Friday 19 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 11/07/17)
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ruled out a constitutional amendment to extend his term, saying an election would be held next year and he will not run again in 2022, in an interview with CNBC Monday. Sisi is a former army chief who overthrew his Islamist predecessor in 2013 and won an election a year later. Some of his supporters including a member of parliament want to allow Sisi to stay longer in office by extending the time between elections and removing the two four-year-term limit. But Sisi said elections will take place as scheduled in March or April 2018 and he would not ask for a constitutional amendment. Sisi did not say he would run again but the former...
(AFP (eng) 11/07/17)
The #MeToo campaign that saw women around the world share their experiences of sexual assault struck a deep chord in Egypt where life is often a daily battle against harassment. Emboldened by the global outpouring, female internet users in the country took to their computers to document their own accounts of unwanted advances and violence in the latest push to speak out over the endemic problem despite a conservative backlash from society. "One time when I was pregnant... a man harassed me in the middle of a market, and when I hit him in his chest, he slapped me," one contributor Basma Mostafa wrote in a public post on Facebook. "It's terrifying and doesn't stop at just harassment." "I stopped...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/07/17)
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. [UBER.UL] is growing rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa and considering moves into more markets, despite sometimes violent opposition from metered taxi drivers, a senior executive said on Tuesday. Uber’s service has triggered protests by rivals from London to New Delhi as it up-ends traditional business models that require professional drivers to pay steep licensing fees to do business. “We are bullish on Africa. The growth here is still substantial and we think that given the right regulatory environment, the growth could be even better,” Justin Spratt, head of business development for the sub-Saharan region, told Reuters. “Africa’s growth thus far has been faster than America and a large part of that is...
(AFP (eng) 11/06/17)
Egypt summoned Sunday the ambassadors of Germany, Italy and The Netherlands after they criticised the arrest of an Egyptian human rights lawyer opposed to enforced disappearances, the foreign ministry said. The ministry added that they will also summon the ambassadors of the United Kingdom and Canada later in the day. Authorities arrested in September Ibrahim Metwally, who is linked to the case involving murdered Italian student Giulio Regeni, as he was about to fly to Geneva for a conference on enforced disappearances. The lawyer, who has founded the Association for the Families of the Disappeared, was detained at Cairo airport. On Friday the embassies of Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Italy issued a joint statement saying they...
(AFP (eng) 11/06/17)
Egypt has recovered 354 archaeological objects that were seized by authorities in the United Arab Emirates, the antiquities ministry in Cairo said. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed al-Qasimi, ruler of the emirate of Sharjah, had ordered the pieces returned to Egypt after police captured them, the ministry said Saturday. It did not provide any details on where or how the pieces were recovered, or from whom. Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany inspected the pieces at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo on Saturday, it said, adding that they would be placed on display in a "special exhibition". The recovered pieces include antiques from the Pharaonic era and some from Islamic times, it said. Among them are a pottery container carrying the name of...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa’s mobile internet connections are set to double in the next five years, a study showed on Monday, thanks to affordable smartphones and the roll-out of high-speed networks. A report by research and consulting firm Ovum in London estimates that mobile broadband connections will rise from 419 million at the end of this year to 1.07 billion by the end of 2022. “Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the continent in areas such as digital media, mobile financial services, and the Internet of Things,” said Matthew Reed, Practice Leader Middle East and Africa at Ovum. “But as Africa’s TMT market becomes more convergent and complex, service providers are under...
(AFP (eng) 11/04/17)
An unknown jihadist group has claimed a deadly October 20 ambush that killed at least 16 Egyptian policemen in a statement published Friday on militant Islamist social media channels. The statement purporting to be from a group called Ansar al-Islam -- or "Supporters of Islam" -- also said one of its leaders, Emad al-Din Abdel Hamid, was killed in Egyptian air strikes after the ambush. The statement could not be independently verified. No other group has claimed responsibility for the attack on police last month that saw assailants gun down officers in a shootout between Cairo and the Bahariya oasis in the Western Desert, a rare flare-up outside Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. The military said on October 31 and November 1...
(AFP (eng) 11/04/17)
An Egyptian court has sentenced a female television presenter to three years in jail after she spoke on her show about pregnancy outside marriage, a judicial source said on Friday. Doaa Salah was convicted of "outraging public decency", the source said. The court also ordered her to pay a bond of 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($565) so she can remain at liberty ahead of a possible appeal. Salah went on trial after a lawyer filed a complaint against her following a show on the private television channel An-Nahar in July. During the broadcast, Salah discussed the possibility of a woman becoming a single mother, suggesting that a woman could marry only to conceive and then divorce. She then reportedly asked the...
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
US politicians are voicing concern over America's growing military presence across Africa, where they worry the Pentagon is getting ever more embroiled in a secretive campaign against a shifting enemy. Last month's killing of four US soldiers in a Niger ambush has thrust the issue into the spotlight, with lawmakers calling for greater transparency on what is going on in Africa. "The footprint in Africa is much bigger than the American public understands," Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said this week. The Niger ambush has also rekindled debate over the legal authorities the Pentagon uses to fight jihadist groups overseas, particularly in Africa where about 6,000 US troops are deployed across the vast continent. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis this week faced...
(AFP (eng) 10/31/17)
Egypt's military said Tuesday its air force had carried out a desert raid, killing "a large number of terrorist elements" responsible for the deaths of 16 policemen earlier this month. The policemen were killed in an October 20 shootout with militants on the road between Cairo and the Bahariya oasis in the Western Desert, a rare flare-up outside the Sinai Peninsula. Authorities are fighting the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State group, which has killed hundreds of security personnel in northern Sinai, more than 500 kilometres (300 miles) from the site of this month's clash. State TV said Tuesday the military had acted on "confirmed information" on the whereabouts of the militants involved. The air force attacked a hideout in...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has named a new armed forces chief of staff, the presidency said in a brief statement on Saturday. He appointed former defence ministry secretary general Mohammed Farid Hegazy to the post, it said, without giving a reason for the change. His predecessor Mahmoud Hegazy, who had held the post since March 2014, was named a presidential adviser. The interior ministry on Saturday also announced changes in key security positions, both nationally and in Giza province. On October 20, the province was the scene of an attack that claimed the lives of at least 16 police officers in the Western Desert, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) southwest of Cairo. Linked to Sisi through the marriage of...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
An Egyptian court ruled Sunday that a television programme deemed contrary to Islamic law should not be broadcast, following a request from the country's highest institution of Sunni Islam. Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb of Al-Azhar had demanded that the authorities ban "With Islam" presented by controversial intellectual reformer Islam Behairy and aired by private channel Al Qahera Wel Nass. Al-Azhar accuses Behairy of "regularly attacking Islamic law". Although Al-Azhar advocates tolerance and moderate Islam in conferences, it also routinely asks for programmes and shows in which secular Egyptians criticise...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
In movie theatres, concert halls or out on the streets, culture in Egypt is faced with increasing curbs as the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi expands censorship, critics say. Hossam Fazulla of the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) said artists were being subjected to increasing limitations. "What the government is trying to do is... to create a model of an obedient citizen who is tame, who is very convenient for this regime," said Fazulla. The curbs have wiped out some art forms, especially street events, which were starting to flourish after the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, he said. In the turmoil that followed, ex-army chief Sisi led the 2013...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
Paintings by top Egyptian artists shared wall space with hieroglyphs and Pharaonic relics at Cairo's Egyptian Museum this week in an exhibition highlighting ancient influences on contemporary art. Artists, intellectuals and ambassadors from around the world attended the Saturday night opening of "A night with Art at the Egyptian Museum", organised by the private Art D'Egypte organisation. The exhibition, at the museum on Cairo's iconic Tahrir square, will be open to the public until Tuesday. "We wanted to highlight the link between contemporary art and ancient Egyptian Pharaonic art," Art D'Egypte founder Nadine Abdel Ghaffar told AFP. The modern paintings included abstract portraits and other works by prominent contemporary Egyptian artists such as Adel El Siwi, Mohamed Abla, Ghada Amer,...
(AFP (eng) 10/28/17)
Fighting in the pivotal WWII battle of El Alamein may have stopped 75 years ago but Egypt is now waging another war against a hidden enemy: landmines. On a recent visit by foreign officials, personnel from the military's Western Desert Mine Clearance Regiment swept detectors across a stretch of sand as they showcased the painstaking work it takes to remove the deadly legacy left behind by the Axis and Allied troops who wrestled for control along the Mediterranean coast. An explosion rang out as a remotely controlled vehicle drove over hidden explosive. Later, two mines were detonated from a distance, sending red and yellow smoke billowing skywards. The battle of El Alamein is heralded as a crucial victory for the...
(AFP (eng) 10/27/17)
Egyptian police killed 13 "terrorists" in a shootout as they raided a hideout in the country's south on Friday, a week after a deadly ambush by militants, the interior ministry said. The operation, in which assault rifles and explosive belts were recovered, took place at a farm used by the militants for training and recruitment, the ministry said in a statement. It was not clear whether they were suspected of involvement in an October 20 desert ambush that killed 16 policemen, some 300 kilometres (190 miles) from the site of Friday's operation. "Organisational material and religious books" were also found at the site in the southwestern New Valley province, the ministry said, without reporting any police casualties. No group has...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/27/17)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian security forces killed 13 militants during a raid on a farm hideout in the western desert region on Friday, a week after a deadly attack on a police convoy, authorities said. An Interior Ministry statement gave no details on the militants, but Egyptian forces have been battling several armed Islamist groups, mostly focused on an entrenched Islamic State affiliate that has killed hundreds of police officers and troops in the northern Sinai Peninsula since 2013. “They took a house in the farm as a temporary hideout faraway from security monitoring to receive newly recruited elements and train them and prepare the explosive devices,” the ministry statement said. The clashes were in an area near the Assuit-Kharga...
(The Associated Press 10/25/17)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi met Wednesday with French finance minister Bruno Le Maire and a dozen business leaders on the third day of his official visit to France. Several French companies, including oil giant Total and underground metro operator RATP, were hoping to secure future deals. El-Sissi’s visit is focusing on economic cooperation and the fight against extremism. He met at length with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday. They discussed the crisis in Libya, Egypt’s chaotic North African neighbor, and the war in Syria. France has reaffirmed its support to Egypt as a key country to stabilize the troubled region. Human rights groups and French watchdog Reporters Without Borders have organized...
(The Associated Press 10/25/17)
French President Emmanuel Macron offered his support Tuesday to Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in the fight against terrorism, but said that needs to be led with respect to human rights. Macron and el-Sissi met for over two hours at the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris. In a joint news conference, Macron said “our first common combat is the fight against terrorism ... France is standing by Egypt’s side because the security of this friendly country is also our own security.” French authorities see Egypt as a key country in efforts to stabilize the troubled region. Both leaders have discussed at length the crisis in Libya, Egypt’s chaotic North African neighbor, and the war in Syria. Macron urged el-Sissi to lead...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/25/17)
DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish student Ibrahim Halawa was greeted by cheering crowds at Dublin Airport on Tuesday as he arrived home following his acquittal last month in a four-year mass trial. Halawa, who was born and raised in Dublin and is a son of the most senior Muslim cleric in Ireland, was 17 when he was arrested along with hundreds of others in 2013 as part of a crackdown on protests in Egypt. “It still feels like a dream, it’s a moment I’ve waited for four years. I‘m a free man. I‘m hoping I can get my life back, get back to college and get my career,” a smiling Halawa, draped in an Irish flag, told reporters upon his arrival...

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