Monday 23 October 2017
(AFP (eng) 10/03/17)
The Egyptian government denied on Monday that a shipment of weapons from North Korea was destined for its military, as reported in The Washington Post. In a report published on Sunday, the US newspaper reported that the Egyptian military was the undisclosed buyer of $23 million worth of rocket-propelled grenades from North Korea in 2016. The Post cited US officials and Western diplomats familiar with the findings who remained anonymous. But the Egyptian foreign ministry denied the report on Monday. In a statement sent to AFP, spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid "categorically denied what the (Washington Post) report mentioned regarding Egypt being the destination for the shipment. "The sanctions committee report did not indicate that the shipment was destined for Egypt,"...
(AFP (eng) 10/02/17)
An imam in Egypt faces a disciplinary hearing over accusations that he married off underage girls, the administrative prosecution authority which monitors civil servants including imams said on Monday. Egyptian law prohibits the registered marriage of men and women under 18, although it does not prohibit informal marriages that are not officially registered. "The crime comes under the category of human trafficking cases," said Mohamed Samir, spokesman for the authority. The imam was allegedly "implicated in the marriages of nearly 27 minor" females, Samir said. The cleric presided over El-Arbaeen mosque in Meet Habeeb village in the Nile delta province of Al-Gharbiya north of Cairo. News of the case comes after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi expressed shock at the number...
(AFP (eng) 10/02/17)
Egyptian delegates arrived in Gaza Sunday on the eve of a fresh attempt at reconciliation between the strip's Hamas rulers and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah movement, an official said. West Bank-based Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah is to make his first visit to Gaza since 2015 on Monday, aiming to crown a rapprochement between the rivals after a decade of animosity and outbreaks of violence. Official Palestinian news agency WAFA said Hamas head Ismail Haniya called Abbas on Sunday evening to discuss preparations for Monday's visit, but it did not give any details. The initiative is backed by Egypt which will be closely following the talks, intended to prepare for a transfer of power in the Gaza Strip from...
(AFP (eng) 10/02/17)
Seventeen men suspected of being homosexuals went on trial in Egypt on Sunday for alleged "debauchery" and "incitement to debauchery", judicial sources said. There was no further information about the hearing which was closed to journalists, and defence lawyers were not immediately available for comment. Homosexuality is not expressly outlawed in Egypt, but gays have previously been charged with debauchery in the deeply conservative Muslim society. Security forces arrested at least six people after they held a rainbow flag representing lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people at a concert by Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila in Cairo on September 22. "The fact that Egypt's public prosecutor is prioritising hunting down people based on their perceived sexual orientation is utterly deplorable,"...
(AFP (eng) 10/02/17)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Six Egyptian men arrested for “promoting sexual deviancy” and “debauchery” on social media will be subjected to anal examinations ahead of their Oct. 1 trial, Amnesty International said on Saturday. Their arrest is part of a wider crackdown against homosexuality that started last week when a group of people were seen raising a rainbow flag at a concert, a rare public show of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in the conservative Muslim country. At least 11 people have since been arrested, Amnesty said, and one man has been sentenced to six years in jail after local media launched a highly critical campaign against those who raised the rainbow flag at a Mashrou’ Leila concert,...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/02/17)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt aims to raise its revenues from taxes imposed on tobacco by 7 billion Egyptian pounds ($397.50 million) in the 2017-18 fiscal year that began in July, a government document said. The country is targeting around 54.545 billion Egyptian pounds ($3.10 billion) in revenues from tobacco taxes, according to a document released by the finance ministry on Monday. Egypt has been increasing taxes and cutting subsidies to narrow its budget deficit as part of economic reforms tied to a $12 billion International Monetary Fund program aimed at boosting the economy. Egypt imposed a valued-added tax on non-essential goods last year in the months leading to its signing of the three-year IMF deal in November. ($1 = 17.6100 Egyptian pounds)
(AFP (eng) 09/29/17)
The Egyptian air force said on Thursday that it had destroyed a convoy of 10 all-terrain vehicles in the country's western desert suspected of smuggling weapons from Libya. The raid was carried out on the basis of information that "criminal elements were preparing to infiltrate" Egypt, said army spokesperson Colonel Tamer el-Refai in a statement. The officer said that the vehicles were attacked once they entered Egyptian territory, but he did not specify the fate of those in the convoy. Egypt, which has struck jihadist targets inside Libya, regularly warns of a spillover of instability from its lawless western neighbour, a haven of arms and people trafficking. The country has been battling an insurgency of its own since the military'...
(Middle East Monitor 09/29/17)
An Egyptian court sentenced the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide and 15 other defendants to life imprisonment on Thursday. They were found guilty of engaging in violence in 2013, although Mohamed Badei and the other defendants denied the charges. Life sentences in Egypt generally mean 25 years. Seventy-seven other defendants were sentenced to 15 years in prison. One of those found guilty by the court actually died last month. Abdel Azim Sharqawi, who died in the final stages of the three-year court case, was still rather bizarrely sentenced in absentia. The sentences can be appealed against within two months of the judgement. The violence relating to these cases unfolded following the bloody dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adawiyya protest camp by the...
(Xinhuanet 09/29/17)
The Egyptian military has foiled a smuggling operation by seizing 10 vehicles loaded with arms attempting to cross the border into Egypt from Libya, a military spokesman said Thursday. "The operation resulted in destroying 10 four-by-four vehicles loaded with weapons, ammunition and smuggled material," the military's spokesman Tamer al-Refaay said in a statement. Suffering from repeated terror attacks back home, Egypt is very concerned about its western border with eastern Libya which have been a point of infiltration by militants between the two countries. Since May, the Egyptian air force has destroyed at least 52 vehicles loaded with arms while attempting to cross the border into Egypt along the western border with Libya. Egypt's Western Desert witnessed a terrorist attack...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/17)
Government shutdowns of the internet have cost sub-Saharan Africa about $237 million since 2015, according to a study released Friday, as authorities increasingly implement planned disruptions. At least 12 countries have had internet shutdowns, often before elections or when protests erupt, with mobile internet networks most recently suspended in Togo during opposition demonstrations. "Internet disruptions, however short-lived, undermine economic growth, disrupt the delivery of critical services, erode business confidence, and raise a country’s risk profile," the CIPESA report said. The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) released its...
(Egyptian Streets 09/28/17)
The Minister of Investment and International Cooperation (MIIC) Sahar Nasr signed eight economic cooperation agreements worth $US 121.6 million with Direct of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Sherry Carlin. The cooperation agreements are in the fields of investment, education, health, agriculture and water. Nasr said that the newly signed agreements included a grant agreement worth $US 6 million dedicated to improving health “in favor of the Ministry of Health, given that the total contribution of the US side would reach USD 29 million with the end of the agreement in 2022,” according to the statement. The second agreement is a grant worth $US 50.8 million aims at supporting water integrated solutions in favor of the Ministry of Housing...
(Egyptian Streets 09/28/17)
Amid surging inflation and many Egyptians finding it difficult to make ends meet, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a new report on Tuesday that Egypt “is off to a good start” in implementing its new economic reform program. Despite having fallen short on cutting fuel subsidies and balancing its fiscal budget, the country is making progress at curbing public spending, boosting confidence among investors, and addressing the increased inflation rate generated by the new economic measures. The promising performance demonstrated by the Arab world’s most populous nation allows the international lender to release a new $US 1.25 billion payout, bringing the total disbursement to $US 4 billion. “Macroeconomic stability is still fragile and the reform agenda is difficult,...
(The Associated Press 09/28/17)
International trade unions are urging Egypt to release at least seven labor leaders they say have been unjustly imprisoned recently on terrorism-related charges. The Brussels-based International Trade Union Confederation, and Public Services International, which represent over 200 million workers worldwide, said Wednesday they sent a letter to President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi last week. They say that the blocking of legitimate sit-ins and strike action, as well as the arrest of trade unionists on security and anti-terrorism grounds, are a violation of the principle of freedom of association enshrined in the constitution and international treaties of which Egypt is a signatory. The unions mentioned Tarek Moustafa Ke’eib, president of the Real Estate Taxes employees’ trade union in Kafr el-Sheikh province, who is...
(Egyptian Streets 09/28/17)
Seeking to fulfill its promise to create a more inclusive environment for all citizens, Egypt’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) inaugurated on September 16 several upgraded community centers in South Sinai, which are now equipped to serve people with disabilities (PwD) and empower women in the area. Yasser ElKady, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, and South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda attended the opening ceremony of the new community centers, which are part of the MCIT’s Integrated Inclusive Community Centers project. An integrated inclusive community center was inaugurated by ElKady in the Sharm El-Sheikh Youth Center, which was opened in coordination with the creation of a people with disabilities service center and women’s empowerment center in Al-Tur...
(The Associated Press 09/28/17)
Egypt's government says it has approved draft legislation to create a national space agency. A Cabinet statement Wednesday says the proposed agency will aim to build and launch satellites from Egypt to serve "development objectives." It would also represent Egypt internationally in the field of space technology. The draft legislation will be referred to parliament for approval. Egypt has a satellite company, Nilesat, which runs communication satellites that are manufactured and put in orbit by foreign operators.
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
Studio 189, a label founded by actress Rosario Dawson and fashion executive Abrima Erwiah, is reinvesting in its African roots. It’s hard enough to build a fashion brand, let alone an empire. Rare is the person who makes a mission of using fashion to build communities. Such is the case with Studio 189, a label founded by longtime friends Abrima Erwiah (formerly a marketing executive at Bottega Veneta) and Rosario Dawson (an enduring star most recently seen in Netflix’s Marvel franchise). “The idea is to produce everything in local markets,” says Erwiah. “Particularly in Africa, particularly in Ghana.” The founders set up the company in partnership with the United Nations’ Ethical Fashion Initiative, which also works with such socially conscious...
(The Associated Press 09/26/17)
The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday welcomed Egypt's economic reforms, saying the Arab world's most populous nation has made a good start at reining in public spending, boosting investor confidence, and addressing the surging inflation generated by the new policies. In its first review since Egypt secured a $12 billion, three-year bailout loan in November, the IMF said Egypt's performance has been on track, allowing it to release a new $1.25 billion disbursement. That brings the total payout so far to $4 billion. The Washington-based lender of last resort says energy subsidy reform, wage restraint, and a new value-added tax have all contributed to reducing the fiscal deficit and helped free up space for social spending to support the poor...
(AFP (eng) 09/26/17)
At least six people have been arrested in Egypt after raising the rainbow flag of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community at a Cairo concert, security and judicial sources said. They are accused of "public indecency" and "inciting immorality among young people", the sources said following Monday's arrests. Egypt's state security prosecutor has been tasked with carrying out the investigation into the incident on Friday at a concert of Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila, according to a judicial source.
(Middle East Monitor 09/26/17)
The UK Trade Envoy to Egypt, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, arrived in Cairo on Saturday with a delegation of UK companies seeking to explore various business opportunities in Egypt, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) announced yesterday. The delegation consists of 14 multi-sector British companies, including infrastructure, defence, healthcare and agriculture. The companies include London International Patient Services, Rolls Royce and Bombardier, with 70 per cent of those involved being new investors in Egypt. The delegation is due to meet with a number of Egyptian officials, including the Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, the Chairman of the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), Admiral Mohab Mameesh, as well as the ministers of investment, housing, trade, transport and petroleum. They are also expected...
(The Associated Press 09/26/17)
An Egyptian court sentenced on Monday a prominent opposition leader widely expected to run against President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in next year's elections to three months in prison for offending public morals, his lawyer said. Tarek Hussein said Khaled Ali didn't attend the trial at the misdemeanor court of Cairo's Dokki neighborhood, where he was convicted for making an obscene finger gesture. He said Ali was ordered to pay 1,000 Egyptian pounds (nearly $57) to remain free on bail. The verdict can be appealed, but if confirmed it will prevent him from standing in the 2018 presidential elections. Hussein said the court didn't allow the defense lawyers a closing argument or for them to cross-examine witnesses for the prosecution over disputed...

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