Wednesday 13 December 2017
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian security forces killed five suspected militants in a raid on Monday on a desert location being used by the group for training in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya, north of Cairo, the interior ministry said. Security forces arrested six other people and seized ammunition and weapons in the operation, a ministry statement said. The statement did not link the militants to any specific group. Since 2013 Egyptian security forces have battled an Islamic State affiliate in the mainly desert region of North Sinai, where militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers. Last month Egypt saw its deadliest attack in its modern history when militants killed more than 300 at a North Sinai mosque. No...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
The head of the UN's AIDS agency on Monday urged African countries to protect young women and children who are bearing the brunt of the continent's AIDS epidemic. A sharp rise of people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has now slowed, "but now is not the time to drop our guard," Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, told the start of a six-day conference on HIV/AIDS and sexually-transmitted diseases in Africa. "The many changes under way in our world should not threaten the sustainability of our great achievements in the AIDS response," he warned. "We cannot afford to lose our gains. If we want to end this epidemic, we must act now and act differently." About 36.7 million...
(AFP (eng) 12/04/17)
Former Egyptian premier and presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafiq said on Sunday he was reconsidering his intention to run in the 2018 presidential elections, after relatives said his whereabouts were unknown for around 24 hours. Shafiq had not been seen since an airport official said he landed in Cairo on Saturday evening after aides claimed the Emirati authorities deported him. The former army general was forced to leave the Gulf country, where he had been living in exile since 2012, after he announced his intention to run in next year's election, lawyer Dina Adly had said in a statement on her Facebook page earlier Sunday. "I said my intention was based on the information and the general idea I had about...
(AFP (eng) 12/04/17)
A lawyer for former Egyptian premier and presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafiq on Sunday demanded access to him after he was reportedly deported from the United Arab Emirates to his homeland. Shafiq has not been seen since an airport official said he landed back in Cairo on Saturday evening after aides claimed the Emirati authorities loaded him onto a private jet. The former army general was forced to leave the Gulf country, where he had been living in exile since 2012, after he announced his candidacy for presidential elections next year, lawyer Dina Adly said in a statement on her Facebook page. "So far the general has not called me and I was not summoned to meet him," said Adly. She...
(AFP (eng) 12/04/17)
Egyptian military prosecutors ordered a colonel be detained for 15 days after he announced plans to run in the country's 2018 presidential election, his lawyer said Sunday. Colonel Ahmed Konsowa was detained on Saturday on suspicion of "behaviour that harms the requirements of the military" because he "published a video and stated political views," said the lawyer, Asaad Heikal. The 42-year-old colonel was detained for 15 days in preventive custody as the prosecution investigates the case, Heikal told AFP. Konsowa announced his plans to stand in the election in video messages and a statement posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday.
(AFP (eng) 12/04/17)
An Egyptian-European mission has discovered 27 fragmented statues of the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet across the Nile from Egypt's southern city of Luxor, the antiquities ministry said on Sunday. The statues of the goddess, known as The Lady of War, were found in the ground at the Colossi of Memnon area on the city's west bank, which used to be a capital for ancient Egypt, the ministry said in a statement. Sekhmet had the body of a woman and the head of a fierce lioness, with a headpiece featuring the sun disk and was one of the goddesses known as Eyes of Ra, the sun god. The newly found statues were about two metres (six and a half feet) high and...
(AFP (eng) 12/03/17)
UAE officials on Saturday deported former Egyptian premier and presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafiq from the Gulf country he had been living in since 2012 to Egypt after he announced his candidacy in upcoming elections, two of his aides told AFP. Shafiq landed in Cairo airport on Saturday evening and quickly left to an unknown destination, an airport official said. His relatives told AFP almost six hours after his arrival that they did not know his whereabouts. The move comes days after Shafiq, in exile in the UAE since 2012, announced his candidacy in next year's election and then said he was being prevented from leaving the country, angering his Emirati hosts. The UAE state news agency WAM had reported that...
(AFP (eng) 12/01/17)
Leaders at an EU-Africa summit called Thursday for the immediate evacuation of nearly 4,000 distressed African migrants in Libya under a new drive to fight slave traders and traffickers. Wrapping up a two-day summit in Ivory Coast's economic capital, a top African Union (AU) official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans stranded in Libya, where many have suffered atrocities and even been sold into slavery. He said a fact-finding mission had seen one camp in Tripoli where all the residents, numbering several thousand, were "living in inhumane conditions" and were desperate to return home. "We have agreed, along with the EU and the UN, to set up a task force for repatriating at least 3,800 people," Moussa...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
A summit gathering European and African leaders from more than 80 countries drew to a close Thursday with plans for the immediate evacuation of some 3,800 African migrants stranded in Libya. Wrapping up the summit in the Ivorian capital, a top African Union official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans trapped in Libya, where many have suffered attrocities and even been sold into slavery. The two-day summit of the African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) was showcased as a project to boost development in Africa as it faces a population crunch.
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Egyptian ex-premier Ahmed Shafiq said Wednesday the United Arab Emirates had barred him from leaving the country, which the UAE denied, only hours after an announcement he would run for president in his homeland next year. "I was surprised that I was banned from leaving the brotherly nation of the United Arab Emirates, for reasons I do not understand," Shafiq said in a video message sent to AFP. "I was intending to carry out a tour among the Egyptian diaspora before returning to my country in the next few days," said the former prime minister. In response, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on his official Twitter account that "the UAE affirms there is no obstacle"...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Twenty-five asylum seekers from Africa arrived safely in Rome Thursday, using a Christian "humanitarian corridor" set up for Syrians fleeing the war in their homeland. "It was just a project but it became THE project, the way of the future," said Mario Morcone of the Italian interior ministry. The 25 men, women and children from Somalia, Eritrea and South Sudan arrived in Rome before dawn on a flight from Ethiopia. They will be moved to centres across the country. "We want to ensure that people do not risk their lives in the desert and at sea," Morcone said. "This is an important turning point in the politics of our country. You are witness to this turning point and we will...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/29/17)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, a former air force commander and ex-presidential candidate, told Reuters on Wednesday he intended to run in the presidential election early next year, saying he would return to Egypt in the “coming days”. In a video declaration sent to Reuters and a telephone statement, Shafiq said he would run in the election planned for around April, when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is widely expected to seek a second term. “I‘m honored to announce my will to run in the upcoming presidential elections in Egypt as a choice to be president of the country for the next four years,” he said in the statement from the United Arab Emirates in which he...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi publicly ordered on Wednesday his military chief of staff to restore security in Sinai within three months after militants killed more than 300 worshippers, demanding "complete brutal force." Sisi made his remarks in a televised speech to mark the birthday of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed as the country reels from the Friday massacre in a North Sinai mosque. The Islamic State (IS) group's Egypt affiliate based in the North Sinai is believed to have carried out the attack on the mosque associated with a mystical Sufi order. "Allow me to take this opportunity to commit General Mohamed Farid Hegazy, in front of you and all the Egyptian people: you are responsible for restoring security and...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/29/17)
No group has claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack in which authorities say gunmen carrying an Islamic State flag opened fire after setting off an explosive. It was the worst militant attack in Egypt’s modern history. Egyptian forces have battled an Islamic State affiliate for several years in North Sinai, where militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers. “It is your responsibility to secure and stabilize Sinai within the next three months,” Sisi said addressing his new chief of staff in a speech that gave no details on any operations. “You can use all brute force necessary.” Islamic State’s Wilayat Sinai branch has claimed some of the most deadly attacks in Egypt. The group was made up in 2014 of...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
The head of an Egyptian school was suspended after photos emerged showing a group of students acting out last week's deadly attack on a Sinai mosque, an official said. Friday's massacre during prayers in the North Sinai town of Rawda killed 305 people when suspected Islamic State group gunmen surrounded the mosque and opened fire. IS has not claimed the attack, one of the deadliest in Egypt's history. Photos posted on social media showed students from a middle school in the Nile Delta simulating the attack in their school yard. Some were dressed as hooded attackers in black uniforms, carrying dummy weapons, while others played victims, lying on the ground in white clothes covered with red spots. "We suspended the...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
The head of an Egyptian school was suspended after photos emerged showing a group of students acting out last week's deadly attack on a Sinai mosque, an official said. Friday's massacre during prayers in the North Sinai town of Rawda killed 305 people when suspected Islamic State group gunmen surrounded the mosque and opened fire. IS has not claimed the attack, one of the deadliest in Egypt's history. Photos posted on social media showed students from a middle school in the Nile Delta simulating the attack in their school yard. Some were dressed as hooded attackers in black uniforms, carrying dummy weapons, while others played victims, lying on the ground in white clothes covered with red spots. "We suspended the...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
More than 80 African and European leaders will gather in the Ivory Coast on Wednesday to promote jobs and stability for Africa's exploding population, with some calling for a new "Marshall Plan." The two-day summit in Abidjan opens as the European Union increasingly sees its fate linked to Africa's following the twin shocks of unprecedented migration and terrorist attacks. It comes as China, India, Japan, the Gulf Arab states and others also compete for influence on a continent where the 28-nation EU remains as a whole the biggest economic and political player. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani told parliamentarians from both continents before the summit...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
A Sufi leader associated with a mosque where suspected Islamic State group gunmen massacred hundreds of worshippers in Egypt said Tuesday the jihadists had warned against holding Sufi rituals there. Friday's massacre during prayers in the North Sinai town of Rawda killed at least 300 people when suspected IS gunmen surrounded the mosque and opened fire. IS, which views some practices of the Sufi sect as heretical, had previously targeted the mystics by kidnapping one of their leaders and beheading him. In one of their propaganda outlets, they had also vowed to fight the Sufis in Sinai, singling out the Jariri Sufi order associated with the mosque. Sheikh Mohamed al-Jawish, deputy head of the Jariri order, said that less than...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
Egyptian security forces killed 11 suspected "terrorist elements" during a raid on a hideout for militants providing support for jihadists in the northern Sinai, the interior ministry said on Tuesday. A ministry statement said police were still identifying the suspected militants killed in the raid in Ismailiya province after they opened fire on security forces approaching the hideout. Militants carried out a bomb and gun assault on a mosque in Rawda village in North Sinai province on Friday, killing 305 people -- the deadliest in Egypt's recent history -- in an attack thought to have been carried out by the Islamic State group. It is widely believed in Egypt that the massacre took place at the mosque because Sufi Muslims...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/28/17)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s central bank removed caps on deposits and withdrawals of foreign currency for importers on Tuesday, lifting some of the last currency controls put in place after a 2011 uprising. The move is another sign that bank liquidity is improving as a result of Egypt’s $12 billion, three-year International Monetary Fund program and a currency flotation that halved the pound’s value and helped crush the black market for dollars. Egypt imposed strict controls on the movement of hard currency as the 2011 uprising drove away tourists and foreign investors, key sources of foreign currency, forcing importers to rely on a more expensive black market for dollars. In 2012, it limited deposits to $10,000 per day and $50,000...

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