| Africatime
Thursday 30 March 2017
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
Lawyers and human rights campaigners launched an initiative for African whistleblowers in Senegal on Tuesday, aimed at providing a secure means of exposing wrongdoing on the continent. African nations such as Somalia, South Sudan, Libya and Guinea-Bissau regularly appear at the very bottom of rankings such as Transparency International's Corruption Index, while none make it into the top 30. The Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) will provide guidance from legal experts, secure submission of information and a hotline for potential informants, according to its founders. The initiative is the brainchild of Spanish superstar lawyer Baltasar Garzon -- who has defended Julian Assange of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks -- along with French lawyer William Bourdon, who worked on...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/06/17)
The Egyptian pound weakened further on Monday as dollar demand from importers rose ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when food consumption usually increases. Ramadan, Islam's holy month during which believers abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours, is set to start in May this year and often sees Egyptian families stock up on various food items and other goods. Banks were selling the U.S. dollar for between 16.9-16.85 pounds, weaker than the 16.1-16.2 per dollar rates they were selling at last week. "Now is the time for importers to make the orders for Ramadan so demand has risen over the past two weeks," said one Cairo-based banker, adding that demand for dollars began piling up again...
(Egyptian Streets 03/06/17)
Egypt’s intelligence apparatus has hired two Public Relations firms in Washington in order to boost its image in the US, the Associated Press revealed. This is the first deal for the security apparatus to be made public. The agreements were signed in January 2017 to help Egypt promote its partnership with the United States (U.S.). Egypt will pay about $US 1.8 million annually for Weber Shandwick and Cassidy & Associates Inc to shed light on its economic development and its leading role in settling the turmoil that has swept over the region. The agreements that were signed in late January were first reported by the newsletter Intelligence Online, saying that Egypt is trying to impress the current U.S President Donald...
(Xinhuanet 03/06/17)
The Egyptian security forces killed four militants and arrested 22 others during Sunday's raids in restive North Sinai province bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip, the Egyptian military spokesman said in a statement Monday. "The raids that took place on Sunday killed four extremists, busted a fifth with a gun machine and arrested 22 other suspects," military spokesman Tamer al-Refaay said in the statement, adding the campaign destroyed three hiding places of the armed extremists. Earlier in mid-February, at least three Egyptian soldiers were killed in Mount Halal area as a roadside bomb targeted their armored vehicle, while security raids killed three militants and arrested three others. Growing anti-government terror attacks in Egypt killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers...
(Bloomberg 03/06/17)
Economic activity for Egypt’s non-oil private sector accelerated the most since 2014, a sign that growth may be recovering after authorities abandoned currency controls and secured a $12 billion IMF loan deal. The Emirates NBD Purchasing Managers’ Index for the whole economy climbed for the third month in a row to 46.7 in February from 43.3 in January. The New Orders sub-index rose to 44 from 39.2. While readings below 50 indicate the economy is still in contraction, the magnitude of the gain signals an improvement in business confidence after policy makers floated the pound in November to ease a crippling dollar shortage. The New Export Orders sub-index was the highest level since Aug. 2015, data show. “This suggests that...
(AL Jazeera 03/06/17)
University campuses remain a site of opposition to the new authoritarianism and its policies. In the wake of the 2013 military coup, students affiliated with - and sympathetic to - the Muslim Brotherhood demonstrated in public universities to demand the return of the deposed President Mohamed Morsi. Their demonstrations turned universities into a new battleground between security forces and students as Egypt's new rulers moved to crackdown on student activism. The clampdown has been harsh. Egypt's ruling generals have used laws, regulations, procedures, and security tools to subdue student dissidents. The government has employed private security companies to patrol public university campuses and pushed university administrations to enforce harsh penalties against non-compliant students. The general prosecutor has transferred hundreds of...
(BBC News Africa 03/06/17)
An Egyptian company's attempt to tackle gender stereotypes has backfired after its latest advertising campaign was accused of reinforcing negative attitudes towards women. "Are you a spinster?!" reads one billboard promoting Sunny cooking oil, alongside a picture of a young woman looking down in resignation while several fingers point at her from the back. Other billboards in the campaign use Egyptian proverbs, including one that says: "Break a girl's rib and she will grow 24 more." In a much smaller font, the adverts encourage women to share their opinions on the stereotypes through the company's Facebook page. The marketing agency behind it told Egypt's Dream TV that the idea was to create new, positive slogans inspired by women's own stories...
(The Independent 03/06/17)
Th term was coined by sceptical officials, worried about the importance given to Commonwealth trade deals ahead of Brexit negotiations. Plans by government ministers to boost trade links with African Commonwealth countries are being internally branded “empire 2.0” by sceptical officials who are worried about the importance being placed on such deals ahead of the UK’s negotiations of leaving the European Union (EU). International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is expected to promise to build better links with the whole of the 52 member countries of the Commonwealth when ministers from each country meet in London later this week. But as the UK is prepares itself to leave the European Union, The Times reports that British ministers are planning to talk...
(Euronews 03/03/17)
Angela Merkel has sought to help Egypt in tackling migration to Europe as the German Chancellor visited the country ahead of a trip to Tunisia. After meeting President al-Sisi, she said she had discussed assistance and equipment to clamp down on human traffickers and prevent a new route from opening up. They also talked of helping Egypt deal with the region’s refugee crisis. “We have reached concrete agreements on border control, Egypt has made suggestions on technical support. Further talks are needed on that, but on the point of border control, Germany is ready to offer further support,” Merkel said. In Cairo Merkel met the head of the Coptic Christian Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Pope Tawadros ll, declaring her solidarity...
(Ahram Online 03/03/17)
Investment minister Nasr said half the money would go to the government’s reform programme, and half to sectors including SMEs and micro-enterprises. Germany plans to provide Egypt with $500 million in support of the country's economic reform programme and local micro, small, and medium sized enterprises, the country’s Minister of International Cooperation and Investment Sahar Nasr announced on Friday. “We have reached agreement with Germany on the offer of $250 million in support of the government’s economic programme, and another $250 million to support several sectors including SMEs and micro-enterprises,” the minister said in a statement. Nasr announced Berlin's offer at the Egyptian-German Business Forum, held during German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Cairo this week, on which she was...
(Washington Post 03/03/17)
Former President Hosni Mubarak’s acquittal in the killing of protesters during the 2011 Arab Spring revolts surprised few Egyptians and highlighted how the goals of the revolution remain a distant dream. The ruling on Thursday by Egypt’s top appeals court means that the ailing former leader could be released from house arrest in a military hospital, where he has spent much of his time since his arrest in 2011. For Egyptians who took to the streets six years ago to denounce Mubarak’s nearly three-decade rule and bring him down, the decision was viewed as the latest blow to their hopes and aspirations, which have steadily eroded under the two governments since Mubarak’s fall. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, a former general who...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/03/17)
Germany has offered Egypt $500 million to support its economic program and medium-sized and small businesses, the Egyptian ministry of investment and international cooperation said on Friday. "It was agreed with the German side (that they would) provide $250 million to support the economic program ... as well as $250 million to support several other sectors, including micro-enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises, " it said in a statement. The support will come in the form of grants and concessional funds, a government official told Reuters. The German offer came during a visit to Egypt by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Reporting by Ehab Farouk; Editing by Gareth Jones)
(Bloomberg 03/03/17)
Polar Star Management Ltd., which runs one of the best-performing African and Middle East hedge fund over the past five years, plans to start a private-equity unit that will invest in agriculture to exploit rising demand for food. The Cape Town-based firm plans to use its own money to buy small farms and processing companies in South Africa this year, then increase efficiency through consolidation and better management, said Murray Derksen, a director at Polar Star. It aims to raise 1.5 billion rand ($115 million) for the fund, which may also buy commodities such as grains, while targeting an internal rate of return of 8 percent to 12 percent, he said. “We looked at the increase in corn demand globally,...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
Egypt's top appeals court on Thursday acquitted ex-president Hosni Mubarak of involvement in the killing of protesters during the 2011 revolt that ended his three-decade reign, a judicial official said. Mubarak had been sentenced to life in 2012 but an appeals court ordered a retrial, which dismissed the charges two years later. Thursday's ruling by the Court of Cassation is final. The trial was Mubarak's final one, after prosecutors levelled various charges against him following his February 2011 resignation. He was accused of inciting the deaths of protesters during the 18-day revolt, in which about 850 people were killed as police clashed with demonstrators. Mubarak, 88, has spent most of his time in a military hospital since his arrest in...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel starts a two-day trip to Egypt and Tunisia on Thursday, part of her push to limit migrant flows to Europe through North Africa, especially chaos-torn Libya. Since the 2011 overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi, Libya has lacked a national government, which has made it the main gateway for African migrants heading for the 28-member EU on dangerous Mediterranean crossings. Merkel, who faces elections in September, has been under intense pressure to reduce the number of asylum seekers coming to Germany, which has taken in over one million migrants since 2015. Her government has urged the Maghreb states and Egypt to step up border controls and speed up repatriations of migrants whose asylum applications
(Egypt Independent 03/02/17)
Borg al-Arab airport authorities arrested a Russian passenger on Thursday who had an improvised explosive device (IED) in their possession and was intending to board a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul, a security source at the airport in Alexandria said. Airport authorities were suspicious of a strange item in the passenger's luggage, seen via x-ray, the source added in a statement to Al-Masry Al-Youm. A bomb squad was summoned to inspect the item which was discovered to be an IED, the source added. A claim was filed on the incident and public prosecutors took over investigations.
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
A film raging against colonialism and the exploitation of Africa wowed viewers at the continent's top cinema festival Wednesday, winning shouts of approval at a screening packed to bursting point. "The African Storm" tells the story of an African president who nationalises businesses run by racist, cynical Western executives. Directed and produced by its Beninese star Sylvestre Amoussou, it tackles several hot-button issues including an exit from the CFA franc currency, closer ties with Russia and China as opposed to the West, criticism of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and pride in being African. One of 20 feature-length movies on show at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival (Fespaco) in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou, the movie was punctuated...
(AFP (eng) 03/01/17)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has defended his country's fight against the Islamic State group, after dozens of Christian families fled the Sinai Peninsula following a string of jihadist attacks. An IS affiliate waging an insurgency in the Sinai last week released a video calling for attacks on Egypt's Coptic Christian minority. Dozens of families have left the peninsula after seven Christians were killed in suspected jihadist attacks, including a Copt murdered in the north Sinai city of El-Arish whose house was also burned. "(The attacks aim to) destabilise the fabric of Egypt... to give the impression that one group
(The New York Times 02/28/17)
Egypt’s Parliament on Monday expelled one of its few dissenting lawmakers, the scion of a storied political family, having accused him of leaking sensitive information to Western diplomats. The expulsion of the lawmaker, Anwar Sadat, nephew and namesake of a president assassinated nearly four decades ago, was supported by 468 of Parliament’s 596 members. Eight voted in his favor. The move had the practical effect of further enfeebling the opposition to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Parliament. The charges against Mr. Sadat centered on his criticism of a proposed law that domestic and international critics, including Senator John McCain, say could make it virtually impossible for international aid groups to operate in Egypt. Continue reading the main story Pro-government lawmakers...
(BBC News Africa 02/28/17)
Egypt's parliament has expelled an MP who was an outspoken critic of the government's human rights record. Mohammed Anwar Sadat, a nephew of the late President Anwar Sadat, was accused of forging signatures on a draft bill and leaking sensitive information to foreign organisations. Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said 468 of the 596 MPs in parliament, which is dominated by President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi's supporters, voted to unseat him. Mr Sadat has denied the allegations. "I answered the accusations with documents and demanded they be investigated by the judiciary," he said in a statement on Monday. Mr Sadat was chairman of the House of Representatives' committee on human rights until last August, when he resigned over the failure to address...

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