Friday 20 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/15/18)
Egypt is seeing a promising rebound in tourism following devastating jihadist attacks, in welcome news to the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he seeks re-election this month. In the eastern Red Sea city of Hurghada, tourists lounge on sunbeds on the beach or play volleyball as boats carrying divers pass by. Among them is Bent Skovboe from Denmark, a 77-year-old who says he has visited Egypt more than 75 times. "If there was only Red Sea for snorkelling, I will come, but they also have pyramids in Cairo, temples in Luxor, the Nile and Aswan, and the people are very friendly," says Skovboe, decked in a swimsuit with a cold drink in hand. Already in decline after the...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/14/18)
CAIRO (Reuters) - The attack by Islamic State came as Egypt’s defense and interior ministers walked toward a helicopter waiting to fly them out of the Sinai peninsula last December. Five army and police sources told Reuters that the militants fired a laser-guided missile at the aircraft, destroying it. The ministers survived the Al-Arish air base attack, whose sophistication and boldness served as a reminder that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, expected to easily win re-election this month, is still engaged in a major military campaign to deliver the security he has promised to Egyptians. Even with widespread public support, Sisi’s security forces have yet to quash a stubborn insurgency in Sinai, an area that Islamic State is using as a...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/14/18)
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - On a chilly March night, Shrouk El-Attar is preparing for a belly dancing show at a London club by pulling on a shimmering blue skirt, fixing a sparkly bra - and sticking on a beard. The act, called “Dancing Queer”, is a protest against the persecution of gay, lesbian and transgender people in El-Attar’s native Egypt where they risk violence, arrest and jail. But the vivacious electrical engineering student wears many hats. Hours before the show - which she has performed around the country - El-Attar donned a suit and tie to speak at Britain’s parliament about issues faced by refugees. The 25-year-old, who is completing her masters at Cardiff University in Wales, has helped...
(AFP (eng) 03/14/18)
The EU warned African and other countries on Wednesday that their citizens will find it harder to get visas to Europe if they refuse to readmit economic migrants under the bloc's efforts to curb migration. Brussels has been seeking greater cooperation from such countries to take back irregular migrants since Europe was hit in 2015 with its worst migration crisis since World War II. "I cannot understand how a country can refuse to take back its nationals" when they have entered Europe illegally, EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told a press conference in Brussels. "We will introduce stricter conditions for processing visas when a partner country does not cooperate sufficiently on the readmission of irregular migrants," Avramopoulos added. Under international...
(AFP (eng) 03/13/18)
Qatar's BeIN Sports chief executive Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who is also the president of Paris Saint-Germain, was hit with a second anti-trust fine by an Egyptian court on Monday. The court accuses BeIN of forcing its Egyptian customers to replace their existing satellites to obtain their services. A fine of 400 million Egyptian pounds ($22.7 million, 18 million euros) has been handed down after prosecution by the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) in a Cairo economic court. The fine is the second one BeIN has incurred in Egypt after a similar one was imposed in January. The decision imposed comes at a politically-charged time for the two countries, with ties between Egypt and Qatar deeply strained. Egypt was one of several countries...
(AFP (eng) 03/13/18)
Egypt's judiciary announced Monday it has set up a hotline to gather complaints of "fake" news in the traditional or electronic media that could pose a threat to national security. Two weeks ahead of elections in Egypt, the media have been under close scrutiny, with an increase in cases of journalists being arrested and websites blocked. "The Egyptian judiciary has set aside mobile telephone numbers to receive complaints on the instant messaging app WhatsApp and by SMS, so long as the name of the complainant and their personal details are given," it said in a statement. It said the initiative was aimed against "premeditated fake information damaging to national security and the country's interests".
(AFP (eng) 03/12/18)
Egypt's military said Sunday 16 jihadists, an officer and a soldier were killed in the past four days during a major military operation against Islamic State group jihadists in Sinai. The army launched a sweeping campaign after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is standing in elections for his second term this month, gave them a three-month deadline to crush IS in Sinai. He issued his ultimatum in November after suspected IS gunmen massacred more than 300 worshippers in a Sinai mosque associated with Sufi Muslim mystics. Since the military, then led by Sisi, ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013...
(AFP (eng) 03/12/18)
Filmmakers in Egypt are defying a largely conservative society with television series and movies that deal with modern relationships between men and women and the empowerment of the young. In its heyday between the 1950s and the 1970s, Egypt had one of the largest and most dynamic movie industries in the world. The golden age of Egyptian cinema starred fiery, determined women and love scenes that rivalled those of Western movies at the time. "Things started to change in the 1980s" as social freedoms regressed and society grew more puritanical, leading Arab film critic Tarek El Shenawi told AFP. Under the growing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood group and Arab Gulf countries...
(AFP (eng) 03/09/18)
A thousand artists from over 50 countries will gather in Ivory Coast on Saturday for a week-long festival of African music, theatre, dance, comedy, slam poetry and storytelling. The 10th edition of the biannual Market for African Performing Arts, known by its French initials as MASA, will mark the 25th anniversary of the event. This year's crop of artists come from all over Africa and the African diaspora in Japan, Haiti and Canada, performing in the economic capital Abidjan and five other cities, the organisers said. Artists include Ivorian jazz fusion drummer Paco Sery, traditionalist Malian singers P-Pentatonique and Cape Verde's Maria de Barros. MASA was launched in 1993 by the International Organisation of La Francophonie, which represents French-speaking countries...
(AFP (eng) 03/05/18)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman continued a visit to Egypt on Monday focused on economic cooperation, with Riyadh agreeing a $10 billion investment with Cairo for a futuristic mega city project. Prince Mohammed accompanied Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to review construction projects near the Suez Canal before boarding a boat with the president to tour the waterway. A Saudi government source said the two countries had agreed to set up a joint $10 billion fund to develop areas of Egypt linked to the NEOM project. The $500 billion NEOM mega city, unveiled by Prince Mohammed last year, is planned to be a biotech and digital hub spread over 26,500 square kilometres (10,000 square miles) in an area facing...
(AFP (eng) 03/05/18)
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks in the Egyptian capital on Sunday at the start of his first foreign tour as heir to the throne. A beaming Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi greeted the prince at Cairo airport after he descended the red-carpeted steps of his plane. The head of Prince Mohammed's office, Bader al-Asaker, tweeted that the prince's plane was escorted by Egyptian fighter jets when it entered Egypt's airspace. Prince Mohammed and Sisi, a key regional ally, agreed in talks to bolster economic ties and launch joint projects, "particularly in the tourism sector on the Red Sea", said Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Radi. The prince is to fly off to Britain on Wednesday and then...
(AFP (eng) 03/05/18)
Egypt's military said on Sunday four soldiers and 10 jihadists were killed in a military operation in Sinai against Islamic State group jihadists. The deaths raise military casualties to at least 16 dead, along with more than 100 jihadists, since the start of the operation on February 9, according to previous army tolls. The army launched the campaign after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is standing in elections for his second term this month, gave them a three month deadline to crush IS in Sinai. Sisi issued his ultimatum in November after suspected Islamic State gunmen massacred more than 300 worshippers in a Sinai mosque associated with Muslim Sufi mystics. IS in Sinai has been among the group's most...
(AFP (eng) 03/05/18)
Egypt's constitutional court on Saturday voided contradictory lower court rulings on the controversial transfer of two islands to Saudi Arabia, state media reported. The ruling on the transfer of the Tiran and Sanafir islands in the Red Sea, which sparked protests in Egypt, effectively ends legal challenges to the deal, already ratified by the government. The ruling comes a day before Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives in Egypt for a two day visit, the first leg of a foreign tour. The state owned Al-Ahram newspaper reported on its website that the court voided both a ruling barring the transfer and another allowing it to go through. The deal had been agreed during a 2016 visit by Saudi King...
(AFP (eng) 03/05/18)
Egyptian prosecutors have remanded a prominent state television talk show presenter in custody for four days on accusations he insulted the police, officials said. Pro-government Khairy Ramadan was ordered detained late Sunday after he last month discussed the alleged low salaries of police officers on his show "Egypt Today" on the public Channel 1. Citing a policeman's wife, Ramadan presented a breakdown of the officer's monthly gross salary of 6,890 pounds ($390, 320 euros), with which he has to provide for his family. The decision to detain the presenter comes after authorities warned they were keeping a close eye on media and would take action against anyone spreading "false" news. Egypt is currently gearing up for presidential elections on March...
(AFP 03/05/18)
Arrestations de journalistes, interviews scrutées, sites internet bloqués: l'activité des médias en Egypte à un peu plus de trois semaines de la présidentielle fait l'objet d'une surveillance accrue de la part des autorités. Le président Abdel Fattah al-Sissi a lui-même mis en garde les médias jeudi contre la publication d'informations jugées diffamatoires vis-à-vis de l'armée, en les qualifiant de "haute trahison" en pleine campagne antijihadistes dans le Sinaï. Ex-chef de l'armée, M. Sissi a destitué le président islamiste Mohamed Morsi en juillet 2013 et a été élu un an plus tard président de la République. Depuis, son régime est régulièrement accusé de réprimer les voix dissidentes, et de cibler la presse. En pleine campagne présidentielle, officiellement lancée le 24 février,...
(AFP (eng) 03/05/18)
Media in Egypt faces increased scrutiny and restrictions by authorities ahead of a presidential election this month incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will dominate, critics say. The president, addressing media, warned on Thursday against "defamation" of security forces, a day after his prosecution warned it would take legal action against "false news." Egypt ranks 161 out of 180 countries in press freedoms according to watchdog Reporters Without Borders' 2017 Press Freedoms Index. The government's warnings to media are not new. Sisi, a former army chief elected as president in 2014 a year after toppling his Islamist predecessor following mass protests, had previously asked the media to exercise caution in criticising officials. But in recent months, authorities have blocked about 500 websites,...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/18)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit Egypt on Sunday for his first foreign tour as heir to the throne, a government source told AFP. The powerful crown prince is expected in Britain next Wednesday for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May and in the United States from March 19 to 22. Saudi Arabia and Egypt are key regional allies that have stood together in both the war in Yemen and the Qatar crisis. They both oppose Iran's influence in the region. The two-day visit to Cairo also comes ahead of Egypt's presidential polls, scheduled for late March, with incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sisi expected to win a second four-year term. The government source said on Thursday that Prince Mohammed's...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/18)
Egypt's state security prosecution Friday remanded in custody for 15 days a woman accused of falsely telling the BBC her daughter had been the victim of a "forced disappearance", officials said. State security prosecution officials said authorities were questioning Mona Mahmud Mohammad, who was named in the BBC report as "Um Zubeida", or the mother of Zubeida. She is being investigated over accusations that she had spread false news and for joining an organisation set up illegally, they said. The mother was arrested on Wednesday.
(AFP (eng) 03/01/18)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told media on Thursday they should prevent defamation of the military, which he warned would be seen as "high treason" amid a campaign to crush Sinai jihadists. Sisi's comments at a ceremony to inaugurate the "New El Alamein" city in western Egypt come after complaints by authorities against foreign and local media coverage of the campaign in Sinai. Government rebukes to media have increased ahead of a presidential election this month that Sisi is expected to win easily, with him facing only one other candidate who until recently was one of his most vocal supporters. "It is not appropriate that they (the military and police) be defamed and we will not allow it," Sisi said...
(AFP (eng) 03/01/18)
Two trains collided Wednesday in northern Egypt killing at least 12 people and injuring dozens of others, the health ministry said, the latest in a string of deadly rail accidents in the country. Twelve people died and 39 were injured in the crash between a freight train and a passenger train at Kom Hamada in Behaira province, health ministry spokesman Khaled Mehaged told state television, updating an earlier casualty toll. Footage aired by the state television showed at least two carriages had derailed in a rural stretch of land. Civilians and medics were seen removing injured passengers and carrying them to ambulances. Health ministry official Alaa Othman told state television that all casualties had been removed from the scene of...

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