Friday 23 June 2017
(BBC News Africa 05/12/17)
Officials in Poland say a Polish tourist who died in an Egyptian resort last month may have been a victim of human trafficking and organised crime. The Polish tourist, named in media reports as Magdalena Zuk, travelled alone to the Red Sea resort of Marsa Alam at the end of April. Days later, she plunged to her death from a hospital window. Egyptian security sources and medical staff say the 27-year-old woman took her own life. There has been speculation the woman was the victim of a sexual assault by hotel staff, but Egyptian security sources have denied that she was drugged and raped. However, Polish investigators say they are following several lines of inquiry, including forced prostitution, human trafficking...
(The Associated Press 05/12/17)
Ballet dancer Fady el-Nabarawy feels he can finally breathe again the moment he enters the gates of the Cairo Opera House after a commute from his ramshackle, poor neighborhood. This is where he and his fellow dancers practice, perform, love and create. “Every day, I cannot wait to come here. My oxygen is here,” he said. Ballet is in its own bubble in Egypt, removed from the surrounding society. The elite Western art form is far from Egypt’s own rich traditions of classical Arabic music and dance, let alone the electro-beat sweeping the Arabic pop music scene. The country has grown more conservative, and in the eyes of some Muslims, ballet is outright “nudity.” Social pressure to conform is overpowering,...
(The East African 05/11/17)
A deal between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed in December 2015 whereby the three countries agreed to end tensions over River Nile water faces an unclear future due to ongoing tensions between Egypt and Sudan. The two downstream countries at the end of April agreed to de-escalate tensions and end counter-accusations as well as import bans and deportations had brought relations between the two countries to tipping point. As the two neighbours bicker, Ethiopia continued its quest to bring Nile Basin countries on its side as its Grand Renaissance Dam nearing completion. Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was in Rwanda last week and during the two-day state visit signed a co-operation deal with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame on the...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/11/17)
Egypt's revenue from the Suez Canal was $853.7 million in April and March, 4.1 percent higher than the same period a year earlier, the Suez Canal Authority said in a statement on Wednesday. The statement did not give a breakdown for April but Suez Canal Authority Chairman Mohab Mameesh said on March 31 that revenues came to $423.9 million in March. Officials from the authority were not available for comment. The canal is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia and one of the Egyptian government's main sources of foreign currency. Egypt has been struggling to revive its economy since a 2011 uprising scared away many tourists and foreign investors, key sources of hard currency. (Reporting by Yusri Mohamed;...
(Xinhuanet 05/11/17)
Ghana and Egypt on Wednesday resolved to cooperate to fight terrorism on the continent. The two countries also agreed to open their doors for investors to invest in respective countries. The agreements were made after the Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry paid a courtesy call on his Ghanaian counterpart Shirley Ayorkor Botchway in Accra. Shoukry is on a two-day official visit to the West African country. “We both agreed that there is the need to cooperate in the area of terrorism because what affects one African country affects all African countries the same,” Botchway said. Shoukry hopes that the Ghana-Egypt relationship will find new avenues of cooperation. “We hope that there is a greater number of Egyptian investors that will...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/11/17)
BP has started gas production from two fields in its West Nile Delta development off Egypt's coast, the second of seven projects the oil and gas company plans to launch this year. The Taurus and Libra fields, commissioned eight months ahead of schedule and under budget, are currently producing 700 million standard cubic feet of gas a day to the Egyptian national gas grid, BP said in a statement. The West Nile Delta development includes five offshore gas fields which are planned to have in 2019 a combined production of up to almost 1.5 billion cubic feet a day (bcf/d), equivalent to about 30 per cent of Egypt's current gas production. All the gas produced will be fed into the...
(The Associated Press 05/11/17)
Egyptian security officials say that Islamic extremists have ambushed tribesmen who were securing an area in the restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, killing 10. The officials say the men from the Tarabin tribe were manning a checkpoint when the militants approached them in a vehicle and opened fire on Wednesday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to reporters. The incident is the latest escalation the area, where Egyptian forces have been battling a growing insurgency led by the Islamic State group, which has been in open conflict with the tribesmen.
(Capitalfm Business 05/10/17)
President Uhuru Kenyatta met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on Wednesday as part of his campaign to bolster trade, immigration and security cooperation with the Northern Africa powerhouse. President Al-Sisi hosted the meeting at Cairo International Airport. President Kenyatta was in the Egyptian capital for a refuelling stop on his way to the United Kingdom for the 3rd London Conference on Somalia which he will attend on Thursday. The Cairo Summit is among a host of meetings President Kenyatta will hold with global leaders during a frenetic schedule of engagement in the month of May to promote Kenya’s investment credentials, improve intra-Africa trade cooperation and seeking partnerships to continue to strengthen the nation’s security. The President’s agenda is to continue...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/10/17)
Egypt's inflation rose to a three-decade high in April, piling pressure on the government to keep a lid on prices as it embarks on politically sensitive economic reforms likely to push them higher. Import-dependent Egypt has been hit by soaring inflation since it floated its currency in November, allowing it to roughly halve in value. The float marked the opening salvo in a three-year, $12 billion International Monetary Fund reform programme that includes tax hikes and subsidy cuts. Annual urban inflation rose in April to 31.5 percent from 30.9 percent in March, the official statistics agency, CAPMAS, said. That was the highest since June 30, 1986, when it reached 35.1 percent
(Bloomberg 05/10/17)
Egyptian banks are lifting restrictions on customers’ overseas credit card purchases, the latest indication that a foreign-currency crunch that crippled the economy is easing. State-run Banque Misr, Egypt’s second-biggest lender, is removing curbs imposed last year on purchases, while keeping limits on foreign-currency cash withdrawals, the official Middle East News Agency reported on Tuesday, without giving details. It follows similar moves by the National Bank of Egypt and Commercial International Bank, MENA said. Egyptian banks restricted the usage of credit cards last year, amid accusations they were being used to circumvent official measures to tame a black market that was both a product of -- and contributing to -- the currency shortage. The crisis began to abate in November, when...
(Bloomberg 05/10/17)
Egypt’s monthly inflation rate fell for a third month, giving the government breathing space as it prepares to accelerate reforms that caused prices to surge and weakened the pound by more than half against the dollar. Consumer prices rose 1.7 percent in April from a month earlier, the slowest pace since October -- before the central bank floated the currency and raised interest rates as it tried to end a dollar shortage and secure a $12 billion International Monetary Fund loan. Annual urban inflation accelerated to 31.5 percent from 30.9 percent in March, according to data from Egypt’s official statistics agency released on Wednesday. Core inflation, which strips out regulated and volatile items, eased to 32.1 percent in April on...
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the Indian Ocean, beginning with the kidnapping of a Sri Lankan crew from the Aris 13 oil tanker on March 13th (they were later released without a ransom). Nobody thinks the problem will end until a stable government is restored in...
(AFP (eng) 05/09/17)
The Egyptian air force has destroyed 15 vehicles carrying weapons and ammunition after they illegally crossed into the country from Libya, a military official said on Monday. In a separate announcement, Egypt said its security forces had killed eight militants who were being trained to attack government and Christian targets, in a shootout in the country's southern desert. Army spokesman Colonel Tamer al-Rifai said the armed forces had received "intelligence on a large number of vehicles gathered on the Western border readying to infiltrate" Egypt. "Our planes took off to survey the area and went into action as soon
(AL Jazeera 05/09/17)
The Brotherhood's Mohammed Badie and two other prominent leaders sentenced to life in 'Rabaa operations room' retrial. An Egyptian court has sentenced the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme guide Mohammed Badie and two prominent leaders of the group to life in prison for "planning violent attacks", judicial officials and a lawyer said. Badie and 37 others connected to the "Rabaa operations room" case are accused of conspiring to stir unrest during protests that followed the July 2013 military-led overthrow of Egypt's former president Mohamed Morsi, who hailed from the Brotherhood. The Public Prosecutor's Office charged the accused with "preparing an operations room to confront the state and create chaos in the country following the dismantling of the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in" and "planning...
(Washington Post 05/09/17)
Human rights organizations recently reported that activists in Egypt have disappeared after they were stopped at government checkpoints. In Syria, the regime has disappeared thousands in the midst of its brutal civil war. Repressive states in the Middle East have increasingly added the “disappearing” of regime opponents to their means of violence. Enforced disappearance is the state’s refusal to acknowledge that it is holding a person it has detained or to disclose the fate of that person. The United Nations has documented more than 55,000 disappearances in 107 countries since 1980, with the practice spreading across countries over time. Disappearing opponents may seem like an effective means to squash a threat to the regime — especially for regimes under the...
(AFP (eng) 05/08/17)
Egyptian security forces killed eight militants who were being trained to attack government and Christian targets in a shootout in the country's southern desert, the government said Monday. Those killed included Helmi Masri Mohareb, a leader who transported militants across Egypt's southern border to join training camps, the interior ministry said in a statement. The statement did not say when or exactly where in the desert they were killed, nor in which country they were alleged to have received training. The security forces came under heavy fire as they pursued the militants, before shooting back at them
(AFP (eng) 05/08/17)
An Egyptian court sentenced the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme guide Mohamed Badie to life in prison for "planning violent attacks" in a retrial on Monday, judicial officials and a lawyer said. Badie was part of a group of 37 people accused of conspiring to stir unrest during protests that followed the July 2013 military-led ouster of Egypt's former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who hailed from the Brotherhood. The court condemned Badie to a life term along with Mahmoud Ghozlan, a Brotherhood spokesman, and Hossam Abubakr, a member of its guidance bureau, the officials and defence lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maksoud said. US-Egyptian citizen Mohamed Soltan, his father Salah Soltan and Ahmed Aref
(AFP (eng) 05/08/17)
Egypt's parliament on Sunday adopted a law whose aim is to attract foreign investors to the country as authorities seek to redress its struggling economy. Political instability and jihadist attacks in Egypt have put off tourists and foreign investors since the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak. The law, which still has to be approved by the president, seeks to boost foreign direct investment, which totalled $6.8 billion in the year to June 2016 compared with $13.2 billion before the uprising. Lawmaker Medhat al-Sherif, a member of the parliamentary commission on economic affairs, said the new legislation
(Reuters (Eng) 05/08/17)
Morocco's Attijariwafa Bank (ATW.CS) paid twice book value to acquire Barclays' Egyptian business and hopes the acquisition will enable it to increase its market share in Egypt to 5 percent within five years, the Moroccan bank's CEO said. The bank plans to rename the unit Attijari Bank Egypt and raise its profile in Egypt, CEO Mohamed El Kettani said. Britain's Barclays (BARC.L) reached a deal last year to sell its Egyptian banking unit to Attijariwafa Bank, one of Morocco's largest banks, but the value of the deal, which closed this month, has not been disclosed by either side. Kettani, speaking to Reuters on Sunday, would not put an exact dollar figure on the acquisition but said it was twice Barclays...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/08/17)
Egypt's parliament on Sunday passed a long-delayed investment law to streamline doing business in Egypt and to create incentives it hopes will bring back investors' dollars after years of turmoil. Egypt floated its pound currency last November and accepted a three-year $12 billion IMF program tied to ambitious economic reforms, part of a bid to restore capital flows that dried up after its 2011 uprising drove away investors and tourists. The new law is expected to boost badly needed investment by cutting down bureaucracy, especially for starting new projects, and providing more incentives to investors looking to put money in Egypt. "A large number of investors were waiting impatiently for the law in order to understand the investment environment in...

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