Saturday 21 October 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 09/07/17)
Egypt has suffered a shortage of hard currency since tourists and foreign investors were driven away by a 2011 uprising. Egypt’s foreign reserves rose to $36.143 billion (Dh132.64 billion) at the end of August from $36.036 billion at the end of July, the central bank said on Wednesday, a slight increase after a sharp jump a month earlier. Egypt has suffered a shortage of hard currency since tourists and foreign investors were driven away by a 2011 uprising. The shortage hampered the import-dependent country’s ability to purchase from abroad and created a black market that kept much of the foreign currency out of the official banking system, shaking investors’ confidence and slowing economic growth. Foreign reserves have been climbing steadily...
(Middle East Monitor 09/07/17)
Swiss authorities have informed Egypt’s Prosecutor-General of the closure of the joint legal efforts that started in 2011 over the frozen funds of former president Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a popular uprising, the Swiss embassy in Cairo said in a statement on Wednesday. Switzerland’s judicial authorities informed Egypt’s top prosecutor Nabil Sadek of the decision on 28 August, 2017. Investigations will continue in both Switzerland and Egypt but “independently”, the embassy noted, adding that a final decision has not yet been made on the investigation or Mubarak’s frozen assets. Switzerland’s judicial authorities said that legal requirements have not been met with regard to Switzerland’s relation to the charges levied against Mubarak, the statement went on. The closure of...
(APA 09/07/17)
APA’s correspondents have reported learning of the deaths of as many as 56 pilgrims from countries across the world, during the 2017 Hajj in Saudi Arabia. Our correspondent in Ethiopia reported the death from food poisoning of an Ethiopian pilgrim. Hamid Tahir was with his mother and new bride attending the 2017 Hajj, and he died at a hospital in Mecca, APA learned on Wednesday from his family in Addis Ababa. His mother and wife were informed of his death four days later by doctors, who waited for the pilgrims to finish their prayers. The body of Hamid Tahir was laid to rest in Saudi Arabia on the same day, APA learned. Hamid had been working at the Ethiopian Broadcasting...
(Al-Monitor 09/07/17)
The Senate’s foreign aid spending panel voted today to slash military assistance to Egypt by $300 million amid growing congressional frustration with the country’s dismal human rights record under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. A summary of the fiscal year 2018 bill from Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the top Democrat on the Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the State Department and foreign assistance, indicates that lawmakers also want to cut economic aid by $37 million compared with current year levels. The subcommittee passed the bill unanimously and the full Senate Appropriations Committee will take it up Thursday. “There is growing concern in the Congress, and the administration, with the repressive policies of the al-Sisi government,” Leahy told Al-Monitor in an email after the...
(Egypt Independent 09/07/17)
CAPMAS announced that the number of illiterate people in the country — taking into account people nine-years and above — has reached 14.3 million, or 20.1 percent of the population as of 2016, with females making up 9.1 million. In a Thursday statement coinciding with World Literacy Day, CAPMAS added that Egypt’s illiteracy rate declined to 14.4 percent for males and 26 percent for females. Illiteracy rates among young people — for people aged between 15 and 24 — declined by 6.5 percent while rates for elderly people — 59 and older — dropped by 57.1 percent. Illiteracy rates in urban areas — for those aged 10 and above — reached 13.5%, compared to 25.2 percent for those from villages...
(Bloomberg 09/07/17)
African Rainbow Minerals Ltd., the miner chaired by South Africa’s richest black businessman, will pay a record dividend this year as rising iron-ore and manganese prices boosted earnings at its ferrous unit. ARM will pay investors 6.50 rand a share, almost triple that of the previous year, and its 11th consecutive dividend, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement Thursday. The company benefited from a 45 percent increase in prices received for exported iron ore and 93 percent more for its manganese. While ARM is “confident in the long-term outlook for commodities,” the company said prices will “remain volatile” this year. The rand, in which ARM pays most of its costs, has strengthened against the dollar this year, reducing earnings...
(Ahram Online 09/06/17)
Egypt has signed nine memorandums of understanding with Vietnam in various economic fields, a statement by the Egyptian presidency read. Presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef said the memos were signed during President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s visit to Vietnam on Wednesday, where he met with Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang. The MoUs included references to establishing ports and maritime trade. According to Youssef’s statement, Quang hailed Egypt’s leadership and achievements over the past three years in restoring security and stability, adding that El-Sisi’s visit to Vietnam will give a major push to bilateral cooperation. El-Sisi stressed on Egypt’s keenness to boost cooperation with Vietnam in different
(The Hindu 09/06/17)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and held talks on ways to strengthen bilateral ties. Mr. Modi, who came to this port city of China on September 3 to attend the 9th BRICS Summit, held two bilateral meetings on the last day of his China visit. India, China talks After meeting Mr. Sisi, the Prime Minsiter held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. “Delighted to meet President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. We held talks on further strengthening our historical ties with Egypt,” Mr. Modi tweeted after the meeting. Earlier, during his address at the BRICS Emerging Markets and Developing Countries Dialogue, which was attended by Egypt, Mexico, Guinea, Thailand and Tajikistan on China’s invitation as...
(News24 09/06/17)
A leading Egyptian rights group says authorities have blocked its website in a "new attack" on free speech. The government in May began blocking hundreds of websites, including leading news sites, as part of a wider crackdown on dissent. It has also shut down the sites of VPN blockers, which allowed users to circumvent such measures. The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms says its website has been blocked since Tuesday morning, but that it will continue publishing its reports on human rights abuses on other platforms, including its Facebook page. It says the crackdown shows that the government "refuses any criticism", but also that "its arguments are weak." Egypt has jailed thousands of people and curbed basic freedoms since...
(The Associated Press 09/06/17)
Pope Tawadros II met with Australia’s prime minister and senior government officials on Wednesday during the spiritual leader of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church’s first visit to the country. Peter Khalil, the only Copt elected to the Australian Parliament, attended the meetings at Parliament House and said they covered the importance of Egyptian unity and the international fight against extremism. Tawadros told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that Egypt had economic problems following the disruption of revolutions in 2011 and 2013. “I think these meetings and this visit strengthens the relationship between our two countries,” the 64-year-old pope said. “Any support from Australia or other countries to Egypt will be appreciated from all Egyptians,” he added. Coptic Christians have...
(The Associated Press 09/06/17)
An international rights group says Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has given a "green light" to systematic torture inside detention facilities, allowing officers to act with "almost total impunity." In a 63-page report released Wednesday, Human Rights Watch says el-Sissi, a U.S. ally who was warmly received at the White House earlier this year, is pursuing stability "at any cost," and has allowed the widespread torture of detainees despite it being outlawed by the Egyptian constitution. El-Sissi "has effectively given police and National Security officers a green light to use torture whenever they please," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at the New York-based group. "Impunity for the systematic use of torture has left citizens with no hope for justice."...
(Ahram Online 09/06/17)
Egypt is set to host the joint military exercise Operation Bright Star 2017 with US forces in western Alexandria's Mohamed Naguib military base, a statement by the Egyptian armed forces read on Tuesday. The joint exercise, set to take place from 10 to 20 September, is described by the Egyptian army as one of the most important joint military drills between the two countries. The drill is the latest in a series of similar exercises between the Egyptian armed forces and other countries. Operation Bright Star 2017 will address security cooperation and combating terrorism and extremism, as well as training to counter threats faced in a modern conventional war. Operation Bright Star has been held regularly since 1981, with the...
(Vanguard 09/06/17)
Egypt’s non-oil private sector business activity shrank in August at the slowest pace since July last year amid decline in new orders and a jump in exports, a survey showed on Wednesday. The Emirates NBD Egypt Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the non-oil private sector rose to 48.9 in August from 48.6 a month before but remained below the 50 mark that separated growth from contraction. Output continued to decline in August, but improved from the previous month, with the related sub index standing at 48.8, compared with 47 in July, the survey showed. New orders declined in August, reaching 49.5 from 50 the previous month, when it briefly ended a 21-month trend of decline. For the fifth month in...
(The Guardian 09/06/17)
Many welcome Egyptian government’s decision to restore the Eliyahu Hanavi in Alexandria, but some question the motives. Alexandria’s historic synagogue has very few visitors. In a city once home to almost 25,000 Jews, Alexandria’s Jewish community is now said to number fewer than eight people, most of whom are elderly. Originally built in 1354, the Eliyahu Hanavi’s grand facade and cavernous interior welcomed thousands of worshippers until the departure of Egypt’s Jews after the creation of Israel. It then fell into into disrepair and water damage led to the collapse of the ceiling on its upper floor. In a rare mark of respect for the country’s religious minorities, and an even rarer choice to preserve a piece of the country’s...
(The Associated Press 09/06/17)
A rights group says Egypt’s media is increasingly dominated by businessmen with links to the government and its intelligence services. Reporters Without Borders, known by the French acronym RSF, said in a report Tuesday that “the regime’s domination of the media continues to grow and is even affecting pro-government media.” It named several privately-owned outlets, including the popular ONTV network, which is owned by a pro-government businessman, and Al-Asema TV, owned by a former military spokesman. Virtually all Egyptian media outlets are openly supportive of the government. Egypt has waged a sweeping crackdown on dissent since the military overthrew an elected Islamist president in 2013. Earlier this year authorities blocked hundreds of websites, including many operated by independent journalists and...
(Ahram Online 09/06/17)
Egypt reclaimed Group E top spot after laboring to a 1-0 victory over minnows Uganda in the World Cup qualifiers at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium, thanks to an early strike from Liverpool star Mohamed Salah. Going into the game with no option but to beat the Cranes, it took Egypt just six minutes to score via Salah, whose sixth-minute goal eventually proved the winner. Having surrendered top spot after their defeat to the very opponent in Kampala just a few days ago, Egypt have now returned to the summit top with nine points - two ahead of second-placed Uganda. Egypt will now be hoping once-group rivals Ghana, who thrashed Congo 5-1 earlier in the day, defeat or even hold Uganda...
(AFP (eng) 09/05/17)
Egypt's military will host a biennial exercise with the US army next week for the first time since 2009, it said in a statement on Tuesday. The Bright Star exercise, scheduled every two years since 1981, will take place this year from September 10 to 20, it said. The last exercise was held in 2009, two years before a popular uprising overthrew autocrat Hosni Mubarak, unleashing years of political instability. Then-president Barack Obama cancelled the exercise in 2013 after the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and cracked down on his followers.
(Xinhuanet 09/05/17)
President Xi Jinping said Tuesday that China will always firmly support Egypt's efforts to maintain stability and accelerate development, and stands ready to advance the comprehensive strategic partnership with the Middle East country. Xi made the remarks when meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who came to the southeastern Chinese coastal city of Xiamen to attend the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries. In recent years, bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership has gained steam with increased political trust, economic and trade cooperation, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges, Xi said. He said China attaches great importance to the bilateral ties, calling for maintaining frequent high-level exchanges and offering mutual support on issues concerning each other's core interests. The two countries must...
(Cnbc Africa 09/05/17)
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has announced as much as $210 million in debt financing in order to "tap" the renewable energy potential of Egypt. In a statement on Tuesday, the Beijing headquartered AIIB said the project would comprise 11 solar power plants with an "aggregate" capacity of 490 megawatts and would help the country to meet its pledges under the Paris Climate Agreement. "Investing in clean, renewable energy is a big part of our strategy to promote a sustainable and low-carbon future for Asia," D.J. Pandian, the AIIB's vice president and chief investment officer, said. "We are supporting this project because it contributes to Egypt's renewable energy capacity, and it will help position the country as a regional...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/05/17)
Egypt’s tourism revenues jumped by 170 percent in the first seven months of 2017, reaching $3.5 billion, a government official told Reuters, in welcome news for an economy heavily reliant on the sector for foreign currency and jobs. The number of tourists visiting Egypt rose by 54 percent in the same seven-month period on an annual basis to reach 4.3 million, he said, attributing the increase to visitors from Germany and Ukraine. That number is still well below the 14.7 million who visited Egypt in 2010, ahead of the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak and ushered in a prolonged period of political and social upheaval. Europeans made up 75 percent of visitors while Arabs made up 20...

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