Monday 19 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
Coptic Orthodox Christians packed Egypt's newly built Nativity of Christ Cathedral on Saturday for a Christmas Eve mass after a bloody year for a minority repeatedly targeted by jihadists. Police had bolstered security around the country's churches for days, especially at the cathedral east of Cairo where President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to pay his respects to the ancient community. He walked in alongside Coptic Pope Tawadros II and took to the altar amid ululations and cries of "we love you". "We love you too," he responded. "You are our family, you are from us, we are one and no one will divide us." Sisi said the cathedral, in a new administrative capital Egypt is building, was a "message to...
(AFP (eng) 01/06/18)
Clashes erupted between Egyptian protesters and policemen on Saturday outside a Cairo police station over the death of a young man in custody, security sources said. Nine people were injured and 20 people arrested in the overnight scuffle in Cairo's working class neighbourhood of Moqattam, they said. The security sources said a young man nicknamed Afroto, who was arrested on Friday for alleged drug trafficking, died after a violent brawl with other detainees. But protesters accused the police of being responsible for his death. They set fire to tyres and cars near the police station, leading the fire brigade to intervene. Calm returned to Moqattam later in the morning after Cairo's security chief pledged a probe into the detainee's death,...
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
Sudan on Thursday recalled its ambassador to Egypt for "consultations" after renewed tension between the two neighbours following last month's visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Khartoum. Ties between Khartoum and Cairo have deteriorated since Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir last year accused Egyptian intelligence services of supporting opposition figures fighting his troops in the country's conflict zones like Darfur. Officials from both countries have engaged in high-level diplomatic initiatives to improve their relations, but Erdogan's visit to Khartoum in December delivered a new blow to Cairo-Khartoum ties. "Sudan has called its ambassador to Cairo, Abdelmahmoud Abdelhalim...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/05/18)
KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan has recalled its ambassador from neighboring Egypt for consultations, the foreign ministry said on Thursday, without giving details on why or how long he would stay. Egypt’s foreign ministry said it is evaluating the situation in order to take “appropriate action”. Relations have been soured by disputes over the ownership of the Halayeb  Triangle border area, and over the use of the water from the River Nile that passes through their territories. Sudan has accused Cairo of political meddling and banned imports of Egyptian agricultural products last year.
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
A South African tourist was killed and 12 other people were injured when a hot air balloon crashed near Egypt's ancient city of Luxor on Friday, a health ministry official said. Sharif Wadie, the assistant health minister in charge of emergency services, told AFP there were no other casualties but did not elaborate on the extent of the passengers' injuries. Their nationalities were not immediately clear. Tourists often take early morning hot air balloon rides over the city and the ancient Egyptian temples and relics in neighbouring areas. One of the main attractions is the Karnak temple, which dates back thousands of years.
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
CAIRO (Reuters) - A hot air balloon crashed near the southern Egyptian city of Luxor, killing a South African tourist on board and injuring several others on Friday, officials said. State media blamed the crash on poor weather conditions without elaborating. High winds and sandstorms hit regions across the country, clouding the skies at Cairo’s main airport and forcing the closure of a number of Red Sea ports. A South African man died and an Argentinian and two French tourists were being treated in hospital, a health ministry spokesman said. Health officials and state media had earlier said a woman died. A number of other tourists were also taken to Luxor International Hospital but released after a few hours, the...
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
Police in Egypt are boosting security around churches as Coptic Christians prepare to celebrate Orthodox Christmas on Sunday after a year of deadly jihadist attacks targeting the ancient community. More than 100 Christians have been killed in the spate of violence, including a shooting at a church south of Cairo just last week claimed by the Islamic State group. Since the military ousted divisive Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, security forces have sought to quell attacks led by the Egypt branch of IS which has increasingly targeted Christians. While the jihadists have also taken aim at other civilians, including more than 300 Muslim worshippers massacred at a mosque last November, they have focused on the ancient Coptic community. "This...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/05/18)
CAIRO (Reuters) - An Egyptian prosecutor has ordered the detention of 75 people following an investigation into suspected human trafficking, state media reported on Thursday. A 14-month investigation by the Administrative Control Authority, the country’s anti-corruption body, found that the group was made of government officials, Egyptian citizens, and foreigners, state news agency MENA said. Authorities arrested the defendants in raids across the country, from the capital Cairo to the northern city of Kafr el-Sheikh. The probe showed that they were involved in “bribery, profiting from public office, forging official documents, and human trafficking” among a host of other offences. Egypt passed legislation in 2016 to crack down on a growing smuggling industry along its northern seaboard. The law imposes...
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
Prolific Liverpool scorer Mohamed Salah was named African Player of the Year in Ghanaian capital Accra on Thursday, the first Egyptian to win the award since Mahmoud al Khatib in 1983. The 25-year-old has scored 23 goals in 29 matches in all competitions this season for the Premier League outfit after moving from AS Roma in the summer. He also starred for resurgent Egypt, who last year finished runners-up to Cameroon in the Africa Cup of Nations and secured a first World Cup appearance since 1990. In the penultimate round of World Cup qualifying, Salah scored the brace that edged Congo Brazzaville in Alexandria, including the stoppage-time winner from a penalty that sealed a trip to Russia. Salah's Liverpool teammate...
(AFP (eng) 01/04/18)
Egypt's grand mufti has said that bitcoin is forbidden in Islam, warning the digital currency could be used for criminal purposes. Bitcoin, launched in 2009 and based on a peer-to-peer payment system, poses "high risks to individuals and states," Shawqi Allam said in a published ruling. It could provide "stable and secure financial resources for terrorists and criminal groups," said Allam, who acts as the country's official interpreter of Islamic law. Minting and issuing currency is an "absolute right" of monetary institutions and "one of the most specific functions of the state," he said. Bitcoin is a virtual currency created from computer code.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/04/18)
CAIRO (Reuters) - An Egyptian court on Wednesday postponed its verdict in a case against rights lawyer and presidential hopeful Khaled Ali, judicial sources said, leaving uncertainty over whether he will be allowed to run in a forthcoming election. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is widely expected to seek a second term in the presidential vote early this year, but has not yet announced his candidacy. Ali said in November he intended to run against former military commander Sisi, who led the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi in 2013 before taking office a year later. But a three month prison sentence passed in September for public indecency over an alleged rude hand gesture he made outside a courthouse last...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
An Egyptian court has ruled to release on bail two people arrested over the raising of an LGBT rainbow flag at a Cairo concert, their lawyer said Tuesday. The appearance of the symbolic banner of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community among the crowd at a gig by Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila in September sparked a broad crackdown by the authorities. Security and judicial sources said in the days following the concert that at least six people were arrested over the incident on charges including "inciting immorality". After an online campaign, a court ruled to release two of the concert-goers, Sarah Hegazy and Ahmed Alaa...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
Prosecutors in Egypt have detained a female singer for four days for "incitement to debauchery" after an online video clip sparked controversy, a judicial source said on Tuesday. Leila Amer appeared at the end of December in a music video called "Boss Oumek" ("Look at your mother") which includes sensual oriental dance and suggestive gestures. Musicians' union president Hany Shaker, a male singer known for his conservative stance, last week announced on the private channel Dream TV that Amer had been expelled from the union. Her case comes less than a month after another female pop singer was sentenced to two years in prison for "inciting debauchery" over a racy video. Shyma appeared in a mock classroom licking an apple...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
An Egypt court has sentenced to jail 28 football fans for paying tribute to dozens killed in stadium riots five years ago, accusing them of "incitement", official sources said Tuesday. Judicial and security sources said the 28 Al Ahly club fans wore T-shirts bearing messages "offending the state and inciting rioting" during a match in October against Tunisian club Etoile du Sahel. The T-shirts were meant as a tribute to more than 72 people killed in stadium riots in 2012 in the eastern city of Port Said, involving fans of Al Ahly and another club, Al Masry. It was the deadliest sports riot in the country's modern history, and triggered anti-government protests. The 28 -- sentenced to one year in...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
Israel on Wednesday began implementing a plan to force tens of thousands of African migrants out of the country by April, threatening to arrest those who stay. "This plan will get under way today," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting. Under the programme, some 38,000 migrants who entered Israel illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, will have until the end of March to leave. Each will receive a plane ticket and $3,500 (2,900 euros) to do so. After the deadline, this amount will decrease and those who continue to refuse to go will face arrest. Holot, an open facility in Israel's desert south that can host 1,200 migrants who are allowed to leave to work...
(AFP (eng) 01/02/18)
Egyptian prison authorities executed on Tuesday five inmates who had been sentenced to death, four of them over a bombing that killed military cadets, security officials said. The hangings came days after the execution of 15 inmates convicted of attacking police and the military in the largest mass execution in Egypt in recent memory. Four of those executed on Tuesday had been sentenced to death by a military court over a 2015 the bombing at a stadium north of Cairo that killed three military cadets. The fifth had been sentenced to death over a criminal matter, the sources said without elaborating. The other four had been accused of having links with the Muslim Brotherhood movement of former president Mohamed Morsi...
(AFP (eng) 01/02/18)
A gunman killed two Copts celebrating the New Year in an Egyptian alcohol shop early on Monday, judicial and security sources said, the latest deadly violence against the Christian minority. The shooting came just three days after a gunman, identified as a wanted jihadist, killed nine people in an attack on a church south of the capital. An assailant rode up in the back of a motorcycle taxi and opened fire on the liquor store in Cairo's twin city Giza at around 1:30 am (2330 GMT Sunday), when the streets were still bustling with New Year revellers, the sources said. The store's Coptic owner survived but two of his friends who were celebrating with him were killed. Police are still...
(AFP (eng) 01/02/18)
Liverpool and Egypt striker Mohamed Salah was named Arab Player of the Year for 2017 on Monday in a poll of around 100 sports journalists from several Arab countries. Salah, 25, has been an instant success at Liverpool since joining from AS Roma, scoring 17 goals in the Premier League already and 23 in all competitions. He also helped Egypt to qualify for this year's World Cup finals in Russia. Syrian winger Omar Khribin, who plays for Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia, came second and another Syrian player, Omar Al-Soma, of Saudi side Al Ahli, was third. Salah is also favourite to win the African Player of the Year title which will be announced in the Ghanaian capital Accra on Thursday.
(AFP (eng) 12/30/17)
An Egyptian court sentenced ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi to three years in prison along with 19 other defendants on Saturday for "insulting the judiciary," his lawyer said. The other defendants include former members of parliament, activists and three journalists. Morsi had already been sentenced to a total of 45 years in prison in two other trials after the military ousted him in 2013. The defendants had all been charged with making statements deemed insulting to the judiciary. Five other defendants, including jailed activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, were fined 30,000 pounds (about $1,680)...
(AFP (eng) 12/30/17)
A gunman opened fire on a church south of Cairo on Friday, killing at least nine people in the latest apparent jihadist attack on Egypt's Christian minority. The Islamic State group claimed its "soldiers" carried out the attack on the Saint Mina Coptic church in the district of Helwan, just south of Cairo. Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed told state television that the gunman was shot dead after killing nine people and wounding others, including a police officer. But the interior ministry said the assailant, a wanted jihadist implicated in attacks on police, had been wounded and arrested. The man had been armed with an assault rifle, 150 rounds of ammunition and a bomb he intended to set off at...

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