Sunday 25 June 2017
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Maria gave smugglers all her family savings and crossed three countries and the searing Libyan desert, but when she finally boarded a boat for Europe her dream was swiftly shattered. She was 24 and pregnant with her second child when she left Liberia with her husband and their three-year-old son. The family passed through Guinea and Mali before crossing southern Algeria to reach the Libyan desert. "The smugglers took all our money" -- more than $2,150 (2,000 euros), she said. "We spent four days in the desert. People died of thirst and the sun in the back of the truck." They finally arrived on the beach at Sabrata, 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Libya's capital Tripoli, a key departure...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
A controversial agreement for Cairo to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia passed an Egyptian parliamentary committee Tuesday, setting the stage for a vote in the house. Parliament's legislative committee agreed the treaty after heated debate, with opponents even interrupting one session with chanting. The agreement passed with 35 lawmakers for and eight against, member of parliament Mostafa Bakry told AFP. Parliament's defence committee will also examine the accord before it goes to a general vote. Courts had struck down the agreement, signed in April 2016, but a year later another court upheld it. The accord had sparked rare protests in Egypt, with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
of Egypt, under fire for muzzling freedom expression, has blocked access to around 60 news websites and service providers since the end of May, rights groups and media figures said Monday. Back in May, around 20 websites based in Qatar and in Egypt were made inaccessible, including the Qatar's Al-Jazeera and the independent Egyptian news site Mada Masr which has been critical of corruption. By Monday the number of blocked sites had risen to 62, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression NGO said on its website.
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Uche's real journey had yet to begin but he had already spent four days in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after travelling on public buses and potholed roads from Imo state in the southeast. He planned to go to Agadez, a transit town on the southern edge of the Sahara desert in central Niger, take a truck to Sebha, in southwestern Libya, and from there to the capital Tripoli, and then to Italy or Spain. But his contact, who was supposed to drive him and three women across Nigeria's northern border, was arrested on suspicion of people smuggling. "His house had been under surveillance," explains the 38-year-old electrician in Kano's bustling Sabon Gari district. "The movement of the three...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/12/17)
An often fiery government critic, Egyptian journalist Khaled al-Balshi has been arrested, had his operations monitored, and staff harassed by police for years. Yet his website Al-Bedaiah, a rare dissident voice in Egypt, had never been touched. On Sunday that changed when it suddenly went blank with no warning after being blocked, part of what Balshi called an unprecedented and far-reaching state crackdown on scores of news websites in recent weeks. "Let's be clear, the Egyptian websites going through this are dealing with a long-term shutdown -- this is not short term," said Balshi from his downtown Cairo office, where four work stations sat idle, because staff feared coming to work in case of arrest. Balshi's website was the 57th...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Monday meet African leaders in Berlin on initiatives aiming to reduce the poverty and conflict driving a mass migrant influx to Europe. The idea is to team up African nations willing to reform with private investors who would bring business and jobs to a continent where instability or graft often scare off foreign companies. Merkel is hosting the initiative as part of Germany's presidency of the Group of 20 powerful economies, whose leaders meet in the northern port of Hamburg a month later. Invited to Berlin are Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of Ghana, Ivory Coast...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/10/17)
Egypt's state-grain buyer GASC said on Saturday that a court ruling this week which is expected to scrap the country's new food inspection system will not reinstate a ban on the common grain fungus ergot. "The court ruling is procedural and administrative and has nothing to do with specifications ... We have taken this view after consultations with the Agriculture Ministry," GASC Vice Chairman Ahmed Youssef told Reuters. GASC said it remained committed to permitting up to 0.05 percent ergot in wheat imports, a common international standard it adopted last year after a ban on ergot led to mass boycotts of its purchase tenders. (Reporting by Maha El Dahan; writing by Eric Knecht; editing by David Clarke)
(Reuters (Eng) 06/08/17)
More girls are completing secondary school across sub-Saharan Africa as attitudes change and state spending rises, but some of the most marginalized girls — like those married young or forced to work — are still missing out, education experts say. The percentage of girls completing secondary school has risen in all regions of Africa since 2005, said a recent report by the African Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the U.N. Development Program. Almost twice as many girls in East Africa and three times as many in Central Africa completed secondary education in 2014 as in 2005, according to the annual African Economic Outlook report, which was published at the end of last month. Yet more...
(Daily News Egypt 06/07/17)
Putin expressed Russia’s support to solve the tensions through dialogue, during conversation with Emir of Qatar. President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi received a phone call Tuesday from the president of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to discuss the development of the crises in the Middle East, according to a presidency statement. The two leaders additionally discussed bilateral cooperation in various fields and “agreed to continue further contact,” according to a Kremlin statement. Al-Sisi had recently received Russian minister of foreign affairs Sergey Lavrov and minister of defence Sergei Shoygu, in which Al-Sisi stated that to handle the challenges facing the Middle East it would require more cooperation
(Daily News Egypt 06/07/17)
Al-Sisi and Sobhi met with Goulard, discussed bilateral relations. France’s minister of defence, Sylvie Goulard, expressed praise for Al-Azhar on Monday; for his role in fighting extremist ideology, as well as Egypt’s international influence in combating terrorism. According to a press statement, the conversation occurred during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Egyptian Defence Minister Sedky Sobhy received Goulard to discuss bilateral relations and efforts to fight terrorism. In a statement issued by the Egyptian presidency spokesperson, Alaa Youssef, President Al-Sisi stated in the meeting that terrorism, “does not stop at the borders of the Middle East, but rather expands all around the world”, adding that the international community must take firm action...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
An Egyptian court has decided to re-instate a zero tolerance policy on common grain fungus ergot, lawyers on the case told Reuters on Tuesday, plunging trade with the world's largest wheat importer back into uncertainty. Egypt last year scrapped a ban on ergot in grain imports after it effectively halted purchase tenders because trading houses refused to participate, saying the ban was an impossible requirement. In its place, Egypt imposed a more internationally standard 0.05 percent tolerance threshold for ergot and restructured its food inspection system, transferring responsibility for strategic agricultural imports from the agriculture ministry's quarantine body, which favored the ban, to the trade ministry. A ruling scheduled for next week will scrap that new system, effectively reinstating the...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
Egypt's Investment Minister Sahar Nasr said Qatari investments in Egypt are protected by law and Egypt respects its contracts, state news agency MENA said on Wednesday. "The Egyptian state respects its contracts and provides a safe environment for the investments of individuals and institutions on its territory," Nasr was quoted as saying. Egypt, in coordination with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region. (Reporting by Mostafa Hashem; writing by by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Giles Elgood)
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
Building a network of African women leaders in fields ranging from business to politics could galvanize female leadership across the continent and boost peacebuilding efforts and good governance, the head of U.N. Women said on Tuesday. The African Women Leaders Network, which was launched last week in New York by the United Nations and the African Union Commission, hopes to drive more women into leadership roles, through mentoring, peer learning and harnessing contacts. By supporting women's leadership in Africa, the platform aims to galvanize their contributions to building and sustaining peace, improving political processes and driving social change, and realizing the U.N. global goals, according to U.N. Women. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in 2015, include targets on...
(AFP (eng) 06/06/17)
Egypt said it will suspend air links with Qatar from Tuesday, after it and other Arab states cut diplomatic ties with the Gulf emirate and accused it of supporting extremism. The decision to "halt all flights between Egypt and Qatar" would take effect from 0400 GMT on Tuesday and continue "until further notice", the aviation ministry said. The statement, which was issued on Monday, added that Qatari planes would be unable to cross Egyptian airspace or land on its territory. Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and the Maldives on Monday
(Reuters (Eng) 06/06/17)
Personnel assigned to the U.S. Mission in Egypt are prohibited from visiting religious sites outside greater Cairo until further notice, the U.S. embassy said on Monday in a security message posted on its website. "Terrorists have attacked targets associated with the Christian community in Egypt. Incidents have occurred in both urban and isolated settings. Additional attacks may be possible," the message said. "Until further notice, personnel assigned to the U.S. Mission in Egypt are prohibited from visiting religious sites outside greater Cairo. U.S. citizens residing in or visiting Egypt should take prudent steps to enhance their personal security," it said. Gunmen attacked a group of Coptic Christians traveling to a monastery in central Egypt on May 26, killing at least...
(Gulfnews 06/06/17)
Offenders risk up to 7 years in prison and a hefty fine as security tightened for high school tests. Cairo: Egyptian authorities have seen early success in their efforts to stop leaks of high school examinations that embarrassed the government last year and triggered rare street protests. Around 592,000 secondary school students started Sunday taking their final-year tests across Egypt amid tight security and official warnings of tough penalties against involvement in massive leaks. Education officials said that there has since been no significant leak bid in these crucial exams that run until later this month. “We congratulate the state agencies because there have been no [exam] leaks,” Reda Hejazi, a senior official at the Education Ministry, said. “We also...
(Xinhuanet 06/06/17)
Delegates of an African conference in solidarity with Cuba on Monday called on the United States to lift its over 50-year economic blockade against Cuba. "We applaud the positive development in this respect and we commend the U.S. government and Cuba for their efforts towards normalizing of ties," said Namibian President Hage Geingob, officially opening the fifth Continental Africa Conference in Solidarity with Cuba here on Monday. "However, there is still much ground left to cover to ensure the complete lifting of the blockage against Cuba," said Geingob. According to Geingob, the conference will lead to the development of the common African strategy in terms of support to Cuba. The delegates also called for the return of the Guantanamo Bay,...
(AFP (eng) 06/05/17)
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates announced on Monday they were severing diplomatic ties with Qatar, as tensions escalate in the region over accusations Doha sponsors terrorism. Saudi news agency SPA said Riyadh cut diplomatic ties and closed borders with its neighbour to "protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism". A Saudi official cited by SPA said the country decided to "sever diplomatic and consular ties with Qatar, and to close all land, sea and aviation ports". The "decisive" measure was due to "gross violations committed by authorities in Qatar over the past years", the Saudi statement said. The UAE followed suit in cutting ties, and Egypt's foreign ministry also accused Doha of...
(AFP (eng) 06/03/17)
Eight watchdogs, including Human Rights Watch, on Friday denounced Egypt's adoption of a contentious new law to regulate non-governmental organisations. The rights groups urged the Egyptian government to repeal the law, ratified on May 24 by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, saying it "will crush civil society". "The law ushers in unprecedented levels of repression and will criminalise the work of many NGOs, making it impossible for them to function independently," said the statement released by HRW. Since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, Egyptian authorities have repressed all forms of opposition, at times targeting human rights organisations directly. The new law requires that a "national authority" including army and intelligence representatives oversee the foreign funding of Egyptian...
(AFP (eng) 06/02/17)
Its vaunted air force destroyed, its army humbled -- the Six-Day War of 1967 dealt Egypt a shock it has yet to overcome and spelled the end of its pan-Arab hopes for regional dominance. The war, which came to be known in Egypt as the Naksa, or setback in Arabic, ended with Israel occupying the Sinai Peninsula up to the Suez Canal, and Egyptian populist leader Gamal Abdel Nasser's reputation devastated. Egypt, after fighting the 1973 war and then launching peace talks with Israel, eventually recovered Sinai to become the first Arab country with a peace treaty with its former nemesis. But it no longer occupied the role it had played under Nasser as the political, military and cultural leader...

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