<![CDATA[rss-News]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[News]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Egypt to open Rafah Crossing on Saturday ]]>
The decision came amid tensions in the Middle East after U.S. Donald Trump’s announcement to recognize Jerusalem the “eternal” capital of Israel, a decision which has attracted a huge regional and international backlash, criticizing the decision as “unilateral” and not serving the sake of the peace process.

The last time the border was opened was in November, following an October reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo between the rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas. A Palestinian National Authority assumed control of the Gaza Strip as of December 1, as per the agreement. ]]>
12/14/2017 6:53:13 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. Vice president delayed his Middle East tour]]>
According to the officials, Pence slightly delayed his scheduled Middle East tour as he is preparing to chair a senate session to attempt to break the tie on new major tax cuts next week.

Following the American president Donald Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stated that he would not meet with Pence during his visit to the Middle East.

International and regional condemnations were numerous regarding the U.S. decision; several protests accordingly broke out at U.S. embassies around the globe.
]]>
12/14/2017 6:21:08 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt establishes desalination plant in Hurghada]]>
“Al-Yusr desalination plant has been established according the international high standards,” chief of the National Authority for Drinking Water and Sanitation, al-Sayed al-Ashry told the press during the visit of housing committee of the House of Representatives to Hurghada City.

Hurghada city gets its fresh water from two sources, a line extended between it and Qena governorate and the other from Kuraimat village in Giza. However, these only provide the governorate with 50 percent of its water needs, according to president of the Red Sea’s Water Company, Yehia Seddik.

Seddik affirmed that the water prices will stay the same for citizens, and a price hike will only be applied for touristic villages and investors. He added that more desalination plants will be founded in all coastal governorates that face a water shortage.

The desalination process consists of extracting the salt from the water with no human interference, to guarantee sterilization.

Egypt may face great water shortages after the building of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in the Nile basin, which will limit the amount of Nile water that reached Egypt. The dam has created tensions between the two countries, Egypt and Ethiopia.]]>
12/14/2017 6:03:35 PM
<![CDATA[Fierce winds to intensify as California wildfire grows]]>
The so-called Thomas Fire overnight grew to the fourth-largest blaze of its kind on record, at 242,500 acres (98,140 hectares) burned, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said in a statement on Thursday morning.

The fire grew larger than the Zaca Fire of 2007, which, like the Thomas Fire, struck Santa Barbara County. The Thomas Fire has also burned parts of neighboring Ventura County.

Cal Fire said on Thursday morning that the Thomas blaze was 30 percent contained, unchanged from Wednesday evening.

The fire threatened the communities of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Summerland and Montecito early on Thursday after destroying more than 700 homes since it began on Dec. 4, fire officials said.

"Firefighters will remain engaged in structure defense operations and scout for opportunities to establish direct perimeter control," Cal Fire said on Wednesday evening, noting that the fire threatened 18,000 structures.

According to the National Weather Service's forecast for Southern California on Thursday, "critical fire weather conditions will persist" and very dry conditions will continue. High winds with gusts up to 55 miles per hour (89 km per hour) are possible, the service said.

Many public schools in the Santa Barbara area canceled classes this week and will not reopen until the annual winter break ends January.

Some of the other fires burning over the past week in San Diego and Los Angeles counties have largely been brought under control, officials said.]]>
12/14/2017 5:56:38 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt condemns terror attack on Somalia police camp]]>
The statement expressed sincere condolences to the families of the martyrs, wishing a speedy recovery for the injured.

It stressed that the Egyptian government and people stand with Somalia in the face of terrorism. It also stated that Egypt offers its full support for the Somali government to rebuild state institutions and achieve security and stability in the country.

A suicide bomber disguised as a policeman blew himself up inside a police training camp in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Thursday, killing at least 18 officers, according to Reuters.

Police spokesman Major Mohamed Hussein said the attacker strapped explosives to his body and infiltrated the General Kahiye Police Training Academy during an early morning parade. ]]>
12/14/2017 5:46:50 PM
<![CDATA[Hamas chief calls for fresh protests against Trump Jerusalem move]]>
"We demand the Islamic world make every Friday a day of anger and revolution in every capital and city until we bring down Trump's decision," Ismail Haniya said.

"We ask churches, the Pope and our Christian brothers to devote their Sunday prayers to Jerusalem," he added.

Speaking in front of tens of thousands of supporters in Hamas-run Gaza at an event to commemorate the Islamist movement's 30th anniversary, Haniya railed against Trump's December 6 announcement that he would move his country's embassy to Jerusalem and recognise the city as Israel's capital.

"We will bring down Trump's decision once and for all," he added.

The event was attended by major Hamas figures as well as politicians from other political parties, including longtime rivals Fatah.

The two signed an October reconciliation agreement that was supposed to see Hamas hand over control in Gaza by December 1, but the deal has faltered.

Hamas seized control of Gaza from Fatah in 2007 and has fought three wars with Israel since.

It is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel, the United States and others.

Since Trump's controversial announcement last week, at least 12 rockets or mortars have been fired from Gaza towards Israel.

In response the Jewish state's army has hit at least 10 targets in Gaza, mostly Hamas bases.

Protests in other parts of the Palestinian territories, as well as across the Arab world, have broken out since Trump's announcement.

]]>
12/14/2017 5:01:35 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt condemns Somalia terrorist attack]]>
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry offered deep condolences to the families of the victims, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

The ministry voiced the solidarity of the Egyptian government and people with the Somali government and people against terrorism.

It stressed Egypt's full support for the Somali government in its efforts to rebuild the state's institutions and achieve security and stability.]]>
12/14/2017 4:56:52 PM
<![CDATA[Daesh threatens attacks in US over Trump’s Jerusalem decision]]>
Daesh said in a Telegram Messenger post that it planned to conduct attacks and included photos of New York City’s Times Square and a bomb, the Hill reported.

"We will do more ops in your land, until the final hour and we will burn you with the flames of war which you started in Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Syria and Afghan. Just you wait,” the message read.

"The recognition of Trump Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will make us recognize explosives as the capital of your country", the message added.

Trump last week announced that the US would officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and said he would put plans in motion to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv. ]]>
12/14/2017 4:41:43 PM
<![CDATA[Parl. steps to toughen penalties to end vandalism of artifacts]]>
In press remarks Thursday, Heikal further contended that the parliament will discuss this draft law in presence of the current Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anani, confirming that stronger laws should be in place to ensure the protection of Egypt’s priceless artifacts from destruction and smuggling.

According to the current Antiquities Protection Law, the person who is proved to be convicted with stealing, possessing, concealing or collecting artifacts for the sole purpose of profiteering shall be punished with life imprisonment and fined with not less than LE 50,000 and not more than LE 250,000.
]]>
12/14/2017 4:35:44 PM
<![CDATA[Suicide bomber kills at least 18 at police academy in Somalia's capital]]>
Police spokesman Major Mohamed Hussein said the attacker strapped explosives to his body and infiltrated the General Kahiye Police Training Academy during an early morning parade.

"Police were preparing for the 74th anniversary of police day. As they wanted to start exercise, a suicide bomber came in and blew up himself. We lost 18 police officers and 15 others were injured," Muktar Hussein Afrah, Somalia's deputy police commander, told reporters at the blast scene.

"Police will always continue their work despite death."

Police earlier put the death toll at 15.

Reuters witnesses who attempted to visit the site of the blast said police had sealed it off. Hours later when they were allowed in, a witness saw body parts suspected to be from the bomber on the ground in the field where police officers had been training.

The witness said the ground nearby had also been washed to remove blood stains and people were burying bodies at the police academy.

The militant Islamist group al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack and gave a higher death toll.

"We killed 27 police (officers) and injured more," Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group's military operations spokesman, told Reuters. Al Shabaab carries out frequent bombings in Mogadishu and other towns.

The group, which is allied to al Qaeda, is waging an insurgency against the U.N.-backed government and its African Union allies in a bid to topple the weak administration and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam.

The militants were driven out of Mogadishu in 2011 and have since been steadily losing territory to the combined forces of African Union peacekeepers and Somali security forces.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Africom said the U.S. military had conducted an air strike on a vehicle they said was strapped with explosives some 65 km southwest of Mogadishu.

Thursday's attack comes at a time when the African Union is finalising plans to trim its peacekeeping mission called AMISOM.

The 22,000-strong AU force is scheduled to leave by 2020 and some security experts say al Shabaab could find it easier to stage attacks as the peacekeeping forces are reduced because government forces will find it hard to replicate their work.

At the same time, Somalia could become a safe haven for militants linked to al Qaeda currently in Yemen, the experts said.

The peacekeepers were deployed to help secure a government that has struggled to establish central control in a country that plunged into civil war in the early 1990s.]]>
12/14/2017 4:01:30 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to support Libya electricity grid: Electricity Min.]]>
In his meeting with the head of the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) Ali Mohamed Sassi, Shaker stressed the importance of strengthening the electrical connection among the North African countries and achieving electricity integration with all the Arab countries.

He also referred to the challenges faced by the electricity sector during the past period and the measures taken in this field to secure the electricity supply and cover the gap between production and demand.

On his part, Sasi hailed the recent achievements in the Egyptian electricity sector and stressed his country's keenness to increase the volume of cooperation with Egypt and benefit from the Egyptian expertise in Libya's reconstruction, particularly in the field of infrastructure.

During the meeting, the two parties agreed to form a technical team from Libya to determine Libya's electricity needs and to benefit from the Egyptian experience in the electricity sector in order to support and develop the electricity grid in Libya. They also discussed increasing the volume of cooperation between Egypt and Libya in various energy fields.

This meeting comes within the framework of Egypt's keenness to enhance cooperation and exchange of expertise in all fields, as well as its keenness to improve the performance of the national electric grid to cope with the additional generating capacities and increasing electrical loads.
]]>
12/14/2017 3:28:23 PM
<![CDATA[Iraqi intelligence uncovers two Daesh hideouts in Anbar]]>
The Seventh Squad of the Iraqi Intelligence carried out an operation to hunt down remnants of the terrorist group in western and northern Anbar. The campaign aims at drying up the financial resources, armament and logistics supplied to the terrorist group.

As many as 30 packages of explosive materials, Katyusha rocket launchers and a number of mortars were found in a tunnel of 25 meters long. (]]>
12/14/2017 3:19:49 PM
<![CDATA[Health Min addresses penicillin shortage, crisis unresolved]]>
Spokesman of the Ministry of Health Khaled Mujahid announced on Tuesday the availability of the vaccine penicillin on the local market following its five-month disappearance.

In a phone in with TV show Yahdos Fi Masr (Happening in Egypt) on MBC Egypt TV channel on Tuesday, Mujahid said that the ministry stepped in to address the penicillin shortage through a raft of measures, stressing that the ministry has signed an agreement with the Chinese supplier to provide the market with one million packs of the vaccine.

Mujahid further confirmed that the ministry is currently providing 100,000 packs on a daily basis which started last Tuesday. He added that the ministry will conduct regular inspections of the pharmacies across Egypt.
]]>
12/14/2017 3:08:08 PM
<![CDATA[Over 6,700 Rohingya Muslims killed in one month]]>
The group, known by its French acronym MSF, said in a statement made available that it had conducted the survey in refugee camps in Bangladesh and estimated that at least 6,700 Rohingya died in Burma's Rakhine state between 25 August and 24 September.

About 630,000 Rohingya have fled Burma into Bangladesh to escape what the United Nations has called “ethnic cleansing.”

The estimate of the number of deaths announced by the group compares to Burma's government figure of 400 in September as a result of attacks on police posts by Rohingya militants. According to MSF, the dead included at least 730 children younger than five.

]]>
12/14/2017 3:05:30 PM
<![CDATA[AP speaker urges US House to reconsider law on Jerusalem]]>
In a message to US House Speaker Paul Ryan, Salmi reiterated rejection of the US decision to pass the controversial law and recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The US move violates all international conventions and resolutions on the Palestinian issue and poses a threat to regional and international peace and security, he said.

The US, as a UN Security Council permanent member state, should respect the UN resolutions on Palestine as well as the Arab peace initiative, which was drafted at the Arab League Summit in March 2002, he noted.]]>
12/14/2017 2:59:50 PM
<![CDATA[Israel detains 16 Palestinians in WB]]>
The club said it documented Israeli detention of 320 Palestinians since the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6.

The Israeli forces detained seven citizens from Ramallah and Al Bireh, seven others from Hebron, one citizen from Bethelehem and another one from Ariha, it added. ]]>
12/14/2017 2:55:50 PM
<![CDATA[Death sentence against 3 convicts over killing Judge’s son upheld ]]>
In July 2016, A Mansoura Criminal Court sentenced three convicts (who were present) and other two co-defendants, who are tried in absentia, to death over killing the 26-year-old son of Judge Mahmoud al-Sayed al-Merly, the head of the Cairo Court of Appeals.

The son was shot dead on September 10, 2014 in the garage of his house in Mansoura city (Delta’s Gharbia governorate).

The defendants face charges of deliberate murder, forming a terrorist cell, belonging to a banned terrorist group and possessing unlicensed guns.
]]>
12/14/2017 2:55:06 PM
<![CDATA[Acting PM probes report on projects carried out by Military Production Ministry]]>
During the meeting, Assar reviewed a report on the ventures being implemented by his ministry, pointing out that these projects include establishing a factory for manufacturing solar panels in cooperation with one of the international companies working in this field.

The minister underscored that the project aims at providing panels used in constructing solar energy stations which backs the state's attention paid to the renewable energy file.

Expanding in building such stations contributes to diversifying the sources of energy, Assar reiterated.

He referred to the participation of the Military Production Ministry in implementing a strategy to desalinate water via manufacturing desalination systems in coordination with the Housing Ministry and a number of the bodies concerned.

Assar reviewed also his ministry's efforts supporting the initiative adopted by Beni Suef governorate to use non-traditional ways of treating sewage water.]]>
12/14/2017 2:49:50 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's agriculture ministry updates policy to end ergot confusion]]>
"We want to reassure our suppliers," Hamed Abdel Dayem, spokesman for the ministry, told Reuters on Thursday, confirming its new decree.

Reuters reported late on Wednesday the new decree, dated Dec. 12, stated that any wheat with an ergot content above 0.05 percent would be rejected, while shipments infected below that level would be treated and accepted.

This fixes a discrepancy in regulations governing the work of the agricultural quarantine agency, which falls under the agriculture ministry.

Confusion over Egypt's ergot policy wreaked havoc on global grain markets in 2016 until a decree by the prime minister put an end to the crisis by enforcing the common international 0.05 percent tolerance level over the stricter zero tolerance policy practiced by agricultural inspectors.

The root of the problem was a 2001 regulation used by the country's agriculture quarantine inspectors which stipulated, until this week's decree, a zero tolerance for ergot.

That regulation had remained unchanged despite the prime minister's decree issued more than a year ago.]]>
12/14/2017 11:04:52 AM
<![CDATA[Netanyahu: Palestinians should admit the 'truth']]>
“The truth will (prevail) in the end. Many countries will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move their embassies to it,” Netanyahu added.

Amid regional and international condemnations of Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Netanyahu said: “All these statements do not have any effect on us.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday, the Trump administration's decision was the "greatest crime" and a flagrant violation of international law.
]]>
12/14/2017 11:03:20 AM
<![CDATA[Putin must convince Syria to start peace talks: De Mistura ]]>
Speaking on Swiss television station RTS on Wednesday, December 13, de Mistura urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to convince his ally in Syria to end the nearly seven-year long war. “Convince the Syrian government that there is no time to lose … and to win peace, you have to have the courage to push the government to accept that there has to be a new constitution and new elections, through the United Nations,” Reuters quoted de Mistura.

On December 11, Putin met with Assad during his short visit to Russia’s Hameymim Air Base before heading to Egypt to meet President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

During the visit, he announced withdrawing a number of Russian troops from Syria. "I order the Defense Ministry and the chief of General Staff to begin the pullout of the Russian military group to permanent locations," Putin stated.

This visit marked Putin's first trip to Syria and comes as Assad's forces have regained control over most of Syria under the Russian air cover. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Commander of the Russian troops in Syria Sergey Surovikin accompanied Putin during his trip to Syria's coastal governorate of Latakia.

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

About 470,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the war as of February 2016, according to the latest data from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Some 1.6 million Syrians have been internally displaced, while the number of refugees has reached 4.8 million, the data added.]]>
12/14/2017 10:58:09 AM
<![CDATA[Moscow, Cairo may sign deal on Friday to resume Russian flights]]>
Egypt's aviation minister will travel to Russia on Thursday to sign protocol agreements to resume the flights that were suspended after the 2015 bombing of a Russian tourist jet, two ministry sources said in Cairo.

Moscow halted civilian air traffic to Egypt in 2015 after militants detonated a bomb on a Russian Metrojet flight, downing the jet leaving from the tourist resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and killing 224 people on board.]]>
12/14/2017 9:26:58 AM
<![CDATA[Firefighters defend homes as huge California wildfire rages on]]>
The so-called Thomas Fire, already the state's fifth-largest wildland blaze on record, remained a threat to the communities of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Summerland and Montecito despite gains made by crews during a lull in the winds a day earlier.

"Very high fuel loading, critically low fuel moistures, above average temperatures and single-digit relative humidities will continue to support fire growth on the west, east and north sides of the Thomas Incident," the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement.

"Firefighters will remain engaged in structure defense operations and scout for opportunities to establish direct perimeter control," the department said.

The Thomas Fire, which broke out on Dec. 4 near the community of Ojai, has traveled 27 miles (43 km), blackening more than 368 square miles (953 square km) in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, an area larger than New York City.

The conflagration has destroyed 709 single-family homes, damaged 164 others and displaced more than 94,000 people. It was 25 percent contained as of Wednesday afternoon.

On Tuesday, some of the nearly 8,000 firefighters battling the blaze took advantage of the lighter winds to set controlled burns in a canyon near Carpinteria to deprive the flames of fuel, Cal Fire Captain Steve Concialdi told reporters.

U.S. Representative Julia Brownley, whose congressional district includes Ventura, said on Tuesday the fire could take another week to contain. The efforts have so far cost more than $61 million, according to authorities.

Many public schools in the Santa Barbara area canceled classes this week and will not reopen until the annual winter break is completed in January.

Some of the other fires burning over the past week in San Diego and Los Angeles counties have been largely brought under control.

Investigators determined that the Skirball Fire, which destroyed six homes in Los Angeles' wealthy Bel-Air neighborhood and scorched a building at a winery owned by billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, was started by a cooking fire at a homeless encampment, authorities said on Tuesday.

The Lilac Fire, which burned more than 4,000 acres (1,620 hectares) in northern San Diego County and destroyed 157 structures, was 95 percent contained by Wednesday, Cal Fire said.

]]>
12/14/2017 6:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sudan, US discuss latest developments of Darfur’s peace process]]>
“The US believes it is the time to push forward the peace process, and therefore, we urge the (Sudanese) government and armed groups to make good use of this opportunity and enter into constructive negotiations for achieving peace and stability in the country,” Coates told reporters following the meeting.]]>
12/14/2017 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ghana aviation minister's visit to Egypt hailed]]>
The visit comes within the framework of mutual contacts between Egypt and the African country, Heidar was quoted by a press release issued by the foreign ministry as saying.

He pointed to Dapaah's participation in a regional conference on aviation in Sharm ElSheikh in August.

Heidar said that further cooperation could be achieved with Ghana in light of Egypt's expertise in this field.

Ghana is also important for Egypt as it is considered the gate for air transport to western Africa, added the diplomat.

Dapaah is heading a high-profile delegation at the invitation from her counterpart Sherif Fathi.]]>
12/14/2017 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA['Because I'm a Man' campaign continues to gain support]]>
The UN-sponsored campaign also aims at ending violence and sexual harassment against women.

Many public figures have announced taking part or supporting the campaign such as Liverpool forward Mohammed Salah; the national team icon shared an animated video teaching men to respect women and their rights.

“Because I’m a man who understands that a man and a woman have the same rights and responsibilities, I decided to support the ‘Because I’m a man’ campaign,” Salah wrote in posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Wednesday.




The animated video was produced as part of the campaign; it shows a man rejecting widespread stereotypes against the role of women in Egypt.

During the campaign's official ceremony, head of the Natinal Council for Women (NCW) Maya Morsi inaugurated the initiative to assert men's pivotal role in women's empowerment and the bolster of equality between both genders.

"A real man is one who holds the qualities of chivalry, engagement, and responsibility," Morsi stressed. "Men are partners for women, despite some men abusing the perception of manhood and viewing it as a mean of control and derogation of women and their rights."

Morsi also expressed her gratitude for public figures who voice their support for the campaign, including Salah, Tunisian actor Dhafir L'Abidine and several Egyptian TV presenters; she hopes the campaign would gain the support of at least 100 influential men by March 2018.

For her part, Deputy Regional Director for UN Women in Arab States, Blerta Aliko, considered 2017 to be a successful year for women in Egypt due to an initiative launched by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to empower women and support sustainable development in Egypt.

Aliko hailed the Egyptian government’s allocation of a special budget to take the necessary measures to establish equality between both genders.

The initiative comes within the frameworks of the 16-day campaign of activism against gender-based violence (GBV) that took place from November 25 to December 10. The international campaign aimed at ending all forms of violence against girls and women.
]]>
12/14/2017 1:14:03 AM
<![CDATA[Canada says defense firms can now sell small arms to Ukraine]]>
The Canadian foreign ministry said in a statement it would closely examine every bid and noted that "exportation of these items is limited."

Ukraine, which says it needs the weapons to help counter Russian-backed separatists who have occupied eastern parts of the country, also wants to buy arms from the United States. Washington though has yet to make a decision.

In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the United States not to supply Ukraine with defensive weapons.

A war in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces has killed more than 10,000 people in three years.

Around 200 Canadian troops are stationed in Ukraine to help train local soldiers. The mission is due to end in March 2019.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is a strong critic of Russia, in particular its decision in 2014 to annex the Ukrainian region of Crimea. ]]>
12/14/2017 12:16:38 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Switzerland to boost co-op in social solidarity field]]>
During the meeting, Wali reviewed a number of tailored projects by the ministry such as the Takaful and Karama social safety program, which covers the country’s poorest families, as well as the Disability Act that is supposed to be ratified by the Parliament within days in accordance with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s declaring of 2018 as the year for “disabled people.”

Ghada Wali meets Swiss Ambassador to Cairo
The meeting discussed a set of joint cooperation aspects in the social field between Egypt and Switzerland – Press photo
Wali also clarified that executive regulations are being prepared for the NGOs law, which will be issued by the prime minister, with an aim to pave the way for NGOs in Egypt.

Activities of seven Swiss-funded NGOs were also discussed during the meeting; the NGOs received around LE 26 million of finance over the past two years.

For his part, Garnier commended the strenuous efforts that have been exerted by Wali since she came to office, pointing out that she is one of the ministers who have the necessary experience to carry out the ministry’s duties.

The Swiss Ambassador also clarified that $ 20 million were allocated for the activities that will be executed in cooperation with the Egyptian government, pointing out that 50% of the projects are dedicated to social protection programs.

According to Garnier, the projects come in light of the joint declaration that was signed between Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr and Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch to renew cooperation between Egypt and Switzerland for the achievement of SDGs in Egypt. The joint declaration includes strategy of the Swiss side in Egypt for 2017-2020.

At the end of the meeting, Garnier invited Wali to visit Switzerland to stand on the Swiss experiences in the social solidarity field.]]>
12/14/2017 12:11:07 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt Today's world news brief]]>
Middle East

Israeli troops disperse Jerusalem worshipers; three people injured

Israeli occupation troops dispersed worshipers who were preparing to perform Maghreb prayer at the yard of the Damascus gate of

Jerusalem

Mosque.

35232
Israeli border police disperse a Palestinian man during scuffles that erupted after Palestinians held evening prayers outside the Lion's Gate of Jerusalem's Old City July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Awad



Cairo Criminal Court starts retrial of Morsi

Cairo Criminal Court, headed by Judge Mohamed Fahmy, started the retrial of deposed Egyptian President

Mohamed Morsi

at the Institute of Police Secretaries on Wednesday.

32487
File - Mohamed Morsi



40 Houthis killed, injured in confrontations in western Yemen

Twenty-two

Houthis

were killed and 18 injured in confrontations with Yemeni forces in western Yemen, Yemeni sources said on Wednesday.

35161
By Angus McDowall ANGER: Houthi followers in Sanaa protest Saudi-led air strikes in 2015. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah



Egyptian parliamentary delegation meets European officials

A delegation representing the

Egyptian parliament

met with representatives of political parties at the European parliament.

33248
FILE – Egyptian Parliament



Trump's Jerusalem decision shows U.S. not an honest mediator: Rouhani

U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital shows that the United States lacks any respect for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian nation, Iranian President

Hassan Rouhani

tweeted on Wednesday.

30226
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a meeting of the Social Council of Iran, in Tehran - REUTERS



Key holder of Church in Jerusalem refuses to meet Pence

Adib El Hosseini

, the key holder of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, has refused to receive US vice president Mike Pence during his anticipated visit to Jerusalem.

35210
Visitors stand near the newly restored Edicule, the ancient structure housing the tomb, which according to Christian belief is where Jesus's body was anointed and buried, seen at the completion of months of restoration works, at the Church of the Holy Sep



Europe

Russia and China discuss coordination on North Korea

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that Deputy Foreign Minister

Gennady Gatilov

had held talks with China's ambassador to Russia Li Hui about Moscow and Beijing coordinating action on North Korea at the U.N. Security Council.

35201
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping walk past honour guards during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia July 4, 2017. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS



Russia ready to consider easing arms embargo for Libya

Russia

is ready to consider easing an arms embargo for Libya, the Interfax news agency cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as saying on Wednesday.

35241
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov arrives for a meeting on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva December 20, 2013. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse



British PM May says lawmakers to vote on final Brexit deal

British Prime Minister

Theresa May

said on Wednesday that the final Brexit withdrawal agreement will be put to a vote in both houses of parliament.

28041
A dinner between British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker last week continues to serve up headlines. AFP/File



Red Cross says life has stopped in Myanmar's Rakhine

Life has stopped in its tracks in

Myanmar's

northern Rakhine state where an estimated 180,000 Rohingya remain, fearful after violence drove 650,000 to flee to Bangladesh, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Wednesday.

35179
A woman calms a baby as Rohingya refugees line up for a food supply distribution at the Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY



United States

White House says not right time for N.Korea talks

No negotiations can be held with North Korea until it improves its behavior, a

White House

official said on Wednesday, raising questions about U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's offer to begin talks with Pyongyang anytime and without pre-conditions.

35225
Rex Tillerson testifies during a confirmation hearing. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque



Kremlin calls U.S. allegations of subversive activity 'groundless'

The

Kremlin

said on Wednesday that U.S. allegations it was involved in a new generation of warfare, including internal political subversion, against the United States, were groundless and not backed by facts.

35173
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam November 11, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Silva



UN expert says U.S. torture continues at Guantanamo Bay

An inmate at the U.S. detention facility at

c

is still being tortured, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer said in a statement on Wednesday.

35202
Chain link fence and concertina wire surrounds a deserted guard tower within Joint Task Force Guantanamo's Camp Delta at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba March 21, 2016. REUTERS

]]>
12/14/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Trump’s unilateral move on Jerusalem is ‘void’: Chinese Amb]]>
On the sidelines of the Chinese conference titled “My Memories in China” at the Chinese embassy, Aiguo said that Beijing supports the establishment of a Palestinian state, adding that China will make efforts to push forward the peace process set out in the two-state initiative.

He added that the issue of Jerusalem is sensitive and that all parties should be careful in their actions so as not to harm the peace process, considering that any unilateral attempts or moves on this issue will be invalid.

The strategic partnership relations between Egypt and China have been greatly enhanced in recent times through the exchange of official visits. President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi visited China for the fourth time last September.

On Wednesday, United States President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel during a televised speech from the White House in Washington, D.C.]]>
12/13/2017 11:02:37 PM
<![CDATA[National Civil Movement: New political bloc in Egypt]]>
In their first statement, the National Civil Movement demanded from the government to make several amendments to the law, especially in regards to the ‘protesting law’, and to release some of the arrested young men. The movement named Yehya Ehsan as the official spokesperson.

HASSAN_MOHAMED_(6)
The National Civil Movement first press conference, Wednesday December 13, 2017 - Egypt Today/Hassan Mohamed

The founding members of the movement are Farid Zahran, chairman of the Egyptian Democratic Party, Mohamed Anwar Sadat, chairman of the Reform and Development Party, Mohamed Samy, chairman of the Karama Party, Amaar Ali Hassan, Ahmed El Borai, George Isaac and Kamal Abu Eita.

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The National Civil Movement first press conference, Wednesday December 13, 2017 - Egypt Today/Hassan Mohamed

“We decided to establish this movement to counter the one-voice approach in the country,” Mohamed Sami, head of the Karama party, said during the conference.

According to the movement’s spokesperson Yehya Ehsan, the bloc is supposed to include several well-known public figures such as veteran activist and writer Alaa al-Aswany, former head of Egypt's Central Auditing Organization (CAO) Hesham Genena and director Daoud Abdel Sayed.

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The National Civil Movement first press conference, Wednesday December 13, 2017 - Egypt Today/Hassan Mohamed

Despite having a huge number of political parties before the revolution of January 2011 (up to 84), none of them had a real opportunity to form a political opposition because of the nature of the political environment at the time. Only the ruling National Democratic Party had the upper hand. However, after the revolution, Egypt’s political community thrived remarkably and more than 30 parties announced their establishment. ]]>
12/13/2017 10:05:50 PM
<![CDATA[Pope Tawadros thanks Sisi for phone call following spinal surgery in Germany]]>
During his weekly sermon on Wednesday, the pope extended thanks to Al Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed El Tayyeb and Prime Minister Sherif Ismail who checked on him over phone.

Pope Tawadros returned home on Tuesday after undergoing a spinal surgery in Germany.

The pope also visited Austria for a few days before returning to homeland, wrapping up his three weeks' visit to the two European countries. ]]>
12/13/2017 9:59:53 PM
<![CDATA[Abel Aal heads for Morocco to attend session on US Jerusalem move]]>
The session, held at the request of Speaker of the Moroccan Parliament Habib el Malki, will discuss the recent US decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. ]]>
12/13/2017 9:21:29 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament speaker praises Russia’s rejection of U.S. decision ]]>
During his meeting with the Russian state Duma delegation on Wednesday December 13, Abdel Aal said that Egypt and Russia have agreed on most of the international issues.

Vladimir Shamanov, chairman of the Defense Committee of State Duma and head of the Russian delegation, thanked the Parliament Speaker for the warm reception.

According to earlier statements from the Deputy Chairman of Russian State Duma Committee of Defense affairs, Yuri Shvetkin, the delegation discussed the technical military cooperation and ways to combat terrorism during their meeting with Abdel Aal.

The meeting was attended by Egypt’s parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal along with parliament members Ahmed Saad Al-Dien, Kamal Amer and Sahar Talaat.

During the meeting, both sides affirmed that the two countries have historical and strong relations in all fields. From his side, Shamanov stressed Egypt’s vital role within the whole region, especially regarding counter terrorism, as he praised the two countries’ mutual relations.

Abdel Aal also received an official invitation by Shamanov to visit the state Duma accompanied by the Egyptian delegation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has visited Egypt on Monday December 13 and President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi welcomed his counterpart with an official ceremony at the Cairo international airport.

During the visit, both leaders agreed on strengthening the exchange of information between both countries on anti-terrorism efforts, especially regarding the issue of terrorists fleeing from one country to another. ]]>
12/13/2017 9:14:17 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt FM back home from Turkey following OIC summit]]>
Shoukry delivered Egypt's speech before the summit, deploring a recent US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Cairo urged a clear-cut and decisive action in response to the US step. ]]>
12/13/2017 9:13:03 PM
<![CDATA[Min. of Housing reviews plan for Sinai development with Sisi]]>
Spokesman for the Egyptian Presidency, Bassam Radi, stated that the plan aims to establish national projects in different fields and to exploit promising investment opportunities in Sinai, providing job opportunities and improving the livelihoods of citizens.

Madbouly also referred to the establishment of new private universities, Sisi stressed that these universities should make agreements with 50 international universities in the fields of science, technology, economy and trade.

He added that this is within the state’s plan to advance universities’ education to graduates at the highest levels.

In addition, the Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker submitted a report on the Dabaa nuclear power station and the executive plan set out to establish the project.

Planning Minister Hala el-Said said that a comprehensive development vision will be implemented in Sinai in the coming stage as it is in need of more education with a focus on building universities and youth centers on November 8 following a meeting with Madbouly.]]>
12/13/2017 9:10:36 PM
<![CDATA[Israeli troops disperse Jerusalem worshipers; three people injured]]>
The forces assaulted the worshipers and fired tear gas at them amid protests against a US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Two other rallies in streets near the holy mosque have been also suppressed by the troops.

Meantime, three Palestinian young people were injured when Israeli forces dispersed a protest in Hebron.

Scores of people participating in the rally suffered suffocation as the troops used tear gas against them. ]]>
12/13/2017 8:46:21 PM
<![CDATA[White House says not right time for N.Korea talks]]>
"Given North Korea's most recent missile test, clearly right now is not the time (for negotiations)," the White House National Security Council spokesman told Reuters.

Tillerson said on Tuesday the United States was “ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk," backing away from a key U.S. demand that Pyongyang must first accept that any negotiations would have to be about giving up its nuclear arsenal.

The White House has declined to say whether President Donald Trump, who has taken a tougher rhetorical line with North Korea than his chief diplomat, gave approval for the diplomatic overture.

A day after Tillerson's appearance before Washington's Atlantic Council think tank, the White House official, who declined to be named, laid out a different formula for any engagement with North Korea.

"The administration is united in insisting that any negotiations with North Korea must wait until the regime fundamentally improves its behavior," the official said. "As the secretary of state himself has said, this must include, but is not limited to, no further nuclear or missile tests."

In his speech, however, Tillerson did not explicitly set a testing freeze as a requirement before talks can begin. He said it would be “tough to talk” if Pyongyang decided to test another device in the middle of discussions and that “a period of quiet” would be needed for productive discussions.

The apparent shift in Tillerson's thinking came nearly two weeks after North Korea said it had successfully tested a breakthrough intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put the entire United States mainland within range.

North Korea has made clear it has little interest in negotiations with the United States until it has developed the ability to hit the U.S. mainland with a nuclear-tipped missile, something most experts say it has still not proved.]]>
12/13/2017 8:13:58 PM
<![CDATA[Jordanian king urges int'l community to shoulder responsibility towards Palestinian cause]]>
During the meetings, the king urged the international community as well as the United States to shoulder their responsibilities towards reaching a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict leading to security and stability in the region and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, Petra News Agency reported on Wednesday.

He said that failure to reach a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will undermine security and stability in the region and the world and lead to more extremism and violence.

The monarch also affirmed the importance of intensifying efforts and coordination among Islamic states to protect Jerusalem and its historical identity as well as Islamic and Christian holy sites in the city.

Jerusalem, he said, is key to peace, security and stability in the region due to its importance for Arabs and Muslims, highlighting the need to support the Palestinians to enable them to regain their legitimate rights in establishing an independent state on the Palestinian national soil with East Jerusalem as its capital.
]]>
12/13/2017 7:46:52 PM
<![CDATA[Hurricane-hit Caribbean states target future safe from climate harm]]>
The countries aim to restructure up to $1 billion in debt to free up cash for coastal defences, switch from costly imported fuels to cheaper green energy, and buffer their communities and economies against the effects of global warming, including rising sea levels and heavier storms and floods.

Angus Friday, Grenada's ambassador to the United States, said the idea was to "inject a new DNA", breaking away from business-as-usual and bureaucratic measures so as to be able to act faster.

"Given the next hurricane season is just seven months around the corner, it's really important we move with the speed of climate change now," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

Hurricanes Maria and Irma left a trail of destruction as they crashed through the Caribbean earlier this year, and many low-lying nations fear their infrastructure and economies will be devastated by more powerful storms and encroaching seas.

With many economies in the region plagued by high levels of debt, Caribbean nations have been pushing for rich countries to help bolster their defences and in turn, protect livelihoods.

Eleven nations, including Jamaica, Grenada, Dominica and the British Virgin Islands, signed up to the plan to create a "climate-smart zone", unveiled at the "One Planet" summit in Paris on Tuesday.

The plan's backers include the World Bank, the Nature Conservancy, the Green Climate Fund, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and British businessman Richard Branson, whose Caribbean island Necker was hit by Hurricane Irma.

Branson has pushed for a scheme to help vulnerable islands, centred on replacing outdated fossil-fuel power grids with renewable energy systems that can better withstand extreme weather and boost economic development.

The Caribbean region needs $8 billion to roll out national plans to tackle climate change under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Around $1.3 billion has been pledged to help islands rebuild in the wake of the recent hurricanes, while a further $2.8 billion has been committed through longer-term investment and debt restructuring plans.

The Nature Conservancy, a U.S.-based environmental charity, wants to work with lenders and governments to find ways to restructure $1 billion in sovereign debt and free up funds to invest in the "blue economy", a statement said.

That would include restoring and better managing coastal areas, and harnessing natural resources such as mangroves and coral reefs to protect vulnerable islands.

Using insurance to transfer disaster risk is another component of the climate-smart plan, backed by Swiss Re and the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) which paid out almost $30 million to countries hit by Irma.

"Ultimately, we will only win the battle on climate change when investments in climate action and broader resilience become the economically sensible decision to make every time," Allen Chastanet, prime minister of St. Lucia, said in a statement.

"It's not just about protecting against negative impacts – climate action needs to be about enhancing competitiveness, creating jobs, improving our economies."]]>
12/13/2017 6:18:42 PM
<![CDATA["Sahel coalition" wants victories against Islamist militants by mid-2018]]>
The G5 Sahel - composed of the armies of Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad - launched a symbolic military operation to mark its creation in October amid growing unrest in the region, whose porous borders are regularly crossed by jihadists, including affiliates of al Qaeda and Islamic State.

However, France which has some 4,000 troops in the region, has bemoaned that the militants have scored military and symbolic victories in West Africa while the G5 force has struggled to win financing and become operational.

To give the force a boost, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted the leaders of the five participating countries, Germany and Italy as well as the Saudi and Emirati ministers at a summit.

In a sign Gulf Arab states are upping their influence in the region, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates committed 130 million euros ($152.75 million) on Wednesday, although the initiative has not won support from key regional player Algeria.

"As far as the G5 are concerned, we are aware that the clock is ticking," Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta told a news conference after the summit of some 15 nations to discuss the force's implementation.

"There is an urgency today that we quickly achieve results in the fight against terrorism," he said, warning of a possible jihadist rush from the Middle East to West Africa.

Thousands of U.N. peacekeepers, French troops and U.S. military trainers and drone operators have failed so far to stem the growing wave of jihadist violence, leading world powers to pin their hopes on the new force.

Despite French efforts, U.S. reluctance at the United Nations has meant the force does not have direct financial backing from the U.N. making it harder to secure almost $500 million in initial funding for the operation and much-need equipment.

Macron sees the full implementation of the G5 force as a long-term exit strategy for his own forces that intervened in 2013 to beat back an insurgency in northern Mali.

"We have a very simple objective which is to have the first victories in the first half of 2018," Macron said. He added that the aim was to ensure 5,000 men were ready by then.

GULF ARAB BACKING, ALGERIA RELUCTANCE

Macron has personally backed the force, including asking Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to contribute to it and prove the kingdom's intention to tackle extremist ideology.

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday confirmed it would provide 100 million euros for the force, while the UAE will provide 30 million euros, bringing commitments to more than half the amount targeted. A separate donor conference is to be held on Feb. 23.

"Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia are interested in the Sahel. Getting a seat at the table, being seen as security stakeholders, is something that fits in their respective strategies," said Jalel Harchaoui, a geopolitics researcher at Paris 8 University.

Macron said he wanted to push the Security Council to divert funds from the more than 10,000-strong MINUSMA peacekeeping force in Mali to the G5.

One notable absence in Paris was Algeria. Authorities in Paris are concerned it is not fully co-operating in tackling militants roaming along its border or pushing the implementation of Malian peace talks that it brokered.

"All those who want to take part in the Sahel coalition are welcome. I went to Algeria last week and I invited Algeria to co-operate more actively to the work today. It's Algeria's decision, but I want (their help)," Macron said in reply to a journalist's question.

Algiers remains suspicious of military activity by its former colonial ruler near its border.

Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia has said the mission duplicates existing activities since Algeria has already been co-ordinating counter-terrorism efforts with the G5 for over 10 years. ($1 = 0.8511 euros).
]]>
12/13/2017 6:10:07 PM
<![CDATA[Key holder of Church in Jerusalem refuses to meet Pence]]>
He said the decision is part of moral and religious commitment to protecting the holy sites in the city, urging the Greek Orthodox Patriarch not to receive the US veep.

US President Donald Trump announced days ago Jerusalem the capital of Israel and decided to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.

Al Hosseini family has been holding the church keys for 850 years.
]]>
12/13/2017 5:45:28 PM
<![CDATA[Cairo Criminal Court starts retrial of Morsi ]]>
The prosecution submitted a memorandum to the court on December 10, 2017, under the supervision of the head of the prison medical services sector. It included the confirmation of the court’s decision to form a medical committee to carry out a medical examination on Mohamed Morsi.

The committee consisted of the Forensic Medicine Department and 10 doctors specializing in various medical fields.

According to the committee's report, Morsi is suffering from the deteriorating condition of his left eye caused by diabetes but he refused to give a blood sample to know the effects of diabetes on his kidneys.

The committee recommended in its report that a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain, as well as a panoramic dental X-ray should be carried out for Morsi.

In November 2016, the Court of Cassation annulled death and life sentences for Mohamed Morsi and 18 others, and the imprisonment of seven years for the defendants Mohamed Refaa Tahtawi, and Asaad Sheikha for conspiring with Hamas and instead ordered a retrial.

The Cairo Criminal Court issued a death sentence in the case against Morsi, MB supreme leader Mohamad Badie and other key figures of the terrorist group, in June 2015.]]>
12/13/2017 5:38:50 PM
<![CDATA[Russia does not share Erdogan’s stance on Israel, says Kremlin]]>
When commenting on Erdogan’s statement, in which he called Israel a terrorist state and suggested that East Jerusalem should be declared the capital of Palestine, Peskov said that "we know what the position of the Turkish president is."

"We are aware of it but it is not in line with our position. Russia’s position on Jerusalem and the Middle Eastern settlement is well known," he added.

At the same time, Peskov declined to answer the question as to how Erdogan’s view could affect efforts to resolve the Palestine-Israel conflict. "I have nothing more to say," he noted.

On Wednesday, while addressing a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Erdogan said that Israel was an occupying and a terrorist state.

On December 6, US President Donald Trump said that "it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel." He added that his administration would begin a process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.]]>
12/13/2017 5:31:20 PM
<![CDATA[Russia and China discuss coordination on North Korea]]>
The officials exchanged views on "joint steps," the ministry said in a statement. ]]>
12/13/2017 5:06:22 PM
<![CDATA[British PM May says lawmakers to vote on final Brexit deal]]>
"We will put the final withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU to a vote in both houses of parliament before it comes into force," May told parliament.

"We expect the UK parliament to vote ahead of the European parliament so we fully expect parliament to vote well before March 2019," she added.

"Of course after we leave, the withdrawal agreement will be followed up by one or more agreements covering different aspects of the future relationship and we will introduce further legislation where it is needed to implement this into UK law, providing yet another opportunity for proper parliamentary scrutiny."]]>
12/13/2017 2:23:39 PM
<![CDATA[EU parliament backs outline Brexit deal]]>
Earlier on Wednesday, the EU's chief negotiator told lawmakers that Britain could not renege on commitments made to ensure Brexit talks with the European Union move on to discussions on the future relationship between the two.

European Union leaders are almost certain to judge on Friday that "sufficient progress" has been made on the rights of citizens, the Brexit divorce bill and the Irish border to allow negotiations to move to the next phase. The EU executive recommended last week that the leaders approve trade talks.

The European Parliament will have to approve any Brexit deal, although its motion on Wednesday was not binding.

The agreement, presented in a joint report last Friday, was in the view of some in Brussels, undermined by Brexit minister David Davis's comment that it was more "a statement of intent" than a legally binding. Davis has subsequently said he wants the accord swiftly translated into a legal text.

"We will not accept any going back on this joint report. This progress has been agreed and will be rapidly translated into a withdrawal accord that is legally binding in all three areas and on some others that remain to be negotiated," EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told EU lawmakers.

Barnier said a lot more further steps were required to secure an orderly withdrawal.

"We are not at the end of the road, neither regarding citizens' rights nor for the other subjects of the orderly withdrawal. We remain vigilant," he said.

Barnier said the next phase of talks would focus on a "short and defined" transition period and initial discussions on a future relationship, which he stressed would not erode the EU single market and its four freedoms, including free movement of people.]]>
12/13/2017 2:20:01 PM
<![CDATA[Red Cross says life has stopped in Myanmar's Rakhine]]>
Dominik Stillhart, ICRC director of operations, speaking after a three-day mission to the remote area, said continuing tensions in the Muslim and dominant Buddhist communities were preventing Muslim traders from reopening shops and markets.

The ICRC is one of the only aid agencies to operate in northern Rakhine after Myanmar's military waged a campaign the United Nations has called "ethnic cleansing" in response to Aug. 25 attacks by Rohingya militants on security posts.

"The situation in the northern Rakhine has definitely stabilised, there are very sporadic incidents, but tensions are huge between the communities," Stillhart told reporters.

"You get a sense, especially of the two main communities being deeply scared of each other. What surprised me is the fact that not only the Muslim communities are scared, but that the others are actually scared as well," he said.

Stillhart went to Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung in northern Rakhine, where the ICRC is providing food, water and other aid 150,000 people. By year-end, it hopes to reach all of the 180,000 Rohingya it estimates remain in the "politically-sensitive" region, among 300,000 throughout Rakhine, he said.

"You travel through the countryside and you really see on both sides of the road, villages that are completely destroyed. It just gives you a bit of a sense of the scale of destruction. There is also this pervasive sense of absence.

"It is as if life has stopped in its tracks, people do not move, markets are closed in Muangdaw town," Stillhart said.

Myanmar's army released a report last month denying all allegations of rapes and killings by security forces.

NO SIGNIFICANT RETURNS

"The main problem for the Muslim communities today is not that they are being attacked, or that there are incidents," Stillhart said.

Rather it is fear and uncertainty, and "the very limited possibilities for them to access their own livelihoods like fields, and especially markets and services", he said.

Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement last month for the voluntary repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya within several months.

The returns must be voluntary and safe, Stillhart said.

"But for now we really don't see a significant return movement and I'm also not expecting that we will see massive return anytime soon," he said. About 300 Muslims still flee daily, he added, citing U.N. figures.

The ICRC visits detainees held in Rakhine, including Rohingya arrested since Aug 25, he said.

"What I can tell you is there are very few people who have been rounded up, surprisingly few people have been rounded up.

"So it's not as if we met like hundreds or thousands of people rounded up in these detention centres." ]]>
12/13/2017 2:05:52 PM
<![CDATA[Zimbabweans eye Mnangagwa's VP picks for new blood as ruling party meets]]>
Mnangagwa, a Mugabe loyalist for decades, whose sacking as vice-president triggered the 93-year-old's removal by the military after 37 years in power, was sworn in as president last month. He will be confirmed as ZANU-PF party leader at a special one-day congress on Friday.

ZANU-PF party spokesman Simon Khaya Moyo has said Mnangagwa will choose his deputies either this week or later. A second vice-president, Phelekezela Mphoko, who was seen aligned to the G40 party faction allied to Mugabe and his much younger wife, Grace, has already been sacked from the party and his post.

Party and government officials have refused to comment on speculation in privately-owned newspapers and on social media that Mnangagwa is likely to appoint military chief General Constantine Chiwenga one of his deputies as a reward for spearheading the de facto coup that ended Mugabe's rule.

The new president has been criticised by some Zimbabweans and opposition parties for appointing former air force commander Perrance Shiri as agriculture minister and General Sibusiso Moyo as foreign and international trade minister rather than bringing in younger candidates less associated with the Mugabe era.

Mnangagwa made no comments to the media ahead of the closed-door politburo meeting on Wednesday at which Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Shiri will report on the party's economic and agricultural plans.

He has vowed to focus on reviving the struggling economy and creating jobs. Once seen among Africa's most promising economies, Zimbabwe has an unemployment rate exceeding 80 percent. ]]>
12/13/2017 1:53:04 PM
<![CDATA[Survivors of collapsed buildings receive urgent assistance]]>
"A relief committee was immediately set up to follow up on the efforts to evacuate the survivors and extract the injured; 41 survivors are now being housed," Waly confirmed in a statement.

Also, several NGOS in cooperation with Cairo Directorate will provide meals to the survivors, in addition to a LE 100 compensation for each survivor.

The social solidarity foundation provided 41 blankets and 30 mattresses which were delivered to the affected families to cope with the winter cold.

The collapsed buildings resulted in two deaths and four injuries. As a five storey building first collapsed, incurring the total collapse of a three storey building, and the partial collapse of another three storey building.

The two dead people are a 45-year-old woman, and a five-year-old child.
Illegal and old buildings that must be demolished, and whose residents refuse to leave, are common in Egypt.

The latest incident was in May, when a 12-storey building in Al-Azarita, an Alexandrian neighborhood, leaned over another building due to structural damage. Nineteen families were evacuated from both buildings and no injuries or deaths have been reported.]]>
12/13/2017 1:51:52 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi King vows to confront corruption with justice and decisiveness]]>
In a televised speech to the country's consultative Shura council, Salman also said Saudi Arabia will work to enable the private sector to become a partner in development.]]>
12/13/2017 1:24:03 PM
<![CDATA[Kremlin calls U.S. allegations of subversive activity 'groundless']]>
White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster made the allegations on Tuesday.]]>
12/13/2017 1:23:59 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian parliamentary delegation meets European officials]]>
The delegation led by head of the Egyptian House of Representatives' Foreign Relations Committee Tarek Radwan met with the head of the Foreign Relations Committee at the European parliament.

The delegation invited officials of the European parliament to visit Egypt.

The two sides discussed the latest regional and international developments, including the Palestinian issue in light of US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In a press statement, the two sides discussed the European role in facing terror-sponsoring countries, especially Qatar and Turkey.

The two sides criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's continued support of terrorist groups.

Talks tackled political, security and economic challenges facing Egypt, progress achieved as regards human rights file in Egypt, fighting illegal immigration, anti-terror war, efforts to develop education and healthcare as well as energy projects.

The European side underlined the importance of continuing dialogue to boost bilateral relations.

They expressed appreciation for Egypt's role in fighting terrorism and extremism. ]]>
12/13/2017 1:20:46 PM
<![CDATA[Philippines' Duterte wins extra year of martial law powers]]>
Duterte's request to extend martial law in the Mindanao region until December 31 next year and detain suspected rebels there without charge was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate and House of Representatives.

"The motion to further extend the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is hereby approved," House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said after a 240-27 vote at a joint session.

In May Duterte imposed military rule and suspended the writ -- a constitutional guarantee against warrantless arrests -- across the region of 20 million people, hours after armed Islamic militants seized the southern city of Marawi.

The initial period of martial law was limited by the constitution to 60 days.

However, in July Congress authorised Duterte to extend martial law until the last day of 2017 as he moved to retake the city from hundreds of gunmen he accused of plotting to turn Marawi into a regional base for the Islamic State group.

Duterte declared Marawi "liberated" in October after a five-month US-backed bombing campaign that claimed more than 1,100 lives and left large areas of the city in ruins.

But on Monday he warned that those who escaped were regrouping.

Duterte, who called off peace talks last month with communist rebels, also warned one of Asia's longest armed rebellions had stepped up "terrorist acts".

His request added to critics' fears he was seeking to steer the Philippines back into dictatorship like the late president Ferdinand Marcos did in 1972.

Opposition legislators said Wednesday that martial law was illegal because Duterte had declared the liberation of Marawi and described the communists as a "spent force".

"It is clear that this is a tool of repression leading to a dictatorship," congresswoman Emmi De Jesus said, explaining her vote.

"Is this now a prelude to declaring martial law nationwide?" said senate minority leader Franklin Drilon.

Duterte has repeatedly said he may impose martial law across the entire nation to save the Philippines from narcotics, crime and terrorism-induced anarchy.

But his cabinet members downplayed those fears.

"We do not ask for unlimited martial law. What we are seeking is unlimited peace," Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea told the joint session.]]>
12/13/2017 1:14:59 PM
<![CDATA[Six defendants in Al-Azhar University cell sentenced to life]]>
The national security sector was informed that the Muslim Brotherhood leaders at Al-Azhar university continued assigning tasks to various cadres responsible for the student sector at the University. The student sector has set plans for the Muslim Brotherhood members to spark a revolution inside Egypt’s universities’ campuses.

The investigations have also revealed that the cell has sought to attract new students, who are not observed by the security sector, by providing them with financial support and expenses of residence and study.

On December 1, Cairo University terminated five professors from the university's staff, for belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood.

On August 14, 2013, security forces dispersed the Muslim Brotherhood sit-in in Nasr City’s Rabaa al-Adawiya, along with another sit-in in Nahda Square in Giza.

The Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in was primarily forged by former Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi supporters and sympathizers in support of his legitimacy. ]]>
12/13/2017 1:09:03 PM
<![CDATA[After Trump walks away, U.S. cities seek voice in migration talks]]>
The cities, led by New York and including Chicago, Washington and Atlanta, hope to take part in negotiations to agree the first international compacts on migration and refugees, due to be adopted by the end of next year.

Last week, they joined more than 130 cities around the world seeking formal entry to the two sets of negotiations scheduled to start in February.

“While our national government may decline to engage the international community on this urgent challenge, it is imperative that cities join the discussion,” Penny Abeywardena, New York City’s commissioner for international affairs, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The U.S. government withdrew from the migration talks early in December, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson noting the process “could undermine the sovereign right of the United States to enforce our immigration laws and secure our borders”.

The United States has not pulled out of the compact on refugees.

Bitta Mostofi, acting commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, said cities are tasked with providing support to all residents, from housing to healthcare and education.

“Our first-hand experiences are essential to ensuring that international guidelines truly meet the needs of refugees and migrants,” said Mostofi.

National U.S. leaders are becoming “increasingly isolationist, xenophobic and disconnected from cities’ values of inclusivity and growth”, she added.

Trump has endorsed a plan that would see legal immigration to the United States cut in half. His administration has also said it will allow in 45,000 refugees this fiscal year, less than half of what was proposed under the previous president, Barack Obama.

NORTH AMERICAN PUSH

The U.S. decision not to take part in the migration negotiations was made public on Dec. 3, as the international community gathered in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico for a key preparatory session ahead of next year’s talks.

By mid-week, 14 U.S. cities and one county had signed onto a declaration presented by Montreal’s new mayor, Valérie Plante, on behalf of Metropolis, a cities’ network.

All but one of the U.S. cities are not members of Metropolis but joined the petition after Tillerson’s announcement.

The declaration urges national governments and international agencies to see cities as “partners” in defining and implementing global migration policy, and to give them “a seat at the table" in the discussions on the new pact.

Government and U.N. officials, including the head of the U.N. refugee agency, have already indicated their openness to working more closely with cities.

A separate letter was sent to U.N. refugee chief Filippo Grandi calling on him to allow cities to participate in a similar preparatory session for the refugees compact this week in Geneva.

Many of the cities that want a voice in next year’s negotiations are among those most significantly affected by migration, which has been at record highs.

They include Montreal and New York, according to an October report on 22 cities most affected by migration globally.

Researchers with the World Economic Forum and consultancy PwC said those cities' most pressing concerns were to provide affordable housing, strengthen healthcare systems, offer education for different language speakers and attain "social cohesion" in the face of rising migration levels.

PRESSURE ON SERVICES

Mayors say they are well placed to respond to these needs.

Amman, for instance, which signed last week’s petition, has come under significant strain as Jordan last year hosted the world’s second-largest refugee influx compared with the size of its population.

That has put major pressure on housing, water services, employment and even transport systems, according to the report. In response, the city is working on a new master plan for its eastern half.

But with migration issues typically seen as the responsibility of national governments, cities warn they often lack the power and funds to respond comprehensively, or to capitalise on the potential boon in resources and productivity offered by migrants.

Many are looking to the 2018 negotiations to fix that disconnect - but have yet to receive official assurance of their role.

“When it comes to migration, local successes or failures can have a global impact,” said Marc-André Viau, spokesman for Montreal’s mayor.

“So we must have a voice at the table to tell our side of the story in order to explain what kind of national policies and international agreements work and which ones don’t.” ]]>
12/13/2017 1:04:27 PM
<![CDATA[Britain must obey EU environment rules for post-Brexit air deal: campaigners]]>
Airlines should stay in the EU's emissions trading scheme and follow rules against subsidies to prevent Britain becoming a "carbon haven", Brussels-based group Transport and Environment said in the report seen by AFP.

The group -- which has had meetings with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier's task force -- warned that without a deal British planes could be unable to land in the bloc the day after the UK leaves.

"As London works out its future relationship with the EU, it should be able to keep its current level of access to Europe?s aviation market by agreeing to maintain EU rules designed to curb flying?s environmental impact," said Kristina Wittkopp, legal analyst at Transport and Environment (T&E) who wrote the report.

The publication of the report comes on the eve of a European Union summit at which leaders are expected to approve the opening of talks on a future relationship with Britain, including on a trade deal.

T&E said Britain should stay in the European Common Aviation Area -- which allows planes from EU states and some neighbouring countries to operate anywhere within the bloc -- even though it would mean overriding London's Brexit "red line" of being free from EU law.

British Brexit Minister David Davis said on Sunday that he wanted a Canada-style arrangement between Britain and the EU, with "individual specific arrangements" for sectors including aviation.

As part of the aviation area, Britain's industry has soared, with low-cost EasyJet battling with the UK's historic carrier British Airways.

Outside the area, Britain's airline industry could be forced to set up new bases within EU territory. Without a Brexit deal it would not be allowed to fly there at all.

- 'Carbon haven' -

But the group said that if Britain does want to stay in the aviation area, the EU should make it a condition that it also remains in the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS), which is aimed at reducing the impact of global warming.

Under the scheme, carbon producers buy allowances to offset what they emit -- currently at seven euros ($8.2) per tonne of carbon dioxide -- funds from which are put back into measures to tackle climate change.

"Any deal must ensure the UK does not quit the aviation ETS so that these airlines? flights between the UK and Europe will still be required to purchase allowances," the report said.

Britain should also remain subject to EU state aid rules, which prevent governments giving subsidies to companies, as giving handouts to British airports and airlines would "distort competition and harm the environment by spurring a growth in traffic."

"To prevent Britain becoming a ?carbon haven? for the aviation sector post-Brexit, it is essential that EU state-aid rules continue to apply to the UK," the report said.

It added that Britain should also become a paying, non-voting member of the European Aviation Safety Agency, which sets standards for safety and maintenance across the bloc, Transport and Environment added.]]>
12/13/2017 12:57:21 PM
<![CDATA[S. Korean leader starts fence-mending trip to China]]>
Moon is also expected to discuss the North Korean nuclear crisis during his four-day trip, which includes talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday.

The US military installed the powerful THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system in the South earlier this year to guard against threats from the nuclear-armed North.

The move angered Beijing, which considers the deployment a threat to its own security.

China slapped a string of measures against South Korean businesses and banned group tours to the South, in moves seen as economic retaliation.

But last month, the two countries issued identically-worded statements on their mutual desire to improve relations.

It did not state any specifics, but Beijing has demanded that Seoul formally promise not to deploy any more THAAD launchers and not to join any regional US missile defence system.

Moon's office said ahead of the trip that the president, who took office in May, wanted to "normalise" ties with Beijing, and that the visit would be a turning point towards a "more mature" relationship.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency said Moon had arrived in Beijing, and would meet with South Korean residents and attend a business roundtable on Wednesday.

Ties recently showed some -- albeit limited -- signs of thaw as China's state tourism board approved last month Seoul-bound group tours from some parts of the country.

"China and the ROK (South Korea) have reached some consensus on dealing with the (THAAD) issue in the current stage," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Tuesday.

"We hope that the issue can continue to be handled properly and that the two sides can bring China-South Korea relations totally back to the track of sound and steady development," Lu added.

China has also urged the United States, Japan and South Korea to suspend joint military drills in the region in return for North Korea to halt its nuclear activities -- an idea consistently rejected by Washington and Seoul.

Beijing has pressed for talks to peacefully resolve the crisis.

Moon's visit comes hours after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington was ready to talk to North Korea "without preconditions", though it remains determined to force Pyongyang to give up its nuclear arsenal.]]>
12/13/2017 12:51:12 PM
<![CDATA[Trump's Jerusalem decision shows U.S. not an honest mediator: Rouhani ]]>
Rouhani, who attended an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders in Turkey's Istanbul city on Wednesday, also said on his Twitter account that the move showed that the U.S. was not "an honest mediator and will never be", adding that Washington only wanted to "secure the interests of the Zionists".

]]>
12/13/2017 12:26:10 PM
<![CDATA[Jordan's King rejects change in status of Jerusalem, its holy sites]]>
"All violence... is a result of a failure to find a peaceful solution to the Palestinian issue," he told an emergency summit of Muslim leaders in Turkey.

King Abdullah's Hashemite dynasty is custodian of the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, making Amman particularly sensitive to any changes of status after the Trump's administration's decision to recognise it as Israel's capital. ]]>
12/13/2017 12:18:34 PM
<![CDATA[40 Houthis killed, injured in confrontations in western Yemen]]>
The confrontations took place at night on Tuesday and in the morning Wednesday, Sky News reported.

The United States and Britain provide political backing as well as weapons and logistical support for the Saudi-led coalition, which has been fighting since 2015 to restore Yemen's internationally-recognised president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, to power.]]>
12/13/2017 12:05:41 PM
<![CDATA[Extremists could use Trump's decision to turn political struggle into religious, Abbas]]>
In his speech before the extraordinary Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit Wednesday, Abbas stressed that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Palestine based on history, stressing that Trump's decision is a “Great crime against humanity, and a flagrant violation against international laws.”

Abou Mazen said that Palestinians could withdraw membership of international bodies over Trump Jerusalem decision, adding that for the first time in history the world nations took a unified global action against the U.S. Jerusalem recognition.

Abbas further added that the U.S. is no longer an honest broker in the peace process, contending that Trump has put paid to the notion that the U.S takes neutral stances and provided terrorism with the fertile ground to strive.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry landed in Istanbul, Turkey, to attend the extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The summit, called initially by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, brings together high-level delegations headed by Muslim leaders to discuss the implications of last Wednesday’s decision by U.S. President Trump to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and thus declare it as the capital of Israel.

International and regional condemnations poured down on the U.S. decision; several protests accordingly broke out at several US embassies around the globe. (Additional reporting: Reuters)]]>
12/13/2017 11:57:34 AM
<![CDATA[Alabama Democrat projected to win US Senate race, blow to Trump]]>
But the biggest "Thomas" fire, which has charred nearly 95,000 hectares (234,000 acres) of land, remains only 20 percent contained, according to official data, as firefighters warned of an ongoing threat.

Evacuation orders were in place for threatened areas in the Santa Barbara region about 160 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of Los Angeles.

In the past day or so, the blaze figure has grown by around a thousand hectares.

Nearly 6,400 firefighters have been toiling for a week against blazes fueled by bone dry conditions and powerful winds.

Winds will blow at up to 65 km per hour (40 miles per hour), forecasters said, as public health authorities urged people to wear face masks to protect against ash and smoke.

- 'End of an era' -

Retired pilot Don Thompson, who has an avocado farm in the coastal resort of Carpinteria, near Santa Barbara, described the loss of his recently deceased brother's house to the blaze as "the end of an era for our family."

"He built this house himself," he said pointing to two smoldering stone chimneys that were all that remained.

"Here was the jacuzzi, there -- there was a deck where you could see the ocean," he added.

Half of Thompson's family's avocado orchard was destroyed, while thick black smoke persisted Tuesday, limiting visibility to some 50 meters (55 yards).

"There was some tears," he continued. Though he was more fortunate to save his own property, thanks partly through his family's own efforts with a water pump, generator, and hose, he admitted he had been overawed by the "majesty" of the inferno. "It's destruction but it's still nature and it had some beauty," he said.

The highway that runs through the area was not enough to stop the spread of the flames, which was propelled by burning vegetation.

On the seaside, the palm trees that symbolize the state for many, were reduced to sad blackened trunks.

- 'Increasingly frequent event' -

"Thomas" is the fifth biggest fire in California's history, said Eric Boldt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Los Angeles.

It is the biggest of six blazes that have been burning since last Monday, with the others now more than 90 percent contained.

Altogether, the fires have burned more than 100,000 hectares of land and forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people.

California's Governor Jerry Brown, meanwhile, warned the wildfires ravaging his state should serve as a warning for other parts of the world threatened by climate change.

"The important fact is that these fires are going to become a very frequent occurrence, that's what the science is telling us," he told AFP on the sidelines of the One Planet Summit, held in Paris.

"It's a real indicator of bad things to come and hopefully will serve to wake up people who right now are too complacent," he added.

Experts say that global warming increases the risk of out-of-control blazes by drying out vegetation, making it more inflammable and easily set alight by lightning, spontaneous combustion, or fires lit by humans.

Despite the intensity of the fires, which in many areas have left behind scenes reminiscent of a moonscape, authorities so far have reported one fatality -- a 70-year-old woman who died in a car accident while fleeing from the flames in the Thomas area.

But authorities are taking nothing for granted.

The fire was still raging in the hills of Carpinteria Tuesday, as firefighters attempted to create a line to stop its progress, Don Camp, a firefighter captain said.

"It could be an active night again, all the communities on the coastline including Santa Barbara are threatened," added Camp.

Entreaties to leave were not enough for some. Placing his gas mask over his face, Ken Coffey, said he would remain at his house on Shepard Mesa Lane. "I may fry but if I have to go, what more honorable way than defending your family's house?"]]>
12/13/2017 11:43:03 AM
<![CDATA[Palestine's Abbas says U.S. Jerusalem decision 'greatest crime']]>
"Jerusalem is and always will be the capital of Palestine," he told an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders in Turkey. He said the United States was giving away Jerusalem as if it were an American city.

"It crosses all the red lines," he said.

Abbas said it was unacceptable for the United States to have a role in the Middle East peace process because it was biased in favour of Israel.]]>
12/13/2017 11:24:42 AM
<![CDATA[Turkey's Erdogan tells Muslim summit Jerusalem is capital of Palestine]]>
Addressing a summit of Muslim leaders in Istanbul, Erdogan described Washington's decision last week as a reward for Israeli "terror acts" and said the city was a red line for Muslims. ]]>
12/13/2017 11:13:48 AM
<![CDATA[Ashour opposes expelling MBs from Lawyers Syndicate]]>
In an interview with Mohamed al-Baz on Al-Mehwar, Ashour said he agrees with terminating syndicate membership of any lawyer violating regulations, “Whether he is a Nasserite or a Muslim Brotherhood member.”

Ashour said a Muslim Brotherhood lawyer would be punished if he committed a political or criminal offense. However, political conflict does not lead to punishing a member.

Ashour said that he told former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi during the 100th anniversary of the syndicate, held in 2012, that although Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) holds a majority in the syndicate, it does not represent Egypt.

Morsi, who was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, was ousted in 2013. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group.]]>
12/13/2017 10:11:12 AM
<![CDATA[Criminal Court sentences Shima to 2 years for her video]]>
Shima, 21, confessed before Deputy Attorney General Moataz Zakaria that she dreamed of fame so she made this video and was unaware that the video would raise all the fuss adding that she was a tool in the director's hand.

Shima left Tanta city after her father's death and decided to enter the acting and modeling fields. She previously participated in the Arab Idol competition.

1012574-Capture
Singer Shima raised public ire over her recently-released, provocative music video


Shima has been officially excluded from Egypt’s Association of Musicians, headed by Hani Shaker. The singer was announced to be a non-permanent member, according to Shaker.

Many members of the parliament called for Shima’s arrest and banning her from singing. “That is a short porn movie, not an ordinary song,” said Galal Emara, MP and deputy of the Parliament’s Culture and Media committee.]]>
12/13/2017 10:07:57 AM
<![CDATA[Russian Duma delegation arrives in Cairo]]>
Six members of the State Duma arrived at the Cairo International Airport, led by Vladimir Shamanov, chairman of the Defense Committee of State Duma, according to sources.

“It is supposed that we would meet members of Egyptian parliament and the Ministry of Defense to discuss the technical military cooperation and ways to combat terrorism,” Deputy Chairman of Russian State Duma Committee of Defense affairs Yuri Shvetkin said earlier.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi received his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Cairo International Airport on Monday.

Both presidents agreed on strengthening the exchange of information between both countries on anti-terrorism efforts, especially regarding the issue of terrorists fleeing instable spots to other countries.]]>
12/13/2017 9:13:14 AM
<![CDATA[Alavi announces that Qatar supports terrorism: Erem News]]>
Speaking at a seminar on "Terrorism, Extremism and Regional Security in West Asia," Alavi said, according to Erem News, that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Organization and Saudi Arabia’s Wahabbis are the roots of Islamist terrorism.

“One of the factors leading to the emergence of terrorism is insulting and despising religious minorities in some countries,” Alavi stated.

Speaking about the Islamic State (IS), Alavi said that (IS) does not have sovereignty anymore, but still exists. "They lost the lands they had control on, but did not lose their arms," Alavi added.

"The (IS) is looking for 'landing in' Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia to restore the idea of establishing an Islamic Caliphate," Alavi pointed out.

In November, the CIA released documents found after killing founder and head of Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, claiming past connections between Al-Qaeda leaders and Iran.

“Irani people are Twelver Shia. The way they view Sunni Muslims is clear and known. Their ambition to control the Islamic world is known as well. However, they would cooperate with the strictest Salafists and Wahhabis (Islamic branches that oppose Shia), if they thought it would serve their interests even if temporarily, and then renounce them in the proper time,” said one of the documents dated 1428 A.H. (2008) and written by an anonymous writer, apparently an Al-Qaeda senior operative. ]]>
12/13/2017 9:11:36 AM
<![CDATA[Six Houthis killed in attack launched by PRCs in Yemen’s ]]>
Fierce clashes erupted between the two parties, when the PRCs waged an offensive on some Houthi sites in Rada'a district in the governorate, the Yemeni news agency quoted the sources as saying.

The Saudi-led coalition has been launching air strikes since March 2016 to expel the Houthi insurgents in support of the government of President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi. ]]>
12/13/2017 6:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[King of Jordan leaves Riyadh]]>
Both kings discussed the latest developments of Jerusalem issue and the dangerous consequences of US' decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, during Abdullah II's visit to Riyadh. ]]>
12/13/2017 6:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[UAE condemns terrorist attack at New York City's]]>
In a statement released on Tuesday, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the UAE condemns this cowardly act of terrorism, reiterating its firm stance that rejects various forms of violence and terrorism that target all regardless of their religion and race, and under whatever sources and pretexts.

It also affirmed the UAE's full solidarity with the US administration in countering violence and terrorism, calling on the international community to unite in the face of this dangerous scourge that threatens world security and stability. ]]>
12/13/2017 4:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Russia not withdrawing forces from Syria, Pentagon says]]>
"There have been no meaningful reductions in combat troops following Russia's previous announcements planned departures from Syria," said Marine Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman.]]>
12/13/2017 2:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt Today's world news brief]]>
Middle East

Israeli Arabs protest Trump's Jerusalem declaration outside US embassy in Tel Aviv

Some 100 Israeli Arabs on Tuesday

protested

outside the US embassy in Tel Aviv against US President Donald Trump's declaration that Jerusalem is Israel's capital.

35102
Israeli-Arabs hold Palestinian flags during a demonstration in the northern Israeli town of Sakhnin October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Baz Ratner



Israeli forces kill 2 Palestinians in Tuesday clashes

Deaths among

Palestinians

soared to six after two Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli forces on Tuesday in the aftermath of the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital to which the U.S. Embassy will be moved.

35049
File - Protests in Jerusalem



Hamas leader hails Al-Azhar position over Jerusalem

Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political bureau of

Hamas

, hailed the position of Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmad al-Tayeb and other Al-Azhar scholars on Tuesday for rejecting U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

35079
FILE – Head of the political bureau of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh



One dead, six wounded in mine explosion in Tunisia

At least one soldier was killed and six others wounded in a mine explosion in Jebel ech Chambi area, western

Tunisia

, where extremist militants hide.

35080
Police officers are seen where suspected Islamist militant was arrested after wounding two policemen in a knife attack near the parliament building in Tunis, Tunisia November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi



Europe

Putin receives reports about Trump’s tweets — Kremlin

Russian President

Vladimir Putin

receives reports about his US counterpart Donald Trump’s tweets, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by TASS news agency as saying Tuesday.

35091
Russia's President Vladimir Putin makes his annual New Year address to the nation in Moscow, Russia, December 31, 2016. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS



EU summit set to unlock next phase of Brexit talks

European Union leaders are set to open the next phase of

Brexit

talks at a summit this week, but may toughen their conditions after Britain cast doubt on whether a deal on divorce terms is binding

35055
© AFP/File / by Danny KEMP | The leaders of the EU 27 are set to decide Friday whether to green light the opening of talks on a post-Brexit transition period and a future relationship between the bloc and Britain



U.N. warns of new Syrian refugee wave to Europe if aid dries up

Syrian refugees could again seek to reach Europe in droves if aid programmes are not sustained in five neighbouring countries hosting the bulk of them, the

United Nations

said on Tuesday.

35083
Members of the United Nations Security Council raise their hands as they vote unanimously to approve a resolution eradicating Syria's chemical arsenal during a Security Council meeting during the 68th United Nations General Assembly in New York on Septemb



Families of London tower fire victims call for diverse inquiry

Survivors and relatives of the 71 victims of

London's Grenfell

Tower fire on Tuesday delivered a petition to Prime Minister Theresa May demanding an "impartial" investigation with additional diverse panel members.

35092
© AFP/File | A new petition calls for a panel from diverse backgrounds to assist in the investigation into the fire that killed 71 people in London's Grenfell Tower



France's

Le Drian

says "no" to Iran Mediterranean axis


France's foreign minister criticised Iran's regional ambitions, saying Paris could not accept Tehran's military expansion to the Mediterranean, and accused Russia of failing to use its influence to push U.N.-led Syrian peace talks and curb violence.

35087
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks during a meeting on migration in Rome, Italy July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi



United States

Trump will announce new U.S. security strategy on Monday

U.S. President

Donald Trump

will announce a new security strategy on Monday, White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster said on Tuesday.

35099
DAY 32 / FEBRUARY 20: President Trump named Lieutenant General Herbert Raymond McMaster as his new national security adviser, choosing a military officer known for speaking his mind and challenging his superiors. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque



U.S. prosecutors bring terrorism charge against Manhattan bomb suspect

U.S. prosecutors in

New York

on Tuesday brought federal criminal charges against a Bangladeshi man accused of setting off a bomb in a crowded Manhattan commuter hub a day earlier.

35071
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials mark the ground near the site of an explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York, U.S. September 18, 2016. REUTERS/Rashid Umar Abbasi



Donald Trump to visit UK in new year: US amb

The

US ambassador

to the UK has said he expects US President Donald Trump to go ahead with a working visit to the UK in the new year, despite a recent Twitter row with Prime Minister Theresa May over the terror threat posed by Muslims in the UK, the Guardian reported Tuesday.

34503
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel at the White House in Washington, U.S. December 6, 2017- Reuters



Tillerson: My failure if US resorts to force on North Korea

Secretary of State

Rex Tillerson

expressed confidence Tuesday that Washington is doing all it can to force North Korea to negotiate its nuclear disarmament.

35109
© AFP | US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is optimistic that economic and diplomatic sanctions can force North Korea to the negotiating table



Africa

2 teenage girl suicide bombers kill 4 in Nigeria

A Nigerian official said two teenage girl suicide bombers attacked the town of Gwoza, north of

Nigeria

, killing at least four people, Voice of America reported on Tuesday.

35093
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) workers attend to a woman after suicide bombers detonated their explosives along Muna Garage in Maiduguri, Nigeria, March 15, 2017. NEMA/Handout via REUTERS



Liberia to hold run-off vote on Dec. 26 - electoral commission

Liberia

will hold a delayed presidential run-off vote on Dec. 26, the electoral commission chief said on Tuesday.

35081
Former soccer star George Weah holds up a certificate of election after being elected senator in Monrovia January 3, 2015. REUTERS/James Giahyue

]]>
12/13/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Israeli Arabs protest Trump's Jerusalem declaration outside US embassy in Tel Aviv]]>
The protesters waved Palestinian flags and held signs saying: "don’t give Jerusalem to the occupiers."

Last week, Trump issued a decision recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the US embassy to the city, triggering a wave of outcry in the Arab and Islamic countries.]]>
12/12/2017 9:20:48 PM
<![CDATA[Trump will announce new U.S. security strategy on Monday ]]>
The new security blueprint will focus on protecting the U.S. homeland, advancing U.S. prosperity, preserving "peace through strength" and advancing American Influence, McMaster said at an appearance with his British counterpart, Mark Sedwill.

McMaster condemned what he said was Russian involvement in a new generation of warfare, including internal political subversion, as well as economic aggression by China.]]>
12/12/2017 8:56:31 PM
<![CDATA[California wildfires a warning for other regions: Gov. Brown]]>
"The important fact is that these fires are going to become a very frequent occurence, that's what the science is telling us," he told AFP on the sidelines of the One Planet Summit, held in the French capital two years to the day after 195 nations signed the Paris Agreement to rein in global warming.

Brown said the blazes were "far more under control" by Tuesday.

"The winds are slowing down... the fires are going to burn another week or two, but they're far more under control than they were a few days ago," he said.

Brown has become a leading climate campaigner in the United States and is seeking to rally other states, city authorities and companies to compensate for the inaction of the federal government under President Donald Trump.

"This is going to affect France, it's going to affect northern Africa, it's going to affect the southwest of the United States, China," he said of the fires.

"It's a real indicator of bad things to come and hopefully will serve to wake up people who right now are too complacent."

Fuelled by high winds, wildfires in southern California have charred more than 100,000 hectares of land in the last week, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people and leaving one person dead.

This has been California's deadliest year for wildfires.

Experts say that global warming increases the risk of out-of-control blazes by drying out vegetation, making it more inflammable and easily set alight by lightning, spontaneous combustion, or fires lit by humans.

Brown praised French President Emmanuel Macron's efforts in organising Tuesday's summit, which was called following Trump's announcement in June that he would pull the US out of the Paris Agreement.

"Donald Trump has abdicated and President Macron has stepped up along with the president of China and the leaders of India," Brown said following a day of talks between world leaders, who took a boat trip together to reach the conference centre.

"Yes, there's a lot of talk, there's a big lunch and a boat ride, but on top of that there is serious commitment, there's the building of awareness, there's the mobilising of efforts and imagination," he said.

Brown will host his own international climate summit in San Francisco in September next year.

"I'm going to follow the same playbook," he said.

]]>
12/12/2017 8:50:30 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Azhar to hold int’l conference over Jerusalem in January]]>
Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb met a number of experts to prepare for the international conference as a practical step to confirm his rejection of the U.S. decision and to support the Arab and Palestinian identity of the Holy City.

The conference will be held in collaboration with the Muslim Council of Elders. Al-Azhar will invite senior scholars and politicians, Islamic and Christian leaders, and regional and international organizations concerned with the Jerusalem case.

The international conference aims to come up with practical decisions commensurate with the serious challenges threatening Jerusalem by the occupying entity that seeks to spread hatred among people by such unfair and inhumane decisions.

Tayeb called for holding the conference as part of a series of immediate decisions to respond to the decision of the U.S. administration to move its embassy to occupied Jerusalem and recognize the city as the capital of Israel.

On Friday, Tayeb announced his rejection to meet with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, saying, "How can I sit with those who granted what they do not own to those who do not deserve it."

On Wednesday night, Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel during a televised speech from the White House. Trump’s decision was met by a barrage of criticism and condemnations from many Arab and world leaders, while protests took place in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and different parts of the Arab world.

Clashes broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the West Bank on Friday. Israeli forces fired tear gas on the protesters, killing two Palestinians and injuring more than 300 others. On Saturday, Israeli airstrikes killed two other Palestinians and injured dozens, raising the injured toll to 1,114 people, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health on Saturday.]]>
12/12/2017 8:36:02 PM
<![CDATA[ACA foils corruption, bribery cases estimated at LE 3B]]>
The accusations targeted lawyers, officials, executive directors and heads of government institutions.

According to the statements, the ACA arrested a lawyer offering a bribe up to LE 100,000, along with a piece of land estimated to be worth LE 2 million, to the inspector of the Alexandria Survey Authority Directorate in order to deliver a space of land to him without mentioning the state’s ownership over parts of it.

Also, another evaluation general director affiliated with the Governmental Services Authority was arrested for receiving a bribe up to LE 180,000 from a scrap dealer in exchange for declining the ton’s price from LE 6,000 to LE 4,000, which would affect the state's treasury by about LE 1.5 million.

In Alexandria, the ACA succeeded in targeting a group of criminals who were aiming to take over several pieces of land estimated at LE 1.4 billion using forged contracts and papers.

Other criminals in several governorates were reported to be arrested for similar cases in Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, Luxor and Aswan.

In Suez, a former deputy director of housing and utilities was arrested for forging papers for real estate owners, enabling them to prove the payment of their due fees without actually paying anything to the state.

According to the ACA papers, this case only caused the state’s treasury to lose about LE 1 million.

This is however not the first wide-scale corruption crackdown by ACA. Several other companies were lunched during the past periods that succeed of hunting similar cases.

Last November, the first deputy chairman of the Central Housing Cooperative Union was arrested for receiving bribes worth up to LE 8 million and 14 ownership contracts for 14 housing units, as well as other stores, from one of the contractors.

The ACA also managed to arrest two siblings offering bribes to the president of Al-Salam district in return for enabling them to illegally obtain a plot of a land on an area of five acres owned by the Ministry of Endowments.]]>
12/12/2017 8:17:17 PM
<![CDATA[2 teenage girl suicide bombers kill 4 in Nigeria]]>
Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, spokesman for the Military Command and Control Center in Maiduguri, said Tuesday that the attack was carried out Monday evening. He said local defense forces spotted the girls and shot one, detonating her vest and killing only her.

He said the other girl managed to infiltrate the crowded residential area in Borno state and detonated herself, killing four others.

He said several people injured have been taken to a nearby medical facility for treatment.

The military command in Maiduguri also said two soldiers were killed Sunday after their vehicle hit a homemade explosive planted by Boko Haram insurgents along the Maiduguri-Damboa highway. ]]>
12/12/2017 8:10:11 PM
<![CDATA[Families of London tower fire victims call for diverse inquiry]]>
The document, signed by 16,000 people, was delivered to May's Downing Street office inside a green box with Grenfell written inside a heart.

It calls for a panel from diverse backgrounds to assist in the probe into the fire that gutted the 24-storey west London tower in the early hours of June 14.

Retired judge Martin Moore-Bick is currently leading the public inquiry, which began holding procedural hearings on Monday, but May has powers to opt for a panel-led inquiry, rather than relying on one chairman.

"Sir Martin Moore-Bick is an experienced High Court judge, who we feel is suited to the Grenfell Tower inquiry, however we're worried that he may not have an understanding of the wider issues beyond his experience and expertise," Sandra Ruiz, who lost her niece in the fire, said outside Downing Street.

"Nor is it right that the truth surrounding the deaths of 71 victims be dependent on a single person's judgement.

"What we seek is an impartial and independent decision-making panel, with a range of experiences to assist the chair -- two, three or four heads are better than one," she added.

Ruiz was flanked by two other relatives and a survivor as she delivered the petition, which has been signed by singer Adele.

"We hope the prime minister is listening and agrees to what are reasonable and proportionate requests," said Ruiz, adding it would be a "tragedy" if their requests went unheeded.

The hearing on Monday ruled that 424 individuals or groups, including some survivors, would be granted "core participant" status in the inquiry meaning they have access to documents, can make statements and can question witnesses through legal representatives.

But Karim Mussilhy, who lost his uncle in the fire, said this was not enough.

"We're really losing confidence in this public inquiry and we're really losing confidence in everything to do with Grenfell -- we feel like we're being forgotten and not listened to," he said in a message to the prime minister.

]]>
12/12/2017 8:05:53 PM
<![CDATA[Putin receives reports about Trump’s tweets — Kremlin]]>
"Moscow considers all statements made on Trump’s official Twitter account to be official, so reports are presented to President Putin about them, as well as about official statements that politicians make in other countries," he said.

Peskov declined to comment on the actions of Trump, who is famous for his activities on Twitter. "I do not think I have the right to comment on President Trump’s actions, it would be a wrong thing to do," the Russian presidential spokesman said.

The Kremlin spokesman also pointed out that "Putin does not have a Twitter account." "He explained earlier that he did not have a wish to manage a Twitter account and he did not consider it possible for someone else to do it for him, including members of his press service and other departments of the Kremlin administration," Peskov noted.]]>
12/12/2017 7:59:14 PM
<![CDATA[France's Le Drian says "no" to Iran Mediterranean axis]]>
Speaking in an interview with France 2 television to be broadcast later on Tuesday as part of a documentary on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Jean-Yves Le Drian said it was time for Moscow and Tehran to work with the U.N. Security Council to end the six-year-old conflict in Syria.

"The Iranian presence and the desire to make an axis from the Mediterranean to Tehran, (I say) no!" Le Drian said in the interview. "There is a Syria that needs to exist."

Many Arab leaders argue that by fighting ISIS and supporting Assad militarily, Iran is projecting its power across Iraq and Syria to Lebanon, creating an arc of regional influence stretching from the Afghan border to the Mediterranean.

Tensions between Iran and France have increased in recent weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron said that Tehran should be less aggressive in the region and clarify its ballistic missile programme.

Le Drian also denounced Tehran's "hegemonic temptations" during a visit to Saudi Arabia last month.

Iran's foreign minister on Monday urged European countries not to be influenced by U.S. President Donald Trump's confrontational policy towards Tehran.

Under Macron's instruction, Le Drian has sought not take sides in the Middle East and attempted to improve ties with Russia after the previous French administration's relationship with Moscow suffered especially over Syria, where Russia and Iran are staunch allies of Assad.

In Syria "Iran brings its militias, supports (heavily-armed Lebanese Shi'ite group) Hezbollah," Le Drian said. "Syria must become a sovereign state again and that means (a country) independent of the pressure and presence of other countries."

With Assad by his side Russian President Vladimir Putin flew into Syria on Monday and ordered "a significant part" of Moscow's military contingent there to start withdrawing. The two met last week in the Russian city of Sochi.

"If you can summon Assad to Sochi, you can also tell him to stop (bombing) and allow aid to everyone," he said referring to the besieged rebel-held region of Eastern Ghouta.

Paris has nuanced its approach to U.N.-led peace talks in Geneva, saying that Assad's departure from power should not be a pre-condition for negotiations. However, Le Drian made it clear that Russia was not doing enough.

"The main actors in this affair are Russia and Iran. They need to use their weight to lead a political solution with the other members of the Security Council," Le Drian said, repeating that Assad was not the solution.

"He is barbaric, but he is there, so we have to a start the process that leads to a (new) constitution and elections under the U.N." he said. "I struggle to imagine that populations who have suffered so much consider him part of the solution."]]>
12/12/2017 7:46:20 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt organizes int’l defense, military industry exhibition]]>
The exhibition will be held December 3-5, 2018 in the field of defense and security industries at the regional and international levels.

The exhibition is organized in cooperation with Clarion International Defense and Security Company, the world's largest organizer of international military and security exhibitions. Clarion has organized more than 200 events in various sectors. More than 300 exhibitors from defense and security systems are expected to participate in the exhibition.

The conference was kicked off with a speech by Military Production Minister Mohamed El Assar, in which he stressed that the political leadership pays great attention to supporting this exhibition to be a major international event between similar international exhibitions and conferences.

Assar pointed out that the exhibition will be held once every two years and that this important event offers the opportunity to present Egyptian military products to international, Arab and African countries.

Tarek Saad, chairman of the Armed Forces Arming Organization, pointed out that the first Egyptian International Defense and Military Industries Exhibition (EDEX-2018) is a cultural commercial center and an international exhibition for defense and military industries, providing large opportunities for companies and visitors from different countries of the world to participate.

Saad pointed out that Egypt’s political leadership paid particular attention to implementing the concepts of comprehensive development and working to increase the driving force for achieving sustained economic growth based on regional and international partnership.

He added that the defense industry is an important source of economic growth, as it is the driving force for the development of innovations that serve the civil and military sectors.

Tim Porter, chairman of Clarion, reviewed a presentation on the exhibition, in which he explained that EDEX-2018 will provide the best opportunities for exhibitors from Egyptian and international companies, as well as the most prominent defense industries.

“It is Clarion’s pleasure, as one of the largest organizers of international conferences and exhibitions in defense and security around the world, to be given the opportunity to expand in the areas of the exhibition in Egypt in 2018, and we look forward to the implementation of this important event in cooperation with the Egyptian armed forces,” Porter said.

Moreover, the exhibition will receive about 400 prominent figures and ministers of defense, in addition to the institution works in coordination with a number of other institutions all over the world to participate in this exhibition in December 2018. ]]>
12/12/2017 7:45:35 PM
<![CDATA[Proposed amendments to sexual assault penalties]]>
1) Penalties for sexual assault and kidnapping of women and children vary between death and serving 15 years or more in prison.

2) Rape incurs either death or lifetime sentences.

3) If the rapist is a family member, guardian or has authority over the victim, and if the victim is disabled, the penalty is death.

4) Sexual assault and attempts of sexual assault incur a penalty of serving 15 years or more in prison.

5) Convicts who sexually assault children below the age of 8 receive death sentences.

6) Anyone who incites sexual assault in public places serves one year in prison minimum.

Monir told press on Tuesday that the current penal code was promulgated in 1975 and that it should be amended to combat ascending crime rates in Egypt. She highlighted that many try to take revenge on perpetuators who are not perceived to be fairly penalized, which jeopardizes social peace.

The MP added that there has been a hike in child kidnapping for ransom, illegal organ trade and trafficking.

According to a study conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2013, the number of female rape victims reaches 20,000 annually. A report released by the same institution this year designated Cairo as the world’s most dangerous megacity for women due to the huge amount of verbal and sexual harassment they face. ]]>
12/12/2017 7:43:11 PM
<![CDATA[Yemeni officials say police kill 3 militants in Aden]]>
Three policemen were killed in a shootout when the forces stormed a workshop where car bombs were built, they said.

The force arrested two suspected militants and found explosive belts and other weapons, ABC News reported.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

Yemen is embroiled in a war between Iran-backed Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, and the internationally recognized government, which is allied with a Saudi-led military coalition.

Government forces ostensibly control Aden, but al-Qaida and Daesh affiliates have carried out several attacks.

More than 10,000 people have been killed and 3 million displaced in the war.]]>
12/12/2017 7:40:56 PM
<![CDATA[Trump signs defense policy bill, urges U.S. Congress to fund it]]>
Trump signed the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act at a ceremony in the Roosevelt Room of the White House surrounded by high-ranking defense officials. The NDAA sets policy for the U.S. military but does not provide funding, which is approved with other legislation.

]]>
12/12/2017 7:37:52 PM
<![CDATA[Chaldean Patriarchate calls on US to respect UN resolutions]]>
According to a statement released Tuesday, the patriarchate called on the US administration to respect the resolutions of the United Nations over the status of Jerusalem and rescind its serious decision which could engulf the region in more conflicts.

"We are asking for resolving the disputes through diplomatic channels and legal ways without resorting to violence." the statement added. ]]>
12/12/2017 7:28:14 PM
<![CDATA[One dead, six wounded in mine explosion in Tunisia]]>
Spokesman for the Tunisian Defense Ministry Blhasan al Wslaty told Sky News that a mine went off in Kasserine province, without giving any further details.

The Tunisian security forces track down extremist militants hiding in the west of the country since 2012. ]]>
12/12/2017 7:14:35 PM
<![CDATA[Hamas leader hails Al-Azhar position over Jerusalem]]>
In a phone conversation with Tayeb, Haniyeh expressed his high appreciation for the refusal of the grand imam to meet U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in protest against the U.S. decision, according to a statement by Haniyeh's office.

The Hamas leader hailed Egypt’s position, stating that Al-Azhar has always expressed the pulse of the nation throughout history, indicating that it is the custodian of the pillars of the nation.

Tayeb stressed that the position of Al-Azhar is alongside the Palestinian people and their steadfastness, rights and resistance, pointing out that he was in a meeting with Al-Azhar scholars to study the developments of the Jerusalem case.

He also pointed out that Al-Azhar will call for holding an expanded Islamic conference in Cairo and that invitations will be directed to Palestinian leaders from different sides to participate in the conference.

On Friday, Tayeb announced his rejection to meet with Pence, saying, "How can I sit with those who granted what they do not own to those who do not deserve it."

On Wednesday night, Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel during a televised speech from the White House. Trump’s decision was met by a barrage of criticism and condemnations from many Arab and world leaders, while protests took place in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and different parts of the Arab world.]]>
12/12/2017 7:13:04 PM
<![CDATA[Syria main source of recent bomb hoaxes in Russia ]]>
“The main part of these calls was made from the places in Syria with a high concentration of terrorists,” Zubov said. “Judging from their intensity, we can say that this was a cyberattack on the territory of the Russian Federation,” he added.

The deputy minister said that “telephone terrorists” also made calls from Turkey, Ukraine, the United States, Canada, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. He told reporters that the combined damages from the “cyberattacks” amounted to several billion rubles.

In recent months, Russia has been hit by a wave of bomb hoax calls. They began on September 11 and have caused the evacuation of over 2.3 million people from various buildings in 186 towns and cities. ]]>
12/12/2017 7:09:58 PM
<![CDATA[As climate threats grow, Iraq battles a new enemy: Water shortages]]>
Construction of dams and other water-holding facilities in upstream Turkey and Iran, combined with increasingly erratic rainfall across the region, mean the amount of water flowing in key Iraqi rivers has fallen by at least 40 percent in recent decades, said Hassan Janabi, the country's water resources minister.

Damage to Iraq's own dams and other infrastructure from years of fighting - and from a recent earthquake - also is making water supplies more irregular, he said.

While war was raging, water was a secondary concern - but today it is fast becoming a new source of conflict, he said.

Farmers in swathes of southern Iraq have had too little water to plant this winter's wheat crop, leading to demonstrations and increasing anger, the minister said. By next summer, even drinking water may be in short supply in some areas, he warned.

“People are very, very upset,” Janabi said at a conference on climate change and security issues at The Hague on Tuesday. “We somehow have a social conflict now.”

Climate change is contributing to worsening security threats around the world, from growing migration to increased militancy, in hotspots from Africa’s Lake Chad basin and Mali to Iraq, government and military officials said at the conference in the Netherlands.

But acting effectively on those threats remains a challenge, in large part because doing so often requires bringing together not just different countries but leaders in wide-ranging fields - from peacekeeping to environmental action, food security and migration – who do not usually work together.

“There is a real need to bring together all the different pieces of this puzzle,” said Janani Vivekananda, a senior advisor on climate change and peacebuilding at adelphi, a German thinktank focused on climate, environment and development issues.

In particular, “we need to bring in people who think, ‘Climate change? That’s not us’”, she said.

U.S. MILITARY STEPS UP

In some cases, that is already beginning to happen. The U.S. military, for example, for years has been a leader in looking at security threats from climate change. It has also been altering its own operations – including by reducing its use of fossil fuels and adopting renewable energy – to try to reduce them, experts said.

“There’s a willingness now to understand how these trends – water scarcity, changing climate factors, energy resources – are affecting our broader national security and geopolitical situation,” said Sherri Goodman, a senior adviser for international security at the U.S. Center for Climate and Security, a policy institute with top military experts on its advisory board.

Many Europeans, similarly, are increasingly aware that top priority problems at home – such as dealing with growing flows of migrants – are “intimately connected” to security and climate threats elsewhere, said Monika Sie Dhian Ho, the general director of the Clingendael Institute, a Dutch think tank on international relations.

“We see how urgent this thing is,” she said. “We really need to invest in climate problems to deal with the migration and refugees and the security risks that develop as a consequence of that.”

At the conference, the foreign ministers of the Netherlands, Sweden and Belgium and other participants signed a declaration pledging to work together on a range of security threats.

Those include better coordination of migration and climate change responses, promoting better urban resilience and strengthening climate-sensitive development in Mali, water security in Iraq and risk assessments in the Lake Chad region.

PARCHED IRAQ

Janabi, Iraq’s water resources minister, said his country and others have been slow to focus on climate change-related threats not only because of other pressing priorities – not least war with Islamic State militants – but because climate pressures often build slowly and are harder to see.

“When the threat is cumulative, people tend to overlook the challenge. But it is not less a threat to the nation and stability,” he said.

Dealing with growing water security threats, however, has been difficult in a country financially devastated by years of war and by low oil prices, which have cut one of its main sources of income, said Janabi, who oversaw the restoration of Iraq’s parched southern marshlands, now a World Heritage listed site.

The minister said fighting in Iraq had damaged significant parts of the country's water infrastructure but his capital investment budget for water infrastructure improvements over the next two years is set at zero, even as demand to solve the country’s water shortages soars and the country imports 70 percent of its food.

Solving the problems ultimately may require not just repairs and better use of limited water but negotiating effective water sharing agreements with Turkey and Iran – something that will be a huge challenge in a region where “geopolitics is an issue”, he said.]]>
12/12/2017 7:03:58 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. prosecutors bring terrorism charge against Manhattan bomb suspect]]>
Akayed Ullah, 27, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in Manhattan federal court with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, using a weapon of mass destruction, bombing a public place, destruction of property by means of explosive and use of a destructive device]]>
12/12/2017 6:23:12 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. officials at Cairo Airport before Pence visit to Egypt]]>
The delegation included a number of U.S. officials, who, in coordination with Egyptian security officials, will prepare the entire visit and check all necessary facilities for the arrival of the vice president, said a security source at the airport.

Pence announced that he would visit Egypt in December, according to the Associated Press (AP). During his visit, Pence will meet with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to discuss US-Egyptian cooperation on security issues.

One goal of Pence's visit is to meet with religious leaders to discuss ways of addressing the persecution of Christians and all religious minorities across the Middle East.

"One of the messages that I will bring on the president's behalf to leaders across the region is that now is the time to bring an end to the persecution of Christians and all religious minorities."

However, Egypt’s Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb announced he would not meet with Pence, according to a statement issued by Al-Azhar Sheikhdom on Friday.

“How can I sit with those who granted what they do not own to those who do not deserve it,” Al-Tayeb expressed in the statement, alluding to U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The grand imam called on Trump to overturn his illegitimate and illegal decision.

Pope Tawadros of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark is also refusing to meet with Pence, announced Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church in a Saturday statement.

"In light of the recent decision taken by the U.S. administration regarding Jerusalem, which was issued at an inappropriate time and made in disregard to the sentiments of millions of Arabs, the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church apologizes that it will not receive Mike Pence, vice president of the United States, during his visit slated for December," the statement read.

On Wednesday night, Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel during a televised speech from the White House. Trump’s decision was met by a barrage of criticism and condemnations from many Arab and world leaders, while protests took place in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and different parts of the Arab world.

Clashes broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the West Bank on Friday. Israeli forces fired tear gas at protesters, killing two Palestinians and injuring more than 300 others. On Saturday, Israeli airstrikes killed two others and injured dozens, raising the injured toll to 1,114 people, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.]]>
12/12/2017 6:20:55 PM
<![CDATA[Pope Tawadros back home following spinal surgery in Germany]]>
The pope also visited Austria for a few days before returning to homeland, wrapping up his three weeks' visit to the two European countries.]]>
12/12/2017 6:20:24 PM
<![CDATA[ Zuma rejects reports his office is drafting emergency laws]]>
Emergency laws were last deployed in parts of Africa's most industrialised economy in 1985 under former president P.W. Botha, the face of white South Africa as president at the height of the anti-apartheid struggle.

"The Presidency rejects the media reports alleging that The Presidency has started composing draft regulations for a state of emergency and that President Jacob Zuma has appointed a team to draw up such regulations," Zuma's office said in a statement.

"The Presidency is not working on regulations for a state of emergency."

Emergency powers have not been used in South Africa since the country's 1994 transition to multi-racial democracy after decades of white apartheid rule.

The Rapport newspaper had reported that Zuma had ordered that regulations for a state of emergency be prepared to be part of the State of Emergency Act passed in 1997.

The newspaper said the detailed regulations that would outline what should happen during a state of emergency were never passed into law when the main legislation was enacted. It cited documents showing that Zuma had set up a team to make the draft regulations.

According to Rapport‚ the draft regulations would ban anyone from writing‚ publishing or broadcasting threatening material and give security forces power to use as much force as necessary to restore law and order.]]>
12/12/2017 6:17:07 PM
<![CDATA[Important numbers on child marriage in Egypt]]>
The following are important numbers on child marriages in Egypt.
1) 13.9 million children – male and female – are victims of child marriage.
2) They make up 14.4 percent of the total number of children in Egypt.
3) The rates are higher in rural areas.
4) The percentage is 9.1 in Giza, 8.1 in Cairo, and 7.7 in Sharqia.
5) The percentage is much less in Port Said and Suez governorates, at 0.9 percent.
6) The average birth rate for marriages below 18 years old is 3.7 per mother.
7) The average birth rate for marriages above 22 years old is 2.79 per mother.
8) Child marriages result in 20 percent of births annually.
9) 33.3 percent of women between 25 and 29 years old who are married and living in rural Upper Egypt got married below the legal age.
10) The Ministry of Health and Population aims to decrease child marriage in Egypt by 15 percent in the near future.

]]>
12/12/2017 6:08:19 PM
<![CDATA[South Sudan clashes leave more than 170 dead: lawmaker]]>
"When it comes to those who are wounded, it is almost 200," added Dharuai Mabor Teny, a member of parliament from the Western Lakes area, some 250 kilometres (155 miles) northwest of the capital Juba.

It more than doubles a previous toll issued late last week, since fighting between rival factions of the Dinka people, the Rup and Pakam clans, broke out on December 6.

The government has declared the fighting a state of emergency, meaning that soldiers have been deployed after local state officials were overwhelmed.

"The state of emergency is meant to curb violence," presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said, adding the fighters were hurling grenades and firing rockets at each other.

"Civilians are locked up in very violent communal fighting."

Local information minister of Western Lakes state Bol Machok said homes have been torched and people forced to flee.

Rival pastoralist communities in South Sudan have a long and bloody history of tit-for-tat raids in which cattle are rustled and property looted. Women are commonly raped and children abducted, adding fuel to revenge attacks.

Such attacks have worsed amidst the breakdown of society during the four-year civil war which began in December 2013.

Half the country is in need of emergency food and a third has been forced from their homes since then, according to the UN.

]]>
12/12/2017 5:58:09 PM
<![CDATA[Russia suspends diplomatic presence in Yemen, moves envoy to Riyadh]]>
The Russian ambassador to Yemen and some diplomatic staff will be working temporarily out of the Saudi capital Riyadh, the Interfax news agency cited the ministry as saying.]]>
12/12/2017 5:10:18 PM
<![CDATA[Fire broke out in Cairo, no injures recorded ]]>
IMG_9380
Fire broke out at Bab Sharia Cables Warehouse in western Cairo – Egypt Today/ Khalid Kamel

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Fire broke out at Bab Sharia Cables Warehouse in western Cairo – Egypt Today/ Khalid Kamel

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Fire broke out at Bab Sharia Cables Warehouse in western Cairo – Egypt Today/ Khalid Kamel

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Fire broke out at Bab Sharia Cables Warehouse in western Cairo – Egypt Today/ Khalid Kamel

Civil Protection Forces responded to the fire at the warehouse and sent 18 vehicles to contain the fire and prevent it from reaching neighboring buildings, after evacuating all personnel from the surrounding buildings.

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Fire broke out at Bab Sharia Cables Warehouse in western Cairo – Egypt Today/ Khalid Kamel

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Fire broke out at Bab Sharia Cables Warehouse in western Cairo – Egypt Today/ Khalid Kamel

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Fire broke out at Bab Sharia Cables Warehouse in western Cairo – Egypt Today/ Khalid Kamel

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Fire broke out at Bab Sharia Cables Warehouse in western Cairo – Egypt Today/ Khalid Kamel

Mohamed Ayman Abdel Tawab, deputy governor for western and northern Cairo, told Egypt Today that this warehouse’s location was illegal and the local administration in Cairo governorate had warned its owners many times to relocate the warehouse.

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Fire broke out at Bab Sharia Cables Warehouse in western Cairo – Egypt Today/ Khalid Kamel

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Fire broke out at Bab Sharia Cables Warehouse in western Cairo – Egypt Today/ Khalid Kamel

“This fire has definitely affected neighboring buildings and personnel,” Tawab added.

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Fire broke out at Bab Sharia Cables Warehouse in western Cairo – Egypt Today/ Khalid Kamel

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Fire broke out at Bab Sharia Cables Warehouse in western Cairo – Egypt Today/ Khalid Kamel

The 1,000-meter warehouse’s fire did not cause any deaths, but three cases of smoke inhalation did occur, said a source at the Cairo Security Directorate.

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Fire broke out at Bab Sharia Cables Warehouse in western Cairo – Egypt Today/ Khalid Kamel

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Fire broke out at Bab Sharia Cables Warehouse in western Cairo – Egypt Today/ Khalid Kamel ]]>
12/12/2017 4:42:03 PM
<![CDATA[New initiative to face foreign interests in Red Sea countries]]>
This occurred during a conference titled “Peace, Security and Prosperity in the Red Sea: Towards an Arab-African Regional Cooperation Framework” hosted by Egypt on December 11 and 12. Top officials from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti, attended the conference.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stressed that attempts to organize the Red Sea affairs and face challenges have not reached the same level of coordination as Red Sea countries had wished for.

He pointed out that recently countries have exerted efforts to combat piracy in the Horn of Africa, warning “we should consider the foreign interests surrounding the region as well as the political and security turmoil in the region, including the Yemeni crisis, affecting the economic conditions of the Red Sea countries.”

He noted that Egypt is among the top countries combating terrorism with its participation in the Arab alliance. In this regard, the Egyptian Navy contributes to ensuring maritime security and preventing arms trafficking in line with international resolutions.

He said that although there are conflicts between countries bordering the Red Sea, these conflicts will not hinder the efforts to increase the common benefit of the Red Sea.

“The initiative of cooperation should consider the different levels of economic growth among Red Sea countries; consequently, it is important to diversify the fields of projects and cooperative mechanisms,” explained Shoukry.

He concluded that Egypt has launched this initiative for the Red Sea countries to face challenges, noting that Egypt is ready to host a second conference for the Arab and African countries bordering the Red Sea.

According to Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Ahmed Abu-Zeid, the conference would also discuss issues including coordinating efforts to face security threats, terrorism, illegal immigration, human trafficking and smuggling operations.

The conference aims to strengthen the sovereignty of the Red Sea nations over their own internal affairs and regional water. In addition, the conference aims to exchange expertise related to legal frameworks to improve investments.

The Red Sea nations include nine countries: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Israel.]]>
12/12/2017 4:26:38 PM
<![CDATA[Macron seeks climate action after U.S. withdrawal from Paris accord]]>
The French leader is hosting the "One Planet" summit two years after nearly 200 governments agreed in Paris to end their heavy reliance on fossil fuels and limit further global warming.

Macron wants to show that progress towards those hard-fought goals is being made after President Donald Trump said in June that he was taking the United States out of the pact.

Trump's decision to withdraw was a "deep wake-up call for the private sector" to take action, he said.

"If we decide not to move and not change our way to produce, to invest, to behave, we will be responsible for billions of victims," Macron told U.S. television channel CBS News in an interview broadcast on Monday night.

Though Macron has said that concrete projects with real financing behind them are lacking, no internationally binding commitments will be announced at the summit.

In focus is how public and private financial institutions can mobilise more money and how investors can pressure corporate giants to shift towards more ecologically friendly strategies.

More than 200 institutional investors with $26 trillion in assets under management said on Tuesday they would step up pressure on the world's biggest corporate greenhouse gas emitters to combat climate change.

That, they said, would be more effective than threatening to pull the plug on their investments in companies, which include Coal India, Gazprom, Exxon Mobil and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.

Separately, European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said the executive was "looking positively" at plans to reduce capital requirements for environmentally-friendly investments by banks in a bid to boost the green economy.

The move could be part of a broader set of measures the EU plans to present in March to meet the target of cutting carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030, for which it estimates around 180 billion euros ($212.2 billion) in additional low-carbon investments are needed per year.

FUNDING GAP

Climate change is causing more frequent and severe flooding, droughts, storms and heatwaves as average global temperatures rise to new records, sea ice melts in the Arctic and sea levels rise.

Developing nations say the rich are lagging with a commitment dating back to 2009 to provide $100 billion a year by 2020 - from public and private sources alike - to help them switch from fossil fuels to greener energy sources and adapt to the effects of climate change.

"The missing piece of the jigsaw is the funding to help the world’s poorer countries access clean energy so they don’t follow the fossil fuel-powered path of the rich world," said Mohamed Adow, charity Christian Aid’s lead on climate change.

On Tuesday, the European Commission unveiled 9 billion euros worth of investments targetting sustainable cities, sustainable energy and sustainable agriculture for Africa and EU neighbourhood countries.

Some 50 world leaders and ministers are due in Paris, including Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and leaders of states at the sharp end of climate change such as Chad, Bolivia and Haiti.

The United States will send only an official delegation from the Paris Embassy, but screen superstars Leonardo Di Caprio and Arnold Schwarzenegger and California Governor Jerry Brown, leader of the world's sixth largest economy, are championing more action.

In a pointed piece of timing, Macron used the eve of the summit to award 18 grants to foreign climate scientists, most of whom are currently U.S.-based, to come and work in France. ]]>
12/12/2017 4:02:18 PM
<![CDATA[Deputies in Russian state of Duma head to Egypt]]>
The visit, led by Chairman of State Duma Committee for Defense Vladimir Shamanov, aims to discuss the technical military cooperation issues, ways to combat terrorism and the possibility of resuming air flights between Russia and Egypt.

“It is supposed that we would meet members of Egyptian Parliament and the Ministry of Defense to discuss the technical military cooperation and the ways to combat terrorism,” noted Shvetkin.

In this regard, Russian Minister of Transport Maksim Sokolov said on Monday that Russia is ready to sign a protocol with Egypt to resume direct passenger flights from Russia to Egypt this week, according to Reuters.

Sokolov added that EgyptAir and Russian Aeroflot flights may resume in February.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that he discussed with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi speeding up joint steps to resume direct passenger flights that were halted between both states since 2015 after the crash of a plane carrying Russian passengers in Sinai.

In a joint press conference held in Cairo, Putin added that Russia is ready to resume direct passenger flights to Egypt. He further praised Egypt’s “major steps” taken to upgrade security measures at airports.

Russia, the top source of tourists visiting Egypt, suspended flights to the country following a plane crash in 2015 after taking off from Sharm El-Sheikh Airport. The crash led to the death of all 224 people on board. The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for the crash. Furthermore, a number of European countries suspended flights to Sharm El-Sheikh following the crash, but have recently reinstated direct flights to the South Sinai tourist hotspot. ]]>
12/12/2017 3:55:07 PM
<![CDATA[Return of militants to Russia 'a real danger': Litvinenko]]>
Litvinenko added that the militants have to look for other countries to continue their terror activity, including Russia.

"In these circumstances, the real danger is the return of the illegal armed formations from the Middle East, who may join the ranks of gangs and secret cells, and may also participate in forming a base to support them and recruit new fighters,” Litvinenko said.

He pointed out that Russian security forces prevented more than 17,500 foreign citizens, suspected of involvement in terror activities, from entering Russia. Also, more than 80 people were prevented from leaving the country to join terrorist organizations.

The Russian Federal Security announced earlier on Tuesday that it had foiled a Central Asian terrorist group which plotted terrorist attacks on New Year holidays and the presidential campaign in Moscow.]]>
12/12/2017 3:32:14 PM
<![CDATA[EU summit set to unlock next phase of Brexit talks]]>
British premier Theresa May and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker reached a last-minute agreement Friday regarding the Irish border, Britain's divorce bill and the rights of EU migrants.

The leaders of the 27 remaining countries are to decide on Friday whether to approve that deal and green light the opening of talks on a post-Brexit transition period and the bloc's future relationship with Britain.

But they have been alarmed by comments by Britain's Brexit Minister David Davis in which he said that Britain would not pay the bill without a trade agreement, and that Friday's deal was a "statement of intent" rather than "legally enforceable."

European Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt said Davis's comments were "unacceptable" and a self-inflicted "own goal" for Britain as the EU would now take a tougher stance.

"I have seen a hardening of the position of the council (of EU leaders) and hardening position of the parliament," Verhofstadt told reporters at the parliament in Strasbourg, France on Tuesday.

The European Parliament is set to back in a vote on Wednesday the opening of the second phase of Brexit talks. MEPs will also have a final say on any Brexit deal in 2019.

- 'Most difficult challenge' -

With the possibility of a British backtrack in mind, the EU negotiating guidelines that leaders are set to adopt on Friday will say phase two talks can only start once the divorce commitments are "translated faithfully in legal terms."

The EU leaders will also say that talks on trade will not start until March, to give the British government time to provide "further clarity" on what it wants from the future relationship.

Britain has said it will leave the EU's single market and customs union but has given no hint of a wider plan, with May's cabinet only having its first meeting on the subject next week -- a full year and a half after the June 2016 Brexit referendum.

The EU guidelines will add that talks on the transition -- a period of around two years during which the bloc says Britain will have to follow EU law -- cannot start until January.

The clock is ticking, as the EU says an outline deal needs to be in place by October 2018, so that the British and EU parliaments can approve it by the time Britain leaves the bloc on March 29, 2019.

EU President Donald Tusk warned last week after the divorce deal that "the most difficult challenge is still ahead".

- Euro reforms -

The EU leaders, again without Britain, will also on Friday discuss ways to reform the euro single currency, a top priority of French President Emmanuel Macron as well as Juncker.

In a draft of the "leader's agenda" to prepare the summit, Tusk said there was broad convergence among the heads of state on creating a crisis-fighting European Monetary Fund, as well as forging ahead with the banking union.

But Macron's ambitions have been stymied by political uncertainty in Germany, where a weakened Chancellor Angela Merkel is still trying to form a government.

Germany is especially reticent to reforming EU public spending rules or setting up a European-wide deposit insurance scheme, the last remaining pillar of the banking union.

An ambition to create a European finance minister or a eurozone budget has also failed to gain traction, dealing a disappointment to Macron, while there is also debate about how who should control the monetary fund.

The leaders will only debate reforms at the Friday summit, with a further discussion in June set to decide next steps.

On the first day of the dinner on Thursday the leaders, together with Britain, will discuss reforming the bloc's asylum system, particularly quotas for member states to accept refugees, which Tusk called "highly divisive".

The leaders will also have a signing ceremony to mark the launch of a landmark pact on boosting military cooperation -- an agreement that had for years been held up by British opposition.]]>
12/12/2017 3:30:14 PM
<![CDATA[Israeli forces kill 2 Palestinians in Tuesday clashes ]]>
The Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported that injuries rose to 1800 on Monday evening in the ongoing clashes since Thursday, the following day to the U.S. decision over Jerusalem.

"On Monday, 146 Palestinian protesters were wounded in clashes with the Israeli forces; 77 were injured in the Gaza Strip and 69 in the West Bank," the Palestinian Health Ministry said in a statement published by the official WAFA news agency.
As MENA reported, the Israeli forces have been using live rounds, rubber bullets, and tear gas against protestors causing two deaths last week.

Al-Quds TV channel reported on Saturday that Israel launched airstrikes firing two missiles on Qadisiyyah, southern Gaza Strip, and three missiles on Badr in Gaza’s center.

Israel also targeted the Civil Administration headquarters in northern Gaza with two missiles. The attacks resulted in material losses, and fires in all targeted areas, according to Al-Quds TV channel.

On Friday, the Israeli military claimed that the airstrikes which caused two deaths, were in retaliation to an alleged attack by Hamas firing rockets on Israeli towns, and that they targeted a militant training camp, and a weapons depot, according to Reuters.

A member of the Fatah Central Committee Azam al-Ahmed denied in a TV phone interview on Friday that Hamas fired any rockets at Israel.
Israeli military boats fired at Palestinian fishing boats near Beit Lahia shore on the Mediterranean coast, in the northern Gaza Strip, on Tuesday, according to Palestinian media.

Palestinian fishing boats have been subject to daily attacks by Israeli boats, reported Palestine Today. ]]>
12/12/2017 3:12:55 PM
<![CDATA[Diphtheria kills nine in Bangladesh Rohingya camps]]>
Health workers in Bangladesh said they had been caught unawares by the outbreak of the bacterial disease in the Rohingya refugee camps of southeast Bangladesh

More than 646,000 Rohingya are based in these camps, having fled violence in Myanmar in recent months.

"So far nine people have died in a suspected outbreak of diphtheria," said Meerzady Sabrina Flora, the head of Bangladesh's Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).

Bangladesh's health services department said of the 700 refugees infected, 104 -- most of them children -- had contracted the disease in the last 24 hours.

Authorities have set up two isolation units in the overcrowded refugee camps, where many lack adequate shelter and food and there is little access to medical services.

Diphtheria is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can be fatal if left untreated, but has become increasingly rare in recent decades due to high rates of vaccination.

Bangladesh authorities said they had prepared for outbreaks of other diseases in the camps, but not diphtheria, which had been all but eradicated in Bangladesh.

The government and UN agencies are now vaccinating around 250,000 children under the age of seven living in camps and temporary settlements near the border with Myanmar.

"We are moving quickly to control this diphtheria outbreak before it spins out of control," said Dr Navaratnasamy Paranietharan, the World Health Organization representative to Bangladesh.

"The vaccines will help protect every Rohingya child in these temporary settlements from falling prey to the deadly disease."]]>
12/12/2017 3:12:15 PM
<![CDATA[French FM says Iran trying to carve out regional 'axis']]>
Speaking about the role of Russia and Iran in helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regain the upper hand in the civil war, Le Drian said: "Russia supplies aviation and support on the ground but Iran supplies its militia and supports (the pro-Iranian Lebanese militant group) Hezbollah."

On Monday, President Vladimir Putin ordered the partial withdrawal of Russian troops from the war-torn country, saying their task had been largely completed.

In a France 2 television progamme on Syria to air Tuesday evening Le Drian was particularly critical of Iran, which is vying for regional supremacy with Saudi Arabia.

"Iran's presence (in Syria) and Iran's desire to create an axis from the Mediterranean to Tehran: No!" Le Drian declared, insisting that any deal on Syria's future needed to ensure it remained "independent from the pressure and presence of other countries."

This is not the first time Le Drian has expressed concern over Iran's intervention in conflicts. Tehran and Riyadh support opposing camps in Syria and Yemen's wars and are also accused of pulling strings in Lebanon.

In remarks following a visit to Saudi Arabia by French President Emmanuel Macron in November, Le Drian accused Iran of having "hegemonic" intentions in the region.

A furious Iran accused France of having a "biased and partisan approach to the crises in the region", alleging the stance was "contributing to turning potential crises into real ones."

Macron has announced plans to visit Iran in 2018.]]>
12/12/2017 3:06:40 PM
<![CDATA[Russia ready to support agreements aimed at resolving Libya issue: Lavrov]]>
During his meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Libya in the Government of National Accord Mohamed Taher Siala, Lavrov noted that Russia is ready to facilitate the implementation of agreements in every possible way, Russia's Tass news agency reported.

"From the very beginning of the Libyan crisis, we have been maintaining contacts with all the political sides," Lavrov added.

"We expect that as the situation stabilizes and threats to the Libyan statehood and the security of the Libyan citizens are eliminated, we will be able to boost bilateral cooperation with a united, independent and free Libya," the Russian top diplomat pointed out.

"We would be very much interested to hear your assessments of the situation concerning the Libya issue, particularly in light of the upcoming meeting between representatives of the Tripoli government and the Tobruk parliament, brokered by the United Nations and expected to take place next week," Lavrov further said. ]]>
12/12/2017 2:11:08 PM
<![CDATA[2 deaths, 4 injuries in Rawd El-Farag buildings collapse]]>
The two dead people are a 45-year-old woman, and a five-year-old child. Residents of surrounding buildings were evacuated and granted make-shift residences.

Illegal and old buildings that must be demolished, and whose residents refuse to leave, are common in Egypt.

The latest incident was in May when a 12-storey building in Al-Azarita, an Alexandrian neighborhood, leaned over another building due to structural damage. Nineteen families were evacuated from both buildings and no injuries or deaths have been reported.
]]>
12/12/2017 1:48:53 PM
<![CDATA[Donald Trump to visit UK in new year: US amb.]]>
The remarks by Woody Johnson to the BBC’s Today program represent the first official confirmation that the president is expected to visit in early 2018, when Trump may formally open the new American embassy.

A formal state visit – which would include a meeting with the Queen – is not envisaged.

The Queen is likely to be preoccupied with preparations for a Commonwealth summit next year.

Johnson told the BBC the disagreement over Trump’s sharing of videos posted by the far-right group Britain First was "probably misinterpreted".

Johnson, a close friend of the president, said Trump’s relationship with the UK was "very, very good". The president had not yet set a date for the possible visit, he added.]]>
12/12/2017 1:41:38 PM
<![CDATA[North Korea can control the weather: Kim’s latest claim]]>
The nation's state media said that the "peerlessly illustrious commander" can control "the nature." Kim Jong Un appeared in pictures dressed in his famous winter coat and black leather shoes. It is reported that the weather in December is usually stormy but when the president turned up on the mountain peak, the clouds cleared and the sun emerged.

He also appeared to be responsible for the moment of sunrise on a cold winter day, according to a statement by the North Korean government.

Mount Paektu is an active volcano on the China and North Korea border and its height is 9000 feet.

According to his official biography, Kim Jong II also claimed to be a master golfer who shot 11 holes-in-one in his very first game.

At various times, North Korean state media has reported that Kim's son started driving at the age of three and is responsible for various medical breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer, Ebola and other serious illnesses.]]>
12/12/2017 1:36:01 PM
<![CDATA[Explosion at major Austrian gas hub, one dead, 18 injured]]>
The incident happened at Baumgarten east of Vienna, Austria's largest reception point and the main distribution hub for gas imports from Russia, Norway and elsewhere.

"An explosion occurred at 8:45 am (0745 GMT), followed by a fire," police spokesman Edmund Tragschitz told AFP, adding that the cause was not immediately clear.

"Things are under control," he said. He later put the number of people hurt, including one seriously as well as those with minor injuries, at around 60.

But Red Cross spokeswoman Sonja Kellner told the Austria Press Agency that one person had been killed and 18 injured.

Police said on social media that people should avoid the area around Baumgarten near Austria's eastern border with Slovakia.

Several fire brigades from the surrounding area were called in to help.

The Baumgarten gas hub receives some 40 billion cubic metres of gas annually and redistributes it elsewhere in Europe including to Germany and northern Italy.]]>
12/12/2017 1:03:39 PM
<![CDATA[Kremlin says widespread Russian forces no longer needed in Syria]]>
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered "a significant part" of Moscow's military contingent to start withdrawing from Syria on Monday, declaring their work largely done.

Peskov said Russia would still use targeted air strikes against terrorists in Syria if needed. ]]>
12/12/2017 12:14:16 PM
<![CDATA[Several Houthi militants killed, injured in northern Sanaa]]>
Local sources told Al Arabiya news channel that the airstrikes targeted cantonment sites of Houthi militants in several areas of Naham district and inflicted heavy losses upon them.

Yemeni legitimate forces stressed determination on recapturing all Yemeni territories from Houthi militias.

Houthi militias have tightened security measures in Sanaa and deployed hundreds of militants at the northern entrance of Sanaa in al Azraqeen area along the road between Sanaa and provinces of Amran, Hega and Saada, the sources added. ]]>
12/12/2017 11:40:56 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt condemns Manhattan terrorist attack ]]>
The statement, released by the Foreign Ministry on Monday, stressed Egypt’s solidarity with the government and the people of the United States and wished the injured a swift recovery.

"Such acts of terrorism inspired by the extremist ideology are flagrant violations of humanitarian laws and principles," the statement read. Also, the statement called on the international community to take unified actions in the face of the growing and dangerous threat of terrorism.

A 27 year old man, affiliated to the terrorist organization Islamic State (IS), attempted to kill commuters on Monday morning by setting off a bomb at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. The suspect was immediately taken into custody. ]]>
12/12/2017 11:38:34 AM
<![CDATA[Defense minister visits Cyprus for military cooperation ]]>
The minister will hold talks with senior Cypriot officials on strengthening bilateral relations, and military cooperation between the armed forces of both countries in different domains.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi had previously held a two-day visit to Cyprus where the fifth trilateral Summit between Cyprus, Greece, and Egypt took place with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Sisi stressed that the summit focused on promoting common economic cooperation, particularly in the fields of energy and recycling, to provide job opportunities for the youth and achieve sustainable development.

In November 2014, Cyprus, Greece, and Egypt launched a tripartite cooperation committee. ]]>
12/12/2017 11:37:07 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt warns of false reports about Ethiopian dam]]>
At a seminar held in the French Senate on the role of diplomacy in settling disputes related to the Nile River, he added that Egypt has sent a letter to the World Bank asking it on behalf of eastern Nile Basin countries to finance studies on setting up the first dam on the Blue Nile.

While studies are underway, another dam was announced to be set up, he said, noting that not so many people are aware of this information.

An international company was hired to compile two studies on the dam. Meanwhile, the Ethiopian side asked for introducing amendments into the preconditions of the contract and inserting new articles, he added.

It was important to keep the Egyptian public opinion posted about all these developments, he said, adding that the Declaration of Principles that was signed by Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia calls for referring any would-be dispute to the ministerial level to be settled. If not, it could be referred to the level of foreign ministers and then to the presidential level, he added.

Referring the issue to the ministerial level took five months. The dispute was also referred to the higher level in accordance with the Declaration of Principles, he added.]]>
12/12/2017 11:36:05 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian MPs in Strasbourg declare rejecting Trump’s decision]]>
During the meeting, both sides tackled common issues; the Egyptian delegation stressed their rejection of Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, asserting the importance of the two-state solution.

In addition, the Egyptian parliament reviewed Egypt’s efforts in combating terrorism, extremism and illegal immigration and in improving the status of women and youth in the community.

In this regard, the European parliament confirmed the necessity to continue the dialogue, enhancing relations in different fields between the two parliaments.
An Egyptian parliamentary delegation left on Sunday for Paris to visit the European parliament and discuss the latest regional and international developments, especially the Palestinian issue.

The visit came in the wake of the U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The delegation included the Head of the Foreign Relations Committee Tareq Radwan, Head of the Planning and Budget Committee Hussein Issa, Deputy Chief of Egypt Support Coalition Karim Darwish, Undersecretary of the Foreign Relations Committee Samia Rafla and Secretary of the Foreign Relations Committee Tareq el-Kholy. ]]>
12/12/2017 11:35:47 AM
<![CDATA[Zimbabwe's Mugabe flies to Singapore, first trip since ouster]]>
The 93-year-old, who ruled the southern African nation for 37 years, resigned after the army and his ruling ZANU-PF party turned against him when it became clear that his 52-year-old wife, Grace, was being groomed as his successor.

Until recently the world's oldest head of state, Mugabe had a reputation for extensive and expensive international travel, including regular medical trips to Singapore - a source of public anger among his impoverished citizens.

He left Harare with Grace and aides on Monday evening, the official said. He is expected to make a stop-over in Malaysia, where his daughter, Bona, is expecting a second child.

"He has gone for a routine medical trip to Singapore," said the official, who has organised Mugabe's security protection but who is not authorised to speak to the media. "He was due for a check-up but events of the last few weeks made it impossible for him to travel."

The trip means Mugabe will not be in Zimbabwe when ZANU-PF endorses President Emmerson Mnangagwa as its leader and presidential candidate for next year's elections during a one-day special congress on Friday.

The security official would not say how Mugabe was travelling although the privately owned NewsDay newspaper said he was on a state-owned Air Zimbabwe plane.

Mugabe was granted immunity from prosecution and assured of his safety under his resignation deal, a source of frustration to many Zimbabweans who accused him of looting state coffers and destroying the economy during his time in power.

Another government official told Reuters last month Mugabe had been due to travel to Singapore on Nov. 16 but was unable to leave because the military had confined him to his private home the previous day.

George Charamba, a senior information ministry official, declined to comment.

Under Zimbabwe's Presidential Pension and Retirement Benefits Act, a former head of state is entitled to perks including limited foreign travel and medical insurance.

"These are very standard features of a retired president," another government official said, trying to head off any controversy. "You are making a storm out of nothing."]]>
12/12/2017 11:26:19 AM
<![CDATA[Magnitude 6.2 quake hits Kerman province in southeast Iran]]>
Local officials had not gathered information on possible deaths or injuries from the quake, which was near the town of Hejdak, according to state TV.

]]>
12/12/2017 11:23:57 AM
<![CDATA[British double murderer appeals Hong Kong conviction]]>
Cambridge University graduate Rurik Jutting tortured Sumarti Ningsih for three days filming parts of her ordeal on his phone - before slashing her throat with a serrated knife and stuffing her body into a suitcase.

Days later, and with Ningsih's corpse on his balcony, the former Bank of America worker picked up Seneng Mujiasih, intending to play out the same fantasies. He killed her when she started screaming.

Jutting, now 32, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but was found guilty of murder in what the judge at the time described as killings that were "sickening in the extreme".

However, Jutting's defence team Tuesday argued that judge Michael Stuart-Moore had repeatedly given wrong directions to the jury during the trial last year when explaining how they should determine whether his state of mind had impaired his responsibility for his actions.

Defence lawyer Gerard McCoy argued the judge had wrongly told the jury to look for mental "disorders" rather than the broader spectrum of "abnormality of the mind".

"Abnormality of mind need not be a disorder," McCoy told the court Tuesday.

"The judge has wrongly and prescriptively directed the jury that they should look for disorders because disorders are what is an abnormality of mind," he added.

The defence team during the trial had argued that Jutting's mental responsibility had been substantially affected by heavy alcohol and cocaine use as well as sexual sadism and narcissistic personality disorders.

Not all four experts who testified agreed that Jutting's behaviour met the criteria for a "disorder" in all four areas, said McCoy.

However, they did all find that Jutting was suffering from an abnormality of mind because he had impaired mental functioning, he added.

Jutting was alert and taking notes in court Tuesday, dressed in a blue shirt and wearing dark-rimmed glasses, at one point smiling and talking with the guards in the dock.

In the gruelling 10 day trial last October and November, the jury heard how Jutting became obsessed with slavery, rape and torture - fantasies he acted out on his first victim, Ningsih.

The jury was forced to watch iPhone footage of parts of the attack as well as Jutting's own self-recorded descriptions of how he had used pliers, sex toys and a belt during the killing.

He then went on to murder his second victim, Mujiasih, slashing her throat in his living room.

At the end of the trial, Stuart-Moore said Jutting had known what he was doing and described him as an "archetypal sexual predator" who presented an extreme danger to women.

The hearing continued Tuesday.]]>
12/12/2017 10:32:35 AM
<![CDATA[Afghan forces to launch operation against IS in the north]]>
"(The) ministry of defence is planning to launch an operation against Daesh in northern provinces of Sari Pul, Faryab and Jowzjan," defence ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri told AFP, using the Arabic acronym for the Middle Eastern jihadist group.

"We know there are foreign fighters among them, but we will eliminate all of them regardless of their nationality," he said, without elaborating further.

On Sunday, AFP reported that French and Algerian fighters, some arriving from Syria, had joined the ranks of the Islamic State group in northern Afghanistan where the militants have established new bases.

European and Afghan local sources confirmed that French citizens were among the fighters in Darzab district of Jowzjan province, suggesting they may have links to Islamic State-Khorasan Province (IS-K), the group's franchise in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It is the first time that the presence of French IS fighters has been recorded in Afghanistan, and comes as analysts suggested foreigners may be heading for the war-torn country after being driven out of Syria and Iraq.

"We have reports that more than 40 foreign Daesh fighters, mostly Uzbeks, are present in Darzab and Qushtepa districts. They are there to recruit locals and train them to become fighters," Mohammad Reza Ghafoori, a spokesman for the governor of Jowzjan, told AFP.

"The government is planning to launch an operation to clear the area from them soon," he said, also without giving further details.

When it first emerged in 2015, IS-K overran large parts of eastern Nangarhar and Kunar provinces, though initially its part in the Afghan conflict was overshadowed by the Taliban.

The jihadists have since spread north, including in Jowzjan on the border with Uzbekistan, and carried out multiple devastating attacks in the capital Kabul.]]>
12/12/2017 10:29:45 AM
<![CDATA[Canadian ambassador praises Egypt’s political stability]]>
During a meeting, Chairman of parliament’s Human Rights Committee Alaa Abed explained to the ambassador, who visited the committee on Monday, the reality of the political and human rights situation in Egypt, showing the facts behind all the propagated rumors.

MP Margret Aazer, who attended the meeting, also pointed out the legislative boom of human rights in economic, cultural and social sectors in Egypt.
]]>
12/12/2017 9:46:34 AM
<![CDATA[Amr Moussa: U.S can’t lead peace process ]]>
Addressing Palestinian factions in a call-in to Al-Arabiya satellite channel, Moussa advised the factions to unite and to end any divisions.

He suggested that all trials of negotiations done during the last decades were in vain and therefore he called for a new approach to the peace process. Moussa also urged Israel and the U.S. to recognize Palestine as a state.

Jerusalem is of huge importance to both Israelis and the Palestinians. It contains sites sacred to the three major monotheistic faiths - Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

There has been widespread international condemnation of President Donald Trump's decision on Wednesday to reverse decades of U.S. neutrality on the status of Jerusalem which cuts to the heart of the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestine. ]]>
12/12/2017 9:13:34 AM
<![CDATA[Hassan denies drinking wine during the 2018 FIFA draw ]]>
During an interview in a televised program, Hassan asserted that he resorted to salute the Russian president by raising up the wine cup as it is a normal protocol there when Putin first saluted all the football players attending the ceremony by the same way.

He asserted that he did not drink wine, as it is forbidden in Islam.

The event was held at the State Kremlin Palace and was attended by a vast number of guests. After the final draw was complete, all teams found out their group-stage opponents and the schedule of the first 48 matches.

"Our country is eager for the World Cup to start and intends to make it an event of the highest quality, where leading world football players will be able to show their mastery of the game and show real football," Putin said during the ceremony.]]>
12/12/2017 8:19:51 AM
<![CDATA[3 killed, 1 wounded in different accidents in Beni Suef, Minya]]>
In Beni Suef, a 38-year-old Chinese engineer was killed after a wall of an under-construction cement factory fell over him. The body was carried to Beni Suef General Hospital.

In Minya, two students were killed and another was injured in a motorcycle collision in the village of Adwa in Minya governorate.

Ambulances and police rushed to the scene and the bodies and the injured were taken to the hospital. ]]>
12/12/2017 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Car bomb kills journalist in Somalia capital, says witness]]>
Mohamed Ibrahim, a news presenter for Kalsan TV, died at a hospital after being injured by a bomb concealed in his car in Mogadishu's Wadajir district, said Ahmed Mohamed, who works for the same broadcaster.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.]]>
12/12/2017 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[A panorama of Russian President Vladimir Putin's brief visit to Egypt]]>
President Sisi receives Russia's Vladimir Putin

President

Abdel Fatah al-Sisi

has received his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Cairo International Airport on Monday.In his second official visit to Egypt since President Sisi assumed power in 2014, President Putin will discuss ways of enhancing the bilateral relations between their countries.

34927
President Sisi receives his counterpart Putin at the Cairo International Airport- Press Photo


Both leaders will attend the inauguration of Egypt's first nuclear power plant, which located at the Mediterranean city of Dabaa in Marsa Matrouh, Egypt’s Minister of Electricity, Mohamed Shaker, previously told Egypt Today. A Russian delegation consisting of 35 officials arrived in Cairo on Thursday to prepare for Putin's visit to the capital, according to security forces at Cairo International Airport.

On September 5, Sisi invited Putin to attend the final signing ceremony of the Dabaa plant in Egypt, and Putin announced that he accepted the invitation. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail announced that the foundation stone of the Dabaa nuclear power plant will be laid soon. In February 2015, the Russian President visited Egypt and attended the signature of a number of deals Cairo and Moscow.

Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant

Putin and Sisi witnessed the signing of the

Dabaa nuclear power plant

contracts between the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy and Russian nuclear firm Rosatom. The contracts cover designing and constructing the plant, supplying nuclear fuel, consulting services for operation and maintenance, and fuel recycling.

34928
Russian President Vladimir Putin with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, 11 December 2017- Press Photo


The plant includes four third-generation reactors with a capacity of 1,200 megawatts (MW) each, for a total of 4,800 megawatts. The plant will be built on approximately 12,000 feddans and is expected to create over 50,000 job opportunities. The first reactor will be accomplished in 2026, while the rest will be finished in 2028.

A preliminary agreement was signed by Egypt and Russia in November 2015 to build a nuclear power plant in Dabaa, along with a $25 billion loan to cover 85 percent of the plant, with Egypt funding the remaining 15 percent. Local funding for the first two reactors will be 20 and 25 percent respectively, and will gradually increase to 35 percent for the other two reactors.


Putin: Protocol to be signed soon to address resuming flights

Russian President

Vladimir Putin

said Monday he discussed with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi speeding joint steps to resume direct passenger flights that were halted between both states since 2015.

34899
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) in Cairo, Egypt December 11, 2017 - REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool


In a joint press conference held in Cairo, Putin added that Russia is ready to resume direct passenger flights to Egypt. He further praised Egypt’s “major steps” taken to upgrade security measures at airports. He also announced that a protocol is expected to be signed soon between both governments to address the flight resuming issue.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi received his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Cairo International Airport on Monday. In his second official visit to Egypt since President Sisi assumed power in 2014, President Putin will discuss ways of enhancing the bilateral relations between their countries.

Putin informs Sisi on meeting details with Syrian president

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi that he would inform him of the details of his meeting with Syrian President

Bashar Al-Assad

earlier on Monday, and he also stressed “the many upcoming good projects, including the Dabaa nuclear power plant.”

Russia Today reported that Putin told the Egyptian president that he would also update him on Russia’s agreements with the leaderships of Turkey and Iran regarding the next steps of the political settlement in Syria.

34903
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi receives his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, December 11, 2017 – Press Photo


The Russian president held a sudden meeting with his Syrian counterpart in a military base in Syria prior to his visit to Egypt. "I order the Defense Ministry and the chief of the General Staff to begin the pullout of the Russian military group to permanent locations," Putin told an audience of military personnel Monday, according to TASS.

This visit marks Putin's first trip to Syria and comes as Assad's forces have regained control over most of Syria under Russian air cover. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Sergey Surovikin, commander of the Russian troops in Syria, accompanied Putin during his trip to Syria's coastal province of Latakia. The air base has served as the main foothold for the air campaign Russia has waged since September 2015 in support of Assad.

We discussed regional matters affecting both countries: Sisi

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi emphasized the eagerness of Egypt and Russia to cooperate in regional matters affecting the national security of both countries in a way that restores security and stability in the Middle East and secures a better future for its people.

34930
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi receives his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, December 11, 2017 – Press Photo


President Sisi said on Monday in a joint press conference during Russian President Validimir Putin’s visit to Cairo that they discussed the recent decision by the United States to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, and its repercussions on the region. Both leaders agreed on the necessity of adhering to the United Nations (UN) resolutions on Jerusalem’s status.

The president praised the Russian role in attempts to resolve the Palestinian cause throughout the past decades, whether unilaterally or within the international quartet on the Middle East, which is comprised of the U.N., the European Union, the United States and Russia.

Putin leaves Cairo after a successful summit with Sisi

Russian President Vladimir Putin left

Cairo

Monday after a several hours' visit.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi discussed with Putin ways of boosting bilateral relations in various domains, particularly the political, trade, economic and energy ones as well as a number of regional issues of common interest.

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President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during his meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in china - Press photo


Both presidents agreed on strengthening the exchange of information between both countries on anti-terrorism efforts, especially regarding the issue of terrorists fleeing instable spots to other countries. Sisi also highlighted that it is crucial for countries to inhibit the passage of terrorists through their territories, as well as reporting any relevant information to other countries and entitled international organizations.]]>
12/12/2017 2:00:39 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s Dar al-Iftaa condemns Manhattan terror blast]]>
"Terrorism and Islamphobia are two sides of the same coin, and should be eliminated together," the observatory said.

"No one is immune to terrorist threats," it said, calling for seriously facing Islamophobia that constitutes a main reason for extremism and terrorism in the West.

Earlier in the day, a Bangladeshi man with a homemade bomb strapped to his body set off an explosion at in the Times Square subway station near the Port Authority Bus Terminal.]]>
12/12/2017 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[France awards climate grants to US-based scientists on summit eve]]>
Macron unveiled the "Make our Planet Great Again" grants after President Donald Trump in June said he was pulling the United States out of an international accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that was brokered in Paris in 2015.

Macron repeatedly tried to persuade the U.S. leader to reverse his decision. In a statement, the Elysee Palace said 13 of the initial 18 grants will be awarded to scientists based in the United States.

"You will now settle in, develop projects, enrich French, European research, because we've decided to give even bigger resources and to fully recognise what you are doing," Macron said in a speech at Station F, a start-up incubator in Paris.

Macron was addressing the winners of the grants, some of whom attended his speech. Ivy league universities, including Princeton, Stanford and Harvard, were among those from which the winning researchers were selected, the presidency said.

At Tuesday's summit, Macron will urge wealthy nations to increase climate financing and urge investors to turn their backs on polluters in a bid to accelerate efforts to combat global warming.

French state-controlled utility EDF on Monday said it would invest 25 billion euros to develop 30 gigawatt of solar capacity in France between 2020 an 2035. Daily Newspaper Les Echos quoted the chief executive of Engie, Isabelle Kocher, as saying her company would invest one billion euros to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.

Separately, nine European energy companies including EDF, Italy's Enel, Spain's Iberdrola and Britain's SSE said they would include green bonds in their financing policies.

Developing nations say that the rich are not on track with a broader commitment in the Paris accord for wealthy economies to provide $100 billion a year by 2020 - from public and private sources alike - to help developing countries switch from fossil fuels to greener energy sources and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Oxfam estimated that there was only between $4 - $8 billion available for adaptation and that recent estimates showed the cost of helping emerging nations deal with rising sea levels, droughts, flooding and other effects of global warming could add up to $140 to 300 billion per year by 2030.

"Right now, the world's poorest people are getting only a tiny fraction of the help they desperately need to survive," Oxfam said in a statement.

"This year’s barrage of climate disasters showed that poor communities are often completely unprepared to deal with extreme weather." ($1 = 0.8487 euros) ]]>
12/12/2017 1:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. government calls for teens' climate change lawsuit to be halted]]>
At a hearing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, Eric Grant, a lawyer with the U.S. Department of Justice, said an extraordinary order would be justified to block the lawsuit, which names President Donald Trump and members of his cabinets as defendants.

"According to the plaintiffs' complaint virtually every U.S. citizen has the right to sue virtually any government agency," said Grant. Allowing the litigation would distract the executive branch from performing its duties, he added.

Filed in 2015 in federal court in Oregon, the lawsuit by 21 teenagers claims government officials and oil industry chief executives knew about the causes and effects of climate change but nevertheless carried on with policies that perpetuated it, violating the plaintiffs' constitutional right to live in a habitable climate.

The lawsuit originally named President Barack Obama and members of his administration, but the defendants were substituted with Trump and his appointees in February 2017, including all cabinet secretaries and several agency heads.

A federal judge in Oregon ruled in 2016 that the case could move forward, setting a trial date for February 2018. The U.S. government requested and was granted a stay to allow it to ask the 9th Circuit for an extraordinary order, called a writ of mandamus, to block the trial from proceeding.

Grant called the claims "meritless" and said the case would cause a "constitutional confrontation between the government branches" because of the number of top executive branch officials listed as defendants. Grant said the case would also pit courts against the government.

The 9th Circuit judges on Monday questioned whether an extraordinary order was warranted, asking Grant to explain why the government could not challenge the case through the normal appeals process.

"If we set the precedent on this kind of case, there's no logical boundary to it," said Judge Marsha Berzon, adding that the appeals court would be flooded with hundreds of similar requests if they granted the government's motion.

Grant argued the unique set of defendants merited immediate action.

Julia Olson, the lawyer representing the teenagers, called on the judges to deny the request and "allow these young people to present their evidence in court."]]>
12/12/2017 1:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Canada province pushes on with mega dam project despite opposition]]>
New Democratic premier John Horgan said he was continuing with the Site C project with "a heavy heart" but that cancelling it would cause electricity rates to rise and cost C$4 billion ($3 billion) due to money already spent and remediation costs, reducing funds to invest in schools and hospitals.

"This is not a project that we favor, or a project that we would have started," Horgan told reporters.

The project, which would provide enough electricity for about 450,000 homes a year, would flood more than 5,000 hectares (12,355 acres or about 19 square miles) of land in northeast British Columbia, spurring opposition from local farmers and indigenous groups.

Moving forward with Site C is a "major setback to reconciliation," Assembly of First Nations national chief Perry Bellegarde said in a statement, adding that the "next step will be legal challenges".

Andrew Weaver, the leader of the BC Greens, which is helping prop up the minority NDP government, said it was "fiscally reckless" to continue with the project.

Horgan said that the C$10.7 billion, a new cost estimate revealed on Monday and up on a previous C$9 billion, could be paid back over many years from electricity payments. By comparison, the C$4 billion cancellation cost would have to be written off immediately, hurting provincial finances.

Monday's decision follows a review by the British Columbia Utilities Commission that found the massive project was already over budget and a year behind schedule.

The NDP government, which came to power in July, had requested the review to help it decide whether the project should go ahead.

British Columbia's former Liberal government approved Site C in 2014, saying it would help meet a surge in electricity needs over the next 20 years.

Companies from around the world are involved in the construction. Peace River Hydro Partners, jointly owned by Acciona SA and Samsung C&T Corp, was awarded a civil works contract, and is bidding for another contract. Aecon Group is part of a venture bidding on a contract.

Atco Ltd was awarded a contract for worker accommodations, while privately held German company Voith Hydro won a contract for turbines and generators.]]>
12/12/2017 1:24:37 AM
<![CDATA[Subway bomber wounds self, three victims in New York]]>
The suspect, Akayed Ullah, 27, was taken to a hospital after suffering burns from the explosive device, which was attached to his body with Velcro and zip tires and did not fully ignite, officials said. It was not clear whether the attack in midtown Manhattan was intended to be a suicide bombing.

The blast, which occurred around 7 a.m. (1200 GMT) in a busy underground passageway between the subway station underneath the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the Times Square subway station, sent commuters fleeing for the exits and police officers rushing to the scene, as officials scrambled to reroute trains and shut down streets.

Three people, including a police officer, suffered minor injuries.

The attack came just six weeks after police say an Uzbek man, Sayfullo Saipov, plowed a truck through a crowd of pedestrians along a bike path in lower Manhattan, killing eight in an act for which Islamic State later claimed responsibility. In September 2016, a man injured 31 people when he set off a homemade bomb in New York's Chelsea neighborhood.

In recent years, numerous people claiming to be inspired by Islamic State have carried out attacks across Europe, the Middle East and the United States.

A law enforcement official familiar with the Ullah investigation said investigators have found evidence that he watched Islamic State propaganda on the Internet.

'AMATEUR-LEVEL'

The weapon used in Monday's attack was "amateur-level," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference near the explosion site. He told CNN the homemade bomb may not have fully ignited, possibly limiting the damage.

Officials said the attempted bombing underscored New York City's status as a target for such attacks, citing the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which killed more than 2,750 people in New York and nearly 3,000 people in all, and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which killed six people.

"Let's be clear, as New Yorkers, our lives revolve around the subways," Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference. "And let's also be clear, this was an attempted terrorist attack."

In a statement, President Donald Trump said the attack emphasized the need for U.S. immigration reforms.

"America must fix its lax immigration system, which allows far too many dangerous, inadequately vetted people to access our country," he said.

The president also criticized the visa program that allowed Ullah to enter the United States in 2011 because he had family members already in the country, saying such family visas are "incompatible with national security."

Authorities did not immediately comment on Ullah's motives. When asked whether Ullah had claimed any connection to Islamic State, New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill said, "He did make statements but we're not going to talk about that right now."

Several U.S. officials familiar with the investigation told Reuters there was no immediate information indicating Ullah was previously known to any American spy or law enforcement agency for any connection to militants or terrorism, though a connection could still be found.

Ullah is from the Bangladeshi city of Chittagong and is a U.S. resident, said the country's police chief. He had no criminal record there and last visited Bangladesh on Sept. 8, the chief said.

Ullah had a black cab/limousine driver's license from 2012 to 2015, the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission said.

Monday's incident was captured on security video, police said. Video posted on NYPost.com showed smoke and a man lying in a long tunnel that connects sections of the sprawling Times Square subway station. A photograph showed a man lying facedown, with tattered clothes and burns on his torso.

'EVERYBODY WAS SCARED'

The explosion turned a normal start to the work week into a chaotic scene.

"There was a stampede up the stairs to get out," said one commuter, Diego Fernandez. "Everybody was scared and running and shouting."

The bus terminal was temporarily closed, and a large swath of midtown Manhattan was closed to traffic. Subway travel was disrupted but later returned to normal.

In December, New York experiences a surge of visitors who come to see elaborate store window displays, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and Broadway shows.

More than 200,000 people use the Times Square station, the city's busiest, each weekday, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Ten train lines stop at the station.

The bus terminal is the busiest in the United States, according to the Port Authority. On a typical weekday, about 220,000 passengers arrive or depart on more than 7,000 buses.

The bus terminal is adjacent to and above the subway station's western section. A long, narrow underground tunnel connects that part of the station to its eastern section, and is used by thousands of commuters during rush hour.

The incident rippled through American financial markets, briefly weakening stock markets as they were starting trading for the week and giving a modest lift to safe-haven assets such as U.S. Treasuries.

Technology and energy stocks gained in afternoon trading, helping Wall Street shake off uncertainties following the explosion.]]>
12/12/2017 1:18:22 AM
<![CDATA[Trump starts process of sending Americans back to moon]]>
"We are the leader and we're going to stay the leader, and we're going to increase it many fold," Trump said in signing "Space Policy Directive 1" that establishes a foundation for a mission to the moon and eventually, to Mars.

Back in June, China's space official said the country was making “preliminary” preparations to send a man to the moon, the latest goal in China’s ambitious lunar exploration program.

Trump's signing ceremony for the directive included former lunar astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Jack Schmitt and current astronaut Peggy Whitson, whose 665 days in orbit is more time in space than any other American and any other woman worldwide.

Trump said he was taking a giant step toward "reclaiming America's proud destiny in space."

"And space has so much to do with so many other applications, including a military application," he said without elaboration.]]>
12/12/2017 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt Today's world news brief]]>
Middle East

We discussed regional matters affecting both countries: Sisi

President

Abdel Fatah al-Sisi

emphasized the eagerness of Egypt and Russia to cooperate in regional matters affecting the national security of both countries in a way that restores security and stability in the Middle East and secures a better future for its people

download (9)
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi receives his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, December 11, 2017 – Press Photo



Russian-Egyptian flight protocol to be signed this week

Russian Minister of Transport

Maksim Sokolov

said on Monday that Russia is ready to sign a protocol with Egypt to resume direct passenger flights from Russia to Egypt this week.

34920
Russian Minister of Transport Maksim Sokolov – File Photo



70 Palestinians wounded in clashes with Israeli forces

Palestinian

health authorities said more than 70 people were wounded on Monday in clashes with Israeli forces during protests against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

34956
Palestinian protesters hurl stones at Israeli troops following a protest in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, in the West Bank village of Beita, near Nablus May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman



Putin to Bashar: Russia to pullout military forces from Syria

Russian TASS News Agency revealed that President

Vladimir Putin

met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during his visit to Russia’s Hameymim air base in Syria on Monday morning to pullout military forces from Syria.

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Russian Presidential Valdimir Putin- Press and Information Office/TASS



Earthquake hits western Iran, where hundreds died last month

An

earthquake

hit western Iran on Monday, the region where an earthquake last month killed at least 530 people, state media reported.

34929
A man reacts as he looks at a damaged building in Sarpol-e Zahab county in Kermanshah, Iran. REUTERS/Tasnim News Agency



Europe

Turkey, Russia will meet to finalise S-400 defence deal next week

Turkish and Russian officials will meet to finalise Turkey's S-400 surface-to-air missile systems deal in the coming week, Turkish President

Tayyip Erdogan

said on Monday.

34954
FILE PHOTO: Russian S-400 air defence mobile missile launching systems drive during a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia, May 7, 2015. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor



Catalan protesters clash with police over 'plunder' of religious artefacts

Protesters clashed with police trying to reclaim disputed religious artefacts from a museum in

Catalonia

on Monday, in the latest display of tension between Catalan separatists and Spain's central government ahead of a December 21 election, Daily Mail reported.

34947
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gestures during a news conference at Madrid's Moncloa Palace August 3, 2012. REUTERS/Susana Vera



May hails new optimism in Brexit talks after deal

Prime Minister

Theresa May

will hail “a new sense of optimism” in Brexit talks on Monday, telling parliament Britain and the European Union should sign off on a deal at a summit this week “to move forwards together” to discuss future trade ties.

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FILE PHOTO - Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at a news conference at the EC headquarters in Brussels, Belgium December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman


Libya, Italy to set up operations room to tackle migrant smuggling

Libya’s U.N.-backed government agreed with Italy on Saturday to establish a joint operations room for tackling

migrant smugglers

and traffickers as part of efforts to curb migrant flows towards Europe, according to a statement.

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Migrants are seen on a capsizing boat before a rescue operation by Italian navy ships "Bettica" and "Bergamini" (unseen) off the coast of Libya in this handout picture released by the Italian Marina Militare on May 25, 2016. Marina Militare/Handout via RE



United States

New York suspect had no criminal record in Bangladesh

Akayed Ullah, the man suspected of trying to bomb

New York

City's Port Authority, had no criminal record in Bangladesh and last visited his home country in September, Bangladesh's police chief told Reuters on Monday.

34935
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference outside the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal following reports of an explosion, in New York City, U.S. December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid “There was a stampede up the stair



U.S. embassy in Cairo warns citizens of fake accounts

The

U.S embassy

in Cairo issued a disclaimer on Monday warning citizens from fake accounts on social media that are releasing false news, clarifying that the embassy has only one website where all security warnings are posted.

34924
The U.S. embassy in Cairo – File Photo



Africa

Rebels kill 15 peacekeepers in Congo

Suspected Ugandan rebels killed at least 15 Tanzanian

U.N.

peacekeepers and wounded 53 others in a raid on a base in Congo that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called the worst attack on the organisation in recent history.

34880
Peacekeepers serving in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) patrol in their armoured personnel in the streets of the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, December 20, 2016. RE



6,000 IS jihadists could return to Africa, AU warns

Up to 6,000 Africans who fought for

ISIS

(IS) jihadist group in Iraq and Syria could return home, the African Union's top security official warned Sunday, calling on countries to prepare for the threat.

34857
© AFP | The Islamic State group has lost vast swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria
]]>
12/12/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[New education system in Egypt to be like Finnish one]]>
During the Canada Egypt Business Council, Shawky added that the Ministry of Education spends LE 1.3 billion ($72.9 million) annually to a number of bodies, including the Ministry of Interior in order to prevent cheating, especially during the “Thanaweya Amma” high school exams.

Education is one of the cornerstones of the Finnish welfare society. Finland offers an educational system that provides equal opportunities of education for all, irrespective of matters of residency, sex, economic situation, or linguistic and cultural background.

Shawky declared that Arabic, English and an optional third language will be taught in the primary stage and the technical education will be taught in the preparatory stage.

He stressed that the ministry is trying to offer a good quality of education in the governmental schools to help reduce citizens resorting to international and private schools, hoping that there will be a unified system of high, technical education with the coordination of all ministries.

Shawky mentioned that the changes and development of the education system will face challenges, pointing out that now parents are spending LE 20-30 billion for private classes.

He noted that bonuses for teachers will depend upon the results of students.

The leaking of exams has been a commonly widespread phenomenon in Egypt in recent years.

Social media and smartphones have made it easier for exams to be leaked. Therefore, the government has introduced a new high school examination paper, called the “Booklet” designed to put an end to online cheating and exam leaks.

A new examination paper system will prevent the leaking of exam papers.]]>
12/11/2017 10:35:36 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry heads Egypt's Delegation to OIC Summit on Jerusalem]]>

A spokesperson for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry Ahmed Abu Zeid, revealed that Shoukry's visit came in the aftermath of the U.S. decision to recognize occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Scheduled to be held on an urgent basis, the summit is set to deal with the repercussions of said decision.


This summit is not the first in reaction to the American decision to move its embassy in Israel. The Pan-Arab Parliament held an urgent session Monday at the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo to discuss the repercussions of U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.


The parliament is mainly set to issue a resolution reflecting Arab views regarding the latest U.S. move, which they believe contradicts all international resolutions on the historic and legal status of Jerusalem. In a recent statement, Arab Parliament speaker deemed the U.S. decision a blatant challenge to all international resolutions relating to the Palestinian cause.


Likewise, Abu Zeid added that the foreign minister will review the Egyptian stance rejecting the U.S.’s decision and any consequences it entails. Shoukry will also discuss Egypt's endeavors to minimize the negative consequences of the U.S. decision, the latest of which is the Egyptian-Palestinian summit to be held on Monday in Cairo.


The American decision has led to broad reactions in the Arab world and internationally. In an emergency meeting held on Saturday to discuss Trump's decision, Arab foreign ministers called on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to issue a resolution confirming that the U.S.’s decision contradicts international legitimate resolutions.


They unanimously rejected the said decision which violates international laws and UNSC’s resolutions and stressed their belief that the decision is illegal, as it undermines the peace process, deepens tensions and elicits anger.]]>
12/11/2017 10:07:00 PM
<![CDATA[Ukrainian judge frees Saakashvili from detention]]>
President of his native Georgia for nine years until 2013, Saakashvili moved to Ukraine after a popular uprising there and served under Poroshenko as a regional governor from 2015-2016, before falling out with the Ukrainian leader.

The 49-year-old accuses the Ukrainian authorities of widespread corruption. Prosecutors wanted him placed under house arrest while investigators look into accusations he assisted a criminal organisation, charges he says were trumped up to undermine his campaign to unseat Poroshenko.

"The prosecutors' petition ... is dismissed," Judge Larysa Tsokol told the court.

A crowd of several hundred supporters, who had remained outside the courthouse throughout the eight-hour hearing, cheered the judge's decision.

"The judge is good. She did everything correctly and in accordance with the law," Saakashvili said. "It means not everything is lost in Ukraine."

The case against him remains open.

Speaking after the ruling, which was attended by several prominent opposition lawmakers, including former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Saakashvili said he planned to continue his political work.

Together with other opposition politicians he will "prepare for a peaceful but very important and necessary change in leadership in Ukraine", he said.

Saakashvili, who launched a hunger strike to protest against his detention, sang the Ukrainian national anthem at the beginning of the hearing.

The courtroom was so packed with journalists and Saakashvili's supporters that his lawyer asked the judge to move the session to a larger room.

The investigation provoked violent clashes between protesters and riot police last week, while on Sunday several thousand people attended a peaceful rally in central Kiev to support Saakashvili and call for Poroshenko's impeachment.

"While the protest does not represent a significant risk to government stability at the moment, it will likely attract the attention of Ukraine's international supporters and donors," London-based research firm Teneo Intelligence said in a note.

Saakashvili is also facing the threat of possible extradition to Georgia, where he is wanted on criminal charges.

Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko told Reuters the extradition request was being considered but no final decision had yet been made. He denied the case was politically motivated.

"Every person who lives in Ukraine must respect the basic laws," he said.

"Unfortunately so far we only see things that are unworthy behaviour of such a person." ]]>
12/11/2017 9:30:37 PM
<![CDATA[70 Palestinians wounded in clashes with Israeli forces]]>
The Palestinian Health Ministry and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said their teams provided medical treatment for the wounded.

The injuries occurred in the West Bank cities of Ramallah, Hebron, Tulkarm and Bethlehem and in the Gaza Strip. ]]>
12/11/2017 9:27:39 PM
<![CDATA[Turkey, Russia will meet to finalise S-400 defence deal next week]]>
Speaking at a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Erdogan said that Ankara and Moscow were on the same page regarding the U.S. move on Jerusalem and added that two leaders would keep in contact on the issue.]]>
12/11/2017 9:17:43 PM
<![CDATA[Catalan protesters clash with police over 'plunder' of religious artefacts]]>
Culture Minister Inigo Mendez de Vigo angered Catalan nationalists in November by using special temporary powers to accept a petition by a judge from Aragon calling for the artefacts to be returned to their previous home, the Monastery of Sijena.

Hundreds of demonstrators on Monday massed at the museum of Lleida in western Catalonia where the artefacts were kept and pro-independence groups called supporters to stop the police from removing them.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said his government could not oppose court rulings because it would mean stepping outside the rule of law.]]>
12/11/2017 8:20:22 PM
<![CDATA[New York suspect had no criminal record in Bangladesh]]>
Inspector General of Police A K M Shahidul Hoque said the information was based on the man's passport number.

The man was from the southeastern Bangladeshi district of Chittagong, Haque said. He last visited Bangladesh on Sept. 8.

Ullah, who had a homemade bomb strapped to his body, set off an explosion at a New York commuter hub during rush hour, injuring himself and three others in what New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called an attempted terrorist attack.

He had burns and lacerations while three other people, including a police officer, had minor injuries.]]>
12/11/2017 7:24:44 PM
<![CDATA[Earthquake hits western Iran, where hundreds died last month]]>
The centre of the quake was near the town of Ezgele, but tremors were also felt in Kermanshah, the largest city in the area.

Iranian state media said the quake was a magnitude 6.0. The U.S. Geological Survey reported it was 5.4. Last month's quake was a magnitude 7.3.

President Hassan Rouhani highlighted his government's efforts in bringing aid and temporary housing to the victims of last month's quake. Hardline rivals said the government response was not quick enough or adequate.

No reports of deaths or injuries have come in, the governor of Kermanshah province said, according to state media. ]]>
12/11/2017 7:12:26 PM
<![CDATA[Iran withdraws 40 military advisors from Yemen ]]>
They withdrew along a number of UN advisors in order not to draw any attention to the incident, Al Arabiya reported.

This came after Iranian military adviser Hossein Khosravi was killed last week in Yemen.

Earlier, Iranian embassy in Sanaa relocated its staff to Muscat after the embassy was shelled by the forces of the Yemeni General People's Congress. ]]>
12/11/2017 7:04:18 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. embassy in Cairo warns citizens of fake accounts ]]>
The embassy issued its warning after a number of fake accounts on social media published false caution to U.S. citizens in Egypt on potential terrorist threats in particular areas.

The embassy advised U.S. citizens in Egypt to avoid all protests planned on Friday in Cairo and Alexandria in the aftermath of U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to move the Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing the historical city as the Jewish state’s capital, on Wednesday.


]]>
12/11/2017 7:02:14 PM
<![CDATA[Strained firefighters brace for second week battling California wildfire]]>
The Thomas Fire ignited a week ago and is burning in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

"Severe fire weather will continue to promote significant fire growth" into Santa Barbara County and threaten the communities of Montecito and Summerland, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire)said in a Monday morning update.

Santa Ana winds and the rugged mountainous terrain have hindered firefighters as they battle the blaze, which has destroyed 981 houses, outbuildings and other structures and left 90,000 homes and businesses without power.

"A lot of these guys (firefighters) have fought a lot of fires in the past few months and are fatigued," said Fire Captain Steve Concialdi, spokesman for the Thomas Fire, on Sunday.

Concialdi said firefighters from 11 Western states are aiding firefighting efforts.

The fire as of Monday morning was 15 percent contained, up from 10 percent on Sunday night. It was at 15 percent contained Saturday. The Thomas Fire grew on Sunday by 56,000 acres in one day and making a run of 7 miles, Concialdi said.

Nearly 6,397 firefighting personnel are working on the blaze, Cal Fire said. The cost of fighting the fire as of Monday morning was more than $38 million, the agency added. It is already the fifth-largest wildfire on record in California.

"Extreme fire behavior will continue to hamper control efforts," Cal Fire said on Monday morning.

At the University of California, Santa Barbara, final exams set for this week have been postponed, Chancellor Henry Yang said in a letter to the campus community.

Some of the other fires burning over the past week in San Diego and Los Angeles counties have been largely controlled by the thousands of firefighters on the ground this week.

Both the Creek and Rye fires in Los Angeles County were 95 and 93 percent contained, respectively, by Monday morning, officials said, while the Skirball Fire in the posh Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles was 85 percent contained.

North of San Diego, the 4,100-acre (1,660 hectare) Lilac Fire was 80 percent contained by Monday morning.

]]>
12/11/2017 6:59:57 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Algeria sign cooperation protocol in pharmaceutical]]>
The protocol was signed by Head of the Egyptian Pharmacist Syndicate Mohie Obeid and Secretary-General of the Algerian institution for business and social investment Ahmed Chana.

Coordination is to be done through the pharmacist syndicates in both countries and the Arab Pharmacists Union.

The protocol included concluding a reciprocity agreement between the two countries, which allows the Egyptian pharmacists to work in Algeria and vise versa.

Also, the protocol includes creating opportunities for Egyptian pharmacists in Algeria through contracts signed by the syndicate]]>
12/11/2017 6:53:17 PM
<![CDATA[Russian-Egyptian flight protocol to be signed this week ]]>
Sokolov added that EgyptAir and Russian Aeroflot flights may resume in February.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that he discussed with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi speeding up joint steps to resume direct passenger flights that were halted between both states since 2015 after the crash of a plane carrying Russian passengers in Sinai.

In a joint press conference held in Cairo, Putin added that Russia is ready to resume direct passenger flights to Egypt. He further praised Egypt’s “major steps” taken to upgrade security measures at airports.

He also announced that a protocol is expected to be signed soon between both governments to address the issue of resuming flights.

President Sisi received Putin at Cairo International Airport on Monday.

In his second official visit to Egypt since President Sisi assumed power in 2014, President Putin will discuss ways of enhancing the bilateral relations between their countries.
]]>
12/11/2017 6:49:43 PM
<![CDATA[Japan to establish anti-terror center next summer]]>
The center will include officials from 11 government entities, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Police Agency. The officials will share information received by each entity in its work to analyze evidence of possible attacks in order to thwart them in advance.

The center will be set up according to a set of anti-terrorism guidelines approved by the government task force headed by Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
Suga also said in a press conference that the government will unite to push forward these measures.

The center will also work to prevent terrorists from planning any terrorist attacks by eliminating illegal private housing and urging internet cafe operators to verify the identities of people who frequent these cafes, as well as inspecting airports periodically.
]]>
12/11/2017 6:43:23 PM
<![CDATA[Shalatin dam to protect Egypt from flooding danger: Ministry]]>
The capacity of the 12-meter-heigh dam will store seven billion cubic meters of water. It will soon begin to collect rainwater, as studies regarding its viability have recently finished.

The studies were conducted jointly by the groundwater sector at the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources and the Water Resources Research Institute.

On Saturday, the sector’s head, Sameh Sakr, announced that the dam would be the largest in the Eastern Desert and that the project will be executed by the National Company for General Contraction affiliated with the National Service Authority, in accordance with protocols signed between the ministry and the company to execute projects in the Red Sea governorate.

Sakr added that the dam would help development in the surrounding area and that all dams built by the ministry do not affect the ecosystem or block the roads leading up the valleys.

Egypt’s 94-million person population depends on Nile water, but it now faces a water shortage, as was announced by Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Ati in 2015. Egypt’s average water resources per capita have dropped to 663 cubic meters per year and are expected to plummet to 582 cubic meters by 2025, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) in 2014. Meanwhile, the international benchmark is 1,000 cubic meters annually per capita.]]>
12/11/2017 6:39:03 PM
<![CDATA[Kuwait, US discuss military cooperation]]>
During the meeting, Khadher hailed the depth of relations binding the two countries, Kuwaiti Defense Ministry said.

The meeting tackled key topics of mutual concern, especially the military ones. ]]>
12/11/2017 6:14:28 PM
<![CDATA[China fails to stop U.N. meeting on N.Korea]]>
For the fourth time, China unsuccessfully tried to stop the public meeting by calling a procedural vote. A minimum of nine votes are needed to win such a vote and China, Russia, the United States, Britain and France cannot wield their vetoes.

Ten members voted in favor of holding the meeting, China, Russia and Bolivia voted against and Egypt and Ethiopia abstained.

"Council members and relevant parties should engage themselves with finding ways to ease tensions on the Peninsula. They should avoid mutual provocation and words or actions that might further escalate the situation," China's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Wu Haitao told the council before the vote.

"(The) council's discussion of the human rights issue in the DPRK (North Korea) runs counter to the above objective and is counter productive," he said.

A landmark 2014 U.N. report on North Korean human rights concluded that North Korean security chiefs - and possibly leader Kim Jong Un himself - should face justice for overseeing a state-controlled system of Nazi-style atrocities.

Last year, the United States angered North Korea by blacklisting its leader Kim for human rights abuses.

"We continue to think there's a separation between peace and security and human rights and there's not," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Security Council. "Prevention also includes human rights and being able to call out countries when they do abuses like this."

North Korea has repeatedly rejected accusations of human rights abuses and blames sanctions for a dire humanitarian situation. Pyongyang has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missiles and nuclear programs.

The Security Council is due to hold a ministerial meeting on North Korea's nuclear and missiles programs on Friday.

]]>
12/11/2017 5:58:24 PM
<![CDATA[Putin leaves Cairo after a successful summit with Sisi]]>
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi discussed with Putin ways of boosting bilateral relations in various domains, particularly the political, trade, economic and energy ones as well as a number of regional issues of common interest.

Both presidents agreed on strengthening the exchange of information between both countries on anti-terrorism efforts, especially regarding the issue of terrorists fleeing instable spots to other countries. Sisi also highlighted that it is crucial for countries to inhibit the passage of terrorists through their territories, as well as reporting any relevant information to other countries and entitled international organizations.]]>
12/11/2017 5:39:42 PM
<![CDATA[We discussed regional matters affecting both countries: Sisi]]>
President Sisi said on Monday in a joint press conference during Russian President Validimir Putin’s visit to Cairo that they discussed the recent decision by the United States to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, and its repercussions on the region. Both leaders agreed on the necessity of adhering to the United Nations (UN) resolutions on Jerusalem’s status.

The president praised the Russian role in attempts to resolve the Palestinian cause throughout the past decades, whether unilaterally or within the international quartet on the Middle East, which is comprised of the U.N., the European Union, the United States and Russia.

Talks also included the potential political settlements in Syria and Libya. Both leaders agreed on increasing the de-confliction spots which would support the negotiations led by the U.S. delegate to Syria.

As for Libya, Egypt calls for the international community to unify in order to avoid of any security or political gaps. Egypt would also continue its efforts to unify the Libyan military institution, which was appraised by all Libyan parties. The latest applause was from Fayez El Sarag, chairman of the Presidential Council in Libya, during his meeting with President Sisi on Sunday.

Both presidents agreed on strengthening the exchange of information between both countries on anti-terrorism efforts, especially regarding the issue of terrorists fleeing instable spots to other countries. Sisi also highlighted that it is crucial for countries to inhibit the passage of terrorists through their territories, as well as reporting any relevant information to other countries and entitled international organizations.
]]>
12/11/2017 5:34:36 PM
<![CDATA[Russian media celebrate front page headline of Youm7]]>
The headline read, “Mr. President, when will Russian tourism to Egypt resume?” preceded by a welcome statement.

The Russian Information Agency (RIA) Novosti reported that Youm7 allocated a whole page for the visit, focusing on the cooperation in the field of energy and the Dabaa nuclear power plant, which is the biggest bilateral project between Egypt and Russia.

In his second official visit to Egypt since President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi assumed power in 2014, Putin will discuss ways of enhancing the bilateral relations between both countries and witness the signing of Dabaa Station contracts between Rosatom and the Egyptian Ministry of Electricity and Energy.

Both leaders will attend the inauguration of Egypt's first nuclear power plant, which is located at the Mediterranean city of Dabaa in Marsa Matrouh, Egyptian Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker told Egypt Today.

A Russian delegation consisting of 35 officials arrived in Cairo on Thursday to prepare for Putin's visit to the capital, according to security forces at Cairo International Airport.

On September 5, Sisi invited Putin to attend the final signing ceremony of the Dabaa plant in Egypt, and Putin announced that he accepted the invitation. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail announced that the foundation stone of the Dabaa nuclear power plant will be laid soon.

In February 2015, the Russian president visited Egypt and attended the signing of a number of deals between Cairo and Moscow. ]]>
12/11/2017 4:54:31 PM
<![CDATA[Putin informs Sisi on meeting details with Syrian president]]>
Russia Today reported that Putin told the Egyptian president that he would also update him on Russia’s agreements with the leaderships of Turkey and Iran regarding the next steps of the political settlement in Syria.

The Russian president held a sudden meeting with his Syrian counterpart in a military base in Syria prior to his visit to Egypt. "I order the Defense Ministry and the chief of the General Staff to begin the pullout of the Russian military group to permanent locations," Putin told an audience of military personnel Monday, according to TASS.

This visit marks Putin's first trip to Syria and comes as Assad's forces have regained control over most of Syria under Russian air cover. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Sergey Surovikin, commander of the Russian troops in Syria, accompanied Putin during his trip to Syria's coastal province of Latakia.

The air base has served as the main foothold for the air campaign Russia has waged since September 2015 in support of Assad.

In his second official visit to Egypt since President Sisi assumed power in 2014, President Putin will discuss ways of enhancing bilateral relations between their countries.

Both leaders will attend the inauguration of Egypt's first nuclear power plant, which is located at the Mediterranean city of Dabaa in Marsa Matrouh, Egyptian Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker told Egypt Today.

A Russian delegation consisting of 35 officials arrived in Cairo on Thursday to prepare for Putin's visit to the capital, according to security forces at Cairo International Airport.

On September 5, Sisi invited Putin to attend the final signing ceremony of the Dabaa plant in Egypt, and Putin announced that he accepted the invitation. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail announced that the foundation stone of the Dabaa nuclear power plant will be laid soon.

In February 2015, the Russian president visited Egypt and attended the signature of a number of deals between Cairo and Moscow. ]]>
12/11/2017 4:23:04 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi took wise steps to enhance Egyptian-African ties: Former FM]]>
He underlined that Egypt works on developing its stance and the African role via its soft powers.

This came during his speech at the symposium organized by the Egyptian parliamentary training institute at the Parliament on Monday.

The symposium, entitled "The Egyptian foreign policy towards Africa", was attended by the head of the parliament's African affairs committee el Sayed Feleifel as well as number of MPs.

Orabi refuted that Egypt lost its stance in Africa, adding that the country offers its scientific expertise in various fields to the continent.

The African continent attracts now many countries to do business worth billions of dollars, he asserted, adding that Egypt should intensify efforts of investment in Africa.

Sisi enhanced the Egyptian-African ties via paying visits to a number of African countries and organizing "Africa 2017" forum in Sharm el Sheikh, besides hosting African youths during World Youth Forum.]]>
12/11/2017 4:07:34 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s delegation to clarify facts about GERD in Paris ]]>
The conference will discuss the Egyptian vision of the possibility of promoting cooperation between the riparian countries on the Nile basin.

It will also review the current Egyptian efforts to choose diplomatic channels of water diplomacy and dialogue initiatives with the concerned countries during the conference.

“Paris conference is an attempt to emphasize the Egyptian historical, technical, legal and political constants in the Nile water file and clarify the missing facts regarding the issue of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam,” said Minister of Irrigation Abdel Ati.

Abdel Ati pointed out that the recent tripartite meeting between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) ended in Cairo without consensus over its filling and operation. He stressed that Egypt cannot dispense with the Nile, ruling out the desalination of sea water to fill the gap.

"The only solution is to continue negotiations, as the Nile water represents a national security issue for Egypt,” Abdel Ati added.

Abdel Ati will represent Egypt in the preparatory meetings for the 8th World Water Forum that will be held in the French capital on December 13, 14.]]>
12/11/2017 4:03:31 PM
<![CDATA[Putin: Protocol to be signed soon to address resuming flights ]]>
In a joint press conference held in Cairo, Putin added that Russia is ready to resume direct passenger flights to Egypt. He further praised Egypt’s “major steps” taken to upgrade security measures at airports.

He also announced that a protocol is expected to be signed soon between both governments to address the flight resuming issue.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi received his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Cairo International Airport on Monday.

In his second official visit to Egypt since President Sisi assumed power in 2014, President Putin will discuss ways of enhancing the bilateral relations between their countries. ]]>
12/11/2017 4:01:56 PM
<![CDATA[One person in custody, several injured, in New York explosion]]>
Police confirmed one person is in custody but were not yet identifying the device used. Local news channel WABC cited police sources as saying a possible pipe bomb detonated in a passageway below ground at Port Authority.

A police officer near the scene said: “There was an explosion under Port Authority somewhere in the subway. That’s all we’ve got for now.”

Media reported several people were injured, and WPIX television reported, citing sources, that a man with a “possible second device” has been detained in the subway tunnel.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and President Donald Trump have been briefed on the incident, according to local media and the White House.

“There was a stampede up the stairs to get out,” said Diego Fernandez, one of the commuters at Port Authority. “Everybody was scared and running and shouting.” ]]>
12/11/2017 3:46:01 PM
<![CDATA[Kazakh-Egyptian relationship witnesses huge development]]>
Delivering a speech in the ceremony marking the 26th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence, attended by Egyptian officials, Isagaliev exclaimed that Minister of Housing Mustafa Madbouli visited the Kazakh capital of Astana to discuss Kazakhstan helping establish Egypt’s New Administrative Capital.

He further explained that Cairo hosted the Egyptian-Kazakh Governmental Joint Committee in March. They agreed on Kazakhstan’s support for Egypt in negotiations for establishing a free trade market between Egypt and the Eurasian Economic Union.

He noted that Kazakhstan is the second country in terms of tourists visiting Sharm El Sheikh. Kazakh tourist flights to Egypt have reached 38 per month.

The relationship with Egypt has been strengthened recently, especially after Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi paid a two-day visit to Astana on February 26 and 27, 2016.

The two countries have accomplished many things, such as the establishment of political dialogue and the development of trade and economic relations, as well as cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

Relations between the two countries date back to 1991, when Egypt became one of the first countries to recognize Kazakhstan after its independence.]]>
12/11/2017 3:40:31 PM
<![CDATA[Arab journalists call on more escalation over U.S. decision]]>
The statement called for focusing on Jerusalem as the capital of occupied Palestine and covering all the developments in Palestine on a large scale.

Moayad al-Lami, chairman of the Federation of Arab Journalists, strongly condemned the U.S. president's decision and called on Arab and Muslims to exert more force on tyrants to put an end to their aggression against the Palestinian people.

The federation also condemned the Zionist repression of Palestinian anger and their targeting of Palestinian journalists during the occupation, which has led to many of them being injured, and they called for urgent international protection for the Palestinian people.

The federation called on all Arab journalist unions to organize daily protests and demonstrations until Palestine reaches a fair settlement.

On Wednesday, December 6, Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel during a televised speech from the White House.

Trump’s decision was met by a barrage of criticism and condemnations from many Arab and world leaders. Protests have since broken out in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and different locations across the Arab world.

At least 31 Palestinians have been wounded in clashes in the Gaza Strip and across the occupied West Bank during protests against the U.S. president’s decision.

Jerusalem is of huge importance to both Israelis and Palestinians. It contains sites sacred to the three major monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Islam and Christianity.]]>
12/11/2017 3:37:21 PM
<![CDATA[ICC to report Jordan for failing to arrest Sudan's Bashir]]>
Bashir is wanted by the court for alleged genocide, and Jordan, as a member, is obliged to carry out its arrest warrants.]]>
12/11/2017 3:16:49 PM
<![CDATA[Education min., Finnish amb. discuss enhance joint coop.]]>
In statements on Monday, the minister stressed the importance of exchanging expertise in the field of education as Finland is considered one of the best countries in that domainو especially that the ministry will implement radical change in the educational system.

Developing education in Egypt comes within the framework of the political leadership's directives that considers education as one of its priorities, Shawki underlined.

He further reiterated that the ministry will implement a new education system to be applied during the 2018/2019 academic year.

The new system pays attention to children who will be prepared for the future, he underscored, noting that it will instill sense of belonging to the homeland in the students.

The teachers will be trained so as to be qualified as they are an important aspect in the educational process, the minister affirmed.

For her part, the Finnish diplomat lauded the new reform programs targeting developing education in Egypt, stressing the importance of enhancing joint ties and partnership in the field of education.

She asserted that the Finnish educational system is one of the best in the world, adding that it goes in line with the goals and vision of developing education in Egypt.]]>
12/11/2017 3:07:08 PM
<![CDATA[New York police responding to reports of explosion: police tweet]]>
Some subway train lines there were being evacuated.

The New York fire department said it was responding to an incident at the Port Authority bus terminal in midtown Manhattan.]]>
12/11/2017 2:58:57 PM
<![CDATA[Brazilian president says pension vote could be delayed to early 2018]]>
Speaking to journalists in Buenos Aires on Sunday, Temer said he was confident that the bill, seen as crucial to reining in government debt, would pass a lower house vote this year but negotiations will continue even if does not.

"If it's not this year, it will be in the beginning of next year," Temer said, according to a transcript of a news conference.

His remarks struck a more flexible tone than his statements last week, when he said he would not even consider delaying the vote to 2018. Presidential and congressional elections next year, seen as the most wide open in decades, could make it even harder for Temer's administration to pass the unpopular measure.

Temer agreed with lower house leaders last week to vote on the constitutional amendment during the week of Dec. 18, the last before the Christmas recess. Approval in the lower house would send the reform to a final Senate vote.

The reform proposal seeks to increase the age at which Brazilians can retire and collect social security. It would also make pension payouts in Brazil, among the most generous in the world, more modest.]]>
12/11/2017 2:50:25 PM
<![CDATA[Rebels kill 15 peacekeepers in Congo]]>
Tanzania’s President John Magufuli said he was “shocked and saddened” by the deaths, which come amid rising violence against civilians, the army and U.N. troops in Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern borderlands.

The U.N. chief said the attack constituted a war crime and called on Congolese authorities to investigate and “swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice”.

“I want to express my outrage and utter heartbreak at last night’s attack,” Guterres told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York. “There must be no impunity for such assaults, here or anywhere else.”

The United Nations Security Council condemned the attack on Friday and held a moment of silence for the victims.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert wrote on Twitter that the United States was “appalled by the horrific attack”.

U.N. troops were still searching for three peacekeepers who went missing during the more than three-hour firefight that broke out at dusk on Thursday evening, Ian Sinclair, the director of the U.N. Operations and Crisis Centre, said.

U.N. officials said they suspected militants from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) staged the assault on the base in the town of Semuliki in North Kivu’s Beni territory.

The ADF is an Islamist rebel group that has been active in the area. Congo’s U.N. mission, MONUSCO, said it was coordinating a joint response with the Congolese army and evacuating wounded from the base.

Five Congolese soldiers were also killed in the raid, MONUSCO said in a statement. Congo’s army said only one of its soldiers was missing, however, while another had been injured, adding that 72 militants had been killed.

‘THEY DON‘T WANT US THERE’

Rival militia groups control parts of mineral-rich eastern Congo nearly a decade and a half after the official end of a 1998-2003 war in which millions of people died, mostly from hunger and disease.

The area has been the scene of repeated massacres and at least 26 people died in an ambush in October.

The government and U.N. mission have blamed almost all the violence on the ADF but U.N. experts and independent analysts say other militia and elements of Congo’s own army have also been involved.

In response to the growing unrest, and in an effort to protect civilians, the U.N.’s Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Jean-Pierre Lacroix said MONUSCO had stepped up its activities in the area.

“They don’t want us there. And I think this attack is a response ... to our increasingly robust posture in that region,” he told reporters.

Thursday’s raid was the third attack on a U.N. base in eastern Congo in recent months.

Increased militia activity in the east and centre of the country has added to insecurity in Congo this year amid political tensions linked to President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down when his mandate expired last December.

An election to replace Kabila, who has ruled Congo since his father’s assassination in 2001, has been repeatedly delayed and is now scheduled for December 2018.

Established in 2010, MONUSCO is the United Nations’ largest peacekeeping mission and had recorded 93 fatalities of military, police and civilian personnel.]]>
12/11/2017 2:26:18 PM
<![CDATA[Putin threatens to strongly blow terrorists in Syria ]]>
During his visit to the Hmeymim base in Syria's Latakia for the first time since the launch of the anti-terrorist operation at the request of President Bashar Assad, Putin said that "we will never forget about the deaths and losses sustained in the anti-terror fight both here in Syria and in Russia."

The Russian president underlined that with the help of Russia's military operation, Syria has been preserved as an independent and sovereign state, adding that conditions for the political settlement in Syria under the auspices of the UN have been created and the refugees, that had to flee their homes, may return.

Russia is backing the Syrian government forces in the fight against Daesh terrorist group, and provide them with air cover in the eastern Deir Ezzor where some of Daesh militants are holed up.]]>
12/11/2017 2:17:41 PM
<![CDATA[Libya, Italy to set up operations room to tackle migrant smuggling]]>
Libya is the main gateway for migrants trying to cross to Europe by sea, though numbers have dropped sharply since July as Libyan factions and authorities have begun to block departures under Italian pressure. More than 600,000 have made the journey over the past four years.

The agreement to set up the operations room was announced after a meeting in Tripoli between the head of the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Seraj, Libyan Interior Minister Aref Khodja, and his Italian counterpart Marco Minniti.

A statement from Seraj’s office said the centre would consist of “representatives from the coastguard, the illegal migration department, the Libyan attorney general and the intelligence services, along with their Italian counterparts.”

No details were given on the location of the centre and how it would operate. In the past, migrant smugglers have worked with impunity in western Libya, where the GNA has little authority over armed groups that have real power on the ground.

The Italian navy already has a presence in Tripoli port, providing “technical” assistance to Libya’s coastguard, according to Italian and Libyan officials.

The coastguard, which is receiving funding and training from the European Union, has become more assertive in recent months in intercepting migrants and bringing them back to Libya.

Activists have criticised the policy, since migrants often face extreme hardship and abuse in Libya, including forced labour. Migrants who are caught trying to cross to Italy are put in severely overcrowded detention centres authorised by the interior ministry.

The GNA has said it is investigating reports of migrants being auctioned as slaves in Libya, after CNN broadcast footage appearing to show such auctions.

According to Saturday’s statement, Seraj told Minniti that “despite the successes achieved in the migration file, the number of illegal immigrants outside shelters remains large and we need more cooperation, especially in securing the borders of southern Libya through which these migrants flow”.]]>
12/11/2017 2:12:54 PM
<![CDATA[S. African prosecutors extend Zuma to file arguments over revived graft charges]]>
“They must submit their representation on the 31st of January,” said NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku.

The 783 charges against Zuma relate to a 30 billion rand ($2.20 billion) government arms deal arranged in the late 1990s. They were filed but then dropped by the NPA shortly before he ran for the presidency.]]>
12/11/2017 2:09:15 PM
<![CDATA[4 Palestinians killed, 1,632 injured during protests: ministry]]>
Up to 1,327 persons were injured in the West Bank and 305 in Gaza Strip.

According to the statement, the ministry underlined that its teams reported the death of four Palestinians namely Mahmoud el Masry, Maher Attallah, Abdullah el Attal and Mohamed el Safadi.]]>
12/11/2017 2:08:03 PM
<![CDATA[May hails new optimism in Brexit talks after deal]]>
May, weakened after losing her Conservatives’ parliamentary majority at a June election, rescued an agreement last week to move the negotiations to unravel more than 40 years of union on to their second phase after easing the concerns of her Northern Irish allies over a border with EU member Ireland.

But the discussion of Britain’s trade relationship with the EU after Brexit contains many pitfalls and could widen differences among her top team of ministers, or cabinet, over how Britain should look after it leaves the bloc.

In a statement to parliament, May will take to task those who doubted that she could move the talks beyond the initial stage of agreeing terms on how much Britain should pay, citizens’ rights and the border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.

“I have always been clear that this was never going to be an easy process. It has required give and take for the UK and the EU to move forwards together. And that is what we have done,” she will say, according to extracts provided by her office.

”Of course, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

“But there is, I believe, a new sense of optimism now in the talks and I fully hope and expect that we will confirm the arrangements I have set out today in the European Council later this week,” she will say after holding a meeting of her cabinet.

May will head to Brussels on Thursday for a summit meeting at which she expects the leaders of the other 27 EU states to approve an assessment by negotiators that the sides have made “sufficient progress” to move on to phase two.

The deal to launch further talks looked in jeopardy a week ago when May was forced to abandon a choreographed meeting in Brussels intended to seal the deal after her allies in Northern Ireland expressed fears she was proposing a special status for the region -- out of sync with the rest of the United Kingdom.

After days of diplomacy, there was a compromise -- if no overall Brexit deal is secured, Britain will keep “full alignment” with those rules of the EU’s single market that help cooperation between Ireland’s north and south.

But those words have reverberated in both London and Belfast, with Brexit minister David Davis saying they were more “a statement of intent” than a legally binding move.

On Monday, Davis told LBC his words had been taken out of context and denied he was backing away from the commitment, but added there were several ways of securing a frictionless border.

The Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, which props up May’s Conservative minority government in parliament, has said it is still concerned about how alignment could work without Britain staying in the EU’s single market and customs union.

For some campaigners for Britain to leave the EU, the possibility of having to follow the bloc’s rules meant that they could have Brexit in name only.

But May will say the commitments made in the first round of talks -- which includes a payment of 35-39 billion pounds over many years to meet EU obligations -- were necessary to sever ties with the bloc.

“In doing so we can move on to building the bold new economic and security relationships that can underpin the new deep and special partnership we all want to see,” she will say.

“A partnership between the European Union and a sovereign United Kingdom that has taken control of its borders, money and laws once again.”]]>
12/11/2017 2:03:19 PM
<![CDATA[Russian military chief criticises U.S., Japan and South Korea drills]]>
Russian Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces General Valery Gerasimov, issued his warning in Tokyo as the United States, Japan and South Korea began a two-day exercise to practice tracking missiles amid rising tension over North Korea's weapons programmes.

"Carrying out military training in regions surrounding North Korea will only heighten hysteria and make the situation unstable," Gerasimov said at the beginning of a meeting with Japanese Minister of Defence Itsunori Onodera.

This week's exercise by the United States and its two Asian allies, in which they will share information on tracking ballistic missiles, comes just days after large-scale drills by U.S. and South Korean forces that North Korea said made the outbreak of war "an established fact".

North Korea says its weapons programmes are necessary to counter U.S. aggression.

On Nov. 29, North Korea test-fired its latest ballistic missile, which it said was its most advanced yet, capable of reaching the mainland United States.

China has also repeatedly called for the United States and South Korea to stop their exercises, which North Korea sees as preparation for an invasion.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, asked in Beijing about the latest U.S., South Korean and Japanese drills, said the situation was in a vicious cycle that if followed to a conclusion would not be in anyone's interests.

"All relevant parties should do is still to completely, precisely and fully implement the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions toward North Korea, and do more for regional peace and stability and to get all parties back to the negotiating table. Not the opposite, mutual provocation," Lu said.

'IMPORTANT MEANING'

Gerasimov's visit to Japan is the first by a senior Russian military official in seven years and follows the resumption of "two-plus-two" defence and foreign minister talks in March after Russia annexed Crimea.

Relations between Russia and Japan have been hampered for decades over the ownership of four islands north of Japan's Hokkaido, captured by Soviet forces at the end of World War Two. Japan has declined to sign a formal peace treaty with Russia until the dispute is resolved.

Gerasimov also met Katsutoshi Kawano, the chief of staff of Japan's Self Defence Forces.

China's Defence Ministry said on Monday it had begun a planned joint simulated anti-missile drill with Russia in Beijing, which had "important meaning" for both countries in facing the threat from missiles. It said the exercise was not aimed at any third party.

China and Russia both oppose the development of global anti-missile systems, the ministry added in a statement.

China and Russia both oppose the deployment in South Korea of the advanced U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system.

China in particular fears the system's powerful radar could look deep into its territory, threatening its security.

The United States and South Korea say the system is needed to defend against the threat of North Korean missiles.

It is not clear if this week's exercise by U.S., South Korean and Japanese forces will involve the THAAD system.]]>
12/11/2017 1:42:00 PM
<![CDATA[Putin to Bashar: Russia to pullout military forces from Syria]]>
"I order the Defense Ministry and the chief of the General Staff to begin the pullout of the Russian military group to permanent locations," Putin told an audience of military personnel.

This visit marks Putin's first trip to Syria and comes as Assad's forces have regained control over most of Syria under the Russian air cover. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Commander of the Russian troops in Syria Sergey Surovikin accompanied Putin during his trip to Syria's coastal province of Latakia.

The air base has served as the main foothold for the air campaign Russia has waged since September 2015 in support of Assad.

Russian President Putin is due to visit two more countries one Monday; Egypt and Turkey.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is expected to meet with his Russian counterpart Putin, who visits Egypt upon an official invitation, at El-Ittihadya Palace in Heliopolis, eastern Cairo.

Sisi and Putin will discuss issues of common interest and tackle means of boosting the two countries’ cooperation in various fields, most notably in the commercial, military and transportation fields.

Both leaders will speak to media outlets in a press conference after their summit, which marks the eighth summit between the two leaders. The first meeting between the two leaders was in February, 2014, when Sisi was still a defense minister.]]>
12/11/2017 1:22:59 PM
<![CDATA[Al Azhar reiterates rejection of US Jerusalem decision]]>
Addressing the 4th Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies that kicked off Monday in Abu Dhabi under the theme “Global Peace and the Fear of Islam”, Al Azhar Undersecretary Abbas Shoman reaffirmed his stance on the Arab identity of Jerusalem which he has already announced before in his report on Jerusalem in 2011.

Al Azhar warned the danger of the U.S. insistence on its biased decision.

He stressed that the US move triggers Muslims’ feelings of anger and threatens international security and peace while promotes polarization worldwide.

Shoman said such unfair practices and biased decisions make the peoples lose confidence in the integrity of the international community and reinforce hatred and divisions among them.

He slammed the international community’s reluctance to end the Rohingya crisis in Burma including killings and displacement to which they are subjected.

He also deplored inaction of the international community in fighting the real extremism and terrorism that is hitting several world countries especially Muslim countries.

Shoman called for supporting concerned Arab and international organizations to eliminate such terrorist groups. ]]>
12/11/2017 1:15:50 PM
<![CDATA[Urgent Arab Parl't session over Jerusalem kicks off]]>
The meeting will held upon a request from Arab Parliament Speaker Mishaal bin Fahm al Salami, the session is attended by Arab League Chief Ahmed Abul Gheit along with Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al Malki.

The parliament is set to issue a resolution - at the end of its session - reflecting Arabs views regarding the latest US move that contradicts all international resolution on the historic and legal status of Jerusalem.

In a recent statement, Arab Parliament speaker deemed the US decision a blatant challenge of all international resolutions related to the Palestinian Cause. ]]>
12/11/2017 1:03:58 PM
<![CDATA[President Sisi receives Russia's Vladimir Putin ]]>
In his second official visit to Egypt since President Sisi assumed power in 2014, President Putin will discuss ways of enhancing the bilateral relations between their countries.

Sisi and Putin
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has received his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin - photo is a screenshot of T.V. channel


Both leaders will attend the inauguration of Egypt's first nuclear power plant, which located at the Mediterranean city of Dabaa in Marsa Matrouh, Egypt’s Minister of Electricity, Mohamed Shaker, previously told Egypt Today.

A Russian delegation consisting of 35 officials arrived in Cairo on Thursday to prepare for Putin's visit to the capital, according to security forces at Cairo International Airport.

On September 5, Sisi invited Putin to attend the final signing ceremony of the Dabaa plant in Egypt, and Putin announced that he accepted the invitation. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail announced that the foundation stone of the Dabaa nuclear power plant will be laid soon.

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


]]>
12/11/2017 12:52:56 PM
<![CDATA[6,000 IS jihadists could return to Africa, AU warns]]>
Smail Chergui, the AU's commissioner for peace and security, said African nations would need to work closely with each other and share intelligence to counter returning militants.

"There are reports of 6,000 African fighters among the 30,000 foreign elements who joined this terrorist group in the Middle East," Chergui told a meeting in Algiers, according to the Algeria Press Service news agency.

"The return of these elements to Africa poses a serious threat to our national security and stability and requires specific treatment and intense cooperation between African countries," he said.

Tens of thousands of foreign fighters joined the Sunni extremist group after it seized vast swathes of Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate in 2014.

But the group has suffered a host of losses to both its territory and military capabilities in the last year.

Backed by a US-led coalition, Iraqi forces gradually retook control of all territory lost to the jihadists, declaring on Saturday that the country was now liberated from its control.

In Syria, the group faces western-backed Syrian rebels, jihadist rivals and government forces that are supported by Russia and Iran.

But the losses have sparked fears that IS's remaining foreign fighters may now relocate, bringing their extremist ideology and violence with them.]]>
12/11/2017 12:39:25 PM
<![CDATA[S. Korea's Moon seeks rapprochement in China visit]]>
Seoul and Washington decided to install the powerful US THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system in the South earlier this year to guard against threats from the nuclear-armed North.

Beijing saw it as a threat to its own security and reacted furiously, slapping a string of measures against South Korean businesses and banning group tours to the South, in moves seen as economic retaliation.

China is the South's top trading partner and the diplomatic row took a major toll on many South Korean firms, most notably retail giant Lotte Group, which provided the land to host the powerful US missile system.

Angry boycott campaigns and regulatory crackdowns by Chinese authorities decimated its business in the world's second-largest economy, and it was forced to put its supermarket unit in China up for sale.

But last month the two countries issued identically-worded statements on their mutual desire to improve relations.

It did not state any specifics, but Beijing has demanded that Seoul formally promise not to deploy any more THAAD launchers and not to join any regional US missile defence system.

Nam Gwan-Pyo, a deputy director of the presidential national security office, did not give reporters details of any concrete steps that could be expected from Moon's four-day trip -- his first to China since taking power in May.

But he said it would be a turning point in relations towards a "more mature" relationship, he said, "by recovering bilateral trust and strengthening friendship between the leaders of the two nations".

Ties recently showed some -- albeit limited -- signs of thaw as China's state tourism board approved last month Seoul-bound group tours from some parts of China.

Moon heads to Beijing on Wednesday and will hold a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping the following day to discuss issues including how to curb the North's nuclear weapons drive, Nam added.

China -- the North's sole diplomatic ally and economic lifeline -- has stepped up sanctions on the North amid pressure from the US and the international community to play a bigger role in taming its regime.

Beijing has backed recent UN sanctions imposed on the North over its nuclear and missile tests, including a ban on coal imports, although it repeatedly pushed for talks to defuse the tensions.

It has urged a "double freeze" on both North Korean weapons tests and joint military exercises by Seoul and Washington -- an idea consistently rejected by the US and South Korea.]]>
12/11/2017 12:33:02 PM
<![CDATA[Palestinian leadership unifying stances against Trump's decision]]>
In statements to Al Arabiya Al Hadath news channel on Monday, the Palestinian Authority is holding contacts with Arab, Islamic, international parties to close ranks to support Palestinians' right in establishing an independent state with Al Quds Al Sharif as its capital.

On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and said the US embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The decision raised Arabs' and US allies' hackles.

It also sparked a wave of protests in the Palestinian territories and in various world countries.]]>
12/11/2017 12:30:32 PM
<![CDATA[Cairo Cathedral holds mass to mark 1st anniversary of blast ]]>
Families and friends of victims as well as survivors are gathered for the first anniversary of the church bombing.

MOHAMED_ELHOSARY-5
Christians gathered at Mass at St. Peter and St. Paul church attached to the St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral to mark the first anniversary of the the church bombing, Dec.11, 2017-EgyptToday/ Mohamed El Hosary

Police forces have intensified security measures at the church’s gates and prevented the entrance of anybody without an invitation to attend the service.

On December 11, 2016, an explosion hit the small church of St. Peter and St. Paul attached to the St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral during the Sunday mass, killing 29 Copts and injuring many others, the majority of which are women and children.

MOHAMED_ELHOSARY-7
Christians gathered at Mass at St. Peter and St. Paul church attached to the St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral to mark the first anniversary of the the church bombing, Dec.11, 2017-EgyptToday/ Mohamed El Hosary

The blast was caused by the 22-year-old terrorist, Mahmoud Shafiq Mohamed Mostafa, who used an explosive belt to blow himself up in the church.

MOHAMED_ELHOSARY-10 (1)
Christians gathered at Mass at St. Peter and St. Paul church attached to the St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral to mark the first anniversary of the the church bombing, Dec.11, 2017-EgyptToday/ Mohamed El Hosary

Since then, the Interior Ministry arrested seven terrorists responsible for the accident who were involved in hiding explosive materials and explosive belts, and in promoting Takfiri ideas on the social media.

MOHAMED_ELHOSARY-14
Christians gathered at Mass at St. Peter and St. Paul church attached to the St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral to mark the first anniversary of the the church bombing, Dec.11, 2017-EgyptToday/ Mohamed El Hosary

Since President Mohammed Morsi was ousted in 2013, Egypt has faced many terrorist attacks, trying to destabilize Egypt and cause chaos, but Security forces have exerted immense efforts to combat terrorism in Egypt.

Besides the attack on St. Peter and St. Paul church, the first blast took place on a Palm Sunday service on April 9 at St. George's Church in Tanta, killing at least 27 and wounding 78 others due to an explosive device that was planted under a seat in the main prayer hall.

At the same time, a suicide bomber attacked St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria where Pope Tawadros II held the Palm Sunday mass. Two of the Police officers who have been guarding the church stopped a man wearing an explosive belt. Two of those officers, a man and a woman, were killed, along with civilians and other police staff.

Responding to these attacks and trying to uproot terrorism from Egypt, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency after the two deadly bombings that targeted the Coptic Christian churches on Palm Sunday.

The country also formed a Supreme Council to counter terrorism and extremism.
A month after Tanta and Alexandria’s attacks, another terrorist attack took place on May 26 when three vehicles blocked the way of Christians heading to St Samuel the Confessor Monastery in Maghagha, and opened fire.

In response to that attack, the Egyptian military launched airstrikes against what were said to be militant training facilities in Libya.

The most recent attack on worship places in Egypt is the Al-Rawdah mosque attack. According to eyewitnesses, the 30 terrorists had initially come out riding all-terrain vehicles, which they ditched 150 meters away from the mosque. They then set off a bomb in the vicinity of the mosque, and started opening fire at the worshippers inside and outside the mosque. The attackers gunned down the trapped worshipers in a horrific 20 minute massacre. They also targeted ambulances at the crime scene and set cars nearby ablaze.

A few hours later, the Egyptian Air Forces launched airstrikes, targeting terrorist hideouts in mountain areas near the Arish attack scene. The attacks destroyed a number of pickups used in the attacks and killed the “terrorists” on board, according to an official statement by army spokesman Tamer el-Refaie.

Other “terrorist hotbeds” were also discovered and targeted by the Air Force and forces on the ground in North Sinai, the statement read.

A total of 30 “terrorists” were also killed in a raid on the Risan town of Central Sinai hours earlier, a security source told Sky News Arabia. ]]>
12/11/2017 12:29:12 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian parliament delegation to meet EP members in Strasbourg]]>
The meeting took up the necessity to enlarge the role of parliamentary diplomacy in the international organisations and entities.

They also discussed the agenda of the delegation's visit to the European Parliament along with issues to be tackled during their meeting.]]>
12/11/2017 12:27:24 PM
<![CDATA[Former Chinese leadership contender faces graft probe]]>
Sun Zhengcai, who was once tipped to become a member of the party's top leadership, has had a precipitous fall from grace since he was suddenly removed from office this summer.

He will be investigated for "accepting bribes," according to a brief statement on the website of the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

The decision follows Sun's expulsion from the CCP in September after an investigation by the party's disciplinary body found the politician had abused his position by taking bribes and trading power for sex.

The former member of the party's Politburo was also accused of nepotism, sloth and leaking confidential party information and betraying party principles.

Sun had once been tipped for promotion to the Politburo's elite, seven-member standing committee.

At 53, he was the youngest member of the 25-member Politburo and he was even seen in some quarters as General Secretary Xi Jinping's potential successor.

In October, the CCP accused Sun and two others of attempting to rig leadership elections at top party gatherings, potentially threatening Xi's ascension to the party's top spot.

Sun was the first serving member of the Politburo to be placed under investigation since Bo Xilai, also a former Chongqing party chief who was jailed for life in 2013 in the wake of a massive anti-corruption campaign launched by Xi.

His sweeping crusade against official corruption over the last five years has removed several rivals, leading some analysts to liken it to a political purge.]]>
12/11/2017 12:20:19 PM
<![CDATA[US man on the run after escaping notorious Bali prison]]>
The pair made a break from the Indonesian resort island's main prison by cutting a hole in the roof with a hacksaw, authorities said. It was not clear how they obtained the tool.

Police are now scouring the palm-fringed island and handing out pictures of escapee Chrishan Beasley, a 32-year-old arrested in August for carrying five grams of hashish.

Foreigners are regularly arrested for drugs offences on Bali.

Beasley was awaiting a sentencing in his case. It was not immediately clear how much jail time he was facing, but Indonesia has some of the world's toughest drugs laws, with the death penalty available in some trafficking cases.

Beasley's accomplice in the escape, convicted thief Paul Anthony Hoffman, 57, was apprehended before he could make good on the escape.

"Paul was immediately recaptured by the locals who saw him trying to escape while Chrishan, who climbed up before him, managed to run away," Kerobokan chief warden Tonny Nainggolan told AFP.

Hoffman is serving a 20-month sentence for robbing a number of convenience stores at knifepoint.

Kerobokan houses some of the country's most notorious and high-profile inmates, including members of the so-called Bali Nine which plotted to bring heroin into Australia via Bali. Two members of the group have been executed.

Jailbreaks are common in Indonesia, where inmates are often held in unsanitary conditions at overcrowded and poorly guarded prisons.

In May, more than 200 inmates staged a mass breakout from an overcrowded prison on Sumatra island, while last year a convicted child murderer escaped from jail by putting on a woman's Muslim veil, make-up and sunglasses and walking out past unsuspecting guards.]]>
12/11/2017 12:11:53 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi orders swiftly finalizing 2nd stage of Zewail city: min.]]>
Abdel Ghaffar said in a statement on Monday, that president sponsors the city and is following up the progress realized so far in the project.

Abdel Ghaffar inspected Zewail University buildings and an exhibition of technological and engineering projects by university students.]]>
12/11/2017 11:41:27 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi, gov’t qualified Egypt to attract investment: Georgieva]]>
“What I would like to do is first to recognize how brave President Sisi and the government have been in reforming Egypt so it can be a more attractive place for domestic investment and for foreign direct investments,” Georgieva stated in an interview with TV presenter Sherif Amer on MBC Masr.

Georgieva said that she will discuss with Sisi how the World Bank can help in terms of addressing some of the most serious problems in urban development and environment. She will also discuss how the World Bank can be “helpful in building new cities in Egypt, and making them smart and green.”

Georgieva promised to tackle some of the problems in Egypt that have been undermining the quality of life of people. She will also discuss ways to continue to “support the reforms by focusing on those that are least, at this moment of time, benefiting from the economy here.”

Arriving in Egypt on December 1, Georgieva attended the Africa 2017 Forum held in Sharm El-Sheikh, in the presence of Sisi. On Saturday December 9, Georgieva and the Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly visited several projects in Luxor.]]>
12/11/2017 10:01:13 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt hosts Red Sea nations’ meeting]]>
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu-Zeid stated that the conference discusses ways to boost political, security and economic cooperation among countries located along the Red Sea.

According to Abu-Zeid, the conference will also discuss issues including coordinating efforts to face security threats, terrorism, illegal immigration, human trafficking and smuggling operations.

The conference aims to strengthen the sovereignty of the Red Sea nations over their own internal affairs and regional water. In addition, the conference aims to exchange expertise related to legal frameworks to improve investment.

The Red Sea nations include nine countries; Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, and the Palestinian territories.]]>
12/11/2017 9:42:14 AM
<![CDATA[Sabri: Trump's decision on Jerusalem not to be implemented]]>
In a call-in to a TV program, he called on Arab countries to "Throw sand in the face of the U.S." and to unify their statements.

Sabri praised the role of Al-Azhar and its Grand Mufti Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb who rejected meeting with American Vice-President Mike Pence, after Washington recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Jerusalem is of huge importance to both Israelis and Palestinians. It contains sites sacred to the three major monotheistic faiths - Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

There has been widespread condemnation of President Trump's decision - announced on Wednesday - to reverse decades of U.S. neutrality on the status of Jerusalem which cuts to the heart of the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.]]>
12/11/2017 9:40:31 AM
<![CDATA[Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi meets Japanese FM]]>
Kono and Sheikh Mohamed discussed ways of boosting cooperation between both countries, as well as a number of regional and international issues of common interest.

In addition, the crown prince met with Chief Presidential Secretary of the Republic of Korea Im Jong seok, the UAE's WAM news agency reported on Sunday.

During the meeting, Sheikh Mohamed welcomed the South Korean official and discussed the bilateral ties, as well as means of enhancing them to serve the interests of both countries.

The two sides also exchanged views on a number of regional and international issues of mutual concern. ]]>
12/11/2017 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Swedish PM condemns attempted arson attack ]]>
There were no reports of injuries and the fire did not reach the synagogue or an adjacent meeting house where Jewish youths had gathered when the attack took place late on Saturday, Swedish media reported.

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in a statement he was outraged by the attack.

"There is no place for anti-Semitism in Swedish society," he said in the statement, which also referred to a demonstration in the city of Malmo on Friday, at which Lofven said participants had incited violence against Jews.

Swedish newspapers reported that around 200 people had attended Friday's demonstration at which some participants chanted anti-Jewish slogans, two days after the United States recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The World Jewish Congress, which represents Jewish communities in 100 countries, also condemned the attack on the Swedish synagogue.

The Swedish Security Service said it was helping the police in the investigation and was also trying to prevent new attacks. ]]>
12/11/2017 5:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Thousands in Ukraine protest the arrest of Saakashvili]]>
Saakashvili, president of his native Georgia for nine years until 2013, moved to Ukraine after a popular uprising there and served under Poroshenko as a regional governor from 2015-2016, before falling out with the Ukrainian leader.

He was detained in Kiev on Friday, following a dramatic standoff earlier in the week where he clambered on a roof to avoid law enforcement and was freed from a police van by his supporters.

He accuses the Ukrainian authorities of widespread corruption. Prosecutors accuse him of assisting a criminal organisation, charges he says were trumped up to undermine his political campaign against Poroshenko.

A large number of police in riot gear guarded Sunday’s rally, which was peaceful in contrast with protests last week that resulted in clashes between Saakashvili’s supporters and law enforcement.

“A lot of people are looking for the changes. It is more difficult when Mikheil is not with us,” his wife, Sandra Roelofs, said in a speech at the rally.

“We remember his words: ‘When they catch me, you continue despite anything, because Ukraine wants changes, Ukraine has to become a better country’,” she said.

Protesters shouted ‘Shame’ and ‘Impeachment’ as they marched to Maidan square, the scene of the 2013-14 pro-European protests that ousted a Moscow-backed president and installed a new leadership that promised to eliminate entrenched corruption.

A few snowballs were thrown at the windows of a branch of Roshen, the confectionary business owned by Poroshenko, who was a wealthy chocolatier before he went into politics.

Saakashvili has launched a hunger strike to protest against his detention, which will last until a court rules on whether to release him under house arrest.

The saga has attracted international attention to Ukraine at a time when the authorities face a chorus of criticism from reformers and foreign donors over perceived backtracking on reforms and attacks on anti-corruption institutions.

While Saakashvili has a core base of supporters, he enjoys limited support across Ukraine. Only 1.7 percent of voters would support his party, the Movement of New Forces, in elections, according to an October survey by the Kiev-based Razumkov Centre think-tank.

]]>
12/11/2017 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Syrian army and Iranian-backed militias push towards Idlib province]]>
They said dozens of aerial strikes believed to be conducted mainly by Russian jets in the last 48 hours hit opposition held villages and towns in the northeastern Hama countryside and the southern part of Idlib province.

The Islamist Hayat Tahrir al Sham and some Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel faction in control of these areas said they were sending reinforcements to seize back a string of villages in the northeastern Hama countryside, near the town of Rihjan, that the army had earlier announced were captured in heavy fighting.

The army said the villages of Um Turayka, Bilil, and Rujum al Ahmar were seized, forcing the rebels to flee to areas close to the administrative boundaries of Idlib province.

The Syrian army had lost the strategically located Idlib province to insurgents when the provincial capital fell to rebels in 2015. It has since become the only province that is fully under opposition control.

The Syrian army's first goal was to retake strategic Abu al Dhour military airport, one of the largest airports in the north of the country that fell to rebels in 2015. It was heavily bombed on Sunday, a rebel source said.

"The regime movements seek to besiege Idlib province with the help of Shi'ite militias fighting with them," said Colonel Mustafa Bakour, a commander in the Jaish al Izza rebel faction.

Tahrir al Sham, which is spearheaded by the former al Qaeda branch in Syria, is the main rebel force in the province, raising fears among civilians and rebels alike that Moscow and the Syrian army and its allies would soon turn it into a major battlefield.

The strategically located province that borders Turkey is part of the Russian-led de-escalation zones that seek to shore up ceasefires in western Syria.

Idlib has been a haven for tens of thousands of rebels and civilians who were forced to abandon their homes in other parts of western Syria that the government and its foreign military allies have recaptured from rebels.

It has already been the target of intensive strikes by the Russia and Syrian air forces in the past year that have killed thousands of civilians and destroyed hospitals and civil defense centers.

Tahrir al Sham also repelled simultaneously an offensive by Islamic State militants who have been for the last few weeks pushing into the opposition-controlled territory to extend a small enclave they have in that area, among the few they retain across Syria.

The ultra hardline militants also seized a string of villages that brought them within kilometres of Idlib province.

The Russian and Syrian army advance towards Idlib is also piling pressure on Turkey which had since October begun a major military deployment in the province it considers within its sphere of influence.

Ankara's intervention seeks to rein in Russian strikes and prevent Idlib from facing a similar fate to Mosul or Aleppo, according to a senior rebel commander briefed on Turkish policy.]]>
12/11/2017 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[bags of bullets found near xmas market not linked to terrorism]]>
Asked about a possible link with terrorism, a police spokesman said: "Not at all."

"Ammunition is always being found in Berlin," he added. "Somebody was probably clearing their cellar out and found something from their grandfather."

Germany is on high alert for militant attacks, nearly a year after a Tunisian Islamist rammed a hijacked truck into a Christmas market in central Berlin, killing 11 people as well as the driver. Earlier this month, experts made safe a device filled with nails that was delivered to a pharmacy near a Christmas market in the German city of Potsdam near Berlin.]]>
12/11/2017 4:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt Today's world news brief]]>
Middle East

Egypt’s Bar Association protests against Trump’s decision

Egyptian lawyers

held on Sunday a protest outside the Bar Association headquarters in downtown Cairo announcing their refusal of U.S.
President Donald Trump’s decision of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

34785
Egyptian lawyers chant slogans during a protest outside the Bar Association headquarters in downtown Cairo on December 10, 2017/AFP/MOHAMED EL-SHAHED



What to expect during Putin’s visit to Egypt

In light of Russian President

Vladimir Putin’s

visit to Cairo which is scheduled to begin on Monday, many issues are expected to be discussed between the Russian president and his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

34820
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (2nd R) and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L) visit the Laura Cross-country Ski and Biathlon Center in Sochi, August 12, 2014. REUTERS/Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin



Sisi, Abbas to hold summit on Monday in Cairo

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi invited his Palestinian counterpart President

Mahmoud Abbas

to hold a consultative bilateral summit in Cairo on Monday, Presidency spokesperson Bassam Radi said on Sunday.

34796
Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi meets with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas – Press Photo



23 Houthis killed in clashes with legitimate forces in Yemen

As many as 23

Houthis

were killed while 17 others were injured in clashes with the legitimate forces in western Yemen, Sky News reported on Sunday with no more details.

34810
23 Houthis killed in clashes with legitimate forces in Yemen - FILE PHOTO



Iraq holds victory parade after defeating Islamic State

An

Iraqi

military parade in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone celebrated final victory over Islamic State on Sunday, with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi looking on as troops marched in formation, their bodies spelling "victory day" in Arabic.

34806
Tanks of Iraqi army are seen during an Iraqi military parade in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, Iraq December 10, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer



Palestinian stabs Israeli in Jerusalem

A

Palestinian

stabbed an Israeli security guard at Jerusalem's main bus station on Sunday, police said, and violence flared near the U.S. Embassy in Beirut over U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

34814
A Palestinian kicks a burning tire during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, near the West Bank city of Ramallah Decemb



United States

American-Russian collision over Syria ascends

The friction between the

United States

and Russia over Syria becomes more intense this week as each attempt to attain higher credit for defeating the Islamic State (IS). The two also blame one another for the unsafe encounters in airspace.

34780
Damaged buildings and debris in Deir al-Zor, June 13, 2013.Picture taken June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi



Whit House slams Palestinians over rejecting Pence's meeting

The

White House

said on Sunday it was "unfortunate" that Palestinians were declining to meet with Vice President Mike Pence during an upcoming trip to the region in the aftermath of President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

34803
Vice President Mike Pence stands behind as President Donald Trump holds up the proclamation he signed that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move its embassy there, during an address from the White House in Washingto



N. Korea slams US over growing talk of maritime blockade

North Korea

lashed out at the United States on Sunday over the possible use of a naval blockade in the wake of its recent missile provocation, warning that it would consider such a move as a "declaration of war," South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

34819
Rex Tillerson testifies during a confirmation hearing. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque



Europe

No place for anti-Semitism in Germany

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said there was no place for

anti-Semitism

in Germany after demonstrators angered by U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel burned Israeli flags in Berlin.

34793
A protester reacts during the demonstration outside the U.S. embassy against President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital in Berlin, Germany December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt



Pope prays for nuclear disarmament

Pope Francis

on Sunday called on world leaders to work in favour of nuclear disarmament to protect human rights, particularly those of weaker and underprivileged people.

26362
Pope Francis will visit Myanmar and Bangladesh in late November - AFP



France's conservatives choose leader to rattle Macron's perch

In his first seven months in office, President

Emmanuel Macron

has faced little opposition. But come Sunday, the once-dominant Republicans elect a new leader they hope might recover the party's voice.

31396
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during the COP23 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, November 15, 2017 - REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay



PM will 'stand up' for Australia after China criticism

Prime Minister

Malcolm Turnbull

has said he will "stand up" for Australia, brushing aside Chinese criticism of new foreign interference laws as fears rise of overseas meddling in domestic institutions.

34718
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, seen here with Chinese President Xi Jinping, told Beijing he was merely defending Australian interests after a row over alleged foreign interference - AFP
]]>
12/11/2017 2:24:48 AM
<![CDATA[Uber heads to court in fight for London survival]]>
Regulator Transport for London (TfL) shocked the Silicon Valley firm by rejecting its licence renewal bid in September, citing its approach to reporting serious criminal offences and background checks on drivers.

Uber's 40,000 drivers, representing around one in three of all private hire vehicles on the British capital's roads, can continue to take passengers until the appeals process is exhausted, which could take years.

The legal battle pitches one of the world's richest cities against a tech giant known for its forays into new markets around the world that have prompted bans, restrictions and protests, including by drivers of London's famous black cabs.

Uber's lawyers will begin their appeal at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday, in what is expected to be a largely administrative hearing designed to set a date for a fuller hearing next year.

Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi has apologised to Londoners and met TfL Commissioner Mike Brown in October for what both sides described as constructive talks.

Brown told Reuters in November that "there are some discussions going on to make sure they are compliant."

Months of legal wrangling are likely unless the Silicon Valley app, valued at around $70 billion with investors including Goldman Sachs, can come to a new arrangement with the regulator.

"We continue having constructive discussions with Transport for London in order to resolve this," an Uber spokesman said ahead of the hearing. "As our new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has said, we are determined to make things right."

Losing its London licence was just one of many blows to Uber this year as a stream of executives left amid controversies involving allegations of sexual harassment and issues surrounding data privacy and business practices.

In Britain, Uber is looking to appoint a new boss after Jo Bertram announced her departure less than two weeks after London's decision.

It also faces potential problems in the northern English city of Sheffield where its licence has been suspended and in Brighton, southern England, where local officials extended the firm's licence for only six months to give them more time to consider the outcome of the dispute in London. ]]>
12/11/2017 2:06:20 AM
<![CDATA[California wildfire rages toward scenic coastal communities]]>
Authorities ordered residents in parts of Carpinteria and Montecito to leave early on Sunday as the Thomas Fire edged closer to Santa Barbara, about 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Los Angeles on the scenic central California coast.

The blaze, the worst of six major fires in Southern California in the last week and already the 10th largest on record in the state since 1932, has blackened 173,000 acres (62,726 hectares), destroyed hundreds of structures and left nearly 90,000 homes and businesses without power.

The combination of Santa Ana winds and rugged terrain in the mountains that run through Santa Barbara and Ventura counties have hampered firefighting efforts, and officials said the Thomas Fire was only 15 percent contained on Sunday.

The National Weather Service said winds of up to 55 miles (88 km) per hour were expected on Sunday evening, up from gusts of 40 miles per hour on Saturday.

The fires burning across Southern California have forced the evacuation of some 200,000 people and destroyed nearly 800 structures.

Among them are residents of Montecito, one of the state's wealthiest communities and home to such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey.

Emmy Leikin, an Emmy-winning songwriter who was ordered to evacuate her Montecito home at 9 a.m. on Sunday, said she fled with only her cell phone, medication, eyeglasses and a few apples.

Leikin, 74, said she doesn't know the condition of her home and belongings but "none of that means anything when it is your safety."

WORST IN A DECADE

The fires that began last Monday night collectively amounted to one of the worst conflagrations across Southern California in the last decade. They have, however, been far less deadly than the blazes in Northern California's wine country in October that killed over 40.

In the last week, only one death has been reported, a 70-year-old woman who died Wednesday in a car accident as she attempted to flee the flames in Ventura County. Scores of horses have died, including at least 46 at a thoroughbred training facility in San Diego county.

Residents and firefighters alike have been alarmed by the speed with which the fires spread, reaching into the heart of cities like Ventura.

At the Ventura County Fairgrounds, evacuees slept in makeshift beds while rescued horses were sheltered in stables. Peggy Scissons, 78, arrived at the shelter with her dog last Wednesday, after residents of her mobile home park were forced to leave. She has not yet found out whether her home is standing.

"I don't know what's gonna happen next or whether I'll be able to go home," she said. "It would be one thing if I were 40 or 50, but I'm 78. What the heck do I do?"

James Brown, 57, who retired from Washington State's forestry service and has lived in Ventura for a year, was forced to leave his house along with his wife last week because both have breathing problems.

"We knew a fire was coming, but we didn't know it would be this bad," said Brown, who is in a wheelchair.

Some of the other fires, in San Diego and Los Angeles counties, have been largely controlled by the thousands of firefighters on the ground this week.

Both the Creek and Rye fires in Los Angeles County were 90 percent contained by Sunday morning, officials said, while the Skirball Fire in Los Angeles' posh Bel Air neighborhood was 75 percent contained.

North of San Diego, the 4,100-acre (1,659 hectare) Lilac Fire was 60 percent contained by Sunday.

Governor Jerry Brown, who surveyed the devastation in Ventura on Saturday, said the outbreak of December fires may be "the new normal" for the state, saying global warming was exacerbating drought conditions.]]>
12/11/2017 1:56:50 AM
<![CDATA[UAE, UK FMs meet on joint cooperation, regional developments]]>
The meeting also tackled the latest regional and international issues of common concern, the UAE's WAM news agency reported.

Sheikh Abdullah lauded bilateral relations between the two countries.

He emphasized his country's keenness on boosting joint cooperation in various fields.

For his part, Johnson underlined the depth of strategic relations between the two countries and his country's keenness on enhancing bilateral cooperation, praising the UAE's status at the regional and international levels in the light of the development process enjoyed by the country at various levels.]]>
12/11/2017 1:54:27 AM
<![CDATA[Yemen FM: Hopes for peaceful solution in Yemen ]]>
“The road to peace is better than the road to war,” he said, adding that the Yemeni legitimate government will always be ready for reaching peace according to the three terms of reference namely the outcome of the Gulf initiative, the outcome of national dialogue, and the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.

He added that hopes for a peaceful solution were fading after Houthis assassinated former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. ]]>
12/11/2017 1:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[N. Korea slams US over growing talk of maritime blockade]]>
The condemnation came after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently mentioned the "right to interdict maritime traffic transporting goods" to and from the North after its Nov. 29 test of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking anywhere on the US mainland.

"We will regard the naval blockade of the United States and its followers as an act of violence against the sacred sovereignty and dignity of the Republic of Korea and as another public declaration of war," the Rodong Sinmun, North Korea's ruling communist party newspaper, said in a commentary.

The paper added, "If we see a small movement to put the maritime containment into practice, we must be prepared to follow our immediate and ruthless self-defensive response." ]]>
12/10/2017 10:55:12 PM