<![CDATA[rss-Politics]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Politics]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Egypt, Korea discuses cooperation in Small, Medium Enterprises in IDSC’s workshop]]>
IDSC head Ziad Abdel Tawab said that Egypt is keen on supporting the sector of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises, providing it with all needed resources.

He affirmed that the government sees that sector as one of the main pillars to achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development, as it counters unemployment and provides a huge amount of jobs.

He noted that the government has been working on youth and women empowerment during the past period through applying national strategies adopted by the government. He assured that the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises sector witnesses a huge development in Egypt.

Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Yun Kang-hyeon said in his speech in the workshop that he regrets not visiting Egypt before. He added that he read a lot on the Egyptian economic developments and reforms and that he was impressed.

He predicted that Egypt will achieve economic growth of up to 6.5 percent during this fiscal year, noting that foreign investors trust the Egyptian economy.

He also stressed that Korea is aware of the difficulties Egypt has recently been going through to achieve these economic developments. He expected even more achievements for the country in the economic sector.

Jae Wook Jung, head of the Africa and the Middle East Team at Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP), said that the Egyptian-Korean economic relations witnessed noticed improvements in the past period, noting that both countries intend to expand mutual cooperation, and share knowledge and experiences.





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6/19/2019 6:18:12 PM
<![CDATA[Foreign Ministry denounces OHCHR statements on Morsi's death]]>
According to a statement issued by spokesperson of Foreign Ministry Ahmed Hafez on Wednesday, he pointed out that such statements are not appropriate to be released by an international organization.

He also denounced the content of the statements which implied doubts that aim at undermining the State's institutions and neutrality of the Egyptian justice.

Hafez's statement asserted that such attempts are malicious claims to undermine Egypt's commitment to international standards and jumping to fake conclusions without giving any valid evidence.

"Such remarks are completely unacceptable especially in view of Egypt's specific measures that have already been applicable by the Egyptian authorities out of its full commitment to and respect of international treaties," the statement added.

Hafez asserted that Egypt is well aware that such "politicized" statements come in line with statements made by officials in a certain country and entities that seek to take advantage of the issue for political purposes.

This country is claiming to respect democracy and human rights, while its actions and practices are just aiming to keep its powers by all possible means; the regime of this country has turned it into a large prison, the spokesperson added.

He further noted that this country is detaining tens of thousands of its opponents and members of the civil society without holding anyone accountable for stealing their freedom of expression. Additionally,this country is sponsoring thousands of terrorists who are operating in the region and are involved in killing thousands of innocent people with the aim of achieving political gains.

The Foreign Ministry spokesperson also asserted that such remarks by the spokesperson of OHCHR will be debated at the highest levels in Egypt to consider its objectivity,violations and deviations in breach of all norms of professionalism and neutrality that should be applied by an international body.

In the same context, the State Information Service criticized on Tuesday tweets made by the Human Rights Watch on Morsi’s death.

Here is the full SIS statement:

“Human Rights Watch’s tweets on Morsi’s passing represent nothing but political exploitation in the name of Human Rights.

In a new ethical low for Human Rights Watch, Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East and North Africa division of HRW, published a number of tweets on her account regarding the circumstances of the passing of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi. Whitson’s tweets contained nothing but false claims that reaffirm HRW's tradition of circulating lies."

The allegations made by the tweets were as follows:

1. Whitson accused the Egyptian government of causing the death of the deceased deposed president through "criminal negligence" by not providing him with adequate healthcare. She also used the deceased president’s passing to give credence to such claims and apply them broadly to all inmates serving sentences in Egyptian prisons.

2. It is astonishing that Whitson posted her first tweet less than 30 minutes after the announcement of the deceased deposed president’s passing, and in this very first tweet she prematurely assumed that the deceased deposed president passed away due to medical negligence without providing any evidence or proof of her allegations,bearing in mind that the only verified information about his death was in the statement released by the public prosecutor after the preliminary examination of the deceased deposed president’s passing.The prosecutor added that he will provide more details after forensic officials finish their examination of the body.

3. HRW’s last report on the deceased deposed president’s health condition was 2 years ago on June 19, 2017 and it included some allegations of violations of his right to have access to proper healthcare. This contradicted with an official report that was issued simultaneously, which stated that the deceased deposed president was in good health, and was only suffering from diabetes. Since then no reports or updates were provided by HRW on the health of the deceased deposed president which proves that the allegations made by Whitson are nothing but unfounded lies.

4. The deceased deposed president submitted his last official request to the court regarding his health condition on November 19th, 2017 asking to be treated on his own expense and the court approved his request. This further demonstrates how false Whitson’s allegations really are.

The conclusions that Whitson has reached in her tweets are nothing but an attempt to prematurely reach outcomes with the most politicized intentions. Furthermore, HRW has reached a new low by attempting to take advantage of the death of an Egyptian citizen to make political statements, and unfounded criminal accusations that have no relation whatsoever to human rights work.
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Morsi, 67, who died from heart attack on Monday, according to preliminary medical assessment had received continuous medical care, and his health condition had not been ignored, a medical official said. The medical source added that the prison had cooperated with a number of hospitals to serve Morsi and look after his condition.

Morsi was the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Organization, which was designated by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Russia as a terrorist group.
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6/19/2019 3:46:09 PM
<![CDATA[Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson advances on Britain's top job]]>
Johnson, the face of the official Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum, won 126 out of 313 votes and so goes through to a third ballot between 1400 GMT and 1600 GMT on Wednesday with four other candidates who won 33 votes or more.

The former foreign minister was far ahead of the rest of the pack, stretching a lead which, for many, makes Johnson the all but inevitable victor to replace Prime Minister Theresa May and take on Britain’s so far ill-fated Brexit negotiations.

At a sometimes ill-tempered BBC debate, Johnson repeated his pledge that he would take Britain out of the EU by Oct. 31, again saying the only way to do so was to prepare for a so-called no deal exit and concentrate on winning a new trade deal.

“We must come out on the 31st of October because, otherwise I am afraid we face a catastrophic loss of confidence in politics,” Johnson said.

“October 31 is eminently feasible. Let me just say if we now say that we have a deadline that is not a deadline and we allow October 31 to come and go as March came and went and April came and went I think the public will look upon us with increasing mystification.”

With Johnson so far ahead, the race is on for second place, with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and Home Secretary Sajid Javid all trying to prove they would be his toughest challenger.

The remaining five will now face votes until the race is whittled down to two candidates, who will face a postal ballot of the Conservative Party’s largely pro-Brexit members. A new prime minister should be chosen by the end of July.

At the debate, the four other candidates - after former Brexit minister Dominic Raab was knocked out - tried to test Johnson, a former London mayor who has so far been relatively silent in the campaign, even avoiding an earlier debate.

Almost three years since Britain voted to leave the EU, the country, parliament and both main parties are deeply divided over how, when and even whether Brexit should happen.

With a simple message similar to the soundbites he used in the 2016 referendum campaign, Johnson, who unlike other politicians is better known by his first name, has managed to persuade much of his party that only he can rescue it from electoral disaster by delivering Brexit.

But he has attracted criticism from his rivals for promising to cut income tax for high earners.

In Tuesday’s debate, Johnson was also taken to task for past comments in which he offended Muslims, women and others.

“In so far as my words have given offence over the last 20 or 30 years when I’ve been a journalist and people have taken those words out of my articles and escalated them... of course I am sorry for the offence they have caused,” he said.

His rise towards Downing Street is the latest twist in an eventful career for a man whose quick wit and eccentric style have helped him shrug off a series of scandals, including getting sacked from the party’s policy team while in opposition for lying about an extra-marital affair.

That and other episodes earned him the tabloid nickname “Bonking Boris”. But where others would have floundered, Johnson became increasingly popular, culminating in his two victories in usually left-leaning London’s mayoral contests in 2008 and 2012.

After helping to win the Brexit referendum for the Leave side in 2016, Johnson’s bid to succeed David Cameron as prime minister was scuppered when his close ally Gove abruptly deserted him and announced his own candidacy.

The betrayal by Gove, whose parting shot was to say that “Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead”, stopped Johnson’s march on Downing Street in 2016, allowing May to win the top job.

But her failure to get a divorce deal ratified by the British parliament destroyed her premiership.

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6/19/2019 1:33:55 PM
<![CDATA[Trump launches re-election campaign, presents himself as outsider and victim]]>
At a packed rally at an arena in Orlando, Florida, Trump made clear he would run for re-election as an outsider, just as he did in 2016. Whether he can pull it off remains far from certain as Trump has been in office now for 2-1/2 years.

He revisited campaign themes from four years ago, decrying illegal immigration, the news media and his 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

“Together we stared down a broken political establishment and we restored government by and for the people,” Trump said. “As long as you keep this team in place, we have a tremendous way to go. Our future has never looked brighter or sharper.”

Trump said his Democratic challengers would radically change the United States and seek to legalize migrants coming across the southern border so they could vote and boost the Democratic political base.

Democrats “want to destroy our country as we know it” and that it’s “not going to happen,” Trump said.

“We believe our country should be a sanctuary for law-abiding citizens, not for criminal aliens,” he said.

Two dozen Democrats are competing for their party’s nomination to face off against Trump in the November 2020 election. Many of the top Democrats lead Trump in opinion polls in battleground states.

Trump called his opponents a “radical left-wing mob” who would bring socialism to the United States.

“A vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American dream,” he said.

AIRING GRIEVANCES

Trump made his re-election launch official at what was his 60th political rally since he took office in January 2017. He brought his wife, Melania, and a large contingent of senior White House staff.

“Tonight I stand before you to officially launch my campaign for a second term as president of the United States,” Trump said. “I promise you I will never ever let you down.”

Over the course of a speech that lasted an hour and 20 minutes, Trump blasted the news media as “fake news,” took credit for a strong economy, said he was putting the heat on China on trade, promoted his proposal for a “space force,” vowed to protect Americans’ rights to own guns and said he wanted to launch a space mission to Mars.

Trump also declared himself a victim and aired his grievances.

He made an issue of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The probe found insufficient evidence to establish that the Trump campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Moscow. It also described numerous attempts by Trump to impede Mueller’s probe, but stopped short of declaring that he committed a crime.

“We went through the biggest witch hunt in political history,” said Trump. “It was all an illegal attempt to overturn the results of the election.”

Two-and-a-half years into his tenure, Trump sees plenty of positive factors, led by a growing economy with low unemployment.

“If the economy stays strong, he is very likely to get re-elected,” said Trump confidant Newt Gingrich, a former Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

But the lingering aftermath of the Russia probe, coupled with a presidential style marked by name-calling and eye-popping tweets, has undermined some Americans’ confidence in Trump.

He also has stirred division with his hard-line policies on immigration and unsettled business and farm groups with his use of tariffs in trade disputes with China and some allies.

Democrats cite a string of broken promises in Trump’s first term, from lowering drug prices to closing corporate tax loopholes and stopping plant closures.

“Donald Trump is launching his campaign for re-election tonight and the American people face a choice - we can make Trump an aberration or let him fundamentally and forever alter the character of this nation,” said Kate Bedingfield, deputy campaign manager for Democratic front-runner Joe Biden.

POLLING CONCERNS

A Reuters/Ipsos poll on June 11 gave Trump a 40% job approval rating, compared with 57% who disapproved. Other opinion polls have shown him running consistently behind his main Democratic challengers, such as Biden, in key battleground states.

Republican strategists say the fundamentals favor Trump as he heads into his election but that he faces challenges given his bare-knuckled approach, which he refuses to temper.

The Orlando Sentinel welcomed the president’s visit with an editorial titled: “Our endorsement for president in 2020: Not Donald Trump.”

Trump supporters with tents and sleeping bags started camping out at the rally venue on Monday and thousands had gathered by Tuesday afternoon in a torrential downpour. “It was like a big Trump party,” said Maureen Bailey, who slept in a tent with her twin sister, Laureen Vartanian.]]>
6/19/2019 1:32:05 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi: Egyptian-Romanian trade relations surpassed $1 billion in 2018]]>


Sisi noted in a press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in Bucharest that they discussed cooperation in the fields of economy and tourism, affirming that their previous meetings have contributed to strengthening the bilateral relations.

Sisi arrived in the Romanian capital as part of his European tour that included Belarus.

President Sisi stressed the strength and depth of the historic relations between Egypt and Romania within the framework of mutual respect, explaining that these relations have witnessed a great boost in light of the continuous communication between the two countries, including the Arab-European Summit held on February 24-25 in Egypt’s Sharm el-Shiekh.

The opportunities of cooperation between the two countries are promising, Sisi said, affirming that his talks with President Iohannis on Wednesday was constructive and fruitful.

Sisi said that his meeting with President Iohannis has represented a prominent opportunity to exchange visions concerning the developments in the region.

"I reviewed the Egyptian vision concerning the ways of peaceful settlement of the ongoing crises in the Arab region, and affirmed that there is no way for sustainable security and stability in the Middle East region without a just and comprehensive settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which would guarantee the Palestinian people their legitimate rights in establishing an independent state on the borders of June 4, 1967," Sisi stated.

The green line (June 4, 1967 border) is the internationally recognized border between the Palestinian territory including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, and the Israeli territory.]]>
6/19/2019 12:44:50 PM
<![CDATA[CAPMAS reveals number of Egyptians abroad, migration and marriage of Egyptians from foreigners]]>
The report noted that the total number of Egyptians in Arab countries reached 6.985 million Egyptians, marking 68.2 percent.The number of Egyptians who acquired an immigrant status reached 348 in 2017, according to the report.

For the foreign nationalities granted to Egyptians, the report showed that the number of Egyptians who acquired foreign nationality during the period 2013-2017 reached to 2331 Egyptian.

Meanwhile, the number of foreigners who acquired the Egyptian nationality decreased by 75.1 percent from 2013 to 2017. The study pointed out that the sons of Egyptian mothers and foreign women married to Egyptian men are among the main reasons for obtaining the Egyptian nationality.

The results of the statistical study indicate that the number of Egyptians married to Arab and foreign women reached 24,800. The number of marriage contracts of Egyptians from an Arab wife reached 12,220 during the period 2013-2017, while marriages to foreign wives amounted to 12,589.

The number of Egyptian marriages to an Arab husband reached 7772 cases from 2013 to 2017, while the cases of Egyptian marriage to a foreign husband amounted to 2485 and the number of foreign births hit 125 births during the period 2013-2017.

The results indicate that the number of Egyptian son scientific missions abroad reached a maximum height of 1021 Egyptians in 2016, while it reached 560 Egyptians in 2017.

The study also pointed out that the number of foreigners working in the government sector reached 1132 foreigners in 2017, an increase of 27.3 percent over 2016, where the number reached 889 foreigners.

Also, the number of foreign workers in the private and investment sector decreased by 8.4 percent during the period 2013-2017,reaching 14699 foreigners in 2013, and 13469 foreigners in 2017.

https://www.egypttoday.com/Article/2/59108/All-you-need-to-know-about-Egyptian-nationality-law-amendments

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6/19/2019 11:52:37 AM
<![CDATA[Parliamentary delegation headed by Speaker visits China]]>
Speaker Abdel Aal presented the role of the House of Representatives in laws promulgation, and monitoring of the government. The Speaker highlighted that the state is currently experiencing a legislative revolution to cope with the economic reform program adopted by Egypt.

Abdel Aal said that the visit came in time where the Egyptian and Chinese relations are witnessing momentum on all levels praising the cooperation between both countries in the field of counterterrorism.

The Speaker expressed appreciation for the economic ties between China and Egypt, pointing out that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) mirror the shared views of both countries on the salience of reinforcing international trade.

On his side, Yang welcomed the delegation and said that China perceives Egypt as a strategic partner and friend because of the proximity of visions on international and regional matters of mutual interest.

The delegation had met on Monday the head of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) as she presented the city’s economic experience, particularly in the sector of organizing international fairs where Egypt takes part regularly.
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6/18/2019 5:54:03 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan parties agree on militias eradication in Cairo ]]>
The following is the full statement:

The Libyan National Parties, including their political, social, and cultural segments, affirm their support to the stability of Libya and the integrity of its territory. The Libyan National Parties salute the [National Libyan] Armed Forces for heeding the repeated calls of the people for salvation from terrorism and militias that ruined the homeland and destroyed its properties. As a result, the homeland became a refuge for extremists, and a conflict zone. Such situation made room for abhorrent foreign intervention in Libyan internal affairs. In that context, the Libyan National Parties assert the following:

1) Gratitude to the Arab Republic of Egypt, its people and leadership for the political support they have been providing for the Libyan people in their struggle to defuse their country’s current crisis.

2) The unlimited support for the Libyan National Armed Forces in its efforts to combat terrorism, and militias in Trippoli. Moreover, the participants in this conference call upon the Libyan National Armed Forces to expedite the liberation of Tripoli and the full elimination of terrorism and crime that were imposed on Libyan over the past years. That is in addition to the empowerment of legitimate civil institutions to operate in a secure and stable environment. All that aims at establishing a civil, democratic, prosperous, and inclusive state.

3) The conference calls upon the residents of Tripoli and neighboring cities to advise their children, who are brainwashed and involved with militias, to give up their weapons so they would be part of the reconstruction of the homeland after clearing the capital [from all armed groups].

4) The conference affirms that Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Ghassan Salama lacks objectivity. His obvious bias in favor of precise entities has presented an obstacle in reaching a political settlement to the current crisis. A serious and objective person must be selected for that position.

5) The conference expresses its great discontent over the alliance of militias and Chairman of the so-called Presidential Council Fayez al-Sarraj, who is responsible for the deterioration of the situation in Libya.

6) The conference condemns the Qatari and Turkish support for militias in Tripoli. Both countries provide militias with cash and arms, and bring mercenaries and terrorists from Syria and Iraq to the Capital, Tripoli to fight the Libyan National Armed Forces.

7) The conference urges the international community to understand the situation in Libya and the Libyan people’s rejection of any foreign intervention aimed at imposing control on its willpower or political future.

8) The conference stipulates the necessity to lift the ban on arms supply to the Libyan National Armed Forces as that will accelerate the pace of terrorism and militias eradication.

9) The conference affirms that any calls for a ceasefire in light of the fact that arms are possessed by non-state actors are calls for the continuity of the crisis and the misery lived by the people for years. Any solution shall never be accepted unless militias give up their arms to the Libyan National Armed Forces and security agencies.

10) The total rejection of the proposal by Chairman of the so-called Presidential Council Fayez al-Sarraj as he opts for the continuity of the absence of state sovereignty that was dominant before launching the Dignity Flood operation.

Turkey, Qatar smuggle weapons to terrorists in Libya: ex-Libyan minister

CAIRO - 17 June 2019: Former Libyan Interior Minister Saleh Ragab accused Turkey and Qatar of smuggling weapons to terrorist groups and militia in Libya to keep fighting against the Libyan National Army in Tripoli. In his speech during a Monday meeting with Libyan figures and politicians in Cairo, Ragab said that Libyans support LNA efforts to restore the country's stability and security.




Since April, the Libyan National Armed Forces have been attempting to enter Tripoli. The forces cleared some surrounding areas from the militia, and captured Mitiga International Airport.

Libyan parties meet in Cairo, support LNA efforts to fight terrorism

CAIRO - 17 June 2019: Cairo hosted on Monday a meeting attended by Libyan national figures, politicians and tribal leaders who discussed the latest efforts by the Libyan National Army (LNA) to fight terrorism, to restore stability in the country and preserve its unity.



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6/18/2019 4:58:51 PM
<![CDATA[Morsi suffered chronic diseases, received medical care: official source]]>
Morsi was the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Organization, which was designated by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Russia as a terrorist group.

The medical source said that Egypt prison service had cooperated with a number of hospitals to serve Morsi and look after his condition.

In February, 2017, Morsi was moved to a private hospital as he had always complained of a pain in his left arm, the official said. He was moved to the Police Hospital in Agouza. A medical committee said he suffered diabetes, high blood pressure, and a chronic inflamation of nerves.

Morsi also suffered a benign tumor in the vessels lining the brain, and seizures on the left side of the face, according to the official.

In June 2017, the head of the Cairo Criminal Court ordered carrying out a medical check-up on Morsi, the official said, affirming that the results were identical to the first check-up. In November of the same year, another medical committee of 10 doctors was formed, and affirmed the diseases Morsi had suffered, especially high blood pressure and diabetes diseases.

Morsi had been put under periodic medical care accordingly since 2017 and was provided required medical treatment, he said, adding that all documents proving that Morsi receieved the proper medical care are abailable and will be submitted to the relevant parties.

During his retrial on Monday in a case dubbed in media as “Espionage with Hamas,” Morsi fainted and fell on the ground; he was immediately transported to the hospital and then he was found dead. Morsi fell down reportedly after his lawyer ended his argument and after Morsi was given the chance to speak to the court.

Morsi took post as president in 2012 following the January 25 revolution in 2011 which forced former president Hosni Mubarak to step down. However, wide and agry protests in June 2013 overthrew Morsi from power. Subsequently, Egyptian authorities banned the Muslim Brotherhood group and arrested brotherhood top leaders.

Late in the same year, the Muslim Brotherhood was designated as terrorist group.

Since 2013, Morsi was being prosecuted in custody as he was facing several charges, including espionage, killing protesters, prison escape, and judiciary insult.

In 2015, Morsi was sentenced to death in the jailbreak lawsuit. A year later, the sentence was cancelled by the Court of Cassation. In 2017, Morsi was handed three years in prison for judiciary insult.

In 2016, Morsi was given a life sentence in an espionage lawsuit as he was charged with spying for Qatar. A year later, the sentence was upheld by the Court of Cassation.

Morsi was also serving a final 20-year prison sentence for killing protesters. ]]>
6/18/2019 4:56:09 PM
<![CDATA[Hong Kong leader signals end to extradition bill but refuses to quit]]>
In a closely watched press conference, Lam apologized for the turmoil but refused to say the bill would be “withdrawn”, only that it wouldn’t be re-introduced during her time in office if public fears persist.

This was the strongest indicator yet that the government was effectively shelving legislation that would allow people to be extradited to mainland China to face trial, even if it fell short of protester demands for the government to scrap the bill altogether.

“Because this bill over the past few months has caused so much anxiety, and worries and differences in opinion, I will not, this is an undertaking, I will not proceed again with this legislative exercise if these fears and anxieties cannot be adequately addressed,” Lam told reporters.

Lam, appearing both contrite and defiant, used much of the same language as a previous press conference on Saturday when she announced a postponement of the bill. A day later, about two million people spilled on to the streets, many demanding that she step down.

Lam, asked repeatedly whether she would quit, refused to do so, saying there remained important work ahead in the next three years, which would bring her to the end of her current five-year term of office.

“After this incident, I think work in the next three years will be very difficult ... but myself and my team will work harder to rebuild public confidence.”

Lam apologized for plunging the city into major upheaval, saying she had heard the people “loud and clear” and would try to rebuild trust.

But some protest organizers and opposition Democrats said Lam remained tone-deaf to public demands, namely that she state categorically a retraction of the bill, step down immediately and pledge not to prosecute any protesters on rioting charges.

“Carrie Lam is continuing to lie,” said Jimmy Sham, the convener of the Civil Human Rights Front. “We hope the people of Hong Kong can unite with us ... to keep working hard to withdraw the evil law,” he told reporters.

Alvin Yeung, a democratic lawmaker, said Lam had failed again to lower the political temperature in the city of seven million.

“Hong Kong will not accept this,” he said.

Lam’s climb-down, with the approval of China’s Communist Party leaders, was the biggest policy reversal since 1997 and presented a new challenge for Chinese President Xi Jinping who has ruled with an iron fist since taking power in 2012.

Since the proposed amendments to the Fugitives Offenders’ Ordinance were first put to the legislature in February, Lam has repeatedly rebuffed concerns voiced in many quarters, including business groups, lawyers, judges, and foreign governments against the bill.

Critics say the bill would undermine Hong Kong’s independent judiciary and rule of law, guaranteed by the “one country, two systems” formula under which Hong Kong returned to China, by extending China’s reach into the city and allowing individuals to be arbitrarily sent back to China where they couldn’t be guaranteed a fair trial.

Chinese courts are ultimately controlled by the Communist Party.

Lam issued an apology on Sunday night through a written government statement that many people said lacked sincerity. It failed to pacify many marchers who said they no longer trusted her and doubted her ability to govern.

Lam, a career civil-servant known as “the fighter” for her straight-shooting and tough leadership style, took office two years ago pledging to heal a divided society. Some observers say she is unlikely to step down immediately but any longer-term political ambitions she may have harbored are now all but dead.]]>
6/18/2019 3:33:14 PM
<![CDATA[Minsk summit: Egypt, Belarus affirm strong economic cooperation]]>
Belarus President Lukashenko said that economic cooperation with Egypt has witnessed a strong boost recently, noting that this cooperation has many promising prospects that allow further progress in the overall relations between the two countries.

Lukashenko said in his welcome speech to President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi before a bilateral summit between them started in Minsk that the trade exchange between both Egypt and Belarus was doubled. He added that during his visit to Egypt in 2017, many aspects of cooperation have already been achieved.

Lukashenko is the first and only president of Belarus since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Sisi arrived in Belarus on Monday on an official visit as part of a tour that will take him to Romania.

For his part, President Sisi affirmed in a press conference the strength of the relations between the two countries, saying that he has discussed with the Belarus president ways to enhance the bilateral ties.

There is an Egyptian keenness to enhance cooperation, especially after a group of friendship was formed between Egypt and Belarus. Sisi said that he also discussed enhancing cooperation in the fields of tourism and energy.

PM
Sisi meets with Belarus Prime Minister Siarhiej Rumas - Press photo

Sisi met earlier with Belarus Prime Minister Siarhiej Rumas. During their meeting, Sisi said that the Belarus industries have a big chance to be distributed in the Egyptian markets, where these products can take advantage of the modern infrastructure in Egypt and pass to the African markets, presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said.

In 2018, Lukashenko of Belarus congratulated incumbent Abdel Fatah al-Sisi Monday for winning the presidential race against Moussa Moustafa Moussa, saying in a cable that he is confident that Sisi’s wisdom and experience would help deepen mutual relations in various realms.

Lukashenko said that Sisi is capable of fulfilling the interests and aspirations of Egypt, as he managed to maintain international stances and obtain the “great support” of Egyptian people for the path of stability and progress, the cable read.]]>
6/18/2019 1:23:28 PM
<![CDATA[Housing committee: Old-rent law to be thoroughly discussed at parliament]]>
In statements on Tuesday, Wali said the committee has taken into consideration the public interest, adding that the committee was keen on ending the long-standing problem and sounded the alarm against any fabricated information that might mislead the public.

The law is expected to regulate the relationship between owners and tenants and is going to be discussed publicly for the first time in the upcoming parliamentary sessions, he added.

The committee discussed the law in view of the rulings of the constitutional court which has been so "transparent" by amending the law's implementation on non-residential places, Wali noted.

The old-rent law is considered one of the several defects in the renting law in Egypt. Property owners complain about losing a lot of money as a result of being unable to change the rent value which was agreed and signed between owners and tenants many years ago and before issuing the new-renting laws. As real estate prices hiked severely, the property owners claim that the old rent is no longer compatible with the current value of the rented property.

According to the old-renting law, the old-rent contracts and the affiliated properties are inherited, and owners cannot change or terminate these contracts.]]>
6/18/2019 12:25:47 PM
<![CDATA[MB leader Morsi dies in court after trial session]]>
Morsi had asked to talk and the judge gave him the permission, as reported by Extra News.

After the trial session was over, Morsi passed out in court, and later died. The body was transferred to the hospital and the necessary procedures are being finalized.

Since 2013, Morsi was being prosecuted in custody as he was facing several charges, including espionage, killing protesters, prison escape, and judiciary insult.

In 2015, Morsi was sentenced to death in the jailbreak lawsuit. A year later, the sentence was cancelled by the Court of Cassation. In 2017, Morsi was handed three years in prison for judiciary insult.

In 2016, Morsi was given a life sentence in an espionage lawsuit as he was charged of spying for Qatar. A year later, the sentence was upheld by the Court of Cassation.

Morsi was also serving a final 20-year prison sentence for killing protesters. ]]>
6/17/2019 5:57:00 PM
<![CDATA[Turkey, Qatar smuggle weapons to terrorists in Libya: ex-Libyan minister ]]>
In his speech during a Monday meeting with Libyan figures and politicians in Cairo, Ragab said that Libyans support LNA efforts to restore the country’s stability and security.

Ragab also criticized The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) interference in the Libyan affairs, which led to the country’s deterioration in the past.

The former official also noted that the United Nations failed to reach a political solution to the Libyan conflict over the past years.

Cairo hosted on Monday a meeting attended by Libyan national figures, politicians and tribal leaders who discussed the latest efforts by the Libyan National Army (LNA) to fight terrorism, to restore stability in the country and preserve its unity.

The meeting aims at asserting the role of Libya's national powers in preserving the state, putting an end to the control of terrorists and extremists of Tripoli, restoring the state's stability and maintaining its sovereignty.

“We came to Cairo to stress that all Libyans are standing behind LNA efforts in Tripoli,” said Secretary-General of the Libyan National People’s Movement Mustafa al-Zaeidy, ensuring that all participants in the conference stand with LNA efforts to preserve the country’s stability. He explained that Libya is facing ‘conspiracy,’ adding that there were several attempts to dis-empower the army.

He explained that civilians in Libya are suffering more than anyone as a result of the ongoing war.

For his part, LNA’s Colonel Belaid el-Sheikhi stated that Muslim Brotherhood’s role is ‘gone forever’ in Libya, adding that parties and countries known for their support of terrorist movements will be hindered from playing any role in the country, namely: Qatar and Turkey.

Egypt has been playing a key role to preserve Libya’s stability and security. Cairo hosted several meeting for unifying the Libyan army and to reach political solution.

On April 4, LNA led by Commander Haftar launched an offensive against Tripoli claiming that they will "liberate the capital" from terrorist groups. The international community have been urging all parties in Libya to halt violence and go back to the negotiation table.
]]>
6/17/2019 2:02:19 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan parties meet in Cairo, support LNA efforts to fight terrorism]]>
The meeting aims at asserting the role of Libya's national powers in preserving the state, putting an end to the control of terrorists and extremists of Tripoli, restoring the state's stability and maintaining its sovereignty.

“We came to Cairo to stress that all Libyans are standing behind LNA efforts in Tripoli,” said Secretary-General of the Libyan National People’s Movement Mustafa al-Zaeidy, ensuring that all participants in the conference stand with LNA efforts to preserve the country’s stability. He explained that Libya is facing ‘conspiracy,’ adding that there were several attempts to dis-empower the army.

65147-WhatsApp-Image-2019-06-17-at-11.23.14-AM
Libya's national forces meeting in Cairo on Monday, June 17 - Press Photo

He explained that civilians in Libya are suffering more than anyone as a result of the ongoing war.

For his part, LNA’s Colonel Belaid el-Sheikhi stated that Muslim Brotherhood’s role is ‘gone forever’ in Libya, adding that parties and countries known for their support of terrorist movements will be hindered from playing any role in the country, namely: Qatar and Turkey.

Idres al-Darsi, one of the tribal elders, said that Libyans refuse both of the United Nations envoy Ghassan Salame and Head of the Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj Initiatives that seek to ‘reproduce terrorism’ in Libya again.

He referred to the current battle, led by Commander Khalifa Haftar, in the capital, saying that it earned its legitimacy from the Libyan parliament and from the people supporting for the armed forces efforts.

Egypt has been playing a key role to preserve Libya’s stability and security. Cairo hosted several meeting for unifying the Libyan army and to reach political solution.

On Thursday, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi received a phone call from his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, as they discussed number of regional files especially the situation in Libya.

President Sisi asserted Egypt's firm stance supportive of the unity, stability and security of Libya and activating the will of its people.

The Egyptian president also reiterated Egypt's support to the Libyan national army in its fight against terrorism and eradication of armed militias and organizations which have become a rising threat to the regional security and the Mediterranean Sea region.

On April 4, LNA led by Commander Haftar launched an offensive against Tripoli claiming that they will "liberate the capital" from terrorist groups. The international community have been urging all parties in Libya to halt violence and go back to the negotiation table.


]]>
6/17/2019 1:44:20 PM
<![CDATA[Germany urges Iran to uphold nuclear deal]]>
Iran said it would breach internationally agreed curbs on its stock of low-enriched uranium in 10 days, which is likely to escalate already high tensions with the United States. It added European nations still had time to save the landmark deal.]]>
6/17/2019 1:39:41 PM
<![CDATA[Dialogue with Iran, Turkey at time being futile: Abul Gheit]]>
Holding dialogue just for dialogue without having any terms of reference is only window dressing that would not help address core issues, Abul Gheit said at the opening of a seminar on building a unified strategy to deal with neighbors.

The seminar is organized by the Arab Parliament.

He said Iran and Turkey's expansion policies are behind their current crisis with Arab countries.

He said Iran's interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries has become a main topic on the agenda of the Arab League Council since 2015. "We see today the threats Iran and its wings are posing to Arab national security and world security as regards safety of global navigation and commercial routes," he added.

From Abul Gheit's point of view, the core of the problem with these two neighboring countries is that both of them have a political project that it seeks to carry out outside its boundaries.

Iran gives itself the right to meddle with the crises of some Arab countries and sometimes seeks to flare up crises in the Arab region to carry out its political project in the Arab region that threatens to drive the region into an ethnic conflict, he said.

As for Turkey, Abul Gheit said Turkey wants to carry out another serious political project as it seeks to promote political Islam, giving itself the right to invade lands of neighboring countries on the pretext of protecting its own national security without any consideration to other countries' sovereignty.

Both projects see ongoing crises in the region as a chance for more expansion, a conception that is limited to short-term gains and does not care about long-term relations based on mutual confidence, he added.]]>
6/17/2019 1:32:41 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi to attend agreements signing in Belarus within framework of 'growing ties': SIS]]>CAIRO,17 June 2019: President Abdel Fatah el Sisi, during his current visit to Belarus, will attend the signing of a number of cooperation agreements within the framework of the growing economic ties between Cairo and Minsk, according to a report by the State Information Service (SIS).

In Belarus, the president will meet the heads of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly.

Sisi will also have talks with representatives of the business community in Belarus, heads of major companies, as well as senior officials and representatives of governmental bodies on means of boosting economic cooperation and vast investment opportunities in Egypt in light of the major national projects carried out in the country.

As for economic ties, the report said that the volume of trade exchange between Egypt and Belarus increased to reach 108.7 million dollars in 2018, compared to 97.46 million dollars in 2017.

Belarus's exports to Egypt include tractors, trucks, tires, equipment, metal products, optical products, fertilizers, pumps, X-ray equipment and petrochemicals, the report pointed out. Its imports include citrus, fresh vegetables and fruits, aromatic and medicinal plants and tea, it said.

The largest exporters of Belarus products to Egypt are Belarusian Metallurgical Plant (BMZ), Minsk Tractor Factory (MTZ), Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ) and Belarusian State Concern for Oil and Chemistry "Belneftekhim".

Joint production line of MAZ trucks on the basis of "Helwan Machinery and Equipment" company, affiliated to the Egyptian Military Production Ministry, as well as an assembly line of MTZ tractors on the basis of "Mediterranean Industrial Company" have been established.

In 2018, more than 30 high-level official and trade delegations from Belarus visited Egypt to discuss boosting bilateral cooperation in the industry, agriculture, construction, natural resources, environmental protection, banking, finance, transport and science fields.

Egypt and Belarus are implementing 19 projects in the industry, science and education domains.

In March 2016, Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ) opened an office in Cairo.

In September 2015, Minsk Tractor Factory (MTZ) participated in the exhibition "Sahara-2015" where it showed a tractor "Belarus-350" developed for Egypt and the neighboring countries in the region.

In May 2017, the fourth meeting of the Belarus-Egypt Joint Trade Commission took place in Minsk.

There are nine Egyptian enterprises with 100 percent Egyptian capital and 12 joint Belarus-Egyptian companies that are registered in Belarus.

There are two Egyptian companies implementing two investment projects in the agro-tourism and agriculture domains in Minsk and Vitebsk cities in Belarus.

Belarus is ranked 38th out of 190 economies covered in the World Bank's Doing Business 2018 report.

Belarus and Egypt are developing relations in the field of tourism. Egypt is one of the leading destinations for the tourist flow from Belarus; 85,263 Belarus tourists visited Egypt in 2016.
]]>
6/17/2019 12:04:09 PM
<![CDATA[Hong Kong leader apologizes to public after massive protests over extradition bill]]>
Lam’s statement came after hundreds of thousands of people clogged the streets in central Hong Kong dressed in black to demand that she steps down, a day after she suspended the extradition bill.]]>
6/16/2019 3:24:12 PM
<![CDATA[About 500k citizens benefits of slums development: Official]]>
He added that slums development will cost about LE30 billion, adding that the government has spent LE18 billion until now.

Siddiq's announcement came during his phone in on al-Hayah channel, where he stressed that the fund aims to provide the Egyptian citizen with a suitable place to live. He said that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi directed institutions to eliminate all slums by the end of 2019.

Siddiq pointed out that funding comes through the state's budget, pointing out that the statistics of the Central Agency for Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) helped identify the slum areas.

In December 2018, Siddiq remarked that Port Said, Wadi El-Gedid, Fayoum, Menoufia and Suez would become slum-free by the end of 2018, pointing out that 215,000 housing units are targeted to be developed in these areas.

President Sisi has sought to tackle housing problems in Egypt, and a plan was set to develop many unsafe areas in Cairo, which has the majority of Egypt’s slums, and to re-house residents of Egypt’s most dangerous slums. The government divided the slums into two categories. The first is the dangerous slums; the government pledged to eliminate dangerous slums by the end of 2018.

In this regard, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly witnessed on July 9 the signing ceremony of two cooperation protocols between Cairo governorate and the new Urban Communities Authority.

The protocols were signed by Cairo Governor Atef Abdel Hamid and Deputy Chairman of the NUCA Mazen Hassan in the presence of Deputy Housing Minister Assemel-Gazzar and other officials to develop El-Mawardi area, Al-SayedaZeinab.

Gazzar said that the two parties agreed on developing the unsafe area of El-Mawardi, Al-SayedaZeinab, which stretches over an area of 3.35 feddans, explaining that the protocol comes within the framework of the development project of Tal Al-Aqareb area in Al-SayedaZeinab.

Gazzar explained that Cairo governorate’s vision aims to restore the city's vital role as Egypt’s capital, and focuses on evacuating some areas in Cairo to be able to develop and use these areas in cultural and urban activities.

In May 2016, President Sisi promised to move all those living in slums to new flats over 3years as part of an ambitious project expected to cost about LE 14 billion ($790 million).

In the same context, the Tahya Misr (Long Live Egypt) Fund, launched by Sisi in 2014, has been working on a three-phase strategy to eliminate Egypt’s shantytowns and re-house slum residents, including those living in Doueyka, Establ Antar and EzbetKhair Allah. The project includes 15,000 housing units to re-house 60,000 slum residents. The first two phases of Tahya Misr are comprised of 12,000 flats. The third phase opened in 2017 and is comprised of 20,000 flats.

]]>
6/16/2019 2:04:04 PM
<![CDATA[Haftar's forces fighting IS terrorists in southern Libya]]>
The officials said Sunday that the self-styled Libyan National Army began its attack on a militant hideout in the mountainous area of Haruj earlier this week. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

The LNA media center said Friday that the militants were responsible for recent attacks in southern areas.

IS acknowledged the ongoing LNA attack and claimed to have killed and wounded dozens of LNA troops.

Haftar’s forces launched a military offensive in early April aimed at taking the capital, Tripoli, from a United Nations-aligned but weak administration.
]]>
6/16/2019 1:50:00 PM
<![CDATA[Sudan’s TMC admits military officers involved in violently dispersed sit-in]]>
Spokesperson of the Military Investigation Committee Abdel Rahim Badr al-Din said in a televised speech that the dispersal was carried out without the ruling council commanders’ permission, saying “what has been circulated in some media outlets was taken out of context.”

Meanwhile, Military Council Spokesperson Shams al-Din Kabashi said in a press conference on Saturday that the interim council held a meeting attended by military commanders, the head of Judges, and the attorney-general to discuss the latest development of the sit-in dispersal.

On June 3, Sudanese Security Forces violently dispersed a sit-in outside the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense, killing 128 protesting civilians since then, according to the latest figures announced by the Medical Committee of Sudan on Saturday.

Two days ago, the TMS Spokesperson announced that the council has ordered to disperse the sit-in but some “faults” occurred. This announcement came immediately after the protesters ended a civilian disobedience staged following the dispersal.

Meanwhile, Sudanese Attorney-General Al-Walid Sayed Ahmed Mahmoud announced on Saturday that ousted President Omar al-Bashir will stand for trial next week, reported the Sudanese News Agency (SUNA).

The attorney general added that Bashir and his men face dozens of charges of corruption.

Former President Bashir was ousted by the military on April 11, 2019. Since then, the interim military council rules Sudan, which can last for two years until a new democratic government is elected.

Investigations with Bashir and his aides were launched on May 2, BBC reported, adding that €7.3 million were confiscated in his house.

The ousted president was accused by the U.N.’s International Criminal Court (ICC) with genocide. In March 2009, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Bashir on charges of being responsible with his Arab tribal allies for genocide against non-Arab Sudanese in Darfur, South Sudan, as well as charged with committing crimes against humanity.

According to U.N. statistics collected on the Darfur Genocide from August 2007, more than 200,000 people were killed and at least 2 million others have been displaced from their homes since fighting broke out in 2003 between government forces and their allies the Arab tribal Janjaweed militias on one side, and rebel groups on the other side.

]]>
6/16/2019 1:20:04 PM
<![CDATA['Sea of black' Hong Kong protesters demand leader step down]]>
The massive rally saw some protesters carry white carnation flowers, while others held banners saying, “Do not shoot, we are HongKonger,” as they sought to avoid a repeat of the violence that rocked the financial center on Wednesday when police fired rubber bullets and tear gas.

The protesters, including young families as well as the elderly, formed a sea of black along roads, walkways and train stations across Hong Kong’s financial center to vent their frustration and anger at Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam.

Loud cheers rang out when activists called through loud hailers for Lam to step down and “step down” echoed through the streets. Protesters also chanted “pursue the black police”, angry at what they say was an overreaction by police that left more than 70 people injured in Wednesday’s violent protest.

Beijing-backed Lam on Saturday indefinitely delayed the extradition bill that could send people to mainland China to face trial, expressing “deep sorrow and regret” although she stopped short of apologizing.

The about-face was one of the most significant political turnarounds by the Hong Kong government since Britain returned the territory to China in 1997, and it threw into question Lam’s ability to continue to lead the city.

“Carrie Lam refused to apologize yesterday. It’s unacceptable,” said 16-year-old Catherine Cheung. “She’s a terrible leader who is full of lies ... I think she’s only delaying the bill now to trick us into calming down.”

Her classmate, Cindy Yip, said: “That’s why we’re still demanding the bill be scrapped. We don’t trust her anymore. She has to quit.”

Critics say the planned extradition law could threaten Hong Kong’s rule of law and its international reputation as an Asian financial hub. Some Hong Kong tycoons have already started moving personal wealth offshore.

Activist investor David Webb, in a newsletter on Sunday, said if Lam was a stock he would recommend shorting her with a target price of zero.

“Call it the Carrie trade. She has irrevocably lost the public’s trust,” Webb said.

“Her minders in Beijing, while expressing public support for now, have clearly lined her up for the chop by distancing themselves from the proposal in recent days.”

China’s Communist Party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, said in a commentary on Sunday that central authorities expressed “firm support” for Lam.

POLITICAL CRISIS
The protests have plunged Hong Kong into political crisis, just as months of pro-democracy “Occupy” demonstrations did in 2014, heaping pressure on Lam’s administration and her official backers in Beijing.

The turmoil comes at a difficult time for Beijing, which is already grappling with an escalating U.S. trade war, a faltering economy and tensions in the South China Sea.

Chinese censors have been working hard to erase or block news of the Hong Kong protests, wary that any large public rallies could inspire protests in the mainland.

The violent clashes near the heart of the financial center on Wednesday grabbed global headlines and forced some shops and banks, including HSBC, to shut branches.

Activists on Sunday pasted hundreds of fliers and notes to a wall near the protest site, with some reading, “Stop shooting innocent people”, and “Use your brain, violence is insane”.

At the start of the march, protesters paused for a minute’s silence to remember an activist who died from a fall on Saturday near the site of the recent demonstrations.

In the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which China claims as its own, about 5,000 people rallied outside the parliament building in Taipei with banners saying, “No China extradition law” and “Taiwan supports Hong Kong.”

Some of the protesters in Hong Kong also waved Taiwan flags.

“EXTENSIVE MEDDLING”
The city’s independent legal system was guaranteed under laws governing Hong Kong’s return from British to Chinese rule 22 years ago, and is seen by business and diplomatic communities as its strong remaining asset amid encroachments from Beijing.

Hong Kong has been governed under a “one country, two systems” formula since its return to Beijing, allowing freedoms not enjoyed on mainland China but not a fully democratic vote.

Many accuse Beijing of extensive meddling since then, including obstruction of democratic reforms, interference with elections and of being behind the disappearance of five Hong Kong-based booksellers, starting in 2015, who specialized in works critical of Chinese leaders.

Some opponents of the extradition bill said a suspension was not enough and want it scrapped and Lam to go.

“If she refuses to scrap this controversial bill altogether, it would mean we wouldn’t retreat. She stays on, we stay on,” said pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo.

Asked repeatedly on Saturday if she would step down, Lam avoided answering directly and appealed to the public to “give us another chance.” Lam said she had been a civil servant for decades and still had work she wanted to do.

Lam’s reversal was hailed by business groups including the American Chamber of Commerce, which had spoken out strongly against the bill, and overseas governments.

The UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Twitter: “Well done HK Government for heeding concerns of the brave citizens who have stood up for their human rights”.

China’s top newspaper on Sunday condemned “anti-China lackeys” of foreign forces in Hong Kong.

“Certain people in Hong Kong have been relying on foreigners or relying on young people to build themselves up, serving as the pawns and lackeys of foreign anti-China forces,” the ruling People’s Daily said in a commentary.

“This is resolutely opposed by the whole of the Chinese people including the vast majority of Hong Kong compatriots.”

The Hong Kong protests have been the largest in the city since crowds came out against the bloody suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations centered around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

Lam had said the extradition law was necessary to prevent criminals using Hong Kong as a place to hide and that human rights would be protected by the city’s court which would decide on the extraditions on a case-by-case basis.

Critics, including leading lawyers and rights groups, note China’s justice system is controlled by the Communist Party, and say it is marked by torture and forced confessions, arbitrary detention and poor access to lawyers.]]>
6/16/2019 12:10:21 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi Crown Prince blames Iran for tanker attacks]]>
"The Iranian regime did not respect the Japanese prime minister's visit to Tehran, and while he was there replied to his efforts by attacking two tankers, one of which was Japanese," Muhammad bin Salman said in press remarks.

"We do not want a war in the region...But we won't hesitate to deal with any threat to our people, our sovereignty, our territorial integrity and our vital interests," he said, according to the newspaper.

He added that the incidents require that the international community take a "decisive stand" to counter the threats.

Tensions have risen to new heights after two recent attacks on shipping in the Persian Gulf region -- both of which the United States and its Persian Gulf allies, including Saudi Arabia, have blamed on Iran.

U.S. President Donald Trump on June 14 accused Iran of carrying out the most-recent attack, on June 13, against two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The incident occurred during a visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Iran.

The latest incident came a month after attacks on four tankers off the coast of the nearby United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), an incident Washington and the Saudis also blamed on Iran.

Iran has denied any involvement in the attacks. On June 16, Tehran summoned the British ambassador after London said it agreed with the United States that Iran attacked the tankers in the June 13 incident.
]]>
6/16/2019 10:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sudan’s Attorney-General: Al-Bashir to stand for trial next week]]>
The Attorney General added that al-Bashir and his men face dozens of criminal charges of corruption.

Former President al-Bashir was ousted by the military on April 11, 2019. Since then the interim military council rules that country and could last for two years until electing a new democratic government.

However, the situation in Sudan has escalated since June 3 when dozens of protesters were killed during violently-dispersed sit-in by security forces outside the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense.

Investigations with al-Bashir and his aides were launched on May 2, BBC reported, adding that 7.3 million Euros were confiscated in his house.

The ousted President was indicted by the U.N.’s International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide. In March 2009, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Bashir on charges he and his Arab tribal allies were responsible for genocide against non-Arab Sudanese in Darfur, South Sudan, and crimes against humanity.

According to U.N. statistics collected on the Darfur Genocide from August 2007, more than 200,000 people were killed and at least 2 million others have been displaced from their homes since fighting broke out in 2003 between government forces and their allies the Arab tribal Janjaweed militias on one side, and rebel groups on the other side.
]]>
6/15/2019 4:58:51 PM
<![CDATA[More Arab countries may designate Muslim Brotherhood terrorist: former member]]>
Beshbishy’s statement came after the Cassation Court at Jordan had ruled on May 29 that the Muslim Brothehood that was licensed in 1946 as a charity and a branch of the mother group in Egypt has been dissolved since June 16, 1953.

That date marks the publication of a law on charity organisations in the Official Gazette, as reported by The Jordan Times. Since then, the brotherhood has failed to comply with the law as a charity. However, it has maintained its legal political arm the Islamic Action Front Party (IAFP), which was founded in 1992.

In 2015, the Muslim Brotherhood Group Society was licensed to become a purely Jordanian entity that was founded by Abdul Majeed Thneibat and other defects of the old group. The newly established group wanted to take control over the movable assets of the dissolved entity triggering a lawsuit by Hammam Saeed who used to lead the original group in Jordan.

The Cassation Court’s ruling stipulated that the Muslim Brotherhood Group Society cannot be a legal successor to a dissolved group.

Beshbishy, who is a Muslim Brotherhood defect, explained that the group worldwide circumvents dimantling decrees by establishing political parties adopting the same ideology but bearing different names.

The brotherhood is outlawed in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Libya, Bahrain, and Mauritania.
]]>
6/15/2019 3:45:38 PM
<![CDATA[Democratic 2020 candidates court South Carolina's black voters]]>
South Carolina, which will host the fourth nominating contest next year, will be the first state where a significant proportion of the Democratic electorate - about 60 percent - is black.

In a crowded Democratic field, the candidates are aiming for strong performances to show their messages resonate with black voters in the state and in nominating contests across the U.S. South.

They also want to generate enthusiasm for their candidacies in the November general election against President Donald Trump, the presumed Republican nominee. Democrat Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss to Trump in 2016 was in part attributed to a decline in black voter turnout for the first time in 20 years.

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke and U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren will be in attendance on Saturday.

The Black Economic Alliance was launched last year ahead of the 2018 midterm congressional elections, when it endorsed 26 candidates in House of Representatives, Senate and gubernatorial races. The group has pivoted to policy development, said founding director Akunna Cook.

“This forum is a part of that. We want to make sure that the top-tier presidential candidates are focused on the kitchen table issues that are top-of-mind for black voters,” such as racial disparities in wealth, employment rates and home ownership, Cook told Reuters.

South Carolina’s primary election is in late February, following the first three nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

More than 20 candidates are set to appear next weekend at a fish fry hosted by South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn, the first “cattle call” that will brings the bulk of the Democratic field to the state.

Cook said the alliance decided to host its forum early in order to help set the agenda.

“Black voters are really hungry for candidates who will put forward concrete plans for these issues,” Cook said. “We wanted to make sure we were able to help mold and shape the conversation.”]]>
6/15/2019 1:11:05 PM
<![CDATA[Iran renews nuclear pact ultimatum amid tensions with U.S.]]>
Iran stopped complying in May with some commitments in the 2015 nuclear deal that was agreed with global powers, after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the accord in 2018 and ratcheted up sanctions on Tehran.

“Obviously, Iran cannot stick to this agreement unilaterally,” President Hassan Rouhani told Russian, Chinese and other Asian leaders at a conference in Tajikistan.

His comments follow rising tensions with Washington, which has accused Tehran of carrying out Thursday’s attacks on two oil tankers in a vital oil shipping route at the mouth of the Gulf. Tehran has denied having any role.

Rouhani did not refer to this week’s tanker incident in his speech to the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, behind held in the Tajik capital Dushanbe.

“It is necessary that all the sides of this agreement contribute to restoring it,” he said, adding that Iran needed to see “positive signals” from other signatories to the pact, which include Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

He did not give details on what actions Iran would take or say what positive signals Tehran wanted to see.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would adhere to the agreement and urged other signatories to follow suit.

“We believe that the only sensible decision is for all deal participants to honor commitments,” Putin told the conference.

Tehran said in May that Iran would start enriching uranium at a higher level, unless world powers protected its economy from U.S. sanctions within 60 days.

Washington has ratcheted up pressure on Iran, saying it wants to prevent Tehran developing a nuclear bomb, rein in its ballistic missile program and end what the it calls Iranian meddling in the Middle East.

Tehran has said its nuclear program is peaceful and will not be stopped, says its missile work is for defense and accuses the United States of destabilizing the region.

France and other European signatories to the nuclear deal that aimed to curb Iran’s nuclear work, have said they wanted to save the accord, but many of their companies have canceled deals with Tehran, under pressure from the United States.]]>
6/15/2019 1:08:09 PM
<![CDATA[HRW lacks transparency, tolerance and accountability]]>CAIRO – 14 June 2019: The Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has long been accused of poor research methods and relying on unverified stories that serve a number of devious schemes, has proved, once again, utterly unprofessional.


The HRW has assumed its – anonymous testimonials - reflect a real situation, even when it comes to a fierce battle against cold-blooded murders and terrorists, who killed hundreds of civilians in Sinai, and still even willing to kill more.




Ignoring facts


According to 2016 official data from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the population of North Sinai reaches 445.811 people, and the population of South Sinai is 169.822; however, HRW decided to ignore these numbers and reflect the reality of what is taking place in Sinai through interviews with only 54 North Sinai residents between 2016 and 2018, as claimed in the report, neglecting all officials sources and recent terrorist attacks.


Lacking all standards of logic and neutrality, HRW gave no evidences for its allegations against the Egyptian forces, narrating one-sided opinion for the events, with no credible sources or documents.


“Everyone knows they are politically-biased, and not related to human rights”, Ayman Aqeel, head of Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights said in statements to privately-owned channel Extra-News on Tuesday.


He added that HRW recognized the existence of terrorism in Sinai, but at the same time does not want the army to intervene or take action, considering its efforts to maintain the country’s stability are equal to the terrorists abuses and violations.


Other veteran politicians, including chairperson for Al-Wafd party Bahaa al-Dien Abu Shoka, deeply condemned and criticized the report, describing the report as ‘inaccurate and false’.


Abu Shoka added that HRW report aims at resisting Egypt’s efforts against terrorism. He added that HRW has been attacking Egypt and suspect all of its efforts in ‘unjustified’ way during the past years.



Politically-biased HRW


The HRW had faced continuous barrage of criticism over being politically-biased. Since it has been established in 1978, several countries and government have accused HRW of following specific agendas aiming at destabilize the country’s security for other country’s benefits.


In October 2009, HRW founder Robert Bernstein accused the organization of poor research methods and relying on “witnesses whose stories cannot be verified and who may testify for political advantage or because they fear retaliation from their own rulers."


Bernstein said that the organization had “lost critical perspective on events in the Middle East".


Also, according to The Times, HRW “does not always practice the transparency, tolerance and accountability it urges on others." The Times accused HRW of imbalance, alleging that it ignores human-rights abuses in certain regimes while covering other conflict zones (notably Israel) intensively. Although HRW issued five reports on Israel in a 14-month period.


In their correction issued on 4 April 2010, The Times said HRW had published nine articles about the conflict in Kashmir and one report about the post-election abuses in Iran in February 2010. A source told The Times, “Iran is just not a bad guy that they are interested in highlighting. Their hearts are not in it. Let's face it, the thing that really excites them is Israel.” The newspaper quoted Noah Pollak, a HRW critic, who said HRW cares if Israel maltreats Palestinians but “is less concerned if perpetrators are fellow Arab.”


Other evidences have been published widely indicates that HRW have been adopting biased prospective during covering several conflicts including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and conflicts in Latin America, especially in Venezuela.


In September 2008, Venezuela’s government expelled two HRW staff members accused of “anti-state activities”. Then Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said, “These groups, dressed up as human rights defenders, are financed by the United States. They are aligned with a policy of attacking countries that are building new economic models”.


In an article published by journ¬al¬ist and author Garry Leech in the critical legal thinking website, he said that “Over the past thirty years, HRW has become one of the most recognized non-governmental organizations in the world due to its global promotion of human rights.


But despite its claims to be an advocate of international human rights law, the reports issued by HRW over the past decade have increasingly exhibited a bias towards certain rights over others. More precisely, HRW repeatedly focuses on political and civil rights while ignoring social and economic rights.”


On May 21, 2019, Egypt-based Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialog said that the reports issued by the Human Rights Watch are mostly politicized and biased, adding that Human Rights Watch's reports lack professionalism and reference to international conventions.



Relying on flase information


HRW relies on some extremist activists in Egypt who provide false information about the human rights situation, the forum's head Saeed Abdel Hafez said. He described slamming these reports as “very easy,’ as ‘we only need [to adopt] systematic and human rights responses, away from the language of attacks and insult.”


Egypt slammed many reports for the HRW attacking Egypt for alleged violations of human rights since the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.


Egypt’s public prosecution issued a statement in January over Human Rights Watch report that alleges Egypt witnesses human rights violations, saying that the report is irrelevant to the truth.


The prosecution urged the organization to be accurate when publishing data on human rights in Egypt.

]]>
6/14/2019 2:42:52 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament speaker heads to China for talks with senior officials]]>
The visit, which comes at an invitation from the speaker of China’s parliament, is considered a positive reflection of the strategic partnership between Cairo and Beijing at all levels, particularly the parliamentary one.

It also comes in line with identical views shared by the two countries with regard to several international issues of common interest.

Abdel Aal is set to meet with a number of Chinese officials, topped by the parliament speaker and the vice president.]]>
6/14/2019 1:50:42 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt joins Arab Charter of Human Rights per presidential decree ]]>
The laws and presidential decrees come into effect usually after they are published in the official Gazette.

The Arab Charter on Human Rights was first issued in 1994, 26 years after the Arab Commission for Human Rights was formed. However, this version was not ratified as it reportedly failed to get in line with international human rights law.

After revision, the charter came into force in 2008 after seven countries had ratified it. In 2012, the Arab Commission for Human Rights, headed by Abdul Raheem Al-Awadhi, assistant foreign minister for legal affairs of UAE at the time, called on Egypt to join the charter.

By 2013, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Sudan, Algeria, Yemen, Libya, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon had ratified the charter.

Egypt's acceptance of the charter was approved by the Egyptian Parliament in January this year after it was accepted by the Cabinet in August, 2018.

Mervat Rishmawi, a legal advisor at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, said that the charter is "part of a larger process of modernization of the Arab League, which includes the creation of a Peace and Security Council as well as the establishment of an interim Arab Parliament," according to an article published in Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"The charter’s significance lies in the fact that it is an instrument from the region, negotiated by states of the region. It therefore has the potential to diminish and eventually end the continued questioning by Arab states of their duties to respect, protect, and promote human rights in many areas," Rishmawi added.


Top priority

During a meeting with an African Commission on Human and peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) in Cairo, President Sisi emphasized in April that promoting human rights is one of Egypt’s priorities in Vision 2030.

He referred to the achievements accomplished thus far in eliminating slums and unsafe areas, providing over a million of their inhabitants with proper housing.

Social housing for young people; the major anti-Hepatitis C campaign that erased patient waiting lists, the unprecedented educational makeover; and the empowerment of women, people with special needs and the youth were also among the projects Sisi highlighted in the meeting.

He also emphasized the state’s role in promoting religious tolerance, acceptance and coexistence, as well as entrenching the concept of citizenship.

As Egypt hosts millions of expats and refugees, Sisi said they practice all their rights and activities freely according to UN conventions.
]]>
6/14/2019 11:31:11 AM
<![CDATA[Iran says in charge of security of Strait of Hormuz]]>
“We are responsible for ensuring the security of the Strait and we have rescued the crew of those attacked tankers in the shortest possible time,” Radio quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi as saying.

“Obviously, accusing Iran for such a suspicious and unfortunate incident is the simplest and the most convenient way for U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other U.S. officials. These accusations are alarming.”

The United States blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday that drove up oil prices and raised concern about a new U.S.-Iranian confrontation.

It was not immediately clear what caused the explosions that forced the crews to abandon ship and leave both the Norwegian-owned Front Altair and Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous adrift in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran.

US Central Command spokesman Bill Urban released a video of what the US military said was an IRGC Gashti Class patrol boat approaching the ship Kokuka Courageous “and was observed and recorded removing (an) unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous.”

The attacks on the ships are part of a “campaign” of “escalating tension” by Iran and a threat to international peace and security, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

“It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today,” Pompeo said. “This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.”
]]>
6/14/2019 10:52:42 AM
<![CDATA[Twitter deletes 4,779 accounts linked to Iranian regime]]>
The company said it believes 4,779 accounts were associated or backed by Iran.

Twitter first released the archive of data associated with known state-backed information operations last October to provide more transparency of information and to stem manipulation on its platform.

Since October 2018, Twitter has been publishing transparency reports on its investigations into state-backed information operations.

Last month, Facebook said it took down 51 accounts, 36 pages and seven groups tied to Iran. Facebook, which owns Instagram, also removed three accounts on the photo sharing app.

Twitter said that in early May it pulled down more than 2,800 fake accounts tied to Iran. The company shared its remarks after US cybersecurity firm FireEye released a report that showed how some Twitter accounts were used to pose as those belonging to US political candidates and push pro-Iranian political messages.

FireEye said in the report that the network of social media accounts that posted in English shared messages that were "anti-Saudi, anti-Israeli, and pro-Palestinian."

The Iranian accounts impersonated news outlets in the Middle East and tried to make it appear as if they were located in the US or Europe.

Facebook users -- including journalists, policy makers, academics and Iranian dissidents -- were contacted by some of these accounts.
]]>
6/14/2019 10:44:05 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt joins Arab Charter of Human Rights per presidential decree]]>
The laws and presidential decrees come into effect usually after they are published in the official Gazette.

The Arab Charter on Human Rights was first issued in 1994, 26 years after the Arab Commission for Human Rights was formed. However, this version was not ratified as it reportedly failed to get in line with international human rights law.

After revision, the charter came into force in 2008 after seven countries had ratified it. In 2012, the Arab Commission for Human Rights, headed by Abdul Raheem Al-Awadhi, assistant foreign minister for legal affairs of UAE at the time, called on Egypt to join the charter.

By 2013, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Sudan, Algeria, Yemen, Libya, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon had ratified the charter.

Egypt's acceptance of the charter was approved by the Egyptian Parliament in January this year after it was accepted by the Cabinet in August, 2018.


Mervat Rishmawi, a legal advisor at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, said that the charter is "part of a larger process of modernization of the Arab League, which includes the creation of a Peace and Security Council as well as the establishment of an interim Arab Parliament," according to an article published in Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"The charter’s significance lies in the fact that it is an instrument from the region, negotiated by states of the region. It therefore has the potential to diminish and eventually end the continued questioning by Arab states of their duties to respect, protect, and promote human rights in many areas," Rishmawi added.

Top priority

During a meeting with an African Commission on Human and peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) in Cairo, President Sisi emphasized in April that promoting human rights is one of Egypt’s priorities in Vision 2030.

He referred to the achievements accomplished thus far in eliminating slums and unsafe areas, providing over a million of their inhabitants with proper housing.

Social housing for young people; the major anti-Hepatitis C campaign that erased patient waiting lists, the unprecedented educational makeover; and the empowerment of women, people with special needs and the youth were also among the projects Sisi highlighted in the meeting.

He also emphasized the state’s role in promoting religious tolerance, acceptance and coexistence, as well as entrenching the concept of citizenship.

As Egypt hosts millions of expats and refugees, Sisi said they practice all their rights and activities freely according to UN conventions.
]]>
6/13/2019 5:19:34 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi Prince slams Iran’s ‘reckless escalation’ in backing terrorist groups]]>
In a Twitter post, the Saudi Prince slammed the Iranian regime for targeting the Abha Airport by its terrorist affiliate Houthi militia.




“For 40 years, the Iranian regime has been spreading chaos, death and destruction, by sponsoring and financing terrorist organizations including the Houthis,” Prince Khalid bin Salman said in a post on his Twitter account.

The attack injured 26 people, including three women and two children.

“The targeting of Abha Airport by Iranian-backed Houthi militia and injuring innocent civilians of various nationalities, is a continuation of their immoral and criminal behavior that is in line with the malign behavior of their patrons,” the Prince said.







The minister blamed the Iranian regime as the only party in the region that pursues “reckless escalation through the use of ballistic missiles and drones to target civilian installations and civilians.”

He concluded by saying that the continuation of the Iranian regime’s “aggression and reckless escalation, whether directly or through its militias, will result in grave consequences.”

“The international community must carry out its responsibility to avoid this outcome,” he added.



]]>
6/13/2019 3:31:20 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria call for a cease-fire in Libya, reject military solution]]>
The foreign affairs ministers of the three countries, all neighboring Libya, held a meeting on Wednesday in Tunisia’s capital Tunis.

In a statement released overnight, they denounced “the continuous flow of weapons” and the “influx of foreign terrorist fighters” in Libya.

They agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the fight against terrorism in the region.

Earlier this week, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged all countries to implement an arms embargo against Libya, saying illegal weapons transfers by land, sea and air are fueling the fighting in the oil-rich country.

Libya was plunged into chaos following the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed Muammar Qaddafi.

As part of the tripartite initiative, the ministers rejected any military solution to the Libyan crisis, stressing the importance of keeping the diplomatic course as the only way to resolve the crisis under the sponsorship of the United Nations.

The ministers also rejected any foreign interference in the Libyan internal affairs, while condemning the entry of weapons to Libya from regional countries in a clear violation to the UNSC decision.

The meeting also affirmed the sovereignty of Libya over its own land, calling all components of the Libyan society to pave the way for an ultimate solution to the crisis.

The next meeting on Libya will be held in Algeria and will be determined when soon.
]]>
6/13/2019 3:09:04 PM
<![CDATA[Corruption obstructs development, stability in Africa: Egypt's accountability agency]]>
This comes on Wednesday during the inaugural session of the African Anti-Corruption Forum (AACF) held in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El Sheikh, in the presence of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and heads of regulatory bodies of the African states.

"The peoples of some African countries have suffered a lot from the loss of their resources and dreams for a better future," said Seif al-Din, affirming that corruption is "the biggest enemy," and that its losses is "estimated at billions of dollars a year."

Seif al-Din said that fighting corruption is one of the issues agreed upon by the African countries as "one of the most important priorities of the agenda adopted by the African Union as a plan of action for the continent until 2063."

Corruption in many African countries is an obstacle to the economic progress, and "can only be overcome with strong will and real reform efforts," he added.

The African Anti-Corruption Forum (AACF) brings together participants from 51 African countries and four Arab countries.

The forum is held in line with an initiative that was launched by president Sisi in January 2018 during his participation in the annual African Summit.

Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli, Speaker of the House of Representatives Ali Abdel Aal and Minister of Defense Mohamed Zaki along with Minister of Planning Hala El Saeed and other ministers and senior officials are attending the forum.

President Sisi, during the inaugural session, urged cooperation between African nations in the face of corruption, affirming the importance of concerted efforts, exchanging visions and enhancing coordination to curb corruption.

Sisi also affirmed that "Egypt will continue to support the joint efforts to combat corruption at the African level." ]]>
6/12/2019 6:13:15 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament deplores campaigns of distortion against Syrians in Egypt]]>
"Syrians are not treated as refugees in Egypt, but as residents in their second country.
Egyptians also wish that Syrians return home safely after the nightmare of war ends and the Syrian wounds are healed," said Metwally in a statement on Wednesday.

Metwally also added that this systematic campaign aims to create tension between the two sides, praising the Hashtag #السوريين_منورين_مصر that expresses the love of the Egyptians to the Syrian people.

He pointed out that the presence of the Syrians in Egypt has revived investments in various fields as the number of Syrian investors is estimated at 30,000, which contributed to the revitalization of the economy and to creating a state of competitiveness among the products.

He also said that the perpetrators of the campaign of distortion may be traders who failed to keep up with the Syrian success on the land of Egypt.

In 2018, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi stated that Egypt was hosting 5 million refugees and immigrants, adding that Egypt is the only country that does not have refugee camps.



"We host citizens from African and Arab countries; they do not live in camps or shelters but live with us," Sisi said during the main session of the Munich Conference in February 2019.



]]>
6/12/2019 5:47:16 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry hails Egypt's historical relations with African countries ]]>
According to a Tuesday statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez, the minister said that this year's ceremony is of special importance due to Egypt's 2019 chairmanship of the African Union (AU), noting that Egypt focuses on achieving sustainable development and establishing peace and stability throughout the continent.

Hafez's statement reported that Shoukry highlighted the need to promote inter-African cooperation to attain the aspirations of African peoples.

The ceremony was attended by the ambassadors of African countries along with public figures and senior ministry officials.

For his side, Ambassador of Cameroon in Cairo Mohamad ouLabarang talked about the challenges and opportunities of development in Africa, stressing the need for joint work to achieve sustainable development, and calling for following the footsteps of the founding fathers of African national liberation movements.

In the same context, Shoukry underscored the role of the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development (EAPD) in supporting the development efforts in Africa through transferring expertise and qualifying cadres in the fields of priority to the African states.

Shoukry met on March 13 with the members of the Board of Directors of EAPD. The meeting tackled ways to enhance the role of the agency in supporting development in many countries, especially in Africa.

Shoukry affirmed that Egypt, as the current chairman of the African Union (AU), is keen to promote comprehensive development in the continent, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hafez said.

]]>
6/12/2019 3:54:31 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi urges African cooperation against corruption forms]]>
During the inaugural session of the African Anti-Corruption Forum (AACF) held in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El Sheikh, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi affirmed that "Egypt will continue to support the joint efforts to combat corruption at the African level."


Reviewing Egypt's efforts in this regard, the president announced "doubling the training grants provided by the National Anti-Corruption Academy for the cadres of African law enforcement bodies."

"Egypt also welcomes cooperation with its African brothers and the African Union relevant bodies to exchange the best practices in this field. In this context, we also affirm the importance of deepening international cooperation with the main partners of Africa at various levels, to achieve the desired benefit in this regard."

Concerning the national anti-corruption efforts, Sisi said that "Egypt has come a long way in the past years in the fight against corruption in various forms, and has been concerned with conducting research, studies and opinion polls in order to track the causes of corruption and identify real measurements for it."

Sisi noted that, within the framework of the Egyptian constitution, Egypt has been committed to the principle of fighting corruption. This has obliged "the relevant regulatory bodies and authorities to commit to coordinate to fight corruption, and enhance the values of integrity and transparency, to ensure the preservation of public money, achieve good management of it, and organize benefiting from it for the interest of the people in the first place."

AACF2

"Moreover, requires legislations have been enacted and activated to combat corruption in all its forms, as it is considered one of the main obstacles to achieving sustainable development," the president said, noting, also, to the establishment of the National Coordinating Committee to Combat Corruption and the National Anti-Corruption Academy.

The president affirmed that Egypt is committed to international standards in this regard, adding that It has joined the relevant UN, African and Arab conventions, most recently the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, which is considered the main legal document for the African continent to fight corruption.

"The State (Egypt) has adopted legislative reform measures that govern and comply with all provisions of the Convention, Sisi said.

"In addition, specialized departments have been created to combat financial and administrative corruption, and take digital transformation measures to enhance administrative and financial governance and help eliminate bureaucracy," the president added.

The African Anti-Corruption Forum (AACF) brings together participants from 51 African countries and four Arab countries.

The forum is held in line with an initiative that was launched by president Sisi in January 2018 during his participation in the annual African Summit.

Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli, Speaker of the House of Representatives Ali Abdel Aal and Minister of Defense Mohamed Zaki along with Minister of Planning Hala El Saeed and other ministers and senior officials are attending the forum.

AACF3
]]>
6/12/2019 3:27:16 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt,Tunisia, Algeria FMs hold meeting on Libya Wednesday]]>
The meeting comes to follow up the implementation of a tripartite presidential initiative to reach a comprehensive political settlement to the Libyan crisis.

Hafez's statement concluded by pointing out that the Tunis meeting comes as a complement to the successive ministerial meetings of the tripartite ministerial mechanism on Libya, held alternately between the capitals of the three countries, where Cairo hosted the last meeting on March 5, 2019.

The three foreign ministers will probe ways to halt the current fighting in the North African country and resume the UN-sponsored political process among Libyan factions, especially in light of the ongoing armed clashes in the vicinity of Tripoli, according to a statement by the Tunisian Foreign Ministry.

They will also discuss the latest developments in the Libyan arena and steps required to encourage the warring parties to stop the fighting and return to the negotiating table, which in turn could help end the bloodshed and preserve Libya's sovereignty and territorial integrity, the statement added.

The three countries have so far hosted six meetings, as part of the Tunis Declaration signed on February 20, 2017 to find a comprehensive political settlement in Libya.

In March 2019, foreign ministries of Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria held a tripartite meeting in Cairo to discuss the developments on the Libyan scene and possible political solutions to its crisis.

The three ministers asserted their commitment to backing Libya and its people in that critical phase of its history.The ministers added they would help in achieving national reconciliation in a way that reinstates security and stability in the entire country, affirming their support to Libya’s territorial integrity, unity, independence, and sovereignty.

Egypt has hosted several meetings to bring the Libyan conflicted factions to the negotiations table to resolve the Libyan crisis and amend the Skhirat Agreement, which aims at ending Libya’s civil war.

The major obstacle in the face of any international or Arab participation in ending the crisis in Libya is the lack of a Libyan partner that would support any mediation. Since 2014, there are two major factions on the ground, one led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, who now controls the eastern side of Libya and works in cooperation with the government of the House of Representatives, known as the Tobruk government. The other is led by Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord.

Therefore, there is no official side recognized by all parties in Libya, but there are two opposing factions, roughly equivalent in terms of power, competing for legitimacy. Nonetheless, neither side appears to be able to tip the scales of this conflict in its favor.

Egyptian diplomatic efforts in Libya

Policymakers in Egypt believe that Libya should have a unified body representing all sides in the war-torn country. However, this requires the elimination of terrorist groups that are plaguing the country and standing in the way of any regional or international attempt for reconciliation.

The Egyptian state is aware that any intervention in Libyan affairs will enrage the Libyan people due to religious and national sensitivities.

Therefore, Egypt called for a meeting in August 2014 to discuss the formation of a coalition force with the United States and other Arab nations. The final recommendation of the meeting, held in Cairo, did not suggest the formation of any Arab or international military intervention in Libya, but it called for the immediate cessation of all armed operations in order to support the political process in Libya.

In December 2015, the Skhirat Agreement was signed by major parties in the Libyan conflict under the supervision of UN envoy Martin Kobler in the city of Skhirat, Morocco. The agreement recommends a peaceful transition of power and the establishment of a national unity government. However, the agreement failed to achieve the desired stability on the ground because it lacked consensus.

Egypt’s officials held several meetings with their Libyan counterparts as well as members in Tobruk’s House of Representatives to resolve the Libyan crisis and amend the Skhirat agreement.

In December 2016, Cairo hosted a conference attended by Libyan officials and representatives from the country’s numerous factions, where they issued five proposed amendments to the agreement. The conference concluded with a decision to amend the eighth article of the Skhirat Agreement that outlined the jurisdiction of the Libyan army chief commander.

Negotiations to unify the Libyan military were held as a part of Egypt’s initiative that kicked off in July 2017 to unify the military institutions. The first meeting aimed at creating a framework for the initiative while the second and third meetings were held in Cairo from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, 2017, to follow up on the results of the first meeting.

The fourth meeting was held from Dec. 6 to 9 to restructure the Libyan army.

Egyptian Officials met again with Libyan military forces in Cairo on Feb. 21, 2018 in order to continue the discussions. The meetings delved into the methods used to unify and restructure the Libyan military forces after a long split that resulted from the outbreak of the Libyan revolution in 2011.

The sixth round of the negotiation on the unification of the Libyan military establishment was held on March 23 in Cairo.

In a press release issued at the conclusion of the meeting, the Libyan factions convening in Cairo agreed to resume their talks in an attempt to complete the establishment of the four technical committees that the Libyan factions agreed on forming during the previous rounds of talks as an initial step towards the consolidation of the military establishment of Libya.

The meeting also concluded with reaffirming the participants' keenness to move ahead with unifying the Libyan army whose top priority is to maintain and preserve Libya’s national security and peace and stand firm against foreign interferences.

Members of the Security Council welcomed recent efforts to strengthen an inclusive political dialogue among all Libyans, supported by Libya’s neighbors, international partners and regional organizations within the framework of the Libyan Political Agreement endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2259.

Additional report by Mohamed Abdel Maguid< i/>]]>
6/12/2019 2:57:37 PM
<![CDATA[NCCM: Egypt firmly resolved to eliminiate FGM phenomenon]]>
In statements on Wednesday, Ashmawi said the campaign is entitled "Budour Month" after the name of a 11-year-old girl who died of complications of a circumcision surgery in a private clinic in the Egyptian village of Mughagha, Minya governorate, in 2007, a tragic incident which prompted the government to outlaw the practice of female genital mutilation and sparked a strong public outcry in Egypt.

She asserted that NCCM has been working over the past few years on several programs to counter such practices through the various mass media means.

Ashmawi also said that in 2016, the government toughened the punishment against those involved in such practice and established the anti-FGM national committee under the chairmanship of the NCCM.

The campaign will include awareness convoys to be deployed to all the Egyptian governorates as of Thursday, holding seminars as well as organizing public competitions to ensure that correct information about FGM reach to the public, she added.

Egypt imposed a complete ban on female genital cutting — also known as female genital mutilation or circumcision — in June 2007 after Budour Shaker died of an excessive dose of anesthesia while being cut at the private clinic in Upper Egypt.

Egypt’s Grand Mufti, the government’s official arbiter of Islamic law, decreed during the same year that female genital cutting was forbidden by Islam, in his strongest statement yet against the practice.

FGM was criminalized by Egyptian parliament in June 2008, thus creating a paradigm shift by moving the practice from social norm to crime. Child Helpline 16000 has been an effective tool for reporting practitioners and assessing change of attitudes of public towards FGM, according to Ashmawi.]]>
6/12/2019 1:19:33 PM
<![CDATA[FM urges Syrian political process in meeting with U.S. envoy]]>
Shokry and Jeffrey examined the latest developments on the Syrian scene and the updates of counterterrorism efforts, as stated by the ministry’s spokesperson Ahmed Hafez.

The minister reiterated Egypt’s stance on the crises necessitating the preservation of the Syrian state’s unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. Shokry affirmed that Egyptian endeavors aimed at bringing all Syrian parties together to push forward the political process will persist. The ministry also underlined that the political process must go in parallel with efforts deployed to combat terrorist and extremist organizations.

Both officials exchanged views on possible mechanisms that may accelerate the political process and overcome the current inertia in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution no. 2254 adopted in 2015.

The Egyptian minister stressed the importance of coordinating international and regional efforts to not allow the infiltration of defeated militants to other countries in the region and to block political and logistic support to terrorist groups.

Jeffrey presented the U.S. vision on the recent developments in Syria. The U.S. envoy expressed his country’s appreciation and support to the role played by Egypt to end the Syrian crisis, and to combat terrorism and extremism.
]]>
6/11/2019 6:02:18 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi discusses Palestinian-Israeli conflict with World Jewish Congress chief]]>
The meeting took place in Cairo where the president asserted, “if that goal is achieved, opportunities for development and stability will be created across the region,” a statement by Presidency’s Spokesperson Bassam Rady read. The president also added that such resolution would deter the extremist ideology that gives rise to violence and terrorism.

The president and the World Jewish Congress chief met in 2017 and 2018. In the former meeting, the president stipulated that achieving Palestinian reconciliation is an important step towards reviving negotiations between Palestine and Israel in order to reach a fair and inclusive solution to the Palestinian case.

In 2018, the president affirmed his keenness to support the efforts aiming at the resumption of the peace process between Israel and Palestine according to the international standards and 1967 borders, adding that it will help restore security and stability of the region.

Sisi and Lauder also reviewed in that meeting Egypt’s efforts to provide political solutions to the crises in the region, respecting the sovereignty of states without interference in their domestic affairs. The two sides also reviewed a number of regional issues with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process on top of the list, Rady said.
]]>
6/11/2019 3:57:00 PM
<![CDATA[LE 3.4B proceeds of money laundering crimes during year: Interior Min.]]>
This announcement came during the fourth conference to combat crimes of money laundering, which started Saturday June 8 and lasted for 3 days, with the participation of leaders and officers of the sector and under the leadership of the Ministry of Justice and the attorney general.

The conference focused on mechanisms to upgrade the performance of drug combat officers in coordination with the concerned bodies.

The Interior Ministry was able to detect 61 cases of money laundering through drug trafficking in the period between June 2018 and May 2019.

The conference stressed the need to maximize the role played by combat agencies to cope with the growing problem.

In March 2019, the General Administration of Public Money Investigations spotted illegal activities by a group of people who money laundered L.E. 50 million ($2.8 million) through constructing unlicensed buildings in Greater Cairo.

Investigations revealed that a group of people has committed a criminal act for several years, including building housing towers and selling them to citizens without obtaining official licenses and approvals from the concerned state bodies.

Egypt established the Egyptian Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Combating Unit in 2002 under the Anti-Money Laundering Law No. 80 of 2002. The unit’s job is to combat money laundering and terrorist financing activities in Egypt.

The unit aims to improve anti-money laundering/terrorist financing combating systems that have been implemented by financial institutions and others operating in Egypt.

The unit's main function is to receive, analyze, and distribute the STRs received from financial institutions and non-financial businesses and professions.

]]>
6/11/2019 2:50:05 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament denies granting Egyptian nationality for $10K]]>
Amer added during his phone call to Mubasher channel that $10,000 or the equivalent in Egyptian currency is the fees for applying for the Egyptian citizenship.

In the same context, the Defense and National Security Committee of the House of Representatives approved on Monday, June 10 new amendments to the law of Entry and Residence of Foreigners in Egypt that grant citizenship to foreigners who inject their investments into the country.

Article No. 2 of the law will be amended to stipulate that the prime minister has the right to grant the Egyptian citizenship for any foreigner who bought a state-owned property or a private property, established an investing project in accordance with the Egyptian Investment Law, or deposited money in hard currency.

As per the new amendments, the Cabinet shall form a unit tasked with considering the applications of granting the citizenship. The unit consists of representatives of ministries of foreign affairs and interior, investments and international cooperation.

The applicants shall submit their forms online and pay $10,000 or its equivalence in Egyptian pound. Then, the unit shall consider the application within only 3 months.

The latest amendments conducted to the Egyptian Nationality Law were approved on September 21, 2017 by the Parliament, stating that “The Egyptian citizenship will be withdrawn from individuals found guilty of participating in a terrorist act, communicating with terrorists or gathering information for terrorists.”

https://www.egypttoday.com/Article/2/59108/All-you-need-to-know-about-Egyptian-nationality-law-amendments

]]>
6/11/2019 1:51:22 PM
<![CDATA[PM candidate Leadsom says: parliament cannot stop Brexit]]>
“In all circumstances we are leaving the European Union on the 31st of October this year,” she said. “I do not think that parliament actually has the ability to prevent us leaving at the end of October which is the legal default position.”]]>
6/11/2019 12:53:45 PM
<![CDATA[Parl’t approves law granting residence to foreigners buying property]]>
Article No. 2 of the law will be amended to stipulate that the prime minister has the right to grant the Egyptian citizenship for any foreigner who bought a state-owned property or a private property, or established an investing project in accordance with the Egyptian Investment Law, or deposited money in hard currency.

As per the new amendments, the Cabinet shall form a unit tasked with considering the applications of granting the citizenship. The unit consists of representatives of ministries of foreign affairs and interior, investments and international cooperation.

The applicants shall submit their forms online and pay $10,000 or its equivalence in Egyptian pound. Then, the unit shall consider the application within only 3 months.

The latest amendments conducted to the Egyptian Nationality Law were approved on September 21, 2017 by the Parliament, stating that “The Egyptian citizenship will be withdrawn from individuals found guilty of participating in a terrorist act, communicating with terrorists or gathering information for terrorists.”

In case you missed it …

All you need to know about Egyptian nationality law amendments

CAIRO - 17 October 2018: The Egyptian Official Gazette reported on Tuesday Oct. 16 that the Ministry of Interior allowed 21 citizens to naturalize other nationalities while retaining their Egyptian nationality. 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.




]]>
6/10/2019 5:45:14 PM
<![CDATA[Palestine responds to U.S. ambassador statements on West Bank ]]>
That is in response to his statements to the New York Times saying, “Under certain circumstances ... Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had promised before the latest election in April that part of the West Bank would be annexed.

The ambassador said that the Middle East Peace Plan that will be unveiled soon by the United States is intended to enhance the quality of life of Palestinians but does not offer a “permanent resolution to the conflict,” according to the New York Times.

Furthermore, Friedman alleged Palestinian leaders exert “massive pressure” on prominent Palestinian businessmen to not take part in the economic conference to be held in Bahrain later this month. Organized by the United States, the conference is aimed at highlighting the financial benefits of accepting the plan.

“Friedman’s statements are part of the U.S. administration's policy totally biased towards the occupation and its colonial expansive policies...Based on what rationale does Friedman believe Israel has the right to annex sections, but not all, of the West Bank? Upon what (basis) did Friedman build his convictions? (Are those convictions based) on international law that proscribes using force to disrupt territorial integrity or on the reality imposed by the authorities of the occupation,” the Palestinian ministry’s statement read.

The ministry affirmed that Friedman’s statements are a threat to the region’s peace and security, and that they expose the Palestinian people to many risks and conspiracies.

“What is noteworthy in the words of Friedman is his eagerness to improve the Palestinians’ quality of life under occupation through bumping Arab and non-Arab capital into joint projects by the Israeli-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IPCCI). The pro-settlement chamber was founded by Friedman himself to propagate co-existence under occupation. Simultaneously, he was making strenuous efforts to cut all U.S. aids to the Palestinian people and the institutions that provide it with services as well as Palestinian infrastructure such as hospitals, roads, and others...Who is (Friedman) to criticize human rights in Palestine while support settlers and their state to steal the property of the Palestinian people and violate its basic rights of education, worship, movement, work, transportation and others,” the statement said.
]]>
6/10/2019 3:35:16 PM
<![CDATA[Istanbul mayor re-elections could have Erdogan's power at risk ]]>
The electoral authorities declared re-election on May 6 after the Supreme Electoral Commission investigated claims made by the AKP that several members of multiple electoral boards in Istanbul were not qualified to serve.

Conversely, the commission controversially confirmed that the same boards stripped off their position would be eligible for the re-elections despite their alleged misconduct.

The initial elections took place on March 31 with Ekrem Imamoglu, a candidate from an opposing party, initially winning the election.

The AKP lost control of Turkey for the first time in 25 years after they lost the March 31 elections. However, electoral authorities declared re-election on May 6.

On June 7, Erdoğan urged voters to head to the polls for Istanbul's upcoming mayor re-elections set to take place on June 23. Erdogan said after Friday's prayers that the people must cast their votes in the forthcoming elections "to fulfill their duty for democracy."

The ruling party of President Erdoğan has insisted that Imamoglu is secretly Greek to discredit the opposing party's campaign. The claim is rooted in the fact that Imamoglu's hometown Trabzon, a province located on the Black Sea, was historically ruled by the Greeks and Persians.

Recent opinion polls indicate Imamoglu is nine percentage points ahead of his AKP rival, Binali Yildirim.

Erdoğan's influence in Turkish politics has gradually increased during his tenure through multiple constitutional referendums, with each one giving him more control and power on Turkish state affairs. Henceforth, Erdogan has steadily shifted Turkey into an authoritative regime with him at the forefront.

The 2017 constitutional referendum saw Turkey's executive branch transform into a presidential system. The changes in the constitution essentially allowed Erdoğan to have more control over all other branches of the Turkish government.

Istanbul is Turkey's economic powerhouse, and losing control of the city would deal a massive blow to the power grip that the ruling party and Erdogan have had over Turkish state affairs over the past two decades.

These upcoming elections could potentially serve as a power-shift in the trajectory of Turkish politics, and also possibly be the beginning of the end of Erdoğan's controversial regime.
]]>
6/10/2019 1:47:42 PM
<![CDATA[Parl't approves draft bill increasing pensions by 15%]]>
Abdel Aal, in a session on Sunday, announced postponing the final approval of the bill for next Tuesday's session, as the draft is one of the laws supplementing the constitution, and therefore requires the presence and approval of two thirds of the members at least.

The government is currently working under the direct guidance of the president to develop a plan to manage pensions in an economic way, Abd Aal said.

"The day when the government will have nothing to do with increasing pensions will come. The plan is to have a system for managing pension money in an economic way. Egypt is the only country that increases its pensions from the public treasury, and the goal is to get economic pension money management," Abdel-Al said.



In March, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced a number of decisions aimed at alleviating the impact of inflation on millions of citizens.

The minimum wage of public employees – who amount to 5.2 million - will rise from LE 1,200 to LE 2,000. An exceptional raise worth LE 150 will be granted to public employees to face inflation.

Pensions will increase by 15 percent with a minimum of LE 150, with the minimum pension amounting to LE 900. By passing the bill, the 15 percent increase in pensions should take into effect by July 1, 2019.

The annual raise for employees subject to the Civil Service Bill will be 7 percent of the base pay.

The exceptional raise for employees not subject to the Civil Service Bill is worth 10 percent of the base pay with a minimum of LE 75.

The president commented in Egyptian Arabic in the middle of his formal speech on the hike in prices. He called upon citizens to boycott commodities with unaffordable prices, explaining that traders will have to reduce the prices if sales plummet.

The president added that the government is exerting efforts to indirectly adjust the prices but “it is difficult in a country with a population of 120 million citizens.”
]]>
6/10/2019 1:27:11 PM
<![CDATA[HRW seeks removing regimes, encouraging instability: Speaker]]>
During a session on Sunday, Abdel Aal accused the international non-governmental organization of seeking to remove regimes, saying that it has already contributed to demolishing the regime in many countries.

He also asserted that the HRW has a clear program against the stability of the countries, and that its reports are always biased to terrorism.

"I advise not to waste our time reading such reports. The people of Sinai are honorable and have expressed their patriotism in many situations, and they are true and strong supporters of the army and police," Abdel Aal said.

Abdel Aal also criticized those who are responsible for providing this organization with misleading reports at home and abroad, according to him, stressing that all honorable people are not concerned about these reports.

This comes shortly after the HRW accused the Egyptian army in Sinai as well as the militants fought by the army of committing human rights violations including war crimes.

Egypt has blocked the HRW's website in September 2017, only one day after the organization released a report concerning alleged systematic torture inside Egyptian jails.

Parliament's Human Rights Committee member Mohamed al-Koumi said earlier that everyone is now aware that Human Rights Watch holds a hostile attitude towards the Egyptian state, and that its reports are "funded".

Koumi accused the "alliance of evil people including the [Muslim] Brotherhood and the states sponsoring the terrorist organization" of being behind the issuance of such "false reports" which aim at obstructing the development of the Egyptian state.

The Egyptian authorities designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group in December 2013, a few months after the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated former President Mohamed Morsi and the dispersal of pro-Morsi sit-ins.

State Information Service reveals 'flawed methodology' in HRW report on Sinai

CAIRO – 3 June 2019: The State Information Service (SIS) has issued a detailed report responding to “false allegations” made in a report released by Human Rights Watch on May 28 on the situation in Sinai, claiming abuses committed by the army amid its war on terrorism.



]]>
6/10/2019 1:18:18 PM
<![CDATA[Factbox: Beyond Brexit, what are UK leadership candidates' priorities?]]>
But, beyond Brexit, what are the candidates’ other policy priorities?

Below are some of the main policies announced so far by the leading candidates, determined by bookmakers’ odds.

BORIS JOHNSON
- Johnson has pledged to cut income tax for high earners by raising the threshold at which a 40% tax rate kicks in. He has also advocated lower business taxes.

- He has also pledged to support investment in infrastructure, policing, education, healthcare and to protect the environment. He also advocates higher defense spending.

JEREMY HUNT
- He says he wants to make Britain the most pro-business country in Europe by reducing corporation tax to 12.5%. Currently the tax is due to fall to 17% in April 2020.

ANDREA LEADSOM
- Leadsom has promised to overhaul the current higher education funding system, making funding available to students undertaking a wider range of courses.

MICHAEL GOVE
- Gove has pledged to look to replace Value Added Tax (VAT)- a tax levied on goods and services - with a “lower, simpler” sales tax. He has also promised to review competition law and break down barriers to new market entrants.

- Gove wants to introduce a points-based immigration system modeled on that used by Australia.

- He has promised to invest retraining and education and in communities which have suffered most from de-industrialization.

SAJID JAVID
- Javid has mooted the possibility of scrapping Britain’s 45% tax rate, paid by highest earners, arguing that it could increase money flowing into the public purse.

- Javid has proposed a 100 billion pound ($126.88 billion)infrastructure investment fund, focused on improving roads, railways and broadband.

- He has also vowed to focus on education in office, recruit 20,000 more police officers and freeze tax on fuel.

DOMINIC RAAB
- Raab has said Britain should cut its lowest rate of income tax by 1% per year.

- He would launch clean energy research programs.

RORY STEWART
- Stewart said he would no make unfunded spending plans or announce unaffordable tax cuts. He advocates a simpler tax code, infrastructure spending to boost regions outside London, and more resources for schools and police.

- He wants to boost share ownership among Britons, and would sell off the government’s stake in Royal Bank of Scotland.]]>
6/10/2019 12:34:27 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament approves in principle new amendments to laws of judiciary bodies]]>
In May 2019, the Legislative Committee of the parliament approved the amendments, per which the president will choose one out of seven oldest judges to be the chairperson of any highest judicial body for a four-year term; the chosen judge shall be deputies of the outgoing president of the judicial body.

The president has the right to appoint heads of the Court of Cassation, the state’s attorney general, the Administrative Prosecution Authority, the Egyptian State Lawsuits Authority, the Military Prosecution. As for appointing the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, the president will choose one out of five oldest judges at the court for its presidency.


In 2017, President Sisi issued a decree to have the right to appoint the heads of highest judicial bodies. At that time, his move was protested by Egypt’s supreme judicial bodies as it violates the judicial power independence, which was guaranteed by the constitution. However the recently-approved amendments to the constitution gave the president this constitutionalized right.
]]>
6/9/2019 6:50:39 PM
<![CDATA[Parl't approves gov't-proposed bill on Supreme Constitutional Court]]>
The parliament's approval to the bill comes after reviewing the report prepared by the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee.

House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal announced the draft law will be referred to the State Council for revision, adding that MPs will give their final vote on Tuesday.

The bill requires the two-thirds majority to be passed and published in the official gazette, Abdel Aal noted.

Under those amendments, the president of the republic will have the power to appoint the SCC president from its among five deputies.

The president of the republic will also have the authority to appoint the SCC vice president from two nominated by its general assembly and the court head. ]]>
6/9/2019 5:17:48 PM
<![CDATA[Muslim Brotherhood pay foreign newspapers to spread lies, defame Egypt]]>
Rabie stressed in an interview that the terrorist group is purchasing pages and columns at foreign newspapers to spread lies and rumors to serve its interests.

He added that full budgets are being dedicated for foreign newspapers that allow the brotherhood to use them as platforms to attack Egypt through fake media campaigns.

Rabie also affirmed that Muslim Brotherhood figures like Youssef Nada and Ibrahim Mounir, deputy general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, are communicating with western media outlets to incite against the Egyptian state and defame its image abroad.

Why did Foreign Policy Magazine help ex-Brotherhood minister spread lies about Egypt economy?
]]>
6/9/2019 3:16:38 PM
<![CDATA[Hundreds of thousands march in Hong Kong to protest China extradition bill]]>
Organizers said their initial estimates put the turnout at well over half a million people, saying it outstripped a demonstration in 2003 when 500,000 hit the streets to challenge government plans for tighter national security laws.

Those laws were later shelved and a key government official forced to resign. Sunday’s outpouring was widely expected to raise the pressure on the administration of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her official backers in Beijing.

Lam had yet to comment on the rally, which followed weeks of domestic discontent growing official concern from the U.S., European Union and foreign business lobbies that the changes would dent Hong Kong’s vaunted rule of law and freedoms. The former British colony was handed back to Chinese rule in 1997 amid guarantees of autonomy and various freedoms including a separate legal system, which many diplomats and business leaders believe is the city’s strongest remaining asset.

The unusually broad opposition to the rendition bill displayed on Sunday came amid a series of government moves to deepen links between southern mainland China and Hong Kong.

Police had yet to issue their own estimate of the protest size. But as tens of thousands reached the Legislative Council in the Admiralty business district, the starting point in Victoria Park was crowded with thousands more still waiting to join the march.

Streets were packed along the route; Reuters witnesses at various key points estimated the crowd at several hundred thousand strong.

Chants of “no China extradition, no evil law” echoed through the highrise city streets, while other marchers called for Hong Lam and other senior officials to step down.

BROAD-BASED, GOOD-NATURED PROTEST

One protester held a sign reading “Carry off Carrie”, while another declared “Extradite yourself, Carrie.” Another sign said “let’s make Hong Kong great again”, with a photo depicting U.S. President Donald Trump firing Lam.

The genial crowd included young families pushing babies in prams as well as the elderly braving 32 degree C (90°F) heat, some spraying each other with water misters.

Debates will start in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council on Wednesday on the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance. The bill could be passed into law by the end of June.

Lam has tweaked the amendments but refused to pull the bill, saying it is vital to plug a long-standing “loophole”.

She has also said speedy action is needed to ensure a Hong Kong man suspected of murdering his girlfriend can be sent to Taiwan for trial.

Opposition to the bill has united a broad range of the community, from usually pro-establishment business people and lawyers to students, pro-democracy figures and religious groups.

Insurance agents, executives and small entrepreneurs joined bus drivers and mechanics in the streets on Sunday. Dozens of people told Reuters it was their first protest march, with some remarking on the strong sense of unity among the diverse crowds.

“I come here to fight,” said a wheelchair-bound, 78-year-old man surnamed Lai, who was among the first to arrive.

Schoolteacher Garry Chiu joined the protest with his wife and 1-year-old daughter, saying, “It is no longer about me”.

“I need to save my daughter. If the law is implemented anyone can disappear from Hong Kong. No one will get justice in China. We know there is no human rights,” Chiu added.

“The extradition bill will directly threaten the core values of Hong Kong and rule of law,” said 21-year-old Kelvin Tam, a student in London. “It will remove the firewall of Hong Kong judicial independence.”

Protests against the bill were also planned on Sunday in 26 cities globally, including London, Sydney, New York and Chicago.

CRITICISM OF BILL
The amendments would simplify case-by-case arrangements to allow extradition of wanted suspects to jurisdictions, including mainland China, Macau and Taiwan, beyond the 20 that Hong Kong already has extradition treaties with.

Opponents of the bill question the fairness and transparency of the Chinese court system and worry about Chinese security forces contriving charges.

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, said on Thursday the bill would “strike a terrible blow...against the rule of law, against Hong Kong’s stability and security, against Hong Kong’s position as a great international trading hub”.

Foreign governments have also expressed concern, warning of the impact on Hong Kong’s reputation as an international financial hub, and noting that foreigners wanted in China risk getting ensnared in Hong Kong.

Concerns were highlighted on Saturday with news that a local high court judge had been reprimanded by the chief justice after his signature appeared on a public petition against the bill.

Reuters reported earlier that several senior Hong Kong judges were worried about the changes, noting a lack of trust in mainland courts as well as the limited nature of extradition hearings.

Human rights groups have repeatedly cited the alleged use of torture, arbitrary detentions, forced confessions and problems accessing lawyers in China.

Hong Kong officials have defended the plans, even as they raised the threshold of extraditable offences to crimes carrying penalties of seven years or more.

They say the laws carry adequate safeguards, including the protection of independent local judges who will hear cases before any approval by the Hong Kong chief executive. No one would be extradited if they face political or religious persecution or torture, or the death penalty, they say.

“We continue to listen to a wide cross-section of views and opinions and remain to open to suggestions on ways to improve the new regime,” a government official said on Sunday.
]]>
6/9/2019 3:00:44 PM
<![CDATA[Parliamentary committee approves in principle bill on periodic raises]]>
The aim is to maintain equality and justice among administrative workers, according to a memo annexed with the bill.

The government has set a minimum of 75 pounds monthly to maximize benefit from raises.

Under the bill, civil servants are also entitled to a monthly bonus worth 150 pounds.

It also maintains a minimum seven percent periodic raise to be given to civil servants.

Non civil servants should, under the draft law, receive a 10 percent raise as of June 30.]]>
6/9/2019 2:53:09 PM
<![CDATA[Legislative committee of parliament approves amendments to alimony law]]>
Financially capable husbands or fathers who refuse to pay alimony or child support for three successive months should, under the amended articles, be sentenced to not more than one year in prison and should be fined 500 pounds, or any of the two penalties.

They should first receive warnings before they are punished.

Lawsuits should only be filed by wives or persons directly concerned. ]]>
6/9/2019 2:48:57 PM
<![CDATA[IOM appeals for USD 50 mln to help needy people in Ethiopia]]>
Mass internal displacement throughout Ethiopia due to consecutive years of drought and conflict have left nearly nine million people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection, according to the IOM.

Today’s request by IOM is part of the comprehensive inter-agency 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Ethiopia, which aims to raise USD 1.3. billion to support 8.3 million people. Half-way through the year, less than one-third of the HRP has been funded.

“IOM has been steadfast in its commitment to assisting the people in need of humanitarian assistance throughout Ethiopia,” said Maureen Achieng, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Ethiopia. “With the threat of an impending drought that is feared to be just as bad if not worse than the one in 2016-2017, the international community must continue to focus on saving lives and supporting the protection and safety of millions of people in need.”

The strongest El Niño phenomenon on record led to an extreme drought in 2016 and 2017, that left over 16 million people in need of food and nutritional assistance, access to safe drinking water and livelihoods support.

In 2018, IOM significantly increased its humanitarian response in Ethiopia to address emergency needs in multiple conflict-induced internal displacements along the Somali-Oromia border in Dire Dawa, and in Gedeo (SNNP) and West Guji (Oromia) Zones. To better serve the Gedeo-Guji inter-agency response, IOM manages humanitarian hubs in both zones.

In addition, IOM assisted a total of 190,000 Ethiopian migrants to voluntarily return from Saudi Arabia last year. Nearly 9,000 of the most vulnerable returnees received immediate post-arrival assistance.

The second largest refugee hosting country in Africa, Ethiopia is hosting some 900,000 refugees primarily from South Sudan, Somalia and elsewhere, with additional refugees continuing to arrive. Transportation of newly arrived refugees from border entry points remains critical, as well as the provision of shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and livelihood support.

“With continued support from our donors and partners, IOM hopes to continue the multi-sector life-saving assistance that has helped mitigate the worst effects of the crisis in previous years,” added Achieng.

Funds received from this year’s appeal will allow IOM to offer shelter, non-food items, WASH assistance, protection, mental health and psychosocial support to affected populations. It will also allow IOM to continue its work in cluster coordination, site management support and refugee movements, as well as managing its Rapid Response Fund and Displacement Tracking Matrix. ]]>
6/9/2019 10:38:14 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi: Egypt keen on establishing strategic partnership with Eritrea]]>
Sisi also underscored the need to overcome any obstacles to mutual cooperation, especially in infrastructure, energy, healthcare, trade, investment and agricultural sectors.

The president made his remarks at a meeting with his Eritrean counterpart Isaias Afwerki at the Ittihadiya Palace in Cairo.

Welcoming the Eritrean president, Sisi lauded the robust historical ties between both sisterly African nations, Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said.

He also asserted Egypt's keenness to keep up the current momentum for stronger mutual ties, establish sustainable partnership and maintain mutual coordination on regional as well as African issues, especially under Egypt's current presidency of the African Union (AU), Rady added.

For his part, Afwerki praised Egypt's vital role to drive the development process and maintain peace and security in Africa, highlighting his country's commitment to further cooperation in several sectors.

He further applauded Egypt's constructive efforts to ensure stability in the Horn of Africa.

The meeting took up the latest regional developments, the spokesman noted, adding both leaders agreed to maintain intensified coordination on such developments, especially those related to the Horn of Africa, the situation in Sudan and Somalia, Red Sea security and the Nile water. ]]>
6/9/2019 10:26:58 AM
<![CDATA[Yemen VP praises coalition efforts against Iran’s interference, Houthis]]>
His comments came during a discussion with military commanders in Yemen as they spoke about the progress made in the fight against the Iran-backed Houthi militia.

Al-Ahmar further called on the residents of Hajjah to support the efforts of the army to establish security and stability ion the province.

Meanwhile, the Yemeni army launched a military operation targeting sites in the east of Sanaa.

Army units and forces of the Popular Resistance carried out a surprise attack on the positions of the Houthis; the militia suffered heavy losses, while no injuries were recorded among the units of the attacking army.

In Taiz, the Houthi snipers shot and killed a woman and wounded another, local sources reported.

During Eid, eight civilians were killed by Houthi militia in Taiz.

]]>
6/9/2019 9:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Libyan army starts advancing towards airport axis in Tripoli]]>
In statements broadcast by Al Hadath channel, the source added that the army forces destroyed three vehicles belonging to the militia groups that support the accord government.

Fierce clashes are still ongoing in the area, amid remarkable progress by the Libyan army, the source noted. ]]>
6/9/2019 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Why did Foreign Policy Magazine help ex-Brotherhood minister spread lies about Egypt economy?]]>CAIRO – 8 June 2019: Following the same schemed strategy of defaming each and every progress that Egypt is pulling through, a Muslim Brotherhood ex-minister argued in a Foreign Policy Magazine opinion article that the Egyptian economy is allegedly collapsing.


Full of contradictions


Yehia Hamed, a Brotherhood member who was investment minister in Mohamed Morsi's government, wrote an opinion article about how he thinks ‘somehow’ that Egypt’s economy is not booming, but “collapsing.”


Hamed1222
FILE: Yehia Hamed

Hamed dared to use the word collapsing despite that he could not help but admit that Egypt repositioned itself as a “global investment destination,” and that financial commentators have taken to calling it the world’s hottest emerging market.


He further added that investors are flooding into the country in the hope of making a fortune in Egypt’s capital markets; in December 2018 foreign holdings of local debt were up more than 20 percent on the previous year, with this trend set to continue in 2019.


Also he admitted that one investment bank called Egypt’s apparent recovery the “most attractive reform story” in the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe.


Reddit user destinydisappointer commented on Saturday, “The article is written by a minister who served in Morsi's government, basically an Ikhwani.


“It is full of opinions and conjecture being spun as if it were facts without providing evidence.”




Foreign Policy sells readers to whoever pays more


But the real issue here is not Hamed, but Foreign Policy and its lack of professionalism to let a Muslim Brotherhood fugitive to publish his article without any fact-checking or any sort of authentication.


Worse still, the magazine turned a blind eye over various reports by European and American newspapers and magazine regarding how Egypt’s economy is witnessing a remarkable recovery and boost.


Despite all claims of professionalism and authenticity, the magazine turned into an outlet for the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood organization to spread rumors and false claims about the Egyptian leadership and situation, by publishing articles and fake news about Egypt with no shred of evidence.


A few months earlier, some media reports exposed moves by the Qatari regime and the Muslim Brotherhood to buy stakes in foreign newspapers to guarantee that some foreign pens will defend the tiny emirate and the terrorist organization.


Foreign Policy was not the first newspaper to sell its readers to whoever pays more, as a year ago, Morsi’s son paid the Washington Post to publish an article that incites against the Egyptian state.


Millions of dollars are being paid to magazines and newspapers to serve the devious schemes of some countries and organizations that only seek destruction and chaos to prevail over other countries for their own interests.




Mere delusions


Hamed’s delusions went on that if the current uptrend continues, Egypt will soon be bankrupt. He also accused the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of manipulating the structure of the Egyptian economy.


MP Mahmoud Al-Seidi, member of the Parliamentary Economic Committee, slammed the article as a “paid article and a failure attempt to defame the Egyptian economy by the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group.”


sdf789123f
FILE: MP Mahmoud Al-Seidi

“We did not praise our country’s economy, however, there are international economic foundations and institutions that simply do not compliment, not to mention reports praising the Egyptian economy and confirming that our growth rates and increasing cash reserves are unprecedented,” Al-Seidi added.


The Egyptian MP further called on foreigners to ignore everything that the Muslim Brotherhood and their media outlets publish.


Another Reddit user, RidiculousVillain, said, “I don't think it's half as bad as the article makes it out to be. I do believe the country is on the path to being an economic success.”


“This article is written by an Ikhwani writer who served in Mohamed Morsi's regime. I bet if you translate it to Arabic, you'll find that it's nothing but a Moataz Matar rant, he is so loud and one of the most stunning bullshitters I have ever seen.”


He also added, “Anyways, the country is attracting a lot of foreign investments, tourism is recovering, the country is becoming a safe place to live again… The country is shaping up again.”




Facts proving otherwise


For his part, Deputy Chairman on Planning and Budget committee Yasser Omar said the whole report is a desperate attempt to demean Egypt and its economy, saying that if it was not for the economic reform program, Egypt would have witnessed an acute recession, and the currency exchange rate would have fallen, unlike the current situation.


YasserOmar
FILE: MP Yasser Omar

Inflation fell very sharply after reaching 30%, now down to 13%,” Omar added. “Egypt’s reform program is a program that should be taught, it is 100% Egyptian, and there is no need to mention that the recent period witnessed programs to support the poor, which did not exist before.”


Omar further added that attempts to defame the Egyptian economy will fail because the reality proves otherwise.

]]>
6/8/2019 3:56:16 PM
<![CDATA[Iran says new US sanctions show talks offer ‘hollow’]]>
“Only one week was needed for the US president’s claim that he was ready to negotiate with Iran to be proven hollow,” foreign ministry spokesman Mousavi said.

His statement came after the US Treasury announced new sanctions on Friday against Iran’s largest and most profitable petrochemicals group PGPIC.

Trump said Thursday he would be willing to reopen talks as long as Iran agreed to give up nuclear weapons. But Tehran ruled out talks until the United States is ready to “return to normal.”

Mousavi called the new sanctions another instance of “economic terrorism” and a continuation of US “enmity” against Iran.

“America’s maximum pressure policy is a failed policy tried numerous times before by the country’s previous presidents. This a wrong path and the US government can be sure that it will not achieve any of the goals set for this policy,” Mousavi added.

Washington began reimposing unilateral sanctions on Iran after Trump abandoned a landmark 2015 nuclear deal in May last year.

It reimposed a first set in August followed by a second in November.

On April 8, it designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a “foreign terrorist organization,” paving the way for sanctions against their sources of funding.

Announcing the sanctions against PGPIC on Friday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said they were intended as a “warning that we will continue to target holding groups and companies in the petrochemical sector and elsewhere that provide financial lifelines to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp.”

The PGPIC group holds 40 percent of Iran’s petrochemical production capacity and is responsible for 50 percent of the its petrochemical exports, Treasury said.]]>
6/8/2019 12:40:00 PM
<![CDATA[DRC parl’t speaker grateful for Egypt's supportive stances]]>
During a meeting with Egyptian Ambassador to the DRC Hamdy Shaaban on Friday, the newly-elected first woman speaker of the African country’s parliament said she looks forward to more future cooperation between both countries at all levels.

She highlighted the technical support offered by Egypt to her country through the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development which helps in honing the skills of DRC’s cadres in numerous fields.

According to a statement released by the Foreign Ministry, the ambassador congratulated Mabunda for becoming the first woman in her country to assume such a high-level position.

He also congratulated the DRC’s government and people for their success in holding presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections which paved the way for the first peaceful democratic power transfer in the country’s history.

He voiced hope that these positive achievements would help the DRC realize the political and security stability needed to push forward its socioeconomic development and turn life to the better for its people.]]>
6/8/2019 11:49:12 AM
<![CDATA[AL chief urges self restraint, commitment to Sudan's peaceful path]]>
The AL chief is cautiously following up Sudan's evolving situation, especially the deaths of dozens of protesters reported during the dispersal of Khartoum's sit-in on Monday, which subsequently led to the suspension of talks between the Transitional Military Council and the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces, Spokesman for the AL Secretary General Ambassador Mahmoud Afifi said.

Abul Gheit offered condolences to the families of the dead persons and wished speedy recovery for the injured, the spokesman said.

The secretary general urged exerting utmost effort to narrow international and regional standpoints regarding backing Sudanese parties in their endeavor of fulfilling the aspired democratic transition.

He further reiterated the commitment of the AL to siding with Sudan in maintaining its security, stability, as well as its effective role in the joint Arab action. ]]>
6/7/2019 11:21:15 AM
<![CDATA[Security forces foil terrorist attack on N. Sinai checkpoint]]>
The attack comes two days after an attack claimed by Islamic State killed eight police officers southwest of El-Arish.

Some militants fled the scene before security forces tracked down and killed 14 of them, the interior ministry said in a statement.

The attack took place on the day Egypt marked as the holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

President Sisi who has announced war against terrorism even before he assumed post as president in 2014, said in May that the "war against terrorism did not and will not end before we retaliate for every martyr who died for the sake of their homeland."

Since 2013, Egypt has witnessed numerous terrorist attacks, mainly by the Islamic State-affiliated Sinai Province militant group, which have led to the death of hundreds of policemen, army troops and civilians during attacks on security checkpoints, churches and recently a mosque.

In February 2018, under the title "Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018", Egypt's Armed Forces launched an ongoing comprehensive military operation targeting the hotbeds of terrorists especially in Northern and Central Sinai.
]]>
6/7/2019 11:07:26 AM
<![CDATA[US commander says Iran threat still ‘very real’]]>
In an interview with three reporters accompanying him to the Gulf, he said Iran has chosen to "step back and recalculate" after making preparations for an apparent attack against US forces in the Persian Gulf region, but it is too early to conclude the threat is gone, AP reported.

"I don't actually believe the threat has diminished," McKenzie said Thursday. "I believe the threat is very real."

McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, and other military officials are trying to strike a balance between persuading Iran that the US is prepared to retaliate for an Iranian attack on Americans, thus deterring conflict, and pushing so much military muscle into the Gulf that Iran thinks the US plans an attack, in which case it might feel compelled to strike preemptively and thus spark war.

Tensions between the US and Iran have worsened since President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and several world powers and reinstated sanctions on Tehran. Last month, in response to what American officials characterized as an imminent threat, the US announced it would rush an aircraft carrier and other assets to the region.

The US also blamed Iran for last month's attacks on oil tankers in a United Arab Emirates port.

On Thursday, United Nations ambassadors from the Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Norway told UN Security Council members that investigators believe those attacks were led by a foreign state using divers on speed boats who planted mines on the vessels. They did not name Iran.

]]>
6/7/2019 10:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[African Peace and Security Council suspends Sudan’s participation in AU]]>



The decision of suspension was announced after holding the 854th meeting of the Peace and Security Council on the situation in Sudan.

The suspension will remain until “effective establishment” of a Civilian-led Transitional Authority, the council said, adding that formation of a civilian regime is “as the only way to allow the Sudan to exit from the current crisis.”

Since June 3, the situation in Sudan was escalated when dozens of protesters were killed during violently-dispersed sit-in by security forces outside the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense.

Egypt extended condolences to the families of the martyrs, wishing the wounded a speedy recovery, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, adding that Egypt reaffirms its full support for Sudan in this critical period to achieve a better future for the Sudanese people based on stability, development.

EgyptAir decided to suspend its current flights scheduled for Sudanese capital, Khartoum over latest developments, the aviation company announced in a statement on June 3.

Following the ouster of former President Omar al-Bashir on April 11, 2019, the interim military council announced that its transitional ruling period will last for two years until electing a new democratic government.
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6/6/2019 4:17:26 PM
<![CDATA[Arab states voice support to Egypt against terrorism after Arish attack]]>
Arish attack claimed the lives of 8 policemen. Early on Thursday, the Egyptian Ministry of Interior said in a press statement that the security forces traced the perpetrators and killed 14 terrorists in a fire exchange.

Rejecting terrorism

Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber sent a cable of condolences to Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, where he expressed his country's denouncement of such terrorist act that targeted innocent people and sought destabilizing the brotherly state of Egypt, KUNA reported.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad reiterated Kuwait's rejection of terrorism in all forms and its solidarity with the international community to drain the sources of terrorism and eliminate such phenomenon.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas decried the attack, affirming his country's "confidence in the determination of the Egyptian army and security forces to continue their mission to preserve security and stability in all parts of Egypt."

Abbas sent a cable of condolences to President Sisi, where he affirmed the Palestinian leadership and people's alignment with Egypt in their fight against terrorism.

Jordan also condemned the terrorist attack, which grieved Egyptians during their Eid al-Fitr (feast of breaking the fast) celebration.

Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Sufian Qudah affirmed Jordan's solidarity with Egypt in the face of all forms of terrorism, voicing his country's confidence in Egypt's ability to preserve its security and stability, and beat terrorist gangs, Jordan News Agency (Petra) reported.

"The battle against terrorism is one and terrorism is a common enemy," Qudah said, affirming that "all efforts must be combined to defeat it and eliminate its darkness."

The Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirmed support and solidarity with Egypt's "tireless efforts" to strengthen security and stability. It also affirmed rejecting terrorism whatever motives or justification it has.

Moreover, an official source in the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the terrorist attack, according to the Saudi Press Agency, affirming support to Egypt's efforts to combat terrorism and extremism.

War 'not over'

President Sisi who has announced war against terrorism even before he assumed post as president in 2014, said in May that the "war against terrorism did not and will not end before we retaliate for every martyr who died for the sake of their homeland."

Since 2013, Egypt has witnessed numerous terrorist attacks, mainly by the Islamic State-affiliated Sinai Province militant group, which have led to the death of hundreds of policemen, army troops and civilians during attacks on security checkpoints, churches and recently a mosque.

Year 2013 marks the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi and the death of dozens of policemen and hundreds of Morsi supporters during the dispersal of pro-Morsi protests in Al-Nahda and Rabaa Al-Adaweya squares. The two parties hold each other responsible for the violence.

In February 2018, under the title "Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018", Egypt's Armed Forces launched a comprehensive military operation targeting the hotbeds of terrorists especially in Northern and Central Sinai. Despite announcing the death of dozens of terrorists from time to time since then, the army has not yet announced the end of the battle.
]]>
6/6/2019 1:34:32 PM
<![CDATA[US calls on its citizens in Sudan to be cautious]]>
The US Embassy in Sudan issued a security alert to its citizens in each city in metropolitan Khartoum (Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North) and in other cities across Sudan.

Violence and civil unrest continue in Khartoum and across Sudan, said a statement issued by the embassy.

The airport in Khartoum is open; however, some flights have been cancelled or are being rescheduled. Traveling to the airport may be hazardous due to roadblocks, civil unrest and violence.

Movement by US government personnel at the US Embassy has been reduced to minimal official movements only. The Embassy is closed to the public.

Meanwhile, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London (FCO) advised against all but essential travel to Khartoum and all other remaining areas of Sudan due to developments in the security and political situation.

As of 5 June 2019, the decision was made to withdraw non-essential British Embassy staff and dependants from Sudan, it said. ]]>
6/6/2019 11:20:52 AM
<![CDATA[Baghdady hides on Iraq-Syria borders: Iraqi Intelligence chief]]>
The suspected areas are Homs, the deserts of Anbar, Nineveh’s Baaj and Hatra, Manayef and Al Sakhreyat as well as the shared borders between Iraq, Syria, and Turkey since they have no military presence.

“We were informed that there are (IS) sleeper cells in remote villages and (Iraqi) suburbs. Those were ordered by Abou Bakr al-Baghdady to shave their beards, mingle with civilians and set up hideouts away from the surveillance of security agencies. But, the military intelligence personnel are after them,” Russia Today reported Alaq saying.

The Iraqi military intelligence chief added that IS cannot resume its activities in liberated areas because of the losses it endured in battles with security forces, where the majority of its leaders were killed. The group currently depends on sleeper cells in city centers and desert areas, Alaq stated.

In December 2017, Iraq announced liberating all its territories from IS that occupied two thirds of Iraqi lands declaring an Islamic Caliphate mid-2014. The group had also taken over territories in Syria in addition to oil facilities in both countries. Simultaneously, the group was cleared from its strongholds in Iraq’s Mosul and Syria’s Deir al-Zour by governmental forces.
]]>
6/6/2019 10:57:44 AM
<![CDATA[HRW's 'funded' reports on Egypt serve terrorist agendas: MP]]>
This came after the New York-based non-governmental organization accused the Egyptian army in Sinai as well as the militants fought by the army of committing human rights violations including war crimes.

Egypt has blocked the HRW's website in September 2017, only one day after the organization released a report concerning alleged systematic torture inside Egyptian jails.

Brotherhood, Qatar, Turkey

Koumi accused the "alliance of evil people including the [Muslim] Brotherhood and the states sponsoring the terrorist organization" of being behind the issuance of such "false reports" which aim at obstructing the development of the Egyptian state.

The Egyptian authorities designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group in December 2013, a few months after the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated former President Mohamed Morsi and the dispersal of pro-Morsi sit-ins.

"As Egypt becomes stronger and more stable, and [as] the pace of accomplishments, national and development projects, expansion of urban cities in all governorates step up, the Human Rights Watch and [those] who support it with money will try to block the march," Koumi stated.

Zionist goals?

Emirati researcher Ali Mohammed al-Shurafa' criticized the suspicious reports issued by Human Rights organization from time to time, accusing them of seeking to stir up unrest within the Arab countries.

The Human Rights organization and the Human Rights Watch are organizations that "serve the objectives of Zionism through various means," Shurafa' said, adding that psychologists, media personnel and study centers work for these organizations that aim to "incite (the youth) to revolt against the regimes of the states, which will lead the states eventually to fall."

Mohammed Mustafa, a researcher in Islamic movements, said that the Human Rights Watch plays a suspicious role in inciting against the Egyptian state, adding that this organization never defends the civilians or the army and police personnel who are killed by terrorist elements.

SIS slams report

The State Information Service (SIS) has issued a detailed report responding to “false allegations” a report released by Human Rights Watch on May 28 on the situation in Sinai.

HRW’s report has attracted several negative comments from experts who deemed it “unreasonable and unfounded,” accusing HRW of making allegations against the Egyptian army and police forces without giving concrete evidence for them. That is in addition to narrating a one-sided opinion of the events.

The SIS explained that HRW cited sources that are either supporting the designated terrorist group, the Brotherhood, or organizations that are in a state of enmity with Egypt.

State Information Service reveals 'flawed methodology' in HRW report on Sinai

CAIRO – 3 June 2019: The State Information Service (SIS) has issued a detailed report responding to “false allegations” made in a report released by Human Rights Watch on May 28 on the situation in Sinai, claiming abuses committed by the army amid its war on terrorism.



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6/5/2019 12:52:32 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan army condemns Turkish aircraft attacks in Tripoli]]>
The statement added that Turkey is intervening directly to support the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group despite the Security Council's imposition to ban arms in Libya.

Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesperson Ahmed el-Mesmary announced during a Monday press conference that the Libyan armed forces have carried out during the past 48 hours important military operations in Tripoli and its environs.

He added that the Libyan National Army (LNA) killed 31 terrorists Sunday as it clashed with terrorist groups at the outskirts of Tripoli.

The spokesperson added that the army detained dozens of terror elements, destroyed a large number of armored vehicles and retrieved 25 vehicles.

“The terrorists focused their counter attacks on the area of Tripoli International Airport, in addition to the eastern and southern parts of the city,” he said.

Mesmary described the army’s way in dealing with the attacks as “professional and well-managed,” adding that the Libyan air forces targeted different areas.

He further explained that the army has monitored moves of the IS terrorist group in different locations, adding “they [IS elements] want to send a message, to both the Libyan people and leadership, that they are still capable of executing operations but the truth is that they suffer a state of depression after huge losses.”

“The terror groups are now trying to spread rumors…pushed by the losses they encountered,” Mesmary said. He noted that the Libyan army assigns border patrols to curb the terrorist group’s activities.

In May, Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar accused some parties, including United Nations special envoy Ghassan Salame, of seeking to divide Libya, according to the Arabic-speaking Sky News channel. Haftar pledged that Libya will not be divided as long as he lives.

Haftar said Salame had changed; he was no longer impartial. “He keeps saying irresponsible things,” Haftar said. “He used to be an honest and impartial mediator; he has now taken sides.”

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6/5/2019 12:50:17 PM
<![CDATA[Hariri orders taking necessary measures to protect security of Tripoli, uproot terrorism]]>
This came as the Lebanese prime minister was contacting Interior Minister Raya Al-Hassan, Army Commander General Joseph Aoun and Director-General of the Internal Security Forces Major General Imad Osman to discuss a terrorist attack by a lone gunman that targeted Tripoli last night and left four army and ISF personnel killed, Lebanon's National News Agency reported.

Hariri expressed his condolences to the army command, the ISF command and the families of the victims who fell in the confrontation with the attacker last night as the country was preparing to celebrate Eidul Fitr (Lesser Bairam) which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

He commended the sacrifices of the army, the ISF and the other security institutions and the courage of the officers, soldiers and members of the national security apparatuses who are defending the security and safety of the Lebanese people.

Premier Hariri called on the people of Tripoli to support the army and the security forces, and to cooperate with the concerned agencies to uncover the hotbeds of terrorism and eradicate them.

He concluded saying that "Terrorism has struck the joy of Eid in Tripoli, but this noble city will remain stubbornly defiant in the face of extremism and those who distort the true values of Islam." ]]>
6/4/2019 2:57:47 PM
<![CDATA[Sudan's military council calls for elections in 9 months]]>
In a televised statement, Head of Sudan’s Military Council Lt. General Abdel Fattah al Burhan said that an interim government will be formed to run the country's affairs throughout the transitional period, during which the elections will be held within nine months.

"The political powers holding talks with the military council share the responsibility of prolonging negotiations, in an attempt to seize power," Burhan warned.

The army will never pose an obstruction to change, yet, the military council promises to hand over power to those picked by the people to represent them, the Lt. general asserted in his statement.

He urged the prosecution to open investigations into violence and deaths reported during the dispersal of a weeks-long sit-in on Monday, affirming that the military council will continue eliminating and holding all former regime symbols accountable for any illegal actions and crimes committed to harm national interests. ]]>
6/4/2019 2:54:47 PM
<![CDATA[African organizations' legal counsels discuss next summit rules]]>
The summit will take place in Niger next July. This is the first summit where a coordination between the AU and sub-regional organizations is assumed.

The counsels also discussed the draft amendments to the cooperation protocol signed between the AU and the sub-regional organizations in 2008. The protocol had to be revised to match the 2063 Agenda, and help concert development efforts on the continent.
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6/4/2019 12:40:44 PM
<![CDATA[Deal or no deal, we leave EU on Oct. 31: UK PM candidate Johnson]]>
Prime Minister Theresa May is due to resign on Friday having failed to deliver Brexit on schedule. She leaves behind her a divided nation and parliament with no consensus on the way ahead for the world’s fifth largest economy.

Johnson, a former foreign minister who resigned in protest at May’s handling of Brexit, is the bookmakers’ favorite to win a crowded contest and take over the running of the country at its most important strategic juncture in decades.

“If I get in we’ll come out, deal or no deal, on October the 31st,” he was seen telling a member of the public in a campaign video released on Twitter.

The launch coincided with the arrival in Britain of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has thrown his weight behind Johnson by saying he would do a “very good job” as British leader.

The race to replace May has so far focused on candidates’ approach to a no-deal exit from the EU - with a clear dividing line between those who would countenance leaving the bloc without a formal transition agreement, and those who say it would be too economically dangerous.

Leadership rival Jeremy Hunt, one of the staunchest opponents of no deal, told the BBC that it should only be used “in extremis” but that he believed he could negotiate a better deal before Oct. 31 - the country’s current exit date.

CUT TAXES, GET MORE MONEY
Johnson is himself a divisive figure.

Having led the 2016 campaign to leave the EU he is feted by those who see him as a colorful straight-talker, prepared to speak truth to a political establishment that has betrayed swathes of the electorate.

But critics say the former Mayor of London, educated at the exclusive Eton College and Oxford University, is an opportunist member of the political elite seeking to get the top job at any cost. He is due to appear in court over claims he lied during the Brexit referendum campaign - something his lawyers have dismissed as a political stunt.

Monday’s video, featuring clips of Johnson talking to voters and a monologue delivered straight to camera, is his first real salvo in the leadership battle which so far has 13 contenders and could take two months to determine the winner.

In it, he is seen touching on issues known to be important to the 160,000 or so Conservative members who will have the final vote on Britain’s next leader, once the candidate list has been whittled down by Conservative lawmakers.

“Cut some taxes and you get more money in,” he tells another member of the public, while also arguing for more investment in education, infrastructure and healthcare.

“Now is the time to unite our society, and unite our country. To build the infrastructure, to invest in education, to improve our environment, and to support our fantastic NHS (National Health Service),” he said.

“To lift everyone in our country, and of course, also to make sure that we support our wealth creators and the businesses that make that investment possible.”]]>
6/4/2019 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt calls on Sudanese parties to practice restraint]]>
Egypt urged all parties to return to the negotiating table and dialogue.

“Egypt is following with intense interest the developments in the Sudanese arena and recent events and its repercussions,” said the Egyptian Ministry of foreign affairs.

Cairo also extended condolences to the families of the martyrs, wishing the wounded a speedy recovery, the statement added, noting that Egypt reaffirms its full support for Sudan in this critical period to achieve a better future for the Sudanese people based on stability, development and prosperity, the statement continued.

Sudanese media outlets reported that Rapid Support Forces (SRF) used force to disperse a sit-in against the transitional ruling military council, killing nine people and injuring others, saying that the forces used live ammunition against the protests outside the Ministry of Defense.

In a comment to Al Arabya channel, the military council spokesperson Shameldin Kabashy denied such media reports, stressing that the council is still in contact with all political parts.

Following the ouster of former President Omar al-Bashir on April 11, 2019, the interim military council announced that its transitional ruling period will last for two years until electing a new democratic government.


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6/3/2019 2:10:15 PM
<![CDATA[State Information Service reveals 'flawed methodology' in HRW report on Sinai]]>
HRW’s report has attracted several negative comments from experts who deemed it “unreasonable and unfounded,” accusing HRW of making allegations against Egyptian army and police forces, without giving concrete evidence for them, besides, narrating one-sided opinion of the events.

The SIS explained that HRW cited sources that are either supporting the designated terrorist group the Brotherhood, or organizations that are in a state of enmity with Egypt.

Chairman of Al-Wafd Party Bahaa al-Din Abu Shoka said “a move is a must against such organizations that seek through their fake reports to destabilize communities and spread chaos in Egypt.”

Security expert Mohamed Attiya told Egypt Today the HRW report exposed bad intentions within the human rights organization to defame Egypt, claiming that these organizations receive funds from countries that seek to destabilize Egypt.

Over the past five years, HRW’s reports on the situation in Egypt and specifically in Sinai depended on sources provided by the Muslim Brotherhood.

In the below lines, Egypt Today publishes the SIS report, which details the “biased and flawed” methodology upon which the HRW relied on in its report.

SIS’s report:


Once again Human Rights Watch circulates lies regarding the human rights situation in Egypt. This comes in a long pattern of false information HRW has attributed to the situation in Egypt, as in September 2017 HRW issued a report alleging 19 cases of torture in Egyptian prisons without providing any real evidence, this despite numerous calls we made on HRW to submit such any actual evidence they have to the Egyptian Public Prosecutors office which in turn investigated those allegations and found that they were not true after a lengthy probe. Then in 2018 Human Rights Watch issued a variety of unfounded statements and report on the situation in Egypt including one on Khaled Hassan (a defendant being prosecuted for his affiliation with Wilayat Sina’a an affiliate of ISIS) whom they claimed was subjected to enforced disappearance and torture only to find out later that their claims carried no veracity whatsoever.

HRW remain faithful to its foul habits regarding its questionable coverage of Egypt and presented us with another report on May 28th, 2019 regarding the situation in Northern Sinai. The latest report carried a multitude of false allegations and it was based on sources lacking any credibility as they were mainly based on entities that are in a state of constant enmity with the Egyptian State.

The content of the report included many alleged cases that are entirely unsupported by any real evidence, as if this report was meant to only be read by amateurs.
Therefor the Human Rights Unit of the State Information Service prepared this detailed comprehensive response to the report which asses and evaluates the allegations made by HRW.



A Flawed & Biased Methodology

1) The Interviews: The report claimed that 54 interview were conducted with local residents from the Sinai without clarifying many essential information to validate their truthfulness
a. HRW claimed it has conducted the interviews they used in creating this report with local residents of the Sinai in Egypt and abroad however HRW kept the identity of interviewees anonymous. SIS would like to inquire upon the reasons HRW did not reveal the identity of the alleged Sinai locals residing abroad despite the fact that they are probably residing in countries where they enjoy ample protection, and this is rather amazing as it calls the veracity of the main sources HRW has utilised into serious question.
b. HRW’s report kept the identity of those who conducted the 54
interviews unknown except for Amr Magdi and two nameless consultants. The report did not specify who conducted the interview in and out of Egypt either.
c. HRW’s report almost does not point to any interviews that were conducted with any official, quasi-official or even a pro government source in or out of Egypt. HRW does not mention as well any attempts to request meetings, interviews or comments from the Egyptian governments embassies and Media offices abroad.
d. HRW did not specify either the methods by which it conducted the
interviews in and out of Egypt, and this shows the pre-planned nature of the findings they made in their report.
e. There are citations in HRW’s report of text messages used for interviews, and astonishingly enough not one image or screenshot of such texts were included in the report.
f. Despite the fact that the report included a very few quotes from some individuals that have objective views on the situation in the Sinai it did not point out to any attempts by the lead researcher (Amr Magdi) to verify the allegations made in the report through seeking the
perspective of the aforementioned individuals during international human rights events that both have attended the last of which was the
40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva
Switzerland which took place throughout March 2019.
g. HRW did not provide any documentation of the 54 interviews in the report, so does it prefer to gather information orally as in many cases in previous HRW reports on Egypt.

2) Medical and legal documents:

HRW’s report claims that the researchers who authored it reviewed medical and legal documents however serious questions arise after reviewing the actual report, its cited sources and appendix.
a. In a previous 63-page report which was published on September 6th
2017 HRW made allegations regarding the testimonies of 19 alleged victims of torture and the family of a prisoner. HRW claimed it had documents to verify these cases however when SIS requested that they provide such evidence to the Egyptian Public Prosecutor who opened a legal investigation into the matter they did not comply and they failed to provide a single piece of paper despite the prosecution’s probe into the cases. HRW repeated the same strange behaviour in the case of Khaled Hassan, a defendant indicted by the authorities for his affiliation with the Wilayat Sina’a terrorist organization which an affiliate of ISIS.
b. In HRW’s latest report on the Situation in the Sinai there is a huge discrepancy between the sheer amount of allegations it has made and the absent documents that should verify it as HRW failed to provide any such documents in the report.
c. In HRW’s latest report just like in its previous ones, the entities and individuals who examine and create legal and medical documents remain anonymous. HRW in the past spoke of “independent forensic experts” who supposedly examined Khaled Hassan; the identity of those so called experts remained unannounced, so were their nationalities, entities the work for and their political backgrounds. It’s not clear either whether they worked for HRW or not. In HRW’s report on the Sinai there are only references to Amr Magdi, an unnamed researcher and a nameless intern. The report did not explain who these people are and whether they had the necessary expertise in forensic medicine and law to be eligible to review medical and legal documents that supposedly verify dangerous accusations HRW markets against Egypt.
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6/3/2019 1:44:30 PM
<![CDATA[Kazakh embassy in Cairo open for voters]]>
Speaking to MENA, he said voting will start at 8:00 a.m. till 8:00 p.m.

There are 150 Kazakh nationals living in Egypt; some of them are studying at Al Azhar University and others are married to Egyptians, the diplomat said.

Also, Kazakh tourists vacationing in Egypt are much welcome to cast their votes in the elections, he added.

Vote count will start immediately after the end of the balloting process then the results will be sent to Kazakhstan.]]>
6/3/2019 11:34:13 AM
<![CDATA[Sudanese forces storm protest camp, three people dead: medics]]>
Talks between protesters and Sudan’s military rulers over who should govern during a transitional period following the ousting of President Omar al-Bashir earlier this year are in deadlock.

“The protesters holding a sit-in in front of the army general command are facing a massacre in a treacherous attempt to disperse the protest,” the main protest group said in a statement, urging the Sudanese people to come to their aid.

The Transitional Military Council (TMC), which assumed power in April when the military toppled Bashir after three decades in office, has offered to let protesters form a government to run the country but insists on maintaining overall authority during an interim period.

Demonstrators want civilians to run the transitional period and lead the North African country of 40 million people to democracy.

Thousands of young men and women have been taking turns to camp outside the Defence Ministry since April. The site had became the focal point of anti-government protests that started in December, sparked by a severe financial crisis that caused cash shortages and bread price hikes.

No statement about the violence has yet been issued by the TMC and a spokesman could not immediately be reached for a comment.

The British Ambassador in Khartoum said in a message on his Twitter account he was “extremely concerned by the heavy gunfire I’ve been hearing over the last hour from my Residence and reports that Sudanese security forces are attacking the protest sit-in site resulting in casualties”.

“No excuse for any such attack. This. Must. Stop. Now,” he wrote.

Live television footage on showed chaotic scenes, with protesters running away as black smoke rose from tents apparently torched by the raiding forces.
Demonstrators, some waving Sudanese flags, hurled stones at security forces, who charged amid sounds of intense gunfire. A video posted on social media showed one protester collapse to the ground, crying in pain after being hit by what appears as live fire.

A Reuters witness saw troops wielding batons, including riot police and members of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, deploy in central Khartoum and close roads, apparently to try to block people from reaching the protest site.

Nile bridges that connect various parts of the Sudanese capital have also been blocked.
In Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman, across the Nile, thousands of people took to the streets, blocking roads with stones and burning tyres, a Reuters witness said.

There were no signs of any security forces in the area.

Sudan, one of the largest countries in Africa, has long been on a U.S. list of countries that support terrorism, which has hampered foreign investments.


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6/3/2019 11:25:34 AM
<![CDATA[Sudan military council denies using force to break sit-in]]>
In statements quoted by Sky News Arabia, the council's spokesman Lt-Gen Shamseddine Kabbashi blamed outlaws from a nearby louche neighborhood known as "Colombia" for storming the sit-in.

"We haven't broken the sit-in by force," Kabbashi said.

The outlaws fled the disreputable area as authorities moved to clear their hotbed, he added.

He noted that both the military council and the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance had been on accord that the Colombia poses a threat to the sit-in protesters.

The spokesman dismissed also reports that ambulances were prevented from moving those who were injured in the sit-in, as it was assaulted by the outlaws.

He hoped the political dialogue will continue with the DFCF.

Earlier today, Sudanese security forces, deployed in large numbers, sealed off streets in downtown Khartoum in a bid to contain the violence.

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6/3/2019 11:17:04 AM
<![CDATA[Al Azhar Sheikh: western media doesn't dare accuse Christianity, Judaism of terrorism]]>
Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb added that Islamophobia was rooted in politicians and media people’s culture due to funds of anti-Islam people.

“We have media and physical capabilities, beside the abundance of new satellite channels that enable us to do justice to that religion that is followed by more than a billion and a half of Muslims [worldwide], but we cared more about other interests that weakened us,” Al Azhar sheikh said.

“Up to this moment, we never heard about Christianity-phobia, Judaism-phobia, Buddhism-phobia or Hinduism-phobia. I believe that there is not a newspaper or a channel or a TV program in the West or in the East dare speak about phobia of any other religion or belief,” al-Tayeb said.

Islam rejects violence among people of any religion, he added, saying “We do not hold the Christian religion, nor Christ [peace be upon him] nor Moses [peace be upon him] a single atom of responsibility for the terrible massacres of Muslims by believers of other religions. We do not label a religion as terrorism, violence and brutality. We remain deeply aware of the vast difference between religions and their teachings, and between the traders of religions,” he continued.

Since 1948 until today, many Muslims have been killed during wars in Palestine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vietnam, the Philippines, India, Myanmar and New Zealand. However, neither a historian nor a Muslim writer dared to utter one word that distorts Christianity or Judaism as it is forbidden by Islam, he added.

Despite Islamic world leaders’ efforts of counter-terrorism and rectifying the image of Islam worldwide, Insulting Islam is being practiced.

In his speech at the ceremony, President Sisi said that people’s behaviors could affect the image of their religion negatively or positively in other nations’ points of views, saying “Strong religion could be weakened by its believers’ behaviors.”

Sisi honored ten winners of Quranic Competition Awards. The winners, who are from Egypt, Jordan, Chad, Kenya, Senegal, and Russia, were given financial awards ranging from LE180,000 (US$ 10,774) to LE70,000 (US$ 4,190).

Laylat al-Qadr is the night when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to Prophet Muhammad. Muslims believe that God bestow prolific mercy and blessings on Laylat al-Qadr (translates to Night of Decree); it is one of the odd-numbered nights during the last 10 days in the Holy month of Ramadan, with many scholars suggesting it falls on the Ramadan 27. In Quran, Laylat al-Qadr is described as "Better than 1000 months."
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6/2/2019 5:58:23 PM
<![CDATA[Human organ traffickers should get death penalty: MP]]>
However, the possibility of a death sentence can be imposed when a donor or recipient dies in the midst of an illegal organ transplant operation. According to a law implemented in 2017, a person who performs an organ transplant by force or deception faces a life imprisonment and pays a fine between L.E. 1 million ($56,000) and L.E. 2 million ($112,000). Hence, the operator could potentially be handed down a death sentence on the basis of manslaughter.

The maximum penalty was established back in a 2010 anti-trafficking law which criminalized labor trafficking and implemented the recommended penalties of 3 to 15 years of prison and fines. However, there is no law which explicitly addresses human organ trafficking.

The MP added that human organ trafficking is a crime against humanity, is unconstitutional and against Islamic values.

Many doctors and nurses are involved with gangs and participate in the illegal human organ trafficking market, the Ministry of Interior stated on April 14, 2019.

"These Mafias and their subsequent crimes must be dealt with harshly by the government. The government needs to take an action, close down all unlicensed medical centers and carry out a more strict inspection protocol on all medical centers," said Husseiny.

Additionally, Husseiny stated that security needs to be ramped up by deploying more police officers in the streets in order to patrol and arrest all criminals and fugitives. Subsequently, the MP believes that more security will also crack down on crimes related to human organ trafficking such as kidnapping and stealing.

There have been more active efforts by the government to eliminate organ trafficking. The government established the National Committee on Preventing and Combating Illegal Migration (NCCPIM & TIP) in 2018. The committee is responsible for spearheading inter-ministerial anti-trafficking initiatives.

The number of investigations related to human trafficking has substantially increased since the establishment of the NCCPIM. According to a report on human trafficking in Egypt conducted by the United States Embassy in Cairo, there were only 23 investigations conducted related to human trafficking in 2016 and 21 in 2015.

The anti-trafficking probes have witnessed a 600-percent increase since the birth of the committee. The NCCPIM conducted 144 investigations in 2018 and 41 men involved with organ trafficking were prosecuted by a Cairo court on June 12, 2018. Five men were sentenced to fifteen years in prison and fined L.E 500,000 ($29,930), other twenty defendants were given a 3-year-imprisonment term each; twelve others were handed down a 7-year prison sentence.

In 2018, the government began to deploy special response squads into the streets in order to protect and support vulnerable street children from traffickers. The Ministry of Social Solidarity disclosed that it provided 4,004 street children with medical and psychological aid in the same year as a way to protect them from traffickers. The ministry was also successfully able to reunite 397 children back with their families.

Despite all the efforts exerted by the government to tackle the human organ trafficking issue, Husseiny is dissatisfied and is certain that the death penalty is an appropriate penalty for human organ traffickers and hopes that the law will change accordingly.
]]>
6/2/2019 3:54:54 PM
<![CDATA[Cabinet denies giving up stake in Zohr gas field to foreign company]]>
Zohr is not the only gas field in Egypt; West Nile Delta (WND), Greater Nooros Area, Atoll Phase 1, and WDDM – Burullus Phase 9B are all important gas fields that add to the national gas production.

Egypt’s total gas production came to 6.6 billion scfd in September, compared to 2017’s average of 5.1 billion scfd and 2016’s 4.4 billion scfd, according to the Petroleum Ministry, meaning that between 2018 and 2017, there was a 29.4 percent year-on-year increase.

Italian Oil Company Enidiscovered Egypt's giant gas field, Zohr, in 2015. In December 2017, the company delivered the first gas production from the field estimated at 30 trillion cubic feet, which makes it the biggest gas field in the Mediterranean region.

In March, Italian Oil Company Eni announced a new gas discovery under evaluation in the Nour exploration prospect located in Nour North Sinai Concession, in the Eastern Egyptian Mediterranean, about 50 km North of the Sinai peninsula.

Eni clarified in a press release that Nour-1 Field Wildcat (NFW), which has led to the discovery, was drilled by the Scarabeo-9 semi-sub in a water depth of 295 meters and reached a total depth of 5,914 meters.

“In the concession, Eni is the operator with a 40 percent stake,in cooperation with Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), BP holds a 25 percent stake, Mubadala Petroleum holds a 20 percent stake while Tharwa Petroleum Company holds a 15 percent stake of the contractors' share,” the company noted.

It added that the JV Operator will start the feasibility studies to accelerate the exploitation of these new resources, leveraging the synergies with existing facilities and infrastructures, after finalizing the discovery evaluation.

Enihas operated in Egypt through its subsidiary Ieoc since 1954. The company is the country's leading producer with equity above 340,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day that will further growin 2019 with the ramp up of the Zohr Project to production plateau.

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said that Eni seeks to pump investments of $3 billion in Egypt during the upcoming period.

Descalzi added that the total investments pumped in Noras and Zohr fields so far have reached $8.4 billion, noting that 70 percent of the company’s investments exist in Egypt.

On the other hand, Cavanna said in April that gas production from the Noras gas field increased to around 1.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/day).

Egypt recently signed several oil agreements for the exploration of oil and gas in several areas, including the Mediterranean, Western desert, Nile Delta and the Gulf of Suez.
The number of signed petroleum agreements since 2014 reached 88 and the authority is working on signing 13 new agreements.

In fiscal year 2018/2019, the targeted investments in the petroleum sector are estimated at LE 145.6 billion ($8.12 billion), marking 15.5 percent of the year’s total investments.
Natural gas investments represent 91 percent of petroleum investments, which amounts to LE 132.8 billion.

]]>
6/2/2019 2:48:11 PM
<![CDATA[AL condemns Israel's decision to build 800 settlement units in occupied E.Jerusalem]]>
In statements on Sunday, AL Assistant Secretary General for Palestinian territories and occupied Arab Lands Saeed Abu Ali stressed that the Israeli settlement measures violate all international resolutions, laws and conventions.

He castigated at the international community's silence and the US' support for Israel as encouraging the latter to continue its aggression against the Palestinians.

He accentuated that attempts to impose a status quo will not sap the Palestinians' will to fight the occupation and build an independent Palestinian state.

The three Mecca summits which were held on Saturday underlined support for the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation. ]]>
6/2/2019 1:19:17 PM
<![CDATA[Sudan recalls ambassador to Qatar for ‘consultations’]]>
The ministry added that the envoy is set to fly back to Doha soon.

The diplomat was summoned “to Khartoum for consultations and...will leave to Doha in the coming hours” to resume his work, Sudan’s ministry said.

Earlier in the day, a spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry denied claims on social media the ambassador had been recalled and said it received official notification only that he was on “short leave.”

Sudan’s decision to summon its ambassador came after the country abruptly shut down the office of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera on Thursday without giving a reason.

The news channel, which regularly broadcasts footage of demonstrations that have taken place in Sudan since December, is funded by Doha, a close ally of former president Omar Al-Bashir.

Sudan’s military in April ousted Bashir after months-long protests against his authoritarian, three-decade rule.

The ruling military council’s head Abdelfattah Al-Burhan is currently in Saudi Arabia after traveling for a string of summits. He has already visited Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

The deputy head of the council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also visited Riyadh in May and met Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia and allies including the UAE and Egypt, broke off diplomatic ties with Doha in 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism, which it denies.
]]>
6/2/2019 6:32:41 AM
<![CDATA[HRW seeks to demean Egyptian state: Wafd Party leader]]>
In press remarks, Abu Shoka further said HRW does not dare to publish real reports, as it seeks to publish fake information to spread chaos in stable communities.

Human Rights Watch issued a report on Egypt regarding the situation in Sinai, a report that was deemed by experts unreasonable and unfounded.

Lacking all standards of logic and neutrality, HRW gave no evidences for its allegations against the Egyptian forces, narrating one-sided opinion for the events, with no credible sources or documents.

“A move is a must against such organizations that seek through their fake reports to destabilize communities and spread chaos in Egypt,” Abu Shoka stressed, pointing out that all attempts to hinder the progress of the Egyptian state are doomed to fail.

Over the past five years, HRW’s reports on the situation in Egypt and specifically in Sinai depended on sources provided by the Muslim Brotherhood.]]>
6/2/2019 6:17:10 AM
<![CDATA[Security sources say HRW reports based on Muslim Brotherhood lies]]>
The security expert told Egypt Today in an interview that such organizations that are being funded by countries and organizations that seek to destabilize Egypt such as Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Human Rights Watch issued a report on Egypt regarding the situation in Sinai, a report that was deemed by experts unreasonable and unfounded.

Lacking all standards of logic and neutrality, HRW gave no evidences for its allegations against the Egyptian forces, narrating one-sided opinion for the events, with no credible sources or documents.

Such organizations should be exposed and stopped instead of letting it issue reports that are based on completely fake data and information for the sake of supporting terrorism and terrorist operations.

In the same context, Major General Emad Mahrous, a security expert, said that the Egyptian armed forces and security authorities succeeded in destroying the infrastructure of terrorist organizations and groups in Sinai and restore normal life and peace for citizens.

“HRW became an arm to aid terrorist organizations and groups, issuing its reports and fake analysis in line with movements and schemes of these groups,” Mahrous added.

Meanwhile, Major General Essam Nassar said that Egypt is facing a fierce war not to mention another one through social media websites, that became hotbeds for sowing sedition and spreading rumors.

He also said HRW’s false reports reveal its true devious intentions towards the Egyptian state.

Over the past five years, HRW’s reports on the situation in Egypt and specifically in Sinai depended on sources provided by the Muslim Brotherhood.
]]>
6/1/2019 2:07:29 PM
<![CDATA[Iranian ballistic missile more dangerous than nuclear deal: Hook]]>
Hook pointed out during a phone conference that the 12 points that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined are what determine the US policy towards Iran.

Last year, Pompeo outlined 12 conditions required of Iran before any "new deal" will be made with the country, in a speech threatening the "strongest sanctions in history".

Among the 12 points listed by Pompeo, Iran must "withdraw all forces under Iranian command from Syria", "stop uranium enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing", "end support for the Taliban" and "cease harboring al-Qaeda.”

As for the nuclear deal, Hook clarified that the deal tricked everyone by making them believe that nuclear enrichment in Iran might represent the biggest Iranian threat, however, only UN resolution no. 2231 mentions the danger of manufacturing or testing Iranian ballistic missiles.

“We are trying to get Iran to respect a number of aspects that we see very reasonable and similar to what we require of any natural state.

In an interview with Egypt Today, Hook said President Donald Trump has no problems receiving a call from the Iranians to negotiate.

“It is up to Iran… and the President said during his visit to Japan that he would like to reach a new deal that is better than previous one that Iran violated,” Pompeo added.

]]>
6/1/2019 1:40:43 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. Justice Department prepares Google antitrust probe: sources]]>
Officials from the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission, which both enforce antitrust law, met in recent weeks to give Justice jurisdiction over Google, said the sources, who sought anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record.

The potential investigation represents the latest attack on a tech company by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has accused social media companies and Google of suppressing conservative voices on their platforms online.

One source said the potential investigation, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, focused on accusations that Google gave preference to its own businesses in searches.

A spokesman for the Justice Department said he could not confirm or deny that an investigation was being considered. Google declined comment.

Early in 2013, the FTC closed a long-running investigation of Google, giving it a slap on the wrist. Under FTC pressure, Google agreed to end the practice of “scraping” reviews and other data from rivals’ websites for its own products, and to let advertisers export data to independently assess campaigns.

Google’s search, YouTube, reviews, maps and other businesses, which are largely free to consumers but financed through advertising, have catapulted it from a start-up to one of the world’s richest companies in just two decades.

Along the way, it has made enemies in both the tech world, who have complained to law enforcers about its market dominance, and in Washington, where lawmakers have complained about issues from its alleged political bias to its plans for China.

TripAdvisor chief executive and co-founder Stephen Kaufer welcomed news that Google could face Justice Department antitrust scrutiny.

“TripAdvisor remains concerned about Google’s practices in the United States, the EU and throughout the world,” Kaufer said in a statement.

“For the good of consumers and competition on the internet, we welcome any renewed interest by U.S. regulators into Google’s anticompetitive behavior.”

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has pushed for action to break up Google, as well as other big tech companies. Senator Kamala Harris, who is also running for president on the Democratic ticket, has agreed.

“This is very big news, and overdue,” Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican Google critic, said on Twitter, regarding the investigation.

Google has faced a plethora of overseas probes.

Europe’s competition authority, for one, hit Google with a 2.4-billion-euro ($2.7-billion) EU fine two years ago for unfairly promoting its own comparison shopping service.

Google has since offered to allow competitors to bid for advertising space at the top of a search page, giving them the chance to compete on equal terms.]]>
6/1/2019 12:31:46 PM
<![CDATA[Islamic summit reaffirms centrality of Palestinian cause, renews support to Palestinians]]>
“The Summit reaffirmed the centrality of the question of Palestine and the issue of Jerusalem to the Islamic Ummah and reiterated its principled and continuous support at all levels for the Palestinian people to attain their inalienable national rights, including their right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, and stressed the need to protect the right of return for refugees under resolution 194 and to face any denial of these rights with full force,” a point on the final communique read as quoted by Al Arabiya news channel.

The Summit's communique also condemned and rejected any positions issued by international bodies or countries which support the "prolongation of the occupation and expansionist settlement project at the expense of the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, including the recognition by the US administration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."

The summit this year was titled “Mecca Summit: Together for the Future,” and aimed at developing a unified stance on events in the Islamic world. Leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Turkey, Tunisia, Senegal, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Pakistan spoke during the summit.

World leaders mainly focused on the issue of Palestine, countering extremism and terrorism, and the issue of growing Islamophobia around the world.

The Final communique also rejected and condemned in the “strongest terms of any illegal and irresponsible decision recognizing Jerusalem as the alleged capital of Israel,” adding that any countries’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would be considered “null and void and constitutes an attack on the historical, legal and national rights of the Palestinian people and the Islamic world.”

The Islamic Summit also called for the complete withdrawal of Israel from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and return “to the borders of 4 June 1967, in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the Land for Peace legislation, the Madrid Peace Conference and the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the Arab Summit in Beirut in 2002.”

The Summit also highlighted the ongoing situation in Sudan, expressing its support for the choices and decisions of the Sudanese people regarding their own future.

“The Summit called upon the Sudanese parties to continue constructive dialogue in order to maintain peace and social cohesion in the country in order to realize the aspirations of the Sudanese people for the peaceful transfer of power and achieve stability and sustainable development,” a point regarding Sudan on the final communique read.

The issue of Islamophobia was also noted with concern on the final communique.

“In this regard, the Summit encouraged the United Nations and other international and regional organizations to adopt March 15 as the International Day against Islamophobia,” the communique read.]]>
6/1/2019 10:59:19 AM
<![CDATA[Al Jubeir: Mecca's 3 summits clear message against Iran's sabotage attacks]]>
Arab, Gulf and Muslims countries will never tolerate such hostile acts, al Jubeir said during a press conference after the summits.

The world is coming to the conclusion of the need to press Iran to comply with international law and to act as a country rather than a revolution, al Jubeir was quoted by Al Arabiya channel as saying.

“I think the world is coming to the conclusion and the realization of the importance of pressing Iran to comply with international law and to act as a country rather than a revolution, and abandon the principle of exporting the revolution which is enshrined in its constitution,” al-Jubeir said.

Asked on the summits’ message regarding Iran, al-Jubeir said it was clear from their statements that Iran’s destabilizing activities affect the entire region and not only the Arabian Gulf.

The Islamic community rejects Iran’s behavior and it is telling Iran that enough is enough.

"If you wanted to be a country which is respected, then you have to adopt policies that will lead to the other’s respect. Killing diplomats, bombing embassies, planting terror cells in other countries, smuggling weapons and explosives, supporting terrorist militias, launching ballistic missiles on other cities, all this is not the behavior of a country which wants to gain the respect of its neighbors,” Jubeir went on to say. ]]>
6/1/2019 10:56:24 AM
<![CDATA[IAEA says Iran increased stockpiles of nuclear materials]]>
The UN atomic watchdog said in a statement that it is the first since Tehran announced it had increased low-enriched uranium production.

While the report said Iran is still within the limitations set by the nuclear deal reached in 2015 with major powers, it detailed significant increases in key nuclear materials.

As of May 26, Iran had 125.2 metric tons of heavy water, an increase of 0.4 tons on February but still under the 130-tonne limit.

As of May 20, Iran had 174.1 kg of enriched uranium, up from 163.8kg in February but within the relevant of limit 300kg.

The report does say that "technical discussions... are ongoing" with Iran in relation to its installation of up to 33 advanced IR-6 centrifuges, but does not specify the content of these discussions.

Earlier this month Iran announced it was suspending some of its commitments under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and gave the remaining signatories 60 days to come up with new economic incentives to compensate for the unilateral withdrawal of the United States last year.
]]>
6/1/2019 10:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi affirms keenness on coordination with Saudi Arabia vis-a-vis ME developments]]>
He accentuated at a meeting with King Salman bin Abdulaziz on the fringe of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) ordinary summit on Friday night, the importance of the strategic relationship between the two countries, pointing out that furthering ties is one of the main and fixed priorities of Egypt’s diplomacy, especially that cooperation and coordination between both sides is considered a cornerstone of regional stability.

Presidency spokesman Bassam Radi said that the Saudi monarch expressed deep appreciation of the Egyptian leadership and people, praising the deeply-rooted and long-standing relations and historical bonds that connect the two sisterly countries.

Radi said as well that president Sisi stressed during the meeting that his current visit to Saudi Arabia reflects the closeness of the two countries’ relations and underlines their shared destiny and future.

Also, the spokesman added, the president congratulated King Salman on the Islamic summit’s success in consolidating constructive cooperation to serve the goodness and best interests of the Islamic world.

Talks at the meeting tackled many important regional files with both sides agreeing on the need to exert extra efforts to push forward cooperation among Arab nations and within the Islamic world to confront the growing challenges and escalated threats to regional security, with Sisi reiterating that the security of the Gulf region is a fundamental part of national Arab security and Egypt’s national security.]]>
6/1/2019 10:25:10 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi probes with Hariri bilateral cooperation, regional conditions]]>
During talks he had with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al Hariri on the sidelines of a Mecca-hosted summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Friday night, he expressed to the premier his best wishes of success for him and his government to be able to fulfill the aspirations of the Lebanese people to realize more progress, security and stability in their nation, according to presidential spokesman Bassam Radi.

Hariri underscored the brotherly connections between both countries, lauding Egypt’s support for Lebanon and voicing appreciation of Egypt which he described as a bedrock of stability in the whole region, Radi said.

He added that Hariri praised the inspiring successful Egyptian development experiment, noting that he considers it a model to be followed by other developing nations.

Talks between the two side took up ways to increase trade exchange and investments and the transfer of Egyptian expertise in a wide range of fields, including electricity, infrastructure and energy projects, the spokesman said.

They also reviewed the current regional political conditions, including conditions in Syria and other conflict-hit Arab countries, he added.]]>
6/1/2019 10:13:38 AM
<![CDATA[Iran rejects Mecca’s Arab summit accusations]]>
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz said Iran has been “harboring global and regional terrorist entities and threatening international waterways."

The conference came as tensions between Iran and the United States and its Arab allies are on the rise, raising fears of a possible armed conflict.

The Saudi King further stressed that decisive action was needed to stop Iranian “escalations” in the region following attacks on Gulf oil assets.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi insisted on denying the accusations, completely turning a blind eye on Tehran’s meddling in the region and support for armed terrorist militias like the PMF in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen.

President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi told Arab heads of state gathered at the conference that the security of Arab Gulf states is intrinsically linked to the national security of Egypt.

In remarks at the summit on Thursday, the Egyptian leader said a recent attack on a Saudi oil pipeline and the alleged sabotage of oil vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates represent “explicit acts of terrorism.”

President Sisi stressed that all means should be used to deter the perpetrators of these acts.
]]>
5/31/2019 1:53:55 PM
<![CDATA[Amid Egypt’s fierce battle against terrorism, HRW stands biased, naive]]>
According to 2016 official data from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the population of North Sinai reaches 445.811 people, and the population of South Sinai is 169.822; however, HRW decided to ignore these numbers and reflect the reality of what is taking place in Sinai through interviews with only 54 North Sinai residents between 2016 and 2018, as claimed in the report, neglecting all officials sources and recent terrorist attacks.

Lacking all standards of logic and neutrality, HRW gave no evidences for its allegations against the Egyptian forces, narrating one-sided opinion for the events, with no credible sources or documents.

“Everyone knows they are politically-biased, and not related to human rights”, Ayman Aqeel, head of Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights said in statements to privately-owned channel Extra-News on Tuesday.

He added that HRW recognized the existence of terrorism in Sinai, but at the same time does not want the army to intervene or take action, considering its efforts to maintain the country’s stability are equal to the terrorists abuses and violations.
Other veteran politicians, including chairperson for Al-Wafd party Bahaa al-Dien Abu Shoka, deeply condemned and criticized the report, describing the report as ‘inaccurate and false’.

Abu Shoka added that HRW report aims at resisting Egypt’s efforts against terrorism. He added that HRW has been attacking Egypt and suspect all of its efforts in ‘unjustified’ way during the past years.

The HRW had faced continuous barrage of criticism over being politically-biased. Since it has been established in 1978, several countries and government have accused HRW of following specific agendas aiming at destabilize the country’s security for other country’s benefits.

In October 2009, HRW founder Robert Bernstein accused the organization of poor research methods and relying on “witnesses whose stories cannot be verified and who may testify for political advantage or because they fear retaliation from their own rulers."

Bernstein said that the organization had “lost critical perspective on events in the Middle East".

Also, according to The Times, HRW “does not always practice the transparency, tolerance and accountability it urges on others." The Times accused HRW of imbalance, alleging that it ignores human-rights abuses in certain regimes while covering other conflict zones (notably Israel) intensively. Although HRW issued five reports on Israel in a 14-month period.

In their correction issued on 4 April 2010, The Times said HRW had published nine articles about the conflict in Kashmir and one report about the post-election abuses in Iran in February 2010. A source told The Times, “Iran is just not a bad guy that they are interested in highlighting. Their hearts are not in it. Let's face it, the thing that really excites them is Israel.” The newspaper quoted Noah Pollak, a HRW critic, who said HRW cares if Israel maltreats Palestinians but “is less concerned if perpetrators are fellow Arab.”

Other evidences have been published widely indicates that HRW have been adopting biased prospective during covering several conflicts including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and conflicts in Latin America, especially in Venezuela.

In September 2008, Venezuela’s government expelled two HRW staff members accused of “anti-state activities”. Then Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said, “These groups, dressed up as human rights defenders, are financed by the United States. They are aligned with a policy of attacking countries that are building new economic models”.

In an article published by journ­al­ist and author Garry Leech in the critical legal thinking website, he said that “Over the past thirty years, HRW has become one of the most recognized non-governmental organizations in the world due to its global promotion of human rights. But despite its claims to be an advocate of international human rights law, the reports issued by HRW over the past decade have increasingly exhibited a bias towards certain rights over others. More precisely, HRW repeatedly focuses on political and civil rights while ignoring social and economic rights.”

On May 21, 2019, Egypt-based Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialog said that the reports issued by the Human Rights Watch are mostly politicized and biased, adding that Human Rights Watch's reports lack professionalism and reference to international conventions.

HRW relies on some extremist activists in Egypt who provide false information about the human rights situation, the forum's head Saeed Abdel Hafez said. He described slamming these reports as “very easy,’ as ‘we only need [to adopt] systematic and human rights responses, away from the language of attacks and insult.”

Egypt slammed many reports for the HRW attacking Egypt for alleged violations of human rights since the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Egypt’s public prosecution issued a statement in January over Human Rights Watch report that alleges Egypt witnesses human rights violations, saying that the report is irrelevant to the truth.

The prosecution urged the organization to be accurate when publishing data on human rights in Egypt.
]]>
5/31/2019 12:34:24 PM
<![CDATA[US says Iranian naval mines likely used in UAE tanker attacks]]>CAIRO – 30 May 2019: US National Security Adviser John Bolton has said that attacks on oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates this month were the work of “naval mines almost certainly from Iran.”

The UAE has not yet blamed anyone for the sabotage of four vessels, including two Saudi tankers, which was followed two days later by drone strikes on oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh accused Tehran of ordering the strikes, which were claimed by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement. Iran has denied involvement in either attack.

“I think it is clear these (tanker attacks) were naval mines almost certainly from Iran,” Bolton told reporters in Abu Dhabi but declined to comment on the specifics of the investigation in which the United States is taking part.

He said the tanker attacks were connected to the strike on oil pumping stations on Saudi Arabia’s East-West pipeline and a rocket attack on the Green Zone in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Bolton was received on Wednesday by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed where the two discussed cooperation and coordination as well as regional and international efforts to tackle terrorism according to Emirates News Agency.

Bolton also said there had been an unsuccessful attack on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea port of Yanbu a couple of days before the operation off the coast of the UAE. Saudi officials were not immediately available to for comment.

“We take all of this very seriously,” he said. “These attacks were unfortunately consistent with the very serious threat information that we had been obtaining. It is one reason we increased our deterrent capability in the region.”
]]>
5/30/2019 11:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Turkey still committed to EU membership despite failure to keep promises]]>
Erdogan’s remarks come after an EU report criticized Ankara on its judiciary and economic state.

Announcing a number of judiciary reforms in Ankara, Erdogan said they would effectively ban only “problematic” sections of websites instead of imposing a full access ban.

Online encyclopedia Wikipedia has been blocked in Turkey since 2017 over a law that allows authorities to ban access to websites deemed a threat to national security.

Erdogan also said Turkey remained committed to its “zero tolerance” policy on torture — two days after an Ankara lawyers’ group said five foreign ministry personnel reported they had been tortured and mistreated in custody.
]]>
5/30/2019 10:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[EU to demand 'clarifications' from Italy over budget: source]]>
The request by the executive arm of the European Union will likely infuriate Rome and relaunch a long process that could see Italy's coalition government hit with unprecedented sanctions for running a huge debt and breaking spending promises to the EU.

Italy's far right Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini on Tuesday said that he expected Brussels to sanction his country for its deteriorating deficit and huge debt by imposing a fine of three billion euros ($3.3 billion).

"At a time when youth unemployment is reaching 50 percent in some regions (...), someone in Brussels is asking us, under past rules, for a fine of three billion euros," he told RTL radio.

"All my energy will be used to change these old rules," said Salvini, whose far-right party, the League, won European elections on Sunday.

"We will see if this little letter from Brussels in which they sanction us for the debt accumulated in the past will arrive," he also joked.

Next week the commission is expected to recommend the opening of something called an excessive deficit procedure against Italy, due to its colossal public debt that stood at 132.2 percent of GDP in 2018, well above the 60 percent threshold set by European rules.

The opening of such a procedure, which needs to be validated by EU finance ministers, could result in financial sanctions of up to 0.2 percent of Italian GDP, which corresponds to the three billion euros mentioned by Salvini.

According to a European source, Brussels will send the letter to Rome on Wednesday -- asking it for "clarifications on the evolution of its debt and structural deficit".

The populist-far right coalition in Italy, which brings together the League and the Five Star Movement, had already been in conflict with Brussels at the end of last year over Rome's big-spending 2019 budget, which the commission rejected in a historic first.

Both sides finally softened their positions to reach a compromise, but in the commission's latest economic forecasts, published in early May, Italy was the worst economic performer in the eurozone, with zero growth well below other countries and debt at a record level.]]>
5/30/2019 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Boris Johnson faces court hearing for Brexit 'lies']]>
Johnson, the former foreign secretary, will be summoned to appear before a London court to face allegations of misconduct in public office, judge Margot Coleman said in a written decision without specifying the date.

The private prosecution is being brought over the 2016 claim that Britain sends £350 million ($440 million, 400 million euros) a week to the European Union.

The decision follows a hearing last week at Westminster Magistrates Court in London, during which lawyers for businessman Marcus Ball, who crowd-funded the bid, lodged an application to summon Johnson.

"The allegations which have been made are unproven accusations and I do not make any findings of fact," Coleman said.

"Having considered all the relevant factors I am satisfied that this is a proper case to issue the summons as requested for the three offences as drafted.

"This means the proposed defendant will be required to attend this court for a preliminary hearing, and the case will then be sent to the crown court for trial. The charges can only be dealt with in the crown court."

Johnson, a former London mayor, is running to replace Theresa May as leader of the governing Conservative Party, and therefore prime minister.

Johnson was not present at last week's hearing, but his lawyer Adrian Darbishire said the pro-Brexit figurehead staunchly denied acting in an improper or dishonest manner.

The maximum penalty for misconduct in public office is life imprisonment.]]>
5/30/2019 9:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Human Watch’s Report on Egypt Deemed Illogical by Experts ]]>
Over the past five years, HRW’s reports on the situation in Egypt and specifically in Sinai depended on sources provided by Muslim Brotherhood. The report that was issued on May 28 by HRW aims to draw a dark image of the situation in Sinai, despite the international recognition of the success of the military operation. Numbers of terrorist attacks on North Sinai dropped significantly since the beginning of Sinai Operation 2018. Moreover, the life in Sinai is normal, but may be HRW’s experts did notice that all the schools, government directorates, hospitals has been operating normally over the past 18 months. 2018 presidential elections and 2019 constitutional referendum held in North Sinai normally without any delay.

Here are the point mentioned in the Human Watch Report, and here is the experts’ analysis on each point.


Analysis of the report of the Human Rights Organization on Egypt:

• Human Rights Watch’s report stated that Egypt's land and air forces have been engaged in a confrontation with Islamist militants in Sinai for years, in a conflict fueled by broader Middle East events and the Egyptian state's neglect of Sinai. The report also accused the security forces of arbitrary arrests of young people, disappearances, and torture.

Analysis of these points:

This point adds nothing new, it is well known to the whole world what Egypt is facing from terrorist operations inside Sinai, which also spread within some Egyptian provinces targeting security men, police and civilians as well.Which called for the Egyptian state to carry out a total cleansing of Sinai of terrorism known asComprehensive Operation, Sinai 2018, However, the Egyptian government not only dealt militarily with terrorism but also developed a comprehensive strategy for the re-development of Sinai.

• The report said the organization had documented 50 cases of arbitrary detention of the population, including 39 cases of incommunicado detention in an undisclosed location.

Analysis of this point

The Egyptian Army Spokesperson issued statements in response to the Human Rights Watch report and stressed the point of taking all legal measures to comply with international human rights standards. The procedures also includes determining the facts in which the element participated, as indicated in the report of 50 cases of arbitrary detention, including 39 cases in an undisclosed location. It is illogical to mention these figures.

• The report stated, quoting former detainees, that some had died during detention due to ill-treatment and lack of medical care.

Analysis of this point:

That all detainees are treated in accordance with international law and human rights norms and that no one is being abused. It is logical that some died because of a health condition they suffered before entering prison.

• The report documented 14 cases of extrajudicial killings of detainees by using similar methods in a Reuters investigation released in April.

Analysis of this point

The Egyptian prisons allow follow-up by human rights organizations. These organizations did not monitor any of the cases mentioned in the report. Therefore, the report of the organization is based on incorrect information. The elements involved in terrorist acts are treated and detained in a legal manner in accordance with the Egyptian laws.

• Human Rights Watch also documented violations committed by the state of Sinai, the local branch of the Islamic state, and said it attacked civilians, abducted, tortured and cut off the heads of opponents.

Analysis of this point

This indicates that the Sinai state group attacks civilians on the pretext of cooperating with the Egyptian security forces from the army and the police in order to report the terrorist elements, and that this means to instill horror and fear in the hearts of everyone who wants to cooperate with the Egyptian security services.

• The report pointed out that the conflict in Sinai escalated after the military removed President Mohamed Morsi from his position due to his belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.

Analysis of this point

The report describes what is happening in Sinai as a conflict, and it is an inappropriate description, since there is no doubt that what is happening in Sinai is an outright fight against terrorism, because the intelligence agencies have identified many elements of the terrorist foci, the armed criminals that were trying to target civilians and vital state installations.As well as monitoring external support for terrorist groups, whether by providing information, finance or advanced weapons, this emerged during the arresting operations.

The report linked the escalation of events in the Sinai with the departure of Mohamed Morsi from the government in an intention to point out that he and his group have nothing to do with these events. This is incorrect. Al-Beltagy appeared before the media, announcing that what happened in the Sinai would stop once President Mohamed Morsi returned to power.In addition to what the accused Safwat Hijazi said on the platform of "Raba’a" where he appears in the video directed threats, saying: "Whoever sprinkles Mursi with water we will sprinkle them with blood."

• Call for the cessation of military and security assistance.

Analysis of this point

This came as a response to the diversity of sources of Egyptian weapons as the Egyptian state has recently concluded arms deals with France for the purchase of 24 French RAFAL aircraft. Russia has also supplied Egypt with 35mm M-2 multi-mission aircraft equipped with guided air-to-surface missiles, air-to-air missiles, and it also supplied Egypt with non-guided missiles, equipped with 30 mm air guns.It is considered one of the most important deals, especially that Russia offered to sell them in the case of need of Egypt, which outweighs the American F36, in addition to Egypt's agreement with the Russian side to buy 120 Su-30 fighter jets to strengthen the Egyptian Air Force. The military relations between Egypt and China also witnessed a remarkable development to promote military cooperation in the areas of industrialization and joint training.

This confirms what was mentioned in the US congressional hearing when Foreign Secretary Mike Pompeo pledged that the United States would impose sanctions on Egypt if it bought Russian S-35 fighter jets, a pre-emptive step to deter Egypt from continuing to diversify its arms supplies.

• Human Watch stated that Tens of thousands of North Sinai's residents, who are estimated as half a million people, have been forced to leave their homes or fled, while thousands have been arrested and hundreds have been held in secret.

Analysis of this point

These reports were based on several figures and data that are based on the Egyptian Coordination of Rights and Freedoms, a political organization that follows the Muslim Brotherhood, covered by the human rights robe and established in August 2014. This point of the report deliberately ignores all acts of terrorism, murder and chaos in Sinai by terrorist groups belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and other violent organizations.

• The allegation that security forces carry out military operations within safe housing.

Analysis of this point

The efforts of the armed forces in the war and construction were questioned as they provided support to the State in supervising the implementation of 312 development projects in all fields in order to improve the social and living conditions and provide job opportunities for the people of Sinai, as well as the success of the armed forces in destroying the infrastructure of terrorist elements and providing security and social peace.

]]>
5/30/2019 12:12:35 AM
<![CDATA[Why is Hisham Ashmawy’s handover hailed in Egypt?]]>
The handing over of Hisham Ashmawy, the ex-military officer and the mastermind behind several high profile attacks in Egypt, was seen as a revenge for dozens of terror victims among army and police forces over the past years.

Army Colonel Hatem Saber, who is a lecturer of international terrorism and art of negotiating terrorists at Nasser Military Academy, said that the capture of Ashmawy witnessed the Egyptian intelligence cooperation with the Libyan side.

Saber, a former supervisor of the Egyptian military special unites, told Egypt Today in a phone call Wednesday that Ashmawy’s capture “sends a strong message to the world and the international terrorist groups that whoever conspires against Egypt will meet the same fate.”

“Ashmawy is a leader of a terror group, which makes him an intermediary between external financing entities and his group,” said Saber, adding that Ashmawy can lead Egypt to target and reach such terror-financing entities inside and outside the country.

ashmawi2
Hisham Ashmawy seated inside military jet carrying him from Libya to Egypt - Press photo
Egyptian Intelligence Chief Abbas Kamel paid a short visit Tuesday to Libya, where he met with Libyan eastern commander Khalifa Haftar.

The media office of the Libyan National Army said the transfer of Ashmawy came within the framework of the counter-terrorism operations in North Africa, and as part of the concerted cooperation with Egypt.

In October 2018, Ashmawy was arrested in Libya’s Derna, where he was kept in custody pending investigations over attacks he launched in the North African state.

Before he was apprehended in Derna, Ashmawy joined several terror groups. He led Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in North Sinai, joined al-Qaeda in Libya and al-Qaeda-aligned militant group al-Mourabitoun, and had links with al-Qaeda in Tunisia and Algeria.

In December 2017, Ashmawy was sentenced to death in absentia along with 10 others in “Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis 3” case over leading 17 attacks, including the 2014 attack at Farafra desert checkpoint in Nile Valley that killed at least 22 border guards.

He is accused of orchestrating the assassination of Top Prosecutor Hisham Barakat in 2015. He also became associated with other militant groups like Jund al-Islam and Ansar al-Islam; the latter claimed responsibility for the attack at a police ambush in Egypt’s Western Desert killing 16 soldiers in 2017.

Some private television channels cut the broadcast of Ramadan series, and showed live footage of the landing of the military aircraft carrying Ashmawy in Cairo. The channels used the hashtag #هي_دي_مصر_يا_هشام that translates to “This is Egypt, Hisham,” in a tribute of appreciation to Egypt’s army role in combating terrorism at home and beyond borders.

On his official Facebook account, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi praised and congratulated the Egyptian Army men on Wednesday following the transfer of the terrorist to Egypt from Libya, describing them as “hawks” and “heroes” who swore to protect their country.



Along with Ashmawy, another detainee identified as Bahaa Ali Abdel Moa’ti was handed-over. The capture of Ashmawy is believed to be a major security achievement as he is an important source of information on terror groups, hence considered a slap to international terrorist organizations.

Some described Ashmawy’s capture as no less important than the killing of al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden, with some media outlets calling him “Egypt’s Bin Laden,” while religious clerics said that both Ashmawy and Bin Laden are similar in their ignorance about religion.

ashmawi3
Egypt’s most wanted terrorist Hesham Ashmawy after being arrested in Derna, Libya on October 8 - screenshot of extra news channel/YouTube
Egypt has entered a prolonged fight against terrorism, as Sinai insurgency escalated since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, leaving dozens of military and police forces killed in terror attacks. In return, the army has claimed the lives of dozens of terrorist elements, foiled attempted attacks, and destroyed smuggling tunnels and hotbeds.

The Comprehensive Operation − Sinai 2018, is a large counter-terrorism campaign conducted by the Egyptian Armed Forces and the Interior Ministry. It was launched in 2018, focusing on northern and central Sinai and parts of the Nile Delta.

From military to militancy

Born in 1978 in Giza, Ashmawy or Abu Omar al-Muhajir, 41, is a former officer in the Egyptian Commandos as a member of Sa‘ka Forces or Thunderbolt Forces.

He was transferred to an administrative post in 2007 after a change in his behavior as he promoted for political Islam through spreading banned books. He was suspended from the army in 2009 after he stood a military trial; then he traveled to Syria via Turkey.

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

Following the June 30 Uprising, he was accused of failed assassination of former Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, and the killing of a colonel and brigadier general during a firefight in the Qaliubiya village of Arab Sharkas.

Defected from Islamic State (IS) terror group, Ashmawy went to Derna, 250 km far from Egypt’s western borders, where he announced in a voice recording his leadership of the al-Qaeda-aligned militant group al-Mourabitoun in the Islamic Maghreb.

Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis announced in November 2014 its allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), Ashmawy refused to pledge allegiance to ISIS.

Additional reporting by Mohamed Abdel Maguid ]]>
5/29/2019 5:07:39 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukri, Pompeo talk regional issues, enhancing bilateral ties]]>
This comes within the framework of ongoing consultations between the two countries. The two sides also discussed ways to enhance the Egyptian-American relations and strengthen cooperation at all levels during the coming period.

The two ministers stressed the importance of continuing consultation and coordination on various topics and regional issues of mutual concern, the spokesperson said.

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al Sisi visited Washington in April, where he held discussions with US President Donald Trump. During the meeting, Sisi asserted the Palestinians' right to establishing a state based on the borders before the 1967 war, with Eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

Presidential Spokesman Bassam Radi said in a press statement that the meeting tackled several economic topics, most importantly the trade exchange between Egypt and the United States amid the successful economic reform in Egypt to create a better investment environment. ]]>
5/29/2019 4:57:17 PM
<![CDATA[Ashmawy extradited under 1992 judicial cooperation agreement]]>
The agreement was signed in 1992, and comprises 93 articles. Article 49 provides, “Both parties shall extradite to each other individuals facing charges by entitled entities and convicts sentenced by the judicial authorities of the party requesting the extradition in accordance with the rules and conditions in this section.”

Article 50 specifies that the defendants or convicts must be facing penalties of at least one year in prison.

Ashmawy, who was an officer at the Egyptian Armed Forces, was dismissed from service in 2011 by a military court ruling. That is because he had adopted an extremist ideology after the death of his father in 2005.

In 2012, he formed a terrorist cell that had started with four discharged officers before recruiting dozens of Takfiri elements. The cell joined afterwards Ansar Bait al-Maqdes group, which stands behind many terror attacks in North Sinai among others.

Ashmawy, a former commando, is implicated in the assassination attempt that targeted former Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim in 2013, opening fire on a Border Guard ambush in Farafra killing 28 officers and soldiers in 2014, the assassination of late Public Prosecutor Hesham Barakat in 2015, and, the attack on a security patrol in Wahat area western Cairo in 2017. The assault resulted in the death of 16 and the abduction of one officer who was later freed by a special force operation to be the only survivor.

In December 2017, Western Cairo Military Criminal Court sentenced Ashmawy and 13 others to death in the Farafra lawsuit that included 155 defendants. Eighty-nine of those were prosecuted in absentia including Ashmawy. In October 2018, the NLA announced the arrest of Ashmawy in Libya.
]]>
5/29/2019 2:38:58 PM
<![CDATA[Ashmawy extradited under 1992 judicial cooperation agreement]]>
The agreement was signed in 1992, and comprises 93 articles. Article 49 provides, “Both parties shall extradite to each other individuals facing charges by entitled entities and convicts sentenced by the judicial authorities of the party requesting the extradition in accordance with the rules and conditions in this section.”

Article 50 specifies that the defendants or convicts must be facing penalties of at least one year in prison.

Ashmawy, who was an officer at the Egyptian Armed Forces, was dismissed from service in 2011 by a military court ruling. That is because he adopted an extremist ideology after the death of his father in 2005.

In 2012, he formed a terrorist cell that had started with four discharged officers before recruiting dozens of Takfiri elements. The cell joined afterwards Ansar Bait al-Maqdes group, which stands behind many terror attacks in North Sinai among others.

Ashmawy, a former commando, is implicated in the assassination attempt that targeted former Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim in 2013, opening fire on a Border Guard ambush in Farafra killing 28 officers and soldiers in 2014, the assassination of late Public Prosecutor Hesham Barakat in 2015, and, the attack on a security patrol in Wahat area western Cairo in 2017. The assault resulted in the death of 16 and the abduction of one officer who was later freed by a special force operation to be the only survivor.

In December 2017, Western Cairo Military Criminal Court sentenced Ashmawy and 13 others to death in the Farafra lawsuit that included 155 defendants. Eighty-nine of those were prosecuted in absentia including Ashmawy. In October 2018, the NLA announced the arrest of Ashmawy in Libya.
]]>
5/29/2019 2:31:44 PM
<![CDATA[Sochi to host first Russia-Africa summit on October 24]]>
The summit will be co-chaired by President Sisi, the current chair of the African Union (AU), and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

All African heads of state and chairpersons of major regional organisations will take part in the summit, which will focus on means to foster political, economic and cultural cooperation between Russia and African countries.

The participants will also discuss efforts exerted to face emerging challenges and threats.

The summit is expected to adopt a political declaration about the main fields of cooperation between Russia and African countries.

Sisi and Putin will also inaugurate an economic forum in Russia on October 23, with the participation of African and Russian officials, and representatives of major businesses.

A number of important commercial, economic and investment deals will be signed at the end of the forum.]]>
5/29/2019 12:09:52 PM
<![CDATA[Means of spreading Islamic moderation discussed at Mecca conference]]>
More than 1,000 Islamic scholars and religious experts as well as 80 moderate Muslim international figures gathered from different countries across the world to review their moderate opinion regarding violence and targeting innocent societies.

Among the attendees was Egyptian Minister of Endowment Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa. “We are in a desperate need to read consciously and thoroughly our heritage while maintaining religious constants,” Gomaa said in his speech.

Gomaa added that the religion needs to be protected by the state from the risks imposed by radical groups, which are dangerous to both the religion and the state. He further said that moderation means the avoidance of extremes, as well as the right understanding of the religious legislation.

Member of the executive board of the Muslim Council of Elders Abdallah Fad'aaq condemned malicious attempts by these radical groups harming a billion and 800 million Muslims in the Saudi Kingdom, adding that “the Islamic moderate thought is undoubtedly the main foundation for promoting a nation.”

Lebanese Shiite leader Sayed Mohamad Ali el-Husseini, secretary-general of the Arab Islamic Council in Lebanon, said that the Saudi Kingdom is sincerely providing many services for Muslims and Islam.

The conference will also discuss the Islamic heritage and Fiqh (Islamic legal rulings) to enhance moderation in Muslim societies. By the end of the conference, participants signed the historical Mecca Document.

Held under the auspices of Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz, the conference witnesses 16 events and sessions to be held over 20 hours and more than 80 participants will give speeches. ]]>
5/29/2019 11:53:16 AM
<![CDATA[Iranian naval mines likely used in UAE tanker attacks: Bolton]]>
The UAE has not yet blamed anyone for the sabotage of four vessels, including two Saudi tankers, which was followed two days later by drone strikes on oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh accused Tehran of ordering the strikes, which were claimed by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement. Iran has denied involvement in either attack.

“I think it is clear these (tanker attacks) were naval mines almost certainly from Iran,” Bolton told reporters in Abu Dhabi but declined to comment on the specifics of the investigation in which the United States is taking part.

He said the tanker attacks were connected to the strike on oil pumping stations on Saudi Arabia’s East-West pipeline and a rocket attack on the Green Zone in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman meanwhile dismissed the remarks made by Bolton that Iranian naval mines likely used in the UAE tanker attacks, Fars News said.

Bolton also said there had been an unsuccessful attack on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea port of Yanbu a couple of days before the operation off the coast of the UAE. Saudi officials were not immediately available to for comment.

“We take all of this very seriously,” he said. “These attacks were unfortunately consistent with the very serious threat information that we had been obtaining. It is one reason we increased our deterrent capability in the region.”

Tensions between the United States and Iran have escalated since US President Donald Trump withdrew from a pact, signed with other major powers, designed to curb Tehran’s nuclear activities.

The Trump administration has tightened sanctions on Iran, notably targeting its key oil exports, and beefed up its military presence in the Gulf, accusing the Islamic Republic of threats to US troops and interests.

Bolton said the United States was trying to be “prudent and responsible” in its approach. “The point is to make it clear to Iran and its surrogates that these kinds of activities risk a very strong response from the Americans.” Iran says the United States is indulging in psychological warfare and that it will not be cowed.]]>
5/29/2019 10:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[EU says Turkey distancing itself from bloc, criticizes human rights record]]>
In a progress report on Turkey’s membership prospects released Wednesday, the EU’s executive commission criticizes “serious backsliding in the areas of the rule of law and fundamental rights.”

The EU agreed last year that no new chapters in Turkey’s accession talks should be opened or closed and the report notes that “the underlying facts leading to this assessment still hold.”

Turkey has been involved in membership talks since October 2005 but progress has been extremely slow.

The topics of concern are all areas considered central for membership by the European Union, which prides itself on being a democratic club of market economies that respect the rule of law.

“Turkey has continued to move further away from the European Union,” the Commission said in its annual report on Ankara’s progress toward membership, a path formally undertaken in 2005.

“Negotiations have ... effectively come to a standstill,” the Commission said of Turkey, a member of the US-led NATO alliance which shares a border with Iraq and Syria.

Some EU countries oppose the large, relatively poor and mainly Muslim country joining. Germany, notably, would prefer an alternate kind of “privileged partnership” for Turkey.

But the office of the Turkish Foreign Ministry hit back at the criticisms from the EU, saying the findings in the enlargement report reflect the EU’s own “existential crisis.”

Turkey’s deputy foreign minister said the report does not “accurately assess the current situation” in the country and that Turkey would be “carefully noting the constructive criticism” in the report.

He said he also expected Turkey’s European allies to support it in its battle against security threats.

The EU wants to see a return to the reforms of Erdogan’s first years in power as prime minister from 2003 that made it an important emerging economy.

But the Commission said in its report that even with the lifting of a state of emergency in 2018 following a failed coup in July 2016, many of its “repressive elements” became law.]]>
5/29/2019 10:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Fiery statements made by Iranian officials on Tuesday ]]>
That was in response to the statements of U.S. President Donald Trump in Japan as he said, Iran “has the chance to be a great country with the same leadership. We are not looking for regime change...We are looking for no nuclear weapons...I really believe that Iran would like to make a deal, and I think that’s very smart of them, and I think that’s a possibility to happen.” The statements took place in a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shenzo Abe held on Monday.

Attempts to Reach Non-aggression Agreement

Mousavi
Spokesperson of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Abbas Mousavi - CC via Wikimedia Commons/Salemehdi

“The Iranian diplomacy entered a new era. The Iranian foreign minister will hold talks with other countries within weeks...South Gulf countries are of the most important neighboring countries so the idea of signing a non-aggression agreement with them is not recent. It has been proposed before by the foreign minister within (Iranian calls for establishing a) regional dialogue forum...Our state seeks to relieve tension in the region. Thus, we put forward the non-aggression proposal with good intentions, and we hope that Gulf countries deal with the proposal with good intentions,” Mosoy said as reported by Russia Today Arabic.

Iranian Ambassador to France Bahram Ghasemi said in a conference on reducing tensions in the Gulf that was held in Paris that the use of nuclear weapons does not belong in the Iranian defense creed. In the past years, Iran expressed several times its openness to conclude a non-aggression agreement with Gulf states in order to build trust and help eliminate fears fueled by “others,” the ambassador said as reported by Russia Today Arabic.

Bahram_Ghasemi
Iranian Ambassador to France Bahram Ghasemi - CC via Wikimedia Commons/Meghdad Madadi

Spokesperson of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council Kayvan Khosravi affirmed that Iran, as stated by the council and by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, will consecutively and gradually suspend its commitments in the nuclear deal until selling oil and bank transactions return to their status before the U.S. pulled out unilaterally from the deal, according to Russia Today Arabic.

Impact of U.S. Sanctions

Iranian Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh stated on Tuesday that U.S. sanctions are the reason behind China’s procrastination of continuing to develop the South Pars gas field. Last year, the Iranian government announced that the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) would operate the 11th phase of the field after Total S.A. had pulled out in fear of U.S. sanctions.

South Pars
FILE PHOTO: A general view shows a unit of South Pars Gas field in Asalouyeh Seaport, north of Persian Gulf, Iran November 19, 2015. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA/File Photo

Reuters reported earlier this month that Iran wants to export at least 1.5 million oil barrels per day as a condition to not pull out the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The deal was signed in 2015 by Iran, the permanent members of the UN Security Council, and Germany to curb the first’s nuclear program.

In November, the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran’s oil exports after declaring earlier that it had unilaterally pulled out the deal. In May, the six-month waivers granted to top importers of Iranian oil expired. Waivers were granted to eight countries that are China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey. Consequently, Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, which is a major shipping route of Gulf oil.

Since the sanctions went into force, Iran oil exports have more than halved to one million barrels per day or less from “a peak of” 2.8 million barrels per day last year, and “could drop to as low as 500,000 barrels per day from May,” as reported by Reuters.

Suspicious Attacks

Four ships, including two Saudi oil tankers, were sabotaged mid-May in an Emirati seaport. An initial assessment reportedly estimated that Iran stands behind the incident where explosives were used. Few days later, a drone limited attack targeted two Aramco oil pumping stations located in Al Dawadmi and Afif cities.

Iran used explosives to sabotage ships in UAE: initial assessment

CAIRO - 14 May 2019: A U.S. official told Time on Monday that an initial assessment by an American military team estimates that Iran or its proxies used explosives "to blow large holes" in four ships anchored in UAE's Fujairah port.




The aircraft carrier strike group, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), left the Mediterranean and joined the U.S. 5th Fleet near Yemen in the Red Sea after the attack earlier than planned upon a White House directive. That is “due to provocative behavior from Iran and new intelligence estimates,” according to U.S. Naval Institute News (USIN) website.

US fleet
The fast combat support ship USNS Arctic pulls alongside the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to conduct a replenishment-at-sea in the Mediterranean Sea, May 8, 2019. Michael Singley/U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS

Tensions

Spokesperson of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) Sherif Ramadan told Russia Today, “ Iran has responded by self-control to some acts by neighboring countries, and has never committed aggression acts against any state since the success of the revolution. Our military abilities are deployed to face the American and Israeli enemies. We seek to achieve peace and friendship with the region’s states. However, if neighboring countries turn into a tool of aggression against Iran, Iran’s policy on them will change.”

“The Revolutionary Guard (Corp) will respond to any aggression. We are ready to defend our country and we do not fear threats. We are not after war but we are not scared of it. We are certain that the victorious in such encounter is the party that possesses the most solid willpower. We monitor the movements of the U.S. forces in the Gulf concurrently. They did not reinforce their existence as much as they did in the past,” the IRGC spokesperson added.

Iran Navy
Military units of the IRGC Ground Force are seen as they launched war games in the Gulf, December 22, 2018. Hamed Malekpour/Tasnim News Agency via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

“The U.S. forces have become more polite in their replies to the questions of the Revolutionary Guard (Corp) while passing through Hormuz Strait. We have not witnessed any change in the rhythm or the behavior of the U.S. forces. The Iranian Navy is ready for all scenarios. We are capable of securing the Gulf and Hormuz Strait,” Ramadan Elaborated.

In April, the IRGC was designated a terrorist organization by the United States becoming the first ever state institution put on a terror list. The U.S. law authorizes the Secretary of State to designate foreign terrorist organizations without the approval of the Congress based on classified information that may not be revealed unless for judicial review purposes.

Iraqi Prime Minister announced on Tuesday two visits that will take place soon to the United States and Iran to discuss regional affairs in light of the tensions between both countries.
]]>
5/28/2019 3:42:47 PM
<![CDATA[Trump envoys Kushner, Greenblatt in Middle East to seek support for peace plan]]>
Kushner, Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Kushner aide Avi Berkowitz began their trip in Rabat and were to travel to Amman and Jerusalem, arriving in Israel on Thursday.

Kushner will then meet up with U.S. President Donald Trump in London when the president makes a state visit there next week.

The trip is similar to one that Kushner and Greenblatt took in February to Gulf states to drum up support for the economic portion of a Middle East peace plan that they have been developing on behalf of Trump.

The official said one reason for this week’s trip is to bolster support for a June 25-26 conference in Manama, Bahrain, in which Kushner is to unveil the first part of Trump’s long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

The plan, touted by Trump as the “deal of the century,” is to encourage investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Arab donor countries before grappling with thorny political issues at the heart of the conflict.

Palestinian leaders have been sharply critical of the effort. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have said they will participate, and a senior U.S. official said officials from Qatar have said privately their country was expected to attend as well.

The participants in the conference in Manama are expected to include 300 to 400 representatives and business executives from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and possibly some Palestinian business leaders.

A source familiar with the planning said it appeared Egypt, Jordan and Oman, as well as the G7 countries, would be sending representatives to the conference.]]>
5/28/2019 3:40:01 PM
<![CDATA[Maggie Michael, Narimanel-Mofty win Michael Kelly Award]]>
In April, they also won a Pulitzer in international reporting, U.S. journalism’s highest honor for coverage.

Michael, Mofty and Zikry all work for the Associated Press, and according to AP, the three of them had spent a year uncovering atrocities and suffering in Yemen.

Michael, who is based in Cairo, has 15 years of experience in covering conflicts across the Middle East. She has gained deep knowledge of the political, social, and cultural dynamics of this volatile region. She joined the AP in 2002.

She covered political and religious conflicts in the Middle East and, as part of AP's investigations team, has written about civilian casualties in Iraq and Yemen. Her primary aim is to produce powerful enterprise stories, and part of her responsibility is to supervise a wide network of Arabic-speaking stringers and reporters across the region.

Mofty is a Canadian-Egyptian photojournalist. She worked first as a photo editor, then since 2016 as a photographer covering Egypt, Yemen and other parts of the Middle East.

Zikry is a Yemeni video journalist who has devoted years chronicling the war and its horrors. His photograph of an emaciated infant dying at a hospital in 2016 helped bring world attention to starvation in Yemen.

“We can’t overstate how thankful we are for the Pulitzer Center’s support,” Associated Press Executive Editor Sally Buzbee said. “Yemen is one of the most dangerous places in the world to report on. A grant like this one makes all the difference in terms of allowing us to make extra trips and to provide sustained coverage. It means we can free up journalists like Maggie and Nariman to focus on digging in and doing deeper journalism in a place like Yemen, while we keep our spot news report going across the broader Middle East. Especially in a place like the Middle East, these extra resources are so precious.”

In an interview on CNN's Reliable Sources podcast, Mofty offered some wise advice to her fellow journalists: "Work so hard, and don't think of the prizes. You have to love it. You have to be there 100 percent. Respect people like they're your own. Don't victimize people; personalize the story. And keep going back. You're going to fail a lot, and it is okay. But if you love it, you'll just keep pushing."

This award is considered as a great honor to Egypt, especially that Michael and Mofty are the first Egyptians to win the prize.

The Embassy of Egypt in the United States congratulated Michael and Mofty via the embassy’s official twitter account: “Congrats to Maggie Michael and Narimanel-Mofty from Egypt for winning the 2019 @PulitzerPrizes for International Reporting for their extensive coverage of the conflict in Yemen.” #EgyptPride #WomenofEgypt
It is worth mentioning that in April 2018,Michaelalso won the Overseas Press Club (OPC) of America in the contest honoring the best international reporting for her work in Yemen.]]>
5/28/2019 2:02:01 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry stresses Egypt's keenness to promote joint African action]]>
The minister added that Egypt believes in the African countries' ability to work together to overcome those challenges and to achieve peace and prosperity for all peoples of the continent.

According to a statement issued by spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Ahmed Hafez, Shoukry reviewed the most important issues that top the agenda of Egypt's chairmanship of the AU. Those aim at achieving sustainable development through economic and regional integration, the activation of the continental free trade agreement, and the promotion of African mechanisms for post-conflict reconstruction and development.

The foreign minister pointed out that the collective responsibility of African countries requires achieving a better future for the peoples of the continent, as well as empowering women and young people.

For his side, Cameroon's ambassador to Morocco, Mohamedou Labring, noted the keenness of the African ambassadors in Cairo to play an active role and contribute to everything that boosts the activities of the African Union.

He referred to the efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Egyptian institutions to help and facilitate the work of the African embassies in Cairo.
]]>
5/28/2019 1:13:09 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt protects Arab Nations against terrorism: MP]]>
The visits paid by Arab leaders to Egypt during the last period ensure that Cairo is the leader when it comes to protecting the Arab countries from terrorism. The MP said that Arab leaders are impressed with “Egypt’s ability to contain and eliminate terrorist activity down the Nile”.

El-Kedwany added that “other countries are perplexed by Egypt’s stability and the Egyptian state’s commitment towards developing projects that are beneficial for the Egyptian people”.

He said that the “Egyptian state is the true leader when it comes to trying to achieve peace and stability in the region because of its commitment to combat any type of terrorism”. The MP added that the “Egyptian people are proud of the army and the police’s heroic efforts towards protecting Egypt from harm”.

In April, Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi sat down with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in order to discuss coordination plans which seek to stabilize the political conflicts on Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Furthermore, President Sisi hosted two summits on April 23 to discuss solutions for the political situations in Libya and Sudan. African presidents from across the continent attended the summits and discussed the recent political developments in Sudan and measures that need to be taken to regain stability and peace. Additionally, the presidents discussed solutions to defeat terrorism in Libya.

On May 22, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry expressed his discontent towards the U.S decision to send Naval Units to the region and pointed that everyone should commit to not interfering in other countries' internal affair.

Shoukry also stressed that Egypt supports the Libyan people’s right to a free and fair election, adding that Egypt will continue to work with the EU to achieve this goal.

Furthermore, on April 22, Head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council Lt. Abdel Fatah al-Burhan thanked Egypt for supporting the wishes of the Sudanese people. Citizens took to the streets to protest their discontent with former President, Omar al-Bashir, and ousted him on April 11 through a military coup.

Egypt has used its current chairmanship of the African Union (AU) as a way to unite the continent in order to stabilize both Libya and Sudan by promoting the bloc’s understanding of the situation in Khartoum and Tripoli.]]>
5/28/2019 12:57:34 PM
<![CDATA[European elections show the people are just as divided as parliament]]>
Between them, the Liberal Democrats, Greens, Scottish National Party, Change UK and Plaid Cymru won 40 per cent of the vote.

The runner-up was Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. If the votes for Ukip, his previous party, are added, the total support for parties advocating a no-deal Brexit was 35 per cent.

In third place, the two main parties that have dominated politics for the past century, with a total of just 23 per cent for a confusion of policies on Europe lying somewhere between the two poles of cancelling Brexit altogether and leaving without agreement.

The British people, therefore, are just as divided as their elected representatives. Constructing a majority for any one of the three main options – soft Brexit, hard Brexit or no Brexit – does not seem possible through conventional politics. That is why The Independent believes the nation will be driven towards a new referendum in the end.]]>
5/28/2019 11:26:47 AM
<![CDATA[Muslim League Conference: Islam far away from all forms of extremism]]>
The four-day conference discusses the Islamic heritage and Fiqh (Islamic legal rulings) along with ways to enhance moderation in Muslim societies. By the end of the conference, more than 1,000 participants will sign the historic Mecca Document.

In commitment to the moderation of Islam, Saudi Arabia reiterated its call for renewing the religious discourse to mute speeches of hatred down, said Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud, the Governor of Mecca Province, in his speech at the opening session of the conference.

“The Kingdom has condemned all forms of violence, extremism and terrorism. It countered them [these forms] ideologically […] It [the kingdom] reiterated that Islam is far away from them,” he said.

WhatsApp Image 2019-05-27 at 3.38.43 PM (1)
Muslim League Conference in Mecca- press photo


In his speech at the opening session, Egyptian grand Mufti Shawky Allam called for supporting Saudi Arabia in its approach of upgrading the moderation of Islam and standing against all powers of evils that aims to undermine the Saudi kingdom.

“We strongly reject all accusations of terrorism against Islam. We also reject accusations of terrorism against other religions. I call on you to combat the dangerous disease of terrorism by all means," said President of Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov at the conference.

Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh affirmed that the Quranic verses and Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah – Peace and Blessing be upon him- recognize the principle of moderation in the religion.

“The ideology of the terrorist dose not base on a military force, but rather on an extremist ideology that exploited some people’s religious feelings [...] The influence of its evils and dangers became the entire world’s concern and caused misinterpreting against Islam ,” said Muhammad bin Abdul Karim bin Abdulaziz Al-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League, in his speech.


Meanwhile, Chairman of the Emirates Fatwa Council Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah said that the moderation is the law of the universes and the law of all judgments, and the law of Sharia [Islamic laws].

Sheikh Al-Issa, praised the Saudi Arabian sponsorship of the Muslim League conference under King Salam bin Abdel Aziz\s auspices.

]]>
5/27/2019 6:29:20 PM
<![CDATA[Qatar uses money to change human rights' climate in region: Arab Council for Human Rights]]>
Chairman of the Arab Council for Human Rights and Fair Trial Abdel Gawad Ahmed, stated that Qatar has hindered furthering the development of the Muslim and Arab people by financially supporting Israel. Furthermore, the council has also criticized Qatari-based media outlet “Al-Jazeera” for allegedly fabricating harmful news stories about Egypt in an attempt to sabotage the Egyptian state’s reputation.

“We will not accept Egypt to be targeted by Qatar or any other country,” said Ahmed, adding “there is a need to defend the civil and human rights of the people from Qatar who have distorted the Egyptian people’s image in order to preserve the development of the human rights movement in the region."

Furthermore, the council has also criticized Qatari-based media outlet “Al-Jazeera” for allegedly fabricating harmful news about Egypt in an attempt to sabotage the Egyptian state’s reputation.

Qatar has had a turbulent relationship with African and Arab countries over the past several years.

On February 13, military experts exposed Qatar for providing faulty and inefficient military equipment to Mali and Somalia. Armored vehicles were donated by the Qatari Ministry of Defense (MoD) to combat jihadist terrorism.

However, the vehicles were vulnerable to landmines, explosives and IEDs, hencecreatingdoubts on the intentions behind Qatar’s donations of heavily used armored vehicles.

African military experts believe that Qatar intentionally provided worn-out Turkish military vehicles to these two countries because they are supporting terrorist organizations in the African continent.

Qatar has also had a problematic human rights record over the past several years.

Qatar has faced international backlash because of discrimination againstforeign workers who have been building several infrastructure projects in preparation for the 2022 World Cup set to be hosted in Qatar.

In November 2018, the workers' wages were reduced despite increasing their working hours, a decision which violates international labor law and human rights covenants.

Sources have told Egypt Today that over 1,000 workers have died while working due to long working hours in extremely hot weather without sufficient food or water.

It is unclear whether FIFA or other international organizations will take action against Qatar for its exploitation of foreign workers. ]]>
5/27/2019 3:16:54 PM
<![CDATA[Abe says Trump backs his pursuit of 1st summit with Kim Jong Un]]>
Speaking at a joint press conference after their summit in Tokyo, Abe also said Japan and the United States are "completely" on the same page in handling North Korea, although the two countries responded differently over Pyongyang's firing of short-range missiles earlier in the month.

Trump said he did not view the missile launches as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, adding, "All I know is there've been no nuclear tests, there've been no ballistic missiles going out, there've been no long-range missiles going out."

He also said he is in "no rush" to strike a deal with North Korea over its denuclearization, with "tremendous sanctions" remaining on the country.

On the economic front, the two leaders agreed to accelerate bilateral trade negotiations, which began in April, to achieve a win-win relationship, according to Abe.

The United States is seeking greater access to the Japanese market for products such as beef, pork and wheat, as American farmers have become less competitive following the activation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement including Australia and New Zealand.

Japan has meanwhile pushed for the removal of tariffs on industrial products including automobiles, one of its biggest exports, as had been agreed before the United States withdrew from the TPP.

Japan has agreed to buy 105 F-35 stealth planes from the US, US President Donald Trump said during the press conference.

Trump said Japan was one of the biggest purchasers of American defense equipment last year.

"(They're) stealth because the fact is you can't see them," he added.

US President Donald Trump promised to bring home abducted Japanese citizens from North Korea, while meeting with relatives of some of the abductees in Tokyo.

The US leader met with the families of Japanese abductees after lunching with Shinzo Abe, telling them that he'll work with the Japanese Prime Minister to bring their loved ones home.

"We will be working together to bring your relatives home," Trump told the families.

"He loves this country, he loves you," he said of Abe.

Trump said their stories were "very sad" and noted that he was hearing some of their accounts for the second time. "I can see why your great Prime Minister feels so strongly about it," he said.

"I can also tell you for certain that it is the Prime Minister's primary goal," Trump said, adding that Abe has discussed the topic at every meeting they have had.

According to a 2014 report by the United Nations Human Rights Council, hundreds of South Koreans, Japanese and other foreign nationals were kidnapped by North Korea at the end of the Korean War in 1953.

Tokyo's Foreign Ministry regards the abductions as "a critical issue concerning the sovereignty of Japan and the lives and safety of Japanese citizens" -- and one that precludes any normalization of relations with Pyongyang until it is resolved.

Some of the family members held framed pictures of their relatives in their lap Monday as they thanked President Trump for taking an interest in the issue.

US President Donald Trump made his most definitive statement to date that he's not looking to oust Iran's clerical leadership, instead insisting the country could have a bright future with its current leaders.

"We’re not looking for regime change. I want to make that clear," Trump said during the news conference in Tokyo. "We’re looking for no nuclear weapons."

Trump's Iran policy came under scrutiny after he deployed US troops to the Middle East in an attempt to dissuade provocative behavior by Tehran.]]>
5/27/2019 2:46:13 PM
<![CDATA[Pro-Europe vote fragments but limits nationalist gains in EU election]]>
France’s Emmanuel Macron, who has staked his presidency on persuading Europeans that the EU is the answer to the challenges of an uncertain, globalising world economy, took a personal hit when his centrist movement was edged into second place by Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration, anti-Brussels National Rally.

But Macron’s Renaissance, built on the ruins of centre-left and centre-right parties, added to gains for liberals at the EU level as turnout bounced sharply across the bloc. Along with a surge for the Greens, that meant four groups occupying the pro-EU middle ground lost under 20 seats, securing 505 seats out of 751, according to a projection by the European Parliament.

That may complicate some policymaking, as a two-party “grand coalition” of the conservative European People’s Party (EPP) and the Socialists (S&D) no longer has a majority. The liberals, with over 100 seats and Greens, with nearly 70, want a big say.

But it also dents the hopes of Le Pen, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini and others who have been seeking to disrupt attempts to forge closer EU integration. Salvini called the elections a mandate for a shake-up in Brussels.

But tensions among nationalists, who also include the Polish and Hungarian ruling parties and the new Brexit Party of British campaigner Nigel Farage, have limited their impact on policy.

“The big thing is that the gains for the extremists were not very substantial,” Guntram Wolff, head of the Bruegel economics think-tank in Brussels, told Reuters.

Luxembourg’s liberal Prime Minister Xavier Bettel tweeted: “Europe wins! Voter turnout very high and pro-European parties are strongest.”

TURNOUT REVERSES FALLING TREND
EU officials were delighted by an increase in turnout to 51%, up from 43% in 2014. It was the first reverse in a trend of falling participation since the first direct EU vote in 1979.

At its highest in 20 years, that turnout may muffle talk of a “democratic deficit” undermining the legitimacy of the EU.

As the Union faces unprecedented slights from the United States under President Donald Trump, hostility from Russia under President Vladimir Putin and anxiety over the rising trading power of China, a revival of its citizens’ interest, however muted, and a containment of its critics, is welcome for supporters of the bloc.

A stronger voice for the liberals and Greens could see the next EU executive seek a tougher line on regulating polluting industries, taxing multinational companies or demanding trading partners help contain climate change — as well as press its own members, notably in the east, not to damage civil rights.

‘GREEN WAVE’
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives lost seven percentage points from five years ago as the far-right Alternative for Germany gained four points to 11%. But the headlines there went to the Greens, who nearly doubled their vote to finish second on 21%, ahead of the Social Democrats.

Britain voted on Thursday but began releasing results only late on Sunday. The BBC said Farage’s Brexit Party was set for a big win, reflecting frustration at the fact Britain is still in the EU, two months after Brexit was supposed to happen.

Farage is determined that his MEPs will not sit for long in Brussels - though drama after the resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May leaves the fate of Brexit still very uncertain.

In France, an official in Macron’s team acknowledged “some disappointment” that, with some 22%, the president’s Renaissance movement had lost first place to Le Pen’s National Rally, which exit polls put on 24%. However, pro-EU parties were still in the majority, with the French Greens coming third.

Added to the second place of their German counterparts, that lent credibility to expectations of a “green wave” that will influence policy in Brussels in the coming years.

The Parliament’s projection put the EPP on 179 seats, ahead of the S&D on 152, with the liberals on 105, up 36 seats, and Greens on 69, up 17. On the far-right, two groups in the current parliament had a combined 111 seats, a 40% jump from 2014.

The European Parliament election will usher in weeks and possibly months of hard bargaining over who will run EU institutions. Party spokespeople for the four pro-EU centre parties were quick to talk of plans for a broad coalition.

“We are facing a shrinking centre,” said Manfred Weber, the German lead candidate of the EPP. “So what I would ask us to do to is to join our forces to work together from now.”

The Parliament as an institution has insisted that one of its own winning members should succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the executive European Commission. But many national leaders, who will meet over dinner in Brussels on Tuesday, have said they will not be bound by that demand.

Weber in particular faces resistance, having never held government office - although he insists his long experience in the European Parliament makes him the democratic choice.

Frans Timmermans, Juncker’s Dutch deputy who led the Socialists’ campaign, cautioned against putting the “Game of Thrones” over top jobs ahead of efforts to forge a common programme among parties that will push for a stronger Union.]]>
5/27/2019 11:50:25 AM
<![CDATA[Brexit Party dominates European parliament elections]]>
The Conservatives and Labor suffered heavy losses, with the former expected to get less than 10% of the vote.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said he was ready to "take on" the Tories and Labor in a general election.

Overall, out of 64 MEPs declared so far, Mr Farage's party has won 28, the Lib Dems 15, Labour 10, Greens seven, the Tories three and Plaid Cymru one.]]>
5/27/2019 11:35:42 AM
<![CDATA[Further African integration achieved during Egypt presidency of AU, says amb.]]>
Speaking in a ceremony organized by the AU to mark Africa Day, Abdel Khaleq said an African free trade agreement will go into effect on May 30 before it is officially launched at an extra-ordinary summit in Niger on July 7.

A coordination summit between the AU and regional economic blocs is also scheduled for Niger on July 8 with the aim to achieve further continental integration, the diplomat added.

He also spoke of efforts to connect infrastructure networks and implement financial and administrative reforms that were endorsed by African leaders in November.

Abdel Khaleq also called on international partners to continue to support African efforts meant to achieve common interests.

A televised speech by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who currently chairs the AU, was also played during the ceremony. ]]>
5/26/2019 3:19:50 PM
<![CDATA[Rawdat al-Sayeda: Transforming slums into better communities]]>
Egypt Today tracks the complete makeover of the area that had been crudely-built shacks before it was re-constructed in 2018. The old slum area was originally built above a dusty mound and was considered life-threatening to the residents.

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Tal Al-Aqareb slum area before renovation works - File


In 2016, the residents of Tal Al-Aqareb were evacuated after several unsafe buildings had been demolished and were transferred temporarily to a new housing area until the newly Rawdat al-Sayeda project was completed and submitted last November.

This came in line with the state’s initiative to develop unsafe areas, aiming to replace all slums with 80,000 residential buildings by the end of 2019.

The styles of the new residential buildings in Rawdat al-Sayeda were associated with Islamic architecture witnessed in brown Islamic style window screens.

1812774-روضة-السيدة2019
Rawdat al-Sayeda housing units - File


Khalil Shaath, head of Cairo governorate's informal-area-upgrading unit, said that in coordination with the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development, 815 housing units, which would house 3,500 people, have been built at Tal Al-Aqareb, along with 324 shops.

Side windows were added to the project’s units in order to allow residents to hang their laundry.

In May 2016, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi promised to move all those living in slums to new flats over 3 years as part of an ambitious project expected to cost about LE 14 billion ($790 million).

In the same context, the Tahya Misr (Long Live Egypt) Fund, launched by Sisi in 2014, has been working on a three-phase strategy to eliminate Egypt’s shantytowns and re-house slum residents, including those living in Doueyka, Establ Antar and Ezbet Khair Allah.

The project includes 15,000 housing units to re-house 60,000 slum residents. The first two phases of Tahya Misr are comprised of 12,000 flats. The third phase opened in 2017 and is comprised of 20,000 flats.

Unsafe areas across Egypt to be developed by end of 2019

CAIRO - 17 December 2018: The unsafe informal areas across Egypt will be developed by the end of 2019, Wael Ezzat, head of Central Administration for Development Projects in the Council of Ministers' Slum Development Fund, announced on Monday.




]]>
5/26/2019 3:13:14 PM
<![CDATA[Azhar supports Africa's 'Silencing the Guns by 2020' initiative]]>
In a statement marking Africa Day 2019, Tayyeb said Al Azhar has played a leading role in the regard by exerting efforts to settle conflicts in the Central African Republic.

It also has a leading and developing role in the African continent through more than 5,0000 African students from 46 African countries studying in Al Azhar, he added.

Al Azhar has launched an action plan to move in Africa by form a specialized committee on African affairs on the occasion of Egypt's 2019 AU chairmanship.

The plan includes doubling scholarships offered to African students, increasing the number of African imams enjoying Azhar training programs, spreading the true teachings of Islam, expanding medical and relief convoys, sending more envoys to Africa and intensifying efforts exerted by Al Azhar University's International Islamic Center for Population Studies and Research in the African continent.

Sixteen Azharite institutes have been also established in Somalia, Tanzania, South Africa, Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Uganda, according to protocols of cooperation.

Silencing the Guns by 2020 is an African initiative aiming at ending all wars, civil conflicts, gender-based violence, violent conflicts and preventing genocide in the continent by 2020. ]]>
5/26/2019 1:39:32 PM
<![CDATA[6 countries start voting in European parliament elections]]>
The new EU Parliament is set to convene for the first time in Strasbourg, France, on July 2, 2019.

Some 427 million voters are eligible to vote in the world’s second largest exercise of direct electoral democracy after the elections in India.

The first official results of the elections in the entire EU will be released after the last polling stations are closed – they will be made public after 11 pm CET, on Sunday, May 26, when the polling stations will be closed down in Italy.]]>
5/26/2019 11:35:21 AM
<![CDATA[Haftar accuses some parties of seeking to divide Libya]]>
He pledged that Libya will not be divided as long as he is alive.

Haftar said Salame had changed, he was no longer impartial. “He keeps saying irresponsible things,” Haftar said. “From being an honest and impartial mediator, he has now taken sides.”]]>
5/26/2019 10:55:11 AM
<![CDATA[Africa Day: Celebrating unity and independence]]>
Several African countries sought to gain independence in a wave of decolonization in the continent, believed to be inspired by Ghana which became the first African state in the south Saharan to gain independence in 1957. The following year saw the first conference held by Independent African states in Ghana.

Africa day
African Union Commission set a theme for Africa Day 2019 to be Year of Refugees, returnees and IDPs: Towards Durable solutions to forced displacement in African - African Union


Marking the Africa Day occasion annually comes with themes set for each year, with this year’s theme set to be "Year of Refugees, returnees and IDPs: Towards Durable solutions to forced displacement in African,” according to the H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC).

In his speech, Mahamat said that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) seeks to provide relevant answers to several issues including infrastructure, women well-being, energy, agricultural productivity and human resources among others.

He announced that the official launch of the AfCFTA will be at the Extraordinary Summit scheduled to take place in Niamey on 7 July 2019, marking an important and decisive step on the road to African integration.

Egypt assumed the chairmanship of the 55-member state African Union in February. It is also hosting the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON).

In his televised address president Sisi extended his greetings to all African peoples on the occasion of Africa Day, which marks the historic anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which is now known by the name of the African Union (AU), saying that this day in history ushered in a new era in the path of African solidarity.

On this day, 56 years ago, the founding fathers of the OAU set out on the road of unity and cooperation in Africa and laid the foundation for continental economic integration and joint action, setting off Africa's transition towards stability, progress and prosperity, Sisi said.

President Sisi further urged African countries to benefit from both the private and the public sectors to develop their infrastructure, inter-connectivity and integration.

Hashtag #AfricaDay has attracted numerous tweets by social media users, institutions and public figures commemorating the day, with many showing pride of belonging to the continent, and expressing optimism of its future.




























]]>
5/25/2019 3:14:43 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt says keen on ensuring better future for Africa]]>
In spite of what has been achieved to fulfill mutual aspirations, there is still more to be done, a goal Egypt is looking forward to achieving in close cooperation with all African states, said a statement released by the ministry on the occasion of Africa Day.

In parallel with Egypt's current presidency of the African Union (AU), we celebrate Africa Day on May 25, which marks the anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, the ministry said.

As part of Egypt's continuous efforts to work with all African countries for the empowerment of youth, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi announced Aswan the “capital for African youth” in 2019, the ministry added in its statement.

Egypt has also hosted many African youth events, such as the Arab African Youth Platform held on March 16-18 in Aswan.

In addition, Egypt will offer a scholarship dubbed "Nasser Fellowship for African Leadership" to 100 African youths, set to be held on June 8-22 in Cairo, the statement added.

The fellowship is part of an initiative adopted by the AU Commission for Human Resources, Science and Technology to qualify one million African youths by 2021.]]>
5/25/2019 2:26:37 PM
<![CDATA[On Africa Day: Moussa Faki assures AfCFTA seeks to solve continents' issues ]]>
In his speech, Mahamat said that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) seeks to provide relevant answers to several issues including infrastructure, women well-being, energy, agricultural productivity and human resources among others.

He announced that the official launch of the AfCFTA will be at the Extraordinary Summit scheduled to take place in Niamey on 7 July 2019, marking an important and decisive step on the road to African integration.


Below is the full speech:

Fellow Africans,

Dear brothers and sisters of the Continent and the Diaspora,

On this auspicious occasion as we celebrate the 56th anniversary of the birth of the
Organization of African Unity (OAU), precursor of the African Union, I am pleased to convey to each and everyone of you this renewed message of faith in the realization of our common vision, namely "The Africa We Want", as enshrined in Agenda 2063.

Indeed, it is here in Addis Ababa, following a protracted and heated debate that the Heads of State and Government of 32 newly independent African States created the OAU. After centuries of domination, oppression, enslavement and slave exploitation, Africa woke up and became aware of its strength and the underlying force behind that strength: its dignity in unity.

It is the solemn affirmation of this imperative that we celebrate today. However, there are
still many hurdles to overcome before Africa’s independence and unity fully blossom.

This would only come about when every African lives in peace, has free access to quality universal education, to full physical and mental health, to decent and remunerative job, to social and cultural development, to good democratic governance in the strict respect of his fundamental rights.

We celebrate this memorable day under the theme: "Year of Refugees, Returnees and
Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in
Africa". This theme in itself sufficiently demonstrates the acuteness of our challenges and the urgent and imperative need to work together to ensure to all African citizens the
inalienable right to live free, dignified and be productive.

It is needless to recall on this great day the primary duty of all African States to guarantee these fundamental and inalienable rights. The humanitarian organizations which I commend and thank for the assistance they continue to provide to the African refugees and returnees are called upon to redouble their efforts. In this connection, the States concerned should, in dignity and freedom, create the necessary and appropriate
conditions for all their citizens to return home. This occasion is also a timely opportunity
to thank host countries for their commendable efforts and sacrifices in favour of refugees.

At the same time, I would like to underscore the need for all States to safeguard the
principles enshrined in the 1969 Convention on the Specific Aspects of African Refugees, including the principles of non-refoulement and burden sharing, not to mention the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons, known as the Kampala Convention.

Our shared vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa driven by its own
citizens is the irreplaceable tool of our influence on the international scene. This common vision is also the instrument to fast- track our integration through an African space of freedom, opportunities, progress and development. Our duty is to tackle head-on the paradox that makes this potentially rich continent the continent with the largest number of poor countries.

It is intolerable that our young people, the engine of transformation and development,
continue in successive waves to embark on perilous journeys across oceans and deserts, for want of projects that instil hope and lead to a positive future.

Since the Kigali Extraordinary Summit of 21 March 2018 on the Continental Free Trade
Area, we are working hard to come up with prospects that hold for the future. Our hope
is that Africa as a bloc will become a major and an indispensable partner in world trade.
Parallel to this promising African integration project, more efforts are required regarding
the protocol on the free movement of people and the African passport.

I welcome the growing number of states that have implemented relaxation measures of
their entry visa policies for African citizens. I urge the Member States that have not yet
done so to join without delay the Agreement on the Single African Air Transport Market,
another flagship project that is mobilizing us in more ways than one.

Dear Fellow Africans,

Agricultural productivity, local processing of raw materials, product diversification,
training, the sustainable enhancement of human resources, the extension of the industrial fabric, a vast network of infrastructure and the exploitation of the energy potential of the continent remain our job creation opportunities for young people, women and general social well-being.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) seeks to provide the most relevant
answers possible to all these issues. Its official launch at the Extraordinary Summit
scheduled to take place in Niamey on 7 July 2019, will mark an important and decisive
step on the road to African integration.

Furthermore, the Institutional Reform which has made giant strides, will also reach its
pinnacle at the next Coordination Summit, which I hope will bode well for a harmonious
division of labour between the regional and continental levels.

In this collective effort, I would like to place special emphasis on the role of the grassroots actors namely the African civil society organizations, the youth and women who, over and above the activities of the States, are doing a remarkable work of sensitization and mobilization among the various strata of the population.

Their efforts exerted often under difficult conditions cement and strengthen the resilience of African people and their hold on shaping their own destiny. I wish you all a happy Africa Day celebration in joy, unity and hope. ]]>
5/25/2019 1:34:30 PM
<![CDATA[Mecca's Arab, Gulf summits chance for inter-Arab dialogue: House committee]]>
The summits are being held at a crucial time in the wake of the sabotage attacks that targeted ships off the UAE coast and Saudi oil facilities, Raslan said, noting that the swift response of Arab leaders to the call for convening the summits underscores their firm desire to maintain stability in the region against attempts to interfere in its affairs and subsequently harm its interests.

Through upholding coordination, joint Arab action and unity among Arab countries, challenges and plots facing the region can be confronted, he added, expressing trust that the two summits would be successful. ]]>
5/25/2019 12:51:03 PM
<![CDATA[Qatari president of PSG under graft investigation in France]]>
French financial prosecutors are looking at a $3.5 million payment made in 2011 by Qatar-based company Oryx QSI to a sports marketing company run by Papa Massata Diack, son of the former IAAF president Lamine Diack, during the bidding process for the 2017 world championships.

They allege that Khelaifi approved the payment, according to the notice sent by the investigative judge to his lawyers, who denied he had any link to Oryx QSI at the time.

Several other sources said Khelaifi and a close associate were questioned by investigators in March “as a person of interest” in the investigation.

Qatar was unsuccessful in its bid to host the championships, which went to London. But Qatar did go on to secure the rights to hold the 2019 world championships to be held in October.

The move by an investigative judge is a demonstration of the broadening scope of France’s inquiry into a suspected web of corruption once rife in world athletics, including bribes to cover up athletes’ positive drug tests.

“The judge has made a mistake. Nasser has no involvement at all,” Khelaifi lawyer Renaud Semerdjian told Reuters. “His name does not appear in the entire procedural file.”

Semerdjian also questioned the competence of French prosecutors to delve into matters he said took place outside of France.

Khelaifi, 45, is deeply involved with sports and sporting events in Qatar. He serves as chairman of Qatar Sports Investments and the Qatar Tennis Federation, alongside his role as president of Paris Saint-Germain. He is also a minister without portfolio in the Qatari government.

The judge’s decision means Khelaifi is now formally treated as a suspect and takes the legal process one step closer to trial. Under French law, however, a suspect is not formally charged with a crime unless he is sent to trial.

French prosecutors this week recommended that Lamine Diack, the Senegalese former head of the IAAF, and his son stand trial for a host of suspected illicit practices, committed over a number of years with the active involvement of athletes and their federations.

They began their investigation into Diack in 2015, shortly after the IAAF’s ethics commission and the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) uncovered evidence that a Russian athlete paid a six-figure sum to cover up a positive test.

SUSPECT PAYMENTS
In the four years since, the French inquiry has widened to include the bidding process for the Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo Olympic Games, as well as the world athletics championships.

The investigative judges presiding over the Diack case accuse the Senegalese of favoring Qatar’s bid for the 2017 world championship in return for a kickback, sources have said.

The indictment handed to judges on Monday and seen by Reuters accuses Diack and his son, Papa Massata, of bribe-taking and money laundering.

France’s financial prosecutors allege that Pamodzi Sports Consulting, a company belonging to Papa Massata, received $3.5 million from Oryx QSI, just one of several multi-million dollar payments received by the Diacks.

A source familiar with the matter said Oryx QSI had undertaken to pay $32.5 million for the commercial rights to the 2017 championships of which $3.5 million was paid upfront as a non-refundable deposit. The full amount was conditional on Qatar winning the bid, the source said.

London won the bid in November, 2011, to host the 2017 world championships.

Khelaifi’s lawyers said he was the chairman of Qatar Sports Investments but in 2011 had nothing to do with Oryx QSI, which they said was a separate entity.

“Nasser al Khelaifi was neither a shareholder nor a director of Oryx in 2011. He was not directly or indirectly involved in Doha’s bid to host the 2017 world athletics championships,” Khelaifi’s lawyers said.

Oryx QSI could not immediately be reached for comment.

Nasser Khelaifi is also chairman of beIN Media Group, a television network that holds regional rights to many of the world’s top sporting events, including World Cup soccer.

He is currently under investigation in a separate case by Swiss prosecutors for providing “undue advantages” to soccer’s global governing body FIFA for broadcasting rights for the 2026 and 2030 World cup.

The IAAF told Reuters on Wednesday it had in 2016 introduced “wide ranging reforms right across the sport, including its decision-making and approval processes, overall governance at every level of the sport”.]]>
5/25/2019 12:40:36 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt unfreezes Habib al-Adly, Zakaria Azmy's funds ]]>
Adly has reportedly requested unfreezing his funds following the unchallengeable acquittal; on May 9, Giza Criminal Court acquitted Adly of charges of embezzling and facilitating embezzlement over LE 2 billion of public funds in the period between 2000 and 2011. Adly and eight other co-defendants, who were also acquitted, were fined
only LE 500 ($29) each.

The court also sentenced Nabil Khalaf, a defendant in the case, to 3 years in prison, obliging him to refund LE 62,120,000 ($3.62 million), and ordered expelling him from his job.

In January 2018, the Court of Cassation revoked a 7-year jail sentence were given in April 2017 against Adly and ordered retrial. The court also sentenced six defendants to five years in prison, and two others to three-year imprisonment in the same trial. The court subsequently ordered compelling Adly and two defendants in the case to refund LE 195,936,000 ($10.9 million). Adly and nine defendants also had to refund 529,000,000 ($29.5 million), according to the earlier ruling of the court.

Also, the Illicit Gain Authority (IGA) also unfrozen the assets of former presidential chief of staff Zakaria Azmy, his wife, and brother-in-law as per a request he submitted after they were acquitted of illicit gains charges in January 2019.]]>
5/25/2019 11:45:53 AM
<![CDATA[UFM conference: Youth, civil society commit to boost development in Mediterranean]]>
The conference was held in collaboration with the Instituto de la Juventud (InJuve), the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

With over 60% of its population under the age of 30, the Euro-Mediterranean is one of the youngest regions in the world. The UfM has therefore placed youth at the heart of its actions, focusing on building a positive agenda for youth in the Mediterranean and engaging young people as full partners in its activities.

The discussions held during the Regional Dialogue and the recommendations and project proposals drawn from the exchanges will feed the UfM Strategy for Youth and will also be presented as suggestions and project proposals to contribute to the Marseille Summit of the Two Shores (24 June 2019) by putting forward the views of youth and civil society of all UfM countries on key priorities for the region.

“This Regional Dialogue serves as a stepping stone towards proposing more aligned and impactful initiatives in the Mediterranean, which will adequately address environmental, social and economic challenges”, said UfM Secretary General, Nasser Kamel. “We must continue to act together to truly deliver on our commitments and amplify our results. Our goal through this Forum, is to combine the efforts of the 5+5 Dialogue with broader regional efforts while putting forward the views of our future generations”, he added.

The exchanges over the course of the two-day forum served to establish the following action areas:


Environment, Water, Energy and Sustainable development

The urgency of action in the face of climate change and environmental degradation in the region as well as the need to engage youth in these vital issues for their future, was a central theme of the Regional Dialogue. Challenges and solutions for inclusive and sustainable development were discussed during the Roundtable on Environment, Water, and Energy and Sustainable development. Regional youth and civil society representatives active in the fields of water, renewables, environment, blue economy and climate action, discussed the possibilities afforded to the Mediterranean region for the development of a circular economy applied to the green and blue dimensions, the sustainable management of water and sanitation, and the advent of renewable energy and climate action in the frame of the energy transition.

Youth Employment and Social economy and inclusion of youth and women

The UfM’s mission to address issues of youth unemployment and reduce gender inequalities in the region was addressed during the Roundtable on Regional Economic and Social Challenges for Women and Youth. This panel was jointly organized by the OECD, and included presentations from relevant civil society organizations active in the fields of job creation, skills development, socio-economic empowerment, inclusive growth and entrepreneurship promotion.

Ensuring that youth and women are further integrated into the region’s economy as a whole was the focus of this Roundtable, which addressed two main themes: Partnering with the Youth for Job Creation and Social Economy and inclusion of youth and women. The panel’s agenda centred on how best to harness the region’s potential, in terms of greater integration of women and youth into national economies. Indeed, the potential increase in the region’s Gross Domestic Product if youth unemployment is reduced by half, is over 20 billion euros in the short-term.

Rethinking Education

The importance of education, and its ability to empower the region’s women and youth, was the key theme discussed in the Roundtable on Rethinking education: An opportunity for strengthening youth and women’s empowerment. It is undeniable that greater access of all to quality education in the region is a requisite to meet the objectives of inclusive sustainable development and addressing societal challenges.

Moreover, ensuring that the educational systems adapt to better prepare the region’s youth the mutations and disruptive forces that are restructuring the job market.

The panel gathered the insights of relevant regional youth and civil society representatives active in the fields of education, youth and women empowerment to address educational challenges at the Mediterranean level. This included interventions on: New learning paradigms in a comprehensive approach to education, Specific challenges faced by vocational training, and Women and Youth in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education (STEM).


]]>
5/25/2019 11:05:51 AM
<![CDATA[Iraq urges Iran to respect 'good' nuclear deal]]>
The minister said in press remarks that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) inked by Iran in 2015 along with Russia, China, Germany, Britain, and the US is a “good deal.”

According to the nuclear deal, the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency is tasked with regularly carrying out inspections of declared facilities in Iran, such as uranium mines and centrifuge workshops, for up to 25 years.

The purpose of the agreement was to ensure Iran is not holding undeclared stocks of nuclear material and is not developing uranium past a certain level.

“We encourage the Iranian government to stick to the JCPOA and stick to the spirit of the agreement and continue with it,” he told reporters in Oslo during a press briefing at a conference on combating sexual violence during humanitarian crises.

Already strained relations between the US and Iran have worsened in recent weeks, months after a second round of US sanctions in Nov. 2018 came into effect, targeting the Iranian energy and financial sectors.

“The last thing we need is another conflict in the area. We've already had a lot of conflicts in the area,” Hakim lamented.

“I don't think anybody wants $200 per barrel of oil coming soon,” he added.

Iraq has said it is prepared to help de-escalate the situation by playing the role of mediator.
]]>
5/24/2019 5:26:28 PM
<![CDATA[Arab Government Excellence Award launched in Cairo]]>
Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit during his keynote speech said the award would foster the spirit of fair competition in the field of public administration.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Civil Service Sulaiman Al-Hamdan participated in the launch of the award.

Launched under the patronage of UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, would encourage leading practices in the performance of government institutions in Arab countries.

Mohammad Al-Gergawi, UAE minister of Cabinet affairs and chairman of the award’s board of trustees, said that the award would recognize the best Arab ministers, ministries, directors, institutions and governors based on strict administrative standards.

He added that a series of research papers on modern government administration would be launched, and an Arab administrative platform made available to review best practices and obtain detailed and up-to-date management advice.
]]>
5/24/2019 3:22:19 PM
<![CDATA[Casting an eye over new amendments to laws of judiciary bodies]]>
In 2017, President Sisi issued a decree to have the right to appoint the heads of highest judicial bodies. At that time, his move was protested by Egypt’s supreme judicial bodies as it violates the judicial power independence, which was guaranteed by the constitution. However the recently-approved amendments to the constitution gave the president this constitutionalized right.

As per the debatable amendments the president will choose one out of seven oldest judges to be the chairperson of any highest judicial body for a four-year term; the chosen judge shall be deputies of the outgoing president of the judicial body.

Following its approval, the parliament legislative committee would referred the new drafts to the judicial laws regulating the highest judicial authorities to Egypt’s Highest Judicial Council and to the State Council for their advisory opinion on the new amendments.

“In accordance with the new amendments to the constitution, which were approved by the House of Representatives last month, new amendments should be conducted to the [applicable] laws regulating the judicial bodies,” said head of the Supreme Constitutional Court.

As per the new drafts, the president has the right to appoint heads of the Court of Cassation, the state’s attorney general, the Administrative Prosecution Authority, the Egyptian State Lawsuits Authority, the Military Prosecution. As for appointing the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, the president will choose one out of five oldest judges at the court for its presidency.

Additional reporting by Hoda Abo Bakr

]]>
5/24/2019 2:46:43 PM
<![CDATA[Oman seeks to ease US-Iran tensions: FM]]>



The Omani Foreign Ministry tweeted on Friday citing Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, the sultanate’s minister responsible for foreign affairs, who met on Monday in Tehran with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“There is a danger that a war breaks out, hurting the whole world ... Both parties, the American and the Iranian, are aware of the danger,” the tweet cited the Omani minister as saying in an interview with an Arabic publication.




Oman maintains friendly ties with both the United States and Iran and has previously been an important go-between for the two countries, which severed diplomatic relations in 1980. Washington and Tehran are in a protracted stand-off over Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.

Tensions have been building in the last few weeks. Washington has sent more military forces to the Middle East in a show of force against what US officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests in the region since the United States reinstated a range of economic sanctions against Iran.

President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday that Iran will not surrender to US pressure and will not abandon its goals, even if it is bombed.

Another country trying to avert a confrontation in the region is Iraq. Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday that Baghdad would send delegations to Washington and Tehran to help reduce tensions.
]]>
5/24/2019 11:31:40 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt releases Al Jazeera correspondent Mahmoud Hussein]]>
On Thursday, a Cairo criminal court, held in Torha district, decided to release Hussein pending the investigations after he was kept on remand by the State Security Prosecution since he was arrested in December 2016. Hussein was detained three days after he returned from Qatar to spend the weekend with his family, France 24 reported.

In the same day, the Prosecution already appealed against his release. However, another Cairo court, held in the Fifth Settlement district, upheld his release.

As per Egypt’s Criminal Code, a pre-trial detention should not be renewed for more than 10 times by the prosecution and a decision of extending the pre-trial detention shall be considered by a criminal court. In case that a new renewal of detention was rejected by the court, the prosecution should appeal against the release.

Additional reporting by Omnyia Al-Mogy
]]>
5/23/2019 5:52:00 PM
<![CDATA[Cabinet denies shortage of fertilizers in agricultural associations]]>
In a statement on Thursday, the center said it contacted the Agriculture and Land Reclamation Ministry which categorically refuted the news reports, describing them as mere rumors.

The fertilizers are available in the agricultural associations nationwide and fulfill the needs of the farmers, the ministry reiterated.

The ministry further asserted that it follows up closely the file of fertilizers' distribution nationwide.]]>
5/23/2019 5:12:20 PM
<![CDATA[PM, UAE ministers discuss cooperation in administrative reform]]>
The delegation consisted of Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future of the United Arab Emirates Mohammad el-Gergawi, and Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing Ohood al-Roumi as well as UAE Ambassador Jumaa al-Junaib.

PM UAE 2
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Egyptian officials, and UAE ministerial delegation meeting in Cairo, Egypt. May 23, 2019 - Press Photo


The prime minister said that cooperation in that sector has been going well so far, stating that he looks forward to including other sectors.

The present governmental cooperation is embodied in capacity-building sessions, and promoting a culture of excellence in governmental institutions through Egypt's Government Excellence Award launched in 2018 and other mechanisms. The goal is encouraging positive competition in all state sectors.

The prime minister highlighted that cooperation in the administrative sector complements the outstanding cooperation in the private sector as Egypt has been a favorite destination for Emirati investors. Madbouly added that the governmental cooperation between both countries presents a new cooperation model for Arab states.

]]>
5/23/2019 2:37:39 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi embarks on African tour to Zambia, S. Africa, Angola, DR Congo]]>
Zambia is Sisi’s first leg as he will stay for two days at Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu’s invitation,

Lusaka Times

reported Zambian Foreign Minister Joseph Malanji.

“Egypt, as the chair of the African Union, has taken a huge role in maintaining peace and security in the Middle East, and Zambia being the chair of the organ for peace and security for SADC; the two Heads of State will exchange views and collaborate at continental level”, he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

South Africa would be Sisi’s second station, where he will attend the inauguration ceremony of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa due to be held on Friday at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, as it was announced by South African Minister of Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma last week.

“The president [Ramaphosa] invited heads of governments of SADC countries and the presidents who chair economic blocs like ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States), as well as the president who is chairing the AU,” the minister said in a press conference on the preparation for the inauguration on Thursday.

Being the head of the African Union (AU) in 2019, President Sisi will head a high-profile delegation to enhance the bilateral relations. In a phone call on May 12, President Sisi congratulated President Ramaphosa for his new term in presidency.

The inauguration will be attended by the heads of Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states, which includes Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Ramaphosa paid Egypt an official visit on April 22, during which he discussed with president Sisi ways of enhancing bilateral relations and African development strategies in light of Egypt’s chairmanship of the African Union, according to a statement from the Egyptian presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi.
]]>
5/23/2019 1:54:44 PM
<![CDATA[President Sisi issues two decrees on IsDB, maritime transport]]>
The Ministry of Planning, Follow-Up, and Administrative Monitoring had signed a cooperation agreement with IsDB that comes into force between 2019 and 2021.

In April 2018, the IsDB announced launching a $500 million fund to boost technological and scientific innovations as well as youth projects. The funds would also be invested in food security, education, water management, clean energy and manufacturing in developing nations.

Investments of Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) in Egypt, an affiliate of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), recorded $230 million in various sectors, CEO of ICD Ayman el Segeny said in April. Segeny clarified that these investments included up to $75 million in the food industry and $75 million in renewable energy in Benban Power Station.

“In the financial sector, a leasing company was established in partnership with Arab Investment Bank and another company. Egypt obtained a loan of $25 million for Banque Misr as part of a collective funding estimated at $350 million,” he added. Moreover, Segeny noted that ICD participated in financing Petroleum Services Company by $20 million.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also signed between ICD and Investment Ministry on cooperation to develop and finance infrastructure investment in the framework of the partnership between public and private sectors. That is in addition to supporting and expanding investors of the private sector in Egypt. The MoU has not been activated yet.

In January, a presidential decree cancelled an agreement with IsDB inked in 2013 and approved by the Parliament in 2018 to develop Azhar University Educational Hospital.

The agreement with Tunisia was inked in Cairo in 2017 to ensure better coordination on commercial maritime traffic and boost technical cooperation, training, experience and data exchange.
]]>
5/23/2019 1:50:33 PM
<![CDATA[LNA’s Karama Operation criticize UN envoy to Libya briefing at UNSC]]>
Karama Operations Room added in a Wednesday statement that Salamé was more focused on solving Muslim Brotherhood problems in Libya rather than solving the Libyans' problems.

The statement also refused Salamé’s description to the LNA forces as "Haftar Forces", while calling extremists and militia "military forces affiliated with the government of National Accord (GNA)".

Karama affirmed that the military operation launched by the LNA on April 4 aimed at liberating the capital, Tripoli, from terrorist and armed groups, pointing that Tripoli is "occupied by terrorist groups", according to GNA’s Interior Minister Fathi Bashaga's statement.

Karama accused Salamé of seeking a "failed" political agreement in Ghadames and aiming at empowering terrorist groups in the capital.

The statement also said that Salamé's analysis of the Libyan situation is not accurate. The statement referred to the UN envoy's warning to the Security Council that fighting around Tripoli poses risks of “descending into a civil war which could lead to the permanent division of the country.”

“This analysis is wrong, as the LNA aimed at liberating Tripoli,” Karama Operations Room stated.

On April 4, LNA led by Commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive against Tripoli claiming that they will "liberate the capital" from terrorist groups.

A National conference in Ghadames was expected to be held on April 14; however, after the offensive, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said that the conference will be postponed until further notice due to security reasons.

On Tuesday, Salamé said in his briefing to the UNSC that nearly 460 died, including 29 civilians, in the ongoing clashes.

He also noted that more than 2,400 have been injured, and 75,000 have been forcibly displaced. The majority of the displaced are civilians and half of them are women and children.
]]>
5/23/2019 11:03:32 AM
<![CDATA[Region witnesses conflicts that need political solutions: Shoukry]]>
This came during the iftar ceremony organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for senior writers, journalists and media professionals.

Shoukry also said that the US decision to send naval units to the region and targeting some Saudi and UAE ships in the Gulf of Hormuz pose danger to the situation in general, especially on the Arab national security level.

The minister also pointed out that the region has suffered wars and destruction and that everyone should commit to not interfering in other countries' internal affairs.

"We work in coordination with our partners to return to the political framework. Ultimately, the Libyan people should have the opportunity to express their opinion through free elections," said Shoukry, adding that Egypt will continue to work with the United Nations to achieve that goal.

"We are following the matter and its impact on Egypt and its western borders especially in the presence of an arena for terrorism and the transfer of terrorists from areas of conflict in Syria to Libya, which poses a danger to Egypt and various circles in the African arena," Shoukry explained.

Shoukry also stressed that the Egyptian government supports the Libyan institutions and army headed by Khalifa Haftar.

When asked about Turkey's role in the Libyan problem by supporting some groups and militias, the minister said that any attempts at the regional level to intervene in the affairs of countries of the region threaten Arab national security and are unacceptable.


]]>
5/22/2019 4:46:59 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry discusses regional issues with Jordanian counterpart]]>
This came during the ministers' talks in Cairo to explore means of promoting bilateral ties at various levels, according to a statement issued by spokesperson ofthe Foreign Ministry Ahmed Hafez.

The statement reported that the two sides discussed the distinguished ties between Egypt and Jordan, voicing their mutual willingness to push forward bilateral cooperation in line with the directives of the political leaderships in both countries.

Shoukry and Safadi also discussed means of strengthening mechanisms of joint Arab action to ensure security and stability of the Arab world.

Hafez's statement added that the two sides agreed to maintain mutual coordination to serve mutual interests and fulfill the aspirations of the peoples of the two countries.
]]>
5/22/2019 1:52:34 PM
<![CDATA[EU envoy hails partnership with Egypt, its important regional role]]>
Addressing the EU delegation's traditional press Iftar in Cairo, Surkos said stability and sustainable security of Egypt is of paramount importance not only to all Egyptians, but to the entire region and to the European Union.

He added that the European Union is firmly convinced that democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms are very important to achieve this goal.

The EU ambassador said the European Union believes that the power of the neighboring countries boost its own power, pointing to the first summit held at the level of Heads of State and Government between the EU and the Arab League, hosted by Sharm El Sheikh in February.

He added that the summit witnessed deep discussions on various topics aimed at enhancing cooperation between Europe and the Arab world.

Surkos expressed his confidence the summit was a first step on the right track to enhance cooperation between the two sides.

He added that the EU is working to strengthen its partnership not only with the Arab world but also with Africa, describing Egypt 2019 AU chairmanship as a good opportunity for promoting tripartite cooperation between the EU, Egypt and the African Union.

The EU ambassador affirmed that Egypt is the most important neighbor of the pan-Europe bloc in the Southern Mediterranean region.

He added that strategic relations between the two sides have developed significantly over the past years.

Our total commitments represented in the EU aid to Egypt, which amounts to more than 1.4 billion euros in grants, clearly reflect the richness of our cooperation, Surkos said.

We are a key supporter of Egypt's education sector. We focus on increasing access to education for the most needy children, as well as improving the quality of education, he added.

It was agreed that support for government reform in the education sector would be a priority for the EU's 2019 annual work plan for Egypt in the amount of €25 million, he stressed.

The EU is the largest source of foreign direct investment in Egypt as FDI inflows from EU countries in 2017-2018 fiscal year amounted to about $8 billion, representing more than 60% of total FDI inflows, Surkos said.

EU-Egypt partnership agreement, which entered into force in 2004, doubled bilateral trade from about 12 billion euros in 2004 to about 28 billion in 2018, he added. ]]>
5/22/2019 12:14:18 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt supports Yemen to end coup, restore state: Amb.]]>
During an Egyptian-Yemeni seminar held in the presence of many Egyptian high-level officials, Maram praised Egypt for welcoming the Yemeni people in light of the hard circumstances witnessed by the Yemeni state due to the coup carried out by the Iran-backed Houthi militias.

"Egypt has been the big homeland that welcomes all Arabs in all circumstances of peace and war," Maram said.

He also expressed appreciation of Egypt's role inYemen's 1962 revolution,saying that Egypt thatsupported Yemen's liberation from the imamate regime is taking part in ending the current coup and restoringthe Yemeni state.

Concerning the Yemeni situation, Maram commented on the Houthis' withdrawal from Hudaydah port, which comes as part of aUN-brokered ceasefire in December between the fighting forces in Yemen.

Maram reiterated his government's mistrust of the act, who earlier described such move as only a "play."

The Houthis and the government forces loyal toYemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi agreed to withdraw from the port of Hudaydahto allow humanitarian aid to enter the country.

Yemeni Information Minister Muammar al-Iryanisaid that the Houthi militia attempts to mislead the international community, affirming his government's rejection of unilateral steps taken without allowing monitoring and verification procedures and delivering the maps of mines planted by the Houthis.

More than 70,200 died in the warbetween January 2016 to April 13, 2019, according to data collected by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED).]]>
5/22/2019 11:57:46 AM
<![CDATA[Iranian journalist arrested again after bail was raised tenfold]]>
The defense lawyer broke the news of the journalist's arrest on his Twitter.

Ali Mojtahedzadeh wrote that Kazemi who was previously arrested in October 2018 and released on bail, was detained after he reported to a court in Tehran on Wednesday.

The court changed Kazemi's bail from one billion rial [roughly $10,000] to ten billion [around $100,000] and added new accusations to his indictment, Radio Farda reported.

Kazemi who has previously worked with Sharq and Qanoun newspapers, was the editor of Seda-ye Parsi monthly magazine.

Last year, Kazemi wrote on his Twitter about financial corruption at the Iranian Ministry of Industry and asked President Hassan Rouhani and other officials questions about the murder of Iranian intellectuals and political activists by Intelligence Ministry agents in the late 1990s.

It is not clear what prompted the judicial authorities to raise the bail and arrest Kazemi.

Iran has arrested hundreds of journalists in the last two decades and many have spent years behind bars on ambiguous charges.

]]>
5/22/2019 10:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[CNN Turk cuts opposition mayor interview]]>
Social media users lashed out at CNN Turk after it stopped Monday night’s interview with Ekrem Imamoglu of the Republican People’s Party half an hour ahead of schedule.

One Twitter user @muratagirel suggested CNN Turk change the program’s name from “Unbiased Zone” to “Biased Zone.”

Imamoglu was dramatically stripped of his victory in March’s vote after the country’s top election body annulled the results over claims of “irregularities” and ordered a new election for June 23.

He is rarely given time on Turkish screens, whereas President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered almost daily televised speeches ahead of the March vote on behalf of ruling party candidate Binali Yildirim, a former prime minister.

Imamoglu was interrupted by the CNN Turk anchor as he began to talk about the lavish spending in Istanbul municipality which he said he discovered during his brief 18-day stint as mayor.

He held up placards depicting alleged waste, such as high numbers of unnecessary official cars, and said his campaign would focus on turning this information into savings.

This prompted the anchorman, Ahmet Hakan, first to interrupt him for a commercial break and then to end the program entirely when Imamoglu insisted on talking about the finances.

Imamoglu countered that the interview was supposed to last 30 minutes more, but was told time was up.

Many social media users reacted with anger, such as one person on Twitter who wrote: “Ahmet Hakan you are a very bad journalist ... are you aware that the time is up for you and those like you?”

The Istanbul Municipality responded late Monday, denying Imamoglu’s allegations about the official cars and said the claims amounted to “intentional distortion” to manipulate public opinion.

Turkey is ranked 157th in the world for press freedom by Reporters Without Borders, which says the government has increasingly seized control of media outlets and is the world’s biggest jailer of professional journalists.

CNN Turk has been mocked in the past for toeing the government line, particularly during the “Gezi Park” protests in 2013, when it ran a documentary about penguins instead of covering the demonstrations.

It is a joint venture of CNN’s parent company, Turner Broadcasting System International, and Turkey’s privately owned Dogan Media Group.

Dogan was sold last year to Demiroren Group, which has close ties to Erdogan.]]>
5/22/2019 9:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. Defense Secretary says Iranian threats 'put on hold']]>
"I think our steps were very prudent and we've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans and that is what is extremely important,” Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon on May 21.

He added that "the threat remains high and our job is to make sure that there is no miscalculation by the Iranians."

Later in the day, Shanahan, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford, are set to brief U.S. lawmakers on Iran.

Relations between Tehran and Washington have plummeted since last year when U.S. President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the 2015 nuclear deal that curbed Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling economic sanctions.

Since then, Washington has stepped up its rhetoric and reimposed sanctions.

There have been growing concerns of a possible military conflict with the United States, which this month beefed up its military presence in the Middle East and Persian Gulf, citing " imminent threats" from Iran.

Tehran has dismissed the U.S. allegations.

Both sides have said they do not want a war.

Late on May 20, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said that he is seeking expanded, wartime executive powers to deal with an "economic war" being waged against the country by the United States, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Rohani cited the devastating war with Iraq from 1980-88, when a Supreme Council of War was able to bypass other branches to make decisions regarding the economy and the war effort.

"We need such powers today," he said.

The Iranian president said that he favored talks and diplomacy to deescalate tensions with Washington but not under the current conditions.

"Today's situation is not suitable for talks and our choice is resistance only," he was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Trump said that Iran would be met with "great force" if it attempted anything against U.S. interests in the Middle East.

He also said that if Tehran wants to negotiate, it will have to take the first step.

"Iran will call us if and when they are ever ready. In the meantime, their economy continues to collapse - very sad for the Iranian people!" the U.S. president tweeted.

df18uTweet
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5/22/2019 8:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Shoukry receives AU Commission delegation Monday]]>
The meeting was attended by the advisor to the chairperson of the African Union Commission on Integration and Regional Integration, according to a statement issued by spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, Ahmed Hafez.

Hafez's statement added that the meeting comes within the framework of Egypt's keenness to promote joint African action among African brothers.

For his side, Shoukry stressed that Egypt attaches importance to hosting the secretariat's headquarters as the Free Trade Agreement is one of the main axes of African integration, asserting its importance in promoting trade between the countries of the continent.

Shoukry pointed out that Egypt was one of the first countries to accede to the African Free Trade Agreement and ratified it in March 2019, according to the statement.

The delegation expressed the importance of joint African action to promote the continent and realize the aspirations of its peoples in the field of development, stressing the need to strengthen cooperation in economic fields and launch regional economic projects.]]>
5/21/2019 3:40:48 PM
<![CDATA[UK PM May to set out details of Brexit deal offer at 1500 GMT: spokesman]]>
The law, required to enact May’s Brexit deal with Brussels, will include significant new aspects, he said, adding there had to be some change from the divorce deal that was rejected three times by parliament.

At a meeting of her top team of ministers, the spokesman said May had told them “that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is the vehicle which gets the United Kingdom out of the European Union and it is vital to find a way to get it over the line.”

“The prime minister will be setting out further details on the way forward in a speech this afternoon.”]]>
5/21/2019 2:33:57 PM
<![CDATA[Deputy FM, UK Special envoy discuss situation in North, South Sudan]]>
During the meeting, Loza and Riley discussed the situation in Sudan and South Sudan and the security of the Red Sea, an official statement read. They also reviewed the developments in the Horn of Africa and ways to back Somalia.

Osama Shaltout, the assistant foreign minister for Sudan and South Sudan Affairs, also attended the meeting.

Earlier in May, Somali President Mohamed Farmaajo lauded Somali-Egyptian relations, asserting the importance of the historical ties binding both countries.

This came during Farmajoo's reception of Loza at the beginning of his current visit to Mogadishu.

Loza's visit to Somailia came as of part of his tour in the Horn of Africa which also included Kenya.

Egypt is keen on following up the latest developments in East Africa and the Horn of Africa in light of its presidency of the African Union in addition to boosting cooperation at the bilateral level at the different domains.


Parts of the reporting were taken from MENA
]]>
5/21/2019 1:20:57 PM
<![CDATA[Amnesty International, HRW's reports mostly politicized: FDHR]]>
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) relies on some extremist activists in Egypt who provide false information about the human rights situation, the forum's head Saeed Abdel Hafez said. He described slamming these reports as "very easy," as "we only need [to adopt] systematic and human rights responses, away from the language of attacks and insult."

Egypt slammed many reports for the HRW attacking Egypt for alleged violations of human rights since the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Egypt’s public prosecution issued a statement in January over Human Rights Watch report that alleges Egypt witnesses human rights violations, saying that the report is irrelevant to the truth.

The prosecution urged the organization to be accurate when publishing data on human rights in Egypt. The investigations, carried out by Cairo appeal prosecution, revealed that the report was based on information published on some internet websites without making sure of its veracity, according to official statements.

Earlier, public prosecutor Nabil Sadek assigned Cairo appeal prosecution to carry out an expanded judicial investigation on the HRW report published in September 2017.

The organization claimed that citizens, involved in terrorist cases, were exposed to torture by the members of the prosecution during investigations in order to force them confess crimes in these cases.

The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialog on Tuesday also sent a report on human rights violations in Qatar to the International Council for Human Rights to discuss Qatar's human rights record in Geneva.

The report mentioned serious violations of human rights in Qatar, including the remarks of the rapporteur concerned with the independence of the judiciary and lawyers in the United Nations. As a result, 33 judges resigned because of what they described as continuous interference in their work.]]>
5/21/2019 1:16:59 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian Amb. to Serbia talk Egypt's role in int'l Relations amid 21st Century challenges ]]>
The Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Serbia, Amr Aljowaily, spoke at the University of Belgrade at a lecture entitled "The Role of Egypt in International Relations in the Context of the Challenges of the 21st Century" organized by the Center for International Public Policy, attended by graduate students from different disciplines.

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Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Serbia, Amr Aljowaily during lecture entitled "The Role of Egypt in International Relations in the Context of the Challenges of the 21st Century".

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Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Serbia, Amr Aljowaily during lecture entitled "The Role of Egypt in International Relations in the Context of the Challenges of the 21st Century".

Aljowaily reviewed the most important changes in international relations in the last two decades of the 21st century, including the dynamics of interaction of the major powers, the ramifications of the ICT revolution, the globalization of terrorist networks, their impact on the stability of countries, including on promoting sub-national identities in the Middle East.

The Ambassador of Egypt in Belgrade highlighted the continued regional and international role based on the cumulative identity of Egypt within its immediate foreign policy constituencies, anchoring national state institutions, promoting counter-terrorism policy from a holistic perspective that takes into account the intellectual dimensions, adopting comprehensive approaches to the peaceful settlement of international disputes, ranging from peacekeeping to sustainable peace-building, harnessing the capabilities of multilateral organizations globally and regionally.

Aljowaily also stressed Egypt’s keenness to pursue balanced relations with all major countries and its approach to sustainable development diplomacy resting on the mega projects being developed at the national level.

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Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Serbia, Amr Aljowaily during lecture entitled "The Role of Egypt in International Relations in the Context of the Challenges of the 21st Century".

President of Centre for International Public Policy Mr. Aleksandar Klaric, presented the "Development of Friendly Relations" award to Ambassador Aljowaily, marking the first time that the Center has presented this shield to any of the accredited ambassadors accredited in Serbia. He expressed his appreciation for participation in the World Youth Forum in Sharm el-Sheikh last November, noting that there is a great interest among young Serbs to participate in the next session this year.

Prof. Zoran Krstic, Head of Master program of Belgrade University expressed his hope to develop student exchange programs between Egypt and Serbia, bringing the two peoples even closer, especially among the youth.]]>
5/20/2019 4:36:07 PM
<![CDATA[Algeria's army chief says elections are best way out of crisis]]>
After two decades in power, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika quit last month under pressure from protesters and the army, but demonstrations are still pushing for political reforms and the removal of all officials belonging to the old guard.

Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaed Salah, speaking on state television on Monday also called for more speed in forming a committee to supervise the election, without mentioning a date for the vote.

A presidential election has been scheduled for July 4 but a source said on Friday it might be postponed.

Algeria has been shaken by protests, mostly by young Algerians, demanding to end the dominance of the elite that has been in charge since independence from France in 1962.

Analysts say the army is concerned the crisis will continue at a time when instability is worsening in neighboring Libya, where rival forces are fighting over the capital Tripoli.

On Friday, protesters gathered again in Algiers to call for the resignations of the interim president, Abdelkader Bensalah, and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, appointed by Bouteflika days before he stepped down.]]>
5/20/2019 3:49:00 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt hosts large number of migrants: Head of IOM]]>
This came on the sidelines of an IOM Iftar attended by Ambassador Moushira Khattab. Boek said that the event demonstrates the strength of the partnership and friendship between the organization and the Egyptian state.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), including project development officerCharles de Leon,and a number of foreign ambassadors in Egypt, including ambassadors of Indonesia, Albania, Argentina, Ireland, Australia, Belgium, Finland, Peru, Panama, Afghanistan and Thailand.Representatives from the Foreign Ministry, International Cooperation Ministry, Planning Ministry, and Justice Ministrywere also in attendance.
]]>
5/20/2019 2:41:34 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's FDHR unfolds Qatar's human rights violations]]>
Discussing Qatari human rights situation is being conducted for the third time since the ICHR adopted a relevant mechanism in 2008. All member states of the ICHR and non-governmental organizations are scheduled to attend the Wednesday meeting.

The information in the report is based on the national report provided by the state, the reports of human rights experts and the independent expert groups and other relevant human rights bodies and civil society organizations.

The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialog reported serious violations of human rights in Qatar, including the remarks of the rapporteur concerned with the independence of the judiciary and lawyers in the United Nations. As a result, 33 judges resigned because of what they described as continuous interference in their work.

The forum's report pointed to the regime's ignorance of the recommendations of the United Nations for the establishment of more transparent and impartial criteria concerning the appointment of the judges. The regime also ignored complaints about inequality between Qatari and non-Qatari judges in terms of social benefits and allowances.

The report referred to three Qatari laws that it described as "notorious" whose provisions violate the basic human rights principles including Law No. 17 of 2002, which allows the interior minister to detain persons for up to one year and extend detention after the approval of the prime minister. The detention decision can only be appealed by the prime minister.

It also commented on Law No. 3 of 2004, which authorizes a prosecutor to detain persons for a period of six months before the trial and Law No. 5 of 2003, which allows the detention of persons accused of crimes that threaten the state's security for a period of one month before they can appear before the public prosecution.

Concerning migrant workers, the report criticized Qatar's disregard for the UN's warnings of the need to end the suffering of migrant workers in light of the non-transparent procedures and the expensive court fees that can reach $200, which can prevent such persons from obtaining judicial assistance.

According to the Qatari Constitution, the Consultative Assembly of Qatar consists of 45 members, two thirds of whom are elected while 15 members are appointed by the emir. However, since 2006, the emir appoints all members of the assembly, the report said, which means that the executive authority is violating the powers of the legislative authority.

The foreign workers involved in the construction of buildings and stadiums for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar were subject to grave violations and ill-treatment, which caused death in some cases, while salaries of some workers were unpaid, the forum said.

Hans-Christian Gabrielsen, Leader of Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, was quoted by the Mirror saying: "If we were to hold a minute of silence for every estimated death of a migrant worker due to the constructions of the Qatar World Cup, the first 44 matches of the tournament would be played in silence," the report mentioned.

Qatar has an immigrant labor force of about 2 million people, which make up about 95 percent of the total labor force, the report said, noting that about 40 percent or 800,000 of them work under high temperature, which can lead to fatal diseases, especially in the absence of sufficient breaks.

In 2013, health authorities reported 520 deaths among workers, 385 people of whom died due to unexplained reasons, the forum said.

Qatar has reduced the salaries of hundreds of workers in infrastructure projects established in preparation of the 2022 World Cup which is set to be hosted by the 11,571 square kilometer country, a high-level source told Egypt Today.

The peninsula has cut the workers' salaries despite increasing their working hours, a decision that violates the international labor law and human rights covenants, the source added.

The report said that the Qatari death courts are staffed by workers from Nepal, India and the Philippines, under the auspices of Mercury Mena Engineering Company, which operates in Qatar, with a salary of €1700 each, stressing that this amount represents for some of these workers the salary of ten months.

The report stressed that there is blatant discrimination against naturalized persons in Qatar according to article 12 of the Qatari Nationality Law No. 38 of 2005, which affirms that naturalized persons enjoy less protection, as Qatari citizenship can be withdrawn from them at any time.

According to Article 16, there is inequality between citizens of Qatari origin and citizens by naturalization. Naturalized Qataris do not have the same political rights as nationals of Qatari origin,as they cannot be elected, nominated or appointed by any legislative body.

He pointed out that the Qatari regime intentionally discriminates between men and women regarding granting the citizenship to children. He added, "As a result of this discrimination, Qatari women suffer to educate, care for their children and provide them with access to employment opportunities ."

The report also highlights the state of international concern about child rights violations, where Qatari law defines the age of criminal responsibility for a child by 7 years, and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has also expressed concern about the children between the ages of 16 and 18 years .

With regard to human trafficking inside Qatar, the report drew attention to the international warnings expressed by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the prevalence of domestic and sexual violence against women in Qatar, especially on female migrant domestic workers levels. When these women try to Report the attacks, they are subjected to major obstacles to access justice.
"Women migrants find themselves in a state of extreme vulnerability where they are subject to severe discrimination due to their sex and because of their status as immigrants," a report submitted by the Rapporteur to the International Council for Human Rights in its session read.
]]>
5/20/2019 2:40:25 PM
<![CDATA[Argentine political twist could provide balm for troubled markets]]>
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner – a former president who has an ardent support base but is unloved by global investors – surprised locals and international observers alike on Saturday by saying she would run as vice president alongside former cabinet chief, Alberto Fernandez, a veteran political operator who has both backed and criticized her in the past.

Economists said the move could temper the self-styled populist’s more contentious policies, even if it was also a clever ploy to return to power after struggling to win over the more moderate wing of the broad Peronist opposition.

That would likely be a balm for markets ahead of elections in October. The reemergence of the divisive ex-president, who had been climbing in the polls as incumbent Mauricio Macri stumbled over a biting recession and high inflation, had hammered the peso currency and caused bond yields to spike.

“I think the market will react well because this is basically a recognition of weakness on the part of Cristina Kirchner,” said Ilya Gofshteyn, a senior emerging markets strategist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York.

“She wouldn’t be running as a vice president if she thought she could win as president.”

Cristina Fernandez is considered by investors to be a riskier prospect because of her past populist policies. She introduced currency controls and tax increases on farm exports while in office between 2007 and 2015.

Alberto Fernandez criticized her management after he resigned from her administration in 2008 and forged ties with other factions of Peronism opposed to her ruling party.

J.P. Morgan said in a note that past criticism could actually help the running pair if it assuaged people’s fears that the lower-profile Alberto Fernandez would simply be a figurehead with his deputy holding the real power.

“In a government it is the president who makes the decisions,” Alberto Fernandez told local media on Saturday, responding to suggestions he would be a puppet of the former leader who still commands raucous crowds.

Others, however, said that if markets sensed a political upheaval, even one without Cristina Fernandez at the helm, it could create volatility.

“There will be some negative reaction with an upward exchange rate and some stocks and bonds dropping,” said Argentine economic analyst Gustavo Neffa at Research for Traders. “However, the election race is still very open so there can be changes.”

The unexpected ticket could also win support from more moderate Peronists who may not have voted for Cristina Fernandez herself. And with annual inflation at above 55%, job losses mounting and a tumbling peso, hard-hit voters are open to change.

“[Cristina Fernandez] is aiming to capture that more moderate segment that does not approve of Macri’s management,” Mariel Fornoni, a political analyst for Argentinian consultancy Management and Fit, told Reuters.

Macri, a free-market advocate, has worked to boost economic activity in the previously closed economy, but is struggling to reverse an economic crisis. He negotiated a $56.3 billion financing deal with the International Monetary Fund last year.

The crisis has contributed to uncertainty among investors, who feared political upheaval if Macri lost to Cristina Fernandez, opening the door to defaults and debt restructuring.

Gofshteyn said there was still time for a strong third candidate to emerge, but he didn’t believe investors would give the same weight to Cristina Fernandez’s vice presidential candidacy as they would to her as a potential president.

“There is this idea that you can somehow transfer your popularity to another candidate, but that’s just not the way it works. Name recognition matters a lot,” he said.]]>
5/20/2019 12:25:58 PM
<![CDATA[IRGC chief says Iran not afraid of war]]>
The newly appointed chief commander of the Guards was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying “fear of war” is what distinguishes Iran from the United States and adding, “America is afraid of war and does not have the will for it”.

The remarks came during a ceremony to introduc new commanders for the IRGC departments.

On Saturday, Salami taunted the Trump administration with 9/11 imagery, making a cruel reference to the attacks on the 2001 World Trade Center.

“The US political system has an apparently huge body, but suffers from osteoporosis,” Revolutionary Guard head Gen. Hossein Salami told the Fars news agency. “In fact, the US is like World Trade Building that collapses with a sudden hit.”

The remark came as tensions between Iran and the United States escalated.

While the U.S. dispatched additional naval and air power to the Gulf region earlier in May to send a “signal” to Iran, two attacks took place that intensified tensions and raised the alarms of an impending clash.

Four civilian ships were attacked in the Gulf of Oman and Yemeni Houthi drones hit Saudi oil installations.

Nevertheless, in recent days both sides have somewhat mellowed their rhetoric and emphasized that war is unlikely.
]]>
5/20/2019 11:38:21 AM
<![CDATA[UK's opposition will not back 'fundamentally' unchanged Brexit bill]]>
“We haven’t seen whatever the new bill is going to be yet but nothing I’ve heard leads me to believe it is fundamentally any different from the previous bill that has been put forward so as of now we are not supporting it,” Jeremy Corbyn told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday.

May said in the Sunday Times she would present a “new bold offer” to lawmakers with “an improved package of measures” in a final attempt to get the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill through parliament before she leaves office.]]>
5/19/2019 1:57:29 PM
<![CDATA[UAE FM blames Iran for raising regional tensions]]>
The minister’s remarks came during an interview with CNN aired Thursday.

He said a sabotage attack against four oil tankers off the Emirates’ coast had come at a “sensitive and difficult period in the region.”

“We are where we are largely because of Iran behaviour,” Gargash said. “This is a behavior that is not new to the region. This is a behavior that has been basically compiling and clearly right now that – American sanctions on Iran are biting.”

The attacks on the tankers came amid escalating rhetoric between the US and it Gulf allies on one side and Iran on the other. The US has deployed an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Gulf in response to an unspecified Iranian threat.

Saudi Arabia said Iran-backed Houthi rebels on Tuesday attacked an oil pipeline in the Kingdom with drones.

The investigations into the tanker attack were on going, Gargash said, adding that in a few days “we should know what took place.”

“We are collaborating with France, and the United States, and other friends are also offering their help,” he said. “Clearly this is a very, very serious incident because it affects maritime commerce, and it comes also at a very very, what I would call a very sensitive and difficult period in the region.”



The minister said all parties have an interest in deescalating the situation and “dealing with things in a mature, rational way.”

But he added the onus was on Iran, not Washington, to deescalate the situation.
“Iranian behavior over the last decade or two has led us to where we are today,” he said. “There’s very little trust in the region.”
]]>
5/19/2019 11:53:41 AM
<![CDATA[Aspects, drafting process of proposed new NGOs law]]>
The current law was promulgated in June 2017; however, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced in November 2018 during his participation in the second edition of the World Youth Forum (WYF) that the bill will be amended. The president had agreed to form an official committee that holds social dialogues on articles of the law and conducts relevant studies.

In November 2016, the House of Representatives passed the law after two thirds of members had voted in favor of the draft. Nevertheless, the law was enacted after the endorsement of the president the following year to substitute law no. 84/2002.

Main Aspects of the Draft

Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali told media that the draft law ensures control and follow-up, promotes transparency, and does not include custodial penalties. It allows the establishment of associations of resident foreign communities, and guarantees the right of associations to establish and contribute to charitable companies and funds.

Wali added that the new draft law increased the participation of foreigners in the boards of associations to 25%, and allowed the establishment of associations of resident foreign communities in Egypt. As well as the possibility of opening branches of associations abroad after licensing them, and opening branches and offices within the notification, and allows the establishment of companies or investment funds and contribute to charity.

The law grants associations the right to receive cash from inside Egypt from natural or legal persons of Egypt or foreign non-governmental organizations authorized to operate inside Egypt. The associations are allowed to receive donations from natural or legal persons inside or outside the country after notification to the administrative authority, and the absence of a reply will be taken as consent. Wali also pointed out that the draft law supports the principle of transparency and emphasizes the need to publish budgets and the final account in detail with the commitment to governance, and obliged them to open a bank account in one of the banks subject to the supervision of the Central Bank.

The new law consolidates the authorities responsible for overseeing the civil society institutions in one area, and the foreign non-governmental permission to practice one or more of the activities of associations and NGOs subject to the provisions of the law. Wali pointed out that the new law exempts the built-up properties of the association from all real estate taxes, exemption from customs tariffs, and other fees imposed on imported devices, machines, equipment, and supplies of production and cars. The new law enacts voluntary work by opening a door for volunteering.

The Drafting Process

The law-making journey included the use of 18 laws from 18 countries and community dialogue tours involving more than 1,000 civil associations representing all governorates of Egypt.

Wali stated that the committee held more than 20 meetings to the conclusion of the necessity of drafting a new law, and not just amendments to Law 70 of 2017.

That is because the current stage needs a new philosophy that opens the doors to wide participation in nation-building, and to provide opportunities to participate in the establishment of civil associations and create the space for existing institutions for further work as well as encouraging volunteer values and protecting volunteers.

Seven tours of community dialogue were held, four of which were held in different governorates of Egypt such as Cairo, Alexandria, and Ismailia.
The Upper Egypt associations participated in a dialogue in Menia governorate; four major associations implemented these dialogues in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the General Federation of Societies. In which 1164 associations took part, in addition to central dialogues held at the Ministry of Social Solidarity, attended by opinion leaders, experts and civil society leaders, and more than 70 international organizations licensed to work in Egypt participated in another dialogue.

The end of the rounds of community dialogue organized by the National Training Academy and included a number of diverse youth streams. In addition to informing the law preparation committee of similar international experiences, where the use of 18 laws from 18 countries in implementation of the mandate of the president, which included access to international experiences in the organization of civil work.

Wali said that the law opens the floodgates to participate in nation building, organizes volunteerism, protects volunteers, allows new activities and fields, regulates the activities of foreign communities, and regulates professional certification, noting that all custodial articles have been abolished, except for financial and administrative penalties.

Wali also pointed out that the presidential support was not limited to calling for the amendment of the legislation in a way that provides a supportive atmosphere, but at the level of actual empowerment, it directed the government to fund projects implemented by the associations to participate in human development and nation development.
]]>
5/18/2019 5:47:16 PM
<![CDATA[Eradication of Muslim Brotherhood to give chance to moderate Islam: thinker]]>
According to his website, Hamid was once a member of the Jamaa Islameia (JI) in Egypt along with Ayman Al Zawahiri, leader of al-Qaeda. Hamid who joined the group 25 years ago has renounced extremist thought and became an expert on radicalism. He authored a book titled “Inside Jihad.” He is Chair for the Study of Islamic Radicalism at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

According to an American legal bill known as the Patriot Act, which was promulgated in 2001, an organization can be put on terror list for aiding terror groups such as Hamas and not necessarily for committing an act of terror against the United States, Hamid explained.

Hamid highlighted that “the American authorities have studied the group for years, and realized that its members go through different phases that end up with extremism. The first is Daewa followed by participation. Both are peaceful. The last two are confrontation, and empowerment. The West grasped that it would not be wise to wait until reaching a point where terror attacks are launched against it. The West is now aware of the necessity of controlling the group from the inside since it is a global ramified organization.”

Hamid underlined that the Obama Administration was close to the Muslim Brotherhood and let the Islamic State grow. He added that the former U.S. president admitted his mistake with regard to the latter.

Responding to claims that the Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate Islamist group, Hamid questioned how it is possible that one of its major scholars, Said Kutb, argues that Muslims must use armed force against the rest of humans worldwide if they do not convert to Islam.

“Al Qaradawi stated that suicide bombings targeting innocent people and children does not contradict with religion as long as they are launched upon the directives of the groups perpetrators are affiliated to and not based on personal decisions,” Hamid added.

The thinker also shed light on a statement by brotherhood member in Egypt Mohamed El Beltagy as he said that all terrorism happening in North Sinai would end when former President Mohamed Morsi is reinstated as president. Beltagy told media this while taking part in Rabaa sit-in after Morsi, who is an a brotherhood member, was toppled over pass protests in 2013.

“I think the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization will be beneficial for Muslims because the political segment that interfered with religion and ruined it will be removed. We are talking about the brotherhood that want to revive the Caliphate state. Was that state a superb example of democracy and humanitarianism... Should that be a goal for us? Omitting the Muslim Brotherhood’s doctrine from the Islamic thought will give a chance to moderate Islam that is not deformed, and that is rational and merciful,” Hamid asserted.

“The Muslim Brotherhood does not believe in the concept of homeland. They believe in the destruction of the nation states to gain control over them through the Caliphate state,” Hamid concluded affirming that Turkey backs the Muslim Brotherhood.

The brotherhood is outlawed in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Russia. U.S. President Donald Trump has been pushing to designate the group a terrorist organization.
]]>
5/18/2019 4:56:34 PM
<![CDATA[Gulf nations approve US request to deploy troops in Arabian Gulf]]>CAIRO – 18 May 2019: A request from Washington to deploy military forces in the waters of the Arabian Gulf was approved by a number of GCC nations, including Saudi Arabia, according to a report by Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

According to sources, the main objective of the move is to allow Washington and Gulf nations to work together to deter any aggression or military threat from Iran against its neighbors or US interests in the region.

Tensions have escalated following attacks this week on a Saudi oil pipeline and a number of cargo ships in the Arabian Gulf off the coast of Fujairah in the UAE.

The sources reportedly said a number of Arab nations also plan to hold a summit on the sidelines of the Islamic summit scheduled to take place in Makkah during the last 10 days of Ramadan.

They added that the countries involved “are united by principles and visions that are consistent with regional and international developments,” according to the report.
On Thursday, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash stressed during an interview with CNN that Iranian behavior has led to the current heightened tensions in the region.

He said a sabotage attack against four oil tankers off the Emirates’ coast had come at a “sensitive and difficult period in the region.”
]]>
5/18/2019 4:30:43 PM
<![CDATA[Government takes early lead in Australia's election count]]>
The coalition is leading the national two-party count against center-left Labor by 51.7% to 48.3% with just over 15% of the vote counted, according to Australian Electoral Commission data (AEC).

The early results contrast with pre-election polls, which had predicted Labor would win, and mean a winner may not be known on Saturday.

The vote trend, however, is not uniform, and vote-counting on the country’s west coast has not started.

The Scott Morrison-led government is polling strongly in Queensland and Tasmania, according to AEC figures, although the early results are more mixed in the heavily populated states of New South Wales and Victoria.

Former conservative prime minister Tony Abbott is at dire risk of losing his Sydney beaches seat of Warringah to high-profile independent Zali Steggall. Media analysts projected the seat had been lost with more than one-fifth of the votes counted.

The major parties are vying for a majority share of the 151 lower-house seats to form a government.

There are also 40 of 76 Senate spots contested in the election, the outcome of which will determine how difficult it will be for the next government to enact policy.]]>
5/18/2019 12:51:47 PM
<![CDATA[Austrian government revamp looms over video of far-right leader]]>
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was due to meet Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache at 11 a.m. (0900 GMT) after a crisis meeting with senior figures in the government on Friday night, news agency APA said citing sources.

Strache will make a statement at 1000 GMT, the Freedom Party said without providing further detail.

A spokesman for Strache could not be reached by Reuters for comment on the threat to the coalition, which has blown up just a week before Austria votes in elections for the European Parliament.

Kurz, who has distanced himself from the far right to protect his image when lesser scandals have emerged, was also due to make a statement later on Saturday. The opposition called for Strache to resign.

“This is huge. This has to be the end of Heinz-Christian Strache,” political analyst Thomas Hofer said, adding that even a snap election was possible.

The Freedom Party is preparing for Transport Minister Norbert Hofer to replace Strache as vice chancellor, APA news agency said, citing party sources. The 48-old engineer ran for president in 2016 and only narrowly lost.

The Kurier newspaper, without citing its sources, said Kurz preferred to call a fresh election rather than continue to govern with a partner whose image had been tarnished by the affair.

Kurz’s party still leads opinion polls but far short of a majority. The only other party with enough seats for a majority is the Social Democrats, with which Kurz, an immigration hardliner, has difficult relations.

Strache has headed the Freedom Party since 2005, bringing it back to mainstream electoral success not seen since it was led by the charismatic Joerg Haider. It secured 26 percent of the vote in 2017’s parliamentary election.

VIDEO FOOTAGE
The video was reported on Friday by two of neighboring Germany’s leading media - weekly Der Spiegel and newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung - purportedly showing a meeting in Ibiza between Strache, another party official and a woman purporting to be the niece of a Russian oligarch.

Strache did not reply to a request for comment about the video. Reuters was not able to verify the authenticity of the footage independently, and the German newspapers did not say how they obtained it.

The newspaper reports said the video appeared to be a sting operation.

The Freedom Party (FPO) co-chairman, Christian Hafenecker, said on Friday the party’s lawyers were evaluating the material.

Neither Strache nor the FPO ever received or granted any benefits from the persons concerned, Hafenecker said in a statement.

“Since the video was obviously recorded illegally, we are also preparing appropriate legal steps.”

The footage, recorded in July 2017 - months before the election that brought this government to power - showed Strache talking to the woman.

In it, he appeared to offer to direct inflated construction contracts to a company in exchange for support for his party, though he also said he wanted everything to be done legally.

Vienna prosecutors said they would study the reports and decide whether there was sufficient cause to open an investigation, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors said.

“The FPO is finished,” ran the headline in the tabloid Kronen Zeitung, which featured in the video since the woman said the oligarch wanted to buy a stake.

It remains unclear who was behind the recording.]]>
5/18/2019 12:46:36 PM
<![CDATA[Turkey court hands life sentences to 14 over 2016 attack]]>
Forty-seven people were killed in the attack near the Vodafone Arena when a car bomb hit a police vehicle and a suicide bomber blew himself up after a football match for one of Istanbul’s biggest clubs, Besiktas.

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), a radical Kurdish group with ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), claimed responsibility.

A court in Silivri on the outskirts of Istanbul sentenced four defendants to aggravated life sentences on charges of “a planned murder and bombing,” and 10 others on charges of “aiding murder,” Anadolu said.

Aggravated life sentences carry harsher prison conditions.

Four other defendants received prison sentences of up to 15 years for “membership in a terror organization,” it added.

Turkey suffered a wave of attacks in 2016 by Kurdish separatists following a breakdown in peace talks with the government — a time when it was also hit by a number of attacks by ISIS terrorists.
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5/17/2019 1:54:47 PM
<![CDATA[Iran urges 'friends' to save nuclear deal]]>
On a visit to Beijing, Zarif said he would also talk with Chinese officials about “bilateral ties and the very dangerous issues that are ongoing in our region today,” according to a video published on the Iranian foreign ministry website.

Amid rising tensions in the Gulf, Iran on Thursday rejected negotiations with the US and said it was showing “maximum restraint” after Washington sent extra military forces to the region against what it claimed was an imminent threat from Tehran.

Zarif called on the international community to save the JCPOA, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The landmark 2015 deal between Iran and world powers including the EU and the United States offered sanctions relief to Iran for scaling back its nuclear program.

In May 2018 President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the deal and reinstated unilateral economic sanctions.

“If the international community and other JCPOA member countries and our friends in the JCPOA like China and Russia want to keep this achievement, it is required that they make sure the Iranian people enjoy the benefits of the JCPOA with concrete actions,” Zarif said.

Zarif said last week that only Russia and China had supported Iran and helped it keep the nuclear deal going, and accused other parties to the agreement of letting Tehran down.

China was one of the eight global buyers — India, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Italy and Greece — that was allowed to import Iranian crude oil before the US ended waivers in early May.

Zarif’s China trip comes after visits to Turkmenistan, India and Japan in the past week.

Despite Washington’s campaign of “maximum pressure” against Iran, the Islamic Republic has vowed to keep selling oil to its main customers, especially China, even if it takes using indirect means.

On May 8, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would stop observing restrictions on stocks of enriched uranium and heavy water agreed under the nuclear deal in retaliation for the US withdrawal and the reimposition of sanctions.

In his announcement, Rouhani threatened to go further if the European members of the deal failed to start delivering on their promises to help Iran circumvent US sanctions within 60 days.

China in response called on all parties to uphold the nuclear deal in what it called a “shared responsibility.”


]]>
5/17/2019 11:58:19 AM
<![CDATA[Quds Force's Soleimani told militias to 'prepare for proxy war']]>
A report published by The Guardian on Friday revealed that two senior intelligence sources said Qassem Suleimani, leader of Iran’s Quds force, summoned the militias under Tehran’s influence three weeks ago, amid a heightened state of tension in the region.

Suleimani has met regularly with leaders of Iraq’s Iranian militia groups over the past five years, however, this time, the nature and tone of this gathering was different. “It wasn’t quite a call to arms, but it wasn’t far off,” one source said.

The meeting has led to a frenzy of diplomatic activity between US, British and Iraqi officials who are trying to banish the spectra of clashes between Tehran and Washington.

Fears are rising that Iraq might become a conflict zone.

The gathering partly informed a US decision to evacuate non-essential diplomatic staff from the US embassy in Baghdad and Erbil and to raise the threat status at US bases in Iraq.

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The USS Abraham Lincoln, recently dispatched to the Gulf. Photograph: ONOSPHG/AP


Over the past 15 years, Suleimani has been Iran’s most influential powerbroker in Iraq and Syria, leading Tehran’s efforts to consolidate its presence in both countries and trying to reshape the region in its favor.

The US has become increasingly vocal about the activities of Iranian proxies in the Middle East.

On Sunday, four ships – two of them Saudi oil tankers – were reportedly sabotaged off the UAE coast. The following day, drones launched by Iranian-allied rebels in Yemen attacked two Saudi pipelines. Saudi state media on Thursday called for “surgical strikes” against Iranian targets in response and its senior officials have told Washington that they expect it to act in its interests.

]]>
5/17/2019 11:07:21 AM
<![CDATA[Iran says exercising restraint despite 'unacceptable' escalation of U.S. sanctions]]>
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the comments in a meeting with his Japanese counterpart in Tokyo as tensions rise in the Middle East, fuelling concern that the United States and Iran are heading for conflict.

Iran is exercising “maximum restraint in spite of the fact the United States withdrew from (the) JCPOA last May,” Zarif said at the beginning of his meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

He was referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed in 2015 by the United States, Iran and other countries, under which Iran curbed its uranium enrichment capacity and won sanctions relief in return.

President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement last year and is ratcheting up sanctions on Iran, aiming to strangle its economy by ending its international sales of crude oil. Japan was a major buyer of Iranian oil for decades before the sanctions.

An attack on four oil tankers in the Gulf on Sunday, for which no one has claimed responsibility, and Saudi Arabia’s announcement on Tuesday that armed drones hit two of its oil pumping stations have compounded worries about war.

The United States withdrew staff from its embassy in Iraq on Wednesday out of apparent concern about threats from Iran, with U.S. sources saying they believe Iran encouraged the attacks on the oil tankers.

Trump is sending an aircraft carrier group, B-52 bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East to counter what the United States calls a heightened threat from Iran to U.S. soldiers and interests in the region.

“We believe that escalation by the United States is unacceptable and uncalled for,” Zarif told Kono in front of reporters before they met privately.

Nevertheless, Iran has relaxed restrictions on its nuclear programme and threatened action that could breach the nuclear deal, although the initial moves do not appear to violate the agreement.

“I’m concerned that the situation in the Middle East is becoming very tense,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Zarif in a later meeting.

Kono said it was essential to maintain the nuclear agreement and urged Iran to keep implementing it, echoing other countries.

Asian shippers and refiners have put ships heading to the Middle East on alert and are expecting a possible rise in marine insurance premiums after the attacks on the Saudi oil tankers and pipeline facilities, industry sources said on Tuesday.


]]>
5/16/2019 11:31:07 AM
<![CDATA[Trump sure Iran will seek talks ‘soon’]]>
"I’m sure that Iran will want to talk soon," Trump wrote on Twitter on May 15 without elaborating.




Trump’s remarks follow comments he made on May 9 when he said he did not rule out a military confrontation with Iran. But he added, "What I would like to see with Iran, I would like to see them call me."

Iranian leaders responded by rejecting any talks with Washington.

Tensions have risen since Trump in May 2018 pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with six world powers. The accord provided Tehran with relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

In pulling out of the agreement, Trump said the terms were not tough enough to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and did not address Iran's missile program or Tehran's alleged support for militants in the region.

Iran denies it supports insurgent activity and has said its nuclear program is strictly for civilian energy purposes.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said during a visit to Tokyo on May 16 that Tehran was showing "maximum restraint" despite the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear accord and he accused Washington of an "unacceptable" escalation of the crisis.

Trump has ordered a beefing up of U.S. military assets in the Middle East and Arabian Gulf, citing possible threats from Iran. The State Department also ordered the evacuation of all nonessential personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, citing tensions with neighboring Iran.

Meanwhile, Trump blasted media reports that of discord in the White House over the president’s policies toward Iran.

"The Fake News Washington Post, and even more Fake News New York Times, are writing stories that there is infighting with respect to my strong policy in the Middle East,” he wrote on Twitter.

"There is no infighting whatsoever."

”Different opinions are expressed and I make a decisive and final decision -- it is a very simple process,” he added.]]>
5/16/2019 11:16:48 AM
<![CDATA[Family of Palestinian died in Turkey files complaint to Egypt's attorney general]]>
The Turkish authorities claimed that Zaki Mubarak, the victim, was a spy to the United Arab Emirates, and that he died after committing suicide. However, it failed so far to support its claims by any evidence.

Zaki Mubarak entered Turkey on March 30, and disappeared only four days later. A complaint was issued by Zaki's brother and daughter's lawyer to Egypt's Attorney General said that on April 19, Zaki's lawyer noted that his client was arrested by the Turkish authorities over false charges.

The lawyer said that Zaki would be released within few days, in case the Turkish authorities did not introduce an incriminating evidence, the complaint read.

"On the same day, we were shocked as Turkish media and [Doha-based] Al-Jazeera Channel have [adopted] an exaggeration [approach] and claimed that he (Zaki) has admitted [his crime] and that there is evidence against him," the complaint added.

The lawyer told the victim's family that the media is lying concerning Zaki's confession, according to the complaint.

On April 28, "we received news [claiming] that the Palestinian citizen Zaki Yusuf Mubarak Hassan hung himself and died of suicide in Istanbul's Silivri Prison, which has a bad reputation." Although the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations, "most" of the media persons, and the family of the victim requested to be handed the victim's body, "the Turkish side temporized," according to the complaint.

On May 14, the victim's body was sent from Turkey to Egypt and was transferred to Cairo's Palestine Hospital, the complaint said.

"By examining the body before the delegate of the Palestinian ambassador in Cairo, we were shocked by the multiple [signs] of brutal torture, which we think led to his death," the complaint added.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has further aggravated the already strained relations with Egypt, by criticizing the Egyptian president after nine Egyptians were executed earlier this year over killing former attorney general Hesham Barakat.

He also kept on straining ties with Saudi Arabia as he fueled the crisis of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who was killed in October last year inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by Saudi men through a "rogue operation," according to Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi foreign minister at the time.

Erdogan claimed that murdering Khashoggi came upon orders from the Saudi government's "highest levels."]]>
5/15/2019 4:41:36 PM
<![CDATA[UK PM May's office declines to say if she will resign if Brexit deal fails again]]>
Asked if May would resign if she failed to pass the Brexit legislation, the spokesman said May was focused on getting the deal through parliament.]]>
5/15/2019 3:16:17 PM
<![CDATA[Cypriot FM hails strong relations with Egypt]]>
He made the remarks during an Iftar banquet hosted by Egypt's Ambassador in Nicosia Mai Taha. It was attended by the Cypriot parliament speaker, the ministers of defense, communications and transport, in addition to a large number of foreign ambassadors accredited to Cyprus.

During the event, the Cypriot foreign minister expressed his appreciation of close and ongoing coordination with Egypt in various issues of common concern.

For her part, the Egyptian ambassador said Cairo is keen on fostering relations with Nicosia and pursuing joint coordination, with a view to reviewing means of promoting bilateral cooperation in several areas.]]>
5/15/2019 11:48:58 AM
<![CDATA[Houthis take responsibility for drone attack on Saudi pipeline]]>
The attacks followed reports of sabotage against oil tankers in the Arabian Gulf off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, with tensions rising between the U.S. and Iran.

Oil prices rose Tuesday, with benchmark Brent crude trading over $71 a barrel, up more than $1 on the day.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih Al-Falih vowed that production and export of Saudi oil would not be interrupted. In a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, he called the pipeline attack "cowardly," saying that recent acts of sabotage against the kingdom's vital installations were targeting not only Saudi Arabia, but also the safety of the world's energy supply and global economy.

Yemen's Houthi rebels said they launched seven drones against vital installations in Saudi Arabia, which borders Yemen to the north. Saudi Arabia has been at war with the Houthis and their allies in Yemen since March 2015, targeting the Iranian-allied rebels with near daily airstrikes.

"This is a message to Saudi Arabia: Stop your aggression," Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdel-Salam told The Associated Press. "Our goal is to respond to the crimes they are committing everyday against the Yemeni people."

The two oil pumping stations targeted in Saudi Arabia are over 800 kilometers (500 miles) from Yemen's northern border with the kingdom. It wasn't immediately known where the Houthis launched the drones.

The attacks demonstrated the increased risks in a region vital to global energy supplies amid heightened tensions following the Trump administration's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, and the subsequent reimposition of U.S. sanctions to cripple the Iranian economy. Iran has since said it would begin enriching uranium at higher levels by July 7 if world powers failed to negotiate new terms for the deal.

Al-Falih said the drone attacks reaffirm the need of the international community to confront the activities of groups like the Houthis, whom he accused of being backed by Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival.

He said the drones had targeted petroleum pumping stations supplying a pipeline running from its oil-rich Eastern Province to the Yanbu Port on the Red Sea.

Saudi Aramco, the government-controlled oil company, said that as a precaution, it temporarily shut down the East-West Pipeline and contained the fire, which caused minor damage to one pumping station. It added that Saudi Aramco's oil and gas supplies have not been affected by the attack.

Saudi Arabia said the two petroleum pumping stations that were struck by drones are located in the greater region of Riyadh, home to the landlocked capital. The stations, targeted around the same time early Tuesday, are located in al-Duadmi and Afif, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Riyadh city and 400 kilometers (250 miles) west of Riyadh city, respectively.

Saudi Arabia built its pipeline in the 1980s amid fears that the Iran-Iraq war would cut off shipping traffic through the Strait of Hormuz. The 1,200-kilometer (746-mile) pipeline is actually two pipes that have a total capacity of 4.8 million barrels of crude oil a day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The four oil tankers that were targeted Sunday off the coast of the UAE's port of Fujairah were allegedly damaged in what Gulf officials described as sabotage, although satellite images obtained Tuesday by the AP showed no visible damage to the vessels.

The MT Andrea Victory, one of the alleged targets, sustained a hole in its hull just above its waterline from "an unknown object," its owner Thome Ship Management said in a statement. Images Monday of the Norwegian-flagged Andrea Victory, which the company said was "not in any danger of sinking," showed damage similar to what the firm described.

Details of the alleged sabotage to two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati oil tanker remain unclear, and Gulf officials have refused to say who they suspected was responsible.

Satellite images provided to the AP by Colorado-based Maxar Technologies showed a boom surrounding the Emirati oil tanker A. Michel, indicating the possibility of an oil leak. The other three showed no visible damage from above.

A U.S. official in Washington, without offering any evidence, told the AP that a U.S. military team's initial assessment indicated Iran or Iranian allies used explosives to blow holes in the ships. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation and thus spoke on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. has recently warned ships that "Iran or its proxies" could be targeting maritime traffic in the region. Washington has deployed an aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, and B-52 bombers to the Arabian Gulf to counter alleged, still-unspecified threats from Tehran.

Speaking in New Delhi, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad said he spoke with Indian officials about concerns of "suspicious activities and sabotage in the region."

"We announced that we had previously predicted these sorts of activities aimed at escalating tension in the region," he said.

United Nations deputy spokesman Farhan Haq called on "all concerned parties to exercise restraint for the sake of regional peace, including by ensuring maritime security."

On Tuesday, Spain temporarily pulled one of its frigates that was part of a U.S.-led combat fleet from near the Arabian Gulf because of the mounting tensions.

The Ministry of Defense said the Méndez Núñez, with 215 sailors aboard, will not cross the Strait of Hormuz into the Gulf with the USS Abraham Lincoln. The Spanish frigate was the only non-U.S. vessel in the fleet.

The drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities reflect how the Houthis have expanded their capabilities during the four-year war. The rebels have targeted Riyadh with missiles and used drones to disrupt air traffic at Saudi airports near the Yemen border.

The Houthis also have flown into the radar arrays of Saudi Arabia's Patriot missile batteries, according to the research group Conflict Armament Research, disabling them and allowing the rebels to fire ballistic missiles into the kingdom unchallenged.

Iran has been accused by the U.S. and the U.N. of supplying ballistic missile technology and arms to the Houthis, which Tehran denies.

Such drones remain difficult to shoot down with either light or heavy weapons. Iraqi forces learned this from driving out the ISIS group from northern Iraq, where the extremists would load drones with grenades or simple explosives to target their forces.

The U.S. supports Saudi Arabia and its allies in the war against the Houthis.]]>
5/15/2019 11:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[US government employees ordered to leave Iraq 'immediately']]>
Referring to the embassy and the US consulate in Irbil, it said “normal visa services at both posts will be temporarily suspended. The US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in Iraq.”

The statement recommended those affected “depart by commercial transportation as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, Germany is suspending military training operations in Iraq due to increasing regional tensions, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

Germany has indications of potential attacks supported by Iran, he said, adding that this did not mean the training programs could not resume in the coming days.

Focus Online said the decision had been taken in coordination with partner countries fighting ISIS in the region.

]]>
5/15/2019 9:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Google bans Qaradawi's app over inciting hatred]]>
Euro Fatwa App was launched by the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) in Dublin for the purpose of guiding “European Muslims to adhere to the regulations and manners of Islam.”

In the introduction to the app, Qaradawi makes anti-Semitic references while discussing previous fatwas, or rulings regarding Islamic law.

In 2004, Qaradawi founded the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) in Qatar. The true intentions behind the institute became clearer a short while after its foundation.

When asked in an interview on the Doha funded Al-Jazeera channel if it is permissible to bomb oneself to target a gathering affiliated with an oppressive regime, knowing that there will be casualties among civilians,Qaradawi replied that the 'norm' in such matters is that suicide attacks are not permissible unless they are planned by a group.

“Normally, a person fights then gets killed. But to bomb oneself, the group must decide it needs this,” Qaradawi said. “If the group believes it is in need of someone to bomb himself in the midst of others, it is a necessary action,” he added.


On Palm Sunday in April 2017, twin bombings on two churches in Alexandria and Tanta took place, reaping the lives of dozens of civilians and Christian worshipers.

On May 22, a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing 22 people, including seven children, at a concert by U.S. singer Ariana Grande in Manchester.

Qaradawi said the decision to conduct a suicide bombing should not be left to individuals only.

“You have to act within the limits of what the group demands,” Qaradawi stressed. “The group deploys individuals depending on its needs and depending on the demands; individuals do not act on their own.”

In October 2004, Qaradawi was mentioned among ”The Sheikhs of Death” as over 2,500 Muslim intellectuals from 23 countries signed a petition addressing the UN to raise awareness on the use of religion for violence incitement. Qaradawi was accused of “providing a religious cover for terrorism”.

On June 9, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Bahrain designated 59 individuals and 12 entities as “terrorists”, adding them to a terrorism watch list. One of the individuals included in the list is leading figure of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

The Qatar-based Qaradawi was also refused entry into Ireland in 2011.

Additional Report with Mohamed Zain]]>
5/14/2019 3:03:42 PM
<![CDATA[Iran used explosives to sabotage ships in UAE: initial assessment ]]>
The incident took place on Sunday in the port that is located near Hormuz Strait and 115 kilometers away from Iran. The four ships include two Saudi oil tankers, a Norwegian vessel and an Emirati bunkering tanker.

The official - who spoke on condition of anonymity - said, “each ship has a 5- to 10-foot hole in it, near or just below the water line.”

The publication reported that UAE has requested an investigation by an American team of military experts. Yet, no details or evidence have been revealed by U.S. or Emirati officials.

Fujairah Media Office negated in a tweet that strong bombings have shaken the port early on Monday urging media outlets to seek accurancy and depend on official shources.




The aircraft carrier strike group, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), left the Mediterranean and joined the U.S. 5th Fleet near Yemen in the Red Sea on Thursday earlier than planned upon a White House directive. That is “due to provocative behavior from Iran and new intelligence estimates,” according to U.S. Naval Institute News (USIN) website.

Reuters reported on Monday that Iran wants to export at least 1.5 million oil barrels per day as a condition to not pull out the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The deal was signed in 2015 by Iran, the permanent members of the UN Security Council, and Germany to curb the first’s nuclear program.

In November, the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran’s oil exports. In May, the six-month waivers granted to top importers of Iranian oil expired. Consequently, Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, which is a major shipping route of Gulf oil.

Since the sanctions went into force, Iran oil exports have more than halved to one million barrels per day or less from “a peak of” 2.8 million barrels per day last year, and “could drop to as low as 500,000 barrels per day from May,” as reported by Reuters.
]]>
5/14/2019 2:44:50 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan parl't votes to ban Muslim Brotherhood, designates it ‘terrorist group’]]>
This decision came based on the Muslim Brotherhood's crimes against the Libyan army and its incitement against the parliament, as well as its support for the armed militias in Tripoli.

Seventy members of Libya's eastern-based House of Representatives (Parliament) voted on banning.

In 15 April 2019, The Libyan House of Representatives held its first meeting under the chairmanship of Aqila Saleh after a truce between Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Haftar and the current government led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj was announced.

The Muslim Brotherhood group has been designated as a terrorist group in several country, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Russia.]]>
5/14/2019 12:36:05 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan army foils encirclement attempt by Tripoli militias ]]>
On Sunday, the NLA declared that it had launched an air raid targeting militias deployments in Tripoli. The raid gave rise to dozens of casualties and injuries among the militias in Tripoli.

In April, the NLA launched an operation called “Dignity Flood” to liberate Tripoli from the militias. The army captured the city’s airport but later lost control over it.

Exclusive: Supplies to Tripoli militias to be cut - Libyan army spox

CAIRO - 6 April 2019: Spokesperson of the Libyan National Army Major General Ahmed al-Mesmary told Egypt Today that the Libyan armed forces will block the road between Tripoli and Misrata to cut supplies to the militias in the capital.




The UN-brokered dialogue of Ghadames between six conflicting parties in Libya was due to convene mid-April but was postponed due to the ongoing military escalation between the Libyan National Army led by Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar and Libyan troops of the internationally-recognized government led by Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj since April 4.

The United Nations, France, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, Britain, the United States, and Egypt called for halting the escalation in Tripoli. On the other hand, the Defense and National Security committee at the Libyan Parliament called on the international community and the UN Security Council to confront the interference of Qatar and Turkey in Libya’s internal affairs.

The Libyan Military Prosecutor ordered the arrest of the head of the Libyan presidential council Faiz al Sarraj, members of the presidential council and a number of military leaders in the western zone over charges of treason and inciting violence.

Libyan army orders arrest of Faiz al Sarraj, number of military figures

TRIPOLI - 12 April 2019: The Libyan Military Prosecutor on Thursday ordered the arrested of head of the Libyan presidential council Faiz al Sarraj, members of the presidential council and a number of military leaders in the western zone over charges of committing dangerous crimes against the state.




Sarraj affirmed that armed militias including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and Ansar al-Sharia have united against the national army.

He also said the Libyan army does not bomb civilians in Tripoli, but the armed militias do so in order to pressure the international community to charge for a cease of fire under the pretext of protecting civilians.

He pointed out that the national army was seeking to enter Tripoli peacefully to dry the sources of financing armed militias and the liberation of state institutions, criticizing the way the central bank is being managed, which has been allocating large funds of money to the militias.
]]>
5/14/2019 12:21:53 PM
<![CDATA[Ghanaian speaker lauds historic relations with Egypt]]>
During his meeting on Sunday with Egypt's Minister of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Omar Marwan, Ocquaye expressed his country's desire to benefit from the Egyptian expertise to meet the aspirations of the two friendly peoples, according to official reports.

During the meeting, Marwan and Ocquaye along with an accompanying delegation discussed means of boosting cooperation between Egypt and Ghana, especially in the parliamentary and legal fields.

Egypt is working to consolidate Egyptian-African relations and enhance cooperation with all African countries, Marwan added.

Marwan also stressed the importance Egypt attaches to its relations with Ghana, explaining Egypt's efforts to open new channels of communication between the two countries in political, economic, parliamentary and legal fields.

Ocquaye also met with Egyptian Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal, where the latter hailed Egypt's firm and deeply-rooted relations with Ghana since their late leaders Gamal Abdel Nasser and Kwame Nkrumah.

Abdel Aal asserted that Ghana is a pivotal state in western Africa, given its splendid political experience.

He expressed Cairo's appreciation for the economic experience of the African country, hoping that the parliaments of both states will promote bilateral relations to service joint interests.

Ocquaye, for his part, hailed Egypt's leading role in Africa, citing its support for the past national liberation movements in the continent.]]>
5/14/2019 11:56:38 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt expressed concern on sabotage acts near UAE: former diplomat]]>
He said that Egypt's statement expressed concern of such serious incident, which took place in light of the tensions currently witnessed in the Gulf.

The Emirati foreign minister said on Sunday that the vessels were of various nationalities, warning in a statement that subjecting these vessels to sabotage and threatening these vessels' crew is "a dangerous development."

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday that two Saudi oil tankers were among the targeted vessels, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

Hegazi said in an interview with Extra News that Egypt confirmed its solidarity with the UAE in the face of all challenges.

He also referred to the current accusations and threats between Iran and the US, adding that Egypt confirmed its stance considering the Gulf security as an integral part of Egypt's national security.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry earlier condemned the sabotage against the commercial ships, expressing the country's rejection of any action attempting to harm the UAE's national security and the safety of its land and sea borders, MENA reported.

The statement stressed Egypt's solidarity with the UAE government and people in facing all challenges and standing against all attempts to destabilize the Gulf country.

It pointed to strong relations binding the two countries and their joint action to counter all threats to the Gulf state's national security, taking all necessary measures to maintain the UAE's security and stability.

Iran called for full investigation into the incident, which took place near Fujairah port in the Gulf just outside the Strait of Hormuz. In February,Iran threatened to "close" the strait in case it was prevented from using the waterway.]]>
5/14/2019 11:54:34 AM
<![CDATA[Nobel winner warns UK of U.S.-style inequality risks]]>
Angus Deaton said Britain could follow the United States where wages for non-college-educated men had not risen for five decades, contributing to a fall in life expectancy for the last three years - something that had not happened for a century.

While the situation in Britain is less stark, the country has suffered a decade of stagnant wages and there were signs deaths from suicide and drug and alcohol abuse were rising among the middle-aged.

Discontent with flat-lining living standards was seen as a factor behind the 2016 decision by British voters to leave the European Union. Theresa May, when she became prime minister soon afterwards, promised to help the “just-about-managing families”.

“I think that people getting rich is a good thing, especially when it brings prosperity to others,” Deaton, who won the Nobel Memorial Prize for economics in 2015 for his work on poverty, welfare and consumption, said.

“But the other kind of getting rich, ‘taking’ rather than ‘making’, rent-seeking rather than creating, enriching the few at the expense of the many, taking the free out of free markets, is making a mockery of democracy,” he said.

“In that world, inequality and misery are intimate companions.”

He said Britain needed to ensure working people did not lose out because corporate governance was set up to favor shareholders, helped by the decline in the number of workers in trade unions.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies, a think tank which will lead the five-year review chaired by 73-year-old Deaton, said Britain had the worst income inequality except for the United States among major economies.

However, inequality in total net household income has changed little since it rose sharply in the 1980s, thanks in large part to tax credits which seek to help lower earners.

The IFS said there were stark geographical inequalities in Britain where average weekly earnings in London were 66% higher than in the north east of England.

Men in the most affluent areas could expect to live nearly 10 years longer than those in the most deprived areas, and the gap was widening, it said.

The IFS said its review would aim to describe inequalities in income, wealth, health, social mobility, political participation and to understand what causes them and to offer concrete policy proposals to tackle them.]]>
5/14/2019 11:33:29 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt's FM highlights EAPD's role in promoting development in Africa]]>
This came as Shoukri met on Sunday with the members of the Board of Directors of EAPD. The meeting tackled ways to enhance the role of the agency in supporting development in many countries, especially in Africa.

Shoukri affirmed that Egypt, as the current chairman of the African Union (AU), is keen to promote comprehensive development in the continent, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said.

The minister stressed the importance of developing the EAPD's work at the continent level, taking into account the needs and priorities of the countries the agency supports. He also urged the communication with the agency's partners and trainees in its various courses in order to maximize the benefit, according to Hafez.

The meeting also reviewed the activities of the agency, including establishing medical clinics, equipping medical units inside some hospitals in the African states, dispatching medical convoys and providing training courses in many fields including agriculture, irrigation, health, infrastructure, energy, youth, and financial and administrative reform.

The activities of the EAPD also include dispatching experts in the aforementioned sectors and providing development assistance.

The Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development was established in July 2014, as President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced launching it during his speech at the 23rd Summit of the African Union in Malabo a month earlier.

The EAPD is a merge between The Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa and The Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with the countries of the Commonwealth and Islamic countries and the Newly Independent States.
]]>
5/13/2019 4:49:00 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi, king of Bahrain discuss challenges facing Arab region]]>
Talks between the two leaders come as part of their bilateral meetings to probe ways of fostering Egyptian-Bahraini cooperation in different fields, the statement reported.

President Sisi and the Bahraini king also reviewed a number of regional files of common concern, the statement noted.

For his side, the king expressed delight for visiting Egypt, hailing the deep-rooted historic relations binding the two brotherly countries and peoples.

In August 2018, President Sisi participated in a number of events during his visit to Bahrain, according to a statement issued by the presidential spokesperson.

Sisi held talks with Bahrain's king and top Bahraini government officials about means to boost mutual ties; the talks also tackled regional issues of mutual interest.

Moreover, Sisi visited the National Museum of Bahrain, the oldest museum in the Arabian Gulf region. The museum includes a rare archaeological collection gathered from many archaeological sites in Bahrain. The museum is the culmination of the kingdom's efforts to preserve the heritage and history of the country.
]]>
5/13/2019 1:07:55 PM
<![CDATA[IGA probes fortunes of 140 officials accused of ‘wheat corruption’]]>
The IGA asked for the final reports on the investigations conducted by the Ministry of Justice concerning the case, which is dubbed in media as “Wheat Corruption” and into the officials’ fortunes.

2019-05-02T000548Z_209999806_RC1A12B8A750_RTRMADP_3_EGYPT-WHEAT
A farmer harvests wheat crop on a field in the El-Menoufia governorate, north of Cairo, Egypt May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The defendants are officials from the Ministry of Supply, the Ministry of Agriculture, the General Organization for Export and Import Control and owners of wheat silos. The case includes 38 lawsuits.

The 140 persons submitted reconciliation requests to the government's IGA as they can refund an amount of money in return for dropping the charges against them. Thus, the IGA asked for the final reports concerning their fortunes for scrutiny.

The case of Wheat Corruption dates back to 2016, when the Parliament appointed a fact-checking committee to probe into claims of manipulating the subsidized wheat supply and selling it for high prices in the black market.

It was revealed that owners of storage houses and silos reported larger quantities of consumed wheat than those that actually existed which resulted in an overpayment by the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade.

As per Ministry of Justice experts, who were tasked to investigate into the case, a huge deficit of up to LE 600 million ($33.38million) was detected in 18 silos, a barn and a bunker in six governorates.

The owners have been accused of also mixing both local and imported kinds of wheat, which have different weights, in order to make the quantities weigh more.


2019-05-02T000550Z_790171621_RC14F73DC590_RTRMADP_3_GLOBAL-FARMING


Additional reporting by Ibrahim Kasim]]>
5/13/2019 11:12:17 AM
<![CDATA[Legislative Committee approves anti-terror draft law ]]>
"The draft law faces the danger of terrorist crimes that threaten the foundations that characterize the state through its long history of security and safety," the explanatory memorandum submitted by the justice minister read.

It also seeks to block forms of sheltering terrorist elements or providing them with safe haven or with means to help them stay away from the grip of justice, the memorandum added.

Moreover, the new bill makes terrorist elements unable to rent residential properties, which they use to hide weapons and other tools and harbor criminals.



According to the law, anyone will lease a property to another person without notifying the police could face one-year imprisonment term and pay a fine of LE 5,000-LE 10,000, according to the new amendments to the applicable 2015 Anti-Terrorism Law.

The lessor should provide the police with copies of the rental contract and the tenant’s ID within 72 hours of signing the contract, the amendments suggest. As for the foreign tenant, the lessor should provide a copy of the foreign renter’s passport.

Since the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi and the death of dozens of policemen and hundreds of Morsi supporters during the dispersal of pro-Morsi protests in Al-Nahda and Rabaa Al-Adaweya squares, Islamist terrorism prevailed in the country and hundreds of policemen and army troops have been killed in terrorist attacks since then.

In February 2018, under the title "Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018", Egypt's Armed Forces launched a comprehensive military operation targeting the hotbeds of terrorists in Northern and Central Sinai.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi authorized the army chief of staff to use “brutal force” against terrorism.
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5/13/2019 11:08:51 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi reviews efforts to provide essential commodities in Ramadan]]>
The Saturday meeting was attended by Prime Minister MostafaMadbouli, Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt TarekAmerand ministers of defense, foreign affairs, petroleum, justice, supply and internal trading, finance and interior.

Also, the General Intelligence chief,chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, head of the Administrative Control Authority (ACA)and the president's advisor for urban planning attended the meeting.

The meeting tackled the latest developments of subsidy and the filtration of the lists of beneficiaries from subsidy cards, so that the system becomes more efficient, presidential spokesman BassamRadi said.

During the meeting, the president directed intensifying market control efforts through monitoring outlets and enhancing the role of consumer protection bodies to ensure citizens' access to various goods, Radi said.

Furthermore, the meeting reviewedthe latest developments in the Economic Zone of the Suez Canal, the efforts exerted to attract investments, and a report about the ports and industrial and logistic areas being established in accordance with the highest international standards.

In this regard, Sisidirected working on developing the Suez Canal's Economic Zoneand facilitating the procedures for investors to attract more investments, Radi said, adding that developing the Economic Zone comes within the framework of the state's efforts to provide more employment opportunities especially for young people.

Moreover, the president stressed the need to adhere to the timetables set for the completion of the national projects.
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5/12/2019 3:43:52 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament approves in principle inland navigation bill]]>
The initial approval followed a review of a report prepared by a joint panel of the parliamentary committees of transport, defense, national security, agriculture, irrigation and legislative and constitutional affairs.

The bill is meant to amend the rules and regulations of permits given to operate, run and secure units and to avoid accidents due to human and technical failures.

It also aims at promoting investments in the river transport sector, according to the report.]]>
5/12/2019 3:29:31 PM
<![CDATA[BBC fires broadcaster over royal chimp photo]]>
The tweet triggered enormous backlash on social media as Baker resembled Archie’s mixed race to a chimp dressed in a coat and hat.

With the caption “Royal baby leaves hospital,” the tweet attracted angry comments, prompting Baker to delete it and apologize in several tweets later. He explained he was misinterpreted; however, it was like the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Baker tweeted he was fired from BBC over his tweet, the action that he saw as a “masterclass of pompous faux-gravity.” He criticized the escalation against him and described the condemners as having “diseased minds.”

In an emailed statement, the BBC said: “This was a serious error of judgment and goes against the values we as a station aim to embody. Danny’s a brilliant broadcaster but will no longer be presenting a weekly show with us,” as quoted by Washington Post newspaper.

The ex-BBC presenter thought his apologies were enough to stop the angry wave launched against him, as he tweeted:

“Once again. Sincere apologies for the stupid unthinking gag pic earlier. Was supposed to be a joke about Royals vs circus animals in posh clothes but interpreted as about monkeys & race, so rightly deleted. Royal watching not my forte. Also, guessing it was my turn in the barrel,” he tweeted.

However, Baker kept receiving threads of negative comments, triggering him to defend himself:




He said the picture was “a genuine, naïve and catastrophic mistake.”





BBC said that it was not the first time to fire Baker, and that he was fired in 1997 over inciting statements against a referee, after a controversial penalty awarded in an FZ Cup tie. Another time he resigned was in 2012, when he branded his bosses at BBC London as “pinheaded weasels” on air.]]>
5/12/2019 3:08:20 PM
<![CDATA[Cairo Criminal Court issues ruling in Marmina Church lawsuit ]]>
The convicts facing death penalties are Ibrahim Ismail Ismail and Adel Mohamed Imam. Four and two defendants were sentenced to 10 years and three years in prison, respectively.

The lawsuit, which has 11 defendants, dates back to December 29, 2017 when two armed men used firearms to target dozens of Christian worshippers attending a religious service at Marmina El Agayby & Pope Kerolous Church.

The attackers opened fire at a household appliances shop, then headed to the church, where they attempted to trespass the church's security.

The security forces were able to capture one of the attackers after shooting him and managed to defuse an explosive belt that was fastened around the militant's chest, while the other one fled the scene.

The arraignment of the Public Prosecution consisted of the following charges: forming, leading, and joining a Takfiri group, funding the group’s members, murder of 10 people including police personnel, muder attempt, resisting police forces using violence, manufacturing and possessing an explosive, joining the foreign Islamic State with the aim of plotting terror crimes to be launched in Egypt, possession of firearms and ammunition to be used in terror crimes.

Investigations indicated that convict Ibrahim Ismail formed a terrorist cell that adopts the ideas of the Islamic State. A firearm possessed by Ismail and confiscated by the police was used to kill three workers at the fee collection station located on Ayat-Giza Road.
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5/12/2019 2:44:55 PM
<![CDATA[House speaker says news on legislative elections, old rents "baseless"]]>
The statements were very confusing, Abdel Aal said, stressing that the government should not, with parliament already in session, submit any bills on organizing legislative elections.

This is a pure parliamentary matter, he noted.

Electoral bills should be outlined in a consensual manner and in line with certain rules, the speaker stressed.

Abdel Aal also said that news that the House intended to issue a bill on old rents in Egypt was untrue.

The old rent law is one that needs societal dialogue and is not on the agenda of the parliament right now, he added.

The speaker urged MPs not to make inaccurate statements in this regard.]]>
5/12/2019 2:20:40 PM
<![CDATA[Voters in Lithuania choose new president]]>
Nine candidates are taking part in Sunday's vote, which could require a runoff in two weeks' time.

The leading candidates include Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, former banking economist Gitanas Nauseda and former Finance Minister Ingrida Simonyte.

Voters are also having their say in a referendum on a constitutional amendment to allow dual citizenship for hundreds of thousands of Lithuanians living abroad. ]]>
5/12/2019 12:04:51 PM
<![CDATA[UNHCR warns of dangers of illegal Mediterranean crossings]]>
Some 65 people have drowned after their boat sank approximately 45 nautical miles off the coast of Tunisia, in one of the worst incidents on the Mediterranean in months, the UNHCR website reported on Saturday.

16 people were pulled from the water and have been brought to the coast of Zarzis by the Tunisian Navy. One person has been immediately transferred to hospital for medical treatment, while the others await permission to disembark.

According to the survivors, the group left Zuwara, around 120km west of Tripoli. Their boat ran in to trouble soon afterwards when encountering strong waves.

This latest incident is the highest loss of life since some 117 died or went missing in mid-January. For some months, UNHCR has been raising the alarm at the lack of search and rescue capacity on the central Mediterranean.

Up to 164 people died on the route between Libya and Europe in the first four months of 2019.]]>
5/11/2019 3:38:42 PM
<![CDATA[Prices of some medicines soar despite currency stability against US dollar]]>
Over the past three months, prices of dozens of medicines went up, as per a decision by the United Co. For Pharmacists (UCP); the increase of some prices hiked by 100 percent without declaring the reasons behind the increase.

Some pharmacists voiced their astonishment of the price hike as they were not priory noticed. “We were surprised at the high increase and there was not prior notice,” a pharmacist in Mohandessin district, Cairo, told Egypt Today. He added that a further increase could be expected.

“Unfortunately, the change of the medicine prices is being carried out without censorship,” another pharmacist in Helwan, southern Cairo, told Egypt Today. He said that the real reason behind this increase is unknown, especially the Egyptian pound value increased against the US dollar- the hard currency needed for importing the manufacturing substances of the medicines.

Patients and clients also complaint about the price rise; “I decided to not buy it [Systane Untra Lubricating Eye Drops],” said Noha A., an accountant, in remarks to Egypt Today after she was surprised at the eye drop price at a pharmacy in the 6th of October city.

The price of Systane Untra Lubricating Eye Drops sharply went up by about 100 percent as it was sold for LE 75 but its new price was fixed at LE 135 (US $ 7.88).

“The price should not increase in this grave way. I think any increase should has a certain limit. But why it was increased by 100 percent,” she added, saying “They can keep it [the eye drops].”

Systane Untra is one of the drugs, whose prices soared over the past three months; price of Garamycin cream increased from LE 7 to 9 EGP, while Devarol-S 1 amp rose from LE 11.25 to 16.25; Chorionic Gonadotrophin 5000iu 1 amp from LE 67.5 to 90; Eltroxin 50mcg 100 tab from LE 32.5 to 40; Marevan 1mg 100 tab from LE 7 to 10.5; Glucophage 1000mg 30 tab from LE19 to 27; Glucolight XR 1000mg 30 tab from LE 13.5 to 30.

Other highly priced medicines are Novorapid (insulin) flexpen 5p from LE 350 to LE 472.5; Closol spray 40ml from LE12.75 to 15; Floxabact 500mg 5 tab from LE 10 to LE 14.75; Caldin Zinc susp 120ml from LE 10 to 16.5; and Bioprex 7.5mg 30 tab from LE 90 to LE 117.

To reveal the real behind price rise, Egypt Today contacted spokesperson of the Ministry of Health Khaled MEgahed, who declined to comment.

Other pharmacists spoke on condition of anonymity said that pharmaceutical companies exercise monopoly of some medicines, which have no alternatives and can easily ask the government to increase the prices amid the absence of censorship.

Despite this price hike, the local market has still suffered drug shortages since the government devaluated the currency against the US dollar scale on Nov. 3, 2016. Since then, pharmaceutical companies suspended drug production as they were unable to import drug ingredients with high cost after currency devaluation.

To deal with the financial problems facing pharmaceutical companies, the Ministry of Health had allowed a 20% price rise for drugs costing up to 30 EGP per pack, effective July 2016. The Minister later approved another price rise of 15% for local drugs and 20% for exported ones, to apply to 3,000 drugs in January 2017.

To help combat the drug shortage and the growing medicine black market in Egypt, An accountant has launched the Twitter Pharmacy (Saydalyet Twitter) project, through which patients can tweet the names of the drugs they need, and they are directed to pharmacies where they are available or individuals willing to sell or donate the drug.

Additional reporting by Marina Gamil]]>
5/11/2019 2:52:21 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt exerts strenuous efforts to maintain Libya's stability: strategic expert]]>
Speaking to MENA, Okasha, who is also director of the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies, stressed that Egypt foiled a plot to form an alliance aimed to undermine Libya's stability, pointing out to a visit recently paid by Commander of Libya's National Army Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar to Egypt and his meeting with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

He further warned that some Libyan militias seek help from foreign allies and urge them to cut off any military support for Haftar's troops.

On Thursday, President Sisi conferred with Haftar at al Ittihadiya Palace, where they discussed Egypt’s support for Libyan efforts to fight terrorism and extremist militias.

Haftar hailed Egypt's role in support of the Libyan state and people at all levels, praising the deeply-rooted ties between the two countries.]]>
5/11/2019 2:42:06 PM