Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/new-feed/ Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Wed, 23 Jan 2019 01:10:42 +0000 en-US https://www.dailynewsegypt.com Stable outlook for Levant, North Africa in 2019, although slowing reforms point to downside risks: Moody’s https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/stable-outlook-for-levant-north-africa-in-2019-although-slowing-reforms-point-to-downside-risks-moodys/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 22:31:23 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/stable-outlook-for-levant-north-africa-in-2019-although-slowing-reforms-point-to-downside-risks-moodys/ The 2019 stable outlook for sovereign creditworthiness in the Levant and North Africa region reflects support from modest domestic growth and some expected further progress on fiscal consolidation, set against the slowing pace of structural and fiscal reforms in most countries, Moody’s Investors Service said in a report on Tuesday.

The report titled, “Sovereigns – Levant & North Africa: 2019 outlook stable, but global headwinds and slowing reforms point to downside risks”, is an update to the markets and does not constitute a rating action.

“High debt burdens, low debt affordability, and large funding needs expose the Levant and North Africa region to rising interest rates and shifting capital flows,” said Alexander Perjessy, Moody’s vice president and co-author of the report.

Although, Moody’s expects that the regional median debt ratio peaked at 83% of GDP in 2018, higher interest rates will further erode debt affordability in all countries, which could have repercussions for Moody’s fiscal strength assessments.

Fiscal and debt metrics remain sensitive to a sharper increase in interest rates than currently assumed, in particular for Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan. Tighter global financing conditions present liquidity risks, while external vulnerability risks remain in much of the region due to large external imbalances and reliance on external funding.

“The improving security situation in some former conflict areas and planned reconstruction drives will support creditworthiness.”

“However, slowing global growth will weigh on sovereigns with material trade exposures to Europe, while the region is also still exposed to domestic political and geopolitical risks.”

Regional GDP growth will remain well below pre-2009 trends, weighed down by unresolved structural challenges and insufficient to materially reduce unemployment. With only moderate growth, the scope for reforms that would address some of these long-term constraints will be limited in most countries.

All governments except Lebanon will continue to reduce fiscal deficits as part of IMF programmes, but they will face increasing opposition to such measures, especially if growth slows or oil prices rise.

Social discontent among the largely young populations, underscored by elevated unemployment rates, as well as political gridlock from sectarian tensions, will continue to fuel domestic political risks across the region.

Middle East needs military coalition to defend itself against common threats: Pompeo https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/middle-east-needs-military-coalition-to-defend-itself-against-common-threats-pompeo/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 21:16:06 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/middle-east-needs-military-coalition-to-defend-itself-against-common-threats-pompeo/ Davos- The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said on Tuesday that the Middle East needs a military coalition to counter any threats, such as the “very real” Iranian threat, which will be discussed in the ministerial meeting in Warsaw next month.

Speaking via video-link at the World Economic Forum, Pompeo said the US was committed to a “secure and stable” Middle East.

“I am really hopeful that we can reach a major breakthrough in the Yemeni conflict, I hope we can find that path, the US is committed to work with the UN to achieve that end,” Pompeo added.

Moreover, he explained that the US has begun to share elements of the Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, “we are in a point where we can find a solution for the problem that has been ongoing for a very long time,” Pompeo affirmed.

Peace talks will not be “driven” by the US, but by Israelis and Palestinians themselves, Pompeo said, but he referred to a US-led process that could launch after the coming Israeli elections.

On the other hand, in response to a question about the relations with China, Pompeo said that the US wants to find a mutual ground where the two sides can work together, but by the principles that America stands by, the competition on a fair and transparent basis, “if they do comply with those principles, our two nation can strive.”

Will 2019 witness global slowdown? Or collapse? https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/will-2019-witness-global-slowdown-or-collapse/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 21:14:33 +0000 Mohamed Samir https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/will-2019-witness-global-slowdown-or-collapse/ Davos – Slowing growth rates are everywhere, and they could pose risks for the global economy in 2019, a plenty of experts predicted flattening or declining rates for economies across the globe from the United States to Europe and China.

During the World Economic Forum’s first day, business leaders aimed to tackle how can the issue of economic slowdown be solved?

Fang Xinghai, Vice-Chairperson of the China Securities Regulatory, noted that the ongoing economic slowdown in China is not a collapse, adding that China targets a 6% GDP growth in 2019, which is still relatively strong.

He explained that declines in overheated sectors, such as real estate and infrastructure, could provide useful correctives for the market.

Moreover, the recent trade dispute between the United States and China has come as a benefit in disguise, said Jin Keyu, professor of economics at London School of Economics and Political Science.

Jin argued that the dispute has put external pressure on China to make the needed reforms and open its economy.

He elaborated that a plenty of China’s credit remains in the financial sector or goes to state-owned enterprises, which would be reversed through implementing reforms to make credit more available to Chinese households which could help unleash the full potential of the private sector.

This also could lead to an increase in consumption in the Chinese household sector and curb the declining consumer demand in other nations.

On the other hand, the Chairperson of Bridgewater Associates, Ray Dalio, believes that high levels of government debt in the United States pose a great risk to the global economy.

“We have a real problem in terms of the volume of debt we owe to the world over the next several years,” he added.

Historically, China has been a major international buyer of the US debt, but the recent trade dispute has raised questions about bilateral relations. Fang predicted that the political dispute would not affect the Chinese government’s interest in buying the US debt. “I don’t think China will in any way significantly reduce its investment into the US bond market,” he noted.

Monetary policy adoption in response to slow growth

Experts forecast that monetary easing, accompanied with fiscal reforms, could offset the slowdown, yet with the interest rates remaining at post-financial crisis levels, there are questions about how much room central banks have to manoeuvre.

Alex Weber, chairperson at UBS, a Swiss multinational investment bank, predicted one or two rate hikes from the US Federal Reserve in 2019, but an aggressive tightening would be unlikely, given the softness of the global economy. “I think monetary policy normalisation is not an issue for this cycle. It’s an issue for the next cycle,” Weber noted.

Soft but stable growth characterised the general outlook for 2019, but experts noted that a range of serious risks still exist on the periphery, such as a “hard exit” of Britain from the European Union, climate change, and cybersecurity.

Future of Peace, Reconciliation in Multi-polar world https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/future-of-peace-reconciliation-in-multi-polar-world/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 21:13:12 +0000 Mohamed Samir https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/future-of-peace-reconciliation-in-multi-polar-world/ Davos- In recent years, a certain question has been on the rise, “Is the world becoming less violent?” despite the fact that statistically the world has become less ‘deadly’, conflict and disorder are on the rise, with massive bloodshed in Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen.

What is common in today’s armed conflicts, is the fact that they are harder than ever to resolve. They come in multiple shapes and sizes, and it is precisely these alternative manifestations that are increasing and contributing to disorder.

In a session under the theme of ‘Peace and Reconciliation in a Multi-polar world’ during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019, world leaders are trying to tackle the matter, and find a mutual ground on reconciliation.

The first to share his thoughts on the matter, is someone who has been involved in a country many considered as a swamp of endless chaos, Afghanistan, Chief Executive of the Afghanistan government, Abdullah Abdullah, said that opportunities have been missed, adding that even though it has been 40 years since the Soviet invasion of the country, the country is still feeling the effects. When the Soviets withdrew, so did the rest of the world, and the vacuum was filled by ambitious groups.

Had the democratic process worked better in the past, with more rights for the people, the situation would be different, he says. So the internal dynamics are critical.

On the other hand, Abdelkader Messahel, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria, says that as we live in a turbulent world, and ideas of peace and reconciliation are very important to the future of the planet.

He continues to showcase the Algerian experience with disorder, “In 1997, Algeria was closed to failing as a country. It’s now one of the safest countries in the world. How did this happen? We had the gift of people,” he says.

Adding that “You need a will to change, as well as the legal basis and popular support to allow this change to happen. We chose democracy – the antidote to extremist discourse.”

Many participants agreed on the need of tackling the root causes of conflict, one of which is Sigrid Kaag, the Netherlands’ minister of foreign trade and development cooperation, who believes political marginalisation and economical exclusion, can quickly spin out of control and become a regional conflict, such as the Syrian conflict.

She stressed the need to find a new approach toward peace, to build and invest and refuse to hijack these situations with the old processes that we know do not work.

“Our old formulas aren’t suited to the current conflicts,” she adds. “We’re going after a new disease and trying to treat it with Aspirin,” Kaag concluded.

In regard to the Syrian conflict, Gebran Bassil, minister of foreign affairs and emigrants for Lebanon, says a secular state and diverse societies are part of the solution.

Davos: the so-called 1 percent annual meeting https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/davos-the-so-called-1-percent-annual-meeting/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 21:10:54 +0000 Mohamed Samir https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/davos-the-so-called-1-percent-annual-meeting/  Davos- What is Davos? It is the annual Mecca for thousands of top businesses, political and non-profit leaders, who attend the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) conference that takes place in Switzerland.

Under a valiant mission of “improving the state of the world”, the global elite hold a four-day meeting in the ski resort town of Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, perched high up in the Alps.

The effects of the meeting go way beyond Switzerland, as it significantly affects global affairs.

This year’s edition will lack US president Donald Trump, who could not attend due to the government shutdown, and French President Emmanuel Macron, as well as British Prime Minister Theresa May, who got stuck in the Brexit turmoil in her own country.

The WEF has a long history, founded by Professor Klaus Schwab, a German engineer and economist, originally under the name of ‘European Management Forum’ in 1971. The non-profit organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland, aimed to bring European business leaders to Davos for an annual meeting each January.

Throughout the years, business tycoons, celebrities, and prominent politicians convened in the Alps to discuss the most pressing global issues and ways to address these challenges – and to network.

Davos has been the centre of various success stories, as well as failures, the most prominent of which is the peace declaration signed in 1988 by Greece and Turkey, which pulled the two countries back from all-out war; the first ministerial-level meeting between the North and South Koreans in 1989; the reunification talks between East German Prime Minister Hans Modrow and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1989, as well as the first joint public appearance between Nelson Mandela, and the South African President de Klerk at the time in 1992, which is considered as a key moment in the country’s political transition.

It is called the meeting of the ‘Elite’ for a reason

To attend the WEF annual meeting businesses get charged up to 27,000 Swiss francs (EGP 485,475) per person.

Hierarchy is established in the WEF, visibly through the event’s coloured badge, the white badge with a hologram on it – for the likes of Prince William and President Putin – provide all-access and entry into backroom meetings. Through your colour, your access permit varies, the lowest level badge does not even allow you to enter the conference centre but opens the door to the evening parties and unlimited ski runs!

MIIC’s 4-year strategy focuses on more structure reforms for investment ‘climate’ improvements https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/miics-4-year-strategy-focuses-on-more-structure-reforms-for-investment-climate-improvements/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 20:50:53 +0000 Hagar Omran https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/miics-4-year-strategy-focuses-on-more-structure-reforms-for-investment-climate-improvements/ Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation (MIIC), participated in a meeting for supervising economic progress, during the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s annual meetings in Davos on Tuesday in the presence of Kristalina Georgieva, CEO the World Bank, Angel Gurria, secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and other international representatives.

  The MIIC’s 4-year strategy focuses on the structure reforms of the investment climate, mentioned Nasr, aiding that Egypt is encouraging the private sector to inject more investments into the country.

The private sector globally contributes with 90% of the offered job opportunities, finances over 60% of investments in developing countries, and contributes with more than 80% of government revenues in the middle-income countries.

Furthermore, the minister ensured the private sector’s role in supporting basic services such as banking, telecommunications, health, and education which contributes to informal economy reduction, provides jobs with secure and stable wages, and greatly contributes toward reducing unemployment and poverty levels.

Additionally, the minister explained that the authorities work on boosting the investors’ trust in to the economy’s outlook, through the establishment of an attractive environment for foreign and local investors to push the economic growth and improve living standards, restrict inflation rates while encouraging production and supporting the local products’ competitiveness.

The minister implemented Egypt’s investment map in coordination with the stakeholders ministries, which includes all investment opportunities in various projects.

Moreover, the minister affirmed that the country witnessed an increase of the private investments and the foundation of companies after the legislative reforms carried out by the ministry such as the Investment Law and amendments to the law of the capital market and companies.

The investor services’ centre includes about 66 representatives from different ministries, added the minister.


Egypt to showcase economic reform experience in WEF 2019: Moeit https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/egypt-to-showcase-economic-reform-experience-in-wef-2019-moeit/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 20:47:34 +0000 Mohamed Samir https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/egypt-to-showcase-economic-reform-experience-in-wef-2019-moeit/ Davos – Egypt’s Ministry of Finance was invited to the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos to showcase the country’s economic reform programme, current economic situation, and future plans, the Minister of Finance, Mohamed Moeit, told Daily News Egypt on Tuesday.

“We will hold a meeting with investors and official counterparts from other countries. Egypt has a large delegation in this year’s meeting, headed by the Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli, and includes the Ministers of Industry and Trade, Tourism, and Investment,” he said.

The delegation’s main purpose is to present Egypt’s investment opportunities in the local market, and to boost foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country.

In regard to Egypt’s international bond offering, Moeit affirmed that there will be a new bond issuance in the first quarter (Q1) of 2019, however, he didn’t reveal the date of issuing the expected Chinese renminbi-denominated Panda and Japanese yen-denominated Samurai bonds on the Asian markets, noting that the issuance is still under consideration.

On the other hand, Moeit said that his ministry is studying proposals for the Capital Gains Tax law, to find the best way to implement it, without harming the capital market, but he didn’t disclose the date of implementation.

Five MB militants killed in shootout with police: Interior Ministry https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/five-mb-militants-killed-in-shootout-with-police-interior-ministry/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 20:41:45 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/five-mb-militants-killed-in-shootout-with-police-interior-ministry/ Egypt’s security forces killed on Tuesday five militants in a raid waged on a terrorist hideout near Qaliubiya, according to a statement by the Ministry of Interior.

“Security has identified a terrorist hideout belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group, where they were planning to carry out a series of terrorist operations against vital properties and military and police personnel.

During the raid, the militants exchanged fire with the police forces, resulting in the death of five militants.

The forces found firearms, ammunition, explosive devices, tools, and materials used in manufacturing explosives in possession of the militants.

This incident came a few hours after a video released by the armed forces on Tuesday highlighting their efforts in coordination with the police to combat terrorism and illegal activities.

According to the video, a total of 59 militants were killed in the recent period by army and police forces.

The armed forces killed 44 militants in several raids in the Suez Canal cities and seized pistol-caliber rifles, improvised explosive devices, and explosive belts. The police forces also killed 15 other militants in a separate “pre-emptive” operation, but its location was not mentioned in the video.

A number of 142 criminal suspects were arrested and all necessary legal procedures were taken against them, the video said, adding that the forces also seized and destroyed15 vehicles and 43 motorcycles without number plates, belonging to the militants during the raids.

Additionally, the air forces destroyed 56 vehicles used by terrorists in the Western Desert of Egypt, and also defused 242 bombs that were targeting army forces. Several hideouts and ammunition stores were found in central and northern Sinai, the army said.

Moreover, the forces seized 85 vehicles and six motorcycles used in smuggling, in addition to 15 devices used in illegal mining. The army also thwarted an illegal immigration attempt of 2,189 people of different nationalities.

Shoukry, Lavrov discuss bilateral relations, regional updates https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/shoukry-lavrov-discuss-bilateral-relations-regional-updates/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 20:15:50 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/shoukry-lavrov-discuss-bilateral-relations-regional-updates/ Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry, discussed in a phone call with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, the latest developments in the region, especially the Syrian crisis and the Palestinian cause, in addition to bilateral relations.

The ministry’s spokesperson, Ahmad Hafez, said in a statement on Monday that the two ministers tackled possible ways to reach a political solution to break the deadlock in the Syrian crisis.

“The officials further reviewed the latest developments in the Palestinian cause,” the statement mentioned, adding that they reiterated their keenness to achieve a comprehensive peace agreement based on a two-state solution.

Shoukry and Lavrov also discussed boosting bilateral relations and increasing cooperation at all levels in the next period, Hafez said.

The strategic relationship between Egypt and Russia was revived since the “2+2” meetings in 2013, in which Egypt became the sixth country to be associated with such strategic discussions with Russia at the level of foreign and defence ministers, after the United States, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Elhadj As Sy, met with Shoukry on Tuesday during his first official visit to Egypt.

This visit came in recognition of the Egyptian Red Crescent’s role in the development of the society, and the assistance of refugees and migrants from neighbouring countries and integrating them in the Egyptian society.

Egypt paid $1.36bn of international bond balances in December 2018 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/egypt-paid-1-36bn-of-international-bond-balances-in-december-2018/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 20:11:57 +0000 Hossam Mounir https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/egypt-paid-1-36bn-of-international-bond-balances-in-december-2018/ On 10 December 2018, Egypt paid about $1.36bn of the outstanding international bond balances, according to the figures of the ministry of finance obtained by Daily News Egypt.

The ministry of finance floated these bonds on 10 November 2016 in a special offering on the London Stock Exchange, one of three tranches offered at the time with an interest rate of 4.62%.

The ministry noted that after paying these bonds, Egypt’s stock of bonds offered on international markets fell to $19.21bn by the end of December 2018, compared to $20.57bn at the end of November.

The map of Egypt’s international bond offerings indicates that the government has offered bonds worth about $9.75bn.

In 19 November 2018, the finance ministry floated two tranches of bonds worth $2.57bn.

The first tranche of $860m was floated for a period of eight years and is due on 10 November 2026 bearing an interest of 7.125%.

The second tranche was worth $1.71bn and will mature in 12 years, due to be repaid on 10 November 2030. These bonds have an interest rate of 7.625%.

Last year, the ministry of finance offered T-bonds worth $3bn on 21 February 2018, including $1.25bn for five years due on 21 November 2023. Bonds worth $1.25bn for 10 years are due on 21 February 2028, and another set of $1.5bn for 30 years are due on 21 February 2048.

Furthermore, the ministry of finance succeeded in January 2018 in offering three tranches which attracted $4bn.

The first tranche of these bonds is worth $1.750bn and had an interest rate of 6.125%, due on 31 January 2022; the second tranche is worth $1bn with an interest rate of 7.5bn and is due on 31 January 2027, while the third tranche was worth $1.25bn with an interest rate of 8.5% to be repaid on 31 January 2047.

On 29 May 2017, the government put forward an offering of $1bn with an interest of 7.5% for 10 years to be repaid on 31 January 2027.At the same time, it also offered a set of bonds worth $750m with an interest of 6.125% for seven years to be repaid on 31 January 2022, in addition to a third set worth $1.25bn with an interest rate of 8.5% for 30 years to be repaid in 31 January 2047.

On 10 November 2016, the ministry of finance offered three tranches worth $4bn in total in a special offering on the London Stock Exchange.

The first tranche of these bonds was issued with a value of $1.360bn with an interest rate of 4.62% due on 10 December 2018; plus a second tranche of $1.3bn with an interest rate of 6.75% due on 10 November 2024, and a third tranche worth $1.32bn with an interest of 7% due on 10 November 2028.

Another offering of $1.5bn was floated on 11 June 2015, with an interest of 5.875%, due for repayment on 11 June 2025.

In addition to these bonds, there are several offerings on the international markets, including $1bn offering floated in 29 April 2010, with an interest of 5.75%, to be repaid on 29 April 2020, as well as another tranche worth $500m, offered on 29 April 2010, with an interest of 6.875%, due on 29 April 2040.

Moreover, another €2bn worth of bonds were offered by the ministry of finance on 16 April 2018 distributed over two tranches; the first of €1bn was at a return rate of 4.75%, due on 16 April 2026, while the second tranche is worth €1bn, bearing an interest rate of 5.625%, due on 16 April 2030.

For first time, Al-Sisi inaugurates 50th Cairo International Book Fair https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/for-first-time-al-sisi-inaugurates-50th-cairo-international-book-fair/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 20:08:04 +0000 Nada Deyaa’ https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/for-first-time-al-sisi-inaugurates-50th-cairo-international-book-fair/ Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi inaugurated on Tuesday the golden jubilee of the Cairo International Book Fair at the Egypt’s International Exhibition Centre located in the Fifth Settlement.

For the first time, Al-Sisi witnessed the opening of the Middle East’s largest book fair, taking place from 23 January until 5 February, with the attendance of the Minister of Culture, Inas Abdel Dayem.

Bassam Rady, the spokesperson for the Egyptian presidency, stated that Al-Sisi’s participation reflects the state’s keenness to spread culture awareness among citizens, within a larger plan to develop human resources, according to the state-owned publication, Al-Ahram.

Rady added that the president’s participation deepens Egypt’s pivotal role as “a expanding cultural beacon in the Middle East.” 

For her side, Abdel Dayem stated in a press release that such cultural events reflect Egypt’s focus to support the publishing industry as a soft power in fighting extremism and enlightening people.

The minister pointed out that publishers hailed the fair’s new location, describing it as an “honourable image of Egypt.”

The Arab League is the guest of honour of the 50th Cairo International Book Fair, which was dedicated to commemorate Egyptian veteran writer Tharwat Okasha and prominent literator Suhair al-Qalamawi.    

Thirty-five countries are participating in the 2019 edition. The fair provides 723 exhibition halls for a total of 1,274 exhibitors. The new venue was built on an area of 24.000 sqm.

Abdel Dayem previously said that the fair hosts 579 Egyptian publishing houses, of which 62 are participating for the first time. As for foreign books, they will find their way to the fair through 170 publishing houses, with 24 of them joining the fair for the first time as well.

Changing narrative on Egyptian tourism in WEF 2019: Minister of Tourism https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/changing-narrative-on-egyptian-tourism-in-wef-2019-minister-of-tourism/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 19:57:42 +0000 Mohamed Samir https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/changing-narrative-on-egyptian-tourism-in-wef-2019-minister-of-tourism/ Davos-The Ministry of Tourism is taking part in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2019 in order to discuss the ministry’s reform programme with partners, through bilateral and group meetings on the topic in order to change the narrative on Egyptian tourism, Minister of Tourism, Rania Al-Mashat informed Daily News Egypt on Monday.

“The Ministry of Tourism launched the E-trip in November 2018, which is a five pillar tourism reform programme in which we have identified the elements of structural reforms that are needed in the sector, to remain on a sustainable path,” She added.

Al-Mashat explained that 2018 was one of the very strongest years for Egyptian tourism, asserting the ministry’s aims to further achieve more business in 2019.

“In our reform programme we identified very clearly that we want to diversify the markets where we receive tourists from, and one of the key markets that we are eyeing is Asia, hence we are trying to penetrate the Asian market through more modern branding, as well as digital media, and influencers,” the minister explained.

Egypt, is a country strategically placed on both the Mediterranean and Red Seas, with incredible gorgeous sandy beaches, astonishing landscapes, warm winter climate, and, without a doubt the world’s largest collection of historical sites, temples, pyramids, and artefacts.

In 2010, Egypt attracted 14.7 million tourists. The tourism sector employed about 12% of the country’s workforce and made up 10% of its GDP. Yet, following the 2011 events, that number dropped to 10 million and continued to decrease so that by 2014, revenue for Egypt’s top tourist sites had dropped 95% from 2011.

The sector suffered from another hit in 2015, following the crash of the Russian aeroplane in the Sinai peninsula, leading to a further decrease in tourist arrivals.

However, currently, three years later, the tides have turned, as around 8.3 million tourists visited Egypt in 2017, and 2018 are expected to exceed those levels.

The tourism reform programme overall objective is that every Egyptian household would have at least one person working in the tourism sector, and in order to achieve that the ministry is trying to work on the ‘software’ and ‘hardware’ of tourism, the minister informed Daily News Egypt.

“Software being the people while the hardware being the hotels and infrastructure to support these ambitions,” She explained.

2018 saw rents, sale prices improve across Cairo: JLL https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/2018-saw-rents-sale-prices-improve-across-cairo-jll/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 19:20:25 +0000 Shaimaa Al-Aees https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/2018-saw-rents-sale-prices-improve-across-cairo-jll/ The residential sector has performed strongly throughout 2018. The strong performance of the off-plan sector has however negatively impacted the secondary market, as buyers are preferring to hold off and wait to purchase off-plan units completed in 2019, according to JLL’s A year in Review 2018 report.

The report noted that the strongest performing sector of the sales market has been villas in New Cairo, which saw a 16% increase in sale prices over the year. The fourth quarter (Q4), however, saw prices remain relatively stable.

Furthermore, the report noted, “With most of the demand being captured by sales of new properties, the secondary market has remained stagnant, with few sales and a fall in average prices reported in some locations.”

The report also highlighted that there has been a noticeable increase in rents across the monitored submarkets as this sector moves into the early upturn stage of its cycle.

“The strongest performing market has been Sixth of October, which recorded increases of 17% in apartment and 14% in villa rentals in 2018. This increase in rentals can be partly attributed to a shift of residents’ lifestyles, with more interest in renting rather than purchasing units, with other tenants leasing units on a temporary basis awaiting the delivery of their off-plan units,” the report read.

Around 18,000 residential units were added to the supply within gated communities in Cairo in 2018, the highest figure for a number of years. Q4 of 2018 saw approximately 840 residential units delivered to the market with the completion of Midtown and Regents Park in New Cairo, bringing the total supply up to 155,000 units, according to the report.

It also added that a similar level of completion is expected in 2019, with another 17,000 units expected to be delivered. There is currently a much higher level of completions scheduled for 2020 (43,000 units), but not all these units are likely to completed on schedule.

Investment portfolio of insurance companies in Egypt rose to EGP 99.3bn in last FY: FRA https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/investment-portfolio-of-insurance-companies-in-egypt-rose-to-egp-99-3bn-in-last-fy-fra/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 18:58:42 +0000 Nihal Samir https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/investment-portfolio-of-insurance-companies-in-egypt-rose-to-egp-99-3bn-in-last-fy-fra/ The Chairperson of the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA), Mohamed Omran, declared that the investments of the insurance companies in Egypt rose by EGP 99.3bn at the end of June, compared to EGP 85.5bn at the end of June 2017, a growth of 16.1%.

Meanwhile, he stated that the value of total assets of insurance companies reached EGP 112.4bn, up from EGP 98.1bn, a hike of 14.7%, according to the Middle East News Agency (MENA).

Omran added that the value of the total insurance premiums at the end of June 2018 increased by 23.3%, reaching EGP 29.5bn, compared to EGP 23.9bn in the same period in the previous year.

“The total amount of paid claims by insurance companies rose to EGP 15.4 bn, compared to EGP 12.9bn last fiscal year (FY), an increase of 19.5%,” according to Omran.

He also pointed out that the contribution of the insurance sector in the GDP reached 0.91% in the last FY.

Omran mentioned that the FRA is currently developing the legislation and laws governing the insurance activity and private insurance funds under the name of the Unified Insurance Law.

Adel Mounir, the secretary general of the Federation of Afro Asian Insurers and Reinsurers (FAIR), informed Daily News Egypt that the FRA has projects that will increase the contribution of

insurance in the GDP, explaining that the FRA is currently working in developing law number 10, which was issued in 1981.

He explained that it is a comprehensive law for all individual laws that affect insurance, such as compulsory insurance, private funds, takaful insurance, micro, and medical insurance.

“Thus, all of the aforementioned types of insurance will remain under the umbrella of one law, which is the comprehensive Law number 10 of 1981, and this will lead to having a strong insurance platform,” he stated.

“In terms of the FRA’s projects, there are several projects, such as insurance on students, who represent 18 or 20 million in Egypt, in addition to insuring governmental buildings,” Mounir continued.

He assured that all these will double the premiums, and of course the contribution of the insurance to the GDP.

117 migrants believed to have drowned in Mediterranean https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/117-migrants-believed-to-have-drowned-in-mediterranean/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 18:47:54 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/117-migrants-believed-to-have-drowned-in-mediterranean/ Over 117 migrants are believed to have perished in the winter waters of the Mediterranean Sea on Friday marking the second tragedy in just two days and bringing the total number of migrant deaths on the Mediterranean Sea to 200 roughly three weeks into the new year, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) said on Monday.

News of this shipwreck arrived with the rescue of three survivors who were interviewed by the IMO staff Saturday on the island of Lampedusa.

The IMO Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo explained that on Friday the Italian navy brought to Lampedusa two Sudanese nationals who said they survived the sinking of an overloaded rubber boat that left Libya the previous day. A third survivor, from Gambia, confirmed those details.

On Saturday, the IMO staff working on the island spoke to the three men, who said that they were on a dinghy carrying 120 migrants, the majority coming from western African countries. 

The three survivors reported about 40 Sudanese nationals also were onboard, having left the Libyan Port of Garabuli on Thursday night.

This information comes less than 24 hours after news was confirmed of a shipwreck off the coast of Spain in which 53 African migrants are believed to have drowned. There was one surviving witness of that tragedy, which occurred the night of 17 January.

With these latest shipwreck events the death toll registered by theIMO in January on the Mediterranean has now reached a total of 200.

Human Rights Watch said Monday that the European Union policies “contribute to a cycle of extreme abuse against migrants in Libya.” The EU and Italy’s support for the Libyan coastguard contributes significantly to the interception of migrants and asylum seekers and their subsequent detention in arbitrary, abusive detention in Libya, the organisation added.

Russian, UN assert importance of Syria’s constitutional committee https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/russian-un-assert-importance-of-syrias-constitutional-committee/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 18:35:45 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/russian-un-assert-importance-of-syrias-constitutional-committee/ Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and new UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen underlined on Monday the importance of launching Syria’s constitutional committee as soon as possible, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“A detailed exchange of views was held on the prospects of promoting a political process being led and carried out by the Syrians themselves, with the assistance of the United Nations, based on UN Security Council Resolution 2254,” the statement said.

In this regard, the sides stressed the importance of launching a constitutional committee backed by the Syrian parties-the Syrian government and the opposition-as soon as possible.

“Humanitarian issues were also considered, including the restoration of basic infrastructure, also in the context of creating conditions for decent and safe return of refugees and internally displaced persons to the places of their permanent residence,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The decision to set up a constitutional committee was agreed on at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on January 30, 2018.

The committee that would work on the country’s new constitution is supposed to include representatives from the Syrian government and opposition, as well as civil society members. Former UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said that not more than 50 people should become the committee’s members.

Al-Bashir visits Qatar in first foreign visit since demonstrations erupted https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/al-bashir-visits-qatar-in-first-foreign-visit-since-demonstrations-erupted/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 18:30:15 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/al-bashir-visits-qatar-in-first-foreign-visit-since-demonstrations-erupted/ Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir headed to Doha on Tuesday on a two-day visit to hold bilateral summit with the Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani on Wednesday, according to the Qatari state agency QNA.

Al-Bashir’s visit to Qatar is his first foreign visit from the time of the eruption of protests against his rule in Sudan since 19 December 2018. He is facing serious criticism after the economic deterioration and increased in inflation in Sudan.

According to QNA, the meeting will discuss bilateral relations between Doha and Khartoum as well as regional issues in mutual concern.

A statement from the Sudanese presidency said that the emir of Qatar was one of the Arab leaders who expressed support for Al-Bashir from the beginning of the demonstrations. Qatar also offered to provide Khartoum with any necessary aid.

The statement added that the meeting between the two, Al-Bashir and Al-Thani, will address efforts to achieve stability and peace in Darfur, the Sudanese disturbed region, as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern.

Local Sudanese media said that about 40 people were killed since the beginning of demonstrations in Sudan, as Sudanese police attacked protesters, charges vehemently denied by Sudanese law enforcement forces.

Germany bans landing of Iranian airline on its territory https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/germany-bans-landing-of-iranian-airline-on-its-territory/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 18:27:17 +0000 Fatma Elkholosy https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/germany-bans-landing-of-iranian-airline-on-its-territory/ Germany has revoked the license of the Iranian airline, Mahan Air, accusing it of transporting military equipment and personnel to Syria and other Middle East war zones, the spokesperson of the German government Steffen Seibert said on Monday.

The German ban will now take immediate effect according to Seibert. He added that “the fact is it cannot be ruled out that this airline could be used to transport things into Germany that could have a security impact.”

Seibert denied that the decision to ban Mahan Air was the result of US pressure. This comes as many European countries have tried to maintain business relationships with Tehran but now some might follow Germany’s lead.

The US forced sanctions on Mahan Air during the presidency of Barack Obama in 2011 saying that the airline is providing financial, material, and technological support to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, and it has been pressing its European allies to follow suit ever since.

“The US welcomes Germany’s decision to deny landing rights to Iran’s Mahan Air. The airline transports weapons and fighters across the Middle East, supporting the Iranian regime’s destructive ambitions around the region. We encourage all our allies to follow suit” said by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Additionally, the US ambassador in Berlin, Richard Grenell, welcomed the ban saying that “Iran’s use of Mahan Air to support the Assad regime in Syria, for example, has contributed to incredible human suffering, violence, and political instability felt across the world”.

Egypt’s economy to sustain growth at 5.2% in 2019: UN Report https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/egypts-economy-to-sustain-growth-at-5-2-in-2019-un-report/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 18:22:50 +0000 Hagar Omran https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/egypts-economy-to-sustain-growth-at-5-2-in-2019-un-report/ A recovery in domestic demand, particularly private consumption, is forecast to sustain Egypt’s economic growth at 5.2% in 2019, according to the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2019.

For 2019, the monetary policy stances are expected to be neutral to tightening in North Africa, including Egypt, following the trend of the United States and the euro area, the report estimated.

The report noted that external demand that drove the Egypt economy’s growth rate to 5.8% in 2018, is forecast to stay mostly favourable. It also warns that structural vulnerabilities, including weak fiscal and balance of payment positions, are projected to weigh on growth prospects.

Additionally, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expected Egypt’s gross domestic product (GDP) to hike to 6% in the fiscal year 2022/23, from 5.5% in the current FY 2018/19 and 5.3% in FY 2017/18.

The GDP’s recovery reflects improvements in tourism, rising natural gas production, and increased confidence in the economy, due to the implementation of the economic reform programme, supported by the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility, according to a report from the IMF on in October 2018.

Beyond Egypt, the North Africa region is estimated to have grown by 3.7% in 2018, according to the WESP, adding that the recent economic expansion reflects improving external conditions with higher commodity prices and strong growth in European economies, the largest export destination. The economic growth of North Africa is forecasted to moderate slightly to 3.4% in 2019 and 3.5% in 2020.

The report mentioned that in 2018, balance of payment constraints on Egypt and Libya eased, which resulted in declining inflation rates and policy space to support domestic demand. The report sends alarm bills across the region, that political instability and social unrest also remain a downside risk factor in North Africa.

Meanwhile, the global economy will continue to grow at a steady pace of around 3% in 2019 and 2020 amid signs that global growth has peaked. However, a worrisome combination of development challenges could further undermine growth, according to the report.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres cautioned “While global economic indicators remain largely favourable, they do not tell the whole story.” He said the WESP 2019 “raises concerns over the sustainability of global economic growth in the face of rising financial, social, and environmental challenges.”

Publishing industry still suffering with hopes for recovery in 2019: head of EPA https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/publishing-industry-still-suffering-with-hopes-for-recovery-in-2019-head-of-epa/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 13:30:43 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/publishing-industry-still-suffering-with-hopes-for-recovery-in-2019-head-of-epa/ In his interview with Daily News Egypt, Head of Egyptian Publishers Association (EPA), Chairperson of Dar Al Maarf’s board, the oldest publishing house in Egypt, Sa’ed Abdo unveiled the situation of the publishing industry in Egypt and the challenges it is facing.

He clarified how the industry is affected by the floatation of the Egyptian pound, and how 2016 and 2017 were lean years for both the industry and publishers themselves.

Abdo projected that 2019 will be better for the industry as the economic condition is going to stabilise.

The transcript for the interview is below, lightly edited for clarity:

What is your association’s evaluation for the publishing industry volume in Egypt?

It surpasses EGP 3bn. Publishing houses which are registered with the EPA number 1,262 publishers including all kinds of ownership, the private sector representing over 90%. Their numbers notably increased after determining that all publishing houses must register themselves with the EPA as a condition for participating in the Cairo International Book Fair. From January 2018 until now the number of registered publishing houses increased by 40%.

Could you clarify the types of challenges that Egypt’s publishing industry is facing?

The publishing industry, especially the book market, is still facing numerous challenges, which are threatening it, including economic challenges, among others stemming from the market itself.

Do you mean the issue of illegally copied books?

Forged books is the biggest challenge ever that the book market in Egypt is suffering from. It not only violates the Intellectual Property (IP) Law, but also it steals the copyrights of the authors and publishers which absolutely cause significant losses for both of them. Also, it completely threatens book investments in the publishing industry sector. Forged copies caused about 50% in losses for authors and publication houses.

So, it threatens existing investments

Because it negatively affects these investment revenues. In addition, people who commit this crime are also publishing forged copies of foreign publications even those related to the science and academic fields. So it is really a serious problem. Noteworthy, over 500,000 forged copies were seized during 2018.

How will the Cairo International Book Fair make an annual difference for the industry?

This fair is the most important opportunity for the publishing industry in Egypt to be sustained and to promote all kinds of publications, especially since the industry suffered significantly following the floatation of the Egyptian pound and its aftermath. So it is a serious problem for authors and publishers when forged publications are placed on the market for a quarter than its actual price. It has a lethal impact on the industry, harming Egypt’s reputation in foreign markets.

Does it mean that book forgery is hard to beat?

The serious dilemma in this regard is that publication forgery has become a profession for many people. It guarantees easy money, as all they need is to own a printing machine, tracking bestsellers in bookstores, then they can print thousands of forged copies pummelling the original publication’s success in the market. Moreover, printing houses themselves are currently seizing the opportunity and are printing illegal copies of the original publications behind the author’s back, paid in advance.

What is the number of printing presses in the market?

About 500 printing presses, including illegal ones.

We already have an Intellectual Property Act, is it not enough, as a legislation, to curb the spread of book forgery?

Unfortunately, the legislation does not protect the industry from this critical situation, and it completely fails to control it. It penalises those who committed this crime with a fine of up to EGP 5,000, and in event of a reoccurrence the fine is doubled to reach EGP 10,000. In addition, confiscation of the material is seized, which actually happened.

Then what are your association’s efforts to counter this threat?

We have already prepared a new draft that imposes a harsher punishment. The fine reaches EGP 100,000. The fine is determined according to the inflation rate.

Do you think that it is enough to cope with this serious situation?

Of course it is not enough. We need some severe measures to be taken in order to face this challenge, including raising the audience’s awareness of this harmful phenomenon by conducting awareness campaigns to clarify how forged publications are destroying the publishing industry. In addition, authors and publishers themselves should not be overrated in book pricing, as readers will search for cheaper options, especially since the purchasing power of all customers has been cut by half or more. The legislation structure consummates the industry’s protection , but it needs to be strictly applied.

Talking about the publishing industry, what actions should be taken to help it thrive?

Concerned bodies should to offer all facilities to open new libraries, and to allow the establishment of at least one library in every new housing project that is established. In addition, purchasing publications at reasonable prices as it is an important point to sell and promote books and all publications. The industry also needs severe laws to be released as soon as possible. And I wish all publishing industry inputs to be duty-free, as this industry totally depends on imported components, so the price of publications is set at reasonable prices.

And what about publication shipping which is always facing problems?

These procedures also need to be more flexible. We need to ease the measures of shipping publications inside and outside Egypt. Shipping companies in Egypt deal with publications that have not been sold in any book fairs as re-exported shipments, not as returns, which place substantial pressure on all publishers, unlike the same conditions in other countries. These actions are enough to revive the industry.

How was the industry affected by the floatation of the Egyptian pound which was applied in November 2016?

It caused significant hikes in all of the industry’s components. Production costs increased threefold compared to the period before November 2016. Costs and prices increased by 120% during the past two years. New titles decreased by between 30% and 40%, while profits rates declined by about 50%.

Could this effect spill over into 2019?

The situation is currently fairly more stable. There is another challenge that does not help the market to feel that which is the exit of the main five markets which Egypt exports to 2011 including Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Syria, as the Arab Spring uprisings caused a significant loss. In addition, the floatation of the Sudanese pound affected the presence of Egyptian publications there, as Egyptian publishers occupy 80% of total publishers in Sudan.

After the absence of the main markets as a destination of the Egyptian publications due to Arab Spring uprisings, which countries have replaced them in sequence?

Algeria; Saudi Arabia; the United Arab Emirates; Kuwait; Tunisia; the Sultanate of Oman, and Morocco.

Can the new wave in this industry which relates to e-books and audio books compensate it for its losses?

E-books and audio books are the new wave in maximising the revenues of publishing industry all over the world, and Egypt must exploit that to support the local publishing industry. But, we should be careful to protect our content so as to not be illegally exploited, and all publishing platforms need severe legislations to protect authors’ copyrights.

What is the required cost to produce an audio book?

Not less than EGP 2,000 for each.

But, do you not think it is too expensive? Can the authors make a profits this way?

I do not think so, as they can make their profits through subscription fees that are permitted by the platform which published it.

When can we say that Egypt is involved in the digital publishing era?

Within two years from now, but, the awareness of the importance of this new wave will significantly hasten the entry of e-publishing, including audio books.

Whilst preparing for the Cairo International Book Fair, a significant controversy sparked over sponsoring such an important annual event. Could the 50th edition grab a sponsor?

We already contracted with an advertising agency, for the first time, to sponsor the 50th edition of the Cairo International Book Fair. It will be a partial sponsorship for one year.

Industry still suffering, government must take serious action: head of APA https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/industry-still-suffering-government-must-take-serious-action-head-of-apa/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 13:00:11 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/industry-still-suffering-government-must-take-serious-action-head-of-apa/ Head of the Arab Publishers Association (APA), Owner of Al Dar Al Masriah Al Lubnaniah, (the Egyptian Lebanese Publishing House), Mohamad Rashad, asserted that the publishing industry in Egypt and in the Arab world will not be able to thrive unless the government pays more attention and provides all possible facilities that will help the industry to overcome all the challenges it is facing.

“The Arab Spring uprisings that were sparked since 2011, caused the exit of key markets from the most important professions, economic troubles, and the decrease of the budgets allocated for cultural activities and projects due to declined oil prices . These are critical factors that the publishing industry suffers from. This serious situation forced some publishing houses in the Arab countries to close their doors, decreasing the industry labour rate by 50%, and the production rate declined by about 30%”, Rashad explained to Daily News Egypt.

For Egypt, the publishing industry still suffering due to the floatation of the Egyptian pound which was applied in November 2016. All publications production costs have increased threefold. Paper prices, the most important industry input, has increased from EGP 8,000 per tonne to hit EGP 22,000 per tonne, and publication prices have tripled, according to the head of APA.

In addition, the purchasing power of Egyptian citizens declined by about 50% which toppled purchasing books from their priority list, hence it absolutely affected the sales volume.

“Publishers in Egypt need to be supported, not through direct financing, but by taking some measures to save the industry. Subsidies for paper prices must be allocated in order to reduce the burden on publishers, and that is related to production costs. In addition, it is necessary to make all imported inputs duty-free, and to decrease the tax rates which are imposed on publishers. These actions will help the industry to significantly improve once more,” Rashad demanded.

He unveiled that although the general budget allocates EGP 680m as subsidies for the publishing industry, especially for book production, publishers, in reality, do not receive any of these allocations. Actually the ministry of culture and its concerned bodies acquire these subsidy allocations.

“The Cairo International Book Fair is the annual chance to stimulate the publishing industry in Egypt, and to revive the market. But I do not expect the 50th edition of the fair to be better in terms of sales or even to attract more visitors, as the economic restrictions still remain,” Rashad forecasted.

“2019 better for paper sales”: head of printing, packaging, paper division https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/2019-better-for-paper-sales-head-of-printing-packaging-paper-division/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 12:30:13 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/2019-better-for-paper-sales-head-of-printing-packaging-paper-division/ Undoubtedly, the floatation of the Egyptian pound severely impacted the publishing industry in Egypt. However, the more stable economic conditions became, the further hopes increased for an improved situation for such an important industry.

The General Manager of the Printing, Packaging, and Paper Division in the Federation of Egyptian Industries, Mahmoud Hasanain, supplied Daily News Egypt with some figures which provide a vista of the publishing industry throughout 2016 and 2017.

He unveiled that the volume of investments in the paper industry sector regarding printing reached EGP 1.7bn in 2018 with 12,188 employees in the sector, while the volume of the ink business hit EGP 490m with a labour volume of 2,663 in 84 ink companies.

“2017 and 2018 were hard for the paper sector which is the main input for the publishing industry. Prices of paper tonnes tripled, and the amount of sold paper decreased by about 20% to 30%, as publishers resorted to decreasing their productions costs, since they were dealing with the consequences of the floatation of the Egyptian pound,” Hasanain revealed.

Yet, he added, the stable economic situation which Egypt experienced in late 2018 and the beginning of 2019 made a difference, as the price of dollar was unstable which restricted their ability to set paper prices for publishers. In 2018, the amount of sold paper increased by 30%, and the situation improved.

Book fairs necessary to nourish publishing industry, Egypt still suffering: IPA https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/book-fairs-necessary-to-nourish-publishing-industry-egypt-still-suffering-ipa/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 12:00:23 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/book-fairs-necessary-to-nourish-publishing-industry-egypt-still-suffering-ipa/ According to the latest report issued by the International Publishers Association, ‘IPA Global Book Fair Report 2017,’ book fairs play a vital role in societies, as public book fairs promote books and reading. In addition, their professional counterparts allow publishers, agents, distributors, and retailers to network and conduct business. They also draw media and public attention to the book industry and provide platforms for authors to meet readers. Book fairs are an event where many creative professions converge.

In an age when business is often executed remotely, book professionals still believe that book fairs have not lost their relevance. On the contrary, deals finalised at book fairs increase in terms of quality, and the human dimension of these exchanges become pledges of trust.

The report also highlighted that book fairs come in all shapes and sizes, attracting a variety of people and serving different purposes. Some fairs only allow trade attendees, some are designed for the general public, and others are hybrids, often separating their fair into professional and public days, or providing separate areas. In Frankfurt, for instance, the first three days are trade days, while the public attends on the final two days. In Geneva, there is a special area dedicated to conferences for book professionals.

The main function of professional book fairs, according to the report, is to be a market place for trade professionals. Book rights are bought and sold, and agents pitch new titles to publishers. In recent years, buying and selling rights has become the most dynamic activity of fairs.

People selling book rights at book fairs are located either on publishers’ stands or in a special rights centre, while buyers move around the fair from meeting to meeting. Book rights are offered via different models, either on an exclusive basis to the potential buyer, simultaneously to multiple buyers, or via an auction. In a sense, a book fair is a catalyst that propels rights deals towards completion.

Book fairs also serve an important educational purpose for book trade professionals, apprising them of key trends through seminars, conferences, panel discussions, presentations, and fellowship programmes. And book fairs offer a range of events designed to facilitate networking.

In addition to the economic challenges, the report shed light upon the fact that Egyptian publishing faces many challenges, including near inexistent distribution channels, relatively low literacy and reading rates, low purchasing power, piracy, and censorship. However, Egypt was the first country in the region to tackle digital publishing, with the launch of Kotobarabia.com, a platform for the digitisation and sale of Arabic e-books. It also offers services for public libraries and institutions, available on an annual license basis. Digitisation is a new opportunity to break down restrictions, such as affordability, borders, censorship and so on.

Book exports deprived of financial subsidies: head of ECBA https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/book-exports-deprived-of-financial-subsidies-head-of-ecba/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 11:30:14 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/book-exports-deprived-of-financial-subsidies-head-of-ecba/ One of the biggest challenges that the publishing industry in Egypt is facing is the lack of government subsidies to finance such an important industry, impeding from reducing the burdens it is facing.

Unfortunately, even Egypt’s publication exports—book exports in particular—also do not receive any type of support, especially financial subsidies, according to Ahmed Helal, head of Egypt’s Council for Books and Artistic Works (ECBA).

“The council was established in 2006 to be an organisational structure linking exports and production policies to increase Egypt’s book exports. Yet, actually, the council does not support this industry with any financial subsidies as is the case for other export sectors,” Helal clarified to Daily News Egypt.

He added that the role of the council is to offer a financial support for participation in international and regional book fairs. Financial support is offered ranging between 30% and 50% for participating in big fairs, from 50% up to 70% for partaking in south American and African fairs, and the same percentages for participating in Trade Weeks and commercial promotion events, which are conducted in Africa.

“Regrettably, the government does not consider this important industry as a priority yet. The sector faces significant challenges, but the government failed to deal with these serious troubles”, Helal stated.

It is odd that, according to Helal, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Amr Nassar, instructed the restructuring of all exports councils, decreasing them from 15 to 12 councils. The ECBA has come under the control of Egypt’s Export Council for Printing, Packaging and Paper. This abrupt, ill-considered action is going to negatively affect publications exports, diminishing all efforts which have been introduced during the past two years to support and develop Egypt’s book exports.

Fruitful outcomes recorded during society dialogues on amending NGOs Law https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/fruitful-outcomes-recorded-during-society-dialogues-on-amending-ngos-law/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 11:00:17 +0000 Sarah El-Sheikh https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/fruitful-outcomes-recorded-during-society-dialogues-on-amending-ngos-law/ Several society dialogue sessions were held during the past few weeks to continue discussions over the amendment of the existing non-governmental organisation (NGOs) Law.

The first session started on 22 December in the presence of the Minister of Social Solidarity, Ghada Wali, and in cooperation with Misr El-Kheir Foundation, the Coalition of NGOs and total of 200 members from NGOs participated from governorates of Menoufiya, Qaliubiya, Giza, and Cairo.

It came one month after President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi ordered the government to form a committee to come up with a comprehensive vision to amend the existing law and prepare a report with the suggested amendments to present to parliament after holding community dialogues.

The second round was held in Alexandria, drawing representatives from as many as 150 NGOs affiliated with the governorates of Beheira, Gharbia, Kafr Al-Sheikh, Marsa Matrouh, Dakahlia, and Damietta. In this meeting, participants recommended that 20% of NGO boards should be composed of young members, 30% of which should be women, which comes as one of the best recommendations.

The sixth round was organised on 4 January by the National Academy for Youth Training and Rehabilitation, in cooperation with the ministry of social solidarity, with the attendance of 154 youth and a number of public figures, youth parties, and ministry officials.

Generally, during the six rounds, the attendees came with a number of recommendations to be submitted to parliament, which focused on reconsidering the disputed articles in order to come up with a set of recommendations. Topics that monopolised the talks included reviewing the agreement of the articles of the current law of the NGOs, the constitution, international conventions signed by Egypt, and how Egypt deals with foreign funding and fundraising.

They also discussed articles related to the establishment, exemptions, granting exceptional privileges, punishments and re-formulating the relationship of the state with NGOs to ensure the necessary balance between the freedom of responsible civil action and the requirements of national security.

The head of the Coalition of NGOs, Talaat Abdel Qawi, said in press statements that the committee is reviewing all the existing articles and other recommended articles.

“First, we aim to develop a comprehensive law that aligns with article 75 of the constitution, which states that the NGO shall acquire legal entity upon notification, and shall have the right to practice their activities freely without a1dministrative interference and according to article 92, which states that Egyptian laws must be in line with international conventions,” said Abdel Qawi.

He continued that: “Second, we call for a law to help the beginning of civil work to implement its role in offering benefits and opportunities for associations.”

Abdel Qawi noted that the number of NGOs in the various governorates of Egypt reached 50,000 associations present in all cities and villages, adding that the civil society is strong and serious with the citizens, and that these organisations dispense financial support to some families in the form of housing such as providing roofs of houses in some villages in Upper Egypt, water and sanitation, and there are other aids in kind of medical treatment for patients, as well as clothing, helping brides from the neediest families, as well as offering some tuition for students who suffer from difficult economic conditions, and supplying basic goods for the needy throughout the year.

He also said that the civil society participates in 30% of the total health services for the needy and implementing women empowerment workshops, of all which do not have a media appearance and offer great services to citizens.

The official explained that issues of publicity and penalties in the law were well-reviewed during the rounds, explaining that the promulgation of NGOs was linked to the submission of a notification to the concerned authorities in accordance with the constitution.

“The establishment of an NGO is suggested only through notification without any additional procedures in order to coincide with Article 75 of the constitution and meet a basic demand of the NGO community and so state authorities can investigate for up to 30 days pending the license issuing,” he said.

Abdel Qawi asserted that any NGO is entitled to receive funding from abroad under the supervision of the ministry of solidarity, adding that the rounds recommended that the high licensing fees — EGP 10,000 — required for setting up an NGO should be reconsidered, and for foreign NGOs, it is recommended that the licensing fees be reduced from EGP 300,000 to100, 000.

The sessions came while the Cairo Criminal Court in Egypt acquitted all 43 defendants accused in the ‘foreign funding’ reopened case of 2011.

The case involved 43 NGO staff of Egyptian nationals and 16 foreigners. The acquittal was cautiously praised and stirred questions over the path of civil society organisations.

Daily News Egypt presents a number of significant recommendations which resulted from the rounds and are expected to be discussed for the amendments:

Inserting a brief presentation for the law at the beginning of the draft to clarify its role to empower and support civil society and how it will be a partner and complementary member for the development system of Egyptian society with the public and private sectors.

Ensuring the availability of all transactions and financial statements on the official website of the association, in order to give control to all concerned parties and not only to the state.

Each NGO should clarify its strategy, including its orientation, objectives, vision and mission, special services, and determine the geographical scope of the performance of its services.

Conducting a series of sessions and workshops to raise awareness about the articles of the law following its approval and issuance of bylaws.

Reviewing the anti-freedom penalties in dealing with administrative violations, without prejudice to the provisions of the Egyptian penal code.

The ministry of social solidarity should make a concessionary arrangement for NGOs in terms of performance efficiency and provide the best benefits to the target audience and publish them to citizens.

Activating the role of the appeals committee in the competent administrative authority to view the complaints submitted by various NGOs in order to determine them within a maximum period of 15 days after confirmation of receipt.

Cancelling fees for the establishment of foreign NGOs operating in Egypt and facilitating procedures for the licensing of receiving funds.

Exemption of all activities of institutions and NGOs from various types of imposed taxes, as these entities are non-profit organisations engaged in development activities to bring about a general renaissance in the country.

Increasing the resources of NGOs to allow the work of projects, including, for example, the establishment of companies to serve their activities.

Notifying the NGO extension activities and opening offices in another governorate through the administrative body and not to the competent minister.

Determining the cases of dissolution of the NGO, and it must be by a judicial decision and the same is applicable when it comes to stopping said activity.

Regarding the documents accompanying the establishment, referring to the list of requirements and documents specified by Law No 84 of 2002.

In the case of foreign funding, the maximum approval is 30 days. In the event of non-response, approval shall be given to the subsequent monitoring of the funding by the ministry of solidarity. If refused, with a justified decision, the interested party may appeal the matter.

To determine the NGO work, a formal survey shall be conducted by its owners and be approved by the competent authority, and the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics.

About the current NGO law

The existing law was drafted by the head of the parliament’s social solidarity committee, Abdel Hady Al-Kasby, and was ratified by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in May 2017, to replace Law 84 of 2002, six months after its approval in parliament.

The law, consisting of 89 articles, was approved, while another draft was sent from the cabinet to the parliament in September, but was not discussed.

The current law gives the government the power to decide on who can establish an NGO and its purpose, obliges groups to stick to the state’s development plans, therefore severely restricting the work they accomplish in the areas which the government does not consider a priority. The law also bans domestic and foreign groups from engaging in political activities, or anything that the government considers a harm to national security, public order, or public morals.

Even though the law has been ratified a year ago, the cabinet did not issue a bylaw till our present day. Recently, the president responded to calls to amend the controversial law, and ordered the formation of a committee.

Disabled await activation of Article 31 to reduce prices of imported cars https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/disabled-await-activation-of-article-31-to-reduce-prices-of-imported-cars/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 10:30:14 +0000 Mohamed Al-Roubi https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/disabled-await-activation-of-article-31-to-reduce-prices-of-imported-cars/ The Egyptian car market has been wondering about the fate of cars for the disabled after the customs cut on European cars to 0%. Most are curious to see what the government will provide to people with disabilities after removing the customs that it once subsidised for them.

In December 2017, parliament amended Article 31 of the people with disability draft bill on the exemptions of cars for people with disabilities. The law was then published in the Official Gazette on 20 February 2018.

According to the amendments, the individual passenger cars designed for people with disabilities (PwD) are exempted from custom tariffs under the same condition in sub article 3.

The cars cannot be sold for five years from the date of the customs release, whether through proxy or by primary or final sale or otherwise, and cannot be used in other than the intended purpose. The traffic departments must give the vehicles special license plates. The car cannot be driven except by the PwD if their conditions permits.

The executive regulations of this Law shall specify the rules, procedures, and controls of exemptions in each of the mentioned cases in coordination with the ministry of finance.

In this context, Mohamed Al-Okabi, media advisor to the ministry of social solidarity, said that the government has already approved the full exemption for the disabled as mentioned previously. The laws have been sent to the competent authorities that should activate the bylaws as soon as they are completed.

He ruled out the offering of any facilities or any additional means of support for handicapped vehicles, as previously rumoured about the government paying part of the real price of the car.

Badawy Ibrahim, a customs expert, said that the awareness of the laws of PwD must be spread, as they guarantee many rights for disabled people.

He added that the subsidy on disabled cars is that the government waives a certain amount of the customs tax, and it is calculated as EGP 20,000 for the disabled since birth, EGP 25,000 for the handicapping injury during work, and EGP 45,000 for those handicapped due to a war injury.

VAT is exempted, in accordance with Value Added Law No 67, and buyers pay only the development fee.

The new value in the new law will reach EGP 60,000 on all disabled categories. The buyer will then pay the additional cost. That means that the payment is divided into two parts, the first is below EGP 60,000, which is totally exempted, and the second is above EGP 60,000, in which the buyer pays the overprice only.

Paulus Ibrahim, owner of the Paolo company for the trade of cars equipped with medical equipment in Port Said, said that recession had hit the market since February, after the rumours of the removal of customs on European cars in full, as buyers believe that car prices may fall by a large percentage.

Mercedes-Benz will start assembling its cars in Egypt soon https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/mercedes-benz-will-start-assembling-its-cars-in-egypt-soon/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 10:00:54 +0000 Nour Ahmed https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/mercedes-benz-will-start-assembling-its-cars-in-egypt-soon/ It seems that 2019 will be a year of achievements and will represent a new breakthrough in the automotive sector in Egypt. Since the first day of the year, many car brands have seen a decline in prices by 2%-30%, after the application of the Egyptian-European partnership titled ‘Zero Customs Agreement’. Afterwards, before the first month of the year comes to an end, the giant European automobile manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz, announced the re-establishing of its factory in Egypt through a local partner, and in close cooperation with the Egyptian government.

This news was followed by the meeting between Markus Schäfer, member of the divisional board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, and who is responsible for production and supply chain management, with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, and Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, in which all obstacles facing Mercedes-Benz in Egypt were removed. Following the meeting, Schäfer said that Egypt is a competitive and an attractive location for production and logistics support, adding that Mercedes-Benz will be able to expand its global market through Egypt.

The future of the automotive industry and the local market in Egypt seems to be waiting for many developments, as well as the introduction of modern technology. Mercedes-Benz indicated that it is also conducting talks with the Egyptian government on other projects related to the state infrastructure, the New Administrative Capital, and smart cities to be built. The company also offered its expertise on modern mobility, electric transport and electric vehicles, as well as self-driving cars.

Hussein Mostafa, an expert in the automotive sector, said that the decision to re-establish the Mercedes-Benz factory in Egypt is a very important decision and represents a good start for the automotive industries in Egypt. This decision should be welcomed by all the company’s supporters, and in particular the automotive sector.

He further elaborated that the opening of this factory in Egypt confirms the state’s support for attracting and protecting foreign investments. He expressed his high hopes for the new factory’s huge production to be exported, and will not only work to meet local demand, in addition to establishing other feeding industries’ plants, which would have a great impact on the transfer of feeder technology industries to major companies.

Mostafa also pointed out that the establishment of major automotive factories, such as the Mercedes-Benz’s factory, provides many benefits to Egypt, as it reintegrates the utilisation of modern technology into cars. These benefits are even more highlighted as Mercedes-Benz is participating in negotiations on infrastructural projects in the New Administrative Capital, and also on smart cities in order to introduce modern cars, electric cars, and self-driving cars.

Moreover, Mostafa highlighted that the economic reforms, which took place in Egypt, are beginning to reap their rewards, explaining that the state has carried out many projects which attract investment, such as the establishment of the New Suez Canal project and the development of ports, which will attract foreign investment.

Tamer Shafei, the head of the Spare Parts Industries Division at the Chamber of Engineering Industries, said that the return of Mercedes-Benz to manufacture in Egypt will have a significant and a positive impact on the Egyptian car industry. He also pointed out that the name of Mercedes-Benz is mighty and a heavyweight in the world of cars, and its presence in Egypt will further improve the image of the country before the world, and this step reflects the degree of stability and economic improvement which Egypt is moving toward.

He also added that the government is moving in the right direction in order to attract foreign investments, in addition to the encouragement of the local industries, pointing out that the state is following several programmes to promote the national industry, such as programmes to launch new industrial zones, as well as specialised industrial zones.

Furthermore, he pointed out that the most efficient actions taken by the government towards the local industries, is the speed of issuing licences, adding that the issuance of new licences for the feeding industries and local manufacturing plants has become very easy, elaborating that the government should complete its mission and develop a law and a strategy for the automotive industry in Egypt.

Meanwhile, Osama Aboul Magd, president of the Egyptian Automotive Dealers Association, said that the return of the Mercedes-Benz factory in Egypt is an unprecedented step, and a testament to the success of the economic reform policy adopted by the government and President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, through the Central Bank of Egypt.

He praised the role played by President Al-Sisi in solving the Mercedes-Benz crisis in Egypt, and removing all the obstacles which previously prevented the company’s factories from returning to Egypt, after a meeting with Schäfer.

Abul Magd stated, “This step means that the foreign investor has regained the confidence in the Egyptian economy again. This was missing in the past years, since Mercedes-Benz’s customers in Egypt make up only 7% of the market demand. Mercedes-Benz has a complete strategy which will make Egypt a central base in Africa and the Middle East,” further continuing, “This will take the Egyptian industry to a better place and force the similar industries to develop. The factory will encourage other giant car companies to come to Egypt, creating a competitive spirit which will benefit the Egyptian economy and the local market.”

He added that dealing with the industry policies is going in the right direction, and must be strongly supported during the coming period, noting that the return of Mercedes-Benz represents a new breakthrough in the Egyptian-European cooperation, especially after the application of the ‘Zero Customs Agreement.’

On the impact of the new Mercedes-Benz factory on the automotive feeding industries in Egypt, Abul Magd explained that a large factory such as Mercedes-Benz’s comes with a large production line. Therefore, it is possible to create a group of factories feeding the main factory, under the supervision of the German factory, as they do not accept any interreference in the details of their production.

Finally, Abul Magd concluded by saying that the industrial investment is automatically followed by a commercial investment, adding that the strategy developed by a giant company such as Mercedes-Benz will take Egypt to a different economic and commercial status.

Raafat Masrouga, the honorary head of the Automotive Marketing Information Council and the former president of the Engineering Automotive Manufacturing Company, said that the return of the Mercedes-Benz plant to resume its activities in Egypt represents a leap in the Egyptian automotive industry, as well as a positive step for President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who was able to convince the German company to work in Egypt again.

He stressed the importance of creating a new Mercedes-Benz plant at the moment, especially after the abolition of custom duties on European cars and the low prices of the manufactured and assembled cars in Europe, which has negatively impacted local manufacturing, and is no longer profitable.

Masrouga pointed out that this factory will make Egypt a centre for the transfer of German products to Africa, the Middle East, and the Gulf countries, while expecting to rely on Mercedes-Benz in Egypt in order to manufacture products which are made by factories in the West Atlantic.

Furthermore, Mercedes-Benz will come to Egypt with new ideas and advanced technology in the field of electric cars, which will advance Egypt’s automotive sector and the different industries.

Mercedes Benz previously issued a statement in May 2015, announcing that Mercedes-Benz’s assembly of passenger cars in the local market would cease as it has become economically inefficient on the long run. This decision coincided with global changes in the models produced by the company, before returning to announce in January 2019 the establishment of a new factory in Egypt.

Six Old Period tombs found in Aswan https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/six-old-period-tombs-found-in-aswan/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 09:00:46 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/22/six-old-period-tombs-found-in-aswan/ Proving that the hidden treasures buried in the land of the Pharaohs are endless, the ministry of antiquities announced the discovery of six Old Kingdom tombs at the Hawa Dome project in Aswan. The discovery was made by an English archaeological mission from the University of Birmingham.

Head of Supreme Council of Antiquities, Moustafa Waziri, stated in a press release that the discovered tombs ranged in sizes and designs. He explained that the six tombs’ sizes spanned between 1.90×2.85m, and 3.52×6.35m.

“Two of the unearthed tombs have a rounded shape entrance carved into the rock. The third one was found with a completely built entrance, which was sealed with rocks. That tomb’s burial chamber was also found carefully closed with a brick wall,” he added.

Despite the high safety measures which appeared to be applied, the tombs’ belongings were found stolen.

Waziri asserted that they were most likely robbed during the Old Kingdom, as the thieves entered the tombs by breaking the back walls.

However, the mission managed to find a few relics which survived the robbery.

Head of the Hawa Dome project professor Marten Bomas explained in the press release that they found pieces from a funeral mask inside one of the tombs, as well as a coin amulet depicting god Khnum.

Bomas also added in the press release that they found several pottery pots, many of them containing ancient substances, that were unidentified. He explained that unlike the tombs, the contents found inside of the pottery pots belong to the ancient late period.

The found discoveries were all transferred to the Aswan Museum in order to be stored.

The tombs were discovered less than a week after the ministry announced the unearthing of two Roman-period tombs at the archaeological site of Beir Al-Shaghala in the Mout village at the Dakhla Oasis, and a few days after announcing the discovery of a Roman area that was most likely used as a service unit for militants or camps.

The ministry previously announced that the Egyptian archeological missions have been intensively excavating areas believed to contain hidden treasures, including Saqqara.

The excavation work led to the discovery of the two Roman period tombs which were a part of the excavation works that were being carried out at the area since 2002, and it resulted in the breakthrough unearthing of a total of 10 incomplete sandstone tombs from the Greek era.

ABE general assembly adopts bank’s articles of association https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/abe-general-assembly-adopts-banks-articles-of-association/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 20:55:14 +0000 Hossam Mounir https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/abe-general-assembly-adopts-banks-articles-of-association/ The general assembly of the Agricultural Bank of Egypt (ABE), headed by Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), Tarek Amer, approved, the articles of association on Sunday.

This is done in order to activate the first article of Law No 84 for 2016 related to the bank, and also in accordance with the law of the CBE and the banking system No 88 for 2003.

According to chairperson of the ABE, El Sayed Elkosayer, the adoption of the basic system of the bank by the general assembly is the last procedure to complete the application of the Law 84 and complete the merger procedures between the banks Upper and Lower Egypt into the main bank under the ABE.

For its part, the general assembly commended the efforts undertaken in the restructuring and development of the ABE. At the same time, it called for exerting more efforts to complete all the steps of the development and structure to make ABE the agricultural and rural development sector apparatus and to have an effective role in achieving financial inclusion and supporting small enterprises.

The parliament passed Law 84 for 2016 in November 2016 converting the Principal Bank for Development and Agricultural Credit (PBDAC) into the ABE.

The law stipulates that the PBDAC converts into a public sector bank called the ABE. It shall take the form of an Egyptian joint stock company wholly owned by the state. Furthermore, it shall have an independent legal entity and its main headquarters is greater Cairo. The equity of PBDAC will be transferred to the ABE, as well as its commitments.

The law also stipulates issuing the articles of association in accordance with the provisions of the CBE Law No 88 for 2003. All regulations in force shall continue until the bank’s articles of association are issued.

According to the law, the ABE aims to provide the necessary funding for various types of agricultural and rural development activities, in accordance with the banking system in force, within the framework of the general policy of the state. It also contributes to the provision of financing for the requirements of production, either by importation or local production, in addition to banking operations and all related activities.

The law also provides for the integration of the PBDAC in Lower Egypt and the Credit and Development Bank in Upper Egypt.

Lulu Hypermarket obtained 85,000 sqm in New Cairo, Sixth of October, Obour https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/lulu-hypermarket-obtained-85000-sqm-in-new-cairo-sixth-of-october-obour/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 20:50:26 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/lulu-hypermarket-obtained-85000-sqm-in-new-cairo-sixth-of-october-obour/ The board of directors of the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) approved a contract with the Internal Trade Development Authority, and Lulu Hypermarket company in order to manage and operate hypermarkets in four locations.

The new branches of the Lulu Hypermarket are allocated in two land plots in Rehab and El Koronfel in New Cairo on 15,000 sqm each, as well as a plot of land in the Sixth of October next to the Hosary Square on 40,000 sqm, and a land in Obour city on 15,000 sqm on an annual usufruct system.

Tarek El Sebaay, vice chairperson of the NUCA, said that the board also allocated two land plots, the first 274 feddan land is in the 10th of Ramadan City, while the second is on an area of 1,165 feddan in the north east of the 10th of Ramadan City, in order to establish the greenhouses projects by the ministry of defence on the asset transfer system.

He added that the NUCA allocated 375,000 sqm in New Damietta to the Damietta Port Authority with the asset transfer system.

This is in addition to allocating an area of 12,000 sqm near the sedimented ponds resulting from dredging sand in New Damietta to the National Service Projects Organisation, and the Egyptian Black Sand Company on the annual usufruct system in order to implement the project of extracting the metal substrates. The pricing committees will review the contracts in order to set the value for the annual usufruct.

El Sebaay explained that the NUCA allocated a piece of land with an area of 190,000 sqm in Sadat City in order to establish a mixed service housing project, in favour of the Suez Canal Company for General Contracting and Real Estate Development.

Moreover, he pointed out that the duration of implementation of this project is three years, and the ratio of the land services is 50%, with an aqua park, cinema, hotel, ambulance point, private banks, hypermarket, an international school, a nursery, a meeting venue, a wedding hall, and a medical complex to serve the desert road, as well as a recreational club. The company is committed to pay a 25% down payment of the total value of the land, while the remaining part will be paid over four years.

El Sebaay said that NUCA also allocated 21,000 sqm in the New Sohag City to El Nazer Investment Development and Educational Services, in order to establish a mall. The company will pay a 25% down payment and will pay the remaining amount in three annual tranches.

The NUCA also allocated a plot of land in the Sixth of October City on an area of 19,200 sqm to the Sheikh Al-Hosary Association for Religious and Social Services for the establishment of a private school under the sale system, provided that the association supplies and fulfils the financial solvency which proves its ability to establish the project before contracting. A down payment of 25% is required, while the remaining 75% is to be paid over five years.

The board of directors of the NUCA also approved allocating a land in New Sohag on an area of 11,800 sqm to the Modern Future Educational Services in order to establish a private school.

El Sebaay added that 15% of the value of land will be paid within one month from the date of notification, and the remaining amount will be paid over five years. The project will be also implemented throughout five years.

Egypt’s Minister of Finance participates in WEF https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/egypts-minister-of-finance-participates-in-wef/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 20:45:25 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/egypts-minister-of-finance-participates-in-wef/ Egypt’s Minister of Finance, Mohamed Moeit, will participate in the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, under the title ‘Globalisation and the Formation of a Global Structure in the Era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution’. The WEF will be held from 22 to 25 January, according to a press statement on Monday.

The ministry said that inviting Egypt to participate in this forum came as a result of Egypt’s positive and prominent reforms in the various sectors, and as a result of the good implementation of its reform programme, which raised the desire of the international community to recall Egypt to participate in this forum after five years of interruption of Egypt’s participation.

The ministry noted that during his visit, it is scheduled that the minister will hold a number of discussions and round tables with major investment banks and international companies, in order to discuss ways to strengthen Egypt’s global position, reduce financial costs, and explore ways to attract more international investments, as well as to resume discussions toward creating new sovereign financing channels.

Moeit will also hold a number of general discussions on the current Egyptian economic and regional situation with a number of international banks led by the Standard Chartered Bank, as well as discussing opportunities to continue the efforts to strengthen and support Egypt.

Final agreement to revive El Nasr in H1 of 2019: Hisham Tawfik https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/final-agreement-to-revive-el-nasr-in-h1-of-2019-hisham-tawfik/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 20:39:08 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/final-agreement-to-revive-el-nasr-in-h1-of-2019-hisham-tawfik/ The Ministry of Public Enterprise Sector is working, in cooperation with the ministry of trade and industry, in order to reach an agreement with one of the international companies to revive El Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Company (El Nasr), where many memorandums of understanding have been sent over the past two months to the largest automobile manufacturers around the world. The ministry received several responses which reflect the interest of many international companies in investing in the revival of El Nasr.

There are current ongoing negotiations between the government’s officials and other four international companies, and it is likely to reach a number of six companies within a short timeframe. Moreover, a delegation from one of the four companies will arrive tomorrow to continue the talks on that matter. Analysts say that a final agreement will be reached in the first half (H1) of this year, which would put the automotive sector back on track.

The Public Enterprise Minister, Hisham Tawfik, stated that the main reason behind the revival of El Nasr is to localise the automotive industry in Egypt and export 50,000 cars annually, with local components estimated at 46%, and to follow the path of the Moroccan experience.

Tawfik also said that the Egyptian market enjoys the presence of 12 automotive producers which only assemble units in Egypt, while the local components included in these production lines remain under 17%, which is considered a modest ratio that does not match the history of the Egyptian automotive sector.

Moreover, he noted that the factories import the industry’s requirements to be assembled in Egypt, then claim that the production is Egyptian. “They are not. Egyptian production means manufacturing the components in Egypt from scratch,” he said.

Tawfik also believes that the investors of El Nasr will receive many incentives from the government, explaining that the investor, who is yet to be selected, will also have an assembled production, but with the addition of 46% of local components.

Tawfik also stressed that any attempt to inaugurate a car factory, on the same level of quality and efficiency of El Nasr’s, will not prove to be successful as the plant is built on an area of 900,000 sqm, and has a huge potential and equipment, to include buildings, paint workshops, and production lines, which already exist and do not need funds.

Tawfik ruled out placing El Nasr’s brand on the cars, as the goal will be to export, unless the foreign investor agrees to place the brand for the local market, which will remain up to the investor and the marketing plan.

El Nasr stopped production in 2009, and officials began to liquefy it, then the process stopped in 2015. The idea to revive the company has recently emerged.    

The minister also referred to an important point, which is the Nisr Tires, as its production stopped several years ago. The brand was preferred by Egyptian consumers.

The Nisr Tires are produced by the Transport and Engineering Company in Semouha, Alexandria, and is currently focusing on the production of tractors and heavy transport vehicles.

Tawfik said that the ministry discussed with several international tire companies means to cooperate to establish a new factory in the Ameriya area. The collaboration will be with foreign investors through shares. The tires’ production will be decided at a later time, in order to decide on whether heavy transport vehicles’ tires, or light passenger cars’ tires will be manufactured.

Yet, it is likely that the trend will incline towards the passenger cars’ market, as the demand for tires in Egypt is up to 15m tires per year, while only 1.25m are locally produced.

Moreover, Tawfik stressed that the tire industry is complex and sophisticated, therefore the presence of a foreign partner is necessary in order to make sure to manufacture a product with the latest technology in that field.

El Nasr is built on 900,000 sqm, and is divided into two factories: El Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Company, and the Engineering Company for Cars.

50th Cairo International Book Fair to launch in EIEC Wednesday https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/50th-cairo-international-book-fair-to-launch-in-eiec-wednesday/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 20:33:24 +0000 Nada Deyaa’ https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/50th-cairo-international-book-fair-to-launch-in-eiec-wednesday/ Amid anticipation, social pressure, and high expectations, the golden jubilee of Cairo International Book Fair will start on Wednesday 23 January and will last until 5 February.

The Minister of Culture, Inas Abdel Dayem, announced on Monday the details of the event taking place for the first time at the Egypt International Exhibition Centre located in the Fifth Settlement.

Moving the Middle East’s biggest book fair was not the only change in the current edition. Ticket prices will increase to EGP 3, instead of the long-stable price of EGP 1. The ministry of culture previously announced that it has increased the rent of pavilions by 20%.

In a press release, Abdel Dayem announced the participation of 35 countries in the 2019 edition, of which three countries will make their debut, Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria. Seven European countries will take part in the event, besides 16 African and seven Asian countries.   

The Arab League will be the guest of honour of this edition which was dedicated to commemorate Egyptian veteran writer Tharwat Okasha and prominent literator Suhair al-Qalamawi.

Abdel Dayem said that the fair will host 579 Egyptian publishing houses, of which 62 will participate for the first time. As for the foreign books, they will find their way to the fair through 170 publishing houses, with 24 of them join the fair for the first time too.

The fair provides 723 exhibition halls for a total 1,274 exhibitors. The new venue was built on an area of 24.000 sqm, an large area of which was dedicated to low-priced books up to EGP 10.

For 14 days, the fair will open its doors to visitors from 10am to 8pm, with the support of 580 volunteers from public universities.    

The fair will also host 130 cultural events for both children and adults, including concerts, ballet performances, and poetry nights.     

Israel strikes sites in Syria, responding to ‘Iranian attack’ https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/israel-strikes-sites-in-syria-responding-to-iranian-attack/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 20:17:06 +0000 Mohammed El-Said https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/israel-strikes-sites-in-syria-responding-to-iranian-attack/ The Israeli forces said on Sunday night that it has attacked Iranian targets in Syria in the largest Israeli attack on Syria, since the civil war erupted in 2011. Israel also warned the Syrian armed forces from attempting to harm the “Israeli forces or territory.”

According to statements from the Israeli army, it attacked sites of the Iranian Quds Force, which conducts operations outside Iran on behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The sites which were targeted are munition storages, a military area located in the Damascus International Airport, an Iranian intelligence site, and an Iranian military training camp.

The Israeli attack came hours after the Iron Dome system intercepted a missile launched from Syria, following a strike on an airport south of Damascus on Sunday. The missile attack was attributed to Israel.

Israel accused the Iranian Quds Force which operates in Syria of launching “a surface-to-surface rocket from Syria aimed at Israel’s Golan Heights.”

However, Israel claimed that it targeted Iranian sites, while the Russian Defence Control Centre in Syria said that four Syrian soldiers were killed, and six others were wounded in the attack.

“During our strike, dozens of Syrian surface-to-air missiles were launched, despite clear warnings to avoid such fire. In response, we targeted several of the Syrian armed forces’ aerial defence batteries,” said the Israeli army on its official Twitter account.

Following the Israeli attack, the Head of the Iranian air forces, Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh, said that his forces are ready to fight Israel “and eliminate it from the Earth.”

“The young people in the air force are fully ready and impatient to confront the Zionist regime, and eliminate it from the Earth,” Nasirzadeh stated to the Iranian state media.

On the other hand, the Syrian air defence said that it has destroyed most of the “hostile targets”, according to state media.

Egypt, Bahrain carry out Hamad 3 drills to enhance military cooperation, exchange expertise https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/egypt-bahrain-carry-out-hamad-3-drills-to-enhance-military-cooperation-exchange-expertise/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 19:37:39 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/egypt-bahrain-carry-out-hamad-3-drills-to-enhance-military-cooperation-exchange-expertise/ Squads from the Egyptian naval and air troops have arrived on Saturday in Bahrain to take part in the Hamad 3 exercise with Bahraini troops, the Egyptian military said in a statement.

The statement added that the exercise would take place at the Issa Air Base in southern Bahrain. The exercise includes various drills and classes to allow members of both armies to train on different combat methods.

Last December, the Egyptian armed forces took part in joint military drills with Saudi, Jordanian, Sudanese, Djiboutian, Yemeni, and Mauritanian naval forces. The drills called ‘Red Wave I’ took place in Saudi Arabia’s territorial waters in the Red Sea. The exercises aimed to develop joint military campaigns among participating forces, as well as planning and managing skills of military operations among naval forces.

Last December 2017, the Egyptian and Jordanian armed forces carried out the ‘Aqaba 4’ joint drills in Jordan, with the aim to enhance military cooperation, combat mutual threats, and exchange expertise. The security plans will include deploying security patrols and special forces in all vital and significant areas and cities, particularly worshipping houses. Both countries’ air forces carried a number of exercises including raids and besieging installations dominated by terrorist elements, airstrike launches, destroying hideouts, explosive devices and ammunition, as well as taking necessary measures to save civilians.

Foreign partners’ investment in 2019/20 scores $10bn https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/foreign-partners-investment-in-2019-20-scores-10bn/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 19:30:35 +0000 Mohamed Adel https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/foreign-partners-investment-in-2019-20-scores-10bn/ Foreign partners working in the oil sector are targeting investing an amount of $10bn in the coming fiscal year (FY) in oil and gas exploration, fields development, as well as operation.

The Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El-Molla, informed Daily News Egypt that the next FY will witness the implementation of a number of major projects in the fields of oil and gas exploration, in addition to the development of fields in different concession areas.

He explained that the ministry of petroleum cooperates with foreign partners in order to implement oil projects, and to continue to increase production rates, as well as to compensate for the natural decline of wells.

The minister also stated that the foreign partners’ arrears were reduced to about $1.2bn, after completing the payment of $5.1bn by the end of the last FY of the total indebtedness estimated at $6.3bn in 2012.

He added that the lowest level of these receivables was $1.35bn in June 2010, and will be fully paid by the end of this year.

El Molla explained that the ministry is working on reducing the foreign partner’s indebtedness accumulated over the past years, in parallel with paying the value of the partners’ purchase share of oil and gas, which is produced locally on a monthly basis.

He also stated that the initiatives of payment and the reduction of receivables had a positive reflection on the increased pumping of foreign oil investments in Egypt, in order to search for oil and gas, and the development of the discovered fields to increase domestic production of crude oil and gas.

Moreover, the minister pointed out that Egypt has attractive investment opportunities in the oil sector, which are being prepared to be utilised in the best way.

El Molla elaborated that there are intensive efforts which are being exerted by the ministry to increase production through following advanced methods and technologies to reduce the natural decline in wells, and in order to increase the productivity of the current wells, adding that the oil sector is actually implementing plans to increase the production of petroleum wealth.

The ministry of petroleum is stepping up its efforts, in cooperation with foreign partners, in order to carry out projects to develop large gas discoveries deep in the Mediterranean Sea, and the Nile Delta to contribute toward increasing gas production to 8bn cubic feet per day by 2021.

Macron phones Al-Sisi to discuss bilateral relations ahead of scheduled visit https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/macron-phones-al-sisi-to-discuss-bilateral-relations-ahead-of-scheduled-visit/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 19:24:14 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/macron-phones-al-sisi-to-discuss-bilateral-relations-ahead-of-scheduled-visit/ President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi received on Monday a call from his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, in which they discussed a number of topics of bilateral relations, according to the presidency’s statement.

During the meeting, Al-Sisi and Macron discussed the ways of strengthening their relations at all levels, and the latest developments of the regional issues of mutual interests.

Al-Sisi expressed Egypt’s aspiration to boost the existing cooperation with France, and to continue to develop it in the various fields, highlighting that it already witnessed a steady growth in the recent period in many fields, in a way which contributed to the common interests of the two countries and peoples.

From his part, the French President stressed his country’s interest to strengthen the two countries’ historical and friendly relations, especially in light of Egypt’s important and pivotal role in preserving the security and stability in the Middle East.

This comes a few days before Macron’s planned visit to the country on 28 January. The French Minister of the Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, arrived to Egypt on 20 January to prepare for the French President’s visit.

The visit will mark the first one of the French president’s, since he assumed office in 2017.In October 2017, President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi visited France and discussed with Macron the joint efforts in order to combat terrorism, the Middle East peace process, and the situation in Libya. During the visit, both presidents attended the signing of 16 memorandums of understandings in the fields of renewable and traditional energy, infrastructure, social security, and transportation, as well as met with a number of French military manufacturing companies.

Passenger traffic at Egyptian airports increases by 12.1% in 2017 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/passenger-traffic-at-egyptian-airports-increases-by-12-1-in-2017/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 19:05:36 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/passenger-traffic-at-egyptian-airports-increases-by-12-1-in-2017/ The total passenger traffic at airports reached 30.5 million passengers in 2017 up from 27.2 million passengers in 2016, an increase of 12.1%, the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) announced on Monday in its annual bulletin of air transport statistics for 2017.

The total number of flights increased by 1.5% reaching 281,000 trips in 2017, compared to 276,700 trips in 2016, the CAPMAS added.

The total volume of transported goods in 2017 was 320,700 tonnes, down from 338,200 tonnes in 2016, a decrease of 5.2%.

The report mentioned that the total international and domestic passenger traffic was 15.72 million passengers in 2017, compared to 15.71 million passengers in 2016, an increase of 0.1%. This year’s figure included 10.7 million international passengers, representing 68.2%, and 5 million local passengers, representing 31.8%. The passenger traffic via national companies scored 51.5% of total passenger traffic at Egyptian airports.

“Total international and domestic traffic of passenger and cargo was 217,500 trips in 2017, compared to 225,100 in 2016, with a decrease of 3.4%, including 134,300 trips by international trips (61.7%) and 83,300 domestic trips (38.3%). The ratio of national companies’ flights was 77.4% of total flights,” the report read.

The CAPMAS also noted that the volume of transported goods by national companies was 142,800 tonnes in 2017, compared to 134,500 tonnes in 2016, with an increase of 6.2%. The 2017 figure included 80,800 tonnes of exported goods (56.6%), 37.600 tonnes of imported goods (26.4%), and 24,300 tonnes of transit goods (17.0%). The ratio of goods movement via national companies was 44.5% of total goods movement at Egyptian airports.

GSMA announces details of MWC19 Barcelona https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/gsma-announces-details-of-mwc19-barcelona/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 19:02:29 +0000 Ahmed Lamloum https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/gsma-announces-details-of-mwc19-barcelona/ The GSMA, the global trade body representing the mobile telephone industry, announced on Monday the final updates for MWC Barcelona, which was formerly known as the Mobile World Congress. The details include additional keynote speakers, the participating companies, the programmes, as well as the events. The MWC19 Barcelona is expected to attract more than 107,000 professionals from over 200 countries.

John Hoffman, the CEO of the GSMA, pointed out that the anticipated arrival of 5G adds more importance to this year’s event, as the industry convenes to showcase intelligent connectivity across new technologies in order to reach millions of people across the world.

“Over the four days of the MWC19 Barcelona, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from leaders who are driving innovation, and we look forward once again to welcome the mobile world to Barcelona,” Hoffman stated.

Aisha Bin Bishr, the director general of Smart Dubai, and Dieter Zetsche, the chairperson of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz, as well as Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, are among the several new keynote speakers in the sixth edition of the MWC, which will take place from 25-28 February.

MWC Barcelona is an immense event, which includes several conferences and other events, while one of them is titled ‘Four Years from Now (4YFN)’ which is considered one of the most influential start-up events platforms in the world. This year, the platform will focus on the themes of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, ‘Tech4Good’, and blockchain.

The GSMA Innovation City will also return to the MWC19, while placing a particular emphasis on the theme of ‘Intelligent Connectivity’, which is a mix between 5G, the internet of things, AI and big data, and how it will positively impact the lives of citizens and businesses around the world.

Furthermore, the MWC Barcelona will offer attendees focused topic tours of the exhibition, including a 5G and NFV tour, a mobile advertising and apps tour, as well as a cybersecurity tour. It recently confirmed that the event will witness programmes with several partnering technology firms and institutions, including the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Mobile World Scholar Challenge, and the Telecommunications Industry Association.

KarmSolar identified among companies to inspire Africa 2019: LSEG’s report https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/karmsolar-identified-among-companies-to-inspire-africa-2019-lsegs-report/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 18:57:27 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/karmsolar-identified-among-companies-to-inspire-africa-2019-lsegs-report/ KarmSolar, Egypt’s fastest growing solar energy solutions company, has been identified by the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) as one of the Companies to Inspire Africa 2019 listing. The LSEG report acknowledged Africa’s most dynamic businesses.

Companies need to be privately held, and show an excellent rate of growth and potential to push African development, so that they can be included in the list.

“As we continue to drive the growth of the private solar energy market in Egypt, we are delighted that our efforts have been recognised by an organisation as established and credible as the LSEG. The “Companies to Inspire Africa Report” recognises the commitment made by KarmSolar to be at the forefront of innovation, operations, research, and development processes in the renewable energy sector,” said Amr El Sawaf, chairperson of KarmSolar.

Notably in 2018, KarmSolar signed an agreement with Attijari Finances Corporation to act as KarmSolar’s global advisor and coordinator for the company’s equity fundraising process, as it continues racing to deliver the contracted pipelines of the private solar power purchase agreements (PPAs).

During the first phase of the agreement, KarmSolar aims to raise approximately EGP 500m of equity to operate the first batch of its solar power plants.

As a main player in the Egyptian private solar PPAs market, KarmSolar currently holds a pipeline of committed projects with a total capacity of almost 100MW through its subsidiary KarmPower that will be financed through the first phase of the fundraise. These projects include a 23.5MW project for Dakahlia Group, and a 20MW power generation and distribution project for El-Badr for Investment and Commercial Spaces. Once these projects start operation, they will join KarmPower’s existing portfolio of clients, which includes Juhayna, Fridal, Mazar Mall, and Orion Food Industries.

The LSEG report was issued in partnership with the African Development Bank Group, CDC Group, PwC, and Asoko Insight which contributed their insight and expertise to select the featured companies. The report was sponsored by Instinctif Partners and Stephenson Harwood.

UN peacekeepers killed in Al-Qaida-linked attack in Mali https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/un-peacekeepers-killed-in-al-qaida-linked-attack-in-mali/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 18:54:11 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/un-peacekeepers-killed-in-al-qaida-linked-attack-in-mali/ An attack on the UN mission in Mali has left 10 peacekeepers dead and at least 25 injured.

An Al-Qaida-linked Islamist group has claimed responsibility for an attack that killed 10 UN peacekeepers from Chad in the north of Mali on Sunday.

In a statement posted on messaging platform Telegram, the Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen group said the attack was a response to Chadian President Idriss Deby’s revival of diplomatic relations with Israel.

At least 25 others were injured in the attack on the UN camp, which was one of the deadliest attacks against MINUSMA, the UN mission in Mali.

The gunmen struck early Sunday at the Aguelhok base 200km (125 miles) north of Kidal and toward the border with Algeria, according to a source close to the MINUSMA mission.

“MINUSMA forces responded robustly and a number of assailants were killed,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said without specifying the toll.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned what he described as a “complex attack” on the camp in Aguelhok, in Kidal region and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the UN envoy for Mali, condemned what he called a “vile and criminal” attack.

“Peacekeepers of the MINUSMA force at Aguelhok fought off a sophisticated attack by assailants who arrived on several armed vehicles,” he said in a statement.

The attack “illustrates the determination of the terrorists to sow chaos. It demands a robust, immediate and concerted response from all forces to destroy the peril of terrorism in the Sahel,” Mahamat Saleh Annadif added.

On Sunday, France’s Defence Minister Florence Parly told French radio that the G5 Sahel anti-jihadist force in the region was resuming its operations.

Operations were suspended after an attack on their headquarters in mid-2018. The G5 force comprises contingents from Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Chad.

Some 13,000 peacekeepers are deployed in Mali as part of the UN mission, which was established after Islamist militias seized the north of the country in 2012. The insurgents were pushed back by French troops in 2013.

Early this month, 37 civilians belonging to the Fulani ethnic group were killed in an attack on a village in central Mali. The attackers, “armed men dressed like traditional dozo hunters” raided the village of Koulogon, located in the central Mopti region. Some of the victims were children.

Mali’s semiarid and desert regions have been used as a base by extreme Islamist militant groups with ties to al-Qaida and the so-called ‘Islamic State.’ The country has been in turmoil since Tuareg rebels and a loose alliance of Islamist insurgents took over large parts of its north in 2012, which prompted former colonial power France to intervene and help Malian forces push back the following year.

Libyan photojournalist killed amid clashes in Tripoli https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/libyan-photojournalist-killed-amid-clashes-in-tripoli/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 18:50:14 +0000 Fatma Elkholosy https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/libyan-photojournalist-killed-amid-clashes-in-tripoli/ Mohamed Ben Khalifa, a Libyan photojournalist, was killed on Saturday from sustaining injuries following a random shell that targeted him while he was on assignment, AP reported.

Ben Khalifa is a 35-year-old freelance journalist who contributed to the American news agency the Associated Press (AP) and other news organisations.

AP quoted Hamza Turkia, also a freelance journalist, saying that Ben Khalifa “was hit by shrapnel while accompanying a militia patrolling the Qaser Bin Ghashir area south of Tripoli”.

Since the start of Libyan revolution in 2011, journalists faced several kinds of violations including assaults, kidnappings, threats, and killings, amid failure from the government to protect them and hold perpetrators accountable.

Between mid-2012 and November 2014, Human Rights Watch documented at least 91 cases of threats and assaults against journalists, including at least 14 female journalists and media workers.

In a similar context, The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on the Libyan National Army (LNA) to release journalist Ismail Bouzreeba Al-Zway, who was detained 20 December last year in the eastern Libyan city of Ajdabiya.

In a statement on 16 January, the CPJ said that Al-Zway, shoots photo and video footage of community events in Ajdabiya for Libyan Cloud News Agency and other news outlets.

It quoted Ameen Ahmed, a member of local press freedom group the Libyan Centre for Freedom of the Press saying that the detained journalist was shooting a ceremony honouring Ajdabiya’s first generation of teachers.

Al-Zway is being held at a prison in the eastern city of Benghazi’s Al-Kwayfiya suburb, Ahmed told the CPJ. The organisation could not determine what authority or group initially detained him.

According to the organisation, it contacted a spokesperson for the LNA for a comment, but did not receive an answer.

In Benghazi, the LNA is led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar where he is battling several militant groups.

Total of 1.9 million newborns vaccinated against poliomyelitis in 2018: Ministry of Health https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/total-of-1-9-million-newborns-vaccinated-against-poliomyelitis-in-2018-ministry-of-health/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 18:46:30 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/total-of-1-9-million-newborns-vaccinated-against-poliomyelitis-in-2018-ministry-of-health/ The Minister of Health, Hala Zayed, announced on Sunday that the number of children who took the vaccination against poliomyelitis in 2018 has increased to reach over 95% of newborns, within the framework of the national campaign for vaccination against poliomyelitis.

Zayed further explained that the number of vaccinated children reached 1.9 million infants, from January to October 2018.

The ministry of health’s spokesperson, Khaled Mogahed, stated that the national campaign for vaccination against poliomyelitis, which was conducted by the ministry from 11 to 14 February 2018, vaccinated 16,365,498 newborns, from birth until the age of five. Mogahed stated that the campaign achieved 101.5% of its target.

Mogahed further added that the ministry provided the vaccines to school students, as the ministry aims to vaccinate a number of 4.2 million sudents against meningitis in 2019.

For his part, Alaa Eid, the head of Preventive Medicine Department at the ministry of health, pointed out that the ministry began the national campaign for vaccination against poliomyelitis. The campaign will be launched on 24 February 2019, and will last for four days.

The campaign targets newborns till children aged five years, and includes all children in Egypt, including non-Egyptian children. The campaign targets 16.5 million children in order to keep Egypt safe from poliomyelitis.

The last registered case of poliomyelitis in Egypt was registered 14 years ago, according to Mogahed. He added that the ministry is conducting annual vaccination campaigns to ensure raising the immunity of children.  

Al-Sisi reviews economic situation with prime minister, finance minister https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/al-sisi-reviews-economic-situation-with-prime-minister-finance-minister/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 18:41:38 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/al-sisi-reviews-economic-situation-with-prime-minister-finance-minister/ President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Finance Minister Mohamed Moeit and discussed updates regarding the country’s economic issues.

During the meeting, Al-Sisi stressed on the keenness of the state to directly engage with investors in highlighting the economic developments and the promising investment opportunities available in the Egyptian market in various sectors.

The president accentuated the state’s efforts to develop the country’s infrastructure by expanding the national road network, establishing new urban communities, generating surplus gas and electricity reserves to meet local needs, contribute to the localisation of industries, the development of many industrial zones, financing small and medium-sized enterprises, improving legal frameworks and systems in order to provide a legislative environment which promotes the rule of law.

Egyptian officials outlined the efforts to stimulate the economy and encourage investment by adopting policies that support the country’s monetary and economic stability, empathising that these efforts seek to encourage investment, enhance the competitiveness of Egyptian products, and reduce the burden of exports.

Egypt will continue to implement the economic reform programme as a long-term national goal, he said, adding that more attention will be devoted to promising economic sectors to meet local production needs.

The meeting also reviewed Egypt’s current capabilities, which have doubled its ability to attract foreign investment, including restoring and maintaining security amidst public awareness, the availability of trained labour, large market agreements and free trade agreements linking Egypt with markets in Africa, the Arab region, and the European Union.

Growth in MENAP region to recover up to 3% in 2020: IMF’s WEO https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/growth-in-menap-region-to-recover-up-to-3-in-2020-imfs-weo/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 16:17:43 +0000 Hagar Omran https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/growth-in-menap-region-to-recover-up-to-3-in-2020-imfs-weo/ Growth in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region is expected to remain subdued at 2.4% in 2019 before recovering to about 3% in 2020, according to the World Economic Outlook (WEO) update report, released by the International Monetary Fund on Monday.

Multiple factors weigh on the region’s outlook, including weak oil output growth, which offsets an expected pickup in non-oil products, added the report.

The global economy is projected to grow at 3.5% in 2019 and 3.6% in 2020, 0.2 and 0.1 percentage points below last October’s projections, noted the report, adding, “Risks to global growth tilt to the downside. An escalation of trade tensions beyond those already incorporated in the forecast remains a key source of risk to the outlook.”

Financial conditions have already tightened since the fall and a range of triggers beyond escalating trade tensions could spark a further deterioration in risk sentiment with adverse growth implications, especially given the high levels of public and private debt, said the report.

The potential triggers include a “no-deal” withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and a greater-than-envisaged slowdown in China, added the report.

The main shared policy priority is for countries to resolve cooperatively and quickly their trade disagreements and the resulting policy uncertainty, rather than raising harmful barriers further and destabilising an already slowing global economy, said the report.

Across all economies, measures to boost potential output growth, enhance inclusiveness, and strengthen fiscal and financial buffers in an environment of high debt burdens and tighter financial conditions are imperatives, said the report.

Emerging markets and developing economies have been tested by difficult external conditions over the past few months amid trade tensions, rising US interest rates, dollar appreciation, capital outflows, and volatile oil prices, mentioned the report.

“In some economies, addressing high private debt burdens and balance-sheet currency and maturity mismatches will require strengthening macroprudential frameworks. Exchange rate flexibility can complement these policies by helping to buffer external shocks,” noted the report.


Marie Louis, BTM, bring nostalgia, Egyptian wealth to Winter Season https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/marie-louis-btm-bring-nostalgia-egyptian-wealth-to-winter-season/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 15:30:35 +0000 Nayera Yasser https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/marie-louis-btm-bring-nostalgia-egyptian-wealth-to-winter-season/ Nestled on the edge of the city, her beehive has been working around-the-clock for decades. From one generation to the next, the Bishara family has managed to follow the frantic pace of local fashion to constantly deliver relevant and contemporary styles. Every morning she heads to the place that she knows better than her own house. She walks through the heavy machines as they weave, dye, and put together a spectrum of ensembles.

The busy rhythm and systematic moves of the vast factory have always moved in unison, similar to an independent universe, where sketches are turned into seasonal must-haves. Marie Louis is a veteran fashion aficionado, who has managed to continue her family’s legacy and resuscitate the local fashion industry several times.

Aside from operating one of the country’s largest apparel factories, she also manages a chain of retail stores around the country, as well as numerous fashion lines, for every member of the family. While her attention has always been divided between local production and international export, the designer has already participated numerous offshore shows.

In time for the new season, Louis decided to dedicate her attention to the local market. The designer recently celebrated the launch of her newest collection, which targets both genders—with a special concentration on bridal fashion.      

“My inspiration came from the earth and the land. Most of the colours utilised were borrowed from Egyptian nature; the greenery that Egypt is synonymous with, as well as the vast surrounding desert,” Louis explained, adding “Accordingly, the collection’s pallet revolves around hues of olive, orange, brown and those colours that dominate the fall season.” Much like the hues often observed between the fallen tree leaves, the collection is both contemporary and nostalgic. 

Depending on layering as a fashion method to survive extreme temperatures, the collection offers a wide diversity of shawls, coats, and faux fur options. “We wanted to deliver a subtle statement fuelled with unexpected colour combinations. Therefore, we included a variety of shocking fur outerwear such as the lemon-green fur jacket to maintain the theme,” shared the designer.

In parallel, Louis also included another theme, which was dominated by vibrant shades of turquoise and fuchsia. According to the designer, this mini story was inspired by precious stones, which Egypt is quite rich in. 

Aside from the eloquent colours selected for this collection, the designer was also inspired by an unforgettable moment in time. “The 1960s was a very important era for local fashion. It was a transitional period, which witnessed massive advancements,” said the designer passionately. Between the straight lines, delicate cuts, and Charleston trousers, the collection is peppered with all the retro trends that are currently making an evident comeback.

“This season has already brought back wide-leg trousers and capes, as well as the big volumes that Pierre Cardin used to favour. Therefore, I was keen to also give a nod to such an instrumental decade,” said the designer with her customary warm smile. Along with the tailored power looks for women and the smart outfits for 21st century men, the collection included a number of bridal dresses that indicate a new milestone for the brand.

The long-awaited collection was first showcased during a private fashion show. Organized in the heart of Manial Palace, the 45-minute show was attended by the industry’s most prominent experts and media representatives. It started with casual womenswear before delving into the designer’s timeless take on millennial menswear. Finally, the show was wrapped up with a number of white dresses, which brought fairy tales right to the runway.

The historic palace was an ideal choice for the nostalgic collection given its high ceilings, elaborate gold details, state-of-the-art pillars and grand chandlers; iconic details that went hand-in-hand with the garments, as well as the designer’s plan to base her newest creations on the country’s historic and natural wealth.

Given the brand’s long history, Marie Louis, BTM is already known for their grand fashion shows, which have previously taken place at breathtaking venues around the world. According to the designer, her recent hiatus from elaborate presentations was due to her pre-occupation with the operational side of her business.

“I have been quite busy recently. We have a vertical operation; starting from weaving to dying, printing, and finishing. Our main focus was exports, as well as our base of clients abroad,” shared the designer. However, she is now aware of the fact that the local market needs a revamp. Accordingly, the Fall/Winter 2018 season is in fact the ideal time for Louis to take care of the Egyptian market, especially following the recent fluctuation.

“Our products are currently very suitable to the market in terms of quality and price. It is the right time for a strong show to create the needed buzz,” declared the designer with apparent excitement.

As the brand can only promise further growth and more collections that will be passed from one generation to the next, the Bishara family is currently also on the verge of launching their newest family member to take fashion as a lifetime passion and profession. Louis chose to introduce her daughter to the audience by the end of the show. Anne Marie Kirollos is Louis’s uber-talented daughter and the mastermind behind one of the country’s most anticipated brands.

“Anne Marie has been getting prepared since her childhood years. She has been taking part in all of my shows since the age of two or three, and she has always found her true passion backstage,” said the designer lovingly. The ambitious daughter surprised Louis at the age of 13 with her interest in designing. According to the designer, she could not believe at the time that talent and passion can pass from one generation to the next through mere genes.

“Seeing her sketches and love for this art made us further believe in her; it gave us strength to send her away for six years in order to get the education that she deserves.” Louis added “our entire family and I are eager to see Anne Marie take her first professional steps and shine as she lives her own dream.”

Annual Palm Springs international film festival announced awards https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/annual-palm-springs-international-film-festival-announced-awards/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 14:30:06 +0000 Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/annual-palm-springs-international-film-festival-announced-awards/ The 30th annual Palm Springs international film festival (PSIFF) announced this year’s juried award winners at a luncheon at the Riviera Palm Springs on Saturday, January 12, 2019.  The festival, held from January 3-14, screened 226 films, from 78 countries.

The awards, which included juries, had five categories, incorporating the New Voices New Visions award for unique viewpoints from first- and second-time directors; the Schlesinger Documentary award for first- or second-time documentary filmmakers; the CV Cine award for the best Ibero-American film, and the FIPRESCI prize for films in the Foreign Language Oscar Submissions programme.

This year, the festival also had a new honour, the Ricky Jay Magic of Cinema award, named for actor and marvel Ricky Jay and in honour of a film made by a master filmmaker that exemplifies a pioneering spirit in furthering the language of storytelling and the magic of cinema. Like much of the work Ricky was associated with, the films in consideration for this award exemplified this spirit and continue to remind us of the dream that is storytelling on the silver screen. Finally, the GoE Bridging the Borders award, presented by Cinema Without Borders, honours the film that is most successful in bringing the people of our world closer together. The Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature will be announced on January 13.

A special jury of international film critics reviewed 43 of the 87 official submissions for the Academy Awards® Best Foreign Language Film category screened at this year’s Festival.  Awards are presented to the Best Foreign Language Film, as well as Best Actor and Actress in a Foreign Language Film.

The FIPRESCI prize for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year:  Shoplifters (Japan), directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda. Winner of the Palme D’Or in Cannes and Japan’s submission to the Academy Award. Shoplifters is far more than a heist story. This haunting exploration of love and compassion for marginalised people poses the question of what really defines a family.

The FIPRESCI prize for the Best Actor in a Foreign Language Film: Marcello Fonte from Dogman (Italy). Italian maestro Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah, PSIFF 2009) returns with a visually astounding and biting morality tale centred on Marcello, a meek dog groomer and small-time drug dealer, and his toxic relationship with a barbaric gangster who terrorises his desolate coastal town.

The FIPRESCI prize for Best Actress in a Foreign Language Film: Joanna Kulig from Cold War (Poland). It has been five years since the Academy Award®-winning Ida, but Pawel Pawlikowski’s achingly beautiful portrait of l’amour fou proves well worth the wait. Unfolding against the backdrop of the Cold War years in Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris, the film renders believable a complicated and disruptive love in impossible times.

The FIPRESCI jury members were Thomas Abeltshauser (film critic and journalist), Elaine Guerini (film critic and journalist) and Marietta Steinhart (film critic).

New Voices New Visions award

The New Voices New Visions focuses on films that our programmers felt represent the most distinctive new directors that have emerged in the last year. Each of the 14 films in the competition represent the filmmakers debut or second feature.

New Voices New Visions award: Sofia , directed by Meryem Benm’Barek. In Morocco, having sex outside of marriage is punishable by a jail term. When young, single Sofia (Maha Alemi) and her family discover she’s about to give birth, director Meryem Benm’Barek-Aloïsi uses the subsequent family machinations to expose the hypocrisy intrinsic to Morocco’s patriarchal culture.

Honourable Mention: Saf, directed by Ali Vatansever. In Turkey’s competitive workforce, jobs are spread thin, and Kamil has been unemployed for some time. When the opportunity for work finally arrives, it is in the form of a lower-paid job that displaces a Syrian refugee. Kamil takes the job in secret, working nights, but his problems worsen when he needs to pay for the necessary permits to operate the machinery used or risk losing his job.

The films were juried by David Boyle, Carly Hugo (producer, Loveless) and George Stroumboulopoulos.

The John Schlesinger award

The John Schlesinger award, named after the director, writer, producer, and festival supporter, is presented to the director of a debut feature documentary from among those screened at the festival.

Schlesinger award: Ghost Fleet, directed by Shannon Service and Jeffrey Waldron. The next time you order a filet of exotic fish in a restaurant, spare a thought for the thousands of men enslaved on Indonesian fishing vessels that overfish international waters. One indomitable woman and her small team work to free these slaves and bring them home.

Honourable Mention: Bathtubs Over Broadway, directed by Dava Whisenant. In this exuberant and heartfelt documentary, comedy writer Steve Young delves into the strange and little-known history of industrial musicals: original, Broadway-style extravaganzas that turned humble products like insurance and toilets into the stuff of magic.

The films were juried by Laura Henneman (manager of creative producing & artist support, Sundance Institute), Viktor Jakovleski (filmmaker) and Caleb Ward (Acquisitions, The Orchard).

CV Cine award

The Cine Latino award is presented to the best Ibero-American film screening at the festival.  The award aims to highlight the creativity seen in modern Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American films.

CV Cine award: Carmen & Lola (Spain), directed by Arantxa Echevarria. Stunning bride-to-be Carmen and ambitious street artist Lola find themselves in the throes of a secret love, risking safety, status, and their own futures within their highly conservative Gypsy community.

Honourable Mention: The Chambermaid (Mexico/USA), directed by Lila Avilés. Living her life within the confines of a pricey Mexico City hotel, shy maid Eve longs for human connection, unexpectedly coming into her own through the promise of education and surprising new friendships in this subtle, assured debut.

The films were judged by Vanessa Erazo (film & TV editor, Remezcla), Laura Mora (director & writer) and Luis Ortiz (managing director, Latino Public Broadcasting)

The Ricky Jay Magic of Cinema award

The Ricky Jay Magic of Cinema award is named for actor and magician Ricky Jay and in honour of a film made by a master filmmaker that exemplifies a pioneering spirit in furthering the language of storytelling and the magic of cinema. 

Ricky Jay Magic of Cinema award: Dead Pigs (China), directed by Cathy Yan. A mysterious wave of livestock deaths is the groundwork for this award-winning ensemble drama, which combines compassionate explorations of vastly different yet inextricably connected characters with a biting commentary on consumerism and the drive toward modernisation in present day Shanghai.

The films were judged by Rian Johnson (director, Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi), James Ponsoldt (director, The Spectacular Now) and Margery Simkin (casting director, Avatar).

The Goe Bridging the Borders award

At a time when physical, religious, racial, cultural, and economic borders divide the population of our planet, efforts to bridge those borders should be appreciated. In that spirit, Cinema Without Borders presents the GoE Bridging the Borders award to a film that is most successful in bridging and connecting the people of our world closer together. The Winner of 2018 GoE Bridging the Borders award presented by Cinema Without Borders and sponsored by GoEnergistics will receive a cash award of $2500.

GoE Bridging the Borders award: Eldorado (Switzerland), directed by Markus Imhoof. Asking deeply relevant questions about humanity and social responsibility, Markus Imhoof draws on his personal experience to show a global phenomenon — the struggle of thousands of refugees fleeing from Africa to Europe, and what happens when they reach their Eldorado.

The films were juried by Rakhshan Banietemad (Academy awards member), Susan Morgan Cooper (director/producer/writer), Jan Cvitkovič (filmmaker/archaeologist/writer/director), Jim Miller (executive director, Brave New Films), Sedika Mojadidi (independent filmmaker), Neda Nobari (community activist, Neda Nobari Foundation), Daniel Sawka (director/writer, HBO’s Icebox), Adam Shepherd (president and CEO, Go Energistics), Bijan Tehrani (film director/critic/writer/editor in chief of Cinema Without Borders).

Youth Jury award

This is the first ever jury comprised of local students for the Palm Springs international film festival, expanding upon what we do in ShortFest over the summer. The Youth Jury is comprised of students who not only have shown talent and aspirations for making films, but also a sincere passion for watching and learning more about cinema and life at every moment possible. This group of young people come from the Yucca Valley all the way to Coachella and none of them have really met or knew each other before coming together to be a part of this jury. There could not be a more deserving group of young people to represent the future generation coming from the greater Palm Springs area.

Youth Jury Award: What Will People Say (Norway/Germany/Sweden), directed by Iram Haq. A first-generation Norwegian teen clashes with the traditional values and expectations of her Pakistani immigrant parents in this compelling coming-of-age drama. writer/director Iram Haq (I Am Yours, PSIFF 2014) smartly probes the problems of a character caught between cultures.


Hug’s issue: progressive approach or parental authority? https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/hugs-issue-progressive-approach-or-parental-authority/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 13:30:48 +0000 Fatma Lotfi https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/hugs-issue-progressive-approach-or-parental-authority/ A video of a young female student hugging her male colleague completely disturbed Al-Azhar University, where the girl is studying, leading to them expelling her, until, at the last minute, the Grand Imam, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, intervened to overturn the decision.

The scene, which appeared to be a marriage proposal, showed a young man carrying a bouquet of flowers before a young woman. He kneeled and then hugged her. The video raised sharp controversy after going viral on social media earlier this month.

Al-Azhar University announced on Saturday last week that it expelled its student after she appeared in the video hugging a male, demonstrating that she violated the universities regulations and present a “bad image,” of the Al-Azhar University.

According to the Article No 124 of the universities’ regulations law, the university has the right to expel or prevent students from taking exams, if it’s proven they have violated “the universities’ laws and traditions,” and committed “acts which oppose public morality.”

The young woman studies Arabic Language at Al-Azhar’s University branch in Al-Mansoura city, however, the video was taken at Al-Mansoura University, where her colleague studies. He also was expelled by his university.

A day following of the decision, Al-Tayeb intervened to suspend it. However, he did not call for the abolishment of the punishment but instead mitigated it to prevent her from attending the exams of the first term.

Recently, Al-Tayeb was featured in media coverage and op-eds as “the father” who preferred advice and guidance than severe punishment. Others suggest that real changes have actually taken place within the long-established religious institution and its administrative bodies.

Al-Tayeb, not Al-Azhar

“I cannot see Al-Tayeb’s move anything other than a humanitarian act which saved the girl’s and the boy’s futures,” Intsar El-Saed, a lawyer and the head of Cairo Centre for Development and Law (CCD) informed Daily News Egypt.

El-Saed noted that after the video spread, the student was enraged because she is a woman. “The society which harshly denounced the girl’s act is the same one which always stands idly by before any sexual harassment or rape incident. I see no crime in the couple’s behaviour.” 

El-Saed argued that the recent distinct moves, which support women, are taken by Al-Tayeb, not by the Azhar institution itself. “It is Al-Tayeb, not Al-Azhar,” noting that the institution still maintains its old values as it initially resorted to a severe punishment against the girl.    

“Progressive” moves

Nearly five months ago, Al-Azhar released a significant statement that criminalised sexual harassment regardless of women’s outfit. Al-Azhar denounced verbal and physical harassment, asserting that such incidents are unacceptable in any society or culture.

The statement did not blame women for being subjected to sexual abuse as usual or for wearing revealing clothes or not putting on a veil. The statement was considered as a outstanding gain for women, a long-awaited one.

Al-Azhar’s stance came following a wide division among social media users over a viral video featuring a young Egyptian man approaching a woman in one of the Fifth Settlement streets in New Cairo. Some see the situation as an act of sexual harassment; others defended the man noting that it was just a flirtation.

Egyptian women often report facing difficulties over not wearing the veil or abandoning it. Sexual harassment is among those challenges.

Along the same line, the Ṣawt Al-Azhar newspaper featured in one of its issues Christian women and others without the veil, in a move that was widely appreciated and seen as the establishment of principles of accepting the other.

“I believe it was the first time in Al-Azhar’s history to feature unveiled women. It seems that there are two conflicting approaches within the institution, the radical and enlightened one. I believe that Al-Tayeb represents the enlightened approach” El-Saed opinionated.

Meanwhile, El-Saed emphasised the need to renew the religious discourse, noting that any call for such a move is always met by confrontation. The lawyer argued that religious scholars are afraid of changing Islamic fundamentals despite the fact that, El-Saed clarified; most of those explanations are “independent discretions.”

Parental authority?

“Yes, we live in a parental society where women are not enjoying their fundamental rights. We cannot deny this. But this situation is different as we can never receive the Grand Imam’s move from this perspective,” El-Saed noted.

El-Saed added, “I believe it is a small victory that we should appreciate. Al-Tayeb saved the student’s educational future and this is a respectable move. Egypt is slowly changing, and society is starting to accept things it did not accept before. Some of those changes came as results of the 25th January Revolution and others due to the power of social media and the Internet where various discussions are held over vital topics.”

Grand Imam, Ahmed Al-Tayeb

Political approach 

From a different perspective, Amr Ezzat, a researcher and officer for the “Freedom of Religion and Belief Programme” at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, pointed out that al-Tayeb’s moves, including dealing with the Al-Azhar’s student, are representing political approach aimed at satisfying all parties.

“I cannot say the Grand Imam is enlightened or that there is a large enlightened approach inside the Al-Azhar institution. However, there are some people within the institution and its bodies that call themselves ‘moderate’ or ‘reasonable’”, and those often face challenges inside,” Ezzat told DNE. 

Ezzat added, “Al-Tayeb is sending political messages with his stances that al-Azhar University is accepting all different ideologies, so he often takes such soft decisions. However, in the case of the female student, he did not reject the concept of punishment, but he resorted to mitigate the sanction.”

Ezzat argued that this is the role of the AL-Azhar, institution which supports the government, and represents a religious discourse that is consistent with the state vision. “The difference you view between the university’s decision and Al-Tayeb’s stances is normal, as the Grand Imam is a politician, while the university is an administrative body which has executive responsibilities,” Ezzat noted. 

Meanwhile, Ezzat demonstrated that some articles of the Egyptian universities regulations; including Al-Azhar University, reportedly impose sanctions against students or teachers over their different behaviour or “inappropriate acts” even if those so-called actions are taken outside the campuses.

Ezzat added that in most cases of suspending or expelling some of the al-Azhar teachers, Al-Tayeb did not freeze those decisions, but instead he called for mitigating them.

“In my opinion, he is trying to play a political role to satisfy the traditional approach inside the institution, which asserts the need for punishment, but takes stances that show that Al-Azhar is not excluding people of different ideologies,” Ezzat concluded.     

Strong drink in the far north: How rum came to Flensburg https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/strong-drink-in-the-far-north-how-rum-came-to-flensburg/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 13:15:00 +0000 Deutsche Welle https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/strong-drink-in-the-far-north-how-rum-came-to-flensburg/ Flensburg, in northern Germany, near the border to Denmark, is known for its Scandinavian flair. It’s less well known for the rum that has been produced here for centuries. What a pity — it’s very good indeed."Nicht schnacken, Kopf in Nacken," says Malte to me as I stand in the port watching the ships. It means roughly, "No talking, drink up," and it's a common north German toast. He pours rum into a small glass and holds it out to me. It tastes sweet and spicy, and it's really warming. When the glass is empty, he announces we need a refill.

66-year-old Malte used to go to sea as a sailor. Now he stands on the quay with a bottle and fishing rod and catches herring. We walk to Johannsen's Rumhaus, one of the last traditional distilleries in Flensburg. Its company shop on Marienstrasse is said to have the best rum blend. "Blend" doesn't sound very good, but this tastes good, and it has a long history behind it: in 1885 Germans began to import rum from islands in the Caribbean, and in Flensburg good money could be earned from it. But soon it was being taxed according to quantity, so from then on the sailors were forced to deliver a concentrate so the producers could sell as much as before. To do so they had to thin the rum: to make the imported liquor with its 80 percent alcohol content drinkable, it was thinned with water and blended with grain alcohol. That process has survived to this day, and the spicy taste of the blend is now better than its reputation might suggest.

Once a Danish colony

Flensburg is the only German city with a genuine rum tradition. It used to belong to Denmark, and Denmark had colonies: the Danish West Indies, consisting of the islands St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix in the Caribbean. The ships brought the valuable tipple in large casks to the port of Flensburg, which was larger and more important than that of Copenhagen at the time. What flourished in the 18th century was interrupted by war a hundred years later. The city was ceded by Denmark to Prussia and Austria. In that way, the Flensburg distilleries lost their rum suppliers. They needed an equivalent replacement, so they started going to Jamaica to fill the gap.

Matures in casks for up to 14 years

Martin Johannsen's great-great grandfather lived through all that. Martin is the fourth generation of his family to run the oldest rum house in the city. Behind the small shop in the Marienburg, a medieval merchants' warehouse in the old town, the spicy scent of rum wafts from dark storerooms, mixed with the fine aromas of vanilla and smoky wood. The delivery from the Caribbean comes once a year, two to three thousand liters at a time. With a winch on the storehouse, the containers are hauled up and their contents transferred to oak casks. When it arrives, the rum has a maturation period of between five and seven years in the tropical climate of Jamaica behind it. Actually it's already mellow and flavorful, but for a Flensburg rum it's not yet good enough, the young man explains. It has to mature for twelve to fourteen years before it can be bottled.

Well-preserved old town

On the way back to the port, Malte and I take a detour through Oluf-Samson-Gang. Although the narrow lane is no longer what it once was, it is a reminder of the times when the sailors traded their earnings for nights of sinful pleasure. In the late nineteen-sixties, 70 women were working as prostitutes in Flensburg's red light district. Just under four years ago, the last two closed their establishments, in buildings parts of which dated from the 17th century, and which have now been restored. It was high time to spruce up these historical properties, especially when the facade of House Number 3 collapsed, providing a "spectacular" scene for passers-by. Apart from such minor incidents, Flensburg is structurally in good shape, because the city sustained only minimal damage during World War II. The market square, city gate and churches are in good condition.

More and more students move here

The city with 95,000 residents also became known because of Beate Uhse, who opened the world's first sex shop here in 1962. It was called the "Institute for Marital Hygiene" and its inventory included contraceptives, lingerie, erotic toys and books.

From time immemorial, Flensburg has attracted adventurers, free spirits, sailors, boat builders and students, who like to live in the still affordable courtyards in the city center. The yards contain skate shops, tailoring and alterations studios, galleries and discos. Occasionally, from the open windows, the sounds of Santiano can be heard, a band all of whose members come from Flensburg and whose music mixes rock with folk and sea shanties. Their songs are full of joie de vivre, unbridled yearning and wild dreams. The song "Es gibt nur Wasser (There's Only Water)" is very popular here because one of its lyrics translates as "We need rum, rum, rum – or we'll die of thirst." "That's not quite true," Malte adds. "There's also the famous Flensburg beer. But for me, there's nothing better than good rum!"

Paragon launches Capstone Cliff Residence in Sheikh Zayed https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/paragon-launches-capstone-cliff-residence-in-sheikh-zayed/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 13:00:15 +0000 Shaimaa Al-Aees https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/21/paragon-launches-capstone-cliff-residence-in-sheikh-zayed/ Paragon Developments, new real estate developer, backed by RCH Holding, a construction company for 30 years, has announced the launch of its new Capstone Cliff Residence project in Sheikh Zayed with EGP 1.75bn in investments on 88,000 sqm.

Mohamed Wageh, chairperson of Paragon, said: “This project represents the first of the company’s projects and it is being designed by a number of well-known consulting offices inside and outside Egypt.”

For his part, Mohamed Abdel Mordy, head of the commercial sector at Paragon, said that the project is located at the highest point in Sheikh Zayed City, at 220 sqm above sea level.

Abdel Mordy noted that the project comprises of 600 units ranging from residential units to villas, pointing out that the company provides different facilities in payment plan to suit all customers’ purchasing powers.

According to Abdel Mordy, the project’s built up area is 30% and the rest of the size of the project is being allocated for landscaping, adding the project is planned to be delivered by mid-2021.