Sunday 25 June 2017
(Reuters 06/23/17)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has pardoned 502 prisoners before the Eid al-Fitr holiday, state media said on Friday, including prominent businessman Hesham Talaat Moustafa, according to security sources. No list of names was immediately available, but the prisoners to be released include 25 women and "a large number of youth jailed in cases involving protesting and gathering," state news agency MENA reported, without specifying how many. Since seizing power in mid-2013 from the Muslim Brotherhood, Sisi has presided over a crackdown on Islamist opponents that has seen hundreds killed and many thousands jailed. Activists and liberal opponents have also been imprisoned. A law requiring permission from the Interior Ministry for any public gathering of...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/23/17)
DAR ES SALAAM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sadick Thenest remembers how his 8-year-old daughter had a narrow brush with death two years ago, when she contracted cholera after drinking contaminated water. “She was so gaunt, weak and had terrible diarrhea,” said the refugee from Burundi. “A slight delay in rushing her to hospital would have meant something else - but with God’s grace she survived.” The father of four, aged 35, is among thousands of refugees grappling with frequent outbreaks of waterborne diseases in the crowded Nyarugusu camp in western Tanzania, due to poor sanitation. “Living in a refugee camp is a constant struggle. You either stick to health rules or contract diseases,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by...
(AFP (eng) 06/21/17)
Egyptian policemen on Tuesday shot and killed three wanted militants from the Islamist Hassam group in a shootout in the coastal city of Alexandria, the interior ministry said. A statement said the suspects were wanted by authorities and were "among the most prominent leaders" of the militant group. Hassam has claimed responsibility for several assassinations and attacks in Cairo and the Nile Delta. The ministry said security forces had approached a hideout of the militants in Alexandria and that the suspects opened fire at them. Police returned fire killing all three.
(Reuters (Eng) 06/21/17)
Human rights groups urged Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to intervene by a Thursday deadline to commute the death sentences of six men convicted of killing a policeman, saying they had been kidnapped and tortured into confessing the crime. The six have been convicted of murdering Sergeant Abdallah al-Motweli, who guarded the house of a judge who helped to sentence Egypt's former president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood to 20 years in prison. Sisi, who in 2013 headed the...
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
WASHINGTON DC — On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State. In response, Qatar said it was the victim of a policy of “domination and control” by its larger neighbor and that Saudi Arabia was, in fact, the one responsible for backing extremism. So what is the truth? Fundamentalist strains of Islam, including...
(AFP (eng) 06/19/17)
Egypt's Al-Azhar institution, a leading authority of Sunni Islam, condemned Monday's "sinful" terror attack near a London mosque and urged Western countries to take steps against Islamophobia. "Al-Azhar affirms its total rejection of this terrorist, racist, sinful act, calling on Western countries to take all precautionary measures to limit the phenomenon of Islamophobia," it said in a statement. A 48-year-old driver ploughed a van into a crowd of Muslims near Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, leaving one person dead and injuring 10 others. The mosque said the van "deliberately mowed down Muslim men and women leaving late...
(AFP (eng) 06/18/17)
A roadside bomb Sunday killed an Egyptian policeman and wounded four others on a highway on the southern outskirts of Cairo, the interior ministry said. "A bomb buried by the side of the road exploded" as the vehicle drove by in the early hours of the morning, the ministry said in a statement. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but jihadists have carried out many attacks on the police and army since the 2013 army toppling of Islamist president...
(AFP (eng) 06/17/17)
Guards check drivers' papers to keep out uninvited guests from gated compounds where Egypt's rich can escape the chaos of Cairo's streets in a country with a widening wealth gap. Built in the deserts around Cairo, some compounds offer amenities such as indoor and outdoor swimming pools, health clubs, golf courses and man-made lakes, as well as palm trees and manicured gardens with lawns. Iman Khalifa, 32, and her husband traded their Nile view apartment to migrate to a new...
(The Associated Press 06/17/17)
Egyptian security forces have quickly disbursed small protests against a disputed deal which gives control of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. Anti-riot police were deployed on Friday after calls spread on social media to rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square against President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's agreement. It came two days after Egypt's parliament - packed by el-Sissi supporters- voted to ratify the deal. The vote fueled anger which has been largely suppressed under a heavy security campaign since last year...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/17/17)
A Cairo criminal court on Saturday recommended the death penalty for 30 people convicted of involvement in the 2015 assassination of Egypt's top prosecutor, the most senior state official killed by militants in recent years. The court set a verdict session for July 22, after referring its recommendation to the country's top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for a non-binding legally-required opinion. The July 22 verdict can be appealed against. Public prosecutor Hisham Barakat was killed in a car bomb...
(AFP (eng) 06/16/17)
Egyptian police have arrested dozens of activists in the face of opposition calls for protests on Friday after parliament passed a controversial agreement to hand over two islands to Saudi Arabia. A lawyer working to release the activists said about 50 had been arrested across Egypt since parliament passed the treaty on Wednesday. Opponents of the government accuse it of trading the Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, for Saudi funding. "We hope the people show up (to protest) because without the people we can't defend what is their right," said former presidential...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Extortion, corruption and fear; violence, hunger and sometimes even death: for west African migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, the road to get there can be an absolute minefield. - Departure - Whether it's The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Senegal or Nigeria, everything starts with the "hustlers" -- slang for the middlemen or fixers who organise the trip. Their honesty and prices vary, with the would-be migrant usually deceived about the welcome expected in Europe. Many possess no official documents from their home country, and do not understand illegal status in Europe. Most are ignorant about the extreme difficulties they will encounter en route. "We didn't know we were risking our lives," said Kante Sekou...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Maria gave smugglers all her family savings and crossed three countries and the searing Libyan desert, but when she finally boarded a boat for Europe her dream was swiftly shattered. She was 24 and pregnant with her second child when she left Liberia with her husband and their three-year-old son. The family passed through Guinea and Mali before crossing southern Algeria to reach the Libyan desert. "The smugglers took all our money" -- more than $2,150 (2,000 euros), she said...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
of Egypt, under fire for muzzling freedom expression, has blocked access to around 60 news websites and service providers since the end of May, rights groups and media figures said Monday. Back in May, around 20 websites based in Qatar and in Egypt were made inaccessible, including the Qatar's Al-Jazeera and the independent Egyptian news site Mada Masr which has been critical of corruption. By Monday the number of blocked sites had risen to 62, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression NGO said on its website.
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Uche's real journey had yet to begin but he had already spent four days in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after travelling on public buses and potholed roads from Imo state in the southeast. He planned to go to Agadez, a transit town on the southern edge of the Sahara desert in central Niger, take a truck to Sebha, in southwestern Libya, and from there to the capital Tripoli, and then to Italy or Spain. But his contact, who...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/12/17)
An often fiery government critic, Egyptian journalist Khaled al-Balshi has been arrested, had his operations monitored, and staff harassed by police for years. Yet his website Al-Bedaiah, a rare dissident voice in Egypt, had never been touched. On Sunday that changed when it suddenly went blank with no warning after being blocked, part of what Balshi called an unprecedented and far-reaching state crackdown on scores of news websites in recent weeks. "Let's be clear, the Egyptian websites going through this...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/08/17)
More girls are completing secondary school across sub-Saharan Africa as attitudes change and state spending rises, but some of the most marginalized girls — like those married young or forced to work — are still missing out, education experts say. The percentage of girls completing secondary school has risen in all regions of Africa since 2005, said a recent report by the African Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the U.N. Development Program. Almost twice as...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
Building a network of African women leaders in fields ranging from business to politics could galvanize female leadership across the continent and boost peacebuilding efforts and good governance, the head of U.N. Women said on Tuesday. The African Women Leaders Network, which was launched last week in New York by the United Nations and the African Union Commission, hopes to drive more women into leadership roles, through mentoring, peer learning and harnessing contacts. By supporting women's leadership in Africa, the...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/06/17)
Personnel assigned to the U.S. Mission in Egypt are prohibited from visiting religious sites outside greater Cairo until further notice, the U.S. embassy said on Monday in a security message posted on its website. "Terrorists have attacked targets associated with the Christian community in Egypt. Incidents have occurred in both urban and isolated settings. Additional attacks may be possible," the message said. "Until further notice, personnel assigned to the U.S. Mission in Egypt are prohibited from visiting religious sites outside...
(Gulfnews 06/06/17)
Offenders risk up to 7 years in prison and a hefty fine as security tightened for high school tests. Cairo: Egyptian authorities have seen early success in their efforts to stop leaks of high school examinations that embarrassed the government last year and triggered rare street protests. Around 592,000 secondary school students started Sunday taking their final-year tests across Egypt amid tight security and official warnings of tough penalties against involvement in massive leaks. Education officials said that there has...

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