<![CDATA[rss-Politics]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Politics]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[New health insurance law’s 1st phase promotes medical investments]]>
Head of the Central Administration for Free Treatment and Licenses, Ali Mahrous, said that Minister of Health Hala Zayed works on upgrading medical services, upon the instructions of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to implement the first phase of the new Health Insurance Law in Port Said.

He added that investors have been allowed since the beginning of the year to establish 37 hospitals, 33 dialysis centers, and 52 banks have been given license to construct physiotherapy clinics and 14 dental laboratories.

He referred that 17 licenses were granted to construct heart valve centers and 34 health clubs and fitness centers, in addition to allowing 24 foreign experts in different fields to work in Egypt’s medical centers.

In this regard, 62 medical centers across Egypt were closed for violating the licensing conditions.

As for the Parliament, he pointed out that the government-drafted amendments to the medical profession law are being discussed to pave the way for the new health insurance system, stressing that the license to practice the medical profession will be renewed every 5 years to raise doctors' efficiency.

He concluded that the Central Administration for Free Treatment and Licenses paid several visits to governorates, ensuring regular medical services are provided in the private medical centers and hospitals.

The Ministry of Health will establish new bodies under the new health law; a health care authority will be responsible for the health services provided to citizens, a directory will be concerned with the collection of subscriptions from citizens in order to finance the system, and there will also be a quality and validation authority to accredit the qualified hospitals and health units.

According to the new Health Insurance Law, Article 52 specifies that the bodies established under this law shall have an independent budget and shall begin their financial year at the beginning of the fiscal year of the state and shall end by the end of each fiscal year.

Port Said will be one of the first governorates where the new health insurance system will be applied, starting from 2018 gradually until 2032, according to former Minister of Health Ahmed Emad.

About 800,000 citizens will benefit from this new system in Port Said, and they will need 40 health units, according to the Ministry of Health’s plan to implement the new insurance system.

Citizens of Port Said are expected to receive their new health insurance cards in the upcoming days. An online website will guide the citizens through the procedures required in order to receive their cards.

In the same context, Deputy Chairman of the Health Committee Mustafa Abu Zaid said that Port Said was chosen as it is less populated and has a qualified infrastructure, explaining that Gharbia governorate poses a great challenge to implementing the law as its health institutions need full rehabilitation. ]]>
10/23/2018 2:09:51 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament approves draft law to establish fund for innovators]]>
The draft law aims to support research, innovation and development carried out at national small and micro-technology enterprises to raise their competitiveness and encourage young innovators, according to a report on the draft law.

The report referred that innovators face many problems to fund their projects, especially that government funding and banks encounter obstacles.

Under the draft law, the fund will not pose a burden on the state's budget as it will depend on donations, cash and in-kind grants given by natural and legal persons, and on loans by the state's concerned bodies, the report added.

The financing will also be obtained through the services provided by the fund to support research and innovation projects, in addition to 1 percent of the profits obtained from the private units of the government universities, institutes and research bodies.

The draft law will grant student innovators scholarships to continue their education and will create partnership opportunities between young innovators and funding entities to put their research ideas into action.

Article 7 reads that the fund will be exempted from paying tax, while Article 8 refers that a board of directors should be formed to submit a report to the prime minister on the fund’s achievements.

“We need you [scientists], and Egypt is in need of your research to overcome problems,” said President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during the inauguration of the National Conference for Scientific Research on March 24.

Sisi stressed that the government is determined to achieve significant progress in the science and research fields, noting that the Egyptian state has been exerting its best efforts to boost scientific research and innovation.

The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research organized the conference to review the priorities upon which scientific research should focus in Egypt. It will place this within the framework of the national unified strategies for science, technology, innovation and Egypt’s sustainable development vision 2030, according to Egyptian presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi.

In this regard, Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Tarek Amer said that launching a LE 1 billion fund will support innovation, according to his speech on the second day of the Financial Technology (FinTech) conference "Seamless North Africa". ]]>
10/23/2018 2:06:41 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian universities exempt martyrs’ sons from fees ]]>
Khesht added that the university will always support the martyrs’ sons and daughters, saying “My office is always open for martyrs’ sons and daughters to solve any problem facing them in terms of university study, campus housing or in their lives in general.”

For his side, Vice President of Mansoura University Ashraf Abdel Basset said that the university appointed 30 of the army and police martyrs' relatives after meeting all the necessary conditions.

“This comes in response to what the martyrs did for the country; they lost their lives defending our homeland, and the government must assume full responsibility for the children of the martyrs," Abdel Basset said.

Furthermore, President of Helwan University Maged Negm also said that the exemption decision is considered a national duty.

Since the revolution of January 25, 2011, there are more than 20,000 martyrs and wounded men from the Ministry of Interior and the army.

The armed and naval forces began a military operation named “Full-Scale Operation Sinai 2018” against terrorists in Sinai affiliated to the Islamic State (IS) (previously known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis), Military spokesman Tamer al-Rifai announced in a statement in February.

In remarks to “Ten news” talk show on TEN channel, Radi said that “Sinai 2018 is a result of a series of military efforts and investigations since 2013, particularly after the Rawdah Mosque attack.” The attack took place on November 24, 2017, and claimed the lives of more than 300 people in North Sinai.

Since the 2011 Revolution that ended former President Hosni Mubarak’s 30 years in power, militant groups used Sinai as a hotbed and attacked several military and security forces. As a result, the army carried out two massive military operations; In August 2011, the army launched “Eagle 1” against militants who claimed responsibility for bombing the Egypt-Israel gas pipeline in Arish in July 2011.

On August 5, 2012, the army launched “Eagle 2” operation in North Sinai, following the death of 16 police officers during an attack on a police station in North Sinai near the Egypt-Israel border crossing, Karam Abu Salem.

However, the terrorist attacks intensified following the dispersal of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins of Rabaa and Nahda squares on August 14, 2013. Since then, the Armed Forces waged the four-phase operation of “Martyr’s Right,” killing hundreds of terrorists.
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10/23/2018 2:01:35 PM
<![CDATA[Municipal solid waste management system to be developed ]]>
Fouad remarked that the 2020 new municipal solid waste management system aims to develop the infrastructure through rehabilitating waste dump, and establishing fixed and mobile intermediate stations as well as new sanitary landfills.

She added that the integrated solid waste management system includes collecting, sorting, transporting, and recycling municipal solid waste along with developing the treatment and disposal system to recycle the organic component.

In the same context, the minister of environment reviewed with Madbouly the results of the phone application “Dawar,” recently launched in three districts including Maadi and Torra, to expand it across Egypt.

The phone app allows its users to take a picture of the street containing trash. Upon uploading the picture in the application, Dawar will be able to track the location with GPS and send a specialized team to clean the trash.



Egypt has launched several initiatives to recycle wastes and to solve the garbage problem.

The rubbish that has long polluted the Egyptian streets will be completely removed within three months until the comprehensive cleaning system is applied, spokesman of the Ministry of Local Development Khaled Kassem previously said.

Kassem told Al-Shorouk Newspaper that governors will submit the final studies on the comprehensive cleaning system, pointing out that this system will be applied after the National Waste Management Holding is established and a garbage law, which will be discussed by Parliament in the upcoming round, is issued.

He added that the comprehensive cleaning system aims to collect the piles of rubbish and transfer them to treatment and recycling plants.

An estimated 44.8 percent of Egyptian households dispose their garbage by dumping it onto the street, while 55.2 percent dispose it through private companies and garbage collectors, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).

Additionally, Shehata al-Moqadis, head of the Garbage Collectors union, inked a memorandum of understanding on May 21 with an Italian company to build a waste recycling plant.

“The new project aims at running a waste-to-energy plant with a capacity of 600-1100 tons per day that can be used to generate electricity or to produce gas,” Moqadis said in press remarks.

He further called on the government to support the budding project by sponsoring the purchase of the produced electricity so that it can be applied into different sectors, which will ensure the sustainability of the project.

The project presents plenty of opportunities for the government and municipalities to get rid of solid food leftovers, he added. “Large amounts of electricity will expectedly be extracted akin to the same amount that is generated from the high dam in Aswan.”

The Italian side shall be committed to undertake technical studies meant for the station, and the financial studies needed to obtain the loan floated to the company for the construction of the waste-to-energy plant.

The Italian company will also be entrusted with supervising the construction works and providing in-site workers with job training.

The project aims at segregating solid, organic waste such as plastic and aluminum that can be converted into biogas to be used in different sectors and to be processed to produce electricity according to the amount of organic waste available.

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10/23/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sinai is a safe zone by the end of the year, governor]]>

Shosha added in a phone call with dmc satellite channel that his expectations are based on the current successful military campaign against the terrorists’ hideouts in the peninsula.

The governor said that he was tasked by the Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al Sisi to restart the development projects in Sinai, adding that Arish port is set to operate soon.


Shosha revealed that the ban on the building materials and the gas products in North Sinai was recently lifted, pointing out that the citizens will receive their essential needs.

“The State is about to launch a comprehensive development plan in Sinai during the upcoming period, in order to replace instability and chaos with social progress”, said Shosha.]]>
10/23/2018 1:22:09 AM
<![CDATA[LE50,000 license fee for online publications ]]>
“Our goal is adjusting the media sector in Egypt. We are for ultimate freedom. We operate within the legislative framework regulating work,” the council’s Deputy Chairman Abdel Fatah al-Gebaly said in a press conference.

“Terrorist entities and others involved in sedition against the state will be deprived from licenses,” al-Gebaly added.

According to law no. 180/2018, online publications must indicate the name of the publication, the name of the owner and his/her address, the administrative and the editorial structures, the name of the editor-in-chief, and the location of the newsroom in the license application.

Former Dean of Mass Communication School at Cairo University Hassan Emad Mekawy told Egypt Today that Journalists’ Syndicate bill must be amended to allow those working for online publications eligibility for the syndicate’s membership as long as they are working for licensed institutions and carry bachelor degrees in journalism and mass communication.

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10/22/2018 6:09:48 PM
<![CDATA[Qatari critic attacks regime over floods ]]>
Al-Thani said, “Instead of diligently inflaming sedition and seeding hatred between siblings, give attention to our country and corruption creeping in Qatar… May God bless the soul of those who died and compensate those who got injured or suffered losses.”




The father of al-Thani is Suhaim bin-Hamad, the first Qatari foreign minister and the brother of former Qatari Emir Sheikh Khalifah bin Hamad Al-Thani who was toppled by his son, Hamad, in 1995. In 2013, current Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani took over the rule after orchestrating a coup de palais against his father.

Other Twitter users questioned how the princedom will organize World Cup 2022 in light of the absence of appropriate infrastructure, accusing Turkish and Iranian companies operating in Doha of corruption.

Qatar regime built World Cup 2022 facilities on land forcibly taken away: Al-Ghufran tells FIFA

ZURICH - 24 September 2018: A delegation from Al-Ghufran tribe lodged a complaint Monday to the President of the International Football Federation (FIFA) in Zurich against the practices of the Qatari regime against their tribe, demanding Qatar be stripped of the 2022 World Cup.




On June 5, 2017, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE severed diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar on June 5, 2017 for its support of terrorism and fostering ties with regional rival, Iran.

Turkey is considering the deployment of naval and air forces and troops to Doha, Turkish ambassador to Qatar, Fikret Ozer, told reporters at a press conference in Doha last March.

The first batch of Turkish troops arrived at the Tariq Bin Ziyad military base in 2015. The camp, located south of Doha, is Turkey's first installation in the Middle East and can accommodate up to 5,000 soldiers.
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10/22/2018 5:59:59 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian Navy celebrates 51st anniversary of ‘sinking Eilat’ ]]>
On October 21, 1967, Eilat entered the Egyptian national waters as a show of force in the Mediterranean off the coasts of Sinai Peninsula that was occupied by Israel on June 5 of the same year. As a consequence, the Egyptian Navy fired a number of P-15 Termit (SS-N-2 Styx) missiles using Soviet Project 183R class (Komar) boats at the Z-class destroyer built in 1944 by Cammell Laird for the Royal Navy before it was sold to Israel in 1955.

Commander in Chief of the Navy Vice Admiral Ahmed Khaled told DMC channel the operation contributed in reinstating Egyptians’ confidence in the Armed Forces and its capabilities shortly after the defeat in the Six-Day War. The commander added that the Egyptian navy closed Bab-el-Mandeb Strait during the October 6 War in 1973 to deprive Israel from supplies.

The vice admiral said that the General Command of the Armed Forces has been eager to introduce the most modern combat and technical systems in the navy. That was epitomized in purchasing two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships; a FREMM frigate, Pohang-class frigate; a Molniya-class RKA-32 Missile corvette; two Type 209 submarines; and four Gowind-class corvette.

Khaled stated that, in addition to acquiring outstanding vessels, Egypt is building warships in collaboration with other countries and providing navy personnel with necessary skills and expertise.

The website of the Egyptian Ministry of Defense and Military Production posted a documentary on the navy’s accomplishments, recently acquired weapons, and joint exercises. The documentary is titled “The Egyptian Navy: Heroics and Achievements.”


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10/22/2018 3:31:37 PM
<![CDATA[Thousands in U.S.-bound migrant caravan pour into Mexican city]]>
Members of the caravan, exhausted from the hours-long trek on foot from the Guatemalan border, mostly ignored police offers to board buses heading to a migrant shelter because of suspicions they might be deported instead.

The migrants have defied threats by Trump that he will close the U.S.-Mexico border if the caravan advances, as well as warnings from the Mexican government that they risk deportation if they cannot justify seeking asylum in Mexico.

On Sunday, Trump said on Twitter that “full efforts are being made to stop the onslaught of illegal aliens,” arguing that the migrants must apply for asylum in Mexico before attempting to petition U.S. authorities.

In southern Mexico, police in riot gear shadowed the caravan’s arrival along a southern highway, but did not impede their journey.

Among the throngs hiking into the center of the city was Roger Pineda, a 16-year-old Honduran.

“I just want to find some food and a place to sleep,” he said, explaining he joined the caravan last week with five family members and a group of friends from the violent city of San Pedro Sula.

“I hope Trump allows us to make it to the other side,” he said.

In Guatemala, local media reported that around 1,000 migrants were traveling north en route to the Mexican border.

A large column of people marched under a burning sun Sunday as a military helicopter circled low overhead. Many migrants said they were fleeing a toxic mix of violence, poverty and corruption in Central America.

Most said they felt safer advancing in a large group.

“We’re going to make it, we’re going to keep moving so long as they don’t stop us,” said Honduran Jaffe Borjas, 17, marching alongside a childhood friend at the head of the column that stretched far down the highway to the horizon.

Along the route north to Tapachula, about 25 miles (40 km) northwest of the border, some broke into song.

“If you send us back, we will return!” a large crowd shouted in unison.

“We are not criminals, we are workers!”

‘EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CONDITIONS’

Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador supported the caravan and promised to provide people with work permits in a speech to supporters in Tuxtla-Gutierrez, about 180 miles (290 km) north of Tapachula.

“I want to tell them they can count on us,” said Lopez Obrador, who will take office in December, to a smattering of applause.

He reiterated that is seeking Trump’s support to help fund a development plan that could alleviate poverty in Central America and southern Mexico.

Trump will exit Cold War-era nuclear treaty

Since the convoy formed last weekend, Trump has threatened to halt aid to Honduras and Guatemala, and potentially close the U.S. border with Mexico with the help of the military if the migrants’ march is not stopped.

Mexico’s government has said throughout the past week that it would register the migrants and process requests for asylum. Those attempting to skip the process would face deportation, but the size of the caravan will test Mexico, which has sought help from the United Nations to manage the issue.

More than 3,400 Hondurans migrants had been returned to their home country over the past 48 hours by Sunday afternoon, according to a migrant assistance body led by the wife of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, Ana Garcia de Hernandez.

“We’re urging people against migrating in an unlawful way and putting your children in extremely dangerous conditions,” Garcia de Hernandez said in a statement.

The Honduran government has also blamed the political opposition back home for encouraging the exodus of migrants.

Mexican immigration authorities said they had allowed some 1,028 migrants through the official border crossing in Ciudad Hidalgo near the bridge spanning the Suchiate River over the past three days.

The slow pace prompted thousands to cross the river illegally by raft or swimming to the shore.]]>
10/22/2018 2:48:16 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry discusses bilateral relations with Greek deputy FM]]>
Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Ahmed Hafez, referred that Shoukry praised the great progress in the friendly bilateral relations between the two countries, which comes as part of Greece's president and prime minister’s keenness to promote the relations.

Hafez added that shoukry expressed Egypt’s appreciation of the continuous coordination between the two countries at several international events and the European Union along with the cooperation and partnership established between Cyprus, Greece and Egypt.

He remarked that Shoukry and Quick agreed during the meeting on the importance of promoting economic relations through scaling up the investments between the two countries. In this regard, Shoukry referred that Greece could benefit from the Suez Canal economic Zone.

The Foreign Ministry spokesperson added that the two officials shed light on the conference set to be held in London for Egyptian, Greek and Cypriot doctors, stressing that this initiative will confirm the deep historical and cultural relations among the three countries.

Egyptian-Cypriot relations

The relations between Cairo and Nicosia date back to 1960 according to the State Information Service (SIS). Both countries have supported each other internationally in more than one occasion, including supporting each other’s candidacy for the membership of various committees within the United Nations.

Egypt was also among the first countries that declared recognizing Cyprus’s independence. Former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and former Cypriot President Makarios III enjoyed friendly relations during the sixties.

In September 2014, President Sisi met with his Cypriot counterpart on the sidelines of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Several topics were discussed then by the two leaders, along with announcing both countries’ support for each other’s causes and political strategies.

The volume of trade between Egypt and Cyprus increased to €41.3 million between January and July 2017, compared to €29 million during the same period last year, with a growth rate of 42.4 percent.

According to SIS, Cyprus participates with $1.07 billion in shares in more than 163 Egyptian companies, mostly in the tourism sector.

In October 2012, both Egypt and Cyprus signed an agreement in the field of oil and gas exploration, especially on the border zones of both countries.

During Sisi’s last visit, several new agreements were signed between the two parties including Memoranda of Understanding in health affairs, security issues, tourism and communications.

Egyptian-Greek relations
One of the oldest political relations between two countries in the world; relations between Greece and Egypt date backs to the establishment of Alexandria even before Alexander the Great.

In 2017, Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry visited Athens three times; other senior Greek officials visited Cairo in 2015 and 2016, including Prime Minster Alexis Tsipras and President Prokopios Pavlopoulos.

Greek investments in Egypt are estimated to be $3 billon, which places it in the fifth position on the list of highest European investments in Cairo. These investments are expected to multiply five times during the coming period, according to SIS.

Several agreements are signed between both countries in various fields including maritime transport, economy, social insurance, the promotion and protection of investments, scientific and technological cooperation along with new and renewable energy.

During the tripartite summit, the Egyptian, Cypriot and Greek leaders signed cooperation agreements in the tourism field.]]>
10/22/2018 11:12:02 AM
<![CDATA[Parliament to discuss endowments draft law ]]>
Endowments are properties that were allocated by Egyptians and non-Egyptians locally and abroad to charity in Egypt. There are two types of endowments; one is charitable endowments which are never returned to owners and the other is private endowments.

The revenues distribution of private endowments is divided as follows 10 percent for the Ministry of Endowments to cover the costs of administration tasks, 30 percent for the state, and 60 percent for owners. The endower designates which generation of his/her heirs will recover full revenue entitlement over the property.

The draft indicates three cases in which the authority can sell or replace endowed properties and three tasks the entity must undertake to manage endowments.

Article 1:

The Egyptian Endowments Authority has the right to manage, invest, and conduct dealings over charitable endowments on economic basis with the aim of developing endowments capital considered as private capital on behalf of the minister of endowments who is the guardian of endowments.

The ministry is in charge of fulfilling the conditions set out by endowers, and ensuring the abidance by rulings issued by courts and committees on share distribution and others as well as dealing with beneficiaries of private endowments.

Article 2:

The Egyptian Endowments Authority has the right to carry out a census, evaluate, and restore encroached endowments through a committee having representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Municipal Councils, the General Authority for Agrarian Reform, and any other concerned institution.

Any dealings over endowments must be through public auctions.

The Egyptian Endowments Authority can sell or replace endowments in the cases mentioned below:

- The authority can sell to co-owners in properties with endowed shares if those shares do not exceed 50 percent.
- The authority can sell to tenants of empty lands if they have constructed buildings upon the lands for more than 15 years.
- The authority can sell to tenants the units they have been renting in residential buildings.
The census includes all data on endowed properties in order to take measures that would preserve the rights of the Egyptian Endowments Authorities against tenants, encroachers, and replacers. In case of returning properties with missing portions, former beneficiaries must pay compensation. Former beneficiaries are meant to be any governmental institution that formerly received any endowed properties.

Article 3:

The Egyptian Endowments Authority has the right to buy formerly endowed shares after the endowment period is over which is determined by the share distribution committees in accordance with law 55/1960 (regulating the management of private endowments), and any other properties or shares that generate revenue.

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10/22/2018 11:07:43 AM
<![CDATA[Jordan says it won't renew peace treaty land deal with Israel]]>
Much of the land in Baquora in the northwestern part of the kingdom and Ghumar in the south is used by Israeli farmers, some of whom were given private land ownership rights and special travel rights under a 1994 peace treaty between the two countries.

The agreement will expire next year.

King Abdullah has been under increasing public pressure to end the arrangements with Israel. He told senior Jordanian politicians the kingdom wanted to exercise its "full sovereignty" over the two areas, Petra state news agency said.

"These are Jordanian lands and they will remain.." the monarch said. In an "era of regional turmoil" his kingdom -sandwiched between Syria to the north, Iraq to the east and Israel to its west - Jordan wanted to protect its "national interests," Abdullah said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking after Abdullah's comments on Sunday, acknowledged that Jordan wanted to exercise its option to end the arrangement.

But he said Israel "will enter negotiations with it on the possibility of extending the current arrangement".

Under the terms of peace treaty, the lease would be automatically renewed unless either of the parties notified the other a year before expiry that it wished to terminate the agreement, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Negotiations over ending the "special regime" of the two areas would be tough with Jordan facing thorny legal issues to reclaim the land where Israeli laws now apply, officials said.

Jordan is one of only two Arab states that has a peace treaty with Israel and the two countries have a long history of close security ties.

They have also been expanding economic ties in the last year including a major deal to export billions of dollars of Israeli gas to the kingdom through a pipeline that crosses their northern borders.

But the peace treaty with Israel is unpopular and pro-Palestinian sentiment widespread in Jordan. Activists and politicians have been vocal against a renewal they say was humiliating and perpetuates Israeli "occupation" of Jordanian territory.

Political ties have also become strained over the Middle East peace process. An incident last year in which an Israeli security guard killed two Jordanian citizens within the Israeli embassy compound added to the tension.

Under an annex to the peace agreement, Israel uses about 1,000 acres (405 hectares) of agricultural land in the southern sector of its border with Jordan in the Wadi Araba desert where cash crops are exported to European and U.S. markets.

In the Baquora area, known in Hebrew as Naharayim, Israeli citizens “ownership rights” date back to 1920's, when Russian Jewish engineer, Pinhas Rutenberg, obtained a concession in British mandated Palestine to build a power plant.

In the 1994 peace treaty, Jordanian sovereignty over the area was confirmed but Israelis retained private land ownership and special provisions that allow free Israeli travel.
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10/22/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Saudi Arabia calls Khashoggi killing 'grave mistake,' says prince not aware]]>
The comments from Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir were some of the most direct yet from Riyadh, which has given multiple and conflicting accounts about Khashoggi's killing on Oct. 2, first denying his death and later admitting it amid an international outcry.

The weeks of denial and lack of credible evidence in the face of allegations from Turkish officials that Khashoggi had been killed have shaken global confidence in ties with the world's top oil exporter.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin said Saudi Arabia's admission that the Washington Post columnist was killed in a fistfight was a "good first step but not enough," though he added it was premature to discuss sanctions against Riyadh.

Three European powers - Germany, Britain and France - pressed Riyadh to provide facts, and Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany would not export arms to Saudi Arabia while uncertainty over Khashoggi's fate persisted.

Late on Sunday, the Saudi Press Agency said both Saudi King Salman and Prince Mohammed had called Khashoggi's son, Salah, to express condolences.

Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, had extended condolences to Khashoggi's family earlier on Sunday.

"This is a terrible mistake. This is a terrible tragedy. Our condolences go out to them. We feel their pain," Jubeir told the U.S. broacaster Fox. "Unfortunately, a huge and grave mistake was made and I assure them that those responsible will be held accountable for this."

He said the Saudis did not know how Khashoggi, a Saudi national and U.S. resident, had been killed or where his body was. He also said Prince Mohammed was not responsible.

"This was an operation where individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibilities they had. They made the mistake when they killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover up for it."

Khashoggi vanished after entering the consulate to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage.

After two weeks denying any involvement in the 59-year-old's disappearance, Saudi Arabia on Saturday said Khashoggi, a critic of the crown prince, died during a fight in the building. An hour later, another Saudi official attributed the death to a chokehold.

"Nothing can justify this killing and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms," Germany, Britain and France said in their joint statement.

"There remains an urgent need for clarification of exactly what happened ... beyond the hypotheses that have been raised so far in the Saudi investigation, which need to be backed by facts to be considered credible."

Reflecting international scepticism over its account, a senior Saudi government official laid out a new version that contradicts previous explanations.

The latest account includes details on how 15 Saudis sent to confront Khashoggi had threatened him with being drugged and kidnapped and killed him in a chokehold when he resisted. A member of the team dressed in Khashoggi's clothes to make it appear as if he had left the consulate.

ERDOGAN TO SPEAK

Turkish officials suspect Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate by the Saudi agents and his body cut up. Turkish sources say authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting Khashoggi's murder.

In a speech on Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to suggest he was getting ready to release some information about the Turkish investigation, and would do so at his weekly speech to members of his ruling AK Party in parliament.

Erdogan has remained largely silent on the case, although Turkey's pro-government newspapers have released information about events at the consulate.

"I will make my statements about this issue on Tuesday at the party group meeting," Erdogan said.

Turkey's Anadolu agency said early on Monday that Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump had spoken on the telephone and agreed that "all aspects" of the case needed to be cleared up.

For Saudi Arabia's allies - particularly in the West - the question will be whether they believe that the prince, who has painted himself as a reformer, has any culpability. King Salman, 82, has handed the day-to-day running of Saudi Arabia to him.

"I am not satisfied until we find the answer. But it was a big first step, it was a good first step. But I want to get to the answer," Trump told reporters this weekend, when asked about the Saudi investigation and Riyadh's firing of officials over the incident.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Trump said that "obviously there's been deception, and there's been lies."

A leading Republican U.S. senator said he believed the crown prince was behind the killing, adding that the Saudis had lost all credibility in their explanations of his death. "Yes, I think he did it," Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN, referring to the crown prince.

King Salman ordered the dismissal of five officials, including Saud al-Qahtani, a royal court adviser seen as the right-hand man to Prince Mohammed, and deputy intelligence chief Ahmed Asiri, Saudi state media reported on Saturday.

The king also ordered a restructuring of the intelligence service, to be led by Prince Mohammed, suggesting the prince still retained wide-ranging authority.

Some governments and prominent executives have said they would pull out of a forthcoming investment conference in Saudi Arabia. Among the latest, the government of New Zealand said it would not attend, as did the head of the main banking unit of Japanese financial group MUFG.

According to the senior Saudi official, the Saudi team rolled up Khashoggi's body in a rug, took it out in a consular vehicle and handed it to a "local cooperator" for disposal.
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10/22/2018 1:22:05 AM
<![CDATA[SIS refutes reports on stealing internal organs of deceased UK tourist]]>
David Humphries, 62, collapsed and died while in Makadi, a beachside resort near Hurghada, on September 18. Some UK papers claimed that he returned to the UK without his heart and kidneys.

Some British papers, including The Sun and Daily Mail, went to claim that the deceased tourist's heart and kidneys were stolen by organ traffickers.

"Such reports are baseless," SIS stressed.

SIS said Humphries was moved on September 18 to the Red Sea Hospital in Hurghada, where he died after cardiopulmonary resuscitation attempts failed to save his life.

A medical report stated that his death was likely to be caused by a sudden cardiac arrest, it added.

A probe was launched. Humphries's wife and daughter said they do not blame anyone for the death, the service said.

On September 20, the Public Prosecution tasked a forensic pathologist to examine Humphries's body to explain the cause of his death, it added.

The necessary samples were taken to make sure that his death was normal and there were no criminal suspicions, SIS said.

The law authorizes the Public Prosecution to order the autopsy without asking permission from the deceased's family, it added.

On September 25, the samples were sent to a chemical analysis laboratory of the Ministry of Health in Assiut, including a quantity of blood, parts of the liver, stomach, intestines and their contents, as well as half-kidneys and bladder, all belonging to the deceased, to search for toxic and narcotic alkaloids, sedatives, hypnotics or antidepressants, SIS said.

The samples were also sent to the pathology laboratory of the Ministry of Health in Cairo, including a formalin-preserved heart, which was dissected on September 20 at Hurghada General Hospital for conducting the necessary analysis to determine the cause of death, it added.

The Forensic Medicine Authority confirmed that the samples have been examined and measures are being taken to hand them over to Hurghada's public prosecution in preparation for delivering them to the deceased's family or a delegate from the British Embassy in Cairo as required by legal procedures in such cases, SIS said.

All measures were legal and taken by forensic experts, it added.

SIS urged the media outlets to seek accuracy while reporting to preserve credibility and avoid directing baseless accusations against others.
]]>
10/22/2018 12:36:26 AM
<![CDATA[North Sinai’s residents: stability restored in north Sinai ]]>
One of North Sinai’s residents, Mohamed Hamdan, said that during the previous period, North Sinai’s residents could take hours to move from one place to another inside the governorate due to the security measures, including checkpoints, ambushes, and barriers.

On the contrary, he added, nowadays he could travel from Sheikh Zuweid to El-Arish in less than half an hour, proving, as he referred, that North Sinai is currently witnessing stability and security.

North Sinai has been in lockdown for seven months as the Egyptian military has launched Sinai Comprehensive Operation to uproot terrorism from North Sinai’s cities.

As a result, residents have been subjected to restrictions on travel and severe shortages of food, medicine and fuel; in addition, schools and universities have been closed off due to the ongoing operation.

In this regard, El-Arish’s residents pointed out that their suffering, caused due to the war against terrorism, is relieved as gas stations have been reopened and taxi stands have resumed their work between El-Arish and other North Sinai cities and between El-Arish and other governorates such as Cairo and Ismailia.

Head of Sinai Reconstruction Authority in El-Arish Mostafa Ayash stated that 13 development communities are being built in North Sinai, including houses, farms, agricultural areas and training centers in Central Sinai and Bir al-Abd areas, worth around LE 56 million.

He added that fish farms have been established to increase income and provide training and job opportunities for North Sinai residents, referring that more projects such as poultry farms and packaging of olives will be carried out.

Meanwhile, North Sinai governorate announced the list of completed projects in Al-Rawda village as many homes have been upgraded by Misr Al-Khair Foundation, Orman Charity Association, Al-Azhar, Sinai Reconstruction Authority and the Ministry of Housing.

Furthermore, LE 35 million were allocated for establishing sanitation projects in Al-Rawda village, including the construction of treatment plants by the National Authority for Drinking Water and Sanitation and renewing water network.

The Ministry of Electricity agreed on installing 60 electricity meters to the families of martyrs and victims, and LE 7.5 million were dedicated to construct modern youth centers in the village.

The army and police started on February 9, 2018, a comprehensive military operation in Central and North Sinai to uproot terrorism.

Presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said the Sinai 2018 Operation is a result of a series of military efforts and investigations since 2013.
]]>
10/21/2018 4:05:55 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt organizes training program for South Sudanese cadres ]]>
Egyptian Ambassador to South Sudan Ahmed Bahaa el-Din said that a press conference was held at Juba International Airport’s presidential hall to bid farewell to South Sudan cadres.

During the press conference, Bahaa el-Din stressed Egypt’s keenness to enhance the capabilities of South Sudan cadres in all fields as around 200 South Sudanese cadres were trained in 2017 and 2018 in medicine, engineering, agriculture, business, and electricity.

He remarked that the training programs come as part of Egypt’s appreciation for the historical bonds between the two countries.

South Sudan has been suffering a civil war for five years; tens of thousands were killed, while millions were displaced as the country plunged into famine.

Cairo hosted a three-day meeting with the South Sudan People's Liberation Movement on November 13, 2017 at the headquarters of the Egyptian Intelligence Service as it witnessed the signing of a political agreement between South Sudan's rivals.

The agreement was signed under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

Signing the agreement is deemed a crucial step towards a permanent cease-fire in South Sudan before the renewed peace talks scheduled to take place in early February in Ethiopia.

Sixteen people, including three children, have been killed less than a month after South Sudan's cease-fire started, reported monitors.

Government and rebel forces have been fighting since December 2013 due to infighting among rows of the popular movement.

Both sides agreed that Egypt's General Intelligence will make the necessary coordination to carry out what was agreed upon during the meeting.

In September 2018, President Sisi told his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir during a meeting held on the sidelines of the Forum on China and Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that Egypt supports all efforts to finalize a peaceful political settlement in Juba.

Sisi said in the meeting that he backs a national dialogue in South Sudan to resolve the root causes and achieve national reconciliation.

]]>
10/21/2018 12:14:29 PM
<![CDATA[Military courts to receive results of Wahat attack's investigation]]>
This report will include the results of the investigations with the defendants such as, security investigations about the defendants, their confessions and statements from witnesses.

Security investigations revealed that those defendants wanted to revive the armed actions through the formation of a new armed cells with several names most notably "Hasam and Lawaa El-Thawra”, in response to the arrest of outlawed Muslim Brotherhood leaders and members. They selected elements of the movements and had them undergone advanced military trainings inside and outside the country. The movement carried out terrorist operations inside Egypt in an attempt to overthrow the regime and the seizure of power, besides their operations abroad.

These terrorist cells have succeeded in forming a group of sub-cells that were supposed to carry out a number of terrorist operations targeting State’s institutions and citizens, such as the army, the police, the judiciary, and several Coptic churches.

The Interior Ministry released a statement immediately on which it announced that 16 security officers were killed during clashes with militants in Wahat in the Western Desert in the early hours of Saturday on October 20, which led to the killing of 15 militants.

The statement added that the Interior Ministry’s National Security Service received information about the location of dangerous militants taking shelter in the Western Desert’s kilo 135, and then a raid was ordered to be launched.

The statement concluded by asserting the Interior Ministry’s solidified determination to eradicate terrorism and dry out its breeding grounds and hotbeds.

Following the deadly clashes, some security sources pointed an accusing finger at Hisham Ashmawi, the operation commander of the Sinai-based Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (ABM), the country’s most active jihadist group.

Ashmawi or Abu Omar Al-Muhajir is a former officer in the Egyptian Commandos, who received advanced training on special operation tasks in main US training institutes. Now he has turned militant and became the operations engineer of ABM and in charge of the most important qualitative operations carried out in Sinai, Cairo and Al-Farafra oasis to deserve the title of the most dangerous wanted person in Egypt.

Hesham Ashmawy, was arrested on Monday, October 8 in Derna, Libya.
]]>
10/21/2018 9:17:18 AM
<![CDATA[New draft law to regulate advertisements: Parliamentarian ]]>
Amer told Egypt Today that a draft law calls for including of visual and audio advertising, readable advertising, external advertising "posters" and marketing under control.

He added that article (4) of the draft law stipulates that any person who practices the profession of advertising without obtaining a license from the Syndicate of Advertisements will be punished with imprisonment for a period not exceeding 6 months and a fine of not less than LE 10,000 and not more than LE 100,000.

“In order to obtain a license to practice the advertising profession and for marketing companies on television must be subject to the consumer protection” he said, adding that any violation of these conditions is considered a crime punishable by law from the financial fine to the withdrawal of the license and the union has the right to initiate legal action against it.

The draft law also aims at developing the profession of advertising, updating and encouraging the industry, protecting the rights of workers in the profession, securing their future, achieving social care for them, raising their cultural, intellectual and material level, providing pensions, social security and health insurance for them and their families.

“The draft law exempts the Advertising Syndicate from all taxes and duties imposed by the government,” Amer added.

In recent years, advertising have increased significantly, especially in the field of medicines, and have seen numerous demands inside and outside the parliament to put an end to the chaos that hit the advertising market recently.
]]>
10/21/2018 3:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Who are Asiri, al-Qahtani dismissed over Khashoggi’s case]]>
Ahmed Al Asiri

The major general grew up in Asir governorate southwest the kingdom. Throughout his military career, he received training in Sandhurst Military Academy in the UK, the United States Military Academy, and Special Military School of Saint-Cyr in France.

Assiri is fluent in English and French which made him an ideal candidate to be the spokesperson of the Arab Coalition in Yemen.

Saud al-Qahtani

Qahtani
FILE - Former Advisor to Royal Court Saud bin Abdullah al-Qahtani

al-Qahtani was born in the Saudi capital al-Riyadh in July 1978. He received a bachelor degree in law from King Saud University and a master’s degree with honors in criminal justice from Naif Arab University for Security Sciences (NAUSS). al-Qahtani moved to the Crown Prince Court after he had been a captain in King Faisal Air Academy where he was teaching law, and managing the Officers Affairs Department.

In 2003, he had worked as legal advisor to the secretariat of then Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz before he became the secretariat’s media director a year later. al-Qahtani was a consultant at the office of the court deputy chairman, and then, at the office of the court chairman.

In 2008, al-Qahtani was appointed as the director general of media monitoring and analysis for the Royal Court. In 2012, he became advisor to the Royal Court and in 2015 he was given the rank of a minister.

In addition, al-Qahtani was also the supervisor general of the Center for Studies and Information Affairs. In 2017, he was appointed as chairman of the Saudi Federation for Cyber Security and Programming (SAFCSP).

al-Qahtani is on the board of directors of King Abdul Aziz University, the Misk Foundation, Misk Schools, the Royal Commission for Al-Ula, and the Saudi Union for Cyber Security and Programming.

Late on Friday, Saudi Arabia announced the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi for the first time since his disappearance after he had visited the country's consulate in Istanbul earlier this month. The kingdom announced the discharge of five high-ranking officials over the case and the detention of 18 suspects.

Know latest updates in Jamal Khashoggi's killing, world reactions

CAIRO - 20 October 2018: Late on Friday, Saudi Arabia said the journalist Jamal Khashoggi - who went missing after visiting the country's consulate in Istanbul earlier this month - is dead. This is the first time the kingdom has admitted Khashoggi is dead.



]]>
10/20/2018 5:52:12 PM
<![CDATA[Draft law substitutes drug use penalty by treatment ]]>
If enough signatures are gathered, the draft law will be referred by the speaker to the concerned committee and later voted upon in a general assembly.

Currently, Article 39 of the Egyptian penal code states that if a person gets arrested while using drugs, s/he must be fined for LE1,000 - LE3,000 and sentenced for one year in prison maximum. The penalty is doubled, if the drug is cocaine or heroin. Instead, the proposed law suggests a treatment for three to six months.

Talaat explained that the aim of his suggestion is protecting youth - composing the largest segment of those who consume drugs - by inhibiting them from dealing with criminals in prison and eventually turning into outlaws themselves. He added that serving a sentence in jail would ruin the future of many.

Talaat argues that if the law is promulgated, the state would reduce the budget allocated for prisoners costs and that the millions of pounds that the Ministry of Social Solidarity already spends on anti-drug awareness campaigns would be better used.

The idea stirred debate as opponents speculate it would increase the number of addicts and not fulfill the purpose for which it was articulated.

The latest report prepared by the Ministry of Social Solidarity last year indicates that the rate of drug use is 10 percent - double the global rate - while that of addiction is 2.5 percent.

The minimum age of drug use became 11 years old. Tramadol is the top drug for addicts with 51 percent, while hash is the most common among drug users. Drug use and addiction is high among drivers and workers in the craft sector with 24 and 19 percent respectively.
]]>
10/20/2018 2:51:19 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan army talks continue in Egypt; 3 leading councils established ]]>
According to statement issued by Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari regarding the Libyan army unity talks, the main three newly established councils are the National Security Council, the Supreme Defense Council and the General Command Council.

All of the councils’ structures, tasks and duties were discussed and agreed upon during the talks.

All of the factions which attended the meetings discussed new suggestions to control the armed groups within certain locations in Libya. No new suggestions were issued by the Egyptian party according to the statement.

In August, Mismari praised President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi for officially announcing support for the LNA, saying that such announcements are vital as Libya’s enemies deceive people and use media to mislead them.

During the sixth edition of the National Youth Conference, President Sisi affirmed Egypt's support to the LNA in its combat against armed groups and militias. He also stressed on the importance of the unity of the Libyan army and the need to hold elections in Libya as soon as possible.

In his interview with eXtra news TV Channel, Mismari said that the Egyptian president has always supported the LNA and that his statements came after he deeply studied the situation in Libya. He added that Sisi is a military person who knows how to analyze the strategic situation.

The LNA spokesman praised the age-old Egyptian role in supporting Libya, saying that Egypt has even supported Libya in natural crises and tribal fights which Turkey had caused, according to him. He added that Egypt is keen to continue such efforts.
]]>
10/20/2018 2:26:18 PM
<![CDATA[Know latest updates in Jamal Khashoggi's killing, world reactions]]>
Following this acknowledgement, many procedures have been taken by Saudi Arabia against high ranking officials in the Kingdom. Egypt Today presents the last updates of Khashoggi case.

Deputy Head of KSA Intelligence, 5 officials relieved from posts

Saudi Arabia has said that it has fired five high-ranking officials in connection with finally admitting that a journalist has died.

The kingdom said it has fired deputy intelligence chief Ahmed Assiri and royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani.







18 Saudis detained

Saudi Arabia statement that released on Friday said that 18 suspects have been detained. Those suspects who had been detained, but not named, got into a fight with Khashoggi, which led to his death.

'While the investigations are still ongoing into the case with the 18 Saudi detainees, the Kingdom expresses its deep regret at the painful developments that have taken place,' the statement added.

Saudi Arabia's full statement on Khashoggi:

The case of the disappearance of the citizen / Jamal bin Ahmed Khashoggi drew the attention of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the highest levels, and due to the circumstances surrounding his disappearance, the Kingdom took the necessary procedures to clarify the truth and began by dispatching a security team to Turkey on 6 October 2018 to investigate and cooperate with counterparts in Turkey.

That was followed by the formation of a joint security team between the Kingdom and the Republic of Turkey, with a permission given to the Turkish security authorities to enter the Consulate of the Kingdom in Istanbul and the residence of the Consul, for the Kingdom's keenness to clarify all the facts, as the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has issued an order to the Public Prosecutor of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, No. 5709 dated 3/2/1440 H to conduct investigations into the case The Public Prosecutor has already investigated a number of suspects on the basis of information provided by the Turkish authorities to the Joint Security Team to determine whether any of them had any information or relation to what has been happened related where the information that transferred to the security authorities indicated that the citizen Jamal Khashoggi had left the consulate.

In implementation to the directives of the leadership of the need to clearly know the truth and declare it transparently whatever, the preliminary investigations conducted by the Public Prosecution showed that the suspect had travelled to Istanbul to meet with the citizen Jamal Khashoggi as there were indications of the possibility of his returning back to the country.

The results of the preliminary investigations also revealed that the discussions that took place with the citizen / Jamal Khashoggi during his presence in the Consulate of the Kingdom in Istanbul by the suspects did not go as required and developed in a negative way led to a fight and a quarrel between some of them and the citizen / Jamal Khashoggi, yet the brawl aggravated to lead to his death and their attempt to conceal and cover what happened.

The source added that while the investigations are still ongoing into the case with the 18 Saudi detainees, the Kingdom expresses its deep regret at the painful developments that have taken place and stresses the commitment of the authorities in the Kingdom to bring the facts to the public opinion, to hold all those involved accountable and bring them to justice by referring them to the competent courts in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Trump praises Saudi explanation of Khashoggi's killing as 'good first step'

US President Donald Trump says Saudi explanation for Jamal Khashoggi's killing is credible and a 'good first step'. The American leader said he does not believe Saudi Arabia's leadership lied to him, adding that the US needs Saudi Arabia to counteract Iran.

The White House added it is 'saddened' by the confirmed death of the Saudi journalist.
'The United States acknowledges the announcement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that its investigation into the fate of Jamal Khasshoggi is progressing and that it has taken action against the suspects it has identified thus far,' Press Secretary Sarah Sanders wrote in a statement.

'We will continue to follow international investigations into this tragic incident and advocate for justice that is timely, transparent and in accordance with all due process.
'We offer our deepest condolences to his family, fiancee and friends.'


Reactions to Saudi's move in the case

Egypt hailed on Saturday the results of investigations announced by Saudi top prosecutor into the killing of the journalist Gamal Khashoggi.

"Egypt sees that the brave and decisive decisions and actions taken by the Saudi King in this matter align with his majesty's approach that respects the principles of law and applications of effective justice," the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body, the Council of Senior Scholars, on Saturday said the king’s decisions on the death of Jamal Khashoggi “achieve justice and equality in accordance with Islamic law”

The United Arab Emirates on Saturday backed Saudi Arabia’s statement about the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the official news agency WAM said.
The Gulf Arab state “commends directives and decisions of Saudi King Salman on the issue of Kashoggi,” WAM said on Twitter.

Bahrain commended King Salman's decisions for justice, fairness and truth, saying that Saudi Arabia will remain a state of justice, values and principles.

Washington Post writer and veteran Saudi reporter Jamal Khashoggi, 59, disappeared in Istanbul, Turkey after entering the consulate of Saudi Arabia on October 2.

After completing its own investigation into what happened to the Post's Global Opinions section columnist at the Saudi consulate in Turkey, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia asserted on Friday that Khashoggi died following an altercation on the day he entered the facility.]]>
10/20/2018 2:07:48 PM
<![CDATA[Migrant caravan storms Guatemala border into Mexico]]>
Multiple migrants, federal police and journalists were wounded as the crowd hurled rocks and other objects at the security cordon on the Mexican side, an AFP correspondent said.

Chanting "Yes we can!" and "Mexico! Mexico!" hundreds of migrants climbed or violently tore down a series of barriers leading to the final fence and police line on Mexico's southern border.

"We ask you to please name a committee to hold a dialogue with officials from the National Migration Institute. Don't continue putting women's and children's lives at risk," a Mexican official pleaded with them through a bullhorn.

The migrants could be seen passing babies overhead through the crowd, as women holding crying children by the hand or pressing their infants to their chests streamed past the broken metal barriers and onto the bridge.

"Open please!" one woman said through tears at the final barrier, carrying a baby in her arms.

"The children are suffocating," said a young man.

"We're going to get in! We're going to get in together!" shouted another young man as the migrant caravan -- whose journey has triggered escalating anti-immigrant rhetoric from President Donald Trump ahead of congressional elections -- massed on the bridge.

- Defying Trump's threats -

Various caravans of migrants have been traveling by bus or on foot from Honduras, mostly through Guatemala, in the hope of not just reaching Mexico but heading on to the United States.

"The journey has been very tough, very difficult but there's no work in Honduras," 20-year-old Glenda Salvador, a mother of two toddlers, told AFP earlier in the day as the migrants massed in the Guatemalan town of Tecun Uman, close to the bridge.

On Thursday, Trump branded the migrant caravan an "onslaught" and an "assault on our country" in a series of typically fiery tweets.

He also threatened to send in the US military to "CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!" and keep out "MANY CRIMINALS" among the migrants.

He called on Mexico to ensure the migrants do not reach the US border while threatening Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador with financial penalties.

- 'American sovereignty' -

In Mexico City, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said after meeting his Mexican counterpart that migration across the two countries' border is reaching "a moment of crisis."

"The challenge related to security for our southern border is... a challenge for American sovereignty," he said.

Authorities in Ciudad Hidalgo, on the Mexican side, were expecting around 3,000 migrants to arrive in total.

They had been preparing for an influx of migrants, with local police chief Gerardo Hernandez saying that five shelters had been set up to accommodate up to 4,000 people.

- UN asylum help -

On Thursday, Mexico's ambassador to Guatemala, Luis Manuel Lopez Moreno, met with migrants camped out on the border to try to discourage them from crossing illegally.

A federal police helicopter circled overhead while observers from the national Human Rights Commission were sent to various points along the 900-kilometer (550 miles) border.

"We are offering documented entry to those who have a passport and visa, and to those who do not, documented entry via an application for refugee status, on humanitarian grounds. We will address every case," he said.

Mexico's Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray meanwhile told reporters he had met with United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, who said the UNHCR would help the Mexican government to process asylum applications for those in the caravan.

The Honduran migrant caravan is seen as a consequence of poverty and insecurity in the Central American country, wracked by gang and drug-related violence.

With a homicide rate of 43 per 100,000 citizens, Honduras is one of the most violent countries in the world.]]>
10/20/2018 2:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Afghans set to vote amid chaos, corruption and Taliban threats]]>
The United Nations, which has been supporting the process, has urged Afghans to "use this opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote" and called for the election to take place in a safe and secure environment.

Officials worry that violence will keep voters away from polling stations, particularly following the assassination of the police chief of Kandahar on Thursday.

Taliban militants have issued a series of statements telling people not to take part in what they consider a foreign-imposed process and warning election centres may be attacked.

Thousands of police and soldiers have been deployed across the country but already nine candidates have been assassinated and hundreds of people killed and wounded in election-related attacks.

Election authorities originally planned 7,355 polling centres but only 5,100 will be able to open due to security concerns, according to the Independent Election Commission, overseeing the vote.

Voting has been postponed for at least a week in Kandahar province following the killing of police commander Gen. Abdul Razeq. It has also been delayed in Ghazni province, by arguments about the representation of different ethnic groups.

FRAUD FEARS

Widespread allegations of voter fraud present a challenge to the legitimacy of the process, seen by Afghanistan's international partners as a vital step ahead of the more important presidential election next year.

Afghan politics is still poisoned by the aftermath of a disputed presidential vote in 2014 that forced the two main rival groupings to form an unstable partnership. Both sides were accused of massive electoral cheating.

Political sleaze has put Afghanistan near the bottom of Transparency International's world corruption index.

"Fraud, the abuse of power and corruption are going to be the main challenge, much more than security," said Aziz Rafiee, a political analyst and executive director of the Afghan Civil Society Forum.

Some 8.8 million voters have been registered but an unknown number, by some estimates as many as 50 percent, are believed to be fraudulently or incorrectly registered.

About 2,450 candidates are competing for 250 seats in the lower house. Under the constitution, parliament reviews and ratifies laws but has little real power.

In a bid to ensure the vote is fair, biometric voter registration technology has been rushed in at the last minute.

But many fear the untried technology, which was still being distributed to provincial voting centres as recently as Thursday, will add to the confusion without eliminating fraud. ]]>
10/20/2018 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. says Russia, China, Iran seek to disrupt elections]]>
Influence operations from those nations include use of social media to amplify divisive issues, seeding disinformation about political candidates and sponsoring content in English-language media, four intelligence and law enforcement agencies said in a joint statement.

They issued the warning on Friday as the U.S. government unsealed criminal charges against Russian national Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, 44. She is the first individual to be indicted for attempting to interfere in the 2018 U.S. elections, according to a government official with knowledge of the matter.

"Foreign interference in U.S. elections is a threat to our democracy," said the statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Justice Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security. "Identifying and preventing this interference is a top priority of the Federal Government."

The agencies said they had no evidence that any foreign actor sought to compromise voting systems in a bid to prevent voting, change results or prevent authorities from tallying votes in the November congressional elections.

Some state and local governments, which run polling sites, have reported attempts to access their networks, but officials were able to "prevent access or quickly mitigate these attempts," the four agencies said. ]]>
10/20/2018 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[VICMED project tops Cairo Water Week projects ]]>
It introduced the current state of the project, its latest developments, in addition to the required resources for the completion of feasibility studies. It is expected that the first phase of the project will cost around $ 5.6 million.

Throughout the session, examples of navigation projects that were conducted on international rivers such as the Rhine, the Danube, the Congo, Senegal, Niger and the Mekong were presented. These navigation projects aim to support development of their countries and raise their people’s living standard through sustainable water management.

The participants stressed that this project strongly support economic developments and regional cooperation between Nile Basin Countries in various fields as it’s a route that will facilitate the transportation of people and goods between these countries. It will also serve the Nile Basin countries that have no access to the seas and oceans.

They stressed the importance of moving forward in the project regardless of its completion period as its normal for these kinds of projects to take long time.

In another session, Director of the Egyptian committee for the Lake Victoria-Mediterranean Sea navigation line-linking project Tahany Saleet asserted the importance of studying the Nile River as the longest waterway in the world. She referred to the importance of transport between countries for regional integration and revealed more details of the project. Basin countries need to cooperate to benefit together from the Nile.

Saleet stated that efforts were being made to find common points, which revolve around the general goal of “one continent, one river, and one people.”

This project is aimed to find a sustainable means of transport to reduce poverty among the Nile Basin countries.

“In order to achieve this, we need more studies on the components of the project namely navigational corridors, infrastructure, rehabilitation centers for the workforce, and legal and institutional frameworks and agreements between African countries”, Saleet said.

During the session, Saleet asserted that the framework of the linkage project is increasing and the stakeholders are increasing. She also confirmed that preliminary feasibility studies have been conducted by Egyptian experts and approved.

She said that the outcomes of the preliminary feasibility study divided the Nile into five sectors. The study led to proposing six channels of transport, most notably the one through the Nile, through the establishment of the navigational linkage corridor.

Ethiopia has requested to annex the Baro River, which COMESA agreed to, and Sudan requested to annex the corridor extending from Wadi Halfa to Khartoum, which was also approved, she said.The Congo requested the annexation of the Smeliki River, as well, Saleet said.

Saleet stated that the project would be implemented with a grant from the African Development Bank of US$650,000, pointing out the project needs more studies and training programs.

To create mutual benefits for the Nile Basin Countries, Egypt has proposed a notion to create a trade shipping route starting from Lake Victoria in Central Africa to the Mediterranean Sea, also known as the VICMED project.

In case you missed it

VICMED: A feasible bid for smooth-sailing Nile basin ties?

CAIRO - 18 August 2018: To create mutual benefits for the Nile Basin Countries, Egypt has proposed a notion to create a trade shipping route starting from Lake Victoria in Central Africa to the Mediterranean Sea, also known as the VICMED project. Egypt, which suffers from water scarcity, has launched the notion of a shipping route in 2013.




Egypts first Cairo Water Week (CWW) kicked off on Sunday under the auspices of President Sisi, aiming at increasing the public awareness of water rationalization for the sustainable development amid state of water shortage.

The four-day CWW is being held in cooperation with the European Union and the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to tackle water issues, amid climate change that impacts the world’s freshwater. In March 2016, the United Nations Environment Program warned that 50 percent of the world’s population would face “severe water stress” by 2030.

The 2018 CWW is launched under the title “Water Conservation for Sustainable Development”. It aims at fostering awareness of water issues for sustainable development, facing water challenges via non-traditional methods and modern technology, and supporting implementation of integrated water management.

On the sidelines of the CWW, the African Young Water Professionals Forum was held, gathering 24 young people from 12 African countries of Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, Malawi, Tanzania, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Ghana , and Morocco.

Meanwhile, the fourth session of the Islamic Conference of OIC for Water Ministers, held on Sunday, Oct. 14 on the sidelines of the CWW.
]]>
10/19/2018 3:26:55 PM
<![CDATA[All news on Mostafa El Naggar’s enforced disappearance 'false': SIS]]>
The news circulated ranged from allegations of his arrest to claims that he was involuntarily disappeared.

SIS’s statement is based on official information obtained from the competent authorities that clarified the following facts:

Dr. Mostafa Ahmed Mohammed el-Naggar was and still is a fugitive evading a 3 years prison sentence he received in case No. 478 of 2014 known as "the case of insulting the judiciary" since Dec. 30, 2017.

Through his lawyer, the defendant appealed against the verdict before the Court of Cassation, however he should have surrendered himself to the authorities to implement the ruling at least one day before the hearing of the appeal in accordance with the law.

The date of the appeal was set on Oct. 15, and the court hearing was held on time as planned, but in absentia since the aforementioned person did not turn himself in to the authorities.

Two days before the session, the defendant published a 1000-word post on his Facebook page regarding the case he was convicted in, and mentioned the possibility of his imprisonment.

After this post and the court’s decision to reject the appeal, several reports and rumors circulated in local and foreign press claiming authorities have arrested El-Naggar and/or involved in his disappearance.


After taking all the above into careful consideration, SIS stressed that all the competent authorities and agencies categorically denied Dr. Mostafa Ahmed Mohamed el-Naggar was arrested by security forces or that he turned himself in for that matter.

SIS also stressed that all the rumors and allegations of his enforced disappearance are “false” and that he is still a “fugitive” willingly evading a prison term issued against him.
Any allegations insinuating otherwise are merely baseless claims attempting to evade the implementation of a judicial ruling.
]]>
10/19/2018 12:57:10 PM
<![CDATA[Grand Mufti: Egypt to launch 1st Global Fatwa Index ]]>
This index will contribute to the renewal of fatwa throughout the country. It is considered a mechanism that adjusts the uncontrolled and out-of-order fatwas, Allam said.

Allam also announced the launch of an electronic platform (Hidaya), a multi-language religious education platform. It will start with 2000-hour audio and video records in Arabic.

This platform will actively participate in the renewal of religious discourse by presenting realistic models of fatwa renewal.

Allam’s announcement came during his participation in the fourth international conference organized by the General Secretariat for Fatwa Authorities Worldwide on fatwa renewal; the conference was inaugurated on Oct. 16 under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Endowments (Awqaf) Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa attended the event on behalf of the prime minister. Gomaa earlier asserted the importance of renewing fatwas to cope with the current time and place.

This came in the speech Gomaa delivered on behalf of the prime minister during the inauguration of the fourth international conference on fatwa renewal on Oct.16. It is important to keep up with civilization without changing the basics of religion, Gomaa said.

Gomaa stressed the importance of taking the living conditions into consideration when issuing a fatwa especially in relation to economic, social and humanitarian issues.

Gomaa announced that the Awqaf Ministry is ready to train imams from different countries of the world for free as part of Egypt's pioneering role to serve humanity.

Justice Minister Hossam Abdel Rahim attended the inauguration of the event in the presence of scholars and religious institutions from 73 countries.

Muftis from Palestine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chad and Lebanon participated in the inaugural session of the conference.

The three-day conference discussed a number of economic, political and social issues along with the importance of fatwas.
]]>
10/19/2018 11:24:11 AM
<![CDATA[EU says Brexit deal can be done, but UK must act now]]>
A Brussels summit wrapped up without progress after British Prime Minister Theresa May offered no new proposals, beyond suggesting she could accept a longer transition period after Brexit.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was optimistic that a deal could be struck to avoid the potentially catastrophic prospect of Britain crashing out without agreement.

But several leaders said it was up to May to act.

"We have identified all potential scenarios from a technical point of view," French President Emmanuel Macron said as the summit wrapped up.

"Now the key element for a final deal is on the British side. The key element is a British political compromise."

May has been struggling since the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU to reconcile the demands of her eurosceptic Conservative party with the realities of negotiating with Brussels.

Her difficulties were laid bare by the fury sparked back home at her suggestion that she could extend a post-Brexit transition period to address the fraught issue of the Irish border.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, traditionally an ally of May's in the bloc, said "we have the instruments on the table and it should be doable".

"More than ever, the ball is in Britain's court," said Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.

- Longer transition -

European Council President Donald Tusk had asked May to come up with "concrete proposals" to resolve the Brexit deadlock when she addressed the other leaders before they held a summit dinner without her on Wednesday.

But officials said she made no such offer, instead pointing to progress made so far and urging them to have "courage" to find a deal.

The 27 leaders then refused to sign off on a special November summit planned to seal the divorce deal, pushing any agreement back to a December summit -- just four months before Brexit.

May said however that she might accept the EU's suggestion of extending the post-Brexit transition phase for a few months beyond December 2020 to allow more time to find a solution to the Irish border question.

Both sides have agreed there should be a legally-binding "backstop" arrangement to avoid frontier checks between British Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland if and until a new trade deal solves the issue.

This would come into effect after the transition ends -- but both sides strongly disagree on its terms, and the issue is holding up the rest of the Brexit talks.

"This prolongation of the transition period probably will happen. That's a good idea," European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said.

"I think this is giving us some room to prepare the future relationship in the best way possible."

But several EU nations expressed reservations that any extension would resolve the Irish issue, with both sides wedded to their positions.

The EU suggests that Northern Ireland stay aligned to its single market and customs union until a new trade deal is agreed, but London says this would damage the integrity of the UK.

It proposes instead that the whole United Kingdom temporarily follow EU customs rules, but Brussels has said any backstop cannot, by its nature, be time limited.

A senior British official confirmed Thursday that London's position has not changed, although Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar suggested there might be room for compromise.

- 'Closer to a deal' -

After talks with May on Wednesday, Varadkar said "we all recognise" that the British backstop would only apply until a trade deal is in place, so it would be "temporary, but cannot be time-limited".

May sidestepped the issue at her end of summit press conference, where she pointed to EU expressions of goodwill as proof that a deal could be done.

Merkel said: "Where there's a will, there should be a way."

And Tusk added: "What I feel today is we are closer to final solutions and the deal. But it's maybe a more emotional impression than a rational one."

May conceded: "There will be more difficult moments as we enter the final stages of the talks, but I'm convinced we will secure a good deal."

While the transition extension may not break the deadlock, it energised her critics in London, who warned Britain could not be indefinitely tied to the EU.

May suggested she did not expect any extension to be used, because she expected a trade deal before December 2020.]]>
10/19/2018 12:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Palestinian official salutes Sisi's outstanding efforts to end Palestinian splits]]>
Salama made the remarks on Thursday in an interview with MENA correspondent on the fringe of his participation in meetings of the Arab Labor Organization (ALO) board in Kuwait.

He called on Sisi to proceed with his painstaking efforts to restore the Palestinian unity.

He said the Palestinian people will never forget the Egyptian support for the just Palestinian cause in the various international forums.

He underlined the deeply-rooted Egyptian-Palestinian ties.

As for Palestinian laborers' conditions, Salama called for referring the report presented by the Palestinian delegation to the ALO in order to issue a resolution goading Israel into halting pressure on Palestinian workers.

Concerning the cash-strapped United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), he said the impasse is politically-motivated at first place, noting that UN agency's financial crisis is exacerbating.

The UNRWA crisis is meant to prod the Palestinian Authority into political concessions, he said, noting that more pressure is expected in the coming period.

He said the US' decision to suspend aid, including humanitarian assistance to hospitals in the occupied East Jerusalem, will have a ripple impact on the Palestinian economy and will up unemployment rate, especially as donor states failed to send the pledged assistance.

Salama stressed the Palestinian Authority would remain steadfast in the face of the challenges besetting it.

He voiced hope that Arab sisterly states would offer financial support for UNRWA after the US suspension of aid.

He expounded that the Palestinian leadership's suffering ensued from its rejection of the "deal of the century" tendered by US President Donald Trump.

Salama highlighted that this deal would liquidate the Palestinian cause, stressing commitment to international legitimacy resolutions.
]]>
10/18/2018 1:20:05 PM
<![CDATA[France closes Muslim Shia center on grounds of terrorism]]>
The decree was preceded by a police raid on the organization premises on October 2, where 11 members of the organization were detained and questioned. The raid took place on the grounds that the organization supports terrorist groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine.

The French police departments issued a statement then explaining the reasons behind the security raids on the Shia center, accusing the group of promoting ideas and ideologies against the French Republic’s values, besides supporting terrorist groups.

Zahra France center was founded in 2005, its activities focused on social and religious aspects, However the founder of the center, Yahia Gouasmi, started a political party in 2009 which ran for the European elections then, the party was accused of adopting anti-Semitic ideas by other French parties.
]]>
10/18/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[May faces showdown with EU leaders amid Brexit impasse]]>
This week's summit in Brussels was billed as a "moment of truth" for negotiations on Britain's exit from the bloc – but it seems so far the truth is that the two sides just cannot agree.

"I am going to ask Prime Minister May whether she has concrete proposals on how to break the impasse," EU president Donald Tusk declared.

But May, hemmed in by opponents in her own party and even in her own cabinet, has no such proposals.

"The prime minister set out her position and where she thinks the negotiations are yesterday," a Number 10 spokesman said Tuesday.

Even the choreography of Wednesday's summit opening emphasises British isolation.

May will meet one-on-one with Tusk at 17:45 (15:45 GMT) before briefing her 27 European colleagues. But then the rest of the EU leaders will leave to discuss Brexit over dinner without her.

Tusk has made it clear that if May and EU negotiator Michel Barnier do not offer signs of concrete progress towards a draft deal he will not call a November summit to sign it.

Instead, the whole circus could either be pushed back to December or – more dramatically – the EU could use the November weekend to meet on preparations for a "no-deal" Brexit.

Previously, both sides had agreed that Britain crashing out of the Union on March 29 next year with neither a divorce agreement nor a road-map to future ties would be an economic and diplomatic disaster.

But, after Britain's refusal to accept an indefinite legal "backstop" to prevent the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, doubts are mounting.

'No optimism'

"I think we are quite close to a no-deal," warned Konrad Szymanski, the Polish minister for European Affairs after a pre-summit meeting with his European counterparts in Luxembourg.

Back in Brussels, a stern Tusk said he had "no grounds for optimism" based on a report Tuesday from Barnier and May's appearance in parliament on Monday.

The main disagreement between London and Brussels is over how to keep the Irish border open after Brexit, but May is also fighting with her own MPs, who must ultimately approve the final divorce deal.

At a three-hour cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning, which included ministers with reservations about her strategy, May said a deal was possible if they all stood together.

"I'm convinced that if we as a government stand together and stand firm, we can achieve this," she said, according to her spokesman.

Arriving in Luxembourg to brief EU ministers, Barnier said: "We need more time to find a comprehensive agreement."

Press reports suggested Barnier is ready to add a year to the 21-month transition period planned for after Brexit day on March 29 – but this would not resolve the underlying issue over the Irish backstop.

No deal plans

Addressing MPs in the House of Commons on Monday, May had said a deal was "achievable" while sticking to her principles on the Irish border issue.

But a senior European official said the speech had only underscored for Barnier the uphill struggle he faces to get an agreement.

>> Read more: France prepares to introduce checks in Channel Tunnel in case of 'no deal' Brexit

To solve the Irish question, Britain has proposed staying aligned to the EU's customs rules until a wider trade deal can be signed that avoids the need for any frontier checks.

But her own eurosceptic Conservative MPs are demanding this "backstop" arrangement be time-limited, something the EU will not accept.

May said the EU was also insisting on its own "backstop" in case the London proposal did not work, which would see Northern Ireland alone stay aligned to the customs union and single market.

She says this would threaten the integrity of the United Kingdom – and it is strongly opposed by her Northern Irish allies from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Economists fear "no deal" Brexit would greatly disrupt trade, travel and manufacturers' supply chains in Europe, push Britain into recession and even have global consequences.

On Tuesday, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve Jerome Powell warned that a "disorderly Brexit" would slow the EU economy as a whole and have a knock-on effect on US banks.]]>
10/17/2018 3:43:17 PM
<![CDATA[MP to submit draft law calling for abolishing drug abuse punishment]]>
Talat told Egypt today that he will submit the draft law on October 21 to Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal.

According to Article (39) of the Penal Code, the penalty for drug abuse is imprisonment for a period not less than a year and a fine not less than LE 1,000, and not more than LE 3,000, Talat said.

The parliamentarian also explained that the draft law aims to protect youth from prisons and exchange ideas with them.



He added that the Ministry of Social Solidarity spends millions on awareness campaigns, advertisements about the dangers of addiction and on providing food and drinks for imprisoned users, stressing that allocating this money for treatment will be much better and more effective.

Talat affirmed that the draft law calls for the abolition of drug use punishment only, not trafficking, which is punished by life imprisonment.

In the same context, former Assistant to the Minister of Interior, Farouk al-Mekrahi, refused the suggestion, saying that drug abuse damages public health and awareness, and that it cannot be allowed.

Meanwhile, parliamentarian Abdel Moneam al-Emealy agreed with the suggestion, saying it will serve the youth, and calling for the establishment of health institutions.

Furthermore, Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali said in January that the rate of drug abuse and addiction in Egypt is twice the global rates, adding that the ministry launched a media campaign to face the phenomenon of driving under the influence of drugs among school bus drivers.
]]>
10/17/2018 2:53:49 PM
<![CDATA[Trump threatens to cut US aid to three central countries over immigration]]>
Late Tuesday, Trump said via Twitter that the U.S. had conveyed the same message to the governments of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, telling them that U.S. aid will stop if they allow migrants to travel from or across their countries with the intent of entering the United States without permission.

“Anybody entering the United States illegally will be arrested and detained, prior to being sent back to their country!” he added.]]>
10/17/2018 2:04:21 PM
<![CDATA[All you need to know about Egyptian nationality law amendments]]>
Earlier in October, the ministry also decided to allow 42 citizens, including 14 women and two children, to naturalize 11 other nationalities without retaining the Egyptian nationality.

However, there has been a great deal of interest regarding the latest amendments to the Egyptian nationality law. Egypt Today explains the reasons for Egyptian nationality withdrawal, how to regain it and the legal amendments to the Egyptian nationality law.

On September 21, 2017, Parliament issued an amendment to the law regarding withdrawal of the Egyptian nationality: “The Egyptian citizenship will be withdrawn from individuals found guilty of participating in a terrorist act, communicating with terrorists or gathering information for terrorists.”

This means that the Egyptian citizenship will be withdrawn from any terrorist after a final verdict is issued by the court.

Supporters of the amendment stressed it protects the national security of the country.
On the other hand, opponents say that this amendment violates constitutional law as it is the citizens' right to keep their nationality, and no law can take that right away from them.

Reasons for withdrawal of the Egyptian nationality

According to Law No. 26 of 1975, the basic reasons for revoking the nationality include:
1. If the citizen takes another nationality without the permission of the Egyptian government.

2. If the Egyptian citizen enters the military service of a foreign country without being approved by the Ministry of Defense.

3. If a court ruling is issued against an individual who is involved in damaging public security.

4. If the Cabinet orders an individual working abroad to leave his job, the nationality shall be revoked after six months of his notification if he fails to oblige.

5. If an individual joins a foreign body whose purpose is to destroy the social or economic system of the state.

6. If an individual works for a foreign state or government at war with Egypt.

7. If an individual works with countries that cut off diplomatic relations with Egypt.

8. If an individual works with a Zionist governmental or non-governmental entity.

9. If an individual takes the Egyptian nationality by cheating and/or presenting false papers.

Ahmed Mahran, manager of the Cairo Center for Political and Legal Studies, said that withdrawing the nationality comes upon a decision of the Cabinet and must be published in the state’s official Gazette within thirty days from the date of issuance.

If the citizen wants to unilaterally revoke their nationality, one only needs to sign an application to be submitted to the Ministry of Interior, according to Esmat el-Merghani, President of the Afro-Asian Lawyers Federation.

Regaining the Egyptian nationality

If an individual’s nationality has been revoked, they have the ability to file a lawsuit requesting to regain their citizenship. If any individual is prosecuted of crimes committed during the period of their nationality revocation, the final decision will be issued by the Interior Minister. It is not possible for one to regain their citizenship if it has been withdrawn for over five years.

According to the Egyptian law, the acquisition of another nationality is acceptable, but a dual-nationality request must be submitted to officials. Egyptians who have acquired a foreign nationality may retain their Egyptian citizenship if the other country permits it.

Citizens with dual-nationality do not perform military service and cannot enroll in military and police academies or run for office in Parliament.

For his part, Ayman Salameh, an expert on international law, explained that the reissuance of citizenship is the right of every citizen; however, if one relinquishes it again, the individual will be subject to many legal obstacles. He pointed out that a person who relinquishes their nationality will have a very weak chance of obtaining it again.

In the same context, on April 19, the Egyptian citizenship of a Moroccan citizen was withdrawn because she obtained the Egyptian citizenship through fraud and false documents.

Also, citizenship received by Palestinians during the era of ousted President Mohammed Morsi was withdrawn; the most prominent of these Palestinians is Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar.

Sources told Egypt Today that the total number of Palestinians who obtained the Egyptian citizenship in the era of Morsi was around 8,000, mostly obtained fraudulently.

The House of Representatives approved in July 2018, a draft law introduced by the Cabinet amending the nationality law, giving adult foreigners the right to apply for the Egyptian citizenship if they have stayed in Egypt for five years and have LE 7 million ($391,400) in deposit.

In case the nationality is granted to the foreigner following the authorities’ approval, the value of the deposit goes to the Egyptian state treasury, according to the law.
Only 11 parliamentarians rejected the law, according to media reports. A number of parliamentarians voiced concerns that the new amendments can be exploited, calling on the Parliament to prioritize national security.

According to the law, foreigners residing in Egypt would be divided into foreigners with special accommodation, foreigners with normal accommodation, foreigners with temporary accommodation and foreigners with banking deposit.

Following the approval of the Cabinet, the Interior Ministry is authorized to determine those who can be granted accommodation licenses, the license duration, in addition to the deposit value and the currency used. The ministry also determines, according to the law, the banks the money can be deposited in.

MP and journalist Mostafa Bakri said that although he believes that the authorities will check the foreigners' files before they are granted the nationality, he rejects the idea of obtaining the nationality for “a 5-year bank deposit.”

Bakri expressed concerns about the law, claiming that 7,000 terrorists were granted the nationality during former Muslim Brotherhood affiliated President Morsi.

MP Haitham al-Hariri also expressed his rejection to the law, saying that foreign investors call for the facilitation of visa and accommodation procedures and not the nationality.

In a sharp tone, political analyst Mohamed al-Ezaby warned that the law will allow the agents of the hostile countries to obtain the nationality to be able to control the Egyptian economy.

Threatening the Parliament, Ezaby said that if the Parliament passes the law, a signature campaign will be launched and submitted to the Supreme Constitutional Court with the aim of declaring the current Parliament illegitimate.

The dispute around the issue started about two years ago. Moreover, in 2017, renowned Lawyer Samir Sabri commented on granting the nationality for a deposit, saying that it is wholly unconstitutional.

On the other hand, former Prime Minister Sherif Ismail defended the Cabinet’s draft law, saying that many countries grant their citizenships for foreigners with banking deposits, affirming that the deposit will not be enough for a foreigner to obtain the Egyptian nationality in case security conditions are not fulfilled.]]>
10/17/2018 1:38:05 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi stresses strength of Egyptian-Russian strategic relations]]>
On his part, the Russian president declared that Egyptian-Russian ties grew on all levels and scales, especially in the economic sector as trade exchange rose by 20 percent mid-2018 compared to last year. Putin stated he looks forward to more deliberation and coordination in addition to diversification and development of cooperation aspects, especially when it comes to Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant.



The Russian leader added he aspires that continuous communication persists through the 2 + 2 committee comprising the defense and foreign ministers of both countries.

On the other hand, Sisi thanked his Russian counterpart for his supportive stances towards Egypt and for the warm welcome and generous hospitality.

Both presidents held talks during an official meeting in Sochi on joint cooperation and international files of mutual interest. The summit started by a private session comprising both presidents only followed by another including delegations of both countries.

Press Conference

Prior to the press conference, Egyptian and Russian foreign ministers Sameh Shokry and Sergey Lavrov signed the Strategic Political Memorandum. Later on, Sisi and Putin signed a memorandum pertinent to the Comprehensive Partnership and Strategic Cooperation Agreement.

IMG_0387
Egyptian and Russian delegations in Sochi summit, Russia. 17 October 2918. Press Photo

Both leaders started their speeches by extending condolences to the families of victims of Crimea college bomb attack that took place earlier on Wednesday and killed 18 wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

Bilateral Relations

Putin stated that the size of trade exchange between Egypt and Russia is $6.7 billion saying that Egypt’s collaboration with the Eurasian Asiatic Commission is most welcome aiming it would boost economic cooperation.

The Russian president added that his country is expected to sign partnerships with Egyptian companies that will take part in the Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant project which was discussed with his Egyptian counterpart. He added that the partnership between Egypt and Russia will extend to the oil sector capitalizing on his country’s expertise in the sector.

Putin stated that the prospective Russian Economic Zone in SCzone would attract investments of $7 billion creating jobs. He added that the production of such project would be mainly directed to African markets. He added that 1,300 railcars will be delivered to Egypt this year.

President Sisi said that the Russian Economic Zone will cause a shift from trade exchange between Egypt and Russia into industrial cooperation which diversifies the types of Russian goods in the Egyptian market.

Putin said he discussed with Sisi further military and technical cooperation. The Russian president affirmed that Egypt is “doing its best to secure Russian tourists.”

Regional Affairs

The Egyptian leader stated that the coordination between both countries extends to all regional matters out of their faith in the importance of reinstating stability in the region and saving its countries from destruction and demolition. Putin stated that Egyptian and Russian stances on different regional and international issues are close.

Putin said he spoke to the Egyptian president about steps Russia intends to take to achieve a settlement in Syria. He stated that his country is keeping a close eye on what is happening in Idlib that is still housing a big number of terrorists and militants that should be moved elsewhere and that Turkey was informed of his state’s stance.

Putin named the activation of the constitution-drafting committee and the return of refugees as Russia priorities in Syria in present praising the Egyptian role in bringing some parties to sit for talks in Sochi.

“We look forward to solutions that preserve the unity of Syria .. and the unification of the Libyan military institution,” Sisi said stressing that all states must inhibit the movements of terrorists who infiltrate into war-torn countries. The Russian leader pledged that his country would deploy efforts to reinstate stability in Libya.

“We talked about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process” which should find a fair solution that abides by 1967 borders and the UN resolutions, Sisi declared. “We call for all parties to hold negotiations in order to achieve peace in Jerusalem,” Putin said.

In the end, Sisi stressed the strength of Russian-Egyptian strategic relations. He also announced that 2020 would be a cultural year between Russia and Egypt. Putin concluded by wishing Egypt success in its leadership of the African Union (AU) in 2019.

Visit Wrap-up

Both leaders had an unofficial meeting on Tuesday evening in Sochi attended by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to discuss measures that would boost bilateral trade and economic partnership with a focus on large-scale joint energy projects.

During the meeting, Medvedev highlighted that Egypt is Russia's main partner in the Middle East and pointed out that the volume of trade between both countries increased by one-third since last year.

The two countries are partners in large projects, Medvedev said expressing hope that Sisi's visit will lead to more projects between Egypt and Russia.




The president tweeted on Wednesday morning: “I am extremely glad to meet my friend Russian leader Vladimir Putin in the magnificent Sochi resort. We discussed several important subjects and exchanged views over major international and regional files.”

Sisi headed to Moscow on Monday on a three-day visit to Russia to hold talks with President Putin. On the same day, Putin issued a decree approving to sign a comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation agreement with Egypt to include all levels.

The decree consists of endorsing proposals on the agreement by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that are set in collaboration with executive authority institutions. The decree was published on the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI).

The president had laid a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier in Red Square in Moscow on Tuesday before he was received by Russia's Federal Council's Chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko.

Sisi delivered a

speech

before the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia, the Federation Council, becoming the first foreign leader to do so. The speech highlighted former and future joint achievements in the history of Egyptian-Russian relations.

On December 11, 2017, Putin visited Egypt for the second time since Sisi was sworn into office in May 2014; the visit came upon President Sisi's invitation in September 2017.

In February 2015, the Russian president visited Egypt and attended the signature of a number of agreements between Cairo and Moscow.
]]>
10/17/2018 12:40:09 PM
<![CDATA[What did Sisi say before Russian Parliament?]]>
The following is part of the speech:

The close relations between Egypt and Russia we celebrate the 75th anniversary of which today have always been characterized by depth and uniqueness. That has ultimately emerged in time of crisis and hardships. Russia, as state and people, was always the first to give a hand to Egypt to recover the occupied land. Egypt will never forget Russia’s contribution in reconstruction and rebuilding when it helped in building the High Dam and other major projects during a pivotal period in its modern history. Those supportive historic stances will always be imprinted on the mind and spirit of Egyptians. That valuable legacy of joint cooperation will remain at a very high level of appreciation by Egyptians. The momentum gained by all fields of cooperation between Egypt and Russia throughout the past five years is the best indicator for the depth and firmness of our relations. That was mirrored to the level of continuous coordination and deliberation between the officials of both countries and to the launching of the strategic dialogue between Egypt and Russia. That is in addition to the unprecedented growth rates of trade between them and that will continue to rise. Furthermore, I aspire that a giant project finishes in the coming years. That project is building the Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant. I am certain it will be another milestone in the cooperation journey of both countries and an icon in our extended partnership. I similarly view the Russian economic zone project eastern Suez Canal as another epitome of our partnership and a new take-off point to boost Russian investments in Egypt. We always look forward to your expertise and investments - within the integration framework between us - to contribute in the achievement of giant projects launched in Egypt.

The president asserted that terrorism poses a threat to the concept of nation state highlighting Egyptians' success over the past five years to restore security and stability preventing chaos and preserving their state institutions.

Sisi said that the Egyptian people capitalized on its established civilization to "impose its willpower, save its identity, make great leaps forward with women and youth empowerment, and pursue bald economic reforms."

The president described the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as "the oldest and most complicated crises in modern history" saying that the international community has failed to find a solution.

Sisi added that the "Arab region" faces crises that trigger sectarian conflicts saying that has caused new dangers and posed new challenges.

The president stressed the importance of "pushing the UN-sponsored political process in Syria by commencing the work of the constitution committee as a first step to resume negotiations and end the Syrian crises in a way that preserves the country's unity and its institutions as well as fulfills its people's ambitions."

Sisi put forward the same view on Libya asserting that should be "in parallel to the unification of the Libyan military institution" for it to defend the country and deter terrorism saying that is "the path in which Egypt plays a central role."

1
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi lays a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier in Red Square in Moscow. October 16, 2018. Press Photo

The president had earlier laid a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier in Red Square in Moscow. Sisi was received by Russia's Federal Council's Chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko. He wrote at the book of guests in Arabic:

It is a pleasure to visit the Russian Federal Council which plays a prominent role in enriching Russia's political arena. I would like to affirm my keenness to boost the friendship bonds between Egyptian and Russian peoples, so both countries will upgrade the mutual cooperation in the coming stage to include all fields such as improving communication development and interaction between the two countries' parliaments.

Sisi 2
Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attend a parliamentary session in Moscow, Russia October 16, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Putin will hold Tuesday evening informal talks with his Egyptian counterpart to discuss the implementation of joint projects between the two countries, according to Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

In his statements quoted by the Russian news agency Tass, Peskov referred that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will attend the talks. He stressed that the talks have a very effective format, allowing the two presidents to discuss the most pressing issues prior to the official talks.

In the same context, the Russian government's press service pointed out that Russian Prime Minister Medvedev and Sisi will discuss ways to develop the bilateral trade and economic cooperation with an emphasis on large-scale joint projects in energy, industry and agriculture.

The formal talks between President Sisi and Putin are scheduled to be held on Wednesday to highlight ways to expand Egyptian Russian cooperation and exchange views on issues of major international agenda, according to Tass. Furthermore, joint documents are expected to be signed after the talks.

Putin and Sisi will discuss the resumption of direct charter flights from Russia to Egyptian Red Sea resorts during their meeting, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told press, according to Reuters.

President Sisi has arrived in Sochi for a formal meeting with Putin on Wednesday. Sisi headed to Moscow on Monday on a three-day visit to Russia to hold talks with President Putin.

During the visit, Putin issued a decree approving to sign a comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation agreement with Egypt to include all levels.

The decree consists of endorsing proposals on the agreement by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that are set in collaboration with executive authority institutions. The decree was published on the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI).

On December 11, 2017, Putin visited Egypt for the second time since Sisi was sworn into office in May 2014; the visit came upon President Sisi's invitation in September 2017.

In February 2015, the Russian president visited Egypt and attended the signature of a number of deals between Cairo and Moscow.
]]>
10/16/2018 7:31:06 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi affirms keenness to boost ties with Moscow ]]>
Russia's Federal Council's Chairwoman, Valentina Matviyenko, warmly received Sisi who wrote a historic message to the Russians. Egypt Today translates Sisi's words written in Arabic at the book of guests.

"It's a pleasure to visit the Russian Federal Council which plays a prominent role in enriching Russia's political arena. I'd like to affirm my keenness to boost the friendship bonds between Egyptian and Russian peoples, so both countries will upgrade the mutual cooperation in the coming stage to include all fields such as improving communication development and interaction between the two countries' parliaments."
Sisi has given a speech on Tuesday at the Federal Council in Moscow, marking the first foreign leader ever to deliver a speech at the upper house of the Russian parliament.

Here are some pieces of information about the Federal Council of the Republic of Russia:

• As Russia's parliament upper house, it has the power to ratify laws, agreements and conventions.

• It is the only authority which mandates the president to carry out a foreign intervention.

• It embraces representatives from the executive and legislative authorities across the country.

• It has acted as a liaison office since 1991 when it became a consultative entity.
Sisi manifested that relations with Russia have markedly improved over the past five years, according to state-owned news agency MENA on Tuesday, Oct. 16.

Signing a strategic cooperation deal between both countries during the visit reflects the strength of bilateral relations, Sisi added. For her part, Matviyenko expressed pleasure with president Sisi's visit, asserting that it will help push up bilateral relations, MENA indicated. ]]>
10/16/2018 2:12:56 PM
<![CDATA[Assad to attend Yalta International Economic Forum (YIEF) in April 2019]]>
"He said that he would be sure to take part [in it], if nothing prevented him from doing so," Nazarov said.

"Bashar Assad said it was a great honor for him to be invited, and he would certainly come, if circumstances permitted. He added that he would like to visit Crimea and take part in such a major event as the YIEF," Nazarov added.

According to a member of the Crimean delegation, the Syrian president linked the possibility of his participation in the forum to the situation in Syria. "He said, if we liberate everything by that time, there will be no obstacles for my trip to the Yalta forum. As far as I understand, they [Syrians] want to tackle all issues here during this time," Nazarov added when asked whether Assad mentioned plans for Idlib, the last remaining major militant stronghold in Syria.

The Crimean delegation’s meeting with al-Assad was held on Tuesday morning in Damascus.]]>
10/16/2018 1:34:00 PM
<![CDATA[UK PM rallies ministers on eve of Brexit summit]]>
Negotiations on Britain's withdrawal from the European Union have stalled ahead of the summit, which had been billed as the deadline for a draft deal before Brexit day on March 29.

May is still struggling to reconcile conflicting demands from Brussels and her own MPs, raising fears of a chaotic and damaging divorce.

Several of her senior ministers reportedly met late Monday to coordinate their approach over takeaway pizza, before Tuesday's regular cabinet meeting focused this week on Brexit.

Media reports this weekend suggested several Brexit-supporting ministers were considering resigning if May compromised too much with Brussels.

Asked about the pizza meeting on Monday, May's spokesman said: "Cabinet ministers are free to eat whatever they choose."

But with a deal looking unlikely this week after the latest round of talks broke down on Sunday, the immediate threat of walk-outs appears to have reduced.

The prime minister will still go to the summit, where she will make her pitch to the other 27 EU leaders before they have dinner without her to talk about the next steps in the Brexit negotiations.

Another summit has been pencilled in for mid-November, although some leaders have said it will only go ahead if there is progress this week.

Addressing MPs on Monday, May said a deal was "achievable" but the talks remained stuck on the issue of how to keep open the border between British Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.

Britain has proposed staying aligned to the EU's customs rules until a wider trade deal can be signed that avoids the need for any frontier checks.

But her own eurosceptic Conservative MPs are demanding this "backstop" arrangement be time-limited, something the EU will not accept.

Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have also threatened to pull their support for May's government if the Irish issue results in a different status for the province.]]>
10/16/2018 1:07:18 PM
<![CDATA[N.Korea releases South Korean after illegal border crossing]]>
A 60-year-old man who entered North Korea last month was repatriated through the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone, the ministry said.

All South Korean nationals are required to seek approval from the ministry before contacting North Koreans or travelling to the North.

The ministry said it was investigating how and why the man reached the North, thanking Pyongyang for returning him “from a humanitarian standpoint”.

North and South Korea are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, but relations have warmed with a third summit last month and North Korea's pledge to denuclearise.

The two sides held their first three-way talks with the United Nations Command on Tuesday to discuss ways to demilitarise the border as they push for peace. ]]>
10/16/2018 1:02:06 PM
<![CDATA[Nothing safe on Internet: Telecommunication ministry official ]]>
He added in an interview with privately owned channel DMC that the digital environment analyses users’ behaviors, tendencies and interests to control what is displayed to them. “People should be more aware of their privacy and how to preserve it,” Hegazy stated.

“People usually get confused when it comes to the differences between leaking information, data privacy and civilians rights. There are certain criteria all internet users should be aware of, including not to use their credit card information on internet,” Hegazy said.

Last September, Facebook witnessed its worst-ever security breach, as fifty million accounts were announced to be hacked.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said engineers discovered the breach on Tuesday, September 25, and patched it on Thursday night. "We don't know if any accounts were actually misused," Zuckerberg said. "This is a serious issue."

"We face constant attacks from people who want to take over accounts or steal information around the world," Zuckerberg said on his Facebook page.

]]>
10/16/2018 12:40:24 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi to hold talks with his Russian counterpart on joint projects ]]>
In his statements quoted by the Russian news agency Tass, Peskov referred that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will attend the talks.

He stressed that the talks have a very effective format, allowing the two presidents to discuss the most pressing issues prior to the official talks.

In the same context, the Russian government's press service pointed out that Russian Prime Minister Medvedev and Sisi will discuss ways to develop the bilateral trade and economic cooperation with an emphasis on large-scale joint projects in energy, industry and agriculture.

The formal talks between President Sisi and Putin are scheduled to be held on Wednesday, October 17, to highlight ways to expand Egyptian Russian cooperation and exchange views on issues of major international agenda, according to Tass.

Furthermore, joint documents are expected to be signed after the talks.

President Sisi headed to Moscow on Monday on a three-day visit to Russia to hold talks with President Putin.

During the visit, Putin issued a decree approving to sign a comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation agreement with Egypt to include all levels.

The decree consists of endorsing proposals on the agreement by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that are set in collaboration with executive authority institutions. The decree was published on the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI).

On December 11, 2017, Putin visited Egypt for the second time since Sisi was sworn into office in May 2014; the visit came upon President Sisi's invitation in September 2017.

In February 2015, the Russian president visited Egypt and attended the signature of a number of deals between Cairo and Moscow.

Additional report by MENA]]>
10/16/2018 12:39:33 PM
<![CDATA[Putin approves comprehensive partnership with Egypt ]]>
The decree consists of endorsing proposals on the agreement by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that are set in collaboration with executive authority institutions. The decree was published on the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI).

Egypt to host 'Defenders of Friendship 3' military drills with Russia

CAIRO - 15 October 2018: Egypt will host the joint drills "Defenders of Friendship 3" of Egyptian and Russian paratroopers from October 24 to 26. The two countries' paratroopers will exchange training experiences on a number of combat activities, including Special Forces' training, counter-terrorism tactics, freeing hostages and storming facilities based on the latest modern training systems. The training comes as part of the cooperation between Russian and Egyptian Armed Forces.




Sisi arrived in Moscow on Oct.15 for a three-day visit. The president will hold another meeting with Putin on Wednesday in Sochi. Both leaders will resume consultations and talks about regional and international topics.

Meeting Eurasian Economic Commission's chairman is the first Sisi's activity in Russia

CAIRO - 15 October 2018: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will meet Monday with Eurasian Economic Commission's Chairman Tigran Sowreni Sargsyan. This comes during Sisi's three-day official visit to Russia. The Eurasian Customs Union is a customs union which consists of all the Member states of the Eurasian Economic Union including Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.




President Sisi is expected to meet with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and other senior Russian officials to discuss mechanisms of boosting commercial and economic relations between the two countries.

Sisi will deliver a speech before the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia, the Federation Council, to be the first foreign leader to do so.

On December 11, 2017, Putin visited Egypt for the second time since Sisi was sworn into office in May 2014; the visit came upon President Sisi's invitation in September 2017.

In February 2015, the Russian president visited Egypt and attended the signature of a number of deals between Cairo and Moscow.

Additional contribution by Nawal Sayed
]]>
10/15/2018 3:17:33 PM
<![CDATA[Brexit talks stall before midweek EU summit]]>
EU negotiator Michel Barnier said after meeting British Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab that they could still not bridge a gap between his “backstop” demands that Northern Ireland stay in the EU’s economic zone if there is a risk that border checks with EU member Ireland could revive conflict, and London’s rejection of any checks on trade between the province and the British mainland.

Both sides want to end more than a year of talks by mid-November. This is to give parliaments in London and Brussels time to approve a deal before Britain otherwise crashes out of the EU next March, plunging businesses and millions of ordinary citizens into a chaotic and costly legal limbo.

However, British Prime Minister Theresa May faces intense opposition to some of the EU’s demands from members of her Conservative party and allies in Northern Ireland, some of whom threaten to reject any deal they do not like in parliament.

“Despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open, including the backstop for (Ireland/Northern Ireland) to avoid a hard border,” Barnier tweeted after his meeting in Brussels with Raab ended days of bargaining between Barnier’s deputy Sabine Weyand and May’s Brexit lieutenant Oliver Robbins.

A British government spokesman said progress had been made in some key areas. “However there remain a number of unresolved issues relating to the backstop. The UK is still committed to making progress at the October European Council,” he said.

But the result, EU officials and diplomats said, is that there are no plans for further talks before leaders of the other 27 EU member states meet over dinner in Brussels on Wednesday to hear Barnier brief them on the state of play.

Several said there was little chance the leaders would give Barnier new instructions. They noted this puts the onus on May, who will join the leaders on Thursday morning, to break the deadlock she faces among her own allies and supporters.

“It seems like May doesn’t have backing in her cabinet for the backstop,” said one senior EU diplomat who was briefed by Barnier.

Both sides had for a time been talking up progress but many Brussels diplomats and officials have questioned whether May could appear to come to terms quite so quickly. More days, or weeks, of drama could strengthen her hand as both sides talk up preparations for a possible “no-deal” Brexit.

Leaders had been due to decide on Wednesday whether enough progress had been made for them to agree to hold another summit, pencilled in for Nov. 17-18, at which both the treaty on an orderly British withdrawal and a vaguer document setting out future trade relations could be inked in.

It is unclear now whether the leaders will call for the November summit this week. Many, notably French President Emmanuel Macron, made clear at a summit with May last month that they would agree to meet only if she could show she had come sufficiently close to a deal to make it worthwhile.

EU sources said Barnier’s team have offered new wording on a text on the backstop, highlighting that it may never be activated or only for a limited time, and also that Britain as a whole could stay under EU rules for longer as it transitions out after March 2019. But so far that has not met British reservations.

Both sides want to avoid renewed checks on what will become their only land border to avoid hindering trade on the island of Ireland and reawakening tensions two decades after a peace deal ended 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland.

David Davis, who resigned as Brexit minister in July, accused May’s government earlier on Sunday of accepting “the EU’s language on dealing with the Northern Ireland border”.

“This is one of the most fundamental decisions that government has taken in modern times. It is time for cabinet members to exert their collective authority,” Davis, who campaigned for Britain to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum, wrote in the Sunday Times.

Davis also pressed May to abandon her Brexit proposal, which involves staying in a free trade zone with the EU for goods.

So far, May has shown little appetite to change tack, trying to persuade Conservative lawmakers and those in the opposition Labour Party to vote for any deal based on her plan.

Even if she reaches a withdrawal agreement, she will struggle to get it through parliament and may find opposition from the small Northern Irish party which props up here minority government to other legislation such as the budget.

“I fully appreciate the risks of a ‘no deal’ but the dangers of a bad deal are worse,” Arlene Foster, head of the Democratic Unionist Party, wrote in the Belfast Telegraph newspaper.

“This backstop arrangement would not be temporary. It would be the permanent annexation of Northern Ireland away from the rest of the United Kingdom and forever leave us subject to rules made in a place where we have no say.”]]>
10/15/2018 1:33:02 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi; 1st foreign leader to give speech in Russia's Council]]>
"Sisi and Putin will tackle the strategic partnership between Cairo and Moscow and the issues of mutual interest," said presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement issued on Sunday. "Both leaders will resume consultations and talks about regional and international topics."

Radi manifested that Sisi is expected to meet with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and other senior Russian officials to discuss mechanisms of boosting commercial and economic relations between the two countries.

"Sisi is giving a speech before the upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federal Council, marking the first speech of a foreign leader in the council," Radi revealed.

On December 11, 2017, Putin visited Egypt for the second time since Sisi was sworn into office in May 2014; the visit came upon President Sisi's invitation in September 2017.

In February 2015, the Russian president visited Egypt and attended the signature of a number of deals between Cairo and Moscow.
]]>
10/15/2018 12:17:24 PM
<![CDATA[World Youth Forum 2018's full agenda announced]]>
Nearly 20 days before the opening session, the WYF official website published the expected agenda including all pre-workshops, discussion panels and round table sessions.

The second annual edition of the WYF will tackle two main axes: peace and development. The forum will bring together more than 3,000 youths represented by 60 delegations from across the world to explore key issues facing their generation, and determine their role in implementing the global development goals and in facing terrorism.

The first axis will discuss reconstructing post-conflict countries and societies, the role of world leaders in achieving peace, the duty of the international community to provide humanitarian assistance and counter-terrorism, and the Euro-Mediterranean partnership.

The axis of development will include topics related to energy and water security, empowerment of people with disabilities, the role of voluntary work in building societies, the agenda of 2063 African Sustainable Development, digital citizenship, the role of art and cinema in shaping communities, ways to build future leaders, and means of shrinking the gender gap in the work force.

An Arab-African Summit Simulation Model will be held on the sidelines of the forum, as was recommended during the African Union Simulation Model held in May 2018 as part of the activation of the 2017 World Youth Forum's recommendations.
The first edition of the World Youth Forum was launched from Nov. 4-10, 2017 in Sharm El-Sheikh. It was attended by 3,200 participants from 113 countries. The forum was a platform for 222 speakers from 64 countries with expertise in various fields, gathered in 46 sessions.

In the 2017 edition, the participating leaders and experts discussed various international and regional issues, including crises of migration and refugees, democracy and human rights, African stability and development, and globalization and cultural identity, as well as technology and social media and their impact on the population.

In July 2017, the president announced organizing, for the first time, the WYF in Sharm El-Sheikh during the fourth National Youth Conference in Alexandria.

The WYF 2018 agenda

According to the agenda of the World Youth Forum, on Nov. 1 and 2, the forum will witness pre-workshops related to the "agenda 2063: The Africa We Want" and "Empowering Persons with Disabilities: Towards a More Integrated World."

The opening of the World Youth Theater will take place on Friday, Nov. 2, while the opening ceremony will be 24 hours later on Saturday, Nov. 3.
The actual discussion sessions are planned to start on November 4, where participants will discuss a number of issues, including differences among cultures and civilizations, the role of world leaders in building and sustaining peace, the role of soft power in countering ideological extremism and terrorism, and Day Zero: Water security in the wake of climate change.

WYF_Agenda_Photo
World Youth Forum Agenda- Photo credit WYF official website


On November 5, the sessions will tackle the role of entrepreneurs and start-ups in global economic growth, rebuilding societies and states after conflicts, narrowing the gender gap in the labor market and humanitarian assistance: A global responsibility in the face of challenges.

The forum's closing session and the announcement of the recommendations of the World Youth Forum 2018 will take place on Nov. 6.


]]>
10/15/2018 12:03:16 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt backs KSA against political exploitation of Khashoggi's case ]]>
“The Arab Republic of Egypt is following with concern the consequences of the disappearance of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, stressing the importance of revealing the truth about what happened in a transparent investigation, emphasizing the gravity of anticipating ongoing investigations and of arbitrarily making accusations against the Saudi Kingdom. Egypt warns against the attempts to exploit the case politically against Saudi Arabia based on false accusations, the Egyptian republic asserts its support to the kingdom’s efforts in dealing with the situation,” read the statement.





Khashoggi was last seen in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to get documents for his forthcoming marriage. Turkish officials claimed that the Saudi Journalist disappeared after entering his country’s consulate, While Saudi officials have asserted that Khashoggi has left shortly after he went in the building.

In the same context, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani slammed earlier on Sunday the media campaign against Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of Saudi national Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey.

In a statement, Zayani described what some Arab and international media circulate as false and groundless accusations that aim to defame the kingdom.

He pointed out that some media outlets violated principles of the code of ethics in the media.

Saudi Arabia does not hesitate to form a joint investigation committee with the Turkish side to uncover the truth, he added.]]>
10/15/2018 12:58:36 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi: Water issues should not be politicized]]>
“President Sisi stressed that Egypt strongly believes in cross-border cooperation and calls for not politicizing the water issues, especially amid the growing challenges facing the water sector worldwide,” said Egyptian Presidential Spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement.

p  (7) (1)
President Sisi meets with leaders of countries participating in the 2018 Cairo Water Week (CWW) pose for a photo- Press photo


“Egypt had and will continue supporting the efforts of its farternal countries to bring mutual benefits from the Nile River without causing harm to the Egyptian people,” Sisi was quoted as saying.

Egypt has entered into a diplomatic and political battle with some Nile basin countries over its share of the Nile water. The disagreement started in 2010, when five Nile basin countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda) signed the Entebbe Agreement, per which the two 1929 and 1959 deals conducted during British colonization can be relinquished.

The two deals had allocated 80 billion cubic meters of Nile water to Egypt (55.5 billion), and Sudan (18.5 billion); they also granted Egypt the right to veto against projects that can be established in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Sudan that may cause harm to its share.

To create mutual benefits for the Nile Basin Countries, Egypt has proposed a notion to create a trade shipping route starting from Lake Victoria in Central Africa to the Mediterranean Sea, also known as the VICMED project.

In case you missed it

VICMED: A feasible bid for smooth-sailing Nile basin ties?

CAIRO - 18 August 2018: To create mutual benefits for the Nile Basin Countries, Egypt has proposed a notion to create a trade shipping route starting from Lake Victoria in Central Africa to the Mediterranean Sea, also known as the VICMED project. Egypt, which suffers from water scarcity, has launched the notion of a shipping route in 2013.




Moreover, Egypt’s concern over its share was escalated after Ethiopia started building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, the tributary that feeds 80 percent of the Nile’s water to downstream states.

In 2015, Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia signed the Declaration of the Renaissance Dam Principles Charter that tackles the management of the dam with written guarantees, and states that the dam’s reservoir cannot be filled without the approval of Egypt and Sudan. In December 2017, Egypt demanded the intervention of the World Bank in the matter, a move that was rejected by Ethiopia. Unconfirmed reports said that Ethiopia seeks to start filling the GERD’s reservoir during the upcoming Nile flood season in July.

However, a breakthrough was recently witnessed in the ongoing series of discussions among three countries.

In his meeting with the CWW participants, President Sisi affirming Egypt’s keenness to raise the public awareness of water rationalization amid the challenges of climate change, according to Radi.

Egypts first Cairo Water Week (CWW) kicked off on Sunday under the auspices of President Sisi, aiming at increasing the public awareness of water rationalization for the sustainable development amid state of water shortage.

The four-day CWW is being held in cooperation with the European Union and the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to tackle water issues, amid climate change that impacts the world’s freshwater. In March 2016, the United Nations Environment Program warned that 50 percent of the world’s population would face “severe water stress” by 2030.

The 2018 CWW is launched under the title “Water Conservation for Sustainable Development”. It aims at fostering awareness of water issues for sustainable development, facing water challenges via non-traditional methods and modern technology, and supporting implementation of integrated water management.

On the sidelines of the CWW, the African Young Water Professionals Forum was held, gathering 24 young people from 12 African countries of Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, Malawi, Tanzania, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Ghana , and Morocco.

Meanwhile, the fourth session of the Islamic Conference of OIC for Water Ministers, held on Sunday, Oct. 14 on the sidelines of the CWW.

]]>
10/14/2018 7:22:10 PM
<![CDATA[Surviving sanctions: how would Iran hold out]]>
As sanctions will take effect on November 4, a couple of Indian public refiners placed orders to import Iranian oil. U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook and Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis F. Fannon held meetings with the Petroleum Ministry and Ministry of External Affairs counterparts in Delhi on Oct. 12.

Sanctions Evasion

Iran appealed to the UN’s International Court of Justice arguing that the U.S. sanctions are harmful to the country’s economy and its citizens. The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the act as in interference in his country’s right to impose economic sanctions describing it as “meritless.” Last August, one dollar bought 107,000 rials, compared with 43,000 rials in January as sanctions were first imposed on the oil sector in November 2017.

Analyst at the Arab Forum for Analyzing Iranian Policies (AFAIP) Nourhan Ahmed Anwar explains that the Iranian state has developed a strategy to survive and evade sanctions that used to be imposed for decades since 1979. The strategy consists of establishing enterprises in the names of foreign and Iranian businessmen living abroad.

Those are directly affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) to manage billions of dollars on Iran’s behalf. Once the intelligence bodies of other countries unveil the entity that stands behind those companies, they are shut off and others are established, Anwar clarifies.

As speculations that oil may hit $100 per barrel by the end of the year have risen, the U.S. administration considers waivers for major Iranian oil importers including China, India, Turkey, the UAE and Japan in condition of decreasing imports. Although sanctions are expected to cut Iranian oil exports by 1.5 barrels per day, Iranian oil is still available in the global market through covert trade. Satellites spotted tankers that stop at different countries in their way from Iran to importers as camouflage.

Impact Alleviation

Nevertheless, the Iranian economy has been going downhill as the other sectors do not receive enough foreign investments and have limited access to different markets. That critical situation is epitomized in high levels of unemployment and falling value of the rial. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blamed U.S. sanctions for the crises rather than the government before the parliament in August. However, the majority of members refuted his speech questioning the lack of reforms measures and development initiatives.

Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a parliamentary session in Tehran, Iran August 28, 2018. President Official Website/Handout via REUTERS


A number of European companies pulled out of the country as the U.S. sanctions include businesses operating in Iran. Examples include the British Airways and Air France KLM. Since the U.S. withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May, major companies like Siemens, Total and Maersk announced they would stop dealing with Iran. Experts also estimate that Chinese banks are likely to comply with the sanctions as they would not be able to bear the consequences in parallel to the slowdown in the Chinese economy.

Moreover, the U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin and the Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kohlen held a meeting in August to discuss the enforcement of economic sanctions against Iran, especially in the high-tech sector.

Iran has resorted to smuggling to Europe. It smuggles drugs, sand, and is involved in human trafficking. That is accomplished through Bandar Abbas port falling under the direct control of the Revolutionary Guards without any governmental supervision. As European companies find smuggling quite profitable, European states are more eager than the United States to enter the Iranian market with aim of putting an end to the phenomenon, Anwar says.

According to Iranian Afkar newspaper, Iran plans to benefit from the 22 million small and medium industrial units located in European Union countries to fulfill its local needs, Anwar reveals. Furthermore, a memorandum of understanding was signed with South Korea to provide training for workers in small and medium Iranian enterprises, Anwar says.

Following the Caspian Sea Convention signed in August, Iran has boosted its trade with Azerbaijan. It also made an agreement with Turkey to export its oil in return for Turskih Lira and implementing a barter system in order to get food, Anwar says.


Erdogan and Khamenei
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are seen during a joint news conference in Tehran, Iran, October 4, 2017. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS


Last year, Iranian Prime Minister visited Turkey which had helped Tehran by enabling it to get access to petrodollars which has resulted on sanctions on some Turkish banks. In May, a U.S. court sentenced Deputy General Manager at Haltbank Mehmet Atilla to three years in prison as he was convicted of engaging in a scheme of fraudulent food and gold transactions starting 2012.

After Total SA withdrew from Iran’s South Pars gas field, China, whose energy needs more than doubled over the past decade, may be a substitution. China has showed interest to invest in the oil and gas sector in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It has already invested in Iran before as well as the United Arab Emirates and Iraq. Chinese companies are also eying a $1.5 billion refinery upgrade.

However, Anwar contends that the current U.S. sanctions are the harshest in Iranian history as they mainly target oil and that Iran would still be negatively influenced. One of the solutions is changing the ownership contracts of oil tankers owned by Iran, Anwar suggests.

Internal Turbulences

Protests are driven by rising prices and the fall in the value of national currency. Anwar says Iranians are objecting the billions of dollars spent on providing arms for Syria, Houthis in Yemen, and financial support for the Shiite Lebanese Hezbollah while poverty rates are rising and unemployment rates have reached 40 percent.

Although the Iranian ruling regime accuses its rivals of fueling such protests, it fails to absorb that the people realize the negative impact of the state’s foreign policy characterized by the intervention in the internal affairs of other countries in the region, Anwar says. The Analyst speculates that Rouhani plans to increase fuel prices in order to reduce public debts.

Iran arrested tens of public employees holding foreign nationalities accusing them of espionage, Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi announced in August. In 2017, at least 30 dual nationals were arrested because of espionage charges.

The official also said that bombing attempts of metro stations and universities have been foiled, and that a terrorist cell was disbanded northern the country while an IS militant was arrested southern the country.

Ahwaz
A general view of the attack during the military parade in Ahvaz, Iran September 22, 2018. Tasnim News Agency/via REUTERS


Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed "a foreign regime" backed by the United States for the shooting at a military parade in September resulting in 29 deaths and injuries in Ahwaz city located in southwestern Iran on the Persian Gulf.

On the other hand, Western officials announced that Iran plots terror attacks across Europe accusing the country of standing behind a foiled attack on protesters of Iranian descent in Paris last June. At the time, two Iranian diplomats were arrested in Germany and Belgium in relation to the incident and extradited to their homeland.

]]>
10/14/2018 6:40:42 PM
<![CDATA[What Egyptians need to know about Tatars as their president visits]]>
Minnikhanov and his accompanying delegation are scheduled to partake in the “Egypt-Tatarstan: Horizons of Joint Cooperation becoming regional” forum on Monday, organized by the General Federation for Chambers of Commerce. The forum will tackle ways to enhancing trade exchange and investment relations of Cairo and Kazan.

SLM_2387
Tatar President Rustam Minnikhanov with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly Oct. 14, 2018 - Egypt Today

Below are facts Egyptians would be interested to know about Tatarstan:

1 – Tatarstan, a federation of Russia, extends over 70,000 square kilometers. It has a population of four million, mostly Muslim and Russian Orthodox.

2 – Many rivers cross Tatarstan, but the major ones include Volga, Kama, Belaya, Ik, and Vyatka.

2
General view shows the Kazan Kremlin in Kazan, Russia, July 11, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

3 – The main source of income is oil, which started to be excavated in the 17th century. Tatarstan produces 32 tons of crude oil a year, and its oil company Tatneft is ranked sixth in Russia in terms of oil production.

4 – Its oil reserves are estimated at more than one billion tons.

5 – Its inhabitants speak Tatar and Russian.

6 – Historically, “Tatars” were tribes that inhabited the great region of Northern and Central Asia, from which the Mongol empire emerged. However, not all Tataris were Mongol. Generally, the Tatars did not raid the Middle East with Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan. Many of the Tatars converted to Islam in the subsequent years.

1
Women walk along a street, with mosques and shops selling Muslim literature located in it, in Kazan July 21, 2012. REUTERS/Roman Kruchinin

7 - Ethnic Tatars also exist in the Northern and Central Asian landmass and Eastern Europe as minorities.

]]>
10/14/2018 5:20:32 PM
<![CDATA[LE 1.3B compensations provided to families affected by buffer zone]]>
In an interview with "Egypt Today" program, military spokesman Tamer el-Rifai said that more than 3,000 underground tunnels connecting Egypt with Gaza Strip were found along the border in the past few years.

He added that these tunnels threaten Egypt's national security amid fears that militants could use them to smuggle weapons, ammunition, drugs and fighters inside Sinai.

Therefore, he added, Egypt’s Cabinet issued decree No.1008 of 2015 to establish a buffer zone on the borders between Egypt and Gaza to combat terrorism and prevent establishing more underground tunnels.

Rifai further remarked that the buffer zone has been constructed in phases to give the residents sufficient time to evacuate their homes, and more than LE 1.3 billion were provided to the residents as compensations.

He pointed out the Armed Forces Engineering Authority is currently working on establishing the new Rafah city with 10016 housing units.

Egypt established the buffer zone following October 2014's deadly attack on the army post at Sheikh Zuweid, Northern Sinai that killed at least 31 soldiers.

However, building the buffer zone required the army to demolish thousands of homes found in that zone and evacuate tens of thousands of residents. In return, the government has provided the residents with financial compensations.

The buffer zone will be a closed military zone constructed within 100 meters inside the Gaza strip, in order to facilitate the surveillance of borders, prevent the smuggling of arms and drugs into Egyptian territories, and cut jihadis off from their Gaza supply route.

It is equipped with surveillance cameras and watch towers.

The zone includes barbed wire, CCTV cameras and a control room to monitor the borders.

This is part of Egypt’s efforts to root out terrorism from Northern and Central Sinai.
In February 2018, army spokesman Rifai announced in a strongly worded televised statement that the military and police forces initiated Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018.

The operation involved land, naval and air forces, as well as the police and border guards, targeting "terrorist and criminal elements and organizations" in North and Central Sinai, as well as parts of the Nile Delta and the Western Desert along the porous border with Libya, strongholds of a persistent Islamic State (IS) group insurgency that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and policemen.

During the ongoing military operation, army and security forces managed to eliminate dozens of takfiri elements, seize a number of explosive devices, weapons and ammunition, and damage cannabis farms, besides other accomplishments, according to the consecutive army statements. ]]>
10/14/2018 1:49:58 PM
<![CDATA[Parties respond to Sisi's call to boost political awareness]]>
This came during Sisi's participation in the 29th Educational Seminar of the Armed Forces.


The leaders also confirmed that false awareness poses a great danger on Egypt's stability, stressing the need to involve all state institutions in the process of raising the citizens' awareness.

Head of the Free Egyptians party Essam Khalil told Egypt Today that these campaigns are very important as they enable Egyptians to better deal with the current circumstances.

Kalil added that different state institutions and media platforms should always inform citizens of the facts, adding that the Free Egyptians Party organized awareness campaigns in Alexandria and other governorates across Egypt.

For his part, a member of the Future State Essam Amen said that lack of awareness among Egyptians is the biggest challenge facing the government especially in light of the rumors which seek to destroy the country.

Amen confirmed that the party aims at serving Egypt; hence, all the party's awareness campaigns are available to all Egyptians and are not limited to party members.

In the same context, Vice President of the National Protection Party, Mohamed Ghobashy, said that the party is working on training youth to boost political awareness.

On October 11, 2018, Sisi attended the 29th Educational Seminar of the Armed Forces, titled "October...Continuity of Generations”. The seminar coincided with the 45th anniversary of the October 6 war victory celebrations.
]]>
10/14/2018 12:55:21 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s 1st Cairo Water Weeks kicks off]]>

The four-day CWW is being held in cooperation with the European Union and the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to tackle water issues, amid climate change that impacts the world’s freshwater. In March 2016, the United Nations Environment Program warned that 50 percent of the world’s population would face “severe water stress” by 2030.


The 2018 CWW is launched under the title “Water Conservation for Sustainable Development”. It aims at fostering awareness of water issues for sustainable development, facing water challenges via non-traditional methods and modern technology, and supporting implementation of integrated water management.


The CWW focuses on the following themes: climate change and environment; transboundary water governance and benefits; Water, scarcity, health, Sanitation challenges and opportunities; and science and technology innovation.


On the sidelines of the CWW, the 4th Session of the Islamic Conference of OIC for Water Ministers will be held on Sunday. It will be attended by representatives from 57 countries. It is scheduled that Egypt will receive the presidency of the water ministerial meeting of the Islamic Conference of the OIC.


Egypt will chair the 3rd Delta Coalition Ministerial Conference that will be held on the sidelines of the CWW on Sunday. The conference will be attended by representatives of the 13 member states. It will focus on financing projects of climate change adaptation, integrated coastal zone management, development projects of river basin.

It was scheduled that the African Young Water Professionals Forum will convene on Sunday, gathering 30 young African leaders specialized in water fields.


Late September, the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation launched a promo video for the Cairo Water Week (CWW), showing the main issues that will be tackled during the conference, most notably the overwhelming influence of climate change, which resulted in water scarcity.




Egypt suffers from an annual 21 billion cubic meters gap between water consumption and production. The consumption reached 110 billion cubic meters, while Egypt currently has 60 million cubic meters annually, Abdel Atti said.


Egypt has diplomatically and politically entered into a battle with some Nile basin countries over its share of the Nile water. The disagreement started in 2010, when five Nile basin countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda) signed the Entebbe Agreement, per which the two 1929 and 1959 deals conducted during British colonization can be relinquished.


The two deals had allocated 80 billion cubic meters of Nile water to Egypt (55.5 billion), and Sudan (18.5 billion); they also granted Egypt the right to veto against projects that can be established in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Sudan that may cause harm to its share.


Moreover, Egypt’s concern over its share was escalated after Ethiopia started building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile. The tributary feeds 80 percent of the Nile’s water to downstream states.
]]>
10/14/2018 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Fatwa warns of MB’s rumors on Ashmawi's arrest. ]]>
The Egyptian Dar al-Ifta pointed out that the Brotherhood's media outlets published many false information and systematic lies about Ashmawi in order to downplay the successful arrest of him. Dar al-Ifra’s statement highlighted Muslim Brotherhood media’s claim that the terrorist arrested is not Ashmawi, but a person similar to him.

Former Egyptian Commandos officer,who was terminated after being involved in several terrorist attacks, Hesham Ashmawy, was arrested on Monday, October 8 in Derna, Libya.

A statement released by Libyan security forces affirmed that Ashmawy was arrested alive.

Ashmawi or Abu Omar al-Muhajir is a former officer in the Egyptian Commandos; he received advanced training on special operation tasks in the United States'main training institutes.

Ashmawi turned militant and became the operations engineer of the country’s most active jihadist group, AnsarBeit Al-Maqdis(ABM), and in charge of the most important qualitative operations carried out in Sinai, Cairo and Al-Farafra oasis to deserve the title of the most dangerous wanted person in Egypt.

Ashmawy was born in 1978, and graduated in 2000 from the military academy, where he was a distinguished officer and joined the Special Forces Unit. He served in Sinai for 10 years and witnessed the bombings of Taba, Sharm El-Sheikh and Dahab.

The turning point in Ashmawi’s life was in 2005 when his father, Ali Ashmawy, passed away, which affected Ashmawi’s physiological health.

During this period terrorist groups started to attract and recruit young people in mosques, and Ashmawy started to attend their sessions. The Armed Forces warned Ashmawi for the first time in 2006 and he was interrogated, but he confirmed his commitment to the military principles.

However, Ashmawi continued to promote for political Islam through spreading banned books.
In 2007, a military court transferred Ashmawi to an administrative post and then referred him to retirement in 2009. He was completely expelled from the army in 2012 as he travelled to Syria twice through Turkey.

In 2013, Ashmawi moved to Sinai where he became in charge of the military wing of AnsarBeitAl-Maqdis. He started to develop the performance of the group and improve their militancy skills.

After June 30 revolution, he participated in the Raba’a sit-in where he recruited a large number of youth to implement terrorist operations against the Egyptian army and police.

A year later, Ashmawi emerged as a key operative, heading a cell that taught fighters how to carry out suicide bombing missions, assemble roadside bombs and shoot soldiers.

Since the failed assassination attempt of former Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim in May 2013, Ashmawi was linked to a large number of terrorist attacks that were carried out by AnsarBeitAl-Maqdis, whether through planning or implementation.

The most prominent operations conducted by Ashmawi included the attack on the military intelligence headquarters in Ismailia in October 2013, the bombing of the Security Directorate of Al-Dakahlia in December 2013, the bombing of Cairo Security Directorate in January 2014, the attack on a military unit in Farafra oasis in the Western Desert in July 2014, and the attack on the Armed Forces in Karm Al-Qawadis inSinai in October 2014.

Ashmawy was injured during the Farafra operation and was transported to Libya where he received treatment, as he has close relations with Al-Qaeda-affiliate Ansar Al-Sharia in Derna, Libya.

In July 2015, Ashmawi announced in a statement that he became the emir of Al-Murabitun group, stressing his affiliation to Al-Qeada, which is another turning point in Ashmawi’s life.

After AnsarBeit Al-Maqdis announced in November 2014 its allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), Ashmawi refused to pledge allegiance to ISIS. He remained loyal to Al-Qaeda which cut off its supply to the Egyptian group. In response, Al-Qaeda provided Ashmawi with weapons and training camps in Libya as a prelude to carry out more operations in Egypt.

After the split, Ashmawi was accused of carrying out a number of terrorist attacks, most prominently the assassination of Public Prosecutor HishamBarakat in July 2015. ]]>
10/14/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Italy must "calm down" and stop questioning the euro ]]>
A senior member of Italy's ruling coalition shot back that it was Draghi who should calm down, rather than draw attention to occasional comments on the euro which were personal opinions and had no implications for government policy.

Italy's government is in a war of words with European officials over its plans to triple the deficit next year, backtracking on a previous pledge to narrow the budget gap in one of the bloc's most indebted countries.

"A budgetary expansion in a high debt country becomes much more complicated ... if people start to put in question the euro," Draghi told a news conference at the International Monetary Fund's annual meeting in Indonesia.

"These statements ... have created real damage and there's plenty of evidence that spreads have increased in connection with these statements," Draghi said. "The results of which is that household and firms pay higher interest rates on loans."

Italian bond yields rose sharply this month after a senior official from one of the ruling parties said Italy would be better off with its own currency, though he later reiterated the government's frequent reassurances that quitting the euro is not in its programme and it has no plans to do so.

"The very first thing (to do) is to calm down with the tone. And then the second thing is we have to wait for the facts," Draghi said, stressing the need to examine the actual spending plans, which may differ from the government's communications.

Alberto Bagnai, a senator from the right-wing League who heads the Senate finance committee, said Draghi himself risked agitating markets by drawing attention to rare personal opinions on the single currency that were not government policy.

"Draghi should calm down and stop mentioning the euro. Nobody does it around here," he tweeted.

Draghi also batted back accusations from some corners in the Italian government that the ECB's plan to phase out asset purchases by the end of the year had caused the increase in spreads.

Draghi, a former governor of Italy's central bank, said markets had not reacted in June to the ECB's decision to end its asset buys but had moved specifically on local Italian issues.

He pointed to the narrowing of the yield difference between Italy and Greece as evidence that the problem is localised.

Since the ECB is buying Italian but not Greek bonds, a bigger rise in Italian yields would suggest that investors are not acting on overall ECB policy change but a local issue.]]>
10/14/2018 2:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Jared Kushner 'likely' paid little or no income taxes for years - NYTimes]]>
The documents were created with Kushner's cooperation as part of a review of his finances by an institution that was considering lending him money, the Times reported. The Times said that Kushner's tax bills reflected the use of a tax benefit known as depreciation that lets real estate investors deduct part of the cost of their properties from their taxable income.

The Times report said that nothing in the documents reviewed "suggests Mr. Kushner or his company broke the law."

Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Kushner’s lawyer Abbe Lowell, told Reuters on Saturday that he would not respond to the newspaper's assumptions, which he said were "taken from incomplete documents obtained in violation of the law and standard business confidentiality agreements."

He added, "Always following the advice of numerous attorneys and accountants, Mr. Kushner properly filed and paid all taxes due under the law and regulations."

The records reviewed by The New York Times did not expressly state how much Kushner paid in taxes, but included estimates for how much he owed called “income taxes payable” — and how much Kushner paid in expectation of forecasted taxes known as “prepaid taxes." The paper said that for most of the years covered, both were listed as zero, but in 2013 Kushner reported income taxes payable of $1.1 million.

Kushner Cos, the family company for which Kushner previously served as chief executive, has been profitable in recent years, the Times said, citing the analysis. Kushner sold his interests in the company to a family trust last year.

The White House and Kushner Cos did not immediately comment Saturday.

The newspaper noted that the 2017 tax rewrite signed by Trump includes provisions that benefit real estate investors.

Mirijanian said that on tax reform efforts, Kushner "followed his approved ethics agreement and has avoided work that would pose any conflict of interest."

In December, a group of Democratic lawmakers wrote to Kushner, asking whether in his talks with foreign officials he had ever discussed financing for a deeply indebted property in midtown Manhattan, citing concern he was using his position for financial gain.

Kushner Cos said previously it had more than $2.5 billion in transactions 2017 and has 12 million square feet under development in New York and New Jersey.

Documents released by the White House in June showed Kushner held assets worth at least $181 million, the Associated Press reported. The disclosures also show that Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, received at least $82 million in outside income in 2017. ]]>
10/14/2018 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi vows no role for Muslim Brotherhood under his rule]]>
“As long as I am in power, the Muslim Brotherhood will have no role,” the president added stressing that the Egyptian people will not accept the return of the brotherhood to power because its “ideology is not viable and collides with life.”

Sisi reiterated the importance of renewing the religious discourse affirming that religion does not contradict with life as the creator of both is the same God. He elaborated that the issue lies in the wrong understanding of religious texts and interpreting them within irrelevant frameworks.

The president said that Syria has started to recover from the crises it went through and that it needs to deploy efforts to undertake reconstruction. Sisi expressed concerns over the presence of 36,000 terrorists of different nationalities in Syria.

“Where would those head for after the war in Syria is over? They may be used by intelligence bodies that want destruction for the region,” Sisi highlighted. The president called for all Arab countries to cooperate and unite in order to preserve the national security from threats facing the Arab nation.

By cooperation and unity, Arab countries can create a “state of deterrence” against any aggressor who wants to violate their sovereignty, the president stated affirming that the so called Arab Spring is the result of a wrong reality and a wrong approach. He added that such chaos produced destruction and demolition in several Arab countries.

Egypt got out safely of that chaos because the state institutions are deep-rooted in the conscience of the Egyptian people who preferred the preservation of those establishments and their honorable history, the president explained.

Sisi stressed that conspiracy does not exist in Egypt’s policies even in response to the offences by a certain Arab country and annoyances by some regional countries saying that Egypt faces those acts by work and development giving them no attention.

The president clarifies that the economic reforms program was not imposed on Egypt, and that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) accredited it after the state had set the plan. Sisi affirmed that the program would continue despite of the resentment of some for the people to live.

In the end, Sisi called for mainstream media outlets to focus on positive aspects and refrain from propagating hatred and passiveness in Arab societies to prevent collapse and fragmentation.

On Thursday, President Sisi described January 25 Revolution as “a wrong treatment for a wrong diagnosis.” That was during the 23rd Armed Forces Informative Seminar held in the occasion of October 6th victory.



After the 1967 defeat, “..we didn’t lose the willpower,” Sisi stated saying that the army was rebuilt using the available means and in light of “different international circumstances.” He added that weapons purchases were not as easy as now as they were made available by “just two camps.”

At that time, the public opinion was pressuring the political leadership to go on war although preparations were not over, Sisi said explaining that Egyptians were making jokes on the state’s capabilities.

“The incomprehensive image in the masses’ heads is a challenge would face any leader,” the president proceeded saying that people have to know the details and the reality.

Sisi stated that the comparison was in favor of “the other party” and that Russian experts said that the Bar Lev Line would only be destroyed by an atomic bomb. “Students used to demonstrate urging for war. If we did it and failed, who would assume the responsibility? The state and the people or those who were calling for war,” Sisi questioned.

Late combat engineer Baki Zaki Yousef came up with the idea of demolishing the Bar Lev Line using water pressure. Sisi said that Egypt imported water pumps from Germany claiming it is for the Ministry of Agriculture saying that the idea would not translate into a reality and succeed, if rational and objective measures were not taken to support it.

“That war is considered a suicide. The outcome is a miracle by all measures and standards,” Sisi stressed saying “no one would give you the land until they experienced the real price of war..That is why Israel accepted peace.”

“They had thousands of casualties and injuries. They were not ready to go through that again. The Egyptian army did it once, and can do it every time,” Sisi said highlighting that Egypt paid the price for Israel’s “strategic decision to return Sinai” as the losses it assumed during the attrition war that started in 1968 till the 1973 battle have been “incomparable ever since.”

“The battle is not over. In the past, the enemy was obvious. In present, the enemy is not obvious. It is between us. Using intellect, they created an enemy among us that survives on killing us and builds above our ruins,” Sisi said.

“The challenge now is building conscience. The real enemy is fake or incomplete conscience,” the president said urging Egyptians to be aware of fake news and false interpretations of the status quo.
]]>
10/13/2018 4:26:56 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s FM follows up on kidnapping expat in Nigeria]]>
According to statement issued by Foreign Ministry on Thursday, it was affirmed that the government is communicating with the Egyptian national family along with the authorities to guarantee Hassanein’s safety and to bring him back to home as soon as possible.

Last July, two assault incidents for Egyptian expats in Kuwait and Italy were announced to being investigated by Egypt’s government.

In Kuwait, an Egyptian citizen named Ahmed Fayez Hassan was reportedly assaulted by a Kuwaiti soldier. A video of the accident went viral on social media and caused a lot of controversy among social media users; the government launched an investigation and found that the assault took place in one of the cell phone shops.

According to official statements issued then by the government, it was stated that the incident started when a Kuwaiti woman came to the shop, where the Egyptian expat is working, and asked him to repair her cell phone. After getting all the work done, the woman did not have enough money to pay for the service she already received, so she gave him (the Egyptian worker) only half of the required amount of money, and asked him to keep her ID until she pays the rest of the required amount. The Egyptian worker refused, saying that he is not authorized to accept her offer, “I just work here,” he explained.

The Egyptian citizen had to call the police and the woman called her brother- the soldier. When the brother arrived to the shop, he assaulted the Egyptian worker according to his claims.

In Italy, another fight took place between two Egyptian expats, in which one of them set himself on fire in a suicide attempt. The Egyptian expat was hospitalized and the investigation is still underway.]]>
10/13/2018 4:17:38 PM
<![CDATA[Freed pastor Brunson leaves Turkey, due in U.S. Saturday]]>
Pastor Andrew Brunson was expected to land at Joint Base Andrews near Washington at around noon EDT (1600 GMT) on Saturday after a stop in Germany for a medical check-up.

Brunson was jailed two years ago and had been under house arrest since July. He was accused of links to Kurdish militants and supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the cleric blamed by Turkey’s government for a coup attempt in 2016.

The Turkish court sentenced Brunson to three years and 1-1/2 months in prison on terrorism charges, but said he would not serve any further jail time and freed him.

Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years, denied the accusations and Washington had demanded his immediate release.

U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell greeted Brunson and his wife during a refueling stop in Germany, the envoy said on social network Twitter.

“He’s almost home thanks to @realDonaldTrump,” Grenell wrote. “When I presented him with the US flag, he immediately kissed it.”

President Donald Trump said Brunson would probably visit the White House Oval Office on Saturday.

Asked if U.S. sanctions imposed on Turkey to try to win Brunson’s release might be lifted, Trump said no agreement was made for the pastor’s freedom.

“There was no deal made at all. There was no deal. But we’re very happy to have him and have him in good shape.” Trump told reporters in Cincinnati.

The diplomatic fight over Brunson had accelerated a recent sell-off in Turkey’s currency, worsening its financial crisis.
Dressed in a black suit, white shirt and red tie, Brunson wept as the court decision was announced, witnesses said. Before the judge’s ruling, he had told the court: “I am an innocent man. I love Jesus. I love Turkey.”

Witnesses told the court in the western town of Aliaga that testimony against the pastor attributed to them was inaccurate.

Brunson’s mother told Reuters she and his father were elated at the news. “We are overjoyed that God has answered the prayers of so many people around the world,” she said by telephone from her home in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Trump has used the Brunson case to try to score points with evangelical Christians, a large part of his political base, ahead of the Nov. 6 congressional elections, which will determine whether Republicans keep control of Congress.

He has called Brunson, a native of North Carolina, a “great Christian”, and Vice President Mike Pence, the White House’s top emissary to evangelicals, had urged Americans to pray for Brunson.

“We thank God for answered prayers and commend the efforts of @SecPompeo & @StateDept in supporting Pastor Brunson and his family during this difficult time,” Pence said on Twitter. “@SecondLady and I look forward to welcoming Pastor Brunson and his courageous wife Norine back to the USA!”

U.S. broadcaster NBC said on Thursday that Washington had done a secret deal with Ankara to secure Brunson’s release.

Senator Thom Tillis, a Republican from North Carolina, told Reuters that active engagement by Trump and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo contributed to Brunson’s release.

“A lot of factors played into this,” Tillis said, adding the United States was trying to “get back to a point of a positive relationship” with Turkey.

NATO ALLIES
Relations between the two NATO allies have been under serious strain over U.S. support for Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, Turkey’s plans to buy a Russian missile defense system, and the U.S. jailing of an executive at a Turkish state bank in an Iran sanctions-busting case.

The release of Brunson could help ease tensions, but political analysts say many unresolved problems remain.

“This is a necessary but far from sufficient step to reverse what has been a deepening rift between the United States and Turkey, two NATO allies,” said Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Attention may now turn to the fate of a Turkish-U.S. national and former NASA scientist in jail in Turkey on terrorism charges, as well as three local employees of the U.S. consulate who have also been detained.

Washington wants all of them released.

“We hope that the Turkish government will quickly release our other detained U.S. citizens and @StateDept locally employed staff,” Pompeo said on Twitter.

Ankara has demanded that the United States extradite Gulen to Turkey. The cleric, who was lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, denies any role in the attempted coup.]]>
10/13/2018 11:58:54 AM
<![CDATA[Italy resisting EU push to impose sanctions over cyberattacks]]>
Diplomats said the sanctions plan is meant to strengthen EU defences and deterrence against cyberattacks, in particular from Russia, which has been in recent months at the centre of allegations of elections meddling in various Western states as well as security breaches conducted through electronic means.

But Italy has opposed the idea of a new penalty regime, a confidential EU document seen by Reuters shows. The plan has broad support among EU states except for Italy, according to the document.

Italian officials were not immediately available for comment.

Italy has repeatedly urged a relaxation of the sanctions against Russia, which has been the target of a wide range of EU economic penalties since the 2014 Ukraine crisis.

This position has been opposed by the large majority of EU states that have regularly renewed the sanctions regime against Moscow because of its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and continuing support for pro-Russian separatist rebels there.

The proposals for sanctioning cyberattacks were discussed in meetings this week in preparation for an EU summit that will take place next week in Brussels.

"Responding to large-scale cyberattacks from foreign actors, in particular when they are aimed at our elections, is vital," EU Security Commissioner Julien King told Reuters, adding that sanctions should be considered "where appropriate".

Britain, France, Estonia, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland called for the introduction of sanctions, the document shows.

Belgium, Finland and Sweden support a "gradual response" to future attacks that could include a number of measures before sanctions, the document shows.

Rome has long said that existing sanctions are damaging Italian firms trading with Moscow, and calls for de-escalating tensions with Moscow have grown louder since a new anti-establishment government took office in Italy in June.

Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy's co-ruling far-right League, is an admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has rejected allegations of Russian meddling in Western elections.

EU diplomats said the plan was also aimed at preventing cyber-attacks from China and North Korea.]]>
10/13/2018 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[In mitigation: Egypt builds the largest wastewater treatment plant to face water scarcity]]>
The plant, which will treat sewage and agricultural wastewater of the longest drain (Bahr al-Baqar 1 drain), will be inaugurated after two years in the east of Suez Canal, said Minister of Water resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Atti in a round-table held with Egypt Today in July.

The 106-kilometer drain of Bahr al-Baqar starts from Dakahlia governorate to Sharqia, Ismailia to the last governorate of Port Said; the longest part locates in Sharqia governorate. The drain was established in 1914 for only agricultural wastewater and was named Bahr al Baqar (means in English as the Sea of the Cow due to an accident when a herd of cows drown in it.)

In the 1970s, the Egyptian government decided to change the drain to receive all kinds of wastewater (industrial and sewage), causing it as “a source of pollution,” according to a 2015 study conducted by environmentalist Mamdouh Salem Seraj on the drain’s negative impacts on human health and Lake Manzala in the period between 1914 and 2014.

“The drain is currently imposing a threat as it contains organic substances, fertilizers, and insecticides that have vivid impact on the maritime environment, causing eco-imbalance,” the study said. So, the arable lands became be irrigated by contaminated water, affecting the soils and people’s lives.

The following interactive map shows the length of the drain passing through the four governorates.



“The treatment will be conducted in accordance with the advanced standards to be safe for usage,” Ragab Abdel-Azeem, first deputy minister at the Ministry of the Water Resources, told Egypt Today. The production of treated water will base on the quantity of water inside the drainage, he added, noting that the treated water will be used for irrigating 400,000 feddans (one feddan equals about 1.038 acres).

General Assem Abdullah Shukr, the head of Water Administration at the Armed Forces Engineering Authority (AFEA)- tasked to establish the plant- said that the plant will produce 5 million cubic meters per day to cultivate 250,000 feddans.

“The wastewater that comes from the west of suez canal will go through a siphon to the plant in the east of canal,” he said while discussing the authority's projects during the inauguration of the industrial zone in Beni Suef (Upper Egypt) by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on January 21, 2018. He added that the plant will operate by the tertiary treatment system.

"Wastewater goes into Lake Manzala [at Port Said governorate], which contains agricultural, human and factory wastes, causing people to complain from the water. So the wastewater course was directed to another course for the agriculture usage,” Shukr said.

Another drainage water plant will be established in Mahmasa city of Ismailia governorate to produce a million cubic meter of water to irrigate 50,000 feddans in Sinai in order to create urban communities, he added.

Here is a video taken from Civic Delights youtube channel shows wastewater treatment process.



Egypt Today contacted the AFEA to get more information on the cost of the project, the current amount of wastewater at the drain, and the quantity of treated drinkable water. However, no responses have been received until the publication of the story.

Yellow Mountain Wastewater treatment plant

The plant produces 2.5 million cubic meter of treated water that irrigate 150,000 acres of citrus fruits, the plant director Mohamed Abdel-Wahab told Youm7 on September 28.

“The plant produces 60 percent of electricity needed for its operation,” he said.

The first phase of the plant was established in 1995 by the state-owned Arab Contractors Co. Meanwhile, the second phase was inaugurated by President Sisi in January 2018.The plant serves 2.5 million people.

Egypt suffers from an annual 21 billion cubic meters gap between water consumption and production. The consumption reached 110 billion cubic meters, while Egypt currently has 60 million cubic meters annually, Abdel Atti said.

Egypt has entered into a diplomatic and political battle with some Nile basin countries over its share of the Nile water. The disagreement started in 2010, when five Nile basin countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda) signed the Entebbe Agreement, per which the two 1929 and 1959 deals conducted during British colonization can be relinquished.

The two deals had allocated 80 billion cubic meters of Nile water to Egypt (55.5 billion), and Sudan (18.5 billion); they also granted Egypt the right to veto against projects that can be established in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Sudan that may cause harm to its share.

Moreover, Egypt’s concern over its share was escalated after Ethiopia started building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile. The tributary feeds 80 percent of the Nile’s water to downstream states.
]]>
10/12/2018 8:19:19 PM
<![CDATA[US-Egyptian citizen Khaled Hassan probed over ‘belonging to IS’: Cairo]]>
Hassan was arrested on May 30. He has been subjected to an interrogation since then, the sources said, adding that his remand was renewed in accordance with the state’s law.

The sources said that the dual citizen is receiving all his legal rights in detention including family visits and meetings with this lawyer, noting that Hassan was visited three times by representatives from the U.S. embassy in Cairo so far.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on Thursday that Hassan was forcibly disappeared on January 8, 2018 from his brother’s apartment in Alexandria. The HRW report mentioned that he was tortured and he appeared before the military prosecution on May 3.

The security sources denied the HRW report, saying that Hassan and his lawyer did not submit a request to undergo a medical check over claims of “being tortured.” However, the HRW report mentioned that Hassan said his inmates advised him to not file a complaint or a request because the security officials will not refer it and would prolong his detention.

According to the investigations of the Egyptian prosecution, Hassan was recruited by a member of the militant group of the Islamic State’s affiliate in Egypt which is known as Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province).

Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province) is an offshoot of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group, which emerged in North Sinai after the 2011 upheaval, but orchestrated major attacks following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.


The government labeled the group a terrorist organization in April 2015, after it had already pledged allegiance to IS in November 2014.


]]>
10/12/2018 3:50:18 PM
<![CDATA[Palestinians launches ‘Jerusalem Uprising’ against eastern borders blockage ]]>
The Palestinian Higher National Commission for the March of Return and Breaking the Siege called the Palestinian crowd to participate in the activities of Marches of Return which will be launched after Friday’s prayer on the borders.

"The Great March of Return" protests were launched on March 30th by thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza -- which has suffered from a decade-long Israeli siege -- who took to the borders to demand their right of return as refugees to their original homelands, now in present-day Israel.

March 30, comes on the occasion of the Land Day (an annual day of commemoration for Palestinians of the 1976 events) to demand the activation of the "right of return" to Palestinian refugees who left their homes in 1948 and lift the siege the Israeli occupation has placed on of the Gaza Strip.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi received on Sept. 26 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his residence in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

Sisi stressed the importance of resuming the negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis to reach a just and comprehensive resolution based on a two-state solution, in accordance with the international treaties, presidential spokesman Ambassador Bassam Radi stated.

On the other hand, Netanyahu praised Egypt’s role and efforts in fighting terrorism in the Middle East.

Netanyahu wrote on his Twitter account that his talks with Sisi late on Wednesday focused on “regional developments”. He did not add any details.

Cairo is continuing its strenuous efforts with Palestinian officials to reach a number of understandings regarding the reconciliation process between Fatah and Hamas, a reliable source affirmed in August.

The efforts, according to the source, are aiming to stand on a united national Palestinian vision that provides a suitable and a decent life for Palestinians.

Moreover, the source stressed the importance of coordinating with the international community to provide the necessary support for the establishment of development projects that will provide a safe environment for Palestinians and guarantee continuous development in Palestine.
]]>
10/12/2018 2:43:25 PM
<![CDATA[Kuwaiti FM: Middle Eastern coalition able to confront region's challenges]]>
Jarallah made the remarks in response to a question by MENA on the sidelines of a celebration held by the Spanish Embassy in Kuwait to mark Spain’s National Day, which falls on Friday.

The Middle Eastern coalition was created upon a US proposal to establish an alliance in the region at several levels, including the security, military and economic ones, he said.

The coalition, which comprises countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Egypt and Jordan, aims to protect the interests of its member states, Jarallah noted. ]]>
10/12/2018 2:40:21 PM
<![CDATA[Support for German coalition parties hits record lows -poll]]>
Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU bloc and the SPD each saw their voter share fall by 3 percentage points, to 26 and 15 percent respectively, the DeutschlandTrend survey for broadcaster ARD showed.

They were the monthly survey's weakest ever figures for the coalition parties, ARD said.

The poll also relegated the SPD to fourth place, behind the pro-immigration Greens, up 3 percentage points on 17 percent, and the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, unchanged on 16 percent.

The results chime with expectations that the CSU, the Bavarian sister party to Merkel's CDU, is heading for its worst showing in a state election in over 60 years on Sunday, a setback that risks widening divisions within the coalition.

Since it took office in March it has twice come close to collapsing, due to arguments over immigration and a scandal over accusations of far-right sympathies against Germany's former domestic spymaster.

The coalition is also embroiled in a row over how to phase out polluting diesel cars.

Pollster Infratest dimap conducted the survey of 1,508 people from Monday to Wednesday, ARD said.]]>
10/12/2018 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Turkey, US press Riyadh to explain fate of missing journalist]]>
The Washington Post, which Khashoggi wrote for, added to the still unresolved mystery by reporting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered an operation to "lure" the critical journalist back home.

Khashoggi, a Saudi national whose articles have criticised the prince, has not been seen since October 2 when he went to the consulate in Istanbul to obtain official documents for his upcoming marriage.

Turkish officials have said he was killed -- reportedly by a 15-man "assassination team" that arrived on two planes -- but Riyadh denies that.

The disappearance has captured international headlines and threatens to harm Saudi's relations with both Ankara and Washington, as well as damage efforts by Prince Mohammed to improve the country's image.

Erdogan challenged Saudi Arabia to provide CCTV images to back up its account that Khashoggi had left the consulate safely, indicating he did not find the current Saudi explanations sufficient.

"Is it possible there were no camera systems in a consulate, in an embassy?" he asked.

"If a bird flew, or a fly or a mosquito appeared, the systems would capture this; they (Saudi Arabia) have the most cutting-edge systems," he was quoted as saying.

The consulate said CCTV cameras were not working that day and dismissed the murder claims as "baseless".

- 'Demanding everything' -

The case is also threatening the strong relationship the Trump administration has built with Prince Mohammed, who wants to turn the oil-rich conservative kingdom into a hub for innovation and reform.

The two sides have worked together in confronting Iran despite growing concern over the prince's campaign against dissidents, which critics say has revealed the true face of his rule.

In a reversal from Washington's initial low-key response, President Donald Trump expressed determination to get to the bottom of the matter.

"We can't let it happen. And we're being very tough and we have investigators over there and we're working with Turkey and frankly we're working with Saudi Arabia," Trump said in an interview with "Fox and Friends".

However, a Turkish diplomatic source quoted by the state-run Anadolu news agency denied US investigators had been tasked to work on the case.

And Trump later said the United States was not limiting arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the case. "They're going to take that money and spend it in Russia or China or someplace else," he said.

Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary of key Saudi ally and trade partner, Britain, told AFP there would be "serious consequences" if the allegations were true.

Saudi Arabia also dropped a bid to join the world's club of French-speaking countries, The International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF).

Khashoggi is a former government adviser who fled Saudi Arabia in September 2017 and lived in the US fearing arrest back home.

In his columns for the Washington Post and comments elsewhere, he was critical of some policies of Mohammed bin Salman as well as Riyadh's role in the war in Yemen.

- 'Cannot remain silent' -

While unnamed Turkish officials quoted in the media have been giving sometimes macabre details of the alleged murder, Erdogan has so far been more circumspect.

Erdogan said it would "not be right" to comment yet but said he had "concerns".

"It's not possible for us to stay silent regarding an incident like this," he said.

Human Rights Watch urged Prince Mohammed to "release all evidence and information" concerning Khashoggi's status

Turkish authorities have been given permission to search the consulate -- Saudi sovereign territory -- but this has not yet taken place.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkish prosecutors had began an "intense and comprehensive investigation" which needed the cooperation of Saudi Arabia while presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said a joint working group would be set up.

Ankara and Riyadh have worked over recent years to maintain cordial relations despite disputes on key issues, such as the ousting of the Islamist Egyptian government and the blockade on Turkey's key regional ally Qatar.

Relations between Turkey and the United States, meanwhile, have been in crisis over the two-year detention of US pastor Andrew Brunson. But should he be released at his next hearing Friday it would help restore confidence between the NATO allies.

Friends of Khashoggi told the Washington Post that for several months, senior Saudi officials were offering him protection, "even a high-level job working for the government" if the critic returned to the kingdom. Khashoggi was sceptical of such offers.]]>
10/12/2018 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Gov't should receive cotton yields from farmers: Min. of agriculture]]>
The minister of agriculture and land reclamation stated that the cotton yield in 2018 surpassed 2017's yield. The minister exposed that 2017's cotton prices exceeded LE 3,000 because of the hike in the global prices.

This came during a meeting held between the minister and the Committee of Agriculture and Irrigation in the House of Representatives to discuss matters regarding the refusal of the current government to receive the cotton yield for the price of LE 2,700 per kantar.

The minister explained that Egyptian farmers have always been the backbone of the Egyptian economy and that they support the country in difficult periods, referring to the hard economic conditions that Egypt witnessed in 1967.

Abo Steit reiterated that the Egyptian peasants were the primary supporters of the country’s economy while the nation suffered due to the stoppage of the Suez Canal ship movement.

In the same context, MP Mustafa el-Gedny pointed out that the government should receive the yields from the farmers as soon as possible to avoid a big loss for the cotton farmers.

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10/11/2018 6:06:04 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi: 2011 uprising wrong medicine for wrong diagnosis]]>
The seminar coincides with the 45th anniversary of the October 6 war victory celebrations.

Defense and Military Production Minister Mohamed Zaki and Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli attended the event, along with a number of senior statesmen and prominent public figures, as well as police and army top brass.

Sisi stressed that the lack of awareness is Egypt's first enemy; “Egypt is facing a great challenge to build awareness.”

“If we really have the country’s best interest in mind, we have to be aware of the real situation in Egypt,” Sisi said.

During the seminar, Sisi dedicated the Army Honorary Shield to the veteran commanders of the October War.

“Despite the bitterness of the 1967 defeat, insufficient military capabilities in terms of weapons, and the hard living conditions at that time, the Egyptians took the decision of war,” Sisi stated.

"The 1973 victory was a miracle by all measures given the big differences in the capabilities of our Armed Forces and the enemy's Armed Forces," Sisi explained.

"Casualties were estimated by thousands, forcing Israel to sign the peace treaty as they were convinced that if the Egyptians are able to achieve such a victory once, they can do it again," the president added.

Sisi stressed, “The one thing I have in mind while talking about the circumstances surrounding the 1967 defeat and the 1973 victory is raising people's awareness of the challenges facing the state in order to support the state's decisions.”

Morever, Sisi honored on Thursday a number of October War heroes and one of the heroes of the ongoing anti-terrorism war in Sinai. The list of the honored veterans included Commander of the 19th Infantry Division Brigadier General Yusuf Afifi and Major General Baki Zaki Youssef (deceased).

Sisi asserted that there is a huge difference between the terrorist, Hesham Ashmawy, and Colonel Ahmed el-Mansy, saying that both of them were officers, but one of them chose to betray the country, while the other kept the covenant.

]]>
10/11/2018 4:06:42 PM
<![CDATA[Love thy stray animal as thy golden retriever]]>
Religious fatwas about animals are consistently encouraging people to be kind. In fact, according to Dar alIftaa, Egypt’s only religious institution responsible for issuing fatwas, harmless stray animals should not be put down, but rather be fed, as clearly encouraged in prophetic hadiths. The constitution is also on the animals’ side, with updated articles protecting animals against harm.

The fatwas of Dar al-Iftaa, being state-sponsored itself, are used by animal rights advocates to oppose governmental attempts to poison stray dogs en masse. But many deem stray dogs and cats as “harmful” if they steal food or defecate on staircases of apartment buildings, and go about killing them with a clear conscience.

A stray baladi dog on a car in Cairo - Abdelfatah A. Abdelfatah
A stray baladi dog on a car in Cairo - Abdelfatah A. Abdelfatah

The administrations of Cairo’s AlAhly and el-Gezira clubs have said they acted upon complaints by their members and poisoned large numbers of cats on their premises after they grew too many and too unafraid that they would jump on seats or tables while people ate.

The government usually acts on locals’ complaints when it attempts to get rid of dogs in a designated area. But an inadequate law and failure to implement it, coupled with society’s passivity towards animal abuse, have led animal activists busy fighting on various fronts; trying to educate people about how they can help and fighting authorities to implement the law instead of breaking it.

Online activism
Egyptian animal rights advocacy groups have intensified their efforts and campaigns over the past few years to raise awareness for animal rights after a number of high-profile cases of animal abuse. Their campaigns seem to have paid off, and they hope charity for animals will increase in Ramadan and Eid el-Fitr.

In 2015, a video of a dog named “Max” being stabbed to death in a fight between his owner and other men in Cairo caused an uproar. The social media upset over the cruel video, and the campaigns led thereafter, have had an impact on public opinion and, perhaps, the judiciary. The three young men who killed “Max” were sentenced to one to three months in prison in a judgment reduced following an appeal.

The campaigns have relatively succeeded and helped improve the relationship between Egyptians and animals in streets. Since then, posts on social media promoting mercy towards animals have significantly increased and have been widely shared in ways that were not noticeable perhaps just five years ago.

From posts that ask people to wash empty tuna cans before throwing them away so they do not attract cats and injure their mouths, to posts telling people how to feed wild birds, kindness toward animals has gained a lot of traction on social media in the past few years.

For instance, the number of people who care enough to report animal abuse to animal rights organizations has significantly increased owing to social media, according to Salwa Abdoh, the head of the Egyptian Society for Defending Animal Rights (ESDAR). In 2012, ESDAR received about two reports on animal abuse on social media. More recently, in 2018, the organization received 30 reports in 45 days.

PHOTO-2018-04-26-16-53-26
Workers at ESDAR treat an injured donkey - ESDAR

Other posts ask people to check under their cars before moving, as kittens or pups usually lie beneath cars, as well as to put buckets outside their doorsteps to quench animals’ thirst. More and more posts urge donations to animal organizations and intervention when animal abuse is seen.

However, Abdoh says, the increasing popularity of such posts often also backfires as people do not always report abuse for the right reasons or in the right way. “Sometimes people report animal abuse on social media to show off. Some would take a picture of a case, a horse that was hit by a car or an injured dog for example, post it on the concerned Facebook pages and leave the suffering animal,” says Abdoh.

“They expect us to have wings and fly to rescue the animal. Once, someone left a post that a donkey was walking against the cars on Cairo-Suez Road and was worried it might be hit. Why she did not stop is beyond me.” ESDAR gets reports on things like crippled dogs, for instance, or “tortured” cats that just happen to be bitten by another cat and not tortured at all.

PHOTO-2018-04-26-16-46-34
Animal rights activist Salwa Abdoh with rescued horses - ESDAR

One of the most effective Facebook groups to promote animal rights is called “Save an Innocent Animal Soul (SIAS),” which was created in 2013 by five young women and one young man: Hoda Awad, Abeer Shoman, Maryam Sarwat, Huda El-Sayed, Mona Atef and Mahmoud Fahmy. Their main target was not only to rescue suffering animals, but also to encourage ordinary people to rescue and adopt street animals, and to report animal abuse through an ever-expanding network and community of animal lovers.

The main founder of SIAS, Awad, was in the street when she saw a kitten limping slowly until it sat on her sneakers, trembling. Not only did the kitten flounder its way to a new home after Awad adopted it, but it also drove her to establish the Facebook group.

“So if a person finds a sick animal and does not know how to help it, he or she could upload the animal’s picture and location on the group, and then one of the admins or any member close to the location provided goes to pick it up,” Awad tells Egypt today.
“The members of my group have reached 235,000 and I am happy about that. However, I feel extremely happy when we impact someone’s opinion and push them to change their hostile and careless behavior toward animals.”

Despite more interest to help animals, the float has not made things easier on these organizations. ESDAR’s Abdoh explains that although donations have increased since 2012, the value remained the same with inflation. “If a donor used to give us LE 200 a month, and now gives us LE 500; it is still the same [real value],” she complains.

An inadequate law
But to raise awareness is not enough for Mona Khalil, head of the Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals (ESMA), one of the prominent NGOs that focus on animals. Rather, law enforcement would be the most effective way to guarantee the welfare of animals.

“The government is committed to executing the law that protects animal rights. If we waited until we persuade the entire people that animal rights are like human rights, it would take many years. Animals need swift action to save and protect their lives and relieve their suffering,” Khalil says, adding that awareness will not stop rampant animal abuse.

Article 45 of the 2014 constitution stipulates that the state is committed to protecting endangered species and animal welfare, in a win for animal rights advocates.
But the law is still inadequate in the view of many activists.

El-Gezira Club was accused of poisoning stray cats in 2014, and a year later, Al-Ahly Club was slammed over another mass cat poisoning on its premises. The club cases, however, did not lead to a verdict, as the law does not include a penalty when the animal involved is a stray nor is not endangered.

Two stray cats sitting on a chair outside a carpenter's shop in Cairo - Basmah Salem
Two stray cats sitting on a chair outside a carpenter's shop in Cairo - Basmah Salem

It’s also often disregarded when it comes to traditions that have long been established; like carts drawn by equines, which have been prohibited in Cairo for decades, but the law has failed to put an end to this means of transportation and work that has existed for centuries in Egypt. Animal rights activists dread these carts because their drivers often abuse the animals by whipping them, cutting them or over-working and underfeeding them.

In Abdoh’s view, arbagiya, drivers of equine-drawn carts who collect garbage or transfer rubble, are often rather abusive of the animals.

Abdoh explains that arbagiya are usually young kids sent by their parents to scavenge through trash to find something of value or that can be sold for recycling. They would whip the animal, make the donkey stand under the scorching sun for hours, and drive the cart in the opposite direction of cars, making themselves and the animals vulnerable to accidents.

They would also drive in the dark, although their carts do not have lighting.
But other equine owners treat their animals better, such as vegetable sellers, who load their goods on the cart and stop in a local market to sell, and then return home.

PHOTO-2018-04-26-16-30-13
Rescued donkeys at ESDAR's farm - ESDAR

Fruit sellers treat their animals better than their fellow vegetable vendors, Abdoh says, adding that there are many vendors who would cover their animals with an oilcloth when it rains. She has also seen watermelon sellers break the fruits to feed it to the animal. A watermelon is worth around LE 50, an expensive meal for many.

A vegetable salesman kisses his horse – Egypt Today Hend Safwat
A vegetable salesman kisses his horse – Egypt Today Hend Safwat

The lesser-loved Baladi dogs
In parallel with advocating to implement the law as well as raising awareness online, many activists are working toward raising awareness about Baladi dogs. Instead of being regarded as burdens to society, pestering people on the streets, activists are calling on animal lovers to adopt stray dogs instead of paying small fortunes in buying other breeds.

“The majority of dogs who live on the streets are malnourished and dirty, but if you take care of them, they would be just as pretty and good as any other dog and sometimes they would be better than other breeds. If you loved stray dogs and took care of them, they would be great, smart and protect you like any foreign dog breeds – like German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers and Rottweilers – do,” Mahmoud Atef, a dog trainer, says.

Atef adopted two Egyptian stray puppies, commonly known in Egypt as “Baladi puppies.” They are now living with Atef and his two other dogs – a Boxweiler and a Malinois. Later, he found out that stray dogs are emotionally intelligent, easy to train and to socialize with.

“Baladi dogs are more alert than other species in recognizing dangers. If someone comes close to my home while all the other dogs are asleep, the Baladi dogs are the first to notice this stranger and they start barking to alert me before my Boxweiler and Malinois do,” he explains.

Similarly, on el-Geish Street in Cairo’s district of Abbassiya, a newspaper seller takes care of stray dogs in the area. “I try to help stray dogs and cats as much as I can, by bringing some food and treating them mercifully,” newspaper vendor Ali Helal tells us, surrounded by three stray dogs.

Ali Helal sits among stray dogs during his night shift  Egypt Today Hend Safwat
Ali Helal sits among stray dogs during his night shift Egypt Today Hend Safwat

“Stray dogs are immensely smart. Last month, I fell asleep during my night shift and two thieves tried to rob me. However, two stray dogs called Naema and Shabel, immediately began barking frantically to wake me up.”

Nagy el-Shamy, a bread seller, has been noticing how stray dogs behave on the streets. “Look at Egyptian stray dogs whilst crossing the road, you will notice that they wait until the traffic becomes slower, and when they fail at crossing the road alone, they will wait until they see a human crossing the road, in order to cross with them,” Shamy explains.
Despite them being resilient to diseases due to their mixed genetics, and how loyal and intelligent they’ve proven to be, people are yet to be accustomed to the idea of adopting Baladi dogs.

Ahmed Elwi, a trainer certified by the Professional Dog Trainers Academy, has trained dogs for 12 years. However, only two customers brought in Baladi dogs to be trained, Elwi tells us, adding how well they are at being trained and how they mix well with children and people with special needs.

Even the Egyptian authorities do not intend to tap into the Baladi pool and instead import foreign breeds as police dogs, rather than training Baladi ones.

What you can do
Abdoh explains that you can make a difference in animals’ lives without even donating or volunteering, but rather through simple daily gestures.

1. Throw food scraps in corners in the street. Stray animals will eat them immediately and dogs will not bark at people on streets when they are not hungry.
2. When you see an injured animal, help it and do not just leave after calling an animal rights organization. Sometimes the animal just wants a sip of water before it passes away.
3. Do not rush to call the authorities regarding stray dogs; call animal rights organizations first.
4. Neighbors can share the expenses of neutering stray animals in their district. They just need to call animal rights organizations and they will pick up the animals for the operation at veterinary clinics.
5. Educate children that mistreating an animal is not acceptable.
]]>
10/11/2018 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Peru opposition leader detained in money laundering probe]]>
Fujimori was detained when she arrived at the state prosecutor's office to testify in the case, which was brought under Peru's Organized Crime Law, according to an official document seen by Reuters.

The document stated that Fujimori's 2011 Fuerza party, now called Fuerza Popular (Popular Force), received "illicit contributions through acts of corruption by Brazilian business group Odebrecht."

Building conglomerate Odebrecht has been at the center of Latin America's biggest graft scandal since acknowledging in a late 2016 leniency deal that it had bribed officials in a dozen countries, including Peru.

Fujimori will be detained for 10 days, along with 19 other people, including two former ministers from her father's government, according to her lawyer, Giuliana Loza.

Loza told local radio station RPP that the decision to arrest Fujimori had been "abusive and arbitrary."

"There is not a jot of evidence against her," she said.

Popular Force has a majority in Congress and was key to helping topple former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in a graft scandal in March.

Last week, a pardon granted to Alberto Fujimori by Kuczynski was annulled.

Following his extradition to Peru in 2007, Alberto Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years in prison for commanding death squads that massacred civilians in a counterinsurgency campaign during his rightwing government. He was later found guilty of corruption.

Keiko Fujimori's legal troubles could help President Martin Vizcarra, who threatened to dissolve Congress last month to pressure the opposition to pass his proposed judicial and political reforms.

A twice-defeated presidential candidate, Keiko Fujimori has led her father's rightwing movement since he was imprisoned in 2007.]]>
10/11/2018 1:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Palestinian diplomatic office closed in the US ]]>
WhatsApp Image 2018-10-10 at 22.00.53
Reporters covering the closure of PLO's office in the US - Egypt Today

The Trump administration ordered the closure of the Palestinian authority’s office in Washington on September 10.

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Reporters covering the closure of PLO's office in the US - Egypt Today

The administration cited the Palestinian authority’s refusal to enter the peace talks with Israel and America to justify the call to close PLO’s office in the US, as its members did not take any step to enhance the negotiation process with Israel to realize peace.

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Outside PLO's office in the US few minutes before the closure - Egypt Today
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10/11/2018 12:22:20 AM
<![CDATA[Trump demands answers in missing Saudi journalist case]]>
Trump told reporters at the White House that he has talked to the Saudi leadership "more than once" since Khashoggi, a US resident and Washington Post contributor, vanished on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"We're demanding everything. We want to see what's going on there," he said. "It's a very serious situation for us and this White House ... I think we'll get to the bottom of it."

"We cannot let this happen, to reporters, to anybody," Trump said.

These were the toughest comments coming out of the Trump administration since the mysterious disappearance of the journalist, who Turkish authorities suspect was abducted and murdered by the Saudis.

Turkish investigators are examining CCTV footage showing the moment he entered the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents ahead of his marriage to his Turkish fiance Hatice Cengiz.

Cengiz appealed to Trump in an opinion piece for the Washington Post on Tuesday, calling on him to "help shed light on Jamal's disappearance."

Trump said that he and First Lady Melania Trump were in contact with her and were looking to "bring her to the White House."

- Suspicious vehicle -

Turkish government sources said at the weekend that police believed Khashoggi was killed by a team specially sent to Istanbul and thought to consist of 15 Saudis.

Security camera footage released on Wednesday by Turkish television showed a man believed to be Khashoggi enter the consulate. Investigators are also zooming in on a vehicle seen entering and leaving the building after Khashoggi went inside.

But Riyadh insisted the 59-year-old journalist had left the building and that murder claims are "baseless".

Khashoggi, a former Saudi government adviser, had been living in the United States since last year fearing arrest.

He has been critical of some policies of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Riyadh's intervention in the war in Yemen.

Turkish police were looking into two private aircraft that landed at Istanbul's Ataturk airport on October 2 at different times carrying the individuals of interest in the case.

A source told the Washington Post that US intelligence "intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture him."

The same source said the Saudis hoped to "lure" Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia "and lay hands on him there".

- Possible kidnapping -

One of the first images from the CCTV footage shared by 24 TV broadcaster showed Khashoggi enter the consulate at 1:14 pm (1014 GMT).

Footage also showed some of the Saudis arriving in Istanbul after the first plane landed before 0030 GMT on October 2 and the men later checking into a hotel near the consulate. Aksam daily said some of the men went into the Saudi consulate before Khashoggi.

According to the images, a vehicle that went inside the consulate was then driven to the consul-general's residence nearby after 1200 GMT, two hours after Khashoggi had entered the mission.

Aksam newspaper's editor-in-chief Murat Kelkitlioglu speculated on 24 TV that it was "almost certain" that Khashoggi had been taken in the vehicle.

Local media on Tuesday reported on the possibility that Khashoggi was kidnapped and taken aboard one of the private planes.

Both planes later returned to Riyadh with one stopping in Dubai and the other in Egypt, pro-government Sabah daily said.

According to Hurriyet daily, nine Saudis who arrived in Istanbul on the same day that the journalist vanished, had bought luggage at the Grand Bazaar. However, a police search revealed that they did not take the luggage on their return.

Sabah daily on Wednesday published the names and images of what it called the "assassination team" including a man called Salah Muhammed Al-Tubaigy whose name it said matched that of a lieutenant-colonel in the Saudi forensic department.

Sabah added that no "body parts" appeared on scans of the belongings of seven passengers of relevance to the case at Istanbul airport.

Turkey has said Saudi authorities gave officials the greenlight to search the consulate but it has not yet taken place.

- 'I shouldn't go' -

In his last interview three days before his disappearance, Khashoggi said that he did not think he would return to Saudi Arabia.

"When I hear of the arrest of a friend who did nothing that (deserved being) arrested, it makes me feel I shouldn't go," he told the BBC.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which ranks the kingdom 169th out of 180 on its World Press Freedom Index, said in a statement that between 25 and 30 professional and non-professional journalists are currently detained in Saudi Arabia.

RSF said at least 15 Saudi journalists and bloggers have been arrested since September 2017.]]>
10/11/2018 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[6th Tripartite Summit in Crete discusses 'regional threats']]>


The files discussed by the three leaders include regional threats embodied in terrorism, illegal migration, and recurrent Turkish provocations attempting to violate the sovereignty of the three states by moving its naval forces near hydrocarbon exploration sites located within their territorial waters. That is in addition to holding talks on energy and hydrocarbon discoveries along with other matters of mutual interest.

The heads of the three states witnessed after the summit the signing of cooperation agreements by ministers of their countries in different economic sectors. Thereafter, they held a joint press conference.

Tsipras stated that discussions tackled the necessity of achieving stability in Libya and reaching a permanent solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in Gaza. He added that talks included cooperation in the education sector and potential Greek and Cypriot investments in Egypt’s SCzone (Suez Canal economic zone) as well as the status of Greek citizens living in Egypt.

President Sisi said that the ongoing regional developments dominated the summit. He explained that there is congruence by the three states upon the importance of coexistence concept prioritization along with violence and hatred renouncement by all parties in the Middle East and the Mediterranean to preserve the region from impending dangers.

Sisi added that the talks covered extant crisis in Palestinian territories, Libya, and Syria among others clarifying that the three countries perceive political settlements as key to stop the bloodshed, and undertake reconstruction.

“That eliminates chances seized by extremist and terrorist groups exploiting such crisis to prey on our states and terrorize our peoples backed by the financial, political, and logistic support provided by certain parties that do not hesitate to breach international laws and norms to create presence and influence, and to serve their narrow interests at the expense of the lives and fortunes of peaceful peoples,” the president asserted.

The president held bilateral meetings with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades before the summit to discuss regional affairs as well as opportunities for strengthening economic and trade relations.

Cypriot president and sisi
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Crete on the sidelines of the sixth Tripartite Summit. October 10, 2018. Press Photo

Sisi expressed his appreciation of Greek stances towards Egypt during his meeting with Tsipras. The summit kicked off after the president’s meeting with his Cypriot counterpart. Sisi praised Cypriot support for Egypt in regional and international organizations and communities.

Cypriot president and sisi
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and his Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades in Crete on the sidelines of the sixth Tripartite Summit. October 10, 2018. Press Photo

On the other hand, Anastasiades expressed his appreciation for Egypt’s support to the “Cypriot cause” in accordance with germane UN resolutions describing Egyptian role as a pillar of stability in the Middle East and counterterrorism efforts. The Cypriot leader hailed the growth of bilateral relations in various domains saying he aspires for further cooperation.

The tripartite summits started in 2014 in the Egyptian capital leading to a maritime demarcation agreement that was signed a year later with the aim of boosting gas production in the three countries.

Turkey has been interfering in block seven where exploration works are taking place in Cypriot waters for not involving the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus - only recognized by the Turkish state - in any decisions on the gas rich area. In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus splitting the island into two states.

The president is accompanied by a high-profile delegation comprising Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shokry; Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr; Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek al-Molla; Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Talaat; Minister of Migration and Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram; Minister of Telecommunication and Information Technology Amr Talaat; Chief of General Intelligence Abbas Kamel.


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10/10/2018 11:50:18 AM
<![CDATA[General Committee to review Sisi’s objections to clinical trials draft law ]]>
Sharif added that the General Committee will listen to the concerned entities, including the Ministry of Higher Education and the Supreme Council of Universities, in addition to senior experts and scientists as well as the heads of the education and scientific research and health affairs committees.

In this regard, Magda Nasr, member of the Education and Scientific Research Committee, said that the General Committee will hold a meeting soon after the election of the parliament’s subcommittees to reconsider the draft law and prepare a report to review it before the plenary session.

In the same context, Mohamed al-Amari, head of the Parliament’s Health Affairs Committee, remarked that the General Committee will form a specialized committee to redraft the articles of the draft law.

President Sisi objected to some articles of the draft law regulating medical and clinical research, calling the Parliament to reconsider them, House of Representatives’ Speaker Ali Abdel Aal announced on October 2 during the fourth round’s plenary session.

President Sisi referred in his letter to the Parliament that the draft law is important and dangerous, as it is related to the protection of the constitution, the sanctity of the human body, and the freedom of scientific research.

In this regard, he referred to Article 60 of the Egyptian Constitution reading “the sanctity of the human body is inviolable and assaulting or defaming it is a crime that shall be punished by law. Human body shall not be subjected to any medical and scientific experiment.”

The Egyptian president returned the draft law to the Parliament to be reconsidered, opposing the draft law’s Articles 4, 5, 9, 11, 19, 20 and 22, which refer that all researchers and scientists should seek the prior approval of the Higher Council of Medical Research ahead of conducting any medical or clinical experiments and tests.

“The researches include masters, doctorate, free and funded researches in the Faculty of Medicine. That means it is impossible to follow up these huge numbers of researches, carried out every month, only by committees in every research entity.”

Sisi also opposed the small number of representatives of Egyptian faculties and institutes in the Supreme Council, which reaches only 4 out of 15 members as 97 percent of researches are carried out inside faculties and institutes.

Sisi further rejected the draft law’s punitive articles as “they do not take into account the nature of scientific research and consider that the irregularities are the same in all types of research.”

Moreover, the draft law stipulates that sending human samples abroad shall be punished by a prison sentence.

In this regard, President Sisi said that sending the samples abroad will allow examining them with modern equipment, which may not be locally available; hence, the draft law will require issuing reports on specialists’ work free of charge, costing the state a lot of money and affecting the quality and expansion of scientific research in Egypt. ]]>
10/10/2018 11:38:07 AM
<![CDATA[Turkey says will search consulate where Saudi journalist vanished]]>
Khashoggi was last seen one week ago entering the consulate in Istanbul to get documents related to his forthcoming marriage. His fiancee, waiting outside, said he never emerged and Turkish sources said they believe Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi policies, was killed inside the mission.

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan asked Saudi Arabia on Monday to prove its assertion that Khashoggi left the consulate.

The U.S. State Department said it did not know what happened to Khashoggi and whether he was alive or not.

"We don't know what has happened to him. We don't have any information on that," spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters adding: "We don't want to make any judgments about what happened."

Saudi Arabia has dismissed as baseless accusations that it killed or abducted Khashoggi, and on Tuesday Turkey's state-owned Anadolu agency said Riyadh had invited Turkish experts and other officials to visit the consulate.

Britain urged the Saudi government to explain what happened. "Just met the Saudi ambassador to seek urgent answers over Jamal Khashoggi," U.K. foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said on Twitter.

"Violence against journalists worldwide is going up and is a grave threat to freedom of expression. If media reports prove correct, we will treat the incident seriously - friendships depend on shared values," he wrote.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the investigation was "continuing intensively". The Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations allowed for consulates to be searched by authorities of a host country with consent of the mission chief, he said.

"The consulate building will be searched in the framework of the investigation," Aksoy said in a written statement.

There was no immediate comment on the report from the Saudi authorities.

News agency Anadolu later reported that a private plane that had arrived from Saudi Arabia at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport was searched last Tuesday, the day Khashoggi was last seen. The search proved fruitless and the plane took off again afterwards, it said.

A Turkish security source had previously told Reuters that a group of 15 Saudi nationals, including some officials, had arrived in Istanbul in two planes and entered the consulate on the same day Khashoggi was there, and later left the country.

It was not immediately clear if the Anadolu report referred to one of those aircraft.

"FORCED DISAPPEARANCE"

Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia last year saying he feared retribution for his criticism of Saudi policy over the Yemen war and its crackdown on dissent, and since then wrote columns for the Washington Post newspaper. His disappearance sparked global concern.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he plans to speak with the Saudis without elaborating. Speaking at the White House, he said he did not have details about Khashoggi's disappearance

The U.N. human rights office urged both Turkey and Saudi Arabia to investigate what it called the "apparent enforced disappearance" and possible murder of Khashoggi.

"We call for cooperation between Turkey and Saudi Arabia to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into the circumstances of Mr Khashoggi's disappearance and to make the findings public," U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a Geneva news briefing.

The two countries have such an obligation under both criminal law and international human rights law, she said.

In July, the U.N. human rights office called on Saudi Arabia to release all peaceful activists, including women held for campaigning against a ban on driving as it was being lifted.

Khashoggi was once a Saudi newspaper editor and is a familiar face on political talk shows on Arab satellite television networks. He used to advise Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to the United States and Britain.

His disappearance is likely to further deepen divisions between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Relations were already strained after Turkey sent troops to the Gulf state of Qatar last year in a show of support after its Gulf neighbours, including Saudi Arabia, imposed an embargo on Doha.

The two Turkish sources told Reuters on Saturday that Turkish authorities believe Khashoggi was deliberately killed inside the consulate, a view echoed by one of Erdogan's advisers, Yasin Aktay, who is a friend of the Saudi journalist.

Erdogan told reporters on Sunday that authorities were examining camera footage and airport records as part of their investigation. He has also said Turkey has no documents or evidence regarding the case.

The European Union fully supports U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who called on Riyadh to investigate Khashoggi's disappearance, EU policy chief Federica Mogherini said.]]>
10/10/2018 2:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Trump says he would consider former adviser Dina Powell for UN]]>
Trump spoke to reporters at the White House before departing for an event in Iowa, hours after announcing that current U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley would step down at the end of the year. He said Haley would help him make the final pick for her replacement.

Powell served in the first year of the Trump administration as the Deputy National Security Adviser for strategy, and was a key player in diplomatic efforts in the Middle East. She returned to Goldman Sachs, where she worked for more than a decade, earlier this year. She also was a high-ranking official in the State Department of the previous Republican president, George W. Bush, according to the Harvard Kennedy School, where she is a senior fellow.

Speculation that Ivanka Trump would take on the post mounted after Haley praised her and her husband, Jared Kushner, in discussing her resignation in the Oval Office on Tuesday morning. But Trump told reporters at the White House before embarking on Marine One that, while Ivanka would be incredible in the role, he would face accusations of nepotism if he selected her. ]]>
10/10/2018 12:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Second Skripal suspect decorated by Putin: Bellingcat probe]]>
The site said on Monday that the man, who used the alias "Alexander Petrov", was in fact Alexander Mishkin, a trained military doctor employed by Russia's GRU military intelligence service.

Mishkin's name and his work for the GRU were independently confirmed on Tuesday by the Conflict Intelligence Team, a respected Russian-language investigative website.

Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins and researcher Christo Grozev told reporters at an event in the British parliament that they discovered Mishkin had taken part in covert operations in Ukraine and the breakaway republic of Transnistria.

Higgins and Grozev said that Mishkin was made a Hero of the Russian Federation -- the country's highest honorary title -- by Putin in the autumn of 2014.

People familiar with his family believed it was awarded for activities "either in Crimea or in relation to (former Ukrainian president Viktor) Yanukovych", according to their report.

A popular uprising in Kiev ousted the Moscow-backed Yanukovych, who was smuggled out of Ukraine and into Russia by GRU agents in February 2014.

Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea a month later.

The investigative group has previously identified GRU colonel Anatoly Chepiga as the other suspect behind the March poisoning attack. It said that he too had received Russia's highest award the same year in a secret ceremony in the Kremlin.

British authorities accuse the two men of attempting to murder Skripal and his daughter Yulia with the Soviet-made nerve agent Novichok in the city of Salisbury in southwest England.

While the Skripals survived the attack, a woman died on June 30 after her partner


picked up a discarded bottle of perfume containing the nerve agent that UK inspectors think was used to smuggle in the Novichok.

"The findings of this investigation by Bellingcat add possibly material context to the mission of the two GRU officers to Salisbury," the report concluded.

"The inclusion of a trained military doctor on the team implies that the purpose of the mission has been different than information gathering or other routine espionage activities."

- Adopted identity -

Using open-source records such as leaked residential, telephone and vehicle databases, the Bellingcat probe found Mishkin was born in the remote village of Loyga in northern Russia in 1979.

He graduated in 2003 or 2004 from the Russian military's medical academy in St Petersburg, where he specialised in "deep underwater physiology".

The researchers said that he was recruited by the GRU "at some point before 2003" and moved to Moscow in around 2009 where he adopted the identity of Alexander Petrov.

Bellingcat said it reached out to hundreds of fellow graduates from the academy, and two recalled Mishkin, but added that all of the class had been contacted recently and told not to speak about him.

In contrast to Chepiga, Mishkin's cover identity retained most of his authentic biographical characteristics, such as the same birth date and first names of his parents.

Bellingcat said it obtained incomplete border crossing records showing Mishkin travelled -- under his undercover persona of Petrov -- multiple times to Ukraine between 2010 and 2013.

They also showed he often crossed by car back and forth from Transnistria, where he stayed for short periods of time, it added.

- 'Our local boy' -

Bellingcat said its Russian investigative partner, The Insider, sent a reporter to the village of Loyga, where at least seven residents recognised photos of Petrov as "our local boy" Mishkin.

The journalist heard that his grandmother had shown many villagers a photograph of Putin shaking hands with Mishkin.

"The source said the grandmother treasures this photo and does not show it to everyone, and never lets anyone else hold it," the report said.

Bellingcat added the reporter was not able to talk directly to the grandmother or see the photograph.

Putin insisted last month that the two men identified by British police as being behind the Skripals' poisoning were not members of the GRU.

"They are civilians, of course," he said, while his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that the Kremlin would no longer comment on media reports about the Skripal case.]]>
10/10/2018 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian trapped in Qatar tells his story ]]>
Nabil al-Masry appeared in the video, saying that he is banned from both leaving and working in Doha, and that he has neither an income nor a residence. He explained that he had been working as executive manager of an affiliate company to Al-Sharq newspaper since December 2013.




His life went downhill when he expressed views supporting the Egyptian state and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi as some of his rivals reported him to Qatari authorities, exploiting legal loopholes.

Masry says that the Qatar National Bank (QNB) froze his bank accounts, claiming that he did not pay his dues. In May 2016, he was terminated and denied his financial rights. The man adds that he got three job offers as general manager locally and abroad but Al-Sharq newspaper ensured he would not get any of them by keeping him under its sponsorship.

According to Qatari Labor Law, foreigners working in the princedom must be under the sponsorship of a specific employer, where “the employee is unable to leave the country without their sponsor’s approval in the event of an emergency, employment or business dispute,” according to Online Qatar website. That permission is called a No-Objection Certificate.

Masry says he lodged a complaint (file no. 15293 - request no. 15298) to the Qatari National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) in October 2016. The outcome was a rejection by Labor Court to transfer the sponsorship to another employer in the country as the decision is only in the hands of the original employer. Also, his demands of compensation were denied.

Egypt along with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain severed ties with Qatar on June 5, 2017 for supporting terrorism. Other countries joined the boycott to pressure the princedom to seize providing refuge, as well as financial and media support for terrorists.
]]>
10/9/2018 2:24:36 PM
<![CDATA[FM meets with his Mauritanian, Maltese, Spanish counterparts ]]>
In his meeting with Mauritanian counterpart Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, Shoukry pointed out Egypt’s interest for promoting relations with Mauritania, according to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez.

He said that Cairo appreciates the current level of bilateral coordination and cooperation between the two countries, reflected in the exchange of high-level mutual delegations including the visit of Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to Egypt in November 2017.

Hafez further remarked that the two ministries tackled the development achieved in bilateral cooperation, reviewed the results of political consultative tours between the two countries, which Cairo, Egypt, hosted on September 23, and prepared the Joint Committee meeting set to be held in Nouakchott, Mauritania.

In this regard, Ould Cheikh Ahmed expressed his country’s pride of historic relations with Egypt and attempted to promote bilateral relations, along with Nouakchott’s interest to coordinate and consult with Egypt on different African and Arab issues.

In his meeting with Maltese Minister of Foreign Affairs Carmelo Abella, Shoukry hoped that Abela's proposed visit to Cairo would be an opportunity to promote bilateral cooperation in the face of common challenges in the Mediterranean region, and to discuss the conditions in Libya.

Shoukry also confirmed that it is essential to back UN efforts aiming to find a permanent solution to the Libyan crisis. During the meeting, he stressed the importance of economic relations between the two countries.

They also discussed Egypt's efforts to combat illegal immigration, saying no illegal migration boats are recorded to have sailed from Egyptian shores since September 2016, the spokesperson said.

Shoukry also held a meeting with Spain's Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, during which he commended the ties established with Spain and voiced his interest to continue coordination and cooperation between the two Mediterranean countries at regional and international events and forums. He called for increasing the number of Spanish tourists in Egypt.

He noted the importance of reaching a comprehensive solution to the Libyan crisis, and the problems of illegal immigration and terrorism.

In the meantime, Borrell was interested in listening to Egypt's vision on a number of regional issues of joint concern, primarily the situation in Libya.
]]>
10/9/2018 10:49:04 AM
<![CDATA[How an Egyptian commando turned terrorist used Libya's Derna as a shield]]>


Having learned about fighting in the desert during his time with the Egyptian military, Ashmawy was perhaps the most dangerous military trainer in Libya in terms of abduction, bombing, ambushes, destroying and booby traps Mismary told Extra News.

Ashmawy’s previous presence in Egypt and some mosques in Cairo enabled him to recruit many fighters from Egypt to Libya, Mismary said, adding that the former officer was part of al-Murabiton terrorist group, which was founded by Mukhtar Bilmukhtar, an al-Qaeda-affiliated Algerian based in south Algeria and Mali.

3 Hesham Ashmawy receives treatment after his arrest- Press photo


Being the leader of the group in Derna, Ashmawy recruited many fighters from Libya, Tunisia, Sudan and Egypt on behalf of al-Qaeda and its Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Ashmawy left Sinai for Libya in 2013, when Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis swore allegiance to the Islamic State group (ISIS), as he preferred to join al-Qaeda in Derna.

Most importantly, as he was supported by certain governments, he was planning to found a so-called “Free Egyptian Army,” on the model of the Free Syrian Army, to attack the Egyptian military form the West, according to Mismary.

2 Hesham Ashmawy after his arrest- Press photo


Ashmawy was not able to reach that point owing to the Libyan army’s efforts, although the Libyans have evidence that this was his plan, Mismary emphasized.

The major terrorist and his militants used the residents of Derna, whom they held “hostages,” as human shields. The strategy worked for three years, until the Libyan army began an operation to free the city last May.

After the freeing of Derna, Ashmawy was still able to hide in al-Maghar neighborhood, which remained a stronghold for terrorists. It is a district in downtown and dates back to the Turkish era with narrow alleyways and buildings with rather thick walls.
The Libyan army besieged the district to stop the supply of ammunition, medications, and fighters. Meanwhile, with every movement detected, the Libyan forces attacked that particular spot, leading up to the arrest of Ashmawy.

“Ashmawy caused great harm to the Libyan people and killed hundreds of Libyans and hundreds others. He displaced hundreds of families. He destroyed Derna. He played the most prominent role in recruiting the youth of that city and neighboring cities and transferring them to other countries like Syria after training them in camps in Derna,” Mismary said.

1 Hesham Ashmawy after arrest- Press photo


“His organization is finished a long time ago. They are a few who remain [in Derna] with no hope in life or to survive. Every now and then they shoot members of the armed forces or residents of Derna. They wait to die,” the spokesperson added.

Mismary called Ashmawy a “huge black box that will expose a lot of interference in Libya in support of terror groups.”

That Ashmawy has been arrested, the fight, previously against armed groups, is now against the head of the snake and some countries that support terrorism in Libya, according to Mismary.

The Libyan brigadier general praised the Egyptian army for realizing that this is a regional and an international battle, rather than a national once, hence the high-level coordination.

]]>
10/8/2018 8:51:52 PM
<![CDATA[Foreign minister details prospects of ties with Africa, Japan]]>
The seventh summit of the Tokyo International Conference of Africa’s Development (TICAD) will take place in August 2019, whereas President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will lead African delegations as Egypt chairs the African Union (AU).

Since Egypt has restored its leading role in Africa backed by its regional value, Shoukry held a series of meetings with Japanese high-ranking officials throughout his visit to Tokyo that started on Oct 5. The talks covered bilateral relations and Egypt’s role as leader of the AU.

The minister sat for an interview with Egypt Today to display Egypt’s plans for Africa and for boosting relations on regional and international scales, and to highlight the strategic dialogue between Cairo and Tokyo.

Shoukry says that the main goal behind the visit is launching the Egyptian-Japanese strategic dialogue in order to take bilateral political relations to a higher level in terms of continuity as well as coordination of stances and visions on matters of mutual interest whether regionally or internationally. Holding such dialogue is an indicator of political willpower in both countries to deepen and expand cooperation, the minister added.

Shoukry expressed his pleasure of the warm welcome by the Shinzo Abe, saying it reflects Japan’s appreciation of relations with Egypt and its role as regional power. He explained that the economic, political, and social reforms undertaken by President Sisi solidify Egypt’s position in the region and create opportunities to cooperate with a developed country like Japan which has the qualifications to contribute in development plans adopted by Egypt.

Terrorism is one of the main obstacles facing development. Is there security cooperation with Japan? Is the news published by the Japanese publication on the participation of Japanese soldiers in peacekeeping forces in Sinai true?

Japan does not have any actual participation in multinational forces in Sinai. What has been circulating in press lacks accuracy. Japan has been supporting peace, the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, and peacekeeping forces for years through financial aid within the framework of Japan's efforts to strengthen world peace and stability.

As for terrorism, Egypt is keen to increase security cooperation with all partners in the intelligence and information exchange aspect. Terror is a global issue that threatens the security and stability of all countries. Hence, combatting that phenomenon requires the full cooperation and resistance of the entire international community. Resistance can be in the form of military operations, security information exchange, and standing against countries supporting terrorism. In Egypt’s ties with its partners, that must be an integral element.

How can Egypt benefit from the competition between Japan and China to penetrate the market and strengthen the country’s political and economic status in the region?

I don’t prefer the term competition. Egypt has ramified ties with many of the world countries and we are eager to build relations upon mutual interests, achieving those interests in a balanced fashion and giving all partners a chance to benefit from all the advantages and utilities available in Egypt in line with their abilities and capacities. Such relations serve Egyptian interests and developmental efforts, while directly benefiting countries and enlarging the scope of their investments in Egypt as well as their economic dealings.

Can Asian powers substitute traditional ones in the Egyptian market? In other words, can Asian corporations dominate the market in Egypt?

Countries like China and Japan generate financial investable surplus. Egypt establishes balanced relations with many countries whether in Asia or in Europe and it has agreements that define such relations like the EU-Egypt Association Agreement. However, Egypt offers opportunities for all partners in new economic and industrial zones such as SCzone.

Recently, you made statements implying that Egypt is close to obtaining a permanent seat in the UN Security Council representing Africa and stances in the continent are differing on the matter. What are the reasons behind some African countries' objection and are there any non-African countries pushing against Egypt’s acquisition of the seat?

It is too early to talk about a direct pursuit of a permanent membership in the Security Council. There are ongoing talks and consultations on reforming the United Nations system. The Security Council and Egypt are abiding by the Ezulwini Consensus signed in 2005 and that reflects Africa’s position on the representation in the Security Council. The consensus has not identified countries that should be backed for the permanent membership. It has just stated that Africa must have two permanent seats in the UN.

It is too early in the negotiations phase within the UN to tackle the matter. Thus, Egypt does not perceive any reason for a competition among African countries as the stage for determining potential candidates has not been reached yet. Definitely, Egypt is qualified for the role as well as other African countries and when it is time for the goal to become achievable, there will be consultations within the continent to select its representatives.

How can Egypt’s leadership of Africa in the seventh TICAD summit be a chance to reshape its image in the continent?

Egypt does not need to reshape its image in Africa as throughout the past four years Egypt has gotten further involved in African affairs and given more value to mutual interests with African partners. That was epitomized in the presidential visits and interactions on African causes as well as Egypt’s effective participation in the AU events. Within bilateral relations, Egypt provides support for African countries in different domains such as skill-building. That policy will be the same while chairing the AU in 2019 and co-leading the TCAD along with Japan, as the main goal is accomplishing African skill-building and benefiting from good ties with countries like Japan to create new opportunities for cooperation and contribution in developmental endeavors.

Within the framework of development endeavors, what are the main features of Egypt’s plan for its leadership of the AU?

The plan is diverse and relevant to political aspects, conflicts resolution, development, developing a unified vision on international matters, attracting global support for African causes, strengthening inter-African relations, improving the infrastructure in the continent for the purpose of boosting its economic capabilities, and concluding the continental free trade agreement.

As Africa can be a promising market for Egypt, what are the obstacles to penetrate and export to that market and what can be the role of the private sector?

The capabilities and contributions of the Egyptian private sector in the internal market are increasing and thus it has to explore opportunities and operate within the integrating framework existing in the continent. Egypt has a high competitive advantage compared to its African counterparts, so it must contribute in their development efforts through Egyptian investments on their soil. All these endeavors boost domains of cooperation within the continent which constitutes one of Egypt’s national security bases.
]]>
10/8/2018 2:18:38 PM
<![CDATA[10K feddans of agricultural land encroachments removed in 4 days ]]>
This comes as part of the directives of the Higher Committee for the Recovery of State Land to restore the state's lands.

40270-ازالة-التعديات-على-اراضى-الدولة-(5)
The Law Enforcement Forces demolished 1 million square meters of building violations and 10,000 feddans of encroachments on agricultural lands across Egyptian governorates in four days-Press Photo

According to a report issued by the Higher Committee for the Recovery of State Land’s operation room, Minister of Local Development Mahmoud Sharawy requested the governorates to coordinate with the Law Enforcement Forces to combat any encroachment attempts that could happen again.

In January, Egypt’s House of Representatives approved new amendments to the Agriculture Law, imposing tougher penalties on building on arable lands.

150792-ازالة-التعديات-على-اراضى-الدولة-(2)
The Law Enforcement Forces demolished 1 million square meters of building violations and 10,000 feddans of encroachments on agricultural lands across Egyptian governorates in four days-Press Photo

As per these amendments, building on arable lands is banned and violators could face penalties of up two to five years in prison and a fine ranging between LE 100,000 ($ 5,648) and LE 5 million.

The old articles of the Agriculture Law stipulated that building on lands or changing the arable land to a non-agricultural land was punishable by up to a 6-month imprisonment and a fine ranging between LE 10,000 and LE 50,000.

Encroachments include illegal construction on the Nile banks, unlicensed fish farming and disposal of industrial waste as well as other forms of pollution.

Since January 2015, the ministry has launched a campaign to remove violations detected by the government on the Nile banks.

According to the ministry’s latest data, which was announced in July, a total of 26,322 cases of encroachment on the Nile banks have been removed and since March 2017, a total of 12,425 cases of encroachment were removed.

Egypt’s agricultural lands covered 10 million feddans (one feddan equals about 1.038 acres) in 2015, compared to 9.6 million feddans in 2010, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) noted in a report issued on September 19, 2016.

Since the January 25 revolution in 2011, a total 80,000 feddans were encroached but most cases were upheld, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Spokesperson Hamid Abdel-Dayem previously told Egypt Today.]]>
10/8/2018 11:56:12 AM
<![CDATA[Brazil exit polls point to wave of support for right-winger]]>
The fiery lawmaker has surged in opinion polls in the past week, and all major surveys suggested the race would go to a second-round runoff in what has become a referendum on Bolsonaro, a former army captain who praises dictatorships and vows a brutal crackdown on crime and graft.

However, Sunday exit polls suggested an even more dramatic swing. An Ibope exit poll for the Rio de Janeiro governor race showed former judge Wilson Witzel, a Bolsonaro ally, scoring a shock victory over former Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes, suggesting earlier opinion surveys underestimated the electorate's deep-seated antipathy for the leftist Workers Party.

"Exit polls are showing a tsunami" in favor of Bolsonaro candidates, Murillo de Aragão, head of the Arko political risk firm in Brasilia, said on Twitter.

Exit polling on the presidential race will be released at 7 p.m. local time (2200 GMT), when voting stations in far western states close.

Bolsonaro, 63, was accompanied by a nurse as he cast his vote on Sunday, a month after a near-fatal stabbing at a campaign rally that required two emergency surgeries. He said he was confident he had the majority of valid votes necessary to clinch the race without a runoff vote on Oct. 28, avoiding a showdown with the leftist Workers Party (PT).

"If God is willing, we'll settle this today," he told reporters. "We are on an upward trajectory and are confident that the Brazilian people want to distance themselves from socialism."

An exit poll also showed one of Bolsonaro's closest aides, former police Major Olimpio Gomes, scoring a surprise win in the Senate race in Sao Paulo state. In Minas Gerais state, exit polls showed another Bolsonaro ally scoring an upset victory in the governor's race.

Bolsonaro is riding a wave of anger at the establishment over one of the world's largest political graft schemes and rising crime in the country with the most murders in the world. His supporters blame the PT, which ruled Brazil for 13 of the past 15 years, along with reckless economic policies that contributed to Brazil's worst recession in a generation.

Still, Brazil is split over the danger to democracy posed by Bolsonaro, a long-time congressman who advocates for torture and police violence, praises the country's 1964-85 military regime and suggested that opponents could only win the race through fraud, although he now vows to respect the electoral process.

Geneis Correa, 46, a business manager in Brasilia, said she voted for Bolsonaro and would support a coup if the PT wins, blaming the party for rampant corruption.

"If they win, it will become Venezuela. People will be hungry, with a currency that is worth nothing," she said, while leaving a polling station with her daughter. "If the PT is voted into power and there is a military intervention, I would support it."

LULA'S LEGACY

Bolsonaro's closest rival, PT candidate Fernando Haddad, a former education minister and one-term mayor of Sao Paulo, is standing in for the party's jailed founder, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is serving time for bribery and money laundering.

Two polls published late on Saturday showed Bolsonaro had increased his lead over Haddad in the past two days, taking 36 percent of voter intentions compared with Haddad's 22 percent.

Polling stations opened at 8 a.m. (1100 GMT) and the last will close at 7 p.m. Brasilia time (2200 GMT). Exit polls and official results will start flowing in soon after that via Brazil's electronic voting system.

Voting was progressing without major incident. Many Brazilians faced long wait times to vote and a line of more than 500 people snaked outside one polling station in Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana neighborhood.

Brazil's 147 million voters will choose the president, all 513 members of the lower house of Congress, two-thirds of the 81-member Senate, plus governors and lawmakers in all 27 states.

Almost two-thirds of the electorate are concentrated in the more populous south and southeast of Brazil where its biggest cities, Sao Paulo and Rio Janeiro, are located - and where Bolsonaro holds a commanding lead. A quarter of voters live in the less developed northeast, traditionally a PT stronghold.

BRAZIL'S TRUMP

In the most polarized election since the end of military rule in 1985, Bolsonaro is backed by a group of retired generals who have criticized the 2003-2016 PT governments and publicly advocate military intervention if corruption continues.

Bolsonaro, who compares his campaign to U.S. President Donald Trump's 2016 run, dismissed as "fake news" the accusations of sexism, racism and homophobia that he has stirred with a record of offensive comments.

A Bolsonaro government would speed the privatization of state companies to reduce Brazil's budget deficit and relax environmental controls for farming and mining. It also would block efforts to legalize abortion, drugs and gay marriage.

Bolsonaro on Sunday claimed he had the support of 350 congressman thanks to wide backing by the agriculture voting bloc as well as many evangelicals.

Haddad, who has presented himself as a fiscally responsible moderate, criticized Bolsonaro for skipping televised debates and accused him of wanting to win in the first round to avoid further democratic discussion.

"This is the gravest moment in our history. People are voting for Bolsonaro irrationally, with their emotions," said Haddad supporter Ubiramar de Sousa, a doctor voting at a school in Brasilia.
]]>
10/8/2018 4:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Serb nationalist leader wins seat in Bosnia's presidency-party]]>
Party spokesman Radovan Kovacevic also said that Zeljka Cvijanovic, a candidate for the president of Bosnia's autonomous Serb Republic, was leading over her rivals with 55 percent of votes, based on 17.6 percent ballots counted.
]]>
10/8/2018 12:36:03 AM
<![CDATA[Yemeni activist criticizes U.N., speaks up against Houthis]]>
President of Inqath, a Yemeni youth movement, and member of the General People’s Congress, Noura al-Garwi, criticized the UN role in Yemen, telling Egypt Today that many reports on human rights violations committed by Houthis have been submitted to the OCHA and accusing the entity of being biased towards the Iran-backed militias.

Garwi said that Houthis assaulted Yemeni women with electric shock batons as the women were protesting harsh living conditions due to civil war. Reuters reported that all the abducted female students were freed after signing a pledge not to take part in demonstrations again.

Garwi added that she herself was detained along with 70 women during protests against Houthis and that they were tortured and beaten. Responding to the arrest and death threats to female demonstrators made by member of the Houthi supreme political council Hussein al-Oza, Garwi affirmed that the militias “executed” a 22-year-old female protester called Amal Matar al-Emeisy.

The activist affirmed that such acts will not deter Yemeni women from protesting against the militia that has put the people in poor economic conditions as salaries of public and civil service employees have been stopped for two years. Also, citizens have been using cardboard papers and wood to light fire due to the hike of gas prices while women are more likely to give birth on the streets.

In 2011, a humanitarian crisis broke out in Yemen as armed opposition toppled late Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Houthis ousted elected President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in 2015, triggering the intervention of a Saudi-led coalition which had launched several airstrikes on Houthi locations.

The militia controlled Hodeidah port in Bab al-Mandab Strait, inhibiting the entry of humanitarian aid to Yemenis until earlier 2018. Starvation, risk of cholera spread, and armed confrontations are on top of the life-threatening dangers facing citizens in the conflict-torn country.

Additional Contribution by Noha El Tawil
]]>
10/7/2018 2:43:05 PM
<![CDATA[U.S., North Korea continue to make progress toward denuclearization: Pompeo]]>
Shortly after arriving in South Korea following the visit, Pompeo posted a photo of himself walking along with Kim on Twitter, saying: “Had a good trip to #Pyongyang to meet with Chairman Kim. We continue to make progress on agreements made at Singapore Summit. Thanks for hosting me and my team @StateDept.”

Kim and Pompeo met for about two hours, including lunch at the Paekhwawon, or 100 Flowers Garden, a prestigious state guesthouse, according to a pool report.

The brief trip, his fourth since March, was initially planned in late August but called off at the last minute by U.S. President Donald Trump who blamed lack of progress.

“It’s a very nice day that promises a good future for both countries,” Kim said, speaking through an interpreter, as he sat down at the lunch table with Pompeo.

“Thank you for hosting, President Trump sends his regards. And we had a very successful morning, so thank you and I am looking forward to our time here at lunch as well,” Pompeo said.

Kim pledged to work toward denuclearization at his unprecedented meeting with Trump in Singapore in June, but Pyongyang’s actions have since fallen short of Washington’s demands for irreversible steps to give up its arsenal, including declaring all nuclear and missile facilities.

A U.S. official who was part of Pompeo’s delegation said the latest visit to the North was “better than the last time” but added: “It’s going to be a long haul.”

Pompeo’s last trip did not go well. He left Pyongyang in July hailing progress, only for North Korea to denounce him for making “gangster-like demands.” Pompeo did not meet Kim on that trip.

In Seoul, Pompeo was scheduled to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in later on Sunday before holding talks with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, according to Moon’s office.

Pompeo visited Tokyo on Friday and is also due to travel to Beijing before returning home on Monday.

]]>
10/7/2018 12:39:51 PM
<![CDATA[Brazil votes for new president, far-right Bolsonaro in lead]]>
Surveys suggest the 63-year-old former paratrooper, who wants to cut spiralling debt through sweeping privatizations and embrace the United States and Israel, could count on more than one in three voters in the vast Latin American nation.

But at least as many in the 147-million-strong electorate reject the veteran federal lawmaker, who is known for repeated offensive comments against women, gays and the poor, and for lauding the military dictatorship Brazil shucked off just three decades ago.

If Bolsonaro gets more than 50 percent of the vote to lead the field of 13 candidates, he will win the presidency outright. Otherwise, a run-off will be held on October 28.

Analysts say a first-round victory for Bolsonaro is possible -- but unlikely.

The last surveys released late Saturday credited Bolsonaro with 36 percent against 22 percent for his nearest rival, leftist former Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad.

With blank and invalid votes stripped out, Bolsonaro could pocket 40-41 percent of the vote to 25 percent for Haddad, polling firms Ibope and Datafolha said.

A run-off was seen as too close to call, given the plus-or-minus two-point margin of error, though Bolsonaro was seen with a small edge: 45 percent, to 41-43 percent for Haddad.

- Voting marked by 'fear, anger' -

Haddad, 55, has picked up support that still exists for ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the Workers Party icon jailed for corruption who was declared ineligible from making a comeback because of a failed appeal.

While Brazil lived its economic heyday during Lula's 2003-2010 presidency, it was also plunged into its worst-ever recession under Lula's chosen successor, Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached and booted from office in 2016 for financial wrongdoing.

Many blame the Workers Party for the country's current economic malaise.

The result is one of the most polarized elections Brazil has seen. Voter rejection of the two leading candidates is bigger than their polled support.

Voters stuck between the far right and the left are likely to make their choice "more from fear or from anger than from conviction," said Geraldo Monteiro, a political analyst at Rio de Janeiro State University.

The run-off round could be "even more radical, maybe with violence," he warned.

The winner will rule the world's eighth biggest economy: a nation with 210 million inhabitants and abundant natural resources whose top trading partner is China.

Should Bolsonaro become president, he will have to form legislative alliances.

His ultraconservative Social Liberal Party has just eight deputies in the outgoing, 513-seat lower house of congress.

After Sunday's general election, in which new federal and state legislatures will also be chosen, it might at best pick up only a handful of seats.

But Bolsonaro, a Catholic, is close to the evangelical church lobby that counts many lawmakers. Deputies linked to Brazil's powerful agro-business lobby are also siding with him.

- A 'clean' candidate -

Bolsonaro's profile and anti-crime agenda got an unintended boost a month ago when the far-right candidate was stabbed by a lone assailant who police said had political motives.

Forced off the campaign trail for weeks, Bolsonaro intensified his deft use of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to reach switched-on Brazilians.

In the week before the election, his poll figures soared, while Haddad's stalled.

Even those opposed to Bolsonaro admit that he is a "clean" candidate, unsullied by corruption scandals that have mired many other politicians.

At a last pro-Bolsonaro rally in the capital Brasilia, supporters said they saw him as a savior.

"Bolsonaro is the best for the country today -- he is the hope of a better country. If we don't have Bolsonaro, we will become a Venezuela," said one demonstrating government worker, Cacio de Oliveira.

The current president, Rousseff's center-right former deputy Michel Temer, is not contesting Sunday's election.

He will leave office at the end of the year as a deeply unpopular figure in a country suffering with 13 million unemployed, climbing public debt and inflation, and record violence.

Voting on Sunday was to start at 8:00 am (1100 GMT) and end at 5:00 pm (2000 GMT), with initial results expected a couple of hours later.]]>
10/7/2018 11:57:30 AM
<![CDATA[Iran parliament passes counter-terror finance bill]]>
The bill, one of four put forward by the government to meet demands set by the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF), was passed by 143 votes to 120, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.

It aims to bring Iran's laws in line with international standards and allows it to join the UN Terrorism Financing Convention.

"Neither I nor the president can guarantee that all problems will go away if we join (the UN convention)," said Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during the debate ahead of the vote.

"But I guarantee that not joining will provide the US with more excuses to increase our problems," he added.

Iran is currently alone with North Korea on the blacklist of the FATF, which monitors global money laundering and terrorist financing.

In June, the Paris-based FATF gave Iran three months to pass laws needed to be removed from the blacklist, which has added to the Islamic republic's woes in accessing global banking.]]>
10/7/2018 11:19:50 AM
<![CDATA[Czech PM's party wins municipal elections]]>
The four-yearly municipal vote may carry more weight this time as local budgets have helped to keep the overall Czech fiscal balance in surplus in the past two years.

With 60 percent of the votes counted, the ANO of Andrej Babis came third with 15.9 percent in Prague, where it won four years ago.

The capital's budget is worth 70 billion crowns ($3.13 billion) or 1.4 percent of the Czech gross domestic product in 2018, surpassing the country's 58 billion crown defence spending.

ANO's coalition partner in the minority government, the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD), looked on course to have no member on the Prague city assembly for the first time ever as the oldest Czech party fared poorly across the country.

Babis, who called his party's overall numbers a success, said after the vote that CSSD result would not affect the two parties' cooperation in government.

Czechs were also picking one third of the upper chamber of parliament, the Senate. Most of the 27 seats contested will be decided in the second round which takes place on Oct. 12-13.

The CSSD will have just five candidates in the second round, not enough to retain the 12 seats it was defending in the vote, making the party likely to lose the post of the Senate speaker.]]>
10/7/2018 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Nadia Murad: Meet 1st Iraqi Nobel Peace laureate? ]]>
"Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes," said Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, as she announced the award Friday at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo.

In 2014, Murad was tortured and raped by ISIS militants for three months as a sex slave after ISIS swept through the area of northern Iraq where she lived with her family. She was bought and sold several times, subjected to sexual and physical abuse during her captivity, according to BBC.

Murad is the first Iraqi to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Moreover, She won several awards worldwide from different international organizations and entities to become an icon of struggle against rape.

Murad’s visit to Egypt

In December, 2015, Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi received Murad at the Etahaddiya Palace. During the visit, she expressed appreciation, on behalf of the Yazidi citizens, for Sisi’s prompt response to her request for a meeting.

She emphasized her appreciation for Egypt's significant role in the Islamic world and in combating terrorism and extremist thoughts. Moreover, Murad recounted ISIS’s aggressive assaults on the Yazidis in Sinjar, northern Iraq.

Murad explained that terrorists justify their acts in the name of religion, highlighting the history of peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Yazidis in Iraq.

President Sisi welcomed her in Egypt, reiterating that Egypt fully condemns all forms of terrorism and heinous practices that ISIS carried out. Sisi said that such acts negate the true Islamic values of mercy, tolerance and acceptance of the others.

Sisi asserted that Egypt will remain supportive to efforts that counter terrorism and extremist thoughts, pointing out Al-Azhar's diligent efforts in this respect to introduce the exact values of Islam and refute the perverted interpretations that underpin barbaric acts, which Islam strictly prohibits.

During her visit to Cairo, she met with Al-Azhar scholars to highlight the crimes committed in the name of Islam. She called on the Islamic countries to reject these brutalities and to protect minorities from inhumane practices.

Murad conducted several interviews with Egyptian local media during her trip to Cairo. “Hardest day in my life is when ISIS killed my mother and six siblings and raped me. I can never forget this day,” she stated.

Speaking to privately-owned Al-Watan newspaper in Jan. 2016, Murad said that “I do not care about prizes;I even do not know what Nobel Prize is. I only care about freeing more than 3500 Iraqi women and children from ISIS’s hand.”

In addition, Murad paid a visit to Cairo University on Jan. 1st, 2016, where she gave a magnificent speech, saying that “ISIS used to force captives to pray and then rape us.”

Various awards

Murad was awarded the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize by the Council of Europe in 2016, and called for an international court to judge crimes committed by IS in her acceptance speech in Strasbourg.

That same year, she was also awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament.

She was named the UN's first goodwill ambassador for survivors of human trafficking later that year.
]]>
10/6/2018 2:34:08 PM
<![CDATA[US Senate heads to final vote on court nominee Kavanaugh]]>
The Senate voted 51-49 to advance the nomination of the conservative jurist, who has faced allegations of sexual misconduct dating back to his teenage years, in the procedural cloture vote, setting up a final showdown on Saturday.

But the outcome remains uncertain after one Republican, Lisa Murkowski, defied her party and voted against moving ahead, while Democrat Joe Manchin cast his ballot in favor.

Republican Senator Susan Collins still appeared undecided, supporting the cloture vote but saying she would reveal her position on Kavanaugh, 53, on Friday afternoon.

President Donald Trump cheered the result of the cloture vote, which puts him a key step closer to a major political victory for conservatives.

"Very proud of the US Senate for voting 'YES' to advance the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh!" Trump tweeted.

Except for Murkowski and Manchin, the vote proceeded along party lines. To gain final approval Republicans can afford only one more defection in Saturday's test.

If he wins confirmation, Kavanaugh -- who has faced a bruising process which raised questions over his candor and partisan rhetoric, and his lifestyle as a young man -- will seal a conservative majority on the nine-seat high court for years to come.

Trump took the brutal battle to a new stage earlier Friday when he dismissed female anti-Kavanaugh protesters who have cited their own experiences of sexual assault as "elevator screamers."

The president claimed billionaire financier George Soros, a frequent target of conservatives, was behind their demonstrations.

"The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don't fall for it!" he said on Twitter.

Republicans continued to reject sexual assault and abuse allegations against Kavanaugh from three women when they were students in the 1980s, and dismiss charges from Democrats that Kavanaugh repeatedly lied in Senate testimony about his background.

- Gripping political battle -

The confirmation process has gripped Washington and the nation, aggravating already deep political divisions with just weeks to go before mid-term congressional elections.

Among those closely watched is Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, a frequent Trump critic who is not running for re-election and has expressed concern about Kavanaugh.

On Friday he voted to advance the nominee, then told an NBC reporter that "unless something big changes," he will vote yes on Kavanaugh's confirmation.

With Murkowski, the Republican who voted against cloture, telling reporters that Kavanaugh is a "good man" who perhaps is "not the right man for the court at this time," that left all eyes on Republican Collins and Democrat Manchin.

Collins is expected to announce her decision on the Senate floor after 3:00 pm (1900 GMT).

If she is a yes, that gives Manchin political cover to do the same and not be the deciding vote.

Manchin faces extraordinary political pressure. He is up for re-election in West Virginia, a state Trump won overwhelmingly in 2016.

On the Senate floor he waited until Flake, Collins and Murkowski had voted, then flashed a thumbs-up for his yes vote before sitting down by himself.

Another wrinkle about Saturday's vote: Republican Senator Steve Daines was to fly home Friday to Montana for his daughter's wedding, raising the prospect of Republicans losing a potentially vital yes vote.

But Daines said he spoke with Kavanaugh personally and assured him that "I will be back to vote yes this weekend if needed."

Kavanaugh made a last-minute pitch for support in a Wall Street Journal op-ed headlined "I am an independent, impartial judge," virtually unheard-of campaigning for a nominee to the high court.

Protesters returned outside the Capitol Friday morning, a day after 302 were arrested and charged with unlawfully demonstrating inside the Senate complex.

- 'No to mob rule' -

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley took to the Senate floor to accuse unnamed "left-wing dark money groups" of engineering an alleged Democratic political plot to defeat Kavanaugh.

"The resistance that has existed since the day after the 2016 election is centered right here on Capitol Hill," he said. "I hope we can say no to mob rule by voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh."

Trump's reference to Soros, who has supported pro-democracy movements around the world and the US Democratic Party for years, appeared to aim at inciting more support and anger from the president's conservative Christian base.

The Jewish billionaire is frequently described by arch-conservatives as a behind-the-scenes operator driving liberal and progressive movements -- criticisms that have raised counter-accusations of anti-Semitism.

But Democrats continued Friday to argue that there had been too little effort made to investigate the allegations against Kavanaugh -- especially that of Christine Blasey Ford, who says a drunken Kavanaugh tried to rape her in 1982.

On Thursday the FBI released summary results of a six-day, last-minute review of the allegations, which Kavanaugh's Senate backers said found no corroborating evidence.]]>
10/6/2018 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[FM delivers message from president Sisi to Japanese PM]]>
Sisi welcomed launching the strategic mechanism between Egypt and Japan, Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Ahmed Hafez said in a statement on Friday.

Earlier in the day, the foreign minister met with the Japanese prime minister as part of his visit to Tokyo, during which he will hold several meetings with Japanese officials, Hafez added.

Shoukry will also take part in the ministerial meeting of Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), according to Hafez.

Shoukry handed over Sisi's message to Abe to congratulate him on his re-election, and invite him to visit Egypt and participate in the inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum which is a symbol of the Egyptian-Japanese friendship, Hafez said.

Shoukry reviewed the features of the Egyptian economic transformation, calling on the Japanese government to increase its participation in the Egyptian mega projects.

He voiced Cairo's keenness on coordinating with Tokyo to prepare for the seventh TICAD conference, slated for August, 2019 which is co-chaired by Egypt and Japan.

For his part, the Japanese prime minister conveyed his greetings to president Sisi, praising solid relations between both countries.

Abe confirmed Japan's support for Egypt and its economy under Sisi's leadership.

He invited Sisi to attend the coming 2019 TICAD summit, in light of Egypt's presidency of the African Union. ]]>
10/5/2018 1:07:23 PM
<![CDATA[Pence accuses China of 'malign' campaign to undermine Trump]]>
In what was billed as a major policy address, Pence sought to build on Trump's speech at the United Nations last week in which he accused China of trying to interfere in the vote that will determine if his Republican Party keeps control of Congress.

Neither Trump nor Pence provided hard evidence of meddling by China, which last week rejected the president's allegation.

Pence's speech at Washington's Hudson Institute marked a sharpened U.S. approach toward China going beyond the bitter trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

It highlighted disputes such as cyber attacks, Taiwan, freedom of the seas and human rights.

Pence said China was waging a sophisticated effort to sway the elections against the Republicans in retaliation for Trump's trade policies. He vowed to continue to expose Beijing's "malign influence and interference."

Pence said Beijing, with an eye not only to the congressional elections but also to Trump's 2020 re-election bid, had "mobilized covert actors, front groups, and propaganda outlets to shift Americans’ perception of Chinese policies" and was targeting its tariffs to hurt states where Trump has strong support.

"China wants a different American president," Pence said.

He said that in June, Beijing laid out its strategy in a sensitive "Propaganda and Censorship Notice" which stated that China must "strike accurately and carefully, splitting apart different domestic groups" in the United States.

However, the allegations have raised questions whether Trump and his aides are trying to deflect attention from an investigation of his campaign’s possible ties to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and also set up China for blame if Republicans do poorly in November's vote.

In a statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Pence in his speech had made "unwarranted accusations ... and slandered China by claiming that China meddles in U.S. internal affairs and elections."

China is committed to working with the United States for "non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation," she added.

While China's state media slammed Pence's comments, the nationalistic tabloid Global Times called for restraint, stressing that China should assess the situation objectively and refrain from a "battle of wills" with the United States.

In particular, China must not let its problems with the United States escalate to affect its relationship with the entire Western world, or make China "conservative" in reforms and domestic policies, it said in an editorial on Friday.

CONFLICTING ACCOUNTS

Washington has long cited China as a major culprit in the hacking of U.S. government and corporate databases. But U.S. officials and independent analysts say they have not detected the kind of systematic manipulation of social media and email hacking Russia was accused of in 2016.

Even so, Pence said: "As a senior career member of our intelligence community recently told me, what the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country."

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told the Washington Post this week there was no indication of any foreign effort to disrupt election infrastructure, but added that "we know they (China) have the capability and the will."

China expert Chris Johnson, a former CIA analyst now at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Pence's speech appeared aimed in part at building a narrative that a vote for the Democrats would be vote for China.

"Another part of it is trying to distract attention from the real threat, which is Russia," he said. "There's nothing in that speech that rises to the level of 2016 Russian active measures."

Trump has justified his trade policy by accusing China of stealing intellectual property and limiting access to its market. The two countries have imposed increasingly severe tariffs on each other.

Pence said Chinese security agencies had masterminded the "wholesale theft of American technology," including military blueprints, and warned Washington would continue to take action.

He urged Google to end development of its "Dragonfly" app that would make it easier to track Internet searches and strengthen Chinese censorship.

Google declined comment, except to reiterate that its China search engine project was "exploratory" and not close to launch.

Bloomberg Businessweek cited 17 unidentified intelligence and company sources as saying that Chinese spies had placed computer chips in equipment used by about 30 firms, as well as multiple U.S. government agencies, which would give Beijing secret access to internal networks. Apple Inc and Amazon denied the report.

Pence also said China had deployed anti-ship and anti-air missiles on artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, despite promises not to militarize them.

He accused Beijing of "reckless harassment" in an incident on Sunday in which a Chinese naval vessel nearly collided with a U.S. destroyer near the Spratly islands.

"We will not be intimidated," Pence said of the operation, the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters.

China said a Chinese warship had been sent to warn the U.S. vessel to leave an area of irrefutable Chinese sovereignty.

Pence accused China of using its economic power to bully smaller countries and said it had threatened the stability of the Taiwan Strait by pressuring three Latin American countries to sever ties with Taipei and recognize Beijing.

Pence also denounced Beijing's crackdown on minority Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

Last month, a U.N. rights panel said it had received credible reports that up to one million ethnic Uighurs may be held in extra-legal detention in Xinjiang, which China says faces a serious threat from Islamist militants and separatists.

U.S. officials have said they are considering targeted sanctions for human rights abuses.

Daniel Russel, Washington's top diplomat for East Asia until last year, said there was a lot to dislike about China’s behavior. But he said the claim that China was working to defeat Trump at the ballot box "rings hollow" and the approach could be counterproductive.

"Even if you accept all of Pence’s complaints at face value, it’s hard to make the case that the administration’s Cold War-style vilification of China will be effective or beneficial to U.S. interests, since it's clearly pushing Beijing to intransigence, not compromise."]]>
10/5/2018 12:05:45 PM
<![CDATA[Lebanon's Hariri expects new cabinet in 7-10 days - TV interview]]>
Since a parliamentary election in May, political stalemate has prevented Lebanon from forming a national unity government, raising concerns in a country with one of the world's highest rates of public debt.

"The economic situation is very difficult...(it) can't bear disputes," Hariri said in an interview on a prime-time television show, referring to political wrangling which has delayed formation of a government.

"There are solutions, which (President Michel Aoun) and I have discussed ... Within a week to ten 10 days, the government will be formed," he said.

In the five months since the May vote, Hariri has expressed optimism several times about a near breakthrough.

Key parties in Lebanon's sectarian power-sharing system have jostled over ministries, as foreign donors urged avoiding delays. Lebanese politicians have warned of economic crisis.

A Paris donors conference in April yielded pledges of billions, conditional on reforms that the new government will have to undertake.

A big sticking point in negotiations has been the competing demands of Maronite Christian Aoun and his Free Patriotic Movement on the one hand, versus their Maronite rival Samir Geagea with his Lebanese Forces party on the other.

"We all have to make sacrifices and work together," Hariri said. He dismissed comments that foreign regional pressure had hindered the process.

The IMF wants to see immediate and substantial fiscal adjustment to improve the sustainability of Lebanon's public debt, which stood at over 150 percent of gross domestic product at the end of 2017.

Lebanon's last coalition government continued as a caretaker administration after the May vote, which produced a parliament tilted in favour of the Iran-backed Shi'ite Hezbollah movement.]]>
10/5/2018 12:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Pence paints China as enemy in US election]]>
In a blistering speech that expands on complaints aired by President Donald Trump at the United Nations last week, Pence accused China of waging an "unprecedented effort to influence American public opinion" ahead of critical congressional elections on November 6.

"To put it bluntly, President Trump's leadership is working; China wants a different American president," Pence said at the Hudson Institute, a conservative Washington think tank.

"There can be no doubt -- China is meddling in America's democracy."

The administration's offensive on China comes as a cloud hangs over Trump with an investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Russia to swing the 2016 presidential election in the Republican real estate tycoon's favor.

Just hours before Pence spoke, the US Justice Department indicted seven Russian intelligence agents as part of a joint crackdown with Britain and The Netherlands on alleged hacking by Moscow, including against the Democratic Party, Trump's domestic rivals.

But Pence said: "As a senior career member of our intelligence community told me just this week, what the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country."

- Rising disputes -

Pence's sharply worded address comes days before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to visit China on a trip focused on nuclear diplomacy with North Korea -- an area in which the United States still seeks Beijing's cooperation.

China has maintained a calm tone as US language escalates. China's ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai, in an interview with National Public Radio aired shortly before Pence's address, said there was a "much larger need for cooperation" than competition with Washington.

Relations between the world's two largest economies have plummeted in recent weeks with Trump placing $250 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, in part over charges that Beijing forces US companies to hand over technological know-how.

Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House's National Economic Council, separately said that the United States was speaking to the European Union and Japan about taking joint action against China.

Speaking before the Economic Club of Washington, Kudlow -- with echoes of the Iraq war -- spoke of a "trade coalition of the willing to confront China."

Pence lashed out at China for focusing its retaliatory tariffs on states vital to the Republicans' electoral chances.

He also slammed Beijing for placing a multi-page advertisement extolling the virtues of US-China trade in the Des Moines Register, the highest-circulation newspaper in Iowa, a swing state whose longtime governor Terry Branstad is Trump's ambassador to Beijing.

Such paid supplements by foreign governments are commonplace in US newspapers, but Pence complained that the United States was not allowed to print similar advertisements in China's state-controlled press.

- Hailing Taiwan as model -

Touching a particularly sensitive issue for China, Pence attacked Beijing for coaxing three more Latin American nations to switch recognition from Taiwan.

"These actions threaten the stability of the Taiwan Strait -- and the United States of America condemns them," Pence said.

The democratic, self-governing island is home to nationalists who fled in 1949 after losing China's civil war and has waged an increasingly lonely campaign for diplomatic recognition as the Republic of China.

Pence made clear that the United States still adhered to its four-decade policy of recognizing only Beijing but added to applause: "Let me also say that Taiwan's embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people."

Pence also accused Beijing of showing its "aggression" when a Chinese navy vessel recently sailed in the dispute-ridden South China Sea near the USS Decatur destroyer, which according to US officials had to make a quick detour to avoid collision.

"Despite such reckless harassment, the United States Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows and our national interests demand," Pence said.

"We will not be intimidated; we will not stand down."

The vice president, a favorite of conservative US Christians, also criticized China on human rights, voicing disappointment that rising prosperity has not led to reforms.

China "has taken a sharp U-turn toward control and oppression," Pence said, adding: "A new wave of persecution is crashing down on Chinese Christians, Buddhists and Muslims."]]>
10/5/2018 12:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Shoukry discusses bilateral relations with Iraqi Parliament speaker]]>
During the meeting, Shoukry congratulated Halbousi on the conclusion of the presidential election which reflected the belief of the Iraqi people in the importance of completing the political process, Hafez’s statement reported.

The statement also added that Shoukry praised the Egyptian-Iraqi relations and stressed Egypt’s keenness to improve the political, economic, cultural and commercial cooperation between the two countries.

Furthermore, Shoukry affirmed during the meeting that Egypt supports Iraqi unity and asserted Egypt's confidence in the ability of Iraqi national institutions to overcome all obstacles and form an Iraqi government representing the Iraqi people.

For his side, Halbousi said that his government supports the relationship between the two sides. He expressed appreciation for the Egyptian efforts to support Iraqi affairs at all levels.

The speaker also highlighted Iraq’s keenness to strengthen bilateral cooperation with Egypt in various fields during the coming period to benefit from the Egyptian competencies.

Hafez’s statement reported that the meeting also tackled a number of Arab and regional issues of common concern. The two sides agreed on the need to strengthen coordination to face the challenges in the region and achieve peace and stability.
]]>
10/4/2018 12:34:25 PM
<![CDATA[UK accuses Russian spies of global cyber attacks campaign]]>
Britain's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has identified operatives from Russia's GRU arm as being behind various high-profile computer attacks, according to the Foreign Office.

Many have been previously linked to Moscow, including the 2017 "BadRabbit" ransomware targeting of a Ukrainian international airport and Russian media outlets, and last year's attempted hacking of the World Anti-Doping Agency in Switzerland.

"This pattern of behaviour demonstrates their desire to operate without regard to international law or established norms and to do so with a feeling of impunity and without consequences," Hunt said in a statement.

"Our message is clear: together with our allies, we will expose and respond to the GRU's attempts to undermine international stability."

The NCSC has "high confidence" that the GRU was "almost certainly" responsible for the 2017 attacks, as well as others including the infamous targeting of the US Democratic Party ahead of the 2016 presidential election, according to Whitehall sources.

The British government holds the Kremlin ultimately responsible for the cyber campaign, they said.

The Foreign Office described it as a "flagrant violation of international law" that had cost national economies millions of pounds.

"These cyber attacks serve no legitimate national security interest, instead impacting the ability of people around the world to go about their daily lives free from interference, and even their ability to enjoy sport," Hunt added.

"The GRU's actions are reckless and indiscriminate: they try to undermine and interfere in elections in other countries; they are even prepared to damage Russian companies and Russian citizens."

The hackers identified as GRU operatives by the NCSC include an entity variously called "APT28", "Pawn Storm", "Sandworm", "Fancy Bear" and the "Sofacy Group".

The Justice Department in the United States has previously blamed the group for conducting numerous hacking operations there and around the world.

They include targeting everything from American political parties and the websites of conservative US think tanks to key infrastructure industries like power grids.

Malcolm Chalmers, deputy director general at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), said the GRU's activities "go well beyond traditional peacetime espionage".

"By launching disruptive operations that threaten life in target societies, they blur the line between war and peace," he added.]]>
10/4/2018 2:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Germany supports Egypt to solve water issues: German ambassador]]>
This came during his speech at a ceremony held late Tuesday at the embassy's headquarters on Germany's Unity Day in the presence of Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Ati, Minister of Finance Mohamed Ma'it and senior officials in the Egyptian government.

Luy added that Egypt is one of the 19 partner countries in the world with German government focus, pointing out that the German government funded water treatment projects and drainage plants in Egypt.

“Egyptian and German experts are working to improve the efficiency of water use system in agriculture through the rehabilitation of irrigation channels and the establishment of modern pumping and drainage systems, in addition to training farmers on modern farming methods to increase their crops,” Luy added.

He clarified that the German government contributed to the financing of the construction of the new Assiut barrage with €310 million.

“Egypt has been facing a water scarcity challenge in recent years and the population growth is alarming,” he highlighted. Luy referred that Egypt’s population is expected to reach 110 million by 2025 which will put further pressure on the water supply.

The diplomat added that Germany continues to work with the Egyptian government to implement the necessary reforms related to drainage, irrigation and water use and to establish a socially and economically appropriate tariff for water use.

During his meeting with an Egyptian journalist at his residency in May, Luy praised Egypt’s measures to achieve the desired economic growth rate of 7.5 percent, saying that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s decisions to float the Egyptian pound and decrease the subsidies were very brave.

The German ambassador also praised Egypt’s efforts to eliminate the illegal immigration that has been reduced to the minimum since inking a deal between the two countries in 2017.

Luy denied that Germany will move its embassy to Jerusalem like the U.S. “Germany refuses the unilateral steps, because they don’t help in solving the conflict,” Luy explained.
]]>
10/3/2018 4:46:04 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry to discuss cooperation between Egypt, Japan Wednesday]]>
The statement also reported that Shoukry will participate in the ministerial meetings of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), scheduled for October 6-7. The meeting aims to promote cooperation between Japan and Africa and to support the continent’s overall development efforts.

The statement added that the bilateral cooperation between the two sides includes several fields such as electricity, infrastructure projects, and education, in addition to the Japanese support for the Grand Egyptian Museum project.

The mutual cooperation also includes the construction of the fourth line of the metro and Abu Rish children Hospital.

Hafiz’s statement highlighted the importance of developing the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries, adding that the trade exchange between Egypt and Japan reached $1.8 billion in 2017, with about 50 Japanese companies operating in Egypt.

During his visit, the foreign minister will meet with the Japanese prime minister, the Japanese-Japanese Business Council, and the members of the Japan-Egypt Parliamentary Friendship Association. Furthermore, Shoukry will attend the Egyptian-Japanese Strategic Dialogue, which is co-chaired by the Japanese foreign minister and is followed by a press conference, according to the statement.

The Egyptian-Japanese relations have been significantly strong for years, especially after President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi assumed power in 2013. In January 2015, President Sisi received Shinzo Abe in Cairo where the latter offered around ¥43 billion ($388 million) in loans to Egypt for airport and power grid projects.

In another meeting in 2016 with Sisi in Tokyo, Abe said that Japanese companies will take part in Egyptian projects worth about ¥2 trillion ($17.7 billion), according to Reuters.

Moreover, Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr signed loan agreements with Japan International Company Agency (JICA) to fund energy and transport sectors. The loan agreements are worth $450 million, according to media reports
]]>
10/3/2018 4:28:32 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi objects to some articles of medical and clinical research draft law]]>
President Sisi referred in his letter to the Parliament that the draft law is important and dangerous, as it is related to the protection of the constitution, the sanctity of the human body, and the freedom of scientific research.

In this regard, he referred to Article 60 of the Egyptian Constitution reading “the sanctity of the human body is inviolable and assaulting or defaming it is a crime that shall be punished by law. Human body shall not be subjected to any medical and scientific experiment.”

The Egyptian president returned the draft law to the Parliament to be reconsidered, opposing the draft law’s Articles 4, 5, 9, 11, 19, 20 and 22, which refer that all researchers and scientists should seek the prior approval of the Higher Council of Medical Research ahead of conducting any medical or clinical experiments and tests.

“The researches include masters, doctorate, free and funded researches in the Faculty of Medicine. That means it is impossible to follow up these huge numbers of researches, carried out every month, only by committees in every research entity.”

Sisi also opposed the small number of representatives of Egyptian faculties and institutes in the Supreme Council, which reaches only 4 out of 15 members as 97 percent of researches are carried out inside faculties and institutes.

Sisi further rejected the draft law’s punitive articles as “they do not take into account the nature of scientific research and consider that the irregularities are the same in all types of research.”
Moreover, the draft law stipulates that sending human samples abroad shall be punished by a prison sentence.

In this regard, President Sisi said that sending the samples abroad will allow examining them with modern equipment, which may not be locally available; hence, the draft law will require issuing reports on specialists’ work free of charge, costing the state a lot of money and affecting the quality and expansion of scientific research in Egypt.

On May 13, Egypt’s Parliament provisionally approved a 35-article law aimed at regulating the business of medical and clinical research in Egypt.

After Parliament's Health Committee initially approved on April 25 the first draft law, known as the Clinical Trial Law, which governs the organization of clinical and medical research in Egypt, many concerns have been raised over the ethical nature and legality of the process.
Clinical trials are the tests that are conducted on human participants, or groups of humans, in order to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of newly developed medications or medical devices.

As the second-biggest destination country for clinical trials in Africa, Egypt has witnessed a steady increase in the number of trials it hosts, which has pushed Parliament to discuss this law, potentially putting strict controls on experiments that are conducted in hospitals.

In February 2016, there were 57 active clinical drug trials, and over half of these trials were to assess cancer treatments.

Researchers’ concerns: Egyptians aren’t test mice

Researchers have raised concerns over the new draft law, asserting that specific standards should be stated to prohibit foreign companies from testing newly discovered drugs on Egyptian patients without testing them firstly in the company’s originating country; there should be strict rules for any local or foreign company that tests its drugs in Egypt.

Ehab el-Taher, secretary-general of the Doctors' Syndicate, stated to state-run Al-Ahram news website that the syndicate is keen to have a clinical testing law in Egypt so that citizens are not exposed to a field experimentation by foreign companies. He asserted that Egyptian regulations allow a foreign drug trial to be conducted only if the product being tested has been granted market approval in the originating country.

“In addition, we have to analyze the components of new drugs before experimenting them on humans, and make sure that they are free of toxicity,” he added.

Taher also affirmed that these tests should not be conducted except in governmental hospitals and research centers. The private sector is not allowed to carry out such experiments on its own.

The Doctors' Syndicate has implicitly approved the bill in general, but wants the defects solved.

Additional Report by Jehad El-Sayed]]>
10/3/2018 11:27:49 AM
<![CDATA[French interior minister resigns in face-off with Macron]]>
Collomb, 71, a former Socialist party stalwart who became one of Macron's earliest and most eager backers, had earlier told the conservative Le Figaro newspaper he wanted to resign so he could run for election as mayor of his hometown Lyon.

"The French people and the people of Lyon need clarity, so I maintain my offer to resign," Collomb responded when asked whether he would stay on as interior minister after Macron initially turned down his resignation on Monday.

"Considering the rumours and the pressure, I don't want the fact I will be a candidate somewhere tomorrow to affect the way forward for the interior ministry," he said.

Late on Tuesday, Macron's office said the president had accepted Collomb's resignation and that Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who reportedly cancelled a trip to South Africa, would assume his responsibilities until a replacement was found.

Collomb's comments were seen by critics as an unprecedented challenge to Macron's authority, coming just weeks after the 40-year-old centrist was forced to replace his popular environment minister and the sports minister.

Two weeks ago, Collomb announced plans via a newspaper interview to quit the government and run for mayor of Lyon in 2020, returning to a position he has previously held.

He initially indicated that he would resign after European elections in May 2019. But opposition rivals said the comments undermined his legitimacy as the head of one of the most sensitive portfolios in France, where Islamist militants have killed hundreds of people since 2012.

Collomb had in recent weeks been critical of Macron, speaking of a "lack of humility" in the president's administration and dismissing expressions often used by Macron, such as "start-up nation," as out of touch with common folk.

"Very few of us can still talk to (Macron)," Collomb was quoted by French media as telling a small group of journalists over lunch last month. "Soon he won't put up with me anymore. But if we all bow down before him, he'll end up isolated."

Only a week ago, presidential advisers said Macron had made clear to Collomb that the timing of his resignation would be decided by the president himself, who is regarded as running a tight ship with heavy demands on time and loyalty.

Macron's approval ratings have plunged to about 30 percent, from around 60 percent shortly after he was elected in May 2017. Critics have said that his policies favour the rich and his personal manner is often described as aloof and arrogant.

Macron has said that he is determined to do whatever it takes to overhaul the French economy and introduce other social reforms to put the country on a stronger path. ]]>
10/3/2018 6:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Brazil poll shows far-right Bolsonaro beating leftist in run-off]]>
In a simulated second-round vote, the poll found Bolsonaro would get 44 percent support, beating Haddad's 42 percent, within the margin of error of the survey. The remaining 14 percent of voters are undecided or plan a blank or spoiled ballot for the vote, which is compulsory.

If no candidate wins a majority in the first round on Sunday, the election will be decided in a second-round run-off on Oct. 28 between the two top vote-getters.

In the first-round scenario, Datafolha found that Bolsonaro had 32 percent voter approval, four percentage points higher than the previous Datafolha poll on Sept 28. Haddad dropped one point to 21 percent.

That raises the possibility of Bolsonaro rapidly gaining steam ahead of Sunday's vote - and possibly winning the election outright by taking a majority of the ballots.

In 2014, about a quarter of the electorate did not decide on a candidate until the final days ahead of the vote.

Datafolha's poll confirmed an Ibope survey released on Monday that showed Bolsonaro's advance since last week.

The number of voters who say they would never cast their ballot for Bolsonaro, a former army captain who has angered many with misogynist and racist remarks, has continued to rise, reaching 45 percent of those polled by Datafolha.

But in a sign of how increasingly polarized the election has become, the rejection rate for Haddad is at 42 percent, almost doubling since the previous poll four days ago.

Datafolha surveyed 3,240 voters across Brazil on Monday and Tuesday. The poll's margin of error is 2 percentage points.]]>
10/3/2018 3:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Johnson assaults May's Brexit plan at fractious party meeting]]>
Mixing breezy jokes with biting one-liners that always stopped short of attacking May herself, the former foreign minister called her strategy "dangerous and unstable".

"My fellow Conservatives, this is not democracy. This is not what we voted for. This is an outrage," he said in a 35-minute address that was interrupted by repeated bursts of laughter and cheers.

The wide-ranging speech was widely seen as Johnson's audition for May's job before the party faithful at their annual gathering.

Some 1,500 people packed a conference hall room after queueing for hours to see May's political nemesis deliver his biggest address since he quit the government in protest in July.

Johnson did little to douse suspicions of an eventual leadership challenge, using his characteristic swagger and wit to pick apart May's proposal -- while not actually spelling out what Britain should do instead.

He said he wanted to force May to reverse her bid to keep close economic ties with the European Union once Britain leaves in March.

May appeared intent on stealing Johnson's spotlight, scheduling a flurry of morning interviews at which she unveiled a new immigration policy a day ahead of schedule.

Free movement of EU workers was a key issue in the 2016 vote for Brexit, and May confirmed that Europeans would be treated the same as non-EU citizens in future.

She took to the airwaves again after Johnson's appearance, telling Sky News dismissively that he "always puts on a good show" while she focuses on things that mattered to people's "day-to-day lives".

May's public battle with Johnson comes only two weeks before she must return to Brussels in a bid to break the Brexit deadlock and reach a deal.

The prime minister hinted at a possible compromise on how to keep the land border with Ireland open after Brexit, a key sticking point in the EU talks, on which London is due to publish new plans shortly.

- Alternative plan -

Johnson was a leading campaigner for Brexit in the referendum. Even after being appointed foreign minister, he continually challenged May's EU strategy.

He quit after May got the remaining ministers to rally around her proposal for Britain to follow EU rules for goods after Brexit.

May says the so-called "Chequers" plan will keep trading lines open with its biggest trading partner.

Johnson argues it will keep London tied to the bloc and ignore the people's expressed wish to leave the bloc.

The EU has also rejected May's vision, saying it undermines the its cherished single market.

Numerous eurosceptic Conservative MPs have already drawn big crowds in Birmingham as they offer their own idea for a looser trade arrangement with the EU.

Johnson endorses the same alternative proposal, but the mop-haired former London mayor has particular star appeal.

He was mobbed by jostling cameras on arrival and chased by reporters as he walked, with his address airing live across the nation.

"It's important to support the only politician I can see who is actively campaigning to give people the Leave that they voted for," said Colette Wyatt-Lowe, 71, a councillor from the outskirts of London, while queueing to hear Johnson speak.

- 'He's a clown' -

Johnson is known for his confrontational style and before the event he was captured in a press photograph running through a field of long grass.

It clearly mocked May, who once said the naughtiest thing she had done was run through a field of wheat.

But Johnson's recent comments about her Brexit plan, calling it "deranged" and saying it strapped a suicide vest to the British constitution, have angered many fellow MPs.

Several former colleagues used the conference to make jokes at his expense, while finance minister Philip Hammond said his alternative Brexit plan was "fantasy".

Even former Brexit minister David Davis, a fellow eurosceptic who describes Johnson as a "great mate", said many of his ideas "are good headlines but not necessarily good policies".

Among the delegates, there is also unease about Johnson's public disagreements with May.

Mike Kay, a 34-year-old delegate from Manchester in northwest England, summarised the mood of Johnson's critics.

"A large section of the country thinks he is a clown," he said.]]>
10/3/2018 3:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Pompeo to meet Kim Jong Un in N. Korea on Sunday: State Dept]]>
Pompeo, who is trying to arrange a new summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump, will also head to US allies Japan and South Korea, as well as North Korea's chief ally China, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

It will be the fourth trip by Pompeo to the longtime US pariah amid American hopes of reaching an agreement to end North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

"I think it shows momentum that he is paying his fourth trip," Nauert told reporters.

"Everybody recognizes that there is a ways to go," she said, but added: "We feel confident enough to hop on a plane to continue these negotiations."

The top US diplomat had announced last week that he was ready to return to North Korea after meeting the hardline communist state's foreign minister on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Pompeo will open his trip on Saturday in Tokyo, where he will meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has long championed a hard line on North Korea but recently said he was willing to meet Kim.

After the trip to Pyongyang, Pompeo will head later Sunday to Seoul, where he will meet President Moon Jae-in, a dove who has helped spearhead the reconciliation efforts with North Korea.

Nauert said Pompeo would head afterward to Beijing for meetings with unspecified officials.

Kim, who as leader has rarely traveled outside of North Korea, met in June in Singapore with Trump in the first-ever summit between the two countries that have never signed a peace treaty to formally end their 1950-53 war.

On Saturday, Trump lavished praise on Kim -- considered by human rights groups to be one of the world's most repressive leaders -- and said they had fallen "in love" after the exchange of letters.

Trump paints rapprochement with North Korea as a signature foreign policy achievement, although critics question whether Pyongyang has taken any firm action.

The United States has nonetheless insisted on maintaining tight UN sanctions against North Korea during the diplomatic drive, while Beijing has said it is time to start easing sanctions.]]>
10/3/2018 1:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[‘Diverse Capabilities’ initiative raise awareness on the rights of people with special needs]]>
The initiative aims to familiarise students with their rights and the benefits that they can get from the recent ministerial decree.



The campaign will also target parents and different segments of the community, helping them to identify the rights and duties of students and ways of dealing with them through media communication and schools, said Allam in a statement to Egypt Today.

Regarding building special education centres for children with special needs, Allam assured that they are working on it and that the first is set to be built in the city of the 6th of October. It is expected that they will establish many other centers in different governorates.

The centers are also meant to raise awareness on people with special needs.


]]>
10/2/2018 5:02:09 PM
<![CDATA[Playing Chinese whispers: 8 rumours that spread over the past 8 days in Egypt]]>
To help you with this, Egypt Today has taken it upon itself to dismantle four fake ‘truths’, or, in other words, rumours.

1- A new inheritance tax

Rumour: A rumour spread over the past month, going viral on outlets over the past week, that the Ministry of Finance intends to apply a new tax on inheritance.

The Truth? The Finance Ministry has no intentions to apply new inheritance taxes—or any other new tax. It must also be noted that a new tax cannot be applied without the written approval of the House of Representatives (Egyptian Parliament).

In fact, since it was abolished in 1996, Egypt has not considered or studied the return of inheritance tax.

2- Increase of taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products

Rumour: With almost 12.6 million Egyptians being smokers, making up 20.2 percent of the total population, according to Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), smokers have recently been worried that the taxes on cigarette packets will increase.

The Truth? There will be no new taxes on cigarettes or other tobacco products (whether for smoking or otherwise)—foreign or local. The prices are capped at this point without any increases set to take place.

3- There are mistakes in new curriculum’s first graders’ textbooks

Rumour: Spread by Al-Jazeera, rumours have gone around about mistakes found in the Arabic language curriculum of the new educational system of first graders. Although they do not explain what kind of mistakes there are, Al Jazeera has criticised some pages extracted from the book.

The Truth? On his official Facebook page, Shawky remarked that Al-Jazeera TV Channel is insulting Egypt, referring that no mistakes are found in these pages as they contain “little songs for children” written by the Music Education Counselor.

"I would like to explain that these pages do not have mistakes, but they just contain little songs for children. It is written in the Teacher's Guide to teach children topics and words through art and singing."

Al-Jazeera TV Channel posted some pages from the Arabic language curriculum of the new educational system to criticize them, claiming that they have several mistakes.

That the books for first graders have many oversights and different kinds of mistakes




4- Children sat on the floor

Rumour: A picture has gone around with children taking to the ground on the first days of school, suggesting that schools ate over-packed and that children sit on the floor.

The Truth? The pictures that have been going around actually came from a school in Iraq and have been published on Iraqi media outlets since October 2013.

5- An Arab country buys an Egyptian lake

Rumour: Perhaps one of the rumours that have died and come back time and time again is the idea of selling or renting an Egyptian artefact, monument, or treasure (like a lake) to another country; often times the rumour cites the country to be Arab, but this is not always the case. This time, it’s the Manzala lake.

The Truth? According to a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Manzala lake has not been rented or sold by the country to any country. In fact, cleaning and development processes are underway for the benefit of the public and the people who like close to the lake.

6- Marriage fees to increase

Rumour: Amidst the marriage season, a rumour related to the conversation on the hiking prices of weddings has come to light: Marriage fees will increase in October.

The Truth?According to a ministry statement, there will be no increase in marriage fees.

7- Water prices take a leap

Rumour: Price of water to increase again. This rumour comes on the neck of price hikes recently out of fear, rather than facts.

The Truth? MENA news agency reported that the cabinet denies reports about water price hike.

Egypt’s Prime Minister Sherif Ismail decided to raise water prices and sewage fees as of August 1, according to the official gazette on Wednesday.

The price of water for residential use rose to range between LE 0.45 ($0.02)and LE 2.15 per cubic meter, distributed over three consumption categories.

The first category for the consumption between zero and 10 cubic meters increased to LE 0.45 from LE 0.30. The second one for the consumption between 11 and 20 cubic meters went up to LE 1.20 from LE 0.70.

The category consumes between 21 and 30 cubic meters was raised to LE 1.65 from LE 1.55, while the fourth which consumes up to 40 cubic meters and more saw an increase to LE 2 and LE 2.15, respectively.

As for the sewage fees, which are being calculated as a percentage of the water prices, the cabinet decided to hike them between 63 percent and 73 percent of the water price, up from 57 percent.

The decision also included a rise for water prices for business to range from LE 2 to LE 6.95, depending on industry and consumption levels, the official gazette said.

The cabinet’s move comes days after subsidiaries’ cut for fuel, electricity and wheat.

In late June, the government increased the fuel prices by around 35 percent, followed by new electricity tariffs in early July, with increases between 18 percent and 35 percent across different consumption brackets.

Moreover, Ministry of Supply issued a decision to stop subsidizing flour-starting August, in a move that is expected to reduce wheat imports 10 percent.

8- Child vaccines cause autism

Rumour: A rumour that has survived through the ages and continues to be renewed.

The Truth? This rumour has died and come back to life hundreds of times, with science always proving it wrong.

In Science Magazine, an article written by Lindzi Wessel in April 2017 says, “In 1998, U.K. doctor Andrew Wakefield published a study in The Lancet suggesting that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine could trigger autism. In the years after, MMR vaccination rates among 2-year-olds in England dropped below 80%. But the claim began to unravel in 2004 after journalist Brian Deer reported undisclosed conflicts of interest: Wakefield had applied for a patent on his own measles vaccine and had received money from a lawyer trying to sue companies making the MMR vaccine. Citing further concerns about ethics and misrepresentation, The Lancet retracted the paper in 2010. Shortly after, the United Kingdom's General Medical Council permanently pulled Wakefield's medical license.”
]]>
10/2/2018 3:34:35 PM
<![CDATA[Japan PM Abe keeps allies in key posts, just one woman in cabinet]]>
Abe, who has made female empowerment a high-profile policy, tapped Satsuki Katayama, a conservative lawmaker and former finance official, as minister of regional revitalisation and gender equality, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in announcing the cabinet.

Abe, who returned to office in December 2012 after a troubled 2006-2007 term as premier, was re-elected leader of his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) last month, putting him on track to become Japan's longest-serving prime minister.

The reshuffle focused on stability as Abe prepares to push ahead with his controversial attempt to revise the post-war pacifist constitution, political experts said.

His allies Suga and Finance Minister Taro Aso were reappointed, as were Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko, Foreign Minister Taro Kono, and Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, who handled tough trade talks with Washington.

"He's appointed old friends and reliable allies and kept people in key portfolios to buy stability," said Jeffrey Kingston, director of Asian studies at Temple University's Japan campus.

Kingston said the appointment of just one female minister in a 19-member cabinet "exposes the empty grandstanding on 'Womenomics'". The previous cabinet had two female members.

Abe acknowledged that Japan lagged other nations in the number of women in its cabinet posts.

"We must recognise that the ratio of women cabinet ministers is low compared to other countries, but Japan has just begun to create a society where women can be more active," he told a news conference.

"I think we will steadily nurture people who can become cabinet ministers."

Abe appointed one lawmaker - Justice Minister Takashi Yamashita - from the LDP faction led by former defence minister Shigeru Ishiba, whom he defeated in the LDP leadership race.

Abe chose Takeshi Iwaya, a former parliamentary vice defence minister, to replace Itsunori Onodera as defence minister. Iwaya was known recently for backing Japan's legalisation of casinos.

Close ally Akira Amari, a former economics minister who resigned to take responsibility for a funding scandal in 2016, was appointed LDP executive for election strategy ahead of critical upper house elections next year, party officials said.

But his immediate challenges are to manage fractious trade ties with Washington and keep an economic recovery on track.

Abe will order his new ministers to compile an extra budget, he told the news conference, adding that he wanted Aso to do his best for Japan to make a full exit from deflation.

Last week, Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to open new talks on a two-way trade pact to keep Washington from raising tariffs on Japanese car exports for now, though Trump could revive the threat if progress is slow.]]>
10/2/2018 1:44:20 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament anticipates program of Melania Trump’s visit]]>
MP Magda Nasr said ministers of tourism, investment and culture should meet with the U.S. First Lady in hopes she signs relevant protocols, in addition to Trump’s interest in child welfare.

Nasr also recommended that the National Council for Women meets with Trump to discuss national projects that focus on the advancement of women.

For the part of the undersecretary of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, Suzy Rafla, the visit will strengthen relations and boost investments; especially that African is rich with resources. She added that the tourism sector should promote Egypt as a travel destination during the visit.

Secretary of the foreign affairs committee, Tarek al-Khouly, also suggested that Trump visits tourist sites as the world follows her visit, emphasizing that including Egypt in her African tour is telling of the importance of the country as an African nation.

The First Lady left Washington Tuesday to make stops in Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt in a week-long journey focusing on children.
]]>
10/2/2018 12:38:48 PM
<![CDATA[Russian buildup worries Norway before big NATO military exercise]]>
But Norway, which has sovereignty over Svalbard, fears tensions between Russia and the West could spill over to this frozen and barren outpost because of growing interest in the Arctic’s valuable oil, gas and shipping routes.

The Nordic country has been lobbying its partners in NATO to focus on collective defense of its territory rather than interventions outside its borders — and it has paid off.

Norway will be the central staging ground of Trident Juncture, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s biggest military exercise since 2002.

For two weeks from Oct. 25, 40,000 troops from 30 countries will conduct air, sea and land operations from Finland and the Baltic Sea in the east, to Iceland in the west. A command post exercise — involving commanders and their staffs at headquarters — will then be held from Nov. 14-23.

Oslo has also persuaded Washington to more than double the number of U.S. Marines present in Norway. Hundreds will from next year be sent to Troms, an Arctic region closer to Russia than the Marines’ current base in central Norway.

“We see that there is no reason to believe that potential tension could start in the Arctic, but it could easily end up here if it starts elsewhere,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide told Reuters.

“And that is of course due to Russia building up their military capacity, especially on the Kola Peninsula,” she said in Ny-Aalesund, a research station on Svalbard that is the world’s northernmost permanent settlement.

Norway has a 196-km (122-mile) land border with Russia and Russia’s Northern Fleet has its main base in Severomorsk, about 100 km from the border with Norway on the Kola Peninsula, a region dotted with naval bases and restricted military zones.

NATO fears Russia’s military build-up in the Arctic, under way in the Arctic since 2008 and involving the creation and reopening of six military bases, could reduce the alliance’s freedom of navigation.

Russia, which staged its largest military maneuvers since the Cold War in eastern Siberia in September, has also shown signs of concern about the military situation in Norway. It sees the plan to send more U.S. Marines there as an unfriendly act which could have “consequences”.

“This makes Norway less predictable and could cause growing tensions, triggering an arms race and destabilizing the situation in northern Europe,” the Russian Embassy said in a statement on its Facebook page in June.

RUSSIAN INTERESTS

Norway has meanwhile been boosting economic activity on Svalbard, which is in the Arctic Ocean midway between continental Norway and the North Pole.

Svalbard’s traditional industry, coal mining, is not profitable so Oslo has increased tourism, scientific research and fisheries there.

Russia also has an interest in Svalbard. Under the 1920 treaty that gives Norway sovereignty over the archipelago, citizens of all signatories to the treaty can settle there without a Norwegian visa. This includes Russia.

There are 467 Russians registered as living on Svalbard and a Russian coal mining company has for decades operated in the town of Barentsburg. Another Russian settlement, Pyramiden, is now abandoned but is on the tourist trail as a Soviet ghost town.

Svalbard has moved up NATO’s agenda because of Russia’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and Moscow’s frequent naval exercises in the Arctic.

Norway, which was a founding member of NATO but is not a member of the European Union, has been beefing up its forces because of the Russian military buildup.

It has ordered 52 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin, is rebuilding infrastructure to support them and is ordering four new submarines from Germany’s ThyssenKrupp. It is also building up a cavalry battalion in a military base in the Finnmark region bordering Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Moscow will not threaten anyone from the Arctic but that it is taking measures to guarantee its security.

The modernization of the Northern Fleet includes the addition of 23 new vessels including two nuclear submarines, the Russian defense ministry website quoted Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of Russia’s armed forces, as saying.

Gerasimov said Russia had “restored its presence in the strategic regions of the Arctic Ocean and ensured security of its economic activity.”

By the end of this year, the Northern Fleet is set to receive weapons and equipment including five military ships, 15 planes and 62 radar facilities and air defense complexes, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted as saying in August by Russian Zvezda TV channel.

In addition, coastal defense troops are supplied with three “Bal” and “Bastion” missiles divisions. New military airdromes are being built and others are being modernized by Russia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

U.S. WANTS TO ‘UP ITS GAME’

The U.S. military has also attached increasing importance to the Arctic, especially as global warming opens up new sea lanes and oil and mineral reserves.

“Certainly America’s got to up its game in the Arctic. There’s no doubt about that,” U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said this year.

Mattis visited Norway in July for talks with Soereide and Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen. The deployment of additional Marines was confirmed the following month.

Oslo and Moscow concluded a deal in 2010 to end a dispute over their maritime border, enabling oil and gas exploration and allowing for visa-free travel permits for residents of the border areas.

But since Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Norwegian military and government officials have increasingly voiced concern, including about Russia simulating bombing raids on Norwegian targets and adopting quieter submarines that are harder to detect.

Norway is also worried Russia would be able to block NATO troop movements or reinforcements by taking control of the so-called GIUK gap — an area in the northern Atlantic Ocean between Greenland, Iceland and Britain.

Speaking in August on the arrival of German troops, tanks and equipment for the Trident Juncture maneuvers, Frank Bakke-Jensen said the global and regional security environment had fundamentally changed.

“We need to take the old NATO mission — securing the North Atlantic and communications and supply lines across the Atlantic. This is what we’re exercising now, how to move big amounts of troops, vehicles and vessels,” he told Reuters.]]>
10/2/2018 12:23:20 PM
<![CDATA[Challenging Britain's May, Johnson to make party rallying cry]]>
With just six months before Britain leaves the European Union, May’s precarious position at the helm of her party has been further shaken by criticism of her Brexit plans, both at home and in Brussels.

Johnson, who became the figurehead for the campaign to leave the EU, has been one of her loudest critics, describing her plans to keep close ties with the bloc as “deranged” and little more than a bid to turn Britain into a vassal state.

May has shown little sign of moving away from her so-called Chequers plan, but after trying to display unity over Brexit at her party’s annual conference in the city of Birmingham, her former foreign secretary looks set to shatter those attempts.

In a speech that will do little to temper talk that Johnson, who quit over May’s Brexit plan, is launching a bid to replace her, he will urge the party against trying to “ape” the policies of the main opposition Labour Party.

“We must on no account follow (Labour leader Jeremy) Corbyn, and start to treat capitalism as a kind of boo word,” he will say, according to excerpts of his speech.

“We can’t lose our faith in competition and choice and markets but we should restate the truth that there is simply no other system that is so miraculously successful in satisfying human wants and needs.”

May’s team had hoped the party’s annual conference would hand her a platform to revitalize a pledge she made when she became prime minister in 2016 to help those people who are “just about managing” and try to steal the initiative from Labour.

But the conference has been dominated by Brexit, with eurosceptic lawmakers attracting hundreds of Conservative members to their events on the fringes. Only handfuls turned out to hear ministers’ speeches in the main hall.

Johnson’s speech will do little to change that.

There is little doubt that he will renew his attack on May’s Brexit plans and call for support for his competing proposal - an enhanced free trade deal based on the one agreed between the EU and Canada.

Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister, offered Johnson some support by again defending the proposal - something May says would create a new border between the British province of Northern Ireland and mainland Britain.

“We believe that we have produced a proposal which can operate within the current framework of technology and administration to deliver a free flowing border with no infrastructure on the island of Ireland within the boundaries of a free trade agreement,” Baker told BBC radio.

But May again said she was pressing on with her Chequers plan, named after her country residence where she hashed out agreement with her ministers in July, and that she would bring new proposals to unlock stalled Brexit talks.

The split over the EU, which has dogged the Conservative Party for decades, has never been wider.

Johnson, the first Conservative to become mayor of largely left-leaning London, will use his speech to try to get the party faithful onside, with a rallying cry to take the fight to the Labour Party.

He is not universally liked. Several members of the cabinet and in the wider party have criticized him for undermining May at a time when the talks to leave the EU are entering one of their toughest phases. Some have balked at the idea of him becoming party leader.

But his call to re-energize the Conservative brand will strike a chord with some members who fear that Labour has stolen the domestic agenda.

“We should set our taxes to stimulate investment and growth. We should be constantly aiming not to increase but to cut taxes,” he will say. “It is the conservative approach that gets things done, so let’s follow our conservative instincts.”]]>
10/2/2018 12:20:39 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Sudan seek revival of Wadi El-Nile Parliament ]]>
Egypt's Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Omar Marwan and Chairperson of the National Assembly of Sudan Ibrahim Ahmed Omar discussed ways of reviving the Egyptian-Sudanese Parliament in Khartoum on Monday, Egypt’s state-owned news agency MENA reported.

A meeting between members of the two countries’ parliaments will be held late October to study all measures required for Wadi El-Nile revival, the agency added.

Wadi El-Nile Parliament was established in 1981 to boost the parliamentary cooperation between the two countries. However, the parliament's activities were suspended since the ouster of late President of Sudan Gaafar Nimeiry in 1985.

In July 2018, Egypt’s House of Representatives Speaker Ali Abdel Aal agreed with his Sudanese counterpart to revive the joint parliament. Their meeting came on the sidelines of the meeting of the heads of the Arab Parliaments in Cairo.

The Egyptian-Sudanese relations are currently improving following a number of diplomatic slips over the disputed border triangle of Halaib and Shalateen as Sudan claims its sovereignty over the triangle located inside Egyptian territories.

Halaib and Shalateen, or the Halaib Triangle, is an area of land measuring 20,580 square kilometers, located on the Egyptian-Sudanese border on the Red Sea coast. It is part of the Red Sea governorate and consists of three major towns.

The area belongs to Egypt politically and administratively, but has been one of the major sticking points in Egyptian-Sudanese relations since the demarcation of borders between the two countries carried out during the British occupation of Egypt in 1899, at a time when Sudan was part of the Egyptian Kingdom.

Furthermore, several months ago, the bilateral relations tensed due to the construction of the controversial Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Sudanese media claimed that Egypt has sought to exclude Sudan from the tripartite talks with Ethiopia. On January 8, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stressed that Egypt did not ask Ethiopia to exclude Sudan from negotiations.

Egypt has voiced its concern over Ethiopia’s dam construction, as it would affect Egypt’s 55 billion cubic meter share of the Nile water. However, Addis Ababa sees the dam is necessary for its development and will not negatively affect the downstream countries (Egypt and Sudan).
]]>
10/2/2018 12:14:43 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi asserts State's support for students with special needs]]>
The forum began with a presentation given on the Egyptian Ministry of Education’s efforts to empower students with special needs.

A documentary was displayed to show the State’s efforts in order to broaden the students’ chances of more creative and productive education to help them integrate into the society.

The documentary highlighted the President’s call to designate current year of 2018 as the year of people with disabilities.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi was keen to mention that the state pays great attention to people with special needs for confidence in their capabilities and for the necessity of providing suitable training and rehabilitation services and equal chances to enable them to effectively participate in the society.

Addressing the 1st Arab forum for special education schools in Sharm El Sheikh, Sisi said disability is a social issue that requires collaborative efforts from the government, civil society organizations and the private sector.

"Societal participation is extremely required as development can't be achieved in all sectors without a real and effective societal participation," Sisi said.

Abdel Fattah El Sisi allocated EGP 500 million from the Tahiya Masr (Long Live Egypt) fund for supporting people with special needs.

Launching the first Arab forum for special education schools in Sharm El sheikh, Sisi said that the amount would be at the disposal of Minister of Education and Technical Education Tarek Shawqi to serve the ministry's project for people with special needs.

The President revealed that Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki was tasked with establishing a center for serving people with special needs as the state pays great attention to them.
]]>
10/1/2018 11:40:19 PM
<![CDATA[Draft law to allow digital journalism to join Press Syndicate]]>
“I drafted a new law for the syndicate as part of my electoral agenda; the current law is totally unconstitutional,” Salama remarked.

He added that the current syndicate’s articles related to freedoms will remain unchanged, while the unconstitutional articles requiring the membership of the Socialist Union as a condition to register in the syndicate will be modified.

He referred that the draft law will also change the date of elections so as not to be held at official holidays.

Previously, the Parliament approved the three draft laws submitted by the Cabinet to regulate Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation (HCMR), the National Media Authority (NPA), and the National Press Authority (NMA).

The Parliament discusses a separate law for each of HCMR, NPA and NMA, instead of one law regulating the three bodies.

Head of Parliament’s Media, Culture and Antiquities Committee, Osama Heikal, said during a plenary session that the draft laws cover all aspects of media and press activities in Egypt, and do not include any articles that could send journalists to jail in publication offences.

Parliament issued Institutional Regulation of the Press and Media law in December 2016, which establishes and regulates the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, the National Press Authority and the National Media Authority's activities.

However, due to the gap that emerged as a result of the rapid progress of technological development in the media, press and social media, the Joint Committee separated each body and drafted an independent law for each of them.

Hence, three new laws will automatically lead to the elimination of the Institutional Regulation of the Press and Media law.

Draft law to regulate Press National Authority

"The National Press Authority shall issue a decision to dismiss the chairman of the Board of Directors, the editor-in-chief or a member or more of the appointed members of the board if they breach their duties or do not meet the condition of appointment,” according to the Article 52.

Article 27 refers that the employees at the National Press Authority shall be committed to maintain the confidentiality of information and documents obtained to carry out their duties and not to disclose or use them for purposes other than those assigned to them.
Those who violate Article 27 shall be punished with a fine not less than LE 100,000 and not exceeding LE 500,000.

Draft law on Press and Media Regulation

The 127-article draft law on press and media regulation is the major law regulating media and press businesses and the Higher Council for Media Regulation, while the other two draft laws are affiliated to it.

The law implements Article 65 of the constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech.

Article 19 of the draft law prohibits media outlets, including online websites, from publishing or broadcasting false news or news that incite violence, hatred, discrimination, racism, intolerance and blasphemy. The draft law includes personal websites or online blogs with at least 5,000 followers. ]]>
10/1/2018 10:29:00 AM
<![CDATA[Campaign to free Egypt from hepatitis C to be launched Monday: Health min.]]>
Addressing a press conference held at the Cabinet headquarters on Sunday, the health and population minister said the campaign aims at eliminating hepatitis C from Egypt and reducing fatalities from chronic diseases.

Zayed said that testing for hepatitis C will start on October 1, and will end in April 2019, adding that patients will receive treatment for one to one and a half year, to announce Egypt free from the blood borne disease by 2020 or 2021.

The minister reviewed the timetable of the campaign which will be implemented in three phases each covering a number of governorates.



Citizens above 18 years of age of both sexes will be targeted during the first phase, she said, adding that they will test for hepatitis C, diabetes and hypertension. Height and weight of citizens will also be measured for obesity as part of the campaign which will provide free treatment, she added.

The campaign will be carried out through various surveillance points at health care units, Health Ministry hospitals, mobile clinics and other health facilities nationwide, Zayed explained, revealing that 1412 units will receive examinees in nine governorates.

Zayed pointed out that 888 cases tested positive during a test for the initiative that was carried out on Saturday. She added that a specialized chamber in the ministry has been established a month ago to find out the population-dense areas and the outcome of the campaigns, affirming that the citizens’ data are fully secured.

As part of the president’s initiative, Manal al-Sayed, a member of Egypt’s National Committee for the Control of Viral Hepatitis, said that school children between 12 to 18 years old, will undergo the early detection tests starting March 2019.]]>
10/1/2018 10:23:55 AM
<![CDATA[Next battle in war over Kavanaugh: FBI probe]]>
President Donald Trump bowed to pressure from moderate Senate Republicans on Friday and ordered the probe after Christine Blasey Ford, a California university professor, detailed her allegations at a Senate hearing that Kavanaugh assaulted her in 1982 when the two were teenagers in high school.

The stunning reversal capped two weeks of allegations, followed by furious denials, that roiled prospects for Trump's nominee, a conservative federal appeals court judge once expected to sail through Senate confirmation for the lifetime appointment to the top U.S. court.

Kavanaugh has denied Ford's accusation, as well as those of two other women that emerged afterward.

Republicans, who are trying to retain control of the U.S. Congress in November elections, are seeking to balance their desire to have a conservative judge on the Supreme Court with sensitivity in how they handle the sexual misconduct allegations amid the reverberations of the #MeToo movement.

It did not take long, however, for the FBI probe itself to become an object of partisan divide.

A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the White House had defined the parameters of the probe for the FBI, and that the investigation would start off with interviews with only four people.

NBC News, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal previously reported that the White House was constraining the investigation, prompting Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee to express concern.

"The White House should not be allowed to micromanage an FBI investigation," Senator Amy Klobuchar said on Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

"Betraying commitment to a real investigation, Republicans apparently are trying to cripple it with a sham, check-the-box set of interviews. What are they hiding?" Senator Richard Blumenthal said in a Twitter post.

The White House denied it was trying to control the probe, which the Senate Judiciary Committee said on Friday "would be limited to current credible allegations" and wrapped up within a week.

"We're staying out of the way" and letting the FBI do their job," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in an interview with "Fox News Sunday."

But the White House made clear there would be limits to the probe. "It's not meant to be a fishing expedition," White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Trump vowed on Saturday that the FBI could interview "whoever they deem appropriate." On Sunday, he criticized Democrats for expressing concerns about the length and scope of the probe.

"For them, it will never be enough!" he wrote on Twitter.

FBI PROBE

The FBI will question Deborah Ramirez, who said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party when both were students at Yale University, the White House official told Reuters.

It will also question Mark Judge, a friend of Kavanaugh who Ford said witnessed the assault, and Leland Keyser and P.J. Smyth, who she said were at the gathering.

A third accuser, Julie Swetnick, was not on the initial list of witnesses to be interviewed.

Senate Republicans compiled the list of four witnesses, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell shared it with the White House, the official and another source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The New York Times, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that the White House asked the FBI to share its findings after the initial interviews and that Trump and his advisers would then decide whether the accusations should be investigated further.

Neither the FBI nor a Judiciary Committee representative would comment on the probe.

Senator Susan Collins, who was among a handful of Republican moderates who had pushed for the investigation, said in an email: "I am confident that the FBI will follow up on any leads that result from the interviews."

Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, said it would not unlawful for the White House to restrict the investigation's scope. "The FBI is under the executive branch so the president ultimately has authority to control some of what goes on," he said.

But Tobias said FBI agents were usually allowed to act independently and that it would be a "clear conflict of interest" for White House officials involved in Kavanaugh’s confirmation process to interfere with the FBI’s investigation.

]]>
10/1/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Real Madrid manager receives Ahed Tamimi]]>
The act provoked attack by Israeli officials on the club, as the spokesperson of the IsraeliForeign Ministry tweeted: “The prestigious soccer club of Real Madrid embraces a terrorist inciting hatred and violence, shameful. What does this have to do with the values of soccer?”




Furthermore, the Israeli ambassador in Spain tweeted “AhedTamimi does not fight for peace; she defends violence and terror. The institutions that have received and celebrated her indirectly encourage aggression and not the dialogue and understanding that we need.”




Tamimi was handed the Real Madrid garment by former Real Madrid striker and current manager Emilio Butragueno.

Tamimi and her mother served an eight-month prison sentence for slapping an IDF soldieroutside their home in the village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank last December. The soldiers had taken up positions next to the house amid protests in the village against U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Tamimi, 17, became an icon for Palestinian resistance as she used to protest against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. The sentence stirred up anger on an international scale.
]]>
9/30/2018 5:15:28 PM
<![CDATA[Macedonian’s vote on new country, opening doors to joining EU, NATO]]>
The dispute stretches back nearly three decades, with both countries claiming links to Alexander the Great's ancient empire of Macedon, which spanned the territories.

A grandiose "antiquisation" project under Macedonia's former government that plastered Skopje with neo-classical facades and statues of Alexander the Great added fuel to the fire.

But in June Macedonia's new premier Zoran Zaev and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras reached a landmark compromise under which Greece would drop its objections to Macedonia joining the EU and NATO in return for the name change.

"I hope that the result will be positive. This referendum will change something if it opens the door for Europe and NATO," 74-year old retired nurse Olivera Argirovska said after casting her ballot in downtown Skopje.

"It will change things for the youth".

Some feel it is embarrassing to have to change the name at the request of another country. But a desire to anchor their future to the West – and the economic prosperity that it could bring – is a powerful motivation to accept the deal in one of Europe's poorest nations.

"We cannot really say it is fair, but the EU and NATO matter more for all of us, so let's move forward," 28-year-old Abedin Memeti said ahead of the vote.

The referendum is not binding, but a 'yes' majority would give parliament a political mandate to change the constitution.

An unpopular compromise

Georges Prévélakis, a professor in geopolitics at Paris’s Panthéon-Sorbonne University and an expert on the Balkan countries, told FRANCE 24 that the referendum is the result of much more than just a bilateral deal between Macedonia and Greece, and comes after massive diplomatic pressure from the wider international community, including the United States, Germany and France.

“It’s important to understand that both the United States and especially the European Union have high-stakes interests when it comes to this issue and that they’ve managed to move the situation forward. For them, it’s first and foremost about extending their influence in this area in regards to Russia. The counterpart promise is spelled out in the question posed this Sunday: Macedonia’s admission into NATO and the EU.”

Prévélakis said that both Macedonia and Greece had a lot to gain from a potential name-change. “Greece would get a change it’s been calling for for almost 30 years, while Macedonian – by becoming “the Republic of Northern Macedonia” would safeguard its language and recognise the Macedonian national identity. For those who know the history of the region, this is not insignificant. The Bulgarians, for example, have for a long time denied this Macedonian identity, considering the [Macedonian] population to be Bulgarian.”

But, he said, the deal is unpopular among Macedonians and Greeks alike. “It’s a compromise,” he said, but noted that the “yes” side has nevertheless been gaining in the polls. “The campaign in favour of a name change has managed to get its arguments heard. These have mainly been about the country’s economic situation, which is not good: Unemployment is over 20 percent, and the average salary is at €350 a month – the lowest in the Balkans. Proponents of a name change are appealing to the Macedonians by making them look forward to a brighter future on the back of admission into the EU and all the subsidies that go with it.”

He added that an EU admission is especially important for the country’s Albanian minority: “Brussels protects and guarantees the rights of minorities."

If the deal is backed in the referendum and is ratified by two-thirds of MPs, the Greek parliament will be called on to give the final stamp of approval.

While the Macedonian government plans to call any significant majority in favour of the deal a success, the right-wing opposition may question the vote's credibility if turnout is below 50 percent.

Some critics of the name deal have been calling for a boycott, including President Gjorge Ivanov, who is allied with the nationalist opposition.

Massive emigration in recent decades could also affect the numbers, with nearly a quarter of the 2.1 million population estimated to live abroad.

Fewer than 3,000 of those overseas have signed up to vote.]]>
9/30/2018 12:59:36 PM
<![CDATA[Iraqi Kurds vote in regional election]]>
The poll comes a year after the region of six million made a failed bid to break away from the rest of Iraq in a campaign headed by Masoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

Barzani has retained a support base even though his independence drive was crushed by the Baghdad government, and splits within the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) mean the KDP could gain the upper hand in their two-party ruling coalition.

A weak opposition has been unable to challenge the KDP-PUK alliance. Both parties have and have dominated Kurdish politics for decades.

"I don’t know who I will vote for but our family has always supported the KDP. My son will pick a candidate for me," said Halima Ahmed, 65, as she walked with a cane in the city of Erbil, the seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

The oil-producing region's unsuccessful independence bid, stagnant politics, unpaid public sector salaries and corruption have undermined the population's faith in politics and turnout shrank in recent elections. The leading parties say they do not expect more than about 40 percent of the 3.85 million registered voters to go to the polls, which close at 6 p.m. (1500 GMT). Preliminary results are expected within 72 hours.

There are 111-seats up for grabs in Sunday's election, including 11 reserved for ethnic minorities.

Kurdish opposition parties did poorly when Iraq held federal elections in May. But multiple allegations that the KDP and PUK had committed election fraud - not confirmed in a subsequent recount - may sway voters in their favour.

Gorran, the main opposition movement, has been weakened by infighting and the death of its founder and leader Nechirvan Mustafa last year.

"I wanted to make sure I voted early. I gave my vote to Gorran and hope for the best," said Omar Mahmoud Abdullah, 52, at the polling station set up at Shireen School in Sulaimaniya, stronghold of the PUK.

An another polling station in Sulaimaniya, lawyer Hassan Dalloush, 65, also said he was voting for the opposition.

"If there’s no fraud in this election, I’ll feel good about it. But the parties in power always want to commit fraud, it’s the only way they stay in power," he said.

"I will never vote for the parties in power. Today I voted for the opposition."

The September 2017 held despite pressure from Baghdad and threats from Turkey and Iran.

The referendum in September 2017 promised to set Iraq’s Kurds on a path to a homeland and nearly 93 percent voted in favour of independence, despite pressure from the central government in Baghdad and threats from neighbouring Turkey and Iran.

A swift backlash from Baghdad, including a military offensive in the region, dashed those prospects. Relations with the central government have improved, but the ordeal cost the Kurdish region territory as well as economic autonomy.

Nevertheless, some voters showed optimism about the future. Salar Karim arrived at a polling station with his wife and two young children, all dressed festively for the occasion.

"Today is a historic day for Kurds," Karim, 50, said. “We get to elect our parliament as is our duty. I feel good about today."]]>
9/30/2018 12:53:00 PM
<![CDATA[Doha loses 5,000 tourists since Arab quartet’s boycott]]>


According to the report, Qatar’s tourism sector is witnessing severe deterioration despite the measures it has taken to support the sector, including the amendment of the visa laws to attract tourists, and its efforts to extend the periods of transit visas. These actions failed and did not succeed in overcoming the impact of the Arab boycott.
Qatar has lost more than 500,000 tourists since the start of the boycott, as it could not compensate expatriates from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
Moreover, Qatar Airways has suffered a $69-million loss this fiscal year, showing the challenges still facing Doha since Arab and Gulf states decided to cut diplomatic ties with the tiny emirate last June for supporting and financing terrorism and having ties with regional foe Iran.

"This turbulent year has inevitably had an impact on our financial results, which reflect the negative effect the illegal blockade has had on our airline," Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker said in a statement Tuesday.

The boycott locked Qatar Airways out of the airspaces of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, forcing the airline to take longer flights consuming more jet fuel and raising expenses.

Demands of the boycotting nations include Qatar limiting diplomatic ties to Iran, shutting down the state-funded Al-Jazeera satellite news network, and cutting ties with all terrorist organizations including the Muslim Brotherhood.

]]>
9/30/2018 11:57:11 AM
<![CDATA[North Korea says 'no way' will disarm unilaterally without trust]]>
Ri Yong Ho told the world body's annual General Assembly that North Korea had taken "significant goodwill measures" in the past year, such as stopping nuclear and missiles tests, dismantling the nuclear test site, and pledging not to proliferate nuclear weapons and nuclear technology.

"However, we do not see any corresponding response from the U.S.," he said.

"Without any trust in the U.S. there will be no confidence in our national security and under such circumstances there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first."

While Ri reprised familiar North Korean complaints about Washington's resistance to a "phased" approach to denuclearization under which North Korea would be rewarded as it took gradual steps, his statement appeared significant in that it did not reject unilateral denuclearization out of hand as Pyongyang has done in the past.

Ri referred to a joint statement issued by Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump at a first ever summit between a serving U.S. president and a North Korean leader in Singapore on June 12, when Kim pledged to work toward "denuclearization of the Korean peninsula" while Trump promised guarantees of North Korea's security.

North Korea has been seeking a formal end to the 1950-53 Korea War, but the United States has said Pyongyang must give up its nuclear weapons first. Washington has also resisted calls to relax tough international sanctions on North Korea.

"The U.S. insists on the 'denuclearization-first' and increases the level of pressure by sanctions to achieve their purpose in a coercive manner, and even objecting to the 'declaration of the end of war,'" Ri said.

"The perception that sanctions can bring us on our knees is a pipe dream of the people who are ignorant about us. But the problem is that the continued sanctions are deepening our mistrust."

Ri made no mention of plans for a second summit between Kim and Trump that the U.S. leader highlighted at the United Nations earlier in the week.

The minister instead highlighted three meetings between Kim and South Korean leader Moon Jae-in in the past five months and added: "If the party to this issue of denuclearization were South Korea and not the U.S., the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula would not have come to such a deadlock."

DIFFERENT TONE

Even so, the tone of Ri's speech was dramatically different from last year, when he told the U.N. General Assembly that targeting the U.S. mainland with North Korea's rockets was inevitable after "Mr Evil President" Trump called Kim a "rocket man" on a suicide mission.

This year at the United Nations, Trump, who last year threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea, heaped praise on Kim for his courage in taking steps to disarm, but said much work still had to be done and sanctions must remain in place until North Korea denuclearizes.

On Wednesday, Trump said he did not have a time frame for this, saying "If it takes two years, three years or five months - doesn't matter."

China and Russia argue that the U.N. Security Council should reward Pyongyang for steps taken.

However, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that: "Enforcement of Security Council sanctions must continue vigorously and without fail until we realize the fully, final, verified denuclearization."

The Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Pompeo met Ri on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly and said afterwards that he would visit Pyongyang again next month to prepare for a second summit.

Pompeo has visited North Korea three times already this year, but his last trip did not go well. He left Pyongyang in July saying that progress had been made, only for North Korea within hours to denounce him for making "gangster-like demands."

North Korea pledged in a meeting with Moon this month to dismantle a missile site and also a nuclear complex if the United States took "corresponding measures."

Moon told an event in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. meeting that declaring a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War would encourage North Korea to move further with denuclearization.

He said Kim had told him the "corresponding measures" he was seeking were security guarantees Trump pledged in Singapore and moves toward normalization of relations with Washington.]]>
9/30/2018 2:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Kosovo president visits disputed area after similar visit by Serbian leader]]>
Kosovo media showed a picture of President Hashim Thaci on a boat on lake Gazivode, an artificial lake in a mainly ethnic Serb area, accompanied by the country's police chief. Serbia's President Alexander Vucic had visited the lake on Sept. 8.

Kosovo's mainly ethnic Albanian security forces generally stay out of the small, mainly ethnic Serbian pocket of territory in the north, which Kosovo and Serbia dispute.

Thaci was quoted as saying he had coffee with workers at the lake. Serbia accused Kosovo police of seizing control of the lake and briefly detaining four workers. Kosovo said the police were there to provide security for the visit and nobody was detained.

The fate of ethnic Serb villages in northern Kosovo is one of the main issues of disagreement between Serbia and Kosovo, a former province of Serbia which declared independence after Serbian forces were driven out by NATO bombing in a war in 1999.

Both sides have said they could agree to swapping Kosovo territory populated by Serbs for Serbian territory populated by Albanians. However, expectations of such a deal dimmed in recent weeks after a meeting between Thaci and Vucic was abruptly cancelled. Vucic toured the disputed area the next day.

Marko Djuric, head of Serbia's government office for Kosovo, said Serbia was putting its military as well as police under high alert as a result of Kosovo action in the area.

"Due to an Albanian attack against the north of Kosovo and the arrest of some Serbs who have not committed any crime, I ordered the police director to put all special police units in state of the highest readiness," Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said.]]>
9/30/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Rival rallies as Erdogan opens mega mosque in Cologne]]>
The inauguration capped a controversial three-day state visit aimed at repairing frayed ties with Berlin after two years of tensions.

During his stay in Berlin, Erdogan met twice with Angela Merkel for talks, with both leaders signalling their interest in a cautious rapprochement.

But the German chancellor stressed that "deep differences" remained on civil rights and other issues.

Before returning home, Erdogan travelled to the western city of Cologne where several thousand critics turned out to protest everything from Turkey's record on human rights and press freedom to its treatment of minority Kurds.

At one of the rallies on the bank of the Rhine, demonstrators waved banners reading: "Erdogan not welcome".

Cansu, a 30-year-old student of Turkish origin, came from Switzerland to join the protest.

"I want to be the voice of people who can't take to the streets in Turkey. Because they have been arrested, killed or otherwise suppressed," she told AFP.

"Erdogan thinks anything that differs from his opinion is terrorism."

- Thousands of supporters -

Erdogan supporters meanwhile gathered near the Cologne Central Mosque, an imposing dome-shaped building commissioned by the shadowy, Turkish-controlled Ditib organisation.

Cologne police cordoned off a large area around the mosque for safety reasons, but thousands of Erdogan supporters spilled into the side streets, hoping for a glimpse of the Turkish leader.

Many waved Turkey's red and white flag or held up pictures of Erdogan, with crowds cheerfully breaking into regular chants of the president's name or shouting "Who is the greatest? Turkey".

"Erdogan is very popular because he has done a lot for his people," said Yusuf Simsek, 42, a computer technician with Turkish roots.

Both Cologne mayor Henriette Reker and the state's premier Armin Laschet declined to attend the mosque ceremony.

The snubs echoed the lukewarm welcome the Turkish leader received at a state dinner on Friday evening hosted by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, which several opposition politicians boycotted. Merkel also skipped the banquet.

- Conciliatory noises -

Ties between the two NATO countries soured after Berlin criticised Ankara's crackdown on opponents following a failed 2016 coup, which saw tens of thousands arrested.

Tensions eased somewhat after several high-profile German-Turkish nationals were released this year, but five remain behind bars.

Merkel, whose country is home to more than three million ethnic Turks, stressed the need for continued dialogue to overcome disagreements.

But she also highlighted Germany's interest in a "stable" Turkey, which she relies on to help stem the flow of migrants to Europe.

Erdogan, seeking international allies as he spars with US President Donald Trump and the Turkish economy is in turmoil, likewise struck a conciliatory tone.

In his speech at the mosque inauguration, he said his visit to Germany had been "successful" and strengthened German-Turkish ties at "a critical period".

But he again lashed Germany for not taking stronger action against "terrorists" like supporters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) or followers of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he blames for the coup attempt.

He also said he wished Germans had shown more support for Turkish-origin footballer Mesut Ozil, who recently quit the Germany team over perceived racism and discrimination.

- Mosque controversy -

Cologne is located in North Rhine-Westphalia state which is home to significant numbers of ethnic Turks, many of whom moved to Germany as so-called "guest workers" from the 1960s.

The giant Cologne Central Mosque opened its doors in 2017 after eight years of construction and budget overruns, but had yet to be formally inaugurated.

The size of the building, designed to resemble a flower bud opening, and its two towering minarets has left some locals disgruntled, triggering occasional protests.

The Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute for Religion (Ditib) that commissioned the glass and cement structure is itself not without controversy.

The group runs hundreds of mosques across Germany with imams paid by the Turkish state.

Known for its close ties to Ankara, it has increasingly come under scrutiny with some of its members suspected of spying on Turkish dissidents living in Germany.]]>
9/30/2018 12:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[MESA: The prospective Arab NATO having Egypt]]>
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Gulf Affairs in the Near East Bureau Timothy A. Lenderking told Emirati newspaper The National earlier this week that the goal of this alliance is to stand against terrorism and the Iranian threat hindering the achieving of stability in the Middle East.

The U.S. official added that MESA can be considered an Arab NATO, and that he went on a tour in gulf states over the past three weeks to coordinate for the summit.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a meeting with his counterparts of prospective alliance members on Friday in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to discuss going ahead with the project.

Pompeo stressed the importance of defeating the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in addition to ending conflicts in Syria and Yemen, establishing security in Iraq, and terminating the Iranian “malignant activity” in the region.

Lenderking explained to the newspaper that MESA’s agenda consists of confronting Iran, cybercrimes, attacks on infrastructure, and coordinating conflict management from Syria to Yemen.

MESA is the outcome of an agreement by the leaders of GCC countries comprising Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United States in the 2017 Riyadh summit to convene every year to discuss matters of mutual interests on the political, economic, and security planes.
]]>
9/29/2018 3:55:55 PM
<![CDATA[Brazil's left presidential candidate Haddad ahead of far-right Bolsonaro: poll]]>
Presidential candidate Fernando Haddad of the Workers Party (PT) attends a rally in Canoas, Brazil September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Diego Vara
In a simulated runoff vote, the poll found Haddad would get 45 percent voter support, beating Bolsonaro with 39 percent, with the rest of those asked saying they were undecided or would annul their ballot. Voting is compulsory in Brazil.

A second-round is required if no candidate wins a majority in the Oct. 7 first ballot, which is expected to happen.

Bolsonaro, who has been hospitalized since being stabbed in a Sept. 6 assassination attempt, remained the leader in simulated first-round voting, taking 28 percent voter approval, as he did in a Sept. 20 Datafolha poll. Haddad took 22 percent, an increase of 6 percentage points.

Ciro Gomes, a center-left populist, had 11 percent, while business-friendly candidate Geraldo Alckmin registered 10 percent in a first-round scenario.

Datafolha surveyed 9,000 voters across Brazil from Wednesday through Friday. The poll, published by the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Haddad earlier this month replaced jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a founder of the PT and who remains Brazil’s most popular politician. He handpicked Haddad to stand in his place and polls show he is successfully transferring his support.

Haddad, a former mayor of Sao Paulo, has pledged to govern in a pragmatic fashion, but his rise has spooked markets and sent Brazil’s currency toward historic lows.

Bolsonaro, a former army captain who favors easing gun controls, shot ahead early in the race by tapping the anger of Brazilians fed up with political corruption and rising crime.

The most divisive election since the end of Brazil’s military rule three decades ago has become increasingly polarized between right and left, raising concerns about the future of the country’s democracy.

Bolsonaro, an admirer of Brazil’s 1964 to 1985 military regime, has accused the Workers Party of trying to rig the elections. His running mate, retired General Hamilton Mourão, has said the armed forces should carry out a coup if the country’s judiciary cannot end political corruption.]]>
9/29/2018 1:05:25 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. pull diplomats from Iraqi city, citing threats from Iran]]>
The decision adds to mounting tension between the United States and Iran, which is the target of increasing U.S. economic sanctions.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as he explained the move, renewed a warning that the United States would hold Iran directly responsible for any attacks on Americans and U.S. diplomatic facilities.

It followed recent rocket attacks that Pompeo said were directed at the consulate in Basra. U.S. officials said the rockets, however, had not impacted the consulate, which is located on the Basra airport compound.

“I have made clear that Iran should understand that the United States will respond promptly and appropriately to any such attacks,” Pompeo said in a statement.

Pompeo did not explicitly say whether a U.S. response was imminent, however, and other U.S. officials did not disclose potential response options.

Still, Pompeo said the threats against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq were “increasing and specific” and added that Washington was working with Iraqi forces and U.S. allies to address them.

“We look to all international parties interested in peace and stability in Iraq and the region to reinforce our message to Iran regarding the unacceptability of their behavior,” he said.

‘CHAOS, DEATH AND DESTRUCTION’

In a statement, the U.S. State Department said the consulate was placed on “ordered departure,” which technically involves a drawdown in staff. Although some personnel could remain on the diplomatic compound, the move is believed to effectively close the consulate, at least temporarily.

The decision came days after U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani exchanged taunts at the United Nations General Assembly, with Trump vowing more sanctions and accusing Iran’s leaders of sowing “chaos, death and destruction.”

Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, speaking at a nearby event in New York on Tuesday, warned “there will indeed be hell to pay” if Iran crosses the United States, its allies or harms U.S. citizens.

In May, Trump withdrew the United States from an international deal to put curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing sanctions.

France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia have stayed in the pact, vowing to save it despite the restoration of U.S. sanctions. The rial has lost 40 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar since April.

Iran has blamed U.S. sanctions for the currency’s fall, saying the measures amount to a “political, psychological and economic” war on Tehran, and accused the United States and Israel of involvement in a deadly attack at a military parade in southwestern Iran this month.

Basra has already been rocked by violent protests seen by experts as a rejection of the Iraqi political establishment that has held on to power — with the support of the United States and Iran — despite failing to improve people’s lives there.

Protesters in Basra ransacked and torched Iraqi government buildings this month and the Iranian consulate was set alight by demonstrators shouting condemnation of what many see as Iran’s sway over Iraq’s affairs.

For the first time in several years, mortar shells also landed this month inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses parliament, government buildings and many foreign embassies.]]>
9/29/2018 12:58:09 PM
<![CDATA[Boris Johnson demands UK PM May scrap her Brexit proposals]]>
The former foreign secretary, who left the government over his opposition to May's "Chequers" proposals, later on Friday swerved the question of whether he might challenge her leadership.

Just six months before Britain is due to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019, little is clear: May has yet to clinch a Brexit divorce deal with the EU and rebels in her party have threatened to vote down any deal she makes.

Adding to the uncertainty, a poll of polls published on Friday showed voters would now vote 52 to 48 percent in favour of remaining in the EU were there to be another Brexit referendum. May has repeatedly ruled out another referendum.

Johnson, the bookmakers' favourite to succeed May, said her Brexit plans would leave the United Kingdom half in and half out of the club it joined in 1973 and in effective "enforced vassalage".

"This is the moment to change the course of the negotiations and do justice to the ambitions and potential of Brexit," Johnson wrote in Friday's Daily Telegraph.

Under the headline, "My plan for a better Brexit", Johnson, called for a "SuperCanada-type free trade agreement". He said the EU's "backstop" proposals for Northern Ireland, under which the British-ruled province would remain within the EU customs union even if the rest of Britain left, amounted to the economic annexation of part of the United Kingdom.

Johnson later declined to answer directly when asked if he would rule out a leadership challenge of the Conservative party.

"My job is to speak up for what I believe in and the vision that I have set out today and I believe in it very, very sincerely and I'm going to keep going for as long as it takes," he told the BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg.

FRINGE SPEECH

May, who voted to stay in the EU, is trying to clinch a divorce deal with the EU while grappling with an open rebellion in her Conservative Party, which convenes in the English city of Birmingham on Sunday for its annual party conference.

May has repeatedly said her Brexit proposals are the only viable ones.

Boris Johnson is scheduled to speak at 13.00 on Tuesday at a fringe event at the conference.

More than two years since the 2016 Brexit referendum, the United Kingdom, its politicians and its business leaders remain deeply divided over Brexit, considered to be one the most important decisions in post-World War Two British history.

In the June 23, 2016 referendum, 17.4 million voters, or 51.9 percent, backed leaving the EU, while 16.1 million voters, or 48.1 percent, backed staying. Some recent surveys have shown a swing towards support for staying in the EU.

If there were to be another referendum, researchers said a narrow victory for those hoping to reverse Brexit would be heavily contingent on getting those who did not vote last time to turn out.

"True, Remain enjoys a lead in the polls. But that lead remains a narrow one, and there is little sign of it growing," said John Curtice, Britain's most prominent polling expert.]]>
9/29/2018 1:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Senate panel backs Trump's Supreme Court pick Kavanaugh]]>
The panel split along strict party lines with the 11 Republican members backing Kavanaugh and all 10 Democrats voting against the president's controversial nominee.

The nomination of the 53-year-old conservative judge to the nation's highest court will now go to the full Senate, where Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority.

But in a dramatic last-minute move, Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona asked for a delay of up to a week before the full vote takes place to allow for an FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh.

"This country's being ripped apart," said Flake, a vocal critic of Trump who is retiring from the Senate. "And we have to ensure that we do due diligence here."

Democrats have repeatedly demanded an FBI probe into the allegations by university professor Christine Blasey Ford that she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh decades ago.

Kavanaugh strongly denied the charges at a committee hearing on Thursday.]]>
9/29/2018 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Wrap up: Sisi returns to Cairo following participation at UNGA session]]>
This is Sisi’s fifth participation in the UNGA since assuming office in June 2014. According to the testimonies of several presidents, Egypt’s foreign policies have witnessed significant change regionally and globally since 2014.

Sisi addressed on Tuesday several topics during the speech he gave at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN’s headquarters in New York.

Sisi's full speech at UN General Assembly

CAIRO - 26 September 2018: The Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al Sisi addressed on Tuesday several topics during the speech he gave at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York. Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N.




Amid his high-level meetings as part of the week-long United Nations General Assembly 73rd meeting in New York, Sisi on Monday met with U.S. President Donald Trump for the fourth time since Trump came to power.

Trump praises Sisi, says relations "never been stronger"

CAIRO - 25 September 2018: Amid his high-level meetings as part of the week-long United Nations General Assembly 73rd meeting in New York, Egypt's President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on Monday met with U.S. President Donald Trump for the fourth time since Trump came to power.



On Wednesday, he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his residence in New York. Sisi stressed the importance of resuming the negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis in order to reach a just and comprehensive resolution based on a two-state solution, in accordance with international treaties, presidential spokesman Bassam Radi stated.

Sisi discusses peace solutions in Palestine with Netanyahu

CAIRO - 27 September 2018: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi received on Sept. 26 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his residence in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.



He also met on Wednesday with President of Boeing International Bertrand-Marc Allen at his residence in New York, Radi said. Sisi asserted to Allen Egypt's keenness on continuing cooperation with Boeing International in various domains, especially in regards to the transfer of expertise and advanced technology.

Sisi asserts Egypt's interest in boosting cooperation with Boeing Company

NEW YORK - 26 September 2018: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi asserted Egypt's keenness on continuing cooperation with Boeing International in various domains, especially the transfer of expertise and advanced technology. This came during his meeting with President of Boeing International Bertrand-Marc Allen at his residence in New York where he is attending annual meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, Presidency Spokesman Bassam Radi said.




Moreover, Sisi met on Tuesday with his Jordanian counterpart, King Abdullah bin Al-Hussein II, on the sidelines of the week-long UNGA 73rd meeting in New York.

According to a statement issued by the presidency, both leaders discussed several issues of mutual concern.

Sisi meets Jordanian counterpart on sidelines of UNGA

CAIRO - 26 September 2018: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi met on Tuesday with his Jordanian counterpart, King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, on the sidelines of the week-long United Nations General Assembly 73rd meeting in New York. According to a statement issued by the presidency, both leaders discussed several issues of mutual concern.



On Monday, Sisi met with the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in New York. The meeting tackled ways of boosting bilateral relations and promoting cooperation in the economic and security fields, Radi said in a statement.

Sisi meets Bulgarian PM on boosting bilateral relations

NEW YORK - 25 September 2018: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on Monday met with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in New York on the sidelines of the the 73rd meetings of the United Nations General Assembly. The meeting tackled ways of boosting bilateral relations and promoting cooperation in the economic and security fields, presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement.




He also held a meeting with Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades on Monday. Sisi also met with members of the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) and a number of prominent and influential decision-makers in the United States over a dinner banquet on Monday night.

On Sunday, he met with President of the European Council Donald Tusk and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, in the presence of Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry and Head of the General Intelligence Directorate Abbas Kamel.

Sisi affirmed Egypt's keenness on fostering various aspects of cooperation with the European Union especially since they share a common interest in confronting challenges facing the Mediterranean region, Radi said in a statement.

Tusk and Kurz, for their part, showed keenness in continuing intensive coordination and consultation with Egypt on all issues of common concern and enhancing bilateral cooperation at all levels due to Egypt's regional status, Radi added.

They touched on the outcomes of the Informal Summit of EU Heads of State or Government in Salzburg, Austria on Sept. 19 and 20, the spokesman noted.
]]>
9/28/2018 4:14:58 PM
<![CDATA[Merkel plans to meet Macron, Putin, Erdogan on Syria in October]]>
"We are in favour of a four-way meeting with the presidents of Turkey, Russia and France and myself because the situation (in Syria) is still fragile," Merkel told reporters after talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"We aim to do this in the month of October."

Merkel said the talks were particularly urgent in light of the fraught situation in Syria's rebel-held province of Idlib.

Turkey has backed rebels seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but since late 2016 has been working increasingly closely with Iran and Russia to bring an end to the Syrian conflict.

Russia and Turkey agreed during a summit meeting in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on September 17 to set up a buffer zone in Idlib aimed at preventing a military assault.

Syria, which has received vital military support from Russia and Iran, had said that it planned to seize Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold in the seven-year war.

The Russia-Turkey deal was agreed following warnings that an all-out military offensive would trigger a bloodbath in the province of three million people.

Erdogan had previously indicated that he planned to host a summit to discuss Syria on September 7 in Istanbul with Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and Merkel but the meeting never came together.

Merkel praised Turkey's "outstanding" work in hosting more than three million Syrian refugees.

Germany has taken in hundreds of thousands of Syrian asylum seekers -- a policy that has proved deeply divisive within Merkel's own government.]]>
9/28/2018 3:11:53 PM
<![CDATA[FM: Ancient Civilizations Forum plays pivotal role in countering terrorism]]>
This came during his participation in a ministerial meeting of the Forum, held in New York on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, and bringing together member countries including Egypt, Italy, India, Bolivia, Iraq, Iran, Mexico and Peru, plus China, Greece and Armenia, which joined the Forum this year.

The Forum is an important platform that reflects the importance of the role played by countries of ancient civilizations in preserving the cultural and humanitarian heritage, providing a model for peaceful coexistence and extending bridges of communication and understanding among peoples of different cultures, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said. It also shows their role in reviving the lofty values of civilization and human history in our contemporary world, which is plagued by conflicts and extremism and ignorance and non-acceptance of the other, he added.

He said that the foreign minister stressed in his address to the gathering the pivotal role played by the Forum in countering terrorism.

The minister also, according to the spokesman, praised the achievements made during the previous ministerial meetings, the one in Athens last year and the other hosted by La Paz in July, pointing out that both meetings served the objectives of the Forum by giving a strong impetus to regional and international efforts to counter the threats of terrorism and extremism and promote the principles of peace and moderation, a thing which contributes to enhancing international security, stability and prosperity.

He added that Shoukry warned during the meeting against using the media and cultural platforms to promote terrorist ideologies and spread twisted ideas about religion and civilization.

He invited his participating counterparts to attend the inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) at the end of this year.]]>
9/28/2018 12:09:04 PM
<![CDATA[New UN panel to prepare indictments over Myanmar atrocities]]>
The top UN rights body voted to "establish an ongoing independent mechanism to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011".

The text, a collaboration between the European Union and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), says the panel will be responsible for preparing files "in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings... in national, regional or international courts or tribunals".

Thirty-five of the council's 47 members voted in favour of the resolution and only three -- China, the Philippines and Burundi -- voted against.

The remainder either abstained or refrained from casting a vote.

The council's decision, which was immediately hailed by Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and other rights groups, will go to the UN General Assembly in New York for final approval.

The text was presented after a damning report was released to the council earlier this month, outlining in meticulous and searing detail atrocities against the Rohingya, who fled a violent military campaign that started in August last year.

- 'Categorically' rejected -

The UN report also spoke of "crimes against humanity and war crimes" against other minorities in the northern Kachin and Shan States.

But Myanmar's representative Kyaw Moe Tun told the council the report lacked "balance, impartiality and fairness", and said his government "categorically rejects" the resolution.

The 444-page report by a UN fact-finding mission concluded there was enough evidence to merit investigation and prosecution of Myanmar's army chief and five other top military commanders for crimes against humanity and genocide against the Rohingya.

Myanmar's powerful army chief Min Aung Hlaing this week insisted the United Nations had no right to interfere in his country's sovereignty.

Troops, sometimes aided by ethnic Rakhine mobs, committed murder, rape, arson and torture, using unfathomable levels of violence and with a total disregard for human life, investigators concluded.

More than 700,000 of the stateless Muslim minority took refuge in Bangladesh, where they remain -- fearful of returning to mainly Buddhist Myanmar despite a repatriation deal.

The military has denied nearly all wrongdoing, justifying its crackdown as a legitimate means of rooting out Rohingya militants.

The UN and rights groups say the operations were vastly disproportionate and a troop build-up in the area occurred before insurgents attacked police posts in August 2017.

The campaign against the Rohingya has especially tarnished the international reputation of Aung San Suu Kyi, the long-detained democracy advocate and Nobel laureate who has been reticent in addressing the violence.

Her democratically-elected government remains in a delicate power balance with the generals, whose presence in parliament gives them an effective veto on constitutional changes.

- 'Atrocities may continue' -

Presenting Thursday's resolution to the council on behalf of the OIC, Pakistan's ambassador Farukh Amil said the situation in Myanmar was a "grave tragedy that merited an exceptional and robust response from the international community".

Austria's ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, speaking on behalf of the EU, said "unless impunity is urgently addressed, similar outbreaks of violence and atrocities may continue with further devastating domestic and regional impact".

The International Criminal Court in The Hague independently ruled that it had jurisdiction to open a preliminary investigation, even though the country has not signed the treaty underpinning the tribunal.

Thursday's text took note of the ICC ruling, and requested "the mechanism to cooperate closely with any of its future investigations pertaining to human rights in Myanmar".

It also said the UN fact-finding mission's mandate should be extended until the new mechanism is operational.

Thursday's decision marks the first time the Rights Council has itself opted to create such a mechanism.

A similar panel was created in 2016 to build cases for the prosecution of war crimes in Syria, but it was set up following a General Assembly vote.]]>
9/28/2018 4:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Palestinian president urges Trump to rescind Jerusalem, aid decisions]]>
"With all of these decisions, this administration has reneged on all previous U.S. commitments, and has undermined the two-state solution," Abbas said in his address to the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.

"I renew my call to President Trump to rescind his decisions and decrees regarding Jerusalem, refugees and settlements."

The last Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014 and there are doubts that U.S. President Donald Trump can secure what he has called the "ultimate deal" since he recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December and moved the U.S. Embassy there in May.

The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Israel captured those territories in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed East Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally. Israel regards all of the city as its eternal and indivisible capital.

Trump has equivocated on whether he supports the idea of a two-state solution, with one for the Israelis and one for the Palestinians, a plank of U.S. policy for decades.

On Wednesday, in his administration's clearest support for the idea, he said "I like a two-state solution. That's what I think works best," but later in the day backed off, saying he would also support a one-state solution if both sides wanted it.

Abbas said the United States could no longer be the sole mediator.

"The U.S. acts as a mediator; however now we view the U.S. with new eyes. The U.S. cannot be a mediator single-handedly," Abbas said.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman criticized Abbas' speech, saying: "Instead of responding to the outstretched hand of Israel and the United States, the only thing that interests (him) is to settle scores and drive the region toward confrontation".

Palestinians are boycotting Washington's peace efforts after Trump broke with long-standing U.S. policy by recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the American Embassy to the contested city.

Earlier on Thursday Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for a resumption of Israel-Palestinian peace talks when he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Sisi's office said.

HAMAS DISMISSES TRUMP REMARKS

Netanyahu, who said he was not surprised by Trump's initial comments on the two-state solution, devoted the majority of his U.N. address to Iran.

Netanyahu said the Iran nuclear deal, which he deeply opposes, had the unintended consequence of bringing Israel and many Arab states closer over their shared mistrust of Iran.

“By empowering Iran, it brought Israel and many Arab states closer together than ever before ... in an intimacy and friendship that I have not seen in my lifetime, and would have been unimaginable a few years ago. ... Israel deeply values these new friendships, and I hope the day will soon arrive when Israel will be able to expand peace, a formal peace, beyond Egypt and Jordan, to other Arab neighbors, including the Palestinians.”

Hani al-Masri, a political analyst in Ramallah, said: "There was nothing new in Abbas's speech. He repeated his known positions, and he just kept threatening, without making decisions."

Hamas on Thursday dismissed Trump's remarks on a two-state solution. Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman, said the current White House administration had adopted the "rightist vision" of Israel's government.

Speaking in Gaza, Qassem said that Trump's decisions to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. Embassy to the city "shows that he underestimates the Palestinian stance, and that is caused by the weakness of the official Palestinian stance represented by President Abbas."]]>
9/28/2018 2:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Israel accuses Iran of concealing nuclear material for weapons program]]>
In a speech at the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu used pictures and diagrams to show where some 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of radioactive material had been stored and called on the U.N.'s atomic agency to head to the locations immediately with Geiger counters.

"Today I am disclosing for the first time that Iran has another secret facility in Tehran, a secret atomic warehouse for storing massive amounts of equipment and materiel from Iran's secret nuclear programme," Netanyahu said in a speech that was mostly aimed at Iran.

He did not specify what the material was or suggest that Iran was actively violating a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, but his announcement is likely to bolster U.S. efforts to take a harder line against Iran.

"Since we raided the atomic archive, they've been busy cleaning out the atomic warehouse. Just last month they removed 15 kilograms of radioactive material. You know what they did with it?" he said. "They took it out and they spread it around Tehran in an effort to hide the evidence."

Netanyahu in April unveiled what he said was archives that showed a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program ahead of the United States' decision to pull out of the nuclear deal.

He said Iranian officials had started cleaning out the atomic warehouse, but still had a lot of work to do because there were some 15 shipping containers full of nuclear-related equipment and materials stored at the site.

"This site contained as much as 300 tonnes - 300 tonnes - of nuclear-related equipment and materiel," he said.

Under the nuclear deal struck by Iran and six major powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States - Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear program in return for relief from U.S. and other economic sanctions.

The International Atomic Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly said Tehran was abiding by its commitments to the deal. France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia have stayed in the pact, vowing to save it despite the restoration of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

"While the United States is confronting Iran with new sanctions, Europe and others are appeasing Iran by trying to help it bypass those new sanctions," Netanyahu said.

Neither the IAEA nor Iran were immediately available for comment.

The Israeli leader also lambasted Iran's ballistic missile activity, identifying three locations near Beirut airport where he said Lebanon's Hezbollah was converting missiles.

"In Lebanon, Iran is directing Hezbollah to build secret sites to convert inaccurate projectiles into precision-guided missiles, missiles that can target deep inside Israel within an accuracy of 10 metres (yards)," he said.]]>
9/28/2018 12:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi stresses emerging technologies' impact at G77 meeting]]>
One hundred and thirty four countries, under the banner of the Group of 77 at the United Nations, have handed Egypt the 2018 chairmanship of G77 during the 41st ministerial meeting of the organization.

Created in June 1964, the G77 is a coalition of developing nations at the UN that promotes its members' collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the UN. The group features 77 developing countries in the UN, even though its membership has grown to 134, over 80% of the world’s population and approximately two-thirds of UN membership. Egypt chaired the group in 1972-1973 and 1984-1985 sessions.

During his speech, President Sisi announced electing Palestine to take over the chairmanship of the organization in 2019, in succession to Egypt, which is representing the African Group of countries. Under a system of geographical rotation, it was Asia’s turn to name a chairman for 2019. The Asian Group has unanimously endorsed Palestine.

sisi in G77 (4)

Egypt Today sheds light on the main points of the President Sisi's speech [as delivered]:

“The rapid political, economic and technical transformations and their impact on various aspects of life represent a turning point in the lives of our countries which represent 80% of the world's population. One of the most important aspects of these transformations is the emerging technology and its impact of employment opportunities ... In this context, we all note the Internet and smart phones’ contributions to communication and trade growth. However, we are all aware that these technologies - which have become essential - are not equally available, not to mention artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and biotechnology. It raises the need to deal with the technological gap between the North and the South on the one hand, and within a single country on the other.”

“Therefore, Egypt paid great attention - during its chair of the Group of 77 - to the emerging technology issue and how to use it for development purposes, and to ensure that this technology is not exploited to perpetuate inequality between peoples or societies. Instead, we aim to use it to correct those imbalances, which will help us to achieve the sustainable development of our countries. Egypt hopes that the Group of 77 will continue to address these issues in the coming period.”

sisi in G77 (3)

“As for the climate change and its impact on developing countries, Egypt, as Chair of the Group of 77, is negotiating on behalf of the developing countries at the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We are also endeavoring to push international efforts to implement the provisions of the Paris Agreement, particularly those related to raising funds to support developing countries' efforts to face climate change challenges. I would like notify that Egypt will host the 14th COP of UNFCCC on Biological Diversity in Sharm El-Sheikh in November.”

“During our current chairmanship of the Group of 77, we have made efforts to reform the United Nations’ development system to meet the development needs of the member states. However, our efforts to implement sustainable development goals will only succeed by providing the necessary funding for development, especially in the developing countries.”]]>
9/27/2018 10:09:02 PM
<![CDATA[Parliamentarians praise Sisi’s 'historic' speech at UNGA 73]]>
MP Mohamed Farag Amer, head of the Parliament’s Youth and Sports committee, said that Sisi addressed various issues the world states are concerned with, including combating terrorism. He added that Sisi’s vision can save the world from terrorism.

Amer also praised Sisi’s perspective concerning the Palestinian cause, which aims at resolving the dispute between Palestinian people and Israelis, highlighting the Palestinians’ right to establish a state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Amer asserted that Sisi’s vision concerning the situation in Syria, Libya and Yemen should help the international community resolve the crises in these war-torn countries.
During his speech, Sisi affirmed Egypt's commitment to combating terrorism to help restore stability in the war-torn countries saying:

“There can be no way out of the crisis in Syria and the plight of Yemen, except by restoring tiled nation state, preserving its sovereignty and state institutions, as well as realizing the legitimate aspirations of its people. Egypt fully supports a UN-led political solution in these two countries, and rejects any exploitation of the crises to create footholds for regional interventions, or enable an environment for terrorism, extremism and sectarianism.

This same principle applies to our policy in Libya, where Egypt plays a pivotal role to support rebuilding the state, particularly with regards to the unification of the Libyan forces so that it is capable of defending Libya and countering the dangers of terrorism. We should not forget that a year has passed since the adoption of the United Nations action plan on Libya, which sought to comprehensively address the Libyan crisis, without achieving progress in its implementation.“


Parliament spokesman Salah Hasaballah urged the international community to work on executing Egypt’s clear and serious vision toward fighting terrorism and resolving the war-torn countries’ crises, which Sisi had explained during his speech.


MP Hussein Abu Gad of the Human Rights committee designated Sisi’s speech as “historic”, adding that the president’s vision concerning the Palestinian cause is applicable, and is based on international legitimacy.

MP Mohamed Zein al-Dein, deputy head of the Transportation committee, said that Sisi spoke on behalf of the Arab, African and world nations, and explained his vision regarding all problems the world is facing currently.
Zein explained that Sisi hopes all disputes are resolved through political dialogue and negotiations.

MP Ameen Masoud said that Sisi’s speech pleased the Egyptians, Arabs, Africans and the people of the world. “The president [Sisi] is the only president worldwide who earns strong and continuous applause from all leaders, and delegations’ heads in the United Nations,” Masoud stated.

Parliament’s Human Rights committee member Margaret Azer said that Sisi’s speech held the United Nations responsible for not responding to the incidents taking place in the Arab countries.

In an interview with Egypt Today, MP Heba Hagrass said that Egypt has a strong constitutional base to protect human rights, adding that the country achieved progress in the women’s rights.

During his speech, Sisi stated: “The protection of human rights will not be realized through media defamation or the politicization of Human Rights mechanisms, while ignoring the need to tackle all human rights in an equitable manner, including economic, social and cultural rights on equal footing. Egypt has a solid constitutional foundation for the protection of human rights. Major strides have been achieved in the field of women and youth empowerment. Women hold 25 percent of the ministerial posts and more than 15 percent of parliament seats.
]]>
9/27/2018 12:34:30 PM
<![CDATA[Top US diplomat to return to N. Korea as Trump hails Kim]]>
Pompeo met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly with his North Korean counterpart, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, and agreed to pay his fourth trip to the longtime US arch-enemy.

Pompeo accepted an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to return to Pyongyang in October to move ahead on efforts for "the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK," the State Department said, referring to the North by its official name of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Pompeo will also try to arrange a second summit between Trump and Kim, whose meeting in June in Singapore was the first ever between leaders of the two states.

Trump has hailed his initiative with North Korea as a signature foreign policy success and heaped praise on Kim.

His praise comes just one year after he mocked Kim as a "rocket man" at the United Nations and threatened a forceful military response.

Critics question how much North Korea has actually changed.

The regime, considered by human rights groups to be among the world's most repressive, has carried out six nuclear tests and says it has missiles that can hit the United States, although many analysts doubt its boasts.

- A man 'I know and like' -

Trump announced Wednesday that Kim sent him a new, "extraordinary" letter and said he expected the second summit to take place "fairly quickly."

"Very positive things are going to happen with respect to North Korea," he told reporters.

Speaking earlier as he chaired a special session of the UN Security Council on non-proliferation, Trump said: "Kim Jong Un, a man I have gotten to know and like, wants peace and prosperity for North Korea."

"Many things are happening behind the scenes away from the media which nobody knows, but they are happening nevertheless and they are happening in a very positive way," he said.

But Trump also called for the enforcement of sanctions, which the United States has spent years building through the Security Council in response to North Korea's nuclear and missile tests.

"We have detected that some nations are already violating these UN sanctions. This includes illegal ship-to-ship transfers which must end immediately," he said, reading from a prepared text.

"The safety of the Korean peninsula, the region and the world depends on full compliance."

- South Korea urges movement -

Pushing hard for reconciliation is South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a dove who traveled this month to Pyongyang for the second inter-Korean summit this year.

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Moon said that North Korea "moved out of longstanding isolation on its own initiative and stands before the international community once again."

"Now it is the international community's turn to respond positively to North Korea's new choices and efforts," he said.

In contrast with Trump's call for sustained sanctions, Moon has called for a step-by-step approach to nudge Pyongyang to scrap its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in exchange for sanctions relief.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who rose to political prominence as a hardliner on North Korea, has also rejected a quick easing of sanctions, but at the United Nations on Tuesday said that he too was willing to meet Kim.

Nevertheless Abe said the focus of any summit would be to resolve the fate of Japanese civilians kidnapped by Pyongyang's spies in the 1970s and 1980s.

Pompeo, in an interview broadcast Wednesday with CBS News, said he believed that North Korea would allow international inspectors to verify any commitments.

"We're not going to buy a pig in a poke," he said.

"We're going to get this right, we're going to deliver on this commitment that Chairman Kim has made to the world, and then there's going to be a brighter future for the North Korean people, and there'll be a more peaceful world."]]>
9/27/2018 1:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Waves of Sustainability]]>
From water scarcity to energy shortages, the Mid- dle East continues to work toward maintaining an ecological balance and preserving natural resources amid several political and economic challenges. But while development programs are in full swing across the region not only to overcome the present crises, but also to ensure the ability of future generations to meet their needs is not compromised, awareness cam- paigns are still needed to communicate the value of re- sources and the importance of preserving them.

In line with the 17 global goals set by the United Nations in 2015, aiming to end poverty, protect the planet and en- sure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity, Revolve Water organizes its annual AMWAJ forum on water and journalism for sustainable development in the Mediterranean. Meaning ‘waves’ in Arabic, AMWAJ, which aims to communicate accurately and effectively the value of water and constructively influence policy-making on energy usage, was launched in 2016. The first edition, held in Amman, saw more than 250 attendees meet to exchange knowledge on ways to advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This year, Revolve Water is taking AMWAJ to Barcelona from October 29 to 30, aiming to bring together hundreds of young journalists and professional entrepreneurs from the 43 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean (UFM). Over two days, the forum will host representatives from public and private sectors, leaders in environmental sustain- ability, corporate sponsors, foundations, ministries, and municipalities. Successive sessions are planned to cover the interconnected issues of water and energy, climate and agriculture, innovation and technology, management and governance, among other topics.

1
The first edition of AMWAJ Forum on Sustainability and Enternship in MENA and the Mediterranean held in Jordan in 2016 - Photo Courtesy of Revolve Water

“We are very excited to organize the second edition of AMWAJ Forum in Barcelona in partnership with the Government of Cataluña,” says project manager Patricia Carbonell, who reveals the nonprofit association dedicated to advancing environmental sustainability by identifying, encouraging and implementing innovative solutions for citizens, companies and cities to become more sustainable in their water and energy usage, will be coming to Egypt next. “The AMWAJ journey will continue in Egypt in 2019 given the water scarcity context and the emerging young talent [behind] innovative start-ups with game-changing potential, to enhance environmental sustainability in the region,” Carbonell adds.

According to Carbonell, the AMWAJ community “helps integrate and connect fragmented regions, ideas and projects, and allows citizens, companies and cities to acquire long-term skills to communicate more accurately and effectively the value of natural resources.” In their professional capacity journalists can help raise awareness of conservation and the forum is a “valuable opportunity” for them “to improve their reporting skills, as well as enhance communication skills of young entrepreneurs,” says Carbonell.

Bringing together journalism and science

In 2010, Scientific American monthly magazine defined journalism as the communication of ‘what’s new,’ and science as the communication of ‘how the world works.’ When it comes to science journalism, however, both parties view the other with wariness. Journalists generally feel scientists, despite their deep knowledge, cannot communicate valuable information to the public. Journalists, on the other hand, are often regarded as underestimating science by running after ‘catchy’ news. Science pitches come at the tail end of most media institution’s priorities, with journalists finding it a challenge turning science into exciting content. Today many media outlets count on various visual storytelling tools and inter- active maps to convey the scientific message in an interesting way.

“Human beings deal with science in day-to-day life. But people sometimes take decisions that are not based on good understanding of science,” says Ashraf Amin, head of the science section at Al-Ahram newspaper, emphasizing the importance of media’s role in educating people on science topics given the high rate of illiteracy. Amin sees science journalism as “a multitask issue based on educating, disseminating information, spreading public awareness, putting things into perspective and bridging the gap between all stakeholders who might be involved in a scientific topic of public interest.”

Asked what is missing in the science-communication relation in the Arab region, Amin cites the limited amount of scientific content produced in Arabic, and the lack of good-quality science reporting.

“We need to prepare numbers of dedicated science journalists, and we have very limited qualified science journalists in Egypt and even in the Middle East,” he says. My assumption is that there are around 10 to 15 journalists who do cover science policies and have this level of education awareness about topics they are covering.”

One more thing that makes science reporting a hard task is the scientific jargon that pops up in the media, which Amin says should be translated into “simple terms in Arabic to be useful for journalists who will be using it.”

Mohamed Yehia, president of the World Federation for Science Journalists (WFSJ), agrees with Amin, explaining that uninteresting coverage makes people reluctant to read about science, so media outlets decrease their science coverage. “This cycle needs to be broken. If there is any [breaking story] picked up by the media, [journalists] can [relate] it to science somehow when [they] present it to readers, and this is a good angle for journalists covering science,” Yehia explains, citing the Renaissance dam in Ethiopia as an example for his approach, given Egypt’s concerns on its impact on its water shortage. “There are so many different stories coming from Ethiopian and Egyptian media on the impact of the dam on the water share. But there is no thorough research by journalists to explore how Egypt can limit that effect.”

Yehia was one the participants of the first edition of AMWAJ forum in Jordan, where he found networking between journalists of the same field of reporting “very useful and valuable.” “Such forums give journalists the chance to directly meet with the scientists who are doing that kind of work, where scientists explain the latest developments in the field he explains. The WFSJ connects around 57 associations who are interested in science reporting from around the world. There are some 2700 science journalists who are linked to the federation.

In most Middle East countries, development expansion takes a toll on energy and water resources, and the forum allocates a ses- sion for science communication titled “How can science journalism benefi from tech to communicate complex stories?” to familiarize journalists with the techniques of addressing these shortcomings in their reports.
Media participants will also be invited to a state-of-the art sensitive journalism training and innovative approaches to communicate science stories. As part of the forum agenda, there will also be field visits for media, entrepreneurs and investors to sites in and around Barcelona, including a wastewater treatment plant.

2 The first edition of AMWAJ Forum on Sustainability and Enternship in MENA and the Mediterranean held in Jordan in 2016 - Photo Courtesy of Revolve Water

A socially responsible community

When leaders, entrepreneurs, science experts and journalists met at the first edition in Jordan, they took part in comprehensive discussions that called on them to become “agents” and “catalysts” of change. “It is not enough to be good entrepreneurs, good business managers, they should be good agents of social change,” Director of the Brookings Doha Center Tarik Yousef said at the opening session.

According to the World Bank, the Middle East and North Africa is at high risk of fl and drought, and is a global hotspot of unsustainable water use, especially of groundwater. The region also has the greatest expected economic losses from climate-related water scarcity, estimated at 6–14 percent of GDP by 2050. While total water productivity in MENA is only about half the world’s average, the region still has the world’s lowest water tariffs, as mentioned by the World Bank.

Egypt recently adopted ambitious programs addressing environmental and social sustainability, including plans to strengthen local accountability for water supply and sanitation services, end plastic use, air pollution and increase the renewable energy share in the energy mix by 2020.

AMWAJ brings together the public and private sectors, leaders in environmental sustainability, social entrepreneurs and media to create a socially responsible community, aware of the value of re- sources and their socioeconomic implications.

“Any business that does not have a social impact on the society, it is going to fail big time,” said Founder of SheFighter Lina Khalifeh during AMWAJ’s first edition. “These people who are the unprivileged society, women with disabilities and orphans, they need your service, they do not need your money, they want you to put the product or service and teach them how to use it,” Khalifeh added.

Profitability is one thing entrepreneurs look for when launching new projects, another thing is that this profit gets back to the community. “If you want to have a real social impact, you should not look to yourself just as an individual,” said Amr el-Tayeb, founder and CEO of Smart Medical Services.

Economic growth equation relies on the inclusion of more people, particularly youth, who together with experts bring prosperity and achieve sustainable development goals. However, sustainability in water and energy, the main axes of AMWAJ forums, still face challenges in many countries in terms of affordability and reliability. In Egypt, for example, the government has slashed electricity subsidies, leading to an unprecedented rise in bills. At the same time there are few citizens who can afford the price of switching to clean energy and going off the grid.

In addition to promoting knowledge exchange on water value, AMWAJ is planning to address these challenges in sessions de- signed to share the sector’s leaders’ know-how presenting innovative solutions.
]]>
9/26/2018 9:44:10 PM
<![CDATA[10 draft laws expected to pass during Parliament’s 4th session]]>
It is scheduled that the first session of the fourth round will be a procedural session, and will start with an opening speech by Parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal.

The MPs will be invited after the speech to register in the Parliament’s committees.

Each elected Parliament has five legislative rounds, with each lasting a minimum of nine months, according to the Egyptian Constitution.

The session is expected to see the passing of several important draft laws, most notably the draft laws on: local administration, the reconciliation procedure in case of building violations, water resources and irrigation, traffic and the Criminal Procedure Law. The session is also expected to witness the amendment of the Unified Building Law No. 119 of 2008.

In preparation for the start of the fourth session, Egypt Today delves into the details of these laws, their importance and the effect the new draft laws will have on civilians, given that they pass.

1- Criminal Procedure Law

One of the most important and most prominent draft laws that are expected to pass during the fourth session is the draft law governing the Criminal Procedure Law.

The draft law has fundamental changes that set in motion faster trials and accelerates the pace of the completion of criminal cases, without violating the principals of a fair trial. The draft law also reforms sections governing criminal disputes of a financial nature, the system for the protection of witnesses and informants, precautionary procedures, as well as terminations and compensations in case of damage in cases specified by law.

The law originally consisted of 560 articles, and has been summarized to 320 articles. The draft includes 44 articles newly added to the law and 150 articles being replaced, El-Tamawy added.

Over the past few years, the law has witnessed a total of 20 partial amendments, but has never been fully amended, stated the cabinet in July, according to state-run Al Ahram newspaper. In November 2014, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi had approved amendments to the law in absence of the parliament, which had resumed its session in 2016. Moreover, a number of articles were previously amended in 2003.

Criminal Procedure Law to be fully amended for 1st time since 1950s

CAIRO - 2 August 2017: Egypt’s Criminal Procedure Law, which is known as the country’s second constitution, is scheduled to witness a full amendment after the government has forwarded a draft of 320 articles to the parliament for discussion, which will mark the first full amendment of the law since the 1950s.




2- Local Administration

This is considered by the Parliament ot be one of the most important laws that will be passed; elections are expected to take place at the end of 2018 or the early beginnings of 2019, as announced by Speaker of the Parliament Ali Abdel Aal.

The Ministry of Local Development has reportedly allocated specific portions from its 2018/2019 budget to local councils, implying the government’s intention to permit municipal councils to work once again, MP Yousry al Asiouty, member of the parliamentary committee for local development, said in press remarks on Friday.

The local administration law will be expectedly passed during the current parliamentary session and then the government will be able to hold the municipal elections.

For his part, Yasser al-Hudaibi, official spokesman of the Wafd Party, said that the party is ready to run in the municipal elections, adding that the party is open to go in alliance with other parties and national forces to contest the elections in a mixed-party list under the leadership of the party.

Hudaibi added that Wafd preferred engaging other parties to form a political alliance as it is difficult for any party to win all the seats in all constituencies.

In the same context, Islam Ghazoli, member of the Political Bureau of Al Masryeen Al Ahrar (Liberal Egyptians Party), said that the party has been working on developing a comprehensive and ambitious strategy to prepare its cadres of young people and women to be able to actively participate in the municipal elections, stressing that the party seeks to empower fresh faces in the political scene.

Mohamed Amin, deputy chairman of the Conservative Party for Youth Affairs, pointed out that the party held several meetings to train its cadres in preparation for the local elections, stressing the need to expedite the issuance of the local administration law.

He pointed out that more meetings of the community dialogue should be held on the draft law to highlight the importance, impact and definition of the electoral system, stressing the importance of local administration in reducing the burden on the House of Representatives.

He explained that the Conservative Party is open to the electoral alliances in local council elections.

The local administration law stipulates that 75 percent of the seats shall be dedicated to the single-member seats, while 25 percent goes to the candidates of the winning mixed-party list.

MP: Local administration’s law to be passed by Parliament in Nov.

CAIRO - 30 July 2018: Reactivating the municipal councils again in Egypt is waiting for the House of Representatives that are still discussing the new local administration’s draft law.




3- Reconciliation in building violations

The head of the Housing, Public Utilities and Reconstruction Committee Moataz Mahmoud said that the draft law will be considered with the concerned ministries and entities, adding that they are scheduled to reach a decision on the draft law in a meeting held February 19, 2018.

The draft law comes within the framework of legal and practical solutions to the problem of building violations, recently causing collapsing buildings, to combat the phenomenon of cases related to building violations.

The draft law stipulates reconciliation in the acts committed in violating the law governing the building, including the case of change of use of the building.

The draft law aims to preserve and protect architectural and archaeological heritage and organize measures of reconciliation.

Under the draft law, building violations could be reconciled with exception for acts that violate construction safety and facilities of distinctive architectural styles. Infringements include the approved regulatory lines and the statutory heights rights as well as building on state owned land and agricultural land or land subjected to the law on the Protection of Antiquities.

To consider the reconciliation request and issue a decision in this regard, a technical committee shall be formed in each concerned administrative authority, and be led by civil and architectural engineers, who are accredited at the administrative authority, along with a representative from the Interior Ministry.

The reconciliation shall be submitted to the concerned administrative authority at a date no later than three months from the draft law’s executive regulations that would determine the fees for reconciliation.

Parliament considers draft law on reconciliation in building violations

CAIRO – 19 February 2018: Parliament’s Housing Committee discussed on Monday a draft law on reconciliation in some building violations after it had been approved by the Parliament.




Along the same lines, it should be mentioned that recent collapsing buildings highlight the longtime problem of the construction business across Egypt due to poor maintenance, violations of building codes, and illegal extensions and constructions. 2017 witnessed several collapsed of buildings, killing 15 people and injured 55 others.

The latest tragedy happened because of construction violations on three residential buildings in the central Cairo district of Rod al-Farag in December. The initial collapse of one of the buildings resulted in the crumbling of the two adjacent buildings due to poor infrastructure, leaving two people dead, including a four-year-old girl, and another seven injured.

To combat this phenomenon, the Egyptian Parliament has discussed the unified construction law No. 119 during a meeting held on July 18, 2016 to submit amendments to the law. The law is aimed at those who violate the license and build illegal constructions by imposing fines, prison sentences or higher utilities tariffs.

Draft law to amend Demolition of Non-Dilapidated Buildings laws

CAIRO – 23 September 2017: Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities Dr. Mustafa Madbouli announced ending a draft law amending some provisions of Law No. 144/2006 that regulate the Law of Regulating the Demolition of Non-Dilapidated Buildings and Establishments and the Preservation of Architectural Heritage




4- Governorate Law

The draft law will grant governors full powers to enable them to perform their duties in an optimum manner, in addition to granting local units an independent budget, establishing a new academy to train local leaders; 25 percent for youth and 25 percent for women. The law also allocates seats for those with special needs.

The new law will reduce corruption at different levels and is expected to produce better results, as it is believed that different governorates need different things and raining local leaders will allow them to capitalize on the issues facing their own governorate and find solutions for it.

In line with this, previously, in press statements, Wadhah al-Hamzawi, former governor of Sohag, said, “The governor used to first come forward to the municipal council of his governorate before he could allocate any plots of land for investment purposes, and now he is obliged to present any development plans to the Cabinet during its meeting with the governorates, which takes only four hours.”

Former Minister of Local Development Ahmed Zaky Abdeen said that the former local councils did not have an effective role in contributing to the development of the governorates. “The problem boils down to the lack of experienced and qualified people in these councils,” he added.

5- Unified Building Law No. 119 of 2008

This law comes hand-in-hand with the Reconciliation in building violations; it only makes sense to ensure that there is a legal way and sound legislative grounds for legal building to ensure that civilians avoid building violations, believes the Parliament.

The draft law includes activating the role of the union of occupants, provided that the validity certificate of the building site is limited to two weeks; the issuance of building permits for three years instead of one year; preventing the change of the activity of the housing unit; and, the intensification of penalties in case of violation.

The draft law also stipulates measures to ensure that the buildings and installations are secure and safe for use.

The draft law also grants the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development the authority to remove buildings outside the urban space.

During this year, the Egyptian Parliament has approved a number of legislations during the current legislative period, including the long-awaited Church Building Law issued on August 30, 2016, consists of 13 articles that regulates building and renovating churches in Egypt. For details on said law, see link below.

Cabinet approves law regulating unlicensed churches

CAIRO - 18 April 2018: The Cabinet approved legislation proposed by its committee for legalizing unlicensed churches and services buildings on Wednesday. The legislation is set to legalize 166 churches and buildings across the nation.




6- Traffic Law

The draft law is made up of 96 articles, split into five sections.


The new draft law includes harsher penalties (whilst also remaining gradual), specialization for each part of the traffic system and related jurisdiction and a system of complete communication to ensure that all sides and all parts of the system ate connected and able to function to the highest of levels. In addition, the new draft law aims to reduce human intervention in administrative procedures (licensing and seizure infringements) as much as possible; instead, it aims to rely on an electronic system.

Government passes new traffic law

CAIRO – 18 October 2017: The Egyptian government approved on Wednesday the new traffic law, Transport Minister Hesham Arafat said in a press conference at the cabinet headquarters.




ET guide for traffic laws (3): Seatbelt

CAIRO - 4 September 2017: In a knowledge survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2010, 75 percent of respondents did not understand the importance of wearing seatbelts; and most said they would have little impact in urban areas due to vehicle density and congestion.




7- Fatwa Law

The draft law regulating Dar al-Iftaa (Islamic decisions) submitted by Member of Parliament (MP) Osama al-Abd, head of Religious and Endowments Affairs Committee in the Parliament, forms the organizational structure and functions of the workers in the Dar al-Iftaa and sets a number of tasks to be conducted during the coming period, and also put controls on who is fit to be Mufti or Secretary of the advisory opinion and the difference Between the fatwa and the opinion or the jurisprudence on religious issues, as well as the appropriate sources for the fatwa and religious ruling.

Previously, on July 4, 2018, a new draft law which regulates the media appearance of religious scholars and imposes punishments on whoever discusses religious issues on television talk shows without having a permit.

Parliament Religious Committee approves new law to control odd fatwas

CAIRO– 5 July 208: Osama el-Abd, head of Religious and Endowments Affairs Committee in the Parliament, approved on Wednesday a new draft law which regulates the media appearance of religious scholars and imposes punishments on whoever discusses religious issues on television talk shows without having a permit.




According to statement issued by the parliamentarian Religious Committee on July 4, 2018, the draft law was issued by more than 80 Parliament members. The new law is expected to control the odd fatwas that were issued during the past period through media outlets and that caused huge controversy amid Egyptians. This wave of fatwas also raised questions regarding the entities entailed to issue fatwas inside the country.

According to the newly approved law, a scholar who is proved incompetent for issuing fatwas will be punished with a fine of not more than LE 20,000 and not less than LE 10,000 if he uses media to issue fatwas. The punishment also doubles if the punished person decides to reappear on media to issue fatwas for a second time.

This law comes within the framework of Egypt’s efforts to fight terrorism, extremist ideology and odd fatwas that incite sedition, in light of the recent increase in the number of fatwas issued and the number of people preaching about religious habits on social media.

In a statement before the conference titled “The Role of Fatwas in Stabilizing the Society”, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb, said that Egypt nowadays is facing an unprecedented wave of distortion of Islam’s teachings by unlicensed persons.

“Unfortunately, some have been allowed to issue flawed fatwas that distort Islamic Sharia and violate Islam's true teachings," said Tayeb.

Fatwas are Islamic religious rulings issued by a recognized religious authority or individual, based on the Holy Quran and the Prophet’s teachings for guidance on the routine of daily life subjects such as marriage and inheritance.

In Egypt, Dar Al-Iftaa, under the supervision of the Ministry of Justice, is the official institution devoted to providing fatwas on its website, along with the clerics of specialized offices at Al-Azhar, Egypt's top religious authority. For example, all court sentences of death must be approved by Dar Al-Iftaa.

Ministry of Endowment right to fatwa approved by Parliament

CAIRO – 7 July 2018: The Parliament’s Religious and Endowments Affairs Committee approved the Endowments Ministry’s right to issue fatwas (religious decrees) in a new law, following fierce row between the Endowments Ministry and Al-Azhar, the latter deemed the highest Sunni religious authority in Islamic world.




8- Water resources and irrigation

The Committee on Agriculture and Irrigation in the House of Representatives has finished writing up the draft law and the discussion phase; all that is currently left is fixing up a few comments.

All members of the Committee stressed the need to bring the law to light at the beginning of the fourth session in order to make good use of available water resources through new mechanisms based on rationalization of consumption and overcrowding penalty on resources including the Nile River, as well as the conservation of groundwater.

Gov. approves new water resources, irrigation law: Minister

CAIRO - 6 September 2017: The Egyptian government approved on Wednesday, during its meeting, the new law on water resources and irrigation, announced the Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Ati in a press conference.




9- Subsidized goods draft law

Among the important draft laws expected to be discussed is the government's amendment of some provisions of Law No. 95 of 1945 on subsidized goods and some provisions of the Competition Protection Law and the Prevention of Monopolistic Practices promulgated by Law No. 3 of 2005. The new amendments stipulate that crimes committed in monopoly of goods (including petroleum products) or their facilitation.

The crime will be punished by imprisonment for a period of no less than one year and not more than five years, and a fine not less than 100 thousand pounds and not more than one million pounds.

Social security nets to grow: New borns added to ration cards starting July

CAIRO – 4 July 2017: Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali al-Moselhi said July 3 that procedures, guidelines and rules governing the addition of new born children to ration cards will be put in place and announced July 11. This comes after the Prime Minister has approved a decision to add children that are not currently on the cards but should be to the cards.




10- Real estate legislation draft law

The real estate registration is also seen as one of the most prominent draft laws that are to be passed during the fourth session of Parliament. Although the bill has not yet been sent to the House of Representatives, Dr Ali Abdel-Al, Speaker of the House, called on the government to quickly prepare legislation on real estate registration and sent to parliament for discussion in preparation for approval.

Old-rent law to be discussed in upcoming parliamentary round

CAIRO – 28 August 2018: Several law projects will be discussed during the upcoming parliamentary round; one of these laws is the controversial old-rent law.




Additional Reporting by Marina Gamil and Rehab Ismail

]]>
9/26/2018 4:28:41 PM
<![CDATA[UPDATE: St. Macarius’s monk Zeinoun al-Makari allegedly kills himself]]>
Monk Zeinoun, who was lately moved from St. Macarius Monastery in Beheira’s Wadi El-Natrun where the monastery’s head was killed, allegedly killed himself in Al-Muharraq Monastery in Upper Egypt’s Assiut.

Egypt's Orthodox Church spokesman Bolis Halim announced the death of Zeinoun (monk Ash'eya's confession father) and did not mention anything about a suicide attempt. A statement by the church said that the prosecution is currently carrying out investigations to know the cause of Zeinoun’s death.

Six monks were moved from Wadi El-Natrun’s monastery late in August to six different monasteries following the murder of St. Macarius Monastery Head Bishop Epiphanius in July.

Barnabas al-Makari of St. Macarius named in August four monks who, he thinks, incited the murder of the bishop, including Zeinoun, Saleeb, Antonius and Ash’eya.

Ash’eyaa was officially charged on August 19 of deliberately murdering Epiphanius.

A source told Egypt Today that Zeinoun lost his life only few minutes before he reached the hospital.

According to the source, a number of Muharraq Monastery monks went to call Zeinoun for midnight praises, where they found him in his room suffering severe stomach ache, adding that he was consequently moved to Saint Maria hospital, which is about one-hour away from the monastery.

A source revealed that an empty pesticide bottle was found in Zeinoun’s room, suggesting that the monk had deliberately ingested the pesticide to kill himself.

Bishop Epiphanius was found dead on July 29 inside St. Macarius Monastery and two monks, who were kept in detention pending investigation since then, confessed their crime.

On Aug. 19, the court charged the suspected monks - expelled monk Ash’eya, whose birth name is Wael Saad, and monk Faltaous al-Makary, whose birth name is Raymond Rasmi Mansour- with the deliberate murder of Bishop Epiphanius.

Ash’eya tried to commit suicide on August 6, a day after the Coptic Church stripped him of his sacerdotal rank, although he was not yet officially charged of murder. Moreover, on the same day, Faltaous cut his wrist and then jumped off a high building inside the monastery, trying to kill himself.

On Sunday, Damanhur Criminal Court adjourned the trial of the two Coptic Christian monks to December 27.

Pope Tawadros II issues new monasticism laws

CAIRO - 4 August 2018: Egyptian bishops deactivated their social media accounts after Pope Tawadros II had issued a set of rules regulating monasticism on Thursday. Although the decision only addresses monks, the bishops’ initiative aims at setting an example of obedience to younger generations at convents.


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9/26/2018 1:39:27 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi meets with UN secretary-general on sidelines of UNGA]]>
During the meeting, Sisi affirmed Egypt’s complete support for the UN principals and continuous efforts in the region especially regarding international peace and security.

Guterres discussed with Sisi the latest updates in the MENA region's conflicts, according to a statement issued on Tuesday by presidency spokesperson Ambassador Bassam Rady. Guterres praised the significant role played by Egypt in the region and the efforts Egypt exerted during presiding the G77+China.


220543-d53ed0bc-9b76-439c-8c86-b3249c726afe
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during meeting with Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly 73rd meeting in New York, Tuesday, September 25, 2018 – Press Photo


Both leaders also discussed the Palestinian conflict, affirming the necessity of reaching a fair and just solution for the long conflict.

Sisi, who arrived in New York on Friday to attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting for the fifth time since taking office, met with several leaders from all around the world including American President Donald Trump.

During the meeting which took place on late Monday, Trump welcomed the Egyptian president, saying "It’s a great honor to be with President Sisi, our great friend from Egypt."

"We have very special things happening, as our relationship has never been stronger. We’re working with Egypt on many different fronts, including military, trade, and whatever else we can work on. It’s an honor to be with you again," Trump said.

Sisi expressed his pleasure to meet Trump, saying "Being here and having this meeting really states the magnitude of the Egyptian-American relationship."

"I commend you for all the accomplishments achieved in the United States within less than two years," Sisi said. He added that Egypt has had "a long stable relationship {with the U.S.} for 40 years now, and during President Trump’s rule, Egypt has received more support."

Earlier on Monday, Sisi delivered a brief address at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit held on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York. Sisi said that Mandela's life represented the hope of African people for dignity and independence, saying other African icons also played the same role including late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

"Today's gathering offers a great opportunity to provide our children with better education and to reduce the rate of unemployment among the youth," Sisi stated, stressing the importance of protecting the youth against the danger of extremism and terrorism.



182541-00daca2f-6d91-49e2-9fef-206d9b5c27b2
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during meeting with Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly 73rd meeting in New York, Tuesday, September 25, 2018 – Press Photo
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9/26/2018 12:35:55 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi meets Jordanian counterpart on sidelines of UNGA]]>
According to a statement issued by the presidency, both leaders discussed several issues of mutual concern.

Sisi, who arrived in New York on Friday to attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting for the fifth time since taking office, met with several leaders from all around the world including American President Donald Trump.

During the meeting which took place on Monday, Trump welcomed the Egyptian president, saying "It’s a great honor to be with President Sisi, our great friend from Egypt."

"We have very special things happening, as our relationship has never been stronger," President Trump added.

"We’re working with Egypt on many different fronts, including military, trade, and whatever else we can work on. It’s an honor to be with you again," Trump reiterated.
Sisi expressed his pleasure to meet Trump, saying "Being here and having this meeting really states the magnitude of the Egyptian-American relationship."

"I commend you for all the accomplishments achieved in the United States within less than two years," Sisi said. He added that Egypt has had "a long stable relationship {with the U.S.} for 40 years now, and during President Trump’s rule, Egypt has received more support."

Earlier on Monday, Sisi delivered a brief address at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, held on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York. Sisi said that Mandela's life represented the hope of African people for dignity and independence, saying other African icons also played the same role including late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

"Today's gathering provides a great opportunity to provide our children with better education and to reduce the rate of unemployment among the youth," Sisi said.

He also stressed the importance of protecting the youth from extremism and terrorism.

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President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during his meeting with King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York Tuesday - Press photo
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9/26/2018 12:16:45 PM
<![CDATA[Tripoli airport reopens after closure due to clashes]]>
Mitiga airport was shut after rockets were fired in its direction. Flights were diverted to Misrata airport about 190 km (120 miles) east of Tripoli.

"The carriers are expected to resume flights by the beginning of next week " the administration said.

The facility, a former U.S military basei, closed twice this month due to indiscriminate shelling but no severe damages were reported.

At least 115 people were killed and more than 380 wounded in the fighting that pitted the Seventh Brigade, or Kaniyat, from Tarhouna, a town 65 km (45 miles) southeast of Tripoli, against the Tripoli Revolutionaries' Brigades (TRB) and the Nawasi, two of the capital’s largest armed groups. Tripoli and western Libya are run by a U.N.-backed government mainly supported by armed groups, while eastern Libya is controlled by a rival administration. The country has been riven since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.
]]>
9/26/2018 11:30:07 AM
<![CDATA[Pope defends China deal on bishops, says he will have final say on names]]>
In his first public comments on the deal signed in Beijing on Saturday, Francis told reporters on the plane returning from a trip to the Baltics that he realised that not everyone would understand the logic behind it, but that he was confident in the "great faith" of Chinese Catholics.

"It's not (that the government) names them. It is a dialogue. But it is the pope who will appoint them. Let that be clear," he said of the deal, which was more than 10 years in the making.

The deal gives the Vatican a long-desired say in the appointment of bishops in China, though critics have labelled the deal a sellout to the Communist government.

China's approximately 12 million Catholics have been split between an underground Church swearing loyalty to the Vatican and the state-supervised Catholic Patriotic Association.

The Vatican said failure to reach a deal could have led to a schism between Chinese Catholics that would have been difficult to heal in the future.

"I think of the endurance of the Catholics who suffered. It is true that they will suffer. There is always suffering in an accord, but they have great faith," the pope said.]]>
9/26/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Voting and running for election in another EU state]]>
Here is the situation in the 28-nation bloc:

- The rules -

The EU's founding Maastricht Treaty (1992) established the concept of "European citizenship", including the right to vote and be elected in local and European elections in the EU state in which one resides, although under certain conditions.

This means that nationals and non-nationals living in a particular country are equal under its rules, although legislation may vary from one country to another.

Conditions for voting and standing in elections include having residency in that country, registering on the electoral list and not holding clashing mandates.

However in countries where foreigners from other EU nations represent more than 20 percent of the voting age population, a minimum period of residence can be imposed.

This in practice only concerns Luxembourg: a European who is not a Luxembourger must have lived in the country for at least five years in order to vote or be elected.

In the four EU countries where voting is compulsory -- Belgium, Cyprus, Greece and Luxembourg -- nationals from other EU states are only put on the electoral list at their request.

But once registered, they are obliged to vote.

- Restrictions -

In 10 EU countries citizens from other member states can be elected as local councillors but not as mayors.

These are Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovenia.

Some, such as France, also ban citizens from other EU member states from becoming deputy mayor.

Also in France, only local councillors of French nationality can take part in the election of members of the upper house of parliament.

In Germany some regions allow EU nationals to become mayor or deputy but others do not.

- In practice -

More than 15 million Europeans live in an EU state other than their own.

However their participation in local elections remains low, according to a 2017 report by the European Commission which provided no precise figures.

A 2012 report estimated that less that one in 10 European citizens living in another member state had registered on their local electoral lists.

Cases of foreign citizens being elected mayor are rare and so far only concern small municipalities, notably in Spain.

In France 27 percent of residents from other EU states were registered for the 2014 municipal elections.

In Belgium only 18.5 percent of European foreigners voted in the 2012 local elections.

In Spain voting at local elections is authorised for nationals from a dozen countries in addition to those from the EU.

However foreigners accounted for only 1.3 percent of those on the electoral lists for the 2015 local elections.

In Scotland the independence-minded devolved government announced in September a draft law which would preserve the right to vote for Europeans in local elections after Brexit.]]>
9/26/2018 1:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Anti-Kremlin activist taken under protection by German police]]>
Verzilov, publisher of a Russian online news portal with close ties to punk protest group Pussy Riot, fell ill suddenly two weeks ago, losing his sight, hearing and the ability to walk.

German doctors have not found any traces of poison in his body though they say there is no other explanation for his condition. Verzilov, in a tweet from hospital on Tuesday, said he had been stricken by "wonderful poisons ... something new and surprising."

Hunter Heaney, a close friend who visited Verzilov in Berlin's Charite hospital, said he noticed he was being followed by two unknown people near his home and close to the hospital.

He was worried about his safety and called the German police. The police responded by putting Verzilov, his family members and Heaney under police guard for their protection.

"We are very definitely under police protection all the time," he told Reuters by phone from Berlin.

A spokesman for Berlin police said they were in contact with Verzilov and his entourage and the situation was constantly being assessed. "We ask for your understanding that we do not comment on possible measures in detail," the spokesman said.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a Pussy Riot member who was previously in a relationship with Verzilov and has a child from their relationship, visited him in Berlin and returned to Moscow only on Sunday.

She told Reuters in Moscow that his condition had improved and he could be discharged from hospital in a few days. She said, though, that he was still suffering from bouts of delirium and his pupils had dilated.

Nika Nikulshina, with whom Verzilov is currently in a relationship, told Reuters: "Forecasts are good although Petya (Verzilov) is not yet stable."

Earlier, a Berlin doctor said Verzilov was likely poisoned as there was no other explanation so far as to why Verzilov was in such a condition. However, no official evidence of poisoning has been found in his body, according to Tolokonnikova.

Verzilov was one of four Pussy Riot activists who ran onto the pitch during the soccer World Cup final in Moscow in July to protest police brutality. When he fell ill, he was treated in a Russian hospital for four days before being flown to Berlin for further care.

Tolokonnikova said Russian doctors concluded he was not poisoned, and diagnosed him with psyschological problems. She said that, despite that diagnosis, the doctors had pumped his stomach and carried out liver dialysis.

In a Twitter post on Tuesday, Verzilov said "I've been relatively conscious now only for the past three days, and before that it was like being in a black hole."

He added: "I am spending my days in the friendly company of wonderful poisons. But not polonium 210 or Novichok, but something new and surprising."

Polonium is the radioactive isotope that poisoned former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006. He later died, and British police alleged he was the victim of a Russian state-sponsored plot, an allegation denied by Moscow.

British officials identified Novichok, a Soviet-developed nerve agent, as the substance which last year poisoned former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter. They survived. Russian has denied any involvement. ]]>
9/26/2018 1:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Turkey cannot remain silent over use of sanctions as 'weapons' -Erdogan]]>
The United States has called for the release of pastor Andrew Brunson, who was moved to house arrest in July after being detained for 21 months. If found guilty, he could be jailed for up to 35 years. He denies the charges.

Turkey says the United States should respect the legal process for the pastor, whose trial in Turkey on terrorism charges has infuriated U.S. President Donald Trump.

"None of us can remain silent to the arbitrary cancellation of commercial agreements and the use of economic sanctions as weapons," Erdogan said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

In August, Trump authorized a doubling of duties on aluminum and steel imported from Turkey. Turkey responded in kind, raising tariffs on U.S. cars, alcohol and tobacco imports.

The lira has lost nearly 40 percent of its value against the dollar this year on concerns about Erdogan’s grip on monetary policy and the diplomatic dispute between Ankara and Washington.

The Trump administration has also imposed sanctions on two top officials in Erdogan’s cabinet as part of its efforts to pressure Turkey into freeing Brunson.

"Today, some countries are persistently trying to create chaos. We are in favor of solving our problems through conducting a constructive dialogue on equal terms," Erdogan said.

However, the Turkish Lira firmed slightly on Tuesday as investors weighed up the prospect of an improvement in Turkey-U.S. ties after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he expected talks this week over Brunson's fate.

Erdogan's communication adviser Fahrettin Altun posted on Twitter a picture of Erdogan and Trump shaking hands and smiling at the United Nations.

Ankara and Washington are also at odds over diverging interests in Syria, where Washington supports Kurdish rebels whom Turkey regards as terrorists.

"Those who equip terrorists with tens of thousands of trucks and thousands of cargo planes loaded with arms for the sake of their tactical interests will most definitely feel sorrow in the future," Erdogan said.

Washington has expressed concern that NATO member Turkey’s planned deployment of the Russian-made S-400 could risk the security of some U.S.-made weapons and other technology used by Turkey, including the F-35 jet.]]>
9/26/2018 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Suspending Korea exercises caused slight dip in readiness]]>
President Donald Trump caught many U.S. officials off guard earlier this year when he announced after an unprecedented summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the United States was suspending the summer’s joint military drills with South Korea.

"The suspension of the exercise this past August and September, I would say was prudent risk if we're willing to make the effort to change the relationship with the DPRK," U.S. Army General Robert Abrams said, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

"I think there was certainly degradation to the readiness of the force," Abrams said during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He added that he was confident that a plan was in place to sustain readiness, including by carrying out exercises that were smaller in scope.

The suspension of the exercises was criticized in the United States as a premature concession to North Korea, which has resisted U.S. efforts to persuade it to give up its nuclear weapons.

Trump repeatedly touted the cost savings that would ensue from his decision to stop "the war games."

One of the major exercises suspended by Trump was Freedom Guardian, which according to the U.S. military would have cost around $14 million.

Trump recently said there was no reason to resume drills with South Korea.

Abrams said planning for military exercises scheduled for spring 2019 continued and the decision to go ahead with them rested with the leaders. He said it was unclear how many more major exercises could be skipped without a significant reduction in readiness.

Abrams also said North Korea still had significant capabilities and the United States should remain "clear-eyed" about the "significant asymmetric and intercontinental threat" from North Korea, Abrams said.

The United States has around 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea, which North Korea has long demanded be removed.

Abrams said removing U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula would create a major tactical risk.

Separately, U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis said on Tuesday that North Korea was still an "urgent" nuclear threat.

"In terms of urgency, I would say it is North Korea," Mattis said when asked what the greatest threats against the United States were. ]]>
9/26/2018 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[General Assembly applauds Sisi’s speech]]>
The Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al Sisi addressed several topics during the speech he gave at the United Nations’ General Assembly on Tuesday.

The Egyptian leader’s speech underlined the current regional crises ravaging the international arena and leaving millions of victims in the world, calling for a bigger role by global powers to contain the numerous civil conflicts.

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Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sits in the chair reserved for heads of state before delivering his address during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Abdel Fatah al Sisi pointed out that the growing chaos in states such as Syria, Yemen, Libya and other African States, opening the door for the rampant phenomena of terrorism, human trafficking and illegal immigration.

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Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

The Egyptian President urged the establishment of an International body to face all means taking part in the flourishing of terrorism. Abdel Fatah al Sisi offered the Egyptian experience in dealing with terrorism to aid other states suffering from heinous phenomenon.

The president called the international powers to support the National States which adopt a National identity in the face of Sectarianism and civil wars.

Abdel Fatah al Sisi was keen to praise the current cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations, he mentioned that Egypt will chair the AU in 2019, vowing that his country will act to promote the current approach between the UN and the AU.

The President highlighted the Egypt’s vision 2030 project and how it is compatible with the UN’s third pillar which addresses development, calling the UN to support visions on which states can acquire better quality of life for their people.

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Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
]]>
9/25/2018 11:11:30 PM
<![CDATA[Rouhani says Iran wants no war, sanctions, threats, or bullying]]>
Rouhani, in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, said the United States had waged "economic war" against Iran by reimposing unilateral sanctions, which were lifted under the country's 2015 multinational nuclear deal in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear program.

"The United States policy vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran has been wrong from the beginning, and its approach of resisting the wishes of the Iranian people as manifested in numerous elections is doomed to failure," Rouhani said.

President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the pact in May, and his administration reimposed sanctions on Iran in August. Harsher sanctions on Iran's oil and banking sector are expected in November.

"The economic war that the United States has initiated under the rubric of new sanctions not only targets the Iranian people but also entails harmful repercussions for the people of other countries, and that war has caused a disruption in the state of global trade," Rouhani said.

"What Iran says is clear: no war, no sanctions, no threats, no bullying; just acting according to the law and the fulfillment of obligations."

Mounting pressure from the Trump administration combined with discontent among many Iranians at the state of the economy are rattling the Islamic Republic, with little sign that its leaders have the answers, officials and analysts say.

The rial has lost 40 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar since April. Iran has blamed U.S. sanctions for the currency's fall, saying the measures amount to a “political, psychological and economic” war on Tehran.

"THREAT FOR THREAT"

To pile on the pain, Washington says all countries must end crude imports from Iran by Nov. 4, hitting the oil sales that generate 60 percent of the country’s income. Iran says this level of cuts will never happen.

Tehran has suggested it could take military action in the Gulf to block other countries’ oil exports in retaliation for U.S. sanctions intended to halt its sales of crude. Washington maintains a fleet in the Gulf that protects oil shipping routes.

"The security of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz has always been important for us ... we will confront any and all disruptive efforts in this critical waterway in the future," said Rouhani.

The Strait of Hormuz is a strategic artery linking Middle East crude producers to key markets in the Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America and beyond. A third of the world’s seaborne oil passes through the strait in southern Iran.

Trump, in his annual U.N. speech, said he would keep up economic pressure on Tehran to try to force a change in its behavior. But Rouhani said Iran had no intention of succumbing to the U.S. pressure.

"The United States’ understanding of international relations is authoritarian. ... Its understanding of power, not of legal and legitimate authority, is reflected in bullying and imposition," Rouhani said.

"No state and nation can be brought to the negotiating table by force," said the pragmatist president, adding that Iran did not want any war.

"Our proposal is clear: commitment for commitment; violation for violation; threat for threat; and step for step, instead of talk for talk," he said.

Rouhani expressed Iran's willingness to improve ties with the regional countries. Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia has been at loggerheads with Shi'ite Iran for decades, fighting a long-running proxy war in the Middle East and beyond that has influenced conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

Riyadh and its Gulf allies have hailed Trump's decision to exit the nuclear deal and to reimpose sanctions on Tehran, reflecting their concern about Iran's influence in the region.

"We believe in the formation of a collective mechanism for the Persian Gulf region with the presence and participation of all regional countries," Rouhani said.]]>
9/25/2018 10:15:41 PM
<![CDATA[Trump, Iran's Rouhani exchange threats, insults on U.N.'s world stage]]>
Trump used his annual address to the United Nations on Tuesday to attack Iran's "corrupt dictatorship," praise last year's bogeyman North Korea and lay down a defiant message that he will reject globalism and protect American interests.

But much of his 35-minute address was aimed squarely at Iran, which the United States accuses of harboring nuclear ambitions and fomenting instability in the Middle East through its support for militant groups in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

"Iran's leaders sow chaos, death and destruction," Trump told the gathering in the green-marbled hall. "They do not respect their neighbors or borders or the sovereign rights of nations."

Rouhani, addressing the assembled world leaders later, sharply criticized Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, said he had "no need for a photo opportunity" with Trump and suggested the U.S. president's pull back from global institutions was a character defect.

"Confronting multilateralism is not a sign of strength. Rather it is a symptom of the weakness of intellect - it betrays an inability in understanding a complex and interconnected world," he said.

Trump's address was met largely by silence from world leaders still not comfortable with go-it-alone views that have strained U.S. relationships with traditional allies worldwide.

His speech, while delivered in a low-key fashion, was nonetheless a thunderous recitation of his "America First" policies. He has disrupted the world order by withdrawing the United States from the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord, and threatened to punish NATO nations for not paying more for their common defense.

"We will never surrender America's sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy," Trump said, in language popular with his political base. "America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism."

Besides calling out Iran, Trump also criticized China for its trade practices but made no mention of Russia's interference in Syria's war or its suspected meddling in U.S. elections.

MACRON'S ALTERNATIVE VIEW

Offering an alternative view when it was his turn at the podium, French President Emmanuel Macron told the delegates that the law of the survival of the fittest, protectionism and isolationism would only lead to heightened tensions.

Defending multilateralism and collective action, he warned that nationalism would lead to failure and if countries stopped defending basic principles, global wars would return.

"I do not accept the erosion of multilateralism and don't accept our history unraveling," Macron told the assembly, at times raising his voice. "Our children are watching."

Macron, citing the example of Iran, said that this unilateralism push would lead directly to conflicts.

Trump, who begins his political rallies with boasts about his economic record in less than two years in office, used the same rhetoric before the crowd of world leaders and diplomats, telling them he had accomplished more than almost any previous U.S. president.

The remark led to some murmuring and laughter in the crowd, taking the president slightly aback.

"I didn’t expect that reaction, but that's OK," he said.

NO SANCTIONS, NO THREATS

Trump attempted to drive a wedge between Iran's leadership and its people, days after an attack in southwestern Iran on a military parade killed 25 people and unsettled the country.

In remarks to reporters on his way to his speech, Trump said he would not meet the Iranians until they "change their tune." Though he held out the possibility of a better relationship in the future, he made clear economic pressure on Iran would not abate.

Rouhani was defiant.

"What Iran says is clear: no war, no sanctions, no threats, no bullying; just acting according to the law and the fulfillment of obligations."

In May, Republican Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 international deal to put curbs on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for easing sanctions. Foes for decades, Washington and Tehran have been increasingly at odds since May. The accord with OPEC member Iran was negotiated under Democratic U.S. President Barack Obama.

"Additional sanctions will resume November 5th and more will follow and we are working with countries that import Iranian crude oil to cut their purchases substantially," Trump said.

He said the United States would help create a regional strategic alliance between Gulf nations and Jordan and Egypt, an initiative that the United States sees as a bulwark against Iran.

Trump compared U.S. relations with Iran to what he called improved ties with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who Trump had met in Singapore in June as part of a still-unfulfilled drive to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.

In his address last year to the U.N., Trump insulted Kim as a "rocket man" bent on nuclear destruction. On Tuesday, Trump praised Kim for halting nuclear and missile tests, releasing Americans held prisoner and returning some remains of U.S. soldiers killed in the 1950s Korean War.

The two leaders are trying to arrange a second summit and are exchanging private correspondence. Trump has said sanctions on North Korea would remain for now.

Delivering a harsh message to OPEC members, Trump called on them to stop raising oil prices and to pay for their own military protection. He threatened to limit U.S. aid only to countries that are friendly to the United States.

A Gulf diplomat said in response that "we have been doing our fair share of burden sharing."

Crude oil prices shot to a four-year high on Tuesday, catapulted by imminent U.S. sanctions on Iranian crude exports and the apparent reluctance of OPEC and Russia to raise output to offset the potential hit to global supply. ]]>
9/25/2018 9:28:31 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi to deliver speech on 1st day of UNGA 73rd high-level General Debate]]>
The UN secretary-general will give a speech, highlighting the main global issues and challenges, which require the immediate attention of member states.
The 37 speakers of the first day of the high-level General Debate include President Sisi, Jordanian King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein and Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Eddine al-Othmani.

On the sidelines of the week-long United Nations General Assembly 73rd meeting in New York, President Sisi met with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday for the fourth time since Trump came to power.

During the meeting, Trump welcomed the Egyptian president, saying "It is a great honor to be with President Sisi, our great friend from Egypt."

"We have very special things happening, as our relationship has never been stronger.
We’re working with Egypt on many different fronts, including military, trade, and whatever else we can work on. It’s an honor to be with you again," Trump said.

Sisi expressed his pleasure to meet Trump, saying "Being here and having this meeting reflects the magnitude of the Egyptian-American relationship."

"I commend you for all the accomplishments achieved in the United States within less than two years," Sisi said, adding that Egypt has had "a long stable relationship [with the U.S.] for 40 years now, and during President Trump’s rule, Egypt has received more support."

Earlier on Monday, Sisi delivered a brief address at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit held on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York. Sisi said that Mandela's life represented the hope of African people for dignity and independence, stressing that other African icons played the same role, including late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser.

"Today's gathering allows for a great opportunity to provide our children with better education and to reduce the rate of unemployment among the youth," Sisi said, highlighting the importance of protecting the youth from the danger of extremism and terrorism.
]]>
9/25/2018 2:48:36 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament to convene its 4th legislative round on October 2]]>
It is scheduled that the first session of the fourth round will be a procedural session, and will start with an opening speech by Parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal.

The MPs will be invited after the speech to register in the Parliament’s committees.
Each elected Parliament has five legislative rounds, with each lasting a minimum of nine months, according to the Egyptian Constitution.

The fourth session is expected to see the passing of several important draft laws, most notably the draft laws on: local administration, the reconciliation procedure in case of building violations, water resources and irrigation, traffic and the Criminal Procedure Law. The session is also expected to witness the amendment of the Unified Building Law No. 119 of 2008.

Local Administrative draft law

The government plans to reactivate the municipal councils that were dissolved during the 2011 revolution for being loaded with corruption and supporters of former President Hosni Mubarak's regime.

Political parties are preparing for the local government election, slated to take place at the end of 2018 or the early beginnings of 2019, as announced by speaker of the Parliament Abdel Aal. The local elections will take place after the local administrative draft law is passed by the Parliament.

The Ministry of Local Development has reportedly allocated specific portions from its 2018/2019 budget to local councils, implying the government’s intention to permit municipal councils to work once again, MP Yousry al-Asiouty, member of the parliamentary committee for local development, said in press remarks on May 4.

Labor draft law

The new labor law is important because it achieves a significant guarantee for nearly 26 million laborers working in the private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs); it provides them with security and preserves their rights. The bill guarantees resignation will not be accredited unless the Manpower Ministry approves and there will be no dismissal without a court verdict.

The law encourages young people to work in the private sector and maximizes their role in promoting the national economy. It also provides a safe environment for laborers through a clear contract between them and the employer.

The bill will include the creation of new labor courts to speed-up litigation processes. It provides the opportunity for better training and education, ensuring the rights of working women and people with special needs.

Additionally, women working in the private sector will be granted the right to a four-month maternity leave like those working in the public sector, in accordance with the Civil Service Law. This leave shall be granted twice during a woman's period of service.

The bill guarantees that the daily working hours of pregnant women shall be reduced by at least one hour starting from the sixth month of pregnancy. Moreover, no additional working hours shall be allowed for women during their pregnancy period and the six months following childbirth.

New Personal status draft law

The draft law is among the priorities of the next Parliament’s session as it tackles different aspects of social issues, such as divorce cases, and regularizes the situation between family members in the case of divorce in a way that works for the best interest of children.

The draft law has been criticized; hence, the Parliament’s Legislative Committee will hold hearings with counselors, lawyers and employees in family courts, in addition to hearings with families affected by the current Personal Status Law, in collaboration with the concerned civil organizations, to amend the current law.

Criminal Procedures law

The government forwarded in July, 2017, a draft law of 320 articles, aiming to amend Egypt’s Criminal Procedure Law, which is known as the country’s second constitution, to the Parliament for discussion, which will mark the first full amendment of the law since the 1950s.

The law originally consisted of 560 articles, and has been summarized to 320 articles. The draft includes 44 newly added articles and 150 replaced articles.

Over the past few years, the law has witnessed a total of 20 partial amendments, but has never been fully amended, stated the Cabinet in July, according to state-run Al-Ahram newspaper. In November 2014, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi approved amending the law in absence of the Parliament, which had resumed its session in 2016. Moreover, a number of articles were previously amended in 2003.

The draft law aims to reach regulations that are appropriate for criminal procedures, as there are “defects and obstacles in the current proceedings in Egyptian courts” due to the presence of “sterile laws”, the privately-owned Shorouk newspaper reported.
The draft law will ensure limiting the obstacles hindering the process of fast litigation.

Water Resources and Irrigation draft law

The 138-article draft law aims to label encroachment as a felony, punishable by prison, not as a misdemeanor; it also aims at preserving water resources, according to the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation's statement on the draft law in June. Encroachments include illegal construction on the Nile banks, unlicensed fish farming, illegal disposal of industrial waste and other forms of pollution.

The draft law deals with public properties, private businesses and facilities run by the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation.

The bill comes as part of the government's keenness to achieve the utmost use of water resources to meet the needs of citizens and face any future challenges.
]]>
9/25/2018 1:33:29 PM
<![CDATA[Sudanese President awards Egyptian Ambassador First-Class Order of Two Niles]]>
During a meeting with the Egyptian ambassador at the Republican Palace in Khartoum, al-Bashir stressed the strong bilateral relations between the two countries, and Sudan’s interests to promote them, achieving the common interest of the two peoples.

In the same context, Shaltout expressed his thanks and appreciation to the Sudanese government in a statement with MENA.

“The wisdom of two countries’ leadership led to strengthening bilateral relations through upgrading the ministerial committee to a higher committee at the presidential level, as 23 summits were held between President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and President al-Bashir, indicating the deep strategic relations between the two countries and their common destiny,” Shaltout added.

In July 2018, Sisi paid his first visit to the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, where he met with his Sudanese counterpart, Omar al-Bashir.

The two presidents discussed several issues regarding boosting bilateral relations between the two countries and cooperation on all levels. Moreover, Bashir visited Cairo on March 19, where both leaders discussed the outstanding issues of mutual interest, based on the agreement reached at the recent Addis Ababa tripartite summit.

Many politicians asserted that the two parties agreed to lower the intensity of disputes in the upcoming period. They asserted that relations between the two countries are on the right track.

Sisi’s visit to Sudan paved the way for ending the dispute over the border area of Halaib and Shalateen.

Bashir visited Cairo on March 19, where both leaders discussed the outstanding issues of mutual interest, based on the agreement reached at the recent Addis Ababa tripartite summit.

It has been agreed to “continue implementing the outcomes of the Addis Ababa-held Egyptian-Sudanese-Ethiopian tripartite summit on the Renaissance Dam to carry out the Declaration of the Renaissance Dam Principles Charter that was signed on March 23, 2015 in Khartoum,” said President Sisi in a joint press conference with Bashir.

Egypt has voiced its concern over Ethiopia’s dam construction, as it would affect Egypt’s 55 billion cubic meter share of the Nile water. However, Addis Ababa sees the dam is necessary for its development and argues it would not negatively affect the downstream countries (Egypt and Sudan).

On the bilateral level, President Sisi emphasized during the conference that his country is keen to “maintain the national security of both countries.”

Egypt’s relations with Sudan were recently strained over the disputed border area of Halaib and Shalateen. On December 23, 2017, Sudan filed a complaint to the United Nations Secretariat to protest a maritime border demarcation deal between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as the deal denotes the territory as Egyptian on maps.

Halaib and Shalateen, or the Halaib Triangle, is an area of land measuring 20,580 square kilometers located at the Egyptian-Sudanese border on the Red Sea coast. It is part of the Red Sea governorate and consists of three major towns: Halaib (which became a city in February 2014), Abu Ramad and Shalateen.
]]>
9/25/2018 10:35:39 AM
<![CDATA[McFarlane urges more support to Egypt's fight against terrorism]]>
Lauding President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi's adopted policy in fighting terrorism, McFarlane said in an interview with DMC that he believes this policy is very useful and wise.

Earlier in September, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo authorized the release of $1.2 billion in military aid to Egypt.



The State Department announced that Pompeo authorized the release by signing the necessary national security waivers allowing the money to be spent, according to a statement provided to the Associated Press.

Later in July, the U.S. Administration ordered the release of $195 million in military aid to Egypt, which was withheld in August 2017 over allegations of human rights and democracy breaches.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said that the U.S. decision emphasizes the significance of bilateral relations between Egypt and the U.S.
]]>
9/25/2018 10:27:32 AM
<![CDATA[Trump praises Sisi, says relations "never been stronger"]]>
During the meeting, Trump welcomed the Egyptian president, saying "It’s great honor to be with President Sisi, our great friend of Egypt."

"We have very special things happening, as our relationship has never been stronger.
We’re working with Egypt on many different fronts, including military, trade, and whatever else we can work on. It’s an honor to be with you again," Trump said.

Sisi expressed his pleasure to meet Trump, saying "Being here and having this meeting really states the magnitude of Egyptian and American relationship."

"I commend you for all the accomplishments that have been achieved in the United States within less than two years," Sisi said. He added that Egypt has "a long stable relationship {with the U.S.} for 40 years now, and during President Trump’s rule, Egypt has received more support."

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Trump also congratulated the Egyptian leader for "the outstanding job with respect to terrorism, saying "you’re working very hard on that. It’s not easy. You’re at the forefront but you’ve done an outstanding job."

Sisi asserted that Egypt "will be able to eliminate terrorism" with the help of the United States. He pointed out that fighting terrorism "has been an obligation that {Trump} made very clear since taking office and during presidential campaign," stressing that Egypt "supports you in this."

Trump noted that the U.S. "has done very well" in combating terrorism in the Middle East, pointing out that they "whipped out ISIS in Syria."

"You’ve been very outstanding and we’ll work with you," Trump said to Sisi.

Meanwhile, Trump also held a series of bilateral meetings with leaders from South Korea and France where he discussed the U.S. role in the world.

Earlier Monday, Sisi delivered a brief address at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, which is held on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York. Sisi said that Mandela's life represented the hope of African people for dignity and independence, saying other African icons also played the same role including late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser.

"Today's gathering provides a great opportunity to provide our children with better education and to reduce the rate of unemployment among the youth," Sisi said.

He also stressed the importance of protecting the youth against the danger of extremism and terrorism.

Sisi to meet Trump for fifth time in 2 years

CAIRO - 24 September 2018: Once more, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will meet with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in New York, which is considered their fifth encounter within only 24 months.


]]>
9/25/2018 1:37:29 AM
<![CDATA[Al-Ghufran organizes exhibition in Broken chair courtyard exposing Qatari regime human rights violations]]>
Created by Daniel Berset, the Broken Chair simpolises the struggeles of mine victims.

After a treaty (known as the Ottawa Treaty or the Mine Ban Treaty) to ban the use of anti-personnel mines was signed and came into action in 1997, Handicap International NGO commissioned the Swiss artist to create a piece of art that would draw attention to the victims of landmines to encourage nations to sign on to the treaty and stop using them.

Al-Ghufran’s exhibition comes as part of a wider move by the tribe to recover its rights on the margins of the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council, shedding light on the human rights violations committed against the tribe by the Qatari regime.

“The international community must stop turning a blind eye to the human rights violations committed against Al-Ghufran tribe by the Qatari regime, said Mohamed Saleh Al-Ghafzani, one of the members of the oppressed tribe who participated in the exhibition. He added that the international community needs to document and declare all violations committed against the tribe; violations, which, according to him, break all international norms, treaties and conventions.

Al- Ghafzani added that the delegation in Geneva is trying to communicate with the international community and make its voices heard worldwide, efforts that they are doing through exhibitions, meeting officials, holding seminars, press conferences, and so on, adding that they will not stop until they have their rights back.

Gaber Al-Areq Al-Ghufrani added that they are trying through the exhibition to reach everyone involved, from advocates to the appropriate authorities, stating that they attempt to talk to everyone that goes into the sessions. “We are talking to everyone who comes in and out of the United Nations building about our crisis and our stolen rights; after taking our nationality away, there is nothing else we can lose.”

The members of the tribe demand that the international community take a decisive stand against the Qatari regime, which violated international covenants and norms, through its discriminatory policies against the Al-Ghufran tribe.

On September 17, delegation had met with Chief of Middle East and North Africa Section. UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights Mohammad Al-Nsour, when the latter received a letter from the tribe summing up the violations that they have faced since 1996.

The letter asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations.

The letter also revealed that the authorities are well aware of the violations occurring, “We assure you that the Qatari authorities, ranging from the Emir of Qatar, the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, the President of the National Committee for Human Rights, senior security officials and dignitaries, are aware of the discrimination members of Al Ghofran clan are subjected to and those senior officials are deeply involved in this crime,” the delegation stated, continuing, “Qatar officials are working to hide his crime from the eyes of international justice and human rights organizations, and the deliberately intimidate those trying from within Qatar to raise complaints to International bodies and human rights organizations.”

Fearing for their lives and their ability to voice their opinions or “demand their rights through the National Human Rights Committee in Doha” due to security personnel traching and monitoring their actions, which they say they have evidence off, the delegation spoke of the evidence they have of Qatari authorities treating their people with the utmost levels of brutality and monstrosity.

As part of their on-going efforts to restore their legitimate rights, on September 21, during a seminar titled ‘Human Rights in Qatar’, the delegation also called on Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to take serious steps in addressing and documenting the human rights violations that were committed against the tribe, and to present them in front of the international community to hold Qatar accountable.

The delegation explained that they only resorted to international organizations after years of being ignored and omitted by their government, the government of Qatar, and after they realized that the Qatari Human Rights Council is in cahoots with the regime.

During said seminar, Gaber Saleh Al-Ghufrani, a member of the Al-Ghufran tribe, called on the people of Qatar, for support said, “We call on the elders of the honourable Al-Thani family and to the generous and righteous people of Qatar and to the Al Murrah tribe, known for their nobility and chivalry. We call on you as your brothers, young and old, elders and children, men and women, inside and outside Qatar, and we appeal to your proud Arab origin after the Qatari government has let us down and accused us of untrue claims and stropped us of our rights.”

He went on to plead his and his tribe’s case to the people of Qatar, “We have been subjected to much injustice and humiliation in our homeland from those who, unfortunately, we thought to be virtuous. We have been discriminated against in the most painful of ways, ones that would shock human consciousness; they have stripped us of our dignity, in way that you know and others that you do not know.”

Adding, “We did not choose to go to the United Nations and to the international human rights organizations except after the government of our country closed all ways of appeal and did not engage or listen to our demands that we had submitted to the relevant authorities such as the Ministry of the Interior and the National Human Rights Commission of Qatar.”

Along the same lines, Mohamed Saleh Al-Ghofzani called on the National Committee for Human Rights in Qatar to stop turning a blind eye to the regime's violations of the right of Al-Ghufran tribe and to document and declare said violations; which he describes to be, violations of all basic international norms, conventions and treaties.

Similarly, Hamad Khaled Al-Ghufrani explained that although the Qatari law states that indigenous people who have settled in Qatar since 1940 cannot have their nationality stripped—a law that applies to them, they have had their nationality stripped, faced forced displacement and have had the most basic services taken away from them: Education, healthcare and other public services.

“Even those who suffer from chronic illnesses of other illnesses, including my son who suffers from autism, were left untreated by Qatar, “ Al Ghufrani stated.

The OHCHR, which implements the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, “carries out a range of country specific and regional activities to advance the rights of indigenous peoples. It provides support for legislative initiatives and pursues thematic work on issues such as extractive industries and on the rights of isolated indigenous peoples,” as per the OHCHR’s website.

“In addition, the Office assists the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, and provides secretariat support to the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the organisation of its annual sessions.”

Exhibiting their case to the world

On September 19, Al-Ghufran, staged a sit- in front of the Broken Chair, which stands across the United Nations Palace in Geneva, to denounce the crimes of the Qatari regime who has revoked their nationality, displaced and tortured members of the tribe.

The tribe called on the international community to take a decisive stand on the Tamim regime, whom, they claim, have violated a number of international conventions and treaties through its racist policy against the Al-Ghufran tribe.

The delegation also held a protest on September 18, to urge the United Nations to investigate the Qatar regimes’ crimes against humanity, including stripping them of Qatari nationality

“Our issue with the Qatar regime is purely humanitarian and not political, this is why we came here to present our case and our demands to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Our demands are clear: The Qatar regime should be held accountale for the crimes that it has committed against us and other Qataris, and the restoration of our rights,” Hamad Khaled Al-Marri, a member of the tribe, who took part in the stand, stated.

2
Qatari tribe Al-Ghufran declared that 6,000 of its members were forcibly displaced after the Qatari regime deprived them of their Qatari nationality and their national rights. - Egypt Today

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The tribe representatives had previously submitted a complaint to the Commissioner on September 21, 2017 - Egypt Today

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Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

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Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today


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Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

1
A delegation representing Al-Ghufran tribe, one of the biggest tribes in Qatar, handed a letter to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, discussing their deteriorating situation. - Egypt Today

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Members of the delegation in Geneva - Egypt Today

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Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

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The tribe asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations. - Egypt Today

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Al-Ghufran tribe asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations. - Egypt Today
]]>
9/24/2018 3:40:08 PM
<![CDATA[Maldives opposition wins election in potential blow to China]]>
Incumbent Abdulla Yameen, who had cultivated ties with both Beijing and Saudi Arabia, conceded defeat after the Election Commission said Solih had won Sunday’s election by a margin of 16.7 percent.

The Maldives, a string of palm-fringed islands and atolls lying 325 miles (523 kilometers) southwest of the southern tip of India, is best known as a luxury holiday destination.

But the Muslim nation of less than half a million people has suffered a turbulent transition to democracy following the end of three decades of authoritarian rule in 2008.

“This is a moment of happiness, a moment of hope,” Solih told reporters in the capital Male. “This is a journey that has ended at the ballot box because the people willed it.”

India and The United States congratulated Solih, popularly known as “Ibu”, on his victory even before Yameen conceded.

“This election marks not only the triumph of democratic forces in the Maldives, but also reflects the firm commitment to the values of democracy and the rule of law,” India’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“India looks forward to working closely with the Maldives in further deepening our partnership.”

Both New Delhi and Washington had been concerned by China’s growing influence in the Maldives and its lurch toward more hardline attitudes on religious issues during Yameen’s five years in power.

China, meantime, has helped build an extension to the international airport in the Maldives, and a bridge linking it to the capital, Male.

Before the election, the opposition said it would review the Chinese investment, partly out of concern over the level of debt entailed, with experts warning that the government could fall into a debt trap.

Exiled former prime minister Mohamed Nasheed - an ally of Solih - told Reuters in June he wants to renegotiate these deals.

The Chinese investment in Maldives is seen as part of its “String of Pearls” strategy, developing a network of friendly ports in the region from Sri Lanka to Pakistan.

India and Western nations have worried that the strategy ultimately aims to help China’s military extend its reach.

Since coming to power in a contested election in 2013, Yameen has been criticized for jailing opponents and restricting election observers and the media, and there had been fears that Sunday’s election would an unfair contest.

But Yameen soothed concerns over the risk of another messy transfer of power in a televised address to the nation.

“Maldivian people have decided what they want. I have accepted the results from yesterday. Earlier today, I met with Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who the Maldivian electorate has chosen to be their next president. I have congratulated him,” he said.

Voter turnout was 89.2 percent, the Elections Commission said, adding the official results would be released by Sept. 30.

The country has been in political turmoil since February, when Yameen imposed a state of emergency to annul a Supreme Court ruling that quashed the convictions of nine opposition leaders, including Nasheed, the country’s first democratically elected leader and former president.

Yameen also jailed his half-brother and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who led the country for 30 years. He is being held in a prison on a remote island along with the former head of the top court and ex-ministers.

The opposition has said it would make the release of all political prisoners, including Gayoom, a priority.

Mohamed Shainee, the minister of fisheries in Yameen’s government, said on Twitter it was “the beginning of a new chapter” for the country, asking voters to “forgive our wrongdoings”.

The Hindu, an Indian newspaper, quoted Maldives’ ambassador to India as saying Solih would assume power on Nov. 17 after Yameen’s five-year term ends.]]>
9/24/2018 3:28:22 PM
<![CDATA[A child from Al-Ghufran tribe tells Sky News Arabia about violations seen at hands of Qatari regime]]>
The 13 years old was born in a hospital in Qatar, and went to Geneva to present his case and that of his fellow brothers and sisters in the tribe to the UN.

“I came her to Geneva to try to restore my nationality and to pursue my human rights. … I do not know what I did to have my nationality stripped away when I was only one or two months old.”

“We want to live the rest of our lives in Qatar, that is every Ghufrani child’s dream,” said the child.

The child, who had the chance of living in his country taken away by force, said that he wished to grow old in his country to have the right to stay in his nation, his country, Qatar.

“I wish to return to my country and enjoy my right as a citizen,” he said.

Commenting on this, his father said in the video, “I fear that my son will not have the chance to see his nation, to grow in it; I wish for him to have the chance to live there.”



Previously, during a press conference held September 20, titled, ‘Qatar: How to protect the Al-Ghufran tribe?’, in Clube suisse de la presse, on the margins of the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the child said, “My nationality was revoked when I was younger than a year,” and presented his passport, along with that of his father and grandfather.

“I did not have the right to grow up in my country, I was not given the right to stay in my nation. I could not be in my country. I wish to return to my country and enjoy my right as a citizen.”

Similarly, on September 17, the child spoke during the a meeting that saw the tribe submitting a complaint to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, regarding the systemic discrimination they are suffering at the hands of the Qatari authorities.

The child, who looks no older than 15 years of age, started his speech by saying, “I am Mohamed Bin Gazer…, small is age but old enough in my demands to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.”

The child, who spoke elegantly and brought the room to a near standstill, went on to say that he wishes for his, and all the tribe members’, return “home”.

He heartbreakingly spoke of the difficulty he and others face by having to stay away from their home, from their country, and wished that he would have his Qatari citizenship back and that he could return home; a place he feels emotionally attached to.

“All I demand in front of the UN Commisioner and the office of human rights, as well as all international human rights organizations, is that they help me to return my citizenship. I repeat my demand: All that I wish for is the return of my citizenship,” the child spoke.

He continued to urge Qatari human rights organizations to help the tribe out, reminding them that Qatar signed the International Convention of Human Rights in 1995.

“All that I wish for is to live with dignity in Qatar.”

“I want to end with a line from a famous poem: “My Country is dear even if it oppresses me … my family is precious even if they disavow me.”

On September 17, delegation had met with Chief of Middle East and North Africa Section. UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights Mohammad Al-Nsour, when the latter received a letter from the tribe summing up the violations that they have faced since 1996.

The letter asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations.

The letter also revealed that the authorities are well aware of the violations occurring, “We assure you that the Qatari authorities, ranging from the Emir of Qatar, the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, the President of the National Committee for Human Rights, senior security officials and dignitaries, are aware of the discrimination members of Al Ghofran clan are subjected to and those senior officials are deeply involved in this crime,” the delegation stated, continuing, “Qatar officials are working to hide his crime from the eyes of international justice and human rights organizations, and the deliberately intimidate those trying from within Qatar to raise complaints to International bodies and human rights organizations.”

Fearing for their lives and their ability to voice their opinions or “demand their rights through the National Human Rights Committee in Doha” due to security personnel traching and monitoring their actions, which they say they have evidence off, the delegation spoke of the evidence they have of Qatari authorities treating their people with the utmost levels of brutality and monstrosity.

As part of their on-going efforts to restore their legitimate rights, on September 21, during a seminar titled ‘Human Rights in Qatar’, the delegation also called on Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to take serious steps in addressing and documenting the human rights violations that were committed against the tribe, and to present them in front of the international community to hold Qatar accountable.

The delegation explained that they only resorted to international organizations after years of being ignored and omitted by their government, the government of Qatar, and after they realized that the Qatari Human Rights Council is in cahoots with the regime.

During said seminar, Gaber Saleh Al-Ghufrani, a member of the Al-Ghufran tribe, called on the people of Qatar, for support said, “We call on the elders of the honourable Al-Thani family and to the generous and righteous people of Qatar and to the Al Murrah tribe, known for their nobility and chivalry. We call on you as your brothers, young and old, elders and children, men and women, inside and outside Qatar, and we appeal to your proud Arab origin after the Qatari government has let us down and accused us of untrue claims and stropped us of our rights.”

He went on to plead his and his tribe’s case to the people of Qatar, “We have been subjected to much injustice and humiliation in our homeland from those who, unfortunately, we thought to be virtuous. We have been discriminated against in the most painful of ways, ones that would shock human consciousness; they have stripped us of our dignity, in way that you know and others that you do not know.”

Adding, “We did not choose to go to the United Nations and to the international human rights organizations except after the government of our country closed all ways of appeal and did not engage or listen to our demands that we had submitted to the relevant authorities such as the Ministry of the Interior and the National Human Rights Commission of Qatar.”

Along the same lines, Mohamed Saleh Al-Ghofzani called on the National Committee for Human Rights in Qatar to stop turning a blind eye to the regime's violations of the right of Al-Ghufran tribe and to document and declare said violations; which he describes to be, violations of all basic international norms, conventions and treaties.

Similarly, Hamad Khaled Al-Ghufrani explained that although the Qatari law states that indigenous people who have settled in Qatar since 1940 cannot have their nationality stripped—a law that applies to them, they have had their nationality stripped, faced forced displacement and have had the most basic services taken away from them: Education, healthcare and other public services.

“Even those who suffer from chronic illnesses of other illnesses, including my son who suffers from autism, were left untreated by Qatar, “ Al Ghufrani stated.

The OHCHR, which implements the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, “carries out a range of country specific and regional activities to advance the rights of indigenous peoples. It provides support for legislative initiatives and pursues thematic work on issues such as extractive industries and on the rights of isolated indigenous peoples,” as per the OHCHR’s website.

“In addition, the Office assists the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, and provides secretariat support to the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the organisation of its annual sessions.”

Exhibiting their case to the world

On September 19, Al-Ghufran, staged a sit- in front of the Broken Chair, which stands across the United Nations Palace in Geneva, to denounce the crimes of the Qatari regime who has revoked their nationality, displaced and tortured members of the tribe.

The tribe called on the international community to take a decisive stand on the Tamim regime, whom, they claim, have violated a number of international conventions and treaties through its racist policy against the Al-Ghufran tribe.

Created by Daniel Berset, the Broken Chair simpolises the struggeles of mine victims.

The delegation also held a protest on September 18, to urge the United Nations to investigate the Qatar regimes’ crimes against humanity, including stripping them of Qatari nationality

“Our issue with the Qatar regime is purely humanitarian and not political, this is why we came here to present our case and our demands to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Our demands are clear: The Qatar regime should be held accountale for the crimes that it has committed against us and other Qataris, and the restoration of our rights,” Hamad Khaled Al-Marri, a member of the tribe, who took part in the stand, stated.

2
Qatari tribe Al-Ghufran declared that 6,000 of its members were forcibly displaced after the Qatari regime deprived them of their Qatari nationality and their national rights. - Egypt Today

9
The tribe representatives had previously submitted a complaint to the Commissioner on September 21, 2017 - Egypt Today

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Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

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Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today


8
Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

1
A delegation representing Al-Ghufran tribe, one of the biggest tribes in Qatar, handed a letter to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, discussing their deteriorating situation. - Egypt Today

4
Members of the delegation in Geneva - Egypt Today

5
Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

11
The tribe asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations. - Egypt Today

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Al-Ghufran tribe asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations. - Egypt Today
]]>
9/24/2018 3:18:03 PM
<![CDATA[Pressure on FIFA to strip Qatar of 2022 World Cup builds]]>
Since late July 2018, evidence has built up that Qatar may have sabotaged—or at least sought to—other countries’ bid for the 2022 World Cup.

Claims were made clear after ex-FIFA President Sepp Blatter said late July that an investigation should be launched into the role played by ex-French President Nicolas Sarkozy in swinging the FIFA towards choosing Qatar.

“Allegations that Qatar paid a PR firm and ex-CIA operatives to spread propaganda about rival bidders have ignited concern over how the tournament was awarded. Former FA chief executive, Mark Palios, said that even if Qatar were not stripped of the World Cup, they could still be banned from international football post-2022,” write The National.

“The Football Association was forced to respond to the growing chorus of speculation from within the sportl and in the media. A spokesman said it would not comment on the hypothetical role that England would play if the host nation for the 2022 World Cup was changed.”

Moreover, leader of England’s 2018 World Cup Bid, Lord Triesman, called on FIFA to consider stripping Qatar of the 2022 World Cup.

“If Qatar is shown to have broken the Fifa rules, then they can't hold on to the World Cup. I think it would not be wrong for Fifa to reconsider England in those circumstances. We have the capabilities,” Triesman said. “Fifa's obligation is to look at the evidence thoroughly and rapidly and have the courage to take what may be a difficult decision.”

To muddy the water further, Monday saw a delegation from Al-Ghufran tribe lodged a complaint Monday to the President of the International Football Federation (FIFA) in Zurich against the practices of the Qatari regime against their tribe, demanding Qatar be stripped of the 2022 World Cup.

The tribe’s demands come after the Qatari regime committed serious human rights violations against them and built the facilities for the World Cup on land that was forcibly taken away from the tribe.

In their hand-delivered letter, Al-Ghufran tribe revealed that the violations by the Qatari regime did not stop at the illegitimately revoking the citizenship of 6,000 citizens with no legal basis, it also included taking away the tribe’s land by force and exploiting it for the purposes of building the facilities of the 2022 World Cup.

“This is a sensitive tournament [World Cup] followed by considerable gathering of people who come together for the love of the game, honest competition, brotherhood and love and respect among nations; how will Qatar play the role of supplying this when it is so unfair to its own children [citizens],” Al-Ghufran added.

“This is a country that harms its own citizens and strips them of their rights and then talks about freedom and democracy. The FIFA system states that country where the World Cup is held must respect and preserve human rights, as per the policies of the UN Human Rights Council. The FIFA is fully committed to organizing its activities based on respecting the human rights at an international level and the UN’s standards for workers.

Al-Ghufran revealed that more than a few lands on which the state built sports facilities for the tournament were taken away by force from the tribe, and that the establishments were built illegally and illegitimately after the owners were kicked off the land and had their citizenship stripped.

“The state resorted to every illegitimate method in dealing with Al-Ghufran tribe from deprivation to expulxion from the country to the withdrawal of their official documents to denial of education and healthcare,” added Al-Ghufran.

The complaint also referred to other practices and serious violations committed against workers working on the construction of sports facilities.

The sons of Al-Ghufran tribe demanded that FIFA reject the establishment of the World Cup in Qatar 2022 unless the Government of Qatar restores the Qatari nationality to all those affected from the tribe and returning their land, which were forcibly robbed, to them. The land now has various facilities built on them including stadiums, other sports facilities, hotels, health centers, hospitals, public transport, among other things. The tribe members also demands compensation using their land.

Al-Ghufran tribe also said that if the Qatari regime was to refuse, the FIFA should refuse to play matches or benefit from such facilities like honourable countries that respect human rights refrain from importing commodities and agricultural products from Israeli agricultural lands built on occupied Palestinian lands; otherwise, they said, the FIFA would become part of the regime’s violations.

They also called on FIFA to force Qatar to employ qualified Al-Ghufran tribe members in projects built on their land and to give them a share of the proceeds of the tournament, if they accepted financial settlements to exploit their land.

If the Qatari regime rejects the demands, the moral and humane action for the FIFA would be to strip Qatar from the tournament to refrain from becoming party to the “humanitarian and moral crimes” committed by the Qatari regime.

This is the letter, as acquired by Egypt Today:

A collective complaint to the President of the International Football Federation against the practices of Qatar

Regarding: Human rights violations by the state of Qatar, including stripping some 6,000 citizens from their nationality without legitimate cause.

Submitted by: The sons of the Al-Ghufran tribe, who have been, illegally and illegitimately, stripped of their Qatari nationality

Our suffering at the hands of the Qatari government started in 1996 when they issued an inhumane and immoral decision oto drop the nationality of about 6,000 individuals from our tribe without a fair allegation or legitimate investigation or rule of law; instead, it was decided via one decision that did not rely on laws. These individuals mow live displaced between a number of countries, without a nationality; some of them went to neighboring states and some of them stayed within Qatar, marginalized and without rights, identity or work, living without any of the rights that were mentioned in treaties and conventions, like access to education, healthcare or the right t own property. In fact, they have had a significant number of land plots taken away from them, many of which were used by the Qatar regime for building sports facilities to serve the 2022 World Cup.

Your Excellency the President of the International Federation of Football, you are well aware of the continuation of the state of Qatar in this injustice towards its own people and stripping them of their nationality and right to own property. Meanwhile, this is a sensitive tournament [World Cup] followed by considerable gathering of people who come together for the love of the game, honest competition, brotherhood and love and respect among nations; how will Qatar play the role of supplying this when it is so unfair to its own children [citizens]. This is a country that harms its own citizens and strips them of their rights and then talks about freedom and democracy. The FIFA system states that country where the World Cup is held must respect and preserve human rights, as per the policies of the UN Human Rights Council. The FIFA is fully committed to organizing its activities based on respecting the human rights at an international level and the UN’s standards for workers.

We would like to let you know that more than a few lands on which the state built sports facilities for the tournament were taken away by force from the tribe, and that the establishments were built illegally and illegitimately after the owners were kicked off the land and had their citizenship stripped.

The state resorted to every illegitimate method in dealing with Al-Ghufran tribe from deprivation to expulxion from the country to the withdrawal of their official documents to denial of education and healthcare.

Not to mention the other practices and serious violations committed against the workers who are keen to ensure the completion of sports facilities; without you redirect intervention to protect said workers, they would be in great risk. All this confirms that the State of Qatar is pursuing policies that have nothing to do with human rights, and at the same time it praises human rights day and night and claims to be the guardian of freedoms in the region.

And for all the above … and for many reasons that you see … and because your organization was established and founded with the view of protecting rights before sponsoring games, we demand the following:

1- We call on FIFA to strip Qatar of the 2022 World Cup unless it listens to the demands of Al-Ghufran tribe, or else FIFA would be jointly responsible for the actions of Qatar against Al-Ghufran tribe.

2- Restoring Qatari citizenship to all Al-Ghufran tribe members who have faced the injustice of having their citizenship stripped away.

3- Returning the land, which were forcibly robbed, to those who actually own it. The land now has various facilities built on them including stadiums, other sports facilities, hotels, health centers, hospitals, public transport, among other things. The tribe members also demands compensation using their land.

4- If the Qatari regime was to refuse, the FIFA should refuse to play matches or benefit from such facilities like honourable countries that respect human rights refrain from importing commodities and agricultural products from Israeli agricultural lands built on occupied Palestinian lands; otherwise, they said, the FIFA would become part of the regime’s violations.

5- The FIFA should force Qatar to employ qualified Al-Ghufran tribe members in projects built on their land and to give them a share of the proceeds of the tournament, if they accepted financial settlements to exploit their land.

6- Allowing the Al-Ghufran tribe to present its humanitarian case before FIFA officials.

If these demands are not met, the moral and humane action for the FIFA would be to strip Qatar from the tournament to refrain from becoming party to the humanitarian and moral crimes committed by the Qatari regime.

Sincerely yours,
Al-Ghufran delegation
With no nationality and away from their home, Qatar

Al-Ghufran’s call to FIFA comes as part of a wider move by the tribe to recover its rights on the margins of the UN Human Rights Council.
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9/24/2018 2:35:52 PM
<![CDATA[Qatar regime built World Cup 2022 facilities on land forcibly taken away: Al-Ghufran tells FIFA]]>
The tribe’s demands come after the Qatari regime committed serious human rights violations against them and built the facilities for the World Cup on land that was forcibly taken away from the tribe.

In their hand-delivered letter, Al-Ghufran tribe revealed that the violations by the Qatari regime did not stop at the illegitimately revoking the citizenship of 6,000 citizens with no legal basis, it also included taking away the tribe’s land by force and exploiting it for the purposes of building the facilities of the 2022 World Cup.

“This is a sensitive tournament [World Cup] followed by considerable gathering of people who come together for the love of the game, honest competition, brotherhood and love and respect among nations; how will Qatar play the role of supplying this when it is so unfair to its own children [citizens],” Al-Ghufran added.

“This is a country that harms its own citizens and strips them of their rights and then talks about freedom and democracy. The FIFA system states that country where the World Cup is held must respect and preserve human rights, as per the policies of the UN Human Rights Council. The FIFA is fully committed to organizing its activities based on respecting the human rights at an international level and the UN’s standards for workers.

Al-Ghufran revealed that more than a few lands on which the state built sports facilities for the tournament were taken away by force from the tribe, and that the establishments were built illegally and illegitimately after the owners were kicked off the land and had their citizenship stripped.

“The state resorted to every illegitimate method in dealing with Al-Ghufran tribe from deprivation to expulxion from the country to the withdrawal of their official documents to denial of education and healthcare,” added Al-Ghufran.

The complaint also referred to other practices and serious violations committed against workers working on the construction of sports facilities.

The sons of Al-Ghufran tribe demanded that FIFA reject the establishment of the World Cup in Qatar 2022 unless the Government of Qatar restores the Qatari nationality to all those affected from the tribe and returning their land, which were forcibly robbed, to them. The land now has various facilities built on them including stadiums, other sports facilities, hotels, health centers, hospitals, public transport, among other things. The tribe members also demands compensation using their land.

Al-Ghufran tribe also said that if the Qatari regime was to refuse, the FIFA should refuse to play matches or benefit from such facilities like honourable countries that respect human rights refrain from importing commodities and agricultural products from Israeli agricultural lands built on occupied Palestinian lands; otherwise, they said, the FIFA would become part of the regime’s violations.

They also called on FIFA to force Qatar to employ qualified Al-Ghufran tribe members in projects built on their land and to give them a share of the proceeds of the tournament, if they accepted financial settlements to exploit their land.

If the Qatari regime rejects the demands, the moral and humane action for the FIFA would be to strip Qatar from the tournament to refrain from becoming party to the “humanitarian and moral crimes” committed by the Qatari regime.

This is the letter, as acquired by Egypt Today:

A collective complaint to the President of the International Football Federation against the practices of Qatar

Regarding: Human rights violations by the state of Qatar, including stripping some 6,000 citizens from their nationality without legitimate cause.

Submitted by: The sons of the Al-Ghufran tribe, who have been, illegally and illegitimately, stripped of their Qatari nationality

Our suffering at the hands of the Qatari government started in 1996 when they issued an inhumane and immoral decision oto drop the nationality of about 6,000 individuals from our tribe without a fair allegation or legitimate investigation or rule of law; instead, it was decided via one decision that did not rely on laws. These individuals mow live displaced between a number of countries, without a nationality; some of them went to neighboring states and some of them stayed within Qatar, marginalized and without rights, identity or work, living without any of the rights that were mentioned in treaties and conventions, like access to education, healthcare or the right t own property. In fact, they have had a significant number of land plots taken away from them, many of which were used by the Qatar regime for building sports facilities to serve the 2022 World Cup.

Your Excellency the President of the International Federation of Football, you are well aware of the continuation of the state of Qatar in this injustice towards its own people and stripping them of their nationality and right to own property. Meanwhile, this is a sensitive tournament [World Cup] followed by considerable gathering of people who come together for the love of the game, honest competition, brotherhood and love and respect among nations; how will Qatar play the role of supplying this when it is so unfair to its own children [citizens]. This is a country that harms its own citizens and strips them of their rights and then talks about freedom and democracy. The FIFA system states that country where the World Cup is held must respect and preserve human rights, as per the policies of the UN Human Rights Council. The FIFA is fully committed to organizing its activities based on respecting the human rights at an international level and the UN’s standards for workers.

We would like to let you know that more than a few lands on which the state built sports facilities for the tournament were taken away by force from the tribe, and that the establishments were built illegally and illegitimately after the owners were kicked off the land and had their citizenship stripped.

The state resorted to every illegitimate method in dealing with Al-Ghufran tribe from deprivation to expulxion from the country to the withdrawal of their official documents to denial of education and healthcare.

Not to mention the other practices and serious violations committed against the workers who are keen to ensure the completion of sports facilities; without you redirect intervention to protect said workers, they would be in great risk. All this confirms that the State of Qatar is pursuing policies that have nothing to do with human rights, and at the same time it praises human rights day and night and claims to be the guardian of freedoms in the region.

And for all the above … and for many reasons that you see … and because your organization was established and founded with the view of protecting rights before sponsoring games, we demand the following:

1- We call on FIFA to strip Qatar of the 2022 World Cup unless it listens to the demands of Al-Ghufran tribe, or else FIFA would be jointly responsible for the actions of Qatar against Al-Ghufran tribe.

2- Restoring Qatari citizenship to all Al-Ghufran tribe members who have faced the injustice of having their citizenship stripped away.

3- Returning the land, which were forcibly robbed, to those who actually own it. The land now has various facilities built on them including stadiums, other sports facilities, hotels, health centers, hospitals, public transport, among other things. The tribe members also demands compensation using their land.

4- If the Qatari regime was to refuse, the FIFA should refuse to play matches or benefit from such facilities like honourable countries that respect human rights refrain from importing commodities and agricultural products from Israeli agricultural lands built on occupied Palestinian lands; otherwise, they said, the FIFA would become part of the regime’s violations.

5- The FIFA should force Qatar to employ qualified Al-Ghufran tribe members in projects built on their land and to give them a share of the proceeds of the tournament, if they accepted financial settlements to exploit their land.

6- Allowing the Al-Ghufran tribe to present its humanitarian case before FIFA officials.

If these demands are not met, the moral and humane action for the FIFA would be to strip Qatar from the tournament to refrain from becoming party to the humanitarian and moral crimes committed by the Qatari regime.

Sincerely yours,
Al-Ghufran delegation
With no nationality and away from their home, Qatar

Al-Ghufran’s call to FIFA comes as part of a wider move by the tribe to recover its rights on the margins of the UN Human Rights Council.

On September 17, delegation had met with Chief of Middle East and North Africa Section. UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights Mohammad Al-Nsour, when the latter received a letter from the tribe summing up the violations that they have faced since 1996.

The letter asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations.

The letter also revealed that the authorities are well aware of the violations occurring, “We assure you that the Qatari authorities, ranging from the Emir of Qatar, the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, the President of the National Committee for Human Rights, senior security officials and dignitaries, are aware of the discrimination members of Al Ghofran clan are subjected to and those senior officials are deeply involved in this crime,” the delegation stated, continuing, “Qatar officials are working to hide his crime from the eyes of international justice and human rights organizations, and the deliberately intimidate those trying from within Qatar to raise complaints to International bodies and human rights organizations.”

Fearing for their lives and their ability to voice their opinions or “demand their rights through the National Human Rights Committee in Doha” due to security personnel traching and monitoring their actions, which they say they have evidence off, the delegation spoke of the evidence they have of Qatari authorities treating their people with the utmost levels of brutality and monstrosity.

As part of their on-going efforts to restore their legitimate rights, on September 21, during a seminar titled ‘Human Rights in Qatar’, the delegation also called on Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to take serious steps in addressing and documenting the human rights violations that were committed against the tribe, and to present them in front of the international community to hold Qatar accountable.

The delegation explained that they only resorted to international organizations after years of being ignored and omitted by their government, the government of Qatar, and after they realized that the Qatari Human Rights Council is in cahoots with the regime.

During said seminar, Gaber Saleh Al-Ghufrani, a member of the Al-Ghufran tribe, called on the people of Qatar, for support said, “We call on the elders of the honourable Al-Thani family and to the generous and righteous people of Qatar and to the Al Murrah tribe, known for their nobility and chivalry. We call on you as your brothers, young and old, elders and children, men and women, inside and outside Qatar, and we appeal to your proud Arab origin after the Qatari government has let us down and accused us of untrue claims and stropped us of our rights.”

He went on to plead his and his tribe’s case to the people of Qatar, “We have been subjected to much injustice and humiliation in our homeland from those who, unfortunately, we thought to be virtuous. We have been discriminated against in the most painful of ways, ones that would shock human consciousness; they have stripped us of our dignity, in way that you know and others that you do not know.”

Adding, “We did not choose to go to the United Nations and to the international human rights organizations except after the government of our country closed all ways of appeal and did not engage or listen to our demands that we had submitted to the relevant authorities such as the Ministry of the Interior and the National Human Rights Commission of Qatar.”

Along the same lines, Mohamed Saleh Al-Ghofzani called on the National Committee for Human Rights in Qatar to stop turning a blind eye to the regime's violations of the right of Al-Ghufran tribe and to document and declare said violations; which he describes to be, violations of all basic international norms, conventions and treaties.

Similarly, Hamad Khaled Al-Ghufrani explained that although the Qatari law states that indigenous people who have settled in Qatar since 1940 cannot have their nationality stripped—a law that applies to them, they have had their nationality stripped, faced forced displacement and have had the most basic services taken away from them: Education, healthcare and other public services.

“Even those who suffer from chronic illnesses of other illnesses, including my son who suffers from autism, were left untreated by Qatar, “ Al Ghufrani stated.

The OHCHR, which implements the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, “carries out a range of country specific and regional activities to advance the rights of indigenous peoples. It provides support for legislative initiatives and pursues thematic work on issues such as extractive industries and on the rights of isolated indigenous peoples,” as per the OHCHR’s website.

“In addition, the Office assists the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, and provides secretariat support to the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the organisation of its annual sessions.”

Exhibiting their case to the world

On September 19, Al-Ghufran, staged a sit- in front of the Broken Chair, which stands across the United Nations Palace in Geneva, to denounce the crimes of the Qatari regime who has revoked their nationality, displaced and tortured members of the tribe.

The tribe called on the international community to take a decisive stand on the Tamim regime, whom, they claim, have violated a number of international conventions and treaties through its racist policy against the Al-Ghufran tribe.

Created by Daniel Berset, the Broken Chair simpolises the struggeles of mine victims.

The delegation also held a protest on September 18, to urge the United Nations to investigate the Qatar regimes’ crimes against humanity, including stripping them of Qatari nationality

“Our issue with the Qatar regime is purely humanitarian and not political, this is why we came here to present our case and our demands to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Our demands are clear: The Qatar regime should be held accountale for the crimes that it has committed against us and other Qataris, and the restoration of our rights,” Hamad Khaled Al-Marri, a member of the tribe, who took part in the stand, stated.

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Qatari tribe Al-Ghufran declared that 6,000 of its members were forcibly displaced after the Qatari regime deprived them of their Qatari nationality and their national rights. - Egypt Today

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The tribe representatives had previously submitted a complaint to the Commissioner on September 21, 2017 - Egypt Today

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Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

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Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today


8
Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

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A delegation representing Al-Ghufran tribe, one of the biggest tribes in Qatar, handed a letter to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, discussing their deteriorating situation. - Egypt Today

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Members of the delegation in Geneva - Egypt Today

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Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

11
The tribe asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations. - Egypt Today

15
Al-Ghufran tribe asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations. - Egypt Today
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9/24/2018 2:19:17 PM
<![CDATA[Memorandum demands to include Salafi movement as terrorist entity]]>
The memorandum stated that the Salafi movement has a terrorist agenda and it was founded after the 2011 revolution by terrorist leaders, some of whom fled abroad to join terrorist organizations such as Al-Nosra group and Al-Qaeda.

He clarified that the memorandum includes Khaled Saeed who joined Al-Qaeda in Libya, Ahmed Molana, Ashraf Abdel Moneim and most importantly, Hisham Kamal, a member of the Salafi movement who supports violence.

Mahmoud added that the Salafi movement established armed militias to destroy the country during the 2011 revolution and that the movement was the main source of support for the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group.

Mahmoud referred that the Salafi group and its leaders called for sieging the State Security Service in Nasr City and the Defence Ministry in Abassiya.

He explained in the memorandum that the Salafi movement also sided with the Alliance for the Support of Legitimacy which included a group of extremist religious parties to destroy the country and support the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood.

“They also participated in many terrorist acts such as storming the police stations and churches,” Mahmoud reported.

He also demanded at the end of the memorandum to include the movement in the terror list in accordance with Law No.8 of 2015 and to confiscate their assets and their headquarters.

On September 19, 2018, Mahmoud filed a lawsuit in demand of the termination of all Muslim Brotherhood members holding positions in the administrative body of the state.

Mahmoud said that former Prime Minister Hesham Qandil of the Muslim Brotherhood regime issued several decrees to give the members of the Islamist group access to leading positions at different ministries and government organizations.

He claimed that the majority of such people were appointed illegally, only to control the administrative skeleton of the state at ministries like the education, transport, higher education, and at town councils, their sole goal, according to Mahmoud, is to create a gap between the Egyptians and the authorities.

The lawyer added that the Islamists who were appointed in such way still occupy their positions although they belong to a terrorist organization per a judicial decree.

Mahmoud demanded the Interior Ministry to establish on a database, along with the Central Agency for Organization and Administration, to allow state organizations to dismiss those who are proved to be members of the terrorist group.

]]>
9/24/2018 12:37:46 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi to meet Trump for fifth time in 2 years]]>
On the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 73), the two leaders will set together to discuss the current political situation in the Middle East, the Arab-Qatari dispute, and other issues of mutual interest to both countries.

Egypt is one of Washington’s closest allies in the Middle East, receiving US$1.3 billion in US military aid annually.

Sisi’s first meeting with Trump was held on September 20, 2016, during Trump’s presidential campaign in New York, also on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly then.

In an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Sisi said he had “no doubt” that Republican presidential nominee Trump would make a strong leader. Burnett asked Sisi about Trump’s possible plan to ban Muslims from certain countries from entering the U.S. if elected!

“The United States in general conducts very strict security measures for everyone who wishes to visit it, which has been in place for quite a few years,” Sisi said. “It’s also important to know that during election campaigns many statements are made and many things are said, however afterwards governing the country would be something different. And will be subject to many factors.”

trump_sisi_egypt_608555102

In April 2017, President Trump welcomed Sisi to the White House for the first time in eight years, pledging close cooperation with the Egyptian leader on counterterrorism operations and praising his leadership of the Middle Eastern nation.

“I just want to let everybody know, in case there was any doubt, that we are very much behind President al-Sissi,” Trump said, sitting next to his counterpart in the Oval Office.

“He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt. . . . We have strong backing,” he added.

Trump and Sisi appeared focused on security, and they sought to demonstrate warmth, shaking hands during their brief remarks to reporters.

This meeting represented an end to the coldness with which Egypt was treated by former U.S. President Barack Obama, who never invited Sisi to Washington.

“Since we met last September I have had a deep appreciation and admiration of your {Trump’s} unique personality, especially since you are standing so strong against terrorism,” said Sisi.

“Very strongly and openly you will find Egypt beside you,” he added.

donald-trump-sisi

During the Arab Islamic American Summit held last May, President Sisi met with his American counterpart for the third time. He also met with several American officials as part of his agenda in Riyadh.

Trump praised the Egyptian President during his first overseas trip, saying “safety seems to be very strong” under the Egyptian leader and accepted the invitation to visit Cairo.

President Trump made the remarks after he signed a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Trump said he was having “very, very important talks” with President Sisi, and that the pair had been talking “positively”.

After the meeting, Sisi described the US president as “a unique personality that is capable of doing the impossible”.

377926-U.S._President_Donald_Trump_meets_with_Egyptian_President_Abdel_Fattah_al-Sisi_in_Riyadh,_Saudi_Arabia,_May_21,_2017._REUTERS_Jonathan_Ernst

In September 2017, Sisi flew to New York to participate in the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 72). On the sidelines of the UNGA, President Sisi met Trump and discussed Egypt's efforts to achieve inter-Palestinian reconciliation as an essential preliminary step to resume negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

Trump praised Egyptian President’s efforts in reviving the Middle East peace process between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.

President Sisi expressed Egypt’s aspiration for further coordination and consultation with the U.S. on various issues in the region, particularly that of counterterrorism, “which poses a great threat to the stability of the region and the world.” He also emphasized that putting an end to funding and harboring terrorists is a must.

The U.S. President hailed the distinguished bilateral relations with Egypt, stressing the importance of promoting ways of enhancing them.

Sisi’s participation in the UNGA this year is considered his fifth since his first presidential term started in June 2014. Egypt’s foreign policies have witnessed significant development seen in the global and regional arenas. Egypt is a key player in fighting terrorism globally and boosting peace through its 30,000 soldiers’ participation in UN peacekeeping missions, along with Egypt’s efforts to solve Syrian, Palestinian, Yemeni and Libyan crises.

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9/24/2018 5:43:12 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi, UAE Foreign Minister tackle regional challenges in US]]>
The meeting tackled some of the regional topics expected to be discussed at the meetings of the current United Nations General Assembly in the United States. The meeting included Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and the Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service Abbas Kamel.

Abdel Fatah al Sisi said that the unprecedented developments in the Arab world require a joint Arab action to face the interference attempts into the internal affairs of the Arab States. The President praised the strategic ties between Egypt and UAE, stressing the importance of developing the existing relations to include several domains.

For his part, the UAE top diplomat lauded his country's ties with Egypt, asserting the importance of enhancing cooperation in a way serving the interests of the two brotherly peoples.

Abu Dhabi is eager to continue intensive consultation and coordination with Cairo to cope with all challenges and dangers faced by the region, topped by terrorism, the UAE minister asserted during the meeting.

Zayed said after the meeting that the Egyptian, Emirati and Saudi Arabian efforts are capable to protect the region from the Iranian attempts to sabotage the states’ stability. UAE foreign minister added that the meeting discussed the means of enhancing cooperation between the three states to face terrorism.
]]>
9/24/2018 1:35:38 AM
<![CDATA[Profile of a Qatari‏ ‏‎ woman uprooted and stripped of her rights at the age of five ‎]]>
Al-Marri was barely five years old, when her tribe, Al-Ghufran, was expelled and uprooted from ‎Qatar in the 1990s. “The Qatari regime stripped our citizenship and I suddenly found myself ‎stateless and growing up in the middle of the desert where I had to struggle to access my basic ‎right to education as a child for the sole reason of belonging to Al-Ghufran tribe,” said Al Marri.‎

Among other thousands Qatari citizens who suffered from the injustice actions by the Qatari ‎regime, Al-Marri is desperately asking for action to end Al-Ghufran’s family plight. “In 1996; a ‎year after the successful coup by Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, father of the current emir Tamim ‎bin Hamad Al Thani, no more than 20 members of Al Ghufran tribe supported former emir ‎Khalifa bin Hammad’s failed attempt to get back into power,” said Al-Marri. “Since that day, ‎Hamad bin Khalifa decided to revenge against the whole tribe.

He expelled more than 6,000 ‎person into the desert in the South of Saudi Arabia including children, women and the elders ‎and revoked their passports. We were all left stateless,” she added. Now she estimates there ‎are more than 20,000 members of the tribe unable to get on with their lives in Qatar. ‎





‎“Many friends attempted to travel back to Qatar, but they were unable to prove their Qatari ‎origins and therefore they were left in between Saudi Arabia and Qatar for many days and they ‎were denied access to Qatar,” she said.‎

The Al-Marri family, including her father who was a successful petroleum engineer, was not ‎involved in the political power struggle and the failed counter-coup as they were on vacation at ‎that time. “Our friends warned us not to return and told us to stay for a few days in Saudi ‎Arabia until things calm down. The few days turned into decades of struggle, injustice and ‎hardship,” she added.‎

Recalling a tough upbringing in exile in Saudi Arabia comparing to living in one of the ‎wealthiest cities in the world, Al-Marri explains that the small desert village “Al Taweila” ‎became her home as she spent most of the past two decades there. “In Taweila, I spent three ‎years travelling two hours every day just to reach the nearest high school. We lived in ‎deteriorating houses with very harsh conditions including irregular electricity and clean water,” ‎she said. ‎

Despite her young age, Al-Marri has some memories of her five years in Qatar. “I remember ‎my swimming pool outside my house, and my small cat," she told Egypt Today. "I remember the ‎dining room where the family would sit and talk – everything was wonderful.” Despite her ‎anger towards the current regime in Qatar, her father always reminds her that the people in ‎Qatar are very nice and they have white hearts.

“My father is very sensitive about Qatar, when ‎I am angry about being kicked out, he tries to show me the good side of Qatar – he still loves ‎the country. He defends the people and say that maybe they did not hear our voices, but if they ‎hear, they will help us,” she said. “He used to tell me that people only get displaced during ‎wars, but here we are ‎displaced from our country and homes and there is no war around us.”‎

Al-Marri is currently a mother of two children, one of them is diagnosed with autism which ‎compounds her hardship as they still live under the same difficult conditions since the expulsion ‎in 1996. “I’ve lived through enough instability, now I have a child who is sick, I don’t want him to ‎live the same way I have lived. I cannot get him into a good school or a good hospital.”‎

This week, On the margins of the 39th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, ‎representatives from the Qatari tribe Al-Ghufran held a sit-in and a number of demonstrations ‎outside the United Nations headquarters in Geneva to denounce the Doha government crimes ‎against the tribe including the mass expulsion of their people, revoking their citizenship and the ‎torture of members of the tribes by the security forces.

The tribe also handed a petition into the ‎Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, detailing the tribe’s ‎systemic discrimination at the hands of the Qatari government and requesting the United ‎Nations Human Rights Council to hold the Qatar regime accountable for the crimes that it ‎committed against the tribe’s members and other Qataris and the restoration of their rights ‎including the right to return to their home country. ‎




In reaction for Al-Ghufran tribe’s opposition to the Regime’s destabilizing policies in the region ‎and its dispute with the neighboring Gulf States, Qatari authorities revoked the citizenship of ‎Sheikh Taleb Bin Lahom Bin Shreim, senior tribal leader Sheikh Shafi Nasser Hamoud al-Hajri, ‎the famous Qatari poet Mohammed Al-Marri and 54 members of his family in a step ‎considered as an arbitrary act by various Human Rights organization. The Qatari authorities ‎took further steps and confiscated the properties and belonging of the tribe’s members whose ‎citizenship was revoked. ‎

This was the second complaint filed by one of the biggest and most prominent tribes in Qatar to ‎the United Nations Human Rights Councils to call on the international community to protect and ‎secure their legitimate rights as Qatari citizens who have been denied and violated by Doha ‎since 1996 . ‎




For many years, the tribe has been calling for their rights. In September 2017, during the Qatar ‎global security and stability conference organized by exiled Qataris in London the tribe ‎revealed the crimes against humanity committed by Qatari authorities towards them including ‎deprivation of healthcare or unfair detention. They called on the United Nations ‎Commissioner’s office to help them regain their rights through his mandate.‎

Follow Egypt Today’s hashtag #Ghufran]]>
9/23/2018 5:24:03 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi at UNGA: Labeling terror sponsors is a must]]>
President Sisi will also emphasize the urgency of a comprehensive and decisive confrontation plan through cooperation and full harmony among countries worldwide.

In a statement to the media delegation on the sidelines of the participation of Sisi at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, Shoukry stressed that some countries’ interactions with terror organizations will not be enough to eradicate the dangerous phenomenon.

Shoukry explained that those organizations are funded by various states providing them with sophisticated weaponry systems. The whole world should cooperate to confront those states in order to eradicate terrorism completely, he stated.

The president will deliver Egypt’s statement to the General Assembly, which will address the country’s future vision and stances on regional and international issues. Additionally, the speech will highlight Egypt's role to maintain international peace and security and its continuous efforts to fight terrorism.

The agenda of the running UN General Assembly’s meetings focuses on development issues, preserving international security, fighting terrorism, and human rights.

The official spokesman of the presidency, Ambassador Bassam Radi, stressed that President Sisi's speech is also expected to shed light on deteriorating situations in the Middle East and Arab world.

President Sisi begins his activity in New York, on September 23, afternoon Cairo time.

Radi announced that President Sisi is scheduled to meet with members of the American Chamber of Commerce and heads of major American international companies as well as the president of the World Bank and the president of the European Council on September 23.

Sisi’s visit to NYC will include an intensive bilateral activity between Cairo and Washington, as the president is expected to hold dozens of meetings with high-profile political and intellectual figures in the American society, along with meetings with American investors.

The president's schedule includes holding several bilateral meetings with heads of states and governments, who are taking part in the UN meetings.

The talks will consider means of boosting relations between Egypt and other world countries.

Radi announced that the president will meet with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the UAE foreign minister.

On the sidelines of the meetings, Sisi will also chair the high-level meeting of the Group of 77 that will be held and led by Egypt for the third time in history.

The Group of 77 (G77) at the United Nations is a coalition of developing nations, designed to promote its members' collective economic interests. It was founded in June 1964 by the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries" issued at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Palestine is to chair the group starting January 2019.

Sisi will also attend the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, which coincides with the centennial celebration of the late African leader's birthday. President Sisi is scheduled to deliver a speech at the summit.

Egypt is a key player in fighting terrorism regionally and globally and boosting peace through its 30,000 soldiers’ participation in UN peacekeeping missions, along with its efforts to solve Syrian, Palestinian, Yemeni and the Libyan crises.

In the war on terror, the UN Security Council adopted a draft resolution on terrorism that was drafted previously by Egypt.

President Sisi arrived in New York on Friday evening to participate in the UN General Assembly meetings.

This is Sisi’s fifth participation in the UNGA since he assumed office in June 2014. Since then, Egypt’s foreign policies have witnessed significant changes regionally and globally.
]]>
9/23/2018 5:00:03 PM
<![CDATA[Maldives extends voting in tense presidential election]]>
The Indian Ocean nation’s Election Commission has extended voting by three hours to 1900 hours (1400 GMT) due to long queues, an official said.

The Muslim-majority Indian Ocean nation has become a theater of rivalry between its traditional partner, India, and China, which has backed Yameen’s infrastructure drive, and prompted concern in the West about Beijing’s increasing influence.

Yameen’s government has jailed many of his main rivals, including former president and his half-brother, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, on charges ranging from terrorism to corruption.

More than a quarter of a million people were eligible to vote in around 400 polling booths across the coral islands. Yameen, 59, is seeking a second five-year term.

Hundreds of people queued outside polling stations in the capital, Male, early on Sunday. On some islands, people started queuing on Saturday night.

“I am voting to revert a mistake I made in 2013. I am voting to free President Maumoon (Gayoom),” Nazima Hassan, 44, told Reuters after voting in Male.

Abdul Rasheed Husain, 46, in Male said he cast his ballot for Yameen to take the Maldives “to the next level”.

In the polling booth at the Maldives embassy in Colombo, some voters had to wait for more than seven hours and hundreds of voters were still queuing.

“Last time was much faster and much easier, but this time it’s a mess,” 20-year-old student Ibrahim Rafeek told Reuters.

Ahamed Ihusan, a 24-year-old business management student, told Reuters that “if it is a free and fair election, the opposition will win.”

Many opposition supporters blamed the Election Commission for the delay.

“Yameen is trying to frustrate voters by having a shoddy process for the elections and a long waiting time of 6-8 hours in some stations. I appeal to all to be patient and not step back,” an opposition supporter told Reuters, asking not to be named.

Mohamed Shareef Hussain, Maldives envoy to Colombo, said the Electoral Commission had not assigned enough staff, causing delays.

Police late on Saturday raided the main opposition campaign office saying they came to “stop illegal activities”, after arresting at least five opposition supporters for “influencing voters”, opposition officials said.

British Ambassador James Dauris wrote on Twitter that it was “easy to understand why so many people are concerned about what might happen on Election Day”.

Most poll monitors, including those from the European Union and the United Nations, declined the government’s invitation to observe the election, fearing their presence might be used to endorse Yameen’s re-election even after possible vote rigging.

Transparency Maldives, one of the few election monitors on the ground, said the vote had gone smoothly.

“Observers concluded that the polling stations were set up to ensure a secret vote in the vast majority of cases (99 percent). This was less clear in about 1 percent of all cases observed. These polling stations will be closely watched,” the independent organization said.

The opposition’s joint candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, known as Ibu, told supporters he was confident of victory.

“I appeal to everyone not to allow any space for unrest tomorrow,” he told a rally on Saturday. “Let the voting end peacefully and let the people decide what they want. The people are hungry for a change.”

Yameen also urged voters to head to the polls and said he was confident of the work he had done in his first term in office to put the nation on a path of development.

The country has been in political turmoil since February, when Yameen imposed a state of emergency to annul a Supreme Court ruling that quashed the convictions of nine opposition leaders, including Mohamed Nasheed, the country’s first democratically-elected leader and former president.

Yameen has disregarded calls from the United Nations, several Western countries and India for an amicable solution to the crisis.

Ahead of the vote, Human Rights Watch urged foreign governments to press the Maldives to uphold democratic rights.

“Should the Maldives government fail to do so, they should impose targeted sanctions, such as those proposed by the European Union, against senior ruling party officials implicated in abuses,” the New York-based group said in a statement.]]>
9/23/2018 4:39:11 PM
<![CDATA[Macron's popularity falls further in September: poll]]>
Only 29 percent of those surveyed in September said they were satisfied with Macron, down from 34 percent last month and 39 percent two months ago, according to the Ifop poll for Le Journal du Dimanche.

His popularity is low in most polls. The former investment banker won the 2017 election with 66.1 percent of the vote on a reformist project to modernize the euro zone’s second largest power. But many voters ranging from conservative pensioners to low-income workers complain that Macron’s policies mostly benefit companies and the rich.

The president was criticized last week for telling an unemployed man he could easily get a job if he tried.

Environment Minister Francois de Rugy told BFM-TV:”I take these polls as a spur. They remind us that we must act.

“Each time you want change, some people will oppose it. So you have two solutions - either you stop in hopes of being popular again or continue while listening to the French people.”

Macron was damaged earlier this month by the surprise resignation of his environment minister, Nicolas Hulot, a popular former activist and TV presenter. And on Sept. 18 interior minister Gerard Collomb, one of Macron’s closest allies, said he would run for election as mayor of Lyon in 2020.

The Ifop poll was conducted on Sept. 14-22 with a sample of 1,964 people.]]>
9/23/2018 4:33:39 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry meets with high profile officials in NYC ]]>
Shoukry received UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura Saturday at the Egypt Mission headquarters in New York on the sidelines of the 73rd UN General Assembly, according to a statement by Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid.

The meeting tackled several issues such as the latest developments in the Syrian crisis and means to advance the political resolution, in addition to dealing with crisis-related humanitarian challenges.

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Shoukry received UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura Saturday at the Egypt Mission headquarters in New York on the sidelines of the 73rd UN General Assembly - Press Photo


Shoukry warned of the dangers of giving terrorist elements any safe corridors that would enable them to leave Idlib and enter other regions and countries.

Abu Zied’s statement added that during the meeting, Shoukry highlighted Egypt's desire to participate in the ministerial meeting on Syria this week in New York.

In the same context, Shoukry met with Achim Steiner, the administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

During the meeting Shoukry expressed his appreciation for the magnitude of existing cooperation and relations with the UNDP and of the program’s support of the Egyptian efforts to proceed with the national reviews related to implementing the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council affiliated with the UN.

Shoukry also emphasized Egypt’s great interest in reinforcing the UN and the international multilateral system, including reforming the UN’s development system.
For his part, Steiner emphasized that Egypt is the main partner of the UNDP in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Also, Shoukry met with his Bahraini counterpart Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa to discuss bilateral relations and developments in the region, the Foreign Ministry’s statement reported.

At the beginning of the meeting, Shoukry expressed his deep appreciation for Bahraini efforts and stances to preserve the Arab national security, praising the depth and strength of Egyptian-Bahraini relations.

For his part, the Bahraini minister praised the distinguished relations between the two countries in all fields.

The statement reported that Shoukry stressed Egypt’s support for the security and stability of Bahrain, adding that Egypt condemned the terrorist acts which aimed to destroy the stability of the region.

The meeting also tackled the regional issues of common concern, particularly the latest developments in Yemen and Syria as well as the efforts to combat terrorism in the region and the Palestinian cause.

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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017- REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

President Abdel Fatah al-sisi arrived in New York on September 21 ahead of a full schedule on the sidelines of attending the 73rd UNGA meetings. Many other Egyptian expats rallied the streets holding flags and balloons in a show of love and happiness to welcome the Egyptian president.

Sisi will deliver a statement at one of the meetings next week, as he will address the Egyptian vision to achieve world peace through deeper UN roles and a call to contain all armed conflicts, eradicate terrorism, push for denuclearization and tackle economic concerns, according to a Friday statement by the Egyptian presidency.
]]>
9/23/2018 1:53:38 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt upholds court ruling putting Brotherhood leaders on terror list]]>
On August 30, 2018, Cairo Criminal Court put the MB members on the terrorist list over accusations of damaging the Egyptian economy by smuggling foreign currencies and financially supporting terrorist groups.

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

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

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

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

Egypt designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group in 2014.

Additional reporting by Walaa Ali

]]>
9/23/2018 12:35:14 PM
<![CDATA[Mubaraks’ request to reconcile over presidential palaces case rejected]]>
The 90-year-old former president and his two sons already served three years in prison over charges of presidential palaces embezzlement and wasting public money worth LE 125 million ($6.9 million). They were also fined LE 125 million and ordered to pay additional LE 21 million.

The Mubaraks’ lawyer Fareed al-Dib filed an appeal to stop the execution of the three-year sentence immediately after the ruling issuance in 2016 in preparation for reconciling with the government. However, the appeal was referred to the Court of Cassation as Mubarak and his sons served time during their remand retroactively, a judicial source told Egypt Today on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to brief on Saturday.

When the request was referred upon a second request from the lawyer, the Court of Cassation rejected the appeal on Saturday, he added.

The imprisonment sentence means that Mubarak and his sons cannot practice their political rights for six years starting the execution of punishment in accordance with the Political Rights Law. However, if reconciliation were reached, the case would be dropped and their legal personalities would be obtained.

It was reported in 2016 that the Illicit Gain Authority (IGA) restarted auditing the Mubaraks’ assets over accusations of profiteering for over 40 years. In April 2016, media outlets reported that Mubarak and his sons could reconcile with the government via paying an amount of money in return for dropping charges against them.

In October 2015, the Egyptian government passed new amendments to the Reconciliation Law, by which the government would receive smuggled money in exchange for dropping the charges the defendants face.

According to Article 18 of the Illicit Gain Law No 26 of 1975, the legal case of illegal profiteering shall not be dropped in case the defendant died. His/ her heirs shall repay the taken money within five years.

The Mubaraks’ foreign assets were frozen in Swiss banks upon a request from the Egyptian government following his toppling in 2011. Since then, the Swiss authorities conducted investigations with 14 suspects along with Mubarak and froze an estimated 650 million francs ($ 664 million) smuggled out of Egypt during Mubarak’s era to Switzerland. However, in December 2016, Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber announced in a press conference in Cairo that charges of money laundering and organized crime were dropped against a number of suspects, and a total of 180 million Swiss francs ($175.52 million) were unfrozen and returned to their owners.

The Swiss Attorney General Office (AGO) told Egypt Today in March that Mubarak is not one of the suspects that are being investigated over charges of money laundering or organized crime in Switzerland.

In case you missed it…

Swiss cease legal aid with Egypt over Mubarak's frozen assets

CAIRO - 6 September 2017: Swiss authorities have ceased legal mutual aid with Egypt over charges of money laundering or of organized crime in Switzerland during former President Hosni Mubarak's era, Egypt's state-owned news agency MENA confirmed a statement from Switzerland in Cairo on Wednesday.




Seven days ago, Gamal and Alaa Mubarak were arrested as per a Cairo Criminal Court ruling and were sent to Tora prison in preparation for the “exchange market manipulation” case ruling due on November 20. However, they were released on bail of LE100,000 each.

In the second case, Mubarak’s sons, along with Hassan Heikal - son of late prominent journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal- Ayman Ahmed Fathi, and Yasser al-Mallawani were charged with illegally obtaining LE493,628,646 by selling a national bank. The trial will be reconsidered by a different jury as per a recent court ruling.

Additional reporting by Ibrahim Kasim
]]>
9/23/2018 12:19:36 PM
<![CDATA[Vatican announces historic deal on bishops with China]]>
Shortly after the deal was unveiled, Pope Francis recognised seven clergy appointed by Beijing, which has not had ties with the Vatican since 1951.

China immediately said it was hopeful of better relations, while Taiwan insisted its ties with the Vatican were safe.

There are an estimated 12 million Catholics in China, divided between a government-run association whose clergy are chosen by the Communist Party and an unofficial church which swears allegiance to the Vatican.

The Holy See is one of only 17 countries that recognise Taiwain, officially known as the Republic of China, instead of diplomatic ties with Beijing.

Pope Francis has sought to improve relations with China since he took office in 2013, but previous attempts foundered over Beijing's insistence that the Vatican give up recognition of its rival and promise not to interfere in domestic religious issues.

Saturday's breakthrough came as churches have been destroyed in some Chinese regions in recent months, and there has been a clampdown on Bible sales. Crosses have been removed from church tops, printed religious materials and holy items confiscated, and church-run kindergartens closed.

The agreement with China "concerns the nomination of Bishops, a question of great importance for the life of the Church," the Vatican said in a statement as Pope Francis began a visit to the Baltic states.

The deal "creates the conditions for greater collaboration at the bilateral level," it added.

Following the announcement, the pontiff recognised seven bishops who had been ordained in China without the approval of the Holy See, his office announced.

Pope Francis hopes that, with these decisions, a new process may begin that will allow the wounds of the past to be overcome, leading to the full communion of all Chinese Catholics," a statement said.

The pope also posthumously recognised an eighth bishop who "had expressed the desire to be reconciled with the Apostolic See" before he died last year, it said.

China said the "provisional" agreement was signed in Beijing by vice foreign minister Wang Chao and a Vatican delegation headed by the under-secretary for relations with states, Antoine Camilleri.

The two sides, it added, "will continue to maintain communication and push forward the improvement of bilateral relations".

The Vatican cut ties with Beijing two years after the founding of the communist People's Republic.

- 'Strategic, naive' -

The Taiwanese foreign ministry insisted Taipei would not lose its only diplomatic ally in Europe over the agreement, and said it hoped the Holy See would ensure that Catholics on the mainland "receive due protection and not be subject to repression".

Taiwan's top China policy-making body, the Mainland Affairs Council, noted that religious communities in China still "suffer greatly" and urged Beijing to refrain from "interference and persecution."

Analysts warn Beijing could use the accord to further crack down on Catholic faithful.

Jonathan Sullivan, director of the China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham, described the accord as "a strategic move on China's part; and a naive one on the Vatican's".

Sullivan said China's Communist party will frame the deal as the Vatican's seal of approval to the state-run Catholic Church at a time Christian believers are facing a severe crackdown.

"Ultimately, the Party would like to subsume all forms of worship under state organs that make it easier to manage and ensure that everyone's primary loyalty is to the state," Sullivan told AFP.

A priest from an underground church in China's northern Hebei province said some of his flock had reservations.

"For the church members and priests, there are some that accept, and some that cannot completely understand (the situation), because they remain suspicious of the Communist Party and Chinese government. They doubt their sincerity," the priest said on condition of anonymity.

Churchgoers in Beijing and Shanghai at Saturday evening services were generally unaware that a deal had been struck.

"Whatever this means for the church is up to God. As a follower of the church, we pray for the best," said one, who gave her name only as Magdalene.]]>
9/23/2018 2:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Britain tells EU to engage seriously on Brexit, EU demurs]]>
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday demanded new proposals and respect from European Union leaders, saying after a summit in Austria that talks had hit an impasse - a position her foreign minister reinforced on Saturday, even if that meant leaving the bloc next March without a deal.

"If the EU's view is that just by saying no to every proposal made by the United Kingdom, we will eventually capitulate and end up either with a Norway option or indeed staying in the EU... then they've profoundly misjudged he British people," Jeremy Hunt told BBC radio.

"We may be polite, but we have a bottom line. And so they need to engage with us now in seriousness."

May's defiant statement was welcomed on Saturday by many in the British press that had seen the Salzburg summit as a failure for her. The strongly eurosceptic Daily Express said it was "May's finest hour".

DIGGING IN

But initial reactions from across the English Channel suggested France and Germany were digging in too.

EU leaders and May have said they want to get a deal agreed in October, to be finalised in November.

In Paris, Minister for European Affairs Nathalie Loiseau said that, while France still believed a good Brexit deal was possible, it must also prepare for a 'no deal' outcome.

Britain's vote to leave "cannot lead to the EU going bust," she said on France Info radio. "That's the message we have tried to send for several months now to our British counterparts, who may have thought we were going to say 'yes' to whatever deal they came up with."

In Berlin, German Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth said the other 27 EU states were striving to achieve reasonable solutions. "The blame game against the EU is therefore more than unfair. We can't solve the problems that are arising on the island (Britain) due to Brexit," he said on Twitter.

In London, the pro-Brexit Daily Telegraph reported that May faced the prospect of ministerial resignations next week if she failed to come up with an alternative to the "Chequers" Brexit plan that she presented in Austria.

But domestically, even some critics of May's plan backed the prime minister in her standoff against the EU.

"I have a serious difference of opinion with our prime minister. But, even so, I have to tell you that I view the behaviour of the European Union leaders in Salzburg with contempt," David Davis, the former Brexit minister who resigned in protest at Chequers, said in a speech at a "Leave Means Leave" rally in the northern English town of Bolton.

"Disrespect our prime minister, and you disrespect our country."

After May's Friday statement, European Council President Donald Tusk said that the results of the EU's analysis of that plan had been known to Britain for many weeks. But Hunt said there was a difference between rhetoric and substance.

"On the substance of the Chequers proposals, we have not had a detailed response," he said, adding that EU proposals for the Irish border would mean that it was impossible "to leave the EU intact as one country".

May has accepted the need for a "backstop" insurance policy on the Irish border, but says the EU's version of the proposal would see Northern Ireland carved off from the United Kingdom.

The EU says May's proposal, keeping the province and mainland Britain in the same regulatory space, undermines the single market.

Despite the differences, Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told RTE radio an Irish backstop was "doable" by an October summit.

BUMPY AND DIFFICULT

Hunt said Britain wanted a deal but would be able to withstand a no-deal Brexit.

"Even in a situation where we aren't able to come to an agreement, we would be trading on World Trade Organisation terms. It would be bumpy, it would be difficult, but we would find a way to survive and prosper as a country," Hunt said.

"We've had far bigger challenges in our history."

In Berlin, magazine Der Spiegel said Germany's government expected the impact of a no-deal Brexit on its labour market to be "relatively small". It cited a government response to a request for information from the far-left Linke party.

However, the Times reported that Bank of England Governor Mark Carney had told May's ministers that no Brexit deal could mean a fall of GDP in the rest of the EU of between 1 and 1.25 percent, without citing sources. The BoE declined to comment. ]]>
9/23/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Iran's Khamenei blames Gulf Arab states for military parade attack]]>
Khamenei ordered security forces to bring to justice those responsible for one of the worst assaults ever against the Revolutionary Guards, the most powerful military force in the country, which answers to him.

The allegation will likely ratchet up tensions with Iran's rival Saudi Arabia and some of its Gulf Arab allies, who along with the United States have been working to isolate Tehran.

"This crime is a continuation of the plots of the regional states that are puppets of the United States, and their goal is to create insecurity in our dear country," Khamenei said in a statement published on his website.

He did not name the regional states he believed were to blame. Israel is also a key U.S. ally opposed to Tehran.

An Iranian ethnic Arab opposition movement called the Ahvaz National Resistance, which seeks a separate state in oil-rich Khuzestan province, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Islamic State militants also claimed responsibility. Neither claim provided evidence. All four attackers were killed.

The assault, which wounded at least 70 people, targeted a viewing stand where Iranian officials had gathered in the city of Ahvaz to watch an annual event marking the start of the Islamic Republic's 1980-88 war with Iraq, state television said.

Iran has been relatively stable compared with neighbouring Arab countries that have grappled with upheaval since the 2011 uprisings across the Middle East.

Women and children died in the assault, state news IRNA agency reported. Pictures of soldiers shielding children with their bodies or carrying them away were shared on social media.

The assailants had hidden weapons near the parade route several days in advance, said Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, a senior spokesman for Iran's armed forces.

"All four terrorists were quickly neutralised by security forces," Shekarchi told state television. "A four-year-old girl and a wheelchair-bound war veteran were among the dead."

Attacks on the military are rare in Iran.

POWERFUL FORCE

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) has been the sword and shield of Shi'ite clerical rule in Iran since its 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The Guards have a big say in Tehran's regional interests and a vast stake worth billions of dollars in Iran's economy.

A video distributed to Iranian media showed soldiers crawling to escape gunfire. One picked up a gun and scrambled to his feet as women and children fled for their lives.

State television's website featured footage showing confused soldiers. Standing in front of the stand, one asked: "Where did they come from?" Another responded: "From behind us."

Ahvaz is in the centre of Khuzestan province, where there have been sporadic protests by minority Arabs.

The gunmen were trained by two Gulf Arab states and had ties to the United States and Israel, according to Shekarchi.

Kuwait and Oman condemned the attack, as did France.

Fars news agency quoted a local Iranian official as saying that Monday would be declared a national day of mourning.

REGIONAL TENSIONS

Iran and Saudi Arabia support opposite sides in wars in Syria and Yemen and rival political parties in Iraq and Lebanon, fuelling instability in the Middle East.

The attack occurred a day before Iranian President Hassan Rouhani heads to New York to address the annual U.N. General Assembly next week.

On his Instagram account, Rouhani said: "Those who are supporting these terrorists will be held responsible."

"Rouhani will use the terrorist attack to justify Iran’s presence in the Middle East...The attack will strengthen the IRGC’s position inside Iran and in the region,” Tehran-based political analyst Hamid Farahvashian said.

Iran faces pressure to swiftly respond to the high-profile attack, which has hurt the security establishment's prestige.

"The attacks are doubtlessly meant to tarnish the prestige of the IRGC, but I believe the terrorist incidents will strengthen the IRGC's standing and even mobilise some public support," said Ali Alfoneh, senior fellow at the Gulf Arab States Institute in Washington.

Hardliners like the IRGC have gained standing at the expense of pragmatists in Iran's multi-tiered leadership since President Donald Trump decided in May to pull the United States out of the 2015 international nuclear deal with Tehran and reimpose sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

"The United States stands with the Iranian people and encourages the regime in Tehran to focus on keeping them safe at home," said National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis.

Kurdish militants killed 10 Revolutionary Guards in an attack on an IRGC post on the Iraqi border in July.

Last year, in the first deadly assault claimed by Islamic State in Tehran, 18 people were killed at the parliament and mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic. ]]>
9/23/2018 1:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. preparing 'actions' in coming days against Venezuela -Pompeo to Fox News]]>
"You'll see in the coming days a series of actions that continue to increase the pressure level against the Venezuelan leadership folks, who are working directly against the best interest of the Venezuelan people," Pompeo said. "We're determined to ensure that the Venezuelan people get their say."

He did not give further details on the nature of the planned actions.

Venezuela's information ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Trump administration has steadily increased sanctions against officials in the leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro, accusing it of stifling democracy by jailing opposition leaders.

Last year, Washington imposed sanctions prohibiting trading new debt and equity issued by the Venezuelan government and its state oil company PDVSA. It has imposed several rounds of sanctions on government officials, including on Maduro.

Venezuela's economy has collapsed under Maduro, with annual inflation running at 200,000 percent, and staple foods and basic medicine increasingly difficult to obtain, which has led to mass emigration.

Pompeo's warning comes ahead of the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York next week attended by heads of state from around the world. Maduro has not attended the meetings since 2015 and this week said he may not attend the gathering because of concerns about his safety.

In August, two drones exploded over an outdoor rally in Caracas where Maduro was giving a speech, injuring seven soldiers and leading to the arrest of over a dozen suspects, including several military officials. Maduro described it as an assassination attempt.]]>
9/22/2018 2:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[In Peru, Hitler runs for mayor despite threat from Lennin]]>
Campaign slogans reading "Hitler returns" and "Hitler with the people" have appeared around the highland town of Yungar, where local politician Hitler Alba is seeking a new term as mayor.

"I'm the good Hitler," Alba said on local broadcaster RPP.

Stressing that he rejects what Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler stood for, Alba said he wants to oversee a fair and transparent government in Yungar, a farming town in Peru's central Andes.

But Alba's campaign this year came under attack by Lennin Vladimir Rodriguez Valverde, a resident of a neighboring district who tried to block Alba's inscription as a candidate.

Electoral authorities rejected the request last week, allowing Hitler to appear on voting cards for the Oct. 7 elections.

In Peru and elsewhere in Latin America, parents often choose foreign and exotic-sounding first names for their children despite negative associations abroad.

Last year an Osama Vinladen was named to Peru's national juvenile football team.

Alba said his father was unaware of who Adolf Hitler was when he named him. After learning the history behind it, Alba said he considered changing his name but eventually accepted it.]]>
9/22/2018 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Forced labor is the most detected form of human trafficking in ME: UNODC chief]]>
“In Sub Sahara Africa, about 50 percent of detected victims are children and in North Africa, they also constitute the majority of trafficking victims,” she said in the three-day conference, which is held in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh.

Kangaspunta called on the international community to stand closer and together against trafficking in persons and the illegal migration phenomenon. “No nationality is immune to such criminal practices which concern and affect every country in the world,” she added.

“In 2016, African victims of trafficking in persons represented about 15 to 18 percent of all victims of trafficking in persons worldwide and they were trafficked in large numbers to West Europe,” Kangaspunta continued.

Kangaspunta attributed the high number of African migrants to European countries to the lack of economic opportunities and the political instability that hit some African countries.

“Taking advantage of their anguish and misery, smugglers trick them [illegal migrants] into organizing their travel to a promised place in exchange of significant amounts of money,” she said.

It was estimated that more than 2.5 million people were smuggled worldwide for $5.5-7 billion in 2016, she quoted the UNODC Global Study on Smuggling of Mirgants, adding that this amount of money is equivalent to the annual humanitarian aid allocated by only the EU and U.S. on the same year.

As of Aug. 27, a total of 1,560 people were killed in illegal migration voyages in the Mediterranean Sea. This number includes 1,103 migrants who were killed on the Central Mediterranean route, the most used route taken by illegal migrants and asylum seekers in the EU, she cited the UN Secretary-General report to the Security Council.

“This corresponds to one death for every 19 arrivals in 2018, compared to one death for 41 arrivals in 2017,” Kangaspunta said.

She praised the Egyptian government for its cooperation with the UNODC on putting an end to human trafficking and migration smuggling in Egypt.

The Sharm el-Sheikh-held conference is the first African-EU gathering of prosecutors and representatives of 24 countries to discuss international cooperation and efforts exerted for combating illegal migration and human trafficking. It was opened by Egypt's Attorney General Nabil Sadeq, and European Union Ambassador in Cairo Ivan Surkos on Sept. 19.

]]>
9/21/2018 4:59:24 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi in New York to take part in 73rd UNGA]]>
“Sisi’s speech will expound on Egypt’s comprehensive vision regarding all international and regional challenges. He is also expected to urge the world to contain all armed conflicts, combat terrorism, push for denuclearization, and tackle economic concerns,” presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi stated.

Radi stressed on Friday that President Sisi's speech is also expected to shed light on deteriorating situations in the Middle East and Arab world. “Sisi will chair the high-level meeting of the 77 Group which Egypt is currently heading for the third time in the history of the G77.”

The Group of 77 (G77) at the United Nations is a coalition of developing nations, designed to promote its members' collective economic interests. It was founded in June 1964 by the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries" issued at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Palestine is to chair the group starting January 2019.

The agenda of the running UN General Assembly’s meetings focuses on development issues, preserving international security, fighting terrorism, and human rights.

“Sisi’s visit to NYC will include an intensive activity at the bilateral level between Cairo and Washington as the president is expected to hold dozens of meetings with high-profile political and intellectual figures in American society, along with meetings with American investors, commerce chamber senior leaders and firms’ heads,” Radi added.

Meeting with various leaders and presidents is also on Sisi’s agenda during his participation in the 73rd UNGA as he will discuss means of enhancing the bilateral relations between Egypt and these countries at various levels and in different fields. Moreover, Sisi is expected to discuss the developments of regional and international issues.

“President Sisi will also participate in the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, which coincides with the centennial celebration of the late African leader's birth, and will deliver a speech on the occasion to the summit."

Sisi’s Fifth Participation in the UNGA

This is the fifth participation of President Sisi in the UNGA since he assumed office in June 2014. Egypt’s foreign policies have witnessed significant development seen in the global and regional arenas. Egypt is a key player in fighting terrorism globally and boosting peace through its 30,000 soldiers’ participation in UN peacekeeping missions, along with Egypt’s efforts to solve Syrian, Palestinian, Yemeni and Libyan crises.

In the war against terrorism, the UN Security Council adopted a draft resolution on terrorism that was drafted by Egypt.

Sisi’s participation in the 69th, 70th, 71st and 72nd sessions of the UNGA highlighted Egyptian foreign diplomacy through his speeches before UNGA leaders and participants.]]>
9/21/2018 4:15:04 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ghufran tribe calls on UN Rapporteur on indigenous people to take action against Qatar]]>
During a seminar titled ‘Human Rights in Qatar’, which was held on the margins of the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the delegation explained that they only resorted to international organizations after years of being ignored and omitted by their government, the government of Qatar, and after they realized that the Qatari Human Rights Council is in cahoots with the regime.

Similarly, Gaber Saleh Al-Ghufrani, a member of the Al-Ghufran tribe, called on the people of Qatar, Friday, for support said, “We call on the elders of the honourable Al-Thani family and to the generous and righteous people of Qatar and to the Al Murrah tribe, known for their nobility and chivalry. We call on you as your brothers, young and old, elders and children, men and women, inside and outside Qatar, and we appeal to your proud Arab origin after the Qatari government has let us down and accused us of untrue claims and stropped us of our rights.”

He went on to plead his and his tribe’s case to the people of Qatar, “We have been subjected to much injustice and humiliation in our homeland from those who, unfortunately, we thought to be virtuous. We have been discriminated against in the most painful of ways, ones that would shock human consciousness; they have stripped us of our dignity, in way that you know and others that you do not know.”

Adding, “We did not choose to go to the United Nations and to the international human rights organizations except after the government of our country closed all ways of appeal and did not engage or listen to our demands that we had submitted to the relevant authorities such as the Ministry of the Interior and the National Human Rights Commission of Qatar.”

Along the same lines, Mohamed Saleh Al-Ghofzani called on the National Committee for Human Rights in Qatar to stop turning a blind eye to the regime's violations of the right of Al-Ghufran tribe and to document and declare said violations; which he describes to be, violations of all basic international norms, conventions and treaties.

Similarly, Hamad Khaled Al-Ghufrani explained that although the Qatari law states that indigenous people who have settled in Qatar since 1940 cannot have their nationality stripped—a law that applies to them, they have had their nationality stripped, faced forced displacement and have had the most basic services taken away from them: Education, healthcare and other public services.

“Even those who suffer from chronic illnesses of other illnesses, including my son who suffers from autism, were left untreated by Qatar, “ Al Ghufrani stated.

The OHCHR, which implements the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, “carries out a range of country specific and regional activities to advance the rights of indigenous peoples. It provides support for legislative initiatives and pursues thematic work on issues such as extractive industries and on the rights of isolated indigenous peoples,” as per the OHCHR’s website.

“In addition, the Office assists the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, and provides secretariat support to the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the organisation of its annual sessions.”

The call comes as part of a wider move by the tribe on the margins of the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

A delegation from the Al-Ghufran Tribe, one of the biggest tribes in Qatar, staged a sit-in Wednesday in front of the Broken Chair, which stands across the United Nations Palace in Geneva, to denounce the crimes of the Qatari regime who has revoked their nationality, displaced and tortured members of the tribe.

The tribe called on the international community to take a decisive stand on the Tamim regime, whom, they claim, have violated a number of international conventions and treaties through its racist policy against the Al-Ghufran tribe.

Created by Daniel Berset, the Broken Chair simpolises the struggeles of mine victims.

After a treaty (known as the Ottawa Treaty or the Mine Ban Treaty) to ban the use of anti-personnel mines was signed and came into action in 1997, Handicap International NGO commissioned the Swiss artist to create a piece of art that would draw attention to the victims of landmines to encourage nations to sign on to the treaty and stop using them.

The delegation also held a protest Tuesday to urge the United Nations to investigate the Qatar regimes’ crimes against humanity, including stripping them of Qatari nationality

“Our issue with the Qatar regime is purely humanitarian and not political, this is why we came here to present our case and our demands to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Our demands are clear: The Qatar regime should be held accountale for the crimes that it has committed against us and other Qataris, and the restoration of our rights,” Hamad Khaled Al-Marri, a member of the tribe, who took part in the stand, stated.

A delegation from the Al-Ghufran tribe called on the UN Human Rights Council to take serious action towards investigating their complaint, submitted Monday, against the Qatari regime’s human rights violations against the tribe.

The comments of the Al-Ghufran tribe came during a seminar titled, ‘Human Rights in Qatar: The Tragic tale of the Al-Ghufran Tribe’. The seminar was organized by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR).

Members of the tribe who participated in the seminar stressed that they have taken international action against the Qatari regime after it has deprived them of their nationality, as well as their legitimate and undetachable rights as citizens of the state.

Members also spoke of their great sorrow and sadness at what they have suffered from humiliation to forced displacement to torture at the hands of the regime, all while the regime is dishing out Qatari nationalities to extremists, especially Islamic extremists, who have led to the shedding of blood in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Iraq.

Abdel Aziz al-Khamisi, a journalist who participated in the seminar, stated that members of the tribe, in cooperation with the EOHR, has called on the UN Human Rights Commission to investigate the injustice suffered by the tribe members at the hands of the Qatari regime, from revoking their nationality and forced displacement.

Al-Khamisi added that the delegation has also provided the UNHCR with evidence from some individuals’ cases who live in Qatar and have had their nationality revoked.

Building on this, Gaber Salah Al-Erq, a member of the Al-Ghufran tribe, said, “All those who have had their nationality stripped away from them have done nothing and do not even working in the political sphere. He said that most of them were dismissed from his job with an official letter and then has their nationality stripped away and possessions confiscated.”

He added that the issue with the Qatari regime is purely humanitarian and not political, this is why the case and demands were presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

He stated that the delegation had come to Geneva in peace to ask for the help of the international community.

A delegation representing Al-Ghufran tribe, one of the biggest tribes in Qatar, which has been subject to systemic discrimination at the hands of the Qatari authorities, handed a letter to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, discussing their deteriorating situation.

The tribe representatives, who had previously submitted a complaint to the Commissioner on September 21, 2017, asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations.

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Qatari tribe Al-Ghufran declared that 6,000 of its members were forcibly displaced after the Qatari regime deprived them of their Qatari nationality and their national rights. - Egypt Today

“In the previous complaint we summarized the tragedy of the Al-Ghofran clan of the tribe of Bani Mura in Qatar, from 1996 to 2004 to the time of the writing of this petition they were savagely subjected to the worst crimes of racial discrimination, forced displacement, denial of return to their homeland, imprisonment and acts of torture that led to psychological damage and death within the Qatari intelligence prisons,” stated the representatives, whose families continue to face the toughest living situation in Qatar.

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The tribe representatives had previously submitted a complaint to the Commissioner on September 21, 2017 - Egypt Today

In reaction for Al-Ghufran tribe’s opposition to the Regime’s destabilizing policies in the region and its dispute with the neighboring Gulf States, in August, Qatari authorities revoked the citizenship of Sheikh Taleb Bin Lahom Bin Shreim and 54 members of his family who belong to Al Murrah tribe in a step considered as an arbitrary act by various Human Rights organization.

The Arab Federation for Human Rights (AFHR) described the Qatari call as a “revenge” against the members of the tribe for using their natural rights to freedom of expression and movement.

The Qatari authorities took further steps when it confiscated the properties of the members with the revoked citizenship, following the call with a systematic persecution against all the clans belonging to the large tribe, such as Al Ghufran clan.

The Qatari regime has also revoked the citizenship of another senior tribal leader, Sheikh Shafi Nasser Hamoud al-Hajri, a senior member of Shaml Al-Hawajer tribe, which is connected to the famous tribe of Qahtan. Along with the famous Qatari poet Mohammed Al-Marri who belongs to Al Murrah tribe.

Later, Qatari tribe Al-Ghufran declared that 6,000 of its members were forcibly displaced after the Qatari regime deprived them of their Qatari nationality and their national rights.

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Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

These heinous crimes are believed to be well-known to Qatari authorities at all levels. “We assure you that the Qatari authorities, ranging from the Emir of Qatar, the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, the President of the National Committee for Human Rights, senior security officials and dignitaries, are aware of the discrimination members of Al Ghofran clan are subjected to and those senior officials are deeply involved in this crime,” the delegation stated, continuing, “Qatar officials are working to hide his crime from the eyes of international justice and human rights organizations, and the deliberately intimidate those trying from within Qatar to raise complaints to International bodies and human rights organizations.”

Fearing for their lives and their ability to voice their opinions or “demand their rights through the National Human Rights Committee in Doha” due to security personnel traching and monitoring their actions, which they say they have evidence off, the delegation spoke of the evidence they have of Qatari authorities treating their people with the utmost levels of brutality and monstrosity.

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Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

Labelling them as “brutal methods that batter human dignity,” the delegation explained that “authorities deliberately change the facts and blur a lot of evidence, taking advantage of the ignorance of the victims of their rights, the lack of free local media channels and the absence of the possibility of recourse in the courts of Qatar. The victims of these violations and their families have a right to take legal action against the Qatari officials responsible.”

Revealing the crimes against humanity committed by Qatari authorities towards the tribe—some of which, like deprivation of healthcare or unfair detention, were revealed during the September 2017 Qatar global security and stability conference organized by exiled Qataris in London—the tribe called on the UN Commissioner’s office, recalling its mandate, to help them regain their rights.

“Through your unique mandate to promote and protect human rights, we ask your esteemed commission to see and stand up to the suffering of our citizens who have been deprived of their citizenship in Qatar and to the crimes committed against them and to alleviate the conditions and suffering of our displaced people in the villages and deserts of border areas in neighboring countries. We hope that your intervention will result in achieving human justice on the ground through your objective and impartial treatment of this suffering, and not to only depend on the National Human Rights Commission of Qatar which has unfortunately became an obstacle in our struggle for justice by covering up evidence and spreading false information,” the delegation petitioned.

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Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

“We would like to draw the attention of the Office of the High Commissioner to the fact that the fear of oppression and abuse of the afflicted by the authorities of Qatar is what compels our people to remain silent and prevents many of the forcibly displaced from speaking up as they fear that their parents and relatives will be persecuted inside Qatar. The evidence is abundant and available, but the policy of muzzling mouths used by the authorities of Qatar is the obstacle that people fear to try to overcome unless supported by the High Commission by stern protection that enables them to voice their peaceful demands to restore their rights and the appearance of those who have violated their them before fair international justice, and we implore you to refer this complaint to them in light of the absence of the possibility of litigation in the courts of Qatar.”

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A delegation representing Al-Ghufran tribe, one of the biggest tribes in Qatar, handed a letter to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, discussing their deteriorating situation. - Egypt Today

The pain of the Al-Ghufran tribe has been felt throughout the region, with many calling on human rights organizations and the UN Human Rights Commissioner to protect tribe member.

In September 2017, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) announced its total solidarity with the case of Al Ghofran clan. “Since 1995, the Qatari authorities have pursued a policy of collective punishment against the tribe of Ghofran that entailed the revoking of the nationality of more than 6000 its tribesmen and many of them were expelled from the country after their property and personal funds were confiscated. It is noteworthy that the tribe of Al Ghofran belongs to the tribe of Bani Mura, which make up about 40 percent of the people of Qatar making them indigenous to this country. EOHR has decided to adopt their cause for several reasons, including the international community’s and human rights organizations’ overlooking of this tragic issue and EOHR's belief in the universality of human rights principles and the need to establish and maintain them in the Arab region,” said Hafez Abu Seada, Egyptian human rights activist and Chairman of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR).

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Members of the delegation in Geneva - Egypt Today

Moreover, Al-Ghufran tribed had filed an official complaint to the Arab Federation for Human Rights about the violations committed by the Qatari regime against its members. It called on the federation to refer the complaint to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Hence, in a letter addressed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, President of Arab Federation Ahmad al-Hamli called on the commission to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for such violations.

This was the second complaint filed by the tribe to the UN Human Rights Councils to call on the international community to protect and secure their rights.

The World Aid Organization for Human Rights in New York also declared its complete solidarity with the Arab Federation for Human Rights, which adopted Al-Ghufran’s case.

In its report, the World Aid Organization said that it will cooperate with the Arab Federation and all human rights organizations to highlight this collective tragedy and raise the international community's awareness about it to shoulder the humanitarian and social responsibility and follow up with the tribe members' status.

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Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

Previously, the Manama Center for Human Rights also demanded that the international society assign a United Nations envoy specialized in human rights to Qatar to prevent any further violations of human rights.

According to a statement from the center on March 9, 2018, the international mechanisms to preserve human rights should interfere in the Qatari situation and investigate the Qatari violations against its citizens and foreign workers.

The statement also claimed that the Qatari National Committee for Human Rights is not a fair independent organization anymore, as it works for the regime's interests.

The center described the Qatari violations as “a first” in international law and policy.
According to Sky News, Ghufran already issued a first complaint against Doha last September in which they explained how Qatar violated their rights. “We wonder about the reason behind ignoring our first complaint,” the Qatari tribe’s spokesperson, Jaber Abdel Hady, told Sky News on Friday.

With all this, and much more in mind, Abu Saeda ended the complaint by saying, “The Egyptian Organization calls upon the High Commissioner for Human Rights, her excellency Mrs. Michel Bachelet, to open an extensive investigation into this tragedy. EOHR also calls upon Mrs. Bachelet to assist it in its efforts to restore the rights of the clan of Al Ghofran as indigenous inhabitants who have been robbed of their nationalities and forcefully displaced enmasse for political reasons, in violation of all international human rights instruments. Finally EOHR expresses its readiness to provide any documents or evidence that the honorable Commission may need in any of the efforts we hope it will take to stop the suffering of the people of forgiveness.”

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The tribe asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations. - Egypt Today

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Al-Ghufran tribe asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations. - Egypt Today
]]>
9/21/2018 3:53:47 PM
<![CDATA[PM May's statement on Brexit talks after EU rejects her proposals]]>
It was supplied by Downing Street and checked against delivery.

"Yesterday, I was in Salzburg for talks with European leaders. I have always said that these negotiations would be tough - and they were always bound to be toughest in the final straight.

"While both sides want a deal, we have to face up to the fact that - despite the progress we have made - there are two big issues where we remain a long way apart.

The first is our economic relationship after we have left. Here, the EU is still only offering us two options.

The first option would involve the UK staying in the European Economic Area and a customs union with the EU.

In plain English, this would mean we’d still have to abide by all the EU rules, uncontrolled immigration from the EU would continue and we couldn’t do the trade deals we want with other countries.

That would make a mockery of the referendum we had two years ago.

The second option would be a basic free trade agreement for Great Britain that would introduce checks at the Great Britain/EU border. But even worse, Northern Ireland would effectively remain in the Customs Union and parts of the Single Market, permanently separated economically from the rest of the UK by a border down the Irish Sea.

Parliament has already - unanimously - rejected this idea.

Creating any form of customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK would not respect that Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom, in line with the principle of consent, as set out clearly in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

It is something I will never agree to - indeed, in my judgement it is something no British Prime Minister would ever agree to. If the EU believe I will, they are making a fundamental mistake.

Anything which fails to respect the referendum or which effectively divides our country in two would be a bad deal and I have always said no deal is better than a bad deal.

But I have also been clear that the best outcome is for the UK to leave with a deal. That is why, following months of intensive work and detailed discussions, we proposed a third option for our future economic relationship, based on the frictionless trade in goods. That is the best way to protect jobs here and in the EU and to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, while respecting the referendum result and the integrity of the United Kingdom.

Yesterday Donald Tusk said our proposals would undermine the single market. He didn’t explain how in any detail or make any counter-proposal. So we are at an impasse.

The second issue is connected to the first. We both agree that the Withdrawal Agreement needs to include a backstop to ensure that if there’s a delay in implementing our new relationship, there still won’t be a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

But the EU is proposing to achieve this by effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the Customs Union.

As I have already said, that is unacceptable. We will never agree to it. It would mean breaking up our country.

We will set out our alternative that preserves the integrity of the UK. And it will be in line with the commitments we made back in December - including the commitment that no new regulatory barriers should be created between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK unless the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly agree.

As I told EU leaders, neither side should demand the unacceptable of the other.

We cannot accept anything that threatens the integrity of our union, just as they cannot accept anything that threatens the integrity of theirs.

We cannot accept anything that does not respect the result of the referendum, just as they cannot accept anything that is not in the interest of their citizens.

Throughout this process, I have treated the EU with nothing but respect. The UK expects the same. A good relationship at the end of this process depends on it.

At this late stage in the negotiations, it is not acceptable to simply reject the other side’s proposals without a detailed explanation and counter proposals.

So we now need to hear from the EU what the real issues are and what their alternative is so that we can discuss them. Until we do, we cannot make progress.

In the meantime, we must and will continue the work of preparing ourselves for no deal.

In particular, I want to clarify our approach to two issues.

First, there are over 3 million EU citizens living in the UK who will be understandably worried about what the outcome of yesterday’s summit means for their future.

I want to be clear with you that even in the event of no deal your rights will be protected. You are our friends, our neighbours, our colleagues. We want you to stay.

Second, I want to reassure the people of Northern Ireland that in the event of no deal we will do everything in our power to prevent a return to a hard border.

Let me also say this.

The referendum was the largest democratic exercise this country has ever undergone. To deny its legitimacy or frustrate its result threatens public trust in our democracy.

That is why for over two years I have worked day and night to deliver a deal that sees the UK leave the EU. I have worked to bring people with me even when that has not always seemed possible.

No one wants a good deal more than me.

But the EU should be clear: I will not overturn the result of the referendum. Nor will I break up my country.

We need serious engagement on resolving the two big problems in the negotiations. We stand ready."]]>
9/21/2018 3:35:30 PM
<![CDATA[May's Brexit plan goes pop after "humiliation" by EU, British media says]]>
After a dinner of Wiener schnitzel in Salzburg, EU leaders said they will push for a Brexit deal next month but warned May that if she will not give ground on trade and the Irish border by November they are ready to cope with Britain crashing out.

For the British media, the message was clear.

"Your Brexit's broken," the Daily Mirror newspaper said on its front page.

British newspapers led their front pages with a Reuters picture showing May, attired in a red jacket, standing apparently aloof and alone from a mass of suited male EU leaders.

"May humiliated," The Guardian newspaper said.

"Humiliation for May," said The Times on its front page.

"May's Salzburg hopes dashed as EU leaders reject Chequers deal," said the Financial Times, which has strongly supported EU membership. The BBC said: "Embarrassing rebuff for PM in Salzburg."

The negative headlines indicate the extent of the divergence in perceptions between London and the capitals of the EU's other 27 members on the future of Brexit.

The Sun went much further: "EU Dirty Rats - Euro mobsters ambush May," it said alongside a mocked up picture of French President Emmanuel Macron and European Council President Donald Tusk cast as American gangsters with guns.

Macron bluntly said May's Brexit proposals, known as Chequers after the country house where they were agreed by the British cabinet in July, were "unacceptable".

Tusk was criticised for posting a picture of him offering May a choice of delicate cakes beside a message: "Sorry, no cherries." That is a reference to what EU leaders cast as British attempts to cherry pick elements of EU membership.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker sought to calm any hurt feelings but called for caution, comparing Britain and the EU to two loving hedgehogs.

"When two hedgehogs hug each other, you have to be careful that there will be no scratches," he told Austrian newspapers.

Britain is due to leave the European Union on March 29, yet little is clear: there is, so far, no divorce deal, rivals to May are circling and some rebels have vowed to vote against a possible Brexit deal.

Both London and Brussels say they want a divorce deal, though there is limited time if the British and EU parliaments are to ratify a deal by March 29. Any deal must be approved by British lawmakers.

"CHEQUERS GOES POP"

The Spectator used the headline: "Chequers goes pop: Theresa May’s Salzburg catastrophe."

"May will emerge as unique in the annals of history if she survives as PM much longer in the face of setbacks on this scale," British journalist Robert Peston wrote.

May on Thursday promised new proposals to reassure Dublin that it would not get a "hard border" with Northern Ireland but said that she too could live with a no-deal outcome.

May's former Brexit minister David Davis has said up to 40 lawmakers from the Conservative Party will vote against her Brexit plans.

Davis told Huffington Post there was a "rock-solid" core of party lawmakers who belonged to the European Research Group (ERG), a grouping which wants a sharper break with the EU and were willing to vote down her plans.

If a possible deal were rejected by the British parliament, Britain would face leaving the EU without an agreement, delaying Brexit or calling another referendum.

"If all conventional roads lead to a hard no-deal Brexit, the notion of Parliament exerting control and forcing another referendum on us would begin to look not wholly fanciful," Peston wrote in the Spectator.

If it left without a deal, the country would move from seamless trade with the EU to customs arrangements set by the World Trade Organization for external states.

Many business chiefs and investors say a so called "no-deal" Brexit would weaken the West, panic financial markets and block the arteries of trade. Brexit supporters say such fears are exaggerated and Britain would thrive in the long term. ]]>
9/21/2018 12:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Russia says US is playing with fire by imposing new sanctions on it]]>
The Trump administration imposed sanctions on the Chinese military on Thursday for buying fighter jets and missile systems from Russia, in breach of a sweeping U.S. sanctions law punishing Moscow for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, something Russia denies.

The administration also blacklisted an additional 33 people and entities associated with the Russian military and intelligence.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in a statement it seemed to Moscow that imposing sanctions on Russia had become a national U.S. pastime, noting that the latest wave of restrictions was the 60th sanctions package since 2011.

"Each new round of sanctions proves our foe's complete lack of success in pressuring Russia with previous such attempts," said Ryabkov, who added that Washington would never succeed in dictating its conditions to Moscow.

"It would be not bad if they remembered about the concept of global stability which they are unthinkingly undermining by whipping up tensions in Russia-U.S. relations. Playing with fire is stupid and can become dangerous."]]>
9/21/2018 11:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi discusses security status with Police Supreme Council]]>
Sisi stressed the importance of enhancing security plans and strategies to combat terrorism in accordance with the law and the principles of human rights.

He also hailed the efforts of police officers in maintaining security and enhancing development over the past period.

The meeting reviewed the recent security situation nationwide, especially in light of the regional security and political challenges, the spokesman added.

The meeting, also, tackled the results yielded in confronting terrorism and crime, in addition to efforts exerted to preserve citizens' security, the spokesman noted.

Morever, Sisi called for strengthening coordination between various security bodies and the Armed Forces to preserve military victories achieved in the ongoing Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018.

On September 10, 11 terrorists were killed at their hotbeds while exchanging fire with security forces in Arish, Northern Sinai.

In an official statement issued on Sept. 10, the security forces were informed that some terrorists were hiding at an abandoned gas station in Gesr el-Wadi district, Arish to carry out terrorist attacks against the Armed Forces.

The statement added that the forces managed to seize five automatic rifles, many shots, rifle cartridges, and two explosive devices. ]]>
9/21/2018 10:48:05 AM
<![CDATA[Geneva: Al-Ghufran holds press conference demanding rights, presenting evidence for claims]]>
During the seminar, which saw a number of witnesses coming forward and speaking of the violations they suffered at the hands of the Qatari regime, the EOHR stressed its support of the Al-Ghufran tribe. “EOHR is responsible for helping Al-Ghufran tribe in their just war towards peace,” stated the EOHR.

Giving the floor to the victims of these violations, the victims brought up a multitude of violations that they suffered from, including the consequences of the revocation of their Qatari citizenship, a move that caused them great psychological, physical, social and material pains and difficulties.

The first speaker was the respected Jabir bin Saleh Al-Ghufrani, a tribe elderly, and a much trusted man among tribe members. He started off by saying, “As a leading member of Al-Ghufran, I would like to speak a little but about what happened to us in Qatar. Al-Ghufran tribe was subject to injustice treatment by the Al-Ghufran tribe.”

They have taken away our social, political and economic rights, explained Al-Ghufrani in a sad tone. Shacking his head, he recalls tribe members leaving home, moving to different countries and being deprived of their basic human rights.

“Removed from their jobs, deprived of medical treatment and other social things like electricity, Ghufrani have suffered a lot. We, Al-Ghufran tribe, are subject to a very difficult life in Qatar from 1996 to the deportation in 2005,” Al-Ghufrani explained.

“This started because a group of soldiers wanted to bring back Sheikh Khalifa… they were about 118 officers, all of whom were captured by the existing government by Qatar. … Only 21 Ghufrani officers were selected to be jailed or sent to court, the others were released and after being in jail for only a year, they started deporting all Ghufranis.”

Some of them stayed away, he said, “they elected to stay in Qatar and hide themselves.” Most of them left, however, but a few could not leave their home; they could not imagine living anywhere else, he explained.

“Something is wrong with my government. They are doing something that no one has done before... It has never happened in the gulf states.”

“We came here to Geneva and to this place to try to explain and bring to light what happened to us. Myself, I left on a vacation in 1996, around the second of February, I left my home but I could not go back to my country. Never. I can go to any place on this earth but no my home, not Qatar,”

“They put the Al-Ghufran last name on the boarder so we could never come back,” sadly, Al-Ghufrani stated.

The second witness was Hamad Khaled Al-Araq, a younger member of the Al-Ghufran tribe, but one that had much to say about their current situation.

“Before I start, I would like to start with a tip that people say, “If you do not know the language, you can talk with people with the language of the hearts,” I will explain it with my heart and hopefully you will get it,” Al-Araq said hopefully, with a smile that suggests optimism and pride.

“When we go back to 1996, and at the time, this is my picture [he showed his picture], and this is a certificate from the United Arab of Emirates when my country, unfortunate, kicked me out. … They wrote my estimated age, I was about 10, and they say in Citizen: Qatari. This is my certificate when I was in elementary school, it has the Qatari stamp on it.”

Al-Arq then went on to demand his rights, he explained that all he wishes for is to have his rights as a citizen, stating that he will not stop until he has his rights back, and neither will his tribe.

“I ask for my rights. Our people have been asking for our rights for a very long time now and no one has even explained to us why this is happening to us.”

He then presented clear-cut evidence of his Qatari citizenship: A passport of his grandfather who was born in Doha, Qatar in 1922.

“It is a very complicated thing when you are trying to get your rights, and we have told this [our] story over and over again and we are still unable to reach our rights.”

With listeners already on the edge of their seats, Jaber Hamad Al-Araq, another member, spoke of the great injustices they have seen.

“My story is not much different from that of others; it is similar but a bit different. It happened in 1999, 2003 and the last one in 2005. I was born in Qatar in 1977 and here is my passport and my nationality is Qatari. This is the same passport for Mr Hamed and this is my father’s passport, this is my son’s passport and his birth certificate.”

“We left in 2005 but before that we faced many obstacles from the Qatari government…. I joined Qatar Petroleum two times, in 1995 and 2003, both of these jobs, I received a letter from criminal information after two months of enrolling as a trainee, I received a letter that you are terminated and there is no reason except that you are from Al-Ghufran tribe. And in my contract, the reason for termination, which you can see and zoom, [it is the same].”

The consequences of revoking our citizenship came in many waves, he explained, they took away healthcare, education and public services. They took away all the tools that would allow them to live in Qatar with dignity, as human beings, he explained.

Building on this, Jaber Mohamed Al-Ghufrani, yet another member of the tribe, explained the depression he went through as a result of being continuously rejected from jobs just because of being a ‘Ghufrani’.

“I was rejected many times from jobs because of the injustice that we face. They would reject me, the Criminal Information and Interior ministry office would reject me just from being from the tribe.”

“We are marginalised, without value and left on the sidelines in our country.”

“I am responsible for my family, consisting of my wife and children, we faced many injustices that led us to have psychological trauma.”

“We have suffered enough.”

Al-Ghufrani, whose children were expelled from school for being ‘Ghufranis’ have been dealing with emotional distress, due to the vile systematic discrimination they are facing.

Abdul Hadi Jaber Al-Ghufrani, a member, said, “All members of the Al-Ghufran tribe without exceptions suffered from the decision to revoke their nationality.”

“Those who remained. They are unable to work, travel, or act like normal human beings, they cannot trade, they cannot even give their identity.”

“Those who were expelled and forcibly displaced. They live in exile. They cannot apply or work in any job where they can get money for they rpasic needs, and most of them have no office identity papers. They can no longer see their families and loved ones.”

Some abuses were also acted against the Al-Ghufran tribe. They were humiliating and against the Qatari Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other international conventions; these violations let to the dispersal of families because the men col not return and the women could not travel except if they turn over their papers, Al-Ghufrani explained.

“The children lost education years,” he said.

“We are here to demand our rights and we will not stop until we get our rights. From today to the next 20 years, we will not stop until we get our rights.”

Similarly, Mohamed Abdul Hadi Al-Ghufrani, a member, spoke of his feeling when he had his nationality dropped.

“My nationality was stripped before I turn 13. It was dropped and with it my psychological state declines.”

“I was expelled from school. They said that I have no identity, before the age of 13. I was only 12 when they told me I have no identity, I have no nationality. I went to hospitals too and they told me that they cannot give me medicine because I have no identity.”

“Was I not a child when they expelled me and said I have no identity.”

He then presented plenty of documents to support his case and his Qatari nationality.

“If it is expected that it is okay for a child to face this, then what kind of consequences do you expect. The consequences were psychological, physical, material and so much more.

In similar vein, Jaber Abdul Hadi Al Marri said, “My dad lost his job when I was young because they revoked our nationality.”

“I have three brothers and sisters who were born in UAE. When we went to the Qatari embassy, they would ask us to come back in a month and this went on for 7 years; they would kick us out.”

“We could not go to college or university… we have faced a bad time since we were kicked out of Qatar,” Al Marri said, explaining that had he been given the chance to go to school and have higher education, he would have been able to speak in much better English. Still, he ended by saying, “I hope my language is good and thank you so much.”

Saleh Bin Aamer Al-Araq, a member, urged the international community to understand the grave situation at hand.

“Without thinking of their humanitarian states, Ghufranis were treated badly, they had their nationality, healthcare, education and much more taken away from us. This simply happened because we from the Al-Ghufran tribe.”

“They lived in different parts of the Arabian Gulf, without a home, without a house, without proper jobs or proper lives.”

“Those who did bad things, who committed crimes against the tribe, should be held accountable,” he said.

Finally, the youngest member of the delegation that spoke at the seminar, Mohammed Ali Amer Al-Ghufrani Al-Marri, said a few words.

Al-Marri started off by thanking those present for being here and for listening to his rightful demands.

“My nationality was revoked when I was younger than a year,” he said, presenting his passport, along with that of his father and grandfather.

“I did not have the right to grow up in my country, I was not given the right to stay in my nation. I could not be in my country. I wish to return to my country and enjoy my right as a citizen.”

Earlier Thursday the EOHR released a memorandum on Qatari violation, it read:
EOHR’s memorandum on Qatari violations of International Human Rights law
The Ghofran tribe has been subjected to a series of horrendous violations by the Qatari State. A number of fundamental rights and international human rights instruments have been blatantly violated by the Qatari authorities contradicting their international obligations and moral responsibitly as a state. The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) decided to adopt the case of Al Ghofran to publicize their just case and help them in reclaiming their stolen rights. EOHR in this report lists a number of the major violations of international human rights law that the Qatari state has committed against thousands of members of Al Ghofran tribe.
Right to nationality:
Article 15 of the Universal declaration of human rights (UDHR) states:
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
The UDHR is one of the most important human rights documents and is the founding element of international human rights law. UDHR is morally binding to all states including Qatar. The Qatari government since 1996 has exercised a form of collective punishment against Al Ghofran tribe due to the support some of its members have voiced to Emir Khalifa Al Thani when his son and successor Hammad bin Khalifa toppled him from the throne. The collective punishment entailed the revoking of the nationalities of 800 Ghofrani nuclear families (more than 6000 people). All of them were denied citizenship rights and their properties were confiscated. Such a form of arbitrary deprivation from nationality and citizenship rights cannot go unchecked as thousands of Ghofranis remain stateless within Qatar and in neighbouring states in the Gulf area.
Forced displacement:
Forced deportation or displacement of populations on a wide scale is considered a crime against humanity under article 7 of the Rome Statute. The Qatari state since 1996 has stripped the nationalities of at least 6000 Ghofranis and expelled them from the country after confiscating their property. Expelling 6000 Ghofranis out of around 8000 in Qatar can only be deemed as an act of systematic forced displacement. EOHR considers these policies as criminal actions that making the culprits eligible for legal accountability.
Violations of the Convention on the rights of the child
Article 8 of the Convention reads:
1. States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference.
2. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily his or her identity.
The state of Qatar who happens to be party to the convention has deprived thousands of Ghofrnai children from the rights to identity and nationality stipulated by article 8. Qatar’s revoking of the nationalities of Ghofrani children is a violation of their treaty obligation and his has to be reported and documented by Committee of the Convention so that action can be taken.
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9/20/2018 4:49:25 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt passes new law fighting manipulation in used cars market]]>
The 35th article of the new law assigns the seller to submit a technical report about the vehicle’s exact condition and defects, issued by a licensed service center. In addition, if any defect that is not reported by the seller or the service center is detected, the seller will be fined LE10,000-500,000 or the exact price of the vehicle (whichever is greater), and the service center will be closed for about six months, according to the 64th article of the same law.

Moreover, if hiding a vehicle’s defect led to a permanent disability or chronic illness for the buyer, the seller will be punished by imprisonment and a fine of LE 100,000-1 million, or the equivalent value of the sold vehicle. Also, if the infraction led to the death of one person or more, the seller will be punished by life imprisonment and a total fine of LE 200,000-2 million or the equivalent value of the sold vehicle (whichever is greater).

The new law is supposed to eliminate the overpricing phenomenon, confirmed Atef Yaqoub, the president of Consumer Protection Agency during an interview with Misr radio station on April 21, 2018, stressing that the reservation of a new car will be through a receipt in which the car's specifications and price are clarified.

Yaqoub pointed out that the Consumer Protection Agency always puts cars section into consideration, as it simultaneously works to assign corporations to repair, replace, or refund cars in which industrial defects are identified, and that those companies which refuse to implement the agency’s decisions are referred to the Economic Court, which in turn decides whether those companies should pay the fine or not.

Law No. 181 of 2018 was approved by the Parliament on April 17, 2018 to be applied after being approved by the presidency, according to the 5th article of the same law.
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9/20/2018 4:35:48 PM
<![CDATA['Support Egypt' majority bloc to utilize ideas of all MPs]]>
"I emphasize very clearly that my main mission in the next period is to gather all powers in the House of Representatives for the best interest of Egypt and the people," Qasabi stated.

He urged parliamentarians to adopt the same policy, and to prioritize the needs of the citizens and the preservation of the country's earnings, stressing that there is no room for disputes and side conflicts.

Qasabi won by acclamation to succeed engineer Mohamed al-Sewedi, as nobody ran in the election against him. Qasabi is also the head of the Parliament's Social Solidarity committee, and deputy head of the Nation's Future Party comprised by the Parliamentary coalition.

Sewedi, who was also elected by acclamation in September 2017, revealed the reason why he decided not run in the election, saying that handing over posts to others helps increase the number of leading figures and achieves better results.


Sewedi affirmed the importance of the refreshing presence of youth inside the coalition, allowing the continuous exchange of posts, giving the opportunity to others and achieving consensus among members.

Sewedi also said that he decided not to run for head of any of the parliamentary committees.

Support Egypt coalition was formed in late 2015 by former-General Sameh Seif el-Yazal. Parties comprised by the coalition include the Free Egyptians, Future of a Nation, Homeland Defenders, Republican Peoples and Conference parties.

Support Egypt coalition holds around 400 of 597 seats in Parliament, representing two thirds of the Parliament members.

The coalition has always been known to support the country's current leadership.

In January, MP Taher Abu Zeid, deputy chairman of the coalition, said that supporting incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi for a second term in the March election is a message of gratitude for his first term achievements.

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9/20/2018 3:42:00 PM
<![CDATA[Presidents of the two Koreas cap summit with trek up Mount Paektu]]>
After the two leaders pledged new steps aimed at salvaging nuclear talks on Wednesday, Moon and Kim decided to use the final day of their three-day summit to go up the symbolic mountain on the Chinese border together.

Moon is known for his love of mountain climbing and has trekked in the Himalayas at least twice. The president has long stated that he would love to one day visit Mount Paektu, which is also sometimes spelled Baekdu.

“I have a dream that I have not been able to fulfil for a long time, which is trekking Mount Paektu and the Kaema Plateau,” Moon said during a banquet after his first summit with Kim in April, which took place at the demilitarised zone separating the two neighbours.

“I believe Chairman Kim will make that dream come true for sure.”

Moon flew separately to the region before joining Kim and taking a cable car together to Heaven Lake, a caldera at the top of the mountain, and walked around the area along with other officials from both sides, Moon’s office said.

As the highest peak on the Korean peninsula at about 2,750 metres (9,000 ft) above sea level, Mount Paektu is the mythical origin of the Korean people, featured in South Korea’s national anthem and various North Korean propaganda.

Although Mount Paektu straddles the North Korea-China border and can be reached from China, where it is known as Changbai Mountain, Moon had never visited it before.

That is because when he goes up Mount Paektu, he wants to go “stepping on our soil,” Kim Eui-kyeom, spokesman for the presidential Blue House, told reporters before the trip on Wednesday.

Sacred mountain of revolution

An active volcano, Mount Paektu is dotted with secret camps and historical sites from Korea’s guerrilla war against the occupying Japanese in the 1930-40s, in which Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, played a leading role.

North Korea says Kim’s grandfather and father, Kim Jong Il, were born at Mount Paektu, a centrepiece of the North’s idolisation and propaganda campaign to highlight the sacred bloodline of the ruling Kim family.

A copy of an article of the North’s official newspaper Rodong Sinmun dated Dec. 26, 1980 calls Mount Paektu a “sacred mountain of revolution” spearheaded by Kim Il Sung “in the flames of the arduous 20-year anti-Japan struggle.”

“State media and ideological indoctrination was setting the stage” for Kim Jong Il’s power succession that took place in 1980, said Michael Madden, a North Korea leadership expert at the Stimson Centre’s 38 North in Washington.

Kim Jong Un, too, has visited the mountain around major developments in North Korea, such as before he executed top officials including his uncle Jang Song-thaek in late 2013, and following North Korea’s fifth nuclear test in 2016.

He last went there in December, after declaring North Korea had completed its goal of becoming a nuclear state, according to state media.

“(Moon) would add much legitimacy to Kim, who had never had any summit with a foreign leader until early this year,” said Seo Yu-suk, a research manager at the Institute of North Korean Studies in Seoul. “It’s a diplomatic coup for him.”

Moon’s parents fled the North during the 1950-53 Korean War, shortly before Moon was born in South Korea in 1953.

A former human rights lawyer, Moon said in a 2017 book published months before his election as president that he wanted to “finish his life” in his mother’s North Korean hometown doing pro-bono service.

“When peaceful reunification comes, the first thing I want to do is to take my 90-year-old mother and go to her hometown,” Moon wrote in the book.]]>
9/20/2018 3:14:07 PM
<![CDATA[Gulf Arab states should be party to proposed Iran treaty talks: UAE official]]>
Brian Hook, U.S. special envoy for Iran, said on Wednesday the United States is seeking to negotiate a treaty with Iran to include Tehran’s ballistic missiles and its regional behavior.

Iran has rejected U.S. attempts to hold high-level talks since President Donald Trump tore up a nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers earlier this year.

Anwar Gargash, United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, described Hook’s comments as “important”.

“It is essential that the Gulf Arab states be a party to the proposed negotiations. It is prudent for Tehran to avoid sanctions and to take these proposals seriously,” he tweeted.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain swiftly backed Trump’s decision in May to withdraw from the nuclear accord and reimpose sanctions on Tehran. The Sunni Muslim-ruled states are at loggerheads with Shi’ite Iran, fighting a proxy war that has influenced conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

The Gulf Arab states were not party to the nuclear accord, and while they were consulted by Western powers during the talks that led up to it, they played no direct role in those negotiations.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listed a dozen demands in May that he said could make up a new agreement, although Hook referred to a treaty, which would have to be approved by the U.S. Senate.

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9/20/2018 1:58:21 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi discusses notable health topics, Dyarb Negm's crisis]]>
This came on the sidelines of the inauguration of Menoufia Military Hospital on Wednesday.

Hepatitis C test

Sisi called on Egyptians Wednesday to test themselves for Hepatitis C once the campaign launches next October, within the framework of the state’s initiative to eliminate HCV.

Sisi affirmed Egypt’s ambitions to carry out tests for all Egyptian citizens above 18 years, adding that the government is seeking testing school students as well.



Sisi called for honoring the doctors of the National Hepatology and Tropical Medicine Research Institute for the efforts they exert to eliminate the virus that many Egyptians have suffered from severely over the last 40 years. Sisi hopes Hepatitis C will be eliminated in Egypt within two years.

Presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said earlier in September that Egypt will launch the "largest medical campaign in the world" next October to detect and treat Hepatitis C for 50 million citizens.

In August, Rady said during a phone interview on "Salet al-Tahrir" TV show that the ministry is conducting the scan as a prelude to the new health insurance project. The scan includes 50 million citizens in order to spot any patients with Hepatitis C virus and other diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.

The scan is expected to take place from October 2018 until April 2019 in all Egyptian governorates.

Waiting lists

President Sisi said that the number of Egyptian hospitals do not suffice to treat all people on the waiting lists.

Sisi said that the number of people on the waiting lists has reached 40,000 in two months, since the state’s initiative to end waiting lists was launched, adding that the money allocated to treat waiting lists’ patient will likely be insufficient for this new number.


Upon instructions from President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, the Health Ministry announced in July launching the national health insurance project at a cost of LE 18.2 billion.

President Sisi asserted his keenness to improve the health sector and related services nationwide, especially those provided to low-income brackets, as well as his eagerness to finalize the health insurance system project.

The first phase has included eliminating patients’ waiting lists within six months, developing 47 hospitals nationwide and maintaining strategic stocks of vaccines, and infant formula.

During his meeting with Health Minister Hala Zayed and Director of El-Galaa Medical Complex Bahaa Eldin Zidan, Sisi ordered putting an end to patients' waiting lists for surgeries as soon as possible within the framework of an integrated system, instructing them to continue the project for three years to avoid any new waiting lists.

Dyarb Negm’s incident

President Sisi called on Zayed to speak about the incident taking place few days ago, when three citizens died in Dyarb Negm public hospital, while undergoing dialysis. The cause of death has not yet been officially announced.


Zayed said that the case was referred to the Public Prosecution for legal procedures, adding that the ministry does not accept any human or non-human errors in the provision of medical services.

Listening to Zayed’s review of the case’s updates, Sisi said that sending governors to supervise hospitals is not an intervention in the job of the hospitals’ managers, adding that such a decision aims to enhance supervision, and prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
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9/20/2018 10:31:36 AM
<![CDATA[Sudanese defense min. highlights importance of relations with Egypt]]>
This came during the minister's meeting today with Egypt's Ambassador to Khartoum Osama Shaltout who has concluded his tenure in Sudan.

During the meeting, Auf called for economic and political integration and ensuring the national security of the two brotherly states.

Shaltout voiced his deep appreciation to the Sudanese government and people for their cooperation during his five-year tenure in Sudan.

Ibn Auf visited Cairo in August 2017, where he discussed with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and the former Minister of Defense Military Production Sedki Sobhi ways to boost bilateral relations, especially in the military domain.

The media attache in the Sudanese embassy in Egypt, Rashed Abdul Rahim, said earlier in September that presidents, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Omar al-Bashir are eager to expand the cooperation between Egypt and Sudan.

Abdul Rahim said in a phone call with “Ra’ai Aam” (Public Opinion) TV show, broadcasted by Ten Satellite channel, that both presidents set a time schedule for more than 20 joint projects to enhance the strategic relations between both States and exchange interests.

President Sisi and Sudanese counterpart discussed in the Chinese capital of Beijing the bilateral ties, particularly the preparation of the Higher Joint Committee between Egypt and Sudan due to convene in the near future

Last month, Sisi paid his first visit to the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, where he met with his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir.

The two presidents discussed several issues regarding boosting bilateral relations between the two countries and cooperation on all levels. Moreover, Bashir visited Cairo on March 19 where both leaders discussed the outstanding issues of mutual interest, based on the agreement reached at the recent Addis Ababa tripartite summit.

Many politicians asserted that the two parties agreed to lower the intensity of disputes in the coming period. They asserted that the relations between the two countries are on the right track.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Sudanese counterpart Mohamed Ahmed held a meeting on August 29 to discuss mutual security interests. The meeting was followed with a press conference, during which they stressed the importance of coordination between Egypt and Sudan to maintain the security of both countries.

Shoukry said that the discussion tackled achieving the common interests of Egypt and Sudan and stressed the importance of the partnership between the two countries.
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9/20/2018 2:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[MB elements fail to disrupt protest against Qatari regime in Geneva]]>
Outlaws, illegal residents and Muslim Brotherhood members from Algeria, Tunisia and Libya tried to attack the participants in the rally, which was held to denounce terrorism and raise the issue of the Qatari al-Ghufran Tribe.

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Swiss police thwarts a plot by the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group and the Qatari regime to spoil an anti-terrorism rally outside the UN headquarters in Geneva

The Swiss security force managed to control the situation and arrested one of the attackers, who was bearing no IDs.

The rally was held to denounce Qatar's decision to revoke citizenship of al-Ghufran tribesmen and its support of terrorism in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen.

The protest was organized by the Ecumenical Alliance for Human Rights and Development, Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue, and attended by number of activists from Egypt, Yemen, Syria and members of al-Ghufran tribesmen.

3 Swiss police thwarts a plot by the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group and the Qatari regime to spoil an anti-terrorism rally outside the UN headquarters in Geneva

Al-Ghufran tribe is one of the biggest tribes in Qatar, which has been subject to systemic discrimination at the hands of the Qatari authorities, which took further steps when confiscated the properties of the members with the revoked citizenship, following the call with a systematic persecution against all the clans belonging to the large tribe, such as al-Ghufran clan.

The Qatari regime has also revoked the citizenship of another senior tribal leader, Sheikh Shafi Nasser Hamoud al-Hajri, a senior member of Shaml Al-Hawajer tribe, which is connected to the famous tribe of Qahtan. Along with the famous Qatari poet Mohammed Al-Marri who belongs to Al Murrah tribe.

4 Swiss police thwarts a plot by the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group and the Qatari regime to spoil an anti-terrorism rally outside the UN headquarters in Geneva

Later, Qatari tribe al-Ghufran declared that 6,000 of its members were forcibly displaced after the Qatari regime deprived them of their Qatari nationality and their national rights.

Egypt, alongside Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE have imposed a blockade on Qatari regime in May 2017, due its support to terrorist group.

Read more on

Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC

GENEVA - 17 September 2018: A delegation representing Al-Ghufran tribe, one of the biggest tribes in Qatar, which has been subject to systemic discrimination at the hands of the Qatari authorities, handed a letter to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, discussing their deteriorating situation.




Contributed by MENA]]>
9/20/2018 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Al-Ghufran tribe organizes sit-in by Broken Chair to protest Qatar regime’s crimes]]>
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Al-Ghufran tribe organizes sit-in by Broken Chair to protest Qatar regime’s crimes - Egypt Today

The tribe called on the international community to take a decisive stand on the Tamim regime, whom, they claim, have violated a number of international conventions and treaties through its racist policy against the Al-Ghufran tribe.

The sit-in comes as part of a wider move by the tribe on the sidelines of the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Created by Daniel Berset, the Broken Chair simpolises the struggeles of mine victims.

After a treaty (known as the Ottawa Treaty or the Mine Ban Treaty) to ban the use of anti-personnel mines was signed and came into action in 1997, Handicap International NGO commissioned the Swiss artist to create a piece of art that would draw attention to the victims of landmines to encourage nations to sign on to the treaty and stop using them.

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Al-Ghufran tribe organizes sit-in by Broken Chair to protest Qatar regime’s crimes - Egypt Today

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Al-Ghufran tribe organizes sit-in by Broken Chair to protest Qatar regime’s crimes - Egypt Today

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Al-Ghufran tribe organizes sit-in by Broken Chair to protest Qatar regime’s crimes - Egypt Today

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Al-Ghufran tribe organizes sit-in by Broken Chair to protest Qatar regime’s crimes - Egypt Today

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Al-Ghufran tribe organizes sit-in by Broken Chair to protest Qatar regime’s crimes - Egypt Today

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Al-Ghufran tribe organizes sit-in by Broken Chair to protest Qatar regime’s crimes - Egypt Today

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Al-Ghufran tribe organizes sit-in by Broken Chair to protest Qatar regime’s crimes - Egypt Today

Al-Ghufran's efforts at justice in Geneva

The delegation also held a protest Tuesday to urge the United Nations to investigate the Qatar regimes’ crimes against humanity, including stripping them of Qatari nationality

“Our issue with the Qatar regime is purely humanitarian and not political, this is why we came here to present our case and our demands to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Our demands are clear: The Qatar regime should be held accountale for the crimes that it has committed against us and other Qataris, and the restoration of our rights,” Hamad Khaled Al-Marri, a member of the tribe, who took part in the stand, stated.

A delegation from the Al-Ghufran tribe called on the UN Human Rights Council to take serious action towards investigating their complaint, submitted Monday, against the Qatari regime’s human rights violations against the tribe.

The comments of the Al-Ghufran tribe came during a seminar titled, ‘Human Rights in Qatar: The Tragic tale of the Al-Ghufran Tribe’. The seminar was organized by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR).

Members of the tribe who participated in the seminar stressed that they have taken international action against the Qatari regime after it has deprived them of their nationality, as well as their legitimate and undetachable rights as citizens of the state.

Members also spoke of their great sorrow and sadness at what they have suffered from humiliation to forced displacement to torture at the hands of the regime, all while the regime is dishing out Qatari nationalities to extremists, especially Islamic extremists, who have led to the shedding of blood in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Iraq.

Abdel Aziz al-Khamisi, a journalist who participated in the seminar, stated that members of the tribe, in cooperation with the EOHR, has called on the UN Human Rights Commission to investigate the injustice suffered by the tribe members at the hands of the Qatari regime, from revoking their nationality and forced displacement.

Al-Khamisi added that the delegation has also provided the UNHCR with evidence from some individuals’ cases who live in Qatar and have had their nationality revoked.

Building on this, Gaber Salah Al-Erq, a member of the Al-Ghufran tribe, said, “All those who have had their nationality stripped away from them have done nothing and do not even working in the political sphere. He said that most of them were dismissed from his job with an official letter and then has their nationality stripped away and possessions confiscated.”

He added that the issue with the Qatari regime is purely humanitarian and not political, this is why the case and demands were presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

He stated that the delegation had come to Geneva in peace to ask for the help of the international community.

A delegation representing Al-Ghufran tribe, one of the biggest tribes in Qatar, which has been subject to systemic discrimination at the hands of the Qatari authorities, handed a letter to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, discussing their deteriorating situation.

The tribe representatives, who had previously submitted a complaint to the Commissioner on September 21, 2017, asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations.

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Qatari tribe Al-Ghufran declared that 6,000 of its members were forcibly displaced after the Qatari regime deprived them of their Qatari nationality and their national rights. - Egypt Today

“In the previous complaint we summarized the tragedy of the Al-Ghofran clan of the tribe of Bani Mura in Qatar, from 1996 to 2004 to the time of the writing of this petition they were savagely subjected to the worst crimes of racial discrimination, forced displacement, denial of return to their homeland, imprisonment and acts of torture that led to psychological damage and death within the Qatari intelligence prisons,” stated the representatives, whose families continue to face the toughest living situation in Qatar.

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The tribe representatives had previously submitted a complaint to the Commissioner on September 21, 2017 - Egypt Today

In reaction for Al-Ghufran tribe’s opposition to the Regime’s destabilizing policies in the region and its dispute with the neighboring Gulf States, in August, Qatari authorities revoked the citizenship of Sheikh Taleb Bin Lahom Bin Shreim and 54 members of his family who belong to Al Murrah tribe in a step considered as an arbitrary act by various Human Rights organization.

The Arab Federation for Human Rights (AFHR) described the Qatari call as a “revenge” against the members of the tribe for using their natural rights to freedom of expression and movement.

The Qatari authorities took further steps when it confiscated the properties of the members with the revoked citizenship, following the call with a systematic persecution against all the clans belonging to the large tribe, such as Al Ghufran clan.

The Qatari regime has also revoked the citizenship of another senior tribal leader, Sheikh Shafi Nasser Hamoud al-Hajri, a senior member of Shaml Al-Hawajer tribe, which is connected to the famous tribe of Qahtan. Along with the famous Qatari poet Mohammed Al-Marri who belongs to Al Murrah tribe.

Later, Qatari tribe Al-Ghufran declared that 6,000 of its members were forcibly displaced after the Qatari regime deprived them of their Qatari nationality and their national rights.

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Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

These heinous crimes are believed to be well-known to Qatari authorities at all levels. “We assure you that the Qatari authorities, ranging from the Emir of Qatar, the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, the President of the National Committee for Human Rights, senior security officials and dignitaries, are aware of the discrimination members of Al Ghofran clan are subjected to and those senior officials are deeply involved in this crime,” the delegation stated, continuing, “Qatar officials are working to hide his crime from the eyes of international justice and human rights organizations, and the deliberately intimidate those trying from within Qatar to raise complaints to International bodies and human rights organizations.”

Fearing for their lives and their ability to voice their opinions or “demand their rights through the National Human Rights Committee in Doha” due to security personnel traching and monitoring their actions, which they say they have evidence off, the delegation spoke of the evidence they have of Qatari authorities treating their people with the utmost levels of brutality and monstrosity.

6
Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

Labelling them as “brutal methods that batter human dignity,” the delegation explained that “authorities deliberately change the facts and blur a lot of evidence, taking advantage of the ignorance of the victims of their rights, the lack of free local media channels and the absence of the possibility of recourse in the courts of Qatar. The victims of these violations and their families have a right to take legal action against the Qatari officials responsible.”

Revealing the crimes against humanity committed by Qatari authorities towards the tribe—some of which, like deprivation of healthcare or unfair detention, were revealed during the September 2017 Qatar global security and stability conference organized by exiled Qataris in London—the tribe called on the UN Commissioner’s office, recalling its mandate, to help them regain their rights.

“Through your unique mandate to promote and protect human rights, we ask your esteemed commission to see and stand up to the suffering of our citizens who have been deprived of their citizenship in Qatar and to the crimes committed against them and to alleviate the conditions and suffering of our displaced people in the villages and deserts of border areas in neighboring countries. We hope that your intervention will result in achieving human justice on the ground through your objective and impartial treatment of this suffering, and not to only depend on the National Human Rights Commission of Qatar which has unfortunately became an obstacle in our struggle for justice by covering up evidence and spreading false information,” the delegation petitioned.

8
Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

“We would like to draw the attention of the Office of the High Commissioner to the fact that the fear of oppression and abuse of the afflicted by the authorities of Qatar is what compels our people to remain silent and prevents many of the forcibly displaced from speaking up as they fear that their parents and relatives will be persecuted inside Qatar. The evidence is abundant and available, but the policy of muzzling mouths used by the authorities of Qatar is the obstacle that people fear to try to overcome unless supported by the High Commission by stern protection that enables them to voice their peaceful demands to restore their rights and the appearance of those who have violated their them before fair international justice, and we implore you to refer this complaint to them in light of the absence of the possibility of litigation in the courts of Qatar.”

1
A delegation representing Al-Ghufran tribe, one of the biggest tribes in Qatar, handed a letter to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, discussing their deteriorating situation. - Egypt Today

The pain of the Al-Ghufran tribe has been felt throughout the region, with many calling on human rights organizations and the UN Human Rights Commissioner to protect tribe member.

In September 2017, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) announced its total solidarity with the case of Al Ghofran clan. “Since 1995, the Qatari authorities have pursued a policy of collective punishment against the tribe of Ghofran that entailed the revoking of the nationality of more than 6000 its tribesmen and many of them were expelled from the country after their property and personal funds were confiscated. It is noteworthy that the tribe of Al Ghofran belongs to the tribe of Bani Mura, which make up about 40 percent of the people of Qatar making them indigenous to this country. EOHR has decided to adopt their cause for several reasons, including the international community’s and human rights organizations’ overlooking of this tragic issue and EOHR's belief in the universality of human rights principles and the need to establish and maintain them in the Arab region,” said Hafez Abu Seada, Egyptian human rights activist and Chairman of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR).

4
Members of the delegation in Geneva - Egypt Today

Moreover, Al-Ghufran tribed had filed an official complaint to the Arab Federation for Human Rights about the violations committed by the Qatari regime against its members. It called on the federation to refer the complaint to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Hence, in a letter addressed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, President of Arab Federation Ahmad al-Hamli called on the commission to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for such violations.

This was the second complaint filed by the tribe to the UN Human Rights Councils to call on the international community to protect and secure their rights.

The World Aid Organization for Human Rights in New York also declared its complete solidarity with the Arab Federation for Human Rights, which adopted Al-Ghufran’s case.

In its report, the World Aid Organization said that it will cooperate with the Arab Federation and all human rights organizations to highlight this collective tragedy and raise the international community's awareness about it to shoulder the humanitarian and social responsibility and follow up with the tribe members' status.

5
Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

Previously, the Manama Center for Human Rights also demanded that the international society assign a United Nations envoy specialized in human rights to Qatar to prevent any further violations of human rights.

According to a statement from the center on March 9, 2018, the international mechanisms to preserve human rights should interfere in the Qatari situation and investigate the Qatari violations against its citizens and foreign workers.

The statement also claimed that the Qatari National Committee for Human Rights is not a fair independent organization anymore, as it works for the regime's interests.

The center described the Qatari violations as “a first” in international law and policy.
According to Sky News, Ghufran already issued a first complaint against Doha last September in which they explained how Qatar violated their rights. “We wonder about the reason behind ignoring our first complaint,” the Qatari tribe’s spokesperson, Jaber Abdel Hady, told Sky News on Friday.

With all this, and much more in mind, Abu Saeda ended the complaint by saying, “The Egyptian Organization calls upon the High Commissioner for Human Rights, her excellency Mrs. Michel Bachelet, to open an extensive investigation into this tragedy. EOHR also calls upon Mrs. Bachelet to assist it in its efforts to restore the rights of the clan of Al Ghofran as indigenous inhabitants who have been robbed of their nationalities and forcefully displaced enmasse for political reasons, in violation of all international human rights instruments. Finally EOHR expresses its readiness to provide any documents or evidence that the honorable Commission may need in any of the efforts we hope it will take to stop the suffering of the people of forgiveness.”

11
The tribe asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations. - Egypt Today

15
Al-Ghufran tribe asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations. - Egypt Today


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9/19/2018 3:04:15 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt refuses to build refugee camps: Foreign Ministry]]>
This came on the sidelines of the first International Conference of Parliamentarians held in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Sihi said human trafficking and illegal migration costs the country a huge budget, stressing that any country cannot combat the phenomenon of human trafficking and illegal migration without cooperating with competent organizations.

Egypt had signed several agreements to eliminate the main causes of human trafficking and illegal migration, she explained. Sihi called on all countries receiving migrants to launch development projects to provide them with job opportunities.

The first regional conference of the prosecutor-general and general attorneys of Africa and Europe continued sessions on Wednesday for the second day with the participation of lawyers and chief prosecutors of African and European countries.

The first-day sessions tackled measures to fight organized crime, human trafficking as well as the immigration of refugees.

Wednesday's sessions are set to tackle fighting smuggling and human trafficking and the role of international and regional authorities in exchanging information.

In the same context, Minister of Local Development Abu Bakr el-Gendi announced late February that no illegal migration boats were recorded to have set off from Egyptian shores since 2016.

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.

During the ninth Euro-Mediterranean Association session, Minister of Local Development Gendi contended that the Egyptian government has adopted a comprehensive strategy to combat illegal immigration on the legal, military and cultural fronts.

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.

Offering another effective method for confronting terrorism, the minister of local development suggested that countries open their doors to youth that are 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 International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced that over 3,200 migrants died while trying to cross the Mediterranean in 2016.

Additional report with Jehad al-Sayed ]]>
9/19/2018 2:13:17 PM
<![CDATA[Britain cannot accept UK separation in any Brexit border proposal: source]]>
Asked about a report by the Times newspaper that Prime Minister Theresa May was set to reject an improved offer from the European Union, the government source said:

“We welcome the commitment to finding a solution, as the proposal put forward by the Commission in March was unacceptable. We have been very clear that what we cannot accept is Northern Ireland being separated off from the UK customs territory.”]]>
9/19/2018 1:44:29 PM
<![CDATA[Wild celebrations as ousted Pakistan PM Sharif and daughter freed from jail]]>
The Islamabad High Court suspended the 10-year sentence for Sharif and the seven-year term handed down to his daughter, Maryam, over corrupt practices linked to his family’s ownership of upscale London flats.

“Justice has been served and I congratulate Nawaz Sharif’s supporters,” former foreign minister Khawaja Asif, a staunch Sharif ally, said outside the courtroom where Sharif’s supporters were seen celebrating wildly.

The Sharifs’ convictions are still under appeal with the same Islamabad High Court, but a judge on Wednesday ruled they should be freed immediately while the case continues.

Three-time prime minister Sharif was ousted and disqualified from holding office by the Supreme Court in July 2017 and jailed earlier this year in absentia. He was arrested on July 13 upon returning from London, where his wife was receiving treatment before her death this month.

Sharif has repeatedly called the cases against him politically motivated, suggesting collusion between the powerful military and courts to destabilize his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party and throw him out of power.

“The prosecution has failed to show the properties belong to Nawaz Sharif. It also failed to prove how was Maryam Nawaz sentenced under the same charge sheet which convicted Nawaz Sharif,” Justice Athar Minallah told the court.]]>
9/19/2018 1:42:31 PM
<![CDATA[Lawsuit demands collective dismissal of Muslim Brotherhood members]]>
Lawyer of the Cassation Court Tarek Mahmoud said that Prime Minister Hesham Qandil of the Muslim Brotherhood regime issued several decrees to give the members of the Islamist group access to leading positions at different ministries and government organizations.

He claimed that the majority of such people were appointed illegally, only to control the administrative skeleton of the state at ministries like the Education, Transport, Higher Education, and at town councils.

Their sole goal, according to Mahmoud, is to make state policies, which aim to facilitate daily procedures of citizens, futile so as to create a gap between Egyptians and the authorities.

The lawyer added that the Islamists who were appointed in such way still occupy their positions although they belong to a terrorist organization per a judicial decree.
Mahmoud demanded the Interior Ministry to embark on a database, along with the Central Agency for Organization and Administration, for all state personnel to dismiss those who are proved to be members of the “terrorist” group.
]]>
9/19/2018 11:13:34 AM
<![CDATA[Plan set to achieve digital country]]>
This initiative comes as part of the government’s plan to transform Egypt into a digital country.

Minister of Communication and Information Technology Amr Talaat told Egypt Today that the information infrastructure of the new health insurance system includes a unified health file for each patient, who visits medical units and laboratories, as well as the statistical reports and database necessary for decision-makers at the health sector.

He added that this will enable the government to follow up the patients' health registry, develop an integrated database of the chronic diseases and establish a secure information network to exchange information and services among the medical units.

“The project aims to automate the comprehensive social health insurance system and deploy it in accordance with the plan of the Ministry of Health and Population, aiming to serve all citizens, provide medical care for those who cannot afford health coverage and improve the delivery of health services,” according to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.

During the second day of the National Youth Conference held on July 29, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi urged the Administrative Control Authority to transform Egypt into a digital country within four years to improve the services offered to citizens in all fields.

He referred that the National Information Infrastructure Project will help the state reach poor families.

Hence, the Ministry of Communication plays a vital role in implementing the government’s plan through providing technical advisory to ministries to provide Egyptians with electronic services through different channels.

Talaat revealed that one of the projects that the ministry works on is the electronic smart cards for Egypt's farmers to control the agricultural sector.

The electronic cards will store information, including farmers' names, identification number and agricultural land holdings, to eliminate administrative corruption within the Ministry of Agriculture, ensure that subsidies reach the proper recipients and help the government keep track of land holdings and the types of cultivated lands.

The ministry will also establish a vast database and provide precise information for state agricultural planning and design purposes.

As for education, around 2500 schools have access to the internet service, and by the beginning of the new academic year all schools across Egypt will have internet access, which is a part of the plan to develop the educational system.

On the other hand, the minister of communication said that an agreement was signed with the Ministry of Immigration to implement the “international remittances” service to facilitate for Egyptians abroad the remittances service through enabling them to instantly send their remittances to their relatives in Egypt through their cell phones.

As for the digital economy, President Sisi referred during meeting with the CEO of Visa International Alfred Kelly on April 4 that Egypt seeks to enhance cooperation with the digital payment company Visa International and to increase its investments in Egypt.

Presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said that the president referred to the government’s efforts in upgrading the system of financial services, which will help encourage investment and stimulate the economy.

The president said the government is working to achieve financial inclusion through merging different segments of the society into the financial services system.
The meeting also touched on discussing means of cooperation with Visa in implementing Egypt’s strategy to transform into digital economy.
]]>
9/19/2018 10:32:15 AM
<![CDATA[EU working to "improve" Irish Brexit border proposal to UK -Barnier]]>
"We are ready to improve this proposal," Barnier told reporters after briefing EU ministers on his talks ahead of a summit of EU leaders in Salzburg on Wednesday and Thursday.

"Most checks can take place away from the border, at company premises, or the market," Barnier said of customs and regulatory checks on goods that might move from the British mainland to Northern Ireland, which the EU has offered to keep inside the EU economic space after Brexit to avoid border friction.

Aware that British Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out a new "border" between the province and the British mainland, Barnier said he was looking at a broad range of ways in which the EU could be sure that Britain did not use Northern Ireland's special status to sidestep EU controls on British goods.

Insisting that it was only "an insurance policy" which might never be used if Britain and the EU succeed in negotiating the close trading relationship both sides want, Barnier repeated that he was keen to "de-dramatise" the effects of Britain's withdrawal from the Union.

But, aware of Irish worries about a possible political fudge on the issue, he stressed that the backstop must be "legally operational" and said a summit in Brussels on Oct. 18 would be a "moment of truth" for whether a deal was possible before Britain leaves the EU, deal or no deal, next March.
]]>
9/19/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Syria's Idlib spared attack, Turkey to send in more troops]]>
The deal unveiled on Monday by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Assad's most powerful ally, and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will create a demilitarised zone from which "radical" rebels must withdraw by the middle of next month.

Damascus also welcomed the agreement but vowed to continue its efforts to recover "every inch" of Syria. Iran, Assad's other main ally, said that "responsible diplomacy" had averted a war in Idlib "with a firm commitment to fight extremist terror".

The agreement halted a threatened Syrian government offensive. The United Nations had warned such an attack would create a humanitarian catastrophe in the Idlib region, home to about 3 million people.

The Idlib region and adjoining territory north of Aleppo represent the opposition's last big foothold in Syria. Assad has recovered most of the areas once held by the rebels, with decisive military support from Iran and Russia.

But his plans to recover the northwest have been complicated by Turkey's role on the ground. It has soldiers at 12 locations in Idlib and supplies weapons to some of the rebels.

Erdogan had feared another exodus of refugees to join the 3.5 million already in Turkey, and warned against any attack.

In striking the deal, Russia appears - at least for now - to have put its ties with Turkey ahead of advancing the goal of bringing all Syria back under Assad's rule.

That goal is also obstructed by the presence of U.S. forces in the quarter of Syria east of the Euphrates that is held by an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, and at a base near the borders with Jordan and Iraq.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis played down any notion the Turkey-Russia agreement had resolved the situation in Idlib.

"Idlib is one of the most complex problems in a complex theatre (of conflict) right now. So I'm quite sure it's not all sorted," Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

Analysts cautioned that implementation of the deal faced big challenges, notably how to separate jihadists from other rebels - a goal Ankara has been struggling to achieve.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the "moderate opposition" would keep its weapons and the "region will be cleared of radicals". Turkey would "make additional troop deployments" and its 12 observation posts would remain.

The deal was "very important for the political resolution in Syria". "If this (Idlib) had been lost too, there would be no opposition anymore," he said.

Mustafa Sejari, a Free Syria Army (FSA) official, said the deal "buries Assad's dreams of imposing his full control over Syria".

Yahya al-Aridi, spokesman for the opposition Syrian Negotiations Commission, expressed hope a government offensive was now off the table for good.

The Syrian government, in a statement published by state media, said it welcomed any agreement that spared blood. It also said the deal had a specific time frame, which it did not detail.

"I see it as a test of the extent of Turkey's ability to implement this decision," Ali Abdul Karim, Syria's ambassador to Lebanon, said in an interview with Lebanon's al-Jadeed TV. "We do not trust Turkey ... but it's useful for Turkey to be able to carry out this fight to rid these groups from their weapons."

'CATASTROPHE' AVERTED

Moscow said the deal "confirmed the ability of both Moscow and Ankara to compromise ... in the interests of the ultimate goal of a Syrian settlement by political and diplomatic means".

"Is this merely a stay of execution? Or is it the beginning of a reprieve?" U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock asked during a monthly meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Syria.

The demilitarised zone will be monitored by Russian and Turkish forces, the countries' leaders said.

Neither Russia nor Turkey has explained how it plans to differentiate "radically minded" rebels from other anti-Assad groups. It was also not immediately clear how much of the city of Idlib fell within the zone.

Putin said the decision was to establish by Oct. 15 a demilitarised area 15 to 20 km (10-12 miles) deep along the contact line between rebel and government fighters.

Naji Abu Hufaiza, spokesman for the National Front for Liberation, said he did not have details of the agreement, but added that while he saw it as a success for Turkish diplomacy, his group did not trust Russia to uphold it.

Idlib is held by an array of rebels. The most powerful is Tahrir al-Sham, an amalgamation of Islamist groups dominated by the former Nusra Front - an al Qaeda affiliate until 2016.

Other Islamists, and groups fighting as the Free Syrian Army banner, are now gathered with Turkish backing under the banner of the "National Front for Liberation".

The area is also the last major haven for foreign jihadists who came to Syria to fight the Alawite-led Assad government.

Putin said that, at Erdogan's suggestion, by Oct. 10, all opposition heavy weapons, mortars, tanks, rocket systems would also be removed from the demilitarised zone.

Earlier this month, Putin publicly rebuffed a proposal from Erdogan for a truce when the two met along with Iran's president at a summit in Tehran.
]]>
9/19/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Al-Ghufran tribe calls on UN to seriously investigate ‘crime’ of stripping them of Qatari nationality]]>
The comments of the Al-Ghufran tribe came during a seminar, held on the sidelines of the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council, titled, ‘Human Rights in Qatar: The Tragic tale of the Al-Ghufran Tribe’. The seminar was organized by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR).

Members of the tribe who participated in the seminar stressed that they have taken international action against the Qatari regime after it has deprived them of their nationality, as well as their legitimate and undetachable rights as citizens of the state.

Members also spoke of their great sorrow and sadness at what they have suffered from humiliation to forced displacement to torture at the hands of the regime, all while the regime is dishing out Qatari nationalities to extremists, especially Islamic extremists, who have led to the shedding of blood in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Iraq.

Abdel Aziz al-Khamis, a journalist who participated in the seminar, stated that members of the tribe, in cooperation with the EOHR, has called on the UN Human Rights Commission to investigate the injustice suffered by the tribe members at the hands of the Qatari regime, from revoking their nationality and forced displacement.

Al-Khamis added that the delegation has also provided the UNHCR with evidence from some individuals’ cases who live in Qatar and have had their nationality revoked.

Building on this, Gaber Salah Al-Erq, a member of the Al-Ghufran tribe, said, “All those who have had their nationality stripped away from them have done nothing and do not even working in the political sphere. He said that most of them were dismissed from his job with an official letter and then has their nationality stripped away and possessions confiscated.”

He added that the issue with the Qatari regime is purely humanitarian and not political, this is why the case and demands were presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

He stated that the delegation had come to Geneva in peace to ask for the help of the international community.

A delegation representing Al-Ghufran tribe, one of the biggest tribes in Qatar, which has been subject to systemic discrimination at the hands of the Qatari authorities, handed a letter to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, discussing their deteriorating situation.

The tribe representatives, who had previously submitted a complaint to the Commissioner on September 21, 2017, asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations.

2
Qatari tribe Al-Ghufran declared that 6,000 of its members were forcibly displaced after the Qatari regime deprived them of their Qatari nationality and their national rights. - Egypt Today

“In the previous complaint we summarized the tragedy of the Al-Ghofran clan of the tribe of Bani Mura in Qatar, from 1996 to 2004 to the time of the writing of this petition they were savagely subjected to the worst crimes of racial discrimination, forced displacement, denial of return to their homeland, imprisonment and acts of torture that led to psychological damage and death within the Qatari intelligence prisons,” stated the representatives, whose families continue to face the toughest living situation in Qatar.

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The tribe representatives had previously submitted a complaint to the Commissioner on September 21, 2017 - Egypt Today

In reaction for Al-Ghufran tribe’s opposition to the Regime’s destabilizing policies in the region and its dispute with the neighboring Gulf States, in August, Qatari authorities revoked the citizenship of Sheikh Taleb Bin Lahom Bin Shreim and 54 members of his family who belong to Al Murrah tribe in a step considered as an arbitrary act by various Human Rights organization.

The Arab Federation for Human Rights (AFHR) described the Qatari call as a “revenge” against the members of the tribe for using their natural rights to freedom of expression and movement.

The Qatari authorities took further steps when it confiscated the properties of the members with the revoked citizenship, following the call with a systematic persecution against all the clans belonging to the large tribe, such as Al Ghufran clan.

The Qatari regime has also revoked the citizenship of another senior tribal leader, Sheikh Shafi Nasser Hamoud al-Hajri, a senior member of Shaml Al-Hawajer tribe, which is connected to the famous tribe of Qahtan. Along with the famous Qatari poet Mohammed Al-Marri who belongs to Al Murrah tribe.

Later, Qatari tribe Al-Ghufran declared that 6,000 of its members were forcibly displaced after the Qatari regime deprived them of their Qatari nationality and their national rights.

14
Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

These heinous crimes are believed to be well-known to Qatari authorities at all levels. “We assure you that the Qatari authorities, ranging from the Emir of Qatar, the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, the President of the National Committee for Human Rights, senior security officials and dignitaries, are aware of the discrimination members of Al Ghofran clan are subjected to and those senior officials are deeply involved in this crime,” the delegation stated, continuing, “Qatar officials are working to hide his crime from the eyes of international justice and human rights organizations, and the deliberately intimidate those trying from within Qatar to raise complaints to International bodies and human rights organizations.”

Fearing for their lives and their ability to voice their opinions or “demand their rights through the National Human Rights Committee in Doha” due to security personnel traching and monitoring their actions, which they say they have evidence off, the delegation spoke of the evidence they have of Qatari authorities treating their people with the utmost levels of brutality and monstrosity.

6
Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

Labelling them as “brutal methods that batter human dignity,” the delegation explained that “authorities deliberately change the facts and blur a lot of evidence, taking advantage of the ignorance of the victims of their rights, the lack of free local media channels and the absence of the possibility of recourse in the courts of Qatar. The victims of these violations and their families have a right to take legal action against the Qatari officials responsible.”

Revealing the crimes against humanity committed by Qatari authorities towards the tribe—some of which, like deprivation of healthcare or unfair detention, were revealed during the September 2017 Qatar global security and stability conference organized by exiled Qataris in London—the tribe called on the UN Commissioner’s office, recalling its mandate, to help them regain their rights.

“Through your unique mandate to promote and protect human rights, we ask your esteemed commission to see and stand up to the suffering of our citizens who have been deprived of their citizenship in Qatar and to the crimes committed against them and to alleviate the conditions and suffering of our displaced people in the villages and deserts of border areas in neighboring countries. We hope that your intervention will result in achieving human justice on the ground through your objective and impartial treatment of this suffering, and not to only depend on the National Human Rights Commission of Qatar which has unfortunately became an obstacle in our struggle for justice by covering up evidence and spreading false information,” the delegation petitioned.

8
Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

“We would like to draw the attention of the Office of the High Commissioner to the fact that the fear of oppression and abuse of the afflicted by the authorities of Qatar is what compels our people to remain silent and prevents many of the forcibly displaced from speaking up as they fear that their parents and relatives will be persecuted inside Qatar. The evidence is abundant and available, but the policy of muzzling mouths used by the authorities of Qatar is the obstacle that people fear to try to overcome unless supported by the High Commission by stern protection that enables them to voice their peaceful demands to restore their rights and the appearance of those who have violated their them before fair international justice, and we implore you to refer this complaint to them in light of the absence of the possibility of litigation in the courts of Qatar.”

1
A delegation representing Al-Ghufran tribe, one of the biggest tribes in Qatar, handed a letter to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, discussing their deteriorating situation. - Egypt Today

The pain of the Al-Ghufran tribe has been felt throughout the region, with many calling on human rights organizations and the UN Human Rights Commissioner to protect tribe member.

In September 2017, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) announced its total solidarity with the case of Al Ghofran clan. “Since 1995, the Qatari authorities have pursued a policy of collective punishment against the tribe of Ghofran that entailed the revoking of the nationality of more than 6000 its tribesmen and many of them were expelled from the country after their property and personal funds were confiscated. It is noteworthy that the tribe of Al Ghofran belongs to the tribe of Bani Mura, which make up about 40 percent of the people of Qatar making them indigenous to this country. EOHR has decided to adopt their cause for several reasons, including the international community’s and human rights organizations’ overlooking of this tragic issue and EOHR's belief in the universality of human rights principles and the need to establish and maintain them in the Arab region,” said Hafez Abu Seada, Egyptian human rights activist and Chairman of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR).

4
Members of the delegation in Geneva - Egypt Today

Moreover, Al-Ghufran tribed had filed an official complaint to the Arab Federation for Human Rights about the violations committed by the Qatari regime against its members. It called on the federation to refer the complaint to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Hence, in a letter addressed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, President of Arab Federation Ahmad al-Hamli called on the commission to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for such violations.

This was the second complaint filed by the tribe to the UN Human Rights Councils to call on the international community to protect and secure their rights.

The World Aid Organization for Human Rights in New York also declared its complete solidarity with the Arab Federation for Human Rights, which adopted Al-Ghufran’s case.

In its report, the World Aid Organization said that it will cooperate with the Arab Federation and all human rights organizations to highlight this collective tragedy and raise the international community's awareness about it to shoulder the humanitarian and social responsibility and follow up with the tribe members' status.

5
Al-Ghufran Tribe delegation submits petition on Qatari human rights violation to UNHRC - Egypt Today

Previously, the Manama Center for Human Rights also demanded that the international society assign a United Nations envoy specialized in human rights to Qatar to prevent any further violations of human rights.

According to a statement from the center on March 9, 2018, the international mechanisms to preserve human rights should interfere in the Qatari situation and investigate the Qatari violations against its citizens and foreign workers.

The statement also claimed that the Qatari National Committee for Human Rights is not a fair independent organization anymore, as it works for the regime's interests.

The center described the Qatari violations as “a first” in international law and policy.
According to Sky News, Ghufran already issued a first complaint against Doha last September in which they explained how Qatar violated their rights. “We wonder about the reason behind ignoring our first complaint,” the Qatari tribe’s spokesperson, Jaber Abdel Hady, told Sky News on Friday.

With all this, and much more in mind, Abu Saeda ended the complaint by saying, “The Egyptian Organization calls upon the High Commissioner for Human Rights, her excellency Mrs. Michel Bachelet, to open an extensive investigation into this tragedy. EOHR also calls upon Mrs. Bachelet to assist it in its efforts to restore the rights of the clan of Al Ghofran as indigenous inhabitants who have been robbed of their nationalities and forcefully displaced enmasse for political reasons, in violation of all international human rights instruments. Finally EOHR expresses its readiness to provide any documents or evidence that the honorable Commission may need in any of the efforts we hope it will take to stop the suffering of the people of forgiveness.”

11
The tribe asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations. - Egypt Today

15
Al-Ghufran tribe asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations. - Egypt Today
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9/18/2018 8:15:59 PM