Friday 23 June 2017
(AFP (eng) 05/29/17)
Egypt announced Monday a social welfare programme worth $2.5 billion to include increased subsidies and tax exemptions for the country's poorest as inflation reaches record levels. Prices have soared since the authorities in November floated the exchange rate of the Egyptian pound as part of drastic reforms to obtain a $12-billion International Monetary Fund loan. The value of the pound has since plummeted, with one dollar -- then worth 8.8 pounds at the official exchange rate -- now worth more than 18 pounds. In April, core inflation neared 33 percent, and rose above 44 percent for foodstuffs. A finance ministry statement on Monday said the new programme would include a salary increase for state employees to counter the rise in...
(AFP (eng) 05/29/17)
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry discussed the conflicts in Libya and Syria as they met in Cairo on Monday, the foreign ministry there said. Lavrov and Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu were also due to meet President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Egypt's defence minister, the foreign ministry in Moscow said. Lavrov and Shoukry discussed Libya, where rival administrations and militias have fought for control of the oil-rich country since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed Moamer Kadhafi, the Egyptian statement said.
(Bloomberg 05/29/17)
The Egyptian government approved a social spending plan to support lower and middle income families after inflation surged to the highest levels in decades following the flotation of the pound. The government plans to spend 45 billion Egyptian pounds ($2.48 billion) on income tax discounts, bonuses for public employees, and increased pension payments and cash subsidies during the fiscal year beginning July 1, Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy told reporters in Cairo. The package, excluding the cash subsidy raise, requires parliament approval. The plan is part of the government’s effort to ward off any unrest over economic reform measures taken in a nation where nearly half the population lives near or below the poverty line. Inflation has surged to more than...
(AL Jazeera 05/29/17)
Access to prominent financial newspaper, Al-Boursa, denied days after 21 other sites were blocked by authorities. Egypt has blocked the website of one of its most prominent financial newspapers, the paper's owner said on Sunday, expanding a media blackout initiated last week to curb what authorities called support for "terrorism" and fake news. The censorship of Al-Boursa, a widely read financial newspaper that generally avoids politics and reflects the views of a largely pro-state business community, suggests a more expansive attempt to control private media coverage. The website of Al-Boursa's sister publication, the English-language Daily News Egypt
(AfricaNews 05/29/17)
Sudanese foreign minister has cancelled a vital trip to Egypt following accusations by President Omar al-Bashir that Egypt is arming rebel groups to topple his government. “We told our brothers in Egypt about the postponement of the visit due to internal issues and it would take place later,” Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said in a statement on Sunday ahead of the May 31 trip that is meant to ease tensions between the neighbouring states. In a speech to Sudanese military personnel last week, Bashir said the army had seized Egyptian armoured vehicles from rebels in the country’s war-torn southern
(Reuters (Eng) 05/29/17)
Warplanes launched three air strikes on the Libyan city of Derna on Monday, a witness said, days after Egypt attacked camps there, saying it was targeting militants responsible for killing Egyptian Christians. There was no immediate confirmation of Monday's strikes from officials in Libya or neighboring Egypt, nor any claim of responsibility for the raid on the city at the eastern end of Libya's Mediterranean coast. The witness said one attack hit the western entrance to Derna and the other two hit Dahr al-Hamar in the south. Egyptian jets attacked Derna on Friday, just hours after masked militants boarded vehicles en route to a monastery in the southern Egyptian province of Minya and opened fire at close range, killing 29...
(Alarabiya.net 05/29/17)
Egypt and Libya launched renewed raids, at dawn on Monday, targeting sites at al-Qaeda’s Shura Council of Mujahideen in the Libyan city of Derna and its suburbs, Al Arabiya sources reported. The head of Libya's national army, Khalifa Hafter, called on Sunday all military units in western and southern Libya to prepare to support what he called the national forces, which fight extremism in Tripoli. The Libyan army confirmed on Sunday that the Egyptian air raids in Libya were coordinated with the Libyan forces in order to hit the headquarters of al-Qaeda’s Shura Council of Mujahideen and Bishr camp which is linked to Al Shura Council of Mujahideen. The Egyptian fighter jets launched a number of air raids on the...
(AFP (eng) 05/27/17)
The Islamic State group on Saturday claimed responsibility for shooting dead 29 Christians on a bus in central Egypt, an attack that prompted retaliatory air strikes on jihadists in neighbouring Libya. The shooting in the province of Minya on Friday, as the Coptic Christians were travelling on a bus to a monastery, was the latest in a series of attacks by IS that have killed more than 100 Copts since December. "A security detachment from the Islamic State carried out an attack yesterday in Minya," the group's self styled Amaq news agency reported. Masked gunmen in three pick-up trucks had attacked the bus as it was heading for Saint Samuel monastery in Minya province, more than 200 kilometres (120 miles)...
(AFP (eng) 05/27/17)
Egypt's air force launched six air strikes Friday against "terror camps in Libya" in retaliation for a deadly attack on Coptic Christians, state television said. It said jihadist training camps in the eastern Libyan city of Derna were hit. The report came minutes after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had announced Egyptian forces struck jihadist camps, but without saying where the strikes took place. "Egypt will not hesitate in striking terror camps anywhere, either inside (the country) or outside it," Sisi added. Witnesses in Libya reported four strikes against Derna, which is controlled by jihadists close to Al-Qaeda. They said the strikes were apparently carried out by one aircraft and targeted the regions of Al-Fatayeh, Al-Dhahr al-Ahmar, the eastern edges of...
(AFP (eng) 05/27/17)
Mourners sang, women sobbed and men cried out in anger in a packed Egyptian church at the funeral of some of the 28 Coptic Christians killed in Friday's bus attack. Eight wooden coffins were lined up in front of the altar, each bearing a golden cross and a white piece of paper printed with the name of the victim inside. Relatives of the dead -- men in long flowing robes and women dressed in black -- pressed their faces to the coffins in a final farewell. They had been among 28 people gunned down by masked gunmen as they travelled in a bus to the Saint Samuel monastery in Minya province south of the Egyptian capital. Outside the church, a...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/27/17)
Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations met African heads of state on Saturday, the final day of their annual summit which has been marked by discord over climate change, but unity on tackling terrorism. Italy had hoped to make Africa the major focus of the annual G7 gathering, holding the discussions on the island of Sicily that has taken in hundreds of thousands of migrants over the past four years as they flee war and poverty back home. However, the two-day meeting got overshadowed by a suicide bombing in northern England on Monday that killed 22 people, and also got bogged down by lengthy discussions on the merit of free trade and the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle...
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
Masked gunmen attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians on a visit to a monastery south of the Egyptian capital on Friday, killing at least 26 people, officials said. The gunmen in three pick-up trucks attacked the bus as it carried visitors to the Saint Samuel monastery in Minya province, more than 200 kilometres (120 miles) from Cairo, before fleeing, the interior ministry said. It was the latest attack on Copts after Islamic State group jihadists bombed three churches in December and April, killing dozens of Christians. Pictures of the bus aired by state television showed its windows shot out.
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
Egypt's government, already accused of muzzling freedom of expression and opposition to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has blocked access to a host of news websites including Qatar's Al-Jazeera. Around 20 websites based in Qatar and Egypt have been inaccessible since Wednesday night, including the Doha newspapers Al-Watan and Al-Raya, the Muslim Brotherhood's Ikhwan Online and Egypt-based Al-Sharq television which is close to the outlawed group. Independent sites such as Mada Masr, which takes a strong stand against corruption, and Huffpost Arabi, the Arabic edition of the Huffington Post, have also been cut for Egyptian web surfers. It is not the first time that Al-Jazeera has run foul of Sisi's
(Washington Post 05/26/17)
Aya Hijazi learned three years ago that being an American citizen can get you thrown in jail on trumped-up charges in Egypt — a country that claims to be a staunch American ally and accepts billions of dollars in U.S. aid. Then she learned that being an American unjustly imprisoned abroad won’t necessarily get you any help or attention from the world’s most powerful government, even if it has plenty of leverage. The State Department might just prefer to keep quiet rather than rock the boat with that supposed ally. Finally, Hijazi discovered that when a U.S. president does use his influence, he can have a quick and powerful effect — even when it is Donald Trump, who has loudly...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/26/17)
Egypt has banned 21 websites, including the main website of Qatar-based Al Jazeera television and prominent local independent news site Mada Masr, accusing them of supporting terrorism and spreading false news. The blockade is notable in scope and for being the first publicly recognized by the government. It was heavily criticized by journalists and rights groups. The state news agency announced it late on Wednesday. Individual websites had been inaccessible in the past but there was never any official admission. Reuters found the websites named by local media and were inaccessible. The move follows similar actions taken on Wednesday by Egypt's Gulf allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which blocked Al Jazeera and other websites after a dispute...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/26/17)
Gunmen attacked buses and a truck taking a group of Coptic Christians to a monastery in southern Egypt on Friday, killing 26 people and wounding 25 others, witnesses and the Health Ministry said. An Interior Ministry spokesman said the unidentified gunmen had arrived in three four-wheel-drive vehicles. Eyewitnesses said masked men stopped the two buses and a truck and opened fire on a road leading to the monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in Minya province, which is home to a sizeable Christian minority. Security forces launched a hunt for the attackers, setting up dozens of checkpoints and patrols on the desert road. The grand imam of al-Azhar, Egypt's 1,000-year-old centre of Islamic learning, said the attack was intended to...
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
Entertainment | France | film | festival | Cannes | Zambia | witchcraft Cannes, France | AFP | Friday 5/26/2017 - 14:01 UTC+3 | 615 words by Katy Lee Being accused of witchcraft is no laughing matter in Africa -- but movie director Rungano Nyoni decided a dose of humour was just what was needed to tackle a problem rampant in parts of the continent. Set in Zambia, the sharp satire "I Am Not A Witch" has premiered to strong reviews at the Cannes film festival, taking aim at the blatant sexism behind accusations that overwhelmingly target women. White tourists are seen gawping at women detained in a "witch camp" in the movie, taking pictures of them as if they're...
(AFP (eng) 05/25/17)
Ramadan is a time for daytime fasting and lavish evening feasts, but Egyptians are scaling back preparations for the Muslim holy month this year after austerity measures fuelled decades-high inflation. At a Cairo supermarket, Rana, a web designer and mother of two, said she was buying less food in the runup to the start of Ramadan this weekend, depending on the sighting of the crescent moon, a period that usually sees a surge in demand. Other shoppers who gathered around fruit and vegetable stalls shared her dismay. In April, core inflation neared 33 percent, and rose over 44 percent percent for foodstuffs. "We cut down a lot on what we buy because the prices are too high," said Rana as...
(AL Jazeera 05/24/17)
Detention follows complaint that Ali made an 'obscene hand gesture' outside a Cairo court in January, his lawyer says. A prominent Egyptian opposition leader was detained on Tuesday for "offending public decency" amid what rights lawyers say is a wave of arrests of potential presidential candidates one year before an election. Khaled Ali, a human rights lawyer who ran in Egypt's 2012 presidential vote, was questioned by the prosecution and ordered detained for 24 hours pending investigations, lawyer Gamal Eid told Ahram Online. Ali, who has suggested he might run against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in an election slated
(AFP (eng) 05/24/17)
The first of the many wondrous artefacts found in Egyptian boy king Tutankhamun's tomb were transported carefully through Cairo's streets on Tuesday to their new home near the Giza Pyramids. The still unfinished new Grand Egyptian Museum at the foot of the pyramids will eventually house the collections of the current brimming museum in the city's Tahrir Square. A gilded bed and a funeral chariot from Tutankhamun's tomb -- discovered by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922 -- were transferred on Tuesday, well packed in wooden containers complete with materials to protect them from both heat and vibration. Two trucks bearing the ancient treasures pulled up at the new Grand Egyptian Museum shortly before 1600 GMT, escorted by police vehicles...

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