Friday 23 June 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 06/01/17)
Egypt defended on Thursday a new law on non-governmental organizations that three U.S. Republican senators have called "draconian" and a sign of "a growing crackdown on human rights and peaceful dissent". UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein also criticized the law, saying it "effectively hands administration of NGOs to the government". The law, issued on Monday after being ratified by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, restricts NGO activity to developmental and social work and introduces jail terms of up to five years for non-compliance. Egyptian lawmakers said the law was necessary to protect national security.
(Bloomberg 06/01/17)
Carlyle Group LP, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, sees two buying opportunities in Egypt this year after a commodity rout depressed prices in the region. The Washington, D.C.-based investor’s $700 million Sub-Saharan Africa Fund will spend between $30 million and $100 million on each, making the fund about 80 percent invested, managing director Eric Kump said in an interview. He declined to name industries or be more specific. “We are being more active in North Africa, specifically Egypt,” Kump said by phone from London. “They’ve gone through a painful dislocation and done the right things on the macro level, and it’s a very populous country with a lot of well-managed businesses.” Private equity investors are seeking opportunities...
(The Associated Press 06/01/17)
Egypt’s military says that three officers and one soldier were killed when a suicide belt went off as forces were sweeping a militant hub in the Bahariya Oasis in Egypt’s western desert. Military spokesperson Tamer el-Refaie said on his Facebook page Wednesday that the incident took place during ongoing military operations in the western desert bordering Libya. Egypt’s western desert has been the scene of numerous terrorist attacks in recent years, including an attack on a border guard post in 2014 which left at least 21 troops dead. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi blamed Libya-trained terrorists for the recent attack on a bus carrying Christians in Upper Egypt, which killed 29. Egypt has a long, porous border with Libya, which officials say...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/01/17)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was quick to launch air strikes on militants in Libya in response to a deadly attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt - but the attacks do not seem to be targeting those responsible. The response was popular with many Egyptians. The country's state-owned and private news media celebrated it as swift justice, but the president has been vague about exactly who he is attacking. The strikes have been directed at Islamist groups other than Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for Friday's massacre of dozens in the southern province of Minya, and seem to be intended to shore up Sisi's allies in eastern Libya. "The attacks in Minya were claimed by Islamic State, and there are...
(AFP (eng) 06/01/17)
One in five children born with a twin sibling in sub-Saharan Africa dies before the age of five -- three times the rate among singletons, said a study Thursday. Almost two-thirds die in the first month of life -- often succumbing to the after-effects of a difficult birth or entering the world too early or underweight, according to research published in The Lancet medical journal. And while rates of under-five deaths in the sub-Saharan African region have declined over two decades, the improvement has been much slower for twins than for single-borns. "Twins account for 10.7 percent of all under-five deaths and 15.1 percent of neonatal (newborn) deaths in the region and these percentages are increasing," the study said. "The...
(AFP (eng) 05/31/17)
Three army officers and a soldier were killed in an explosion in Egypt's Western Desert on Wednesday after a clash with militants, the military said. The incident comes days after Islamic State group jihadists gunned down 29 Christians in an attack southwest of the capital. The army said air strikes hit "terrorists" who had been detected in the Western Desert, destroying two of their vehicles. When land forces combed the area, an explosives vest went off as the officers "dealt" with items left behind by the militants, killing the three officers and the conscript. The incident took place near the town of El-Bawiti, east of the site
(Daily News Egypt 05/31/17)
The airstrikes follow Minya bus terrorist attack of which IS claimed responsibility. Egypt’s delegate to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) notified on Saturday the council that Egypt’s airstrikes on Libya targeted terrorist groups and described the attack as the right of the country for self defence which the UN charters stipulate, according to a press statement. Egypt has reportedly carried out airstrikes on the city of Derna in eastern Libya on 27 May, following the shooting of Coptic Christians in Minya in Upper Egypt, which resulted in the death of 28 civilians.
(The Associated Press 05/31/17)
A new law ratified by Egypt's president that imposes unprecedentedly harsh restrictions on NGOs could be "a death sentence" for human rights groups in the country, rights group Amnesty International said Tuesday. In a statement, it called the law, signed by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi a day earlier, "a catastrophic blow for human rights groups working in Egypt." "The severity of the restrictions imposed by this law threatens to annihilate NGOs in the country, at a time when the authorities' escalating crackdown on dissent makes their work more important than ever," said Najia Bounaim, the group's North Africa campaign director. The law comes as part of el-Sissi's wider crackdown on dissent since he rose to power in 2013, when he led...
(Daily News Egypt 05/31/17)
FEDCOC plans to organise seasonal fairs to ease burden on citizens. An official at the Ministry of Supply said that the ministry plans to make “Ahlan Ramadan” fairs permanent throughout the year to present basic goods at discounted prices in order to ease the burden on citizens amid the hiking cost of living. Food fair “Ahlan Ramadan” is organised by the Ministry of Supply and the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC) to provide food and related products at affordable prices in order to help the poorest segments of society afford buying food during Ramadan at prices below the regular market prices. The goods include sugar, oil, butter, rice, meat, and poultry. Alaa Ezz, secretary general of FEDCOC, said...
(Washington Post 05/31/17)
Ancient Egyptians were an archaeologist's dream. They left behind intricate coffins, massive pyramids and gorgeous hieroglyphs, the pictorial writing code cracked in 1799. Egyptians recorded tales of royalty and gods. They jotted down life's miscellanies, too, as humdrum as beer recipes and doctor's notes. But there was one persistent hole in ancient Egyptian identity: their chromosomes. Cool, dry permafrost can preserve prehistoric DNA like a natural freezer, but Egypt is a gene incinerator. The region is hot. Within the mummies' tombs, where scientists would hope to find genetic samples, humidity wrecked their DNA. What's more, soda ash and other chemicals used by Egyptian embalmers damaged genetic material. A study led by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for the Science...
(Al-Monitor 05/31/17)
CAIRO — An order to close all Egyptian nightclubs, bars and liquor stores on a recent Islamic holiday reignited public debate about whether such bans are hypocritical, discriminatory and detrimental to tourism. Ashraf Ezz al-Arab, general director of Egypt's Tourism and Antiquities Police, issued the order May 11, the day before the Night of Mid-Shaaban, a holiday that calls for Muslims to fast. They believe their fortunes for the coming year are determined on that day, and their sins might be forgiven. According to Arab, the Ministry of Tourism's Decision 222 of 2012, amending requirements for tourism establishments, stipulates that anyone caught drinking or selling alcohol during the holiday can be imprisoned. In reality, however, the law only sanctions sellers,...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/31/17)
DNA from mummies found at a site once known for its cult to the Egyptian god of the afterlife is unwrapping intriguing insight into the people of ancient Egypt, including a surprise discovery that they had scant genetic ties to sub-Saharan Africa. Scientists on Tuesday said they examined genome data from 90 mummies from the Abusir el-Malek archaeological site, located about 70 miles (115 km) south of Cairo, in the most sophisticated genetic study of ancient Egyptians ever conducted. The DNA was extracted from the teeth and bones of mummies from a vast burial ground associated with the green-skinned god Osiris. The oldest were from about 1388 BC during the New Kingdom, a high point in ancient Egyptian influence and...
(Washington Post 05/31/17)
The old man’s house had become a camp for the displaced. In the back yard, groups of women boiled water for rice. Small children skittered across the dirt, running into the bedroom, where they careened around the long, skinny legs of Elijah Karama. “Because of the conditions, they are mine to take care of,” said Karama, 57, more tired than proud. By conditions, he meant Boko Haram’s destruction of vast areas of northeastern Nigeria, and the hunger crisis that has followed. This city of about 1 million has absorbed an additional 1 million people who fled the Islamist militants who burned their villages and kidnapped hundreds of children. In Maiduguri, the vast majority of the displaced aren’t living in U.N...
(AFP (eng) 05/30/17)
Barefoot and wearing shabby clothes, the two-year-old wanders through the dirty streets of Cairo alongside her mother, who has also spent all her life without a home of her own. For Egypt's government and civil society groups, tackling the growing problem of street children -- some from second- and even third-generation homeless families -- is proving difficult. In the low-income district of Sayeda Zeinab, workers from the ministry of social solidarity set out to help street children, this time to give them first-aid training. Members of the ministry's "Children Without Shelter" programme wear matching green shirts bearing the slogan "We are with you... a safe decent life for every child." They train the youngsters in first aid, and at the...
(AFP (eng) 05/30/17)
Sudan on Tuesday banned imports of Egyptian agricultural and animal products, state media reported, delivering a fresh blow to already tense relations between the two neighbours. Ties between Khartoum and Cairo have deteriorated in recent months after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused Egyptian intelligence services of supporting opposition figures fighting his troops in the country's conflict zones like Darfur. "Prime Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh has issued an order banning Egyptian agricultural and animal products, and importing of seeds from Egypt," the official SUNA news agency reported. "The order also bans Sudanese businessmen from using Egyptian territories for importing goods into Sudan."
(Reuters (Eng) 05/30/17)
Private sector was urged to import agricultural and animal products directly from countries of origin, bypassing Egypt. Sudan's cabinet has approved a ban on importing agricultural and animal products from Egypt, according to Sudan's state news agency SUNA. The cabinet on Tuesday urged the private sector to import products directly from countries of origin, bypassing Egypt. A reason for the move was not publicised. Ahmed Abu Zeid, the spokesman for Egypt's foreign ministry, said Cairo was told the decision was due to "a technical procedure". Sudan banned all Egyptian agricultural goods in March.
(Reuters (Eng) 05/30/17)
Egypt issued a new law on Monday that regulates the work of non-governmental organisations, a measure seen by rights groups as the latest sign of a growing crackdown on dissent against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Human rights groups and activists say the law in effect bans their work and makes it harder for charities to operate. The measure restricts NGO activity to developmental and social work and introduces jail terms of up to five years for non-compliance. It gives Egypt's 46,000 NGOs one year to comply or face being dissolved by a court. Parliament passed the bill in November but it had to be ratified by Sisi. Egyptian rights activists say they face the worst crackdown in their history under...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/30/17)
Militant training camps in Libya are a direct threat to Egypt's national security, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Monday, after Egyptian air strikes targeted the camps in eastern Libya in recent days. Egypt's air force began the strikes just hours after masked men boarded vehicles driving dozens of Coptic Christians to pray at a monastery in the southern Egyptian province of Minya on Friday. They opened fire at close range, killing 29 and wounding 24 in an attack claimed by Islamic State. Speaking at a news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Shoukry said the attack on the Christians proved that Libyan militants were capable of targeting Egypt. "The tragic work in Minya is evidence of the...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/30/17)
Egypt made clear on Monday that it planned to press ahead with air strikes against Islamist militants in neighbouring Libya who it says were responsible for killing Egyptian Christians in an ambush last week. Libyan military commanders said Egyptian jets hit the Libyan city of Derna on Monday, continuing attacks that began hours after masked men boarded vehicles driving dozens of people to a monastery in the southern Egyptian province of Minya on Friday and killed 29. A witness said on Monday one air attack hit the western entrance to Derna and two others hit Dahr al-Hamar in the city's south. "The air strikes are joint ones between the Libyan National Army and Egyptian army," said Ahmad Messmari, a spokesman...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/30/17)
Egypt's Interior Minister on Monday ordered the transfer of Minya's security chief after militants shot dead 29 Christians in the southern province, the first disciplinary action taken in response to the incident. Masked gunmen on Friday boarded vehicles taking Coptic Christians to a monastery and opened fire at close range. Islamic State said it carried out the attack, the latest directed at the increasingly embattled Christian minority. Police Major General Faisal Doweidar will be transferred from his position as Minya security chief to a new post as deputy chief of security at the ministry, effective Wednesday, three security sources said. Many Christians feel the state either does not take their plight seriously enough or cannot protect them against determined fanatics...

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