Daily News Egypt Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English 2016-12-07T17:56:43Z http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/feed/atom/ Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[Trump’s administration will include vital roles for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel: Ibrahim]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603506 2016-12-07T17:56:43Z 2016-12-07T17:56:43Z The post Trump’s administration will include vital roles for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel: Ibrahim appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[DNE News Brief: 7 December 2016]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603496 2016-12-07T17:53:59Z 2016-12-07T17:53:59Z The post DNE News Brief: 7 December 2016 appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Amr Eissa http://www.alborsanews.com <![CDATA[In Cartoon: The rich stay satisfied while the poor continue to grapple with the woes of illiteracy and illness]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603504 2016-12-07T17:52:05Z 2016-12-07T17:52:05Z The post In Cartoon: The rich stay satisfied while the poor continue to grapple with the woes of illiteracy and illness appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Taha Sakr <![CDATA[45 arrested in large-scale international organ trafficking ring]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603443 2016-12-07T16:00:31Z 2016-12-07T16:00:31Z Among the arrested were doctors, professors and nurses from various institutions

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Forty-five suspects accused of being members of a massive international human organ trafficking ring were arrested by security forces on Tuesday. According to a statement published by the Ministry of Health, the criminal organisation includes doctors and nurses.

The suspects were referred to the prosecution which decided on Wednesday to imprison 24 of the 45 defendants for 15 days pending investigations, according to state-run newspaper Al-Ahram.

The newspaper also reported that the nurses involved in the criminal organisation confessed to their involvement, adding that the doctors were paid EGP 50,000-60,000 for every organ harvested. The doctors have denied the accusations.

The Health Ministry said the ring was being monitored and the arrest was carried out with the help of the Administrative Control Authority (ACA), adding that several workers, patients and brokers were also arrested.

Meanwhile, the ACA said in a statement it issued following the arrest operation that the criminal enterprise was comprised of both Egyptian and Arab nationals.

The Ministry of Health said that among the arrested were medical professors working for the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University and its Ain Shams University affiliate. Other doctors that have been arrested include doctors working for the Ahmed Maher educational hospital and various privately-owned medical centres and labs.

“The campaign targeted a number of privately licensed and unlicensed hospitals and medical centres, most of which are based in Giza,” the Health Ministry’s statement said.

The Doctors Syndicate issued a statement saying it is monitoring the arrests, adding that it will be referring the accused doctors to a disciplinary committee as a preface to removing their names from the syndicate’s registers.

“The Doctors Syndicate is following the case and condemns the acts of human organ trafficking by the 12 doctors arrested. All doctors involved in the ring will be referred to a disciplinary committee affiliated to the syndicate in order to punish them by removing their names from the registers if the accusations are proven to be true.” the syndicate’s statement read.

The Ministry of Health said the accused exploited the economic situation of some Egyptians and the suffering of some patients and their need for treatment. Their statement added that 10 medical centres and hospitals have been raided and investigated. They have also been temporarily shut down pending investigations.

In August, six people were arrested on charges of forming a gang specialised in human organ trafficking. According to a statement issued from the Ministry of Interior, among the arrested were a husband and wife as well as four other associates who ran the criminal ring in southern Cairo’s Basateen neighbourhood, persuading people to sell their organs for money through an unlicensed medical centre.

The husband’s apartment was the operational headquarters of the ring where they gathered victims and provided medical care to them before and after surgeries.

 

 

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Taha Sakr <![CDATA[Magdy Makeen’s autopsy report proves his death was result of torture: lawyer]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603441 2016-12-07T15:53:12Z 2016-12-07T15:53:12Z Makeen was tortured, allegedly by police officers at Al-Amiriya police station, after being arrested on 13 November

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The autopsy report for Magdy Makeen proves that his death was the result of torture, said lawyer Mohamed Osman on Wednesday.

Osman is a member of the defence team representing Makeen who was tortured to death, allegedly by police forces.

According to Osman, the autopsy report issued by the Forensic Authority stipulated that torture was the reason for Makeen’s death. The report indicated that someone had stood on Makeen’s back, which resulted in Makeen experiencing a severe state of panic, and then he developed a blood clot in his lungs, which resulted in his death.

“The defence team authorised by Makeen’s family asserts that the autopsy report is consistent with testimonies from several witnesses, who confirmed that Makeen was subjected to assaults. The report also supports the content extracted from video surveillance in the police department,” Osman explained in a statement on his Facebook page.

Makeen was tortured, allegedly by 10 police officers at Al-Amiriya police station, after being arrested on 13 November while driving a cart with two of his friends. His family found out about his death on 14 November and decided to transfer the body to Al-Zaytoun hospital, where they found signs of assault and torture on his body.

The incident went viral on social media platforms and stirred public outrage calling for an end to police brutality and demanding accountability for his torture.

Some media outlets had published an autopsy report alleging that Makeen was diabetic and had died due to low blood pressure. However, the forensics department has refuted this claim.

Since the start of 2016, there have been a string of cases of police abuse directed against civilians. The Ministry of Interior often does not comment on such cases.

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[Foreign Affairs Minister attempts to alleviate tension with Saudi Arabia]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603439 2016-12-07T15:49:19Z 2016-12-07T15:49:19Z Kuwait will mediate to bring Egypt and Saudi Arabia’s visions closer together, says Kuwaiti deputy foreign minister

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Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry attempted on Wednesday to alleviate the tension between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, saying that bilateral ties between the two countries are strong and historic.

In an interview with London’s Middle East newspaper, Shoukry said bilateral relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia are special in terms of the leadership and the people of the two countries.

According to Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai, deputy foreign minister Khaled Al-Jarallah said on Tuesday that Kuwait will attempt to mediate between Egypt and Saudi Arabia to find a common ground between them and bring their visions closer together.

 

Bilateral relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been significantly strained in recent times, following Egypt’s vote in favour of the Russian draft resolution in the United Nations security council in October. Saudi envoy to the UN described this vote as “painful”. Saudi Arabia is backing the rebels in Syria while Russia, along with Iran, are backing Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad.

 

Political analyst Tarek Fahmy previously told Daily News Egypt that the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen that fights Houthi rebels is also one of the main problems between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as Egypt supported the coalition and became part of it; however, it has not made major contributions to it.

Another obstacle that led the two countries to their current dead-end is that Egypt has not sufficiently supported Saudi Arabia in the Justice against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). This law would have given US citizens who lost acquaintances and relatives in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center the right to sue Saudi Arabia. However, this law was vetoed by US president Barack Obama.

This is not the first time Shoukry denied tension with Saudi Arabia. In a press conference with his Spanish counterpart in October, Shoukry said that ties between the two countries are rather strong.

 

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Mohamed Farag <![CDATA[EETC contracts with EPS to prepare reports on establishing Benban transformer stations]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603437 2016-12-07T15:40:39Z 2016-12-07T15:40:39Z KEC to establish overhead electricity transmission lines for EGP 622m

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The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) signed a contract with EPS Electric Power Systems to prepare reports on the establishment of four transformer stations to transfer the electricity produced from solar plants in Benban, Aswan to the national grid.

A source at the Ministry of Electricity said the company was selected from four consulting offices that bid to prepare the reports. He noted that the company will hand in the reports in 30 days.

Investors had refused to pay the third instalment of the power purchase agreement of EGP 10m this month, saying they will delay the payment until the government hires a consulting company to prepare reports on the transformer stations.

The cost-sharing agreement is one of five agreements that investors who qualify to implement new and renewable energy projects on the feed-in tariff system must sign. The agreement provides for sharing the cost of linking the to-be-built solar power plants to the national grid, as well as the infrastructure on the project site in Benban.

All companies have paid EGP 20m of the total linkage costs of EGP 32m, in addition to 12.5% additional expenses.

The EETC also signed an agreement with KEC International Limited to establish a dual overhead electricity transmission line of 500 kV south of Helwan, east of Zahraa Maadi with a length of 100km.

Head of the EETC, Gamal Abdel Rahim, said the contract is worth EGP 622m that will be funded from the World Bank.

 

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Mohamed Alaa El-Din <![CDATA[ACT achieves 25% growth rates for 2016]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603432 2016-12-07T15:36:42Z 2016-12-07T15:36:42Z Senior marketing manager at the company Advanced Computer Technology (ACT) Hazem Mansi said the company achieved growth rates of 25% in 2016, compared to the previous year, bringing the company’s total value to EGP 560m. Mansi explained that ACT’s business portfolio with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) increased by 20% during 2016 compared to last year. …

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Senior marketing manager at the company Advanced Computer Technology (ACT) Hazem Mansi said the company achieved growth rates of 25% in 2016, compared to the previous year, bringing the company’s total value to EGP 560m.

Mansi explained that ACT’s business portfolio with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) increased by 20% during 2016 compared to last year.

ACT aims to increase the value of the company during 2017 to reach EGP 800m and to develop and increase its portfolio with HPE through its strategy for 2017, which focuses on innovative technological solutions that represent an added value for ACT’s customers, Mansi said.

ACT was granted the Best Partner award by Aruba for its outstanding performance in growing the business and its role in national and strategic projects carried out in Egypt in 2016.

 

 

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Reem Hosam El-din <![CDATA[Raya Holding to acquire International Union for Integrated Food Industries]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603431 2016-12-07T15:34:21Z 2016-12-07T15:34:21Z The preliminary contract’s initial value is estimated at EGP 80m

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Raya Holding for Financial Investments announced on Tuesday the signing of a preliminary contract to fully acquire the International Union for Integrated Food Industries (LAZAH), according to a report sent by the company to the Egyptian Exchange (EGX).

“The contract was signed with an initial value of EGP 80m,” the report said. The final results of the due diligence currently undertaken by the company will determine the final value of the acquisition. The final contract would be signed afterwards, when all the conditions in the preliminary contract are met.

The chief financial officer of Raya, Samer El Waziri, said the company will be announcing more details of the acquisition in the near future. “We are looking into further investments in the food industries sector. Everything is currently under study and we are waiting for the right opportunity to present our plans to our board of directors in order to obtain approvals for potential expansions,” he added.

Raya has previously announced their intention to investments an estimated EGP 150m into the acquisition of a food industry factory. In October the company announced that its board of directors had agreed to begin negotiations to acquire a company working in the local market and with exports, without revealing the company’s name.

In July, Raya was in talks to buy 20% of the Polish food manufacturer Makarony Polsike, according to Raya chairperson Medhat Khalil. Raya planned to build a food factory on a 100,000 sqm plot of land in Ain Sokhna if the transaction was successful, Khalil had said.

 

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Mohamed Ayyad <![CDATA[Danish companies study investments in different sectors in Egypt: GAFI chairperson]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603427 2016-12-07T15:29:46Z 2016-12-07T15:29:46Z We encourage Danish investors to invest in Egypt owing to its importance in the region, says Danish ambassador

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Several Danish companies operating in different investment sectors are studying the possibility of making new investments in the Egyptian market during the coming period, according to a press release to the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) on Wednesday.

Mohamed Khodeir, executive chairperson of GAFI, met with a delegation headed by the Danish ambassador to Cairo, Susan Shane, which included major Danish companies operating in Egypt in strategic sectors such as pharmaceuticals, food and agricultural industries, and information technology.

Shane emphasised the embassy’s commitment to encouraging Danish companies to invest in Egypt, especially as the Egyptian market is one of the largest and most promising markets in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Khodeir said the Ministry of Investment and GAFI are eager to meet with all investors and the business community on a regular basis to follow up on the status of these projects, as well as to provide support and assistance and solve any obstacles.

The chairperson presented the Supreme Council for Investment’s latest decisions to the Danish companies. These moves aim to accelerate the pace of economic activity and facilitate procedures for projects and licences in Egypt. This comes within the government’s efforts to create a healthy investment climate, and restore the local and international business community’s confidence in the market.

The Ministry of Investment is currently coordinating with representatives of various business organisations and governmental agencies to complete discussions on the new investment law so as to activate it as soon as possible.

The law includes a group of investment guarantees and incentives that take into account the right of the state and support the investor.

According to GAFI’s website, Denmark ranks 34th among countries investing in Egypt with 149 companies and a capital estimated at $169.3m.

 

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[Cabinet approves modifying controversial article in 2013 Protest Law]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603429 2016-12-07T15:22:37Z 2016-12-07T15:22:37Z Cancelling, moving, or postponing a protest should be based on a judicial decision made prior to the start of a protest, says cabinet 

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The cabinet approved during its weekly meeting headed by Prime Minster Sherif Ismail a draft law introduced to modify Article 10 of the 2013 Protest Law. According to a statement released by the cabinet on Wednesday, the draft law has been submitted to the State Council.

The suggested amendment stipulates that the Minister of Interior or any concerned official, such as a security director, has the right to demand a judge annul, postpone, or move any protest if any information regarding potential threats to public safety surfaces prior to a planned protest taking place.

According to the statement, the assigned judge should then issue a verdict on whether or not to postpone, move, or cancel the protest. Protest organisers would also be granted the opportunity to appeal the decision.

Article 10 of the Protest Law gave the Ministry of Interior the right to ban protests.

Recently, the Constitutional Court declared Article 10 unconstitutional, saying it contradicted Article 73 of the Constitution, which stipulates that protesting is the right of an individual and no authority should interfere.

The Protest Law was issued in late November 2013 by interim president Adly Mansour. The law imposes a series of restrictions, such as requiring protesters to file for permission at the nearest police station.

Police stations often reject the request.

In addition, the number of protesters is not allowed to exceed the number filed in the request, nor are they allowed to move the protest to another location not specified in their initial request.

The Protest Law has been condemned and criticised by multiple international and local non-governmental organisations, who say that thousands have been detained for protesting and are currently serving harsh prison sentences.

 

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[Women’s rights advocate Azza Soliman arrested from her home]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603425 2016-12-07T15:06:03Z 2016-12-07T15:06:03Z Soliman was previously banned from travelling to Jordan to attend a rights conference in Amman

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Women’s rights advocate Azza Soliman, also the director of the Center of Egyptian Women Legal Assistance (CEWLA), was arrested by security forces from her home in Heliopolis on Wednesday, according to the centre.

The arrest warrant against Soliman was issued by judge Hesham Abdel Mageed, who is investigating the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) foreign funding case that Soliman is involved in.

Shortly after the arrest, it was reported that Soliman was taken to the Heliopolis police station. However, human rights activist Gamal Eid said that she is being transferred to the court of Fifth Settlement.

Lawyers believe that there will be several arrest warrants issued against several other activists who are involved in the NGOs foreign funding case, according to journalist Hossam Bahgat who is also involved in the case.

On 22 November, Soliman filed an appeal against the decision that was issued against her by the general prosecutor, ordering the freeze of her assets. She was told that her assets were frozen by bank employees.

On 19 November, Soliman was barred from travelling to the Jordanian capital of Amman to attend a rights conference. The security forces at the airport failed to provide her with a reason for the ban. Soliman told Daily News Egypt back then that she will visit the general prosecutor to understand the reasons behind the decision.

 

Over the past few months, several rights lawyers and activists were banned from travelling and had their assets frozen due to their involvement in the NGOs foreign funding case, including Bahgat and Eid.

 

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Hossam Mounir http://www.dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[Repatriating profits of foreign companies pushes Egyptian pound down against US dollar]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603423 2016-12-07T14:54:10Z 2016-12-07T14:54:10Z The price of the national currency saw devaluation on Wednesday, reaching EGP 17.8201 for buying and EGP 18.1659 for selling against the US dollar. The price on Tuesday stood at EGP 17.6749 for buying and EGP 18.0619 for selling. The price of the greenback has been increasing since Sunday, winning about EGP 0.13 since. The …

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The price of the national currency saw devaluation on Wednesday, reaching EGP 17.8201 for buying and EGP 18.1659 for selling against the US dollar. The price on Tuesday stood at EGP 17.6749 for buying and EGP 18.0619 for selling.

The price of the greenback has been increasing since Sunday, winning about EGP 0.13 since.

The head of treasury at a bank in Egypt attributed the increase to foreign companies demanding hard cash to repatriate their profits abroad, which led banks to raise the price of the greenback to attract more liquidity and cover the demand.

He noted that the demand is higher at some banks compared to others, which explains why the price varies from one bank to another.

Some banks have raised the price of the US dollar by almost EGP 0.30, hitting EGP 17.95 for buying and EGP 18-5-18.75 for selling.

 

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Taha Sakr <![CDATA[Armed forces declare Sheikh Zuweid a safe city despite active attacks]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603420 2016-12-07T14:40:23Z 2016-12-07T14:40:23Z Army assert that a semblance of normalcy has been restored by releasing video of displaced residents returning to the city

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Despite ongoing attacks by the Islamic State (IS)-affiliated group “Sinai Province”, displaced residents have been returned to the tumultuous city of Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai after the Egyptian Armed Forces declared that they have restored a semblance of normalcy.

A video was released by official army spokesperson Mohamed Samir on his Facebook page, showing residents re-entering the city and receiving gifts such as flags and food rations from the army.

“There is now a semblance of normalcy inside the city against after great successes in counter-terrorism achieved by the army in North Sinai,” Samir said in a press statement.

Contrary to the army’s declaration of stability, on Thursday morning there was an explosion in Sheikh Zuweid, targeting a religious institute affiliated to Al-Azhar. There were no casualties.

Grand Mufti Shawky Allam condemned the incident, considering it an attempt by extremists to destroy Al-Azhar’s enlightened ideology that works to eliminate their terrorism, according to a statement issued from Dar Al-Ifta.

Residents in North Sinai were displaced due to intensive military operations as well as for their own safety—militants often forced residents to allow them to hide in their homes, according to earlier testimonies issued from Sheikh Zuweid residents to Daily News Egypt.

“Sinai Province” has also taken to kidnapping citizens who they believe to be army operators or informants. More often than not, these citizens are killed after being subject to investigations and their bodies left in public squares.

In November, “Sinai Province” published footage of two elderly men which the group had decapitated. The group considered the men to be infidels, and claimed they were priests.

Several residents from Al-Arish, who had spoken to Daily News Egypt on condition of anonymity, denied that the two elderly men were priests.

One resident said the first man is Sheikh Abu Qatifan. Who had been kidnapped by unknown militants. Residents identified the second man in the photos as Sheikh Soliman Abu Harraz who is almost 100-years-old. This sheikh is considered one of the most prominent Islamic figures in North Sinai and was recently kidnapped from his home in Al-Arish.

Since 2013, Sheikh Zuweid is one of several cities in North Sinai that has seen ongoing conflict between the current Egyptian regime and militants.

This militant group possesses several stationing points in Sheikh Zuweid, Rafah, and Al-Arish from where several violent attacks have been launched against army and security checkpoints, either in these cities or nearby villages.

As part of its effort to eliminate militants in the governorate, the armed forces imposed a strict curfew in 2014 in these three cities, though later this was relaxed slightly. Security sweeps and intensive operations have been ongoing and are on the rise recently, especially counterattacks.

 

 

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[Egypt supports Syrian people, consulting with Syrian national opposition: Foreign Minister]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603417 2016-12-07T14:30:20Z 2016-12-07T14:30:20Z Shoukry asserted Egypt’s tendency to support “national opposition” in media interviews, despite Al-Sisi’s previous support for Al-Assad’s Syrian army

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Egypt supports the Syrian people and has been consulting with the Syrian national opposition, said Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry on Tuesday. He added that Egypt is in close cooperation with the Syrian rebels.

In an interview with CNN, Shoukry said the Syrian regime led by President Bashar Al-Assad may potentially seize Aleppo; he added, however: “The Syrian opposition and the Syrian people deserve the opportunity to take matters into their own hands in a peaceful political process.”

Shoukry said Egypt is maintaining a close relationship with the UN envoy to Syria and filed a draft resolution with Spain and New Zealand to the United Nations security council, but was vetoed by Russia and China. This motion primarily aimed to put an end to the humanitarian crisis in Syria and help humanitarian aid access the entire country.

In another interview with PBS, the foreign minister said President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi did not specify whether Egypt supports a particular political faction, nor had he referred to the Syrian regime when he spoke of Egypt’s stance on Syria. Al-Sisi said the national armies would be better off adhering to the responsibility of fighting terrorism in their countries, instead of relying on foreign intervention.

Shoukry’s statements on Egypt’s footing in the Syrian crisis contradict Al-Sisi’s, as the latter said in an interview with a Portuguese TV channel that Egypt supports the Syrian national army—affiliated to Al-Assad’s regime. This marks the first explicit support from Egypt to a specific political faction in Syria.

Al-Sisi’s support for the Syrian army came after tensions erupted with Saudi Arabia following Egypt’s vote in the UN security council in favour of the Russian draft resolution regarding peace in Syria. The vote sparked tension between Egypt and Saudi Arabia as the latter supports the rebels in Syria, while Russia is backing Al-Assad.

Mohammed Bassam Al-Malek, a member of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, told Daily News Egypt that the Egyptian stance on the Syrian crisis is the most balanced of other countries—including Russia and Iran, which support Al-Assad and his regime, leaving the opposition to be persecuted and killed by the Islamic State (IS).

Al-Malek added that Egypt’s draft resolution that was filed in the UN security council and vetoed by Russia and China was good and included key points that would help deliver necessary commodities to the Syrian people. He hopes that Egypt adheres to its stance regarding its support for the Syrian people and the opposition, further supporting the release of Syrian detainees, ending the siege, and calling for access of humanitarian aid.

Concerning the claims of the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, which reported that Egypt’s military is intervening in Syria to help Al-Assad, Al-Malek refuted the possibility of this being accurate.

In Shoukry’s interview with CNN, host Wolf Blitzer described the 30 June uprising as a “military coup” due to the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi by the armed forces. Shoukry corrected Blitzer and told him that although the mass protests were protected by the armed forces, they were not organised by the military institution.

On president-elect Donald Trump’s statements regarding banning Muslims from entering the United States, Shoukry said “no discussion of that specific nature” took place in his meeting with vice president-elect Mike Pence. The minister said that any kind of racial profiling will not comply with the international community’s understanding of human rights; nonetheless, Shoukry said these matters are debated within societies and Egypt’s does not intervene in other countries’ domestic affairs.

Shoukry concluded his visit to Washington DC on Tuesday following a number of meetings on his last day with several members of congress and senators. According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during these meetings Shoukry discussed the economic reform programme as well as Egypt’s desire to communicate with Trump’s new administration.

The foreign minister also discussed US aid to Egypt, saying that its continuation is paramount and should be increased due to the challenges Egypt is facing in combating terrorism. The US cut its military aid to Egypt following the mass protests in 2013 when the armed forces ousted Morsi; however, president Barack Obama restored it as the threat of IS grew in Sinai and other parts of the country.

In New York, Shoukry is scheduled to meet new UN secretary general António Guterres, and discuss Egypt’s stance on different regional and international issues in light of its current membership in the UN security council.

Shoukry’s visit to the US began last week; he met with several officials, including Pence and US secretary of state John Kerry. It was the first visit of an Egyptian official to the US since Trump won the presidential elections in November. Shoukry relayed a message from Al-Sisi to Pence and Trump, in which Al-Sisi emphasised the depth of bilateral relations between Egypt and the US and Egypt’s aspiration to enhance cooperation between the two countries.

Several analysts expect bilateral relations under Trump’s administration to improve, particularly as there is a similarity in vision regarding the current turmoil in the Middle East.

 

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Hossam Mounir http://www.dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[Metropolitan Egypt negotiates with bank to secure financing for 3 companies]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603403 2016-12-07T14:20:47Z 2016-12-07T14:20:47Z Metropolitan Egypt is negotiating with a number of banks to provide financing worth EGP 14m to three companies working in chemicals, medical devices, and contracting, according to company head Khaled Nagaty. Yasser Kamal, credit supervisor at Metropolitan Egypt, said that ProPlan Contracting needs financing of EGP 5m, in addition to letters of guarantee worth EGP …

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Metropolitan Egypt is negotiating with a number of banks to provide financing worth EGP 14m to three companies working in chemicals, medical devices, and contracting, according to company head Khaled Nagaty.

Yasser Kamal, credit supervisor at Metropolitan Egypt, said that ProPlan Contracting needs financing of EGP 5m, in addition to letters of guarantee worth EGP 2m.

He explained that this company has been assigned orders from the Armed Forces Engineering Authority and other government agencies. He noted that the company resorted to borrowing to secure the funding necessary for the contracts. Moreover, he said the company will see a breakthrough in business in 2017.

Meanwhile, Scientific Zone for the procurement and maintenance of dental medical equipment needs funding worth EGP 5m to simulate its cycles.

Scientific Zone has been working in Egypt since 2015 and serves as an agent for major Korean medical devices companies.

According to Kamal, Amun Chemicals has also requested funding of EGP 2m.

Amun operates in the field of dyes and chemicals for spinning and weaving. The company has been active in Egypt since 2009.

Metropolitan Egypt Consulting Company has been successful earlier this year in providing financing of EGP 260m to 16 companies in fields of construction, pharmaceuticals, paper, tourism, entertainment, media, and agriculture.

The company deals with a number of banks and leasing companies, including the National Bank of Egypt, Banque du Caire, Arab Investment Bank, Egyptian Gulf Bank, and the National Bank of Kuwait, as well as companies such as Incolease, Nile Financial Leasing Company, Upper Egypt Leasing Company, Plus Leasing, and Global.

 

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Mohamed Samir <![CDATA[Dabaa nuclear power plant agreement to be concluded by end of 2016: Rosatom CEO]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603400 2016-12-07T12:51:28Z 2016-12-07T12:51:28Z The deal has raised environmental and safety concerns

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The Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation’s chief executive officer Alexei Likhachev said the Russian company expects the agreement to construct a nuclear power plant in Dabaa, Matrouh governorate to be concluded by the end of 2016.

In 2015, Egypt and Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement to build Egypt’s first nuclear power plant. According to the agreement the construction will be financed by a $25bn loan contingent on yearly repayments at 3% interest.

The agreement included the signing four contracts for the engineering, supply, operation, and maintenance of the power plant for a period of 10 years. It also includes the supply of fuel for 60 years. The Dabaa nuclear power plant will consist of four power units, each with 1200MW capacity and with a total capacity of 4800MW.

“We expect to finalise the agreement with Egypt by the end of this year,” Likhachev said.

In November it was announced that Egypt will carry out research by Egypt’s Nuclear Power Plant Authority (NPPA) to choose a site for a second nuclear power plant on the Mediterranean coast.

Egypt’s decision to explore nuclear energy has raised environmental concerns. Many environmental experts believe that nuclear energy is not a sustainable source of energy due to its fluctuating costs.

According to a study by the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights and the Heinrich Böll Foundation published earlier in March, nuclear energy is the most expensive energy option available for Egypt, especially when taking into consideration the high risk to the environment and safety issues in connection to nuclear power plants following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

 

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[New Pirelli calendar emphasises natural beauty in age and maturity]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603302 2016-12-06T16:53:46Z 2016-12-07T11:00:37Z In a world where women often resort to cosmetics and plastic surgery in search of an artificial kind of perfection, German photographer Peter Lindbergh decided to free women from the unrealistic standards of beauty portrayed in the media. In his new photo session for the 2017 Pirelli calendar, Lindbergh decided to capture the natural beauty …

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In a world where women often resort to cosmetics and plastic surgery in search of an artificial kind of perfection, German photographer Peter Lindbergh decided to free women from the unrealistic standards of beauty portrayed in the media. In his new photo session for the 2017 Pirelli calendar, Lindbergh decided to capture the natural beauty of a number of Hollywood stars whose ages ranged between 28 and 71, paying more attention to their emotions and feelings instead of their appearance.

The calendar is published by the Pirelli company's United Kingdom subsidiary and is usually distributed as a gift to a small number of celebrities and clients.
The calendar is published by the Pirelli company’s United Kingdom subsidiary and is usually distributed as a gift to a small number of celebrities and clients.

The calendar is published by the Pirelli company’s United Kingdom subsidiary and is usually distributed as a gift to a small number of celebrities and clients. The calendar has typically been an assortment of nude and semi-nude photographs, but the 2016 and 2017 calendars have seemingly broken away from that tradition.

A number of actresses have agreed to participate in the project, including Nicole Kidman, Robin Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Kate Winslet, and Jessica Chastain.

The session was titled “Emotional” and was shot in black and white to help capture the souls of the women featured regardless of any wrinkles or “flaws” that they may have.

In his interview with the New York Times, Lindbergh explained that nothing was forced during the photo session. “There was no urging them to smile, no promising ‘You’re going to look great.’ For us, the coolest thing was that they could be themselves.”

In his opinion, being sexy has nothing to do with skin colour or age because he believes that nothing is more erotic than talk. “I wasn’t even thinking about their age, I was thinking that they all have something about them that is vulnerable and truthful at the same time,” he added to the New York Times.

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[Cairo Art Fair: the city’s largest showroom for contemporary art]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603291 2016-12-06T16:49:11Z 2016-12-07T10:00:57Z The platform displays more than 700 pieces of art by 100 well-known and amateur artists

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Cairo is filled with art showrooms that display various pieces and work. Starting from paintings, to sculptures, all the way to photography, each platform presents a talented artist who is unique and stands out among others. But to have one huge area combining all different walks of art in its different forms … that is something rarely found in Egypt. However, soon enough this will be found here at the Cairo Art Fair II.

The fair is Cairo’s largest showroom that displays more than 700 pieces of art, held at Arts Mart Gallery. The place is set to become a melting pot of well-established masters and the most promising up-and-coming talents; it is considered a true collection of the diverse masterpieces Egypt has to offer.

“The art on display comes from all corners of Egypt,” managing director of the gallery Lina Mowafy said. “It explores a variety of contemporary themes, mindsets, and beliefs. It spans several generations, showcasing true and pure Egyptian talent.”

Cairo Art Fair II allows people to explore the full range of contemporary art. It does that by displaying several schools of art by various artists; moreover, at a wide range of prices to suit every collector and art lover. The displayed pieces will see the light for the first time in the exhibition on 9 December. The types of art on display include paintings, sculptures, photography, and many others.

The exhibition provides a medium to physically walk through Egypt’s contemporary art scene today, giving the audience a chance to fully explore and experience it.

“The participating artists are a mixture of well-known established ones with a great history in art work, and fresh graduates who are still fighting to find a seat in the artists’ world,” Mowafy added.

Displaying the latest work of over 100 of Egypt’s best artists across a variety of different disciplines, Cairo Art Fair II is set to be a strong and dynamic show not to be missed.

The showroom will include the latest works of Khaled Zaki, Mohamed Abla, and George Bahgoury, among many others.

 

 

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Rana Khaled <![CDATA[Bibliotheca Alexandrina hosts Youth Science Film Festival for 2nd year]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603284 2016-12-06T16:45:03Z 2016-12-07T09:00:57Z For the second time, the Goethe-Institute in Alexandria in partnership with the Planetarium Science Center of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the Academy for Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT) is hosting a new edition of the Science Film Festival between 29 November and 19 December. This year, the theme of “Material Science” was selected to create …

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For the second time, the Goethe-Institute in Alexandria in partnership with the Planetarium Science Center of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the Academy for Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT) is hosting a new edition of the Science Film Festival between 29 November and 19 December. This year, the theme of “Material Science” was selected to create an understanding of how materials can be put together, how they can be used, and how they can be changed and used to do amazing things.

“The scientific film festival is an international event that takes place in 16 countries around the globe and it is organised by one country in each region,” said Yousra El-Mallah, the festival’s coordinator in Egypt.  “This year, Abu Dhabi was responsible for coordinating the event in the MENA region. There was an open call for films to participate, then a number of films were shortlisted and only 14 scientific films were selected to be screened in Egypt. Unfortunately, there are no participating movies from Egypt,” she added.

This year, the theme of "Material Science" was selected to create an understanding of how materials can be put together, how they can be used, and how they can be changed and used to do amazing things.  (Photo Handout to DNE)
This year, the theme of “Material Science” was selected to create an understanding of how materials can be put together, how they can be used, and how they can be changed and used to do amazing things.
(Photo Handout to DNE)

The festival will screen an impressive number of films from different countries including Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Thailand, Indonesia and many others.  “The festival was only restricted to Alexandria last year but we decided to spread the festival’s activities to other governorates to capture the attention of more people so as to generate interest in scientific movies and scientific issues.  Starting from 13 December, we will start touring other governorates including Gharbeya, Cairo, Sohag and New Valley,” she noted.

According to Goethe’s press release, the programme includes various activities such as workshops on material science, science shows by the Planetarium Science Center, planetarium shows and many more. To maximise the geographical coverage of Alexandria governorate, the programme will run at the Goethe-Institut Alexandria, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and at several schools across Alexandria.

“For the schools, we classified the movies and the target audience according to four age sectors: from five to eight years, from nine to 11, and from 12 to 16, as well as young adults above 17. This classification suits students in primary, preparatory and secondary schools and introduce them to some simple scientific materials such as paper, sand and rubber that are suitable for their ages,” El-Mallah added.

The programmes includes workshops about healthy food, electronics, chemistry, the Hydraulic Switch, paper recycling and making rubber using simple ingredients as well as screenings about biomaterials, self-healing tarmac, the rubber check and many others.

Alexandria is expected to organise the festival in 2018—a huge endeavour that requires a great deal of preparation. “This year is a new experience and a new test for us because we are targeting people all over Egypt for the first time and we are keen to know people’s feedback about the shows by distributing evaluation sheets to our audience after the screenings to collect their opinions and analyse how to improve the performance for next year,” she explained.

The programme aims to invite more filmmakers to pay greater attention to scientific topics. “We have a lot of people who are interested in producing documentaries and scientific movies and I hope this even will inspire more people to engage in producing more visual materials to raise awareness about scientific issues,” El-Mallah concluded.

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Deutsche Welle <![CDATA[Yemeni passenger ship with 64 passengers on board sinks]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603362 2016-12-07T10:05:58Z 2016-12-07T08:02:00Z The fate of the passengers and cause of the accident is unclear. Yemen's government has requested rescue help from the Saudi-led coalition

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A passenger ship carrying more than 60 people sank in the Indian Ocean off Yemen’s Socotra Island, the war ravaged country’s fisheries minister said Wednesday.

Rescue ships managed to save at least two people from the ship, which was sailing from the Hadramout provincial capital, Mukalla to Socotra Island with 64 passengers on board. The government’s sabanew.net reported that an Austrian and Australian flagged ship were involved in the rescue.

Yemeni Fisheries Minister Fahad Kaffen urged the Saudi-led military coalition supporting the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to help in search and rescue efforts.

Mukalla and Socotra Island are in the hands of Hadi’s government, which is battling an alliance of Houthi rebels and forces loyal to former president Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in control of the capital Sanaa and large swaths of the north.

It is unclear what caused the ship to sink or what happened to the rest of the passengers.

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[Mawarid Technology intends to inject $100m in investments into Egypt ]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603273 2016-12-06T16:17:38Z 2016-12-07T08:00:18Z The Emirati company targets to acquire entities that provide security solutions to the Egyptian market

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Emirati company Mawarid Technology intends to inject investments worth $100m in the Egyptian market throughout 2017.

The company is working to support the Egyptian government in reaching the concept of “smart government,” chairperson of the company Mohamed Al-Nuaimi said.

Al-Nuaimi announced that the company’s strategy relies on Egypt as a regional gateway to Arab and African markets, as it is one of the most promising markets.

Mawarid was founded in 2016, with joint investments from three companies—Falcon Eyes, TacMe, and Quicknet. These companies are experienced in implementing technical projects in the Middle East.

Habib Halabi, general manager of Mawarid Technology Group, said the company possesses sufficient expertise to implement technological infrastructure for mega projects. The Egyptian market will see a huge expansion of the company in the coming period, which provides job opportunities for Egyptian youth, he added.

“We are trying to enter into local partnerships, and we target to acquire some entities specialised in security solutions in order to form a huge entity in Egypt, thus enhancing the digital transformation of the Egyptian market, one of the fast growing markets in the Arab and African regions,” Halabi said.

The company provides integrated technological solutions in several fields, including defence, security and safety, information technology, digital payments, financial inclusion, and applications of smart government.

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[Google MENA hosts its first Escape Room in Cairo]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603270 2016-12-06T16:13:39Z 2016-12-07T07:30:02Z Google chose Cairo as the location for its first Escape Room event in the Middle East and North Africa on 1 December.

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“Fazouret Google”, a room built by the Google Middle East and North Africa team, took guests through a series of riddles using a variety of Google products and services such as Voice Search, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Trends.

Joyce Baz, head of communications for Google MENA, said that they wanted to host Fazouret Google to remind people that Google is not only a search engine but also a personal assistant.

“Users have access to information they need faster and better than ever with the new features across Google’s mobile applications,” he added.

Najeeb Jarrar, head of consumer marketing at Google MENA spoke at the event, reiterating Google’s dedication to increasing Arabic content on the web as well as high-quality local content on YouTube. “From the very beginning, we wanted to increase high-quality Arabic content on the web whether on YouTube, Google Play Books, or Street View,” he said.

“We have kept the momentum going with launching initiatives like Pyramids Street View, or YouTube Mosalsalat helping users all over the world discover and explore the region’s culture and heritage.”

While this is the first Escape Room event by Google MENA in the region, Google France built a similar experience in Paris earlier in 2016.

 

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Aisha Zidane <![CDATA[Shaghalni aims to increase job seeker database by 150,000: Khalifa]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603268 2016-12-06T16:06:23Z 2016-12-07T07:00:01Z 20,000 contacts made between job seekers and companies since the launch of the site

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Omar Khalifa, CEO at Shaghalni recruitment website, said that the website seeks to add 150,000 job seekers and 15,000 companies to its database by the end of 2017 through advertising, increasing search engine optimised keywords, and organising employment forums. Shaghalni is also set to launch a new mobile application in the coming days, which will make it easier for its customers to create accounts.

How many job seekers are registered on the Shaghalni website?

The labour market is comprised of 23 million individuals, and Shaghalni currently services 40,000 job seekers. The website is still far from where we want it to be, and so we seek to attract 150,000 job seekers by the end of 2017.

How do you plan to reach this number?

We plan on utilising various forms of advertisement, from the traditional metro and social media advertisements to the organisation of job fairs. We also seek to employ roughly 4,000 people as cashiers, call centre advisors, sales representatives, drivers, and technicians.

The aim of the job fair will be to allow job seekers and companies to build up trust with one another by fostering an environment which allows for dialogue. If the first fair is successful, we will hold another one before the end of this month.

How can people sign up for the website?

People can create an account, in which they enter all the information pertinent to the job they are trying to find, along with a required salary. Companies for their part create their own account which allows them to browse the job seekers’ profiles and contact any potential candidate.

Does the site obtain money from job seekers?

No, it doesn’t obtain any money from job seekers, but it allows companies to only browse three accounts free of charge, which is suitable for small businesses. If companies wish to browse more accounts, they will be required to pay EGP 600-7,000 annually.

How many companies are currently signed up on the website?

There are roughly 3,200 companies currently subscribed with Shaghalni, and we want to include a further 15,000 companies into our database by the end of 2017. This will mainly be done by reaching out to a company’s administrative department. Currently, we register at least 10 new companies every day.

Are there any large companies registered with Shaghalni?

Yes, 5% of registered companies are large companies, the most notable of which are Americana and Unilever.

Does the website provide training opportunities for job seekers?

No, the website doesn’t currently provide training opportunities for job seekers; however, we are looking into signing contracts with human rights organisations that could provide training to our customers.

The website doesn’t create our customers’ accounts for them either. They are free to write whatever enables them to get the job as fast as possible.

What are the main challenges facing the website?

The main challenges Shaghalni faces revolve around complaints from job seekers about the lack of commitment by companies in regards to providing the agreed upon salaries. We also receive complaints from companies who say only 10% of job seekers show up for interviews.

How many phone calls between companies and job seekers have you had?

There have been 20,000 phone calls between job seekers and companies since the launch of the site, and I expect that 10% of the contacts will result in employment.

Does the website plan to display advertisements to increase profits?

No. The focus of the website is its database, and there is no intention to display advertisements. We plan on building the largest database for job seekers and companies in Egypt.

What distinguishes Shaghalni from other sites?

What sets us apart from other recruitment websites is that we care about the often overlooked employment categories. We provide opportunities for a wide range of people with various degrees of qualifications.

How does the site help job seekers create personal accounts?

The website doesn’t interfere in creating personal accounts, in order to avoid losing its credibility with companies.

We will launch a mobile application within the coming days that aims to facilitate the account creation process. The application will allow its users to create profiles using audio and text.

The application will be available for all mobile devices, and we aim to have 20,000 downloads in the first year.

What will the benefits of the mobile application be?

The application will notify job seekers when companies view their account, and will remind them that it is important to pick up the phone when a potential employer calls. We hope this will help ameliorate the fact that companies often are unable to make contact with prospective employees.

Does the website require job seekers to specify an expected salary?

Yes, it does. Salaries start from EGP 1,200, which is the minimum wage, and go up to EGP 3,000. The minimum salary depends on the minimum wage specified by the government.

What is the extent of communication between the website and the Ministry of Manpower and Immigration regarding employing Egyptians abroad?

The website includes 15 companies from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Kuwait; however, Shaghalni doesn’t communicate with the ministry about employing Egyptians abroad. The company’s role ends at connecting companies with job seekers.

Are there plans to expand the company overseas?

We plan on expanding into Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait in mid-2017, through e-marketing on the website; however, we will not be opening offices there. The company also has plans to expand into Sudan, Iraq, and Syria once their situations improve.

How much traffic does the website receive every day?

We receive 7,000 visits a day and we aim to increase it to 150,000 visitors a month through increasing advertisements and keyword searches.

Does the website provide jobs for disabled people?

We plan on launching a new section on our website for disabled people, as many of them are looking for jobs. We will include all qualifications and education degrees to benefit all job seekers.

What about Naguib Sawiris’ share in the site at the current time?

The company had been in negotiations with Sawiris since December 2015. Through his sponsorship, we managed to organise the job fair, which is in line with Sawiris’ plan to combat unemployment. Immediately after receiving his endorsement and involvement in the company, the number of job seekers jumped from 500 to 40,000.

Does the company plan to reach out to other businesspeople?

We are currently not looking for other businesspeople to sign with, but we are looking to sign contracts with human rights organisations.

Does the website seek to help Syrian refugees?

Of course. We want to be able to provide jobs for Syrians in Egypt by working with human rights organisations. We have a special section on our website being launched this month dedicated to Syrians, and will allow companies to browse their profiles free of charge.

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Deutsche Welle <![CDATA[Syrian army on verge of major victory in Aleppo]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603364 2016-12-07T10:07:25Z 2016-12-07T06:25:00Z Troops loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad are about to score one of their biggest victories in the country's war

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The Syrian army and its allies made key gains in the embattled city of Aleppo late on Tuesday. President Bashar al-Assad’s forces pushed into rebel-held areas of the Old City, essentially driving opposition forces out of their last urban stronghold.

Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that the seven new districts seized by regime troops included the strategic Shaar area, “the most important neighborhood in the heart of east Aleppo.” The result, the watchdog said, was that rebels were being forced to fight “a war of attrition,” swearing to never surrender as victory became less and less likely.

Later on Wednesday, SOHR announced that government forces had indeed retaken all of the Old City, but the news has not yet been confirmed by military sources.

Russia, US trade accusations

Assad’s renewed offensive has come under heavy international criticism for the humanitarian crisis it has exacerbated. Tens of thousands of city residents have become trapped between warring factions, with no way to receive much-needed food or medicine.

Yet the Western powers tasked with coming up with a plan for peace in Syria have been mired in disagreements that have stalled the peace process.

“We have been trying to find a way to get to the negotiating table … but Assad has never shown any willingness,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on Tuesday. The US has also accused Moscow and Bejing of stalling the end of the conflict by refusing to back a UN Security Council measure on Monday that would have called for a seven-day ceasefire.

His Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, however, said Assad had expressed willingness to make a deal to end the war, and that the resolution was an attempt by the US to buy time for the moderate rebels it supports.

“It looks like an attempt to buy time for the rebels to have a breather, take a pause and replenish their reserves,” Lavrov said. He added that despite planned peace talks in Geneva this week, “a serious discussion with our American partners isn’t working out.”

The foreign minister has warned that the rebels will be “eradicated” if they refuse to withdraw all of their forces from eastern Aleppo.

Merkel: Western ambivalence ‘a disgrace’

Speaking to a conference of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party on Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the situation in Aleppo “a disgrace,” particularly the failure to create safe corridors for residents to receive humanitarian aid or to flee. She also slammed Russian for the many civilian victims of its airstrike campaign in support of Assad.

As government forces looked poised to make one of the most significant gains of the nearly 6-year war, tens of thousands of east Aleppo residents attempted to escape to other parts of the city.

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Shaimaa Al-Aees <![CDATA[Egyptians boycott 1 December embargo]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603240 2016-12-06T14:45:13Z 2016-12-07T06:00:10Z The boycott campaign did not completely fail, and succeeded in many areas, says CPA head

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“Don’t think of buying a new sweater, pullover, or pair of jeans”—this is the common advice given for the coming winter season. The prices of winter clothing skyrocketed to the extent that even middle-income families cannot afford them.

Even the annual custom of buying sweets handed out during the Moulid El-Nabi to commemorate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday has become an expensive endeavour, as the prices of the candy have doubled.

Prices in Egypt have been continuously increasing, especially since the flotation of the Egyptian pound on 3 November, impacting all sectors and goods—imported and local.

The past three months had been tough for many Egyptians, as the government introduced a series of new economic measures, such as the implementation of the value-added tax (VAT) on 9 September and the successive devaluation of the pound’s value before the flotation.

On 1 December, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decree to increase tariffs on over 300 luxurious goods and products, although officials claim that these products had been essentials with no local alternative.

Economists believe that the depreciation of the pound and VAT would lead to more inflation and decrease the purchasing power of customers.

However, Egyptians jumped at offers and discounts on products on 25 November, dubbed as Black Friday, unlike what economic experts had predicted.

Head of the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) Atef Yacoub had called on consumers to take action on Thursday, 1 December for one day by boycotting shopping. This should have exerted pressure on retailers and pushed them to fairly price their products, instead of pumping them up under the pretext of the Egyptian pound’s flotation and the increase in fuel prices.

Yacoub called on Egyptians to not shop on that day specifically, as the first day of the month is pay-day for the majority of employees and considered primetime in the world of sales.

During a TV talk show, Yacoub said that he is not launching this initiative in his professional capacity as the head of the CPA, but rather on a personal level. He believes that stores had cheated customers on Black Friday into buying stagnant products without applying discounts.

The Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research (Baseera) conducted a survey about the campaign which showed that 73% of Egyptians were supportive of participating in the boycott, while about 50% believed that it would help adjust prices in the Egyptian market.

inflation , market (8)Boycott derailed?  

Although 1 December turned out to be a bleak day accompanied by rain showers, neither the weather nor Yacoub’s call could persuade Egyptian to stop buying.

Movement in shops and supermarkets seemed natural, and it had become obvious that many people had not been aware of Yacoub’s boycott campaign.

During Daily News Egypt’s tour to follow up on the campaign’s impact on shops, hypermarkets, and malls, no difference in daily purchasing trends was observed.

Housewife Azza Mohamed said that she had not known about the campaign, but that she does not necessarily disagree with it. She explained that although she is keen on meeting her children’s demands, she would be willing to buy what they needed on any other day.

Gamal Mostafa, owner of a children’s shop in a mall in Haram, said that he did not notice a change in the selling and buying movement on that day, but that sales are generally stagnant due to increases in clothing prices after the local currency’s devaluation against the US dollar.

Mostafa added that the solution was not to boycott products, especially essential ones, but rather for the CPA itself to cooperate with the government in controlling prices and monitoring the market through effective means.

Private sector supermarkets in Giza and Dokki were not that affected by the boycott on Thursday.

Mohamed Hamad, manager of a supermarket in Dokki, said that customer turnout did not really differ from the previous few days, because people cannot give up on fundamental commodities, even if only for a day.

Customers at another supermarket assured that they were not aware of the boycott. One customer even insisted on buying all his family’s needs on that day because he believes that a boycott is not a tool to lower prices. The government should enforce resolute procedures to regulate the market, he stated.

He added that the CPA is the entity responsible for monitoring and adjusting the prices set by greedy retailers, and should refer them to court to protect the citizen. The agency should not play the role of civil society organisations or community-based initiatives, the customer explained.

A salesperson at a supermarket in Haram said that the turnout was lower in the morning due to the weather, but that customer traffic picked up and normalised in the afternoon.

He commented that the prices are high on customers and retailers, adding that stabilising the exchange rate should be a priority and is more important than “abortive initiatives”.

The past three months had been tough for many Egyptians, as the government introduced a series of new economic measures
The past three months had been tough for many Egyptians, as the government introduced a series of new economic measures

Not a complete failure

Yacoub stated that the campaign did not completely fail, and has succeeded in many areas.

He pointed out that the CPA formed committees in some areas to monitor the movement of buying and selling, and would publish a full report on the matter.

Yacoub added that the boycott is a symbol and will be followed by further escalation, such as determining a black list of retailers and shops who abused the economic circumstances to raise their prices.

“Our actions will escalate in order to implement the initiative and ensure its success in facing and putting an end to the greed of retailers. The escalation includes more boycotts of specific products or commodities, such as eggs or any other commodity prone to expire if it is not sold,” Yacoub noted.

However, economic expert Khaled Rahoma said that the embargo should be selective in its application in order not to harm the market. He suggested that products that are not depending on the US dollar can be boycotted for one day, as a way to threaten retailers, while retailers that sell products which are affected by the exchange rate should not be allowed to increase prices.

Rahoma added that the CPA should inform people of the products they should boycott before launching the embargo.

Fears of stubbornness between retailers and consumers

Rashad Abdu, an economist at Cairo University and head of Cairo-based Egyptian Economic Forum, said that a one-day boycott will not affect retailers, assuring that the timeframe of the boycott should to be extended in order to be successful.

Abdu added that people will buy their needs on the day before or after the boycott, which rattles its significance.

He expected that after the failure of the boycott, a cycle of stubbornness may start between the customers and retailers.

“The fundamental solution is to tighten the control on the market and develop laws that define and specify commodity prices and profit margins on products, so that retailers will not be able to randomly set their prices,” he suggested.

The boycott is “ridiculous and ineffective”

Undersecretary of the Federation of the Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC) Alaa Ezz said that he had been sure the campaign would fail, describing it as “ridiculous”.

Ezz added that a decrease in prices cannot be achieved through this means, explaining that the campaign achieved nothing in the domestic market and that the citizen did not respond to it.

Ezz noted that there is a societal segment with a high command purchasing power which is not interested in boycotting or high prices. Further, families of low income buy their needs on a daily basis and will not be able to survive a day without buying essential commodities.

Non-effective control on markets encouraged retailers to manipulate prices

Souad El-Deeb, board member of CPA, assured that the government believes it has completed all required procedures to adjust the prices by opening some new outlets for goods and imported meat.

El-Deeb said in a press statement that the products provided by the government do not represent a significant proportion of the size and needs of the citizens and the market. She added that the absence of effective control on the markets encouraged retailers to manipulate prices, having a direct negative impact on Egyptians.

Failure expected and no initiative will succeed unless government intervenes

Although a large segment of society hoped that the boycott would achieve any impact on prices, traders in local markets were betting on the failure of the embargo.

Mohamed Saleh, a vegetables trader, said that the boycott campaign did not succeed in lowering prices due to a lack of mechanisms to mobilise a large number of consumers, adding that high or low prices are defined by supply and demand.

Saleh added that the campaign is based on boycotting food commodities which are indispensable, although these commodities are experiencing a respective increase in prices.

Ahmed Fahmy, a retailer in a Giza market, agreed with Saleh, noting that some retailers impress the consumer with high food prices as a result of the US dollar’s appreciation. This allows a profit margin of up to EGP 4-5 per kilo, but leads to accusing all retailers of being greedy.

Fahmy called on the government to control the markets and intervene to protect both consumers and traders.

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Tamer Al-Helaly <![CDATA[Time is ripe for reconciliation between the regime and the Muslim Brotherhood: Saad Eddin Ibrahim]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603263 2016-12-06T15:43:17Z 2016-12-06T20:30:29Z The regime knows there is silent social anger that could turn into civil disobedience, if not contained

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After his recent initiative for reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, Daily News Egypt explores the current political and anthropological scene in Egypt with Saad Eddin Ibrahim, political thinker and chairperson of the trustees at the Ibn Khaldun Centre for Development Studies.

You have recently said in various, diversified media outlets that the reconciliation between the regime and the Muslim Brotherhood could take place. Is this a call from the regime or a personal reading into the current political situation?

The initiative is a purely personal effort. I’m part of the intelligentsia of this country and I can feel what’s happening on the ground. It’s my right to introduce an initiative to all the parties involved in political scene. They may agree with me or not. They may refuse or they may accept. It is their right to act as they wish. Nobody from the regime has contacted me. The initiative was inspired by similar reconciliations reached in many countries like Chile, South Africa, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. Above all, prophet Muhammad had made a similar reconciliation. Revolutions in general are like volcanoes that see enormous conflicts, but after a while, it calms down and things should go back to normal.

Initially, the Muslim Brotherhood reacted positively to your initiative, but they keep changing their stance. The changing statements of Ibrahim Mounir are a clear example in this respect. How do you see that?

The Muslim Brotherhood is facing a very hard time, so they are currently in a state of confusion. Like all social movements, when facing setbacks and losses, the younger generation blames the old leaders. They blame them for undermining the long-awaited chance of ruling Egypt. In fact, whether they like it or not, the Brotherhood lost most of its popularity and sympathy in their cradle: Egypt. I met some of the group leaders in Istanbul who reacted positively, and Mounir also reacted positively in the beginning—this is something he can’t deny. I can understand his confusion that led him to deny and even slate me afterwards. When I was in Istanbul, I observed that the Brotherhood’s young cadres were stubborn and their minds were set on adhering to vengeful agendas.

Will the Muslim Brotherhood lose this “chance”?

To answer this question, I can quote Jamal Al-Banna, the late brother of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood Hassan Al-Banna, who once told me: “They, the Muslim Brotherhood, never forget and never learn.” I asked him why, and he replied: “They always think they own the absolute truths.”

Why did you anticipate the failure of 11 November protest call? Why you did you describe the popular anger as still in its infancy?

The truth is that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi still enjoys good popularity rates, though they slipped from 92% to 65%, according to the Ibn Khaldun Center for Research and Studies estimates. This is still a very good rate if we compare it to the global index of presidents’ popularity rates. We can’t compare our state of democracy to the western states, but we can’t deny that Egypt’s current democratic state is at its best if compared to the previous 50 years. The Egyptian military surely knows that there is rising popular anger and resentment, as they have their own centres of public opinion research and many other tools to know that Egyptians are dissatisfied.

Regarding the floating of the national currency and the recession of the Egyptian middle class—would these bear changes to Egypt’s political scene?

This is possible, but I think that floating the currency could lead to some balance for the time being. According to official statements, there is a race to exchange US dollars for Egyptian pounds. If we suppose that these statements are not correct, I still think that the current middle class in Egypt is becoming similar to the authorities in seeking stability above everything else. It suffers from what is called “revolutionary fatigue”, as they were the class that led the hard fight for change after the 25 January Revolution. In social sciences, it is an established fact that the expectations of the middle class are always beyond its capacity and this is what pushes society ahead.

Would this attitude of the middle class continue if the current popularity rates slumped even further due to poor political and economic performance?

With the continuous rise of feelings of bitterness toward not having their fair share of power and money, the middle class can punish the current authority by voting for representatives of more fascist or extreme politics. We can see that clearly in the election of Donald Trump in the United States.

What about the poor who make up the sweeping majority of Egyptian people?

There is great anger among the poor, but they remain disorganised as always. That’s why the middle class is the force behind any revolutionary activity because they are better organised and better educated. We can see that the middle class, the backbone of the Egyptian society, is seeing accelerated deterioration. People who constitute this class are deeply frustrated and angry, but these emotions are not always expressed by taking to the streets.

What role does the cultural elite play?

I can see that Egypt is seeing a wave of alienation of the intelligentsia, either physical or figurative, articulated through the alienation or denial of what is happening on the ground. This phenomenon is a symptom of collective popular discontent.

Are there any other phenomena you can see as indicators of public discontent?

I can see that in the upper bureaucratic body below the ministerial level, high-ranking executives and academics are feeling that there is looming danger. They are currently looking for alternatives by emigrating to the west, seeking jobs, education opportunities for their juniors, or even letting their wives or daughters give birth to their babies there.

Another indicator is transferring wealth outside the country regardless of any tiny possible economic advance as the general atmosphere is social pessimism.

If the regime doesn’t contain the anger, what scenario can we expect?

The anger will turn into discontent, which will turn into collective punitive behaviour, a part of which could take the shape of civil disobedience, especially among those who work in the governmental sector.

Could the famous figures affiliated with liberal politics play a role in the upcoming future?

I think out of all of them, Mohamed ElBaradei, Hamdeen Sabahy, and Ahmed Shafiq could play a role, if they wanted to.  

The Egyptian youth think that these famous figures are outdated and can’t cope with the current political scene. Could younger faces, like Khaled Ali, play a role if the Egyptian military has the will to transfer power to civilians?

I don’t know the intentions of the military. What I know pretty well is that Egyptian people are deeply in love with the military. On the other hand, the military is not out of credit and may introduce new faces whose loyalty it can guarantee. The Egyptian military acts as a political party in Egypt by providing the public with direct daily services, infrastructure projects, and now basic food commodities. The military knows that in third world countries, the political parties or entities that proved success are those who provide people with direct needs and services. The Muslim Brotherhood and the Socialist Union in former president Gamal Abdel Nasser’s era had followed the same ideology.

You stated that the all-out political reconciliation would probably comprise early parliamentary and presidential elections. Why do you think the regime could offer that?

This could happen because the country is undergoing a very acute political and economic situation. If it were not for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement and the financial support from the Gulf countries, the regime would be in a very hard situation that could accelerate complete failure. The authorities know these truths, so reaching reconciliation and introducing new tactics of inclusion of other political players could be crucial in light of previous truths.

You always state that the Muslim Brotherhood have to revise their policies. What are the things they have to do promptly?

They have to stop playing secret politics, open up their headquarters, and make their internal elections and regulations open to the public.

On the macro-level of thinking, they have to embrace a mindset of self-criticism and stop believing that they monopolise the utter truth. They also need to reorganise their ranks and elect a charismatic leadership.

While you adopted the initiative of reconciliation between the regime and the Brotherhood, Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections stirred talk about a harsher stance against the Brotherhood that could be adopted by the Republican congress. What could happen if such legislation is adopted?

I want to stress that the initiative is a personal endeavour from my side. Regarding the possible anti-Brotherhood legal procedures in congress, it could happen. The congress is manipulated by lobbies. Both the Egyptian state and the Brotherhood have lobbies that try to convince congress of their viewpoints. Lobbies’ standpoints simply require money, time, and effort to be won. I think the French and British legislative bodies’ possible action against the Brotherhood is much more influential to the American stance in this issue. Finally, if such legislation was adopted, this would surely hamper any possible reconciliation and the Egyptian regime would continue with its current policies against the Brotherhood who will be in a very embarrassing situation.

Some claim that Trump’s victory is in favour of Al-Sisi’s regime, unlike Hillary Clinton, who you said would have been a more favourable outcome.

For me, Clinton is more aware of the region and she has extensive experience in dealing with issues in the Middle East. But the margins of differences in attitudes and politics between any two US presidents don’t exceed 5% of the total equation of US politics. There are basic pillars of the US strategic politics in the Middle East—security of Israel, secure and free movement in the Egyptian territory, cooperation in the war on terrorism. Other things could see slight differences in approach by different US administrations. Egypt has been a cornerstone of US strategic interests in the Middle East, and will continue to be so.

What do you think of the latest pardon of political prisoners in Egypt?

A very good step, but I think it is not enough. Egypt needs to adopt legislations against detaining people on grounds of thoughts or political stances. The scandalous incident of Yehia Qalash, the head of the Press Syndicate, after the prisoners’ pardon made the pardon look like a fantasy. This reflects a deep problem in communication among the state’s government bodies. I call on President Al-Sisi to personally intervene to annul the legal procedure against Qalash. From the very beginning, this case shouldn’t have been dealt with on a criminal basis.

Finally, do you think there are possible waves of public anger in the foreseeable future in Egypt?

Anything is possible if the current circumstances and the same political mentality persist. A single event or string of events could cause the internal anger of Egyptians blow up.

 

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[DNE News Brief: 6 December 2016]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603276 2016-12-06T16:39:09Z 2016-12-06T16:39:09Z The post DNE News Brief: 6 December 2016 appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Daily News Egypt http://dailynewsegypt.com <![CDATA[Egypt should not impose its foreign policy on Saudi Arabia and vice versa: Al-Khouly]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603265 2016-12-06T15:46:36Z 2016-12-06T15:46:36Z The post Egypt should not impose its foreign policy on Saudi Arabia and vice versa: Al-Khouly appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Taha Sakr <![CDATA[Egyptian print journalism faces potential collapse due to high print service prices]]> http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603260 2016-12-06T15:35:40Z 2016-12-06T15:35:40Z Private and state-run print media outlets' editorial boards call for rapid governmental subsidisation

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 Several local media outlets in Egypt have echoed their outrage over the decision to raise newspaper printing prices by 80% due to the recent devaluation of the Egyptian pound, issued last week by the state-run Al-Ahram printing service.

A number of editors-in-chief of private and state-run newspapers said the decision is catastrophic and will lead to a full collapse of several newspapers by the beginning of 2017, rendering electronic press as the dominant media format.

“The decision will lead to a further collapse of the print journalism industry in Egypt, which is already suffering from massive losses due to the deteriorating economic conditions,” Essam Kamel, editor-in-chief of the privately-run weekly printed newspaper Veto told Daily News Egypt on Tuesday. “Egyptians are not ready to bear even more burdens,” he added.

Kamel noted that following the issuance of the decision, the editorial board of the publication held a meeting to determine the upcoming policy, adding that the publication’s entire editorial board agreed to decrease the number of copies published in order to adapt to the new price hikes.

Kamel added that the board was not willing to increase the cost of the newspaper, saying they did not wish to further burden the average citizen who is already struggling to feed himself. He stressed that the government should intervene by removing customs imposed on printing materials used by Al-Ahram printing services.

The editor-in-chief of the privately-run newspaper El Mesryoon, Gamal Sultan, said on Tuesday: “The harsh current economic circumstances forced Al-Ahram printing services to raise their costs. It has been forced to take such measures as most of the materials used in the printing operation are imported and must be paid for in dollars. They also have high customs imposed on them.”

“The price increases will have a negative effect on the journalism industry,” Sultan explained. “It will lead numerous print media outlets to declare bankruptcy as the average Egyptian citizen will not be able to afford all these price hikes.”

Similarly, Sultan asked the government for rapid interference through removing customs imposed on materials related to the print industry and to contribute effectively to journalism and the press.

The editor–in-chief of state-run newspaper Al-Ahram, Mohamed Abdel Al-Hadi, said in a statement to privately-run news channel MBC Masr that the main reason behind the price hikes in the printing process is the Egyptian pound devaluation.

He believes, however, that the future is still in favour of print journalism despite the rapid and unprecedented development in the online press.

 

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