Daily News Egypt http://www.dailynewsegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:07:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Shoukry asserts support to Palestinian cause, will meet British FM http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/24/616196/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/24/616196/#respond Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:07:16 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616196 Shoukry is further expected to travel to the US for meetings with American diplomats

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Secretary-General of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) Saeb Erekat confirmed on Thursday, during his meeting with  Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry, the importance of Egypt’s role in supporting the Palestinian case, .

Erekat briefed Shoukry on the latest Palestinian diplomatic activities. Shoukry on the other hand asserted Egypt’s support to the Palestinian cause.

The two diplomats also discussed the upcoming Arab League summit which will take place in Jordan next month.

Shoukry is expected to travel to the US to meet with US-American officials. Also, according to MENA news agency, he is expected to meet with British foreign minster Boris Johnson in his first visit to the United Kingdom.

 

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Israel denies Human Rights Watch visa over ‘bias’ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/24/israel-denies-human-rights-watch-visa-bias/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/24/israel-denies-human-rights-watch-visa-bias/#respond Fri, 24 Feb 2017 13:00:31 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616200 Israeli authorities have rejected a request from Human Rights Watch (HRW) to grant a work visa to the watchdog's regional director. The state officials accused HRW of being "hostile" and serving Palestinian propaganda.

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HRW was informed of the Israeli decision some six months after its representative, Omar Shakir, applied for the visa, the organization said on Friday.

“The denial letter came as a shock, given that we have had regular access to Israel and the West Bank for nearly three decades and regularly engage Israeli authorities,” Shakir told the AP news agency.

Shakir is a Stanford-educated lawyer and a US citizen of Iraqi descent, whose mandate as the “Israel and Palestine Country Director” in HRW officially started in October.

On Friday, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon confirmed that Shakir would not be given a work visa. Nahshon also slammed HRW as a “blatantly hostile anti-Israeli organization whose reports have the sole purpose of harming Israel with no consideration whatsoever for the truth or reality.”

The activists “have engaged in politics in the service of Palestinian propaganda, while falsely raising the banner of ‘human rights’,” he added.

‘We are not masochists’

According to Nahshon, the group itself was not banned in Israel and its local staff would be able to continue their work. However, he said it was pointless to give visas to people who only aimed to “besmirch” Israel.

“We are not masochists and there is no reason we should keep doing that,” he said.

The US State Department said it did not agree with Israel’s perspective on HRW, which is based in the US and has its headquarters in the Empire State building in New York.

“HRW is a credible human rights organization and even though we do not agree with all of their assertions or conclusions, given the seriousness of their efforts, we support the importance of the work they do,” State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said.

‘Joining the list’ of oppressive regimes

The global watchdog has investigated human rights abuses in many crisis areas worldwide, and published a string of reports that were critical of Israeli policies. Last year, they compiled a report titled “Occupation Inc” on companies contributing to abuses in the West Bank.

Also in 2016, the group slammed both the Palestinian Authority and the militants Hamas, accusing them of arbitrarily detaining journalists and activists. It also alleged Hamas was conducting illegal executions.

However, Israel has repeatedly accused the organization of unfair treatment. On Friday, HRW officials urged the foreign ministry to reconsider its position on granting a visa to Shakir.

“We have little relations with governments in North Korea, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Cuba and Venezuela where there is zero appetite for human rights engagement,” Shakir said.

“With this decision, Israel is joining the list.”

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Iraqi forces claim key Mosul base, eye victory against ‘IS’ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/24/iraqi-forces-claim-key-mosul-base-eye-victory/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/24/iraqi-forces-claim-key-mosul-base-eye-victory/#respond Fri, 24 Feb 2017 12:13:55 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616197 Government troops have taken Ghazlani army base, an important launch pad for pushing "Islamic State" militants out of the city. About 750,000 civilians are still trapped in the western part of Mosul.

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Iraqi troops have successfully taken the whole of Mosul airport back from so-called “Islamic State” (IS) terrorists, the army said on Friday. Their forces have also moved into the first neighborhood in the west of the city since IS overran Mosul in June 2014.

Lieutent General Sami al-Aridhi told the press that special forces had also taken over an army base that is considered key to the success of the offensive to recapture western Mosul and free the 750,000 citizens estimated to be trapped there.

“We have attacked and fully control Ghazlani base, we have also taken Tal al-Rayyan… and we’re attacking Al-Maamun neighborhood,” he said.

IS on the run

The multi-pronged assault on the strategic targets began earlier this week, backed by US airstrikes and coalition soldiers. After making significant advances in the eastern half of the city in recent weeks, the Iraqi military look poised to push the terrorists from their last stronghold in Iraq. If victorious, this would likely signal the beginning of the end for the so-called “caliphate” which the militants proclaimed in 2014 after taking over large parts of Iraq and Syria.

Fighting in the older western half of the Mosul is especially difficult, however, as its narrower streets make it nearly impossible to use armored vehicles and terrorists have been using small drones and suicide attacks to stop the Counter Terrorism Services (CTS) from advancing.

“There is a resistance there. The drones are particularly annoying today,” said al-Aridhi.

Under IS occupation, Iraq’s second city has been subjected to a number of war crimes such as forced sex trafficking, ethnic cleansing of Christians, and the destruction of ancient heritage sites such as the tomb of the Old Testament prophet Jonah.

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Our Wedding Carnival season 5, bigger and better http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/616048/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/616048/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:00:10 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616048 After four consecutive years of bridal extravagance, brides-to-be were once again on a date to meet the world’s latest trends in jewellery, fashion, furniture, and even entertainment—all designed for that one special day. Our Wedding Carnival (OWC) is one of the most prominent annual events in the bridal field. For their fifth season, OWC brought …

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After four consecutive years of bridal extravagance, brides-to-be were once again on a date to meet the world’s latest trends in jewellery, fashion, furniture, and even entertainment—all designed for that one special day.

Our Wedding Carnival (OWC) is one of the most prominent annual events in the bridal field. For their fifth season, OWC brought together a wide diversity of related suppliers and brands to help put all wedding-related details under one roof. With more than 150 exhibitors, this season did not leave anything to imagination.

“We have been building on the successes of Our Wedding Carnival year after year; and as we celebrate OWC5, we are proud to host over 150 exhibitors from Egypt and abroad, which only proves that OWC is truly Egypt’s number one wedding destination,” said Sherif Ashraf, managing director of Red Square and organiser of OWC.

Aside from the festival’s wide scope of exhibitors, it is also notoriously known for its corporate social responsibility (CSR) aspect, as the festival aims to continuously link major brands to brides that are in need of financial aid to attain their bridal dreams.

“We also continue to grow our commitment to social responsibility by sponsoring 30 brides bags in collaboration with the ‘Egyptian Clothing Bank’s organisation,” Ashraf added. “We have to thank Luminarc for providing 100 orphan brides with 100 wedding sets.”

El Esseily put a dance-fulled ending to the bridal extravagance  (Photo Handout)
El Esseily put a dance-fulled ending to the bridal extravagance 
(Photo Handout)

Throughout the day, young couples flocked into the Fairmont Heliopolis and Towers hotel to get a glimpse of all that is new in the bridal scene. Furthermore, many were interested to witness the extravagance that took place during the night’s runway shows and performances.

The night started with ten aspiring designers, who impressed the attendees with their creative designs. Furthermore, it was not long until Mohamed Abdel Hamid took the stage to unfold his secrets to perfect bridal make up by means of a live demonstration on models.

Syrian designer Ayman Lahomouni, a regular guest at OWC, came back for a new season of couture intricacy and elaborate details. While his wedding gowns took many people’s breath away, the night only continued to further amaze the attendees.

Few designers dominated the runway to showcase the latest bridal trends (Photo Handout)
Few designers dominated the runway to showcase the latest bridal trends
(Photo Handout)

Tiara Bridal boutique brought modern princesses to the centre stage with their dreamy bridal gowns. Meanwhile, Kriss came back once again for one of his theatrical on-stage demonstrations. The hair guru showcased the beauty and charm of cheeky hair bangs for the 2017 bride.

After years of mentoring and teaching Egypt’s promising generations of aspiring designers, Stefania Gulina celebrated the launch of her new haute couture line, SG, on OWC’s runway. With that said, the true spectacle was courtesy of Luminarc. The renowned household-supplies brand offered a runway show in all colours of the rainbow.

The event was far from ordinary, thanks to Ahmed Essam’s fireworks show and Mahmoud El Esseily’s moving performance. Furthermore, Esseily was also joined by the saxophonist Ramy Samy and English singer Juleen Evans; together, they effortlessly made the event one of a kind.

On the other hand, Lydia Shohdy and Dina Faltas from Zeena Events took care of every minor detail of the event. The majestic hall was transformed into a space worthy of fairytales and queens.

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EGP exchange rate against USD remains stable http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/egp-exchange-rate-usd-remains-stable/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/egp-exchange-rate-usd-remains-stable/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:26:45 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616155 Settles below EGP 16 for first time since December 2016

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The Egyptian pound continued to stabilise against the US dollar on Thursday, at its lowest level in two months, settling below EGP 16 for the first time since 8 December 2016.

During the last month the Egyptian pound regained some of it’s value against the dollar, after losing  more than 50% of its value following the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) decision to free float the currency in Novemeber.

The price of the US dollar at the CBE reached EGP 15.7512 for buying and EGP 15.8518 for selling on Thursday, slightly down from EGP 15.7382 for buying and EGP 15.8394 for selling on Wednesday.

Its value at the five largest banks in Egypt—the National Bank of Egypt, Qatar National Bank, Banque Misr, CIB, and the Arab African International Bank—remained between EGP 15.7 and EGP 15.8 for buying and EGP 15.8 and EGP 15.9 for selling.

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Ministry of Trade and Industry approves 226 new industrial projects with EGP 8bn investments http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/ministry-trade-industry-approves-226-new-industrial-projects-egp-8bn-investments/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/ministry-trade-industry-approves-226-new-industrial-projects-egp-8bn-investments/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:47:13 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616153 Positive indicators reflect ministry’s strategy to promote development until 2020: Kabil

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Tarek Kabil, Minister of Trade and Industry, announced on Thursday that 226 industrial projects have received approvals during the month of January, with total investments worth EGP 8bn, compared to 180 projects with total investments of EGP 3bn during the same period in 2016.

Moreover, the new projects are spread among different industrial sectors—71 are for the food manufacturing sector, 44 for chemical engineering, 33 for textiles, and the remaining projects are distributed among mining and pharmaceuticals.

Kabil said that these positive indicators reflect the ministry’s strategy to promote industrial development until 2020, along with adopting new strategies to encourage industrial production activities in promising industrial sectors in order to raise the industrial growth rate to 8% and increase its contribution to the total GDP by 21% instead of 17.7%.

He added that the ministry has launched the first phase of the investment map, which includes the available investment opportunities in some provinces, stressing that this map will increase industrial investment rates during the next period, since they are based on accurate information about the supplementary industry projects needed by the industries to replace imports.

The ministry is prioritising the development of the micro, small, and medium enterprises sector, as well as an engine for development and creativity, said Kabil. He pointed out that the new strategy is to transform small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurship as the corner stone for increasing Egypt’s industrial output, employment, and exports, adding that Egypt’s 2.5 million micro, small and medium-sized enterprises employ 75% of the total workforce, while 17% of them export abroad.

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Flotation, economic reforms mark the start of a new beginning: PwC Middle East http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/flotation-economic-reforms-mark-start-new-beginning-pwc-middle-east/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/flotation-economic-reforms-mark-start-new-beginning-pwc-middle-east/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:56:32 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616149 New wave of economic reforms, liberalisation of EGP are huge leap towards luring foreign investors back to Egypt and strengthening economy, says PwC report

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The Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) decision to float the Egyptian pound in November 2016 is a step in the right direction towards a free and growing economy, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)-Middle East’s report, titled “EGP Devaluation: Economic Reforms Mark the Start of a New Beginning”, published on Wednesday.

The report indicates that positive influences on foreign and local investments, coupled with increased global competitiveness, are among the key long-term effects that are likely to be felt across the country.

“The current economic reforms, in particular the draft investment law and the flotation of the EGP, mark the start a new era for Egypt. Now is the time to expand your businesses and the time for foreign companies to invest in Egypt,” said Maged Ezzeldeen, Egypt Senior Partner and Deals Leader at PwC-Middle East.

He added that domestically manufactured goods can be an alternative for imports and provide high-quality competitive products to both local and foreign markets by leveraging the various trade agreements that are already in place. He emphasized their optimism in regards to Egypt’s long-term economic prospects.

On the other hand, Maye Ayoub, Egypt Deals Partner at PwC-Middle East, said that Egypt has currently regained its position as a promising market on the investment front due to the currency devaluation and the adopted economic reform programme, in addition to its strategic location.

She added that an inflow of foreign currency and foreign direct investments will revive the economy in the long-term. This positive effect is of course contingent on the stabilisation of the EGP-USD exchange rates—which PwC argues is only a matter of time—until speculation and volatility settle down, and investors obtain a clearer picture of how the flotation will evolve.

Moreover, the report cites that the new wave of economic reforms and the liberalisation of the EGP are a huge leap towards luring foreign investors back to Egypt and strengthening the Egyptian economy in general, explaining that the liberalisation of the EGP is only one of many steps being taken by the government against a wider economic reform agenda. Agreed reforms include a set of tax and non-tax incentives, currently under consideration, for the benefit of foreign investors, along with a clear road map for profit repatriation.

The report concludes that, post-flotation, there is tremendous potential for local manufacturers in both the domestic and international markets, since Egyptian products can now be competitively priced abroad. This is in addition to the fact that there is an opportunity to expand the local market share for these products, given that imports are becoming more expensive in terms of the Egyptian pound.

PwC also expects exports to pick up from the exploration of new gas fields, competitive gains from the pound devaluation, and a more attractive investment climate.

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Immigration Minister hosts Egypt’s first workshop on harnessing migration for development http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/immigration-minister-abdel-shahid-hosts-egypts-first-international-partners-workshop-harnessing-migration-development/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/immigration-minister-abdel-shahid-hosts-egypts-first-international-partners-workshop-harnessing-migration-development/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:12:48 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616146 Abdel Shahid chaired the event in Cairo, attendees included representatives of over 20 embassies and development agencies

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The Egyptian Ministry for Immigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have hosted Egypt’s first international partners round table on harnessing the development impact of migration.

Noting the government’s ongoing cooperation with relevant international partners, including IOM, Immigration Minister Nabila Makram Abdel Shahid said, “The Government of Egypt is committed to continue its efforts to engage Egyptian expatriate communities in development initiatives in Egypt, while ensuring protection of their rights, through the development of a comprehensive policy framework and the undertaking of concrete initiatives to foster engagement.”

A number of initiatives are anticipated to be developed in the context of the policy framework, including encouraging the return of qualified nationals to contribute to specific sectors of the Egyptian economy, promoting investment in local and national development plans, encouraging expatriate contributions to trade development, and protecting expatriates’ rights abroad.

IOM Egypt head of office, Amr Taha, said that, “Egypt’s USD 20 billion in remittances received in 2015 made it among the top 10 recipients of remittances worldwide. But Egyptians abroad contribute in many more ways. They also support trade and business networks, invest in their communities of origin, and transfer knowledge and expertise.”

The government’s commitment to support migrants and migration—made under the country’s 2014 Constitution and 2030 Sustainable Development Strategy, as well as the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals—will be advanced with the expected initiatives.

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UN envoy doubts ‘breakthrough’ at Syria peace talks http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/un-envoy-doubts-breakthrough-syria-peace-talks-2/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/un-envoy-doubts-breakthrough-syria-peace-talks-2/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:49:34 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616141 The UN-brokered Syria peace talks are set to resume in Geneva on Thursday. But with a fragmented opposition, Staffan de Mistura questioned how much progress could be made in the initial talks.

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Talks to end Syria’s six-year conflict restart in Geneva on Thursday. They will be the first United Nations-mediated negotiations on Syria in almost a year, during which time the geopolitical and military situations have massively changed.

Despite these changes, UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura on Wednesday cast doubt on a “breakthrough” ahead of the discussions.

“Am I expecting a breakthrough? No, I am not expecting a breakthrough,” de Mistura told reporters in Geneva. “But I am expecting and determined to keep a very pro-active momentum.”

The veteran diplomat said that Moscow had asked the Syrian regime to halt bombings during the talks.

Russia entered the conflict in September 2015 in support of Syrian government forces, and was considered a key diplomatic ally of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime long before military intervention.

“Russia announced to everyone that they have formally asked the Syrian government to silence their own skies during the talks,” de Mistura said.

The talks are expected to be framed by UN Security Council resolution 2254, which describes the establishment of “credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance” in Syria.

Fragmented opposition

The upcoming round comes nearly a year after peace talks broke down when the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), a Saudi-backed alliance of rebel groups, walked away from the negotiating table.

Since then, government forces backed by Russia and Shiite militias have recaptured the former rebel bastion of eastern Aleppo. Islamist militant groups have also attacked so-called moderate rebels in a sign of a fracturing opposition movement.

“The obstacles are clear and one of them is that there is no advance in consolidating the ceasefire,” said HNC adviser Yehya Aridi, referring to an agreement brokered by Russia and Turkey in the Kazakh capital of Astana.

More than 300,000 people have been killed and half the population displaced since 2011, when government forces launched a brutal crackdown on protesters calling for Assad to step down.

“I have never seen a war so cruel in my life,” De Mistura, who has worked on conflict resolution for the UN for decades, said earlier this week.

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Deadly blast rocks upscale market in Pakistani city of Lahore http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/deadly-blast-rocks-upscale-market-pakistani-city-lahore-2/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/deadly-blast-rocks-upscale-market-pakistani-city-lahore-2/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:47:41 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616117 An explosion at a shopping area in Lahore has killed at least eight and wounded dozens in the country's latest surge of violence. The blast came a day after the military announced the start of an anti-terror operation.

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At least 20 people were wounded and another eight killed when a blast ripped through a building in a market in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore on Thursday, officials said.

The explosion was caused by a timed device that was placed in a building that was under construction, Punjab police told television channel Geo News. Police further told the channel that between 8-10 kilograms (about 20 pounds) of explosives were used.

“It was a bomb attack,” Nayab Haider, a spokesman for the provincial Punjab police told news agency AFP.

The blast took place in the particularly upscale Defense Housing Authority suburb of the city, home to boutiques, coffee shops, banks and an academy for the international hair salon Toni & Guy.

Security forces are not allowing people to enter or leave the market as they believe the bomber is still alive, authorities said.

Television footage and images posted on social media showed a charred building, cars with their windows blown out and bodies on the street.

One witness who works at a bank near the bomb blast told Reuters news agency that his workplace was rattled by the “frightening” explosion.

“We left the building and saw that the motorbikes parked outside were on fire and all the windows in the surrounding buildings were shattered,” the witness, Mohammad Khurram, said.

Surge in attacks

The blast in Lahore came one day after the Pakistani military announced the start of a nationwide anti-terror operation in the wake of a surge of assaults that have killed more than 130 people in the past two weeks.

The recent deadly attacks in Pakistan include a previous bomb blast in Lahore last week that killed 14 people.

One of the worst attacks took place at a Sufi shrine in the southern Sindh province that left 90 people dead.

The attacks, which were carried out by militants with ties to groups including the Pakistani Taliban and the so-called “Islamic State,” have damaged optimism about the country’s security after it appeared to be making gains in its war on militancy.

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Iraqi army storms Mosul airport in key attack on ‘Islamic State’ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/iraqi-army-storms-mosul-airport-key-attack-islamic-state/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/iraqi-army-storms-mosul-airport-key-attack-islamic-state/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:33:12 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616115 Government troops and local fighters were on the cusp of pushing the terrorists out of their last stronghold in the city. Losing Mosul could spell the end of IS' power in the country.

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The Iraqi military said on Thursday that special forces were closing in on “Islamic State” (IS) terrorists in the city of Mosul. State television reported that government soldiers had stormed the airport and a military complex in the western half of the city. Later, the army confirmed that it had taken the runway amid a fierce firefight.

“Our forces started a major operation early this morning to storm the airport of Mosul and the Ghazlani base to dislodge Daesh (IS) terrorists. We can confirm that the Mosul airport militarily has fallen and it’s a matter of short time to fully control it,” said Sabah al-Numan, a spokesman for the counter-terrorism service.

Some officials later told the Associated Press that some soldiers from the US-led coalition were amongst the advancing troops, but did not say which country they came from. On Lebanese television, live footage from the perimeter of the airport showed a military helicopter firing on IS targets amid blasts of gunfire.

At Ghazlani, heavy clashes continued into Thursday afternoon. But according to Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, Iraqi forces had been able to enter the base and hoped to take it soon.

The end of the “caliphate”?

Since successfully ousting the extremist fighters from eastern Mosul last month, the Iraqi army has sought to control the airport as a base for finally pushing IS out of the country’s second-largest city.

IS overran Mosul in June 2014, when a lack of troops and infighting among military personnel led to the abandonment of the city. Under IS occupation, the city has experienced a number of atrocities including ethnic cleansing of Christians, human trafficking mostly of young women, and the destruction of ancient heritage sites such as the tomb of the Old Testament prophet Jonah.

A 100,000 strong coalition of government troops, Kurdish fighters and local militias, backed by the US airstrikes, has made rapid advances in retaking the city since January. If IS loses its territory in Mosul, that may well herald the end of the terrorists’ self-styled caliphate which at its peak straddled large parts of Iraq and Syria.

Taking the western half of the city is likely to pose more of a challenge, however, as its roads are narrower and older than in the east – soldiers will likely be forced to abandon their armored vehicles and fight in the streets.

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Keif Café worker accused of murder referred to court http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/616108/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/616108/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:22:05 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616108 The prosecution also ordered to the referral of two of the café managers to the Misdemeanor Court, as they are accused of detaining the customers and collecting money from the customers illegally

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The prosecution ordered on Wednesday the referral of a Keif Café worker to the Criminal Court on charges of killing a young man named Mahmoud Bayoumi in early February.

The prosecution also ordered to the referral of two of the café managers to the Misdemeanor Court, as they are accused of detaining the customers and collecting money from them illegally.

Meanwhile, another eight workers were released with no charges directed to them.

Bayoumi died as a result of a puncture wound in the lung, after staff members from Keif Café assaulted him when a dispute erupted over the minimum charge. Eyewitnesses said the restaurant waiters and manager were threatening customers following the end of a football match between Egypt and Cameroon.

While the restaurant itself was closed and police cars parked outside it, the governorate shut down several unlicensed cafés in Heliopolis in response to the incident.

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The Design Studio captures the talent of Egypt’s hidden gems http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/616051/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/616051/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:30:31 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616051 With black and white portraits hanging from the ceiling and dramatic pieces laid out on white tables, a new generation of local jewellery designers showcased a glimpse of their aesthetics. While each piece captured the stories of Egypt’s next top jewellery designers, the collective collection widened the boundaries of design. The Design Studio by Azza …

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With black and white portraits hanging from the ceiling and dramatic pieces laid out on white tables, a new generation of local jewellery designers showcased a glimpse of their aesthetics. While each piece captured the stories of Egypt’s next top jewellery designers, the collective collection widened the boundaries of design.

The Design Studio by Azza Fahmy celebrated the graduation of their very first students as well as the work of a new talented batch with an artistic exhibition. The studio chose the cultural hub at Galleria 40 mall in Sheikh Zayed to introduce the work of their pride to an audience of fashion and design enthusiasts.

The showcased pieces varied between architectural inspiration and ethereal stories of long-gone women. “Captured” is without a doubt one of the studio’s most cohesive exhibitions to date.

"Captured" was curated at Galleria 40 to introduce a new generation of young designers (Photo by DNE)
“Captured” was curated at Galleria 40 to introduce a new generation of young designers
(Photo by DNE)

“My inspiration was goddess Isis; it is all about her wings and the curves of her body,” said Gehan Felfel, beginner designer at The Design Studio. My project aims to bring her into our modern lives, so if she were with us today these are the kinds of shoes, earrings, and bracelets she would choose.”

Felfel introduced a new concept to the yearly exhibition with her bespoke pair of shoes, as she is the very first student to apply to footwear what she had learnt at the studio. “Shoes and jewellery are my main passion. Accordingly, I wanted to combine the two in one project,” said Felfel.

The promising designer has already studied fashion in London; nonetheless, she has joined the studio for intensive information about the craft of jewellery making.

“I went to London Fashion College to study shoe designing and pattern making. However, the jewellery industry in Egypt is well established. Furthermore, The Design Studio by Azza Fahmy gives the students an opportunity to learn so much and for as long as each individual needs,” said Felfel.

Furthermore, Felfel is currently working on her collection, set to be launched by mid-March.

With that said, specialised designers, who have been regular students at The Design Studio for a longer period of time, have also came back to, once again, equally amaze the audience and faculty with their new concepts.

“During the summer, I was taking part in a contest in Legnica. My concept was about the city’s architecture. I used to analyse each city into cells and units. Accordingly, I approached the city’s architecture as a human body then I used the units as materials,” said Adam Yousry, specialised designer at The Design Studio.

“The co-founder of Alchemya School suggested that I source my materials from a hardware store. My main materials are nails, bolts, and jump rings,” said Yousry.

According to Yousry, the local market might not easily embrace his collection, which successfully turned nails into loop necklaces and bolts into bracelets. Accordingly, he is currently planning to collaborate with a foreign fashion designer to reach out to a bigger audience.

After a few semesters, The Design Studio is finally celebrating a new generation of specialised students who now serve as teachers for newer batches. Furthermore, as of recently, the design studio’s teaching staff also includes a graduate of the school itself.

“I am the first graduate from The Design Studio; I have finished six semesters in three years. Meanwhile, I am currently teaching the new batch,” said Amira Ayad, specialised designer at The Design Studio.

As for Ayad’s end-of-semester collection, the promising designer aimed to create a rustic collection reminiscent of neglected monuments.

The Design Studio by Azza Fahmy celebrated a new batch of students with a spectacular end of semester exhibition  (Photo by DNE)
The Design Studio by Azza Fahmy celebrated a new batch of students with a spectacular end of semester exhibition 
(Photo by DNE)

“I was inspired by the Egyptian Museum. The broken statues and the antiquities scattered at the door got my attention. Therefore, my concept started developing from that scene until it became mainly about restoration,” said Ayad.

Her pieces depended on vintage materials mixed with burnt metal and old wood. Meanwhile, the end result was both statement and artistic. “My main problem is that I tend to follow an avant-garde genre; many people often fail to know how to wear my pieces. However, sales and market preferences are creatively limiting. Therefore, I would rather implement my designs and then simplify them when I want to sell,” said Ayad.

The designer is currently a member of The Design Studio’s teaching staff as she is fond of teaching and being part of the studio’s mission to establish a strong generation of jewellery designers. Meanwhile, she aims to manage her own line in the near future.

“The first thing that I make sure to teach my students is that there is no such thing as absolute right or absolute wrong. Sometimes, I do not give them the direct methods and solutions, because they end up finding better alternatives than what I know,” said Ayad.

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Tourism companies inspect fleets in anticipation of return of Russian tourism http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/tourism-companies-inspect-fleets-anticipation-return-russian-tourism/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/tourism-companies-inspect-fleets-anticipation-return-russian-tourism/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:00:18 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616026 Tourist transport was heavily affected by low tourism rates during the past six years

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An official at the Egyptian Travel Agencies Association (ETAA) stated that in 2016, tourism companies inspected 892 out of 1,349 vehicles belonging to their fleets.

He added that most of the inspection was done on fleets in South Sinai, since the area accounts for most tourism vehicles in Egypt.

He noted that tourism companies have been inspecting their fleets lately in preparation of the return of Russian air traffic to Egypt.

He continued to explain that tourist transport was adversely affected during the past six years due to lower inbound travel to Egypt as a result of Russia and other countries suspending their airline traffic to Egypt.

According to a report issued by the ETAA, the number of vehicles in tourism companies’ fleets dropped from 2,699 in 2015 to 1,605 in 2016.

Limousine services account for the largest part of the tourism fleet with 1,349 vehicles, as well as 158 microbuses, 54 minibuses, and 44 busses.

The official said that there has been a decline in purchases of tourism vehicles over the past six years by over 90%.

The number of tourists coming to Egypt during the last year amounted to 5.3m, down from 9.3m in 2015.

The official noted that the number of drivers that underwent training until March 2016 reached 10,800, but training courses stopped after that due to the financial problems that companies had to deal with.

He pointed out that companies are likely to begin injecting investments of some EGP 1bn over the coming two years to buy more vehicles as Russian and British tourism returns to Egypt.

Russian tourism accounts for 45% of all tourists coming to Egypt, and European tourism as a whole accounts for the bulk, with 72%.

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South Sinai gives investors of Sharm El-Sheikh beaches two months to pay fees: head of Tourism Investors Association in South Sinai http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/616022/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/616022/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 07:30:56 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616022 South Sinai governorate has decided to impose fees worth up to EGP 20m on beaches of the hotels that overlook the sea, according to area of the beach at each hotel

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The head of the Tourism Investors Association in South Sinai, Hesham Ali, said that the South Sinai governorate gave investors a deadline of two months to pay fees—set for the exploitation of beaches by hotels overlooking the sea—and therefore the association formed a committee of members and legal experts to study the legality of the imposition of these charges on hotels.

He stressed that the committee is working on the completion of the study soon to be sent to the concerned authorities—the Ministry of Tourism, the Council of Ministers, and the governorate.

He added that investors fear being forced to open beaches to non-guests if they don’t pay the fees. Beaches were privately opened to hotel guests since the time of inauguration, which is over 20 years for some hotels.

The South Sinai governorate has decided to impose these fees, which reach up to EGP 20m for beaches of hotels that overlook the sea, according to the area exploited by the hotel. The governorate announced that it will start collecting fees from Sharm El-Sheikh and then will impose them later on the rest of the governorate’s hotels.

Magdy Naguib, head of the hotel facilities department at the Chamber of Tourism Establishments, said that the decision to impose fees on the hotels’ beaches is something new and cannot be accepted. When hotels were established, there were no such fees, and owners were not notified of the special fees, which are very expensive, he added.

He explained that according to the legal basis in Sharm El-Sheikh, decision No. 102 of 2010 by the governor of South Sinai illegal. As for the beaches, the chamber is studying their legal basis in order to standardise them in all governorates.

He pointed out that hotels pay all their value-added taxes, business profits, stamp duties, salaries, and more, which means that there is no need to apply more demands, explaining that these fees threaten all hotels built on beaches.

He added that the timing of the payment of these fees is inappropriate due to the economic situation of the hotel owners in light of the current crisis in tourism.

The chairperson of the Egyptian Businessmen Association (EBA), Ahmed Balbaa, said that the decision to impose fees on beaches is unacceptable because it increases the burden on hotel owners in the current period.

He explained that hotel owners incur a lot of commitments and do not have the ability to carry more of the burden.

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160% increase in visitors to Abu Simbel since the beginning of 2017: Aboud http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/160-increase-visitors-abu-simbel-since-beginning-2017-aboud/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/160-increase-visitors-abu-simbel-since-beginning-2017-aboud/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 07:00:59 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616021 Tourist traffic coming from East Asian countries increased since the beginning of 2017, causing a surge in occupancy rates in Abu Simbel hotels 

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The number of visitors to Abu Simbel since the beginning of 2017 registered a 160% increase, compared to the same period in 2016, according to Hossam Aboud, director of Abu Simbel Antiquities.

Aboud said that the number of visitors to the Abu Simbel temples during the current period exceeded 800 visitors a day, compared to only 300 visitors a day last year.

He added that the perpendicularity of sunlight on the face of the King Ramses II statue in Abu Simbel is to witness a heavy influx of foreign visitors—where their number is expected to reach 3,000, compared to 2,500 in 2016.

Aboud pointed out that the tourist occupancy rates in Abu Simbel—six floating hotels and 4 fixed hotels—reached 100%, and the city has received bookings of more than 400 Japanese tourists wanting to witness the aforementioned phenomenon.

He explained that most of the tourists visiting Abu Simbel are Japanese and Chinese, followed by the rest of the East Asian nationalities, as well as a small number of visitors from Europe.

According to Aboud, the Ministry of Antiquities in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and the Aswan governorate held a celebration to mark the 200th anniversary of the sunlight’s perpendicularity on the face of King Ramses II inside the temple. The celebration included the performance of 17 bands, nine of which were foreign.

They also held an exhibition—which will continue for another five months—at the hall of Abu Simbel temple, which features 50 images illustrating the stages of the temple’s discovery, as well as holding a light and sound show in the temple.

He said that the temple was discovered by Italian archaeologist Giovanni Belzoni. The phenomenon of the sun passing over the Abu Simbel temple is planned to be monitored by 12 Italian journalists and others from Germany, the Czech Republic, and other countries.

Hazem Fahmy, director of sales at the Steigenberger hotel in Luxor, said that the tourist movement from East Asian countries in general—especially the Chinese and Japanese markets—has increased since the beginning of 2017, causing a surge in occupancy rates at hotels, while tourist influxes from the European market is still somewhat weak.

He added that the occupancy rates in Luxor’s hotels increased by 15% compared to the same period last year, reaching 55% occupancy rates in hotels, compared to 40% in February 2016. He noted that there was a noticeable improvement in conference tourism as well.

He expected the improvement in tourist traffic to continue after the Scandinavian market lifted the travel ban to Egypt.

Tharwat El-Agamy, chairman of the Chamber of Tourism Companies and Agencies in Upper Egypt, said that the tourist occupancy rate in the Aswan and Luxor governorates did not exceed 20%, and is expected to reach a maximum of 30%, in conjunction with the celebrations of the sun passing directly over the Abu Simbel temple.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt in 2016 was 5.3 million tourists, compared to 9.3 million in 2015, a decline of 43%.

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Projects of Matrouh Conference to come into force within 3 months: Governor   http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/616016/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/616016/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 06:00:40 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616016 Unused fixed assets of the governorate amount to about EGP 100m

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Egypt’s Matrouh governorate prepares to put all projects proposed during the economic conference—dubbed as “Matrouh, The Future of Investment” and held in October 2015—to force within three months, Matrouh Governor Alaa Abu Zeid announced during an interview with Daily News Egypt.

Does the governorate intend to organise a second economic conference in the coming period after the first conference succeeded to attract investment of more than EGP 100bn?

We will not hold another economic conference until we complete the implementation of all the projects of the first economic conference in Matrouh, of which three have already been launched so far. We also expect the launch of a tourism and real-estate project in the ​​Foka area in Dabaa, while other projects will come into force sequentially within 2-3 months.

It is scheduled that the first phase of the Maxim tourism project will be inaugurated in June, at a cost of EGP 14bn in the Sidi Abdel Rahman area. About 45% of the construction works of the first phase has been completed.

The awarding contracts of the economic conference projects were signed in July, received all required approvals from the related authorities, and were incorporated into the strategic plan of the state.

Matrouh Governor Alaa Abu Zeid (DNE Photo)
Matrouh Governor Alaa Abu Zeid
(DNE Photo)

What are the main obstacles facing investors and the role of the governorate in overcoming them?

I feel pity for the investors willing to come to Egypt for investment. When I visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for marketing the Matrouh economic conference and offered investment opportunities in the governorate, the Emirati side was surprised by the idea of ​​marketing the governorate. During the visit, I suggested applying the single-window system to facilitate the required measures for investors. We now have many foreign investors wanting to implement new projects in Matrouh governorate.

I suggested making a map of potential investment opportunities in each governorate and the nature of these projects in order to attract investors to establish new projects in Egypt, since investment became the only resort for Egypt—especially after the recent problems of remittances and the decline of tourism, as well as the shortage of foreign currency. So we should offer investment incentives to encourage investors.

What is the size of the investment plan of Matrouh for the current fiscal year?

The Matrouh investment plan for fiscal year (FY) 2016/2017 amounted to EGP 550m, which were directed to development, service, and infrastructure projects in the eight towns of the governorate.

The investment plan of the governorate in FY 2014/2015 reached EGP 75m.

What are the developments of the establishment of the new artisan zone?

We are working to provide the necessary funding for the establishment of the new artisan zone affiliated with the Ministry of Industry. The new zone will be built on an area of 112,000sqm and located at Kilometer 9 on the coastal road, so as to be away from the residential areas. The artisan workshops would include car maintenance, trade, and blacksmiths. The first phase of the project costs about EGP 10m—financed by the Ministry of Industry. The new zone is to be implemented over two phases at a total cost of EGP 20m. The cost of the project is based on supply and demand mechanisms, as we cannot spend EGP 40-50m to establish new workshops without fully exploiting them.

How many lands were withdrawn from non-serious investors recently?

The governorate has not withdrawn any land from investors during the last two years, as we work to eliminate obstacles facing investors and help them finish their projects.

During the evaluation of the investment proposals, we take into account the identity of the investors, their previous work, and financial solvency, in collaboration with the Administrative Control Authority (ACA) to avoid the withdrawal of land from investors.

Are there any projects held by the governorate in partnership with the private sector?

No, but we are studying the establishment of a dates factory in Siwa with a company specialised in this field and other investors using a usufruct system. The governorate will receive part of the profit, and the investor will take over the factory’s management, operation, and maintenance, as it was stalled for more than 10 years, being rehabilitated by the UAE’s side. It is scheduled to receive the factory by the end of February or early March.

Siwa has about 700,000 palm trees, which produce 84,000 tons of dates, with an average of 120kg per palm.

What is the size of the governorate’s unused fixed assets?

The governorate includes three unused assets, including the land of a cinema complex, a dates factory, and the El Salam market, with an investment value of about EGP 100m. Those assets have not been used for a period of 10-12 years in spite of being ready for usage, but they stopped, and the governorate works to attract investors to re-launch them.

The El Salam market was established in 2009 at a cost of EGP 9m, but it has not been exploited. We also launched the Safir hypermarket and signed the contracts of the project using a usufruct system for 25 years. The new hypermarket is planned to provide 300 job opportunities for the residents of Matrouh, with salaries ranging from EGP 3,000 to EGP 4,000.

Cinema Rim was also closed for many years, but we have recently launched the cinema complex beside a new under-construction mall and hotel.

The dates factory was established in Siwa, but it has not been delivered or operated due to technical flaws in the machines. The factory has been rehabilitated recently to provide more than 120 job opportunities.

What is the value of investment projects scheduled to be implemented in the current year?

The upcoming investment projects worth more than EGP 150bn, including industrial, agricultural, recreational, and service projects, as they are not limited to tourism, as some people claim.

The governorate takes into account several points before the establishment of investment projects, including the development of all towns in the governorate, which has a maximum population of 500,000—although it is the second largest governorate in the country. We also take into account that all towns get benefit from the projects to prevent the internal immigration from one town to another searching for jobs.

For example, El Alamein has the largest economic activities in the governorate due to the continuous development and tourist projects. Therefore, we need to balance the distribution of projects and provide jobs for all the residents of Matrouh, the Nile valley, and the Delta region.

 What are the most prominent projects in the governorates?

There are some major projects, including Entertainment World Company’s project built on an area of 1,300 acres in Matrouh. The project includes an open desert zoo and a water park, and it also includes a group of hotels and a hospital.

There are also agricultural and livestock projects in Siwa, as well as Korean IMG Company’s projects to establish three sewage plants in Marsa Matrouh, Siwa, and El Alamein. The Emirati Bin Haider Real Estate Company and the Saudi Arabian Trading and Construction Company (SATCO) also have some projects to develop the Ageeba and Rommel beach areas, through the establishment of hotels, chalets, restaurants, and a dancing fountain.

The governorate has signed with Wadi Degla Company the contracts for establishing a hotel in the Shabib area in Dabaa two weeks ago. It is scheduled to build the planned hotel on an area of ​​116 acres—with an investment cost of EGP 855m—within a period of three years.

The hotel would include 1,316 rooms and 316 villas, in addition to a water desalination station, sewage and power plants, swimming pools, playgrounds, and sports services. The project is expected to provide 1,000 temporary jobs during its implementation and 700 permanent jobs.

What is Siwa’s share of the development plan in the province?

The first and second International Festival for Egyptian Dates were held in Siwa in cooperation with the UAE, which also signed a protocol with the governorate to establish five schools in Siwa, one of which is an agricultural high school.

The protocol includes the establishment of a solar power plant with a capacity of 10 megawatts and two electricity-generating units with a capacity of 10.4 megawatts at a cost of EGP 30m.

In addition, Bakka Company for Building and Construction implemented a number of agricultural and investment projects in Siwa, including a fish farm, an olive tree farm, and a factory for producing olive oil.

Al-Sanabel Company for Poultry and Agricultural Investment launched a project to produce all types of salt, while Delta for Agricultural Development has established a water filling station.

What are the total job opportunities provided by the governorate over the past year?

The governorate provided more than 9,500 jobs in all towns during 2016.

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Egypt garners international attention thanks to Messi’s visit  http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/616040/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/616040/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:06:05 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616040 Several international Spanish and English newspapers and websites focused on Messi’s visit to Egypt

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On Tuesday, Argentinean football star Lionel Messi paid a visit to Egypt to promote the “Tour n’ Cure” campaign.

Prime Pharma is the company which organised the campaign, which primarily aims to motivate patients of Hepatitis C worldwide to consider treatment in Egypt.

After arriving in Egypt, Messi headed to the Pyramids, which he toured in the afternoon. Furthermore, a photo shoot for the campaign took place there.

After his visit there, he went to launch the campaign at the Mena House Hotel, where several prestigious figures attended.

On Wednesday, international newspapers and news websites focused on the news, including the “Daily Mail”, which wrote about the visit under the title “Lionel Messi takes a break from Barcelona troubles with trip to Egypt.”

The Daily Mail explained that the football star is supporting a campaign that aims to fight Hepatitis C, as well as promoting tourism to Egypt. The country offers efficient and relatively cheap treatment of the virus.

In addition to English newspapers and websites, Spanish ones also focused on the visit, including “La Vanguardia” and “El Mundo Deportivo.”

It seems that the presence of Messi achieved its goals, as Egypt managed to portray itself as a safe country. It was also promoted as a country that is efficiently able to treat patients with Hepatitis C.

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Electoral race for Press Syndicate elections launches http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/electoral-race-press-syndicate-elections-launches/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/electoral-race-press-syndicate-elections-launches/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:58:19 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616045 Current president Yehia Qallash, candidate Abdel Mohsen Salama, and former candidate hopeful Diaa Rashwan indirectly debating through media outlets

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Candidates resumed their electoral campaigns amid the race for the upcoming March elections of the Press Syndicate for the position of the president and membership of the syndicate’s council.

This comes as the syndicate’s committee supervising the elections is meeting with candidates on Wednesday afternoon.

On one side, the managing editor of state-run Al-Ahram, Abdel Mohsen Salama, who is running for the syndicate’s presidency, said Tuesday that he was able to reach an agreement with media business tycoon Ahmed Abou Hashima regarding his acceptance to drop a lawsuit he won against two journalists, therefore eliminating the possibility of their imprisonment.

Former head of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union magazine Hala El-Badry and a fellow journalist were sentenced to six months in jail and fined over charges of publishing a report containing false information about Abou Hashima.

Salama’s slogan focused on opposing the imprisonment of journalists and promises to have those detainees released, including those affiliated to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.

In statements published by Al-Ahram earlier this week, Salama criticised the performance of the current freedoms committee saying it “failed to improve legislations protecting journalists against imprisonment.”

Although officially out of the electoral race, former syndicate president Diaa Rashwan remains a player in the scene at the moment, speaking to the press and commenting about the situation in the syndicate and the candidacy of Qallash, saying that he had recommended its “postponement” as he was “finalising negotiations for a political solution with the state which cold not occur having Qallash in office.”

In a statement he published on Facebook Tuesday, Rashwan said that he was able to “negotiate a solution at the highest state level,” stating that, “my only hope was for Qallash to postpone his candidacy, but he rushed into it only one day before finalising the solution; a solution impossible to implement with him as a candidate.”

However, Rashwan denied that his so-called initiative meant bargaining Qallash’s position in exchange for ending the crisis between the syndicate and the state.

On the other hand, both Salama and Qallash also denied having sat with Rashwan for discussions regarding the syndicate and the elections.

For his part, Qallash visited independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm, claiming that it would be “disastrous to hand the syndicate to those who violated it,” the newspaper reported.

Last May, police forces raided the syndicate and arrested two journalists, a historical and unprecedented incident that led to tensions between journalists and the state and ended up with syndicate leaders being tried over charges of harbouring suspects.

Qallash, along with his deputy, Khaled El-Balshy, and the syndicate’s secretary-general, Gamal Abdel Reheem, face trial in one of the syndicate’s most controversial battles with the security apparatus.

El-Balshy, who headed the freedoms committee, is also running in the elections to renew his position as a member of the council.

In contrast to Salama’s accusations of failure pointed at the freedoms committee, the press community—including the syndicate—had drafted a law back in 2015, in coordination with the cabinet, bringing up new perspectives regarding the protection of journalists and press freedoms.

Although the draft law, known as the “unified press and media law,” was a joint project between press, constitutional and legal experts, the government, and parliament speaker Ali Abdul Aal himself. The unified press and media law project was drafted by the governmental advisory committee for press and media legislations, which had Rashwan as secretary-general. The committee included 45 members representing different media fields—including the press, broadcast, and printing businesses.

However, the press community expressed concerns over the death of the project, accusing the government of annulling their agreements in favour of other newly dissected laws outside of the scope of dialogue, one of which recently passed by the parliament on the organisation of press and media institutions.

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Egyptian parliament says Merkel is to visit Egypt next week, no German confirmation yet  http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/egyptian-parliament-says-merkel-visit-egypt-next-week-no-german-confirmation-yet/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/egyptian-parliament-says-merkel-visit-egypt-next-week-no-german-confirmation-yet/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:29:15 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616042 Germany is the best country to invest in Egypt, so having strong ties with it will support our national economy, says political science professor Hassan Nafaa 

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The Egyptian parliament said in an official statement on Tuesday that German chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Egypt next week. There was, however, no confirmation from the German side so far.

The statement came following a meeting on Tuesday between Johannes Singhammer—one of the vice presidents of the German parliament—and Egyptian parliament speaker Ali Abdul Aal.

According to the statement, the visit was mentioned when Singhammer expressed his country’s concerns to advance its bilateral relations with Egypt.

Merkel’s visit to Egypt was announced in Egyptian media early February, quoting Egypt’s ambassador in Berlin, Badr Abdelatty, speaking about the preparation for the visit, scheduled to take place in March.

However, there was no announcement so far from Germany about Merkel’s visit.

The German embassy in Cairo was also unable to confirm whether or not Merkel would visit. If high-ranked officials are scheduled to visit other countries, there should be an announcement in a press conference one week prior, according to the policy of the German embassy.

Two days ago, Abdelatty repeatedly said in a televised phone call on ”Al-Hayat Al-Youm” programme that Merkel’s visit to Egypt is being arranged and that more German officials are expected to visit Egypt to meet with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and religious figures.

He also added that there is a delegation from the German-Egyptian Parliamentary Friendship Association that will visit Egypt after Merkel’s visit. Following so, the German minister of agriculture will also visit Egypt to discuss the bilateral relations between both countries.

A number of Egyptian political experts are welcoming Merkel’s visit, saying that the visit is important for supporting Egypt in different fields.

Politician Mostafa El-Fikky told news website Masrawy that Merkel’s visit is important, considering Germany’s position in the European Union (EU). The politician saw that the visit will open doors for discussion over the issues of illegal immigrants, US president Donald Trump’s politics, counterterrorism measures, and other topics.

Political science professor Hassan Nafaa told Daily News Egypt that Germany is the best country to invest in Egypt, so having strong ties with it will support the national economy.

Regarding Abdul Aal and Singhammer’s meeting, both focused on bilateral parliamentary relations and issues of mutual interest, such as illegal immigration and counterterrorism.

On his side, Abdul Aal also expressed Egypt’s keenness on advancing relations with Germany in all fields, referring in this regard to the formation of the German-Egyptian Parliamentary Friendship Association.

He also reviewed the latest laws issued by the Egyptian parliament in the first legislative stage, such as the Construction of Churches Law and the Value Added Tax Law.

The German vice president praised the efforts exerted by Egypt in the field of renewing religious discourse, especially the role played by Al-Azhar in this regard. He also praised the recent actions taken by Egypt in the economic field, describing the pound flotation as a right decision.

He also stressed the keenness of the German side to increase the number of German tourists to Egypt during the coming period, pointing out the importance of this visit and other similar visits, to deliver a true image of the Egypt’s stable security situation.

 

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Toyota alliance awaits land allocation to complete financial closure of Suez Gulf wind farm http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/toyota-alliance-awaits-land-allocation-complete-financial-closure-suez-gulf-wind-farm/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/toyota-alliance-awaits-land-allocation-complete-financial-closure-suez-gulf-wind-farm/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:19:15 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616036 EETC signs power purchasing agreement within 2 months, say sources

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Toyota, Orascom, and GD France alliance awaits the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) to complete the land allocation agreement for the Gulf of Suez wind farm and to complete financial closure and sign the power purchasing agreement with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC).

Sources at the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy said that the terms have been agreed upon, that the land will be allocated soon, and that the power purchasing agreement is to be signed within two months.

The sources noted that the ministry agreed to moving arbitration outside of Egypt, but have not decided on a location yet.

The sources pointed out that the ministry will buy the energy at EGP 4.6 per kw/h, which is the cheapest price for wind energy.

The sources explained that the ministry agreed to move arbitration as the alliance did not change the price following flotation.

The Ministry of Finance had approved the government’s guarantee of payment in case of dispute over the establishment of the Gulf of Suez wind farm, which sports a capacity of 250MW.

Based on the ministry’s decision, the state will be responsible for providing official financial guarantees to pay the companies’ dues if the Ministry of Electricity fails to pay the price of produced energy. Such guarantees are always provided for projects agreed to be implemented by the private sector.

The Ministry of Electricity will buy energy produced from the station for 25 years at a price that was agreed upon in accordance with the offer made in the tender. Furthermore, the ministry will sell the produced energy to the distribution companies.

The ministry had started negotiations with GD France, Toyota, and Orascom after its negotiations with Lekela Power-Actis—which had presented the lowest prices—were stalled, because the company did not complete the procedures and requirements announced by the ministry.

The ministry seeks to produce 20% of the total national electricity grid through new and renewable energy by 2020, as part of the ministry’s plan to diversify its sources of energy production and sustainable development in the sector.

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Auerbach Grayson reshuffles its board of directors to now include Naguib Sawiris and others http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/auerbach-grayson-reshuffles-board-directors-now-include-naguib-sawiris-others/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/auerbach-grayson-reshuffles-board-directors-now-include-naguib-sawiris-others/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:15:00 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616038 A partnership agreement between Arqaam Capital and Auerbach Grayson has been approved 

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New York brokerage Auerbach Grayson—60% owned by Beltone Financial Holding—has reshuffled its board of directors to include Naguib Sawiris; Ayman Suleiman, board member of Beltone Financial Holding; Bassem Azab, CEO of Beltone Financial Holding; David Grayson, one of the founders of Auerbach Grayson; and Daniel Sigg, director at Laguna Trustees Limited.

A partnership agreement has been approved between Arqaam Capital and Auerbach Grayson, with the intention of providing investment opportunities in the Arabian Gulf region and South Africa to Auerbach Grayson clients.

Chairperson of Beltone Financial Holding, Sameh El-Torgoman, said in a press release that this agreement comes within the framework of an ongoing review and evaluation of Auerbach Grayson’s partnership network that spans more than 125 countries.

Such a review comes in the context of Beltone Financial’s current and future strategy to provide the best investment opportunities in promising and emerging markets to its clients.

Moreover, Auerbach Grayson has recently expanded its business to include high-volume transactions in the US and worldwide markets and adopted automated trading systems.

In the future, Auerbach Grayson will be able to expand in the field of asset management and investment banking in many markets after Beltone Financial Holding acquired 60% of the company.

 

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Air Defence Stadium case postponed to 9 April http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/air-defence-stadium-case-postponed-9-april/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/air-defence-stadium-case-postponed-9-april/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:09:40 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616034 The 16 defendants are accused of initiating a riot that led to the death of 22 fans in February 2015

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The North Cairo Criminal Court postponed on Wednesday the trial of 16 defendants accused of initiating a riot—in relation to the Air Defence Stadium clashes case—to 9 April.

In the Air Defence Stadium case, during an Egyptian premier league football in 2015, violent clashes took place between Al-Zamalek SC and ENPPI fans, leading to the deaths of 20 Al-Zamalek SC football fans.

Late prosecutor general Hisham Barakat previously claimed that Muslim Brotherhood members provided the Ultras White Knights, fans affiliated to Cairo’s Al-Zamalek football Club, with money and explosive materials to incite the riots and violence that led to the killings, in addition to attacking and injuring police forces and burning a police car.

Also, the Ministry of Interior said violence occurred after Ultras White Knights tried to attend the game without having bought tickets.

There are severe tensions between the Ultras groups in both Al-Ahly and Al-Zamalek sports clubs and the interior ministry, which have led to previous clashes and arrests.

Regarding Al-Zamalek, the clashes particularly increased following the election of controversial lawyer and vocal army supporter Mortada Mansour as club president.

Mansour has been inciting people against the fans by calling them thugs, Muslim Brotherhood members, and traitors. He made several attempts to limit their presence in stadiums by suggesting an application process for attendance.

 

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Mobile operators offer their voice services to TE  http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/mobile-operators-offer-voice-services-te/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/mobile-operators-offer-voice-services-te/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:57:50 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616031 Mobile phone companies offered their voice services to be used by Telecom Egypt (TE) in phases that are being agreed upon. TE is to offer mobile services this year. Sources told Daily News Egypt that mobile operators are currently negotiating with TE on the schedule necessary to cover the services to be provided by the …

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Mobile phone companies offered their voice services to be used by Telecom Egypt (TE) in phases that are being agreed upon. TE is to offer mobile services this year.

Sources told Daily News Egypt that mobile operators are currently negotiating with TE on the schedule necessary to cover the services to be provided by the three mobile operators in Egypt for the benefit of TE.

The TE license includes providing mobile voice services through the three mobile operators after signing an agreement to provide national roaming with three operators and buy voice minutes and re-sell them to the consumer. TE is also to pay an amount in exchange for the use of the mobile operators’ networks.

The sources added that the mobile operator companies asked for TE’s plan in the geographical expansion in order to determine the phases necessary to cover services provided to TE at the level of the republic. Mobile operators will work to establish new towers and stations to accommodate the increase in utilisation rates according to TE’s plan.

The National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) has decided to extend the deadline granted to TE to sign agreements with mobile operators after the previous deadline expired in December.

TE received a license to provide mobile services and 4G frequencies for EGP 7.08bn.

TE has asked mobile operators to provide the technical plans necessary for the use of networks to provide mobile services in the local market, which include technical solutions to cope with emergencies throughout the day.

TE discussed with mobile operators about providing the best technical solutions for securing devices and equipment of the companies, in addition to a proposal to provide the best level of service, according to the sources.

The sources added that mobile operators asked the NTRA to make the national roaming agreement an integral part of TE’s license to provide mobile services. They also requested the NTRA to set a condition for the renewal of the national roaming agreement to TE when it fulfils all of its obligations arising from the agreement.

TE has announced that it will provide mobile services in the domestic market as soon as the first domestic roaming agreement is signed with one of the mobile operators, without being bound by the signing of agreements with the other operators.

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Defence Minister pays official visit to Hungary to discuss military cooperation  http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/defence-minister-pays-official-visit-hungary-discuss-military-cooperation/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/defence-minister-pays-official-visit-hungary-discuss-military-cooperation/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:54:25 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616029 The visit deepens bilateral military relations and defence industry cooperation, says army spokesperson

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Egyptian Minister of Defence Sedki Sobhi held talks on Wednesday with his Hungarian counterpart, István Simicskó, in Budapest during an official visit paid by Sobhi to Hungary, the offical army spokesperson said in a Facebook statement.

Both ministers discussed deepening bilateral military relations and defence industry cooperation, as well as security policy issues, including the migration crisis and the fight against terrorism. They agreed that cooperation is a “common interest” for the two countries.

Earlier, in July 2016, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi held a meeting with the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán to boost bilateral relations. They discussed ways to improve the relations between Egypt and Hungary, especially in the fields of economics and investments.

Both sides signed five memoranda of understanding (MOU) in various fields, such as water resources and agriculture.

At that time, the Hungarian side pledged to fund and import 700 train carriages for the Egyptian railway. The Egyptian minister of defence also signed an MOU with his Hungarian counterpart to boost military cooperation.

 

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IBM and Visa collaborate to create potential points of sale with Watson Internet of Things http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/ibm-visa-collaborate-create-potential-points-sale-watson-internet-things/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/ibm-visa-collaborate-create-potential-points-sale-watson-internet-things/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:33:04 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616013 IBM and Visa work together towards a common vision for IoT at IBM’s first ever “Genius of Things” summit

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IBM and Visa Inc. announced last week their first collaboration bringing points of sale wherever Visa is accepted through allowing businesses to swiftly introduce secure payment experiences for devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT).

This collaboration merges both IBM’s Watson IoT platform and cognitive capabilities with Visa’s global payment services that has over 3 billion users worldwide.

IBM’s Watson IoT platform—used by over 6,000 IBM clients—allows businesses to connect to billions of connected devices, sensors, and systems globally, and then draw actionable insights.

What both IBM and Visa have in common is their vision and commitment to embed payments and commerce into any device—watches, rings, appliances, or cars.

IBM and Visa’s collaboration allows companies to infuse secure payments across their entire product lines using the Visa Token Service, which is a new security technology that replaces sensitive payment account information that’s found on payment cards with a unique digital identifier, through IBM’s Watson IoT platform.

This would result in both IBM and Visa being able to support payments and commerce on many of the 20 billion connected devices that are predicted to be in the global economy by the year 2020.

Harriet Green, the general manager of IBM Watson IoT, said in a press release that “IoT is literally changing the world around us, whether it’s allowing businesses to achieve unimaginable levels of efficiency or enabling a washing machine to ensure we never run out of detergent. And behind this transformation are companies like Visa and technologies like IBM’s Watson IoT platform.”

“This combination of IBM’s industry-leading IoT technologies with Visa payment services signifies the next defining moment in commerce by allowing payments on any connected object, with new levels of simplicity and convenience for everyone,” he added.

An example of commerce-based IoT given by IBM in a press release is the consumer’s car.

Experts are estimating that 380 million cars will be connected by 2021, allowing drivers to be alerted whenever the car’s warranty or certification is about to expire or if any of the car’s parts need replacement, through the car ecosystem’s connection to the Watson IoT Platform.

It also would allow drivers to pay for gas through a direct interaction between the car and the petrol pump.

Visa Inc.’s executive vice president, Jim McCarthy, said in a press release that, “the Internet of Things is not only driving a more connected world; it’s changing the way we live, shop, and pay, by moving data and the point-of-sale to wherever the consumer wants it to be, and with the power of Watson’s cognitive technologies and IBM’s leadership in IoT and security, they are the ideal partner to help us deliver secure payments to ‘virtually anywhere’ and on the enormous scale of the IoT.”

This collaboration allows a future for IBM’s Watson IoT Platform customers to have access to Visa payment services through the IBM cloud.

So, instead of approaching businesses on a one-by-one basis, IBM and Visa will enable customers gain access to these capabilities in order to begin building personalised commerce experiences and proactively make recommendations based on the consumers’ different needs.

 

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Minister of Investment participates in Egyptian-Lebanese Business Forum in Lebanon  http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/minister-investment-participates-egyptian-lebanese-business-forum-lebanon/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/minister-investment-participates-egyptian-lebanese-business-forum-lebanon/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:30:14 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616011 Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr is scheduled to fly to Lebanon on a two-day visit to participate in the Egyptian-Lebanese Business Forum, which is taking place in Beirut. The forum is scheduled to be opened by the prime minister of Lebanon, Saad El-Hariry, on Thursday. 200 businesspeople from both countries will participate, …

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Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr is scheduled to fly to Lebanon on a two-day visit to participate in the Egyptian-Lebanese Business Forum, which is taking place in Beirut.

The forum is scheduled to be opened by the prime minister of Lebanon, Saad El-Hariry, on Thursday.

200 businesspeople from both countries will participate, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Investment on Wednesday.

The statement added that Nasr is preparing the eighth meeting of the supreme committee headed by both prime ministers of Egypt and Lebanon, which is supposed to take place in Cairo in March. The meeting should discuss improving the bilateral investment and economic relations.

Nasr said in the statement that the presidents of both countries are interested in the meeting of the supreme committee, which hasn’t gathered since 2010, adding that relations between Lebanon and Egypt are already improving. Egypt is looking forward to more cooperation with Lebanon after it became more politically stable, the statement read.

Nasr added that she will talk with a lot of Lebanese investors and businesspeople to discuss the removal of all problems they might face in Egypt, which aims at attracting more investments and benefiting the available sources in Egypt.

“The meeting is very important because it will establish the Council of Lebanese-Egyptian Businessmen, which will play an important role in increasing the exports to Africa through the initiative of ‘Egypt-Lebanon to Africa’ that will create a breakthrough in the Arab economy,” the statement read. The minister is supposed to sign agreements and memorandums of understanding that will enhance bilateral relations in all economic fields.

She also said that the committee will work on removing any obstacles that might prevent raising the value of trade exchange.

It’s worth mentioning that Lebanon is ranked 13th out of the countries investing in Egypt. It has 1,416 companies there—with a total capital worth of $1.2bn—which create more than 30,300 job opportunities. The investments are all over different fields, such as tourism, services, and industry.

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Admasco Oil Field Services to establish a maintenance factory with investments of $10m http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/admasco-oil-field-services-establish-maintenance-factory-investments-10m/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/admasco-oil-field-services-establish-maintenance-factory-investments-10m/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:26:05 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616008 Shortage of hard cash hinders expansion, says El Noury

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Admasco Oil Field Services Company aims to establish a maintenance factory in Egypt with investments of $10m.

Chairperson of the company, Hesham Gamal El Noury, said the company is now studying the feasibility of the plant and the proposed sites in Cairo.

He noted that the company has investments in Egypt of some $5m, spanning different projects with different partners.

El Noury said that the most challenging obstacle facing the company in Egypt is shortage of hard cash, especially that most of its partners prefer to pay in Egyptian pounds. He explained that the company sometimes has to agree, but that comes with losses of up to 30%.

He stated that legislation and laws governing investment in Egypt are attractive for Arab and foreign companies. “Yet, the shortage of hard cash on the market hinders our expansion plans and limits our business size,” he added.

Admasco Oil Field Services Company has been operating in the field of petroleum services since 1982. The company is owned entirely by a group of Emirati businesspeople.

The Egyptian government has been seeking to maximise the added value of the petroleum wealth of Egypt and has continued to work on attracting foreign investment to transform Egypt into a regional centre for trade and energy trading, in the context of comprehensive and sustainable development objectives.

Minister of Petroleum Tarek El Molla said in recent remarks that supporting and developing the investment climate in the current phase are on top of the ministry’s priorities to attract further foreign and Arab investments to the field of research, exploration, and development of wells discovered—aiming to support the reserves and increase production rates.

He noted that the ministry is keen on maintaining partnerships with foreign companies working in Egypt to achieve mutual benefit.

 

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Coptic man and his son found killed in Al-Arish http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/coptic-man-son-found-killed-al-arish/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/coptic-man-son-found-killed-al-arish/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:20:19 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=615965 The IS-affiliated group of "Sinai Province" is believed to be responsible for the crime and aims to drive Copts from North Sinai, says Al-Arish MP

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Two Coptic citizens were found killed on Wednesday inside the North Sinai’s city of Al-Arish. Their copses had been thrown behind a state-run language school inside Al-Arish, a member of parliament (MP) representing Al-Arish city, Hossam El Refaay, told Daily News Egypt.

The two corpses belong to an elderly Coptic man named Saied Hakim—65 years old—and his son, Medhat Saied—45 years old. The father was killed by gunshots to his head, a local journalist said on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, his son was burnt alive. The two are believed to have been subjected to a kidnapping conducted by anonymous militants, days before the killing took place. The kidnappers are suspected to be members of the IS-affiliated group of “Sinai Province.”

On a regular basis, Coptic citizens inside North Sinai are being subjected to kidnapping by militants and are brutally killed. The main goal of these operations is to force Coptic citizens inside Al-Arish to leave, said MP Hossam El Refaay.

El Refaay asserted to Daily News Egypt on Wednesday that the kidnappings conducted by “Sinai Province” target both Coptic and Muslim citizens, adding that these operations are furthermore aiming to create sectarian strife between Muslims and Coptic citizens in North Sinai.

“The investigations regarding the burnt Coptic citizen and his killed father are still ongoing. There is no information regarding the identity of the perpetrators of the incident until now. We, as parliament members representing North Sinai, ask on a regular basis for rapid revision of the security strategy in the governorate,” El Refaay noted.

A week ago, a veterinary doctor was assassinated by anonymous militants, who shot him while he was leaving his private clinic in Al-Obour suburb in Al-Arish, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported.

According to the newspaper, the killed veterinary doctor is a Coptic resident of Al-Arish and was subjected to heavy shooting from militants immediately after he left the clinic.

“The Coptic veterinary doctor was killed by militants of the IS-affiliated group of ‘Sinai Province,’ as they have recently targeted the city’s Coptic residents. His name is Bahgat William Zakhar,” a North-Sinai-based journalist told Daily News Egypt at that time— speaking on condition of anonymity.

Residents of North Sinai’s cities of Al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid, and Rafah are regularly being subjected to numerous kidnappings and killings carried out by militants affiliated to the “Sinai Province” group. Many residents, suspected to be army and security operators by the militants, are affected.

Since 2013, state security forces, represented by both the army and the police, have been engaged in violent clashes with “Sinai Province”, previously known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis. In 2014, the group declared its affiliation to IS and has launched deadly attacks on army and police checkpoints.

Over the course of the last two years, the Egyptian armed forces have launched counterattacks against militant stationing points across the Sinai Peninsula where the group is based, particularly in the cities of Sheikh Zuweid, Rafah, and Al-Arish.

 

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Suez Canal revenues decline in wake of sluggish global trade http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/suez-canal-revenues-decline-wake-sluggish-global-trade/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/22/suez-canal-revenues-decline-wake-sluggish-global-trade/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:15:36 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616006 Global trade volume needs to rise by 9% a year for Egypt to gain its return on investment (ROI) for the New Suez Canal 

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Suez Canal revenues declined by 4% in January, compared to the same period in 2016. The total revenues registered at $395.2m in January versus $411.8m in the same month in 2016. One of the main reasons behind the decline in revenues is the diminishing global trade.

2016 was the fifth consecutive year of sluggish trade growth and the year with the weakest trade performance since the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008. Current estimates of growth in the volume of trade in goods and services range from 1.9-2.5%, but preliminary high-frequency data suggests that merchandise trade volumes may have grown by only about 1%, according to the World Bank’s “Trade Developments in 2016” report published on Tuesday.

According to the report, 2016 does stand out among the other post-2008 years, due to the fact that trade sluggishness is a characteristic of both advanced and emerging economies. Since 2008, trade values of services and trade values of goods have followed different trajectories, with growth in services trade being more resilient during the global financial crisis and the global trade slowdown of recent years.

The report cites that trade developments in 2016 continued to reflect enduring structural determinants, such as the maturing of global value chains (GVCs) and the slower pace of trade liberalisation, as well as cyclical factors and notably slow global growth.

Moreover, the increase in political uncertainty may also have contributed to trade slowing down further in 2016. The negative correlation between economic policy’s uncertainty and trade growth is confirmed when we look at a broader sample spanning 18 countries over 30 years. The analysis in the report indicates that a 1% increase in uncertainty is associated with a 0.02% reduction in volume growth in goods and services trade.

Consequently, the increase in uncertainty in 2016 may have reduced trade growth by about 0.6%, which is equivalent to around 75% of the difference between trade growth rates in 2015 and 2016.

Egypt has recently expanded the Suez Canal by creating a second lane in the canal to reduce waiting times; the total investments of the project were around $8.2bn. In order for Egypt to gain a return on the Suez Canal expansion project investment, global trade volume would need to rise by around 9% a year for the canal to reach its traffic goal, according to a Capital Economics report.

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