Tuesday 23 May 2017
(AFP (eng) 04/29/17)
Thousands of Egyptian Catholics waving the colours of the Vatican flag gathered amid tight security Saturday in a Cairo stadium where Pope Francis was to lead mass. Crowds of pilgrims poured out of buses into the stadium in the early hours of the morning, eager to see the Argentine pontiff in the flesh for the first time. "I'm so happy to be seeing the pope in real life," said Siham Ghali shortly after daybreak. "It's a great honour for me and all Egyptians." Nearby, Jihan John said she was delighted to be attending a mass led by a Catholic pope for the second time after seeing former pope John Paul II when he visited Egypt in 2000. Francis "came to...
(AFP (eng) 04/29/17)
Pope Francis is set to lead a mass for Egypt's small Catholic community on Saturday as he visits the country in support of its Christians following a series of deadly church bombings. The spiritual leader of the world's almost 1.3 billion Catholics will lead mass for some 30,000 believers in a stadium on the outskirts of Cairo. The event will bring together members of all Catholic rites in the country -- Coptic, Armenian, Maronite and Melkite. Egypt's Catholic community is estimated at about 272,000. The Argentine pontiff will give a homily during the mass, which is to be held in Arabic and Latin. After lunching with Egyptian bishops, the pope will meet seminarians before wrapping up his 27-hour visit in...
(AFP (eng) 04/28/17)
Pope Francis denounced "demagogic populism" on Friday and insisted that violence profanes God's name, in a wide-ranging speech as he visited Egypt to push for tolerance. "Peace alone... is holy and no act of violence can be perpetrated in the name of God, for it would profane his name," the Catholic pontiff told a Muslim-Christian conference in Cairo. Francis is in Egypt on a 27-hour visit to push for dialogue with Muslims and support the country's embattled Christian minority that has suffered a series of jihadist attacks. In his speech, Francis said peace was not helped by "demagogic forms of populism... on the rise". It is "essential", he added, to block "the flow of money and weapons destined to those...
(AFP (eng) 04/28/17)
Pope Francis landed in the Egyptian capital on Friday to promote "unity and fraternity" with Muslims and Christians, who have suffered a series of jihadist attacks. The visit is a "voyage of unity and fraternity," the pontiff told reporters before he disembarked in Cairo airport to be greeted by Catholic priests and Egyptian Prime Minister Sharif Ismail. It is "less than two days but very intense," he said. He was then taken by car to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in his Ittahidya presidential palace. Francis will later meet Muslim and Christian leaders before visiting a church that had been bombed in December. Security will be extremely tight with Egypt under a state of emergency following two bombings in...
(AFP (eng) 04/28/17)
Pope Francis flies to Egypt Friday for a visit aimed at fostering reconciliation with the Muslim world against the backdrop of recent jihadist attacks on the Middle East's biggest Christian community. The 80-year-old pontiff is due in Cairo around 1400 (1200 GMT) and his 27 hours on Egyptian soil will include a meeting with the grand imam of the Al-Azhar mosque, sealing a recent improvement in relations between Catholicism and the Sunni branch of Islam. Security will be extremely tight with Egypt under a state of emergency following two bombings in Coptic churches earlier this month that killed 45 people. All of the country's churches have been placed under additional protection because of the risk of another assault timed to...
(The Associated Press 04/28/17)
Germany's Parliament has approved a measure for closer cooperation with Egypt on security issues to fight terrorism, which rights organizations say could make Germany complicit in Egyptian human rights abuses. The agreement, signed with Egypt last summer, allows the countries to exchange experts and information to help fight terrorism and other crimes like drug trafficking and money laundering, and carry out operational measures upon request. Though the agreement is predicated upon "upholding human rights," critics say it lacks any effective guarantees. Human Rights Watch Germany director Wenzel Michalski says Germany "should be getting cast-iron guarantees that Egypt is calling a halt to its abuses, not rushing to put its agents next to Egyptian forces." The parliamentary press office said Friday...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/28/17)
Karam Nassif fled his home in Egypt's North Sinai this year after his name appeared on a Christian hit-list circulated by Islamic State. Fearing for their safety after this month's twin church bombings, his family now wants to leave the country. "You've seen what happened in Tanta and Alexandria and Cairo," his wife Mervat said, referring to church attacks that have killed more than 70 people since December. "I feel that there is no hope for us at all, we have been smashed." Pope Francis flies to Cairo on Friday on a mission to mend ties with Islamic religious leaders angered by his predecessor's criticism of the treatment of Christians in Egypt. But his visit comes as Egypt's Copts, the...
(Voice of America 04/28/17)
A bipartisan panel of experts on Egypt-U.S. relations is urging Congress to rethink its annual $1.5 billion aid package to Cairo as the country fails to improve its human rights record. The experts argued Egypt, under President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, is a military-run state, with no respect for human rights and rampant with government-sponsored anti-Americanism. The scholars made their comments at a recent hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Michele Dunne, director of the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, began her remarks by mentioning recently leaked footage that appears to show Egyptian soldiers executing terror suspects in the Sinai Peninsula. Rising repression "Egypt does face a serious threat from terrorism, but the unprecedented human rights abuses...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/28/17)
In green fields near Egypt's Mediterranean coast, PepsiCo is harvesting its first crop of potatoes produced from local seeds to make a leading brand of chips. Like other big manufacturers in Egypt, the global food and beverage giant is sourcing more of its raw materials locally to keep a lid on costs and limit price rises as consumers struggle with food inflation running at above 40 percent. PepsiCo's Chipsy brand accounts for about 55 percent of the local potato chip market and requires 360,000 tonnes of potatoes a year, previously grown exclusively from imported seeds. The cost of imports has soared in Egypt since the country abandoned its currency peg of 8.8 pounds to the U.S. dollar in November, imposed...
(Voice of America 04/28/17)
A low-cost and widely available drug could save the lives of 1 in 3 mothers who would otherwise bleed to death after childbirth, according to a new study. Severe bleeding, known as postpartum hemorrhage, or PPH, is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide, killing more than 100,000 women every year. Even for mothers who survive, it is a painful and traumatic experience. The world's poorest countries, especially in Africa and India, are the worst hit. Drug from 1960s But there is new hope. In the 1960s, Japanese researchers developed a drug called tranexamic acid, which works by stopping blood clots from breaking down. But they could not persuade doctors to try the drug for treating PPH. The London School...
(AFP (eng) 04/27/17)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Wednesday he will not interfere in any decision the courts or parliament take on a controversial move to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. "I fulfilled my part, and it is now in the parliament and with the judiciary. We won't interfere," Sisi said live on television during a conference in the Suez canal city of Ismailiya. The deal to hand over the islands, signed during an April 2016 visit by Saudi King Salman during which Riyadh showered Egypt with aid, provoked accusations in Egypt that Cairo had "sold" the strategic islands.
(BBC News Africa 04/27/17)
Egypt feels badly let down by its ally and partner Britain, according to officials who spoke to the BBC on condition of anonymity. The Egyptian government believes it has complied with every security improvement demanded in the wake of the 2015 bombing of a Russian passenger plane by so-called Islamic State (IS) that killed everyone onboard soon after take-off from Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh airport in the Sinai Peninsula. Yet 18 months on from the incident, as other European tourists have returned to the Red Sea resort in their thousands, the UK has refused to reverse its suspension of flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, allegedly on direct orders from No 10. Downing Street has declined to comment but the Department for Transport...
(The Associated Press 04/27/17)
Pope Francis is facing a religious and diplomatic balancing act as he heads to Egypt this weekend, hoping to comfort its Christian community after a spate of Islamic attacks while seeking to improve relations with Egypt's Muslim leaders. Security has been tightened, with shops ordered closed and police conducting door-to-door checks in the upscale Cairo neighborhood where Francis will stay Friday night. His only public Mass is being held at a military-run stadium. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said Francis wasn't overly concerned and wouldn't use an armored car, as his predecessors did on foreign trips. Francis insisted on going ahead with the trip even after twin Palm Sunday church bombings killed at least 45 people and a subsequent attack at...
(Washington Post 04/27/17)
On a table in Paula Youssef’s apartment sits a framed collage of worshipers killed in Egypt’s latest church bombings, all people he knew. They included his best friend, Bishoy. Youssef, too, almost died in the blast nearly three weeks ago during Palm Sunday services that was claimed by Egypt’s Islamic State affiliate. So like many Christians in this sprawling northern city, Youssef thought Pope Francis would cancel a scheduled trip to Egypt. But despite concerns about his safety, the pontiff is set to arrive in Egypt on Friday for a two-day visit that will include meetings with senior political and religious leaders as well as Mass on Saturday. “It’s really touching that Pope Francis has decided to come after all...
(Business Day Ghana 04/27/17)
There are currently 960 million mobile subscriptions across Africa – an 80 percent penetration rate among the continent’s population. Internet penetration is at 18 percent with 216 million internet users, according to the latest Jumia mobile trend report for Africa. The 2017 edition of the African Mobile Trends Paper is the third white paper presentation from Jumia delving into mobile trends across Africa and specifically Nigeria. The study takes a look at the how the market has democratised mobile internet use, the consumer behaviours driving increased smartphone adoption and the role of mobile brands, mobile operators and m-commerce in creating a synergy of an enhanced customer experience. This year’s Mobile Africa Study was carried out in 15 African countries which...
(The Associated Press 04/26/17)
Pope Francis has told the Egyptian people he is coming to Cairo this week as a friend and a “messenger of peace.” In a videotaped message in Italian released by the Vatican on Tuesday, Francis says he hopes the pilgrimage will be “an embrace of consolation and of encouragement to all Christians in the Middle East.” Twin bombings of Coptic Christian churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday killed 44 people. Francis departs for Cairo on Friday and returns on Saturday. He wished the “dear people of Egypt” peace and said he was coming “with a joyful and grateful heart.” Francis expressed hope that his trip to the majority Muslim nation might also “offer a valid contribution to interreligious dialogue with...
(Bloomberg 04/26/17)
Egyptian authorities are in talks with local and international investment banks to advise the government on selling stakes in state-run companies on the stock exchange, a senior official said. The plan focuses on initial public offerings that would “broaden the ownership” of the companies among Egyptians, bolster local capital markets and help the government raise revenue, Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr said. Egypt has already hired HSBC and EFG-Hermes to advise on the planned IPO of state-owned lender Banque du Caire, while officials have said the program would also include oil companies. The stake sales are part of broader efforts to revive an economy battered by unrest since the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. Inflows have surged since Egypt’s...
(Independent Online 04/26/17)
Cairo - Egypt has halted fish exports after a surge in sales to foreign markets following last November's currency devaluation led to supply shortages locally and a spike in domestic prices, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said. Sisi did not say how long the suspension would last but promised Egyptians, who have seen their purchasing power sharply eroded by the devaluation, that measures would be enforced to help the market adjust prices lower. "We used to export 40 000 tonnes of fish a year. Within the first thee months [of this year] we exported 120 000 tonnes," Sisi told a youth conference aired on Egyptian television late on Tuesday. "[That's why] we took a decision to halt exports of fish." Much...
(Middle East Monitor 04/26/17)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi yesterday signed a decree granting amnesty to 1,118 non- political prisoners on the anniversary of the liberation of Sinai, according to the country’s interior ministry. In a statement published yesterday, the ministry confirmed the release of 1,051 inmates eligible for release under the amnesty, in addition to 67 inmates who were granted conditional releases. The amnesty did not include political prisoners. Egypt celebrates Sinai Liberation Day on 25 April, the day when the last Israeli soldier withdrew from the area in 1982. Last month, Al-Sisi issued an amnesty for 203 detainees imprisoned on criminal charges relating to public demonstrations. The amnesty is the third in five months and follows a pledge made by the president...
(Xinhuanet 04/26/17)
The Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative is a golden opportunity to bring about regional integration and sustainable economic growth for Africa, said Berhane Gebre-Christos, special envoy of the Ethiopian Prime Minister, on Tuesday. The special envoy made the remarks at the opening of a seminar organized on the B&R Initiative in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. Welcoming the initiative, the special envoy said he is looking forward to the expected effects of the initiative. "The B&R is a project that will affect millions of people, and it will be one of the most important issues of the 21st century," he said, adding that the comprehensive approach of China means that the aspirations and development strategies of all countries involved will be...

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