<![CDATA[rss-All News]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[All News]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Saudi Arabia lands safely in Rostov after engine fault -Federation]]>
Videos shared on social media appeared to show an aircraft that posters identified as the Saudi team's plane with its wing on fire while it was in the air.

"All the Saudi national team players are safe, after a technical failure in one of the airplane engines that has just landed," the federation said a statement on Twitter. ]]>
6/18/2018 11:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Swedish police say no cause for alarm after Malmo shooting - news agency TT]]>
The agency quoted unnamed police as saying four people were shot. There was no information about how seriously wounded they were.

"We have sealed off the area and are conducting interviews and will interview those who are injured if they can or are willing to speak," TT quoted Stephan Soderholm, spokesman for the police, as saying.
6/18/2018 10:28:18 PM
<![CDATA[Kane double gives England victory over Tunisia]]>
A 35th minute Ferjani Sassi penalty had cancelled out Kane's 11th minute opener.

After the break, England, who had wasted several good chances in the first half, struggled to break down the deep defending African side.

But from a Kieran Trippier corner, a glancing header from Harry Maguire found Kane at the back post and he nodded home to give England a winning start. ]]>
6/18/2018 10:07:27 PM
<![CDATA[Southgate announces England line-up for Tunisia clash ]]>
Southgate picked Everton goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, over Stoke City goalkeeper, Jack Butland to start the game.

He also decided to play with a 3-4-3 formation with Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane leading the attacking line.

Southgate chosen line-up for the game consists of:

Jordan Pickford

John Stones, Harry Maguire, Kyle Walker

Kieran Trippier, Jordan Henderson, Dele Alli, Ashley Young

Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane.

“They have a hunger, a desire; we have better technical players than we've had in the past coming through our academies, so there's a real enthusiasm," Southagate said ahead of the game.

England players seek a repeat to their victory over Tunisia in 1998 when they defeated the North African team 2-0 thanks to goals from Alan Shearer and Paul Scholes.


The World Cup draw put England in Group G alongside Tunisia, Panama and Belgium.

English fans hope their players will win their second World Cup title.
6/18/2018 7:33:28 PM
<![CDATA[Lukaku double as Belgium outclass brave Panama]]>
Mertens hammered home a superb volley two minutes into the second half, sending the ball arcing over Jaime Penedo after Panama struggled to clear a cross.

Lukaku's hard work up front was rewarded when he headed home Kevin De Bruyne's brilliant pass off the outside off his foot to make it 2-0 in the 69th minute and the big striker latched on to an Eden Hazard pass to complete the scoring with a neat finish.

The announcement of the first team to represent the Central American nation at the World Cup finals was greeted by an ear-splitting roar from the thousands of flag-waving Panamanian fans dotted in clusters around the Fisht Stadium.

The debutants suffered a shaky start as Lukaku went close for Belgium in the opening minute after an incisive pass from De Bruyne set Yannick Carrasco free down the left, but the striker fired wide.

Despite being forced to spend much of the game defending, the Panamanians showed strength, speed and trickery when they did break forward, and they created chances of their own in a scoreless first half.

Belgium wasted no time in the second period with Mertens opening the scoring two minutes in, and as the underdogs started to chase an equaliser the space opened up.

The Belgians showcased an array of clever set-pieces and will be happy with their performance against a physical Panama side ahead of games against Tunisia and England, who meet in Volgograd later on Monday.]]>
6/18/2018 7:22:37 PM
<![CDATA[Business News Wrap-Up]]>Egypt purchases initial LNG volumes via 9-cargo tender: traders

Egyptian Natural Gas Holding has likely purchased a portion of the nine liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes it sought via a tender for delivery between July and August, trade sources said.

Oil sector seeks to stop importation of LNG by end of this year: Min.

The oil sector in Egypt is acting to compensate for a natural decline in production from old fields, said Petroleum Minister Tarek el Molla Monday.

The Story of Pharos

Thanks to significant changes in staff and in the management strategy, as well as benefiting from the bold economic reform program in Egypt, Pharos Holding for Financial Investments witnessed a strong performance last year, and the firm is expecting 2018 to be a year of further growth. The investment bank and asset manager’s CEO Angus Blair tells us his firm witnessing drastic changes is a reflection of the transformation taking place in Egypt.

Chemical Industries to pump LE 2.67B to public companies in 2018/19

Holding Company for Chemical Industries, which is affiliated to the Ministry of Public Enterprise, will pump investments of LE 2.67 billion to the public companies during 2018/2019, the company Chief Executive Officer Emad el-Din Mostafa said.

Trade Exchange between Egypt, East European countries hit $4.2B

Trade Exchange between Egypt and East European countries recorded $4.2 billion during the first quarter of 2018, the state statistic body said.

Managing Egypt’s Assets

Last April, the Egyptian Cabinet approved a draft law to establish a sovereign wealth fund to manage state assets with a capital of LE 200 billion, and an issued and paid capital of LE 5 billion.
6/18/2018 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Maaloul leads Carthage Eagles’ line-up against England ]]>
Ali Maaloul, the defender of Al-Ahly and Tunisia, was in doubt to participate in the game after he picked an injury during training sessions but he was named at the starting line-up.

The Tunisian manager, Nabil Maaloul, announced Tunisia's line-up for the game which consists of:

Mouez Hassen

Syam ben Youssef, Yassine Meriah, Dylan Bronn, Ali Maaloul

Ferjani Sassi, Ellyes Skhiri, Naim Sliti, Wahbi Khazri

Anice Badri and Fakhreddine Ben Youssef.

“There is enormous pressure on us as we represent Africa and the Arabic world and 12 million Tunisians who are behind us," Tunisia manager, Maaloul, said ahead of the game.

Tunisia players hope for a better result than their game at 1998 when they lost to England 2-0 at their opening game of the group stage.


Tunisia plays in Group G alongside England, Belgium and Panama. ]]>
6/18/2018 6:46:33 PM
<![CDATA[GERD 9-party meeting in Cairo postponed: sources]]>
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid told Egypt Today that the meeting's new date has not been set yet.

The meeting is set to be attended by ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation and heads of intelligence agencies in Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

Sources told the state-owned Akhbar Al-Youm newspaper that the three states have sent their inquiries to the consultancy office that is concerned with technical studies on the controversial dam. However, the office has not yet sent its modified introductory report on the dam.

The consultant should have responded to the inquires submitted over the introductory report within three weeks and one week before Cairo’s nine-party meeting.

In their meeting last May, Nile Basin countries’ negotiators concluded their nine-party meeting in Adis Ababa over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with an agreement to meet again in Cairo in June following 15 hours of talks.

The postponed meeting aims to work out solutions to pending problems facing the technical committee and consequently special studies on determining the negative impact of the dam's construction on the downstream countries.

Addressing media after the Adis Ababa meeting, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that negotiations between the relevant contingents of the Nile Basin countries ended with having all participants agree to commit to the nine-party meeting’s outcomes that were outlined in a specific agreement signed by all parties.

The participants agreed on scheduling a regular tripartite meeting to be held between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan every six months on a rotational basis to enhance mutual cooperation between the three brotherly countries in a way that serves their interests and fulfills the aspirations of their peoples.

They also agreed on establishing a Tripartite Infrastructure Fund to move forward with joint infrastructure development projects, as well as having the Tripartite National Committee (TNC) of the three countries to deliver its concerns and remarks to the French consulting firm BRLi over its introductory technical report that was not mutually agreed upon.

The tripartite meeting held in Khartoum on April 6, ended with a deadlock when Shoukry announced that no resolution was reached, as Ethiopian officials insisted that the dam will not harm any of the Nile’s downstream countries, namely Egypt and Sudan.

Construction workers are seen in a section of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, March 31, 2015 - Reuters

Egypt fears a likely negative impact on its annual share of Nile water, the country’s main source of water. Despite the long discussions, the matter remains in a stalemate.

Ethiopia has witnessed a dire turmoil that led to the resignation of former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on February 15.

Ethiopia started to build GERD in 2011 without consulting Egypt, and the move led to a long diplomatic spat between both states. The African Horn state is in desperate need of the dam, as it suffers from staggering daily power outages.

Technical officials in the three countries opted to hire two French consultancy companies – BRL and Artelia – in September 2016. However, the negotiations were brought to a halt in November 2017 as Ethiopia and Sudan objected to the companies’ preliminary report on the environmental impact of GERD.

In December 2017, Egypt demanded the intervention of the World Bank in the matter, a move that was rejected by Ethiopia.

Ethiopia seeks to start filling GERD’s reservoir during the upcoming Nile flood season in July.]]>
6/18/2018 6:16:21 PM
<![CDATA[YouTube extends music streaming service to Europe]]>
YouTube Music will offer Europeans millions of songs and videos advertising-free for a subscription of 9.99 euros a month -- 11 percent more expensive than its US version.

An existing free version of the standalone service with ads will continue with "a reimagined mobile app and brand new desktop player", it said.

The Google-owned giant said it would have "thousands of playlists... millions of songs, albums and artist radio" -- a tool than allows listeners to build radio lists around a singer or band.

The new service is an attempt by the Californian digital empire to combat its fast-growing rivals like Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer.

Google boasts that 1.3 billion internet users already listen to music via YouTube, but it wants a bigger slice of the paid-for music market.

The music industry lobby group, the IFPI, said that 176 million people around the world paid to stream music in 2017, the majority on Sweden-based Spotify, which has 75 million paying subscribers.

YouTube has faced criticism from the music industry for abusing its position, with the IFPI saying that it only pays $1 a year per user in royalties to artists while Spotify pays $20.

But YouTube said it has agreed new more equal terms with music companies.

The money paid by streaming operators has helped revive the music industry over the last three years.

Google is also rebranding its YouTube Red services as YouTube Premium offering ad-free music streaming alongside a video platform.

The service, which includes children's shows like the Karate Kid-inspired "Cobra Kai" and a gaming app, is priced at 11.99 euros per month.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in a recent Bloomberg interview that the company has 50 million paid and trial subscribers on its music service, which launched in 2015 and does not have a free tier.

Deezer, which claims to specialise in "cooler" bands and in niche and local markets, has around 15 million subscribers, according to the IFPI.
6/18/2018 6:12:48 PM
<![CDATA[Veteran singer Aznavour delays comeback from fall]]>
His performances at the Royal Albert Hall in London on June 30, as well as gigs in Spain, Germany and in Croatia have all been cancelled, he said.

The 94-year-old French crooner will not resume his world tour until September with a concert in Sydney, Australia, followed by two shows in Japan, in Tokyo and Osaka.

"Since his double fracture of the humerus, Charles Aznavour has made a good recovery," his spokesman said, adding that his doctors would rather he did not go back on the road until after August.

The "French Sinatra", who was voted "Entertainer of the Century" by CNN and Time magazine, fell at his home at Mouries near Arles in southeastern France.

Aznavour, who made his name alongside Edith Piaf in the 1950s, has sold more than 180 million records in a career spanning eight decades and as many languages.

He frequently jokes with his audiences about dying on stage and about forgetting the lyrics.

In April he was forced to cancel a show in Saint Petersburg after suffering back strain during a rehearsal.
6/18/2018 6:08:14 PM
<![CDATA[The Art of Confidence]]>
“Aesthetically better” are the operative words, says Rafla who maintains that “plastic surgery should make you look better, not different. So I always tell my patients that we should not exceed by putting more fillers or Botox; you have to keep your beauty and better it. Plastic surgery is not meant to change the way you look, it is intended to ensure that one is the most beautiful version of themselves possible. I always try to make people look natural. There is a misconception that plastic surgery makes one look fake, or that it should augment one’s natural beauty. It all comes down to using the right amount, operating with the best techniques, and using the best products.”

With demand for cosmetic surgery on the rise—Rafla reveals “plastic surgery has become a necessity for anyone with a middle-class income. You go to the gym for your body and you go to the plastic surgeon for your face”—we visit Rafla’s clinic for plastic surgery tips and to untangle some of the industry’s misconceptions.


Why did you choose plastic surgery?
I chose plastic surgery because I like it. In my sixth year of university, when the results come out in the Egyptian system, we have to write our top three specialties and they allocate one to us for becoming a resident in the university hospital. I wrote plastic surgery as my first, second and third choice. My friends and colleagues told me that I was stupid, but [plastic surgery] is my passion. I told them that is all I want; if I do not get it here, I will go somewhere else and train, in Egypt or abroad.

It was such a baby specialty with so much room for growth, and also it has great diversity, no wound is like the other. In appendicitis, for example, there are only five common positions, so if you do 10 appendectomies; you have seen it all. But you will never have a burn like the other, you will never find an injured hand like the other; you will never operate on a face like the other; you will not find tissue loss from an accident like the other, and so on.

What does plastic surgery teach you?
Humility. It teaches you that you are never the top of the heap. If you see a burn patient, for example, the trauma that they are going through and the tragedy that the family is facing makes you humble. You are humbled by the situation. My favorite kind of surgery is burn surgery. I have done many of them in the past, and I still do a lot of them. I am happy to help people with burns, I have a lot of expertise in this and I believe that my expertise in burns’ surgery and reconstruction is what gives me an edge in aesthetic surgery.

How have you seen the plastic surgery field change over the past five years?
When I started in Guy’s and St. Thomas’s Hospital, London in 2006, we did a lot of face-lifts… the statistics yearly were 200 or 300 in the hospital, but later the amount of surgery for the face increased and we did a lot of injectables. The technology got better, brands got better, and products are better.

Also, if trained well, a plastic surgeon can get great, surgery-like results in just 20 minutes. When you are busy, you do not want to stay at home for two weeks; you want to do something in 20 minutes and then go straight to your meeting. So, when you can get the same results in 20 minutes, it beats surgery. Also, it is cheaper for your health and your pocket.

What are the most popular plastic surgery procedures in Egypt?
Cosmetic surgery is the most in-demand form in Egypt. The most sought-after surgeries are face surgery, breast augmentation and tummy tucks. Face surgery is number one. Many also seek what we call minimally invasive procedures, such as Botox and fillers; basically, rejuvenation of the face.

Can you tell us a bit about the surgical procedures?
Breast augmentation is a procedure where you put an implant underneath the breast tissue to increase the size of the breast, and to elevate the breast and nipple. This is a cosmetic surgery; sometimes we do it after cancer surgery and sometimes we do it for purely cosmetic purposes. Post-surgery, the patient is not allowed to drive for four weeks and has to wear a special medical bra for the first six weeks, and then

By what age do girls typically seek nose jobs; and what is your advice?
First of all, because I get this a lot, patients have to understand that nose jobs will not fix one’s problems in life. I see it often in girls who have not gotten married and they think that if they do their nose, they will get married. She gets her nose with the mentality that it will fix her problems, it will not. She gets a nose job and does not get married and feels disappointed. You are undergoing surgery, you have to really need it.

A lot of people who come to me seeking nose jobs are not candidates for nose jobs; their noses aren’t that bad. Your nose has to have a character, it is not a small pimple on your face; it is a nose. It is not the source of your social problems. Unless of course there is a defect, in which case we do a nose job after the age of 18 years. All surgeries, unless in the case of a previous trauma, happen after the age of 18 or 21.


Why do people seek plastic surgery?
Confidence. For example, one of the most sought-after surgeries is breast augmentation surgery. Patients are typically young and have small breasts, getting their breasts enlarged improves their confidence; she then feels she is prettier and more attractive.

What advice do you have for those who want to undergo plastic surgery?
Two points are important here: Doing your homework and making sure one augments their natural beauty, not changes everything about oneself. I just want people to do their homework as patients: look up the doctor, where they did their training, which products they use, and if they are qualified; these are all questions patients need to ask themselves. We have to emphasize that this is a medical procedure, and you can have a disaster if you use a cheap product. You might think you are saving, but you will be treated for a year afterwards from whatever you get due to bad injections.

More doctors are shifting to plastic surgery from other specialties and, with minimal training, are performing aesthetic procedures. What do you have to say about this?
Plastic surgery hugely depends on conscience and training, as training is key for being able to perform reconstructive surgery [which] is at the very core of aesthetic surgery. You have to know how to reconstruct a burnt eyelid before you try to rejuvenate or aesthetically change an eyelid. Plus, a plastic surgeon has to have top-notch knowledge of anatomy and muscles. Medical procedures need exceptional talents and training, not just good products.

There are people who are doing things without much training now. Some attract good clientele, and many patients go to them. This is a problem because they use low-grade or counterfeited products with no training. Patients have to do their homework on their doctor. They have to look into where the doctor trained and what products they use, because these doctors damage the reputation of the industry and can cause severe damage to patients due to their lack of training.


Dr. Rafla is a member of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (MRCS), Fellow of Plastic Surgery, University of Alberta Canada and Fellow of Plastic Surgery, Kings’ College London. He has performed thousands of plastic surgery procedures over the years, especially during his time at the prestigious University Hospital in Birmingham where he performed surgery on soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.
6/18/2018 6:05:22 PM
<![CDATA[Artist Christo floats tomb of barrels in London's Hyde Park]]>
The floating installation - featuring two vertical sides, two slanted sides and a flat top - was unveiled on Monday by Bulgarian-born artist Christo.

“For three months, The London Mastaba will be a part of Hyde Park’s environment in the center of London,” he said.

“The colors will transform with the changes in the light and its reflection on the Serpentine Lake will be like an abstract painting.”

Work started in April to stack the 55-gallon barrels into their cut-off pyramid shape on a floating platform 40 meters long and 30 meters wide. Thirty-two anchors hold the structure in place.

Christo, whose full name is Christo Javacheff, was joined at the launch by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, chairman of the Serpentine Galleries.

Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009, are known for such works as “The Gates”, a 2005 installation in New York’s Central Park, and the wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin in 1995.
6/18/2018 6:04:14 PM
<![CDATA[Hot weather expected for Monday, Cairo 32 °C]]>
Meteorologists further expect low level clouds on the north of the country. Winds are mostly northeasterly and moderate in strength throughout Southern Sinai, the Gulf of Suez and the Red Sea governorate, affecting maritime navigation there.

Also, waves in the Mediterranean Sea will be moderate and range between 1 to 1.5 meters in height, accompanied by northwesterly wind on the surface, with rougher waves in the Red sea that range between 2 to 2.5 meters in height, with a northwesterly wind on the surface.

Temperatures are predicated to be as follows:

Cairo: 32°C- 25 °C
Alexandria: 28°C - 21°C
Luxor: 44°C - 28°C
Aswan: 45°C - 28°C
Qena: 43°C - 28°C
Hurghada: 38°C - 28°C
Sharm El Sheikh: 37 °C - 28°C
Al Minya: 37 °C - 25°C
Beni Suef: 37°C - 28°C
Marsa Alam: 37°C -28°C
Suez: 36°C - 24°C
Halayeb: 37°C - 29°C
Shalateen: 39°C - 26°C

6/18/2018 4:54:54 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt purchases initial LNG volumes via 9-cargo tender: traders]]>
Estimated prices for the cargoes range upward of $11 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), or around 15 percent of a barrel of Brent crude oil, according to traders.

Spot Asian LNG prices LNG-AS for July delivery rose to fresh four-year highs of $11.60 per mmBtu last week due to competition for cargoes from South America, Middle East and Asia, while production outages restricted supply.

Mexico, Argentina, Egypt and Pakistan are seeking a combined 46 cargoes for delivery July to September, supporting LNG tanker day-rates as growing cross-basin trade lengthens journey times.]]>
6/18/2018 4:54:09 PM
<![CDATA[Granqvist's VAR penalty gives Sweden 1-0 win over South Korea]]>
A match both sides were desperate to win after Mexico stunned Germany in the group opener was decided when Viktor Claesson went down from a challenge by Kim Min-woo with referee Joel Aguilar pointing to the spot after checking the footage.

Swedish striker Marcus Berg had the best opportunity to break the deadlock from open play but side-footed the ball into the knee of South Korea goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo from point blank range in the 21st minute.

Cho, a surprise selection between the posts, will take credit for that reflex save, and another early in the second half that denied Ola Toivonen, but was sent the wrong way by Granqvist's penalty.]]>
6/18/2018 4:00:19 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt can hurt Russia: Mourinho ]]>
Mourinho, or the Special One as the British media name him, expected that the game between the Pharaohs and the Russian team will be very competitive and won’t be easy to any side, calling it the “crucial match” of the group.

Although Mourinho forecasted Uruguay and Russia to qualify to the next round of the World Cup, expecting that the crucial game will end by a draw, but he admitted that Salah poses danger on the Russian defenses, saying “Egypt has one of the fastest players of the world with ball, without ball, he can dribble, he can attack spaces behind defenders; I think Russia has to drop the block back.”

Manchester United coach, Mourinho, mentioned also the differences between facing Egypt and Saudi Arabia “Russia can sit a little bit against a very naïve team, against the team without any physical power, but Egypt can hurt them.” And he added “I have to say this, I don’t think Russia can score many goals, and I’m saying this after five null, but I don’t think they can score many goals against good teams.”

On the same context the Special One revealed that the weak point of the Russian team is the cross balls from set pieces, as he sees that the Saudi players were very small compared to the Russians, and although they won a lot of air balls. This may be a good point in the Egyptians favor, as most goals conceded by the Pharaohs were from cross balls; our defense always fails to clear them from the danger area.

6/18/2018 3:55:15 PM
<![CDATA[Merkel claims strong negotiating mandate from her party, Bavarian allies]]>
Merkel told a news conference on Monday that an unjustified turning away of people from Germany’s borders could unleash a domino effect, but she said she had agreed to a CSU demand for a ban on admitting people who had earlier been expelled]]>
6/18/2018 3:01:29 PM
<![CDATA[PM: Law to be strictly applied in violations of transportation fares prices]]>
In a statement on Monday, the prime minister underlined that he gave directives to the ministers, governors and bodies concerned to intensify traffic and supply campaigns to make sure that petroleum products are available especially the butane gas cylinders.

The law obliges drivers to abide by new transportation fares, the statement read.

The Cabinet's Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) and the allocated hotlines received citizens' complaints on Saturday and Sunday June 16, 17 pertaining to the violations of some drivers and gas cylinders' warehouse owners in a number of governorates, it added.

Madboli reiterated that he follows up closely handling these complaints.

For his part, the cabinet's spokesman Ashraf Sultan said that the complaints can be received at (shakwa.eg) website and the cabinet's hotline (16528). ]]>
6/18/2018 2:37:56 PM
<![CDATA[8 charter flights take fans, celebrities to Russia for 2nd game]]>
Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay are competing within Group A. Egypt played its first game against Uruguay on Friday; the national team will face Russia on June 19 and Saudi Arabia on June 25.

An airlift between Egypt and Russia has been launched since the beginning of the 2018 World Cup. About 3,000 Egyptian fans are estimated to be traveling to Russia to support the national team. Nineteen charter flights have been operated until now alongside the basic scheduled flights.

Several flights specialized for celebrities departed during the past couple of days to Russia. Another celebrities and media figures' flight departed on Monday morning with Fifi Abdu, Hassan al-Radad, Samir al-Iskandarani and Sherif Mounir onboard.

Flights between the two countries (Egypt – Russia) were halted in 2015 after a Russian passenger jet crashed in Sinai, killing all 224 people onboard. Flights were resumed last April.

Egypt’s national team managed to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia for the first time since 1990 after beating Congo 2-1 at Borg El Arab Stadium on October 8; this however raised Egyptians' hopes to achieve good results, especially in the presence of Mohamed Salah.

6/18/2018 2:21:23 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament to consider draft law on new capital's foreign universities ]]>
The draft law to establish foreign universities'branches aims to develop the system of higher education and scientific research in Egypt and to strengthen the ties between Egypt’s higher education and that of developed countries.

The draft law stipulates that the foreign university may entrust entities in Egypt through a signed contract to establish its branch in Egypt and afford its operation. The minister of higher education shall establish a committee of representatives of ministries and concerned agencies to consider and study the request to construct the branch.

The decision to allow a new campus will be issued by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research after it meets all infrastructural and human resource requirements.

According to the draft law, the president shall issue a decision on establishing the branch upon the request of the minister of higher education and the approval of the Cabinet.

The branch should include faculties, institutes, research units, study programs, innovation centers and science cities.

The branch campus will pay an annual fee for the services provided by state agencies, which will not exceed 1 percent of the tuition expenses ofthe students.

The state agencies will provide administrative, security and educational support and will ensure that the foreign university is able to exercise academic and institutional freedom and independence. They will also facilitate the process of equalizing the degrees awarded by the branch campus with those granted by Egyptian universities.

The international branch of a university shall be committed to Egyptian provisions and shall notify the specialized ministry with the university's curricula;criteria to accept students in a university branch will be same as those of the main university.

Branch campuses will be required to enroll a percentage of Egyptian students and employ a percentage of Egyptian staff in administrative and teaching positions.
All certificates awarded by the branch shall be recognized in the country of the main university; additionally, there will be an annual allocation of grants to students,allowing Egyptians to study or train at the main foreign university.

Each branch campus is required to submit a five-year plan with the expected number of students and costs; the branch will fall under the supervision of the council set up by the Ministry of Higher Education to monitor quality.

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

He added that the government seeks to introduce a “new law for international branch campuses intending to operate in the education destination” and called for UK universities to “invest in the Egyptian market of education”.

He referred that the law would facilitate the licensing process for overseas universities in Egypt and the mobility of the staff, remarking that the law would be “aligned” with the Magna Charta Universitatum, a document containing principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy that has been signed by hundreds of university leaders from across the world.

“We respect academic freedom and university autonomy,” he said.
During his speech, the minister stressed on the good relations between Egypt and the U.K., particularly in the scientific and cultural fields, and the partnerships promoted between Egyptian and English institutions.

The minister reviewed Egypt’s 2030 vision, asserting that this vision requires a strong infrastructure and human personnel qualified for growth and development.
On October 11, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi inaugurated Egypt’s new administrative and financial capital,located 45 kilometers east of Cairo.

The New Administrative Capital’s business park will encompass 20 towers, including the tallest tower in Africa at a height of 345 meters. Construction of the residential district started in May 2017 to include 25,400 units, including residential apartments, villas and commercial units.

Egypt is looking forward to having dozens of cities like the New Administrative Capital, President Sisi said during his speech at the inauguration ceremony of the new city’s first phase.

In the same context, the Universities of Canada, Egypt (UCE) in the New Administrative Capital announced on April 16 that the University of Prince Edward Island will begin receiving the first batch of Egyptian and foreign students by June 2018.

University of Prince Edward is one of the five Canadian universities under construction in the new capital and supervised by the Canadian and Egyptian governments. It will be the first university to open its doors for students in the new capital.

This new educational complex will be built on 50 acres with a total cost of LE 1.7 billion ($9.63 million). It consists of eight buildings; seven of them will be allocated for educational purposes, and the eighth building will be allocated for scientific research and development. ]]>
6/18/2018 2:14:06 PM
<![CDATA[Oil sector seeks to stop importation of LNG by end of this year: Min.]]>
Work is also underway to increase productivity of natural gas to be able to achieve self-sufficiency and stop imports of liquefied gas by the end of this year, Molla said as he followed up the outcome of a project to upgrade the petroleum sector.

The project is meant to enhance the efficiency of production companies and increase productivity of gas fields, whether old or newly discovered.

A statement by the Petroleum Ministry pointed to an increase of daily gas production by about 1.5 billion cubic feet, plus 17,500 barrels of condensates.]]>
6/18/2018 2:02:23 PM
<![CDATA[The Story of Pharos]]>
Blair has been helping define and add a creative thinking touch to the investment, business and economic strategy of the Middle East and North Africa for well over 20 years. As one of the region’s leading analysts and researchers, he has been developing businesses in and for the MENA region, and has led and marketed the first Egypt global depository receipt (GDR) for the CIB (Commercial International Bank).

He has won a number of awards and recognitions for the role he’s played in the region, including being named Global Finance magazine’s “Emerging Markets Superstar.” He is now leading Pharos through a transformational phase in its research, asset management and investment banking divisions, as well as the launch of new products and services, which include a new money market fund.

Blair speaks to Egypt Today Egypt about the economic situation of the country, foreign interest in the domestic equity market, the planned initial public offering (IPO) programme and where his company is headed over the next few years.


How did the exchange rate liberalization help your business?

The devaluation of the Egyptian pound helped improve the domestic sentiment amongst investors throughout 2017, as well as change fundamentally the investment risk map for international investors into Egypt. Many international investors have increased their exposure in the market last year, particularly into Egypt’s debt markets, to the extent that most international asset managers now hold Egyptian debt.

As a result of this increased attention, our research now has a muchgreater reach,as many international investors are now asking for our research compared to several years ago. The reputation that comes from good research is vital and it plays a major rolein growing our market share and overall revenues as more investors rely on good, fundamental analysis to guide their investment decisions.

Over the last year, the majority of foreign investment into Egypt’s capital market has been in the debt market, investing well over $20 billion inflows into the government bonds and T bills. It is very important, therefore, that the government continues to ensure growth in the private sector to maximize economic growth.

We have also been seeing rising interest in the equity market too, at last, that would be helped by the planned state IPOs. I keep lobbying the government to sell bigger stakes in the public enterprises planned for IPOs and the market needs a greater number of larger stocks to give a deeper liquidity to the stock market—as well as to attract increased foreign investor inflows.


How are you working on promoting compliance?

This is one issue that most media[outlets] do not mention. When I joined Pharos in 2016, having international-standard compliance and being the best-in-market standard compliance has been my goal. It is very important in global markets and for international investors to have the best standard of compliance. We have an exceptionally good head of compliance, Mohamed Metwally, who has been here for about two and half years—he used to work for the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA).

[We want to] ensure that all our staff know these standards and agree to them, or they leave the market. We have developed very good [set of] internal rules which highlights [penalties] if staff members transgress these rules. I have a zero-tolerance approach for those who break these rules willingly.

Do you have any plans to open more offices in the local market in line with your expansion plans?

Due tothe adoption of IT (information technology) and increased use of phones and laptops and by phoning the brokerage to trade, there is much less need to open new offices to increase our revenues, although it is an option that we look at regularly. We are developing our online trading platform to extend our market reach as quickly as possible.

What about your plans for expanding abroad?

In October of last year, we opened an office in Dubai, which has helped us in terms of reach for the Gulf because the institutions there are increasingly looking at Egypt. Gulf investors obviously look to invest into the stock market, as well as makemergers and acquisitions in Egypt. In fact, our Dubai office has been beneficial recently in the development and shape of our new asset management product to invest in Egypt’s debt market.

We do not need to open up within the UK or Europe because we have our partner Exotixto help extend our reach in international markets. It is also very expensive to open a new office, especially in Europe or North America, and it is not required for our present structure. We shall work withExotix to promote our international presence and to attract new interest into the Egyptian market.

Will Pharos be running any of the planned state IPOs?

We have been bidding for a number of the state IPOs and we look forward to helping the government make a success of its IPO programme.


The government is intending to sell stakes ranging between 15 percent and 30 percent: Why do you think this is not enough?

I recommend that the government try to sell larger stakes because the stock market needs large and liquid new listings. This would also help attract more foreign investors into the stock market. Over the last decade, the stock market lost several very large listed stocks, among them areMobinil and Vodafone Egypt. I think that to ensure a healthier stock market in the long term, we should sell larger stakes in the IPOs to provide a much more attractive and liquid market, which would also then help the growth in the domestic insurance and pensions markets.

Are you concerned about liquidity; will therebe enough to cover these IPOs?

There is already good liquidity in the market and investors need large and new IPOs; they want them, and their liquidity can handle larger IPOs. They would also attract much-needed foreign investment in the equity market, which could help to balance the debt investment which international investors have made. Right now, if one looks at the stock market in global terms of liquidity, there is only one stock that meets international requirements, which is the CIB. Clearly, this is not enough.

Everything has begun to settle after the devaluation and other reforms, and now, this year has to see other major changes and transformation and investors also expect more now from the government. We are expecting a recovery in the earnings of companies in the private sector and in listed companies as they have been readjusting to the overall markets after the devaluation and the resulting high inflation. This year theprivate sector will be building on this change and domestic and international liquidity.

What are your suggestions for the government to have successful IPOs?

Ahead of listing, you look at the quality of personnel and the institutionalization across each institution that will come to the market, because being listed means a very different way of reporting from being a government entity. It is very important to look at the quality of the board structure, of the management, and the depth of the transparency of governance.

We have been seeing behind the scenes that a number of the companies that will be listed have been seeing very significant changes in personnel, and management. By ensuring that these changes are made in the companies that will undergo IPOs, the companies are much more ready to face investors and the future levels of better disclosure.

New listings make us excited because we have new stocks to research and potentially invest in and the market needs to see a resumption of major flows of foreign capital, which will add to the quality and depth of disclosure and transparency. I think Egypt needs to ensure that it always is the best in the region in terms of disclosure – although more needs to be done, particularly as new areas of disclosure are being added, notably environmental impact reports.

After the devaluation in November, 2016, foreign investors have, at last, started to return to Egypt, helped by improved prospects for companies reporting good earnings. Investors have investment choices all over the world and they all want more certainty. The flotation of the Egyptian pound helped reset the value and the risk map of Egypt in a positive way and new IPOs will add to the overall liquidity in the market, attracting even more investors—as long as there are no economic shocks. However, Egypt is relatively a small stock market in global terms, and as I keep saying, the market really needs to see new listings of size.

How are you working with your team toward future success?

Firstly, we had some changes in the management of several divisions and the end result was that the firm has gained significantly in terms of its market visibility, expertise [and market share]. Much of that was helped by the exceptionally good research division, headed by Radwa El-Sweify(who used to work at the World Bank) and by the much-increased reach of the brokerage division. Additionally, we had—and still have—a number of good investment banking deals. Over the last decade, Pharos has been rising steadily each year to be in the top few investment banks in Egypt.

We constantly strive to increase our business in general, because it is not just about the market share, the important point is increasing the actual real business over the long term by building a long term best-in-market reputation.

We plan to add more people in the research division as we aim to broaden coverage. Another major transformation is in asset management where we brought in Ahmed Al-Ashy to head our fixed-income operations and where we shall also add new people to cover equities and other assets.We have also been making major changes in investment banking, with a new head, Noha El Ghazaly, and also adding new investment bankers into this division to raise its competence for the long term.

Young talent in Egypt issuperb and in the financial services sector, that young talent finds a way to excel at a young age, for women as much as men. InLondon, people are promoted on how good they are, not on how many years they have worked, and this is a philosophy we have. At Pharos, for example, women run two significant divisions, research and investment banking.

Looking ahead, I am also excited by the opportunities which our tie-up with Exotix in London, New York and in other markets should bring. The year 2018 is a year of added-value growth and building on what we have done through the past few years and transforming the business further through cross-selling as we promote the business for the long term.

6/18/2018 2:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Chemical Industries to pump LE 2.67B to public companies in 2018/19]]>
Mostafa clarified that the new investments are focused on the operations of replacement and renewal, besides increasing the capitals of the companies, where Kima’s capital is increased by LE 734 million and the nitric acid unit at Delta Company for Fertilizers receives LE 220 million.

The company will pump LE 583 million for the development and rehabilitation of Rakta Company and the projects of environmental compatibility, Mostafa noted.

It will also inject LE 145 million for Sigwarat Company’s mobile plant, and raising the production capacity, in addition to pumping LE 50 million to develop the Seyour factory and the latex factory in Naorbein, and LE 80 million will be allocated for the free trading shares of National Cement shares.

Mostafa announced earlier that Holding Company for Chemical Industries targets to achieve revenues of LE 21.4 billion during fiscal year 2018/2019, compared to LE 19.5 billion in the current year.
He said that the targeted revenues exceed the current year's target by 10 percent, and 35 percent when compared to last year's revenues.

Mostafa said that the surplus after taxes for 11 companies recorded around LE 3.7 billion, compared to the expected amount of LE 4.2 billion during current year and LE 3.4 billion during the previous year, adding that the number of gaining companies climbed to 10 firms.

He expected the deficit of losing companies to reach LE 800 million for seven companies next year, compared to LE 1.36 billion during current year for nine companies and LE 2.47 billion for ten companies last year.

Holding Company for Chemical Industries operates on chemical production field. It is the major shareholder of 19 large and medium chemical industries companies.

The paid up capital of the affiliated companies is about LE 2.061 billion.

These companies are operating in different sectors such as: nitrogenous fertilizers sector, paper sector, essential chemicals sector, cement, mining & cement products sector, cigarettes sector and Tires, Rubber & leather products, transportation requirements, electric lambs factory, in addition to the industrial & edible salt sector.

Meanwhile, the extraordinary general assembly of Chemical Industries Holding Company approved in March issuing 4 percent of its stake in Eastern Company on EGX.

In April, Chemical Industries Holding Company announced that it seeks to increase the percentage of the free-trading shares of its subsidiary, Eastern Company, by 4 percent, within the framework of the state’s initial public offering (IPO) program.

Chemical Industries Chief Executive Officer Mostafa expected that the offering of the shares would take place during the current year after finalizing the procedures of the stock split by 1:3 ratio to be valued at LE 5 instead of LE 15.

Mostafa said that the yield of the offering will be used to finance Eastern Company’s investment plan and other subsidiaries, including El-Nasr and El-Delta companies, to add other production lines.

Chemical Industries hold a 55-percent stake in Eastern Co, and the remaining 45 percent stake is distributed over retail and institutional shareholders.

Eastern Co is a public company, listed on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) since September 1995. It operates within the food, beverage and tobacco sector focusing on tobacco. It was established in July 1920.
6/18/2018 1:46:09 PM
<![CDATA[Illness rules out Lindelof as Swedes kick off campaign against South Korea]]>
Swedish officials said the Manchester United centre back had remained behind at their hotel but gave no other details.

Goalkeeper Robin Olsen was named in the line-up after recovering from a shoulder injury that had threatened his World Cup participation.

The Koreans named, as expected, Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan to lead their attack while captain Ki Sung-yueng competes at a third World Cup as he anchors the midfield.]]>
6/18/2018 1:31:12 PM
<![CDATA[Brazil's class of 2018 on verge of matching 1970s winless run]]>
Brazil lost their last two games at home in 2014, a 7-1 hammering by Germany in the semi-final followed by a 3-0 defeat by the Netherlands in the third-place playoff game.

After drawing 1-1 with the Swiss in their Group E opener, Brazil will have to beat Costa Rica on Friday if they want to avoid matching the 1970s barren run.

In 1974, the South Americans were beaten 2-0 by the Netherlands and 1-0 by Poland in successive matches.

That winless run continued in 1978 when they drew their first two games, 1-1 with Sweden and 0-0 with Spain.

They broke the streak with a 1-0 win over Austria but failed to win the tournament that year.

Brazil, who have won 17 of their 22 games under coach Tite, hope they can live up to their favourites billing when they face Costa Rica.]]>
6/18/2018 1:08:12 PM
<![CDATA[Colombia president-elect vows to unite nation, alter peace deal]]>
Duque's decisive victory in Sunday's poll, with 54 percent of votes to Petro's 42 percent, is likely to reassure investors in Latin America's fourth-largest economy who were alarmed by the leftist candidate's promise to overturn Colombia's orthodox economic model.

Yet, in the first presidential election since the 2016 peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Duque worried Colombians with a promise to overhaul the accord that ended a five-decade conflict which killed more than 220,000 people and displaced millions. He has promised to impose tougher punishments on rebels for war crimes.

Surrounded by friends and family, Duque thanked voters for handing him the biggest electoral victory in Colombia's history based on number of votes received. He struck a conciliatory tone, calling for the nation of more than 50 million people to unite behind him after a polarizing campaign.

"With humility and honor, I tell the Colombian people that I will give all my energies to unite our country. No more divisions," Duque told a crowd of cheering supporters in Bogota.

"I will not govern with hatred."

Duque, 41, the business friendly protégé of hardline former President Alvaro Uribe, has promised to toughen the peace deal while keeping Colombia's business friendly economic policies intact.

By contrast, former guerrilla Petro had pledged to take on political elites, redistribute land to the poor and gradually eliminate the need for oil and coal in Latin America's fourth-largest economy. His positions prompted critics to compare him to Venezuela's former socialist President Hugo Chavez.

Although Petro won a majority in only eight of 32 provinces, and the capital Bogota, the fact that a leftist advanced to the presidential runoff is historic in Colombia, where traditionally conservative politicians have held sway. Petro won 8 million votes versus 10.3 million for Duque.

Petro, 58, had called on supporters to take to the streets if he felt there was widespread manipulation of the tally, but he accepted the outcome of Sunday's election.

"We accept Duque's triumph. He is the president of the Republic of Colombia... Today we are the opposition to his government," Petro, he will return to the Senate, told cheering supporters in Bogota.


Duque will face significant challenges when he takes office in August. The economy remains weak; drug trafficking gangs have moved into areas once controlled by the FARC and more than half a million Venezuelan migrants have crossed into Colombia, looking for food and work.

His plans to change the peace deal will face considerable opposition in Congress and from Colombia's Constitutional Court.

On Sunday, he said he would make necessary "corrections" to the accord so victims' rights receive greater priority and justice and reparations are respected.

"Peace is something all Colombians yearn for, and peace means that we turn the page on the fractures that have divided us into friends and enemies of peace," he said, as confetti rained down and supporters danced and honked horns.

"Today, we're all friends to build that peace and it must be a peace that above all allows the guerrilla base its demobilization, its disarmament and its effective reinsertion."

FARC leader Rodrigo Londono, known as Timochenko, congratulated Duque on Twitter, calling for reconciliation and saying he respected Colombians' decision.

Duque has also promised to bolster the $324 billion economy, keep investors happy by cutting business taxes, support the oil and coal sectors - top exports - and help manufacturing.

"It is a result that's very in line with what the market had been expecting and it guarantees that Colombia's reputation - political and economic stability - is still valid," Felipe Campos, head economist at Alianza brokerage, said.

Duque is the candidate for the Democratic Center Party, a movement started in 2013 by Uribe, seen as the power behind the throne.

A one-term senator, Duque worked at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington until 2014, when Uribe asked him to return to Colombia and take a seat in Congress. Duque's running mate, Marta Lucia Ramirez, will be Colombia's first female vice president.

"Our hope has arrived," said 52-year-old publicist Carlos Cortes, a Duque supporter. "Now, with more respect for private enterprise, more jobs will be generated and we'll move forward as a country."

For decades, Colombia's fractured left has failed to come close to winning the presidency or exercising control in Congress, overshadowed by right-wing contenders who have promised strong security policies.

Yet the 2016 deal with the FARC clearly shifted priorities for many voters in the Andean country of nearly 50 million people.

Despite Petro's loss, voter interest in tackling inequality, corruption and inadequate social services looks set to create opportunities for the left in future, possibly as soon as 2022.]]>
6/18/2018 12:28:20 PM
<![CDATA[Trade Exchange between Egypt, East European countries hit $4.2B]]>
The official statement revealed that the Egyptian exports to these countries reached $1.1 billion, compared to $878.2 million during the same period of 2017.

Turkey, Russia and Greece came on top of the East European countries that imported the Egyptian products in the first three months of the current year.

Egypt’s exports to Turkey, Russia and Greece reached $536.5 million, $192.3 million and $126.5 million, respectively.

On the other hand, the Egyptian imports from East European countries hit $3.1 billion in the January -to-March period of 2018, according to the statement.

Generally, Egypt’s total imports recorded $17.8 billion in Q1 of 2018, while the exports reached $7.2 billion, in which the East European countries allocated 17 percent of the imports and 15 percent of the exports.

The East European countries that Egypt traded with during the first quarter of the year were Greece, Ukraine, Cyprus, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey.

Head of the General Organization for Export and Import Control Ismail Gaber said earlier that Egypt’s non-petroleum exports recorded $10.7 billion during the first five months of 2018.

Gaber added that exports in May reached $2.07 billion, in which $1.58 billion went for non-oil and non-manufacturing exports and $489 million for food exports.

The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) announced in May that Egypt’s exports in the first two months of 2018 recorded $4.5 billion, compared to $4 billion in the same period of 2017.

In 2017, Egypt's non-oil exports rose 10 percent to $22.42 billion, up from $20.41 billion in 2016.

Egypt’s exports revived after the flotation of the Egyptian currency by losing about 50 percent of its value, making the Egyptian exports attractive to foreign markets.

Former Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Tarek Kabil said that Egypt’s non-petroleum exports rose 16 percent during the first four months of 2018, recording $8.64 billion, compared to $7.43 billion during the same period of 2017.

Kabil stressed that the positive indicators of the Egyptian foreign trade reflect the success of the 2020 strategy.

The 2020 strategy was launched in November 2016 by Kabil. It includes five main axes: industrial development, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) development and entrepreneurship, export development, training and technical education development, and corporate governance and development.

The strategy aims at increasing exports in the first place after strengthening the local industry.

The ministry seeks during the current period to enter new markets, expand in traditional markets and make full use of trade agreements signed with a large number of countries and economic blocs around the world to boost Egyptian exports to foreign markets.
6/18/2018 12:06:29 PM
<![CDATA[7 situations firm leader’s humanitarian side dominated]]>
Releasing debtors

President Sisi announced Friday that he has ordered the Interior Ministry to release all imprisoned debtors after paying all their debts through Tahya Misr fund, asserting the importance of spending Eid Al-Fitr with their families.

“We will always strive to uphold the human dignity and implement the necessary measures to preserve social protection to reduce such phenomena that negatively affect social stability,” Sisi said on his official Facebook account on Friday.

A total of 690 debtors, as part of a presidential initiative called “Prisons with Debtors” aiming to release all debtors landing behind bars by paying off their debts (LE 30 million= $1.685 million) through Tahya Misr (Long Live Egypt) fund. Friday marked the first day of Eid Al-Fitr (a religious feast celebrated by Muslims worldwide, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.)

Pardoning prisoners

On Friday, A total of 2,110 prisoners were released per a presidential pardon, while 677 others were out on conditional release. The decision to release the prisoners on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr was published in the Gazette last week.

In May, the Interior Ministry's prison department pardoned 447 prisoners on the occasion of Sinai Liberation Day.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that the prison department also found 473 inmates qualified for release on parole. The Egyptian government frequently pardons prisoners during national celebrations.

President Sisi also pardoned About 332 prisoners in May. The pardon list included youths and prisoners with health problems.

Prisoners meet their families after being released per presidential pardon on first day of Eid Al-Fitr on June 15, 2018 - Hazim Abdel Samad/Egypt Today
In October 2016, President Sisi announced the formation of a presidential pardon committee, headed by political thinker, Osama al-Ghazaly Harb, for pardoning detainees with charges pending further investigation.

In November 2016, Sisi declared the first presidential pardon list, pardoning 82 detainees, including TV presenter and religious thinker Islam al-Behery, who was charged with “contempt of Islam”.

A second pardon list was declared in March 2017, pardoning 203 detainees. The list included five journalists, according to Masrawy news outlet. In June 2017, Sisi announced pardoning 502 detainees.

On the anniversary of October 6 War, 244 Egyptian prisoners regained their freedom after receiving a pardon by a presidential decree.

Opening Rafah crossing

President Sisi directed in May to take the necessary measures to keep the Rafah Border Crossing open throughout the holy month of Ramadan.

“I issued directives to take the necessary measures to keep the Rafah Border crossing open throughout the holy month of Ramadan in a bid to relieve some of the burdens suffered by our brothers in the Gaza strip,” the Egyptian leader posted on Facebook and Twitter.

On May 14, Egypt dispatched humanitarian aid, food, relief and medical supplies to Gaza while keeping the Rafah crossing open for individuals and those injured in the Israeli attacks on the strip.

Former Minister of Health Ahmed Emad Eddine said he has been "instructed by the political leadership" to receive the Palestinians injured during the Israeli aggression and treat them in Egyptian hospitals.

p aid
Egypt sends aid and medical convoys to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, Tuesday, May 22 – Press photo

The Rafah crossing is mainly specialized for individual movements across borders, and was being prepared for the transfer of goods between the two courtiers.

The importance of Rafah Border Crossing increased after Israeli forces destroyed Yasser Arafat International Airport in 2001; which was the only airport allowing Palestinians to travel.

Palestinians gather at the Rafah boder crossing as they wait to travel into Egypt after the passage is opened for three days for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip April 12, 2018. / AFP / SAID KHATIB
Palestinian authorities thanked Egypt for continuously opening the crossing in a statement issued February 21, stressing that the decision represents the Egyptian government’s keenness to ease the Palestinian people’s suffering.

Celebrating with martyrs’ families

Sisi attended on Friday celebrations of Eid Al-Fitr with the families of the nation's martyrs. The president welcomed the martyrs' children and families telling them he was waiting to meet them on this day.

During the celebrations, Sisi said that Egypt will not forget the martyrs' sons and daughters, adding that those martyrs laid down their lives for the sake of the homeland so that 100 million Egyptians could live in peace and security.

In many occasions along his 4-year term, President Sisi appeared hugging martyrs’ children.

Honoring a working woman

After a photo of a working woman called Mona al-Sayed pulling a heavy cart in Alexandria circulated social media, President Sisi received the woman in late 2016 at Al-Ettihadeya Palace, and awarded her the Innovation Award for Youth.

Sayed is one of many Egyptian women who do rough jobs commonly carried out by strong men because they cannot find another source of income to provide for their families.

Later in April 2017, President Sisi offered the lady a Suzuki van to enable her to do her job easily.

Supporting Egyptian women, President Sisi appeared wiping the tears of an Egyptian woman during a ceremony to grant ideal women medals on the occasion marking Mother's Day.

President Sisi wipes tears of an Egyptian woman, March, 2017 – screenshot of the national TV channel

Stopping for a woman

During a youth conference held in Aswan in January 2017, President Sisi has reportedly stopped his presidential parade to listen to a woman complaining.

President Sisi appeared listening to the woman and ordering one of the men accompanying him to follow up her problems.

Meeting cancer patients

During his first term, Sisi met with Ahmed Yasser, a child who had suffered leukemia, upon the latter’s wish to meet the president. During their meeting in 2015, Yasser gave Sisi a copy of the Holy Quran as a symbol of love and gratitude.

In August 2015, President Sisi fulfilled the dream of a nine-year old cancer patient to meet him while dressed in the military uniform.

During the opening ceremony of the New Suez Canal, young Omar Salah appeared accompanying president Sisi on-board Al-Mahrousa presidential yacht while waving the Egyptian flag.

President Sisi accompanies Omar Salah, a cancer patient in the opening ceremony of the New Suez Canal, August, 2015.

In January 2017, Sisi inaugurated the main stage of the renovations of the Armed Forces Medical Complex in Maadi, south of Cairo, that is set to include a new cancer/oncology hospital, the largest of its kind in the Middle East, with a total capacity of 400 beds.

The complex is also set to include a laboratory with the latest technology to accurately examine tumors.]]>
6/18/2018 12:03:31 PM
<![CDATA[Managing Egypt’s Assets]]>
Once approved by the parliament, the fund will work toward optimizing state assets and better manage state companies, as part of wider plans to list public sector companies on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX).

Planning Minister Hala al-Saeed said the bill gives the fund the authority to establish sub-funds and contribute in similar Arab funds.

هالة السعيد حازم عبد الصمد

The fund will make use of the state’s unused assets, which amount to 3,000.

The state had announced in 2016 a five-year program to float 15-30 percent of public companies to attract investments and invigorate the stock market, with the first phase seeing 23 companies undergoing initial public offerings (IPOs) that are valued at LE 430 billion, according to a statement by the Ministry of Finance. A preliminary financial statement for the 2018/19 budget shows that the first phase of the state IPO program will yield LE 10 billion.

Financial analyst Ahmed Ezz El-Din says this fund will help optimize the value of state assets. Economic expert and former head of both Egyptian and Arab direct investment associations Hany Tawfik and Economist and Managing Director at Multiples Group, Omar El-Shenety echo similar feelings.

El-Shenety argues that some of the benefits of creating the fund could be floating public companies, converting illiquid assets to liquid ones and increasing the number of strategic investors in the state assets, the number of listed blue chips, as well as the stock market capitalization, and consequently further deepening the market.

El-Shenety explains that the fund can be used to better manage the public enterprises and supervise the IPOs, as well as manage the government’s stakes in these entities after the listing, and qualifying other enterprises in preparation for being listed. He adds that it can also be responsible for selling some underutilized assets including lands, building and real estate assets, and companies depending on its mandate.

“I think the revenues of the state IPOs will be used in financing the budget deficit and increasing the capital of the companies to implement their expansion plans,” he adds.
The Ministry of Finance is targeting a lower budget deficit of 8.4 percent of GDP (LE 438.59 billion) in the new budget for the fiscal year 2018/19, starting July 1, down from 9.8 percent projected in the current fiscal year.

“Establishing an asset’s sovereign wealth fund aims to contribute to the sustainable development and optimal use of public resources, in addition to improving the efficiency of infrastructure,” Saeed said.

“The establishment of this Egyptian sovereign fund leads to increasing the value added in the various economic sectors through partnership with international companies and institutions, in addition to the direct economic gains of the Egyptian economy, such as increasing investment, employment and optimal utilization of state assets and resources.”

This fund will improve Egypt’s competitive position and reduce the risk premium, which will have a positive effect on Egypt’s sovereign credit situation; thereby reducing the cost of debt servicing and, consequently, the government expenditure and budget deficit, according to the minister.

But while all experts interviewed welcome the initiative, they all warn that for the fund to be efficient and successful, it needs to operate independently from the government and enjoy a diverse portfolio.

Independent management

To reach a balance between fast decision-making and preserving state-owned money, Saeed explained that several committees have been proposed for the fund, to manage investment, governance, internal auditing, risk and benefits.

She added that the fund will be managed mainly by the Ministry of Planning and Administrative Development, noting that a special unit has been established within the ministry to follow up and coordinate with other ministries to identify the unused assets.

Tawfik warns, however, about selling state assets to finance the budget deficit, adding that the state should mandate a private sector asset-management firm to run the fund and help develop these assets and optimize their revenues. “These assets are not government’s property, but is rather the people’s and the next generations’ assets.

The government should not find it easy to sell them,” he argues. “The government is not a good manager.”

El-Shenety agrees with Tawfik on the necessity of independence. “I hope it will be an independent fund that is managed away from the government and its different entities,” he tells Egypt Today Egypt. Similarly, Ezz El-Din stresses on the importance of the independence of the management from the government, and predicts that it would follow the UAE’s model of complete independence from the government.

He adds that it should still report and brief the government on its performance. “The government is not targeting profitability, but the fund does,” Ezz El-Din says.

A diversified portfolio

The fund management should form a diversified investment portfolio, Ezz El-Din explains, and making sure the right investment balance is struck in terms of long-term and short-term investments and the industries in their portfolio.

He explains that while short-term investments alone will risk stability, long-term alone will take years to reap its gains, adding that it should be a good, equal mix, or a 70/30 mix based on the capital budgeting studies and availability of investment opportunities.
“So far, no details have been announced on the nature of its portfolios.

The government is not required to announce all the details about the new fund, but at least it should reveal highlights about the main targeted sectors. This will provide an outlook for investment destinations in the country,” he adds.

To guarantee that this fund will fulfill its promises, Ezz El-Din highlights the importance of keeping its investment decisions away from any other intervening factors, and be based solely on economic feasibility.

Sovereign funds in the international context

The idea of sovereign funds appeared initially in major oil-producing countries that have big financial surpluses, including the Gulf states and Norway. Such funds aimed to reinvest the surpluses for future generations, but then it spread to other non-oil-producing countries to better manage their financial assets and natural resources to optimize their value and revenues.

For example, Abu Dhabi and Dubai sovereign funds are running both domestic and external assets, while Kuwait’s sovereign fund’s assets are all located aboard, and the majority of assets of Libya’s fund are external.

Given how the term came to be internationally, Tawfik argues that the fund should instead be named a “state asset management fund.”

“A sovereign fund like Norway’s runs assets worth 1 trillion dollars that are generated from budget surpluses from oil sales. Ours will be only running LE 5 billion and it will be running unutilized sate assets, not fiscal surpluses,” Tawfik says.

6/18/2018 12:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Magnitude 6.1 quake in Japan's Osaka area kills three, stops factories]]>
No tsunami warning was issued. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said authorities were assessing damage and their top priority was the safety of residents. About 150 people were injured, the broadcaster NHK said, lowering an earlier toll after a revision by city officials.

Live footage showed toppled walls, broken windows and gushing burst water mains after the quake hit Osaka, which will host next year's Group of 20 summit, just before 8 a.m. (2300 GMT Sunday) as commuters were heading to work.

Quakes are common in Japan, part of the seismically active "Ring of Fire" that stretches from the South Pacific through Indonesia and Japan, across to Alaska and down the west coast of North, Central and South America.

The epicentre of Monday's earthquake was just north of Osaka city at a depth of 13 km (8 miles), said the Japan Meteorological Agency. The agency originally put the magnitude at 5.9 but later raised it to 6.1.

The quake struck an important industrial area of central Japan.

Osaka-based Panasonic said it was halting production at three of its plants. Daihatsu Motor Co, a unit of Toyota Motor Corp, stopped its factories in Osaka and Kyoto while it checked for damage. It said it would resume operations at the Osaka plant on Monday evening.

Tractor maker Kubota Corp. said it halted two plants in the area, while air conditioner maker Daikin Industries Ltd suspended operations at two plants, one of which had restarted by noon.

Honda Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors said they were resuming operations after suspensions and safety checks. Sharp Corp also resumed work at a joint venture plant with parent Hon Hai Precision Industry that it had stopped for safety checks.

Three people were killed, authorities said. Collapsing walls killed a 9-year-old girl as she walked to school and a man in his 80s, Japanese media said. Another man in his 80s was killed when a bookcase fell on him.


"We were sleeping and it woke us up abruptly," said Kate Kilpatrick, 19, an American who was staying in a hotel in Osaka when the quake hit.

"It was so terrifying because this is my first earthquake. I thought it was a nightmare because I was so confused," she said. "The whole world was aggressively shaking."

Kilpatrick, visiting Japan for the first time, said alarms went off almost immediately in the hotel and a loudspeaker told guests to stay away from windows.

No irregularities were detected at the Mihama, Takahama and Ohi nuclear plants to the north of Osaka, Kansai Electric Power said. More than 170,000 households in Osaka and neighbouring Hyogo prefecture lost power temporarily but it was restored within two hours, the utility said.

Most trains in the Osaka area were still not running by late afternoon, police said.

Osaka prefecture, which includes the city and surrounding areas, has a population of 8.8 million. The city is close to Kobe, which was hit by a deadly magnitude 6.9 quake in 1995.

A massive 9.0 quake hit much further to the north in March 2011, triggering a huge tsunami that killed some 18,000 people and triggered the world's worst nuclear disaster in a quarter of a century at Tokyo Electric Power's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Japan introduced a law after the Kobe quake requiring owners of large buildings such as hotels and hospitals to have their buildings inspected for earthquake resistance.]]>
6/18/2018 11:58:35 AM
<![CDATA[A Visual Storyteller with a Social Mission]]>
Khamis’ winning work sheds light on a devastating practice that is common in Cameroon; breast ironing. Suzanne,11, from East Cameroon, had her breasts ironed with a hot stone twice a day until her they flattened. Marianne, 13, also had her breasts flattened, using a stick and wooden bowl.

In an effort to document the traditional Cameroonian practice, performed as an act of love and perceived as a cruel crime, Khamis’s “Banned Beauty” project takes us behind the scenes of a painful reality. A visual storyteller and researcher, as she introduces herself, Khamis is always looking for the story behind a social issue that might be ignored or marginalised in a society.

In an interview with Egypt Today, Khamis talks about her latest project and her social mission as a visual story teller in Africa. “As I go deeper and deeper in my career, I realise that what I am doing is not photography, it is more of documenting life stories and phenomena, narrating them in the form of photos rather than words,” Khamis says.

Banned Beauty: The love behind the crime

A long-time tradition in Cameroon, breast ironing - massaging or compressing adolescent girls’ breasts to melt the fats – is practiced by the mothers or female relatives as a way to delay the girls’ maturity. It follows a strong, ancient belief that this practice will combat rapes or any other form of sexual practices against girls. In some regions, they bundle girls’ breasts with a belt; others flame a stone, spatula or maul and use it to compress or massage the breasts.

The “Banned Beauty” project presents 10 photos documenting the phenomenon. The first shows Veronica, 28, massaging the breasts of her daughter Michelle, 10, while her other children are watching. Others portray young girls who have had their breasts flattened or are still in the process. The project also shows some of the tools used in the practice, like a heated stone or a stick, leaving us to imagine the torture these young girls go through to combat puberty.

“My first priority is not to follow the right photography techniques and rules; my real priority is to take photos that stir sentiments inside anyone who sees them,” Khamis says, as she admits she cares about the photos’ subject more than the photos themselves.

The ambitious photographer adds that she made the decision to include children’s photos, although it might be violating photography rules, to make the project as expressive as it can get. But Khamis went beyond documenting the practice as the atrocity girls are subjected too, and went on to explore the reasons behind it from the perspective of old Cameroonian ladies. “This phenomenon is tailored to protect those girls, a kind of protection that comes from severe pain and abuse; this contrast attracted me to record this phenomenon,” Khamis says. The ladies told Khamis that they iron their girls’ breasts because they love them and want to protect them from being raped or getting pregnant and missing out on education or work.

“African NGOs recounted that almost 25 percent of Cameroonian women were subjected to some form of breast ironing; in some regions, the percentage rises to more than 50 percent,” Khamis says. Although breast ironing is originally a Cameroonian tradition, it occurs in some other African countries in West and Central Africa. According to The United Nations Population Fund, breast ironing leads to a lot of health problems, such as tissue damage and several kinds of infection as well as negatively affecting the girls’ psychological and physical health.

The journey of a female photojournalist

heba khamis 2

A photographer at heart since she was 8 years old, Khamis bought her first camera when she was in high school, with her own savings; and made her own photofilm while on a school trip. “I was loaded with joy and excitement while shooting this film, because at that time I was keen to immortalise these precious memories because I knew I will never get them back; photos have the ability to document special experiences and moments, keeping them alive forever,” Khamis says. A committed artist, Khamis joined the Faculty of Arts; and she resumed her passion for photography soon after.

“I attended my first photography workshop in my third year of college; it was for free. One year later, my family bought me my first DSLR camera,” Khamis says. “I started roaming the streets, and recording the interesting details about people’s lives,” she recalls, adding that she would spend all of her allowance on photography workshops. After graduating with a bachelor in painting, she decided to shift her career and work as a photojournalist. Back in 2012, the Egyptian community was not yet used to the idea of a female photojournalist.

Khamis recalls how her manager and colleagues always told her not to cover demonstrations or clashes, “because she is a girl.” “I was always keen to prove to them that I am able to work in all critical situations and under all tough circumstances,” she says, adding that women in a conservative society like the Egyptian one consume both time and effort to prove that they can execute hard, front-line tasks easily and efficiently.

“Because fighting for what we believe is right and getting a sense of self accomplishment are not convincing excuses for women in closed societies to take unusual jobs,” Khamis says. The young photographer kept on moving from one newspaper to the other, working 10 to 16 hours a day, and accepting low salaries. “I accepted...to learn more, enhance my experience and prove that I perform all the duties of any professional photojournalist, regardless of how tough they are,” Khamis says. She then started freelancing with prominent international news agencies such as the Associated Press (AP), European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) and Xinhuanet.

“I documented with my photos the January 25 revolution and June 30 revolution,” Khamis says. To complement her talent and skills with professional knowledge, she received a diploma in photojournalism from the Danish School of Media and Journalism in 2016 and took another diploma in photojournalism from Hochschule Hannover University of Applied Sciences and Arts in 2017. She also participated in the 2017 World Press Photo Foundation’s Joop Swart Master class, and received PHmuseum’s Women Photographers Grant.

A visual storyteller with a social mission

After 2016, a volunteer work in Uganda changed the rising photographer’s path from covering news to documentary photography. Today, she is practicing her job with a much higher social and humanitarian mission at heart. Khamis currently still volunteers in Uganda, teaches photography in Egypt, and provides charity organizations with photography services.

"The high exposure to people and their lives’ details in my job provides me with huge experience,” Khamis says. “I am a photographer, researcher, writer and a salesperson.” Khamis is currently focusing on refugees and gay prostitution in Germany, in addition to transgender identities in Egypt. “I cover all the expenses of my own projects then start to search for a place that will pay for the project and publish it; finding the proper place is not by all means an easy task,” she says.

She advises anyone who wants to become a professional story teller to first listen to their own inner voice and understand their own story before listening to others’. “We must know first where we stand, and what our motivations, goals and challenges are because understanding others starts with understanding ourselves,” Khamis explains.

6/18/2018 11:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Spanish king's brother-in-law jailed over graft conviction]]>
Inaki Urdangarin, the husband of King Felipe's sister Cristina, entered the prison in Brieva, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Madrid at 8am (0600 GMT), a spokesman said.

The former Olympic handball player was sentenced to five years and 10 months of prison for embezzling millions of euros in a case which caused uproar in Spain and tainted the royal family's image.

His jail term began as King Felipe VI was to begin an official visit to the United States where he will meet US President Donald Trump on Tuesday.

Urdangarin had been given until midnight to turn up at the prison, a small facility capable of housing up to 162 inmates, which is mainly used for women.

The 50-year-old had been found guilty last year of embezzling millions of euros between 2004 and 2006 from a non-profit foundation he headed on the island of Majorca.

Urdangarin's incarceration came six days after the Supreme Court rejected his appeal, drawing a line under a graft scandal which first emerged in 2010 during Spain's financial crisis, with Urdangarin seen as a symbol of the elite's perceived corruption.

The scandal contributed to the decision of King Felipe VI's father Juan Carlos I to abdicate in 2014.]]>
6/18/2018 10:56:58 AM
<![CDATA[Fields of dreams: Texas project seeks new corn strains for whiskey]]>
Seth Murray, a top corn breeder at Texas A&M University, and Rob Arnold, working on a doctorate at the school while making whiskey for a Fort Worth distiller, are trying to develop commercially viable strains of corn with identifiable flavors, in the same way as specific grapes define the taste of wine from California’s Napa Valley or a Bordeaux produced in southwest France.

If the project proves successful, it might not be until the middle of the next decade that it will produce a commercial whiskey.

So far, Arnold and Murray have produced about 50 test products. In the next several months, they will plant thousands of non-genetically modified seeds on a commercial farm to ramp up production.

“‘Soon’ in the whiskey world is kind of relative. Everything for us is years and years down the road,” Arnold said.

Frank Coleman, a senior vice president at the Distilled Spirits Council, an industry group, is not quite ready to say the project is a game changer.

“But it is indicative of the innovations that are going on throughout the distilled spirits industry,” he said.

At present, most major American distillers make their whiskeys with similar types of yellow corn grown from seeds developed in the Midwest and designed to produce high yields.

“We were missing all the unique flavors that can live in corn varieties,” said Arnold, top distiller at Firestone & Robertson, which bills itself as the biggest whiskey distiller west of the Mississippi. The distiller is financing the project.

In 2017, over 23 million nine-liter cases of American whiskey were sold in the United States, generating over $3.4 billion in revenue for distillers, according to the spirits council.

Bourbon is one of the most popular kinds of American whiskey. Stored in charred oak barrels, bourbon is made from a grain mash that is at least 51 percent corn, though most brands are about 70 to 80 percent.

With similar strains of corn used in most mass-produced bourbons, most brands derive their distinct flavor from yeasts used in fermentation and ageing barrels.

Murray and Arnold are mixing and matching corn varieties from Latin America and heirlooms from North America.

Some small batch producers and even major distillers have already tried making whiskey from heirloom corns, grown from seeds of varieties that appeared generations ago.

But Murray said while heirlooms can produce interesting taste compounds, crop yields can be about an eighth of a modern hybrid, calling into question their commercial potential.]]>
6/18/2018 10:35:10 AM
<![CDATA[Macron, Sarraj of Libya mull elections, illegal immigration]]>
They assessed the security and political developments in Libya after the international conference on Libya, held in Paris on May 29, according to the Élysée palace's statement.

Macron renewed his support to the Libyan authorities with regard to holding elections before the end of this year, added the statement.

Both parties mulled ways of controlling flows of migration between Libya and Europe and combating human trafficking gangs.]]>
6/18/2018 10:28:11 AM
<![CDATA[UNSC to hold closed meeting on Yemen Monday]]>
During the meeting, UN envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths will post UNSC members on his comprehensive plan to achieve peace in Yemen.

Al Arabiya al Hadath, meanwhile, quoted UN sources as having said that no progress was made during Griffiths' talks with Houthi militias about Hodeidah.

Houthi leaders would not withdraw from Hodeidah Port and hand it over to UN supervision, according to the sources.

They demanded more time to study Griffiths' proposal, the sources added.]]>
6/18/2018 10:25:04 AM
<![CDATA[Artist buried for three days under busy Australian road]]>
Mike Parr, 73, fasted during his time underground, with oxygen pumped into the 1.7-metre (5.5-foot) by 2.2-metre container to keep him alive as traffic drove on overhead.

He had bedding, water, a waste bucket, a sketchpad and pencils for the stunt in Hobart, part of Tasmania state's annual Dark Mofo festival, which celebrates darkness through large-scale public art, food, film and music.

"The anxiety of the artist's disappearance is the point of the piece," organisers said.

It was also an attempt to highlight "the shadow cast by the genocidal violence of 19th century British colonialism in Australia", they added.

He exited without saying a word or acknowledging a crowd that had gathered in the rain. He is expected to detail his experience in a public forum on Tuesday.

Parr clambered out of his prison via a ladder late Sunday after heavy machinery carefully removed the asphalt that had sealed him in
"He is an endurance performance artist and he's been doing this for many years, so his body is quite used to doing this," Dark Mofo curator Jarrod Rawlins told reporters.

While some welcomed the feat as thought-provoking, others were left baffled.

"People work a lifetime underground. This goose spends three days in a box doing frig all, calls it art and it makes the news," an unimpressed Rodney Gibbison said on Facebook.

James Hank de Ridder added: "If I could only get the last five minutes of my life back after watching this absolutely pointless exercise."

Parr is no stranger to controversial performances, having once used an axe to hack off his prosthetic arm, which he had filled with minced meat and blood, in front of a shocked audience.

Dark Mofo, produced by Hobart's Museum of Old and New Art, has sparked controversy elsewhere this year, drawing the ire of some Christians when inverted crosses were erected on the city's waterfront.]]>
6/18/2018 10:22:30 AM
<![CDATA[Serenades and selfies with stars tempt TV's Emmy voters]]>
The legendary British composer, creator of classic shows such as “Cats” and “Phantom of the Opera,” said he rarely performs in public. But despite dozens of other awards, Lloyd Webber has never won an Emmy. And with a record number of shows vying for the television industry’s highest honors, networks are amping up the star power and getting creative to shine a spotlight on their Emmy contenders.

Networks are going all out because an Emmy win, or even a nomination, can help build buzz for a show in a crowded sea of programming. That helps attract new viewers to traditional TV channels, and more subscribers for streaming services from outlets such as Netflix Inc (NFLX.O), AT&T Inc’s (T.N) HBO, or Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O).

The Nat Geo cable channel brought “Genius: Picasso” star Antonio Banderas to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where guests mingled amid some of Picasso’s original works. Earlier that night, Netflix staged a discussion with the very private Barbra Streisand about her latest concert film.

“Everybody in a way has become an underdog,” said Michele Robertson, a long-time Hollywood publicist and awards consultant. “There is no slam dunk. Everybody feels like they’ve got to up their game.”

With so many entries clamoring for attention, the Television Academy, the group that hands out the Emmys, changed its rules this year to allow multiple Emmy promotional events on the same day, and on weekends as well as weekdays.

The result? The number of Academy-sanctioned events increased to more than 100 from 61 last year, the organization said.

At least 200 unofficial events also are crowding calendars, said veteran awards watcher Tom O’Neil, from cocktail parties to publicity stunts such as sending taco trucks to buildings where voters work.

Contenders will learn if their efforts paid off on July 12, when Emmy nominations are announced after tabulating the votes of more than 23,000 actors, writers, technicians and other members of the Television Academy.

Voting started June 11 and ends June 25. Winners will be unveiled on Sept. 17 at the televised Emmy awards ceremony.

The competitive field is packed. TV channels and streaming services released a record 487 scripted original series last year, more than double the 216 in 2010, according to data compiled by cable network FX. That does not include documentaries, reality competitions, late-night shows and musical specials.

A few years ago, Emmy campaign events were largely limited to panel discussions with creators and actors. Those still exist, but networks are trying different approaches.

ABC, part of Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), for the first time held a day-long event on the Disney studio lot, offering selfies with the cast of “The Goldbergs” and a performance by “American Idol” winner Maddie Poppe along with panels.

“We chose to showcase several of our shows and talent on one day in order to maximize voters’ time, which is a precious commodity right now,” ABC Studios President Patrick Moran said.

Netflix held 43 events in New York and Los Angeles from February through June.

One Saturday, Netflix served a lavish three-course brunch, with miso-glazed sole on fine china, as “Glow” star Alison Brie, attorney and Netflix documentary subject Gloria Allred, and others reflected on women’s progress in Hollywood.

The streaming service hosted most of its events over five weeks in May and June at an interactive exhibit where guests could play the 1980s video games seen in “Stranger Things,” draw graffiti on a car from “American Vandal,” or hear the rumble of rushing cattle in a Western-themed bar from “Godless.”

Networks have also bombarded voters with newspaper, digital, billboard and radio advertisements.

Smaller networks are trying to compete. The Viceland cable channel sent a plane hauling a banner to promote late-night show “Desus & Mero” to fly over competitors’ events and popular executive lunch spots. It also papered cars in studio parking lots with faux parking tickets urging a look at the show.

“We have really old-school, grassroots tactics,” said Meghan Kirsch, Viceland’s senior vice president of marketing and creative. “We don’t have the millions and millions of dollars to spend, so we have to be creative.”]]>
6/18/2018 10:20:15 AM
<![CDATA[Dollar stays near a seven-month peak, but trade tensions limit gains]]>
The dollar index versus a basket of six major currencies crept up 0.1 percent to 94.862.

The index was close to 95.131, a peak scaled on Friday, thanks to the dollar soaring more than 1 percent last week after the U.S. Federal Reserve gave a hawkish signal on interest rates while the European Central Bank struck a dovish tone.

On top of last week’s Fed, ECB and the Bank of Japan policy meetings, the currency markets also weighed a U.S.-North Korea summit and the renewed trade tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.

The greenback navigated through those events, last of which was a decision by the United States on Friday to enact tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods. Soon afterward, China’s official Xinhua news agency said Beijing would impose 25 percent tariffs on 659 U.S. products, ranging from soybeans and autos to seafood.

“The reaction by currencies to the trade developments has been mostly limited as the U.S. measure and China’s response were in line with expectations,” said Yukio Ishizuki, senior currency strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.

“A further escalation of U.S.-China trade tensions is of course a risk scenario. But the current tariffs, even if implemented, will hardly dent the global economy and the market also has to ponder about a scenario in which the two countries try to defuse tensions.”

The dollar was down 0.2 percent at 110.44 yen, weighed down as risk appetites cooled on the back of falling Tokyo shares.

The Nikkei fell on Monday with sentiment hurt by a combination of trade concerns and a strong earthquake that hit the western Japanese city of Osaka. [.T]

Even when natural disasters and regional tensions hit close to home, the yen is often viewed as a safe haven currency, partly because of the resilience provided by Japan’s current account surplus.

Despite the slip, the dollar managed to stay in reach of a three-week high of 110.905 yen brushed on Friday.

The euro fell 0.15 percent to $1.1592, extending losses after sliding 1.3 percent the previous week after the ECB signalled it will keep interest rates at record lows well into next year.

Commodity-linked currencies sagged on the back of sliding crude oil prices.

The Canadian dollar traded at C$1.3184 per dollar after retreating to a one-year low of C$1.3210 on Friday.

The Australian dollar was little changed at $0.7442 after plumbing a five-week low of $0.7426 and the New Zealand dollar lost 0.25 percent to $0.6928 .

Brent crude futures fell to a six-week low of $72.45 a barrel on Monday in the wake of reports that top suppliers Saudi Arabia and Russia would likely increase production at the June 22 OPEC meeting in Vienna. [O/R]

The OPEC meeting “will be one of this week’s key events due to the way oil prices shape economic and price views and thus impact yields and currencies,” said Koji Fukaya, president at FPG Securities in Tokyo.]]>
6/18/2018 10:19:45 AM
<![CDATA[The bigger Cryptocurrencies get, the worse they perform: BIS]]>
For any form of money to work across large networks it requires trust in the stability of its value and in its ability to scale efficiently, the BIS, an umbrella group for the world’s central banks, said in its annual report.

But trust can disappear instantly because of the fragility of the decentralized networks on which cryptocurrencies depend, the BIS said.

Those networks are also prone to congestion the bigger they become, according to the BIS, which noted the high transaction fees of the best-known digital currency, bitcoin, and the limited number of transactions per second they can handle.

“Trust can evaporate at any time because of the fragility of the decentralised consensus through which transactions are recorded,” the Switzerland-based group said in its report.

“Not only does this call into question the finality of individual payments, it also means that a cryptocurrency can simply stop functioning, resulting in a complete loss of value.”

The BIS’ head of research, Hyun Song Shin, said sovereign money had value because it had users, but many people holding cryptocurrencies did so often purely for speculative purposes.

“Without users, it would simply be a worthless token. That’s true whether it’s a piece of paper with a face on it, or a digital token,” he said, comparing virtual coins to baseball cards or Tamagotchi.

The dependency of users on so-called miners to record and verify crypto transactions is also flawed, according to the BIS, requiring vast and costly energy use.

It has issued a series of warnings this year after an explosive rise in cryptocurrency values attracted a wave of followers.

Agustin Carstens, general manager of the BIS, has described bitcoin as “a combination of a bubble, a Ponzi scheme and an environmental disaster”.

The BIS has told central banks to think hard about the potential risks before issuing their own cryptocurrencies.

No central bank has issued a digital currency, though the Riksbank in Sweden, where the use of cash has fallen, is studying a retail e-krona for small payments.

The BIS also said in its annual report that effective regulation of digital coins needed to be global, targeting both regulated financial institutions as well as companies offering crypto-related services.]]>
6/18/2018 10:17:25 AM
<![CDATA[Box Office: 'Incredibles 2' shatters records with heroic $180 million opening]]>
The Disney-Pixar movie flew to a record-breaking launch of $180 million in 4,410 locations, easily landing the superhero sequel the best debut of all time for an animated film. That title was previously held by fellow Pixar sequel “Finding Dory,” which bowed with $135 million in 2016.

“Incredibles 2” also landed the eighth-biggest domestic opening of all time, and surpassed 2017’s “Beauty and the Beast” ($174.6 million) for the best debut for a PG-rated film.

Overseas, where it has opened in 26 percent of the international market, Pixar’s 20th film collected $51.5 million, bringing its global total to $231.5 million.

With 14 years since the original film, 2004’s “The Incredibles,” enthusiasm has been strong for the follow-up, and it seems that audiences and critics alike were not disappointed. The film boasts a coveted A+ CinemaScore, as well as a 94 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

“The film shows the drawing power of the superhero genre, whether in the live action or animated realm,” box office analyst Paul Dergarbedian said. “The combination of the Pixar brand and Disney’s perfectly executed marketing and distribution strategy made the film an instant classic and a box office juggernaut.”

Disney’s head of distribution, Cathleen Taff, attributes the massive opening to pent up demand for another “Incredibles” film, along with positive word of mouth. It also helps that it’s been a while since a family film has hit multiplexes, she added.

“We’re so thrilled,” Taff said. “Brad and team put together a great film that delivers something for everybody. It was the perfect storm.”

“Incredibles 2” picks up directly following the events of the original film with the Parr family members attempting to balance having a normal life with their superpowers. Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Vowell, and Samuel L. Jackson reprise their voice roles, while Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, and Sophia Bush voice new characters. Brad Bird returned to write and direct the sequel.

“Incredibles 2” should set Disney back on track after “Solo: A Star Wars Story” disappointed earlier this summer. The expensive “Star Wars” film has had difficulty gaining traction at the box office since launching with $103 million over a four day weekend. Though every previous Disney-released “Star Wars” adventure has managed to fly past the $1 billion mark, “Solo” is struggling to cross $400 million.

Disney doesn’t exactly need to break a sweat, however. “Incredibles 2” scored the third biggest opening of 2018, meaning the three best debuts of 2018 all belong to the Magic Kingdom. Disney-Marvel titles “Black Panther” ($257.7 million) and “Avengers: Infinity War” ($202 million) secured the No. 1 and 2 spots.

Also opening this weekend was Warner Bros. and New Line’s “Tag,” which targeted a debut of $14.6 million in 3,382 theaters. The R-rated comedy — starring Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Jon Hamm, and Jeremy Renner — is based on a Wall Street Journal profile about a group of grown men who play a longstanding game of tag.

Though the film was aimed at male moviegoers, the audience breakdown was surprisingly 51 percent female. Those over the age of 25 accounted for 78 percent of audiences, while 58 percent were under 35 years old. Attendees seem satisfied, giving the film a B+ CinemaScore and 74 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

New Line’s latest title, “Game Night,” opened earlier this year with $17 million — a solid start given the film’s $16 million price tag. As of this week, the Jason Bateman/Rachel McAdams dark comedy has pocketed $117 million globally, including $69 million domestically.

The final wide release, “Superfly,” got a head start by opening on Wednesday. Sony’s remake of 1972 blaxploitation classic “Super Fly” pocketed $8.4 million in 2,220 locations during the five-day period. Well-known music video helmer Director X took the reigns on the $16 million project, which only began production in January and finished in time for its June release.

The film features all new songs written by rapper Future, who co-produced along with Joel Silver. “Superfly” stars Trevor Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Michael Kenneth Williams, Lex Scott Davis, and Jennifer Morrison.

The original 1972 “Super Fly,” starring Ron O’Neal and directed by Gordon Parks, was hugely profitable at the box office with a $30 million gross from a $500,000 budget. While the film became a cult hit, its soundtrack composed by R&B legend Curtis Mayfield became even more popular and ultimately outgrossed “Super Fly’s” box office earnings.

“Ocean’s 8” managed to steal the No. 2 spot in its sophomore frame, picking up another $19.5 million in 4,145 locations. The female-fronted heist spinoff had a series-best opening last weekend with $41.5 million. Its domestic tally currently sits at $79 million.

In fourth is “Solo: A Star Wars Story” with $9.3 million on 3,182 screens. In four weeks, the tentpole has made $193 million at the domestic box office.

Rounding out the top five is another superhero sequel, “Deadpool 2,” which scored $8.6 million in its fifth outing. To date, 21st Century Fox’s blockbuster starring Ryan Reynolds has amassed $294.5 million domestically.

At the specialty box office, “Gotti” earned $1.6 million in 503 locations. John Travolta and Kelly Preston star in the mobster movie, directed by “Entourage” star Kevin Connolly. The film, which had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, was originally intended to be released by Lionsgate in 2017, but the studio sold it back to its producers two weeks before. Vertical Entertainment and Sunrider Productions are now co-distributing along with movie ticketing service MoviePass Ventures.

Meanwhile, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s documentary is having a heroic moment of its own. Magnolia and Participant Media’s “RBG” crossed the $10 million mark in just seven weeks.

Finally, Morgan Nevill’s Mister Rogers documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” brought in $985,000 when it expanded to 96 theaters. The biopic, which holds an impressive 99 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, has picked up $1.7 million in two weeks. Next week, it will expand to over 300 theaters.]]>
6/18/2018 10:17:25 AM
<![CDATA[Volvo sets goal of 25% recycled plastics in cars from 2025]]>
Recycled plastics - such as from fishing nets or old bottles in car dashboards or carpets, would not affect safety or quality, Stuart Templar, director for sustainability at Volvo Cars, told Reuters.

“We think this makes business sense,” he said.

Many big companies are designing products that can be recycled after use to limit pollution. Volvo’s plan goes a step further by building ever more recycled materials into its production lines.

“Volvo Cars is committed to minimizing its global environmental footprint,” Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars, which is owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd, said in a statement.

Volvo said it was in talks with plastics producers to achieve its “ambition that from 2025, at least 25 percent of the plastics used in every newly launched Volvo car will be made from recycled material.”

Volvo sold 570,000 cars last year, with about five percent of plastics in its cars currently made from recycled materials.

Volvo unveiled a test model of its XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid SUV in Gothenburg, Sweden, that it said looks identical to the existing car except that some of its plastic parts were made from recycled materials.

The carpet, for instance, had fibres made from PET plastic bottles, old Volvo car seats were used in sound-absorbing material under the bonnet and fishing nets and ropes were used in the tunnel console - between the passenger and driver seats.

The United Nations welcomed Volvo’s plan. More than eight million tonnes of plastics end up in the oceans every year, threatening marine life from fish stocks to coral reefs.

“As far as we are aware this is a first – an attempt to source waste as a raw material for a new vehicle,” Erik Solheim, head of the U.N. Environment Programme in Nairobi, told Reuters.

“We need to see a situation in which plastic waste begins to have more value and the processes to transform it into something new will also advance,” he said.

In 2017, Volvo said that it would electrify all new cars launched after 2019. Last month it said its aim was that fully electric cars would make up half of its global sales by 2025.]]>
6/18/2018 10:08:58 AM
<![CDATA[Google to invest $550 million in Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com]]>
The two companies described the investment as one piece of a broader partnership that will include the promotion of JD.com products on Google’s shopping service. This could help JD.com expand beyond its base in China and Southeast Asia and establish a meaningful presence in U.S. and European markets.

Company officials said the agreement initially would not involve any major new Google initiatives in China, where the company’s main services are blocked over its refusal to censor search results in line with local laws.

JD.com’s investors include Chinese social media powerhouse Tencent Holdings Ltd, the arch-rival of Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, and Walmart Inc.

Google is stepping up its investments across Asia, where a rapidly growing middle class and a lack of infrastructure in retail, finance and other areas have made it a battleground for U.S. and Chinese internet giants. Google recently took a stake in Indonesian ride-hailing firm Go-Jek, and sources have told Reuters that it may also invest in Indian e-commerce upstart Flipkart.

Google declined to comment on the rumored Flipkart deal. The JD.com investment is being made by the operating unit of Google rather than one of parent company Alphabet’s investment vehicles.

Google will get 27.1 million newly issued JD.com Class A ordinary shares as part of the deal. This will give them less than a 1 percent stake in JD, a spokesman for JD said.

For JD.com, the Google deal shows its determination to build a set of global alliances as it seeks to counter Alibaba, which has been more focused on forging domestic retail tie-ups. Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp, which is making big internet investments around the globe, is a major investor in Alibaba.

“This partnership with Google opens up a broad range of possibilities to offer a superior retail experience to consumers throughout the world,” said Jianwen Liao, JD.com’s chief strategy officer, in a statement.

Company officials said the deal would marry Google’s market reach and strength in analytics with JD.com’s expertise in logistics and inventory management.]]>
6/18/2018 10:02:33 AM
<![CDATA['Al Resala' movie to screen in KSA after 40-year ban]]>
Late Egyptian star Abdallah Ghaith and Syrian actress Mona Wassif were clearly portrayed on the movie’s new poster.

The movie was banned from being released in movie theatres not only in the KSA but in the entire GCC countries (Gulf Co-operation Council) for almost 40 years because it portrayed the ‘Sahaba’ (Friends of the Prophet PBUH), which was deemed improper back then.

"Al Resala" (The Message) is directed by Mustafa el Akkad and revolves around a part of Prophet Mohammed’s (Peace be upon him) life.

In its 40th anniversary, the officials in KSA finally agreed to release the movie in local theatres.

The movie is produced and distributed by Front Row productions. The firm officials declared that the movie is going to screen using the 4K technology for the first time in the Kingdom.

Actors, who participated in the cinematic project decades ago, declared their happiness regarding the decision of lifting the ban off the movie.

The decision of screening the movie in local theatres came in light of a series of liberal approaches the KSA government has adopted recently.

The new approach adopted by the KSA government is aiming to encourage more liberal views towards arts and culture in general, after centuries of an extremely conservative lifestyle that made the KSA community isolated from the rest of the world.

The promotional trailer of the movie was recently released causing great havoc in the Saudi community.

Most Saudis expressed their happiness and excitement for the release of "Al Resala"; high views and profits are expected by the local community.

It is worth noting that "Al Resala" was nominated for an Oscar Award for its soundtrack and was viewed in 2400 theatres in the USA alone.

Originally, Akkad released the movie in two copies; an Arabic version and an English version. The Arabic version combined numerous Arabic talents, including late great actor Abdallah Ghaith, Mona Wassif, Ahmed Marie and others, while the English version starred Anthony Quinn and was viewed in theatres all over the world.

6/18/2018 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Asian shares, oil fall as U.S.-China trade spat escalates]]>
Fears of a global trade war added to pressure on oil prices, which extended Friday's big fall, while the dollar retreated from near 3-week highs against the safe haven yen JPY=.

Spreadbetters suggested a subdued start for European shares, with FTSE futures FF1c1 off about 0.1 percent. U.S. E-Mini S&P futures ESc1 stumbled 0.5 percent, suggesting a weaker start on Wall Street.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS slid 0.5 percent to its lowest level since May 31.

Financial markets in China and Hong Kong were closed for Dragon Boat festival holiday.

Japan's Nikkei .N225 sank 0.8 percent as worries over growing protectionism overshadowed stronger-than-expected export data.

“The on-again off-again possible global trade war is looking to be back on again as the U.S. and China announced tariffs on each other’s imports,” said Nick Twidale, Sydney-based analyst at Rakuten Securities Australia.

“This looks set to be the main theme that investors will focus on...with any further escalation in tension adding to the downside risk.”

Trump announced hefty tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports on Friday, laying out a list of more than 800 strategically important imports from China that would be subject to a 25 percent tariff starting on July 6, including cars.

China said it would respond with tariffs “of the same scale and strength” and that any previous trade deals with Trump were “invalid.” The official Xinhua news agency said China would impose 25 percent tariffs on 659 U.S. products, ranging from soybeans and autos to seafood.

China’s retaliation list was increased more than six-fold from a version released in April, but the value was kept at $50 billion, as some high-value items such as commercial aircraft were deleted.

However, many market watchers believe there is still room for compromise, suspecting Trump’s announcement was a negotiating tactic to wring faster concessions from Beijing.

“Ultimately, a negotiated solution is likely – and this is what both the U.S. and China want - but the risks are high and the tariffs could well be implemented before the issue is resolved,” said Shane Oliver, Sydney-based chief economist at AMP.


Analysts say the direct impact of the tariffs may be limited, especially for the U.S. economy, which is in strong shape.

But Asia’s other trade-reliant economies and companies plugged into China’s supply chains are worried they will suffer collateral damage if world trade slows down, hurting global growth and dampening business confidence.

Shares of Japanese construction equipment makers Komatsu Ltd (6301.T) and Hitachi Construction Machinery (6305.T) tumbled 3.9 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively. Both are vulnerable to any downturns in Chinese and global capital spending.

“There are trade frictions not only between the U.S. and China but also between the U.S. and its allies. Trump could put more pressure on other countries like Japan and NATO courtiers,” said Yoshinori Shigemi, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management in Tokyo.

“So far investors have been escaping to high-tech shares and small cap shares. After all, money is still abundant. But investors should be cautious.”

In the currency market, the dollar eased to 110.33 yen JPY=, having hit a three-week high of 110.905 on Friday.

The euro traded at $1.1597 EUR=, not far from a recent two-week low of $1.1543 after the European Central Bank suggested it would hold off raising interest rates through the summer of next year.

The Australian dollar AUD=D4, a liquid hedge for risk, slipped to a six-week trough while its New Zealand cousin NZD=D4 fell to the lowest since end-May.

Oil prices were under pressure as China’s retaliatory tariffs included U.S. crude oil. [O/R]

U.S. crude futures CLc1 dropped 1.6 percent to $63.99 per barrel, briefly touching their lowest levels since April 10.

Brent LCOc1 fell 0.7 percent to $72.93 in response to reports that top suppliers Saudi Arabia and Russia would likely increase production.]]>
6/18/2018 9:57:42 AM
<![CDATA[Democrats, activists rally against Trump's family separation policy]]>
"This must not be who we are as a nation," said Representative Jerrold Nadler, one of seven members of Congress from New York and New Jersey who met with five detainees inside the facility, including three who said they had young relatives removed from their care after seeking asylum at the border.

The event in the city of Elizabeth came as news stories highlighting the family separations intensified political pressure on the White House, even from some of President Donald Trump's fellow Republicans.

U.S. officials said on Friday that nearly 2,000 children were separated from adults at the border between mid-April and the end of May.

In May, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a "zero tolerance" policy in which all those apprehended entering the United States illegally, including those seeking asylum, would be criminally charged, which generally leads to children being separated from their parents.

The policy has drawn condemnation from medical professionals, religious leaders and immigration activists, who warn that some children could suffer lasting psychological trauma. The children are held in government facilities, released to adult sponsors or placed in temporary foster care.

In South Texas on Sunday, several Democratic lawmakers, including Senator Jeff Merkley, were due to tour detention facilities to call attention to the policy, while Representative Beto O'Rourke, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Texas, said he would march with protesters to the border.

"This is inhumane," O'Rourke told CNN. "I'd like to say it's un-American, but it's happening right now in America."

Some moderate Republicans have also called on Trump to stop the separations. Senators Susan Collins and Jeff Flake wrote to White House officials on Saturday seeking more information on the policy.

"It is inconsistent with our American values to separate these children from their parents," Collins said on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday.


Administration officials have defended the tactic as necessary to secure the border and suggested it would act as a deterrent to illegal immigration, while Trump has sought to blame Democrats, saying their support for passage of a broader immigration bill would end the separations.

"As a mother, as a Catholic, as somebody who has got a conscience. ... I will tell you that nobody likes this policy," White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "You saw the president (say) on camera that he wants this to end."

Democrats have accused Trump of effectively turning the children into political hostages to secure stricter immigration measures, such as funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

"Stop lying to the American people. This is your policy," Democratic U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries said in New Jersey.

A spokeswoman for Melania Trump told CNN on Sunday that the first lady "hates to see children separated from their families" and hopes lawmakers from both parties can agree on immigration reform, in what was a rare public statement on a policy issue from the president's wife. Her "Be Best" platform, unveiled in May, is dedicated to children's well-being.

The lawmakers in Elizabeth waited about 90 minutes to gain access to the detention facility, which is operated for the U.S. government by a private contractor.

While the legislators stood inside a cramped waiting room filled with relatives of detainees, a television showed an interview with Steve Bannon, the former senior adviser to the president whose hardline views on immigration helped shape Trump's presidential campaign and first months in office.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives will introduce legislation this week aimed at stopping separations, mirroring a similar Senate bill sponsored by Democrat Dianne Feinstein. But neither bill has much hope of securing enough support in the Republican-controlled Congress, let alone surviving Trump's veto pen.

Roy Garcia, 43, attended the protest with his wife, Linda, and their sons, 8-year-old Julian and 11-year-old Sebastian.

"It's hard for me to enjoy Father's Day knowing what's happening to other children and families," he said. "It's heartbreaking."
6/18/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Right-wing Duque wins Colombian presidency, beating leftist Petro]]>
With 97 percent of polling stations counted, Duque had 54 percent of votes, while Petro had 42 percent.
6/18/2018 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Yemeni army downs Houthi drone in Yemen's Hudaydah]]>
The drone was used by Houthi militants in spying on the sites of the Yemeni army, Al-Amalaqah Brigades (Arabic for Giants) commander Major General Abdel Rahman al Hajji told September Net.

Yemeni forces killed more than 500 Houthi terrorists while scores were injured and detained in the last six days.
6/18/2018 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Federer marks No.1 ranking with 98th title in Stuttgart]]>
The 36-year-old, who by reaching the final had already guaranteed his return to world No.1, supplanting Rafael Nadal when the new rankings are released on Monday, continued his domination over the Canadian with a 6-4 7-6(3) victory.

Federer's 78-minute win, sealing his first Stuttgart triumph, was the perfect tonic for the Swiss in the build-up to defending his Wimbledon crown, having extended his unbeaten 12-month sequence in grasscourt matches to 16.

"It's a great comeback for me," said Federer, who was playing his first tournament after an 11-week break, having sidestepped the entire claycourt season.

"I'm really happy. I thought it was a good final from my side. I think I played very well throughout the tournament, actually, having not played for a while.

"Maybe I was a little bit better on the bigger points. Of course I'm so happy to have won here, finally, in Stuttgart."

Federer, who beat Raonic en route to winning Wimbledon last year, broke his opponent's powerful serve just once in the third game -- but that was a major feat in itself as the Canadian had entered the final having won all 41 of his service games.

With his own delivery proving unbreachable -- he dropped serve only twice all week -- it was enough for Federer to claim the first set.

In a decisive tiebreak after no breaks in the second set, a double fault from Raonic at 3-4 paved the way for Federer to claim the 18th grasscourt trophy of his career.

On Monday, Federer will begin a record-extending 310th week at the top of the rankings and a third spell this year alone as No.1 before seeking to defend his Halle grasscourt crown.

He will need to triumph once again at his favourite pre-Wimbledon haunt in Germany this week if he is to prevent Nadal returning to No.1 in their continuing see-saw battle.

If he manages to do so, Federer will then seek a landmark 100th career title at Wimbledon where he will also be attempting to extend his record of men's singles crowns to nine.]]>
6/18/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt deploys female police to combat sexual harassment]]>
The policewomen are highly trained to confront harassers and bring them to police station for legal action. They have been trained as well to deal with any form of breaking the law.

The female officers were heavily deployed at several places in the capital where sexual harassment could possibly occur due to overcrowding, such as the ticket windows of parks and cinemas, Corniche al-Nile and downtown Cairo.

6/18/2018 1:08:03 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. bombs Syrian positions, Syrian military source tells state media]]>
The strike took place in al-Harra, southeast of Albu Kamal, it reported. A spokesman for the coalition was not immediately available.
6/18/2018 12:48:06 AM
<![CDATA[8 Kenyan police killed by roadside bomb in country's east]]>
Ahmed Bashane sent condolences to the families of those who died in the attack in Tarbaj in Wajir County in northeastern Kenya.

No group has claimed responsibility for the bomb but suspicion has fallen on Somalia's extremist group al-Shabab which has carried out a wave of attacks in Kenya since 2011.

Al Shabab has vowed retribution because Kenya sent troops to Somalia to fight the group waging an insurgency against Somalia's weak UN-backed government.

Earlier this month, six police officers were killed when their truck run over a roadside bomb in Liboi, Lamu County. Authorities blamed al-Shabab for that attack.
6/18/2018 12:36:10 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi, Ethiopian PM agreed on guaranteeing rights in River Nile]]>
In statements to October Magazine, Radi said the summit held between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali reflected the deeply-rooted relations between the two African countries.

The two leaders are keen on solving all pending issues, he added, noting that the Ethiopian premier pledged not to harm Egypt’s right in River Nile according to the 1959 agreement.

The two leaders discussed a number of issues of mutual concern and the situation in Africa as well as means of boosting economic relations in the upcoming period, Radi said.
6/18/2018 12:11:41 AM
<![CDATA[Reviewing new Cabinet’s program on top of Parliament’s priority list]]>
Eid al-Fitr is an important Islamic feast that follows the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Cabinet’s program

According to the Egyptian constitution, Madbouly has to make a statement before the Parliament, revealing the names of the ministers, and the Cabinet’s program. The Parliament will subsequently discuss Madbouly’s statement, according to law.

The Parliament then will assign a special committee with issuing a report on Madbouly’s statement. The report will be consequently reviewed by the Parliament in a plenary session.

In order for the new Cabinet to gain the Parliament’s trust, the majority (around 300) of Parliament members have to vote in favor of it. The pro-government “Egypt Support” Parliamentary coalition holds around 400 of 597 seats in Parliament.

If the new Cabinet does not gain the trust of the majority of Parliament members, President Sisi would then order a new prime minister nominated by the coalition or the party that holds the majority of seats in the Parliament, to choose new ministries, according to the constitution.

If his new Cabinet is not approved by the Parliament within 30 days, the Parliament will be declared dissolved. President Sisi will then call for a Parliamentary election within two months. The new prime minister will then review the ministers’ names and Cabinet’s program before the new Parliament in its first session.

Once the new Parliament’s majority bloc approves the new Cabinet, the president will choose, in cooperation with the prime minister, the ministers of defense, interior, foreign affairs and justice.

Earlier in June, president Sisi ordered Madbouly to form a new government to succeed that of Sherif Ismail, who resigned on June 5.

Local Administration law

In the upcoming sessions, the Parliament is also expected to discuss a Local Administration draft law, which is set to allow the first local polls in a decade to be held.

The Parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal said that the Parliament’s Local Administration Committee has finished discussing a draft law for the local administration, adding that the draft law will be discussed [by the Parliament] soon, and local elections will be held before the end of 2018.

The four-year term local council members are responsible for monitoring service facilities and following up on governmental plans carried out across Egypt’s governorates.

The former local councils, formed after 2008 polls, were dissolved in 2011 following the popular uprising that ended the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak. Government-appointed officials have run local affairs without council oversight since then.

Former Prime Minister Sherif Ismail told Parliament in March 2016 that the local elections were scheduled for the first quarter of 2017, but they did not take place.

"The current immense corruption that exists due to the absence of local councils affirms the need to hold local polls, which is a constitutional right," MP Abdel-Hamid Kamal of the Local Administration Committee said earlier.

Criminal procedures law

The spokesman for the Parliament Salah Hassaballah has earlier mentioned some of the key topics that will be on the table for the next period, most notably the draft law regulating criminal procedures.

In May, Hasaballah said that the Parliament looks forward to finalizing the draft law regulating criminal procedures as soon as possible following 24 meetings held to discuss it. The meetings included listening to representatives of the General Prosecution, Justice Ministry and Lawyers Syndicate, in addition to constitutional law professors.

Reconciliation in building violations

A draft law on reconciliation in some building violations, which had earlier discussed by the Parliament’s housing committee, needs to be announced in the next period.

The draft law comes within the framework of legal and practical solutions to the problem of building violations, recently causing collapsing buildings, to combat the cases of building violations.

The draft law stipulates reconciliation in the acts committed in violating the law governing the building, including the case of change of use of the building.

The draft law aims to preserve and protect architectural and archaeological heritage and organize measures of reconciliation.

Under the draft law, building violations could be reconciled with exception for acts that violate construction safety and facilities of distinctive architectural styles. Infringements include the approved regulatory lines and the statutory heights rights as well as building on state owned land and agricultural land or land subjected to the law on the Protection of Antiquities.

To consider the reconciliation request and issue a decision in this regard, a technical committee shall be formed in each concerned administrative authority, and be led by civil and architectural engineers, who are accredited at the administrative authority, along with a representative from the Interior Ministry.

Unified construction law

On the other hand, a law that addresses those who violate the license and build illegal constructions by imposing fines, prison sentences or higher utilities tariffs.

The Egyptian Parliament has discussed the unified construction law No. 119 during a meeting held on July 18, 2016 to submit amendments to the law.

Besides the illegal constructions, Egypt is plagued by unplanned construction and poor infrastructure. There are 400 areas of unplanned housing, with a population in excess of 7 million.

Parliament’s achievements in current session

In late May, the Parliament asserted it has endorsed 32 international agreements signed by the president or the prime minister, since the start of its third regular session on October 3, 2017.

In a press conference, Hasaballah said that the Parliament has endorsed 111 draft laws, and discussed 385 information requests from Parliament members to former Prime Minister Ismail.

"The Parliament also discussed 303 urgent statements during the third session, and posed 45 questions to the government," Hasaballah said, adding that the Proposals and Complaints Committee in the Parliament has finished discussing 551 suggestions.

The bills, draft laws and agreements aimed to upgrade the different sectors in Egypt and improve the lives of citizens. Among the top sectors addressed during the past few months since October are: health care, supporting workers and youth rights, countering corruption and easing investment measures, Hasaballah said.

Additional reporting by Marina Gamil ]]>
6/18/2018 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Coutinho scorcher not enough as Brazil held 1-1 by Swiss]]>
The five-times world champions took a deserved lead midway through the first half in the Group E game when Coutinho's irresistible long-distance shot cannoned in off the far post, but Tite's side, who had looked so impressive in the tournament build-up, did not build on their advantage.

The highly organised Swiss hit back early in the second period from one of their few chances as Brazil's Casemiro and Miranda switched off and the unmarked Steven Zuber barely had to leave his feet to nod in Xherdan Shaqiri's whipped corner.

Brazil went all out in pursuit of a winner and came agonisingly close to finding it as Coutinho and Miranda lashed wide from inside the area while Neymar and substitute Roberto Firmino were denied by Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer.

They had to settle for a point and joined fellow tournament favourites Germany, Spain and Argentina in failing to win their first game.

It was also the first time Brazil had not won a World Cup opener since drawing 1-1 with Sweden in the 1978 tournament.

"I was expecting to get a victory so, of course, I'm not happy with the result," Brazil coach Tite told a news conference.

"At this stage of a World Cup you have to take advantage of a goal and see that your opponents are taking risks and you need to have faster transitions."

Tite did not complain that his side were denied a penalty when Manuel Akanji wrapped his arms around Gabriel Jesus and had little sympathy with claims some of his players had been fouled when Switzerland levelled.

"I can't coach a team who complains. You can interpret the penalty in any way but there's no way you can complain," he added.

Neymar's flamboyant blond 'spaghetti' haircut certainly caught the eye although he only gave glimpses of the spectacular dribbles and plays he is renowned for and which led Paris St Germain to shell out 222 million euros for.


Instead, Brazil's second most expensive player, Coutinho, pulled the strings, constantly finding right winger Willian and drifting striker Jesus with sweeping passes although Switzerland managed to deal with the threat.

Coutinho's whirlwind finish delighted the Rostov Arena, where yellow-shirted Brazil fans vastly outnumbered the red of the Swiss, although Tite's side failed to build further momentum, as Neymar was frequently stopped in his tracks by tactical fouls.

Brazil always looked in control until they ceded a corner and Zuber took full advantage of their collective lapse of concentration to level.

Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic was delighted with how his side followed his gameplan.

"I am very proud of my team's discipline, it was everything we talked about," he said.

"I hope that people will take notice of us now and take us seriously, sometimes there's a lack of recognition towards us and that's a pity because we played very well." ]]>
6/18/2018 12:08:02 AM
<![CDATA[Afghan president extends ceasefire with Taliban by 10 days]]>6/17/2018 8:29:41 PM<![CDATA[Pics: Amid challenges, Arish residents celebrate Eid al-Fitr at sea]]>
People from different districts of Arish have gathered on beaches to enjoy the park games’ equipment – press photo

Celebrating Eid al-Fitr holiday, which is an important Islamic feast that follows the holy fasting month of Ramadan, people from different districts of Arish have gathered on beaches to enjoy the park games’ equipment.

People from different districts of Arish have gathered on beaches to enjoy the park games’ equipment – press photo

Using the beach to place the entertaining equipment was a smart choice. Although there are apparently some few parks in Arish which can be played in, yet, some of them are expensive. Samir Hassan, one of the beach’s visitors said that some of the equipment can be used for LE 5 ($0.23) only per 10 minutes.

People from different districts of Arish have gathered on beaches to enjoy the park games’ equipment – press photo

“Imagine that in Arish city there are no public parks,” Yassin Rashid, a visitor said, adding that there is a park in the city center with expensive entry tickets.

People from different districts of Arish have gathered on beaches to enjoy the park games’ equipment – press photo

Sami Abdel Rahman, another visitor said that the beach of Al-Arish is a magnificent tourist and entertaining site, adding that the residents of the city still like the beach and a large number of people visit it.

People from different districts of Arish have gathered on beaches to enjoy the park games’ equipment – press photo
People from different districts of Arish have gathered on beaches to enjoy the park games’ equipment – press photo

During Ramadan, around 120 children participated in an “iftar” gathering held in the presence of police and army men.

The celebration held by the Tree Foundation for Development and Art, was attended by around 120 children and 30 relatives. Iftar is the meal Muslims eat in Ramadan to break their fast.

Head of the Tree Foundation, Mohamed al-Temsah, said that a delegation from the North Sinai Security Directorate distributed food cartons to the children's families, in a celebration dubbed “Sahaba” (the cloud). Sahaba is an initiative that targets orphans and children of Sheikh Zuweid, and Rafah cities, who moved to live in Arish city.

The Tree Foundation held “iftar” gathering for around 120 children in Arish city – press photo

During the celebration, children were surprised by a number of military men distributing gifts and taking pictures with them.

“My message to the world and to all our enemies inside and outside [the country] that we live here in Arish in safety,” said Sheikh Gamal Hamid, head of the Central Administration of Al-Azhar Institutes in North Sinai.

“Egypt and Arish are safe thanks to our sons of the Armed Forces,” Hamid stated, adding that “people walk safely in the streets [of Arish].”

In one of the deadliest terrorist attacks, 311 Muslim worshippers were killed in November 2017 by militants' gunfire during Friday prayers inside Al-Rawdah mosque in Arish.

Egyptian security forces at the Ministry of Interior killed on Monday 15 terrorists in an exchange of fire after locating their hiding place by Arish's ring road, according to the security forces report.

The elements were in contact with some terrorist leaders abroad who support them financially to carry out terrorist acts aimed to destroy the state, especially after the success of Egyptian efforts to combat terrorism, the statement read.

On February 9, Egypt’s military launched its comprehensive operation, Sinai 2018, against jihadists, who have launched attacks on the security and military forces for years.

Additional reporting by Walaa Ali
6/17/2018 7:34:51 PM
<![CDATA[Mexico stun holders Germany 1-0 in World Cup opener]]>
Germany's defence had looked stretched to breaking point on several occasions in the opening half-hour, and it was no surprise when Javier Hernandez again left Mats Hummels for dead to play in Lozano, who cut inside Mesut Ozil and smashed the ball low into the corner to release an explosion of noise in Luzhniki Stadium.

Germany came close to levelling late in the half when a Toni Kroos free kick was touched on to the bar by goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, and they gradually took command once Marco Reus joined the fray after an hour and introduced some pace to their attack.

But despite almost constant pressure they were largely kept at long range, and their poor finishing rarely threatened Ochoa as Mexico held out for only their second victory against the Germans in 12 attempts.]]>
6/17/2018 7:03:00 PM
<![CDATA[Business News Wrap-Up]]>PM orders new transport fares to be published nationwide

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli has ordered new transport fares to be applied in nationwide.

LE1.5B to fund 1st, 2nd phases of lightning streets: Ministry

The Finance Ministry said that LE1.5 billion will fund the first and second phases of the project of upgrading the lightning of the streets nationwide to energy-saving headlamps.

A New Dawn for Egyptian-Mexican Trade Ties

An interview with CEO of the Mexican trade and investment agency ProMéxico Paulo Carreño King about the role of the Mexico-Egypt Business Council and his expectations for the council’s role in bilateral ties.

Egypt to receive 4th tranche of IMF loan in July: Minster

Egypt is expected to receive the fourth tranche of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) loan, valued at $2 billion, in July, Minister of Finance Mohamed Ma’it said Sunday.

Egypt's Suez canal reports record high $5.585B annual revenue

Egypt’s revenue from the Suez Canal for the 2017-2018 financial year rose 11.5 percent to a record high $5.585 billion (4.20 billion pounds), the canal authority said in a statement on its website on Sunday.

Official statements on cutting fuel subsidies

Egypt continues implementing its reform program by cutting its fuel subsidies for the fourth time since 2014, following the announcement of the decision, ministers of the new government, which was sworn in on Thursday, issued different statements related to the topic.

The Great Budgetary Expectations

A quick glance at the preliminary financial statement for Egypt’s 2018/19 budget shows that the government is highly optimistic about the country’s economy, targeting a 5.8 percent growth rate, compared to the current 5.2 percent, as well as slashing budget deficit from 10.9 percent in the fiscal year 2016/17 to 8.4 percent. Similarly, inflation is targeted to drop from 13 percent to 10 percent in the new budget, a rate well below the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) estimated 15.2 percent and public debt to drop from 97 percent in the current fiscal year to 91 percent in 2018/19.

Egyptian gov’t sets new transportation fares, controls violations

Following the decision of raising fuel prices for the fourth time since 2014, the Egyptian government is intensifying its control campaigns on the markets to ensure the commitment of gas stations’ workers and drivers of different means of transportation to the new prices.

Egypt’s non-oil exports hit $10.7B in 5 months

Egypt’s non-petroleum exports recorded $10.7 billion during the first five months of 2018, according to Head of the General Organization for Export and Import Control Ismail Gaber.

6/17/2018 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Seleção opens their path to WC with Switzerland ]]>
The Brazilian side is returning to the World Cup with a strong squad full of skill and passion to win the title this time, and to avenge Brazilians after their historic 7-1 loss from Germany in the last edition of the World Cup.

Neymar Jr, Paris Saint-Germain’s winger, and the most expensive football player in the world, will be leading the Samba dancers as the world named them, alongside with Coutinho, Barcelona’s young talented winger. They’ll be captained by AC Milan’s former defender, Thiago Silva.

But the game won’t be that easy, for Switzerland possesses high quality players such as Stephan Lictsteiner, Juventus former left back who recently joined Arsenal, Ricardo Rodriguez AC Milan’s full back, Granit Xhaka Arsenal’s midfielder, and Xherdan Shaqiri the star of the Premier League team Stoke City.]]>
6/17/2018 6:49:14 PM
<![CDATA[2nd Italian tourist delegation arrives in Cairo for Holy Family’s Journey]]>
The Patriarch of the Coptic Catholic Church Ibrahim Ishaq will receive the delegation on Sunday evening at the Faculty of Catholic Theology in Maadi district, Southern Cairo, the Church announced in a statement.

This delegation’s visit comes in light of the pilot program for dramatic reenactment of the journey made by the Holy Family in Egypt. The delegation will visit a number of Churches and Monasteries, besides being taken on a tour in the faculty of Theology and Humanities in Maadi. The second delegation’s visit was in February.

The Holy Family came from Palestine to Egypt via the Arish road and arrived in Old Egypt, and then they moved to Upper Egypt. They hid there for a while and then returned to the north, passing through the Natroun Valley, and then continued their way back through Sinai to Palestine.

Pope Francis visited Egypt in April 2017, carried out mass and acknowledged the Holy Family’s journey in Egypt as an official Christian pilgrimage. This announcement puts the Holy Family tour on equal footing to Fatima in Portugal, suggesting that thousands of Christian tourists would visit Egypt.]]>
6/17/2018 6:41:02 PM
<![CDATA[NTRA denies rise in mobile recharge cards prices]]>
The source affirmed that the prices are stable and that there were no news about increasing cards’ prices.

Moreover, Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Egypt Khaled Hegazy said that Companies’ officials and the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NRTA) are on official holidays and that there are no events or decisions issued in this regard.

Other sources inside telecom companies also denied the unreliable rumors about the increase in the prices of cards in the four networks Vodafone, Orange Egypt, Etisalat and Egypt Telecom "WE".

The sources pointed out that mobile companies cannot decide to increase the prices of shipping cards without reference to the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

They added that it is unreasonable that companies decide to increase the prices of recharge cards after hours of raising fuel prices, especially since the current days are official holidays and there are no meetings between companies or meetings with the government.

This came in response to rumors circulated on social media and several websites regarding increasing the price of recharge cards.

NRTA approved last September a decision by mobile companies to decrease the value of mobile recharging cards by 36 percent.

Upon this decision, the LE 100 recharging card gives LE 70 credit, the LE 50 card gives LE 35 credit, the LE 25 provides LE 17.5 credit, and so on.]]>
6/17/2018 6:37:06 PM
<![CDATA[Fit-again Ozil starts for Germany against Mexico]]>
Ozil, who days ago recovered from injury and had to deal with a barrage of criticism in Germany over a controversial photo with Turkey president Tayyip Erdogan, will partner Julian Draxler and Thomas Mueller in the world champions' attacking midfield.

Loew also made one change to his defence, replacing left back Jonas Hector with Marvin Plattenhardt.

Mexico's all-time top scorer Javier Hernandez earned a spot in coach Juan Carlos Osorio's line-up as they look for their first tournament win over Germany. ]]>
6/17/2018 5:00:57 PM
<![CDATA[Army organizes ceremony to honor families of police, army martyrs]]>
The ceremony aims at affirming the patriotic role of the nation's martyrs who presented great sacrifices to maintain the stability of their homeland.

Today's ceremony is a continuation of the event that was launched on the first day of Eid al-Fitr and attended by President Sisi and a galaxy of state officials to affirm that Egypt can never forget its heroes who presented their precious lives for the sake of their country.

Awqaf Minister Mohammed Mokhtar Gomaa accompanied by a number of ministers honored a number families on the second day of the ceremony which included a number of musical and entertainment shows for the kids.

Families of the martyrs and injured expressed their gratitude and appreciation for President Sisi, the army and police for their efforts to extend all aspects of care to them.]]>
6/17/2018 4:34:29 PM
<![CDATA[Police seize 39 weapons during country-wide crackdown]]>
The weapons includes 5 automatic rifles, 10 handguns, two pistols, 22 locally-made guns and 49 pieces of ammunition of various types.

The campaign also included nabbing 36 defendants who are involved in various criminal acts and weapons smuggling.

The campaign comes as part of the Interior Ministry's efforts to maintain security and combat organized crime nationwide.]]>
6/17/2018 4:17:21 PM
<![CDATA[PM orders new transport fares to be published nationwide]]>
The new fees, set by authorities in each governorate, will be advertised via different media outlets and at stations, upon the premier's directive.

Stickers showing the new fares will also be issued for micro-buses and hotlines will be set to receive any complaints about violations.

The new measures came as the cabinet central operation room is following up the situation after a recent hike in fares that was prompted by a decision to raise fuel prices.

The premier asserted that rules will be strictly applied on any violators.]]>
6/17/2018 3:44:52 PM
<![CDATA[Greek protesters clash with police after Macedonia name deal]]>
The demonstrators, waving Greek flags, had tried to approach the signature ceremony on the banks of Lake Prespa.

But they were surrounded by police near the small village of Pisoderi, some kilometres (miles) away from the ceremony.

Protestors holding Greek flags clash with riot police during a protest at the village of Pisoderi near the border with Macedonia in northern Greece on July 17, 2018 as the foreign ministers of Greece and Macedonia signed a historic preliminary accord on renaming Macedonia. The foreign ministers of Greece and Macedonia on June 17 signed a historic preliminary accord to end a 27-year bilateral row by renaming the the small Balkan country the Republic of North Macedonia. / AFP / STR

One detachment of riot police blocked the rural road leading to the lake, while others on mountain slopes threw stun grenades and tear gas at the crowd.

The authorities said some 500 people took part in the protest.

"We are fighting for the land of our fathers. We are not backing down," a protester said.

While the demonstration took place, the foreign ministers of Greece and Macedonia signed a preliminary accord to rename the country the Republic of North Macedonia, a move hailed by the European Union, the United Nations and NATO.

A man walks amid smoke as protestors holding Greek flags take part in a protest at the village of Pisoderi near the border with Macedonia in northern Greece on July 17, 2018 as the foreign ministers of Greece and Macedonia signed a historic preliminary accord on renaming Macedonia. The foreign ministers of Greece and Macedonia on June 17 signed a historic preliminary accord to end a 27-year bilateral row by renaming the the small Balkan country the Republic of North Macedonia. / AFP / STR

Since 1991, Athens has objected to its neighbour being called Macedonia because it has its own northern province of the same name, which in ancient times was the cradle of Alexander the Great's empire -- a source of intense pride for modern-day Greeks.

At the fishing village of Psarades, where the deal was signed, priests tolled the local church bell in a sign of mourning, an AFP reporter said.

6/17/2018 3:16:53 PM
<![CDATA[The Egypt-Russia Connection]]>
Russian Connections in Arabic Literature
“It’s not enough to look at a generation of writers who grew up before and right after the Abdel Nasser period; the roots of Arab intellectuals’ fascination with Soviet culture reaches back to the 19th century,” Boston University professor Margaret Litvin argued in a 2015 lecture at the American University in Cairo (AUC).

Titled “Frosty Utopia: Russian Connections in Arabic Literature from Mikhail Nu’aymah to Sonallah Ibrahim,” Litvin’s lecture refuted the limiting conversation among academics of Arabic literature existing either separately of other traditions, or in conversation with the Western tradition—which she called “insufficient.”

In the 19th and 20th century, Russia was the country where budding artists, politicians and thinkers from the Arab World sought to study ahead of creating their tour de force.

The first of these was most likely Al-Azhar scholar Sheikh Mohammed Ayyad Al Tantawi, whom Ottoman commander and 19th century Khedive of Egypt Mohammed Ali dispatched to Russia to investigate the culture, traditions and modernity of what to them seemed as a distant land.


The product of this was Sheikh Tantawi’s Trip to the Land of the Russians 1840-1850, a book which offers invaluable insights on the state of Arab-Russian relations in the 19th century. During his time in St. Petersburg, Tantawi taught Arabic to Russian diplomats and orientalists. Litvin also noted correspondences between Muhammed Abdu and Tolstoy in her lecture, which is accessible through the AUC Youtube page.

Upon its creation, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) inherited the fascination with Russia in the imagination of the Arabs. “Even before Nasser [at a point in the 1940s, for instance], there’s already a fascination about Russia and this desire to emulate its literary heroes…through readers’ curiosity to try the foods, the drinks, the vodka that their favorite characters were known to consume [in the works of Nikolai Gogol, Anton Chekhov and Fyodor Dostoyevsky]. After 1955, this becomes policy; there’s a great wave of translations from Russian literature,” said Litvin.

More recently, she added, the likes of Egyptian writers Ahdaf Soueif and Sonallah Ibrahim have commented on how Russian film and literature have been among the numerous works both have noted as part of the canon they were exposed to.

Litvin further mentioned that the adaptation of Hamlet a generation of Egyptian audiences were commonly exposed to was actually a 1964 Soviet production featuring Innokenty Smoktunovsky as Prince Hamlet, which was a “huge hit in Cairo” at the time. The “magnetic pull on Arab intellectual life” of “the idea of Russia” is clear over the course of over 100 years, she explained.


Founded in 1956, the Russian Cultural Center in Cairo offers courses in languages, computer skills, and the arts. It also runs film screenings once a week, on Tuesday evenings, of both classic and contemporary films subtitled in English and Arabic. Evening classes run popular programs teaching sound and film editing, graphic design, and accredited software trainings for engineers, web designers and web developers under the center’s Computer Department arm. The department has been in existence for 15 years continues to attract large numbers of students seeking to upgrade their skillset to prepare for the job market.

Sherif Gad, a multilingual himself and the manager of cultural activities at the enter, explains that its premises in Dokki also hosts a large library holding 12,000 volumes covering the arts and sciences disciplines. “Russian literature has, by far, been the closest and most affecting [foreign] force on the Egyptian canon and local readers due to the wide mid-century translation wave from Russian texts into the Arabic,” he tells Egypt Today.

Gad further attributes the popularity of those translations to a “sentimental proximity” between both cultures; Russian translations, moreover, captivated Egyptian readers given the subject matter and themes discussed. “You can’t be a ‘cultured’ person if you haven’t read Pushkin or Tolstoy—Russian literature in translation is widely admired among Egyptian audiences,” he says, echoing a sentiment similar to Litvin’s description of 1940s Egyptian readers that seems to remain very alive to this day.


Bridging cultures on stage, and through small and big screens
In the theatre, Egyptians have been performing Chekhov for over 60 years. Writer and playwright Rashad Rushdi, who served as the dean of Cairo University’s English and Comparative Literature department during the 1950s and well into the 1960s, produced a unique translation of Chekhov’s one-act farce The Proposal in Egyptian colloquial Arabic. The play captures how Chekov’s best Russian jokes are quite similar to the Egyptian sense of humor at heart. Rushdi became a founding father of sorts for theatre performed in colloquial Arabic when he translated Gogol’s The Inspector General into the dialect of everyday Egyptians at the time.

Among the most treasured works of Egyptian cinema are the local film adaptations of Anna Karenina, The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment. Gogol’s The Government Inspector was also adapted to a widely celebrated television series directed by the 20th century film director Houssam El-Din Mustafa. Incidentally, the soundtracks of many films Egyptian audiences wholly enjoyed were strongly affected by Russian music.

“Most professors at the Higher Institute of Cinema in the 1970s and 1980s had arrived from Russia after receiving scholarships there,” film director Ahmed Ghanem, who is also a professor of cinema studies at the French University in Egypt and the son of renowned writer Fathy Ghanem says. “An entire generation of cinematographers and directors was educated in Russia, including [those who are active until today], such as actor and director of photography Tarek El Tilmisany as well as Shawky Ali, a former dean of the institute.” Prior to the demise of the USSR, scholars were sent to the Patrice Lumumba Peoples’ Friendship University (now renamed to the Russian Peoples’ Friendship University) under inter-cultural exchange programs. Separate batches were sent to art academies in Moscow.

The late award-winning, internationally acclaimed film director Youssef Chahine directed Once Upon a Time on the Nile, a Russian-Egyptian film about the high dam that Time magazine referred to as “epic” in a 2008 profile on Chahine published following his death. The film was re-edited by the Egyptian and Russian authorities prior to its release in 1972, and is the first joint Egyptian-Soviet coproduction.

Rania Yehia, a music professor at Cairo Academy of Arts, which holds the Cairo Conservatoire and the Higher Institute of Ballet, makes note of a similar marker for Egyptian music to that which Ghanem notes exists in filmmaking, saying that the academy follows the “Russian school” in terms of instruction. “This dates back to the 1960s, a time when the national tone was that of Egypt becoming a place of innovation and development.” The Academy of the Arts was founded during that era, “with the aim of training a new generation of students to understand global art and cinema.” A heavy reliance on Russian instructors and professors was clear, with an existing community of Russian professors and instructors operating within the institution until today.

“Scholarships to Russia were all-too-common for the promising musicians who became well-known icons,” says Yehia, explaining that this was also the case at the Higher Institute of Ballet. In fact, the man who revived the opera house’s ballet troupe to become what we now know as the Cairo Opera Ballet Company, Abdel Moneim Kamel, was studying in Moscow for his PhD in the art of dance before he came back home to revive and develop the troupe. Today, lauded ballet performances play to compositions by the likes of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.


Cairo Opera House Soloist Hassan Sharara and acclaimed soundtrack composer Gamal Salameh, whose body of work boasts myriad 1970s and 1980s hit films (including collaborations with Chahine), are also among the names Yehia mentions. A mentor of Salameh’s at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Soviet Armenia composer Aram Khachaturian, allegedly called him a “genius.” Like many of the Russia aficionados in literature and film, Salameh bred his skill under the influence of Russian, Egyptian, and global art, taken from both his education and his upbringing in “an everyday Egyptian family…yet one of many artists and musicians; he is Egyptian to his core,” Yehia recounts. Another composer she mentions of a similar background and educational experience is Mustafa Nagi, who has written soundtracks for late 20th century films starring the likes of Said Abdel Ghani.

While the allure of studying in Russia may no longer be as applicable to the younger generation as it once was, Gad says he still sees an increasingly large number of students taking up Russian language courses at the Russian Cultural Center, which also offers affordable language courses in German, Italian and French. “The youth are keen to meet the job market’s needs. This includes tourism—so prospective tour guides and hotel staff—and trade, particularly given the recently signed agreement for the East Port Said Industrial Zone, which makes Russian increasingly crucial in many workplaces,” he tells Egypt Today, noting the bilateral agreement for the creation of a Russian industrial zone in the proximity of the Suez Canal.

Other students take up Russian courses in the case of inter-cultural relationships, where if one of the partners is Russian, the Egyptian partner learns the language in an effort to understand their partner’s family. A smaller number of students, Gad sees, begin learning Russian due to a love of Russian literature and culture. “But these are the minority—we also have students coming in to take classes ahead of travelling to Russia to attend the 2018 FIFA World Cup, or signing up to take intensive courses before travelling to Russia recreationally for other purposes,” he recounts.

While the influence of Russian literature and culture on its Egyptian counterparts was far more apparent in the past, it is difficult to ignore a lasting force that long had its sway on Egyptian artists and intellectuals.
6/17/2018 3:11:18 PM
<![CDATA[Residents shocked after 2 autistic children found locked up naked in Suez]]>
The children used to live with their father, who was divorced by their mother after many problems that led both parents to report to police stations several times.

The sounds of screams were heard coming from a housing unit in Attaqa neighborhood, in Suez, north-eastern Egypt, prompting neighbors to call the police who stormed the building.

Located in one of the Social Housing units in King Abdullah City, the apartment was described as not suitable for residence, and had no furniture. The two children were found standing naked with their backs against the walls inside a closed room with an odor due to stool covering the floors.

Both aged five years old, Mazin and Marawan looked unclean and hungry, with eye-witnesses saying that they seemed to be eating their feces, Moataz Abdel Moeen, one of the residents of the city, told Egypt Today in a phone interview Sunday.

The police summoned the father, who works at a Petrol Company, and investigated him over the incident. The father denied abusing or torturing his children, claiming that he had to lock them up "because they attempted to jump from the balcony before," said Moeen quoting the father's remarks during the probe. Moeen, who is also a member of a residential union in the city, added that the father blamed the miserable situation his children are witnessing on their mother who abandoned them a while ago.

According to the father's scenario, he said that he convinced the mother to apply for courses on how to deal with autistic patients to be qualified for taking care of their kids. But the mother decided she would rather specialize in the field and leave the children to their father. "I do not earn enough to take care of the children," the father told the police.

"The residents are confused and do not know what to do; believe the father's scenario and leave him to take care of the kids, or report him to the police," said Moeen. "They are trying to help the father by searching for medical centers specialized in taking care of autistic children."

The residential union has filed a police report to document the incident, requesting to evacuate the apartment. Moeen copied some residents who tried to contact the mother on the incident, "but she was negligent and uncaring."

According to investigations, the apartment belonged to the father’s sister as he claimed he preferred to keep the children there, where they will get better care. The legal fate of the father is not clear yet, especially that he still keeps the children in the same apartment.

A total of 1,121 children were abused in different ways according to a report issued by the Egyptian Foundation for Advancement of the Childhood Condition (EFACC) in April 2017. The violations varied between killing, kidnapping, rape, and drowning.

The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) announced in January finalizing the procedural manual for child protection committees across governorates and forming a national team dedicated to eliminating violence against children in Egypt.

Autism Awareness Month

Autism is perhaps the most mysterious of neurological disorders, which is why the month of April is dedicated to educating people about it, and why Egypt has launched its first awareness campaign. By Passant Rabie Did you know that autism affects one in 88 children?

Last year, it was estimated that the number of people with autism in Egypt reached 800,000, according to the Ministry of Social Solidarity. “Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of a child's life.

It is the result of a neurological disorder that profoundly affects the functioning of the brain,” according to the Egyptian Autistic Society’s definition of the disability.

“Children with autism often look normal, but seem to be withdrawn into their own world. Individuals with autism find it hard to communicate with others and relate to the outside world.”

The World Autism Awareness Day is internationally recognized on April 2 every year, encouraging countries to take needed measures to raise awareness about people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, whose prevalence rate now places it as the third common developmental disability.

Egypt lights monuments blue in honor of World Autism Day

CAIRO - 3 April 2017: Egypt's monuments were lit in blue April 2 in honor of World Autism Awareness Day for the fourth year in a row, Youm7 reported. More monuments were lit in blue this year than in previous years, including the Giza Pyramids, Cairo Tower, the Cairo Opera House and the Temple of Luxor, in addition to others.

This story was updated as details of the incident unfolded

Additional reporting by El-Sayed Noun from Suez ]]>
6/17/2018 2:58:38 PM
<![CDATA[Suicide blasts in NE Nigeria kill at least 31: official, local militia]]>
Two blasts ripped through the town of Damboa in Borno state on Saturday evening targeting people returning from celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, in an attack bearing all the hallmarks of Boko Haram.

Following the suicide bombings, the jihadists fired rocket-propelled grenades into the crowds that had gathered at the scene of the attacks, driving the number of casualties higher.

"There were two suicide attacks and rocket-propelled grenade explosions in Damboa last night which killed 31 people and left several others injured," said militia leader Babakura Kolo.

Two suicide bombers detonated their explosives in Shuwari and nearby Abachari neighbourhoods in the town around 10:45 pm (2145GMT), killing six residents, said Kolo, speaking from the state capital Maiduguri, which is 88 kilometres from the town.

"No one needs to be told this is the work of Boko Haram," Kolo said.

A local government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the death toll.

"The latest death toll is now 31 but it may increase because many among the injured may not survive," said the official.

"Most of the casualties were from the rocket projectiles fired from outside the town minutes after two suicide bomber attacked," he said.

The jihadist group has deployed suicide bombers, many of them young girls, in mosques, markets and camps housing people displaced by the nine-year insurgency which has devastated Nigeria's northeast.

On May 1 at least 86 people were killed in twin suicide blasts targeting a mosque and a nearby market in the town of Mubi in neighbouring Adamawa state.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari came into power in 2015 vowing to stamp out Boko Haram but the jihadists continue to stage frequent attacks, targeting both civilians and security forces.

The militants stormed the Government Girls Technical College in Dapchi on February 19, seizing over 100 schoolgirls in a carbon copy of the abduction in Chibok in 2014 that caused global outrage.]]>
6/17/2018 2:58:02 PM
<![CDATA[ New faculties open for 2018/19 academic year]]>
In addition to the colleges that will provide brand new fields of study such as the Faculty of Science of Navigation and Space Technology, which will be opened in Beni Suef University, new branches of already existing faculties, like law and nursing institutes will be opened to alleviate the shortage of such faculties in remote governorates.

On June 3, 2018, around 646,000 students started the national high school, Thanaweya Amma, exams, applying for the second year of the booklet system.

The exam booklet format was first implemented in academic year 2016-2017, and had almost eradicated cheating, which was common in the former format based mainly on easily predicted essay questions.

Earlier, Cairo University was announced to receive nine state awards in different fields in the annual celebration held on Tuesday June 12 by the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, affiliated with the Ministry of Higher Education.

The National Research Center came in the second place after Cairo University by receiving five awards. Each of Ain Shams and Zakazik universities received four awards, sharing the third place.

Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology, Alexandria and Mansoura Universities occupied the fourth place by receiving three awards each. And finally, the Egyptian Petroleum Research Institute was honored with two awards.

Two months ago, the Ministry of Education introduced a comprehensive new system known as the "Education System 2", which is set to first be implemented starting next academic year 2018/2019.

The new education system ensures an advanced quality of education to students and does not mainly focus on grades.

6/17/2018 2:57:08 PM
<![CDATA[Taliban say ceasefire will not be extended, fighting to resume]]>
The comments by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid come after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced Saturday a government truce with the militants would be extended. He asked the group to reciprocate.

"The ceasefire ends tonight and our operations will begin, inshallah. We have no intention to extend the ceasefire," Mujahid told AFP in a WhatsApp message.

Mujahid made no reference to Ghani's announcement.

The first formal, nationwide ceasefire since the 2001 US invasion had been met with jubilation across the country as Afghans -- Taliban, security forces and civilians -- celebrated Eid, the holiday that caps the fasting month of Ramadan.

Taliban fighters and security forces embraced and took selfies with each other over the first two days of the Muslim holiday.

Civilians also flocked to greet the militants, who had left their posts or areas under their control to celebrate the halt in hostilities, which had fuelled hopes among war-weary Afghans that peace was possible.

The extraordinary festivities were marred by a suicide attack in the eastern province of Nangarhar on Saturday that was later claimed by the Islamic State group's franchise in Afghanistan. IS was not included in the government's ceasefire.

The death toll from the blast has risen to 36, with another 65 wounded, Nangarhar health director Najibullah Kamawal told AFP on Sunday, after a number of people with critical injuries died overnight.

- No surprises -

Ghani's extension of the government's eight-day ceasefire, which had been due to expire Tuesday night, drew immediate international support and calls for the Taliban to follow suit.

The Taliban had agreed to a truce but only for the first three days of Eid, which started Friday, promising not to attack Afghan soldiers or police. They would, however, continue attacking US-led NATO troops.

With the ceasefire due to end Sunday night, fighting is likely to resume on Monday.

Before the Taliban's ceasefire had even started, analysts had expressed cautious optimism that the truces, if successful, could help build trust between the government and the Taliban and lay the groundwork for peace talks.

But it was clear on Sunday that not everyone in the Taliban approved of the bonhomie between the group's fighters and security forces.

The Taliban ordered its fighters to avoid gatherings of security forces and civilians, ostensibly to avoid further civilian casualties, following Saturday's suicide attack.

"The enemy has misused the ceasefire issue and there is a chance of more such bad incidents happening," Mujahid said in an earlier message.

But some Taliban commanders also told AFP they disapproved of their fighters visiting government-controlled areas and celebrating with security forces.

The Taliban's decision to resume fighting came as no surprise to several Western diplomats in Kabul.

"If they extend the ceasefire they will be compelled to talk, which I think the Taliban isn't interested in. They're looking for an outright victory," one diplomat told AFP on the condition of anonymity.]]>
6/17/2018 2:40:57 PM
<![CDATA[LE1.5B to fund 1st, 2nd phases of lightning streets: Ministry]]>
In a statement on Sunday, the ministry underlined that the venture will be implemented in cooperation between the Local Development and Electricity Ministries besides the Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI).

As many as 2.5 million headlights and 64,000 controlling units will be installed with total cost of LE 2 billion in order to accurately measure the amount of energy used in general lighting, the statement read.

Head of the budget sector Abdel Aziz Tantawi pointed out that the project aims at reducing public spending, saving the energy consumption used in lighting the streets and providing the lighting suitable for the safety of pedestrians and cars in the streets.]]>
6/17/2018 2:39:01 PM
<![CDATA[ICE will be held in November in Cairo]]>
Mustafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and secretary general of the conference, said organizing and hosting of ICE was won by Egypt in 2015 during the 11th session of the congress at the National Archaeological Museum of Florence, Italy. Every four years, ICE is in a different country to discuss and present the latest work in Egyptology. It is one of the most important global scientific congresses in the field of Egyptology.

Waziri added that this is the third time Egypt wins hosting the congress. Egypt organized it previously in 1988 and 2000, which were two of the most important and successful sessions held.

Two committees were set up to prepare and organize the congress. The head of the Scientific Committee is Ola el-Aguizy, dean of the Faculty of Archeology at Cairo University, professor emeritus of Ancient Egyptian Languages at Cairo University, member of the Permanent Scientific Committee for Archeology and member of the International Committee for Egyptology.

Ahmed Ebeid, chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Congress, said ICE discusses several main aspects, namely the history of Ancient Egypt;the history of Egyptology;modern methods used in archaeological excavations, sites and restorations;and art, architecture, literature, religion and social life in Ancient Egypt.
Ebeid added that, during the congress, there will be several specialized seminars to discuss the challenges and problems facing Egyptian antiquities and how to overcome them.There will also be a number of field visits to museums and archaeological sites in Cairo and Giza governorates.

Heshamal-Leithy, general manager of the Center for Documentation and Study of Ancient Egypt and a member of the International Committee for Egyptology, said the Ministry of Antiquities designed the logo of the congress, which reflects one of the important artifacts of King Tutankhamun.]]>
6/17/2018 2:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[A New Dawn for Egyptian-Mexican Trade Ties]]>The volume of trade exchange between the two countries in 2017 reached $123.4 million, a figure both governments believe has room for improvement.

Mexico’s exports to Egypt—which include tubes, spare parts for railways, steel, zinc, iron and oxide—were estimated at $52 million in 2017. Meanwhile, Egypt’s exports to Mexico—which include urea, chemical fertilizers, ready-made garments and carpets—totaled $71 million.

The council aims to increase Mexican investments in Egypt, which currently amount to $1.2 billion, officials said during the launch of the business council.

“Ties between Egypt and Mexico have consolidated to the point where Mexico is the third-closest trading partner in Latin America for Egypt. For Mexico, Egypt is the most important Arab investor, the 10th investor among African nations (from 1999 to 2017), and among its top five trading partners in Africa,” CEO of the Mexican trade and investment agency ProMéxico Paulo Carreño King tells Egypt Today Egypt.

The council is formed of companies operating or having the intention to operate in Egypt and Mexico, and is headed by ProMéxico in cooperation with the Egyptian Commercial Service. Companies participating in the council include global building materials company CEMEX, the Egyptian Pico Energy Services Group, the private water company Aqualia, El Sewedy Electrometer, Kidzania and Polimeros Mexicanos.

The latter is slated to launch its first factory in Alexandria this year to manufacture synthetic rubber.

“Egypt is in hurry, and it’s good to be in hurry,” Carreño says, adding that both governments are very enthusiastic about building a bilateral body to enhance trade and commerce between the two countries.

“Egypt is full of energy and traditions as its government is very rapidly and energetically changing, reforming for the best,” he maintains.

Carreño spoke to Egypt Today Egypt about the role of the Mexico-Egypt Business Council and his expectations for the council’s role in bilateral ties. He explains that this happens through involving the private sectors and the public sectors of both governments in a move “[that] literally pushes toward the same objective, to help these men and women make money,” as well as civil society bodies to jointly form think tanks.

“This combination of the public sector, private sector and academia is very powerful,” he says.


What is the aim of the Mexico-Egypt Business Council?

The new Business Council aims to develop trade and business ties between the two countries, and the only way to do that is to help businessmen and businesswomen create investments on both sides. It also targets to help our exporters, for example, by supporting they sell their products and services here in Egypt and the other way round.
There are areas where we as a government can help, [but] the main actor in this process is the private sector.

What is the significance of the council for both countries?

The creation of the Mexico-Egypt Business Council represents a step forward in strengthening our economic ties. Its members vary in their backgrounds and industries; from entertainment to food and energy, they all foresee a promising future in our bilateral connections. For example, just recently, Polimeros Mexicanos announced its first internationalization project in Egypt, [in addition to] Tenaris Tamsa, which started a new exporting project to the Zohr, [providing] 900 kilometers of tubes.

The importance of having such a diverse council relies in the holistic character it will provide to bilateral ties, as well as in the new opportunities it will deliver.

For ProMéxico, it is a true honor to [witness] the emergence of an ever-larger platform for dialogue and cooperation. We are convinced that the council will provide our interactions with a special dynamism, both in the short and long term.

I would like to restate that ProMéxico is at its best disposal to serve as an ally and a friend to the council. I am confident that, together, we will be able to coordinate missions, exchange relevant information, and support projects for trade, investment and internationalization.

Why does the council mainly focus on the private sector?

Obviously, we have a duty as a government to provide the private sector with information, to help them organize business trips, and to pinpoint specific sectors where they might want to invest in such as food, agriculture, energy, infrastructure, transportation and information technology, which I find particularly important.

Egypt and Mexico are two countries that are transforming, and their societies [are transforming] into more skillful societies [with] an increasingly skillful [employee base]. [For instance] we need more engineers and Egypt has a lot of them.

How would you asses Egypt’s private sector?

Egyptian businessmen and businesswomen are very enthusiastic about change and they are opening themselves up to the world, which I believe is the right thing to do.

Egypt is now focused on the energy sector, especially after the discovery of Zohr gas field; are you planning to participate in that field?

In fact, Mexican company Tenaris Tamsa, which has a plant in Mexico called Veracruz and is considered one of the largest steel producers in the world, is already participating in Zohr gas field through supplying pipes for the field work, so we already have a solid Mexican participant in the Zohr gas field.

Mexico also has an important participant in the energy sector, Pico, and El-Sewedy Electrometer in the electricity field as well. Energy is such a fundamental economic area that we can work together on.

Are there any planned trade missions to Egypt or to Mexico during the upcoming period?

Absolutely, we start with what we have here now. There are eight businessmen from Mexico who came specifically for the creation of the Mexico-Egyptian Business Council, which is very important, and to do business. We have already had a couple of very good meetings with the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association (EBA) and the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI).

The meeting with EBA was with the chairman, the executive director and Alaa Diab [the EBA’s agriculture committee chairman]. The main agreement is to organize a business delegation in October for the agri-food business. Mexican companies have a business agenda in Egypt.

We held a discussion with GAFI about the incentives and opportunities of investing in Mexico, and Egypt agreed to signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for exchanging information on mutual investments.

We also visited the Suez Canal, so businessmen are already making business. We are planning another trade mission in September. We are here to stay.


What are the prerequisites for businessmen to participate in the council?

All businessmen or businesswomen have to do is just raise their hands and say, “I want to be a part of it.”

When can we see the effect of these missions and meetings?

I trust that this trip will have a powerful effect very soon.

Would the activities of the council be reflected in the trade numbers between Egypt and Mexico on the short term?

I trust it will, as soon as this year ends. We are talking six or seven months.
6/17/2018 2:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Railway e-booking system to be introduced: Minister]]>
In press remarks on Sunday, Arafat said that the first trail of the new mobile-based service will be during Eid Al-Adha, which falls within a couple of months.

“A new mobile application will soon be launched and will enable citizens to inquire about ticket prices and trains’ timetables, and that the payment method will be conducted through the Visa or Smart Card of the National Authority of the Railway,” he added.

As for the booking system, Arafat pointed out that the smart cards for train booking/cancelation purposes will be available in train stations and that ticket prices will be deducted from the smart card’s credit.

Revenues of the Egyptian Railways Authority recorded LE 168.6 million ($9.39 million) in April 2018, compared to LE 153.6 million in the same month of 2017, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).

On a month-on-month basis, the revenues decreased as they recorded LE 175.3 million in March.

CAPMAS said that train passengers recorded about 20.9 million in April 2018, compared to 21.3 million in April 2017 and 21.8 million in March 2018.

The Egyptian Railways Authority’s budget in fiscal year 2017/18 stood at LE 3 billion.
6/17/2018 1:45:39 PM
<![CDATA[A Look at Egyptian-Moroccan historical relations ]]>
In solidarity with Morocco’s candidacy, Cairo Tower was lit up with the colors of the Moroccan flag after its loss of the 2026 World Cup hosting right to the tri-nation of the United States of America, Canada and Mexico.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita, asserted that Egypt's stance on the Morrocan candidacy to host 2026 World Cup reflects the deep seated relations between the two peoples and leaderships characterized with mutual understanding and friendship.

In light of the above, Egypt Today provides a quick look at the historical relations between the two friendly African and Arab-speaking states.

Booming trade exchange:

Trade exchange between Egypt and Morocco has notably improved over the last period, though it is still below potential, Osama Geneidy, board member of the Egyptian-Moroccan Businessmen Association, announced earlier in April.

He further said that trade between both countries could be easily boosted in light of a great potential, adding that trade exchange between Egypt and Morocco stands at $700 million, of which $400 million are Egypt’s exports.

Geneidy said that the association has organized two visits to Morocco, which resulted in several meetings with Moroccan businessmen and the signing of a protocol agreement with Morocco’s Trade and Industry Chamber.

President Sisi meets (C) with Speaker of the Moroccan House of Representatives Al-Habib Al-Malki (the second from left)- press photo
He added that Moroccan businessmen are following up on Egypt’s reform measures that aim at encouraging investment.

Karim Heikal, another board member of the Egyptian-Moroccan Businessmen Association, said that the association has put forward plans with all parties in Egypt and Morocco to develop economic relations between both states.

He added that the Moroccan side is very keen to boost trade exchange with Egypt in all fields.

In an official state visit to Egypt last April, speaker of the Moroccan House of Representatives Al-Habib Al-Malki paid a visit to Cairo on Tuesday, where he met with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, the then-Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Egyptian Parliament Speaker Ali Abdul Aal.

In 2004, Egypt signed Agadir Agreement which is a free trade agreement between four Arab countries: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. The agreement, which came in force in 2007, helped to enhance the trade exchange between these four countries.


Moroccan investments in Egypt are noticeably growing, with several Egyptian investments already set up in Morocco; recently, an Egyptian-led candy factory in Casablanca was flagged off last year.

Last year, an Egyptian-Moroccan working group was formed to promote bilateral economic cooperation in a number of specific sectors, as well as to address challenges hindering the flow of trade between Egypt and Morocco.

Morocco is the 40th largest foreign investor in Egypt, with total investments amounting to $80 million.

Egypt's stance on the issue of Moroccan Western Sahara

Given the fact that the Moroccan Western conflict Sahara issue is a matter of life or death for the Moroccans, and Egypt has maintained a clear position in support of the Moroccan’ sovereign right to annex the Western Desert, that was reflected in the words of Egypt's Ambassador to Rabat Ashraf Ibrahim, who said in official statements after taking office earlier this year that Cairo is "committed to the territorial integrity of Morocco and supporting the international solution to the Western Sahara issue and the Moroccan autonomy plan.”

Long-standing cultural confluence

In Egypt, there are still places and streets that retain the names of Moroccan tribes such as Zouila, Qatamiya, Bataniya, Berqia and others since Egypt has been the main gate through which Moroccan pilgrims can pass through to make it to the scared land.

Egyptian singing icons like Abdul Halim Hafez and 'Star of the East' Umm Kalthum have found their way to the hearts of the Moroccan kings such as the late King Hassan and his father Mohammed V, who spotted several times attending Kalthum's concerts at the Opera House.

Late Moroccan Sultan Mohammed V shakes hands with Umm Khulthum at Cairo Opera House in 1960

Gamal Abdel Nasser, the late Egyptian leader threw his weight behind Mohammed V of Morocco and the liberation of the kingdom from the French colonist. Both leaders conjointly laid the foundation stone of the High Dam in Aswan in 1960.

In addition, Morocco has played a prominent role in getting the headquarter of the Arab League to Egypt; following the signing of the Camp David peace agreement, Casablanca hosted an Arab summit which prioritized the return of the Arab League to Egypt.

Also, Egypt and Morocco are members of a number of international organizations, including the Arab League, African Union, GAFTA, Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

6/17/2018 1:40:57 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to receive 4th tranche of IMF loan in July: Minster]]>
Ma’it added that the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund is scheduled to discuss the disbursement of $2 billion to Egypt, stressing that the economic reform program is progressing steadily.

Egypt has received the third tranche of the loan in December 2017.

In May, an IMF delegation visited Egypt for 16 days in a third review of the state’s economic reform program.

The IMF issued a statement saying that the staff-level agreement is subject to approval by the IMF’s Executive Board, adding that the completion of this review means the payment of a further $2 billion, bringing total disbursements under the program to $8 billion of a $12 billion loan agreement.

The statement noted that “Egypt has begun to reap the benefits of its ambitious and politically difficult economic reform program. While the process has required sacrifices in the short-term, the reforms were critical to lay the foundation for strong and sustained growth that will improve living standards for all Egyptians.”

“Egypt’s growth has continued to accelerate during 2017/18, rising to 5.2 percent in the first half of the year from 4.2 percent in 2016/17. The current account deficit has also declined sharply, reflecting the recovery in tourism and strong growth in remittances, while improved investor confidence has continued to support portfolio inflows. In addition, gross international reserves rose to $44 billion by the end of April, equal to 7 months of imports,” the statement read.

Egypt clinched a $12-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after the flotation of its currency in November 2016, losing about 50 percent of its value.

The IMF loan helped the state’s foreign reserves to rebound by receiving the first three tranches of the loan with a total value of $6.08 billion.

Deputy Minister of Finance for Financial Policies Ahmed Kojak, announced earlier that Egypt will repay the installments of the International Monetary Fund’s loan starting from May 2021 until November 2026.

Kojak clarified during the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings that the first installment amounted to $2.75 billion.
6/17/2018 1:40:03 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's Suez canal reports record high $5.585B annual revenue]]>
Revenue a year earlier was $5.008 billion, it said.

The financial year has not yet finished, however. Egypt’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to the end of June.

The canal authority did not explain why it had released figures ahead of the end of the fiscal year.

It announced on Saturday increased revenue in May, and predicted a record yearly figure, attributing this to increased international trade and improvements in the shipping industry.

Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi invested in an expansion of the Suez Canal which began in 2014, one of the former military commander’s mega-projects designed to revive an ailing economy and restore the country’s place as an important trade hub.

Egypt’s finances were hit badly by unrest that followed a 2011 popular uprising which toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

Critics have slammed some projects, including the Suez expansion, as a waste of money.

Cairo is also imposing a raft of harsh austerity measures tied to a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which some economists say are helping get the economy back on track, but which have hit ordinary Egyptians hard.]]>
6/17/2018 1:36:03 PM
<![CDATA[Colombia votes in polarized election putting peace, economy at stake]]>
Ivan Duque, the business-friendly protégé of hardline former president Alvaro Uribe, wants to alter a peace deal he deems too lenient on Marxist FARC rebels, while keeping Colombia's largely orthodox economic model.

His rival, leftist former guerrilla Gustavo Petro, has pledged to take on political elites, redistribute land to the poor and gradually eliminate the need for oil and coal in Latin America's fourth-largest economy.

"We're between a rock and a hard place," said financial planner Juan Jose Mojica, 21. "They're two extremes that could destroy the development that the country has made over the last years."

From the sweltering Caribbean coast to the frigid heights of the Andes, some 11,230 polling stations will open at 1300 GMT. Polls close at 2100 GMT and results are expected within hours.

These are the first elections since a 2016 peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which ended their part in a five-decade conflict that has killed more than 220,000 people and displaced millions.

Duque wants to change the accord with tougher punishments for FARC war crimes, while Petro promises to support the existing deal and continue a peace process with the National Liberation Army (ELN) - Colombia's last active rebel group.

"Duque doesn't want peace. He wants war to continue and prevent Colombia getting ahead," said Jorge Andres Sanchez, 31, selling World Cup goods in a Bogota shopping center. "Let's put it behind us and start again."

A lot is at stake too for Colombia's $324 billion economy. Duque has promised to keep investors happy by cutting business taxes, bolstering the oil and coal sectors - top exports - and helping manufacturing.

Petro, a one-time member of the now defunct M19 insurgent group, wants a new economic model that ditches reliance on extractive industries for renewable energy and a land reform that promotes an increase in productive use.

His policies have prompted rivals to compare him to Venezuela's former Socialist President Hugo Chavez.

"The markets and the productive sector see Duque as someone who guarantees the continuity of the current economic model, while they see Petro as someone who would break it down," said Carlos Sepulveda, dean of economics at Rosario University.

State-run oil company Ecopetrol SA is responsible for almost 60 percent of Colombia's oil production of around 830,000 barrels per day and operates export pipeline infrastructure.

Petro would shift its emphasis toward wind and solar power.

"I really don't like either of them, but as I have to choose, it has to be Duque," said Carlos Mora, a 52-year-old lawyer. "With Petro, I really think we'll end up like Venezuela."

Some candidates from the first round have asked Colombians to cast blank ballots – a means for voters' to demonstrate dissatisfaction with the choice of candidates.

Sergio Fajardo, nudged into third place by Petro last month, said on Friday neither Petro nor Duque represent a good option. "The blank vote will be higher than usual because the two candidates are from the most extreme positions on right and left, leaving the moderate centrist electorate with no obvious option," said political analyst Yann Basset.]]>
6/17/2018 1:19:33 PM
<![CDATA[Challenges to be faced to put into force health insurance law: Health min.]]>
Zayed said that this law faces two major challenges namely; sustainability of financial resources and manpower, adding that the ministry can overcome such difficulties and present a suitable service to the citizens.

Hala's statements came on Sunday during her visit to Port Said to check on a number of medical facilities and health care units.

Undersecretary of Health Ministry in Port Said Adel Te'elab said that that visit comes to follow up the construction works taking place in the hospitals and medical centers in the governorate]]>
6/17/2018 1:18:30 PM
<![CDATA[Mohamed Salah'smural displayed in New York's Times Square]]>
Brandan was inspired by Salah’s face and beard when he saw him on Television.
Salah’s mural shows him wearing the white Egyptian association jersey on a background painted in red and white. The most noticeable part in the artwork is Salah’s hair and beard; they take up most of the mural’s space and they’re decorated with Egyptian patterns and pictures of Mohamed Salah playing football.

Brandan commented on the sentence "Larger than Life" painted on the mural, saying “so many people celebrate his power on the field and what he represents off the field. So, a lot of him looking down is this way of being humble but yet he’s large. He could just look over everyone but yet he’s still focusing on the people.”

Salah commented on his love for the mural and the Egyptian people, saying “Egypt, you know, people, they only want to go to the World Cup but now after what I’m doing they want to win the World Cup. For me, as a footballer, it’s something different to see myself anywhere in street art.”

Salah was titled as BBC’s African Player of the Year in 2017 and The Best African Player in February 2018 by France Football. He also earned the title of top scorer of Europe’s top five leagues in 2018 and also he is the fourth African player to score more than 20 goals in the English Premier League.

6/17/2018 1:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Greece, Macedonia sign pact to change ex-Yugoslav republic's name]]>
The foreign ministers of Greece and Macedonia signed an accord to rename the former Yugoslav republic the "Republic of North Macedonia," despite a storm of protest over a deal seen as a national sellout by some on both sides.

In the idyllic setting of Prespes, a lake region which borders Greece, Macedonia and Albania, officials from the two countries embraced, shook hands and penned a deal in the presence of European and United Nations officials.

The agreement still requires the approval of both parliaments and a referendum in Macedonia. That approval is far from assured, as it faces stiff opposition from the Greek public, and Macedonia's president has vowed to block the deal.

"We have a historic responsibility that this deal is not held in abeyance, and I am confident that we will manage it," Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said as he and his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev received a standing ovation from guests at the lakeside ceremony.

Tsipras survived a no-confidence vote mounted by Greece's opposition in parliament on Saturday, but the depth of public emotion against the deal is strong.

Up to 70 percent of Greeks object to the compromise, an opinion poll by the Proto Thema newspaper showed on Saturday. In Psarades, the tiny lakeside community where the deal was signed, the village church bell tolled in mourning, draped in a Greek flag.

Under the deal, Greece will lift its objections to the renamed nation joining the EU and NATO.

"Our two countries have to turn from the past and look to the future," Zaev said. "We were bold enough to take a step forward."

Greece has been in dispute with Macedonia since 1991 over the former Yugoslav republic's name, arguing it could imply territorial claims over the Greek province of Macedonia and an appropriation of ancient Greek culture and civilisation.

The subject is an emotional one for many Greeks. On Saturday, thousands of protesters outside the parliament building shouted "Traitor, traitor!" as lawmakers debated inside.

Veteran UN mediator Matthew Nimetz, who has been overseeing talks for a quarter century, described the agreement as an honourable deal. It was, he said, an example of "how neighbours can solve a problem if they really work at it".

"Today is my birthday," said Nimetz, who turned 79 on Sunday. "I told my family this year I don’t need any gifts because two prime ministers are going to give me a big gift."]]>
6/17/2018 1:06:12 PM
<![CDATA[Migrant boat turned away by Italy arrives in Spain]]>
Spain swooped to help 629 mainly sub-Saharan Africans on board the Aquarius last week after Italy's new government, asserting its anti-immigrant credentials, refused to let it dock. Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who took office two weeks ago, took the opportunity to show a more liberal stance.

But the plight of the Aquarius, run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) with Franco-German charity SOS Mediterranee, highlighted the European Union's failure to agree on how to manage the huge influx of people fleeing poverty and conflict.

In Valencia, officials in white protective suits and masks greeted the migrants as they debarked and police started identifying them and processing their information.

The Aquarius arrived carrying 106 people rescued from unstable boats near Libya. The others had been transferred to an Italian coast guard vessel and a ship belonging to the Italian navy to make the journey safer.

The coast guard boat was the first to arrive, docking in the eastern port with 274 on board just after dawn.

Shouts and singing erupted on the ship as the migrants on board saw Valencia on the horizon, Spanish journalist Gabriela Sanchez tweeted from another boat travelling alongside it.

A staff of 2,320, including volunteers, translators and health officials, were waiting on shore. Red Cross Secretary General Elhadj As Sy was also in Valencia for the arrival.

"This sad odyssey of the people on the Aquarius is another reminder that all people, regardless of their nationality or immigration status, should have access to basic assistance and protection," Sy said in a statement.

"No human being is 'illegal', and people who need help should receive help," added Sy.


Doctors Without Borders tweeted a photo of one of its team telling the people on board what they could expect.

"People are calm and pleased to be arriving in Spain," the group said.

All seven pregnant women on board the ships will be immediately taken for check-ups, and all the arrivals, including 123 minors, will receive psychological help.

Valencian local government officials said none of the people who arrived on the first boat showed signs of serious illness, but many had suffered from crowded conditions and high temperatures in recent days.

Anti-migrant feeling has surged in Italy, where more than 600,000 people have arrived by sea over the past five years, helping to propel the nationalist League into a coalition government.

Far fewer have come to Spain, but the numbers are rising fast. Spain's coast guard rescued almost 1,000 people on Friday and Saturday. A search is underway off the coast of Almeria after four sub-Saharan men rescued by helicopter said their dinghy had been carrying a total 47 people when it sank.

Most Spaniards support the idea of welcoming and helping to integrate refugees, pollsters say. That allowed Sanchez, a socialist, to offer migrant-friendly policies to voters who felt previous governments did not do enough .

France, which chided Italy for turning away the Aquarius, has offered to take in any passengers who qualify for asylum and want to go there.

An Italian naval vessel is due to bring the remaining migrants into port later in the morning. ]]>
6/17/2018 1:01:06 PM
<![CDATA[VIDEO: Salah is ready to smash the Russian citadel ]]>CAIRO - 17 June 2018: The Egyptian international winger Mohamed Salah is ready to participate in the national team next match against Russia.

photo 1
Egypt's forward Mohamed Salah (C) speaks to his teammates during a training session during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament at the Akhmat Arena stadium in Grozny on June 17, 2018. / AFP

Liverpool’s forward totally recovered after his arm was injured in the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid last May.

photo 2
Champions League Final - Real Madrid v Liverpool - NSC Olympic Stadium, Kiev, Ukraine - May 26, 2018 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah reacts as he is substituted after sustaining an injury REUTERS

Salah participates in the last training session for the Egyptian national team and he may start the next match against Russia.

Egypt’s amazing performance in the group stage’s second match wasn’t enough; the Pharaohs lost 0-1 against Uruguay through a late José Giménez header in their first match.

Egypt impressed the majority of the game against Uruguay as the goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shenawy was crowned with the Man of the Match title.

Egypt stands in the third position in Group A with zero points. Uruguay now places second in Group A with three points behind the leader and the host nation, Russia, with three points but with five goals in their bank. Saudi Arabia is in the fourth position.

Salah turned 26 last Friday and the hotel’s management, where the Egyptian national team resides in Grozny, surprised the Egyptian star Mohamed Salah by celebrating his birthday.

Photo 3 - Press Photo
press photo

photo 4
Egypt's forward Mohamed Salah (C) attends a training session at the Akhmat Arena stadium in Grozny on June 17, 2018, ahead of the team's Russia World Cup 2018 Group A football match against Russia. / AFP

Also Egyptian fans at Ekaterinburg Arena decided to chant the "Happy Birthday" song at the 26th minute of the match.

EGYPT Team Profile:

6/17/2018 1:00:05 PM
<![CDATA[Macron to host dance music concert at Elysee Palace]]>
More than 1,500 free tickets were quickly snapped up on a first come, first served basis by signing up on the Elysee website.

The office of President Emmanuel Macron has not confirmed if he and his wife Brigitte will make an appearance during the four-hour show at his official residence.

But the first couple did appear during a surprise Elysee performance for the music day last year by the orchestra of France's Republican Guard.

Although Macron is not the first president to hold concerts at the presidency, his predecessors including Jacques Chirac and Francois Mitterrand made them invitation-only.

This will also be the first electronic music show, featuring two artists known for exporting the "French Touch" sound: the DJs Kavinsky and Pedro Winter, who performs as Busy P.

Kavinsky achieved wide recognition with "Nightcall", a hit on the soundtrack to the 2011 film "Drive".

Winter, the longtime former manager of Daft Punk, is also the founder of the Ed Banger label, whose artists have included house music acts Justice and Sebastian.

The will perform alongside younger artists Chloe, Cezaire and Kiddy Smile.]]>
6/17/2018 12:20:52 PM
<![CDATA[Naomi Campbell and Monica Bellucci light up Milan fashion week]]>
With an over-the-top gilt and baroque decor glittering in the background, the 48-year-old Campbell was a vision from top to bottom from her elegant black hat with a white band to her sparkling silver heels.

She wore a classic pinstripe suit with a carefully mismatched bow tie adorning her crisp white shirt.

The catwalk celebrated love in all shapes and sizes -- heterosexual, gay, couples with children, cougars and sugar daddies -- sending women and men, women and women, men and men, women and toy boys and older men and their trophy conquests down the ramp in eye-popping colours screaming Florida.

(L-R) Italian fashion designer Stefano Gabbana, British model Naomi Campbell, Italian model and actress Monica Bellucci, Italian fashion designer Domenico Dolce and dutch Marpessa Hennink acknowledge the audience at the end of the Dolce & Gabbana men & women's spring/summer 2019 collection fashion show in Milan, on June 16, 2018. / AFP / MIGUEL MEDINA

Bellucci showed off a three-piece coal black suit with a wide lapel, teetering on vertiginous heels with her hands in her pockets.

Italian actress Monica Bellucci presents a creation by Dolce & Gabbana during the women's Spring collection fashion show in Milan, on June 16, 2018. / AFP / MIGUEL MEDINA

The younger models were heartthrobs of the Millennials -- a target group for the house -- including actor Cameron Dallas, Chinese singer and actor Karry Wang and Kailand Wander, the son of US music legend Stevie Wonder.

Apart from Campbell and Bellucci's suits, the other offerings bore the quirky, sassy D&G stamp: suits encrusted with precious stones or layered with dazzling silver and gold embroidery that the maison put down to a "Gothic inspiration."

- Snakes motifs and neon shades -
Versace also opted for full-blast -- but far younger -- star power, leading with current top model Bella Hadid. Both the boys and girls wore outfits bearing the brand's trademark snake motif, as well as head-to-toe fluorescent green and pink combinations.

Trousers were in plaid and shorts were both baggy or tight and some were asymmetrical. There were letter box red cardigans emblazoned with a crown and Donatella Versace said the collection catered to three kinds of men: a "street style" for stars, another for dandies and a third for "leaders."

"The Versace man is not ordinary, he is watched and spoken of," she said.

6/17/2018 12:06:24 PM
<![CDATA[Official statements on cutting fuel subsidies]]>
Egypt Today reviews the statements of the ministers related to the new fuel prices and cutting the subsidies.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli announced in a video conference that the increase of transportation fares will be around 10 to 20 percent, stating that most governors have set new fares and will announce them on public stations.

Madbouli, who is also the Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities, stressed on the importance of intensifying control campaigns on the markets to ensure the commitment of gas stations’ workers and drivers of different means of transportation to the new prices.

For his part, Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla said that the total cost of oil products subsidy over the past five years reached LE 517 billion, clarifying that generic subsidies have a multitude of negative consequences on the Egyptian economy.

He also explained that those who actually deserve petroleum subsidies did not benefit from the system, which has proven unpractical, over the years.

Molla added that the current subsidy system has a negative impact on social justice due to the fact that high-income segments also benefit from these subsidies, thereby decreasing the amount of money the government has to spend on the public. This is a clear difference between equality and equity, implies Molla.

The minister of petroleum also explained that increasing the prices of petroleum products saves LE 50 billion for the country, money that he suggests could be allocated elsewhere to benefit people. Instead, this money is expected to be allocated to healthcare or educational services to ensure better human, social and economic development for all, ensuring equity and social justice, instead of quality; between equality and equity. Much of the research has shown that equity leads to social and economic justice, as well as human and social development, while equality does not necessarily do so, as it limits competition and leaves people on an unequal footing.

Meanwhile, the official spokesman of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Hamdy Abdel Aziz, said that despite the increase in fuel prices approved by the Cabinet today, the state still subsidizes fuel by between 20 and 25 percent of its cost.

Abdel Aziz added that the ratio of revenues of sales at the local price to the cost is still about 75 percent to 80 percent. The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources is setting an ongoing strategy to increase domestic production of oil and gas to reduce import and reduce costs, he added.

"Despite the recent increase in the prices of petroleum products, the government still supports various types of petroleum products, and the local price has not yet reached the value of the cost of production, where the domestic production accounted for about 70 percent of consumption, and the remaining 30 percent is exported," he pointed out.

Moreover, Minister of Finance Mohamed Ma'it said that the subsidy of petroleum products in the upcoming budget of the fiscal year 2017/2018 recorded LE 89.1 billion, down from LE 110.15 billion in the current year.

The minister said that the continuity of the high oil prices would raise the subsidy bill in the budget to LE 180 billion, which would affect the allocations to health and education and efforts to provide new job opportunities, stating that these are the reasons behind moving fuel prices.

He added that the upcoming budget is adopting several subsidies' programs with total costs of LE 334 billion, a move that ensures that the state continues providing care and protection for low-income brackets.

Ma'it added in a statement that global prices of oil which exceeded $80 per barrel, pushed the state to get local prices right.

The minister of finance clarified that this increase comes as step to avoid the rise of the budget deficit and to control the state’s debts.
The Cabinet announced on Saturday, which corresponds to the second day of Eid el-Fitr, the new prices of the fuel, to decrease its subsidy gradually.

Gasoline 95 prices went up from LE 6.6 ($ 0.37) per liter to LE 7.7, while 92 octane gasoline prices amounted to LE 6.75 instead of LE 5 per liter. Prices of gasoline 80's liter increased to LE 5.5 instead of LE 3.65, the newly-appointed government said in its first move since taking oath Thursday.

The price of diesel will be LE 5.5 a liter instead of LE 3.65, while the price of natural gas used for vehicles rose to LE 2.75 per cubic meter instead of LE 2.

Meanwhile, the government has announced raising the price of the cooking gas cylinder to LE 50 instead of LE 30 and the commercial gas cylinder's prices surged to LE 100 instead of LE 60.

Egypt embarked on a bold economic reform program that included the introduction of taxes, such as the value-added tax (VAT), and cutting energy subsidies, with the aim of trimming the budget deficit.

The country has floated its currency in November 2016 before it clinched a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF loan helped the state’s foreign reserves to rebound by receiving the first three tranches of the loan with a total value of $6.08 billion.

6/17/2018 12:03:43 PM
<![CDATA[The Great Budgetary Expectations]]>
Expenditure is set at LE 1.424 trillion; of which debt interests shape LE 541, up from LE 437.9 in the current fiscal year, LE 266.09 billion for wages, LE 60 billion for purchase of goods and services, LE 332.29 billion for subsidies and social spending, LE 148.5 billion for public investment and LE 75 billion other expenses.

As for revenues, the government aims to collect LE 989 billion this year, up from LE 813.4 billion projected in the fiscal year (FY) 2017/18, marking an annual increase of 21.6 percent, through focusing policies on administrative and institutional reform in the taxation system, means of expanding tax base to boost proceeds, and ways to diversity general revenue resources.

Taxes revenues will see an annual hike of 23.4 percent to reach LE 770 billion and contribute 14.7 percent of the GDP, compared to 14.2 percent a year earlier. Other non-tax revenues will include LE 10 billion from the planned initial public offerings (IPO) of some state enterprise and capital increase in the Egyptian Exchange (EGX), LE 8.2 billion from public enterprises’ profits and LE 7.4 billion from surpluses from economic authorities, excluding the Suez Canal surpluses.

In the pre-budget, the government is also looking to raise LE 770 billion in tax revenues in the next fiscal year; a figure close to the IMF’s predicted LE 770.5 billion, but too ambitious compared to Pharos’ predictions of LE 709.3 billion.

“This figure is aggressively ambitious. The state ability to collect taxes does not meet this high expectation,” economist and Managing Director of private equity firm Multiples Group, Omar El-Shenety says.

Managing Director and Global Head of Research at EFG Hermes Ahmed Shams EL-Din highlights two positives at the budget level from a fiscal point of view. Firstly, the government is continuing to target higher tax revenues (increasing to contribute 14 percent of the GPD), and the second is its commitment to slashing subsidies.

احمد شمس

The government’s ambitious expectations come at potentially hard times as the government prepares for a third round of energy subsidies cut by the end of the current fiscal year. This also coincides with a leap in global oil prices to reach late-2014 levels; signaling another potential wave of price inflations.

Experts agree that the government’s mission to achieve these goals will not be an easy task, and warn that some projections should be reconsidered, given the recent regional and domestic developments, to avoid a sharp budget deviation.

A steep road toward an achievable target

Although the new budget targets a 5.8 percent growth rate, the IMF estimated the GDP growth rate for 2018/19 at 5.5 percent. Economists, however, consider the government target an achievable dream as the GDP growth rate in the first half of the current fiscal year stood at 5.2 percent, and is forecasted to end the year at 5.3 percent, up from 4.2 percent in 2016/17; all figures that exceeded the fund’s targets.

This goes in parallel with a strong reform proram, and legislative reforms that aim toward a positive investment climate and resolving pending investor conflicts. Foreign direct investment (FDI) has also been steadily rising, registering $7.9 billion last fiscal year, and projected to hit $10 billion by the current one.

“The government is likely to hit all its targets on growth, inflation and fiscal deficit in FY18/19. Growth is supported by strong rebound in tourism, rising natural gas production and public investment. Consumption is also recovering gradually, supported by a catch-up in incomes,” Shams El-Din says.

But even though the targets are feasible, and various market conditions pave the way for achieving them, it will not be an easy road.

“This growth rate is ambitious, yet is not a pipe dream. The government would realize its goal if macroeconomic stability was maintained,” El-Shenety says.

As GDP growth rate was around 5 percent during current fiscal year, Shenety predicts a 5.2 percent for the next fiscal year, but he reiterated that the government’s target is “achievable.”
On the other hand, Chief Economist at HC Brokerage Sara Saada has more optimistic views, predicting the economy to grow by 6 percent in 2018/19 and 6.2 percent in the next fiscal year.

Saada adds that the private investment growth is key to more sustainable GDP growth, urging the authorities to adopt a number of monetary and fiscal policy measures to to stimulate private investment growth over the short term.

The threat of soaring oil prices

Fuel subsidies are set at LE 89 billion in 2018/19 budget; a figure well above the IMF’s requirement of LE 48.4 billion. On the other hand, Pharos Holding anticipates a further rise in fuel subsidies to reach LE 98.9 billion, as the investment bank is pricing the average Brent price at $69 per barrel, $2 above the finance ministry’s forecast.

محطات البنزين بعد ارتفاع الاسعار4-11-2016رويترز (4)

“Budgeting a 26 percent decline in fuel subsidies and 49 percent in electricity subsidies will help further extend the fiscal consolidation with a 2 percent of GDP primary surplus in FY18/19. This would provide Egypt with a decent fiscal buffer, and also contribute in changing the structure of fiscal spending where the state will have more funds to spend on health and education,” Shams El-Din says.

Flagging fuel subsidies as the key challenge in the new budget as oil global prices have been on the rise over the past week, reaching over $75 per barrel, Shenety highlights the need to reconsider the oil pricing in the budget, given the possibility to see further hikes in the crude prices in the coming period.

Global crude oil price is a key risk as each $1 increase per Brent barrel would harm the overall budget deficit as the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporate (EGPC) would suffer a cost increase by LE 4 billion, finance ministry’s and Pharos’ estimates are similar in this regard, Pharos Holding’s economist Mahmoud el-Masry says.

HC’s Saada agrees, affirming that the increase of global oil prices, along with other external risk may jeopardize the balance between price stability and the government’s fiscal consolidation plan.

Oil prices soared more than 3 percent shortly after US President Donald Trump decided on May 8 to quit a nuclear deal with Iran, vowing the “highest level” of sanctions against the OPEC member. The decision aroused investors’ concerns about escalating risks of conflict in the Middle East and about oil supplies in the market as Tehran’s output would cut 1 million barrels daily once the sanctions take place in six months, unless other deals are reached.

On May 10, Brent crude futures went up by $2.36, to settle at $77.21 a barrel. The global benchmark hit a session high of $77.43, the highest since November 2014. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures inched up 3 percent by $2.08 to hit $71.14 a barrel.

“A higher-than-expected increase in fuel prices could slow down the recovery in consumption and could lead to some slippage on the fiscal side; whether due to a higher interest expense or larger fuel subsidy bill,” EFG-Hermes’ head of research says.

The inflation ahead

The pre-budget’s target to bring down inflation from 13.1 percent in April’s end to 10 percent is an especially ambitious one, given the government’s pledge to move ahead with the fiscal reforms, including energy subsidies cut and the potential increase of several public services, including transportation.

Ruling out the possibility of curbing inflation to reach the target of the new budget, Shenety says: “A new inflationary wave is in the pipeline, fueled by energy subsidies cut. Inflation will most probably rebound again to the levels of 20s, but we will not see 30s again.”

Since last November, Egypt’s annual inflation started to ease gradually after peaking at 35 percent last July. However, monthly inflation edged up for the third month in a row, from 0.3 percent in February to 1 percent in March, and eventually to 1.5 percent in April, fueled as usual by the food and beverages item, which recorded a month-on-month increase in its price level of 2.4 percent, Mubasher International’s economist Israa Ahmed explains.

“Although we see annual inflation retreating, we see that monthly inflation is of more concern in the time being. We think there is an inflationary wave that is disguised under the base effect in annual inflation, yet it appears more clearly on a monthly basis,” Ahmed adds.

Considering the monthly inflation rate as a relatively high one, Ahmed says that this level raises questions about price levels in the upcoming months, especially during Ramadan and after the upcoming subsidy cuts.

فيتشرات السيدة زينب محرر اسراء الشرباصى تصوير محمد الحصرى (32)

The CBE targets an inflation rate of 13 percent (±3 percent) by the fourth quarter of 2018, aiming to gradually reach a single-digit rate next year.

“Inflation is already hovering around the CBE’s inflation target and we estimate that the upcoming fuel prices hikes will still leave inflation stable given the favorable base effect. Rising oil prices are the key risk to the government meetings its targets,” says Shams El-Din.

Further risks

El-Masry hints at two other major risks to the new budget as the finance ministry built its sensitivity analysis on three main scenarios: The first assumes that a depreciation in the pound-to-dollar exchange rate by LE 1 will result in a LE 3 billion decrease in the primary balance in FY2018/19, representing a decline in primary surplus as a percentage of GDP by 0.05 percent.

However, Pharos estimates show that a similar depreciation in the currency would lower the primary surplus by LE 7.6 billion, and consequently a decrease in primary surplus of 0.1 percent of GDP, Masry explains.

Shenety believes putting the dollar at LE 17.25 in the new budget is a good estimate and better than the LE 16 price of the current budget. Meanwhile, Pharos’ Masry says the average dollar-to-pound exchange rate is estimated at LE 18.63; a rate closer to the IMF’s estimate of LE 18.7 than that of the government.

The second risk highlighted by Pharos economist was the finance ministry’s estimate that a 1 percent increase in average interest rates on government securities in foreign currency would raise the interest payments by LE 4-5 billion. Pharos’ research predicts that a similar hike would push the interest payments by LE 12.2 billion.

Given those factors, economic expert and former head of both Egyptian and Arab direct investment associations Hany Tawfik calls it a “disastrous budget.” The debt interests are eating up more than LE 541 billion and the debt premiums stand at LE 243 billion; combined, they amount to LE 784 billion and shape around 82 percent of the targeted revenues set at LE 989 billion, he explains.

هانى توفيق

Egypt has managed to achieve a number of targets, including lowering inflation and increasing net international reserves to pre-2011 level, but this has come at the price of higher debt, HC’s Saada argues.“While we believe the current high level of local debt (97 percent of GDP) is a burden on the fiscal budget, we are confident that with its commitments to the reform program, fiscal consolidation plan, and our expectation of accelerating GDP growth, local debt-to-GDP should gradually drop,” she adds.

However, Saada warns that the rise in external debt to $100 billion in January, up from $67 billion in December of 2016, is a major source of vulnerability to the Egyptian economy.

Social Spending

As the government intends to press ahead with its fiscal reforms, it raised its food subsidies allocations to LE 86.2 in the new budget, up from the LE 82.2 expected during this fiscal year and more than double of LE 42.7 in 2015/16.

It also maintained allocations for unconditional financial cash support, such as Takaful and Karama social safety network program, at the same level of 2017/18; at LE 17.5 billion.

Key social schemes applied on the new budget are: Takaful and Karama, school nutritional meals, setting social insurance and low-income social protection plans, in addition to applying the new comprehensive health insurance system, which aims to guarantee fairness among participants and be self-funded and sustainable, according to the pre-budget statement.

The finance ministry also plans to increase expenditure for overhauling public services, continuing major infrastructure projects — including public transportation services, water and sewage systems, slum development and human resources developments — and increasing allocations for education, health and scientific research. Around LE 148.5 billion will be allocated for public investments in 2018/19.

The statement confirms the ministry’s commitment to reprioritize and effectuate expenditure, follow more efficient and just distribution plans, achieve the intended financial control as means to reduce public debt rates, provide more future allocations for investments and create more job opportunities.

6/17/2018 12:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Beyonce, Jay-Z celebrate marriage and blackness in surprise album]]>
The album -- which came two years after Beyonce revealed Jay-Z's infidelity through lyrics -- again offers plenty of tidbits into the lives of music's most famous couple.

Here are some highlights:

- No love child -

Jay-Z shot down rumors that he has an illegitimate child. Aspiring rapper Rymir Satterthwaite has alleged for years that he is the superstar's son due to his mother's purported fling with the then little-known Shawn Carter in 1992.

"Billie Jean in his prime / For the thousandth time / The kid ain't mine," Jay-Z raps on "Heard About Us," referencing Michael Jackson's classic song about a paternity case.

Jay-Z and Beyonce's six-year-old daughter Blue Ivy separately makes an appearance on the album and says "hello" to her twin siblings Rumi and Sir, who turned one on Thursday.

- Recovered from infidelity -

"Everything is Love," as the title implies, speaks much about the strength of their marriage after highly public troubles.

Beyonce on her 2016 album "Lemonade" revealed infidelity by Jay-Z, who apologized a year later on his own album "4:44."

On the joint album's boisterous closer "Lovehappy," the two say that they have patched up.

"You did some things to me / You do some things to me," Beyonce sings with brass in her voice. "But love is deeper than your pain and I believe you can change."

- Angry at legal action -

Jay-Z vents frustration several times on the album about legal action against him. Most recently the Securities and Exchange Commission ordered the rapper to testify as part of an investigation into his sale of his Rocawear clothing line.

On "Nice," Jay-Z denounces the subpoena and suggests he is being targeted because he is a successful African American, wondering why he did not face such scrutiny in his earlier life as a Brooklyn drug dealer.

"Time to remind me I'm black again, huh? / All this talking back. I'm too arrogant, huh?"

Later on the album he professes his innocence in disputes with authorities -- so often known by their agencies' acronyms -- as he raps: "I pass the alphabet boys like an eye test."

- No to Super Bowl -

Jay-Z appeared to confirm a report that he turned down an offer from the National Football League to perform at this year's Super Bowl, the most watched event on US television.

Jay-Z is an outspoken supporter of Colin Kaepernick, the now-unemployed quarterback who stirred a nationwide discussion by kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.

He alludes to the racial imbalance in American football, where team owners are almost entirely white and players mostly African American.

"I said no to the Super Bowl / You need me, I don't need you," Jay-Z raps.

"Every night we in the endzone / Tell the NFL we in stadiums, too."]]>
6/17/2018 11:56:54 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian gov’t sets new transportation fares, controls violations ]]>
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli announced Saturday that the increase in transportation fares will be around 10 to 20 percent, stating that most governors have set the new fares and they will be announced on public stations.

Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) is responsible for ensuring that the drivers comply with the prescribed fare approved by the governors in each governorates, Head of CPA Rady Abdel Moaty said.

Any detected violation will be forwarded to the prosecution to take legal action against the violator, Abdel Moaty added.

He added that the 19588 hotline will receive any complaints from citizens regarding tariff rates or high prices, without any justification, in addition to receiving complaints on the following WhatsApp number: 01281661880.

Head of Assay & Weights Administration Abdullah Montaser, which is affiliated to the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade, revealed the sealing of 40 fuel stations during the past few days, because of the manipulation of the counter calibrations, which harm the consumer.

New Transportation fare among governorates

In Assiut, Governor Yassir el-Desouky announced the new internal and external transportation fare among the governorate with an increase of 15 to 20 percent.

The fare rate between Assiut governorate and other governorates is LE 90 to Cairo Governorate, LE 80 to Hurghada, LE 45 to Qena, LE 40 to Nagy Hamadi, LE 35 to New Valley, LE 20 to Sohag, LE 21 to Menia and LE 15 to Mallawi.

While the fare between Port Said Governorates and other governorates became LE 50 to Cairo, LE 22 to Ismailia, LE 40 to Suez and Zagazig, and LE 58 to Alexandria.
Other governorates are going to announce the new fares once they are approved by the governor.

New Fuel Prices

The Cabinet announced on Saturday, which corresponds to the second day of Eid el-Fitr, the new prices of fuel, as the subsidy on fuel is being decreased gradually.

Gasoline 95 prices went up from LE 6.6 ($ 0.37) per liter to LE 7.7, while 92 octane gasoline prices amounted to LE 6.75 instead of LE 5 per liter. Prices of gasoline 80's liter increased to LE 5.5 instead of LE 3.65, the newly-appointed government said in its first move since taking oath Thursday.

The price of diesel will be LE 5.5 a liter instead of LE 3.65, while the price of natural gas used for vehicles rose to LE 2.75 per cubic meter instead of LE 2.

Meanwhile, the government has announced raising the price of the cooking gas cylinder to LE 50 instead of LE 30 and the commercial gas cylinder's prices surged to LE 100 instead of LE 60.

Egypt embarked on a bold economic reform program that included the introduction of taxes, such as the value-added tax (VAT), and cutting energy subsidies, with the aim of trimming the budget deficit.

The country has floated its currency in November 2016 before it clinched a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF loan helped the state’s foreign reserves to rebound by receiving the first three tranches of the loan with a total value of $6.08 billion.

6/17/2018 11:54:38 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s non-oil exports hit $10.7B in 5 months]]>
Gaber added that exports in May reached $2.07 billion, in which $1.58 billion went for non-oil and non-manufacturing exports and $489 million for food exports.

He added that exports to Arab countries came at the top of the list with $834 million, followed by exports to the EU worth $621 million, Africa for $108 million and U.S. for $93 million.

Former Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Tarek Kabil said that Egypt’s non-petroleum exports rose 16 percent during the first four months of 2018, recording $8.64 billion, compared to $7.43 billion during the same period of 2017.

Kabil stressed that the positive indicators of the Egyptian foreign trade reflect the success of the 2020 strategy.

The 2020 strategy was launched in November 2016 by Minister of Trade and Industry Kabil. It includes five main axes: industrial development, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) development and entrepreneurship, export development, training and technical education development, and corporate governance and development.

The strategy aims at increasing exports in the first place after strengthening the local industry.

The ministry seeks during the current period to enter new markets, expand in traditional markets and make full use of trade agreements signed with a large number of countries and economic blocs around the world to boost Egyptian exports to foreign markets.

Egypt benefits from the trade agreement that has lately come into action, reflecting the rising volume of its exports. The state is involved in international trade deals such as the Mercosur Agreement, which is a free-trade agreement signed by Egypt and Mercosur countries in 2010, including immediate customs clearance for 63 percent of exports from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay going to Egypt.

The Mercosur trade deal covers food, cars, auto parts and industrial supplies, and the deal came into force in 2017.

Another trade agreement that Egypt is attached to is the deal with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), which represents a free-trade area with 19 member states, stretching from Libya to Swaziland. COMESA was formed in December 1994 to replace the Preferential Trade Area, which had existed since 1981.

Gaber commented on the four-month exports saying that the most important markets for Egyptian exports include the Agadir Agreement’s countries, stating that exports to Agadir countries recorded $505 million, compared to $365 million during the same period in 2017, with an increase of 38.3 percent.

In 2004, Egypt signed the Agadir Agreement which is a free trade agreement between four Arab countries: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. The agreement, which came in force in 2007, helped to enhance the trade exchange between these four countries.
Egypt's non-oil exports rose 10 percent in 2017 to $22.42 billion, up from $20.41 billion in 2016.
6/17/2018 11:48:51 AM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir to operate 11 World Cup charter flights to Russia]]>
Ten flights are set to carry 1,700 people on Monday, while one will fly on Sunday with 150 on board, said the flag carrier on Sunday.

This is in addition to regular flights to Moscow on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, it noted.

EgyptAir started on Thursday a plan of charter flights to carry Egyptians seeking to boost the Pharaohs, who are competing in Group A with Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay.

Egypt's team was defeated 0-1 in the opener against Uruguay on Friday. It will face Russia on Tuesday.]]>
6/17/2018 11:40:37 AM
<![CDATA[VIDEO: FIFA World Cup- Russia: MatchDay 4 Schedule ]]>
RUSSIA 17 June 2018:
Costa Rica will play against Serbia in their World Cup Group E match at the Samara Arena. (2:00 PM- CLT)

COSTA RICA Team Profile:

Bryan Ruiz (Costa Rica) - Match 10 Preview:

SERBIA Team Profile:

Nemanja Matic (Serbia) - Match 10 Preview:

Defending champions Germany will be the overwhelming favourites to beat Mexico in their opening World Cup match at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. (5 PM – CLT)

Germany Team Profile:

Jerome Boateng (Germany) - Match 11 Preview:

MEXICO Team Profile:

Hugo Ayala (Mexico) - Match 11 Preview:

Brazil, one of the favourites to win the World Cup, play Switzerland in their first game at the Rostov Arena. (8:00 PM - CLT)

BRAZIL Team Profile:

Alisson (Brazil) - Match 9 Preview:


6/17/2018 11:37:38 AM
<![CDATA[VIDEO: Poulsen goal powers Denmark to 1-0 win over Peru]]>

Peru started the brighter of the two sides, keeping Danish danger man Christian Eriksen under wraps for much of the first half, and they should have gone ahead just before the break when Cueva was tripped in the box by Poulsen.

Referee Bakary Gassama consulted with the VAR (video assistant referee) system before awarding the penalty but Cueva, whose nickname is "Aladdin", sent the spot kick on a magic carpet ride high over the bar.

Poulsen punished that miss in the 59th minute as Eriksen sucked in two defenders before playing him in to score what turned out to be the only goal of a pulsating, high-tempo match, despite Peru going close on several occasions late on.

6/17/2018 10:27:44 AM
<![CDATA[VIDEO: Super Eagles earning their World Cup wings]]>

One of the youngest teams in the tournament with an average of just over 26, the Super Eagles displayed plenty of youthful energy but some of it was misplaced during a physical clash that allowed Croatia to score from set pieces.

A veteran Croatia side put their experience to good use as Luka Modric, featuring in his third World Cup, played a part in both of their goals.

Modric scored a second half penalty to secure the win after Croatia went ahead through a first half own goal by Nigeria midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo which flowed in from a corner kick by the Real Madrid midfielder.

"When you lose a match it is something we don't like but we recognise that Croatia had the better team tonight and my young players made some mistakes," said Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr. "The first goal is coming on a corner, the second one also on a corner and a penalty.

"I think these young players need time to learn, sometime they were a little bit naive on the set pieces but we will work on it."

Nigeria next face an even smaller soccer nation with big ambitions when they next meet Iceland in a match that could determine which team advances.

Tiny Iceland sent a shock through the World Cup earlier on Saturday when they battled twice champions Argentina to a 1-1 draw.

"We have to accept this defeat and now we have to win against Iceland, all is possible still," said Rohr. "If we win the next game all is possible for the qualification.

"We were satisfied with the organisation of the team defensively but we didn't have so many opportunities to score.

"You need to make at least four points if you want to be qualified, nothing is lost all is in our hands so let's be positive we believe we can do it.

"We have the youngest team in the world at this World Cup, let them learn from this match.

"I think we can do better than what we did today."
6/17/2018 10:07:50 AM
<![CDATA[Siemens wins $2B contract to build new London Tube trains]]>
Transport for London (TfL), the public body in charge of the Tube, said the award of the contract would allow Siemens Mobility Limited to push ahead with its plan to build a new factory in Goole, east Yorkshire, in northern England.

“The Siemens Mobility Limited factory would employ up to 700 people in skilled engineering and manufacturing roles, plus up to an additional 250 people during the construction phase of the factory,” TfL said in a statement.

“As a result, around 1,700 indirect jobs would be created throughout the UK supply chain,” it said.

Siemens said in March it had leased 67 acres (27 hectares) of land in Goole with a view to building a 200-million-pound ($266-million) train factory. The plans were subject to the company’s success in securing major future orders, it said at the time.

Siemens Mobility Limited is Siemens’s British subsidiary for its trains and transport technology business.

TfL said it had also received bids from a joint venture of Canada’s Bombardier (BBDb.TO) and Japan’s Hitachi (6501.T) and from France’s Alstom (ALSO.PA) when the bidding process began in 2016.

Subsequently, Siemens and Alstom announced that their rail businesses were due to be merged.

While the order is for an initial 94 trains for the Piccadilly Line, TfL said the contract was being awarded on the expectation that the manufacturer would also build trains of the same design for three other so-called Deep Tube lines.

The Piccadilly Line, which carries more than 700,000 passengers per day, is the first of the four Deep Tube lines to receive a much-needed upgrade.

The new trains, expected to be delivered from 2023, will be 6 meters (yards) longer than the existing ones and will be designed to optimize space within the constraints of the narrow Deep Tube tunnels.

The 86 trains currently running on the Piccadilly Line were introduced in 1975 and had a design life of 40 years. They are now one of the oldest train fleets in passenger service in Britain.

The aging trains and signaling system restrict the current rush hour service on the Piccadilly Line to 24 trains per hour. That will go up to 27 trains at peak times by the end of 2026, after the new trains are brought into service, TfL said.

Combined with a signaling upgrade and the purchase of additional trains, peak period capacity on the busiest central sections of the Piccadilly Line will increase by more than half by the end of the 2020s, meaning an additional 21,000 customers will be able to board trains every hour at rush hour.

“This long-term sustainable investment will support London’s growing population, which is set to increase to 10.8 million by 2041, supporting new jobs, homes and growth,” it said.

Sabrina Soussan, CEO of Siemens Mobility, said the company was thrilled by the announcement.

“We can drive down lifecycle costs and significantly improve the passenger experience,” she was quoted as saying by TfL.

A Siemens spokesman in Germany declined to comment.

($1 = 0.7528 pounds)]]>
6/17/2018 9:43:41 AM
<![CDATA[Boyka: I was hoping to join the premiere of 'Harb Karmouz']]>
The movie is expected to be released in local theatres on Thursday night.

Boyka stated that he is more than happy to participate for the first time in such a unique cinematic experience in Egypt.

The superstar further commented that both Karara and the movie’s director, Peter Mimi, are highly talented and knowledgeable and that he is pleased to work with both of them.

Moreover, Boyka stated that since the release of the trailer in social media platforms, he has received numerous comments and messages from his fans and friends congratulating him on his new project.

The world renowned star expressed his great appreciation of his Egyptian fans, especially for the love and support they gave him since his arrival to Egypt.

Furthermore, the star stated that he was invited by the movie’s producer to attend the premiere, along with his fellow co-stars; however, he was in Belgium filming another movie, which made him miss the movie's premiere.

“Harb Karmouz” is the first movie that is solely starred by Amir Karara.

The movie combines a great selection of talents, such as Ghada Abdel Razek, Fathy Abdul Wahab, Mustafa Khater, Eman al Assy, Bayoumy Fouad and others.

The movie is written by Mohammed el Sobky and directed by Peter Mimi.

6/17/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[World Cup title adds no pressure against Mexico-Germany's Loew]]>
The Germans, World Cup winners in 2014, kick off their title defence at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium and Loew said his players had nothing else on their mind other than winning their opener.

"The (2014) title plays no role. The tension we have is a positive tension and you can feel it rising. What you won in the past does not matter," he said.

"Before the first match everyone has this positive tension. You want it to start, to prove yourself, to take a good step in this tournament and it does not matter what you have won or not."

Loew has been in charge since 2006 and his team has won every tournament opener at Euros and World Cups under him, a run they want to extend against the Mexicans.

He said that setbacks during their preparation for Russia, such as a loss to Austria and a scrappy win against Saudi Arabia in their final warm-up games, never shifted the team's focus.

"It is correct that we have won a lot of opening matches. We accept that in our preparation things may go wrong at some point. What we focus on is the first tournament game and in the first games we have always shown our good performance," Loew said.

"It has to do with the self confidence of the players. I hope we can succeed tomorrow against a very tough opponent who plays well in almost every aspect of their game."

The Germans have won all three tournament encounters against the Mexicans, including their 4-1 demolition at last year's Confederations Cup. German FA records state that in 11 matches Mexico have managed just one victory.

But midfielder Julian Draxler, who captained a largely second-string Germany to the Confederations Cup title, warned that Sunday's encounter would be a completely different affair.

"Our team has changed a lot from the Confederations Cup," Draxler said. "We should not read too much into that win last year. It will be a completely different game.

"Mexico is collectively strong, play pressing and can put the opponent under pressure."

Germany also play South Korea and Sweden in their group.]]>
6/17/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[OMB's Kraninger picked to head U.S. CFPB -White House]]>
Kraninger would succeed her boss, the interim head of the CFPB Mick Mulvaney, if the decision is approved by the senate.

"She will bring a fresh perspective and much-needed management experience to the BCFP, which has been plagued by excessive spending, dysfunctional operations, and politicized agendas," White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement.

Trump appointed Mulvaney as temporary head of the CFPB in November to replace Richard Cordray, an appointee of President Barack Obama. ]]>
6/17/2018 5:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Fans rage on social media over empty seats at World Cup]]>
The official attendance for Friday's game at Ekaterinburg Arena was just 27,015, according to FIFA, at a stadium which has had its capacity expanded to 33,061 with the unusual addition of temporary external stands behind each goal.

The thousands of empty bright-orange seats were embarrassingly conspicuous to fans all over the world watching TV coverage of the second game in soccer's premier event.

"I was a bit upset to see empty seats but I don't have control over this, or the necessary information. It's our FIFA partners who deal with tickets," regional governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev said on Instagram.

A spokesman for soccer's governing body said: "FIFA has looked into this and we can confirm that the matter related to the match in Ekaterinburg was mainly linked to 'no-shows' from all constituent groups. There were no problems with FIFA's ticketing operations on-site that would have prevented ticket holders from attending the match and, as already mentioned, 32,278 tickets had been allocated."

'Constituent groups' includes member associations and sponsors, as well as the general public.

Olga Kotlyarova, a former Russian athlete who works in the information department of the city administration, wrote on Facebook that many of the empty seats belonged to VIP guests who had decided to watch from an indoor lounge because the weather was cold.

There was no shortage of scathing comments from locals.

One man, Vlad Chekhomov, posted on social media: "My friend was sitting in the top rows of the main stand, right under the roof, for 12,600 roubles ($200). He would have been better off outside."

The average monthly salary in Yekaterinburg is about 40,000 roubles, and a typical pension around 12,000.

A Russian fan, Viktor Smirnov, complained on social media he had ended up in the outside stands despite originally buying what he thought was a pitch-side seat, and said the unfilled seats on the day were a scandal "on an international scale".

Another, Yevgeny Strugov, said he had bought a seat that turned out not to exist, and twice had to persuade police to let him through. "They were trying to accuse me of forging my ticket," he said.

The FIFA spokesman said he could not comment without knowing the case, but there were clearance areas at every stadium where any ticket problems could be resolved.]]>
6/17/2018 4:31:00 AM
<![CDATA[One dead, 4 wounded in a clashes in Lebanon]]>
The clashes resulted in the exchange of fire and the killing of Lebanese Army sergeant and the wounding of four others, who were rushed to hospitals in the Bekaa.

Army units conducted raids in the town in search of the perpetrators.
6/17/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Civil Aviation min. checks security measures in Cairo airport]]>
In a statement issued by the Civil Aviation Ministry, the minister directed to review the situation of the suspended projects and plans to resume them.

During his first inspection tour at the airport, the minister listened to the staff's suggestions and asserted the necessity of committing to accuracy and regulation.

Masry was sworn in on Thursday before President Abdel Fattah El Sisi as the new civil aviation minister.
6/17/2018 3:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Costa Rica ready for new adventure starting against Serbia]]>
This time, under a different coach in Oscar Ramirez, the Central Americans know there are different expectations from their fans and the wider football audience.

However, as the team prepares for their first Group E game against Serbia on Sunday, the Costa Ricans are looking to write a new chapter in their country’s footballing history.

“I think it is different this time. 2014 is over, it is our biggest achievement ever in a World Cup but it is another story,” Ramirez told reporters on Saturday.

“Our story starts tomorrow with our first match."

Defender Giancarlo Gonzalez, who scored a penalty in the shootout victory over Greece in the last-16 four years ago, echoed the thoughts of his coach.

“The last World Cup is the past for us, it is ancient history. We need to write a new chapter for us, for Costa Rica,” said the 30-year-old.

“A lot has been talked about the last World Cup, but this is a new World Cup, a new story.”

Ramirez, who played for Costa Rica at Italia '90, warned that Serbia would look to start the game on the front foot.

“When the game starts we will see how to handle Serbia. They will put a lot of pressure on in the first 20 minutes and we need to deal with this with balance and calm nerves,” he said.

“Intensity will be key. If we score first or they score first, that is key. I am concerned about this aspect.”

“It is a team with a lot of qualities and one of them is the physical part, using their bodies to create a strong defence,” added Gonzalez.

“They are as intense as every other European team. We have prepared to be stronger in this area but the most important thing is to think about what we can do because we cannot only think about our defence, we have to talk about our qualities as well and our strengths and try to get the most out of them tomorrow.”

World Cup favourites Brazil take on Switzerland in the other Group E clash on Sunday.]]>
6/17/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Croatia need own goal and penalty to overcome Nigeria]]>
Modric's coolly taken 71st minute spot kick gave the scoreline a clear-cut feel, but the fact that Croatia failed to score on their own from open play was testament to some wayward shooting.

While dominating for long periods, they struggled to penetrate the Nigerian defence and failed repeatedly to find the target with speculative shots from well outside the penalty area.

The result puts Croatia in pole position for now after Argentina - their next opponents in the group - were unexpectedly held to a 1-1 draw by Iceland.

Looking ahead to that clash in Nizhny Novgorod next Thursday, Modric told reporters: "It is going to be a difficult match, maybe against the favourites in our group. They have quality but this win will boost our confidence.

"It will be tough, granted, but they will have to play for a win because of the scoreline today that they never expected."

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr highlighted his team's weakness in defending at set-pieces, and said victory against Iceland next Friday was now a necessity.

"All is possible for the qualification... We keep smiling, we are disappointed, and we will try to be better in the next game," he said.

"Of course it is important now to make at least four points if you want to qualify. We are one point behind now. It is all in our hands. We have the youngest team in the World Cup - let them learn from this, and we will do better."


The first goal came just after the half-hour mark when a Croatian corner from the right was headed across the box and on to striker Mario Mandzukic, whose diving header found its way into the net off Etebo's foot.

Just three days into the World Cup, the scrappy goal added to what is becoming a pattern, following a Moroccan own goal that handed victory to Iran on Friday and a deflected Paul Pogba effort that earned France a 2-1 win over Australia earlier on Saturday.

Until then, Croatia and Nigeria had appeared evenly balanced, with the African side's goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa untroubled by powerful but long-range shots from Ivan Perisic and Andrej Kramaric - the first going over the bar and the second finishing wide.

As the game heated up, Kramaric headed onto the roof of the Nigerian net, while at the other end Alex Iwobi had a shot charged down and Victor Moses fired over the bar.

Nigeria started the second half with intent as Leon Balogun headed over, but the first half pattern reasserted itself as Croatia imposed their authority while failing to land shots on target.

Their best chance fell to Ante Rebic, but his well struck volley zoomed wide of the goal as he ran onto a pass from Perisic.

Croatia again had their opponents to thank for their second goal, after William Troost-Ekong grabbed Mandzukic in the penalty area, wrapping both arms around him from behind in a tight embrace that would have done credit to an amorous Cossack.

Modric strode up to stroke the ball low into the left-hand corner, giving Ezenwa no chance.

Asked if he had been nervous after Lionel Messi's penalty miss for Argentina against Iceland, the Croatian captain was dismissive.

"I wasn't nervous. I was fully focused on scoring from that penalty spot. Thank God I managed to score - nothing more to be said, really."
6/17/2018 12:11:43 AM
<![CDATA[Twitter reveals its key highlights on Egypt’s World Cup game]]>
The online news and social networking service, Twitter, made sure to spot the highlights that took place on the social platform following the exciting match between Egypt and Uruguay.

The most tweeted Egyptian footballers during the match included the following names:
1. Mohamed Salah @MoSalah
2. Tarek Hamed @TarrekHameed
3. Mahmoud Trezeguet @Trezeguet
4. Marwan Mohsen @MMohsen
5. Mohamed El Shenawy @Melshenawy

Twitter has also revealed the top hashtags used during the game that took place on Friday:

1. #egy
2. #uru
3. #worldcup
4. #rusia2018
5. #egyuru

The game was heavily retweeted on the social networking sercive, here are the top tweets of it:

Twitter has added a dedicated World Cup match page in Arabic to make it easier for fans to keep up with every goal and play on Twitter. The World Cup and individual pages are located at the top of the timeline for every game - including scores, Tweets, video and Moments. In addition, the Egypt team has its own country-specific emoji on Twitter. When people use the following hashtags, the Egyptian flag will appear after the text: #EGY , #ThePharoahs , الفراعنة#.

Similar data will be available following Egypt’s against Russia (#RUSEGY) and Saudi Arabia (#KSAEGY) on 19 June and 25 June respectively.
6/17/2018 12:01:15 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi greets Sudanese president on Eidul Fitr]]>
In the phone call, Sisi congratulated Bashir on the occasion of Eidul Fitr in which he hoped goodness, development and prosperity to the Sudanese people.

Meanwhile, Bashir thanked Sisi and hoped Egypt and its people more development and stability.
6/16/2018 10:11:49 PM
<![CDATA[Turkish warplanes strike Kurdish militants in Iraq's Qandil, Erdogan says]]>
The Turkish military has ramped up air strikes in northern Iraq targeting PKK bases in Qandil, close to the Iraq-Iran border, where Ankara suspects high-ranking members of the militant group are located.

The government has also said Turkish troops have deployed roughly 30 km (nearly 20 miles) inside northern Iraq, not far from Qandil.

Speaking in an interview with Kanal 7 television, Erdogan said Turkish warplanes had struck a meeting point in the Qandil mountains where high-ranking members of the PKK were thought to be. The military would announce the outcome of the air strikes in the coming hours, he said.

"With the latest operations, we struck a very important meeting point of theirs. We haven't received the results yet, but it is certain that they have been hit," Erdogan said.

Ankara has recently stepped up its warnings of a potential ground offensive in the Qandil mountains. Erdogan said he had discussed the issue with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and that the two agreed to maintain regional security.

Northern Iraq's Qandil mountains are situated close to the border between Iran and Iraq. Tehran holds significant influence over Iraq's central government in Baghdad.

Turkey has also been in talks with Iraq about the potential offensive but Erdogan said on Saturday that Ankara will wait to see a new government formed in Baghdad following May's election there before continuing talks.

An offensive against the PKK in Qandil would mark Turkey's third cross-border operation since 2016, with the first two targeting Kurdish militia fighters in northern Syria. Turkish forces cleared large swathes of land along Turkey's southeastern border as part of its operations into Syria.
6/16/2018 9:57:43 PM
<![CDATA[Greek pm survives no confidence vote in parliament]]>
Lawmakers backing Tsipras rejected the motion brought by the opposition New Democracy party. Opposition had accused Tsipras of making too many concessions over the deal, due to be signed on Sunday.

Thousands of Greeks were protesting against the agreement outside parliament, calling for Tsipras to resign. Police used stun grenades and teargas to prevent them from entering the building.
6/16/2018 9:42:23 PM
<![CDATA[Nicaragua gunfire and home blaze breaks Ortega peace truce; 8 dead]]>
Loud bursts of assault rifles were heard in the morning, apparently emanating from makeshift roadblocks near a university campus, according to a Reuters reporter in the capital city of Managua that has been the epicenter of protests since mid-April.

The violence flared hours after Ortega and civic leaders agreed on Friday to cease hostilities, remove roadblocks and allow for a foreign inquiry into the country's bloodiest confrontations since a civil war ended in 1990.

Despite the breakout of violence, both sides resumed talks to address the Catholic Church's proposal to anticipate general elections and implement political reforms.

Local media reported that police and pro-Ortega masked gunmen had fired at protesters guarding the roadblocks. The government did not reply to a request for comment on the reports.

The national police in a statement attributed the gunfire to protesters, and said two men had died. A police spokesman reached by phone declined to comment.

Investigators from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and Amnesty International have condemned the government crackdown and documented excessive use of force by police and government forces.

Amid the morning's unrest, a building near the university caught fire, killing six people including two children, the police said in a statement. Local television showed images of firemen carrying two toddlers from the burning building.

Firefighters battling the blaze came under attack from masked "delinquents," the statement said. Police said they would investigate the cause of the fire.

Jose Maria Hernandez, 63, uncle of the building's owner, said his nephew and nephew's wife died in the blaze that had resulted from a confrontation with police.

"This is a massacre. A barbarity. These police surrounded the house and burned it after my nephew refused to let them put snipers on the roof," Hernandez told Reuters outside the building, which had spewed thick black clouds of smoke.

Ortega's surprise decision in April to slash pension benefits to cover a widening social security gap triggered the demonstrations that quickly turned fatal and led to demands for his resignation.

The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights, which has monitored the violence, said at least 170 people were killed in the eight weeks of clashes between pro-Ortega forces armed with assault rifles and pistols and protesters armed with rocks, slings and homemade mortars.

Ortega, a former guerilla, has accused protesters of trying to undermine democracy in one of the Western Hemisphere's poorest countries. Violence has ground the economy to a halt.

Juan Sebastian Chamorro, a civic leader who agreed with Ortega to halt hostilities, told Reuters civil society leaders would soon make a pronouncement about the flare-up of violence.
6/16/2018 9:34:31 PM
<![CDATA[Taxi ploughs into Moscow crowd including soccer fans, hurts eight]]>
The incident took place as residents and visiting soccer fans from around the world thronged the centre of Moscow on a balmy summer evening.

Moscow's traffic management authority said the taxi driver had a driver's licence issued in Kyrgyzstan, a mainly Muslim ex-Soviet republic.

The authority cited the driver, who was in police custody, as saying he had not driven into the crowd on purpose.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in a post on Twitter: "There was an unpleasant incident with a taxi. The driver lost control of the vehicle."

The city's police said they had opened a criminal investigation into suspected violation of the traffic code.

Moscow city's healthcare department issued a statement saying eight people were hurt and had been taken to hospital. It said seven were in a satisfactory condition, while one woman was seriously hurt.

The Mexican embassy in Moscow said two Mexican women had been lightly injured. Also among those hurt were a Ukrainian and two Russian citizens, Russia's TASS news agency quoted a source in the emergency services as saying.

Video of the incident posted on social media showed the yellow Hyundai taxi pull sharply out of a line of stationery traffic, accelerate and mount the narrow pavement, which was packed with pedestrians.

The vehicle drove for about 10 metres along the pavement, bowling over pedestrians, with some of them being carried along on the bonnet of the car.

The taxi came to a partial halt after hitting a traffic sign. As bystanders tried to pull open the driver's side door, the driver, dressed in black trousers and black T-shirt, jumped out and sprinted away.

More bystanders chased after him and could be seen trying to tackle him to the ground as the footage ended.

A witness at the scene told Reuters that some of the people hit were wearing Mexican team colours. Mexico take on Germany on Sunday in their first World Cup match at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium, and thousands of Mexican fans are in the Russian capital.

A second witness at the scene told Reuters about the driver of the taxi: "He was pulled out of the vehicle, he ran off but bystanders apprehended him. He was shouting: 'It wasn't me'."

Another witness, Viktoria Geraimovich, said she called the emergency services on her mobile phone.

Describing the actions of the driver, she said: "He ran into a group of Mexicans. There were shouts, moans. He was only stopped because he hit a traffic sign."

"Someone gave him a punch in the face. He stayed in the car, people came up to him, said what are you doing, punched him in the face, he opened the door and tried to run away."

"It's scary that it was in the centre (of Moscow) and I was right opposite," she said.

Interfax news agency cited a source as saying that the driver was drunk at the time of the incident. A medical source cited by Interfax said none of the people hospitalised was critically injured.

Russian authorities have vowed to host a safe soccer World Cup, which is taking place in 11 cities until July 15.

In central Moscow, authorities have installed heavy concrete blocks across the entrances to pedestrianised areas following a spate of incidents in European cities in which vehicles were used to mow down people.

The U.S. State Department on Friday updated its travel advice on Russia, saying terrorist groups were plotting attacks.

"Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities," the travel advice stated.

The Moscow traffic authority posted on Twitter a copy of what it said was the taxi driver's licence. It gave his name as Chingiz Anarbek Uulu and said he was born on April 22, 1990.

It gave his birth-place as the town of Kochkor-Ata in Kyrgyzstan, near the border with Uzbekistan.

An account on Russian social media platform Odnoklassniki for someone with the same name and date of birth was last updated two years ago.

The last video he posted on his page depicted chapter 82 of the Koran, Islam's holy book, which discussed judgment day. There was nothing on the page to suggest any links to, or sympathies with, Islamist militant groups.
6/16/2018 8:58:51 PM
<![CDATA[Defiant Merkel backs Europe migrant policy as Bavaria row simmers]]>
The row is over Merkel's rejection of plans by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, from Bavaria, for Germany unilaterally to send back migrants who have registered in other European Union countries.

Such a reversal of her 2015 open-door migrant policy would be a huge blow to the authority of Merkel, in power for more than 12 years, and undermine the Schengen open-border system at a time when EU tensions over migration are running high.

In her weekly podcast, three days before talks between Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron outside Berlin, the chancellor hammered home her stance:

"This is a European challenge that also needs a European solution. And I view this issue as decisive for keeping Europe together," she said.

Merkel wants two weeks to try to strike bilateral deals with partners, such as Italy and Greece, on migrants and to make progress at an EU summit on June 28-29 on an EU-wide policy.

Seehofer's Christian Social Union (CSU), facing a tough state vote in October, doesn't want to wait. Members say the minister will defy Merkel on Monday if no compromise has been reached by then, and go ahead with the plans alone.

Such an affront to Merkel could force her to fire Seehofer, and there is even talk of the end of the 70-year conservative parliamentary alliance between Bavaria and Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU).

Without the CSU, the CDU and Social Democrats (SPD), the third party in her "grand coalition", would lack a majority.

Last week, Merkel confronted the risk of losing the full support of her own CDU, many of whom support the CSU's tougher line. But she won over a majority of her lawmakers on Thursday and most are now behind her.

Merkel's refugee policy, which has led to more than 1.6 million migrants arriving in Germany in the last three years, is widely blamed for a surge in support for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which entered parliament after a September election and is the main opposition party.

In her podcast, Merkel also said Germany and France, the EU's strongest axis despite some differences, would try to give new momentum to European cooperation on foreign, defence and security policy to contribute to a strong and unified Europe.

She also said the partners would work on further developing the economic and currency union and innovation.
6/16/2018 8:19:38 PM
<![CDATA[Greek police fire teargas to protesters over Macedonia deal]]>
Reuters witnesses saw police fire at least two rounds of teargas at individuals who tried to scale stairs outside parliament in central Athens, angered by the accord between the two countries earlier in the week.

"Traitors, traitors," up to 5,000 protesters gathered in the central Syntagma square chanted.

Athens and Skopje agreed this week to end a decades-old dispute over the name of the Balkan country, which it shares with a northern Greek province. Under the deal, the former Yugoslav state will be known in future as "North Macedonia".

The agreement has triggered a storm of protest in both countries. In Athens, opposition parties filed a motion of no confidence in the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, angered at what they describe as a national sellout.

A vote on the motion is expected later on Saturday.

"I'm furious. That person (Tsipras) is not working in the national interests or the national sentiment of Greeks," said demonstrator Sophia Constantinidou, 45.

The name dispute has soured relations between the two neighbours at least since 1991, when Macedonia broke away from former Yugoslavia, declaring its independence under the name Republic of Macedonia.

Many Greeks see the name issue as an attempt by Skopje to hijack Greece's ancient cultural heritage. Once the deal is ratified, Greece has said it will support the opening of negotiations for North Macedonia to join the European Union and NATO.
6/16/2018 7:48:51 PM
<![CDATA[Pique says Ronaldo 'prone to diving' after thrilling draw]]>
Ronaldo struck the first goal of his memorable hat-trick to put Portugal ahead in the fourth minute after going down in the area from a challenge from Nacho. He later converted an exquisite late free-kick to level the thrilling encounter after winning a foul following a tussle with Barcelona's Pique.

"Cristiano is very prone to diving and they award him almost every foul," Pique told reporters after the extraordinary spectacle in Sochi between the two heavyweights which set the World Cup alight.

"We picked ourselves up again after a lot of problems because starting a World Cup by conceding a penalty in the second minute and going behind is difficult but we scored three goals and we have to be happy with how the game went."

Spain's ability to come back in the game after Ronaldo's first two goals was all the more impressive given the turmoil that had gripped the team after Lopetegui was sacked on Wednesday for negotiating a move to Real Madrid behind the back of Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales.

Pique, who is famous for his open disliking for Barca's arch-rivals Madrid, said now was not the time to analyse whether it was right or wrong to dismiss Lopetegui but hinted he disagreed with his former coach's methods in the negotiations.

"We all have to pull together now, it's a situation that no-one has enjoyed but the World Cup has started, and when it's over that's when we can tell the story, we need to speak as little as possible and focus on football," Pique said.

"The fact he negotiated with Madrid doesn't bother me, a huge club came for him, the way he did it is up for debate. There are thousands of opinions, the president didn't like it and took his decision and the players have accepted it."

Spain striker Diego Costa produced an explosive performance and pledged to "keep working and keep on shutting people up" after his two goals answered critics who believe he does not fit into the team's style of play.

The Atletico Madrid forward also declared his admiration for Ronaldo after the Portuguese upstaged his two goals with his whirlwind hat-trick.

"There will always be a debate, that's good as it means there is competition in the team," Costa said.

"I have to congratulate Cristiano, they criticise him and just look at what he does. People would be better off leaving him alone. I wish I was like him."]]>
6/16/2018 7:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Iceland hold Argentina to 1-1 draw as Messi misses penalty]]>
Sergio Aguero had given the twice world champions the lead after 19 minutes of the Group D match. However, Iceland, who stunned the soccer world with their run to the quarter-finals of the European Championship two years ago, showed exactly the same commitment and self-belief to hit back four minutes later through Alfred Finnbogason.

Argentina, playing in all-black and roared on by the vast majority of the crowd in the Spartak Stadium, eventually took command and delivered wave after wave of attacks in the second half. But they actually created few chances either side of Messi's poorly-struck 64th-minute penalty.

Iceland, by far the smallest country by population to appear at the World Cup, famously beat England in the last 16 of Euro 2016 and again inspired by their "thunderclapping" fans ran tirelessly and fought for everything.

They signalled their intent from the kick off, sending seven men charging into the box to challenge as the ball was pumped long and it proved to be just the first of many uncomfortable moments for a decidedly shaky Argentine defence.

The South Americans looked more assured in attack, though, and went ahead when Aguero turned tightly in the box and smashed in an unstoppable shot.

Iceland, however, are not a team to sit back and sulk and soon forced an equaliser when goalkeeper Willy Caballero palmed Gylfi Sigurdsson's low shot straight into the path of Finnbogason to sweep into the unguarded net.

After Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick in Portugal's 3-3 draw with Spain on Friday, all eyes were on Messi to respond but he got little joy from the rugged but controlled Iceland defenders, no respecters of even the greatest reputation.

The great man was given the ultimate opportunity after Hordur Bjorgvin Magnusson got entangled with Aguero in the box, only for Halldorsson to fly to his right and palm the penalty clear.

Iceland then defended superbly, almost fanatically, and will have real belief that they can get out of a group that also contains Croatia and Nigeria, who meet later on Saturday.]]>
6/16/2018 5:25:19 PM
<![CDATA[Super Eagles hope to leave an impact in the World Cup ]]>
The team, known as Super Eagles, dominated the African qualifiers despite playing in the “group of death” alongside Zambia, Cameroon and Algeria.

Nigeria 6

They secured their spot at the World Cup with one game remaining. They achieved three consecutive victories over Zambia, Algeria and Cameron respectively and they secured their qualification after an away 1-1 draw with Cameroon and a 1-0 victory at home against Zambia.

Nigeria’s history at the World Cup:

During their first participation at the tournament in 1994, they made it to the second round with their golden generation consisting of Victor Ikpeba, Rachidi Yakini, Sunday Oliseh, Daniel Amokachi, Emmanuel Amunike and Jay Jay Okocha.

Nigeria 7

The draw put them alongside Argentina, Greece and Bulgaria and they picked six points after two victories over Bulgaria, who finished the tournament in the fourth position, and Greece while they lost to Argentina.

They were eliminated from the second round after a 2-1 loss to the finalists, Italy, after extra time.

They also had their giant striker, Yakini, who scored their first goal at the tournament against Bulgaria at the group stage and he cried while holding the net. This celebration is one of the iconic moments of the 1994 World Cup.

Nigeria 8

In 1998, the team was better because they added many players from the team of the 1996 Olympic Games who clinched the Gold medal defeating Brazil and Argentina at the semis and the final respectively.

Nigeria 2

They added Nwankwo Kanu, Celestine Babayaro, Taribo West and other players and they also made it to the second round leading their group of Spain, Bulgaria and Paraguay.

They were eliminated at the second round losing 4-1 to Denmark.

Nigeria 5

The African Eagles failed to repeat this achievement in their last three participations in 2002, 2010 and 2014.

It is strange that the World Cup draw put Nigeria in the same group alongside Argentina at four of their five participations and the draw put them together in this year’s tournament.

Nigeria 4

Nigeria’s manager Gernot Rohr’s squad for the tournament consisted of:

Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba), Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna), Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United)

Defenders: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor), Tyronne Ebuehi (Den Haag), Elderson Echiejile (Brugge), Bryan Idowu (Amkar Perm), Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes), William Troost-Ekong (Bursaspor), Leon Balogun (Brighton), Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa)

Midfielders: John Obi Mikel (Tianjin TEDA), Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester), Oghenekaro Etebo (Las Palmas), John Ogu (Hapoel Be'er Sheva), Joel Obi (Torino)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Leicester), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester), Victor Moses (Chelsea), Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone)

Nigeria 3

The Nigerian fans count on their Premier League stars, Iwobi and Moses, to achieve their dreams in Russia.

6/16/2018 4:49:50 PM
<![CDATA[Grozny’s hotel celebrates Mohamed Salah’s birthday]]>
Press Photo

The Egyptian delegation headed back to Grozny after being defeated against Uruguay 0-1 in Ekaterinburg city.


Immediately after returning to the hotel, the team was surprised to organize a small ceremony to celebrate the birthday of Mohamed Salah, which falls on June 15.

Egyptian players celebrated Mo Salah’s birthday after Eid el-Fitr prayer in the hotel where they settled in Ekaterinburg.

Egyptian fans at Ekaterinburg Arena decided to chant the "Happy Birthday" song at the 26th minute of the match.


Salah didn’t participate in Uruguay’s match as he is still recovering from his injury. Egypt’s Hector Cuper preferred to save Salah for the next two games.

The Pharaohs have to win in the next games, against Russia and Saudi Arabia, to secure a seat in the 16th round.


Egypt will play against Russia next Tuesday on June 19 while Uruguay will face Saudi Arabia.]]>
6/16/2018 4:30:50 PM
<![CDATA[Libya's NOC calls on armed faction leader to withdraw from oil crescent]]>
The NOC said in a statement that storage tank 12 in Ras Lanuf had been "significantly damaged" in fighting on Thursday, when armed forces linked to Jathran stormed the two ports, causing them to close.

"NOC calls for the unconditional and immediate withdrawal of the militia operating under Ibrahim Jathran to prevent an environmental disaster and further destruction of key infrastructure," the statement said.

"Further damage to these sites could have a huge impact on the Libyan oil sector and the national economy."

Jathran had controlled terminals in Libya's oil crescent for several years before losing control of them in September 2016 to forces under Khalifa Haftar, the dominant figure in eastern Libya.

Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) allowed the NOC to reopen the ports after a long blockade by Jathran that cost Libya tens of billions of dollars in lost exports.

Jathran said on Thursday he was launching a campaign to recapture the ports in order to "overturn the injustice" that he said had been imposed on people in the area by the LNA over the past two years.

The NOC declared force majeure in Ras Lanuf and Es Sider, announcing an initial production loss of 240,000 barrels per day (bpd), which it said was expected to rise to 400,000 bpd if the ports stayed shut. ]]>
6/16/2018 4:29:51 PM
<![CDATA[Casino designed by Zaha Hadid opens in Macau]]>
Rows of exposed elevators glide up and down the imposing lobby inside the $1.1-billion "Morpheus" resort, a 42-storey addition to Macau's glitzy skyline named after the Greek god of dreams and developed by Melco International.

Iraqi-British Hadid, who died in 2016, was the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize for architecture. Her major works in China included the Guangzhou Opera House and a mega mall in Beijing.

For her first Macau project, finished posthumously, two tower blocks were merged using curvaceous bridges to create "voids" and allow as much light in as possible, Viviana Muscettola of Zaha Hadid Architects told AFP.

Describing the design as a "jump into the unknown", Muscettola said the exterior ribbons of steel hold up the building and free up space inside by minimising the need for vertical columns.

Melco's chairman Lawrence Ho told AFP he had "wanted to find the most iconic architect that can do something just insane" before the project started in 2013.

Semi-autonomous Macau is the only place in China where gambling is legal, bringing in revenue that easily dwarves Las Vegas.

The resort's opening comes as the enclave is undergoing something of a renaissance, with gaming revenues bouncing back after being hard hit by a corruption crackdown launched by China's President Xi Jinping in 2012.

- Luxury-seeking crowds -

While the big spenders have returned to the territory -- high-rollers were Macau's biggest drivers of revenue growth in 2017, according to Bloomberg News -- analysts say the mass market is also behind growth seen so far this month.

Extravagant duplex villas with their own in-room gym and massage quarters are located on the top floors of Morpheus for VIPs, along with a gaming area exclusively for these residents.

There is also a rooftop pool, while two restaurants by Alain Ducasse, one of the chefs awarded the most Michelin stars, are part of efforts to court luxury-seeking crowds.

Revenues slid after Xi declared his war on graft with many mainland big spenders staying away from Macau, which had gained a reputation as a centre for laundering illicit money out of China.

In response to the crackdown casino giants launched a slew of new mega-resorts, offering everything from theme parks to luxury spas as they looked to attract more mass-market gamblers to compensate for the fall in high-rollers.

But Macau's monetary authorities this month issued a warning to financial institutions against the illegal use of UnionPay cards as China continues to crack down on capital outflows.

Ho's father Stanley, 96, who made his riches by transforming Macau from a sleepy Portuguese outpost into the world's biggest casino hub, officially stepped down from his flagship casino empire SJM earlier this week.]]>
6/16/2018 4:24:19 PM
<![CDATA[Mido believes Shikabala can be Salah’s best replacement]]>
Egypt’s amazing performance in the group stage’s second match wasn’t enough; the Pharaohs lost 0-1 against Uruguay through a late header from José Giménez.

“We have no confidence in our offense zone. In my opinion, Shikabala can be a good replacement for Salah if he doesn’t play. Shikabala is the only player who can make a decision inside the pitch,” Mido tweeted through his official Twitter account.


“The shift from defense to attack needs more speed, Amr Warda is a very good option for a match like Uruguay but against Russia we may need Shikabala with Abdullah and Trezeguet if Salah is not ready to start the game,” Mido added.

Egypt will play against Russia next Tuesday on June 19 while Uruguay will face Saudi Arabia.

6/16/2018 4:21:20 PM
<![CDATA[Orange, former executives to stand trial over staff suicides]]>
They stand accused of engaging in or assisting psychological harassment, according to the court order, obtained by Reuters. Lombard, a former human resources head and a deputy CEO were placed under court supervision until trial.

"As it has always said, Orange rejects the accusations and will make its case during the public hearing which will be scheduled in the coming months," an Orange spokesman said.

Jean Veil, Lombard's lawyer, said the move was "absurd".

The crime of "moral harassment" can be punished with two years in prison and 30,000 euros ($35,000) in fines.

France Telecom, which has since become Orange, was hit by a wave of employee suicides beginning in 2008 that took the lives of over 30 workers in two years, including a man who stabbed himself in the stomach during a staff meeting and a woman who threw herself out of a window.

Blamed on workplace stress, the suicides continued in 2010, taking the lives of five workers in 10 days in one particularly difficult period.

A 2010 report by labour inspectors said management used "pathogenic" restructuring methods such as forcing people into new jobs and giving unattainable performance objectives.

Lombard, who denied any wrongdoing during an investigation of the suicides, stepped down as CEO of Orange in early 2010 amid criticism of his handling of the crisis.

"This must serve as an example so that management never again uses social violence to get people to leave," said the head of the CFE-CGC union at Orange, Sebastien Crozier.

The restructuring plan aimed to reduce France Telecom's headcount by 22,000 while shifting 10,000 people into new jobs and recruiting 6,000 new employees.

All but two of the accused executives are now retired.

A lawyer for the CFE-CGC union said that the trial was not expected before the second half of 2019.

($1 = 0.8615 euros).]]>
6/16/2018 4:11:34 PM
<![CDATA[Judge denies request for Stormy Daniels gag order]]>
US District Judge S. James Otero said Michael Cohen had failed to provide evidence that he would suffer "irreparable injury" without an immediate restraining order against Michael Avenatti.

Cohen filed his bid for a restraining order against Avenatti on Thursday, asking that he be stopped from giving interviews about Cohen and Daniels's lawsuit.

Daniels -- real name Stephanie Clifford -- is suing Trump and Cohen, to nullify a 2016 non-disclosure agreement preventing her from speaking out about her alleged affair with Trump.

Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her silence. She is hoping to invalidate the non-disclosure agreement she signed days before the presidential election because, she argues, Trump never signed it.

Through White House officials, Trump has denied the affair, although Cohen has admitted paying Daniels $130,000 as part of the agreement. He initially said he used his own money to pay Daniels and was not reimbursed by Trump.

However, Trump -- who initially denied knowledge of the payment -- subsequently conceded that Cohen was reimbursed.

The lawsuit also accuses Cohen of defamation over comments he made about Daniels's truthfulness.

Daniels filed a separate defamation suit against Trump in New York, alleging the president libeled her by saying she lied about a man who allegedly threatened her to keep her quiet about her alleged relationship with Trump.

The Los Angeles case is due back in court on June 21.]]>
6/16/2018 3:58:19 PM
<![CDATA[Karim Abdel Aziz,Peter Mimi to work together soon]]>
Mimi has finished working in the last episode of his series “Kalabsh: Part 2”,starring Amir Karara, who is leading the Ramadan race this year. The episode has been given to Al Hayat channel which is airing the series exclusively.

Abdel Aziz is currently preparing for his role in the new movie “NadiAl Regal Al Serri” (The Secret Men’s Club). The co-stars of the movie are Ghada Adel andMennaShalabi, and it is written by Ayman Wattar. The movie is scheduled to be released during Eid Al Adha.
6/16/2018 3:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Bringing Back Egypt’s White Gold Glory]]>
“Everything in the life of Egyptians was linked to cotton, not only the farmers’, but even landlords’ who postponed any special occasions after the picking season was over. And many would eagerly wait for [the picking and selling to be over] because they had tied up all their money in it.

Festivals, weddings and even funerals were linked to the harvest season; it was more like a time frame for everything happening in life,” 74-year-old Hanaa Shawky says, recalling memories from her childhood in Sharkiya City. Her generation remembers waking up to the sound of farmers during harvest, singing songs about the “white gold,” as they called it.

Once the biggest producer of cotton globally, Egypt’s more than 20 million acres of cotton crops gradually started to disappear over the years. Only 220,000 acres of long-staple cotton were grown in 2017, according to official figures.

The number, however, is still an increase from 2011 figures; for instance, 2016/17 saw only 130,000 acres of cotton cultivated, the lowest in 100 years. The Ministry of Agriculture expects to double its production in the fiscal year ending this July, whereby it would reach 1.4 million qintar (around 247,000 tons), up from 700,000 qintar in the last fiscal year, and sell at LE 3,000 per qintar. Policies are currently being formulated to ensure the sector bounces back to its full potential.

The rise and fall of Egypt’s white gold

The industry was crippled by the liberalization of Egypt’s cotton sector in 1994, as part of a wider liberalization plan, and competition with the high-quality US Pima. The cotton sector was on its last legs till 2014, when it started to regain positive growth.

Liberalization had exposed farmers to volatile global prices and rising fertilizer costs, leaving the market unstable and shrinking. To stay in the game, farmers turned to the production of more lucrative crops and factories that use low-quality cotton. With half a million workers involved in cotton production and manufacturing, according to Cairo University agricultural economist Gamal Siam, the sector remains one of the most important in Egypt.

Before the liberalization of the sector in 1994, the state would subsidize all farmers’ needs; from seeds and fertilizers, to pesticides and even prices paid for the harvest. As part of a more open-market economy, however, the state lifted their protectionist economic policies and removed the most part of its subsidies and support for the cotton growers, leaving them with a much higher cost of production.

After 2011, the industry took a further hit given growing political and economic instabilities.

Despite a decline in cotton production since the 1960s, however, Egypt’s cotton is still a trademark, El Sayed Mahmoud, Operational Director at Jet Garments Factory tells Egypt Today Egypt during a tour of the factory.

“The comparison [between the past and present] is unfair, there are a lot of aspects to judge by, because the whole agricultural system has changed and the reputation of Egyptian cotton remains the same.

However, every cotton plant and type nowadays has its own necessity. We cannot say Egypt produces only high-quality or low-quality cotton, every type has its own place; the key is to fit the demands of the market.

For example, I cannot sell high-quality cotton for a certain market segment, my products will not sell and vice versa. It is all about marketing the product in the right way.”

The Jet Factory deals with the last process that cotton goes through to produce a final product, “We receive cotton after it goes through the spinning process [other factories are specifically in charge of this process].

Cotton enters the factory in the form of thread rolls [yarn], then we start the process of dividing different thread types according to the product type [pyjamas, underwear or training suits, and so on],” Mahmoud adds. Cotton, he explains, is generally categorized according to many factors, which determine its grade; these factors include thickness, length and where it grew. Mahmoud explains that cotton coming from areas near the Nile Delta is normally of the highest quality.

In 2017, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) launched a two-year project in collaboration with the Egyptian government and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) to help revive the Egyptian cotton industry.

According to a report published in July 2017, “Egyptian Cotton produces some of the highest quality fibre, known all over the world as Egypt’s ‘white gold.’ Although an important pillar of the Egyptian economy, the textile sector plays a marginal role in the global textile value chain due to the absence of innovation, lack of a skilled workforce, high input prices, inefficient agricultural practices and an inability to meet international market needs.”

The project aimed to support cotton growers in applying sustainable agricultural practices and non-polluting production practices, while also improving the national mechanisms for quality assurance and organic certification.

UNIDO Director and Regional Representative Giovanna Ceglie says, “The Egyptian extra-long staple cotton is the gold standard for the world’s finest linens and clothing, however, its production and demand are steadily declining. This project aims to contribute to reversing this trend: together with our partners from the government and private sector, we want to help growers to produce more and better cotton, small and medium-sized enterprises to manufacture quality cotton products, and workers to benefit from higher skills and higher incomes. We emphasize the green aspect of this project as it will promote organic and clean production of cotton, as well as the social impact, as we intend to also support the poorer segments in the cotton value chain.”

Ceglie expresses optimism toward a sustainable creative industry in Egypt, suggesting that Egyptian producers’ creativity and attention to detail gives it an edge. Ceglie adds that the memorandum of understanding signed between the Industrial Modernization Centre (IMC) and the Creative Mediterranean Project on May 7, 2018 will ensure that Egyptians in the creative industry, in cotton and other fields, remain on top of the game and are able to compete globally with their counterparts.

“It is a forward-looking, multibillion economy; it is vital for the economy. It cuts across a number of economic sectors, from software to furnishing to goods to fashion; it is such an important part of many sectors. By ensuring a strong design sector, you increase the competitiveness in other sectors. When you combine the idea of design, creativity and cultural identity, it becomes even more important and even stronger,” explains Ceglie. The creative industry, Ceglie adds, is a multibillion dollar sector and so, it is important that Egypt competes.

“Egypt has one of the most extraordinary cultural identities in the world. Combining this with Egyptian creativity and craftsmanship will put Egypt on track for great success in this industry,” Ceglie elaborates. She adds that the creative industries are also rich in opportunities and can produce jobs that are vital in Egypt.

The goal to double cotton production this fiscal year comes as part of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s efforts to increase cotton production and set appropriate cotton purchase prices from farmers, encouraging them to expand their cotton planting production in upcoming years and meet the needs of the local market. “Government officials must have been relieved to hear that Egyptian cotton exports will hit 38,000 tons at the close of the 2016/2017 season, up 19 percent on last year’s total,” Reuters previously reported.

The history of cotton production

Louis Alexis Jumel, a French agriculture enthusiast whose name is synonymous with cotton production in Egypt, was the first to convince Muhammad Ali Pasha that cotton can be Egypt’s number one strategic crop, capable of revolutionizing the country’s agriculture at the time (1818-1819).

History books at the Agricultural Museum in Dokki document Jumel studying cotton crops in the US before heading to Egypt. Upon discovering neglected cotton plants in an old garden in Cairo, Jumel spent some time experimenting before creating Egypt’s “white gold,” the extra-long cotton staple.

Amazed by the results, Muhammed Ali Pasha brought long-staple cotton seeds from India and ordered for it to be planted in the Nile Delta. The delta experiment was a huge and profitable success, resulting in Egypt’s special crop becoming an essential component of Europe’s textile industry.

Within a record short time, Egyptian cotton became a halmark of quality and a trademark in the most luxurious and prestigious fashion houses and clothing lines.

Egyptian cotton export made up 93 percent of Egypt’s export revenue. In fact, Egyptian cotton was so highly desired that after the American Civil War deprived England from American Cotton in 1861, Britain occupied Egypt primarily, “to make sure raw cotton was reaching textile factories in Britain,” as stated by Ali Shalaby in his book, The Crisis of the Great Depression and its Impact on the Egyptian Countryside.

According to a 1905 report by Lord Cromer titled British Controller-General in Egypt 1879, “England made sure to keep Egypt its ‘cotton farm’ and limit the country’s economic and industrial development.”

With activists calling for movements against the British Occupation, in 1927 pioneering Egyptian economist Talaat Harb established the first Egyptian textile factory in El Mahalla El Kubra, located in the center of the Nile Delta. According to the memoirs of Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, in 1953 American President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent to the Secretary of State John Foster Dallas asking that President Nasser reduce cotton planted land for the benefit of American farmers; Egyptian cotton was their number one competitor. President Eisenhower would be “very grateful,” Dallas told President Nasser. To which, Nasser, according to Heikal, “literally opened his mouth in surprise.”

Since that moment, Nasser understood the importance of Egyptian cotton and started using it as a strategic weapon; he fully supported Egyptian farmers.

By 1969, cotton-planted acres exceeded 3 million, producing more than 10.8 qintars compared to 220,000 acres in 2017 and a production of 600,00 qintars, according to a Deutsche Welle report published March 2018.

Economics researcher and professor at Cairo University Mahmoud El-Henawy attributes this decline to policies that paved the way to the private sector, which gradually led to reducing cotton-planted land spaces during the 1980s and 1990s.

6/16/2018 3:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Technology helps France to 2-1 win over Australia]]>
Striker Antoine Griezmann lashed home the historic spot kick in the 58th minute but Australia hit back with a penalty of their own when Samuel Umtiti inexplicably handled the ball in the box four minutes later.

Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak sent his French counterpart Hugo Lloris the wrong way to give Australia hopes of forcing a draw at the Kazan Arena but Pogba grabbed the winner in the 81st minute.

Even that goal might not have counted in the days before technology was brought into the game with Pogba's shot looping off the shin of Aziz Behich, hitting the crossbar and bouncing down inside the goal before coming back out.

Uruguayan referee Andres Cunha checked the goal-line monitor on his watch and awarded the goal as Australia keeper Mat Ryan stood holding the ball in his hands.

Cunha had earlier watched the challenge by Josh Risdon on Griezmann on the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) monitor by the side of the pitch and decided the Australia right back had brought the French striker down in the area.

France's youthful attack ensured they had the better of the opening half of the match but Australia had the best chance before the break when a deflection off Frenchman Corentin Tolisso from an Aaron Mooy free kick was well saved by Lloris.

Didier Deschamps's France side will move on to their remaining Group C clashes against Denmark and Peru, who meet later on Saturday, with three points but plenty to do to justify their place among the pre-tournament favourites.

Australia and their 10,000 gold-shirted fans will be disappointed that all their hard work earned them nothing as they seek to get out of the group stage for the second time in their fifth World Cup. ]]>
6/16/2018 2:28:25 PM
<![CDATA[Cutting subsidies: Putting money where it belongs]]>
Over the past 30 years, Egypt has implemented a program that provides subsidised products for citizens, most notably petroleum products. Despite offering citizens products for a lower price that did not correspond with the market’s real value, the subsidies hindered Egypt’s economic growth due to the fact that it increased spending to pay for the increasing subsidies for an ever-growing population.

An increase in spending put a damper on spending for public services due to difficulties allocating money from the budget and harmed citizens by offering non-targeted or generic subsidies, meaning that those who needed subsidies, and those who do not, equally enjoyed subsidies, decreasing the amount of money the government is able to spend on other public services.

Commenting on this, Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla said Saturday that the total cost of oil products subsidy over the past five years hit LE 517 billion, explaining that generic subsidies have a multitude of negative consequences on the Egyptian economy. Molla further explained that those who actually deserve petroleum subsidies did not benefit from the system, which has proven unpractical, over the years.

Molla added that the current subsidy system has a negative impact on social justice due to the fact that the high-income segments also benefit from these subsidies, thereby decreasing the amount of money the government has to spend on the public. This is a clear difference between equality and equity, implies Molla.

Molla also explained that increasing the prices of petroleum products saves LE 50 billion for the country, money that he suggests could be allocated elsewhere to benefit people. Instead, this money is exected to be allocated in healthcare or educational services to ensure better human, social and economic development for all, ensuring equity and social justice, instead of quality; between equality and equity, much of the research has shown that equity leads to social justice and economic, as well as human and social, development, while equality does not necessarily do so, as it limits competition and leaves people on an unequal footing.

The briefing

For the fourth time since 2014, Egypt has raised fuel prices to meet IMF loan's terms that entail the complete removal of fuel subsidies, the Cabinet announced on Saturday (June 16), which corresponds to the second day of Eid El Fitr

95 gasoline prices went up from LE 6.6 (US$ 0.37) per litre to 7.7, while 92 octane gasoline price amounted to LE 6.75 instead of 5 per litre. Prices of gasoline 80's liter increased to LE 5.5 instead of 3.65, the newly-appointed government said in its first move since taking oath Thursday.

The price of diesel will be LE 5.5 a liter instead of 3.65, while the price of the natural gas used for vehicles rose to 2.75 per cubic meter instead of 2.

Meanwhile, government has announced the raising the price of the cooking gas cylinder to LE 50 instead of 30 and the commercial gas cylinder's prices surged to LE 100 instead of 60.

The new pricing officially came into effect on June 16, 2018 at 9:00 AM, as per the government's decision.

The second phase of raising fuel prices was last November. Rising fuel prices and the currency devaluation has led to the sense that fuel price hikes were large.

Commenting on raising the price of petroleum products, The Minister of Finance, Dr. Mohamed Muait, said that the decision to cut subsidies on petroleum products, which resulted in an increase of petroleum products’ prices on Saturday, is necessary to maintain financial stability after he doubling of oil prices globally that have exceeded $80 per barrel. Adapting the prices to keep up who the changes prices globally secures the country from falling back into economic troubles, explained the Minister.

The Minister of Finance further pointed out that Egypt was quick to react to the surge of prices and tackle the situation, as to ensure that the size of the budget deficit is not increased. The money saved, the minister explained, will be allocated towards health, education, public investment, job creation for youth and social housing.

The Minister further pointed out that subsidies of petroleum products in the budget of the new fiscal year fell to LE 89.1 billion pounds compared to LE 110.15 billion estimated by the budget of the current fiscal year; if the price of oil continues on this path globally, the bill is expected to reach LE 180 billion.

Muait further assured that the budget has allocated LE 334 billion in subsidies, which confirms the state’s intention to continue supporting and protecting lower segments of the population, and that cutting fuel subsidies will ensure that the money reached the right people and the appropriate beneficiaties.

Besides oil subsidies, there is 100 billion pounds to support bread and other products on ration cards.

In similar vein, Hamdi Abdul Aziz, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Petroleum, confirmed that the support of petroleum products during the past five years reached LE 500 billion, which did not benefit the rightful beneficiaries only. He pointed out that the government is working through an integrated plan to correct social justice, putting the money saved towards education, health and housing.

A deal with the IMF
Egypt clinched a $12-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after the flotation of its currency in November 2016.

The IMF loan helped the state’s foreign reserves to rebound by receiving the first three tranches of the loan with a total value of $6.08 billion.

Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt Ramy Abul-Naga said on Sunday that foreign currency inflows to banks operating in Egypt have risen to more than $77 billion since the flotation of the Egyptian currency in November 2016.

Egypt will repay the instalments of the International Monetary Fund’s loan starting from May 2021 until November 2026, according to Deputy Minister of Finance for Financial Policies Ahmed Kojak.

Kojak clarified during the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund Spring Meeting that the first instalment amounts to $2.75 billion.

A positive outlook

Egypt’s reforms have started to reap results, especially with regard to Egypt’s macroeconomic stabilization: growth is at the highest rate since 2008, inflation has rapidly declined, foreign exchange reserves are at record levels, exports are growing and unemployment has declined, First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) David Lipton said after his meeting with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi May 7, 2018.

During the meeting, both sides discussed the outcome of the Inclusive Growth and Job Creation Conference that was held in Cairo from May 5-6 and co-organized by the Egyptian authorities and the IMF.

“I was encouraged by the determination, shared by policy makers, the private sector, members of the parliament and civil society. There was consensus that Egypt needs to lock in the gains in macroeconomic stabilization and shift gears towards the implementation of a home-grown structural reform agenda to achieve more inclusive and private sector-led growth,” Lipton said in a released statement.

He said that this will help create jobs, which is the best way to reduce poverty and improve living standards.

“I thanked President Sisi, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt Tarek Amer and the Minister of Finance Amr El Garhy for co-hosting the conference. As we continue our partnership, we stand ready to help Egypt achieve a better future for its people,” Lipton said.

Previously, due to the IMF loan, then-Minister of Planning Hala al-Saeed explained that the Egyptian economy is not a job provider that relies on investment rate, rather than consumption rate; unemployment rate reached 11.3 percent in the Q2 of 2017/2018 and growth rate was 5.3 percent in the Q2 of 2017/2018, reaching the highest Egyptian growth rate since 2008/2009.

Similarly, Saeed added that Egypt is targeting a growth rate of 8 percent by 2021/2022.

The IMF anticipates the GDP to record 6 percent in 2023.
6/16/2018 2:27:51 PM
<![CDATA[Magic Ronaldo lights up World Cup with hat-trick to deny Spain]]>
In by far the best game of the tournament so far, Ronaldo twice put Portugal in front, Diego Costa replied each time, Nacho gave Spain the lead with a stunning volley and Ronaldo then had the last word with a superb free kick he won himself.

Ronaldo has a relatively poor free-kick record for Portugal and when he and Raphael Guerreiro both stepped up in the 88th minute, many of their fans might have hoped the left back would have been allowed to have a go instead of his skipper.

Instead, Ronaldo stood with his legs apart in familiar pose, rolled up his shorts and curled an exquisite effort around the Spain wall and into the net past the helpless David de Gea.

The 33-year-old, who took his tally to 84 goals in 151 games for the European champions, became the fourth player to score in four World Cups after Brazil great Pele and Germany's Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose.

He also became the first player to score in eight major tournaments in succession after hitting the target in the last four European Championship tournaments.

The goal denied Spain what would have been a morale-boosting win after a traumatic and extraordinary week which saw coach Julen Lopetegui sacked on Wednesday, barely 48 hours before kick off in the Group B game.

The Spanish federation said Lopetegui had negotiated a contract to take over at Real Madrid without their knowledge, and replaced him with Fernando Hierro who took charge on Friday.

Nacho's first goal for Spain and a blunder by their usually reliable keeper David De Gea were almost lost in the drama.

The other match in the section was pedestrian by comparison yet it was Iran who went top of the standings with three points after their 1-0 stoppage-time win over Morocco.

"I'm very happy, it is a personal best (the hat-trick), one more in my career and the most important thing is to highlight what the team has done," said Ronaldo.


The match got off to an explosive start when Ronaldo beat Nacho on the left of the box with a stepover, was tripped and emphatically converted the penalty himself.

Spain quickly got into their stride and Costa equalised in the 24th minute as he latched onto a long ball forward by Sergio Busquets, bundled off a challenge from Pepe, slipped around two defenders and slotted his shot past Rui Patricio.

The goal was confirmed after the incident was reviewed by the video assistant referee (VAR), being used at the World Cup for the first time, for a possible foul on Pepe.

Spain appeared to be on top as Isco rifled a shot against the bar, only for Ronaldo to strike again one minute before halftime with the help of De Gea's blunder as the ball hit his hand and slipped agonisingly into the net.

Costa levelled from close range 10 minutes after the break, Spain went ahead for the first time with a remarkable strike from Nacho, who met the ball on the volley at an awkward height and sent an inswinging shot in off the post.

Spain thought they had won the game but Portugal had other ideas as Ronaldo provided the perfect end to another extraordinary night in his career.

Hierro was clearly happy after his first match in charge as his team showed they should by no means be written off.

"We feel very proud of the players after the adversity of the match itself," he said. "We've come back and equalised twice, we feel great commitment and pride." ]]>
6/16/2018 1:48:27 PM
<![CDATA[Iran stun Morocco with stoppage-time own goal]]>
In a group where Spain and Portugal are strong favourites to qualify for the knockout stage, the result gives Iran an outside chance of an upset but was a bitter blow for an enterprising Moroccan side.

Iran left back Ehsan Hajsafi whipped in a free kick five minutes into added time and Bouhaddouz launched himself at the ball, flashing a header past his own keeper Munir Mohamedi.

The Iranians, who had not won a World Cup game since their victory over the United States in 1998, celebrated as if they had won the tournament, leaving the field only reluctantly after lengthy and emotional embraces.

Morocco and the unfortunate Bouhaddouz were devastated as the country were forced to reflect on a second major footballing blow of the week after their bid to host the 2026 World Cup failed on Wednesday.

When the pain subsides, however, they should take heart from a performance which showcased some impressive talent, well assembled by French coach Herve Renard, and which will have been keenly noted by Spain and Portugal.

Perhaps it should have been no surprise that defences dominated given the two teams had been so impressive in that aspect of the game during qualification.

Morocco only conceded one goal in their eight games, while Iran let in just five in their 18 Asian qualifiers.

There was nothing cautious about the way the Moroccans approached the game, though.

They enjoyed more possession throughout and began in particularly aggressive fashion, taking the game to their opponents and overloading their right flank as they targeted Hajsafi.

That approach almost paid off when Nordin Amrabat whipped in a dangerous cross from the right but Younes Belhanda’s header from an acute angle flashed wide.

Iran were missing the calming influence of suspended holding midfielder Saeid Ezatolahi as Morocco over-ran them in the centre of the park with the clever Mbark Boussoufa directing play as the African side frequently attacked in numbers.

Morocco almost turned that initial pressure into a goal in the 19th minute when following a scramble in the area, Medhi Benatia’s shot was well saved by Iran keeper Alireza Beiranvand.

Iran’s Portuguese coach Carlos Quieroz had clearly given his side instructions to defend deep and look to break on the counter-attack and two minutes before the break that approach almost bore fruit.

Striker Sardar Azmoun broke clear though the middle but he shot straight at Mohamedi who got up quickly to keep out a follow-up effort from Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

Chances were at a premium after the break, with both sides keeping their shapes well, but a sweetly-struck effort from Morocco's Hakim Ziyech brought out a fine save from Beiranvand nine minutes from the end.

Then came the error from Bouhaddouz, the drama and the agony as Iran grabbed just their second win in their World Cup history.
6/16/2018 1:46:15 PM
<![CDATA[Arab alliance close to capturing Hodeidah airport, Yemen military says]]>
Victory for the Saudi-led alliance in their first attempt to capture a strategic part of a well-defended city would put the Houthis on the defensive in the three-year conflict, since Hodeidah is the group's sole Red Sea port.

The U.N. special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, arrived in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa on Saturday. The United Nations, which failed to find a diplomatic solution to head off the assault, fears the fighting will cut off the only lifeline for millions of Yemenis facing starvation.

"The U.N. envoy has accomplished nothing so far. He provides a cover for the continued aggression," Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam said on Houthi-run media ahead of Griffith's visit.

The battle for Hodeidah, by far the largest in the conflict, could have ramifications beyond the city of 600,000. Yemen's conflict is part of a regional proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal and his embrace of nuclear state North Korea have added to Iran's isolation and put pressure on the Islamic Republic to preserve its interests in Yemen and other Arab states.

Ground troops -- which include United Arab Emirates forces, Sudanese and Yemenis drawn from various factions -- have surrounded Hodeidah's main airport compound but have not seized it, a Yemeni military source and residents said.

"We need some time to make sure there are no gunmen, mines or explosive in the building," the military source said. The military's media office said technical teams were de-mining the surrounding area.

Fighting led to the closure of the northern entrance of the western city Hodeidah, which leads to Sanaa, residents said.

That has blocked a key exit out of the city and made it more difficult to transport goods from the port, the country's largest, to mountainous regions.

Aly Omar said he and his family spent three days trapped in the Manzar neighbourhood abutting the airport as fighting raged all around them.

"We didn't have any food, or drink or anything, not even water," Omar said, standing in a hospital on Friday night beside his son, who was wounded by an air strike.

"I treated him on a bus after he was injured in an air strike, which is unacceptable. I call on the United Nations and the Red Cross to open a way for us to get out of the situation we're in. Our kids, women and elderly are stuck ..."

Samy Mansour, head of the emergency room at Al-Thawra Hospital, received two dead and 12 wounded.

"We're still treating people on the scene and transporting them to the hospital," he said.


The offensive in Hodeidah could trigger a famine imperilling millions of lives, the U.N. has warned. Around 22 million people in Yemen depend on the humanitarian aid efforts, with 8.4 million at risk of starvation.

"Humanitarian agencies cannot currently access areas south of the city where people are most likely to have been injured, affected and displaced, leaving us without a clear picture of needs," said the Norwegian Refugee Council's office in Yemen.

Humanitarian organisations were forced to pause almost all operations in Hodeidah, it said.

The Arab alliance, which launched the operation in Hodeidah four days ago, says it can seize the city quickly enough to avoid interrupting aid to the millions facing starvation.

Riyadh accused the Houthis of using the port to smuggle Iranian-made weapons, including missiles that have targeted Saudi cities - accusations denied by the group and Tehran.

If the Hodeidah fighting drags on, causing big coalition casualties and an outcry over a humanitarian catastrophe, it may work in the Houthis' favour. If the Houthis are pushed out, the coalition could get the upper hand in the war.

The coalition has superior weaponry, including fighter planes. The resilient Houthis, highly experienced in mountain warfare, have advanced on sandal-shod feet and by pick-up truck in battles across Yemen.

Britain, France and the United States back the coalition and provide it with various kinds of aid. French special forces are on the ground in Yemen with UAE forces, the French newspaper Le Figaro reported on Saturday, citing two military sources.

Houthis rule the most populous areas of Yemen, a poor nation of about 30 million people that had been destabilised by internal splits and by al-Qaeda before the war erupted.

Air strikes, blockades and fighting have killed more than 10,000 people since the war started. The Saudi-led alliance intervened in 2015 to restore an internationally recognised Yemeni government in exile and thwart what Riyadh and Abu Dhabi see as efforts by their archfoe, Iran, to dominate the region.]]>
6/16/2018 1:32:10 PM
<![CDATA[et Seminar’s Guest: ‘Layali Eugenie’s’ Sophia - the charming Ingy el-Mokkadem ]]>
Some of us mistakenly thought that el-Mokkadem was late because of her makeup artist, hairdresser or maybe her stylist, only to see her in a catchy natural look without any kind of makeup, wearing a casual outfit with a simple hairstyle. I personally fell in love with Sophia’s character since the very first episodes, so I was afraid that el-Mokkadem’s real personality would be completely different from that of Sophia’s, thus destroying the image of my favorite character in Ramadan.

But I found el-Mokkadem to be a funny, friendly, cheerful and lively lady exactly like Sophia: the secret of her success in performing Sophia’s character was that she simply was not acting. With her joyful spirit she turned our seminar from a normal one to a casual friendly gathering, giving us a Twix tart recipe which I made and had to admit was delicious.

1- You played this painful scene brilliantly touching our hearts; you were portraying this miserable mother grieving because of her son whom she didn’t know anything about, reflecting that human contradiction between her sorrow over the death of these young men and her narrow happiness that at least her son is not one of them. How did you perform such hard scenes that brilliantly?
If there are any good comments on my performance to Sophia’s character then all the credit goes to the scriptwriters and the genuine director Hany Khalifa. After ‘’Layali Eugenie’’ I started to understand the meaning of (director-actor) terminology.

Khalifa is fond of acting and owns abnormal senses and feelings, he reads the capabilities of all the actors working with him, he knows when the actor’s performance truly comes from the heart and whether the actor strongly feels what he/she are doing and when they are not. He understands the actor to an extent that scared me once, I used to tell him this all the time: ‘you read me as if I am an open book in front of you.’

Khalifa also owns a special energy that he usually transfers to each actor before shooting his scene. He whispers inside the ears of each actor to prepare him to the coming scene, to place him in the mood of the scene. He loves the actor and owns accurate eyes that pay attention to every single detail. During montage he is extremely keen to capture what we could describe as the best take that was taken in the best time, so he takes from each actor/actress the best scenes of his/her performance to have both a completely successful series and an actor performing better than any other time he did before.

The two writers Sama and Angy are super talented and own amazing feelings, they love each other and there is a lot of harmony between them that was reflected in their script. Ahmed el-Sharkawy, the script supervisor, is also so talented and did a great job. Such an amazing cast that is professional and has an amazing talent in getting out the best performance from any rock not just an actor (el-Mokkadem laughed).

The other important scene is that Sophia’s character is written in an optimal way, a very rich character and as you say is full of master scenes that truly provokes the acting capabilities inside any actor. Even the normal scenes of Sophia in her café are cheerful ones, because she creates in her café’s kitchen a happy mood. Sophia is a joyful character spreading positive energy over all those surrounding her despite the unbearable pain she feels because of her son.

2- You reflected brilliantly this contrast in Sophia’s character using your eyes only in most of the scenes, this cheerful understanding lady who is helping all, standing by their side and supporting them despite her ordeal which she didn’t tell anyone about… How did you manage to act with your eyes only in most of the scenes?
Because I truly felt everything Sophia would – her character, her words and her world; I simply was Sophia. And because I felt Sophia’s feelings in every scene, my eyes said as my mouth did.

3- Was performing Sophia’s character a tiring mission?
No on the contrary, I loved Sophia, but Hany Khalifa, the director pushed me to exert too a lot (she laughed). I felt Sophia and was prepared well for her with the director, scriptwriters and the rest of the cast as we ran through a number of rehearsals before we started shooting.

I discussed with them all the details of Sophia’s character: how she talks, walks, her style and everything about her, and I did my duty as an actress in preparing myself to act such a role. As Sophia was an Italian lady, Khalifa gave me a list of classic Italian movies to watch and learn how Italian ladies in this era would look and act.

It is true, Khalifa made me exert a lot of effort because he is a perfectionist, so it is very difficult to please him. He kept asking me to repeat the scenes again saying that I can do better until he extracted from me a performance that I didn’t know I could do. He understands his actors and their capabilities even more than they understand themselves but it was an amusing effort, I enjoyed everything I did in Sophia’s character.

4- You dazzled the audience with your Italian language in the series; how long does it take you to learn Italian?
Two months, but I don’t want to mislead my fans, I didn’t learn Italian, I just learned the basics of the language to know how to perform the Italian conversations I said in my scenes, to at least understand what I am saying, to know the proper pronunciation and Italian phonetics – even the way Italians talk, they use their hands a lot while talking.

I had to learn to pronounce Italian fluently because in the series it was supposed to be my mother tongue. The production company employed an Italian man who is living here in Egypt, who used to give me four private lessons a week to teach me the language’s basics. He recorded with his voice my scenes that I was supposed to say in Italian in the series and I used to listen to them over and over again and repeat after him to completely master the Italian accent. I read every word with him many times over and he used to correct my pronunciation every time until I said it all in front of him correctly. It was very tough concentrating on both the language and the acting performance on parallel in such scenes but thank God everything went okay and I did it.

5- Did you expect this huge success to Sophia’s character?
Frankly speaking no, I expected the series to succeed because the entire cast exerted a lot of effort, and it is directed by Hany Khalifa. All the actors and the actresses are popular and have huge fan bases and the series’ era is loved by most, people usually have a certain kind of nostalgia towards Egypt in the 1940s and 1950s, the quiet, peaceful and elegant Egypt, but I didn’t expect at all the huge success to Sophia’s character specifically; it exceeded all my expectations and scared me, thank God.

Stay tuned for the complete interview in Egypt Today magazine.
6/16/2018 1:18:22 PM
<![CDATA[Libya declares the defeat of extremist groups in Derna]]>
The Libyan National Army forces took control of large areas of the city of Derna and have said that they are close to defeating the terrorist and extremist groups that have taken over the city for seven years. As part of his follow-up to the ongoing military operations in Derna, Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan Armed Forces Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter directed Al-Karama Operations Room and Omar Al-Mukhtar Operations Room to abide by his instructions regarding the treatment of arrested terrorists and the need to send them immediately to the corresponding authorities.

Seizing Derna would complete the takeover of Libya’s east by Haftar, who built up his Libyan National Army (LNA) during the three-year campaign for Benghazi, Libya’s second city. But the fighting in Derna could also undercut the UN-led efforts to stabilize Libya by reconciling the eastern-based factions aligned with Haftar and the rival groups located in the country’s more populous west, Reuters reported.

The media office of the Libyan military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Mesmary, said that Marshall Haftar had asked for an investigation concerning the video clip that was spread over the Internet showing Libyan soldiers displaying practices contrary to the law and the instructions of the commander of the Libyan army in regards to dealing with terrorist prisoners. Haftar instructed that the results of the investigation be referred to law enforcement authorities.

Haftar asked all military units to provide an immediate update on each arrest case containing accurate information about the arrested and the actions taken against him.

Libyan military sources confirmed that the Libyan National Army forces had repulsed an attack by terrorist groups backed by Qatar in the valley of Achila in the Brega region of Ajdabiya, and destroyed 17 armed mechanisms of terrorists while also capturing a large number of them.

The sources said that the Libyan army forces are engaged in violent clashes in Ajdabiya, pointing out that the Libyan army launched a major military operation to eliminate terrorists and extend control over the entire area. The sources also stressed that the General Command of the Libyan Armed Forces paid large reinforcements to support troops stationed in Ajdabiya, since there were terrorist attacks in oil fields since yesterday evening.

On the other hand, the Libyan air force launched intensive raids on terrorist groups attacking the oil crescent, led by the so-called "Forces in Defense of Benghazi", in the vicinity of the port of Sidra.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) evacuated its staff from the Ras Lanuf and Sidra ports in order to maintain their safety following armed clashes in the area. The loss of oil production was estimated at more than 240,000 barrels, and the entry of an oil tanker that was supposed to reach the port of Sidra was postponed.

The board of directors of the National Oil Corporation of Libya called for the prosecution of all individuals or political groups trying to seize Libyan oil installations, impose a blockade on production operations, and use the institution to achieve its objectives.
6/16/2018 1:13:48 PM
<![CDATA[Milan men's fashion week shows its feminine side]]>
After London Men's Fashion Week wrapped up on Monday, Milan picked up the reins, with 28 ready-to-wear shows to reveal the Spring-Summer 2019 lines.

But the women are muscling in to Milan men's week, with 13 co-ed catwalks and another two women-only shows.

A model presents a creation for fashion house M1992 during the Men's Spring/Summer 2019 fashion shows in Milan, on June 16, 2018. / AFP / MARCO BERTORELLO

"We are living in a huge evolutionary moment regarding the concept of men's and women's fashion," said Carlo Capasa, head of Italy's national chamber of fashion.

"That barrier doesn't exist any more, the fashion week calendar is responding to that reality," he told AFP.

"Out of affection we are keeping the idea of still calling it men's fashion week, but in reality, this barrier has already fallen."

After several difficult years for the Italian fashion industry, Milan has regained it's joie de mode.

The sector saw turnover grow by 3.2 percent last year, to 94 billion euros, according to the Confindustria Moda federation.

The growth rate was double that of Italy's GDP, Carpasa said.

The first show of men's week was by the Ermenegildo Zegna house, whose models paraded along a mirrored bridge and against the backdrop of a wonderful sunset outside the impressive Mondadori publishing house HQ.

6/16/2018 12:52:59 PM
<![CDATA[Apple nabs Oprah as top talent flocks to digital entertainment]]>
“Together, Winfrey and Apple will create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world,” Apple said in a statement.

Apple gave no details of the type of programing that Winfrey would create, the value of the deal, or when it might be released. Winfrey had no immediate comment.

Winfrey, 64, an influential movie and TV producer who also publishes a magazine, is expected to appear on screen, a source familiar with the deal said.

Apple has not said how it plans to distribute its programing, to which it has committed an initial $1 billion.

The partnership is the biggest original content deal struck by Apple so far as it aims to compete with Netflix Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Time Warner Inc’s HBO.

Netflix, which has said it will spend up to $8 billion on programming this year, in May struck a multi-year deal with former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle to produce films, documentaries and other content.

Netflix, the world’s leading streaming entertainment provider, has also lured prolific television producers Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes away from broadcast television.

Amazon said in November it had bought the global television rights to “The Lord of the Rings” and would produce a multi-season series that explores new storylines preceding author J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring.” Earlier this week, Amazon also announced a development deal with Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman’s production company for movies and television.

For its part, Apple in November ordered two seasons of a dramatic series with Hollywood stars Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, looking at the lives of people working on a morning television show.

Other projects Apple has announced include a remake of Steven Spielberg’s 1980s science fiction anthology series “Amazing Stories,” based on Isaac Asimov’s influential “Foundation” science fiction novels, and a drama from “La La Land” movie director Damian Chazelle.

Under the deal with Winfrey, she will remain chief executive of cable channel OWN, which she launched in 2011 in partnership with Discovery Inc. Winfrey in December extended her contract with OWN through 2025, OWN and Apple said.

Under her contract with OWN, Winfrey can appear on camera on other platforms on a limited basis.

Known in the United States by millions on a first-name basis, Winfrey rose to fame as the host of her own television talk show, using it to build a media empire that spans magazine publishing, movie and television production, cable TV and satellite radio.

Born into poverty, she is one of the world’s wealthiest women and has been nominated for two Academy Awards.

A rousing speech by Winfrey at the Golden Globes awards ceremony in January triggered an online campaign to persuade her to run for U.S. president in 2020.

75th Golden Globe Awards – Photo Room – Beverly Hills, California, U.S., 07/01/2018 – Oprah Winfrey poses backstage with her Cecil B. DeMille Award. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson.

She dismissed the notion, telling InStyle magazine in an interview, “It’s not something that interests me.”]]>
6/16/2018 12:45:04 PM
<![CDATA[11 MBs referred to Mufti for killing policeman in Zagazig]]>
According to the investigations’ findings, the defendants intercepted a police vehicle and shot at policemen, wounding two and killing one in Beblis city of Al Sharqyia governorate.

In a different case, three other defendants were handed down life sentences for inciting against the state. The then-suspects were arrested in Zagazig city while distributing leaflets that encourage violence against the state institutions, the Armed Forces and police. The suspects were later on arrested and referred to the prosecution.

Earlier in June, Giza Criminal Court sentenced 18 defendants to 15 years in prison over storming Atfeeh police station in August 2013, following the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood affiliated President Mohamed Morsi.

A number of 10 defendants in the case were also sentenced to five years in prison. The defendants also faced charges of damaging public and private property, possessing weapons, rioting and using violence.

Since the ousting of former Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt has seen growing waves of extremism washing over the society and spawning numerous deadly attacks. Among these attacks was the terrorist attack that hit Al-Rawdah Mosque in Al-Arish, North Sinai, and left more than 302 Friday prayer congregants dead in late November.
6/16/2018 12:30:10 PM
<![CDATA[Profile: Egyptian accomplished veteran leads Munich’s media faculty]]>
Despite not being the first Egyptian expatriate to achieve such a post, Badr, 39, has been seen as a source of pride to all Egyptians.

Badr is reportedly the youngest expatriate in Germany to take that post. He has won the competition against 17 German professors, according to the German Embassy in Cairo.

His academic journey incorporated La Sapienza University of Rome, Rome University of Fine Arts and Macromedia University for Applied Sciences in Munich, Germany. Badr was awarded his bachelor’s degree in Finance and Financial Management Services from Alexandria University in 2000.

Badr’s highly accomplished academic background encompasses a Ph.D. in political science and communication, and three master degrees. In addition, Badr is fluent in five languages, according to the professor’s account on LinkedIn, including English, Arabic, Italian, French and German.

Macromedia University, where Badr serves as a professor of media management, considers him an expert in international marketing, communication strategies and innovation management, according to the information provided by the university’s official website.

In the 1990s, Badr served as a financial analyst in the energy and petroleum sector where crucial decisions were taken based on his remarks, according to the university’s website.

Badr was sent on a mission to Italy until 2010 as part of his diplomatic service during which he reportedly implemented a number of bilateral and multilateral projects.

The young professor then joined Reuters Consulting group in Germany, where he acted as a successful team leader for creating growth strategies for some significant multinational corporations.

In 2014, he founded Badr Consulting in Munich, which is specialized in giving business and economic guidance and analysis to organizations.

According to Macromedia, Badr has headed the international Media and Communication management bachelor program at campus in Munich since 2014. Moreover, he has headed the joint program of the University of Westminster since 2016.

Badr has created joint programs between the University of Westminster in London and Macromedia University in Munich, the German Embassy in Cairo said in a statement on Wednesday.

In addition, scientific and cultural cooperation between the two universities in the media field has been reportedly endorsed thanks to his efforts.

Badr has been named 2017’s Best University Professor in Germany, following a serious competition with 72 German professors, according to the embassy
6/16/2018 12:21:50 PM
<![CDATA[Los Angeles prosecutors reviewing sexual assault case against Sylvester Stallone]]>
Los Angeles District Attorney’s office spokesman Greg Risling did not give details but said the case was presented by police in the California beach city of Santa Monica.

Representatives for Stallone, 71, did not immediately return a call for comment on Wednesday.

In December, Stallone’s attorney Martin Singer said that a woman had “filed a police report alleging a rape that occurred 27 years ago.”

“My client categorically disputes the claim,” Singer said in a statement at the time.

Santa Monica police said in December they were investigating a complaint that was made in November 2017 of alleged sexual misconduct in the 1990s by the actor.

Stallone skyrocketed to fame in 1976 with his Oscar-winning boxing movie “Rocky” and went on to become one of Hollywood’s biggest action stars through the “Rambo” and “Rocky” film franchises.

California has a complex statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions of sexual abuse but offenses must generally be prosecuted within 10 years.

Hollywood has been roiled in the past eight months by accusations of sexual assault against dozens of actors, directors and filmmakers, leading to many major figures being forced to step down or dropped from creative projects.

Producer Harvey Weinstein was charged in New York with rape and sexual assault last month. He entered a not guilty plea.

Comedian Bill Cosby was convicted in April of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004.

6/16/2018 12:13:05 PM
<![CDATA[Oil products subsidy over past 5 years hit EGP 517bn: Minister]]>
In a released statement, he added that those who really deserve this subsidy did not benefit from that system.

He added that the subsidy system was a negative factor regarding social justice as several segments of high income benefit from this system.

Meantime, several other segments whose income is less did not benefit from the subsidy, he explained. ]]>
6/16/2018 12:04:27 PM
<![CDATA[House Speaker heads to Geneva for IPU meetings]]>
The meeting of the IPU Sub-Committee on Finance is set to discuss the union's budget for 2019.

The extraordinary session of the IPU Executive Committee will take up proposals presented by the member states on the union's regulations, the statement added.

The Executive Committee is the administrative organ of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Abdel Aal was elected as member of the Executive Committee to represent the Arab Group during the 136th IPU Assembly that was held in April, 2017.]]>
6/16/2018 12:00:36 PM
<![CDATA[Tutankhamun exhibition to be hosted in Sydney in 2021]]>
The exhibition will tour 10 cities across the world,Sydney is the fifth of which, to show more than 150 exquisite objects.

Hence, the New South Wales Government announced on Monday that the museum will carry out a $50 million upgrade to be able to accommodate the Golden Pharaos' artifacts.

“The significant upgrades to the Australian Museum will ensure we have world-class museum exhibition spaces for visitors,” NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said in a statement on Monday.

Forty percent of Tutankhamun’s objects will leave Egypt to tour the world before returning to Egypt for a permanent display in the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is currently under construction.

Around 800,000 are expected to visit the exhibition during its six-month accommodation in Sydney.

The exhibition will include 60 artifactsout of the 150 pieces that have never been seen outside Egypt, according to Australian Museum director and chief executive, Kim McKay.

McKay remarked that some of the objects in the exhibition will include a gold mesh collar, featuring a vulture with its wings spread.

However, Head of Museums Sector at the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities Elham Salah denied this piece of information, referring that the collar is not one of the main pieces of Tutankhamun’s treasures and that similar collars can be found in many kings' tombs.

The other items that would be exhibitedare exquisite rings found on King Tut’s fingers, opulent jewelry that adorned his body, and the gold sandals that were placed on his feet upon burial.

The exhibition is currently being held in Los Angeles at the California Science Center, celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb.

Besides the artifacts, multimedia displays telling the story of the king will be convened, along with the scientific analysis of his 3000-year-old mummy and the cutting edge archaeological tools now being used in Egypt.

This is not the first time for Egypt to show Tutankhamun’s masterpieces abroad as the exhibition has been held in several countries since the 1960s such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Japan and France.

The Minister of Antiquities Khaled al Anany said that presenting Egyptian antiquities outside Egypt will promote tourism, which suffers from stalemate in the current period, and which will bring millions of dollars for archaeological excavations upon revival.

The Discovery

The opening of Tutankhamun's tomb via Wikimedia Commons

Sir Howard Carter, British archaeologist and Egyptologist had made it his life’s quest to find the tomb of King Tutankhamun first. When Carter had begun work in Egypt in 1891, most of the documented Pharaohs had their tombs discovered. One, however, proved to be elusive; King Tutankhamun, whose resting place had yet to be found and who Egyptologists knew very little about.

With the end of World War I, Carter made it his goal to be the first to uncover the tomb of Tutankhamun. Carter had worked in Egypt for 31 years since he was 17, using his skills as an artist to copy inscriptions from walls. He would then become appointed inspector-general of monuments in Upper Egypt. In 1907 he started to work for George Herbert, the fifth earl of Carnarvon, who would aid him in his quest to uncover the lost tomb of Tutankhamun.

Carter was certainly dedicated, spending a massive amounts of money and time in order to track down where the tomb might lie. With Lord Carnarvon as his sponsor, they began working earnestly at excavating the Valley of Kings. Alas, even after five years of work, Carter wasn’t able to report back on anything substantial.

He refused to give up however, tirelessly working to fulfill his quest, and soon enough, Carter would be rewarded beyond his imagination.

The discovery of steps beneath the sand on November 1, 1922 was a breakthrough for Carter. At long last, his tireless search for Tutankhamun would finally bear fruit. Carter announced the discovery on November 6, and it took three weeks until he could begin work on excavating into the tomb. Workers exposed all of the steps and the sealed doorway into the tomb, which at one point had been broken in by tomb robbers but resealed again, leading to hope that the contents had not been plundered.

Carter finally entered on November 25, finding evidence of resealed holes but noting that it had likely been thousands of years since anyone had entered again. If anything remained in the tomb, it could have proved to be one of the grandest archaeological discoveries in all of history.

When Carter made a hole inside the sealed door and peeked inside, he was left astounded. Gold flooded his senses, and animal statues, rich perfumes, piles of ebony, childhood toys and the Pharaoh himself adorned the room alongside countless other treasures. It was a bounty of riches the likes of which he had never been seen before; Carter couldn’t have anticipated this finding in his wildest dreams. ]]>
6/16/2018 12:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[The World’s Biggest Building to Be]]>
The building is set to occupy a record-breaking 200,000 square meters and will be built over a seven-year period, with the first phase expected to be ready in three and a half years. The town-like complex will be established in Maadi, Cairo, and will offer its residents entertainment and dining experiences from a hyper market to ice skating and cinemas, while also housing offices.

To learn all about the iconic structure to come, Egypt Today Egypt sits down with Morshedy’s CEO Hassan Morshedy and Mohamed Hadid.

Memaar Al Morshedy target different segments in Egypt, while Hadid’s firm is a bit more luxurious in terms of the designs; how did this unlikely partnership come about?

Hadid: Actually, it’s pretty much the same. We cater to certain segments, and the segments they [Morshedy] cater to, we hope that they grow into the segments to which I deliver to in the future. So, the population, the youngsters who will be hopefully buying these products, they will grow into different clients in the future.

The structure itself is so massive and iconic that it deserves a well-thought of design for its magnitude. It needs a luxury design that will cater to the general public. For that, you need enough funds to be able to create a lifestyle within that structure. The combination of residential, commercial, public space and gardens—all these things need to be built within this complex. It needs, I think, somebody of my background—I build hotels, city centers, large homes and projects of large magnitudes—to be able to deliver such a project.

Does this mean that you are targeting the new generations?

Hadid: Well, we’re targeting today’s generations and future generations. We are not following any trends, we are really making new trends, and that’s what I love about the Morshedy Group, they always think ahead.

They’re not copying someone else or trying to be better and bigger than somebody else, they’re creating something [for] today’s young generation of Egyptians who are looking for first homes. Instead of owning their first homes in the suburbs, they will own it in the city, in a place where they can live, work and enjoy a safe environment for their family.

Why did you decide to launch this project in Egypt now?

Morshedy: The most [important] thing you need for an economy to grow is stability and safety. And I think Egypt is on track to both right now. If you look at what is happening in real estate in the past couple of months, you’ll see the amount of sales that companies have generated, I think, surpasses all the previous history of sales. Right now our sales, to this day are higher than our sales from last year or even in 2010.

What is happening right now is that Egypt is growing, Cairo is growing, we’re 15 million people and we’re growing; and we did our feasibility study and found that we’re growing by some 600,000 to 800,000 [people] every year.

There’s real demand. We [Egyptians] get married young at the age of 25 to 30, and an essential part of a marriage or a commitment in Egypt is an apartment, so there’s real demand.

If you cater to the upper middle class, which is 25-30 percent of the population here in Cairo, then you have a good supply of clients. Therefore, [by] launching such a project on a massive scale, we are creating an iconic building for Cairo and for Egypt and the world.

Secondly, it makes sense business-wise for us to do such a massive project. This project has studios; something you can never find in Cairo, not even in Kattameya. Most of the compounds offer villas or big duplexes, so with this kind of project, you can actually cater to studios and one-bedrooms, and two-bedrooms, from 50 meters up to 300-400 meters, as big as you want, but you have the product that you can cater to newlyweds.

Skyline building - Courtesy of official Skyline Website
Skyline building - Courtesy of official Skyline Website

Speaking of catering to newlyweds, where do the prices stand?

Morshedy: Right now, the prices stand at LE 8,900 per meter, and you pay that over eight years with only 5 percent down payment. That means that the average unit is not that expensive. It’s not cheap and it’s not high end, it caters to the upper middle class.

Is it within the same range of pricing as your other real estate properties?

Morshedy: It depends, because in other projects we don’t have units that are 40 or 50 meters in size. So, I’ll say that the average price starts at LE 400,000 or 500,000, and can go up to LE 2 million.

But the good thing about it is how the payment is facilitated: it’s over eight years. You don’t have to go to the bank to get a loan, you can go directly to the company and [they will] finance it. You have up to three or four years with no interest. . . . We’re making it easier for the consumer to come, not only to buy with the aim of purchasing a first home, but also to invest. So, if [the customer] has an apartment, they can get a studio and in the future, they can rent out that studio and it can generate income.

In terms of design, is it any different than your other projects?

Hadid: Not really, the way I look at it, it’s a bit easier to design this project than a city center. A city center comprises everything that will be in this building. What I love about this building is that it’s going to have a rooftop, it’s going to be one of the most beautiful gardens in the world, because it’s going to be designed well and it’s going to be maintained well.

This is going to be a clean-living environment, it’s going to be easy on the eye, very family friendly. The front of the building will be on a major street; it has levels that will bring water and greenery into the street. We’ll try to make it so it’s comfortable, friendly and safe. One thing is for sure; it’s going to be sustainable for the future and will be well managed.

Are you implementing any eco-friendly measures?

Hadid: Oh, absolutely! We have an [environmentally friendly] design [for] the building’s air conditioning system, the lighting [and so on]. It’s going to cost a few dollars more, but it will give the community a better living environment.

Master Plan of Skyline - Courtesy of official Skyline Website
Master Plan of Skyline - Courtesy of official Skyline Website

A project of this size, it will become a capital of some sort, why didn’t you choose to do it in the New Administrative Capital?

Morshedy: Although lots of projects are going over there, I think I want to keep this close to home. I want to keep it close to the city center. In order for the New Capital to start working, I give it a 10-year process for people to start actually moving there, for universities, schools and supermarkets to start opening. It’s a huge, huge project. But I can start tomorrow to lay the groundwork for this project [Skyline]; it makes more sense for us, [and] for the client to be in the city center.

Maybe down the line we can do something in the New [Administrative] Capital, but for us, location is a phrase in real estate. We say ‘location, location, location’ so location was a big key for us to do something of this magnitude where I can cater for people from Nasr City, Heliopolis, Maadi and New Cairo.

I can bring in clients from all these different areas and districts. It’s also about 10 minutes from the Ain Sokhna gates, so it’s very close to a vacation destination. The location was key in doing such a project now, and starting now, instead of waiting 10 years for the New [Administrative] Capital to start getting built and then establishing the project over there.

I understand why Morshedy group is launching this kind of project in Egypt, but what about you?

Hadid: It’s very simple, I’ve done business in the past [with Morshedy] and we’re friends. I was very excited and honored to work in Egypt, I’ve always wanted to work in the Arab world. I’ve done a couple things, and I’ve done a project with them as well, so I’m very excited to do things in a [country that is] culturally and religiously close to me, [this project is] closer to the heart than [it is to] business. I am very, very, very pleased to have been chosen to work with the Morshedy Group because it’s going to be an iconic building and I want to be a part of it.

When is it expected to be finished?

Morshedy: It’s built in sections, so I think the first phase will be built in three and a half years and then cohesively phase two, phase three, phase four, phase five, so I’m saying the whole building for it to come all at once will probably take from seven to eight years, but people can start moving into the complex in three and a half years.

6/16/2018 12:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt resumes opening Rafah border crossing]]>
Palestinian ambassador to Egypt Diab al-Louh thanked the Egyptian authorities, hailing Egypt’s effort in alienating Palestinian travelers’ suffrage the statement added.

On May 18, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ordered to keep the Rafah crossing with Gaza open for the entire month of Ramadan. “I issued directives to take the necessary measures to keep the Rafah border crossing open throughout the holy month of Ramadan in a bid to relieve some of the burdens suffered by our brothers in the Gaza strip,” Sisi posted on Facebook and Twitter.

A total of 11,455 Palestinian passengers have been recorded to cross the border during Ramadan; 8,937 of whom have used it to enter Egypt to be enabled to travel abroad, while 2,518 Palestinians returned home.

The transients included students willing to complete their studies abroad, patients receiving medical treatment and employees working abroad among many others.

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

Also in May, the Egyptian authorities have renewed and reconstructed the Rafah crossing lately, challenging the security risks in North Sinai. The crossing will be inaugurated after the end of reconstruction and development works.

Egypt has long been extending unremitting efforts to bring peace to Gaza and to perpetually reach a Palestinian reconciliation following the military flare-up in Gaza in early May.

Another reconciliation agreement was signed in Cairo in October 2017 between Palestinian rival factions Fatah and Hamas in order to achieve more stability within the Palestinian land and authorities.

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

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that there is no country as vital to the Palestinian cause as Egypt due to its historical and political position in the region. “Egypt has an opinion, a position and an interest in the Palestinian cause,” said Abbas.
6/16/2018 11:21:23 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt raises fuel prices for 4th time as part of IMF deal]]>
95 gasoline prices went up from LE 6.6 (US$ 0.37) per litre to 7.7, while 92 octane gasoline price amounted to LE 6.75 instead of 5 per litre. Prices of gasoline 80's liter increased to LE 5.5 instead of 3.65, the newly-appointed government said in its first move since taking oath Thursday.

The price of diesel will be LE 5.5 a liter instead of 3.65, while the price of the natural gas used for vehicles rose to 2.75 per cubic meter instead of 2.

Meanwhile, government has announced the raising the price of the cooking gas cylinder to LE 50 instead of 30 and the commercial gas cylinder's prices surged to LE 100 instead of 60.

The new pricing officially came into effect on June 16, 2018 at 9:00 AM, as per the government's decision.

The second phase of raising fuel prices was last November. Rising fuel prices and the currency devaluation has led to the sense that fuel price hikes were large.

6/16/2018 10:10:24 AM
<![CDATA[Finding their way to Umm El-Dunya]]>

“They like the sea, the good weather. Russians often come here for what they don’t have at home: water sports, sunshine,” says Gad, explaining that this is why the majority of the expat community is found in Red Sea towns, in the same manner that most Russian tourists choose to fly into Hurghada or Sharm El-Sheikh for a vacation by the beach as opposed to sightseeing in Luxor, Aswan or Cairo.

Amany Ahmed, watersports center manager

Amany Ahmed (whose name has been changed for privacy), the manager at a major watersports center at a high-end resort in the sleepy seaside town of Dahab, was once one of the Russian tourists flying in briefly. Ten years later, she is still living in South Sinai, married to an Egyptian man. Her young son alternates with ease between speaking Russian, Egyptian Arabic and English fluently as he interrupts our interview to offer marshmallows and sweets, before running off to swim with a friend mere steps away from his mother’s beachfront office.
A former construction engineer, Ahmed says she felt that Egypt is “another motherland” to her upon her first visit to Egypt a decade ago. She attributes this to a few years she spent living in Algeria with her family as a young girl, which led her to feel “connected” to a nearby North African country many years later. She also says that she wholly enjoys her work, and finds pleasure in helping tourists enjoy a positive experience. “I like giving our clients happiness, and they give me some of their happiness,” she says with a calm smile. “I didn’t have this at my office job in Russia.”

“Now, ana Masriya [I am Egyptian],” she affirms, explaining that her lifestyle today is more “Egyptian” than it is “Russian,” and she has few Russian friends and activities in the Russian community given her preoccupation with work and family. “Now, I have an Egyptian husband and an Egyptian lifestyle.” Originally from Yekaterinburg, which lies east of the Ural Mountains and is Russia’s fourth-largest city, Ahmed often misses watching the change of seasons, the tree leaves and weather changing around the year, as she did back home.

As she adjusts her headscarf, she says her only challenge when she first settled down in Egypt was learning to speak English, which she needed to excel at in order to make the career change to the tourism sector. She spent almost two years unemployed following the crash of the Russian Metrojet plane over South Sinai in 2015, but returned to work in recent months as the industry picked up.

Despite the return of passenger flights between Russia and Cairo (charter flights have yet to resume), it’s a hassle for Russian tourists to reach the Red Sea resort towns from the capital. “Russian tourists bear the additional cost and time of commuting from the airports of Cairo, Tel Aviv or Istanbul. To take two flights, or one flight and a long bus ride would be to waste two entire days travelling before and after the trip. For a traveler who only has one week to spend on vacation, this is unfeasible.”

Russians choose to live in Egypt, and specifically Red Sea resort towns, because of the cheap cost of living, availability of water sports, and the appeal of the beach town life, says Ahmed, who adds that windsurfing and freediving are very popular among the Russian community. “It’s much cheaper to rent a flat in Hurghada than in Moscow, and it also gives them the opportunity to relax by the beach. Many people keep their flat in Russia and come here during the winter months, between October and May, work online maybe, because it’s warm and it’s healthy for their kids to be by the sea, in the sun. In Russia, the kids are always sick, they catch colds.”
While some prefer the idea of not entirely giving up their life back home, Ahmed was not afraid of making her move permanent. “I’m like a sponge; always adapting and learning. I never listened [when I arrived] to how people here reveal their mindset and thought, ‘this is wrong’, I was very open,” Ahmed says of her first couple of years in Cairo. While many of her peers found trouble adapting to the local culture, she didn’t find it a struggle as she tried to be open minded. “I tried to understand that things are different here, people think differently [than back home],” she recalls.


Yulia Filimonova, entrepreneur

Yulia Filimonova has been in Egypt for eight years, with a short, year-long hiatus she spent in Dubai in between. Though she’s had many job offers in various countries, she says she is not “motivated by money” and wanted to “live somewhere warm,” which is why she chose to live in Egypt. “Russia is boring . . . people are so negative there.” Like Ahmed and Una, being in proximity to the seashore was also an important factor in her decision.

An entrepreneur and small business owner who previously worked in tourism for several years, Filimonova found the possibility of living in Egypt logistically feasible due to the ease of issuing a visa and the availability of jobs in the tourism sector when she arrived.

“I thought, many Russian tourists come here, so why not work here?” Filimonova says, recounting how she went door-to-door between various hotels in 2009 as she searched for a job, refusing the constraints of online applications and the long response time she found they take. Eventually, she landed an administrative job at the First Mall in Cairo and embraced the challenges living in a new country presented, including adapting to a new culture and improving her English. “I wanted some adventure,” she says with a shrug, remembering her first months in the capital.

Filimonova has also worked at the iconic Castle Zaman, an impressive monument perched in the mountains between Nuweiba and Taba that commands an impressive view of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. As tourism revenues slowed, she found that her income as a restaurateur in a small Dahab-based pizzeria in later years was no longer enough to cover her expenses, so she started a private housekeeping business, LemonClean Dahab. When the small-town life in South Sinai gets too dull, she likes to attend events in El-Gouna. “I go to Sandbox every year,” she says, adding that the annual electronic music festival held in the resort town south of Hurghada, which boasts a more glamorous and up-scale atmosphere than that Dahab has to offer, “is always a lot of fun. I meet all of my friends from Cairo down there! I love Dahab, but I wish there were more big events here.”

Looking back at the uncertain times of the 2011 uprising, Filimonova says “Russians are quite tough, we’re survivors. Russia can be quite dangerous too.” Her flat mates and friends from European countries, she recalls, were more likely to leave the country in the months that followed the uprising as they were mostly on year-long, contracted jobs and decided to leave once their contracts ended. “I think the future was uncertain for many people at that time, and also many companies closed down.” Meanwhile, she sees that Russian expats were least likely to leave Egypt as they tend to be “more settled down” than their peers from other countries are; many have an Egyptian spouse or partner, and half-Egyptian children, since they’re more likely to have been settled in the local country longer.

Filimonova grew up in the small coastal town of Petrozavodsk in northwest Russia, and describes her childhood as a time spent in nature, taking walks in the forest nearby, picking wild berries and mushrooms in her free time. Restaurants offering Russian cuisine, dumplings and the like, in Dahab are plentiful, and purchasing fruits and vegetables are significantly cheaper than in Russia, where “[produce] is mostly imported.” Yet she says she misses the more authentic taste of Russian cuisine back home, as well as the freshly picked berries and mushrooms.

Asked where she’ll be watching the FIFA World Cup this month, Filimonova shrugs as she responds, “I’m not really into football, but maybe I’ll watch a few of the matches Russia is competing in at Blue Beach [the local bar].” She seems only mildly excited by the prospect—possibly not enough to give up the sunny days on the beach.


Maria Una, actress

Model and actor Maria Una may have a different lifestyle and career path than other Russian expats, but she tells us, “Ana Masriya” just as confidently as she speaks about her experience in the country during the past eight years she has spent living here. Una has played roles in productions alongside the likes of Adel Imam, and has also been a face in many well-known television commercials; the most memorable of these were for Cancan Chocolate in 2012 and for Glysolid Cream in 2014. A conversation with actor Asser Yassin in 2011 encouraged her to pursue acting full-time in Egypt, as her passion for performance developed with the roles she took on.

Una met Yassin on the set of Tarek Al-Erian’s Aswar al-Qamar, a role she was hired for during a winter break vacation she spent in Hurghada to catch up with college friend who was living on the seaside resort town at the time. “[Yassin] really encouraged me, and I wanted to be an actress here because I felt there was a niche I could fill,” she says, explaining the need for foreigners on the set of various films. “I reached a point now where I am well-known, and people often ask me to act in the foreigner roles [because I have done so many of them].” She also recounts that she realized early on that “Egypt is the Hollywood of the Middle East,” making settling down in Cairo ideal for her career.

“People are really warm in Egypt, even on the street. Everyone will help you if you get in trouble. The weather is good, it’s really easy to find somewhere to go to the beach for the weekend,” she says of her newfound homeland. When she isn’t working, she likes to spend time near the sea in El-Gouna, Sahl Hasheesh, or the few “not too crowded” developments in the North Coast. Una is currently preparing digital videos for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, including a widely shared Mohamed Salah fan video. She is also collaborating with director Ghada Ali on an international film with an all-female cast and crew.

Like many Russians, one of the primary reasons she committed to staying in Egypt was the weather; she says her hometown Arkhangelsk is “gray all the time. For Russians [living in Egypt] in particular, the weather is a major factor [in their decision]. We have many long months of winter back home.” Yet she does miss her life at home during August and September, when she could typically dress in more relaxed attire such as shorts and tank tops “without the entire street staring at me; the culture is different.” While Cairo is host to various live music venues, she finds the cultural scene in Russian cities more eventful. “There’s not as many places here where you can go out and listen to jazz, blues, or rock music,” Una says, though her excitement about frequent beach weekends seems to outweigh the drawback of minimal nightlife entertainment in a Muslim-majority country.

“I feel safe in Egypt,” she affirms, speaking about her experience in the most populous Arab country during a time of political and economic turmoil before the country became more stable in recent years. “I think [Russian] tourists will start coming again after they resume the charter flights, making it more affordable for them to come,” she maintains. “It used to be that $300 to $400 was a good budget for a trip to Hurghada or Sharm El-Sheikh from Russia, all inclusive, with flights, hotels, food, and everything. But with the prices of the regular flights, now just the roundtrip flight is $550!”

In terms of safety, she finds that Russians aren’t concerned about the security situation, despite what international news headlines might insinuate. “I think Russians aren’t as worried. Sometimes [tourists] get the wrong idea, because of how Egypt is portrayed in the media; but for Russians, this isn’t so much of an issue.”

Una is travelling to Russia for the summer to watch the FIFA World Cup games live. She plans to attend the matches Russia is participating in.

6/16/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Real Madrid's Ronaldo reaches deal with Spanish tax authorities - El Mundo]]>
Ronaldo is unlikely to serve any time in jail under the deal because Spanish law states that a sentence of under two years for a first offence can be served on probation.

The 33-year-old Portuguese footballer is accused of evading 14.7 million euros in taxes and, through his agents, has denied the allegations. Ronaldo is due to play for Portugal on Friday in a World Cup match against Spain.

Gestifute, the agency representing the player, was not immediately available to comment on the report on Friday. The Spanish tax agency also declined to comment.

Spanish courts have recently cracked down on tax evasion among leading footballers.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month prison sentence in 2017 on similar charges but under Spanish law was able to exchange the penalty for a fine.

Between 2005 and 2010, foreign players in Spain were protected under the so-called "Beckham law" allowing them to curb their taxes. But as the financial crisis bit deeper, that exemption was lifted, paving the way for the cases.

6/16/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Iceland coach talks of dentistry and the Cod Wars ahead of Argentina match]]>
Iceland are the smallest country ever to have qualified for the World Cup and Hallgrimsson was clearly relishing their role as everyone's favourite underdogs when he addressed around 300 reporters in a packed pre-match news conference.

"People like the fact that such as sparsely populated nation as ours is in the World Cup," he said, before also bringing in his country's reputation for peace and tranquillity.

"We haven't attacked anyone, we haven't been a war with anyone, we only had the Cod Wars and nobody got hurt there," he said, referring to the fishing disputes between Britain and Iceland between 1958 and 1976. "You can't help but love us."

Iceland stunned the football world when they reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, beating Austria and England on the way, but Hallgrimsson said that Saturday's match against the South Americans in Group D was an even bigger test.

"This is the biggest game in history of Icelandic football," said Hallgrimsson, who then pre-empted a question about whether he was still practising dentistry -- his first profession before he became an international football coach.

"I am still a dentist and I will never stop being a dentist," he said.

The only thing that threatens to wipe the smile of Hallgrimsson's face is the suggestion that Iceland's progress has been a miracle.

"The team has been very stable for the last four years. We are 20th in the FIFA rankings, we won our World Cup qualifying group, we deserve to be here," he said. "We do not see it as a miracle, that we are here in the World Cup.

"It's the result of good work by the football association, the staff around the team and especially the players....it's down to knowing your strengths and weaknesses.

"We play a different style of football but we have shown that if you have play as a unit, anything is possible. If someone is surprised, then they don't know much about Iceland."

Hallgrimsson recognised, however, that a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina was the biggest challenge they have yet faced.

"Everyone has tried everything against him and he always manages to score," said Hallgrimsson.

"We will do it together, and help each other and try to do it as a team... it would be unfair to give any given player the role of marking Messi, that would be not fair."

He added: "We can have the best game or our lives tomorrow and still lose...that's the reality."]]>
6/16/2018 7:23:00 AM
<![CDATA[Russian basta: Golovin walks out on Juve questions]]>
Ready to speak via video link from Luzhniki Stadium after playing a big part in the drubbing of Saudi Arabia, the 22-year-old CSKA Moscow midfielder looked ill at ease as the studio presenter told viewers: "Today, a new Russian star was born.

"They say Juventus is fighting for him, that Milan was even watching from the stands," the host from Russia's Channel One went on, only to see the maker of the opening goal and scorer of the fifth yank out his earpiece and stalk off shaking his head.

Earlier, Golovin told reporters he was not thinking about how his performance may raise his profile: "I'm not paying attention to that because of the World Cup," he said. "I'm with the national team and all my thoughts are focused around that."

Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport quoted him saying he was flattered by Italian attention but played it down as "rumour".

The mere fact of any home-grown player getting attention from abroad after years in which Russians have failed to tempt Europe's best clubs has sparked a local media frenzy as their World Cup gets under way and fans start to hope the national team may avoid the embarrassment many have long feared.]]>
6/16/2018 4:18:00 AM
<![CDATA['Malika',is it too early for Dina el-Shirbeny to be the solo star?]]>
"Malika" may not be bursting with a galaxy of popular stars, but it does offer a semi entraining aspect that keeps you watching to the end even if you do skip half of the episode. Written by Ahmed TahirYassen and directed by SherifIsmael, "Malika" is the story of two cousins who attend the wedding party of their best friend; and the wedding is targeted by a terrorist attackand so the two stories are linked for the rest of the soap.

As the wedding party is blown up, the two cousins are badly burnt; one dies while the other is disfigured and the only way that they are identifiedis via a necklace that one of them is wearing which is presumed to be Malika (Shirbeny) and so the storyline begins.

The police continue to search for the brain behind the terror attack, while Malika continues to feel torn between two identities as she is not sure if she is Malika or her cousin Aya (AyaSamaha), and we the audience are equally confused and that is due to the effective writing and acting. As there are scenes in which it seems to be quite obvious that the one who died in the bombing is Malika but then we get glimpses where it seems that it is Aya who died.

It is an intriguing plot that constantly keeps the audience guessing, but again, the problem with the majority of this Ramadan's soap operas is the slow pace of the episodes that always focus on a single story line;"Malika"is no exception to the rule. The soap could have been far more enjoyable had it included more than one storyline or simply speeded the events.

As for the casting, the real stars of the soap opera are the following; Shirbeny who has proved she is more than capable to be in the lead role in any work without the support of a male star;she hasthe exceptional ability to suddenly change from the wild and rebellion Aya to the obedient and shy Malika in seconds, demonstrating the real struggle between the two identities within her.

Ramez Amir is another actor that gave an exceptional performance as the poor student turned terrorist, who is in love with Malika,yet ends up being the one who causes all her misery. Amir is a talented actor who featured in last Ramadan's soap "Gharabeb El Soud", where he also played a young person who is brainwashed into joining ISIS and becoming a terrorist.Amir has a promising future ahead but needs to try a non-terrorist role; otherwise he will fall into the trap of being typecast.

It is also worth mentioning thatAmral Saeed and Mohamed Shaheen both played their roles in the most convincing manner.

These stars compensated for all the other actors who have much longer acting careers,yet seeing their roles in "Malika", one cannot help but wonder why did they agree to play such roles that do not add anything to their history?]]>
6/16/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Team spirit can take youthful France to World Cup title - Mbappe]]>
France start their campaign in Group C against Australia in Kazan on Saturday, with the 19-year-old Mbappe and the 21-year-old Ousmane Dembele supporting Antoine Griezmann up front.

"We have young team, yes, but if you look at it, you see we play at Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Juventus, Manchester. Take any big European team, there's at least one Frenchman," PSG striker Mbappe told sports daily L'Equipe on Friday.

"Of course we are young but several players already have plenty of experience: Raphael Varane won several (four) Champions League titles with Real, Samuel Umtiti is in the starting 11 at Barca, Paul Pogba played four great seasons at Juve. Youth is an excuse without being an excuse.

"I don't like to talk about our age. Either you can, or you cannot."

France are expected to top their group, which also features Denmark and Peru, but Mbappe admitted that they still lag behind Spain, Germany and Brazil, the competition's top favourites.

"Let's face it, Brazil, Spain and Germany are a little ahead of us. But on one competition you never know what can happen. We have potential, but if you look at everyone's trophy list, ours fits on one piece of paper," he said.

The squad's mindset, however, can be a big boost for France, according to Mbappe.

"I know the players and nobody is playing for themselves. Everyone wants to win and when you want that, you are ready to make sacrifices for your team mates," he explained.

"We are a new generation that has just started blooming. Being a true team, what does that mean? Stick together, like each other, being able to run for your team mate.

"Then there is the work of the coach but we have a great coach, there is no worries there," he said of Didier Deschamps, who captained France to the World Cup title in 1998.]]>
6/16/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Intensified inspection campaigns to detect electricity theft cases]]>CAIRO – 15 June 2018: The Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy is initiating intensified inspection campaigns with the cooperating of the General Directorate for Electricity Police to detect cases of electricity theft.

The ministry decided to intensify its campaigns against electricity theft and meter tempering starting Friday, which marks the first day of Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim religious holiday that signifies the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, as often cases of electricity theft increase during Eid days.

During Eid, some lawbreakers tend to steal electricity to light up store fronts and wedding parties in streets, therefore, serious directives were given by Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker to detect and prosecute electricity thieves.

Detection of electricity theft is being achieved through a number of approaches that have been proposed to the field; the predominant direction however is by utilizing artificial intelligence and some particular machine learning methods.

According to a reliable source at the Ministry of Electricity, the estimated loss in the electricity grid amounts to around 15 percent of the total generated electricity, including seven percent that is caused by electricity theft, which costs the country around LE 5 billion of losses.

The source also added that the new electricity law can get electricity thieves behind bars in case they refused to pay the fines.

It is pertinent to mention that on June 21, Shaker announced in a press conference new hikes in electricity prices.

According to Shaker, the overall increase does not exceed 26 percent, while the average hikes in bills for houses amount around 24 percent.

The minister also affirmed that the new hikes save the country from potential losses that might reach LE 109 billion.

He added that users of the first bracket of the housing use segment only bear 18 percent of the total cost of the bill; as they pay LE 12 while the actual bill costs LE 65.

The new prices, according to the minister, come as part of the government’s economic reform program.

6/16/2018 1:18:13 AM
<![CDATA[All about Egypt's promotional 2018 World Cup campaign ]]>CAIRO – 16 June 2018: As Egypt was announced Official Regional Supporter of the 2018 FIFA World CupTM, ministries of investment and tourism already started expressing efforts to draw attention to Egypt as a tourist destination and a fertile soil for investment.

The contract signed between the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation and FIFA aims at promoting Egypt as a global destination that is capable of attracting more tourists and investments from all over the world.

During the second group A match, in which the Egyptian national team showed a splendid performance and largely survived until the 89th minute, the in-stadium LED banners flashed promotional phrases of the campaign, such as “This is Egypt”, “Experience Egypt”, and “Invest in Egypt”.

PRESS PHOTO: "Experience Egypt", "Invest in Egypt" showing up on the stadium's LED banners

Egypt: 2018 FIFA Official Regional Sponsor:

According to Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, the campaign is firmly focused on showcasing the wide spectrum of investment opportunities in the country.

“Being an Official Regional Supporter of the 2018 FIFA World Cup RussiaTM gives us the outreach in Africa to highlight and communicate the premium positioning and enormous investment diversity and potential Egypt has to offer,” Nasr added.

The contract marks the first World Cup sponsorship deal for FIFA in the past five years from outside China, Qatar and Russia.

For her part, Minister of Tourism Rania al-Mashat said the Investment Ministry’s campaign, namely “Egypt – Experience and Invest”, is willing to use the opportunity of the Egyptian qualification to the World Cup to showcase, in a modern way, the rich and rewarding diversity of tourism experiences that Egypt offers.

The Ministry of Tourism, according to Mashat, has been coordinating a wide campaign to promote Egypt during the World Cup events before the contract with FIFA.

The FIFA contract grants Egypt the right to have “Egypt — Experience, Invest” written next to the World Cup logo.

“Egypt — Experience, Invest” written next to the World Cup logo – FIFA

Lighting up the pyramids:

The Misr Co. for Sound, Light and Tourism Development, in collaboration with ministries of tourism, antiquities and investment, lit up the pyramids and the sphinx to celebrate the press conference that announced Egypt as an official FIFA regional sponsor.

Lighting up the pyramids in celebration of announcing Egypt regional supporter of FIFA 2018 World Cup – Egypt.travel/worldcup

Chairman of the company, Sameh Saad, said this move will benefit tourism and investment in Egypt greatly.

Land of opportunity, Ministry’s promotion plan:

“The land of opportunity, where business comes to life. Discover all the elements that would turn start-up to enterprise,” The Ministry of Investment posted on Instagram.

The following are some steps that the Tourism Ministry plan to fulfill the campaign’s aims:

A new dedicated microsite – www.egypt.travel/worldcup - will be available for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

In-stadium moving LED banners with floating "Experience Egypt" and "Invest in Egypt" words

"This Is Egypt" to be transmitted on giant screens inside 11 stadiums

Including a face filter with the tag @ExperienceEgypt on Snapchat and Facebook

Giant digital billboards showcasing Egyptian tourist destinations in Russia, Germany, Spain, Poland, England, Scotland, and Wales

A 30-second commercial to be broadcast at half time during all 64 matches; a total of 45 promotional hours

Increased activities on social media platforms


The electronic billboards will be displayed in the following European cities that are main tourism target markets: Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt in Germany, Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia in Spain, Warsaw, Gdansk and Krakow in Poland, and London, Edinburgh and Cardiff in the UK, all in each location's language.

It is pertinent to mention that the commercials will be broadcast vial the following channels: Russia’s Match TV and Russia 1, Germany’s Sky Sports and Sky News International, Italy’s Media Set Extra, C5, L1, and C20, Ukraine’s Inter and NTN, and the UK’s ITV1 and ITV4.

As announced by Mashat, the promotional phase of the Ministry of Tourism will be “different”, while Ahmed Youssef, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Egyptian Authority for Tourism Development, said that the ministry aims to reach 2 billion viewers worldwide.

Youssef said that the campaign's mission is to encourage those who wish to visit the country, and therefore attract more tourists based on the visitors' assessment of their experience in Egypt.

“Social media is important to reflect the civilization of the country and we already use 17 languages to communicate with the whole world through advertisements and promotional plans,” Youssef added.

Invitation for 30 World Cup fans to visit Egypt, FOR FREE:

Minister of Tourism Mashat on June 14 said the ministry will organize a contest between the World Cup 2018 teams' supporters, so that winners will be offered a seven-day journey to Egypt.

Mashat said that 30 football fans will be granted a seven-day journey to Egypt free of charge, within the framework of the "golden ticket" contest organized by the Tourism Ministry.

Tickets will be granted to users with the most likes and views on pictures they will post while using #ThisisEgypt or mentioning @experienceegypt.

The promotional campaign started on Friday that marked Egypt's opener match against Uruguay in the World Cup.

6/16/2018 12:57:41 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi orders to pay debts of 690 prisoners from Tahya Misr fund]]>
“We will always strive to uphold the human dignity and implement the necessary measures to preserve the social protection to reduce such phenomena that negatively affect social stability,” Sisi said on his official Facebook account on Friday.

A total of 690 debtors, as part of a presidential initiative called “Prisons with Debtors” aiming to release all debtors landing behind bars by paying off their debts ( LE 30 million= $1.685 million) through Tahya Misr (Long Live Egypt) fund. Friday marks the first day of Eid al-Fitr (a religious feast celebrated by Muslims worldwide, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.) Another 2,110 prisoners were released per a presidential pardon, while 677 others were out on conditional release.

Prisoners released per presidential pardon on first day of Eid al-Fitr on June 15, 2018 - Hazim Abdel Samad/Egypt Today

According to the Interior Ministry, the procedures of releasing the prisoners were finalized over the past few days.

The decision to release the prisoners on occasion of Eid al-Fitr feast was published in the Gazette last week.

In May, the Interior Ministry's prison department pardoned 447 prisoners on the occasion of Sinai Liberation Day.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that the prison department also found that 473 inmates are qualified for release on pardon. The Egyptian government frequently pardons prisoners during national celebrations.

Also on May, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi pardoned About 332 prisoners their freedom. The pardon list included youths and prisoners with health problems.

In October 2016, President Sisi announced the formation of a presidential pardon committee, headed by political thinker, Osama al-Ghazaly Harb, for pardoning detainees with charges pending further investigation.

In November 2016, Sisi declared the first presidential pardon list, pardoning 82 detainees, including TV presenter and religious thinker Islam al-Behery, who was charged with “contempt of Islam”.

A second pardon list was declared in March 2017, pardoning 203 detainees. The list included five journalists, according to Masrawy news outlet. In June 2017, Sisi announced pardoning 502 detainees.

On the anniversary of October 6 War, 244 Egyptian prisoners regained their freedom after receiving a pardon by a presidential decree.

Additional reporting by MENA
6/15/2018 6:25:18 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt launches World Cup tourism campaign ]]>
Earlier this week, Egypt was selected as the first African Regional Supporter of FIFA World Cup 2018. The contract signed with the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation’s “Egypt – Experience and Invest” campaign aims at promoting Egypt as a global investment destination and attracting tourists from around the world, by speaking to millions of World Cup followers.

Egypt’s Minister of Tourism Rania al-Mashat had affirmed that “Egypt - Experience and Invest” would use the opportunity of the World Cup qualification to showcase, in a modern way, the rich and rewarding diversity of tourism experiences that Egypt offers.

The ministry’s international tourism campaign aims to promote the beauty of Egypt to millions of soccer fans through the World Cup events.


The campaign will also showcase the wide spectrum of investment opportunities in the country. “Being an Official Regional Supporter of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ gives us the outreach in Africa to highlight and communicate the premium positioning and enormous investment diversity and potential Egypt has to offer,” Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said Tuesday.

Despite missing the ‘Egyptian King’ Mohamed Salah, the Pharaohs played a strong first game on Friday. Uruguay, however, ended the game with a 90th-minute winner to see off Egypt 1-0 in the tournament opener.

The Pharaohs have to win their upcoming games against Russia and Saudi Arabia to secure a seat in the 16th round.

f7bedb09-8190-4b72-bf78-f91790848616 ]]>
6/15/2018 5:59:54 PM
<![CDATA[Cuper is pleased by Egypt’s performance, assures Salah’s participation in the next matches]]>
Uruguay defeated Egypt 1-0 in their World Cup opener through a late header by Jose Gimenez.


“It was a difficult match against a tough opponent; we are desperate to receive a goal like that,” Cuper stated in the press conference after the match.

In the 89th minute, Sanchez delivered a free-kick from the right and Gimenez rose highest in the area to head into the right-hand corner of the net.

“We knew their strengths [free kicks]; they have giant defenders and strikers. Despite all, I’m happy with the players’ performance,” Cuper stressed.


“We preferred not to risk participating Salah. He will participate in the next two matches,” Cuper assured.

El-Shenawy has really shone today and he's made three decisive saves. Two saves from Suarez and a powerful volley from Cavani earned him Man of the Match award after the game.


The Pharaohs have to win in the next games, against Russia and Saudi Arabia, to secure a seat in the 16th round.

Egypt will play against Russia next Tuesday on June 19 while Uruguay will face Saudi Arabia.

6/15/2018 5:15:43 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi comments on Egypt-Uruguay World Cup match]]>
The match ended with the winning of Uruguay 0-1, however Sisi praised the 'manly' performance of Egyptian national team.

“So proud of the manly performance of the national team,” Sisi said through a post on his Facebook official account. “I trust their ability to obtain victory in the upcoming matches,” Sisi added, concluding his post with hashtag #SupportEgypt’sNationalTeam #ادعم_منتخب_مصر.

Egypt has lost 0-1 to Uruguay in the first match for two teams of Group A at the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the Central Stadium in the vicinity of Ekaterinburg Arena.

Russia topped Group A after defeating Saudi team 0-5 in the opening match of World Cup.


Lost a battle not the War: Egypt 0 - 1 Uruguay

CAIRO - 15 June 2018: Egypt's amazing performance in the group stage's second match wasn't enough; the Pharaohs lost 0-1 against Uruguay through late José Giménez header. The first @Pharaohs team to play at the #WorldCup since 1990 🙌#EGY pic.twitter.com/wA3SvpZVtX - FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) June 15, 2018 A tough match is in store for them, against @Uruguay!

6/15/2018 5:11:24 PM
<![CDATA[Lost a battle not the War: Egypt 0 – 1 Uruguay]]>

The goal was very late and the performance wasn't great from Uruguay but Oscar Tabarez's side has three crucial points, with Jose Gimenez's goal ending a wait since 1970 for La Celeste to win their opening game of a World Cup. Egypt impressed the majority of the game, with Trezeguet and Mohamed El-Shenawy shining, but fell short at the end.

Uruguay now places second in Group A with three points behind the leader and the host nation, Russia, with three points but with five goals in their bank. Egypt is now the third before Saudi Arabia, the fourth.

Egypt was within touching distance from securing what may have been a crucial point, but their performance in the latter stages had dropped, inviting the pressure from Uruguay against players like Gimenez and Cavani.

In the 89th minute, Sanchez delivers a free-kick from the right and Gimenez rises highest in the area to head into the right-hand corner of the net.

A draw was a fair result given the reflection of the match and host nation Russia would be delighted if it stayed like this, as it would put it in a commanding position at the top of Group A.

El-Shenawy has really shone today and he's made a decisive three saves. Two saves from Suarez and a powerful volley from Cavani earned him Man of the Match award after the game.

El-Shenawy is only earning his sixth cap for Egypt tonight and was selected ahead of veteran El-Hadary for the game. He may be less experienced but he's really impressed, making crucial interventions when called upon.


Egypt to play against Russia next Tuesday on June 19 while Uruguay to face Saudi Arabia.
6/15/2018 4:44:39 PM
<![CDATA[Major breakthrough expected in next 2 years: Madbouli to Sisi]]>
Following his swearing-in to President Sisi, Madbouli immediately headed to the Cabinet’s headquarter to pursue the duties of his new post.

“I was honored to be a member of the government of ex-Prime Minister Sherif Ismail. He is a great man in every sense of the word,” Madbouli added in press remarks, contending that the next two years will be a breakthrough and will represent a new stage.

Madbouli further stressed that healthcare, education, and administrative reform, re-building the Egyptian state and completing the economic reform program are priorities of the government in the coming period based on President Sisi’s instructions.

Along with the business sector, he pointed out that President Sisi has paid special attention to the national projects that provide three million job opportunities and serve 13 to 15 million.

During President Sisi’s meeting with Madbouli, Sisi stressed the need to attain the fullest cooperation and coordination between all ministries and state agencies to ensure optimal implementation of the government’s programs and plans, according to presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi.

He also called on the new government to commit to the rationalization of expenditures and to wisely govern the state’s resources for the benefit of the Egyptians people, as well as to press ahead with executing the national projects and establishing a national database.

He also stressed the need to continue combatting corruption in all its forms and to hold the implicated and those responsible for corruption accountable and to continuously support the national programs dedicated to the youth to prep them to take up the leadership of the country.

Egypt's new Cabinet has sworn-in Thursday 12 new ministers. For the first time in Egyptian history, the new Cabinet has a total of eight female ministers. Madbouli has appointed two new female ministers, in addition to the existing six in the outgoing Cabinet.]]>
6/15/2018 3:49:23 PM
<![CDATA[Half-Time: Egypt 0 – 0 Uruguay]]>
Here are the first half in details, Follow Egypt Today magazine official account on Twitter for Live Updates.

It's the First Egyptian National Anthem at the World Cup in 28 years

Kick-Off: Egypt vs Uruguay

5': Uruguay presses the Egyptian defense. We must be tougher

8': Cavani sent the first shot but El-Shenawy saves

10': Egyptian fans' chants are loud


11': OOOHH!! Trezeguet shots the ball but Muslera save Egypt's first chance

15': Foul for Egypt from a dangerous place for Amr Warda

20': Egypt now as are more impressive but Muslera hasn't been tested significantly.


24': Thanks God! Suarez missed a massive chance for Uruguay

28': It's clear that Uruguay depends on the counter attack tactics; they are waiting for it.

32' A chance for Uruguay from a free-kick quite a way from goal and Suarez smashes his attempt into Trezeguet in the wall.

38' A surging run forward from the back by Godin sees the defender ease past Elneny and he feeds a pass through to De Arrascaeta, whose touch is poor and the ball trickles behind for a goal kick.


42': Better from Uruguay as they move the ball around to find space but, like Egypt at the other end, the final ball hasn't been up to standard.

45': Half Time]]>
6/15/2018 2:59:22 PM
<![CDATA[In pics: 2,787 prisoners, 690 debtors released on 1st day of Eid al-Fitr]]>
WhatsApp Image 2018-06-15 at 11.43.32 AM
Prisoners released per presidential pardon on first day of Eid al-Fitr on June 15, 2018 - Hazim Abdel Samad/Egypt Today

WhatsApp Image 2018-06-15 at 11.43.33 AM(1)
Prisoners released per presidential pardon on first day of Eid al-Fitr on June 15, 2018 - Hazim Abdel Samad/Egypt Today

The batch of released prisoners included also 690 debtors, as part of a presidential initiative called “Prisons with Debtors” aiming to release all debtors landing behind bars by paying off their debts.

According to the Interior Ministry, the procedures of releasing the prisoners were finalized over the past few days.

WhatsApp Image 2018-06-15 at 11.43.34 AM(1)
Prisoners released per presidential pardon on first day of Eid al-Fitr on June 15, 2018 - Hazim Abdel Samad/Egypt Today

The decision to release the prisoners on occasion of Eid al-Fitr feast was published in the Gazette out last week.

On May, the Interior Ministry's prison department pardoned 447 prisoners on the occasion of Sinai Liberation Day.

WhatsApp Image 2018-06-15 at 11.43.39 AM(2)
Prisoners meet their families after being released per presidential pardon on first day of Eid al-Fitr on June 15, 2018 - Hazim Abdel Samad/Egypt Today

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that the prison department also found that 473 inmates are qualified for release on parole. The Egyptian government frequently pardons prisoners during national celebrations.

Also on May, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi pardoned About 332 prisoners their freedom. The pardon list included youths and prisoners with health problems.

In October 2016, President Sisi announced the formation of a presidential pardon committee, headed by political thinker, Osama al-Ghazaly Harb, for pardoning detainees with charges pending further investigation.

In November 2016, Sisi declared the first presidential pardon list, pardoning 82 detainees, including TV presenter and religious thinker Islam al-Behery, who was charged with “contempt of Islam”.

A second pardon list was declared in March 2017, pardoning 203 detainees. The list included five journalists, according to Masrawy news outlet. In June 2017, Sisi announced pardoning 502 detainees.

On the anniversary of October 6 War, 244 Egyptian prisoners regained their freedom after receiving a pardon by a presidential decree.

Additional report with MENA
6/15/2018 2:43:08 PM
<![CDATA[New health min.: Integrated health system needs qualified youth, scientific development]]>
CAIRO – 15 June 2018: The newly appointed Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed said during a tour in public hospitals on Friday, the first day of Eid al-Fitr (a Muslim feast to celebrate breaking the fast after the end of the holy month of Ramadan), that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi directed the ministry to work on applying the new insurance law as soon as possible so citizens can enjoy integrated health care.

The New Health Insurance Law, which consists of 67 articles, was approved in Dec. 18, 2017. Under this law, the government is to fully cover the treatment of citizens who cannot afford it and will improve the quality of medical services in public hospitals by inspecting and supervising medical facilities. The law will be implemented in the duration of 15 years to include all Egyptian governorates.

What you need to know about Egypt's universal health insurance law?

CAIRO - 19 December 2017: Minister of Health and Population Ahmed Emad Eddin Rady announced the approval of the Council of Representatives on all articles of the new comprehensive universal health insurance law after fruitful discussions. The minister praised the role of Members of the Parliament's Health Committee and their keenness to complete the bill and approve it quickly.

Zayed told Egypt Today that the country can build an integrated health system by depending on scientific development and qualified youth. She said also that after the feast vacation she will meet the health leader of the ministry to identify her plan and detect solutions for main challenges facing the health system.

Zayed added that she will count on experienced and qualified cadres to apply the new integrated health system. Mentioning that currently she is revising the implementing regulations of the new insurance law, and there is cooperation with the ministry of finance to provide the needed funds to apply the new health system.

The newly appointed minister of health and population Hala Zayed – cc Egypt Today

The minister pointed out that she is aware of the current health system, plans and strategies of the ministry and ready to put the ministry’s priories on the top of her upcoming decisions, especially improving the qualifications of the human resources.
“I directed all the ministry’s leaders of health affairs departments to tour hospitals to check the quality of work and detect any problems, as we are very keen about citizens’ health care,” Zayed said

Concerning international healthcare standards, she said that they will work hard to make sure that the health sector meets them.

Egypt's new Cabinet sworn-in, 12 new ministers appointed

CAIRO - 14 June 2018: Egypt's new cabinet has sworn-in Thursday, with 12 new ministers taking the oath before President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Mostafa Madbouly was assigned to be the Prime Minister and the Minister of Housing. A total of 15 deputies to ministers were also appointed.

The newly appointed female minister Hala Zayed for the Health Ministry succeeding Ahmed Emad el-Din; she is the second female minister in the history of the Health Ministry since its establishment in 1937. Hala el-Rabat was the first female minister who held the position from 2013 until 2014.

Zayed was the president of the 57357 Academy of Health Sciences, the chairwoman of the Supreme Committee for Combating Corruption at the Ministry of Health and an advisor to the minister of health and population.

She has a Master’s degree in Obstetrics and Gynecology, followed by a doctorate and Master's degree in Business Administration in addition to supervising a series of national projects in the health sector, in which the World Bank, the World Health Organization and a number of international donors contributed.

She also held other positions like the Director General of the General Department of Hospitals in the Medical Therapy Sector of the Ministry, the Head of the Central Administration for Monitoring and Follow-up and the Head of the Department of Grants and Loans at the Ministry.

For the first time, 8 female ministers in Egypt's Cabinet

CAIRO - 14 June 2018: For the first time in Egyptian history, the Cabinet has a total of eight female ministers. Mostafa Madbouly, the newly appointed prime minister, has appointed two new female ministers, in addition to the existing six in the outgoing Cabinet.

Additional reporting Walid Abdel Salam

6/15/2018 2:32:44 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian fans flock Ekaterinburg Arena ahead of World Cup match]]>

Egypt's national team will play Uruguay national football team at 2 pm in the first match for two teams of Group A.


Russia topped Group A after defeating Saudi team 0-5 in the opening match of World Cup.


Egyptian fans at cafes, homes, squares and the Ekaterinburg Arena, will unite behind their Egyptian national team and write history for Egypt.

6/15/2018 1:48:07 PM
<![CDATA[Happy Birthday Mo Salah!]]>

Egyptian players celebrated by Mo Salah’s birthday after Eid el-Fitr prayer in the hotel where they settled in Ekaterinburg.

Salah will not be a starter in Egypt’s match against Uruguay as Hector Cuper preferred to keep the Egyptian King on the bench.

Egyptian fans at Ekaterinburg Arena decided to chant "Happy birthday" song at the 26th minute of the match.

Having scored five out of Egypt’s seven goals in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, Salah has already been crowned the tournament’s national hero.

The Egyptian star and Liverpool forward has not only been a national but a global football icon this season; he has won 37 individual awards to date, took Liverpool team to their first Champions League finals since 2007, and led Egypt to a great comeback to the World Cup after a long wait.

Many celebrated by Salah's birthday:

UEFA official account on Twitter

Brazilian fans at Russia chanted for the Egyptian (Courtesy of KingFut webstite):

B/R Football account on Twitter

6/15/2018 1:43:00 PM
<![CDATA[More Facebook pages blocked for leaking Thanaweya Amma exams]]>
This came within the framework of the Ministry of Interior's plan to combat various forms of crime. Last week, a total of 15 pages were closed over the same reason.

On June 10, Egyptian authorities arrested an academic student in Al-Azhar University over accusations of creating a Facebook page that facilitates cheating by leaking exams of Thanaweya Amma (secondary education or high schools) for money in al-Zaqaziq, Sharqia.

An Internet Police source previously told Egypt today that the Department of Internet Crime and Information Networks has taken serious steps to combat the leak of exam questions and answers by monitoring all these pages.

Internet Police blocks 15 pages for leaking Thanaweya Amma exams

CAIRO - 6 June 2018: The Internet Police, in coordination with the Ministry of Education, blocked on Tuesday 15 pages on social media which attempted to leak this year's Thanaweya Amma exams. This came within the framework of the Ministry of Interior's plan to combat various forms of crime.

The head of the General Examinations Council, Reza Hijazi, warned parents against paying any fees for leaked exams.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Education issued a statement on Monday denying publishing any economy exam on social media. The ministry also said it had seized 13 cases of fraud in the economy and statistics exam.

In the same context, some members of Parliament confirmed that the booklet system, which was implemented last year, proved successful in dealing with the phenomenon of leaking exams that has been predominant during exams for the past few years.

Thanaweya Amma, high school students' merciless battle

CAIRO - 4 June 2018: Inside Egyptian houses, parents of school children would wince at the mere mention of the "Thanaweya Amma", (Egypt's national high school), which is the last educational stage Egyptian school students go through before going to college.

Thanaweya Amma is the gateway to university in Egypt, as end-of-year grades determine what university each student will attend. Some do not enter the university they dream of due to low grades. Minimum grades of acceptance at each university are determined according to the overall grades each year. For example, entrance into certain faculties like medicine, engineering and dentistry require a high grade exceeding 95 percent.

Minister of Education Tarek Shawki said that Egypt will sign a $500 million deal with the World Bank to fund the government’s educational plan in the presence of Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr in Washington.

In January 2017, the ministry introduced the new booklet system, which aims to reduce errors in the correction process and eliminate exam leaks; students are required to answer in the same test sheet and not in a separate answer sheet like the previous system.

A presidential decree issued in 2015 made leaking exams a criminal offense, leading to a maximum of one year in prison or a fine between LE 20,000 and LE 50,000.

On June 3, 2018, around 646,000 students started the national high school, Thanaweya Amma, exams, applying for the second year of the booklet system.

Additional reporting by Walaa Ali, Amr Mohamed Qandil and Nourhan Magdi
6/15/2018 1:35:55 PM
<![CDATA[Efforts to implement administrative reform plans: Planning min.]]>
The plan of the fiscal year 2018-2019 seeks striking a balance between all departments and most needy segments, the minister said in her first statement after being sworn in as planning minister.

The government prioritizes the file of serving citizens through adopting the latest modern technological methods, the minister said, adding that her ministry's new approach aims to apply decentralization, accountability and fighting corruption with a view to upgrading the administrative apparatus of the state.

On Thursday, Saeed took the constitutional oath before President Abdel Fattah El Sisi as planning minister. ]]>
6/15/2018 12:59:16 PM
<![CDATA[Gardens, public parks receive thousands celebrating Eidul Fitr]]>
The Giza Zoo has put a plan to accommodate hundreds of visitors during Eid al-Fitr, and avoid problems of crowds by increasing the number of ticket booking outlets.

The zoo has also provided two large screens to watch the Egypt, Uruguay match as part of the World Cup hosted in Russia on Friday.

The garden that hosts various numbers of animals will also present new shows by two lions, Kangaroos and monkeys.

Ambulances have been deployed to places of gatherings and parks.

In Beheira, security and health bodies carried out intensive campaigns on parks, clubs and tourist destinations to monitor food offered to people, while hospitals were put on high alert to be able to receive any cases.

In Damietta and Qalyubia, gardens and public parks were opened for citizens for free.

In Aswan, the occupancy rate at large number of hotels reached more than 60 percent.

Additional reporting by MENA ]]>
6/15/2018 12:58:00 PM
<![CDATA[Back to World Cup: Egypt starts the dream by facing Uruguay]]>
Egypt faces Uruguay in their opener at the group stage (Group A) at 02:00 p.m. (CLT).

Two previous participations for the Pharaohs, at 1934 and 1990, wrote history for the most successful country in Africa. Both previous appearances didn’t witness success; only two goals through Abdel Rahman Fawzy in 1934 at a game that ended with a 4-2 loss against Hungary; and Magdy Abdel Ghany’s single goal in the 1-1 draw against The Netherlands in 1990.

After 28 years, Salah’s teammates look for a surprise in Russia. Everyone hopes for a qualification to the second round; which is possible.

Egyptian fans at cafes, homes, squares and the Ekaterinburg Arena, will unite behind their Egyptian national team and write history for Egypt.


1- This is Uruguay’s 13th World Cup. It’s also their third appearance in a row, their longest streak of participations since 1962 and 1974 (4).
2- Uruguay remainsunbeaten by anAfrican opposition at the World Cup; two draws and a single victory.
3- Uruguay beat Egypt in their only previous encounter, defeating them 2-0 in Alexandria in August 2006.

The World Cup draw put Egypt in Group A alongside Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and the host nation, Russia.

Egypt’s Hector Cuper and Uruguay’s Tabarez start their clash with theseline-ups:

Egypt (4-2-3-1): El-Shenawy; Fathi, Gabr, Hegazi, Abdel Shafy; Tarek Hamed, Elneny; Trezeguet, el-Said, Warda; Marwan Mohsen

Uruguay (4-4-2): Muslera; Varela, Gimenez, Godin, Caceres; Nandez, Vecino, Bentancur, De Arrascaeta; Cavani, Suarez.

6/15/2018 12:52:16 PM
<![CDATA[Regional conflicts, GERD: The key challenges facing Egypt’s FM Shoukry]]>
Mediating in conflicts in Syria, Libya, Palestine and Iraq was one of the main roles occupied by the minister during the past period. Excessive efforts were exerted by Egypt during the past period to reach political solutions in these wars to guarantee a peaceful and quiet life for Arab people.

The discussions of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, were also one of the major files that preserved Shoukry’s position as other meetings and discussions are supposed to continue during the coming period.

Egypt depends entirely on the Nile water for drinking and irrigation purposes, reiterating consistently its "historical right" to the river guaranteed in the 1929 and 1959 Nile agreements, which granted the country 87 percent of the Nile water and the right to veto or approve irrigation projects in the upstream countries.

Since 2014, the three countries (Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia) have held several tripartite meetings and agreed on the Declaration of Principles. However, the disagreement among the countries is related to the filling and operation period of the dam; Egypt demands that this period be seven to 10 years, while Ethiopia insists on a maximum of three years.

Egypt’s average water per-capita is expected to drop from 663 cubic meters per year to 582 cubic meters by 2025, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). Addis Ababa, however, claimed that the dam is necessary for Ethiopia’s development and will not harm downstream countries.

In 2011, Ethiopia started the construction of the 6,000-megawatt Renaissance Dam over the Blue Nile River, one of the major sources of water that forms the Nile River downstream. Concerns have risen in Cairo and Khartoum over the negative impact the Ethiopian dam will have on their historic Nile water share, amounting to 55.5 billion cubic meters in Egypt only, in accordance with the historic 1959 agreement with Sudan.

Shoukry is expected to preserve Egypt’s water share of the river Nile during on-going dialogues between the three countries.

As for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Egypt has been exerting constant efforts to support Palestinians and bring peace to the Gaza Strip, where Palestinians are killed by Israeli forces along the Gaza-Israel fence.

Several reconciliation attempts were signed in Cairo. In October 2017, a historic reconciliation was signed between Palestinian rival factions Fath and Hamas in order to achieve more stability within the Palestinian land and authorities.

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

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that there is no country as vital to the Palestinian cause as Egypt due to its historical and political position in the region. “Egypt has an opinion, a position and an interest in the Palestinian cause,” said Abbas.

Regarding the Libyan issue, Egypt has hosted several meetings to bring the conflicting factions to the negotiating table, alongside members of Tobruk’s House of Representatives, to resolve the Libyan crisis and amend the Skhirat Agreement, which aims at ending the Libyan civil war.

Libya, which is struggling to get through the critical political situation that it has been experiencing since 2011, is not only trying to unify its army, but is also longing to revive its political functions by conducting presidential and legislative elections by mid-2018.

On May 1, Libyan House of Representatives speaker, Aguila Saleh, said that holding a presidential election in Libya before the end of 2018 is the only solution to solve Libya’s political crisis, especially since it is difficult to reach a real political agreement in Libya soon.

In an interview with a Libyan TV channel, Saleh stressed that he will present the case before the Libyan House of Representatives for holding an election to respond to the demands of the Libyan people.

Besides these major files and conflicts, Shoukry also is expected to enhance Egypt’s relations with the European Union, Russia and the United States during the coming period.

6/15/2018 12:42:43 PM
<![CDATA[15 Deputy Ministers enter Mabdouly’s government]]>
The number of deputy ministers increased to 15 in the new Cabinet from two since the last Cabinet reshuffle on Jan. 14, 2018.

The new deputies include:

1. Osamah Ali Asran Abdel Sayed: Deputy Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy

2. Ahmed Ashraf Kajuk: Deputy Minister of Finance for Financial Policies

3. Mona Mehrez Ali Hassanein: Deputy Minister of Agriculture for Livestock, Fisheries and Poultry

4. Assem Abdel Hameed Hafez El-Jazzar: Deputy Minister of Housing for Urban Development and Chairman of the General Authority for Urban Planning

5. Amr Amin Mohamed Adly: Deputy Minister of Higher Education for University Affairs

6. Randa Ali Saleh Al-Menshawi: Deputy Minister of Housing for Follow-up and Facilities

7. Khaled Lotfy Hassan Al Attar: Deputy Minister of Communications for Administrative Development, Digital Transformation and Mechanization

8. Ihab Mohamed Hassan Abu Aish: Deputy Minister of Finance for the Treasury

9. Mohamed Mohamed Mujahid Al-Nanny: Deputy Minister of Education for Technical Educational Affairs

10. Khaled Mahmoud Ahmed Abbas Deputy Minister of Housing for the follow-up of national projects

11. Nevine Riad Abdelmajid El Kabbaj: Deputy Minister of Solidarity for Social Protection

12. Ghada Mustafa Labib Abdul Ghani Abu Zeid: Deputy Minister of Planning for Administrative Reform

13. Ahmed Gad Gad Radwan Kamali: Deputy Minister of Planning for Planning Affairs

14. Yasser Refaat Abdel Fattah Mohamed:Deputy Minister of Higher Education for Scientific Research

15. Mohamed Omar Ahmed Omar: Deputy Minister of Education for Teachers Affairs

The new 32-minister Cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly, has sworn in before President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on Thursday. A total of 12 new ministers were appointed in the new government, while 20 others of the caretaker government were kept.

After taking the oath, the new cabinet members held a meeting with President Sisi, who directed them to be keen on creating qualified cadres and figures for a better future.]]>
6/15/2018 12:40:30 PM
<![CDATA[Security measures beefed up at river bus berths: Cairo governor]]>
The governor directed Public Transport Authority CEO Rizk Ali to guarantee securing the berth and search the buses before any trip.

He also highlighted the necessity of making sure that buses are compatible with measures of civil protection and river police.

Abdel Hamid, meanwhile, asserted the necessity of taking all security precautions at the three other river berths in the vicinities of Cairo University, el Qanater el Khayreya and Zamalek.]]>
6/15/2018 12:11:50 PM
<![CDATA[Bollywood bad boy back with Eid blockbuster]]>
It has become a tradition in the Hindi film industry for Khan, one of the world's highest-paid actors, to star in the big release on the Muslim holiday of Eid to mark the end of Ramadan, which begins on Saturday in India.

Action movie "Race 3" is Khan's fifth straight Eid release and his eighth since 2010.

It is also his first film since he was handed a five-year jail sentence in April for shooting dead two rare antelopes known as black bucks during a 1998 hunting trip.

The 52-year-old, who has repeatedly denied killing the animals, spent two days behind bars before being granted bail.

The bodybuilding actor suffered a rare commercial failure last Eid when "Tubelight", a drama set during the 1962 India-China war, flopped at the box office but analysts expect "Race 3" to soar.

"It's Salman Khan, it's Eid weekend and it's an action franchise that plays to the galleries and has always been successful. I expect it to make great money," film distributor Akshaye Rathi told AFP.

Rathi tipped the movie, which also stars Anil Kapoor and Bobby Deol, to make one billion rupees ($14.72 million) during its opening weekend, the benchmark for a surefire blockbuster.

Khan enjoys a cult-like status in star-obsessed India and is one of Bollywood's biggest draws, despite a host of controversies.

He was found guilty of culpable homicide for a 2002 hit-and-run which killed a homeless man sleeping on the pavement in Mumbai, and was sentenced to five years in prison.

But the verdict was overturned by a higher court in 2015. His acquittal is being challenged in the Supreme Court.

Khan was last seen in "Tiger Zinda Hai" (Tiger Is Alive), released in December.

His 2015 Eid release, "Bajrangi Bhaijaan", sits third in the all-time list of highest-grossing Hindi language films worldwide, two places ahead of his 2016 Eid offering "Sultan".]]>
6/15/2018 12:11:37 PM
<![CDATA[In pics: Thousands perform Eid al-Fitr prayer nationwide]]>
WhatsApp Image 2018-06-15 at 6.02.06 AM(2)
Hundreds of Egyptians perform Eidul Fitr prayer on Friday at Mostafa Mahmoud Mosque, Giza - Photo by Mohamed el-Hosary/Egypt Today

WhatsApp Image 2018-06-15 at 6.02.18 AM(1)
Hundreds of Egyptians perform Eidul Fitr prayer on Friday at Mostafa Mahmoud Mosque, Giza - Photo by Mohamed el-Hosary/Egypt Today

In Beheira governorate, the security chief directed security personnel to be on high alert to follow up public parks and various facilities during Eidul Fitr celebrations.

The governors in Kafr El Sheikh, Qena, Damietta and New Valley performed Eidul Fitr prayer alongside senior security officials in mosques and greeted the citizens on the occasion.

WhatsApp Image 2018-06-15 at 6.02.04 AM
Man selling balloons on first day of Eidul Fitr after prayer outside Mostafa Mahmoud Mosque, Giza - Photo by Mohamed el-Hosary/Egypt Today

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Man blowing balloons on first day of Eidul Fitr after prayer outside Mostafa Mahmoud Mosque, Giza - Photo by Mohamed el-Hosary/Egypt Today
6/15/2018 12:05:11 PM
<![CDATA[Music boss urges open ears as songwriters enter Hall of Fame]]>
In its 49th year, the Songwriters Hall of Fame recognizes the composers behind the hits and, true to the profession's profile, stays lower-key than major awards shows with a dinner in a New York hotel ballroom rather than a televised gala.
Neil Diamond, the songwriter by trade who became an arena-packing pop singer in his own right, was honored with a prize to mark lifetime achievement by a composer who has already been inducted.

Returning to stage despite his announcement in January that he was retiring from touring due to Parkinson's disease, the 77-year-old New York native showed no signs of illness on his rousing take on his classic "Sweet Caroline," the audience joyfully singing along the "ba ba ba" of the chorus.

- 'Beautiful experience' -

Neil Diamond, the songwriter by trade who became an arena-packing pop singer in his own right, was honored with a prize to mark lifetime achievement by a composer who has already been inducted / AFP / ANGELA WEISS

Grainge, the chairman and chief executive officer of the world's largest label group Universal, was presented an award as a long-time "hitmaker."

Befitting the status of one of the most powerful people in the music industry, Grainge was welcomed with previously unannounced appearances by two of Universal's top stars -- Ariana Grande, who sang her hit "Be Alright" to a jazzy piano, and The Weeknd, who flew in from Paris to briefly introduce his label boss.

Grainge, whose father ran a record store in London, spoke of his lifelong passion for music and how he spent a third of his career in the songwriting business, sometimes thrashing out tunes with composers over a solitary piano or guitar.

"It's an incredible and beautiful experience and so much purer than playing a recording back in the studio, because there's no hiding behind production or EQ (equalizers) or fabulous instrumentation," he said.

Grainge said that an excessive knowledge of music can become a hindrance and that his favorite songs were ones to which he could whistle, urging the audience to "keep our minds wide open and keep listening to new ideas."

He noted that the music establishment was initially hostile to punk bands such as The Clash and Sex Pistols in the 1970s and hip-hop pioneers including Public Enemy and Run-DMC a decade later.

"For those of you who think that much of the music produced today lacks melody or composition, I would encourage you to keep listening," he said.

- Lighting 'a fire' for songwriting -

Bareilles, the soulish pop singer-songwriter who penned the music and lyrics to the Broadway musical "Waitress," recalled how early in her career she was told that she only possessed a voice but not composing skills.

"It lit such a fire in me because I didn't know until that moment how passionate and protective I was about the storytelling," she said.

Bareilles said that great songwriters can be "conduits for the rest of the world, for all those people who don't get to understand themselves in an emotional way sometimes."

Mellencamp, the guitar-strumming Indiana chronicler of small-town America, was presented his award by folk legend Woody Guthrie's daughter Nora Guthrie, who described Mellencamp as an heir to her father and his quest to give voice to common people.

Kool and the Gang, who recently marked a half century, brought the audience to its feet with the funk greats' "Celebration" after a call to songwriters to "carry on the search for that unplayed melody."

Jermaine Dupri became the second hip-hop songwriter to be inducted after Jay-Z last year. Dupri took to his feet as he rallied through the 1992 smash hit "Jump" by Kris Kross, the rap duo formed when Dupri spotted them at an Atlanta shopping mall.

Other songwriters inducted into the Hall of Fame were Allee Willis, whose songs include hits by Earth, Wind and Fire and the theme to television show "Friends," and three mostly associated with country music: Bill Anderson, Steve Dorff and Alan Jackson.

6/15/2018 12:04:30 PM
<![CDATA[A look back: Ramadan’s Supermarket Expo]]>
In an effort to ensure decent access to food, the government, hand-in-hand with the private sector, has worked on various initiatives, programs and exhibitions, most recently, the Supermarket Expo held annually; and this year held under the auspices of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Commenting on this Expo, which was held from May 10-16 on an area of 15,000 square meters, Minister of Supply and Internal Trading Ali Moselhy said during a press conference held on April 3, “We are organizing the Expo this year before Ramadan, leaving plenty of time for citizens to be able to benefit from the great deals and the discounted prices.”

With some 250 exhibitors participating in the Expo to introduce products and meat, the Minister explained, there is something for everyone. Other governorates around Egypt also saw similar, but smaller exhibitions being set up.

Attracting a wide array of national and international trade buyers and consumers, the Ramadan edition of the Expo has seen about 800,000 attendees, according to organizers, with many heading over to the Expo to stock up for Ramadan, while also taking advantage of the 15 percent-30 percent discount on foods. This year’s Expo has seen a variety of exhibitors, including food manufacturers, toiletries and household products suppliers, processed foods stalls, dry nut stalls, fish and poultry and meat stalls.

Toward food security in Egypt

During the opening ceremony of the Expo, Moselhy expressed the important role that the Holding Company for Food Industries and its subsidiaries have in supplying foods to consumers on a regular basis and the great job they do in ensuring foods are always available. These needs were also covered through the participation of the private sector and major producers in the ‘Ahlan Ramadan’ Expo in various governorates.

In comments to Egypt Today, Minister Moselhy added that the initiative to reduce prices is set to continue till the end of the month, suggesting that this comes as part of the government’s plan to offer citizens high-quality foods at reasonable prices. Moselhy further confirmed that discounts start from at least 15 percent, and reach more than 30 percent for many products, especially commodities. The exhibitors also sold some products at a lower cost, which confirms the great cooperation between the government and the private sector, he added.

The minister added that the Expo comes as part of President Sisi’s directions to provide food commodities at reasonable prices and to work continuously for the good of citizens. The minister also revealed that the government has been able to provide 1.7 million Ramadan packages—an extra 700,000 from the planned amount—and distribute them to families in need throughout Egypt. The bags, valued at LE 51.5, are sold for half their value, at LE 25, and include essential commodities.

To ensure that North Sinai residents benefit from these discounted prices, the Holding Company for Food Industries coordinated with General Abdel Fattah Harbor, Governor of North Sinai, to provide additional reductions for the people of North Sinai, that reach up to 20 percent on all food products and ensure regular deliveries of commodities for several months, Alaa El-Din Fahmy, Chairman of the Holding Company for Food Industries at the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade tells Egypt Today. Fahmy also affirmed that the Minister of Supply and Internal Trade is continuously working on supplying goods, including meats and poultry, to the families of North Sinai, revealing that convoys will start heading to all governorates soon.

Top 10 foods from the Supermarket Expo:

1 - Provision of fresh meat: meat of 12,000 livestock, 7,500 tons of frozen meat and 128 tons of fish.
2- Prices of frozen poultry fixed at LE 17 per kilo.
3- Brazilian minced beef and Brazilian beef cubes are both provided at LE 62, instead of LE 69.
4- American liver sold at LE 28, instead of LE 34. It was the most sought after meat during the Expo, according to various speakers.
5- Provision of 66,000 tons of sugar at a price of LE 8.5 instead of E 9.5.
6- Provision of 935,000 cartons of cooking oil and gee.
7- Egyptian butter provided at LE 100 per kilo; blended imported butter sold at LE 34.
8- Reducing the price of mass dates from LE 10 a kilo to LE 9.5, and that of premium dates from LE 16 to to LE 15.5.
9- Provision of 450,000 Ramadan packages at prices ranging from LE 80-110.
10- Juhayna carton of milk (six one-liter bottles) at LE 71, instead of LE 86.

Exhibitors voice their opinions

Mohamed Hisham, one of the exhibitors at the Ramadan Expo, explains that the company he works with sells Ramadan products like Yameesh and Amar El-Din, and has, like many others, been participating in this Expo since 2016. “We offer 25-30 percent off on the prices of our commodities in the Expo, compared to the prices in our branches. We sell raisins starting from LE 34 to LE 80; date from LE 15 to LE 30; dried coconut is sold for LE 44; and Amar El-Din for LE 15. Compared with prices outside of the Expo, these prices are a real bargain,” Hisham says.

Arwa Mohamed, one of the exhibitors for the Kheir Zaman Supermarket, explains, “We have been coming here every year. We provide lower prices than supermarkets outside the Expo, including our own branches. So far, people are happy with the prices; no one has objected to prices or said that the prices should be lower.” No problems were recorded during the Expo, which is better organized and less busy than it was last year due to prolonging the period by three days, according to Mohamed. Various Panda Supermarket exhibitors also voiced the importance of understanding that lower prices does not mean lower quality.

Mohamed Hassan, one of the exhibitors for Kan, one of the companies providing Ramadan dried fruits and nuts, explains, “We are selling both local and imported products. For imported products, we are selling them at their net cost, meaning we are not making any profit. As a result, it is cheaper by maybe 20-35 percent.” Commenting on the number of attendees, Hassan affirms that the turnout was good, suggesting the value that this Expo adds to Egyptian consumers. “People were even waiting for the Expo to open on the first day…We want to provide consumers the high-quality products and great prices, something we have really managed to do throughout the Expo,” says Hassan.

On the consumer side

“I bought almost everything [I need] for Ramadan from here,” Nour Attiya told Egypt Today. Attiya is a mother of a two-year-old and a teacher at a local language school. “So far, I have saved about 15 percent of the estimated amount I would have spent at the supermarket.” With the prices increasing as a result of high demand during Ramadan, and people scrambling to save what they can in the face of ever-increasing expenses, it is always good to save money, says Attiya.

Afaf Mostafa is also happy about the variety and quality at the Expo. “I managed to buy more here than I would have been able to buy at the supermarket. Coming in, I had planned to purchase rice, oil, jams and these kinds of food from here, and I had planned to purchase nuts for Ramadan elsewhere; I thought the quality of nuts would not be good here—that they would be second grade nuts,” the retired grandmother says, adding that she was pleasantly surprised and ended up buying good-quality nuts. For Mostafa Ramadan is a busy month, with at least 10 people having dinner at her place everyday. Last year, Mostafa explains, she bought the same things, as far as she recalls, from two different places, paying an estimated LE 9,000; and this would just last her for the first few days of the holy month. However, the Expo has allowed her to save about LE 2,000, or 22 percent of last year’s total cost.

Ahmed Taha, father of three, the youngest of whom is sitting for the Thanaweya Amma (the Egyptian secondary system) exams this year, explains that “The Expo was great in every aspect. There was a wide variety of products on display and it was really easy to locate the items that I was looking for,” says Taha, adding that it was better organized than last year’s. “It was less packed, we were not all bundled together.”

6/15/2018 12:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi attends celebrations of Eidul Fitr with martyrs' families]]>
The president welcomed the martyrs' children and families telling them he was waiting to meet them on this day.

During the celebrations, President Sisi said that Egypt will not forget the sons and daughters of its martyrs.

Addressing a celebration on the occasion of Eidul Fitr that was attended by families of the martyrs, the president added that those martyrs have offered their lives for the sake of the homeland and so that 100 million Egyptians could live in peace and security.

The celebrations started with a show of the Egyptian national circus.

Later, the president honored the children of the nation's martyrs from the Armed Forces and police.

President Sisi had breakfast with the families of the martyrs and then joined the children to the playing ground. ]]>
6/15/2018 11:56:43 AM
<![CDATA[Hot weather continues during Eid, wave breaks Sunday ]]>
Weather will be moderate in eastern coasts of the country, while hot in western coasts with a slight decline in temperatures during the night.

Clouds are low in northern Egypt. Winds are light to moderate northeasterly, active in Cairo, Upper Egypt.

The Mediterranean Sea’s wavelength will be varied between light to mild, with a one meter to 1.5 meter and northwesterly surface winds.

The Red Sea will be moderate, with a wavelength of one 1.5 to two meters and northwesterly surface winds.

The weather forecast predicted grades in some governorates (in degrees Celsius);
Temperature Alexandria (34 day, 18 Night), Qena (42 day, 25 night), Luxor (42 day, 25 night), Aswan (43 day, 31 night)

alex cc wikimedia
An overview for Alexandria / cc Wikimedia/ edited by Rehab Ismail

The country is seeing a hot wave during Friday and Saturday, with the temperature to rise from 4 to 6 degrees, where a scorching weather to prevail on the eastern and western coasts of the country, and winds are active on Saturday in Northern parts of the country, according to Ahmed Abdel Aal, the head of Egypt’s Meteorological Authority.
The heat wave should break on Sunday and Monday, where temperatures to decline gradually.

aswan cc wikimedia
An overview for Aswan/ cc Wikimedia/ edited by Rehab Ismail

Winds are mild, dusty and active in southern parts of the country, south Sinai, gulf suiz and red sea which may cause navigation disturbance there.
The Authority assured that in general the weather allows enjoying all the beaches overlooking Read and Mediterranean Seas, and Nile River, The horizontal visibility of all roads allows safe and secure travel throughout the day. Citizens are advised not to direct exposure to long periods of sunlight.

6/15/2018 11:07:45 AM
<![CDATA[Actions exposing any personal Facebook account to be banned]]>
Article 19 of the draft law prohibits media outlets, including online websites, from publishing or broadcasting false news or news that incite violence, hatred, discrimination, racism, intolerance and blasphemy, as well as publishing any posts that touches on religious beliefs.

On June 12, the Parliament approved the two drafted laws aimed to regulate the National Press Authority and the National Media Authority.

Head of Parliament’s Media, Culture and Antiquities Committee, Osama Heikal, said on Sunday during the plenary session that the draft laws cover all aspects of media and press activities in Egypt, and do not include any articles that could send journalists to jail in publication offences.

In the same context, Egyptian Parliament speaker, Ali Abdel Aal, said the laws were drafted three years ago by a committee formed of experts from the government and the Press Syndicate, but a lot of debate raised in media and press circles surrounding the draft laws.
Parliament issued the Institutional Regulation of the Press and Media law in December 2016, which establishes and regulates the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, the National Press Authority and the National Media Authority's activities.

However, due to the gap that emerged as a result of the rapid progress of technological development in the media, press and social media, the Joint Committee has separated each body and drafted an independent law for each of them.

Hence, three new laws will automatically lead to the elimination of the Institutional Regulation of the Press and Media law. ]]>
6/15/2018 10:43:53 AM
<![CDATA[Out of Service]]>
The threat of Saudization

Under the economic reforms undertaken in Saudi Arabia for their 2030 Vision to diversify the Saudi economy, foreign labor holding jobs in 12 types of retail outlets will be substituted by local ones over three phases starting October, which will take its toll on the tens of thousands of Egyptians working there.

The beginning will be with employees in outlets selling cars and motorcycles, clothes, furniture and household goods. In the following months, the reforms will apply to the segments home appliances, watches and optical shops.

The process will conclude in January 2019, and will include job cuts in bakeries, stores providing medical appliances, building materials, car spare parts and carpet shops, according to a decree issued by the Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development in January.

Saudi Arabia holds the largest population of Egyptian expats worldwide, amounting to 2.9 million, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). That number represents 30.5 percent of the 9.5 million Egyptian expats around the world, and 46.8 percent of Egyptian citizens living in Arab countries.

The Saudi government had also implemented measures that included a 100 Saudi Riyal monthly fee on expats and each of their dependents. Such measures aim to reduce unemployment among Saudis to 9 percent in 2020 and 7 percent in 2030, according to an article in the Saudi Gazette. The fees will reportedly go up to 200 riyals per resident and dependent in 2018, 300 riyals in 2019 and 400 riyals in 2020.

Private companies hiring more expats than Saudis would have to pay a fee for each expat worth 400 riyals in 2018, 600 riyals in 2019 and 800 riyals in 2020. The fee outside the private sector is 300 riyals in 2018, 500 riyals in 2019, and 700 riyals in 2020.

Economic reforms in several other Arab countries are also making Egyptian expats’ lives harsher and far more expensive. A case in point is Kuwait, which cut subsidies on energy and water in September, and is set to remove subsidies entirely by 2019.

A value-added tax (VAT) will also be imposed by 2019 in Kuwait, where 500,000 Egyptians live, in Qatar, where 230,000 Egyptians live, in Oman, home to 56,000 Egyptians, and in Bahrain, which hosts 21,000 Egyptians.

Like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait is also seeking to substitute foreign labor by locals in all jobs in the public sector—except for physicians—which led to 3,600 expats of different nationalities being dismissed in June, as announced by the Kuwait Civil Service Commission.

A return to an already saturated labor segment

Deputy Chairman of the General Union of Egyptian Expats Adel Hanafy says that neither official entities nor the Union can estimate the number of Egyptians who would return from Saudi Arabia or other Gulf countries.

He adds, however, that there is no doubt that the numbers of expats returning is rising due to governmental policies to substitute expats with locals, as well as the extra fees set on expats, noting that the majority of Egyptian labor in jobs being “Saudized” would return by the end of Ramadan.

To prevent unemployment among that large group of Egyptians, Hanafy suggests that the Ministries of Trade and Investment secure support and funding for SMEs. He also proposes that the Ministry of Labor conveniently displays the job vacancies offered by employers to facilitate job-hunting for returning expats.

CAPMAS announced last August that unemployment fell below 12 percent in mid-2017 to reach 11.98 percent. On the other hand, Egypt suffers from overpopulation, which hit 104.2 million in September.

World Bank Data indicates that the population of Egyptians working in the services sector during the past four years increased to 49.3 percent in 2017, up from 48 percent in 2014, out of the total number of employed citizens. Many Egyptians expected to be dismissed from their jobs in Saudi Arabia are employed in the services sector, and unemployment rates will likely get quite high as they return.

Although job opportunities may be created annually in Egypt, there could be a mismatch between labor market needs and the available skill-set among the unemployed.

In Egypt, unemployment among citizens with advanced education is 30.8%, while it is 32.7% and 8% among citizens with intermediate and basic education respectively. Since most of the returning expats in the Saudi Arabian case received intermediate education, finding jobs can be a difficult goal to achieve.

Economic expert Hany Tawfik says that their situations would be “difficult” because the domestic economy cannot absorb the majority of them, leading to increased unemployment. “Instead of transferring remittances, they [returning expats] would be part of the subsidies system,” the expert adds, saying that hard currencies entering the country would decrease further, in addition to the decline witnessed from the struggling tourism industry.

Tawfik speculates that President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi may mediate to decrease the number of Egyptians returning from Saudi Arabia.

Commenting on the fact that the majority of this group work in retail, the expert highlights that the Egyptian labor market is saturated on that front. “Sales are activated when the country is in a prosperity phase, and when people have surplus to spend. People do not shop [in stores] any longer; they just go for outings whereas they spend on food and cinema. You go to shops and find them empty. The factors justifying hiring salespeople currently do not exist,” he adds.

Finding solutions

Since many citizens seek work in the services sector despite the shortage of skilled labor in the manufacturing sector, there must be a change in the societal perception of blue-collar workers and an improvement in technical education as opposed to just training, Tawfik argues.

“When the economy is sluggish, the first thing business owners do is eliminate training, so currently we have generations that do not possess [needed] necessary technical skills,” he adds.

Tawfik stresses the importance of making it mandatory for multinationals and foreign firms seeking to operate in Egypt’s Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCzone) to establish training centers for prospective workers. “They would not initially find skilled blue-collar labor to hire,” he adds.

Looking into Egypt’s labor market from a wide, long-term scope, the expert argues that automation is taking place everywhere globally, not just in Egypt. Thus, labor-intensive industries would decrease as the majority of citizens in the labor market would have to shift to the services sector.

Tawfik identifies agriculture, tourism, logistics and software development as the industries that would offer good opportunities to the Egyptian labor force if the mismatch between education and market needs is remedied. This would also pave the way for exporting labor, as Egyptian workers are less competitive in comparison to other nationalities.

Professor of Planning and Public Affairs at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs Ragui Assaad affirmed during a lecture at The American University in Cairo that the promising export sectors are information and communications technology (ICT), agribusiness, renewable energy, and manufacturing in the industries of garments, electronics assembly and pharmaceuticals.

He added that those sectors would be attractive to various labor segments, including women and high-school graduates, suggesting that the state should offer active labor market programs, job matching services, better labor market information, soft skills and employability training.

This should be done alongside improving capital market intermediation to incentivize investment in productive sectors and to eliminate barriers facing SMEs.

“We can be beneficiaries of outsourcing manufacturing and services to the West. We need to do more to be part of these global opportunities,” Assaad said, affirming that the services sector can boost Egypt’s exports.

In parallel, derived demand is negatively influenced by several factors, including insufficient economic growth generating enough good jobs in the economy, the formal private sector not growing sufficiently to make up for the decline in formal employment in the public sector, and a high degree of employment instability and irregularity.

The professor also emphasized the gap between education and the labor market needs. The issue stems from the fact that citizens used to prefer working in the public sector, which requires earning certificates instead of specific skills. In the face of such political pressure to receive high degrees, the state managed to increase seats in higher education institutions, however, that occurred in low-cost areas as opposed to those needed in the market.

The student-teacher ratio is 320:1 in the humanities and 13:1 in engineering. This has led to an oversupply of university grads, leading to 30 percent of them working in jobs that can be filled by high school graduates.
6/15/2018 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Perfect Eid hanging-out spots at nominal prices]]>
All Egyptians, Muslims and Coptic alike, enjoy Eid al Fitr vacation in numerous places outdoors, with family and friends. However, a lot of people are confused and cannot make up their minds as to where they should spend the Eid vacation, especially when one wants to enjoy their time on a tight budget.

All the way from Alexandria to Aswan, Egypt Today looks at possible spots to spend eid.

Bahary District Alexandria

Entrance is free for Anfoushi Beach located in the Bahary District Alexandria.

Family and friends could enjoy the sea while having snacks all day on the white sand.

Water sports could be enjoyed too as long as you bring your equipment with you.

Citadel of Qaitbay is a few steps away from the Anfoushi beach; the ticket is as low as LE 20.

Morsy Abo El Abbas Mosque is also located in this ancient area. This mosque is considered historical and illustrates a certain era in Egyptian history.

A tiny harbor is also located in the area, where individuals could easily rent tiny boats to enjoy a simple cruise near the shore of the beach. Larger boats could also be rented in other bigger harbors near the citadel. Prices are very low and should not exceed the equivalent of $2.

Many souvenirs can be found in the area are mainly made of “dried fish” or other sea creatures that may seem uncommon for many. In the same area there is an aquarium that displays really strange and beautiful marine creatures that are mummified. The entrance price for the Aquarium is LE 10.

Montaza District (Park) Alexandria

For LE 25 only, one could enjoy 370 acres of vast green fields.

The fields are surrounded by a masterpiece of a castle that was once occupied by the ruling Alawi Family that represented a certain era in Egyptian history.

In the Montaza park, individuals could enjoy seeing the different series of castles that surround the place while enjoying the greenery and the scent of the colorful flowers.
Families can also bring all the food and beverages they want and enjoy a day out in the sun in the midst of rare flowers and greenery.

Al Qalyubiyah

Al Qalyubiyah is famous for having numerous public parks and gardens for individuals and families to enjoy, especially during Eid al Fitr due to the fact that many families tend to go out in this area to enjoy the beautiful natural scenes and take pictures for memories.

The two most visitied parks by Egyptians during Eid al Fitr are: “Al Kanater Al Khairiya,” where they usually enjoy 300-year-old trees spread over an area of 500 Acres; and, “Al Reyah Al Tawfeeke” (River in) that offers exotic natural beauty and a waterfall where one can take pictures.

There, families can enjoy boat rides and enjoy a day out with minimal expenses.
Another crowd favorite is in Al Qalyubiah’s Banha: Sicily Garden, which offers exotic and natural scenery along the Nile River.


Princess Feryal’s Garden is a spot of natural beauty where families and locals can enjoy and spend a great day outdoors in the city of Aswan.

King Farouk’s castle in Aswan is also a place for tourists and locals alike to enjoy the view of the sun as it sets on the river Nile. In different areas in the castle, vast gardens with beautiful flowers could be seen surrounding the place. With an intriguing design that offers an architectural masterpiece, King Farouk’s castle is considered by locals as one of the perfect spots to spend Eid.

Marsa Matrouh

Home to famous beaches that have become all too well-known through classic Egyptian movies, Matrouh is part of all of us, really. Growing up with a TV blasting to Farid Shawky’s laugh or Soad Hosni’s cheekiness, Matrouh embodies all that we grew up watching: love, calmness, beauty and building that take you back some 50 years. This is not to say that the city is outdated, just that its buildings have retained their old beauty.

Locals and visitors alike tend to enjoy the beaches in Marsa Matrouh as it offers a beautiful blue sea with white sands. The beaches there are very clean and the air is not as polluted as the other major cities in Egypt.

During Eid, there are also numerous events that are organized by local youth organizations. Perhaps one of the most interesting part of these events are the mobile flights called “Zarda,” in the local Bedouin dialect, in which the youths share the expenses of foods and drinks during their adventures in the area. Bedouin food is cooked and numerous outdoor activities are enjoyed.


Two famous gardens are found in the city of Sohag, both of which offer a great place for families and friends to enjoy Eid al Fitr: “Gazeerat al Zohoor” Garden (Island of Flowers Garden) and Qraman Garden.

A short walk away from Sohag’s museum, the Island of Flowers Garden is in the middle of the River Nile.
6/15/2018 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Kahk Uncontested]]>
The sweet is believed to date back to the 10th century in Egypt, when palace kitchens made special cookies stuffed with gold coins and distributed them to the poor. Today, they are stuffed with nuts and gooey honey filling instead of gold coins, but as much as they are delicious, the cookies are more about the essence of the celebration than about anything else. It is often an event; an informal ritual that Egyptian families look forward to. The process of making them is rarely a one-man show, but a chance for families to gather around baking trays and share stories and laughs over the hours of preparation.

Kids take part in putting their artistic touches by stamping their designs and filling the cookies (which they’ll only ever eat plain and drenched in sugar), while grownups take over the baking part. Of course, every household has its own unique recipe that they treasure, but the basics remain the same. Kahk is a type of buttery sugar cookie with a sandy texture and mildly aromatic flavor. The cookies themselves are barely sweet, making way for more sweetness in the form of fillings and powdered sugar coating.

Photo by Tasbih Sallam

The signature prints on top are fun to make, help the powdered sugar adhere to the surface and also act as a label to the different types of fillings. The most popular filling by far is the agameya (my favorite!), a cooked mixture of ghee, honey, sesame seeds and optional nuts; most often walnuts. It’s sweet and gooey and irresistible. Kahk can also be stuffed with Turkish delight (malban), sticky sweet date paste (agwa) or plain nuts like walnuts and pistachios.

My own recipe is what I like to call a modern twist on an old fashioned favorite. Unlike traditional recipes, my cookies don’t have yeast, so they don’t taste “bread-y.” The addition of baking powder and a little bit of powdered sugar in the dough makes them much more delicate and finer in texture than classic recipes which produce coarser results. The lightly aromatic flavor comes in part from kahk essence (reehet el-kahk), a special blend of spices, specifically made for kahk, which gives it its distinctive flavor.

Photo by Tasbih Sallam


-An ingredient that either makes or breaks the flavor of these cookies is ghee. Since A LOT goes into the dough, the flavor really comes through, so be sure to use the best quality you could find.
-To perfectly portion your dough balls, use a mini ice cream scoop.
-Before baking, don’t stamp the agameya filled ones. If the dough gets pierced the agameya could ooze out.
-Bake agameya-filled cookies at super high heat (260C/ 500F for about 8 minutes). This bakes the cookies so fast before the agameya has a chance to put its pants on. Bake all other kinds at 180C/350F for 22 to 25 minutes until firm to the touch and golden all over in color.

This recipe makes 135 (1 tbsp-sized) cookies that you can leave plain or stuff with your filling of choice.

Ingredients: For the Kahk
1 kg (8 cups) all purpose flour
100 g (1 cup minus 1 tablespoon) powdered sugar, plus extra for coating
1½ tsp (6 g) baking powder
⅛ tsp salt
1 tbsp (10g) kahk essence (reehet el-kahk)
1 packet vanilla sugar (or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract)
600 g (2½ cups plus 2 tablespoons) ghee or clarified butter, at room temperature
160 g (2/3 cup) milk, at room temperature

For the Agameya
3 tbsp (42.5 g) ghee or clarified butter
1 tbsp (15 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (340 g) honey
1 tbsp (10 g) toasted sesame seeds
1 cup (113 g) coarsely chopped walnuts or favorite nut (optional)

Photo by Tasbih Sallam

To make the Kahk dough:
1. Prepare your fillings by rolling the agameya (with or without nuts) and date paste into macadamia nuts-sized balls. Keep the agameya in the fridge until ready to use. Cut the Turkish delight (with or without nuts) into small squares and keep the plain nuts nearby.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F, for agameya-filled kahk, 260C/ 500F.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whisk together the flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, salt, kahk essence and vanilla until well combined.
4. Add the ghee (or clarified butter) and mix on medium-low speed until well blended and the dry ingredients are evenly coated.
5. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually pour in the milk. Continue mixing until a cohesive dough comes together.
6. Using a tablespoon or a tablespoon-sized ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, scoop out tablespoons of dough and place on a baking sheet. You should have approximately 135 dough scoops.
7. Roll each dough into a ball, then (if filling) press the center with your thumb to make an indentation for the filling to sit in. Add the filling of your choice, then gather the dough up over the filling to completely cover it. Make sure that no filling is peaking out. Roll the filled dough into a smooth ball.
8. Arrange the dough balls onto a silicon mat or parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, leaving an inch of space between each one.
9. To be able to distinguish between the different kahk fillings, give them some designs. Press lightly on the dough with a kahk stamper (khattama) or decorate with kahk shaping tweezers (mona’ash), if available. If not, make a cross hatch design using the twines of a fork, or simply press down with your hand and leave plain.
10. Bake until firm to the touch and golden all over in color.
11. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool before dusting with powdered sugar, otherwise the sugar will melt on the kahk, creating a wet surface.
12. Using a small sieve, dust the kahk with a generous amount of powdered sugar or roll into a bowl full of sugar.
13. Serve or store in a container. Kahk will keep well at room temperature for weeks and weeks.

Photo by Tasbih Sallam

To make the agameya (honey filling):

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the ghee (or clarified butter). Add flour and cook, stirring constantly with a small whisk, until the mixture turns golden blonde in color.
2. Add the honey and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once boiled, cook a little longer until just thickened; 1 minute to 1½ minutes. I actually set the timer to 1 minute and 15 seconds but timing may vary. Test the consistency, by dropping a little bit of the mixture in cold water. It should hold its shape but remain soft and malleable; it should not stick to the teeth. (Do not overcook, or it will harden).
3. Remove saucepan from the heat and stir in the sesame seeds and nuts, if using.
4. Transfer agameya to a small bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
5. Shape into small macadamia nut-sized balls. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.

For more tips and recipes, follow Tasbih Sallam at Cleobuttera.com

If you’re looking for an amazing Kahk (Feast Cookies) recipe to make this Eid...look no further! This one is perfection 👌🏼 • It’s so easy to make, with a fine crumb and delicate texture. Though not old fashioned-style, since it’s missing the yeast, it’s not any less delicious. It’s a modernized version that yields a more petit four-like kahk that I personally prefer 😉 So many filling variations to choose from, including the ever so popular Agameya; a cooked mixture of ghee, honey, sesame seeds and optional nuts. Make them with your family & friends today 🎈🎉 • • • Get the full recipe details by clicking on ‘link in profile’ in my bio. • • • Video in collaboration with @yallazest 🎥 Powered by @miele_com from @mybtech https://cleobuttera.com/middle-eastern/fabulous-kahk-eid-cookies/

A post shared by Tasbih (@cleobuttera) on

6/15/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Nour el Sherbini expects Egypt to reach second round ]]>
The player who achieved seven of the season’s 11 titles is a diehard football fan; she watched Egypt 2-0 victory over Ghana at the qualifiers from Borg El Arab stands.

“I have followed football since I was a kid watching the games with my family and I always had a dream to watch the national team at the World Cup,” Sherbini told Filgoal.

Sherbini, born in 1995, will watch the national team at the World Cup for the first time as Egypt never qualified to the tournament since their second participation in 1990 in Italy.


Asked about her predictions for the tournament, she said “We are playing in a tough group but I think we can make it to the second round. I think Brazil are the favorites to win the title.”


Sherbini will watch Egypt's first game at the World Cup against Uruguay from the stands of Central Stadium in Yekaterinburg.

“Many Egyptian fans have arrived in Russia to support the national team and the atmosphere here is great,” added Sherbini.

The World Cup draw put Egypt in Group A alongside Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and the host nation, Russia. ]]>
6/15/2018 6:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Uruguay coach pins high hopes on more 'mature' Suarez]]>
Suarez, 31, arrives at this year's tournament looking to dispel the memory of the infamous bite on Italy's Giorgio Chiellini in Brazil in 2014, as well as the goalline handball that earned him a sending-off in the quarter-final against Ghana four years earlier.

"What happened in Brazil is part of real life and of course it's been a lesson for him to achieve greater maturity not only as a footballer but also in other areas away from the football pitch," Tabarez told reporters on the eve of Uruguay's opening match on Friday against Egypt.

"He's prepared a lot, he's got the right mindset for this World Cup, and I do believe he's meeting all my expectations. In addition to being a great player, he's very smart, very intelligent, and he comes to the World Cup with a great deal of maturity so we are going to really capitalise on him."

Suarez is Uruguay's all-time leading scorer and, with strike partner Edinson Cavani, is expected to pose the biggest threat to Egypt's defence in Yekaterinburg.

But Tabarez is taking nothing for granted especially since, as he noted, it has been 48 years since Uruguay won their opening game at the World Cup finals.

"It's a statistic, a rather special one. We think we are cursed, in fact. We have had that track record, but we are obsessed about winning," said Tabarez.

The professorial 71-year-old, who Uruguayans address reverentially as 'Maestro', made clear he was not underestimating Egypt and their Argentine coach Hector Cuper.

"When the draw happened, I remember journalists from Uruguay talking about the quarter-finals, as if this was a walk in the park and I told them off. We have enormous respect for our opponents." ]]>
6/15/2018 5:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Eriksen set to come of age as Denmark take on Peru]]>
Making their return to the World Cup finals after a 36-year absence, the South Americans will provide a stern test for Age Hareide's Denmark side, and with France installed as Group C favourites, neither team will want to drop points at this early stage.

Having missed out on the finals in Brazil in 2014, Tottenham Hotspur's Eriksen has developed into the complete playmaker for club and country, and it was his hat-trick in a stunning 5-1 playoff demolition of Ireland that secured Denmark's berth at the World Cup.

The Irish managed to keep him under wraps in the away leg in Copenhagen, but in Dublin he ran riot with a man-of-the-match performance.

He topped the scoring charts in qualifying for Denmark with 11 goals. While he is surrounded by attacking talent for the national team, it is the 26-year-old Tottenham man that keeps Denmark ticking over.

He reinforced his importance in the run-up to Russia as the Danes failed to find the net against Sweden while he was at home awaiting the birth of his first child.

On his return, he scored one goal and made another in a 2-0 win over Mexico that served as a dress rehearsal for their World Cup opener.

Under Norwegian coach Hareide, Denmark have become more direct, preferring to move the ball up the field quickly and establish their attack from there, rather than passing it out from the back as they did under Morten Olsen.

The rugged style of centre back pairing Simon Kjaer and Andreas Christensen served them well against the Irish.

They will face a similar physical challenge from Peru captain Paolo Guerrero, who was cleared to play at the World Cup when a Swiss court agreed to temporarily lift his doping suspension.

Despite their underdog status, the Peruvians are endowed with plenty of pace and skill and looked dangerous on the break in their World Cup warmup against Sweden.

With France up next, Peru will need to shackle the irrepressible Eriksen and get a good result against Australia if they are to have any chance of progressing.

Yet keeping Eriksen under wraps at his second World Cup may be easier said than done. ]]>
6/15/2018 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[New Interior Minister highlights 15 significant security messages]]>CAIRO – 15 June 2018: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on Thursday swore in a new Cabinet as he replaced former interior minister Magdi Abdel Ghaffar, who has been minister of interior since March 2015, with Mohamed Tawfiq.

PRESS PHOTO: Newly-appointed Minister of Interior Mohamed Tawfiq

Get to know more about newly-appointed minister of interior

During his first meeting with his assistants, the newly-appointed minister made sure to highlight around 15 significant security messages within the ministry’s plan to fight crime and extremism:

- Security breakthroughs and efforts contributed to the stability of Egypt’s streets and set the country once more on the track of development through the achievement of numerous projects and economy plans.

- It is a top priority for the Interior Ministry and all of its authorities to boost the confidence and trust of citizens.

- The ministry seeks to support the relation between citizens and police personnel in a way that preserves the rights of citizens.

- The ministry also pays special attention to upgrade and develop the public services it introduces to citizens.

- Security policies that are laid by the ministry and the country’s security authorities will remain in effect, coinciding with the latest regional developments and the recent challenges that might stand in the way of development, especially terrorism.

- The ministry will be carrying out security plans to secure the country and hinder extremists and terrorists from being able to carry out their objectives.

- Proactive strikes will follow against terrorist cells and elements in order to foil their plans and schemes, while severely punishing whoever seeks the destabilization of Egypt or to threaten the safety of its people.

- Field follow-ups will check on various sectors of the ministry in order to seek actual and practical solutions for any difficulties or security cases.

- The ministry will also intensify its security campaigns in order to bring down outlaws and criminals and ensure the safety of Egypt’s streets.

- Upgrading and developing training methods and practices will be of a great value to security forces in their fights against crime.

- The ministry spares no effort in providing all the requirements to develop and enhance the security performance.

- The ministry will also be providing extra care for police personnel and employees and their needs.

- Egyptians served a magnificent example in unity and solidarity for the sake of the country through supporting forces of the police and the army in the way against terrorism and enemies of progression.

- The destiny of Egypt and Egyptian is deemed a major national responsibility that requires everyone to always do their best.

- Policemen will stay committed to their noble goals and duties for the advancement of the nation and to serve justice.


Tawfiq was born in 1961 in Giza governorate, and graduated from the Police Academy in 1982. He served in Cairo Security Directorate, and then joined the Homeland Security Department; he got promoted to be the chairperson of the Homeland Security Service in October 2018.

6/15/2018 1:47:22 AM
<![CDATA[Netherland's Kuipers officiates Egypt, Uruguay clash ]]>
Kuipers is one of the top referees in Europe and he officiated at the 2011 UEFA Super Cup, 2013 UEFA Europa League Final, 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup Final, 2014 UEFA Champions League Final, 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup Final and 2018 UEFA Europa League Final.

Sander van Roekel and Erwin Zeinstra will be the assistant referees at the game.

Egypt will wear their home kits at the game, while the South American team will play with the away kits.

Egyptian players will wear red shirts, black shorts and black socks and the Egyptian goalkeeper’s kit will be all blue.

Uruguayan players will wear all white kits and their goalkeeper will wear an all green kit.

The World Cup draw put Egypt in Group A alongside Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and the host nation, Russia.

Egypt will appear at the World Cup for the third time in history and the first time since 1990. ]]>
6/15/2018 1:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[KSA Football Federation head apologizes after 5-0 defeat in World Cup 2018]]>CAIRO – 15 June 2018: President of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, Turki Al Sheikh apologized on Thursday as Russia won the FIFA World Cup 2018TM opener with a 5-0 win against Saudi Arabia.

In a footage that was published by Saudi Al-Riyadhiah newspaper Al Shiekh said he bears full responsibility before Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman for the loss of the Saudi National team.

“Players of the national team disappointed me, we paid them all their financial dues upfront for three years, and they did not even provide five percent of their efforts,” Al Shiekh said.

“There is no Saudi player that is worth more than a million Saudi Riyal per year, and that is why we increased the number of foreign players to eight, we want to prepare a new generation for the 2022 World Cup in order to bear the fruits in the 2026 World Cup,” he added.

Al Sheikh added that he is currently making a plan to rescue the national team and sought the help of the Saudi people as he demanded at least 1,000 young Saudi football players urgently to sign professional contracts and receive prober trainings.

It is pertinent to mention that Egypt and Uruguay are due to play the second Group A match in Yekaterinburg on Friday.

6/15/2018 1:04:50 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt becomes first African Regional Supporter of FIFA World Cup 2018]]>CAIRO – 15 June 2018: Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation’s “Egypt – Experience and Invest” campaign Tuesday signed a contract with FIFA to introduce Egypt as the official regional supporter of the 2018 FIFA World Cup RussiaTM.

Signing the contract aims at promoting Egypt as a global investment destination that is capable of attracting more tourists and investments from all over the world.

“Being an Official Regional Supporter of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia gives us the outreach in Africa to highlight and communicate the premium positioning and enormous investment diversity and potential Egypt has to offer,” Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr said Tuesday.

“In addition to having increased visibility thanks to the world’s most-watched sporting event, “Egypt - Experience & Invest” will engage through social media outlets and directly with football fans to showcase the wide spectrum of investment opportunities in the country,” Nasr added.

The contract marks the first World Cup sponsorship deal for FIFA in the past five years from outside China, Qatar and Russia.

It is pertinent to mention that FIFA currently has 20 sponsors of the 34 locations of the commercial program of the major 2018 event.

Egypt’s Minister of Tourism Rania al-Mashat also affirmed that Egypt - Experience and Invest is willing to use the opportunity of the Egyptian qualification to the World Cup to showcase in a modern way the rich and rewarding diversity of tourism experiences that Egypt offers.

“FIFA is delighted to sign with Egypt -Experience and Invest as an official regional supporter of the 2018 FIFA World Cup RussiaTM. Like FIFA, whose aim is to enhance the appeal of football, Egypt – Experience and Invest’s main objective is to highlight the beauty of Egypt as a country and promote its economical investment possibilities. We are happy to have another strong stakeholder on board and we cannot wait for the biggest sport show on earth to begin,” FIFA Marketing Sales and Strategy Director, Iain Downie said.


Egypt’s national team managed to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia for the first time since 1990 after beating Congo 2-1 at Borg El Arab Stadium on October 8; this however raised most of the Egyptian’s hopes to achieve good results, especially in the presence of Mohamed Salah.

This however comes amid ongoing debate between Egypt and FIFA on allowing the Egyptian state TV to broadcast World Cup matches.

On June 12, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has decided to open an investigation against FIFA for refraining from allowing the Egyptian state TV from broadcasting the 22 World Cup selected matches.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) announced that this investigation comes within the framework of COMESA's efforts to protect its members, Egypt being one of them, according to the organization rules.

It is pertinent to mention that the ECA submitted all the data regarding the FIFA’s violation to the COMESA in order to process them and open an investigation into the extent of the infringements made against Egypt, which has been member of the COMESA since 1998.

6/15/2018 12:37:59 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi receives phone call from Tabuk prince on occasion of Eid Al-Fitr]]>CAIRO - 15 June 2018: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi received on Thursday a phone call from Tabuk region Emir Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdel Aziz as he greeted him on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr, Presidential Spokesman Bassam Radhi said.

Prince Fahd extended his greetings to President Sisi on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr, as he expressed hopes that Egypt and its people enjoy prosperity and welfare, Radi's statement added.

For his part, President Sisi expressed his best wishes for Prince Fahd, and praised the deep relations binding the two countries.

The Egyptian leader voiced hope over achieving more progress and maintaining stability and security of the Saudi people under the leadership of King Salman bin Abdel Aziz.

6/15/2018 12:26:33 AM
<![CDATA[Spain turmoil won't affect them - Portugal coach Santos]]>
The Spaniards sensationally fired coach Julen Lopetegui on Wednesday and replaced him the same day with Fernando Hierro, the Spanish football association's sporting director.

As the Portuguese coach warmed up for Friday's match between the old rivals in Sochi, Santos had his own answer to the first big question of the World Cup: will the turmoil cause Spain to crumble or come together?

"It is Spain and Portugal," Santos said. "Spain has played like that for 10 years I don't think there are going to be any surprises. What is important is the team that plays, and the strategy and no more than that."

"Spain are fantastic opponents," he added. "They are highly qualified with a kind of game that has been consolidated over the years and (it) won't change that radically."

Santos knows Hierro but stopped short of wishing his friend all the best in their Group B opener.

"Tomorrow is the opening game for two great teams and two great sets of players," Santos told reporters at Sochi's Fisht Stadium. "I am not going to say good luck but I hope they have a great tournament."

"Spain believe they can win and we are also an opponent that think they can win the game."

Spain and Portugal have been drawn together in Group B along with Iran and Morocco. ]]>
6/14/2018 11:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[We are ready for Uruguay's game : Hadary ]]>
Hadary comforted Egyptian fans about the team's preparations for the first game against Uruguay.

“The players are ready for the competition. We have top players running in Europe and whoever plays will do his best,” Hadary told press.

The goalkeeper turned 45 in January and he will be the oldest player ever to participate in the tournament if he plays in the World Cup.

“I would be the happiest man on earth if I start the game tomorrow. I have worked very hard in the last 25 years to play in the World Cup and finally I am here,” Hadary added.

Hadary played five of Egypt’s six games at the World Cup qualifiers and he conceded 3 goals.

Egypt will face Uruguay on Friday at 2 p.m. (CLT) at their first game at the World Cup.

The World Cup draw put Egypt in Group A alongside Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and the host nation, Russia.

Egypt will appear at the World Cup for the third time in history and the first time since 1990.]]>
6/14/2018 9:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Trippier backs his Kane connection to deliver for England]]>
The 27-year-old attacking right back is expected to start England's opening Group G game against Tunisia on Monday and his ability to whip in dangerous crosses could be crucial for Gareth Southgate's team.

"I have a good relationship with H," Trippier told Reuters, when asked about his connection with Kane.

"But it is not about picking a player out, it is about putting the ball in the dangerous areas, because players like H and the other attacking players here, they know their instincts, they know where the goal is.

"I train with them every day and I think they know where I am going to put the ball," he said.

Bury-born Trippier is a product of Manchester City's youth system but found his route to first=team football blocked by Argentine international Pablo Zabaleta and in 2012 moved to the Championship with Burnley.

He helped the Clarets win promotion to the Premier League but after they were relegated back down to the second tier in 2015 he joined Tottenham Hotspur.

At Spurs, Trippier had to fight for regular minutes but after England team mate Kyle Walker moved to City, he found a starting place in Mauricio Pochettino's side more regularly.


But while his journey to the international stage has been tough, one constant in his career has been his quality crossing -- a skill he has constantly honed.

"I worked on it a lot with my old coach Steve Eyre and practised for hours at Platt Lane in Manchester when I was at City. Even now, because it is an important part of my game, I try to do as much as I can to try to help my team mates," he said.

It was during his four seasons at Burnley though where Trippier's ability to deliver an inviting ball, early, into the path of a striker, first came to wider attention.

During the Clarets' promotion campaign in 2014 he produced 14 assists, a high number for a defender and it is a feature that has remained part of his game at the higher level -- last season he had 11 assists in all competitions for Spurs.

"I got quite a lot of assists there. I worked a lot with (Burnley manager) Sean Dyche, he worked a lot on my defending and my attacking, I think it kicked off from Burnley really," he said.

Now settled into England's coastside training camp ahead of their Group G campaign, Trippier is upbeat about the team's chances.

"Everyone knows what Harry Kane is all about, he's a great goal scorer and a great professional," he said on Thursday.

“But if look all round this team we've got winners, we've got goals all around the pitch and not just Harry. We have a strong forward line – pace, youth – and all the boys are looking forward to getting out there," he said.

"He's a great leader, on and off the field, a top professional. Even off the field just speaking to him one to one. He's a great person - if you ever need help he's there for you as an individual or a group," added Trippier.]]>
6/14/2018 9:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Argentina must overcome own demons to beat Iceland]]>
Champions in 1978 and 1986, Argentina are part of football's elite and have in their ranks Lionel Messi, the five-times world player of the year.

But they only qualified for Russia thanks to a win in their final qualifier against Ecuador and scored 19 goals in 18 games, the lowest by any South American qualifier since the single-group format was adopted in the mid-1990s.

Since then, their on the field woes have worsened - a slim win over non-qualifiers Italy in March was followed four days later by a 6-1 hammering by Spain - and been exacerbated by bad luck and poor planning.

Argentina lost their first-choice goalkeeper Sergio Romero to a knee injury and midfielder Manuel Lanzini withdrew after damaging ligaments nine days before the tournament.

They pulled themselves together to beat Haiti 4-0 but that did little to convince anxious fans.

Argentine preparations were dealt another blow when an ill-advised friendly against Israel in Jerusalem was cancelled due to political pressure.

In spite of all this, Argentina are still firm favourites in Moscow on Saturday to overcome the smallest nation ever to qualify for the World Cup finals.

Iceland were the surprise team at Euro 2016, drawing with winners Portugal in the group stage and defeating England in the last 16 on their way to quarter-final defeat by France.

But their form has dipped this year and they have failed to win any their last four matches, three of which they lost, to Mexico, Peru and Norway, by shipping three goals.

Key midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson has missed most of the last three months with a knee injury. He made substitute appearances in Iceland's final two friendlies this month and his presence from the start would be a vital confidence booster.

Few people believe Iceland can win but they may take heart from recalling the last time Argentina expected to win the opening game of the tournament against a team who had never won a World Cup match.

The year was 1990 and Argentina's opponents were Cameroon who won 1-0 and went on to reach the quarter-finals, a feat still unsurpassed by an African side. ]]>
6/14/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi Arabia loses to Russia 5-0 at World Cup opening game ]]>
Russia showed a different performance than it previously did in the friendly games at the World Cup preparations in which they failed to achieve a single victory in 2018.

Russia’s starting line-up consisted of: Igor Akinfeev; Mario Fernandes, Ilya Kutepov, Sergey Ignashevich,Yury Gazinsky, Yuri Zhirkov; Roman Zobnin, Daler Kuzyaev, Alan Dzagoev, Aleksandr Samedov, Aleksandr Golovin; Fedor Smolov.

While Saudi Arabia’s starting line-up included Abdullah al-Mayouf, Usamah Husawi, Omar Hosawi, Yasser al-Shahrani, Mohammed al-Barik; Abdullah Otif, Salman al-Faraj, Yahya al-Shihri, Taisir al-Jassim, Salem al Dosari and Mohamed El Sahlawi.

Russia opened the score after 12 minutes from the start through a header by Yury Gazinsky.

Denis Cheryshev made the score 2-0 two minutes before half time when he dribbled two Saudi Arabian defenders and his shot found the target to make the score 2-0 for the Russians.

At the second half, the Russians kept up their dominance Artem Dzyuba made the score 3-0 through a header.

At the added time, Russia scored two goals. The first one by Cheryshev from a wide shot while the fifth came by a free kick from Aleksandr Golovin.

Russia leads Group A with three points while the Saudi Team stays at the bottom with 0 points and plays in Group A alongside Uruguay, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. ]]>
6/14/2018 8:45:34 PM
<![CDATA[Profile: 12 new ministries chosen for Egypt's challenging future]]>
Apparently, the new cabinet headed by newly-appointed Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has chosen many young figures holding an academic background.

Defense Minister: Mohamed Ahmed Zaki

Lieutenant General Mohamed Ahmed Zaki took the oath before President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi as the Minister of Defense in the new cabinet, to succeed Sedki Sobhi.

President Sisi meets with Mohamed Ahmed Zaki (L), Sedki Sobhi (C), June, 14, 2018 - press photo

In January, 2017, Sisi approved Zaki's promotion form Major General to Lieutenant General.

Zaki arrested former president Mohamed Morsi on July 3, 2013, following the protests that took place at the time marking the June 30 revolution.

Zaki was appointed as the head of the Republican Guard military branch in August, 2012. Morsi took post as the president in June of the same year.

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians rushed down to streets on June 30, 2013, calling for the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated president.

Zaki had also served as the head of the Egyptian Paratroopers military branch.

Interior Minister: Mahmoud Tawfik

Major General Mahmoud Tawfik was named as the new interior ministry to succed Magdi Abdel Ghaffar who was appointed in 2015. Tawfik graduated from the police academy in 1981.

President Sisi meets with Mahmoud Tawfik (L), Magdi Abdel Ghaffar (C), June, 14, 2018 - press photo

Tawfik is the former assistant inrterior minister for national security. Tawfik has managed during Sisi's first presidential term to uncover a number of terrorist hideouts and helped hinder probable terrorist attacks, according to media reports.

Known as "the fox," Tawfik reportedly helped rescue police captain Mohamed Al-Hayes from a terrorist hideout. Hayes was captured following clashes between Egyptian forces and militants last October.

Civil Aviation Minister: Younis Al-Masry

Lieutenant General Younis Al-Masry, 59, took the oath before President Sisi to succeed Sherif Fathy.

FILE - Lieutenant General Younis Al-Masry

Masry was appointed as the head of the Egyptian Air Force in 2012. Masry prepared his masters in the military science, and was honored a number of military medals.

The military medals granted to Masry include the Medal of Distinguished Service, which is given to those who stay in military service for 30 years; the golden Medal of Military Duty and the Medal of The Twenty Fifth of January.

Health Minister: Hala Zayed

Hala Zayed, 51, took the oath before Sisi to succeed Ahmed Emad El-Din. Zayed served as the head of the Supreme Committee for Combating Corruption at the Health Ministry.

FILE - Hala Zayed

Zayed also served as a supervisor in the 57357 hospital specialized in children's cancer. She was one of the members of the experts committee assigned with setting Egypt Vision 2030.

Zayed is the second female minister in the history of the Health Ministry since its establishment in 1937.

Finance Minister: Mohamed Maeet

Mohamed Maeet, 56, was named as the new Minister of Finance, to succeed Amr El-Garhy who took post amid fierce economic challenges.

FILE - Mohamed Maeet

Maeet served as an assistant Finance Minister since 2016. During former Prime Minister Sherif Ismail's term, Maeet was appointed as a deputy Finance Minister.

He had also seved as an assitant Finance Minister in the era of the ousted president Hosni Mubarak. Maeet resigned in 2013 during Morsi's term.

Maeet reportedly participated in preparing the comprehensive health insurance bill drafted by the government and submitted last October. The bill was approved by the parliament in December.

Agriculture Minister: Ezz El-Din Abu Steit

Ezz El-Din Abu Steit, 62, took the oath before Sisi to succeed Abdel Moneim Al-Banna. Abu Steit is the first professor from Cairo University to take post as the Minister of Agriculture.

FILE - Ezz El-Din Abu Steit

Abu Steit served as the dean of the Faculty of Agriculture in Cairo University and a deputy of the university's president for education and students affairs.

Abu Steit has led many campaigns and wrote many research papers which aim to improve Egypt's productivity of wheat, sugar beet, and maize.

He was granted Abdel Hamid Shoman Prize for Arab Scientists, for agricultural science, in 1994. He became a professor in one of North Carolina's universities in 1995.

Local Development Minister: Mahmoud Sharawy

Major General Mahmoud Sharawy, 59, was named as the new Minister of Local Development to succeed Abu Bakr Al-Gendy.

Mahmoud Sharawy takes the oath as the new Local Development Minister - screenshot from the national TV.

Sharawy served as the assistant Local Development Minister for National Security Agency and an official in National Security Agency's administration to combat extremist activity.

Sharawy led the security operation named "Arab Sharkas," against terrorist elements who are accused of killing a number of officers after June 30 revolution. Army and police personnel participated in the operation.

Public Business Minister: Hisham Tawfik

Hisham Tawfik took the oath before Sisi as the Minister of Public Business, to succeed Khaled Badawi.

Hisham Tawfik takes the oath before President Sisi as the new Public Business Minister- screenshot from the national TV.

Tawfik has served as a member of the boards of directors of many companies including the state-owned National Company for Construction and Development for 3 years.

He also served as the CEO of Cairo Solar and Arabeya Online for Securities Brokerage.

Trade and Industry Minister: Amr Nassar

Amr Nassar, 57, was named as the Minister of Trade and Industry to succeed Tarek Kabil. Nassar graduated from the Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University in 1985.

FILE - Amr Nassar

Nassar served as the deputy chairman of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) division of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP).

Nassar was appointed as the secretary general of the Engineering Export Council of Egypt (EEC) in 2012. He also served as a member of the boards of directors of the Chamber of Engineering Industries.

Youth Minister: Ashraf Sobhi

Ashraf Sobhi took the oath before Sisi as the new Youth and Sports Minister, to succeed Khaled Abdel Aziz who has served as the Youth Minister for about 6 years.

Ashraf Sobhi takes the oath as the new Sports Minister - screenshot from the national TV.

In 2016, Sobhi resigned from his post as an assistant Minister of Youth and Sports. He served as the head of the Cairo Stadium Authority from 2012 to 2014, where he could reportedly turn the Cairo Stadium to an investment institution.

In 2009, Sobhi took post as the executive director of the Emirati Baniyas Club. Sobhi is one of Helwan University's academic staff.

Environment Minister: Yasmine Fouad

Yasmine Fouad was named as the Minister of Environmental Affairs to succeed Khaled Fahmy.

Yasmine Fouad takes the oath as the new Environment Minister- screenshot from the national TV.

She is the third female minister to serve as the Environment Minister after Laila Rashid Eskandar and Nadia Makram Ebeid. Fouad is an assistant professor of economy and political science in Cairo University.

Fouad has served as the acting director of the Center for Economic and Financial Research and Studies since 2014.

She represented Egypt in a number of international conferences within the framework of the Green Climate Fund. In addition, she headed a committee that managed to get a fund of $54 million to support Egypt's environmental program for renewable energy.

Telecommunications Minister: Amr Talaat

Engineer Amr Talat took the oath before Sisi as the new Minister of Telecommunications to succeed Yasser Al-Kady.

File: Amr Talaat

Talat had served as the General Manager of IBM Egypt Branch. He brings with him about 30 years of experience, according to media reports.

He was awarded the master of science in information technology (IT) from one of the Unites States' universities in Illinois state.

Earlier in June, president Sisi ordered Madbouly to form a new government to succeed that of Sherif Ismail, who resigned on June 5.

Sisi expressed thanks and appreciation to former Prime Minister Sherif Ismail on behalf of all Egyptians for the efforts carried out through the past years, saying that the Cabinet reshuffle aimed “to give change a chance.”

“I am used to talking to you with complete honesty,” Sisi stated. He revealed that the Cabinet was reshuffled as to give change a chance. He said that a celebration will be held to honor the former Cabinet, as it has endured “one of Egypt's cruelest times in modern history.”

6/14/2018 7:05:26 PM
<![CDATA[Get to know more about newly-appointed minister of interior ]]>
He has participated in the military campaigns, launched in cooperation with the Armed Forces, against terrorist groups in the Western Desert. He led a campaign against militants who belong to Hasm terrorist group in Fayoum government, Western Desert, killing 14 terrorists.

The new minister has participated in the security raid against terrorists in Abu Tesht village in Qena, Upper Egypt, joining the security forces in targeting elements suspected of killing police officer Ahmed Abdel-Fatah Gomaa.

Newly-appointed Minister of Interior Mohamed Tawfiq - Press photo

He also participated in killing militants involved in the terrorist attack on Minya bus, where unidentified gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians to Samuel Monastery near the southern city of Minya, killing at least 28 people and wounding 29 others.

The minister joined the military forces in chasing militants involved in Palm Sunday church bombings on April 9, 2017. Twin suicide bombings took place at St. George’s Church in the northern Egyptian city of Tanta, and Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, the main church in Alexandria. At least 45 people were reported killed and 126 injured.

Moreover, Tawfiq led other security operations that thwarted several attacks on security checkpoints in Islamilia, Fayoum, Sharqia, and other different areas.

He also arrested a number of militants accused of murdering late Attorney-General Hisham Barakat.

Tawfiq was born in 1961 in Giza governorate, and graduated from the Police Academy in 1982. He served in Cairo Security Directorate, and then joined the Homeland Security Department; he got promoted to be the chairperson of the Homeland Security Service in October 2018.

Additional reporting by Mahmoud Abdel-Radi

6/14/2018 6:06:44 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. top court throws out Minnesota ban on voter political apparel]]>
The court, in the 7-2 ruling, said Minnesota's law, which dates back to 1912, went too far in banning voters from wearing political apparel but left room for states to craft some sort of limits on what should be allowed in polling places and what should not.

Minnesota's law barred people from wearing clothing, badges, buttons or other insignia with overtly political messages inside polling places during primary or general elections. Violators were asked to cover up or remove offending items, but officials were instructed not to bar anyone from voting.

The Supreme Court endorsed the argument advanced by the conservative activists who challenged Minnesota's law, finding that it ran afoul of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said Minnesota's said Minnesota's law did not define the term "political" and could be haphazardly enforced. He wondered in the ruling whether a "Support Our Troops" shirt could be banned, or one displaying "#MeToo," referring to a movement encouraging women to share their experiences of abuse.

While Minnesota has tried to promote voting "in a setting removed from the clamor and din of electioneering," Roberts wrote, the state "has not supported its good intentions with a law capable of reasoned application."

Still, Roberts said, states can prohibit certain apparel at the voting place to avoid the partisan discord that can be associated with an election. "Members of the public are brought together at that place, at the end of what may have been an divisive election season, to reach considered decisions about their government and laws," Robert added.

Roberts was joined by the other four conservatives on the court as well as liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan.


"The Supreme Court today vindicated the constitutional protections of every American," said attorney David Breemer of the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative legal advocacy group that represented the law's challengers. "The court put all government entities on notice - they cannot dictate the terms of personal expression, nor can they designate the arbiters of free speech at their whim."

Delaware, Kansas, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and South Carolina impose restrictions similar to Minnesota's.

The justices issued the ruling against a backdrop of deepening political polarization in America.

In another major ruling involving free speech at polling sites, the high court in 1992 upheld a Tennessee law barring the solicitation of votes and the display or distribution of campaign material within 100 feet (30 meters) of a polling place.

One of the conservative activists who challenged the law, Andy Cilek of the St. Paul-based Minnesota Voters Alliance, was stopped by a poll worker when he showed up on Election Day in 2010 wearing a T-shirt touting the conservative Tea Party movement with the words "Don't Tread on Me" as well as a button stating, "Please I.D. Me." Cilek eventually was allowed to vote.

Cilek and the others who sued in 2010 to overturn the law said wearing political apparel is an inherently peaceful form of expression. Minnesota said the law is applied neutrally and helps prevent confusion or intimidation during voting.

Minnesota has said it had no record of anyone ever being prosecuted under the law.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in a dissent joined by fellow liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, said the case should have been referred to Minnesota's Supreme Court to interpret the state's law before it was declared unconstitutional.

The St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Minnesota restrictions in 2013 and 2017.]]>
6/14/2018 6:05:10 PM
<![CDATA[Russian navy put on high alert off Ukraine coast: sources]]>
Russian officials say they believe Ukraine is building up its military presence in the area as a "provocation" during the tournament.

Reuters has not been able to independently verify that there is a Ukrainian build-up, and there was no confirmation of that from officials in Kiev.

Three sources close to the Russian military said that its forces around the Black Sea Crimea peninsula had been put on a state of high combat readiness. Two of the sources said that decision was linked to the soccer tournament.

"Because of the World Cup and expectations of possible provocations by Ukraine around the Crimean coast, commanders took the decision to increase the fleet's level of military preparedness," said one of the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media about operational plans.

The Russian defence ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The sources said that the mobilisation involved deploying extra vessels to the Azov Sea, an arm of the Black Sea where Russia and Ukraine share coastline, and flying extra sorties by naval aircraft. Navy and coastguard units were involved.

"There is a concern that Ukraine could organise a provocation during the World Cup," said a source in the navy's aviation arm who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

"For that reason, we need a concentration of forces in the Azov sea which will discourage thoughts of trespassing in (Russian) territorial waters."

The third source, who is in the naval coastguard, said the state of heightened readiness would remain in place until July 31, about two weeks after the World Cup concludes.

The Ukrainian navy and the office of Ukrainian National Security Council Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov did not comment on the Russian naval deployments.

Asked if Ukraine was planning provocations, Turchynov's office said in a statement to Reuters: "Regardless of the moaning of scared Russian mercenaries and the threats of the Russian president, the Ukrainian military will act in a way appropriate to the threats."

Russia and Ukraine have been in a tense military standoff since early 2014, when Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine, and soon after pro-Moscow separatists fought an armed rebellion against Kiev's rule in eastern Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the World Cup is an opportunity for Russia and Western countries to put politics to one side and focus on sport.]]>
6/14/2018 5:41:29 PM
<![CDATA[Four key suspects in Hungary migrant truck deaths jailed for 25 years]]>
The ruling followed a year-long trial in Hungary, which took over the proceedings from Vienna after it emerged that the migrants had suffocated on Hungarian soil.

Prosecutors, who had asked for life terms without parole, immediately appealed the sentence after the ruling, arguing that it was too lenient.

Ten other suspects were also found guilty over the deaths and handed prison sentences of up to 12 years by the court in the southern town of Kecskemet. Three were tried in absentia.

The men were allegedly members of a trafficking gang based in Budapest, which smuggled more than 1,200 people into western Europe at the height of the continent's 2015 migrant crisis.

The bodies of the 59 men, eight women and four children -- including a baby girl -- were already in an advanced state of decomposition when they were discovered in an abandoned poultry refrigerator lorry on August 27, 2017.

Investigations showed they had been dead for two days, suffocating shortly after being picked up in Hungary, then a key transit country on the Balkan migrant trail.

The ringleader, a young Afghan, and the other mostly Bulgarian suspects denied knowing that the migrants were dying in the back.

But evidence presented to the court indicated they had been aware of what was happening.

"The four main accused knew that inaction on their part could lead to the deaths of the victims," Judge Janos Jadi said in Thursday's ruling.

"It's clear that the defendants were well aware that these vehicles were not suited for human passengers, this is torture under the law even if the passengers were not beaten by the smugglers."

The victims -- all from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan -- had been part of hundreds of thousands of desperate people fleeing war and misery in the Middle East and elsewhere in 2015, triggering Europe's worst migrant crisis since World War II.

The deaths led a shocked German Chancellor Angela Merkel to announce she would open her country's doors, eventually allowing in more than one million refugees, mostly from Syria.

- 'Let them die' -

Hungarian officials said the ring was a professional network with more than 15 vehicles used to transport refugees who were trekking up from Greece along the western Balkans to Europe.

The gang had smuggled more than 1,100 people from Hungary into Austria since February 2015, charging up to 1,500 euros ($1,760) a head.

In court, the defendants denied knowing that their human cargo was dying.

The ringleader Samsoor Lahoo, himself a young Afghan of 31 who had fled his country, told the court in a final statement that he "had not wanted anyone's death".

But police telephone intercepts of calls revealed he had ordered the truck drivers not to open the doors.

"Let them die instead. That's an order," Lahoo allegedly says in one of the calls.

"If they die, let him dump them in a forest in Germany," he adds.

Challenged with this evidence, Lahoo told the court they were simply "thoughtless remarks".

Hungary's legislation regarding trafficking was tightened in the aftermath of the death truck case.

The judge earlier explained his sentences were more lenient than prosecutors had requested because he was applying the law that was in force at the time of the crime.

For prosecutor Gabor Schmidt, Lahoo showed only "endless greed" and "frightening indifference" to migrants desperate to get to Europe.

"The ruling does not sufficiently reflect the seriousness of the crime," he told the court after Thursday's verdict.]]>
6/14/2018 5:33:11 PM
<![CDATA[New York sues to dissolve Trump Foundation, cites illegal conduct]]>
Barbara Underwood, the attorney general, accused the Donald J. Trump Foundation and its directors of conducting "extensive unlawful political coordination" with the campaign, and "repeated and willful self-dealing" to benefit Trump's personal and business interests.

"The Trump Foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose of legality," Underwood said in a statement. "That is not how private foundations should function."

The foundation could not immediately be reached for comment.

Trump's children were also named as defendants in the attorney general's petition, filed with the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

New York is also seeking $2.8 million of restitution plus penalties, a 10-year ban on Trump serving as a director of a New York nonprofit, and one-year bans for his children Donald Jr, Eric and Ivanka. ]]>
6/14/2018 5:29:26 PM
<![CDATA[For the first time, 8 female ministers in Egypt's Cabinet]]>
The newly appointed female ministers are Hala Zayed for the Health Ministry succeeding Ahmed Emad el-Din, and Yasmine Fouad as minister of environment, succeeding Khaled Fahmy. They two newly appointed ministers, in addition to six female ministers who occupied seats in the outgoing Cabinet, represent nearly 25 percent of the Cabinet.

Zayed is the second female minister in the history of Health Ministry since its establishment in 1937. Zayed was the president of the 57357 Academy of Health Sciences, the chairwoman of the Supreme Committee for Combating Corruption at the Ministry of Health and an advisor to the minister of health and population.

As for Fouad, she has been the assistant environment minister for foreign affairs for the past four years. She’s also an assistant professor in the faculty of economics and political science in Cairo University.

Fouad has represented Egypt many times in several international and continental conferences regarding the Green Climate Fund and climate change.

Inas Abdel-Dayem remains as the minister of culture, Rania al-Mashat heads the Ministry of Tourism, Ghada Wali heads the Ministry of Social Solidarity, Nabila Makram heads the Ministry of Immigration, Hala el-Saeed heads the Ministry of Planning, and Sahar Nasr heads the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation.

For the first time, 6 female ministers in Egypt's Cabinet

CAIRO- 14 January 2018: For the first time in Egypt's history, six female ministers occupied seats in the cabinet, representing nearly 20 percent of the cabinet. In a cabinet reshuffle on Sunday, Inas Abdel-Dayem was chosen to be the new minister of Culture over Helmy el-Namnam and Rania al-Mashat has replaced Minister of Tourism Yahia Rashid.

Egypt's new Cabinet has sworn-in on Thursday, with 12 new ministers taking the oath before President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

A total of 20 ministers remained unchanged, including the above mentioned female ministers and Mohamed Shaker, minister of electricity and renewable energy; Mohamed al-Assar, minister of military production; and Tarek Shawki, minister of education.

Egypt's new Cabinet sworn-in, 12 new ministers appointed

CAIRO - 14 June 2018: Egypt's new cabinet has sworn-in Thursday, with 12 new ministers taking the oath before President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Mostafa Madbouly was assigned to be the Prime Minister and the Minister of Housing. A total of 15 deputies to ministers were also appointed.

Maya Morsy, the president of the National Council of Women (NCW), expressed to Egypt Today her pride of the new appointments of female ministers, asserting that this represents Egypt's government's confidence in the Egyptian women.

Also, the number of parliamentary female members reached 90, some 76 of which were elected, and 14 were appointed, marking a ratio of 15 percent of the total number of members. Moreover, the rate of female voters has reached 55 percent.

President Sisi announced that Egyptian women have played a vital and significant role to help Egyptian society overcome the current difficult conditions.

The Egyptian leader made his statements during an Iftar banquet held in Ramadan 2017, under his auspices to honor women after he announced 2017 as the “Year of Egyptian Women”.

During his speech, Sisi expressed his deep respect for Egyptian women's resilience.

“The Egyptian woman, unlike women in many countries around the world, and due to the difficult circumstances of Egypt, endures so much. In fact, when we were on the economic reform procedures over the past two years, or longer, I knew that in every house, I, or rather Egypt, had a prop,” Sisi said.

“Indeed, when we were taking these measures, I always said I would address and talk to the Egyptian woman and tell her ‘please help me and help Egypt.' The path we have started is a cruel and painful path, but I swear, God willing, with what we are doing, we are laying the real foundations for a real state. A real state,” he added.

6/14/2018 5:25:26 PM
<![CDATA[Macron 'never meant to offend' Italy with migrant comments]]>
Macron had on Tuesday ignited the worst Franco-Italian diplomatic spat in years by accusing Rome of "cynicism and irresponsibility" for refusing to take in 629 migrants left stranded on a rescue ship that was eventually welcomed by Spain.

Rome summoned the French ambassador and cancelled a meeting between the countries' economy ministers while threatening to call off talks between Macron and Italian premier Giuseppe Conte in Paris on Friday unless France issued an "official apology".

But the tensions appeared to have ebbed after a telephone call Wednesday night between Macron and Conte.

"The president stressed that none of his comments were intended to offend Italy and the Italian people," Macron's office said in a statement, adding that Friday's lunch meeting with Conte would go ahead as planned.

Conte told reporters in Rome that the exchange was "very cordial".

Asked whether he thought the dispute was over, he said: "I very much think so, yes.

"But now we need to work on reform of the Dublin Agreement," he added in reference to controversial EU rules which require migrants to apply for asylum in the country where they first arrive.

That has put pressure on Italy and Greece, the main entry points for people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The confirmation of Conte's Paris visit came minutes after Italy's deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio said Rome would "not back down" without a French apology.

"The day when people thought they could make a mockery of Italy is over," Di Maio, leader of the Five Star Movement that shares power with the far-right League, was quoted by the Agi news agency as saying.

- 'Axis of the willing' -

The plight of the Aquarius rescue ship -- which is en route to Spain -- has again shone a light on the failure of EU members to band together in the face of an unprecedented influx of migrants across the Mediterranean since 2015.

An EU scheme to distribute migrants equitably around the bloc has failed miserably, with central European members flatly refusing the quotas and others, including France, falling far short of their allocated target.

Charities have sounded the alarm over the toll the crisis is taking on migrant lives.

On Thursday, four people were given 25-year jail sentences in Hungary over the gruesome deaths of 71 migrants who suffocated in a truck on an Austrian highway three years ago.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of neighbouring Austria this week hailed the hardline stance on immigration taken by the interior ministers of his country, Italy and Germany -- whose interior minister is openly feuding with Chancellor Angela Merkel on the issue.

"We believe an axis of the willing is needed to fight illegal migration," he said.

Italy has received more than 700,000 migrants and refugees since 2013.

Many West Africans try to continue on to France, where they speak the language and often have relatives, only to find the border shut to them.

Thousands of those who manage to sneak across the Alps have been detained and sent back to Italy.

In a swipe at France, Italy's government said it will not accept "hypocritical lessons from countries that have preferred to look the other way on immigration".

- 'Europe must do more' -

Macron, in his call with Conte, called for closer cooperation between Rome and Paris to try to check the migrant flows at their source -- currently mainly in Africa.

France had "always defended the need for greater European solidarity with the Italian people", he said.

The issue of how to share the migrant burden is expected to dominate an EU summit at the end of June.

While Italy has taken much of the flak over the Aquarius, Macron has come in for criticism at home -- for remaining silent for two days while the ship was adrift and then laying the blame solely at Italy's feet.

European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau on Thursday defended France's record.

"France last year received a record number of asylum seekers," she said, with 100,000 requests.

France, she added, had also taken the second-biggest share of migrants relocated from Greece and Italy.

"We're doing a lot but it's true: Europe must do more and must do better to help Italy," she said.]]>
6/14/2018 5:11:41 PM
<![CDATA[Iraqi PM invites politicians to meet after Eid holiday]]>
May's parliamentary election was marred by low turnout and allegations of fraud, stalling talks on forming a new government. Parliament mandated a nationwide manual recount of votes and some politicians called for it to be repeated.

"Despite the violations and irregularities that tainted the election, following legal methods, obeying the law and the constitution, is the only way to solve these problems and move towards forming a new parliament and a government," he said in a pre-recorded address.

Abadi, who opposes a repeat of the election, said he was sure Iraq would come out of this "crisis stronger, united, and stable" and called for unity.

"I invite the political blocs to a high level meeting immediately after the Eid holiday ... so we can put our hands together in order to protect the nation, citizens, and to guarantee the safety of the political process and democratic gains as well as to agree on specific measures to speed up the formation of constitutional institutions."

Eid al-Fitr follows the fasting month of Ramadan. The government announced the holiday would end on Tuesday.]]>
6/14/2018 5:07:57 PM
<![CDATA[DNA leads to breakthrough in grisly French cold case]]>
The little girl's body, bearing the signs of horrific abuse including burns from an iron and human bite marks, was found in August 1987 in a ditch alongside the A10 motorway in central France.

Investigators at the time said they were dealing with a suspected case of cannibalism in which "flesh had been removed". The bite marks on her body were likely those of a woman, according to forensic experts.

The grisly murder sparked what was France's biggest ever investigation at the time, with the girl's photograph posted in public places and an alert sent to more than 30 countries, but it was declared unsolved in 1997.

It remained a cold case until the 2016 arrest of her brother in an assault probe allowed police to identify her through DNA -- eventually leading to the arrest of their parents, prosecutors in the central city of Blois said.

- 'Martyr of the A10' -

The girl, in the absence of a name, was dubbed "the little martyr of the A10". Posters appealing for information noted that she was 95 centimetres tall (three feet) with curly brown hair and brown eyes.

Police visited 65,000 schools as part of the huge effort to identify her, speaking to 6,000 doctors and school assistants in the vain hope of tracking down her family.

It was her brother's arrest two years ago, when his DNA was entered into a national database, that alerted investigators to a match with material found on her clothes and the blanket she was wrapped in.

This allowed them to track down her parents, a couple of Moroccan origin now in their sixties.

Records showed they had stopped claiming family welfare payouts for one of their seven children, with a source close to the investigation saying the mother had said the child was in Morocco.

The parents, who separated in 2010, were detained Tuesday in the central city of Orleans on suspicion of murder, child abuse and preventing the lawful burial of a body.

They were due to appear before a judge on Thursday, with a view to being charged.

A source close to the investigation said the girl's father was claiming she died at the hands of the mother.

Etienne Daures, the prosecutor in the original case, said he hoped "to be able to give a name" to the girl, who was buried in a cemetery in the town of Suevres near to where her body was found.

To this day people regularly replace the flowers on her grave, where the unnamed tombstone reads: "Here rests an angel."]]>
6/14/2018 4:50:00 PM