.

In his first address to the world gathering on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump threatened to "totally destroy North Korea."

North Korean leader Kim Yong-un shot back at Trump, warning he would "pay dearly" for his threat.]]>
9/24/2017 1:22:14 PM
<![CDATA[Suspected acid attack in London leaves six injured]]>
Police were called late Saturday to the Stratford Centre near London's Olympic Stadium after a noxious substance was sprayed during an argument between two groups of males.

They said the incident was not terror related.

There were 431 acid attacks in London last year, 398 of which were carried out in Stratford's borough of Newham.

Police said "the injuries sustained were not "life-threatening or life-changing".

"We are working with the Home Office to explore possible restrictions around the sale of corrosive substances in conjunction with retailers and manufacturers."

Witnesses told the Press Association that an argument had broken out shortly beforehand.

Burger King employee Hossen, 28, said a local homeless man came into the fast food outlet "to wash acid off his face".]]>
9/24/2017 1:17:52 PM
<![CDATA[Protesters occupy legendary Berlin theatre]]>
The protest began on Friday and swelled over the weekend after fruitless negotiations between activists, city authorities and new artistic director Chris Dercon, the former head of London's Tate Modern.

"The talks have ended for now without results," the Volksbuehne theatre said on its Facebook page.

"It remains to be seen whether rehearsals will resume on Monday."

The protesters, who have formed an artists' collective called "From dust to glitter", plan to occupy the building in east Berlin for three months while staging performances free of charge.

They held their first "assembly" on Saturday evening, urging theatre lovers to show up in force and bring supplies such as toilet paper, printers and food and drink.

The appeal was so successful that police said no more supporters could be allowed in after the building reached its maximum capacity of 500 people.

With their protest action, the collective said it wants to "send a message against the current politics" and the creep of "gentrification" in Germany's capital.

Volksbuehne artists have been strongly critical of the theatre's new director Dercon, who replaced the renowned Frank Castorf who led the avant garde theatre for almost a quarter of a century.

Rebuilt after World War II in an imposing Stalinist style using remnants of Hitler's destroyed chancellery, the Volksbuehne prides itself on caustic commentary on political and capitalist hypocrisy.

A prominent theatre director as well as artistic director, Castorf was credited with turning the Volksbuehne into one of Europe's leading venues with his bold, controversial and often lengthy productions.

Dercon, whose nomination has been controversial ever since it was first announced in 2015, will be the first non-artist to take the helm of the fabled theatre.

Critics fear his tenure will herald a shift to less provocative and more commercial productions at the heavily subsidised Volksbuehne.

They have also questioned whether Belgium-born Dercon can bring the radical sensibility and awareness of Berlin's tumultuous history that is woven into the fabric of the theatre.]]>
9/24/2017 1:16:17 PM
<![CDATA[Agriculture min. orders preparing plan to develop Giza Zoo]]>
The plan aims to revamp the whole park in order to restore its well-known historical status to become a magnet for Egyptian visitors and tourists, the minister asserted.

The proposed blueprint includes the development of the park's walls, ticket outlets, entry gates and animal shelters, in addition to increasing green spaces, upgrading passages and installing a lighting system, the minister said.

A board of trustees comprising all ministries and bodies concerned and public figures, as well as non-governmental organizations will be formed to follow up the development works at the zoo, he added.
9/24/2017 1:08:24 PM
<![CDATA[Presidential decree reallocating lands for army's AFLPA]]>
The lands will be used in implementing a modern agricultural green houses project.

The decree was published in the official gazette out Sunday.

9/24/2017 1:06:52 PM
<![CDATA[Magnitude 5.9 quake strikes off Mexican west coast]]>
The epicenter of the quake was 99 km south-southwest of Tonala, in Chiapas state.

Mexico's capital was shattered by a magnitude 7.1 quake on Tuesday that flattened dozens of buildings and killed at least 307 people.

9/24/2017 1:02:57 PM
<![CDATA[Colombia rebels say ceasefire to extend to January 9]]>
When the ceasefire was announced in September, President Juan Manuel Santos, also gave the later date. After that, Santos said, it would be extended in line with progress in peace negotiations.

But terms reached in Quito as the parties seek to negotiate peace call for a temporary end of hostilities to hold until January 9 and "not the 12th as some government spokespeople have said," the rebel ELN said in a statement.

During the temporary end to hostilities, announced during Pope Francis's visit to Colombia, kidnappings and attacks on oil infrastructure are to stop and be monitored by a UN body as well as the government, rebels and church.

The next phase of the talks hosted by Ecuador in Quito starts October 23.

During his visit this month, the pope met with Santos, who is seeking comprehensive peace.

After the peace deal with the Marxist FARC, the ELN is the last remaining insurgency in what was a complex, five-decade conflict.

It has left 260,000 people confirmed dead, 60,000 unaccounted for and seven million displaced.]]>
9/24/2017 12:09:52 PM
<![CDATA[Pro-Sisi hashtag trends on Twitter for 2nd day in Egypt]]>
A numerous large number of users posted their support to for President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi running for a second term in office office, which is due to convene in 2018, using the a hashtag that , which translates to “ “weto "weWe will re-elect al-Sisi”.”

An Egyptian Twitter user said, “Aa man of the world and challenged the world and fought terrorism and destroyed the plan to divide the Arab region.”

Some users posted President President Sisi’s accomplishments during his first tenure.; @ Nena _Zaki posted that in his first tenure, tThe latest roads and infrastructure, that have not happened beenwhich were neglected taken care of in Egypt since for ages, are build built now to facilitate enhance Egyptian investment and the Egyptian economy.. Long live Egypt

Hassan tweeted, “Sisi crosses takes our the path to our development ... We support Sisi for a second term.”

Hussein Kamal tweeted, “I will relectre-elect Sisi as he is the one who raised the voice of Egypt and returned preserved its dignity.”

This is not the first time Twitter users showed their support for Sisi running for a second presidential term. In April, another hashtag in support of Sisi also trended on Twitter.

Sisi has not yet announced that he will be running for a second term, but many popular voices have been calling for him to run for another four years.

In August, the Italian news agency, ANSA, reported that Sisi is most likely going to win the Egyptian presidential elections in 2018 after his first four years of leadership during the difficult circumstances that Egypt is going through.

The Modern Egypt party headed by Nabil Da’bas launched the initiative, “The Year of Sisi,” which primarily calls 2018 a year to return the favor to Sisi by re-electing him.

Furthermore, the expat Egyptian Youth Union announced their support to Sisi through the campaign, “Your Sons and Daughters aAre Withwith You, President.” The expat youth urged Sisi to run for a second term to complete the development process that he initiated in Egypt.

Sisi was elected in 2014 with a 96.94 percent of total votes. Elections are expected to take place in 2018, the second presidential election since the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood. ]]>
9/24/2017 12:06:49 PM
<![CDATA[Tens of thousands flee rumbling Bali volcano]]>
Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency said the number of people fleeing their homes surrounding the volcano had tripled since Friday amid growing alarm that Mount Agung could erupt at any moment.

"The evacuation process is ongoing and we expect the number of evacuees to continue to rise," the agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told AFP.

The volcano, located about 75 kilometres (50 miles) from the tourist hub of Kuta, has been rumbling since August.

Officials announced the highest possible alert level on late Friday following the increasing volcanic activities and urged people stay at least nine kilometres away from the crater.

"I am actually very worried to leave, I left my cows and pigs at home because we were ordered to vacate our village immediately," villager Nyoman Asih who evacuated with her entire family told AFP.

The international airport in Bali's capital, Denpasar, was anticipating possibilities of airport closure but no flight schedules had been affected as of Sunday.

The airport has prepared buses and trains to divert passengers to alternative hubs in neighbouring provinces if the mountain erupts.

The Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation said tremors happened less frequently on Sunday but were stronger than in previous days.

"The mountain has not erupted until now, the earthquake happens less frequently but the magnitude is getting stronger," Gede Suantika, a senior volcanologist at the agency told AFP.

More than 1,000 people died when Mount Agung last erupted in 1963.]]>
9/24/2017 12:05:41 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi succeeded in boosting relations with S.Korea]]>
In statements to MENA, the ambassador said Cairo is currently reaping the fruits of Sisi's successful visit to S.Korea.

He pointed out to the enhanced cooperation between the two sides in various fields, especially in the economic field.

The Egyptian diplomat explained that Sisi had met with a number of senior officials and chairmen of several major companies in S.Korea, adding that they perceived the president's desire to establish real cooperation with S.korea based on mutual benefit for both parties.

Selim highlighted that Sisi supervised the signing of 17 memorandums of understanding between Cairo and Seoul in different fields, including transportation, energy and infrastructure, railway, mining, petroleum, sanitation and seawater desalination.

He revealed that the volume of S.Korea's investments in Egypt exceeds $300 million.]]>
9/24/2017 11:34:46 AM
<![CDATA[Explosion heard in Kabul city]]>
The incident has reportedly taken place in the vicinity of the fifth police district of the city.

There are no reports regarding the type of the explosion and possible casualties.

In the meantime, eyewitnesses in the area said that the incident has taken place close to Afshar area in the fifth police district of the city.

According to the eyewitnesses, the incident took place after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives close to the security forces convoy.

A security source confirmed that a suicide bomber targeted the security forces convoy in close to Afshar.

The source further added that preliminary reports indicate at least three people were wounded in the attack.

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.]]>
9/24/2017 11:33:33 AM
<![CDATA[Presidential committee prepares new list to pardon prisoners]]>

The committee will examine whether the prisoners meet the terms, regulations and provisions stated in the pardon decision to determine who will be eligible of said pardon proceeding with releasing the prisoners upon the completion of the examination results.

The committee includes prominent politicians, a journalist, and a member of Egypt's National Council for Human Rights, but not who belong to terrorist organization or commit a violent act, said El Kholi.

Article 155 of the Egyptian constitution stipulates that the president may issue a pardon or mitigate a sentence after consulting with the cabinet.]]>
9/24/2017 11:31:22 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian-US forum to promote production, employment in Alexandria]]>
The forum, which will continue for two days, aims to improve employment and productivity in Alexandria through launching a network for labor force development.

The forum also will focus on how to build a platform for collective thinking about the connection between education and training and then to the labor market. It will also discuss the importance of coordination and cooperation to build networks for labor force development.

Through several working sessions, the forum will discuss the serious challenges of youth employment, technical education and vocational training in Egypt.

Representatives from the USAID in Egypt, about 100 participants and leaders from Ministry of Education, Ministry of Trade and Industry, mass media, youth, non-governmental organizations, business organizations and employment agencies will take part in the forum.]]>
9/24/2017 11:28:11 AM
<![CDATA[PM strips three citizens of Egyptian nationality]]>
The decision was published in the official newspaper on Sunday

9/24/2017 11:26:27 AM
<![CDATA[Israel approved structural plans for 122 settlements in 6 months]]>
Assaf explained in statements to "Voice of Palestine" Radio that Israel seeks to build more settlements by allowing settlers to build and then abandon these settlements.

He underlined that the Israeli government approved structural plans for 122 settlements in the past six months, which means occupying more Palestinian territories, adding that Israel plans to seize more territories in Al Quds and Al Khalil cities.

9/24/2017 11:25:21 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt elected to chair Group of 77 at UN]]>
The G77 is a coalition of developing nations at the UN that promotes its members' collective economic interests and creates an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the UN. The group was formed in 1964, featuring 77 developing countries in the UN. Although its membership has grown to 134 members, it has kept its original name.

Egypt chaired the group in the 1972-1973 and 1984-1985 sessions.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry delivered a speech before the meeting, praising Ecuador's role and efforts during its 2017 presidency and expressing his thanks to the member states of the group for their confidence.

After the election process, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed the meeting, and highly commended the G-77 for its role in promoting multilateralism and advancing sustainable development.

"I commend your example of collective leadership that works together to promote fair multilateralism and advance sustainable development for all," Guterres said at the body's annual meeting.

The meeting was attended by a number of the group’s ministers, who expressed their confidence in Egypt’s capability to assume leadership.

As chair of the Group of 77, Egypt will lead on economic issues, international trade negotiations, climate change, poverty, the international food shortage, and other issues of common interest among the developing countries.]]>
9/24/2017 11:02:45 AM
<![CDATA[Damaged New Zealand fuel pipeline restarted -officials]]>
Jet fuel from the Marsden Point Oil Refinery began to arrive at Auckland's Wiri Oil Terminal on Sunday morning, and is expected to reach Auckland Airport by Tuesday, Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins said.

"Airlines are continuing to operate their networks on the 50 percent fuel allocation from Auckland, with increasing stability and minimal disruption to passengers," Collins said in a statement. "The number of flight cancellations has been steadily decreasing."

Five international flights were canceled on Saturday as the country's army trucked fuel to Auckland airport and New Zealanders went to the polls for a general election. Two more international flights are expected to be canceled on Sunday.

The New Zealand government set up a commission to oversee the response to the crisis just days before Saturday's poll, which has left the ruling National Party and opposition Labour Party in a position of having to lobby the nationalist New Zealand First party to form a coalition government.

Tourism industry officials have expressed concern about the impact on the international reputation of the South Pacific island nation, which has been experiencing record levels of tourism.

More than 100 flights were canceled over the past several days and many more delayed, disrupting the plans of thousands of travelers.

Damage to the 170-km (105-mile) fuel line, which supplies almost all of the fuel for Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, was believed to have been caused by a digger. Repairs were completed late on Friday.

New Zealand Refining Co Ltd Chief Executive Sjoerd Post told media on Saturday that full capacity would probably not return until early next year. Post said the pipeline would operate at 80 per cent capacity until further tests were carried out over the next few months.]]>
9/24/2017 7:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Melania Trump invites Prince Harry to White House]]>
Trump, 47, who was in Toronto for the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games for wounded soldiers, wished the U.S. team luck in a brief speech.

"On behalf of my husband and our entire country, I want to thank you and your families for all you have sacrificed to keep us safe," Trump said.

“I also want to wish you good luck but I know you won't need it," she added. "Take that fighting spirit that I know you have and bring home the gold."

Harry, 33, who is fifth in line to the British throne, set up the Invictus Games three years ago. More than 550 injured and wounded servicemen and women from 17 allied nations are taking part in 12 adaptive sports in the games, which end on Sept. 30.

The meeting between Trump and the British prince lasted about 20 minutes, according to Trump's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham.

They will each meet separately with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and attend the opening ceremony of the games on Saturday evening.]]>
9/24/2017 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Uber ready to make concessions to reverse London licence decision]]>
The Sunday Times said the concessions were likely to involve passenger safety and benefits for Uber’s drivers, possibly limits on working hours to improve road safety and holiday pay.

"While we haven’t been asked to make any changes, we’d like to know what we can do," Tom Elvidge, Uber's general manager in London, told the newspaper. "But that requires a dialogue we sadly haven’t been able to have recently."

The Sunday Times quoted sources close to London's transport body as saying the move was encouraging and suggested the possibility of talks. ]]>
9/24/2017 5:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Saudi Air Force targets launch site of ballistic missile ]]>
The coalition forces then targeted the launch site, he added.

Maliki said that the control of ballistic weapons by terrorist organizations, including the Houthi armed militia, represents a threat to regional and international security.

The coalition asserts that the continuation of armed militias in targeting cities with ballistic missiles is the biggest evidence of the continued smuggling of weapons into Yemen, especially from the port of Hodeidah, which is under the control of the coupists.]]>
9/24/2017 5:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Fears of dam collapse add to Puerto Rico's misery after hurricane]]>
Some 70,000 people who live downstream from the compromised dam, forming a lake on the rain-swollen Guajataca River, were under order to evacuate, with the structure in danger of bursting at any time.

"We saw directly the damage to the Guajataca dam," Governor Ricardo Rossello said in a Spanish-language Twitter message on Saturday while reinforcing his request that people leave the area as soon as possible.

"The fissure has become a significant rupture," Rossello said separately at a press conference on Saturday.

The U.S. National Weather Service said on its website that the dam was still in danger of failing and triggering life-threatening flash floods.

"Stay away or be swept away," it warned.

Meanwhile, people across the island were struggling to dig out from the devastation left by the storm, which killed at least 25 people, including at least 10 in Puerto Rico, as it churned across the Caribbean, according to officials and media reports.

"To all Puerto Ricans, please know we will get back up," the governor tweeted as he met with mayors in the territory to identify their most urgent needs. "Together with the mayors, as one government.4Puerto Rico"

In a development that could help the recovery effort, the Port of San Juan reopened, according to a Twitter message from the agency that operates it, allowing ships to unload supplies.

Severe flooding, structural damage to homes and virtually no electric power were three of the most pressing problems facing Puerto Ricans, said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo during a tour of the island.

"It's a terrible immediate situation that requires assistance from the federal government - not just financial assistance, said Cuomo, whose state is home to millions of people of Puerto Rican descent.

"It is a dangerous situation today and it's going to be a long-term reconstruction issue for months," Cuomo, a Democrat and potential 2020 presidential candidate, told CNN.


Maria, the second major hurricane to savage the Caribbean this month and the most powerful storm to strike Puerto Rico in nearly a century, carved a path of destruction on Wednesday. It knocked out electricity, apart from emergency generators, on the island of 3.4 million inhabitants.

The storm has resulted in 10 confirmed fatalities on the island so far, Rossello's office told CNN on Saturday. The governor's office could not be reached for comment by Reuters.

Signs of the strain on Puerto Ricans were evident throughout San Juan, the capital.

At the few filling stations open on Saturday, drivers had to wait up to seven hours, according to local news reports, and lines of cars snaked for blocks. Hotels warned that guests might have to leave soon without fresh supplies of diesel to keep generators operating.

Water rationing also began on Saturday. Signs posted throughout San Juan's Old Town informed residents that service would return for two hours each day, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., until further notice.

Telephone service also was unreliable, with many of the island's cell towers damaged or destroyed. The governor also extended a nightly curfew on Saturday, the Caribbean Business newspaper reported.

At San Juan's Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, Mary Ann Arciola, her 32-year-old daughter and two young grandchildren slept in a rented van hoping to get a flight home to the United States.

"There's nobody at the desks. There's nothing on the screens," said Arciola, 62. "There's a ton of people. They are starting to fight," Arciola said. "It's not good."


Maria struck Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale as the island was already facing the largest municipal debt crisis in U.S. history.

The storm may have caused an estimated $45 billion in damage and lost economic activity across the Caribbean, with at least $30 billion of that in Puerto Rico, said Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler at Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean, 14 deaths were reported on Dominica, an island nation of 71,000 inhabitants.

Two people were killed in the French territory of Guadeloupe and one in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Two people died in the Dominican Republic on Thursday, according to media outlet El Jaya.

Maria still had sustained winds of up to 115 miles per hour (185 km per hour) on Saturday, making it a Category 3 hurricane, but was expected to weaken gradually over the next two days as it turned more sharply to the north.

Dangerous surf and rip currents driven by the storm were expected along the southeastern coast of the U.S. mainland for several days, the National Hurricane Center said.

Maria hit about two weeks after Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, killed more than 80 people in the Caribbean and the United States. It followed Hurricane Harvey, which also killed more than 80 people when it struck Texas in late August and caused flooding in Houston.]]>
9/24/2017 5:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Spain saves 64 migrants from 2 boats crossing Mediterranean]]>
The rescue service says one of its boats intercepted 28 migrants on Friday near Alboran Island, which lies in the western Mediterranean Sea east of the Strait of Gibraltar. The service has an outpost on the small island.

A second rescue boat pulled another 31 men and five boys from another small craft. The service identified the passengers as Moroccans.]]>
9/24/2017 4:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Blast kills 4 Peshmerga troops in Iraq's southern Kirkuk]]>
Security forces rushed to the scene, and the bodies were moved to a forensic medicine center, a security source said.]]>
9/24/2017 3:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Six people believed injured in suspected London acid attack]]>
The incident near the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford was not being treated as terror-related, a police spokesman said.

"A number of people have been reported injured at different locations - believed to be six people. We await further details," London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

One male was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm, the statement said.]]>
9/24/2017 2:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Fatwa kiosks at universities? Would it work or backfire?]]>
”You have given me hard time,” President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said addressing an Al-Azhar sheikh, Ahmed al-Tayyeb, in the national police day speech on January 23, 2017. President Sisi has consistently reiterated in his speeches the significance of revolutionizing religious discourse following a spate of deadly attacks that hit Egypt in the past few years.

Answering Sisi’s calls, al-Azhar off-shoot the Islamic Research Center launched an initiative to set up fatwa kiosks at metro stations that officially went into effect last July. The kiosks aim to provide the metro‘s one million daily commuters the opportunity to ask different religious inquiries and receive on-the-spot responses.

Trying to delve deeper in the potential implications of the trailing of fatwa kiosks on campuses, Researcher Sabrah al-Qasmi, who is specialized in Islamist movements, told Egypt Today that it may be a good idea on the surface, but “it carries within traditional and out-of-date attempts that don’t go in line with modern-day technology.”
“Islam is greater and more sublime than to be treated like a commodity sold in a kiosk giveaway. Defending Islam could be done in a more sublime and elevated way,” he argued.

He further concurred that people on campus won’t resort to such kiosks to get fatwas, when they can get easily exposed to dubious ones that are being disseminated through social networking, which terrorist groups are manipulating. “Taking to social media to counter the spread of terrorism online could be more efficient,” Qasmi concluded.

“We find it a must to stretch the activities of the religious campaigns into university campuses, given that the significance of having ‘face-to-face’ discussion to further get to know what exactly spirals on their minds and try to help figure them out in candid way,” Islamic Research Center member Muhammad Shehata el-Gendi told Egypt today.

“Such campaigns are inherently discriminatory; the public spheres should be no place for them. They have enough of the mosques that can be used for the very same goal,” MP Mohamed Abu Hamed said, pledging that he will officially request that the head of the parliament scrap these kiosks out during the upcoming parliamentary round.

Such a move is “defiance to the good reason and logic,” Islamist Researcher Hisham al-Naggar told Egypt Today, “Once again we are evading the root cause of the problem, and hold on to treat the symptoms. We have to troll through the original scriptural doctrines, heritage books, and texts that are full of extremism and misconnections.”

Almost 5,000 anti-terrorism books drafted by the top prestigious Islamic authority, Al-Azhar, have been reportedly distributed by the clerics of the booth on commuters.

Aligning with Abu Hamed, setting up fatwa kiosks in universities can spew discrimination amongst the university society that is already a powder keg, encompassing diverse social, religious, and political backgrounds.

In response, Shehata said “No way can we accuse the imitative of being discriminatory; all religions have common ‘determinants‘, and we are only trying to address the emerging plagues that has currently afflicted our society and religion, and help promote tolerance, country-loving and co existence, such issues that Christianity is concerned with too.”

“We are only allowing young men in the opportunity to ask questions that could prompt further discussions,” Shehata concluded.

9/24/2017 2:00:09 AM
<![CDATA[Heikal Foundation awards 3 incentive prizes to young journalists]]>
The recipients are Ghada Mohamed Ibrahim el Sherif for its works on women's rights, Ahmed Hassan Abdel Aziz for his work as a military correspondent on the ground and Mohamed Salah Eddin for his deep and accurate coverage of the judicial affairs.

They got incentive prizes of 200,000 pounds each.

The winners had been chosen by members of the Heikal Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

In addition to the Heikal Foundation Awards, a memorandum of cooperation between the foundation and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina was signed.

The Foundation also unveiled the new "Heikal-Times Fellowship," the first-of-its-kind initiative that will be awarded to a promising, young journalist from the Arab world to attend a two-month program at The Times/Sunday Times in 2018.

Through the fellowship, the Heikal Foundation aims to support the professional development and international exposure of young journalists from the Arab world as well as bring new perspectives and exciting talent to The Times/Sunday Times.

Candidates will be selected in the coming months through a competitive process administered jointly by The Times/Sunday Times and the Heikal Foundation for Arab Journalism.

The Heikal Foundation for Arab Journalism was established in March 2007 with a mandate to expose young Arab journalists to the latest trends on the international media scene, and provide technical support and training for journalists by engaging in dialogue and the exchange of ideas between journalists in the region and abroad.]]>
9/24/2017 1:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Thousands evacuated as Puerto Rican dam starts to fail]]>
An estimated 70,000 people could be affected.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said all available resources were sent to evacuate people near Lake Guajataca, where the dam at the northern end is in danger of breaking.

At least 24 people have died in the storm, including 15 in Dominica, seven in Puerto Rico and two in Guadeloupe.]]>
9/24/2017 12:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Video: Ministry of Interior celebrates new school year]]>
This came within the framework of the humanitarian side carried out by the Ministry of Interior, which aims to help citizens, especially ordinary citizens.


The ministry also distributed guidelines and relief numbers in an initiative that emphasizes community participation.

Two million Egyptian students return to school on Saturday and Sunday in 27 governorates. Schools that don’t consider Saturday as a day off started today, Al Ahram reported on Saturday.

Minister of Education Tarek Shawky said that there are committees from the ministry assigned to check the schools and make sure that they are ready to receive students and that there are no problems facing the educational process, Al Ahram added.
9/23/2017 10:29:36 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian and Russian paratroopers concluded ‘Defenders of Friendship 2’ ]]>
The training comes within the framework of the joint exercise plan and military cooperation relations between the armed forces of both countries, in addition to the keenness of the two countries to upgrade their military capabilities to face global terrorism and to protect and control potential terrorist targets.

More than 600 fighters from both sides participated in the training, which included the use of 100 medium and heavy pieces of equipment. The training included the implementation of various non-standard training activities for the special units during day and night under various circumstances.

The training also included fighting management within an airport controlled by armed groups, where the combat groups from both sides carried out airdrops and progressed to eliminate the armed groups and seize and secure the airport.

The participating elements carried out a live-fire exercise through forests and water barriers to break into a mountainous strait controlled by armed terrorist groups. They also carried out airborne operations of combat groups from helicopters to seize and secure the strait.

Brigadier General Abdul Wahab, commander of the Egyptian forces, delivered a speech thanking the organizers of the planning and management of the training, stressing the importance of joint training to maximize mutual experiences in light of the distinguished military relations between the armed forces of both countries.

Major General Viktor Kubcichin, deputy commander of the Russian air forces, expressed his pride in the success of the Egyptian-Russian joint training. He praised the distinguished level of the Egyptian forces during the training and wished success to all the elements involved in implementation of all assigned tasks.

The last tactical training, "Defenders of Friendship 2016", was held in Egypt in October.





9/23/2017 8:22:33 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. bombers fly off North Korea's coast in show of force]]>
"This is the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) any U.S. fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea's coast in the 21st century, underscoring the seriousness with which we take (North Korea's) reckless behavior," said Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White.]]>
9/23/2017 7:39:17 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi Arabia condemns Myanmar government "repression policy"]]>
"My country is gravely concerned and condemns the policy of repression and forced displacement carried out by the government of Myanmar against the Rohingya minority," Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

Bangladesh and aid organisations are struggling to help 422,000 Rohingya Muslims who have arrived since Aug. 25, when attacks by Rohingya militants triggered a Myanmar crackdown that the United Nations has branded ethnic cleansing.]]>
9/23/2017 7:34:09 PM
<![CDATA[Awqaf Ministry warns about absentee funeral prayers without permission ]]>
This decision came after former guide of the banned Muslim Brotherhood Mahdi Akef passed away on Friday at Al Qasr Al Ainy Hospital after a long struggle with disease.
For his part, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayyeb on Saturday mourned Akef on his Twitter.

The 89-year-old Akef was sentenced to 25 years in prison over charges of murder and attempted murder during clashes that took place outside the Brotherhood headquarters in the Mokattam district of Cairo before the June 30 Revolution in 2013.
Egypt’s Ministry of Interior said in a statement on Friday evening that Akef, who was transported to the hospital from prison, died of “acute circulatory failure.”
9/23/2017 7:33:24 PM
<![CDATA[Turkish parliament extends mandate on troop deployment in Iraq, Syria]]>
Turkey said earlier it would take security, political and economic steps in response to the referendum, which President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman said was a "terrible mistake that will trigger new crises in the region".]]>
9/23/2017 7:27:57 PM
<![CDATA[Planning Min.: Meetings to identify sectors to be moved to new capital]]>
In statements, El Saeed said during her visit to Fayoum governorate that the government intends to leave the sectors which serve citizens in Cairo.

She pointed out that the process of moving the ministries to the new administrative capital that will be launched by the end of December 2018.]]>
9/23/2017 7:13:48 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt FM meets delegation of American-Jewish Committee]]>
The meeting tackled the Egyptian-US relations and the importance of promoting these ties, said the foreign ministry's spokesman Ahmed -Abu-Zeid.

They also discussed Egypt's efforts to achieve inter-Palestinian reconciliation and to address the conditions in the Gaza Strip.

The regional conditions and their impact on security and stability in the Middle East particularly in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen were also mulled at the meeting, said the spokesman.

Shoukry asserted at the meeting the importance of boosting the relations between Cairo and Washington and Cairo in all economic, political and military fields.

He underlined also the importance of intensifying coordination and political consultation between the two countries in light of risks and threats that Egypt faces in the region.]]>
9/23/2017 7:10:26 PM
<![CDATA[2M Egyptian students back to school ]]>
Schools that don’t consider Saturday as a day off started today; Minister of Education Tarek Shawky said that there are committees from the ministry assigned to check the schools and make sure that they are ready to receive students and that there are no problems facing the educational process, Al Ahram newspaper reported.

According to the Information and Decision Support Center statistics of the year 2016/2017, the numbers of schools in the governmental sector are 45,279, while there are 7,385 in private sector, bringing the total amount to 52,664.

Inphographic by Rehab Ismail

The Egyptian Ministry of Education and Technical Education announced the numbers of the ministry’s operations office to receive all questions and complaints from students, parents and teachers concerning the start of a new semester for the academic year 2017/2018. Which are: 19151 – 027941089 – 027957628.

The office is headed by head of the Central Administration of Security General Amr Al Desouky, who will deliver citizens’ demands and inquiries to the office of the minister of education in order to take the suitable decisions and solutions.

Inphographic by Rehab Ismail

The Ministry of Education has finished printing 99% of the study books for the first semester in all educational stages. The ministry will also announce officially the fees of governmental schools within days, and the decision will be sent to all schools, which will submit the books to students whether they paid the fees or not, spokesperson of the Ministry of Education Ahmed Khairy said on Friday.

Inphographic by Rehab Ismail

Also this year, students can use the ‘

Discovery Education

’* service, which offers students free resources that bring learning to life both inside and outside the classroom.
This service is in partnership with the Egyptian Knowledge Bank, where teachers, students and parents have exclusive access to Curriculum Connect and WebEdTV resources.

Curriculum Connect and WebEdTV are new tools customized for the Egyptian students. Students watch online educational TV with WebEdTV, and they experience learning through engaging videos, images, interactives, audio files and text articles aligned directly to the national curriculum with Curriculum Connect.

Inphographic by Rehab Ismail

9/23/2017 6:41:47 PM
<![CDATA[Congo president says whoever killed U.N. experts will be punished]]>
“We are determined to ensure that light is shed on the exact circumstances of this crime and to ensure that this horrendous act ... will not remain unpunished,” Kabila said.

Michael Sharp, an American who was coordinator of an independent sanctions monitoring group, and Zaida Catalan, a Swede, were killed in central Congo on March 12 while carrying out investigations for a report to the U.N. Security Council.

Kabila also said the Democratic Republic of Congo was “most certainly moving toward credible, transparent and peaceful elections.”]]>
9/23/2017 5:51:15 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt is gateway to Africa, Arab world:German University chief]]>
The German University in Cairo (GUC) serves German and Egyptian industries. Egypt is a breeding ground for German investments as its market need all kinds of supplies including, washing machines and electrical equipment in addition to the stability it enjoys, Mansour noted.

During his meeting with the director of DMG MORI Africa, an offshoot of Germany's leading international DMG MORI company, Mansour pointed out that Egypt is the closest country to Europe and is technologically advanced.

Egypt is comprising the GUC and carried out bold steps regarding the investment and succeeded in the liberalization of the exchange rate, Mansour expounded.

Mansour lauded the suitability of several areas in Egypt that are available for investment including the new administrative capital and the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone).

The GUC represents about 42 percent of the scientific exchange taking part with Germany and it seeks applying the German educational system which emerges practical learning with theoretical one, he adde]]>
9/23/2017 5:45:15 PM
<![CDATA[Magnitude 6.2 quake hits southeast of Oaxaca, Mexico]]>
Slight quake tremors were felt, and seismic alarms sounded on Saturday in Mexico City, which earlier this week was hit by the country's most deadly earthquake in decades.

That 7.1 magnitude earthquake destroyed more than 50 buildings in the sprawling Mexican capital on Tuesday, leaving thousands homeless and close to 300 people dead nationwide.]]>
9/23/2017 5:30:33 PM
<![CDATA[Pyongyang mounts show of support for leader Kim]]>
Such set-piece rallies, organised by the authorities, are a regular feature of political life in Pyongyang, and are intended as a physical demonstration of popular support for the leadership.

Students in white shirts and red ties held up the red flag of the ruling Workers' Party, with a yellow ink brush representing intellectuals, a hammer for the workers, and a sickle for the peasantry.

Ranks of workers and residents listened, their fists clenched, as speakers repeated Kim's denigration of Trump as "mentally deranged" and a "dotard".

The US president dubbed Kim "Rocket Man" in a speech at the United Nations last week in which he threatened to "totally destroy" the North if it attacked the US or its allies.

In a statement on Friday Kim responded by saying that "a frightened dog barks louder" and Trump would "pay dearly" for his comments -- triggering the US head of state to describe him as a "madman".

On one side of the square a giant poster depicted innumerable red missiles plunging towards a collapsing US Capitol, with the slogan "Korea's Answer".

The bellicose rhetoric between Kim and Trump has become increasingly personal, and raised fears of miscalculation in the standoff over the North's nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

"I would like to put down my pen and take up arms again to perform my duty to defend the fatherland," said Pyongyang Mechanical University student Ri Il Ung, 24.

"Trump is a warmonger and a backstreet gangster," he added. "It's quite ridiculous that such a person could become a politician."

Ordinary North Koreans normally only ever express officially-approved sentiments when speaking to international media.

The North Korean regime is intensely militaristic and bases its claim to legitimacy on defending the country from external aggression, and analysts say that Trump's comments are grist to its mill.

Kim is also using the drama to reinforce his leadership, they add.

Pyongyang insists it needs nuclear arms to protect itself from a US invasion, and carried out its sixth atomic test earlier this month, earning itself an eighth set of United Nations Security Council sanctions.

It has also tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles that appeared to bring much of the US mainland into range, and regularly issues bloodcurdling threats.

Thousands of people marched through the square, past portraits of Kim's predecessors, his father and grandfather Kim Jong-Il and Kim Il-Sung, behind a banner proclaiming: "Let us safeguard with our lives the central committee of the party headed by the great comrade Kim Jong-Un."

Environmental protection ministry official Han Kwang Nam told AFP: "We fear nothing, we are not afraid because we have the greatest ever general, the respected Supreme Leader Comrade Kim Jong-Un.

"We will surely gain victory."]]>
9/23/2017 5:06:25 PM
<![CDATA[Dangerous terrorist arrested in Central Sinai: military spokesman]]>
The forces seized a huge amount of drugs, which were hidden in two vehicles, the spokesman added.

The third field army arrested a “dangerous” terrorist and two other suspects in Central Sinai - Facebook page of military spokesperson

The army has been leading a prolonged fight against extremists in North Sinai, claiming the lives of hundreds of militants, seizing thousands of weapons and destroying many tunnels used for smuggling drugs, people and weapons.


The third field army arrested a “dangerous” terrorist and two other suspects in Central Sinai - Facebook page of military spokesperson

Militants have targeted hundreds of police and army forces in the northern tip of the Sinai Peninsula since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule.

9/23/2017 5:03:49 PM
<![CDATA[Korean seismic activity took place 50 km from prior tests -CTBTO]]>
"Korean Peninsula unusual #seismic activity: LAT=41.36 LON=129.76 mb=3.5 About 50 km from prior tests. #CTBT Analysts investigating," CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo said in a Twitter post.]]>
9/23/2017 3:52:48 PM
<![CDATA[NZ National leader to speak with kingmaker Peters in the next few days]]>
National, which was set to win the largest share of the vote, would start speaking with New Zealand First "in the next few days", English said from his party's campaign function in Auckland.

Votes cast for the National Party reached 46.1 percent with 98.6 percent of results counted by the Electoral Commission, while the opposition Labour Party won 35.8 percent support.

Each Party would likely need New Zealand First's support to form a government, based on those results.

The final result that includes overseas votes will not be released until Oct. 7.]]>
9/23/2017 3:42:45 PM
<![CDATA[Arab-Japanese dialogue forum kicks off in Cairo]]>
The forum is organized by al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS) and the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA).

It will be attended by Chairman of Egypt's State Information Service (SIS) and the ACPSS head Diyaa Rashwan, former Egyptian foreign minister Mohamed Orabi, Japanese Ambassador to Egypt Takehiro Kagawa as well as the JIIA Director Yoshiji Nogami.

Rashwan said that the dialogue forum between Egypt and Japan is a golden chance for tackling developments in the Middle East and Eastern Asia as well as exchanging viewpoints about confronting global extremism and terrorism.

The Japanese ambassador said that such sessions will deal with the most important issues on the regional and international spheres topped by North Korean nuclear program.

He underlined the importance of the political dialogue with Egypt and Arab countries within the framework of Japan’s keenness on playing greater role in the Middle East.

He also underlined that relations between Egypt and Japan are at the best especially after the visits exchanged by officials on a high level.

Japan is taking part in several development projects in Egypt including infrastructure, health and education fields, the Japanese ambassador added.

Ambassador Mohamed Orabi highlighted the importance of the forum in promoting a convergence of views between Egypt and Japan.

Terrorism practiced by extremist groups in the Middle East is similar to the North Korean nuclear terrorism in Asia that could drag the world to an outbreak of a third world war. Egypt and Japan are pioneering nations that can make a difference and find solutions for such threats, Orabi stated.

Yoshiji Nogami pointed out that Japan is facing two kinds of security challenges comprising the North Korean nuclear program which continues to fire nuclear tests ignoring the international condemnation, while other challenges are related to conflicts that erupt with China and disputes regarding areas in the South China Sea.

He added that Japan was among the first Asian countries participated in efforts aimed at reviving the peace process in the Middle East.]]>
9/23/2017 3:25:45 PM
<![CDATA[Iran successfully tested new ballistic missile;state media]]>
The test-firing of the Khorramshahr missile, which Iran said could carry several warheads, is likely to raise concerns in Washington.

State broadcaster IRIB carried footage of the missile test without giving its time and location, including video from an on-board camera which it said showed the detachment of the cone that carries multiple warheads.

"You are seeing images of the successful test of the Khorramshahr ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km, the latest missile of our country," state television said.

"This is the third Iranian missile with a range of 2,000 km," it added.

The Khorramshahr missile was first displayed at a military parade on Friday, where President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would strengthen its missile capabilities without seeking any country's permission.

At the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump said Iran was building its missile capability and accused it of exporting violence to Yemen, Syria and other parts of the Middle East.

He also criticised the 2015 pact that the United States and other world powers struck with Iran under which Tehran agreed to restrict its nuclear programme in return for relief from economic sanctions.

The United States has imposed unilateral sanctions against Iran, saying Tehran's ballistic missile tests violated a U.N. resolution that endorsed the nuclear deal and called on Tehran not to undertake activities related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Iran denies its missile development breaches the resolution, saying the missiles are not designed to carry nuclear weapons.]]>
9/23/2017 3:20:12 PM
<![CDATA[Delegation of Kurdistan Region hold meeting with Iraqi president]]>
The meeting took up the referendum on independence of Kurdistan from Iraq to be held on Monday.

The delegation arrived here on Saturday and the meeting took place in Masum's house, a well-informed source told Iraqi Media News Agency.

The source said also that the delegation will met Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi and other political figures.

The Kurdish delegation, which came from Erbil, comprises representatives of Kurdish parties, Turkmen and Christians]]>
9/23/2017 3:04:42 PM
<![CDATA[USGS says cannot confirm if N.Korea quake natural or manmade]]>
USGS put the epicentre of the quake 22 km (14 miles) east-northeast of Sungjibaegam, North Korea, near the country's main nuclear test site.

Chinese earthquake officials earlier said the tremor was a "suspected explosion", while South Korean officials and CTBTO, the nuclear proliferation watchdog, both said they believed it was a natural quake.

"The depth is poorly constrained and has been held to 5 km by the seismologist," USGS said. "The Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) is the sole organization in the U.S. federal government whose mission is to detect and report technical data from foreign nuclear explosions."]]>
9/23/2017 3:03:07 PM
<![CDATA[Burma: Landmines deadly for fleeing Rohingya]]>
The Burmese government should immediately stop using antipersonnel landmines and join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, Human Rights Watch website reported on Saturday.

“The dangers faced by thousands of Rohingya fleeing atrocities in Burma are deadly enough without adding landmines to the mix,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director. “The Burmese military needs to stop using these banned weapons, which kill and maim without distinction.”

According to witness accounts, independent reporting, and photo and video recordings, Burmese soldiers have in recent weeks laid antipersonnel landmines at key crossing points on Burma’s border with Bangladesh.

Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that Burmese military personnel also planted mines on roads inside northern Rakhine State prior to their attacks on predominantly Rohingya villages.

The Burmese government has accused the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) of using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against infrastructure and security forces.]]>
9/23/2017 2:50:25 PM
<![CDATA[Macron to receive his Lebanese counterpart on Monday]]>
The Lebanese President will discuss boosting bilateral cooperation in several domains with Macron, the French Presidency said.

As Michel Aoun revealed that he will demand French enhancing cooperation in cultural, administrative and military levels, according to Le Figaro newspaper.

Aoun will also meet on Tuesday with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, Foreign Minister Jean Yves Laudrian, the two chairmen of parliament chambers, as well as Paris mayor.

It also scheduled that Aoun will meet the Lebanese community in France.

This visit came after Lebanese PM Saad Al-Hariri's visit in September to tackle security, political, economic and cultural challenges facing Lebanon.]]>
9/23/2017 2:47:50 PM
<![CDATA[900 new public buses to hit streets: official]]>
There are three transportation companies that are owned by the National Holding Transportation Company. Each company owns 300 buses, Yousef told al-Mal news on Friday, adding that the contracts were signed during the Arab-Chinese exhibition in Beijing.

The standard bus ride by Cairo Transport Authority costs LE 1; others might go as high as LE 2 or LE 3. Minibuses run by companies subcontracted by the government also cost LE 2. You can catch all of them at standard bus stops or anywhere in the street. As for determining a fixed timetable, it is almost impossible given the high volume of traffic. The public bus system has a longer reach than the metro and it extends throughout most major cities.
9/23/2017 2:16:28 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian mufti congratulates Saudi Arabia on National Day]]>
In a statement Saturday, Allam hailed as "deep" relations between the Egyptian and Saudi peoples.

Cairo and Riyadh are coordinating efforts to uproot terrorism, Allam said.

He greatly appreciated efforts exerted by Saudi Arabia to serve pilgrims visiting the holy lands every year.]]>
9/23/2017 2:01:30 PM
<![CDATA[Trial of Badie, others in 'Rabaa sit-in' case adjourned until Oct. 7]]>
The court delayed the case to listen to testimonies of witnesses.

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 the Rabaa protest camp and to spread chaos in the country.]]>
9/23/2017 1:51:28 PM
<![CDATA[Ceiling of Church of Holy Sepulchre partially collapses]]>
Eyewitnesses said hundreds of worshipers were inside the church when part of the ceiling collapsed.

The church closed its doors for a period of time out of fear for the lives of worshipers and to remove the ruins of the collapsed part of the ceiling.

The church is considered to be one of the holiest sites for Christians, as it dates back to Crusader times and to the fourth Century, when the Roman Emperor Constantine built the church, according to the BBC.]]>
9/23/2017 1:49:47 PM
<![CDATA[Brexit weighs heavy at Irish farming fair]]>
Nearly 300,000 people visited the 2017 National Ploughing Championships outside Tullamore in the central County Offaly.

Their boots quickly churning up the muddy fields, visitors were keen to trade talk of farm machinery and production volumes.

The annual gathering was also an occasion for families to see the animals, play the Irish sport of hurling and soak up the festive atmosphere.

However, for the exhibitors, the atmosphere is somewhat weighed down by Britain's looming departure from the European Union and the slide of its sterling currency, which has made Irish exports over its only border exceedingly expensive.

John Keena, a cattle breeder, wears a stern face when talking about the 20 percent fall in sterling against the euro, since Britain's vote in June 2016 to leave the EU.

"Meat factories maybe are taking full advantage of Brexit, like they have dropped the prices in the last six weeks by something like 30 cents the kilo. We think it's unjustified and that we should be back at four euros the kilo," he said.

Economic ties between Britain and Ireland -- which was part of the UK before independence in the 1920s -- are particularly strong. The Irish pound, replaced by the euro in 2002, was linked to sterling until the late 1970s.

37 percent of agri-food exports -
Joe Healy, president of the Irish Farmers' Association, in-between selfies and chomps on his muffin, expressed concern about Brexit.

"We export 90 percent of our beef. Fifty percent of that goes to the UK, 45 percent to Europe and five percent onto international markets," he said.

"But of the 45 percent that goes to Europe, half of that uses the UK as a land bridge to get to the European market," said Healy, underlining the sector's dependence on its nearest neighbour.

Like beef, Ireland's agri-food sector -- the biggest employer in the republic with 8.4 percent of the workforce -- exports 37 percent of its production to Britain.

The mushroom industry, which sends 80 percent of its production, has felt the pinch of the fluctuating pound, with already narrow margins tightening further and driving several operators into bankruptcy.

Farmers, breeders and processors are also anxiously awaiting the outcome of London's negotiations with Brussels, fearing a return of customs barriers between Britain and the EU.

"What we're trying to do is plan for the worst and hope for the best," said Tara McCarthy, the chief executive of Bord Bia, the government's state food agency which has provided exporting companies with information and marketing tools to help them come up with new strategies to cope with the situation.

Cheddar cheese threat -
Dublin is also looking for new destinations if Britain leaves the EU without a trade deal.

"The gap would be huge in the worst case scenario -- we're talking about 250,000 tons of beef," said McCarthy.

The country is eyeing up China in particular.

"We don't have access yet but the Chinese market would be a huge opportunity", McCarthy said.

Unlike the meat and mushroom sectors, milk producers are better off thanks to a recent rise in dairy prices after a tough 2016, according to John Wicherley, a dairy farmer from County Cork in the southwest of Ireland.

The situation is "stable", he said, revealing he was "cautiously confident".

His cows produce milk for the Irish cheese industry, which provides 80 percent of the cheddar eaten in Britain.

"Without the UK for our cheddar cheese there isn't really a market," Healy said of Britain leaving the European customs union.

"Like farmers and processors, we've all invested a lot in producing the type of product that the UK market and the UK customers require."

Without easy access to the UK market, the Irish food producing industry looks particularly vulnerable.]]>
9/23/2017 1:47:55 PM
<![CDATA[Iran test-fires ‘Khorramshahr’ ballistic missile]]>
The Khorramshahr missile is Iran’s third missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers. The missile weighs more than 1 ton which can carry several warheads by the range of 1,800 kilometers.

The unveiling of the new ballistic missile came as US President Donald Trump threatened to walk away from the nuclear deal under the pretext of Iran’s missile tests.]]>
9/23/2017 1:46:41 PM
<![CDATA[China experts say 3.4-quake hits N. Korea in 'suspected explosion']]>
The epicentre is roughly the same as that of a previous shallow earthquake on September 3, which turned out to be caused by a North Korean nuclear test, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The earthquake comes after days of increasingly bellicose rhetoric between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's regime over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions that has raised international alarm.

There seemed to be some initial difference of opinion, however, with Seoul's Korea Meteorological Agency (KMA) saying that it had registered a tremor of a similar size, but judged it a "natural quake".

The quake comes amid soaring tensions over Pyongyang's weapons programme, with the firing of two missiles over Japan in recent weeks and its sixth and largest nuclear test earlier this month.

The September 3rd test was North Korea's most powerful detonation, triggering a much stronger 6.3-magnitude quake that was felt across the border in China.

This week marked a new level of acromony in a blistering war of words between Kim and Trump, with the North Korean leader calling the American president "mentally deranged" and a "dotard".

Trump has dubbed Kim a "madman" and sought to ratchet up sanctions against the isolted regime, which says it needs nuclear weapons to protect itself against the threat of invasion.

Pyongyang later said it had tested a hydrogen bomb that could be fitted onto a missile -- an assertion that no foreign government has so far confirmed.

The move prompted global condemnation, leading the UN Security Council to unanimously adopt new sanctions that include restrictions on oil shipments.

Hydrogen bombs, or H-bombs, are thermonuclear weapons far more powerful than ordinary fission-based atomic bombs, and use a nuclear blast to generate the intense temperatures required for fusion to take place.

Kim on Friday threatened the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history" in a tirade against Trump's warning that Washington would "totally destroy" the North if the US or its allies were threatened.

Monitoring groups estimate that the nuclear test conducted in North Korea earlier this month had a yield of 250 kilotons, which is 16 times the size of the US bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

Washington announced tougher restrictions Friday aimed at curbing North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programme, building on new tough United Nations sanctions aimed to choke Pyongyang of cash.

Russia and China have both appealed for an end to the escalating rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang.

But on the fringes of the UN meeting this week, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho upped the tensions further, telling reporters Pyongyang might now consider detonating a hydrogen bomb outside its territory.]]>
9/23/2017 1:10:53 PM
<![CDATA[Turkey warns of 'security' steps in response to Iraqi Kurd vote]]>
"The steps will be taken in close cooperation with Iraq, Iran and other neighbouring countries. These measures will have diplomatic, political, economic and security dimensions," he told reporters in the central Turkish province of Kirsehir.

When asked whether a cross-border operation was among the options, Yildirim said "naturally" but "it is a question of timing as to when the security, economic and political options will be applied."

He added: "This will be determined by developing conditions."

Turkey has repeatedly voiced opposition to the Kurdistan Regional Government's non-binding independence vote on September 25, urging it to cancel the poll.

Ankara fears the vote could stoke separatist aspirations among its own sizeable Kurdish minority as it continues to fight Kurdish militants in its southeast.

Yildirim was speaking before the Turkish parliament holds an extraordinary session Saturday to discuss the extension of an existing mandate to use Turkish troops abroad in Syria and Iraq.

The mandate was first approved by parliament in October 2014 and has been renewed every year, allowing military action in Turkey's two southern neighbours against Islamic State extremists and other groups deemed by Ankara to be terror organisations.

Turkey launched a military drill featuring tanks close to the Iraqi border last week, and on Saturday the Turkish armed forces said the "second phase of the military exercise continued with the participation of additional troops".

Despite opposition from Turkey, Iraq and Iran as well as the United States, Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani insisted on Friday that the referendum would go ahead.

Iraq's chief of staff General Othman al-Ghanimi arrived in Ankara earlier for talks with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar on the poll as well as the fight against terrorism, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

The top Turkish general is due to pay a visit to his Iranian counterpart before Erdogan visits Tehran on October 4, Hurriyet said, but did not say when Akar would go.]]>
9/23/2017 1:07:32 PM
<![CDATA[Bangladesh says Rohingya refugee influx over]]>
The Rohingya Muslims have jammed camps around the Bangladesh border city of Cox's Bazar, stretching government and UN agencies to the limit.

But Bangladesh border guards said they have seen no boats carrying Rohingya on the Naf river, which marks the Myanmar border, or in the Bay of Bengal for at least three days. Arrivals across the land frontier have almost stopped.

"Our guards have not seen any Rohingya coming in the past few days. The wave is over," Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) commander S.M. Ariful Islam told AFP.

The United Nations also said "the influx has dropped" as it gave a new estimate of 429,000 Rohingya crossing the border since a Myanmar military crackdown in Rakhine state was launched on August 25.

Neither the Bangladesh military nor the UN advanced any reason for the dramatic fall in new arrivals.

UN agencies had given a daily update on the figure but said it would now only be released every Sunday.

"No Rohingya came crossing our side of the border in the past few days," said Manzurul Hasan Khan, another BGB commander whose soldiers mostly patrol the land border.

Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said this week that troops had ceased "clearance operations" targeting Rohingya militants in Myanmar's border area.

Attacks by militants on Myanmar police posts on August 25 unleashed the military crackdown which the United Nations has said could amount to "ethnic cleansing."

Rohingya crossing the border say they witnessed mass killings and rapes by troops and Buddhist militias in Myanmar. The army denies the allegations.

Rights group Amnesty International said it has assessed three new videos taken inside Rakhine state as recently as Friday showing large plumes of smoke rising from Rohingya villages.

The stateless minority has languished under years of discrimination in the mainly Buddhist country, where they are denied citizenship.

Even before the latest exodus, Bangladesh was housing some 300,000 Rohingya who had fled previous violence in Rakhine state.]]>
9/23/2017 1:00:12 PM
<![CDATA[Syrian Democratic Forces controls new neighborhood in Raqqa]]>
The SDF was able to free a number of civilians held by the terrorist group and seized some weapons and artillery, sources with the forces said Saturday.]]>
9/23/2017 12:05:54 PM
<![CDATA[Lavrov urges coordinating Russian, US military action in Syria]]>
"We have the so-called deconflicting, but this is probably not enough when fight against terrorism is in progress, when we destroy terrorist hotbeds in Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor," he said.

"In order to deal a final blow to terrorists in fact, not just deconflicting is need, coordination is necessary."

Lavrov said Russia has informed the United States that any attempts to hamper the counterterrorism operation in Syria will not be left without reaction.

"We are delighted to meet, to make sure we are on the same page about the Syrian settlement, fight against terrorism, resumption of nationwide dialogue and to outline further steps with regard to all these issues," Lavrov said.

Moscow thinks it necessary the foreign troops staying illegitimately in Syria should pull out of the country after the victory over terrorism.]]>
9/23/2017 11:49:04 AM
<![CDATA[Abul Gheit discusses achieving development with UN officials]]>
The meetings were held on the fringe of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

AL Spokesman Mohamoud Afify said that the meetings fall within the framework of Abul Gheit's keenness on enhancing development and improving economic and social conditions in the Arab countries.

During the meetings, the AL chief expressed appreciation for the role of ESCWA and UNDP in providing Arab countries with needed support in the fields of funding and technical assistance, Afify noted.

As well, he voiced hope for maintaining such support in the coming phase within the framework of building new joint programs and projects and expanding cooperation in holding training sessions, conferences and meetings to tackle issues of Arab priorities to contribute to promoting experiences of Arab cadres in various fields to be able to achieve the goals of 2030 agenda.

Afify added that both UN officials reiterated ESCWA and UNDP commitment towards supporting Arab countries especially those which suffered in the past few years from armed conflicts and disturbances.]]>
9/23/2017 11:41:19 AM
<![CDATA[Al Abadi affirms rejection of Kurdistan referendum]]>
He emphasized that the priority is staging a war against terrorism and liberating the whole Iraqi territories, Al Sumaria channel reported, citing a statement from Abadi's office.

The Iraqi premier made the remarks during his meeting with Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Iraq Ján Kubiš, who congratulated Baghdad on the victories achieved over Daesh terrorists in Aana and al Hawija towns.

The UN official asserted the world body's clear stance on rejecting a unilateral independence referendum in Kurdistan as well as the importance of holding a dialogue]]>
9/23/2017 11:37:57 AM
<![CDATA[Iran tests new missile defying US warnings]]>
State television carried footage of the launch of the Khoramshahr missile, which was first displayed at a high-profile military parade in Tehran on Friday.

It also carried in-flight video from the nose cone.

The broadcaster did not say when the test had been conducted, although officials had said on Friday that it would be tested "soon".

Previous Iranian missile launches have triggered US sanctions and accusations that they violate the spirit of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers.

President Donald Trump has threatened to bin the agreement over the issue, saying that Iran's missile programme could give it the technical knowhow for a delivery system for a nuclear warhead when a sunset clause in the deal expires in 2025.

He is due to report to Congress on October 15 on whether he believes Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal and whether it remains in US interests to stick by it.

If he decides that it is not, that could open the way for US lawmakers to reimpose sanctions, leading to the potential collapse of the agreement.

Trump said on Wednesday he had made his decision but was not yet ready to reveal it.

The other signatories to the deal -- Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the EU -- have all pushed for the deal to continue.

They say Iran has stuck to its commitments -- as repeatedly stated by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

They say that the nuclear deal was never intended to address other issues.

'Need nobody's permission' -
At Friday's military parade, President Hassan Rouhani vowed that Iran would press ahead with its missile programme regardless of the warnings from Washington.

"We will strengthen not only our missiles but also our air, land and sea forces... When it comes to defending our country, we will ask nobody for their permission," he said.

Revolutionary Guards aerospace commander General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said the new Khoramshahr missile has a range of 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) and can carry multiple warheads.

Iran says all of its missiles are designed to carry conventional warheads only and has limited their range to a maximum of 2,000 kilometres, although commanders say they have the technology to go further.

That makes them only medium-range but still sufficient to reach Israel or US bases in the Gulf.

As well as carrying out missile tests, Iran has also launched a space satellite and fired missiles at Islamic State group targets in eastern Syria in recent months.

Iran has said repeatedly that it has no choice but to boost its defences as its regional rivals Israel and Saudi Arabia sign huge arms contracts with Washington and other Western governments.

Rouhani hit out on Friday at those who "create problems for the peoples of our region every day and boast of selling arms to the bloodthirsty Zionist regime which has been attacking the peoples of our region for 70 years like a cancerous tumour."]]>
9/23/2017 11:29:51 AM
<![CDATA[UAE says Iran violates 'letter and spirit' of 2015 nuclear deal]]>
"Two years have passed since Iran’s nuclear agreement with no sign of change in its hostile behavior; it continues to develop its nuclear program and violates the letter and spirit of that agreement," UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin
Zayed al-Nahayan told the U.N. General Assembly.

"Therefore we support enhanced controls on Iran's nuclear program and continued assessment of the agreement and its provisions," he said.]]>
9/23/2017 11:23:16 AM
<![CDATA[Mexico's quake-proof building codes not always respected]]>
"It just should have stood up. It shouldn't have come down," he says angrily.

Lopez is a structural engineer and he knows the ins and outs of earthquake-resistant construction code improvements as well as anyone.

Those improvements were developed after a 1985 earthquake that killed more than 10,000 people in the capital.

"Back in 1985, the code book was about 80 pages long. Now, it's a massive brick -- like 600-pages long," said Lopez, 55, on his way to an inspection.

Tuesday's earthquake, which struck on the 32nd anniversary of the devastating 1985 quake, toppled 39 buildings in Mexico City.

Some 600 buildings damaged but left standing have to be checked to verify the state of their structure, according to Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera.

Old buildings -
Among the changes authorities put in place after the 32-year-old disaster, which left several areas of this metropolis of 20 million in ruins, is the use of steel-reinforced concrete, as well as weight-bearing regulations.

Also, buildings have to feature mandatory escape routes.

"Before, building meant putting up walls and on those walls they put slabs (roofs). Now they have to distribute the loads," says Jonathan Uraga, a 30-year-old engineer who also checks buildings for possible damage.

Lopez points out that thanks to these new rules, this week's tragedy was not on the scale of the 1985 disaster.

He says that the buildings that fell "either were built before 1985, or, honestly, were poorly built, like the school."

In Tuesday's quake, the neighborhoods hit hardest were the central Roma and Condesa zones, home to many charming buildings from the early part of the 20th century.

Code update -
Despite the tragic toll of nearly 300 dead from the earthquake, Christian Ledezma, a structural engineering professor at the Catholic University of Chile, believes damage to buildings was fairly limited.

"From a distance, when you look at the percentage of the number of buildings that collapsed in the total amount of buildings in Mexico City, it's not a very large percentage," Ledezma told AFP.

Just as Mexico did, Chile tightened its regulations to make buildings more seismically resistant after 1985.

Since then, it has been jolted by a string of major earthquakes including an 8.8 magnitude in 2010 which was followed by a tsunami that killed more than 500 people. After each disaster, Chile updated the code further to include lessons learned, most recently in 2011.

"Chile's code is very recent, and in Mexico it was modified after the earthquake of 1985. Standards were raised, updated to what took place in that earthquake," said Paulina Gonzalez a seismic engineer who teaches at the University of Santiago.

"It happens to us quite a bit in countries prone to earthquakes: standards and codes come as responses to different earthquakes that hit.

"In Chile's case, that's been the case. Every code update came because there was an earthquake that taught us something new," said Ledezma.

Arturo Ramirez, a civil engineer at Mexico City's UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico), said that in Mexico the current rules "are very strict precisely because the experiences of recent earthquakes have taught us that there are things to take into account."

"This year, the new regulations of the Federal District were going to come out. But as a result of these events, they are finding new unknowns. And the new code is not going to come out this year, rather in 2018, and it will be one of the world's toughest."

Remodeling woes -
Mexican experts say that part of the problem is that sometimes people living in buildings engage in major renovations that violate city codes on load distribution, among others.

That was in evidence in an apartment building checked by Sergio Lopez a day after the quake.

Because owners want to expand their home, they often do so without regard for what must be load-bearing walls. They take risks they may or may not be aware of.

"They make the changes because they want a more spacious home. But they forget that they are altering the structure" unsafely, risking their lives and those of their neighbors, Lopez says.]]>
9/23/2017 11:21:32 AM
<![CDATA[Former Muslim Brotherhood leader dies at 89 ]]>
The 89-year-old Akef was sentenced to 25 years in prison over charges of “murdering and attempt to murder during clashes that took place outside the brotherhood headquarters in Mokattam in Cairo before the June 30 Revolution in 2013.

Egypt’s Ministry of Interior said in a statement on Friday evening that Akef, who was transported to the hospital from prison, died of “acute circulatory failure.”

The statement added that Akef was admitted to Torah prison hospital on September 9 in 2015 to receive medical treatment. On his requet Akef was transported to Al Kasr Al Ainy hospital, on January 19 2017, to complete treatment as he was suffering from acute pneumonia, bile and inflammation.
9/23/2017 11:03:20 AM
<![CDATA[Failing dam poses new crisis on Puerto Rico]]>
The potential calamity was unfolding even as Puerto Ricans struggled without electricity to clean up and dig out from devastation left days earlier by Maria, which has killed at least 25 people across the Caribbean, according to officials and media reports.

Some 70,000 people live in a cluster of communities under evacuation downstream from the earthen dam on the rain-swollen Guajataca River, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said in a late-afternoon news conference on Friday.

Residents of the area were being ferried to higher ground in buses, according to bulletins issued by the National Weather Service from its office in San Juan, the capital of the U.S. island territory.

Christina Villalba, an official for the island's emergency management agency, said there was little doubt the dam was about to break.

"It could be tonight, it could be tomorrow, it could be in the next few days, but it’s very likely it will be soon," she told Reuters by telephone on Friday night. She said authorities aimed to complete evacuations within hours.

Governor Ricardo Rossello went to the municipality of Isabela on Friday night and told mayor Carlos Delgado that an evacuation there was urgent, his office said in a statement.

Rossello said the rains sparked by Maria had cracked the dam and could cause fatal flooding.

Puerto Rico's national guard had been mobilized to help the police evacuate all necessary areas, Rossello said.

People had begun leaving nearby areas, but one small community was refusing and Rossello instructed the police to step in under a law that mandated them to remove the local population in an emergency, the statement said.

Villalba could not say how many people had already been evacuated, or how authorities were communicating with residents to organize the evacuation.


Maria, the second major hurricane to savage the Caribbean this month and the most powerful storm to strike Puerto Rico in nearly a century, carved a path of destruction on Wednesday. The island remained entirely without electricity, except for emergency generators, two days later.

Telephone service was also spotty.

Roofs were ripped from many homes and the landscape was littered with tangles of rubble, uprooted trees and fallen power lines. Torrential downpours from the storm sent several rivers to record flood levels.

Officials confirmed on Friday at least six storm-related fatalities in Puerto Rico, an island of 3.4 million inhabitants - three from landslides in Utuado, in the island's mountainous center, two drownings in Toa Baja, west of San Juan, and a person near San Juan who was struck by a piece of wind-blown lumber.

Earlier news reports had put the island's death toll as high as 15.

"We know of other potential fatalities through unofficial channels that we haven't been able to confirm," said Hector Pesquera, the government's secretary of public safety.


Maria struck Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale as the island was already facing the largest municipal debt crisis in U.S. history.

The storm was expected to tally $45 billion in damage and lost economic activity across the Caribbean, with at least $30 billion of that in Puerto Rico, said Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler at Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean, 14 deaths were reported on Dominica, an island nation of 71,000 inhabitants. Two people were killed in the French territory of Guadeloupe and one in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Two people died when the storm roared past the Dominican Republic on Thursday, according to media outlet El Jaya.

Maria churned past Turks and Caicos Islands on Friday, then skirted away from the Bahamas, sparing both British territories from the brunt of the storm, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

It still had sustained winds of up to 125 miles per hour (205 km/h) by late Friday, making it a Category 3 hurricane, but was expected to weaken gradually over the next two days as it turned more sharply to the north.

Storm swells driven by Maria were expected to reach the southeastern coast of the U.S mainland on Friday, the NHC said, although it was too soon to determine what, if any, other direct effects it would have.

Maria passed close by the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix, home to about 55,000 people, early on Wednesday, knocking out electricity and most mobile phone service.

It hit about two weeks after Hurricane Irma pounded two other U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Thomas and St. John. The islands' governor, Kenneth Mapp, said it was possible that St. Thomas and St. Croix might reopen to some cruise liner traffic in a month.

Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, killed more than 80 people in the Caribbean and the United States. It followed Harvey, which also killed more than 80 people when it struck Texas in late August and caused flooding in Houston.]]>
9/23/2017 9:46:40 AM
<![CDATA[‘Al-Fateh’ corvette to secure straits, Suez Canal: Wahab-Allah]]>
“Improving and supporting the Egyptian Navy is critical. Security of Egypt’s share of the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea is the navy’s responsibility, in addition to the duty of protecting recently discovered natural gas fields,” Wahab-Allah said.

The Egyptian flag was raised aboard a French-made “Gowind” corvette, Al-Fateh on Friday, to join Egyptian naval forces.
9/23/2017 9:32:39 AM
<![CDATA[Saudi cleric in hot water over underestimating, abusing women]]>
Sheikh Saad Al-Hijri, a member of the Asir province’s religious jurisprudence committee, gave a lecture in the southwestern city of Khamis Mushait concerning women titled “20 problems result from women driving” during which he said that a woman only has “a quarter of a mind.”

Triggering public opinion on social media, Asir governor Prince Faisal bin Khalid bin Abdulaziz immediately decided to ban Hijri from all preaching activities, Spokesman for the governorate of Asir Saad bin Abdullah al-Thabet said in a press statement.

“This measure aims to counter whatever arouses public opinion and put an end to all those who misuse advocacy forums to submit inter-community controversial views and perspectives that undervalue the human worth,” Thabet added.

This ruling will also include “whoever attempts to exploit advocacy forums and activities to present private views and perspectives that do not serve the national interest,” he confirmed.]]>
9/23/2017 9:24:06 AM
<![CDATA[Magnitude 5.7 earthquake hits off northern California: USGS]]>
It was quickly followed by a second quake of 5.6 closer to shore, the Russia Today TV cited the USGS as saying. The larger temblor was initially reported by the agency as magnitude 5.8.

Both quakes struck west of the California town of Petrolia and were very shallow, amplifying their effects, but a USGS map showed that they were not widely felt along the coast.

The Office of Emergency Services for Humboldt County, California said there were no initial reports of injuries or damage from the quake. ]]>
9/23/2017 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Shoukry meets South Sudanese VP in New York]]>
Shoukry, during the meeting that was held on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York, praised relations between the two countries, citing a successful visit paid by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to Cairo in January.

Shoukry said Cairo looks forward to promoting ties with South Sudan, said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid.

Shoukry pointed out to an Egyptian project to establish a 4MW solar power plant in Juba and two projects for fish farming in Juba and Wau, with a total cost of 10 million dollars.

He renewed Cairo's support for South Sudan, said the spokesman, adding that Deng expressed his appreciation for the Egyptian support.

During the meeting, Shoukry also asserted Egypt's interest in shoring up a peace agreement in South Sudan that was signed in August 2015, particularly in light of Egypt's membership in the AU Peace and Security Council. ]]>
9/23/2017 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Half of UNSC ask Guterres to publicly brief on Myanmar]]>
Sweden, the United States, Britain, France, Egypt, Senegal, and Kazakhstan want Ethiopia, president of the council for September, to arrange the briefing for next week, according to the request seen by Reuters.

More than 422,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar since Aug. 25, when attacks by Rohingya militants triggered a military crackdown.

U.S. President Donald Trump wants the United Nations Security Council to take "strong and swift action" to end the violence, Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday.

The council has met twice behind closed doors since the Rohingya crisis began and last week issued an informal statement to the press condemning the situation and urging Myanmar authorities to end the violence.

Diplomats say the Security Council could consider adopting a formal statement if the situation does not improve, but China and Russia are unlikely to agree to stronger action that would require the adoption of a resolution they could veto.

A U.N. Security Council resolution would need nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, Britain and France.

Myanmar said earlier this month it was negotiating with veto powers China and Russia to ensure Myanmar would be protected from any Security Council action. ]]>
9/23/2017 5:22:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian, Bangladesh FMs discuss Rohingya crisis]]>
Egypt's candidate for the UNESCO director-general post Moushira Khattab took part in the meeting.

The two ministers discussed bilateral relations and means of developing them in all fields, as well as a number of regional issues of common concern, topped by the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Ahmed Abu Zeid said Shoukry expressed Egypt's appreciation for the distinguished and historical relations between the two countries, saying he is looking forward to developing them in all fields, particularly in the health, tourism and education, and beefing up the volume of trade exchange.

Shoukry also stressed the importance of setting a date for the first session of political consultations between the two countries at the earliest opportunity. ]]>
9/23/2017 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. seeks urgent action on Myanmar, U.N. eyes $200 mln for refugees]]>
Bangladesh and aid organisations are struggling to help 422,000 Rohingya Muslims who have arrived since Aug. 25, when attacks by Rohingya militants triggered a Myanmar crackdown that the United Nations has branded ethnic cleansing.

A senior U.N. official said an estimated $200 million would be needed to help the refugees in Bangladesh for six months. Aid workers fear a humanitarian crisis is also unfolding in Rakhine state, though Myanmar has restricted access.

"We think, urgently, actions need to be taken to stop this violence and facilitate humanitarian assistance, lower the rhetoric, lower the tension and ... start doing the hard work to solve the longer-standing problems," U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Patrick Murphy told reporters.

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has faced a barrage of international criticism over the plight of the Rohingya, for not speaking out more forcefully against the violence or doing more to rein in security forces over which she has little power.

Sweden, the United States, Britain, France, Egypt, Senegal, and Kazakhstan asked on Friday for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to publicly brief the 15-member Security Council next week on the violence.

Tension between majority Buddhists and Rohingya, most of whom are denied citizenship, has simmered for decades in Rakhine, but it has exploded several times over the past few years, as old enmities, and Buddhist nationalism, surfaced with the end of decades of harsh military rule.

Murphy, who spent three days in Myanmar this week, said there were "many points of responsibility" and he wanted to see everyone follow through on commitments Suu Kyi made to uphold rights and the law in an address to the nation on Tuesday.

"There’s the elected government, there are the security forces which have authorities that don’t fall under the purview of the civilian elected government, there are local leaders and there is the broader population, among which there are many emotions and many tensions," he said.

"Significant responsibility sits with security authorities and local officials in Rakhine state and we are looking for their cooperation to make these commitments a reality," Murphy told reporters on a conference call from Bangkok.

Myanmar dismisses accusations of ethnic cleansing, saying it has to tackle the insurgents, whom it accuses of setting fires and attacking civilians as well as the security forces.

While the United States has urged action to halt the violence, China, which has close economic and political ties with Myanmar, has welcomed measures by the government to alleviate the situation in Rakhine state.


Murphy said the military's response to the August insurgent attacks had been disproportionate and the country risked a terrorist backlash.

The attacks were claimed by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, which Murphy referred to as a "so-called group" of which little was known. It denies links to foreign militants but the government says it is connected to global terrorism.

"Whether or not this organisation has ties elsewhere is not particularly germane, given the fact that it could be creating an incentive for foreign terrorists to look at a new opportunity and this is among the risks that we have shared with Burmese stakeholders," he said.

Bangladesh was already home to some 400,000 Rohingya who fled earlier bouts of violence and persecution.

Given the "massive numbers" arriving in the past few weeks, the United Nations was expected to launch an appeal for $200 million to help them for the next six months, an official said.

"It has not been confirmed, but it is a ballpark figure, based on the information we have," Robert D. Watkins, U.N. resident coordinator in Bangladesh, told Reuters in an interview in Dhaka.

Watkins said the situation had not stabilised in terms of new arrivals so it was difficult to say how many people to plan for, or how long.

"We don’t want to plan a 10-year operation, obviously, because we want to maintain hope that there will be a way for negotiating a return of the population," he said.

"We can’t plan too far in the future, because it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy ... politically, it sends a strong signal, which we don’t want to send, which is that people are going to be here for a long time.

"And our donors are not prepared to respond to anything beyond a one-year time frame, given the massive amounts of money we are asking for."

Aid groups in Bangladesh have warned of a public health disaster unless help is increased massively.

"We need to scale up quickly," said Dr N. Paranietharan, the World Health Organisation representative in Bangladesh.

"If we don't drastically improve water and sanitation we will face water-borne diseases including cholera."]]>
9/23/2017 3:12:00 AM
<![CDATA[Mediterranean migrant arrivals reach 133,640 in 2017: IOM]]>
The report said this compares with 300,767 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

IOM Rome reported on Thursday, September 21 that, according to official figures of the Italian Ministry of Interior, 102,942 migrants have arrived by sea this year, which is around 21 percent fewer than arrived by this same time last year.

The total number of fatalities for the moment has not been confirmed by IOM; therefore, no fatalities data has been included in this day's tables.

IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported that on September 20, about 40 migrants were rescued off Zuwara by the Libyan Coast Guard. Among the rescued migrants were five women and one child. The migrants come from Guinea Bissau, Mali and Senegal. Three of the migrants were transferred to Zuwara hospital.

She added the remains of seven migrants were found in connection with this rescue operation. So far this year, 16,567 migrants have been rescued in Libyan waters.]]>
9/23/2017 2:36:00 AM
<![CDATA[Turkey urges Iraqi Kurds to drop referendum, cites sanctions]]>
Turkish government spokesman Bekir Bozdag told a news conference that "all options were on the table" regarding its response to the referendum, although he stopped short of giving details on what sanctions could entail.

"It is not possible for us to accept the postponing of the referendum either. We demand a total cancellation, so that we won't have to impose sanctions," Bozdag told reporters.

Bozdag's comments followed back-to-back meetings of Turkey's cabinet and National Security Council, both of which were chaired by President Tayyip Erdogan. The president has also said parliament will convene on Saturday to discuss the response to the referendum.

Earlier, the council called on the president of the northern Iraqi Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani, to stop the referendum.

The council said Turkey retained the rights defined in bilateral and international agreements if the vote were held. It did not elaborate on the nature of those rights.

Turkey, home to the largest Kurdish population in the region and fighting a Kurdish insurgency, has warned that any breakup of neighbouring Iraq or Syria could lead to a global conflict.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the referendum was a matter of national security for the country and Ankara would never accept a change of status in Iraq or Syria.

"An action that will change the status in Syria and Iraq is an unacceptable result for Turkey, and we will do what is necessary," Yildirim said.

Erdogan has threatened to impose sanctions against Kurdish northern Iraq.

On Monday, the Turkish army launched a highly visible military drill near the Habur border crossing, which military sources said was due to last until Sept. 26, a day after the planned referendum.

Turkey has for years been northern Iraq's main link to the outside world. It has built strong trade ties with the semi-autonomous region, which exports hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day through Turkey to international markets.]]>
9/23/2017 2:13:00 AM
<![CDATA[Trump yet to decide on new travel restrictions -officials]]>
Trump has not yet approved the restrictions, the officials said. It is unclear if he will do so before a temporary travel ban on citizens of six majority-Muslim countries expires on Sunday.

The officials declined to say how many or which countries were included in DHS acting Secretary Elaine Duke's report to Trump.]]>
9/23/2017 1:22:00 AM