<![CDATA[rss-News]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[News]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Suicide bomber throws grenade into US embassy compound in Montenegro]]>
Authorities in Podgorica have released no theories as to the motive for the early morning attack in Montenegro, which recently joined NATO, but said it was unlikely to have been a terrorist attack.

"At this moment we have not found (evidence) to talk about terrorism. Everything else is being investigated," prosecutor Lepa Medenica told reporters.

"In cooperation with the FBI, police are checking his social media accounts and investigating if (the attacker) D.J. worked alone or had accomplices, as well as what was the motive of the attack," Montenegro's deputy police chief Enis Bakovic said.

The attacker, identified only by his initials and as a 43-year old Montenegrin citizen born in Serbia with no criminal record, "committed suicide by activating a hand grenade M-75, after he had thrown one into the embassy compound," Medenica said.

A US State Department spokesperson said officials were "working closely with police to identify the assailant(s)".

Montenegro's main daily paper Vijesti published a picture, apparently from the attacker's Facebook page, showing an award he won for his service in the Yugoslav army in 1999, which was signed by the late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

That was the year in which a NATO air campaign against the rump Yugoslavia -- composed of Serbia and Montenegro -- ended the Kosovo war. Montenegro declared independence in 2006 and has espoused pro-Western policies ever since.

- 'Man's body removed' -

An AFP correspondent who arrived on the scene shortly after the blast did not see any damage.

Police said the explosion had left a crater in an inner courtyard, but that there was no other damage to embassy property.

On its Twitter account, the embassy said all its staff were "safe and accounted for" but it cancelled all visa services for the day, although access was available for US citizens "on an emergency basis".

A guard at the sports centre who asked not to be named said he "heard two explosions, one after another".

"Police came very quickly and the body of a man was taken away," he told AFP.

- New NATO member -

The heavily secured embassy building is located on the outskirts of Podgorica's city centre, near the secret police headquarters and the Moraca river.

Police said it had stepped up security of all embassies and consulates in the country.

The small Adriatic state of some 660,000 people joined NATO last May, a decision that provoked violent protests by the pro-Russian opposition in 2015.

In October 2016, authorities said they had thwarted a plot by pro-Russian militants to storm parliament and oust the pro-Western government on the eve of general elections.

Authorities alleged that "Russian state bodies" were involved in the conspiracy, which they said was aimed at preventing Montenegro from joining NATO.

In October 2011, the US embassy in Sarajevo in neighbouring Bosnia was the target of an Islamist attack.

Mevlid Jasarevic, who fired on the embassy building with an automatic rifle, wounding a police officer, was also injured in the ensuing gunfight.

Jasarevic was later sentenced to 15 years in jail.

According to figures published in November by a regional think tank, 1,000 people from the western Balkans have gone to join jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq since 2012.

Twenty-three of those were from Montenegro, whose population is predominantly Orthodox Christian.

Last month, a court in Montenegro for the first time sentenced one of its citizens for having fought in Syria.

Hamid Beharovic, 39, was found guilty of fighting for Islamic State group between April 2015 and May 2016. He was given a six-month jail term.]]>
2/23/2018 5:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[North Korea says U.N. chief 'picking a quarrel’ with sanctions remarks]]>
North Korea's U.N. mission said in a statement that Guterres had made "reckless remarks" during a speech last week to the Munich Security Conference.

"This is nothing but an absurd sophistry inappropriate to his duty as Secretary-General of the United Nations and only make us to think whether he is a kind of henchman who is representing the United States," the North Korean U.N. mission said.

The governments of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are in a standoff over the North's development of nuclear weapons capable of hitting the United States. Months of tension were marked by Trump and Kim exchanging insults, fueling fears of war, until this month when the relationship between North Korea and U.S. ally South Korea showed signs of thawing.

The United States was to blame for the situation on the Korean Peninsula, said the North Korean U.N. mission, criticizing Guterres for not mentioning Washington in his Munich speech.

Guterres told the conference: "It is important to note that the unity that the Security Council has been able to ... put, through sanctions, a very meaningful pressure over North Korea, and that pressure in my opinion is absolutely essential to be maintained."

The Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, banning exports including coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and capping imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.

The North Korean U.N. mission asked Guterres to push the Security Council to welcome "the process of improved inter-Korean relations and discouraging neighboring countries from disturbing the process."

Kim Jong Un surprised the world when he said North Korea would join the Winter Olympics in South Korea, while South Korean President Moon Jae-in has delayed military exercises, feted Kim's sister at the Olympics opening ceremony in Pyeongchang and given conditional consent to a summit.

Guterres said in his speech that "even if the relations between the two Koreas improved, let's be clear that is not the central question we are facing. The central question remains the question of denuclearization."]]>
2/23/2018 2:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Anger in NE Nigeria over Boko Haram 'abduction' response]]>
Police said on Wednesday that 111 girls from the state-run boarding school in Dapchi, in Yobe state, were unaccounted for following a jihadist raid on Monday night.

Hours later, Abdullahi Bego, spokesman for Yobe state governor Ibrahim Gaidam, said "some of the girls" had been rescued by troops "from the terrorists who abducted them".

But on a visit to Dapchi on Thursday, Gaidam appeared to question whether there had been any abduction.

"The girls scattered during the attack, and we can't be sure whether they were lost or taken," he said. "We have no certainty that these boys (Boko Haram) took these girls.

"Nobody saw these girls being taken in vehicles. It is possible some of the girls came across motorists and they gave them a ride to some places."

As news of his comments spread, groups of angry youths set up barricades and burned car tyres in the streets, hurling missiles at the governor's convoy.

An AFP reporter said several vehicles suffered smashed windscreens from stones and parts of concrete blocks, while police and soldiers chased rioters down side streets.

Bego's statement had been the first official acknowledgement of an abduction, two days after Boko Haram fighters stormed the remote town in pick-up trucks and a lorry.

The disappearance sparked fears of a repeat of the 2014 mass kidnapping of more than 200 girls from a similar school in Chibok, in neighbouring Borno state.

Initially, the students in Dapchi were reported to have fled with their teachers at the sound of gunfire. Families claimed the authorities tried to cover up the abduction.

A federal government delegation dispatched from Abuja spent less than an hour on the ground at the school meeting Gaidam and military commanders before leaving by helicopter.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed made no direct comment on Gaidam's remarks, but said some students "have phoned from their hiding places... (and) other locations".

He told reporters: "As things develop we will let you know. But we cannot categorically say, 'x number of girls have been abducted'. But we can say that not all have returned."

- 'Devastated' -

Inuwa Mohammed, whose 16-year-old daughter, Falmata, was missing, said he was "devastated by this twist of events" and that his wife fainted on hearing the news and was in hospital.

"I woke up with the strong hope of meeting my daughter and my wife had been making preparations for a warm welcome, only for us to receive this shattering news that all along the story has been a rumour," he added.

The attack will again raise questions about the government's grip on security in remote northeast Nigeria, after nearly nine years of fighting and at least 20,000 deaths.

Residents said fighters dressed in military fatigues and turbans arrived unchallenged, firing weapons and shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest").

Safai Maimagani, a herbal medicine vendor, said the militants headed towards the school on the edge of the sleepy farming community.

"Not long afterwards they returned," he said. "I heard shrieks of girls from the lorry."

Muhammad Kabo, a tea seller, gave a similar account: "They were here for less than an hour. I heard girls wailing in the truck and it was clear that they abducted some girls from the school."

A school security guard who gave his name as Baa-Koro said the gunmen tried to stop the girls from fleeing and tricked them into believing they had come to rescue them.

"Some of the girls believed them and climbed up into the lorry. Many others just kept running," he added.

President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in 2015 on a promise to defeat the Islamic State group affiliate and has repeatedly maintained they are now a spent force.

But civilians -- especially those displaced by the conflict -- remain vulnerable to suicide attacks and hit-and-run raids.

The Dapchi attack also calls into question how far pledges to improve security at schools have been implemented nearly four years after the Chibok abduction.

Since May last year, 107 of the 219 held since 2014 have either escaped or been released as part of a government-brokered deal.

Security analysts suggested government ransom payments to secure the release of the Chibok girls could have given the under-pressure group an incentive for financing.]]>
2/23/2018 2:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Trump doubles down on call to arm school teachers]]>
In a morning tweetstorm, Trump forcefully defended the proposal he floated a day earlier in a meeting with survivors of last week's Parkland shooting -- but which is strongly opposed by teachers' unions, and numerous lawmakers from both camps.

"Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive. GREAT DETERRENT!" Trump tweeted.

"A 'gun free' school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!"

Trump insisted he was not advocating arming every American teacher, only those with "military or special training" -- suggesting that would be around 20 percent of them, or around 700,000 educators.

The president meanwhile reiterated his support for the "great people" of the National Rifle Association, whose leader Wayne LaPierre lashed out Thursday at the gun lobby's critics, accusing them of a "shameful politicization" of the deaths of 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

After a poignant exchange with Parkland survivors and bereaved parents, Trump was meeting Thursday with state and local officials including Christine Hunschofsky, the Democratic mayor of Parkland, to discuss ways to improve school safety.

But teachers' unions were quick to condemn his proposal to arm educators, with the American Federation of Teachers claiming Trump was in favor of an "arms race" that would "turn schools into militarized fortresses."

"Anyone who wants guns in schools has no understanding of what goes on inside them—or worse, doesn't care," the union's president Randi Weingarten said.

Summing up the opposition of many lawmakers, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal called the idea of arming teachers "toxic lunacy -- an NRA-backed distraction from common sense action.

"Arming teachers is inane and insane -- a sure path to reckless and panicky shooting, gun theft, and other deadly dangers. A non-starter in the Senate."

- 'They hate the NRA' -

Trump's televised White House meeting on Wednesday came as students staged street protests across the country to demand stricter gun laws following the Valentine's Day rampage in Parkland by a 19-year-old former student.

He heard wrenching first-hand accounts from bereaved parents and friends, and schoolchildren who narrowly escaped with their own lives.

In a signal of the fine political line that Trump is trying to walk between his political supporters on the right and the majority of Americans who favor tighter controls, the 71-year-old president promised "very strong" background checks on gun owners, as well as a push to improve mental health care.

The US Congress has long been deadlocked on the gun debate, accomplishing nothing despite a spate of mass shootings and polls showing that Americans support stricter gun laws by a two-to-one margin.

According to a Gallup tracking poll, 60 percent of Americans now favor tougher gun sale laws.

Trump also advocated raising the legal age for purchasing guns, as well as banning devices that clip on to the back end of a rifle and harness the gun's recoil, essentially turning a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic one.

"Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue - I hope!"

Currently under federal law, anyone 18 or over can buy a gun from a private, unlicensed seller, although a handful of states have set the minimum age at 21.

But the NRA hit back hard at any suggestion of raising the legal age for gun purchases in a statement issued after the White House meeting.

Delivering his first public comments on the Parkland shooting at a conservative conference near Washington, LaPierre accused gun control advocates within the Democratic Party of seeking to roll back the constitutional right to bear arms.

"The shameful politicization of tragedy, it's a classic strategy right out of the playbook of a poisonous movement," he said.

"For them it's not a safety issue, it's a political issue," he said. "They hate the NRA. They hate the Second Amendment. They hate individual freedom," he said.

He also doubled down on the NRA's longstanding position that armed Americans were the first line of defense in confronting deadly attacks.

"Lean in, listen to me now, and never forget these words: to stop a bad guy with a gun, it takes a good guy with a gun."

Earlier, in a fired-up address, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch slammed the FBI for missing a series of warning signs ahead of the Florida shooting, while asserting that the mainstream media benefited from such tragedies.

"Many in legacy media love mass shootings" she told the crowd. "Crying white mothers are ratings gold to you."]]>
2/23/2018 2:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Congolese refugees killed in rations protest - Rwandan police]]>
Officers fired teargas at the group of around 3,000 protesters who police spokesman Theos Badege said were pelting them with stones and pieces of metal.

The refugees had been there since Tuesday after travelling around 15 km (10 miles) from the refugee camp in Kiziba to the U.N. office in Karongi, western Rwanda, to demonstrate against the 25 percent cut in food provided by the U.N. refugee agency.

The UNHCR agency said in January it was having to reduce the rations due to funding shortages.

"It was necessary for the police to tell (them) to show respect and warn them but as the police addressed them, they started throwing stones and police used necessary power,” Badege told Reuters.

He said police started firing teargas in the air and at the refugees when some officers were injured by the protesters.

"That was done today and they left the place. Unfortunately some of them were injured and though we are yet to get figures, some of the refugees died,” he said.

Other refugees said police had also shot at them and at least one person had been killed.

“We were shot at the UNHCR offices as we were trying to speak up our rights. My nephew Mucyo Christian died and my siblings were injured," refugee Bakunzi Emile told Reuters by phone.

Refugees said police used live bullets there but Badege said it was not true.

Refugees said police also attacked them in the Kiziba camp. Badege said they went there to rescue an immigration officer who had been taken hostage by refugees.

Rwanda hosts about 174,000 refugees, including 57,000 people from neighbouring Burundi who fled violence in 2015. Most of the rest fled the Democratic Republic of Congo during bouts of instability there over the past 20 years. The Kiziba camp houses 17,000 Congolese.

UNHCR said in a statement on Thursday that its funding appeal of 2018 for Rwanda of $98.8 million was only 2 percent funded, and the World Food Programme has warned of more cuts if its monthly requirements of $2.5 million were not met.

"UNHCR urges the refugees to respect local laws and express grievances through dialogue, while calling on authorities to handle the situation with calm and restraint," it said.

Jeanne d'Arc DeBonheur, Rwanda's minister for disaster management and refugees affairs, said earlier police had to act for security reasons.

"They must leave that place and go to the camp. Even we agreed with UNHCR that they cannot get any support while they are still camped there," she said. ]]>
2/23/2018 1:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Macron offers tough love for farmers ahead of Paris show]]>
Macron invited hundreds of young farmers to the Elysee presidential palace before the annual Paris farm show this weekend, a politically important event which takes place just after farmers staged protests across France.

The government is facing discontent over issues including trade talks with South American countries and an overhaul of subsidies for disadvantaged farm belts, sapping goodwill created by legislative proposals for fairer farmgate prices.

"Let's not be naive, we won't fix our problems in a few months ... but I want to give French agriculture a future," Macron told the young farmers.

Macron pledged to clamp down on farmland purchases by foreign buyers, highlighting access to land for young farmers as a vital issue as France faced the prospect of 40 percent of current farmers retiring by 2020.

"We cannot let hundreds of hectares be bought up by foreign powers without knowing what the aim of these purchases is," he said in a speech. "We are therefore clearly going to put in place regulatory safeguards in this area."

Macron was alluding to land deals in 2016 and 2017 that French farming groups and media have linked to Chinese fuel services group Hongyang.

While Chinese investors have acquired a number of wine estates and formed partnerships with dairy companies in France, the purchase of 2,600 hectares of cropland in central France over the past two years has hit a nerve.

Hongyang could not be reached for comment.

Macron also sought to reassure farmers that he would defend them in trade talks with the Mercosur bloc, negotiations that have raised fears of an influx of South American beef.

He reiterated French "red lines" over food and farming standards and said he would demand a safeguard clause to suspend any trade accord if agricultural markets were disrupted.

But he said existing imports of South American beef at full tariffs showed the French meat industry had failed to modernise, allowing imported beef to claim 70 percent of restaurant demand in France.

"Who can look me in the eye and tell me that Mercosur is the cause of their difficulties?," he said.

Macron said an election pledge to invest 5 billion euros ($6.2 billion) in agriculture would start being implemented later this year, using financial mechanisms like state-backed loans for young farmers.

Farmers attending the reception reacted cautiously.

"He met our expectations with his message, but there weren't enough hard figures," said Paul Chanvillard, a 26-year-old dairy farmer.]]>
2/23/2018 1:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Romanian minister calls for prosecutor's sacking, graft crackdown under threat]]>
Tudorel Toader read a summary of a 20-point report arguing for Laura Codruta Kovesi's dismissal that he compiled himself, telling a news conference she was responsible for "acts and facts intolerable to the rule of law."

She has led anti-corruption prosecution agency DNA since 2013 and, under her management, conviction rates have risen sharply in one of the European Union's most corrupt states, winning plaudits from EU authorities in Brussels who have Romania's justice system under special monitoring.

The country's ruling Social Democrats tried a year ago to decriminalise several corruption offences by emergency decree, leading to its largest street protests in decades.

A judicial overhaul approved by the ruling coalition late last year - which was criticised by the president, thousands of magistrates, the European Commission and the U.S. State Department - is back in parliament after the Constitutional Court ruled some of its provisions were unconstitutional.

"DNA is not the same as its chief prosecutor, whose actions have proved can jeopardise the institution through an excess of authority... defying parliament's authority and challenging Constitutional Court rulings," Toader said.

The minister, part of a one-month old cabinet that is Romania's third in just a year, declined to answer reporters' questions. Some of the arguments he invoked were unproved local media allegations of misconduct.

President Klaus Iohannis, who has the final say on the removal of chief prosecutors, said in a statement Toader's report was unclear and needed analysis.

"The president has repeatedly said he was satisfied by the activity of DNA and its leadership, an opinion he continues to have," the statement said. 'YOU'RE NOT GETTING AWAY WITH IT'

DNA has investigated lawmakers, ministers, mayors, magistrates and businessmen in recent years, exposing conflicts of interest, abuse of power, fraud and the award of state contracts in exchange for bribes.

It has sent over 70 members of parliament to trial since 2006. The speakers of parliament’s lower house and senate are both currently on trial in separate cases.

In a news conference last week, Kovesi defended DNA against attacks by some of those currently on trial, saying she would have no reason to resign if she was asked to.

"This attack isn't about Kovesi, it is about the prosecutors who have done their job. It aims to make the Romanian state kneel, humiliate society and the Romanian people," she said.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside government headquarters following Toader's news conference, chanting "You're not getting away with it".

More were joining them and demonstrations also broke out in at least three other cities, according to social media postings by participants.

"In case there were people doubting the justice minister was not a political actor, this evening has clarified that," said Sergiu Miscoiu, political science professor at Babes-Bolyai University. ]]>
2/23/2018 1:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Five-day assault on Syria enclave kills more than 400]]>
Mounting calls for a humanitarian truce in one of the bloodiest episodes of Syria's seven-year conflict went unheeded as 46 more people were killed by air strikes and rocket fire.

Diplomats were working on securing Russian support for a UN Security Council resolution demanding a month-long ceasefire in the enclave which the world body's chief Antonio Guterres described as "hell on earth" but no date was scheduled yet.

People huddled in basements as government forces pounded the besieged enclave with rockets and bombs, turning towns into fields of ruins and even hitting hospitals.

Aid group Doctors Without Borders said 13 of the facilities it supports in Eastern Ghouta were damaged or destroyed in three days, leaving remaining staff with very little to save the hundreds of wounded brought to them every day.

In the hospital mortuary in Douma, the main town in the enclave just east of Damascus, bodies wrapped in white shrouds were already lining up on the floor, two of them children.

- Nowhere safe -

"Five days of air strikes and intense artillery fire by the regime and its Russian ally have killed 403 civilians, including 95 children," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Morning rain appeared to initially keep warplanes away on Thursday but the sky cleared by midday and jets, some of them Russian according to the Observatory, soon returned.

Russia has so far denied direct involvement in the assault on Ghouta but the pro-government Syrian newspaper Al-Watan reported on Thursday that Russian warplanes and advisers had joined the battle.

Regime and allied forces have been massing around the enclave, in which an estimated 400,000 people live, ahead of a likely ground offensive to flush out holdout Islamist and jihadist groups.

"We are 14 women and children living in a room that is 10 feet wide, with no toilet and nowhere to wash," said 53-year-old Umm Abdo, who joined a large group in the basement of a school in Arbin.

The brief respite provided by the rain on Thursday encouraged some residents to venture out of their basements and shelters, to buy food, check on their property or enquire about their relatives and neighbours.

In the town of Hammuriyeh, a queue had formed outside a shop as starving residents tried to stock up but another rocket sowed panic and sent everybody back to their shelters.

In Douma, a young boy tried to peddle lighters on the street but rocket fire quickly forced him to scamper back to cover.

- Powerless -

An AFP correspondent saw rescuers known as the "White Helmets" forced to stop their efforts to retrieve a wounded woman from the rubble of a collapsed home when air strikes resumed.

When they ventured back to the site, the woman was dead.

The indiscriminate bombardment and the strikes on medical facilities sparked global outrage but few concrete options emerged to stop the bloodletting.

"The killing of children, the destruction of hospitals -- all that amounts to a massacre that must be condemned and which must be countered with a clear no," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The aid community voiced its frustration as the world appeared once again powerless to stop a conflict that has left almost 350,000 dead in seven years and caused destruction rarely seen since World War II.

- Russia -

Humanitarian agencies are "sickened that no matter how many times they've raised the alarm, taken the step of speaking out, called on the Security Council to do something, the violence and brutality will sink to new lows," said the Syria INGO Regional Forum.

Talks for a deal between the regime and the armed groups controlling Ghouta appear to have stalled.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a press conference in Belgrade that jihadist fighters in Ghouta had rejected an evacuation deal.

"A few days ago, our military in Syria suggested to the fighters that they withdraw peacefully from Eastern Ghouta, like the evacuation of fighters and their families that was organised in East Aleppo," he said.

The head of the defence committee in Russia's lower house of parliament said Thursday that more than 200 news types of weapons were tested as part of his country's military support to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

"It's not an accident that today they are coming to us from many directions to purchase our weapons, including countries that are not our allies," he said.]]>
2/23/2018 12:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Boeing, Lockheed interested in launching rockets from Brazil]]>
"They were very impressed," Defense Minister Raul Jungmann told reporters. "They showed interest, but I can't say whether it will materialize."

Alcantara's location makes it attractive because one-fifth less fuel is used to launch satellites into orbit along the equator compared with sites farther north or south.

Besides SpaceX, Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co , the Alcantara visit included smaller aerospace U.S. companies Vector Space Systems, which launches small satellites, and Microcosm, which focuses on providing low-cost access to space, an organizer of the trip said.

Rubens Barbosa, a former Brazilian ambassador to the United States who organized the visit to the base, said the U.S. companies were eager to use the Alcantara site.

However, Elon Musk's SpaceX, fresh off the successful launch this month of the world's most powerful rocket, said the comments were not correct.

“Reports that SpaceX is interested in launching from Brazil are inaccurate,” spokesman John Taylor said in a statement.

Lockheed Martin and Vector Space Systems did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Boeing said it sent two executives to visit the base.

"Boeing sees this as an exciting time in the space industry as we build rockets for launch, test new spaceships, and develop innovative technologies for keeping humans alive on orbit in deep space," the world's top planemaker said.

"International partnerships will play an important role in making that a reality, and we look forward to Brazil's participation," Boeing said in a statement.

Boeing is currently seeking to buy Brazil's Embraer , the world's third largest commercial plane maker and the main player in the country's aerospace industry.

American companies will not be able to launch rockets from Brazil until the South American country signs a Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA) with Washington to protect U.S. intellectual property.

A previous attempt to do so in 2000 was scuttled by the leftist government of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva when he took power in 2003 and has never been ratified by Congress.

Brazilian lawmakers are expected to approve a new TSA that is now being negotiated with the United States.

Jungmann said in addition to U.S. companies that China, Russia, France and Israel were interested in a partnership with Brazil to use the Alcantara site. Brazil envisions multiple users for the base.

"I think we could setup five launch platforms," Jungmann said.

A variety of countries have worked with Brazil on space issues. Over the past two decades, China has put up five small satellites that Brazil uses to observe agriculture, the environment and the destruction of Amazon rainforest.

Brazil abandoned plans to build its own rockets after an explosion and fire in 2003 at Alcantara killed 21 people.

Brazil then turned to the Ukraine to provide space technology but canceled the deal in 2015 after the former Soviet Union republic's financial problems left it unable to provide rockets as promised.]]>
2/23/2018 12:28:40 AM
<![CDATA[Palestinian President Abbas leaves U.S. hospital and is fine]]>
He told Reuters that Abbas had left the hospital in the U.S. city of Baltimore and would be returning home to Ramallah in the West Bank on Friday. ]]>
2/23/2018 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[BT, Youm7 honor Sports Minister Abdel Aziz for launching Sports Support Fund]]>CAIRO – 22 February 2018: A shield of honor was awarded to Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel Aziz on Thursday for his contributions and achievements in the sports field in Egypt.

The shield was handed to Abdel Aziz by Khaled Salah, editor-in-chief of Egyptian influential daily Youm7 and head of the editorial board of Business Today Egypt.

Abdel Aziz’ latest achievement is launching the “Egyptian Sports Support Fund” to support sports in Egypt and put it back on the global sports map by providing proper preparation for Egyptian athletes according to international standards.

Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel Aziz receiving the BT100 shield of honor – Egypt Today/Hossam Atef

The minister affirmed, upon being honored, that the fund came to light after thorough research and study by the Cabinet.

He added that Prime Minister Sherif Ismail was so convinced of the fund that it got announced early, the matter which motivated whoever was agreed responsible for the fund to immediately start acting upon it.

Abdel Aziz pointed out that sports clubs are suffering, especially after the pound floatation, even if the state decided to increase its support to clubs by 25% next year, it will not be of much significance, therefore, the fund poses the only solution for the advancement of sports in Egypt.

It is agreed that the fund, financed by businessmen and public and private authorities, will be sponsoring athletes who will represent Egypt in the Olympics.

Egypt’s leading economics magazine Business Today on Monday held an award ceremony “BT100” to honor top influential figures and companies positively impacting the Egyptian economy in 2017.

The event hosted more than 600 attendees, including state ministers, headed by Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy. It was held under the auspices of a number of pioneering corporate entities from various business sectors.

The ceremony’s awards selection was based on a comprehensive study conducted in accordance with financial and economic standards set by Business Today Magazine’s economic specialists and experts.

The awarded entities were selected based on their overall performance in the past year, impact on the economic progress, stock exchange performance, creativity with practical solutions, sustainable public-private partnerships and alignment with the goals outlined in Egypt 2030 Vision.

2/22/2018 11:47:17 PM
<![CDATA[Anti-hepatitis C campaign expands to last 10 governorates]]>CAIRO –22 February 2018: The Ministry of Health announced the launch of the hepatitis C field inspections in the remanding 10 governorates, as a part of the Ministry’s nation-wide initiative to eliminate the spread of the Hepatitis C by 2022.

Last week, the Ministry announced that 17 governorates have been targeted by the Ministry’s walk-in HIV testing.

During a meeting on Thursday, Minister of Health, Ahmed Emad el-Din discussed with the Ministry’s leaders the progress made so far in the campaign and the cluster of the medical conveys in the new target governorates. Nearly 80,000 tests have been carried out by 56 medical convoys in 17 governorates so far, according to the Minister.

He also confirmed that the remaining provinces includes the governorates of Qalioubia, Kafr el-Sheikh, Alexandria, Matrouh, Ismailia, Suez, South and North Sinai and Al Wadi Al Gedied, explaining that there will be 31 walk-in points established and distributed to thoroughly cover the said governorates, along with total 124 mobile medical vehicles for testing opportunities.

The medical examinations are conducted through the analysis of ELISA screening for virus C using dried blood samples.

By 2022, Egypt will be hepatitis C free, announced Yehiya el-Shazly, President of the National Committee for Fighting Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infections, around a year ago.

Under the directives of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, the Health Ministry announced a comprehensive strategy to eliminate the hepatitis C virus (HCV), after infection rates hit their highest in Egypt in 2014, according to the World Health Organization.

Two million citizens infected with HCV virus have already been treated, the Ministry of Health announced in December 2017.

During his recent visit to Egypt, Brazilian footballer Roberto Carlos accompanied the medical convoy that was sent out to Cairo’s largest slum, Ezbet el-Hagana, to spread awareness about hepatitis C and to conduct inspections.
2/22/2018 10:09:09 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi’s precedential campaign holds 1st press conference]]>CAIRO – 22 February 2018: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s campaign held a press conference on Thursday to announce the details of Sisi’s electoral program.

During the press conference, the campaign featured a video titled “A Tale of a Homeland” to review the achievements made during Sisi’s four-year tenure. Egypt Today presents a wrap-up of the main themes tackled during the conference.

The NEA has already officially announced the official slate for the presidential election, which included the incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and al-Ghad’s Mousa Moustafa.

On January 25, Chairperson of El-Ghad Party, Mousa Mostafa Mousa, announced that he would run for the upcoming presidency election scheduled to be held by the end of March.

Mousa received endorsements from 20 Members of Parliament- the majority of them represent Monufia Governorate- in order to announce his official Presidential bid.

According to the election’s timetable set by the NEA, voting in the 2018 presidential election in Egypt will commence on March 26, on January 8.

Sixty million eligible voters will cast their ballots in the election between March 26 and 28 in Egypt, while Egyptians living abroad will vote between March 16 and 18.
2/22/2018 9:43:22 PM
<![CDATA[UNSC votes on ceasefire resolution amid escalations in Ghouta]]>
“There is an urgent need to reach a ceasefire between the political parties inside eastern Ghouta in Syria in order to avoid a real and serious humanitarian catastrophe,” the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement issued Thursday, February 22. It was added that communications are taking place now between several governments and international organizations in order to control the consequences of the current dangerous situation.

The statement also expressed Egypt’s deep concern over the latest escalations and their effect on the Syrian civilians. The ministry condemned any shelling of civilian areas in Ghouta, Damascus and throughout Syria.

Egypt has been a key player regarding reaching a stable circumstances in Syria and especially, in Ghouta. It has been announced more than once than any solution other than a political one will not end the struggle as it won’t fulfill the Syrian people’s demands of a stable and secure country.

In July 2017 Syria's Tomorrow opposition movement signed a ceasefire agreement with the Syrian regime in Eastern Ghouta . The agreement was signed with Egyptian mediation after three day-negations in the presence of representatives of the Syrian opposition, Syrian regime and the Russian Defense Ministry.

The agreement’s stated conditions include: “a complete ceasefire binding to all parties, the entry ban of all military troops into Eastern Ghouta, and building Russian observation sites inside Ghouta to monitor the parties’ commitment to the agreement.”
“This agreement should ease the Syrian people's suffering, and improve their living conditions,” the ceasefire statement released by the movement read.

The movement also thanked President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, and the Egyptian government for its mediation and efforts in hosting the negotiations and the signing of the agreement. “Finally we hope this agreement is one of the steps towards achieving peace inside the whole Syrian territory.”

Because of this agreement, humanitarian aid reached Eastern Ghouta for the first time in five years.

In September 2017, Egypt hosted a two-day conference between the Syrian parties as another step towards peace. It represented a real chance for the Syrian tribes to sit-down and talk in an environment that believes in political solutions and national dialogues as the only path for stability and unity.

However, the cease fire didn’t last long, amid mutual accusations between the Syrian government and opposition that both of them are violating the peace calls to stop violence, Moscow announced that peace talks had ‘collapsed’.

Several international governments and organizations including France, the United Nations and the United States of America demanded all parties drop their weapons and start real dialog.

Other accusations of using chemical weapons against the Syrian people were reported by the American administration, blaming the Syrian regime; which completely denied the accusations.

As per a request from Kuwait and Sweden, the United Nations Security Council will vote on Thursday on a draft law for a 30-day ceasefire in order to allow the humanitarian aid to reach the city again.

The law (if agreed) will temporarily end the Syrian people’s struggle, stopping the siege imposed on them for a long time, and especially during the past five days. According to UN statistics about 346 civilians have been killed and 878 others have been injured in Eastern Ghouta since February 4.

The Syrian political situation has been deteriorating since protests emerged with the Arab Spring revolutions in 2011, when the opposition created the Free Syrian Army to face Assad’s forces. The situation worsened when the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group began interfering in the country in 2014.

About 470,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the war as of February 2016, according to the latest data from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Some 1.6 million Syrians have been domestically displaced, while the number of refugees reached 4.8 million people, the data added.]]>
2/22/2018 8:26:40 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi selects star, Moussa selects plane as symbols in election ]]>
President Sisi’s election campaign is scheduled to hold a conference on Thursday evening to declare its plans during the coming period.

Sisi expressed his intention to run for president during his closing speech at the end of the three-day “Tale of a Homeland” conference, where the president and the Egyptian government presented an overview of the projects and achievements made in different fields during the last four years.

On his official Twitter account, Sisi called on the Egyptian people to participate intensively in the upcoming election and give their votes to whomever they see most eligible

On January 31, the National Election Authority (NEA) said that President Sisi and Head of Ghad Party Moussa have applied to run in the 2018 presidential election.

Voting in the 2018 presidential election in Egypt will commence on March 26, as announced by the NEA on January 8. Sixty million eligible voters will cast their ballots in the election between March 26 and 28 in Egypt, while expatriates will vote between March 16 and 18.

The final list of the candidates will be announced on February 24, he added, noting that the deadline for any candidate to retreat will be on March 1. The primary results of the first round of the election will be announced on March 29, where decisions on appeals submitted by candidates, if any, will be made.

2/22/2018 4:21:49 PM
<![CDATA[Russia would back 30-day Syria ceasefire but not for militants: Lavrov]]>
Lavrov's comments, made during a visit to Belgrade, were quoted by the Interfax news agency. Russia supports President Bashar al-Assad's government in the Syrian conflict. ]]>
2/22/2018 3:56:49 PM
<![CDATA[EU's top court says Poland breached air pollution rules]]>
Environmentalists have called on Poland to take action to improve air quality, which in some places, especially in the south, can be worse than in Beijing and New Delhi, the world's most polluted cities.

But activists said the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party had been slow in introducing anti-smog regulations and complained to the EU.

The issue is one of several disputes straining ties between Warsaw and Brussels. This week the EU's top court adviser said Poland breached the law with increased logging in its ancient Bialowieza Forest.

The European Commission took Poland to court over its slow response in addressing poor air quality caused by extensive coal and rubbish burning in homes.

The European Court of Justice ruled limits to regulate the amount of pollutants in the air had been "persistently exceeded."

The air contained too much PM10, particulate matter smaller than 10 micrometers, which can damage health if breathed in.

Poland exceeded the daily legal amount of pollutants in 35 of its 46 "air quality zones" and nine of those zones also failed an inspection of the annual legal limit, the court said.

"Fighting smog is one of the government's priorities. But we will not be able to do it within a year," Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a conference after the court ruling.

Piotr Wozny, a deputy minister responsible for air quality, blamed former governments for neglecting the problem and announced a pilot programme to help 22 of the most polluted towns.

The government and local authorities will spend 750 million zlotys ($220 million) to help poorer households make their homes warmer and want to offer subsidies to households to buy more eco-friendly furnaces, the environment minister said.

"We would like to agree with the European Commission the conditions of a special operational programme for clean air," Wozny said, adding Poland wanted to end the fight with smog by 2027.

Environmental group ClientEarth said if Poland continued to breach air pollution limits it could face "hefty" fines imposed as a result of another court process.

Poland's Environment Ministry said there was no risk Warsaw would be penalised as a direct consequence of the court's ruling on Thursday.

Last month, the European Commission warned nine other member states, including Germany and the United Kingdom, that it could take legal action if they did not present "additional credible, timely and effective measures" to tackle air pollutants.

All have submitted information to be evaluated, according to a Commission spokesman.

Targets introduced to reduce the amount of pollutants for 2005 and 2010 are being exceeded in 23 of the EU's 28 members.

Bulgaria faced similar charges to Poland in April 2017.]]>
2/22/2018 3:34:12 PM
<![CDATA[President Sisi receives message from Azerbaijani president]]>
Azerbaijani Minister of Economy Shahin Mustafayev delivered the message to the president in a meeting attended by Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr and the Azerbaijani ambassador in Cairo.

The Azerbaijani minister lauded President Sisi's efforts to restore stability in Egypt, amid the crises in the region, affirming that Egypt is considered a pillar for achieving peace in the entire region, said Presidential Spokesman Bassam Radi.

Mustafayev said that holding the fourth session of the Egyptian-Azerbaijani joint committee in Cairo reflects the distinguished relations binding both countries and contributes to pushing forward cooperation, Radi added.

He voiced his country's keenness on boosting investments in Egypt, especially in light of the mega development projects currently under-implementation which offer promising opportunities in various fields, Radi noted.

He also invited the Egyptian investors to visit Azerbaijan to explore spheres of joint cooperation and large capabilities in it, especially in the fields of gas, oil, tourism, health, medicines and education, Radi further noted.

Sisi sent his greetings to the Azerbaijani president, asserting the strength of bilateral relations and Egypt's keenness on boosting joint cooperation in various fields.
2/22/2018 3:27:26 PM
<![CDATA[Ethiopia releases 1,500 prisoners in eastern Somali region: statement]]>
"On Wednesday, over 1,500 prisoners were released following a pardon by President Abdi Mohammed Omer," the Somali Region's communications bureau said on Facebook late on Wednesday, referring to the regional president.

"The inmates had been jailed on charges that include anti-peace activities," it added, without giving details.

Ethiopia has already released more than 6,000 prisoners since January, including some high-profile journalists and opposition leaders. They were charged with a variety of offences, including terrorism.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the releases were designed to increase "political space" in Ethiopia following anti-government protests that began in 2015.

Hundreds of people were killed during two years of protests that convulsed the country's two most populous provinces, whose ethnic Oromo and Amharic communities complain they are under-represented in the country's corridors of power.

Friday's declaration of a six-month-long state of emergency followed Hailemariam's surprise resignation on Thursday. He remains in office, overseeing the region's biggest economy, until a new prime minister is appointed.

The government previously imposed a state of emergency in October 2016, which was lifted in August 2017. During that time, curfews were in place, movement was restricted and about 29,000 people were detained. It's unclear how many remain in prison. ]]>
2/22/2018 3:24:00 PM
<![CDATA[6 terrorists arrested at Aboul Fotouh farm jailed for 15 days ]]>
The prosecution accused the six defendants of being members of terrorist groups which aim to destabilize the country’s security, constitution and law. The accusations also included attempting to toppling the current regime along with endangering Egyptian society.

All of the six ‘terrorist elements’ as identified in the interior ministry’s statement issued on Wednesday has in their possession (when arrested) three rifles. It was added that Aboul Fotouh knew that these wanted elements were hiding on his farm, and that he gave direct orders to a number of his assistants not to expel them.

On Tuesday, February 20, the Cairo Criminal Court ruled to place Aboul Fotouh along with 15 others on terrorist-linked watchlist.

Aboul Fotouh was arrested last week on six charges, including incitement of violence. He has been ordered to be detained for 15 days following an investigation by the National Security prosecution.

The list of charges included, “inciting violence against the state and the constitution, call for a boycott of the upcoming Presidential elections in March, being a member of a law-labeled terrorist group and communicating with fugitives, destabilizing Egypt’s stability and security aiming to topple the current regime, calling for chaos and spreading rumors and finally hindering the state’s organizations from practicing their role regarding stabilizing and securing the country.”

On February 12, an Egyptian lawyer submitted an official complaint to the public prosecutor, calling for the arrest of Aboul Fotouh, after he appeared on an Al-Jazeera television show from London. Lawyer Samir Sabry accused Aboul Fotouh of “spreading fake news” and demeaning Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

On Tuesday, January 28, five political figures released a joint statement calling for Egyptians to boycott the process because the elections will not be fair.

The figures include Aboul Fotouh; former parliament member and chairman of the Reform and Development Party Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat; former science consultant for the presidency Essam Heggy; former chairman of the Central Auditing Authority Hisham Genena; and political science professor Hazem Hosni.

The five political personnel expressed in the statement their discontent with alleged security and administrative practices undertaken to inhibit competition in the upcoming election. However, they did not mention any details about the allegations.

2/22/2018 3:21:37 PM
<![CDATA[UN pleads for truce to avert "massacre" as strikes hit Ghouta for 5th day]]>
At least 368 people have been killed, including 150 children, in the rural eastern Ghouta district on the outskirts of Damascus since Sunday night, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.

More than 1,850 people have been wounded in the assault by Syria's military and its allies. Planes have struck residential areas and, according to medical charities, hit more than a dozen hospitals making it near impossible to treat the wounded.

"There is a need for avoiding (a) massacre, because we will be judged by history," U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said. He called on the U.N. Security Council to declare a ceasefire.

President Bashar al-Assad's main ally Russia, which wields a veto on the Security Council, said it could support a 30-day truce, but not one that included the Islamist militants it says the eastern Ghouta operation is meant to target.

The existing "de-escalation zone" agreement that has failed to halt fighting does not include the Islamist faction formerly known as Nusra Front, and rebels in Ghouta say it is the presence of a small number of Nusra militants that is constantly used as a pretext for the siege and bombardment of the enclave.

Residents of Douma, the biggest town in eastern Ghouta, described plumes of black smoke billowing from residential areas after planes dropped bombs from high altitude. Searches were under way for bodies amid the rubble in the town of Saqba and elsewhere, said rescuers.

In Syria's north, where Turkey launched an offensive in the past month against a Kurdish militia, the Kurds said pro-government fighters were now deploying to front lines to help repel the Turkish advance, though assistance would be needed from the Syrian army itself.

Government forces also entered a part of Aleppo controlled by the Kurdish YPG militia, a witness and the Observatory said, although the YPG denied this.

The Kurdish YPG - allies with the United States in other parts of Syria - have sought help recently from the Russian-backed Damascus government to resist the Turkish thrust - an example of the strange bedfellows in a multi-sided conflict that has drawn in neighbours and world powers.


International attention is now focused on the humanitarian plight in the eastern Ghouta, where 400,000 people have been under siege for years and where government bombardment escalated sharply on Sunday, causing mass civilian casualties.

De Mistura said he hoped the Security Council would agree to a ceasefire resolution, but acknowledged it would be hard. "I hope it will. But it’s uphill. But I hope it will. It is very urgent," he told Reuters at the United Nations in Geneva.

Moscow and Damascus say their assault on eastern Ghouta is necessary to defeat rebels who have been firing mortars on the capital - government territory throughout the war.

"Those who support the terrorists are responsible" for the situation in eastern Ghouta, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters. "Neither Russia, nor Syria nor Iran are in that category of states, as they are waging an absolute war against terrorists in Syria."

A White House statement said Washington backed the U.N. call for a ceasefire to allow access for aid and medical evacuations.

"The United States also calls upon Russia and its partners to live up to their obligations with respect to de-escalation zones, particularly those in eastern Ghouta and to end further attacks against civilians in Syria."

Aid workers and residents say Syrian army helicopters have been dropping "barrel bombs" - oil drums packed with explosives and shrapnel - on marketplaces and medical centres.

Residents and insurgents in eastern Ghouta say Russian planes are also involved. Syrians say they can identify Russian aircraft because they fly at higher altitude than Syrian planes.

Damascus and Moscow deny using barrel bombs or hitting civilians. They say rebels hold civilians as human shields.

Video footage obtained by Reuters showed wreckage at the Al Shifa hospital in the town of Hammouriyeh. Staff said it had been hit by air strikes and artillery.

"The clinics department is out of service, the clinical care unit is out, the surgery unit is out, the incubator unit is out, the pediatric section is out, all of the departments of the hospital are completely out of service," a man identified as a medical worker said.

"There were casualties among our staff, among patients, among the children we had," he said, adding that doctors had performed an operation in the rubble because it was impossible to evacuate in time.


Opposition-held eastern Ghouta has been under siege by Assad's forces since 2013. After government gains since 2015, it is the final rebel bastion near the capital.

Along with Idlib province in the north, part of Aleppo province and a strip in Syria's southwest, it is one of just a handful of areas left where large numbers of people remain in territory controlled by fighters seeking to overthrow Assad. The president has vowed to regain control of every inch of Syria.

Residents and opposition figures say the Syrian government and its allies are deliberately harming civilians with a "scorched earth policy" to force rebels to surrender.

"They want to break our will and turn Ghouta into another Aleppo but this is their dream," Yusef Dughmi, a resident in the devastated eastern Ghouta town of Arbin, said overnight.

Basema Abdullah, a widow who was huddled in a basement with her four children in Douma, said: "We are in desperate need for your prayers," before the phone connection was cut off.

One of the main rebel groups in eastern Ghouta said Moscow would accept only a rebel capitulation. "The Russian concept is complete surrender to the Assad regime's authoritarian and security grip and they need no excuse to storm the Ghouta," said Wael Alwan, spokesman for the Failaq al Rahman group.]]>
2/22/2018 3:20:05 PM
<![CDATA[ National newspapers' portals to be updated]]>
The National Press Authority signed a cooperation protocol with the Communications Ministry to upgrade the papers' portals in both Arabic or English languages, said Communications Minister Yasser el Qadi.

Under the 18-month, the ministry will also develop the human cadres in national newspapers, he added.

The protocol aims at helping these national newspapers to cope up with the information technology revolution, especially social networking websites which are highly favored by most of people.

He said the ministry began taking steps to set up an academy for training in coordination with the authority and national newspapers, noting that editing news for papers is different from social networking websites.

Karam Gabr, head of the National Press Authority, said he believes that national press is not going to disappear and that it is capable of addressing the problems it has been suffering from for more than 50 years now.

He added that there will be other modernization projects aiming at honing skills of journalists and helping them better communicate with Egyptians abroad.

Head of the Syndicate of Press and board chairman of Al Ahram newspaper Abdel Mohsen Salama and other board chairmen of national newspapers attended the signing ceremony.
2/22/2018 3:04:46 PM
<![CDATA[Criminal court sentences 21 persons to death for joining terrorist group]]>
Sixteen of the defendants were sentenced in absentia.

The court also ordered that four defendants in the same case be imprisoned for life and three others for 15 years.

The list of charges against the defendants included joining a group that calls for disrupting the constitution and laws, spreads extremist and takfiri thought and attempts to topple the ruling regime and assault army and police personnel and vital facilities with the aim of causing public disorder and endangering social peace and national stability and security. ]]>
2/22/2018 3:02:15 PM
<![CDATA[Army spox: Purged areas in N. Sinai rehabilitated into normal]]>
Refai highlighted joint maritime drills by the Egyptian and French navy in the Red Sea, where the Egyptian helicopter carrier Mistral, frigates, rocket launchers and special navy forces and students are training as part of the “Cleopatra 2018” exercise Feb.20-23.

The drills include protecting maritime transport, searching suspect vessels, and the scenario of freeing an island, confronting any threat at sea.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian navy is playing its role in the “Sinai 2018” operation, protecting Egypt’s mining and oil resources, and is training on “unconventional” threatening scenarios above and underwater.

In North Sinai, Refai said updates on the operation are being communicated to the media via daily statements. He provided a wrap up of two weeks of the operation as follows:

A total of 71 terrorists have been killed and five have been arrested. On the other hand, seven members of the Armed Forces and police have been killed, Refai confirmed, offering his condolences to the families of the fallen soldiers. Six other soldiers have been injured.

Some 1,852 criminals or people suspected of assisting terrorists have been arrested. A large number of them have already been released after investigations proved them innocent, according to Refai.

The air forces destroyed 158 targets, while 413 have been destroyed by the artillery. A total of 1,282 terrorist hotbeds and stores have been cleared, as well as four “media and transmission” centers used by the terrorist groups.

Tons of drugs and explosives have been destroyed, as well as hundreds of vehicles and motorcycles used by the terrorists, Refai said.

2/22/2018 2:55:19 PM
<![CDATA[Man lobs grenade at U.S. embassy in Montenegro, then blows himself up]]>
No casualties were reported from the embassy which confirmed a small explosion near its compound. The U.S. State Department said checks were being carried out to ensure all staff were safe.

Policemen with submachine guns and police vehicles were out on the streets near the embassy building on Thursday morning after the incident.

"All appropriate state bodies are undertaking measures and activities with an aim of resolving this case and securing full safety and security of the U.S. embassy's staff," Montenegro's interior minister, Mevludin Nuhodzic, said in a video message, condemning the incident.

Montenegro state television quoting police sources said the attacker was a 43-year old man born in Serbia and residing in Podgorica. Montenegro police declined to confirm media reports to Reuters.

The government, in a tweet, said that about half an hour after midnight "an unknown person" had committed suicide with an explosive device.

"Immediately before, that person threw an explosive device from the intersection near the Sport Center into the U.S. embassy compound." The device was most probably a hand grenade, it said.

The embassy was closed for issuing visas on Thursday and it warned U.S. citizens to stay away until further notice.

"The U.S. embassy in Podgorica advises U.S. citizens there is an active security situation at the U.S. embassy in Podgorica," it said on its website.

Montenegro is the smallest of all former Yugoslav republics and became the 29th country to join NATO last May.]]>
2/22/2018 2:53:23 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt rapporteur of 30th FAO Regional Conference for Africa]]>
Egyptian Agriculture Minister Abdel Men'em el Banna is expected to give a speech at the conference, in which he will review steps that have been implemented in Egypt to achieve a true and sustainable agricultural development, said a statement by the Agriculture Ministry on Thursday.

The Egyptian minister will also shed light on the opportunities available in Egypt thanks to the mega agricultural projects launched by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

This year's FAO regional conference for Africa is held under the theme “Sustainable Development Of Agriculture And Food Systems in Africa: Improving the Means Of Production And the Creation of Decent And Attractive Employment For Youth” with the participation of more than 38 African ministers of agriculture along with senior regional and international experts and officials specialized in agriculture and food sectors.

This year's edition aims at tackling the latest challenges pertaining to food and agriculture spheres as well as boosting regional connectivity in view of the world policies and political causes.

Banna arrived in Khartoum Wednesday to take part in the ARC meetings. He was received by the Sudanese ministers of agriculture and livestock alongside Egypt's acting ambassador in Sudan, Karim Essam.

Banna is scheduled to hold, on the sidelines of the FAO regional conference, several meetings with a number of Sudanese officials including the ministers of agriculture and forestry and livestock and the Nile State governor for talks on activating bilateral cooperation.
2/22/2018 2:31:25 PM
<![CDATA[Khaled Ali sued over sexual harassment allegations ]]>
Sabry in his complaint said that several members of the Bread and Freedom Party, and especially head of the women affairs committee Elham Eidarous, have already accused Ali of sexual harassment and demanded that he be questioned officially.

He added that his admission and apology which were included in the statement published on his Facebook page on February 19 prove that the allegations are true.

A statement Issued by the Journalist Youth Front Wednesday argued that incidents of sexual harassment shouldn’t be ignored without taking official and serious legal action towards it; that a real investigation against Ali would refrain such abuses from occurring again.

In a long statement issued on February 19,

Ali announced his resignation

as a member of the Bread and Freedom Party and as counselor for ECESR. He apologized about the sexual harassment allegations that were circulated against him by an anonymous girl though an e-mail shared by her with a small group of friends.

Moreover, Ali said that he is feeling sorry for the harm that he might have caused previously for that girl and for affecting her feelings or making her think of him as a harasser. He apologized to his kids, family and all the women he worked with previously.

Ali made it clear that he was surprised by the e-mail that went viral between the NGO members. He said that he used to work with her (the girl who sent the e-mail) and that he had nothing but respect for her during the long period they worked together.

Lawyer and human activist Khaled Ali was formerly a presidential candidate during the 2012 elections; however, he only amassed 134,056 votes, according to the National Election Authority’s (NEA) statement. Also, on November 6, 2017, Ali officially announced his intention to run for the 2018 presidential elections, but later retracted his decision for political reasons. Ali is also considered one of the left-wing political figures in Egypt. He has several well-known political stances that earned him a popular base. It is unconventional for an Egyptian politician to apologize and resign after being charged with sexual harassment; more stubborn attitudes are common in similar cases.
2/22/2018 2:29:53 PM
<![CDATA[335 travel docs for Egyptian violators of Kuwaiti residence law]]>
Speaking to MENA, Essam said the move comes after the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry decided to extend for two month, to end on April 22, the grace period given to residency law violators to adjust their status.

The Egyptian consulate in Kuwait examined the applications presented to it by 355 Egyptian expats who are living in Kuwait in violation of the Kuwaiti residence law and accepted to issue travel papers for just 335 of them, she said. Those of the remaining 20 were rejected because they had no official documents to prove that they hold the Egyptian nationality," she added.

She advised Egyptian expats violating the Kuwaiti residence law to make use of the Kuwaiti initiative and legalize their status as soon as possible.
2/22/2018 2:13:51 PM
<![CDATA[Algeria's Bouhired praises Sisi's anti-terror efforts]]>
"Egypt is waging a fierce war against black terrorism that seeks to divide the Arab region," Bouhired told MENA.

Bouhired stressed that she will never forget Egypt's stance in support of the Algerian revolution.

She also reiterated that Arab youths are capable of foiling the West's plots to control the Arab region thanks to their cultural, political and social awareness.

Bouhired is a heroine of the Algerian War of National Liberation from France, 1954–1962. She is known throughout the Middle East as "the Arab Joan of Arc. ]]>
2/22/2018 1:52:51 PM
<![CDATA[Lithuanian amb. says keen on bolstering ties with Egypt in all fields]]>
Egypt is a regional power and an important country in the Middle East region, Daunoravičius said at a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of Lithuania's independence.

He added that contacts are under way to prepare for a visit to be paid by Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Antanas Linkevičius to Cairo soon.

A new round of talks at the level of the two countries' assistant foreign ministers will be held soon in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, he told MENA.

Daunoravičius also praised the first-of-its-kind visit paid by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to Lithuania in August, during which he discussed with his Lithuanian counterpart Linkevičius the latest political and security developments in the Middle East region. (MENA)]]>
2/22/2018 12:20:01 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Kazakhstan mull joint parliamentary cooperation]]>
Both sides tackled proposals to intensify activities of the Egyptian- Kazakh parliamentary friendship group as well as exchanged visits between MPs, a move that would contribute to developing a constructive dialogue on files pertaining to democracy and legislation, said a statement released by Kazakhstan’s Embassy on Thursday.

The Kazakh ambassador shed light on his country’s priorities during the period of its membership in the UN Security Council (UNSC) in addition to the achievements Kazakhstan made while holding the rotating presidency of the UNSC in January, the statement added.

As well, the Kazakh ambassador briefed Abdel Aal on the foreign policies’ initiatives launched by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in the fields of nuke security, inter-faith dialogue, combating terrorism and supporting peace and stability in the Islamic world, read the statement.

Isagaliev expressed thanks to the Egyptian leadership for its constant support to Kazakhstan's regional and international initiatives, hailing the performance of the Egyptian parliament’s legislative committee for issuing several major laws aimed at promoting democracy, improving the living conditions of the Egyptians, developing the civil society and countering terrorism, the statement noted.

He voiced his country’s keenness on fostering cooperation with the Egyptian parliament that has 150 years of experience, according to the statement.

For his side, Abdel Aal praised the Kazakh role in world politics and its important contribution to regional and international causes, asserting that Kazakhstan is a major political partner to Egypt, the statement said.

Abdel Aal affirmed that Egypt is willing to continue supporting Kazakhstan on all levels and at all international forums, it also said.

He underlined the high level of relations between both countries in all political, economic and cultural sectors and expressed readiness to push forward bilateral parliamentary cooperation that will lead to a qualitatively new level of relations, it added. ]]>
2/22/2018 12:13:46 PM
<![CDATA[Tamer Morsi appointed as new Egyptian Media Group CEO]]>
The former Minister of Investment and the current executive chairwoman of Eagle Capital, Dalia Khorshid, announced that El Sheikh will be replaced by Tamer Morsi to carry out his tasks as the new CEO of the Egyptian Media Group.

Adel Imam, Tamer Morsi, Nehal Anbar and Mahmoud Yassin - Tamer Morsi official Twitter account
Adel Imam, Tamer Morsi, Nehal Anbar and Mahmoud Yassin - Tamer Morsi official Twitter account
Getting to know the new CEO of the Egyptian Media Group

1- He is one of the most prominent and successful TV drama producers. He founded Synergy Productions, which produced widely-watched TV series, like 'Legitimate Right' and 'Dead Heart' in 2008, starring Sherif Mounir.

2- He produced several of Adel Imam's successful works, most notably 'The Naji Atallah Team.'

3- In December 2017, Morsi revealed that he will be launching a Film Production Company soon, after his great success in the television world.

4- He led last year's Ramadan race, which he entered with eight great works. These are: 'Nour's Energy,' 'Security Situation,''She's Crazy,' 'From Land to Air,' 'Adly Allam's Ghosts,' 'Village of Delhab ,' 'Dear God, I am Fasting,' 'Lamiee El-Kot.'

5- He has signed contracts for nine series for next Ramadan, securing the A-List actors.

6- He produced 'YES, I'M FAMOUS,' which featured several international mega stars, including Leonel Messi and Adel Imam.

Leonel Mesi (L) and Tamer Morsi (R) - Tamer Morsi official Twitter account
Leonel Messi (L) and Tamer Morsi (R) - Tamer Morsi official Twitter account
Eagle Capital for Financial Investment has acquired in December 2017 the Egyptian steel tycoon Ahmed Abu Hashima’s shares in Egyptian Media Group.

The investment company had appointed El Sheikh as the CEO of the Media Group shortly after acquiring Abu Hashima's shares.

2/22/2018 3:20:35 AM
<![CDATA[FM visits Air Academy; delivers lecture]]>
Tawila accompanied Shourky in a tour at the academy, said the foreign ministry's spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid.

The top diplomat delivered a lecture before the college's students on the development of Egypt's foreign policy after the June 30 revolution, said Abu Zeid, adding that Shoukry reviewed the Egyptian diplomacy's endeavor over the past four years.

He explained efforts exerted over one year and a half to combat bids to defame Egypt and isolate it from the international community, noted the the spokesman.

The foreign policy was then developed from defense to taking initiatives on addressing main files and restoring Egypt's strong relations with African states, said the top diplomat.
2/22/2018 1:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Celebrations in Aswan rejoice sun perpendicularity on Abu Simbel temple]]>
At least 15 Egyptian and international artistic troupes performed their shows before the guests and audiences during the event.

Artistic troupes from Greece, Tunisia, China, Thailand, Kenya, and India, along with Ethiopia, chosen as a guest of honor, took part in the event.

Minister of Culture Inas Abdel Dayem and Aswan governor Magdi Hegazi were present.

On February 22, a day celebrating the king's birthday and again on October 22, a day celebrating his coronation, sunlight illuminates seated statues of the sun gods Re-Horakhte and Amon-Re, as well as a statue of king Ramses II. The statues sit in the company of the Theban god of darkness, Ptah (who remains in the shadows all year).
2/22/2018 12:10:44 AM
<![CDATA[JICA president praises Egypt's economic reform decisions]]>
Such economic reforms will put Egypt on the right track of economic growth, Kitaoka said during a meeting with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail in Cairo.

He also praised the work progress at the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is partially funded by the Japanese government.

Kitaoka said his agency is keen on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in Egypt.

Ismail, meanwhile, hailed the role played by JICA in support of development projects in Egypt.

He also spoke of efforts exerted by the Egyptian government to improve the Egyptian economy and enhance services offered to citizens.
2/21/2018 10:42:29 PM
<![CDATA[6 Muslim Brotherhood terrorists arrested in Behira]]>
The six MB members, who are wanted in several cases, were nabbed with two firearms in their possession, the source added.
2/21/2018 10:21:45 PM
<![CDATA[No illegal migration boats from Egypt since 2016: Min.]]>
During the meeting of the ninth session of the Euro-Mediterranean Association, Gendi contended that the Egyptian government has adopted a comprehensive strategy to combat the phenomena of illegal immigration on the legal, military and cultural front.

Gendi pointed out the necessity of supporting the countries that are considered exporters of migrants by providing their youth with decent job opportunities to encourage them to stay in their homelands rather than seek employment overseas.

The governors of Giza, Luxor, Qalyubia and South Sinai, along with 47 international delegations and figures, all attended.

Offering another effective method for confronting illegal terrorism, the minister of local development suggested that countries open their doors for youth seeking quality education. He also praised the efforts of the Euro-Mediterranean regional and local communities in disseminating the culture of expertise exchange, strengthening economic activities in the region, and promoting political dialogue and the practice of democracy.

The Egyptian parliament approved in October the illegal-immigration and smuggling law that entails tough penalties on whoever assists and/or facilitates a process of illegal immigration. The law was drafted by the cabinet in 2015 and was sent in June 2016 to the parliament for discussion.

Parliament's efforts to approve the law came following the boat that capsized off the coast of Rashid in Beheira governorate while heading to Europe, killing dozens of people.
2/21/2018 8:22:36 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi reviews Egyptian-Japanese projects with JICA head]]>
During the meeting, Egypt and Japan reviewed the current implemented projects in the framework of fruitful cooperation between the two sides, particularly in the construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) and Egypt-Japan University for Science and Technology (E-JUST).

Sisi expressed his appreciation of the mutual cooperation between Egypt and the Japanese agency in implementing development projects in various fields, asserting the depth of relations between the two countries.

Egypt is looking for further cooperation with JICA, contributing to advancing the development process and meeting the aspirations of the Egyptian people towards achieving progress and prosperity, Sisi said.

In addition, he ordered Minister of Education Tarek Shawky to pay a visit to Japan next week, accompanied by a delegation of Egyptian educational experts, to get acquainted with the requirements needed for the Japanese schools project in Egypt to succeed.

Sisi further asserted the importance of developing the education system in Egypt. In order to achieve the maximum benefit of the 200 Japanese schools to be established, Japan should administrate the project and not just supervise it.

Sisi also invited Kitao to embark on a field tour in Egypt throughout his visit to survey the latest developmental projects in Egypt.

On his part, Kitao expressed his admiration of the development Egypt has witnessed under the presidency of Sisi, including the development of the Egyptian economy.

Egypt is establishing Japanese schools for the first time in history; the government has planned this project since 2016.
2/21/2018 7:26:31 PM
<![CDATA[S. Korea supports Egypt in war against terrorism: ambassador]]>
South Korea wishes safety and stability for the Egyptian people, the diplomat addressed the first press conference since he assumed the post.

Yoon also lauded the development achieved in relations between Cairo and Seoul following Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s historic visit to South Korea in March 2016.

The new ambassador also revealed that the South Korean defense minister intends to visit Egypt soon in response to his Egyptian counterpart’s visit to Seoul.

In this regard, Yoon said South Korea supports cooperation with Egypt as regards exporting arms to Cairo.]]>
2/21/2018 4:00:26 PM
<![CDATA[Observatory: IS militants look for safe heaven after defeat in Levant]]>
A statement issued by the observatory, quoting an Afghan news agency, said the number of IS elements is increasing in northern Afghanistan and reached about 1,250 mostly from Turkmenistan, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Algeria and France.

Ambassador Smail Chergui, African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, had warned that up to 6,000 Africans who fought for IS in Iraq and Syria could return home, calling on countries to prepare for the threat.

The observatory said the return of IS elements to the African continent poses threats to the security of Africa. ]]>
2/21/2018 3:23:40 PM
<![CDATA[Interior Ministry says Facebook hacker arrested]]>
The hacker used pictures, chats and information of the owners of those accounts to blackmail them.

An investigation showed that Hossam Z. M., 24, was behind the incidents.

He admitted that he had hacked the accounts to get money from their owners.

All legal measures have been taken and the prosecution has been informed to start a probe.]]>
2/21/2018 3:17:09 PM
<![CDATA[UK PM May wants EU citizens to stay after Brexit]]>
"They've made a huge contribution to our country, that's why we want them and there families to stay. I'm absolutely clear that EU citizens living lawfully in the UK today will be able to stay," May said in parliament.

"It's going to be a digital system, it'll be streamlined, it'll be user friendly, and it will ensure that this is as simple and as easy a process for people as we can provide."]]>
2/21/2018 3:03:30 PM
<![CDATA[Kremlin says Russian defence sector "fine", accuses U.S. of unfair competition]]>
"I can just say that everything is fine, everything is fine," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a phone call with reporters on Wednesday.

Peskov said Russia was "trying to hedge risks related to instances of unfair competition on the part of the United States in the market of military-technical cooperation."]]>
2/21/2018 2:53:32 PM
<![CDATA[Admin. Court confirms Mousa’s eligibility to run in election]]>
Earlier in February, Lawyer Tarek al Awady came forward to the Supreme Administrative Court to impugn the validity of the candidacy of Al-Ghad (Tomorrow) party Chairperson Moussa Moustafa Mousa since he has not obtained a certified university or higher education degree, which is a key requirement for candidates running in the presidential election.

Moussa had previously announced that he obtained a foreign degree which has a value greater than any other degree that can be obtained locally.

In his interview with well-known anchor Wael el-Ebrashy for Al Ashera Masa’an (10 pm) TV program which airs daily on Dream TV, Mousa said that he holds an MA in architecture from a French university and it has been already certified by the Foreign Ministry.

Awady told Egypt Today that the certificate he obtained was for some courses he had taken in architecture from France in 1981 and got certified by the Foreign Ministry in 2010. “If that certificate amounts to be a proper equivalent of a higher education degree, he definitely would have used it when he obtained it, not 29 years later.”

He also added that the Supreme Administrative Court will expectedly issue its final decision in this regard within the following 10 days.

“Moreover, Al-Ghad’s Moussa is not actually eligible to enjoy his civil rights, given the fact that he has been previously convicted of dishonorable offences, including robbery and the issuance of dud checks," Awady pointed out.

The potential candidates who announced that they will run in the election were all bowed out, except for former Military Chief of Staff Samy Anan who was kept out of the race by the Armed forces which released a statement regarding his disqualification.
Shortly after, Lawyer Khaled Ali announced his withdrawal decision.

Also, former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik was amongst the prominent potential candidates, announcing his intention to run for president in the upcoming 2018 election before he abruptly changed his mind and announced his withdrawal from the race.

On January 26, two days after President Sisi submitted his candidacy papers to the National Election Authority; the President of Al-Wafd Party announced his intention to run in the 2018 election before his party came out in unanimous support to President Sisi.
According to the election’s timetable set by the NEA on January 8, voting in the 2018 presidential election in Egypt will commence on March 26.
Sixty million eligible voters will cast their ballots in the election between March 26 and 28 in Egypt, while Egyptians living abroad will vote between March 16 and 18.
2/21/2018 1:17:34 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Portugal discuss industrial cooperation]]>
Assar said he is keen on boosting cooperation with Portugal, particularly in the field of roads and the manufacture of trailers and fishing boats.

He posted Dias on technical expertise at military production factories.

Dias said the meeting is a good opportunity to review economic relations and discuss means by which to enhance cooperation between military production companies in Egypt and Portuguese firms.]]>
2/21/2018 11:53:30 AM
<![CDATA[Turkey not in direct talks with Syria, but its messages being conveyed: Erdogan spox]]>
Ibrahim Kalin also told a news conference that Ankara remains optimistic, but cautious, regarding ties with the United States after last week's visit to Ankara by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Pro-Syrian government forces which tried to enter the Afrin region on Tuesday retreated after artillery fire by Turkish forces fighting a Kurdish militia there, said Kalin.

He told a news conference there will be serious consequences if there are further such attempts to enter Afrin, where Turkey last month launched an operation against the Kurdish YPG militia which Ankara says is a terrorist group.]]>
2/21/2018 11:48:40 AM
<![CDATA[Army: 4 takfiris killed, 350 terrorist targets destroyed in Sinai]]>
"As part of the "Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018" carried out by elements of the Armed Forces, in cooperation with the combat units of the Interior Ministry, anti-terror units continue launching raids targeting terrorist hideouts and arms and ammunition warehouses in northern and central Sinai," the statement said.

- Air forces destroyed eight targets used by terrorists as hideouts.

- Four dangerous takfiris were killed in an exchange of gunfire with anti-terror forces.

- Artillery shelling of 179 targets in the areas of operations.

- Some 112 criminal elements and wanted criminals were arrested.

- Thirteen vehicles and 27 unlicensed motorbikes were seized and destroyed.

- As many as 350 huts, hideouts and warehouses containing explosives and chemical materials and large quantities of auto spare parts and fuel used by terrorists were destroyed.

- Several underground trenches containing large quantities of fuel drums were destroyed.

- Forty-one explosive devices were dismantled.

- Thirteen bango and hashish farms were destroyed and more than 10.5 tons of narcotics were seized.

- The navy forces continue tightening their grip along the coastal area, the statement said, adding that several illegal immigration attempts were foiled and more than 500,000 tramadol pills were seized.

Combat groups of the Armed Forces and Interior Ministry continue operating 598 security patrols and setting up checkpoints across the nation.

The statement reiterated armed forces and police's persistence to eradicate the roots of terrorism and achieve security and stability for the great Egyptian people. ]]>
2/21/2018 11:10:24 AM
<![CDATA[250 killed in Western Ghouta: Syrian Observatory]]>
This is the biggest number of dead to fall in 48 hours since the 2013 chemical attack on Ghouta, Al Arabiya news channel quoted the observatory as saying on Wednesday.]]>
2/21/2018 10:54:39 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt's officials meet Libyan delegation]]>
The meetings deeply discussed the methods to unify and restructure the Libyan Military forces after a long split that was led to by the outbreak of the Libyan revolution in 2011.

The Libyan delegation highlighted the gains of unifying Libyan Army’s warring factions, as every Libyan now believes that a united Libyan Army represents a cornerstone of Libya’s national security.

The Libyan delegation members asserted through a statement that a unified Army will protect the State’s national interests in the future, including the protection of any elections held in the future.

The delegation noticed that the international society is full of praise for the whole process of unifying the Army, as the meetings are considered to be unbiased and in the favor of the national interest.

The delegation’s statement assured that the Army will not play any political or sectarian role in the Libyan Arena, as it will carry out its duty as a professional institution assigned to protect the State’s interests and borders.

The delegation’s statement said more meetings to be held in the Egyptian Capital of Cairo in March in order to continue unifying process.

Egypt has launched an initiative in 2017 to unify the warring factions of the Libyan Army in order to restore the absent State.
2/21/2018 12:07:18 AM
<![CDATA[EXCLUSIVE: Court puts Aboul Fotouh on terror list, CBE freezes bank accounts]]>CAIRO – 20 February 2018: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) and the Real Estate Registration Office started to implement a court ruling that added detained Islamist politician Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, and 15 others, to a list of wanted "terrorists" over his links to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, state legal sources revealed on Tuesday.

According to the court ruling, the CBE and the Real Estate Registration Office will take the necessary actions to seize and freeze Aboul Fotouh’s bank accounts.

Aboul Fotouh was arrested last week over over six charges, including incitement. He has been ordered detained for 15 days following an investigation by the National Security prosecution.

The list of charges include, “inciting against the state and the constitution, call for boycotting the upcoming Presidential elections in March, being a member of a law-labeled terrorist group and communicating with fugitives, destabilizing Egypt’s stability and security aiming to topple the current regime, calling for chaos and spreading rumors and finally hindering the state’s organizations from practicing their role regarding stabling and securing the country.”

The South Cairo Criminal Court added Abdel-Monaem Abul Fetouh and 15 others to the list, which includes deposed President Mohamed Morsi, Brotherhood spiritual guide Mohammed Badie and other group leaders.

On February 12, an Egyptian lawyer submitted an official complaint to the public prosecutor, calling for the arrest of Aboul Fotouh, after appearing on an Al Jazeera television show from London. Lawyer Samir Sabry accused Aboul Fotouh of “spreading fake news” and demeaning Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Highlights from Aboul Fotouh's political life

Aboul Fotouh abandoned the MB due to crucial differences between the group’s thoughts and his own. The main reason behind his dispute with the MB after years of affiliation, was announcing his intentions to run for presidency 2012 and his vision to separate between Dawaa and politics, unlike the MB behaviors then.

According to source to Egypt Today, Aboul Fotouh would have used his political party Masr al-Kawya (Strong Egypt Party) in implementing the MB plans.”He has always dreamed of getting back with them again as a leader,” the sources added.

Masr al-Kawya is an Egyptian centrist political party founded in 2012 by Aboul Fotouh. It played a key role after the revolution and the era of Muslim brotherhood affiliated-Mohamed Morsi, However after labeling the group legally as terrorist, the party’s supporters and influence gradually faded.

On January 28, five political figures released a joint statement calling for Egyptians to boycott the process because the elections will not be fair.

The figures include Aboul Fotouh; former parliament member and chairman of the Reform and Development Party Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat; former science consultant for the presidency Essam Heggy; former chairman of the Central Auditing Authority Hisham Genena; and political science professor Hazem Hosni.

The five political personnel expressed in the statement their discontent with alleged security and administrative practices undertaken to inhibit competition in the upcoming election. However, they did not mention any details about the allegations.

Al-Jazeera has a long history of inciting violence against Egypt. Shutting down al-Jazeera is one of Egypt’s and the quartet countries’ (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE) main demands to restore the diplomatic relations with Qatar.

2/20/2018 11:03:16 PM
<![CDATA[ Egypt opens Rafah crossing Wednesday for 4 days]]>
The decision comes amid the successful military operation “Sinai 2018” that was officially announced by armed forces spokesman Tamer al-Refae on Friday, February 9 to purge the country from terrorism. About 67 terrorists have been killed and hundreds arrested since the beginning of the operation. The last time the border was opened was in February 7 for three consecutive days.

Egypt has been playing a key role in the reconciliation process between the rival movements Fatah and Hamas. In October 2017, a reconciliation agreement was signed in Cairo between them.

Rafah Border Crossing is one of the most important crossings between Egypt and Gaza which was formally under Gaza authorities’ control.

This Crossing is mainly specialized for individual movements across borders, and it was being prepared for goods transfer between the two courtiers. The Rafah crossing border's importance increased after the Israeli forces had destroyed the Yasser Arafat International Airport in 2001; which was the only airport allowing Palestinians to travel.

On September 17, Hamas movement announced the dissolution of the administrative committee in the Gaza Strip, inviting the Government of National Reconciliation to assume its duties and hold general elections. The movement affirmed it would comply with the Social Reconciliation Accord signed in 2011.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that there is no country as vital to the Palestinian cause as Egypt due to its historical and political position in the region. “Egypt has an opinion, a position and an interest in the Palestinian cause,” said Abbas.
2/20/2018 7:55:58 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament mulls municipal courts for building violations]]>
In their official letter submitted to Minister of Justice Ahmed Al Zind, the members of the committee invited the minister to attend their upcoming meeting to illustrate to him that the issues concerning the building violations need to be tackled and settled through a specialized court similar to the family court, given the fact that 50 percent of the buildings have significant facility problems.

Earlier on Monday, the Housing Committee convened to further discuss the newly-proposed Reconciliation of Building Violations law, by which the government would be reconciled with the violators as long as their unlicensed buildings do not violate the construction safety regulations and the authorized height rights, are built on agricultural or state-owned lands, or altered the features of distinctive architecture buildings in return for fees.

Under this law, building owners and contractors shall submit their settlement request to the concerned administrative authority during a three-month mandate and pay the fees needed to complete the reconciliation process. The money garnered will immediately go to the state’s budget to be spent on infrastructure and other development projects, according to Moataz Mahmoud, chairman of the Housing, Public Utilities and Reconstruction Committee.

Since January 2015, the ministry has launched a campaign to remove violations that had been detected by the government on the Nile banks. As per the Ministry’s latest data, which was announced Tuesday, a total of 26,322 encroachment violations on the Nile banks have been removed. Since March 2017, a total of 12,425 cases of encroachment were removed, according to the data.
2/20/2018 5:29:22 PM
<![CDATA[Maliki: Abbas to tender peace plan, overture at UNSC meeting]]>
Speaking to Sawt Palestine radio, Maliki said the plan calls for halting the unilateral Israeli measures, including settlement activities, and annulling the decision taken by U.S. President Donald Trump on Jerusalem.

The plan also gears up for an international conference to pave the ground for negotiations while committing to the two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, he said.

As for Russia's proposal to hold a Palestinian-Israeli-Russian meeting, Maliki said Russia is still insisting on playing a positive role despite the obstacles, topped by Israel's rejection.]]>
2/20/2018 4:28:25 PM
<![CDATA[Syrian govt fighters start to enter Afrin: Hezbollah media unit]]>
The forces, which Syrian state television said on Monday would help fend off a Turkish offensive in the region, are entering Afrin through the al-Ziyara crossing point north of Nubul, the Hezbollah media unit said. ]]>
2/20/2018 4:16:48 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi receives heads of African high courts]]>
The president voiced his appreciation of the heads of African courts, said Presidential Spokesman Ambassador Bassam Radi.

Sisi further underlined the importance of the constitutional courts in Egypt and other African countries, added the spokesman.

Constitutional courts are important for the development process in Africa in their capacity as pillars of stability and justice, the spokesman quoted the president as saying.

The president also expressed Egypt's readiness to extend all assistance possible to African courts in an effort to help enhance information exchange, added the spokesman.]]>
2/20/2018 4:04:09 PM
<![CDATA[90% of Crimeans to vote for Putin in election: poll]]>
The Russian poll clarified that the Crimean population is more than 80 percent in favor of Putin, compared with only 70 percent of the population of Russia intending to vote.

The poll also revealed that most of the Crimean population approves of the Russian government’s performance, thinking that the situation is changing for the better.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and separated it from Ukraine in the wake of the Ukrainian revolution, which led to the imposition of Western financial sanctions and caused the isolation of the island from foreign tourists and investment.

In 2014, Putin stated in the Federal Assembly that Russia would respond to Western sanctions, adding that the Crimean referendum for annexation to Russia was conducted in full accordance with democratic procedures and international law, and he pointed out that the inhabitants of the peninsula will speak three languages: Russian, Ukrainian and Tatar.

In the United Nations, only Afghanistan, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Syria recognize Crimea as a legitimate federal subject of Russia.

On February 7, the newspaper Kommersant reported that Putin might vote in Crimea for the March 18 presidential election.

The presidential election is scheduled for March 18, the fourth anniversary of the Crimean annexation by Russia.
2/20/2018 3:52:45 PM
<![CDATA[Abul Gheit urges stopping attacks on Ghouta]]>
Arab League spokesman Mahmoud Afifi quoted Abul Gheit as having said that attacks that are carried out by governmental forces and their allied troops do not discriminate between civilians and militiamen.

He added that the forces are using weapons that are not commensurate with the nature of residential areas, according to the spokesman.

The Arab League chief added that the situation would lead to the fall of many civilian victims, calling for stopping the attack on humanitarian grounds, added the spokesman.]]>
2/20/2018 3:17:40 PM
<![CDATA[Criminal Court sentences 20 defendants in torching Kerdasa church to 10 yrs]]>
In the first trial the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced the defendants to life, and the two minors to 10 years. The defendants appealed the verdict and the Court of Cassation ordered their retrial.

The Public Prosecution referred the suspects to the Criminal Court in the case and charged them with setting fire to Virgin Church, possessing weapons and terrorizing citizens following the dispersal of Rabaa el Adawya and Nahda sit-ins.]]>
2/20/2018 2:44:22 PM
<![CDATA[Training drill between Egyptian, French naval forces launches]]>
‘Cleopatra 2018’ joint naval exercise between the Egyptian and French forces – Press Photo

The exercise comes as part of the Egyptian naval forces’ annual exercise plan. It reflects the deep and strong relations between the two countries and their cooperation, said an official statement issued Monday.

The Cleopatra 2018 exercise also comes in conjunction with the Egyptian navy’s participation in Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018 announced by the army on February 9 to purge the country from terrorism.

In 2018, both the Egyptian and French forces also conducted a joint exercise in the Mediterranean and the Red seas, code-named Cleopatra 2017. The exercise lasted for four days during July 2017 and included Egypt’s helicopter carriers “Gamal Abdel Nasser” and “Anwar El-Sadat”.

According to the official statement issued then, the exercises comprised the implementation of sailing information, dealing with hostile targets with high efficiency through many marine units and vessels, and practicing inspections on suspicious ships.

‘Cleopatra 2018’ joint naval exercise between the Egyptian and French forces – Press Photo

There have been exercises on all stages of collision in open water, securing the vessels participating in the training by air defense weapons, and marine landing of soldiers and equipment on the coast using different landing craft utilities.

Soldiers participating were trained on signals for offensive and defensive situations and on dealing with emergency situations with high efficiency. The drills aimed at honing skills and combat capabilities of the naval forces of both sides.

The military exercises also came in light of the two sides' keenness to continue boosting bilateral relations at the military level.]]>
2/20/2018 2:14:51 PM
<![CDATA[Badawi, Gabr, Salama tackle restructuring national press institutions]]>
The minister, the committee's rapporteur, was briefed on the status of national press institutions in terms of finance and debts and efforts exerted for reform and rehabilitation at all levels, a statement released by the Ministry of Public Enterprises said.

The minister reviewed a number of ideas on supporting the investment plan and accelerate its executive program. He expressed the public enterprise sector's readiness to offer full support to implementing the investment plan within the framework of restructuring national press institutions.]]>
2/20/2018 1:39:50 PM
<![CDATA[S. Korea to announce joint military drill plan with U.S. before April]]>
Seoul and Washington had agreed to postpone the regular joint military exercise until after the Winter Olympics and Paralympics being hosted in South Korea, which end on March 18.

After the decision to delay the joint exercise, North Korea agreed to hold the first official talks with South Korea in more than two years and send athletes to the Winter Games, easing a standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes.

Asked when the two countries will hold the postponed drill, Song Young-moo told parliament he and his U.S. counterpart, Jim Mattis, would make an announcement between March 18 and the start of April.

“The exercise was postponed according to the spirit of the Olympics,” Song said. “We have agreed to uphold the basis until after the Paralympics...and not to confirm nor deny anything regarding what we would do after that until we announce it”.

Song added inter-Korean talks had not come about as a direct result of the postponed drill.

Pyongyang has warned it would not sit idle if the United States and South Korea push ahead with the postponed military exercises.

North Korea denounces the drills as preparations to invade it, and it has at times conducted missile tests or taken other aggressive action in response.

The South Korean and U.S. militaries usually hold military exercises called Key Resolve and Foal Eagle in March and April, which can involve as many as 17,000 U.S. troops and more than 300,000 South Koreans.

South Korea’s Unification Minister Cho Myong-gyon said talks to stage the postponed military drill were moving forward.

“I‘m aware negotiations are moving towards a direction where the drills will be held,” Cho said in a separate parliamentary session on Tuesday, without elaborating.

A restart of the joint drill is an “act of ruthlessly trampling even a small sprout of peace that has been now seen on the Korean peninsula”, the North’s official KCNA news agency said in a commentary on Monday.

“It is a provocative act of chilling the active efforts of the DPRK and enthusiasm of the international community to defuse tension and create a peaceful environment”.

North Korea’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have eased since last year resulting in inter-Korean talks and the North sending a high-level delegation led by Kim Yo Jong, the sister of leader Kim Jong Un, and athletes to the Winter Olympics.

South Korea has also floated the idea of co-hosting the 2021 Asian Winter Games with North Korea, and a North Korean official said on Tuesday this may be possible, reported the South’s Yonhap news agency.

North Korea may make the North’s Masikryong ski resort available for the Games, said Chang Ung, the North’s representative on the International Olympic Committee.

The host city for the 2021 event has not yet been decided.

Speaking to a Yonhap reporter at an airport in Beijing, the Chinese capital, Chang said it would be easier for the two sides to co-host the 2021 Asian Winter Games because there is less competition to host them, compared to the Olympics.

As to how that could come about, Chang declined to say, according to Yonhap. He was on his way back to North Korea after observing the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.]]>
2/20/2018 1:25:44 PM
<![CDATA[Abul Gheit receives message from S. Sudanese President on relations]]>
Abul Gheit received the message at a meeting with the minister of presidential affairs in South Sudan, who is now visiting Cairo in his capacity as a presidential envoy, said AL spokesman Mahmoud Afifi.

The meeting took up the recent developments in South Sudan and efforts exerted to stop acts of hostility there and protect civilians, added the spokesman.

Abul Ghiet asserted at the meeting the AL's keenness on supporting regional and international efforts encouraging dialogue by the parties concerned in South Sudan, said the spokesman.

For his part, the South Sudanese presidential envoy said his country is proud of its relations with the Arab countries and is keen on promoting its relations with the Arab states at the political, economic and diplomatic levels, added the spokesman. ]]>
2/20/2018 1:20:44 PM
<![CDATA[UPDATE: Aboul Fotouh added to terror list per court ruling ]]>
Aboul Fotouh was arrested last week over over six charges, including incitement. He has been ordered detained for 15 days following an investigation by the National Security prosecution.

The list of charges include, “inciting against the state and the constitution, call for boycotting the upcoming Presidential elections in March, being a member of a law-labeled terrorist group and communicating with fugitives, destabilizing Egypt’s stability and security aiming to topple the current regime, calling for chaos and spreading rumors and finally hindering the state’s organizations from practicing their role regarding stabling and securing the country.”

On February 12, an Egyptian lawyer submitted an official complaint to the public prosecutor, calling for the arrest of Aboul Fotouh, after appearing on an Al Jazeera television show from London. Lawyer Samir Sabry accused Aboul Fotouh of “spreading fake news” and demeaning Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Highlights from Aboul Fotouh's political life

Aboul Fotouh abandoned the MB due to crucial differences between the group’s thoughts and his own. The main reason behind his dispute with the MB after years of affiliation, was announcing his intentions to run for presidency 2012 and his vision to separate between Dawaa and politics, unlike the MB behaviors then.

According to source to Egypt Today, Aboul Fotouh would have used his political party Masr al-Kawya (Strong Egypt Party) in implementing the MB plans.”He has always dreamed of getting back with them again as a leader,” the sources added.

Masr al-Kawya is an Egyptian centrist political party founded in 2012 by Aboul Fotouh. It played a key role after the revolution and the era of Muslim brotherhood affiliated-Mohamed Morsi, However after labeling the group legally as terrorist, the party’s supporters and influence gradually faded.

On January 28, five political figures released a joint statement calling for Egyptians to boycott the process because the elections will not be fair.

The figures include Aboul Fotouh; former parliament member and chairman of the Reform and Development Party Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat; former science consultant for the presidency Essam Heggy; former chairman of the Central Auditing Authority Hisham Genena; and political science professor Hazem Hosni.

The five political personnel expressed in the statement their discontent with alleged security and administrative practices undertaken to inhibit competition in the upcoming election. However, they did not mention any details about the allegations.

Al-Jazeera has a long history of inciting violence against Egypt. Shutting down al-Jazeera is one of Egypt’s and the quartet countries’ (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE) main demands to restore the diplomatic relations with Qatar.]]>
2/20/2018 12:58:49 PM
<![CDATA[Iftaa observatory warns of IS infiltration into south Asia]]>
In a report issued Tuesday, the observatory cautioned that this would hamper international efforts to combat terrorism.

It said after IS lost most of its lands in Iraq, Syria and Libya, it may seek to infiltrate into south and southeastern Asia.

The observatory urged international organizations, topped by the United Nations and Security Council, to press Myanmar authorities to halt mass killings and vicious attacks against Rohingya Muslims.

It also called for offering all needed support for the Rohingya Muslims.]]>
2/20/2018 11:53:23 AM
<![CDATA[Shoukry meets Bouhired on fringe of Egypt visit]]>
Shoukry met Bouhired on the sidelines of her visit to Egypt to be honored at the Aswan Women Film Festival.

Shoukry hailed as "historical" relations between the two countries, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid.

He said Egypt always supported the Algerian National Liberation Front and all national liberation movements in the Arab and African countries, Abu Zeid added.

Bouhired was happy to be in Egypt for the first time since her last visit in 1962.

She said the Algerian people cannot possibly forget Egypt's support for their revolution. ]]>
2/20/2018 11:38:55 AM
<![CDATA[Iran teams find wreckage of plane in Zagros mountains]]>
Aseman Airlines flight EP3704 disappeared in the Zagros range on Sunday morning, around 45 minutes after taking off from Tehran.

After two days of heavy snow and fog, the weather finally cleared on Tuesday morning, giving helicopter teams much better visibility.

"The Revolutionary Guards' helicopters this morning found the wreckage of the plane on Dena mountain," spokesman Ramezan Sharif told state broadcaster IRIB.

An IRIB reporter who spoke to one of the pilots said he had seen "scattered bodies around the plane" and that it was located in Noghol village, around 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) up Dena mountain.

"Since yesterday the Guards' drones started carefully identifying the geographical area where the plane had probably crashed and this morning two helicopters of the air forces were dispatched to the location," Sharif said.

Snowmobiles were deployed earlier on the 4,409-metre (14,465-foot) peak, where more than 100 mountaineers have also been aiding the search.

"Last night, a number of people stayed on the mountain and through coordination with local guides managed to search all crevices," Mansour Shishefuroosh, head of a regional crisis centre, told the ISNA news agency.

Some 500 images taken by drones were being analysed overnight, he added.

The ATR-72 twin-engine plane, in service since 1993, flew early Sunday from Mehrabad airport towards the city of Yasuj, some 500 kilometres (300 miles) to the south.

Poor visibility meant some 60 helicopter sorties on Monday could find no trace of the plane.

A team of crash investigators from French air safety agency BEA were also due to arrive in Iran on Monday, but their arrival had not yet been confirmed.

- Aviation safety -

The incident has reawakened concerns over aviation safety in Iran, which has been exacerbated by international sanctions over the years.

Aseman Airlines was blacklisted by the European Commission in December 2016.

It was one of only three airlines barred over safety concerns -- the other 190 being blacklisted due to broader concerns over oversight in their respective countries.

Iran has complained that sanctions imposed by the United States have jeopardised the safety of its airlines and made it difficult to maintain and modernise ageing fleets.

Aseman was forced to ground many of its planes at the height of the sanctions due to difficulties in obtaining spares.

In a working paper presented to the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2013, Iran said US sanctions were blocking "the acquisition of parts, services and support essential to aviation safety".

Iran has suffered multiple aviation disasters, most recently in 2014 when 39 people were killed as a Sepahan Airlines plane crashed just after take-off from Tehran, narrowly avoiding many more deaths when it plummeted near a busy market.

But figures from the Flight Safety Foundation, a US-based NGO, suggest Iran is nonetheless above-average in implementing ICAO safety standards.

Lifting sanctions on aviation purchases was a key clause in the nuclear deal that Iran signed with world powers in 2015.

Following the deal, Aseman Airlines finalised an agreement to buy 30 Boeing 737 MAX jets for $3 billion (2.4 billion euros) last June, with an option to buy 30 more.

The sale could still be scuppered if US President Donald Trump chooses to reimpose sanctions in the coming months, as he has threatened to do.]]>
2/20/2018 11:13:10 AM
<![CDATA[Investors watching closely as Ramaphosa considers cabinet line-up]]>
In his state of nation address on Friday, Ramaphosa strongly hinted at a cabinet shake-up when he said he would review the make-up and size of government departments.

Investors are watching closely to see if Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, who is due to deliver the budget speech on Wednesday, keeps his job.

"This is the time to walk, to reflect even about cabinet and all that," he told reporters on television news channel eNCA during his walk in response to a question on whether there was time to shake up his cabinet ahead of the budget speech.

Ramaphosa was sworn in as head of state last Thursday after his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, reluctantly resigned after a nine-year tenure blighted by scandals, policy uncertainty and stagnant economic growth. ]]>
2/20/2018 10:39:35 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian, French naval forces to launch training exercise]]>
According to an official statement issued Monday, the exercise comes as part of the Egyptian naval forces’ annual exercise plan. It reflects the deep and strong relations between the two countries and their cooperation.

‘Cleopatra 2018’ joint naval exercise between the Egyptian and French forces – Press Photo

The Cleopatra 2018 exercise also comes in conjunction with the Egyptian navy’s participation in Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018 announced by the army on February 9 to purge the country from terrorism.

In 2018, both the Egyptian and French forces also conducted a joint exercise in the Mediterranean and the Red seas, codenamed Cleopatra 2017. The exercise lasted for four days during July 2017 and included Egypt’s helicopter carriers “Gamal Abdel Nasser” and “Anwar El-Sadat”.

According to the official statement issued then, the exercises comprised the implementation of sailing information, dealing with hostile targets with high efficiency through many marine units and vessels, and practicing inspections on suspicious ships.

‘Cleopatra 2018’ joint naval exercise between the Egyptian and French forces – Press Photo

There have been exercises on all stages of collision in open water, securing the vessels participating in the training by air defense weapons, and marine landing of soldiers and equipment on the coast using different landing craft utilities.

Soldiers participating were trained on signals for offensive and defensive situations and on dealing with emergency situations with high efficiency. The drills aimed at honing skills and combat capabilities of the naval forces of both sides.

The military exercises also came in light of the two sides' keenness to continue boosting bilateral relations at the military level.
2/19/2018 6:58:36 PM
<![CDATA[Reham Saeed jailed for 4 days over child abduction allegations]]>
Egypt’s Prosecution accused Saeed of inciting child kidnap, airing false news and committing a child-selling crime. The prosecution has investigated Saeed and several of her show's crew over an episode about child abduction and selling.

The episode aired January 22 shows two children being kidnapped and sold by a mediator between one of the show’s crew and a professional gang.

Gharam, 22 years old, one of the Sabaya el-Kheir show editors was arrested by the police forces after being accused with inciting against the two children’s kidnapping. Two other arresting orders against Reham Saeed (the host) and the show editor-in-chief, Akram al-Nahas were issued later.

In statements on February 9, to al-Kahera w al-Nas (Cairo and the people) channel, Gharam’s lawyer, Mohamed Qenawy said that the girl who came to Cairo only six months ago cannot be affiliated with such a crime. “She is just a girl who came from Beheira governorate six months ago to work in the media field. She was assigned by her superiors to do a mission, and she did it; unfortunately they are now leaving her alone,” Qenawy said.

He also claimed that the interior ministry arrested the editor in response to the show’s delay in reporting the whole crime. “They were angry that the crew didn’t coordinate with them from the beginning.”

According to the lawyer, Gharam was given a phone number by her boss who told her that he is a mediator named Islam. He was supposed to put her in contact with a professional gang that abduct and sell children.

According to the plan, Gharam was supposed to play a role of women who wishes to buy a young child.

Instead of just one, Gharam indeed was offered to get two children aged between 5 and 6 years old. Everything was supposed to end when the police stepped in and arrested the mediator trying to sell Gharam the two-children with LE 150,000 for each. The whole scene was aired during the show.

Later, the mediator told the prosecution during the investigations that he abducted the two children per Gharam’s request; accordingly, the editor was arrested over charges of inciting kidnapping. She was jailed for 15 days by the prosecution.

Until Sunday, February 18, the 22-year-old editor remained in jail as no one from the show’s crew showed up to say their testimony or to prove her innocence, which was found a “very strange thing” by the Gharam’s lawyer.

In her testimony to the prosecution early on Monday, Saeed said that she didn’t receive any orders from the prosecution, and that she was not requested for any investigations.

She denied knowing anything about the whole deal details, or being part of anything aired during this episode of her own show. The prosecution ordered that Saeed will remain in custody for four following days per the investigations.

Rumors have surfaced on social media that the whole case was fabricated by the show just to be aired during the episode; this however shed the light on several other similar situations for Saeed in which she was accused of violating victim’s privacy and fabricating incidents just to be used for the favor of her television show.

In October 2015, Saeed’s show, Sabaya el-Kheir, faced suspension and she was investigated for using private pictures for a sexual harassment victim and airing it in her show.

The whole incident took place after a CCTV video of a Cairo shopping mall went viral on Facebook of a man slapping a woman, named Somaia, in the face after a short conversation, Saeed interviewed Somaia, then aired private pictures of the woman, including one of her wearing a bathing suit.

Somaia later said that staff at Saeed’s studio “stole” the pictures from her phone while it was charging out of her sight at the studio. Saeed said that it would be “unfair” to blame the man, as Somaia was not dressed “appropriately” at the time of the incident; Somaia appeared in the video wearing jeans and a sleeveless shirt.

A massive online campaign sprung up in response to Saeed, calling on companies to stop sponsoring the show or broadcast their advertisements during its air time. However, later the show resumed and the harasser was arrested and released.

Shortly later he (the harasser) returned again and cut Somaia’s face with a knife out of revenge. Somaia published a photo of herself showing the scar.

FILE- sexual harassment victim, Somaia

Saaed has conducted several interviews which caused lashes waves against her, starting with interviewing an atheist women and kicking her out in the middle of the episode, to meeting with girls who claimed to be possessed and others inside a prostitution house.

Long lists of accusations and social media rage waves hit Saeed more than once for alleged defaming victims and fabricating cases; however still Saeed manages to continue her show.
2/19/2018 5:26:16 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian fishermen acquitted in Sudan]]>
Abu al-Hassan stressed in a statement issued on Monday that the court acquitted the entire 36-member-crew and delayed the sentence on the boat and its owner to Monday’s session.

He further remarked that the measures for the boat with its crew to return to Egypt are being terminated.

The Foreign Ministry cooperates with the Egyptian Consulate General in Port Sudan to follow up on the updates of the Egyptian fishing boat that has been held in Port Sudan since January 29, according to Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid.

The Egyptian fishing boat was detained in North Sudan after it had trespassed in an area of natural reserves while returning from Sudan to Egypt.

Abu Zeid remarked that the crew was referred to the prosecution in Port Sudan, which formed a committee to inspect the fishing boat and check its documents. The committee confirmed that the boat fulfills all the requirements of marine safety, fishing license, as well as the amount of authorized fish and the necessary security requirements.

Consequently, the prosecution dropped all charges against the boat except for entering the natural reserves area.

Abu Zeid stressed that the Consulate General is coordinating with the fishing boat’s owner, navigation agent and the crew’s lawyer to be provided with updates on the trial’s legal measures until the crew members are released and return back to Egypt.

Previously, in April 2015, 101 Egyptian fishermen and their three boats were held in Sudan. They were put on trial for trespassing in Sudanese territorial waters.

In August 2015, the fishermen were released and returned to Egypt. This came within the framework of a prisoner-exchange deal between Cairo and Khartoum. Shortly after the release of the Egyptian fishermen, 44 Sudanese prisoners, who had been detained for crossing the border illegally, were released.

Several fishing boats have been detained before in Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. They were released after the Foreign Ministry intervened.

2/19/2018 3:54:24 PM
<![CDATA[Bangladesh says to meet with Myanmar on Rohingya trapped at border]]>
"It is about taking them back to Myanmar," Relief and Refugee Repatriation Commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam, told Reuters on Monday. "They are on the zero line and actually on the Myanmar side."

However, several officials contacted in neighbouring Myanmar said they were not aware of plans for a meeting, which Kalam said would take place on the "zero line" near a place called Gundum.

A spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which will not be involved in the talks, said the agency was concerned the Rohingya may be forcibly returned to Myanmar without due consideration for their safety.

Nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar's Rakhine state and crossed into Bangladesh since last August, when attacks on security posts by insurgents triggered a military crackdown that the United Nations has said amounts to ethnic cleansing, with reports of arson attacks, murder and rape.

Buddhist-majority Myanmar denied the charge and says its security forces are fighting a legitimate campaign against "terrorists" it blames for the attacks on the security forces.

The vast majority of Rohingya who fled are in camps at Cox's Bazar on the southern tip of Bangladesh, but several thousand who arrived in a buffer zone along the border are now stuck.

Bangladesh security forces have been instructed not to let these Rohingya cross the border, and many of them have said they would rather stay there to avoid becoming refugees in Bangladesh.

The no-man's land, which is about the size of 40 soccer pitches, used to be an area of paddy fields, but is now dotted with the tarpaulin and bamboo shacks of displaced Rohingya.


"We are concerned about the reports of pressures directed at this group of people at the border," said Caroline Gluck, UNHCR Senior Public Information Officer at Cox's Bazar.

"People who fled violence and discrimination in Myanmar should not be forced to return against their will," she told Reuters in a message sent on Saturday.

Bangladesh's Kalam said there was no timeline for repatriations, that anyone going back must do so voluntarily and that Myanmar must provide a safe environment for their return.

"We cannot send them forcibly," he said.

Most Burmese consider the Rohingya as unwanted immigrants from Bangladesh, and the army refers to them as "Bengalis".

Myanmar has said it will accept back people holding "national verification" registration cards. This card, which falls short of offering citizenship, has been rejected by Rohingya community leaders who say it treats life-long residents like new immigrants.

A leader of the Rohingya group in the buffer zone, Dil Mohammed, told Reuters in a text message: "Our no-man's land camp demands are that there must be a safe return, we need security and all basic rights, including citizenship."

He said the group would never accept the national verification card, that its members must be allowed to return to their own homes, paid compensation for losses and damage, and provided with protection from a U.N. mission.

Gluck said the UNHCR was concerned that conditions in Rakhine state were not yet safe for voluntary returns, adding, "We urge both governments to ensure that any return is based on informed consent and takes place in safety and dignity." ]]>
2/19/2018 1:44:20 PM
<![CDATA[Pro-Assad forces to enter Syria's Afrin: state media]]>
Turkey and allied Syrian rebel groups launched an offensive in the northwestern region to drive out the Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara sees as a terrorist group linked to an insurgency at home.

While President Bashar al-Assad's government and the YPG espouse utterly different visions for Syria's future and their forces have clashed at times, they have mostly avoided direct conflict during the war and see common cause in combating the Turkish military and allied rebel groups.

"Popular forces will arrive in Afrin in the next few hours to support the steadfastness of its people in confronting the aggression which Turkish regime forces have launched on the region," state news agency SANA reported, citing its correspondent in Aleppo.

On Sunday, a senior Syrian Kurdish official said Kurdish forces and the Syrian government had reached a deal for the Syrian army to enter Afrin, and that it could be implemented within two days.

The battlefield in northern Syria is complicated by a web of rivalries and alliances among Kurdish forces, the Syrian government, rebel factions, Turkey, the United States and Russia.]]>
2/19/2018 1:33:30 PM
<![CDATA[Pope leads mass at St Macarious monastery]]>
The pope will consecrate the altar of the ancient church as well as the altars of the three Macarius Saints Church and lay the foundation stone of a guest house for worshipers.

The monastery, dating back to 390 AD, was recognized by the Holy Synod in June 2014. It is the first visit by a pope to the Kelili mountains in Beheira, where the first monasteries were born.

The pope, accompanied by a host of bishops, will also tour the monastery's various services.

Pope Tawadros, in his sermon during the mass at the St Macarious monastery, thanked Bishop Bakhomious of Beheira and Matrouh for his genuine efforts to revive the ancient forgotten area, home to so many monasteries.

The restoration of the St Macarious monastery was made possible despite many difficulties, he said.

Egypt now has 50 monasteries after the Holy Synod's recognition of this fourth century St Macarious monastery, he said.

Monks at monasteries always pray for Egypt and for its people, he said, adding that prayers have to be a major part of everyone's life.

Bishop Bakhomious, on his part, said today's consecration prayers at the monastery represent the revival of monastic life in an area forgotten over 1,200 years.]]>
2/19/2018 1:00:25 PM
<![CDATA[In pics: Sisi's sudden visit to the Military Academy ]]>
He added in a short speech that the Armed forces' main mission is to preserve the country’s stability, and the people’s security. “The Army and Police forces' duty is to secure the whole country, not just Sinai,” Sisi said.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during his visit early Monday, February 19, to the Military Academy- Press photo

Sisi also demanded the students to stick to the noble military morals. “Your colleagues from the Police and Army forces are exerting great effort to counter terrorism all over the country,” he added.

President Sisi attended several trainings and exercises in the academy which aim to raise the students' physical abilities.

Sisi stressed that Egypt has been facing challenges in its fight against terrorism for a long time, affirming on several occasions that Egypt is fighting the war against terrorism on behalf of the world.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during his visit early Monday, February 19, to the Military Academy- Press photo

The Egyptian Armed Forces launched on Friday, February 9, a full-scale military operation titled "Sinai 2018" to confront terrorist elements in Sinai and other areas across the country. Military spokesman Tamer el-Rafei announced the launch of the major new military operation as he read a statement from the General Command of the Armed Forces on the state-run TV.

In a press conference, on Thursday, February 15, Refai announced the main outcomes of the operation, saying that the army managed to kill 53 takfiri elements and detain four others. Some 675 terrorists escaped and a suspected criminal was detained.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during his visit early Monday, February 19, to the Military Academy- Press photo

Refai also said that 57 four wheel vehicles and 88 motorcycles used by terrorists were destroyed, and the security forces destroyed 378 terrorist hotbeds, weapons and ammunition stores in Sinai. Among these hotbeds was a media center used by the takfiri elements.

Moreover, Refai announced the discovery and destruction of 177 explosive devices and up to 1500 kilograms of TNT explosives, including C4.

He concluded that the military forces managed to discover and destroy three holes on the border strip of Sinai. In addition, the forces destroyed 35 farms of Bango plants and seized 8.3 tons of narcotic substances.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during his visit early Monday, February 19, to the Military Academy- Press photo
2/19/2018 12:55:06 PM
<![CDATA[4 defendants sentenced to death in “Awsim Cell” case]]>
The defendants in the “Awsim Cell” case are accused of forming terrorist cells to incite chaos, attack public and private facilities and target security and army personnel.

They are also charged with attempted arson and placing fake explosive devices outside the Awsim Town Council and the local electricity company, as well as detonating an explosive device outside the home of Judge Fathy Bayoumi while he was inside. Bayoumi was one of the judges who acquitted Mubarak-era Interior Minister Habib al-Adly in one of the cases filed against him. Bayoumi survived the attack. ]]>
2/19/2018 12:21:58 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt expresses condolences to Iranian plane victims' families]]>
The Egyptian government and people support the families of the victims, a statement by the Foreign Ministry here said Monday.

All 66 passengers and crew on an Iranian plane that crashed in a mountainous area of central Iran on Sunday are believed to be dead, state television quoted the airline's spokesman as saying.

"Aseman Airlines public relations head said that all on board are unfortunately dead," the television reporter said, without elaborating on how he obtained the information.]]>
2/19/2018 11:15:32 AM
<![CDATA[Military jets hit 5 targets of terrorists in Sinai]]>
As many as 166 targets have been shelled in North and Central Sinai, a military statement said Monday.

It added that four armed takfiris were killed in a shootout with troops.

Military engineers also destroyed 101 explosive charges that had been planted in areas of the operation, the statement read.

Four caves and hideouts were also destroyed, it said, adding that they contained mines, bombs, weapons and ammunition, as well as automotive spare parts.

A media center of terrorists has also been detected, the statement said, noting that it contained computers, weapons and wireless communication devices.

The troops also destroyed 244 hideouts and caches that contained machine guns, ammunition and wireless communication devices.

More than 11 tons of drugs have also been seized as part of Operation Sinai 2018.

Twenty-seven vehicles and 100 unlicensed motorcycles used by terrorists have also been destroyed during combing operations.

Also, 417 criminals, wanted elements and suspects were nabbed, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, one officer and two conscripts were killed, and two other officers were injured during the face-off with terrorists.

A number of suspects were also freed by the army after examining their security status.

The Interior Ministry has, meanwhile, been issuing birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates for residents of North and Central Sinai in an effort to control the security situation there. ]]>
2/19/2018 10:56:13 AM
<![CDATA[Moussa’s lawyer submits his bachelor degree in engineering to court ]]>
The certificate refers that Moussa has a bachelor degree in engineering from National Higher Architecture Institute in France, which is equivalent to Egyptian bachelor degree.

The Supreme Administrative Court adjourned on February 12 the case of presidential candidate Moussa in which he faces the risk of exclusion from the election race for not meeting the education eligibility standards.

Al-Awady impugned the validity of the candidacy of Al-Ghad (Tomorrow) party chairperson Moussa Moustafa Moussa before the Supreme administrative court on February 2, since he has not obtained a certified university or higher education degree, which is a key requirement for candidates running in the presidential election.

However, in the session on Monday February 12, the case was adjourned to February 17.

Deputy of State Lawsuits Authority Abdel Rahim Ali responded as the National Electoral Authority (NEA) representative in the court on Monday February 12 that the NEA confirmed from Mousa’s educational paper’s validity that he could run for presidency.
In statements to Egypt Today on February 2, lawyer Tarek al-Awady said that Mousa may not be running in the election over previous convictions and not meeting the education eligibility standards.

A few days earlier, Moussa announced that he obtained a foreign degree which has a value greater than any degree that can be obtained locally.

In his interview with the well-known anchor Wael el-Ebrashy for Al Ashera Masa’an (10 pm) TV program which airs daily on Dream TV, Mousa said that he holds an MA in architecture from a French university and said his degree has been already certified by the Foreign Ministry. ]]>
2/19/2018 1:29:58 AM
<![CDATA[Car bomb in Syria's Qamishli kills five people - state media]]>
The explosion targeted al-Hay al-Gharbi in the city, SANA reported.

The Kurdish YPG militia controls swathes of northeastern Syria including most of Hasakeh province where Qamishli is located.

It was not immediately clear what the explosion targeted in the Qamishli, which is in the northern rural area of Hasakeh.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain based war monitor, said the last explosion to target the city was in September, when a motorcycle exploded near the financial administration, killing a child and injuring several other people. ]]>
2/19/2018 12:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Syrian Kurdish official: deal for Syrian army to enter Afrin]]>
Badran Jia Kurd, an adviser to the Kurdish-led administration in north Syria, said army troops will deploy along some border positions and could enter the region within the next two days.

The agreement underscores the increasingly complex situation in northern Syria where Kurdish groups, the Syrian government, rebel groups, Turkey, the United States and Russia are tangled in a complex web of enmities and alliances.

The complex relationship between the Damascus government and the Syrian Kurds, which each holds more territory than any other side in the war, will be an important element in determining the future course of the conflict.

Turkey launched an air and ground offensive last month on Syria's Afrin region, opening a new front in the multi-sided Syrian war to target Kurdish fighters in the autonomous canton in the north.

The Kurdish YPG militia, which has received arms from the United States, has seized swathes of northern Syria from Islamic State during the conflict, and has a rival vision for the country's future to that of the Damascus government.

But while the United States has a military presence in the much larger area of Syria the YPG and its allies control further east, it has not given any support to the YPG in Afrin.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government has had a complex relationship with the YPG during the conflict. They have mostly avoided direct conflict and both sides have at times suggested a long-term agreement between them might be possible, but they have also sometimes clashed and espouse utterly different visions for Syria's future. Assad has said he wants to take back control of the whole country.

Jia Kurd said the agreement that had been reached with Damascus was purely military and that no wider political arrangements had been made yet.

"When it comes to the political and administrative matters in the region, it will be agreed upon with Damascus in the later stages through direct negotiations and discussions," he said.

He added that there was opposition to the deal that could prevent it being implemented: "We don't know to what extent these understandings will last because there are sides that are not satisfied and want to make (the understandings) fail."]]>
2/19/2018 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Facebook plans to use U.S. mail to verify IDs of election ad buyers]]>
The postcard verification is Facebook's latest effort to respond to criticism from lawmakers, security experts and election integrity watchdog groups that it and other social media companies failed to detect and later responded slowly to Russia's use of their platforms to spread divisive political content, including disinformation, during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Facebook revealed the plans a day after U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller unsealed an indictment accusing 13 Russians and three Russian companies of conducting a criminal and espionage conspiracy using social media to interfere in the election by boosting Republican Donald Trump and denigrating Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

The process of using postcards containing a specific code will be required for advertising that mentions a specific candidate running for a federal office, Katie Harbath, Facebook's global director of policy programs, said. The requirement will not apply to issue-based political ads, she said.

"If you run an ad mentioning a candidate, we are going to mail you a postcard and you will have to use that code to prove you are in the United States," Harbath said at a weekend conference of the National Association of Secretaries of State, where executives from Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google also spoke.

"It won't solve everything," Harbath said in a brief interview with Reuters following her remarks.

But sending codes through old-fashioned mail was the most effective method the tech company could come up with to prevent Russians and other bad actors from purchasing ads while posing as someone else, Harbath said.

Foreign nationals are prohibited under U.S. law from contributing or donating money or anything else of value or making any expenditure in connection with any federal, state or local election in the United States.

The indictment released on Friday laid out in specific detail how prosecutors believe Russians adopted false online personas to push divisive political content, including ads. The Russians also allegedly posed as Americans to stage political rallies in the United States and persuade real Americans to engage in pro-Trump activities.

Harbath did not say when Facebook would begin relying on postcard codes, but said they would be in use before this year's mid-term congressional elections in November.

A Facebook spokesman declined to provide further details on the plan, but referred to a company blog post from last October announcing plans to roll out more robust identification verification measures for political advertisers.

That blog post did not specify what the verification process would entail.]]>
2/18/2018 11:14:00 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt seeks benefits of French experience in youth training: Sisi]]>
According to a statement from the spokesperson of the Presidency, Bassam Radi, on Sunday, the meeting is held in the presence of Minister of Planning Hala Al-Saeed and Acting Chief of the General Intelligence, as well as the French Ambassador in Cairo.

ENA is one of the most prestigious French and international institutions in the field of preparing officials and qualifying them to assume senior management positions.

In this context, Sisi stressed Egypt's aspiration to benefit from the experience of the French National School by establishing a full partnership with the Egyptian Academy of Youth to prepare cadres trained at the highest scientific level, so that the Egyptian Academy will become the main source for selecting leaders in the country according to the criteria of efficiency and equal opportunities.

“Egypt is looking forward to benefiting from a French experiment in training cadres through a partnership between the Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA) and Egypt's Youth Academy,” said Sisi.

For his part, Gerard was happy to visit Egypt and voiced willingness to boost bilateral cooperation in a way that would contribute to Egyptian prosperity, Radi noted, pointing out the importance of Egyptian-French cooperation in this field, which comes within the framework of distinguished relations and historical ties between the two countries.

He also praised the outstanding level of the Egyptian youth whom he met at the Egyptian Academy during his current visit, which confirms the success of the presidential programs for the rehabilitation of youth and the government cadres currently underway.


In the same context, on October 16, a new educational complex consisting of five Canadian universities has commenced construction in the New Administrative Capital under the supervision of the Canadian and Egyptian governments; it will begin receiving the first batch of Egyptian and foreign students by the end of 2018, according to Minister of Higher Education Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar.

On January 24, Abdel Ghaffar also considered signing a joint agreement with his British counterpart Sam Gyimah regarding the establishment of new international branches of British universities in Egypt, according to an official statement.

On November 2, Abdel Ghaffar announced during the International Education Conference held in the UK entitled, “Cross Boundary Education in Egypt and the Chances of Investment in Higher Education”, that the New Administrative Capital will include six international universities from the United States, Britain, Hungary, Canada, Sweden and France.

2/18/2018 3:49:24 PM
<![CDATA[N. Sinai High school exams to be held in other cities]]>
Shawki pointed out that the date of return for study will be determined in coordination with the Armed Forces, given the current conditions in the province of North Sinai.

The Minister of Education visited Suez Governorate to lay the foundations of the Japanese schools complex, inspect the educational process and inaugurate several schools in the governorate, in the presence of the Governor of Suez, Major General Ahmed Hamed and the deputies of the Parliament in the governorate.

On February 14, Sinai University postponed second semester classes for the second time due to security developments in North Sinai.

Earlier in the month, North Sinai Governor Abdel Fatah Harhour announced that study would be postponed in all North Sinai schools until further notice.

Schools in North Sinai have been suspended several times due to terrorists groups attempting to destabilize North Sinai. In October 2017, schools in Al-Arish, North Sinai were evacuated after terrorist groups targeted security posts and a national bank, causing some clashes between the armed forces and the terrorists.

On February 9, Egypt launched “Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018” in North Sinai, Central Sinai, the Nile Delta and the Western Desert along the border with Libya. The operation showed the high efficiency of the Egyptian military and police in combating terrorism threats, without causing any danger to citizens.

The operation came in response to the Rawda mosque attack near Al-Arish, which killed at least 313 and injured dozens in last November. The attack was deemed to be the deadliest in modern Egyptian history.

2/18/2018 2:28:21 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's amb. to Ethiopia, Orthodox Patriarch discuss ties]]>
During their meeting, Mattias and Hefny discussed enhancing the historical relations between the Egyptian and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches and reviewed ways to further boost interactions between citizens of the two countries.

Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, H.H. Abune Matthias with Egyptian Ambassador to Addis Ababa Abou Bakr Hefny - Press photo

Hefny stressed his appreciation of the remarkable relations between the Orthodox Churches in both Egypt and Ethiopia, which are almost 1,500 years old, affirming that these relations have played an important role to fortify and strengthen the tie between the Egyptian and Ethiopian citizens throughout history.

On his part, Matthias also expressed his appreciation of the firm relations between the two churches, hailing the visit of Pope Tawadros II to Ethiopia in September 2015.

He further highlighted that the participation of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in the celebrations of Christian feasts reflects the unity between the Egyptian people and their political leadership. Abune Matthias had last paid a visit to Egypt in January.

2/18/2018 2:02:30 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukri, Abadi probe Egypt’s role in Iraq's reconstruction]]>
During their talks on the sidelines of the Munich Security Forum, Shoukri congratulated the Iraqi premier on the victories against the terrorist Daesh group, asserting Egypt’s commitment to the unity and sovereignty of Iraq, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said.

Shoukri stressed Egypt’s readiness to contribute to restoring security and security in Iraq after Daesh, particularly in terms of the rehabilitation of liberated cities.

Abadi said his country is highly interested in promoting economic cooperation with Egypt in a way that would improve the lives of their people.

A large part of Shoukri-Abadi talks covered the regional developments particularly the situation in Syria and Yemen, Abu Zeid said, stressing the importance of adopting a more active and strong method by Arab diplomacy in order to protect stability and end ongoing disputes.

Shoukri reviewed efforts exerted by Egypt to protect regional security and stability and combat terror and extremist thought and expounded the Operation Sinai 2018 led by Egyptian security forces in Sinai and elsewhere in Egypt, he added.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al Abadi has called on Egyptian companies to get acquainted with the current investment potentials in Iraq, asserting the necessity of continuing coordination between Baghdad and Cairo to end regional crises.

In statements following his meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on the fringe of Munich Security Conference, Abadi welcomed the progress achieved in Baghdad-Cairo relations, expressing Iraq's appreciation for the Egyptian president, people and government.

The Iraqi premier called for increasing cooperation between the two countries especially in the economic and trade fields. He invited the Egyptian public and private sectors to keep constantly in touch with the Iraqi government to get posted on the available investment opportunities.

He highlighted the need for coordinating stances between the two countries in order to consolidate regional stability and curb the return of terrorism.

Abadi arrived in Munich on Friday to attend Munich Security Conference, held on February 16 to 18.]]>
2/18/2018 1:43:29 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s National Council for Women honors Djamila Bouhired]]>
In a ceremony set to be attended by Minister of Culture Enas Abdel Dayem, Ambassador of Egypt in Algeria Omar Abu Aish, some actresses, media professionals and members of the Council.

The NCW will honor Bouhired in recognition of her long history of resistance against the French colonization and of the role she played in the Algerian revolution.

It is also worth mentioning that Bouhired is the guest of honor of the second session of the Aswan International Women's Film Festival, organized under the auspices of the National Council for Women, in cooperation with the ministries of culture and tourism.


The Algerian activist was born to an Algerian intellectual father and a Tunisian mother who was the first to plant the love of the homeland in Djamila, reminding her that she is Algerian, not French.

Djamila continued her school education and then joined the Institute of Tailoring.
She joined the Algerian National Liberation Front when the Algerian revolution broke out in 1954 to fight against the French occupation at the age of twenty. She joined the ranks of the “Fedayeen” and was the first female volunteer to plant bombs on the path of the French colonial soldiers.

She was shot in the shoulder and arrested in 1957; after a long journey of torture in the French prisons, she said her famous sentence, “I know you will sentence me to death, but do not forget that my death will kill the value of freedom in your country. You will not prevent Algeria from attaining freedom and independence”.


2/18/2018 1:36:18 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt begins establishing joint farm in Eritrea]]>
The joint Egyptian farm, located in the Horn of Africa, aims to strengthen Egyptian-Eritrean ties particularly in the agriculture field and meet the needs of the Eritrean side in terms of producing various crops through transfer of Egypt's agricultural technology, Minister of Agriculture Dr Abdel Moneim el Banna said Sunday.

He referred to directives by the Egyptian presidency to enhance cooperation with Africa, saying Egypt enjoys mutual historical relations and such development projects would help achieve the interests of African peoples.

The ministry works on spreading model farms systems in Africa to boost its presence and leadership in the continent, he added.

Egypt's Ambassador to Eritrea Yasser Hashem signed a memorandum of understanding and the executive contract of the farm on behalf of minister El Banna, according to a statement released by the ministry on Sunday.

Egypt has established similar farms in the Democratic Congo, Mali, Tanzania, Zambia, Niger and Togo.]]>
2/18/2018 11:33:50 AM
<![CDATA[All passengers, crew in Iran plane crash believed dead: airline spokesman]]>
"Aseman Airlines public relations head said that all on board are unfortunately dead," the television reporter said, without elaborating on how he obtained the information. ]]>
2/18/2018 11:21:31 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt understands Ethiopia's reasons behind calling off Dam's ministerial meeting: FM]]>
The statement added that the ministry received a written notification on Sudan's decision to postpone the meeting upon Ethiopia's request.

The spokesman hoped that these circumstances would change soon.

He underlined the importance of adhering to the timetable set by the leaders to settle technical disputes vis-a-vis the dam for the best interests of the three states.

The meeting was scheduled to be held on Feb 24-25 in Khartoum with the participation of the ministers of foreign affairs and water resources and intelligence chiefs of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.]]>
2/18/2018 11:09:33 AM
<![CDATA[Brazil's Temer in Rio as army takes security control]]>
Temer was to meet Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao, several ministers and General Walter Souza Braga Netto, who will lead the operation and who was in charge of coordinating security when the city hosted the 2016 Olympic Games.

Army patrols were already used in Rio's gang-ruled favelas, but the decree signed on Friday by Temer now gives the military overall control of security operations in Rio state, which the president said had been virtually seized by organized crime gangs.

Brazilian police are normally under state supervision.

Temer's order for "federal intervention" places command in Netto, who will report directly to the president and not to authorities in Rio, the country's most populous state with around 16 million inhabitants -- 6.5 million of them living in Rio de Janeiro.

The decree is already in force but must still be validated by Congress, which has scheduled a vote for Monday evening.

The army's mission will last until the end of Temer's term as president on December 31.

Temer said he was taking "extreme measures" in the face of organized crime which has spread throughout the country "and threatens the tranquility of our people."

Officials cited, in particular, violence during this month's carnival but David Fleischer, a professor of political science at the University of Brasilia, said other factors also came into play.

He said Temer is desperately "trying to distract" attention from corruption allegations that have embroiled his presidency, as well as his struggles to adopt pension reform.

Arthur Trindade, a university professor and former security secretary for Brasilia, said the main objective of the decree is to "clean up" a police force undermined by corruption.

Eight months before a presidential election, the leftist opposition is wary of military intervention in a country still marked by two decades of military dictatorship which ended in 1985.

"The situation in Rio is serious but it is necessary to be vigilant that these measures are not accompanied by the repression of social movements and the suspension of constitutional rights," said Gleisi Hoffman, president of the Workers' Party of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Polls place Lula in the lead for October's presidential ballot even as he fights to avoid prison for corruption.

More than 8,000 troops were sent to Rio de Janeiro in July to help the overstretched police but results were insignificant.

Rio state has been badly hit by Brazil's recession and a slump in the oil market, as well as by massive corruption.]]>
2/18/2018 1:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Prohibited medicine, drugs at Cairo Airport]]>
Sources inside the Cairo International Airport stated in press remarks on Saturday that the authorities are regularly distributing leaflets to passengers that contain the list of medicines and substances that passengers are not allowed to possess when leaving Egypt. This because there are many prescribed medicines that are allowed in Egypt but controlled in other countries.

For patients, doctor's prescription should accompany substances that are meant to be brought outside Egypt, the sources stated; adding that the prescribed prohibited drugs must be carried along with prior permission from a doctor and must not exceed 20 tablets. Possession of more than 20 tablets amounts of illegal drugs can be considered drug trafficking.

The list of the illegal drugs includes: Nicocodeine, Didrex Tablets, PROXEN, Mogadon, NITRAZEN, vaccine injections, KETAMINE INJ, Ergotamine, Dextromethorphan, Pulmolar, Co-Diovan, Kodinalin, Somanil, Phenobarbital, Nova Tablets that have an extended effect.

Valinil, Calmepam Tablets, neuril, Valium, Tranxene, LEXOTANI tablets, EN tablets, Xanax, CODASTIN, Codaphen N, somadril, Tussivan N, Korfas tablets, Migranil Tablets, Librax tab and Rivotril Tablets are also on the list.
2/18/2018 12:32:04 AM
<![CDATA[Four Israeli soldiers wounded in Gaza border explosion]]>
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion, which occurred along the southern frontier of the territory, controlled by the Islamist group Hamas.

"Today's incident on the Gaza Strip border is severe. We will respond appropriately," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli media said it was the highest number of Israelis wounded in a single incident since the 2014 Gaza war.

An Israeli army spokesman said the explosive device had been hidden near the fence a day earlier, attached to a flag, during a Palestinian protest along the border.

In response, he said, the military struck six targets in Gaza including a weapons manufacturing site and an underground tunnel for militants being built in the direction of Israel.

Palestinian officials said the Israeli attacks included air strikes against three Hamas training camps and a fourth belonging to a smaller militant group, causing no injuries.]]>
2/18/2018 12:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Netanyahu condemns Polish PM for 'Jewish perpetrators' comment]]>
Poland passed a law this month imposing jail terms for suggesting the country was complicit in the Holocaust, prompting criticism from Israel and the United States.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was asked by a reporter at the Munich Security Conference in Germany whether, under the new law, the reporter himself could be penalized for telling a story in Poland about his mother who survived the Holocaust and told him that some Poles had collaborated with the Gestapo.

"Of course it's not going to be punishable, not going to be seen as criminal, to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian, not only German perpetrators," Morawiecki replied.

Netanyahu, who is also attending the Munich conference, was quick to respond.

"The Polish Prime Minister's remarks here in Munich are outrageous. There is a problem here of an inability to understand history and a lack of sensitivity to the tragedy of our people," he said.

"I intend to speak with him forthwith," he added.

Other officials in Israel, already alarmed by the new Polish legislation, also spoke out against Morawiecki's comment.

"The Polish prime minister's statement is anti-Semitism of the oldest kind. The perpetrators are not the victims. The Jewish state will not allow the murdered to be blamed for their own murder," Israeli lawmaker Yair Lapid wrote on Twitter. He also called for Israel's ambassador to Poland to be recalled.

Some 3 million Jews who lived in pre-war Poland were murdered by the Nazis, accounting for about half of all Jews killed in the Holocaust.

Jews from across the continent were sent to be killed at death camps built and operated by Germans in occupied Poland - home to Europe's biggest Jewish community at the time - including Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor.

Thousands of Poles risked their lives to protect Jewish neighbours during the war. But research published since the fall of communism in 1989 showed that thousands also killed Jews or denounced those who hid them to the Nazi occupiers, challenging the national narrative that Poland was solely a victim.

According to figures from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Nazis, who invaded Poland in 1939, also killed at least 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilians.]]>
2/18/2018 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[13 killed in minister's quake zone copter crash]]>
The UH-60 Black Hawk military helicopter landed on its side, crushing a van.

There were no reported casualties from the quake itself, which damaged buildings.

The chopper was carrying Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete and Oaxaca state Governor Alejandro Murat, who were unharmed, President Enrique Pena Nieto said.

"Unfortunately, multiple people on the ground lost their lives and others were injured," he wrote on Twitter late Friday.

On Saturday the Oaxaca prosecutor's office said five women, four men, and three children were killed by the helicopter, while another victim died en route to hospital.

Fifteen other people were injured, the office said in a statement.

Rescuers quickly swarmed the accident site searching for survivors.

Navarrete told the Televisa TV network that the helicopter pilot lost control of the aircraft about 40 meters (130 feet) above the ground as it was coming in to land.

He added that some passengers were hurt.

The helicopter went down in the southwestern town of Pinotepa de Don Luis -- 37 kilometers (22 miles) from the quake epicenter, according to the US Geological Survey.

About 50 homes in the nearby town of Santiago Jamiltepec were damaged, as well as the town hall and church, but no one was killed in the quake, the interior ministry said.

Oaxaca state authorities opened shelters for those affected, and nearly 6,000 soldiers and federal police were deployed to help with the emergency response.

Both Mexico's National Seismological Service and the US Geological Survey put the quake's magnitude at 7.2.

It struck at 5:39 pm (2339 GMT) at a relatively deep 24.7 kilometers, said the USGS.

- Panic and flashbacks -

The earthquake came less than six months after two quakes killed hundreds of people in the country.

On September 7, an 8.2-magnitude earthquake shook the nation and killed 96 people, mostly in the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.

Then on September 19 -- the 32nd anniversary of a 1985 quake that killed 10,000 -- a 7.1-magnitude quake hit the country, leaving 369 people dead.

Friday's quake triggered Mexico City's alarm system and caused buildings to sway in the capital. It was also felt in the states of Guerrero, Puebla and Michoacan.

Panicked residents flooded the streets, fearing a repeat of last September's deadly quakes.

"To be honest, we're all pretty upset. We start crying whenever the (earthquake) alarm goes off," 38-year-old publicist Kevin Valladolid told AFP through tears after fleeing his building in La Roma, in central Mexico City.

"We're stressed out, we have flashbacks. So we run out into the street. It's all we can do."

Patients from a nearby hospital were forced outside, some in wheelchairs or carting their IV lines. Similar scenes played out in Veracruz.

On the north side of Mexico City, Julia Hernandez said she felt like she was "in a boat" as the ground swayed beneath her feet.

"Is it ever going to stop?" she said.

Standing in the middle of the street, her eyes glued to her fifth-floor apartment, Graciela Escalante, 72, could hardly speak.

"It was terribly strong. We barely managed to get down the stairs. It was the longest staircase in the world," she told AFP.

"We thought everything was going to collapse again."

- Seismic hotbed -

Officials in affected states said they were inspecting buildings damaged by last year's quakes, which are especially vulnerable to collapse.

"Obviously people are afraid," said the emergency response chief for the city of Puebla, Gustavo Ariza.

Pena Nieto tweeted that the National Emergency Committee had been activated because of the magnitude of the quake.

Mexico sits at a spot where five tectonic plates come together, making it particularly vulnerable to earthquakes.]]>
2/17/2018 11:24:47 PM
<![CDATA[FM reviews Sinai military operation at Munich Security Conference]]>
Addressing a session of Munich Security Conference, Shoukry said the Egyptian state adopts a comprehensive approach to eliminate terrorism, not limited to the security and military dimension, but extends to all ideological, social and economic considerations.

The minister affirmed the urgent need for more efforts to counter terrorism at the international level, particularly with regard to financing terrorism and the provision of safe havens for terrorists.

He called for holding accountable the states that provide financing for terror groups under the guise of charity works, or facilitate the return and movement of foreign fighters without any regard for regional security reasons and in flagrant violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Shoukry also reviewed Egypt's vision on ways to boost international cooperation to uproot terrorism, said the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Ahmed Abu Zeid.

He added that Daesh had nothing to do with the Islamic Caliphate that led the entire humanity to the civilization route.

He reiterated that the only way to confront terrorism will be reached by adopting a unified international approach "away from double standards".
2/17/2018 10:48:16 PM
<![CDATA[FM: Egypt among 1st countries launched war against terrorism ]]>
He raised a question about foreign terrorists who fled Syria's Raqqah and managed in the end to reach Sinai, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen.

"There is no obvious explanation for this," he told the conferees, calling for answers for such concerns.

The top diplomat also urged world collaboration to eliminate terrorism.

He pointed out to a current military operation in Sinai that is meant to purge the region from foreign terrorists and all extremists who are involved in terrorist groups.
2/17/2018 10:22:48 PM
<![CDATA[Kosovo celebrates 10 years since splitting from Serbia]]>
The capital Pristina is covered in the blue and yellow colours of the Kosovan flag for a weekend of festivities, with Kosovo-born British pop star Rita Ora due to headline a concert in the main square on Saturday night.

"It's been a long journey to get to this point and I think it's just a start of an ongoing incredible journey for our country," the 27-year-old told reporters after arriving back in her birthplace.

The singer's family left Kosovo in 1991 to escape the repression imposed by Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic after he stripped the Yugoslav province of its autonomy.

In 1998, a war broke out between Kosovo's ethnic Albanian rebels and Serbian troops that left 13,000 people dead, most of them Albanians. Belgrade withdrew its forces the following year after a NATO bombing campaign against Serbia.

Kosovo subsequently became a United Nations protectorate and, with the support of Washington and other Western powers, it declared independence from Belgrade on February 17, 2008.

"The state of Kosovo has upheld the people's demand for freedom," Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said in a special government session in Pristina on Saturday morning.

But "we are aware that citizens' expectations for a modern state have not yet been fulfilled".

Although more than 110 countries have recognised Kosovo's independence in the past 10 years, Serbia and dozens of other states have not.

Sovereignty is rejected by Russia, whose Security Council veto prevents Kosovo from joining the United Nations, and five EU countries including Spain and Greece.

- Economic woes, ethnic division -

Kosovo's milestone is also marred by huge economic challenges. With the unemployment rate at around 30 percent -- and 50 percent among young people -- tens of thousands have moved abroad in search of work over the past decade.

Home to 1.8 million people, Kosovo is one of the poorest parts of Europe and hugely dependent on remittances from its diaspora to drive economic growth of around four percent.

"Our expectations have not been met at all," said retired teacher Pashk Desku, 66.

"I am afraid that instead of improving, the situation could get worse," he told AFP.

On Friday, Kosovo's ethnic Albanian schoolchildren began the day with lessons dedicated to the anniversary.

But this was not the case in the separate education system of Kosovo's Serb minority, which remains loyal to Belgrade. The two ethnic communities rarely mix.

In the Serb part of the divided northern city of Mitrovica, black-and-white posters appeared on Saturday lamenting "ten years of occupation", with pictures of hands in cuffs.

The "normalisation" of ties between Belgrade and Pristina is crucial to both sides' bids to join the European Union, but Serbian officials say recognition of independence is a red line.

"Despite the great support it enjoys from Western powers, Kosovo is far, far from being recognised," said Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic on Saturday.

"Without an agreement with Serbia, this issue cannot be solved."

The former foes have reached deals on issues such as freedom of movement since EU-brokered talks began in 2011, but the dialogue has stalled over the past two years.

- Partition concerns -
Some officials in Belgrade have raised the prospect of redrawing borders along ethnic lines.

But Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci insists that the country is "indivisible" and many fear a partition deal would destabilise the fragile Balkans.

Ahead of the anniversary, US President Donald Trump sent his congratulations to Kosovo for making "great strides in strengthening its sovereignty and multi-ethnic democracy".

"While more work must be done, we applaud your progress," he said.

Kosovo's ties with the West have at times been strained over the past year, as it awaits the first indictments from an EU-backed war crimes court trying members of the 1990s Kosovo Liberation Army.

Recent efforts by ruling coalition MPs to block the tribunal sparked strongly-worded warnings from the US and other Western allies.]]>
2/17/2018 9:28:56 PM
<![CDATA[Small earthquake hits Britain, strongest for 10 years]]>
The BGS said the quake was of magnitude 4.4, with an epicentre 20 km (12.5 miles) north of the Welsh city of Swansea, adding that it was the biggest quake in the Britain since 2008.

Earthquakes are not common in Britain and are rarely powerful. The 2008 quake in Market Rasen, north-east England, was magnitude 5.2 - 16 times more powerful than Saturday's quake.

However, Saturday's earthquake in Wales was felt as far away as Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight, over 200 km (125 miles) away.

Videos on social media showed people gathered outside Swansea University, which was holding an open day, after an apparent evacuation.

"Thank you to everyone who attended our visit day. We hoped that you had a surprisingly ‘earth moving’ experience!" Swansea University said on Twitter.]]>
2/17/2018 9:21:04 PM
<![CDATA[London firefighters douse blaze at building containing gas cylinders]]>
London Fire Brigade said more than 50 firefighters and 10 engines attended the fire at a building under refurbishment on Great Portland Street, just north of London's busy shopping and entertainment district Soho.

Emergency services set up an exclusion zone around the site due to the presence of gas cylinders that risked exploding. The police said that road closures remained in place.

"The Great Portland Street building site blaze is under control. Thankfully there were no injuries," London Fire Brigade said in a tweet. ]]>
2/17/2018 9:18:43 PM
<![CDATA[Ethiopian delegation hails honor guest choice in Aswan arts festival]]>
The 6th edition of the festival, organized by the Public Authority of Cultural Palaces, kicked off on Saturday in Aswan city.

In exclusive statements to MENA, he noted the deep-rooted relations between the two countries in social, cultural, religious and political fields.

He added that the Ethiopian delegation will present a number of shows during the three-day festival that reflects Ethiopia’s culture and heritage.
2/17/2018 9:13:06 PM
<![CDATA[FM, Lockheed Martin chief meet in Munich]]>
During the meeting, Shoukry hailed the deeply-rooted relations binding Egypt and Lockheed Martin, affirming the country's keenness on maintaining the level of relations and cooperation with the company, said the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Ahmed Abu Zeid.

Hewson expressed the company's keenness on permanently meeting the needs of the Egyptian government, added Abu Zeid.

Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies company which manufactures F16 fighter jets.
2/17/2018 8:44:08 PM
<![CDATA[ Roberto Carlos promotes anti-hepatitis C campaign in Hagana village]]>
In press remarks, Carlos said that he loves being in Egypt and his current visit will not be the last, extending his thanks to the Egyptian leadership for their efforts to end the spread of hepatitis C.

hussein tallal39
FILE: The instant Hepatitis C test which involves a drop of blood - Photo courtesy: Hussien Talal

During the visit, resident families took memorial pictures with the former Real Madrid left back, who in turn signed his name on the t-shirts of his fans.

The former Brazilian legend and Real Madrid star arrived in Egypt on Thursday to promote the country’s long-running campaign against hepatitis C.

hussein tallal23
File: Families of Hagana village participate in the anti Hepatitis C Virus campaign - photo courtesy: Hussien Talal

By 2022, Egypt will be hepatitis C free, announced Yehiya el-Shazly, president of the National Committee for Fighting Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), around a year ago.

Under the directives of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, the Health Ministry announced a comprehensive strategy to eliminate hepatitis C virus (HCV), after infection rates hit their highest in Egypt in 2014, according to the World Health Organization.

Two million citizens infected with HCV have already been treated, the Ministry of Health announced in December 2017.

In another context, Carlos published an Instagram video of him scoring a goal from a free kick at the Cairo Stadium in Nasr City.


236.9k Likes, 3,066 Comments - Roberto Carlos (@oficialrc3) on Instagram: "#ETISALAT #CAIRO #EGIPTO"

Considered by critics as one of the world’s greatest left backs, Carlos helped Brazil win the 2002 World Cup and the Copa America in 1997 and 1999.

2/17/2018 6:56:52 PM
<![CDATA[McMaster warns of growing power of Iran's "network of proxies"]]>
"What’s particularly concerning is that this network of proxies is becoming more and more capable, as Iran seeds more and more ...destructive weapons into these networks," McMaster told the annual Munich Security Conference.

"So the time is now, we think, to act against Iran," he said.]]>
2/17/2018 4:37:44 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry meets UN envoy on Syrian crisis]]>
During the meeting, Shoukry voiced Egypt's support of efforts exerted by de Mistura to solve the Syrian crisis, spokesperson for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry Ahmed Abu Zeid said.

Shoukry also reiterated Egypt's rejection of any military solution in Syria, calling on all Syrian parties to keep talks to find a political settlement to the Syrian crisis, the spokesman added.

De Mistura, meanwhile, briefed Shoukry on efforts exerted to end the deteriorating political situation in Syria based on talks held with all Syrian parties and the outcome of the Sochi conference on Syria.

The two sides also stressed the importance of intensifying coordination and talks with all Syrian parties to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis, the spokesman concluded.]]>
2/17/2018 3:30:05 PM
<![CDATA[Jordan declares foiling terrorist plot via pipeline ]]>
An official source at the Jordanian Army Command said in a statement, on Saturday, that intelligence efforts resulted in foiling the plan for trafficking via the pipeline that crosses Jordan's borders with Syria and Iraq, according to KUNA News Agency on Saturday.

The terrorists used a house close to the borders and the pipeline, digging tunnels and equipping them for trafficking and carrying out terrorist operations, the official source said, cited by the official news agency, Petra.

Orders were given to demolish the tunnels and bring part of the pipeline to surface of the ground. The pipeline, erected by Saudi Arabia in 1950, stretches from Al-Qaisouma southeast of Hafr Al-Baten to Al-Zahrani, on Lebanon's southern coast, just south of the coastal city Sidon. ]]>
2/17/2018 2:56:33 PM
<![CDATA[Abul Gheit reiterates rejection of Israeli violation of Lebanese rights]]>
Abul Gheit’s remarks came during his meeting with Lebanese Defense Minister Yaqub Al Saraf on the sidelines of his participation in Munich Security Conference 2018.

Al Saraf briefed Abu el Gheit on his country’s efforts to secure its natural resources and water rights according to the international law, said Mahmoud Afifi, spokesman for the Arab League's chief.

The Arab League chief stressed his opposition of the Israeli infringement on the Lebanese rights, especially its plans to build a concrete barrier on Lebanon’s territories.

On 14 February, Lebanon’s top three leaders accused Israel of threatening the stability of the border region between them, amid rising tension over territorial and maritime boundaries.

President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri agreed to act to stop Israel from building a wall on Lebanese land at the border, and infringing on an energy block in disputed waters.

Arguments over the wall and Lebanon’s plans to explore for offshore oil and gas have elevated tensions between Israel and Lebanon.

Calm has largely prevailed along the frontier since 2006, when Israel fought a war with Lebanon’s heavily-armed Shi‘ite Hezbollah movement.

The month-long conflict killed about 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, most of them troops. There has been no major confrontation between Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah since.

Israel has said the border wall is being built on its territory. The Lebanese government says it passes through land that belongs to Lebanon but lies on the Israeli side of the Blue Line, where the U.N. demarcated Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000.

The three Lebanese leaders met to study recent “Israeli threats, and saw in them ... a direct threat to the stability” of the border region, the president’s office said in a statement.

They agreed to act “at various regional and international levels to prevent Israel from building the cement wall...and from the possibility of infringing on Lebanon’s oil and gas wealth and its (territorial) waters.”

Aoun, Berri, and Hariri will present a series of measures to Lebanon’s Higher Defense Council and security officials at a meeting on Wednesday, it said.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman called Lebanon’s first offshore oil and gas exploration tender “very provocative” and urged international firms not to participate last week.

Lebanon has an unresolved maritime border dispute with Israel over a triangular area of sea of around 860 sq km (330 square miles). The zone extends along the edge of three out of five energy blocks that Lebanon put to tender early last year.

Lebanon in December approved a bid by a consortium of France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek for two blocks. ]]>
2/17/2018 2:39:01 PM
<![CDATA[Greece protests to Turkey over boat crash in Aegean]]>
The Greek Coast Guard said in a statement that the incident took place off Imia, known as Kardak in Turkish, at about midnight on Monday.

A Turkish patrol vessel “made some risky maneuvers,” striking the left side of the Greek Coast Guard vessel patrolling the area, and damaging it. There were no injuries, the coast guard said.

Turkey and Greece, NATO allies, have been at odds over a host of issues from ethnically split Cyprus to sovereignty over airspace and overflights.

They came to the brink of war in 1996 in a sovereignty dispute over the islets, but tensions have eased since.

“Dangerous incidents, such as this one, which put human lives in danger, are the result of the escalating and provocative behavior shown increasingly by Turkey in recent days,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“Turkey must end the violations of international law and acts that do not contribute in the development of the two countries’ relations,” it said, adding that Turkey’s ambassador to Athens had been summoned.

Turkey denies fault

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras in a phone call that Greece needed to take necessary measures to decrease the tension in the Aegean Sea, a source from Yildirim’s office said.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry denied the Turkish vessel was at fault. It said the Greek statement misled Greece’s own public and distorted the truth “as always.”

It said Ankara had in fact contacted Athens regarding the “dangerous maneuvers” by the Greek Coast Guard, and informed them that Turkey “would not tolerate continuing hostile behavior by the Greek armed forces.”

Tensions between the two countries have been on the rise since a Greek court blocked the extradition of eight Turkish soldiers Ankara accuses of involvement in a failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016.Speech]]>
2/17/2018 2:23:43 PM
<![CDATA[French director hails Egyptian presidential program to qualify youth]]>
During his meeting with a group of youths of the program on Saturday, the French official expressed his appreciation for the attention paid by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to the Egyptian youths.

Gerard arrived here Friday on a two-day visit to Egypt to probe aspects of cooperation with the academy.

He is expected to meet Sisi as well as Planning and and Administrative Reform Minister Hala el Saed.

This is Gerard's first overseas visit since assuming his post in August, 2017.

Meanwhile, Sisi issued presidential decree No. 434/2017 to establish the National Academy for Youth Training and Rehabilitation which addresses the human resources needs of the young cadres in preparation for allowing them to assume higher posts in state institutions.]]>
2/17/2018 2:17:19 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry stresses Egypt's support of national dialogue in South Sudan]]>
Shoukry and First Vice President of South Sudan Taban Deng, in a tete-a-tete session of talks held on the sidelines of Munich Security Conference 2018, took over bilateral cooperation as well as domestic conditions in South Sudan.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said Deng stressed his country’s keenness on moving ahead with the national dialogue path, saying it seeks Egypt’s technical and political support.

For his side, Shoukry conveyed greetings of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit, voicing Sisi’s appreciation for the current cooperation relations between both countries and keenness to support South Sudan in all educational, agricultural and healthcare sectors, Abu Zeid added.

The meeting also touched on political and security conditions in eastern Africa and the Horn of Africa, Abu Zeid noted.]]>
2/17/2018 2:12:18 PM
<![CDATA[Turkish army hit village in Syria's Afrin with suspected gas: Syria]]>
There was no immediate comment from the Turkish military, which has previously denied accusations of hitting civilians in its Afrin operation.

Birusk Hasaka, a spokesman for the Kurdish YPG militia in Afrin, told Reuters that Turkish bombardment hit a village in the northwest of the region, near the Turkish border. He said it caused six people to suffer breathing problems and other symptoms indicative of a gas attack.

Turkey launched an air and ground offensive last month on the Afrin region, opening a new front in the multi-sided Syrian war to target Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters that Turkish forces and their Syrian insurgent allies hit the village on Friday with shells. The Britain-based war monitoring group said medical sources in Afrin reported that six people in the attack suffered breathing difficulties and dilated pupils, indicating a suspected gas attack.

Syrian state news agency SANA, citing a doctor in a Afrin hospital, said Turkish shelling of the village caused choking in six people.

On Feb. 6, the United Nations called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Syria.

Since the onset of the conflict in 2011, the YPG and its allies have set up three autonomous cantons in the north, including Afrin. Their sphere of influence expanded as they seized territory from Islamic State with U.S. help, though Washington opposes their autonomy plans as does the Syrian government.

U.S. support for Kurdish-led forces in Syria has infuriated Ankara, which views them as a security threat along its frontier. Turkey sees the YPG as terrorists and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that has waged a three-decade insurgency on Turkish soil.]]>
2/17/2018 1:49:19 PM
<![CDATA[Ukraine progress should soften sanctions on Russia: Germany's Gabriel]]>
Gabriel said it was "not realistic" to insist on full implementation of the Minsk peace accords before offering some sanctions relief to Moscow.

Gabriel said there were still fundamental differences over Russia's proposal to bring U.N. peacekeeping forces into eastern Ukraine, but he viewed the idea as "one of the few realistic options" to make some progress on ending the violence that has killed some 10,000 people in the region since 2014.]]>
2/17/2018 1:42:14 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's war on terrorism complies with int'l laws, UN conventions: official]]>
In a seminar organized by the authority in cooperation with the National Election Authority, Gabr said the Egyptian Armed Forces and police are waging a war to uproot terrorism in Egypt in general and in Sinai in particular.

As for the seminar, he said it aims at keeping journalists tasked with following up presidential elections updated with all details of the electoral process to ensure a good coverage of the vote.

Chairman of the National Election Authority Lashin Ibrahim, Minister of House of Representatives' Affairs Omar Marwan and editors in chief of national newspapers attended the seminar.

Abdel Mohsen Salama, head of the Syndicate of Journalists and board chairman of Al Ahram newspaper, lauded the idea of holding this seminar saying it aims at facilitating the work of journalists who will cover the presidential polls.

"What we really seek is to convey a true image of the electoral process and foil attempts by anti-Egypt media outlets to undermine the coming elections", he added.

The presidential elections will take place in March.

Incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who is seeking a second four-year term, and head of the Ghad Party Moussa Mustafa Moussa, are running in the elections.]]>
2/17/2018 12:34:37 PM
<![CDATA[Ethiopia says state of emergency will last six months]]>
"There are still pockets of areas where violence is prevalent. The (ruling EPRDF coalition's) council were unanimous in their decision," Siraj Fegessa told journalists.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his surprise resignation in a televised speech on Thursday, saying he wanted to smooth the way for further reforms.

Since January, Ethiopia has released more than 6,000 prisoners charged with taking part in mass protests and, in some cases, offences against the state. It has also closed down a jail where activists alleged torture took place.

Many of the prisoners took part in anti-government protests in 2015 and 2016 in Amhara and Oromiya, the country's two most populous provinces. The demonstrations began against a government plan to expand the capital Addis Ababa but morphed into greater demands for civil rights.

The government previously imposed a state of emergency in October 2016, which was lifted in August 2017. Duuring that time, curfews were in place, there were restrictions on movement and around 29,000 people were detained.

Ethiopia is East Africa's biggest and fastest-growing economy and a Western ally in the fight against Islamist militancy. ]]>
2/17/2018 12:07:14 PM
<![CDATA[Suicide bombers kill at least 19 in northeast Nigeria market attack]]>
The blasts happened at about 8:30 pm (1930 GMT) on Friday in Konduga, some 35 kilometres (20 miles) southeast of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.

Babakura Kolo and Musa Ari, from the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) assisting Nigeria’s military against the Islamists, said the bombers were all men.

“We have 19 dead and about 70 others injured... Two of the bombers attacked the Tashan Kifi fish market. Then four minutes later, a third bomber struck nearby,” said Kolo.

“The victims included 18 civilians and one soldier. The Tashan Kifi is an informal market which serves as an eatery, market and also hang-out for residents.”

Ari said 22 of the 70 injured were in a critical condition, adding: “There is no question as to who did it: Boko Haram has targeted Konduga several times.”

There was no immediate comment from the military or the police in Borno state, which has borne the brunt of the violence in Boko Haram’s nearly nine-year insurgency.

At least 20,000 people have been killed and more than 2.6 million others made homeless since 2009. Nigeria’s military and government maintains the group is a spent force.

But suicide attacks and raids persist, with civilians in hard-to-reach rural areas and outlying towns at risk.

On January 31, two female suicide bombers blew themselves up at Mandarari village, near Konduga.

The blasts happened shortly after another bomber killed four and injured 44 at a displaced persons’ camp in Dalori, 22 kilometres away on the same road to Maiduguri.

A fourth bomber also blew herself up outside the camp.]]>
2/17/2018 12:02:39 PM
<![CDATA[Magnitude-7.2 earthquake rattles Mexico, leaving nearly a million without power]]>
At least 50 homes suffered damage in the southern state of Oaxaca, which, along with Mexico City, is still reeling from earthquakes that caused widespread damage in September.

The epicenter was about 90 miles (145 km) from Pacific coast surfer resort Puerto Escondido in the southern state of Oaxaca and had a depth of 15.3 miles (24.6 km), according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

At least two people died when a helicopter carrying Mexico’s interior minister and the governor of Oaxaca crashed while trying to land after a tour of damage from the earthquake, officials said. The senior officials survived.

The powerful, sustained shaking on Friday gave way to 225 aftershocks, the national seismology service said, and caused widespread panic.

In Mexico City, the seismic alarm sounded 72 seconds before tremors were felt, Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said, giving residents time to flee to the streets.

Patricia Gutierrez, a 66-year-old English teacher, was taking a nap with her 11-month-old granddaughter, Juliet, when she heard the distinctive siren.

“She recognized the sound. When I opened my eyes, I saw her eyes in terror. Her eyes were wide, like plates. She didn’t say anything,” Gutierrez said of her granddaughter.

Gutierrez managed to leave her ground floor apartment before the quake began. “I left the phone and everything except for my shoes and the baby,” she said.

Authorities said no deaths directly linked to the quake had been reported nationally.

Bricks and rubble

The Oaxacan town of Jamiltepec appeared to sustain the heaviest impact in the southern region, with 50 homes damaged along with a church and government building, the state’s civil protection agency said.

Patients were evacuated from a hospital there and from another in the nearby town of Putla Villa de Guerrero. On a local highway, a fire ignited when two high-tension electric cables struck each other.

In the town of Pinotepa Nacional close to the quake’s epicenter, a photo obtained from Oaxaca’s civil protection agency showed a single-story building where a portion of the brick facade had crumbled into the street. A hospital was also damaged, and a collapsed structure blocked a major highway.

About 100,000 people in Oaxaca had lost power, the state’s governor said.

National oil firm Pemex said its installations were in order, including its biggest refinery 240 miles (386 km) from the epicenter. A hotel operator in Puerto Escondido said his property had no damage.

Tremors were felt as far away as Guatemala to the south.

Images in the media appeared to show bricks and rubble fallen from buildings, and products tumbling off shelves in a supermarket.

In Mexico City, tall buildings swayed for more than a minute as seismic alarms sounded, with older structures in the chic Condesa neighborhood knocking into each other, and some cracks appearing in plaster and paintwork.

The Popocatepetl volcano south of the capital sent a kilometer-high column of ash into the sky, said Mexico’s disaster prevention agency.

Two young men standing by a building that collapsed in a Sept. 19 earthquake were still hugging minutes after the tremor. People crowded in the streets, one lady in her pajamas.

Trees, overhead cables and cars swayed, and a fire truck raced down the street.

Guadalupe Martinez, a 64-year-old retiree, said she was still shaking from shock. But the quake was a far cry from the tremors that struck Mexico in September, Martinez said.

“This time it was strong, but it did not jump up and down,” she said.]]>
2/17/2018 12:00:13 PM
<![CDATA[FM: Egypt seeking increased German support in border control]]>
According to a statement, Shoukry touched upon efforts exerted by Egypt to fight terrorism, praising security and military cooperation between Cairo and Berlin, given common interests in boosting security and stability in the Middle East and Sahel and Sahara regions and he

Shoukry posted Von der Leyen on Operation Sinai 2018 meant to uproot terrorism on the peninsula, Abu Zeid added.

The meeting also tackled the file of illegal migration, with Von der Leyen lauding Egypt's successful effort to stop boats carrying migrants to Europe, the spokesman said.

Egypt, Shoukry told Von der Leyen, is concerned about the deteriorating security situation in the African Sahel region, where terrorist organizations are active, the spokesman further said.

Egypt is keen on boosting security cooperation with Sahel countries through offering 1,000 training courses and supporting efforts of joint forces to counter terrorism, Abu Zeid quoted Shoukry as having said.

The German minister was interested in learning about Egypt's stance toward the situation in the region, Libya in particular, the spokesman said.

Shoukry put her in the picture about the political process in Libya, as well as Egypt's efforts to help unify the Libyan military establishment, Abu Zeid noted.

Von der Leyen said her country appreciates the vital role played by Egypt to solve regional problems in Syria and Libya, and revive the peace process between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, he added.

The Egyptian government is keen on organizing free and fair polls to reflect Egypt's commitment to a democratic path, Shoukry added.

Shoukry and German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, in a meeting today on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich, welcomed the level of security cooperation between their countries, particularly where fighting terrorism d extremism is concerned.

The meeting also tackled cooperation in fighting illegal migration and corruption, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid.
2/17/2018 11:54:23 AM
<![CDATA[Pakistan court sentences child killer, rapist to death]]>
The girl's murder ignited nationwide protests over allegations of government inaction, and a media campaign led to his arrest after years of him being on the loose.

Police found Zainab Ansari's body in a garbage dumpster in Kasur district near the eastern city of Lahore in mid-January, four days after she was reported missing.

Residents of the area have said the murder was the 12th such incident in a year. Police investigators said later that they had matched DNA from eight girls' bodies, including Zainab's, with the convicted killer, Imran Ali, 24.

"The court handed down death on four counts and life imprisonment to Imran Ali in the rape and murder of the little girl, Zainab," government prosecutor Ehtisham Qadir Shah told Reuters.

He said Ali will be tried for rest of the cases later.

Hundreds of residents protested after Zainab's body was found, and two were killed when police fired shots to disperse them.

Police identified Ali as one of Zainab's neighbours, and CCTV footage on the day she was abducted showed her walking off calmly with a man.

In the same district, Kasur, there have been complaints of a number of missing children since 2015 when authorities uncovered what they said was a paedophile ring linked to a prominent local family.

At least two people have been convicted in connection with that case, in which authorities say hundreds of children in the district were abused.

Nearly 10 cases of child abuse a day are reported in Pakistan, according to Sahil, an organisation that works on child protection.

Zainab's case has triggered a debate in Pakistan over whether to teach children how to guard against sex abuse, which otherwise is a taboo subject in the Muslim majority nation. ]]>
2/17/2018 11:43:41 AM
<![CDATA[Britain's PM May says no question of a second Brexit referendum]]>
"We are leaving the EU and there is no question of a second referendum or going back and I think that's important," May told the Munich Security Conference.

"People in the UK feel very strongly that if we take a decision, then governments should turn not round and say no you got that wrong," she said when asked if Britain would consider a second referendum. ]]>
2/17/2018 11:32:19 AM
<![CDATA[Shoukry to French defense minister: Egypt keen on uprooting terrorism]]>
This came during Shoukry's meeting with French Defense Minister Florence Parly on the sidelines of the 54th Munich Security Conference (MSC).

Shoukry was quoted by Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid as saying that stability in Egypt will strengthen stability in the region as well as Europe.

They discussed means of fostering bilateral relations especially after President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s recent visit to Paris.

During the meeting, they reviewed the Sinai 2018 military operation and the situation in Libya, Abu Zeid noted.

Shoukry also expressed Egypt’s willingness to foster relations between Egypt and the G5 Sahel especially in confronting terrorism. He also said that Egypt is keen on participating in the G5 Sahel Donors Conference due to be held in Brussels in February 23.

He also welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron’s planned visit to Cairo, hoping that the visit will boost bilateral relations in the fields of defense, security and combating terrorism.]]>
2/17/2018 11:26:04 AM
<![CDATA[7 takfiris killed in comprehensive military operation in Sinai]]>
Three takfiri elements were killed and a 4x4 vehicle was destroyed in Central Sinai, according to a military statement Saturday.

Troops also targeted a terrorism hotspot in North Sinai and killed four armed takfiri elements in a shootout, it said, adding they had two machine guns and a ready-to-explode bomb on them.

Military engineers destroyed 45 explosive charges that had been planted in areas of the operation, the statement further said.

As many as 158 hideouts and caches were also destroyed during combing operations, as well as seven vehicles and 32 motorcycles, it added.

Also, 408 criminals, wanted elements and suspects were nabbed, according to the statement.

The Interior Ministry has, meanwhile, been issuing and renewing IDs of residents of North and Central Sinai in an effort to control the security situation there.

Driving and car licenses are also being issued as part of the process.]]>
2/17/2018 9:38:40 AM
<![CDATA[US eyes heavy tariffs on China, Russia to counter steel, aluminum glut]]>
In a report to President Donald Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross includes among the options a nearly 24 percent tariff on all products from China, Russia and three other economies.

Other options would impose either high tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminum imports.

The findings are part of an investigation into the impact of the oversupply of steel and aluminum, and whether it undermines US national security.

In each case "the imports threaten to impair our national security," Ross told reporters in a conference call about the so-called Section 232 investigation.

China and Russia are primary targets, but many other countries are included in the recommended sanctions, which are sure to spark fears of a global trade war if implemented.

Ross said the sanctions were designed to be broad to prevent targeted countries from circumventing the limits by shipping through a third country.

He said "serial offenders can evade these orders by transshipment through another country."

For steel, Ross recommended three possible options: a 24 percent tariff on all steel from all countries; a 53 percent tariff on imports from 12 countries, including China, Russia and Brazil; or a quota on steel from all countries.

For aluminum, he recommended either a 7.7 percent tariffs on the metal from all countries; a quota for all countries; or, perhaps the most shocking of all the options, a 23.6 percent tariffs on imports of all products from China, Russia, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Venezuela.

Ross submitted the two reports to the White House in late January.

Trump has until mid-April to decide on any possible action, which he acknowledged likely would prompt action by US trading partners in the World Trade Organization.

US industries have urged the administration to take care since high import tariffs would raise the cost of supplies for major industries.

But Commerce said the goal of the measures is to boost domestic aluminum and steel prodcution.]]>
2/17/2018 5:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Students, parents demand gun curbs after Florida slaughter]]>
With President Donald Trump planning to visit bereaved families in the shocked southern community as early as Friday, a groundswell arose for a new push to restrict the availability of guns and better protect schools.

Lori Alhadeff, whose 14-year-old daughter Alyssa died in Wednesday's shooting, and who made a powerfully emotional appeal to Trump the following day, addressing a television camera with tears rolling down her face.

"We need action! action! action!" Alhadeff urged in an interview with CNN on Friday, addressing the US leader as the father of an 11-year-old son of his own.

"President Trump, Barron goes to school," she said. "Let's protect Barron, and let's also protect all these other kids here in Parkland, in Florida, and everyone everywhere else in the United States of America," she said.

"My child is dead. I can't help her. But I can help all those other kids at Stoneman Douglas High School. We have to protect our children."

Carly Novell, a senior at the school who survived the shooting, said it was time for politicians to act.

"I just want people to stop, like, talking about it and then not doing anything. People keep, like, saying your thoughts and prayers and all of these things, but it doesn't make a difference if nothing ever changes."

- Trump to visit stricken community -

Trump tweeted Friday that he planned to meet with victims in the sprawling suburban community about 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of Miami, although it was not yet clear when the meeting would take place.

The US leader is spending the long President's Day weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort, a 45 minute drive from Parkland.

"I will be leaving for Florida today to meet with some of the bravest people on earth -- but people whose lives have been totally shattered," he said.

But Trump risked being greeted with angry demands for action on laws that allowed 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz -- a 19-year-old who was expelled from Stoneman Douglas and whose behavior had unnerved acquaintances -- to buy an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle.

"It's illogical that the law says a minor can't have a drink, but can buy a gun," said Mavy Rubiano, the 47-year-old mother of a student who survived the shooting.

Stoneman Douglas students have taken to social media to blast defenders of the nation's loose gun laws.

In an eloquent essay published online, 17-year-old Cameron Kasky blasted both Republican and Democratic politicians for not doing anything.

"We can't ignore the issues of gun control that this tragedy raises," he wrote.

"And so, I'm asking -- no, demanding -- we take action now. Why? Because at the end of the day, the students at my school felt one shared experience -- our politicians abandoned us by failing to keep guns out of schools."

- Republicans sidestep gun control issue -

In Washington the political response so far makes clear that the powerful National Rifle Association pro-gun lobby -- which spent $30 million to support Trump's election in 2016 -- remains formidable.

On Thursday Trump's nationally televised address made no mention of guns, or of previous mass shootings.

Trump instead treated the Parkland massacre -- the 30th mass shooting of 2018 according to the Gun Violence Archive -- as a singular event. He focused on offering sympathies to the families of the victims, on the need to tackle the challenges of mental health.

Republican House leader Paul Ryan, whose campaigns have earned NRA support, said Thursday that it was not a time for arguing over gun control, while Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio said new gun laws alone would not stop shootings.

- Easily bought war weapon -

As with previous mass shootings, the focus of gun control advocates was on the ready availability of the AR-15, a semi-automatic civilian version of the US military's standard-issue M16.

The NRA calls the AR-15 "America's most popular rifle."

Millions have been sold around the United States -- a new one costs as little as $600. Stephen Paddock, who opened fire on a Las Vegas country music concert on October 1, 2017, killing 58 and wounding hundreds more, had more than a dozen AR-15s.

Devin Patrick Kelley, who shot and killed 26 in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas on November 5, used an AR-15.

And it was with an AR-15 that 20-year-old Adam Lanza murdered 26 students and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012, the deadliest school shooting in US history.]]>
2/17/2018 4:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[FBI warned about Florida gunman but failed to act]]>
"On January 5, 2018, a person close to Nikolas Cruz contacted the FBI's Public Access Line tipline to report concerns about him," the FBI said in a statement.

"The caller provided information about Cruz's gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting," it said.

The information was not handled appropriately, however, the top US law enforcement agency said, and no action was taken.

Cruz, 19, shot dead 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday using an AR-15-style rifle that he had legally purchased.

Cruz, who had a history of troubling behavior, was expelled from the school last year for "disciplinary reasons."

The FBI said the information from the caller "should have been assessed as a potential threat to life" and forwarded to the FBI Miami field office.

This was not done and "no further investigation was conducted at that time," it said.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said he was "committed to getting to the bottom of what happened in this particular matter, as well as reviewing our processes for responding to information that we receive from the public.

"We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy," Wray said.]]>
2/17/2018 1:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Shoukry meets French Defense Minister in Munich]]>
The meeting came on the sidelines of Shoukry’s participation in the 54th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Germany's capital Munich.

Abu Zeid said that Barley asserted her country’s support to Egypt in its war against terrorism and asked Shoukry about the ongoing comprehensive military operation “Sinai 2018”, where he informed the French minister about the objectives and locations of the operation. He stressed that Egypt is determined to root out terrorism from its territory after all what it suffered over the past years, pointing out that the elimination of terrorism would enhance the stability of both the Arab region and European countries.

Abu Zeid added that the two sides also discussed the latest developments in Libya and efforts exerted to resolve the Libyan crisis.

He added that Shoukry showed Egypt's interest in strengthening cooperation with the G5 Sahel, especially its affiliated anti-terrorism force. The G5 Sahel was established in 2014 as an inter-governmental partnership among Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger to foster economic cooperation and security in the Sahelian region.

Shoukry expressed the Egyptian government’s welcome for the proposed visit of President Emmanuel Macron to Egypt, which is expected to be a qualitative leap in bilateral relations in various fields, especially defense and security affairs and combating terrorism.
2/17/2018 1:00:27 AM
<![CDATA[Airbus sees initial details of Franco-German fighter in 2nd half 2018]]>
Hoke said France and Germany would work out in coming months how to proceed with the programme, including whether to bring in an additional partner country, such as Britain.

"We expect basic issues, such as how the project will be structured, to be discussed in the second quarter, so that the initial contours will be set in the second half of the year," Dirk Hoke, chief executive of Airbus Defence and Space, said in an interview during the Munich Security Conference.

He said Airbus supported bringing other countries into the programme, which is envisioned as a family of systems rather than just a single new aircraft, noting that other countries could bring their expertise to bear on various aspects.

No decisions had been made on which company would lead the new programme, he said, noting that different firms could lead different segments of the broad project.

Much would also depend on the level of investment pledged by participating countries, he added.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron in July announced plans to jointly develop a successor for the Eurofighter Typhoon.

The new combat system could involve a mixture of manned and unmanned aircraft and would eventually replace the Rafale and Eurofighter, rival jets that compete fiercely for global sales, as well as the older Panavia Tornado.

Hoke said it was imperative to avoid mistakes made in the last big European military programme, the troubled A400M military transporter, which has been plagued with cost overruns and technical challenges.

"It's important that the specifications (for the new fighter jet programme) are developed with a sense of proportion," he said. He said it was important to "prevent requirements that are too comprehensive and that cannot be delivered by industry."

Airbus this week took a further 1.3 billion euro ($1.6 billion) charge on the A400M programme for 2017, bringing total charges on the project to over 8 billion euros. But it said agreement by NATO buyers to stretch out the delivery schedule and accept certain changes would limit future losses.

Hoke lauded an agreement reached this month by NATO buyers, Airbus and the OCCAR pan-European procurement agency to negotiate a new delivery schedule for the aircraft.

He said he was confident that agreements with individual countries could be finalised by the end of the year, and said the declaration of intention had helped repair frayed relations with A400M buyer nations.

"It was a very constructive cooperation, and there was strong support from all participants," he said. "I believe we have significantly improved relations."

Hoke said Airbus expected to release details about the next steps on a European programme to develop a drone by late April at the Berlin air show. ($1 = 0.8059 euros) ]]>
2/17/2018 12:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[German-Turkish journalist leaves Turkey after year in jail]]>
Deniz Yucel, 44, the Turkey-based correspondent of Die Welt newspaper, had been held since February 14, 2017 on accusations of supporting terror groups.

In a fast-moving day of events, he was released after prosecutors finally unveiled an indictment detailing the charges against him and requesting he be jailed for 18 years.

Just hours later, he left Istanbul on a German government plane, an AFP correspondent said. There were no details about where he was heading.

Prosecutors charged Yucel with "making terror propaganda" and "inciting public hatred and hostility", state-run news agency Anadolu reported.

But critically, the court also ordered that he be allowed to go free, potentially drawing the curtain on the biggest bone of contention of a major crisis between the two NATO allies.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the court-ordered release was "unconditional", meaning Yucel would be able to leave the country.

Looking tired but happy, Yucel was seen returning to his apartment in Istanbul's Besiktas district, an AFP correspondent said.

Leaving the country would allow him to be tried in absentia thereby avoiding any jail time if convicted.

- Bittersweet day for journalists -

Yucel's incarceration has been the biggest stumbling block to rebuilding badly-damaged ties between the governments of Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan had repeatedly described Yucel as a "terror agent" causing consternation in Germany.

Merkel welcomed his release and thanked "all those" who worked to free him, but also added a word on behalf of others still held in Turkey.

"I know there are other people, perhaps less well known, who are in prison in Turkey and we hope their legal proceedings will be resolved quickly," she said.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said news of Yucel's release was "encouraging" but stressed that "many more such cases must follow so that EU-Turkey relations can really improve."

News of Yucel's release broke as an Istanbul court jailed three prominent Turkish journalists for life on charges of links to the group blamed for the failed 2016 coup.

Gauri van Gulik, Europe Director for Amnesty International, said their sentencing had "drained the joy from celebrations" over Yucel's release.

- 'Welcome to freedom!' -

Germany, home to a three-million-strong ethnic Turkish minority, has strongly criticised Erdogan's rights record, especially during his government's mass crackdown following the failed 2016 coup.

Turkey has so far arrested more than 55,000 people, among them a number of German citizens or dual nationals who are seen by Berlin as political hostages.

Many German newspapers had on Wednesday marked Yucel's first full year in custody without charge with front-page stories and the #FreeDeniz campaign held a major solidarity event in Berlin.

Politicians and commentators also used the hashtag to celebrate his release with Justice Minister Heiko Maas tweeting: "The best news in a long time: Welcome to freedom!"

Merkel had on Thursday told visiting Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim that Yucel's detention stood in the way of efforts on both sides to improve "clouded" relations and marked a continuing "burden".

On Friday, Yildirim cautiously welcomed Yucel's release, suggesting it would ease tensions with Berlin.

"Some of the issues causing some problems in Germany-Turkey relations in the past period seem to be resolved today," he said.

- Relations slowly thawing? -

Yucel gave himself up to police last year after initially taking refuge inside a German diplomatic compound in Istanbul following reports that a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

He has been in custody ever since.

Relations between the two countries had recently started to recover from their deep crisis after Turkey released several German citizens.

Berlin had last year advised German investors and holidaymakers to avoid Turkey.

German media reports said Gabriel held two secret meetings with Erdogan about the issue this year -- one in Rome and another in Istanbul -- with former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a personal friend of the Turkish leader, present at the Istanbul talks.

But Gabriel vehemently denied any "deal" for Yucel's release as reports emerged suggesting Ankara had its eye on Berlin upgrading its German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks.]]>
2/17/2018 12:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Wide criticism for Turkish court's life sentences to 6 journalists]]>
Mehmet Altan, an economics professor and journalist, and his brother Ahmet, also a journalist, were accused of giving coded messages on a television talk show a day before the abortive military putsch. Nazli Ilicak, another well known journalist, was also among the sentenced. All six have denied the charges.

The case has underscored both the deep concern about press freedom in Turkey as well as worries about the independence of the judiciary under President Tayyip Erdogan. Since the coup more than 50,000 people have been jailed and more than 150,000 sacked or suspended from their jobs.

The verdict drew fierce criticism from rights groups and international bodies, including from the U.N. and OSCE experts on media freedom, who said Turkey should reverse the decision.

"These harsh sentences are an unacceptable and unprecedented assault on freedom of expression and on the media in Turkey,” David Kaye and Harlem Desir said in a joint statement issued by the U.N. human rights office.

The court imposed aggravated life sentences on the six defendants who were found guilty of "seeking to overthrow the constitutional order by force", the state-run Anadolu news agency. At least three of the men have already been in prison for about 17 months.

The constitutional court, Turkey's highest, had previously ruled for Mehmet Altan's release, saying that his detention amounted to the violation of his rights. However, the penal court rejected the request and decided to keep him in jail as his trial continued.

The sentencing came on the same day that another Turkish court ordered the release of Deniz Yucel, a German-Turkish journalist who spent just over a year in pre-trial detention without an indictment, in a case that tested relations between Ankara and Berlin.


Ahmet Altan was charged after he said on a TV show: "Whatever the developments were that lead to military coups in Turkey, by making the same decisions, Erdogan is paving the same path".

On the same programme, Mehmet Altan referred to "another structure" within the government that was closely watching the developments to "take its hand out of the bag".

Prosecutors said that the comments were coded messages to followers of the cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for orchestrating the coup.

"This sets a devastating precedent for scores of other journalists charged with similarly groundless charges," said Sarah Clarke, of writers organisation PEN International.

The lawyer for the Altan brothers said they would appeal against the verdict.

"This is a trial that wiped out freedom of thought," Ergin Cinmen, the lawyer, told Reuters. "This verdict will be definitely reversed. Turkey cannot go on with this verdict."]]>
2/17/2018 12:19:00 AM
<![CDATA[Russia allows 1st commercial flight to Cairo since Oct. 2015]]>
Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the resumption of regular air traffic between Moscow and Cairo on January 4 after the Egyptian authorities strengthened security measures at the Cairo International Airport, in compliance with Russian demands.

However, Russia has not declared yet the resumption of its flights to Egyptian resorts, such as Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada, both of which are popular with Russian tourists.

On February 9, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said that commercial passenger flights between Cairo and Moscow will resume on February 20, according to Russia's international news agency Novosti.

To understand the impact of resuming air links, one should know how could Egypt reach this moment?

Airbus A321

In October 2015, the Airbus A321, operated by Metrojet, crashed over the Sinai Peninsula, which was carrying Russian tourists returning from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, killing all 224 on board.

Although Egypt-Russia investigations so far have not revealed the reason behind the crash, Russia, along with some other countries, had decided to suspend direct flights to Cairo and Sharm El-Sheikh for indefinite period. The decision decimated Egypt's vital tourism industry.

The tourism sector is one of Egypt’s main foreign currency earners, which has suffered badly from the travel ban that turned the once 100 percent occupied resorts to empty buildings.

Tourist inflow to Egypt peaked in 2010, when 14.7 million tourists visited the country, but the number fell to 4.5 million in 2016.

Russian and British tourists capture the largest portion of tourist inflows to Egypt; According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the Russian tourist inflow to Egypt reached its peak in 2014, with tourists recording 3.1 million. Following the Russian plane crash, this number plummeted to 2.38 million in 2015.

The British tourist inflow used to range between 800,000 to one million tourists, but this number also declined after the suspension of flights to Sharm El-Sheikh. British flights are now limited to the tourist landmarks in the Red Sea and the Upper Egyptian cities of Luxor and Aswan.

Government efforts

During the 28-month air traffic suspension, a lot of false reports about the expected resumption of direct flights between Egypt and Russia were circulated in the media, making Egyptians doubt if this issue will find any end.

Through that period, the Egyptian government spared no effort to settle the case, using all diplomatic capabilities to speed negotiations with the Russian side, as well as other countries that imposed a ban on direct flights to Egypt.

Russian authorities always stressed that the resumption of flights would only be possible after Egypt satisfies all the demands made by Russian experts on ensuring security at domestic airports.

Since the crash, Egypt has been implementing new, tighter security measures at all of its airports to meet the Russian demands for the resumption of flights, with multiple visits by Russian security to behold changes implemented by the government.

During these visits, the Russian side affirmed that Egyptian aviation authorities have made significant progress in complying with Russia’s aviation safety requirements.

On December 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Cairo for the second time since President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi was sworn into office in May 2014. The visit showed increasing interest from Moscow to boost cooperation with Egypt after the bilateral relations have been up and down.

Asked about the return of direct flights to Egypt, Putin said “The Russian security services have reported to me that, on the whole, we are ready for opening the direct air link between Moscow and Cairo ... This would require signing a corresponding intergovernmental protocol.”

On December 15, Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sharif Fathi travelled to Moscow and met Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov.

The two ministers signed an air security agreement that set the required procedures to pave the way for resuming Egypt-Russia air traffic.

“The first flight will likely be launched in February,” said Sokolov.

Egypt’s tourism recovers

There are indicators that suggest that tourism will bounce back, with the Ministry of Tourism announcing that tourist numbers are estimated at 8 million by the end of 2017, compared to 4.5 million tourists last year. How this can be possible?

The capacity of South Sinai’s hotels, including Sharm El-Sheikh, represent 35 percent of the total hotel capacity in Egypt, estimated at 225,000 rooms, of which about 65,000 rooms are in the Red Sea, 30,000 in Greater Cairo, and the rest in other provinces.

It means that the majority of Egypt’s hotel capacity lies outside the banned region. However, South Sinai represents 40-45 percent of Egyptian annual tourism income, and it can add $12 billion annually.

Meanwhile, the ministry said in a previous statement that a noticeable influx of Asian tourists started flocking to Cairo, Luxor and Aswan. The Asian visitors have mitigated the negative effects of the absence of Russian and British tourists.

China’s top public travel agency, China International Travel Service, reported a 58 percent increase in tourists flying to Egypt in 2016 compared to 2015, while Japan’s HIS travel agency said the number of tourists heading to Egypt was multiplied by four to five times last year.

The boom in Asian interest may be a result of the World Tourism Organization's decision to name Luxor the world’s tourism capital of 2016.

According to CAPMAS, the number of tourists who visited Egypt in fiscal year 2016/17 rose by 259,700 tourists to 732,700 tourists.

The return of Russian flights and tours could be a massive boost to tourist numbers that reached 5.3 million tourists in 2016, compared to 14.7 million visitors in 2010. However, it should be noted that the industry is already recovering gradually.]]>
2/17/2018 12:03:06 AM
<![CDATA[Trump, Israel's Netanyahu to meet at White House March 5: officials]]>
“The president has a great relationship with the prime minister and looks forward to meeting with him,” a White House official said.

The meeting comes as Netanyahu faces a political firestorm. Police have said they had found sufficient evidence for the prime minister to be charged with bribery in two corruption cases. Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing.]]>
2/17/2018 12:02:11 AM
<![CDATA[Chairman of ‘Family’ channel suspended over rape threats]]>
TV host Gaber Al-Qarmo broadcasted on his program Manshet (Headline) audio recordings in which Moukhtar Ahmed was mentioning that he will rape a female journalist and scorns another.

“There is a journalist out there that I will rape, I basically love rape and I have been used to getting caught raping people since I was young,” the chairman of the “Family” channel Ahmed said, according to the audio recordings obtained by Al-Qarmoty.

According to reports, the reasons for the threats are due to a brawl between Ahmed and the employees working for the channel and they kept threatening him to brief such internal disputes to the press, which in turn made him angry.

Maspero has been a pioneer in television and radio broadcasting in the Middle East and Africa since 1950s.
2/16/2018 8:21:56 PM
<![CDATA["Tough decisions" for South Africa to cut deficit: Ramaphosa]]>
Ramaphosa also said his government was committed to "policy certainty and consistency", in contrast to his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, who resigned this week on the orders of the ruling African National Congress.]]>
2/16/2018 7:59:47 PM
<![CDATA[Ethiopia declares state of emergency]]>
Earlier Friday, an opposition leader stated that Ethiopia's ruling coalition has lost its authority and all parties must help map the country's future, suggesting political tensions in Africa's second most populous country are unlikely to ease soon.

Mulatu Gemechu, deputy secretary of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress, spoke a day after the surprise resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who said he was leaving office to smooth reforms.

Mulatu said Ethiopia needed a completely new political system after years of political unrest in the two most populous regions of the Horn of Africa country. "Ethiopians now need a government that respects their rights, not one that keeps beating and killing them," he told Reuters.

Rights advocates have frequently criticised Ethiopia's government for mass arrests and long jail terms handed to political opponents and journalists.

Pressure on the ruling coalition, in power since 1991, began building in 2015 when protests against an urban development plan for the capital Addis Ababa sparked larger demonstrations demanding more freedom and civil rights.

More than 6,000 political prisoners have been freed since January as the government struggles to placate simmering anger among the two largest ethnic groups, the Oromo and Amharic, who complain they are under-represented in the corridors of power.


For a factbox on Ethiopia's main ethnic groups, click on

A wave of strikes and demonstrations hit towns near Addis Ababa this week as protesters successfully pressed demands for jailed opposition leaders to be released. On Friday, the U.S. embassy suspended travel outside the capital for its staff.

The Oromo Federalist Congress is one of seven parties that make up the biggest opposition coalition, MEDREK.

Mulatu's views were echoed in the Oromo heartlands of central Ethiopia, the site of a series of violent protests against Hailemariam's government in 2015 and 2016.

"Our land can't continue being taken from us. Oromos should not be jailed for exercising their rights," said Dinkissa, a university student in Ambo, a town in the region.

"Oromos have been always mistreated. His (the prime minister's) resignation will not mean anything unless our rights are respected. Whoever comes to power should know that. Otherwise, we will not stop protesting."

The government has also grappled with several armed groups in the past decade, some of which it has designated as terrorists.

Among them are the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which has fought the government since 1994 and draws support from some of the country's ethnic Somali population. Somalia and Ethiopia share a long and porous border.

This week the ONLF and Ethiopian authorities held private talks in Nairobi, an observer present at the discussions told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

A tentative accord was reached on a ceasefire, prisoner releases, boundaries between the Somali and Oromiya regions of Ethiopia, and economic development, the observer said. But a final deal was not signed since the ONLF wanted a signatory from Ethiopia’s central government, rather than the head of the Somali region, who represented the government at the talks.]]>
2/16/2018 7:41:11 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry lauds Egypt's strategic ties with China]]>
During a meeting with Chinese Chairperson of the National People's Congress Foreign Affairs Committee Fu Ying on Friday on the sidelines of Munich Security Conference, Shoukry also hailed high-profile visits between the two countries especially President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi's visits to China, said the Foreign Ministry's spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid.

They discussed the bilateral cooperation and regional and international issues of common interest.

Egypt values the important Chinese participation in Egypt's national projects particularly the new administrative capital, said, pointing to multiple domains of cooperation between the two countries.

The meeting also touched on major issues including counter-terror efforts, security cooperation and ways of reviving the stalled peace process in the Middle East as well as the conditions in Libya, Yemen, Syria and South Sudan. ]]>
2/16/2018 7:32:18 PM
<![CDATA[Armed Forces set up 11 hotlines to receive reports on terrorists]]>
The move comes within the framework of the army's and police's efforts to eliminate terrorist hotbeds and secure the country's borders, the statement added.

Hotline numbers (16037-16137-16138) were set up for reporting complaints in Cairo, Giza, Qalyubia, Gharbia, Beni Suef and Faiyum, while hotline number (16289) was established for the governorates of Ismailia, Port Said, Damietta, Daqahlia, North Sinai and Sharqia, the statement read.

Hot line number (16368) was provided for the governorates of (Alexandria, Behira and Kafr El Shiekh), the statement noted, while the governorates of Suez and South Sinai were given a hotline number (16296), the statement said.

Hotline number (16386) was set up for the governorates of Minya, Assuit, Sohag, Aswan, Luxor, New Valley and Red Sea, while a hotline number (16389) was set up for Matrouh governorate, the statement added.

With regard to infiltration and smuggle attempts, a hot line number (19039) was established for all governorates, the statement noted.

A hotline number (16039) was set up for contacting the military police and a hot line number (16239) for calling the military intelligence, according to the statement. ]]>
2/16/2018 7:28:43 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry, Lavrov discuss regional issues, bilateral ties]]>
The talks focused on ways of boosting cooperation between both countries, as well as consulting on a number of regional issues of mutual concern.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said Shoukry, at the beginning of the talks, expressed his sincere condolences over the victims of the Russian passenger plane, which crashed near Moscow Airport on Sunday, February 11.

Shoukry also conveyed President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin, government and people.

Shoukry stressed Egypt's keenness to continue developing relations with Russia, the spokesman said.

Both ministers welcomed the decision to resume direct flights between Cairo and Moscow, stressing the need to boost tourism traffic from Russia to Egypt which is a favored destination for Russian tourists.

The two diplomats also discussed trade and economic relations between the two countries, as well as the Palestinian cause and ways to encourage the Palestinians and Israelis to resume peace talks.

Lavrov expressed his country's appreciation of the vital role played by Egypt in implementing the Palestinian reconciliation agreement.

Abu Zeid underscored that the talks also shed light on the Syrian crisis and the Russian role to broker peace between the Syrian regime and opposition forces. ]]>
2/16/2018 7:21:40 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to see cold weather, floods to hit Upper Egypt, Sinai]]>
Friday’s weather will be unstable throughout the region. Low and medium clouds are gathering, accompanied by rainfall on the northwestern coasts and areas of the coastal plain, reaching the limit of floods in southern Sinai, southern Upper Egypt and the Red Sea mountain ranges, EMA added.

Weather will be cold on the western coasts, moderate on the eastern coasts, Cairo and the north of Upper Egypt, while warm weather will cover the south of Upper Egypt during the day and cold at night, and with frost possible in Central Sinai.

The wind, mostly northwesterly and moderate, is active on the west of the country and is whipping up sand and dust, and it may cause disrupting maritime traffic on the Mediterranean and Red seas.

“It is expected that moderate rainfalls will be in Cairo and northern Upper Egypt, accompanied by a drop in temperature on Saturday and Sunday at values ranging from 3 to 4 degrees,” Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Al, chairman of EMA’s board of directors, said on Friday.

The temperature grades in some governorates are Cairo (20, 11), Alexandria, (17, 9), Sharm El-Sheihk (23, 17), Hurghada (22, 14) and Assyout (20, 9).

Some governorates see heavy rains on Friday

The bad weather continues to hit the provinces of Aswan and the Red Sea, where the city of Marsa Alam received heavy rains on Friday around the city, accompanied by heavy clouds since the early hours of the morning.

In a statement, Marsa Alam’s City Council stressed the importance of citizens, agencies, companies, hotels and motorists on the roads to take precautionary measures in order to protect citizens.

The Red Sea governorate also called on citizens to be cautious while driving, stressing that drivers not exceed the speeds prescribed on the highways and inside the city.

On the other hand, the electricity supply was cut off in several areas in the city of Aswan early Friday as a result of heavy rains throughout the province in the early hours of the morning.
2/16/2018 4:47:43 PM
<![CDATA[Amany el-Khayat suspended over Oman remarks]]>
The decision was taken after revising the code of ethics, the code of professional conduct that was issued according to law No.93 of 2016, and the prime minister’s decree No. 573 for year 2017 to establish the founding committee for the Media Syndicate, Konaysi said.

The legal committee concluded in its report proving that Khayat has committed an unprofessional act and national abuses, amounting to the abuse of a sister Arab country in a timely and sensitive manner. Despite being legally informed twice, she did not comply with the investigation before the Legal Committee, which is considered a confession of her mistake.

Khayat’s comments came at the same week as Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi made his first visit to Oman since he took office in 2014. She referred to the Sultanate of Oman as a "small, insignificant princedom," and her comments went viral on social media websites and frustrated many Omanis, who called for immediate legal action against her.

After the outrage occurred, Khayat commented again on the issue, saying, “the Sultanate of Oman is an important country in the Arab Peninsula, being the third largest in landmass, and if the word ‘princedom’ has annoyed the citizens of Oman with noble manners, we apologize to them,” Khayat said on Beyn Al-Sotor.

president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi with Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Said al-Said at Muscat, February 4, 2018 - Press Photo

It’s not Khayat’s first time making controversy. Previously on her show, she claimed that Morocco's king made a deal with Islamists in 2011 and that the country's economy is based on prostitution, adding that she directed the audience to search Morocco on Google in terms of AIDS and HIV.

These remarks went massively viral on social media, inciting anger and refusal among Moroccans and Egyptians, and the TV station's owner at that time, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, tweeted back to a Moroccan citizen, apologizing and stressing that he would investigate the incident himself.

Later, Khayat’s show’s official Facebook page posted an apology to the Moroccan government and people for the "misunderstanding" that occurred during the show.

For Ahmed el-Sherif, the committee concluded in its report that his program violated the codes of ethics and professional conduct due to a telephone interview with one of the guests, which included accusations against many public figures without any interference from the announcer to stop the guest or end the interview. Also, despite being legally informed twice, he did not comply with the investigation before the Legal Committee, which is considered a confession of the mistake, Konaysi said.

The ON Live and LTC channels’ files will be forwarded to the Supreme Council for Media Regulations (SCM), and if they allow the TV anchors to appear during the suspension period, they will co-share the responsibility of the violations, according to the SCM’s laws.

The Supreme Council for Media Regulations was established on December 24, 2016 after President Sisi issued Law No. 92 of 2016 on the Institutional Organization of the Press and the Media as an independent body with corporate personality.

The role of the council is to regulate and supervise media outlets in all forms – print, broadcast and electronic – and it establishes the framework and standards necessary to ensure that media outlets abide by the rules and ethics of the profession.

In January 2017, Sisi ratified a law that establishes a media workers’ syndicate, which assigns the rights and duties of its members.

2/16/2018 4:19:09 PM
<![CDATA[Israeli protesters urge Netanyahu to step down over bribery allegations]]>
Police said on Tuesday enough evidence had been found for Netanyahu to be charged, saddling the four-term premier with one of the biggest challenges to his long dominance of Israeli politics.

Netanyahu, 68, denies wrongdoing in both cases and has said nothing will come of the police investigations. It is now up to the attorney general to determine whether to press charges against him.

Around 1,000-2,000 protesters rallied in a Tel Aviv square, some with signs saying "crooks go home" and "crime minister".

"We think the prime minister should immediately disqualify himself and resign," said Shlomit Bar, 63, a retired music teacher. "He cannot be any longer the prime minister of Israel."

There is no strict legal obligation for a prime minister to step down over such a case unless he is convicted in court. The right-wing Netanyahu's governing coalition appears stable for the time being after key partners said they will wait until the attorney general's decision.

"From a moral standpoint, this is a disgrace to the state of Israel, where a prime minister is suspected of such serious crimes," said Oren Simon, one of the protesters. "He should go home. Enough."

A poll published on Wednesday showed almost half of Israel's electorate believe the police rather than Netanyahu.

The poll, aired on the Israeli commercial television channel Reshet, said 49 percent of respondents sided with the police's version that Netanyahu had acted improperly. Twenty-five percent said they believed Netanyahu. The remainder, 26 percent, said they did not know whom to believe.

Forty-nine percent said he should stay in office, and 43 percent that he should suspend himself.

The first case in which Netanyahu is a suspect involves receiving gifts, including cigars, champagne and jewellery, from businessmen. The second involves discussing a deal with the publisher of Israel's best-selling newspaper for better coverage in return for curbs on a rival newspaper.

It could be months before the attorney general makes a decision on whether to charge him. ]]>
2/16/2018 4:03:34 PM
<![CDATA[Houthi leader killed, 4 captured in Yemeni Al Dalea province]]>
The five Houthi militants were trapped in an ambush set up by Yemeni popular resistance in northern Al Dalea province, Al Arabiya news channel reported on Friday.

Warplanes of the Arab Coalition Supporting Legitimacy in Yemen launched strikes against Houthi gatherings and weapons in Al Jawf province. In turn Houthi militias targeted with Katyusha rockets several villages in Naeem district of Al Jawf prvince.

Yemeni army in coordination with the popular resistance controlled earlier new posts in the north of Al Bayda province, central Yemen. ]]>
2/16/2018 2:30:39 PM
<![CDATA[Abul Gheit participates in 54th MSC in Munich]]>
The three-day conference focuses on the future role of the European Union (EU) as a global actor and its relations with Russia and the United States.

In statements on Friday, Spokesman for AL Secretary General Mahmoud Afifi said the AL chief is keen on participating in international conferences as a good opportunity to engage in profound talks with senior officials on the future of peace and stability at the international level in general and in the Arab region in particular.

Abul Gheit is one of the keynote speakers at the conference's session on conditions in the Middle East region.

The session will be also attended by several ministers and UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

Abul Gheit will present the Arab League's vision for the latest developments in the ME region, means of settling the Palestinian issue and protecting the Palestinian people's legitimate rights, as well as putting an end to armed conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen, the spokesman said.

Abul Gheit is also scheduled to hold a series of important meetings with senior officials and representatives of regional and international organizations on the sidelines of the conference, Afifi added.

They will exchange views on a host of issues and the Arab League's role in dealing with different Arab issues, the spokesman added.]]>
2/16/2018 2:13:03 PM
<![CDATA[Turkey can take steps with U.S. after YPG leaves Syria's Manbij: Cavusoglu ]]>
Speaking at a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Cavusoglu also said Tillerson's visit marked a critical point for the future of the relations between two NATO allies.

Tillerson arrived in Turkey on Thursday for two days of what officials have said would likely be uncomfortable discussions between the allies, which have seen their ties strained by differences over Syria. ]]>
2/16/2018 12:41:51 PM
<![CDATA[Latvian ambassador, assistant FM discuss bolstering bilateral relations]]>
The inauguration of a Latvian embassy in Cairo has resulted in an increase in Latvia’s exports to Egypt, Sulca said during the meeting.

In this regard, she urged Egypt to take a similar step and open an embassy in the Latvian capital, Riga.

Sulca and Ramadan discussed bilateral cooperation in the fields of education and culture in addition to parliamentary cooperation between the two countries, the statement said.

The embassy also revealed that Sulca has invited Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to visit Latvia. ]]>
2/16/2018 12:31:13 PM
<![CDATA[Police deny shooting on security checkpoint in Minya]]>
The source told MENA that such reports are groundless and bare of truth.]]>
2/16/2018 10:40:12 AM
<![CDATA[Army: Operation Sinai will continue until ending terrorism]]>
The "Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018", carried out by the Armed Forces, in cooperation with the combat units of the Interior Ministry, anti-terror units continues launching raids targeting terrorist hideouts and arms and ammunition warehouses in northern and central Sinai," the statement said.

Up to 68 targets including terrorist hideouts, weapons and ammunition depots were destroyed by artillery shelling.

Security forces managed to seize dangerous terrorist hotbed in Central Sinai and kill three wanted terrorists involved in attacks against the Armed Forces.

Also, 224 criminals and suspects were arrested, possessing weapons and bullets. All legal measures were taken against the arrested.

Ten 4×4 vehicles were seized and 22 unlicensed motorcycles destroyed.

Security forces destroyed 150 warehouses, in which a large quantity of narcotic substances and communication devices used by terrorists were found.

Military engineering units also destroyed 28 explosive devices.

Five hashish farms were discovered and destroyed and 2.5 tons of narcotic substances were seized.

Meanwhile, the navy forces continue tightening their grip along the coastal area to prevent the infiltration of terrorists into ares where the operation has been launches, the statement added.

Air Forces also continue to tighten control along the southern and western borders in coordination with the border guards to cut supplies to terrorists, the statement noted.

Combat groups of the Armed Forces and Interior Ministry continue operating 580 security patrols and setting up checkpoints across the nation, the statement further noted.

The statement reiterated the Armed Forces and police persistence to eradicate terrorism and achieve security and stability for the great Egyptian people.]]>
2/16/2018 10:01:17 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. groups sue Trump administration over teen pregnancy grant cuts]]>
The four lawsuits in federal courts in Washington state, Maryland and the District of Columbia seek to have funding reinstated for programs that the groups say serve 1.2 million young people.

Those suing include affiliates of Planned Parenthood; Washington's King County, which includes Seattle and its suburbs; and Baltimore-based Healthy Teen Network.

The U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) did not respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuits center on the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, which Congress created in 2010 during the administration of Democratic President Barack Obama. It provides grants for evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs.

HHS currently funds 84 grants. Since the program's inception, the teen birth rate in the United States has fallen 41 percent from 2010 to 2016, according to one of the lawsuits.

But in July, the department under the Republican Trump's administration told recipients of 81 of the five-year grants that it would be terminating their agreements two years early. The remaining three were terminated in September, the groups say.

Affiliates of Planned Parenthood, a non-profit that provides contraception, health screenings and abortions, in their lawsuit called the decision part of the Trump's administration's "broader political agenda against sexual and reproductive health and evidence-based and science-based programs."

The lawsuit said the early termination equals a loss of more than $200 million in funding and will mean depriving thousands of teenagers of information and education that could help them make decisions about their health.

The lawsuits seek injunctions barring the grants from being terminated based on claims the department failed to follow proper administrative procedures and that it violated the U.S. Constitution by endorsing religion. ]]>
2/16/2018 5:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Accused Florida gunman visited restaurants, store after killing]]>
Authorities said the alleged gunman, Nikolas Cruz, stopped at a Wal-Mart, a Subway restaurant and a McDonald's immediately after carrying out the second-deadliest mass shooting at a public school in U.S. history.

"The suspect crossed fields and ran west along with others who were fleeing and tried to mix in with the group that were running away, fearing for their lives," Broward Country Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters.

Cruz, who has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, is accused of using a legally purchased AR-15-style weapon in Wednesday's attack, moving through Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland outside Miami. Cruz was a former student of the school who had been expelled.

The accused shooter may have left warning signs on social media in the form of a comment on YouTube video that read "I'm going to be a professional school shooter." A YouTube user passed that comment on the Federal Bureau of Investigation in September, but the FBI did not connect it to Cruz.

"No other information was included with that comment which would indicate a time, location or the true identity of the person who made the comment," FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Lasky told reporters. He noted that the YouTube user who reported the comment lives in Mississippi and said that investigators saw nothing to link it to Florida.

Wednesday's shooting was the 18th in a U.S. school this year, according to gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety. It stirred the long-simmering U.S. debate on the right to bear arms, which is protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

President Donald Trump addressed the shooting in a White House speech that emphasized school safety and mental health while avoiding any mention of gun policy.

"It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference," Trump said at the White House. "We must actually make that difference."

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives criticized the Republican leadership for refusing to take up legislation on tightening background checks for prospective gun buyers.

"It's appalling," Representative Mike Thompson told reporters. "Thirty people every day are killed by someone using a gun, and the best we can do is say we need more information?"

The Republican-controlled Congress last year revoked Obama-era regulations meant to make it harder for those with severe mental illness to pass FBI background checks for guns, saying the rule deprived the mentally ill of their gun rights.

Fifteen people were injured in Wednesday's shooting, according to local hospital officials.


Cruz's court-appointed lawyer said he had expressed remorse for his crimes.

"He's a broken human being," public defender Melisa McNeill told reporters. "He's sad, he's mournful, he's remorseful."

Cruz had done paramilitary training with a white nationalist militia called the Republic of Florida, a leader of the group said.

"He had some involvement with the Clearwater Republic of Florida cell at some point," Jordan Jereb said in a telephone interview. Reuters could not immediately verify the claim.

Cruz loved guns and had been expelled from high school for disciplinary reasons, police and former classmates said.

Cruz told police that he had carried out the attack, according to an arrest document released on Thursday, which noted that he made that admission after being advised of his right not to incriminate himself.

In a brief court appearance, Cruz spoke only two words, "Yes ma'am," when a judge asked him to confirm his name. He was ordered held without bond.

Cruz had recently moved in with another family after his mother's death in November, according to Jim Lewis, a lawyer representing the family, bringing his AR-15 along with his other belongings.

The family believed Cruz was depressed, but attributed that to his mother's death, not mental illness, Lewis said.

Victims included an assistant football coach who sheltered students, a social science teacher and multiple students.

People who live on same street as Cruz said he alarmed them by shooting squirrels and rabbits in the neighborhood as well as chickens being raised in a nearby backyard. Several times a year, they observed law enforcement officials at his house.

"Killing animals was no problem for this young man," said Rhonda Roxburgh, 45, who lived on the block for several years and whose parents continue to live there.]]>
2/16/2018 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Kansas candidate raffles same type of rifle used in Florida shooting]]>
Tyler Tannahill said he launched the AR-15 giveaway on Tuesday in support of the Second Amendment and to coincide with this weekend's Kansas Republican Convention.

"We firmly believe in the Second Amendment and I think there definitely needs to be some thoughtful dialog on school safety and mental health," he told Reuters in a telephone interview.

A 19-year-old gunman has been charged with fatally shooting 17 people at a Florida high school on Wednesday.

Tannahill, a U.S. Marine veteran, said he was being characterized as heartless even though the gun giveaway had been in the works well before the shooting.

Tannahill said in a tweet on Wednesday that he and his wife were "heartbroken" over the Florida school shooting, while urging support for the FASTER (Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response) program, which offers armed response training for school workers.

By midafternoon on Thursday, there were 820 entries to win the rifle, up from 432 in late morning. Only adults able to lawfully own and possess a firearm are eligible to win the prize.

Several people on social media criticized Tannahill for not canceling his contest after the Florida shooting, calling him out of touch.

"Winner of the tone deaf awards: Tyler Tannahill for Congress. Maybe don't give away an AR-15 on your page THE DAY ONE IS USED TO KILL CHILDREN. #Shame," Matthew Herbert said on Twitter on Thursday.

Twitter user Stacy Myers called Tannahill a "horrible, horrible creature" and said the giveaway made her ill.

Tannahill is a candidate for an open seat in Kansas' second congressional district. The primary is scheduled for Aug. 7, and the general election is on Nov. 6. The district includes Kansas' capital city Topeka. ]]>
2/16/2018 2:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Turkey demands U.S. expel Kurdish militia from anti-Islamic State force]]>
Rex Tillerson arrived in Turkey on Thursday for two days of what are expected to be uncomfortable meetings between allies whose relations have been fraying over a number of issues, above all Washington's support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara calls terrorists.

Turkey launched an air and ground assault last month in Syria's northwest Afrin region to drive the YPG from the area.

Ankara considers the YPG to be an arm of the PKK, a banned group that has waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey. The YPG is the main ground element of the Syrian Defence Forces (SDF), which the United States has armed, trained and aided with air support and special forces to fight Islamic State.

"We demanded this relationship be ended, I mean we want them to end all the support given to the Syrian arm of PKK, the YPG," Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli told reporters in a briefing in Brussels, a day after meeting U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on the sidelines of a NATO meeting.

"We demanded this structure be removed from SDF," he said.

Speaking with reporters on the sidelines of the NATO meeting, Mattis said his talks with his Turkish counterpart were open and honest, but acknowledged differences.

"I believe we are finding common ground and there are areas of uncommon ground, where sometimes war just gives you bad alternatives to choose from ... We continue to collaborate on ways to ensure their legitimate concerns are addressed."

Tillerson, who is on a five-city tour, told a news conference in Beirut before arriving in Ankara that the United States and Turkey had the same main objectives, and put their differences down to tactics.

He met Erdogan at the president's palace in Ankara on Thursday evening and was due to meet the foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, on Friday.


Islamic State fighters were driven last year from all the population centres they occupied in both Syria and Iraq, but Washington still considers them a threat, capable of carrying out an insurgency and plotting attacks elsewhere.

Ankara has placed greater emphasis in recent months on the need to combat the Kurdish militia and has said the United States is merely using one terrorist group to combat another.

Turkey says the United States has yet to honour several pledges: to stop arming the YPG, to take back arms after Islamic State was defeated in Syria, and to pull YPG forces back from Manbij, a Syrian town about 100 km (60 miles) east of Afrin.

Canikli also said that Mattis had told him the United States was working on a plan to retrieve weapons given to the YPG, especially heavy weapons. However, Tillerson later said that Washington had "never given heavy arms" to the YPG and there was therefore "nothing to take back".

Turkey is the main Muslim ally of the United States within NATO and one of Washington's most powerful friends in the Middle East dating back to the Cold War era. But widening differences on Syria policy are just one of a number of issues that have caused a rupture in that strategic relationship.

Ankara also accuses Washington of sheltering a cleric it blames for plotting a failed coup in 2016. The United States convicted a Turkish banker mast month for violating sanctions on Iran in a case that included testimony alleging corruption by top Turkish officials.

Despite the tense language, military relations between the two allies appear, at least so far, to have avoided strain. The top U.S. general in Europe, Curtis Scaparrotti, said there had been no impact on its operation from Turkey's Incirlik air base, used by the Americans for strikes against Islamic State.

"Despite some of the rhetoric that you see, the most recent meetings ... are very productive," Scaparrotti told reporters in Stuttgart.

The Turkish offensive against the YPG in Syria has so far been limited to Afrin, a border region where the United States is not believed to have troops on the ground. But Turkey has openly discussed extending it to other areas where its forces could potentially come into contact with units supported by the Americans. It says Washington should pull its forces out of the way; the United States says it has no plans to withdraw.]]>
2/16/2018 1:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[German military has no plans to acquire robot weapons ]]>
Lieutenant General Ludwig Leinhos, who heads the new Cyber and Information Space Command set up in April 2017, made the comment during a discussion about artificial intelligence on the sidelines of the annual Munich Security Conference.

"We have a very clear position. We have no intention of procuring ... autonomous systems," Leinhos said.

He said the German military needed to prepare to defend against such weapons if they were used by other countries, but had no plans to obtain such weapons itself.

Leinhos said a broader political and legal discussion was needed on the issue, which has been in the spotlight amid rapid gains in technology that could enable more autonomous use of drones and other weapons.

Mary Wareham, who coordinates the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, told the panel 22 countries had already agreed to support a ban on autonomous weapons, and her group was trying to raise more awareness about the issue.

She said it was important to ensure continued "human control" of weapons systems, and agreements were urgently needed given how quickly technology was evolving.

"This is a game-changing technology. This is something we can do something about," Wareham said.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a former Danish prime minister and former secretary general of NATO, told the panel he strongly believed in preventing the production and use of such weapons, which he expects to create more instability.

"The use of AI and robots in warfare will drastically speed up combat," Rasmussen said. "Soon, you may see swarms of robots attacking a country ... .The robots can be easily deployed, they don't get tired, they don't get bored."

He said NATO needed to revamp its slow decision-making process to respond to the new, much faster-moving challenges. ]]>
2/16/2018 1:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Colombia says increasing number of Venezuelans involved in ELN attacks]]>
Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said he had expressed concern to his Venezuelan counterpart General Vladimir Padrino in a telephone conversation, and that they had agreed to meet to coordinate security plans at the border.

Villegas said Venezuelans had collaborated with the National Liberation Army (ELN) in attacks in Colombia and been involved in killings and robberies.

"The number of Venezuelans who have participated in these ELN actions is growing," Villegas told reporters in the western city of Pereira, in broadcast comments.

"I also told General Padrino about our concern over the growing participation of Venezuelan citizens in common and organized crime."

Colombia, Brazil and other Latin American nations are grappling with a growing migrant crisis, as thousands of Venezuelans seek to escape economic hardship, hyperinflation and food shortages in the oil-rich nation.

Last week, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said he would institute stricter migration controls, temporarily suspend new daily entry cards, and deploy new security personnel, including more soldiers, along the 2,219 km (1,379-mile) shared frontier.

Villegas said intelligence agents in Colombia had found that an attack by the ELN in late January, which killed six police officers and injured 40, was planned in Venezuela.

He also said that two Venezuelan members of the ELN died over the weekend, when a device intended to destroy a section of highway exploded.

Santos on Wednesday said Colombia needs international aid to cope with the situation. The number of Venezuelans living in Colombia increased 62 percent to more than 550,000 in the second half of 2017, according to the migration authority.]]>
2/16/2018 12:41:32 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. court says Trump travel ban unlawfully discriminates against Muslims]]>
The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, on a 9-4 vote, became the second federal appeals court to rule against the ban, finding that the Republican president's own words demonstrated that bias against Muslims was the basis of the policy.

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the ban, put in place by Trump by presidential proclamation in September, to go into effect while litigation challenging it continues.

The 4th Circuit ruling went further than the earlier decision by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which found the ban violated federal immigration law but did not address whether it also violated the Constitution. The Supreme Court already has said it will consider both issues in deciding the legality of the ban in the coming months.

The justices are due in April to hear arguments over the ban and issue a ruling by the end of June.

"Examining official statements from President Trump and other executive branch officials, along with the proclamation itself, we conclude that the proclamation is unconstitutionally tainted with animus toward Islam," 4th Circuit Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote in the ruling.

The travel ban challengers "offer undisputed evidence of such bias: the words of the President," Gregory wrote, noting Trump's "disparaging comments and tweets regarding Muslims."

As a candidate, Trump promised "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." The court also took note of the fact that Trump in November shared on Twitter anti-Muslim videos posted by a far-right British political figure.

Trump's policy, the third version of the ban that he has issued since taking office in January 2017, blocks entry into the United States of most people from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Trump has said the policy is needed to protect the United States from terrorism by Islamic militants.

U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said the 4th Circuit ruling "does not alter the status quo, and we look forward to ultimate resolution of these issues by the Supreme Court."

"Nothing is more important to the President and the Attorney General (Jeff Sessions) than the safety and security of all Americans," Kupec added. "The President's lawful order remains critical to accomplishing that goal."

In the main dissenting opinion, Judge Paul Niemeyer said the courts should be deferential to the president on national security matters. Niemeyer criticized the court's majority, saying his colleagues applied "a novel legal rule that provides for the use of campaign-trail statements to recast later official acts of the president."

Thursday's ruling upheld a Maryland-based district court judge's decision in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents several advocacy groups including the International Refugee Assistance Project.

"President Trump's third illegal attempt to denigrate and discriminate against Muslims through an immigration ban has failed in court yet again. It's no surprise," ACLU lawyer Cecillia Wang said.]]>
2/16/2018 12:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. spy agencies to brief state officials on election threats]]>
The office of Director of National Intelligence said the classified briefings are part of an "effort to ensure the integrity and security of the nation's election infrastructure, particularly as the risk environment evolves."]]>
2/16/2018 12:39:07 AM
<![CDATA[Florida victim's mom screams: 'Trump stop guns getting into children's hands']]>
"President Trump, you say what can you do? ... You can do a lot," Lori Alhadeff shouted into the camera in an emotionally raw appearance on CNN. Fighting tears, her voice quaking with anger, she screamed, "Do something. Action. We need it now. These kids need safety now."

The mother said she had just spent two hours making funeral arrangements for her 14-year-old daughter Alyssa Alhadeff, who was one of 17 people shot dead on Thursday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a suburb of Miami.

"How do we allow a gunman to come into our children’s school? How did they get through security? What security is there?" she cried.

"The gunman, the crazy person, just walks right into the school, knocks down the window to my child’s door and starts shooting, shooting her ..."

A 19-year-old former student of the school, Nikolas Cruz, has been accused of the murders.

The mother's impassioned remarks left CNN's anchor, Brooke Baldwin, who was broadcasting outside the school the day after the shooting, momentarily speechless as she choked back tears.

Earlier on Thursday Trump addressed the shooting in a White House speech that emphasized school safety and mental health but made no mention of gun policy.

"President trump, you say what can you do? You can stop the guns from getting into these children's hands. Put metal detectors at every entrance to the schools," Alhadeff screamed. "President Trump, please do something."

Alhadeff's comments spoke to growing frustration in the United States on the part of parents because of the lack of action by policymakers in Washington regarding gun control, especially regarding assault rifles. An AR-15 style rifle was used in Wednesday's shooting.

Including yesterday's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, there have been 18 school shootings since Jan. 1 this year.]]>
2/16/2018 12:36:29 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. tries to keep some Russia probe details secret despite Republican memo]]>
Earlier this month, Trump declassified a Republican memo which alleges that the FBI used a dossier prepared by a former British intelligence officer to authorize surveillance on a Trump campaign adviser suspected of being a Russian agent.

Despite that unprecedented public disclosure, a Justice Department lawyer told a judge in oral arguments at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday that the government still cannot reveal the date when it received a complete copy of the dossier for fear it might "confirm previously unconfirmed facts about a law enforcement-sensitive" investigation.

That argument exasperated U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta, who said that Trump has since changed the landscape for what can be disclosed by declassifying details of a counterintelligence investigation.

"That's going to be a hard sell, given what the president's done," Mehta said. "He has now declassified an entire national security investigation."

Mehta said that normally the Justice Department's objections to providing such information in private litigation would be justified. But, "this isn't the ordinary case," he said.

He suggested the department consider whether it can submit a one-sentence page disclosing when it received the dossier.

The Justice Department was in court on Thursday trying to beat back a subpoena from the news organization BuzzFeed.

In early 2017, Buzzfeed published a copy of the dossier, penned by Christopher Steele and funded in part by U.S. Democrats.

The dossier makes some serious and salacious allegations against Trump, and suggests that the Russians and Trump's campaign colluded ahead of the 2016 election. Trump has denied colluding with Russia. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign, though Russia has denied it.

Buzzfeed is seeking material from the Justice Department to help defend itself against a defamation lawsuit it is facing by a Russian businessman who claims he was libeled in the dossier.

Much of the information it sought previously it no longer needs because it was disclosed elsewhere, a lawyer for the company conceded on Thursday. But the company still contends it needs to know the time frame for when the FBI obtained the dossier.

The dossier has prompted a backlash by Congressional Republicans, who allege the FBI used it to improperly obtain a warrant from a U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court without verifying the facts or disclosing it was funded by Democrats. ]]>
2/16/2018 12:19:52 AM
<![CDATA[FBI was warned about accused Florida gunman but unable to locate him]]>
Authorities said the ex-student, identified as Nikolas Cruz, walked into the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, near Miami, on Wednesday and opened fire with an AR-15-style assault rifle in the second-deadliest shooting at a public school in U.S. history.

Cruz may have left warning signs on social media in the form of a comment on a YouTube video that read "I'm going to be a professional school shooter." That comment troubled the person whose video Cruz commented on, Mississippi bail bondsman Ben Bennight, who passed it on to the FBI, according to a video he posted online late Wednesday.

"No other information was included with that comment which would indicate a time location or the true identity of the person who made the comment," FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Lasky told reporters. Investigators were unable to find the commenter, he added.

The FBI is conducting an extensive review of how it handled that tip to see if mistakes were made, a federal law enforcement official told Reuters.

Wednesday's shooting was the 18th in a U.S. school this year, according to gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety. It stirred the long-simmering U.S. debate on the right to bear arms, which are protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

President Donald Trump addressed the shooting in a White House speech that emphasized school safety and mental health while avoiding any mention of gun policy.

"It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference," Trump said at the White House. "We must actually make that difference."

Broward County schools superintendent Robert Runcie called for action on gun laws.

"Now is the time for this country to have a real conversation on sensible gun control laws in this country," Runcie told a news conference.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives criticized the Republican leadership for refusing to take up legislation on tightening background checks for prospective gun buyers.

"It's appalling," Representative Mike Thompson told a news conference. "Thirty people every day are killed by someone using a gun, and the best we can do is say we need more information?"

The Republican-controlled Congress last year revoked Obama-era regulations meant to make it harder for those with severe mental illness to pass FBI background checks for guns, saying the rule deprived the mentally ill of their gun rights.

At least one member of Trump's cabinet called for Congressional action.

"Personally I think the gun violence, it's a tragedy what we've seen yesterday, and I urge Congress to look at these issues," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers.

Fifteen people were injured in Wednesday's shooting, according to local hospital officials.


Cruz had participated in paramilitary training with a Florida white nationalist militia called the Republic of Florida, a leader of the group said.

"He had some involvement with the Clearwater Republic of Florida cell at some point," Jordan Jereb said in a telephone interview. Reuters could not immediately verify the claim.

Authorities said Cruz wore a gas mask as he stalked into the school carrying a rifle, ammunition cartridges and smoke grenades. He then pulled a fire alarm, prompting students and staff to pour from classrooms into hallways, according to Florida's two U.S. senators, who were brief by federal authorities.

He loved guns and had been expelled for unspecified disciplinary reasons, police and former classmates said.

Cruz made a brief appearance in court on Thursday. Dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit and with his hands shackled to his waist, he kept his eyes directed on the ground while he was ordered held without bond. He spoke only two words, "Yes, ma'am," when the judge asked him to confirm his name.

Cruz had recently moved in with another family after his mother's death in November, according to Jim Lewis, a lawyer representing the family and local media, bringing his AR-15 along with his other belongings.

The family believed Cruz was depressed, but attributed that to his mother's death, not mental illness.

Victims included an assistant football coach who sheltered students, a social science teacher and multiple students.

People who live on same street as Cruz said he alarmed them by shooting squirrels and rabbits in the neighborhood as well as chickens being raised in a nearby backyard. Several times a year, they observed law enforcement officials at his house.

"Killing animals was no problem for this young man," said Rhoda Roxburgh, 45, who lived on the block for several years and whose parents continue to live there.]]>
2/16/2018 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Roberto Carlos in Egypt to promote anti Hepatitis Campaign]]>
Former World Cup winner Roberto Carlos will expectedly accompany the medical convoy that will be sent out to Cairo’s largest slum Ezbet el-Hagana to spread the awareness of the residents about the Hepatitis C and ways to fight its prevalence and also to conduct field inspections as part of the national initiative titled “Towards a Hepatitis C Free Egypt in 2020”.

By 2022, Egypt will be hepatitis C free, announced Yehiya el-Shazly, President of the National Committee for Fighting Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infections, around a year ago.

Under the directives of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, the Health Ministry announced a comprehensive strategy to eliminate hepatitis C Virus (HCV), after infection rates hit their highest in Egypt in 2014, according to the World Health Organization.

Two million citizens infected with HCV virus have already been treated, the Ministry of Health announced in December 2017.

Considered by critics as one of the world’s greatest left backs, Carlos helped Brazil win the 2002 World Cup and the Copa America in 1997 and 1999.]]>
2/15/2018 11:13:43 PM
<![CDATA[Interior Ministry unveils intel on Aboul Fotouh connections with MB]]>CAIRO – 15 February 2018: Intel that State Security claimed have unveiled how Muslim Brotherhood (MB) dissident and former presidential candidate Abdel-Moneim Aboul Fotouh communicated with fugitives and MB elements inside and outside Egypt to carryout chaotic agendas against the country, a Tuesday Ministry of Interior statement said.

Aboul Fotouh has been ordered detained for 15 days following an investigation by the National Security prosecution. He was arrested Wednesday night over six charges, including incitement.

The list of charges include, “inciting against the state and the constitution, call for boycotting the upcoming Presidential elections in March, being a member of a law-labeled terrorist group and communicating with fugitives, destabilizing Egypt’s stability and security aiming to topple the current regime, calling for chaos and spreading rumors and finally hindering the state’s organizations from practicing their role regarding stabling and securing the country.”

The statement added that Aboul Fotouh was collaborating with MB elements to carry out schemes that aimed to stir chaos and instability to create a chance for the terrorist group to rejoin the political scene.

Aboul Fotouh, according to the statement, conducted a series of secret meetings abroad, including the latest meeting in London on Feb. 8, when he communicated with member of the international MB organization Lotfi al-Sayed Ali Mohamed, and two MB members who fled to Turkey, namely Mohamed Gamal Heshmat and Hossam ad-Din Atef al-Shazly. The aim behind the meeting was to set the mechanisms of carrying out MB chaotic schemes and exploiting the accompanying political atmosphere.

The intel also affirmed that Lotfi al-Sayed coordinated with MB members to receive Aboul Fotouh in Heathrow Airport and prepared his interview with Al Jazeera Channel, which included allegations and lies about the state, all in favor of the schemes he intended to continue once he is back in the country by Feb. 13.

On Monday, an Egyptian lawyer submitted an official complaint to the public prosecutor, calling for the arrest of Aboul Fotouh, after appearing on an Al Jazeera television show from London. Lawyer Samir Sabry accused Aboul Fotouh of “spreading fake news” and demeaning Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Despite his disputes with the legally-labeled terrorist, Muslim Brotherhood group, many politicians still knows he has strong relations with them.

Former Brotherhood leader, who split from the group in 2002, Tharwat al-Kherbawy said in statements on Wednesday night to DMC channel that Aboul Fotouh is going to be tried due to being a member of a terrorist group, not just because of his connections with them.

“He never split from them, despite pretending the opposite. He still has strong connections with them, and can’t really judge anything properly,” Kherbawy added.

He explained that Aboul Fotouh traveled to London for almost two months during the last period and met several members of the group’s international office.”During his meeting with them he attacked the current regime and accused it of violating human rights.”

Furthermore, Kherbawy noted that Aboul Fotouh’s real intentions are to create chaos inside the country to affect the Egyptians people. “Without chaos they won’t ever be able to come back to the country.”

2/15/2018 9:41:37 PM
<![CDATA[El Salvador releases woman jailed over abortion]]>
Wearing a white T-shirt, Teodora Vasquez was greeted by her family and members of organizations who fought her case in the courts as she left a Women's Rehabilitation Center outside San Salvador. Among those lining up to embrace her were her parents and 14-year-old son.

"I am happy. I have lost many years of my life, but I am happy to start a new life," Vasquez told reporters.

She added that, after getting her high school certificate and completing other courses behind bars, she wanted to go to university.

But her goal now, she said with tears in her eyes, is "to work for, to fight for other women who have been unjustly convicted in cases like mine."

Rights groups celebrated her release.

"She is free. Teodora is free, happy to recover her freedom after going through a whole ordeal, and she has already reunited with her family and is returning home," a spokesman for the Citizens' Association for the Decriminalization of Abortion, Jorge Menjivar, told AFP.

Vasquez was convicted in 2008 of aggravated homicide, months after suffering a stillbirth in her ninth month of pregnancy in 2007.

A national court upheld the sentence in a ruling in December which backed the country's severe anti-abortion laws, despite rights organizations arguing that she was unfairly incarcerated after having the stillbirth.

Vasquez, now 34, served 11 years of the sentence.

- Commuted sentence -

Her lawyer Victor Hugo Mata said her sentence had been commuted by the Supreme Court and the justice ministry.

The Supreme Court provided no details of its decision.

The deputy justice minister, Raul Lopez, said only that Vasquez was "very well prepared and today can open an area for herself in productive life."

Under a law that came into force in 1998, all abortions are illegal in El Salvador, regardless of whether the pregnancy results from rape or poses a medical threat to the woman.

Prison terms range from two to eight years, but women can be charged with more serious crimes instead, as in Vasquez's case.

Twenty-six other women are currently incarcerated in the small Central American country for falling foul of the strict stance against abortion.

Morena Herrera, head of the Citizen's Association for the Decriminalization of Abortion, said the freeing of Vasquez was "a light of hope" suggesting much could be done for other women incarcerated for abortions.

"This situation of criminalizing women needs to be overcome," Herrera said.]]>
2/15/2018 9:14:12 PM
<![CDATA[Trump calls for healing after Florida school shooting]]>
"We must also work together to create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life that creates deep and meaningful human connections," Trump said at the White House, adding that he planned to visit victims and local authorities in Parkland, Florida, at a later date.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

2/15/2018 7:19:37 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt is keen on reaching energy self-efficiency: Petroleum Min. ]]>
During the interview, the minister pointed out that the goal of the ministry is to reach self-sufficiency by the end of 2018.

“We Seek the welfare of Egyptian people,” Mulla told his host Steve Sedgwick on Wednesday, stressing that Egypt is keen on keeping the good alliance with its partners in energy sector.

“About 91 percent of our energy sources come from fossil fuel,” Mulla underscored.

He further explained that both ministries of petroleum and electricity put strategy to reduce the dependence on fossil fuel from 91 percent to 60 percent, they focus on having sustainable production and it doesn’t search for quick wins or fix for short period of time.

Mulla responded to the host’s question regarding the criticism directed to Egypt’s upcoming presidential election saying: “Egypt’s success which achieved over the last few years has created professional jealousy.”

“However, we should follow up our road map and look forward to our prosperous future,” Mulla added.

On February 12,Mulla told CNBC during Extractives Global Programmatic Support (EGPS) conference that the Egypt is committed to pay all its debts to foreign companies, reached to $2.4 million by the end of 2016/2017 fiscal year, within two years .He also affirmed that the government is not intending to slash the fuel subsidies during the current fiscal year.]]>
2/15/2018 5:20:34 PM
<![CDATA[Court continues hearing witnesses for Morsi's ‘prison break’ case]]>
The defendants in this case are ousted President Morsi and 27 leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood Group, as well as elements of the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah, including Rashad Bayoumi, Mahmoud Ezzat, Mohamed Saad el-Katatni, Saad Husseini, Mohamed Badee Abdel Majid, Mohamed Beltagy, Safwat Hijazi, Issam al-Din al-Aryan, and Yusuf al-Qaradawi, among others.

The court convicted Beltagy of ‘insulting the judiciary’ by laughing sarcastically while questioning the witnesses

The re-trial of the defendants came after the Court of Cassation overturned in November the sentences issued by the Criminal Court to execute Mohamed Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, his deputy Rashad al-Bayoumi, Morsi's adviser Mohye Hamed, former Parliament Speaker Mohamed el-Katatny, MB leading figure Essam el-Erian, and to punish 20 other defendants with life imprisonment.

On January 28, 2011, Morsi was arrested along with 24 Muslim Brotherhood leaders and put into Wadi al-Natrun prison in Cairo, but he escaped two days later. Following the prison break, several other prisons saw multiple riots and thousands of inmates escaped.

The prosecution accused the defendants of conducting “an agreement with the political bureau of Hamas, the leaders of the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian state and its institutions, as well as training armed elements by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to commit acts of hostility inside the country and break into the Egyptian prisons.”

According to prosecutors, the prisons were attacked by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah, intending to free Islamist inmates.

Major General Majid Noah, the commander of the Central Security Forces in North Sinai during the events of breaking in the state's institutions and prisons in January 2011, stated in his testimony in the hearing session in December that the National Security Forces revealed the intention of one of the clans to block the road leading to the camp of the peacekeepers, protesting the arrest of tribe members.

Noah added that during the 2011 revolution, dozens gathered in front of the Sheikh Zuwaid police station, demanding the release of some Bedouin elements who have been sentenced to prison terms for smuggling drugs and dealing with elements from Israel, Hamas and other groups in the Gaza Strip.

He added that on January 25, 2011, a march was organized; its participants attacked the local council of Rafah city and some Bedouin elements cut off the international road to Rafah.

The ousted president is already serving a 20-year sentence. On April 21, he was convicted of charges linked to the killing of protesters outside Cairo’s Presidential Palace in December 2012.

2/15/2018 5:02:09 PM
<![CDATA[Azhar condoles with US over victims of Florida school shooting]]>
In a statement on Thursday, Al Azhar said such kind of crimes sound the alarm bells and warn the world community of the dangers of the rising violent, hatred and extremist thought and its spread across national borders and underscore the need to reinforce the culture of peace and moderation especially among the youth.

Al Azhar condoles with the US government, people and the families of the victims, wishing speedy recovery for the injured, the statement read. ]]>
2/15/2018 4:21:47 PM
<![CDATA[62 NGOs to observe presidential election: NEA]]>
In press remarks, Sherif added that the NEA’s supreme board granted permits to 53 local organizations and nine foreign organizations to observe the election; in addition to the National Human Rights councils and the National Council for Women.

Five days earlier, the Supreme Administrative Court studied the appeal presented by Wael Labib, chairman of the “All Egyptians” organization, against the National Election Authority (NEA) over the NEA’s decision to exclude the abovementioned organization from observing the presidential election.

The official candidates for the presidential election include the incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Al-Ghad’s Moussa Moustafa Moussa.

According to the election’s timetable published by the NEA on January 8, voting in the 2018 presidential election in Egypt will commence on March 26.

Sixty million eligible voters will cast their ballots in the election between March 26 and 28 in Egypt, while Egyptians living abroad will vote between March 16 and 18.

The Supreme Administrative Court is currently considering a case filed by Lawyer Tarek al-Awady who impugned the validity of Moussa’s candidacy for not meeting the education eligibility standards. Awady argued that Moussa has not obtained a certified university or higher education degree, which is a key requirement for candidates running in the presidential election.
2/15/2018 4:13:42 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi, US general discuss boosting military cooperation]]>
During the meeting, attended by Defense Minister Sedqi Sobhi and the acting US ambassador in Cairo, Sisi and Votel touched on the latest military and political developments in the region, Presidential Spokesman Bassam Radi said.

President Sisi highlighted the long-standing strategic ties binding the two countries in all fields, especially in the military one, Radi added.

The two parties asserted the importance of stepping up efforts to face challenges threatening regional security and stability, the spokesman noted.

Also, President Sisi posted the US general on ongoing efforts exerted by Egypt to uproot terrorism, Radi said.

For his part, Votel commended the strong military relations between the two countries, asserting that Washington is keen on developing its partnership and cooperation with Cairo.

Moreover, the US general hailed the pivotal role played by Egypt in the region and its endeavors to consolidate regional security and stability, the spokesman said.

Separately, Sedqi Sobhi, alongside Armed Forces commanders, met with Votel to discuss issues of mutual concern in the military domain and joint exercises, as well as regional efforts to stamp out terrorism and means to achieve stability in Egypt and the Middle East.

The minister said that Egypt is waging a decisive battle to eliminate terrorism and extremism through Operation Sinai 2018 which is being carried out by the Armed Forces in cooperation with the police.

He called for more international efforts to end terrorism, praising cooperation with the United States in the military domain.

The U.S. general said that his country backs Egypt and its army in their battle against terrorism in Sinai praising the military successes scored in the operation and the long-standing strategic partnership and cooperation between the two countries.

Chief of staff Mohamed Farid also met with Votel on military cooperation and joint exercises topped by Bright Star war games. ]]>
2/15/2018 4:06:45 PM
<![CDATA[Army reviews results of 6 days of ‘Operation Sinai 2018’]]>
During the conference, broadcasted on state television, the army's spokesperson Tamer al-Rifai spoke on the outcome of the operation that started last Friday. The conference was attended by representatives of the navy, air forces, armed forces operations authority of the Sinai operation and representatives of interior ministry.

El-Refai stated that this operation targets “North and Central Sinai, in addition to other terrorists areas in the Delta of Egypt and the Nile valley." He added that the armed forces are carrying out training maneuvers in all strategic directions and enhancing operational capabilities to secure the Egyptian border.

He stated the main aims of this comprehensive operation, such as purging the terrorist strongholds and pursuing in the areas stated and enhancing comprehensive security forces to prevent smuggling and infiltration of arms and drugs which affect the security and stability of the country. El-Refai stated that this operation aims to create an appropriate security environment, and promote economic conditions that attract foreign investments.

El-Refai announced the main outcomes of the Military operation, saying that the army managed to kill 53 takfiri elements and detain four others. 675 additional escaped and suspected criminal were detained.

In the statement, Refai said that 57 Four wheel vehicles and 88 motorcycles used by terrorist were destroyed. Moreover, security forces destroyed 378 terrorist hotbeds, weapons and ammunition stores in Sinai. Among these hotbeds was a media center used by takfiri elements.

Refai announced the discovery and destruction of 177 explosive devices and up to 1500 kilograms of TNT explosives, including C4.

The Egyptian army reveals the latest developments of the ‘Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018’ that is targeting terrorist hotspots in the Sinai Peninsula, in a press conference held on Thursday - February 15, 2015 Press Photo

At last, he stated that the military forces managed to discover and destroy three holes on the border strip of Sinai. In addition, they succeeded in the destruction of 35 farms of Banjo plants and seized 8.3 tons of narcotic substances.

The army's spokesperson answered the reporters questions regarding the results of the operation and whether the army achieved its target.

When asked about securing the economic objectives of the Mediterranean sea, El-Refai stated that the navy forces secure and protect the Egyptian territorial and economic waters in the Red and Mediterranean Sea.

Egyptian Armed Forces announced the new major military operation dubbed "Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018" to purge country from terrorism on Friday morning.

“Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018" comes within the armed forces ongoing counter-terrorism operations in Sinai that are aimed at eliminating terrorists and Takfiri elements, and eradicating their breeding grounds and hotbeds.

Since the ousting of ex-Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt has seen growing waves of extremism washing over the society and spawning numerous deadly attacks. Among these attacks was the terrorist attack that hit Al-Rawdah Mosque and left more than 302 Friday prayers congregates dead in late November.

2/15/2018 3:37:01 PM
<![CDATA[Highlights of Afroto’s death case as trial begins]]>
The death of Afroto, 22, who was being held over accusations of drug dealing, has stirred public anger and protests slamming police violence. The police denied accusations of torturing Afroto.

Cairo’s prosecution office ordered the detention of the policemen, an assistant investigator and a non-commissioned officer, pending investigations into the death of the young man.

Egypt Today recalls the history of the case before it is considered by the Cairo Appeal Court.

Egypt Today summarizes the history of Afroto’s case in the below Q & A

When and where did the incident take place?

Afroto’s murder took place on January 6, 2018, inside the Mokattam Police Station, south of Cairo.

Why was Afroto being held at the police station?

Detective officers said he was arrested over accusations of drug dealing.

What did the forensic report say about Afroto’s death

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

What was the prosecution’s decision?

The prosecution office had ordered earlier on January 8 the detention of the two police officers, pending investigation into the death of Afroto, and they were sent to the Criminal Court. Meanwhile, Afroto’s family and friends accuse the police of torturing him to death.

What are the defendants accused of?

According to the prosecution’s decision, policeman “Mohamed A.” is accused of pushing down Afroto, while the other defendant, police officer “Mohamed S.” is accused of kicking him in the chest causing him the injuries cited in the forensic report. In its statement, the prosecution accused both policemen of beating the victim to death without the intention to kill him. ]]>
2/15/2018 2:42:37 PM
<![CDATA[Breaking: Egypt's army reveals Sinai developments in press conference]]>
The conference kicked off the statement of the army's spokesperson Tamer al-Rifai on the outcome of the operation that started past Friday, followed by statements of representatives of the navy, air forces, armed forces operations authority of Sinai operation and representatives of interior ministry.

The army's representatives answered the reporters questions regarding the results of the operation and whether the army achieved its target.

The Armed Forces launched a widened crackdown against Sinai's terrorists on February 9, in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior.]]>
2/15/2018 2:37:05 PM
<![CDATA[UPDATE: Ethiopia's PM offers resignation to help reforms]]>
"Unrest and a political crisis have led to the loss of lives and displacement of many," Hailemariam said in a televised address to the nation.

"I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy," he said. The prime minister leads the nation under Ethiopia's political system.

Hundreds of people have died in violence sparked in 2015 and 2016 in the country's two most populous regions - Oromiya and Amhara. The unrest began as opposition to an urban development plan for the capital Addis Ababa, but morphed into public demonstrations against political restrictions, land grabbing and human rights abuses.

Some foreign-owned firms were attacked in the violence, which dented investor confidence in East Africa's largest and fastest growing economy.

Hailemariam said he would stay on as prime minister in a caretaker capacity until the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the country's parliament accepted his resignation and named a new premier.

The ruling coalition has accepted his resignation, state-affiliated outlets said. It was not immediately clear when a new premier was to be announced.

His resignation follows lingering violence that pressured the government to release more than 6,000 of political prisoners since January.

Most of the released prisoners, which included high level opposition figures and journalists, were detained for alleged involvement in the mass protests.

The prime minister had pushed for even more releases, said a regional analyst familiar with Ethiopian politics. He asked not to be named in order not to jeopardise his relationship with the government.

"He (the Prime Minister) wanted more prisoners released - I think he wanted to empty the jails of all political prisoners. Remember he also ordered the closure of this notorious prison in Addis. This was a PM who wanted some major changes but sadly didn't get all that he wanted," the analyst said.

However, the resignation did not necessarily mean reforms would stop, the analyst said.

"It looks like there is a political power struggle and this has been ongoing for a while. I don't think the resignation is a sign that the hard-liners have won. They will probably continue on the path of reform, albeit not to the scale and speed that people want. They realise that there is no option."]]>
2/15/2018 1:55:43 PM
<![CDATA[Controversial Mona Eraky banned from air over incest episode]]>
During the episode on February 12 of the program “Entbah” (Attention), which was broadcasted on Mehwar TV channel, Eraky explored the subject of incest, featuring a woman who had her male kids raped by her husband, along with their daughter, who later committed suicide.

Eraky wondered in her program why men are always the ones who are raping, adding that men always show their affection through sex, unlike women, and describing such acts as “animalistic”.

Yahiya El Konaisy, board member of the National Broadcasting Authority, referred Eraky for investigations, while the latter said that she “welcomes” the syndicates’ decision.

Also, Mehwar TV’s board has released a statement condemning Eraky’s remarks, which are at odds with the values of the Egyptian society.

Earlier, in 2016, Eraky experienced a firestorm for a famous episode in which she claimed that Cairo-based Beit El Bahr hammam (traditional steam bath) is a homosexual meeting place.

Moreover, Egypt’s Supreme Media Regulatory Council decided on Sunday to stop the broadcast of the comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL).

The council said in a statement published Sunday that the decision was based on the investigations held by the council’s Complaints Committee, which has stated that the program broadcast on OSN used inappropriate sexual inuendo contravening ethical and professional standards.

The council has also decided to refer TV program “El Nas El Helwa” (Sweet People) for investigations after the program was said to have broadcasted sexually explicit images.

2/15/2018 1:39:11 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian teacher faces allegations of abusing 9-yr old child ]]>
Eissa al-Baloushy is a child with a special health condition, who suffers from heart problems. According to the Egyptian teacher’s story, one day before Baloushy’s death, Egyptian Naglaa Mohamed went to her class as usual, but she found it in chaos, which forced her to act firmly to control the class.

“Everyone responded and sat quietly except for Baloushy. I tried to be more assertive with him but he refused to obey and went straight to deputy director of the school who then called for me,” Mohamed said. She added that as they were talking in the deputy director’s office, the child started to deny her side of the story, calling her a "liar". She felt shocked and asked him if he could say a similar thing to his mother.

Baloushy’s mother came to school on the following day, but the child didn’t. She argued with the Egyptian teacher, claiming that she used violence against him and pushed him to the wall which made him feel bad. “I will issue a formal complaint against you at the Education Ministry,” the mother said, refusing to listen to any other testimonials from the school staff.

The Egyptian teacher denied that she knows anything about the Kuwaiti child's heath condition, while the mother affirmed that she told the administration.

As the mother was on her way to the ministry, according to Naglaa, the school tried to contact her more than once to apologize and reconcile, so the problem would end quietly, but the mother refused.

Later, Baloushy’s mother received another phone call from the maids at home, warning her that her child was blowing a lot of balloons. Shortly later, he fainted and died.

The medical report of Baloushy’s death cause stated that, "he exerted a lot of effort which lead to his death". It was affirmed that the death cause was natural, and not due to any kind of violence against him.

Most of the school staff acquitted Mohamed from harming the child in any way in their testimonials, According to Al Arabiya website.

The child’s family side of the story

In statements to El-Rai Kuwaiti newspaper, Baloushy’s father, Thamir al-Baloushy, said that there are many parents who complain from the Egyptian teacher's way of dealing with the students. “She beat my son, pushed him to the wall and kicked him out of the classroom. When his mother came back on the following day, she insulted her as well.
The school deputy director is an eyewitness to the whole incident.”

The father added that Mohamed insulted his child who is just one of many who suffer from "moderate disabilities".

He further explained that he has the right to ask about what really happened to his child that day. “I have the right to know the whole truth. My son was not just an ordinary child; he needed a special treatment.”

“All I know is that my son was abused by the Egyptian teacher one day; the next day, he fell dead,” he added.

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Education expressed its deep sorrow for the whole incident. The ministry's official statement pointed out that a comprehensive investigation is underway, and that all the needed measures will be taken. “Everyone involved will be punished, especially that the child was not an ordinary student; he was suffering from a health problem,” the statement read.


Any similar cases?

Last December, a video went viral on social media and caused a wave of rage within the Egyptian community; the video showed an Egyptian citizen being brutally beaten by a Kuwaiti citizen.

The Egyptian Consulate in Kuwait issued a statement regarding the attack on Egyptian Waheed Mahmoud Rifai, who is a shop attendant in Kuwait, and who was beaten by a Kuwaiti citizen until he fainted. The consulate said in its statement that the Egyptian citizen was released from the intensive care room, confirming that his condition was stable.

Egypt’s Minister of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram headed later to Kuwait to check on the health condition of the Egyptian citizen, and the ministry expressed support for his family.

Minister of Immigration Nabila Makram
FILE - Minister of Immigration Nabila Makram traveled to Kuwait to check on the health status of the attacked Egyptian expat

The Kuwaiti attacker was arrested by the authorities and an investigation was opened. It was mentioned in official statements that the Kuwaiti Government is "eagerly" following up on the investigations launched regarding the matter.

The Kuwaiti attacker was arrested on December 2017, and released later on February 14, on bail of 2,000 KWD.

This was not the first incident of its kind. Other Egyptians faced similar assaults and abuses in several countries, including what happened in 2016, when photos of an Egyptian citizen, assaulted in his workplace by a group of Jordanians in Amman, Jordan, surfaced on social media.

In a statement issued by the Kuwaiti General Directorate of Migration in May 2013, it was revealed that Egyptian workers come in the second place of the total number of foreign workers in Kuwait. India came in the first place.

Egypt’s Ministry of Manpower and Immigration said in May 2016, that the number of Egyptian workers abroad is estimated at five million workers mostly in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE.

In a population statistic published in March 2015, it was mentioned that Kuwait’s total residence by the end of 2014 reached 4.092 citizens, with a total growth of 3.2 percent, compared to the total population in 2013.

The report mentions that about 72.2 percent of the total workers in Kuwait are non Kuwaitis, as the real number of the Kuwaiti national workers inside their country is only 33.1 percent of the total population.

2/15/2018 1:31:17 PM
<![CDATA[Greece says wont tolerate challenge to its rights after Turkish collision]]>
"Our message, now, tomorrow and always, is clear...Greece will not allow, accept or tolerate any challenge to its territorial integrity and its sovereign rights."

"Greece is not a country which plays games," Tsipras told an audience at the cοuntry's shipping ministry.]]>
2/15/2018 1:09:08 PM
<![CDATA[Air Forces destroy 10 weapon-laden vehicles on western borders]]>
This came as part of ongoing efforts to arrest infiltrators and foil arms' smuggling by terrorists on all strategic fronts, the army said in a statement.

The military action coincides with the widened crackdown against terrorists' hotbeds in North Sinai that began past Friday and lasts until the moment.

2/15/2018 12:56:51 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt condoles with US over Florida school shooting victims]]>
The shooting, which occurred on Wednesday, has left 17 students killed and dozens more wounded.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry said that the Egyptian government and people stand by the American people at this tragic time.

Those who are involved in such heinous acts that are aimed at intimidating innocent people and propagating a hostile ideology based on hatred, should be brought to justice, the statement added. ]]>
2/15/2018 12:37:16 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt donates 6 hemodialysis devices to Brunudi]]>
In statements, Egyptian Ambassador in Bujumbura Abir Radwan said the medical equipment will be used in the two renal dialysis centers that will be established by Egypt in Burundi at a total cost of 2 million pounds.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 7 million cases of malaria were recorded between January and October 2017 in Burundi, which has a population of just 11.5 million.]]>
2/15/2018 12:23:08 PM
<![CDATA[Arab Coalition destroys ballistic missile near Hudaydah airport in Yemen]]>
The raid came as the site was being prepared to strike targets in Mocha, a Yemeni port city on the Red Sea coast , Sky News channel reported.

Eight Houthi militants were killed in the air strike.

In the meantime, the Yemeni army thwarted a fifth attempt in a week for Houthi militants to achieve progress on a number of positions in Baqim directorate after clashes that lasted for several hours. Ten Houthi militants were reportedly killed and an unknown number of others either escaped or were left injured.]]>
2/15/2018 11:22:14 AM
<![CDATA[Shoukry, Spanish counterpart discuss economic relations in Madrid]]>
The meeting was also attended by the Spanish defense minister and the Egyptian diplomatic representative in Spain, Omar Selim.

Shoukry hailed the close relations between the two countries in all regional issues and expressed his keenness to enhance coordination between the two countries.

During the meeting, Shoukry reviewed indicators of the Egyptian economy’s improvement through the implementation of the economic reform program in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund.

During the meeting, they stressed the importance of raising the economic and trade relations between the two countries, especially with the rise of trade exchange between them, which reached around $1 billion in 2017, Abu Zeid said.

They discussed means of benefiting from the promising investment opportunities in many sectors, especially energy. In addition, Shoukry stressed that there are promising opportunities to participate in national projects, especially the Suez Canal and New Administrative Capital.

They discussed means of enhancing cooperation in the tourism and cultural fields between the two countries. The meeting also tackled military cooperation between the two countries, as the two countries expressed the appreciation of the mutual military relations.

Morever, Shoukry stressed the importance of restoring the peace process in Palestine by recognizing a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

He added that Egypt is fighting terrorism in the Middle East, and the talks also tackled Egypt's efforts to settle the Libyan and Syrian crises and push forward the Middle East peace process.

Shoukry headed for Spain Tuesday on a two-day visit to boost bilateral ties, the ministry's spokesman said.

Upon his arrival, Shoukry met with Spanish King Felipe VI and discussed means of enhancing bilateral cooperation in the political, economic and trade domains.

On his part, King Felipe VI hailed Egypt’s “Comprehensive Military Operation of Sinai 2018”, which the Egyptian armed forces launched on Friday to purge the country from terrorism.

The minister will then leave Spain for Munich to attend the Munich Security Conference (MSC), slated for February 15-18.

The MSC agenda will focus in particular on the future role of the European Union as a global actor and its relations with Russia as well as the United States.

Shoukry will be the main speaker at the conference's session on combating terrorism. ]]>
2/15/2018 11:14:44 AM
<![CDATA[1,000 Saudi female drivers sign up for Careem in KSA]]>
Careem, a UAE-based carrier with millions of users in neighboring Saudi Arabia, will train the prospective female drivers.

“We are very excited about this June; it is a big milestone for the country. We have already started training female captains and we hope to get up to 100,000 female captains on board within a year from June,” Magnus Olsson, co-founder of Careem, said.

He added that Careem, which operates in 13 countries and is worth about $1 billion, wishes to employ 100,000 Saudi women as a part of its expansion in the market.

On other hand, Saudi Arabia does not run operational public transportation systems, creating opportunities for Uber and Careem to expand in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia suffered from a high unemployment rate of 12.8 percent last year. For Saudi women, it reached up to 80 percent.

Driving cars will allow Saudi women reach to expand their access to the labor market and potentially become paid drivers if they wish.

Careem has started trainings in Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar for women who have a valid driving license abroad.

In September, King Salman issued a number of royal decrees to implement progressive legislation in the conservative kingdom. This included permitting women to drive cars for the first time.]]>
2/15/2018 10:42:55 AM
<![CDATA[Spanish King Felipe VI hails Egypt’s ‘Sinai 2018’]]>
During his meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Felipe VI also expressed his condolences to the families of terrorism.

Felipe VI hailed the development of military relations between Spain and Egypt, seeking to develop further cooperation between them.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry meets with Spanish King Felipe VI on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 – Press Photo

From his part, Shoukry hailed the close relations between the two countries in all regional issues and expressed his keenness to enhance the coordination between the two countries.

During the meeting, Shoukry reviewed indicators of Egypt’s economy improving through the implementation of the country’s economic reform program in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Shoukry headed for Spain on Tuesday on a two-day visit to boost bilateral ties between both countries, the ministry spokesman said.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry meets with Spanish King Felipe VI on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 – Press Photo

Upon his arrival, Shoukry met with Felipe VI and discussed means of enhancing bilateral cooperation in the political, economic and trade domains.

Shoukry will then leave Spain for Munich to attend the Munich Security Conference (MSC), between February 15 and 18.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry meets with Spanish King Felipe VI on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 – Press Photo

The MSC agenda will focus in particular on the future role of the European Union as a global actor and its relations with Russia as well as the U.S.

Shoukry will be the main speaker at the conference's session on combating terrorism. ]]>
2/15/2018 10:30:54 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian expats to vote for president in 139 polling stations: NEA]]>
According to the NEA timeline for the 2018 presidential election, Egyptians living abroad are scheduled to vote for their chosen candidate running for president on March 16, 17 and 18. The run-off for expats was set for April 19-21.

In October 2017, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) announced that 9.5 million Egyptians live outside the country, with the majority located in Arab countries. Eligible voters abroad are those whose names are registered in the voters’ database; they can cast their vote using their national IDs or passports with the ID numbers identified.

Local and international organizations are being registered to observe the elections across Egyptian governorates with the registration deadline set to be on Thursday. For the expatriates’ voting process, it will be supervised by members of diplomatic missions and consulates along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff.

Immigration Minister Nabila Makram said last week that the NEA will be receiving requests and inquiries of Egyptian expats on its website https://www.elections.eg, urging Egyptians abroad to “positively and effectively” participate in the voting process.

Makram met with NEA chairman Lasheen Ibrahim to coordinate efforts regarding the voting process abroad.

Egypt’s embassies abroad are reportedly carrying out preparations ahead of the voting process that will kick off on March 16 and will last for three days.

Egyptians inside the country will be heading to polling stations on March 26 and 27.

Voters will choose between the incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Al-Ghad Party head Moussa Mostafa Moussa, after previous candidates either withdrew or were disqualified.

The Supreme Administrative Court is considering a case filed by Lawyer Tarek al-Awady who impugned the validity of Moussa’s candidacy for not meeting the education eligibility standards. Awady argued that Moussa has not obtained a certified university or higher education degree, which is a key requirement for candidates running in the presidential election.]]>
2/15/2018 10:13:53 AM
<![CDATA['Numerous fatalities' at Florida high school after ex-student opens fire]]>
The Broward County Sheriff's Department said "at least 14 victims" from the shooting had been taken to area hospitals, but it was not immediately clear how many of those survived and how many may have died of their injuries.

Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters a short time later there were "multiple" deaths.

CNN reported 16 people were killed, a figure that could not be independently confirmed

The violence erupted shortly before dismissal at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, about 45 miles (72 km) north of Miami. Live television footage showed students streaming out of the building as dozens of police and emergency services personnel swarmed the area.

"There are numerous fatalities. It's a horrific situation," Broward Country Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie told reporters.

The gunman, believed to be about 18 years old, surrendered to police without a struggle, Israel said.

"It's catastrophic," he said. "There really are no words."

Israel offered few details on the suspect's identity or motive other than to say he had previously attended the school. "I don't know why he left, I don't know when he left," the sheriff added.

It was the 18th shooting in a U.S. school so far this year, according to gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety. That tally includes suicides and incidents when no one was injured, as well as the January incident when a 15-year-old gunman killed two students at a Benton, Kentucky, high school.

More than five years have passed since a gunman killed 20 first graders and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut, stirring the long U.S. debate about gun rights, which are protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.


Staff and students told local media that a fire alarm went off around the time the shooting started, sparking chaos as some 3,000 students at the school first headed into hallways before teachers herded them back into classrooms, to seek shelter in closets.

Kyle Yeoward, a 16-year-old junior, told Reuters he was in the bathroom on the second floor of the building on the campus where most of the shooting took place, when he heard two shots.

"He let loose on the freshman building," Yeoward said.

McKenzie Hartley, 19, who identified herself as the sister of a student at the school described the scene in a text message to Reuters: "She heard him shooting through the windows of classrooms and two students were shot."

Panicked parents checked on their children.

"It is just absolutely horrifying. I can't believe this is happening," Lissette Rozenblat, whose daughter goes to the school, told CNN. Her daughter called her to say she was safe but the student also told her mother she heard the cries of a person who was shot.

"She was very nervous. She said that she could hear the person who was shot crying out for help," she said.

Televised images showed dozens of students, their arms in the air, weaving their way between law enforcement officers with heavy weapons and helmets, and large numbers of emergency vehicles including police cars, ambulances and fire trucks.

The school had recently held a meeting to discuss what to do in such an attack, Ryan Gott, a 15-year-old freshman told CNN.

"My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting," U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter. "No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school."]]>
2/15/2018 2:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Israeli military force storms farmland in Tulkarm]]>
Loud explosions were heard in the town after the Israeli force had pushed its way into the northern farmland, residents said.

The reason behind the sounds of explosions is still unknown.
2/15/2018 1:12:26 AM
<![CDATA[BREAKING: Public Prosecution orders Aboul Fotouh arrested over MB connections]]>CAIRO – 14 February 2018: The Public Prosecution ordered on Wednesday evening the arrest of Muslim Brotherhood dissident and former presidential candidate Abdel-Moneim Aboul Fotouh over having connections with the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood.

On Monday, an Egyptian lawyer submitted an official complaint to the public prosecutor, calling for the arrest of Aboul Fotouh, after appearing on an Al Jazeera television show from London.

Lawyer Samir Sabry accused Aboul Fotouh of "spreading fake news" and demeaning Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

2/14/2018 10:54:42 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry discusses Palestinian crisis with Spanish Counterpart]]>CAIRO – 14 February 2018: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stated on Wednesday during a press conference with his Spanish counterpart, Alfonso Dastis Quecedo, that the Palestinian issue currently tops Egypt’s concerns in the Middle East.

Shoukry stressed the importance of restoring the peace process in Palestine by recognizing a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

He added that Egypt is fighting terrorism in the Middle East, and the talks also tackled Egypt's efforts to settle the Libyan and Syrian crises and push forward the Middle East peace process.

Shoukry headed for Spain Tuesday on a two-day visit to boost bilateral ties, the ministry's spokesman said.

Upon his arrival, Shoukry met with the Spanish King Felipe VI and discussed means of enhancing bilateral cooperation in the political, economic and trade domains.

On his part, King Felipe VI hailed Egypt’s “Comprehensive Military Operation of Sinai 2018”, which the Egyptian armed forces launched on Friday to purge the country from terrorism.

The minister will then leave Spain for Munich to attend the Munich Security Conference (MSC), slated for February 15-18.

The MSC agenda will focus in particular on the future role of the European Union as a global actor and its relations with Russia as well as the United States.

Shoukry will be the main speaker at the conference's session on combating terrorism.
2/14/2018 6:29:52 PM
<![CDATA[Allies pledge billions for Iraq's reconstruction]]>
Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry said his country was providing a$1 billion loan through its Saudi Fund for Development and $500 million in export credit.Turkey said it would give Iraq $5 billion in credit lines.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash later tweeted that there were also $5.5 billion from the UAE in private investments in Iraq "in addition" to his country's pledge but it was not clear if this was a new announcement.

Qatar announced $1 billion in loans and investments while the United Arab Emirates pledged $500 million for rebuilding. Germany said it would provide $350 million in assistance.

Britain pledged up to $1 billion annually in export credit over 10 years and Japan said it would contribute $100 million this year to Iraq through U.N. agencies and international organisations.]]>
2/14/2018 3:35:38 PM
<![CDATA[Omani FM: Establishing independent Palestinian state strategic necessity]]>
The Omani top diplomat's remarks were made upon his arrival at Jericho to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and a number of Palestinian officials.

He asserted the importance of his visit to the Palestinian territories to get briefed on the Palestinian vision regarding current problems that face the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, which he termed as a necessity in view of current developments in the Middle East region.

He also asserted the support of Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said to such issue.

Alawi noted that ties between Oman and the Palestinians are deeply rooted, praising the efforts of Abbas in achieving peace in the Palestinian territories. He also voiced his country's backing for the Palestinian people, urging Arab countries to visit Palestine to show their support.]]>
2/14/2018 3:24:10 PM
<![CDATA[Tillerson says U.S. Mideast peace plan 'fairly well advanced']]>
Tillerson also signed a five-year aid package that extends U.S. support to Jordan, a key regional ally, despite Trump’s threat to withhold support from states opposed to his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Commenting on the peace plan, Tillerson said: ”I have seen the plan... It’s been under development for a number of months. I have consulted with them on the plan, identified areas that we feel need further work.

“So I think it will be up to the president to decide when he feels it’s time and he’s ready to put that plan forward. I will say it’s fairly well advanced...”

Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and set in motion the process of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv.

The move triggered outrage in the Arab and Muslim world, and led Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to declare that he would not cooperate with the United States as a mediator.

Trump has threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that backed a U.N. resolution calling for Washington to reverse its Jerusalem decision. Jordan backed the resolution.

King Abdullah’s Hashemite dynasty is the custodian of the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, making Amman particularly sensitive to any changes of status there.

Tillerson and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi signed the non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) for $6.375 billion in aid starting this year. The previous such MoU between Jordan and the United States was for three years.

“This MOU commitment highlights the pivotal role Jordan plays in helping foster and safeguard regional stability and supports U.S. objectives such as the global campaign to defeat ISIS, counter-terrorism cooperation, and economic development,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

ISIS is an acronym for the militant Islamic State group.

Conflicts in neighboring Syria and Iraq have damaged Jordan’s economy, forcing it to borrow heavily from external and domestic sources. Jordan has been an important part of the U.S.-led coalition battling Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Tillerson is also expected this week to visit Turkey, with which U.S. ties have become badly strained over Washington’s support for the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria, regarded by Ankara as a terrorist group.

“With respect to my meetings in Ankara, Turkey is still an important NATO ally of the United States ... We need to find a way to continue to work in the same direction. We are committed to the same outcomes in Syria,” Tillerson said.

Tillerson expressed concern over Saturday’s confrontation between Israel and “Iranian assets” in Syria. Syrian air defenses shot down an Israeli F-16 jet on Saturday after it bombed a site used by Iran-backed position in Syria.

Tillerson said Iran should withdraw its forces and militias from Syria, where Tehran backs President Bashar al-Assad.

Responding to the comments, a senior Iranian official, Ali Akbar Velayati, said Iran’s military presence in Syria was legitimate and based on an invitation from Damascus. He called on U.S. forces to leave Syria.]]>
2/14/2018 3:11:10 PM
<![CDATA[421 prisoners released per presidential pardon]]>
Egypt's Prison Service usually holds several meetings and committees to determine the prisoners' entitlement to get the pardon, assuring that they meet the determined criteria set by the Ministry of Interior.

In October 2016, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced forming a Presidential Pardon Committee, headed by political thinker Osama al-Ghazaly Harb, for pardoning detainees with charges pending further investigation.

Following Sisi’s permission in the World Youth Conference (WYF), the committee announced preparing the fourth pardon list according to the law.

MP Tarek al-Khouly, member of the Presidential Pardon Committee, said on November 11, 2017, that they have been working to finish the list, in order to prove to the whole world that the outcome of the previously held youth conferences is being executed.

President Sisi confirmed that those who are not proven to be members of terrorist organizations or to be involved in acts that contradict the constitutional presidential pardon standards will be on the list, according to Kholy.

Concerning pardoned detainees of the earlier three lists, Khouly said that the committee will contact ministries and specialized foundations to execute plans, qualifying them to regain their freedom.

MP Mohamed al-Ghoul, deputy of Parliament's Human Rights Committee, said that the committee receives pardon petitions from detainees’ families, and that they plan to send them after revision to the presidential committee.

In December 2017, the Egyptian cabinet approved a bill to amend some provisions of law No. 3396 of 1956, concerning the organization of prisons.

The Parliament is set to continue the discussion of this law’s amendments with the aim of passing it as soon as possible.

This bill makes prisoners eligible for police pardon after serving half their sentence, rather than the current two-thirds of a sentence. The pardon aims to urge the prisoners to pursue proper behavior within the prison and to respond to rehabilitation programs, enabling them to return to normal life as good members of society.

The prisoners will receive a police pardon if their release does not pose a threat to public security.

Article 155 of the Egyptian constitution gives the president the power to pardon or commute the sentence of prisoners following consultations with the cabinet; on the condition that their offences do not include violence or attacks on public or security properties. The pardon, usually taking place during official and religious holidays, entails:

1. Ending any freedom-restricting penalties.
2. Canceling fine penalties, if applicable.
3. Pardoning the prisoner from police surveillance.
4. The legal effects of the sentence continue to be shown in the criminal record of the released prisoners.
2/14/2018 2:19:05 PM
<![CDATA[Azhar Univ. hails role of Armed Forces, police in combating terror]]>
The conference opened on Wednesday under the aegis of Grand Imam of Al Azhar Ahmed Tayyeb.

The get-together is meant to tackle the financial, administrative and intellectual corruption as well as Egypt's strategy for confronting it.

Azhar University President Mohamed Hussein el Mahrsawi stressed that Islam rejects all kinds of corruption and calls for fighting it for security and stability to prevail in any society.

Addressing Al Azhar University's first conference for combating corruption, Grand Mufti Shawqy Allam highlighted the importance of closing ranks in the face of terrorism and corruption, especially intellectual and religious corruption.

He hailed the role played by the army and police to eradicate terrorism.

He added that confronting corruption requires entrenching the principles of patriotism and loyalty.]]>
2/14/2018 1:59:55 PM
<![CDATA[Man dies after vehicles collide at London's Heathrow ]]>
"One male, is believed to have sustained a broken shoulder; his injuries are not life-threatening or life-changing," the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

"Another male, aged in his 40s, was taken to a west London hospital with serious injuries. He has since died."

Some passengers had to disembark from a plane due to the incident, a spokeswoman for the airport said.

"We will be fully cooperating with the police in the investigation which will follow," Heathrow said in a statement.

The airport was not closed as a result of the accident.]]>
2/14/2018 1:47:21 PM
<![CDATA[South Africa's ANC will back no-confidence vote in Zuma on Thursday]]>
The party's chief whip Jackson Mthembu added that the ANC hoped to elect party leader Cyril Ramaphosa as president of the country on Thursday, after the no-confidence vote, or on Friday.]]>
2/14/2018 12:54:55 PM
<![CDATA[Turkey's Afrin offensive has 'detracted' from fight against IS: Tillerson]]>
Tillerson spoke at a ministerial meeting in Kuwait of the US-led military coalition that has been fighting IS in Iraq and Syria, being held in parallel with a conference on reconstruction in Iraq.

The jihadist group has lost much of the territory it once controlled when it seized large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014.

"The end of major combat operations does not mean we have achieved the enduring defeat of ISIS," Tillerson said, using another acronym for IS.

"ISIS remains a serious threat to the stability of the region, our homelands and other parts of the globe," he said.

Iraq declared victory over IS in December, but the extremist group still has a presence in Syria, where the US-led coalition has backed a Kurdish-Arab alliance fighting the jihadists.

And Iraqi government forces backed by a US-led coalition last week staged a major operation against "IS remnants" in the northeast.

Anti-IS infighting

The US-backed campaign against IS in Syria has been complicated since Turkey-backed Arab militia last month began an offensive against Kurdish forces in the northwestern region of Afrin.

The Turkish operation "has detracted from our fight to defeat Islamic State in eastern Syria", Tillerson said of ongoing offensives by US-backed Kurdish militia to clear remaining pockets of extremists.

"Forces have diverted from there to Afrin," he said.

The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) have been a key component of the US-backed alliance fighting IS, but Washington's NATO ally Turkey says they are a "terrorist" offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

"We remain concerned over recent events in northwest Syria and call on all parties to remain focused on defeating ISIS," Tillerson said.

"We will continue to be completely transparent with Turkey about our efforts in Syria to defeat ISIS," he added, giving a nod to Turkey's right to "counterterrorism efforts" on its border.

Tillerson said the United States would nonetheless maintain an "ISIS-focused military presence in Syria" and "continue to train local security forces" -- a reference to Washington's contentious Kurdish allies.

He said IS had the capacity to re-emerge in liberated territories of Iraq and Syria or elsewhere.

"Every one of us must continue to adapt and strengthen our coalition to counter ISIS' own network of foreign fighters, financing and propaganda.

"We have seen in Iraq and Syria the consequences of an ISIS territorial presence. History must not be allowed to repeat itself elsewhere," Tillerson said.

Iraq seeks support

War-battered Iraq sought Tuesday to attract international investors to rebuild the country at a parallel reconstruction conference in Kuwait, offering hundreds of projects and touting extensive legal guarantees.

"Iraq is open for investors," declared Sami al-Araji, chairman of Iraq's National Investment Commission, on the second day of the conference.

Baghdad says it needs nearly $90 billion to rebuild devastated homes, schools, hospitals and economic infrastructure after three years of war against IS.

It is a tall order, given scepticism about the government's record on corruption.

Iraq in 2016 came 11th from the bottom on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index.

"A government that is inclusive, accountable, and transparent builds a society that can counter extremist ideologies," Tillerson told the conference.

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said his government had started fighting bureaucracy and corruption with a "programme of economic reforms".

Wide range of projects

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said all of Iraq should benefit from "reconstruction, stabilisation and national reconciliation".

He cited "Kurdistan, which took more than its share of the burden and the sacrifices" in the fight against IS.

Araji said that Iraq, which has been either at war or under international sanctions since 1980, is offering projects in almost every field of its economy, from oil to agriculture.

World Bank officials joined Iraqi government representatives on Tuesday in Kuwait City to seek pledges from more than 2,000 representatives of international firms.

They talked up legal guarantees available in post-IS Iraq, pointing to an investment law that offers ownership, unlimited cash transfers and tax breaks, among other benefits.

Nizar Nasser Hussein, head of the legal department at the National Investment Commission, said the latest version of the law does not distinguish between foreign and Iraqi investors.

"Foreign investors can establish Iraqi companies," he told AFP, adding that investors would be given lease contracts for 50 years, renewable for a similar period.

Investors will also be exempt from customs duties and income tax for 10-15 years, Hussein said.

Iraq on Monday sentenced a former trade minister to 21 years in jail for corruption, weeks after Interpol handed him over to authorities, a government source said.

Araji said investors in Iraq will find "high risks, but high returns".]]>
2/14/2018 12:51:39 PM
<![CDATA[South Africa police minister denies Zuma to be arrested]]>
On Tuesday, South Africa's ruling party decided to sack Jacob Zuma as head of state, two sources said, after marathon talks over the fate of a leader whose scandal-plagued years in power darkened and divided Nelson Mandela's post-apartheid 'Rainbow Nation'.

The decision by the African National Congress's (ANC) national executive followed 13 hours of tense deliberations and one, short face-to-face exchange between Zuma and his presumed successor, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Zuma, a polygamous Zulu traditionalist with no formal education, has been living on borrowed time since Ramaphosa, a union leader and lawyer once tipped as Mandela's pick to take over the reins, was elected as head of the 106-year-old ANC in December.

Ramaphosa narrowly defeated Zuma's ex-wife and preferred successor, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in the leadership vote, forcing him to tread carefully in handling Zuma for fear of deepening rifts in the party a year ahead of an election.

Despite the damning decision to order Zuma's "recall" - ANC-speak for 'remove from office' - domestic media say the 75-year-old might yet defy the party's wishes, forcing it into the indignity of having to unseat him in parliament.

Shortly before midnight, the SABC state broadcaster said Zuma had been told in person by Ramaphosa that he had 48 hours to resign. A senior party source later told Reuters Zuma had made clear he was going nowhere.

"Cyril went to speak with him," the source said, adding that the discussions were "tense and difficult" when Ramaphosa returned to the ANC meeting in a hotel near Pretoria.

"We decided to recall Zuma," the source said. Another party source said ANC Secretary-General and Zuma loyalist Ace Magashule had gone to see Zuma on Tuesday morning to tell him formally of the party's decision.

The ANC is due to hold a media briefing in the afternoon to reveal its version of events.

One domestic report said Zuma had asked for three months to resign, a request that was denied. Another report said Zuma simply told Ramaphosa: "Do what you want to do".

Zuma's spokesman did not answer his mobile phone. His son, Edward, said he would not comment until after the ANC had made its formal pronouncement.

On Friday, one of his wives, Tobeka Madiba-Zuma, posted comments on Instagram suggesting Zuma, who has challenged and defied multiple attempts by the ANC and courts to rein him in, was prepared to go down fighting.

The post even suggested Zuma believed he was the victim of a Western conspiracy.

"He will finish what he started because he does not take orders beyond the Atlantic Ocean," she said.

South Africa's economy, the most sophisticated on the continent, has stagnated during Zuma's nine-year tenure, with banks and mining companies reluctant to invest because of policy uncertainty and rampant corruption.

However, since mid-November when Ramaphosa emerged as a real ANC leadership prospect, economic confidence has started to pick up, while the rand - a telling barometer of Zuma's fortunes - has gained more than 15 percent against the dollar.


The ANC's decisive overnight move against Zuma after nearly two weeks of deliberations mirrors the fate that he himself meted out to then-President Thabo Mbeki in 2008 after being elected to the helm of the party.

The removal of Zuma, an anti-apartheid activist who spent 10 years alongside Mandela in the notorious Robben Island prison camp, also echoes generational changes in the anti-colonial liberation movements in charge of southern Africa.

In August, Jose Eduardo dos Santos stepped down after 38 years as president of oil-rich Angola and three months later Zimbabwe's military unseated 93-year-old Robert Mugabe, the only leader the country had known since independence in 1980.

Although Zuma retains a core of faithful inside the ANC and in the rural heartlands of his native KwaZulu-Natal province, there will be few tears shed in South Africa's urban centres, where many regard him with contempt.

"He's a goner," the Sowetan, a tabloid popular with urban black South Africans, said in a front-page headline above a picture of Zuma sitting with his head held in his hand.

Central to the public anger have been the persistent allegations - now the focus of a judicial commission - that Zuma let his friends the Guptas use their relationship with him to win state contracts and even influence cabinet appointments.

Zuma and the three Gupta brothers, who were born in India but moved to South Africa in the early 1990s, have denied any wrongdoing.

The Guptas' whereabouts is unknown, although plane-tracking websites showed their private jet flying last week from India to Dubai to Russia.

In addition to the massive Gupta-related "state capture" scandal, many South Africans were outraged by a state-funded $16 million security upgrade to Zuma's rural Nkandla home that included a cattle kraal and swimming pool.

At the time, Zuma's police minister justified the pool as a "fire-fighting resource".]]>
2/14/2018 12:41:24 PM
<![CDATA[Lebanese leaders say Israel threatens border stability]]>
President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri agreed to act to stop Israel from building a wall on Lebanese land at the border, and infringing on an energy block in disputed waters.

Arguments over the wall and Lebanon’s plans to explore for offshore oil and gas have elevated tensions between Israel and Lebanon.

Calm has largely prevailed along the frontier since 2006, when Israel fought a war with Lebanon’s heavily-armed Shi‘ite Hezbollah movement.

The month-long conflict killed about 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, most of them troops. There has been no major confrontation between Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah since.

Israel has said the border wall is being built on its territory. The Lebanese government says it passes through land that belongs to Lebanon but lies on the Israeli side of the Blue Line, where the U.N. demarcated Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000.

The three Lebanese leaders met to study recent “Israeli threats, and saw in them ... a direct threat to the stability” of the border region, the president’s office said in a statement.

They agreed to act “at various regional and international levels to prevent Israel from building the cement wall...and from the possibility of infringing on Lebanon’s oil and gas wealth and its (territorial) waters.”

Aoun, Berri, and Hariri will present a series of measures to Lebanon’s Higher Defense Council and security officials at a meeting on Wednesday, it said.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman called Lebanon’s first offshore oil and gas exploration tender “very provocative” and urged international firms not to participate last week.

Lebanon has an unresolved maritime border dispute with Israel over a triangular area of sea of around 860 sq km (330 square miles). The zone extends along the edge of three out of five energy blocks that Lebanon put to tender early last year.

Lebanon in December approved a bid by a consortium of France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek for two blocks.]]>
2/14/2018 12:15:52 PM
<![CDATA[Russian civilians in Syria not linked to our military: Kremlin]]>
Associates of Russian military contractors fighting alongside government forces in Syria have said there were large-scale casualties among the contractors when U.S.-led coalition forces clashed with pro-government forces in Syria’s Deir al-Zor province on Feb. 7.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, speaking on a conference call with reporters, said he had no information about any such casualties.]]>
2/14/2018 12:10:58 PM
<![CDATA[Kuwait joins Iraq reconstruction drive, pledging $2B]]>
Donors and investors have gathered in Kuwait to discuss efforts to rebuild Iraq’s economy and infrastructure as it emerges from a devastating conflict with Islamic State militants who seized almost a third of the country.

“Kuwait will earmark $1 billion in loans to Iraq and will commit to another $1 billion as investments,” Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah told an international conference on Wednesday.

Minutes later, the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc would invest 400 million euros, in addition to individual contributions from member states.

The United States said on Tuesday it was extending a $3 billion credit line but has not provided any direct government assistance. International NGOs have so far pledged $330 million in humanitarian assistance.

Those sums are dwarfed by the more than $88 billion that Iraqi officials have said it will cost to rebuild the country after three years of war, with housing a particular priority.

Iraq, which still owes Kuwait reparations from the Gulf War, declared victory over Islamic State in December, having taken back all the territory the jihadist group captured in 2014 and 2015. Its fighters have also been largely defeated in neighboring Syria.

On Wednesday, the United Nations launched a two-year Recovery and Resilience program designed to help Iraq’s government fast-track the social dimensions of reconstruction.

“It will revitalize areas that are at risk of violence, and support broad political participation and inclusive social development,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

“The ...program will help those who have suffered most.”

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference his country was committed to supporting reconstruction in Iraq and would focus on infrastructure projects.

The reconstruction conference is taking place two weeks before Kuwait celebrates its Liberation Day from Iraq.

Iraq invaded in 1990, leading to defeat by a U.S.-led coalition and more than a decade of sanctions.

Iraq’s reparations payments were suspended in 2014 after the Islamic State takeover but have resumed, and Baghdad is set to hand over 0.5 percent of its oil proceeds in 2018 and escalate annually until the end of 2021 in order to pay off a remaining $4.6 billion owed to Kuwait.]]>
2/14/2018 12:00:18 PM
<![CDATA[Israeli police recommend bribery charges against Netanyahu]]>
Against the backdrop of Israeli flags in a televised speech at his residence, a somber Netanyahu called the allegations baseless and vowed to complete his fourth term in office.

It will be up to Israel’s attorney general to decide whether to file charges, a process that could take weeks if not months.

The recommendations, which police made public on Tuesday night, were at the more serious end of the range of charges that had been expected to be leveled against Netanyahu in two criminal investigations that have gone on for more than a year.

One of the cases, known as Case 1000, alleged the “committing of crimes of bribery, fraud and breach of trust by the prime minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu.”

In a detailed statement, police named Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer and Israeli citizen, and Australian businessman James Packer, saying that for nearly a decade, from 2007 to 2016, they gave gifts that included champagne, cigars and jewelry to Netanyahu and his family.

In all, the merchandise was worth more than one million shekels ($280,000), the statement said. Any legal proceedings would likely focus on whether political favors were sought or granted.

Netanyahu’s lawyers said the presents were simply tokens of friendship.

The second, Case 2000, also alleged “bribery, fraud and breach of trust by the prime minister” and by the publisher of the biggest-selling Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Arnon Mozes. The two men, police said, discussed ways of slowing the growth of a rival daily newspaper, Israel Hayom, “through legislation and other means”.

Netanyahu, who has denied wrongdoing, has been questioned several times by police since the start of 2017.

In his television appearance, minutes after police made their recommendations public, Netanyahu, 68, recounted his military service as a commando and said he had never sought personal gain from politics.

“I will continue to lead Israel responsibly and faithfully for as long as you, the citizens of Israel, choose me to lead you,” he said. “I am certain, I am certain, that the truth will be revealed, and I am certain that at the next elections, which will be held on schedule, I will earn your trust again, with God’s help.”

Israel is next scheduled to go to the polls in late 2019.

“Because I know the truth, I tell you ... things will end in nothing,” Netanyahu said.


Israel’s Channel 10 television quoted a lawyer for Milchan as saying that occasional gift-giving was devoid of any business interests.


Milchan or New Regency Productions, a Hollywood movie studio he founded and chairs, have produced more than 100 films, including recent Oscar best picture winners “12 Years a Slave”, “Birdman”, and “The Revenant”. New Regency did not immediately return a request for comment.

A spokesman for Packer said, “There is no allegation of wrongdoing on Mr. Packer’s behalf. The Israeli and Australian police have confirmed that he was interviewed as a witness, not a suspect.”

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, asked about the police decision, cited Washington’s “very strong relationship” with Netanyahu and the Israeli government.

“We’re certainly aware of it, but we consider it to be an internal Israeli matter,” Nauert said.

Israelis have seen their leaders embroiled in legal trouble before. Last year, Ehud Olmert, prime minister from 2006 to 2009, was released from prison after serving 19 months of a 27-month sentence over a variety of corruption charges.]]>
2/14/2018 11:55:25 AM
<![CDATA[Emir of Kuwait officially inaugurates Int'l conference on Iraq reconstruction]]>
The remarks came during the official inauguration of the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq (KICRI) on Wednesday.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al Abadi, Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres, EU Foreign Policy and Security Chief Federico Mogerini, World Bank President Yung Kim, senior state officials in Kuwait as well as officials delegations are participating in the country.

The significant level of participation in this Conference, either government, civil or private, came as a global recognition of the magnitude of sacrifices by Iraq in its fight against terrorism, the Emir noted, pointing out that the international community sough to reward these sacrifices that turned lives of Iraqis in Daesh-controlled areas into a "living hell."

Results of this Conference are a continuation of all "our" efforts, the Emir said. "Yet, we should not neglect the suffering of our brothers in Syria and Yemen due to the ongoing conflicts taking place there, but we are confident that we and the international community will support them as soon as security and stability are restored."]]>
2/14/2018 11:48:29 AM
<![CDATA[Danish Queen's husband Prince Henrik dies: Royal House]]>
He was 83, and had been diagnosed with a benign tumour two weeks ago.

"His Royal Highness Prince Henrik died peacefully in his sleep ...," the statement said. "Her Majesty the Queen and the two sons were at his side."

The French-born prince had been hospitalised following an illness that began during a private trip to Egypt.

Shortly before his death, he was transferred from a Copenhagen hospital back to the castle, north of the city, where he had wanted to spend "his final time".

Prince Henrik sparked controversy in August 2017 when he announced he did not wish to be buried next to the Queen, breaking a 459 years old tradition. He said he was unhappy she had never acknowledged him as her equal.

Shortly after, the palace announced that Prince Henrik was suffering from dementia.

He formerly held the title of Prince Consort but renounced that title when he retired from his official duties in 2016.

He had often spoken of his frustration at being denied the title of King instead of Prince Consort. In Denmark, a princess traditionally becomes queen when her husband takes the throne, but a man does not become king when the roles are reversed.

After a 2009 Danish referendum supported the equality of the sexes in the royal succession, Henrik remarked: "I hope that men will be as equal as girls," spurring further debate and briefly finding support in parliament in favour of allowing Prince Henrik the title of king.

But no law was ever passed.

Both loved and critized by the Danes for his aristocratic manner, best exemplified by his colorful clothes and thick French accent, in recent years Henrik found support particularly amongst the Danish youth for breaking with the Danish norms of cultural uniformity.

In 2016, the Prince renounced his title of Prince Consort and retired from his official duties. Thereafter he spent much of his time at his private vineyard in Château de Cayx, France, although he remained married to the Queen and was officially still living with her.

Known for his love of wine and food, the Prince was also a passionate artist, producing several poems, sculptures and cooking books.

Born Henri Marie Jean André de Laborde de Monpezat in France in 1934, he married Margrethe in 1967. Henrik has two sons with the queen, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim.]]>
2/14/2018 11:20:21 AM
<![CDATA[Sinai University postpones 2nd semester classes over security concerns]]>
In a statement, the university said it is keen on the safety of all students so it will defer the beginning of the second semester classes till further notice.

As of Friday, the Armed Forces began a military operation dubbed "Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018' to fight terrorism in North and Central Sinai and other areas in the Nile Delta and the desert areas west of the Nile Valley.

Earlier in the month, North Sinai Governor Abdel Fattah Harhour announced the postponement of study in all North Sinai schools until further notice. ]]>
2/14/2018 9:47:27 AM
<![CDATA[Army kills 15 takfiris, arrests 153 others in Sinai: statement]]>
"As part of the Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018 carried out by elements of the Armed Forces, in cooperation with the combat units of the Interior Ministry, anti-terror units continue launching raids targeting terrorist hideouts and arms and ammunition warehouses in northern and central Sinai," the statement said.

- Air forces destroyed 11 targets used by terrorists.

- Fifteen takfiris were killed during a shoot-out with anti-terror forces.

- Two underground warehouses containing more than 1,500 kg of explosive materials, including C-4 and TNT used in manufacturing explosives, 56 detonators and 13 circuits used to detonate IEDs were destroyed.

- A tunnel and 38 trenches were destroyed in the northern border in North Sinai.

- Some 153 criminal elements and wanted criminals were arrested.

- As many as 181 huts, hideouts and warehouses containing explosives and chemical materials and large quantities of auto spare parts and fuel used by terrorists were destroyed.

- Six vehicles and 17 unlicensed motorbikes were seized and destroyed.

- Sixty-three explosive devices were dismantled.

- Thirteen bango and hashish farms were destroyed and more than 800 kg of narcotics were seized.

The navy forces continue tightening their grip along the coastal area, the statement added.

Combat groups of the Armed Forces and Interior Ministry continue operating 563 security patrols and setting up checkpoints across the nation.

The statement reiterated armed forces and police's persistence to eradicate the roots of terrorism and achieve security and stability for the great Egyptian people. ]]>
2/14/2018 9:36:38 AM