CAIRO – December 2017: Egypt Today brings you the latest top of the hour news from around the world over the past 24 hours in this round-up.
National project inaugurations will secure Egypt’s future development
inaugurated on Saturday major national projects in the cities of the Suez Canal. The inauguration was attended by senior state officials, public figures, youth and representatives from all state institutions.
The inauguration event witnessed Sisi giving the green light for several projects to start operating, including the tunnel of Ismailia; two floating bridges built on the Suez Canal and El Qantara, respectively; the second stage of aquaculture projects in the east of the Suez Canal; and the Offshore Support Vessel.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi among senior officials and representatives of the state - Photo Courtesy of the Presidential Office
Electric train to enter service in two years: Transport Min
Hisham Arafat said on Saturday that electric trains will enter service in two years after completing the implementation of the facilities and the metro network.
“We are working on promoting the Metro service and developing it in order to provide good service to our citizens,” Arafat stated in a conversation on Sada Al Balad channel, adding that they started working on the Adly Mansour Metro station.
The Ministry of Transportation is set to construct two container transshipment terminals in the ports of Safaga and Nuweiba, in addition to a cruise port, marina, business center and entertainment complex in Sharm el-Sheikh Port, Arafat added Saturday.
FILE – Minister of Transportation, Hisham Arafat
Arab Parliament holds 2nd session over U.N. General Assembly
will hold the second session on December 24 at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo to discuss the latest developments over the U.N. General Assembly’s resolution about Jerusalem.
Mishal bin Fahm al Salmi, president of the Arab Parliament, will head the second session from December 24 to 28. The sessions will discuss the serious challenges that face the Arab world and follow the action plan of the emergency session from the Arab Parliament on December 11 over the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
FILE – An Arab Parliament session
N. Cairo Electricity converts pneumatic cables to ground
Nagy Aref, head of the North Cairo
Distribution Company, said on Saturday that the company implemented 60 percent of the plan to convert pneumatic cables to ground cables, which are the areas under the company’s authority. Six lines were converted.
Wikinedia - High voltage electric pole
France ready to strengthen force in Sahel fighting Islamists
President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday France stood ready if needed to strengthen its military force fighting alongside African troops against Islamist insurgents in the Sahel.
has been seeking to eventually withdraw from the poorly policed scrublands of the Sahel region - which abuts the Sahara to the north and has become a recruiting and training ground for Islamist militants - with the help of a new regional African force.
French President Emmanuel Macron, seen in this still image taken from video, sits with French military forces during a visit with troops who participate in the Operation Barkhane in Niamey, Niger, on Friday. | Photo Credit: REUTERS
Let me come back, Catalan leader tells Spain
Catalonia's separatist leader
on Saturday called on the Spanish government to allow him to return to Spain in time for the opening session of the Catalan parliament by January 23 so that he can become the region's next president.
Puigdemont, who ruled in Catalonia until October and faces arrest in Spain for his role in organising an illegal referendum on independence and proclaiming a Catalan republic, is currently in a self-imposed exile in Belgium.
Sacked Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and former members of the Government of Catalonia Clara Ponsati and Meritxell Borras attend a news conference in Brussels - REUTERS
Macedonia's largest opposition party appoints new leader
Macedonia's main opposition party, the rightist VMRO-DPMNE formally replaced its leader Nikola Gruevski on Saturday and appointed
, a technocrat, as his successor.
Gruevski, 47, resigned earlier this month following an election defeat last year and unrest that rocked the small Balkan country in April.
In his speech to the party's convention on Saturday, Gruevski said that a key reason for VMRO-DPMNE's fall from power was his refusal to yield to what he described as international and domestic pressure to accept a compromise in a dispute with Greece.
FILE PHOTO: Former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski walks to his seat in parliament after his address to the deputies in Skopje, Macedonia June 1, Reuters
Aardvark dies in blaze at London Zoo, meerkats missing
An aardvark was killed and four meerkats are missing after a blaze tore through part of
Zoo early on Saturday, shutting the British capital’s popular tourist attraction until further notice as staff assess the damage.
The fire broke out shortly after 0600 GMT at the zoo’s Animal Adventure section before spreading to an adjacent gift shop and cafe, near to an area where visitors can handle and feed animals, the zoo and London Fire Brigade said.
Firefighters are seen tackling a blaze at London Zoo following a fire which broke out at a shop and cafe at the attraction, in this photograph received from London Fire Brigade, in central London, Britain December 23, 2017. London Fire Brigade/Handout via REUTERS
Russia, Turkey and Iran agree Syrian peace talks for January
A Syrian “Congress of National Dialogue” will be held in the Russian city of Sochi on January 29-30, Russia said alongside its allies Turkey and Iran, while the
urged them to support the struggling Geneva peace process.
Moscow, Tehran and Ankara announced the date in a joint statement after talks in the Kazakh capital Astana that also involved representatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and some opposition groups.
The congress will see "the participation of all segments of Syrian society", said the statement.
Syrian regime representatives and opposition delegates along with other attendees take part in Syria peace talks in Astana on December 22 - AFP/Stanislav Filippov
Moscow: U.S. arms may spur use of force by Kiev in eastern Ukraine
The U.S. decision to supply weapons to Ukraine is dangerous as it will encourage Kiev to use force in eastern Ukraine, Russian officials said on Saturday.
The U.S. State Department said on Friday the United States would provide Ukraine with "enhanced defensive capabilities" as Kiev battles Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Facebook on Saturday the weapons would be used to protect Ukrainian soldiers and civilians.
A woman cleans up debris near her house damaged by recent shelling in the rebel-held town of Yasynuvata, Ukraine December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
Russia's ruling party seeks Putin's 'ultimate victory' at 2018 election
Russia’s ruling party United
wants the “ultimate victory” of President Vladimir Putin at the presidential election in March, party head and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday.
Putin, 65, said earlier this month he would run for re-election as a self-nominated candidate, in a contest he seems sure to win comfortably, extending his grip on power into a third decade.
Speaking at an annual gathering of United Russia, Medvedev said the party was Putin’s party, and his key political resource.
Medvedev promised it would support Putin in the election, which is scheduled for March 18.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Presidential Council for Culture and Art at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia December 21, 2017 - REUTERS/Maxim Shipenkov/Pool