<![CDATA[rss-News]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[News]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Trump says he will not 'enrich' insurance companies]]>
Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, who reached the agreement with Democratic Senator Patty Murray, said earlier that Trump had "completely engineered" the proposal.]]>
10/18/2017 6:40:31 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt concerned over delay in studies on Renaissance Dam]]>
“Egypt is committed to a tripartite joint cooperation agreement in Khartoum on March 23, 2015, between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to facilitate all measures necessary for ending the study,” stressed Abdel-Ati.

Abdel-Ati stressed that more commitments and pledges should be made to end the study assessing the hydrological, environmental, and economic impact of the mega project on the downstream countries.

“We face a difficult situation as we sign a contract with consultant firms in September 2016 to conduct studies, but we have not agreed on the preliminary report of the consultant firm yet,” noted Abdel-Ati.

The negotiation in the two previous meetings held in May and September failed due to unresolved points in Ethiopia’s plan to build the first stage of the dam. Consequently, Egypt called for signing a fixed timetable to implement the clauses of the contract and to prevent further delays in the studies.

During his speech, Abdel-Ati thanked Ethiopia for organizing a visit to the construction area of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam; adding that endorsing the preliminary report will help specialists finish the studies.

“Today’s meeting proves the three states’ good intentions in solving any disagreements and helping the consultants implement the measures needed to end the study,” Abdel-Ati stated; hoping that these meetings will bear fruitful results as they are held in critical moments.

Since the beginning of the dam's construction in 2011, the upstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, opposed the technical studies of the dam as it would decrease their share in the Nile water resources by 55.5 billion cubic meters and 18.5 billion cubic meters respectively.

However, Ethiopia denies that other downstream countries will be adversely affected by the dam and the prospect of war was raised in 2013 and 2014.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi signed a tripartite joint cooperation agreement in Khartoum on March 23, 2015, between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. The three countries held 14 rounds of consultation on resolving the disputes over the Renaissance Dam. However, these rounds failed to solve the dispute.

Consequently, the Nile Basin countries asked the French firm Artelia Group to join the French consulting group BRL Ingénierie in 2016, while they study the documents of the dam’s construction; assessing the hydrological, environmental, and economic impact of the mega project on the downstream countries.]]>
10/18/2017 5:40:37 PM
<![CDATA[Government passes new traffic law]]>
This law is expected to contribute to reducing the frequency of fatal accidents, avoiding traffic errors in large cities, and extending penalties for violations of the law.

The new law suggests establishing a points system. The license holder will be given 30 points. With each violation, he/she loses a point or more.

When all points are deducted, the driver’s license is suspended for 30 days. To get the license back, the driver must enroll in an accredited driving school to learn more about the traffic laws.

Upon exceeding the speed limit, there are four penalties depending on the travelled distance. The maximum fine is LE 500 ($28), and the driver would lose 2-5 points as a penalty.

In case of using speed camera detectors, the driver loses 5 points as a penalty, in addition to the fine.

All drivers will be exposed to a substance abuse detection test before taking the driving license. If the driver is proved that he is a drug user, he will be deprived from the license permanently, according to a security source.

He added that the drivers must pass a training course to learn the basics of safe driving in one of the driving schools that is accredited from General Directorate of Traffic.]]>
10/18/2017 5:38:34 PM
<![CDATA[Top 5 rumors the government denied this week ]]>
1. No VAT increase
The Ministry of Finance confirmed that the value added tax will not exceed the applied rate of 14 percent. It aims to attract more local and foreign investments and raise the economic growth rates to six percent within five to seven years from 2018-2019 fiscal years. The ministry also referred to Egypt’s strong financial position and the many measures taken to facilitate the arrival of international investors.

2. Income tax law will not be amended
The ministry will not amend the income tax law for the current fiscal year. Its talks with the delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will only review the measures taken to implement the economic reform project; denying rumors circulating around the IMF’s request for imposing progressive taxes.

3. Government tests employees competency, but doesn’t plan on firing them
The government has no intention to lay off state employees after conducting tests to assess their competence, head of the Central Agency for Organization and Administration Mohamed Jamil said. The evaluation aims only to set up plans for training programs necessary for the needs of employees, Jamil added.

4. Blood-derived medication has not be withdrawn
Blood-derived medicine and medical solutions are available in markets; denying any rumors about their disappearance from markets, the Ministry of Health declared.

5. Salamlik palace will be restored
As for the Ministry of Antiquities, Salamlik palace in Alexandria will not be demolished; instead, the palace will be renovated to maintain its historic style.]]>
10/18/2017 5:06:26 PM
<![CDATA[British website suggests other countries to host 2022 World Cup]]>
According to the opposition website Qatarileaks, this suggestion comes due to rising doubts over Qatar’s right to host the competition amid several accusations of corruption and bribery that followed well-known Qatari figures regarding the broadcasting and organizing rights of the event.

The list of suggested countries includes USA, Australia, England, China, Germany, and South Korea.





On October 12, the Swiss prosecutors opened a criminal investigation with the Qatari businessman, President of Paris Saint-Germain, and head of beIN Sports network Nasser al-Khelaifi.

Questioning Khelaifi came as a result of the former FIFA Secretary-General, Jerome Valcke’s investigation findings regarding accusations of taking advantage of his position to give the broadcasting rights of the FIFA championship to specific organizations.
]]>
10/18/2017 4:12:03 PM
<![CDATA[Thousands in Somali capital march in defiance after attack]]>
The officials said two people have been arrested, ABC News reported.

Wearing red headbands, the crowd of mostly young men and women marched through Mogadishu amid tight security.

They answered a call to unity by Mayor Thabit Abdi, who said "we must liberate this city which is awash with graves."

Some in Somalia have called the bombing their 9/11, while asking why one of the world's deadliest attacks in years hasn't drawn the kind of global attention given to extremist assaults elsewhere.

Another nearly 400 were wounded. Scores remain missing.
]]>
10/18/2017 3:49:51 PM
<![CDATA[Angry protesters storm Iraqi embassy building in Canada’s Ottawa]]>
Those demonstrators stormed the embassy’s front doors and assaulted one of its staff, the channel said.

On Monday, a number of people attacked the Iraqi consulate in the British city of Manchester with Molotov cocktails.

In a related context, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry expressed its resentment over the incident and called for tightening security measures around the embassy and the consulate to prevent the occurrence of such acts carried out by outlaws.]]>
10/18/2017 3:07:28 PM
<![CDATA[Ministers of Irrigation aim to reach consensus on Renaissance Dam]]>
Ministers of Water Resources and Irrigation and specialists from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia attended the meeting. They seek to push the negotiations forward especially after failing to do so in the previous two meetings in May and September due to unresolved points in Ethiopia’s plan to build the first stage of the dam.

This meeting aims to observe the technical details of the study conducted by the French consulting group BRL in March; which was undertaken to assess the hydrological, environmental, and economic impact of the mega project on the downstream countries.

The specialists from the three states clarified the terms of reference in the consultants’ studies during the meeting. The countries have agreed on the list of data required from the consultant firm to start new studies prepared by both the specialists and the consultants.

The last meeting of the technical experts of the tripartite technical committee took place in Sudan in mid-September, during which experts discussed a preliminary report about the technical methodology of the studies planned by French firms BRL and Artelia.

Since the beginning of the dam's construction in 2011, the downstream states, Egypt and Sudan, opposed the technical studies of the dam as it would decrease their share in the Nile water resources by 55.5 billion cubic meters and 18.5 billion cubic meters respectively.

However, Ethiopia denies that other downstream countries will be adversely affected by the dam and the prospect of war was raised in 2013 and 2014.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi signed a tripartite joint cooperation agreement in Khartoum on March 23, 2015, between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. The three countries held 14 rounds of consultation on resolving the disputes over the Renaissance Dam. However, these rounds failed to solve the dispute.

Consequently, the Nile Basin countries asked the French firm Artelia Group to join the French consulting group BRL Ingénierie in 2016, while they study the documents of the dam’s construction.
]]>
10/18/2017 2:39:05 PM
<![CDATA[Magnitude 6.4 quake strikes off Pacific island of Tonga: USGS]]>
There were no immediate reports of damage from the quake in a region which is regularly hit my tremors.

The quake struck 206 km (123 miles) east northeast of the Tonga capital and was a shallow 14 km deep, the USGS said.

No immediate tsunami warning was issued.

]]>
10/18/2017 2:35:04 PM
<![CDATA[119 illegal migrants rescued in Libya]]>
The migrants included 10 women and two children, spokesman for the Libyan naval forces Ayoub Qasim said.

The rescued persons, who had been about to drown, were taken to Tripoli naval base, where humanitarian and medical assistance were provided to them, he added.

]]>
10/18/2017 2:28:23 PM
<![CDATA[Pope Francis deplores Mogadishu terror attack]]>
“This terrorist act , he said during the weekly general audience, deserves to be most strongly deplored, also because it falls on a population that is already suffering deeply”.

The Pope said he is praying for the dead, for the wounded, for their families and for the whole people of Somalia.

]]>
10/18/2017 2:22:59 PM
<![CDATA[Portugal interior minister resigns after deadly wildfires]]>
Socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa accepted her resignation, his office said.

On Sunday, a series of deadly wildfires broke out in the centre and north of the country which killed 41 people and injured another 71, the civil protection agency said.

Similar huge blazes in June killed 64 people and injured 250 near the central Pedrogao Grande region, in what were the deadliest wildfires in the country's history.

As the toll mounted on Monday, a small rightwing party had called for the minister to step down. Costa initially resisted the demand but by Wednesday appeared to have backed down.

After the tragedy in June, the government came under mounting criticism for failing to develop a coherent strategy to fight forest fires, which has further sharpened over its inability to prevent another devastating disaster this weekend.

On Tuesday evening, hundreds gathered in Lisbon under the pouring rain to demonstrate their anger over the government's failings, shouting "Shame!" and "Resign!" in a protest organised through Facebook.

"A hundred people are dead and nobody is taking responsibility... We need answers!" one demonstrator said on national television.

On Monday, Costa reaffirmed his pledge to prevent new tragedies by carrying out "fundamental reforms" in forest management and firefighting.

But a day later, conservative President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa called on the socialist government to "bear all the consequences of this tragedy".

The CDS-PP, which had called for the minister's resignation, has tabled a motion of no confidence in the government over its failure to prevent the fires, but it looks set to be easily overcome by the Socialist majority.

No date has been set for the vote.

"The Assembly needs to clarify whether or not it wishes to keep the government in place," he said, noting that if the motion failed, the government would have a more solid base from which to carry out the necessary reforms.

Portugal on Tuesday began three days of national mourning for the victims.

]]>
10/18/2017 1:50:34 PM
<![CDATA[UK PM May says preparing for all Brexit scenarios]]>
Asked in parliament whether the government was contemplating a no-deal Brexit which critics say could plunge Britain into economic uncertainty, May said: "It would be irresponsible of government not to prepare for all possible scenarios. That's exactly what we are doing."]]>
10/18/2017 1:37:47 PM
<![CDATA[BeIN Sports referred to Criminal Court over monopoly practices ]]>
The Qatari-based French-owned Lagardère Sports Agency was granted exclusive rights to broadcast the main African football competitions for the region from 2017 through to 2028 in an agreement signed with the CAF on June 15, 2015; raising questions over the transparency of the bidding process.

Instead of using the Egyptian satellite Nilesat, subscribers had to turn to satellite Sohail to watch beIn Sports during the last African cup in Gabon; causing Nilesat direct economic deficits.

Earlier in July, CNE announced in an official statement that they are reviewing their contracts with beIN Sports Qatari Network, which buys the copyrights of sports events.

The president of ECA Mona El-Garf confirmed that the ECA proceeded with legal actions after a number of complaints were delivered by broadcasting company owners; stating that the CAF refused their requests to do business.

She further stressed that such monopolization manipulates the Egyptian citizen and puts him/her at the company’s mercy; adding that they force the citizen to pay hefty fees to watch his favorite short-lived competition.
]]>
10/18/2017 1:34:42 PM
<![CDATA[Pakistani Taliban claims responsibility for Quetta attack]]>
A car bomb attack struck a Pakistani police truck in the southwestern city of Quetta, killing at least five policemen and two civilians.

Police chief in Quetta Abdur Razzaq Cheema said 24 people were also wounded, several critically.

]]>
10/18/2017 1:33:19 PM
<![CDATA[UAE decries terrorist attack in Afghanistan]]>
The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a statement, the UAE Foreign Ministry reiterated the UAE's firm stand rejecting all forms of terrorism, stressing the necessity of coordinating among world countries and mobilizing efforts to eradicate terrorism that threatens international peace and security.

Earlier, Afghan Deputy Interior Minister Morad Ali Morad said that 41 people were killed and 158 others were wounded in Gardiz bombing.]]>
10/18/2017 1:31:16 PM
<![CDATA[29 people killed, injured in Pakistan's Quetta]]>
Talking to the media, Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti said: "Such cowardly attacks cannot weaken our resolve to eliminate the menace of terrorism".

He said a team of forensic expert will would arrive in Quetta on Thursday to gather evidence from the blast site.

A truck of the Elite Force carrying 30 policemen was targeted in the blast in the second attack on police in six days.

The dead and injured were shifted to the Civil Hospital.

Television broadcast images of the burned-out remains of the truck the police were riding in.

Balochistan Governor and Chief Minister have condemned the blast.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also condemned the attack and prayed for the recovery of the injured.

]]>
10/18/2017 1:10:44 PM
<![CDATA[Ukraine protesters set up tent camp outside parliament]]>
Tuesday's rally in Kiev involved nearly 5,000 people and saw a call by former Georgian leader and current Ukrainian opposition party chief Mikheil Saakashvili for President Petro Poroshenko to quit.

The activists also set up several dozen tents in a park and street that run alongside the parliament -- a signal that they intended to stay put until their demands were met.

An AFP reporter saw several hundred protesters drinking tea and chatting outside parliament on Wednesday watched by large numbers of police.

But both the national police chief Sergiy Knyazev and Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said they had no intention of touching the tents.

Lutsenko called the right to protest "one of the main achievements" of the February 2014 pro-EU revolution that toppled Kiev's Kremlin-backed regime and pulled Ukraine out of Russia's historic orbit.

Large city camps featured prominently during that revolt as well as one in 2004 that forced the authorities to annul the results of a disputed election won by the Kremlin-backed candidate.

The protesters have issued three major demands for President Petro Poroshenko and his government.

They include stripping lawmakers of immunity from prosecution and launching an anti-corruption court that Kiev's lenders at the IMF have said would be a "benchmark" of Ukraine's progress toward Western standards.

A third called for changes to the electoral system that would help independent lawmakers gain seats.

Poroshenko appeared to respond to the mounting political pressure by introducing a bill on Tuesday that would eliminate lawmakers' immunity starting in 2020.

But protest organisers dismissed that as a token gesture that needlessly delayed the long-promised change.

Ukrainian parliament speaker Andriy Parubiy said lawmakers would debate the immunity and election law issues on Thursday.

]]>
10/18/2017 1:06:59 PM
<![CDATA[Turkey's visa crisis with the US is unnecessary: Turkish minister]]>
Speaking at a joint news conference with his Portuguese counterpart, Cavusoglu said it was not right to punish people unrelated to the tension.

]]>
10/18/2017 1:04:12 PM
<![CDATA[Final vote set for France's new anti-terror law]]>
The final vote on the legislation is to be made in the upper house Senate after the lower house National Assembly overwhelmingly approved it last week.

The new anti-terror law is designed to put an end to France's two-year state of emergency in place since attacks in November 2015 by making many of the measures permanent.

The vote will coincide with a major security speech by 39-year-old Macron at the presidential palace where he is expected to outline his plans to increase resources for police and the intelligence services.

"The idea is to adapt to the worries of citizens and define the organisations and the types of interventions needed," a source in the presidential palace told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Macron, who was elected in May, is expected to flesh out his campaign pledges to create new local police forces, a new executive intelligence unit in the president's office, and on-the-spot fines for small offences.

France has been hit by a series of attacks since 2015 by Islamic extremists that have left more than 200 people dead.

The new anti-terror legislation has encountered little resistance from a public traumatised by a string of jihadist attacks, despite criticism it will undermine civil liberties.

A recent poll found 57 percent of the French were in favour.

- The right balance? -

The draft, once signed into law by Macron, will enable authorities to confine suspected jihadist sympathisers to their neighbourhoods, close places of worship accused of condoning terror and carry out more on-the-spot identity checks -- all without the prior approval of a judge.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb has said the law strikes the right balance between security and individual freedoms.

France has progressively tightened its legal arsenal to tackle terror threats, passing around 15 different laws since 1986.

Rights groups oppose the new legislation, with Human Rights Watch calling it a "normalisation of emergency powers".

UN experts also raised objections in a letter to the French government last month.

The October 1 stabbing to death of two women in the southern port of Marseille brought to 241 the number of people killed in attacks claimed by, or attributed to, jihadists since January 2015.

French anti-terror police also arrested 10 people on Tuesday over a suspected right-wing extremist plot to target mosques and politicians, including a government spokesman, a source close to the investigation told AFP.

The government says it has helped foil 12 planned attacks so far this year.

]]>
10/18/2017 12:46:17 PM
<![CDATA[Gowind Corvette Fateh, Type 209 submarine arrive in Egypt]]>
The frigate Al-Fateh carried out its mission upon joining the Egyptian army by shooting live ammunition in the domain of the Alexandria naval base, showcasing an excellent level of competency.

According to a military source, both additions are scheduled to join in the Egyptian army’s “Zat al-Sawari 2017” military operations that will be held during the celebrations of the 44th anniversary of the October war.

The Gowind corvette is 102 meters in length and 16 meters in width. It can go as fast as 25 knots with a range of 3,700 nautical miles at 15 knots. It can carry air-defense, anti-ship missiles and torpedoes. Malaysia was the first country to purchase the French corvettes.

In September, the Egyptian flag was raised aboard a French-made Gowind corvette, Al-Fateh, as it joined the rank of Egyptian naval forces.

In December2016, the Egyptian flag was raised on the first Type 209 submarine received in Kiel, Germany.

First manufactured in the 1960s, the 64.4-meter-long Type 209/1400 attack submarine can sail at a speed of 21 knots (11,000 miles/20,372 kilometers per hour), is capable of submerging 500 meters deep, and can carry up to eight Torpedo tubes.

In addition, the German submarine has a "countermeasures and anti-torpedo" system, and is capable of launching Harboon missiles and planting sea mines.

The Diesel-Electric submarine can operate under and on sea surface; possessing high tech fire computers and a tube launch system which contributes to the protection of Egyptian coasts and regional waters.
]]>
10/18/2017 12:42:18 PM
<![CDATA[Second day of International Conference for Fatwa kicks off]]>
The three-day conference titled "The Role of Fatwa in Creating a Stable Society," under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi comes as a part of the state’s strategy to renew religious discourses.

The second day of the conference will discuss the "odd fatwas," and how they negatively affect the society’s stability.

Grand Imam of Azhar Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb, Egypt's Mufti Shawky Allam, Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL) Muhammad bin Abdul Karim, and the chairman of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GAIAE) in the UAE Mohammed Matar al-Kaabi Issa inaugurated the conference on Tuesday, October 17.

In his speech during the first day, Egypt’s Mufti Shawky Allam said the challenges that Egypt and the world face are due to “misleading fatwas” that threaten security and peace.

“Since the world rises up against terrorism, religious intellectuals should confront extremist thoughts too, and spread the teachings of our tolerant religion instead,” Allam added.
]]>
10/18/2017 12:08:09 PM
<![CDATA[Iraqi forces announce full control over Kirkuk]]>
In a statement, Iraqi forces restored control over the northern and southern Bai Hassan oil fields, Singar, Awainat, Bashiqa and Rabia districts as well as Mosul Dam, after the withdrawal of the Kurdish Peshmarga forces from these areas.

]]>
10/18/2017 12:06:09 PM
<![CDATA[Terrorist attacks in Egypt won't achieve their targets: Pope Tawadros II]]>
In an interview with MENA on the sidelines of ceremony at the Egyptian Embassy in Berlin, the Pope said the terrorist attacks, which aims at destabilizing Egypt's unity, are non-racial as they left causalities from the Christian and Islamic sides, pointing out that the history proved that Egypt can never be divided.

The ceremony was organized by Egyptian Ambassador in Berlin Badr Abdel Aati late Tuesday to mark the pontiff's pastoral visit.

Egypt is a preserved and holy country, as the holy family came to Egypt and remained for three years and six months, the Pope added.

Pope Tawadros criticized the bad role of the social media, as they affect negatively youths' minds. He asked the youth not to be deceived behind unreliable resources and read the history well.

He lauded the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and Vatican to bless the holy family route in Egypt, adding that the route could be the largest source of profit in Egypt and it will promote the religious tourism in Egypt.

During his visit to Germany, the Pope will participate in the meeting of Patriarchs and Bishops of the Churches of the Middle East upon invitation from the German Church. The meetings will start on Saturday to review the conditions of Middle East christians in the countries facing crises.

]]>
10/18/2017 11:57:24 AM
<![CDATA[High-level delegation heads to France ahead of Sisi’s visit]]>
According to sources in Cairo airport, the high-level presidential delegation used the senior guest’s gate to leave the airport early in the morning.

The delegation is supposed to arrange Sisi’s schedule during his visit, especially his meeting with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

The two leaders are expected to discuss the bilateral relations between their countries in all different fields.

In August, French Ambassador to Egypt Stéphane Romatet announced that President Sisi wil visit France during the fall.
]]>
10/18/2017 11:33:52 AM
<![CDATA[China vows to scrap secret interrogations of Communist Party members]]>
Cadres accused of graft and other disciplinary violations are routinely subjected to extrajudicial detention, isolation and interrogation by the party's much-feared Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).

The CCDI only hands cases over to police and judiciary for prosecution. International rights groups have raised concerns of torture, including sleep deprivation, being used to obtain confessions.

In a speech on Wednesday opening a key twice-a-decade party congress, Xi said shuanggui, which only applies to Communist Party cadres, will be replaced by "detention". Xi did not elaborate and it was not immediately clear what the distinction between the two will be.

Officially, China describes "shuanggui" as an internal disciplinary practice that requires officials under investigation "to cooperate with questioning at a designated place and a designated time".

In practice, those under investigation are routinely held incommunicado and without access to legal representation, and a number of high-profile deaths while in custody led to discussion of reforming the system as early as 2013. New trial rules released by the CCDI in January made mandatory video and sound recordings for the entire interrogation process.

"Those summoned are deprived of liberty for days, weeks, or months, during which time they are repeatedly interrogated and often tortured," a Human Rights Watch report said in 2016.

It said at least 11 people, according to media reports, had died under shuanggui since 2010.

The move to scrap the practice is part of wide-ranging legal reforms and the creation of a new National Supervisory Commission that will take over from the CCDI and merge multiple anti-graft units into a single body.

The new agency will also expand the graft campaign's purview to include employees at state-backed institutions who are not necessarily Communist Party members.

"This will ensure that supervision covers everyone in the public sector who exercises public power," Xi said.

Since coming to power in 2012, Xi's signature anti-corruption drive has jailed or otherwise punished nearly 1.4 million party members and he has emphasised the importance of improving China's rule of law architecture.

In his congress address, Xi said China would keep up with the "irreversible" momentum of the anti-corruption campaign, and announced a central leading group responsible for overseeing China's law-based governance.

"The fight against corruption has formed an overwhelming posture and strengthened in development," Xi said in the three-and-a-half-hour speech carried live across the nation on state television.]]>
10/18/2017 10:17:53 AM
<![CDATA[Seoul considers unilateral sanctions against N.Korea]]>
Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam made the remarks at a news conference in Seoul with Deputy U.S. Secretary of State John J. Sullivan and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama.]]>
10/18/2017 10:13:54 AM
<![CDATA[Spanish PM asks Catalan leader to "act sensibly"]]>
"I ask Puigdemont to act sensibly, in a balanced way, to put the interest of all citizens first," Rajoy said in parliament. ]]>
10/18/2017 10:02:00 AM
<![CDATA[Israeli occupation forces shut down, ransack media companies in WB]]>
Israeli army raided and shut down the headquarters of PalMedia and TansMedia, two media production companies, in the central West Bank city of Ramallah. The shut down provoked clashes with local residents, during which one Palestinian was injured by an Israeli rubber-coated steel round.

In Nablus, in northern West Bank, Israeli occupants ransacked the district offices of TransMedia and PalMedia and ransacked their content and equipment. Army shut down the two offices for six months under a military order.

Clashes erupted with the army in the aftermath of the raid in Nablus, during which several Palestinians were reportedly injured, medical sources said.

Israeli occupants further ransacked and shut down the district offices of PalMedia in the cities of Bethlehem and Hebron, in southern West Bank.

Also in Hebron, forces raided and ransacked the district offices of TransMedia and Quds TV. Meanwhile, the occupation forces arrested the director of TransMedia office in Hebron, Amer Jabari, and his brother, and Ismail Jabari, a cameraman.

The Israeli forces left posters stating that "incitement" was the reason for the six-month closures of the headquarters and offices of these media production companies.

Israeli authorities have long restricted Palestinian freedom of expression through censoring social media activity and imprisoning journalists, activists, poets, and novelists.

This is not the first time Israeli soldiers raid and shut down PalMedia and the other offices for alleged “incitement.” In July this year, Israeli forces raided and shut down the headquarters of PalMedia in Ramallah.]]>
10/18/2017 9:58:43 AM
<![CDATA[Cabinet to discuss new traffic law Wednesday: Ismail]]>
In statements on Tuesday, Ismail said the cabinet will review the unified building bylaw next week, which aims at maintaining state property.

Speaking about his meetings with the education minister, Ismail said such meetings come as part of the periodic follow-up of the educational process in Egypt.

The government seeks to build 53,000 classrooms next year after setting up 25,000 classrooms this year, the premier said. ]]>
10/18/2017 2:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[VIDEO: CityAirbus aims to address traffic congestion]]>
Through this project, the company aims at accelerating technological developments and public awareness of new Urban Air Mobility (UAM) transport modes.

CityAirbus is an electrically-powered Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) air vehicle demonstrator for point-to-point transportation; according to Airbus, it is the concept of the air taxi of the future.

The multi-propeller platform is capable of carrying up to four passengers, and will initially be operated by a pilot for certification and market entry purposes

In time, CityAirbus is intended to be fully autonomous and self-piloted, once regulations are in place; it is developed for a low environmental footprint, cost-efficiency and high volume production.

The development will take place in two locations; namely Airbus Helicopters’ Donauwörth facility for the overall system and Ottobrunn/Munich for the electrical propulsion. Airbus has also launched a set of Air Mobility initiatives such as Skyways, Vahana and Voom.


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10/18/2017 2:03:47 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian-UK prosecutor training program launched]]>
In a statement by the UK Embassy in Cairo, it said that the workshops will build the capacity of criminal justice authorities in Egypt, to effectively prevent, investigate, prosecute and adjudicate cases of migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons.

The UK Deputy Head of Mission attended the event alongside Ambassador Naela Gabr, Chairperson of the National Committee for Preventing and Combating Illegal Migration and Trafficking in Persons (NCCPIM & TIP), Counsellor Kamel Samir, the Director of the International Cooperation and Human Rights Division of the Prosecutor General’s Office and Ms. Cristina Albertin, UNODC Regional Representative for the Middle East and the North Africa.

Winterton said "last year an estimated 5000 people died trying to cross the Mediterranean in boats. The UK commends the strong action taken by the Egyptian government to implement new anti-smuggling legislation and prevent departures from the north coast."

"We are pleased to support the Egyptian Government’s work by providing EGP 75.9m to deliver a range of migration projects in Egypt, including these UNODC workshops and other activities.", she added.

"The UK is committed to working with Egypt and other international partners across the region to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable people. Next year we will be implementing a £75 million regional project to support vulnerable migrants and refugees.", she noted. ]]>
10/18/2017 1:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Kuwait support female candidate for IPU]]>
The said approval aligned with the conditions the Arab Group set; atop of which is standardizing Arabic as the official and main language of the Union. The conditions further included that the Union's next presidency will prioritize Arab issues.

"The coordination and arrangement to support one of the presidential candidates was held after a meeting between me and the speaker of the Egyptian parliament, Ali Abdel-Aal, on behalf of the Arab Group with the presence of the candidates from Mexico and Uruguay," Ghanim said. Ghanim’s statement came in a press statement at the 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union conference, which was held in the Russian city; Saint Petersburg.

"We made clear promises during an open meeting. We wish the female candidate we support as an Arab group success in the elections," said Ghanim. The conference prioritized all major Arab issues starting with the Palestinian issue; which was discussed with the two candidates.

In terms of other sensitive issues discussed, Ghanim added, "Today we have completed discussing an emergency; that is, the Rohingya Crisis. The wording of a draft policy, which was originally submitted by the Kuwaiti parliament and stands as an object of pride for us and for the Arab geopolitical group, was unanimously approved."


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10/18/2017 1:35:12 AM
<![CDATA[Non-Kuwaitis to join army after law amendments]]>
Head of the Committee, Askar al-Anzy, said in statements to media outlets that a memorandum signed by 10 parliamentarians is going to be discussed to determine the specific nationalities that will be permitted to join.

According to Al-Anba Kuwaiti newspaper, this step should end the ‘bedoons’ problem in Kuwait regarding joining the army. In his statements, Anzy described the new amendments as “comprehensive enough” to accept every one regarding their social classification.

‘Bedoons’ are a group of stateless people, based mainly in the Gulf region as most governments label them as “illegal immigrants,” especially in Kuwait.
]]>
10/17/2017 10:39:39 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi holds phone talks with King Abdullah II of Jordan]]>
According to a statement by the presidency, the two leaders discussed the latest developments in the Palestinian reconciliation file.

King Abdullah II renewed his country’s support to Cairo’s efforts to bring the Palestinian rivals together.

They also asserted keenness to coordinate efforts and exchange views on a number of regional files, according to the statement.

The President and the King highlighted strong relations, the statement said, adding they are keen on boosting cooperation to meet the aspirations of the peoples of both countries. ]]>
10/17/2017 10:37:59 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi discusses ME peace with head of World Jewish Congress]]>
The meeting was held in the presence of Head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service Khaled Fawzi and Counselor for the Head of the World Jewish Congress, Tha’er Moqbel, according to a statement by the Egyptian presidency.

“The president stressed Egypt’s eagerness to pursue communication with all sects of the American community, in order to enhance and develop common stances to confront regional challenges,” the statement read.

Sisi further pointed out Egypt’s ongoing efforts to reach political solutions for regional crises, underlining a necessity to coordinate with the United States and gather international support, which will contribute to the stability of the Middle East.

Lauder praised the strength of the strategic relations between Egypt and the U.S. in all fields, expressing his appreciation for Egyptian efforts in regional crises and in combating the threat of terrorism, while working to achieve a comprehensive economic revival.

President of the World Jewish Congress also underlined the positive developments Egypt has witnessed, “which point out that the Economy is regaining its status,” the statement read.

On his part, Sisi affirmed Egypt’s eagerness to realize the Palestinian reconciliation, an essential step in reviving the negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides and reaching a fair and comprehensive solution.

The meeting is the third encounter between Lauder and Sisi this year.

During his visit to Washington in April, the president had also met with Jewish organizational officials, days after his meeting with US president Donald Trump.

In February 2015, Sisi met with a delegation of 37 American Jewish leaders, and he had received another delegation of the American Jewish Committee, headed by Stanley Bergman, a year earlier. In both encounters, the president stressed on the urgency of coordinating international efforts to fight terrorism in the Middle East, and referred to the importance of a peaceful resolution of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, in order to realize peace in the region.

The delegations members and the president had also emphasized the strategic relations between Egypt and the United States.]]>
10/17/2017 10:37:01 PM
<![CDATA[UK to pump LE75m projects in Egypt to curb illegal migration]]>
The decision was announced by British Deputy Head of Mission Helen Winterton as he was attending the opening ceremony for a set of training workshops funded by the UK in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The main goal for the workshops is to strengthen the capacity of Egyptian prosecutors to investigate and prosecute migrant smuggling and people trafficking.

The workshop aims at developing the capacity of criminal justice authorities in Egypt, to effectively prevent, investigate, prosecute and adjudicate cases of migrant smuggling and trafficking.

“Last year an estimated 5000 people died trying to cross the Mediterranean in boats,” Winterton said. “The UK commends the strong action taken by the Egyptian Government to implement new anti-smuggling legislation and prevent departures from the north coast,” she added.

“We are pleased to support the Egyptian Government’s work by providing EGP 75.9m to deliver a range of migration projects in Egypt, including these UNODC workshops and other activities,” Winterton asserted. “This will assist the Egyptian.”

Winterton added that the UK is committed to working with Egypt and other international partners across the region to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable people.

The event was attended by Ambassador Naela Gabr, Chairperson of the National Committee for Preventing and Combating Illegal Migration and Trafficking in Persons; Counsellor Kamel Samir, the Director of the International Cooperation and Human Rights Division of the Prosecutor General’s Office; and Cristina Albertin, UNODC Regional Representative for the Middle East and the North Africa.]]>
10/17/2017 9:08:25 PM
<![CDATA[Cairo Airport receives ACI award]]>
Ishak was handed the award during a general assembly meeting of the ACI council, currently held in Mauritius.

Earlier, Cairo Airport won the best 2017 air safety award in Africa for its continuous efforts to heighten the airport’s safety procedures.
]]>
10/17/2017 9:07:02 PM
<![CDATA[Cairo, London ink protocol to improve Alexandria’s students]]>
The inking ceremony was followed by the launch of the international program on learning and improving the efficiency of students at the Faculty of Medicine of Alexandria University.

The program aims to prepare 300 Egyptian doctors in various sectors as an experimental phase, Freeman said.

The UK is proud of being Egypt's main partner in the field of foreign investments and is working hard to boost its partnership with Cairo and support its economy in a way that meets the Egyptian people's aspirations, she noted.

The ceremony was attended by President of Alexandria University Essam el Kordy and director of Pearson Egypt Ahmed Ismail.]]>
10/17/2017 8:44:45 PM
<![CDATA[Two Emirati pilots die during operation in Yemen ]]>
The two pilots were on a mission in Yemen as part of the Arabian alliance forces led by Saudi Arabia, the statement reported.

The Emirati Armed Forces offered their condolences to the pilots’ families.

Arabian alliance forces started conducting military operations in Yemen since March 2015; per Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi’s request to face the Houthis’ armed group.


]]>
10/17/2017 8:37:01 PM
<![CDATA[Ministers of Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia inspect Renaissance Dam ]]>
The ministers and the members of the technical committee listened to the project manager give an overview of the constructions at the right and left sides of the dam.

The manager stressed on Ethiopia’s eagerness to secure its needs from energy and push for economic development while fulfilling the interests of the Nile Basin countries.

This visit aims to follow up on the studies recommended by the International Panel of Experts regarding the effects of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile Basin States.

Since the beginning of the dam's construction in 2011, the upstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, opposed the technical studies of the dam as it would decrease their share in the Nile water resources by 55.5 billion cubic meters and 18.5 billion cubic meters respectively.

However, Ethiopia denies that other downstream countries will be adversely affected by the dam and the prospect of war was raised in 2013 and 2014.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi signed a tripartite joint cooperation agreement in Khartoum on March 23, 2015, between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. The three countries held 14 rounds of consultation on resolving the disputes over the Renaissance Dam. However, these rounds failed to solve the dispute.

Consequently, the Nile Basin countries asked the French firm Artelia Group to join the French consulting group BRL Ingénierie in 2016, while they study the documents of the dam’s construction; assessing the hydrological, environmental, and economic impact of the mega project on the downstream countries. ]]>
10/17/2017 8:24:15 PM
<![CDATA[Argentina judges seek detention of Fernandez ally]]>
The request to detain former planning minister and current lawmaker Julio De Vido comes five days before the country's parliamentary elections in which Fernandez is seeking a Senate seat.

De Vido, who as planning minister was in charge of running energy infrastructure projects, is under investigation in a case involving the Patagonian coal mine Rio Turbio, which prosecutors say is underproducing despite receiving multi-million dollar investments from the state.

Reuters was not able to reach De Vido for comment. In July, he gave an interview to a radio station in which he denied any wrongdoing in the case.

In an official ruling, the judges said De Vido should be jailed because of the risk of him fleeing or interfering with the case.

"His imprisonment is the only viable alternative for ensuring the success of the investigation," the ruling said.

De Vido cannot be arrested unless Congress agrees to strip him of his parliamentary immunity. Past efforts to strip lawmakers of parliamentary immunity have mostly proved futile in Argentina.

Fernandez, who governed the country from 2007 to 2015, remains the main force of opposition to center-right President Mauricio Macri. Polls show her coming a close second ahead of an Oct. 22 Senate race in Argentina's largest province of Buenos Aires, behind Macri's preferred candidate.

That result would still guarantee her a Senate seat and immunity from arrest, but is seen lessening her chances of making a new run for the presidency in 2019.

The former president's time in office has been peppered with corruption accusations, some of which have involved De Vido.

Fernandez, the subject of corruption investigations herself, has acknowledged there was likely corruption during her government but denies personal involvement.]]>
10/17/2017 8:22:42 PM
<![CDATA[Trump's drug czar nominee withdraws from consideration]]>
Trump had pegged Representative Tom Marino, a Republican from Pennsylvania, to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy, as the administration faces an epidemic of opioid overdoses that is killing tens of thousands of Americans annually. The position required Senate confirmation.

Trump wrote on Twitter: "Rep. Tom Marino has informed me that he is withdrawing his name from consideration as drug czar. Tom is a fine man and a great Congressman!"

Marino worked as a federal prosecutor under Republican former President George W. Bush, was elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 and served on Trump's transition team after the Republican president was elected last November.

A spokeswoman for Marino said the congressman had no immediate comment.

Trump has been criticized for his response to the epidemic. He has yet to declare the epidemic a national emergency as he pledged to do on Aug. 10 following a recommendation by a presidential commission.

Asked about that at a news conference on Monday, Trump said he would make the declaration next week. That would boost funding, expand access to various forms of treatment and give the government more flexibility in taking steps to expedite action.

Nine months into his presidency, Trump has not named a chief for the Drug Enforcement Administration, currently headed by an acting administrator.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were responsible for more than 33,000 U.S. deaths in 2015, the latest year for which data is available. Estimates show the death rate has continued rising.

The Washington Post and the CBS program "60 Minutes" published an investigation on Sunday that showed Marino had worked to weaken federal efforts to slow the flow of opioid drugs.

The legislation championed by Marino, which was passed by Congress and signed into law last year by Democratic President Barack Obama, was the product of a drug industry quest to weaken the DEA's authority to stem the flow of painkillers to the black market.

The law made it almost impossible for the DEA to freeze suspicious narcotics shipments, according to government documents cited by the Post.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called Marino's withdrawal "the right decision," but added that "the fact that he was nominated in the first place is further evidence that when it comes to the opioid crisis, the Trump administration talks the talk, but refuses to walk the walk."

NEW INDICTMENTS

No. 2 U.S. Justice Department official Rod Rosenstein, asked about the Marino-backed law during a news conference announcing indictments against accused Chinese fentanyl traffickers, said the Trump administration will review the law.

Rosenstein said he was "not prepared to answer" whether the administration will ask Congress to repeal it.

"We are going to look into these issues ... about what tools DEA has available to it. And if we conclude they don't have the appropriate tools, then we will seek more tools," Rosenstein said.

The Justice Department announced the indictments of two major Chinese drug traffickers on charges of illegally making and selling fentanyl, a highly addictive synthetic opioid painkiller 50 times more potent than heroin, to Americans over the internet.

The department said it charged Xiaobing Yan, 40, and Jian Zhang, 38, with conspiring to distribute large quantities of fentanyl and chemically similar drugs. It said Zhang's actions led to four deaths.

It said these investigations revealed a new and disturbing facet of the opioid crisis, that fentanyl is being sent in highly pure shipments from factories in China directly to U.S. customers who buy it over the internet.

Trump's opioid commission, headed by Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, cited government data showing that since 1999 U.S. opioid overdoses have quadrupled, adding that nearly two-thirds of U.S. drug overdoses were linked to opioids such as heroin and the powerful painkillers Percocet, OxyContin and fentanyl.]]>
10/17/2017 8:02:17 PM
<![CDATA[Israel advances 1,292 settler homes, hundreds more planned]]>
The Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee also approved 296 homes to be marketed for sale in Beit El, thus fulfilling a promise that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made to the evacuees of the settlement’s illegal Ulpana outpost, which was razed in 2012.

Of the 1,292 units advanced Tuesday, 562 are located outside the so-called “settlement blocs” that Israel has vowed to retain under any future peace deal, with mutually agreed land swaps with the Palestinians. Among them were plans in the Nokdim (146 units), Rehelim (97 units), Tomer (55 units) and Maskiot (27 units) — settlements which lie deep in the West Bank.

In the Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem, 344 units were advanced for the Kfar Etzion settlement and 68 units were advanced in the Elazar settlement. In addition, plans were approved for Barkan (56 units), Nofim (170 units), Beit Aryeh (8 units) and Har Adar (10 units) — settlements that all lie west of the security barrier.

Responding to Tuesday’s approval’s the Peace Now settler watchdog said that the government has “gone wild” in approving plans “deep in the West Bank.”]]>
10/17/2017 7:59:46 PM
<![CDATA[18 injured in bomb attack on police vehicle in Turkey's Mersin]]>
Seventeen of those hurt were police officers, Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdag told parliament, branding it a terrorist attack.

"Turkey's battle against terror will continue under any circumstances in a strong and determined way," Bozdag said.

Security sources said militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) were believed to have carried out the attack. They also said that none of those wounded were in a critical condition.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Local mayor Burhanettin Kocamaz told broadcaster Haberturk the attack took place on a street where the local governor's office was located and had hit the police vehicle as it passed.

Images from NTV showed smoke billowing from the area, in Mersin's Yenisehir district. Ambulances, police and fire trucks were sent to the site of the attack, security sources said.

Turkey is battling a three-decade insurgency in its mainly Kurdish southeast. The PKK frequently carries out bomb attacks on security forces in the southeast and elsewhere.

The PKK is considered a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union as well as by Turkey. More than 40,000 people, most of them Kurds, have died since it first took up arms against the state in 1984. ]]>
10/17/2017 7:59:02 PM
<![CDATA[#MeToo sheds light on sexual harassment worldwide]]>
The movement was started by feminist and women’s rights advocate Tarana Burke over 10 years ago to show solidarity with victims of sexual assault. Burke gave voice to the victims through her [

website

].




On Sunday, actress and activist Alyssa Milano revived the “Me Too” movement by encouraging women to speak up about their sexual harassment and assault experiences in an attempt to “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”




The hashtag took over the internet and was trending on Twitter worldwide. #MeToo has almost 500,000 tweets and 1.7 million people talking about it on Facebook. The campaign inspired survivors to share their stories online in order to empower other women to tell their stories.



The Egyptian government has deemed sexual harassment a crime under the Egyptian Penal Code with penalties ranging from six months to five years in jail, and a fine up to LE 50,000.
]]>
10/17/2017 7:42:08 PM
<![CDATA[Kurds abandon territory in the face of Iraq government advance]]>
In the second day of a lightning government advance to take back towns and countryside from forces of the Kurdish autonomous region, Kurdish troops known as Peshmerga pulled out of the long disputed Khanaqin area near the Iranian border.

Government troops took control of the last two oilfields in the vicinity of Kirkuk, an oil city of 1 million people which the Peshmerga abandoned the previous day in the face of the government forces' advance. A Yazidi group allied to Baghdad also took control of the town of Sinjar.

Baghdad's military operation has redrawn the map of northern Iraq, rolling back gains by the Kurds who infuriated Baghdad last month by holding a referendum on independence.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday the referendum "is finished and has become a thing of the past". Addressing a news conference in Baghdad, he called for a dialogue with Kurdish leaders "under the constitution".

Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani said the vote for independence "won't be in vain". He did not call for dialogue, but added, "Kurds have always been against waging wars and have worked in pursuit of peace."

The KRG governs three mountainous northern provinces making up the autonomous region. It has also held a wide crescent of additional territory in northern Iraq, much of which they seized after helping drive out Islamic State militants since 2014.

Abadi ordered his troops on Monday to raise their flag over all Kurdish-held territory outside the autonomous region itself. They achieved a swift victory in Kirkuk, reaching the centre of the city in less than a day.

The fighting in one of Iraq's main oil-producing areas has helped return a risk premium to oil prices. After months of range-bound trading, benchmark Brent crude is now above $58 a barrel, up almost a third from its mid-year levels.

Oil officials in Baghdad said all the fields near Kirkuk were working normally on Tuesday after the last came under central government control. Kirkuk, situated just outside the KRG autonomous region, is the base of Iraq's Northern Oil Company, one of the two giant state energy firms that provide nearly all government revenue.

Oil minister Jabar al-Luaibi said Baghdad would now try to nearly double the output of the Kirkuk oil fields to more than 1 million barrels per day.

DILEMMA FOR WASHINGTON

The Iraqi army advances create a dilemma for Washington, which has armed and trained both sides in its successful campaign to drive Islamic State insurgents out of Iraq.

"We don't like the fact that they're clashing," U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday. "We've had for many years a very good relationship with the Kurds as you know, and we've also been on the side of Iraq."

So far most of the advances appear to have come unopposed, with Kurds withdrawing before government forces move in. There have been reports of just one serious battle, in the early hours of Monday on the outskirts of Kirkuk.

The U.S. military said on Tuesday it had received mixed accounts of the death toll in that clash, with between three and 11 combatants killed.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said the transfer of control appeared to have taken place with a minimum of fighting, with the number of wounded no higher than in the dozens. ICRC regional deputy director Patrick Hamilton told Reuters that he was concerned roads were closed, especially access to Mosul, the former Islamic State urban battlefield where hundreds of thousands of people still depend on aid.

In Kirkuk, one of Iraq's most diverse cities, members of the Turkmen ethnic group who opposed Kurdish rule celebrated on Monday, driving through the streets firing weapons in the air.

By Tuesday, the once ubiquitous green, red and white Kurdish flag with a blazing yellow sun had vanished from the streets. U.S.-trained Iraqi special forces and local police patrolled to maintain order. Markets, shops and schools were open as normal.

Some Kurdish families who had left the city on Monday were already returning home. They said thousands of Kurdish fighters in convoys formed a long queue in efforts to flee Kirkuk towards the Kurdish regional capital Erbil, clogging the road and making it difficult for civilians to leave.

TOUGH TERRITORIAL LOSS

For the Kurds, the loss of territory, particularly Kirkuk, which Kurdish folklore views as the heart of their homeland, is a severe blow just three weeks after they voted to declare the independent state that had been their goal for decades.

"Our leaders abandoned us in the middle of nowhere. Our future is dark," said retired Kirkuk teacher Malla Bakhtiyar.

He said he tried to escape on Monday but returned with his wife and sons after an Arab neighbour phoned, begging him not to leave and assuring him the city was safe.

University lecturer Salar Othman Ameen blamed the Kurdish authorities for calling the independence referendum prematurely.

"We feel broken now. The referendum was a catastrophic decision ... Our Kurdish leadership was supposed to think of the consequences before moving along with independence vote. Now we have lost what we have achieved over three decades.”

The setbacks led to recriminations among the two main Kurdish political parties - the KDP and PUK, which each control separate units of Peshmerga.

Barzani said political rivals had ordered the withdrawal of Kurdish forces from Kirkuk, and officials in his KDP accused the PUK of his long-time rival Jalal Talabani of "treason" for abandoning the city.

Talabani, who served as ceremonial Iraqi president in Baghdad from 2003 to 2014, died two weeks ago. His widow denied blame for the fall of Kirkuk and said her party had tried to avert the advance through contact with U.S. and Iraqi officials.

The advances were a second resounding triumph for Abadi, the soft-spoken Iraqi prime minister, months after his forces recaptured Mosul from Islamic State. Abadi had faced threats from Iran-backed Shi'ite armed groups to take matters into their own hands if he did not act decisively to take on the Kurds.

"If elections were held tomorrow, I would vote with 10 fingers for Abadi. He succeeded in keeping Iraq a single state," said Adel Abdul Kareem, a Baghdad lawyer.

"When Kurdish leaders were threatening Baghdad, Abadi was always smiling. We did not expect he was hiding a tornado behind this smile. He proved he was a smart leader, and with his wisdom he won against Masoud (Barzani) with a knockout in the second round."

For the Kurds, the loss of Kirkuk restores the status quo in place before they seized it in 2014, which saw their self-ruled region prosper under an Iraqi constitution that guaranteed them a fixed percentage of Iraq's total oil income.

Control of Kirkuk and its oil had made it seem more plausible for them to break away; without it, independence is problematic, since they would be financially worse off than inside Iraq with a share of its overall oil income. ]]>
10/17/2017 7:41:10 PM
<![CDATA[Trump: Cuba 'is responsible' for attacks on US personnel]]>
Though Trump's comments appeared to be a new allegation, it wasn't clear whether he meant Cuba was behind the attacks or merely shared the onus because it failed to keep Americans safe on its soil. The United States has avoided casting blame on Cuban President Raul Castro's government for the attacks that began last year and have eluded an FBI investigation.

"I do believe Cuba's responsible. I do believe that," Trump said in a Rose Garden news conference. "And it's a very unusual attack, as you know. But I do believe Cuba is responsible."

The president did not elaborate. But in a cable sent Monday to all overseas US diplomatic posts, the State Department said it has "not assigned blame to the Government of Cuba."

"We are still investigating these attacks and do not know who or what is behind them. We continue to exchange information with Cuban investigators," said the diplomatic cable. Marked "sensitive," the cable laid out the rationale for the steps the US has taken in response to the attacks, including pulling more than half its diplomats from Cuba and kicking out 15 Cuban diplomats in the United States.]]>
10/17/2017 7:39:43 PM
<![CDATA[Wrap up: First day of the International Conference for Fatwa in Egypt]]>
The three-day conference, held by General Secretariat for Fatwa Authorities Worldwide, was attended by delegations from 80 countries to face misleading fatwas and their impacts on societies.

Grand Imam of Azhar Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb, Egypt's Mufti Shawqi Allam, Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL) Muhammad bin Abdul Karim, and the chairman of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GAIAE) in the UAE Mohammed Matar al-Kaab Issa all inaugurated the conference earlier in the day.

1.Secretary_General_of_the_Muslim_World_League_(MWL)_Muhammad_bin_Abdul_Karim_gives_his_speech_during_the_international_conference_for_fatwa_Photo_by_Mohamed_Assal,_Egypt_Today
Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL) Muhammad bin Abdul Karim gives his speech during the International Conference for Fatwa. Photo by Mohamed Asal, Egypt Today
In his speech, Egypt’s Mufti Shawky Allam said that the challenges Egypt and the world are facing are due to “misleading fatwas” that threaten security and peace.

“Since the world rises up against terrorism, religious intellectuals too should confront extremist thoughts and spread the teachings of our tolerant religion instead,” Allam added.

He further noted that the conference is considered an “opportunity to achieve this goal, as the conference’s importance is not limited to discussing the issues of terrorism and extremism, but it expands to include misleading fatwas that confuse our society.”

2.Egypt’s_Mufti_Shawky_Allam_giving_his_speech_during_the_international_conference_for_Ifta_in_Cairo_Tuesday_-_Photo_by_Mohamed
Egypt’s Mufti Shawky Allam delivering his speech during the International Conference for Fatwa in Cairo Tuesday. Photo by Mohamed Asal, Egypt Today
For his part, Sheikh Abdel Latif Derian, the Grand Mufti of Lebanon stated that fatwa issuances should be in coordination with the state in order to protect human rights and put an end to any threat to the state’s safety and security.”

“We cannot address the injustice and hostile campaigns faced by Islam, and the distortion of our religion caused by misguided fatwas. However, with God on our side we can face all challenges,” stated Derian.

Derian added that a large number of Egyptian Muslims represent the modesty of Islam, thanking Al-Azhar for exerting huge efforts in achieving peace; indicating that the Arab world is at a critical stage facing violations committed against the Rohingya Muslims, and against the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.

3.The_Grand_Mufti_of_Lebanon_Sheikh_Abdellatif_Derian_–_File_Photo
The Grand Mufti of Lebanon Sheikh Abdellatif Derian – File Photo
During the opening session, the chairman of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GAIAE) in the UAE, Mohammed Matar al-Kaabi confirmed that legislations must be enacted to control fatwa, especially on TV and internet websites.

Kaabi declared during the conference that the UAE imposed strict regulations to control fatwa issuance; stressing that charters must be set on websites and TV channels to prevent them from hosting people who are unqualified to dispense religious edicts.

These charters were implemented to prevent unsuitable spiritual intellectual content from spreading, and to separate fatwas from politics.

4.Chairman_of_General_Authority_of_Islamic_Affairs_and_Endowments_(GAIAE)_in_UAE_Dr._Mohammed_Matar_al_Kaabi
Chairman of General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GAIAE) in UAE Mohammed Matar al-Kaabi – File photo
In the same context, Minister of Religious Endowments Mohammed Mokhtar Gomaa stressed, in a speech on behalf of the prime minister Sherif Ismail, the necessity of regulating fatwas to achieve stability and promote peace and coexistence.

Scholars should join forces to counter extremist thoughts facing society; highlighting the role of scholars in promoting moderate teachings of Islam in light of the latest developments witnessed by societies.

Terrorism has no religion or homeland, Ismail stressed, noting that it requires intensified international efforts to be uprooted.

5._Awqaf_Minister_Mohammed_Mokhtar_Gomaa
Minister of Religious endowments (Awqaf) Mohammed Mokhtar Gomaa – File photo
Egypt’s Grand Imam and head of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed El Tayeb, closed the opening session by stating that fatwa is a very serious responsibility; pointing out that a mufti may prohibit halal matters or validate haram matters.

He warned against individuals who feign religious knowledge and their dependency on misinterpretations of the Quran and Sunnah.

Tayeb added that throughout his one and a half year as a mufti, he had been working freely with no pressures or instructions. “I was told to just follow my conscience,” he added.

He recommended that the conference establish a separate department in Al Azhar for fatwas and their related sciences; noting that this can commence qualified scholars for fatwa.

6.
During the International Conference for Fatwa – File photo

7.
During the International Conference for Fatwa – File photo ]]>
10/17/2017 7:37:01 PM
<![CDATA[Afghanistan: Taliban kill 71 people in attacks]]>
The official, Murad Ali Murad, told a press conference in Kabul that the attacks on Tuesday were the "biggest terrorist attack this year."

He said in one of the attacks, in southern Paktia province, 41 people — 21 policemen and 20 civilians — were killed when the Taliban targeted a police compound in the provincial capital of Gardez with two suicide car bombs. Scores were also wounded — 48 policemen and 110.

The provincial police chief was among those killed in the Paktia attack.

Murad said that in the attack in Andar district in Ghazni province, 25 policemen were killed and also five civilians. At least 15 people were wounded, including 10 policemen.

Despite the staggering numbers, Murad said Afghan forces are confident in their "readiness to fight terrorists and eliminate them from Afghanistan.]]>
10/17/2017 7:08:22 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi Arabia condemns Afghanistan suicide attacks]]>
Saudi Arabia asserted its support for both countries against terrorism and extremism, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), quoting an official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying.

The official source offered condolence to the families of the victims.

Earlier, 12 people were killed and 40 others wounded in a Taliban attack on a police training center in Gardez, the capital of Paktia province in the east of Afghanistan.]]>
10/17/2017 7:07:16 PM
<![CDATA[French police arrests ten far-right militants]]>
The offical declined to detail why the men were arrested, but TV station M6 said that the 10 were suspected of planning attacks on French politicians and on Muslim places of worship.

It addded that the men, aged between 17 and 25, were arrested in Seine-Saint-Denis, north of Paris, and in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille.

More than 230 people have been killed in attacks by Islamist militants in France over the past three years and the country has been under a state of emergency since late 2015, following an attack on Paris in November 2015. ]]>
10/17/2017 6:48:07 PM
<![CDATA[Ismail, Gabr discuss supporting national institutions]]>
The premier reviewed his remarks on the government’s participation in the editorial development plans that aim to support press organizations and end the relevant crisis within three years, Gabr told reporters after the meeting which was also attended by Minister of Planning Hala el Saeed.

Egypt’s political will intends to intervene in order to solve this problem and strike a balance between the national press institutions’ income and expenditures, he said.

It was agreed that a new English-speaking electronic gate will be launched within two weeks to be a communication bridge between governmental parties and decision-makers across the world, he noted.

Meanwhile, Gabr said that Prime Minister Sherif Ismail expressed his full support for the national press and asserted the government’s contribution to development plans in order to maintain the continuity of these institutions]]>
10/17/2017 6:41:57 PM
<![CDATA[Killer of Father Smaan Shehata referred to criminal court]]>
Spotted walking though a poor neighborhood in Beni Suef, the priest was reportedly garnering financial aid for his perish when the killer followed him and eventually plunged a knife deep into his back, killing him.

No evidence has been found yet to suggest that the perpetrator belongs to any terrorist group.

]]>
10/17/2017 6:33:08 PM
<![CDATA[Returnees to Mosul face destruction: MSF]]>
In a report published Tuesday, MSF noted the destruction of buildings and infrastructure means that returning families, particularly in west Mosul, end up living in partially or totally ruined homes, with almost no access to clean water, electricity or medical care.

“What we see in our medical facilities are tell-tale signs of the living conditions outside,” says MSF project coordinator in west Mosul Myriam Berger, which was the scene of a fierce battle between Daesh and Iraqi coalition forces earlier this year.

"Until recently we were still receiving war-related injuries, but as more people begin to return home, we are seeing a stark increase in patients suffering from intestinal infections after drinking dirty water, and food poisoning due to lack of electricity and gas for refrigeration and cooking.", Berger added.

"Children especially are developing skin problems and rashes due to lack of hygiene and after playing in sewage water around burst pipes.", she noted.

With many health facilities destroyed, and roads and bridges damaged and unusable, people’s access to health services is severely limited.

“For many people, the long-anticipated return home is turning sour as they find themselves faced with daunting levels of destruction and seemingly endless misery,” stated Berger.]]>
10/17/2017 6:24:21 PM
<![CDATA[President Sisi meets Head of World Jewish Congress ]]>
The statement came during his meeting with the Head of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) Ronald Lauder on Tuesday. The meeting was also attended by Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate (EGID) Major General Khaled Fawzy and the WJC advisor for Middle East Affairs Thaer Mukbel; presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef said in a statement.

During the meeting, they discussed several regional issues, such as which peace process in the Middle East comes as the highest priority, added Youssef.

The meeting reflects Egypt’s keenness on communicating with all parts of the American society in order to boost bilateral understanding of the current challenges faced by the region.

Sisi stressed that Egypt should intensify the coordination with the United States to mobilize international support and urge the concerned parties to be responsive to Egypt’s efforts as they aim to reach political solutions to the many crises in the region.

Lauder praised the strong and deep relations between Egypt and the United States in different fields.

He also expressed his appreciation to Egypt’s efforts in resolving the crisis in the Middle East and in combating terrorism, while striving to build up the economy; referring to the positive signs of revival in the Egyptian economy.

Sisi stated that Egypt is working on preserving its security and stability to provide future generations with a better future; noting that the international community should have a decisive stance against terrorism.

The U.S.-based World Jewish Congress was founded in August 1936 as an international federation of Jewish communities and organizations.

This is not Lauder’s first visit to Egypt this year; in March and December he was welcomed in Egypt for the second time.]]>
10/17/2017 6:21:57 PM
<![CDATA[Up to 11 killed in Iraqi-Kurdish clash - U.S. military]]>
Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State, acknowledged limitations on the ability of the United States to gather on-the-ground information about the confrontation between the two U.S. allies.

He also said he had no information about Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps units in and around the Iraqi city of Kirkuk despite reports from Iraqi Kurdistan.]]>
10/17/2017 6:16:22 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. official says not ruling out direct talks with N. Korea]]>
Talks between the adversaries have long been urged by China in particular, but Washington and its ally Japan have been reluctant to sit down at the table with Pyongyang while it continues to pursue a goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States.

“Eventually, we don’t rule out the possibility of course of direct talks,” Sullivan said in Tokyo after talks with his Japanese counterpart.

“Our focus is on diplomacy to solve this problem that is presented by the DPRK (North Korea). We must, however, with our allies, Japan and South Korea and elsewhere, be prepared for the worst should diplomacy fail,” he said.]]>
10/17/2017 6:01:34 PM
<![CDATA[Nigerian president receives credentials of Egyptian ambassador]]>
They held a session of talks with him on several issues topped by terror combat and issues of mutual concern.

A statement issued by the Egyptian Embassy on Tuesday said the Nigerian leader received the credentials in a ceremony at the headquarters of the Nigerian presidency in Abuja.

]]>
10/17/2017 5:57:01 PM
<![CDATA[Sukary mine ships gold to Canada]]>
During his visit to Business Today Magazine in September, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Fayez Ezzeldin asserted that Egypt is expected to see a boom in Canadian investment over the coming period, after recent economic reforms adopted by the Egyptian government.

Ezzeldin also said there will be huge Canadian investments entering the market next month worth billions of dollars in several sectors, most notably transportation, mining, and education.

"My biggest pride is that we have placed Egypt on the Canadian map, in terms of trade. Canada has the most advanced and cheapest mining technologies, which are used in the Egyptian Sukary mine,” Ezzeldin stated during a symposium.

Egypt is hoping that gold production can be a future source of growth for its ailing economy. It began accepting bids in January for five concessions in its first tender for new gold exploration since 2009.
]]>
10/17/2017 5:49:22 PM
<![CDATA[Iraqi President calls for dialogue with Kurdish leadership]]>
Masum is himself a Kurd and holds a largely ceremonial role in the Iraqi state where most power lies with the prime minister who belongs to the Shi'ite majority.

His speech was broadcast on state TV.]]>
10/17/2017 5:44:20 PM
<![CDATA[FM Shoukry arrives in Slovenia for a one-day visit ]]>
During the meeting, Shoukry expressed Egypt's great appreciation for the Egyptian-Slovenian relations and its pride that Cairo is the center of Slovenian diplomatic representation in Africa and Arab region. Shoukry also discussed ways to build more relations after the first presidential visit of the Slovenian President to Egypt in December 2016, the foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said.

During the meeting, they discussed the program of water resources management in the Nile Basin and the Slovenians’ understanding of Egypt's concerns regarding the rules of international law governing the management of international rivers, Abu Zeid added.

Shoukry reviewed the huge opportunities available for Slovenian investment, especially in the major national projects such as the development project of the Suez Canal. The development project of the Suez Canal aims to increase the volume of Slovenian investments in Egypt, which have now amounted to $77 million.

Prime Minister Miro Cerar expressed his great appreciation for Egypt and its influential position in the Middle East. Cerar also expressed that he is looking forward to boosting the relations between the two countries in the coming period, especially by strengthening their cooperation frameworks in various fields.

Abu Zeid concluded that the foreign ministry was also keen on reviewing Egypt's assessment of the situation in Libya, Syria and Iraq; and the efforts exerted by Egypt in finding political solutions for the crises in those countries.

Moreover, the Slovenian foreign minister invited Shoukry to participate in the annual Bled Strategic Forum, which is held annually in Slovenia where politicians and foreign ministers from a large number of countries attend to discuss the current international challenges.
]]>
10/17/2017 5:44:05 PM
<![CDATA[Exclusive: Syria Welcomes Egypt’s participation in Astana talks ]]>
“Egypt won’t be the only country; new representatives and governments are supposed to join the anticipated round of talks aiming to figure a political solution for the current situation,” the sources added.

It was added that Egypt’s role in calming the Syrian crises is “remarkable” in a way that has made its presence in the seventh round of the Astana talks “desirable by all parties;” including Moscow and Syria itself.

During the last round of the Astana talks which ended September 15, the participated countries affirmed that all Syrian parties are committed to the principals of “the country’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity along with fight against terrorism.”

Last September, Egypt hosted a Syrian conference for the Syrian Al-Ghad (Tomorrow) opposition movement headed by Ahmed Jarba aiming to achieve peace and stability not just within Syria but the whole region.

Also, on July 23, the first Egypt-brokered ceasefire was announced in the Ghouta region in Damascus, while the second de-escalation deal was announced in an area in northern Homs’ countryside on August 3.
]]>
10/17/2017 5:42:12 PM
<![CDATA[Iran warns Europe against new nuke deal conditions]]>
"To say that they accept the JCPOA (nuclear deal) but should negotiate on Iran's regional presence or talk about Iran's missile defences is to set conditions on the JCPOA, and this is not at all acceptable," said Ali Akbar Velayati, senior foreign policy advisor to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"This is not Europeans' right. The JCPOA has no conditions and it must be implemented according to what was signed," he said in comments carried by the state broadcaster.

In a call with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron said talks on regional security and Iran's ballistic missile programme were necessary to ensure the survival of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Without referring directly to Macron, Velayati said European leaders "should take more care in their remarks and demands".

Despite calling for further talks, Macron has staunchly backed the nuclear accord against US President Donald Trump's threats to "terminate" it.

His call with Rouhani came shortly after Trump's bellicose speech criticising the deal, and Macron said he would visit Iran "at the appropriate time".
]]>
10/17/2017 5:29:52 PM
<![CDATA[90% of Raqqa retaken from Islamic State: U.S. military]]>
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, said the fighting was over and it was clearing the city's stadium of mines and any remaining militants.]]>
10/17/2017 5:29:38 PM
<![CDATA[Court postpones trial of Badie in Rabaa sit-in case to Saturday]]>
The court decided to adjourn the case to hear the testimony of eyewitnesses in the events and circumstances of the sit-in, which was held in Nasr City.

Other MB leaders, such as Essam El Erian, Mohamed El Beltagy and Bassem Ouda are among the defendants on trial.

The defendants are accused of possessing weapons, blocking roads, violating citizens' rights and vandalizing public property, as well as murdering a number of citizens and policemen, in addition to other accusations.


]]>
10/17/2017 5:27:49 PM
<![CDATA[Thousands still without power in Ireland after freak storm]]>
The outages mainly affected the south and west of Ireland. Irish Water warned that services to an additional 360,000 customers could be cut if power is not restored in areas where pumps and water treatment plants have come to a standstill.

On Monday, winds reached 191 kilometres (119 miles) per hour, ripping out trees, damaging roofs and bringing down power lines.

Schools remained closed Tuesday in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, despite better weather returning to most areas.

Transport was largely back to normal despite some flights being cancelled and some bus routes temporarily suspended.

Many roads remained blocked by fallen trees and teams were working to clear the debris and restore power lines.

The authorities are yet to estimate the cost of the clean-up.

Eoghan Murphy, the minister for housing, planning and local government, said he would brief the cabinet once he had a clearer picture.

"The initial indications though would seem to suggest that the most significant issue are our obstructions to roads," he told RTE radio.

"It's due to fallen trees or fallen power lines so it may not be the type of structural damages that we've seen in previous storms."

Concerns about storms coming off the Atlantic Ocean piled up after the country was affected by Darwin in 2014, followed by Desmond and Frank the following year.

A report published in September by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment said: "The number of intense storms is projected to increase over the North Atlantic region.

"Projections suggest that the winter tracks of these storms may extend further south and over Ireland more often."

The storm was passing over Scotland on Tuesday.

Train services between Glasgow and Edinburgh were temporarily hit by falling trees.

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10/17/2017 5:06:20 PM
<![CDATA[Bomb hits Police vehicle in Turkey's Mersin, 12 wounded]]>
Ambulances, police and fire trucks were sent to the site of the attack, NTV said. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Mersin Mayor Burhanettin Kocamaz told another broadcaster, Haberturk, that the attack took place on the street where the local governor's office is located. He said the police vehicle was moving at the time of the attack.

Twelve people were wounded in a bomb attack on a police vehicle in Turkey's southern Mersin province on Tuesday, Turkish broadcaster NTV said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Police vehicles, including transport buses, are frequent targets for Kurdish militants.]]>
10/17/2017 4:54:36 PM
<![CDATA[Several dead in northern Togo after imam arrested]]>
"Two soldiers on guard duty at the home of a VIP were lynched and executed and their weapons and ammunition were taken," it said in a statement.

"A young person also died and about 20 other civilians and members of the security forces were injured," it added.

Amnesty International's country representative, Aime Adi, told AFP the young person killed was an apprentice upholsterer and was shot.

The clashes came against a backdrop of anti-government protests led by Tikpi Atchadam, from the Panafrican National Party (PNP), who has a power base in the northern city.

Ouro Akpo Tchagnaou, from the National Alliance for Change (ANC) party, said: "Electricity was cut off at about 7:00 pm (2100 GMT on Monday) after evening prayers.

"Five police vehicles arrived to arrest Alpha Alassane, a very well-known imam in the city," he added. "The population felt targeted and took to the streets."

Clashes lasted throughout the night until calm was restored but the authorities have been warned of renewed protests if Alassane is not freed on Tuesday morning.

"The situation was hard to put up with last night. The security forces and youths clashed in several parts of the city, with teargas and stone-throwing," one local told AFP.

"There were burning tyres, barricades erected and buildings were looted," added ANC spokesman Eric Dupuy.

"Homes were set on fire as well as a bank and premises belonging to (telephone company) TogoCell."

Sporadic violence

Togo's security minister, Colonel Yark Damehame, told the local Radio Victoire that the arrest of Alassane, who is close to the Panafrican National Party (PNP), was justified.

"In his sermons he has been calling for violence and hatred... The last straw was last Friday when he called on his followers to kill soldiers," he said.

In Bafilo, near Sokode, young people also took to the streets and erected barricades, blocking the main road, said a member of the opposition CAP 2015 coalition, Tchatchibara Akim.

There were clashes in the Agoe area of Lome, which is a PNP stronghold. Youths who burned tyres were dispersed with teargas, according to local residents.

The suburb in the north of the capital was calm on Tuesday morning.

Imam Alassane has long been a dissenting voice in Togo but his arrest comes at a time of heightened political tension in Togo in recent months.

He has allied himself with the PNP of Atchadam, who has spearheaded protests against President Faure Gnassingbe that have mobilised hundreds of thousands across the country.

The PNP and 13 other opposition parties are calling for political change in Togo to end the 50-year rule of the Gnassingbe family.

They want a limit on the number of presidential mandates to two -- in line with practice elsewhere in west Africa -- and the introduction of a two-round voting system.

The opposition parties have vowed to defy a government ban on midweek protests by marching in the capital Lome on Wednesday and Thursday.

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10/17/2017 4:49:14 PM
<![CDATA[Slovenian PM appreciates Egypt's influential status in ME]]>
Shoukry expressed Egypt's appreciation of bilateral relations with Slovenia, Spokesman for Foreign Ministry Ahmed Abu Zeid said.

Shoukry tackled prospects of capitalizing on the momentum created following the first ever visit by a Slovenian president to Egypt in December 2016, the spokesman said.

Egypt's foreign minister heaped praise on Slovenia's support for Egypt in the European Union, especially during the latest talks on water resources management.

He, meanwhile, reviewed the various aspects of the social, economic and political reform programs adopted by the Egyptian government.

Shoukry highlighted Egypt's massive investment opportunities available for the Slovenian side in the mega national projects, like the project to develop the Suez Canal Axis, with the aim of boosting the central European country's 77-million-dollar investments in Egypt.

Premier Cerar, for his part, expressed his country's appreciation of Egypt and its status in the Middle East.

He expressed willingness to give impetus for relations with Egypt in the coming period through boosting cooperation in all domains.

The Slovenian premier hailed Egypt's reforms implemented at the economic, social and political levels and expressed interest in being briefed on Egypt's anti-terror and anti-illegal immigration efforts.

Egypt's assessment of the situation in Libya, Syria and Iraq along with efforts meant to resolve crises there were highlighted by Shoukry during Tuesday’s meeting, the spokesman noted.

]]>
10/17/2017 2:57:42 PM
<![CDATA[Russia has plans to evacuate consulate general in Erbil]]>
The decision will be made, taking into account the situation on the ground, Sputnik quoted Bogdanov as saying.

"Each of our embassies, foreign institutions and consulates have relevant plans in case of emergency circumstances, armed conflicts and man-caused disasters," Bogdanov added.

He expressed hope that Baghdad and Erbil would hold a dialogue within the framework of Iraq's constitution.

He stressed the importance of maintaining the unity and sovereignty of Iraq.]]>
10/17/2017 2:27:47 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt played major role to achieve inter-Palestinian reconciliation: AL]]>
In press statements, he expressed hope that inter-Palestinian reconciliation, which kicked off in Cairo, would continue until ending Palestinians chasms for good and restoring the Palestinian cause to the regional and international spotlight to achieve Palestinian independence.

The Arab League has been following up with all appreciation the Egyptian efforts on this score, he said, highlighting endeavors exerted by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and several Egyptian bodies concerned.

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10/17/2017 2:26:04 PM
<![CDATA[PM stresses necessity of regulating fatwas to maintain stability]]>
The premier stressed the necessity of regulating fatwas to achieve stability and promote peace, Awqaf Minister Mohammed Mokhtar Gomaa said in a speech on behalf of the premier during the International Fatwa Conference.

Scholars should join forces to counter extremist thoughts facing the society, Ismail said.

He highlighted the role of scholars in promoting moderate teachings of Islam in light of the latest developments witnessed by societies.

Terrorism has no religion or homeland, Ismail stressed, noting that it requires intensified international efforts to be uprooted.

Titled "The Role of Fatwa in Creating a Stable Society", the three-day conference is considered a milestone in Darul Iftaa’s history.

The event tackles a number of vital issues relating to Muslim minorities in western countries and covers the mannerism on how to prepare Imams to handle extremism and encounter the challenges facing Muslim communities.

Grand Imam of Azhar Sheikh Ahmed al Tayyeb, Egypt's Mufti Shawqi Allam and Secretary General of the Muslim World League (MWL) Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Issa inaugurated earlier in the day the conference, under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, with the participation of multi-regional delegations from 80 countries.
]]>
10/17/2017 1:51:03 PM
<![CDATA[Legislations required to control Fatwa, GAIAE chairman in UAE]]>
Kaabi delivered a speech during the opening session of the International Conference for Ifta titled "the Role of Fatwa in Maintaining Social Stability.” The conference will be held from October 17 to 19 in Cairo as an initiative of the Egyptian Islamic institution, Dar Al-Ifta Al-Missriyyah, under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Kaabi declared during the conference “UAE’s experience in controlling fatwa” stressing that charters must be set on websites and TV not to host people unqualified to dispense religious edicts, to produce intellectual content that is suitable for the spiritual background of the language and of the age, and to separate fatwa from politics.

The platform promotes the culture of understanding, coexistence and dialogue, the mufti said in statements to MENA.

Dar Al Ifta, affiliate to the General Secretariat for Fatwa Authorities Worldwide, is hosting the third international conference with the participation of delegations representing 60 countries.

The move came as part of continuous coordination between the Foreign Ministry and Dar Al-Ifta; seeking to highlight Egypt’s efforts in denouncing extremist discourses.
]]>
10/17/2017 1:40:16 PM
<![CDATA[Pilot killed in air crash outside Madrid:Defence Ministry]]>10/17/2017 1:37:43 PM<![CDATA[Masoud Barzani to urge Kurds to avoid civil war]]>
The statement would be Barzani's first since the takover of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk by Iraqi government forces on Monday.]]>
10/17/2017 1:29:40 PM
<![CDATA[Pakistan foils Falcon smuggling to Qatar ]]>
“On a tip-off, a joint team of the wildlife department and ASF carried out a search operation at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore,” Wildlife Department Punjab director general Ayaz Khan told Pakistan Today.

The paper revealed that during the operation, nine falcons hidden in a black bag owned by a Qatari national Ali Muhammad al-Sada were recovered, adding that the accused was leaving for his country via a private airline flight.

The ASF and wildlife department took the recovered falcons into custody and arrested the culprit; further investigation is underway.

The sport of falconry, the art of training hawks to hunt in cooperation with a person, is generally believed to have originated in Persia and the Mongolian steppes around 4000 B.C.

It was the sport of kings, who often gifted each other prized birds. Al-Harith bin Mu’awiya, of present-day Saudi Arabia, was one of the first monarchs to train and hunt falcons, elevating his falcons to royal status.

The Qatari government’s investment includes the Falcon Souq, a section of Souq Waqif dedicated to the sale of raptors. There are breeding centers for falcons in Qatar, but most falcons are brought in from countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria, among others.
]]>
10/17/2017 1:22:09 PM
<![CDATA[Riyadh denounces Arish terrorist attack]]>
A Saudi Foreign Ministry official confirmed the kingdom's support for Egypt in its war against terrorism, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

He extended condolences to the Egyptian government and people and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

]]>
10/17/2017 1:20:10 PM
<![CDATA[Azhar Sheikh calls clerics to follow their conscience ]]>
Tayeb’s comments were made during his speech in the opening of the International Conference for Ifta held in Cairo on Tuesday. He warned against individuals who feign religious knowledge and their dependency on mistakes in the interpretations of the Quran and Sunna.

Tayeb added that throughout his one and a half years as a mufti, he had been working freely with no pressures or instructions. “I was told to just follow my conscience,” he added.

The conference is taking place over the next three days under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, and is attended by muftis from 63 Muslim-majority countries to discuss the topic “The Role of Fatwa in Social Stability”
]]>
10/17/2017 1:16:17 PM
<![CDATA[Prosecution starts probe in El Arish attacks]]>
The prosecution ordered the forensic inspection of the sites of the attacks, including the headquarters of the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) in El Arish city.

Within the course of the investigations, the investigators questioned the injured and eyewitnesses who were present at the site when the attacks took place.

It also assigned forensic experts to examine the bank's treasury and the sites of the attacks for fingerprints to match them and reveal the identity of the attackers.

It also urged security bodies to swiftly bring those behind the attacks to justice.]]>
10/17/2017 1:14:54 PM
<![CDATA[Popular Mobilization Forces retakes Sinjar town: Iraq]]>
Clashes between the PMF and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters are still ongoing in the vicinity of the town, the sources added.

The clashes ensued in the town following the announcement of the results of Kirkuk security operation by the Iraqi forces on Monday.]]>
10/17/2017 1:06:43 PM
<![CDATA[Mufti of Lebanon: Fatwa coordinates with state to protect nation]]>
Derian delivered a speech during the opening session of the International Conference for Ifta titled "The Role of Fatwa in Maintaining social Stability.” The conference is being held from October 17 to 19 in Cairo, as an initiative of the Egyptian Islamic institution Dar Al-Ifta Al-Missriyyah, under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

“We cannot address the injustice and hostile campaigns faced by Islam, and the distortion of our religion caused by misguided fatwas. However, with God on our side we can face all challenges,” stated Derian.

During his speech, he stated that a large number of Egyptian Muslims represent the modesty of Islam, thanking Al-Azhar for exerting huge efforts to achieve peace.

He added that the Arab world is at a critical stage facing the violations committed against the Rohingya Muslims, and against the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.

The conference promotes the culture of understanding, coexistence and dialogue, the mufti said in statements to MENA.

Dar Al-Ifta, affiliated to the General Secretariat for Fatwa Authorities Worldwide, is hosting the third international conference with the participation of delegations representing 60 countries.

The move came as part of the continuous coordination between the Foreign Ministry and Dar Al-Ifta; seeking to highlight Egypt’s efforts in denouncing extremist discourses.
]]>
10/17/2017 1:05:23 PM
<![CDATA[October war victory landmark in Egypt's history:Egypt's Military Attaché]]>
The remarks were made during a celebration that was held by Omara in China on Monday night to mark the 44th anniversary of the October War Victory. The ceremony was attended by Egypt's Ambassador to China Osama El Magdoub and a number of the embassy personnel.

A number of Chinese military, political and diplomatic officials attended the celebration along with some Arab and foreign diplomats and attachés accredited to China.

During the ceremony, Omara said that Egypt and the all Arab countries celebrate October War victory that had been achieved by the sacrifices of the Egyptian people and military.

Omara noted that Egypt is still strong during its fight against terrorism, achieving progress to get the regional and international stand it deserves.

He pointed out that Egypt’s participation in BRICS summit that was held in September reflected the growing economic progress it has achieved over the past few years.

He invited Chinese people to visit Egypt to witness development and mega projects being implemented in record time.

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10/17/2017 12:59:56 PM
<![CDATA[International medical teams arrive to Somalia]]>
Relief workers from Djibouti also arrived to Somalia to offer help.

Over 267 people were killed in the attack which targeted one of the busiest areas in Mogadishu.

The Somali presidency declared three-day mourning over the victims of the blast.

]]>
10/17/2017 12:21:13 PM
<![CDATA[U.S.-backed Syrian militias raise flag in Raqqa stadium]]>
The flag of the Kurdish YPG, the strongest of the militias in the SDF, was planted in the middle of the stadium, where fighting had ended, but which had not been fully cleared of landmines, militia fighters told the witness.

]]>
10/17/2017 12:20:29 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s Mufti: Misleading fatwas threaten global security]]>
“Since the world rises up against terrorism, so religious intellectuals should confront extremist thoughts and instead spread the teachings of our tolerant religion,” Allam added in his speech.


WhatsApp Image 2017-10-17 at 10.40.27 AM
Azhar clerics and international members of Fatwa authorities from different countries - Photo by Mohamed Assal/Egypt Today



He further noted that the conference is considered an “opportunity to achieve this goal, as the conference’s importance is not limited to discussing the issues of terrorism and extremism, but it expands to include misleading fatwas that leads to confusion in our society.”


WhatsApp Image 2017-10-17 at 10.38.39 AM
Egypt's former Mufti Ali Gomaa participating in the international conference for fatwa in Cairo Tuesday Oct.17, 2017 - Photo by Mohamed Assal/Egypt Today

Fatwas are religious edicts issued by recognized authorities. In Egypt, Dar al-Ifta, is the only body authorized to issue fatwas.

The conference, titled "Fatwa Role in Maintaining Societies' Stability," kicked off Tuesday, and is scheduled to last until Thursday. Members of Fatwa authorities from 63 countries are participating in the conference.]]>
10/17/2017 12:01:30 PM
<![CDATA[Iraqi forces retake Bai Hassan oil fields in northern Kirkuk]]>
The all-news network reported the news with no further details.

Iraqi forces announced earlier the results of Kirkuk security operation that was launched on Monday.

Iraqi forces have reportedly captured vital sites in the city including Kirkuk airport, oil fields and a military base.

]]>
10/17/2017 11:46:10 AM
<![CDATA[Afghan officials: Taliban attacks kill 10 policemen]]>
In southern Ghazni province, the insurgents stormed a security compound, using a suicide car, and killed at least seven policemen. Provincial chief police, Mohammad Zaman, says the attack in Andar district early on Tuesday morning triggered several hours of heavy fighting until the attackers were repelled.

Zaman says the district compound has been destroyed.

In western Farah province, police chief Abdul Maruf Fulad says the Taliban attacked a government compound in Shibkho district, killing three policemen.

The Interior Ministry says a militant attack, including a suicide car bombing is underway in eastern Paktia province's capital, Gardez, where insurgents targeted a police training center.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for all three attacks.]]>
10/17/2017 11:35:50 AM
<![CDATA[Damage assessment committee to be formed after Arish terrorist attack]]>
This decision came to start estimating suitable compensations to be granted for the people who are affected by the attack.

The committee will be supervised by governorate's Secretary-General Mohamed el Saadani and will comprise representatives of financial affairs, urban planning, social solidarity and engineering department along with a number of bodies concerned.

The Ministry of Interior had said that three policemen and one civilian were killed while trying to abort a terrorist attack on the banks' area in Arish.

The incident took place when a group of terrorist elements targeted with guns and explosive charges security posts guarding key establishments in Arish.

A number of citizens were wounded and several houses, shops and cars were affected during the attack while the terrorists managed to seize a sum of money from a bank.

Security agencies started combing the area to hunt down the terrorist elements and arrest them, the ministry noted.

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10/17/2017 11:31:26 AM
<![CDATA[Abbas signs decision to open recruitment in GS]]>
Interviewed by the Palestinian TV on Monday night, he explained that the legal and administrative committee has three and a half months to rectify the status of Gaza employees in order to resolve this issue once and for all.

Sheikh made it clear that the issue of war and peace is a joint political decision, not a factional one, and therefore no political party has the right to decide on war and peace issues except the legitimate authority which upholds the law and possesses the weapons.

President Abbas, said Sheikh, also gave instruction to Fatah Central Committee members to be present in Gaza on a regular basis to help in reorganizing the Fatah movement in Gaza.

Sheikh said that the real test for the success in ending the division is found in the full empowerment of the government of national reconciliation, which was not given an opportunity in the past to function in the Gaza Strip as in the West Bank, expressing hope that this time it will succeed in its mission.

"There is no country in the world that accepts dual authority, decision-making, law and order and possession of weapons. This is unacceptable," he said. "We are not militias to share power between us. We want a full and integrated system of authority with solid foundation.”

Sheikh added: "We told Hamas full empowerment means handing over all the responsibilities to the reconciliation government starting with the crossings, tax collection and security. There cannot be an end to division without enabling the government to become the bridge toward reconciliation.”

He stressed that the Palestinian Authority was committed to what was agreed upon in Cairo and that it will not pay any attention to statements from anywhere else.

“The President’s directives were clear: a positive approach towards reconciliation and no going back,” said the Fatah official who is also head of the Palestinian liaison office with Israel.

Sheikh pointed to a number of major strategic issues on the agenda of the talks, the most important of which is the handover of the crossings to the government on November 1, which is supposed to have a positive impact on the life of Gazans.

Another issue is security, he said, explaining that the key to empowering the government is security. “We want only one security establishment. We want to build one Palestinian security doctrine under the leadership of the Palestinian National Authority.”

Sheikh admitted that after 11 years of division, the road ahead will not be easy and therefore everyone needs to make an effort to make it work.

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10/17/2017 11:23:01 AM
<![CDATA[Khattab speaks post-UNESCO election]]>
Khattab, Former Minister of State for Family and Population, said that deals and the splitting of (African) votes have played a big role in her loss, as "It's an election, and every candidate uses their tools." Egypt didn't amass all African votes despite being a representative for the African Union, Khattab added.

Although it was expected that the Qatar-Gulf crisis would put Qatar in a weak position in the election, western symphathy towards Qatar was realized, Khattab said. "If I faced off against Qatar (in the runoff), I would have won," she exclaimed.

Indicating suspicious activities during the election, Khattab said that French media channels reported the presence of "Qatari political money" during the election race: "There were temptations and they were stronger than us. Egypt didn't resort to such methods.”

"When I called for investigation into violations that took place during the election, security guards were put on the doors of the three candidates' rooms, and I recognized weird movements", Khattab added.


azoulay
French UNESCO Candidate Audrey Azoulay chats with Egyptian Candidate Moushira Khattab after first run-off that concludes in Egypt officially out of the race - Photo by Egypt Today


Khattab said that after she was set to face off with France's candidate Audrey Azoulay in the fourth round, a country among those who voted for Egypt withdrew. "Naming the country wouldn't help," she said. "We went into a battle; we didn't win, neither did we lose".

]]>
10/17/2017 9:25:54 AM
<![CDATA[North Korea likely behind Taiwan SWIFT cyber heist]]>
"The likely culprit is Lazarus," BAE cyber-intelligence chief Adrian Nish told Reuters by telephone.

The British firm has previously linked Lazarus to last year's $81 million cyber heist at Bangladesh's central bank, as have other cyber firms including Russia's Kaspersky Lab and California-based Symantec Corp.

BAE's claim that Lazarus is likely responsible for the hack on Taiwan's Far Eastern International Bank demonstrates that North Korea continues to seek to generate cash through hacking.

Nish said he expects the group to continue to target banks.

"They are not just going to go away. They’ve built the tools. They are going to keep going back," he said.

Still, he noted that the group appears to have had difficulty in pulling funds out of the banking system, after the massive Bangladesh heist, which prompted SWIFT and banks to boost security controls.

Taiwan's Central News Agency reported last week that while hackers sought to steal some $60 million from Far Eastern Bank, all but $500,000 had been recovered by the bank.

BAE previously disclosed that Lazarus attempted to steal money from banks in Mexico and Poland, though there is no evidence the effort succeeded.

A security executive with SWIFT, a Belgium-based co-operative owned by banks, last week told Reuters that hackers have continued to target the message system this year, though many attempts have been thwarted by the new security controls.

SWIFT declined comment on the findings, which BAE detailed in a report on its website: https://baesystemsai.blogspot.ca/2017/10/taiwan-heist-lazarus-tools.html

The report provides technical details on malware samples that BAE believes were likely used to target the Taiwan bank.]]>
10/17/2017 9:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Petition signatories urge Sisi to run for second term]]>
Beheira Governor Nadia Saleh was among those who signed the petition.

The petition has been launched by the "To Build It" campaign.

"We received a large turnout of different categories of the Egyptian people in all Egyptian governorates and abroad to sign the petition", said a spokesman for the campaign.]]>
10/17/2017 7:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Trump declares Obamacare 'dead']]>
"It’s dead. It’s gone. It’s no longer - you shouldn’t even mention. It’s gone," Trump said of former Democratic President Barack Obama's signature 2010 healthcare law that Republicans have repeatedly tried and failed to repeal.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said: "I think we’ll have a short-term fix with Republicans and Democrats getting together."

Trump also said he would work to lower prescription drug prices, which he said were "out of control." He did not provide details.

Last week, the Republican president said he would stop Obamacare's federal subsidy payments to insurers, which are designed to help lower-income people afford health insurance.

Trump said that in stopping the subsidies, he was cutting off the "gravy train" for insurers.

But Democrats and some Republicans said Trump's move to cancel the payments would hurt poor and middle-class people and cause premiums to soar.

Democratic attorneys general from 18 states as well as Washington, D.C., filed a lawsuit in federal court in California on Friday to preserve the payments.

Trump vowed during his 2016 presidential campaign to kill Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, but his fellow Republicans in Congress have been unable to pass legislation to replace it with a more limited healthcare program.

Republicans call Obamacare intrusive and ineffective. Democrats defend the law, saying it extended health insurance to millions of Americans.

CROWDED AGENDA

Trump said his goal was to make healthcare more affordable and "that's what we are doing" by encouraging a bipartisan short-term fix followed by a Republican-only long-term program to be enacted during the first part of next year.

It was not yet clear whether the Republican-controlled Congress would agree to help shore up Obamacare and reinstate the subsidies.

Congress is already grappling with a crowded agenda that includes tax reform and paying for relief efforts for California's wildfires and hurricanes that hit Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he was hopeful that a deal was near to stabilize Obamacare.

"If he's (Trump) now supportive of an agreement that stabilizes and improves the existing system under the Affordable Care Act, we certainly welcome that change of heart," Schumer said in a statement.

Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democratic Senator Patty Murray have been trying to craft a bipartisan deal aimed at helping stabilize health insurance markets under Obamacare.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Alexander said: "I hope we can get a result," but added that any deal he crafted with Murray would have to win the support of rank-and-file senators.

He said he and Murray were trying to strike a deal that "extends cost-sharing payments for two years and gives states meaningful flexibility" in administering Obamacare.]]>
10/17/2017 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Spanish judge jails two Catalonia independence leaders]]>
An ongoing legal investigation claims Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, the leader of the ANC movement, and Cuixart, who heads the Omnium Cultural association, were heavily involved in organizing a massive protest aimed at hindering a Guardia Civil investigation in Barcelona into the build-up for the 1 October illegal referendum, The Independent said.

Members of the Guardia Civil were trapped in Catalan government offices on 20 September as a result of thousands of protesters encircling the building, in what has been described as a “siege” and during which three police vehicles were destroyed.

Both Cuixart and Sanchez, who are now set to spend the night in a prison near Madrid, earlier refused to answer questions from the judge overseeing the investigation. Summoned to court twice on Monday, on entering they gave clenched fists victory salutes to a small group of supporters.

The chief of the Catalan police, Josep Lluis Trapero, was also questioned in the same courtroom on Monday for a second time in ten days, on possible charges of sedition over the regional police force’s allegedly overly passive role during the build-up to the 1 October referendum.

Trapero, who prosecutors had also asked to be detained, was finally released without bail, although his passport was confiscated.

The imprisonment of two of their best-known local leaders has provoked outrage amongst the separatist movement, further raising tension on an already exceptionally fraught day in Spain’s prolonged political crisis in Catalonia.]]>
10/17/2017 4:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Wildfires kill at least 39 in Portugal and Spain]]>
Firefighters were battling 50 blazes in Portugal and a similar number in Spain. Portugal's government asked for international help and declared a state of emergency in territory north of the Tagus river - about half of its landmass.

Flames ripped across Iberian countryside left tinder-dry by an unusually hot summer and early autumn, fanned by strong winds as remnants of ex-Hurricane Ophelia brushed coastal areas.

Television footage showed abandoned villages with many houses in embers and charred vehicles left on the roads.

Portuguese opposition parties and the media harshly criticised the government for failing to prevent a new wave of deadly fires after the country's worst ever forest fire in June that killed 64 people.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa, however, refused to sack his interior minister and defended his government's attempts to reform the troubled forestry management system.

"It's a structural problem that we are facing... This is not a time for resignations, but for solutions. Everything has to be transformed into reforms, to provide responses that the country needs so that nothing stays the way it was after this year," he told reporters after a television address to the nation.

"We are aware that the country wants results from us and we're running against time after decades of negligence," Costa told reporters after his address.

POOR LAND MANAGEMENT

At the heart of the problem is poor land management in Portugal, where traditional small plots have become fire hazards after being abandoned by successive generations of landholders who moved to the cities.

Interior Minister Constanca Urbano de Sousa said climate change was also to blame. "We are facing new (weather) conditions ... In an era of climate change, such disasters are becoming reality all over the world," she said, citing the wildfires burning in California.

The weekend fires also injured 63 people in Portugal, civil protection service spokeswoman Patricia Gaspar said. The toll could still increase as seven people were unaccounted for.

Water-spraying planes could not be deployed against most fires due to gigantic plumes of smoke that reduced visibility.

But Gaspar said rains expected late on Monday and on Tuesday in the north of Portugal were likely to bring some relief.

The Lisbon government has been criticised for a slow, inefficient response and a lack of fire-prevention policies, leaving Portugal with Europe's largest expanse of woodland burned by wildfires.

Portugal's fires have burned over 40 percent of the total in all of the European Union this year. With just 2.1 percent of the EU's landmass, Portugal suffered the biggest fires during 2008-16 as well, with an average of 36 percent of the total.

Three people died in Spain's northwestern Galicia region - two of them women found inside a burnt-out car, the third a man in his 70s killed as he tried to save his farm animals, according to local media.

Most of the fires in Galicia were started deliberately, said Alberto Nunez Feijoo, head of the regional government.

Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said some of those responsible had already been identified. They could face up to 20 years in jail if convicted. At least two persons were arrested in Portugal for allegedly starting fires.]]>
10/17/2017 3:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Four SRCS volunteers among Mogadishu attack casualties]]>
In a statement, The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Somali Red Crescent Society (SRCS) mourned the loss of life of the volunteers.

"This figure may rise as there are a number of volunteers still missing", the statement read.

"As we continue to assess the situation on the ground, the toll remains unclear in the chaos following the blast", it added.]]>
10/17/2017 2:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Cuba has duty to prevent attacks on US envoys: Trump]]>
Asked by reporters whether he agreed that the Cuban government is capable of halting the mystery attacks, Trump said: "I do believe Cuba is responsible.

"I do believe that and it's a very unusual attack, but I do believe Cuba is responsible. Yes," Trump told reporters.

In a Twitter exchange with an AFP reporter, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's chief public affairs adviser R.C. Hammond confirmed that Trump means that Cuba has a "responsibility to prevent attacks, protect diplomats."

US officials have not accused the Cuban government of ordering the attacks, but have become increasingly frustrated at their failure to identify and catch those responsible.

The mysterious attacks, which US officials initially suggested could have been carried out with some sort of covert acoustic device, have affected at least 22 US embassy staff in Havana.

The last instance occurred in August.

Those affected have exhibited physical symptoms including ear complaints, hearing loss, dizziness, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues, and difficulty sleeping.

In response, the US has withdrawn more than half the personnel from the US embassy in Cuba and ordered the expulsion of 15 Cuban diplomats in the United States.

US relations with Havana were only fully restored in 2015 -- after a half-century Cold War breakdown -- and have deteriorated since Trump took office in January.]]>
10/17/2017 1:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[DFLP condemns Sinai terror attack]]>
In a statement issued by the DFLP office in Amman, the front said the attack was a desperate terrorist attempt to harm Egypt's national and regional role, especially following Cairo's effective action to put and end to the Palestinian division.

It affirmed confidence the terrorism and its sponsors would be defeated by the will and steadfastness of the Egyptian people, army and leadership. ]]>
10/17/2017 1:29:56 AM
<![CDATA[Malta car bomb kills Panama Papers journalist]]>
Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, had just driven away from her home in Mosta, a town outside Malta's capital Valletta, when the bomb exploded, sending the vehicle's wreckage spiraling over a wall and into a field.

Muscat says her death resulted from a "barbaric attack" that also assaulted freedom of expression. He described the slain journalist as "was one of my harshest critics, on a political and personal level," as he denounced the attack as "unacceptable" violence.

Caruana Galizia was named by Politico as among the 28 Europeans who are "shaping, shaking and stirring" Europe. She had exposed that Muscat's wife, Michelle, as well as Muscat's energy minister and the government's chief-of-staff, held companies in Panama by looking into the 2016 document leak. Muscat and his wife deny they held such companies.

Opposition leader Adrian Delia called the killing a "political murder."

Caruana Galizia had been sued for libel because of various articles she wrote on her blog "Running Commentary," and she had filed a report with the police two weeks ago that she was receiving threats.

Monday evening's Parliament session was scrapped, except for briefings about the bombing scheduled to be given by Muscat and Delia, the opposition leader.

In June, Muscat was sworn in for a second term as prime minister following snap elections he had called to reinforce his government as the Panama Papers' leak indicated his wife owned an offshore company. The couple deny wrongdoing.

The leak exposed the identities of the rich and powerful around the world with offshore holdings in Panama.]]>
10/17/2017 1:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[King Salman phones al-Abadi over situation in Kirkuk]]>
According to a statement released by the Iraqi government, King Salman stressed his support to the unity of Iraq, noting that Saudi Arabia follows with interest the situation in Kirkuk.

Iraq began a military campaign on Monday to seize the vital city of Kirkuk and surrounding oil fields, ousting the Kurdish forces that had controlled the region for three years in their effort to build an independent nation in the northern region of Iraq.

The Kurds voted overwhelmingly in a referendum three weeks ago for independence from Iraq. The United States, Baghdad and most countries in the region condemned the vote, fearing it would fuel ethnic division across the region.

Al-Abadi appreciated the Saudi kingdom’s support to his country, expressing Iraq’s keenness to boost the bilateral relations between the two countries. An Iraqi government delegation is scheduled to visit Riyadh next week to sign a cooperation deal in different sectors.]]>
10/17/2017 1:08:36 AM
<![CDATA[IMF Managing Director praises economic reform in Egypt]]>
Lagarde added that she appreciates the determination of the Egyptian administration to sustain constructive steps of reform.

This came on the sidelines of the meeting of the Middle East’s and North African countries’ prime ministers, including the Egyptian Minister of Finance, Amr El-Garhy.

El-Garhy delivered the opening speech, in which he displayed the strategy of the economic reform program to achieve sustainable and comprehensive growth.

El-Garhy added that the Egyptian government works on five main axes spearheaded by increasing the growth rate and employment to reform the Egyptian economy, which has suffered in the last few years.

The government seeks also to increase spending on health, education and public services, indicating that woman empowerment is on top of the agenda of the government, added El-Garhy.

El-Garhy further said that Egypt is working on increasing the ability of social protection programs to target the neediest people and highlighted that they pay attention to small and medium-sized enterprises.]]>
10/17/2017 1:03:58 AM
<![CDATA[International conference for Ifta kicks off Tuesday in Cairo ]]>
The conference will be held from Oct. 17 to 19 in Cairo, and will be titled "Fatwa Role in Maintaining Societies' Stability."

The platform promotes the culture of understanding, coexistence and dialogue, the mufti said in statements to MENA.

He added that courses and symposiums will be offered during the conference along with maximizing the benefit from latest technologies to serve the goals of Dar al ifta.

The platform comprises a set of lectures as well as training, educational, cultural and behavioral programs, mufti Allam pointed out.

Dar al Ifta-affiliate the General Secretariat for Fatwa Authorities Worldwide will host the third international conference with the participation of delegations representing 60 countries.

The move came as part of the continuous coordination between the Foreign Ministry and Dar Al-Ifta; seeking to highlight Egypt’s efforts in denouncing extremist discourses. ]]>
10/17/2017 1:01:56 AM
<![CDATA[Scientists detect gravitational waves from star collision]]>
The waves, caused by the collision of two neutron stars some 130 million years ago, were first detected in August in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatories, known as LIGO, in Washington state and Louisiana as well as at a third detector, named Virgo in Italy.

Two seconds later, observatories on earth and in space detected a burst of light in the form of gamma rays from the same path of the southern sky, which analysis showed likely to be from the same source.

Less than two years have passed since scientists working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the California Institute of Technology first detected gravitational waves coming off two black holes.




The gravitational waves had been predicted by Einstein in 1916, as an outgrowth of his groundbreaking general theory of relativity, which depicted gravity as a distortion of space and time triggered by the presence of matter.

Three U.S. scientists who made that discovery were awarded the Nobel prize in physics earlier this month.

The findings published on Monday help confirm Einstein's theory, said the researchers, whose work was published in Physical Review Letters.

"From informing detailed models of the inner workings of neutron stars and the emissions they produce, to more fundamental physics such as general relativity, this event is just so rich," said MIT senior research scientist David Shoemaker. "It is a gift that will keep on giving."

The LIGO instruments work in unison and use lasers to detect remarkably small vibrations from gravitational waves as they pass through the earth.

Previously, scientists could only study space by observing electromagnetic waves such as radio waves, visible light, infrared light, X-rays and gamma rays. Those waves encounter interference as they travel across the universe, but gravitational waves do not, meaning they offer a wealth of additional information.

The colliding neutron stars were smaller than the black holes that LIGO previously detected.

Black holes are so dense that not even photons of light can escape their gravity. Neutron stars are relatively small, about the size of a city, the compact remains of a larger star that died.

The National Science Foundation, an independent agency of the U.S. government, provided about $1.1 billion in funding for the LIGO research over 40 years.]]>
10/16/2017 10:44:57 PM
<![CDATA[Guterres wants UN to help tackle Sahel violence]]>
In a report to the Security Council obtained by AFP, Guterres said the United Nations and other donors should shore up a regional force set up by Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

The situation in the Sahel is "extremely concerning," Guterres said in the report released just days before Security Council ambassadors travel to the region for talks on the security crisis.

"The international community remains confronted with a continuous downward spiral into another cycle of widespread violence despite important efforts," he said.

Guterres warned that without urgent action "the stability of the entire region, and beyond, is in jeopardy, leaving millions of people at risk of violence," a development he described as a "disastrous scenario."

The vast Sahel region has turned into a hotbed of violent extremism and lawlessness since chaos engulfed Libya in 2011, the Islamist takeover of northern Mali in 2012 and the rise of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.

Four US soldiers were killed this month in an ambush while on a joint patrol with Nigerien troops near the Mali border, an attack thought to be carried out by a regional affiliate of the Islamic State group.

- UN options -

The UN chief put forward four options to back the force, including setting up a United Nations support office in the Sahel and sharing resources from the 13,000-strong peacekeeping mission in Mali.

The report will undoubtedly be welcomed by France, which has been lobbying hard for UN backing for the Sahel force, but the United States has resisted calls for funding.

The estimated budget for the force's first year of operations was estimated at 423 million euros ($499 million), but so far only 108 million euros have been raised.

The G5 countries have pledged 10 million euros each, the European Union is giving 50 million and France eight million euros. A donors' conference will be held in December in Brussels.

Guterres said the risks of not supporting the Sahel force "vastly outweigh the risks of supporting it, given the magnitude of the challenges facing the Sahel region."

The UN chief stressed that there was a risk of human rights abuses during the counter-terror operations because many of the armed groups in Mali are entrenched in the population.

A UN presence, he argued, could help reduce harm to civilians.

UN Security Council ambassadors will travel to Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania from Thursday to meet with leaders and discuss plans for the deployment of the force.

The council is expected to discuss the report during a meeting on peace and security in Africa on October 30.]]>
10/16/2017 10:28:19 PM
<![CDATA[Qatari Security forces storm Suhaim’s palace]]>
The authorities confiscated more than 137 personal suitcases and several files belong to the late Qatari Foreign Minister Suhaim Al Thani – Sheikh Sultan’s father-, which document the history of the tiny Emirate from the Sixties until Suhaim’s death in 1985.

Qatari authorities also arrested all the palace’s domestic servants, including the Sudanese housekeeper, seizing during the raid all the personal photos of Suhaim’s widow Mona Al-Dousari.

Sheikh Sultan bin Suhaim Al Thani slammed Tamim bin Hamad’s regime in a speech he gave last September in the French capital of Paris, over the current diplomatic crisis between Qatar and four Arab states including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab of Emirates and Bahrain.

Earlier this week, the Qatari authorities froze the bank accounts of Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani after his efforts to contain the crisis between the tiny emirate and four Arab States.

Since June 5, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have cut their relation with Qatar and announced a complete boycott of the emirate for its support and sponsorship of terrorism.


]]>
10/16/2017 10:24:40 PM
<![CDATA[150K citizens sign for ‘To Build It’ in Fayoum ]]>
The Mostaqbal Watan (Homeland Future) political party printed one million application forms for the residents of Fayoum governorate and collected 150,000 signatures up to date.

The campaign received a large turnout from the citizens of Fayoum in the first days, and more signatures will be collected from all villages, cities and centers of Fayoum.

meeting_for__to_build_it__members
Photo of members of the campaign photo file
Collecting signatures will keep going on as presidential elections are approaching, as they are set to be held as soon as May. However, no single potential candidate announced she/he would run for office.

The main reasons behind supporting President Sisi for another term boils down to the continuation of the mega projects, development of the country’s infrastructure, preservation of the national security, enhancement of educational systems and counterterrorism, businessman and parliamentarian Mohamed Shaaban told Egypt Today.

signing__to_build_it__forms
Photo of members of the campaign photo file
Campaign member Hazem Tawfik, Ph.D, said that negative responses stem only from the hike in prices of goods and services due to the ongoing economic reform measures, and that volunteers can only remind and explain such citizens that “we all have to pay the price to achieve development through mega and infrastructure projects.” ]]>
10/16/2017 10:05:34 PM
<![CDATA[Military court sentences 21 MB members to 7 years ]]>
The decision was made because they were found guilty of participating in burning police stations and other governmental buildings in Malawy and Der Mewas.

The Public Prosecution referred the case to the military court in Assuit.

The case includes 23 Brotherhood defendants, whereby 15 of them were sentenced to seven years imprisonment and five others to five years, while the other three were acquitted.

During the past period, several terrorist attacks targeted churches in Egypt and caused several human casualties. On May 26, an armed group opened fire on a bus carrying more than 50 Christians in Minya, killing 29 and injuring many others, including children.]]>
10/16/2017 9:51:16 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi Crown Prince meets with Pakistani army's Chief of Staff]]>
During the meeting, they reviewed bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, particularly the military cooperation, said the Saudi Press Agency.

They also discussed issues of common interest. The meeting was attended by a number of officials.]]>
10/16/2017 9:41:12 PM
<![CDATA[Turkey releases relatives of U.S. consulate worker - Anadolu]]>
Authorities summoned the worker last week for questioning over his relatives' alleged links to last year's failed coup attempt, days after the arrest of another consulate employee triggered a mutual suspension of visa services.

Anadolu said the wife and daughter were barred from leaving the country and had to report to the nearest police station once a week as part of the terms of their release.

Their relative, identified only as N.M.C., has still not himself reported for questioning, Anadolu said, having been summoned after the wife and daughter were detained in the Black Sea city of Amasya.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has accused U.S. officials of sheltering him in their consulate in Istanbul.

The man's wife and daughter were detained over alleged links to the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, Anadolu said, blamed by Ankara for orchestrating the abortive putsch.

Last Sunday, the U.S. mission in Turkey and the Turkish mission in Washington cut back visa services after another U.S. consulate employee, Metin Topuz, was arrested. Washington said charges linking him to Gulen were baseless.

The prosecutor's office had said earlier that testimony from Topuz pointed to the wife and daughter being high-ranking members of Gulen's network.

Gulen has denied any role in the failed coup.]]>
10/16/2017 9:06:54 PM
<![CDATA[N.Korea warns states: Don't join any U.S. action and you're safe]]>
The caution was contained in a copy of North Korean Deputy U.N. Ambassador Kim In Ryong's prepared remarks for a discussion on nuclear weapons by a U.N. General Assembly committee. However, Kim did not read that section out loud.

"As long as one does not take part in the U.S. military actions against the DPRK (North Korea), we have no intention to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any other country," according to Kim's prepared remarks.

"The entire U.S. mainland is within our firing range and if the U.S. dares to invade our sacred territory even an inch it will not escape our severe punishment in any part of the globe," the statement read.

Tensions have soared between the United States and North Korea following a series of weapons tests by Pyongyang and a string of increasingly bellicose exchanges between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously ratcheted up sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs since 2006.

North Korean Deputy U.N. Ambassador Kim did tell the U.N. General Assembly committee on Monday: "Unless the hostile policy and the nuclear threat of the U.S. is thoroughly eradicated, we will never put our nuclear weapons and ballistic rockets on the negotiation table under any circumstance." ]]>
10/16/2017 8:56:23 PM
<![CDATA[3 killed as Hurricane Ophelia lashes Ireland]]>
One man in his 30s died in a chainsaw accident while trying to clear a fallen tree in County Tipperary.

A woman in her 50s in County Waterford and a man in County Louth were killed after trees fell on their cars.

All schools in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic will remain closed on Tuesday.

Taoiseach (Irish PM) Leo Varadkar has warned people to stay indoors, as severe winds cause transport disruption, uproot trees and cut power supplies.

A red weather alert is in place across the Republic of Ireland, meaning there is a danger to life.

Some 365,000 customers are without power in the Republic and it could be 10 days before normal service resumes. Emergency crews are coming from Northern Ireland and the UK to help restore the supply, said the Irish PM.

About 18,500 homes have no electricity in Northern Ireland.
In addition to schools closing, many businesses did not open or closed early to enable staff to get home before the worst of the storm hit.

A number of roads in Northern Ireland have been closed or blocked by fallen trees, and public transport came to a virtual standstill from late afternoon on Monday.]]>
10/16/2017 8:52:30 PM
<![CDATA[Catalan police chief walks free after sedition hearing]]>
Spanish state prosecutors had demanded he be remanded in custody pending trial on accusations that he failed to stop Catalonia's banned independence referendum from going ahead on October 1.

Trapero, who became a popular figure in Catalonia for his handling of the August jihadist attacks in Barcelona and nearby Cambrils, faces up to 15 years in jail if found guilty of sedition.

The head of the Mossos d'Esquadra regional force is also accused of failing to contain protests that followed arrests and searches in Catalonia last month by national police as part of a crackdown on the outlawed independence vote.

The Guardia Civil national police force accused Catalan police of disobeying orders.

The Mossos defended themselves, saying they stopped voting at 446 polling stations and that a more aggressive intervention would have been counterproductive.

Monday's appearance at Madrid's National Court was Trapero's second in 10 days.

It came as the region's separatist leader Carles Puigdemont -- who counts Trapero as a close ally -- failed to clarify Monday whether he intended to follow through with his threat to declare independence in Catalonia, despite a government deadline.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy responded by giving Puigdemont a fresh deadline of 0800 GMT on Thursday to "return to legality".]]>
10/16/2017 8:50:10 PM
<![CDATA[Drone strikes target IS training camps in Yemen]]>
Witnesses said villagers were prevented by tribal leaders from approaching the area and retrieving the dead and wounded for fear of additional strikes.

Locals said the camps, both in Bayda province, were named after prominent IS figures: Yemen chief Abu Bilal al-Harbi and former global spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, killed last summer in a US air strike.

This is the first time security sources loyal to Yemen's internationally recognized government have announced raids against IS footholds.

IS and its jihadist rival Al-Qaeda have taken advantage of a conflict between the government and Shiite Huthi rebels, who control the capital Sanaa, to bolster their presence across much of the south.

The US is the only force known to operate armed drones over Yemen, but previous known strikes have exclusively targeted Al-Qaeda.

IS, however, has risen to prominence in the country's civil war targeting both army recruits of the government and Shiites, which it considers heretics.

It entered the war in March 2015 with a series of attacks on Shiite mosques in the capital, leaving more than 140 people dead.

The group's last major attack was a suicide bombing in the government stronghold of Aden last December, which killed 48 soldiers.

Al-Qaeda has distanced itself from IS attacks, claiming that it seeks to avoid "the shedding of any Muslim blood" while focusing on fighting the "Americans and their allies."

The Saudi-led coalition, which intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to roll back Huthi rebel gains, has also turned its firepower on Sunni jihadists and backed forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

The Yemen war has killed 8,673 people and wounded 58,636 -- among them many civilians, according to the UN.]]>
10/16/2017 8:48:50 PM
<![CDATA[Al Azhar condemns attack on NBE branch in Arish]]>
In a statement, Al Azhar hailed steadfastness and heroism shown by the martyrs and their comrades.

Al Azhar condoled with the interior ministry and the families of the victims, the statement added.

Earlier in the day, the Ministry of Interior said the that three policemen and two civilians were killed while trying to abort the terrorist attack.]]>
10/16/2017 8:46:41 PM
<![CDATA[Trump upbeat on bipartisan U.S. healthcare fix]]>
Trump, speaking to reporters at the start of a meeting with his Cabinet, said he believes congressional Republicans will agree to a long-term fix for healthcare by early next year, but said he does not expect Democrats to support that effort.

He did not provide details on what might be included.

"I think we'll have a short-term fix and then we'll have a long-term fix, and that will take place probably in March or April," Trump said.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement that he was hopeful that an agreement was near to stabilize Obamacare.

"If he's (Trump) now supportive of an agreement that stabilizes and improves the existing system under the Affordable Care Act, we certainly welcome that change of heart," Schumer said.

Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democratic Senator Patty Murray have been trying to craft a bipartisan deal aimed at helping stabilize health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

The two senators have been meeting privately for months on a possible bipartisan deal. Republicans repeatedly have failed to pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare with their own, more limited healthcare program.

It was not clear whether Trump was specifically referring to the Alexander-Murray effort in his remarks.

Despite the two senators' months of work, Trump said Republicans and Democrats in Congress were meeting "because of what I did with the CSRs – because I cut off the gravy train. If I didn’t cut the CSRs ... they’d be having lunch and enjoying themselves."

CSRs are cost-sharing reduction payments from the federal government to insurers aimed at lowering premiums for lower-income people who want to participate in Obamacare.

Two Senate Democratic aides familiar with the negotiations said on Monday that the two senators were nearing a deal.

Republican aides were not immediately available for comment.

Congressional aides have said that such a deal could include two years of funding to continue the subsidies that Trump has revoked, coupled with new flexibility for states on their handling of some Obamacare provisions.

The Obamacare subsidies cost $7 billion this year and were estimated at $10 billion for 2018, according to congressional analysts.

Trump criticized the subsidies as "a disgrace" and "a total gift" to insurers, while Democrats said Trump's move to cancel the payments would hurt poor and middle-class people and drive up premiums significantly.

In August, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that some premiums could shoot up 20 percent next year if the federal subsidies were discontinued.

Trump also said his administration would take steps to bring down prescription drug prices, which he said are "out of control."]]>
10/16/2017 8:35:37 PM
<![CDATA[Red Sky at Night, Sheppard’s Delight ]]>
Reminiscent of a biblical apocalyptic scene, the sky above appeared to be in a sandstorm with a deep red sun piercing through, stopping people in their tracks to wonder in amazement.

Some areas of the country have been forced to turn on street lights and issue warnings as dust particles partially blocked out the sun and caused confusion through the country.

But what cause this strange, yet impressive phenomenon?

The answer? Storm Ophelia.

According to the Met Office, the red sun is caused by winds pulling up dust from the Sahara.

Sand and dust was carried over from southern Europe and Africa by peculiar weather recently, and swirled through the sky high up in the atmosphere.

As the sun’s rays travel through the dust, the light is reflected and refracted in longer wavelengths, which is part of the red part of the spectrum, thus giving the sky the impressive red glow.

1
Captivating Red Sky Over London
The huge forest fires, which have swept across Central Portugal and West Central Spain have filled the sky with ash and smoke, giving the sky the a unique smell.

However, Met Office has stated that this poses no health risk as the particles are high up in the atmosphere.]]>
10/16/2017 8:24:42 PM
<![CDATA[Haniya calls Arab League Head to discuss applying reconciliation]]>
This came through a phone call between Haniya and Aboul-Gheit, where they talked about the agreement made in Egypt and the challenges facing the implementation of the reconciliation.

During the call, Haniya confirmed the need to overcome all potential challenges that may arise to achieve the Palestinian national unity and put an end to the 10-year division between the Palestinian factions.

For his part, the Arab League secretary general praised the reconciliation and the Egypt’s mediation for its success, stressing that we all support the Palestinian issue and that reconciliation is a great step to achieve unity.

Palestinians have one big goal, which is establishment of a Palestinian state and obtaining national independence, indicating what they must do to achieve that, added Aboul-Gheit.

Aboul-Gheit pointed out that the Arab League supports reconciliation and hails to host Haniya in its headquarter to discuss many Palestinian issues.

Earlier, Abbas extended the Palestinian people’s appreciation of President Sisi for his administration’s efforts in signing the reconciliation agreement in Cairo, according to the Palestine News Agency (WAFA).

“What was agreed upon strengthens and accelerates the steps to end the division and restore the unity of the Palestinian people, land and institutions,” said Abbas.

The two main Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, signed an Egypt-brokered reconciliation deal in Cairo, in a key step towards ending a decade-long rift between the two movements.

The deal will see administrative control of the Gaza Strip handed to a Fatah-backed unity government.]]>
10/16/2017 8:04:07 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian Government 'We Eliminated 98% of mosquitoes causing Dengue Fever' ]]>
In a press conference at the premises of the Egyptian Cabinet, Abdullah pointed out that the number of cases hospitalized in the Red Sea governorate until Sunday have only reached 5 cases.

Earlier last week, the Red Sea governorate set up preventive measures to curb the spread of mosquito-borne dengue virus in cities of Al-Quseir, Safaga and Hurghada.

For further intensified anti-Dengue mosquito measures, the governor of the Red Sea briefed concerned water and sanitation companies on the importance of constantly cleaning water reservoirs and water-holding containers, giving strict directives to the hospitals to rise of its staff’s awareness on dealing with any potential infected cases.
]]>
10/16/2017 7:22:00 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. military, in Iraq, urges Iraqis, Kurds to avoid escalation]]>
Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning declined to speculate on whether the United States might cut off military aid and training to Iraqi forces in the event a major conflict, saying: "I'm not going to speculate on that but I will tell you that we're looking at all options for planning considerations ... We encourage dialogue."

]]>
10/16/2017 7:11:30 PM
<![CDATA[Turkey extends state of emergency for fifth time]]>
The emergency was extended by another three months as part of the country's fight against terror organisations, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said.

Bozdag told reporters in Ankara after a cabinet meeting that the decision was taken to protect the country's "democracy, rule of law and rights and freedoms of our citizens".

The extension was a formality after the National Security Council (MGK) meeting chaired by Erdogan at his presidential palace in Ankara recommended the move.

The decision will now go to parliament to be formally ratified.

The emergency first came into force less than a week after the attempted overthrow of Erdogan on July 15, 2016 and has been used to crack down on those suspected of links to the group blamed for the coup bid, but also outlawed Kurdish militants.

Critics say the emergency has also been used to target government opponents including critical journalists as well as pro-Kurdish critics.

Four extensions -- in October 2016, and January, April and July this year -- have all been for a period of three months. The previous extension was due to end on Thursday.

The emergency gives broad powers to the executive, allowing the Turkish president and his cabinet to rule by decree.

More than 50,000 people have been arrested over suspected links to the movement led by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by the government of ordering the failed coup.

Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, strongly denies Ankara's claims.

Meanwhile, at least 140,000 people have been sacked or suspended from the public sector including teachers, judges and civil servants through emergency decrees published in the Official Gazette.]]>
10/16/2017 6:56:09 PM
<![CDATA[President Sisi to attend Cyprus Trilateral Summit next month]]>
In 2015, Greece, Egypt and Cyprus agreed to speed up talks to demarcate sea boundaries in the Eastern Mediterranean as part of efforts to turn the region into an offshore natural gas hub, according to Reuters.

The Mediterranean’s largest gas field, Zohr, is now 91 percent complete, as work is proceeding on schedule, Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla said Sunday.

The second phase of the project is scheduled to start after the first phase begins production by the end of 2017, Molla added.

A set of practical experiments are expected to be conducted at Zohr before the end of October to produce an estimated 350 million cubic feet (MMCF) of gas per day and to be increased up to 1,000 MMCF by the end of 2017.

Zohr is the largest natural gas field found in the Mediterranean and was discovered in 2015 by Italy’s Eni. The field has an area of 100 square meters at a depth of 1,450 meters.
Investing around $10 billion in the project, Eni is estimating total output of the field to be approximately 30 trillion cubic feet of gas.

The field will start production in three phases. The first phase will see an output of one billion cubic feet per day. When all seven fields are complete by 2019, this amount will increase to 2.7 billion cubic feet per day.

The field is expected to secure Egypt’s domestic needs of gas after it has become a net importer of gas following a cut in production after the January revolution.]]>
10/16/2017 6:34:09 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. Embassy in Cairo condemns terrorist attacks in Sinai ]]>
“These attacks once again demonstrate the depravity of the terrorists, in stark contrast to officers and civilians who are giving their lives to serve and protect fellow citizens,” the statement read.

The Embassy also expressed condolences for those killed and injured by these recent attacks.

“The United States stands firmly with Egypt, and will continue to stand with Egypt and the Egyptian government and people as they battle terrorism,” the statement added.

On Sunday, six army troops were killed during a terrorist attack in North Sinai.

The army spokesperson Tamer El-Refai said in statement that the armed forces foiled the terrorist’s attack to target al-Qawadis check point, with 24 militants were killed and one injured.

On Monday, the Interior Ministry said in statement that a number of terrorist elements targeted security check points near al-Arish police station as police forces clashed with them. Meanwhile, another group of terrorists stormed al-Arish National Bank branch in the same district near the police station.

Three police officers were killed due to the terrorist attacks, along with one of the bank security members and a civilian woman. Other civilians near the terrorist attacks were reported to be injured. ]]>
10/16/2017 6:13:39 PM
<![CDATA[We seek to ease Palestinian suffering: Hamas spokesman]]>
Qanou added that Hamas is committed to implementing the assigned timetable of the reconciliation last Thursday, stressing that the punishment measures posed by president Mahmoud Abbas must be undone.

“Our people look forward to putting an end to these punishment measures especially after dissolving the administrative committee one month ago,” stated Qanou.

He added that all ministries, bodies and authorities of the Gaza strip are now under the control of Hamadallah government, with all doors opened and paved to take over the strip.

Qanou further stated that the Palestinian Authority Director-General for Border Crossings Department Nazmi Muhanna arrived on Monday as part of the reconciliation agreement reached between Hamas and Fatah.

Head of the Civil Affairs Authority Hussein el-Sheikh said a governmental delegation of the crossings' crew will begin implementing the items of the agreement whereby the national reconciliation government will oversee management of the enclave crossings.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Minister of Public Works and Housing Mofeed al Hasaynah announced that the Italian government agreed on building a new housing district in northern Gaza to compensate the owners of houses that have been demolished during the Israeli aggression.

Deputy Chief of Fatah Movement Mahmoud al-Aloul said his movement is closely following up with measures to empower the reconciliation government in Gaza.

He also said that the upcoming days would witness a meeting of the specialized committees and security officials to follow-up on the implementation of a deal which has been recently reached between the two Palestinian factions in Cairo under the auspices of Egypt.]]>
10/16/2017 5:57:54 PM
<![CDATA[Interior Ministry releases al-Arish terrorist attack details ]]>
In an official statement, the ministry said that the number of militants targeting security checkpoints near al-Arish police station as the police forces clashed with them.

Meanwhile, another group of terrorists stormed the al-Arish National Bank branch located in the same district near the police station.

Three police officers were killed due to the terrorist attacks, along with one of the bank security members and a civilian woman.

Other civilians near the terrorist attacks were reported to be injured. The terrorists also stole an unknown amount of money from the bank before escaping.

Excessive security measures were imposed in the district in order to capture the terrorists.]]>
10/16/2017 5:47:12 PM
<![CDATA[We won’t forfeit our children for Barzani: Iraqi official]]>
Zinki added in statements to El Hurra channel, “We will not send our children to their death to preserve Barzani’s seat of power.”

The Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service, police forces and the army’s ninth brigade regained control of a vast territory in Kirkuk including the oil well, Baba Gurgur, without clashing with the Peshmerga forces located in Kirkuk.

The multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk, home to one of Iraq's largest oil fields, was taken over by Kurdish Peshmerga forces in July 2014 after Iraqi government troops left the city ahead of a possible attack by radical Islamic State insurgents who have already seized two major Iraqi cities.]]>
10/16/2017 5:37:16 PM
<![CDATA[Britain and France to work to enforce Iran nuclear deal]]>
May and Macron discussed U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to not recertify the deal and said that France and Britain would work together to "push back on Iran's destabilising activity in the region," May's office said in a statement after the phonecall.

]]>
10/16/2017 5:35:55 PM
<![CDATA[Iraqi forces seize Kirkuk from Kurds in bold advance]]>
A convoy of armoured vehicles from Iraq's elite U.S.-trained Counter-Terrorism Force seized the city's provincial government headquarters on Monday afternoon, less than a day after the operation began, a Reuters reporter in Kirkuk said.

A dozen armoured vehicles arrived at the building and took up positions nearby, alongside local police. They pulled down the Kurdish flag and left the Iraqi flag flying.

Neither side gave a casualty toll for the operation. But an aid organisation working in Kirkuk said several Peshmerga and members of the Iraqi forces had been killed in an overnight clash south of Kirkuk - the only serious fighting reported.

Some Kurdish civilians were fleeing the city of 1 million people in fear of reprisals. Crowds of ethnic Turkmen who opposed Kurdish control of the city were celebrating. Some drove in convoys with Iraqi flags and fired shots in the air.

"This day should become a holiday, we're so happy to have gotten rid of Barzani's party," said a man celebrating on a motorbike, waving the blue-and-white flag of Iraq's Turkmen, referring to the Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi ordered that the Iraqi flag be hoisted over Kirkuk and other disputed areas claimed by both the central government and the Kurds, who defied Baghdad to hold a vote for independence on Sept. 25.

Baghdad described the advance as largely unopposed, and urged the Kurdish security forces known as Peshmerga to cooperate in keeping the peace. The Peshmerga said Baghdad would be made to pay "a heavy price" for triggering "war on the Kurdistan people".

Washington called for calm on both sides, seeking to avert an all-out conflict between Baghdad and the Kurds that would open a whole new front in Iraq's 14-year-old civil war and potentially draw in regional powers such as Turkey and Iran.

The overnight advance was the most decisive step Baghdad has taken yet to block the independence bid of the Kurds, who have governed an autonomous part of northern Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and voted three weeks ago to secede.

Kirkuk, one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse cities in Iraq, is located just outside the autonomous Kurdish zone. Kurds consider it the heart of their homeland; they say it was cleansed of Kurds and settled with Arabs under Saddam to secure control of the oil that was the source of Iraq's wealth.

State TV said Iraqi forces had also entered Tuz Khurmato, a flashpoint town where there had been clashes between Kurds and mainly Shi'ite Muslims of Turkmen ethnicity.

The "government of Abadi bears the main responsibility for triggering war on the Kurdistan people, and will be made to pay a heavy price", the Peshmerga command said in a statement, cited by Kurdish leader Barzani's assistant Hemin Hawrami.

A Kurdish father of four who was driving out of Kirkuk towards the Kurdish regional capital Erbil said: "We no longer feel safe. We hope to return to our home but right now we feel it's dangerous for us to stay."

Washington, which arms and trains both Iraqi federal forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga to fight Islamic State militants, called on "all parties to immediately cease military action and restore calm", according to a U.S. Embassy statement.

"ISIS (Islamic State) remains the true enemy of Iraq, and we urge all parties to remain focused on finishing the liberation of their country from this menace."

The military action in Kirkuk helped spur a jump in world oil prices on Monday.

Oilfields near Kirkuk halted production, but Baghdad said it would be quickly restarted.

"We've got confirmation from military commanders that it's a matter of a very short time," a senior Baghdad oil official told Reuters. "Our brave forces will regain control of all Kirkuk oilfields and then we will restart production immediately."

SECESSION OPPOSED BY NEIGHBOURS

Baghdad considers last month's Kurdish independence vote illegal, especially as it was held not just in the autonomous region but in Kirkuk and other neighbouring areas the Kurdish Peshmerga occupied after driving out Islamic State.

The Kurdish secession bid was strongly opposed by neighbours Iran and Turkey. Washington, allied with the Kurds for decades, pleaded vainly for them to halt a vote that could break up Iraq.

There were signs of internal conflict among the Kurds, who have been divided for decades into two main factions, the KDP of regional government leader Barzani and the PUK of his longtime rival Jalal Talabani, who served as Iraq's ceremonial president in Baghdad from 2003-2014 and died two weeks ago.

Both Kurdish parties control their own Peshmerga units. While Barzani's KDP strongly supported the independence referendum, some PUK figures were more circumspect.

Monday's Peshmerga statement accused a group within the PUK of "treason" for assisting Baghdad's advance. "We regret that some PUK officials helped in this plot," it said.

Although Iraqi officials portrayed the Kurds as retreating without a fight, Kurdish officials said Peshmerga had clashed with the "Popular Mobilisation" - Shi'ite Muslim forces trained and armed by Iran that operate alongside regular Iraqi troops.

FATE UNSETTLED

The status of Kirkuk and fate of the Kurds were left unsettled 14 years ago when a U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam.

During the years of U.S. occupation that ensued, Washington leaned on its Kurdish allies to keep their ambitions in check to avoid triggering another war amid an insurgency by Sunni Muslim Arabs.

After Islamic State swept across a third of Iraq in 2014 and were subsequently driven out, the Kurds found themselves in their strongest position on the ground for generations.

Their leader Barzani said the time had come for an independence referendum. But the vote angered neighbours and put pressure on Abadi to act.

Turkey, which had developed a good working relationship with the Iraqi Kurds and let the landlocked region export oil through its pipes, has swung behind Baghdad, furious at a secession move that might ignite similar demands from its own Kurds.

In a statement, the Turkish government said it would stand by Baghdad to provide peace and stability in the region. ]]>
10/16/2017 5:31:49 PM
<![CDATA[US embassy condemns Sinai attacks on Armed Forces, police, civilians]]>
These attacks once again demonstrate the depravity of the terrorists, in stark contrast to officers and civilians who are giving their lives to serve and protect fellow citizens.

The US Embassy expresses its deep sympathies and condolences for those killed and injured by these recent attacks, and we wish a quick recovery for those injured.

The United States stands firmly with Egypt, and will continue to stand with Egypt and the Egyptian government and people as they battle terrorism.

]]>
10/16/2017 5:29:51 PM
<![CDATA[On solutions for women debtors’ plight in Egypt]]>
The majority of these women have debts of not more than $1,000, commonly after falling behind on repayments for domestic items, such as fridges or furniture. Each debt is given a separate penalty by the court, so they could be imprisoned for more than 30 years.

“Women debtors in Egypt… Solutions outside the walls” is the tile of the conference held by the Children of Female Prisoners Association (CFPA), in attendance of many humanitarians and non-governmental organizations, with the aim of solving the growing crisis of these illiterate and unemployed women.

Journalist Nawal Mostafa, head of CFPA, stated that the association is working to amend Clause 341 of the Criminal Law, which stipulates that “the crime is registered as 'Betrayal to Municipality', which could be explained as a receipt given out without the amount available to pay.”

She also called for substituting the imprisonment punishment of the debtors with civil service, pointing out that the cost of maintenance of the lives of these women debtors inside the prison is high, particularly with the increasing number of prisoners.

She also indicated that the period of the sentence may turn into a training period for the prisoner through public service works, such as cleaning, public hospital services or handicrafts, which will benefit the convicted after the term of the sentence.

She stressed that many governmental and civil institutions, parliamentarians and intellectuals stand with the objectives of the association and its aim, which will protect thousands of female debtors in Egypt from the danger of entering the prison, entailing heavy losses to their families.

Some Egyptian women are naive and spend a huge amount of money on furniture and domestic items, professor of Theology at al-Azhar University Dr. Amna Nosseir said, calling them to tighten their spending.

Humanitarians express their hope to end this crisis, which turns Egyptian women to criminals when they would otherwise be innocent.
]]>
10/16/2017 4:58:06 PM
<![CDATA[French delegation makes tour at Cairo's metro]]>
Pepy led a delegation comprising French transportation experts.

The French delegation made an inspection tour of the second and third lines of Cairo's metro.

French Ambassador in Cairo Stephane Roumtier joined the delegation while taking the train from al Sadat station to the third line of al Ataba station to inspect the control center. They resumed the journey heading for the ministry of transportation to meet Transport Minister Hisham Arafat.

]]>
10/16/2017 4:53:14 PM
<![CDATA[Death toll from Somalia bomb attacks tops 300]]>
The death toll has steadily risen since Saturday, when the blasts struck at two busy junctions in the heart of the capital city. One truck bomb detonated near a fuel truck, creating an enormous fireball.

The bomb attacks were the deadliest since Islamist militant group al Shabaab began an insurgency in 2007. Al Shabaab has not claimed responsibility, but the method and type of attack - a large truck bomb - is increasingly used by the al Qaeda-linked organisation.

"We have confirmed 300 people died in the blast. The death toll will still be higher because some people are still missing," Abdikadir Abdirahman, the director of the city's ambulance service, told Reuters.

Aden Nur, a doctor at the city's Madina hospital, said they had recorded 258 deaths and that 160 of the bodies could not be recognised.

"(They)were buried by the government yesterday. The others were buried by their relatives. Over a hundred injured were also brought here," he told Reuters at the hospital.

Some of the injured were being evacuated by air to Turkey for treatment, officials said.

Locals visiting their injured relatives or collecting their bodies filled every available space in Madina hospital.

"My last time to speak with my brother was some minutes before the blast occurred," Halima Nur, a local mother, told Reuters.

"I am afraid he was among the unrecognized charred bodies that were buried yesterday. I have no hope of getting him alive or dead. But I cannot go home."

Abdullahi Aden, 56, said five of his cousins had died.

"The shop completely collapsed on them. I could not help them. I could not hear their screams and the nearby buildings were burning," he said. He was still searching for two other relatives.

DEADLIEST SINCE INSURGENCY BEGAN

Al Shabaab stages regular attacks in the capital and other parts of the country. Although the group claims it targets the government and security forces, it has detonated large bombs in crowded public areas before.

It has sometimes not claimed responsibility for bombings that provoked a big public backlash, like the 2009 suicide bombing of a graduation ceremony for medical students.

The group is waging an insurgency against Somalia's U.N.-backed government and its African Union allies in a bid to impose its own strict interpretation of Islam.

The militants were driven out of Mogadishu in 2011 and have been steadily losing territory.

But Al Shabaab retains the capacity to mount large bomb attacks. Over the past three years, the number of civilians killed by insurgent bombings has steadily climbed as al Shabaab increases the size of its bombs.

In 2016, 723 Somalis were killed in 395 bomb attacks, according to Nairobi-based thinktank Sahan Research, up from 193 deaths in 265 attacks in 2015.

Some of those seriously injured in Saturday's bombing were moved by ambulance to the airport on Monday morning to be flown to Turkey for further treatment.

Workers unloaded boxes of medicine and other medical supplies from a Turkish military plane and Turkish medical teams attended to the injured moved from the hospital for evacuation. ]]>
10/16/2017 4:50:28 PM
<![CDATA[Saafan hails performance of Egyptian workers]]>
Such performances enable the Egyptian employer to be the best worldwide only if good potentials were provided for him, he said.

Saafan noted that the performance of Egyptian employers abroad and their abilities to assume their responsibilities can result in providing more opportunities to other employers and make Egyptian ones known for their good qualifications worldwide.

The remarks were made by the minister during handing over of employment contracts to 114 Egyptian employers at a construction company in a Gulf country.

He directed the traveling workers to contact with the labor consultant at the Egyptian embassy in the country they will work in, affirming that the main objective of the labor representative office is to serve and protect interests of Egyptian labor.

Saafan pointed out that such opportunities are provided by the ministry through its labor representative offices abroad within the framework of its strategy to reduce unemployment. ]]>
10/16/2017 4:46:36 PM
<![CDATA[Abul Gheit calls for Arab, international support for Somalis's security institutions]]>
Arab League spokesman Mahmoud Afifi said in press statements Monday that Abul Gheit expressed solidarity with Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo and his government in this crucial stage

He expressed support for the efforts exerted by the Somali government to defeat Al Shabab organization and other terrorist groups, pointing out that Abul Gheit called for intensifying Arab and international support for Somalis's security institutions.

The spokesman welcomed the statement issued by the Security Council which condemned the bombing and backed efforts exerted to achieve security and stability in the African country.

The death toll from the explosions rose to more than 231 as the attack was one of the deadliest in the recent history of the country beset by insurgency.


The first blast happened near the Safari Hotel, close to Somalia’s Foreign Ministry, police said.

The second explosion hit the city’s Madina district hours later, according to police. ]]>
10/16/2017 4:37:24 PM
<![CDATA[Iraqi forces remove Kurdish flag from Kirkuk governorate building]]>
A U.S.-trained Iraqi elite unit took control of the governorate building earlier in the day, meeting no opposition from Kurdish forces deployed in the city.

They were welcomed by cheering crowds of Turkmen residents of the city who drove around in convoy firing, sometimes burst of gunfire into the air to celebrate the Iraqi military operation launched in the early hours of Monday to take control of Kurdish-held positions in the oil-rich region.

]]>
10/16/2017 4:35:23 PM
<![CDATA[Russia's Putin signs decree imposing restrictions on North Korea]]>
The resolution, about special economic measures, was a response to Pyongyang's missiles tests in late 2016.

]]>
10/16/2017 4:33:10 PM
<![CDATA[U.N. coordinator follows up on reconciliation with Palestinian PM ]]>
This came as part of the U.N. role to support the reconciliation sponsored by Egypt, which played the most important role in the Palestinian reconciliation.

Mladenov pointed out that the agreement stipulates the return of Gaza crossings to the Palestinian Authority by November 1, indicating that this will empower the national government in the Gaza Strip effectively.

Mladenov confirmed that the U.N. continues its efforts to coordinate and support the national Palestinian government, which is considered decisive step to achieve stability in the whole region.

The national reconciliation and Palestinian national unity will be the main impetus for restoring the Palestinian cause to its natural state, as a national issue for all Palestinian people.

He continued to call for unifying all Palestinian efforts and energies, expressing his hope that the positive aspects of the reconciliation will be reflected on all Palestinian issues.

Earlier, Abbas extended the Palestinian people’s appreciation to President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi for his administration’s efforts in signing the reconciliation agreement in Cairo, according to the Palestine News Agency (WAFA).

“What was agreed upon strengthens and accelerates the steps to end the division and restore the unity of the Palestinian people, land and institutions,” said Abbas.

The two main Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, signed an Egypt-brokered reconciliation deal in Cairo, in a key step towards ending a decade-long rift between the two movements.

The deal will see administrative control of the Gaza Strip handed to a Fatah-backed unity government.]]>
10/16/2017 4:29:48 PM
<![CDATA[Peshmerga to withdraw from Dilaya governorate]]>
Dahlaki told Iraqi media outlets that “the Peshmerga forces are expected to leave Village of Nye and Kifri villages located within the administrative area of the Diyala governorate.”

“The withdrawal will take place within a common understanding between Baghdad and Erbil without bloodshed in any of the villages mentioned above,” he added.

He praised the military operation in progress now upon orders from Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi, adding that Abadi reacted “wisely” with Kurdistan.

Kurdish sources revealed to Iraqi media outlets Monday that Kurdish parties have evacuated their headquarters in Diyala.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi gave instructions that the Iraqi flag be hoisted on Kirkuk and other territories claimed by both the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Iraq's Kurdish security forces said Baghdad would pay a "heavy price" for launching an advance on the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk.

In a statement, the Peshmerga also accused a faction from one of the two main Iraqi Kurdish political parties of "treason" for assisting Baghdad with the advance.

In a statement issued on Monday, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Abadi said that “we tried to dissuade those in the [Kurdistan] region from holding it [referendum] and not violating the Constitution and to focus instead on the fight against Daesh [Islamic State], but they did not listen to our appeals. We demanded from them to cancel the results which also went unheeded.”

Abadi accused the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of ignoring the magnitude of the danger that Iraq and its people will be exposed to if the independence of Kurdistan takes place.
]]>
10/16/2017 4:28:46 PM
<![CDATA[Spanish prosecutor asks for Catalan police chief to be held in custody]]>
A judge is due to decide on this later on Monday, the source said.

]]>
10/16/2017 4:23:40 PM
<![CDATA[5 branches of Canadian university to be included in New Capital]]>
The Canadian universities will begin receiving the first batch of Egyptian and foreign students by the end of 2018.

Minister of Higher Education Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar asserted the strength of the Egyptian- Canadian relations, especially in education fields, pointing out that Canada was one of the top countries establishing a university complex in the New Administrative Capital.

amr_moustafa_(43)
Constructions of Canadian Universities in New Administrative Capital - photo by Amr Moustafa
He expressed his happiness over the steps implemented in the project and urged it to be completed as soon as possible.

Abdel Ghaffar illustrated that this new educational complex will be built on 50 acres with a total cost of LE 1.7 billion ($9.63 million). It consists of eight buildings; seven of them were allocated for educational purposes, and the eighth building will be allocated for scientific research and development.

Abdel Ghaffar further elaborated that the establishment of a science city in the New Administrative Capital comes within the framework of fruitful and constructive relations between Egypt and various countries, in addition to the Egyptian state's keenness to promote the system of higher education and scientific research.

This project will be the nucleus of the Science City, which is expected to include branches of the most important foreign universities (American, British, Austrian, Hungarian and German) and also expected to include new scientific programs that meet the needs of the labor market, he added.

Some 51 percent of the New Administrative Capital Company are owned by the Armed Forces and 49 percent are owned by the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA).

The paid-up capital of the company amounts to LE 20 billion; including contributions from the Armed Forces and NUCA, with authorized capital that amounts to LE 204 billion.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi laid the first stone of the New Administrative Capital in East Cairo on Wednesday.
amr_moustafa_(25)
Constructions of Canadian Universities in New Administrative Capital - photo by Amr Moustafa
With an area of 170,000 feddans, the new capital will include 20 residential areas expected to accommodate 6.5 million people and a road network 650 kilometers long.

The capital will include an international airport and an electric train to link it with the 10th of Ramadan and El-Salam cities.

It will feature 1,250 mosques and churches, a 5,000-seat conference center, nearly 2,000 schools and colleges, over 600 medical facilities, and a park that is projected to be the world’s largest.
amr_moustafa_(15)
The flag of Canda in construction site- photo by Amr Moustafa
The New Administrative Capital is located in the area between the Cairo-Suez and Cairo-Ain Sokhna roads, east of the regional ring road. This is roughly 60 kilometers from the cities of Suez and Ain Sokhna.]]>
10/16/2017 4:21:25 PM
<![CDATA[Iraqi forces take control of Kirkuk governorate building unopposed]]>
A dozen Humvees from the U.S.-trained Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) arrived at the governorate building and took position in the vicinity alongside the local city police, they said. They drove to the centre of the city from airport which they had captured earlier in the day from Kurdish forces.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi gave instructions that the Iraqi flag be hoisted on Kirkuk and other territories claimed by both the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government

]]>
10/16/2017 3:49:01 PM
<![CDATA[53 MPs sign "To Build It" petition for Sisi 2nd term: political party]]>
As many as 53 MPs signed the petition during the official launching ceremony of the campaign in which a big number of MPs, public figures and politicians have attended, Nour stated.

Last week, The Nation's Future party announced it officially joins To Build It Campaign, and decided to open its premises nation wide to receive the citizens who want to sign the petition.


Gathering 1
Citizens who signed the petition

Gathering 2
A seminar organized by the campaign



The party said that the decision came due to their “belief in national participation that unites the nations’ people around one goal…which is preserving nation… and to complement the path led by the leader Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.”

In the statement, the party said that its 58 headquarters will be opened to receive all those who want to fill the campaign forms across the governorates. It also allocated phone numbers available for inquiries about the campaign, in addition to allocating a central operation room to coordinate with volunteers.

“Alashan Tbneeha” (To Build It), a public campaign that kicked off in September to demand President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to run for a second term as President of Egypt witnessed a remarkable turnout by citizens and renowned figures of the Egyptian society as the signatures phase of the campaign was launched.

Fahmy1234
Veteran actor Hussein Fahmy

231f213t
Actor Hany Salama

Wafaa Amer
Actress Wafaa Amer

Renowned actor Tarek Lotfy
Actor Tarek Lotfy
]]>
10/16/2017 3:46:20 PM
<![CDATA[Dar Al-Ifta organizes conference for fatwa authorities worldwide ]]>
The conference will be held from October 17 to 19, 2017 in Cairo, and will be titled "Fatwa Role in Maintaining Societies' Stability."

The move came as part of the continuous coordination between the Foreign Ministry and Dar Al-Ifta; seeking to highlight Egypt’s efforts in denouncing extremist discourses.

Abu Zeid also stressed the Foreign Ministry's keenness on offering support for the conference, as it reflects the leading role of Egypt's religious institutions in fighting religious extremism and erroneous Fatwas. ]]>
10/16/2017 3:26:36 PM
<![CDATA[Palestine condemns Israeli expansion of settlement policy]]>
In a statement, the ministry slammed the decision by the Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu to resume operations to expand Israeli settlements that were suspended during the term of US Former President Barack Obama.

The ministry said that such move hinders any chance to establish the Palestinian state with al Quds (occupied east Jerusalem) as its capital and diminishes political solutions based on the two state solution.

Occupation authorities started implementing a massive expansion scheme in Givat Hamatos settlement in al Quds by announcing its plan to build about 2600 new settlements that had been approved in 2014, the ministry said adding that it will lead to the separation of the south of al Quds (Jerusalem) from its Palestinian extension, enabling occupation forces to isolate and surround a number of neighborhoods in al Quds.

The ministry added that the silence of the international community on Israeli settlements and violation of the international law and legitimate international resolutions represented a cover that encourages Israel to continue its destruction of the opportunities to revive peace negotiations.
]]>
10/16/2017 3:23:47 PM
<![CDATA[Tourist visas are not for employment in UAE: Foreign Ministry ]]>
Travelers who seek jobs using these kinds of visa will be fined and prohibited from entering the UAE again, Rezq stressed.

Egyptian citizens planning to travel to the UAE are prohibited from using tourist or visitor visas for seeking employment there, a statement issued Monday by the Foreign Ministry explained.
]]>
10/16/2017 3:05:42 PM
<![CDATA[In Pictures: Iraqi Flags flapping on oil facilities in Kirkuk ]]>

Iraqi_Army_Forces_in_Kirkuk
Iraqi Army Forces in Kirkuk

The Iraqi security forces restored control over Kirkuk city, where they imposed security measures and order, while maintaining the protection and safety of all Iraqis upon orders issued by Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi.


Iraqi_Flags_in_Kirkuk
Iraqi Flags in Kirkuk
]]>
10/16/2017 3:04:32 PM
<![CDATA[Iraqi Kurds say Baghdad will pay heavy price for assault]]>
In a statement, the Peshmerga also accused a faction from one of the two main Iraqi Kurdish political parties of "treason" for assisting Baghdad with the advance.

]]>
10/16/2017 2:52:24 PM
<![CDATA[Crossings director arrives in Gaza as part of reconciliation measures]]>
Head of the Civil Affairs Authority Hussein el Sheikh said a governmental delegation of the crossings' crew will start implementing the items of the agreement whereby the national reconciliation government will oversee the management of the enclave crossings.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Minister of Public Works and Housing Mofeed al Hasaynah announced that the Italian government agreed on the building of a new housing district in northern Gaza to compensate the owners of the houses that have been demolished during the Israeli aggression.

Deputy Chief of Fatah Movement Mahmoud al Aloul said his movement is closely following up the measures to empower the reconciliation government in Gaza.

He also said the coming days would witness a meeting of the specialized committees and security officials to follow up the implement of the deal which has been recently reached between the two Palestinian factions in Cairo under the sponsorship of Egypt.

]]>
10/16/2017 2:48:37 PM
<![CDATA[Retrial of Morsi on jailbreak charges delayed]]>
The defendants face charges of attacking police facilities and killing police officers in the wake of the January 25 Revolution in collaboration with the international Muslim Brotherhood organization, Lebanon's Hezbollah and Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

In November 2016, the Cassation Court overruled previous sentences that were handed down against the defendants by Cairo Criminal Court, ordering a retrial.

In June 2015, Cairo Criminal Court had sentenced to death Morsi, supreme guide of the MB group Mohamed Badie, his deputy Rashad el Bayoumi, MB member Mohie Hamed, MB leader Esssam el Eryan and former parliament speaker Mohamed el Katatny.

Twenty other defendants had been sentenced to life in prison in the same case.

]]>
10/16/2017 2:46:12 PM
<![CDATA[304 Hasm members referred to military trial]]>
Hasm has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks against Egyptian security personnel in recent months, mostly targeting police checkpoints since the ousting of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, killing many members of the police and army.

Egyptian security forces have arrested and killed dozens of suspected Hasm members in the past few months.

Last February, an Egyptian court of urgent matters designated the militant group Hasm a terrorist organization, banning its activity in the country.

In January, Egypt's High State Security Prosecution referred 304 people to military prosecution for their membership in Hasm, which committed 14 attacks targeting security forces and public figures over the past six months.
]]>
10/16/2017 2:35:25 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. calls on all Iraqi parties to cease military action]]>
The calls for peace and cooperation came in a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy on Monday.

The statement continued that “we are very concerned by reports of violence in Kirkuk and deplore any loss of life;” stressing that the United States supports the “peaceful exercise of joint administration by the central and regional governments,” consistent with the Iraqi Constitution, in all disputed areas.

“Islamic State (IS) remains the true enemy of Iraq, and we urge all parties to remain focused on finishing the liberation of their country from this menace,” the statement read.

In light of the security operations launched by the Government of Iraq in the vicinity of Kirkuk City, the U.S. Mission in Iraq is advising citizens located in these areas, who are unable or unwilling to depart, to shelter in place.
]]>
10/16/2017 2:32:33 PM
<![CDATA[Lebanon president calls for return of Syrian refugees from Lebanon]]>
Aoun said he wanted the safe return of refugees and was not asking those who have political problems with the Syrian government to go back, the presidential media office said.

Aoun also asked international aid agencies not to "scare" refugees who want to return from doing so.

]]>
10/16/2017 2:27:29 PM
<![CDATA[Wildfires kill at least 30 in Portugal and Spain]]>
Authorities said they were still battling 145 blazes in Portugal - still recovering from its deadliest fire on record in June - and another 100 in Spain. Portugal's government asked for international help and declared a state of emergency in territory north of the Tagus river - about half of its landmass.

"We are facing new (weather) conditions... In an era of climate change, such disasters are becoming reality all over the world," Portugal's Interior Minister, Constanca Urbano de Sousa, said citing the fires burning in California.

Flames ripped across countryside left tinder-dry by an unusually hot summer and early autumn, fanned by strong winds as remnants of ex-Hurricane Ophelia brushed the Iberian coast.

Officials in Portugal and Spain said arsonists had started some of the blazes.

The weekend's fires had killed at least 27 people and injured more than 50 in Portugal, civil protection service spokeswoman Patricia Gaspar said.

In June, 64 people died in a huge forest fire in central Portugal. The government has been criticised for a slow, inefficient response and a lack of fire-prevention policies.

Three people died in Spain's Galicia region - two of them women found inside a burnt-out car, the third a man in his seventies, killed as he tried to save his farm animals, media reported.

Most of the fires in Galicia were started deliberately, the head of the regional government, Alberto Nunez Feijoo, said in a radio interview.

Spain's Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said some of those responsible had already been identified. They could face up to 20 years in jail if convicted, police said. At least one person was arrested in Portugal for allegedly starting a fire.

]]>
10/16/2017 2:25:27 PM
<![CDATA[Hamas condemns Sinai attack]]>
“This terrorist act aims to undermine Egypt’s stability. We wish security, safety and prosperity for Egypt and its people,” Barhoumy.

Six army troops were killed in a military operation conducted on Sunday in North Sinai against terrorist elements.

During the operation, 24 militants were killed and another one was injured when law enforcement forces thwarted a failed terrorist attempt aimed at targeting checkpoints in al-Qawadis district, North Sinai on Sunday. Two four-by-four vehicles belonging to the terrorists were also destroyed.

Security forces are still combing the area for any further terrorist hotbed.]]>
10/16/2017 2:20:39 PM
<![CDATA[Woman dies in Ireland as a result of Storm Ophelia]]>
RTE said the woman was the sole occupant of the car and was pronounced dead at the scene as the storm began to batter Ireland's southern coast. A spokeswoman for the council could not immediately be reached for comment.

]]>
10/16/2017 2:15:32 PM
<![CDATA[Explosion in southeast Turkey kills 2 soldiers: CNN Turk ]]>
The bomb was set off as a Turkish army truck drove past it near the Iraqi border, according to Reuters.]]>
10/16/2017 2:12:25 PM
<![CDATA[Mufti calls for intensifying preemptive strikes against terror groups]]>
The Mufti's remarks were made in the wake of the terrorist attack that hit Qawadis neighborhood in Northern Sinai, leaving 24 terrorists and four army personnel killed.

In a statement released on Monday, Allam pressed for the need for intensifying preemptive attacks against terrorist groups which destabilize the country's stability and security.

He asserted that the Army's success to foil the terrorists' attack in al Qawadis reflected the alertness of the army in standing against all devilish schemes drawn up against the country.

The Mufti extended condolences to the families of the martyrs and wished that stability and security to prevail in the country.

]]>
10/16/2017 2:08:23 PM
<![CDATA[Baghad assigns first Arab governor in Kirkuk since 2003]]>
Iraqi media reported that Jobouri will be the first Arab governor in Kirkuk since 2003.

“According to local elections’ law, the deputy governor of Kirkuk is acting as the city’s new governor succeeding Najmaldin Karim who was dismissed upon a decision taken by the Iraqi parliament late September,” Jafaar asserted to Al-Sumaria.

He added that “Jobouri should remain in charge until a new governor is assigned by the prime minister or a new military ruler takes control of the city upon orders from the federal government in Baghdad.”
]]>
10/16/2017 1:48:12 PM
<![CDATA[Russia condemns North Korea nuclear tests:agencies]]>
Valentina Matvienko's comments came at a meeting with a South Korean parliamentary delegation in St Petersburg. Russia has been trying, so far unsuccessfully, to persuade the delegations of North and South Korea to hold direct talks.]]>
10/16/2017 1:46:44 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt calls on Baghdad and Erbil to practice self-restraint ]]>
“Egypt calls on all parties to resort to dialogue and consensual solutions to defuse the crisis which may lead to dangerous consequences and regional and international impacts,” the statement added.

The statement asserted the necessity of protecting the integrity of the Iraqi territory and protecting all Iraqi spectra against mutual challenges.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi directed the Armed Forces to protect all citizens in Kirkuk, following news that a vast territory in Kirkuk Monday will be restored, an official statement by Abadi said on Monday.

The federal forces have restored control of Kirkuk military airport, Al Hurriya Air Base and other vital sites in

Kirkuk

upon directives from the Iraqi leadership.

The Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service, police forces and the army’s ninth brigade regained control of a vast territory in Kirkuk including the oil well, Baba Gurgur, without clashing with the Peshmerga forces located in Kirkuk.

The multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk, home to one of Iraq's largest oil fields, was taken over by Kurdish Peshmerga forces in July 2014 after Iraqi government troops left the city ahead of a possible attack by radical Islamic State insurgents who have already seized two major Iraqi cities.
]]>
10/16/2017 1:26:57 PM
<![CDATA[Iraqi PM Abadi reaffirms safety of Iraqis in Kirkuk ]]>
In a statement issued on Monday, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Abadi said that “we tried to dissuade those in the [Kurdistan] region from holding it [referendum] and not violating the Constitution and to focus on the fight against Daesh [Islamic State], but they did not listen to our appeals. We demanded from them to cancel the results which also went unheeded.”

Abadi accused the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of ignoring the magnitude of the danger that Iraq will be exposed to and its people if the independence of Kurdistan takes place.

“They [KRG] preferred their personal and partisan interests to those of Iraq, with its Arab and Kurdish people and the rest of its components,” Abadi added.

Abadi assured the safety of the people in Kurdistan and in Kirkuk in particular, manifesting that “we have only acted to fulfill our constitutional duty to extend the federal authority and impose security and protect the national wealth in this city, which we want to remain a city of peaceful coexistence for all Iraqis.”

“We call upon the Peshmerga forces to perform their duty under the federal leadership as part of the Iraqi armed forces,” he said.
]]>
10/16/2017 1:19:53 PM
<![CDATA[Storm Ophelia batters Ireland, trees and power lines down]]>
At least 15,000 homes were without electricity and 130 flights were cancelled from Dublin Airport. Schools, hospitals and public transport services were closed and the armed forces were dispatched to bolster flood defences.

The storm, downgraded from a hurricane overnight, made landfall after 0940 GMT, the Irish National Meteorological Service said, with winds as strong as 176 kph (110 mph) hitting the most southerly tip of the country.

"These gusts are life threatening. Do not be out there," the chairman of Ireland's National Emergency Coordination Group Sean Hogan said on state broadcaster RTE.

"Our concern is to avoid a situation where we have fatalities as a result of the extremely destructive and violent gusts that we are expecting," he said.

Hurricane force winds are expected in every part of the country, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said, advising people to stay indoors. There were no reports of any injuries, he said.

"While the storm in some parts of the country is not yet that bad, it is coming your way," Varadkar told a news conference.

Britain's meteorological service put an Amber Weather Warning into effect for Northern Ireland from 1400-2100 GMT, saying the storm posed a danger to life and was likely to cause transport cancellations, power cuts and flying debris.

"Impactful weather" is expected in other western and northern parts of the United Kingdom, it said.

British media are comparing Ophelia to the "Great Storm" of 1987, which subjected parts of the United Kingdom to hurricane strength winds 30 years ago to the day.

The centre of the storm was expected to move across Ireland during the day before moving towards western Scotland overnight.

The Irish government said the storm is likely to be the worst since Hurricane Debbie, which killed 11 in Ireland in 1961.

The storm is likely to pass close to a west of Ireland golf course owned by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has been planning a wall to protect its greens from coastal erosion.

Similar sized storms in the past have changed the shape of stretches of the Irish coastline, climatologists said.

]]>
10/16/2017 1:16:23 PM
<![CDATA[3 policemen killed in attack on bank in central Sinai]]>
According to the Middle East News Agency, a group of terrorists attacked the bank and planted five explosive devices in the precincts of the branch, the source added.

Security services of the bank exchanged fire with the terrorists, leaving three policemen dead. A number of terrorists were also killed in the attack.

On October 15, six army troops were killed in a military operation conducted on Sunday in North Sinai against terrorist elements.

During the operation, 24 militants were killed and another one was injured when law enforcement forces thwarted a failed terrorist attempt aimed at targeting checkpoints in al-Qawadis district, North Sinai on Sunday.

Two four-by-four vehicles related to the terrorists were destroyed.

Security forces are still combing the area for any further terrorist hotbed.
]]>
10/16/2017 1:13:28 PM
<![CDATA[Turkish army destroys sites of PKK in northern Iraq]]>
In a statement, the command said that the Turkish jets destroyed PKK ammunition warehouses in northern Iraq, adding that the shelling targeted camps of the group in al Zab area.
]]>
10/16/2017 1:02:37 PM
<![CDATA[IS Southeast Asia chief killed in Philippines: govt]]>
Isnilon Hapilon'sdeath came during a push to end the four-month siege of Marawi, a battle that has claimed more than 1,000 lives and raised fears that IS was seeking to set up a regional base in the southern Philippines.

Security analysts say Hapilon has been a key figure in the jihadist outfit's drive to establish a caliphate as they suffer battlefield defeats in Iraq and Syria.

"(Our troops) were able to get Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute. They were both killed," Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters, referring to another fighter who led the attack with Hapilon on Marawi in May.

"Their bodies have been recovered by our operating units."

The US government had offered a $5 million bounty for information leading to Hapilon's arrest, describing the 51-year-old as a senior leader of the southern Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf group, which the US considers a "foreign terrorist organisation".

Lorenzana said Philippine ground forces mounting a final assault on the militants in Marawi killed Hapilon and Omarkhayam Maute, one of two brothers who lead a militant group allied to Hapilon, early Monday.

DNA tests will be carried out on the two bodies because of the reward offer from the US and Philippine governments, he added.

"The implication of this development is that the Marawi incident is almost over and we may announce the termination of hostilities in a couple of days," Lorenzana said.

Philippine authorities have made several previous announcements on the imminent end of the conflict, but observers believe this time the forecast is likely to be accurate.

Pro-IS gunmen occupied parts of Marawi, the Islamic capital of the mainly Catholic Philippines, on May 23 following a foiled attempt by security forces to arrest Hapilon, authorities said.

The Philippine military says Hapilon joined forces with the Maute group to plan the rampage.

Since then more than 1,000 people have been killed and 400,000 residents displaced.

Defence chiefs last month said other Philippine militant leaders had been killed in the battle for Marawi.

Troops were still pursuing Malaysian militant leader Mahmud Ahmad in the Marawi battle zone, Lorenzana said on Monday.

The insurgents have withstood a relentless US-backed bombing campaign and intense ground battles with troops that have left large parts of Marawi in ruins.

Troops identified Hapilon and Maute's location on Sunday based on information from a hostage who had escaped, Lorenzana said.

Hapilon's death signalled rehabilitation of the city would begin soon, the presidential palace said.

"We will put our efforts and energies on the challenging task of rebuilding and rehabilitating Marawi," presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

Hapilon is believed to have been involved in 2001 kidnappings of three Americans, two of whom were later killed.

]]>
10/16/2017 12:52:17 PM
<![CDATA[Minister of Irrigation leads delegation visiting Renaissance Dam]]>
This meeting aims to follow up on the studies, recommended by the International Panel of Experts, regarding the effects of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile Basin States.

Abdel-Atti will head a technical delegation of ministers of water resources and irrigation of the Nile Basin States visiting to the location of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam's construction to check the technical construction details.

Since the beginning of the dam's construction in 2011, the upstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, opposed the technical studies of the dam as it would decrease their share in the Nile water resources by 55.5 billion cubic meters and 18.5 billion cubic meters respectively.

But, Ethiopia denies that other downstream countries will be adversely affected by the dam and the prospect of war was raised in 2013 and 2014.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi signed a tripartite joint cooperation agreement in Khartoum on March 23, 2015, between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. The three countries held 14 rounds of consultation on resolving the disputes over the Renaissance Dam. However, these rounds failed to solve the dispute.

Consequently, the Nile Basin countries asked the French firm Artelia Group to join the French consulting group BRL Ingénierie in 2016 in studying the documents of the dam’s construction; assessing the hydrological, environmental, and economic impact of the mega project on the downstream countries.

Meanwhile, the uneasy truce between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan continues.
]]>
10/16/2017 12:49:18 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, France discuss bilateral cooperation in railway field]]>
During their meeting at the Transport Ministry on Monday, the two sides discussed benefiting from the French hands-on expertise in boosting the Egyptian side's capabilities in the field of railroad operational safety.

They also discussed means of benefiting from the successful French experiment in the rail freight, the statement said, adding there are 20 rail freight operators in France in addition to the government company.

During the meeting, Arafat said that the Transport Ministry has a clear-cut strategy in the field of railways that depends on expanding rail freight transport, which is one of the most important ways to increase revenues of the Egyptian National Railways (ENR).

The ministry is working on transporting about 25 million tons of goods annually through railways by 2022, the minister stressed.

SNCF is No. 1 transport and logistics operator in France.

]]>
10/16/2017 12:24:09 PM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir paints its planes with World Youth Forum logo]]>
The aircraft front was decorated with the forum's logo reading "World Youth Forum, Sharm el Sheikh 2017" in both Arabic and English languages.

The forum will bring together youths from around the world together with decision makers to engage in a dialogue on issues of interest to young people and their views for a better future.

World Youth Forum is a platform that sends a message of peace, prosperity, harmony and progress to the entire world. Engaging youth from around the globe in an enriching platform allowing them to express their views and recommend initiatives to decision makers and different influential figures.
]]>
10/16/2017 12:22:06 PM
<![CDATA['Toughest fighting yet' to oust IS from Syria's Raqa]]>
The Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, broke into Raqa in June and are now poised to seize the last 10 percent of the city, dealing the jihadists a major blow.

"The Syrian Democratic Forces are currently waging their toughest battles yet," Jihan Sheikh Ahmed, spokeswoman for the operation to capture the city, told AFP.

The latest fighting "will bring an end to Daesh's presence, meaning they can choose between surrendering and dying," she added, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

An estimated 300 mostly foreign IS fighters are essentially surrounded but are expected to make a fierce last stand.

"The IS elements that are still there are resisting," Sheikh Ahmed said, adding that the neighbourhoods where fighting is under way "are fortified and heavily mined areas."

Overnight, SDF fighters captured the northern Al-Barid neighbourhood, and their efforts would focus Monday on the several adjacent districts, she added.

On Sunday, the SDF announced the "final phase" of the battle for the city, with a resumption of fighting after a pause to negotiate the safe exit of civilians and the surrender of some IS fighters.

In a statement, the militia said that the last phase of the fighting would "end the presence of the terrorist mercenaries inside the city".

"The battle... will continue until the entire city is cleared of terrorists who refuse to surrender, including foreign terrorists."

On Monday, an AFP reporter in west Raqa heard intermittent cannon fire, but said the city was largely quiet, with no sign of the groups of fleeing civilians that have often been seen leaving in recent weeks.

- Civilian exodus -

SDF spokesman Talal Sello told AFP on Sunday that the city was virtually empty of civilians after 3,000 left Saturday night as part of a deal agreed between local officials and Syrian IS fighters.

"Only 250 to 300 foreign terrorists who refused the deal and decided to stay and fight until the end remain in the city, and relatives of some members are with them," he said, without specifying the number of civilians.

Under the deal, a total of 275 Syrian IS fighters and relatives surrendered to the SDF, though it was unclear whether they would be given safe passage elsewhere.

There had been speculation for days about a deal to allow the SDF to capture the last parts of the city while preventing further civilian casualties.

But there were contradictory reports about whether the deal would allow foreign IS fighters to leave, something that has been strongly opposed by the US-led coalition supporting the SDF.

"We're very adamant about not allowing foreign fighters to leave the city," coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon told AFP on Sunday.

"Our stance was they either stay and fight or they surrender unconditionally."

The Raqa Civil Council that negotiated the deal has denied any foreign IS fighters were allowed to leave.

IS captured Raqa in 2014. Under its rule the city become synonymous with the jihadist group's worst abuses and was transformed into a planning centre for attacks abroad.

The city's recapture would be only the latest blow for IS, which has suffered a string of setbacks in recent months.

It was driven from its largest Iraqi stronghold Mosul in July and now only controls a fraction of the self-styled "caliphate" it proclaimed more than three years ago and once covered territory roughly the size of Britain.

In Syria, its presence is largely confined to the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, where it is under attack by both the SDF and a Russia-backed Syrian government campaign.

]]>
10/16/2017 12:16:53 PM
<![CDATA[40 people missing as migrant vessel sinks off Haiti]]>
Seven people were rescued Sunday by search teams scouring the seas off the island of La Tortue, Haiti's civil emergency agency said.

The vessel sank after leaving La Tortue earlier in the day for Providenciales island in the northern Turks and Caicos archipelago, 200 kilometers (120 miles) to the north.

According to the survivors, three of whom were hospitalized on their return to Haiti, the vessel was carrying 50 people when it sank.

In a country where more than 60 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day, there are frequent attempts to reach the Bahamas or Turks and Caicos illegally.

Over the past five years, thousands of young Haitians have migrated to Chile or Brazil, countries where visas are more easily obtained.

Although Haitians historically have gone to the United States, and to Florida in particular, the flow of migrants has shifted to Canada and other neighboring countries.

Since a devastating earthquake in 2010, about 60,000 Haitians have found temporary protected status in the United States.

But US President Donald Trump's administration has said that status will expire at the close of 2017.
]]>
10/16/2017 12:15:03 PM
<![CDATA[Ten drown as Rohingya boat sinks off Bangladesh, 12,000 more arrive]]>
The boat was carrying an estimated 50 people when it went down in the estuary of the Naf river that divides the two countries, Border Guard Bangladesh area commander Lieutenant Colonel S.M. Ariful Islam told AFP.

Nearly 200 Rohingya are known to have have drowned over the last six weeks making the perilous crossing to Bangladesh, many in small wooden fishing boats that are dangerously overloaded.

Islam said 21 survivors had swum to safety after the small fishing trawler overturned, and coast and border guards were conducting a search and rescue operation in the Naf river.

Sheikh Ashrafuzzaman, a senior police officer, said authorities had recovered the bodies of six children and four women.

"The accident happened during early morning prayers," said Shams Uddin, a local resident who saw the tragedy. "I think the boat overturned as the boatmen tried to reach the shore against the returning currents."

The UN said over the weekend that 537,000 Rohingya had arrived in Bangladesh over the last seven weeks. They are fleeing violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state, where the United Nations has accused troops of waging an ethnic cleansing campaign against them.

Another 12,000 have entered in the last 24 hours, local border guard spokesman Major Iqbal Ahmed said.

"We are keeping them near the border and they will be eventually be taken to the new camps," he told AFP.

Bangladesh has allocated 3,000 acres (1,214 hectares) of forest land to create the world's largest refugee camp for the new arrivals as well as those already in the country.

Many of the new arrivals have already occupied the land and built their own makeshift shelters.

The stateless Muslim minority has faced decades of persecution in mainly Buddhist Myanmar.

The latest influx began in late August after attacks by Rohingya militants on police posts in Myanmar.

The latest accident came a week after another boat packed with Rohingya refugees capsized in the area, killing at least 34 people including many children.

One border guard told AFP the boat was just 200 yards from the Bangladesh coast when it sank in rough waters.

Fazlul Haq, a local official, said the boat was owned by a Bangladeshi villager who had made large sums of money ferrying Rohingya into the country.

He said the small fishing trawlers were highly vulnerable to accidents as they approached the shore, where they are often buffeted by large waves.

Refugees are often charged exorbitant fees for the trip.

Dhaka has made clear it wants the Rohingya to return to Myanmar, where many of their villages have been burned to the ground.

On Friday former UN chief Kofi Annan urged the Security Council to push for their return, saying world powers must work with Myanmar's military and civilian leaders to end the refugee crisis.
]]>
10/16/2017 12:13:00 PM
<![CDATA[Ireland closes schools as major storm approaches]]>
Ophelia, the largest hurricane ever recorded so far east in the Atlantic Ocean, was downgraded to a storm before it hit the Irish coast but the Met Eireann national weather service warned people to remain indoors.

"Ex-hurricane Ophelia is forecast to track directly over Ireland during daytime today. Violent and destructive gusts are forecast with all areas at risk," the service said early Monday.

It warned of "heavy rain and storm surges along some coasts will result in flooding. There is a potential risk to lives".

The education ministry said "all schools, colleges and other education institutions" would be closed on Monday, after official advice on what it called an "unprecedented storm".

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Sunday that defence forces would be deployed to areas due to be hit by the storm.

Cork airport in the southwest cancelled a number of flights. Speed restrictions were placed on trains, and some lines in the south were cancelled.

Government offices were also closed across the country.

Met Eireann issued a nationwide "status red" alert, while a less serious amber wind warning has been issued for Northern Ireland during the afternoon.

"By the time Ophelia reaches our latitudes, she will be weakening and will be an ex-hurricane," said Steve Ramsdale, chief forecaster at Britain's Met Office national weather service.

"However, Ex-Ophelia will be bringing some significant impacts to Northern Ireland and western and northern Britain on Monday and Tuesday."

Scotland, Wales and parts of England were under yellow warnings issued by the Met Office, which forecast "very strong winds" and heavy rain in some areas.

The storm came 30 years to the day of the Great Storm, which ravaged southern England in the early hours of October 16, 1987, leaving 18 people dead.

- High alert -

Ophelia is the 15th named storm of the 2017 Atlantic season, which is expected to last until the end of November.

Three major hurricanes -- Harvey, Irma and Maria -- caused catastrophic damage in the Caribbean and the US Gulf Coast.

Meteorologists say Ophelia was the most powerful hurricane recorded so far east in the Atlantic and the first since 1939 to travel so far north.

It was classed Category 3 on Saturday as it passed near Portugal's Azores islands, which means it packed winds of at least 178 kilometres (110 miles) per hour.

When Ophelia reaches Ireland on Monday it was expected to weaken to a "powerful extra-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds", according to the US National Hurricane Center.

Matt Crofts, a lifesaving manager with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, said the seas could be "particularly dangerous and unpredictable".

"Stormy conditions may be tempting to watch but big waves can easily knock you off your feet," he said.

"We understand why people want to experience extreme weather, but it's not worth risking your life, so we strongly urge people to respect the water and watch from a safe distance."

Seven of the nine islands in the Azores were put on high alert for the storm's passage, but it did not cause major damage, authorities told reporters.

In Spain, three people have died in wildfires whipped by strong wind gusts spawned by Hurricane Ophelia.

Six people have also died in wildfires in Portugal, which local authorities said had been exacerbated by drought.
]]>
10/16/2017 12:10:40 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt army releases video of al-Qawadis terrorist attack ]]>



In a statement, Refai explained how the Armed Forces foiled the terrorist attack targeting al-Qawadis checkpoint. The attack resulted in 24 militants’ death and the injury of one. Also, two four-by-four vehicles belonging to the terrorists were destroyed.

The Ministry of Endowment and the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt strongly condemned the terrorist attack in statements issued earlier Monday.
]]>
10/16/2017 12:08:29 PM
<![CDATA[Clashes between Iraqi, Kurdish troops close to Kirkuk city]]>
Shortly before, state television announced that government troops had taken "large areas" of the province from Kurdish peshmerga fighters "without fighting", although military sources on both sides reported exchange of Katyusha rocket fire to the south of the provincial capital.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who said this week that he was "not going... to make war on our Kurdish citizens", has "given orders to armed forces to take over security in Kirkuk," state television said.

Iraqi troops will "secure bases and government facilities in Kirkuk province" the government said. They are aiming to retake military bases and oil fields which Kurdish peshmerga fighters took in 2014 during the fightback against the Islamic State jihadist group.

Multiple peshmergas were injured in the clashes and hospitalised in Kirkuk, a local security source said.

Abadi said that members of the Hashed al-Shaabi, the paramilitary Popular Mobilisation forces, which are dominated by Iran-backed Shiite militias, would stay away from Kirkuk, where there have been multiple demonstrations against their involvement in the dispute.

"Counter terrorism units, the 9th armoured division of the army, and the federal police have recovered control of important areas of Kirkuk province without fighting," a general from the counter terrorism force said.

A counter terrorism force source said that their units had retaken the industrial zone of Kirkuk. At the same time, a local security source said four military vehicles were burned in an explosion.

Further south, two people were killed in artillery exchanges at Tuz Khurmatu, 75 kilometres from Kirkuk, which has been shaken every night since Friday by fighting between the peshmerga and Hashed al-Shaabi, a doctor at a city hospital said.

An AFP photographer saw columns of Iraqi troops heading north from the town of Taza Khurmatu, which is located south of Kirkuk.

The advance came days after a standoff between Kurdish forces and the Iraqi army and the expiry of a deadline for Kurdish peshmerga fighters to withdraw from the areas they have controlled since 2014.

- 'Declaration of war' -

Iraqi forces are seeking the "K1 base", just eight kilometres (five miles) north of Kirkuk, which was one of the main Iraqi army bases before it was taken over by the peshmerga in 2014.

It stands near an oil refinery, The Iraqi troops also hope to retake the nearby airport.

Earlier Sunday, Iraq's National Security Council said it viewed as a "declaration of war" the presence of "fighters not belonging to the regular security forces in Kirkuk", including fighters from Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Crisis talks on Sunday made little headway in resolving an armed standoff between Kurdish and Iraqi forces in the province.

Tensions have soared between the central government and Iraqi Kurds since they overwhelmingly voted for independence in a September 25 referendum, whose results Baghdad has demanded be nullified.

For their part the Iraqi forces have said that they have no wish to enter Kirkuk but that they wish to retake military positions and infrastructure which were under their control before their troops withdrew in the face of hostility from the jihadists.

On the fringes of the town, they used loudspeakers to call on the peshmerga to give up their positions, local sources said.

- Few hopes of dialogue -

Baghdad has demanded the Kurds scrap the results of the September 25 non-binding referendum that produced a resounding "yes" for independence for the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

Tensions have soared in the wake of the vote, with the crisis raising fears of fresh chaos just as the country's forces are on the verge of routing IS from the last territory it controls in Iraq.

Long claimed by the Kurds as part of their historic territory, the province has emerged as the main flashpoint in the dispute.

Polling during the referendum was held not only in the three provinces of the autonomous Kurdish region but also in adjacent Kurdish-held areas, including Kirkuk, that are claimed by both Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan.

The referendum was declared illegal by Baghdad and held despite international opposition.

The Kurds control the city of Kirkuk and three major oil fields in the province that produce some 250,000 barrels per day, accounting for 40 percent of Iraqi Kurdistan's oil exports.

The fields would provide crucial revenue to Baghdad, which has been left cash-strapped from the global fall in oil prices and three years of battle against IS. Iraq is also demanding the return of a military base and a nearby airport, according to the Kurds.
]]>
10/16/2017 12:07:09 PM
<![CDATA[Two dead in Spain wildfires]]>
Fifteen separate wildfires which posed a risk to built up areas were raging across the region of Galicia, the head of the regional government, Alberto Nunez Feijoo, said.

The flames were being fanned by wind gusts of up to 90 kilometres (55 miles) per hour whipped as Hurricane Ophelia moved north off the coast of Spain towards Ireland, he told private television La Sexta.

"The situation is critical," he said.

Feijoo said "thousands" of firefighters, soldiers and locals were battling the blazes, which were fueled by drought conditions and unusually high temperatures for this time of the year.

"We have not had a situation like this in the past decade. We have never deployed so many means at this time of the year," he said.

Two people died after they became trapped by flames in their van near the town of Nigran as they tried to flee the area, the deputy mayor of Nigran, Raquel Giraldez, told AFP.

Five wildfires were raging near Vigo, Galicia's biggest city, forcing the evacuation of a shopping mall and a PSA Peugeot Citroen factory on the outskirts of the city.

The flames had reached O Castro, a large hilltop park in the heart of Vigo with sweeping views of the city's estuary, Spanish public television TVE reported.

Images broadcast on Spanish TV showed local residents, their mouths and noses covered with handkerchiefs, battling the flames with buckets and pans of water.

Vigo mayor Abel Caballero appealed for calm and urged local residents to shut their windows to keep out the smoke which was engulfing the city.

"We are making a huge effort, the fires near homes are being brought under control, with much help from locals," he told TVE.

The city of around 300,000 residents has opened up two sports centres and booked rooms in three hotels for people who were forced to evacuate their homes.

At least 10 schools cancelled classes on Monday in Vigo because of the flames, local officials said.

- 'Intentional fires' -

Spanish state-owned rail operator Renfe said it had cancelled a train linking Vigo to Barcelona because of the wildfires.

Several roads in Galicia were closed because of the flames, local officials said.

Feijoo said arsonists were to blame for many of the blazes.

"They are absolutely intentional fires, meditated, caused by people who know what they are doing," he told reporters.

The national weather office is forecasting rain and cooler temperatures in Galicia beginning early on Monday which officials hope will help put out the flames.

Meteorologists say Ophelia is the most powerful hurricane recorded so far east in the Atlantic and the first since 1939 to travel so far north.

When it reaches Ireland on Monday it is expected to weaken to a "post tropical storm", according to the US National Hurricane Center.

]]>
10/16/2017 11:28:10 AM
<![CDATA[Iraqi federal forces restore Kirkuk Air Base from Peshmerga ]]>
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi directed the Armed Forces to protect all citizens in Kirkuk, following news that a vast territory in Kirkuk Monday will be restored, an official statement by Abadi said.

The federal forces have controlled gas and electricity plants in Kirkuk, in addition to Mariam and Khaled bridges, Sir Glan village and police station, and several checkpoints in northern city.

The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Abadi, directed the Armed Forces to impose security in Kirkuk in cooperation with residents of Kirkuk and the Peshmerga forces.

“The Iraqi forces' priority is to protect the people of Kirkuk, and we call on citizens to cooperate with them,” Abadi reiterated.

The Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service, police forces and the army’s ninth brigade regained control of a vast territory in Kirkuk including the oil well, Baba Gurgur, without clashing with the Peshmerga forces located in Kirkuk.

The multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk, home to one of Iraq's largest oil fields, was taken over by Kurdish Peshmerga forces in July 2014 after Iraqi government troops left the city ahead of a possible attack by radical Islamic State insurgents who have already seized two major Iraqi cities.
]]>
10/16/2017 11:15:20 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s Orthodox Church condemns al-Qawadis terrorist attack ]]>
In a statement issued Monday, the Church mourned the soldiers who were martyred in the terrorist attack. “The Pope prays for the soldiers' families to be granted patience,” the statement read.

The army spokesperson, Tamer al-Refai, said in a statement Sunday that the armed forces foiled the terrorist attack targeting al-Qawadis checkpoint; nevertheless, 24 militants were killed and one was injured.

Also, two four-by-four vehicles, which belonged to the terrorists, were destroyed.

The Ministry of Endowments has strongly condemned the attack in a statement issued earlier Monday.
]]>
10/16/2017 10:49:45 AM
<![CDATA[Iraqi PM Abadi directs army to impose security in Kirkuk]]>
The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Abadi, directed the armed forces to impose security in Kirkuk in cooperation with residents of Kirkuk and the Peshmerga forces.

“The Iraqi forces' priority is to protect the people of Kirkuk, and we call on citizens to cooperate with them,” Abadi reiterated.

The Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service, police forces and the army’s ninth brigade regained control of a vast territory in Kirkuk including the oil well, Baba Gurgur, without clashing with the Peshmerga forces located in Kirkuk.

The multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk, home to one of Iraq's largest oil fields, was taken over by Kurdish Peshmerga forces in July 2014 after Iraqi government troops left the city ahead of a possible attack by radical Islamic State insurgents who have already seized two major Iraqi cities.
]]>
10/16/2017 10:14:19 AM
<![CDATA[Iraqi army restores K1 airbase in Kirkuk from Peshmerga ]]>
The Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service, police forces and the army’s ninth brigade regained control of a vast territory in Kirkuk including the oil well, Baba Gurgur, without clashing with the Peshmerga forces located in Kirkuk.

The multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk, home to one of Iraq's largest oil fields, was taken over by Kurdish Peshmerga forces in July 2014 after Iraqi government troops left the city ahead of a possible attack by radical Islamic State insurgents who have already seized two major Iraqi cities.
]]>
10/16/2017 10:07:29 AM
<![CDATA[Death toll in Somalia bombing jumps to 263]]>
Aden Nur, a doctor at the city's Madina hospital, said it had recorded 258 deaths while Ahmed Ali, a nurse at the nearby Osman Fiqi hospital, told Reuters five bodies had been sent there.]]>
10/16/2017 7:54:06 AM
<![CDATA[Thousands of Rohingya refugees flee violence, hunger in Myanmar]]>
Wading through waste-deep water with children strapped to their sides, the Rohingya told Reuters how they had walked through bushes and forded monsoon-swollen streams for days from Myanmar's Buthidaung region before reaching the border.

A seemingly never-ending line entered Bangladesh near the village of Palongkhali. Many were injured, with the elderly on makeshift stretchers, and women balanced family belongings - pots, rice sacks, clothing - on their heads.

"We couldn't step out of the house for the last month because the military were looting people. They started firing on the village. So we escaped into another village," said Mohammad Shoaib, 29.

He wore a yellow vest and was balancing his jute bags, carrying some food and aluminium pots, on a bamboo pole.

"Day by day things kept getting worse, so we started moving towards Bangladesh. Before we left, I went back near my village to see my house, and the entire village was burnt down," Shoaib said.

They walked to join some 536,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled Myanmar since Aug. 25, when coordinated Rohingya insurgent attacks sparked a ferocious military response, with the fleeing people accusing security forces of arson, killings and rape.

Myanmar rejects accusations of ethnic cleansing and has labelled the militants from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army who launched the initial attacks as terrorists who have killed civilians and burnt villages.

FOOD, AID RESTRICTED

The refugees who arrived in Bangladesh on Monday said they were driven out by hunger because food markets in Myanmar's western Rakhine state have been shut down and aid deliveries restricted. They also reported attacks by the military and Rakhine Buddhist mobs.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya had already been in Bangladesh after fleeing previous spasms of violence in Myanmar, where they have long been denied citizenship and faced restrictions on their movements and access to basic services.

Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has pledged accountability for human rights abuses and says the country will accept back refugees who can prove they were residents of Myanmar.

The United States and the European Union have been considering targeted sanctions against Myanmar's military leaders, diplomats and officials have told Reuters, although they are wary of action that could destabilize the country’s transition to democracy.

EU foreign ministers will discuss Myanmar on Monday, and their draft joint statement said the bloc "will suspend invitations to the commander-in-chief of the Myanmar/Burma armed forces and other senior military officers".

The powerful army chief, Min Aung Hlaing, told the United States ambassador in Myanmar last week that the exodus of Rohingya, who he said were non-native "Bengalis", was exaggerated. ]]>
10/16/2017 7:04:18 AM
<![CDATA[Vietnam braces for typhoon Khanun after floods kill 72]]>
Last week's floods were the worst in years, the government and state-run Vietnam Television said, with thousands of homes submerged. Another 200 houses collapsed and several towns remain cut off by the floodwater.

The floods also damaged more than 22,000 hectares (54,300 acres) of rice.

Vietnam is the world's third-largest exporter of rice and the second-biggest producer of coffee, although the floods have not affected the Southeast Asian nation's coffee belt.

Eighteen people from the hardest-hit province of Hoa Binh in the north were buried by a landslide, but only thirteen bodies have been found, Vietnam's disaster agency said.

The government has said it is fixing dykes, dams and roads damaged by last week's flood and is preparing for typhoon Khanun, which is expected to cause heavy rain in northern and central Vietnam from Monday.

It has also warned ships and boats to avoid the approaching typhoon.

Vietnam is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline. A typhoon wreaked havoc across central provinces last month.

Floods have also affected nine out of 77 provinces in Thailand, Vietnam's neighbour to the west. Three people had been killed in flooding since last Tuesday, Thailand's disaster agency said on Monday.

The Thai capital, Bangkok, was hit by heavy rain at the weekend, with gridlocked traffic bringing parts of the city to a standstill. Bangkok has often been described as the "Venice of the East" because of its many waterways.

However, the floods prompted criticism of Bangkok's city government, with some social media users accusing authorities of not managing water levels in canals properly.

The city government defended itself, saying it was working closely with the irrigation department. Thailand suffered its worst flood in five decades in 2011, with hundreds of people killed, industrial estates engulfed and key industries crippled.]]>
10/16/2017 6:24:40 AM
<![CDATA[Opposition challenges Venezuelan socialists' vote win protests]]>
The Democratic Unity's election campaign chief, Gerardo Blyde, demanded a complete audit of the 23 governor races and called on its candidates to lead "street activities" on Monday in protest over the results. ]]>
10/16/2017 6:20:39 AM
<![CDATA[Tourism minister returns to home after visit to Italy]]>
During the visit, Rashed took part in the TTG Incontri exhibition that kicked off in Italy’s Rimini on Thursday.

Rashed held a series of meetings with a number of senior officials as well as tourism industry figures participating in the exhibition.

About 60,000 people from 130 countries took part in the three-day international event.]]>
10/16/2017 6:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[New Zealand likely to announce new government by end of week]]>
The country has been in political limbo since Sept. 23 when neither the National Party, which has led the government since 2008, or the Labour Party, won enough seats to form a government.

That left the nationalist New Zealand First Party in a position to determine the next government and leader Winston Peters spent five days last week holding negotiations with both major parties.

English, who heads the National Party told Radio New Zealand there were a number of issues still to be worked out, including ministerial appointments. He said his staff were going back and forth with NZ First on policy issues over the weekend.

"While New Zealand First are having a discussion today they won't be dealing with completed agreements because there's still outstanding issues," English said.

When asked whether he anticipated a confirmed government by the end of the week, English replied: "I would expect so, yes".

Peters was meeting with his party's board on Monday. He has said the board must meet before a final decision can be made.

Peters also told local radio there would be an agreement by the end of the week, but did not want to "put a time on it".

He had originally expected to reach a decision by Oct. 12.

The political uncertainty has knocked 2.2 percent off the New Zealand dollar since the vote last month and recent surveys have shown it is weighing on business sentiment and economic activity.

Growth in New Zealand's services sector slipped in September as the inconclusive election hit sales activity, a survey showed on Monday.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern on Saturday released a video on YouTube in which she defended the process dragging on.

"If you're going to form a government, of course you need to understand one another's policy positions, where you have consensus and the kind of government you want to form ... It's only natural that that would take a little bit of time," she said.

NZ First's policies are more aligned with those of Labour - both favour curbing immigration and foreign ownership, renegotiating certain trade deals and changes to the central bank's approach to monetary policy.

But observers have said that a two-way coalition is much simpler to put together than one involving three parties. The Greens and Labour would have to get together for the left-wing parties to form a government.]]>
10/16/2017 6:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Pro-Islamic State leaders killed by Philippine troops]]>
Isnilon Hapilon, Islamic State's anointed "emir" in Southeast Asia, and Omarkhayam Maute, one of two Middle East-educated brothers at the helm of the militant alliance Dawla Islamiya, were killed as part of an operation based on information from a hostage recently rescued.

"Following their operational plan, they were able to go this morning... they were killed," Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters.

"Yesterday, we were able to get a testimony from a hostage. She was able to confirm the presence of Isnilon and Maute in that particular building. That's the building that we assaulted early this morning."

Their deaths will be a major win for the military, which has been criticised for its slow progress in retaking Marawi, the country's only Muslim majority city, and the ease at which rebels laid siege to it on May 23.

Those leaders have been central to the rebels regrouping, re-arming and recruiting after previous clashes over the past two years on the southern island of Mindanao.

Another leader, Abdullah Maute, was reported by the army to have been killed in August, though no body was found to prove his death.

The militants have surprised the militants by their ability to endure more than 130 days of air strikes, compounding fears in the Philippines and the region that Islamic State's radical ideology and its advanced recruitment methods are more prevalent than was previously imagined.

The clashes have killed 813 rebels, 47 civilians and 162 military since insurgents seized the heart of Marawi on May 23, according to the authorities.

Lorenzana said the military was trying to locate another rebel commander, Malaysian operative Mahmud Ahmad. He said the battle for Marawi could be over imminently, adding that 17 hostages were rescued on Monday.

"The indication here is that the Marawi incident is close to the end. We may announce the termination of hostilities in the couple of days."

The rebel alliance in Marawi is comprised of fighters from the Maute group, Abu Sayyaf, and aided by foreigners from countries that include Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and some Middle East states.

Child soldiers and teenagers are among the gunmen.]]>
10/16/2017 6:06:30 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. State Dept. says "very concerned" about reports of Kirkuk]]>
"We are monitoring the situation in Kirkuk closely and are very concerned by reports of a confrontation," a State Department official said. "We are engaged with all parties in Iraq to de-escalate tension."

The Iraqi government earlier said its forces took control of "vast areas" in the Kirkuk region, including oilfields west of the city, in the early hours of Monday, Iraqi state TV said. However the Kurdistan Regional Government disputed the assertions.]]>
10/16/2017 5:50:48 AM
<![CDATA[Gov't work, classes in all levels suspended in Philippines ]]>
Philippines' Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the cancellation of classes was made by the Office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

“As to suspension of government work, we shall issue the usual memorandum circular,” the palace said.

Andanar said the private sector would not be covered, adding that suspension of work is subject to the discretion of employers.

The Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) and Stop and Go Coalition earlier announced that they would be joining the transport strike to protest the government’s plan to phase out jeepneys aged 15 years and older. ]]>
10/16/2017 5:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Wary of hackers, states move to upgrade voting systems ]]>
Reacting in large part to Russian efforts to hack the presidential election last year, a growing number of states are upgrading electoral databases and voting machines, and even adding cybersecurity experts to their election teams.

The efforts — from both Democrats and Republicans — amount to the largest overhaul of the nation’s voting infrastructure since the contested presidential election in 2000 spelled an end to punch-card ballots and voting machines with mechanical levers.

One aim is to prepare for the 2018 and 2020 elections by upgrading and securing electoral databases and voting machines that were cutting-edge before Facebook and Twitter even existed. Another is to spot and defuse attempts to depress turnout and sway election results by targeting voters with false news reports and social media posts. ]]>
10/16/2017 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. urges Iraqi, Kurdish forces to avoid escalation]]>
"We oppose violence from any party, and urge against destabilizing actions that distract from the fight against ISIS and further undermine Iraq's stability," Pentagon spokeswoman Laura Seal said when asked about an Iraqi state TV report that Iraqi forces had taken control of parts of the oil-rich Kirkuk region without opposition from Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

"We continue to support a unified Iraq," she said. "Despite the Kurdistan Regional Government's unfortunate decision to pursue a unilateral referendum, dialogue remains the best option to defuse ongoing tensions and longstanding issues, in accordance with the Iraqi constitution."

She also called on "all actors" in the region to focus on the common threat of Islamic State and avoid stoking tensions among the Iraqi people. Iraqi and Kurdish forces have both been trained and armed by the United States. ]]>
10/16/2017 4:01:19 AM
<![CDATA[Tunisian navy recovers 10 more bodies after boat collision]]>
Last Monday, the navy recovered eight bodies after the collision with the Tunisian navy boat 54 km (33 miles) off the southern coast, while 38 were rescued.

According to testimony from survivors, there were between 70 and 80 people on board, the International Organization for Migration has said.

The incident has caused anger in Tunisia.

The families of some migrants who drowned protested in two towns. In the southern town of Kebili, protesters burned a local government center this week.

The number of illegal migrants trying to reach Italy by boat has shot up in recent weeks as unemployed youth seek to escape poverty. ]]>
10/16/2017 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Al Azhar condemns Kawadis terror attack]]>
In a statement, Al Azhar hailed steadfastness and heroism shown by the martyrs and their comrades.

Al Azhar condoles with the Egyptian Armed Forces and the families of the victims, the statement added.


Twenty-four terrorists were killed and two armored vehicles were destroyed when law enforcement forces foiled a terrorist attack in al-Kawadis area earlier in the day.

The clashes also left six army soldiers martyred. ]]>
10/16/2017 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Awqaf minister mourns Armed Forces martyrs in Sinai]]>
Speaking to MENA after the martyrdom of six Armed Forces soldiers in clashes in North Sinai, Gomaa prayed to Allah to rest the victims’ souls in peace and offered his condolences to their families.

Law enforcement forces foiled on Sunday a terrorist attack that targeted security checkpoints in al-Kawadis area north east of North Sinai's capital city of Arish, the military spokesman said.

Twenty-four terrorists were killed and two armored vehicles were destroyed in the attack, Colonel Tamer el Refaee said.

The clashes also left six army soldiers martyred, he said, adding that a manhunt was launched to arrest the terrorists behind the attack. ]]>
10/16/2017 3:42:46 AM
<![CDATA[Two people die in fires in northwestern Spain]]>
Firefighters found the bodies inside a burned-out vehicle on the road linking two parishes in the city of Nigran, in the province of Pontevedra.

The spokeswoman did not elaborate on the causes of the fire.

The blaze in Galicia is being treated as a level 2 - or second-highest maximum threat - by emergency services.

Flames also surrounded Vigo, one of the most populated cities of Galicia, where a university residence had been evacuated, the spokeswoman said.]]>
10/16/2017 3:24:05 AM
<![CDATA[Iraqi forces take control of 'vast areas' in Kirkuk region]]>
The announcement came after reports that Iraqi forces began moving at around midnight toward an important airbase and oilfields located west of the city. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi gave orders to the security forces "to impose security in Kirkuk in cooperation with the population and the Peshmerga," the TV said.]]>
10/16/2017 2:54:47 AM
<![CDATA[Iraqi govt. accuses Kurds of bringing PKK militants into Kirkuk]]>
The Iraqi government considered such move a declaration of war, Al Sumaria News reported.]]>
10/16/2017 2:25:00 AM
<![CDATA[Kenyan opposition leader Odinga calls for protests]]>
Authorities have banned protests in central Nairobi and other hotspots in a bid to keep a lid on mounting political turmoil in the build-up to the repeat vote, in which Odinga had been set to challenge President Uhuru Kenyatta once again.

The Supreme Court nullified Kenyatta's victory in the original election on Aug. 8, citing procedural irregularities.

On Friday, Odinga said his withdrawal meant the poll had been "cancelled" and that there should be fresh nominations for a new vote.

"Come out in large numbers tomorrow like you have done today and fear no-one. This is your country and you have the right to protest," he told a crowd in the coastal city of Mombasa.

The election board has said the vote will go ahead, with Kenyatta facing six other candidates, none of whom polled more than 1 percent in August.

During a trip to London last week, Odinga told Reuters that he might consider returning to the Supreme Court for clarification on whether the Oct. 26 poll was legal.

"I went to tell our friends in London the truth of what was happening here. Jubilee should know that we are not interested in a coalition government," he said, referring to Kenyatta's party.

Despite the ban, protests have taken place in the East African country -- a regional and trade gateway which is the region's richest economy and an important Western ally in the fight against militant Islamists.

On Friday, Kenyan police shot dead two people and wounded a third when a crowd tried to storm a police station in the town of Bondo in the southwest county of Siaya during a rally.

Police also used teargas to break up small demonstrations in Kenya's three main cities -- Kisumu, the capital and the port of Mombasa -- the same day, defying the ban on rallies in city centres. Hospital authorities said 20 people were injured in Kisumu, an opposition stronghold.

"I am ready to die for change in Kenya," James Orengo, an opposition senator and lawyer who led Odinga's successful petition at the Supreme Court, told the crowd in Mombasa, which numbered in the thousands.]]>
10/16/2017 2:12:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt to move Presidency HQ to New Administrative Capital by 2019]]>
He added in an interview with CBC that the New Administrative Capital is planned to be a sustainable and smart city, housing the ministries, parliament, Egyptian Media Production City, presidential palaces, and embassies.

Abdeen pointed out that 25 public and private construction companies have been mandated to carry out the infrastructure projects and build the residential neighborhoods of the new capital, while the armed forces are only responsible for managing the project.

He added that the company provided about 170,000 jobs in the construction operations and the coming phases of the project will require more workers, stressing that the state treasury does not bear the burden of financing any phase of the project.

Abdeen expected that housing prices in Cairo will decline significantly in the coming years because of the rise of supply in the market after completing the construction of the planned 350,000 housing units in the capital.

The New Administrative Capital Company is 51% owned by the armed forces and 49% by the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA). The paid-up capital of the company amounts to EGP 20bn, including contributions from the armed forces and NUCA, and the authorized capital is EGP 204bn.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has laid the first stone of the New Administrative Capital in East Cairo on Wednesday. With an area of 170,000 feddans, the new capital will include 20 residential areas expected to accommodate 6.5 million people and a road network 650 km in length. The capital will include an international airport and an electric train to link it with the 10th of Ramadan and El-Salam cities.

It will feature 1,250 mosques and churches, a 5,000-seat conference center, nearly 2,000 schools and colleges, over 600 medical facilities, and a park that is projected to be the world’s largest.

The New Administrative Capital is located in the area between the Cairo-Suez and Cairo-Ain Sokhna roads, east of the regional ring road. This is roughly 60km from the cities of Suez and Ain Sokhna.
]]>
10/16/2017 2:00:58 AM
<![CDATA[Russian defense minister to begin 1st official visit to Israel]]>
Shoigu will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.

The meetings are expected to cover the cooperation between Russia and Israel and continued military coordination over Syria, as well as the Iranian entrenchment in the war-torn country and transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah by Tehran through Damascus.

The visit will be paid just days before Liberman flies to Washington to meet Defense Secretary James Mattis for talks on Iran and other regional issues.]]>
10/16/2017 1:52:11 AM
<![CDATA[620 displaced families return to Baghdad]]>
The remaining displaced families will return to their homes in two months, Alsumaria News TV channel quoted Baghdad Operations Commander Maj. Gen. Jalil al-Rubaie as saying.

Earlier in the day, the Norwegian Refugee Council said 637 displaced families have not returned to Mosul yet although the Iraqi army regained control of the city in July. ]]>
10/16/2017 1:23:39 AM